Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, July 29, 2019


Openers:  Edmond Clive saw her almost as soon as he came into the tunnel from the San Francisco train.  She was standing beyond the gate, watching for him, and somehow in all that seething press of uniforms and eager women, she was quite alone.

-- No Good From a Corpse by Leigh Brackettt (1944)


  • John Shirley, Batman:  Dead White.  Comic book franchise tie-in novel.  "There's a host of new weapons in Batman's glittering, sinister city -- and they're in the hands of a psychotic mastermind called White Eyes.  With his murderous arsenal in place, the fiendish leader of Gotham's racist Bavarian Brotherhood can move beyond dealing drugs and hot guns to pursue his real passion:  the white supremacist takeover of America.  The homegrown terrorists' first strike -- at the heart of our nation's capital -- is only weeks away.  But first they'll test out their killer toys on Batman, who is hot on the trail of White Eyes and his brutal militia,  Ounce for ounce, muscle for muscle, Batman's no match for the cunning villain and his wicked new firepower.  At least, that;s how White Eyes sees it.  Batman has other ideas..."  The book was published in 2006, but the threat of white supremacists echoes today.
  • Jason Starr, Cold Caller.  "If Jim Thompson had gotten an MBA, he might have written Cold Caller, a ravingly readable story of a downwardly mobile yuppie who'll just kill to get ahead.  Once a rising VP at a topflight ad agency, Bill Moss now works as a 'cold caller' at a telemarketing firm in the Times Square area,  He's got a bad case of the urban blues,  and when a pink slip rather than a promotion comes through, Bill snaps...Now he's got a dead supervisor on his hands and problems no career counselor can help him with.  Jason Starr has retooled the James M. Cain novel of cynical suspense and murder for the fiber-optic age."  Starr's first novel seems to be have been predictive of his stellar (see what I did there?) career.

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting:  Last night, at least fifteen persons were wounded and four persons dead (including the suspected shooter) at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.  The festival brings about 100,000 each year to Gilroy, the "Garlic Capital of the World."

Despite close security at the festival, where visitors had to pass through metal detectors to enter, the suspects (at least two persons are thought to be involved) used metal cutters to enter by the rear of the festival through a metal fence that surrounded the property.  As I type this, no identification has been made of the deceased gunman nor has a motive for the shootings been found.

Brace yourself for another round of the gun debate, where people say we need regulation and where others say you want to infringe on our rights and where the politicians don't do a damned thing. 

I'm one of those wide-eyed liberals who think the Supreme Court blew the pooch on their Second Amendment rulings.  I not looking to outlaw all guns.  Guns have a legitimate place in our society -- for both sport and for defense.  Hunting is necessary for herd conservation and for food.  I don't think it's as necessary for animal trophies as Donald Trump, Jr. does.  Guns may be necessary for defense, but they should not be the first line of defense and used simply because someone is afraid of someone else's color.  This "I feared for my life so I started shooting" defense can be an easy excuse, especially if you victim is wearing a hoodie or has raised his arms to show he has not got a weapon.  I am looking for reasonable, common-sense restrictions on something that can kill or injure another person who may well be innocent.

Someday the Supreme Court will take a closer, less-biased look and the Second Amendment and what it means both by itself and when balanced against the rest of the Constitution.  Some day politicians will grow some and actually tackle and solve the things that are destroying our society.  Someday members of the NRA and other organizations will quit being gulled by their so-called leaders and restore some common sense to their groups.  Some day the American people will realize that money does not outweigh a human life.  And some day gun owners and enthusiasts will be able to safely and reasonably enjoy their guns.  That day, I fear, is still a long way off.

Farewell to Minnie's Voice:  Russi Taylor, who had been the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986, died Friday at age 75.  Though best known as Minnie Mouse, Taylor also voiced a number of characters on The Simpsons, as well as other pop culture characters.  While at Disney, she met and married Wayne Allwine, who was the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1977 to his death in 2009.  Mickey and Minnie, together again.

Hooray for Tigers!:  The wild tiger population now stands at nearly 3000, an increase of 30% over the past four years.  In 1900 there were more than 100,000 tigers worldwide; that number dropped to 3200 in 2010.  India's lowest recorded wild tiger population was in 2006 -- 1411.  Conservation efforts in India and elsewhere have significantly raised the chances of this magnificent species becoming extinct.  The fate of tigers may not seem important to some but all animals are part of an important ecological balance.  As more and more species die out, this balance tilts, endangering other species, including humans.  Plus, the more species there are, the prettier and more wonderful the world is.

Good Ear News:  A recent controlled study by the University of Kent indicates that gentle ear stimulation may significantly reduce the effects of Parkinson's disease.  Subjects had their ears stimulated twice a day for to months, resulting in strong reductions of both motor and non-motor symptoms.  "Participants reported greater movement and mobility, and showed improvements in decision-making, attention, memory, mood, and sleep."  The gains were greatest five weeks after the conclusion of the treatment, indicating possible long lasting effects. 

Can't Say Good-bye to July Without One More Florida Man Story:  This one comes from the beginning of the month:

Question:  What McDonald's tag line should go with this story?  You deserve a break today?  I'm loving it?  Or perhaps, a different tag line?

Today's Poem:
The New York Boat

Have you ever been down by the Cape Canal
When the New York boat went through?
Of all the sights I love so well
That one is ever new.

It's fun to ride along a while
Then to stop by the bank to wait.
It's fun to watch the folks arrive
Some early and some late.

Now if you've never been there
To see that boat go by,
You've missed sight beyond compare,
I'm going to tell you why.

At dusk the old Cape Cod Canal
Takes on a glamorous hue,
And 'tis a glorious spot at which to dwell
While the New York Boat goes through.

-- Marjorie Bassett
(Today is the 105th anniversary of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal)

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