Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
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My Something Old today is Margery Allingham's Albert Campion series.

It's amazing I got to the age of 52 without knowing about Margery Allingham.

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I've always loved a good mystery. I was fortunate enough to be the right age to watch the PBS series Mystery! in the eighties, and, of course, I was fond of Sherlock Holmes from my adolescence on (Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Holmes remains one of my favorites). When I got to college, I discovered Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels, via my best friend at the time, and film noir, via my literary theory class which happened to be taught by a feminist film critic. The Big Sleep remains one of my favorite movies, despite the fact that not all the plot lines are resolved (I think one murder actually remains unsolved by the end of the movie).

My relationship with detective fiction changed when I got to grad school. I was stressed out, and needed an outlet. I didn't have a television, and had been used to going to books to relieve my anxiety in any case (a habit I brought from childhood). However, since I was going for an English PhD, most books no longer alleviated stress. It's more like they brought it on. Nothing that I might work on professionally provided an escape (which, unfortunately, had the long-term effect of vastly decreasing the number of novels I read. I probably would read more novels now had I not become an English PhD).

So, while I was in grad school, I took refuge in little-regarded genres that I would be unlikely to work on: science fiction, fantasy, and, above all, detective fiction. I was obsessed for some time with Travis McGee, because I was missing Florida terribly, and I have (I think) all John D. MacDonald's McGee books.

That's what makes it remarkable that I never heard of Margery Allingham until this year. Props to my mother for turning me on to her.

Allingham is one of the three queens of golden age detective fiction (the others being Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers). While I don't think she's as good as Sayers, I'm extremely partial to Sayers and think that The Nine Tailors is one of the best books I've read, so it's not exactly an insult to Ms. Allingham to say so. Her detective is Albert Campion, apparently once believed to be a parody of Peter Wimsey (Sayers' detective). He is not, but he does have similar habits of speech--persiflage, really--except sillier than Sayers' detective.

Campion is a minor character in the book The Crime at Black Dudley, published in 1929. Like Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, he began as a minor character that was so engaging and popular that he became the hero of the tale. My favorite so far is Look to the Lady. I do recommend these books for all those who, like me, turn to detective fiction, and mystery fiction generally, for anxiety relief.

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Something New
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For once I have something really fine for my Something New. This was done by musicians from my hometown, most still living here, some having transplanted far away. I think it's beautiful and it made me cry. I am hereby giving warning that it may make others cry as well. It's a song one of our local artists wrote about covid19. It is neither horrific and grim nor saccharine, so it's batting 1,000 for me (I generally don't like songs written in response to things like this--the songs written in response to 9/11 were mostly pretty awful). However, everybody I know who's watched it has cried, so consider yourselves warned!

This sort of epitomizes what I love about my hometown.

Something Borrowed
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This is something I didn't know. I always assumed that doughnuts came from Germany or Austria. Apparently they are a Dutch import.

"...doughnuts arrived on our shores in Manhattan as Dutch olykoeks, or oily cakes. In the mid-19th century, the fried pastries got their name from a New England ship captain’s mother Elizabeth Gregory, who infused her dough with imported spices of nutmeg and cinnamon and put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center – literally, dough nuts. How the nuts got replaced by simple holes is a matter of dispute, but doughnuts got a boost in popularity after World War I from the soldiers who’d enjoyed them as a token of home in the European trenches, and the invention of the first doughnut machine in 1920."

https://blog.cheapism.com/american-food-origins/#slide=10

That's interesting, because it means that a European invention, tinkered with and altered a bit by an American from New England, was then re-imported to Europe to console American soldiers in World War I!

I had never heard of oilycakes. I'm guessing we're not talking about non-fried, baked donuts. But I do wonder if Elizabeth Gregory was making a fried cake doughnot, or the raised, airy kind sold most famously at Krispy Kreme.

Something Blue
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I've been listening to a video of a remarkable concert held at the Fillmore in San Francisco in the eighties. Holy shit. The people who were there were very, very lucky!

Giants of blues here--John Lee Hooker, Etta James and others playing, interestingly, with Carlos Santana!

Anybody know how this happened? What a wonderful blessing.

Do yourself a favor and watch all the way to the end, where Etta James and John Lee Hooker sing a duet in the song "Tell Mama."

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that witnessed/recorded the George Floyd murder.
What would I do in the same situation?
How could they fail to physically intervene?
I understand the fact that the fascist storm troopers were armed.
How many people were there watching?
It looked like the witnesses may have outnumbered the storm troopers.
Would I have the guts to intervene?
Almost 9 minutes passed during the murder of George Floyd.
The shock of that situation unfolding before them must have been enormous.
What would the people do if someone called them to action?
Would a born leader who called them to action have been able to change the outcome?
Would it be a "Lets Roll" moment?
I am wondering how much injustice it takes to provoke immediate action from bystanders?
Have we all become "Good Germans" ?
Disturbing thoughts are swirling in my head today as they should be at a time like this.

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magiamma's picture

@jbob
From abc. https://abcnews.go.com/US/george-floyd-protest-updates-joe-biden-nationw...

And a number of the press have been attacked by forces

A list from the guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/may/30/george-floyd-protes...

The link is in the report. I can’t copy it.

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boriscleto's picture

@magiamma After 7 hours of peaceful protest the police decided to have a "riot". It wasn't a huge protest, about 200 people. The police fortified the "Justice Center" and some shopping centers.

Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, same story.

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@boriscleto

for the authorities (and others) when there are large protests. Military suppression (by troops or cops) is the obverse of their strategy; infiltration and sabotage the reverse.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Deja's picture

@boriscleto
I ran across a tweet screenshot on Reddit that claimed that pallets of bricks were delivered to downtown Dallas, near upscale stores on Friday afternoon/evening iirc. Of course, I can't verify the validity, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Yes, it's in r/conspiracy because that's the only place on Reddit it's allowed, pretty much. In the comments someone claims that Hillary is scheduled to testify on Tuesday and this "planned and organized" rioting is a distraction from that. Cannot verify it myself.

There are other posts mentioning similar in Denver, and another claiming that the "Stay Home" tab was removed from Reddit once the protests started. Again, I cannot confirm.

https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/gtdcqo/the_riots_in_dallas_...

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ggersh's picture

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this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

"“Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families."

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@magiamma

the press as good guys. Of course, painting the press as the good guys has been a major endeavor for the past four years. By the end of this (if it ends), everyone left of Trump will view CNN and MSNBC as bastions of democracy populated by heroes.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@jbob

Or, I might have stood there frozen like a frightened rabbit. No way to tell until you're in it.

The catch is that one person intervening stands no chance. Two, the same. Three, the same. You have to get enough people that you can overwhelm the armed men regardless of them having guns and riot gear and you having nothing. Getting those people and getting them on the same page requires high levels of organization and planning, which means that it would be immeasurably helpful to know what you're preparing for--to know when and where something bad is going to happen.

If you don't know when and where something bad is going to happen ahead of time, it becomes, generally speaking, a matter of crowd psychology, which is highly unpredictable. I mean by that, not that you can't predict a range of likely responses from a crowd, nor that you can't predict which of those responses are more likely. I mean that you can't know how the crowd will react in any specific moment.

So what it comes down to, as it so often does, is this: are you willing to risk death to accomplish something when there's no guarantee that you will accomplish that thing before you die, and no guarantee that your death will accomplish it either? You're offering your life in exchange for a chance to roll the dice on the behavior of others in the crowd. Most people aren't willing to do that, unless they have gotten to a point where they don't care about consequences.

Rushing the cops either represents carefully-planned, resource-intensive strategy, or a convulsion. The in-between, where one or two people register what's happening and rationally decide to go (try and) stop it, is ineffectual unless it inspires the rest of the crowd to follow suit. And you simply can't predict how the crowd will react.

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10 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lookout's picture

There are a few Campion episodes on youtube...

part 2 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Byla7DDKCM

The actor also played Tristen on All Creatures and The Doctor

Hope you're all doing well!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

I wondered if you would see anybody you knew in the video. You probably know more musicians from around here than I do.

Although I do know David Beede from open mike at a coffeehouse he and Kate Bostrum ran in the late 80s.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

all the info. and the music. I was an aficionado of detective fiction in my youth, and then binge read it massively in the mid seventies. I've also never heard of Ms. Allingham and Mr. Campion, so I guess I'll have to take a look. Maybe I can slip some in amid all of my catch-up reading.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

Did you happen to attend that concert at the Fillmore? I'm so envious of everybody who went.

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2 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

was kind of famous for putting together events like that, often on special occasions so it may well have been one. Etta did perform with John Lee many times, fwiw, but that was Butterfield on harp, and the guy in the bib overalls and raggedy western hat was Elvin Bishop, so that makes it that much more likely that it was something special.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

Having begun my mystery reading by selecting books from my Mother’s bookshelf. I have a theory of why I especially enjoy mystery novels. Unlike the world around me, Hercule Poirot takes an incomprehensible situation and makes sense of it. Viola!

Thanks for the recommendations of Margaret Allingway’s work.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

I also think it's about defeating the use of force with the use of wits, something highly appealing to me (most of the time).

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3 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I like that idea!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

lotlizard's picture

File under Something Blue: “Woad” used to be the go-to plant for blue dye in Europe until, with increased trade with India, indigo came along and replaced it.

https://duckduckgo.com/q=Thuringia+woad+dye

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard

The "Something Blue" is always the hardest to find. "Something New" is second-hardest, because I won't put nasty, crappy stuff into this series.

As always, good to "see" you. Hope things are better over the pond than here.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@lotlizard

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

lotlizard's picture

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that boogie belongs in EL's daily jam!

Also, a couple thousand people times 29 cities
and there we have over 50,000 rioters burning down
the cop shops! Just getting started now. Going to get real
hot this summer...

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lotlizard's picture

http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/

UNCLE HUGO'S AND UNCLE EDGAR'S FOULLY SLAIN!

May 30, 2020

Hello loyal Uncles fans,

The photo above was taken this morning. 2864 Chicago Ave as viewed from the sidewalk across the street.

. . .

Since Chicago Ave. was full of dancing rioters, broken glass, and flaming debris, I went down the alley and took Lake St. home. There were blocks of Lake St. where every building was blazing. No sign of any cops, national guard troops, or any help.

I'm pretty sure the insurance policy excludes damage from a civil insurrection, so I suspect I won't get a cent for either the building or the contents.

 
Note: Statements by authorities that most persons arrested for rioting were out-of-state seem to have been retracted and superseded in the meantime. TV station KARE said that arrest records showed most arrestees were logged as having a Minnesota address.

https://www.kare11.com/article/news/investigations/kare-11-investigates-...

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Deja's picture

@lotlizard
I'm pretty sure they all, including auto insurance, have exclusions for that. It's been decades since I worked in personal lines insurance (auto, home, flood, etc.), but it was excluded back then. Just like rising water from a storm surge, caused by a hurricane, is not covered (gotta have special flood policy for that). I don't know if "riot" policies exist.

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