Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, December 14, 2020



Openers:  Parson Pickax cleaned and oiled his venerable Colt, his long jaw set with stiff determination.  When he was done he examined his conscience, searched the Scriptures with scrupulous attentiveness and sallied forth to make medicine with Seco Snyder, gun-tough and killer.

--Charles W. Tyler, "The Parson of Owhoot Junction) (Star Western, November, 1943)

Parson Pickax (real name Philander Pickarts) was featured in a least four western stories by Charles Tyler.  The Parson is a gaunt, innocuous-looking, string bean of a man who is willing to sally forth against the sinners of the Old West, aided only by his Bible, his fists, and his Colt.  Having brought the word of God to Hungry Junction and to Jericho City, Parson Pickax answers a call from newspaper editor Peal Ivy of Saint David, Nebraska, to bring religion to that lawless town.  Saint David has aims to become the County Seat, an ambition far out of reach because it had no schoolhouse, no church, and no marshal.  What schooling the town had to offer was from young Prudence Palmlee, who had to teach in an old boxcar.  The town recently lost its marshal -- a good man whose only fault was the slowness of his gun hand.  The church...well the town never had a church, which was something Parson Pickax hoped to rectify.

The main villain in the story is Big George McWhorter, who controls just about everything sinful in the Saint David (and perhaps is main reason the town gained the nickname "Owlhoot Junction").  McWhorter doesn't mind killing those who oppose him but prefers to hire out bloodshed to the likes of Seco Snyder and his ilk.  When big, naive, honest town blacksmith Andy Pike, the sweetheart of Prudence Palmlee,  agrees to fill in for the recently deceased marshal, McWhorter decides that he must die.  And the newly arrived Parson Pickax, already sticking his nose into McWhorter's business must also die.  Parson Pickax doesn't believe in killing, although he admits that a bullet in the right eye will certainly spoil an opponent's aim...

Charles W. Tyler was a very prolific short story write who worked extensively in the railroad, detective, action, and western pulps.  Born in Massachusetts, he also worked as a fireman and a draftsman.  among his other series characters were Big Nose Charley (48 stories), Baldy Sours (40 stories), Johnny Bates (8 stories), Blue Jean Billy (11 stories), and Hiram Pertwee (11 stories).  Add to that another 235 stories listed in the FictionMags Index.  

Literary researcher extraordinaire Victor A. Berch delved into the author's background and provided a very detailed article for Steve Lewis' Mystery*File blog back in 2012:

BTW, "The Parson of Owlhoot Junction" was reprinted in Damon Knight's anthology Westerns from the 40s:  Classics from the Great Pulps (apa Western Classics from the Great Pulps), which is where I read it.



  • William Arden" (Dennis Lynds) - Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators #12:  The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow; Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators #18:  The Mystery of the Shrinking House; and Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators #19:  The Secret of Phantom Lake.  The popular juvenile series was created by Robert Arthur, who also edited a number of "Alfred Hitchcock" anthologies,  Arthur wrote the first nine books in the series and the eleventh.  Dennis Lynds took over the series using his pseudonym "William Arden," contributing thirteen books to the series (# 10, 12-13, 18-19, 22, 25-26, 28, 30, 33, 38, and 42).  the other main author of the series as M. V. Carey (#15, 17, 20-21, 23-24, 27, 29, 31-32, 34, 36, 39, 41, 43, and an unpublished #45 -- The Mystery of the Ghost Train).  "Nick West" (Kin Platt) contributed two books to the series (#14 and 16)) and Marc Brandel  three books (#35, 37, and 40).  The original series spawned two other series:  Find Your Fate series (4 books) and Crimebusters (13 books, the first volume written by "William Arden," the fifth by Marc Brandel, and the last two published only in German).  The Three Investigators are Jupiter Jones, a former child star now given to pudginess, Pete Crenshaw, the athletic one of the group, and Bob Andrews, the studious one who does most of the research for the trio.  Their headquarters in an an abandoned trailer in the junk yard owned by Jupiter's Aunt and Uncle.  The cases are puzzling and often seemingly supernatural.  The early book in the series had in introduction by Alfred Hitchcock, who remains amazed at the success of the trio; Hitchcock is often a character in the books; later books -- as well as revised earlier books -- eliminated the Hitchcock reference, substituting fictional mystery author Hector Sebastian.  The entire series is well-written and has a significant fan base worldwide.
  • M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey) - Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators #21:  The Secret of the Haunted Mirror.  Jupe and the gang at at it again.
  • Harry Harrison, editor - Nova 2 and The Year 2000.  Both anthologies of new SF stories.  Nova 2 is the second of four volumes, and has 14 stories by major writers in the field, including Robert Sheckley, Philip Jose Farmer, Robert Silverberg, Damon Knight, James E. Gunn, Poul Anderson, James Tiptree, Jr., and Brian W. Aldiss.  The Year 2000, published three decades before the titular date, has 13 stories imaging various aspects of life in the year 2000.  Authors include Fritz Leiber, Chad Oliver, Mack Reynolds, Brian W. Aldiss, (A. Bertram Chandler, Robert Silverberg, Keith Laumer, and Harrison himself.  Good stuff.
  • William Campbell Gault, The Convertible Hearse.  A Brock Callahan mystery, the third (of fourteen) book in the series.  Callahan investigates the murder of Loony Leo Dunbar, used car salesman supreme and king of the dubious deal.

Shame!:  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's attempt to overturn the election has failed miserably.   It was a blatant attempt to overturn the will of the people and to subvert our democratic process.  It is disturbing enough that this was even attempted, but that could be put down to just one fool trying to curry favor with Donald Trump.  But the most horrifying thing about this was that 17 state Attorneys General (all Republicans) and 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives joined in the fiasco.  These are people who are deliberately, knowingly working to destroy one of the most important foundations of our democracy.  You may call them something else but I call them traitors.

These people are A) stupid, B) easily gulled, C) have no concept of how our government works, or D) pure evil.  Perhaps a combination of these. And, yes, I'll admit that these descriptions may described almost any politician, but this goes beyond the pale.

And now a bunch of Yahoos are calling for states to leave the Union.  This has been tried before and the results were not good.

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, or west Virginia, know that your state Attorneys General have not only placed party over country, but autocracy over democracy.  Shame on them.

And shame to the inglorious bunch of Yahoos -- all 126 of them -- who signed an amicus brief in support of Ken Paxton's suit.  They are:
  • Gary Palmer, Alabama
  • Mo Brooks, Alabama
  • Bradley Byrne, Alabama
  • Robert Alderholt, Alabama
  • Andy Biggs, Arizona
  • Debbie Leske, Arizona
  • Rick Crawford, Arkansas
  • Bruce Westerman, Arkansas
  • Kevin McCarthy, California
  • Ken Calvert, California
  • Doug La Malfa, California
  • Tom McClintock, California
  • Ken Buck, Colorado
  • Doug Lamborn, Colorado
  • Matt Gaetz, Florida
  • Ted Yoho, Florida
  • Gus Bilirakis, Florida
  • Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
  • John Rutherford, Florida
  • Daniel Webster, Florida
  • Michael Waltz, Florida
  • Ross Spano, Florida
  • Neal Dunn, Florida
  • Doug Collins, Georgia
  • Rick W. Allen, Georgia
  • Earl Carter, Georgia
  • Drew Ferguson, Georgia
  • Auston Scott, Georgia
  • Russ Fulcher, Idaho
  • Mike Simpson, Idaho
  • Mike Best, Illinois
  • Darin LaHood, Illinois
  • James Baird, Indiana
  • Jin Banks, Indiana
  • Trey Hollingsworth, Indiana
  • Greg Pence, Indiana
  • Jackie Walorski, Indiana
  • Steve King, Iowa 
  • Ron Estes, Kansas
  • Roger Marshall, Kansas
  • Steve Scalise, Louisiana
  • Mike Johnson, Louisiana
  • Ralph Abraham, Louisiana
  • Clay Higgins, Louisiana
  • Andy Harris, Maryland
  • Jack Bergman, Michigan
  • Bill Huizinga, Michigan
  • Tim Walberg, Michigan
  • John Moolenaar, Michigan
  • Tom Emmet, Minnesota
  • Jim Hagedorn, Michigan
  • Michael Guest, Mississippi
  • Trent Kelly, Mississippi
  • Sam Graves, Missouri
  • Vicky Hartzler, Missouri
  • Jason Smith, Missouri
  • Ann Wagner, Missouri
  • Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri
  • Greg Gianforte, Montana
  • Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
  • Adrian Smith, Nebraska
  • Jeff Van Drew, New Jersey
  • Elise Stefanik, New York
  • Lee Zeldin, New York
  • Jim Jordan, Ohio
  • Bob Gibbs, Ohio
  • Bill Johnson, Ohio
  • Robert E. Latta, Ohio
  • Brad Wenstrup, Ohio
  • Kevin Hern, Oklahoma
  • Markwayne Mullin, Oklahoma
  • John Joyce, Pennsylvania
  • Fred Keller, Pennsylvania
  • Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania
  • Dan Meuser, Pennsylvania
  • Scott Perry, Pennsylvania
  • Guy Reschenthler, Pennsylvania
  • Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania
  • Jeff Duncan, South Carolina
  • Ralph Norman, South Carolina
  • Tom Rice, South Carolina
  • William Timmons, South Carolina
  • Joe Wilson, South Carolina
  • Time Burchett, Tennessee
  • Chuck Fleischman, Tennessee
  • David Krustoff, Tennessee
  • John Rose, Tennessee
  • Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee
  • Dan Crenshaw, Texas
  • Kevin Brady, Texas
  • Michael Burgess, Texas
  • Michael Cloud, Texas
  • Mike Conaway, Texas
  • Bill Flores, Texas
  • Louis Gohmert, Texas
  • Lance Gooden, Texas
  • Kenny Merchant, Texas
  • Randy Weber, Texas
  • Roger Williams, Texas
  • Ron Wright, Texas
  • Jody Arrington, Texas
  • Brian Babin, Texas
  • Ben Cline, Virginia
  • Rob Wittman, Virginia
  • H. Morgan Griffith, Virginia
  • Don Newhouse, Washington
  • Cathy McMorris Rogers, Washington
  • Carol Miller, West Virginia
  • Alex Mooney, West Virginia
  • Tom Tiffany, Wisconsin
These 126 person represent about 64% of the House GOP.  All of them are now worthy of disdain.  All should have their feet held to the fire for the remainder of their terms.

Remember these names in 2022,

COVID Follies:  Speaking of incompetent politicians...

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is insisting on keeping the state totally open.  We don't need no stinking COVID regulations that might hurt our economy, or -- horrors -- our beloved Donald Trump.  So how's that working for us?  Well, we currently have 1.12 million recorded cases and 19,784 recorded deaths attributed to COVID-19.  Our death rate is 91 deaths per hundred thousand people, which puts us at 320 by that metric.  But this is old data -- the 72 deaths in Florida this past Saturday has put us above 20,000 dead.  That's a lot of dead people no matter how you look at it.

Santa Rosa County on the Florida Panhandle, where I live, has a 19% COVID rate -- the highest in the state and one of the highest in the country.  None of this makes me happy.

Much of the blame can be placed with the current administration and a president who does not care if people die as long as his ego is stroked.  Things should begin to improve on January 20th but it will take time.

In the meantime, we suffer...and die.

Pastrami:  Today is National Hot Pastrami Day and I urge you to celebrate it responsibly.

Here's a few pastrami sandwiches recipes for you to try.

From the James Beard Foundation, the Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant pastrami sandwich:

From myrecipes,com, this one is a bit of a cheat because it also adds corned beef:

From, this one makes good use of a homemade Russian dressing:

And brings you the pastrami rueben, aka "The Rachel":

Bon appitit!

A Christmas Song:  Jack wants you to share the Christmas spirit as shown by every eight-year-old on the planet.

Planning a Home?:  Check out these artistic city houses from the 1890s.

Women Power, 1942:  An informational film from the US Army Air Forces.  you've come a ong way, baby!

Florida Man Bird:  Today's Florida Man is actually Florida Bird, recently seen eating an alligator/  Granted, the bird was big and the alligator was small, but still that the kind of crazy and level of stupidity you'd expect from Florida.

Speaking of...:  It's been a bad time for Florida alligators.  Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero, jumped into a pond in his back yard and wrestled his 3-month-old King Charles Spaniel from the jaws of an alligator.  Ah, Florida...

Some Good Stuff:
  • Chain reaction of kindness involved over 900 vehicle driving through a Minnesota Dairy Queen
  • Family finds 15th century gold coins while weeding in their garden -- over 6000 have dug up treasures during lockdown
  • Son designs smartwatch app to stop his father's PTSD nightmares
  • Minnesota teacher donates kidney to school's custodian
  • "Secret Santa" pays off every layaway item at a Mississippi Walmart
  • A joke bake-off between dads leads to 15,000 cookies donated to essential workers
  • Physicist uses cotton candy machine to make filters for N95 Masks cheaper
  • Blind mice with glaucoma can see again through simple technique

Remember:  "Things do come out of the blue.  They come out of the blue to remind us that things do come out of the blue, and that life could get crazy good any second."  -- Tama Kieves

Today's Poem:
We Real Cool


We real cool.  We
Left school.  We

Lurk late,  We
Strike Straight.  We

Sing sin.  We
Thin gin.  We

Jazz June.  We
Die soon.

-- Gwendolyn Brooks


  1. I always wonder how long it took you to get all this up. You don't have to worry about me ever voting for any Republican.

  2. I have voted for one (1) Republican so far in my life, an immigrant woman running on a genuine reform platform for the equivalent of the county council here in Camden County, running to the left of the Democratic machine here. If it had been possible, as I was still in high school, I would've considered voting for the similar GOP gubernatorial candidate running against conservative/corporate Gov. George Ariyoshi. So far, that's it. They both lost.

    I was wondering if you had read that story in the Knight or the Jon Tuska STAR WESTERN anthology.