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Daybook

Descriptions of what I did recently; what most people think of when they imagine a “diary entry.”

Excerpted from Old Catholics: Christmas Eve II

I have about 38,000 words down on a (mostly) mainstream novel about a tiny Old Catholic community in Chicago, which has a 1920s bungalow with an altar and a few pews in the livingroom, with the clergy (a bishop and a deacon) living in two small rooms on the second floor. A good part of what I have down takes place just before and on Christmas. I’ve published excerpts here before on Christmas Eve. I don’t entirely know how the rest of the story goes. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. But people have told me they’ve enjoyed the excerpts. So today on Christmas Eve, let us return to the Church of St. James & St. Julian of Norwich, just south of Devon Avenue at Campbell. The chapter posted on Christmas Eve 2018 comes immediately before this year’s chapter, so if you’ve never seen any of the story before, you might skim through them before reading further. There are mild fantastic elements in the story, especially a little old Polish lady who can read hearts and predict the future–and talk to dead people whom she considers saints. It’s a gentle, hopeful story about eccentric religious people who have no place in the larger Catholic world, banding together to worship God and heal one another of life’s inevitable traumas. Let me know what you think.


Bishop Hughes led them from the kitchen to a small round table standing a few feet in front of the bungalow-church’s front windows. The advent wreath Rob had seen on the Formica kitchen table on Gaudete Sunday was set on the table. All of the candles had seen some use, now that all four Sundays of Advent had passed. Rob remembered the ritual from his childhood: Family members took turns throughout Advent lighting the appropriate candle and reading the prayer before the evening meal. On Christmas Eve, the head of the household had candle duty. So it was that Bishop Hughes struck a wooden match on the side of its box and held it in his left hand while raising his right in blessing:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we gather for one final meal before the birth of our Messiah, the Lord God Jesus Christ!” Bishop Hughes reached out with the match and lit the shortest purple candle, then the one beside it, then the pink candle of Gaudete Sunday, and finally the tallest purple candle. He held out his hands to Mrs. Przybysz and Mother Sherry, who took them and in turn reached out to take hands with the others to complete the circle.

Bishop Hughes tipped his head back, and spoke the prayer as he spoke nearly everything, with force and exultation:

“O Lord, stir up Thy might, we pray Thee, and come!
Rescue us through Thy great
strength so that salvation,
Which has been hindered by our sins,
May be hastened by the grace
of Thy gentle mercy.
Who livest and reignest for ever and ever! Amen!”

“Amen!” they replied in unison. Bishop Hughes turned and gestured toward the table. Eight places had been set, and atop each china plate was a folded card bearing one of their names-all but the setting at the foot of the table. It bore no card. As only seven people had gathered at St. JJ’s, Rob did wonder why the eighth place had been set at what was already a crowded table. He bent down to peek under the table, wondering if a card had fallen to the floor during the continuous bustle leading up to the Wigilia meal.

Bishop Hughes noticed Rob’s search for the card. “The place at the foot of the table is symbolic of those who share our love for God but who cannot be here with us in the flesh. Our departed, now in the bosom of the Most High; loved ones distant in space and time; the stranger who has no place at any table-“

“And saints,” Mrs. Przybysz interrupted as she bent to place a bowl of cucumber salad and a smaller bowl of horseradish on the table. “St. Ernie and St. Mona both showed up last year. Ernie warned me of evil brewing somewhere and had to leave to go look for it. Mona said we would need a much bigger table soon–and that the fish could have spent another few minutes in the pan.” The old woman sighed. “I do my best.”

“We all do our best,” Bishop Hughes said from behind her, smiling. “God asks no more of us than that. The challenge is to discover the inner strength that few of us realize that God has given us.”

Bishop Hughes pulled Mrs. Przybysz’s chair back. The old woman sat. Rob reflected that it was a signal. He pulled out Suzy’s chair, and helped her scoot in once she was settled. PJ pulled out Mother Sherry’s chair and did the same. Deacon Dan sat, and made a down-patting motion at Rob, who sat beside Suzy. PJ took the last seat, and set his battered leather briefcase on the floor beside him. He looked spooked, and kept glancing at the empty chair at the far end of the table.

PJ sat across from Suzy. Suzy took a library card and a pen from a pocket and wrote quickly in her lap. She poked Rob and handed him the card.

I feel something weird, she wrote. Rob made just a hint of a nod and handed it back. His first impulse was to grin. But…huh? An odd prickly feeling arose in the back of his head behind his ears, like something approaching–or something that was already among them, gathering power.

Rob shivered. He had told himself a thousand times that he did not believe in demonic forces. Whatever he felt did not feel evil. It felt powerful, not angelic but somehow rooted in the Earth beneath their feet. Hell was at the center of Earth, according to Dante and probably half of Christian humanity. Rob tried to focus, desperate to get away from the impression that something malign was creeping up on him.

Then, deep in his mind, a single word, stated quietly but with the conviction of everything high and holy, resolving Rob’s confusion plainly and beyond all question:

No.”

Now Available: “The Camel’s Question”

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“Listen, young ones, for I, Hanekh, am a very old camel, and may not be alive to tell this tale much longer. Listen, and remember. If I leave nothing else behind but a spotty hide and yellow bones, I wish to leave this.”


So begins my latest ebook publication, “The Camel’s Question .” It’s now available on Amazon for 99c. It’s a short story, not a novel, and won’t taken you more than ten or fifteen minutes to read. There is a story behind the story, so what better place to tell it than here?

In the spring of 1966, when I was in eighth grade, we were tasked to write a Christmas story. It wasn’t required to be fiction, but it had to be about Christmas. So in longhand on yellow paper I wrote a story I called “Master Melchior and Me.” It was about the camels that carried the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. We read our papers aloud in class, and when I finished reading mine, the class applauded. I had apparently touched a nerve.

I began with the title, which was inspired by a 1953 Disney animated short, “Ben and Me” about the humorous adventures of a mouse living in Ben Franklin’s house. I actually pictured it as Disney-style animation. Remember that I was 13, and “young for my age.” I was writing fiction already by 8th grade, and tended to picture it in my head as cartoon animation. I think I intended to make it humor, but as has happened so often with me, my subconscious had other ideas. The story was serious but upbeat, about a lesson one of the camels learned from the Christ Child.

Jump ahead a few years, to the fall of 1972. My father was battling cancer and losing, My poor mother was worn out by both working as a nurse, and nursing my father past the crude, debilitating, and ultimately futile radiation treatments. I wanted to give her something that would get her mind off her troubles for a few minutes. I was a junior in college and by then had taken a lot of literature courses. I realized that I had written a fable, which is an ancient literary form in which animals are made to think and talk like humans to put across a moral.

By 1972 I had already lost the original handwritten manuscript, so I started at the beginning and told it again, having in the meantime grown mostly to adulthood and written a lot of things, fiction and nonfiction. I didn’t like the title, as Master Melchior at best played a background role. But I didn’t know what to call it, so I kept the original title. The story, however, was lengthened, deepened, and in some respects moved a hair to one side of being a true fable.

It didn’t matter. I gave the typewritten manuscript to my mother as a Christmas gift, and she was deeply moved by it. The typescript went into her dresser, and Gretchen and I found it after mother died in 2000. I scanned it, OCRed it, cleaned it up a little (but surprisingly little, after 50 years of additional practice telling stories) and gave it a new title: “The Camel’s Question.” Of the three camels, two are fairly ordinary. The third–well, he’s a skeptic and a contrarian, and asks a great many questions about the world and its workings, and the men who dominate the world and the lives of camels.

One of those questions is a doozy.

And that’s where I hand the baton back to you. The story’s out there if you’re interested. It sat in a box for literally fifty years. Better late than never, I guess. It’s dedicated to my mother, who suffered far too much but never failed me in any way. It’s only the third story I’ve ever written with no fantastic elements in it.

Ok, ok. Talking camels. I did the best I could with what I had.

Thanks in advance to all who buy it and read it.

53 Years Side-By-Side

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Carol and I met 53 years ago today, in my church basement in Chicago. Our mutual friend Jackie Ropski introduced us (she was in my grade school class and went to Carol’s high school) and what I now call slow magic happened. We didn’t hurry. We were smart kids (Carol had been double-promoted past fourth grade) and we had the crucial intuition that love grows out of friendship. So we became fast friends, and then let the slow magic do its work at its own pace.

You who have been reading me for a long time know the story of hoiw we met. I won’t repeat it today. What matters is that the magic continues. The photo above was taken last Thursday, at a sizeable air B&B house we rented so Carol’s family could come down for a week and not try to cram eight adults and two little kids into our own quirky but hardly enormous abode. We had not all been together since the end of 2019. It was the first time I had met my nephew Matt’s younger daughter Kate, now almost two. His older daughter Molly is about to start school. Conscious of the passage of time, Carol’s sister Kathy hired a professional photographer to come out to the house and do a photo shoot. In groups, couples, alone, and all together, we took a collective snapshot of the family as it stands now in 2022.

A quick aside: The photographer was terrific.She is Teresa Thalaker, and Arizonans who need a photographer should consider her.

We splashed around in the pool, celebrated both our birthdays, ate maybe a little too well, played Scattergories, laughed a lot, watched Disney movies with our grand-nieces, and reveled in the magic of a family reunited after a period of our history that most of us, I suspect, would like to forget. I saw love at work everywhere around us, among us, and between us.

And that ol’ slow magic is still at work, as I know every morning that I open my eyes and see Carol beside me as though for the first time. We have never been closer, now 53 years on our way to forever, as I like to say. Thanks to Jackie, who helped strike that first spark between us that set the magic in motion, and all those who have since shared our journey with us, including those who have now moved on to God’s ineffable realms. Love works and love wins. Take our word for it. We’ve been there, are there now, and will always be.

The Other 70s

70 today. Yeah, hard to believe. When I was 17 (1969) I found it difficult to imagine being 48, which was the age I’d be when we ushered in a new millennium. Moon colonies? Sure! We’d come so far so fast. How could we not? Having experienced the much-remarked phenomenon of time going by faster the older you get, I remember thinking back in 2000 or so that I would be 70 before I knew it.

Now I know it.

I have only one complaint: I won’t be around to see what great things happen over the next fifty years. I’ve said several times that the best thing about being 12 is that you’re not 13 yet, and the really great thing about being 14 is that you’ve already been 13. 13 was not my favorite year. The good thing about being 70 is that everything from 13 up until today has allowed me to put 13 in perspective, which I did while I was getting dressed this morning. And now, having put it into perspective, I intend to quietly forget about it.

In my view, the best birthday present is…the present. Sure, I could do without social networking and people whose highest aspiration is to be outraged about something new every day before lunch. And I have gripes about Amazon, but Amazon has allowed me to get a lot of books into print at a reasonable cost, something that simply couldn’t be done before 2005 or so–and never as easily as now. Smartphones are so good that we chose not to have a landline when we moved back to Phoenix in 2015. I continue to boggle at the sorts of things one can look up on a smartphone, from local weather radar to where traffic is congested between where I am and where I want to go.

No matter how bad the politics is (and it’s pretty bad) I’ve been able to keep myself from giving it power over me. I don’t do tribalism. The closest I come to a tribe is my circle of friends, now broader and more diverse than it ever was back in the creaky old 20th Century. We survived Woodrow Wilson, easily the most evil President evah. We will survive the one we have now, and whoever comes after. Politics is not worth the ulcers and heart attacks that are its foremost products. I simply do not partake. If I look younger than I am, that’s certainly a contributing factor.

I live in a benign climate (ok, it was 107 today; let’s call it mostly benign) in a quirky but comfortable house, with the woman I have loved now for 52 years. I have 75 feet of wire and an engineered ground, plus a low-band rig I’ve been using since 1995. I have a biggish swimming pool, which helps take the edge off the mostly benign days that occur pretty regularly this time of year. (I don’t have to shovel heat. So there.) I’m hard-pressed to name five things I want and don’t (yet) have.

The days are passing quickly. That’s nothing new. The real challenge is to summon the personal energy to accomplish things with the days that I have left. L-methyl folate wasn’t the solution, alas. I’m still looking. I’m reasonably healthy, trim, get my sleep, and am deeply loved. If I can’t consistently write a thousand words a day, well, I’ll write what I can and call it a win.

I look back across my 70 years, and remind myself that I know who I am and what I’m good at. All else will unfold as time and genetics permit.

Thanks to all of you for being my friends, and for the birthday wishes I haven’t entirely caught up on yet. As birthdays go, 70 is a good round number. 71 won’t be nearly as round, but every bit as welcome. Good luck to all and keep in touch!

Problems with SASM on Linux Mint

I’m scoping out a fourth edition of my book, Assembly Language Step by Step. I got wind of a simple FOSS utility that could be enormously useful in that effort: SASM (SimpleASM), which is an IDE created specifically for assembly-language work. It’s almost ideal for what I need: Simple, graphical, with a surprisingly sophisticated text editor and a graphical interface to GDB. It works with NASM, my assembler of choice. I want to use it as the example code IDE for the book. I installed it without effort on Windows, which is why I decided to use it. But I want to use it on Linux.

Alas, I’ve been unable to get it to install and run on Linux Mint 19 (Tara) using the Cinnamon desktop.

I’ve installed a lot of things on Linux Mint, all of them in the form of Debian packages. (.deb files.) I downloaded the SASM .deb file for Mint 19, and followed instructions found on the Web. There is a problem with dependencies that I just don’t understand.

I got it installed once but it wouldn’t run. I uninstalled it, and then it refused to reinstall.

Keep in mind that I am not a ‘leet Linux hacker. I’m a teacher, and most of what I teach is computing and programming for newcomers. The problem may be obvious to Linux experts but not to me. Most of the software I’ve installed on Mint came from repositories. SASM is a .deb download.

So. Does anybody else use it? If you’ve got Mint on a partition somewhere, could you try downloading it and installing it? I need to know if the problem is on my side of the screen or the other side.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might offer.

The Four-Color Problem

A year or so ago, a stray thought popped into my head as I crossed a large parking lot to get to one of the few remaining indoor malls in the Phoenix area. I stopped. I looked around. I looked around again. And damn, that stray thought was right:

Cars appear to be made almost entirely in four colors: black, white, silver, and red.

Up and down my row it was almost a physical law. I raised my gaze and did a 360. Ah–way over there, a flash of blue! On the opposite edge of the lot was something that looked brown. Or maybe it was just dirty.

There was no yellow. There was no green. Lord knows, there was no purple or pink. (Is Mary Kay still a thing?) It was black, white, silver, and red plus debris.

I first assumed it was a fluke. Or maybe selective vision. Carol and I have a silver car and a red car. Up and down our street it’s pretty much black and white. So there you have it: We notice what we’re used to noticing. But as days and then months passed, the pattern played true: black, white, silver, and red, with an occasional green or blue rounding error. It’s persisted to this day. When I see two blue cars at the same time it startles the hell out of me. And a few days ago I saw the first yellow vehicle I’d seen in over a month. It was a big honking pickup truck. (Could it be a custom, er, bespoke paint job?) Yes, I would be able to see that one coming.

Ok. You who know me know this: Stray thoughts enter my head so often my head might be considered a sort of thought pound. Most of them don’t stand up to close examination. This one has.

Time was, mall parking lots were rainbows. When I was growing up, our family owned cars in blue, various shades of green (including two-toned green), gold, and yellow. In fact, at one point we owned two bright yellow cars at the same time. For a little while, we had a two-toner in gray and maroon. And that was before I left home. Later on, red, white, and brown cars finally entered the Duntemann homestead. I do recall seeing a few purple cars back in the day, though not in front of our house. (As best I know I have never seen an orange car.)

No more. So what happened? My guess is that car manufacturers are shaving costs by limiting available colors. They may keep one paint machine open for special-order colors, and I’ll bet they make customers pay big for the privilege. I don’t know anyone in the car industry or I’d just ask.

It doesn’t matter in any important way. But a little bit of weird urban beauty has passed out of this world. I wonder if I’m the only one who’s noticed.

Announcing Complete Sentences

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And now for something completely, totally, top-to-bottom (for me at least) different: I present Complete Sentences, a short novel about two very articulate high-IQ 12-year-olds. Not in space. Not in the future. Not on some other planet nor in some unlikely fantasy world. No hyperdrives. No monsters. No magic. Nossir. On Earth, our Earth, our timeline, in Wisconsin. In 1966.

I’m not even sure the term is still used, but when I was first making my name in SF, we called such fiction “mainstream.” In other words, a story about ordinary people in the here and (approximately) now, with no fantastic elements at all. Yes, I wrote mainstream fiction. I’ve done this only one other time in my increasingly long life, back when I was in college in 1972. I wrote a short story about two guys my age who were sweating bullets about the draft lottery during the thick of the Vietnam meatgrinder. My Modern American Literature prof loved it and told me I should try selling it. The story is grim. One guy pulls #244. He’s free. The other one pulls #6. He runs. Mainstream literature is full of stuff like that, which is why I now mostly avoid mainstream literature.

So what’s it about? Let me borrow the descriptive text I uploaded to Amazon with the book:

It’s late summer 1966. Family camping is the rage. Boomer kids are everywhere. Star Trek is brand-new. Smartphones and social media haven’t even been dreamt of yet. So summer crushes happen the old-fashioned way: young face to young face.

While scoping out sites for stargazing at Castle Rock Lake, 12-year-old Eric meets a girl from the next campsite over. Charlene and Eric are both gifted, highly articulate kids: Eric in math and science, Charlene in art and composition. He shows her the constellations in the ink-black Wisconsin night sky; she sketches him and writes him poems. An attraction neither has ever felt before soon blossoms between them. Eric’s sensible parents caution him that 12 is too young to fall in love, while Charlene’s parents barely speak to each other, let alone her. She aches for the love she sees in Eric’s family, and takes strength from the attention and kindness that Eric offers her.

For Charlene has a secret, one that cuts to the heart of who and what she is. When the conflict in her family threatens to end the campout early, she must explain that secret to Eric, and begs him to accept the vision she has of her own future. Facing the possibility that they may never see each other again, Eric and Charlene struggle to put words to the feelings that have arisen between them. They discover the answer in the language they both speak, and had spoken together all along: Complete sentences.

I’ll post a sample chapter tomorrow.

In the meantime, you all might reasonably ask, Why? For the same reason I wrote whacko humorous fantasy like Ten Gentle Opportunities and Dreamhealer: To prove that I could. Before I wrote Complete Sentences, I didn’t know that I could write mainstream fiction. Now I know. Before Kindle made self-publishing possible, I had to write what publishers wanted. I first tasted the forbidden fruit 25+ years ago, when Coriolis established a book publishing operation and I was the one who decided what to publish. Could I have sold The Delphi Programming Explorer to Wiley or Macmillan? That was a gonzo book. It was also the Coriolis book that sold the most copies and pulled in the most revenue for all of 1995. I (maybe barely) sold Assembly Language Step By Step (under its original title Assembly Language from Square One) to the late Scott, Foresman in 1990. That was just as gonzo, if not moreso. (My four-fingered Martians are standing up and cheering.) A guy once sent me an email telling me that that book saved him from flunking out of his computer science program. Yeah, that book is nuts. But I have independent evidence that it works, in the form of hundreds of fan letters. Not to mention the fact that it’s been in print now for 31 years.

These days I write what I do largely to push back personal boundaries–and sometimes try things I’ve been wanting to try for literally decades. I always wanted to write a love story where the nerd gets the girl in the end. It took awhile. Then there was Dreamhealer. I don’t call it a love story. But it contains one–in fact, two.

In writing Complete Sentences, I drew on bits and pieces of my own history. (Just bits and pieces. It is pointedly not autobiographical.) When I was 12, I found myself longing for female company. Not love, nor, lord help us, sex. I didn’t know why, exactly, but alluvasudden I wanted girls to be my friends. I remember that feeling clearly. I didn’t know what to call it, and for the most part it was an annoyance, at least for the next couple of years. I now know what to call it.

Complete Sentences is not a love story, not in the usual sense of the word.

Or…maybe it is.

You tell me.

 

Review: The CopperFlo Pool Ionizer

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Everybody with a swimming pool knows that the price of the canonical 3″ chlorine tablets went through the roof over the past year. We can’t blame it on teh viris this time–an explosion and damage at the Louisiana plant that makes most of the tabs was the culprit. Supply is no longer a problem, but the price is still a lot higher than it was a year or two ago.

Enter the solar-powered pool ionizer. I had never heard of pool ionizers until a couple of weeks ago, while I was severely low-energy and just caroming around the Web looking for anything interesting. What I discovered was a whole new way to sanitize your pool. How they work is pretty simple: A small solar array provides a voltage across two metallic elements, a copper rod surrounded by a steel helix that has a silver coating. The voltage creates metallic cations. The cations kill bacteria and algae on contact.

The device is about a foot in diameter. The drawing below shows what’s inside:

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In truth, there’s not a lot of there there. The one I bought was from NoMoreGreen Technologies and is called CopperFlo. It was $179.98 on Amazon. It comes with a bottle of test strips to measure the ion concentration in the pool water, plus a little brush to scrape calcium scale off the copper electrode once in a while. No batteries, no moving parts.

I set it down on the surface of the pool, where it just drifts around. Any reasonable light on the solar array will generate some ions, and full Arizona sun will generate a lot of ions, hence the test strips. I let the chlorine tablets shrink down until there was only one tablet in one floater. The pool did not turn green. I’ve dealt with green pools a time or two, and I know that keeping the chlorine levels up is crucial. To me, seeing a sparkly clean pool with only one tab in a floater is borderline miraculous, especially when it’s still an Arizona summer and the water is between 86 and 88 degrees F. Supposedly you only need one sixth of the chlorine tabs to keep the water clean as you would absent the ionizer.

Besides the fact that in one summer it will save me enough in chlorine tablets to pay for itself, it’s a cool concept. It’s only been in the pool for twelve days. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs long-haul.

Announcing the Publication of Odd Lots

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It is with considerable pleasure (and a great deal of relief) that I announce the availability of my newest book, Odd Lots. It’s available in both ebook ($2.99) and trade paperback ($12.99) format.

I announced the project here last October. It’s taken a lot of time to put together in part because I had to OCR so much of it, and I hate OCRing. The other time-consuming element was trying to decide what-all should be in it. The bulk of what I’ve written on programming is now obsolete, and what isn’t obsolete is in published books that are already available. But my DDJ columns? DOS programming? Modula 2? Extinct. I suffered over those decisions more than I should have. I gave myself a 250-page topstop for the paperback. It came in at 235 pages, so I could have thrown in another Contra entry or two. At some point I simply had to say, “It’s done.”

What’s in it? Five topical sections:

  1. Essays, idea pieces, and editorials from PC Techniques/Visual Developer.
  2. Entries from Contrpositive Diary
  3. Parody (most of which came from the magazine)
  4. Memoir
  5. None of the above.

Part 1 contains pieces from the magazine that I felt had lasting interest, like “The All-Volunteer Virtual Encyclopedia of Absolutely Everything,” a few essays about the wearable computers I called Jiminies, “Pay Them Forward,” and “Hail the Millennium!”

Part 2 contains entries from Contra, again items I felt had lasting interest. I threw in my oddball series “50 Days’ Meditation on Writing,” which I posted on Facebook on fifty consecutive days way back in 2014.

Part 3 contains humor and parody, some of which was originally published in the magazine, and some in fanzines that now go back almost fifty years.

Part 4 contains excerpts from my memoirs, along with the very first written item I ever sold for money, which ran in 73 Magazine in December 1974. Some of that appeared here on Contra. A great deal of it is published in Odd Lots for the first time.

Part 5, well, some things don’t categorize well. Whatever didn’t fit in the first four categories ended up here. A couple are funny, including one that might be considered a parody of myself. The others might be classified as “inspirational,” depending on what inspires you.

The cover photo, some might remember, came out of a 2015 Contra entry called “Samples from the Box of No Return.” I think it qualifies as a collection of odd lots, just not written ones. It’s a shame I couldn’t photograph everything in the box, which has a lot more stuff in it than shown here.

Again, I assembled the book because I regularly get emails from people asking where they could find one or another editorial or idea piece from the magazine or Contra. I posted a few on my site. I don’t have word processor files for most of them, and had to OCR them. It’s almost a private publication for my fans, some of whom have been reading me since I launched Turbo Technix at Borland in 1987. I freely admit that some of it sounds like bragging. Hey, I really did predict Wikipedia in 1994, using technology we had in the early ’90s. Keep in mind that I wrote a great deal of that early material with a grin on my face. It was blue-sky stuff, satire, and primarily entertainment. I’ve never been one overly given to seriousness. Please read it with that in mind.

And I once again thank all my long-time readers for giving me a reason and a forum for writing interesting and funny stuff, and for (finally!) having a place to put it.

It’s done. Whew. Go get it! And if you think Odd Lots was odd, heh–just wait until you see my next publishing project. (Stay tuned.)

Aero’s 15th Birthday

Today is Aero’s 15th birthday. He was our first show dog, and became an AKC champion in 2010, under Carol Duntemann’s expert handling. The photos below are of Aero when we first got him in 2006, and from the 2009 Bichon Frise National Specialty show in St. Louis.

He’s still reasonably spry for a dog that old, though he doesn’t see very well and gets confused now and then. Given that he’s now 105 in dog years, I’m very happy he’s still with us and still running around.

We’ll be giving him his usual birthday “cake” of raw hamburger a little later today after supper. Everybody gets some–and sometimes I think it’s gone in nanoseconds. But however he wants to enjoy his birthday is fine by us. He’s been a terrific dog, loved the show ring, and brought us a great many ribbons. If he mostly sleeps in one of the (many) dog beds scattered around the house these days, that’s ok. He’s earned it.


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