Thursday, September 30, 2010

Visits from this source ...

are not well-intended and are not welcome on this blog:

I've taken the IP contact log down because my sometime-writing partner asked me to. I will put it back with more and even less attractive information if I EVER have a repeat visit from that source.

Holding Hands and such ...

Okay, I confess. I like to hold hands. I like to hold my daughter's hands. That's a nice comfortable feeling. Holding Knobby Knees' hands is a different experience ...

So you may be thinkin', "Oh, my God! The Pixie is going all mushy on us." Actually, no. This post is about hair. There are guys who are really hairy. Their arms are covered in hair that would put a black bear to shame. K.K.'s arms aren't like that at all. There's almost no hair on them at all - until you get to his wrists. It's really odd.

Around his wrists is a cuff like thick coat of red hair. Understand that he's sandy-haired. It's really blond, but not that bright blond that you sometime see. It's ... well ... sandy coloured.

But the hair around his wrists is red. It travels up the back of his hand a ways and is thickest on the inside of each wrist. It extends in a band clear around, though it is thinner on the underside.

My conclusion after some years of pondering this is that he really isn't a Scot. He's a space alien.

Radio Stupid, The White House, and Vernon Baker

According to AP, Vernon Baker’s family was denied access to the White House's West Wing on Saturday. They buried Baker at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. Baker was a Medal of Honor winner.

Excuse me? Didn’t I just hear Ray Taliefero and one of his Pet-Callers rant about Democrats being called elitist? But then KGO is “Radio Freely Stupid.” This is elitist behavior at its worst.

Baker's wife Heidy and his grandson Vernon Pawlik, who is ten years old, were denied entry because the boy was wearing shorts and a T-shirt with his grandpa’s picture on it.

Understand that they had been invited; they were expected. No protocol officer told them how to dress. The T-shirt honored an American soldier who had done his best by his country. They turned them way. …

According to AP, Rep. Walt Minnick's office says he's contacted the White House “to express his disappointment.” Wimp!

Vernon Baker, of St. Maries, Idaho, was the last living black World War II Medal of Honor winner.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breathtakingly good

Because ...

Once upon a time a very young (and quite short) princess fell in love with a Scotsman with Knobby Knees, and they danced - once upon a time mind you - to this very music.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A bit more ...

Protective Fairies and Other Myths

It really disturbs me that people see Fairies as nice little things. Oh, I don’t hate all fairies, just most of them. Some of the small fae changed allegiance a few years ago. I’m still wary of them, but I don’t hate them. They do have this propensity to copulate in public places. But since most of them disguise themselves as other things it’s not all that scandalous.

So a bit of peace exists between Pixie and fairy, just not much of it. And the idea that fairies are kind little things sent to protect human fools, the lost and the demented it just offensive. The idea is old. It’s a bit of fairy propaganda that took hold back in the days of yore and persists. For instance Henry Fielding’s sister Sara wrote an obnoxious book entitled The Governess, or The Little Female Academy sometime in 1749. It was a very popular book in its day, and it drew notice at the Troll’s Table Coffee House. The writing wasn’t all that bad; what it said about fairies was just obnoxious.

I was at my favorite table reading it and for once ignoring the riffraff that gathered on the docks outside. I’d made it to page [insert number] when Malinda, the Troll’s daughter pulled plopped her considerable bulk down on an opposite chair.

“Bloody rainy out today, in’it?”

I looked up, nodded. “Yes,” I said. I knew it would be fruitless to return to my book. Malinda (which is short for Malus Lindias the Red Troll’s Daughter) always started her conversations with some remark about the weather. It usually meant she wanted something. So I fixed my eyes on her and waited.

She said nothing.

“Yes,” I repeated unnecessarily. “It’ll storm tonight.”

I let that observation hang between us, hoping it would prompt her to move forward. It didn’t.

“Another port of Hot Chocolate would be nice,” I said. “Would you like to share it with me? My treat?”

“Hairy!” she shouted. (And no that’s not a misspelling for Harry. She really did mean Hairy. I don’t suppose you’ve ever met a troll. They aren’t exactly the dull witted sub human things of the Brothers Grim or a certain novel about a fictious magician’s college, but they aren’t svelt, well trimmed creatures either. So you can imagine that the server who bore the name was fuzzier then normal.) “Hairy, another pot of chocolate for the Pixie and if it’s weak I’ll kick your butt into the Thames! ... and a mug for me!”

“Yes’m” Hairy said.

“Now, what’s this all about?” I asked sweetly. Pixies can be sweet. Honest we can be.

“What do you know about Lem?”

I raised my rather attractive eyebrows. Lem is a fairy. All fairies have doubtful characters.

“He’s a fairy,” I said. “He’d just as soon have you for dinner as date you, if that’s what you’re asking.”

She nodded. “Oh, I know about fairy habits. But he’s reformed. Turned over a new leaf. He’s really very helpful. Kind to dogs and humans. ... Besides he’s (mind you the phrase “he’s hot” wasn’t in general use in the mid 18th Century, but that’s what she meant by) got a scintillating personality.”

“Attend me, Troll,” I said firmly. Even seated she was nearly twice my four foot height. Looking her in the eye put a crick in my neck, so I motioned her toward me. If she leaned down, it would be easier to communicate. “Fairies seldom change. They’re the spawn of demons and snakes. They’re unfaithful creatures, malevolent ... smelly.”

“He doesn’t smell bad to me.” She said that with a straight face, and I was polite enough to not ask her when she last bathed. I also didn’t say that fairies smelled like a snake-den gone wrong.

“Listen, Malinda, Fairies don’t change. They pretend. They want something when they pretend. The don’t help humans. They eat them; they make them pets; sex slaves; enslave them. But they don’t help them or anyone else unless they want something. .... What does Lem want?”

“Probably the same thing I do,” Malinda said. “Besides, if he tries anything, I’d wring his sweet neck.”

I believed that. Fairies of the type Lem was are on the tall side, about seven feet tall on average. Next to Malinda he was short.

“Listen, Malinda, you take care with this. They’re all expert propagandists. Take this book.” I held it up. “Have you read it?”

She raised her eyebrows, then squinted.

“I suppose not,” I said. “Listen to this ...” I read to her:

Loretta had prevailed on her Royal Mistress to take with her a few little Necessaries, besides a small Picture of the King, and some of her Jewels, which the Queen contrived to conceal under her Night-clothes, in the midst of that Hair they were used to adorn, when her beloved Husband delighted to see it displayed in flowing Ringlets round her snowy Neck. This Lady, during the Life of her fond Husband, was by his tender Care kept from every Inclemency of the Air, and preserved from every Inconvenience that it was possible for human Nature to suffer. What then must be her Condition now! When thro' by Paths and thorny Ways, she was obliged to fly with all possible Speed, to escape the Fury of her cruel Pursuers : For she too well knew the merciless Temper of her Enemies, to hope that they would not pursue her with the utmost Diligence, especially as she was accompanied by the young Princess Hebe; whose Life was the principal Cause of their Disquiet, and whose Destruction they chiefly aimed at.

The honest Peasant, who carried the Princess Hebe in his Arms, followed the Queen's painful Steps; and seeing the Day begin to break, he begged her, if possible, to hasten on to a Wood which was not far off; where it was likely she might find a Place of Safety. But the afflicted Queen at the Sight of the opening Mora (which once used to £11 her Mind with rising Joy) burst into a Flood of Tears, and, quite overcome with Grief and Fatigue, cast herself on the Ground, crying out in the most affecting Manner, * The End of my Misfortunes is at hand.—.My weary Limbs will no longer « support me. — My Spirits sail me—In the Grave * alone must I seek for Shelter.' The poor Princess, seeing her Mother in Tears, cast her .little Arms about her Neck, and wept also, though she knew not why.

Whilst she was in this deplorable Condition, turning: round her Head, she saw behind her a little Girl, my older in Appearance than the Princess Hebe; who with an amiable and tranquil Countenance, begged her to rise and follow her, and she would lead her where she might refresh and repose herself.

The Queen was surprised at the Manner of speaking of this little Child, as she took her to be; but soon thought it was some kind Fairy sent to protect her; andwas very ready to submit herself ta her Guidance and Protection.

The little Fairy (for such indeed was the seeming. Child, who had thus accosted them) ordered the Peasant to return back, and said that she would take care of the Queen, and her young Daughter; and he, knowing her ta be the good Fairy Sybella, very readily obeyed.

Sybella then striking the Ground three time with a little Wand, there suddenly rose up before them a neat plain Car, and a Pair of Milk-white Horses; and placing the Queen with the Princess Hebe in her Lap by her Side, she drove with excessive Swiftness full Westward for Eight Hours ; when (just as the Sun began to have Power enough to make the Queen almost faint with the Heat, and her former Fatigue) they arrived at the Side of a shady Wood; upon entering of which, the Fairy made her Horses slacken their Speed ; and, having traveled about a Mile and a half, thro' Rows of Elms and Beech Trees, they came to a. thick Grove of Firs, into which there seemed to-be no Entrance. For there was not any Opening to a Path, and the Underwood,, consisting chiefly of Rose-bushes, White-thorn, Eglantine, and other flowering Shrubs, was so thick, that it appeared impossible to force her way through them. But alighting out of the Car (which immediately disappeared) the Fairy (bidding the Queen follow her) pushed her Way thro' a large Bush of Jessamine, whose tender Branches gave Way for their Passage, and then closed again, so as to leave no Traces of an Entrance into this charming Grove.

I stopped with that, looking up at Malinda expectantly. Any hope of her grasping this on her own was going to prove vain, but I’ve always felt compelled to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“Fairies don’t have wands,” she said. “That’s a bit of foolishness.”
That, at least, was progress.

“No,” I said, “and they don’t help people. Pixies do. Fairies don’t. Fairies are malignant.”

Malinda looked shocked. “You mean this isn’t a true story?”

“Malinda ... NO, it’s not at all true. Think about it. If you were a normal human ... (that was a bit indelicate of me, and I paused hoping she wouldn’t notice or that she wouldn’t throw the table against the wall.) ... and if you were lost would you expect help for a sweet little fairy?”

She thought about that ... long and hard, it seemed to me. Finally, she shook her head. “Any fairy would want the Queens jewels, maybe her body, and the child would be desert.”

“Exactly,” I said. Miss Fielding has written an entertaining book. But there is not a word of truth in it.

It’s pixies that are helpful to those of your sort. Never ever trust a fairy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Treasure Report

Illustrations from Child's Life

Well … a friend and fellow eclectic reader called me and told me that there were Terry Brooks and Fredrick P. books at the Goodwill. I should hurry down, she said.

That took some doing. Shirley is coping with a sick husband; besides she’s a ways away, and I wanted to get right down there. K. Knees let himself be imposed upon to drive me down. All the Terry Brooks books were gone. The Fredrick Pohl books were all book clubs. But all was not lost.

Knobby Knees wandered off to look at old electronics. I waylaid the book cart guy as he was bringing out more books. And did I find stuff or what?

Lemme tell you!

I found a nice copy of J. G. Whittier’s Child Life. This is the second (1877) edition but with the original steel plate engravings. I wish it were in a bit better shape, but this is a good, solid copy. The illustrations are gorgeous. You don’t have to be a friend of Whittier’s poems to be impressed. The illustrations are in several styles, and not all of them are signed. I’m impressed. I have another later copy with different illustrations. They’re both gorgeous books.

Then … then, she says … I found a fairly nice copy of Boys of Other Countries, Putnam’s Sons, 1897. This is part five of “The Big Brother Series.” This is a later printing of a book from the 1870’s. It, too, has steel engraved illustrations, but they aren’t as nice. A good find, though.

Polly and the Princess, a Grosset reprint done off the original first edition plates of 1917. It’s probably from the same year. It lacks the original dust jacket, but it has a color front plate illustration. The Polly books were by Emma C. Dowd.

I love Brian Jacques Redwall series. I found a nice copy of Rakkety Tam.

I write religious history. You know this. So, I was pleased when I found a biography of B. H. Titus by his son. This is usually only available as a modern print-on-demand reprint. What I found is the first edition. These usually sell for about seventy-five dollars. A buck and a half and it was mine!

The last treasure was General Greely’s Handbook of Alaska. This is missing its pocket map. But I’m still pleased to have it. It’s not at all rare, but it is fun.

working through an idea ...

Living Among the Humans

We’re of two minds when it comes to being seen or thought unreal. It is often in our interest to be hidden, seen as an unreality or a myth. But we hate it when we’re not taken seriously. A wizened little man of literary mind wrote about our kind and ghosts and such for Addison’s Spectator. Most of us don’t read, nor do we care to, but some of us do, and among us the article caused considerable discussion.

Coffee houses were common in London then, more so than now. There was a little place, hard to find unless you knew where to look, near the East India docks that catered to fairy and pixie. An occasional sprite came, but they tend to keep to themselves. By mutual agreement - an agreement enforced by the troll who owned the place, fairy and pixie set aside biological differences and the inclination to kill each other for coffee, hot chocolate and literary discourse.

“Have you seen it?” That was from Shee-anna, a North Country sprite.

“I’m reading it now,” I replied, sipping at my hot chocolate. Chocolate does things for pixies. It’s a stimulant, and I’m not sure this is the place to discuss what it stimulates. I do like chocolate.

“What, Lady?” A fairy I knew from other connections asked that. In another setting the “Lady” would have been said with a sneer. But we learned to get along here. At least we weren’t trying to kill each other here.

“Listen to this!” I said, and I read from Spectator number 419, the issue of July 1, 1712:

TH E R E is a kind of writing", wherein the poet quite loses sight of Nature, and entertains his reader's imagination with the characters and actions of such persons as have many of them no exigence, but what he bestows on them. Such are fairies, witches, magicians, demons, and departed spirits. This Mr. Dryden calls “The fairy way of writing,” which is, indeed, more difficult than any other that depends on the poet's fancy, because he has no pattern to follow in it, and must work altogether out of his own invention.

There is a very odd turn of thought required for this fort of writing, and it is impossible for a poet to succeed in it, who has not a particular cast of fancy, and an imagination naturally fruitful and superstitious. Besides this, he ought to be very well versed in legends and fables, antiquated romances, and the traditions of ...

“Well ...,” drawled an Scots ursk, “He be by rights telling the truth. There are no departed spirits. And witches and magicians are fairy’s frauds or demon’s pets.”

I liked this ursk. Unlike many of her kind, she was sensible, and she didn’t smell much of fairy. You can’t be held accountable for your birth, I suppose, and she had good sense.

I hated the interruption, but no one gainsaid the truth of her statement. “True,” I said. “But we’re real. ... Let me finish ...” And so I read on:

Besides this, he ought to be very well versed in legends and fables, antiquated romances, and the traditions of nurses and old women, that he may fall in with our natural prejudices, and humour those notions which, we have imbibed in our infancy. For otherwise he will be apt to make his fairies talk like people of his own species, and not like other sets of beings, who converse with different objects, and think in a different manner from that of mankind.

I looked up to judge reaction, and reaction I got. One of the small fairies landed on my table and pulled down the edge of the magazine, looking first at the text and then at me. “Why would he think we don’t talk as humans talk?” he asked. A frown creased his forehead. “We are part human. Some of here are fully human, though ... “ Here he was trying to be polite. Fairy opinion of Pixie is well known. “... though altered.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Treasure Huntin' ...

This a treasure hunting report. I had to zip down to the bank and have a paper notarized. Since I wasn’t up to driving today, Shirley took me. Usually there’s a huge wait. It’s a busy place. Everyone knows Shirley, and we got right in – not that we took “cuts” or anything. The assistant branch manager saw her and asked why we were there. The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, Shirley! How are you?”

“I’m fine. You? – I don’t see Drake. Is he here today?”

“He’s on a break. Did you need him for something specific?”

“No, no. I just wondered how he is. Tell him I said ‘hi.’ This is my niece. She needs something notarized.”

“Oh, I can do that for you. Come with me.”

So we zipped in and out, leaving with a cup of not too stale coffee and a smile. And we were left with a bit of time on our hands. So off we scooted to the Goodwill Store. And did I have to resist temptation. … I did find things though. I found a gold-oxide (Deep red glass) Fenton bell. It has a nice hand-painted design. Okay, I found three of them. I bought one of them. See how thrifty a pixie can be when she sets her mind to it.

I found a nice shirt for dau 2.

And I found BOOKS! {tada}

1. Michael Buckely: The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives.
2. Mrs. S. K. Reeves: Larry Gilbert (The Comrades Series), 1883.
3. James A. Braden: Far Past the Frontier, 1936. (A boy’s adventure book)
4. H. Irving Hancock: Uncle Sam’s Boys in the Ranks, 1910.

They’re in fairly nice condition. Not bad, huh?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Instant Sanctification ... Knobby Knees ... and Dau 5

Well, its 2.05 pm out here in the great Pacific Northwest. I’m already worn to the bone, and all I’ve done is fold laundry, wash dishes and read endless pages of religious drivel and old moldy books looking for bit and pieces I can fit into a coherent and documented story.

My progress has been good, but not as fruitful as I wished. Letters and personal papers that would have helped were either trashed decades ago or are not available to us. My old-guy writing partner was a bit stung by the refusal of his own religion to let us see a document from 1881. They’re a very secretive bunch. At least that’s how it seems to me. If the Church of God, General Conference, a very small religious body by comparison, can bend over backwards to help, if the Methodists and Episcopalians can send things “for free” some of which are a bit uncomplimentary to both bodies, why can’t these folks? I guess you’d have to ask them, not that you’d get a straight – or respectful – answer.

What my W.P got was “I’m not in a position to let you see that” or some similar nonsense. We’ll work around it. Of course it forces us to use secondary sources and a source that they see as anathema. Well goodie. Be obnoxious to us. See if I care!

He’s trying again in another way. Bruce has so much more patience than I do. I don’t know of that’s a function of age or not. Personally, I maintain a sort of mental good-guys and bad-guys list.

On my good-guys list are a couple of Methodist archivists; the American Antiquarian Society; a long list of Episcopalian Scholars; Dr. R. Numbers and a few of his associates; the local reference librarian who is a jewel of a person and full of talent (we’re becoming buddies); a library in U of N Plattsburgh (a really exceptional librarian); several friends of my WP who send things as they find them, one of whom has spent his own time and money to get us important things. There’re lots more. The world is full of really helpful people. Washington State University is on the good-guys list for sending me photocopies promptly and without charge. (go cougs!)

On my bad-guys list are the Pittsburgh Library which resists helping anyone; the person at the Library of Congress who answered my email (He is bored with his job and should move on); the Library of Congress itself with its very high fees; An Advent Christian archive that can’t be bothered to answer emails or fill requests; an archivist at a Boston-based University who refused to make any photocopies because in her judgment they didn’t contribute to our research. She’s lazy and she wanted to hide the file’s contents. (A friend of my WP went there in person and photocopied all these papers for us. So thupp!)

Emory University is on the semi-bad guys list because they won’t make photocopies without going through the interlibrary loan process. This adds to my expense. Univeristy of California at Davis gets on the list for the same reason. Listen guys, aren’t you in the business to help scholars? Why make it more expensive and time consuming?

Other stuff:
I sold mom’s old Cadillac today. It made me sad.

I found a broach made out of old coins. There are two Japanese coins from the late 19th Century and a Mexican Eight Reales coin from 1825. I paid more than I normally would, but these are excellent coins even if they’re now part of a hulking piece of silver jewelry. The broach itself was probably made about 1900. I’ll try to get a good photo, but my camera and my computer don’t like each other. We’ll see ‘bout that.

Knobby Knees left me in a fit of laughter this morning and with a residual smile the rest of the day. I wouldn’t embarrass him on my blog for a case of Oreos, so I can’t tell you what happened. …. But I’d sure like to.

The faith-cure scandal thing I wrote about earlier is still on-going research. People are truly odd. And some people are really perverted. I’m looking for photos today too. I so want a photo of the Rev. Mr. Instant Sanctification to put side by side with W. C. Conley’s photo. It would be kinds “just deserts” 120 years later. ….

Wife – “John, what is this ‘faith cure’ I read of so much?

Husband - “Marriage, my dear – marriage!”

Wife – “I don’t understand how marriage can have anything to do with it. Please explain yourself.”

Husband – “Well, before I married you my faith led me to believe that you were a perfect angel; since I married you I have been entirely cured of the faith. That is what is called a ‘faith cure.’” – The St. Lawrence, New York, Plain Dealer, May 27, 1885.

Men! Humph!

Dau number 5:

“Mom, there’s a hole in my sock.”
“Throw those in the trash and find another pair.”
“But Mom, they’re my favorite pair.”
“You have others exactly the same. They all came in a huge package. Remember?”
“Ya, Mom, but these are my favorites.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guys Never Ask for Directions - France 1948

The Toy - 1870 or so

Jabez Howes

Wreck of Cannery Ship, Jabez Howes, Chignik, Alaska

Itchy face

I’m mentally numb. My face itches from allergies. It’s cold. I’m on my third cup of coffee. I’m thinking about my two classes today. We have an evacuation drill that will disrupt one of them … They could have done this at another time.

I spent most of yesterday trying to uncover a 120 year old scandal. Who says religious history is boring? …

The Faith Cure movement came to prominence in America in the 1870’s and 1880’s. A key event was George Owen Barnes’ Pink Cottage cures. … Fine … That’s all a matter of belief and approach. I won’t fault someone for believing in divine cures, even if I think the modern faith cure movement is creepy as heck, demonic in nature, misguided, stupid and run by charlatans in clerical garb, I admit that God can heal whom he wishes. So …

But back in 1882 Faith Cures became an issue among one of the groups we’re researching. It divided the group onto three camps. Some felt the movement was from Satan. (Amen, brother) Some felt it was a sign of the Millennium’s commencement but shouldn’t be the focus of Christian practice. Some felt it was the path to follow. This division became serious, and a prominent leader withdrew. There were other issues too, including a misunderstanding about money.

So this fella leaves. He follow Barnes’ career with interest. From Barnes he is lead to Albert B. Simpson who was pursuing a faith cure ministry. Simpson’s past is ignored by those who admire him today. For them his life starts when he founded his healing ministry. It is not in their interest to know or think about his ventures into Adventism. They don’t know that he predicted the end of the world for 1885, that he attended a prophetic conference in 1872 to promote that view. They don’t know that he and a close associate in the founding of the Christian and Missionary Alliance also predicted the end for 1886. Fine. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. But it makes his and his followers criticisms of others for doing the same thing a bit hypocritical. … I’m wandering from the point.

So Mr. Conley … that’s the guy’s name … takes up interest in Simpson’s work. Maybe (I can’t prove it yet) he’s in New York City in 1882 when Barnes and Simpson put on a big show in the big city. He begins a long association with the CMA. Back in Pittsburgh he helps found a faith cure house in someone’s mansion. Simpson advises that they call in Rev. John Morrow. Morrow had been expelled from the United Presbyterian Church for advocating faith healing. Morrow toddles off to Pittsburgh and takes up work as head of the Bethany Faith Cure house. There is a huge noise in the press about all the cures and healings and the out-pouring of faith. Lots of good press, you see?

So … Morrow is teaching something called “instant sanctification.” There’s no need for me to define that doctrine. More interesting is the “test” of sanctification Morrow devised. First off he took that verse about greeting each other with a Holy Kiss, and turned it into a bunch of not so holly kissing. Then the test of sanctification was introduced, but mind you, only to the cuties in the house. You found a private place; you got pretty much naked; if you could withstand temptation you were sanctified. If you couldn’t you got to try again later. Lots. Lots of trying. It’s a slow process, this instant sanctification …

So John Morrow’s wife finds out. She leaves. He gets tossed out, taking a mostly female bunch with him. They have their own sanctification church so they can continue those vital tests. … Conley is in denial. He feels 1. That it did not happen IN the Church so it doesn’t reflect ON the church. (Can you here me saying, “HA!). 2. The faith cure house is worth saving. Finally he and a man named Whiteside start a new faith cure house. (The man couldn’t learn vital lessons).

Morrow runs off to Omaha. (Maybe it was the “om” in Omaha that attracted him.) He establishes a new religion there. Two hundred souls hungry for instant sanctification flock to his church. They meet in the homes of members for meetings where “in each case all the participants were naked.” Scandal will out. Morrow runs off to Peoria.

Such a colorful story. In our book we will not pass judgment on Morrow's associates in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. But here, I’m going to ask why they have a century long history of scandal and cover up? And more to the point I’m going to ask in the book why Mr. Conley stuck by them through one bit of stupidity after another.

As me gram woulda said, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” I’ve read a century’s worth of “anti-sect” tracts put out by this bunch. Every criticism of others they ever published can be applied with equal or more force to them. If you do not respect others, you have no expectation of respect.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Three more ...

California - 1935

California - About 1935

Kolberg, Germany - Also 1935

Kolberg is now in Poland as the result of Russian and Polish border changes at the end of World War 2. It has been renamed. The German population was expelled at the end of the war.

The Beach - 1940's and 1870's

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Princess and the Pea-Brain

This is the story of the Princes (that’s me) and the pea-brain (mine) and how she lost her mystery and found it again. Mysteries keep princesses happy. We delight in solving them, are seldom happy without one, and pout when we lose them.

Many of my recent mysteries have been related to rocks. I like rocks. I discovered them when I was a tiny toddling tot. We lived in a mid-sized Eastern Washington town that is built on water washed sand and rocks tumbled to roundness by the Lake Missoula flood that scoured out a vast wash from Montana to the Pacific Ocean. I started cracking them open when I was about six, using my father’s best hammer. Such interesting things are inside of otherwise plain rocks.

I’ve never lost my interest. I still pick up interesting rocks and examine them with wonder. So … I found this “rock” It is misshapen and rusty looking. It’s as if one of my children dripped custard or chocolate pudding and it solidified in mid air. So it was a delightful find. It found a place in my box of mysteries. But some mysteries are disappointing in their resolution. This alien growth in stone turned out to be the residue of a major welding project in the dim distant past. It’s iron slag with a bit of sand stuck to it. Not fun at all. It lost its allure. And I threw it into the trash.

But mysteries are always hiding in the bushes or closets or under the beds of unsuspecting princesses. I found a book. I read lots and lots of books. Funny thing about that is I can remember the first reading of books I like – usually. I remember where I was, what I thought, the sections I liked best. As damaged as my short-term memory is, this ability has stayed with me since I was a new reader. So … I found this book. I like Caleb Carr – as an author; I do not know him personally – and I found his Killing Time in the Goodwill Store. It looked interesting. I bought it. I read it.

The pea-brain told me by the time we reached the second page that it all seemed familiar. By the fifth page, I knew I’d read it before. I have no memory of ever reading that book. But I knew whole passages by heart and so I must have read it. Curse you pea-brain! I expect you to retain some usefulness. And you’ve failed me in a manner that hurts me most. But, I’m also left with a new mystery. Who knocked the pea off the shelf? Where did my lost memory go? Is it on vacation? Is it in a corrupted neural file? Where or where did my little synapse misfire? Oh where or where did it gooooo?

I want my memory back, thanks. At least by next Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pixie Warrior - Paperback ... Cover

This illustration is the basis for the new cover. In the final version she will have a sword in hand. The skirt may go away.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Itchy stuff ...

Weeds that prick. Avoid them. Take my word for it. ....

The debate over our research continues on my partner's blog. It's good for us, because it shows interest, and it makes us refine what we say. At a certain point things become silly. We have one poster who simply does not want to give up a pet theory. Exactness in definition and speech will not allow his conclusions. I can tell he is grasping to maintain a view he's had for some time.

I'm staying out of this. My partner is handling it well.

I found a rock. It's an interesting volcanic bomb, probably ejected from the explosian that made Crater Lake.

Two of our neighborhood children vandalized my front garden. It's not bad, but it is upsetting.

Someone sent my w. partner a pile of photocopies of things we wanted but had dispaired of seeing. I've been reading them. Some of the handwriting is awful.

We may change the cover of Pixie Warrior for print publication. I hope we do.

Knobby Knees nicely ran down to the drug store to get a cream for my encounter with plants that prick.

Yesterday was nasty. I had parent/student meetings until eight thirty pm. I went to work (my real job) at eleven pm. I got off at seven am. By the time I made it to bed, I'd been up over 24 hours. Never, ever do that. It's not fun.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Satyr and Woman by Erté [Romain de Tirtoff]

Naughty French Fairy - From a Post Card - About 1910


Westwood, Lassen County, California

Well ...

I finished reading my partner's chapter. It really is well done. I've added bits here and there including a longish paragraph and two really cranky footnotes refuting what a trio of idio ... umm fellow researchers have written.

Guys it's not nice to make things up. Simply shouldn't be done. If you make something up, your readers will notice. Sooner or later someone will follow your footnotes to their source and expose your sorry butts for the poor research. Never ever lie to your readers. Never ever make up things to fit a pet theory. Never upset a Pixie who knows this material better than you do. She just may write that longish paragraph refuting the stupid things you chose to write, or add a footnote or two pointing out your fake claims.

So ... Shame on you Dr. Z the sociologist. Double Shame on you Mr. G the historian. Shame on you Dr. whatsyourface for the analysis made in your thesis based on an entire list of unfounded claims.Here is hoping you all enjoy reading about yourself in my footnotes.

Oh don't get me wrong; I've kept this all very polite and professional. The worst thing I write is, "Gruss is seldom reliable." Oh and I admit that this is mine: "The claim that Paton was a Millerite Adventist made by Zygmunt in his unpublished thesis (University of Chicago, 1967) and uncritically repeated by E. C. Gruss is wrong. Paton was an infant in 1843. This type of unfounded claim characterizes the work of both men." And then there is this footnote: "The claim made by Zygmunt in his unpublished thesis thesis (University of Chicago, 1967) that Keith was a Millerite Adventist is wrong. Keith was eight years old in 1843. This type of presumptive statement characterizes Zygmunt’s work."

Cranky of me, I admit. But you shoulda never stepped beyond solid research and presented a presumption as fact. Now ... the other guy ... I've moved that comment into the preceding chapter. But I still tattle on his poor research. It just irritates the devil out this pixie to see things like that.

My paragraphs:

M. D. Curry and other researchers claim that Russell avoided identity as a Second Adventist for other reasons. Curry wrote:

"He did not want to be identified with the remnant of Miller’s followers who taught that the earth will be burned up and that the wicked will suffer eternal torment, second, so that he and the Bible Students might convincingly argue that they represented a genuine non-sectarian restoration of primitive Christianity; and third, that Russell himself might appear to be an independent theologian who had rediscovered the Divine Plan of the Ages. It remains true, never the less, that Russell’s entire theological structure is permeated with Adventist terminology; with the Adventist emphasis on types, antitypes, and parallel dispensations and in particular , his doctrines of Christ’s invisible presence, the ransom, election, restitution, conditionalism, and universalism were all taught by various Adventist preachers."

Curry and those who have followed him base these conclusions on a series of misstatements and misperceptions. Russell, far from avoiding any connection with Miller, referred to him approvingly. So while it is true that Miller believed in a fiery end and rejected Conditional Immortality in favor of Inherent Immortality, these things did not serve to separate Russell from Miller. The idea that Russell avoided Adventist identity so that he could appear to be the independent restorer of primitive Christianity is invented from whole cloth. Russell saw himself as a kind of cut-and-paste Bible Student, reassembling from scattered sources the Old Theology. Russell said as much in 1899:

"We must disclaim any credit even for the finding and rearrangement of the jewels of truth. "It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes." The writer wholly disclaims superior ability or qualification for the reorganization of the truth in its present solidarity. As the time had come for the bringing together of the scattered thoughts of past centuries in the marvelous inventions of our day,--so the time had come for the bringing together of the fragmentary hopes and promises of God's Word scattered through Christendom. To deny that the Lord has simply "poured out" this harvest time blessing of "present truth" in his own due time and in his own way, would be as wrong as to claim it as of our own invention. … It came gradually, silently, as comes the morning dawn: the only effort necessary was to keep awake and face in the right direction. And the greatest aid in so doing was the effort put forth to awaken others of the "household of faith" and point them to the light and in turn to urge upon them the necessity for serving also, if they would overcome the lethargic "spirit of the world," and be ready to go in to the marriage of the Lamb."

What Russell felt was God’s leading. He believed himself to be led by God into his theology. Curry’s conclusion that all of Russell’s theology was Adventist is also wrong. He may have derived much of it through an Adventist filter, but most of these doctrines came from outside the Adventist movement, or were held in common with others, or developed by others. Adventism wasn’t the sole source of his belief. Dunn, Seiss, Heath and others who influenced his thinking were anything but Adventists.

So, there you are. Cranky, but umm professional. Do not try to mislead a pixie!

A top ... in a coal mine ... and stuff

I woke up to knobby knees calling my name. He brought breakfast sandwiches and coffee. How nice. I slept more then ten hours. I guess I needed it, though I’m still sore and tired.

My aunt is planning a yard sale. We’ll start hauling things over to her covered patio in a day or so. With all of mom’s stuff and gramma’s stuff still packed in boxes, we seriously need this. At least I’m getting my basement back, though slowly.

Some things interest me no end, though they’re not related to anything I’m researching. This time the person that caught my interest is related in a peripheral way. She touches on our story briefly in 1886, but I’ve spent some time researching her. Her name is Viola Gilbert. She was a street missionary in New York City in the late 19th Century, writing and circulating an exposé of Christian Science and Mary Eddy. She stood on street corners with a large cross festooned with purple ribbons and bits of her message tacked to it. I’d love to find a picture. Almost none of this is relevant to our book. All that is relevant is in a brief newspaper notice in 1886. But it is all interesting.

I now have four large boxes of books to take in for credit, and a smaller box I’ll take to school and give to my students. That “organization” I’m peeved at – remember I posted about it a few days ago – We decided to try one more time with them. We’ve written a formal letter with the request, hoping that it will bypass the “gentleman” who managed to say ‘no.’

I need a small Library cart, I think, something on which to store my working notebooks and other material I use while I write. It would cut down on clutter.

Someone pointed me to a forum post by a man claiming to have found important documents. It’s not a forum I visit often. It’s populated by people who’ve left a certain religion and who are angry. That seldom produces anything of interest. But I read his post. It was brag. I have serious doubts about the content of what ever he did find. And he ignored requests by forum members to see the material. I’ve dealt with him before. His approach is always to say, “I knew that first.” But he never produces the material or the proof. The man is on my “queer fanatic” list. [Ahem, I mean “queer” in the sense of ‘odd.’ Thank you very much.]

My writing partner sent me his latest chapter for my review and re-writes. It’s very good I think. We need to add some material at the end, but I’m not sure the documentation exists. I’ll spend some time looking for it today. There is a huge gap in documentation from March 1876 to August 1876. Not many months, to be sure, but they are a vital period. Many changes took place then. We can see the before and after, but we don’t have anything on the process and discussion. This is frustrating.

Later today I will zip down to the library and put the new and inexperienced Interlibrary Loan Librarian to the test. There’s a bunch of bound tracts sitting in the library at UC Davis. I emailed them asking for photocopies of a few of them. They declined but said to request the volume on ILL. I’ve delayed until now because I was working on other things. But now I need this.

Let me tell you about this librarian. He’s a bit younger than I am. He’s probably twenty-five, maybe twenty-seven. He’s slow and tentative. It’s as if everything he does is done with the expectation of failure. Some people seem to feel as if the world will fall on them if they mess up. While one should produce quality work, the world doesn’t end if we are less than stellar. He should project some confidence. He does seem competent, just hesitant.


I just dropped my ear phones into my coffee cup. They still work, but, alas, I know have a wet ear.


Norris City, Ind. Queer things are sometimes found in a coal mine. Recently a miner dug out a piece of slate that looked like a shoe-sole, even the sewing on the edge appearing … Not long ago another miner found a perfectly formed spinning top made of slate. – The Port Bryan, New York, Chronicle, Dec. 26, 1915.


“A four-pound cannon ball was recently found in a lump of coal taken from a depth of 150 feet below the surface of the earth, at the Acadia coal mine …” - Buffalo, New York, Courier and Republic, Jan 18, 1872


1. I’m incurably clumsy. 2. Reality isn’t what you think. 3. Pixies are real, though I deny dropping my top in a coal mine.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Dunno ...

The artist's name, but it comes from here:

Real life fae ....

In 1743 was born in Corsica, on the mountain of Stata Ota, a dwarf, afterwards called Madame Teresia, the Corsican Fairy, who was exhibited at the Arts Museum, in Cockspur-street, London, in 1769, when she was thirty-four inches high, and weighed twenty-six pounds. She was an elegant little creature, pretty, exceedingly well proportioned in her limbs, of admirable symmetry, vivacious, spirited, womanly, and yet fairy-like. She spoke French and Italian, was a great favourite with her visitors, and created much public interest. In October, 1773, she was again exhibited in London, when her whole-length portrait was engraved by Worlidge. It was reproduced in Wilson's Wonderful Characters and in Smeeton's Biographia Curiosa, 1822. – Giants and Dwarfs By Edward J. Wood, 1868.

One hope, in this degenerate age, to light on a Madame Teresia, better known by the designation of the Corsican Fairy, who came to London in 1773, being then thirty years of age, thirty-four-inches high, and weighing twenty-six pounds? "She possessed much vivacity and spirit, could speak Italian and French with fluency, and gave the most inquisitive mind an agreeable entertainment"' England has produced a rival to Madame Teresia in Miss Anne Shepherd, who was three feet ten inches in height, and was married, in Charles the First's time, to Richard Gibson, Esq., page of the backstairs to his majesty, and a distinguished miniature painter. Mr. Gibson was just forty-six inches high, and he and his bride were painted " in whole length " by Sir Peter Lely. The little couple are said to have had nine children, who all attained the usual standard of mankind; and three of the boys, according to the chronicles of the backstairs, enlisted in the Life Guards. – Charles Dickens’ magazine: All the Year Round, Vol 2, 1869, page 212

Because she sings like and looks like a Pixie


On Stormy Seas: U. S. Battleships, 1911

I’m up early, and the house is very quiet. I’ve been up for three hours, occasionally sipping apple juice but mostly trying to clear out shelves in the laundry room so our tenant can have some storage space. They need it, they tell me. Fine. Sometimes I’m sorry we rented out the apartment we made from gramma.

I’ve also cleaned out five notebooks. Now that was worth my time. I found bits of a story I started. It’s good, I think. I’ll go back to it when the history book is done. I found some notes I dashed off at work and promptly forgot about. Sometime today they’ll turn into a couple of paragraphs in the new book.

My heart isn’t in this today.

I’ve been watching a “discussion” over on my writing partner’s blog. He pasted bits of a chapter for discussion. He got it. Some people have pet theories, and they’re reluctant to let them go. I’ve read through the comments several times. The first go-around we revised the chapter to make some things clearer and some statements stronger.

Two of the “anonymous” types still think we have it wrong. So yesterday Bruce took the most egregious of those comments and made it a main post. He demolished all the comments one by one. I like how he did it. Here are samples:

“Simply wanting the study group to be identical with the Adventist congregation doesn't make it so. … Now, let me turn this around. You prove they were the same body. Give me documented proof, not mere speculation, that they were identical. … The issue isn't the Adventist nature of his belief; it is the identity of the Bible Class.”

I won’t bore you with the whole discussion. But his rebuttal is excellent. He [1] identifies it as a pet theory without foundation; [2] asks for documented proof of their view; [3] refocuses the discussion on the real issue. These are things effective teachers do. So far there’s been no response. If there is one, I don’t expect anything but a restatement of their belief. You can’t support their conclusions from the evidence.

However, not all is irritation and sighing. Our chapter is better as a result, and, since this has proved to be a larger issue than we thought, we will include an appendix with additional evidence. It improves our book. I’m all for improving the book, but I do get a bit frustrated that people cannot see the plain sense of what they read in the original documents.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Update to the update of the update

I almost have my room back in working order! REmind me to be less messy with major research projects. On second thought, forget that. That's how I have always worked. I ain't changin' now.

In the clean up process I filled a half a garbage can with papers I won't save. These are printouts of rough drafts, notes I made to prompt further research, memos to self, scraps of things that came my way that no longer matter, a candy wrapper, an empty pain-pill bottle, and the McDonald's sack that contained my I-shouldn't-eat-this-but-I'm-going-to-anyway lunch.

I also washed all the bedding on my work room bed. When I get too sick to work having a bed down stairs is helpful. It's all nice and freshly washed from the matress cover to the quilt spread. I'm tired, but I'm happy to have things mostly in hand.

I have two boxes of books to turn in for credit. I rearanged the one corner bookcase. Did I mention that I'm dead tired now?

I've decided I need another bookcase. I do have a spot for it, though it's in the next room. I can't shove any more books in my workroom without pruning more out than I did today.

I drank an entire pot of coffee all on my lonesome. I drank two bottles of water, ate two slices of French bread; managed to make it through this task with a minimal amount of pain, posted to my blog, wrote an email to my w.p., scolded child # 3 twice, sorted mounds of paper. But, alas, I have as many papers to sort as when I started. I do not know how that happens.

I also have a small pile of spiral notebooks to go through. I make notes to myself in those, and sometimes they're worth keeping. More often than not, I tear out used pages and salvage what's left for another project. I'm not doing that today.

Oh, I forgot ... I also removed thrift store price tags from books. I'm always behind with that. And I found an ex-library book with all sorts of tape and sticky lables on the cover. The same stuff that takes off the price tags removes that junk. So that book is now presentable. I vacuumed the carpet. (Do you know how many years it took me to remember to spell that with two u's?)

That's about it for today, unless I find my lost ambition somewhere ....

Dragon Congering ... or how many holes will i have to punch?

Well, here I am posting to my idiot blog instead of working. That’s not totally true. I’m thinking. Remember I said I was sorting out piles of documents I used in the last few weeks? I overlooked two important newspaper articles but found them in the sort. We’ll use them. They’re good.

The trouble is the chapter in which I want to use them is already overly long, much longer than we intended. My writing partner wrote the first draft. I did a second draft write through with additional information, and it’s now thirty-six double spaced pages long. While the information in the two articles will only add about ten paragraphs, I think we should find a good separation point and make this two chapters.

People are not used to sustained reading. They used to be, but that started to fade in the 1950’s with the advent of Gunsmoke, 77 Sunset Strip and other weekly mini-dramas. The skill almost totally died after then devil birthed the Internet.

My partner agrees that we need to divide the chapter. We can’t seem to agree where the division should be. So … what to do? What to do?

I’m still sorting papers (and writing this blog post and sipping coffee) and thinking about this issue. I think I’ll add the new material at an appropriate place and then read it through. I’ll divide it in two and email it to my w.p. [that, dear-hearts, is “writing partner”]. If he doesn’t like my choice he can suggest another.

Another problem is deciding how much of the two articles to use. One is from The Chicago Tribune of August 1881. It’s short and I’ll probably use most of the article in a block quotation. (We lean heavily on direct quotations because we’re presenting material that almost no one has seen in over a hundred years. This is new research never done before.) The second article comes from an Ohio newspaper from March 1882. While the Chicago article is important, this one is interesting. It’s an interview with one of the people at the center of our new book. I’ll use all of the interview portion. The Chicago article tells what happened. This is good. The Ohio article doesn’t add to our understanding of how this guy thought, but it does show how he presented his thoughts, and that’s better.

Knobby Knees took the girls off to the river. I’ll join them this afternoon. I have too much to catch up on to go now; besides I hurt too much this morning to climb around on rocks .

I found a red folder with old money in it. This belonged to my mom, but I do not know why it was important to her. It’s all foreign money and on the worn side. It’s not in good collectable condition, or I’d take it down to the coin store and sell it. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I may take it to class with me and give it to one of my students.

I really need to make a household inventory. No one knows what some of our junk is except me. I’d hate to have something valuable just donated to the Goodwill when I die. They should know what this stuff is and something about its value. The task seem so overwhelming.

I’ve started on a “if we die” folder. It has the wills, our funeral plans and funeral insurance and such in it. I’m changing my will anyway. I was going to leave a major part of my library to an organization in New York State, but for various reasons I won’t do that. Now you want to know what my reasons are, huh?

They’re rude, stupid, selfish idiots. That covers it I think. We’ve provided them with over a thousand pages of photocopies. Their response to a request for about 20 pages of copy was a “no.” So, while I own material they desperately want, it’s not going to them. It’s going to my oldest daughter with advice on how to sell it for the most money possible.

Somewhere on my blog is a photo of my work room’s back wall. All those books back there and four other bookcases are the items in question. They date from the late 1600’s. Rare magazines, tracts and books fill those shelves. They represent the ultimate treasure hunt. Books by Isaac Newton, William Whiston, Samuel Clarke and others are there, most in original editions. One of the Samuel Clarke books has the bookplate of the Philadelphia Library Company. It was purchased by them during Franklin’s life time, probably with his money. I have a book with Josiah Wedgwood’s bookplate. The book is rare in its own right, but doubly interesting for its connection to him. There’s a bound volume of early Methodist tracts with the name of one of the first missionaries to N. America on the flyleaf. This was an ebay find. I paid five dollars. The average sale price on for these tracts is 300.00 each. There are seven tracts. I have books and tracts that survive with fewer then ten copies in public hands. This was all going to “them” before they proved themselves to be selfish and stupid.

Okay, I’m done with my temper tantrum. Thanks.

Well, it’s time to stop thinking but not thinking about this “chapter” problem and address it. I’ll grumble and grit, but I’ll get it done and pass the problem off to my w.p.

Later: An Update

So, I’m still putting off the rewrite and chapter division. … But my pile of unsorted papers is reduced by one full pile and most of the second pile. This is progress.

Much, Much Later Update:

The pile is shorter. This is good. I found a box of unsorted papers in storage. This is bad – really bad. There are as many papers in this box as I’ve already sorted! I’m tired of punching holes and organizing binders. This is bad. I’ve quit for the day. That’s good.

And how has your day gone?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Alas, the mess. And no pie!

Probably most new writers don’t realize the mess that comes from writing, or maybe I’m just incredibly messy. As I said earlier, I’ve been working hard on the new history book. We want to move forward. Our original target date was December this year. That was an overly ambitious goal, but we’ve both worked our fingers to nubs trying to finish research that was nearly done. And – alas – that creates mess.

I have three piles of file folders, papers, photo copies, and stuff each about two feet high. I’ve spent the day with a hole punch and sticky notes putting it all in order in three ring binders. I’m about half done, I think.

It’s not only a necessary project, but it has benefits. I found a file I’d forgotten about. It has information we needed and forgot we had. So I took the time to rewrite three paragraphs to accommodate it. This was good. Some of this is now confusing to me. I no longer remember why I printed out an article on labor troubles in California. It seems so disconnected from what we’re writing. I set that aside hoping that my little pea-brain will turn on and I’ll remember why it seemed so important at the time. … Along the way I learned much more than I wanted to know about the British Temperance Emigration Society.

I’ve also thrown away a mass of rough-draft printouts I no longer need. I think we cut down way too many trees, but I don’t edit will on a computer screen. I think I’m done with this for the day. I’d go eat a piece of pumpkin pie, but I just saw Katarina walk by with the last piece on her place and a look of ecstasy on her face. Alas!

Why do people buy books they never read?

I found three nice books in a thrift store. They cost me a total of three dollars and fifty cents. They are unread. Someone paid a lot of money for these books. Let's call the total forty-five dollars. None of them were ever read. I'll read them. I'm happy to have them. It's the previous owners loss intellectually and financially that they didn't read them.

Here they are:

1. Katherine Kurtz: In the King's Service.
2. Anne Mcaffrey and S. M. Stirling: The City Who Fought.
3. A. B. Paine: Th. Nast: His period and his pictures. A reprint of the 1904 editon done in the 1970's. It's a shame this sat on someone's shelf unread for about twenty-five years. I'll enjoy it.

Oh ... a hint to thrift store book buyers. Those nasty price tags come off with a bit of lighter fluid. It's very volitile so it won't stain the paper.


Okay ... so I'm searching for something ... contemporary reviews of a book published in 1886, and I find this partial view of a magazine article from 1913. It's not at all relevant to the book, but it is an Ah-ah! moment.

One of the first chapters we wrote for the new history book was an overview of millennialist mission work in China starting in 1882. This is one of the most interesting bits of the new book, I think. It tells a story never told before. But the end was so unsatifying. The little bit of preview from this 1913 article sent me off to the library's interlibrary loan desk. Today I scooted back down there with my three-dollar fee and picked up my photocopies courtesy of WSU. (I think i'm supposed to say, "Go Cougs!" here.) This is great stuff. It puts an entirely new persepective on what was a very unsatisfying end to that chapter.

I've written it all up and emailed it to my writing partner. He'll edit it, research it a bit more, if I know him, and we'll stick this on the end of that chapter. Nice stuff.

If Serendipity were a bird, I'd keep it in a cage! Maybe I should name a goat Serendipity?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Creepy Books

Matthew Rolston

Well, I’m back. Did you miss me? I’ve been writing furiously, even compulsively. In the past two weeks we’ve finished or nearly finished four chapters of the history book. This represents an immense amount of work. It’s good too, even in rough draft. … and right now I’m feeling burned to a crisp mentally.

I’ve taken the last three days off for a semi-vacation. Oh, I’ve continued to write. Edits are writing too. And I got a flood of emails from those to whom we sent bits of the chapters. I’ve addressed their questions and criticisms, some of which were excellent and a few of which were less than stellar.

My writing partner maintains a blog for our research. The hit-count has risen dramatically lately. So there is interest out there. And we’re getting interest from those in cognate fields: A law professor who is researching for personal reasons one of the characters we mention; A professor at U.C. –San Diego who is researching Millerite Adventism; a historian who’s writing a similar book. This is nice.

Oh, I wandered from my point. Pixies do that. My mini-vacation consited of several junk shop trips. It was fun, and I found treasures. I found a really spectacular glass candy container. They made figural containers back about 1890 to near 1930. I have several. There’s a power boat from the 1920’s, a Model T, and some others. The one I found on my shopping trip is a hen on a basket. It’s clear class as most of these are, but the beak is painted red. Apparently this one is quite scarce. A friend who sells antiques oo-ed and ah-ed over it and offered me forty dollars! I turned her down. I like this one. But … this is not all.

I mean I really found treasures. … Really … So, here I am wandering up and down the aisles looking at junk and wondering who the heck bought this junk to begin with and there, right before my little eyes is a silver coffee pot. It was tarnished coal black, but it had such a lovely shape. I’ve learned to see through tarnish to wear. Sometimes silver plate is worn through and you can’t see it for the tarnish. This seemed okay. I turn it over and see that it is quadruple plate. That makes it pretty darn old. I buy it for two dollars.

A little research dates this to between 1850-1870. It’s lovely. Breathtakingly lovely. And it’s mine. So, the hunt is on, right? You’d look more, wouldn’t you? Of course thou wouldst. I wander off to the books. Nothing new there. Same old junk as before. I’m about ready to give it all up and scoot off to the next junk store when out comes one of their carts of “stuff.”

Shoppers gang up on that stuff like parasites on a turtles behind. So I have to kinda smile sweetly and squeeze in to the crowd. A store clerk is also shoving in there. It’s her job to stock shelves. She snags a silver bowl. Others look but it doesn’t interest them. It does me. I see the base. Oh, I don’t see the makers mark or anything like that. But it’s a weighted base, they kind they used on sterling. And this is a huge piece. I tag along after the clerk and catch her just as she’s about it sit it on a shelf. “I want that, please,” I say.

She gives it to me. I look. Yes! Sterling! And now mine. It now sits on my Queen Ann table. It glows as only well polished sterling can. So I found real treasures.

“But,” you say, “this post is entitled ‘Creepy Books. What about the creepy books?”

Well, there was only one creepy book, but let me tell you this in my own way.

So, we’re heading for the checkout counter. I’m really satisfied, and Shirley, my shopping buddy, is a bit jealous. (She covets my chicken.) I spy the book lady person shoving a cart of books from the back room. This means a quick detour to the books. Maybe there is something worth while ….

The worth while:

Joan Clark: Penny Nichols Finds a Clue, with dust jacket. 1936. A girls’ mystery. A competitor to the Nancy Drew series.

D. B. Wyndham Lewis: Francois Villon, 1928. Excellent find. Excellent condition. Not a rare book, but a worthwhile book.

A book by Terry Brooks I haven’t read; two Terry Goodkind books I haven’t read. So I got three Terrys.

Then there was the blue book. I could see it lying on its side. I know that general appearance. It was a book from the 00’s to the 30’s. I like those, and read an immense amount of them. Most of them are awful. But most of them are also fun. So I wing over to it. It’s one of the Catholic propaganda novels published but Putnam back in the early twentieth century. Putnam discovered there actually were Catholics in America and tried to cater to them. Some of the ickiest fiction was published just to bilk nice Catholics out of a dollar.

This one is called The Rosary. It’s by Florence Barclay and was published in 1909. It’s in like new condition. But … this book is malevolent. I don’t mean its contents are bad. I haven’t read it, though I’ve read books by Barclay before. They’re insipid and stupidly written. But the book itself – this very volume – is wicked. It transmits a feeling. I felt as if I’d touched the very essence of malevolence. I put the book down. The experience has left me profoundly disturbed. I do not as a matter of course believe in “emanations” and I usually discount “feelings.” But this time I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t.

I’ve had these feelings before. Usually they are connected to people. Some people ooze wickedness. I never ignore it with people. I wanted to ignore it with this book. It seemed such an unreasonable feeling. So when I was finished browsing all the books, I went back to it. I picked it up again and quickly returned it to where it had lain. Unreasonable fears? Perhaps. But I was left wondering what sort of person owned this book to impart such an after-feeling to it.

Now all this comes from a little Pixie who is skeptical, who doubts almost everything until she’s satisfied she has rational proof. But I also know that irrational things exist. And I know wickedness imprints itself on people. Why not on things too?

So today I’m writing another chapter. I’m not really writing it in the usual sense. Most of it is already written. I’m taking it from a limited printing pamphlet we (my writing partner and I) wrote about four years ago. And I’m taking it from our last history book. I have to update it some and slant it to the theme of our new book, but at least the hard work is done. So this is more time consuming than hard mental work.

And how was your day?