Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, July 5, 2021


Openers:   Comformably to the request of the Great Council of Atlantis, I here set down the tale of the wonderful journey we four residents of the twenty-fourth century made from one period of time to another.  We left behind us a world properouos and happy, to enter one 283 years later, sunk in misery and despair, in which the whole race of mankind had become hardly more than domestic animals, under the power of the robber-star -- Druso.

But to we four it was given to kindle the holy fire of the struggle for freedom against the Drusonians.  We conquered, because the inhertiance of human-kind in science, in patience, and last but not least, in pride, remain still inexhausted.

I am now in my seventy-third year; or if I count in the time of my unconscious journey of sleep, my three hundred and fifty sixth.  I have been through to much to do more than report what I have seen, simply and without any pretense at possessing the art of the story-teller.  Much of what I am going to tell you Atlanteans will seem obvious, since you have grown up in a new age of swift scientific progress; but also much will doubtless seem foreign and strange to you.

-- Druso by Freirich Freska, translated by Fletcher Pratt (from Wonder Stories, May 1934, in the first of three installments; translated from Druso oder die Gestohlene Manschenwelt, 1931)

Early science fiction magazines (read Hugo Gernsback) relied heavily on German science fiction stories.  Otto Willie Gail's interplanetary novel The Shot Into Infinity (Der Schuss ibs All) and its sequel The Shot from the Moon (Der Schuss vom Mond) appeared in Gernsback's Science Wonder Quarterly in 1929 and 1930, respectively.  Otfrid von Hanstein had five novels translated in Wonder Stories and Wonder Stories Quarterly between 1930 and 1935.  Bruno Burgel's The Cosmic Cloud was translated in the Fall 1931 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly.  Ludwig Anton's 1922 novel Brucken uber den Weltraum appeared in Wonder Stories Quarterly in 1933.  Austria's Max Valier contributed a novella and an article to Gernsback's Wonder Story group.  

German science fiction was, according to Gernsback, popular with his readers.  I also suspect they were cheap to translate and reprint, as Gernback never met a nickel he couldn't squeeze.  Here's his introduction to Druso:

"Our readers have always been enthusiastic over foreign science-fiction -- particularly the German.  The present tale, like all German stories, is characterized by its thoroughness of plot and action.  As an interplanetary yarn, it is a masterpiece and the author gives it an altogether different treatment than would our American writers.  

"We are not introduced to the creatures of another world on the first page -- nor in the first chapter, but the story develops gradually, unfolding with increasing interest until the reader feels as though he has lived with the characters.  It is a human story with all the convincing qualities of a literary accomplishment.

"We have gone to considerable expense* to import this story and have it translated, for we known that it shall be favorably accepted as proven by the increasing number of demands that we have received for German translations."

For some reason, German translations fell out of favor near the end of the decade.  Wonder why?


* Here I doubt Hugo's veracity, but that's me.


  • Isaac & Janet Asimov, Frontiers II.  Non-fiction, the last science book that Asimov wrote, completed by his widow Janet Asimov.  124 articles written for Asimov's weekly science column for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate; earlier columns had been published in Asimov's book Frontiers.  An introductory note from Janet Asimove note that three-quarters of the articles were written by Asimov alone, eleven of the aricles were co-written by Janet Asimov during Asimov's final illness, and 24 were written by Janet Asimov after Asimov's death.  These short articles (about three pages apiece) are divided into four sections:  1) Life:  Past, Present, and Future, 2) Our Planet and Our Neighbors, 3) Science and Technology, and 4) The Universe from Quarks to the Cosmos.  Easy, entertaining reading explaining science to the layman.  Asimov was the Great Explainer and his rational viewpoint is extremely missed.
  • William Campbell Gault, Day of the Ram.  Mystery novel, the second (of fourteen) featuring exx-football player turned L.A. PI Brock "the Rock" Callahan.  Johnny quirk was a kid who had it all.  He was a talented athlete from a fithy-rich family.  Maybe he even had some brains too -- that is, if an Ivy league sheepskin still counted for everything.  The first time Brock 'the Rock' Callahn sw him, quirk was making history on the football field.  He ;played the kind of game Callahn could appreciate as a forner gridiron star.  The Callhan saw him again.  This time he was stretched out on a table at the morgue.  Callahn's been in  the game long enough to know that dead clients don't pay.  But nobody kills one of Brock the Rock's clients and gets away with it."  Gailt is now pretty much an underappreciated writer, which is a shame.
  • Megan Stine & H. William Stine, The Three Investigators Crimebusters #6:  Thriller Diller.  Young adult mystery (they used to call them juveniles) based on the characters created by Robert Arthur for the Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigators series.  This one, issued in 1989, is part of a reboot of the original series.  I, like many others, really like the original series and I'm not sure how this one will hold up.  "Suffocation II is going to be the next hit horror film, but the really spooky scenes are happening off-camera.  The handsome leading man, Diller Rourke, has done an ugly disappearing act.  the genius director is on a demented ego trip.  And the big-bucks producer is weird with worry?  Can this jinxed movie be saved?  Investigator Pete Crenshaw tries to do a solo job of scaring up the  issing star, but the difficulties leave him gasping.  He needs the smarts and the savvy of fellow detectives Jupiter Jones and Bob Andrews to dig to the bottom of the case.  But can the trio unearth Diller before this thriller buries them alive?"  I ho;e this piss-poor blulrb is not indicative of the actual writing in the book.
  • Richard S. Wheeler, Bannock, a Barnaby Skye Novel.  Western novel from one of the very best.  "If Barnaby Skye had not wanted the new Henry repeating rifle so badly, he would have thought more than twice about leading this particular group of pilgrims from Fort Laramie into the new Idaho territory.  The comapny includes Alvah Riddle, a marriage broker, escorting three mail-order brides; Goldtooth Joyce and other sporting women from a house in Memphis, looking to get rich quick; Blueberry Hill, a runaway slave and piano player; and a man calling himself Cornelius Vanderbuilt -- a gambling man with a fixed deck and hidden guns.  Even before the tripbegan, Skye knew this group would be trouble.  then came the deserterss. the flash flood, and the village at Old Bull's.  And after that, things got bad..."  When it comes to westerns, you can't go wrong with Wheeler, a six-time Spur Award winner.

  • NPR should be much more careful, especially in repeating Terry Gross's interviews.  She has interviewed anybody and everybody over the past forty years and, when someone notable dies, NPR airs an interview that she had done with that person years before.  So this week I'm driving along and I tune into NPR and there's Terry repeating an interview she had done with...Bruce Springsteen!  "OMG!" I thought, "He died!"  Well, no, he didn't.  The interview was to mark the return of his one-man show to Broadway.  Phew!  But, NPR, stop jerking me around like that!  I do not appreciate it.
  • We got rid of out landline a long time ago and we now have just a single cell phone to which Kitty appears addicted.  Almost every phone call we get is tagged Spam Alert, or is trying to get us to renew the warranty on the car we got rid of two years ago.  Most of our communicating (with family and friends) is done via instant messaging on our phone or over the computer.  Other stuff (medical appointments, etc.) is done via phones calls, but basically if the phone call does not have our area number we just ignore it, letting whoever called leave a message.  97% of the messages we receive are junk.  The other 3% concern things we should attend to.  The problem is that I am lazy and check the messages only once a week or so.  My grump is that people who leave messages no longer leave the day and time they called so I have no idea when they called, or (often) what they wanted.  Almost always it turns out to be something that I had taken care of earlier that week.  Sometimes when I return the call, I get a large department (usually medical or financial) which does not know why I was called.  Bah!  I could solve the whole problem by answering very call, but answering calls willy-nilly can leave one vulnerable, but perhaps not as much as opening every e-mail you get.  I could also check my messages daily, but that's a pain.  So what to do?  Nothing but grump!
  • Why is there a "Check Engine" light?  The light basically means, "I'm jerking your chain," right?  You can drive forever with the light on and nothing will probably happen.  Or, if you are like me, you'll lift the hood to check the engine and find, yep, it's still there.  Instead of a Check Engine light, they should have an "OMG!  Your car is going to exxplode" light, or, at least a "Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!" light...a light that makes you know that your car isn't kidding.

Why there Are No Knock-Knock Jokes About the Fourth of July:  Because fredom rings!

Holidaze:  Yesterday was not only Independence Day but it was also Alice in Wonderland Day, Invisible Day, National Barbecue Day, National Caesar Salad Day, National Country Music Day, and Jackfruit Day.  Surprisingly there are no country music songs about jackfruit for those who wish to combine some of these observances, but -- for what it's worth -- there is this song:

If you wish to combine two of these  celebrations, here's the "Ultimate BBQ Jackfruit Pulled Pork" recipe:

As for today, July 5th, it is Bikini Day (and July 4 to July 10 -- seven days -- is confusingly dubbed Nude Recreation Weekend; celebrate at your own risk), Mechanical Pencil Day, National Apple Turnover Day, and National Graham Cracker Day.  To celebrate, here's a mechanical Pencil cartoon, an apple turnover recipe, and pictures of glasses of milk to dip your graham crackers in:

And, as I'm sure everyone already knows, tomorrow is International (or World) Kissing Day.  Please approach this one with caution.

Spam:  Eighty-four yers ago today, Spam was introduced to the world, a product of the Hormel Foods Corporation.  If you are ever in Austin, Minnesota, be sure to visit the Spam Museum.  If it wasn't for Spam, we would not have had this:

Florida Man:
  •  Sometimes a Florida Man has to do what a Florida Man has to do.  Florida Man John King felt th staff at the AdventHealth New Smyna Beach Hospitalt were ignoring him when he requested his clothes, so he decided to get their attention by setting his bed on fire.  Actually he did not intend to set the bed on fire; he just set plastic bags on fire while in his hospital bed.  The $4000 bed ws a total loss, but evidently King wasn't since hospital staff managed to put the fire out in time.
  • Florida Man Alonzo Sanchez, 21, was arrested for humping a tree while naked and for punching a deputy.  The unclothed man was spotted "hugging and hip thrusting a tree" in Lehigh Acres.  Before police could get to him, Sanchez ran into the street and was nearly hit by a car.  During the struggle to arrest him, Sanchez punched and officer in the face.  It is not known whether Sanchez had had a long-term relationship with the tree.  Yes, drugs were involved.
  • Here's an oldie-but-goodie from 2004.  Florida Man Jerry Allen Bradford, then 37, of Escambia County, had seven three-month-old shepherd mix puppies that he could not find homes for, so he opted for the Florida Man thing -- shooting the puppies instead.  In a biter-bit scenario, one of the puppies managed to hook its paw on the revolver's trigger and shoot Bradford instead.  Score one for the victim.
  • Speaking of puppies and guns, Florida Man Jamie Militana was upset when a puppy he bought from the Puppies and Rescue pet store in Pembroke Pines turned out to be sick.  Militana phoned the pet store and threatened the employees, saying he had a shotgun.  His wife then immediately called the store and said her husband was "just kidding."  Militana told poplice that he was frustrated and that he "overreacted."  He was sharged with making a false report of an explosive weapon.
  • You know you have hit the big-time when you have become a category on Jeopardy.  Well, that's what happened to Florida Man back in October 2016 and the rest is history
  • It pays to advertise.  That's what Florida Man Jose Plantin of Fort Myers tought when he decided to advertise for his concealed weapons class by pulling his pants down and exposing himself to drivers at the intersection of College Parkway and Cleaveland Avenue and barely (hah!  a pun!  get it?) managed to avoid being hit by a passing car.  When asked by police why the unique marketing plooy, Plantin replied, he "had something in his head."

Good News:
  • The world has finally caught up with science fiction:  Flying car completes first-ever flight between airports
  • China has been cerified malaria-free by the World Health Organization
  • Amputee who can only walk for twenty minutes at a time climbs Britain's three highest mountains
  • Simple blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer is now accurate enough to be rolled out
  • Teen folds a thousand origami cranes in 9 hours 31 minutes for a new world record, raising over 2300 pounds for NHS Charities Together

Today's Poem:

Endurance is trudging on a little bit longer
It is not giving up -- but getting stronger.
Endurance is growing taller
When you want to grow smaller.
It is believing in you
When others fail to;

It is holding your chin up high --
Instead of looking down with a sigh.
Endurance is bearing fear and pain
It is the sun amongst gray clouds of rain.
Now what is Endurance, you may ask?
Endurance is simply sticking to the task.

-- s./j. goldner

1 comment:

  1. Well, Gross (and her subs)' interviews with the now-dead are usually introduced with reasonably long memorial notes, and if the interview is interrupted by station breaks, they usually mention why this repeat is running. Rest assured...

    We still have a land line. It is deluged with spam calls, albeit most don't bother to leave a message, they will wait long enough for the answering function to come on and record nothing. Alice has the cell she needs (as an MD and social media user) and I have the burners I can sometimes be convinced to use.

    The "Check Engine" light has some slight value, but is mostly a means of have one exercising one's "free" checkups (and generating more un-free ones).