Friday, July 3, 2020

Book cover: "Atomic Plot"
(Dale of the Mounted #9)

  • Title: Atomic Plot
  • Series: Dale of the Mounted #9 (12 books published between 1951 and 1962)
  • Author: Joe Holliday
  • Cover illustrator: Keith Ward
  • Publisher: Thomas Allen, Limited (Toronto, Canada)
  • Original price: None listed on dust jacket
  • Year: 1959
  • Pages: 158
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "From the moment Pakistan scientist Dr. Sachi Rami gets out of the plane at Ottawa's Upland airport with his bodyguard the bearded, turbaned Chaudri, and his shy Hindu secretary, Kelomé, trouble dogs his footsteps. Here's a thrilling tale of high intrigue in the fascinating world of atomic energy at Canada's famed Chalk River atom plant in the Gatineau hills."
  • Is Chalk River a real place? Yes, Chalk River Laboratories (formerly Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories) was, according to Wikipedia, established in 1944 "to promote peaceful use of nuclear energy." There were two nuclear accidents there in the 1950s.
  • Dedication: "Dedicated to those workers at Chalk River, Ontario, who are putting the might atom to work for peaceful uses on behalf of mankind — and a better world."
  • First sentence: "Constable Dale Thompson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police waited patiently, seated in the jeep truck at the edge of Ottawa's Upland Airport."
  • Last paragraph: "Dale was immensely pleased. He shook hands with his friends from across the other side of the world. 'I'm going to miss you two!' he said sincerely.
  • Random sentence from the middle #1: "This was what the newspapers fondly called 'atom-smashing.'"
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: "Doctor Rami ventured a comment that a report from the British atomic people showed that along their Cumberland coast much of the radioactivity in the waters was absorbed by the masses of seaweed."
  • About the author: The dust jacket is the best source of biographical information about Joe Holliday that I can find. He was born in 1910 in the Rock of Gibraltar, where his father was a police constable. He worked as a prison guard for a year and began his writing career in 1932. "During the early 1940's he was publicity-photographer with deHavilland Aircraft of Canada, helping publicize the grand work of their Mosquito bombers in overseas operations," the dust jacket states.
  • Blog travels #1: Brian Busby, in a December 2014 post on his still-going The Dusty Bookcase ("A Journey Through Canada's Forgetten, Neglected and Suppressed Writing") states: "First off, I should make it clear that the book I really wanted to read is Dale of the Mounted: Atomic Plot. Published in 1959, it involves a Pakistani scientist, East Indian religious fanatics and a terrorist attack on Canada's Chalk River nuclear research facility. I read Dale of the Mounted: Atlantic Assignment only because it turned up in our local library's most recent used book sale." He goes on to note: "Dale of the Mounted books were once very popular, each landing in early November so as to take advantage of Christmas gift giving. Having been born the year the series ended, I never received one myself, but I remember a friend's older brother having a few." ... It's a really great post, and you should continue into its comments section to learn more about Dale.
  • Blog travels #2: Jennifer White, in an April 2016 post on her still-ongoing Series Books for Girls, relates this: "I am not currently attending very many estate sales, since I only go if I see something in the preview pictures that looks quite promising or if the sales are in my immediate area. Three estate sales were in my immediate area today, and I knew that one of them had a sock monkey. My mother collects sock monkeys. I first went to the sale with the sock monkey. I entered the house and scouted out the room with the dolls and picked up the sock monkey. Next, I leisurely went back through all the rooms to see if I could find anything else. Unexpectedly, the sale also had the first book in the Dale of the Mounted series. The Dale of the Mounted book was in the living room in a small stack of books that the estate sale company considered special items. ... The Dale of the Mounted series is obscure, and I acquired three of them around six weeks ago. I had tried reading one, but it was a bit dry with many technical details. Nevertheless, what I read was still interesting, but I really wanted to read the first book instead to get a better idea of the series, so I quit reading. I was thrilled to find the first book. I will have to read it sometime soon to find out whether it is worth pursuing the rest of the series."

We can be better. And more mindful of what we teach and celebrate.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Catching up with Postcrossing
(Summer 2020)

Arrived in my mailbox from Taiwan

Even more than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic and our venturing-out-less lifestyles, Postcrossing, postcard exchanges and pen pals have kept me connected with the outside world in 2020. Here's another roundup of some of the interesting communications.

I. Arrivals in my mailbox

  • Kristiina from Finland wrote: "Now when we have to stay at home, I've done a lot of gardening. The apples have already been cut and the grass fertilized."
  • Anke from Germany wrote: "I like to read books and trips into nature with my bike."
  • Tuula from Finland wrote (on June 2): "I am a retired librarian, and just now I am very happy, because our libraries are now open again, after 11 weeks COVID-19 break. Restaurants are also open with some limits of opening times and number of clients. Little steps to the 'normal life.'"
  • Brigi from Hungary wrote: "My favorite hobbies are reading (esp. classic detective fiction) and being with my cat, Monty. It's been such a comfort to have him around now that I've been working from home."
  • Monique from the Netherlands wrote: "We actually wanted to travel to the USA this summer, but it will probably take another year because of corona and the regulations."

II. Postcrossing profiles

Every once in a while, I come across a fascinating Postcrossing profile that I want to preserve because it's such an honest snapshot of a moment. For example, this one from a 24-year-old in China:
"I picked up a black stray cat and named it fini, which originated from Phoenix. It's very naughty and timid. I'm helpless about it. ... I have a small bookshelf with many books on it, but I haven't sat down to read a book completely for a long time. I dream that one day I can make a cup of black tea in a warm afternoon and sit quietly by the window and read a book I like. ... I like traveling very much, usually walking around in China. I have a passport, but I haven't been abroad. I dream that I can have one holiday after another, enjoy the great rivers and mountains of my motherland, and enjoy different landscapes in different countries."

III. Thank-you emails for postcards from me

  • Sven from Germany wrote: "Thank you very much for your beautiful card with the nice stamps (yes, I like the Apollo one). ... You have a very important job. It's necessary to tell the facts though a lot of governments and state leaders around the world don't like them."
  • Gerda from the Netherlands wrote: "Thank you for your card and the wonderful stamp of the black cat. I'm going to search for your blog. Our active lockdown is a little bit better for us since 15 June. We are going today to a camping with about 20 friends and stay a night. We have so much to talk since the last time in Febr. when we saw each other for the last time. All in the open air! For my work, I work as much as possible at home. My husband, son and daughter have to work all the time at the factory, harbor and hospital."
  • Sandy & Ruben from the Netherlands wrote: "Thank you very much for the lovely postcard. It is truth that our kids grow up in a very strange time. But yet I see how my son grows up knowing that we are all equal and, even though he is still young, he is already acting like it, treating all people with kindness and a warm heart, which makes me a very proud mom."
  • Aretha from Taiwan wrote: "What you said about art, I couldn't agree more. I often secretly hope I will never fail to find beauty in anything, it gives me hope especially during the difficult time. I wish you & your family stay safe and healthy through these crazy times."
  • Thomas from Germany wrote: "A few minutes ago, I stopped watching the impossible self-grandiosity of D. Trump on the occasion of a speech at White House. So unbearable!"
  • Jenny from the United Kingdom wrote (in mid-May): "Many thanks for the card, the stamps are great too. I'm currently in week 8 of lockdown and like you I have only been out for a walk or run or to get groceries. I live near London which has been badly affected by Covid, but am also worried that people are starting to ignore the advice and going out more with other people. I'm still working but as you say it's good to have more time to do other things while I'm at home, particularly gardening which I've enjoyed."
  • Žydrolė from Germany wrote: "Have a delightful day, full of sunshine and warmth! And be healthy! These evil times will one day end."

Arrived in my mailbox from Germany. "I've found a card from your wall of favorites!" Claus wrote.

Sunrise and light

"(Murnau's Sunrise demonstrates) that good and evil are both part of living, that our mistakes and our suffering need not ruin us, but that what these events mean to us and what we do with them is what matters, for they may indeed become the very means by which our tomorrow may prove to be a better day."
— Dorothy Jones, "Sunrise: A Murnau Masterpiece," Quarterly Review of Film, Radio, and Television, Spring 1955 (via Lucy Fischer's 1998 BFI Film Classics monograph on the film)

"... as we move through this life we should try and do good ..."
"... what most people don't see is just how hard it is to do the right thing ..."
"... Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven ..."
" ...but if you can forgive someone ... well, that's the tough part. What can we forgive?"
— Jim Kurring, character in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999)