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Savage Survival



Darrell Bain's Newsletter

November 2008

This newsletter may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and the copyright notice is noted and included as follows:
Bainstorming: Darrell's Monthly Newsletter.
Copyright © November 2008, By Darrell Bain

Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

  Subjects this month:

Bain Muses, Bain Boners, Audible.com, Blue Outline, Not over yet, How I'll Vote, Old Folks Perspective, Book Report, Citizen of the Galaxy, A Shopping Pleasantry, What I Believe, Excerpt From "Hotline to Heaven"

Special Notice
Until the end of the year, copies of Bark! bought at the following link will be discounted 20% if you use the special code DACHS:

Bain Muses
Almost all of us vote emotionally rather than rationally. And look what it's gotten us!

I read recently where a man's beard grows faster when he's anticipating sex. No wonder I have orders to shave at night.

Free Trade is free only if all else is equal.

The United States is swapping ownership of its country for a plethora of cheap goods (see above).

Does God really care one way or another whether you look down and close your eyes when you pray?

Bain Boners
One morning recently when I left the bedroom and was sitting down on the couch I heard a chirp. You know, a chirp from an electronic gizmo of some kind, telling me its battery was low. My first thought was my phone. I checked it. It was charged. I sat and listened and heard it again. It sounded as if it was coming from either the kitchen or the office which is behind the kitchen. Betty's purse lives on a counter at the end of the kitchen. I checked her phone. It appeared to be fully charged but I was still hearing that chirp periodically. I made coffee and went on out to the office and sat down at the computer. Soon I heard the chirping again. The phone? I listened closely but couldn't tell where the next chirp came from. I unplugged the phone. Soon I heard the chirp again. By this time an hour or so had passed. I examined the other phone. It was fine so far as I could tell. Then I remembered the new dryer in the other bedroom. I thought it made a noise like that when the clothes were dry but wasn't certain since I don't use it that often. But I checked. It hadn't been used that day. I heard the chirp again. By this time I was becoming aggravated. I cleared and reset the oven and microwave.

Another chirp. Another one. I sat down and held very still and waited. Another chirp. Aha! The smoke alarm in the hall. I took it down and put it beside me to be sure. Soon I heard another chirp but it definitely wasn't coming from the smoke alarm. Cussing, I hung it back up and began searching the house, thinking maybe one of the kids had left a phone during the hurricane contretemps. I couldn't find a misplaced phone but I did hear that damned chirp again and by now it was really bugging me. I sat down at the computer and searched all the little icons on the bottom tool bar. I didn't know if computers chirped when their battery was low or not but something was damn sure trying to tell me its battery was low if only I could find it. I finally decided it wasn't the computer. But what in hell was it?

Oh! That alarm I had bought so if either Betty or I got into trouble in the bathroom we could press a little button and a portable alarm would ring in the office. I examined both of them. They were okay but I could still hear that periodic, maddeningly elusive chirp. Betty got up. She heard it too and assured me I wasn't losing my mind. She helped me search and pry and poke and prod the nooks and crannies and various gadgets and appliances in the house but she was as unsuccessful as me. By now it was mid morning and I was sure I was going to have to move out of the house or slowly go crazy listening to that smug little chirp. I tried to lose myself in a book. No good. I took the book to return it to the shelf in the office. As I reached up to place it on the shelf a loud chirp sounded right in front of me. ***^(*^&%(^)&)%^(T($%^%$^# That represents the bad words I said when I saw the old smoke detector I had put on the shelf in the office when we bought a new one a year or so ago. I had put it there on a high bookshelf as a backup and promptly forgot it. Needless to say, it did not get its battery replaced.

I'm pleased to report that Alien Infection has been picked up by audible.com, the largest purveyor of audio books on line. The url below will take you directly to it where you can listen to a sample or purchase it. This book was narrated by professional actors. Look for more of my titles at audible.com in the coming year.


Since I wrote the above, Audible.com has also taken one of my short stories, Unforseen Reward.

Blue Outline
A couple of months ago all my text files suddenly had a blue frame around them. I tried everything I could think of to get rid of it to no avail. I asked several groups I belong to for help. No one knew. Then the other day I accidentally expanded one of my text files. Voila! The blue outline disappeared. Now why in hell should doing something to one file affect every other one in my computer? I sure don't know but I'm glad I found the solution to the blue framing. It was distracting and even more distracting because I couldn't find out why it had suddenly appeared on all my text files. Now it's gone from all my files simply by expanding one of them. Weird. Live and learn. Just about the time you have one operating system mastered it's "upgraded" and you have to start all over. That's progress.

Not Over Yet
Just because the government bailed out a trillion bucks worth of liability, don't think that ends the financial disaster the idiotic politicians, regulators and financial executives have wrought. It's not near finished. The transfer of America's wealth overseas continues unabated. Our national debt and consequent interest payments continues to grow to obscene levels. This is just the beginning folks. I'm beginning to be sorry we sold our gold. However, we still have our silver. It will be worth something when money isn't.

How I'll Vote
This week I will go and vote just like I always have since I became of age. But this year I shall take special pains not to vote for any person who is running either as a Democrat or Republican. I am absolutely fed up with both of them. Neither the parties nor their politicians apparently give a damn about the country. All they care about is getting elected and staying in office and they will say and/or do anything to further that end. I'm sure my vote won't change anything but it's the only way I know to protest about the absolute mess they've made of this great country. I've lived long enough so that I can see both of the political parties are equally to blame.

Old Folks Perspective
After the hurricane when the boys were doing a bunch of the heavy work of the cleanup, I really had to bite my tongue to keep from telling them how to do things--and didn't bite it a couple of times and opened my mouth but they ignored me and went right on doing it their way. Finally I said, "Just wait. In fifteen years you'll be the old man standing around giving advice and no one will listen to you." A couple of weeks later when I was talking to one of the boys he said, "You know, I'm going to remember what you said about being the old man. It might keep me out of trouble one of these days." So I guess I did wind up giving some good advice even if it wasn't what I intended.

Book Report
I re-read H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy again for the dozenth time. This book had been out over forty years and is still just as fresh and entertaining as the first time I read it. When a new fuzzy little creature is discovered on a frontier world, the question of sapience arises. What constitutes a sapient being? Until the Fuzzies were discovered "Talk and Build a Fire" was the rule. The Fuzzies are obviously intelligent but they apparently can't talk nor do they use fire. But.a giant corporation controls the planet. It will lose its lucrative charter if the Fuzzies are ruled to be sapient. Therefore its executives will do anything at all to prove the Fuzzies are not sapient, up to and including genocide! If you haven't read this book you've missed a rare and wonderful experience.

I read a couple of my own books this past month when someone reminded me of them. The first was Hotline to Heaven, an unconventional love story with an unusual plot and an unconventional ending. (see excerpt at the end of this newsletter) I wrote the book when my mother asked me to write her a romance. Well, I tried but got sort of carried away. I have to say it is well written though, even if that does sound like bragging. Mother told me she didn't like the way I made fun of God in the book but that she couldn't put it down for wanting to see what happened next. And it is a true romance.

The other I read was Postwar Dinosaur Blues. This book continues the adventures of the three Williard brothers after Medics Wild! I don't think I've written another book where the characters stayed in so much trouble and yet had so much fun doing it, but of course that's the theme of all the Williard Brothers books, begun with Medics Wild! Each of the novels stands alone but they follow the brothers as they age. I have had more fun with these books and gotten more comments about them than any of my others and the fans of the Williard Brothers consists almost equally of male and female. Again, I think I did a really good job with this book. If you like humor mixed with your adventure and tinged with a bit of science fiction, try it.

The American Zone by L.Neil Smith is a stand alone sequel to The Probability Broach.

It isn't as good as the first one but is worth a read for some of the controversial political ideas that are well garnished with humor.

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman is a time travel story. Granted, there's been a zillion of them in science fiction but this one has a bit of a different twist and is written in Haldeman's own inimitable style. A fun read.

Everything I've read of Michael Connelly has been really good and his latest, Echo Park, is no exception. It involves detective Harry Bosch in a cold case thirteen years old after he comes out of retirement. The case is also one of his old ones that he never solved. Now some more evidence comes up and it isn't good for Harry.

I'm continuing with the Honor Harrington series. Some of them are over long in my opinion but you can't beat David Weber for intelligent Space Opera and extremely well drawn characterizations.

Citizen of the Galaxy

I just read Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein for the umpteenth time. It is my all time favorite book, of any genre. It is a coming of age novel in a universe where slavery exists. The story begins with a pre-pubescent boy being sold as a slave. An old beggar contrives to buy him and thus begins an odyssey for Thorby Baslim that is magnificent in scope and wonderfully told. It is a great book!

A Shopping Pleasantry
When I'm out running errands and shopping I find myself looking forward to a bright spot in the day. That event comes when I check out at the grocery store where a young lady by the name of Kelly works. She is always pleasant to customers and almost always has a cheery smile on her face. It is a decided contrast to most of the service people I meet during my excursions. I hardly ever see other clerks smile no matter how polite they are, nor do they act like they enjoy having your business. Kelly does both. The proprietor of the establishment where she works should be grateful to have her as an employee. She must generate a lot of good will for them. I don't know anything else about the young lady but I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only person who enjoys passing through her register at the store. Just watching her with other customers makes waiting in line an enjoyable experience. The world is a little happier place for Kelly's presence in it. I wish I saw more people like her while I'm out and about.

What I Believe
This may be my last little "What I Believe" essay since the election will be over by the time the December issue of Bainstorming comes out. Since it may be the last let's get started. This month's subject is Education.

I remember going to grade school as a boy. During my first six years of school I remember exactly one, repeat one, real problem child the whole six years. Sure, we had some dullards and some of us were brighter than others but none of us got special attention. Some of us, including me and my brothers and sisters were desperately poor. We all worked in the school cafeteria for our meals. There were no breakfasts nor special help for us. And guess what? The school didn't have to worry about being sued. Every boy in school carried a pocket knife and there was never a single incident of trouble with them. And again, no one worried about being sued.

There was no, repeat no teacher's aides or even a secretary because there wasn't much paperwork for the teachers to do. There was so little, in fact, that the principal taught the sixth grade herself.

We had a few immigrant children come to school knowing not a lick of English. There were no second language teachers but the immigrant children were immersed in English from day one. They soon began to speak it almost as well as the rest of us and did well in school.

I don't remember ever hearing about a theft.

Many of us walked to school. Our parents didn't worry that someone would carry us off on the way.

How, you might ask, is all this possible considering the state of education in America today? It's really pretty simple: the federal government hadn't gotten involved in education in those days!

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
November 2008


Excerpt From Hotline to Heaven

Note: This is the only true romance novel I've written although I've certainly written some romance into most of my other books.

"My name is B--" Ed faked a cough, then backed up. Damn it, why had he ever let himself be saddled with that nickname? "--Ed Tanner. I'm very pleased to meet you." A passerby dropped a bill into the pot, jostling him closer to Violet. He didn't mind a bit, though he wondered what on earth he thought he was doing. He had as much business coming on to this angelic creature as a peasant did sitting down to dinner with a king.

Apparently someone else thought the same. Santa stopped ringing his bell and stared suspiciously at him. Ed managed a guilty, little-boy smile. He shuffled his feet in a good imitation of a farm boy facing a preacher who suspected him of using haylofts in more ways than as a repository for cattle food. "Sorry," he said. "I'm keeping you from your business. Nice meeting you, Miss Smith." He held out his hand.

Violet took it. She felt her fingers tingling and wondered what on earth she thought she was doing. She had as much business responding to a strange man at least ten years her senior as Judas did to throw a friendly arm around Jesus before the crucifixion. "It was good to meet you, too, Mr. Tanner. I'm sure God will help you find a place to stay tonight."

"Yes, I'm sure He will," Ed said. "Goodbye." He almost said goodbye for now. Whether God was helping or not, he already knew where he was going to be spending the night. He walked away with his shoulders back, slouch gone.

Behind him, Santa remonstrated, "You really shouldn't get quite so familiar with strange men, sister."

"I'm sorry, sir. He seemed so nice, and he did say he gave us his last cent."

"So he did. Well, let's get back to work." He rang his bell at passersby while Violet tried to keep in tune with her tambourine, but her thoughts shifted to her past encounters with the male species. There hadn't been many. Her parents hadn't allowed her to begin dating until she was seventeen and then only under strictly supervised conditions. The one time before high school graduation she had been alone with a boy had been singularly unimpressive. His attempts to kiss her were clumsy and groping and the peck she had finally allowed only inspired him to try for more. She didn't allow it, though some wrestling and finally a rush from the room was necessary before he gave up.

Violet didn't think she was a prude. She wondered about sex as much as any virgin ever had, but had had little more opportunity than a cloistered nun to put wonderment into practice. Not, she thought, that I ever would before marriage. Perhaps if her parents hadn't died together in that car crash only a year ago, they might have begun allowing her more freedom to meet interesting and eligible men after graduation, but it hadn't happened that way. They had died, leaving her destitute. Somewhere along the way, her father had made a will, leaving all his worldly possessions to the Salvation Army. In appreciation of the windfall, they had cared for her since, giving her a job and a place to sleep. Violet appreciated the care, though sometimes she wondered if it wouldn't be better if she got out on her own rather than living as she had the last year in a sparsely furnished room at the mission and helping the Army with their holy work. Somehow, though, she had never quite gained the courage to make the break. Thinking of it made her feel guilty, as if by leaving, she would be abandoning God's work, perhaps even deviating from His plan for her, whatever its ultimate goal. She pushed the thought away. It was replaced almost immediately by a picture of Ed Tanner's boyish face and politely shuffling feet. Maybe God intended for him to play a role in her life. She laughed inwardly at the thought. What an idea!


Ed headed back toward his hotel to cash in his remaining day and collect his luggage. He no longer scanned the faces of pedestrians on the crowded sidewalks, but his mind was busy. The talk about God with Violet Smith had brought on a tingling awareness of something as yet undefined, stirring just beneath conscious thought. He knew the feeling well; it was as if bells were trying to ring in his mind while their clappers were still dampened, or like a pacing animal in a zoo, looking for an exit from its cage. Whenever he felt this sensation of buried thoughts, like a pot nearing the boiling point, it eventually resulted in a grand new idea. He didn't know what would come to the surface this time, but he knew it had something to do with God. Religion? The Salvation Army? Or was it just his imagination working overtime, stimulated by his response to Violet? No, he knew the feeling too well. Before long, a day or two at most, a word, a phrase, a sign of some kind would act as a catalyst and bring the idea to the surface where he would refine it, give it definition and being and finally he would turn it into action. His stride became more buoyant, knowing that before long he would be back into a moneymaking scheme of some kind, hopefully one that didn't involve too much work and was only moderately dishonest


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