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James Whitcomb Riley

Posted on June 29th, 2017

Dave!I am not much for nostalgia or wishing I could return to bygone days, but I do love me some history. Studying world history is a byproduct of my world religions studies, and it always surprises me just how much I don't know about what's gone on in the world.

Take, for instance, James Whitcomb Riley.

I ran across a book by the guy this morning... The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, Volume VII. "Volume SEVEN?" I thought. How is it that a prolific author with seven volumes of works like this could be somebody I never heard of?

I kept digging and ultimately found out there were SIXTEEN TOTAL VOLUMES...

The Volumes of James Whitcomb Riley

I opened one up, was terribly unimpressed with what I scanned, and decided I would not need to be reading any of his works. But I did note his name on my iPhone so that I could look him up when I got home.

Which is now.

Turns out, I do know of him. I just didn't know I knew.

Ever heard of The Duck Test? — "When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."

TOTALLY THIS GUY!

Ever heard of Little Orphan Annie? It's based on a poem called Little Orphant Annie?

TOTALLY THIS GUY!

According to his Wikipedia page, James Whitcomb Riley was a literary giant back in the 1890's and remained hugely popular until his death in 1916. From Wikipedia:

Although Riley was wealthy from his books, he was able to triple his annual income by touring. He found the lure hard to resist and decided to return to the lecture circuit in 1892. He hired William C. Glass to assist Henry Eitel in managing his affairs. While Eitel handled the finances, Glass worked to organize his lecture tours. Glass worked closely with Riley's publishers to have his tours coincide with the release of new books, and ensured his tours were geographically varied enough to maintain his popularity in all regions of the nation. He was careful not to book busy schedules; Riley only performed four times a week and the tours were short, lasting only three months.

So, essentially, James Whitcomb Riley was a rock star before there were rock stars...

In 1895 Riley made his last tour, making stops in most of the major cities in the United States. Advertised as his final performances, there was incredible demand for tickets and Riley performed before his largest audiences during the tour. He and Sherley continued a show very similar to those that he and Nye had done. Riley often lamented the lack of change in the program, but found when he tried to introduce new material, or left out any of his most popular poems, the crowds would demand encores until he agreed to recite their favorites.

And what, pray-tell, qualifies as one of those favorites? Here ya go...

O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail
As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale;
When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky,
And my happy heart brimmed over in the days gone by.

In the days gone by, when my naked feet were tripped
By the honey-suckle’s tangles where the water-lilies dipped,
And the ripples of the river lipped the moss along the brink
Where the placid-eyed and lazy-footed cattle came to drink,
And the tilting snipe stood fearless of the truant’s wayward cry
And the splashing of the swimmer, in the days gone by.

O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The music of the laughing lip, the luster of the eye;
The childish faith in fairies, and Aladdin’s magic ring—
The simple, soul-reposing, glad belief in everything,—
When life was like a story, holding neither sob nor sigh,
In the golden olden glory of the days gone by.

Well, he's no Walt Whitman, but okay.

I guess if they didn't have a Nintendo back then, this was as good as it got.

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One Hundred Sixteen

Posted on June 15th, 2017

Dave!Thanks to ceiling fans and evening ventilation, I have yet to turn on the air conditioner this year despite having some 90°+ days.

Needless to say, I'm ecstatic. Next to heating, running the air conditioner is the most expensive use of electricity I have. It can easily approach $100 per month if I'm not careful. Like last year when, apparently, I really liked being cool on hot days. This year I can't afford not to be careful, hence my ecstatic nature.

Next week this time I will be in Las Vegas for some meetings and to visit friends. The temperature there has consistently been over 100° with the forecast calling for a high of 116°... that's ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN DEGREES.

Fortunately I am not paying for that air conditioning.

In other news, I finally got my hands on the Wonder Woman: The Art and The Making of the Film book...

Wonder Woman: The Art of The Making of The Film Book

I love these kind of movie books... especially for the Marvel super-hero films and the Disney/Pixar films. I usually end up buying all of them, as the "how" is sometimes even more interesting than the movies themselves. This one is no exception. The production values on Wonder Woman were incredible, and seeing all the thought behind some of the decisions made just adds to the experience.

Of particular interest is the design for Themiscyra, home of the Amazons. If you've seen the film, you can just imagine.

And if you've seen the film and like it as much as I do, then checking out this book is a must.

   

So What If It’s True

Posted on May 8th, 2017

Dave!I am very pleased to announce that Thrice Publishing (the Not For Profit company behind Thrice Fiction Magazine) has released their second book publication... So What If It's True.

This remarkable collection of poems, letters, and writings by the late Lorri Jackson is a lush snapshot of street culture in 1980's Chicago as edited by Thrice co-founder RW Spryszak and designed by Thrice co-founder David Simmer II (yours truly)...

Lorri Jackson So What If It's True

You can read more about the book over at Thrice Publishing.

And if you'd like to order a copy, you can purchase it at Amazon with free 2-Day Prime shipping (for Prime members) or at the CreateSpace Store.

Thanks to everybody for your continued support!

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Profoundly Perfect

Posted on February 13th, 2017

Dave!This afternoon as I was mentally preparing myself to drive home a day earlier than planned, I saw a kid with a Curious George backpack walk by. As I've mentioned numerous times, Curious George is a personal hero of mine, and any time I see him being embraced by a new generation, it's worth celebrating.

Which reminds me of my GoodReads review of one of my favorite books ever...

Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margret Rey, H.A. Rey
★★★★★
Recommended to David by: God
Recommended for: All Humanity
   
Dave!After re-reading "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" I am convinced that it is the peak of literary perfection, unmatched by any other human accomplishment. The entire spectrum of drama is fully represented in a tale so filled with wonder and delight as to make all other books redundant. The fact that the story's wealth of knowledge and inspiration is so remarkably accessible to persons of most any age is surely a testament to the unarguable brilliance of Margret & H.A. Rey. I loathe to attribute something as mundane as a "Star Rating" to such a transcendentally significant work which redefines the boundaries of human/primate existence, and so eloquently conveys the folly and ultimate triumph of monkeykind... but if forced to do so under the GoodReads review standard, I offer TWENTY-SIX STARS (of which only five are be visible for some reason). You owe it to yourself... nay, you owe it to ALL HUMANITY... to read this literary masterwork and thrill to the sublime illustrated artistic triumphs which accompany it. "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" is, quite simply, the most profoundly perfect book ever created, and shall undoubtedly remain so until the end of time.

Yes. It really is that good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my cats are crawling all over me because my being gone for two days apparently felt like it was two months.

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Bullet Sunday 484

Posted on December 4th, 2016

Dave!Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!...

for behold! An all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Groot! There can be no greater news on the internet right now than the new teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn't open until May and I already want to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3...

   
• Less. Having a mortgage wouldn't be so bad if nothing would ever break down and require expensive repairs. But it does. About every two months. And just when you think everything that has broken down has broken down and been fixed? Along comes something new. Which is why a letter for my lender was cause for excitement...

LETTER: "Congratulations! Your mortgage payment has gone down!"
ME: "No way!"
LETTER: "Way!"
ME: "NO! WAY!"
LETTER: "YES WAY!"
ME: "Dude, sweet!"
LETTER: "We're deducting $4.15 from your payment starting next month."
ME: "Fuck you, Letter."

...or not.

   
• Fixed? I love the HGTV series Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna's design aesthetic and rapport makes for a great show... especially if you're into home renovation like I am. And while I am able to mentally divide my entertainment personality's personal life from their work... it's really tough to watch the show knowing that they attend a church which would happily push conversion therapy on their four kids should any of them be gay. How can you support that?

Fixer Upper.

Even if the Gaines's don't advocate conversion therapy or aren't opposed to marriage equality... they (assumably) financially support a church that does. They are a part of the segment of society persecuting LGBT persons and, more specifically LGBT youth, just for being who they are. And it's this part of our society which is responsible for the toxicity behind the epidemic of suicides among our gay youth. They listen to the idiotic rhetoric of a church like this and think nobody... including God... will accept them as they are and see no way out. No amount of Texas charm or design sense can compensate for that.

   
• Our Dolphin. Here it is... the first book out of Thrice Fiction Magazine's Thrice Publishing. It is a wonderful, wonderful novella by Joel Allegretti that I'm incredibly proud to have had a small part in unleashing on the world...

Fixer Upper.

Order a copy for your holiday reading list... or order a dozen for gifts that are sure to be appreciated! Click here to get Our Dolphin at Amazon.

   
• Crazy. I don't know what's more shocking. That Fake Jake pounded into the catio at a full-on sprint across the back yard... or that Real Jake just sat there at the point of impact and watched it happen without even blinking...

Jenny is still scared of Fake Jake's crazy antics... but Jake is all "meh" about it now.

   
• DST. Global humiliation, domestic devastation, and the threat of nuclear war would all be worth it if President Trump abolishes clock changes and makes Daylight Savings Time permanent this coming Spring. Just sayin'.

   
Well, I guess that's it for bullets. Probably. I dunno. Maybe in an hour I'll come back and add ten more.

   

Cross-Section

Posted on May 4th, 2016

Dave!It's Star Wars Day! May The Fourth Be With You!

Interestingly enough, Star Wars has been on my mind a lot lately because I'm finally getting around to looking at all the cool books I bought when The Force Awakens was unleashed. By far my favorite has been Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections.

I've long been a huge fan of cross-section illustrations. It all started when I bought a cross-section poster of the USS Enterprise when the movie franchise was started. It was glorious, and made the ship (thus the show) seem more real to me...

USS Enterprise Cross-Section Poster

It was around that time that I discovered the incredible books by Stephen Biesty. He did many amazing illustrations of both fantasy, history, and contemporary places and things. I spent hours looking through as many as I could find...

Stephen Biesty Cross-Section Illustration

Stephen Biesty Cross-Section Illustration

Biesty led me to a love of all things David Macaulay, who isn't so much a cross-section artist, but an illustrator who excels at explaining things. He even had his own TV show which supplemented documentary-style looks at cool stuff like the pyramids with his illustrations...

But I digress...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections is a book filled with exactly what you'd think it would be filled with... amazing illustrations of all things Star Wars cut away to show inside and how they work...

Star Wars Cross-Section

Star Wars Cross-Section

And yes, this is the infamous book that showed how Han Solo installed a kitchen for Princess Leia that had the internet up in arms a while back. Though, to be honest, I never saw this as sexist... I just saw it as Leia refusing to live like savages...

Star Wars Cross-Section

   
Anyway... even if you're not a massive cross-sections fan like myself, if you're a Star Wars fan, this book is still definitely worth a look...

Star Wars Cross-Section

You can get your own copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections for pretty cheap... it's just $14 at Amazon.

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Thrice Fiction 16

Posted on April 23rd, 2016

Dave!Hey!

Hey, you!

Like reading stories and looking at art?

You do? I'm not surprised. Did you know that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction is now available? And did you know you can download it absolutely FREE from our website?

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

If you didn't, now you do! Go check it out, won't you? We're now sixteen issues strong, and every issue is available absolutely FREE for immediate download...

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

I'll be back next week to discuss the works that appear in the issue. In the meanwhile, enjoy!

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