Chips’s Tid Bits

Here you will find a delightful collection of postings by one of the great devotees of Dr Watson: Ron Lies of Denver. “Chips” is one of our most active contributors of important miscellanea and a lifelong Sherlockian and Watsonian.

  • Watson Goes To Mars

    When NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars, it brought along Watson and Sherlock. Or WATSON and SHERLOC, anyway.

    The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals has a nickname: SHERLOC. Mounted on the rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC uses cameras, spectrometers, and a laser to search for organics and minerals that have been altered by watery environments and may be signs of past microbial life. In addition to its black-and-white context camera, SHERLOC is assisted by WATSON, a color camera for taking close-up images of rock grains and surface textures.[…]

    Dr. John H. Watson was Holmes’ partner in solving mysteries. WATSON the camera assists SHERLOC as it helps solve mysteries about life on Mars.

    With its camera sidekick WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), SHERLOC even has a modern version of the hand-lens magnifying glass used by the classic British detective!

    NASA Science
  • A Dickensian Tidbit: The Answers

    Last week, Chips asked:

    In my readings, I have found two editors working together who came up with 3 possible connections between Dickens and Sherlock Holmes and/or Arthur Conan Doyle.

    One connection involves a quote.

    Of the other two, one requires some comparisons and the other requires a visit from the Afterlife. 

    Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand, 1904

    The answers are:

    The quote, from The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton (CHAS): “Charles Augustus Milverton was a man of fifty, with a large, intellectual head, a round, plump, hairless face, a perpetual frozen smile, and two keen gray eyes, which gleamed brightly from behind broad, gold-rimmed glasses. There was something of Mr. Pickwick’s benevolence in his appearance, marred only by the insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard glitter of those restless and penetrating eyes.”

    The comparisons, from the entry for February 7 in A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn and Jaime N. Mahoney: “Sherlockians can also thank Dickens for Bleak House‘s Inspector Bucket, the first police detective in English literature who, in his various investigations, provides the template for Inspector Lestrade and every policeman who consults the detective at 221B.”

    The visit from the Afterlife, also mentioned in the same entry: During at least two seances Arthur Conan Doyle attended, Dickens’s spirit allegedly made contact and said that Drood (of his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood) was not dead, but he still didn’t provide the answer to the mystery.

  • A Dickensian Tid Bit
    From a photograph by Gurney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

    February 7th 1812: Charles Dickens was born.

    In my readings, I have found two editors working together who came up with 3 possible connections between Dickens and Sherlock Holmes and/or Arthur Conan Doyle.

    One connection involves a quote.

    Of the other two, one requires some comparisons and the other requires a visit from the Afterlife.

    Any one care to submit answers ?

  • What’s Wrong with a Deerstalker Bike Helmet?

    “Chips” writes to share a tidbit from an article written by Russ Bengtson for Complex (in 2013, but it was shared on the Hounds of the Internet recently).

    In 11 Bike Helmets You Should Never, Ever Wear, Bengtson includes:

    The Sherlock Holmes

    You know why Sherlock Holmes could get away with wearing a deerstalker cap? Because it was the 1800s, he did cocaine, and he was A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

    “Chips” says:
     I disagree with this selection. Strongly. I have worn a Sherlock Holmes cap while riding my bike and now while riding in my wheelchair and my mobility scooter every day. And I have no ill effects. Folks tell me how dashing I look. 

    “Selena” adds: I would quite like a deerstalker bike helmet. I might have to get one if I ever ride a bike again. To you cyclists out there, please do wear a helmet, no matter what style! Though if you happen to wear a deerstalker helmet, we’d love to see photos.

  • Always 1895

    “Chips” writes: The 1895 and 2019 calendars are the same. This image comes courtesy of my Brother in Shaw, Jim Hawkins.

  • A Legend

    “Chips” sends in this tidbit that originally appeared in the Baker Street Journal vol. 16 no. 2 (June 1966) by Chris Redmond (JHWS “Buster”).


    by Chris Redmond

    “The Naval Treaty” illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine, October & November 1893.

    Observe the famous profile. See the pipe—

    Traditionally curved, though really straight—

    On which he puffs, as men of every type

    Narrate their strange experience or fate.

    That famous phrase of “Elementary,

    My dear Watson,” was one he never spoke;

    But he is known for it in every

    Discussion of him, each pastiche, each joke.

    Popularly, he crawled across the rug,

    In deerstalker and cape, viewing with care

    Through magnifying glass each thread or bug,

    Each ash or bit of mud, which he found there.

    It’s fiction, or else legend—but forsooth~

    Since we believe it, isn’t it the truth?

  • The Soldier Named Murray

    Royal Horse Artillery and the 66th Foot before the Battle of Maiwand – ‎Richard Caton Woodville, Jr (1856-1927)

    “Chips” sends in this poetic toast by Jody Baker (AKA Insp. Baynes, and who in turn gives thanks to Paul Hartnett (JHWS “Scout”)) to he without whom our dear Dr Watson would have perished before ever meeting Holmes.

    On the Afghan side of a mountain pass
    In the land that’s ruled from Kabul,
    Our assistant regimental surgeon
    Was a kid just fresh out of school.

    He had spent some time at Netley, though;
    And they’d taught him mighty well
    How to patch up battered infantry troops
    Who had fought their way through hell.

    Now the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers
    Were safe back in Candahar,
    And he could’ve stayed back there with them,
    If he’d wanted to sit out the war.

    But he cast his lot with the Berkshires,
    And he joined us in the fight
    As we neared the village of Maiwand,
    Troops deployed both left and right.

    Then those murd’rous stinkin’ Ghazis
    Soon filled the air with lead.
    And when a slug hit the doctor’s leg,
    My Gawd, — how that man bled.

    Since I was the doctor’s orderly
    I was fightin’ by his side;
    And when he fell, I picked him up.
    Lor’ — I thought the man had died.

    So I slung him over my shoulder
    And was headed toward the rear,
    When another slug from a Ghazi gun
    Brought an end to his career.

    It split the spine of his scapula,
    And it pierced his body too.
    I knew he was hit, and I knew it was bad,
    And I thought that he might be through.

    So, I held him even closer
    And kept on running to the back,
    Where I grabbed the Company work-horse
    And strapped the doctor to its pack.

    We dressed the wounds. We stopped the blood.
    And we did what we could do;
    But the man was hurt – he was hurt real bad;
    And he needed surgery, too.

    So we sent him east to Candahar,
    Where he joined with several more
    To form a train, and then move
    North to our base in Pesh’war.

    In the base hospital in Pesh’war
    Where they nursed him back to health,
    They said that our treatment in the field
    Saved the man from certain death.

    Watson has praised me for my courage,
    And for my devotion to the deed,
    And for risks I took in saving the life
    Of the man whose tales we read.

    So pull your chairs up close to the hearth fire,
    When it’s cold and the snows are a-flurry.
    As you talk about Watson and marvel at Holmes,
    Drink a toast to the soldier named Murray.

  • The Oenologic Holmes

    Chips writes: I read this book,  The Oenologic Holmes, by a former member and Chief Surgeon of Dr. Watson’s Neglected Patients. (He now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and he is in a scion group there.)

    It is quite interesting even to a Coca-Cola man like me.

    I recommend you obtain a copy for fascinating reading.

    The author, Steve Robinson, sells copies through his eBay storefront, Wolf Mountain Books. His very appropriate username there is “Vamberry”. You can also find him through FaceBook at Wolf Mountain Books. Some of you may know first-hand what a fascinating man he is to talk to, especially about wine in Sherlock Holmes stories. This book continues that. You will enjoy it.

    Selena says: That book does sound interesting. Looking through the storefront, I have fallen a little bit in love with this 1895 Lupton edition of A Study in Scarlet. That cover! Hmm, the holidays are coming up….

  • Looking at ‘The Lost World’ of the Literary Agent

    Hello Watsonians–

    Our ‘Chips’, Ron Lies, is working at organizing an on-line discussion group; he writes:

    Is there any one interested in joining Rafael and I in a discussion of
    the Great underrated classic THE LOST WORLD by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?
    We would be discussing the story just between us, off the John H Watson
    Society site. If so, please contact me and I will fill in the details.
    Thank You,
    Ron in Denver
    ‘Chips’ can be reached via email: relies1 at
    Yours faithfully,
    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’
  • Diogenes Club Quick Quote Quiz

    ‘It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one.’

    Hello Watsonians!

    We invite you to participate in this edition of The Diogenes Club Quick Quote Quiz. As always, this little game requires no submission of answers to anyone—you are playing against yourself and the clock; it is not necessary for anyone else to take the least notice of what you do.

    To play along:

    –Read the quote from the Canon provided below.

    –As quickly as you can, identify the speaker and the adventure featuring the quote.

    –Scroll down a few inches to see if you have the correct answer.

    –Leave a note in the comments, if you wish, about your answer and your time.

    Ron Lies/ JHWS ‘Chips’

    Margie Deck/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    Quick quote quiz 7/30/2018: ‘Say, rather, into the region where we balance probabilities and choose the most likely.’









    Answer: Sherlock Holmes, HOUN

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