Hell ants


As if the people down in Houston don’t have enough to worry about, here is a new threat. Floating stinking colonies of fire ants. I read about this in an article I came across.

I hate fire ants.

I mean, I hate fire ants. Really. My deep loathing comes from several episodes in the American South during my tenure with the Army.

Once upon a time, I attended a rigorous course of instruction known as Officer Candidate School. It was the Army’s desire that I became an officer and a gentleman, and in order to achieve that lofty goal I had to endure months of sheer hell. A favorite activity of our instructors was to have us assume the push-up position (the “front leaning rest”) until muscle failure. You couldn’t get up no matter what, and heaven help you if you were the first one to quit.

So for long minutes we would hold that body position in full gear with sweat burning in our eyes. Arms trembling, we would refuse to quit.

And so there I was on that fateful day, in a field somewhere surrounded by my peers. My rifle lay across my hands, I was looking at the feet of the soldier in front of me.

My arms were burning, of course. My neck ached. Actually, pretty much everything hurt. And then I noticed something odd.

My hands were burning, too. The burn spread up my arms, and across my chest.

And that’s when I saw them on my rifle. Fire ants, lots of them. I was being stung all over, the little bastards were everywhere. I couldn’t help it, I yelled hoarsely.

An instructor came over. He laughed at me.

“Having trouble there, Candidate?”

“Sir, Officer Candidate Lambright. Sir, there’s fire ants all over me!”

“Well, get the hell up and brush yourself off, Candidate! There’s discipline, and then there’s stupid! Fix yourself and then go see the medics, son.” He paused and spoke to the others. “All right, Candidates, get up. There’s a fire ant nest in this field, looks like I’ll have to smoke y’all somewhere else next time.”

Thanks, buddy, I thought.

I hate fire ants.





The big news in the ‘States yesterday was the solar eclipse, of course. Everybody I knew took some time to look at it. Where I live we had 84% obscuration, so at its height the air here took on a strange dark tint. It was really cool. Not as spectacular as further south, but well worth taking a few minutes and appreciating nature’s wonders.

The somewhat blurry image above was taken by my daughter with her iPod. She made her own shoebox viewer, it worked better than my idea of using a welding hood. The next time an eclipse will be visible here will be in 2099, so I can pretty safely say I won’t be around to see it. Awesome.

You all know I keep my eye out for developments in science and tech, along with military themes. An article that caught my eye was about a woman who is still drawing a pension from the Civil War. Amazing. Goes to show you how long the reverberations from a conflict can last- as we all saw on painful display in Charlottesville this past week.

My grandmother lived to be very old. She had lots of stories, and I loved to sit and listen as she told about her childhood. She rode in horse wagons to school, and she lived to see things like the iPhone7. Amazing all that happened in the span of her life. This ties into the paragraph above because I was curious if she had any memory of the Civil War, as related to her by family.

It was last May that I asked her, shortly before she passed. Her mind was still sharp, although she’d reached nearly a century and lay on her deathbed.

“Grandma, do you remember any stories about the Civil War?”

She closed her eyes. I thought maybe she’d fall asleep again. After a moment, she opened those ancient blue eyes and spoke with a quaver.

“Yes. My great-uncle told me about Andersonville Prison, he was captured in the war. He said it was awful.”

I sat there in awe. In 2016, I was hearing second-hand about a conflict that ended in 1865. If I hadn’t taken the time to ask, I would have never known. In our busy, electronic-dream filled realities, it’s easy to forget the past. If you are fortunate enough to have family or friends that have witnessed history, talk to them. I worked for an elderly gentleman once who met with Kaiser Wilhelm II in his youth. That’s a story that was almost lost in time as well.

But I listened, and I remember. If you hear and remember such stories, then they are never truly lost. Maybe one day my daughter will tell of the eclipse of 2017, and the memory will be passed along as my possible descendants watch the eclipse of 2099.

Storytelling is one of humanity’s oldest characteristics. If you’ve got a good one, share it.

You never know who is listening.


Well, summer here in the northern hemisphere is fading fast. After a kind of frustrating season where it seemed I spun my wheels more than usual, some things are starting to come together.

Last week I attended my yearly ‘Con in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a lot of fun and I met some pretty cool people. As a bonus, I sold some paperbacks and generally kicked back and did the whole literary thing.

Right now I’m working a new writing project. I’m spending a lot of time at the computer banging away on the keys of my Apple. When this project comes to fruition, it’s going to be pretty flippin’ cool. I’m excited about it, and I think that helps with the writing, a lot. It’s science fiction, of course, and it takes place in a whole new universe.

As far as I am concerned, Paul Thompson’s tale is completed for now. As interesting as it was to write, it’s time to move on to other stuff, cool stuff.

I’m busy executing that as we speak.

Wow, this whole writing thing has been a complete surprise. A pleasant surprise. If you would have asked me six years ago at my lousy firebase in nowheresville what my opinion was in regard to a retirement spent writing, I would have laughed in your face while cleaning my weapon. I didn’t think I’d make it home, let alone author three books and counting.

Well, I guess the joke’s on me, and I’m glad to laugh along.

I’ve got fresh batteries in my keyboard, and a head full of dangerous ideas.

Stay tuned. Jason.

A killer comes home


This article caught my interest. I’m a sucker for old equipment that has a history, and this tank has a real story. By all means, read the snippet I linked above.

Not that I love tanks- I was never a tanker. I always preferred to trust my own two feet on the battlefield.

However, for some reason this story reminds me of the old BOLO books. Forgotten relics until someone needs them or remembers them. Those books were some of the first sci-fi I read, I still like them.

Anyhow, off to a sci-fi ‘con this weekend.