A Reader Recommends….

Well, one of you posted this on Facebook:

It’s a YOLOLIV YoloBox Pro,All-in-one Portable Multi-Cam Live Streaming Studio Encoder Recorder Switcher which has 3 HDMI inputs, 1 USB input, 1 Full Featured USBC input, plus local SD card video sources and PDF source from SD card, 1 Mic in, 1 Line in, 1 HDMI out, 1 Audio out.

Meh. I can’t use it unless it has a couple coax inputs, a couple composite inputs, and a set of VHF antenna screws or two.

But I don’t have $1300 lying around, and my sixteen year old projector television would burst into flames if I tried to hook this up, so I guess I’ll have to continue to scout obsolete tech at garage sales.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Brian J. Makes The News

Chimney service calls picking up across the Ozarks

Actually, it’s probably only a coincidence that this news story appears the day after I called my chimney sweep who is not mentioned in the story. It’s scheduled for late October; it’s only a week later than it was last year. I’ve been thinking about calling them all summer, but it’s only now that I am cold in the morning in the office if I have left the window open that I actually made the call.

I’ve also called to see if our firewood provider can get us a couple of cords this year as well, but they’re not cutting or scheduling deliveries until October, either, so I am a bit on hold on that.

But now that football season has started and it’s cool in the mornings, a boy’s heart turns toward fire.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller (1955, 1988?)

Book coverWell, gentle reader, I asked in my Good Book Hunting post from this weekend if you could guess which of the books I would read first from the stack.

It was this play, and maybe I should actually make a point of buying plays to read in hotel rooms when I travel; you might remember (but if not, the blog is semi-forever) that I read The Marriage of Bette and Boo in a hotel room right after I bought it in Leavenworth, Kansas at a book store that might be named Half Price Books but is also possibly not related to the book store I visited this weekend. It definitely had a different vibe.

I’ve read The Death of a Salesman, but apparently not in the last 19 years or since I’ve started reporting on books on this blog. This play, which premiered in the middle 50s, deals with a family of Italians in a tenement in New York City: A husband, his wife, and their niece. When they agree to shelter the wife’s cousins, illegal immigrants from Italy, everything goes awry. One of the brothers is a hard worker on the docks with the husband, but the other brother, who does not even look Italian, likes to sing, has home skills like sewing, and starts dating the young niece. The husband doesn’t like it because the boy is different and perhaps because he has romantic feelings for her himself, or at least does not want to let her grow up. Things come to a head when the husband calls the immigration authorities to remove the men.

I have to wonder if it was a bit anachronistic in the 1950s, hearkening back to a past from that point in time. A fairly simple play, not very clever but very serious in its indictments of tradition and the patriarchy.

You know, back in college, I read David Ball’s Backwards and Forewords, and one thing still sticks with me: He said that every character in every scene has his or her own agenda, his or her own goal, and that you should have that in mind when writing every scene. The characters in this play seem a little thin: I cannot figure out, really, what the wife wants, or the older of the cousins wants aside from the broadest of strokes. I read it, and I get a sense that the playwright had a story to tell and maybe at a bit of sacrifice of real characters.

At any rate, not bad, but not great. It’s not what Miller was known for.

Which reminds me: The author has an introduction to this play written for this edition, thirty years from its original run. As is my wont, I did not read it before I read the play, and I should remember to read it now that I have read it.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Star Trek 7 by James Blish (1972)

Book coverSo, apparently, as I worked my way through this set of books eighteen years ago, my book report for Star Trek 7 was the first one where I enumerated the episodes that were included in the book. So I’ve already done that in a previous post, but I’m going to do it again.

I was speculating that the most popular and recognized episodes would be included in the first volumes of the series, as Blish was not working in series order but rather worked a bit off of what fans wanted. But in this seventh volume, we’re still getting recognizeable episodes. Well, episodes I recognize anyway.

The book contains:

  • “Who Mourns for Adonais?”, the one where a giant hand in space grabs the Enterprise, and they find an ancient Earth god who wants followers again and who woos a crewwoman. C’mon, man, that’s one you remember, ainna?
  • “The Changeling”, where an old lost and damaged probe merged with some alien technology and confused its programming to elimination of imperfect life. Kirk has to do one of his logic tricks to shut down the computer (which he also does in a Harry Mudd episode). You might recognize the plot because it was recycled into Star Trek: The Motion Picture (and a bit of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). I’d like to point out it’s been a whole week since I’ve seen <an allusion to this episode elsewhere.
  • “The Paradise Syndrome”, another one of the Enterprise finds a simple native culture who needs help of a forgotten alien technology (very similar to “The Apple” in Star Trek 6). In this one, Kirk loses his memory after interacting with it and lives a bit of another life while the Enterprise limps back to the planet on impulse power.
  • “Metamorphosis”, where the Enterprise away team are brought to be companions of the lone survivor of a wreck who has befriended an alien intelligence that provides his needs–and when he said he needed companions, the alien brought the Enterprise. The character here is Zefrim Cochrane, who is seen again in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • “The Deadly Years”, where the Enterprise visits a planet where the young humans have aged–and the away team starts aging as well, just in time for a confrontation with Romulans. In 2005, I equated this episode with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where this happens to Dr. Pulaski, but 18 years later, I cannot remember that episode. Which is a testament either to the staying power of the orginal series or to the fact that I periodically revisit it.
  • “Elaan of Troyius”, where the Enterprise is sent to pick up a woman who is to marry into the ruling family of a rival planet to end years of warfare, but she’s a brat, and the women’s tears enthrall men, and she enthralls Kirk, but his duty makes him stronger than her tears.

So a quick read, the book equivalent of catching one of these episodes (well, all of them, actually) on television and continuing to watch it. A bit like brief binge watching, I guess. I have a couple more of these on my to-read shelves, and by the time I finish them, I will have almost the full set (apparently, I lack 12). Maybe I will look to complete the set. Afterwards and into next year, perhaps I will get into Alan Dean Foster’s adaptations of the animated series. Or maybe it will be back to men’s adventure fiction. But for the nonce, the old school science fiction, including the Asimov and even the Bradbury are what I need right now.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: I Sing The Body Electric! by Ray Bradbury (1969, 1971)

Book coverI actually started reading this before I started Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov; after finishing another book, probably Red Snow and Death Had Yellow Eyes, I hit the stacks and the hardback Asimov collection caught my eye, so I read it instead of completing this collection, which underwhelmed me.

First and foremost, it is not a collection of science fiction stories. It seemed like the book was only a third science fiction, but a review makes it clear that it was not that little. The book contains:

  • “The Kilimanjaro Device”, wherein a stranger in a time-traveling truck is seeking Ernest Hemingway, hoping to help him to a better death (the plane crash in Africa) than the one Hemingway eventually got.
     
  • “The Terrible Conflagration Up At The Place”, wherein a group of locals decide to burn the lord’s house, but when they find him there, he convinces them in a roundabout fashion to not by asking that they keep the treasures and heirlooms safe after the house burns.
     
  • “Tomorrow’s Child”, wherein a couple discover that new birthing technology has trapped their baby in another dimension–he only appears weirdly in this one–and although scientist cannot solve the problem yet, they can send the parents to join the child.
     
  • “The Women”, wherein a man and his wife are at the beach, and something in the water calls the man, and the wife knows and tries to keep him from going into the water.
     
  • “The Inspired Chicken Motel”, wherein a Depression I-era family stays at a motel with a chicken with the gift of prophecy, and the chicken gives them hope.
     
  • “Downwind from Gettysburg”, wherein an actor named Booth shoots an animatronic Lincoln.
     
  • “Yes, We’ll Gather At The River”, wherein the owners of buildings along main street on the highway spend the last night before the authorities open the new highway that bypasses their town.
     
  • “The Cold Wind and the Warm”, wherein strangers visit an Irish town and inspire the locals to look at things differently.
     
  • “Night Call, Collect”, an old man left on Mars as a young man after the rest of the population returned to Earth to fight in the atomic war keeps getting phone calls that he programmed into the system to keep himself company. After decades, he hates it.
     
  • “The Haunting of the New”, wherein a wealthy but decadent woman invites a frequent visitor to the debaucheries at her manor because it burned, and she reconstructed it completely the same, but this new manor does not want the orgies to continue.
     
  • “I Sing The Body Electric”, wherein a recently widowed man orders a robotic grandmother for his children, to help take care of them and to tutor them.
     
  • “The Tombing Day”, wherein a town has to move the graves in a cemetary because the highway is coming through, so a woman has the coffin of a man, her beau, who died 60 years ago, brought to her house. She discovers his body perfectly preserved at 23, and she laments her own aging.
     
  • “Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby’s Is a Friend of Mine”, wherein a conman lodging in a boarding house on the prairie pretends to be Charles Dickens and pretends to write the author’s works using his photographic memory. Even after the ruse is discovered, a boy in the house wants to believe.
     
  • “Heavy-Set”, wherein a mother worries about her 30-year-old son who is still at home and who avoids most social interactions even though people and girls invite him places–with incest only hinted at. Just kidding! It’s more than a hint–it’s the twist at the end of the story.
     
  • “The Man in the Rorschach Suit”, wherein a psychologist finds a learned professor purportedly dead on a bus wearing a special shirt. The not-dead research psychologist asks people what they see in his shirt.
     
  • “Henry the Ninth”, wherein climate change (global cooling–remember, this was the end of the world for most of the middle 20th century, child) has driven the population of Great Britain south except for one man who wants to remain.
     
  • “The Lost City of Mars”, wherein a rich man takes an eclectic party on a yacht to search for the Lost City of Mars. They find it, and many are sorry they did.
     
  • “Christus Apollo”, a poem about space travel as the eighth day of creation.

So it has seven science fiction short stories (out of 18 total works), two of which are set on Mars and could have been in The Martian Chronicles but might have been written too late. Include the “weird” stories with a fantastic element, and you get another one or two. The others are contemporary or historical fiction that appeared in mainstream magazines. I have to guess fans of Bradbury’s science fiction would have been disappointed, but perhaps by 1969, they had realized that he was not a science fiction writer by that time but a writer who sometimes wrote science fiction. Personally, I wonder if he punched above his weight in scientific circles based on a couple of early bestsellers (The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451).

He did have all the right opinions, though, compared to Asimov, who escaped the Soviet Union, and Heinlein, who was something else. In “I Sing The Body Electric”, for example, the robot grandmother has a chance to rant about cars being bad and guns being bad. In the early part of this century, gentle reader, we had a term “Sucker punch” for that moment in a book where an author dropped in a little homily about a progressive talking point. Strange, we don’t talk about that a decade or fifteen years later–I guess we presume that is just a feature of contemporary fiction.

There’s also a bit where the grandmother sez (only a page after the anti-automobile sermon):

Tell me how you would like to be: kind, loving, considerate, well-balanced, humane… and let me run ahead on the path to explore those ways to be just that. In the darkness ahead, turn me as a lamp in all directions. I can guide your feet.

This seems an allusion to the biblical (Psalm 119:105, given here in the King James Version which features italics not found in the NIV):

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Coupled with the last poem where technological advance supplants God, and I think we’ve found another who thinks technology (and expertise) will somehow overcome human nature. Which has not proven to be the case.

When I read The Illustrated Man 12 years ago(!), I was similarly unimpressed.

I don’t think I have a lot of Bradbury floating on the to-read shelves, fortunately.

But the list of books also available in the back:

… reminded me I had started working my way through the James Blish Star Trek books earlier this year. I’d probably better hop onto that if I’m going to finish before football season brings monographs and chapbooks and the Christmas season brings the obligatory Christmas novel.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Good Book Hunting, September 3, 2022: Half Price Books, Overland Park, Kansas

So we had a little time to kill after going to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival for a bit on Saturday. As we were booked to stay in Overland Park, Kansas, a city of 200,000 people, I hoped we would find some used book stores. But only one, and to be honest, I confused the number (1/2) with Books-a-Million, the national chain (I was only 999,999.5 off, which is within political polling’s margin of error). But it is a used book store, a higher-priced used book store that looks like it might cater a bit to the university trade (a lot of textbookish titles in theology and philosophy).

I looked mostly in the clearance section in the back, and I bought a few things.

I got:

  • Bendigo Shafter by Louis L’Amour since I did not find it at ABC Books last week.
  • The Second Shift by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Looks to be a sociological textbook about work/life balance originally from 1989.
  • The Science of Happiness by Ryuho Okawa. Given that the subtitle is 10 Principles for Manifesting Your Divine Nature, one can expect this to be a Buddhist apologetic or mindfulness tract more than science.
  • A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, a play.
  • Breath! You Are Alive by Thich Nhat Hanh. A modern Buddhist sutra.
  • Stay Alive All Your Life by Norman Vincent Peale, a modern Christian Buddhist sutra.
  • Descartes’ Error by Antonio R. Damasio. Subtitled Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, it looks to be a commentary on dualism. Given that it has “The Human Brain” in the title, one wonders if the author feels the error is in not being materialist.
  • The Art of Strategy: A New Translation of Sun Tzu’s Classic The Art of War by R. L. Wing. It’s been a while since I’ve read a translation of The Art of War. Given this is a 1988 translation by a translator whose name is Wing, we will take it with a grain of salt.
  • A The Teaching Company course on CDs, Great Scientific Ideas that Changed the World by Professor Steven L. Goldman. Gentle reader, this course was $3 for 36 lectures. I won’t see this good of a deal in a couple of weeks at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale. Whose half-price day falls on the same day that I will be climbing 110 stories of steps. So I might not make it to the book sale, and what would I lose? A couple (dozen) records, a couple of monographs to browse during football games, a couple audio books and courses I won’t listen to because I’m not driving anywhere these days, and a couple of chapbooks…. Alright, alright, alright, you have convinced me to go!

All right, gentle reader, you know me well enough by now. Even though I brought a book (one!) for my overnight trip, you can probably guess which book I started (and finished) in Kansas over the weekend. Which was it?

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Renaissance Festivals at the Stages of My Life

This weekend, my family and I attended the Kansas City Renaissance Festival–apparently, my boys and I did go another time, and we brought my beautiful wife as well. My brother invited me to join he, his new girlfriend, and my godson earlier in the summer, and as the holiday weekend brought no band or cross country (neither of the boys were in it in high school, but their old school had a meet on Saturday) obligations, we could actually go.

Continue reading “Renaissance Festivals at the Stages of My Life”

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

SCIENCE!

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

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.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories