Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dead Bob

Daily Herald | 'Spenser' novelist Robert Parker dies at age 77

It is my unhappy task to report the death of Robert B Parker, author of the "Spenser" novels.

Parker also wrote the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series.

I have followed Parker's novels since the late 1970's, and own 'most' of his books (with the exception of a few "oddball" publications, such as "Wilderness").

Parker was, himself, something of an "oddball", in the same sense as were Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett and Ross MacDonald.

Between them, they defined the genre of the hard-boiled American Private Eye, and they did so in such inimitable style that it seems likely that they will be over-shadowed in this generation.

Or in the next generation.

Most of my PARKER books are out on loan this month, because I re-read the complete series (all 3 sets ... Spenser, Stone and Randall) last month.

Now it is my sad task to retrieve all of the 30+ books so that I can re-read them again, for the 4th or 5th or (sometimes) 5th time, and then put them on the Annual Reread list along with a chosen few of my favorite authors.

Because, you know, there won't be a lot of new books from R.B.Parker available, except for the few which are already in the Production Line.

And no, I'm not discounting his recent books of The Wild, Wild West such as "Appaloosa".

Go ahead, read the original article. I've already got most of the books, so you'll be the one haunting the shelves of the Used Book Store for the out-of-print books such as The Godwulf Manuscript.

Best book he ever wrote? "Early Autumn".

Don't argue with me. This is the guy who thought "The Old Man and The Boy" was arguably the best thing that Robert Ruark ever wrote.


All of the best writers are dying.

USPSA Major Match Dates for 2010

From USPSA President Michael Voight, via CCS Secretary:

Sep 9-12 USPSA MultiGun Nationals

Open, Tactical, Limited, Heavy Metal Las Vegas, Nevada

Oct 1-2 US IPSC Nationals

Open, Standard – others to be announced Columbia, South Carolina

Oct 8-12 USPSA Handgun Nationals

Open and Limited 10 Las Vegas, Nevada

Oct 13-16 USPSA Handgun Nationals

Limited, Production and Revolver Las Vegas, Nevada

Columbia Cascade Section Election Results

(per "The Hobo Brasser") --

Mike McCarter Section Coordinator
Paul Meier Deputy Section Cordinator

Mark O’Shea Secretary

Roger Nettles Treasurer

Shaun Hescock Competition Director

Turnout was light to say the least. The only contested spot was decided by one vote (deputy).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life Is But A Dream

I've been spending much of my spare times (evenings and weekends) here at Chez SWMBO. She could use a hand with some daily chores, and since she doesn't get around much any more she appreciates even Geekish company. Besides, her younger sister Jo has been on a Panama Canal cruise ... she and her hubby just got back in town today. The phone calls from Jo to SWMBO haven't been a regular feature during this hiatus, because Ship-to-shore phone rates are $2.49/minute.

I'll be around this weekend, too.

On December 7, 2009, I called my Dentist to schedule an appointment; one of my teeth (#4, Top Left Cuspid) broke off that morning.

It was a very old tooth, which had a root canal and a full crown some years ago, but to have it break off was a shock to me. There was no warning until the day it broke off.

So I called my Dentist and said "Doctor Doctor, Give Me The News -- I've got a Bad Case of Missing YouTooth!"

When I want to the doctor that afternoon, he said "mmmm, yes. IT is broken off. At the gumline. Nothing I can do about this, I'll have to send you to an Oral Surgeon. In the meantime, there are some dental hygiene issues we need to deal with, so that your mouth is as germ-free as we can make it before The Operation."

Get that last part? "The Operation", in Capitals.

They spent a month doing cleaning, root planing (not my favorite way to spend an afternoon with my Dental Hygienist), and filling a small cavity or six or eight.

Last week I got to finally see the Oral Surgeon, who made an appointment for me for ... NEXT FRIDAY!

Let me see, today was the 18th of January. That makes it about six weeks since I first went to my dentist to get that broken tooth tended to. Now I have only five more days to anticipate the charming experience of allowing a perfect stranger to cut old tooth roots out of my skull.

I cannot tell you how charming I find the prospect; but please, if you feel the urge to share your bloody-gory Oral Surgery stories in the Comments section ... don't.

I'm already upset by the delay, and now I have had a full week to anticipate the actual event. I hope to spend the next 3 days ignoring the prospect.

Denial is a way of life with me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"I have a dream ..."

This is Martin Luther King Day; January 18, 2010.

In this day, we are encouraged to consider the idealization of Dr. King's vision for an American Culture, as described in his "I Have A Dream" speech delivered duruing the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom".

This event occurred on August 26, 1963 ... two months after I graduated from High School; three months before the November 22, 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy; and just under five years before the April 4, 1968, assassination of Dr. King himself.

I'm seeing some consanguinity here. Are you?

No, I don't mean to imply that the "I Have a Dream" speech lead inevitably to the assassination of National Leaders.

I mean that there was a cultural awareness, an expansion of consciousness, which occurred in various aspects of American Society during the 1960's -- and I'm not just talking about Flower Power and 1967's "Summer of Love".

You may or may not believe in this thesis, and that's okay. The true point is Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech", and how deeply it resonated in American Cultural Awareness.

And what are the consequences ... or the benefits ... of Dr. King's vision today, nearly a half-century after this seminal event?

Follow along with selected quotes from the text of the "I Have A Dream" speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

That was yesterday, and for today, and for tomorrow.

It is important that we judge our brothers not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I believed that 45 years ago, and I believe it today.

Do you believe?