Reader Request Week 2021 #10: Short Bits

And now, some of the questions I didn’t answer at length, answered briefly:

Jim Randolph:

I gather one of the things that you get satisfaction from is the work (both art and music) that you have had the opportunity to commission on your own. I’d love to hear more about how you make that happen. And are you planning a music commission for the new novel?

Most I make commissions happen by contacting the artist and saying something along the lines of “Hey, I like your work, can I commission something?” Sometimes they’re too busy, but often they’re not, and when they’re not then we figure out if what they want to charge is what I want to spend, and so on. I enjoy being able to support artists with actual money, and also getting cool work, so generally it works out just fine. With regard to a music commission for the new novel: We’ll see. I don’t have anyone particular in mind, but we have a year before it comes out, so there’s time to think about it.

Paul Wiley:

Considering the current states of society, technology, and the Earth, what are your thoughts on colonizing the Moon, Mars, and/or other possible sites in the solar system? Yay or nay?

We have the technology now to do it if we really wanted, albeit not necessarily easily or comfortably or cheaply; the question is whether we really want to and what it would entail. And while it’s not an either/or thing, I think we’re generally better off working on this planet before going off to fuck up another one.

Richard Gibbons:

In the 2028 election, you vote for Republicans for president, congress, and senate. What has happened that has resulted in this outcome?

It’s more likely I bounce to the moon on shoes made of flubber than vote straight ticket GOP in seven years, so, yeah, I don’t see this scenario happening.

Penn Davies:

Have you ever tried out or trained in any weapons or martial arts, modern or historical, as part of research for a book?

As research for a book? No.

David Border:

Are you into Historical Sites, such as Lincoln Memorial, The Mall, Smithsonian Museums and such? Have you visited them?

I used to live in the DC area, so, sure, I’ve visited the various museums and historical sites there, and also in other places. Am I hugely into them? I don’t think so, but on the other hand if I’m there and they are easily accessible to me, I’m happy to go to them.


How’s the Mini Countryman holding up?

Actually very well. This month marks the 10th anniversary of me taking receipt of it, and in all that time I can’t recall a major mechanical issue. Part of that is due to me maintaining it fairly well — for eight of those years I had it under an extended care contract where the Mini dealership would pick it up, service it and detail it, and then return it, all without me having to do anything. Also it has relatively few miles on it — not quite 80k after a decade. This is because I don’t have to commute for work, and also because if I travel further than, say, Chicago, I tend to rent a car for the extended trip. I actually need to go get it serviced soon, but once I do I expect it to chug along happily. At some point I’ll get a newer car, but I’m not in a huge rush.


You’ve mentioned you’ve suffered a miscarriage. What effect did this have on you? Do you feel it’s something guys can talk about freely?

I wrote a piece about it when it happened, which you can find here, and which still very well encapsulates what my thinking about it is. I can’t say whether other men talk about miscarriages openly, but I think they should be able to and I think it’s okay for men, and anyone else, to mourn the loss.

Pete L:

You’ve had your fair share of haters, but have you ever had to deal with the other side of the coin, e.g. stalkers?

I had a stalker a while back and had to file a police report about them. I’m happy to say that the situation resolved itself reasonably well for everyone involved; filing the police report helped convince the person they needed to get back on their meds, and since then I believe they have continued to maintain their mental health, which makes me happy. It was really a “best case scenario” version of a stalking, and as such I don’t tend to compare it to what many other folks, particularly women, have to go through when they are being stalked.

Rick M:

I can envision you as a mischievous grandfather. What plans do you have in place to subvert your daughter’s undoubtedly excellent (yet hypothetical) parenting?

To subvert? None, since I think parenting is hard enough without some relative getting in there and messing up how one raises their kid. But I certainly plan to have fun with any potential grandchildren. I think it’s possible to be a mischievous grandparent without making my kid’s parenting duties more difficult.


It seems you have opinions on most every subject and freely share your thoughts on multiple topics all across the spectrum. What is the topic you have least background to provide an opinion and what is that opinion?

I don’t actually know! In fairness to myself, I do tend to preface opinions on subjects I don’t know a whole lot about with “Here is me talking out of my ass” or something similar, or I skip them entirely. But it’s difficult for me to say accurately what I know the least about. That’s something someone else would probably have to identify.

Colonel Snuggledorf:

I wonder if you’d be interested in sharing your thoughts on the proposals for a $15 federal minimum wage.

Mostly a) that it should be higher than that to keep up with what it should be had it been indexed to inflation all this time, b) that whatever wage they set it should be indexed to inflation moving forward so we can stop having to try to drag it forward to what it would have been and should be. And then general thought that if we really believe as a nation people have to work to live, then we should make it so they can live on what we pay them to work. That seems pretty simple.


Any updates for OLD MAN’S WAR on Netflix?

It’s still in development and I’m still getting option payments on it, and aside from that I can’t say much. When/if I can say more, you’ll know.

William Patrick:

Given your love for movies, why don’t you have a home theater?

I mean, dude, I have a 65-inch OLED screen hanging in my living room, how much bigger and nicer do I need the screen to be? I’m doing all right on this score!

Dan S:

You are given the authority to create a new monument representing 2020. You have unlimited budget and can place it anywhere in the United States (including unlimited eminent domain powers). What in your mind does it memorialize, what does it look like, and where would you put it?

An eternal trash fire at Mar-A-Lago sounds about right.

Thank you everyone for your questions this year! Let’s do it again, oh, in 2022.

— JS

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