To Burn or Not to Burn


That is the question when it comes to the Hugo Awards after this year’s petulant, foot-stomping debacle perpetrated by the SJWs and their compliant, cliquish lackeys. All the details are here, including a number of links written by respected authors in the sci-fi community, explaining their views on last weekend’s events. I won’t rehash it here.

An interesting discussion has sprung up post-fiasco, however, which is worth a closer look. It’s the question of whether or not the Hugo Awards can be saved. And by “saved,” I mean “can integrity and professionalism be restored to the Hugo Awards after the weekend’s puerile display, or should the Hugos, WorldCon, and all its childish, sneering arrogance just be allowed to rot on the vine, which is what it is already doing anyway?”

Can an organization that threw deserving, respected, dedicated female editors under the bus with a “NO AWARD” vote rather than see them take home a Hugo, merely because of who happened to support their nomination, be saved?

Can an organization that viciously sneered about this being “the year of the asterisk” – and if you don’t get the joke, the asterisk basically means that the award was somehow tainted, cheating was involved, etc. (Of course, now the callow, derisive jerks claim that the asterisk simply means the Hugos made history this year with the number of attendees… sure.) – be saved?

Can an organization whose  supposed leaders – supposed legends in the science fiction field – told the audience that cheering the “NO AWARD” victory was just fine, but booing it is a no-no, be saved?

Some have rightfully said that the Hugos are beyond saving. When members of a clique deride and jeer a block effort to ensure there was no winner, rather than a winner whose only guilt was endorsement by the “wrong” fan base with the “wrong” politics, it can be rightfully argued that there’s no hope for the organization.

And it’s not as if these childish bullies hid it! Hell, they’re proud of it!

There have been some calls for taking the whole thing down by simply block voting “NO AWARD” for every category. Isn’t this what the childish troglodytes did this past weekend? In their huffy, angry zeal to punish those with whose political views they disagreed, they simply block voted for a “NO AWARD” rather than see authors and editors, who may have been deserving and worthy, take home the prize merely because of who endorsed them.

So what to do?

Burn it all down with block “NO AWARD” voting?

Simply take the ball and go home, leaving the Hugo/WorldCon circle jerk to stroke themselves until their little hands get tired, while creating a new award that focuses on actual skill, artistry, and good literature outside the Hugo construct?

Here’s the thing. I think that regardless of the disgusting display of SJW wankery that the Hugos have become, solid writing, good entertainment, and great storytelling should continue to be nominated. Sad Puppies wasn’t about old, white men, no matter what the shrieking shrews of the WorldCon clique claim. The Sad Puppy slate was more politically diverse than the mostly pasty, white milquetoast progressive winners (the human ones, not the “no award”) who walked away with Hugos this year. Women such as Toni Weisskopf, who got the most votes for best editor (long form) in the history of the award, and who was “no awarded,” because PUPPIES… Writer Megan Grey… editors Anne Sowards and Sheila Gilbert… editor Jennifer Brozek… fan writers Amanda Green and Cedar Sanderson…  And these ladies and gentlemen were nominated without a thought to what their politics were.

That’s what the Hugos were supposed to be about. Great writing. Great art.

What it turned into was the “Plastics” from “Mean Girls” wielding their popularity and willfully keeping others from their clique. Hell, they admitted as much.

And if you allow them to keep doing it, that’s exactly what they will do. The Hugos will be a desiccated carcass of what it was supposed to be. And fans who truly want to see a quality body of work represented will be sorely disappointed.

I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the death of an iconic award by simply refusing to fight. Would you?

If it were up to me, I’d keep nominating the best science fiction works I could possibly find – without regard to gender, race, politics, or anything else. Hell… I’d blindly read the works first and make my decision, and THEN figure out who the author is, if that were possible! But work to nominate the best! And then, if the pathetic plastics keep “no awarding” superlative nominees, then they will succeed in killing off quality and art all by themselves, as well as painting themselves to be the disgusting bigots that they are.

And the Sad Puppies won’t have to do anything but nominate the best works out there, which is what they did in the first place.

But to surrender and let it all just die, allowing them to declare victory?

Or to burn it all down by voting to ensure no winners?

I don’t know… just seems counterproductive and shitty somehow. Unconditional surrender sucks. Fighting for what is right even in the face of concerted prog-screeching seems like the honorable thing to do.

A Different View


As many of you know, I’m an amateur photographer. And by “amateur,” I mean “I sometimes take photos, and they’re sometimes good.” Yes, I was public affairs in the military, and yes, I got some basic training on how to take good photographs. That said, I’m nothing compared to my buddy Blake.

Blake Powers travels a lot, and takes a lot of photos – more and better than I ever could. I provided some edits for the text in “A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007,” and I was really impressed with the depth and texture of the photos.

His latest is beautiful as well, and it includes an introduction by Sarah Hoyt, an award winning science fiction author. “A Different View:  DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour” is another in a series of Blake’s travels in Iraq. It’s not combat photography. It’s not action shots. It’s an intricate look at life beyond combat – the textures, designs, glances, and tastes of Iraq that don’t make the news through the lens of a very talented photographer.

And starting tomorrow, you can get it at a discount price as well!

Give it a look. I think you’ll enjoy it, as well as the short Flight of the Fantasy, which is also great storytelling at a bargain price.


A Long Time Until Now


As many of you know, sci-fi author Michael Z. Williamson and I have been friends for well over a decade now. My memory is faulty, so I can’t remember exactly how we met. I do know that Mike and I have nearly identical political views, and the conversations we have – whether in person, or online – are always fun, sometimes weird, but always interesting in some way. I provided some basic feedback and edits on his novel “Freehold” before it was published and edited by real professionals, and since then, I’ve read every novel Mike has written, as well as reviewed quite a few.

Mike’s latest novel, “A Long Time Until Now” is by far one of his best. It showcases his superb storytelling ability, as well as his knowledge of military operations, and his ability to turn what I consider to be dry research into something readable, fast-paced, and exciting. From the description on Amazon:

Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow, they arrived in Earth’s Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: Imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants. Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have ten people, and know no way home. Then two more time travelers arrive from a future far beyond the present. These time travelers may have the means to get back, but they aren’t giving it up. In fact, they may have a treacherous agenda of their own, one that may very well lead to the death of the displaced in a harsh and dangerous era.

Is the concept new or unique? Probably not. But the style, the writing, the characters, the story… I was hooked from the first page, much like I was when I first read “Freehold.” I understood the characters. I didn’t like some of them, and that’s a sign of a remarkable author – an author who can make characters seem real enough and human enough to make the reader have actual personal feelings for them.

The knowledge of military operations and the need to build an op from the ground up with few resources and a small number of personnel. I’d forgotten how important admins were to a unit. We sometimes look at them as REMFs who sit in their offices playing solitaire and lose our leave paperwork. We sometimes forget that they serve a critical function. Mike reminds us.

Cross training. We sometimes forget how important being a Soldier – first and foremost – is. We focus on our MOS, thinking we probably won’t need to use all those skills they taught us in basic training… combat aid, shooting, all the common tasks every troop should know. But what happens if you’re thrown into an unfamiliar environment, and you have to survive? How much will you remember? And beyond the basic skills of knowing how to put on a tourniquet and starting an IV line? How much do you know about astronomy, land navigation, basic sanitation, cooking, erecting a shelter? Do you know a foreign language? Do you know enough about its roots to adapt that skill to a completely unknown method of communication? Do you know about other cultures – enough to establish a respectful relationship with them, even though they may be something completely foreign compared to anything you’ve ever seen?

All these fields… medicine, history, sociology, foreign languages and culture, geography, astronomy… Mike demonstrates in a stark and emotional way just how critical it is for the modern Soldier to become a well-rounded individual. There’s no skill that our troops should eschew as unnecessary, especially with the current deployment tempo.

The research done for this novel is quite staggering. Mike describes it in an essay on Baen’s site, and it’s enough to make my head spin.

I sought professional papers on the subject. They’re sparse. Still, I read what there was, and quite a bit on other parts of Eurasia. I found one academic in the field who’d respond to my requests for help; Michael Williams (no relation) of the UK was helpful with some other sources and papers. His site is My friends Jessica Schlenker (biologist) and Dale Josephs (research librarian) found a few more. Ross Martinek (petrologist) had some information on terrain and climate. I gathered what I could from all these.


Next, I started experimenting. I learned or refreshed quite a few skills while writing this. I made fire by friction with a firebow and fire plow. I tried several types of bugs, and prefer them cooked. Emily Baehr brought a bag of weeds (that’s plural, okay?) and showed me how to find an entire salad’s worth of greens in temperate biomes, even in residential lawns. I used primitive weapons to bag a few targets. I use bows regularly, and have thrown spears. I tried atl-atls and slings. I knapped some bottle glass.

Then I developed several recipes that will appear in my next collection of stories and articles. How do you cook a tasty meal with minimal spices and no cooking utensils? Well, it turns out you can create quite a few spices and seasonings from plants in the carrot family.

There are a lot of edible plants and quite a few spices in the Apiaceae family. In fact, almost all edible plants come from about six families, and do so in the last 7000 years or so. Before that, there’s some evidence of rice and wheat, and occasional possible evidence of fruit domestication (versus actual agriculture).

If you think any of this is easy, I would urge you to think again. Research in and of itself is a laborious process, but try and synthesize dry scientific data into a fascinating look into what could happen when a group of modern warriors is thrown into a frightening environment that challenges them to utilize every skill they have, as well as develop new ones, while throwing into doubtful chaos some very basic religious and social mores, and you have something special.

That’s what this book is. I’m not saying this because I have a personal relationship with the author. I’m saying this because it’s true.

I’m back, and here’s an update


Those of you who were hoping I’ve died off or got sick of blogging, too bad! I’ve just been working hard at three jobs – you know… Millions of liberals rely on my taxes!

No, I’ve just been tired and busy, and having thyroid issues with no response from my doctor. So I’m off to find a new doctor who will actually call me back with blood test results.

I’ve written several essays for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and there’s a lot of cool stuff going on there.

I wrote a reply to the sniveling, drooling, perpetually outraged and ignorant Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, who claimed an NRA lobbyist should be fired for linking the disarmament of Jews in Nazi Germany to their subsequent mass slaughter and berating Jews who demand disarmament in the US for forgetting that inconvenient fact.

Jews should be the last people to advocate for government control of their means of self-defense and resistance. They should remember the disarmed Jews who were deprived not just of the right to defend themselves, but also their very lives in Nazi Germany. They should remember the abuses they suffered at the hands of the Soviets.

And they should oppose efforts to give the government control of their means of self-defense in the United States, instead of disparaging and belittling those who remind them of what they’ve chosen to ignore and trying to get them fired for stating an inconvenient truth that doesn’t jive with their political agenda.

Brian Judy should not apologize. He should stand strong on his convictions and remind Dvorchik and those like him that those who cannot or will not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

We, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership will never forget.

I wrote a profile of young shooting champ Shyanne Roberts after having a fun conversation with her and her dad Dan for nearly an hour. I consider this sweet, unassuming, determined child the future of gun rights in America, and I’m proud to know her and her family.

I’m still running a fundraiser for the Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) in Northern Virginia. I’ve given them $250 so far to help them work to save homeless, abused, sick and neglected pets. I did it in Mac’s name, and the fundraiser is still up. If any of you can, please do donate and spread the word about the link, because LOVE. For those of you who have already donated, I cannot thank you enough or properly convey my gratitude without literally bursting into tears! Thank you!

Been actively engaging with gun grabbing lunatics on Twitter. And I do mean LUNATICS! If you don’t already, follow @JPFO_Liberty on Twitter. You will see unhinged crazy like you’ve never seen before. It’s hilarious. Trust me.

I can't count or read or put a coherent sentence together, but GUNZ BAD!!!

I can’t count or read or put a coherent sentence together, but GUNZ BAD!!!



I dislike the Second Amendment almost as much as I dislike the First



This is how I debate. No logic. No reasoning. Just spew.



Because telling people who are politely asking you a question about an opinion requires telling them to fuck off. Stayin’ classy!



I’m unhinged, and there’s nothing you can do about it. GUN NUT!

Yeah… I love my job.

Oh, almost forgot. JPFO is running a lot of incredibly cool auctions. Until Tuesday, August 12, you have a shot at winning a unique, gorgeous piece of JPFO history: a Mossberg “Battle of Athens” shotgun once owned by the legendary Aaron Zelman, engraved and ready for you to bid on. As a bonus, the winner of the auction will receive Aaron’s own personal copy of the now out-of-print hardbound book on the Battle of Athens, autographed by author C. Stephen Byrum and dated 9/26/1994. Pretty cool, right?

There’s also a chance to win some autographed novels by passionate gun rights supporters and friends Michael Z. Williamson and Larry Correia, who generously donated their signed books for you to bid on.  I’ve often told Mike that I would kill him off in a few years and make a fortune selling his signed novels on Ebay. He doesn’t take me seriously… I don’t know why!

In other news, the EU finally got off its ass and sanctioned some major Russian banks and individuals who provide weapons and money to the Ukrainian separatist scumbags. In the aftermath of the Malaysian Airlines destruction and the impassioned speech by the Dutch Foreign Minister to the UN Security Council, it’s impossible to imagine that they would do nothing.

The president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and the head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued a joint statement describing the EU measures as a strong warning that “Illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country could not be accepted in 21st-century Europe.

“When the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response,” they said. “The European Union will fulfil its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbours and partners.”

Following a meeting of the emergency Cobra council of ministers on Tuesday, Downing Street said the UK will push for even harsher sanctions against Russia than the ones agreed by the EU if the country does not change course.

Balls. They found them. Good.

As a result, the IMF has cut Russia’s economic growth forecast in 2014 from 1.3 percent to 0.2 percent. Putin doesn’t seem to have been swayed yet. What I’m wondering is how long will the Russians citizens tolerate Putin’s ego getting in the way of economic development before they start revolting full on. They’re certainly used to misery, but when their government promises them to focus on economic development and growth and winds up annexing part of a neighboring country and spending money to destabilize the eastern portion of said neighbor, you have to wonder just how long the nationalism will carry them.

Still love work, although I sometimes feel like a mom rather than a boss. From a conversation with one of my guys, whom I’ll call Pigpen:

Me: dude, I’m not a neat freak but seriously… wrappers, empty Starbucks cups, snot rags, socks…. can we clean up the pigpen?

Pigpen: Uh… OK… I didn’t think it was that bad, but I’ll clean it up.


Pigpen: Look! I cleaned my desk up! (Opens overhead bin) Everything put away!

Bin stuffed full of napkins, random medications, cans of food…

Pigpen: The napkins are clean


Freehold out in hard cover!


Those of you who have been following my writing for a while know I’ve been a fan of Michael Z. Williamson’s work since his first novel hit the shelves. Mike and I have known one another since probably 2001 or so. I knew him when “Freehold” was a rough, libertarian novel on 3 1/2 inch floppy disk! No, I’m not kidding. I have the entire novel on that outdated medium. I joke around with Mike that when he croaks, I’ll sell it on Ebay for a fortune!

The original “Freehold” came out in paperback in 2004, and Mike had to inscribe two copies for me, because my poor, sweet, perpetually hungry, late lab Gilbert ate the first copy.

Well, guess what!

“Freehold” is being is being re-released in a signed, hardcover edition.  This is a one time run, and there will only be about 1000 of them printed, so this is your chance to get one of my favorite books right bloody now! I reviewed “Freehold” back then, and my opinion of the book hasn’t changed since it was first released.

Kendra Pacelli escapes from a human hell — the kind of Earth most dread, but know deep inside that we could become if we continue on our present course. Human beings are controlled by government, by force, tracked, licensed and regulated. The United Nations, corrupt and power-hungry, governs earth with a socialist iron fist. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Kendra escapes to the Freehold of Grainne – a society of a truly free people that refuses to become part of the UN’s domination plans.

In her new home, Kendra learns what it’s like to be truly human – to live, love, work, deserve, achieve and succeed without a power-hungry government controlling her every move. She learns that to be a wholly human means relying on oneself, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and reaping the consequences. She realizes that true freedom is not easy, but worth defending.

As is typical of tyrannies, the UN cannot afford for the Freehold to exist. It cannot afford to allow its enslaved sheep to realize just how subjugated they are. The UN cannot tolerate the existence of a free, uninhibited society, so it attempts to destroy Freehold and the beneficial, successful society its inhabitants treasure.

It is during this war that Kendra learns how much she treasures freedom and what she will sacrifice to preserve it.

So go here. Pre-order the book, and have Mike sign it.

Just don’t let your dog eat it.

Foreign Enemies and Traitors


Many of you who know me personally, know I love apocalyptic entertainment and dystopian literature. I eat up novels such as “Hunger Games,” “the Giver,” and “Divergent.” I was moved to no end by Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451.” I am perpetually glued to the idiot box when the “Walking Dead” is on, and I will watch reruns all day.

It’s not because I love zombies. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even give “Walking Dead” a chance at first, because zombies… meh.

But the show is not about the walking dead. It’s about those still living, and that fascinates me. The thought of an apocalyptic event doesn’t appeal to me, but society’s reaction to it does.  What happens when government completely breaks down in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event? Be it zombies, earthquakes, floods, war or the complete disappearance of electric power (see: Revolution) – what happens when a complete breakdown of law and order occurs? How does government react? How do the people react to the actions of said government?

These are all questions I love to explore, both in literature and in other forms of entertainment.

I’m ashamed to say that I only recently picked up Matt Bracken’s “Foreign Enemies and Traitors” – the final installment of the “Enemies” trilogy.  It’s been a while since Matt sent me my copy of “Domestic Enemies” to read while I was on deployment, and unfortunately, the reviews I had written for both “Enemies Foreign and Domestic,” the first novel in the trilogy and “Domestic Enemies,” perished when I deleted my old blog on the Blogger platform. I should have saved them. Both books were excellent.

But I think Matt outdid himself with this one. It’s not only gripping… you don’t just care about the characters and what happens to them… you don’t want to put the book down.

The story centers on two major events (and a whole lot of minor ones) that lead to the catastrophic breakdown of American society.

First – the economic breakdown resulting from destructive fiscal and redistributionist policies of the government (sound familiar?).

Second – natural disasters: earthquakes and floods.

I don’t want to give anything away, but the results of those events are predictable to any one of us with a shred of logic. They are the rational and expected progression of events, based on the attitudes we are currently seeing in our society.

What happens when you regulate and tax producers out of existence?

What happens when natural disasters cause desperate people to do desperate things?

What happens when local and state authorities are helpless, and can no longer protect and serve?

How far will people go to survive?

What happens to those who are accustomed to living in a cycle of dependence?

Matt answers all of these questions and more in grizzly, realistic detail. He pulls no punches, and he doesn’t sugar coat reality. This is what happens when society breaks down. This is what happens when tyrannical politicians gain control. This is what happens when we give up our rights willingly for a little handouts. This is what happens when we forget how to fend for ourselves and every survival instinct is bred out of us.

This one was really the best of the batch.

Well done, Matt. Well done.

For those of you interested in Russian…

Comments Off on For those of you interested in Russian…

So here I am – week two of intensive Russian in Garmisch. has become my friend, because after an entire of day of speaking nothing but Russian, I’ve begun to forget English. Ergo, when I write, think or dream, I do so in Russian, which is very disturbing when I wake up and tell myself (in Russian) that I was just dreaming.

The weather here has been cloudy, to say the least. However, it’s been cool and breezy, and the air circulating from the alps is so fresh and yummy, I want to actually chew it. There’s a little car tunnel we walk through to get to the DFAC (dining facility for those of you who hate military acronyms). Inside the tunnel there’s a little rivulet of… well… what looks like pee. The rivulet has been there for several days, and looks like it has no hope of drying out. I’ve often wondered what it was when I walked by it.

Turns out, according to my friend Mike, that the rivulet is, in fact, squirrel pee. As a matter of fact, he claims he saw the offending squirrel commit its offense. He says the squirrel was small and black. Problem is that the rivulet is quite large – too big to have been made by a tiny critter such as a squirrel. He, however, insists that he saw the varmint commit the act. Ergo I must believe him, unless he’s just hallucinating from all the fresh air.

So speaking of Russian…

My friend Boris does translations. His current project is to translate a Soviet military manual on knife, unarmed and bayonet combat from Russian to English. For those of us fascinated with Soviet military history, this is a real opportunity, and for those of you who don’t speak Russian, it’s even more so.

Boris plans to raise some funds for this project. He has set up a fundraising site through indiegogo in hopes of being able to abandon his usual translation work in favor of this project. I do think it’s worthwhile, and if you’re interested in Russia’s military history, it’s a true find.

Over the years, the weapons and tools of humanity evolve. Spears. Rifles. Cruise missiles. Drones. But some things stay the same. No matter how advanced the weapons, there is still a need for men to close face to face with their opponent, to engage him in a direct manner. Sometimes there are sentries that must be eliminated. Sometimes a soldier is attacked suddenly, and does not have the time to raise his rifle before he feels the enemy’s breath on his face. Sometimes it the last minutes of the infantry advance, when men stand face to face with their foes. Sometimes it is simple personal defense.

This book had been developed by Red Army martial arts expert, N. N. Simkin, based on the combat experience of Soviet soldiers and sailors as well as NKVD special operatives. He wrote: “In those circumstances where the firearm is unavailable or malfunctioning, or when a soldier must operate in silence – then the knife becomes a powerful defensive and defensive weapon in the hands of a brave warrior, provided he possesses knife-fighting and martial arts skills.”

Ergo, if you’re someone who is interested in Russian tactics, you should definitely go over there and make a contribution to this worthwhile project.

If you’re not, you should go over there and make a contribution anyway, because this is just cool.

Boris also told me that if $600 is not raised within a certain timeframe, your money will be returned to you.

So go, donate, and enjoy!

As for me, I’m going back to class to discuss Navalny and corruption in Russia. In Russian. Until my brain bleeds.

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