I will try to add stuff to this page fairly regularly.

16 April 2002: Second thoughts about Abraham and about genocide in the Bible

I've thought about my analysis of the Abraham-and-Isaac story, and the O.T. genocide stories, a fair amount lately. I'll tackle each one separately.

1. Abraham. In my hermeneutics paper, I described him as evil and stupid. That's pretty judgmental, and is an ad hominem argument in any case. It's a fact that for most of my life I saw his willingness to sacrifice his son as, well, evil and stupid, and the idea still disturbs me greatly, but you could make a case for the traditional analysis of the story as showing his great faith in God. Abraham believed, completely, in God. He may have known as well as you or I that murder is never justified. But believing in the reality of God, and that God really had told him to execute Isaac, he may have thought that God would somehow make it come right -- perhaps that God would resurrect Isaac on the spot. He trusted that God would somehow make it come out all right. Given that, his willingness to do the deed really does show a deep faith. I still have a problem with this -- how do you distinguish the psycho who merely thinks he has a command from God to sacrifice his kid from the Abraham who really did receive such a command? There have been horrifying cases in the criminology literature.

2. Similar comments on the O.T. genocide episodes. If God really does know what's best, and believes an entire people should be scrubbed now by his ancient-Hebrew soldiers, can we not trust God to know what he's doing? But the same problem then arises as with Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac -- how do you distinguish a real command from God to scrub an entire people from the theological justifications sometimes given for actual episodes of genocide? There were probably Nazis who thought God really wanted them to kill all the Jews -- Serbs who thought God really wanted them to kill all the Bosnian Muslims -- etc. All I can say is that if you think you have a command from God to kill someone, you'd better be damned sure of yourself. Adjective intended. And you'd better be free from, say, paranoid schizophrenia. Can we distinguish a "sane" mass murderer from an insane one? MMPI, anybody?

17 June 2003: Three comments.

1. Well, it's over a year later and I still haven't added anything new, aside from updating the bibliography when I made additional sales. So much for "I will try to add stuff to this page fairly regularly." Apologies to all and sundry.

2. I've just added the Richard Darkwhims interview to my web site. The whole transcript, to which I own all rights.

3. In the ETI paper, I went with Asimov's view that most of the stars in the galaxy (90%) are metal-poor Population II stars. I said 90% (the 10% Pop. I and an additional 8/9 of the Pop. II) would probably have enough metals to form terrestrial planets anyway. I was being over-optimistic. But something has happened since to justify my figure, if not my poor logic: Turns out most Pop. II stars are NOT metal-poor! Here's what some authorities on the subject (Mihalas and Binney 1981, p. 272*) have to say on the subject:

"In particular, 'Population II' came to mean, for all practical purposes, metal-poor stars. Astronomers who adopted this view were then confronted with a logical cramp when it was shown that stars in the nuclear bulge in our own Galaxy and others (for example, M31), and the stars in the central regions of elliptical galaxies -- all of which are Population II by every other criterion -- are metal rich!"

*Mihalas, Dimitri and Binney, James 1981 (1968). Galactic Astronomy -- Structure and Kinematics. NY: W. H. Freeman and Co.

4 June 2005: Publications galore, and some HTML overhaul.

Two years since I added anything to this page. Sorry!

In addition to "Temple Cat" coming out in Cricket this month -- I've got six copies, though no check yet -- two more of my stories are going to go on-line at a couple of webzines any day now. And my novel Year of the Human should appear this summer. My first published novel!

I first sent in a manuscript of a novel to a publisher in 1974, when I was 14 years old. It took me 30 years and 116 submissions to get an acceptance. It's going to feel so good to hold a paperback in my hands with my name on the cover. Oh, yeah. Makes all that effort worthwhile.

As far as the reference to HTML goes, I've noticed I sometimes have trouble bringing the site up in the AOL browser, though it comes up okay in IE and Firefox. Sometimes the menu frame on the left doesn't load, making the site mostly inaccessible. I changed all the URLs to absolute rather than relative; maybe that will help. Fingers crossed.

The Lord continues to work in my life. As of March I've been working full time, after 14 months unemployed. It's for a temp company, but as of mid-June I'll have worked at this client three months and they'll have the option of hiring me... Here's hoping.

9 July 2005: I'm all over the web.

As of today, I have three things in webzines at once -- see my Bibliography page. They're very much small press markets, not (yet!) recognized as pro markets by SFWA, but the editors are obviously intelligent, discerning people with good literary taste. ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com, The Sword Review, Insidious Reflections, I love ya!

Still working for the temp agency (the very helpful and well-run Act-1 Personnel), not the client company. The latter declined to hire me when the three months were up. But hey, at least I'm still working. Now if I can only land that multi-million-dollar paperback contract...

24 September 2005: Site Changes.

The menu on the left was a bit of a hodge-podge, so I've rewritten it in a new style. The entries are now in alphabetical order by keywords, with the first letter of the keyword in a different color and font. I've dropped the link to my writers' workshop's web page, since it's been in suspended animation for a long time now, but I've added a new links page.

The book (Year of the Human) is now supposed to come out in October. Hope they don't change it again...

The company I'm working at, ECSI, has decided not to hire me. I'm still a temp. So I'll go on looking for full-time, permanent employment elsewhere. Preferably some place with health benefits. The medical expenses are killing us.

And the Boo (Elizabeth, my wife) has just been diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease. Oh, well, I have to assume the Lord knows what he's doing. Please pray for us.

14 February 2007: 2006 is finally over.

Well, 2006 was a kidney stone of a year for me and my family. Here are all the things that went wrong:

February -- I hurt my back in a freak fall in a restaurant.

March -- I got fired from my job. I had episodes of extreme abdominal pain which resulted in three trips to the ER at West Penn, two of which resulted in four-day hospitalizations.

April -- I got back home from the 2nd hospitalization to find my cat dead. My doctors said I was disabled, which made me ineligible for unemployment payments. I applied for Social Security disability.

June -- I went around handing out press kits for my novel, Year of the Human, to local bookstores, Scrybe Press having told me it would come out June 30. That was later changed to August 30th, October, November, and now, as far as I can tell, never. I don't think they're ever actually going to bring the book out. It's been two and half years.

July -- I was hospitalized briefly to have my gall bladder removed. All in all, the medical expenses for 2006 left us thousands of dollars in debt.

October -- I was turned down for Social Security disability. All in all, I had zero income for eight months in 2006. We survived by drawing down my wife's retirement savings, and spending all the tiny income from her less-than-half-time job.

December -- they told my wife her mother was terminal, projected survival six months. In fact she died this January.

On the bright side, two of the 84 short story submissions I made in 2006 were accepted, though neither got me any income in 2006. And I found a temporary job at UPMC, as of December 13th, through Act-1 Personnel.

Here's to a better 2007. Things are already starting to look up -- My story, The Extraordinary Circumstances on Board H.M.S. Steadfast came out in Cicada, and Carnifex Press has expressed some interest in my short novel, Shila the Huntress, and its sequels.

I have upgraded the web site a little. I added and then improved a Climatology page with links to three short articles, a javascript planetary temperatures calculator, and a link to RealClimate, the best climatology blog on the web. I also added a little daydreaming tribute to Sailor Mercury, my favorite Sailor senshi. The links page is still not up, for which I apologize. I'll try to add it soon.

24 July 2007: More bad news.

My first novel, Year of the Human, is dead. After 3 years, Scrybe still didn't bring it out, so I sent a letter saying if it wasn't out by December, I was going to walk. I sent that letter in May. No reply, so I no longer have a first novel.

15 February 2008: Spoke too soon.

Chrysann Castro at Scrybe Press got in touch with me. Scrybe went through a prolonged crisis where they dropped the ball, but they are now reorganizing, and trying valiantly to make it up to people they disappointed. I gave them back Year of the Human. Maybe you think I should have my head examined, but darn it, I believe in second chances. I've needed them myself more than once.

Year of the Human should come out this year.

And Virtual Tales has accepted my novel I Will for publication.

Novel submissions 1974-2008: 186. Acceptances: 2 so far. Hit rate: 1.1%.

I'm on my way.

4 October 2008: More novels coming out.

I now have four books in the works. Well, three and a half, since one is a novella if you go by length. They are:

Lyrical Press: Ella the Vampire
Scrybe Press: Year of the Human
Virtual Tales: I Will

Novel submissions: 194. Acceptances: 4 so far. Hit rate: 2.1%.

My editors at Lyrical tell me the time to start promoting a book is two months before it comes out. Since Ella the Vampire is coming out as an e-book on December 1st (and in print as a trade paperback on June 1st), I have added a page for it to this website. Check under E.

6 April 2010: General updates.

Wow, long time since I've added anything here! Sorry about that. I now have two e-books in print: Ella the Vampire and Parole. I Will comes out from Virtual Tales this month (I hope, I hope, I hope), and Max and Me is coming from Lyrical in June.

After having it for five years without being able to bring it out, Scrybe Press and I amicably parted ways. I have since sold the ms to Hearts on Fire Books, which should bring it out in 2010 or 2011.

Novel submissions: 205. Acceptances: 5 so far. Hit rate: 2.4%.

I have been unemployed since February 2008, unable to work due to multiple medical conditions. I have been applying for Social Security Disability. They keep turning me down. I am contemplating sueing the Social Security Administration.

I've tried to give the web site a new look and additional pages. When I have the time I've changed the font from Times New Roman, which is kind of hard to read, to Arial. There are more pictures, a contact page, a page about interviews with me, and lots and lots of new, or relatively new, pages on the Climatology site. I added an internal links bar by letters to the main page (e.g. click on C and it takes you to the C entries). Hope this is a little more user friendly!

14 February 2011: Miscellaneous

I've put all the web pages on my site into a uniform style using a CSS style sheet. The font is larger, so people with tiny screens (or poor eyesight) can read more easily. It also saves code space.

I have had a research paper accepted by a peer-reviewed science journal. "Planet Temperatures with Surface Cooling Parameterized" will appear in Advances in Space Research this year. I am no longer a scientist wannabe. I am a scientist! [Bill Murray voice:] Back off, man. We're scientists.

Page created:04/16/2002
Last modified:  02/14/2011