Monday, July 16, 2018


That was weird.

We watched Trump's presser with Putin and came away deeply confused.

Hotair is hysterical, calling the conference 'a low point'.

The President certainly gave ammo to his critics who think Putin 'has something' on him. Maybe Trump wants them to think that. Nobody cares about 'Russia' and the more Dems talk about it the stupider they look. Maybe Trump is trolling. Or maybe he was just off his game.

I liked the soccer ball.

As Churchill said Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma braised in honey and baked at 350 degrees for two hours or until the juices have simmered, or some such.

Reagan showed us the only thing Russians understand is brute force. 

Interestingly my friend and confirmed pessimist William Katz at Urgent Agenda seems pretty positive about the whole thing.

All this historian can say is wait and see.

45 and Still Alive

I turn 45 this week.

This is the first year I 'feel' it, so to speak.

Mostly I feel brittle.  That heart stent three years ago slowed me down and I've never gotten the speed back. Even Walking makes my feet ache and swell, and every time I try lifting weights I pull a back muscle. When the fammi de Stroock* goes to Europe in a couple weeks we are counting on a gout attack.

Two family deaths and another close call the last year don't help. That close call (not my own) is coming close again.

The things I like I've liked for a really long time, like Star Wars. As noted last week, we watched the 'new' Star Wars tapes, they are 25 years old. I find this depressing.

A lot of things I used to like to do I can't do anymore. This includes beer and hamburgers.

'Cry me a river' I suppose. Which seems fair.

I'm tired and cynical and decidedly pessimistic.

*That's French

Fun with Name add-ons: California Edition

Eighty-five year old Senator Diane Feinstein has been rejected by her own party leadership:
California Democratic Party leaders took a step to the left Saturday night, endorsing liberal state lawmaker Kevin de León for Senate in a stinging rebuke of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

De León’s victory reflected the increasing strength of the state party’s liberal activist core, which was energized by the election of Republican Donald Trump as president.
This De Leon fellow decided he needed to sound more Mexican, like Texas Paddy Robert Francis O'Rourke. Kevin De Leon's real name is Kevin Leon, and he just throws 'De' in there. It's as if we decided we needed to sound more Jewish, 'Stroockstein' or 'Stroockman', maybe 'Stroockfeld'.* We used to do it with our friends, 'Gagliardistein', 'Velardoman', 'O'Neilfeldman'.** 

Play along reader(s), it's fun.
* Heh, Seinfeld
**Speaking of Seinfeld. In one episode George's mom, Estelle, listens to advice from a woman named Donna Chang, naturally assuming she possesses eastern like Yoda wisdom only to learn Donna Chang is a white woman. You see her name was shortened, it used to be Changstein.

Write That

So we cracked open The Final Storm yesterday and realized it's 50,000 words. That's like a month's work, people.

So let's focus on that between now and the trip to Europe this August in which we will commiserate with our new French friends.

On the future projects front we are expending some mental energy on To Liberate Mars and have come up with some good ideas. God, it's fun thinking of stuff like that. 

On a related note we are a very amateur astronomer and have a telescope up here in the Stroock Northern Strategic Direction (Berkshires, Massachusetts). Last night we pointed the telescope at Jupiter and saw two of her moons. Also, Mars is making a close approach. Those interested can simply pop outside after 10 EST, and look in the south/southeast sky. Mars is a giant red dot. You can't miss it.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Your World Cup Post

Israel Revving up the Lawn Mower

Well, Hamas and Israel are at it again:

Throughout the day on Saturday and the early morning hours of Sunday, Israel struck a wide range of terrorist targets in the Gaza strip responding to incessant rocket and mortar fire emanating from the coastal enclave over the weekend, the IDF spokesperson reported.

Among the targets on Saturday were the headquarters of Hamas's Beit Lahiya Battalion, with jets striking urban warfare training facilities, weapon storage warehouses, training compounds, command centers and offices as well as a high-rise building in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza city.

Boys will be boys.

Since the massacre a few months ago, in which 52 Palestinians were killed trying to breach the fence, Hamas has turned to incendiary kites, which has a low tech genius, actually. Remember the 9/11 airliners were hijacked with boxcutters and threats. These kites are as hard to stop as missile launches.

They're a major nuisance.

So what to do? How many times can the Israelis 'mow the lawn'. Some pundits complain that efforts like Operation Cast Lead or Operation Protective Edge make the Israelis look bad in the eyes of the world. But Israel is going to look bad no matter what.

The Israelis are dangling economic incentives in front of Hamas, including a seaport, but Hamas isn't interested in economics. Maybe the Gazans will listen.

I dunno. Those kids look like they're having a great time.

Write This?

As noted before, and again, and again...we've spent this year trying to clear the decks.

We're wondering what to do with 2019.

Maybe we should make 2019 the year of To Defend the Earth.

Recall, To Defend the Earth and To Survive the Earth are story compilations of man's struggle against alien invaders.

On background the alien Jai come from Epsilon Eridani and have three inhabited worlds. They're more or less like us and only a few centuries ahead technologically. No FTL. No wonder weapons.

We already have one theme set:

To Liberate Mars.

We think one volume might be To Attack the Earth, from the Jai POV. That would certainly be at least a few short stories if not its' own volume.

But what else?

Any one have any ideas that they'd like to see?