Darrell Bain's Monthly Blog - May 2011
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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: Correction, Doggie Biscuit!, Females stronger than males sometimes, Bad Coffee, Good Coffee, My Reading Material, Apertures, Drugs from Europe, Helping Mexico: Arm their citizens, Concealed gun permit, Gun safety, Why I like Science Fiction, Small Print, Book Reviews, Closets, Bain Question, Chiggers, Dental problems, Progress Report, Early Mother’s Day, Racial Labeling, Excerpt from Space For Sale
I think I stated that Betty’s book, Articles, Muses and Favorite Diet-breaking Dessert Recipes, is available at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is, but only as Kindle or Nook ebook. The print edition is available at Lulu.com at the following url:
Five out of five five-star reiews! Laughed and Laughed UNTIL we cried, September 15, 2007
All five reviews of Doggie Biscuit! read about the same. Available in print or ebook. Makes a great gift for anyone, young or old!
Females stronger than males in some instances?
It is generally assumed that males are stronger than females except for extremes at either end of the curve. That’s not always true, depending on what muscular groups have been developed. An example. As Betty got older I began helping her to stir stuff like her creamy pralines (see Betty Bain’s dessert cookbook in the Correction segment, above). I discovered that she had been using certain muscles to stir concoctions for so long that I got tired stirring much more quickly than she does! That was a revelation, although I guess it shouldn’t have been.
The coffee I buy, no matter what brand is so inconsistent in roasting, freshness and taste I finally wrote Folgers and told them there was something wrong with their quality control and I was tired of paying almost five bucks for a can of coffee and finally throwing most of it away because it is undrinkable. They did write back and promise to investigate, although the coffee still isn‘t any better. At least I got an answer. I believe more customers should write the CEOs and Customer Service Departments when dissatisfied. I know I am not the only one who is tired of the abominable customer service, Dell is a good example, where computer customer service is outsourced to countries where you spend more time asking the representative to repeat and speak slowly than getting anything done, if it is. I find them to be poorly trained and working from a tree-solving diagram and unable to think outside the box or do anything not in the repair tree. That’s when you manage to get the right department to begin with, which isn’t an easy task.
Soon after writing the above I happened upon an article on coffee from an expert. He said that the best coffee you can find in super-markets is Dunkin Donuts and Eight O’clock. I tried Dunkin Donut coffee first because surprisingly, it was available at our small local Supermarket. The expert was right. It is very good. He also said the best coffee is from a percolator, not a drip coffeepot and that a good one to buy is Presto electric percolator. I ordered one. Right again! Now Dunkin Donut coffee is even better! As soon as we make a trip to Wal-Mart I’ll try Eight O’Clock brand and see how it tastes. If it’s anywhere close to as good as Dunkin Donut the man deserves a medal! In fact, as far as I’m concerned, he deserves one now! Oh yes, the Dunkin Donut coffee does cost quite a bit more but not much when I consider how much Folger’s and other brands I was throwing away because it was undrinkable.
My reading material
I read a daily metropolitan newspaper, weekly Newsweek and Time magazine, weekly New Science magazine, monthly Discover magazine, weekly AARP bulletin, our Electric CO-OP magazine and explore interesting subjects I see on the internet or in digests of groups I belong to, writing groups and one in particular, Clifford Pickover’s Reality Circus, a yahoo group of very intelligent people (mostly) that is sometimes above my intellectual level but always interesting. And then of course I have fan mail and correspondence to answer. It doesn’t leave me much time to write fiction or work on Bainstorming what with my back problems keeping me from the computer a lot but I’m trying to do better. That damn infected tooth and consequent root canal that didn’t turn out well and kept me incapacitated another ten days put me way, way behind the past month.
Apertures is now available in print and ebook at Amazon. First two reviews are both five star! Apertures deals with alternate earths and resisting an invasion from another alternity. Lots of action and romance. The first book of a prospective trilogy but can be read as a stand alone novel, as can the second when I have it ready. The second book, Apertures: Allies and Enemies is about halfway done now.
Why not drugs from Europe?
I can’t see any reason not to allow importation of drugs from Europe from manufacturers that have been approved for use in Europe. If the FDA is really concerned about the safety of imported drugs, simply don’t allow imports of any drugs except those being used from manufacturers who are providing the European Health Care system with theirs. That should satisfy anyone but unfortunately, I’m afraid our drug companies have their hooks too deep into our congress critters for then to allow it to happen.
Helping Mexico: Arm their citizens
Mexico is to me a perfect example of what can happen in a country that totally bans its citizens from carrying arms. Anyone in Mexico caught carrying as little as one bullet, not even a gun, can and will go to jail. Yet the crooks, drug runners and thugs are taking over the country. Its government is rapidly becoming corrupted by drug money, drug gangs and thugs and kidnappers and robbers and killer to the extent that it is going to be a totally dysfunctional, failed state in the not too distant future if something isn‘t done. I don’t say allowing its citizens to carry arms would solve all those problems but it would certainly help if its citizens were allowed to fight back! Right now they are completely helpless. Of course it would also help if we changed our drug laws, and help our country in the process as well, but I don’t expect that kind of courage from our politicians any time in the near future.
Concealed gun permit
In case anyone is interested, I believe 95% of gun “accidents” are caused directly by the gun owner not practicing gun safety or safe gun ownership. It is stupid, irresponsible carelessness on the part of gun owners who are careless with where they leave their guns and where they point them. Guns should always be treated as if they are loaded and they should never be pointed at another person unless you actually intend to shoot them, such as an intruder in your home, and even then you should be damn sure that’s what it is.
When I first began carrying my gun, after my first walk I made a huge error. I carry the gun in my back pocket because it fits easily there when it is too warm to wear a jacket. Even when it is cool, I found the jacket drug at me too much while I walked and I found it fit perfectly into my jeans back pocket. My first day back I stopped to change from my walking shoes to sandals. I took my gun out of my back pocket to sit down while doing so and laid it on the couch two feet away--and promptly forgot that I had. I discovered it an hour later and was horrified that me, someone who thought he knew everything to know about gun safety had made such an enormous error. It doesn’t sound like much but what if one of the great grandkids had come by while it was laying there? I can think of all kinds of bad outcomes. It sure taught me a lesson. Now I go directly to where I keep the gun hidden, a spot not easy to find or see it but still handy to get to at night. And out of reach of kids. I know a lot of gun owners would have passed such an error off and not tried to correct it. Not me! It scared hell out of me. Please, if you carry a gun, watch yourself closely! When you arrive back home go directly to where you keep the gun at home and put it away Then, not later. And follow all the other rules, too. They are for your own good and the good of others. Don’t forget!!!!!
Why I like science fiction
Why I like SF is because there is so much scope for exploring what might be in the future: political, sociological, military or other subjects, and in a form that‘s interesting to readers. Now here’s what I think were instances where my original ideas were borrowed by other writers. Not that I mind. I take it as a compliment, and we all borrow from each other. A compliment or possibly just great minds. Alien kids were the culprits in Under the Dome by Stephen King. I used alien kids as the parties responsible for the Sex Gates in the original novel, which is now available in both print and ebook editions. Years later it appeared in Stephen King’s book. I used the idea of multiple geographic areas thrown back in time to same past era instead of just one in Circles of Displacement. I also used convicts thrown back in time causing problems in the same book. These ideas popped up recently in a book by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmotka, with the slight difference that his geographic areas were from different time periods all going to the same era back in time. As I said, if they read my books and used my ideas, I certainly don’t mind because I’ve done the same myself. Probably they haven’t read my books though, unless they’re fans of ebooks where my name is much better known than in my print books. Robert Heinlein used 50-50 odds of going either to the future or to the past in his book The Door into Summer. I took the idea and applied it to spaceships of the future in Crazy Ships, where there is a 50-50 chance of a ship going to the correct destination or to a place unknown where they never come back, and used convicted felons to man the ships since each trip had only a 50% chance of success.
What is wrong with book and magazine publishers? It is older people who read Newsweek Magazine and the publishers have to know this. It isn’t as good as it used to be but still worthwhile for the price--but then with this issue they made the print so damn small I got eyestrain trying to read it. If they don’t change back to print I can read, I won’t renew.
Yesterday I was trying to read the instructions for a smoke detector. The print was so fine that I could absolutely not make it out and I’m wearing brand new prescription reading glasses! I could cite many more examples, particularly the directions on bottles of drugstore medicine but I think that’s enough on this subject for readers to get the point. Saving paper is fine but not at the expense of losing customers who can no longer read the fine print. Hell, I’ll bet my brother couldn’t have made out the print for the smoke detector in his youth when he had 20/10 vision!
I read two more books by James Grippando, both legal thrillers. The guy is a most excellent writer and comes up with the damnedest plots you’ve ever heard about! Hear No Evil is about a military wife who is accused of murdering her husband. She claims it is a cover up. Jack Swytek would ordinarily never get into military affairs but it turns out that she is the adopted mother of a son he’s never seen so he takes the case. Last To Die is about a woman who hires someone to kill her after she gets a 46 million dollar settlement from her ex-husband. The catch here is that in her will she leaves it to one of six people who have ticked her off badly during her life. The one who will inherit will be either the last to die or the last who doesn’t renounce the inheritance for fear of losing their life because the six begin dying one by one.
Fighter Pilot by Robin Olds is a truly remarkable biography of a fighter pilot in WWII and Vietnam who rose to Brigadier General but finally resigned in frustration at the way the war in Vietnam was run by our politicians. He pinned the tail on so many donkeys in the Air Force that it is a wonder he survived their wrath and made general anyway. He was a true maverick. In fact, he got into the Vietnam War by deliberately pissing his commander off badly enough to take away his first chance at general and get him sent to the war, exactly as he planned it. His tales of inspection of SAC units makes me shudder and be glad we never had to use the Strategic Air Command in total war. It might not have gone the way we thought. I shed tears at the acknowledgements to begin the book and shed more tears at the truly beautiful ending. This book is a salute to all true fighter pilots. May we always have some men of his caliber around in time of war. Oh, yes, Betty read it after I did and she could no more put it down than I could. Now my son-in-law, Rob, has borrowed it and he seldom reads books at all!
For some reason, as much science fiction as I read I missed Twistor by John Cramer. It is a bit dated and contains a lot of hard science and hard science speculation but you can skim over those parts and still enjoy the story. It involves an alternate world, the protagonist and two children marooned on an alternate world while on earth a giant corporation is attempting to steal the method used to transfer and receive objects from the alternate world, including people. It follows both story lines as the protagonist attempts to construct a way to either get back or send messages to friends while trying to survive savage beasts and strange fauna and flora, including giant trees, and protect the children. Oh yes, there’s some romance involved as well, in fact everything that’s needed to produce a very good book, including excellent story telling ability by Cramer. I ordered his other book before I was halfway through the first one, if that tells you how good it is!!!
John Cramer’s other book is Einstein’s Bridge. It is also a hard science fiction novel so be warned. It is a very good story but contains a lot of science and science speculation. It involves contact with another universe and alternate earths.
The Ring of Fire series continues with Eric Flint writing 1636: The Saxon Uprising. I was glad to see Eric Flint back writing one of the books by himself and advancing the story further into the new future produced by the Ring of Fire. There is lots of Drama in the new book and some fighting. It keeps you interested all the way through by picking up with some of the original characters and what they are doing. More, more!
The Haploids by Jerry Sohl was written in the early 1950s but is still a very readable book. It isn’t in print so you’ll have to buy a used copy if you can’t find it in any of the ebooks stores. It’s worth it. The novel is about Haploid females attempting to take over the dearth by killing all the men. It also has a nice little romance with some puzzles in it that make the story doubly interesting.
Also this month I read another biography, Lemay by Warren Kozak. It covers the life of General Curtis Lemay from start to finish. Lemay has an undeserved reputation as a nutcase and bomb-crazy. He wasn’t a nut case and he wasn’t bomb-crazy. This is not just the opinion of the author of his biography but from people who knew and worked for him or with him, and from his family. I had to change my opinion of the man. Read this biography. I promise, it is very well written and extremely interesting even if you are a young person and didn’t know about him. Highly recommended!
And finally this month I read an interesting non-fiction by Pat Brown, The Profiler. It is the story of a woman of forty beginning a self taught career as a profiler of horrendous murders. The way she got started is interesting and her take on some unsolved or unprosecuted killings is mesmerizing. It is also an indictment of the way our justice system works or doesn’t work at times, I should say. A book well worth reading.
Then, a few days before Bainstorming was ready to be sent to my web page manager my copies of Space For Sale, the last book I wrote in the Williard Brothers (Medics Wild) series arrived. It can be read as a stand-alone novel as well! It had been so long since I wrote it that I read it again. I got my usual laughs from the zany, politically incorrect brothers who have at last hit it rich and are now bored and looking for something to do with their billions. What else would interest them but building and flying an advanced spaceship? But…perhaps the aliens hinted at in Bigfoot Crazy are still around and don’t like the idea? The one remaining book in the series that does not have a print edition, only available as an e-book, is Three For The Money. It will be out in a few weeks in print edition and tells how the brothers come the closest yet to dying while acting like lunatics but get rich in the process. They get something even more valuable but I’ll let you read the book to find out what. Heh heh.
Help! Our closets are shrinking our clothes. Does this ever happen to anyone else? What can we do to those stupid closet that keeps shrinking our apparel? Does anyone know? We’re both going to have to buy new wardrobes before long if our closets don’t learn to behave themselves!
Why do 95% of the fashion models you see in newspaper fashion sections look like they’re mad at the world? Do they know how to smile? Even a little would help. Or is there a reason they’re not allowed to look pleasant?
Pets are apparently immune to chiggers, sometimes called redbugs. I really wish some research scientists would discover why so we could maybe use it ourselves. Chiggers are barely visible little insects that get into tight places under your clothes and if you get very many they can make you purely miserable with the itching that nothing seems to cure except time. Alcohol applied to them alleviates the itching somewhat for a little while.
Once we had a visitor from Arizona who went berry picking with Betty and didn’t apply any OFF, an insect repellent. She lived in a city south of Houston and rarely got out in the open. By the next day when she was home she was covered with chigger bites and had no idea what was happening to her. All she knew was that she had broken out in a million red welts that itched like mad and were driving her crazy. She went to see a local doctor, thinking that she had come down with some awful disease and might be going to die! When he diagnosed Chiggers, she thought he was talking about a disease! When he explained she was only marginally relieved because she was still going mad with the itching. He gave her several remedies to try like oatmeal soaks, Vaseline rubs, alcohol application but told her frankly that time was the only real solution. Of course she lived through it but you can be sure she never stepped outside our house the next time she visited us!
First it was a badly infected tooth just when I was renewing a prescription for Oxycontin I use when my back gets real bad. It had been back ordered for ten days and came in just in time. The infected tooth was really hurting and the first antibiotic didn’t touch it. I had to start another round of antibiotics that took ten days to get the infection down to where it was no longer hurting and I could have a root canal. I did, and be damned, the whole side of my face swelled up and hurt like hell for another week. In the meantime, Betty had a couple of teeth go bad just when she was getting over a case of TMJ pain which can be very painful to the jaw and side of the face. One tooth had to be pulled and the other had a giant crown to replace a hidden cavity. She wasn’t feeling very good either. Finally just a week or so ago we had what I hope was our final appointments, me because the root canal filling was falling out and Betty for her crown that replaced the temporary filling. Several thousand dollars later we are again eating normally.
The only good thing I can think of is that the Root Canal specialist told me that my name sounded familiar for some reason. It turned out that his son was a fan of my books. Dr. Fox said that he’d also written a book but it hadn’t sold many copies. I looked it up and found it to be an interesting take on the adventure of Heaven. I’m not a believer in organized religion but I bought a copy of his book for my stepdaughter who is a devout Christian because the description sounded like a new take on the idea of heaven and because it also had received a couple of good reviews. She hasn’t had time to read it yet what with the TAKS tests in progress at the school where she teaches and Easter coming up.
I am up to about 50,000 words on the second Apertures book despite the tooth problems and regular back problems. The back pain has lessened somewhat now that it’s getting warmer and I can walk in the mornings. I was too sedentary during the winter and I know it. As soon as this book is ready for the editor I intend to begin and hopefully complete the Political Commentary book. It is more than 20,000 words along, despite being written on in bits and pieces. After that I was thinking of expanding on Savage Survival but several events have happened that might preclude that project for the time being. And I still need to write the final (maybe) book of the Medics Wild (Williard Brothers) series. Oh well, maybe I’ll live a long time yet.
Early Mother’s Day
First I wasn’t watching and ordered Betty’s Valentine’s Day Roses early. Now her mother’s Day orchid came a month early. Damnit, I have to start looking at those little calendars more closely! Well, at least I still have a card to give her. I always buy the cards early so I won’t forget. And I must say, the orchid was beautiful, even if it did arrive a month early! And the blooms might yet make it to Mother’s Day.
I believe I may have mentioned this before but after that hoorah over the interview concerning The Melanin Apocalypse I thought it might be worth talking about again.
Excerpt From Space For Sale
Space for Sale is my fifth book in the saga of the Williard Brothers which began with Medics Wild and was about their adventures during the Vietnam war. Every books since then has found them a little older, but still the same zany, politically incorrect trio, bored with civilian life and always taking off on adventures which they hope will make them rich but always failing for one reason or another. Space for Sale is their greatest so far, but there’s still one book to go. I’ll get to it, promise. The Excerpt:
“I always thought billionaires spent their time having fun,” James Williard said to Terry from the comfort of his two thousand dollar easy chair. He had plopped himself down in it immediately after returning from his office. He and Terry had bought in a very exclusive development northwest of Dallas, soon after the legal problems of old Don Falino’s estate had been cleared up. Jason Williard’s girl friend, Brandy Lindski, had helped immensely in the proceedings. She was even wealthier than they were after inheriting her former boss’ vast financial empire, along with the power and influence it entailed.
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