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Big bands, books, movies, and more: harrygbutler’s 2019 lists — 2

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Jan 21, 1:04pm Top

Next up is the band responsible for what might be my favorite recording of the big band era: Harry James and his orchestra, seen here at the Hershey Park Ballroom on July 25, 1945.

That favorite song is "Sleepy Lagoon." Click on the image below to listen on YouTube.


Welcome to my second thread for 2019! I’m Harry, and this is my fourth year in the 75 Books Challenge. By training I'm a medievalist, by occupation I’m a project manager, after many years as an editor. My taste in reading runs to Golden Age and earlier mysteries, pulp detective and adventure fiction, Late Antique and medieval literature, westerns, and late nineteenth and early twentieth century popular fiction, among others. I also have a fondness for collections of cartoons and comic strips, and relatively recently I have begun collecting pulp magazines from the first half of the twentieth century. I usually have a few books going at once.

My wife Erika and I live in eastern Pennsylvania with three cats — Elli, Otto, and Pixie — and a dog, Hildy. Our pets occasionally make an appearance in my thread. My other interests include model railroading, gardening, and birding, so you'll sometimes see something related to them as well.

In 2018, I read nearly 140 books; I’m hoping to hit 150 in 2019. I will also be continuing two projects that I stated last year: reading vintage pulp magazines and keeping track of the movies I’ll be watching. I averaged one fiction magazine every other week in 2018; I’d like to bump that amount up some, so I’ll be aiming for two issues every three weeks, or 39 for the year. On the film front, I averaged 5 movies per week; again, I’d like to do better, so I’ll aim for 6 per week, or a total of 312.

I try to provide some sort of comment on the books and magazines I read and the movies I watch, but they aren't really reviews.

Edited: Feb 9, 9:50am Top

Books finished in the first quarter

1. Phaenomena, by Aratus
2. Richardson's First Case, by Basil Thomson
3. The Gold Point and Other Strange Stories, by Charles Loring Jackson
4. Best Cartoons of the Year 1945, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
5. The Monster of Grammont, by George Goodchild
6. Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany, trans. by Jonathan R. Lyon
7. The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour
8. When Body Language Goes Bad, by Scott Adams
9. Ben on the Job, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
10. Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert Heinlein
11. Beetle Bailey, by Mort Walker
12. The Shop Window Murders, by Vernon Loder
13. The Lady Is Transparent, by Carter Brown
14. The Harvey Comics Treasury Volume 1: Casper the Friendly Ghost & Friends, ed. by Leslie Cabarga
15. Death and Immortality, by Josef Pieper
16. Crooks Limited, by Edmund Snell
17. The Cretan Counterfeit, by Katharine Farrer
18. On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius
19. Hagar the Horrible #2, by Dik Browne
20. Lando, by Louis L'Amour
21. U.S. Self-Propelled Guns in Action, by Jim Mesko

Edited: Jan 23, 7:45am Top

Argosy kicked off the pulp magazine era with its April 1894 issue, and it remained a major pulp until it became a slick-paper magazine in the 1940s. It was published under the title Argosy All-Story Weekly from its merger with All-Story Weekly in July 1920 until late in 1929. My pulp magazine collecting is focused at present on Argosy, and my earliest issues date from the 1920s, so many of those are likely to show up in my reading list this year, but other pulps, including both Railroad Stories and Range Romances, may appear as well.

Magazines completed in 2019

1. Argosy All-Story Weekly, April 8, 1922
2. Argosy All-Story Weekly, October 28, 1922
3. Argosy All-Story Weekly, March 17, 1923

Edited: Feb 11, 4:06pm Top

I grew up watching many old movies on TV with my family, with some trips to the movie theater (most often a drive-in while we were young), so my taste tends to run to studio-era films, with a heavy emphasis on mysteries, comedies, and westerns.

Movies watched in the first quarter

1. Swing Time (RKO, 1936), with the Bugs Bunny cartoon 14 Carrot Rabbit (WB, 1952) and Chapter 3 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
2. Inspector Hornleigh (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
3. Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
4. Trail of the Rustlers (Columbia, 1950)
5. Boy Meets Girl (WB, 1938), with the Merrie Melodies cartoon You're an Education (WB, 1938) and Chapter 4 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
6. Confessions of Boston Blackie (Columbia, 1941)
7. Mark of the Vampire (MGM, 1935)
8. Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It (Twentieth Century Fox, 1941)
9. Man from Sonora (Monogram, 1951)
10. Coffy (American International, 1973)
11. Detective Kitty O'Day (Monogram, 1944)
12. Dangerous Money (Monogram, 1946)
13. Harum Scarum (MGM, 1965), with the Andy Panda cartoon Life Begins for Andy Panda (Lantz / Universal, 1939) and Chapter 5 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
14. Number 17 (British International Pictures / Wardour, 1932)
15. My Man Godfrey (Universal, 1936), with the Porky Pig cartoon Porky's Railroad (WB, 1937) and Chapter 6 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
16. Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (Golden Harvest, 1991)
17. The Greene Murder Case (Paramount, 1929)
18. The Benson Murder Case (Paramount, 1930), with the Mickey Mouse and Pluto cartoon Pluto and the Armadillo (Disney / RKO, 1943) and Chapter 7 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
19. Oklahoma Justice (Monogram, 1951)
20. Blues Busters (Monogram, 1950)
21. The Cocoanuts (Paramount, 1929)
22. The Falcon in Mexico (RKO, 1944), with the Speedy Gonzalez cartoon Cannery Woe (WB, 1961) and Chapter 8 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
23. The Adventures of Robin Hood (WB, 1938)
24. Murder in the Blue Room (Universal, 1944)
25. Half Shot at Sunrise (RKO, 1930)
26. Tarzan and the Mermaids (RKO, 1948)
27. The Trap (Monogram, 1946), with the Bugs Bunny cartoons Ali Baba Bunny (WB, 1957) and Buccaneer Bunny (WB, 1948) and Chapter 9 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
28. The Crosby Case (Universal, 1934)
29. Wake Island (Paramount, 1942)
30. Go West, Young Lady (Columbia, 1941)
31. Aunt Clara (British Lion, 1954)
32. Texas Lawmen (Monogram, 1951)
33. By Whose Hand? (Columbia, 1932), with the Andy Panda cartoon Fish Fry (Lantz / Universal, 1944) and Chapter 10 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
34. Cry of the Werewolf (Columbia, 1944)
35. The Studio Murder Mystery (Paramount, 1929)
36. The Phantom in the House (Continental Talking Pictures, 1929)
37. Shadows over Chinatown (Monogram, 1946)
38. Twin Dragons (Golden Way, 1992)
39. Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal, 1954)
40. Dinner at Eight (MGM, 1933), with the Popeye cartoon Shoein' Hosses (Fleischer / Paramount, 1934) and Chapter 11 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)

Jan 21, 1:07pm Top

Saint Ptolemy of Dendera (left) and the monk Paphnutius of Egypt (right), with Coptic text. Pierpont Morgan Library. MS M.581. Source

Learning Coptic

I have long had a casual interest in Late Antique Egypt, and a chance encounter with a thread on LibraryThing a few years ago prompted me to add a book on Coptic to my wishlist. I unexpectedly received Coptic in 20 Lessons for Christmas in 2018, so I’ve decided to spend part of my time this year trying to learn the language. I began on Jan. 1 and hope to get through all the lessons by the end of the first half of the year. Wish me luck!

I'll try to keep track of my progress in my threads, but I haven't decided just how to do so yet.

Jan 21, 1:08pm Top

The next one's yours!

Jan 21, 1:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 21, 1:17pm Top

>7 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Jan 21, 1:18pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 21, 1:21pm Top

Thank you, Anita!

Jan 21, 2:12pm Top

Happy new one, Harry!

Jan 21, 3:41pm Top

Happy New Thread, Harry!

Jan 21, 4:24pm Top

Happy second thread, Harry!

Jan 21, 5:13pm Top

>11 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! There will be plenty more movies mentioned.

Jan 21, 5:14pm Top

>12 msf59: Thank you, Mark! The only bird I've seen near the feeders all day was a lone dark-eyed junco; I guess the bitter cold and wind put a real damper on their activities.

Jan 21, 5:14pm Top

>13 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I was surprised to be starting another thread so soon.

Jan 21, 5:25pm Top

Not sure, but I think your first thread got away from me. So I'll take advantage of this here one to say, "Hey!"

Edited: Jan 21, 5:35pm Top

>17 weird_O: Thanks for stopping by, Bill!

Edited: Jan 21, 9:20pm Top

Movie 17. The Greene Murder Case (Paramount, 1929)

Source: IMDB

The second of four movies in which William Powell played popular 1920s sleuth Philo Vance, The Greene Murder Case is a fairly effective translation of S. S. Van Dine's mystery to film form, despite the static staging necessitated by early sound technology, and one that stays pretty true to the plot of the novel. Eugene Pallette, as Sergeant Heath, proves an entertaining police counterpart to the debonair detective, and if the mounting death toll makes one doubt the effectiveness of both, it's a weakness of the book as well. Mildly recommended.

Jan 21, 7:48pm Top

>19 harrygbutler: Uh...That poster is beautiful. I am glad you have access to the lesser available films. I'm glad it worked. Did I mention that the poster looks better than the film sounds? :-P

Edited: Jan 21, 9:29pm Top

>20 brodiew2: Isn't it striking? It reminded me of the dust jackets in the not very good Mystery League books that Liz (lyzard) and I are reading, such as these:

The Maestro Murders

Jack o' Lantern

The Curse of Doone

And in those cases the covers were much better than the mysteries or crime stories inside, too!

I was lucky to stumble on the Philo Vance movies on YouTube.

Jan 21, 9:56pm Top

>21 harrygbutler: Very cool, minimalist designs. Absolutely.

Jan 22, 8:06am Top

>22 brodiew2: Glad you liked them. I only own a couple Mystery League books with dust jackets intact.

Jan 22, 8:09am Top

'Morning, Harry!

I'm going to finish reading The Thin Man this morning and then finish watching the movie.

Jan 22, 8:16am Top

Movie 18. The Benson Murder Case (Paramount, 1930), with the Mickey Mouse and Pluto cartoon Pluto and the Armadillo (Disney / RKO, 1943) and Chapter 7 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)

A stockbroker whose hard-nosed dealings have ruined several people is murdered at his country estate, where one client is staying as a guest and where others have come to plead for him to relent in the matters of a forged check and of a stolen string of pearls. District Attorney Markham and Philo Vance are on hand when the murder occurs, but their proximity doesn't really speed the investigations. A somewhat smoother film than the last one, indicative of the rapid development of sound film-making, but perhaps not quite as good a mystery. Mildly recommended.

Jan 22, 8:19am Top

>24 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen. You're just zipping along!

Jan 22, 8:21am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy new one! I really love those Philo Vance movie posters.

Jan 22, 8:45am Top

>27 Crazymamie: Good morning, Mamie! Thanks! I especially like the disembodied eyes in the poster for The Benson Murder Case.

One I won't be watching again, at least not this year, is The Canary Murder Case, which was filmed as a silent and then reworked into a talkiewith someone else dubbing Louise Brooks's lines because she refused to return to make the recording (thereby effectively ending her Hollywood career, though she showed up, rather faded, in a couple low-budget westerns in the later 1930s). This is probably the most striking of the posters for that movie that I've seen:

Source: IMDB

Edited: Jan 22, 8:58am Top

>1 harrygbutler: oh, I recognize that recording!

Get this: I could tell by the orchestration that it was a James' song...has a certain sound to it.

Addendum: wow! It's not just one song, but went into String of Pearls by Miller!

Anyone coming into the office may wonder why I'm swaying in my chair... ;)

Jan 22, 9:35am Top

>29 fuzzi: Isn't it great? And you're right, distinctive.

It's awfully easy to slip into listening to a long string of songs, especially thanks to the many, many uploads and playlists curated by the person who uses the ID MusicProf78.

Jan 22, 11:22am Top

Happy new thread, Harry!
I saw the Harry James Orchestra perform on New Year's Eve about 15 years ago. We went to the Phoenix Symphony, and when that let out a little before midnight, the orchestra was on the promenade and they had dancing.
>28 harrygbutler: That's a very striking poster. So that's the movie that made Brooks leave Hollywood?

Jan 22, 12:41pm Top

>31 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer. That's cool! It turns out the orchestra was in our area this past weekend, but I didn't discover it in time for us to go; maybe on there next visit.

Yes, that was her last movie before she went to Europe.

Jan 22, 4:59pm Top

8. When Body Language Goes Bad, by Scott Adams

A fairly typical Dilbert collection, with some strips that will resonate with those who have worked in a bureaucratic or office setting. Mildly recommended.

Jan 22, 6:32pm Top

Hi Harry, I'm back among the active at last. I see you're well launched into the thread, so I'll just say >5 harrygbutler: has a great deal of interest to me. Acquiring a new language has excellent side benefits for older folks. I'm contemplating it...though I'm not so ambitious as to think of a dead language. Kudos.

Jan 23, 6:19am Top

>34 richardderus: Hi, Richard. I've got several introductions to other languages tucked away in one of my wishlists, so if the Coptic project goes well enough, I may tackle another next year.

Jan 23, 6:24am Top

Movie 19. Oklahoma Justice (Monogram, 1951)

A series of well-planned bank robberies brings undercover lawman Johnny Mack Brown onto the scene. With the cooperation of a bank owner and the local sheriff, he stages a phony robbery, apparently killing a clerk as well, all to set himself up to identify the real crooks. Serviceable Western that kept my interest. Mildly recommended.

Jan 23, 6:31am Top

Morning, Harry. Happy Mid-Week. I am back to the winter grind today. I could sure get used to not going in to work. My time will come...

Hope the day goes smoothly.

Jan 23, 8:13am Top

>37 msf59: Good morning, Mark. Days off can certainly be a pleasure.

Jan 23, 8:14am Top

My reading assistants sometimes make it difficult to turn pages — or to have another drink of coffee.

Jan 23, 8:47am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Wednesday to you!

Excellent pic! Thanks to Erika. Your reading assistant - Otto, right? - looks warm and heavy and content. He's a big boy for sure.

Jan 23, 8:54am Top

>39 harrygbutler: electric heating pad on the back, non-electric heating pad on the lap! :D

Jan 23, 8:56am Top

>40 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! I'm glad Erika was able to get the photo, as often the cats hear a camera noise and get interested in that. Yes, that's Otto with me there, though all three cats and the dog serve as assistants from time to time. Otto is our heaviest cat, his sister Pixie nearly as large, though she looks smaller, and Elli is the smallest. Elli can be the most inconvenient, though, as she likes to get right up under your chin.

Jan 23, 8:56am Top

>41 fuzzi: Yes, indeed! Toasty! :-)

Jan 23, 10:22am Top

Your topper reminds me that I dropped a Jefferson on a two-disc vinyl album of a 1939 or 1940 Carnegie Hall concert by Benny Goodman and friends (including Harry James). Found it at a Bethlehem Library sale. Finally got my turntable hooked up, and I've listened to that concert again and again. Wow! Such energy. Vivid. Gene Krupa was a hell of a drummer. I compared it the other day to a Goodman CD I've had, and the studio performances on the CD seem so flat.

That's it! Heh heh heh. My thought for this day.

Jan 23, 11:38am Top

Very nice pic, Harry. Though I have to admit my first reaction was, "What are you feeding that cat?! It's the size of a Corgi!" :-D

Jan 23, 12:20pm Top

>44 weird_O: Great find, Bill! I'll probably get to Benny Goodman's band as a topper sometime this year, though whether I'll feature "Sing, Sing, Sing" or one of the band's other hits is uncertain.

Jan 23, 12:24pm Top

>45 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer! Otto is tall and solid. He's the one that looks most like one of the big cats when he is stalking about.

Jan 23, 1:40pm Top

>39 harrygbutler: *CHOO*

Biiiig puddy tat. You look like you're about to deliver his walking papers.

Jan 23, 2:17pm Top

Hello Harry! I hope your day is going well.

>25 harrygbutler: Another beautiful poster for Powell as Philo Vance.

> Excellent pic of you and your reading companion. That is a big cat! I have a tall cat at home but not like Otto.

I'm considering watching The Libeled Lady again to see if it sits better. I've considered it it ho-hum in the past. But any William Powell is still William Powell.

Jan 23, 3:18pm Top

>48 richardderus: It often takes Otto so long to get settled that it is time for me to get up to get another cup of coffee, or to change DVDs, just minutes after he finally starts to doze.

Edited: Jan 23, 3:32pm Top

>49 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! Otto occasionally shows interest in movies we're watching, too, but not often; he usually just prefers to doze.

One of the benefits of tracking my movie-watching this way has been a deeper exposure to movie poster art. I'd of course seen some over time, but really only the most commonly reproduced posters, and I'm glad to get the chance to discover more.

I'm not sure I've ever actually sat down and watched Libeled Lady, though I recently read a short story from the 1920s that involved a city editor trying to hurriedly get the goods on a crook after accidentally letting a dummy edition with a libelous story disappear from his text and potentially get out into public.

And you're right: even so-so William Powell is generally worth watching.

Jan 23, 6:27pm Top

9. Ben on the Job, by J. Jefferson Farjeon

It's another adventurous whirl for our endearing, noble-hearted tramp, as he tries to help out a woman whose husband he has found dead, by pretending to go along with a crook who may be the killer. Consistently interesting, and I was indeed surprised by some of the twists of the story. Recommended.

Jan 23, 10:19pm Top

>19 harrygbutler:

As I complained at the time, Vance solves the crime(s) chiefly because EVERYONE ELSE IS DEAD!! :D

Did they film the books out of order, then? I remember per the best-seller challenge that The Green Murder Case made the 1928 Top Ten; I guess that's why.

I don't think I've seen any of the films---may have seen The Kennel Murder Case some years ago, but not so I really recall it. At this point I imagine I'll wait until I've finished the series. Frankly, I despise Vance so much, I'm not sure even William Powell can change my mind! (Likewise Eugene Palette.)

>39 harrygbutler:

I'm suffering from much the same with Percy (who is much the same size!): not so much from reading interference, but because it being 35C and 90% humidity does not dissuade him one little bit!

Since you mentioned Miles Burton on Karen's thread---am I right in assuming you won't be joining me for The Hardway Diamonds Mystery because you've already read it? I though I remembered you correcting me, as to its being a standalone.

Jan 23, 11:27pm Top

>52 harrygbutler: *chuckle* What a fun idea for a series!

Edited: Jan 24, 6:34am Top

>53 lyzard: I'm fortunate in having come to the books after first seeing Powell as Vance in The Kennel Murder Case, but I don't have quite the aversion to the detective that you do. They did indeed film the books out of order.

The other cats are smaller but have their own approaches to sitting with me that can be trying. Pixie can take a long time to settle down, too, and Elli is very easily disturbed, so although she may not be in the way when I reach for my coffee, she's quite likely to storm off annoyed because of the disturbance.

You're probably right that I'll skip The Hardway Diamonds Mystery. Is that what is up next? I don't think I care to reread it, although it has been long enough ago that my memories have faded, so I'd consider it if my schedule permits.

Jan 24, 6:29am Top

>54 richardderus: It is among my favorite series that I've encountered in recent years, and I'll be sorry to reach the end with the next book, Number Nineteen.

Jan 24, 6:35am Top

>39 harrygbutler: Great photo, Harry. Sweet Thursday!

Jan 24, 8:57am Top

>57 msf59: Thanks, Mark!

Jan 24, 9:02am Top

Movie 20. Blues Busters (Monogram, 1950)

A tonsillectomy leaves Sach (Huntz Hall) with the velvety voice of a crooner, and Slip (Leo Gorcey) and the boys, together with Louie, look for ways to capitalize on this development. Soon, Sach is the toast of New York, packing them into nightclubs, but how long can the good fortune last? A fun entry in the series, with quite a bit of singing and some dancing. Recommended.

Jan 24, 9:09am Top

'Morning, Harry. Happy Thursday.

My Kitty William usually makes two or three turns like a dog before finally settling on my lap. Both he and Inara like to climb into my lap when I have my feet up reading, which usually ends up hurting after a while as then my knees hyperextend. The things we do for our fur kids!

Edited: Jan 24, 10:50am Top

>60 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen. Most of the time the cats don't stay too long per lap visit; either something more interesting beckons, or I have to get up.

We feed the cats on a counter so the dog can't get at their food, but our oldest cat is having trouble jumping that high, so we've now put a couple low sets of plastic shelves in place, in the kitchen and in the living room, where she can hop up more easily and eat.

Jan 24, 12:39pm Top

>61 harrygbutler: my cat is fed on top of the clothes dryer...

Jan 24, 12:50pm Top

>62 fuzzi: That was the spot my grandparents used, too, since the washer and dryer were just off the kitchen.

Edited: Jan 24, 1:27pm Top

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey were a pair of comedians who made a successful transition from stage to screen, coming to Hollywood for the filming of the Broadway show Rio Rita and sticking around making movies, almost exclusively for RKO, until Robert Woolsey's death in 1938.

Bert Wheeler (L) and Robert Woolsey (R). By RKO Radio Pictures - Photo from eBay, front, back, Public Domain, Link

I like the team, so I recently ordered (and yesterday received) a set of 9 of their 21 movies on DVD (produced by Warner Archive):

Half Shot at Sunrise, 1930
Hook, Line and Sinker, 1930
Cracked Nuts, 1931
Caught Plastered, 1931
Hold 'Em Jail, 1932
Hips, Hips, Hooray!, 1933
The Nitwits, 1934
Mummy's Boys, 1936
High Flyers, 1937

I expect I'll add their other movies to my library when I can, and we'll likely watch Half Shot at Sunrise tonight, so a post will be showing up soon.

Jan 24, 2:27pm Top

Strange that I've never heard of this pair before when they have so many movies.

Jan 24, 6:17pm Top

>65 mstrust: I think if they had lasted until WW2 they would have hit the "heard of but never seen (or only once in some wartime ensemble comedy)" category for more people.

Jan 24, 6:24pm Top

Hi Harry. I hope you are having a good day!

Edited: Jan 24, 7:40pm Top

>55 harrygbutler:

It is; it will be a read-in-the-library book for me, so it's a question of when I can fit it in. I'm hoping for February but it may roll over into March. (It might depend on when I get The Monster Of Grammont written up!)

I keep meaning to get back to Ben...

Jan 24, 8:24pm Top

>67 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! Not bad, and now I have to decide whether to watch a movie or read through the evening, after a pleasant dinner out.

Jan 24, 8:28pm Top

>68 lyzard: OK, I'll give it some thought and let you know. (My The Monster of Grammont write-up was of course awfully short. :-) )

I'll have to hope to find more used copies of Farjeon's books, especially given HarperCollins' announcement of the hiatus of the Detective Book Club.

Jan 25, 5:28am Top

'Morning, Harry.

I feed Kitty William canned food twice a day in a dish on the floor in the kitchen - but if he's been yowling I move the dish into the hall and close the door to the kitchen so he won't wake Bill. That's what I had to do this morning. Inara doesn't eat wet food. There's always dry out for both of them, and Bill feeds them treats in the Living Room. Inara's almost 12 and KW is 19 and both of them are getting arthritic. I usually leave a dining room chair next to my desk so they can 'step up' or down from my desk. I just got some anti-inflammatory liquid medicine for them from the vet - .1 ml every 3 or 4 days for each of them, so they should start being able to move around better.

Jan 25, 6:24am Top

>71 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen. The cats share a small can of wet food every evening right after we have our supper, which is also when the dog gets the second half of her wet food for the day (twice per day for her for medicine delivery), but dry food is left out for the cats to graze upon and thus has to be kept out of reach of the dog, especially since she went on a restricted diet.

Jan 25, 6:33am Top

Movie 21. The Cocoanuts (Paramount, 1929)

In their first feature film, based on their successful Broadway play, the Marx Brothers get up to assorted hijinks at a hotel in the midst of the Florida land boom. Frequent foil Margaret Dumont, who had also appeared in the play, is on hand as a wealthy matron, and a jewel theft subplot provides an early role for Kay Francis. The brothers' byplay is amusing as always, and musical interludes by Harpo (on harp) and Chico (on piano) are highlights, but the Irving Berlin songs are pretty weak. The flaws of early sound recording detract from the movie, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Recommended.

Jan 25, 7:21am Top

>73 harrygbutler: I recall seeing other Marx Brothers movies but that one I've missed watching, somehow.

Jan 25, 10:28am Top

>74 fuzzi: I'm not sure whether I had ever seen the whole movie before, though I may have seen clips. I'm definitely a fan of the Marx Brothers, even in their lesser movies.

Jan 25, 3:37pm Top

Good afternoontide, Mr. Harry. I loved the Marx Brothers from little on up! I don't think I could rewatch any of the films again, I pretty much have the dialogue memorized. But fun they were, those guys and their fearless wackiness.

Phew am I fatigued. I posted a TL;DR teaser for my review of The King's Evil, the CanLit great David Helwig's 1984 short novel. I'm still wrestling that bad boy to the ground. It was an intense read and I want to get all the way into it, wrench open the cupboard doors and saw the green logs into what *I* see as their proper form. I know how MEGO-inducing that is for others...and I still want to. Where to stop is a vexing question indeed.

So I'm taking an hour off the romp among the threads.

Jan 25, 5:50pm Top

>76 richardderus: Good afternoon, Richard. I know what you mean, but I like revisiting old favorites. What does happen, though, is that I tend to put off revisiting even movies that I know I will enjoy to try out some others that are less familiar.

I'm not familiar with David Helwig's work. My CanLit interests tend to run older: Ralph Connor, say, or Gilbert Parker. I wish you well in the wrangling, though; I've found that I really don't care to do written reviews of any length, after initially trying to go at least a bit longer than the few sentences I supply now — I'm just not that keen on writing.

Jan 25, 5:56pm Top

>77 harrygbutler: I'm just not that keen on writing.

Yeah, that would make reviewing the equivalent of waterboarding. I myownself love writing as a close second to reading.

Jan 25, 6:00pm Top

>78 richardderus: It was one of those things I discovered in graduate school many years ago: I'm happy to talk at length about things I read, but I don't enjoy putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard very much.

Jan 25, 6:03pm Top

A visit to the local record store to check on a CD request netted me 29 movies on DVD for about $18 plus tax. Some are duplicates for my library, but both sets had enough movies that I wanted, at a set price that was at least as good as what I'd expect to pay if I found the desired movies singly, that I went ahead and bought them. The duplicate DVDs may end up looking for a new home, but I've also experienced enough flawed DVDs that I may just keep them as insurance.

John Wayne movie set
The Big Trail (Fox, 1930)
Red River (UA, 1948)
Legend of the Lost (UA, 1957)
The Barbarian and the Geisha (Twentieth Century Fox, 1958)
The Horse Soldiers (UA, 1959)
The Alamo (UA, 1960)
North to Alaska (Twentieth Century Fox, 1960)
The Comancheros (Twentieth Century Fox, 1961)
The Longest Day (Twentieth Century Fox, 1962)
The Undefeated (Twentieth Century Fox, 1969)

Marilyn Monroe movie set
All About Eve (Twentieth Century Fox, 1950)
As Young as You Feel (Twentieth Century Fox, 1951)
Let's Make It Legal (Twentieth Century Fox, 1951)
Love Nest (Twentieth Century Fox, 1951)
Don't Bother to Knock (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952)
Monkey Business (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952)
O. Henry's Full House (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952)
We're Not Married! (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Twentieth Century Fox, 1953)
How to Marry a Millionaire (Twentieth Century Fox, 1953)
Niagara (Twentieth Century Fox, 1953)
There's No Business Like Show Business (Twentieth Century Fox, 1954)
The Seven Year Itch (Twentieth Century Fox, 1955)
Bus Stop (Twentieth Century Fox, 1956)
Some Like It Hot (UA, 1959)
Let's Make Love (Twentieth Century Fox, 1960)
The Misfits (UA, 1961)

The Thing (Universal, 1982)
The Dirty Dozen (MGM, 1967)

Jan 25, 6:22pm Top

>80 harrygbutler: ...!!!...

Such a steal!

Jan 25, 6:36pm Top

Hello Harry! I hope your day is going well.

>80 harrygbutler: Whoa. Quite a haul. Wayne and Monroe have never been favorites of mine, but I can certainly appreciate specific performances. Red River is one of my favorite Wayne films. Both he and Clift are stellar. The plot regarding the prodigal, adoptive son is close to my heart. I have adopted my kids and wish my relationship with my dad could be better.

Of Monroe's films, Monkey Business was a lot of fun. Both she and Cary Grant have great chemistry.

And, The Thing. 'Nuff said. :-)

Edited: Jan 25, 8:03pm Top

>82 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie! I've always been a fan of John Wayne, and I like Marilyn Monroe well enough, so I was glad to get both sets. It has been years since I last saw Red River, but I do recall the performances were very good, and I can see how it might resonate. Monkey Business is indeed a fun film, and one that I haven't seen for some time, so there's a good chance it will make it onto the schedule soon. I don't think I've seen The Thing for 25 years or more; I actually prefer the original The Thing from Another World, but I like Kurt Russell well enough to want to revisit the John Carpenter picture at some point.

Jan 25, 10:25pm Top

>80 harrygbutler: nice buy!

I like John Wayne westerns, and his "war" movies, too, but haven't watched most of those.

I loved Some Like it Hot but mainly for Jack Lemmon's performance.

And The Dirty Dozen is one I've seen many times, good entertainment.

Jan 25, 10:33pm Top

>84 fuzzi: Thanks!

I've liked Wayne's westerns and war movies for a long time, and even enjoyed his cop movies from the 1970s. I think we may have seen both of them, McQ and Brannigan, at the drive-in when I was a kid, but I'd have to check with my parents to be sure.

Lemmon is very good in Some Like It Hot. I've seen it a number of times, and I think it will be awhile before I get around to viewing it.

And I'm in agreement with you on The Dirty Dozen. It has been a few years since I watched it last, so it is probably about time to watch it once again.

Jan 26, 6:54am Top

Movie 22. The Falcon in Mexico (RKO, 1944), with the Speedy Gonzalez cartoon Cannery Woe (WB, 1961) and Chapter 8 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)

An art dealer's murder leads Tom Lawrence (Tom Conway) to head to Mexico to unravel the mystery of a new painting by an artist who died 15 years before. He gets some assistance in his efforts by his local guide (Nestor Paiva) and the guide's son, but is there more to the guide than meets the eye? A somewhat undistinguished entry in the series: entertaining, but nothing special. Mildly recommended.

Jan 26, 7:04am Top

^Happy Saturday, Harry. I watched and loved Murder, My Sweet the other night. I had completely forgot it was based on Farewell, My Lovely. Powell and Trevor are very good. Reportedly, Chandler admired this adaptation, but it wasn't until The Big Sleep, before he found his perfect Marlowe, with Bogart.

Have a good weekend.

Jan 26, 7:20am Top

>87 msf59: Hi, Mark. I'm a solid fan of Dick Powell in the phase of his career that his big success in Murder, My Sweet launched, and of that movie in particular. I like Powell's radio program, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, too, especially as it often gives him a chance to sing as well.

Jan 26, 3:05pm Top

>39 harrygbutler: What a great pic of you and Otto. We used to have a cat, Mickie (short for Michelob) who was huge like that and all yellow. Fortunately (but sometimes, unfortunately, when we'd like them to sit on our laps) our 4 cats are not really lap-cats, but I sometimes find if I take a nap, I cannot move my legs because one or the other of them is sleeping on me.

>21 harrygbutler: I must say that I do like those book covers! And the idea of the old mysteries appeals to me - too bad the books aren't very good themselves!

Have a great weekend - hope you get some good reading and watching in. We are going to a professional futsal game tonight instead of watching our usual movie.

Jan 27, 11:21am Top

>89 rretzler: Thanks, Robin! For a long time, Otto's sister Pixie was not a lap cat, and she would complain if you picked her up (though she had been willing to sit on a lap as a kitten). But sometime last year she made the decision that it was OK after all, and now she frequently comes and meows at me after work to put the recliner back and let her hop up and sit with me for a bit.

The Mystery League books do vary in just how bad they are. Some are written by authors (such as Edgar Wallace) who can move a story along, but even with those the books chosen don't measure up to the usual quality. I'm unlikely to reread any of them, so nearly all will be leaving my library at some point.

And thanks for the wishes -- I've had some good reading and good watching so far, and even picked up a few books at a sale yesterday. I hope you enjoyed the game!

Jan 27, 11:32am Top

10. Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert Heinlein

Students from several xeno-survival courses taking a practical final exam are stranded on an alien world when a nova disrupts the ability to establish a "gate" to allow their return. Conflict and cooperation follow, and some meet their doom, as the survivors endeavor to lay the foundation for long-term flourishing. Consistently interesting, with a flawed but sympathetic central character, and a story that moves along at a compelling clip. Recommended.

Jan 27, 12:00pm Top

We traveled down to a book sale in Hockessin, Delaware, yesterday. It's a sizeable sale (they claim around 50,000 books), and I usually can find something, particularly in their collectibles area. Such was the case this weekend, as I ended up with a half dozen books — a couple westerns, a couple mystery/crime books, a Graustarkian adventure, and a children's book.

The Long Shadow, by B. M. Bower
Smiling Charlie, by Max Brand
The Dead Can Tell, by Helen Reilly
The Spider's Touch, by Valentine Williams
Truxton King: A Story of Graustark, by George Barr McCutcheon
Freddy and the Popinjay, by Walter R. Brooks

Jan 27, 1:05pm Top

>91 harrygbutler: your review sounds like mine.

Jan 27, 1:59pm Top

>93 fuzzi: Indeed! I had forgotten you read this one just recently. But I had the same experience with the book: I stayed up the night I read it until I finished in one go.

Edited: Jan 28, 6:58am Top

This afternoon we visited the last day of a book sale at a local library. Pickings were slim, as the sale had started last weekend, but the price was right: $1 a bag. We did end up coming home with an assortment of books at that price, though nothing particularly outstanding. The only hardcover in the batch is the H. G. Wells story collection reprint.

Atlantic Fury, by Hammond Innes (adventure)
Miracles: A Preliminary Study, by C. S. Lewis (theology)
Death Walks the Woods, by Cyril Hare (mystery)
The Best of The West Headnote of the Day, Volume 1 (humor)
A Purple Place for Dying, by John D. MacDonald (mystery)
Magic for Marigold, by L. M. Montgomery, (children's book)
Thirty Strange Stories, by H. G. Wells (fantasy)
The Three Clerks, by Anthony Trollope
The Practice of Typography: A Treatise on the Processes of Type-Making, the Point System, the Names, Sizes, Styles and Prices of Plain Printing Types, by Theodore Low De Vinne

Jan 27, 7:34pm Top

Jan 28, 6:58am Top

>96 fuzzi: Good to know, thanks.

Edited: Jan 28, 7:08am Top

Movie 23. The Adventures of Robin Hood (WB, 1938)

This is a spectacular tale of adventure, with Errol Flynn in fine form as Robin Hood, ably assisted by, among others, Alan Hale as Little John and Eugene Pallette as Friar Tuck, with good turns by Basil Rathbone as the villainous Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Melville Cooper as the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham, and Claude Rains as the traitorous Prince John. Olivia de Havilland shimmers as Maid Marian, as a scornful noblewoman brought to sympathy for the plight of the oppressed Saxons and love for their champion. Rousing battles, effective comic relief, and fine interactions among the characters make this a delight. Highly recommended!

Jan 28, 8:43am Top

11. Beetle Bailey, by Mort Walker

Back in 2001, Dark Horse Comics put out a book and figurine set for Beetle Bailey, and this is the book from that set. (I don't know what happened to the figurine.) It's something like a "best of" collection, with no particular theme and strips from all eras. Enjoyable enough. Mildly recommended.

Jan 28, 10:48am Top

Happy new thread, Harry!

>39 harrygbutler: Love the picture! I can see how you get so many books read in a year with the help you get!

>91 harrygbutler: I fondly remember reading that one as a teenager, eons ago.

>98 harrygbutler: Oh yeah. Love that one!

Jan 28, 10:57am Top

>98 harrygbutler: that's a winner, for sure! Errol Flynn makes me grin, and I enjoy Olivia de Havilland's part, who does not play a shrinking violet as Maid Marian.

Jan 28, 11:27am Top

>100 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia!

Otto also likes to help me while I work, and I had to put a shelf up by my computer so that he could join me without always walking onto the keyboard.

I don't recall ever readying Tunnel in the Sky before, but I might have sped through it back when I was reading much more science fiction than I do now.

It had been a number of years since I had last seen The Adventures of Robin Hood, so it was a real pleasure to revisit it.

Jan 28, 11:30am Top

>101 fuzzi: Agreed — successful casting, apt writing, effective direction make for a terrific movie.

Edited: Jan 28, 3:30pm Top

Hello Harry.

>98 harrygbutler: Robin Hood is a fun film no doubt. Flynn is good, but I love Alan Hale. What a treat of an actor. I don't know if I've mentioned this to you, but one of my favorite scenes is near the end of The Strawberry Blonde. James Cagney has just opened his new dental practice after getting out of prison and his first client is his dad (Hale). He gives hims to laughing gas and Hale goes into such a fit of laughter you can't help but join in.

>99 harrygbutler: I used to read Beetle Bailey, but no so much anymore. Fun stuff.

Jan 28, 4:20pm Top

>39 harrygbutler: That's a huge cat! My cats are much smaller, but they can still get in the way of my reading.

Edited: Jan 28, 4:56pm Top

>104 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie! Alan Hale was a terrific presence on-screen. It has been a long time since I watched The Strawberry Blonde, but I'll be looking forward to that scene when I get around to viewing it again.

I pick up Beetle Bailey collections when I run into them, as they're generally good for some laughs.

Jan 28, 4:55pm Top

>105 The_Hibernator: Thanks for dropping by, Rachel! All our cats have a tendency to be restive for quite some time before finally settling for awhile, which can make reading challenging.

Jan 28, 5:10pm Top

Movie 24. Murder in the Blue Room (Universal, 1944)

How do you add interest to a plot you've already filmed twice before? Musical numbers were Universal's answer to that question in 1944, when it released this movie, the second and final remake of 1933's Secret of the Blue Room. The singing (Anne Gwynne is dubbed by Martha Tilton) and dancing (of "The Three Jazzybelles") are perhaps surprisingly good, the comedy is reasonably amusing (especially the encounters with an actual ghost), and if the mystery gets short shrift, it isn't a fatal flaw. Fun and fast-moving; recommended if you don't take it too seriously.

Jan 28, 5:47pm Top

Hi Harry!

>92 harrygbutler: Wow. 50,000 books. I'd have been in trouble even though I'm trying to acquire less books this year and use the library more. Glad you found a few.

Jan 28, 10:11pm Top

>109 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Yes, quite a lot to look through, with an "antique and collectible" books section where I looked closely, and then many, many books in other areas where I didn't really try to look at every book, but scanned for those that jumped out at me.

Edited: Jan 28, 10:37pm Top

12. The Shop Window Murders, by Vernon Loder

When two bodies are discovered among the mannequins in a window display at Mander's Department Store, one of them Mr. Mander himself, Inspector Devenish and his colleagues at Scotland Yard have their work cut out for them disentangling an assortment of clues that point toward a corresponding assortment of suspects, without amounting to conclusive evidence against any one. The deliberate investigation uncovers not only motives but other crimes as well, and I did not anticipate the eventual solution. Recommended.

Jan 28, 10:57pm Top

I like Vernon Loder; I must get back to his books!

Jan 28, 11:18pm Top

>112 lyzard: I've only read the two reprinted by the Collins Crime Club, but I'll certainly read more if I encounter them.

Edited: Jan 29, 6:44am Top

Movie 25. Half Shot at Sunrise (RKO, 1930)

Source: IMDB

In the comedy team's second starring feature, Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey play American soldiers AWOL in Paris near the end of the First World War, in search of wine, women, and song. Regular costar Dorothy Lee is on hand as the daughter of a colonel, and Edna May Oliver has a small role as her mother. Leni Stengel plays the exotic Olga, who teams with Woolsey for an odd musical numberand surprised us by not turning out to be a spy. Chases, disguises, some amusing songs and dancing round out the the movie. Recommended.

Jan 29, 7:24am Top

>98 harrygbutler: I am long over due to see Robin Hood. One of my favorites. Other than Murder My Sweet, what is another Powell favorite, particularly noir?

Morning, Harry. The Midwest is getting slammed with a polar vortex, so it has been tough here. I would be surprised if I see any bird activity, the next couple of days.

Jan 29, 8:02am Top

>115 msf59: Good morning, Mark. I'll have to think about other Powell movie suggestions, as I haven't seen others in quite some time.

It's going to be quite cold around here, too, though nothing so extreme as you're facing.

Jan 29, 9:46am Top

Magazine 2. Argosy All-Story Weekly, October 28, 1922

The October 28, 1922, issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly was one of the weaker numbers of that magazine that I've read. The novelette, "The Way of the Mississippi," by Raymond S. Spears, is a bit of melodrama set along the river, among river folk, but the story wasn't particularly engaging. The first of a series of short stories about sleuth Peabody Smith by William J. Flynn and George Barton, "The Flaw in the Crystal," was only OK, and the French Foreign Legion story "Six Good Men," by George Surdez, was another bit of a disappointment. Things perked up a bit with the humorous "Showing the Widow," by Jach Bechdolt, but the final story, Hamilton Craigie's "Vanishing Vardaman," didn't really measure up as a tale of a crook too clever for his own good. The poems also were generally duds, though the wordplay in J. Lilian Vandevere's "Garden Guesses" was entertaining enough. As always, I skipped the serials, as I don't have all the parts, and those might have bolstered the interest of the issue.

Edited: Jan 29, 10:11am Top

Hi, Harry. That Delaware book sale is gargantuan. Don't think I've ever been to one with that many books. Tomorrow is the first sale day at the Bethlehem library, and I'm hoping the weather won't interfere for me. I'm hankering to go. Therapy, I guess.

Jan 29, 10:24am Top

>118 weird_O: Good morning, Bill. I think the AAUP sale that used to be held by the airport up your way might have been close to that big, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley sale at the Princeton Day School may be that big, too.

There's a chance we'll get up to the Bethlehem library sale on Saturday, but it will depend in part on the weather.

Jan 29, 10:51am Top

Our huge book sale at the state fairgrounds is two weeks away! It's likely the only one I'll go to this year.

Jan 29, 10:57am Top

>120 mstrust: Fun! I try to get out to one or two book sales a month most months, but I'm not always successful. There are a few libraries around here that have sales multiple times per year, which helps make that possible.

Jan 30, 6:57am Top

Movie 26. Tarzan and the Mermaids (RKO, 1948)

Johnny Weissmuller's final outing as Tarzan finds the Lord of the Jungle contending against an evil high priest (George Zucco) and a moving "god" (Fernando Wagner), who have imposed on the credulous people of Aquatania and exploit them for their pearls. Lots of music in this one, with John Laurenz (who provided the singing voice of Sach in Blues Busters) on hand as the musical mailman, Benji. Mildly recommended.

Edited: Jan 30, 7:05am Top

13. The Lady Is Transparent, by Carter Brown

On detached service with the sheriff's office, police lieutenant Al Wheeler is summoned on a stormy night to a creepy house where a man has been murdered in a locked room, and all the inhabitants swear the killer was a family ghost. Some fights, some sleuthing, some lovely ladies, some laughs, as usual for the Carter Brown books. The solution to the locked-room aspect of the crime isn't all that creative. Not really recommended.

Edited: Jan 30, 7:48am Top

^Morning, Harry! I re-watched The Mark of Zorro last night. What a delight and what a cast. Powell is perfect, as well as the dastardly Rathbone. Linda Darnell was only sixteen? I have many classics on DVD but I have been seeing most of these on TCM.

Jan 30, 7:58am Top

>108 harrygbutler: I have never seen that one. I will have to see if I can get a copy.

>111 harrygbutler: Adding that one to the BlackHole!

>114 harrygbutler: I think my husband would love that one.

Jan 30, 8:12am Top

>124 msf59: Yes, indeed. Good stuff, Mark. I used to watch TCM a fair amount, but we did away with cable so now watch either via an online option (such as Amazon Prime) or via DVD. I recorded a lot of movies to watch later, and now we can slot them into our viewing.

Jan 30, 8:17am Top

>125 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia! Murder in the Blue Room I came across on YouTube. The Wheeler & Woolsey movie can be found on the first Warner Archive set of their movies, Wheeler & Woolsey RKO Comedy Classics Collection, but it is in the public domain and can be found at the Internet Archive and also YouTube as well.

Jan 30, 8:20am Top

'Morning Harry, and happy Wednesday to you!

I try to get out to one or two book sales a month most months,

I still feel over-full from my glut of book acquisitions last year and except for the special Friends of the Library sale on the 26th am trying to use the library more. We'll see how long it takes for me to 'be hungry' again. *smile*

Jan 30, 8:22am Top

Morning, Harry! I thought of you yesterday as Abby, Birdy and I watched The Thin Man. The girls hadn't seen it before, and they both loved it.

Here's hoping your Wednesday is full of wonder!

Jan 30, 10:09am Top

>128 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! Even when I manage a fairly large haul (several dozen books), the stacks don't really dampen my enthusiasm to get more, and I might find myself placing an order with Amazon, for example, the very next day. :-) My interest in vintage fiction (especially mysteries) is another driver, as often the books I'd like to find aren't particularly accessible via the library (sometimes through interlibrary loan, but sometimes not available even that way), so I have to rely on a chance encounter at a sale.

Jan 30, 10:11am Top

>129 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! That's an excellent way to spend some time, and I'm glad Abby and Birdy loved the movie! I'm not sure what this Wednesday has in store, although reading and movie-watching will almost certainly be on the agenda.

Jan 30, 3:06pm Top

I'm crawling around the threads to say I'm not dead but woefully unread, both books and threads. Happy polar vortex.

Edited: Jan 30, 3:35pm Top

>132 richardderus: Thanks for dropping by, Richard. We just had a snow squall blow through, with high winds and low visibility, but now it is just very windy.

Jan 30, 4:42pm Top

Hello Harry! Stay safe. Sounds miserable.

Jan 30, 7:15pm Top

>134 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie! We're fortunate that the snow didn't amount to much, and we're not as cold as some other places, but we'll certainly be staying in as much as we can.

Jan 30, 7:21pm Top

Movie 27. The Trap (Monogram, 1946), with the Bugs Bunny cartoons Ali Baba Bunny (WB, 1957) and Buccaneer Bunny (WB, 1948) and Chapter 9 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)

Sidney Toler's final Charlie Chan film (though not the last we'll watch this year, as we skipped over one or two) is a lesser entry in the series, despite the presence of both Victor Sen Yung and Mantan Moreland. It's a fairly static movie in which murders occur among a troupe of performers, made even weaker because one of the killings isn't well explained. Kirk Alyn, who plays Blackhawk in the serial we're watching, has a small role as a state policeman. Sadly, not recommended.

Edited: Jan 30, 7:33pm Top

>128 karenmarie: our annual FOTL "main" sale starts tomorrow for FOTL members. I'll go by on Friday, after work, when the general public is invited. Last year the selection wasn't very good...

>133 harrygbutler: stay in where it's warm, read, watch a movie or two!

We'll be experiencing unusually cold weather here as well, low teens tonight with wind chills in the single digits, VERY rare. We let our faucets drip when it gets below freezing, as there are few dwellings in this area that have their pipes insulated.

Jan 31, 6:48am Top

>137 fuzzi: The library sales around here vary, but some usually have a fair number of "vintage" books, which circumstance usually increases the odds that I'll find something. Yesterday I learned of a sale at the library in Perrysburg, Ohio, not too far west of where my parents live, that will be focused on antiquarian and vintage books; I passed the word along to them, and they'll likely hit the sale if the weather permits.

Jan 31, 12:03pm Top

>136 harrygbutler: Somewhere in the mists of time I watched...well, napped through...that Charlie Chan film and was put off the character ever after by this entry's dullness. Memory unlocked! Unfair assessment...well...probably stands, not interested enough to hunt up a version online.

Jan 31, 12:33pm Top

I got out to the Bethlehem sale yesterday, but didn't see as much of interest as I'd hoped. Place was under siege by the book-pickers with their scanners, methodically scanning bar codes on every book on each shelf. Blocking the aisles with enormous bins. I was thinking that those folks come to the weekday sale but not the Saturday sale.

Jan 31, 4:27pm Top

>139 richardderus: It may not be the worst of Sidney Toler's Chan movies, but it is probably the dullest. I can enjoy it somewhat because I'm a fan of the series, but it would be a terrible place to start.

Jan 31, 4:35pm Top

>140 weird_O: I certainly have seen some pickers scanning books at the Saturday sale, but I don't think I've seen too much in the way of bins. I am glad of sales that put vintage books in a separate area (unless they have an unwarranted view of their value), as then I generally don't have to worry quite so much about being blocked by scanners, as we're looking for very different purchases.

Jan 31, 4:36pm Top

Note to self: Don't let the cats handle the book purchases again.

Jan 31, 9:22pm Top

>140 weird_O: book scanners? Scanning the bar codes...how does that help?

Feb 1, 9:35am Top

>144 richardderus: Another package from Amazon contained cat food and another book, so I see a pattern in yesterday's deliveries.

Feb 1, 9:39am Top

>145 fuzzi: There are services that provide information on current going rates for books on, say, Amazon Marketplace, or that list books people are searching for, so the people use scanners to quickly query the database and determine which books at the sale are worth purchasing. I see so many such people at the book sales that I find it difficult to believe they are all making enough money for it to be a worthwhile sideline.

Edited: Feb 1, 10:01am Top

Movie 28. The Crosby Case (Universal, 1934)

A brisk mystery that opens with a man staggering into the street and hit by a taxi, though the victim (the Crosby of the title, a doctor), is found to have been shot instead. Several suspects are soon identified, including a woman with ties to the dead physician and her former lover, but none were particularly memorable. The solution of the mystery was a bit of a surprise, although one of the circumstances in the initial scene provides a strong clue. Mildly recommended.

Feb 1, 10:19am Top

>148 harrygbutler: Hm. Universal was a family shop then, wasn't it, the "Uncle Carl" Laemmles? I remember only because it was their horror era. What I hadn't remembered was the existence of programmer mystery/crime films from them. RKO, Monogram, Warner Bros. are the players whose names stick with me. Is it worth poking deeper into Universal's output in this genre?

Feb 1, 10:23am Top

>145 fuzzi: I've assumed these people are middlefolk, buying books to resell to used book sellers. A picker will buy a book for $1; a used book retailer often charges one-half the price of the new book. A $12 paperback goes for $6 on the used-book market, so there's $5 to split between the dealer and the picker (and of course the dealer bears more cost than the picker).

I agree with Harry (>147 harrygbutler:): I find it difficult to believe they are all making enough money for it to be a worthwhile sideline.

Feb 1, 10:31am Top

Good morning, Harry!

I must admit that I got excited at the special book sale last weekend… and I pre-ordered a book last fall that will be published on Feb 5th, so there’s another Amazon book in the door. However, I did cull 38 books yesterday while inventorying the Sunroom, really looking at each title and asking myself my ‘keep on the shelf’ questions. I have another 415 books to inventory to finish the Sunroom, and might find a few more to the cull stack.

>137 fuzzi: Our FotL sales are still going strong but one thing we’ve noticed is that the largest group of people who donate books, a local well-off retirement community, has taken to using e-readers more so we’re not getting the newest fiction/mysteries. We also don’t have the services of a critical volunteer who knew how to up-price valuable/unusual/special books anymore – she moved away – and so I know we’re losing revenue because a book we could sell for $5-$10 or more is now $3. Good luck! I hope you find some good’uns! (sorry to hijack your thread, Harry)

>142 harrygbutler: We have a section at our sale called Classics and Oldies which does keep the scanners away, but some dealers still visit that section first thing. It’s one of my favorite sections.

>143 harrygbutler: LOL. Sneaky little brutes, aren’t they?

>147 harrygbutler: We’ve noticed that there are fewer dealers in the last several years – yay personally, but as far as the book sale team goes, they don’t care who buys a book. One large dealer, who had a second hand store at the Raleigh Airport, retired 2 years ago so we don’t even keep mass market paperbacks to sell anymore. We offer them to one second hand dealer in town for $.25 each and if he doesn’t take them off to the thrift shop they go.

Feb 1, 10:48am Top

>147 harrygbutler: Our largest sale of the year (500,000) started drawing so many book scanners that the organization put up rules for them. They were really aggressive, so now they aren't allowed to swipe a whole stack into their carts before scanning and they aren't allowed to block a table with their carts. They will still try, but I push their carts out of my way. I think it's a remarkably time consuming way to to even hope to make a few bucks. If something is actually valuable, it's been picked out and put in the rare books section, so there won't be any amazing finds in the general section.

Feb 1, 12:50pm Top

>149 richardderus: I think all the studios had programmer mystery and crime films, but with varying degrees of success, and the different fates of their film libraries mean some were more available to TV than others. Fox and then Twentieth Century-Fox had the Charlie Chan films until they moved to Monogram, and the Sherlock Holmes movies (after the first two) were done by Universal. During the 1940s, Columbia had several detective series running concurrently. Lots of others. I think MGM's programmer mystery entries (those I've seen) weren't particularly good overall, however solid their production values.

You're right, that one was made while the Laemmles were still in charge. I'd say the early Universal mysteries I've seen were worth a look, but probably not worth going to any trouble to seek them out unless you're a fan, but I don't know how far I've gotten into their film library.

Feb 1, 12:52pm Top

>150 weird_O: I think it likely some are resellers themselves (i.e., they have an eBay store or Amazon Marketplace storefront), but others are either agents of the resellers as you mention or just hopeful amateurs looking for a big score.

Feb 1, 1:06pm Top

Happy Friday, Harry!

Feb 1, 1:35pm Top

>151 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I do a bit of culling, but not too much; in most cases they are either duplicates or "possibles" picked up during bag sales. This year, I'm also planning to get back into making regular monthly purchases of new or used books, as we did for a few years, and which seemed the only way to stay current with some of the publishing programs for books we like without facing infrequent big purchases instead. I'll likely fold a DVD set into the mix each month, too, as there have been many sets made available through, e.g., Warner Archive in the time since we were picking up lots of new DVDs.

Feb 1, 1:45pm Top

>152 mstrust: I've seen (either in person or in the sale descriptions at Booksalefinder.com) a wide range of approaches to such folk, from eager accommodation to fairly substantial restrictions. For me, it comes down in part to how welcome I as an individual buyer end up feeling — I'm no longer willing to put up with an unpleasant atmosphere or unrealistic pricing (e.g., charging double or triple what I see that book going for at shops I visit, or the sadly amusing attempt to justify a price by sticking a printout from an eBay or Amazon Marketplace listing in the book without any supporting evidence as to what the book actually sells for).

Feb 1, 1:45pm Top

>155 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Happy Friday to you as well!

Edited: Feb 1, 5:15pm Top

14. The Harvey Comics Treasury Volume 1: Casper the Friendly Ghost & Friends, ed. by Leslie Cabarga

I largely avoided the comic book reprint boom, chiefly because I dislike trying to read in black and white what was first published, and drawn to be read, in color. So I never got the 5 volumes of Dark Horse reprints in the Harvey Comics Classics series. In 2010, however, Dark Horse put out two volumes of all-color reprints, and this volume was the first, with a focus chiefly on Casper, though other characters have a place as well (including, unfortunately, Baby Huey, whose antics I don't find particularly entertaining). I don't recall reading Casper comics as a kid, though I suppose I may have done so occasionally, but I did like his escapades here, as well as those of Spooky, the tough little ghost. Mildly recommended.

Edited: Feb 1, 5:24pm Top

15. Death and Immortality, by Josef Pieper

This book by Josef Pieper, an author most famous, perhaps, for Leisure: The Basis of Culture, is a slender but substantial philosophical investigation of the title subjects, endeavoring to answer, from a philosophical perspective, what they are. The mode of investigation will not be unfamiliar to readers of the author's similar works on other matters, serving to invite the reader along in the inquiry, and his proximate conclusions carry some weight. Not easy reading despite the brevity of the volume. Recommended.

Feb 1, 7:12pm Top

>147 harrygbutler: thanks for the explanation.

>150 weird_O: >151 karenmarie: >152 mstrust: I can understand wanting to get a deal, or make a little money, but if they "hog" the sales, it makes it harder for the people who want to buy and READ the books. I saw a number of elderly and disabled people at the sale, looking for some stories to help pass the time, I guess. I had a nice chat with a disabled veteran who wasn't that much older than my dh. We compared notes on the military books.

Feb 1, 7:17pm Top

>127 harrygbutler: Good to know the movie is available on YouTube. I never think to look there for movies - pretty much because I spend my time watching videos on board games :) I will have to see I can watch it over the weekend.

Edited: Feb 1, 7:51pm Top

>159 harrygbutler: Hello Harry! I was a huge Richie Rich fan as a young'un and would pick up the Digest's where Richie would team up with Casper and Wendy. I wish those digests were still around so I could introduce them to my kids.

Feb 2, 5:54am Top

'Morning, Harry, and happy Saturday to you.

One last comment re book sales - I personally found a valuable item at our sale on the 26th, Jacobs' Latin Reader First Part, published in 1833, leather bound, foxed but completely intact, no margin notes. I think Sue charged me $2. I sent an e-mail with photos to the former book seller mentioned above, who said that she saw one for $55 online that was in substantially poorer condition than mine. I wish we had her back. I'm quite sure we could have gotten much more if we had someone as well qualified as we used to have.

Feb 2, 9:24am Top

>161 fuzzi: I definitely prefer the sales where individuals aren't allowed to dominate the aisles and make things more difficult for others.

Feb 2, 9:26am Top

>162 alcottacre: I never thought much about YouTube as a source of movies to watch until stumbling across a few German movies several years ago and dipping into them. After poking around again there recently, I have several more I want to get to at some point.

Feb 2, 9:28am Top

>163 brodiew2: I definitely remember reading Richie Rich comics with enjoyment when I was a kid. I wish there were a full-color reprint volume available of some of his adventures to revisit, too, but the Dark Horse Harvey Comics Treasury series of full-color reprints ended after the second book, which featured Hot Stuff.

Feb 2, 9:40am Top

>164 karenmarie: Congratulations on your find, Karen. Will you be reading it and working through it this year?

Around here there's a glut of nineteenth-century textbooks and old children's books, and they don't seem to move in the bookstores or antique shops at the asking prices (generally somewhere between $5 and $25, it seems). On the other hand, there seems to be a general scarcity of ordinary old fiction just sitting on the shelves at those stores, and of mysteries in particular, so those books probably do move fairly quickly at the asking prices.

For collectibles (including books) of various kinds, one feature I do make use of on eBay is searching for "sold" listings, which, like the "prices realized" reports from auction houses, help me to get a sense of the market's valuation, as opposed to the asking price valuation, for harder-to-find items. There are complications (including sham bidding) that mean it isn't completely accurate, but it does provide a useful data point.

Edited: Feb 2, 9:56am Top

Movie 29. Wake Island (Paramount, 1942)

A fine film from the dark days of World War 2, Wake Island recounts the story of a beleaguered garrison and its defense of an obscure island in the mid-Pacific in the face of the Japanese war machine. Based on true events, though with fictional characters, the skillful storytelling make this a success. Recommended.

Edited: Feb 2, 6:40pm Top

Today's outing included a stop at one library book sale and a visit to a local record shop to pick up a CD we had ordered. Not a lot of books came home, but they were supplemented by several DVDs.

The Little Bookroom: Eleanor Farjeon's Short Stories for Children Chosen by Herself, by Eleanor Farjeon (children's book)
U.S. Self-Propelled Guns in Action, by Jim Mesko (history)
North Star, by Hammond Innes (adventure)

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015; action)
Tombstone (1993; western)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939; adventure)
The Accidental Spy (2001; action)
Anzio (1968; war)
Fright Night (1985; horror)
Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959; comedy)
Helen of Troy (1956; adventure)
Richard III (1955; the Laurence Olivier version of the Shakespeare play)
My Cousin Rachel (1952; drama)
Pinocchio (1940; animated)

I also picked up a DVD set of the two seasons of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? that aired in 1969 and 1970, since it could be had at a very reasonable price.

Edited: Feb 2, 7:12pm Top

I love that version of Tombstone. While Kurt Russell is very good, Val Kilmer steals every scene he is in.

And it includes my favorite cowboy actor, Sam Elliott.

Feb 2, 10:59pm Top

>169 harrygbutler: I have seen that one, but it has been years. I will have to watch it again some time.

>170 harrygbutler: Nice haul again, Harry!

Feb 3, 10:36am Top

Scooby-Doo! There was a point when my life revolved around him. Up until a few weeks ago, the Scooby-Doo theme was my ringtone for when Mike calls me.

Feb 4, 6:55am Top

>171 fuzzi: Right. Excellent ensemble, and that's easily Val Kilmer's best role.

Feb 4, 6:57am Top

>172 alcottacre: If I had seen Wake Island before, I didn't remember it, but it kept me keenly interested from start to finish.

Feb 4, 7:01am Top

>173 mstrust: I've always been a fan of Scooby-Doo and the gang, though I did stop watching the more recent revivals after sampling a few.

Feb 4, 7:16am Top

Movie 30. Go West, Young Lady (Columbia, 1941)

Belinda Pendergast (Penny Singleton of Blondie fame) and Tex Miller (a young Glenn Ford) are traveling in a stagecoach that is attacked along the way, and during the battle Belinda reveals she's a crack shot. When they get to town, we learn that Belinda is niece of saloon-owner Jim Pendergast (Charlie Ruggles) and that Tex is the new U.S. marshal sent in to free the town from the terrorization of masked bandit Pecos Pete and his gang. For entertainment, Jim Pendergast's saloon features Lola (Ann Miller), a quartet of singing bartenders, and a band (Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys). Fast and furious fun, with plenty of laughs and plenty of music, as Belinda proves crucial to catching the crooks and manages a song along the way. A highlight is the song-and-dance number by Ann Miller and Allen Jenkins — who knew he could dance? Recommended.

Feb 4, 7:35am Top

Happy Monday, Harry!

Feb 4, 8:06am Top

Good morning, Harry. I hope you have a wonderful day.

>161 fuzzi: There are some of us on the Friends of the Library Board who want to have a members-only preview sale, but don’t think the book sort team will ‘allow’ it. I have it on very good authority that we, the Board, must not ruffle their feathers and I understand why: if everybody on the team quit, we couldn’t have sales at all for a while, if ever. That would eliminate the bulk of our revenue ($32K or so) every year.

>165 harrygbutler: Our book sort team has gotten better at confronting big-tub and rude dealers. I can’t think of non-dealers who dominate the way they do.

>168 harrygbutler: No, I don’t have plans to read it. I bought it for purely aesthetic and antiquarian value. I never studied Latin – only Spanish. I might take it into town today or tomorrow and visit the local 2nd hand book store to see what the owner thinks.

Our book sales have mostly fiction/mysteries and biography/history/current events. Lots of childrens’ books, too. I like your using the ‘sold’ listings on eBay.

Feb 4, 8:31am Top

>178 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! Good morning!

Feb 4, 8:41am Top

>179 karenmarie: Hi, Karen!

Many of the sales around here have previews, where you can join the Friends organization and get first crack at the books. Some don't require joining the organization but simply have an early-admission fee.

The sale I shopped at on Saturday had apparently had a dealer-oriented day on Friday, with a fee charged, but they also apparently were charging a fee to scanners who were shopping on Saturday, too, as I heard the cashier asking people in front of me whether they had been scanning (I guess my small set of finds was too small to trigger the inquiry :-) ).

Feb 4, 11:24am Top

>177 harrygbutler: Truly an obscure and forgotten gem. Once again I learn something I genuinely want to know from visiting your thread. Thanks!

Edited: Feb 4, 4:19pm Top

>182 richardderus: Thanks for the kind words, Richard. Though I encounter my share of duds, I'm pleased that digging deeper into the back catalog of the studios has turned up some really pleasing movies, whether major or minor — and with many thousands more to choose from, I'm sure there are some more to be found.

Feb 5, 6:42am Top

Movie 31. Aunt Clara (British Lion, 1954)

A woman (Margaret Rutherford) inherits her uncle's assortment of shady businesses and sets out to take care of them, and of his daughter, as enjoined by his will. Despite the efforts of her uncle's valet (Ronald Shiner), who has stayed on, she contrives to visit each concern and reveals herself not such the babe in the woods she seems. Recommended.

Feb 5, 6:56am Top

Morning, Harry. I hope your week is off to a good start. Believe it or not, most of our snow is gone, due to the mild temps, so getting around should be easier. The feeders were very quiet yesterday. Mostly goldfinch and a fat squirrel.

Feb 5, 8:17am Top

>185 msf59: Good morning, Mark. We're in for fairly warm weather all week. Yesterday the feeders were busy, including a dozen mourning doves wandering around on the ground beneath them and a group of starlings. I've also seen the first robins for the year, though of course they aren't feeder birds.

Feb 5, 8:56am Top

16. Crooks Limited, by Edmund Snell

When crooks Doc Morand and Lefty Spiller set their sights on the beautiful but ill-famed Lodz emeralds, they find their plans complicated by a rival gang’s pursuit of the same necklace. Moreover, Doc becomes enamored of Kathi von Zimmer, a former film star whom they first spotted wearing the necklace — but is she playing a game of her own? I think Crooks Limited would have worked better as a movie, as the protagonists weren’t quite sympathetic enough to sustain the extended involvement provided by the book. Not particularly recommended.

Feb 5, 11:24am Top

>184 harrygbutler: I've always wondered what roles a young Margaret Rutherford played...she couldn't've appeared in life at 40 and gone from there, all available evidence to the contrary.

>187 harrygbutler: Sounds like your common-or-garden pulp novel. He wrote, what, skatey-eight gabillion of 'em, so no wonder they're not all gems. Doc and Lefty...can't you just *hear* the side-of-the-mouth delivery that pair'll have?

Feb 5, 12:18pm Top

>188 richardderus: I just quickly checked IMDB, and the bio there does indicate she started as an actress rather later than usual, though of course I assume she took part in amateur productions before that.

I poked about a little but didn't get a good line on Edmund Snell's output, although I gather most of his work was in the form of short stories or novellas for British publications. I have to confess that when I picked up this book I thought it was by the children's book author Roy J. Snell.

Doc and Lefty are British crooks, and Doc is a disgraced physician, so you get rather more upper-class language from him and London slang and accent from Lefty.

Feb 5, 12:37pm Top

>177 harrygbutler: wow, young Glenn Ford, no kidding!

>179 karenmarie: our FOTL do have a members-only preview day for the semi-annual book sales.

>181 harrygbutler: that's a good idea, a fee for scanners, IF they let you know they're scanning.

Feb 5, 1:08pm Top

>190 fuzzi: I couldn't get over how young he looked in that movie. He was around 25, but he looked even younger to me.

I don't know how they might have enforced it on the day I was there. It was pretty obvious who was using scanners, but on the other hand, I often check LT on my phone to see whether I already own something, and that might look like scanning, too. So perhaps it was just on the honor system.

Feb 6, 5:53am Top

Movie 32. Texas Lawmen (Monogram, 1951)

While fleeing the scene of a stage robbery, the Morrow gang, led by Bart Morrow (I. Stanford Jolley) and including his son Steve (Lee Roberts), kills the sheriff of King City, the one town they have hitherto left alone, and deputy Tod Merrick takes the sheriff's place. Meanwhile, the unchecked depredations of the gang result in Texas Ranger Johnny Mack Brown being sent to investigate, where circumstances soon prove more is going on than meets the eye. An engaging story. Recommended.

Feb 6, 6:24am Top

17. The Cretan Counterfeit, by Katharine Farrer

In the second of three Inspector Ringwood mysteries, he is called upon to investigate the near-fatal stabbing of an archaeologist who had defended the reputation of the recently deceased leader of her expedition. Could his demise, apparently of peritonitis, and the attack be related? And what might they have to do with a possibly faked Minoan find? Though Inspector Ringwood is a bit slow to identify one of the key relationships in the story, on the whole this is an interesting and erudite mystery. Recommended.

Feb 6, 7:26am Top

>184 harrygbutler: Is that one available on YouTube? I really enjoy Margaret Rutherford. I am at the office and cannot check.

>193 harrygbutler: Adding the trilogy to the BlackHole!

Happy Wednesday, Harry!

Feb 6, 7:32am Top

>194 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia! Happy Wednesday to you as well.

Yep, Aunt Clara is on YT. In fact, that was where I learned of it, as it showed up as a recommended video next to another.

Not many books send me to the dictionary these days, but The Cretan Counterfeit did once or twice, but the erudition didn't bog the mystery down.

Feb 6, 9:49am Top

‘Morning, Harry, and happy Wednesday to you.

>191 harrygbutler: I often check LT on my phone to see whether I already own something Me, too. I love the app. I’ve saved myself any one of a number of duplicates. The only ones I buy are if I know the condition is much better than what I have or if I can upgrade from MM paperback to trade or hardcover.

Feb 6, 10:06am Top

>196 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen.

I sometimes don't bother to check the app when the prices are very low (e.g., when filling a bag at a bag sale), and of course I do end up with duplicates some of the time in those cases, but I just figure out the best copy (like you, trading up when possible) and pass the other along. I also still bring along a paper checklist for some authors — generally those with huge output and/or those with series where I have nearly all, but not all, the books — because it is just faster to look on the sheet than to type in the query.

Feb 6, 10:25am Top

>193 harrygbutler: The Missing Link is duly wishlisted in hopes of expanding my vocabulary.

Feb 6, 1:06pm Top

>198 richardderus: The word dehiscent, used to describe a person, was one that stood out in The Cretan Counterfeit, as if I had ever encountered it, or its Latin original, I didn't remember it.

Feb 6, 2:47pm Top

>199 harrygbutler: that's a botanical term for a seed case's process of opening! WTF, lady. I'll probably like the reads, sounds like.

Feb 6, 4:05pm Top

>200 richardderus: Right. But if I ever encountered the word in a science textbook or book on plants in the distant past, I certainly didn't remember it, especially denuded of that context.

Edited: Feb 7, 6:41am Top

Movie 33. By Whose Hand? (Columbia, 1932), with the Andy Panda cartoon Fish Fry (Lantz / Universal, 1944) and Chapter 10 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)

Murder and robbery aboard a train bound from Los Angeles to San Francisco complicate a reporter's efforts to romance one of the passengers. Ben Lyons is the reporter, who lends a hand in unraveling the mysteries and attempting to thwart the efforts of an escaped killer. Mildly recommended.

Feb 7, 7:22am Top

>195 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry. I will have to add that one to my 'Watch Later' queue on YouTube.

Feb 7, 8:08am Top

Morning, Harry. Sweet Thursday. I am off today, but the rain will keep me indoors. I saw a small flock of robins yesterday. There are some that winter here and I am sure they keep warm in a group.

Feb 7, 8:15am Top

>203 alcottacre: Good morning, Stasia. I keep discovering more movies on YT, but I don't have an account there, so I end up with a long list of temporary bookmarks that I remove later, after seeing the movies.

Feb 7, 8:18am Top

>204 msf59: Good morning, Mark. I don't know whether the robins and starlings I saw were over-wintering or new arrivals, but they were certainly more abundant in the warmer weather than they were before. (I don't recall seeing any robins before during the winter, but I had seen an occasional starling.)

Feb 7, 8:50am Top

'Morning, Harry! I hope you have a great day.

Feb 7, 9:00am Top

>207 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I'm not sure just what's in store beyond work. I may do some shopping afterward, but I may instead just stay home and read or watch a movie. Yesterday I trekked up to the None Such Farm Market (http://www.nonesuchfarms.com/), about 30 minutes northwest of us, to pick up some of their very good meats, so tonight I'll likely be cooking up some flank steak pinwheels (with spinach and cheese, I believe). Those won't take too long, so I could go out and about for a bit before needing to hit the kitchen.

Feb 8, 6:58am Top

18. On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius

I first bought and read this fine little theological treatise more than 30 years ago, and it remains interesting and challenging and well worth rereading. This particular edition, part of the Popular Patristics series put out by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, has the added feature of an introduction to the translation by C. S. Lewis, wherein he offers an appreciation of the work and the following salutary advice : "It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between." Recommended.

Feb 8, 7:08am Top

Movie 34. Cry of the Werewolf (Columbia, 1944)

An archaeologist's investigations into the past of a Southern mansion bring danger and death, in a film whose makers were likely influenced by the much better Cat People. A bit slow, with some sequences that don't make a whole lot of sense. Mildly recommended.

Feb 8, 7:33am Top

>209 harrygbutler: I am not sure I am up to "challenging" at the moment. Not that my local library would have a copy anyway. . .

Feb 8, 8:07am Top

'Morning, Harry, happy Friday to you!

>209 harrygbutler: Interesting quote by C.S. Lewis.

Feb 8, 8:09am Top

>211 alcottacre: The writing itself is straightforward and fairly simple, not difficult in itself to understand, but the mystery that Athanasius takes for his subject is a challenge. If you ever do decide to take a look, I'd recommend following the translator's advice and skipping the chapters that address arguments of the day, as I may very well do next time I revisit it. Appended in this particular edition is a letter by Athanasius on reading the Psalms that is worth a look as well.

Feb 8, 8:23am Top

>212 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen.

It's a part of a longer, although still brief, discussion in which he points out that every age has its blinders, its unspoken assumptions, and its peculiar virtues and flaws, such that, however heated the contentions between two opposing sides in a particular controversy, there are aspects of the framework in which the debate takes place on which they agree without even knowing it. Thus, we pick up a work by, or read about, someone from a few hundred years ago and immediately recognize certain characteristics that make us say, "How could they believe that? How could they think X was good and Y was bad? How could they not recognize this ill? How could they not appreciate this virtue, or even see it as a virtue at all?" And, if we approach them in an open-minded way, these works of the past allow us to turn those questions back upon ourselves and our times as well: "How can we believe that? How can we think X is good and Y is bad? How can we not recognize this ill? How can we not appreciate this virtue, or even see it as a virtue at all?"

Feb 8, 11:05am Top

19. Hagar the Horrible #2, by Dik Browne

The usual mix of strips, with some quite funny, some mildly amusing, some less successful. Recommended for fans.

Feb 8, 11:41am Top

>215 harrygbutler: good point about assumptions. When I read a story that contains elements that clash with modern beliefs, I keep in mind the time the words were written.

Feb 8, 12:16pm Top

Got a reminder of the Margaret Rutherford discussion up above. TCM aired Blithe Spirit a couple of days ago; written by Noel Coward, the 1945 film version directed by David Lean. Rutherford, then 52, was wonderful as the loopy self-taught medium. The film premiered about 5 days after Miss R's 53rd birthday.

Feb 8, 2:25pm Top

>209 harrygbutler: I've always meant to finish an alt-hist story with its PoD being such that "The Athanasian Heresy" could be the title.

Feb 8, 4:55pm Top

>216 fuzzi: Right, that's important.

Feb 8, 4:58pm Top

>217 weird_O: Ah, yes. According to IMDB, Coward had tailored the role in the play for her. I'll have to see whether I have the movie tucked away somewhere.

Feb 8, 5:03pm Top

>218 richardderus: I've read a few alternative histories over the years, though I think the only volume I still retain is If; or, History Rewritten, with its contributions by various more or less prominent writers of the time.

Edited: Feb 8, 5:09pm Top

Movie 35. The Studio Murder Mystery (Paramount, 1929)

Warner Oland (L) and Fredric March

Creaky early talkie murder mystery has Fredric March as a bounder who gets what he deserves, an array of suspects (wronged wife, wronged husband, wronged paramour, the paramour's family), and a wise-cracking but none-too-appealing amateur sleuth (Neil Hamilton). The setting, however, chiefly in a movie studio early in the sound era, with some consequent glimpses behind the scenes, does add some interest. The culprit is fairly obvious early on. Recommended as a curiosity, but not really otherwise.

Feb 8, 6:13pm Top

I watched Rashomon (1950) the other day and it's fantastic. Of course I thought of you. Seen it?

Feb 9, 12:50am Top

>222 harrygbutler: Nice to see a bounder get what he deserves. Mr. Trump watching perchance?

Have a great weekend, Harry.

Feb 9, 7:06am Top

Morning, Harry. Happy Saturday. I work today but it will be a bit more comfortable than yesterday and much lighter winds. Have a good weekend.

>223 mstrust: I loved Rashomon. I am big fan of Kurosawa.

Feb 9, 9:52am Top

>223 mstrust: Though I've read good things about it, I've never gotten around to seeing Rashomon. I expect I'll end up screening it someday if I run across it.

Feb 9, 9:52am Top

>224 PaulCranswick: Thanks for stopping by, Paul! Have a good weekend as well.

Feb 9, 9:53am Top

>225 msf59: Good morning, Mark. We're experiencing the high winds out this way now. Have a good weekend, too.

Feb 9, 10:02am Top

20. Lando, by Louis L'Amour

Young Lando Sackett sees no future in the Tennessee hills: his mother is long-dead, his father has been gone for years and is possibly dead as well, and he has the enmity of the family that was supposed to take care of him but appropriated the money rightfully his. So he heads west, accompanied by the mysterious traveling trader known only as Tinker and bringing with him a mare he hopes will foal a racing mule. When their journey takes them south into Texas, will Lando find answers to the questions he has about his father's fate and his own future? A solid L'Amour novel with some unexpected features. Recommended.

Feb 9, 11:14am Top

>225 msf59: I'll be looking for more from both Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, who's performance was so good.
>226 harrygbutler: Same with me, heard about it for years but finally made time to see it.

Feb 9, 11:23am Top

>229 harrygbutler: It's a darn good yarn as I recall. I like all L'Amour's Sacketts, or so memory tells me at a significant remove in time.

Feb 9, 4:14pm Top

>230 mstrust: I thought I had a couple Kurosawa movies on DVD, but I didn't run into them when I was cataloging my movies, so I suspect they went as a gift or donation some time ago.

Feb 9, 4:16pm Top

>231 richardderus: It was enjoyable. I've been participating in the relaxed Sackett series reading challenge, and so far at least it has been pleasant to revisit them. I had essentially stopped reading L'Amour for several years after reading and rereading them since childhood, and I seem to have taken a long enough break that I can return to them with pleasure.

Feb 11, 6:33am Top

Movie 36. The Phantom in the House (Continental Talking Pictures, 1929)

Only star Henry B. Walthall and juvenile lead Ricardo Cortez come out of this poorly scripted movie with any glory. An old-fashioned melodrama with a reasonably entertaining premise, The Phantom in the House suffers from stiff acting and bad writing in the rest of the parts, and is further weakened by having some of the most interesting action take place off-screen. Not recommended.

Feb 11, 8:10am Top

Movie 37. Shadows over Chinatown (Monogram, 1946)

A missing person inquiry and an unsolved murder intertwine as Charlie Chan, aided by son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) and chauffeur Birmingham (Mantan Moreland), cheats death and pursues his investigation. It's not too difficult to spot at least part of the truth of the matter, but there are some unexpected twists as well. Good for a late Chan picture; mildly recommended.

Edited: Feb 11, 9:25am Top

A momentous occasion!

Click on the image or text to listen on YouTube:

YouTube link

Feb 12, 7:45am Top

I was going to wait until the weekend to start a new thread, but with the recurring troubles that LT seems to be having on weekends, I decided to switch today while I had time to set it up. Come join me in thread #3: https://www.librarything.com/topic/303724

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

260 members

40,230 messages


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