Openers: "Celery," said Larry Crystal.
"Huh?" the boy behind to lunch counter grunted.
Larry Crystal slowly closed the menu and looked up at the skinny waiter, whose acne-scarred face was not exactly the type to inspire confidence in the restaurant' food.
"I said celery. I want a dish of celery. And black coffee."
The boy grinned. "Diet, huh?"
"Maybe. Or maybe I could exercise. Like throwing you right through that front window."
-- "John Miles" (Jack Bickham), Dally with a Deadly Doll (1961)
I've Been Reading: I've just finished Stephen King's latest, The Outsider, a mystery/horror mash-up linked to King's Bill Hodges trilogy. A gripping read. Not top-shelf King, but pretty close. My FFB this week was Michael Crichton's Easy Go (originally published under his "John Lange" pseudonym), a crime story involving a raid on a previously-undiscovered tomb in Egypt. The book has also been published under the title The Last Tomb. 2016's Zigzag by Bill Pronzini may be the last collection of "Nameless Detective" stories. (Nameless retired in 2017 in Endgame, but we'll see what happens.) This collection has two original novellas and two reprinted short stories. Anything by Pronzini is more than worthwhile. Finally, I went on a mini-Edgar Rice Burroughs binge, reading his two juveniles, The Tarzan Twins (1927) and Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion (1936). The Tarzan Twins are young cousins, one of whom is a distant cousin of Lord Greystoke. Despite the nine year gap between the books, both stories take place during the same summer. As a lagniappe to the above, I also read Escape on Venus, the last full book in the adventures of Carson Napier, based on four stories Burroughs first published in Fantastic Adventures in 1941 and 1941.
The Tonys: Congrats to Melody Herzfeld, the Majorie Stoneman Douglas High School drama teacher who kept her students safe during the Parkland, Florida, shooting, for receiving a special award last night. Her students then took the stage to perform "Season of Love." An inspiring moment.
Justified: This week Justify became the thirteenth horse to win the U. S. Triple Crown. The first to do so was Sir Barton ninety-nine years ago on this day. The other eleven horses were Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1941), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015). The only jockey to win more than one Triple Crown was the great Eddie Arcaro with Whirlaway and Citation. England's Triple Crown has had fifteen (or twelve; man experts discount the inners of 1915, 1917, and 1918) winners since 1863. The last winner of the England's Triple Crown was Nijinsky, jockeyed by Lester Piggott in 1970. Piggott, you may remember, was the subject of a biography by Dick Francis.
Stanley cup: Congrats to the Washington Capitals! It took them forty-four years, but they did it.
Educational Florida Man?: Last month, Florida Man extraordinaire Otis Ryan climbed on top of playground equipment in Clearwater Beach began to yell at children aged between four and six, telling them exactly where babies came from. So as not confuse the little ones, I assume, Florida Man disdained the used of technical terms, opting for far more vernacular ones. Moments before, Mr. Ryan was making inappropriate comments to women, hoping to get their boyfriends to attack him. No stranger to the Florida justice system, he was fined $118 and ordered to stay away from the playground. The link below takes you to the story and an amazing mug shot of Mr. Ryan.
First Offense?: As part of Stamford's "Art in Public Places" annual event, the Connecticut city has placed twenty-six statues on loan in various locations in the downtown area. One of them, a twenty-six foot tall lifelike statue of Marilyn Monroe in a famous scene from The Seven Year Itch, happened to be placed in front of -- but facing away from -- the city's First Congregational Church. The statue's subway vent-blown skirt has the statue's white-pantied butt directly facing the church. One resident has also complained about children climbing the statue's legs and looking up the skirt. It may be art but some like it not.
Egotist: (n) A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. (from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)
To Celia: Here's a poem from Ben Jonson, born this day in 1572:
Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kisse but in the cup,
And Ile not looke for wine.
The thirst, that from the soule doth rise,
Doth ask a drinke divine:
But might I of Jove's Nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosie wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
As giving a hope, that there
It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did'est onely breath,
And send'st it back to mee:
Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare,
Not of it selfe, but thee.
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