Sunday, March 11, 2018

Who is entitled to what?

I was struck by a thought the other day as I watched and listened to the world pass by. I attended a home improvement show near the home town that is a yearly major event. It features all the vendors and things one can do to improve their home with all the products and services one could hope for. It was attended by people of all ages, income levels and backgrounds. It was a true mish-mash of our culture.

What struck me was how much we have in this country. Sure, there are pockets of poverty spread throughout. There always has been from the earliest days of our nation. There likely always will be. With that being said, think about the current situations we live with. Years ago our mothers and fathers jumped at the chance to defend this country in the face of world-wide oppression. World War II was the largest conflict in the history of mankind. Yet these people, farmers, tradesmen, whites, blacks and immigrants from all over the world who had either been born here or came to these shores lined up to serve and possibly die.

What were they defending? At the time they were coming out of the worst financial depression that had ever gripped the nation. They were only sixty to seventy years removed from the Civil War and blacks from the oppression of slavery. Social and racial injustice was still an ongoing national strife. But from this group, a group of people that had just enough to survive, maybe just a bit more, these people stood up and rallied together to overcome the tyranny that was true oppression.

What I find now are several generations that have one of the highest standards of living in the world. If they so choose, they want for nothing. Years ago if you were poor you had no resources to even eat. Now, even for the poor resources are plentiful. Yet what do I hear? I hear voices raised in discontent, not always due to social issues but, 'I'm not getting my share'. 'What's in it for me?'

I'm coming to the point in my life now that I want to turn a deaf ear to those who rail against others who have more. No one owes you anything material in life, not the government, not anyone. What you should expect is the opportunity to succeed and be treated fairly by everyone else. Guess what? This is the real world and although it would be nice if it worked that way, it isn't going to. It would seem even the poorest in our society have televisions and cell phones and creature comforts that those who lived several generations ago could not even imagine, and yet they are ungrateful. So what does that mean? If you want it, go out and earn it yourself. There will be obstacles in the way. That's the way life works. Don't want to overcome obstacles? Then don't complain about others who did.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Remembrance and joy

My Brother’s Fire

My time has come that I must break these earthly bonds
and shed the fickle chains that tie my earthly soul.

That I have lived a life, a life of dreams
a life that holds a fervent fire,
And quenched my thirst of love and grander things I have not known.

That I have climbed the mount and flexed my wings
and soared to heights unbridled,
and touched the sky with thoughts and prayers my mind may only raise.

In starlight’s glow I bask above the earthly blue
and breathe the breath of angels
as God’s own hand does call me home.

Those hands I touch that comfort me
that soothes my soul I touch no more,
yet revel in the memory of a touch long lost.

I fill the void my heart has longed to keep
and hold dear the face of my child
and I shall sleep now in peace as I await my valentine.

*     *     * 

That five years has now passed is nearly unfathomable, and there is nearly not a day goes by that I do not think of one of the seminal souls that touched my life. His wit and humor influenced not only my life but had a profound effect on those who knew and loved him, and love him still.

Yet with our faith, a faith that, although I question from time to time, I know that one day I shall again place my hand in his, that my check shall brush against his and my lips shall kiss his forehead in celebration of our reunion.

Donald Lee Thomas
North of 50
3 of 5


Friday, February 9, 2018

Of a certain age

It has been well documented over the years in this blog that I really don't watch much television. There are shows that over time have caught my attention, yet with my irregular schedule I just don't have time to follow along, especially shows that have a continuing story line. I will simply miss too many episodes to be able to follow along.

Recently I discovered a secondary channel that shows the Star Trek shows, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. In the days of my youth these were shows that captured my imagination and to some extent, led to the recent publications of Star Eagle Six and Ghost Fleet and the series which I hope to add to this year with the coming book, Battle Wagon. But I digress...😉

Since I do most of my writing at night, usually after My Beloved and Ragin' Cage go to sleep, it turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to my writing, especially since I'm working on the Home World series. During one of the commercial breaks there were certain types of commercials that filled my screen ...

This blog began nine years ago this month. Fairly soon I'll have to decide if I want to change the name of this ramble to 'Thoughts of a Sixty Year Old Man'. Have I come to that age where the television shows I recall from the days of my youth are filled with ads for; back braces (fully paid for by your insurance), an on-line site for reduced prescriptions and other ads for the aging population.

Now, I still think of myself as forty-something, except when I have to do things like shovel the driveway (without a snow blower) filled with six inches of snow and wake up slightly stiff at the hips the next day, but to have myself targeted by ads targeted to the senior population is really making this week rather difficult to acknowledge.

I supposed it happens to all of us at some time where life just creeps up on you, it just isn't supposed to happen this fast. Maybe to my older siblings Anonymous and Greybeard, but not me.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Flawed is flawed

Every once in a while you see something on the news that is just a head-scratcher. It was reported on the evening news that a group in California has filed suit so that coffee is labelled as a product that causes cancer.

Now on the surface of that, I suppose that it is good that someone is looking out for the rest of us. Apparently everything in the State California seems to cause cancer. Now, I'm not the smartest bean in the hopper but I'm not an idiot either. The report stated that there is an ingredient in coffee that is also found in many other plant based common foods including such things as bread. (I apologize that I don't remember the actual name of the chemical). That is actually immaterial.

But even to the idiot bean the study is flawed beyond belief. Mice were given doses of 1000 to 100,000 times the doses that a person would consume. I would hazard a guess that nearly everything on the planet given to an organism at that dosage would cause cancer. In my view the science is bad and therefore does not warrant a lawsuit.

I understand one can not monitor every possible thing over time to determine if it is a health risk. Entire generations would or could fall victim to a true health hazard, but to continue to do this type of study is nothing but a hoax. I'm not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV, nor did I sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but this type of research simply cannot continue. The scientific world needs to look at itself and come up with another method of determining carcinogens.

I for one am glad I don't live in the Land of Fruit and Nuts. They might as well just put a label on everything in that state and say it causes cancer. Buyer beware.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Back at it

As most who follow this blog know, I am a writer. Gee Robert T., how could I have known that? Golly, not that all the book covers on the sides of the blog told me anything.

After the release of Ghost Fleet and the upcoming holiday season, I thought it was time for me to take a couple months off from writing. Well, the season is over and I have had time to clear my thoughts and relax, relax at least from the creative perspective. But it is time to get back to it.

Here are the opening paragraphs of Battlewagon, book three of the sci-fi Home World series. I hope you enjoy the offering and get your hopes up for another release in a few months.


Captain’s journal: Theta 10- 5

“We have begun our trek home as ordered by Admiral Duley Connor, Fleet Main. We have both succeeded and failed in our tasks. Though we did not discover the origin of the Lorilon weapon, we believe we destroyed one of its major components, alas, at the loss of the destroyer Valiant. With that we are reduced by a third of our original number. Our success is not noted in the official orders as we have recovered Captain Joseph from the Lorilon.”
“This mission has given me a new insight into what it takes to command a starship, to command a fleet. As the second in command of the Parras under Captain Joseph I was confident that all my decisions were always correct, that my advice to Captain Joseph was the first to be heard. I would become infuriated if my suggestions did not measure up to his actions. I was headstrong. I had experience, more than nearly any other first officer in the fleet, in most of the nine Home World fleets.”
“What I have found is, I know nothing. Everything I thought I knew about command pales in the face of reality. The daily routine of life on a starship, of life aboard any ship is not command. Most crew go about their business because it has been drilled into them. Many could sleepwalk through their routines and at the end of the cycle, nothing would be the worse for wear.”
“No, that is not command. Command is the pinnacle, where there is nowhere else to look, no shoulder to turn to, no sage wisdom to rely on, it looks back at you with eyes that can pierce your soul. You are the final word when it comes to life or death, life of a crewman or death of a starship. It is a decision made in the blink of an eye. Right or wrong, it is your fate. Command is the single most lonely place in the universe. It is a place I have been, it is a place I want nothing to do with. It is a place I long for.”

“Close journal.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?

We live in a culture, in a world our parents, well, maybe at least my parents, wouldn't recognize. Long gone are the romantic decades where one looks backward with reminiscent memories of bygone days. To be fair, no decade or generation is bereft of their own sins or misdeeds. What has changed drastically are three things: we now live in a 24/7 up to the minute information world, social media and the internet give everyone an opinion they can express immediately whether it is valid or not (including the author of this blog) and, we are truly governed by the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

Say what? Fictional rules of a fictional people?

Sure. Think about it.
   1.  Once you have their money, never give it back.
   4.  Sex and profit are the two things that never last long enough.
   5.  If you can't break a contract, bend it.
 13.  Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
 26.  The vast majority of the rich in this galaxy did not inherit their wealth; they stole it.
 27.  The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you cut it down.
 28.  Morality is always defined by those in power.
 51.   Never admit a mistake if there's someone else to blame.
 61.   Never buy what can be stolen.
 76.  Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.
105.  Wise men don't lie, they just bend the truth
115.  Greed is eternal.
135.  The only value of a collectible is what you can get somebody else to pay for it.
144.  There's nothing wrong with charity ... as long as it winds up in your pocket.
154.  The difference between manure and Latinum is commerce.
166.  Never give away for free what can be sold
219.  A friend is not a friend if he asks for a discount

In told there are 286 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. These are just a selected few. Tell me these don't whole-heartedly apply to the society we now live in. If you just listen to the world around you, politics, the entertainment industry and the business world in general, this is what we have wrought for ourselves. They cross all geographical and social divides. Though commerce has driven nearly every aspect of our civilization from the first cavemen trading a piece of meat for a stone knife, these are the undertones of our everyday life.

♫ How much is that doggy in the window? ♪   😏

Thanks to for the complete list of the Rules of Acquisition.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Welcome 2018

This past year was one of challenges, one of new experiences, one of joy and disappointment. But then, isn't every year? What changes for most of us year in and year out? Usually not too much. Most of us have the same job, love and dislike most of the same people we always have, live in the same place. What truly new challenges do most of us experience?

I begin a new year with new hope and new insights from a year ago. Last year I began 2017 with a single partner, My beloved. We had just moved into a new home began our lives were adjusting. I had just changed assignments at work and took over the challenge of rebuilding a store location that was in a shambles. It was a lot of work both home and away.

What is different this year is beginning 2018 with a second partner at home, our grandson Ragin' Cage. As 2017 began he was not part of the mix. He came to us a month later. The challenges and struggles of beginning to raise a small child at my age was not something we had planned. It was a jolt to our lives. But, it was a jolt we had to take on. For us, we wouldn't have it any other way.

The work front was another challenge. It took me away from home too often, but that is the way of things. We made tremendous strides but all we did was right the ship. This year it is time to stride forward and set ourselves to the top of the heap.

My writing stalled as a result of all the above. The one book I was able to publish, Ghost Fleet was six months later than I had originally planned. I was happy with the result however. I had put my fantasy series on the back burner to write Ghost Fleet sure that I would again pick the fantasy back up afterwards. But sometimes a writer just can't let go of the recent characters that have filled his thoughts. With that being said, I plan to put forth the third book in the sci-fi Home World series with book three, Battle Wagon. We'll see how that goes.

So what does all this mean, this new year stuff? It means several things. As fallible beings, this day gives us a chance to reset ourselves, to put the challenges behind us and to look forward. Those who truly want to make a difference in their lives will take on the coming year with excitement and dedication to change their circumstances and challenge themselves to fulfill their aspirations. What dreams did they have in the days of their youth? What dreams did they have in their early adult lives? This is the time to take stock and see where you've planted your feet. Either way, it's time to step into the new year.

One final thought.
A fellow author I've spoken of in past posts is still struggling with the determination of cancer. Things are not going well. Brandon Hale is an extremely talented author whose Day Soldiers series is well worth reading for anyone who enjoys post apocalyptic books. Myself and a group of fellow authors are putting the word out to help support him and his family in the coming days. I hope everyone who has the ability to help by purchasing any of the books of this series reaches into their hearts and wallets to help make a difference.

May everyone face the challenges and joys of the coming year with dignity and determination, joy and hope. I look forward to the coming of 2018 and all that it holds. I hope all those who follow me do as well.

Happy New Year