Category Archives: Administrative Items

My First Book is Officially Released-22 January, 2014

Bowker Cover Image-2I just want to take the opportunity to announce that my first foray into publishing was released on Tuesday, 22 January, 2014.  It is a survival/forest quick reference book titled The Simple Survival Smart Book.  I started working on the idea several years ago and finally finished it recently while I was stuck in the house after surgery and had no other excuses for not working on it.  It is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle version.  So everyone get on over there, buy it, an make me rich.  Don’t forget to write a customer review about how awesome it is while you are at it.

Military Retirement

Congress makes Courageous Decision to CUT Military Retired Pay

In the news: Ryan Defends Reduction to Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Early Military Retirees

In a stunning display of which segment of society politicians are really afraid of last week politicians in Washington agreed to cut military retired pay in an effort to offset the sequester cuts that they put in place just two years ago.  Unsurprisingly there has been absolutely zero talk about attempting to curb growth in other entitlement spending such as SNAP and TANF (welfare)being the two largest programs.  The logic behind it is clear.  There are more people receiving welfare than military retirees thus making welfare recipients a more powerful voting bloc.

Military RetirementThe numbers just for SNAP & TANF
SNAP - 46,670,373 people or 14% of US population cost = $71.8 Billion annually
TANF - 12,800,000 people or 4.1% of US population cost = $131.9 Billion annually
By contrast here are the numers for military retiress - 2,300,000 military retirees in the US or roughly .7% of US population cost = $52.4 billion annually

What is the difference between the two groups?  Easy, military retirees dedicated a significant portion of their lives to serving the nation, welfare recipients did not.

Total honesty, I myself am a military retiree and feel betrayed by both my country and my elected representative.  My Congressman (John Carter, TX-32) voted yes.  I made a deal with the nation, I would serve and go where they wanted me to and fight who they told me to fight, in return I would receive a set amount of benefits after twenty years service.  I did so for 23 years and went to two wars.  Now I find out that my country is not going to keep up their end of the bargain.

For some reason I am not surprised at this, just disgusted.

stars-and-stripes

Remember Those who Served both Today and all through the Year

The following is an excerpt from The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life. Taken from chapter 14, this piece is dedicated to my fellow veterans, of Vietnam and all wars Americans have been involved in through the years. For non-veteran readers, please keep in mind that returning GIs want nothing more than to be welcomed home, that politics and ideology play no part in that welcome. When I returned from Vietnam all those years ago I was expecting hostility, judgement, interrogation and doubt concerning my effort in that conflict, and my behavior in the war zone. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the following event took place instead. This is a true story. It happened at Port Columbus Airport on March 21st 1971 at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Thanks for reading it, and please keep it in mind if you’re ever in position to do the same for a returning GI.

BE

14

Home from the War

            The airplane landed at Port Columbus and taxied to the gate. It was a full flight. I was seated two-thirds of the way back, in coach. In order to use my military free travel option I had to be in uniform. So flying home I wore my dress greens, which were at that point festooned with medals: Army Commendation, Good Conduct, Air Medal with 24 oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. Though I was very far from it, according to the decorations on my chest I looked like a damn war hero, Vietnam’s answer to Audie Murphy.

            My fellow passengers on the airplane that day must have thought so. Their courtesy to me is something I’ve not forgotten. The plane stopped at the gate, and the seat belt sign chimed. But unlike the typical frantic scramble of panicked passengers grappling for overhead bags, elbowing each other, scrapping toward the exit, no one moved. Instead, people turned in their seats, looked at me, and waited. Not one of them stirred, or stood.

I stared at them a bit dazed. Then, understanding what they were offering, I got up, grabbed my carry-on and walked off the airplane. It was an odd, but gratifying experience. I still see those people waiting for me, their deference to a returning soldier obvious in their gracious behavior. When I hear about rude and dismissive acts against returning Vietnam vets I think of those people on my LA to Columbus flight that day. And I thank them again. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.

Years later, during the height of the conflict in Iraq, I had a chance to return the favor. On a flight from Columbus to Dallas two troops were seated about where I’d been all those years ago. I asked the flight attendant to make an announcement, which she was happy to do. When the plane stopped at the gate in DFW we civilians waited for those men to deplane. I watched them shuffle up the aisle, desert-camo fatigues, sand-colored boots, small duffels in hand. I knew just how they felt.

Bookbub: Has anyone tried it out?

This post is Non-History but still relevant to the Blog.  I tend to do quite a bit of internet searching in the course of writing and just general news reading.  Because I do a lot of book reviews on her I tend to spend a lot of time on publisher webpages and bookselling websites.

This post mainly concerns a new service I have recently become aware of.  Bookbub is a site that purports to only send you recommendations for books that you want to read at deep, deep discounts.  The site is a startup based out of Cambridge, MA and seems to be trying to be Groupon for books.  They must have some pretty good venture capital behind them as they are putting sponsored links and ad up all over the internet.

Here is the part that gets me.  They determine the recommendations for you based on a gene pick you make when you join FOR FREE!, of course.  They then direct you to their hot deals page which lists cheap books that you can download from the original retailer.  They do not feature any non-fiction books and I am curious what kind of titles they will send me as i have fallen on the sword and signed up to see what they offer.

Browsing their hot-deals section it looks like they mainly offer self-published stuff that has been discounted so it sells.  I did not recognize a single author name on the science fiction page and I have been reading SF for 30+ years.  When I dug into past deals some names I knew such as Andre Norton, Stephen Arsenault, and David Drake showed up.  All the famous authors had very old books featured.  The kind that they throw on the market periodically to keep sales going.

From what I can see, bookbub is a vehicle for self-published people to get their name out there and for established authors to get their old stuff new awareness.  I am reserving judgment for now on how relevant the recommendations are and I may even get a few of the deals because their are some excellent authors out there who only self-publish.  I am also curious if my email address will be sold and then I will get even more spam (I did not use my normal email address for that reason).  I will give this a few weeks and see what comes of it, then report back.

Right now this looks like someone came up with a good idea and is monetizing it.  It remains to be seen whether it is worth my time to keep watching it.