Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, April 16, 2018


Openers:  Mr. Harrington shivered.
     People usually did when Professor Herschel W. Giddens turned upon them with the full battery of his brain, which, beneath a number eight-and-a-quarter, neat bowler hat, topped a wizened body of five feet four.
     -- Achmed Abdullah, "A Full House"  (People's Favorite Magazine, February 10, 1919)

I've Been Reading:  The only novel I read this week was Edgar Rice Burroughs' I Am a Barbarian, a historical novel about Caligula and not Burroughs' usual fare.  The book was written in 1941 and then shelved, appearing in print in 1967, years after the author's death.  Other than that, for the most part, it's been a graphic novel/comic strip compilation week.  Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon:  1948 reprints the second year of the comic strip; the book actually runs from late December 1947 through to February 1949.  Interesting, but the strips were cramped and sometimes hard to read; also, some strips were repeated due, I assume, to a copy editor's oversight.  Jason Aaron's Southern Bastards, Volume 2:  Gridiron (with art by Jason Latour) is a gritty crime story about a Southern football coach.  If you liked Aaron's series Scalped, you'll like this one.  Charlaine Harris' Grave Sight was adapted by William Harms from the first book in the Harper Connelly series.  Harper is a young woman who can "see" how people die -- a gift that can lead to deadly consequences.  The Silence of Our Friends, written by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, is a searing look at race relations in 1968 Houston, based on events from Mark Long's childhood.  The artwork is by Nate Powell, who drew Representative John Lewis' three-part graphic novel autobiography March.  His work is just as powerful here.  Highly recommended.  I also read three Batman GNs:  Matt Wagner's Faces, Doug Moench's Hong Kong (with art by Tony Wong), and Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns.  Lastly, and moving away from graphic novels, I read Robert B. Parker's Spenser's Boston -- a book of photographs by Kasho Kugamai with a framing device by Parker wherein Spenser and Susan take Rachel Wallace on a one-day exploration of Boston.  The book is also padded out with quotes from various Spenser novels.
     On deck I have Mickey Spillane's The Last Stand, Ken Bruen's The Ghosts of Galway, Robert B. Parker and Joan Parker's A Day at the Races, and August Derleth's non-fiction look at The Milwaukee Road.  I wonder how many I'll read this week before something brighter and shinier grabs my atten----Look!  a squirrel!

The Amazing Mr. Pence:  Sarah Sanders released a photo of President Trump in the Situation Room while the Syrian air strikes were going on.  I believe this was an effort to show us how Trump was hands-on on top of the situation.  Also in the photograph was Mike Pence, who, at the same time, was in Latin America.  I did not know he had that superpower.  I wonder if he told Mommy.

On This Day:  In 1818, the Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing a boundary with Canada.  No mention of a wall...Also, in Dodge City, Kansas, in 1881, Bat Masterson fought his last gun battle.  Two men had threatened Masterson's brother Jim and that would not stand.  Bat accosted the two and they ran behind to local jail and began firing shots.  More people joined in the shooting fray on each side.  The battle went on until one of the two men -- a drunk named Updegraff -- was wounded.  Bat was fined $8 and he and his brother were allowed to leave Dodge City.  Three years later, Masterson dipped his toe into journalistic waters by starting a newspaper in Dodge City.  It failed after one issue.  Nearly two decades later, he returned to journalism with a thrice-weekly sports column in The New York Morning Telegraph, running from 1903 until Bat's death in 1921...Today is also the birthday of John Millington Synge (born 1871), the Irish playwright and poet.  He died from Hodgkin's disease less than a month before his 38th birthday, a death that might have been prefigured by this poem:

                                                       TO THE OAKS OF GLENCREE

My arms round you, and I lean
Against you, while the lark
Sings over us, and golden lights, and green
Shadows are on your bark.

There'll come a season when you'll stretch
Black boards to cover me:
Then in Mount Jerome I will lie, poor wretch,
With worms eternally.

Mellow Mice:  When hundred of pounds of marijuana went missing from a police station in Argentina, local police blamed mice.  The cops were fired when experts stated that the mice woud not be interested in eating the weed.  In the meantime, reports are coming in about gangs of mellow mice mugging pedestrians for their Twinkies.

NASCAR News:  Because of a stuck door Bubba Watson was stuck on a bus just before a race and had to exit through the toilet.  Any jokes I might have made have already been made by Watson himself, know, NASCAR.

In Pop Culture News:  A Kardashian did something, or maybe something was done to a Kardashian.  Who knows?  Who cares?

Boston Marathon Today:  Five years after the bombing, Boston remains strong.  Best wishes to all those who run.


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