Quick road trip

Miss D. and I are heading out for a couple of days, doing a quick writing research trip while she has a couple of days off work.  Blogging will be light for three to four days.  I’ll try to put up something every day, as time allows. Please say a prayer for traveling mercies for us, if you’re so inclined:  and we’ll do the same for all of you traveling this Thanksgiving.  Stay safe out there! Peter

Continue reading

Slings and slingshots can be a lot more dangerous than I thought

I used to play with slingshots as a kid.  In those days, we made our own out of Y-shaped branches we picked up among the trees on Table Mountain, and used strips of old bicycle inner tube (or, on one memorable occasion, my mother’s entire stock of elastic for clothing – she was not amused!) to make the sling.  They could launch acorns, or small pebbles, or nuts from my father’s old-nuts-and-bolts jar, out to 20 or 30 yards.  I never hunted with them, but plenty of other youngsters did (including a younger Lawdog, with hilarious results). I hadn’t realized that slingshots have

Continue reading

Wincing in anticipation . . .

I’m scheduling this post before leaving the house, on the way to a podiatrist to follow up on the foot problem I wrote about some weeks ago.  That led to four toenails being removed.  Unfortunately, they’ve not been healing very well, and a minor infection has caused more issues. The podiatrist told me last week that the problem seems to be something called a “pyogenic granuloma“, a sort of lump or growth in and around the site of the former nail(s), where the flesh isn’t healing properly.  If my toes haven’t sorted themselves out, he’ll have to cut it/them out and

Continue reading

Tab clearing

Several articles and posts caught my eye recently.  In no particular order, they include: On Security Clearances (The Diplomad) Pulling Their Clearances Is Only the Start – It’s Time to Stamp out Elite Privilege (Townhall) Trump Is Not Trying to Silence Brennan.  The president’s strategy is the opposite: to make the former CIA director more prominent and use him as a foil (Bloomberg) Connecting some dots (Reddit – if true, this list of people and their links uncovers the “Swamp Conspiracy” against President Trump more clearly than anything else I’ve read) Top Far Left Organizations Bragged About Working with Facebook and Twitter to Censor and Eliminate

Continue reading

It’s time for the annual Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred

Wichita Falls is about to host the annual Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred cycle race.  It covers a hundred miles around the region in temperatures that, at this time of year, are usually at or over (sometimes well over) a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.  Thousands of riders are pouring into the city, and nervous eyes are scanning the weather forecast (which is presently 103° F – about 39½° C – for Saturday, race day, allowing the event to live up to its name).  For weeks, cyclists have been seen zooming around roads in the region, getting the feel of the course and testing their

Continue reading

Yes, it really is that hot in Texas

Following yesterday’s article about this weekend’s Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred cycle race, a couple of readers asked whether it was really that hot all through summer in northern Texas.  I told them that while there were mild periods, generally we expected our temperatures to hover between 95°F and 105°F all summer long.  This year, June/July was exceptionally hot, with the mercury hitting 114°F one day – a real scorcher. We’re not alone in that.  Southern Texas gets just as hot, and sometimes more so. ROMA, Texas — This week marks the end of the dog days of summer, the 40 hottest days of

Continue reading

Sometimes I hate my muse

Many writers and other creators speak of their “muse” – the nameless, faceless being who inspires us with ideas, spurs us on to translate them from thought to action, and encourages us when we’re staring at the metaphorical blank wall.  I’m here to tell you, my muse can be a fickle bitch. My first published book, “Take the Star Road”, involved a protagonist named Steve Maxwell.  It’s grown into a five-book series, which I titled the Maxwell Saga.  A few months ago, I asked my readers for their views on suspending that series, because I’ve gained a lot of experience, and the limitations

Continue reading

The joys of car-shopping (NOT!)

Miss D. and I finally have a new-to-us set of wheels, after a couple of months of searching. We both have partial physical disabilities;  my lower back and left leg, and her right knee.  That made it very important that whatever we bought had to be comfortable for both of us – and our comfort zones are not alike.  It’s tricky to find a vehicle that “fits” both of us.  One that I like might not suit her, and vice versa.  Added to that is a certain amount of cultural conditioning.  For example, I find minivans very comfortable and practical,

Continue reading

A treat for liqueur connoisseurs in Texas

I’ve mentioned Van Der Hum in these pages before.  It’s a South African liqueur, made from local herbs, naartjie peel (like a slightly bitter tangerine) and honey, all steeped in brandy.  It’s a warm, mellow, smooth (very smooth) drink, and is one of Miss D.’s and my favorite tipples.  We’re very light drinkers – a case of Van Der Hum that I bought back in 2011 lasted us (and several friends) until 2017.  When it ran out, we tried to find more, but it’s not normally imported into this country, so we gave up and tried making our own (recipes are available on the Internet). 

Continue reading

Tugboats at work

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, the so-called “Tavern of the Seas”.  Its harbor hosted vessels from all over the world as they made their way around the Cape of Good Hope.  It boasted several hard-working tugboats, busily bustling from berth to berth as they assisted with the docking and undocking of all sorts of ships.  Their crews and captains were mostly experts at their trade . . . with a few exceptions.  I’ve watched tugs come boiling up to a ship at what looked like a dangerously high speed, only to put their propellers into reverse and come to a

Continue reading