Sunday, June 16, 2019


"You mention the word 'co-operative' to the merchants and they'll lynch you!  The one thing they fear more than mail-order houses is that farmers' co-operative movements may get started"--Main Street

I'm now reading the graphic book Woman Rebel:  The Margaret Sanger Story (by Peter Bagge, who also did Credo about Rose Wilder Lane). What a hero she was!  Birth control is something we take for granted today, but we can do that because people like her took on the Roman Catholic Church and the United States government, and never gave up.

I've started translating a new Korean picture book. (This one's actually a Tolstoy story.)

Yesterday at Crowdreads, the question was "Do you need money to do what you love?" Well, it depends on what you love doing, doesn't it?  I couldn't resist mentioning a Julia Phillips line from You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again that people either see money as lifeblood, to nourish; as seeds, to grow things with; or as shit, to get rid of. And I read a bit more from Main Street about Carol trying to decide what to do with her life.

Did I mention that Main Street is great?  Here's another quote, on the grain elevator wheat buyer and his wife.

This was their philosophy complete... in the era of aeroplanes and syndicalism:

The Baptist Church (and, somewhat less, the Methodist, Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches) is the perfect, the divinely ordained standard in music, oratory, philanthropy, and ethics. 'We don't need all this newfangled science, or this terrible Higher Criticism that's ruining our young men in colleges.  What we need is to get back to the true Word of God, and a good sound belief in hell, like we used to have it preached to us.'

The Republican Party, the Grand Old Party of Blaine and McKinley, is the agent of the Lord and of the Baptist Church in temporal affairs.

All socialists ought to be hanged.

'Harold Bell Wright is a lovely writer, and he teaches such good morals in his novels, and folks say he's made prett' near a million dollars out of 'em.'

People who make more than ten thousand a year or less than eight hundred are wicked.

Europeans are still wickeder.

It doesn't hurt any to drink a glass of beer on a warm day, but anybody who touches wine is headed straight for hell.

Virgins are not so virginal as they used to be.

Nobody needs drug-store ice cream; pie is good enough for anybody.

The farmers want too much for their wheat.

The owners of the elevator-company expect too much for the salaries they pay.  

There would be no more trouble or discontent in the world if everybody worked as hard as Pa did when he cleared our first farm.

I think I recognize this America! (The age of Trumpism isn't so different...)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

June is busting out all over...

"Ensued a fifteen-minute argument about the oldest topic in the world:  It's art but is it pretty?"--Main Street

Today I finally finished planting the seeds in our garden (carrots, beans, peas, kale). I would have done it Sunday but I mowed the lawn instead.  It was late this year, but it'll be early in the years to come!

Saturday I joined my singing group for a front-porch concert as part of a big fundraiser in Carolyn's neighborhood on Monarch Park Avenue.  Then I went to Crowdreads where we discussed sports. (I've been hearing noisy Raptors fans in my own neighborhood lately.) 

I read the opening pages of Main Street, which is a really sharp satire!  The joke is on the city-slicker heroine as much as the parochials.

Sunday was the Classic Book Club, where we discussed Brave New World. (Jane hated it!) Once again, over twenty people said they were coming but only five showed up.

On Youtube lately I've been watching cartoons with Ludwig von Drake, whom I liked on The Wonderful World of Disney long ago.  Paul Frees was a great cartoon voice actor! (He did Boris Badenov too.) I remember watching the last minutes of Hymn Sing while waiting for Disney to come on, then the first commercial after the closing credits would be for the latest Disney movie release.

Last week I dreamed of Robert Mitchum in the film noir Out of the Past.

Thursday, June 06, 2019


"Main Street is the climax of civilization. That this Ford car might stand in front of the Bon Ton Store, Hannibal invaded Rome and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters"--Main Street

I've finished that book of Australian history and started Sinclair Lewis' 1920 novel Main Street, for the Classic Book Club.  It's a sardonic satire about a librarian who marries a doctor, moves to a Minnesota small town and tries to improve the place. (Someone who'd rather not be named lent me a copy of the book, but I misplaced it and borrowed one from the library, so of course afterward the first book showed up after all!) Very sharp writing, right from the start.

I didn't have time to finish translating that Korean book about engineer Jang Yongshil before returning it to the library, but I managed the first half or so, getting to the point where he's about to spend a decade building a water clock system that'll ring the time automatically.  Maybe I'll finish it someday.

I've started a new document going into detail on Korean verbs, with the help of that new book.  I've also started reviewing what I learned on Duolingo.

Last night was the History Discussion Group, where we discussed the Turkish Empire.  There were 15 people, as many as January!  I left behind the porch light bulb I've been using as a talking stone, but one of the members is holding on to it until our next event.

The other day I finally went to the Bay and bought a new set of pajamas.  They're very comfortable, and the only drawback is that the words Tommy Hilfiger glow in the dark!

Monday, June 03, 2019


"That should be in a museum!" "So should you!"--Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Wednesday I saw Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Yonge & Dundas, for the first time!  I saw it mainly for Sean Connery as McGuffin-hunter Indy's father. The plot didn't really make sense to me. (Spoilers!) This rich industrialist working with the Nazis hires Indy's father Henry to go to Venice in search of the Holy Grail, then they decide that Henry's getting too close to it, so they spirit Henry away to this German castle and hope to grab his diary with all his search notes and continue the search without him, except that Henry has already mailed the diary to his son, bringing Indy into the race... Frankly, Nazis are easy villains!

Movie plots aren't as comprehensible as they used to be.  I recall that Executive Decision in the '90s had a plot where some terrorists have an A-bomb or anthrax or something aboard an airliner heading toward (endless foreshadowing) Washington, D.C.!  Then the terrorists take over the plane just to make sure that it arrives...

Thursday Moira and I finally went out and bought seeds for the garden.  I've planted the head crops, and only the carrots and beans and such are left.

I just bought a book showing all the different forms of Korean verbs.  That's something I could use just now, since Duolingo and Google Translate aren't so useful for learning that stuff.

I've switched browsers, from Chrome to Brave.  I can no longer get into the games Forge of Empires (and I was getting close to the Industrial Age!) and Candy Crush Saga, but that's just as well.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


"It is our Christian duty to bring the axe down on this riotous mob!"--Peterloo

Yesterday I finished the Istanbul book.  Now I've started reading Kenneth Morgan's Australia:  A Very Short Introduction for my History Meetup in July.  I also finished the graphic biography of Rose Wilder Lane and I'm ready to start the one about Margaret Sanger.

Tonight I saw Mike Leigh's historical drama Peterloo with Debi and Malcolm from the History Meetup.  It was remarkably good, with believable detail.  Its running time is two and a half hours, but it didn't feel long.

I've been reading through my Classics Illustrated comics collection slowly but steadily.  Stuff like The Covered Wagon and Davey Crockett and Rob Roy and the pirate novel The Dark Frigate.  Now I've started reading my Classics Illustrated Junior fairy tale comics, starting with their last publication, "The Princess who Saw Everything." (How Orwellian...) I wish I had "How Fire Came to the Indians"!

I'm now past Level 2000 in Candy Crush Saga!  And I'm over the hump in the city-planning game Elvenar.

Monday, May 20, 2019

NAUSICAA the anime

"Life is shortbreak the rulesforgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines"--Mark Twain

Lately the weather has been warm enough for me to open my windows! (The cherry tree in our front yard is in bloom.) And I wore my spring jacket yesterday.

Friday was so nice that Father went to the pharmacy by himself.  But on the way back he fell and bumped his head and had to get stitches in the hospital.  It was hours before we found out what had happened to him, which was scary. (He could only remember our old phone number--next time he'll have the new number on paper!) But he was home that evening.

At Saturday's Crowdreads Meetup I read my translation of the Korean fairy tale "O^nuli," and they liked it.  John had Mark Twain quotes.

I'm still translating the book about Korean engineer Jang Yongshil.  He visited China to learn their astronomical methods and became obsessed with Chinese water clocks, whose accuracy made sophisticated astronomical calculation possible.

Tonight I went to the Yonge & Dundas and saw Hayao Miyazaki's
anime feature of Nausicaa of Wind Valley again.  Of course it's a simpler version of the very complex manga, which I still haven't finished reading.

I was a few days late renewing my Cipralex prescription, and my dreams got vivid again.  One of them was my old repeating dream of being back in high school! (urrgh...)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New comics

"I'm interested in truth, I like science.  But truth's a menace, science is a public danger.  As dangerous as it's been benificent.  It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history.  China's was hopelessly insecure by comparison;  even the primitive matriarchies weren't steadier than we are.  Thanks, I repeat, to science.  But we can't allow science to undo its own good work.  That's why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches..."--Brave New World

Saturday afternoon I went to the Crowdreads Meetup at the Reference Library, except it turned out they didn't have it that week.  Just as well since the place was crammed for a comics festival.

That reminded me to visit the comics store The Beguiling. My father wrote me a $100 cheque for my birthday three months ago, I got around to depositing it last month, and I got around to spending it that day.

I bought four books.  One was a reprint of the excellent Frank Godwin's Connie, a rare 1930s adventure strip whose central protagonist was a woman! (This reprint has the story of her spy adventure in China.) I also got Shigeru Mizuki's Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths, a manga about his experiences fighting in World War II.  His four-part manga about Japan during Hirohito's reign is superb!

And I got two graphic novels by the unique Peter Bagge. One, which I've started reading, is Credo, about the life of Rose Wilder Lane, who helped her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder write the first two of her Little House books, then became a libertarian kook.  The other is Woman Rebel, about the life of Margaret Sanger, the birth control pioneer who founded Planned Parenthood and ultimately changed the world.

Today I finished breaking the sod to extend the garden, sooner than I feared.  The next challenge is to put as much of the topsoil as possible within the frames of the two beds and level it out.  We may be late with the planting, but this will help us be early next year.

Tonight I watched the DVD of Alfred the Great with the History Meetup. (Like Juarez, I bought it online.) Rather heavy-handed in a '60s way, best for the battle scenes at the beginning and end.

That Istanbul book is excellent!  Thomas F. Madden knows how to write history.