Monday, September 22, 2014

Sherlocking with Jim Cox

As a Sherlockian, I have the luxury of visiting fellow Sherlockians around the globe. Michael Whalen, Wiggins of the Baker Street Irregulars, once told me I was the Johnny Appleseed of the Sherlock Holmes world. It is rare, however, to have another Sherlockian visit me. This was the case recently when Californian Jim Cox flew in for a long weekend stay at my house. 

I fetched Jim at DFW International Airport. We then drove the few short miles to my house in Flower Mound. Joyce was there awaiting our arrival and after a few hugs and kisses we headed out for pizza. Jim and I have known each other for the better part of two decades. We have attended Sherlockian events on both coasts as well as in Kansas City, Omaha, and Minneapolis. I have been to San Francisco numerous times for work and for pleasure, but this was Jim’s first time to be at my place. We ate and then upon our return, we retired to the library.

Two amigos in the library.

Friday was a full workday for Joyce and me so we left Jim home, alone. He acted better than Macaulay Culkin on many levels. The Hobbs-House tradition, especially when out-of-town guests are involved is to go to Mia’s Tex-Mex on Friday night and stuff ourselves with their world famous Brisket Tacos. We stuck to our plan and Jim was thoroughly stuffed and impressed. We returned home for another round of perusing the library.

Saturday was free from any obligations except hitting as many bookstores as possible. Our first stop was 30 miles north in Denton, home of Recycled Books and Records. This place is one of those throwbacks to an era when used book shops were a mass of cluttered nooks and crannies, piled high with possible unknown treasures. It is one of those places that is impossible to explore without several hours. This is precisely what we had and did. Jim amassed a double-armful of books before we departed. Jim also discovered that the old adage ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas’ also applies to Sherlock Holmes, as the picture below proves. He was equally impressed when the owner of the shop came out to personally thank him (for dropping a wad of cash on an otherwise slow Saturday).
Everything, even Sherlock Holmes books are larger in Texas

Sunday was the regular monthly meeting of the Crew of the Barque LONE STAR. Jim had prepared a talk on Christopher Morley. The fellow shipmates were an attentive and interested audience. After the meeting, Dean Clark joined us at our house for dinner and more Sherlockian revelry. We ended the evening with copious amounts of red wine. Jim was left on his own again on Monday. He had a six o’clock plane to catch so I picked him up after work and drove him to the terminal.

Even though the four days flew past, we accomplished a great deal in the allotted time. It was mutually agreed that we would do it again before too long. Jim was already making plans to return in September and ride with me to Tulsa, where I will giving one of the talked for the Afghanistan Perceivers during their Fortieth Anniversary meeting on September 20. So with that, all I need to say now is…

Happy Blogging!



Friday, September 19, 2014

Sherlocking in Munich

Me and Richard Kiederle beneath the Angel of Peace statue
One of my favorite Sherlockian stories to tell is how I acquired my Inuit translation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. For those who are not familiar with it, here is the short version. My friend and fellow collector of foreign translations, Takahiko ENDO emailed me, asking if I had ever seen an Eskimo translation. When I answered no, he replied, telling of a fellow in Germany who had a picture of one on his website. That German Sherlockian was Richard Kiederle. So when I found out I was going to be working in Reutte, Austria, I quickly checked out my proximity to Richard. As the ways of a Sherlockian would have it, we were practically neighbors. A quick message of the Facebook and a face-to-face meeting was set for Munich, Germany on Saturday, August 30.

Life-Size Statue of Sherlock Holmes
We have looked at each other's pictures posted on Facebook but never met so Richard chose the spot beneath golden statue, The Angel of Peace (Friedensengel). He said he would be wearing a deerstalker. It was a no-miss opportunity. Needless to say we found each other without a problem. Right off of the bat, Richard handed me a large bag full of German anthologies with Canonical stories tucked away in each volume. He also gave me a hand-size puppet of Sherlock Holmes. This was really special because later in the day, I lost Finger Sherlock and Sock Monkey.

Richard lives nearby so he is quite familiar with Munich. We headed off to find some local books stores. All of a sudden I stopped and pointed up. It was another golden statue but this one was a life-size one of Sherlock Holmes. It was up on a wall in front of a private investigator's office. Even though he knows the city, he did not know this existed. It was just one of the many pleasant surprises we fell into that day.

We found several used bookshops but not a single one held any translations of Sherlock Holmes. Richard remembered there was a bookshop that specialized in mysteries but it had changed locations. So in this day and age, who needs phone books? We were able to find the shop using Richard's Smartphone. We found it was at the corner of Reichenbach Strasse and some other strasse but who remembers that one

By the time we left the bookshop, we were getting hungry. Richard insisted that we go to The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl. This is a beer hall originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Hofbräu brewery. The general public was admitted in 1828 by Ludwig I. We found a table in the beer garden and each ordered a beer. Each glass was the size of a small barrel. We ordered the traditional pork and potato dumplings. The entire day would have perfect except when I got ready to photograph Finger Sherlock and Socket, as we had been doing all day, they were both missing. Richard backtracked our meandering way from the The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl back the Kriminal bookstore but came back empty handed. I could not let this darken a marvelous day so I wrote it off as they decided they needed to live in Germany for the rest of their lives, so said auf viedershen!

Drinking and carrying on at The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl.

Richard and I finally said our good-bye in English and in German, vowing to meet again before too long. Another great Sherlockian adventure.

Happy Blogging!!







Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes

XIII: El perro de Baskerville

As an avid collector, I am constantly discovering ‘new’ editions. New being a relative word – some of the ‘new’ items I find might be decades old. Many of the things I find are quite mundane yet every once in awhile I come across something that really catches my eye. This is the case of a book I found nearly four years ago. I bought a copy of El Perro de Baskervilles with a very unusual cover. Much to my delight,when the book arrived I discovered it was volume XIII of a series called “Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes.” XIII is 13 for you folks that are Roman Numerically challenged.

I promptly begin searching for others in the series and over the next few months located and bought four more books from the series – III, VII, VIII, and XV (3, 7, 8, and 15). I also found cover images of three others – IV, X, and XI (4, 10, and 11). That is when the efforts to find more ran dry. Every few months I run searches and nothing ever turns up. The covers of these books are very stylized, sort of like El Greco meets Frederick Dorr Steele. But sadly the publisher gave no credit to the artist nor does the artist put their name any place visible on the cover art. Efforts to identify this wonderful artist have produced nothing.


VII: Sherlock Holmes sigue triumfando
VIII: El invincible Sherlock Holmes

1940s Zig-Zag Series

“Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes” was published by Editorial Zig-Zag in Santiago, Chile. This particular series came out in 1935. The publisher is still in business and throughout the years has done some remarkable series. One of their more interesting series, published in the mid 1940s, was “Coleccion “La Lantern”.”  This series also featured some very intriguing artwork. I will write more on this series at a later time.
XIV: La Banda moteada

Then last week, out of the blue, a book scout I use in Santiago, Chile emailed me. He had come across a copy of La Banda Moteada, volume XIV (14) in the series and asked if was I interested in buying it. Of course I replied and just yesterday the book arrived. Now I have six of the fifteen sitting on my shelves and it has renewed the challenge to find the missing nine volumes. These are the types of challenges that collectors love and are what stokes the fire even hotter. I know that one day I will complete this task but I also know, as a collector, there will always be more books to finds! 

Here is the complete of Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes and the rest of those wonderful covers:

Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes I: Un Crimen extraño
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes II: Triumfo de Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes III: Nuevos triunfos de Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes IV: El ciclista fantasma\
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes V: Cinco Hazañas de Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes VI: La Mas famosos hazañas de Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes VII: Sherlock Holmes sigue triumfando
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes VIII: El invincible Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes IX: Policia fina
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes X: Nuevas y últimas aventura de Sherlock Holmes
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes XI: El problema final
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes XII: La Resurreccion de Sherlock DH1
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes XIII: El perro de Baskerville
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes XIV: La Banda moteada
Aventuras de Sherlock Holmes XV: La Marca de los cuatro.

IV El ciclista fantasma
XI: El problema final
XV: La Marca de los cuatro
X: Nuevas y últimas aventura
de Sherlock Holmes

Happy Blogging!!

* These books are in my collection
** I just have cover scans of these books.  



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sherlocking at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science


When the Perot Museum of Nature and Science contacted the Crew of the Barque LONE STAR  Dallas’ Premiere Sherlockian Society about hosting a Murder Mystery for their Thursday hands-on lab night, the Crew jumped at the opportunity. After months of preparation, Thursday August 07 was when the fun began. The murder mystery created by the Crew’s Third Mate, Steve Mason, involved the murder of one of the museum’s wealthy donors. The participants were each given one of five packets. These packets contained clues including blood splatter patterns and fingerprints that help clear a suspect or indict them.

http://www.perotmuseum.org/

The evening started with a display table featuring all sorts of Sherlockiana. The next table was occupied by a team of Dallas Police Department fingerprint specialists. They were kept busy with a continuous line of youngsters waiting their turn to be fingerprinted. Oddly enough not very many adults opted for this part of the program. Steve gave a 15-minute slide-show on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. More than a dozen members of the Crew of the Barque LONE STAR were on hand to help with the arrangements and be stationed at various locations throughout the museum to help participants should they become stuck and need help. 

The Perot Museum is a modern four-story building, celebrating its 2nd anniversaryThe first part of the murder mystery packet was a trip to the 4th floor. There the participants, according to the Inspector’s name on their individual packet, looked for their first clue on one of five montages of characters. Each montage included a single image of Sherlock Holmes, a Sherlockian version of ‘Where’s Waldo.’ Once found, this allowed the 'Inspectors' to travel from floor to floor where they had to match fingerprints and blood splatters  from their packet with one of five on other floors. Each correct match revealed another clue.

The final part was traveling to each of the nine halls in the museum. On each packet, there were clues written down and beneath these clues were numbered spaces. The answers were found in each hall. The corresponding letter for each numbered space was written in the solution space at the bottom of the packet, like an acrostic puzzle. This revealed the murderer. It was very clever and the more than one-hundred participants seemed to enjoy themselves. With ages ranging from four to the eighties, it was quite a feat but then again, we are talking about it's creator being a Sherlockian so it should not be that much of a surprise..

We passed out free Sherlockian-related books and invitations to our monthly meeting. Ironically, the most liked feature of the evening was not the fingerprinting or even Sherlock Holmes. It was the green-taped outline of the murder victim. Nearly every child took their turn lying down inside the figure and trying their best to contort their bodies to match the figure outlined on the floor. It reminded me of Christmas when the kids had more fun with the box the toy came in than the toy itself.

It is our sincere hope to spark the interest in Sherlock Holmes and maybe even add a few new members to the Crew. Only time will tell.

Taped outline of the murdered, wealthy patron....awe.

The Crew of the Barque LONE STAR : Don Casey, Rusty Mason, Steve Mason, Marland Henderson, Stu Nelan, Finger Sherlock,  Bailey Bates, Don Hobbs, Heather Mason, Pam Mason, Jenny Bates, Brenda Hutchinson, Sharon Lowry.
Happy Blogging !!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sherlocking in Vienna

If there is anyone out there who reads my blog, you must be a very patient person. It has been nearly three months since my last post. I have not always been this lax. When Brad Keefauver and I were churning out SherlockPeoria as a weekly blog, I never missed a deadline. For 520 straight weeks, my article would be edited and complete and on time. It was send immediately to Brad and the new post  would be up on the web. I am quite proud of tat run in Sherlockian publishing.

It seems now days that I have more excuses than some pimplied youth explaining why their essay was not turned in on time - The Hound of the Baskervilles ate it; I was ironing and it burned up in a Silver Blaze; it was ran over by a Solitary Cyclist. Well, you get the picture. I won't use any of those excuses. Let's just say I am as busy as a one-armed Beekeeper.

My final deadline for the first book I am editing for the Baker Street Irregulars International Series, moved up by a year. I thought I had until 2016 and it turned out to be due before 2015. I am preparing my paper for the 2015 Japanese Sherlock Holmes Conference, where I will be one of the main speakers. I have completed a Power Point presentation for the Afghanistan Perceives' 40th Anniversary in September and I have written an article for Canadian Holmes. So you can see I have not been to much of a slacker, except when it comes to my own blog. It seems I have blogged down.

Finger Sherlock enjoying some sachertorte and Viennese coffee.
So now I am in Vienna, Austria for my job. Instead of going to the Freud or Mozart Museums, here I sit, blogging to my faithful followers, all 3 of you, my wife, my son, and my two daughters. They told me there would be no math involved with blogging. So I carried along my second favorite traveling companion, Finger Sherlock and we had quite a few adventures.

St. Stephen Cathedral
One of the more fascinating places I visited was St. Stephen's Cathedral, which the Viennese lovingly call "Steffl" and it is one of the city's main landmarks. This is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. There has been a church on the site since 1147. The building seen today was created in stages beginning in 1303. The south tower reaches a height of 450 feet. A companion north tower was never completed. Instead, a Renaissance-style dome was built in 1579 where the Pummerin, a 44,380 lb  bell made from the metal of cannons captured during the second Turkish siege of 1683 now sits.

Street vendors are a great place for a walking lunch as I can attest to several times over, but no trip would be complete with sampling a fine cup of Viennese coffee and eating a sachertorte. This is  a flourless chocolate cake served with whipped cream. There are too many museums to see in a lifetime but the Freud Museum is worth an analytically visit. There are also museums for Beethoven and Mozart.

I will leave you with these few tid-bits of to think about and who knows, I might post again in a few months.

Happy Blogging!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure


Somehow I believe the title of this play is misleading. Let's see a show of hands of all of you that think this will be the Last Adventure of the Great Detective? Just as I thought, not a single hand.

The Wyly Theatre is staging Steven Dietz's adaptation of the 1899 William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle play. This production is directed by Kevin Moriarty, need I go on? Okay, I will.

The Wyly Theatre is located in the heart of Dallas' Arts District and is an architectural marvel. The stage juts out into the seating area and is surround on three sides by the guests. This performance is broken into two acts separated by a 15-minute intermission.  The actors were superb and the sets were fantastic. The scene at Reichenbach left know doubts as to where it was for anyone that has been to the falls. The setting rooms and gas chamber were equally well crafted. The ingenious switch from locomotive to railway carriage was subtle but profound.

This brings us to the play itself. It never seemed to taken its own life. Maybe it was Moriarty's direction but something seemed just slightly lacking. All said, however, I would suggest anyone that have not seen it, head downtown Dallas and attend.  The play runs through May 25 but somehow I feel it won't be Sherlock Holmes' Final Adventure.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Occitan

Lo Gossàs dels Baskervilles  2014. 

Last week I received an email from my friend and fellow collector Takahiko ENDO directing me to a webpage that showed a translation of the Hound of the Baskervilles in what appeared to be a language we were not familiar with. As I delved deeper, I discovered the book was translated into the language Occitan. Quickly, I added it to my database for the Galactic Sherlock Holmes as the 101st language with a Canonical translation. It was premature excitement on my part.

As is turns out, Occitan is a new language (in the Sherlockian translation sense) but I have Gascon listed which turns out to a dialect of Occitan. I have corrected the Galactic Sherlock Holmes making Occitan as the language and the two Gascon editions are now listed under it with notes stating that is is a dialect not a different language.

The source I use in determining languages is Ethnologue. This is what they say about Occitan and Gascon. There are a total of 218,310 speaker of Occitan. In France the speakers are in the Auvergne, Gascogne, Languedoc, Limousin, and Provence provinces. There are other speakers in Andorra, Spain, and Portugal.  Occitan is classified as an Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc language. There are several dialects including Auvergnat (Auverne, Auvernhas), Gascon, Languedocien (Langadoc, Languedoc, Lengadoucian), Limousin (Lemosin), Provençal (Alpine Provençal, Mistralien, Prouvençau, Provençal). Highly fragmented dialect situation, with limited intelligibility between some varieties.

Lo Chanhàs deus Baskervilles 2001
The two editions published in the dialect of Gascon are both listed in the Galactic Sherlock Holmes. I have added the images of those two book as well as the Occitan edition. I suppose the confusion initially started because in Gascon the title is Lo Chanhàs deus Baskervilles  and in Occitan it is Lo Gossàs dels Baskervilles. In the language Catalan, the title is El gos dels Baskerville. Catalan is very similar to Occitan and it is classified as an Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, East Iberian language. The only difference is Occitan is Oc and Catalan is East Iberian. The rest of their classifications are identical.

There are about a dozen other languages spoken in France. One of those languages, Breton has published the Hound. Throughout Europe, there seems to be a push to revive older, regional languages. Let us hope there are more Sherlockians out there willing to keep the memory green in these languages. It is always exciting for my hobby, pursuing the next Sherlockian translation and adding it to my collection.

Happy Collecting!!
Lo Chanhàs deus Baskervilles 2012