Notes on A Study in Scarlet

Or, more properly, Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department. I think this is telling: a medical doctor giving an account of a miracle worker. Nevertheless, Sherlock Holmes is introduced to us, not so much as a study of an extraordinary character (the product of Doyle’s extraordinary Late Victorian Era imagination), but as a study of a sclerotic, injured, convalescing defender of the Queen’s Empire.

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A Riddle That Blossoms

It’s a poem I wrote, belonging to a couple of warriors in my book. They’ve just survived something horrible, and the anger and hatred which drove them to survive it–those emotions are giving way to a secondary primal emotion (if you will allow). The older warrior recalls a poem he learned as a younger man, introducing it to the younger with this sentence:

“It starts as a riddle, and then,” he paused for a moment, “it blossoms.”

I think it scans well. I hope you enjoy it.

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After Christmas every year, the city of Tonawanda floods Ives Pond Park, which is adjacent to the Comfort House, or Nachmu HQ. As soon as the persistent cold of deadly winter is forecast, a very predictable reality, in fact, city officials notify the DPW to close the drainage system of Ives Pond Park (which is a network of soccer fields and empty land in a four-foot deep depression dug out generations ago by a brick-making factory), and, once that is accomplished, they notify the water department to open the fire hydrant.

Between Christmas and the opening of the fire hydrant, anxiety rises throughout the city. Continue reading

Ode to the No. 8

It’s iron, the No. 8, cast iron, which makes using it a commitment. When you lift it, you are forced to reckon that muscles are going to be employed. Whenever I lift it, REM’s “Driver 8” leaps immediately to my mind, and I begin singing: “Driver 8, take a break/ take a break, Driver 8/ Driver 8, take a break, we can reach our destination.”

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Some Homemade Eggnog Tips and Tricks

Eggnog has got to be one of Nachmu’s all-time favorite Christmas delectables, so much so that I look forward to its custard-thick texture even during the sweltering July heat (such as it is in beautiful Tonawanda), and I suffer a massive letdown when the last gulp is a near memory. I’ve gotten to be something of an expert in making my own. You probably have your own recipe, readily at hand, so I’ll skip the actual recipe, and get you straight to a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Continue reading

My Favorite Shirt Hates Me

Why is this? There is a shirt in my wardrobe, a long-sleeve polo-style shirt, that makes me look horribly fat. When I wear it, I loathe myself and think all sorts of loathsome thoughts toward myself. I have seven or eight other shirts which are more flattering, or at least less unflattering, yet I choose to wear this particular shirt time and again: it’s my favorite shirt. The narrow horizontal green stripes are just the bees knees, I suppose, and I can’t resist adorning myself with it, no matter the effect it has on my self-image.