“A Road so crooked that it…”

    Crooked Road
    BobLee
    June17/ 2019

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    “A Road So Crooked that it…”

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    I was reading (listening to) this book last week – Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon … it’s one of those “Man becomes disillusioned with Life so he sets out by himself to discover America”and rediscover himself” books.

    The book is his one-man Odyssey encountering all manner of “diner-people” on America’s backroads.   The title refers to the fact that “back roads” are in blue ink on most maps.   His Rule was to avoid Interstate highways.  He wrote it in the early 80s but much of it rings true today with a bit less “rage and rancor” than exists today.  It’s an OK book.  I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

    BUT… in the first chapter he has a Killer Line describing a back road in Illinois…

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    “The road was so crooked… it oughta run for the legislature.”

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    That line coulda been plagiarized from Will Rogers or Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken, or maybe he made it up.  Regardless it was a YOWSA Line IMO.  Nothing else in the ensuing 15 hours matched it but that line alone was worth the $11.50.

    I have reached a level of cynicism that I now believe 98.3% of ALL “elected politicians” at every level are “crooked” i.e. “corrupt”… either initially or eventually. 

    RELAX… This is NOT a BobLee Political Rant.  I promised you I would avoid those on this page. … If you just gotta have some BL’s political thoughts… go to BL EN FUEGO … LINK.  A couple of “Can He Say THAT” Doozies posted this past week.

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    This is a Some Good Books I’ve Read Recently column.

    I have, over the years, mentioned the Travis McGee series by (the late) John D. MacDonald.  If you consider yourself a serious aficionado of crime / mystery fiction and you are not familiar with “Travis McGee” you need to reassess your “seriousness”. Busted Flush

    I’ve never read this anywhere but I believe the Magnum PI (Tom Selleck) series was modeled somewhat after “Travis McGee”.  Change the Hawaiian mansion for a houseboat (The Busted Flush) moored at Slip F-18 at Bahia Mar Marina in Ft Lauderdale…. next to Travis’ Rolls Royce pick-up truck (“Miss Agnes”).

    Travis is “a salvage consultant” who helps people (often very attractive ladies) recover lost property.  He is a White Knight forever saving damsels in distress… but never ending up with the damsel.

    Tom Selleck in his Magnum days would best describe Travis physically and his Dudley Do-Right nature.

    All 20+ novels written in the 60-80s have “a color” in the title.  They are quintessential “beach reads”.  You don’t have to read them in any order but I always suggest doing so.

    The best “like Travis McGee” series I know of is Spenser by (also late) Robert B. Parker set in Boston.  Except Spenser has a sidekick – the enigmatic “Hawk” – and a permanent girlfriend Susan Silverman.  If you enjoy one series you will enjoy both.  If you don’t enjoy either one … WHY do you bother visiting here?

    There are numerous Travis McGee Wannabes in modern fiction.  Even more than “Reacher” wannabees.  All generously acknowledged that John D. MacDonald was their idol as aspiring authors.

    Wayne Stinnett’s Jessie McDermitt series is one I recommend.  H. Terrill Griffin’s Matt Royal series is another one of the genre.

    Remember folks… I “read” 100-120 books/year.  Over 1,000 in the past nine years.  My opinion HAS to matter at least a little bit.

    We will discuss other BobLee Favorite literary genres and authors in future columns.  I have MANY…. CJ Box, Louis L’Amour, John Sandford, Angus Donald … … … … and I’m discovering new ones all the time.

    If I can’t be reincarnated as a Major League Baseball Umpire… I would certainly settle for “the next John D. MacDonald” or “the next Robert B. Parker” … Yessir!

    Theres More

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    BobLee… “The Teddy Bear Whisperer”….   In my 32 years as a “Father / Dad / Daddy” I have received all the traditional Father’s Day gifts from “hand-made somethings” by a kindergartener… to clothes… to a copy of A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (Which is AWESOME by the way)… to power tools, et al.   With all due respect to each and every one of those precious gifts, this year’s mighta set the all-time bar for Kid’s Gift To Dad …

    It was a simple text message waiting for me Sunday morning from Kid (also known as Twinkle & Scooter’s Mom… and Mrs Pastor Danny).

    “…yesterday we were telling a friend about how all the girls stuffed animals had names and I said it was because my dad taught me that all stuffed animals had rich inner lives…”

    No More Calls… We Have Our Winner – Game Set Match. 

    Winston tell me

    “So Winston, tell me more stories about Mom when she was a little girl like me…”

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    Really?… I always thought EVERYONE “talked to” and “were talked to by” Teddy Bears and other species of stuffed animals… as well as cats, of course.  Apparently not.  Our late family cat – Annabelle – is still one of the Top Six most interesting “conversationalists” that I’ve ever known.

    Twinkle (“Ruthie”) has Jennie Bunny. … and Ruthie and Scout share Eunice The Penguin.

    Kid has always been a voracious reader and Twinkle seems destined to be equally voracious…Scooter not so much, yet.  For multi-decades I have wanted Kid to read Watership Down by Richard Adams.  It is a wonderful adventure allegory about rabbits.  She has resisted so far… not realizing I have recently added “doing so” as a condition to her inheriting the family fortune.

    Anyhooo… that 30+ years of my being a Teddy Bear Whisperer had not only NOT gone unnoticed but was cherished… what can I say?  Excuse me… I must have something in my eye…

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    A Lot More BobLeeSays Columns … LINK

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    BobLee
    • Fayettewuf Reply
      4 weeks ago

      I read John McDonald so long ago that I could probably re-read and enjoy. Have you ever read Ross McDonald’s Lew Archer books? Couple of movies were made from his books, but they changed the name because of Paul Newman’s run of protagonists whose name started with H to Harper. Speaking of McDonalds, Gregory McDonald wrote Fletch and Chevy Chase made IMHO a crappy movie base on the story.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 weeks ago

        Read Lew Archer years ago. Travis McGee’s are timeless as are Spencers.

    • Mayberry Jim Reply
      4 weeks ago

      I also travel the “blue line roads” often due to the nature of my work, and many times by choice to avoid the interstates. Takes a little longer but MUCH less stressful. I’m always amused when a really crooked road is named after a politician. Makes me wonder if there is some retribution involved, and similarly when they name a waste treatment plant.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 weeks ago

        HUZZA HUZZA …. 🙂

    • Wolfdon Reply
      4 weeks ago

      Just finished “Rocket Men “ By Robert Kurson . A revisit to the space race between the US and USSR to the moon and the three men in Apollo 8 who played such a vital role in the effort to win. Nostalgic and very enlightening.
      Recommend this very much.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 weeks ago

        I will add it to my list. Thanks.

    • Jay Colognori Reply
      1 month ago

      I can’t tell if you are giving the Jack Reacher novels props or not. I’ve read them all and some are great, others not so much. What is the name of the first Travis McGee (what an awful name) novel? If I am, as you recommend, to begin at the beginning, I need to know. 😉

      My first dog, a promise kept to my 8 year old son, was a golden retriever we named “Beamer”. He cried all the way home after being separated from his mother and siblings. I should have known then he would be a communicative fellow and he surely was. I should have named him Chewbacca for he frequently expressed himself in what I can only describe as Wookie language – I kid you not. He passed a decade ago and I will always miss our conversations – literally.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 weeks ago

        I’m a long time Reacher fan… 15-20 years when he first arrived on the scene. The classic iconic “loner” who shows up and vanquishes local evil doers then moves on… with his toothbrush. I’m several latest ones behind though. The author Lee Child is an outspoken disliker of “people with my political opinions” so I’ve cooled a bit on him.
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        I feel sorry for anyone who is NOT a “pet whisperer” much less a “teddy bear whisperer”.

    • Former96Heel Reply
      1 month ago

      You’re the man to ask. An author like Robert Parker, or Louis L’Amour, or James Patterson, the list goes on, How do they turn out such volume of work? I realize there is a sort of formula to a series, but repeating the same thing will lead you to lose your audience, I would think. Do they have ghosts (that is while they are living, not the post-mortem series authors)? There are dozens of fiction authors who put out over a book a year, and still seem to hold their audience, probably even gather more readers with each new book.
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      Certainly a skill of which I am envious.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 month ago

        Patterson has used co-authors for years… with JAMES PATTERSON across the top of the book as the lure. No clue how much JP actually contributes to the book or what $$$ % he gets of sales. Clive Cussler also uses co-authors for all his 3-4 series now. The Iconic Author’s “name” sells the book.
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        Parker died 10+ years ago and “his estate/family” has recently approved Ace Atkins to author new Spenser books. Vince Flynn’s widow has done the same with Kyle Mills carrying on the Mitch Rapp stories.
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        How long to continue a series with a central character is usually up to the author’s creative zeal in doing so. I LOVED Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series which he ended 5-6 years ago … felt he has taken it as far as he could. Now does stand-alones.
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        CJ Box still does “a Joe Pickett” once/year but does stand alones in between.
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        Michael Connelly still does Harry Bosch but developed The Lincoln Lawyer out of Bosch.
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        Becoming an Iconic Author takes a LOT OF REJECTIONS to even get in the race…

    • Jim Wilkins Reply
      1 month ago

      You need to try, Blind your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West . Told you one before. Sue ( KHS) ’65 says it’s the best book she ever read. J W

      • BobLee Reply
        1 month ago

        I’ll check it out, Jim. Thanks.

    • Ruthless Reply
      1 month ago

      My kinda column! Picture takes the number 1 position. Love my teddy bear and my dolls. Always talked to them. Keep up great job here. Was in need of more reading. Thanks to you I just might hit 75 books this year

      • BobLee Reply
        1 month ago

        Thought you might like it. Notice I did mention CJ. More on him, Joe, MaryBeth, Nate, and Rulon later…

    • Babs.N.Derm Reply
      1 month ago

      Adorable Picture !

      • BobLee Reply
        1 month ago

        I have QUITE a large ever-growing collection! 🙂

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