Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Update on Sea Monsters

 mark@marktreble.com

 

The new novel is taking shape. Frank and Buzz are ready to board the superyacht MSY Yasmina.  They've already had to defend their cover story when Frank forgot he was supposed to have a boyfriend named Buzz and reverted to type at a cocktail reception. Buzz has already done most of the engineering work necessary to their cover, and the detectives are trying to identify patterns in the deaths, one each on most cruises. Nothing is suggesting itself.

Captain Land has given them strict orders: Do not let your investigation interfere with the charter. They're still not sure how they'll do that because they don't know what they're looking for. Frank has offered to lead an alligators-and-pythons expedition in Florida while the ship is there; Buzz isn't so sure that's a great idea.

Once on board, they will have nothing but work round-the-clock. Romance with guests is strictly forbidden, and with the crew it would blow their cover as a gay couple since both young men are decidedly straight. We'll just have to see.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Pandemic Journal, August 7, 2020

 

Mark@marktrble.com

 

Pandemic Journal August 7, 2020

 

Tommy West on this week. My husband, Logan Matthews, will be back next week. He’s out of town testifying for some state legislature. Actually, he’s with one of the league’s lawyers who’s testifying before some state legislature. Logan’s the legal errand boy, looking up stuff and finding answers for the lawyer.

 

They’re in either Michigan or New York, or maybe New Jersey. One of the states that voted for emergency authorities for the state’s governors. So, the governors make up the rules as they go and there’s nothing for the legislatures to do. They get bored, and hold hearings. Sometimes they run out of ideas for what to investigate, so they’ll make shit up. This one was about racial bias in the NBA against Asians. No joke. Asians are under-represented in the league, but not by much. People forget that Indians and Koreans are Asian, they’re only looking for Japanese and Chinese. Anyway, it’s going well, and so several other state legislatures are holding hearings on the same topic. Logan’s going to be out of town a lot this summer.

 

Hockey, Basketball, Women’s Basketball all playing this week, but everybody is still locked down because of this pandemic. Frankly, I don’t see it. I read the papers about hospitalization, complications and death rates, and if you’re under 50 you’re almost guaranteed not to get real sick or even need to go to the hospital with it. If you’re over 70, you’re almost guaranteed to have a problem. There are exceptions, but you’ve really just got to go with the numbers.

 

I’ve started a new hobby – whittling. You’d think while I was living in the middle of nowhere, with fallen branches and twigs all around me, I’d have started then, not after moving into a high-rise in a big city. Well, you’d be wrong. Hagenbush – Greg Hagenbush – was a new addition, and had begun teaching us to whittle. He was a country boy, unsophisticated, didn’t ever play ball. I figured him for some VIP’s idiot nephew who’d been given a job in the front office counting paperclips.

 

I was only half right. The General Manager’s son had spent the last several months in Arkansas, on a sort of domestic Peace Corps assignment, teaching locals to read. Hagenbush was one of his students, 25 years old; the son was 24. They spent a lot of time together, became close, and the son noticed something strange about his new friend. He could look at complex movements involving a group, whether a basketball team, a football team, a flock of chickens, a huge flock of birds, or a herd of cattle, and describe what they were going to do next. He also did math in his head. Like multiplying two six-digit numbers, or saying what day of the week a date would be a thousand years from now. Scary.

 

Anyway, Hagenbush worked in the front office as a statistician. Not a usual one – I know enough to do most of the basics – but one who could instantly develop complex algorithms involving a level of calculus I’d never achieve, and just knowing the answer. He spends eight hours a day reviewing game tapes. Logan watched some tapes with him, and said that Hagenbush did what he did on the court to call plays, just better. He had moved into the second bedroom in Deeann’s apartment. Antoine was teaching him how basketball worked, so he could describe things in basketball terms.

 

So, we’re learning to whittle. The GM’s son, who I think is named Avery or something, brought in a bunch of wood – sticks, branches, whatever. The first thing we were supposed to make was a fish hook. I took a small piece of wood and a pocket knife and just stared at them. Hagenbush told us to cut away all the parts that didn’t look like a fish hook. Not real helpful. Then he showed us how to use a squared piece of wood to start with the end of the hook in the corner. I did that, and was able to get something that looked like a Goth piercing. Close enough. Then we were supposed to finish almost closing the circle, leaving enough room for a fish to get its lips around the hook (don’t ask about fish lips; Deeann did, and it got pretty ugly). We did that. I was sitting between Avery and Deeann and kept looking at theirs to see if I was doing it right. We had three different shapes going there at one time.

 

By the end of an hour, Hagenbush had made five fish hooks; Avery had made a ring; Deeann had made a unicorn horn, just without the unicorn; I had made something that vaguely resembled a fish hook; and Becca won first place with a perfectly shaped small penis. She spent the rest of the evening sliding it in and out of her mouth while teasing Ralph. Next week we’re supposed to do an animal. I can’t decide between a worm and a clam.


 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

New Book Launch

 

mark@marktreble.com

 

Spring Break Resort, Book Two of a series “Another pointless college story with lots of egregious sex,” is now live in Amazon.com. As part of its release celebration, Book One, Spring Break Awakening, is on a free special Friday-Sunday.

 The first ten buyers of Spring Break Resort who write an honest review, good or bad, copy it and e-mail it to me, will win a free copy of a Novella, Emgee Adopts a Pet. It's written by a Terrier-Beagle puppy who experiences the world through his sense of smell. 




Friday, January 22, 2021

"Disloyal" Soldiers Forced to Sleep in Garage

 

mark@marktreble.com

 

I am a retired Army intelligence officer who tries to eschew politics in my fiction. I am nowhere on the Red-Blue continuum, I’m a libertarian. Which takes me off the liberal-conservative continuum as well because I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. What does any of this have to do with being a retired military officer?

In June 2020, sixteen hundred National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, D.C., during the summer of mostly peaceful arson, looting, destruction and murder. They were brought to the nation’s capital to augment forces protecting federal property, including the White House. The Mayor wanted them gone and ordered them out of their hotel, refusing to pay the bills. They were depicted as an occupying force and part of the problem.

In January 2021, twenty-five thousand national guard troops were deployed to Washington, D.C., in certainty that armed insurrection would occur. They were used as props for photos of the capitol, saving the Republic from the half of the country declared traitors. There was no armed insurrection. And the white supremacist uprising predicted for all fifty state capitals was limited to one: a mostly-white Antifa group set fires and attacked the state Democratic Party headquarters in Portland, Oregon. They featured a sign saying they didn't want Biden, they wanted Revenge.

As soon as the inauguration was over, these women and men who had volunteered to protect and defend our nation no longer had any use as props, and were ordered to leave the capitol and spend the night in a parking garage during sub-freezing temperatures.

As physical privation goes, this is small potatoes albeit gratuitous. Seven thousand soldiers, two bathrooms, no internet and one electrical outlet make for interesting math. The order allegedly came from the capitol police, who report through committees to the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate. These two bear ultimate responsibility. Shame on them.

This would be less significant were it not preceded by an undeserved insult from Representative Steve Cohen, who expressed concern that the loyalty of members of the military was suspect because only “twenty percent of them voted for President Biden.” That goes beyond shameful to disgusting. His focus was on white members of the National Guard, which is racist and unacceptable. It’s not the first time Cohen has sounded the racist klaxon; in 1996 he lost the primary election to succeed Harold Ford, Sr, to Harold Ford, Jr, and claimed that the result proved that it didn’t matter what a white person did, he could never overcome bias in the black community.

I close with an unattributed quote I found today on the internet.

The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.