Ah, To Be There Again, And Twenty

Summerfest 2021 in Milwaukee announces lineup, with Jonas Brothers, Chance The Rapper, Miley Cyrus, 100 other headliners

You can get a good look at the big acts announced so far at the official site.

For a brief period that was a lot of my life at that point, say from 1987 to 1995 or 1996, I went to Summerfest every year, several times a year many years. Tickets were ten bucks then, but you could win tickets or otherwise get in free in a variety of ways, and then you would have to carefully plot your day so you could catch the best bands. Oh, the dilemma of some of the headliners: Queensrÿche or REO Speedwagon? Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, or Ani DiFranco? ZZ Top or Living Colour? Not to mention the individual stage lineups that ascend from local bands to regional bands to national bands before the headliner.

Although, to be honest, looking at the lineup announced so far, I could have seen the bands that I would want to see in 2021 in 1995. Which clearly means they need a metal and a jazz stage.

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Book Report: Heroes and Outlaws of the Old West by Shane Edwards (1993)

Book coverI asked yesterday whether you thought I would delve into a book that I bought over the weekend or if I would read another movie tie-in book next. Hah! Gentle reader, as you well know, this is an example of a false dilemma. As it turns out, I picked up a thin children’s (I dare say it’s younger than Young Adult, but who knows in the 21st century?) book about, well, the title says it all, I suppose. I bought this book in 2012 along with Hud and a couple of M*A*S*H books, which might make this movie/television tie-in adjacent. That, and the other thing that we will get to.

The book is 128 pages of quick read–it took me about two hours start to finish. It lists, alphabetically, a variety of lawmen or outlaws from the frontier days (which means the latter half of the nineteenth century and maybe the first decade of the 20th–it’s amazing how not long ago this was). It’s got some of the usual suspects–Jesse James, Black Bart, Butch Cassidy and the Sunset Kid–and it pretty much has everyone from the Lincoln County War, including Billy the Kid amd Charlie Bowdre, so one wonders if the author was a fan of the film Young Guns which came out in 1988 (and the sequel in 1990).

The information within is perhaps dubious–it espouses the view that Butch Cassidy survived the shoot-out in Bolivia among other things. And it has something of a message, as all the outlaws die young by violence, and all the lawmen live to an old age after they retire in their 40s.

So a good idea book if you’re looking for things to write about in the old west, but probably not a source you’d want to cite. And, as I mentioned, a quick read even if it took me nine years to get to it.

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Alternate Headline: Google Demands Your Cell Phone Number

Google is going to start automatically enrolling users in two-step verification

Although Google already has my cell number six ways from Sunday anyhow, and a former client required two-factor authentication for the corporate Gmail. So I can’t shriek to loudly. Besides, it’s not Google that’s suddenly sending me HOT CHIX WANT TO MEET YOU texts. That’s courtesy of a data leak at a job application company or responding to a scam job posting.

Or the “You only have 2 bytes of data left” text messages I’m suddenly getting all the time; that’s the result of giving a high school student a smart phone.

(Link via Pixy’s new Tech News post today at Ace of Spades HQ. A much better addition to the daily lineup than Sefton’s morning thing.)

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Book Report: Alien by Alan Dean Foster (1979)

Book coverWait a minute, Brian J., didn’t you already write a book report about this book this year? you might ask. Gentle reader, I understand why you might think so. But the movie novelization by Alan Dean Foster that I read earlier this year was Alien Nation. They would be shelved together in the used book store assuming that Alien Nation came before Aliens, which Foster also novelizinated. Of course, they might not even be in the used book store at the same time. Certainly my copies will not be until perhaps after my death.

Okay, so this is the novelization of Alien. I have not actually seen the film even though I have it and, I believe, the first two sequels on videocassette. I thought it would be too spooky–as a kid, I shied away from spooky movies, even spooky science fiction movies from the early days when I didn’t want to go see John Carpenter’s The Thing with my babysitters when I was ten years old. So I have probably backburnered this film with that same kind of dread. Although I did see Aliens in the theatre when I was fourteen years old. But probably not since. Now that I’ve read the book, I am a little more prepared for the movies, so perhaps I will give them ago. Albeit without my boys, who are probably not ready for it yet even though they might think they are.

So, the plot: Seven crew members on a faster-than-light tugboat are awakened from their cryogenic sleep to investigate a ‘distress call’ on a planet in a sector they’re passing through. They land, and as they explore a derelict alien craft, one of them gets attacked by an alien that attaches itself to his face. They bring him aboard, against all procedure, and eventually a different alien bursts from his chest, and the crew tries to hunt it down but finds itself outmatched, especially as someone on the crew seems to be helping the alien. I mean, you know the basics, right?

A third of the book is in setup before the attack on the derelict occurs, and about another third elapses before the Xenomorph is loose on the ship, so we get a rather brief run through of fighting the alien. I have to wonder if the movie itself is paced this way, or if this is another instance (like Alien Nation) where a lot of time is spent on world building in the beginning that doesn’t appear in the movie. This article explains some of the differences between the original screenplay and what was shot and also mentions a couple of things left on the cutting room floor that appear in the book.

So I’ll be set up for jump scares that never come, maybe.

But I liked the book all right; it’s got a We Find A Mystery Of Another Civilization/Race thing that I like, and I like the detail Foster builds into the world of being a working-class space farer. And I like Alan Dean Foster. So you know if I find other Alan Dean Foster books in the wild, I’ll grab them, but they’ll have to be at smaller book sales or garage sales unless they’re misfiled in the Martial Arts section at ABC Books or the Ozarks section at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale since I don’t go out seeking science fiction books. But they manage to find me.

At any rate, I only flagged one thing in the book, and it was because of a coincidence:

Unexpectedly, a realignment of priorities in her [Ripley’s] querying jogged something within the ship’s Brobdingnabian store of information.

I came across that sentence immediately after my beautiful wife played some Brobdingnabian Bards filk music while we were playing cards, and I explained the origin of the term (Gulliver’s Travels). It’s not quite the Jeopardy! nexus, but still.

So, now, the question: Do I read another movie novelization or television series tie-in, or do I delve into the stack of books I bought last weekend. I am keeping you in suspense, gentle reader, because I have not decided just yet.

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You Don’t Say

Aaron Rodgers booed by fans at Brewers minor league game amid Packers staredown:

It’s safe to say that Aaron Rodgers isn’t the most popular person in Wisconsin at the moment.

During a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers home game, a minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, Rodgers came on the video board to do a commercial for Bergstrom Autos. The Packers quarterback – long considered a hero in the state of Wisconsin – was audibly booed, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Todd Rosiak.

Why, it’s been a couple of days since I’ve publickly applied an unflattering sobriquet to him.

I kind of wonder what his ratings would be like as the Jeopardy! host now. Prediction: Not as good as they would have been had he announced his retirement a month ago.

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Unexpectedly! Attributed Incorrectly

Springfield faces apartment shortage due to a rise in jobs:

It looks like houses aren’t the only hot item in the market. Springfield is experiencing an apartment shortage and a local property manager says it’s because of jobs.

“I think Springfield’s blessed right now with a lot of people moving to town because there are jobs available and as a result of that, apartments are the first place to stop to find a place to live,” said Lonnie Funk.

But:

“I think a lot of people get forced into paying more for an apartment than what they can really afford to pay,” said Funk.

“It’s $900 or $1200 a month, so a single person can’t swing it,” said Bailey. “Rent’s never going to go down. I was amazed at what the rent went up here. I’m to the point where I’m about ready to go back to Florida.”

Not depicted: The Federal Government, particularly the CDC, forbidding landlords from evicting tenants who are not paying rent, which unexpectedly! should be expected to cause rents for new leases to rise and the supply to shrink.

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It Was A Long Shot In The Start Of World War III Pool

But it looks like England vs. France might just pay out:

BORIS Johnson has deployed the Royal Navy to protect Jersey from the threat of a French blockade.

The dramatic move came after French fishermen – backed by Macron’s ministers – vowed to shut off the island unless they could fish more British waters, a threat branded an “act of war”.

The furious spat erupted after the island – which is under Britain’s protection – slapped French trawlers with post-Brexit fishing licences requirements.

About 100 French fishing vessels are due to sail to Jersey’s port on Thursday as part of a protest against the new rules, the head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff has said.

In the face of increasingly bellicose French threats, two patrol vessels will sent to monitor the situation and protect the islands 100,000 citizens who depend wholly on imports for food, medicine and even electricity.

I did not see that coming!

Okay, now, let’s look through the signs and portents and penumbras and emanations to determine who is the Russian and or Chinese proxy in this fight. Cui bono?

Which does not mean “Alexa, play Sonny and Cher,” by the way.

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Book Report: Home Is Where The Heart Is by Thomas Kinkade (1998)

Book coverNot to be confused with Home Is Where The Quick Is which was a MOD Squad tie-in paperback that I read in 2012, proving that I have long had a thing for those kinds of books (my run through them this spring notwithstanding).

Instead, this is a Thomas Kinkade property. It’s 47 pages long. It has 18 Kinkade paintings reproduced; opposite pages have quotes from famous literary works. In it, Edward Guest has two or three such pages; as his most famous poem is called “Home” and the title comes from it, I understand why. Also, his works were known for being kitschy and sentimental and are mostly forgotten now–so you can see how he might fit in with Kinkade.

So I looked over the pictures here with a bit of a gimlet eye (not Gimlet’s eye, gentle reader; don’t be morbid) to try to see what some find so offensive about them. Well, it’s only la-di-dah public types who tend to get quoted disapproving Kinkade’s work. They’re homey scenes like something out of Currier and Ives, but, and I think this might be the start of the disapproval, the skies are usually fairly bright even at night–perhaps a nod to his Christian beliefs–and the light spills kind of unnaturally out of every window of the houses in the nighttime scenes, which seems wasteful at best and an anachronism if you try to figure out how the light was so bright and even though it’s horse-and-buggy days, probably precluding electric light for most of these places. Those would be some very bright gas lamps indeed. But, you know what, it’s also to emphasize the homey, so I get it.

It’s a shame about his tragic personal life, and it’s a shame people dunked on him when he was alive and probably after he died. Knocking him because he purportedly outlined things and had assistants fill them out or whatnot. C’mon, man, aren’t you familiar with Renaissance art practices?

At any rate, a nice little book that I could use in between chapters of other things.

I suppose I would be remiss in noting this is the first of the books that I read from this weekend’s binge. I was actually looking for a book of poetry, but when I shelved the books, I scattered the smaller books across the stacks in my offices, and this was the first quick browser that I came across. So it didn’t make it until football season.

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The Lileks/Copperfield Convergence

Yesterday, in my review of David Copperfield, I quoted this passage:

I have often remarked-I suppose everybody has–that one’s going away from a familiar place would seem to be the signal for change in it. As I looked out of the coach-window, and observed that an old house on Fish Street Hill, which had stood untouched by painter, carpenter, or bricklayer for a century, had been pulled down in my absence, and that a neighbouring street, of time-honored insalubrity and inconvenience, was being drained and widened, I half expected to find St. Paul’s Cathedral looking older.

Today, in The Bleat, James Lileks talks about his college daughter returning home:

It pains to say it, but I always dreaded going back home after I’d left for college. I had to be someone else, or at least I wasn’t going to be 100% of who I thought I was. Parents were happy to see me, everything was fine . . . there were questions, of course, but no interrogations. I had to sneak cigarettes. I had to reacclimatize to the Shrine Bedroom that held my previous life. All the high school trophies, the beatific picture of myself in 4th grade on the wall, old sci-fi books, records I didn’t want, drawers with cast-off things.

This is nothing unusual. One of the big newspapers ran a story last week about 30-somethings driven home by COVID or other knock-on effects, and how they remade their childhood bedrooms into new and fabulous spaces. It all seemed pathetic and suggested that no one running these sections thinks it’s odd that 30+ single men are faced with the dilemma of replacing their old action figures with their new action figures.

Anyway. Going back from college. If there was anything that seemed sad, it was the sense that nothing had changed, nothing had moved forward. Everything was where it had been and where it would always be. When you’re young you’re making your own world anew, and stepping back into a place where every object was precisely where you left it last time made you feel like you were visiting a mausoleum of childhood.

Okay, they’re kind of opposites, but one can hold very similar feelings at the same time, ainna?

When I came back from the university for school breaks, I was in the same room, which was kind of Spartan, and when I moved back after college, I lived with my sainted mother for about three years, but we moved from the “childhood” home down the gravel road about eight months after my return. And we’d only lived in the house down the gravel road for a year and a half of my high school years; before that, it was the trailer park for, what, three and a half years? And my aunt’s basement for a year and a half. So I didn’t really have a childhood bedroom to ossify.

Now, of course, everything has changed everywhere I have lived so that they’re completely new places by now. So I can’t go home again because I didn’t really have a “home,” and I’m coming to realize that I really don’t have any family to greet me when I got there. Present immediate family excluded, of course, but the environs around Nogglestead are developing pretty rapidly, so much so that I can already say, “I remember when these were just fields,” and I have only been here eleven years (which is longer than most of my immediate neighbors, even those in the houses that were already present when we moved in). And, to be honest, we will probably redo the boys’ rooms once they move out, so they won’t have that particular experience–or we’ll move further out into the hinterlands when they leave. But they will have a static idea of the house they grew up in because we haven’t really modified Nogglestead since we moved in, either.

Dickens noted the differences development made over a hundred and fifty years ago; I have to wonder what he would have thought of the 21st century, where the pace of change of cities and towns might very well have helped cut us off from our sense of our own past and the past in general.

But getting to a pat conclusion lamenting the state of the world based on two disparate quotes is the blogger’s stock in trade, baby.

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Strangely, It Is Not An Album About Middle Eastern Court Politics

I mentioned that I got a copy of Özel Türkbaş’s album How To Make Your Husband A Sultan: Belly Dance with Özel Türkbaş this weekend.

I know, you’re saying, Did he buy this album because he likes to sample music in foreign languages, and this one was only fifty cents, or did he buy this album because it has a Pretty Woman on the Cover (PWoC)? The answer is yes.

The record comes from 1972 which is (counts his rings) forty-nine years ago. It includes some Turkish/Arabic music and a small booklet that includes basic belly dancing directions (swing your hips in time to the music, turn your hands parallel to the ground, bend backwards, wear finger cymbals, basically). I certainly couldn’t do it based on the books; heaven knows I need to take martial arts classes for almost a decade to gain basic competency in body control. Besides, if I wanted to learn belly dancing, I would talk to my cousin, one of the pretty ones, who is a belly dancer and a yoga instructor (one of the benefits of the large family: A cousin for every conversation). But, of course, I’m the husband in my personal situation, so I am the sultanee in the scientific formula and/or recipe.

At any rate, although Özel passed away in 2012, her family keeps alive an official Website offering her bio and theoretically a shop with merchandise, although that link doesn’t currently work. So maybe the site is not being kept alive but instead has a prepaid hosting plan lasting some years. I expect that’s what will happen with me some day, gentle reader.

But I digress. The site and YouTube have a video of her appearance on the Dinah Shore show where she belly dances and then cooks a meal:

She wrote a cookbook and owned a restaurant with her husband at some point.

I’ll drop some stills of Mrs. Türkbaş below the fold.

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Book Report: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850, 1986)

Book coverWell, I finished this book, finally. As you might recall, gentle reader, I have been reading it for some time. I started it before I began the library’s winter reading challenge (which I finished on or around February 22), so it was the book I picked up after Wuthering Heights). I read the sixteen books in the reading challenge whilst this book carried a bookmark, and I’ve nibbled at it for four months. Which, truth be told, as a serial, actual readers would have gotten parts of it doled out after years. And, one gets the sense that Dickens kind of wrote it like the writers of Lost with one eye on the reception and chatter of previous installments.

So, to make a long novel a short blog post, the book talks about the aforementioned David Copperfield, who is born to a widowed mother and they live together with a live-in housekeeper, Peggotty. Copperfield’s mother remarried a harsh man, and Copperfield is bundled off to live with the housekeeper’s family, to a cheap boarding school, and then as an apprentice at a wine merchant. Along the way he meets characters to figure in subplots, including the charismatic but ne’er-do-well Steerforth, a childhood associate whom Copperfield admires greatly; Peggotty’s brother and his adoptive family, including the sweet little Em’ly, her eventual betrothed Ham, and old Mrs. Gummidge; Traddles, another school friend, who is dull and plodding but dogged, and the free-spending Micawbers who are often one step ahead of the debt police. Copperfield runs away from the wine merchant to Copperfield’s aunt, the father’s sister, who starts well-to-do but loses it all; a businessman that Copperfield lives with and his daughter Agnes; Uriah Heep, the assistant to the businessman who was such an antagonist that a rock band a hundred years later took his name as their own; the owner of a law firm where David catches on and his pretty daughter whom Copperfield eventually marries; and the absent-minded school professor and his very young wife.

These characters move through the currents and subplots of the book. The main plots are that Heep is slowly taking over the Mr. Wickfield’s business through manipulation and fraud while he continues to act abased, and that Steerforth seduces and runs away with little Em’ly, and Mr. Peggotty vows to wander looking for her until he finds her and brings her home. Subplots include Copperfield’s rise through the trades and becoming a writer; Copperfield marrying his boss’s daughter and being a bit unsatisfied in the match; the loss of the aunt’s fortune; and, to be honest, a whole lot of other threads run through the book. The characters wander in and out and combine and recombine. The book has 747 pages in this Reader’s Digest World’s Best Reading edition, so Dickens could take his time–and he did.

The chapters and sections move leisurely, so it’s okay to take it slow and read it in portions, wandering away to movie tie-in paperbacks during the reading. The book meanders quite a bit into the subplots, character studies, and explanations of different elements of Victorian England. However, about 150 pages before the end, suddenly Dickens gets the urge to wrap things up, and so he starts rather abruptly resolving things–the pace of the last dozen chapters or so is quite faster than the others. I often have this knock on men’s adventure paperbacks, too, so maybe I’m just not ready for the books to end when they do.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book, sometimes more than others, and I’m glad to have read it. Although I just picked up The Pickwick Papers this weekend, I probably won’t dive right into it. Perhaps Dickens will only be an annual tradition with me (Barnaby Rudge being last year’s Dickens). However, I certainly have a soft part in my heart and a large part of my bookshelves (well, relatively, but probably less than Stephen King) for Dickens.

But I did put some markers in the book. Let’s see if I can recreate what I was thinking some months ago.

Continue reading “Book Report: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850, 1986)”

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I Know That Guy

Well, all right, I don’t know that guy, but I see his face on a lot of record covers here at Nogglestead.

One of my current projects is hunting down an article in Newsweek from the mid-1970s. I don’t know the year. I don’t know the month. So I’m accruing some old magazines to try to find it.

In one issue from 1975, as I was flipping through the magazine looking for the article, I came across a picture and story about Herb Alpert:

He seems to be a good guy, and he goes way back being a good guy.

He recently posted on Facebook the question, “Who would you like to see in concert when things are normal?” or something like that. To be honest, I would very much like to see him in concert again, although I should probably have to travel to do it.

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Good Book Hunting, May 1, 2021: The Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

I know, I know; you saw my post about albums I bought this weekend, and you said, Who cares about the cheap, obscure easy listening records you buy in an attempt to find something of yours on Lileks’ Thrift Store Vinyl feature on Fridays?. Well, my bibliophile friend, it’s your turn to feast your eyes on the bonanza I got on half price day:


Click for full size

The audio courses section was pretty picked over, but I got:

  • From a series of two-cassette lectures on philosophers, I got bits on Neitzshe, Kierkegaard, Aristotle, Dewey, Hume, Spinoza, Aquinas, St. Augustine, and Socrates.
  • Lost Worlds of South America.
  • Comedy, Tragedy, History: William Shakespeare on cassette–I shall certainly miss having a cassette player in my vehicle again should I ever get another.

It looks like I mis-filed and mis-appropriated my beautiful wife’s audio course Myths, Half-Truths of Language Usage. Because I wanted to impress you with the height of my stacks, gentle reader, I stooped to inadvertent deception. It looks like I stacked 2001 Things to Do Before You Die in my books as well. As you can imagine, it has been banished to her shelves. Our books cannot conmingle.

The books I got include:

  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk in the Reader’s Digest World’s Greatest Reading edition. I have started to accumulate these books, but I bypassed a number of titles that I already have in other editions. So where’s my dedication really?
  • Peter Ackroyd by Charles Dickens. Because I actually finished David Copperfield and need more Dickens to read.
  • Long Lost signed by David Morrell, whose books I continue to accumulate without reading.
  • The Art of Carl Fabergé by A. Kenneth Snowman.
  • Fabergé Eggs, a browser dedicated to the designer’s fantastic eggs.
  • Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass by Robert Koch. Although it includes a lot of pictures, it’s a reader more than a browser.
  • American Art Deco by Eva Weber. A coffee table book, but hopefully someday I will understand what Lileks and Ed Driscoll are talking about when they talk architecture.
  • Motels: American Retro, a browser that would be right up Lileks’ alley.
  • Strive and Succeed, a two novel omnibus from Horatio Alger that includes Julius and The Store Boy. It’s in better shape than the other Alger novel I have, so I will probably read it first.
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin. It looks to be a 1903 ex-library copy, but it’s in such good shape that I think it might be a later edition.
  • Oriental Love Poems edited by Michelle Lovric. It looks like it has some kind of pop-up cover, or it has some wrapping paper stuck on the front cover. I am not sure which.
  • I’ve Seen It All at the Library by Jonathan M. Farlow, a memoir by a librarian.
  • The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry by Sven Birkerts. Of course, the book is dated 1989, so it’s less modern by now than the title would indicate. Given that I am trying to write poetry these days, I thought I might buy a book of criticism. Although who knows when I might read it.
  • The Use and Abuse of Literature by Marjorie Garber. Definitely longer than The Use and Abuse of Books.
  • Poetics South by Ann Deagon, a short collection of poems.
  • The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. Longer than The Lessons of History, but shorter than the Story of Civilization.
  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. To be honest, I remember looking at this book and touching it, but not putting it into my stack, but my visit to the Better Books section’s Literature section was late in our trip; by this time, my beautiful wife was taking small stacks from my hands to put on the holding tables, so I lost track of a lot of what I bought.
  • Tales from the Missouri Tigers by Alan Goforth. I am thinking of giving this to my mother-in-law for Christmas, but we might already have done so. Which might lead me to justifying keeping it for myself.
  • For Everything There Is A Season by Carolyn Gray Thornton, a collection of light essays by a regional author.
  • Rock On: An Office Power Ballad by Dan Kennedy, who took a job in the music industry to find it wasn’t like the movies advertised.
  • Chin Music from a Greyhound: The Confessions of a Civil War Reenactor Volume One: 1978-1987 by Robert W. Talbott.
  • The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, also in the Reader’s Digest World’s Best Reading edition.
  • Journey Through Heartsongs by Mattie J.T. Stepanek, which looks to be a collection of grandmother poetry in hardback.
  • Privilege and Privation by Todd Parnell, a local author.
  • Home Is Where The Heart Is a collection of Thomas Kinkade something something. To browse during football games or something.
  • Moon of Mutiny by Lester Del Rey in the library binding just like the ones I read in middle school. Which might have included this one. My youngest is tearing through YA fantasy these days; perhaps I’ll give loan him some rocket jockey fiction to see if he likes it.
  • Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in The East Teaches Us About Living In The West by T.R. Reid. Probably that it’s better, but we will see.
  • Fourteen Acre Gold by Georgie Hicks. Looks to be grandmother poetry, although it says on the back she got her start when her twenty-year-old son died.
  • Messages To Lelia by Billy Reed. More poetry.
  • McAddoo About Nothing, a collection of old columns by a local columnist.
  • The Old Dog Barks Backwards by Ogden Nash. A paperback, and not one of the collections I already own.
  • Death to the Death of Poetry by Donald Hall. More criticism of poetry to inspire me to read poetry.
  • Early Royko: Up Against It In Chicago by Mike Royko. Man, it’s been a while since I read Royko. How come nobody collects John Kass’s columns? He’s about the closest Chicago or most major cities have to Royko.
  • Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge by Kevin Starr.

I also grabbed four copies of the local university’s literary magazine, the Moon City Review, which recently rejected several of my poems; I wanted to see what kind of poetry does appear in the digest to see if I should submit again. I picked up the 2009 issue, and every time I found a later one, I picked it up, intending to put the less recent copy down, but by that time, my beautiful wife was whisking them away, so I didn’t get the chance to put three of them back.

Apparently, in taking the photograph, I also purloined my wife’s copy of The 29% Solution. She tends to read more practically applicable books than I.

But you know what I did not find? Any Lee Goldberg. So, you know what is right across the highway, practically, from the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds? ABC Books.

So we diddly-bopped into ABC Books and told Ms. E. that we were just from the book sale and couldn’t find anything, which she likely did not believe. Although I found that my martial arts section was still not restocked, I found a couple of books by local(ish) authors and several by Lee Goldberg.

I got:

  • Mr. Monk is Miserable in hardback.
  • The Shooting Script, The Death Merchant, The Dead Letter, and The Waking Nightmare in the Diagnosis Murder series by Lee Goldberg. Although I like Lee Goldberg, as I mentioned, I am not going to hurry to pick up these books any time soon as Dick Van Dyke, the star of the show, is still alive, and this year my reading has adversely impacted world events.
  • The Underwater Window by local author Carol Shackleford. The name sounds really familiar.
  • The Reluctant Bachelor and Why Aren’t We Rich Yet? by Andy Willoughby, a local author that ABC Books promoted on its Facebook page. I thought the books sounded interesting in the post on Facebook, so I meant to seek them out.

Even though the mysteries were 25% off due to a sale I didn’t know was taking place, the full price of the local author books and what my wife bought meant we almost spent as much at ABC Books as we did at the book sale.

At any rate, a good haul, and it is making me rethink my current streak of reading books based on television shows and movies. But we will see how it goes when I actually get into the reading chair.

The funny thing is that, with the 40+ books I’ve read so far this year, I was able to straighten my to-read shelves so that most books were vertical, albeit double-stacked. Welp, that was that. Now they’re laid atop each other willy-nilly again. Which is their native state here at Nogglestead.

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Good Album Hunting, May 1, 2021: The Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

We went to the fairgrounds on Saturday, which is half price day at the semi-annual book sale, and I managed to find a few records. By Saturday, or perhaps all week, they were down to something like twelve or sixteen boxes/crates of records, which is less than half of what they often have on the dollar records side, but I still managed to pick up a few.

The gleanings include:

  • The Baja Marimba Band Rides Again by the Baja Marimba Band. I think I already have this one, but at 50 cents per, I got it just in case I did not.
  • Pete Fountain’s Crescent City by Pete Fountain
  • Fowl Play by the Baja Marimba Band. I bought several by this band, as you will see.
  • Environments: Totally New Concepts in Sound Disc 8, a soundscape record with Wood-Masted Sailboat and A Country Stream.
  • Environments: Totally New Concepts in Sound Disc 4, with Ultimate Thunderstorm (no word on if it’s almost as good as Passion Storm, but time will tell) and Gentle Rain in a Pine Forest. To be honest, I am not sure when I will actually listen to these.
  • Saxaphone Christmas from Nashville
  • Melanie by Melanie. There were several copies.
  • When You Hear Lou, You’ve Heart It All by Lou Rawls. Several Lou Rawls records available. Where were R&B fans all week?
  • Coming Out by the Manhattan Transfer.
  • Vocalese by the Manhattan Transfer. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan, but who can pass them up at fifty cents?
  • So Rare by Boots Randolph. It must be true; I haven’t seen this record before.
  • A Very Merry Christmas Volume 3, a compilation.
  • “Do we need any more Christmas records?” my beautiful wife asked, and the woman counting the platters got to Christmas Disco by P.K. & The Sound Explosion. Not any more!
  • The Best of Chuck Mangione by Chuck Mangione, a two record set. Since I started collecting Mangione after Christmas, I have been fortunate to find so many.
  • Breezin’ by George Benson. I have this one already, but I think mine skips.
  • Freetime by Spyro Gyra.
  • Space by George Benson.
  • Beyond the Blue Horizon by George Benson.
  • Jukin’ by the Manhattan Transfer and Gene Pistilli.
  • Pure Gold Benny Goldman.
  • The Best of Tommy Dorsey by Tommy Dorsey.
  • Shirley Bassey Is Really “Something” by Shirley Bassey. Jeez, what one does under the influence of a single Mark Steyn column from likely a decade ago.
  • The Dukes of Dixieland featuring Pete Fountain.
  • The Best of Henry Mancini Volume 3
  • This Is Al Hirt by Al Hirt. Not a big fan of the Dixieland jazz sound, but, hey, fifty cents.
  • Pronto Monto by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Which apparently is Canadian folk rock from the 1970s and not a novelty record.
  • Close-Up by Jackie Gleason. My lead over you in number of Jackie Gleason records grows.
  • The Genius of Jean-Pierre Rampal, the flutist.
  • Heart to Heart by David Sanborn. Lots of good light jazz to be had, and I have it now.
  • White Christmas by Pat Boone. Can one have too many Christmas records? I think not! Although I do not buy all of them I see, as they’re plentiful at book sales. And of all the records, they look to be the most heavily used and abused, but that could be because the children are allowed to put them on, and something like Lou Rawls and David Sanborn goes on the record player when Mommy and Daddy are alone after the children have gone to bed–and how would you feel about a little brother or sister?
  • Steve Miller K.C. Big Band, apparently a big band from Kansas City. Worth fifty cents, or consider it the GO half of BOGO for a dollar.
  • The Magic of Zamfir, the master of the pan flute.
  • Don’t Give Up by Brass Impact Singers. Apparently, the band from the Ozark Bible College and no relation to Walter Kime’s band.
  • Tell Them by Brass Impact Singers. Both discs are collections of gospel/hymns, so I can play them on Sunday mornings when I have misplaced my Swedish Gospel Singers record. Which is often.
  • Life Is Music by The Ritchie Family.
  • No Time To Lose by Andrae Crouch. R&B?
  • For Animals Only by the Baja Marimba Band.
  • Christmas Time in Carol and Song with Leontyne Price and Arthur Fiedler, but most importantly with special guests Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. So this is worth the whole trip.
  • Christmas Joy by George Melachrino and His Orchestra. Okay, maybe I did buy several Christmas records, but most of them were by artists that I already accumulate. And Pat Boone. And disco.
  • The Christmas Sound of Music, a Collector’s Limited Edition from B.F. Goodrich. From when people got Christmas records from their tire store. I got this because it has Ella Fitzgerald on the cover, and I have not found her Christmas work in the wild otherwise.
  • In Flight by George Benson.
  • How To Make Your Husband A Sultan: Belly Dance with Özel Türkbaş. “No pressure,” I said to my beautiful when it passed through the counter’s hands. I don’t think she saw what it was.
  • Beautiful Noise by Neil Diamond. You really don’t see Neil Diamond records in the wild for as popular as he was. Or maybe dealers are coming through before half price day and snapping them up.
  • Waitress in a Donut Shop by Maria Muldaur. The influence of Charles Hill lives on. Also, on a trivia note, I saw when I searched Kate and Anna McGarrigal (above) that Kate provides some background vocals on one of the songs.
  • Sketches by Skitch by Skitch Henderson and His Orchestra. I have no idea what this is, but the young man looks very earnest on the cover.
  • Their Shining Hour by the Dorsey Brothers.
  • Saxsational by Boots Randolph.
  • Bits and Pieces by Rod McKuen. You can always find some Rod McKuen at these things.
  • The Magic of the Melachrino Strings.
  • Flutes Front & Center by Ray Rasch and the Pipers 10. Pretty sure I already have it, but for fifty cents, I picked it up in case not.
  • Spark of Love by Lenny Williams. Looks to be R&B. Sometimes, I like to take a flyer on buying some artist I’ve never heard of; sometimes, I really, really like them and get a bunch. Which would be a sad thing if I really like this, as I am pretty sure I have never seen other works by the artist. Of course, now that I have this one, I will probably see them all over, kind of like Phoebe Snow (whose debut album I could have had a third copy of for a buck, further bringing down the average cost of them, but I demurred).
  • Too Much! by a very young Lou Rawls.
  • Is It Still Good To Ya by Ashford and Simpson.

Whew. That’s 53 new records/2-record sets that I somehow have to jam into my record shelves. The console stereo has a little bunker that can hold maybe ten or twenty; it looks like I’ll have to make use of it.

Best of all, the total cost here was like $30, or less than a silly lark of a handicraft.

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Is This What I Do With Eternity?

Buy a Rubik’s Cube, order some black stickers, and then put the black stickers on it to create a Gothik’s Cube?

Apparently, so, although in my defense, the actual sticker application only took a couple of minutes.

But, wait, there’s more: I also have a trophy case for it and have ordered a bronze plate. I might have to put up a picture of the completed project, which I might keep or I might give away for Christmas. Or maybe I will do a bunch of them and put them on Etsy until I do a simple Internet search and find the Internet is already rife with them.

Aw, dang.

But a greater portion of eternity, I will spend trying to figure out what to do with 442 more black square stickers (roll of 500 – 54 on the cube – 2 lost in the taping that held the roll closed). Just kidding! I will spend a couple of weeks with it on my desk, and then I will toss it into one of the assorted bins and leave it for my heirs to deal with.

Total cost $10 for the cube, $10 for the stickers, $5 for the trophy case, $10 for the little tag…. Suddenly, my strange handicrafts become fairly expensive indeed.

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St. Louis County Votes To Curtail Affordable Rental Housing in St. Louis County

St. Louis County votes to halt evictions:

Some households in St. Louis County are waking up with a sigh of relief after St. Louis County leaders voted to halt evictions through June.

In a 4-2-1 vote Tuesday night, the county council voted to approve a measure to temporarily suspend evictions until June 30.

Why will it end in June? Spoiler alert: It won’t.

So what is a landlord to do? Raise the rent, or let the properties fall to ruin because they can’t put out people who don’t pay the rent?

Maybe both!

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Lileks Identifies A Lacking I Had Not Acutely Noticed

Lileks today has a picture from downtown Minneapolis:

That’s a pussy willow. We don’t have those in Missouri. Unlike when I said we didn’t have white birch only to find that the park near our house in Old Trees was riot with them, I checked the range of the American Pussy Willow, which appears a bit in Northern Missouri, but certainly not here in the Ozarks. When I was a boy, and later a student at the university, I would have seen blooming pussy willows every spring. And as a man, I had not noticed I was not seeing them until today.

A couple points:

  • Aren’t you afraid of stealing Lileks’ photo here? C’mon, man, he still could have the Nonfungible Token on it (Link via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit).
  • Aren’t you afraid by naming that tree several times that you’ll suddenly be beset with Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans looking for, erm, spicy pictures of Alyson Hannigan? Gentle reader, I am counting on it. I could use the traffic. So below the fold, I’ll post a picture of Alyson Hannigan.

At any rate, I have the sudden urge to plant some pussy willow trees at Nogglestead; likely, though, they would fare only as well as the Lileks lilacs.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour (III)

Apparently, twelve years ago, I quipped on Facebook:

Brian J. Noggle recommends you avoid tugging on Batman’s cape as well. To be honest, he’s more piquish than Superman.

Note:

  • In those days, what you put into Facebook appeared right next to your name, so I often phrased my posts as though my name was the subject in a sentence. It’s not that Brian J. often refers to himself in the first person. Although, I suppose, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I do.
  • Hmmm, twelve years ago, I used peckish instead of piquish. I have corrected it here in the Revised Second Edition of this quip.

Also, I need to footnote this humor.

*

You damn kids.

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Book Report: Mr. Monk Goes To Hawaii by Lee Goldberg (2006)

Book coverAll right, all right, all right, I said I was going to finish David Copperfield before I picked this book up, but I did a couple of chapters of Dickens and wanted another break. So I picked this book up a week later. This one, recall, gentle reader, I bought at the Friends of the Christian County Book Sale in 2017; given that this particular sale generally runs concurrently with the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale, I checked to see if it, too, was running this week. Oh, but no: it was an in-library event the first weekend of the month. Which I would have known if I only subscribed to the Christian County Headliner. And, I suppose, read it in a timely fashion (I often fall a week or two behind, so I generally only later discover events I would have wanted to attend).

But enough about me: This book has Natalee, Mr. Monk’s assistant, dropping a bomb on him: her best friend is getting married, so she has an all-expense trip paid for to a resort in Hawaii for a week, and she waits until the day before to tell him. She expects to have a week away from him, but he, with the help of a prescription from his psychiatrist, flies on a plane (with all of his inhibitions and habits gone) to join her.

Mr. Monk is the man to speak up at the wedding, as he noticed things that indicate that the groom is a liar and potential bigamist; after that, an older (sixties!) woman with a trophy husband is murdered; it turns out that he has married older women and inherited them before, but in the past, they’ve died of natural causes (or have they?). She was bashed in the head in her bungalow after reporting hearing voices. Meanwhile, a spiritualist next door filming his television show says he has messages from Monk’s dead wife and Natalee’s dead husband, and Monk wants to prove him a fraud.

Again, a good book, and I am going to look for Lee Goldberg work next Saturday at the book sale. Which is me going out of my way to the fiction tables; most of the time, I only hit the records, audio courses, art books, old books, and local interest sections. But I am planning to not take my boys, so I’ll have a little more time to wander.

At any rate, flags and stuff below the fold.

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