For too many years now, we've had a huge leather sofa in the family room that I've wanted to get rid of. Don't get me wrong-- when we bought it, we liked it. But that new, warm, fuzzy feeling gradually wore out, and I came to think of the thing as the Black Hole. You know-- something so big that it seems to suck all the space out of a room. I wanted it gone, but kept quiet not knowing how the other half of this couple felt about it.
When I saw the two men who came to take the Black Hole away, I couldn't help but be reminded of how that piece of furniture got in the house in the first place. Four "big, strapping lads" wrestled it into the house, took a look at the interior door it had to go through, did a lot of grumbling, huffing, and puffing, and declared that it wouldn't go through the door. I calmly replied, "Yes, it will if you take the feet off." They disagreed. More time was wasted. Then after giving me plenty of stink eye, they took the feet off the couch and got it placed right where I wanted it.
Two much smaller, much older men came to take the Black Hole away. One man was so small he reminded me a bit of a garden gnome, and he couldn't walk, just shuffle. Know what? Those two men rapidly got the Black Hole out of the house with complete ease and with smiles on their faces. Those four big strapping lads of years past should be ashamed of themselves. And it just goes to show what a huge difference an attitude can make. We were so happy with those two that we wished we had more furniture to haul away.
Denis and I rearranged our recliners and other peripherals, and we are thrilled at how big the room seems now-- almost big enough to hold a masquerade ball complete with full orchestra. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But... what a difference!
I'd better mosey out to the corral. Last I heard, the links were wanting some spring cleaning done, too. What did I get myself into?
►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
- The book illustration competition for Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle.
- Many other husbands have succeeded, but Charles Dickens couldn't get 'er done. Two articles about a recovered trove of letters that reveal that the author tried to lock his wife away in an asylum. One from the UK's Daily Mail. The other from Smithsonian Magazine.
- In partnership with G.P. Putnam's Sons, the Mystery Writers of America has created the Sue Grafton Memorial Award.
- How random @#*%!$ characters (AKA grawlixes) became common censor-avoiding replacements for profanity.
- Great Depression food sacks became a necessary (and marketable) fashion. (I remember going with my grandparents to estate sales held out on farms and seeing all sorts of things made from food sacks.)
- Some background on Tana French's The Witch Elm: Who put Bella in the wych elm?
- Two retired female cops talk fiction versus reality.
- How a specific scene in Silence of the Lambs was structured to reveal a lot about each character.
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
- The perfectly preserved 2,000-year-old Chinese sword that doesn't have a single trace of rust.
- Archaeologists, Mayanists, and Hershey's collaborated to reveal this ancient vessel's secrets.
- For you Egyptology fans: Hatshepsut's myrrh tree.
- A notebook of poetry penned by Bonnie and Clyde is set to go on auction.
- A perfectly preserved Roman fresco of Narcissus has been discovered in Pompeii.
- Czechia's Bone Church is getting a good, thorough cleaning.
- Graffiti left by the soldiers repairing Hadrian's Wall will be immortalized in 3D.
- Smugglers were caught trying to sell a rare 1200-year-old Bible in a shoe store.
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
- Kenya announces the death penalty for poachers.
- In memory of species declared extinct in 2018-- plus one we've already lost in 2019.
- Meet the singing mice of Central America.
- Toledo, Ohio, just granted Lake Erie the same legal rights as people.
- 1,500 turtles and tortoises were found stuffed into luggage at the Manila Airport. May the perpetrators be bound with duct tape and crammed into Samsonite, too.
- The clever idea that's reducing rattlesnake casualties.
►The Happy Wanderer◄
- Want to own a piece of literary history? A Brontë shrine is for sale with a home and a thriving business.
- Thought I'd share this one again: a stone cottage devoted to books in the English countryside.
- The hidden history of the nutmeg island that was traded for Manhattan.
- The ancient trail known as El Camino del Diablo has claimed the lives of over 2,000 people.
►I ♥ Lists◄
- The best books about Hollywood.
- The top ten books about coming out.
- John Steinbeck's five most iconic works.
- Ten Graham Greene mysteries and thrillers you need to read.
- Top ten books about women and the sea.
- Merriam-Webster's list of seven phrases that are just so metal.
- Fifteen women environmentalists you should know.
- Sherlock Holmes in the movies: ranking 70 feature-length films starring the iconic detective.
That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.
Have a great weekend, and read something fabulous!