Category: Uncategorized

Happy Women’s Day!

Women’s Day – and it’s really important to celebrate this day because aside from Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, and Anniversaries, we never really take the time to appreciate all the good things women do for us – is a perfect time to take a moment and remember a forgotten strong woman who so capably led her people.  Of course I mean the Daughter of a Thousand Jedaks, Dejah Thoris.

 
 
 
Also, this seems appropriate:
 
Sensational Steak Sandwich
 
Prep 30 m
Cook 4 h 20 m
Ready In 4 h 50 m
 
“If you are looking for an outstanding, easy to make sandwich, then this is the recipe for you.”
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound thinly sliced sirloin steak strips
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 10 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard (optional)
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, and cook until browned. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and onion; cook and stir until starting to become tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine the beef broth, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes and red wine. Transfer the beef and vegetables to the slow cooker, and stir to blend. Cover, and cook on High for 3 to 4 hours, until beef is extremely tender.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Drain the liquid from the slow cooker, and save for dipping. Slice the French bread loaf lengthwise like a submarine sandwich. Mix together the horseradish and mustard; spread onto the inside of the loaf. Place slices of provolone cheese on both sides of the loaf, then fill with the beef and vegetables. Close the loaf, and wrap the entire sandwich with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. For crunchier bread, you can bake it without the aluminum foil. Slice into servings, and serve with the juices from the slow cooker for dipping.
  
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com
 
Printed From Allrecipes.com 3/7/2017
 
 

Getting Frisky

The Frisky Pagan’s inciteful* analysis busts me up!

That’s from a G+ thread that was too good not to share.  That got me thinking, though.  Can you imagine Rain Man…in Spaaaaaace!

“I’m a good starship pilot.  Definitely a good pilot.  Always on Wednesdays.  Never make the Kessel Run on Thursdays.  Definitely a good pilot.”

“Hot water burn Burn Barugon!  Hot water burn Barugon!”

Charlie: Okay, Ray, we have to get on the Death Star now.
Ray:  No.  No.
Charlie:  What are you talking about, we have to get on the Death Star.
Ray: No, it’s not safe.  Death Stars always blow up.
Charlie: Yeah, sometimes they do, but not this one.
Ray:  They always blow up.  DS-1 Orbital Battle Station one blew up at Yavin.  DS-2 Orbital Battle Station two blew up over Endor –
Charlie:  Okay, Ray.
Ray: Death Star Three, actually called Starkiller Base, but it was a Death Star, blew up –
Charlie: All right, Ray!  We won’t get on the Death Star. 

* I know what I said.

See, Your King Comes To You

And he brings the greatest gift of all.
 
 
It’s yours if you want it.  All you have to do is accept it.

Christmas Come Early, or Come on In, The Water’s Fine

Come on in!

Jeffro Johnson, the editor over at the Castalia House blog just published his year-end retrospective of the best book bloggers of 2016, and it turns out your host made the list.  I won’t spoil the surprise for those of you who haven’t read that post yet.

If you have any interest in the Pulp Revolution or the burgeoning literary discussion of the old masters and the new talent, you need to read through that list.  It’s a veritable who-is-who of the literary smart set, and if you look close you’ll see that it’s the source of most of my own magic.

As mentioned in the comments, I jumped into the blogging pool because the Puppies, both Rabid and Sad, showed me that there really was good stuff out there after all.  I’d pretty much given up on the sf/f genre for reasons already elucidated on this blog and elsewhere.  Jeffro showed me that talking about great books wasn’t just something that established authors like Vox and Hoyt and Wright could do, but that there was room in the swimming hole for average everyday fans like you and me.  On the flip side, Cirsova showed me that there was great new stuff worth talking about – stuff that wasn’t getting near enough attention from fans.

So I did what any self-respecting fan would do – I went on the internet and complained about it.

For a while I just dove into the comments sections of places like Castalia House and Cirsova and such.  After a while, my comments became long enough and drew from enough different posts from other people, that it only made sense to kick off my own blog to expand and expound on my comments elsewhere.

Turns out, that’s a great way to drive traffic to your blog.  Talking about books actually leads you to other people who like talking about books.  Elementary, dear reader.  Put together a few observations or tie together observations made by two other bloggers, and before long…you’ve got a blog.

You see how easy that is?  If you’re here, it’s because you’re at least a little interested in this stuff.  So why don’t you start a blog and join the conversation?  It’s a mighty wide swimming hole, and there’s always room for more. 

Convention Analysis

Good old Vox posted a group shot of WorldCon attendees for The Current Year.  Some comment wag suggested that it looked like any other shot of 40+ people.  The scientist in me took that as a challenge, picked up the gauntlet, and ran to the internet to run a little experiment.  I compared the original photo to those of attendees for some conventions for other sedentary hobbies.  First, let’s look at the original photo:

Now let’s look at the first results of a Google Image Search. The caption of each of the following photo is the search terms for those of you who want to verify the results of this experiment.

Video Games:  We start with an obvious search that should show the sort of overweight couch sloths that the anti-GamerGate crowd assures us make up the standard model. 

video game convention

It’s a crowd scene, so the sample number is pretty good. Despite that, it doesn’t look like there’s a single belt-extension in the crowd.

Wargaming: These guys sit around painting and reading and watching the sorts of grainy black and white documentaries that the The History Channel used to show before it went all-in on the midgets and hoarders.  Or is that The Learning Channel…  Either way, wargaming doesn’t burn many calories, so surely these guys need to buy two tickets for every flight they take.  The best wargame convention in my country is Historicon, the annual convention of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Society.

historicon

There’s a couple of heavy-set gents in the photo, but for the most part it’s just a bunch of regular guys who don’t need to shop at the local shower curtain store.  Fat fingers and detail painting 15mm figures is a losing combination. 

Knitting:  One might object to the above categories, being as they are populated exclusively by men, so let’s take a look at the ladies.  Knitting is a predominantly female (and female-of-center*) hobby


knitting convention

Yikes.  Remember, we’re looking at trends here, folks.  The existence of a few retired offensive linemen in this photo is no more relevant than the existence of the same in the wargame photo.   This is a numbers game, just look at the size and appearance of the WorldCon attendees versus these other three conventions.  Run your own analysis and come to your own conclusions.

But I think we all know which one is most likely to appear on Goodbye, America (in a photo).



What’s In the Box?

Pulp magazines have been out for a long time.  Plenty of people have noted that they provide a glimpse into the culture of days gone by.  Surely there are multiple books out there on the subject – why not just read one of those?  It would be trivially easy to “cheat” and go look up the answer first.  At its heart, this series is more about the journey than it is the destination.

That isn’t to say that a history of pulp magazines won’t make an appearance.  If one crosses my path, I’ll give it a shot with a skepticism chaser.  Such a text may provide some valuable insight, but experience indicates that it is just as likely to engage in the same sort of historical revisionism and political axe-grinding as the conventional histories of the more fantastic magazines.  The field of literary criticism these days wallows in the same sort of mire as literature itself.  Writers in a field, and the critics who criticize them, are generally cut from the same cloth, it’s just that the critics rarely have the talent to produce content of their own.

The heavy dose of irony that results from a guy engaged in literary criticism suggesting critics have no talent is obvious, but only strengthens my case.  The whole point of this exercise is that the survey of men’s adventure magazines is expressly designed as an exercise in becoming a better writer.  That I have aspirations of adequacy is neither secret nor shameful. 

That I have to go back to my grandparent’s culture to find a model to emulate is an indictment of the modern world, but one made without malice.  The answer to how we got here interests me less than the answer to how to write in a way that isn’t tainted by the modern Oprah Book of the Month style faux-intellectualism.

Tor the record, it seems to me that the Baby Boomers rejected the simple appeal of the plain spoken tales of their fathers in favor of a more high browed literary attempts at uncovering the deeper meaning of human life by investigating the strange and often obscured corners of the world.  They looked to counter-cultural forces and sought meaning in things like the drug culture or eastern mysticism or any other rejection of the typical culture in which they lived.  The belief that the answers to ordinary life can only be found by seeking out extra-ordinary circumstances makes no sense to me. 

But then, I unapologetically think, act, and write, as a normal guy – not a special snowflake whom the world does not and cannot understand.  It is for this reason, that I look back to the stories told by regular guys meant to appeal to regular guys, in an attempt to understand how to replicate their work.  If that results in a bit of encouragement for others to read these readily accessible and freely available works, so much the better – they are worth it.



You Don’t Deserve This

Dear Officer,

You don’t deserve this. 

Sure, you may rally around men accurately accused of wrong-doing.  You might stand by and allow Trump supporters to be viciously attacked on a regular basis.  You may even repeatedly fail to protect the rights of assembly and freedom of speech,

but you don’t deserve this.

We all know that at the end of the day, you’re just a guy making his way through a difficult world in a difficult time of upheaval.  We know that at the end of the day, you don’t answer to the people you’re sworn to protect, but to the political leaders who control your ability to feed your children.  We know that when you when you take sides in the culture war while in uniform that you’re just following the orders of the political class,

but you don’t deserve this.

You gotta look out for you and your brothers in blue.  Tribalism is very important, and your first loyalty should be to those most like you.  Believe me, whether they admit it or not, everyone understands that.  Those of us on the alt-right sure understand it.  So no hard feelings on our part.  You might fail us all too often,

but you don’t deserve this.

In these moments when the ER is filled with your brothers in blue bleeding red, and social media whipping information in every direction, and the establishment media gathering information while they wait to learn of the narrative that the facts must be spun to fit, just remember this.  We on the right want your support.  Not your suffering.  Not your lives.  Just your support.  We might not like that you won’t, or you can’t, give it to us,

but  you still don’t deserve this.

Blue Lives Matter



This post was written the night that four police officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas following a Black Lives Matter protest.

Google Doodle Fun

Yesterday NASA’s Juno probe reached Jupiter.  Google Inc., as a hotbed of science-loving goofballs, saw fit to mark the occasion with an animated banner showing Team Juno celebrating the event.  This is what the world looks like to Google:

The Google Doodle, an irregular feature of the world’s most trafficked search engine is one of those annoying little features of this modern life used by Team SJW to rewrite history to suit their own needs.  While some of the criticism of the Google Doodle Team can be laid at the feet of hyperventilating attention whores – Google doesn’t have to celebrate every major Christian holiday every single year, people – concrete examples abound.  They routinely ignore major historical figures in favor celebrating of figures who barely rise to the level of a footnote.  They rarely mention an Edison or a Bell or a van Leeuwenhoek (too white-maley), but don’t miss the chance to remind us all of the important contributions of astronomer Caroline Hershel who…discovered a couple of comets.  To say nothing of its recent celebration of Yuri Kochiyama, an activist who has expressed support for Osama Bin Laden and Mao Tse Tung, serves as a concrete example. The American Thinker has a more detailed write-up for anyone who needs more evidence.

At any rate, something struck me as odd about yesterday’s Google Doodle.  That dancing team of NASA drones.  It features the obligatory rainbow coalition of scientist types that you’ll find in any Disney Channel show, what with a perfect sex split and two African Americans.  Frankly, it looked to me like Asians were under-represented what with that lone guy dancing there. 

Being a scientifically inclined sort of guy, I used Google itself to check up on Google’s representation of the Juno Team, and found several photos of the Juno Team.  It’s a lot whiter and more manly than Google’s own picture.  Here’s a few photos of the celebration as it happened in real-world space:

A case could be made for highlighted bit–part scientists as a means of encouraging kids who don’t fit the traditional demographic to go into STEM fields.  Not a good case, but a case.  This sort of reverse white-washing, though?  This is anti-reality.  It’s rejecting empirical evidence that doesn’t fit the theory.

What could be less scientific than that?

Here’s a meme-ified version for social media:
 

A Brief Introduction

Welcome to one man’s attempt to cast off the shackles of the corporate cubicle farm and start a new life as an independent author, voice talent, and freethinker. There are a host of articles smeared across the internet providing inspiration, advice, and nuts and bolts instructions on every step of the process, and this blog is happy to join in the chorus. It is an informal log of the ups and downs, the blind alleys and dead ends, and the victories won and treasures earned by a random guy in the suburbs with a good job, a great wife, and the happy life.

As a just-starting-out kind of guy the blog is a bit sparse at the moment, but stick with me, here, people.  We’re just getting warmed up. 

What Does a Seagull Have to Do With All This?

In the early 1970s Richard Bach published a book about a seagull who turned its back on the day to day grind of life in the flock to pursue his true passion – the art of flight. After mastering both flight and himself, he returns to the flock to teach and guide other seagulls so that they too might leave the flock to pursue passions of their own. The book was a sensation, spending 38 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It may not have aged well, but in its day it was a novel approach to the sort of inspirational self-help fiction that the Oprah Book of the Month Club takes for granted today.

This blog seeks to emulate Jonathan’s own journey by slowly breaking away from the flock, finding new avenues of satisfaction, and helping to guide others to turn their backs on the role society has tried to thrust upon them.

Thank you for being a part of the story.

Hello, World!

The default way of introducing programs to the world has long been a traditional, “Hello, World!”  As a quick test post, there is no reason not to continue in the time honored fashion.