Openers: Bob Fairfield strolled from the taxicab to the train gate at the Southern Pacific depot with that subtle something in his manner which indicated a seasoned traveler. There was nothing in his expression or in his bearing to indicate that a small fortune in diamonds reposed in the light handbag which he was very particular to keep only in his left hand.
-- "Crooked Lightning" by Erle Stanley Gardner (Detective Fiction Weekly, December 19, 1928)
I've Been Reading: Continuing my mini-Edgar Rice Burroughs read-a-thon, I read two minor novels in his oevre. The Oakdale Affair has been tagged as the third novel (and final) in Burroughs' "The Mucker" series. It really isn't, but it does follow the adventures of Bridge, the hobo who had a significant role in The Mucker. First published in The Blue Book Magazine for March 1918, The Oakdale Affair did not receive book publication until 1937 -- and then jointly with another minor Burroughs novel, The Rider. The Oakdale Affair was a far better read than The Girl from Ferris's (first serialized in All-Story Weekly, September 23 to October 14, 1916, and issued in book form in 1959, and then only in a limited edition of 250 copies from a fan press). Both are excellent examples of the coincidence theater that Burroughs masters in his books. My FFB this week was Thomas Tessier's Phantom, a well-written but deliberately inconclusive novel about a nine-year-old boy haunted by...something. Finally, I read the penultimate volume in Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser series, Swords and Ice Magic. I first came across these two heroes when I was in high school and my admiration for them and their author has not waned one whit in the intervening years.
I'm currently reading three books. they are strategically placed around the house and,depending where I am sitting determines which one I'll pick up: August Derleth's The Shadow in the Glass, Sax Rohmer's The Green Eyes of Bast, and Lester del Rey and Raymond F. Jones' Weeping May Tarry. The latter is based on del Rey's noted novella "For I Am a Jealous People."
Pie: Is there anything better? Of course there is. I just can't think of it right now.
Bad Day for Bobcats: A forty-six-year-old Georgia grandmother, DeDe Phillips, was attacked by a rabid bobcat in her driveway, so she did what any feisty lady would do. She strangled it. "All I thought was: 'Not today.' I wasn't dying today," she said. She also had to keep quiet during the attack; her five-year-old grandson was in the house and she was afraid he might come to the door. She now has to undergo a lengthy and expensive treatment to ensure she does not get rabies from the animal. The first series of shots has cost her $10,000. The bobcat attacked her as she finished putting a bumper sticker on her new truck. (It's Georgia. Of course it was a truck.) The sticker read: "Women who behave seldom make history."
Good Day for Nicknames: Prince Charles has a nickname for his new daughter-in-law. He calls Duchess of Sussex "Tungsten" because she is tough an unyielding, like the metal. For her part, Megan must settle in on a nickname for the Queen, to be used a sometime in the future. It would be acceptable for her to call the Queen Ma'am, or Mama, but Megan has not yet gone that route. There is speculation that she might use a "secret" name that was also used by Diana, Princess of Wales. She will not be using "Lillibet," a pet name reserved for very close family and friends. Gone are the days of nicknames like "The Barracuda," which is what I used to call my mother-in-law.
Our National Clown Car: It just keeps rolling along. Our president is doubling down on his lies and the press ("the enemy of the american people," according to Trump) is beginning to call him on it. A backlash has come from the administration's family separation policy, which has been called immoral, unethical, and cruel by opponents, and has been "justified" by the Attorney General though the use of a certain biblical passage -- ignoring many other biblical passages and the basic tenets of religion. Trump is being played by Kim Jung Un and cannot see it. He tears up government documents into small pieces after using them, leaving aides to tape the pieces back together because each piece of paper legally must go to the National Archives. Trump is alienating our traditional allies, including Canada now, while praising such repressive regimes as those in Russia, China, North Korea, and Turkey, places run by strongmen of the type Trump envisions himself to be. All of which would be laughable except that it isn't.
Florida Man: This week Florida Man Douglas Peter Kelly, 49, felt he was given bad meth from a dealer. What would any fuzzy-thinking Florida Man do in a case like this? Right. He contacted the sheriff's department, asking them to test the drugs so he could press charges against his dealer. The sheriff's office, "always ready to assist anyone who feels they were mislead in their illegal drug purchase," invited Kelly to drop in with the drugs he wanted tested. He did...because he's FLORIDA MAN!
Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor: This was the first 12-inch LP issued (by Columbia Records) on this day in 1948. It was a recording of the New York Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter with Nathan Milstein on the violin. Take a listen.
FRIEND, you have wealth and power,
Men go and come at your call,
Yours are the whims of the hour --
What have you done with it all?
I am only a poet
Fighting a bitter fight,
Fate will not even grant me
Leisure in which to write.
You said as your thin lips curled:
"Money is better than bays."
Battered and bruised by the world!
I still have my golden days.
You have lost the power to enjoy,
You tire of each plaything new,
Mine is the heart of a boy;
Friend, I am richer than you!
-- George Essex Evans (1863-1909)