LibertyCon 30 Schedule

I’ll be attending LibertyCon in Chattanooga the end of this month (June 30-July 2).

Here’s my schedule.  At the “Author’s Alley” and Autograph sessions I’ll have books for sale.

I look forward to seeing people there.

Scheduled Programming Events Featuring David L. Burkhead

Day Time Name of Event
Fri 02:00PM Author’s Alley (Boop, Bragg/Daniel Butler, Burkhead, C. Kennedy, Schroeder)
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 09:00PM Reading: Susan Matthews & David Burkhead
Sat 01:00PM Author’s Alley (Burkhead, D.J. Butler, Carpenter, Cordova, Mandragora)
Sat 02:00PM Autograph Session (Burkhead, Finn, C. Kennedy)
Sat 06:00PM Kolchak, X-Files and the Joys of Cryptozoology
Sat 11:00PM Mad Scientist Roundtable
Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch
Sun 01:00PM Author’s Alley (Burkhead, D.J. Butler, Gibbons, Plexico)

Sexbots are going to be big: Invest now

Used to be when I said that I was joking.  Nowadays I’m mostly not.  Mostly.

We are rapidly reaching the point where there’s nothing a woman can do for a man in the bedroom that justifies the risk of what she can do to him in the courtroom later.

Consider the following exchange (the left hand side–ignore the wisecracks on the right side.  Or not.  There’s a bit of dark humor to be found there).


So, a man can meet a woman, have every reason to believe he has her consent, have sex, and then later she can retroactively remove that consent making the act retroactively raped.  Called out explicitly:


Fortunately, for the moment, this position is not a legal one, but law generally follows culture.  Let this attitude become general to the point where people start electing lawmakers with that view, and the laws will follow.

And a certain segment of the population is trying to make it that way, and suggesting fabricating evidence to make things “work” that way even though the law does not:


And it only works one way.  Only the man is adjudged guilty, never the woman as in the following:


“Women cannot rape”.  Which explains:


Both of them were drunk.  Only one of them was able to be the rapist and only one of them was able to be the victim.

Some people have suggested that limiting ones sexual encounters to within marriage.  Well, that might improve ones odds somewhat but in the end it’s still a gamble.  First off, “marital rape” is a thing:


And all of the above items including retroactive withdrawal of  consent can be applied.

You might say that your wife (and it’s you husbands this is directed to because…have you read this far?) would never do anything like that.  And you may be right.  But the divorce courts are full of men who never thought their wives would “do something like that”. (And, yes, they’re also full of women who never thought their husbands would do something like that either, but the women generally don’t have to worry that their husbands will add rape charges to the issue.  And women initiate divorces more than men.)

So…sexbots.  they’re going to be big.

Invest now.

Feeding the Active Writer: Low Carb Chili con Carne

Purists insist that Chili should not have beans.  I don’t want to get into that argument but for someone on a low-carb diet beans are anathema.

This is the latest iteration of a slow-cooker Chili recipe I’ve been tinkering with.  It varies as the mood strikes or based on what I have on hand.


  • 3 lb Ground beef
  • 1 16 oz Jar salsa (pick one you like of the heat level you like–some of the other ingredients will tend to moderate the heat, others add to it)
  • 1 14 oz can Fire Roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion.
  • 2 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin

In a large mixing bowl combine the ingredients.  Mix well.  Easiest way, without a good stand mixer, is to just get in with your hands and squish the ingredients together.  Plastic gloves can keep things sanitary.

Line the crock of a 4-5 quart slow cooker with a liner bag.  Pour the chili into the bag.

Cook on low 8-9 hours.

Stir well at the end.  Serve topped with cheese.

Enjoy.  It keeps well in the refrigerator for later heat and eat.

Memorial Day Weekend Road Trip: Lincoln Library and Museum (Photo heavy)

The Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, IL is just about 3 hours from here.  So we decided to go give it a visit today.

Most of this is going to be pictures.  But first a commentary.  Conventional wisdom is that the result of the US Civil War was an unalloyed good.  It preserved the Union, led to the end of chattel slavery in the US and began the road that led to full civil rights for various minority groups.  And I would agree that those are good things.  One can imagine the disaster had the US and Confederacy remained separate and each of those two nations taken different sides in the World Wars.

However, there is another side.  When the US was founded, we were 13 sovereign states, with a central government both to be our “public face” to the rest of the world and to smooth interaction between the several States.  But, within their own borders, each State being sovereign.  “13 laboratories of Freedom” (34 by the time South Carolina became the first of the Southern States to secede).

The Civil War changed that.  While the process was not instant, the Civil War reduced the States from states–“a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government”–to little more than provinces–“a principal administrative division of certain countries or empires”–in all but name.  Instead of “These United States” it was “The United States.”  With this began an inexorable increase in the size and scope of the Federal government, in its interference in the daily lives of the common citizen, and the increasing restrictions on individual liberty.

One could argue that there was no other way to preserve the union, particularly in hindsight.  As I mention above, a United States and a Confederate States each taking a different side in one of the World Wars could well have been a disaster.  However, I don’t think it was quite so cut and dried.  For one thing, it took a very specific set of circumstances, circumstances that could not last, to make the “slave economy” viable.  It could not last.  And while the Confederate Constitution enshrined slavery, once establishing secession as a viable option for States there would be nothing stopping a Confederate State, once the changing economy renders it impossible to even pretend that slavery is economically viable, from seceding in turn from the Confederacy and rejoining the Union.  I doubt the Confederacy would have lasted long as a separate nation.

But it didn’t happen that way so we’ll never know.

There’s a whole lot more that could be discussed but that’s enough for now.  On to the pictures.

Knights of Aerioch: Of the origin of the Gods and the Beginning of Days

A little extra for people who have been reading my Knights of Aerioch series: the story of the Gods and the creation of the world and its early days.

Many men tell the tale of the Gods and the Origin of Days.  Some tell more.  Some tell less.  Some give the Gods different names.  But all agree that there were first three, and from each of those three came three more.

This is the tale as it was told in Aerioch of old.

The beginning of days

In the beginning there was darkness.  And the darkness was without form.  The darkness could not be everywhere, for there was no everywhere.  There was no place.  There was no time.  There was simply the darkness.  The darkness was all, and all was the darkness.

From the darkness, three lights arose.  And the lights knew themselves as different from the darkness.  And the three lights knew themselves as different from each other.  And the first light beheld the other two and said, “I am a light in the darkness.  There are other lights, in other places, and they are different from me.” And so the first light knew that there was place.  And the other two lights saw the first light and they, too, knew that there was place.

And the first light said, again, “I will go from this place to the places of the other lights.  And I will see if they know themselves as I know myself.  And I will see if they know the darkness as I know the darkness.”

And so, the first light came to the other two lights, and the three lights came together.  And when the three lights came near to one another, the first light said, “I name myself Eranah.  In me is the power of all that will be but is not now.” And as Eranah spoke, proclaiming that there are things that are not, and things that will be, so did she speak of time.  And thus time came into being.  And as time became a thing that was, her power grew less.  And so it would be forever after.  For as more things came to be, less there would be of things that will be and were not.

The second light then spoke, for he had gained in power as Eranah had spoken. “I am Jandak,” said he, “In me is the power of all that is.” And yet, Jandak’s power was slight, for as yet the darkness and the three lights and place and time were all that was.

“I have no name,” said the third light, in a whisper scarce having the strength for mighty Eranah to hear. “My strength is in what was, but is no more, but all that ever was yet remains.  And so my strength is naught.”

And so the three lights remained and were not alone.  And the three lights were the first Gods.  And where the three Gods abode, the darkness was no more.  And The Nameless One grew in strength for the darkness that was not.

The three Gods counseled together.  Though they were three, yet they knew loneliness.  And loneliness was.  And Eranah’s power grew less and Jandak’s more.

And it came to pass that Eranah spoke to the others. “We three are alone in this place.  Near to us, the darkness is no more, but beyond we know of naught but darkness.  But, behold, we three did arise from the darkness.  Let us then, seek through the darkness for other lights, that we may no longer know loneliness.”

Jandak’s voice rose in agreement. “If my sister Eranah so wills, this will I do.  For as more comes to be, so will Eranah’s strength fade and mine increase.”

“Of what good is power when there is loneliness,” Eranah said. “Since time came forth at my words it has weighed heavily with only we three to share it.  Let us, then, bring an end to this loneliness even if it shall be that my power shall be reduced.”

“If the loneliness that is becomes no more, then shall my power increase,” was all that The Nameless One said.

Eranah kept the words of The Nameless One in her heart and was troubled.

And so the three Gods went forth into the darkness.  And many were the things they found. Continue reading “Knights of Aerioch: Of the origin of the Gods and the Beginning of Days”

Big Blue: A new cover and a new snippet.

Lieutenant Steve Pomerantz, US Navy, raced above the waves in his Seahawk helicopter. No dipping sonar this time. Instead, the helicopter carried a full load of Hellfire missiles.

“All secure back there?” Pomerantz called into the intercom. The helicopter bounced lightly in the turbulence.

“We’re good, LT,” Geoffrey Torgersen, the sensor operator, said. “Although the doc’s looking a bit green.” Silence for a moment then. “No. Here.”

Pomerantz winced at a burst of static.

“I’m here,” Dr. Thomas Sanderson said. “Most of me. I think you left my stomach back on the Truman.”

“Good,” Pomerantz said. “Not much use for it out here. You can pick it up again when we get back to the carrier.”

He switched to the radio and glanced down at the commo “cheat sheet” strapped to his left thigh. “Hound Dog Three. This is Gonzo One, over.”

“Gonzo. Hound Dog.” The pilot of the helicopter currently tracking Big Blue responded.

“Hound dog, we’ve got a VIP here wanting another look at Big Blue. A real close look. Status on Big Blue?”

“Gonzo, Hound dog. Big Blue is still deep. Two hours since last breach. Should be coming up soon. Oh, and Gonzo, Truman briefed me on the mission. Better you than me, buddy.”

Pomerantz laughed. “Hound Dog, look at the bright side. I’ll never have to buy another drink so long as I live.”

The other pilot laughed. “Roger that, Gonzo One. Roger that. Hold one.”

Pomerantz glanced circled to port, keeping his speed high.

“Steve, fuel,” Rodriguez said over the intercom.

Pomerantz glanced at the instrument panel. “Roger, Charlie. We’re good for now.”

“Gonzo One, Hound Dog Three. Big Blue is coming up. I say again, Big Blue is heading for the surface.”

“Coordinates, Hound Dog?”

The pilot of Hound Dog Three read off a set of map grid coordinates.

“Charlie?” Pomerantz said over the link to the copilot.

Ensign Charlie Rodriguez tapped on the controls of the nav system, entering the coordinates.

“Hold tight,” Pomerantz said into the general intercom, warning not just Rodriguez, but Torgersen and Sanderson. He pulled into a tight turn, circling about five hundred meters from the spot that indicated Hound Dog Three’s best guess at where Big Blue would surface.

The plates broke the surface. Pomerantz shoved the cyclic stick all the way forward, adjusting the collective to maintain altitude. He veered outside his previous circle in preparation for veering back toward Big Blue.

The head came up. Pomerantz brought the helicopter around, barreling headlong at the giant creature. “Hit him, Charlie, right in the snout.”

At Pomerantz’ left, Rodriguez fired one of the Hellfire missiles. The missile flashed across the distance to explode just below Big Blue’s left eye socket.

Big Blue opened his mouth and roared, a strangely high-pitched sound from so large a creature. Pomerantz pulled to the right, keeping his speed high. As he turned, Big Blue dropped behind where he could see from the pilot’s seat.

“It’s staying on the surface,” Torgersen said. “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s treading water.”

“Shooting that goo yet?” Pomerantz asked.

“Nothing yet. I think it’s looking for what bit it.”

“Something that size,” Sanderson broke in. “It would take time for nerve impulses to travel, for its brain to process them. It may very well be confused.”

“Then let’s confuse it some more,” Pomerantz said. “Charlie. Can you put one down its throat?”

“I can sure try,” Rodriquez responded.

“Then here we go.” Pomerantz pulled the helicopter around again, coming in low, nearly skimming the tops of the swells. Big Blue roared again and two Hellfire missiles lanced out from the Seahawk. One missed entirely but the other flew straight into Big Blue’s mouth.

Yet again, Big Blue roared, but this time a luminous stream shot out of his mouth. The stream swept toward them. Pomerantz hauled up on the collective and back on the cyclic. The helicopter raced for the sky and the stream passed under them. At the apex of their climb, Pomerantz kicked the right pedal. The helicopter pivoted, turning nose down and back the way they had come. Pomerantz leveled out and again trimmed for high speed run.

“Coming back this way!” Torgersen called. “High.”

Pomerantz shoved the collective down. The helicopter dropped, avoiding the return sweep of the luminous stream.

“Fuck! It’s following us.”

At Torgersen’s warning, Pomerantz once again pointed the nose skyward, this time he kept going. For an instant he could see the sea through the spinning rotor. His hands moved of their own accord. The world spun about them and, an instant later, the helicopter flew upright once more.

“He’s going under!” Torgersen called. “We did it.”

“Did he tag us?” Pomerantz asked.

“Instruments still good,” Rodriguez responded. “Engine and transmission smooth as glass. We made it.”

Pomerantz cut their speed and glanced at the fuel gauge. Still good but… He dropped the helicopter into ground effect to conserve fuel. He turned in a slow circle until he spotted Big Blue’s dorsal plates from the right side window.

He scowled. Something did not seem right. The plates were cutting through the water, not… “Oh, shit!” Before he could more than begin to climb away, Big Blue’s head burst out of the water. A luminous stream shot in their direction.

Pomerantz frantic climb evaded direct contact with the stream but the helicopter went silent except for the chirrop of the still turning rotors. “Fuck!” Pomerantz shouted. “Geoff! Raft! We’re going down.” With practiced hands he put the helicopter into auto rotation. In the distance he saw Big Blue sink beneath the waves.

Pomerantz swore as the helicopter descended toward the water. “That’s two helicopters you owe me, motherfucker.”

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When an accidentally detonated nuke from a stolen submarine releases something never before seen, Sea Hawk pilot Lieutenant Steve Pomerantz is sent to investigate. He finds a blue-green monster ten times the size of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex and seemingly impervious to every weapon in mankind’s arsenal.

Earthquakes in the South Pacific, at a location dubbed as the most remote spot on Earth, raise tsunamis all along the West Coast. Air Force Captain Jamal White, pilot of a C-130 Hercules is pulled off of search and rescue duties to ferry two scientists to investigate. What they find is a new continent arisen from the deep. And on that continent something stirs, bringing terror and madness in its wake.

Two monsters, one from the frozen North Atlantic, one from the remote South Pacific, on a collision course with the survival of mankind hanging in the balance.

The arrow is plugging the wound.

In other places I’ve made it pretty clear that I lean sharply libertarian and that the role of government should be sharply limited. “To preserve these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  That’s it.  Going beyond what’s necessary to “secure these rights” is to go beyond “just powers.”

As I point out in earlier blog posts, a certain level of government actually helps to secure the basic rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Obviously, we are far, far beyond that point.  To get there we need to cut government back, way back.

Here’s where I part company with many Libertarians.  They want to do it in one fell swoop.  Every part of government that is not part of the minimum necessary “to secure these rights” (which some consider to be “all of it”) must go.  Now.

That, however, may not be a good idea.  Oh, the end goal of getting rid of most of what government does may be a laudable one but the question is how.

Consider this analogy.  A man has been shot with a number of arrows and is lying there like a meat pincushion.  The wounds, if properly treated, are such that he can survive and heal.  If left as his he’ll bleed to death.

Some folk have the instinct to jerk out all the arrows since they’re what caused his wounding.

Very foolish that.  Those arrows are also plugging the holes so he doesn’t quickly bleed out.

This is where we are with government.  It’s bleeding free society to death, slow or fast depending on your perspective but it’s also “plugging the holes”.

Consider what President Dwight Eisenhower said about Social Security and other programs: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Eisenhower was not endorsing Social Security and those other programs.  No, he was pointing out the reality that so many people had grown dependent on them that people would rise in such outrage that the “offending” party would be voted out of every office they hold, from President all the way down to dog catcher, and never be heard from again.

And the plain fact is that many more people are dependent on many more government programs than ever before.  Cut the program and people will suffer, in the short term at least.  Maybe, probably, they would if given time adjust to the new situation and the economic growth that comes from the increased freedom and less tying up of the economy caused by the government passing money back and forth from hand to hand with no new products and services to show for it would improve their lot.  But there’s the problem “given time”.  Most people will only see their immediate hardship.  As the line says from the movie Annie (the 1982 version; I haven’t seen the 2014 version and don’t intend to) “People don’t eat in the long run.”

Thus, while reducing the size of government is a good thing–indeed, it’s something that must happen if we’re to remain anything resembling a free and prosperous country–great care must be taken in how its done.  We must be prepared to deal with the “bleeding” that will come from removing each “arrow” lest instead of a healthy, prosperous nation we end up with a exanguinated corpse.

Recognizing this, of course, makes me a horrible “statist” who doesn’t care about freedom.  Or so I’ve been told.