Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, May 14, 2018


Openers:  He liked to drink sparingly after dinner. but now he noticed he had let Chet Burney force three of his extra-potent highballs on him, and he guessed that they were the equivalent of six drinks at a bar.  Chet believed firmly in the social prowess of alcohol, and when Chet and Alice gave a large cocktail party, there were many critical cases of remorse the next morning, and many earnest vows to be more careful at the next Burney affair.  -- John D. MacDonald, Clemmie (1958)

I've Been Reading:  August Derleth's The House on the Mound was his second historical novel featuring Hercules Dousman, fur trapper turned businessman and once the richest person in the greater Wisconsin area.  Published sixty years ago, it may be a bit dated for some readers but I loved it.  Similar to Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art graduation speech, Carl Hiaasen's brief Assume the Worst:  The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear is chock-full of humor, wisdom, and common sense.  The illustrations by Roz Chast are also great.  As for graphic novels, I read four volumes of Robert Kirkman's Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta (that's the official title, with Kirkman as writer and Paul Azaceta as artist) -- Volume 1:  A Darkness Surrounds Him, Volume 2:  A Vast and Unending Ruin, Volume 3:  This Little Light, and Volume 4:  Under Devil's Wing.  Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and has been instrumental in performing exorcisms.  But there is no God and there is no devil, so what is this evil that has been stalking Kyle and those close to him?  A nifty atmospheric series that is slow to reveal its secrets.

Currently, I'm about one-third into dean Koontz's latest Jane Hawk novel, The Crooked Staircase.  Typical Koontz, with writing so good that one overlooks his faults.  Coming up, John Connolly's mainstream novel about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, He.  Plus, any bright, shiny, sparklies that happen by and I'm overdue for a pulp short story binge.

Imagination:  I never had any imaginary friends when I was young, not -- to my knowledge -- did anyone I knew.  Then came adulthood...still no imaginary friends.  But my young nephew Brendan had three (Rosie, Bumpy, and Pokey) and would regale us with their antics.  When Brendan and his imaginary friends went to a Montessori pre-school, my brother-in-law could not complain because he was paying for one kid and not all four.  When my granddaughter Amy was very young, her imaginary friend was Spidey; she spent several miserable days because Spidey was mad at her and refused to talk to her.  And now we have Jack.  I don't know if Jack's imaginary friend has a name, but the other day he was having a pretend telephone conversation with him and Jack got mad at him, yelling,"You're a jerk!  G-E-R-C or K!"  Kindergarten phonics at work!

Jessamyn Update:  Things are moving apace.  Thursday she had a port installed, followed by a meeting with her oncologist.  Today is MRI time, tomorrow she starts chemo, and on Wednesday she will have a PET scan.  We know this will be a long haul but the outcome looks very bright.

More Family Stuff:  Since yesterday was Mother's Day, the entire family got together for portraits.  It had been four years since the last time we did that.  Ceili thought she did not smile enough (she did).  Kitty thought she looked a bit washed out (she was beautiful).  Christina thought she did not photograph well (she did -- beautifully).  Erin thought her hair was too curly (again, she was beautiful).  Everybody laughed.  The photographer thought we were crazy.  One shot was taken of me with a white background; as Jessamyn said, who thought that would be a good idea with my white hair?  I looked like the top of my head had been removed.  Jack decided that a clip-on tie would work great over his tee-shirt.  He also thought a cap with fur ear flaps would complete his outfit.  Many strange pictures were taken -- enough to last us another four years, perhaps.

Equality:  Actor Benedict Cumberbatch will refuse roles if his female co-stars are not paid equally.  Good for him.  I wish everyone could afford to take a similar stand.

The Trump Dump:  Fox news host and woman who makes Ann Coulter seem almost reasonable Jeanine Pirro says that Trump is fulfilling a biblical prophecy by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  This is evidently lost on most countries who did not send envoys to the opening ceremonies.  POMOTUS, however, fulfilled another biblical prophecy by sending his B team of Ivanka and Jared to represent his administration at the ceremony...The Israeli soccer team Beitar Jerusalem has renamed itself Beiter "Trump" Jersalem in honor of Trump's decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  Someone should tell them that putting the Trump name on something -- whether it be steaks, a university, or just about anything else -- is not necessarily a formula for success...Mr. America First has pledged to rescue the Chinese cell phone manufacturer ZTE Corp...Sean Hannnity and Donald Trump like to chat before going to bed.  Does that sentence sound strange?...POMOTUS is praising Kim Jung Un's promise to publicly destroy North Korea's main nuclear test site.  What Kim forgot to tell Trump was that the site is that too many tests have rendered the site useless.  While Trump is basking in the (im)possible chance that he will get a Noble Peace Prize, he appears totally unaware that Kim is playing him...The Noble Committee has made the unusual move of announcing that Trump's nomination (that's right, he was "nominated" two years in a row) has been proven to be forged (twice)...Highly placed leakers in the Trump administration have taken to impersonating each other to disguise themselves...The nominee to head the C.I.A., Gina Haspel appears to have enough votes for Senate approval this week, despite having been once in charge of a secret enhanced interrogation site...For once I agree with Mitt Romney who has denounced the choice of Dallas-based pastor Robert Jeffress to lead the prayer at the dedication ceremony of the new Israeli embassy.  Jeffress has disparaged Jews, Muslims, and Mormans in the past (perhaps it was the last that got Romney's goat).  His one saving grace, at least in the eyes of POMOTUS, appears to be his stanch support of Trump and his defending Trump in the Stormy Daniels affair...In a Mother's Day video Trump released yesterday, he praised his own mother but made no mention of Melania.  Could there be another Eastern European beauty waiting in the wings.

Disturbing on Every Level:  On this day in 1939, Peruvian Lina Medina, age five, became the youngest confirmed mother in medical history.  Suddenly I don't feel very clean.

In Other News:  Do not take your bear to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  At least not during work hours.


I admit it.  I'm a lexophile.  I'm likely on some list!
If there's a play on words somewhere, I really can't resist.
A twist of phrase, a brutal pun, or the turn of a sonnet fine,
Will fill my soul with childlike bliss, be it deft or unrefined.
Consonance, or assonance,or dissonance that splatters,
A doggerel mess, or the good bard's best, it really doesn't matter.
Homonyms and antonyms and synonyms galore,
Give the plot a wicked curve and I'll come back for more.
It's all about the words my friends and how you make them tumble.
Make them smooth or honey sweet or ghastly in a jumble.
I'll take them scrambled, fried or raw, whatever you may may mete,
Because baby, I'm a lexophile; a boiled egg's hard to beat!
     -- Dean Wood

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