Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, August 26, 2019


Openers:  The only important society in existence today is the EFC -- The Eclectic
but Comprehensive Fraternity for the perpetuation of Gratitude towards Lesser Lights.  Its founders were William Lemming, of Lemming and Orton. print-sellers; Alexander Hay McKnight, of Ellis and McKnight, provision-merchants; Robert Keede, MRCP, physician, surgeon and accoucheur; Lewis Holroyd Burges, tobacconist and cigar-importer -- all of the south-eastern postal districts -- and its zealous, hard-working, but unappreciated secretary.  The meetings are usually ar Mr Lemmings's little place in Berkshire, where he raises pigs,

-- "Fairy Kist" by Rudyard Kipling, from MacLean's, September 15, 1927

One word in the paragraph above sounded familiar but for the life of me I couldn't come up with a definition.  It turns out an accoucheur is a male mid-wife, or obstetrician.  If I use this word in a sentence four more times today, it will be mine to keep.


  • Chad Oliver, The Wolf Is My Brother.  Western novel. a Golden Spur award winner in 1967.  "Comanche chief Fox Claw has seen the savagery of the white man.  They have ravaged his land, slaughtered his buffalo and now senselessly murdered the young brave he loved as a son.  The is nothing else Fax Clae can do.  He must kill the white man.  He must buirn them from his sacrd land.  Colonel Bill Curtis of the Twelfth Cavalry respects the proud Clomanch nation.  But why must his own people kill the defenseless, violate their women, massacre their young?  He shares Fox Claw's anger.  But Colonel Curtis also knows his duty and his destiny:  destriy Fox Claw...or be destroyed by him"  Oliver was a a well-respected anthorpologist and educator and the author of some of the best anthropolgical science fiction novels ever written.   The Plains Indians were one of his major research subjects, which helped give his western novels empathy and realism.
  • Thomas Tessier, Wicked Things.  Horror novel.  "The small town of Winship seems so perfect...on the surface.  But as investigator Jack Carlson is finding out, appearances can be deceiving.  He's looking into a rash of deaths in the town, but the more he pokes behinds the picture-postcard facade, the more frightened he becomes.  How could someone disappear in an opoen meadow, as if swallowed by the earth?  Why does the ground seem to glow in spots? Why is no one able to stop the gangs of young thugs who roam the street at will?  Local residents are afraid to answer his questions -- with good cause.  They know that Winship's tranquil exterior hides some truly...WICKED THINGS."

Florida Man = Florida Fan:  People here in the Land of Crazy just love their football and -- just perhaps -- don't love certain types of music.  That may be why a Universtiry of Miami Hurricanes fan assaulted the Florida Gators Universoty of Florida Gators band director after the Hurricanes lost to the Gators (24-20, if you're interested) before a sell-out season opener crowd Saturday evening.  The band director, Jay Watkins, was grabbed from behind in a chokehold and was thrown to the ground.  Watkins had a few bumps and scrapes but soon was back on the bus to Gainesville.  He declined to press charges against his assailant which was all to the good because we do not know who the assailant was -- no description was given in the police report.  No student band members were injured during the assault, but a woman was so upset that she suffered a nosebleed.  At lest this Southern belle did not have the vapors.

Delayed Rection:  A Chicago woman is suing former basketball star Scotty Pippen for expenses some 26 years after the fact.  The woman, Chyvette Valentine, said the she had an affair with Pippen from 1987 to 1993 and that she would travel on her own dime to see Pippen whenever the Chicago Bulls played out of town, paying thousands of dollars on hotels, car rentals, food, and parking.  Since the suit is in small claims court, she is asking $9,999 -- the largest amount allowed in small claims, although she says she had spent much more.

Ms. Valentine also said that she did not know Pippen was married and had an infant when they first hooked up.  When she saw bottles of formula at his house, Pippen told her they were for his sister.  Pippen told her the truth in 1988 (on Valentines Day, because nothing says "I love you" more than fessing up to being married), but they still continued the relationship for another five years.

This rises a number of questions, most of then pertaining to Ms. Valentine.  Why wait for over two and a half decades before suing?   And since she was a willing participant in the affair, why does she feel she is entitled to these "expenses"?  Did she keep receipts for these expenses?  If she has a lawyer, did she find him in the Yellow Pages under "Incompetent"?  And as for Pippen, he evidently had a baby when this thing started, but only married the mother the following year, in 1988 -- the year he told Valentine we was married and had a child.  That said, he's still a cheating sleazeball.

Speaking of Sleazeballs:  A Union County, North Carolina, man turned himself in after killing his 15-year-old daughter this weekend.  The daughter, who lived with her mother, usually visited her father, Joshua Lee Burgess, on weekends.  Burgess strangled the girl and then slit her throat.  Because Burgess is white and the girl was bi-racial, some are suspecting the murder was racially motivated.  Consider, however, Burgess was also charged with statutory rape, first degree statutory sex offense, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree degree sexual expoitation of a minor, I tend to believe Burgess was not racially motivated but that he is just a worthless piece of protoplasm who abused and killed a child.  I am not a believer in the death penalty but there are times when this belief is sorely strained.

Let's Cleanse Our Palate With Some Good News:

  • A Cambridge University scientist may be on the verge of curing multiple sclerosis.  MS occurs when the body's immune cells attack the protective layer around nerves.  Dr. Sue Metcalfe has discovered a switch within the immune cell that can be "reset" to its normal activity.  Her promising studies may not only cure MS but could perhaps rstore cells already damaged by the illness.
  • Sgt. Seth Craven flew from Afghanistan to the United States ro witness the birth of his son.  When he landed in Philadelphia, however, a storm caused his final flight to Charleston, West Virginia, to be delayed several times.  All rental cars had been taken so Craven could not drive the final leg of his trip.  Enter Charlene Vickers, a fellow airline passenger from the Philadelphia area whose car was parked in the airport lot.  Hearing of Craven's distress, she offered to drive him to Charleston, an eight-hour drive.  Craven didn't even stop to pick up his luggage.  He hopped in the car with this total stranger.  They made it Craven's house by midnight and the next morning he was at his wife's side when son Cooper was born the next morning.  The only thing Vickers asked for was that a picture of the baby be sent to her.  Random kindness can men a lot.
  • Two Indonesian high school teenagers, "Anggina Rafitri and Aysa Aurealya Maharani decided to test the claims of a local traditional medicine by developing a treatment extracted from the native Bajakah tree.  Two weeks after performing a study on a rat with cancerous tumors, the rat was cancer-free."  The girls have given new hope that this disease (breast cancer in the case of the rat) can have a swift-acting cure.  It's a long way from curing a rat to curing a human, but doctors and politicians alike are hopeful.   Kudos to both girls for their scientific curiosity and their empathy.
  • Researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a carbon nanospring magnet that can dissolve microplastic polluting the water without harming microorganism.  A big step toward eliminating a major environmental health hazard.  It's early days but there is a chance that these dissolved micropollutants can he used as food to spur algae growth.
  • Another act of random kindness:
  • Some Webster Grove (Missouri) firefighters returning from a call noticed an elderly woman struggling to get her wheelchair across her front lawn.  A team of firefighters return to the woman's home the next weekend and spent their days off building a concrete walkwal and ramp to her front door.  Said one person, "That's what it's all about!  Neighbors helping neighbors.  Job well done, guys!"
  • We still don't own Greenland.
  • And a recent study from the University of Sussex and Aarhus university show that Europe has the potential of providing enough wind energy to meet the needs of the entire world.  Hmm.  I sincerely hope they're right.

Today's Poem:

What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And star as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts and grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich the smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

--  W. H. Davies

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