I Do Better Than British Journalists

One of the British tabs had a guessing game headline:

GUESS WHO Hunky actor is unrecognisable after he’s transformed into an OAP for new film

C’mon, man, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch. Even less difficult than guessing Simon LeBon.

And as for a bit of a behind-the-scenes note here at MfBJN: In composing this post, I fact-checked myself and did not publish two things I thought to be true but which are not.

First, I asserted in a throw-away line that Benedict Cumberbatch had two doctorates, one in Who and one in Strange. However, I looked to make sure he did play Doctor Who, but guess what? He’s one of the British actors who appeared in American media around the same time, so I just assume that they all played the new Doctor Who at some point. However, neither he nor Tom Hiddleston actually played Doctor Who, which I shall have to remember to avoid making this mistake, perhaps in haste, in the future.

The second one was that I was going to make light of this other article from The Sun the same day:

SHOVEL WHAMMY Shocking moment driver chases man with a SPADE and smashes his back window after being body slammed in road rage row

I was going to say, Haw, Haw, dumb journalist! That’s not a spade, that’s a shovel! However, apparently in Britain, according to this Web site, and perhaps everywhere in the world except Nogglestead, the spade does not look like the playing card suit with a pointed tip; what we call a spade at Nogglestead is merely a digging shovel, and the spade has a flat edge after all.

So journalists and headline writers in the U.K. might be smarter than me. Or perhaps I need to work in the garden more instead of spending a lot of time writing and researching a blog post to be seen by a handful of people.

But rest assured, I have lairs and lairs of fact checkers.

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Great Minds Think Alike, And So Do Ours

I was talking to the woman at the cleaners who handles my eldest’s JROTC uniform weekly about how time passes differently for kids versus we elder folk because each year is a larger percentage of their lives than ours. So a kid who’s fifteen, his fifteenth year is 7 percent of his life, and likely 10 or more percent of the life that he remembers well. Someone who’s going through his fiftieth year, the year is only 2 percent, and he might not remember much of it at all.

On Friday, Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise, explained:

I’ve long felt that I understood why this was. Let me give it a shot.

For a newborn, the second day it’s outside and breathing is 50% of its entire life. For a six-year-old, half of their life is three years – much more. It’s not a big percentage, but it’s much smaller than 50%. For a sixteen-year-old, half their life is eight years.

If you’re forty – half your life is twenty years. 1/8 versus 1/20? It’s amazingly different. We don’t perceive life as a line. We’re living inside of it – we compare our lives to the only thing we have . . . our lives. Each day you live is smaller than the last.

But that’s not everything.

As we age, novelty decreases. When we’re young, experiences and knowledge are coming at us so quickly that we are presented with novel (new and unique) information daily. New words. New thoughts. New ideas.

I have known this and have explained it to my sons and to everyone who will listen.

I have some photos rotating on my auxiliary monitor beside me; one crops up of the boys with medals for a middle school event. To me, it was very recent; to the boys, this was, what, 2018? A long time ago. By the time that period elapses again, the oldest will be out of the house, and the youngest will be, what, a junior in high school? The whole lives that they have known here will only be an interlude in my life, and the soon-to-be-over beginning of the rest of their lives. I’ve known this, too, for a while–I have been saying that we’re on the downhill slide since the oldest was nine. But it gets realer and realer in my imagination.

I already grieve for this time, even as I spend too much of it on work and other things or being frustrated/exasperated with them when I’m with them. Fortunately, I will only remember the best parts. And not my own, what, dread of our separation?

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Book Report: The Controlled Clasp by John Bahnke (1972)

Book coverI bought this in one of the three packets of chapbooks that I got for a dollar each at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale this autumn. The three sets of chapbooks and another volume of poetry are about all the books I got, instead focusing on albums as you might recall, gentle reader.

Well, about this book. Apparently it’s a chapbook of “poetry” from 1972. That’s what I gather from limited Internet searches for the book and the poet on the Internet. The first poem, or perhaps the section, is called “Nightmares in the Dark”, and the whole collection with its dated poems ranging from 1968 to 1972 read like a Vietnam veteran working through his PTSD or perhaps a patient in an institution working through some things. The prose poems are reflective of nightmares, where the poet-narrator is in the jungle, or meeting with a woman whom he gores or who gores him, and there’s a clown that keeps reappearing.

Most of them are in paragraph form, not verse, and some themes repeat. But it’s not very poetic, and it’s not compelling reading. I finished it, not browsing during football–the prose is too dense to glance down and glance up–but in the chair just for completeness sake. And to add to my annual tally easily.

So far, no nightmares of my own on account of it, which is nice.

So probably something to avoid.

But I get the sense that the story behind the book is better than the book, and that’s quite probably lost.

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Book Report: Carver: A Life In Poems by Marilyn Nelson (2001)

Book coverI picked up this Scholastic book to browse during a football game, and I thought, a collection of poems about the life of George Washington Carver for kids? Who needs that? Who would read that?

But, you know what? I kind of got into it eventually. The book builds poems, not very poetic poems but rather poetry-prose with line breaks and distinct phrases instead of full sentences–to talk about Carver’s incidents from Carver’s life. From his early years as a slave and his early attempts at formal education to his eventual work with the Tuskogee Institute and, yes, peanuts.

So perhaps a good intro to an amazing life, but you would definitely want to follow it up with something more weighty, such as George Washington Carver and/or a trip to Diamond, Missouri.

Also, you know George Washington Carver was a black American. This book, coming from the turn of the century, makes a couple of references to our people, and the poet’s father was one of the Tuskogee Airmen, but the book is not an especially racially themed book. One wonders whether the poems were written twenty years later would differ greatly from the interesting and straightforward presentation of a fascinating figure of American history we have here. Sadly, one thinks so.

Oh, but this children’s book has the baddest word ever in a poem called “My People” about the envy the other instructors and staff at the Tuskegee Institute felt toward Carver. But it’s further proof of my latent white supremacism that I read books with the baddest word in them. That is, books written in the dark past of twenty years ago.

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Lileks Looks Down On Brian J.

Lileks pities the technical writers:

Of course there were manuals. In binders. Sitting on the shelf of everyone’s desk. Never used. Tossed out en masse. I feel a bit of sympathy for the people who wrote them, but that’s probably misplaced. A job. They were paid. Wasn’t creative. Kept the lights on.

Yeah, I’ve written manuals for money. Pretty good money, actually.

But one does not finish a manual or set of updates to documentation and feel any sense of creative accomplishment, for sure.

Kind of like writing a backwater blog.

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Try Again

A local religious university, under pressure from some vocal but numerically small group or another, changed its mascot from the Crusaders

to Valor.

Um, yeah, no. Try again. Maybe the Robins.

Or they could go with Golden Eagles, which is what the university I graduated from changed its mascot to to get out from the naked racism of…

the Warriors.

The countdown begins until some vocal but numerically small group starts saying that valor is a white European thing that offends someone.

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Wherein Brian J. Respectfully Disagrees With Severian

In a post called simply Dignity, Severian says:

Karen Carpenter and Linda Ronstadt were always singers, but they were primarily folkies, and while Linda Ronstadt was really something back in her Stone Poneys days — yum! — her biggest hit with them (“Different Drum”) made it clear that she was not the one for you.

One might infer that Linda Ronstadt was not really something after her Stone Poney days (1966-1968). I beg to differ.
Continue reading “Wherein Brian J. Respectfully Disagrees With Severian”

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour: Medical Tips Edition

From September 23, 2015:

I was sitting on the edge of the roof for like an hour before I realized that gargoyling didn’t help a sore throat at all.


You know, I used to post those kinds of quips here, too; in the early years of MfBJN, you’d find a lot of one-liners and whatnot in posts. I sure got away from that. I’m not sure whether it’s the posting of one liners or of coming up with funny one-liners at all.

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On St. Thomas Aquinas read by Charlton Heston (1990)

Book coverCharlton Heston reads this one, as he did Aristotle, so it’s the voice of Moses, Ben-Hur, and the Omega Man lending some heft to the reading. But his part is not really a dramatic reading–he’s reading the content pretty straight. And, fortunately, the dramatic readers who step in to act/read the quotes from Aquinas and his contemporaries and critics play it pretty straight, although other friars from Italy speaking with Italian accents but Aquinas speaks in American English which is inconsistent.

The two hours focuses as much on his biography as his thought, but it does show how he re-introduced Aristotle to the Western canon and interpreted him for the Christians. Which reminds me of how much I want to own a copy of Summa Theologica. It’s only a couple hundred dollars. Not like the complete works of Hemingway, which runs to the thousands for a nice matched set.

Of course, would I read it? I would aspire to read it, gentle reader. Although to be honest, I’m getting a little less aspirational these days. Why, I did not even go into the Better Books section at the recent Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale.

Well, I’ve gone afield here from talking about Aquinas, though, ainna? Dominican friar, a great teacher, one of the first Dominicans to teach at the University (and not without some scandal), participated in public lectures where he answered questions extemporaneously at length. So this is a good portal to the life and works of Aquinas. Better than studying four years at a formerly Thomist Catholic university anyway, although I dropped my theology minor impetuously one semester, and the university was far along the secularization path even then.

But I am enjoying the set of cassettes I got in the spring, and I’m pleased to see that Heston is reading more of them than Redgrave.

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Book Report: A Bend In The Road edited by Mary A. Shaugnessy (1982)

Book coverAs you might know, gentle reader, I consume a lot of what I call “Grandma Poetry.” These are usually chapbooks published by older women with themes of family and God; the authors are not professional poets and probably don’t even have a magazine credit on their copyright pages. Most of it is not sublime or exhilirating; some of it is nice. If you read the collected works of a Great Poet, you’ll find their works are limited to the really, really good once in a while and maybe nice most of the time.

This collects presumably the best poems and some artwork from residents in nursing homes owned by Beverly Enterprises. So the tone and shape of the poems varies. Some are about youth, some are about being your best self in a nursing home, but more than one are about being lonely and forgotten–even if it’s only in the subtext of a poem lauding volunteers who come to visit.

So it’s uneven and lacks a single voice, and some are poems by committee–classes where several people put a poem together. You can actually tell these poems apart from others as they lack internal consistency and voice.

Man, I remember nursing homes in the 1980s. Two of my sainted mother’s aunts ended up in a couple of different facilities, and the facilities were as cold and efficient as hospitals but with less care. It depressed me to go visit those old ladies–I was young then, and impatient. Times have changed now, though; one local senior living facility has been running ads showing a tatted up, goateed and mohawked pierced grandpa with big headphones on taking a selfie. One expects the new facilities are more fun, but then again, the ones that advertise in 417 are probably the nicer ones anyway; one would probably find my relations in more traditional centers.

At any rate, something to flip through during a football game, but not something to emulate in one’s own poetizing.

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Book Report: Shadow Valley by Alan Brown and Brian Brown (2021)

Book coverSo as I mentioned when I reported on Lake Honor and Gone in the Night, I was going to pick this book up next, which means I read all the books I bought from Brian Brown at his book signing in rather short order which is probably the best endorsement by my actions rather than quibbles I post in my book reports.

This book does without the frame story present in the other two books, where the authors insert themselves and listen to or work with Booger McClain to “solve” an unsolved mystery–but whose resolution is not actually the solution of the crimes, perhaps an allusion or a theory that cannot be acted on.

Instead, this is a more straightforward story: An old friend comes to Booger to find his estranged wife and daughter who were last known to have been living in a trailer park in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. So Booger and his new wife Rose move into the trailer park to figure out what’s going on. Well, Rose does: A couple of injuries land McClain in the local hospital, which takes him out of the action for much of the book, so he acts mostly as a sounding board for what Rose is doing and as comic relief. So Rose uncovers a prostitution ring running in the trailer park, and that the shadowy Branson organized crime types behind it are dealing with the introduction of cocaine trade in the same area. Two guys in a blue truck make shadowy appearances, including perhaps killing the wife and daughter, and the sheriff of Pea Ridge is one of McClain’s former deputies. So they manage to depose the sheriff and get him to turn state’s evidence, so they take out the drug ring. But they don’t really solve the case they started with except for allusions and some speculations, perhaps.

So maybe that’s thematic, then, and not just how a quickly written book turns out.

As with the previous two, this one could have used a copy edit to catch things like:

  • Again referring to the Sheriff of a town; McClain was sheriff of Branson, this book also mentions, and another town. But sheriffs are county officials and the law enforcement for unincorporated parts of a county. In cities and metropolitan areas with cities whose boundaries run right up to each other, such as the St. Louis area, the sheriffs and their deputies mostly serve papers. It’s probably no help that St. Louis County, where the Browns live, has a St. Louis County Police force which handles law enforcement and differs from the St. Louis County Sheriff.
  • Talk about the trailer park and living in a trailer. At one point, someone is a couple hundred yards away from a trailer; in general trailer park sizes, a couple hundred yards is clear on the other side of the trailer park. The lot sizes are not generous. The book mentions going into the cellar under a trailer; okay, that’s rare in a trailer park; sometimes you can put them on foundations, but that’s more permanent than a trailer park. But at the end of the book, the trailer is towed away, but when trailers are placed on foundations and can have cellars, the wheels are generally removed.
  • Rose goes to a neighbor’s trailer during a power outage; the trailer is lit with a lot of candles because the neighbor is used to this. Rose learns that the neighbor has security cameras, so they go back to another room to look at the computer monitors that show the view from the cameras. That would be a lot of batteries to power monitors.
  • The wife and daughter are named Tammy and Carly, and I had some trouble keeping them straight in my head. At one point, too, the book says Tammy sold her stocks and bonds and moved back to Little Rock–but that’s the daughter’s name, not the wife. So I was not the only one having trouble keeping the names straight!

I also flagged a couple of things to comment on:

  • At one point, while driving down to Pea Ridge, one of the characters said “Maybe we should have stopped in Berryville.” As you know, gentle reader, Berryville earlier this year, and I mentioned to my beautiful wife (but did not post on the blog) every time that I have seen Berryville mentioned in the news–although I think one of the other mentions of Berryville that I encountered might have been in Lake Honor.
  • Somebody calls the local paper the Tri-Lakes News; however, last year or the year before, the paper changed its masthead to emphasize it’s the Branson (Tri-Lakes) News. As I boasted recently, I get that paper twice a week.
  • At a wedding at the end of the book (See? It is a comedy!), they play a Shania Twain song (“You’re Still the One”). I can reveal to you, gentle reader, since it’s not the security question on any Web site that I am aware of, that at my wedding, our first dance as husband and beautiful wife was to a Shania Twain song–it was “From This Moment On”, and I forgot to get the CD back from Ernie, the owner of Occasions, when we left. When we were in town this summer, it looked like Occasions was still there and maybe open.

Also, it had typos and wrong word substitutions–instead of alter for altar which appeared in a couple of places in Lake Honor, we got conscience for conscious a couple of places here.

So it was a fun bit of reading that could have used a bit of copyediting. Kind of like Elton Gahr’s books. I’ll pick up more of them if I bump into Brown or Brown in person again, but they’re not so compelling that I’ll go out and order them. After all, I have many, many fine stacks of books to get to in the interim.

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A Jabberwocky For Our Time

Twitter must be having problems with money metrics again, since they’ve ramped up sending emails to all my testing accounts trying to get me to log in and provide them with free content again. “Brian, don’t be selfish! Pour words into our interface so we can make money off of your thoughts! “Brian, did you see that great tweet?”–never minding that most tweets these days are not, in fact, great, and the medium is best for one-liners, not deep thoughts, but our modern tastemakers have only enough depth to their thinking to fill maybe, what is it now, 280 characters?

Also, I get stuff like this:

“Sonu Sood evaded taxes over Rs. 20 crore: I-T department” Moment

I am not sure what most of those words and abbreviations mean. Or if they’re real words and abbreviations at all.

Does this mean that I am old? Or that Twitter thinks I’m Indian? Embrace the healing power of And.

And you can rest assured, gentle reader, I did not click through to share in the Moment.

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A Typical Brian J. Problem

I just ordered an autographed CD from German band Null Positiv, navigating the site, the store, and the checkout process completely in German (which I do not speak) only then to discover a drop-down list in the footer that, whereupon the user selects English, displays the site completely translated.

At least I think I just ordered an autographed CD. I’m a little afraid to go back and see what I actually ordered.

Also, since this is a German band, I will likely rip the songs to my computer, unlike certain Russian autographed CDs I’ve bought.

By the way, here is some Null Positiv:

I am not sure what Elli Berlin is saying, but I do like the way she says it.

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First Exposure to Route 66 (1961)

Book coverAs I mentioned, I bought three video cassettes with episode of Route 66 on them. I had not ever seen the program before, although it might have still been in syndication when I was young, and it might have appeared on Nick at Nite at some point when we had cable when I was growing up, but I hadn’t seen it before. I knew the premise, though: two guys in a Corvette driving up and down the iconic highway having adventures. So I popped the first videocassette in, and….

The episode The Newborn” starts out with two men on horseback and a guy in a cart riding through the desert. As I had thought that Route 66 was in color, I wondered if the videocassette was mislabeled and I ended up with a Western television series of some kind. Then I saw that the guy in the wagon was dressed in 20th century clothing–it was Buz Murdock, one of the main characters. He’s going to with the owner of the ranch and his psycho hand played by…. Is that Robert Duvall (whom I just saw in The Godfather(s) and whose film Secondhand Lions I just bought last weekend)? It is! They’re going to retrieve a pregnant Native American woman played by Arlene Martel–who wants to die, but not before the baby dies without her. Apparently, the protagonists (Buz and Tod, the guys with the Corvette) have caught on with a ranch in New Mexico and have worked there for about a month before the events of the episode. When the pregnant woman does not want to come, the ranch owner wants to bind her and carry her off. Buz objects, with his fist, which puts him on a collision course with the psycho hand. Especially when Buz and Tod quit the ranch and help the native woman run off and give birth. The back story, alluded to at times, was that the ranch hand’s son raped the native, who was a Christian who was planning to become a nun (rape of a nun? I just saw that in Change of Habit). The father, the ranch owner, made the son marry the woman, but he killed himself, and the ranch owner wants to raise the child as an Ivy (that is, in his family). But the mother, who dies in childbirth, wants the child raised in her pueblo, so Buz and Tod promise to take the child there–which leads to a final reckoning with the psycho henchmen who also dies.

The second episode, “…And the Cat Jumped Over The Moon”, takes place in Philadelphia, which is not on Route 66 at all, but never mind. They’re visiting a friend of Buz, a social worker who helped get Buz out of the gang life, and a young lady played by Susan Silo appears and says that unless he does something, the hit will be that night. So he leaves his small one bedroom apartment, telling the boys he’ll be back. He goes to an apartment building and meets with the gang on the roof, and according to the gang’s constitution (?), he can have a summit with them if he matches or bests the gang leader in a parkour-lite game of follow the leader. Unfortunately, the social worker loses his balance and falls from the building. As it happens, the girl is the fiancee of the former leader of the gang, and the gang wants to hit him to set an example that you cannot leave the gang. The gang kidnaps the girl, and the former leader comes to rescue her, and a knife fight is about to erupt, but Buz calls for a summit. The former leader of the gang takes Buz’s place in the parkour game and eventually bests the current gang leader, and the gang turns on their most recent former leader. As the credits roll, I notice that the former gang member was played by Jimmy Caan–who was also in The Godfather, and the current gang leader was played by a very young Martin Sheen.

So it was an interesting bit, and if you look at the IMDB entries of the bit players, how they played in a bunch of different series from the time–I’ll recognize a number of them in the Twilight Zone episodes I’ll be watching sometime soon.

And this series is a pleasant bit of throwback television, an episodic series which really shows that any kind of story might appear. But Buz and Tod have left three bodies in their wake in just these two episodes. But Tod does mean Death in German. So with “Buz” and “Tod” as the stars, perhaps this is a story of a pair of spree killers on the rampage.

I’ve got two more videocassettes with other episodes, which

But I did mention Arlene Martel and Susan Solo by name, so let’s take a look.
Continue reading “First Exposure to Route 66 (1961)”

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On Aristotle read by Charlton Heston (1990)

Book coverI actually started listening to this pair of audiocassettes pretty soon after listening to Socrates at the end of June, but I got a little bogged down because unlike Socrates which was heavy on the biography and only broadly spoke of his philosophical leanings as filtered through Plato.

I had to listen to this book a little more closely, though, as it went into greater detail into Aristotle’s work, which was probably lecture notes transcribed and arranged by his students after the fact. Still, it required more attention than I could give it on family drives in the summer, and I really didn’t go anywhere much without the family in the summer. At some point in post-trip car-cleaning, the cassettes disappeared from the console, and they only made their way back to my office but recently.

So what can I say briefly about Aristotle? The man started, well, not from the very beginning–there were philosophers before him–but his systematic approach to natural science and then onto thought, ontology, metaphysics, and ethics really marked a starting point of sorts. Well, I suppose you could say he offered a counterpoint to Plato, but, c’mon, man, we’re not idealists here, are we? So the audiobook hits the highlights, but it still quotes Aristotle at length, and that’s where you really need to pay attention.

Charlton Heston reads the book, but other vocal talent performs quoted texts, so whenever Aristotle speaks, we get someone doing Aristotle. However, the interpretation of Aristotle is a bit to learnéd, a bit to pompous, to do anything but distract. I mean, you have Charlton Heston reading the book. Why not let him read the quotes, too?

At any rate, it’s a good intro or a good refresher. In my case, it’s a good reminder that I have read too little Aristotle.

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Good Album Hunting, Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Gentle reader, the week was shaping up to be too busy for me to sneak off to the book sale this week on the north side of town. However, I rearranged some things on the sked so I could pop up for a brief visit on Wednesday afternoon.

I promised the boys I’d be in and out in an hour, and I really only focused on audio/visual materials. The number of records has dwindled from years past, now just a single table, but I managed to find something.

I got:

  • He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Tuba by the New York Brass Quintet.
  • Casino by Al Di Meola. I think Al Di Meola will be an excellent name for a cat.
  • Jackie Gleason presents Music To Remember Her. I think I already have it, but I spent a buck just in case not.
  • Zither South of the Border by Ruth Welcome. I am surprised combining the zither with the mariachi lite music of the 1960s did not end the universe as we know it.
  • Disguise by Chuck Mangione. You know, that guy from that one animated series. I’ve already forgotten which one he appeared in.
  • The Magic Flute of Herbie Mann. Hey, I might have made light of Super Mann when I got it, but I like Herbie Mann.
  • Carmina Buruna performed by the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus.
  • Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes by the Fifth Dimension.
  • No Other Love by Perry Como.
  • Dreamer’s Holiday by Perry Como.
  • Get Here by Brenda Russell.
  • Snowflakes Are Dancing by Tomita, apparently a Japanese composer and synth player, so this is likely to sound like some fusion jazz.
  • Pictures At An Exhibition by Tomita.
  • Firebird by Tomita. I bought all they had in case I like him.
  • Baroque Christmas Cantatas. To add more religious music to the mix come Christmastime.
  • Ballads of the Green Berets by SSgt. Barry Sadler. This was a big deal when it came out.
  • A Couple of Song & Dance Men by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Some show tunes that they made, but not anything from Holiday Inn.
  • High Fidelity by Lena Horne and Phil Moore and Orchestra. I only mention Phil Moore and Orchestra because they also back Crosby and Astaire on the previous record.
  • Virtuoso by Liona Boyd, whose Persona I already own. This is classical guitar music, so David Gilmour is unlikely to appear.
  • Champagne Jam by Atlanta Rhythm Section.
  • The 20th Century Bassoon because I need to update my bassoon music.
  • Three Bassoon Concerti: Works by Vivaldi, J.C. Bach, and Graupner. Which does not update my bassoon music.
  • Jean-Pierre Rampal Plays Johann Sebastian Bach. He’s no Herbie Mann, but he plays classical flute.
  • Born on a Friday by Cleo Laine.
  • Baroque Brass by the Eastern Brass Quartet.
  • Arabesque: Music from the Film Score by Henry Mancini. I saw this a couple years ago because it had Sophia Loren in it, and Gregory Peck, I guess.
  • Billy Holiday: The Original Authentic Recordings/”Piano Man” Bobby Tucker Tells The Lady Day Story. Purportedly collection of live Billie Holiday recordings. How did this one slip through last night? And the Lena Horne? Don’t kids know who these women are?
  • The Illinois Brass Quartet.
  • Poet’s Gold, a collection of poems read by Helen Hayes, Raymond Massey, and Thomas Mitchell. Produced by Raymond Massey. The guy who played Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead and John Brown in The Santa Fe Trail?
  • Cocktail Time with Frankie Carle. I might have this one, too, but it was only a buck, so why not take it to make sure?
  • Reaching for the World by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
  • The One and Only Jimmy Durante. a 1949 10″ LP.
  • Music for Horns by the Horn Club of Los Angeles.
  • Look To Your Heart by Perry Como.
  • Little Jazz Duets.
  • The Springfield Symphony Presents a collection of movements.
  • A Song For You by The Carpenters. Okay, I’m really, really not into the 70s folk sound, but Karen Carpenter’s voice has hooked me.
  • Antonio Soler: Six Concerti for Two Keyboards.
  • Your Guy Lombardo Medley Vol. 2.
  • A Very Merry Christmas Volume IV. I picked it up because it has a song by Aretha Franklin on it (she does “Winter Wonderland”).
  • The Hits of Benny Goldman.
  • At the Candlelight Cafe by the Three Suns. I have quite the collection of their work these days.
  • Jazz Meets The Folk Song by the Paul Winter Sextet. Again, as with the south of the border zither, this should have annihilated life as we know it. Scientists are still working to understand why it did not. Or did it?
  • A Portrait of Melba by Melba Moore. I think I passed over another one of her records for some reason. Probably because I did now know I picked this one up already in my berserker buying frenzy.
  • Seasons by Bing Crosby. As with the Crosby and Astaire album, it’s an older Bing Crosby. According to the back, this is the last Bing Crosby record.
  • Najee’s Theme by Najee.

All told, that’s 46 records. On Saturday, it would have only cost $23, but I’m busy Saturday.

My major scores, by my lights, are the Liona Boyd, Lena Horne, and Chuck Mangione albums. I hope I like the Tomita and some of the other things I took fliers on, including the unknown to me soul/R&B titles.

After picking through the records, I hit the videocassette collection. Videocassettes were fifty cents each. On Saturday, they would only be a quarter. I might be tempted to go up there on Sunday and throw what remains into a couple of bags.

But I got the following:

  • Three tapes/six episodes of Route 66. Considering how close I am to it, I should probably familiarize myself with the program, ainna?
  • Two Marx Brothers films, Duck Soup and Horse Feathers.
  • Bachelor Party. I have not seen this in forever.
  • Farewell, My Lovely with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe. I’ve got The Big Sleep with Mitchum, I’m think, but I am not sure I have seen this.
  • Casino Royale, the James Bond spoofish film from the 1960s. Did they have a copy of the Jimmy Bond Casino Royale? Yes!
  • Zulu with Michael Caine.
  • Gladiator with Russell Crowe. I saw that in the theaters when I was working my second technical writing position back in the 20th century. I don’t think I’ve seen it since.
  • Frantic, which was Harrison Ford doing Taken before Liam Neeson did.

I didn’t even look at the DVDs as my boys’ patience was running short, as was my promise to them to be in and out in an hour.

I did pick up a single audio book, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World by Jeff Madrick. It’s from 2014, and boy howdee I expect it to have predicted some things from 2021. Probably things I disagreed with when listening to On Thinking Like An Economist: A Guide To Rational Decision Making. I also picked up four bundles of chapbooks that I have yet to unbind to see what I’ve got.

So I was sad to not find any Barbara McNair; I thought surely I would trip over some now that I knew to look for it, but no. Also, no Fluegel Knights. All of the Herb Alpert I already own. No new-to-me Eydie Gorme (only one album, Don’t Go To Stranger, in the boxes).

Still, a good hunt, especially if two conditions are met: I like one of the new-to-me artists, and my beautiful wife is pleased with the brass selections.

Likelihood of my return on Sunday, bag day: 33%. Which is higher than it was a when I started the post.

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Do I Read Old Books?

Cedar Sanderson has a post called The Old Books which has numerous quotes from C.S. Lewis in it, including this one:

Which led me to wonder: I have many, many fine old books from the 19th century and a bunch from the early 20th century, but how many of them do I actually read?

So I reeled back through the last year and nine months to see what the oldest printed works I have read since the beginning of 2020.

Although not ancient, I have read the following:

Additionally, I started reading an 1886 copy of Mary D. Brine’s From Gold to Grey which I used to have wrapped in a shopping bag for its protection, but I set that aside to read off and on. Mostly off.

It makes sense that it’s mostly poetry and pamphlets; I have numerous old small collections of poetry in the Houghton-Mifflin editions and the Maynard’s English Classic Series, and I’m more prone to picking up small poetry collections than larger works. This holds true no matter the edition.

I think the post on Sanderson’s blog was more about reading older works in whatever edition since she and commenters talk about Project Gutenberg.

As to reading old books, c’mon, man, you know me. In the same period, I’ve read:

Good to see that I’m getting some good reading in amongst the men’s adventure and movie tie-in paperbacks.

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