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Wilds of NW Indiana
Author, Consultant, Content Creator
Interests: Military, preparedness, food and drink, animals, cooking, more as I have time
Recent Activity
Not a lot, to be honest. In some ways, it is because I saw it as more matter of course. In retrospect, I've seen how lucky I was to get to meet them, and that I did so because I became friends with some authors and because I worked for a convention that sought to bring in classic authors (LibertyCon). If there is a strong interest from our readers, I will share a bit in some future posts.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on The 2015 Hugo Awards: Some Thoughts at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
Same here. Very few are from Tor and related houses, and most of the others are from publishers who are more interested in sales than message. Fact is, I read Baen not for message, but because of the dedication to good stories -- including by authors who's politics I disagree with. Frankly, I don't give a damn about the gender, orientation, politics, etc. of an author. What I care about is if they write a good story, with characters I can identify with. When you look at Baen, you have works with a strong female lead in a poly marriage who has friends of different genders and orientations; and, who have members of different ethnic groups in strong leadership positions (Weber); openly gay characters and other delights (Hoyt); a variety of races, racial mixes, and social castes -- and even true others such as werewolves and orcs -- as good people and leaders (Corriea); and, I could go on. Yet, Larry's works are all just a bunch of white guys out on an adventure (eye roll). Then again, look at the makeup of the Baen authors, and you have true diversity of race, gender, and politics. I also love the "fact" that Sarah is a white Mormon male according to the SJBs...
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on The 2015 Hugo Awards: Some Thoughts at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
Yep. I don't think they have a clue, or at least much of one, of how bad they look (and looked) to the world with the petulant, childish, and vindictive display given at worldcon. Think that it is going to bite them, and hard, here soon. When you look at the rapidly shrinking numbers for worldcon and "Fandom" and then look at the tens of thousands at DragonCon (where I wish I was next week), and the various ComicCons, most beings capable of reason get the picture.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on The 2015 Hugo Awards: Some Thoughts at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
There a few things in this world that truly make me mad. I'm not talking the things in life that can make us spark. There are lots of things in this world that can make me spark, and there is a reason that my nickname in early high school was "Spark Plug" and "Sparky." Those who truly knew me, however, knew that the problem was not when I sparked, which was soon over, but when I got very quiet and coldly precise. This morning, I awoke to very unsurprising news about the Hugo awards. I am disappointed, but honestly expected nothing less from the Social Justice Bullies and related ilk. Indeed, I'm more surprised that one or two categories more didn't get no award -- the equivalent of destroying the village to save it. That was their plan almost from the start, since those labeled "Wrong Fan" dared to get more fans involved in a dying award that represented the thoughts of less than 600 "Right Fans" who bought supporting or full memberships to the World Science Fiction Conventions -- which is where and how the Hugo awards are decided. For those truly interested, note the attendance figures for the WorldCon over the last 30 years, note the numbers of people who actually voted in the Hugo process, and then note the size of conventions like DragonCon, the various ComicCons, and such. As noted previously, I was in the past involved with some conventions and even had a small role in an Atlanta-based WorldCon (ConFederation). I long ago left such, many of the so-called "Right Fans" and people who styled themselves as Secret Masters of Fandom (SMOFs, though I note there is a huge difference between the self-styled guardians of what they regard as right and proper and real SMOFS) leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Frankly, I decided that my best interest was to focus on writing, which has been a large part of what I've done in real life. Most of my work has been in non-fiction, and that which has gone to the public has even won a couple of awards. To be very honest, one of the reasons I became active in Fandom, as it is known, was to meet editors, publishers, and other writers (particularly those of whom I was a fan). Going in was calculated, what happened was simply fun. What can you say about meeting classic Science Fiction writers from the Golden (and other) age(s)? About meeting and talking with Gordon Dickson, who's Dorsai series spoke to me and made me think and explore? About meeting and talking with the wonderful de Camps, Fred Pohl, the delightful Pournelle's, Fred Saberhagen, Harry Turtledove, Jack Williamson, the Zahn's, the Niven's, A.E. van Vogt, and others? About hanging out with the delightfully irrascible Bob "Horseclans" Adams in his room parties, or "smoothing" with Tucker himself? Of finding out that David Drake, who's combat SF was his way of dealing with his experiences in Viet Nam, was painfully shy -- and quite sharp with his wit. Of being able to form friendships with some of them, and with the likes of the Webers? Of course, you do meet a few who were and are assholes, and I shall not name them and have never bought anything by them after meeting them on panels or in private. Early on, I met a veteran named Jim Baen. Jim and his (former) wife Toni Weisskopf became something more than just acquaintances, and they pushed me to begin writing fiction. Honestly, they believed I could do it long before I thought I had a shot at writing good fiction (other than some AARs and such). Jim, of course, is the founder of Baen Books, and is widely and properly credited with saving the field of military science fiction. You can find video interviews done with Travis Taylor, Mark L. Van Name, David Drake, David Weber, Michael Z. Williamson, and Tom Kratman on that and other subjects on the Blackfive YouTube channel. That he did so because he saw that money could be made in it does nothing to diminish the fact that he did save it. Then again, Jim (and Toni) saw that publishing was changing on many levels, and found ways to embrace those changes, adapt, and be successful. I would note that Baen Books, and it's Barflies, have donated a massive amount of print and electronic books to the troops, particularly the deployed. Others play at it via token efforts. Baen and it's readers live it in a huge way. Toni has been a true and wonderful friend to me. In fact, if you look at my photo books done from my embeds for Blackfive, you will note the thanks to her for editing them. Toni has encouraged me in many ways and levels, and done things to help me along. She (and Jim) believed in me before I truly believed in myself. The Hugos have been gamed for years, and there are those very unhappy to have that exposed by Larry Correia with the original Sad Puppies campaign. This year, the Sad Puppies and the independent Rabid Puppies effort, showed that gaming for all to see -- along with the truly rabid response of those who have gamed it. The Hugos have been for some time about message and not about the best works of Science Fiction. The Puppies were and are about making it about good stories well told (and not the right cisgender normative message no matter how horrible the writing and/or editing). As I said, the response and results were not unexpected. I honestly thought No Award would take at least two more slots than it did. Where I'm not sparking is with how things were handled. First, there was the biased and childish panel that preceded the Hugos. Second, was the awards ceremony itself. That one or more Hugo nominees walked out early (along with other professionals) says it all. The deliberate and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
First, thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the Marines killed yesterday in the cowardly and despicable attack; to those wounded; and, to all the first responders who did not wait for backup but waded in and kept this from being so much worse than it could have been. Please keep them all in your hearts, prayers, thoughts, or whatever it is that you do, and may the light shine down on all those left behind. If you've ever been in it, you have some idea of what they now are going through. Second, huge thanks to the first responders. Chattanooga (and to an extent Hamilton County) do things a bit different in terms of training and planned response, and it showed. They did not wait, they moved in and "enthusiastically" engaged and "neutralized" the target. This is how it is done. It does take training, planning, and leadership. From all I am hearing from people with knowledge of the department, they have it -- thank God. Hope they keep it, as THIS is how it is done. Third, it is time and well past time to get rid of the idiotic, pantywaist, ill-considered (you get the drift) prohibition on our troops being armed. There was a day (until fairly recently) when an officer (and even NCOs) were not in uniform and properly dressed without a sidearm. They were expected to be so, to maintain order, and to defend themselves and others. Having them armed is not a violation of Posse Comitatus, or an invitation to disorder. I've heard one unconfirmed report that one person was able to retrieve a personally-owned firearm and return fire, and if so they deserve to be commended and not chewed-up and spit out by senior leadership as I fully expect. There is a lot of data that clearly shows that any resistance prevents things from being worse. Uncle Jimbo was/is on Fox and Friends discussing this topic this morning, and I look forward to him posting on the topic here. How many more of our troops must die on our soil in terrorist attacks -- and there have been quite a few though they are all lone-wolf criminal acts of workplace violence (/sarcasm) -- because of the Omega-level (they don't even rate beta male/female status) milquetoast obeisance to a thoroughly discredited trope? Sound off. I can't say all I would like right now, as it would be rather intemperate. It is a bit scary that Jimbo is the far more reasonable and articulate spokesperson right now... And, remember the fallen and those they leave behind. Thank and encourage the first responders and the mindset shown by them, as such may be what saves us from far worse now and in the days ahead. I consider the Chattanooga area a second home in many ways, and have many friends there. If I leave the frozen (or at least currently soggy) North, it is one of the places I've seriously considered making my home. The response shown by the first responders and the greater Community there are a reminder of why it would be a good place to live. NOTE: My thanks to Gunny Popaditch for the image Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
On a surprisingly bright note, we made it through the weekend without any major incidents. For that, I truly do give thanks. I remain amazed more hasn't happened, and profoundly grateful too.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2015 on July 4th at BLACKFIVE
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There is a lot I could say about the state of the Republic (note for the poorly educated, we are NOT a democracy), but I will skip it and play Gunny Mormon for a minute. "... Be careful out there!" A line I loved in a tv show many years ago, and all the more important today. First, the 4th is, IMO, one of the top holidays to bring out the amateurs (second only to St. Patrick's Day). Watch out for idiots, and if handling fireworks or around those who are, please do listen for words to the effect of "hey y'all, watch this!" and react to protect oneself. Please don't be the one to say it. Keep an extra eye peeled when driving. Me, I hope to watch fireworks from a comfortable distance where I can smoke a cigar or my pipe lounging in comfort away from crowds. Second, there is a lot of chatter about the potential for terrorism (workplace violence, random acts, etc. in the governmental parlance). Honestly, I'm surprised we've not had more and would not be surprised. Be prepared, protect yourself and your own, and do what you have to if anything does happen. Finally, enjoy. The Great Experiment is in crisis (IMO), but is still creaking along. Savor what there is, and take a moment to re-read some of the finest words on governance (and self-governance) ever written in my humble opinion. They are the cornerstone of the Republic, with the Constitution being the foundation. Be prepared, but enjoy the holiday. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
My annual post is up (one of these years I will be happy with it), and I plan to drink a toast or three, smoke a cigar, and maybe even enjoy some good food as I remember those honored on the day. Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
International Lord of Hate (and Baen) approved. :)
Toggle Commented May 9, 2015 on Trigger Warning at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
If the hamsters all spun in their cages as planned, a price drop sale began an hour ago on the Kindle version of my short story "Flight of the Fantasy " and on the Kindle version of "A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour (Volume 3) " Flight of the Fantasy has been getting some very good reviews (and my thanks to those of you who have read and posted your reviews!). ADV3 has also gotten some very good things said about it (check out the cover blurbs), and has an amazing introduction by Sarah A. Hoyt as well as a foreword by my Playboy mentor David Mecey (link may be NSFW). The lowest prices are now, and they will bump up back to full price over the next week as the sale progresses. If you have Kindle Unlimited, they are free and you should get them. Sale ends at midnight next Thursday. NOTE: If the hamsters didn't spin, and Amazon reverted to 0600 Pacific instead of 0600 Eastern as intended, the sale will start at 0900 instead. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
At the recent cigar event, my shirt drew some comments and inquiries. I had promised to share where to get them, and am glad to do (it's Mad Mike). You might also enjoy waterboarding, torture, and smiley. Also, congratulations to Mad Mike on his Hugo nomination for Wisdom From My Internet (and the wails of anguish from the Social Justice Bullies that came with it), and you really should check out his latest book A Long Time Until Now . If you are into Pride and Prejudice, allow me to also recommend So Gradually: A Pride & Prejudice Tale by Jessica Schlenker. Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
It has been most entertaining -- and enlightening. I never would have expected to see so many SJW types self-identify and self-incriminate as has happened. I admit, I found the most-likely actionable story by EW (as originally posted) to be infuriating, but otherwise have tried to just sit back and do my version of paleo-popcorn as the show unfolds.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2015 on On The Hugo Awards... at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
For those here who are into books, you may be interested in the rapidly devolving firestorm surrounding this year's Hugo's. Short version is that the Waffen Social Justice Warriors brigade is up in arms and having a massive case of the vapors over this year's nominations. So much so they are threatening to nuke the award and make it totally irrelevant. In the process, they've told myself and others that we are not real fans of science fiction and fantasy. Elsewhere, I've suggested that we are "Franks" and probably need to do a post on that. Meantime, over at my place, I've got my response to being told I'm not a real fan (or author) that you may enjoy. Oh, part of the vapors come from the fact that Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, and other such evil-right-wing-cisgender-homophobic-racist-slur-of-the-moment veterans were nominated. There are a number of long overdue nominations this year. To ALL those nominated this year, my sincere and full congratulations! Also, Larry has posted an excellent open letter to the neutral and other parties out there, that also includes some good links to the history of what is going on. I agree with and endorse what he has said, and say to him "Bravo!" Know this is inside baseball to many, but for those who love good books and good writing, it is something to which you DO need to pay some attention. Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
Troops and veterans move into a wide variety of fields, and over at Mission: VALOR is an opportunity for those interested in model, glamor, and fashion photography. Internationally-known photographer David Mecey is conducting one of his Ultimate Photo Workshops, and is offering a discount to troops, veterans, and family members via Mission: VALOR. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
Not a joke this day: If you are in or near the Indianapolis area, you are cordially invited to The Pipe Puffer (cigars and pipes, one of the best selections in the area) across from Greenwood Mall on County Line Road, on Saturday 11 April from 1-5. Master Cigar Roller Leo Peraza will be rolling a limited edition La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli. The Pipe Puffer is veteran friendly, troop supporting, and even has been involved with both Cigars for Warriors and Pipes for Warriors. So, come on by. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
Thanks! Feel free to leave a review at Amazon too. :)
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2015 on Free Short Story at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
If all goes to plan, you can get a free Kindle version of my latest short story for free today through Sunday. If you don't have a Kindle, there are free reader programs/apps for smart phones, tablets, and more. Enjoy. Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
What can I say: RangerUp presents their take on "misremembering" Brian Williams... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
People like him, and Ernie Pyle, are a rarity sad to say. Out of all the reporters covering things now, there are only about five in the mainstream media I trust and tend to read. Thank goodness for Jeff Emanuel, Michael J. Totten, and the milbloggers. While others run them down as biased, I think they did some of the best and most even-handed coverage out there.
Toggle Commented Feb 8, 2015 on For The Record at BLACKFIVE
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I was coated in hydraulic fluid and profoundly grateful as I stumbled bowlegged away from the helicopter. It doesn't matter if it's a 46 or 47 (and I suspect true of any similar make anywhere in the world), you and everything in it gets a fine coating of the fluid. Just the nature of the beast. On the up side, the camera still hasn't needed lubrication since (extra cleanings, yes). As for stumbling, that came from being wedged into place among the other cargo, legs spread far wider than comfortable. I'm not saying that the few of us that made the bird had our legs forcibly spread so wide that porn stars were shocked and awed, but... Yes, it was painful but I was secondary cargo and glad to be able to get out on that particular bird no matter the contortions. In short, not an atypical flight. There were some interesting maneuvers on the Marne Express (and similar flights), but those were to prevent people from being able to easily shoot at us. Being a sick puppy, I found them pretty fun, and they reminded me of some even more interesting rides down at Ft. Rucker back in the day (between those two trees, no, between THESE two trees!). I will not say the Blackhawks are more comfortable than the old Hueys but will note that you can cram a lot more people and gear into them. If anyone shot at myself or any of the units I was with via small arms fire, they either did so using suppressors or from such a distance we could not hear the shot, and were lousy shots. At the time I was there, the largest form of attacks were IEDs, rockets, and mortars. The only time there was the sound of gunfire (other than practice ranges) was in the run up to Operation Browning, and I still wish I could have stayed for that. As for one particular 5 o'clock Charlie, the safest place to be was his known point of aim. Sadly, like most sports pools I enter, my picks as to distance missed/what is actually hit have a dismal success rate. Whoever it was that kept betting on the greater than distance made out like a bandit. Say, wait a minute... For whatever mainstream media still checks us out, Brian Williams is a hint as to why troops neither like nor trust reporters. If you check out the writings by or about dedicated military reporters (Dan Lamothe, Tom Kludt as but two of several articles), you will find that they are livid too. Far more surprised I think than milbloggers, but... I also want to point to this story about Stars and Stripes, the first major publication to investigate and run the story. Note, however, that they were the first old-school media to run it; it was social media/new media that first began to expose it. As for me, my decision to have my "media" badge say "Blogger" instead of press or media was reinforced by hearing more than once about previous mainstream media embeds and pithy discussions of "misremembered" reporting. Giving the number of personal videos and other recordings made, I would not be surprised to see more than Brian Williams be deservedly bitten in the ass for "misremembering" and "misreporting" events. My own opinion is that such extends far beyond military coverage, and the rapid circling of wagons indicates that others see this more than mildly damaging for the media. Kudos to Tom Brokaw for his reported thoughts on the matter, and if Dan Rather has to try to defend you... Crossposted at Laughing Wolf Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
Before anything else, I want to note that I went to the first showing of the movie yesterday, and that the theatre was almost full. It was clear that a number of people there were prior service, and that many of those attending had brought the family with them. It was the most respectful, quiet, and polite audience I have ever experienced in a theatre, and once the movie started not a single cell phone rang, pinged, or made any noise. It was also clear that the dust in the theatre got to most there, and even as the silent credits rolled, the politeness and respectful tones continued. I noted more than one parent talking to their children afterwards, and that such conversations were exploring some very complex topics and helping children (and others) explore some difficult concepts and emotions. The movie is powerful, extremely well done, and respectful to the subject and the subject matter. It was fairly accurate to the book, and while some liberties were taken for dramatic purposes, it was done with respect and with consideration of the whole. Frankly, they were small change in comparison to the faith given the true tale. The acting is superb, and it was almost scary how much Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller look like Chris and Taya. That, in many ways, was just the start of the level or realism to the film. The directing and production were amazing, as was the cinematography. The silence of the credits was a truly masterful touch, one of many in the movie. As for those seeking to tear down the movie and Kyle, most of whom have not seen it (including one major reviewer), well, most here have sworn to (and fought for) their freedom of speech. However, while their right to it is one paid for by those here, there is no obligation to respect ignorant and bigoted opinions, nor the miserable and degraded creatures that hold them. The one review that matters to me comes from Taya, who says they got it right. The movie is powerful, well done, and respectful. It conveys almost frightningly well the cost and pain of war, and of coming home. Bradley more than deserves his Oscar nod, and I have not seen an actor convey so much with just his eyes since Edward Woodward in his prime. Both he and Sienna did so much with just eyes and expression, and in so doing made for truly powerful portrayals. Go. See. It. Now. Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
In addition to my latest book of photography, I have a new short story up on Kindle. A tale of Cold War intrigue involving what many would consider an unlikely partnership, missing nukes, and a B-24 and it's crew with one last combat mission to fly. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
I think you are right. Understand, my French is rudimentary at best and what proper grammar I learned was in elementary school (less said about my limited high school French and the teacher for that, the better as she quit teaching to go try "to convert the French to Christianity"). I've focused more on practical French the last few years, and a good chunk of that involves "colloquialims" of which my French teacher would not have approved. :) I use help when writing, both book and online, and as such I know there are errors.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2015 on Charlie Hebdo, The Short Response at BLACKFIVE
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Pour les porcs d'amour lâches qui n'ont pas la virilité pour plaire à une souris: apporter. Comme vous l'avez semé le vent, vous pouvez récolter la tempête et il peut détruire ce qui vous soutenez. Que le monde et des milliers d'intensifier dessiner et écrire de vous et ce que vous soutenez moquer. Vous avez tué, et peut tuer plus, mais vous ne pouvez pas tuer une idée, et le rire vous moquer encore et de l'écho à travers les âges. Nous ne sommes pas peur, et nous sommes fiers de dire Je Suis Charlie! Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at BLACKFIVE
Wishing you all a wonderful day filled with good things. Photo was taken outside a shop in Doura, Iraq 2007. Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2014 at BLACKFIVE