Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, January 14, 2019


Openers:  The hunchback learned forward a little in his chair.  His sharp gray eyes seemed to change to a steely blue as he waited.  His shoulders sagged a little, for the trial had been long and he was tired.  But there was a vivid interest in every line of his brutal face as he listened.  The case had been as brilliant as it was long.  And now the jury had filed back into the room, led by the gaunt Jason Andrews, mayor of the city of Caledonia, in one of the Western states.  Harshly the hunchback jerked his deformed body to keep out any sight of nervousness which might possess him as he waited for the clerk to propound the question to the jury.

-- "Stealer of Souls" by Charles Hilan Craig (Weird Tales, January 1926)

Incoming:  For the first time in months I actually bought a few books.  Silly me, thinking I could restrain myself.  I bought only three books, but I couldn't pass these up:

  • Gordon R. Dickson, On the Run.  A re-titling of  his 1956 novel Mankind on the Run.  Kit and Ellen Bruner were privileged Class-A citizens in the well-ordered world created after the Lucky War.  Then Ellen disappears and Kit discovers the ugly reality behind the facade of his world's peace and security.
  • James Herbert, Fluke.  A man is reborn as a dog.  Why?  I'm reading this one now.
  • "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins), Two-Gun Showdown.  A slightly revised version of the author's The Gamblin' Kid.  "Quick wit and quick aim were predominant qualities of the mysterious stranger known as the Gamblin' Kid."

Looking Forward:  I've decided that, in addition to my usual scattershot reading, I should spend part of 2019 with authors who have previously given me pleasure.  With a few exceptions, I had already read much of each author's works but I would really like to read at least one more book by the following:
  • Megan Abbott
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Charles Beaumont
  • E. F. Benson
  • Algernon Blackwood
  • Robert Bloch
  • Lawrence Block
  • Nelson S. Bond
  • Fredric Brown
  • Ken Bruen
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • John Dickson Carr
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Lee Child
  • Agatha Christie/Mary Westmacott
  • Max Allan Collins
  • John Connolly
  • Basil Copper
  • Bill Crider
  • Roald Dahl
  • Lester del Rey
  • August Derleth
  • Lord Dunsany
  • Harlan Ellison
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Erle Stanley Gardner/A. A. Fair
  • Ed Gorman
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • James Herbert
  • Joe Hill
  • Evan Hunter/Ed McBain/Dean Hudson
  • Shirley Jackson
  • Craig Johnson
  • Stephen King
  • Dean Koontz
  • C. M. Kornbluth
  • Henry Kuttner
  • Joe R. Lansdale
  • J Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Fritz Leiber
  • Murray Leinster/Will F. Jenkins
  • Frank Belknap Long/Lydia Belknap Long
  • John D. MacDonald
  • Ross MacDonald
  • Richard Matheson
  • Richard Christian Matheson
  • A. Merritt
  • William F. Nolan
  • Hugh Pentecost/Judson Phillips
  • Bill Pronzini
  • Ellery Queen
  • Seabury Quinn
  • Eric Frank Russell
  • Sax Rohmer
  • Robert Silverberg
  • John Sladek
  • E. E. Smith
  • Thorne Smith
  • Mickey Spillane
  • Rex Stout
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • H.R. Wakefield
  • Manly Wade Wellman
  • Donald E. Westlake
  • F. Paul Wilson
  • John Wyndham
Many of these names are old standbys in the mystery and SF fields, with a few newer names added.  As I get older I find that I am attracted more and more by authors I enjoyed long ago.  I don't have that many fingers and toes to count, but this list has well over sixty names.  It will be interesting to see how many of them I can cram into my other reading in 2019.

Air Force None:  Seventy-three years ago, Franklin Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to fly in an airplane while in office.  Long before the concept of Air Force One was conceived, FDR flew from Miami to Morocco with stops in Trinidad, Brazil, and Gambia (where FDR switched planes -- from a Boeing 3-14, Pan Am's Dixie Clipper to a TWA C-54) and finally to Morocco.  The secret journey ended in a meeting with Winston Churchill.  On the flight back, the president celebrated his 61st birthday with caviar, turkey, and champagne.  His wife Eleanor, on the other hand, was an experienced flier during her time as a First Lady; she even flew with one of the Tuskegee airman (yay for Eleanor!).  A previous First Lady, Florence Harding, flew to Panama in 1920, but she was only a First Lady-elect at the time.  Does that count? 

Florida Man:  Gosh, he's been busy during the first two weeks of 2019:

  • Citra resident Nicholas Anthony Sardo, 21, was due in court this week facing misdemeanor charges of having sex with a miniature horse (four times!).  Sardo told sheriff's deputies that he was a "sick man."  Go figure.  Sexual contact with an animal in Florida is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine per charge.
  • Melvin Stubbs, 37, was charged by Key West authorities after they found 40 grams of cocaine on him.  While in custody, Stubbs ate the back seat of a patrol car.  Deputies said he "chewed up or ate" some pretty big chunks of the seat.  The seat may have been tastier than some of the jailhouse food that will be coming Stubbs' way.
  • Gregory Lazearchick, 57, of Brick Township was arrested afte he told greeters at a Disney World resort that al-Quida had sent him to "blow the place up," insisting that he was not joking.  He told police that he remembered saying something about al-Quida but couldn't remember what it was.  A search of his room revealed no bomb-making materials.  Neighbors said that Lazarchick had been having problems since the recent passing of his wife.  But for a brief time the happiest place on earth became the scariest place on earth.
  • John Matthew Pinkham, 39, of Deltona was arrested after making threats against the family of Perdue University "superfan" Tyler Trent.  Trent had become famous for his support of Perdue while battling a rare form of bone cancer.  He used his notoriety to raise money for cancer research in the months before he died on January 1.  Whether Pinkham disliked Trent, or Perdue, or raising money for a good cause is unknown.
  • Bryan Dwayne Stewart, 30, of Pace (which is near where I live) threatened to "kill 'em with kindness" before attacking his neighbors.  Unfortunately, "Kindness" was the name of his machete.  No one was killed, but one of the neighbors was cut.  There was a strong smell of alcohol on Stewart when he was arrested.
  • Also, never serve a Philly cheese steak on a sesame seed bun to Joseph Lagana.  The Port Richie man doesn't like it...and don't bring your Chihuahua puppy anywhere near Johansen Conception De La Ros.  Although he claimed he accidentally killed an eight-year-old girl's puppy when it strayed in front of him while he was shooting his pellet gun, a friend told police that Conception De La Ros had planned to kill the dog...Nelson Lopez-Benitez of Orlando had a hidden tank buuilt into his van which he used to try to steal hundreds of gallons of gasoline from a convenience store...Daniel Taylor attacked a St. Petersberg McDonald's worker because there were no plastic straws available in the eating area --they had been banned by the City Council earlier.  Taylor also kicked another worker in the stomach as he left the fast food Pasco County, Robert Houston is facing jail time for domestic battery.  He shoved a pizza in his father's face when he learned that his father helped deliver him....and so it goes...
  • And finally, in a tragic workplace accident, a maintenance man at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Aitport was decapitated by helicopter rotors.  Men were trying to jump start the helicopter with a power cart when the coptor "suddenly jerked up then came down," decapitating Salvatore Disi, 62.  The incident is been investigated.

Today's Poem:
A Bit of Doggerel

The vicious
Was quite capricious.
He spied a young girl whom he thought delicious.
She said that she loved him and would yield to his wishes.
He dies of exhaustion and was fed to the fishes.

1 comment:

  1. That is a really, really long list of authors you intend to read. My gosh.