Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Odense, Møntestræde

Text on front (in bottom left corner): Odense, Møntestræde
Text on back: Rudolf Olsen -- Kunstforlag, Eneret Nr. 10646

This undated postcard of a street in Odense, Denmark, serves as a nice companion piece to last Saturday's postcard of Fiskargränd in Visby, Sweden. Both are wonderful, human-scale European alleys.

Møntestræde (which loosely translates to "Mint Street") is the name of this narrow street in Odense, a 1,023-year-old Danish city with a population of about 165,000.1

Møntergården is an old building adjacent to Møntestræde that housed a coin workshop around 1420. (The building took its name from the street.) The whole area is currently the site of an archaeological excavation. Here's a coin that was found recently at the location.

The dwellings pictured in the postcard appear to have originally been part of housing for the poor that was financed by Pernille Lykke in the 1610s. Here's an excerpt from the Odense City Museums' website:
Pernille Lykke bought the site in August 1613 from ... Odense City and in 1617 she had a half-timbered building of 18 bays built in Møntestræde.

The dwellings had two different purposes. The first ones were organized as an institution for the poor and it contained one entrance hall and two living rooms. There was not room for much more than a bed, a closet, a chair, and a table. In these institutions there were to live, according to the decree "as long as the world exists", three honest, needy women and two orphan boys, who had to attend the grammar school. The women were allowed to live in the house until their death whereas the boys were only allowed to live there for three years. ...

The original function of the buildings was maintained until 1955, when the institutions became part of the museum complex. The buildings are now furnished to give an impression of how housing conditions were at that time. There is public access to the building.
Appendix: About those letters

ø -- A Scandinavian letter, it is a vowel and a letter used in the Danish, Faroese and Norwegian languages.

æ -- It is a grapheme formed from the letters a and e. It is a letter in the alphabets of some languages, including Danish, Faroese, Norwegian and Icelandic.

Pictured at right are both letters as they appear on a Danish computer keyboard. Here's more on the Danish and Norwegian alphabets, if you're interested.

1. Odense is the birthplace of fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen and Caroline Wozniacki, who is currently the top-ranked women's tennis player in the world. Ruth Manning-Sanders wrote a biography of Hans Christian Andersen titled "The Story of Hans Andersen: Swan of Denmark". And so I have now successfully written a footnote that legitimately mentions both Ruth Manning-Sanders and Caroline Wozniacki.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The wonderful world of reading and #fridayreads

I love books. My wife can confirm that statement.

And I love reading books. My wife is now laughing and mocking me.

Since we were married in 2005, I have read fewer than ten books straight through, from first page to last. These would include "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larson, "Candyfreak" by Steve Almond, "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman, and "World War Z" by Max Brooks.1

My wife calls me a Browser. Five pages of this book. Ten pages of that book. The middle portion of another book.

I treat my bookshelves like the Internet, "hyperlinking" around from the one book's foreword to another book's index to another book's Chapter 8. And I'll lean more toward selections that allow for this type of browsing. Things like the Cecil Adams compilations, Roger Ebert's many collections of movie reviews, Chuck Klosterman's essays, miscellanies, and encyclopedias.2 (Also, a ton of newspaper and magazine articles. Nice, short and easily finished.)

But I'm trying to change. To get back to being that guy who -- before slogging through 60-hour workweeks, raising a daughter and a having huge yard that needs mowed -- could finish a book every one-to-two weeks. I want to find a better balance in my reading habits3 and get back to the days when I could start and finish a book in less time than it takes the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete a 95-loss season.

Part of what inspires me is FridayReads.

FridayReads is a Twitter phenomenon. It's this simple: Every Friday, you sign onto your Twitter account, type the name of the book you're currently reading, add the hashtag #fridayreads, and hit enter. (If you're not on Twitter, there's a FridayReads Facebook page where you can participate.)

Here is my #fridayreads tweet for today.

Every Friday, thousands of people tell the Twitterverse what they're reading. It gets bigger every week. And everyone can follow the #fridayreads hashtag to see what everyone else is reading and get hundreds of new recommendations.

Reading recommendations gone viral!

Oh, and you might win groovy prizes simply by tweeting each Friday with the #fridayreads hashtag. Can't beat that.

A couple other things:
  • You might want to follow @thebookmaven on Twitter. She maestros the event, issues friendly reminders and keeps score on how many people have tweeted each Friday. (2012 Update: Actually, just go ahead an follow @FridayReads on Twitter now, instead of the aforementioned account.)
  • FridayReads has an excellent blog, where you can learn more about how it all works and see lists of which books are getting the most mentions each week.
FridayReads reminds me that there's so much more I want to find the time to read. My to-read list is already growing and includes "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" by David Mitchell, "West of Here" by Jonathan Evison, "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" by James Gleick, and "The Golden Age" by Michael Ajvaz.

Now I just need to get busy! First up: Finishing "The Big Short".

And then Tweeting it.

1. Yes, I like zombies.
2. For example, the 1,088-page "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy" by John Clute and John Grant.
3. A great and inspiring example of changing one's reading habits can be found at The Book Lady's Blog and her Year of Deliberate Reading in 2010.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brentano's, the American Bookstore in Paris

The above bookseller label is affixed to the bottom of the inside back cover of an extremely tattered1 1925 copy of The Blue Guides' "Muirhead's Southern Italy." The yellow label is one inch wide and three-eighths of an inch deep.

Brentano's had multiple American locations and a bookstore that was located on the famous Avenue de l'Opéra in Paris for more than 100 years.

The first Brentano's opened in New York City in 1853. The Paris location opened in 1895. According to Wikipedia: "From its headquarters at 586 Fifth Avenue [in New York City], Brentano's became a publisher, with a specialization in French literature that led it to publish under the imprint 'Éditions Brentano's' many titles by French writers in exile during the Vichy France period."

But many good things come to an end. For Brentano's, the end was particularly depressing. In 1984, Kmart Corporation purchased Waldenbooks, and Waldenbooks purchased Brentano's.2 Then, in 1992, Brentano's and Waldenbooks were merged into Kmart's other book subsidiary, Borders. In 1995, Borders Group Inc. was spun off of Kmart as an independent company.3

Meanwhile, the Paris store in which this travel book sat on the shelves many decades ago was officially closed and then liquidated in June 2009. Its owners sent out the following news release at that time:
Paris, June 15, 2009

Dear Friends,

It is with sadness, and astonishment - despite the prolonged agony of these last months - that we inform you of the official closing of Brentano's Bookstore - Paris, Monday, June 15, 2009. We who remained for the final voyage are a skeleton crew. Along with the many cherished former colleagues you have known, we thank you for your vital collaboration and consideration throughout the years. It has been our privilege to be a part of the special world of books and bookselling and a bridge between cultures.

After 114 years at the same address Brentano's - the American Bookstore in Paris, will no longer welcome the curious passer-by and the faithful regular. In these final days many, many customers have expressed sincere disbelief and genuine anguish upon learning that this institution (in their minds invincible) will cease to exist. This testimony to our combined efforts, yours and ours, we take to heart and share with you.

We will miss our unique universe. We are thankful to have had the rare opportunity to know so many good and talented people from many nations and to have lived and worked in the world of books.

Best wishes, Susan Rosenberg and Alain Queval for Brentano's - Paris
And so Brentano's, which once spanned two continents, is just a memory now.

But we still have these tiny and wonderful bookseller labels to remind us of places that once existed. If you want to get lost for a while in the world of bookstores and graphic design, I heartily recommend you check out the following websites:

1. It's a shame, too. The travel-guide content inside -- including about a dozen detailed fold-out maps -- is intact and in acceptable shape. But the binding is completely pulled off the spine and is only attached by about one inch of material. Still, if anyone is interested in this book for its content, email me.
2. Source: Borders' history page
3. And we know how well that's been going lately. For background, see The New York Times' "Borders’ Bankruptcy Shakes Industry" and Crain's "Borders goes bankrupt, ending 3 NYC stores".

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Rover Boys at Big Horn Ranch

Here's the worn cover of the 1922 hardcover "The Rover Boys at Big Horn Ranch." It was written by Edward Stratemeyer under the pseudonym Arthur M. Winfield. This was the 26th book in 30-book Rover Boys series, which was originally published between 1899 and 1926.

In the introduction to the book, Stratemeyer writes:
My Dear Boys: This book is a complete story in itself, but forms the sixth volume in a line issued under the general title, "The Second Rover Boys Series for Young Americans."

As noted in some volumes of the first series, this line was started years ago with the publication of "The Rover Boys at School," "On the Ocean," and "In the Jungle," in which I introduced my readers to Dick, Tom and Sam Rover and their relatives and friends. The twenty volumes of the First Series related the doings of these three Rover boys while attend Putnam Hall Military Academy, Brill College, and while on numerous outings. ...

From reports received I am assured that the sale of this line of books has now passed the three million mark! This is as astonishing as it is gratifying. I sincerely trust that the reading of the volumes will do all of the boys and girls good.

Stratemeyer (pictured at right) was one of the most important figures in the development of juvenile fiction. The Rover Boys series set the wheels in motion for him to establish Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1906 and capture a previously untapped market with multiple juvenile fiction series employing a cottage industry of ghostwriters, copy editors, stenographers and secretaries. Each series was published under a pen name that was owned by Stratemeyer Syndicate.1

And so the Rover Boys series, all 30 of which were written by Stratemeyer writing as Winfield, paved the way for his company to publish some of the most famous juvenile fiction series of all time:
  • The Bobbsey Twins, established in 1904. The series was published under the pen name Laura Lee Hope. Stratemeyer himself is believed to have written the first Bobbsey Twins book, followed by Lilian Garis, who wrote volumes 2 through 28.
  • Tom Swift, established in 1910. Most of the series was published under the pen name Victor Appleton. Most of the early volumes were written by Stratemeyer and Howard Garis, of Uncle Wiggily fame.
  • The Hardy Boys, established in 1927. The series is published under the pen name Franklin W. Dixon, and many of the early volumes were written by Canadian Leslie McFarlane.
  • Nancy Drew, established in 1930. The series is published under the pen name Carolyn Keene, and many of the first books in the series were written by Stratemeyer's daughter, Harriet Adams, and Mildred Wirt Benson.
  • And those are just the most successful and popular series. Stratemeyer Syndicate produced dozens of other series, including Boy Hunters, Boys of Business, Boys of Pluck, The Motor Boys, The Motor Girls, Baseball Joe, Fred Fenton Athletic Series, Motion Picture Chums, Movie Picture Boys, Ruth Fielding, Girls of Central High, Moving Picture Girls, Kneetime Animal Stories, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, Dave Fearless, Six Little Bunkers, Radio Boys, Radio Girls, Bomba the Jungle Boy, Ted Scott Flying Stories, The Dana Girls mystery stories, and The Happy Hollisters. I have many well-worn juvenile fiction titles sitting in boxes in my basement and hadn't realized until researching today's entry that almost all of them are Stratemeyer Syndicate books. I'll certainly be sharing additional images and excerpts from them in future entries.2

And it all started with the Rover Boys series, which was wildly successful in its own right and paved the way for all of the above.3 The series was so successful, in fact, that it spawned parodies, most notably the 1942 Warner Brothers cartoon "The Dover Boys at Pimento University", which was directed by Chuck Jones. That cartoon has fallen into the public domain and so I'm able to present it here without any copyright infringement.

So take a break from your day and enjoy this historic nine-minute cartoon from Merrie Melodies:

1. For more on the history of Stratemeyer Syndicate, see the 1986 book "The Secret of the Stratemeyer Syndicate: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the Million Dollar Fiction Factory" by Carol Billman.
2. I was also surprised to discover the amount of criticism that Stratemeyer Syndicate books received from libraries in the first half of the 20th century.
3. The series established a template that persists today with everything from Sweet Valley High to Goosebumps to the "reboot" series The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers. My personal favorite series growing up was the Three Investigators series, featuring Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, Bob Andrews and "cameos" by Alfred Hitchcock.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy birthday, Henry Darger

Above: The cover of John M. MacGregor's 720-page book, "Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal", features a piece of Darger's artwork. Used copies of MacGregor's book are available on Amazon (for several hundred dollars).

The quiet hospital custodian collected piles of ephemera.

He brought newspapers, photographs, magazines, coloring books, religious pamphlets and anything else he could find back to his small Chicago apartment. He needed it for his work.

Henry Joseph Darger Jr. (right) was born on this date in 1892.1 During his reclusive lifetime, he produced a startling and somewhat-impenetrable body of work while toiling away the decades in his tiny living space. Following his death in 1973, he became an art-world celebrity, and published reproductions of his works now sell for amounts Darger probably couldn't have comprehended.

His primary obsession was "In the Realms of the Unreal", which consisted of a 15,145-page, densely-typed narrative titled "The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion". Serving as a companion to the text are three bound volumes featuring hundreds of detailed illustrations. F.N. D'Alessio of the Associated Press wrote in 2009: "Darger illustrated his works with hundreds of hand-colored collages, up to 12 feet long and many double-sided, assembled from images he had clipped or traced from magazines and other sources." That's why he needed all of that ephemera, which he meticulously collected, sorted and filed away in his one-room apartment.

Darger, unbeknownst to the bustling city around him2, spent six decades on "In the Realms of the Unreal". But it wasn't his only project. He also wrote an autobiography of more than 5,000 pages, a ten-year weather journal, and another work of fiction, titled "Crazy House", which spans more than 10,000 handwritten pages and also features the Vivian sisters.

Major scholarship has been done on Darger and his works in the past 30 years. He continues to dwell mostly in obscurity outside of the art world, although the 2004 Jessica Yu documentary "In the Realms of the Unreal" (right) brought more attention to Darger's life.

Several books focus on Darger and feature examples of his unique artwork. The most affordable is probably "Sound and Fury: The Art of Henry Darger", which can be found for less than $30 used.

Other books on Darger are far more pricey. They include "Henry Darger" by Klaus Biesenbach; "Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings" by Michael Bonesteel; "Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal" by John M. MacGregor; "Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum" by Brooke Davis Anderson and Michel Thevoz; "Henry Darger: Disasters Of War" by Klaus Biesenbach; and "Henry Darger's Room" by Kiyoko Lerner, Nathan Lerner and David Berglund.

This entry doesn't even begin to touch on Darger's life or the themes of Christianity, innocence, violence (especially child abuse), slavery, transgenderism, war3 and good vs. evil in his volumes of work.

If you want to learn more about Darger, here are some websites to check out:

Addendum: August 22, 2011
Bad news. The financial picture for the American Folk Art Museum is bleak, according to The New York Times, and its holdings, including a large collection of Henry Darger material, could be heading elsewhere.

1. His birth date is, however, disputed.
2. Darger's works were not discovered until his landlords, Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner, came across them shortly before his death in 1973.
3. According to his biography on the American Folk Art Museum website, Darger's main work "loosely parallels many of the events of the American Civil War. Darger was a Civil War enthusiast, and he chronicled the flags, maps, and officers in separate journals."
4. Especially haunting and disturbing are the description of the 1911 murder of 5-year-old Elsie Paroubek, her photograph in a Chicago newspaper, and how those things inspired Darger's work.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Two book covers, 108 years apart

Bonus late-night post!

My wife and I sold these two books yesterday, and I wanted scan and share the covers -- which are both wonderful in their own way -- before shipping them off to their happy new homes.

It's fun to compare and contrast these two books, which were published 108 years apart -- one during the Ulysses S. Grant presidency and one during the Jimmy Carter presidency.

At the top we have the dark-green cover of Diocletian Lewis' non-fiction tome "Our Girls", which was published in 1871. Lewis spent much of his career promoting good hygiene, clean living and physical exercise. Some chapter titles in "Our Girls" include:
  • Girls' Boots and Shoes
  • How Girls Should Walk
  • The Language of Dress
  • Outrages Upon the Body
  • Stockings Supporters
  • Employments for Women
  • A Short Sermon About Matrimony
  • A Word About Baths

And then we have 1979's "Advanced D&D Monster Manual" by Gary Gygax.

I love the style of illustrations on this cover. It takes me back to my 1980s childhood, when I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons but had to settle for getting my fantasy fix from Tom Hanks' "Mazes and Monsters" and Intellivision cartridges.

The chapters in the "Monster Manual" include:
  • Basilisk
  • Black pudding
  • Centaur
  • Gar, giant
  • Gelatinous cube
  • Kobold
  • Owlbear
  • Troglodyte
  • Wyvern
  • Xorn
Diocletian Lewis would shudder at all this, I fear.1

And so we have an 1871 book on the raising of proper young ladies and a 1979 book on terrible and fantastic creatures that might give those same young ladies nightmares.

That sets things up perfectly for Tuesday's post, which will mark the birthday of a somewhat obscure individual who secretly spent a lifetime weaving both of those themes together into a master work. Any guesses?

1. To which I would say: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

More about F.W. Behler from current owner David Yates

Last month I wrote about a 103-year-old receipt from F.W. Behler, a plumbing and heating company that's still in business today in York, Pennsylvania.

Afterward, I had a great exchange of emails with David Yates, who has owned F.W. Behler since 1985. He's well-versed in and passionate about his company's long history, and he agreed to share the following F.W. Behler tales and tidbits. York County residents will recognize many of the names and events Yates refers to.

So, without further ado, I'm turning the rest of today's post over to him:
You should see some of [F.W. Behler's] journal entries with the hourly labor charges from that time-era. Lots of entries for York Railway Co. & one I recall for the steam system in the Carey Etnier mansion.1

Directly across from my desk is a framed photo from 1910 with [company founder Franklin Washington Behler's] picture (bowler hat in the picture - see link) sitting in his horse-drawn wagon on W. Philadelphia St., which was dirt & not paved. Doc, the horse, was stabled nearby at the end of the alley just behind the wagon. We still have his feed bin and spot where he was fed breakfast while being harnessed for the day's work.

Frank moved his business from Jefferson2 to York in 1900 because of the tremendous building-boom. His shop was located just off the square in Jefferson, which later became a grocery store. I was told he began his plumbing & tinning business (virtually all plumbers were tinners & metal roofing work incorporated tinning - soldering using metal irons, bar solder, & muriatic acid as the flux) in 1887, but have never followed up to research & confirm that information with the archival historical records in Jefferson. As an apprentice with F.W. Behler in the early 1970's, I installed miles of copper and galvanized soldered gutters, spouts, & downspouts. A fairly esoteric lost art these days.

The Behlers walked past 473 W. Market St. to/from church & Mrs. B. loved this home that had been build as a spec home in 1903 by an investor from California for $9,000. He sold it to the Behlers for $6,000! David Stauffer (Stauffer's cookies3) courted Bertha Behler in the front parlor (my wife's office today) and we discovered the large pocket doors that were hidden inside the wall, which were refinished and restored.

Mahlon Haines4 rented the 3rd floor apartment at 473 [W. Market St.] when he first moved to York.

The underground restrooms in the square5 were constructed in 1929. When Mayor [Charlie] Robertson wanted them restored, we were chosen to do the mechanical renovations and the absolute last available parts were found in Italy via research we conducted to restore some of the plumbing fixtures. We donated time & materials because the city was catching hell for spending money on those restrooms. They're a wonderful part of history & incorporated changing/shower rooms where, for one thin dime, you could have a private bathroom with shower and changing area to use for as long as needed. Barber shop & shoe-shine on the men's side (I can remember being with Dad for haircuts and he'd have his shoes shined) and a beauty salon on the ladies' side.

We celebrated [F.W. Behler's] 100th anniversary [in 2000] on the square with cake and refreshments for anyone passing by. Mayor Robertson held a ceremony and gave us a nice award. Not too many years later, we were replacing a rooftop A/C unit next door to where Charlie was arraigned & had a bird's eye view of the street-scene below.6 A friend from Baltimore called me on my cell to ask why we were on CNN in the video showing the Mayor's escort into District Court. Lots of the National News media took note of our vantage point & it looked like they were trying to figure out how to get to our spot.
1. Carey E. Etnier was the father of artist Stephen Etnier, who was born in York in 1903. Learn more about Stephen Etnier on this official website and Wikipedia.
2. Jefferson is about 14 miles southwest of York.
3. Read more about the Stauffer family in this 2009 blog entry by June Lloyd: "York Baker Responsible for Chocolate Star and Rabbit Cookies".
4. Mahlon Haines was the colorful shoe salesman who is most famous for constructing the Haines Shoe House in Hellam Township, York County, in 1948. The Shoe House has even been featured in a board game.
5. This refers to the underground "comfort stations" in York's Continental Square. For more, check out this 2009 York Town Square blog entry by Jim McClure: "For decades, York's underground comfort stations spelled relief".
6. For the full background on former York mayor Charlie Robertson, the 1969 York riots (including the murders of police office Henry C. Schaad and Lillie Belle Allen), and the criminal investigation and trials surrounding those riots that were held from 2000 to 2003, see the "Race Riots in York" history section of the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Some words that entered the dictionary 70 years ago

When I worked at The Gettysburg Times as my first job out of college back in 1993-94 (and had no money), I would amuse myself at the end of a long workday by sitting at my desk and reading the dictionary. I think this explains a lot about me.

So I thought I'd delve back into the dictionary today and highlight some words that were included in the "New Words Section" of the 1941 edition of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition.1

Here are some words, from the letters A and B, that were new to the dictionary 70 years ago. The entries marked with an asterisk (*) represent additional definitions for existing entries.
  • agrobiology. Noun. The study of plant nutrition and growth and crop production in relation to soil control.
  • air-condition. Transitive verb. To equip with an apparatus for air conditioning; also, to subject to the process of air conditioning.
  • allergy *. Noun. Popularly, excessive sensitiveness to certain substances, as germs, pollen, food, hair, or cloth, to mental or emotional excitement, or to physical conditions, as excessive cold, which are harmless to most people. Thus, contact with feathers or the eating of certain food may cause hives in a person who has an allergy for these substances.2
  • Aryan *. Adjective. In the Nazi ideology, belonging to a supposed superior Caucasian race without admixture, esp. with no Semitic strain.
  • Autobahn. Noun. In Germany, a road with double traffic lanes in each direction separated by a strip of turf and with no restriction upon speed.3
  • baloney. Variation of BOLONEY, below.
  • bangboard. Noun. A sidepiece mounted above the far sidepiece of a wagon, from which the ears of corn tossed by a husker rebound into the wagon.
  • beano. Noun. A variation of keno; -- called also bingo.4
  • blitzkrieg. Noun. War conducted with lightninglike speed and force; specif., a violent surprise offensive by massed air forces and mechanized ground forces in close co-ordination, designed to destroy the enemy's aviation, munitions, communication lines, industry, and transport. The technique of the blitzkrieg was expounded by the Italian general Giulio Douhet and first employed effectively by the Germans against Poland (Sept., 1939).
  • boloney. Noun. 1. Bologna sausage. 2. Something pretentious but worthless; bunk; hooey. Slang, U.S.
  • boysenberry. Noun. [After Rudolph Boysen, the originator.] A huge blackberrylike bramble fruit with raspberrylike flavor, developed in California from three blackberries, a variation of raspberry, and the loganberry.
  • Bronx cheer. [From the Bronx, borough of N.Y. City.] An insulting explosive noise made with lips and tongue to express contempt; raspberry. Slang, U.S.

Ha! Just as I got ready to post this entry, I was informed that The York Emporium's Jim Lewin is also writing about dictionary entries today. Be sure to check out his blog for an exploration of Flapper magazine and “A Flappers’ Dictionary.” Great stuff.

1. Webster's College Dictionary was first published in 1898. Subsequent editions appeared in 1910, 1916, 1931, 1936 (the fifth edition), 1946, 1963, 1973, 1985, 1998 and 2003.
2. For more on food allergies, check out the excellent Food Fight blog, by Lyzz Jones.
3. For more on the German Autobahnen, see Wikipedia.
4. Coincidentally, I have an old bingo card that I was going to blog about this week, which would have allowed me to delve into the beano-to-bingo origins of the game. But that entry never quite took flight. If you're still interested, check out Wikipedia and this excerpt from Roger Snowden's "Gambling Times Guide to Bingo."