John H. Watson’s Arch Enemy!

It’s time again for the Watsonians to gather on Zoom, and our opening salvo for June will be trying to figure out who John Watson’s arch enemy was. Sherlock had his Moriarty, but who was the anti-Watson? Who did Watson have a personal stake in striving against?

Join us online at the usual noon central time on Sunday, June 25th for answering this question and the usual random chat that follows. Here’s the registration link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsd-CrpzgsHNaX7iLEciAiRQhk1IJcOi1z

A Watson Baby Shower?

Our May meeting falls right in the center of Memorial Day weekend, so we decided to just have some fun. The year is 1889. The Watsons have just had their first, very non-Canonical baby. You’ve only heard the baby is called “V,” so you don’t know its gender, but you’ve been invited to a baby shower that Mrs. Cecil Forrester is holding for them. What do you bring as an appropriate 1889 gift for the Baby V?

Think hard about it or make one up that afternoon, but we’ll be asking everyone to describe what they’ve brought to our imaginary Watson baby shower, and, if necessary, why?

It’ll be at the usual time on Sunday, May28. (Noon Central time. Six hours later, Southsea time. You figure out the rest.) Here’s the registration link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpdOisqj8sGtNV8UcpSZHzPQn38hvbbqX2

Technical Difficulties

We are unable to process memberships at the moment. Selena is working on it and hopes to have everything back up and running soon. We apologize for the inconvenience!

The John H. Watson Society, now on Fourth Sundays!

After years of missing a core member of the John H. Watson Society, we are finally moving the meeting so she can come. It’s now fourth Sundays instead of fourth Saturdays, and as we’re also dodging too big events in the next two months, those will also be our opening theme for each of the next two meetings. And just to make sure we have our act together, we’ve already got registration links for both meetings!

Opening topic: “What did we learn in Dayton?”
When: Mar 26, 2023 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 
Register in advance for the March meeting with this link!

Opening topic: “What did we learn at 221B Con?”
When: Apr 23, 2023 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for the April meeting with this link!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining each meeting.

Our February meeting!

It’s that time again, and on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) the John H. Watson Society will Zoom gather. What’s going to happen this month? You just never know!

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtc-6tpj8sGddjJ-0CNAHTDhfI5ZMtfR_u

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In the meantime, listen to this week’s Watsonian Weekly, if you’ve got twelve minutes to devote to our favorite John! Here’s one way to get there:

https://watsonianweekly.libsyn.com/february-20-2023-cmon-give-us-more-watson

And We’re Back! And We’re Meeting!

guard outside sherlock holmes museum in london
Photo by Anna Kozlova on Pexels.com

First, thank you all very much for your patience as some behind the scenes chaos went on. The site is back up and running. Some of our media files are still being restored, but members can find downloadable digital Watsonian issues on the Member Resources page.

Also! We will be meeting on Zoom this Saturday, January 28. Here are the details:

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpceioqjkuGNzgu_jsjZGEt1FJmwAlnTGH

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Upon the Terrace for Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”

We have received word that our dear “Chips” passed away yesterday, January 16, in Denver, Colorado.

When Ron joined the Society in 2013, he wrote:

I am at present Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients. I have been a past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. I am a member of: The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and co- founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honoring the memory of John Bennett Shaw.

I have had an overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson since seventh grade when I read “The Speckled Band” in my class’s Catholic Weekly Reader. I have always identified with Dr John Watson and now feel I am where I belong with The John H. Watson Society.

He contributed to the Society blog many, many times over the years, including his long-running irregular feature, “Tid Bits“. He always brought a spirit of joy and friendship to the world of Sherlockiana. In 2014, he shared some thoughts in an observation I will reprint here.

Recently, there have been exchanges online about who is a Sherlockian. We have always had a healthy exchange of different ideas. This discussion question has brought out responses that have caused hard feelings among some Sherlockians. This concerns me and I would like to share some thoughts I have about the Grand Game we play.

I was fortunate to meet and know John Bennett Shaw, who had the largest individual Sherlockian collection in the United States and was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. In my too few visits by letter and in person, we discussed all things Sherlockian. The following points are concepts I took away from my conversations with John Bennett Shaw. I try to base my Sherlockian actions on these points:

1. If you have one of a Sherlockian collectible, you gloat. If you have two, you share.
2. A Sherlockian is anyone who has read a Sherlock Holmes story (preferably a story from the Canon) and tries to find more.
3. A Sherlockian is someone who has watched a Sherlock Holmes movie, television program or play and who tries to find more.
4. A Sherlockian is one who has listened to a Sherlockian radio show, tape or cassette and tries to find more.
5. We should treat a Sherlockian’s opinion with respect even if that opinion is wrong or disagrees with yours.
6. The most important rule is: if you are having fun, do it; if you are not having fun,

I wish you all could have met John Bennett Shaw. He was a Sherlockian and human being of the finest kind.

These then are my thoughts: I am afraid we are losing some of the fun in and respect for each other’s point of view that John mentioned we should have. We each have our own favourite Sherlock Holmes and his world. I am a traditionalist. My Sherlock Holmes is that of the Canon and of the world of 1887. The actor who portrayed my quintessential Holmes is Peter Cushing in his portrayal of Holmes in the 1968 BBC television series.

I am sure there are others who will disagree with me. I look forward to discussing my beliefs with you whether you are Brett supporters or the new wave of Cumberbatch supporters from the BBC Series “Sherlock” which updates Holmes to modern times. All I ask is that you treat my beliefs with the same respect and courtesy I will treat yours.

Greetings to all my Sherlockian friends and those friends I have not yet met.

I never had the privilege of meeting Ron in person, but he was a wonderful correspondent. I hope that we will continue to honor his spirit in all we do.

Please share your reminiscences and condolences in the comments. A memorial will be included in the Spring issue of the Watsonian.

The John H. Watson Society 2022 Blue Carbuncle All-Carolling Musical!

This coming Saturday is the December meeting of the John H. Watson Society at noon Central time (adjust accordingly to your location) and here’s the meeting registration link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qf-qurTkoE9zRiMaCBxh2tOP6S6-D2pZe

As usual, our opening presentation/discussion starter will be a last-minute bit of something Watson-ish, but this time we really need your help! This Saturday will be the first ever John H. Watson Society Blue Carbuncle All-Carolling Musical, and we can’t do it without a cast! (Or, to put it more plainly, you don’t want to see who is willing to perform it without a cast.)

Can you sing Christmas carols, and not necessarily well? Can you stand to sing one or two verses a capella karaoke by yourself? (It’s Zoom, so all solos!) Are you full of that blythe Christmas spirit that overcomes Zoom stage fright? Well, come join in the fun! We’ll be rehearsing an hour before the meeting at 11 AM Central time, and here’s the link to that, but be forewarned — if you come to rehearsal, you’d best be prepared to sing — no lookey-loos allowed at rehearsal, of course!
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsdOuhqj0jGd05FzVTryfalkHhtlUpYrgs

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting, and you will later be emailed some lyrics to practice on if you sign up before Saturday for the rehearsal. (If you sign up on Saturday, you can still sing, but the lyrics will come at 11.)

Yes, we had a meeting. And we’ll do it again!

The John H. Watson Society gathered on Zoom this past Saturday, after a bit of a late notice. You can hear some of what went on here:

https://watsonianweekly.libsyn.com/november-28-2022-watson-gets-stinky

And if you want to get ready for next month’s meeting, which is coming on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada), you can register in advance at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qf-qurTkoE9zRiMaCBxh2tOP6S6-D2pZe

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Come on Saturday if convenient. If inconvenient . . . well you know what to do.

Think we forgot you? Nope! Join the John H. Watson Society and friends on Saturday for some laconic messages to Watson from a certain friend that may require your services to interpret.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Saturday, Nov 26, 2022 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpd-ysrTIpE93kKPMIwgCzYQ0aLKNxbtsE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Why is the Watsonian Weekly longer this week?

You can probably guess — but we save it for the end of the show, so if you don’t want spoilers, you can listen to most of the podcast before turning it off. Otherwise, DIG IN! It’s Watsonian Weekly time!

https://watsonianweekly.libsyn.com/november-7-2022-no-spoilers-until-the-end

You can subscribe to the Watsonian Weekly on all the good podcathers, like . . .

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-watsonian-weekly/id1465553726

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/23X2gDGeWfsvapGDrZfVQs

And more!

What kind of monster would Watson be?

Sure, the John H. Watson Society could talk about trick-or-treat costumes for our favorite doctor this Halloween season, but why not take it a step further at our Saturday, October 22 meeting? If Watson was an actual monster, what type of monster would suit his personality and preferences the most? That will be our starter topic, but you know the JHWS! Past that, it’s just the normal pub chat that our members enjoy. The usual mid-day-in-mid-America meeting time — come in costume if you dare!

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkcemvrz4sG9XFChbNGpflYc6pbbTlMeKc

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Clark Russell Challenge!

What? You say you were traveling to Toronto or waxing your moustache, and missed this month’s meeting of the John H. Watson Society? Well, here’s your chance to see what you missed on the latest episode of the Watsonian Weekly, where our usual fifteen minute podcast has been extended to include a hastily produced, written, and directed production of “The Frozen Pirate” by W. Clark Russell, perhaps John Watson’s favorite writer!

Can you last for the entire episode? That’s “The Clark Russell Challenge” and it’s available wherever The Watsonian Weekly is streamed, including this link:

https://watsonianweekly.libsyn.com/september-26-2022-the-clark-russell-challenge

Enjoy!

The Latter Days of September with John H. Watson and His Society

Have the equinoctial gales set in with exceptional violence in your neighborhood yet? The trees in the neighborhood of at least one Watsonian think so. Nonetheless, the internet cable is back and it’s time to gather the John H. Watson Society yet again.

In honor of a particular Watson September, we will be featuring an impromptu Clark Russell reader’s theater production of what some say is the very book he was reading the night that John Openshaw came to 221B Baker Street. (“Some” being a certain weekly podcast host.) You won’t want to miss it, just in case someone forgets to hit the “record” button.

When: Sep 24, 2022 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkdO-trjIuHdSh1BB-hobwjXJdoldPXH7y

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

2022 Treasure Hunt Results

Attenta! Attenta! The results have arrived from our esteemed Treasure Hunt Master, Rich Krisciunas (Hector):

“The 2022 John H. Watson Society Treasure Hunt is now over with a record 27 participants trying to solve a contest that was described as “a death quiz,” “diabolical” and “fun, fun, fun.”

The quiz had 72 questions based on our heroes in the Canon, some really horrible puns and a killer cipher. The fun thing was to review all of your answers and award points when deserved. My final answer sheet grew by an additional two pages. One of my questions had an extra four possible correct answers that I hadn’t thought of. Hats off to all of you for being so clever and knowledgeable about our hobby.

The individual champion was Steve Mason (Tex) of the Crew of the Barque Lone Star and the head of the Legion of Zoom who scored 182 of out a possible 200 points. Mason edged out sixty five time champion Michael Ellis (Lobo) who scored 177 points. The difference turned out to be that darn cipher as Mason correctly solved the phrase, “Good old Watson. You are the one fixed point in a changing age.” Our society is named after Watson so that was the first clue. The dreaded cipher used the first letter only in four letter words. Puzzlers who wondered about why words like “xray” and “iced” coffee appeared in the message figured out the solution. 

Paul Thomas Miller (Buck), sole member of The Shingle of Southsea, finished in third place with 173 points ahead of Todd Winegar 159, Enrico Solito (Devon) 155, Paul Hartnet (Scout) 140. Tom Campbell, of Cape Fear, North Carolina, Caitlyn Maughan and Ellie Lo rounded out the group.

The toughest competition in Treasure Hunt history took place in the team category as two teams tied for first place with 190 points and the champion was decided by date of entry. “The Sound of the Baskervilles”; Cameron Brandon, Margie Deck (Mopsy), Sunny Even, Nancy Holder (Diana) and Naching Kassa submitted their entry on August 12 and ended up edging the “Ineffable Twaddles”; Beth Gallego (Selena Buttons), Sandra Little (Harmless), Brad Keefauver (Calder), Crystal Noll, Madeline Quinones (Maddy), and Tatiana Sharapa who turned in their answers on August 28. 

The all French team, “La Fayette SSHF,” led by captain,Daniel Henocq and his assistants Léandre Helbecque, Nicolas Maurel-Lalague, Florence Turenne and Thierry Saint-Joanis (Tristan) finished in third place with 136 points edging out Ed and Elaine Lintzenich who battled Covid and the cipher to finish fourth.

Thanks to all who participated and I hope the hours you put into the Hunt were enjoyable. Until next year, best wishes to all who play ‘The Game.'”

2022 Treasure Hunt Answers

The qualities of the perfect Watson

At the latest meeting of the John H. Watson Society, we decided the Worst Watson to date with a bracket tournament that reduced sixteen screen Watsons to a single Worst Watson. Who was voted the Worst Watson? It was definitely Dudley Moore from “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” who beat out Anthony O’Donnell in “Xango De Baker Street” in the final round. But in determining the worst of Watsons, the question was raised as to the best of Watsons.

How would we determine the best of Watsons? How do we reduce bias and perform the a more “scientific” determination of Watsonian quality than a silly bracket tournament or popularity contest? After some discussion, we decided that coming up with twenty characteristics of a true Dr. Watson that we could use to rate Watsons would be a great start. So what qualities? Display of friendship? Moustache? Wound carrying? Medical abilities? Verbal abilities of a writer?

In the comments below, we’re going to start collecting qualities in our initial efforts to build a matrix of perfect Watson qualities, based on the John H. Watson of the Original Canon. Let us know what qualities you think should be included in our search for the Best Watson Ever!

The August Meeting of the JHWS

Don’t get so wrapped up in finishing the annual John H. Watson Society Treasure Hunt that you miss out on our August meeting! Yes, it’s a busy month, with school and such starting up again, but we still have important business to attend to, and you might want to be present when Decisions of Great Import are being made. What decisions?

Well, nothing less than picking the Worst Watson of All Time. Nigel Bruce has suffered long enough, and it’s time to point out that there are far worse Watsons out there. And to make that point, we’re holding a Worst Watson Tournament, in that classic bracket play-off fashion, as our society narrows down the field from sixteen worst Wats-ons to a single Wats-off, the true king of bad Watsonery!

And, yes, you are invited to this frabulous Zoom meeting.
When: Aug 27, 2022 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kcuuhpjovE9KFQbFARcOyqYE3AIiAfk_0

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Annual Treasure Hunt Is On!

“But I did think that I had put the game in their hands.”

In keeping with the long-standing tradition of canonical quizzing among Sherlock Holmes societies around the world, The John H Watson Society invites all Sherlockians, Holmesians, and Watsonians to participate in the Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt.

The goal of the Treasure Hunt is to bring together Watsonians, Sherlockians, and Holmesians on a global, collegial basis to further the scholarship and enjoyment of our mutual interest in all things 1895.  The JHWS hopes participants will find the Treasure Hunt to be the definitive — and the most enjoyable — canonical quiz.   The competition runs from August 1 through August 31 each year.

Returning Treasure Hunt Master Rich Krisciunas invites individuals and teams to this year’s 73-question hunt. You will find a link to download the questions below.

Requests for clarifications or other questions for the treasure hunt master may be asked by commenting on this post, or by emailing the master at treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com. If you ask a question in the comments, please do not post possible answers.

Your answers should be sent by email no later than midnight, EDT, August 31, 2022 to treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com.