26. November 2008 · Comments Off on Another Day, Another Dollar · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Home Front, Iraq, Veteran's Affairs, Working In A Salt Mine...

And another dirty shirt, so to speak. Blogging has been sporadic here; what with doing reviews, working two jobs, the odd bit of housekeeping here and there, and other stuff. Frankly, all my focus is split between setting up events in support of the “Adelsverein Trilogy” (last chance here to purchase copies for delivery by Christmas! Getcher copies of the greatest epic about the Civil War and its aftermath since Gone With The Wind! Gripping drama, true love, savage murder and bitter revenge… and cows! Be the first member of your book club to say that you have read it!)

Not much energy left over, at the end of all that. Matters military? I’ve been retired from the Air Force for ten years now. It was a blast, and a learned a lot, got to travel to the far ends of the earth, meet unusual and interesting people… but I’m in another part of my life now. I don’t want to go pounding on about being a veteran for the rest of my life, as if I had never been or done anything else.

Iraq? Looks like it’s all over, and the good guys won. What a turn-up, eh? I kind of thought it would take a couple of years longer, a slow process of institutions and infrastructure being rebuilt or constructed new. We’d keep a couple of bases there, out in the country and American forces would rotate in and out, in another short while it will be an accompanied tour, and they’d be tourist busses parked in shoals in front of archeological sites like the Hanging Gardens, and Ur of the Chaldees. Tourists would eat ice-cream from street vendors, and little bits of barbequed something on skewers, and walk up and down the promenade by the river, as it turned silver and gold, from a spectacular sunset. Bagdad would be prosperous, full of tall buildings and profitable businesses – like Seoul today. Veterans of the war would return, and look around and say ‘what-the-%#@!?’. Essentially, it’s in the hands of the Iraqis. We’ll lurk around in the background for a bit, or a couple of decades, but the heavy lifting is just about done.

Does look as if we ourselves are headed for another long, economic wobble. Been there. Seen that. I’ve already lost three jobs on that account in this year alone, and Blondie has lost one, and no one is hiring temporary sales help for Christmas this year, so it’s hard to say how much more ghastly it can get for us. Much as I dislike the whole concept and the whole soul-killing processes of the place, it looks like I will be staying on at the Hellish Corporate Phone Banks for more than the six months that I originally planned, or until book sales pick up. As it is, it looks like I am stuck there for only about fifteen hours a week as it is. I put up my hand and volunteer when the call volume falls off, and four whole roomfuls of people are sitting in their cubicles, twiddling their thumbs and chattering to each other. This afternoon, the two college-age girls in the cubicles next to me had a box of new crayons and were coloring in the pictures of My Little Pony in a coloring book.

Yeah, that’s a disturbing image. Slightly more disturbing was a talk with William, the Gentleman With Whom I Keep Company last weekend. He retired from a heroically long stint as a public school teacher, and has a pension paid by the state of California… which for the month of November was one-quarter what it was the month before. One-time-only glitch with his check? An attempt by the state comptroller to fiddle around with things at the end of the fiscal year? Or a harbinger of something more serious … like the budget of the state of California at the top of a long, slippery slope. William hasn’t gotten any credible explanation out of anyone for this… but if the December pension check is down by the same amount, he foresees having to go back to work, too.

Interesting times, for sure.

(I have just ordered copies of all three books of the Adelsverein Trilogy, so the first two or three fans to order them will be in luck, otherwise, I won’t be able to get autographed copies to you by Christmas. Books One and Two are already there at Amazon, here and here, and at Barnes and Noble, here and here

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