Darrell Bain's Newsletter
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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"
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?
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.
Since I wrote the above, Audible.com has also taken one of my short stories, Unforseen Reward.
Not Over Yet
How I'll Vote
Old Folks Perspective
Not Over Yet
How I'll Vote
Old Folks Perspective
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
What I Believe
A Shopping Pleasantry
What I Believe
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.
Excerpt From Hotline to Heaven
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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