Ancient Dragons?

Perhaps dragons as art are older than we’re thought.


Swords are also old, and in some places almost as rare as dragons:


In the Spirit of the Season…

A rerun, because I have family visiting and spent yesterday morning at the dentist’s office getting a recurring problem dealt with.

I take no responsibility for originating the following. I am merely passing it along…

“Top Ten Thanksgiving Hymns (you probably won’t sing)*”

“Granted, it was a few years ago, but The Mezzo Wore Mink still sets the standard for Thanksgiving pageants: The Singing Hors D’oeuvres, Miles Standish and Pocahontas, the choir dressed up as the four food groups…

Continue reading

Cranberry Salad

This is not vegan, or kosher, although you could probably substitute agar for the gelatin. It is, however, an alternative for those who might be tired of cranberry-in-a-can, or more traditional cranberry relishes. At RedQuarters we serve it with the main meal because it is tart.

3 cups cranberries, picked over (1 lb) and semi-frozen

1 c sugar

1 package lemon jello and one of unflavored jello

1 C. hot (near boiling) water

1 C. chopped nuts,* 1C chopped celery, 1 C. small marshmallows cut into pieces Continue reading

Some Admin Announcements

If you have been browsing through the older Shikhari and Familiars excerpts, but can’t find them again, you have not lost your marbles. Nor is the Internet ganging up on you. I removed a lot of them because the books are now published, and I don’t want to get a “bad author” note from Amazon.

Work on the cover for Called to the Council has begun, and I will be starting the revisions/edits on that in the near future.

What the Author is Reading: November ’19

A little of this and that, some for pleasure, some for Day Job, some because I need to refresh my American history knowledge. In no set order—

McClay, Wilfred Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story An excellent survey history of the United States that brings out the good things about America without ignoring the not-so-good. Very good sources in the bibliography, and well written. A bit of an anti-Zinn text.

DelArroz, Jon. Justified A knight Templar in nanotech armor fights slavery and his own doubts. Pulled me in from the start. Continue reading

Ecosystems, Climax States, and Saving-the-Planet

When the fields of modern botany, ecosystem biology, forestry, and fire science were being created, a theory developed about how natural systems arose, and where they went. If plants and animals went through phases where they developed, matured, spent time as a relatively-unchanging adult, and then died, perhaps plant and animal communities did the same thing. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the idea of the “climax state” developed. This was the ideal, the goal (so to speak) of the development of what we today would call an ecosystem. The Great Plains, for example, developed from bare ground and brush toward their ideal state of tall-grass prairies.

It was OK for the time, but had some flaws. Flaws which are still seen today, even after actual biological science has moved away from the model. Continue reading

Product Review: Shark Vacuum Cleaner

It sucks very well, perhaps too well for my peace of mind. It moves easily. It is awkward to get used to, and feels off balance. You can see the grunge you get out of the carpet. The bad news is, you can see the grunge you get out of the carpet.

It is the Shark Lift-Away True Pet. The filters are washable, so there is no longer a need to stockpile air filters in anticipation of them being discontinued. Instead of a bag, it has a clear canister that you remove and empty into the garbage. The cord is not as long as the old WindTunnel, but it is long enough for what I need. Continue reading

Over the Hills and Far Away: A musing on duty and characters

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for the Sharpe series as I’m preparing to teach the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolution. The songs “Over the Hills and Far Away,” and “Love Farewell” have stuck in my mind’s ear. They are both about men who do their duty, knowing that it will take them from those they love and that they may never return. That’s a theme that recurs in my books, only partly because of the genres I write. Continue reading

White Knights?

A random, rambling rant follows. More coherent content will resume tomorrow.

It was a modern colloquial term I never heard used in speech until I was in college the second time, but had caught glimpses of in action. Instead of the traditional good guy who rides in to take care of a very real problem, the modern term refers to people (not always male) who insist on solving a problem that either 1. only they can see, or 2. that they use to get their victim into even bigger trouble. It’s the reverse of what it ought to be, in other words. In their own minds, perhaps, they are the Good Guy on the Shining Steed.

It popped up again recently in a discussion about the people who insist on “saving” sensitive people (as they define them) from harsh language and hurtful speech. To warp an old saying: is speech still hateful if no one is around to hear it spoken? According to some people, yes, and so they (the savior-types) have a duty to keep other people from saying things that might cause offense and pain, even if the “victims” never hear it. Continue reading