Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, October 10, 2021


 Openers:  "The Lord in heaven forbid!" exclaimed the old man, while every limb was convulsed in horror -- the blood forsook his cheeks, and he clasped his hands in agony:  "but the thing is impossible!" he resumed, after a few moments passed in reflection, "absolutely impossible! -- What?  Everard?  a boy, whose childhood was past under my own roof, under my very eye?....whose manners are so  mild....who was ever so gentle, so grateful, so kind....whose heart I know as well as I do my own....Bless my soul, Sister Milman, what a fright you have given me!  But it's no great matter now, for when I reflect upon this history of yours, I see clearly that the thing is quite impossible, and so there's an end of it."  --

-- "Now was there ever anything so provoking!  Brother, Brother, let me tell you, that at your time of life it is quite a shame to suffer yoursself to be so blinded by prejudice. -- His childhood wad past under your roof, forsooth!  But where did he pass his youth, I should be glad to know?  why, among tigers and alligators that swallow up poor dear little children at a mouthful, and and great ugly black-a-moor monsters, who eat nothing but human flesh, heaven bless us! and where's the great wonder, that living in such graceless company, Everard should have picked up some of their bloody tricks?  Nay, Brother, to tell you a bit of my mind, for my own part I always suspected, that there was something awkward in the manner, by which he came such a sight of money, though to be sure I never imagined, that the business was half so bad as it proves to be." --

"The Anaconda:  An East Indian Tale" by M. G. Lewis (from the author's collection Romantic Tales, 1808; published separetly in 1813)

Everard Brooke has returned to England from Ceylon a rich man but under a cloud of suspicion.  He is supposed to have murdered a man there and for having n affair with a married woman.  As we delve further into Everard's story we discover that he and Zadi, a Ceylonese attendant, attempted to distract a giant anaconda away from Zadi's master, who is trapped by the serpent.  The anaconda itself (variously and ambiguously referred to as "he," "she," and "it") is pure evil in its attempts to kill.  Scholars have pointed out themes of gender, sexuality, and empire in this piece, but the story may be best read as a tale of terror.

Matthew Gregory "Monk" Lewis (1775-1818) was an English dramatist, novelist, diplomat, politician, and owner of two estates in Jamaica.  He is best-known for his gothic horror novel The Monk (hence the nickname), which placed him alongside writers such as Charles Maturin and Mary Shelley.  The graphic details of the novel (which Lewis attempted to excise in the second edition) drew both condemnation and popularity to the book.  The Monk was clearly influenced by Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho and William Godwin's Caleb Williams, although far more visceral than Radcliffe and retaining Godwin's narrative drive.  Lewis made his mark in popular culture with a poem that has lived on (in altered form) in every ten-year-old boy:  "The worms crawl in.  The worms crawl out."

In 1808, Lewis published the four-volume Romantic Tales, which included a number of poems and stories, including several novellas, among them "The Anaconda" and "The Four Facardins" (a very loose embellishment and translation from the French of a story by Count Anthony Hamilton [1646-1720].

Throughout his writing career, Lewis as plagued with accusations of lacking originality, having "borrowed" many ideas from previous works.  This was something he admitted freely but overlooks his unique (for the time) approach away from sentimentality and his ability to make various components into a cohesive whole.  Lewis's two sister often made suggestioned edits to make his work more palatable for the general audience, but Lewis rejected all such attempts.

Although a member of Parliament and (briefly) a diplomat (he found The Hague "boring"), Lewis;s main loves were writing for the theater and frequenting bars both on the British Isles and the Continent; throughout his life he enjyed mingling with society.  He owned one estate in Jamaica outright and hald of another estate there; in 1817, be bought out his partners and records at the time showed him to own over 500 slaves.  He died the following year of yellow fever as he returned home froma trip to Jamaica and was buried at sea.


  • Paul S, Newman, Dick Tracy Encounters Facey, 1967.  Juvenile, a Big Little Book from Whitman Publishing.  Tracy creator Chester A. Gould appears to have no direct connection to this book, which was authorized by The Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate.  (At the time, Gould was busy with the "Tracy in Space" era, a misguided attempt to bring the character into the "modern" age, complete with moon people, a moon kingdom, and Junior Tracy marrying the Moon Maid.  Ptah!  Luckily, this book has none of those trappings.)   We meet Facey Fredericks, a con man and forger who has a talent for making himself look like anyone he wants.  Facey is hired to use his skills to rob a pricey jewelry store and a bank in the same day, leaving those he impersonated to take the blame.  Tracy suspects something more than the obvious is taking place and as he begins to close in on Facey, the criminal commits murder.  A very uncomplicated story that fits well into the Big Little Book motif.  This one has 249 pages with text on one side of the fold and drawings on the other.  Efforts are made to make the drawings like the work of Gould,and it may well be his work (or the work of his assistant at the time Rick Fletcher).  Either may have done the artwork, but it just doesn't ring true to me.

Tentacles:  A Republican state legislature has resigned from his committee positions after disseminating a report that claimed live, tentacled creatures exist in the Covid vaccine and that they infiltrate the body through the vaccine in order to control people's thoughts.   Representative Ken Weyler was the chairman of the House Finance and the joint Legislative Fiscal committees when he forwarded a 52-page report to members of the Finance Committee.  For his part, Weyler said he had only meant to send the first dozen or so pages of the report, which contained comments about the methodology of Covid-19 reporting that concerned him.  Weyler claimed that he had not read the full report.

After the fact that Wyler had released the report came to light, Republican governor Chris Sununu said that Weyler should be removed from his committee chairmanships.  House Speaker Shermaan Packard then met with Weyler and a "mutual decision" was made that Weyler resign his posts.  Tentacles were just a bit too much for the Granite State Republican establishment.

[On the other hand, why go with Bill Gates' nanobots in a vaccine when you could have tentacles?  Tentacles are way cooler!]

Previously Weyler had publicly doubted the state's figures that 90% of people hospitalized with Covid were unvaccinated.  He had also spoken against a proposed $27 million aid package from the the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to boost the state's vaccination efforts -- a vote on that package has been delayed indefinitely.

There has been absolutely no confirmation of a rumor I am starting that the Sci-Fi Channel is rushing into production a made-for-TV movie titled VACCINOPUS!, or of the follow-up VACCINOPUS VS. SHARKNADO!

A Fact of Great Gravity:  "There was once a 50-mile railroad in Lackawanna County that operated its trains entirely by gravity.  It had no locomotives."  This is just one of the facts covered in Great and Interesting Cartoons About Pennsylvania, a 1950 pamphlet issued by the state's Department of Commerce designed to lead to "a better appreciation of Pennsylvania."  I, for one, certainly appreciate Pennsylvania more since I learned that "Egg production has more than doubled in the state in the past 25 years, and, in 1945, Pennsylvania ranked third among all states in the value of its eggs."  Consider my imagination boggled.

To find out more, click on the link:

One-Hit Wonders:  What is the worst one-hit wonder of all time?  A bit less than two years ago, Insider listed 56 possibles, all from 1974 to 2014 (which kind of negates that "of all time" caveat).   Here are a few of the contenders:
  • "Kung Fu Fighting,"  Carl Douglas
  • "Puttin' on the Ritz,"  Taco
  • "Ice Ice Baby,"  Vanilla Ice
  • "I'm Too Sexy."  Right Said Fred
  • "Pepper,"  Buthole Surfers
  • "Barbie Girl,"  Aqua
  • "The Bad Touch,"  Bloodhound Gang
  • "Summer Girls,"  LFO
  • "My Neck, My Back (Lick It),"  Khia
  • "The Ketchup Song (Aserege),"  Las Ketchup
Other contenders are:  "CoCo" (O.T. Genasis); "Rude" (Magic!); "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" (Ylvis); "Cheerleader" (Omi); "Somebody That i Used To Know" (Gotya, featuring Kimbra); "Don't Drop That Thun Thun" (The Finnaticz);  "Harlem Shake" (Baauer); "Gangnam Style" (Psy); "Tongue Tied" (Grouplove); "Friday" (Rebecca Black); "Billionaire" (Travis McCoy, featuring Bruno Mars); "Teach Me How To Dougie" (Cali Swag District); "Pumped Up Kicks" (Foster the People); "I Love College" (Asher Roth); "This Is Why I'm Hot" (MIMS); "Lips of an Angel" (Hinder); "Laffy Taffy" (D4L); "Axel F" (Crazy Frog); "Tipsy" (J-Kwon); "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) (Big & Rich); "Never Leave You (Um Oooh, Um Oooh)" (Lumidee); "Move Your Feet" (Junior Senior); "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)" (JC Chasez); "I Wanna Be Bad" (Willa Ford); "Butterfly" (Crazy Town); "around the World (La La La La La) (ATC); "Who Let the Dogs Out" (Baha Men); "Blue (Ba Da Dee)" (Eiffel 65); "Superman" (Goldfinger); "One of Us" (Joan Osborne); "How Bizarre" (OMC); ""Cotton Eye Joe" (Rednex); "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (Crash Test Dummies); "Whoomp! (There It Is)" (Tag Team); "Informer" (Snow); "Achy Breaky Heart" (Billy Ray Cyrus); "Unbelievable" (EMF); "Groove Is in the Heart" (Dee-Lite); ""Rico Suave" (Geraldo); "\Almost Paradise" (Mike Reno and Ann Wilson); "You Spin Round (Like a Record) (Dead or Alive); "The Safety Dance" (Men Without Hats); "Mickey" (Toni Basil); "Funkytown" (Lipps Inc.); and "Turning Japanese" (The Vapors).

What do you think?  Are there any possibles this list missed?  In your humble opinion, what is the all-time worst one-hit wonder?  Enquiring people want to know.

(My choice is 1963's "Papa Oom Maw Maw" by the Rivingtons, followed by Tiny Tim's 1968 version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips.")

Plane Crazy:  Inspired by Lucky Lindy, Walt Disney's favorite mouse decided to take up flying with the help of his barnyard friendsHis first attempt goes awry, but Mickey manages to juryrig a second plane, inviting Minnie along for the ride.  The 1929 Mickey is a bit of a Lothario and demands a kiss from Minnie, who refuses.  Minnie jumps out of the plane to avoid him, using her underwear as a parachute.  Of interest is the barnyard cow who has full, milk-squirting udders; didn't Disney ban udders on cows in later years?

This animated goodie is from the brilliant mind of Ub Iwerks.

A Quotation for the Ages:  "I know only two tunes;  one of them is 'Yankee Doodle,' and the other isn't." -- Ulysses S. Grant, although versions of the quote were attributed to Abraham Lincoln and W. S. Gilbert.

In Just 20 Days!:   Halloween!  Everybody's favorite holiday, right?

Here's Bessie Smith to get you in the mood:

Florida Man:
  • Florida Man Fred Salter, 61, will longer go kite-surfing.  A strong gust of wind on Fort Lauderdale Beach lifted the hapless Salter and pushed him 400 feet before crashing him into the second story of a nearby home.  Salter was unable to release himself from the kite and died at a local hospital several hours late.  Salter was said to be a veteran kite surfer and a cancer survivor.  It is not known if his kite had a safety release.
  • As Leo Getz (played by Joe Pesci) said in one of the Lethal Weapon movies, "The **** you at the drive thru!"  One unnamed Florida Man took that to heart when he discovered his bagel from Starbucks had no cream cheese.  He let that simmer.  Several days later he returned to the Miami Gardens Starbucks and complained to the 23-year-old woman at the drive-thru.  When she asked him is he had ordered cream cheese specifically, he pulled a gun.  Although the drive-thru worker said the man did not point the gun directly at her, she was afraid that it would go off if he did not get his cream cheese.  She gave him the cream cheese and he drove off.  His big mistake?  Pulling a gun on the dughter of the police chief.  He was arrested and held on $10,000 bail.
  • Florida Woman Amy Williams, of Holly Hill, said that her name and an address where she had lived eight yearss ago has shown up on a federal database indicating that she had recieved $3.4 million in Covid Restaurant Revitalizations Funds for a catering business.  Williams, a gas station employee, never applied for and never recieved any of the  money.  Her husband does work as a restaurant cook but is as baffled as she is.  
  • Florida Man William Watson, 30, has been arrested for throwing a brick through a condominium window into a room where two children were sleeping.  Although the b roken glass came close to the sleeping four-year-old and infant, neither one was injured.  A police officer recognized Watson from the description because he had had a previous encounter with the man.  Watson was arrested Saturday when an officer on patrol recognized him from a wanted poster.  It is not known why Watson threw the brick.
  • Florida Man Michael Van Nostrand, 54, of Davie, has been arrested for attempting to export illegally harvested turtles to Japan and China.  Van Nostrand, who dubs himself the "Lizard King" of Florida, owns Strictly Reptiles a company that has estabished a network of "collectors" who search the Florida wilds for fresh-water turtles.  Van Nostrand falsely tagged the turtles as having been bred in captivity.  He had been sentences to eight months in prison in 1998 for illegally buying smuggled snakes and lizards.  One commentator believe that he is also the 'Reptile King" who once smuggled drugs in snakes, although this was not verified.

Good News:
  • Packers NFL trainer searches football field until 2 am to find player's necklace contaaining his father's ashes
  • During the aptly named James Bond film "No Time To Die," a man is saved by CPR after a heart attack
  • A mathematician just made a musical album compose entirely of wavelengths from black holes
  • Dolphins "alert' rescue crew to swimmer who had been stranded at sea for 12 hours
  • Dog stuck in 30-foot cavern for two weeks is rescued
  • A Mozard sonata is found to calm the brain a reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • Alabama begins to remove racist language from its constitution
  • Winners in the 2021 Drone Photo awards

Today's Poem:
Fake News

They fed me with nonsense
To contaminate my soul
To confuse my mind
To plant a seed of doubt
To break my thought process
And wage a war of lies among my children

They uprooted my spirit of truthfullness
And transplanted my descerning mind
So that I can listen to their lies

So that I can partake in their evil schemes
So that I can poison my children
So that I can drink from their dirty hands

They exposed my eyes to their lies
And wrapped my heart in doubt
Starting a war of doubt in my thoughts
I was vulnerable to their evil ideas
I was disabled by their lies

They brought me a plate full of fake news
And forced me to dine and wine with their lies
To celebrate the birth of a deadly serpent
To give my heart waay yo the devil
To throw my Soul into the abyss

I am thirsty for the truth
I don't want any more lies
I am fed up with their evil propaganda
I am now ready to fight a Holy war
A war born out of goodness
A Love war

-- Kenneth Maswabi


  1. Several of the cited One Hits are pleasant enough ("How Bizarre") even if goofy ("Mickey", "Safety Dance"), and a few are genuinely good, such as "Groove is in the Heart" (though their "I Had a Dream I Was Falling Through a Hole in the Ozone Layer" is a remarkable song). I'm mildly surprised they didn't cite the notable Chumbawamba hit, not their best song but it didn't have to be. The Rivingtons' song gets a little credit from me for inspiring, in large part, the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird"; I'll second you on the Tiny Tim performance.

  2. Wonder if Amy Williams's "grant" might not've gone to Mar-A-Lago.

  3. Ah, yes, my first choice for apparent One Hit by a terrible assembly (at very least in the case of the hit) would be "Short Shorts" by the Royal Teens.

  4. Bent Bolt & the Nuts: "The Mechanical Man"