Monthly Archives: February 2009

A logo evolved into a gravatar

logo-bsdb2Peter Ruber gave me his logo back in 1994. He had the logo designed for his publishing company called The Candlelight Press by Henry Lauritzen, a well-known Danish Sherlockian and Illustrator. Peter knew him well and corresponded regularly, but when I came to the hobby Henry had passed over. I selected this logo to be my gravatar with this blog. Sure is superior to miniature picture of yours truly!

A open book, a candle, a unlit curved stem pipe and ear flapped cap, otherwise known as a deerstalker make up picture. Please note that I am reformed smoker. I started in University, and preferred a cigar and a pipe until I stopped altogether in 1981. I had a couple of relapses since then, but this is a “no nicotine” household now.

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Posted by on February 20, 2009 in House-on-the-Lake


The postage rates in Canada and the U.S.A.

I travel to the United States regular at least four times per year. I like to visit New York City in January; to Chicago in April to attend the Windy City Pulp and Paper Back Show; to Dayton Ohio in July to attend Pulpcon; to Sauk City, Wisconsin to attend The Walden West Festival. I usually accumulate my sales to ship at the very economical Media Rate with delivery confirmation. The Dominion of Canada does not offer such a rate, also charges a 5% GST on all Canadian shipments. A Venture card really doesn’t correct the situation, and it is simply a fact of life — ship to the U.S.A. from the U.S.A.

With the recent thickening of the border, taking these tubes of parcels across the border is viewed by US Customs as a commercial transaction,a and I must declare this crossing the border. Once I forgot to declare those tubes of books, and my car was searched, and I was almost turned back and denied entry. Cooler heads prevailed and I visited a US Post Office the next day to post all the book orders, and then continue on to my destination.

Even with the hassle, and it is significant obstruction, the net cost is cheaper, and the “delivery confirmation” is a very significant bonus that Canada does offer but at a large premium.

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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Philately


A Zeppelin on the Horizon

Many years ago now, I received an e-mail from a gentleman who wanted to reprint the Fantastic Fiction of Philip M. Fisher. I agreed to do the project, and he sent me some of the stories that he had already digitized. There was a lot of other material to find, and I set about the task. The gentleman who first suggested the project grew impatient, and I suspect did not like my approach to the project and sought another publisher, and the project as he perceived it has already been published.

Last year I thought everything was ready to publish and then Rodney Schroeter pointed out after he had completed the proof reading and also scanned an additional novel that I didn’t know about, pointed out to me that there were Fisher short stories listed by Bill Contento that were not in the table of contents of the project.

In the meantime I found a great Zeppelin cover which was adapted from an oil painting by Donald Purdon. Donald had painted it for the late Ann Skein Melvin, and her husband David Skein Melvin arranged with the artist for the necessary permissions.

The project still lacks a small list of short stories which I will enumerate below under the front cover and wrap around Dustjacket illustrations.



The Fisher Want List

The Admiral’s Uniform, (ss) Sunset Magazine May 1924
El Capitan’s Revenge, (ss) Munsey’s Aug 1922
Compass, (ss) Sea Stories Jul 20 1923
Kin Lee, (ss) Munsey’s Oct 1922
Platonic, (ss) Breezy Stories Aug 1920

My colleague Kevin Cook has suggested that these stories are almost impossible to locate — but I’m still going to wait and hope for the best. I will publish what I have in another year or so, and THAT is one sure way that the missing stories surface!


“The Suicide Squad” in the home stretch.

Last weekend, Rodney Schroeter sent me his proofed version and corrected version of the “Suicide Squad” project as an attachment. When I see him again this weekend at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin we will exchange the various paperwork and the projects we collaborated and are collaborating on at present.

The next step is to place the various internal and cover illustrations in the text of the stories, and print another set of page proofs with assorted captions.

The series is about 3 F.B.I agents who take on impossible tasks before and during the US entry into WWII and these fellows always rescue the beautiful lady in the red dress. All three and survive the ordeal to fight again in the next issue. This is not great literature but it is entertainment. Especially when you consider the pulps they appeared in are rare and hard to find, and the copies that have survived are either in the hands of serious collectors, or in libraries, with restricted access, and rules which make it very difficult to actually read them. And if this enough trouble, the pulp paper that the magazines are printed on is NOT acid free, and the magazines are slowing self-destructing as I write this.

Here’s a detailed table of contents of the collection. Bob Weinberg had a complete run of this pulp to share with me. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised (but I haven’t checked) that the list you can find on the internet will not be identical. But frankly I don’t want to take the time to double check — it is simple not necessary. I would say that I would like to be wrong on this point.

However, the list in Bob Weinberg’s and Lohr McKinstrey’s Hero Pulp Index is accurate, but incomplete lacking the last entry, and that’s another large project that progresses slowly but relentlessly to a publication conclusion.


1. Mr. Zero and The F.B.I. Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, May-June 1939)
2. The Suicide Squad Reports for Death (Ace G-Man Stories, July-August 1939)
3. The Suicide Squad’s Last Mile (Ace G-Man Stories, September-October 1939)
4. The Suicide Squad Pays Off (Ace G-Man Stories, November-December 1939)
5. Coffins for the Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, January-February 1940)
6. The Suicide Squad—Dead or Alive! (Ace G-Man Stories, April 1940)
7. Shells for the Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, June 1940)
8. Suicide Squad’s Murder Lottery (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1940)
No Story (Ace G-Man Stories, September 1940)
9. The Suicide Squad and the Murder Bund (Ace G-Man Stories, November 1940)
10. The Suicide Squad in Corpse-Town (Ace G-Man Stories, January 1941)
11. The Coffin Barricade (Ace G-Man Stories, March 1941)
12. The Tunnel Death Built (Ace G-Man Stories, May 1941) 201
13. Wanted—In Three Pine Coffins (Ace G-Man Stories, September 1941) 220
14. The Suicide Squad’s Private War (Ace G-Man Stories, December 1941) 236
15. —For Tomorrow We Die! (Ace G-Man Stories, February 1942) 256
16. The Suicide Squad’s Dawn Patrol (Ace G-Man Stories, April 1942) 273
17. The Suicide Squad Meets the Rising Sun (Ace G-Man Stories, June 1942) 288
18. So Sorry, Mr. Hirohito! (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1942)
19. Move Over, Death! (Ace G-Man Stories, October 1942)
20. Targets for the Flaming Arrow (Ace G-Man Stories, December 1942)
21. Blood, Sweat and Bullets (Ace G-Man Stories, February 1943)
22. The Suicide Squad and The Twins of Death (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1943)
23. The Masked Marksman’s Command Performance (Spider Magazine ??)

Two Illustrators Meet in The Red Flame

This is long convoluted tale and the title is in fact the end of the story not the beginning of it. I’ll post it now and expand on it later


In the Realm of Mariposa

In the beginning, Stephen Leacock self-published his first book of humour in 1911, and then wrote a book of humour almost every year until he died in 1942. He was employed as a Professor of Economics at McGill University, and lived on Côte de Neiges in Montreal. He spent his summers in Orillia in a home he built and rebuilt in 1928 on The Old Brewery Bay.

Like most other children of my generation I first learned of Leacock as the author of “My Financial Career.”

I enjoyed reading his other writings as an adult and decided to work towards “An Omnibus Edition of his Humour” This project was a very large one in the abstract, but each volume was easy enough to compile along the way.

I invited my friend Jean-Pierre (who I met in a stalled elevator in an apartment building in Manhatten some years ago. We were both rescued by the fire department ) to do some caricatures of Leacock and I append the results below.


by Jean-Pierre Cagnat

John Robert Colombo introduced me to Pete McGarvey, who has a superb radio voice, and a long time inhabitant of Orillia, and the author of some Leacock volumes himself, and his advice and guidance in my quest for Mariposa has been invaluable. Pete invited me to my first Leacock Medal Dinner at the Geneva Conference Centre in June of 2004, and the project continues up until the present.


by Jean-Pierre Cagnat


Lord Tweedsmuir created Richard Hanney

I have always admired the writings of John Buchan, and have watched the Adventures of Richard Hanney in “The Thirty-Nine Steps” more often than I shall admit to, in fact, I’m going to watch it again as I write this blog. Two points, Alfred Hitchcock did the original movie, and secondly the book version differs significantly from the film version, and it is the kind of book that once you start to read it, you won’t put it down. A third point Buchan’s sequel Greenmantle is even better.

John Buchan created a second character, Sir Edward Leithen whose travels and adventures spanned three continents in many novels and some short stories. My friend John Robert Colombo has written an essay to introduce this tomb once it is published. It does require another proof reading before going to press to expunge those testy scanning typos.

John Buchan in his other worldly incarnation was Lord Tweedsmuir and he was appointed by the King as The Governor General of Canada in 1936 and he died in office after a fall in 1941. It was Lord Tweedsmuir who initiated the Governor General’s Literary awards in 1937.

Stephen Leacock won this award for My Discovery of the West. There is a file folder in the Yosef Karsh fonds at National Archives labelled something to the effect “1937-Tweedsmuir-Leacock” which is unfortunately empty. I suspect Mr. Karsh was the photographer who immortalized Lord Tweedsmuir presenting Stephen Leacock with this award, but lacking the photographic evidence, I cannot prove it.There is a chapter on Alberta which describes in some detail a “have-not province” before the discovery of black gold at Leduc which I can recommend to you.

I continue to work on an omnibus edition of both Buchan and Leacock, but the problem is that so many other worthy projects are getting in the way.

I append below are two “Gallic” interpretations of Lord Tweedsmuir by Jean-Pierre Cagnat. I don’t think the author would have been fond of them, but J-P has an eye for detail which readers of Le Monde will already be familiar.