Capital Capitol Caput

Where was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, at least until the mid-1400s? Can you go visit the remains, see a museum about the place?

Well, yes and no. Because there are and were many places that served as the center of government of the early forms of the Holy Roman Empire, ranging from Aachen in the west to Goslar in the east, to Frankfurt and down into the Black Forest, into Italy, even Sicily. The empire traveled with the Emperor, and the administrative staff and records went with him. Continue reading


Cat Among Dragons Release

In Sheltering Talons, the tenth book in the Cat Among Dragons series, is available. Aside from strange goings on in the Imperial palace, a crime that might never have happened, outraged nobles, and wildlife gone mad, Drakon IV has been peaceful for Rada. But she misses Joschka, and wants to go to Ter-Tri.

The Traders might have other plans for her.

Mayhem, chaos, a wedding, Rahoul Khan being by-the-book, Zabet snarking, and Joschka wondering if Rada will ever settle down… and a possible werewolf.

Maybe married life isn’t quite so quiet as advertised, at least for a Cat among Dragons.

And the Silence Lingers…

One of the greatest moments in musical performance is the silence. The piece comes to its end, and no one moves. The conductor remains still, the orchestra and chorus are frozen, and none in the audience dares to break the spell, the hush of enchantment and sometimes of awe.

Sometimes everything works. Not always and there are compositions where the hush isn’t expected or appropriate – 1812 Overture, anyone? Rock concert encore?

But once in a while everything works and the music speaks through the silence.

And you know you got it right.

Magic happened.

And all the work, the sweat, the tears, the drills and note-by-note work over and over is worth it for that long, amazing, motionless silence, an instant almost outside of time.



An idealized middle-class German or Austrian household in the Biedermeier Period (1815-1848 or so)

My mind makes strange jumps, I think we can all agree on that. I was listening to yet another news story about Millennials and like-minded younger people preferring experiences and clean lifestyles to material goods, families, and houses, and for some reason my thoughts leaped back to central Europe in the post-Napoleon era. Because I’d read this before, just phrased in a different way, and in descriptions of furniture and art.

Continue reading


Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere tend to forget how much the Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans, and colonial troops contributed in WWI, WWII, and to later conflicts.


Today, April 25th, is ANZAC Day. It honors the men and women who served in the Australian and New Zealand forces in wars ranging from the Boer War to Vietnam, the East Timor conflict, and other fields of battle.

Members of the Albert Battery shoot a volley of fire during the Anzac Day dawn service held by the Currumbin RSL on the Gold Coast on Monday, April 25, 2016. Australians and New Zealanders today honour those who died on the 101th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli in WWI. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Why April 25? Gallipoli began that day, in 1915.  The Australian War memorial, which is an amazing museum and highly, highly worth visiting, has an excellent history of ANZAC Day.  We in the US don’t often realize just what a terrible percent of their military-age young men Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other parts of the Commonwealth have lost in WWI, WWII, and other conflicts.

Lest We Forget.


Proving the Null Hypothesis – Cardio Version

One of the most under-valued things in science is proving the null hypotheses. The Null Hypothesis states that if you do X, nothing will happen. There will be no reaction, the bacteria won’t respond to the drug, the rat won’t get cancer, the mineral will not fluoresce. Everyone wants their experiment or test to do something, but often proving the null hypothesis is as, if not more, important than making a lab-rat turn plaid and start dancing the hora.

Last, week I decided that I needed to test a null hypothesis, cardiovascular version. Continue reading

Offended? That was the Point!

By now everyone has heard that R. Lee Ermy, a Marine, an actor, and a really good man who did a lot to help the men and women in the military in his own way, has died at age 74. The role he is most famous for was in Full Metal Jacket, where he played a Drill Instructor.

For those not familiar with the military, the DI is the man or woman tasked with the hopeless, impossible job of turning recruits into sailors, soldiers, and Marines. A Marine recruit is the only thing on Earth lower than whale sh-t, and the DI’s job is to raise said recruit to the level of Marine. All while serving as an example of what a Marine, sailor, or soldier is to aspire to become. No pressure, right?

So, since the excerpt is highly offensive, but isn’t really, it is below the fold. Continue reading