Boycotting Adam Baldwin

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This from Instapundit today:

SO LEFTY SOCIAL-JUSTICE WARRIOR TYPES WILL BE BOYCOTTING SUPANOVA BECAUSE ADAM BALDWIN WILL BE THERE.

It’s a lie, though. As anyone who has attended Dragon*Con for the last decade or more can tell you, Adam Baldwin never actually shows up at cons. But maybe we’ll get lucky and this crowd of clowns will “boycott” Dragon*Con this year, too.

Happy Birthday, Morgon!

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"Wishing Only Wounds the Heart" by Morgon Newquist

“Wishing Only Wounds the Heart” by Morgon Newquist

Today is my wife, Morgon’s, birthday! How about wishing her a Happy Birthday by picking up her short story, Wishing Only Wounds the Heart, for FREE today and leaving her a review on Amazon.com! It won’t cost you anything except your time – and not much of that, because it’s a quick read. And besides, what better way could you spend your time than reading a good story?

Second Chances now available!

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"Second Chances" by K Bethany Sawyer

“Second Chances” by K Bethany Sawyer

The latest from Silver Empire, Second Chances by K Bethany Sawyer is available NOW from the Amazon Kindle Store!

A father wrestles with his daughter’s fate as she lies in a coma. He can save her body – but can he save her soul?

Pick up your copy today for only $0.99! You won’t want to miss this award winning story from an up-and-coming author!

"Wishing Only Wounds the Heart" by Morgon Newquist

“Wishing Only Wounds the Heart” by Morgon Newquist

While you’re at the Amazon store anyway, drop in and pick up Wishing Only Wounds the Heart. It’s currently ranked #5 in “Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 30 minutes (12-21 pages) > Science Fiction & Fantasy,” so you know you don’t want to miss it! And this weekend only, it’s FREE!

So drop in today and pick up both stories for only $0.99! And don’t forget to leave reviews!

Ukrainian Ceasefire Violated

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It took even less time than I expected for us to see the Ukrainian ceasefire violated.

The city of Debaltseve effectively fell to rebel fighters days after the cease-fire was signed last week with the heavy involvement of European leaders.

I’m shocked, shocked to see that Putin signed a cease fire he didn’t intend to live up to.

But U.S. lawmakers say the latest developments only underscore the need for greater involvement by the U.S. and its allies.

Do they want a world war? Because that’s how world wars get started.

A Brief History of Time

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Once upon a time (round about 2002 or so – ancient times) I had this little blog. Only the term “blog” hadn’t been invented yet. It was a “weblog” back in those days. Good blogging software hadn’t been invented yet, either. Nor had affordable web hosting. This little blog was put together by hand. Updates were coded by hand. New posts were coded by hand… Affordable web hosting wasn’t really a thing then, either. So it was hosted on a recycled computer running Linux and Apache in my spare bedroom. I used a dynamic DNS remapper to cover the fact that my ISP didn’t provide me with a static IP address.

Then things got interesting. Actual blog software became a thing. So I upgraded to that. My first “real” blog software was B2Evolution. And it was super awesome (for the time). Then I had to deal with things like comment spam… ugh. But eventually some plugins came out that more or less solved that issue and life was pretty good for a while.

At its peak, I was actually getting pretty decent traffic. Now… you have to understand what “pretty decent traffic” means on a blog. Most people would hear that phrase and think of somebody like Instapundit getting (sometimes) hundreds of thousands of visitors per day. Of course that qualifies as “pretty decent.”

But the actual reality is that blog traffic looks something like a power law curve. And getting more traffic than, say, 80% of the other bloggers, actually means something more like getting… 50-100 visitors a day, and having the occasional “hit post” that would bring in a thousand or so visitors in a day. That’s actually not too shabby for a blog.

Anyway, for various reasons (mostly to do with the headaches of hosting a site myself) I abandoned that blog and started a new one on Typepad.com. I ran that site again for a few more years and built it up again to pretty decent traffic. And then I let that blog go defunct because my day job went away and I suddenly found myself with more important things to worry about like, “how am I going to provide lunch for this new baby in the house?”

And the thing is, 50-100 visitors a day is pretty good, actually… but it’s not good enough to effectively monetize. Web ads on that kind of traffic will bring you a handful of dollars a month, which is nowhere near enough for the kind of effort that it takes to build and maintain that kind of traffic. So another blog bit the dust.

Over the course of the next few years, I blogged anonymously about a particular topic and became fairly decently known within that community and once again built up to pretty decent traffic. But the blog was anonymous because I wanted to be able to say things that aren’t easy to say under your real name, and now that blog is gone. Completely deleted.

Unfortunately, so are the other two incarnations of this blog. Mostly, anyway. The Internet Wayback Machine typepad version still has history of the Typepad version… but Typepad themselves are unable to recover it. It’s a shame because there were a pretty fair number of good posts from those incarnations of the blog and even a handful of really good posts.

But this blog is back, and it’s back with a bit of a purpose. I expect it to be around for a good long while this time. Mostly it’ll be new content, but every now and then you might see me salvage something from the Wayback Machine and repost a Blast From the Past.

To any old readers who might be returning, thank you for coming back! And for the new folks, thank you for giving this place a shot. Stick around for a bit. Things might get interesting.

Snow Day

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This morning, the Tennessee Valley was hit by the Great Blizzard of 2015! Which is basically what we call it when we get a quarter inch of snow.

Picture taken by Vaughn Bocchino of Bocchino Custom Framing.

Picture taken by Vaughn Bocchino of Bocchino Custom Framing.

Of course, here in the south a millimeter of snow and ice shuts down everything, so SNOW DAY!

One of the nicest things about my day job (software engineer) is the ability to telecommute from time to time. Today I have had the very distinct pleasure of working while sitting on my couch in my slippers in front of a roaring fire.

Yeah, I can live with that.

One Bright Star to Guide Them

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One Bright Star to Guide Them

One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C Wright

Larry Correia is dropping another book bomb today. Of the three novellas being bombed today, there are two that I haven’t read. Then there’s a third that I already own and have already read: “John C. Wright’s” One Bright Star to Guide Them. Since I already own it, I am contributing to the book bomb by writing this review – which I will also repost on Amazon.com.

John C. Wright is one of – if not the – best voices of our generation in science fiction and fantasy. And last year was a banner year for him – a quick search on Amazon reveals seven works he published in 2014:

One Bright Star to Guide Them is an homage and love letter to the works of CS Lewis. Bittersweet – but, importantly, never cynical – it shows the child heroes after they’ve won, returned home, and “grown up” – only to find that the evil they fought as children has returned, to the “real world” this time, and they must fight it again.

It’s a strong story, with a lot to say about the modern world. Yet it never becomes preachy or lets the message get in the way of an enjoyable story. John C. Wright has a wondrously insane (in the best possible way) imagination, and one of the most enjoyable things about reading any of his stories is just seeing where that imagination will take you next.

If you enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia, then One Bright Star to Guide Them is a must read story.

Update: And a very special thank you to Mr. Wright himself for linking back to this review!

Rational Actors

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This passage from a recent article on CNN got me thinking:

The mistake some make when viewing ISIS is to see it as a rational actor. Instead, as the magazine documents, its ideology is that of an apocalyptic cult that believes that we are living in the end times and that ISIS’ actions are hastening the moment when this will happen.

This isn’t the mistake that most of us make at all. Our problem is that we want to pigeon hole anybody who doesn’t think like a liberal westerner as “irrational.” Modern liberal or classical liberal? it doesn’t matter, take your pick. As is so often the case, both the left and the right sides of American political thought are completely guilty of this mistake.

I want to make it clear what I don’t mean: I’m not talking about individuals. Individuals act irrationally all the time, in any society. Depending upon the kind of irrationality and its effects, most societies end up pushing these people to the fringe.

No, I’m talking about the generally accepted behavior of any given culture [and in this case, we have to take the people who make up ISIS as a specific cultural group]. Viewed from the outside, culturally accepted behavior often seems flat out crazy. But viewed from inside the group it usually makes perfect sense.

This is true when it’s Republicans looking askew at those crazy Democrats, northerners making fun of those hick southerners, Europeans thinking all Americans are slightly crazy, or CNN journalists claiming that ISIS members are not rational actors.

From within their own culture, there are perfectly good reasons why they behave the way they do. They simply aren’t the same reasons why Peter Bergen behaves the way he does. Calling it irrational is simply a cop-out. What it really means is that Peter Bergen is trying to slap the label “crazy” on ISIS.

OK, fine. We can call them crazy. From our perspective it might even be an accurate word. But if we’re trying to fight them or stop them it’s useless. It’s not a model that actually helps us in the real world.

We must first understand why their actions are rational from their point of view. Only then will we be able to devise a strategy to actually defeat them.

Acceleration

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At least one man is dead and three police officers are wounded after a terror attack in Europe – this time in Denmark. Violent Islamic attacks in the west are increasing, and the time between them is shortening. We are dealing with an acceleration. Things are going to get “interesting” soon – in a Chinese curse kind of way.

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers go out today to the victims and their families.