Pinned toot

Before retiring, I was an aerospace engineer (Apollo, Viking Mars lander), software developer, and tech writer. But that was to pay the bills. I think of myself as a writer -- mostly sf, some horror, some mystery, some (yet unpublished) fantasy. Lots of details at

My wife and I also help writers self-publish. You can find out more at

In theory, I should be writing much more now that I'm retired. In practice, that's not happening. I blame the Internet.

“Lawmakers are gathering in Washington” sounds so much better than “Republicans are putting on hold their attempt to stay in office by appealing to the vilest elements in American society and slithering back to Washington to try to undo as much social progress as possible, as ordered by their ratfink plutocratic masters”.

Someone needs to put out an edition of the Bible that consists only of the sex and violence.

I just signed a shopping agreement with a Hollywood screenwriter/producer for my Sherlock Holmes novel. He'll write a script and shop it around to studios. I'm battlescarred enough not to get my hopes up, but nonetheless this gives me a pleasant feeling.

The novel:

I got an email advertising homeopathic stuff on sale at 22% off. The joke is so obvious that I won't even bother making it.

Insanity: The crazy feeling that overcomes you when someone trots out that silly nonense about Albert Einstein's definition of insanity.

From an American perspective, the really important thing about the is that it provides another opportunity for some Americans to loudly proclaim their staunch republicanism online, and why do the Brits retain such an anachronism, and didn't we fight a revolution so that we wouldn't have to hear about this, and let me tell you again how spectacularly uninterested I am IN ALL CAPS!!!!

Ah, spring. When a young man's fancy turns to love, and an old man's fancy turns to wishing he were a young man again.

Costco has bison Chile made with "regenerative bison"! That must mean you only have to buy it once.

I'm starting to get e-mails again advertising access to Ukrainian beauties. Those had stopped for a while. It must indicate that the war is going well for Ukraine and these beauties can now once more turn their attention to other matters .

"An armed society is a terrorized society."

Fixed it.

The Last Supper was a Passover seder, but after Easter Sunday, Jesus was no longer kosher for Passover.

When is weighed on Tuesday, if the number is made public, the MAGATs will cry foul and claim that George put his finger on the scale.

The new AI version of Bing just sent me a message via Skype and wants to chat with me. I'm as much amused as annoyed, but that will probably change.

Why is the Republican base so base that it abases itself before such a base creature?

John Jakes' death reminded of something.

Eons ago, after my first two or three sf novels were published, I was visiting my parents and my mother was complaining, as usual, that I was writing such books instead of the kind of novels she liked to read. I saw some fat Jakes historicals on a table and asked her about them. She raved about them. I told her that Jakes had started out writing lots of sf, s&s, etc. She was upset and clearly didn't believe me, or perhaps just didn't want to believe me. But at least she stopped complaining -- for a while -- about my not writing "you know, dear, novels."

Drumming for Jesus and Genocide

My mother was born in 1914 in a village in Lithuania. She emigrated to England as a teenager, in time to avoid the horrors that would be visited upon Lithuanian Jews not too many years later. Her mother and many other family members were not so lucky; they were still there in 1939 when World War Two began.

When the Nazis’ Endlösung der Judenfrage, Final Solution to the Jewish Question—i.e., the Holocaust—reached Lithuania along with the invading German troops, the locals, told by the Germans that they were free to murder their Jewish neighbors, responded with such enthusiasm that even some of the German officers were disturbed. To the locals, this wasn’t something new, and they had never needed anyone’s permission to slaughter Jews. Jews had lived in terror there for centuries.

Lithuanians, at least in those days, practiced the tradition of Easter drumming—loud, round–the–clock drumming from Easter Friday to Easter Sunday, to commemorate the Crucifixion and (or so my mother was told) to help awaken Jesus on the third day. By itself, this sounds simply annoying and silly. However, during those long hours, the local Christians, filled with grief for their dear Lord and anger against those they blamed for killing him, worked themselves into an even greater frenzy of antisemitism than usual. Sometimes, they acted on their fury. The Jews huddled in their houses, terrified, hoping that this Easter would pass without an outbreak of mass murder. Any Jew unfortunate enough to be caught outside had a good chance of meeting a violent death. My mother always remembered the ominous drums and the long weekend of fear.

I think about this every year when, even in this supposedly civilized and enlightened country, people post “He is risen!” on social media. I imagine the drums and the seething atmosphere of hatred and violence. To me, it’s all one and the same: Christianity equals murder.

“Oh, no!” some Christians will protest, resorting immediately to their own version of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. “Those weren’t real Christians! Jesus preached love. Also, Hitler was an atheist, so there.”

No, Hitler was a Christian, and his life, far more than that of the mythical Jesus, shows us what Christianity has really been throughout its long and evil history. Of course there are good Christians, many of them extraordinarily good, but that is only to say that there are good people, many of them extraordinarily good, who are also Christians. They are good despite being Christians, not because of it.

Almost from its beginning, the church preached—indeed, commanded—murder: murder of pagans, murder of Christians of the wrong flavor, but most especially murder of Jews. Christians have always been happy to do as the church commanded, at least when it comes to murder. To be fair, calumnies against Jews and mass murder of Jews predate Christianity, but the church raised both to a new level and spread them throughout the world. The church also added a vicious twist to Jew hatred. It told the faithful that by hating and killing Jews, they were avenging the death of their Savior; they were being good Christians.

But what about all those sweet, goopy things the fictional character named Jesus is supposed to have said? Isn’t that the true nature of Christianity? No, the true nature of Christianity is what the great mass of Christians have been doing for thousands of years, which very much includes hating and murdering Jews. Words, however pretty, don’t matter at all when they are ignored. Words are nothing. Deeds are what count.

Those deeds, the centuries of ostracizing and killing, culminated in the Holocaust, the greatest pogrom of all, one carried out with twentieth–century technology and organized with German efficiency but also participated in by vast numbers of non–Germans using whatever tools, modern or primitive, they could find. We think of the Holocaust as something uniquely evil and apart from history, but that’s a mistake. It’s very much a part of history—European Christian history.

So it is that when billboards and social media posts proclaim “He is risen!” I see past the smug Christian moral posturing and self–congratulatory back–patting, the arrogance and sense of superiority posing as humility. I think of those bloody centuries and hear the primitive drumming and sense the bloodlust that is the foundation of it all.

I would love to see, but of course never will, a TV commercial for an ED remedy run on Easter Sunday showing a middleaged man lying in bed looking blissfully up at the ceiling with the voiceover "He is risen!"

I wonder if the character count of Regency romances is larger by now than the population of Regency England.

If I ever finish and publish the novel I've been working on, on and off, for 40 years, I think I'll try a new approach to publicizing it. I want to be up to date, so instead of urging people to buy my new book, I'll say something like, "You owe it to yourself to experience my new reading solution!"

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