The Babble-Fish Dilemma

I’m learning a new-to-me language—Czech. The good thing is that the writing is Latin and the unusual characters are pretty logical, especially if I keep in mind the German influence. The grammar basics are sort of making sense, in that I can pick up the pattern even though I don’t quite understand the “why.” However, it makes me think of what I call the “Babble-Fish Problem.” What do you translate and what do you elide?

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Armed Forces Day

Somehow, it turned out that most of the friends I’ve made as an adult (over age 18) are either military, worked around military people, come from military families, or have some other connection to the armed forces of the US, Australia, or Canada, or Great Britain. I didn’t set out to do that, it just happened. (Granted, the aviation community leans that direction, especially rotorcraft, but still…)

Today in the US is Armed Forces Day. The third Saturday in May is set aside to honor the men and women who currently serve in the Armed Forces of the US (including the Reserves and National Guard). Originally there were separate days for the four (then five) branches of the military, but the SecDef lumped them together in 1949. Note that this did not and does not replace things like the Marine Corps Birthday and commemorations of the founding of the other branches. May is also V-E Day, and Memorial Day.

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Clearly Familiar

So, a little announcement. The first of two Familiars short story collections, this one entitled Clearly Familiar will come out by the end of this month, if all goes well. The stories are 99% done and need to be edited, compiled, and a cover put on them.

There are some well-known characters (Morgana and Smiley, Dr. Lewis and Blackwell, Shoshana) and a few new faces.

The last Colplatschki novel, Fountains of Mercy, will be out in mid-August. I hope to get the fifth Shikhari novel to you in September.

No Rome-ing

There’s no Rome. No ruins, no battles, no armies wandering through, no sewers turning up in interesting places. History starts in the 700s or later. Where on earth am I and what’s gone strange?

Welcome to the history of the Slavic part of Europe.

Before my readers of Polish, Czech, Slovak, Sorb, Serb, Slovene, and other ancestry start excoriating me with declarations that indeed, those peoples have histories even if they were not recorded at the time, I’m aware of that. But I’ve been doing so much in the Roman-influenced parts of Europe for so long that not having Romans, Roman ruins, and Roman sources makes my head feel empty. Continue reading

Happy Mothers’ Day

I can live with “Mothering Day,” because there are women who act as mothers to children not their own, but once you go beyond that, sorry, nope.

I don’t care what he did, I love him anyway. Fair Use, from:

Geepers Peepers!

As I was leaving work the other day, I heard a new sound. No, I realized, not new, just not heard in several years. Sort of a chorus, rhythmic and moderately high pitched, that varied a little with the wind. It seemed to be coming from the playa. It was not red-wing blackbirds. The meadowlarks don’t sing in chorus. I started grinning and just listened.

Spring peepers, or the local version, had returned. Enough water now filled the playa that they’d hatched and matured.

The brown on the horizon is an upland pasture that needs to be grazed down, mown, or to have a controlled burn. But the local grasses are thriving, as are the water plants in the heart of the playa.

Below is a photo from this time last year, when we really, really needed rain.

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When the Gates to the Gulf Open . . .

all h-ll tends to break out. Because storms need fuel, instability, and spin. And Gulf moisture is the magic ingredient that, when combined with an unstable air mass, produces hen-egg hail and tornadoes.

[This is a repeat, in part because I’m very tired, still under the weather, and day-job has drained me. Ah, teenagers in spring. And faculty in spring. Carry on]

I seem to have spent my live alternating between living east and west of the 100th meridian, or roughly the 20″ rainfall line. West of this line the average precipitation is less than 20 inches per year and farming without irrigation can be rather chancy. The mixed-grass prairie shifts into short-grass steppe until the plains bump into the Rocky Mountain foreland. To the east of this invisible division is the Mississippi Embayment, tall-grass prairies, the land of tall corn and fat pigs, and humidity.

Even west of that magical line, however, when the Gulf opens up, we brace for impact.


From: AKA “Must be May”

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