Day: November 13, 2013

Review of ‘Badger Lake’ by Aaron Shaffer

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There’s nothing funny about a tornado or a murder. Well, actually, that’s not true; in the hands of Aaron Shaffer and the quietly funny Badger Lake, these two catastrophes are hilarious, especially when you throw in the antics of the staff of a small-town TV station, tropical birds, and local political corruption.

Two murders in two days in the small town of Badger Lake causes the small town news reporters, in their quest for the story, to run afoul of the East Coast mob. Throw in encounters with wild animals, a tornado, twelve state senators trying to avoid the governor, an out of shape sheriff, and a cross-dressing station manager, and you have a story that will have you rolling on the floor laughing your you-know-what off.

Badger Lake is a mystery with a deft comic twist, and Shaffer is a writer to watch for.

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Come Fly With Me: Traveling from the Bottom to the Top of the World

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I’m hip deep in NaNoWriMo, doing pro bono work for a professional association, in the formative stages of a consulting job with the Department of Defense, and recovering from a hip operation; so, participating in NoBloPoMo, while tempting, is just a keyboard too far. I couldn’t pass up, though, a chance to blog about traveling suggested by the Daily Prompt: Come Fly With Me.

I spent the past 50 years traveling from one end of the earth to another. Beginning in 2012 in a little town in East Texas with a population of just over 700, I’ve since lived in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, and have visited every continent except Antarctica. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve effectively circumnavigated the earth – between 2006 and 2009, for instance, I flew an average of 200,000 miles per year, including multiple trips to Western Europe, East and Southeast Asia, South America, and Russia. I think South Dakota is the only U.S. state I’ve never visited.

So, it becomes a bit difficult to describe the furthest I’ve ever traveled from home, because home has changed location almost every year for me until I retired from public service last year and more or less settled in suburban Maryland, just outside DC, to write, consult, and speak full time from a fixed base of operations. No single trip stands out as being the farthest. They’ve all been far in one way or another – either in distance traveled, or cultural change experienced. There is, though, one trip that stands out as probably the oddest.

When I lived in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, I was asked to attend two conferences that were taking place in the same week. The problem is, one was in Cape Town, South Africa and the other was in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it was in December. It took some juggling, but my travel office figured out how to make it happen. So, on a warm December day, I left Harare, Zimbabwe and flew to Cape Town, where the weather was also balmy. I got up the next day and attended the meetings. When they were finished, I rushed to the airport and took off for Denmark, arriving in Copenhagen around midday the next day. I was greeted by ice hanging from eaves and piles of snow all over the place. Me and my two suitcases (yes, I had to pack one for warm weather and one for cold) survived the trip, though, and I now have the bragging rights of traveling from near the bottom to near the top of the world in one day. That’s a trip that’s not only far, but far out.

Golden Lion with the bay and Table Mountain in the background.
Golden Lion with the bay and Table Mountain in the background.
Building in Copenhagen across the river from my hotel.
Building in Copenhagen across the river from my hotel.