Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM Z. M. RENICK: Nine Times a Cat (The Seelie Court Book 4)

Deputy Emma Greer is back! An encounter with a stranger on Silver Mountain Road convinces her that her hometown of Silver Springs, Colorado, is once again being stalked by the Fae. A shapeshifter has taken up residence in one of the subdivisions and is killing people in order to get around the curse laid upon it, a curse that means it can only change into its cat form nine times.

But there’s more at stake than Emma realizes. This confrontation has been very carefully orchestrated, and her soul is about to become a battleground. Defeat means leaving her home vulnerable to a ruthless predator; victory means the loss of everything she has ever known.

FROM THOMAS DOSCHER, (RECOMMENDED BY DOROTHY GRANT): Repatriation: Part 4 of The Vixen War Bride (The Vixen War Bride Series)

With the misunderstanding surrounding Ranger Captain Ben Gibson’s marriage to the local Va’Shen high priestess, Alacea, finally cleared up, relations between the Rangers and the local occupied alien village have never been better. Because of this, Alacea believes it’s the perfect time for the two of them to move to the next logical stage of their relationship: having a baby. For Gibson, this means one thing.

He needs to get out of town. Now.

Fortunately, he has the perfect reason to do so. Alacea has asked him to try to find out on what planet the village’s commandos were killed so that the villagers can perform the proper funeral rites. Armed with a list of names he can’t read and literally no information on where to start, Gibson and his interpreter, Lieutenant Patricia Kim, head off for the main air and space base on Va’Sh to begin the search.

But they are not the only ones with an interest in Va’Sh’s missing commandos. A secretive organization is moving around in the background, intent on completely undermining the fragile peace between the two worlds.

FROM DOROTHY GRANT: Blood, Oil and Love (Combined Operations Book 2)

In a colony world desperate for resources, a search for new reserves reveals a shadow war!

Lizzes Olsen is a newly minted petrogeologist researching the untapped potential of places on her planet even terraforming overlooked. Unfortunately, the site she’s found is deep in enemy-occupied territory. The same enemy is funding the radical eco-terrorism that turned her university toxic, and training terrorists to kill the Empire’s geophysicists and geologists. Between bombings at home and being hunted abroad, Lizzes’ career, and her life, are in danger.

On the other hand, she has the unlikeliest of allies: a fairy god-Gunny Sergeant, and a very determined Imperial Recon soldier named Twitch who’s out to make her his very own happily ever after. If it takes a hecatomb of her enemies to get her down the aisle, they’re going to make it happen…

FROM MATTHEW C. LUCAS: Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock

Fae Banished to Boston Town, 1798

In a shocking move, the Queen of the Fae has banished John Yonder and Captain John Far to the human world. Rumor has it that they have opened a law practice catering to the Fae. To what purpose, no one really knows.

John Yonder has accepted a seemingly simple case. He need only recover a lock of hair for a Fae courtier. She had given it to her lover, Wylde, who is also in Boston.

Yonder tricks a fortuneteller, Mary Faulkner, into assisting with the case. With a whisper in her ear, he tethers Mary’s mind to Wylde’s, creating a terrible, but potent human compass.

Following Mary’s guidance, the trio sets out to follow Wylde. They set course into an uncertain and rocky future on land and sea, as pirates, slave owners, and a host of others hinder their path to Wylde, the lock of hair, and a possible return home to the Fae.

FROM TONY ANDARIAN: The End of the Beginning: Dawn of Chaos 2 – Hell Gate, Part IV (Sanctum of the Archmage Book 5)

A new constitution prepares Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The harsh traditions of the past fade, and a promise of freedom stirs the air.

In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.

Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.

The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.

All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city.

As the people fight desperately to survive the chaos that follows, they wonder bitterly why the gods seem to have abandoned them. Their only hope lies with the magic of the Archmage — and his, with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds, or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.

In The End of the Beginning, Randia, broken by loss, must find the courage to complete a desperate quest, or see her land utterly conquered by the demon horde.Sanctum of the Archmage, Volume One – Dawn of Chaos
Dawn of Chaos, Book 2: Hell Gate
Hell Gate, Part IV – The End of the Beginning

Note: An earlier version of this book appeared as part of the novel Dawn of Chaos, published briefly on Amazon in 2017. That book has now been re-written and expanded into a series of six novella-length installments.

FROM AMIE GIBBONS: Psychic Noir (The Big Sleep): A Southern Psychic Mystery (The SDF Paranormal Mysteries Book 8)

Ariana gets the band back together for an epic rescue mission into a terrifying, totalitarian version of Nashville in this exciting new installment of the SDF Paranormal Mysteries.

Practically nothing can escape PI psychic Ariana Ryder’s Sight for long. But one mystery has eluded her for four years. What happened when Grant’s soul vanished without a trace?

They discovered a possibility last Fall. Ariana, Carvi, and AB got sucked into a pocket reality. Suddenly, they had whole new universes to search.

Carvi’s scientists think they’ve found the pocket reality Grant’s trapped in. Now, Ariana just has to go in and get him out.

Ariana gets the old team back together for a rescue mission into the unknown reality. But can they find Grant, bring back his lost mind, and escape a twisted version of Nashville, before the pocket reality collapses, or worse?

FROM BLAKE SMITH: A Small and Inconvenient Disaster (The Markham Series Book 2)

Everywhere she goes, Maria Mason is plagued by little catastrophes. Getting caught in the rain, running from the friendliness of a muddy dog, tripping over her own feet at the worst possible moment- she has been subject to all manner of accidents, and to fend off the worst of them, she has learned to be silent and still.

Until she accompanies her friend Miss Gordon to London for a season of gaiety and pleasure. Life in Town is full of wonder, and soon Maria has new clothes, new friends, and the attention of the amusing and clever Mr. James Callahan. She begins to wonder if she has outgrown her propensity for falling into disaster, only to find herself embroiled in the worst sort of catastrophe when she is obliged to mediate between her feuding friends. One wrong word, one false step, and she might lose the regard of her friends- or worse, the love of a good man.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Bad Tolz (Fall of the Alliance Book 5)

Bad Tölz. A World named for a city on the Home World . . . Barely controlled by the “True Men” Mentalists of the Drei Mächte Bündnis. An unstable alliance of aggressive Worlds . . . on the brink of civil war.

Fynn, a bastard half-breed adopted by a friend of his dead father, was, despite his irregular antecedents, an ordinary college student. Then the increasing problems in in the Alliance led his new father to pull him into a secret society sworn to protect an Alliance that is crumbling.

When Bad Tölz is invaded, Fynn is all that stands between his World and brutal subjugation.

FROM DENTON SALLE: Stand Against the Dark: Book 4 of the Avatar Wizard

“Many have died trying this, lad. The Elder Powers are neither gentle nor kindly.”

With those words from his teacher, Jeremy began the ritual to bargain with one of the Powers of the World. He could gain much or lose everything as the Dark again endangers those he loves. But first he must survive bargaining with the Lord of Storms and Winter, who brings the cold from between the stars.

Return again to the world of the volkh, where Elder Powers hunt the river of stars, where women walk the path of shadows, where cities fall prey to strange diseases. A world where power comes from either the Dark or the Light. Join Jeremy, Galena, and their friends as stand against the Dark’s return.

Book 4 of the Avatar Wizard continues Jeremy’s adventures in a world where magic works and folklore of Eastern Europe is true.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: LAZY

40 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. Packing for my move would go much faster if I weren’t so lazy. And if my knees weren’t killing me. Did I mention I hate stairs?

    (PS – I’m thrilled that the next installment of Vixen War Bride is out!)

      1. Based on a comment here earlier, I read the Vixen War Bride, probably the first sci-fi/fantasy I’ve read in years. Then I read all the others within about three days. The military depiction and the cultural / translation problems were amazing.

  2. “Gah! It doesn’t work like that!”
    Bill and Tom stared agape at Gertrude, at the sudden passion and anger that exploded out of her.
    “Seriously! It may be pedantic, but damn it! This is a completely unprovoked abuse of the English language!
    “Seriously. Laser is an acronym. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There is no verb form. So the target is not a ‘lazee’. Gah! Don’t they teach anything at these benighted schools these days? Philistines.”

    1. :laughs at the clever wordplay, even as she throws an “English, it’s like cats crossed with magpies, it will do things just to be contrary and seals anything shiny” at teh justifiably outraged lady:

      1. [Checks dead tree (copyright 1971) and online Webster’s]

        “Lase” is a verb, coined 1962. It didn’t make it into print in my 3 volume set, but…

        Magpies and cats. Yep.

        1. Yep!
          As Oxford puts it, ORIGIN
          1960s: back-formation from laser, interpreted as an agent noun.

          and that kind of advanced verbing-a-noun is a thing in English… but I also understand the joy of clean, rational formation rules, thus tickled.

          Heck, I was proud as punch of my 5 year old yesterday, he’s randomly reading stuff at the store and I pointed at one, with the warning that I didn’t expect him to get it right, because it was complicated.
          (I try not to suggest words that they’ll get wrong without warning, either really wrong or just can’t say it right, so you’ve got a 40 year old geekette walking around mouthing syllables as she stares at words.)
          He read “Hiring,” correctly, with very little hesitation. ^.^

          1. When we were packing to move, four-year-old Kid was…helping, for a definition of help that occasionally included “label boxes so Mommy doesn’t shriek at toy-packing negotiations”. She asked me why I’d slowed down while packing up the kitchen, and I said something about “trying to find a synonym for ‘non-perishable’ that you can spell”. “Oh.”

            Shortly thereafter, I turened to find a box labeled “noNPeriShaBle (there!)”.

    1. And the next book is equally good.

      Waiting (im)patiently for the one after that… 🙂

  3. There’s a young intellectual named Daisy
    Who is fundamentally, lazy
    When facts cause her trouble
    She retreats to the bubble
    Saying the truth is entirely hazy.

  4. “John is the hardest worker I have. Does eight hours work in just one!”

    “Then why is he laying in the hammock doing nothing?” I asked.

    John cracked open an eye.

    “It’s because I’m lazy. I work hard to get it over with so I can relax and enjoy myself.”

    1. See ‘The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail’ by RAH.

      Or the observation that labor-saving devices are invented by lazy people seeking to avoid work.

      1. Frank B. Gilbreth, the efficiency expert and patriarch of “Cheaper by the Dozen,” originally started out as a bricklayer. When he came up with a better and faster way to lay brick, his straw boss commented, “You ain’t smart, you’re just too G*d-damned lazy to squat.” (However, the story goes on to say that said boss did bring him to the notice of the company owner, which furthered his career.)

        1. And later, established as a “time and motion expert” (IIRC, it’s been too many years since I even saw a copy of “Cheaper by the Dozen”), Gilbreth’s first instruction to a company that hired him to improve the efficiency of their operations, was: “Find me the laziest good worker you have. I’m going to follow him around and watch him work for a while. If some of your people are already doing things the right way, no need for me to try and re-invent the wheel they’re already riding” — or at least similar to that paraphrase.

          Yes, very much the Heinlein sense of “lazy.”

  5. Why am I not surprised that a certain character isn’t done with me yet…?

    Two women stood outside the isolated, reinforced building, looking at the door with grim resolve. The casual onlooker might find such a situation surprising, as one of them was a well-built blonde elf Amazonian even by human standards with plates of silver armor accenting her blue sorceress’ robes. The other was of average height and build for an elven woman but she looked even more frightening than her companion in many ways, clad entirely in black armor that stood out against her frightfully pale skin and a pair of swords at her waist. Still, the fact that the woman in black’s phantasmal markings hadn’t shown up on her face yet meant that they knew the situation wasn’t that kind of grim.

    “Are we going to flip a coin for it?” the second elf asked, running a hand through her raven hair.

    “Why waste any time with that? We both know we’re going to need me to take point if Iris is working with something volatile again.” the blonde responded, giving her friend a wry smile.

    “Too true,” the other woman sighed, walking behind her companion. “The things we do to get her to take a lazy day once in a while.”

    The blonde raised her hand to knock on the door when it suddenly flew open and a red and brown blur almost knocked her over. She quickly steadied herself as the woman they came to see jumped up off the ground, glancing from one visitor to the other in quick succession. “Adara! Shaina! Move your arses! It’s gonna blow!”

    “I knew we should have gotten here sooner.” Shaina grumbled, her spectral brands flaring as she channeled their power to take off running.

    “We’re going to have a very long conversation about this later, Iris.” Adara muttered, glowing white as she channeled her own power, both to boost her own speed and make sure she could drag her clan sister away when she caught up to her.

  6. “Sir, we must leave this manor.”

    “Leave? We can’t leave? Someone’s just murdered Lord Cransley…”

    “Yes, sir, I did.”


    “He slipped a poisoned olive amongst your relish, sir, so I spun the lazy Susan while he wasn’t looking. Come, now, before his own valet decides to finish the job.”

  7. “Why, you lazy, no-account, sidewindin’ — ”
    — “I don’t talk like that.”
    “Hey, bro’, wassup?”
    — “Or that.”
    “Well, then, how do you talk?”
    — “Pretty much like that. The way you do.”
    “But you’re from California.”
    — “Don’t worry, it’s not terminal.”

  8. Lazy is a lazy epithet to apply to people.

    People get bored too easy these days and seemingly demand more excitement to get up off their tailfeathers and be productive; but in this, Ayn Rand was mostly right.

    They’re not lazy. They’re stupid, selfish oafs who won’t lift a hand to feed themselves; but drmand everyone else sacrifices for yhem.

    They call it sharing; but it’s outright theft.

    Yeah, I was too lazy to build an outline. So where’s my participation trophy?

  9. There’s a kind of Heinleinian “laziness” to how the Dawn Empire does things.

    Maybe it’s the biological immortality, maybe it’s the augmentations, maybe it’s the culture, but there’s this urge to do things right the first time-and do things so that you don’t have to come back and have to deal with this problem any time soon.

    My favorite, go-to example? Sewer systems. You could get away with a six-inch pipe under the street that feeds into the main system. Be good for fifty, a hundred years, easily. The Dawn Empire? They’d go for a foot-wide pipe, because sure as God made little girls and green apples, you’re going to need that larger pipe. And, in less than two hundred or so years, easily. So, they put in the foot-wide pipe, with six-inch feeder pipes from the home lots. This means that there are fewer sewer problems, they don’t have to be dealt with any time soon, and that leaves them more time to play with their harems. And, as I’ve discovered, keeping your harem happy is an important life goal.

  10. Shevtushenko managed to grab the cup before it hit the floor, but it was already too late. In the Moon’s lower gravity, the water still splashed out, falling to the floor in a lazy arc and splashing far higher and farther than it would’ve on Earth.

    “You clumsy oaf.” The angry words were out of Tsiklauri’s mouth before he could consider the wisdom of yelling at the moonbase engineer. On the other hand, the reputation of Georgians for being hot-blooded could excuse a lot.. “We’re without a water reclamation unit until the Amerkianski astronauts get that lashes over here”

    Unfortunately, he’d only succeeded in riling Shevtushenko, who fired back, “Assuming Gruzinsky’s little bright idea actually works. How much time does a senior officer have to keep up with technical literature?”

    Tsiklauri stiffened, then realized that Shevtushenko did have a point, as opposed to simply dismissing Gruzinsky as just another blackass from the Caucasus. But Gruzinsky had a reputation for brilliance, to the point of attracting the attention of superiors who found him threatening.

  11. “If your teachers were lazy, that’s one thing. That was why you are not left to their tender mercies and the peril of ignorance, but sent here. It will merely mean that you will have to study that much harder to catch up to the others. But do not lie.”

  12. If she were lazy and let them get away, she would never find any path out of here. She would be lucky, despite all they learned, to ever find which way was north. And no one would care that she died here, any more than that Felix had been abducted.

  13. “Lazy evaluation doesn’t mean the program can wait for quantum fluctuations to compute the correct answer!”

    “Says who? With the improbability paradigm, that’s the only way it works!”

  14. “So it won’t do to be lazy,” said Rosaleen. “We must plant these at once.” She scowled at the open bag. The plants looked flourishing, not even suffering a little from being lugged down the mountainside in a bag.
    “Very true,” said Gillaine. “What will you do with the horn?”

  15. Her father would say that she was a lazy fool, a burden to him, that she would run away like a rabbit and dig a hole to hide in if he did not force her to this, and she was utterly worthless if she did not. But that was her.

  16. “Ya know, that old hound has got to be the laziest critter ever.”
    His cousin knew better, but had to ask anyway. “So how lazy is he?”
    “Three times now, he’s treed hisself a skunk. ‘Cause he knows I won’t have him out huntin’ for the rest of the week!”

  17. “Emilie,” said Lucy Westenra to her twin sister, out of a companionable silence that had stretched on for a dozen minutes, “do you ever wish you could just take a lazy day off?”

    After a moment to ‘save’ what she was doing — not really anything in the computer connected to her keyboard and screens, more the stuff inside her own head she’d been eyebrows-deep into until a moment ago — she looked up and said, almost as if to the empty air of the room, “No, Lucille, not so much. I’m not sure what I’d do with myself if I did, these days, except get pulled back into thoughts of… this or that.” And she said it with a soft smile, what their parents’ generation might still have called a “cat who got the cream smile” (though they each did, themselves, betimes).

    If anyone else had been listening, it might have been almost misleading; it was far from true that “all work and no play make Emilie and Lucille dull girls” — they did get away, although Verdun Highlands was truly not any sort of hotspot of ‘night life’ but instead (and literally) right in the middle of the far side of nowhere. Or at least the considerable part of our Moon’s Farside (as cratered as the battlefields of Verdun, Lucille had said, having seen that place long ago when they’d been welcome almost anywhere on Earth) that “The Women Who Bought The Moon” had leased, with a cut of the license royalties for the gas-core reactor drive they’d dreamt up and designed for the United States and Brazil and Britain and France (along with a good way to make enough meta-americium to keep all those reactors critical and the profits coming in steady for the fuel too).

    But Lucy — mostly only the people in this room were allowed to call her that, given the whole ‘thing’ of Mr. Stoker’s notorious book — also, now her head wasn’t thoroughly into Coulomb-Kaluza coupling schemes and Fast Fizzle Reactor conversion stability, had been flashing back to summers of her childhood, Memorial Days and Fourths of July spent down by the river or the pond, or even at the poolside of a friend in town. And she couldn’t help looking over to the framed picture on the wall of the workroom and bunker they sat in. It was a photo of a re-enactment, of course, no one but the two of them had been in that barn in Aix-en-Provence that night of the full moon with a bottle of cheap (but delicious) French champagne and a hatful of ideas they’d hatched on the (decidedly non-Concorde) long long flight over to Europe for their big high-school-to-college summer trip.

    (And it’d taken a camera at the far end of the barn loft of a friend in their North Kentucky, with a long lens and High Dynamic Range multiple exposures, to get them and the rising full moon behind them large and clear enough… but with some help, they’d done it. That, too.)

    When they’d realized how many of the reasons there were no Concordes any more, or any Delta Clippers (or equivalents) yet, were far less technical and technological, and more simple… inertial failure of nerve. And gone the next logical step: two space and rocket nerds who could already put together enough ideas (mostly other people’s) to see how it could be done.

    “If not us, who? If not now, when? And why stop until the stars?”

    Neither of them had a college degree still, never had the time to spare. Far far too much to do, and no clear end yet in sight. (Except what you could see, twinkling far above, on any clear still night on Earth.)

    Once they’d started with that two-stage sounding rocket design, followed by the re-usable two-and-a-half stage orbital transport, and the Moon tug that ran on old 1970s nuclear technology, and… just riding a whirlwind.

    One of Lucille’s (innumerable) T-shirts had one of those beautiful old exploded diagrams of a Saturn V, on the left, and their OT Mark II on the right, with the caption: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

    It had near exactly nothing to do with thinking you “were a genius” and far less than that with any kind of bragging. It had almost everything to do with listening to that clear quiet inner voice, of inspiration or of intuition or of simply (as Harry Harrison once said) “When it’s steamboat time, you steam.” Simply, humbly, and respectfully — then putting in the sometimes doggedly persistent and maddeningly slow work of turning that abstract “airy nothing” to hardware given “a habitation and a home.”

    Like they’d been doing most of the day (Earth work day, EST time here), already; almost all of it in front of the banks of screens, an hour or so in sum of strolling through the promenade, a pressure tunnel up on the surface (with ten feet of water between them and the outside, to shield most of the cosmic background radiation that never quit day or night). Thinking, talking, arguing a little, enjoying the Kanashima’s Garden of lunar soil and rock that had grown up, bit by slow suited or waldo-ed bit over the years around it, from the efforts of a few artistic co-workers.

    Even in the middle of Verdun Highlands, a lovely bit of old Nippon.

    They’d guessed and stumbled their way to identifying a “fifth force” of nature… which ought to be there if the old Kaluza-type theories of more than four dimensions of spacetime were true; which could make a way to skip from here to there without visiting anywhere in between. (Maybe?)

    They’d figured out how to convert energy to that form. They’d gone on to capture a little of the energy of something as abundant as fission that way, to begin to make enough to work with. Now they were trying to keep their Fast Fizzle Reactor, already running at a power density of a few gigawatts per liter (most of that going directly into “quintessence” or scalar field energy without ever coming out as flying fission products or then heat), from going suddenly unstable and blowing up after ‘only’ a few minutes of running time. (But there was a lot of cratered terrain on the Farside to ‘use up’ that way, even contaminated for a few centuries to come over a few square miles at a go.)

    And Lucille smiled again. Softly, with that old and oddly feline blend of satisfaction and hunger. Years ago, decades now, they’d basically pledged themselves to as much of that road in front of them as Luck or Fate or maybe simply and awesomely God Himself, would ever give them leave to travel. An open-ended contract, with History or whatever. (It sounded all so fancy, so self-congratulatory… but yet as you did it, was never so.)

    And as so often before, for all that they were fraternal twins and they were as day-and-night different as the colors of their hair in a whole hatful of other ways… Emilie proved herself ‘on the same wavelength’ and quite closely sync-ed to the same clock.

    “But even if I could just quit this, Lucille, or put this on hold, I know I wouldn’t, not ever any more. No one like me could ever wish for better than I’ve already got here, this mad and marvellous road we’re still on.”

    And she looked over at another piece of needlepoint they’d done in their spare (or at least recreational) time, sort-of like the Bronte sisters but with field engineering instead of writing. And she didn’t even have to point to it or nod for them to read it (again), out loud in near-perfect unison. One more quote that belonged where and when it was, here and now with them.

    “Inter Sidera, Ibi Libertas.”

    Among the stars, there is freedom.

    (Uses — obviously — some pre-existing background and setting. Quote, if originally not in Latin, from Sarah A. Hoyt. And apologies to anyone who actually knows Latin for any deficiencies in guesstimatranslation here.)

  18. She had a degree in physics, but it was only an undergraduate degree, so that and fifty cents would buy you a cup of coffee. So she worked as a secretary to the scientists in a high-tech company, back before people starting calling them admin assistants. One of the guys showed her something new called a “database” that had just started to hit the early adopters in some parts of the business world.

    “So I can tag the fields of the custom form from Quickmail [email was just company-wide back then, not global] to dump your equipment request into the Filemaker database. Then I print out the purchase request. All you have to do is select the requisition form when you send me the email. That even gives me a record of purchases, dates and everything so I can run a report on the status of everything.”

    “So I don’t have to hand-write anything at all?” he asked. “Just put the same info I’d put on a post-it note in the Quickmail?”

    “Nope,” she said. “And I don’t have to type anything either. Or dig through the files to get a req status for the boss.”

    They grinned at each other.

    “How’d you figure that all out?” he asked.

    “Hey,” she answered. “I’m not lazy. I read the instruction manual.”

  19. Re: USAians, EWTN’s daily Mass today had a very nice “America the Beautiful” at about 20 minutes in, right after the homily; and the closing hymn at about 55 minutes in was “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand.”

    (I was still asleep for the opening hymn. The Communion motets were gorgeous, but my mom was on the phone with me so I don’t know exactly what the classical one was – probably requiem-related, because it’s Memorial Day. I know they also did the “revised translation, and also let’s pay the living songwriters instead of thinking it’s just French folk music” version of “I Received the Living God.”)

    As with other denominations and countries, I’m sure, there’s tension between wanting to sing patriotic songs as a tribute to God, and having songs that actually include things like “prayers” and “God.” That’s why “America the Beautiful” gets so much church use, at least in Catholic churches, and why it’s important to sing the verses about “May God thy gold refine”, as well as asking God to make “thine alabaster cities” part of the re-created new heavens and new earth.

    Meanwhile… Google acknowledges Memorial Day with the least possible anything, by turning their letters gray, whereas Bing has a gorgeous shot of the Lincoln Memorial at sunset.

    1. The church where I sing made a nod to Memorial Day (the prelude was variations on the Dies Irae [by Joseph Martin]). The Sunday before the first Sunday in July is the big patriotic worship (“G-d of our Fathers,” “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” “America the Beautiful,” most of the verses of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Morning Trumpet,” and so on.)

    2. Obviously EWTN folks are getting the day off, because they accidentally folded in the 7:30 AM “say the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary while looking at ancient Jerusalem sites” thing.

      Mass starts 30 minutes in, and they just sing the propers for today. “America the Beautiful” starts at 55 minutes in.

  20. Jane was an excellent musician and expected to be seated First Chair when she joined the high school band. She was surprised when two boys were seated ahead of her. After Jane’s mother contacted the school and arranged for blind auditions, Jane was awarded the first chair. Several other girls also moved up. And, for the first time, the school band won regional competitions and qualified for the nationals.

    Two years later, the school’s new diversity program guaranteed priority seating for non-whites. Jane’s professional skills kept her from being demoted, but the non-white boy seated next to her had moved up from Ninth Chair. Jane worried that Ben’s instrumental skills were not up to her standards.

    The next day Ben danced into the concert hall while singing “The Lazy Song” and asked Jane to join his dance band. She laughed, and said yes. In a moment of clarity she realized that she had been under scrutiny, too, and had earned a new job.

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