Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SHIN or should it be BCIN -The War Magician

Benedict Cumberbatch has Leading Role in New World War Two Drama “The War Magician”
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been made famous by his role in Sherlock, the BBC’s modern-day dramatization of Sherlock Holmes. He’s now starring in a new World War Two movie drama called The War Magician.
Cumberbatch is expected to take the lead role and star as a stage magician who, during the war, helped to make things vanish in support of the Allied war effort. The first time the idea for the drama came about was back in 2003. Tom Cruise and producer Paul Wagner got rights to the book by David Fisher and had backed Peter Weir to direct the film.
Plans and progress stalled over many years, but in 2012 the producers engaged a different director, Marc Foster, to direct the movie. Unfortunately, he dropped out, and a new director has not yet been connected to the project.

See the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My score was sadly lower than I had hoped.

British Cuisine, how many have you tried?

I did have Bangers and Mash on Sunday.

We have Yorkshire pudding a lot, but I did not see it on the quiz.

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old

SHIN -It is really the holiday season now! BRAD in the news with pictures!

For Sherlock Holmes fans, appeal is elementary

Braley Dodson
Journal Star reporter 
Posted Dec. 19, 2015 at 7:09 PM
Updated Dec 19, 2015 at 7:12 PM 

Sherlock Holmes aficionados, from left, Kathy Carter, Norm Kelly, Curt Bier, and Brad Keefauver discuss the famed literary detective around a cardboard cutout of the BBC character "Sherlock" portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch during The Baker Street Bash on Saturday at the Peoria Public Library.

PEORIA — For a fictional detective who lived in the 1800s, Sherlock Holmes still is very much alive. To his fans, anyway.
“Every generation has their Sherlock Holmes,” said Bradley Keefauver, creator of the blog Sherlock Peoria.
A small, adult crowd gathered Saturday afternoon for the Peoria Public Library’s Baker Street Bash to listen to Keefauver talk and answer questions on Sherlock Holmes lore, answer trivia questions and go on a scavenger hunt, among other activities.
“He is someone you can almost see existing,” said Keefauver, who wore a T-shirt advertising “Sure-lock and Watts-on Security and Electrical Consulting,” which depicted Holmes as a lock and his sidekick, John Watson, as a light bulb.
He said with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters in the public domain, a new novel starring the detective is released nearly every week. With multiple television shows, movies, novels and fanfictions, everyone has a different entry point into the Holmes universe.
“Each remake inspires new interest,” said Jamie Jones, branch manager of the McClure Branch.
“It keeps being brought back.”
The event was planned to tie in to the upcoming Christmas special of the BBC’s “Sherlock,” a contemporary interpretation.
Standing on a low stage, Jones asked the crowd for the address of Holmes and Watson. A quiet chorus of “221B Baker St.,” answered her, followed by a whispered, “that’s easy.” But her questions got harder until the crowd was partially stumped when she asked what Irene Adler’s measurements were from an episode of “Sherlock.” Finally, she awarded a newly released book on Mycroft Holmes to Curt Bier of East Peoria, who won the trivia contest.
Bier remembers becoming a fan after reading “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in junior high school.
“I’m glad they had an event like this,” he said, his new book, which he had previously planned to check out from the library, on his lap.
Jones said another Baker Street Bash, which could include a murder mystery, might be held when the new season of “Sherlock” is released.
Braley Dodson can be reached at 686-3196 and Follow her on Twitter @BraleyDodson.



BLUE cartoon of the day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Elementary S4E5 - The Games Underfoot - well somethings on the bottom of my shoe, that's for sure.

Well, the show has done away, for the most part, with the very odd habits of 'Elementary's' Sherlock.
His behavior no longer shocks us, and usually this season the only bizarre bits are some of the grotesque crimes.

The cases have become a little repetitive in nature, even if most are rather timely in subject matter.

This episode, for me, has been the weakest one so far this season.

Although still good in a police procedural kind of way, it had very little in the Sherlockian kind of way to make it Canonically discussion worthy. Where Brett's habits with the character I think for the most part people assign to Sherlock Holmes, Miller's, although individual, do not stand well enough on their own to afford recognition as Sherlockian. Most of the time in this episode Miller's Sherlockian came off more as a spoiled anti-social individual. Not that Miller played it much different than he has been, it's just that nothing else "Sherlock Holmes" remained in the show.

While Canonically we accept the fact that Watson appeared to be Holmes' only friend, Elementary seems to want to prove that Holmes good have many friends. (However, Canonically, Lestrade, did start stopping by for social calls later in the Canon.)

The part illustrated in the photo above made for a fun exchange in the show.

Still stronger than most episodes last year, but with it's lack of Holmesian habits, I can only fairly give this episode;

On another note; Does Miller's Holmes watching several TV's at one time serve the same purpose as the Canonical Holmes' three pipes?

BLUE cartoon of the Day

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A guest Christmas Tale by James C. O’Leary - The Adventure of the Fur-Trimmed Hat.

The Adventure of the Fur-Trimmed Hat
By James C. O’Leary

I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Eve, with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a chartreuse dressing-gown, the day’s newspapers well-studied and his black briar emitting a curl of blue smoke in the ashtray. 
Beside the couch was a straight-backed chair, and on the stile hung a seedy and disreputable fur-trimmed stocking hat, much the worse for wear. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested that the hat had been hung with care for the purpose of examination.

"You are engaged," said I, "perhaps I interrupt you."
"Not at all. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results. The matter is a perfectly trivial one" (he motioned his thumb with a jerk in the direction of the cone-shaped covering), "but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of interest, and even of instruction."

I seated myself in his armchair, and accepted the glass of heated eggnog Holmes offered, for the day had been still and cold and now that night had fallen, it was colder still. "I suppose," I remarked after a sip of the landlady’s concoction and the warm glow that started to radiate from within, "that, homely as it is, this thing has some deadly story linked to it--- that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some profound mystery, and the punishment of some malefactor."

"No, no. No crime," said Sherlock Holmes, laughing. "Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have four and a half million human beings cheek-by-jowl within the space of a few square miles. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity, every possible combination of events may be expected to take place, and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. You know Peterson, the commissionaire?"

"It is to him that this trophy belongs."
"It is his hat."

"No, no; he found it. Its owner is unknown. I beg that you will look upon it, not as a tattered tupplue, but as a conical conundrum. Your arrival is fortuitous as Peterson is downstairs with Mrs. Hudson getting a cup of tea and I as yet have listened to his story. We shall listen to it together. In the meantime let us see what we can deduce of the owner.”
"From his hat?"
"But you are joking. What can you gather from this old battered bonnet?"
"Here is my lens. You know my methods. What can you gather yourself as to the individuality of the man who has worn this article?"

I took the harried headgear in my hands, and turned it over rather ruefully. It was a red triangular plush cap with a white fur pom-pom at the point, and white fur trim around the base. The lining had been of red silk, but was a good deal stained. There was no maker's name, at least as far as I could tell, but sewn in once-golden thread were strange linear hieroglyphics. It was pierced in the inner brim for a hat-securer, but the elastic was missing. For the rest, it was exceedingly dusty, and spotted in several places, although there seemed to have been some attempt to hide the discolored patches by daubing them with red ink.
"I can see nothing," said I, handing it back to my friend.
"On the contrary, Watson; how many fingers am I holding up?”
“Your eyesight is fine. You fail, however, to apply reason from what you see."
"Then pray tell me,” I replied some asperity, “what it is that you can infer from this hat?"

He gazed at it in the peculiar introspective fashion which was characteristic of him when he took on the air of a disappointed tutor lecturing a particularly dense pupil. "It is perhaps less suggestive than it might have been," remarked Holmes, "and yet there are a few inferences which represent at least a strong balance of probability. That the man was highly intellectual is of course obvious upon the face of it, and also that he was fairly well-to-do, although he has now fallen upon evil days. He had foresight, but has less now than formerly, pointing to a moral retrogression, which, when taken with the decline of his fortunes, seems to indicate some evil influence, probably elves, at work upon him.”

“This may account also for the obvious fact that his wife has ceased to love him,” he continued, disregarding my remonstrance.  “He has, however, retained some degree of self-respect. He is a man who leads a sedentary life, goes out little, perhaps just once a year, is middle-aged, has grizzled hair which he has had cut within the last few days, and which he anoints with rather expensive avocado-cream. These are the more patent facts which are to be deduced from his blushing bucket. Also, by the way, that it is extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house, no doubt because he lives on an isolated farm raising reindeer."
“Surely, you’re joking!”
“You know I detest that nickname. I don’t even allow my brother Mycroft to call me that.”
“No, no; I meant you are certainly not serious.”
“Ah. I’m quite serious, my dear fellow.”

"How did you deduce that this man was intellectual?"

For answer Holmes slipped the linty lid upon his head. The fur brim passed over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. "It is a question of cubic capacity," said he; "a man with so large a brain must have something in it."

"The decline of his fortunes, then?"

"This hat is old. These type of plush fur lined hats have long been out of fashion. It is a hat of the very best quality. Look at the fur, and the excellent lining. If this man could afford to buy so expensive a hat. and has had no hat since, then he has assuredly gone down in the world."

"Well, that is clear enough, certainly. But how about the foresight, and the moral retrogression?"

"Here is the foresight." said he, putting his finger upon the little disc and loop of the hat-securer. 

"They are never solid upon hats. If this man ordered one, it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight, since he went out of his way to take this precaution against the wind. But since we see that he has broken the elastic, and has not troubled to replace it, it is obvious that he has less foresight now than formerly, which is a distinct proof of a weakening nature. On the other hand, he has endeavored to conceal some of these stains upon the plush by daubing them with red ink, which is a sign that he has not entirely lost his self-respect. The further points, that he is middle-aged, that his hair is grizzled, that it has been recently cut, and that he uses avocado-cream, are all to be gathered from a close examination of the lower part of the lining. The lens discloses a large number of hair-ends, clean cut by the scissors of the barber. They all appear to be adhesive, and there is a distinct odor of avocado-cream, which is rare in this part of the world and speaks of a wanton self-indulgence and further evidence of moral regression. This dust, you will observe, is not the gritty, gray dust of the street nor the dirt of the country, but the fluffy brown dust of the house, showing that it has been hung up indoors most of the time; while the marks of moisture upon the inside are proof positive that the wearer perspired very freely, and could, therefore, hardly be in the best of training."

"But his wife - you said that she had ceased to love him."

"This hat has not been brushed for months, perhaps a whole year. When I see you, my dear Watson, with a year's accumulation of dust upon your hat, and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state, I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife's affection, if not your wife herself."

"You have an answer to everything. But how on earth do you deduce that the gas is not laid on in the house?"

"One tallow stain, or even two, might come by chance; but, when I see no less than five, I think that there can be little doubt that the individual must be brought into frequent contact with burning tallow - walks upstairs at night probably with his topper in one hand and a guttering candle in the other. Anyhow, he never got tallow stains from a gas jet."

“But elves?”

“I am familiar with over thirty types of European writing systems. These markings sewn into the lining are Tomte runes, peculiar to an especially short Scandinavian race locals refer to as ‘elves’. Our friend the hat owner is not a Tomte himself as seen by the hat size but must have a deep association with them to adapt their writing. They are a happy but short-tempered race, given to much mischief. Loyal if treated well, but pranksters and thieves if crossed. Long association with them could again lead to moral retrogression.”

“And the reindeer farming?”

“There are several indications. One: this type of hat is still fashionable in northern climes. Two: the white fun, unless I am very much mistaken, is polar bear, again an indication the wear resides up north. Three: the Tomte live in Scandinavia and nowhere else. Four: there are reindeer hair on the outside of the hat. As the author of A Study of Ungulates and Ruminants and Their Association with Criminal Actives, Illustrated with Forty Color Plates I was able to identify the fur quite easily. It seems then highly probable our mysterious friend is a reindeer farmer.”

Footsteps sounded on the stair and after a knock on the door Peterson the commissionaire entered. He greeted us cordially and at Holmes’ urging began his tale.

“I had an important commission this evening, but because it was Christmas Eve, the cabbie decided not to wait for me. The streets were fairly deserted and there was not another cab to be found so I started to walk back home while keeping my eyes peeled for transportation. I was walking down Bartholomew Lane---“

Holmes sat up straight on the sofa. “You were in the City?”

“Yes sir. Quiet as a tomb.”
“Go on”

“Well, it was dusk and not a soul to be seen. I reached the corner when I suddenly heard the jingling of bells and out of the sky dropped this funny hat, right at my feet. It’s not quite a bobble or a toque and it had this queer sort of writing inside and I thought that if anyone could make sense of this happening and maybe return the hat to its owner, it’s Mr. Holmes.”
“What else.”
“What else did you find, Peterson?”

The commissionaire’s cheeks flushed. We knew Peterson to be an honest man and his reaction was one of embarrassment, not guilt. “We-ell,” he stammered, “after I picked up the hat and looked at it and took a step onto the way of going home, this piece of paper fluttered out of the sky right into my hand. I thought it was…a reward – in advance, like, for getting the hat back to its owner…’

“A reward?”

“You know, for doing a good deed…from…” Here Peterson looked up at the ceiling. He reached into his pocket then held out his hand. There in his palm was a clean, crisp five pound note. Holmes took up his lens and the note and examined it under the lamp and even held it under his nose briefly. When he turned back to us his manner was still phlegmatic but there was a most singular intentness in his eyes that told me he had chanced upon some clue of importance. Holmes went over to his desk. “I propose an exchange, Peterson, this fiver for yours. It’s not quite as new, but it will spend the same and I guarantee it has the same amount of luck as yours.”

Peterson took the note with some reluctance. Holmes turned back to his desk and scribbled out a message, handed it to the commissionaire along with some coins. “Please go to the telegraph office and send this before you go home. And,” he said placing a hand on the man’s shoulder, “I can assure you this felt-and-fur Phrygian will find its home ere long.”

As soon as the door close, Holmes tore off his dressing gown and headed to the wardrobe in his room, all the while speaking. “What a blind beetle I’ve been! You remember that pretty little problem of Helen Stoner’s at Stoke Moran? At first all the clues pointed to the gypsies but once on scene it became obvious it was that group of plasterers hired by her nefarious step-father.” Readers of these somewhat incoherent series of memoirs will recall “The Adventure of the Spackled Band”. “Well, my deductions about that hirsute headgear were perfectly reasonable, logical and entirely wrong, all because I lacked two facts.”

“The five pound note?”
“And the location.”
“Bartholomew Lane?”
“The corner of Bartholomew Lane and Threadneedle Street.”

A dark and sinister notion started forming in my mind. Holmes came out of his room and tossed me a pistol while checking to see that his was loaded. “Be a good fellow and hail us cab, eh, Watson?”

The horse’s hooves beat out a swift tattoo as our hansom headed to the City. “I believe you suspect Peterson’s fiver was a forgery.”

“You positively scintillate tonight, Watson.”

“So the hat is part of a disguise.”

“For over one hundred and thirty years Jules-Thomas and Sons has been operating out of the same building in the West End providing costumes and property for theater companies and acting troupes. Like many immigrants to our shores, they anglicized their name from the original Scandinavian Jultomten.”


“Exactly so, Watson. The Jules-Thomases are descended from that Scandinavian race locally known as elves and even today their scion are exceedingly short people. Early in the company’s history the family name was sewn into their costumes---“

“--- in Tomte runes.”

“Watson, your eyesight improves by the moment! We can now look at our muffed mantle in a new light. It was manufactured well over a century ago of the best materials and meant to be durable. It was designed to fit all heads so was made on the larger side, so it could accommodate wigs. There is also the well-known factor of actors possessing larger crania than the general population. To save costs, it is repaired frequently, such as the touch-ups of red ink. As there is usually strenuous action on stage during the course of a production, that would account for the hat-securer and the sweat stains. As there is not much call for this type of hat except during the holiday season, there would naturally be a many-months accumulation of dust in the storage area located in the oldest part of the building where gas has yet to be laid. The dust tells us one other thing; professionals like Jules-Thomas would not allow a costume to go out in such a condition. Therefore, it must have been stolen.”

“The freshly-cut grizzled hair then must belong to the thief.”

“Bravo, Watson! I see that marriage has not staled your infinite variety.  Cabbie, stop here.” We were let off at Cheapside and Queen Victoria Street and, being as inconspicuous as possible on the deserted streets, made our way to the “Grey Lady of Threadneedle Street”.  The Bank of England, the financial heart of the Empire stood dark, silent and imposing in the light of the gibbous moon. The air was still and our breath shot out in front of us like smoke from a pistol shot. We made our way along the bank’s façade on Princes Street where Holmes found a rope ladder almost invisible in the shadows. We climbed to the first level roof and surveyed the five story wall that stretched above our heads to the top of the building. Here the cunningness of the rope-ladder’s design was made clear as even in the bright moonlight it was practically invisible to the eye and from the street below would be non-existent.

With Holmes in the lead we ascended the wall in the bracing winter night air, up past the sloping shingles of the top floor to the narrow, relatively flat roof.  There, not far from us, silhouetted against the sky were a group of two-legged reindeer gathered around a skylight. Nearby appeared to be a large sledge piled high with packages. They spoke in whispers with their backs to us, antlers bobbing in the cold. Holmes took out his revolver and I followed suit. We crept to within a few feet of the costumed men then Holmes stood and in a quiet voice said, “Gentlemen, do not move.”

His voice rang out like cannon fire in the hushed darkness, seemingly turning the men to statues. Holmes edged closer to the skylight. “My friend here is known as the Deadly Doctor, so pray, be still,” he said sotto voce as he peered down in the stygian depths.  I took pride in Holmes’ complement of my marksmanship until the sniggering of one of the men reminded me of its possible double meaning. The cocking of my hammer shut him up.

Presently, a shuffling sound emanated from within the building and up rose from the black hole a head of long white hair, then a face surrounded by a full white beard. One red-mittened hand held the rope ladder attached to the skylight, the other a bag slung over a shoulder. Holmes clapped his gun to the man’s head. “Up and out slowly, if you please. That’s good. Now place the sack down. Right. Watson, you’ve heard me speak of this gentleman, but I don’t believe you’ve had the pleasure of meeting him. Doctor John Watson, Professor James Moriarty.” Holmes had pocketed his gun, grabbed the hair in one hand and the beard in the other and yanked away. There stood the former mathematics professor, his bald pate fringed with grizzled hair gleamed in the moonlight, his sunken eyes glaring with malevolence at the detective. “A masterful performance, Professor, although your costume is sadly incomplete.”

Comprehension broke on his features as the whole chain of events that led to his capture became clear. “The hat! If it wasn’t for that damned freak gust of wind--- “ Those were his first and last words of the evening as he clamped his mouth shut and refused to speak further.

Then from out in the street there arose such a clatter. “Watson,” said Holmes, his gun now back out and trained on Moriarty, “take that gentleman there” (he indicated one of the reindeer who would appear to be most at home at Newgate) “over to the ledge and have him report what he sees.”

I motioned the brute over and he peered down. “There’s a great lot of Black Marias, a fire brigade and a whole lot of coppers.” I motioned the man back to his herd.

“That will be Inspector Bradstreet, the Yard, the City Police and the ladder engine. I am afraid your brilliant plan of stealing the actual five pound note plates” (here he tapped the sack with his foot) “and substituting counterfeit plates to cause the financial collapse of the Empire is for naught, Professor.” City and Metropolitan Police swarmed to the roof and soon the two professional law groups were fighting over who would make the arrest and who would claim credit in the papers. Eventually, the criminals were led away and the lawmen cleared the roof leaving Holmes and I alone at the scene.

Holmes examined the “sledge”, which was a balsa cutout ingeniously constructed to fold into a small, portable square for easy transport, yet from the street or the window of a neighboring building would appear to be substantial.

“There is always a touch of the extravagant to Moriarty’s schemes. To create a tableau of Father Christmas visiting the Bank of England just to discredit any possible witnesses…” He shook his head. “Hum. I wonder…”
What is it, Holmes?”

“Peterson said he heard bells, then the cherry chapeau landed at his feet, yet neither Moriarty nor his ‘reindeer’ were wearing bells, and this cutout certain doesn’t have any. Where did the sound come from?”

Then above the distant sound of London there was the faint jingling of bells, which grew louder, then a voice from above said, “Good night, Mister Sherlock Holmes. Ho, ho, ho.” We both turned skywards and there across the waxing moon appeared four pair of reindeer drawing a sledge driven by a rotund bearded jolly man who waved at us. As we watched, the apparition turned to the north and rapidly disappeared clean out of sight.

I do not know how long we stood there transfixed but finally I whispered my companion’s name. That broke the spell. Holmes snapped, “Watson, you know my maxim that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. As it is impossible for reindeer to fly, that the only vehicle able to lift such a sledge is a hot-air balloon, which was not in evidence, and further a hot-air balloon could not achieve such speeds as witnessed, there can be only one probability for our folie à deux; Mrs. Hudson spiked our eggnog with absinthe!

“However, as this is the season of forgiveness, we shall not reprimand her, or mention it to her, or,” he turned to me and spoke in a steely voice, “mention this incident to anyone, ever!”

Holmes strode the roof edge and the rope ladder, then stopped and stared thoughtfully at that spot in the northern sky where the apparition vanished and where now faintly glowed a star.

“You know, Watson,” he spoke slowly as a clock chimed midnight, “I am not one to celebrate holidays, but if I were to wish for a present, I can think of no better one than to be with my old comrade-in-arms, back in action and on the thrill of the chase, putting the most dangerous criminal in London behind bars. Complements of the season.” He stuck out his hand.

“Complements of the season, Holmes.”
We shook.

For inspiration, I’d like to thank John Foster and Gahan Wilson. ---JCO’L

Friday, December 4, 2015


My favorite Sherlock Holmes like show that was not about Sherlock Holmes is not coming back it seems.
I really enjoyed this show and though the lead character more Sherlockian than some other modern adaptations.

Here is what one site said about it's cancellation;


The story of the seemingly immortal Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), ABC's 'Forever' (2014-2015) blended poignancy, adventure, a hint of romance, and gentle transgenerational humor. Morgan, an MD working as a medical examiner in present-day Manhattan, uses his new profession to discover the secret of why he cannot die without being resurrected. This finely detailed, intelligent series attracted a dedicated fan base, but it could not survive erratic scheduling and minimal promotion.

Well, that should be the end of that. . . . . .

Many are curious on what is the exact nature of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson’s relationship.
According to UnrealityTV, even Martin Freeman, who plays John Watson in BBC hit series “Sherlock,” is getting annoyed of speculations that the two characters are having special relationship.
Martin told The Sun newspaper that his character and Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, are not gay and they are not in a relationship.
“It is possible for people of the same sex to have a deep friendship without being attracted to each other. People are attracted to each other in all sorts of ways. You don’t necessarily want to [sleep with] someone because you love them. They respect each other, they bring different things to their friendship,” he told The Sun.
Freeman further explained that Sherlock and Watson have a purely “friends” relationship.
The actor also expressed concern that he will be called homophobic for ruling out the possibility.
“The trouble is as soon as you start getting into a dialogue about that, it sounds like you‘re somehow being homophobic.”
Meanwhile, BBC recently released a video and photos for the “Sherlock” Christmas special titled “The Abominable Bride.”
Moffat said: “It’s a new story, but if you know the original stories, you’ll see that it’s fashioned out of quite a few others. As ever with us, we’ve chosen several and there are loads of references. One of them you have to be able to speak Chinese to get (it).”
The upcoming Victorian-era Sherlock special will air on New Year’s Day on BBC One in the UK and PBS Masterpiece in the US, as well as in select cinemas worldwide.

Some good stuff on Gillette, with a couple of good pictures.

Shaken, Stirred and Elementary: ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Thunderball’

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


As I mentioned very early on in this blogs history, I discovered the literary Holmes in 1977 while working off the grid in an old logging camp in Maine. My days were spent winterizing the camp while the over-winter caretakers took a vacation before they had to spend the winter in the backwoods.
My evenings were spent setting a mouse trap line in the old building then having dinner and spending the evening reading around an old wood burning stove. I had no neighbors and the nearest town was a two mile boat ride and a twenty-six mile car drive away. I had no electricity, only gas light and wood heat. It was only just short of idyllic.
On my trips to town for supplies I usually restocked my portable library with new books to read.
On one such trip to town I decided to celebrate my English heritage and I bought a bakers dozen book of Sherlock Holmes stories.
I of course know who Sherlock Holmes once, but had yet to experience him in his original format.

About this same time, after I returned home to Missouri, I also started reading the books by James Herriot based on his time as a Yorkshire vet. I very much the same way, this was also a celebration of my English heritage.

My dads side of the family were Londoners. London was the home of Sherlock Holmes. And most of the time he, Holmes, seems out of place away from that great city, almost uncomfortable it could be said. London was home to Sherlock Holmes and later my dad.

My moms side of the family are firmly entrenched in Yorkshire.
Although James Herriot was brought up in Scotland (just like Doyle), his career led him to the Yorkshire Dales. An area that he came very much to love, and to raise his family, and to record his stories.

I was born in Yorkshire. Actually the town of Selby. Selby is about forty-one miles from James Herriots surgery in Thirsk.

When last in London, the husband of one of my cousins asked which I associate myself with more, London or Yorkshire. Without hesitation I said Yorkshire. I have always been a more country/small town kind of person. Preferring open areas to building lined canyons of the big city. That is not to say I don't enjoy sojourns to the city and all they have to offer. But at the end of the day I don't want anything taller than trees around my home.

Just like with the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the books of James Herriot have been adapted to television and film.

His books were first adapted in film as 'All Creatures Great and Small' and 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet'.  1975 and 1976 respectively.

In 1978 the long running TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small' started airing.

The hardest one of the series to come up with and watch is 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet'. Out of release for a very long time, and I don't believe ever released in DVD format, with only UK versions on video it has been very hard to find.

Well, finally, yesterday, I found it on YouTube. Most shows I have tried to watch on YouTube so far have been of very poor quality. Luckily with this film, that was not the case. It had however been placed on YouTube in three installments, but that did not turn out to be a problem. I have only the last installment to still watch.

So, what does this have to do with a blog about Sherlock Holmes you may ask, if you haven't already fallen asleep.

Well other than 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet' being a wonderful film based on James Herriots works, it does have a very solid Sherlockian Connection.

Colin Blakely plays James' mentor/partner in the film, and does a wonderful job.
Colin Blakely also plays Watson in 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes', 1970.

Colin Blakely died much to young at the age of 56 but not before giving us these two fun films.

Another connection of sorts; In the 1975 film adaptation of 'All Creatures Great and Small', Simon Ward played the young James Herriot. And we all know Simon's daughter, Sophie Ward, played Young Sherlock's love interest in 'Young Sherlock Holmes'. Simon also died much too young.

Colin Blakely and Simon Ward shared the screen in the film 'Young Winston'.

So, with two great series of books and two great series (plus some) of film and television I am quite able to celebrate both areas of my English heritage.

Elementary - S4E4 - 'All My Exes Live in Essex' - a review

This episode opens with both Holmes and Watson handcuffed and sitting in chairs in their flat.
It is a training exercise to see which of the two can open the new cuffs the quickest.
While handcuffed Watson's phone goes off. Holmes gets his hands undone first and gets the phone.
Watson opens hers moments later.
The phone call is from a former colleague of Watson's asking for her help with the disappearance of an employee.
Holmes and Watson investigate the lab where where the victim, Abby Campbell, had been working and follow a trail of sticky wheel marks to an area where bodies are disassembled for organ donation. It is here where they find the victims skeleton with all the 'extra' parts missing.
Meanwhile, Watson finds out from a friend that another police detective is checking up on Watson for some unknown reason.

This again, I feel, was one of the better episodes of the last few years. The plot was different and although it had a few weak spots, it made for an interesting case. The murderer was probably one of the most repulsive so far if you think about it. Not only was he willing to murder his wife, he was also willing to misdiagnose other people for the shake of money.

Although it is hard to tell if they were intentional or just me looking for Canonical treasures, I was able to come away with a few good discussion points.

The opening scene can suggest Holmes' need to keep current on devices and methods used by the criminal portion of society. Understanding new handcuffs show Holmes needing to keep up with changes. I think the first seasons 'lock wall' served that purpose better, but this was I believe along the same lines of thought.

This episode also highlighted once again Watson's medical skill contribution to the case.

Also, the strangeness of the marriage situation in the case could suggest some of the strange relationships in the Canon between men and women. Rarely were many of  the Canonical relationships what they first seemed.

Detective Cortes' issues with Watson would suggest, to me, the lack of respect some in the Canonical Scotland Yard had for the early career of Holmes. In this case the dislike is targeted at Watson, but is basically the same thing, 'Amatures need not apply.'

The fight unseen scene at the end would suggest Holmes' (Watson's) ability with some sort of Martial Art. And Canonically we see that true in at least Holmes' case.

This year seems also to focus more on Holmes' observation skills and is putting them to good use.

On the strength of this season so far and the Canonical discussion points I found or made up, I can fairly give this episode four pipes ( blogger is not letting me import pictures at the moment, so I will paste a pipe photo later.)

Monday, November 30, 2015

From a long time ago, but still fun . . . .

When Steven Spielberg Went in Pursuit of Young Sherlock Holmes, He Nabbed An Unlikely Suspect

His face is a mystery, more haunting than pretty. Pale skin. Deep-set eyes. A nose that rivals Ichabod Crane's. This is not the kind of face that movie careers are traditionally built on. But this is the face that Steven Spielberg selected after a three-month search for an actor to play the title role in Young Sherlock Holmes. Some critics think the reason Nicholas Rowe won the part over several thousand other hopefuls is—well, elementary, my dear Watson. The 19 year old, they say, looks like Spielberg, who produced the reported $18 million film, directed by Barry (Diner, The Natural) Levinson. "I have never had anyone tell me I look like Spielberg before," says Rowe. "All of a sudden I hear this and I don't know what to think. I don't think I look like him at all. I'm 6'4". [Spielberg is about 5'10".] I'm English and he's Jewish. It's silly. As far as I know, Spielberg doesn't like his looks much anyway." Rowe is less self-critical. "I don't think of myself as a pretty boy like Matt Dillon or Rupert Everett. But I think I'm not unattractive to look at. I don't mind the way I look, I mean." 

Blame it on his upper-crust British accent. Or the way he takes a sip of his room-service tea before announcing, "It's drinkable." But Rowe, with his penetrating, deep blue eyes, seems mature beyond his years. For someone who's achieved a major break so fast, he's remarkably low-key. "Do you find me boring?" he asks, pushing his long, light brown hair out of his face. "I think that we Brits have this rather snooty image. But we are not like that through and through." Looking from his hotel window at the shops along Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive, Rowe pronounces his own verdict on fake friendliness. "When you go into those stores people say, 'Hi, I'm Pat and I'll be serving you.' Europeans tend to view Americans as a friendly lot. But I just feel they're rather phony. Nice, friendly, but phony all the same." 

An only child, Rowe was born in Edinburgh, where his father, Andrew, edited a business journal. His mother, Alison, was a singer with the Edinburgh Choir. "I never really needed anything," Rowe says. "Everything was provided." When Nicholas was 7, his parents separated, he was shipped off to boarding school, and his sugar-glazed world fell apart. "I was really shocked," he recalls. "It seemed to happen so suddenly. It's still a subject I avoid talking about." 

Until he moved into his own flat in January, Nicholas shared digs in London with his father, who, like his mother, has remarried. Two years ago Andrew Rowe gave up his job publishing a small London newspaper and ran successfully for Parliament. "I really admire Dad because he's a Tory Wet," Nicholas says. "He's not opposed to Prime Minister Thatcher, but he's not a sycophant to her, either." 

As for dating, Rowe says, "I haven't had time to get serious with anyone. I am not, to be perfectly honest, in love. Sometimes I would really love to have somebody to just hold or whatever. I really do have the urge to spend time with someone special." Right now, he says, "Most of my close friends are girls. I don't know why. Girls have a certain kind of sympathy. A sense of understanding that a lot of boys don't." 

Even though he completed prestigious Eton in 1984, Rowe doesn't rub it in. "I'm not one of those good old boys who had great-grandfathers who went to Eton," he says. "It was just my father who went. He put my name on the list when I was born so I'd be assured a place." Although Rowe excelled in languages, studying Spanish and French, he admits, "I was very much at the lower end of the academic scale." 

It was Rowe's drama master who told the lad that Hollywood casting agents were coming on campus looking for a "proper young gentleman." Rowe, who had a bit part in the 1983 British film Another Country, tested for the role of young Holmes. "It was the worst experience," he says. "When I went into my dressing room to put on my Holmes outfit, in came this other guy dressed just like me. Real live Hollywood competition!" Reading with Rowe and the other finalist was Alan Cox, then 14, who had already been cast as young Watson, Holmes' pudgy sidekick. "I felt comfortable with Nick, there seemed a chemistry between the two characters," says Cox, who may have helped Rowe get hired. "I told the casting people, 'I like the tall guy with the big nose better,' " he says. Rowe's screen test was then sent to Spielberg. When his agent called in January, Rowe asked, "Did I get the role?" The reply: "Brilliant deduction, young Mr. Holmes." 

Young Mr. Rowe's next step will be off the beaten path. "It is socially correct to earn a college degree," he says. "But I would find it emotionally and mentally difficult to spend four years in a tough university. I was accepted at Bristol but am not going to attend. After Eton, most graduates go on to college after a year of traveling. It is a tradition. One I intend to break. Rather, I plan to go on with acting until people don't want me anymore. I'm excited about the challenges that, I hope, lie ahead." Putting all the clues together, Rowe could very well be headed for stardom. Never mind his lanky build and un-movie-star looks. As any Sherlock Holmes fan knows, never, never suspect the obvious. 


And this shouldn't be missed. . .

One-armed woman and Sherlock Holmes fan among winners at 2015 International Pole Dancing Championships

No more is the art of pole dancing associated with lap dancers and strippers, as competitors in the International Pole Dancing Championships will tell you

A woman with one arm and a Sherlock Homes-inspired routine were among the winners at the International Pole Dancing Championships.
National champions from all over the world took part in the competition, held in Hong Kong.
Overall champion was Finland's Oona Kivela, who said after her victory that the perception of pole dancing is changing.
"There is still so much exotic pole around," the champion said.
"And I understand, how can people not know, when let's say, a stripper and an exotic pole-dancer could style-wise look extremely the same.
"But we have this style.
"And I don't think the pole necessarily defines the style at all.
"I think the dancers do."
Rookie Russian duo Evgeny Greshilov and Kira Noire won best couples routine, and described the feeling of winning as "unbelievable".
Kristy Sellers, from Australia, won performer of the year with a routine inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous consulting detective.
And fellow Aussie Deb Roach, who was born with one arm, won the disabled category.
Competitors from countries including Argentina, Australia, Finland, Japan, UK and USA were in competition for 11 world titles, Reuters reported.
There are five divisions: Men's, Women's, Doubles, Disabled and Masters.
The International Pole Dancing Championships was founded in 2008 by Ania Pzeplasko, who is lobbying for Pole Dance Fitness to be recognized as a sport by the Olympic committee.