Animals and Environments 3: Beaver of the Breaks

Apologies for the repeat. Day Job is in a bit of a crunch mode because the End of the Quarter is Nigh. Plus we’re all having to cover for those out ill.

Ah, beaver, the cute rodent property owners love to hate. Beaver are, as one author described them, “nature’s wetland engineers,” re-working the local hydrology to suit their own needs. In the process they can have some very long-term effects on the environment around and down stream of their chosen location. The Canadian River valley, although at the margins of beavers’ usual domain, showed the effects of their activities in several different ways. Continue reading


Heroine, Villainess, Or Just A Person?

Elizabeth “Sisi” of Austria, wife (and first cousin) of Franz Josef, mother of Rudolph, most beautiful woman in Europe, and, well… People either love and romanticize her, or dislike her with varying intensity.

I was reminded of her while reading through Monalisa Foster’s blog:

The more I learn about her, the less I care for her and the more sympathy I have for Franz Josef. Which makes me a little odd, at least judging by the goodies in the shops in Vienna. Continue reading

Well, That’s settled…

Howdy, Instapundit readers! Thanks for visiting.

Federal Judges may not rule from beyond the grave. As the article on puts it,  “But the high court, vacating the decision of a federal appeals court, said Monday that “federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity.” ‘

However, they can still vote in certain districts.

The Oklahoma Hills: A Repeat Post

I’ve been a little tied up with Day Job, so a story from my flying days . . .

In the Oklahoma Hills

The morning started well then went splat, she thought, as the Seneca chugged along on autopilot. She woke up at four, hustled out to the airport and managed to get the plane out of its stall without dinging or breaking anything. Then she ran back to town for passenger snacks, picking up some for her people as well as for another pilot’s load. Except she hadn’t looked at the number of his passengers, and didn’t get enough. She offered him her donuts and pastries, but he said no, and told her to go back and get more for him. He’d take care of her people. As she charged out the door, headlights turned into the parking lot. Guess who? The ranking pilot sighed and said not to bother. She made a last “pit stop,” and emerged to find that he’d taken over, to the point of introducing her to “her” passengers. Which she could understand, because he knew them and went to church with two of the three. But it still stung. Continue reading

Feb ’19 State of the Author

Tired. Illness at home + busy school = tired Alma

I’m just under 55K words on the fifth Shikari book. I’m starting revisions to Miners and Empire right now. I wrote it in 20 days and it shows, so I’m having to trim out some repeated passages and clarify a few things. That is one advantage to letting it sit fallow for three months – I can see where readers would get confused. Continue reading

The Little Problem of Logistics

I suppose by now almost everyone has heard or, or read about, the “Green New Deal” first proposed by Rep. Occasio-Cortez and endorsed by other up-and-coming (or hopeful) members of the Democrat Party in the US. The basic idea is that within ten years, or perhaps twenty but ten is preferable, the US will have completely retooled its economy to use nothing but renewable “green” energy, all buildings will be energy-efficient, and no carbon will be produced. All internal combustion vehicles will be replaced by green, zero-emission ones. And even if people do not care to participate in the labor required, they will still be paid.

That summary alone is enough to make a sci-fi writer weep in her ginger beer. Orson Scott Card proposed that each story is permitted one large piece of handwavium (or balognium as he put it), and then the rest of the technology or magic has to make sense. There’s far too much handwavium in the Green New Deal for my comfort. Continue reading

Book Review: The Maneaters of Kumaon

Corbett, Jim. The Maneaters of Kumaon (Kindle edition, Merwin Unwin Reprint)

I grew up being told stories from Corbett and Capstick, and Bell, and other hunters and naturalists. So I knew the stories before I read them. That doesn’t change the heart-racing effect of reading this book, however. Corbett was a great story-teller as well as naturalist and hunter.

I needed a complete brain break. This was the perfect book for that. Short, intense, and beautifully written. Continue reading

Book Review: Novak – Will it Liberate?

Novak, Michael. Will it Liberate? (1991) Kindle Edition

Liberation theology was one of those things I heard about while growing up, but never understood what it was. Nailing hot tapioca pudding to a tree seemed easier than finding a clear definition of what this Latin American thing was. Well, it turns out that’s in part because the proponents of Liberation Theology didn’t agree among themselves precisely what it espoused, and their beliefs changed over time. Michael Novak’s book, the third in a series about theology and political economy, answers those questions and points out the flaws in the very premise of Liberation Theology. He also shows how Classical Liberalism is not, despite what its critics claimed, incompatible with a Christian life and a just and successful society. Continue reading