1 - Medron - Social Gaming - Something many of us have missed in the last year is getting out and meeting other people. It is part of human nature to spend time with other humans. Even people like me who are perfectly comfortable with being alone for long periods of time, prefer to get out amongst our fellow humans from time to time. We may be very selective about the people we wish to spend time with, but we do tend to wish to spend at least some time with some people, from time to time. This weekend, some of my best friends got together to do precisely that. They threw a lot of dice at each other, blew up a lot of virtual heavy metal, and talked a lot of smack talk. Good times. I hope to join them next time. It’s good for the soul, don’t yah know?
2 - Jack - Beautiful Silence - Something I found growing up in Northern Minnesota is how beautiful it can be. There is nothing like a January or February snowfall, in the wee hours of the morning beneath a shining moon. The night air so clear you can see for miles to the crisp horizon, and the only sound is your boots crunching in the snow. The only breath of wind comes billowing from your own lungs, and your eyes ache as the cold sets in. Add a pretty girl or two huddling up for warmth, and you’re looking at the best place in all the worlds to grow up. It was heaven. It still is, and a part of me will always be there, enjoying that beautiful silence. - Captain Jack Hart, Cowboy.
3 - Charles - Beautiful Life - Growing up in Pennsylvania was a singular experience. I was a scion of a Great Family of Earth, rich and powerful beyond the dreams of common men. We were born to be kings, princes of a nation that officially banned the very notion. We could buy and sell anything in all the worlds, but there were some things I found could not be purchased. A quiet night in front of a roaring fireplace. Conversing with friends over good cups of tea, and perhaps some scheming with drinks that had little relation to tea. Cuddling with girlfriends while watching a good movie. Long walks in quiet woods behind tall walls. It was a good life. A beautiful life. If you were a prince. I intended to change it all, once and for all. - Charles Edward Hurst.
4 - Malcolm - Wolfenheim - I was born on Earth. I live out there, amongst Alien stars, far from Earth. We built something new out there, with homes and businesses and churches. We built factories and sport stadiums, roads and mines, all to protect our new world out there. It’s a whole new world, and we brought our First World comforts with us. I love to look out on what we built and just enjoy the view. The bustling colonists walking or driving from place to place. The aircraft flying overhead as they bustle back and forth across the planet. The starships orbiting far above. Wolfenheim is the dream of a lifetime, and I was blessed beyond the measure of man to help create it. - Director Malcolm McDonnell.
5 - Betty - Bridges - I was born on Earth, but come from an old Peloran cybernetic family dating back to before Caesar crossed the Rubicon. The Republic of Texas asked us to adopt some of their pilots as part of a program to improve coordination between our militaries. My mother was doubtful of the prospects, but agreed to evaluate their candidates for suitability. I chose a pilot whose family had a long tradition of working with the Terran cybernetic families, which added certain complications to my life, but I have enjoyed it. My sisters and I were all born to work with Earthborn pilots. We were the first of a new generation of cybers that would be a bridge between both races of humanity. It has been an amazing ride. - Betty Hart.
6 - Dorothy - Change - I was born as part of a program for Peloran cybernetic families to adopt Earthborn pilots. My family had not taken fighter pilots for decades, after an unfortunate loss that left us leery of such, but I wished to try it again. And the mission was worth it. Many of the pilots came from the Great Families of Earth, and we needed them to help bring our peoples together. I picked one who had plans to change things a great deal. He thought he was hiding his plans from me, you understand, but it is difficult to hide anything from one such as I. I wanted to make a difference, to bring change, and to make the worlds a better place. It has been a good life. - Dorothy Hurst.
7 - Dawn - New Life - I chose a fighter pilot long ago. He died five decades before The War, and I swore off pilots for the rest of my life. My entire family joined me, and we picked a new course of more non-combatant positions. I became an accountant, and I loved it. I slew supply discrepancies by day, and played games by night. Then The War came upon us all, Dorothy asked us to come back to the combatant side of the equation. Many of my sisters did as she asked, but I was not so quick. Then one day she approached me with the name of a man she thought I would be good with. After some study, I agreed. He wanted to colonize a new world. To create a new life out there. It was a worthy mission. So I chose to start a new life with him. I have no regretted that choice. - Dawn McDonnell.
8 - Medron - The Commercial Bowl - My thoughts and prayers go out to the Chiefs fans. It was a rousing match between the amazing commercials, the Chiefs, the Buccaneers and the referees, but in the end the yellow flags proved disastrous for the Chiefs. The pummeling was atrocious, the commercials destroyed all competitions, and though the final score between the Chiefs and Buccaneers was 9 to 31, that was closer than the game appeared in person. I personally have always been a fan of the Chiefs, having grown up in Kansas where they are very much the home team. Though there was something amazing about seeing a certain quarterback win his seventh Commercial Bowl. Though as usual, the commercials were the best show on television, and Mount Paramount reigned supreme in my mind.
9 - Medron - Chiefs Win Big Game - Despite early reports on Sunday night that the Buccaneers were winning the Big Game, it has since been verified that the Chiefs won.
The story on how this happened goes back many months, when the league decided to fortify the Big Game and save it from being stolen by any biased in-person referees or other possible chaos. They were concerned that it would be too difficult for teams to get touchdowns amidst the current pandemic, so they adjusted the rules to allow mail-in touchdowns. This was merely one of many rules changes the league enacted in the months building up to the big day, to make certain that every point was counted.
The league addressed the issue Monday morning, saying “we understand how hurtful it would be for an old white man to win the Big Game during Black history month.” They were also quick to condemn “the very bad fans who dared to celebrate Sunday night without masks on, in defiant opposition to the rules enacted to protect our fellow citizens.” They finished by reassuring America that matters were under control because “we have put together one of the most extensive and inclusive touchdown fraud organizations in the history of American football.”
The first dividends of that effort were seen at 4AM Monday morning, when two mail-in touchdowns were found for the Chiefs. Conversions for extra points were discovered during the day, as well as two more touchdowns, and multiple extra field goals, as league officials placed cardboard in the windows to keep observers from watching their completely fair process.
By the end of Monday night, league officials confirmed that the Chiefs had won the most fair and free Big Game in history by the historic score of 50 to 31. The league then made a call for unity amongst the fans as this difficult time has passed and the rightful team has been elevated to the office of Big Game Champion.
10 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Tarrant County Sheriff deputized the Republic of Texas Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys, back during the Second Great Depression. This was to protect the county from the various gangs and other forces that wanted to burn or destroy the place. Few people realized that the sheriff did not release them after the emergency ended. He wished to keep them in reserve, and since they were a reserve unit to begin with, it worked well for all parties. He called them to duty from time to time as the years passed on into decades, usually to help after some natural disaster. And as the decades became centuries, they remained Tarrant County deputies.
11 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Republic of Texas Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys, became far more than just a fighter squadron during the Second Great Depression. They were a workaround for a Constitutional and legal issue that the Tarrant County Sheriff used when his county was under assault by gangs, mobs, and even Federal agents. He needed more posse members to protect his county, but the Army, Navy, and Air Force servicemen could not be recruited. But the Marines had never been addressed in the law. They were a loophole that the sheriff drove a truck through, used to smack the rioters and anarchists down, and then kept in his back pocket over the centuries that followed. He was a careful man, you see. Best sheriff Tarrant County as ever had according to the polls.
12 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Tarrant County Sheriff needed a larger posse during the Second Great Depression, so he called on the Marines in his county. The law and Constitution did not specifically say they could not be peace officers, but the Cowboys were a fighter squadron, not a ground combat unit. Yes, technically, “every Marine is a rifleman,” but some riflemen are better than other riflemen. And a posse did not necessarily need riflemen at all. The sheriff wanted military police on his side, so when the local Army military police battalion decided they all harbored a secret desire to be Marines, he was there to swear each of them in. And then he ordered them to go out and do posse business protecting the county.
13 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The public face of the Republic of Texas Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys, has always been the fighter squadron. But the Cowboys are also a loophole in the laws that have been updated to say that Marines cannot be deputized into law enforcement anymore. The Tarrant County Sheriff deputized the entire unit during the Second Great Depression, and has never rescinded it, and grandfather clauses being what they are, the entire unit is still included in his posse. Which happened to include a large number of non-fighter pilots, air and spacecraft, and even a respectable ground combat or military police element. The exact organizational chart covering the Cowboys was suitably complex and esoteric, even before The War. It has become far more interesting since then. This is a feature, not a bug, per the wishes of both the Tarrant County Sheriff and the Cowboys.
14 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Republic of Texas Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys never was simply a fighter squadron after the Second Great Depression. The Tarrant County Sheriff deputized the unit, and he or one of his representatives was on station to help swear in every new member of the Cowboys in the centuries that followed. The War expanded on this. The Peloran picked the Cowboys as their primary point of contact with America, and gave them access to everything in their bag of technological tricks. They helped the Cowboys design new upgrades for their fighters and turned over entire fabricator nodes to build hundreds of the most advanced fighters the galaxy had ever seen. The Peloran took a reserve fighter unit filled with children from many of the Great Families of Earth, granted deputized powers of law enforcement by one of the premier Texas counties, and made them the most powerful fighter unit in the known galaxy. Trust me when I say that this was no accident.
15 - Medron - Defund The Police? - A year after riots burned down entire neighborhoods in Minneapolis, a year after the city took the “brave” step of defunding the police, now they are seeking millions of dollars to rehire and expand the police force again. It seems that crime went up, response rate went down, and public safety went down. Gee, I could have told you that would happen a year ago. In fact, I think I did. So this is my shocked face…
16 - Medron - Presidents Day - We just got done celebrating Presidents Day, though celebrating may be too strong a word. I remember when I was a kid, we celebrated Washington’s and Lincoln's birthdays separately, but then modified the holiday schedule to add Martin Luther King day and then have a generic Presidents Day. Now of course, there is little mention of the holiday at all.
Today we have to go looking to learn about the Presidents that came before us, unless we are talking about which recent President we plan to impeach next. Or which jobs the current President plans on erasing with his next Executive Order.
When I was a kid, we learned how George Washington could not lie about cutting down some tree, and how he led the Continental Army that helped liberate our nation, and later served as the first President under our second Constitution. We knew Jackson fought the Bloody British at the Battle of New Orleans by firing cannons until the barrels melted down. Then he grabbed an alligator and fought another round. We learned about how Lincoln and his famous Stove Pipe Hat held the nation together after the Democrats touched off a Civil War because they didn’t think the Republicans would let them keep their slaves. They ended up being right on that point. We learned how Teddy Roosevelt charged up some hill during an old war with Spain or something and conquered Cuba. We read about Wilson bringing us into World War I and FDR pulling us through the Great Depression and World War II. We knew Truman Dropped The Bomb on Japan, and that Everybody Liked Ike.
Not everything we learned was accurate, of course. But that was the thing. We were celebrating the Presidents of the past, and sometime telling tall tales about them while we were at it. We celebrated our country, and all the great things we did.
That is not fashionable today, so it is up to those of us who love our nation to remember what we were taught. How the Presidents have sometimes saved and sometimes changed our nation. Cherish the good ones and remember the bad ones.
It’s Presidents Day. A good day to remember and celebrate the Presidents who have represented our nation.
17 - Medron - The Green Energy Devolution - Ah, it is so nice to see windmills spinning all over the landscape, killing birds with their swift strikes, and sending energy all across the land. It is so nice to see solar panels baking in the sun, and sending energy all across the land. Except when the snow comes down and covers everything. And when it is so cold even the windmills stop turning. We don’t tend to have that problem in the Great White North, where we expect cold every winter, but Texas is not having a good time of it right now.
This is why I support the idea of distributed power creation. Every city and town should have it’s own generator. They may choose to buy cheaper power from others, but they should have at least backup generators to power the city in times of emergency. This really is the least a city or town should do for its residents. Freezing homes are not comfortable, as many are learning today.
18 - Medron - With Talent On Loan From God - I was young when Rush Limbaugh was new to national talk radio. AM radio was a dying format back then. All you heard on it was classical music and weather, since real music had abandoned those airwaves in favor of FM radio. But here came this man out of fumbuck Egypt, with talent on loan from God, talking about politics and entertainment and humor and whatever came to his mind for three hours a day. He changed the world.
I listened to Rush Limbaugh and his mad guitar licks were a welcoming friend. He spoke with a voice no one else on the national media did. They were liberal. They didn’t understand Middle America. He was conservative, he saw the forgotten men and women in Fly Over Country and he made talking to us fun. He boiled the important parts of what would normally be a rather boring conservative viewpoint, with half his brain tied behind his back, just to make it fair, and made them entertaining and fun. You could listen to him for three hours and feel it ended too soon. He was the voice a teenager greatly in need of a father figure listened to for over a decade. I was a Rush baby, a dittohead, and his example shaped the man I would become. I am not too afraid to say what I believe because of him.
I haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh regularly for well over a decade now. I have changed. I have grown. I moderated enough that his brand of trollish but optimistic conservatism no longer represented me enough to want to listen to it for three hours a day. But Rush changed national radio, he was the most dangerous man in America, and his many imitators today owe their positions in the media to him. He and his excellence in broadcasting network trailblazed talk radio in all its modern streaming and broadcast formats, and his voice was ubiquitous in media. Even not listening to him anymore, I always knew the answer to the question, what would Rush say?
Rush Limbaugh loved America, and he loved conservatism. He wanted all of us to succeed, no matter the color of our skin or the creed we followed. His voice spoke for a people who had no voice in the national media, and we consumed his words with a rabid intensity that could be scary. We are a different country today than we would have been without all the words that flowed from his golden EIB microphone for over three decades. He made us want to be better than we would have ever realized we could be if we only listened to the mainstream media. Thanks to his example and those who have followed in his wake, I am still living the dream today.
19 - Medron - NCISvision - We’ve spent a year watching BLM and Antifa protest during the day, and then burn down neighborhoods at night. Minneapolis. Portland. Seattle. Atlanta. Washington DC. Kenosha. For month after month, we’ve watched the police ordered to stand down to let them occupy buildings or neighborhoods. Even government buildings have been attacked and sometimes burned down. Dozens of lives have been snuffed out, and in some cases we’ve even watched proud Antifa members pull the trigger on camera. Combined with the COVID, it’s been Hell on Earth in a lot of ways, and I really have not enjoyed watching it. But I have watched, because I knew that one day I would have to bear witness to what I have seen with my own eyes.
This week I watched an episode of NCIS Los Angeles and had to shake my head. In their world, even the suggestion that law enforcement officers would be at a peaceful protest was enough to anger one of the agents. The only violence came from police sent to break up their protests, or counter-protest right wing militia members. Police were bad guys kidnapping people in Portland, and the big bads were law enforcement officers who kidnapped, beat, and tortured poor, innocent minorities. Agents lamented the actions of their law enforcement partners and questioned their very membership in the profession. It was like watching Wandavision, only with less basis in reality. At least Wandavision is honest about the deception. NCISvision is broadcast with a straight face and expectation of belief. But I bear witness to what I have seen this last year, and I recognize the deception.
20 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Republic of Texas Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys, expanded up to twenty, then fifty, and finally hundreds of pilots by War’s End. Many of these were completely new recruits, or transfers from other units or services, but many others belonged to the less-visible units in the Cowboy’s esoteric organizational structure. They flew off starships built by the Cybernetic Families specifically for their use. The Peloran Confederation built their starfighters. And the Tarrant County Sheriff deputized them into his posse, giving them authority to protect the common peace throughout the Western Alliance. They were far outside the norm of American fighter units, and this frightened some people. They sought to regularize the Cowboys. To bring them under more formal control. Neither the Cowboys nor the Tarrant County Sheriff cooperated.
21 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Cowboys had long since ceased being a mere squadron by War’s End. They measured three full fleets of over a hundred pilots each, flying off their own starships with hundreds of drone fighters under their command. They helped keep the peace in the Hyades Cluster, providing valuable assistance to the Republic of China administrators. The Cowboys stood be between the local civilians and the need for massive occupying forces, and many credit them with keeping the cluster from going out of control. Those who make a living attempting to discredit the Cowboys are not in that number, and they have tried to hamstring them multiple times in the decades since War’s End.
22 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Charles Edward Hurst commanded Wolf Fleet through to War’s End. He commanded many famous pilots in his time, including most of the alien pilots who joined the Cowboys. It was a veritable menagerie of different species and random rich or powerful individuals. Christian Mack was probably the most famous of them, due to his many award-winning roles in films and series, and he ran the fleet in every way that mattered. The old sergeant worked with the Tarrant County Sheriff to maintain the Cowboys’ unique nature, and would take command of the fleet when Major Hurst retired. The renamed Ram Fleet would spread throughout the ever-expanding outer colonial regions in the decades that followed, providing peacekeeping and para-military services to anyone in need.
23 - Medron - America Is Worth It - This is the first full week in my lifetime in which Rush Limbaugh is gone. Some people loved him. Some people hated him. The simple fact is that he loved this country, and I will share one of his statements here.
“America is worth it, America is worth fighting for, America is worth not giving up.”
24 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Jay Lovato commands Bull Fleet. He is the son of the Navajo Nation President, and most of his pilots came from powerful American families or corporations. His Cowboys remained in Earthspace after War’s End, and spent the following decades as the public face of the Cowboys for most people. They are official peacekeepers, like all Cowboys, but most often take action during natural disasters in support of first responders. There is little call for swift frontier justice in the Core Worlds, and Core World administrators often distrust Cowboys who act in a peacekeeping role without first obtaining the approval of the local administrators. Bull Fleet Cowboys are accepted and tolerated to a large degree because they give due respect and honor to the administrators. Their primary standard duty is maintaining communications with the other Cowboys and recruiting new Cowboys.
25 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Jack Hart began commanding Hart Fleet during the initial invasion of the Hyades Cluster. He collected all of the ne’erdowells, misfits, and wanderlust into his organization. Sometimes it felt as if the more disrespectful they were, the more he liked them. It would be more accurate to say that he wanted those who did not fit in anywhere else. He wanted independent thinkers. He wanted those willing to bend the rules, or break them while coming up with a reasonable argument for why they actually bent them. He wanted people who would create new rules when the time called for it. His people are the most troublesome lot of Cowboys you’re ever likely to meet, but they took to the outskirts of galactic society after War’s End. They fly through the outer frontiers of human expansion, where peacekeepers are often most needed and welcomed by the common citizens.
26 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Charles retired and traveled to Wolfenheim after War’s End. The Pennsylvania Incident was difficult for many to get over, and he considered it best to get out from under foot and travel where no media could catch up with him. A distant colony in alien space was perfect for his wishes. There Charles organized a new force, often called Ghost Fleet, that joined the various alien powers out there in patrolling against Shang scouts, raiders, and other miscreants. The Tarrant County Sheriff eventually sent a permanent representative to Wolfenheim to establish an office and deputize them into the posse. Orders creating a new Wolf Fleet arrived at the same time, making them official Cowboys. This also gave them jurisdiction in the Terran Sector whenever they traveled that way, though they have made it a practice to exercise it as little as possible.
27 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The modern Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys, is still based at Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Tarrant County Texas. It was reorganized into an official Republic of Texas parade unit after War’s End, with all members serving from the larger Cowboy organization. It initially had twelve pilots, though now numbers sixteen in total. Bull, Wolf, Ram, and Hart fleets send four pilots each, on four-year deployments, where they spend most of their time waving the flag and showing off at Core World aerospace shows. They rarely engage in combat, though often help with disaster relief efforts. The squadron is a prestige deployment, open only to other Cowboys, and Cowboys who serve help to keep the larger Cowboy fleets cooperating in their long venture of promoting the public peace.
28 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Cowboys have built small Cowboy Country establishments on nearly all friendly worlds throughout known space. Most people consider them akin to the various veteran bars you can find in most towns, because they usually act that way. The standard Third World Cowboy Country sports a bar that serves anybody in front and party rooms in the back. An upper floor holds offices for Cowboys and the Tarrant County Sheriff, while a landing pad atop the building is capable of holding anything up to an Avenger. Few outsiders ever see the basements, which consist of bunkers full of supplies and weapons fit for an army. More affluent worlds tend to have larger and more elaborate Cowboy Countries. An interesting point is that most of them have official signed agreements with the local governments putting them under their own legal jurisdiction. They truly are small Cowboy Countries.