Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, September 2, 2019


Openers:   I had no way of knowing how long they'd kept me in that sm stron, naked bulb in the socker spotlighted me.all, square basement room,  The walls, like the floor, were constructed of solid cement bricks, with no window.  The metal door didn't have an opening in it either.  And whenever it was opened briefly, all I could see was the artificial light of the corridor outside.  The only light in the room was from the gooseneck lamp on the bare table, the neck twisted so the strong naked bulb in the socket spotlighted me.

-- Murder in Room 13 by "Albert Conroy" (Marvin H. Albert)  (1958)


  • Philip K. Dick, Voices from the Street  A mainstream novel written in 1952 but not published until 2007.  "Stuart Hadley is a young radio-electronics salesman in early 1950s Oakland, California.  Hadley is also an angry young man -- an artist, a dreamer, a screw-up.  He has what many would consider the ideal life; a nice house, a pretty wife, a decent job with prospects for advancement, but he still feels unfulfilled:  something is missing from his life.  He first tris to fill this void with drinking and sex, but nothing seems to work, and it is driving him crazy.  He reacts to his wife's love and the kindness of his employer with anxiety and fear.  This is the story of Hadley's descent into depression and madness, and the story of his redemption."
  • Zenna Henderson, The Anything Box  A collection of 14 science fiction and fantasy stories from 1951 to 1962 by the author of The People:  No Different Flesh.  Nine of the stories first appeared in  The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a magazine that championed the writings of talented women.  The blurb describes the stories as Horrifying, Lyrical, Poignant, Terrible, Beautiful, and Unique.  I can only assume that "Terrible" does apply to the quality of any of the stories; Henderson was a magical writer.
  • Walter S. Masterman, The Perjured Alibi.   A mystery from 1935.  "Crowfield Hall, the ancestral home of young Kenneth Darent, Was gay and brilliantly lighted to celebrate on the morrow the marriage of Sir John Barton, and the beautiful young Marjorie BroWne.  In the midst of the gayety [sic on the dated spelling], Dennis Tracey, guest and friend of Darent, turned to look out the window and was horrorfied to see the body of Sir John lying on the lawn."  Masterman emerged from Christ College Cambridge with a blue in football (whatever that is -- I am neither a sports guy nor a Britisher) and played for Tunbridge with his brother Harry.   He went from footballer to soldier to teacher to fisheries official to convict...Wait.  What?...He was convicted of stealing 862 pounds from the Board of Fisheries and served three yers in prison.  Once released, the formerly privileged man had most careers closed to him, so he turned to writing detective, horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novels, some 25 of them.  His firt novel had an introduction by G. K. Chesterton.
  • Raina Telgemeir, Sisters.  An autobiographical YA graphic novel.  Raina and her younger sister Amara must figure out how to get along during a road trip from San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.  I'm becoming a big Telgemeir fan.  Her insight, humor, and humanity is addictive.

The Chosen One:   Randy Rainbow has a new song out:

Move Day:   We moved into a new apartment this week and will spending the next few days getting settled.  If anyone needs our new address, let me know at house_jerry

Speak Softly:  Today is the anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt's first public speech carrying his trademark "Speak softly -- and carry a big stick."  It was at the Minnesota State Fair and the year was 1901; Roosevelt, then Vice President, was speaking on "Public Duties. "
The phrase was used by then-New York Governor Roosevelt in 1900 in a letter about forcing the state Republican Committee to stop backing a corrupt financial advisor:  "I have always been fond of the West African proverb:  'Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.'"

Four days after he made that speech at the State Fair, President William McKinley was shot by an assassin.  When McKinley dies eight days later, Roosevelt became president.  As president, he used the "Big Stick" policy to enforce the Monroe Doctrine as well as for his "Canal Diplomacy," which led to the creation of the Panama Canal.  "Speaking softly" while negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the 1904-5 was between Russia and Japan brought Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize.

Roosevelt, of course, had to speak softly.  Reportedly he had a high, squeaky voice,

Big Winds:  It looks like Florida will spared much of the wrath of Hurricane Dorian.  Just as well, we don't want a repeat of 1935's Labor Day Hurricane, the most intense storm to ever hit the continental United States.  When it landed in Florida it claimed 400 lives.  Hurricanes are serious business, but technological advances in predicting them have gone a long way to saving lives.  If only human stupidity and political willingness were as advanced.

Fie to You, Mr. Tooth Decay:  Temporary dental fillings may soon be a thing of the past, according to findings published in the journal Science Advances.  Chinese researchers from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine have developed a gel that allows tooth enamel to repair itself.  Early days yet, but the treatment may well help the fight against Mr. Tooth Decay, one of the most prevalent chronic diseases among humans.

And, recent studies indicate that good dental health my substantially reduce the risk od Alzheimer's.  So be sure to floss.

Good for Her!:  Daisy-May Demetre, a 9-year-old British schoolgirl, will make history next month as the first double amputee to walk the catwalk at New York Fashion Week next week.  She'll move on to Paris Fashion week next month.  Daisy-May had both legs amputated when she was 18-months-old.  "Her parents never never dreamed that their daughter would go on to become a fearless gymnast, as well as a model for Boden, Britain's largest clothing catalogue."  Daisy-May has also worked for Nike and and Matalan, as well as representing Lulu et Gigi at London Kids' Fashion Week.

Sometimes, limitations can be in our minds and not necessarily in reality.

Valerie Harper:  Diagnosed with lung cancer, the actress announced in in March 2013, that doctors had given her less than three months to live.  She died Friday at age 80.  She was funny.  She was Talented.  She was strong.  

Today's Poem:
The Biblomaniac's Prayer

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may eternal truths seek;
I need protecting care to-day, --
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Diret me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleases Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I might be
Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Unique, uncut, unknown to Lowndes.

-- Eugene Field

(Note:  William Thomas Lowndes [1798-1846] published the Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature, a seminal work in the field, no pun intended.)

No comments:

Post a Comment