Greg Homer

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Greg Homer

Greg Homer’s book reviews

I was all set to respond to HappyHermit's sharp remarks at my expense (see his fine review of 'Celtic Literature'); but then I read this book. I had a great come-back all ready to fire off, involving HappyHermit's personal hygiene being the reason he is a hermit. But then Amelia Edith Barr's wisdom touched me..deeply. So Happy...I forgive you. Now get out there and meet people...mingle.

By the way, I'm exactly as funny as I think I am..which is marginally.
Adventure on the high seas! The true life tale of Sir Francis Drek, Captain of Her Majesty's ship the Golden Ape. Sir Francis and his crew of hearties were the first men to sail from England to Reno, Nevada in 1540. First Mate of the Golden Ape, Alexander FitzBoyle stayed on in Reno and founded the first all-you-can-eat buffet in the New World.

ps: I'm actually going to read this one. Sounds like my kind of book. And am sending in a long overdue donation to ManyBooks. AND YOU DO THE SAME!
The great Zelia Nuttall spent 760 pages explaining what she might have condensed into one half of a page:

To wit:
1. Eat slowly.
2. Never make extended eye contact with a crazy person.
3. Most people are almost crazy; almost most people are crazy.
4. 'Cool' is whatever people 19-24 are doing.
5. Being a bad example for your children isn't necessarily a bad thing.
7. It's better to get too much sleep than too little sleep.
8. Never envy anyone.
9. Girls love a guy who's a good dancer.
10. Showing up is 75% of any job.

A big budget musical adaptation of this short book became the surprise Broadway hit of 1961, starring the great Judy Garland, June Allison, and a very young Robert Goulet. 'Two Gals and a Lemming' became the last successful musical project of Ms. Garland's tragic career.

Slated for the silver screen, the project was shelved when further DNA research found the supposedly 'new' species of Bog Lemming was actually just a regional variant of the Brown-mantled Bog Lemming. Many believe this revelation was what pushed Judy Garland over the edge and into her ultimate tailspin of booze, pills, and meaningless sex.
Supposedly this book provided author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Tarzan's Discount Adventure) with much of the material for his upcoming super-blockbuster novel 'The Lost Code'. Brown acknowledges the research done by Julius F. Sachse on early American Masonic rituals and practices in the preface of his new book.

Some little known early American Masonic factoids:

*George Washington wore a propeller beanie to his inauguration ball and demanded both John Adams and Button Gwinette wear similar beanies. Propeller beanies were required attire by all Masons of that era.
*Patriot Nathan Hale, also a Mason, never ate any food that contained the letter 't' on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays; a Masonic law.
*Aaron Burr, also a devout Mason, always wore two left shoes; this was to show his Masonic brothers his dedication to the Masonic tenet of 'Moderate Discomfort'.
*George Washington, himself, wrote the secret Masonic Chant of Valor:
"I hate England, I hate France; I hate someone's underpants."
Happily this volume includes not just the commonly known stories (David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Freebie and the Bean) but several lesser known and very intriguing stories. My favorite; Macateus, the Brave Little Barber.

Macateus the Barber was a young Roman soldier assigned to serve Pontius Pilate, keeping his hair trimmed and looking fine. Well, one fine day Macateus the Barber accidentally nicked the ear of Pontius Pilate, causing the Magistrate some pain. Pontius Pilate immediately ordered Macateus to be crucified in the plaza. Fortunately, John the Baptist pleaded to Pontius Pilate to spare the life of Macateus...which he did. In gratitude, Macateus the Barber offered to wash and style the greasy, matted hair of John the Baptist...but John refused.
Why does Henry H. Crapo's address to the Central Michigan Agricultural Society at their Sheep-shearing Exhibition in 1866 deserve your time and attention?

Governor Crapo, it seems, was quite the amateur comedy writer. It was during this speech he delivered what has become one of the great American jokes:

"A guy walks into a bar with an iguana on his shoulder. The bartender says, 'HEY! We don't allow greasy little sewer rats in the bar.' The guy says to the bartender, 'It's not a greasy little sewer rat--it's an iguana.' The bartender says, 'I was talking to the iguana.'"
Most of this book is like a bucket of gravel--deadly dull and lifeless. But there is a nugget of gold amongst the gravel--the chapter on astronomer Cecil Stawell Stonecipher.

As an astronomer, Mr. Stonecipher made very few ripples in the scientific community; he co-authored a little known paper on the possible eccentric orbit of Rectos, the 4th moon of Neptune, read by possibly 30 people worldwide.

But when Mr. Stonecipher left his telescope and lab--that's when he became truly great and worthy of mention in this book. Cecil Stawell Stonecipher lived two lives; his scientific life and a sporting life. During the summer months he removed his lab coat and glasses and donned the uniform of the old Cincinnati Red Stockings and became 'Three-Fingered' Stonecipher, one of the most skilled and feared pitchers in all of professional baseball. He once stabbed rival Cy Young in the throat with a #2 pencil during a bar fight. He once ********* a young Ty Cobb during a bench-clearing melee in Detroit. He briefly married American actress and singer Lillian Russell but divorced her when she complained about him wearing his baseball shoes in bed.

So to all you kids out there; always look for the nugget of gold in that bucket of gravel.
This edition was the second of a series of three horsemanship pamphlets by Mr. Greenwood. In the first, 'Hints on Horsemanship to a Brother and Sister-in-Law' Greenwood provided some rather odd horsemanship hints:
*Riding with Scissors
*Riding While Drunk
*Nightime Cliff Diving

Obviously, the recommendations ended poorly for Lyle and Marleen Greenwood, his brother and sister-in-law. And so, he composed this more sensible piece for their orphaned children. Chapters include:
*Grooming Your Horse
*Proper Feed

The third and final edition, 'Hints on Horsemanship, to a Pastor and a Grocery Clerk', Greenwood reverted to his bizarre recommendations:
*Sculpting With Manure
*Painting Your Horse
*Teaching Your Horse to Play Croquet

Hopefully will make the other two available soon.
Finally! A resource to answer that age-old question, how is p-e-c-a-n correctly pronounced.

Is it:

1. PEE-can
2. PEE-cahn
3. puh-CAHN
4. puh-CAN

Turns out, according to H. Harold Hume, the p-e-c-a-n is correctly pronounced:


So next time you're in a diner and want some dessert be sure to ask your waitress; 'Could I have a slice of POO-chin pie with ice cream, please.' She'll be might impressed, you bet.