I think I’m in the wrong line of work

I’d do better working in New Jersey’s ports than I would writing books – by more than an order of magnitude! ON THE WATERFRONT, there’s a longshoreman on the books who washes trucks. He gets paid $465,981 a year. To wash trucks. Fired when his bosses discovered he wasn’t actually showing up when he claimed to be working, he nevertheless regained his job—after an arbitrator concluded it was not unusual in the industry for employees to be paid “without being expected to work all the hours for which they are being paid.” . . . Part of the reason for

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Stuff, according to George Carlin

Yesterday I wrote about Americans’ accumulation of “stuff”, and how they deal with it.  A commenter pointed me to one of comedian George Carlin‘s performances, where he comments on that issue.  It’s a lot less profane than many of his rants, so I’ll post it here.  He still uses a few less-than-polite words, so if you’re easily offended, you might want to skip it;  but it’s a very amusing performance. A few e-mailed comments from male readers, following yesterday’s article, alleged that the “stuff” problem in their homes was largely due to their wives and daughters, not to the men

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More 3D printed houses, with some unique designs

A project in the Netherlands is pioneering a new design of 3D “printed” house, using concrete “frothed” to the consistency of whipped cream.  It’s called Project Milestone.  You can read more about it at the link;  and here’s a video report. Looks interesting from the outside, but I hope the interiors would have more in the way of straight lines and squared-off corners . . . otherwise getting furniture to fit against the walls will be interesting, to put it mildly! Peter

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Low, fast and stupid

This video, apparently dating from 2014, shows a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-24 (a Soviet equivalent to the US F-111) making a very low, very fast pass over other Ukrainian aircraft at the Starokostiantyniv air base. At that speed, and that (lack of) height, one slip and he’d have been a smear of metal and strawberry jam on the earth . . . Peter

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Hobbit shrimp???

I daresay the shade of J. R. R. Tolkien is laughing at this news. A student at the Netherlands’ Leiden University named Werner de Gier recently [discovered] … a pair of new shrimp species during a research project for his bachelor’s degree. One of the species was unique in that it had hairy feet and not one to let such an opportunity slip by, de Gier and his supervisor, Charles H. J. M. Fransen, decided to honor one very special hobbit. The shrimp’s official scientific name is Odontonia Bagginsi, which as you might have guessed is a nod to one

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“The Stones of Silence”

The first novel in my “Cochrane’s Company” trilogy, “The Stones of Silence“, is now available in print, as well as in e-book format.   The second book in the trilogy, “An Airless Storm”, will be published next Monday, June 11th, initially in e-book format, with print to follow.   The third and final volume in the trilogy, “The Pride of the Damned”, will follow on July 9th, “the good Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise”. Again, the e-book edition will come first, followed by the dead tree edition.   I hope you enjoy them all! Peter

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Thank you, readers!

Last Thursday I asked those who’ve read my books, particularly the Maxwell Saga, to give me their views on whether, and/or how, to continue that series, or replace it, or take another direction.  As I write these words, there have been 40 comments on that post, and I’ve received 23 e-mails offering additional perspectives.  That’s a great response!  Thank you all very much. The consensus seems clear.  I’ll include Steve Maxwell as a “visiting character” in other books and series, as he continues his rise up through the ranks in the Lancastrian Commonwealth Fleet, but I won’t pursue the Maxwell

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A new book cover, computer vision syndrome, and lots of hard work

Writing a military science fiction trilogy as a whole, publishing the books within a few weeks of each other, is turning out to be a whole lot more work than I’d bargained for!  Not only does one have to format and prepare each book for publication, but one has to ensure a common structure, “look and feel”, etc. across all three volumes – otherwise the trilogy becomes an exercise in frustration for readers, who get used to one format in the first book, then have to suddenly adapt to a new one in the next volume.  That doesn’t make for

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