Book Review #27

Through no fault of my own, I managed to read another book which is older than me.  It is over four decades older, though to categorize it as a book, is perhaps generous.  It was only 68 pages, a couple of them being photos from a trip.  It is said to be the first English-language book produced in this German-speaking town.  I did not acquire it just to tick off a reading challenge sector.

The book:  A Canadian’s Travels In Egypt

The author:  Ward H. Bowlby K.C.

The review:  If you Googled ‘Vanity Press,’ there would be a picture of this ego trip about an Egyptian trip.  A local historian publishes a weekly newspaper column.  He mentioned that he had a pdf file of a carefully-scanned 1902 original.  He would forward a copy to anyone who asked – so I asked.

Ward Bowlby was a big noise here in then-Berlin, Ontario, at the end of the 19th century.  He had attended Ontario Law College in Toronto, being first in his class each year.  He came from a well-to-do family.  Besides generous fees, paid by other local captains of industry, he owned a large timber/lumber company during a significant period of city growth.

In the winter of 1898/99, he felt that he had earned a little vacation.  This was not your average on-the-cheap tourist-class jaunt.  Ward, and 8 of his family and friends, took a four month getaway from a cold, Canadian winter, including two months on a Nile houseboat.

They went by train from Berlin to New York City, and boarded a steamer.  Over 11 days, they visited Gibraltar, Pompeii, and Naples.  Then they transferred to an Italian steamer for a trip to Alexandria.  After eight days in Cairo, which included a visit by the two men in the party to an ‘Arab music hall,’ where they were suitably scandalized by half-naked belly-dancers, they chartered a Nile tour-boat.

They got as far upstream as Aswan (Assouan), and then returned, visiting village markets, Luxor tombs, the Sphinx, and the Great Pyramids.  Bowlby kept a daily diary of the Egyptian portion, later turning it into a published travelogue.  After Egypt, the party spent 10 days in ‘The Holy Land’ – Palestine, long before the (re)creation of Israel.  Sadly, Bowlby kept no notes about that segment of the trip.

He had 56 copies printed, and bound with leather with gilt lettering.  He autographed each copy, and gave them to people he wanted to impress.  I don’t know how common these travelogues were at that time.  This one has the feel of the quiet bombast of, This is something that I could afford to do, and you can’t.  The K. C. behind his name, above, indicates, not merely a lawyer, but King’s Counsel.  He suffixed each autograph with ‘Esq.’

The manuscript itself was as tedious as the year-end newsletter you might receive from any bragging almost-friend.  The basic story though, was like watching the Hercule Poirot movie, Death On The Nile, an interesting historical glimpse into the period actions of some monied Canadians.

Flash Fiction #27 – Redux

In the lead-up to Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, etc., Rochelle has graciously granted us the exemption from straining our brains too much.  I’m taking advantage of the offer to reach waaayy back into my files, and republish this unpolished gem.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Claire Fuller

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES

Richie had a real mania for anything related to films.  He’d even got an autograph from some kid who held a clapper stick.  He wasn’t hard to convince to come along on an artifact hunting expedition, but, the further we got from the city, the more reluctant he became.

“Why are we way out here?  There’s nothing connected to films in this run-down little village!”

“Sure there is.  They filmed some of the Transformers movies here” I replied.  “See there.  That’s the changing room for Optimus Prime.  Maybe you could get a tailpipe, or a tire for your rec-room wall.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Sisterhood Of The Blog

Reapers

This is where we explore the distaff side of this ‘Meet The Blogger Tour.’

TWOFER!  That’s what I got.  Two for the price of one.

I’ve been stumbling around like a constipated rhino, yodeling, “We’re going to Rants’!  We’re going to Rants’!” but there’s another side to it.  BrainRants would like to be a published author, in fact the reason that he originally started his blog, was so that he could practice composing and publishing 500 words a day, for an entire year.  That’s where I first found him.

He attracted the attention of a lovely, lady author, named H. E. Ellis.  Since I was constantly hanging around his blog back door, like a lost puppy hoping for a pat on the head, she noticed me also.  She had already published a coming-of-age novel titled The Gods Of Asphalt.

Using stories solicited from a circle of bloggers, she compiled an eBook titled Fucked-Up Fairy Tales, to which I was allowed to submit a disappointing little ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ story.  She also assembled a Christmas spoof titled Iconic Interviews, in which I was interviewed as a crusty, corpulent Frosty the Snowman.

After Rants’ marriage ended, the online writing seminars graduated to personal visits.  One backyard brainstorming session of two couples produced the story line of the Grim Reaper, overworked by the deaths of Earth’s burgeoning population and subject to Other-Worldly bureaucracy.  H.E. wrote it as a book titled Reapers With Issues and 3 sequels yet to come.

I purchased an eBook version of it, and also a paperback copy for a memento.  With my usual, unthinking arrogance, I asked if I could get an autographed, first-edition copy.  While H. E. did the actual composition, she gave the other three co-writing credits.  Not only did she sign it herself, but she arranged for the other three to sign it also.

The logistics of the care and concern, time and effort, organization and labor, to get three other people together with one book, is awe-inspiring and heart-warming.  All the more so, because a monkey-wrench got thrown into the situation.

By the time the book was written and published, Rants was back on his second 1-year tour of Afghanistan.  After getting the book signed by the other two, she packaged it up, and shipped it half-way around the world to BrainRants.  He autographed it and added a dedication, and shipped it back Stateside.  It still reeks of camel shit, and desert sand sifts out when I hold it – AND I HOLD IT DEAR TO MY HEART!

So, this is the heart-high Yin, of the Yin and Yang creative and caring couple that we’re going to visit.  They’re each younger than our actual children, but maybe I might persuade them to adopt us.   😀  I forwarded photos of the entire clan, and haven’t heard of any vision or psychiatric problems, so here’s hoping.

Flash Fiction #27

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES

Michelin

 

 

 

 

 

Richie had a real mania for anything related to films.  He’d even got an autograph from some kid who held a clapper stick.  He wasn’t hard to convince to come along on an artifact hunting expedition, but, the further we got from the city, the more reluctant he became.

“Why are we way out here?  There’s nothing connected to films in this run-down little village!”

“Sure there is.  They filmed some of the Transformers movies here.” I replied.  “See there.  That’s the changing room for Optimus Prime.  Maybe you could get a tailpipe, or a tire for your rec-room wall.”

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.