Posted in Quotes


If there hadn’t been women we’d still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends.   Orson Welles

George Orson Welles ( May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, writer, and producer who worked in theatre, radio, and film. He is remembered for his innovative. work in all three: in theatre, most notably Caesar (1937), a Broadway adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s Julius Caesar; in radio, the legendary 1938 broadcast “The War of the Worlds“; and in film, Citizen Kane (1941), consistently ranked as one of the greatest films ever made.



Posted in Quotes


A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle.    Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Swift is remembered for works such as A Tale of a Tub (1704), An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity (1712), Gulliver’s Travels (1726), and A Modest Proposal (1729). He is regarded by the Encyclopædia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. He originally published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel GulliverIsaac Bickerstaffthe Drapier – or anonymously. He was a master of two styles of satire, the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

His deadpanironic writing style, particularly in A Modest Proposal, has led to such satire being subsequently termed “Swiftian”.


Posted in Tending the Stones for the Lock

Tending the Stones for the Lock, XXIX

29th part of the new weekly story.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25) (Part 26)


Meredith put her feet up on the ottoman and looked around the lavish home.  She saw that the owner was rich and glancing out the window she saw Soysan from a different angle then she was used to so that placed her somewhere north and east of Camp Casey. Like most larger Korean homes this place was more like a walled compound, but unlike most this one had the added feature of men and women guards armed with automatic weapons.  She had counted at least five different guards in addition to the seven that had been on the plane from Japan.  For the thousandth time she wondered what her mother had gotten involved in.

No time for a pity party Meredith told herself.  Work the problem, she was in Korea under armed guards by people that may be crazy believing in magic but they were not stupid and they were well funded.  She decided to label her assets.  One, she was in a country she knew, as opposed to Japan where she did not even know what part of the country she was in.  Two, her mother knew she was in trouble, so some sort of help was coming.  Three, she was healthy and could run if she had to.  She did not delude herself that she could overpower any of these guards, even the women who all looked to be in great shape and were armed.  Meredith looked around the room again, Mr. Red was sitting in the room with her, she did not know his real name but he always seemed to have something red on his person;  a red tie, a red handkerchief, a red shirt. He was also the most serious of the guards, where the others would play cards or at least nod hello Mr. Red said nothing and while he we did not look at her in a menacing way, he did not look at her at all, he just continually scanned the room, left to right, wall to wall, up to down, floor to ceiling always scanning.  Meredith had been very bored one time and watched him, for the first half hour he scanned with only his eyes, then the second half of the hour he scanned by turning his head.  The man was more machine like than human, she wondered what had made the way turn out this way.


“They are here.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“They are at a private residence about a ten minute car ride away from the temple.”

Mrs. Emily nodded again.

“Your daughter was seen safe and well as of last night, one of our people saw her sitting down reading a book.”

Mrs. Emily perked up at this.  “How?”

Hans smiled.  “A child’s toy, a drone with a camera. Unlikely that we will be able to use that method again as they knocked if from the sky with a spell.”

“In broad daylight.”  Mrs. Emily said a bit startled.

“Actually it was twilight and they camouflaged it with some fireworks.”  Hans replied.

“They are evil but they are not stupid.”  The High Pilgrim said refreshing his tea

Mrs. Emily nodded and looked around the room. She smiled at Hans at he took his place at the table.  The group was sitting around a large round table in a friendly restaurant they had set up shop in.  They were only a few miles from Soyosan and word had been sent that they would meet at the holy site tomorrow.  “Is everyone sure of the plan now that we know that Meredith is safe?”

There were enthusiastic nods and affirmative answers around the table.  All positives responses except for Brodie who did not nod very enthusiastically but as if to go along with the crowd.  Mrs. Emily noted that and had already planned on talking to him alone.

The High Pilgrim spoke.   “Very good, very good.”  He smiled.  “I will be meditating most of the night if anyone would like a blessing in the morning I will be in small park across the street before we leave.”   There were a few nods around the table as the older man rose and then his two monks followed him out the door.

The group began to rise as well and Brodie came over to Mrs. Emily side.  “I would like to get you back to the room and take our readings for the day.”  Mrs. Emily smiled and was escorted out of the restaurant and next door to the hotel they were staying in.

The two of them walked to thru the lobby and to the elevator.  Mrs. Emily spoke once the doors were closed.  “Nervous about tomorrow?”

Brodie simply nodded his head.

“Well you being the only one Meredith knows on the peninsula I thought you were the most logical choice to do it.”

Brodie nodded again. “I understand the logic but I am still nervous.”

The doors opened and they exited towards their rooms.  “That is very understandable but once we get Meredith back we are going to fly back to California.”

They reached Mrs. Emily’s room and Brodie opened the door.  “But we have, I mean you have more work to do, more sites to visit.”

Mrs. Emily sat down at at the desk chair. “Oh I will get back to them eventually but I have to take care of my daughter and you to.”  She said and patted the man’s hand.  Brodie continued with his checks of her health and shook his head.  “Something wrong?”

Brodie shook his head again.  “No your are as healthy as the day I met you, pulse, blood pressure even your temperature is normal, that is not right.”

“Oh Brodie dear Brodie I have been living with this stress for so long it has become my normal.”

Brodie sat down on the bed and put away his instruments, Mrs. Emily watched him.  “Something else is bothering, not just what is going to happen tomorrow, not my health, something else.”

Brodie nodded.

“What is it Brodie?”

“When we started to travel around.”  He trailed off.

“Yes Finland, then the Ferry when you started to understand what was going on around you with magic being real.”

Brodie paused and Mrs. Emily let the silence stand.  The silence lasted a little while and Brodie spoke up.  “I started to keep my own stats, Blood pressure and all that.”

“A smart thing to do.”  Mrs. Emily stated.

“Well my pressure was always high, but then a funny thing started to happen.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“It started to come down in Mongolia.”

Mrs. Emily nodded.

“And since we landed here in Korea my pressure has been almost normal.”

The words lingered there for a few minutes and then Mrs. Emily spoke. “And this bothers you?”



“Because I am getting use to all this.”  Brodie said motioning around the room but Mrs. Emily knew he meant the travel, the stolen CIA plane, meeting a dragon and learning that magic was real.

Mrs. Emily smiled tenderly and walked over to the bed and sat down next to him and put an arm around him in a motherly way.  “It is going to be all right my boy.  It is going to be alright.”

Brodie sighed and leaned on the older woman who seemed so strong.  A couple of weeks ago he might have cried, but her words comforted him.  Brodie sighed again.

Mrs. Emily stood up.  “Holly, Austin and Sally are waiting for you downstairs, they want to explore Tongducheon maybe do some shopping, to see what there is to see.”

“I was just going to go to my room and turn in early.”  Brodie said standing knowing he was being dismissed for the night.

Mrs. Emily lead him to the door. “You were going to your room and read Chaucer, and not sleep.  Go out get some air and keep those three out of trouble, and tell Sally she is not to have any rice wine, remind her she has to fly in the morning.”

And with that Brodie found himself in the hallway and he heard the dead bolt get thrown on the door.

Brodie shook his head in his normal disbelief in Korea the night before this show down with the Opposition, well when in Tongucheon when the going gets tough the tough go shopping.

Tune in next week for THE SHOWDOWN.

Coming up on the end folks, hope you liked this, someday I may turn it into a complete book, a few things I will changes, but a nice little story that I have enjoyed writing.

Posted in Quotes


I deliberately did not read anything about the Vietnam War because I felt the politics of the war eclipsed what happened to the veterans. The politics were irrelevant to what this memorial was.    Maya Lin

Maya Ying Lin (born October 5, 1959) is an American designer and artist who is known for her work in sculpture and land art. She achieved national recognition at the age of 21 while still an undergraduate at Yale University when her design was chosen in a national competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is considered one of the most influential memorials of the post-World War II period. Lin has completed designs for other memorials, as well as for numerous public and private buildings, landscape design, and sculpture. Although Lin’s most well known sculptures and architectural work are historical memorials, she also works to memorialize nature through her environmentally themed works. In creating works which deal with the depleting environment, Lin aims to raise awareness for the environment for audiences in urban spaces.

Posted in Quotes


Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.    Charles M. Schulz

Charles Schulz, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 26, 1922, launched his comic strip Peanuts in 1950. Featuring hero Charlie Brown, over the years the strip would run in more than 2,000 newspapers and in many languages. Peanuts also expanded into TV specials like the Emmy-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as books and a huge merchandise collection. Schulz died on February 12, 2000.

American cartoonist and illustrator Charles M. Schulz (1922 – 2000) draws at a drafting table in his home, Sabastopol, California, 1967. (Photo by Bill Ray/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)


Posted in Stories from the Fleet, The Outfitters Universe

The Goldbricker

Fake gold bar tungsten“And that is how I saved George Washington’s life.”

“No way.

Miles held up his hand.  “Right hand up to God, upon my dear mother’s soul it happened just they way I have told you.”

Some of the people in the kneeling in the corridor rolled their eyes while one or two nodded in agreement.

One who rolled his eyes and now waved his hand dismissively.  “If you did something as significant as saving George Washington’s life then you would not have been snatched.”

Miles had heard this before and came back with a well thought out answer.  “But you see I did that before I was snatched away so therefore the rest of my life was not going to amount to anything in the Outfitter’s eyes.  Besides the Outfitters knew I would be much better use out here. ”

Again the eyes rolled.  “Yeah right fuel man.”

Miles looked back at him with a smug look then spoke.  “Yeah I am just a fuel man, making my deliveries in and out of ships, blending in, talking to all sorts of people on all kinds of different ships.”  The Marine was about to say something but Miles stopped him with a raised hand.  “Never mind about that last part I am just a fuel man. ”

The Marine waived his hand dismissively.

Miles was about to say something when the door to the hangar bay  opened and a medical team came rushing past with a patient on a stretcher.   Some of the people in the corridor simply watched, others made the sign of the cross and others made other motions with their hands.  The talkative Marine was one of them that made the sign of the cross.

“He will make it through, I read his aura it is very strong.”  Miles stated.

Another Marine who had not spoken yet but had rolled his eyes spoke now with  some anger.  “Shut up you big fat liar.”

“No really I can read auras my mother was a gypsy and she had the gift.”  Miles was about to start telling another story when the Marine’s Lt. yelled.  “On your feet Marines we are heading directly to the transport and getting off this ship.”

Miles stood with the Marines, mostly to just get closer to the wall so he would be out of the way.

“Move out.”  The order was shouted and Miles pressed himself flatter against the wall and watched the Marines jog past him, but not so fast that he did not see the look of contempt coming from the two Marines  they brushed past.

Miles smiled no need for him to run, he was just going to get on his ship then back to the Star Digger, no need to hurry.  He strolled in the direction of his ship looking around at the current chaos that was the landing bay, he counted two wrecked ships, Sharks he thought.   A Traffic Control Officer stopped him and told him to move his ship the sooner the better.  Miles nodded and continued towards his ship and pressed the ramp activation and as he looked around he noted the clean up crew scrubbing down the deck nearby with a laser brush.  He walked over and looked over what they were doing.

“You missed a spot.”  Miles stated.

Ten minutes later the same Traffic Controller’s Office stomped over.

Miles held up one fingers motioning for him to give him a minutes and Miles continued to talk. “And after I sold him the brushes I said, ‘Hey Michelangelo everyone paints on walls why don’t you paint somewhere original’ and I pointed up to the ceiling.”

There were a few nods around the assembled group.

“Refueling Tech if I have to tell you again I will write you up, now get your ship out.”  The Ensign said more forcefully now.

“Okay Ensign I am going,”  Miles turned back to his audience and in a wise and serious tone stated.  “Just remember always think outside the box.”

Miles walked away with the Traffic Control Officer glaring at him.  He saw that the ramp had gone up again, he was about to push the button when the familiar whine began and the lamp lowered.

“Lucy I am home.”  Miles said going up the ramp.

“Your presence is requested on the bridge Miles.”   The general labor droid said as Miles closed the ramp.

“Jeeves you are a good man.”

The general purpose droid stared at him unblinking.  “Sir I must remind you that I am not a man and my name is Carson.”

Miles reached out and patted the mechanical man on his shoulder.  “Whatever you say Jeeves.”

Miles stopped by the gallery on his way to the bridge and grabbed a sandwich along with a bottle of ice tea.

He arrived on the bridge and slid into the copilots seat placing his sandwich on the console.

“Do not place that sandwich on the console.”  The words came out as a hiss.

“Hey no mayo on this one, just some mustard.”  Miles said defensively.

“Strap in we got the greenlight to leave twenty minutes ago.”

Miles took another bite of his sandwich and began to strap in.  He had barely strapped in when they began to move and even though he could not hear the chatter from Traffic Control because he did not have his headphones on yet he could Fahad was getting an earful.

“Yes Traffic Control we have everything locked down and will be out of your airspace in a few short minutes. ”

Miles could not help him space.  “Its not technically ‘airspace’ it is the vacuum of space.”  He shut up when Fahad gave him a sour look.   Miles looked around at the panels and noted everything was set correctly and there were no current problems so he finished his sandwich and then sipped slowly on the bottle of iced tea as he watched Fahad drive the ship off the Aid Ship the Charles Drew.   He put on his headphones but did not bother turning on the piloting channel instead he pulled up the internal viewing monitors and flipped through the channels.  He found the Ensign laying face down in the Engineering section in a hastily hung hammock with an empty bottle on the floor underneath her.  “How do you fall asleep face down in a hammock?”  Miles asked out loud.

Fahad huffed.  “You do it after drinking a quart of rot gut whiskey.”

“Is she alive?”  Miles said looking for some sign of movement from their Commanding Officer.

Fahad punched a button and a heart beat monitor was superimposed on the screen, the woman’s heart rate showed  a steady seventy beats per minute.

“When did you rig that up?”  Miles asked.

“When you were off gallivanting around.”

“Gallivanting around, I will have you know I was doing important work, gathering information and gauging the mood of the troops, establishing a baseline of morale for my report.”

Fahad rolled his eyes.

Miles watched the Ensign sleeping for a few more minutes and then turned off the screen.  “Do you need any help plotting a course to the Star Digger?”

Fahad shook his head.  “You know I never leave the deck unless I have a route already plotted along with two alternate routes, so no I do not need any help plotting the course.”

“Well in that case I have to go to the head.”  Miles said as he started to undo his restraint straps.

“No Miles I do mind, I have been sitting in this seat for the last two hours supervising the offloading and then waiting for you to return, I need to get up for a little bit, so you can just sit here and monitor the cockpit while I go back and get something to eat and use the head.”  Fahad said getting up from his the pilots seat.

“Okay, okay I am sorry you go do what you need to do and I will take control of the ship.”

“Don’t touch anything, just call me if something changes.”  Fahad said leaving the bridge.

“You know I am fully qualified to fly this ship.”  Miles said calling at the back of Fahad.  Miles sat alone on the bridge for a few minutes before he put his headphones on the ship board operations channel.  “Candy my dear are your there?”

The first sound from the positornic brain was not a sigh but Miles could have sworn the whole sentence came out in a sigh.  “Technician Two Miles Gray this is the thirty-third time I have told you my name is Candace, not Candy and as always I am always monitoring this channel what do you need assistance with at this time?”

“I just wanted to check to make sure Fahad plotted in the best course back to the Star Digger.”

“Technician One Fahad has plotted the most efficient course back to the Star Digger that is both direct and efficient, I am guessing that is what you mean by the best.”  Candace replied.

Miles bobbled his head as he spoke.  “Yeah I guess but do we go by anything interesting on our way back?”

Candace responded.  “What do you mean by interesting, we pass by three navigational beacons and one moon on the legs of two of our hyperspace jumps. ”

“Candy baby I want to see some action or at least some shooting, is there any routes that take us by any live fire exercises, does the moon we pass have a bombing range on it?”

Candace replied more quickly than a human could.  “The moon has targets for both suborbital and orbital bombardments.  ”

“Good, good, how long till we reach this moon?”

“Thirty two hours, but no bombardment practice is scheduled until ten hours after we make our pass.”

“That is no good.”  Miles said taking off his boots and putting his stocking feet up on the console.  “Can you slow down the first leg of our route so we arrive just as the bombing run is starting.”

“That would mean changing Technician Fahad’s carefully laid route.”

Miles shrugged.  “Candy who is of a higher rank Technician Fahad or myself.”

The pause before the answer, it was very noticeable this time. “You are Technician Gray.”

“Very good, make the changes.”  Miles said then turned off the Operations channel and started watching  a series of Three Stooges shorts on the screens of the bridge. ”

Fahad came back twenty minutes later.  Miles was concentrating on the Curly who was having some difficulties with a pipe so he did not pay much attention to the returning pilot.  “What did you do?”  Fahad asked as he sat down in the pilot’s seat.

“Nothing.”  Miles said.

“You changed the course I laid out.”  Fahad said.

“Just a little bit, if we slowed down we could watch a run on that bombing range on this moon.”  Miles said reaching  towards the navigation screen and pointing out the moon.

“We do not have time to slow down, we have got to get back to the Star Digger and get another load.”

Miles snorted.  “That is all we ever do.”

“That is our job you donkey brained idiot.” Fahad said increasing his volume a bit.

“It only adds about twelve hours to our course.”  Miles said defensively.

“Twelve hours, twelve hours.”  Fahad repeated his face turning red.

Miles shrugged.

“Allah why am I being punished?”  Fahad said looking upwards.

“Punished?”  Miles said.  “All I am trying to do is add a little excitement to our life.”

Fahad slapped his hands to his head and rubbed his buzz cut hair several times.  “Did you not see those two sharks that crashed back on the Charles Drew, in case you have not noticed the war is picking up, attacks are more frequent and we are a large slow moving target that any Alarian would love to shoot up.”

“Yeah but that bombing range is way off the beaten path and it is New Fleet personnel doing the bombing so we should see misses and stuff.”  Fahad stopped rubbing his head and stared at the more Senior Tech not saying a word.   Miles shrugged. “What?”  Fahad continued to stare and Miles started to get uncomfortable. “What?”

Fahad finally spoke.  “I am seriously beginning to suspect there is something mentally wrong with you.”

Miles shook his head. “There is nothing wrong with me.” Fahad continued to stare at Miles.  Miles waved a hand dismissively.  “I am going back to get another sandwich.”   He said unstrapping and leaving the bridge on his way out he heard Fahad talking to Candy changing their course again.

Miles grabbed a sandwich and then wandered back towards engineering where he found the Ensign in the same position he had seen her in earlier.  He sniffed at the empty bottle underneath the hammock and shuddered at the terrible odor.  “Hey Ensign are you okay?”  Miles said rocking the hammock gently.  Nothing, well actually she was snoring very softly.  Miles shrugged.



“Miles get in the turret.”

“Huh?”  Miles said waking up in his bunk.  The ship shuddered and then the alarms started to go off signifying a ship wide pressure change.  Miles made it up to topside ball turret while the alarms continued and the ship continued to shake.  “What is going on?” Miles yelled strapping in.

“We are under attack you idiot start shooting.”

Luckily Fahad had already powered up the guns and Miles activated the targeting system.  “Is the Ensign on the rear turret?”  Miles said as he scanned the front area of the ship for targets.

“No. She is still passed out in the Engine room.”

“Oh crap.”  Miles said.   Miles scanned and then scanned again, he caught glimpse of an Alarian two person fighters occasionally on the peripheral areas of the scanner but they never got near  enough so he could shoot.  He was about to access the targeting scanners in the rear turrets when a new alarm started to sound.   “Fahad what is going on?”

“We got trouble.”  Fahad shouted.  “Suit up.”

Miles looked around.  Suit up, he had no idea where his space suit was.  Lights began to flicker and his powered chair in the turret sputtered to a stop and the targeting scanner bipped off, unstrapping himself he climbed down and found and emergency locker where he pulled out an trauma suit which could double as a makeshift environmental suit in a pinch.

“Abandon ship, abandon ship.”  The voice of Candace came over all the speakers on the ship.  Miles was about to start running for the closet escape pod when the gravity plates went out and he was slammed into the ceiling and everything went black.


Fahad looked over Miles his vitals were good although from the readouts on the medical scanner the technician had a concussion.  Served him right thought Fahad the guy was a terrible soldier with no sense of duty, the man was a horrible technician with no pride in any work that he did if he did any, and he was a worthless excuses for a human being who only thought of himself.   Fahad shook his head.  The ship had been falling apart, power was gone, back up power was blown out in fifty percent of the ship and the Alarians were still pounding the defenseless ship with occasional blasts.  Fahad had found the Ensign first and stuffed him in an escape pod, he was still not sure if she had made it.  Then he had gone back and found Miles, he was floating unconscious with the stupid makeshift environmental suit about to give out when he stuffed him into the remaining escape pod.

“Escape pod Charlie fiver, niner, two, two come in.”

Fahad let out a breath finally someone was calling.  “This is escape pod to last calling station we have two on board.”

“Roger escape pod you have been marked and will be picked up by a Q Runner in less than twelve hours.”

“Roger pick up, has Escape Pod Fiver, Niner, two, one been located.”

“Affirmative, life signs of one, but no response to any hails.”

“Most likely the Ensign is injured.”  Fahad said, not bringing up the injury was self inflicted by a bottle of one hundred proof.  Fahad was relieved that the Ensign was alive but then a little upset, if she was alive that meant she could command another ship, or at least still be an officer and with the limited positions on the Star Digger Fahad could be working for her again.  Fahad looked over at Miles, worse than that he could be working with both of these fools again, Fahad shook his head .  Fahad had two hours of blissful silence before Miles woke up.

“Did anyone get the number of that truck that hit me?”  Miles asked.

“Our ship was destroyed, you are in an escape pod, the Ensign is in another and she if alive, we have been marked for retrieval by a Q Runner, estimated time of retrieval within ten hours. ”

Miles nodded.  “Very good concise report Technician Fahad remind me to put that on your personnel report next time.”

Fahad rolled his eyes.

“Did I ever tell you how I was adrift in the South Pacific in World War Two.”  Mile said reaching for an emergency rations pack that was sitting in front of Fahad.

Fahad shook his head and asked out loud. “Why merciful Allah do you hate me?”







Posted in Quotes


Calculators can only calculate – they cannot do mathematics.     John A. Van de Walle

Dr. John A. Van de Walle was a well-known mathematics educator and the author of Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally, a book that continues to be a popular text and resource for teaching grades K-8 mathematics.

John A. Van de Walle graduated cum laude from Bellarmine College in 1965 with a degree in mathematics, earned his master’s degree in mathematics at St. Louis University in 1967, and earned his doctoral degree in mathematics education from Ohio State University in 1972.  He spent most of his career-29 years-at Virginia Commonwealth University where he taught mathematics education to preservice and in-service teachers. He retired in 2002 as a professor emeritus, but he continued to write and work with teachers to promote mathematics education.

Dr. Van de Walle also served as a consultant to various school systems in the United States and Canada. He was an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and served on its board of directors from 1998 to 2001. He once said, “It is fun to figure out the puzzle of how children go about making sense of mathematics and then how to help teachers help kids.”

Dr. Van de Walle died at home on December 2, 2006.