TBT…

Who remembers…

And they had camping gear and other stuff too, but I never got any of that… sigh…

There was a competitor too…

I ‘think’ this was probably one of the first attempts at a ‘loyalty’ program by grocery stores and other places.

Oddly, I do remember getting things like hand towels in detergent, and other odd things in some products when we were kids…

Today, it’s all electronic, so kids will never have the ‘joy’ of pasting those things into the books…LOL

 

 

Posted in TBT

Gone hunting…

Going after ‘Rupert’ once again. This time, he’ll be of age, and I get a shot I will pop him…

Hoping for this… (Not Rupert)

With ‘my’ luck, will end up with this… Again…

No connectivity, so no commenting or posting till I’m back Sunday. Go read the folks on the sidebar, they’re worth the read!

YGTBSM!!!

CNN has truly ‘drank the kool aid’…

That a talking head could say this with a straight face is just… beyond me…

On Thursday, CNN host Erin Burnett dismissed Iran’s incessant “death to America” chanting as merely “a thing and a trope.” 

Full article, HERE.

Does ANYBODY at CNN have a grip on reality??? Do they not understand what has been happening since 1979? Have they not read the reports of Iranian IEDs being used in Iraq and Afghanistan???

Bueller?

Anyone?

Wow…

This is just a ‘bit’ over the top…

An Indiana school district is under fire for writing a policy that parents and the ACLU say is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an attempt to shield the board from legitimate criticism.

Full article, HERE.

The whole silencing thing is getting ridiculous. The Perpetually Offended Snowflakes (POS) cannot stand to have their decisions, positions, pronouncements, etc. criticised by the mere peons like us. And Gnu forbid people actually USE fecesbook or anything else, like the twitverse or ??? to organize. By and large, the MSM refuses to cover things like this, where an organization or board is called out, or they ‘slant’ the coverage to make people look like idiots.

Two cases in point- The ‘classic’ is when there is a severe weather event. Who do they put on TV? The erudite clean shaven person? Or the uneducated folks that look like bums off the street, so that the commentator can ‘instruct’ said person on what they ‘should’ have been doing if they had been listening to Station XXXX…

The other currently playing out in Virginia is a true grassroots movement against the dem run state government over gun confiscation among other ‘interesting’ new gun laws. VERY little MSM coverage, and routinely negative. The honest folks there, VCDL have promoted a rally in the state capital on the 20th and I think all but maybe one or two counties have declared themselves sanctuary counties for gun owners (how many of you have seen ANY of that covered).

Granted there are a number of folks that think this is really a bad idea (myself included), because there are sure to be fifth columnists, provocateurs, and probably Antifa and their ilk there just to get on camera and cause trouble. I will predict that the coverage will by OMGELEVENTY>>> GUNS>>>BLOOD IN THE STREEEEEETS… and they will show maybe 1%, if that, of the actual rally that includes the good people trying to do the right thing.

Sigh…

Kicking the soapbox back in the corner.

Busy busy…

The muse is riding me like a rented mule… now 68K words into the Mil SF novel.

Which means my brain is mush. So you get this…

Go read the folks on the sidebar while I try to be coherent…

 

Fear mongering…

Or a typical day in the Dems/progs/leftist camp, duly supported by the MSM…

The progressives’ reactions to President Trump’s elimination of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s blood-soaked chief of their foreign adventurism, covered the whole range of clichés we can predict whenever this country acts vigorously to defend its interests and security. Iran, however, is a special case. For forty years, with a few exceptions our leaders have preemptively cringed in the face of Iranian aggression, conjuring up the specter of a widescale war in order to justify inaction. This bad habit has led to appeasing policies that have emboldened the mullahs into ever-increasing aggression in the region from Iraq to Syria to Yemen.

Full article, HERE.

This has gone on for WAY too long… We ‘knew’ the chances of a nuclear war with the USSR, and they knew we were locked and loaded 24/7. They also knew we were tracking their subs and other assets world-wide and that none of them would survive more than three hours if push came to shove.

You may not like what I have to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. Having retired from 20+ years in the US Navy, and another 23 years as a Navy contractor, having walked the walk my adult life, I would say that as you read the above article, please try to understand the centuries old military wisdom, and my background, and the belief that if you must fight, either in self-defense or preemptively in self-defense, whether personally or as a nation, you must win decisively without remorse or you absolutely will lose in the end. The last real ‘win’ we’ve had was WWII, and that took nukes to make happen. Since then? Think Korea. Think Vietnam. Think Afghanistan. Think Iraq. Think of the human sacrifice of our precious youth that was unnecessary because of the lack of a will to win decisively! I believe a large part of this has been due to the ‘perception’ that we were beating up on the little guy and the diplomats ‘controlling’ the interactions. How many of our young people must die, or innocent here at home must die before decisive action is taken? This was the first step, and I for one am sad that they didn’t take out every one of those launchers.

The blood of 176 innocents that died are on Iranian hands because of the Iranians paranoia and SA-15 Gauntlet system in autonomous mode (Iran has 29 such systems). Early photos showed a number of dimpled penetrations indicative of shrapnel in various parts of the skin of the airplane. Those pictures have since disappeared. You can go HERE, and look down through the photos there are a number shrapnel dimples evident. My bet is that the real black box recordings will never see the light of day…

 

There is no such thing as a proportionate response, only a massively deterrent response irrespective of human life. The only peace that is enduring is the result of deterrence having proven that you will give no quarter to a belligerent and bellicose adversary.

Book Promo…

First up is James Young’s prequel to An Unproven Concept, it is the first in the Spartan Trilogy- Aries’ Red Sky

As always, click the cover for the Amazon link!

The blurb-

For over seven hundred years, the Spartan Republic’s citizens have known one truth: Terra is coming. Descendants of exiles who dared to defy an emperor, the star nation’s 70 billion citizens spent the centuries training, arming…and waiting.

In 3035, Leftenant Ian Campbell, Spartan Defense Forces (SDF), discovers a strange anomaly on his corvette’s sensors…and realizes the wait is over. The Spartans must convince the Terrans of the cost of subduing their nation. If they succeed, the Republic survives. If not, the SDF will be forced to paint the stars red with their enemies’ blood.

The Confederation of Man was born in the terror of the Harran Empire’s death throes. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Humanity now spreads from its cradle on Earth to hundreds of stars across the Milky Way, and seeks out new worlds to add.

Captain Marcy Cochran was hoping to find a habitable planet; she didn’t expect the system to already have hostile humans. Now a captive, Cochran must contend with a crew proving to be as dangerous as their enemies, and prevent what has started out as a misunderstanding from becoming a full-fledged interstellar war. For Terran law is quite clear: All humanity will answer to the Confederation. For the Spartans, that makes the government on Earth no different than the empire it supplanted…and they would rather die on their feet than subjugate themselves once more.

Aries’ Red Sky is the newest novel in James Young’s Vergassy Chronicles universe. A prequel to An Unproven Concept, it is the first in the Spartan Trilogy. If you like space opera, high body counts, and capital ship battles on a galactic scale, pick up an author who has been recommended by Amazing Stories, Pop Cults, and The Midwest Book Review.

Next up is Elizabeth Bruner’s new series, Blood of the FaeCalling the Blood

The blurb-

After centuries of warfare, the Fae were banished from the human world, taking most of the magic with them.
Not all of them made it through the gates to the fairy lands. And not all of the magic is gone. A group of warriors vowed to protect humanity from the remaining fae and so they have over the centuries.
Christopher Chevalier, a descendent of one of those warriors, has spent his life studying combat and magic to fight the fae. When he comes across humans acting like fae, using magic he’s never heard about, he has to swallow his pride and ask for help from Listrial, the Fairy Queen and one of the fae who got trapped in the human world.
Dan Ben-David just wants his refrigerator to work consistently. When it reveals another world, one he forgot he’d lived in, he finds more questions than answers about his past.
Winifred Andersdotter wanted nothing more than a nice evening out with her boyfriend. When they’re set upon by thugs who’d taken exception to her boyfriends red cap, they fight back and everything begins to change.

Next is Karl Gallagher’s first foray into fantasy- The Lost War

The blurb-

It was supposed to be a weekend of costumed fun. Instead these medieval historical reenactors are flung into a wilderness by magic they don’t understand. They must struggle to survive and deal with monsters who consider them prey . . . or worse.
***
“Karl Gallagher’s first production, the Torchship Trilogy, was good enough so that I read and reread it. He has now turned his hand from science fiction to fantasy.”
– Professor David D. Friedman, Professor, Santa Clara University, author of The Machinery of Freedom and Salamander
– Also known as Duke Cariadoc of the Bow, KSCA, OL, OP, founder of the Pennsic War.

And last but not least, Tom Rogneby is putting Escort Duty up on sale for .99!

The blurb-

A princess in a high tower
A holy promise fulfilled
A hidden gift uncovered
A nation caught by surprise
These and other stories are waiting in “Escort Duty.”
Strap on your sword, march to the sound of the guns, and enjoy these tales from the author of “Via Serica.”

Sad Day…

Yesterday I lost a good friend.

Author, veteran, shooter, pilot, husband, father. JD Kinman died suddenly yesterday morning. JD was an Air Force veteran, one of my original alpha readers, and I was proud to be his on both the novels he wrote. He was putting the finishing touches on the third novel in his series and building his dream house in the hangar where he kept his airplanes when he died.

JD love to tell stories, shoot guns, poke fun at himself, and eat BBQ. We had collaborated a bit on my novel Twilight, where I ‘borrowed’ a couple of his characters, and he was going to use John Cronin in his third novel. Sadly, I won’t ever get the chance to drive over to the airport and pick him up after he flew in and go eat BBQ again.

JD didn’t want a funeral or flowers, he wanted to be cremated and people to celebrate his life.

Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed.

Rest in peace.

Mil SF snippet…

The continuing beatings by the muse will continue until I finish this thing apparently…

Comments/recommendations appreciated, as always.

Chapter 18

Danny asked impatiently, “Essie, are we ready to depart?”

“Dani is still storing the food stuffs that came aboard. Apparently some need freezer space, some just refrigeration. She has to check each package.”

He tapped the arm of the couch impatiently as Ish and Gronk argued softly at the nav table, as they had for the last two divs. “Ish or Gronk, or whomever is the nav, do we have a course laid in?”

“We have discussion of course.” Danny looked over sharply and Ish shrugged then went back to arguing with Gronk.

“Essie, we have a completed checklist, correct? And we are cleared to depart?”

“Yes and yes. Our departure window has been extended for another div.”

“Screw it.” He keyed the PA. “We are departing orbit now. We have either nine, eleven, or twelve divs before we jump, if our navigators can decide on a course.” He spun the Ghost on its axis, pushed up the power and added, “Estrella, departure corridor three please, you have the conn.”

“Departure corridor three, I have the ship.” Danny stalked off the bridge shaking his head, This isn’t going to work if Ish and Gronk can’t cooperate. But if I make a decision, I’m going to piss off a Hydra. Ish… is senior, but Gronk is my navigator and ship’s crew. Dammit…

He went into the mess and hit the autochef for a bulb of coffee, leaned against the counter and heard mumbling. Following his ears, he went into the kitchen and then into the walk-in. Daniella was cursing, mumbling, and trying to read something on her data comp as she lifted various things out of a large pallet. “Need a hand?”

Daniella jumped and whipped around. “No! What I need is some damn idea of what half of this stuff is!” She waved her hand at the pallet. “Santi sent a lot of stuff, but I have no idea what it is, much less what can be frozen and what needs to be chilled or doesn’t need either.” She blew out a frustrated breath and said, “And I’m cold. I didn’t realize that what I thought was a nice gesture was going to end up causing a major problem, much less have her give us all this, plus recipes!” She stomped out of the walk-in, snatching the coffee bulb out of his hand. “Thank you. I need this.” She took a pull on it and made a face, then handed it back, “Yech, plain coffee.”

She went to the autochef and got her preferred mix, held it in both hands and said, “Estrella, did you have any luck on what we can do with those sprouts? Can we put them in hydroponics?”

Estrella answered, “I am not sure. The translation does not cross to anything recognizable.”

Danny said, “Page the bridge, ask either Ish or Gronk to come down here. One of them might be able to help Daniella.”

“Paging.”

Five segs later, Ish came into the mess, surprising both of them. Danny asked, “Ish? Why you? I would think Gronk would know more about food.”

Ish gargled a laugh. “I was a deckhand, fisherman, and boat… captain before I left for the stars. What is the problem?”

Daniella sighed. “I have no idea what is what, and Estrella can’t find anything on the net about storage or whether or not we can plant any of what I think might be sprouts in hydroponics.”

Ish replied, “Show me. Maybe we figure it out.” Daniella led him toward the cooler and Danny got another bulb of coffee then followed them, curious. Ish quickly sorted through the pallet then exclaimed, “Koo? She sent you Koo?”

Daniella asked, “What’s that?”

Ish held a package of fillets gingerly in his hands. “Koo is… expensive. Very hard to catch, very hard to kill. I have had it… maybe twice in my life.” He reverently set it aside. “Cooler and needs to be cooked and eaten within a day.” He looked at the shoots, separated five of them out and said, “These, you can plant these, they are our versions of some spices. These all are part of the sauce you had at the meal. The others are… fresh… spices.” He separated that pile yet again, then added as he pointed to one pile, “These you chop, those you… mash?” He quickly went through the rest of the pallet, separating out their version of rice and a rice flour, then some packets of ground up spices.

Daniella said, “That must be why she sent the recipes she sent. And she said the milder sauce I showed her was well received.”

Ish shook his head in wonder. “She gave you recipes? Those are her most closely guarded secrets. You must have impressed her.”

“Huh, we share recipes freely. I guess it’s a cultural difference. And I guess we’re having fish for dinner. Thank you for the help!”

She quickly stored the things as directed, then picked up the sprouts and headed for hydroponics, talking to Estrella as she went through the hatch. Danny glanced at Ish. “Are we still having problems deciding on a course?”

Ish shook his head, “No. Gronk is your navigator. I have made my inputs, but the final course is up to her.”

“I thought seniority always was in effect in your world.”

“Normally, yes. But I am… how you call it, now supernumerary? She is crew. Big difference.”

Danny sighed. “So, how are we getting back to Alpha?”

Ish grinned. “My route. I convinced her it was better and saved days over her more conservative routing.”

“Speaking of pay,” Danny said, “I owe you for your time. What is your normal rate?”

“You don’t owe me anything. This was service to country.”

Danny shook his head, “No, this is not the way I do things. Would pay equal to Gronk’s be acceptable?”

Ish bowed. “If that is what you wish. But it is not necessary.”

“It is necessary to me. I believe in paying fairly for services rendered.”

“Then I will accept. Thank you. Shall we go to a three person bridge watch?”

“Twelve or eight div?”

“You are the captain, Captain.”

Danny quickly thought through the jumps and said, “Twelve divs. That way you will be on the bridge when we jump into that Dragoon space.”

Danny could have sworn the dishes she fixed were identical to what they had been served on the planet, but both Ish and Gronk said it was even better, and they kept going back for more. Daniella was happy there were no leftovers, but the most interesting response was from Efrot. He asked for only the fish, no sauce. Apparently he couldn’t stand spicy food…

***

The jumps home were going well, they even got through the Dragoon’s system with no problems and jumped out as soon as they could. Coming up on the system where they had encountered pirates, Danny went on the PA. “Okay, we are one div from the jump point. Adrion, missiles up and red/free, Zuckie, I want full power available as soon as we come out. Everybody stay strapped in and standing by for maneuvering.”

Everyone rogered up but Daniella stepped onto the bridge and asked timidly, “Can I sit up here? I don’t like being in that cabin by myself, not knowing what is going on.”

Danny looked quickly around the bridge and pointed her to the communicator’s station. “Sit over there. Estrella disable communications panels and controls, please.”

She cocked her head and asked, “Why are you doing that? Don’t you trust me?”

Danny shrugged, “It’s not a matter of trust. Ish is sitting in the captain’s couch and all those controls are disabled too. It is SOP when someone not qualified or certified is sitting at a control couch.”

“SOP?”

Estrella answered, “Standard Operating Procedures. It’s the manual or bible for operating a ship. If the captain had not asked, I would have disabled your controls myself. I will control your vidscreens so that you will see what is going on. The tank also has the big picture.”

“Oh. Thank you.” She snugged herself into the couch, fiddled with it until she had it in a comfortable orientation, then sat quietly watching Danny and Gronk interacting.

“Dropping out in five, four, three, two, now!” The transition was fairly smooth, but the collision alarm shocked them all as Danny yelled, “Full screens now! Threat axis?”

“Two three niner, down eighty-one.” Danny immediately turned and pulled 20Gs to clear the threat as Estrella continued, “Large radiation signature. Multiple large… chunks of probable ship. One anomaly, Fifty thousand miles, appears to be dead ship, dropping into grav well.” The holo tank shifted with a vector projecting from the anomaly pointing at the local sun.

The ship shuddered and Daniella squeaked, “What was that?”

“Chunk of something,” Danny replied as he looked at the tank. We’re going to have to go look at that anomaly, law of space. Scan for any other ships, escape pods, beacons. White and tight, Adron.”

“White/tight,” Adrion responded.

“Scanning, no indication of any electronic sources.”

Gronk said, “Approach entered. We have fuel for fast pursuit.”

Danny nodded. “Activate.” He keyed the PA. “Zuckie, Adrion, Efot to the bridge.”

***

Eight divs later, after a fast approach and turnover burn, they closed what they could now see was the remnants of a ship. Adrion and Efrot were in hard suits, in the airlock and ready to go as soon as Danny told them to. Zuckie was watching the approach and said, “Looks like an LCS, Captain.”

“Concur, I think this might have been our pirate. Appears to be still venting at least a little bit. Not sure what happened. My ship.” He flexed his hands, put them on the control pads and made two passes around and over the ship. “Yep, little crappy ship. You can see where they grafted on a couple of missile pods, and that appears to be a laser poking out of that dorsal hatch. Front of the ship is pushed in.”

Adrion chimed in, “Blast effect. It’s flattened across the entire bow. I wonder if those other chunks are what is left of another ship. Maybe that captain decided to do a Kobayashi Maru exit and self-destruct. Took them and the pirates both out.”

Danny said, “Cleared out of the lock. We are two hundred yards starboard stern quarter. I can see an airlock from here.” How the hell does Adrion know what a blast effect looks like? And that Kobayashi reference, that’s not something most spacers outside GalPat know…

Daniella interrupted his thoughts asking, “What are they carrying?”

Danny glanced at the main vidscreen. “Laser cutters. We don’t carry any weapons per se, but if you’ve ever seen a laser cutter at work… it’s scarier than facing a pulse rifle, because it is going to cut through whatever is in front of it.”

Zuckie surprised him by stepping on the bridge and adding, “You should ask Efrot to show you his artwork. He’s done some amazing stuff with a laser cutter on scrap we had.”

“Efrot,” Danny asked, “Efrot does art? I didn’t think he did anything but numbers.”

Zuckie chuckled, “You could do worse than buying it from him. It’d make the ship look a lot nicer!”

Adrion reported, “We’re in. Ship’s blown. No… survivors. Appears they weren’t even in soft suits. Definitely pirate ship. Found… what appears to be slave quarters. No survivors here either.”

Efrot’s GalTrans kicked in, “Found personal data chips and other. Will bring.”

“Copied all. Get out of there and we’ll head for our jump. Estrella file all vids and audio for GalPat. We’ll report as soon as we get to a system with habitation.”

“Sealed and filed, Captain.”

***

Fourteen days later, they made the last jump into hyper and Danny slumped in the couch. “Almost home.” He looked up at Ish and asked, “Where will you go?”

“I will find a ride back to my job. It will not be hard.”

“I thought you were a navigator on a ship?”

“I… actually work for GalPat on ship routing for the most effective combat routes for fleets. I also do randomized patrol routings for squadrons, divisions, and individual ships. I was on GPS Arachnid. She is a new class destroyer and we were looking at optimal speeds, distances, and stores capacity for jumps. When they have a full complement of Marines, they are actually stores limited, mainly foodstuffs and water, unless they have access to a replenishment ship, factory ship, or base. Using commercial stores is frowned on, due to cost and possibility of contamination by third party agents.”

Danny laughed. “So that’s how you got here, well to Alpha so quickly. But I’m glad you did, because in all honesty I had no idea what I was going to do with the remains.”

“The… lieutenant put the message out with a priorty, and Captain Monsey immediately made me aware of it. I was able to counsel him in what needed to be done and get time off to take care of the situation, after I described what might happen if a senior Hydra was not present.”

Danny snickered, “Yes, I’ve heard stories. So I’m glad you did.”

“And it gave me a chance to see my daughter, Gronk. She is my youngest,” Ish said with a smile.

“Gronk is your daughter?” Danny asked in shock. “Why… how… um, you could have told us.”

Ish gargled a laugh. “It is plainly apparent. Well, to any Hydra. Maybe not to you humans. And she was busy.”

Danny shook his head, said, “You have the bridge,” and walked out mumbling to himself.

24 divs later, he was back on the bridge as they prepared for the final jump back into Alpha. He keyed the PA, standby for jump in five, four, three, two, now.” He felt the familiar dislocation and was relieved when he heard the normal communications chatter and saw the holo tank resolve into the familiar display. “And we’re… home, it’s morning too! Thirty-five days round trip. That is a new record as far as I know.”

Daniella looked over from the comm couch. “Is that really all? It… seems like much longer.”

Danny, Ish, and Gronk all laughed and Danny said, “Normal routing, we’d just now be getting close. We wouldn’t even be there yet.”

Estrella interjected, “Captain, incoming vid from Lieutenant Brisker.”

“Thank you, put it on my screen.” The screen blipped and a harried LT Brisker’s face appeared. “Lieutenant, what can I do for you?”

“Captain, I have… multiple requests. Ah, can you dock at Alpha nine?”

Danny cocked his head, “Alpha nine? Isn’t that a GalPat module?”

“It is. Ah… that is an official request. Also, are you mission complete? You are back very early.”

“Yes, we are… mission complete as you call it. We have been to Hydra and the remains have been properly transferred. Also, we have a report on possible pirate action in the Burnt Sector. We recovered some documents—”

Brisker broke in, “Yes, we have that report. There are questions. Also, there are VIPs among others waiting for you.”

“VIPs? Others?”

Brisker turned away, listened, then turned back. “You are getting priority routing. What is your expected ETA?”

Gronk said, “Six divs. Route programmed.”

“Six divs. Estrella execute.”

“Executing.”

He saw Brisker nod then say, “You will be met. Any pax can be released, but I have to ask for the crew to stay on the ship when you dock.”

“Coped all. Crew will remain aboard. See you in six divs.” Danny slid down in his couch and stared at the overhead, What the hell is this? Why dock at the GalPat docks? Are they going to take my ship? Wonder if I can get in touch with Mapper. “Essie, any messages from Mapper?”

“None. You have one message from the asteroids asking if you are going to make the monthly delivery, and an invoice from Grey Lady Investigations.”

“Can we pay it?”

“Yes, it is not that large. Do you wish to answer the mining consortium?”

“Pay the bill, hold off on the other.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Danny got up suddenly, “I’ll be back in time to dock.” He went back to engineering, found Zuckie and Efrot going over equipment that needed work and the normal maintenance schedule. “We’re going into Alpha nine in about five divs. Being met by GalPat. And before you ask, I have no idea why.”

He jumped when Adrion said from behind him, “Are we restricted to ship?”

Danny turned so that he could see all three of them. “Yes, and I have absolutely no idea why.”

“Mapper,” Zuckie asked.

Danny shook his head with a grimace. “Nothing. And he won’t answer a clear voice call.”

“Secretive bastard isn’t he…”

Sourly, he agreed. He left and continued through the ship, finally ending up in the mess with a bulb of coffee, staring at the bulkhead as Estrella drove the ship toward Station Alpha, All I want is for this crap to be over. I like my life nice and calm, especially since there are now enough credits in the bank to allow us to not have to take every little job that comes along. I don’t want to deal with GalPat or anybody else… Mapper is bad enough!

BBQ rig…

Texas style!

$85,000!!!

Set up as a VERY large smoker, with the firebox on the left, also has option for propane. And if you guessed it’s made from a 500gal propane tank, you would be correct.

And a setup for two LARGE boiler pots… Also propane…

Why did it cost so much??? Continue reading