Freezing in a Storm?

On Tuesday night I attended a talk by the author and rancher John Erickson. He’s best known by most people as the creator of Hank the Cowdog, a growing and very popular series of children’s books about, well, Hank, a cowdog, and his associates and human family. However, Erickson’s first books were non-fiction histories and discussions of ranching and the Texas Panhandle. His book, Through Time and the Valley is one of the things that re-kindled my interest in regional history. He was reading from and talking about his latest non-fiction, Prairie Gothic, based on his family’s history.

During the Q and A after his main talk, someone asked him how he could keep going after the horrible fire last year that burned up his home and all the fences and grazing on the ranch. “If I were in that kind of [life]storm, I’d freeze,” the questioner explained. Continue reading


Filk and Folk-Tales

So, I broke down and bought a used CD of Songsmith, filk-music from Andre Norton’s Witchworld universe. Some of the songs are very, very specific to the Witchworld, and in some cases to the novel of Songsmith. But a few others could be our-world folk songs without half trying, in part because Norton drew on a very rich language of legend and mythology to build her world. Continue reading

Dusty Evening with Fire

Drought gnaws. You can’t point to a day on the calendar and say, “On November 22, drought started.” It sidles into being as day after day passes without rain or snow, or with just enough to tease but not to produce. Animals that can leave start shifting their territories, and brown gradually, creepingly, replaces green on the landscape. The lack of soil moisture makes the air drier, and the air heats up faster, making rain less likely, which dries the soil, and so on in a feedback cycle.

And then the wind begins. And the dust. And something more than dust, something bitter and sweet and rich and terrifying. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Black Panther

So, Sib, Sib-in-Law, and I went to see Black Panther. Little Bit is a bit too little, and Mom and Dad Red don’t do this kind of movie much. Short version: it was a fun action movie with a good story, great effects that did not overwhelm, and you do not have to be current in the Marvel™ canon to keep up with things. You might have to suspend a little disbelief, but hey, super hero movie. Continue reading

Signal Boost: The Grey Man: Twilight

J. L. Curtis, man-of-the-world, former Navy, firearms instructor, master chef, and author-gone-wild, has released the fifth book in his Grey Man series. This is the series that Dorothy Grant and I nick-named Cowboys vs. Drug-Smugglers.

And the rest of the series is on sale!

Never count an old man out, even when he’s hanging up his hat!

Deputy Sheriff John Cronin is looking forward to a quiet retirement, working on the ranch, and handing it off to his granddaughter Jesse. And he’s got to pass on a generation worth of investigations, but it’s not as easy as handing over the case files and the keys.

I beta-read part of the book, and it was a real challenge, because I kept getting pulled into the story!

Let’s Just Move the River!

How hard could it be to pump water from the Mississippi River to the Llano Estacado? It’s only a few hundred miles, all uphill, across two or three states. The water in the Red River was already allocated, but the Mississippi had no in-stream requirements or water rights filed, and everyone was always complaining about flooding, so why not? Especially if Dallas or Fort Worth could be persuaded to buy some water to help pay for the pipeline, pumps, and power plants. Continue reading

A Gentle Reminder…

1. Please leave reviews for books/stories/stuff you buy at Amazon and other retail sites that allow reviews.

2. Please do not drink so much today that you start to see all the snakes that St. Patrick drove OUT of Ireland.

Please Don’t Bring the Snakes Back.

And remember, St. Patrick is the patron saint of souls in Purgatory, NOT of hangovers.