Darrell Bain's Monthly Blog - July, August 2012
The contents of this Blog may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and included.
Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Monthly Blog.
Responses to subjects brought up by this blog are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Subjects this month:Reproductive rights and birth control, Climate Control, Coming soon Rogue Program, Climate Control, Book Reviews, For Adventure Enthusiasts, State of America Series: The Everlasting Housing Boondoggle, Threads, Testing in Schools, Good Intentions, Betty’s Desert Cookbook and articles/muses, Correlations, Fan Letters, Politicians scare me, The Story on Coffee, Desk Dictionary, Complete Toppers, Excerpt from Complete Toppers.
Reproductive Rights and Birth Control
Have you noticed how many laws, regulations, edicts, proselytizing and so on concerning birth control and abortion are made by men, not women? This is idiotic. Women are the ones who have the body that does the functions and in my opinion they are the ones who should decide whether or not they want to practice birth control, abortion and all other aspects of the issues. Instead, it’s men making the laws and telling women what they can or can’t do with their bodies. I’m a man. I know for damn sure I don’t want anyone (other than my wife) telling me whether or not to practice birth control by vasectomy, use of condoms or any other method, nor do I want anyone making decisions about my prostate gland, circumcision (as an adult) or penis, whether to take testosterone shots or Viagra, etc. I’m perfectly capable of deciding those issues myself, in consultation with my doctor and my wife. I can hardly imagine a legislature dominated by women deciding for me and I’m sure women feel just about the same way having men decide how they use their body. Of course my wife and I are past the need of birth control but before we were it was our decision and no one else’s. I think if I were a woman I would be highly upset with the way it’s done these days in many places, including Texas. Does anyone else think this way?
In the end, I believe there are only a few ways to abate climate warming (and without debating over how much is caused by humans and how much by natural cycles over ages) and the biggest one is birth control. The best way of achieving this is allow women everywhere to control the conception.
Pollution is also a cause and simply trying to recycle and clean up our messes would help. We’re throwing way, way too much plastic into the environment. Also, there needs to be much more research on nanotechnology, both its use, as a possible method of cleaning up some pollution and the possibility of it polluting the environment.
If every concerned person would quit shouting at each other and agree that some of climate change is caused by man and some by the natural cycles of earth we’d be much better off. Who else thinks so?
Coming soon, Rogue Program by Darrell Bain
I’m working on the last edit of a book I’ve wanted to do for a long time finally got to it. It is dedicated to all the Fans of Savage Survival who wrote me and asked, “What happened next?” This book answers the question and more because I’ve done an extensive revision and expansion of Savage Survival and then added the sequel and combined them both into one great big book, tentatively titled Rogue Program. Watch my web site because Rogue Program should be out soon!
I’ve read a number of books since the last Bainstorming but not many I want to recommend. Patrick Lee is an exception, a new author whose first three books comprise a trilogy. They are, in order, Breach, Ghost Country and Deep Sky. The stories involve a breach from some future that is kept a deep dark secret by the government. Travis Chase and Paige Campbell become deeply involved in Tangent, the program supervising the breach and find that there are forces loose in the world whose aims are different than the original purpose of Tangent. Narrow escapes, love story and plotting so intricate it is hard to keep up with. A very enjoyable trio for Adventure and science fiction fans. Or anyone, really.
Freedom, by Daniel Suarez finishes up the story begun in Daemon which I reported on in the last Bainstorming. Suarez is one of the best new writers in town. His two books involved the internet and all the mischief (wow!) one person can cause with enough knowledge of how it works. Highly recommended.
The rest of my time was spent on some mostly forgettable books or re-reads I’ve reported on previously.
Mostly I’ve been writing and editing the revision/expansion and sequel of Savage Survival, coming soon all in one big book. Tentative title is Rogue Program.
For Adventure Enthusiasts
Anyone who is interested in adventure and/or filming adventures should try the web site www.videoexplorers.com There are lots of good stories and film/photos there and an opportunity to tell about your own adventures.
State of America: The everlasting housing boondoggle.
The Everlasting Housing Boondoggle
At the time of this writing, we are still in the midst of a housing crisis, meltdown, boondoggle or whatever you want to call it. It is probably all of these and more. I keep reading where the banks were to blame. Actually, it wasn’t caused so much by banks as by government policy on housing. What in hell is the government doing in the housing business anyway? If our ever-helpful government hadn’t been the major provider and/or guarantor of mortgages there wouldn’t have been all those bonds based on mortgages that anyone with half a brain knew were going to go bad. The banks bundled the mortgages into bonds which were then sold and resold so many times no one, including the traders, had any idea at all or their worth. Crazy, huh? Right now most of the mortgages in the country are financed by Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac, quasi-government agencies that both wrote all kinds of mortgages by directive of the government so that poor people who couldn’t afford it could “buy” a house. What nonsense. Government agencies or banks either one have no business lending money to people or organizations when they know there’s little chance of the loans being repaid and they knew it! They didn’t care, though, because they could package all those sorry loans into a bundle, call them “bonds” and sell them to suckers like pension funds, individuals, other banks, investors, etc. We all know where that led, don’t we? But are we doing anything to change it? Listen to the deafening silence of inaction.
I’m always open to threads of interest being included on my blog, so long as it is kept short and polite. Write me from my web site if you’d like to start one. Remember, I only publish once per month at the most.
Testing in Schools
Teachers in Texas are slowly but surely building a consensus on WAY, WAY (and yes, I’m shouting) too much testing in schools. Fully a quarter of the time in our schools now is taken up in either preparing for tests or doing the testing or closing down other classes so those teachers can be used as monitors or help in other ways with the classes being tested. Everyone remember: We sent a man to the moon with no government interference in elementary or high school other than encouraging studies in math and science. In the last forty years or so the government has spent about a trillion bucks on education below college level and test scores remain almost exactly the same. What does that tell you?
Let’s go back to letting the teachers run the classrooms and teach and determine passing grades and send kids who are unable to benefit from inclusion in regular classes to special schools. And stop the damned second language instruction other than first year immersion classes in English. Kids
Anyone reading this blog must know I’m very leery of good intentions. All too often they make problems worse. It is almost always best to try small test programs first to see if they are beneficial.
Just a reminder: if anyone is interested in Betty Bain’s dessert cookbook interspersed with some of her articles and muses, please buy it from lulu.com instead of Amazon. I have no idea why they put a price tag of 27 dollars on it when at lulu.com you can get it for less than half that!
Articles, Muses and Delicious Diet-Breaking Desert Recipes by Betty Bain is also available as an ebook just about everywhere.
I frequently see reports of correlations between this and that claiming this or that is a fact when correlations aren’t facts, they are simply relationships that may or may not mean anything. Be careful when you see stuff like that. How many times recently have you read about Medical “Knowledge” that was based on a correlation which turned out to wrong? Quite a few if you pay close attention to the subject. And of course it’s not just in medicine. Correlations are reported everywhere then the relationship stated as fact. Be careful when you read stuff like that and take time to think. For example: Men like the color red. Men also like Smart Phones. Therefore, men who like the color red must also like Smart Phones. That’s not a fact, is it? Or if it is, the correlation has nothing to do with it.
I get quite a bit of fan mail. This is just a note to let everyone know that I do appreciate my readers of both this blog and my books letting me know when they like something or not or just want to comment on a particular subject. And I always answer my mail, no matter what’s said.
Politicians Scare Me
It has reached the point that I’m actually scared of seeing any politician elected because they have become absolutely shameless. They will do or say anything, tell any kind of lie and conceal any of their actions, all to get elected. And once in office they continue their mendacious ways. Very few members of Congress will make their tax returns available. They pass laws then make sure they are exempted form them. They are absolutely shameless in what they will do or say to get elected. I don’t think I could live with myself if I did anything even remotely comparable. And remember, these men and women aren’t teenagers who may have an excuse that their brains aren’t fully developed yet. They are adults, or call themselves adults anyway. Have they always been like this or am I just now seeing it?
The Story On Coffee
For years now I’ve been wondering why coffee bought at supermarkets has been tasting worse and worse. At last I’ve found out. Here’s what has been happening. There are two types of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the more flavorful, aromatic and much better tasting coffee. Robusta has a bitter taste and an aroma of burnt rubber. However, Robusta beans are much cheaper than Arabica. For years now, the major manufacturers of the coffee we buy at stores and supermarkets have been gradually adding more and more Robusta beans to the coffee they sell, whereas brands like Folgers and such used to be made from almost all Arabica beans, but no more. Now those brands have lots and lots of the cheaper, bitter tasting and nasty-odored Robusta beans added to the coffee they produce because they can make it cheaper than using all or mostly Arabica beans. Now that is the true story. For any of you coffee lovers like me who drink most of your coffee at home, the only solutions is to research the % of Robusta beans in the brand you drink. Don’t think it will be easy, though. The manufacturers won’t tell you this. You have to go about it another way. And even that probably won’t help. Until enough people complain to those companies, they will keep adding a higher and higher percentage of Robusta beans to their product. When I was young and idealistic I used to trust businesses to put out a good product at a reasonable price. No more. In this case I would gladly pay to get better coffee if I could find it, but apparently the coffee companies don’t give a damn. Until enough of us raise hell, they’ll go right on making money for their stockholders and pee on us poor consumers.
Back before I owned a computer that could get on-line, I often needed or wanted to check a fact or find out something but at the time we couldn’t afford a set of Encyclopedias. I finally did break down and spend about forty bucks on a Desk dictionary. Soon after that I finally did buy a computer and subscribe to a dial up internet service over the phone. Wow, what a revelation. Now I could find out anything at the touch of a keyboard. But that forty bucks wasn’t completely wasted. It now resides on my bedside table where it is used to set my lamp on to make it higher and easier to read by. See, you can find a use for almost anything that’s obsolescent if you think about it hard enough!
I met Will Stafford when we ran across each other on the internet as I was trying to get sales started for my first published book, Medics Wild. What happened after that kept Betty and I laughing happily for the next two years.
The first volume of our correspondence was published years ago and the second volume finally reached print last year.
The two installments, Toppers and More Toppers, are still available. Both books are composed of correspondence between me and Will Stafford, mostly Will and most of it is humorous. We both swear every story we tell each other is the complete, unvarnished truth. You can believe as much of that as you want to but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The Complete Toppers includes both books and has done better than I expected although it’s not on the best seller list yet. Nevertheless, anyone who likes to laugh should buy this book, either in print or ebook editions. I still remember how much Betty and I laughed during the two years we wrote back and forth, sometimes so much that our ribs were sore (TINS).
Below is an excerpt I selected at random from the first book. I doubt that it matters which section it came from since Will is such a naturally gifted humorous story teller that any part of our correspondence will make you laugh, if not actually howl with laughter. So buy the Complete Toppers by Darrell Bain and Will Stafford then settle down and enjoy yourself reading these stories of our time in Vietnam and our childhoods and other episodes of our lives. You won’t regret it, I promise.
There were a few days when we were shut up tight and couldn't get beer then we sent boxes of soap home with mama-san in exchange for some booze. One day she brought back Root Wine for God's sake, guaranteed to peel the hair off your scalp (in case you never ran across root wine, it is simply wine made from a big root in a jar, fermented there and dispensed with all the sediment, impurities, etc. left right in the bottle. Only desperate soldiers ever drank the stuff. I did. Once.) We traded soap for souvenirs, gave it to kids in exchange for washing our jeep and ambulance and deuce and a half. We disposed of it every way we could think of and still couldn't get rid of it as fast as it was coming in. This went on for months. Where there were return addresses, I wrote to thank the kindly souls and assured them that we now had enough soap and please don't tell their friends and neighbors to send any more. And when I rotated home, that soap was still arriving and spilling out the conexes. I have no idea what ever happened to it after I left. You sounded impatient so I told this story first. Now I'll go finish reading about the Human hairball--
--excellent! I can hardly wait for Medics Wild to arrive and I definitely want to be on the list for book number two.
Gosh. A sale already! And my second novel hadn’t even been published yet! Will was definitely my kind of people. I left the computer long enough to grab the sheets of paper from my wife and finish reading about the attempted fratricide on Andrew then rushed back to the computer. Our correspondence went like this:
At this point I suddenly remembered that Will had mentioned he was from Arkansas, a state my forebears occupied and where I had lived for a while. Curious, I wrote back,
And Will said,
That was pretty close to home. I told him so.
That wound up our conversation for a few days. Will wrote,
Well, shucks. Having to break communications with Will left Betty and me feeling as if we had been watching a TV Series that was to be continued right as it was getting really, really good. Time does pass, though. First thing Monday, I e-mailed Will again, taking time off when I should have been working. Thanksgiving Day was the following Thursday, opening day of the selling season at our Christmas tree farm and we were really pressing to be ready. Nevertheless, I wrote,
Will wrote from work,
I answered truthfully,
Will agreed with my brotherly sentiments. He wrote,
About this time Will happened to mention that he had also been to Hong Kong and managed to stay celibate the whole five days. I was amazed.
Places to find my books
You are visitor number
Web site content Copyright © 2005-2012 Darrell Bain. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Lida E. Quillen and maintained by Ardy M. Scott.
This page last updated 01-08-12.