In memoriam: Christopher Stasheff

I was sad to learn that fantasy and SF author Christopher Stasheff died a few days ago. I was first exposed to Mr. Stasheff’s work back in 1979.  His first book, “The Warlock In Spite Of Himself“, enchanted me (you should pardon the expression), and, with its several sequels, remains one of my favorites to this day. Later, I discovered his “A Wizard in Rhyme” series, which has been a constant pleasure.  Both are in my bookshelves as I write these words.  Mr. Stasheff had a wry, snarky sense of humor, and loved to sneak jokes, puns, etc. into his

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From a man of peace to a fanatical terrorist torturer and murderer

The BBC has a chilling article about “a man of peace” who was radicalized into terrorism, torture and murder. [Khaled] told the BBC [that], when the Syrian revolution drew its first breaths in 2011 he was a man of peace, “a bit religious, but not too strict”, with a job organising pilgrimages. “It was an amazing feeling of freedom mixed with fear of the regime,” he says, recalling the first day he joined the anti-government protests. “We felt that we were doing something to help our country, to bring freedom and to be able to choose a president other than

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A moral, ethical and behavioral quandary

I note that members of the BDSM community (involving such unsavory topics as bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism & masochism) are frustrated by the publicity surrounding the resignation of New York State Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman. Many members of what’s widely known as the kink community are outraged that Eric Schneiderman, in resigning as New York’s attorney general, depicted his alleged violence toward several women as “role-playing and other consensual sexual activity.” Aficionados of kinky sex noted that Schneiderman’s accusers insisted they had given no consent — which is considered obligatory among most practitioners of kink. The story brought new

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New York in 1911 – history captured on film

I’m obliged to The Last Tradition for publishing the link to this footage of New York City in 1911, which has been very nicely restored.  For history buffs, it makes fascinating viewing. It’s sobering to think that everyone in those images is dead by now.  I wonder what they would have said if they could have foreseen World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and so on?  Those storm clouds would not have been even a shadow on the horizon in 1911 . . . I wonder whether, 107 years from now, someone will be viewing video (or

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Our police had a wild time yesterday

As I was filling our vehicle with gas before we left for our road trip yesterday, Miss D. and I witnessed an absolute flood of police vehicles charging through surface streets in our area, all ending up on Highway 287 heading east.  I personally counted no less than 15 cars and SUV’s, all with lights and sirens, from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Wichita County Sheriff, a couple of local police departments, and a few unmarked units for good measure, all tearing up the tarmac. Turns out they were involved in a very nasty incident involving a man and

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Antidepressants: is the cure worse than the disease?

Two recent articles have raised questions over the safety of long-term antidepressant use. First, the New York Post reports on a lady who claims that antidepressants both saved her life, and destroyed it. By the time Lauren Slater was 24, she had been hospitalized five times for attempted suicide. She was deeply depressed, she cut herself and she obsessive-compulsively tapped objects to calm her overtaxed nervous system. So when Prozac came on the market in 1988, her psychiatrist recommended she try it. . . . She filled her prescription, and the result was “the most miraculous thing that ever happened

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Walking the medieval way

YouTube user Roland Warzecha has produced an interesting video on this subject.  He’s disabled embedding, but you can view it at this link.  Recommended. He’s listed the video as “outdated”, saying: I have learned a lot about this topic ever since this video was recorded, and consider the presentation incomplete now, which is why it is not listed any more. However, his updated video is restricted to his Patreon subscribers, and isn’t available for public viewing;  therefore, I’ve chosen to link the earlier version.  Even if he regards it as “incomplete”, it’s an interesting concept.  I agree with his comments

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One of the saddest headlines I’ve ever read

I was not so much surprised as deeply saddened to read this headline and report the other day. Man strangled woman during sex just two hours after they met Mark Bruce, 32, met 20-year-old Chloe Miazek at a bus stop in the early hours of the morning on November 3 last year after they had been on separate nights out in Aberdeen. She died at his hands when he choked her after they were said to have discovered a mutual interest in erotic asphyxiation. Miss Miazek, a Tesco worker from Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, had been drinking with friends in the city

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It helps to read what is said, rather than jump to conclusions

I’ve been pilloried by some readers for my article this morning on facts and truth, particularly in the light of my earlier articles on the situation in South Africa.  A sampling of some responses: This kind of sanctimonious posturing is the reason I rejected the faith for so long … we can dispense with the politically correct virtue signalling. You aren’t fooling me one bit… . . . Sentiment is the reason that you are an African apologist. . . . The problem with your cultural relativity–“The same goes for our dealings with other races, societies, cultures and nations. They

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Whether we call them refugees or migrants, they’re coming – and they won’t stop

Two recent articles have highlighted the reality of modern so-called “refugees” – in reality, most of them are economic migrants – who are flooding into the First World any way they can.  Having lived and/or worked in some of the worst affected areas from which the migrants are coming, I think I can provide an informed perspective on them. First, New Republic focuses on the migrant flow through South America, and tells the story of several individuals.  Here’s a brief excerpt from a lengthy article. Today, more than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes—a

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