Milwaukee Natives See The Headline And Think “Mayfair”

Police: 8 injured in Wisconsin mall shooting; suspect sought.

Of course it’s Mayfair Mall:

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber gave no motive for the attack at the Mayfair Mall in a brief update about three hours after the 2:50 p.m. incident near an entrance to the Macy’s store. He said the extent of the eight victims’ injuries was unknown, but all were alive. He added that the shooter was “no longer at the scene” when authorities arrived.

“Preliminary statements from witnesses indicate that the shooter is a white male in his 20s or 30s,” Weber told reporters. “Investigators are working on determining the identity of that suspect.”

* * * *

“Preliminary investigation has led us to believe that this shooting was not a random act, and was the result of an altercation,” said police, who added that the mall was now cleared and secure.

It’s easy to guess as it’s about the only mall left in the Milwaukee area and because it has been in the headlines for a couple of years for incidents including brawls and a police shooting earlier this year that triggered the now-customary “protests.”

Kind of like the Galleria in St. Louis; it had a reputation for being upscale, but its central location allows Sumdoods to congregate there, and we only hear about it outstate when there’s trouble every year or so.

A number of mall owners have entered bankruptcy here recently. I have to wonder if the mall as a concept is dead.

The Recreated Elementary School Posters of Nogglestead

Some years ago, when my beautiful wife was in the hospital overnight (probably after emitting a boy), I asked her if I could bring her anything.

“Tristan,” she said, referring to her white cat.

Well, I could not bring the cat to the hospital, so I picked up a stuffed white cat for her. It has bounced around the bedroom and perhaps her office since and was not turned over the the boys as the other stuffed animals from our youth were (okay, mine, amongst them Edwin, Pooky, and a large bear I received for Valentine’s Day once–I have since reclaimed Edwin, and the bear is in our closet as the boys have outgrown stuffed animals mostly, but apparently we parents have not, and how did this all of a sudden become about me?).

At any rate, earlier this week, someone turned down the bed in the master bedroom (yes, we turn down the beds in the evenings and clear the decorative pillows from them before bedtime–I started doing this when my wife was traveling a bunch for work, and I wanted to give her a more upscale feeling when she came home). In addition to not doing it the right way–that is, my way, the person put Tristan II between the pillows, which would not have worked at all as that’s where Athena sleeps at night.

So I put it in the crossbar of the canopy bed (minus canopy, because they’re expensive, and we stripped my sheers-held-in-place-with-magnets solution one of the times we converted the canopy bed to a sleigh bed or a mere four-poster bed) to recreate the poster that was on the walls of pretty much every classroom in Carleton Elementary and many offices besides.

It’s been there for a number of days without comment. Perhaps I need to pin or tape paper with the “Hang In There” text.

Or, more likely, now that I have amused myself (and perhaps you, gentle reader), perhaps I will just take it down and put it back on her dresser.

Also, I suppose I will have to stop calling you gentle reader as you have learned that I still have a stuffed animal or two in adulthood and will probably come rough me up for my lunch money.

On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

Book coverSo on Wednesday, November 4, the night after we watched Sergeant York, I wanted to watch To Hell and Back with and about Audie Murphy; it was then that I learned it was the wrong region DVD. So I cast about looking for something, and I thought I would pop in this video which I got Spring 2019 at the church garage sale (I was going to say last Spring, but it suddenly occurs to me that 2020 has somehow almost passed–what have I been doing? When and where were the seasons?). I thought maybe the boys would want to watch these, but they did not.

So I watched them alone.

Continue reading “On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

If Nobody Else Remembers It, Did It Happen?

Christmas time in, what, 1984? We’re at the house that my maternal grandmother rented in High Ridge right next to the firehouse. My brother and I are lying on the floor watching MTV because my grandmother had cable, and we could watch MTV which would have been important to a twelve-year-old at the time. We would have been visiting on a weekend, as we were still living with my aunt in St. Charles at the time. The television is a big console unit that would be in our trailer too soon as my grandmother would pass away in a year or so.

But this Christmas song comes on. A science fiction sounding Christmas song.

We’re lying on the floor, and as it finishes up, my brother and I turn to each other and say, “Whoa.”

It’s Mannheim Steamroller’s “Deck the Halls” from the then-new Christmas album. I liked it so much that I bought it on audiocassette whilst I was in college; it would have been the first Christmas album I bought.

As our latest inexpensive bookshelf system failed, again, after six or seven months of playing records, I’m not spinning platters for a second year in a row. I’m reduced to listening to songs via Bluetooth. Somewhere in the recent decades, my beautiful wife spent time ripping audiocassettes to MP3 files, so I have a copy of my old tape on my phone now, and I listened to it the other night and remembered how I was introduced to Mannheim Steamroller.

So I asked my brother if he remembered it.

He did not.

So many of the things I remember, I am unsure if they actually happened like that or not. And more and more, nobody can tell me differently.

And as I’m getting older, my wife or increasingly my children ask me if I remember some incident that seemed more important to them than to me, and I cannot. So I am a little gratified that other people my age–namely, my brother–cannot remember some things, too.

As long as it actually happened. I suppose it would be no consolation if it didn’t and I was just recalling it wholesale.

At any rate, I am thinking of reviewing some Christmas “albums” that I have in non-record format as the posts about the Christmas albums are popular, especially this time of year.

When Your Boxing Metaphors Fail

As usual, on the day after a Chicago Bears loss, I’m prowling the Chicago newspapers’ Web sites, enjoying the rending of the sackcloths. In one such document, we get the coach offering some resigned optimism:

“When you keep fighting, a punch will normally land,” Nagy said. “And if it’s a good one — a nice little uppercut that knocks him out — then you get another and the next one is a body shot and you just keep throwing them. That’s all you can do. You stay strong.”

Technically, in boxing and mixed martial arts, you pretty much stop punching once you’ve knocked your opponent out. And on the street, if you’re so inclined because you’re a punk, you start kicking, not dropping on top of the opponent to punch his unconscious body.

But, hey, it’s Chicago. Maybe they do things differently there.

Book Report: Tanar of Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1929, ?)

Book coverI was looking for something to read, so I picked up this Tarzan book that has been floating around the outer ranks on the to-read shelves in my office for a while now. I mean after all, I just read a couple of Tarzan books, didn’t I? Well, no–I read Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan in 2009. They would have been some of the last books I read in Old Trees before we moved down to southwest Missouri. I can’t believe it’s been that long, but look at the comments by Deb, a frequent commenter in those days when the blog was only six years old. In my defense, I did “just” read some of the John Carter books in late 2017, so it was more “just” than eleven years ago.

And closer review of the cover indicates that this is not a Tarzan book at all; it’s the third book in the hollow Earth series set in Pellucidar with the main character of Tanar (completely different from Tarzan who appears in the fourth book in the series, Tarzan in Pellucidar). I guess the first two books deal with men from the outer world who find themselves in the hollow world which contains dinosaurs, primitive men, and intelligent lizard men who rule them using ape-men as muscle. So I gather from research reading the Wikipedia article.

This book starts en media res: Seafaring raiders known as Korsars attack the Empire of Pellucidar, set up by the outer earth men in the first two books, and take prisoners, including Tanar; the emperor himself sets out in a small boat to rescue Tanar. Tanar meets a haughty but attractive young woman aboard the pirates’ ship; she is the assumed daughter of the pirate leader by a woman captured on a small island of loving people. After a storm, which is almost unheard of on the seas of the hollow world, Tanar and the woman are shipwrecked on what turns out to be her ancestors’ island. There, they are met with suspicion but eventually are adopted by Stellara, the woman’s, father. Subplots ensue, a pirate who wanted Stellara for himself returns, Tanar ends up thought dead, but he’s really in caves of the Morlocks Coripies, underground dwellers. He escapes with the resident of a nearby island of hate, where the residents hate an berate their family members–this fellow kidnaps Stellara, and Tanar goes to the rescue. He gets captured by the Korsars a couple more times, subplots ensue, and he links up with the Emperor and they eventually back to their homeland.

The book also has a frame story where Edgar Rice Burroughs is talking to a friend who is into the new fangled radio, but who discovers a wave that travels through the Earth–and it’s through a broadcast on this wave that this story is transmitted to the outside world. So the guy with the radio plans to go to Pellucidar to rescue the men from the outer world who are trapped there. Which leads, according to Wikipedia, to the Tarzan book. This book came fourteen years after the preceding one in the series; they came a little faster after that, but the series was never as popular as Tarzan or John Carter series and the length of the series reflects that. Burroughs wrote a lot, but he wrote a lot more of what was popular.

I don’t think I have a lot more Burroughs floating around, but do you know what I pass over from time to time? One or more of the remaining Gor books I have. So maybe I will pick up one of them sooner rather than later. If only to address this comment I made when I read Captive of Gor in 2014:

So I was disappointed with this book, and I’ve got at least three remaining on my shelves. I might pick up another one soon–before 2021, I would hope.

With a little dilligence, I can make that goal!

The Slow Change Of Nogglestead

In putting up our Christmas trees this weekend, I rearranged the lower level ever-so-slightly.

Whoa, Brian J., we don’t like change! you might say, which explains why you’re here–you’re a lot like me.

Because, let’s face it, we have not made a lot of changes to the furniture arrangements at Nogglestead, mostly because the furniture only fits in the rooms certain ways.

Continue reading “The Slow Change Of Nogglestead”

Musings on Christmas Decorations

Although I said October 22 that this might be the earliest Christmas ever at Nogglestead and although we have been playing the Christmas radio station on the console stereo for a couple of weeks from sun up to bedtime, it was only this weekend that we got our Christmas decorations out. We put up the trees and got the lights on on Saturday and put the household decorations (including 2020’s upcoming Christmas straggler) on Sunday. Which led me to some musings, as things often do.

Continue reading “Musings on Christmas Decorations”

Book Report: Spaceship Vision: The Impossible Dream by Elton Gahr (2019)

Book coverI read Gahr’s short story collections Random Realities and Random Fantasies within the last year and a couple weeks after buying a bunch of his books at LibraryCon 2019 in the Before Time that none but us old timers will remember.

I said about those that Gahr has a good imagination, interesting stories, but could really use an editor. The same holds true for his novel-length work here: A number of missing words or wrong words, some little things (referring to a character by name before introducing her name), and some improper capitalization. He’s run it through a spell-checker, though, and maybe an automated grammar reviewer, but the works could use an actual editor reading them first. But maybe that would just slow the young man down (actually, I don’t know how old he is, but I am at an age where I can splash young man and young lady around pretty liberally and be correct in relationship to my age more often than I would like). Perhaps I should offer to edit the books by going through them once with a red pen for a case of beer. I was just talking with one of my boys how professional editing for new authors can be prohibitively expensive–I was approached by an acquaintance for a quote on editing her daughter’s novel, and even at the low end of the spectrum (a couple hundred bucks), it was too rich for her blood (I still have not sold enough copies of John Donnelly’s Gold to pay the $300 for the professionally designed cover much less the promotional copies I mailed hither and yon, and as for my other books, I’ve not paid out enough for the UPC and the ISBN number, word). But going through Gahr’s Proofreading Copies would be fun. And it would save me the expense of later buying them when I bump into him at a con.

At any rate, this book tells the story of a ship run by the banished? self-exiled? son of a nobleman. Set in the future, when the solar system and part of the Oort Cloud have been colonized, nobles control their colonies and sets of stations and rule their fiefdoms with the threat of cutting off the air to their serfs. As a matter of fact, the captain of the ship left his father’s station after his ruthless parent vented a section of the space station on the son’s behalf. He has gathered a couple of crewmates, including: a woman who was a trainee in a secret, hidden group of humanity protectors who had been captured and held prisoner by pirates for several years; a reverend of the powerful church; a genetically enhanced warrior who might have some deep mental programming counter to the best interests of the crew; and a recycling technician sent away from her dark asteroid colony because her parents couldn’t feed her. They’re scraping by, mostly, when the go to Mars for repairs and discover a pair of twins who have created what they claim is a Faster than Light engine–which it is. They try to use this discovery to help liberate the serfs–first by seeking a colony that set off for interstellar space hundreds of years ago to hide in, only to find that the colonists want the FTL drive to return to conquer the solar system and then, after helping defeat the interstellar colonists, by fomenting rebellion on their own.

So it definitely has a Firefly vibe to it including its selection of characters, but it’s not just fanfic retread as something else (personally, I enjoy the scrappy interstellar trader genre; remember Desperate Measures?). It does a bit of world system building that makes sense. The incidents are a bit episodic but do kind of lead to the next, and the backstories of some of the characters are woven in as flashbacks that are effective for the most part, although sometimes the episodic and jumping nature jarred me when I picked up the book the next day, and the next chapter seemed out of nowhere (they’re on Earth? Was that mentioned in the past chapter where I finished last night? No.). The book is light on description–not a lot of physical details and colors of the ship. Maybe just enough. The storytelling, though, is very fluid, and I enjoyed the book.

I picked this book up because I get Gahr’s newsletters (and read them sometimes). He just released another book in this series (Spaceship Vision: One Tin Soldier. Hopefully, it will have a print version that I can pick up next time I see Gahr at a con somewhere. Until then, I have a full-length fantasy novel by him somewhere around here that I’ll get to. Probably before I actually find Joshua Clark’s series, which one would think I would spot easily since it’s several books grouped together, but no–my inability to find them is becoming a legend here at Nogglestead, at least in my own mind.

I Fought For $15, And The $15 Won

My apologies to Bobby Fuller and the guys, but I saw these automated floor cleaning machines twice this week: once at Sam’s Club and once at Walmart.

I mean, I grew up on seventies science fiction where robots were pretty stock. However, here on earth in the 21st century, nothing is driving their adoption quite like political pressures that do nothing but put people out of work and make the adoption of bleeding edge technologies the affordable alternative.

Book Report: The World of Herb Caen edited by Barnaby Conrad / Commentary and Captions by Carol Vernier (1997)

Book coverApparently, I have blown through the monographs, travel books, and chapbooks I have recently acquired, so I had to delve into the back recesses of my to-read shelves to come up with this book which I bought in 2017. Which is “recently,” on one hand, but it seems like a long time ago. Fun fact: It looks like I also bought a copy of Janissaries, which I read earlier this year in the omnibus Lord of Janissaries, so if I find that slightly mutilated copy in my stacks, I’ll have to think of someone to give it to (since I have bought copies of Lord of Janissaries as Christmas gifts for the people to whom I normally give science fiction duplicates). I also found a Reader’s Digest classice scopy of Around the World in 80 Days, which I “recently” (2017) read as part of the omnibus The Best of Jules Verne. So I’ll put that on my read shelf along with my other Reader’s Digest Classics. Unless I already have a copy, in which case I will have to deal with the duplicate.

But that’s neither here nor there; we have come to praise The World of Herb Caen.

The book reminds me of The World of Mike Royko. They’re the same thing, basically; A coffee table book of quotes from the recently deceased columnist, photographs of the city they covered, and occasionally a longer excerpt or maybe a complete column. Barnaby Conrad, a long-time acquaintance of the columnist, gives us a nice introduction detailing Caen’s career, which is very helpful to those of us not from San Francisco. He started in the San Francisco papers in 1938 and wrote until almost the end of his life in 1997. So he, like Royko, was active in the golden age of newspaper columnists and really became the voice of the city where he lived and wrote. They really don’t make columnists like that any more; perhaps John Kass would be the closest we have to that in the 21st century. Newspapers probably cannot afford the luxury of a highly visible metro columnist any more.

At any rate, the book is not a complete respite from contemporary issues as it features a number of photos and Caen’s endorsement of Willie Brown for San Francisco mayor. Kamala Harris, though, does not make an appearance in the book. If only they had known.

I probably can have a bit more affection for the Golden Age columnists who passed away before the turn of the century because their columns and styles did not have the opportunity to shift and become demeaning to their political opponents as so many of their later counterparts did (although I read most of the Chicago Tribune columnists in 1997 and the early part of this century, I don’t read Steve Chapman, Mary Schmich, or Eric Zorn any more, and I don’t read the Chicago Sun-Times columnists Richard Roeper or Neil Steinberg even though I even corresponded with them around the turn of the century in the early days of this blog). Royko, too, would probably have taken a harder left turn within the decades of their deaths. Although, to be honest, I have only read this book on Caen with a single column and some excerpts, so I am speculating a bit that he was not that way. I think I have one or two of his collections, so I will have to check them out to see if my retro predictions are true. Unlike Royko, I did not read Caen back in the day.

So I liked the book. It’s got wit, interesting tidbits of celebrity encounters (where celebrities include jazz musicians from the height of jazz as well as movie stars throughout the decades), and great vintage photographs of old San Francisco. Not a bad way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon.

Culling the Herd

I mentioned in July that I resubscribed to the Wall Street Journal in part of a paper-subscribing frenzy and because we opened a brokerage account for our oldest for his birthday.

Well, the oldest has not shown much interest in the paper, finance, or his brokerage account (he is in high school and has is own phone now, and donchaknow that meatspace as the old timers call it is for old timers). And, as is the norm, the papers started piling up unread until I would (or will) months later tear through them weeks at a time, only glancing at the headlines and shaking my head, thinking We had it so good then; I know how all of this turns out.

And, well, to be honest, I’ve found their reporting to be a little less that straight up during the election season and post-election.

Trump lashes out, having a tantrum, but the Democrats, adults that they are, air frustrations. Got it, straight up news there.

You know, I can get that sort of thing from a Gannett rag for a fifth of the price.

You cannot cancel your subscription on the Web site; you have to call in. I did, and I was on hold for thirty minutes before I got to a customer service rep who offered me a free two weeks to reconsider–or to forget that I want to cancel, or to dread waiting thirty minutes on hold again. I declined.

Because the paper made me sign-up month-to-month (cynically, I think so that they could easily raise the price without my notice at their first opportunity). This means I will not have spent a whole year’s worth on it, and it means I still have another month coming before it ends.

I am pretty sure that it will stack up unless I make a concerted effort to clear it out, and I might as I try to get some sort of record player running this holiday season which might involve putting a component system in the parlor. If the turntable I bought at a garage sale seven years ago works, and if the failing receiver I have can funnel audio to speakers properly, and so on.

At any rate, this has also made me realize that I haven’t seen a Wright City Journal (WCJ)–to which I also subscribed in July–in months, so I’ve reached out to them to see what’s going on. I think I’d rather read it than the Wall Street Journal for the most part.

But you know what I will miss? The feature writing in the Personal Journal and Friday/weekend sections along with the book, television, movie, and music reviews. The same things I rather miss out of the National Review. I wish we still had general interest magazines that carried that sort of thing regularly. Let me know in the comments if you have some recommendations. First Things also has a pretty good back section, although its selections are fittingly theological and Catholic in nature.

Researching A Comment, I Discovered…

As you might know, gentle reader, I attended a nominally Catholic, a Jesuit, university, and I am half-Cath (which is all bastard according to the summary of Catholics marrying outside the faith found in So What’s The Difference), so I have had some exposure to Catholic teachings. But not a lot of formal theological training in that regard.

Over twenty years ago, I got the phrase Ex Cathedra in my head, and I “remembered” from my university days (twenty years ago, my university days were already memories, but fresh memories, unlike today where I am not entirely sure about most of my university education, including why? and why there?) that Ex Cathedra means the instances where the Pope spoke infallibly, almost as though Jesus and/or God were speaking. I thought the Pope had done so twice, the divine incarnation and the assumption of Mary into Heaven. Shortly thereafter,I was out to lunch (gentle reader, you might think that I still am, metaphorically speaking) with a Jesuit initiate, so I asked him, and he told me that those were not Ex Cathedra pronouncements. And I believed that for twenty plus years.

Until I was researching a comment I wanted to leave on this post (I wanted to make sure I spelled Ex Cathedra correctly).

Which lead me to the Wikipedia entry on papal infallibility which indicates that the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra not twice, but seven times.

Including the two I thought were the only two.

Interestingly, the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra once about beatification, twice about Jesus Christ, twice about the Virgin Mary, and twice about…. Cornelius Jansen? That’s not a heresy with which I was familiar, and it’s interesting that Wikipedia includes these as infallible.

However, the Wikipedia entry on Ineffabilis Deus, that is, the Immaculate Conception says:

Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for “Ineffable God”) is an apostolic constitution by Pope Pius IX. It defines the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The decree was promulgated on December 8, 1854, the date of the annual Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and followed from a positive response to the encyclical Ubi primum. Mary’s immaculate conception is one of only two pronouncements that were made ex cathedra (the other in Munificentissimus Deus regarding the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin) and is therefore considered by the Catholic Church to be infallible through the extraordinary magisterium.

Which is what I said, what the Jesuit denied, and not what Wikipedia said in the infallible Pope entry.

Which is why Wikipedia is a good starting point for interesting research but should not be considered the final word.

Unlike this blog or Friar’s comments thereupon, gentle reader. These you can take to the bank.

Book Report: Goblin Market and Other Poems by Cristina Rossetti (1995)

Book coverI was supposed to read “Goblin Market” in college, perhaps in my poetry class. I had a literature poetry class, but not a poetry writing workshop because the latter was held at the same time as the advanced fiction writing workshop class my last semester, and I was going to be a fiction writer. Too bad they didn’t have an obscure blog writing workshop class; I could have really put that to use.

At any rate, I didn’t read it probably because it had two sisters and goblins in it, and it was long. But almost thirty years later, I picked this collection up in between the complete works of Keats and Shelley that I have intermittently been working on for years and the Marvell collection I picked up after reading the Milton recently (see this and this). You know what? I might have a new top five favorite (my beautiful wife, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost pretty much have locked up the top three spots, so other poets can only fight for #4 and #5 in the top five).

The language of the early-to-mid nineteenth century is much fresher and easier to read than the seventeenth century Milton and Marvell and the eighteenth century Keats and Shelley–although Rossetti does drop the occasional ye. Rossetti’s poems are lyric in rhythm, easily end-rhymed, and in most cases relatively short (which is not to be overlooked in a poem–I like mine easily digested and not something I have to put a bookmark in). Thematically, she talks about death and lost love a lot–so a proto-Goth poetess, but with talent–and she also talks about Christian faith. Sometimes, the poems focused squarely upon faith are reminiscient of grandmother poetry, but a cut above it, of course.

Although Rossetti’s first published collection was also called Goblin Market and Other Poems, the back cover indicates this is a new collection of her most famous works, of which “Goblin Market” is the most famous (at least, it’s the one that was assigned in college in the late 20th century).

Fun fact: Rossetti was working on these poems at the same time that William Edward Williams was working in London. Given that it was one of the largest, if not the largest, city in the world at the time, the odds are pretty good they never met.

So I enjoyed this collection more unabashedly and thoroughly than I had a collection of poetry (excepting my own, perhaps) in a long time (which is partially my fault as I read a bunch of poetry chapbooks and grandmother poetry as well as the aforementioned old poems which are at a remove from me given their language). If I had read “Goblin Market” when I was supposed to, perhaps Rossetti would have been one of my favorites for a long time. However, perhaps I am getting to read this at the right time, when I need new poetry for enjoyment and inspiration as my doggerel revival arises.

Musical Balance, Autumn 2020 Update

Ah, 2020. What a year. I was gainfully employed for much of it and housebound, which meant I comfort purchased CDs at an astounding clip. My musical balance post from May indicates covered nine months and included 18 albums and three MP3 singles. Before I start tabulating the results in real time here as I write the post, I’m going to have to take the “over” bet.

Well, tuck it, I don’t know if any of you are interested in these posts, so I will once again abuse the below-the-fold feature. Continue reading “Musical Balance, Autumn 2020 Update”

Book Report: William Edward West: Kentucky Painter by Estill Curtis Pennington (1985)

Book coverThis book is a little text-heavy for reading during football games, but I started out browsing it last Sunday and finished it late last week in the reading chair.

The heavy text tells the biography of the artist, William Edward West, a portrait painter born in Kentucky but who lived amongst friends in Natchez, Mississippi, for a while, traveled to Europe for a long time, including Italy and London, and then returned stateside and spent time in New York and later Baltimore in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The artist was from a well-to-do family in Lexington, Kentucky, which was apparently a hopping place arouns the turn of the nineteenth century. He lived from 1788 to 1857, so the period between the first two civil wars (I kid, I kid–but it’s gallows humor). He made his living apparently by attaching himself to wealthy families, staying with them or in their orbits, and enjoying their society while painting their portraits. Portraitist is a particularly mercenary form of artist, after all–much of their work was for-hire, so one cannot come down on this fellow too much for schmoozing.

He made himself when he was traveling in Italy and got to paint a portrait of Lord Byron, one of the last before he went of to Greece and died. So he used that story to unlock doors in European and British society.

Many of the portraits in the book come from wealthy people of the period, so it’s not like you will recognize any of the names except for Lord Byron and a pre-Confederacy young Robert E. Lee, whose painting is on the cover (which probably means I should BURN THIS BOOK for JUSTICE!). The book only contains a couple of non-portrait works: A maritime picture which supposedly shows Lord Byron rowing out to visit the USS Constitution and a couple of group settings with stories to them.

The works are well-executed, although steeping myself in 20th century works from time to time means I’ll be impressed with the works of art school drop-outs from the eighteenth century. I enjoyed the book, although I am not sure how long I will remember William Edward West’s name. In the 21st century, it’s not likely to come up, even in trivia nights, should such things ever happen again.

The Alarm Clock To Getting Woke, Going Broke Is Ringing

Not really, I hope, but the New York Post story entitled Who will replace Alex Trebek as ‘Jeopardy!’ host? Meet the top candidates has five candidates:

  • George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton White House staffer who is now a television political commentator.
  • Betty White, which is based on a joke Trebek made once about a suitable replacement.
  • Ken Jennings, the winningest Jeopardy! contestant.
  • Laura Coates, a CNN legal analyst talking head.
  • Alex Faust, a hockey play-by-play announcer.

Come on, two political talking heads are on the short list? Really?

Clearly, it’s Ken Jennings, right? And the rest of this column was driven by the need to file some column inches, ainna?

Also, is this too soon?