Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven
- Name: Frank Denton
- Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004
The crowds have been stupendous. One day this last week it was estimated that there were a million people by the side of the road. Most are cheering the riders on, no matter the country they are from. But sometimes I think they are crazy and are going to cause serious injury to the riders. This was especially true on time trial days. They crowded the route, barely giving a lane for the rider to get through. They wave flags in their faces, run along side and generally encourage a rider. But, as Lance Armstrong said in an interview, sometimes they spit on riders and throw water bottles at them.
Lance Armstrong should win again this year, for an unprecedented sixth time. No one has won that many Tours. A couple of riders have won five times. When I left home for a weekend at our cabin Lance was ahead by a total of 4:05 minutes with three days to go. It is incredible to watch his leg speed on the climbs. It seems never to vary. I was once upon a time casual bike rider. I cannot conceive the condition these riders must be in and stand in awe of that rate. Of course credit must go to Lance’s team, U.S. Postal, for allowing him to win. They have set the pace for him every day.
Other riders have put in incredible rides. Jan Ulrich from Germany originally was thought to be a challenge to Armstrong, Ivan Basso from Italy challenged him for a couple of tough days in the mountains, and Thomas Voelker held the yellow jersey for ten days. The mountains and an unorthodox climbing style undoubtedly did him in. But all the riders are champions in my view. Three grueling weeks. I’m sorry I’m not at home where I can watch the end of this race inParis.
You may note a discrepancy between the time these are posted and the time they are written. Electricity at the cabin but no telephone connection. So I write ‘em when I can and post ‘em when I can. I did arrive home Sunday night to see a replay of the final sprint through Paris and to see Lance on the podium for the 6th straight time. Stupendous! Sorry this is a bit out of date.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Another Texan and another writer is James Reasoner. James has been a writer of westerns and Civil War stories since 1976. He’s a recent friend whom I met at a Bouchercon in San Antonio a couple of years back. He loves collecting pulps, westerns in particular, and western movies . Read how many pages a day he writes when he’s on a roll. It exhausts me to read about it. You can find Rough Edges at: http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com.
Another writer with an expansive website is Ed Gorman. Ed writes both mysteries and westerns. If you like those genres, Ed’s books are very very good. Buried early on in Ed’s website is the link to Ed’s Place, Ed’s blog. You’ll find all kinds of interesting things here, including others commenting on what Ed has said or sometimes entering short essays of their own. Find Ed’s Place at http://www.EdGorman.com/edsplace/index.html or simply click on the link at his wesite: http://www.EdGorman.com/
Bob Sabella is not a writer, at least not a full-time writer, although he does write science fiction short stories. He’s a full time high school mathematics teacher and devoted to his family as well as his students. He sometimes writes about his special Asian students who are in honors classes. But he also writes about other interesting things, science fiction and fantasy and Bastille Day among them. Check Out of the Depths, Bob’s blog out at:http://bobsabella.blogspot.com/ http://adamofsf.blogspot.com/
Finally I can’t pass up the blog of a fellow I don’t know. He is Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. and his blog is called Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. His blogs tend to be longer than that of most bloggers. He is an incredible font of knowledge about movies, old and new, and about old time radio. And he displays wonderful links to place that will keep you occupied for days, movies, old time radio organizations, even some download sites for old time radio. Thrilling Days of Yesteryear can be found at: http://blogs.salon.com/0003139/
There you have it. Good blog-reading!
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
She asked me where I was 49 years ago today. It brought up this story. My parents were not feeling well. Anna said we should go out and prepare dinner for them. She was having pains and the farther we away we got from the hospital the more I questioned her wisdom. We got there, she prepared the meal, and sat down to eat. She explained later that she wouldn’t get to eat for a long time. We hurried back to the city, I dropped her off at the hospital, then continued on to deliver the two boys to their other grandparents. By the time I got back to the hospital our daughter, Shannon, had been born. Exciting, what?
On another note, I’ve been meaning to reread the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. This seems like a good night to begin.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
How did Bobby Fischer, chess master, become Bobby Fischer, international criminal? Well, it happened this way. A rematch was called for in 1992. Bobby Fischer went to Jugoslavia (remember Jugoslavia?) against the express wishes of Immigration or the State Department or some such. Bobby went anyway. Beat Boris again and won 3.3 million dollars. He’s been flitting from country to country ever since and Immigration has been unsuccessfully tracking this elusive criminal. Now, I’m the first to admit that Bobby has said some harsh things about the United States since he’s been on the run. Not nice things. But since when has dissent and saying, nay even swearing, about our government been a crime? I do it every day. And how much money has our government spent in pursuing this ruthless felon? Oh, my, I do run on. Well, now that they’ve arrested Bobby trying to board a plane in Japan, I can sleep better at night.
Monday, July 19, 2004
As we were driving home later that evening, we saw flashing lights ahead. I slowed because there were people by the side of the road, some walking on the verge. As we drew closer I could see that there were three State Patrol cars and three motorcycles. Two guys were sitting on a guard rail. I was busy driving but Anna spotted something covered with a blanket. Undoubtedly it was the third rider. And they only cover somebody completely when they're dead. It was quite sobering. I don't think it was the same three riders that I had seen earlier. But if the wheelie rider happened by, it might have given him something to think about.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Lorna Doone and Exmoor
A copy of R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone. It was published by Harpers in 1903. It contained something like 44 black-and-white photographs. It had no dust jacket but a wonderful illustrated cover and spine very much like the designs of William Morris, the English designer and craftsman. The book is not a first edition nor is it particularly expensive, listed at only $22.
Lorna Doone has been one of my favorite books for a long time. Along with Stevenson's Treasure Island and Rudyard Kipling's Kim, it's a book I need to read every few years. What is the attraction, you ask? On our very first trip to England in 1971 we tried to see everything. Who knew when we would ever be back. So it was pretty much a trip on the dead run. One evening, after a day spent touring up the west coast of Cornwall, we found ourselves in the town of Lynton in Devon. The owner of the B&B in which we found lodging recommended that we see the moor, Exmoor. The next day we drove out to the moor, sampling its vastness, its quiet and its solitude, visiting Oare Church where we read that John Ridd and Lorna were married and John was shot by Carver Doone. Well, I had to read the book.
When we returned to England two years later I told my wife that we must spend at least five days exploring Exmoor. And we have spent at least five days every trip since. There have been twelve. So I guess we've spent nearly two months on Exmoor. The photographs in the book I was handling are photos of places used by Blackmore in the novel; Dulverton, Porlock, the Cheese Ring near Lynton, Lynmouth with The Rising Sun Hotel, and of course, the Water Slide and Doone Valley. We've hiked into the isolated and hidden Doone Valley several times.
Funny thing. Blackmore was an extremely popular writer and his books were printed in the tens of thousands. Yet these days they are hard to come by. Lorna Doone is readily available in many editions, including paperback. But I've only been able to acquire Perlycross, Springhaven, and The Maid of Sker. When I've asked proprietors of book stores in England they always say, "we have a waiting list. Would you like us to put your name on it?" Anyway, it was joy to handle the book. Did I buy it? After all, I get a 20% discount. No. I already have three copies, one bound in fiull parchment, with many, many steel engraved illustrations. And this one had much too fine print for these old eyes.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
I've just finished reading
I've been listening to several cuts each night with earphones. It made the book more enjoyable as I read about Bessie Smith, Lonnie Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Willie Dixon and Josh White, contemporaries of Robert Johnson and often more popular and better known. And I did get to attend a concert by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, who were just a little later. Blues has come a long ways since then. It got electrified and developed different styles, Chicago style, Piedmont style, west coast style. But there will always be a delta style, where it all began.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
But stranger yet was what we viewed along with these movies. One person had found a number of episodes from very early television series. Black and white. We watched two episodes of Tales of Tomorrow, which I had never heard of. We also saw three episodes of Mr. and Mrs. North. Another fellow had brought Shotgun Slade, an early western series and we saw two episodes of that. I had run across a DVD of The Return of Chandu, a Saturday matinee serial and we sat still for four episodes, though not all at once. Finally yet another guy had a tape which contained Black and Tan, a 1933 short subject shown in movie theaters and featuring a young Duke Ellington and his band.
All in all, it was quite a varied program. I would rather it had been all movies, preferably some I had not seen. But I enjoyed seeing the old stuff. A little goes a long ways.
Monday, July 12, 2004
This week I found a real puzzle. Along a stretch of fairly moist sand, elk tracks were easily seen. What was peculiar about these tracks was that there was a single line of them. The last time I saw an elk it had four legs and four hooves, two on each side. Here was this single line of hoof prints and there should have been a second set parallel to the first. Nothing but smooth sand. A real enigma. To make up for this, one early afternoon we saw three young deer, two does and a young buck, with single spikes. Obviously these three are siblings, I thought. And it won't be long before the buck goes off alone. But then I remembered that a doe usually bears one or two fawns. I don't think three. So how did these three get together?
Wildflowers abound along the road nearby, white field daisies with their golden centers, tall stalks of foxglove and wild sweet peas. I found a low plant with red lacey leaves which my friend, Dan, thinks is stinky geranium. I picked a leaf to dry between the pages of a book. I'm curious to know whether it will hold the red color. And then I found a mutant fern. Well, not quite. It didn't glow in the dark. Nor attack. But it was almost white, having very little chlorophyll. Well, I guess that's enough of a nature tour for one day.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Monday, July 05, 2004
On another note I wrote a blog here the other day but it didn't show up. I may try to recover it and re-post.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Friday, July 02, 2004
The other item that fascinated me was the report of Cassini's approach to Saturn and the maneuvering that Nasa accomplished in getting the spacecraft through the rings. Sure, there was a 270-mile space between the rings through which they had to maneuver the craft, but NASA engineers were also a long ways away. It must have been delicate. I watched the faces of the engineers in the lab as they accomplished this and could see the excitement on their faces. And the spokeswoman later said that this was more important than most laypersons could possibly envision. They hope to find more about the birth of the universe. Well done, NASA. You've taken a lot of heat in the past few years. Maybe this makes up for some of it.