But It Increased My Engagement

You know if I get a marketing email entitled Proof It! How To Be a Better Proofreader, you’d better believe I’m proofreading it.

Oh, yes, there’s the typo. No, wait, it has two:

Also, bullet point items should consistently end with punctuation or not. Generally, you don’t want to mix and match–even if the outlier is an exclamation point!

On the other hand, it did make me read the email more closely than I would have otherwise. My engagement is up, but my conversion from prospect to sale remains false.

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Facebook suggested this post from an outfit called “American Council on Science and Health”

It’s a quote from a film I enjoyed, Secondhand Lions.

The quote starts:

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in most.

I mean, much of it is about honor, courage, Wuv, True Wuv, and stuff.

But one cannot help wonder how much a non-profit science group that lobbies politicians would prefer we believe things are true even if they’re not. Especially when we’re told them by people with credentials after their name in their email signatures (originally, I was going to say “stationery,” but, c’mon, man, the only stationery with my name on it I have is notepads sent to me as parts of fundraising pitches from organizations much like this).

I support a lot of things, but very few of them have “American” in the name. Not because I’m unpatriotic, but because national organizations too often are grifts.

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Book Report: Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov (1959)

Book coverI bought this book fourteen years ago during an especially gluttonous trip to a book sale not long after my youngest was born. It would have been the autumn after my mother’s diagnosis and but, what, four months before her death? Eleven months before our move to Springfield? A long time ago, to be sure, but sometimes (often) books languish on the to-read shelves for decades. I got 94 books that weekend, and I wondered if this was the first of that lot that I read. Apparently not, as I have already read:

I also started Linda Chavez’s Betrayal for one of the library reading challenges this year in the Hispanic author category, but I didn’t get too far into it because the early 2000s concern about the power of unions in politics seems a little quaint now.

So, at any rate, this book collects nine short stories from Asimov’s magazine work in the 1950s. We’ve got:

  • “I Just Make Them Up, See!”, a poem about where he gets his ideas.
  • “Profession”, wherein future humans get tested for professions and get instantly trained for them, but one young man is told he cannot be taught this way, so he goes to a special home where the residents learn from books. Later, he learns that this is not without status, but has the highest status of all, as he can think creatively.
  • “The Feeling of Power”–in the far future, a lowly technician has a weird hobby–doing math by hand–and he is brought before the elites who do not believe that a mere human can replicate the magic of computers. The story was very familiar to me, and I thought that I might have recently read it. Well, when you get to my age, recently can be 8 years ago.
  • “The Dying Night”, a murder mystery wherein one of a trio of astronomers who have been stationed off-planet has killed an old classmate who apparently learned the secret of teleportation.
  • “I’m in Marsport Without Hilda” wherein a secret agent of sorts is on Mars without his wife. He plans an assignation with a local woman, but he’s roped into an assignment looking into drug-running.
  • “The Gentle Vultures”–a spacefaring race that generally swoops in to help societies after their nuclear wars in exchange for tribute grows frustrated as Earth’s nuclear war has not occurred.
  • “All the Troubles of the World”, a young boy is sent on a series of tasks ultimately designed to destroy the super-powerful computer, and the ultimate planner who almost leads him to success turns out to be the computer itself.
  • “Spell My Name with an S”–a scientist goes to see a “numerologist” to become successful, and the numerologist suggests he spell his name with an S–which leads to a series of investigations and events that averts a nuclear war and leads to a plumb professor position.
  • “The Last Question”, wherein mankind asks Multivac and its successors how to reverse entropy, and the far-evolved computer ultimately does. I’d read this story as a young man, and I’ve remembered the last twist since then.
  • “The Ugly Little Boy”, wherein a company has learned to create a stasis field that can grab something from the past and maintain it in the present. They demonstrate by grabbing a neanderthal child, and they bring in a nurse to help with the child. Over time, as their funding and success grows, the boy becomes less important to the company.
  • “Rejection Slips”, a poem about rejection slips. I bet my collection dwarfs Dr. Asimov’s.

So great classic science fiction. A lot of worry about nuclear annihilation that we don’t tend to fear as much since the 1980s. But imaginative and quick to read.

I marked a couple of things. The first was the main character in “Profession” is named George, and it mentioned that he grew out of “Jaw-jee” and into the monosyllabic “George,” which made me think about how I pronounce the name. I guess it’s a dipthong, eeor, and technically that’s one syllable, but it feels like it should be two.

In “I’m In Marsport Without Hilda”, I got an allusion:

Of course, the one I wanted might be the first one I touched. One chance out of three. I’d have one out and only God can make a three.

That’s a pun based on the movie Groundhog Day. Asimov was so future-sighted, he made an allusion to a film that would be made forty years in the future!

Just kidding. It’s from a Joyce Kilmer poem, as I am sure you remember.

I liked the book, and, man, am I reading the science fiction short stories this year or what (the rest are the James Blish Star Trek books, but still).

And please remind me, if anyone were to ask me whom I would invite to dinner if I could invite anyone living or dead to dinner, that after my departed family, I should choose Isaac Asimov.

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Three Things My Hands Smelled Like On Saturday: A Retrospective

Sometimes, you get a scent on your hands that makes you smell your hands throughout the day to see if the smell lingers. Well, I do. For example, the weekend before last, I continued my futility in starting my tiller (my ineptitude with small engines is just short of being legendary, which makes me fall short in that regard as well). As such, my hands smelled like gasoline for a day or so even after using mechanic hand slime a couple of times.

But this last Saturday, I had a succession of scents to enjoy.

  • Chlorine
    When I treat the pool, I have to touch the 2″ chlorine tablets that go into the slow-dissolve chlorinator, so I had the clean scent of chlorine on my hands until…
  • Barbecued Chicken
    We went to the Crane (a town in Stone County south of here) Broiler (the small chicken) Festival on late Saturday afternoon. We had gone to Ernst-Fest in Freistatt the week before (whilst my hands smelled of gasoline), but that was a small Lion’s Club German-themed shindig. It had a beer garden, some brats, and a couple of small games geared to kids along with some polka music. It was small, and we ate and left.

    Crane Broiler Festival is a full town fair; it had two music stages (bluegrass and gospel), craft and local organization booths, carnival rides, a couple of carnival games, and a barbecued chicken dinner. We walked the booths, entered a few gun raffles, and had a chicken dinner, which left my hands smelling of barbecued chicken even after washing them a couple of times. The boys didn’t want to do any carnival rides–they were a little skeptical of their safety as they’ve gotten older and have gotten used to full-scale amusement parks over the last two years–so we left. But it was great chicken.

  • Toad Urine (Presumably)
    I was doing something at my desk in the early evening, when one of the boys ran down the stairs, claiming an emergency in the kitchen. I heard the words “garbage disposal” and was afraid that it had fallen off again. My oldest was laughing about something, and I discovered the “emergency” was that a toad had gotten into the house, gotten in the sink, and when startled by one or more of my boys, hid in the garbage disposal.

    Now, the obvious solution had occurred to my oldest (and to me), which was why he was laughing: turn on the garbage disposal, and the problem is solved. However, this would not suit my beautiful wife’s sensitivities. Her proposed solution was to get a pair of spoons and try to capture the toad, sight unseen, that way. Which ultimately would likely have had the same effect as solution #1, only slower. The most obvious solution, maybe only to a man or maybe obvious but unpalatable to a woman, was to reach into the disposal and grab the toad. Which I did. And I conveyed said toad out onto the back deck, where he could feasibly find something to eat under our back light.

    As toads and other reptiles are known to urinate when a predator attacks, one can only assume that the toad wet me, but my hand got wet was I pushed it through the rubber in the drain, so it was not like I went from dry to wet when I grabbed it. And, honestly, I did not sniff my hands all night to see if I could smell it. But perhaps other toads and their actual predators could.

As I sniff my hands this morning because I have nothing else to blog about this morning, I can’t say exactly what they smell of. Perhaps waffle cereal as I recently handled cereal bowls from the boys’ breakfasts.

Sorry if I have planted this noseworm in you, and you spend the day sniffing your hands.

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Alligators In The News

Three alligator stories I saw in the news today:

Coupled with the story about the triathlete attacked by a gator from ten days ago, that’s a lot of news about alligators recently.

Ya know, since the shark story frenzy in the news in 2001 that was knocked out of the headlines by the events of September 11, any time I see too many different stories with the same animal in them in the news too frequently, I fear we’re about to get a wake up call from the trivia.

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Book Report: Red Snow and Death Had Yellow Eyes by Lester Dent (2011)

Book coverI picked this book up in June in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It contains two Doc Savage stories from the eponymous magazines from 1935 and 1944 respectively.

In The Red Snow, a strange phenomenon, a very localized red snow, completely vaporizes anyone caught in it, and a series of important chemists, engineers, and whatnot get caught in it. Savage is in Florida coincidentally, but gets drawn into investigating it when he’s framed for murder. He discovers foreign agents sowing discord before a planned invasion.

In Death Had Yellow Eyes, Savage investigates the strange disappearance of one of his associates, and is forced into working from the shadows as he is framed for a bank robbery. He discovers foreign agents using an invisibility cloak to sow discord. I forget if it preceded a planned invasion that Doc Savage averted.

Originally, they were novellas in a monthly, then quarterly, pulp magazine, so they’re kind of like precursors to the men’s adventure novels from the 1960s and 1970s (and beyond) that I often read–a house name (Kenneth Robeson) with an editor and outlines provided. Most were written by one man, Lester Dent, but sometimes other people contributed. As I come from a pre-computer age, the stories don’t seem that anachronistic to me, but I wonder how they would play with younger audiences today. Perhaps not too bad if they read anything from the Before Times.

Doc Savage is a polymath and a bit of a Mary Sue, but he does get knocked on the head a time or two.

So they’re quick enough reads, a bit of light adventure fiction, but one does not see the magazines nor the eventual reprintings of the stories in paperback (from the 1960s to the early 1980s) in the wild. Or I do not–but, as I said, I don’t tend to go into “the wild” (book sales) as often as I did in the St. Louis area, and when I do, the book sales are big enough that I focus on areas other than mass market paperbacks. So maybe the world is rife with them, but they’re outside my field of view. Perhaps I will remember to take a look at ABC Books or the upcoming fall Friends of the Library book sale. But probably not.

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Understanding the Pretensions of the Lamentations

On occasion, I have been known to say or, more likely, type in chats of various flavors, a variety of lamentations. And if you want to know what pretention I am parading at any time, here’s a handy guide:

  • ¡Ay de mí! know that I speak some Spanish
  • Ah, me! or Ay, me! know that I have read Shakespeare
  • Amie, what you gonna do? I have heard that song by Pure Prairie League

Actually, I never say the last, but a bulleted list with only two items seems wrong.

But I might just use it as an exclamation of sorrow henceforth.

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Not Forgotten To Packers Fans

Forgotten bodybuilder named kids after Egyptian gods and fed them meat for breakfast

Of course, the man’s son Equanimeous St. Brown used to play for the Packers (but now plays for Chicago) and his other son Amon-Ra plays for the Lions.

Of course, I was too young to know who the father was when he was in his body-building heydey, so I could not forget something I never knew. But I know now.

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Good Book Hunting, August 27, 2022: ABC Books

ABC Books hosted James R. Wilder, whose books are set near where I went to high school. I bought the first three books last June right after our De Soto vacation. I read the first, Terror Near Town, earlier this year, but I haven’t gotten to the others yet. Which comes to a total of three more (and the author mentioned he is 8,000 words into the fifth). So perhaps I’d better pick up the pace.

At any rate, look at this:

I got Wilder’s latest, Murder at the Morse Mill, and two Louis L’Amour paperbacks–The Lonesome Gods and Last of the Breed (ABC Books did not have Bendigo Shafter, and I forgot that I predicted Conhager would be one of the first L’Amour books I picked up.

I brought my youngest son with me, and he had an ABC Books gift card from Christmas, but he was not interested in buying a book for himself. So he applied it to my purchase, which means I spent less than $10 at ABC Books.

That has never happened before, and is unlikely to happen again.

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Man Test

Animal reposts his man test. Scoring is one point per right answer. I have bolded points I scored:

Personal Hygiene
1. I use soap in the shower. A bar of soap. (Not a whole bar per shower. Also, I want a bonus point for cold showers.)
2. I do not use body washes.
3. I do not trim or pluck my eyebrows.
4. I do not get manicures.
5. I do not put any lotions, oils, balms or creams on my body unless there is some purpose either medicinal or sexual.
6. I have a “haircut,” not a “hair style.”
7. I can wash my hair with soap and a washcloth. (Okay, I don’t have enough to require a washcloth, and TBH I have been using the last of the children’s Spider-Man shampoo because they’re to Grown Up to use kid’s shampoo, but generally it’s soap. And I shave with soap.)
8. I do not wear cologne. Perfume is for girls. Aftershave is acceptable, as long as it’s Old Spice. (I am onto my second lifetime bottle.)
9. I can go from ‘asleep’ to ‘ready to leave for work/movie/date’ in under fifteen minutes. (Or triathlons or the airport.)

Personal Style
10. I own a pair of cowboy boots or engineer boots. (Counting work boots.)
11. I own more than one pair of cowboy boots and/or engineer boots.
12. I own a cowboy hat.
13. I own more than one cowboy hat. (More than one fedora and Panama hat, though.)
14. I own more than one cap with a logo from either a car company, heavy equipment manufacturer, or an agricultural supplier. (Only one John Deere hat, but several NRA hats–I would rather this count as well.)
15. I do not use an umbrella. If it rains, I have caps and hats.
16. I know the difference between a cap and a hat.
17. I own a leather jacket.
18. I own a black leather jacket.
19. I have scars.
20. I have scars that I brag about. (Most were the result of dumb mistakes, so nah.)
21. I have scars from gunshot wounds.
22. I carry a pocketknife.
23. I hang stuff on my belt. (I have been known to, but I do not frequently.)

24. I can drive a manual transmission.
25. I can drive a motorcycle.
26. I can drive a commercial truck.
27. I can operate almost any vehicle on two, four or more wheels, from a motorbike to a five-ton truck.
28. I can operate tracked machinery (i.e. Caterpillar.)
29. I can operate a light airplane.
30. I own a truck. (I used to, but now it’s strictly SUVs at Nogglestead, and SUVs are just tall sedans.)
31. I own a four-wheel drive truck.
32. My truck has branch scrapes and rock chips. Lots of them. (My old pickup was scratched up a bunch.)
33. I carry jumper cables in my truck. (And almost complete toolboxes, and one has a compressor/jumper kit.)
34. I carry a high-lift jack in my truck.
35. I carry a tow strap in my truck.
36. I carry an axe in my truck.
37. I carry a gun in my truck.

38. I can navigate with map and compass. (Well, probably.)
39. I can navigate by orienteering.
40. I can run a chainsaw. (Starting it is another manner–I am not the best with small engines. Perhaps I should deduct a point.)
41. I can start a fire without match or lighter.
42. I am proficient with a pistol (Not sure what ‘proficient’ means, but I hit the target near the center most of the time.)
43. I am proficient with a rifle. (Ditto.)
44. I am proficient with a shotgun. (I have not shot one much, and never at something on the wing, but when I was shooting at a can on the ground in a quarry with my old man when I was a kid, I kept missing.)
45. I can make improvised traps.
46. I can capture, kill, prepare and cook wildlife.
47. I can catch fish with purchased fishing tackle. (Although not recently.)
48. I can catch fish with fishing tackle improvised from materials obtained in the wild. (Well, I could try to noodle if I had to.)
49. I can build an improvised shelter with materials obtained in the wild.

50. I do not see “chick” movies unless there is a chance that I might get sex afterwards by so doing.
51. John Wayne is, very nearly, a deity.
52. I love Westerns. Especially John Wayne Westerns.
53. I enjoy movies that feature:
• Hot vampire chicks in black leather.
• Hot any kind of chicks in black leather.
• Hot any kind of chicks.
• Killer androids.
• Killer aliens.
• Zombies.
• Hot vampire android alien zombie chicks in black leather.
54. Tom Cruise is the result of a Communist plot to demoralize America by subjecting us to crappy acting.

55. Vegetarian, my ass. Give me a steak.
56. The four major food groups are: Steak, pizza, beer and cheeseburgers.
57. Real men eat any damn thing they want.
58. I love bacon with near-religious passion.
59. All foods should be served with home fries and/or corn bread.
60. Everything’s better with Tabasco.

Total up the number of question you can honestly answer “yes.”
55+ – You’re a manly man in the manliest form.
50+ – Your testosterone level is normal, but you’re not blowing up anyone’s skirts.
< 50 – Oh, for crying out loud, cowboy up already.

I started out so strong, but in the end, I got 29 of 60, although perhaps as high as 31 or 32 with asterisks (I mean, I haven’t driven tracked equipment or a skid steer, but I have a zero turn radius lawn mower, and the concept is the same).

But, ya know, probably the best a city boy with an English degree could hope for. About the same as I scored on the Heinlein.

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Now When I See Women’s Hands

My beautiful wife just had a professional social media campaign for her consultancy. Well, I think it was interns, as it was run through a local university, but they did a couple of video shoots and photo shoots and wrote and posted a number of things on her company’s social media pages over the course of the last couple of weeks.

So I’ve been seeing lovely professional photos of my wife scattered throughout the days. Most of them are photos of her in various locations and poses, generally with a laptop, tablet, or pad of paper at a desk or coffee shop table or whatnot.

But some of the photos are just of her hands at or near a keyboard.

So I’ve become accustomed to thinking that any set of a woman’s hands on my social media feed is a picture of my wife’s hands.

Which is odd, because they are not. And I recently had to pause because I did not recognize the pattern of the blouse in the picture, and it turns out, the photo was not of my wife’s hands.

Here, let’s see if you can figure out which picture I’m talking about:

Can you guess which one is not my wife?
Continue reading “Now When I See Women’s Hands”

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Five (or More) Things On My Desk, 2022

It’s been three years since I’ve done a Five Things On My Desk post. Clearly, they did not become the staple of the blog that I thought they might be. Also, long periods of time pass without having five interesting things on my desk at a time–or, more likely, things from previous posts linger on my desk for years.

The state of the desk has fluctuated; I’d been on a part-time contract for a year, which meant I spent about half time working and half time applying for jobs and interviewing and whatnot. So I was at the desk often enough that I kind of kept it sort of clean. That is, I had some weird stuff on it, but the papers were generally in stacks for filing. Not like the old days, when I was primarily a child care provider and only got to my desk sparingly, which meant the stuff piled up quite a bit indeed.

But, still, some half completed projects and various things brought down to sort or otherwise dispense end up on the desk for a while. Including:

  • 3 Bird Calls

    I have mentioned that my mother-in-law recently downsized to a an apartment, and we’ve still got boxes of things in the garage to sort whether we want to keep them or donate them. These were her father’s waterfowl calls, a couple of duck calls and a goose call, I think. I have them on the desk because I’m hoping to put them into a shadow box. I have a shadow box, but I’d like to put some sort of camouflage background, so I’ve been waiting until I get to a garage sale and can maybe pick up a t-shirt or something for a quarter. Given how infrequently I get to garage sales these days, it might be a long time until I get that shadow box made.

  • Patriotic Face Paint

    Every summer, my dojo has a series of “spirit weeks,” where you get to wear things other than a gi during class. Sports team week, street clothes week, and so on. One week was patriotic week, where you could wear red, white, and blue. I thought about painting my face, and the kyoshi also joked about me painting my face, and I am just crazy enough to try it. So I ordered these face paints. As I sweat a bunch during workouts, I wanted to test the paints, so I painted my face red while I did some yard work. I noticed I was sweating pink the whole time, and by the time I got inside, I was completely clean. So I didn’t paint my face for the dojo (but you can see other times my face was painted here–it has been a while).

  • A Holly Hobbie mug

    I guess you have seen this cup on my desk eighteen years ago.

    I have a shelf on my desk’s hutch where I have some coffee cups of note–a clay one, unfired, that I made in elementary school; two signed Weber and Dolan mugs my brother picked up from WISN for me right before their show ended 16 years ago; A cup shaped like blue jeans with my name on the label that my grandmother gave me when I was in elementary school; a plastic cup customized with a middle school picture in it that my mother got me when I was in middle school; and a Boy Scouts Scoutmaster cup that had been my grandfather’s. Other stuff has gathered up there, mostly presents from my mother-in-law that require display.

    I have been toying with the idea of getting a booth at an antique mall and putting things out there and maybe unloading some of my old technologies while my generation is at its earning peak and can waste money on Commodore 64s and TI-99s. I’d also put some of the various crafts that have been boxed in the garage for a decade and things like this, where I don’t even know where I got it. Was it my beautiful wife’s? Or something I picked up in my eBay days?

    However, I have not yet gotten the booth, and I might not. But the cup has been removed from the crowded shelf for now. Until I clean off my desk by putting it back.

  • A Time magazine from November 14, 1977

    I might have mentioned that my high school made an appearance in a national news weekly in the late 1970s as an example of how bad schools were. My history teacher shared a photocopy of the story, then less than ten years old, in my freshman year. I thought it was Newsweek, and I’ve kind of looked for it, buying inexpensive 70s copies when I could, generally around the time that one of the teachers from the school that would become my high school testified before Congress. I did another quick search for it on the Internet, and saw this magazine with the cover story “High Schools In Trouble: A Tale of Three Cities”. None of them is my high school, so this wasn’t it. In the old days, I would have gone to the library and looked at the microfilm copies of the magazines. But, c’mon, man, when is the last time you saw a microfilm reader at the library?

  • A Marine Corps Pillow Cover From Parris Island

    I started my new job at the end of June, and my health insurance started on July 1. When I went to fill out the online forms for it, I discovered that the parent company requires a copy of a marriage certificate to enroll a spouse. I had never seen that before. As such, I did not know where our marriage certificate might be. So we tore the house apart for it, including the old mementos boxes. I was not able to find our marriage certificate, but I found several belonging to my ancestors.

    And I found this. I thought it was a wallhanging, but I see now that you can slide it over a pillow. Parris Island–that would not have been my brother, who went to boot camp at Pendleton. My mother most likely bought this for her mother, and we have it still. I left it out of the box because I am thinking about offering it to my brother, for whom it might have slightly more meaning. I did not leave it out of the box to put in an antique mall booth. (I have already related the notion rankles me.)

All right, maybe that’s not interesting to you, gentle reader, but I will be tickled when I look back at it in a couple of years and think about what my desk must have been like today.

While I’m at it, let’s recap some of the things from Five Things on My Desk in years past.

  • In 2011, I had a broken necklace on my desk that my wife wanted me to repair. The more things change…. I have a different necklace, one that I’ve had on my desk for a while now, because it looks to be a partial bib necklace or something. It has several strands, and I an not sure what is disconnected nor what it’s disconnected from. I get the sense that sometime soon (within the next couple of years), I will just take a guess and put it in her jewelry box. At the bottom.
  • In 2012, I had a gallon-sized bag of spoons, my sainted mother’s spoon collection. Well, I’d moved them from my desk to the storeroom for a couple of years, but since I found a spoon collection display cabinet while Christmas shopping last year, I got them out and out of the bag to polish them. As I was not impressed ultimately with the cabinet–the places where you hang the spoons are too short for most of the spoons, and it has does not have enough room for all of the spoons. So the tarnished steel spoons remain on the desk, a bit out of the way. Probably until I bag them again.

    On the other hand, I have learned who Mickey Owen was. A baseball player who opened a baseball academy in the western reaches of the county, and he was several times elected Greene County sheriff (I have a promotional notebook from one such campaign, which was on my desk then and probably still resides in the hutch cubby for notebooks).

  • In 2016 and 2019, I mentioned a couple of things that I’ve since hung on the wall, namely, the Paperboy hand-held game, the handprint from kindergarten, and my great-grandmother’s paintings. I don’t have anything so easily disposed of on my desk now unless one frames the aforementioned pillow cover, the old Navy class picture which I suspect my mother’s Uncle Henry was in, or the customized novelty poster that has my mother’s name in it. Although, to be honest, that might be why I have left them on my desk instead of putting them back in the mementoes box.

Will this spur me to clean my desk? The magic 8-ball, if I had one (and it would be on my desk) would say “Unlikely.”

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Book Report: A Trail of Memories: The Quotations of Louis L’Amour Compiled By Angelique L’Amour (1988)

Book coverWhere the heck did I get this book? A quick search of Good Book Hunting posts does not yield a result. It does not have an ABC Books sticker. It does not have a price penciled on the first page which might indicate another used book store. I certainly did not buy it new as a sixteen-year-old. So I must have picked it up at a garage sale. Perhaps this year’s Lutherans for Life garage sale–I don’t see a Good Book Hunting post for that particular sale this summer, which might mean it was one of a couple books I might have picked up. Without a picture, I have no memory.

At any rate, this book is a what it says: A group of quotations, from a line in length to a couple of paragraphs, grouped in topics like Life, Opportunity, Hard Work, Family and Home, Women, Indians, Honor, the Law, and Justice, and Yondering and Dreaming.

The quotations all share a common flavor and theme, of course: The stoic Western hero on the frontier, skeptical of the soft Eastern ways, manly but not afraid to love and nurture in family ways, which includes education and discipline. It seems like some of the quotations are repeated in different chapters/topics, but it might be because they are so similar–or perhaps they repeat; I did not go back to check. Even though they’re genre and they deal with Men, someone not familiar with genre or prehistoric (that is, pre-social media) writings might be surprised at how in-touch the Western hero was with the environment and how much he respected Indians (that is, Indigenous Peoples, as the current lexicon goes, with its expiration date later in the decade).

Although Louis L’Amour had 101 books in print when this book appeared (maybe just 100, as the book list includes this volume), the quotes are taken from what seems to be a handful of them. But it did help me narrow down which of his books I would most like to read: Bendigo Shafter, The Lonesome Gods, and maybe Conhager. I have read a couple of Zane Grey books, but no L’Amour. And the country was crazy with them in the olden days–I suspect they both had their book clubs in the 1980s. I would say that “I haven’t seen them in the wild,” but let’s be honest: My “in the wild” these days is the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale and ABC Books for the most part, and I tend to skip over the Western and/or fiction sections entirely. In earlier days, with smaller book sales, I would be more likely to breeze over the paperback and/or fiction sections where I might see these titles. Perhaps I’ll wander over to the Western section next month at the library book sale to look for these titles.

So a nice thing to read whilst reading other books with longer narratives or themes. Something to spend a few minutes on out on the patio, petting the newly outdoor cat at sunset, staring down the raccoons who are not afraid of humans and want the remainder of the day’s cat food. And then to pick up later.

I did flag a couple of quotations for quick comment.
Continue reading “Book Report: A Trail of Memories: The Quotations of Louis L’Amour Compiled By Angelique L’Amour (1988)”

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An Affliction Infecting Nogglestead

He suffers from newspaper reading disease:

Your mate is snuggled next to you on the couch. You’re sharing the Sunday newspaper — cuddled and cozy — just enjoying the written word together. He points his finger to print on his page and looks up.

“Hey, honey. That movie you wanted to see is getting great reviews. They say it’s Oscar-worthy.” He pauses and waits for your response.

How endearing, you think, smiling sappily. My hubby is sharing news with me. The squeak of surprised interest you emit exudes approval and encourages exposition. He squirms slightly, hunches over his page, and furrows his fuzzy brows in concentration. Oh, look. He’s hunting for more tidbits to share.

. . . .

NEWSPAPER READING DISEASE forces your mate to provide updates on printed topics that you find nauseatingly boring. He will toss sports statistics your way and pepper them with incomprehensible commentarial expletives. Sports statistics are tossed like dice and peppered with commentarial expletives.

Obituaries of strangers whose names seem familiar to him (and therefore, to you) are recited, filling your head with ‘nee’ s and internment dates.

What’s the latest take on dietary prevention of cholesterol buildup? Don’t worry. His fingers are underlining the words right now, and his “listen to this” s are sure to clog your auditory canals.

There is no cure for NEWSPAPER READING DISEASE. The only treatment offering a modicum of relief is to read faster than he can talk. That way, you can enjoy the paper before his recitation begins.

I read this story in the Phelps County Focus yesterday, and as we were driving to Freistatt’s Lions Club’s Ernte Fest (a German festival), I recounted this column to my beautiful wife after recounting the story of the local columnist who had a recent cardiac procedure and was strapped to the bed for many hours in the very room where her husband died several years earlier. So it was a little meta, my recounting newspaper reading disease that I’d read about in the paper.

Also, hmmmm…. I read the column by Robin Leach (not that Robin Leach), a regionally syndicated columnist in the Phelps County Focus, but I could not find it on the Internet version of the site. But I did find it at the linked Herald-Whig, which I do not yet take. Ah, investigation indicates this paper is based in Quincy, Illinois, so I will probably not subscribe. I am not taking Illinois papers. Yet.

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Happy Driver’s License Day To My Toddler

I guess he’s not a toddler any more. But he got his driver’s license today, and although he did not like the chauffeur cap we got him for the occasion, I suspect he will wear it sometime. But probably not on nights when my beautiful wife and I ask him to ferry us to dinner and back. Or, as his brother would prefer, when he drives them to school on Monday.

Ach, it worked for a while; we had our children a little later, in our 30s. It was common in our cohort in the IT industry, where people established careers first, and then children later (or not at all). But we moved to Springfield when the boys were young, which meant returning to my wife’s church milieu, where couples have their children in their early 20s. So for a decade, I’ve been able to tell myself I was as young as they. But time rolls on, much like my oldest now, who has run two errands on his own in the car already.

And, of course, it doesn’t help an anxious man that all the rural newspapers are full of reports of teens dying in auto accidents.

Although this report does not indicate a teen (Crash kills 1 near Republic, Mo. Friday), it doesn’t help that I know where that is: It’s on the way to church summer camp, a road I traveled with each of my sons in turn earlier this year (the oldest a day earlier as he was a counselor, and the youngest on his last trip as a camper the next day).

Ay, mi.

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I’d Better Take It Easier

MAULED BY MONSTER Terrifying moment triathlete is attacked by 12ft long alligator that clamped its jaws down onto his head

Actually, I have only done (small) triathlons with pool swims; no open water swims or practices for me.

And although I have an indoor triathlon, with a pool swim, coming up in five weeks, I have not swimmed swam swum (pick the right one) since February 21.

So I’m not sure how easier I can take it.

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Could It Happen To Me?

The headline oversimplifies a bit: Man left in coma after tearing bicep at gym wakes up to find he’s lost his arm:

Holy cats, he strained so hard he put himself in a coma? Not so much:

“I tore my bicep in the gym, and had some surgery a couple of days later,” he remembered.

“Two weeks after that I had a postoperative infection called necrotizing fasciitis, which gave me 11 major surgeries during a 10 day coma.”

He caught an infection in a National Health System hospital in Britain.

I would comfort myself and say that couldn’t happen here, but who knows?

I’d better take it easier.

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