Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, May 24, 2021


 Openers:  Zip Connors, waiting in the suicide corner, slipped the hip into his defense man so casually that even the ref didn't notice it; then turned and streaked toward the basket as Lefty Craig's pass looped high and hard over the opposing guard's head.  He wheeled swiftly to loop the leather over the rim for the final two-pointer of a lop-sided score as the whistle signaled the end of the game.

A host of vices roared hollowed approval as the red-and-blue-jerseyed players jogged off the court.  Behnd him a voice snarled into Zip's ear.

"You got away with it tonight, Connors.  But wait till the next time we meet!"

Zip grinned lazily.

"Yeah -- wait." he drawled.  "You'll have grown gray whiskers, sorehead."

The angry guard muttered something and disappeared as the two teams headed for their separate dressing rooms.  In the steamy warmth of their own showers, the Buffs were jubilant.

"This makes us tops in the league," crowed smiling Jim Brady, "and it puts you individual top-scorer, kid.  But you deserve it.  You played a bang-up game."

-- "Hoop Hokum" by Nelson S. Bond (from Ace Sports Monthly, January 1938)

Yeah, Zip doesn't play fair.  During his two years in the City League with the Middleburgh Buffs, coach Red Harper has taught him that winning is everything and that there is nothing wrong with injuring an opponent, espcially if you can get away with it.  But now Zip is headed off to play college ball for State U., which has different rules and some sort of crazy idea about "sportsmanship."  Harper tells Zip not to fall for that "hokum."  Just pretend to agree with it but make your own rules if it allows you to win.  Zip really believes that his future is in basketball and that winning is everything.  He is surprised to learn that none of his teammates feel the same way.  Zip takes out a couple of players during a scrimmage in a way that his coach cannot be sure if it was deliberate.

Then he meets Lee Janssen, the beautiful daughter of Swede Janssen, the sports editor of the Middleburgh Enterprise.  During Zip's two years with the Buffs, Swede had criticized Zip's tough, win however you can, vicious style of playing.  Zip is afraid that Lee's father will turn her against him, but both Zip and Lee feel a strong attaction to each other.  Zip menwhile is beginning to understand the benefits of teamwork and is bonding with his teammates.  He tries to hold off on his dirty tricks until he might really need them and soon discovers the joy of playing fair.  He is enjoying being a true sportsman, realizing that he can do just as well on the court without resorting to foul play.  Then, during a crucial game, an opponent gets to close as Zip is spinning around and Zip accidently injures him and the opponent is taken out of the game.  Zip's reputation goes against him and he is cut from the team.  He sulks, refuses to see Lee, and finally packs up his basketball gear and heads back to the Middleburgh Buffs, which is now about to go pro.  If Zip plays in the pro game, he loses any chance of ever playng college ball again.

Knowing that Lee still loves Zip, her father investigates and discovers that the foul was strictly an accident.  Zip's college coach realizes that he made a mistake in kicking Zip off the team, and Swede Janssen and Zip's roomate rush to try to stop Zip from playing the Buffs game.

In an age where there was a pulp fiction magazine for just about any type of interset, sports pulps were extremely popular.  Many of the stories published were simple morallity tales such a "Hoops Hokum."  In the 30s and 40s Nelson S. Bond (1908-2006), much better known later for his science fiction and fantasy stories, was a regular contributor to these magazines, having stories in at least two dozen of these magazines :  Ace Sports, Ace Sports Monthly, All-American Football Magazine, Baseball Stories, Best Sports, Blue Ribbon Sports, Bulls-Eye Sports, Champion Sports Magazine, Complete Sports, Dime Sport, Fight Stories, Five Sports Classics Magazine, Football Action, Football Stories, Popular Sports, Real Sports, Sports Action, Sports Fiction, Sports Winners, Ten Story Sports, Thrilling Football, Thrilling Football Stories, Thrilling Sports, and 12 Sports Aces.  The general fiction pulps also included sports stories in their mix, but I haven't bothered to check how many carried sports stories by Bond.

With the advent of television, pulps in general lost favor and the sports pulps were no exception.  Mystery, science fiction, and fantasy pulps morphed into today's fiction magazines while pulps specializing in sports, romance, sea stories, air adventures, G-men, pirates, war stories, historical romances, oriental tales, northern adventures, jungle tales, zeppelins, and Lord know what else have fallen into the dust heap of tattered and faded pages.  The tales from the sports magazines are rarely reprinted and one has to go back to the original magazines (now pretty rare) or to online scans of those magazines to get a feel for their contents.  (I read this story from a scan at Luminist Achives, for example.)

"Hoop Hokum" is the only sports story by Nelson S. Bond I have read.  I think it may be typical of the genre, but I can't truly say so.  I am a big fan of Bond's science fiction work, though.  He has written several acknowledged classic stories and his tales about the Lobblies, Lancelot Biggs, Horse-Sense Hank, Squaredeal Sam McGhee, Pat Pending, and Meg the Priestess are all worth checking out.  Bond started in public relations, soon  becoming public relations field director for the province of Nova Scotia. His first fiction sales were for sports stories, but he soon expanded to science fiction.  He also wrote for radio and television.  In 1998 he was named a Nebula Author Emiratus for his lifetime work.

I hope to find and read more of Nelson Bond, sports pulpster, in the future.


  • Hilda Lawrence, The House.  Suspense novel.  "When lovely young Isabel Ford returned to the parental mansion she had never known, her father made an odd request.  He made her promise to live in the house for at least a year if anything happened to him.  She agreed.  But when, a few days later, he drove his car over a cliff, she found herself alone in a house haunted by mysterious terrors and stalked by her father's brooding mastiff.  And suddenly she realized that the house was never going to let her go -- for she had committed herself to a promise of death..."  [Okay.  How does one "return" to a place one has "never known"?  This is either a prety neat trick or lazy blurb writing.  Guess which one I'm betting on.]   This first appeared as part of the two-story collection Duet of Death (1949) as "The Bleeding House."  (The other story in the book was Death Has Four Hands, which may have been a retitling, or expansion, of Lawrence's "Composition for Four Hands," a novella from Good Housekeeping, May 1947.  Death Has Four Hands and Th,e Bleeding House were both released as a separate titles in 1950, and The Bleeding House was retitled as The House in 1971 as part of the Avon Classic Crime Collection)  
  • "Edwina Noone" (Michael Avallone), Dark Cypress.  Gothic paperback.  "It was a prominent teaching position that brought pretty young Stella Owens to magnificent Hawk House.  But her charge, Todd Hwk, was a strange and frightened child, obsessed with guilt for his brother Oliver's death.  Todd's handsome, tormented father, Arthur Hawk had banished all trace of Oliver from his home -- but someone in the household was dedicated to keeping the boy's memory alive.  Swept up by emotions she could not control, Stella fought desperately to solve the mystery behind Oliver's death -- only to find herself an unwanted intruder, prey to the evil that haunted Hawk House..."  Avallone was a prolific writer, best known for his Ed Noon private detective series (hence this pseudonym).  His writing was fast...and unusual.  He committed many crimes aginst literature and his wacky prose may have only been equalled by Harry Stephen Keeler.  Avo had many fans and his books can be both entertaining and painful (in the most complimentary way.)
  • Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, The Abominable Man.  Mystery novel, translated from the Swedish Ven verdervardige mannen fran sapple by Thomas Teal, the seventh in the Martin Beck series.  "A city in terror!  A lone madmannis on the loose...A demented and deadly rifleman driven to revenge against an entire police force...and rogue cop Martin Beck takes the first drastic step to shocking disaster!"  A classic.

Passages:  It's been a rough few weeks here, death-wise.

When Jessie's husband Michael died of a sudden heart attack fifteen years ago, the girls were just seven and eight.  That evening all three moved in with us as Jessie began to sort out what was next for her and the girls.  To help ease the pain,  two ten-week-old pug pupppies were added to the household a couple of months later.  The boys were named Mace and Anvil, although Mace's name soon was changed to Mr. Beefy.  They were active, sweet, and loving -- just what we all needed at the time.  They were great companions but they were also dumb as a box of rocks.  We all loved them.  Heck, everybody did.  When Jessie and the girls moved out to be on their own a few years later, the pugs went with them.  Fast forward to last year.  The boys were getting old.  Mr. Beefy was blind and getting senile.  One weekend we were taking care of the pugs while Jessie and the girls were off and Beefy took a turn for the worse.  A few days later they realized it was time to put him to sleep.  It ws a painful, but kind and necessary step.  We were all concerned how Anvil would act once his brother was gone because they had been together their entire lives.  But Anvil himself was getting old and somewhat senile.  Over the past year, Anvil remained a happy, affectionate dog even though his health went downhill.  He, too, was blind, and became deaf and incontinent, and there were a few seizures that he recovered from.  As long as he remained happy and out of pain, the girls decided to keep him as long as possible.  Recently, though, he began to lose weight drastically (and shockingly).  This past week he had some sort of stroke that affected his rear legs.  He recovered but with his right rear leg apt to give out on him at any time.  This weekend, we were set to take care of him while the girls were away for the weekend.  By now, Anvil was skeletal and they knew something had to be done.  They were going to make a final decision over the weekend.  They texted us Friday evening that they had decided to put him down after they came back.  By then Anvil was also dehydrated and refused to drink, although he still had a healthy appetite.   Knowing how painful that would be for them, we volunteered to take him to the vet.  Jessie told us that the county animal shelter was open on Saturday and that they would be able to euthanize Anvil.  We said okay.  So Saturday we went down to the animal shelter and were told they they only euthnize animals by appointment and that they were booked up for that day.  (I'm not too sure if that was the case because there was no one on site to do euthanizing.)   They might be able to fit us in on Monday.   They suggested we go to a vet if we could find one open on a Saturday.  Of course a vet would have to give the dog an exam before they put him down.  So anyway, we ended up with a printed list of about two dozen vets in the area and we began to call them.  We went through half a dozen names before we found one that was open and willing to euthanize the dog.  So off we went.  Vets in this area (and possibly everywhere) specializ in taking care of the pet owners more than they do the animal in such cases.  Only one person was allowed in with the dog during the initial exam, so Kitty went in with Anvil.  That took over an hour.  Everyone at the clinic was nice and sympathetic and trained to help the pet owners cope with the thought of losing their animal.  Anyway, soon I was called in.  They told us that they were going to sedate Anvil and we could spend some time with him and once he was unconscious they would take him out to be euthanized.  Kitty cuddled Anvil close to her while we both stroked him.  Finally he was asleep and they came and got him.  Amy had asked to have the vet take a paw print for her, which is something every vet does.  Well, every vet except this one.  We were told that if we wanted a paw priunt, we would have to return on Monday and claim the body, then take it to a crematorium where they would take the paw print before cremation.  We passed on that.

So the weekend was spent shadowed by the passing of a sweet and loving animal who had been a large part of all our lives for so long.  For our granddaughters, Amy and Ceili, he had been with them since they were in elementary school.  It is amazing how an animal can wriggle its way into your heart and make your life all the more wonderful.  Rest in peace, Anvil.  You were a good puppy.

Earlier in the week, we had learned that Kitty's Aunt Charlotte Keane had passed away.  She was the wife of Kitty's youngest uncle, Donald, who had died this past October at age 94.  I can't remember charlotte's age but she was in her early nineties.  She and Don were married in 1947 and spent their entire married life in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho raising six kids.  We would see Charlotte and Don whenever they made a trip back east.  Charlotte was nothing less than a delight -- always friendly, always caring, always concerned, and always bright and happy.  When our granddaughter Erin was in the second grade, her class read some of the "Flat Stanley" books and each had to make a "flat" version of themselves.  "Flat Erin" made the trip to Idaho and Charlotte and Don took the cardboard cutout to all the popular places in Coeur d'Alene and photgraphed Flat Erin show she could show her classmates; they then sent Flat Erin to one of their daughters to do the same where she lived.  Flat Erin traveled further than any of Erin's "Flat" classmates.  This was just one of the many things they did out of love and kindness.  Don was a great knitter and all of grand-nephews and nieces received beautiful handmade blankets; we adults also received bigger versions, all lovingly made.  Up until a few year ago they lived in their family home, where Don would plow out the neighborhood and Charlotte would bake something delicious.  When it came time to move into assisted living, their kids would take turns coming home to ehlp them with their shopping and errands.  Charlotte was active in her local church and in  the community.  She had the best laugh.  She would write lengthy letters to Kitty and to Kitty's cousn Ellen and to her niece Dawn.  We always enjoyed hearing about her and her family.  She lived a long and fruitful life and, with her passing, an entire generation of Keanes and Tanners (her maiden name) are now gone.  It's sad to think that their generation is gone, but time and generations pass.  We count ourselves lucky that we were able to spend some time on Earth with such a remarkable lady.

Another family death hit us hard this month.  Colman Burns-Takki, the youngest son of Kitty's cousin Lyn died unexpectedly on April 29 at the age of thirty-two, but we did not hear about it until several days later.  Evidently he was fine and healthy one day, then contracted some sort of viscious infection and passed away several days later in the hospital.  We had only met him several times due to the constraints of distance and time, but he seemed like a happy and quiet person.  CJ, as he was known, was a talented musician and was well-known and respected in the local Massachusetts punk rock community.  He was an excellent drummer, guitarist, singer, and songwriter.  From his obituary:  "He was the kindest, gentlest, most genuine person you could ever meet.  He always had a kind or encouraging word for friends and strangers alike.  His smile was contagious and his sense of humor was razor sharp but always kind.   Qjuick with a joke or a shoulder to cry on, Colman was always there for his friends and family.  Colman loved life, music, animals, the beach, and his friends above all else."  From his obituary, he sounds remarkedly like his Uncle, Mark Burns, another talented musician who was taken away at way too early an age.  Our heart goes out to Lyn, to Andy, his father, to Brendan, his older brother, and to all the people he had touched in  his all too short life.  Sometimes things just aren't fair.

Brother's Day:  Today is Brother's Day, so a shoutout to my bro Ken, who donated blood Saturday.  He's up to units -- the equivalent of over seven gallons!  (Luckily, they did not take it all at the same time.)  Since Kitty and I can no longer donate blood, my brother is now at the top of our Heroes List.  Today is also National Escargot Day but I don't expect Ken to partake, although that garlic butter sauce can make almost anything palatable.

On This Day in History:   In 1607, one hundred English settlers disembarked in Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America.  Surprisingly, one settler could never be found -- Croatoan Jones.

In 1487, Lambert Simnel, ten-years-old, was named Edward VI in a Yorkish attempt to discredit Henry VII.  The Yorkish rebellion was crushed the same year and the young pretender to the throne was pardoned because of his young age.  Henry had his vengeance though -- young Lambert was made a scullion in the Royal household.

In 1626, Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for goods estimated to be worth sixty gulders.  Well, kind of.  It seems that Minuit bought the island from the chief of the Canarsees, who were more than happy to take the goods for an island mainly controlled by the Weckquaesgeeks.  This set a pattern for New York real estate developers that continues to this day.

In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the message "What hath God wrought" to inaugurate a commercial telegraph line btween Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  It turns out that God hath not only wrought the telegraph, but also the telephone, the internet, the iphone, and Trump's now deleted Twitter account.  For at least one of these things, God has some 'splainin' to do.

In 1883, the Brookly Bridge was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.  The next day, it had been sold 43 times to unsuspecting buyers.

Today is also the birthday of Bob Dyan (b. 1941), which is pretty cool.  It's also the birthday of Michael Jackson, which would have been very, very cool, but this Michael Jackson is not "The Gloved One," but is an Irish archbishop (b. 1956).

And, alas, on this date in 1965, we lost blues harmonica genius Sonny Boy Williamson (b. 1908).  Here's his 1951 recording of "I Cross My Heart":

Mangold Wurtzels:  So, you say you have not had any luck growing your mangold wurtzels?  You say you have no idea what a mangold wurtzel even is?  Well, fear not, my friend!  Jerry's House of Everything is here to help!  Specifically with four -- count 'em, four! -- pamphlets from 1867 on successful vegetable gardening.  (But if it were so successful, how come we're not up to our butts in mangold wurtzels?)

Anhyway, you can learn how to grow 1) carrots, mangold wurtzels, and sugar beets; 2) cabbages; 3) onions; and 4) squashes.

You're welcome.

Florida Man:
  •  Florida Man Keith Adams, 37, of Largo, was nailed for smuggling drugs into the Pinellas County jail.  It really wasn't his fault.  Adams was arrested in a traffic stop when the pipe he was sitting on tested positive for cocaine residue.  Adams happened to have a prosthetic leg and, when asked by police whether he was hiding contraband in the leg, he denied it.  But, gee, fellas, he forget he had drugs hidden in his leg, so the two extra charges he is now facing really wasn't fair.
  • What is it with Florida Man and samarai swords?  In the latest development, Florida Man Gary Dwain St. Aubyn Campbell, 59, of Sanford ws arrested on two counts of attempted first-degree homicide for stabbing his parents with the sword and one count of aggravated battery with a dealy weapon for stabbing his sister.  Campbell told officers that "physical abuse as a child and constant questioning and nagging as an adult" had led to the attack.   Family time in Florida can be pretty intense.
  • Florida Man Gilbert Fernandez,  36, of Cooper City, had to travel all the way to Grand Island, Nebraska to get nailed for carrying over 400 pounds of marijuana in his van.  Also found in the van was $9000 in cash and 14 ATM machines.  Most people pack clothes and a toothbrush for a trip, but most people aren't from Florida.
  • Florida Man Ignacio Luis Lamadrid Gomez was arrested after a high speed chase when he was spotted going 100 mph in a 45 mph zone.  Gomez had a good excuse, though.  He told police he was trying to drive back to Cuba.
  • Florida Man Jared Paul Stanga picked the wrong victim whe he tried to abduct 11-year-old Florida Girl Alyssa Bonal by knifepoint in Pensacola last week.  Alyssa knew the importance of evidence because her favorite television show is Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit.  Alyssa managed to get as much of the blue slime she had been playing with on Stanga before she managed to escape.  Stanga still had blue stains on his arms when police arrested him.  SVU star Mariska Hargitay surprised Alyssa after the girl appeared on the Today show, texting Alyssa and  praising the girl for her bravery and ability to think clearly; Hargitay told Alyssa that she was now the girl's number one fan.
  • Florida Puritanical St. John's County School District is offering refunds for this year's Bartam Trail High School yearbook after altering photos of 80 female students, supposedly for reasons of modesty.  The refund is due to the negative reaction of parents of the altered photos.  The photos were evidently altered to cover a minimal amount of cleavage shown on the original photos.  The school district said it will repay the $100 cost for the yearbook for those who return the yearbook.  The district said the original photos violated their dress code policy.  One parent said, "I think it sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that's a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes."  My take after viewing before and after images is that the school board is seriously repressed.
  • Florida Free Spirit Rachael Lynn Stefancich, 24, was  "nearly fully unclothed" when she was arrested in Pasco County in a stolen car after leading police on a chase that reached speeds of 110 mph.  Meth was involved.  Stefancich was charged with grand theft auto, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, possession of methamphetamine, and driving with a suspended license.  Why is it when you think "nearly naked" felon, you automatically think Florida?

The Good Stuff:
  •  94-year-old gets Medal of honor seventy years later, making him one of the most decorated soldiers in US military history
  • Scientists develop a personalized anti-cancer vaccine that works in mice
  • Sheldon the dog flunked out of service animal training but becomes an ace in sniffing out arson
  • Hero cop single handedly lifts overturned car to save woman
  • Did you know that flowers can "hear" buzzing bees -- and it makes their nectar sweeter?
  • University cancels $700,000 in debt for graduates hit by the pandemic
  • Veternarian saves the eye of a tiger in a never before done operation on a big cat

Today's Poem:
The Ballad of M. T. Nutt and His Dog

The Honourable M. T. Nutt
About the bush did jog.
Till, passing by a settler's hut,
He stopped and bought a dog.
Then started homeward full of hope,
Alas, that hopes should fail!
The dog pulled back and pulled the rope
Beneath the horse's tail.

The Horse remarked. "I would be soft
Such liberties to stand!"
"Oh dog," he said, "Go up aloft,
Young Man, go on the land!"

-- Banjo Patterson


  1. Condolences to you and your family, on the recent losses. Having had vets euthanize two fatally ill cats in the last four years was no damned fun, either, nor the loss of other family members and friends.

    Trivially, I'd suggest the pulps really didn't die from television so much as from paperbacks. Consider how many pulp publishers successfully became paperback publishers, along with comics publishers, albeit that shift was already much in place by WW2, when pulps and comics were cut to the same "standard" size and could be shipped in the same boxes...and while comics sales fluctuated in the face of the various travails of the 1950s, paperback sales didn't till rather recently, even if they never sold again as well as they did at the turn of the '50s.

    And even as we have had raft, albeit at times a sinking one, of fantastica, crime fiction, and even (in mayfly fashion) erotic fiction/"true" romance titles in magazines over the decades since the end of the pulps, we've had a trickle of sports fiction magazines, western fiction magazines, erotic fiction magazines that didn't claim to be "true", romance fiction magazines, and even hero-fiction magazines...albeit of some of them as much "little" magazines as newsstand products. And a tackle within the trickle have been "bookazines" or periodicals sold as books...even a few of the littles have managed some bookstore clearance thus, such as GRANTA and CONJUNCTIONS.

  2. Zoff-Davis even tried twice! to get a semi-slick digest sea-adventure fiction magazine launched in the '50s, probably thinking it split the difference in appeal between the fiction magazines B. G. Davis enjoyed continuing to publish and the expensive-hobby magazines (including boating titles) ZD was making its bread and butter from in those years. They only gave editor Howard Browne one issue of CONFLICT, a crime-fiction magazine and thus close to his heart, to play with in comparison, albeit they put his name on the masthead of their reprints of the LONDON MYSTERY SELECTION they did for about a year in the mid-'50s.

    One of the places the pulp (and slick) sports stories were reprinted was in '50s and '60s, particularly YA, anthologies. Recall William Campbell Gault was publishing no few novels, and not he alone, for that market, and I certainly picked up anthologies from Scholastic and Bantam Pathfinder in the early '70s of that vintage...

  3. Why spell-checkers want Ziff to be Zoff these years, I'm not sure. You'd think the computer-industry folks would have Some institutional memory for all the POPULAR ELECTRONICS and BYTE and PC WORLD and ZD Channel stuff, etc., of decades past. But no.