The High and the Sublime

No, not what some people appear to see when they are on recreational pharmaceuticals. I’m thinking about a concept that was proposed in English by the art critic, politician, and historian Edmund Burke in the mid 1700s and how it influenced the development of “mountains as tourist attractions” later that century. Continue reading

Brain Tired

I finished the draft of Familiar Vows. It is six stories, including the title story. I’m at 50K words on J. Familiar. I also had a video-conference related to a sub-section of Day Job, voted, and am too tired to write a blog post.

I’m currently reading the autobiography of a Brit who became a US Marine (Andrew Milburn When the Tempest Gathers). It reads a lot like John Masters’ writing, if you are familiar with him. Especially the self-deprecating understatement. “I said, ‘Call so-and-so, and so-and-so. I have an idea.’ And the corporal said, ‘Oh [excrement].’ ” The author was a first lieutenant at the time. I’m laughing in the wrong places.

That Sounded Expensive

There are some sounds you just know are going to cost money.

I drive a four-wheel-drive pickup truck. Per the owner’s manual, every thirty days, I need to drive it for ten miles in high-4 to keep everything lubricated and mechanically happy. Back in the Olde Days, this meant getting out, locking the hub-caps, and then proceeding on. Yes, it also served as a strong incentive to shift into four before you got stuck in the mud/sand/snow and had to get out in said goo to lock the now-messy hubcaps. Today, you turn a switch, wait for a clunk and the appropriate indicator light, and venture forth. Continue reading

Oh Cool! Plumbing Disasters

Sooooo, I was looking up the proper spelling of Orangeburg paper for a short story in Familiar Vows, and ended up at a web-site with a history of sewers and sanitation. Including . . . disasters. No, not a bad toilet overflow onto light-tan shag bathroom carpet (RedQuarters, 1986. Why there is no longer carpet in the bathrooms at RedQuarters.) No, these were larger scale incidents of “oops!”

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Hmm . . . Someone didn’t pay off the fire insurance?

Apparently someone in Iran failed to pay the local consigliere for the fire insurance premiums. *cue Godfather theme*

It seems a spate of explosions, mysterious fires, unfortunate accidents, and the like have been plaguing various facilities in Iran since late June.

This is one of those things where I really do wonder how much is self-inflicted (corrupt contractors, employees who don’t follow safety protocols), how much is bad luck (unstable, older materials; equipment fails at just the wrong moment; lightning hits the wrong thing), and how much is, ahem, enemy action. Continue reading

Masks and Whiplash

A current-event rant. Please return tomorrow for lighter material.

I had a rather visceral reaction to Gov. Abbot’s “everyone over age 10, masks all the time, with the following exceptions” order last week. That reaction made no logical sense. Granted, it cut what I can do at the gym (hard cardio in a mask is a No Go), and choir (unless I find a mask with a rigid frame so I can inhale deeply without collapsing the mask) and irks the blazes out of me, because I want to go where I want and do what I want without having to carry or wear a mask. But my reaction went far beyond that.

It’s the unpredictability and collective punishment that galls me and makes my hackles shoot up. Continue reading