a travesty of justice

The Good Old Boys Don’t Give a Damn Party

The Republican members of the United States Senate have made a mockery, of the impeachment process, of the intent of the Founding Fathers, of right and wrong.

They have put the President of the United States above the Law.

I am beyond disgusted.

Posted in At Home in Portland

Short Story February – 1

In the past (though I skipped it last year), I have devoted the shortest month to short stories, and I’ll be doing that this year. I have many short story collections and anthologies on hand, so this would be a good time to do some reading in them.

My reading posts will be largely reporting on the stories I read, newish and oldish.

Won’t you join me in reading short stories for Short Story February this year? Read some stories and comment over the month on them.

So far, from The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah, 1972 (Dover Mystery Classics, Kindle Edition):
“The Coin of Dionysius”
“The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem”
“The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown”
“The Holloway Flat Tragedy”
“The Disappearance of Marie Severe”
“The Mystery of the Poisoned Dish of Mushrooms”

Have you read any short stories this month?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Short Stories | 31 Comments

The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70

I like jazz a lot, specifically from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s. That includes a lot of great music! I’m particularly fond of Bop and Hard Bop, and among my favorite artists is Hank Mobley. I have the excellent 1998 Mosiac Records set of his work, The Complete Blue Note Hank Mobley Fifties Sessions on six CDs.

I’ve listened to those CDs a lot, and enjoyed them every time. So when in February 2019 I got word that Mosaic was considering a second set covering his 1963-1970 work, I immediately sent in my pre-order. It’s taken a while, but it has finally come into my eager hands.

The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70
Mosaic Records Presents “The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70” – 8 CDs with 74 tracks from the second great phase of Hank Mobley’s career, in state-of-the-art sound. With all the developments in recent years with analogue to digital converters and hi-res transfers that bring the CD to almost the same quality as analogue LPs, we have returned to the original analogue tapes of these Mobley master tapes in order to make them available like never before. – Limited Edition: 3,000 Copies. The complete set lists are at the link.

This one will stay on my CD turntable for a while!

Here’s a taste, the first cut on Disc I: Up A Step (8:35) (opens in a new player window)

Sooooo nice!


Posted in Books & Reading, Music | 4 Comments

Forgotten? God is An Englishman by R. F. Delderfield

God Is An Englishman by R. F. Delderfield, 1970 hardcover, historical fiction.

I remember this being on the shelf at home, a book my mother bought and read, and apparently liked a lot. Something brought it to mind no long ago, so I read it.

“From master author R. F. Delderfield, the first in the beloved classic God Is an Englishman series.” This is the first novel in the Swann Family Saga, which begins with Adam Swan leaving the military in 1858, he is determined to begin a business, searching for a need in this Victorian setting. He decides on cartage, and slowly manages to set up and then grow the firm, named after himself.

In England in the 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution takes hold, forever changing the landscape of England and her people. Swann is part of that change, along with his young wife Henrietta.  As Swann works to build his name, he and Henrietta share adventures, reversal, and fortune.

My take: I enjoyed this a lot. This is a sweeping historical novel and family saga, and if you happen to be a fan of such you’ll like it, I think. The writing is good, the characters interesting and well-drawn. There are several additional novels continuing the story, one after the other. After 650 pages, I’d had enough for now, but may go back to this series later.

Have you read this book?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fiction, Friday Forgotten Books | 9 Comments

ill. Back soon.

sickMonday: Both of us have the flu, in spite of our having gotten our high-dose flu shots.


Wednesday: still sick as a dog. Sleeping most of the time. Phooey.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 9 Comments

Old Stories, new collection: The Best of Jerry Pournelle

The Best of Jerry Pournelle edited by John F. Carr, Baen Books 2019 trade paper, science fiction and biographical essays

While this is a new collection, many of the stories are decades old.

Summary (from the publisher):

“For the better part of five decades, Jerry Pournelle’s name has been synonymous with hard-hitting science fiction. His Falkenberg’s Legion stories and Janissaries series helped define the military sf genre, as did his work as editor on the There Will Be War series of anthologies. With frequent collaborator Larry Niven, he co-wrote the genre-defining first contact novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which was praised by Robert A. Heinlein as “possibly the greatest science fiction novel I have ever read.”

Here, all of Pournelle’s best short work has been collected in a single volume. There are over a dozen short stories, each with a new introduction by editor and longtime Pournelle assistant John F. Carr, as well as essays and remembrances by Pournelle collaborators and admirers.”

My take: I enjoyed this a lot. It had been a while since I read any Pournelle (and then almost always with Niven). I’m now tempted to reread The Mote In God’s Eye. 


  • Introduction
  • Survival with Style
  • Peace and Honoe
  • Jerry Pournelle’s Future History by Larry King
  • The Mercenary
  • The Hospital visit by David Gerrold
  • First Patrol
  • Spirals with Larry Niven
  • The Science and Technology of Jerry Pournelle
  • Reflex with Larry Niven
  • The Secret of Black Ship Island
  • Remembering A Master of Excellence by Steven Barnes
Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction | 13 Comments

My 2019 Reading

I had a less than stellar year, reading-wise. Not that I didn’t read lots of good books, I did; but the number of books I read is down. My usual goal is 104 books, two per week. So, a year with less than a hundred is somewhat disappointing.

I know several people (you know who you are!) who read many more books than this, but I’m not a terribly fast reader [as in: slow] so I have to be satisfied with what I manage:

This is also the time of year, and post, when I mention favorite books, but I’ll make that a separate post, in a few days. I also usually mention goals for the forthcoming year, in addition to the total of at least 104, such as reading more of one type of thing than another.

Last year I said I’d read more fantasy, and I did, fifteen of the fantasy and science fiction number was fantasy, much of it read early in the year. I’ll do more of that in 2020, as the last two volumes in a six book fantasy series I’m reading are due to be published this year.

I expect to read a few more graphic novels in 2020, starting with Watchmen in a week or so, and I have several things from British Crime Library awaiting my attention, plus a handful of ebooks burning a hole in the good old iPad Kindle app.

I hope you had a good 2019 reading year, and an even better one in 2020!

Posted in Books & Reading | 27 Comments

Forgotten Book: The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann, US publication: Elsevier/Nelson Books 1979 hardcover, fiction

I came across this in a bookstore in 1979, and as I sometimes like adventure books with talking animals, I bought it, as much for the beautiful dust jacket as anything. The scan is of my own copy, I haven’t seen any other image of it anywhere.

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a series of books about a group of woodland animals. It originated with the 1979 book, The Animals of Farthing Wood, by Colin Dann, and was followed by six sequels and a prequel by Dann. An animated Animals of Farthing Wood television series based on the books aired in the 1990s, created by the European Broadcasting Union.

In the UK, this was first published by John Goodchild Publishers in early 1979 as two separate paperbacks. The first was known as Escape from Danger and the second was known as The Way to White Deer. After this one instance, they have been released as one novel.

The original book was meant to be a stand-alone book, with the animals reaching White Deer Park at the end. The success of the book led to a further six novels detailing the adventures of the animals once they reached White Deer Park, and a prequel showing how Farthing Wood came to be destroyed. The cover illustrations for this original series were painted by Portal artist Frances Broomfield.

The story here is about the animals of Farthing Wood, a badger, a fox, an adder, an owl, a kestrel, a toad, a mole and families of hares, rabbits, hedgehogs, mice and voles.  The book begins during a drought and quite soon after the animals discover that their precious pond has been filled in by developers.  They realize they need to do something and they band together to try and find a solution.  At that point, Toad, who had disappeared shows up.  Turns out he had been snatched by a child, put in a jar and then released quite far to the north.  He made his way home which took four mating seasons.  Learning what happened to his pond, he tells the animals that he had discovered a nature reserve and could probably find his way back there.  The animals decided, after some debate, that escape to this place may be their only choice.  Their decision is confirmed the next day when the bulldozers show up. It is a true adventure journey.  They battle weather, forest fire, nasty farmers, big agriculture, the hunt, predators and traffic.

I reread it toward the end of 2019 after reading a December 11 Forgotten Book piece on Olman Freeny’s blog, Olman’s Fifty. He said:
The Animals of Farthing Wood was very straightforward, a little bit too simple for me to really get into.  Despite that, by the end, I was quite moved and felt a real sense of triumph at the completion of the adventure.  The stakes don’t feel that high, though in the narrative animals do die and the threat of human destruction and cruelty is very real and depressing.  This was Dann’s first book and judging by my memory of King of the Vagabonds, I suspect his work increases in subtlety.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t up to the standard of Richard Adams’ Watership Down, nor Duncton Wood by William Horwood or even The Redwall books by Brian Jacques. But for this sort of thing, it’s enjoyable. I haven’t seen the sequels nor the animated series.

Posted in Books & Reading, Fiction, Friday Forgotten Books | 13 Comments


Nope, not making any this year.

Oh, I’ll try the usual stuff, read more, get more exercise, lose some weight, but those aren’t really “resolutions” so much as good sense.


Posted in Books & Reading | 7 Comments

Just a Reminder

I’m taking the next week or so off. See you January 12th-ish

Taking off - Freas



Posted in Books & Reading | 4 Comments