King Herod

For the Christmas season posts, let’s go for a little trivia…

King Herod the Great had control of Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth. He had a convoluted history that involved odd, belligerent, dangerous relatives. He himself was not exactly a nice guy, history tells us.

He took advantage of the political climate of the Roman Empire to come to power by backing the right guy in a civil war.

After the birth of Jesus, the Wise Guys … er … Wise Men stopped in Jerusalem to check in with Herod. Herod asked them to tell him the location of Jesus, but hey, these guys were smart, and they went home by another route to avoid Herod.

Not to be thwarted so easily, Herod ordered the murder of all baby boys (under 2 years old). Fortunately, Joseph got a warning from an angel and took off Egypt with his family before the massacre occurred. Joseph and Mary kept Jesus in Egypt until Herod the Great became Herod the Deceased.

Although Herod was a king in Israel, he was not a Jew.  What was his nationality?

Thanksgiving in the US

Popular tradition has it that Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims, and it did. Sort of.

The European settlers landed first at Plymouth, but ran into very unhappy natives, so they headed south and settled in Cape Cod. The winter was a disaster, but the following spring, a couple of the local Indians taught them survival strategies and ways to grow food more effectively.

In the fall, the colony threw a party and invited the Indians who helped them out. The food was more than our usual turkey day dinner. Pretty much any food they had to share, was shared. Sports were involved … but I’m pretty sure football wasn’t one of them.

This was not a yearly gig. There were a couple other celebrations in the 1600s and 1700s, but the yearly phenomenon didn’t start until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

There was some jockeying around with the date. President Franklin Roosevelt moved it around to give retailers more time for Christmas sales, a sneaky trick he though would contribute to America’s recovery from the Depression.

So, who locked it to the 4th Thursday of November? Congress in 1941.

How does your family celebrate the day?


Source material for this week and last:


SpecMusicMuse—Review of Remnant in the Stars by Cindy Koepp

A review for Remnant in the Stars!

Scott M. Sandridge

remnantinthestarsThe freelance crew of the Gyrfalcon are given a special mission to find the Kesha, an exploration vessel that disappeared after leaving a garbled message. All Derek needs to complete his crew is a pilot and an Aolanian astrogator. He recruits Kirsten Abbot, an injured fighter pilot with a malfunctioning prosthetic arm; and Calonti Sora, an Aolanian banished by his people who has a daughter who was onboard the Kesha. In order to save the crew, they must deal with two anti-Aolanian groups seeking to sabotage the search and rescue.

Remnant in the Stars by Cindy Koepp reminds me of some of the more old-school science fiction where characters resolved conflicts with their brains instead of just their weapons, but while also focusing on the characters instead of just the gadgets while delving deep into cultural, philosophical, and religious themes. Koepp takes a basic plot, a search and rescue…

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Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Implant Communicators

Check it out! Implant Communicators!

The Word Nerds

cindykoepp_authorphoto_650x400 Cindy Koepp

The Word Nerds are excited to welcome Cindy Koepp to the blog today to talk about communications and her books, “Remnant in the Stars” and “The Loudest Action.” 

Science fictions is full of interesting ways for characters to communicate with each other across distances. Some, like the 1960s Star Trek communicators, look a little like flip-phones. Others, like the more recent Star Trek series, were little badges the character just had to tap to activate. Some were a lot more complex, like Star Wars’ holographic transmissions.

In Remnant in the Stars and The Loudest Actions, the human characters – most of them anyway – have a communicator implanted in their heads. The communicator shows as a green or red LED under their hair. Tapping the light can turn the communicator on or off, but the default mode is on.

These are not “electronic telepathy.” It’s not as simple…

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Guest Post: Cindy Koepp

Modern Mechs

Enchanted Alley

The Enchanted Alley would like to welcome Cindy Koepp.

Please give her a very enchanted welcome!

Virtual Tour
Author: Cindy Koepp
Featured Book Releases: Remnant in the Stars and The Loudest Actions
November 7 – 21, 2017


Without further ado… here’s Cindy! 

Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Mechanized Armor

In Remnant in the Stars and The Loudest Actions, the League pilots (the bad guys) used mechanized armor or “mechs” for fighter craft. These are huge (much taller than a person) robots piloted by someone who communicates mentally with the computer from inside a cockpit located in the chest. The mechs come in two varieties: the smaller and lighter Dervishes and the much sturdier and larger Samurai.

The mechs have the advantage of being able to work in space and in atmosphere. They have shielding and armor to protect them and three kinds of weapons for offense. Each mech has…

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Thanksgiving in Older Times

Thanksgiving is coming soon. It’s set — at least in this part of the world — on the 4th Thursday of November, which explains why it’s never the same day of the month two years running.

In the US, this traditionally involves gathering in family groups to chow down on turkey, some kind of bread-based dressing or stuffing, sweet taters, cranberries, greenie beanies, and pumpkin or apple pies. (Your mileage may vary. Mine sure does). The idea is to celebrate a good harvest (even though most of us do our “harvesting” at the grocery store).

Older cultures celebrated having plenty at harvest time. They just did their celebrations at different times in different ways.

Ancient Greeks had “Thesmophoria,” a celebration to honor the goddess Demeter with gifts of fruit, cake, and grainy stuff.

The Ancient Romans likewise honored their goddess Ceres with “Cerelia,” a holiday filled with games, sports, feasts, and other shenanigans.

Ancient Egypt did their thanksgiving celebration in the spring. (There’s always one that’s different). They honored the goddess Min. It was actually a sad time for them because Min lived in the corn they were harvesting, so they acted depressed while harvesting it. After the harvest was over, the Pharaoh would throw a party.

Ancient Chinese celebrated the moon’s birthday (“Chung Ch’ui) in the middle of August. They harvested stuff and threw a party while watching for flowers to fall from the moon to bring them good luck for the next year.

The ancient cultures and our current celebrations had some things in common: lots of food, fun, and frivolity.

Guest post: Hyperspace Travel by Cindy Koepp

Hyperspace … it’s complicated.

Magic of books

Hi guys! Today I’ve got for you something special – a guest post from Cindy Koepp. She had published her new Sci-Fi book not so long ago and it sounds quite interesting! And after reading this article I’m even more curious to read her books.


Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Hyperspace Travel

Faster-than-light (FTL) travel has been a staple of science fiction for decades. It comes in many forms. There’s Star Trek’s warp drive. Star Wars has a hyperdrive. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy brought us the Infinite Improbability Drive. Even Doctor Who’s TARDIS is used to travel fantastically great distances pretty quickly.

Popular Mechanics has rated the plausibility of 10 different sci-fi FTL systems here:


My favorite shows up in The Childe Cycle, a collection of novels and short stories by Gordon R. Dickson. He used the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. He didn’t call it that, but that’s…

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