Catholic Sausage, Greek Orthodox Cookies

Yeah, the parishes are having their fund-raisers. Do you want Polish, Czech, German, more spicy German? How about German cookies, American cookies, Greek and Turkish sweets?

There’s a congregation for that. I think there are as many literal flavors of food at parish fund-raisers around the Panhandle as there are churches. And people will drive sixty-seventy miles one way to go to their favorites and load up coolers to take things home for the rest of the year. Continue reading


Groups, Individuals, and Survival

I’ve been thinking about Chinese society and Western society recently, in part because of shaking my head with lack of surprise at China denouncing the arrest of one of Huawei Corp.’s officers as a violation of human rights. For a government with zero interest in individual rights, they certainly have mastered the use of the West’s ideals to use as a stick to beat their opposition (namely anyone who looks as if they might disagree with China) with.

Which is more important, the group or the individual? In this case, it probably ought to be narrowed down to the government or the individual. China’s answer is the group/government, and that goes back thousands of years. In a way it makes good survival sense. In a way it seems to cripple a lot of what Chinese people might accomplish. Continue reading

Saturday Teaser: Stamme

Stamme, the third book in the Shikari series, will be out next week. Here’s a teaser.

Auriga “Rigi” Bernardi studied the diagram of a Staré hind leg. Where indeed would she put a tourniquet if she had run out of clot-spray, or did not have access to any? Not up by the hip, because the blood vessels dove deep into the muscles and anything tight enough to cut off the blood flow would probably damage the leg even more. That left, hmm. There, where the vessels skimmed the surface. Rigi selected the answer and waited. Continue reading

Pearl Harbor and a Patrician

December 7, 1941, a day which shall live in infamy, as President F. D. Roosevelt said. It changed the lives of a generation, starting with those directly involved with the attacks in Japan and the Philippines. Then the millions of men called to active duty, the women who worked on the home front or volunteered in the military, and the families they left behind. No one escaped the touch of the war, including those men who would have been considered America’s elites, the wealthy and well-educated, such as George Herbert Walker Bush. When called, they served. Because that was one’s duty as one of the elite – to be a role model, to serve when needed. Or so the temper of the time commanded. Continue reading

Hanukkah and St. Nicholas

We are into the eight nights of Hanukkah, the annual commemoration of a miracle. And in the Western churches, today is the feast of St. Nicholas, patron of fishermen and children, unmarried girls, bakers, and pawn shops (sort of).  Both are about faith in times of trial and miracles, although Hanukkah is the older and more historical of the two.

A modern menorah. Eight nights, and one candle to light the others. Used under Creative Commons/ Fair use. Image from Click image for link.

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Cold Memories

Sunday morning I called up the weather forecast for the week and saw “freezing rain Friday and Saturday.” Adrenaline hit my system and I started planning for how Redquarters would go about if we lost power for a week, and if a tree fell into my office. What did I need to preemptively move, should I “tarp off” the room just in case the tree did fall, how much water should I stockpile and where…

I hate freezing rain and ice storms. Continue reading

Language of the Trade

In the Author’s Note at the end of Miners and Empire, I mention that I had to use some terms from Saxon mining vocabulary just because the English didn’t really make sense, or now had other connotations that could confuse readers more than clarify. It seemed better to pull the actual terms, because they were so specialized that people wouldn’t be looking up, oh, furlong and trying to square the current measure with the miner’s much-shorter measure. I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to learn that so many specific terms existed for ores, by-products of mining, or pieces of equipment. After all, furs and fabric had and have seemingly innumerable sub-sets, so why not mining and metallurgy? Continue reading