June 1: Buster has the goods and things are warming up

Hello Watsonians!

It is now June 1, warm weather is upon us, and it is only some sixty days until the 4th Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt begins.  I’ve been hearing inklings of previous competitors returning, and I’m hoping some new teams might be in the works.  Over the next two weeks I will be writing to many Sherlockian groups to invite new competitors.  Thanks to the hard work of Chris Redmond (JHWS ‘Buster’), a treasure trove of contact information is readily available at sherlockian.net. I can’t thank him enough for this amazing resource.

Speaking of warming up and returning competitors, I encourage you to head over to Brad Keefauver’s always entertaining Sherlock Peoria to read the April 30, 2016 blog post titled ‘Team Building’ to see how one of our Down in Illinois team members is warming up for the competition.  You will laugh, and perhaps be inspired to compete.

The 2016 edition of the Treasure Hunt will celebrate  “that mixture of imagination and reality” which is the basis of our shared fun where it is always1895.   To help get you into the spirit of things, you will find below our first warm up question for this year: Give it a go and let us know how you fare.

The recent BBC Sherlock Special The Abominable Bride explored the possibility of Holmes and Watson being men ahead of their time.  In reality, Holmes noted once to his dismay that he and Watson were before their time. On what day of the year were they too up to date?

Margie

2016 Treasure Hunt Master

JHWS ‘Gwen’

It is almost that time again – 4th Annual Treasure Hunt is coming up!

Hello Watsonians:

With less than 90 days until the August 1 kick-off, teams are gearing up for the 4th Annual John H. Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt. We invite you to join in the fun!

As you know, last year teams from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and France earned honors in the competition, along with three amazing individual competitors who braved the difficulty alone. These quiz masters have set a high-bar for this year’s competition.  Are you up to the challenge?

In keeping with JHWS tradition, this 4th Treasure Hunt will be a difficult 100-question quiz designed to challenge your knowledge of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, and their greater world.  Individual competitors and teams (up to five members) are invited to compete. The competition is open from August 1 through September 1, 2016. As always, the first participant(s) in each category to submit the most correct answers will receive a small, unique and distinctive award from the JHWS. Enjoyment of international bragging rights is a plus and encouraged. 

A list of the rules for the competition, along with a list of recommended resources for competitors, can be found on the treasure hunt page. Please send any questions about the treasure hunt to me at treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com. I will respond to your questions as quickly as possible. As our Buttons, Don Libey, said: “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.”

Please share the word about the 2016 Treasure Hunt. Participation grows each year—we look forward to 2016 being our biggest year yet.

Margie Deck
JHWS ‘GWEN’

The Legacy of Buttons

Today is a day of significant importance for all of us in the John H Watson Society, so I will not host a discussion forum, as is our usual custom.

On March 15, 2015, Donald Libey went beyond the terrace. That was one year ago today.

I haven’t lost sight of this day as it neared. I knew that, once the day arrived, I would want to mark this first anniversary in a significant way. Up until recently, I wasn’t certain of what exactly to do or say when this day arrived. Thankfully, I now know what I can offer everyone that will be the best for Don’s memory, for myself, and for the John H Watson Society:

As of today, I am stepping down as Carla Buttons.

It is important to me that I not lose sight of the fact that taking up this position was done to honor Don, his legacy, and his promises. Once “The Adventure of the Doctor and the Duellist” sees print this spring, we will have worked hard together to fulfill the last of Don’s promises that he made before his passing. I believe that this is the best time for me to step down and welcome new leadership, so that the John H Watson Society, as a community, will be able to focus ahead to whatever may come next.

This past year was one of the most memorable and exciting series of events in my life. Thank you all so much for your warmth, patience, and support. I offer my deepest gratitude to all who stood up and volunteered in the wake of tragedy, and my warmest respect to all who continue to work so hard to make the John H Watson Society such an active and welcoming community.

Although I am no longer a Buttons, I am still a “Carla” and I will continue to be an enthusiastic member of the JHWS. I intend to continue to do what I love so much: designing the JHWS publications, especially The Watsonian, for Pippin & his amazing Editorial team, as well as being an active member of our community.

Please join me in celebrating Don’s legacy by welcoming our third Buttons to assume the mantle. This is someone who I feel that most of you know and trust, someone who has put countless hours into ensuring that our community has a home here on the internet. Please show your support for our webmistress and dear friend to our community: Beth Gallego, JHWS Selena.

May we honor the memory of our dear Buttons by carrying on his warm enthusiasm for the good and loyal Dr Watson.

May we look to our future and raise a glass to welcome Selena Buttons!

JHWS Shop

I’m happy to announce that we now have a Shop available for anyone to purchase new membership, renewals, publications, and other items from the John H Watson Society. Simply click the “Shop” text on the upper right of the web page and feel free to browse through for anything you wish to purchase.

I wish to thank Selena for all of her hard work in putting this new feature on the website together.

For those of you who make a purchase on Paypal, please do not be alarmed by the Merchant account being under Don Libey’s name. The account is now handled by his partner and our treasurer, Asta, so we are safely handling your orders. The reason it is still in his name is simply because it is very difficult to have that information changed. If you have any further questions or suggestions about the new Shop site, please direct them to both me and Beth Gallego (JHWS Selena). We will help in any way possible.

I hope you will enjoy the new Shop! This is a wonderful time to renew membership (if it is time for you to renew) or to simply pick up previous publications that you don’t have in your library yet.

The Legacy of the Boy in Buttons

It’s been a few days and I’m still reeling from the pain of our loss. It is hard to get one’s equilibrium back in this sort of situation. One thing that haunts me terribly is that our dear Don Libey was apparently anxious over the fate of the John H Watson Society while in the hospital. He loved the society so much and he did everything he could over the years to make it a warm and welcoming corner of the virtual world. So even as things were not going well for him, he still thought of us and the community he built for us with such affection and care.

I wish I were there at that moment in time to convince him that everything would be alright for the JHWS. I wish I could have had a way to set his mind at ease – that I could show him the proof of my vow with solid, undeniable evidence as Sherlock Holmes would do for Dr. Watson whenever in doubt of the truth. Since I couldn’t be there to do that for Don, I feel strongly obligated to do the next best thing for him: Make certain the JHWS will turn out alright.

Shortly after the devastating news reached me on Sunday, I began a discussion about the JHWS with Don’s dear friend, Bob Katz “Willow.” He explained to me that Don had been thinking about passing on the torch of leadership for some time now and had been hoping for someone to take up the moniker “Buttons II” to continue the legacy of his work.

Unfortunately, there is one clear fault in this plan: no one else could be a “Buttons.” There’s only one true “Buttons” and that will always be so. I can imagine no one else who could match the enthusiasm, love and dedication that Don Libey offered to the John H Watson Society every day since its inception. This is a fact I believe we must accept.

Yet there is one other fact that we must not overlook: Our “Buttons” had a knack for gathering talented and enthusiastic people together. He could see the special qualities in a person’s spirit and draw it out of them with warmth, encouragement, and inspiration. As a result of his innate skill, I believe that the John H Watson Society is composed of some of the most talented, driven, and inspired individuals I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.

One person cannot be to the JHWS the same as Don Libey was and always will be to the JHWS. However, when we band together as a community, we become everything that our dear “Buttons” stood for and thus become a reflection of all that he wished the JHWS to represent.

By continuing the John H Watson Society, we would allow it to keep flourishing beyond all expectations. In doing so, I believe we can show any who encounter our society what a good man our Buttons was and how lucky we were to know him.

Now, the question is… how do we do this? It is one thing to say “we can continue” but it is another thing altogether to get up and do so. Buttons took on so many roles and accomplished so many tasks, that no one else can fit that much into their schedule easily. Yet as a community, as a Society, I believe this is a goal we can achieve together.

So, with the blessing of Bob Katz “Willow” and our dear Andrea Stewart “Asta,” I will do whatever I can to coordinate the John H Watson Society. I won’t be a true “Buttons II,” as I don’t have the talent nor the skill. Please consider me as “Carla Buttons” instead. I cannot create quizzes, act as treasurer, or perform many other tasks that need to be done, but I can organize people and I can design the journal… so that’s what I’ll do for the JHWS. I’ll act as the main switchboard, a fixed point to turn to for questions, suggestions, ideas, and feedback.

The Watsonian will continue. The details for future volumes will need time to sort out, but the April volume will go to the printers without any problems. Also, I’ve seen the printed editions of the new Fiction Series and the latest edition to The Monograph Series, which just arrived from the printers this week, and I think they both turned out rather well.

I’ll finish the design and layout of the April 2015 edition of The Watsonian in a few weeks – it’s quite a hefty volume, full of amazing contributions and one of Buttons’ finest editorial accomplishments as far as I’m concerned. Once The Watsonian is submitted to the printers in early April, both The Watsonian and The Fiction Series will be sent to every member’s doorstep. The Monograph Series will also be available soon, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement here in a week or so.

The entire working structure of the John H Watson Society is still in the process of forming, but I’m happy to announce a few who have officially taken up specific roles:

Andrea Stewart “Asta” shall continue to handle the treasury, which she is currently managing quite admirably. I have no words for how amazing she is to do this both for her beloved Don Libey and for the sake of the JHWS.

Beth Gallego “Selena” will continue to maintain and care for the website, as our lovely and talented Victorian Webmistress.

Margie Deck “Gwen” will host this year’s Annual International Treasure Hunt, because she is both devious and incredible. She has also taken to calling me “TheBiB,” due to that aforementioned devious streak.

Denny Dobry “Kirby” shall be our Eminent Supreme Exalted Grand High Master of Inquisition (wait a second… what?) our gracious Quizmaster. We’ll work out the details and regularity of new brilliant quizzes to challenge your mind, so please anticipate seeing them in the near future.

There are several other tasks and necessary roles which I shall address in the coming weeks, so I will announce any and all news here on site whenever I can.

It’s quite obvious at this point that I wish to ask for volunteers to keep the John H Watson Society active and enjoyable. Indeed, quite a few generous people have already reached out to offer use of their time and talents without any reservation. However, I am not here to ask each of you for all of your time and all of your talents. Instead, I ask that each of you take time to reflect and consider what you would like to share of yourself with the Society: perhaps a haiku about 221B, perhaps a monthly update of interesting Sherlockian & Watsonian news, perhaps a word of good advice, perhaps photos of a trip to London, perhaps an essay pertaining to bowler hats… it really could be anything!

Whatever comes to mind, never hesitate to send anything to me at: carla@johnhwatsonsociety.com

If everyone here offers a little bit of themselves to share, then slowly but surely the JHWS will continue to flourish and it remain a place to visit with irregular regularity for new posts, new discussions, and a shared affection for Dr John H Watson.

Just as our “Buttons” would have it: We can but try.

With great affection,

Ariana Maher
“Carla Buttons”
The Boy in Buttons

A Brief Hiatus

Both this week’s Quiz and Weekly Forum will take a brief hiatus, so you can enjoy your holiday time with family and friends. We will return on Friday, December 5 with the Quiz, and Tuesday, December 9 with the Weekly Forum.

“I shall communicate with you.” [NOBL]

The Society is always pleased to find new avenues of communication, and so is delighted to announce its entry into the world of social media. You can now find us on Facebook (hat tip to “Galahad”!) and on Twitter.

If you’ve reached this site for the first time from Facebook or Twitter, welcome! We’d love to have you join in our Weekly Forum, try puzzling out the answers to our weekly Quiz, check out our Publications, become a Member, or any combination of those. Make yourself comfortable, enjoy your stay, and come back soon!

Treasure Hunt Honours

The Second Annual John H Watson World Invitational Canonical Treasure Hunt was held during the entire month of August, 2014. Individuals from the Society and non-members competed and, for the first time, Teams from France, Italy, and the US took part in the Treasure Hunt.

Team Category

The Team category High Honours this year went to Team SOB of Seattle’s Sound of the Baskervilles comprised of Melissa Anderson JHWS “Faith,” Margie Deck JHWS “Gwen,” Sheila Holtgrieve JHWS “Daisy,” and Ariana Maher JHWS “Carla.” This team were first in with 100% correct answers; in fact, they developed numerous additional answers to the questions which were equally correct to the original solutions. Team SOB has members Margie Deck and Sheila Holtgrieve who achieved High Honours in last year’s Treasure Hunt. Ariana Maher and Melissa Anderson added talents in both  Canonical knowledge and research to this year’s competition.  It is reported by the Team that they invested nearly 400 hours collectively in finding the solution to the Hunt. Well Done, Seattle Sound of the Baskervilles!

Team Uno Studio in Holmes from Italy achieved Honours and was comprised of Michelle Lopez, JHWS “Reggie,” Stefano Guerra, JHWS “Lucus,” Enrico Solito JHWS “Devon,” Alessandra Calanchi, JHWS “Bianca,” Roberto Vianello, Gabriele Mazzoni, and Ambrose Scott.

Team La Fayette of La Société Sherlock Holmes de France comprised of Alexis Barquin JHWS “Olivier,” and Thierry Saint-Joanis JHWS “Tristan” achieved Honours. 

Individual Category

The Individual category High Honours went to Denny Dobry “JHWS “Kirby” of Reading, Pennsylvania who successfully repeated his 2013 High Honours. Denny also found numerous additional answers to the questions and reached the solution after many hours of tenacity and superb work.  Well Done, “Kirby.”

Other participants gave it a great effort but were unable to complete the grueling 150 question romp through the Canon.

Congratulations to All

We congratulate all who were successful and all who participated. Both the Individual and Team High Honours will be presented with attractive commemorative awards.

The announcement of the 2015 Third Annual World Invitational Treasure Hunt has been posted on the Treasure Hunt page of the website.  The Game is Afoot!

Treasure Hunt Questions: Ask Here

Use the Comment button to ask questions or request clarifications.  Replies to your questions will be posted as soon as possible.  This post will remain active for the entire month of the Treasure Hunt.

Announcement of Appointment of New Director

Dear Fellow Watsonians:

he John H Watson Society is pleased to announce the recognition and appointment of Robert Katz, MD, BSI, JHWS “Willow” as Director and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Society. The Society Chair, Professor Don Yates, BSI, JHWS “Pal” has moved and approved this well-deserved appointment and recommends Dr Katz for his exceptional encouragement of Societal activities and his active and productive representation and member recruitment to the Society from organizations and scion groups within the Sherlockian and Watsonian communities. Dr Katz’s brief will be to continue to represent the Society as our official Ambassador and to encourage membership and inter-organizational relations among the numerous clubs and organizations in his sphere.

As you may know, Bob Katz has been unstinting of his time, energy, guidance, wisdom and encouragement in all of our activities and our relations with other clubs, societies and scions during his time as a Founding Member. He has furthered our scholarship, not only through his papers for The Watsonian, but through his innovations and support of the Weekly Quizzes and the Weekly Forums. He, additionally, assists with proofreading and editorial suggestions for the journal. And, he is a tireless recruiter and mentor of new members.

Dr Katz is not only among the foremost Baker Street Irregulars, but he is also an accomplished Sherlockian scholar and leader of a number of respected Sherlockian organizations.

We look forward to his continued contributions to The John H Watson Society and to his influence in forwarding our Society’s goals and aims in the years to come.

Please join in welcoming Robert Katz, MD, BSI, JHWS “Willow” as a Director and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the John H Watson Society.

With best regards on behalf of the Directors and Members,

The John H Watson Society

Don Libey
Buttons

Important Change in Membership Categories

The Society has listened to its members and is making an important change to the membership categories.

The Society will no longer have two categories of Members: Charter and Founding, and Loyal Members.  Forthwith, we will have only Monikered Members.  Founding and Charter Members will still be recognized as such, but all present and new Members to the Society will have equal membership, including the conferring upon them of a bull pup name, or ‘moniker,’ the name by which Members refer to each other.

This is retroactive to January 1, 2014 and all Members who have joined since that date and who were formerly Loyal Members are now Monikered Members.  You will receive your Society bull pup moniker as soon as the Chair convenes the ancient, mystical and arcane process for their selection, a process that involves profound cogitation, rumination, partial levitation, and moderate bibulation. The result, of course, is the unique bull pup moniker for each Member. The Chair neither professes to understand nor seeks to influence the mystical process; it is all done through the wisdom of the Ethers.

Therefore, in an act of equality and inclusiveness, the Society seeks to simplify membership and to recognize only one category of membership once for all:  Member.

Preparing for the Treasure Hunt

With the journal recently printed and mailed (and thank you very much indeed for the exceptionally nice comments from so many of you), we now turn our attention to the preparation of the annual Treasure Hunt questions.

This year, in addition to the Member Individual and the Open Individual categories, we are extending this second annual Treasure Hunt to a worldwide focus with the first John H Watson Society Annual World Invitational Treasure Hunt. We are also inviting teams or individuals from all over the world to participate for the honours of solving what may be the most difficult Sherlockian/Watsonian quiz in history. The competition will begin 1 August 2014 and end 1 September 2014. Details are found on the Treasure Hunt page of this website.

If you are reading this, please consider this to be your official invitation to field a team of Quiz Masters from the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Italy, India, Portugal, UAE, or wherever two or more Sherlockians/Watsonians may be gathered and willing to spend up to one month on scholarly and Canonical research to solve 150 diabolically difficult questions (yes, you read correctly: the number of questions is increasing to 150).

Here, we will spend all of June and July researching, writing and perfecting at least 3 questions a day, all linked in a great chain of 150 forged links, each enabling participants to find their way to the ultimate treasure in question #150 and, at last, to Perfection of Canonical Knowledge (PCK).

Return regularly for updates . . . Now is the time to get online to your favourite bookseller and purchase a copy of the one-volume edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, published by Doubleday, 1930, with the Christopher Morley preface, and having a “W” in the copyright notation. This is the standard reference for the quizzes. These editions can be found on eBay, ABE books, Powell’s, and elsewhere for anywhere from $6 to $30 depending upon condition. This edition is the standard text and gives us all a common page number and line number reference for any Canonical question or citation.

For those of you who belong to scion societies or have international contacts, please let as many clubs and organisations as possible know about the open invitation to participate. We would genuinely wish to see a great worldwide participation by enthusiasts of the Canon and a continuation of the burgeoning interest in and recognition of Dr Watson as an integral and essential creator, character and partner in the Sherlockian milieu.

The Long Summer . . .

With the long days of summer stretching out ahead, thoughts turn naturally to those pleasant hours spent in activities of creation and scholarship. So much to read and think about; so much to write.

We extend to you an invitation for research, scholarship and articles for publication in the October issue of The Watsonian. The long days of summer can culminate in new ideas on the Canon, new ideas on Doctor Watson, and new ideas on The Game. Your scholarship can enrich not only all of our members and the Great Study we all are interested in, but it can enrich your life as well.

We welcome first time and experienced writers alike. We particularly hope for articles from young researchers of the Canon; so many questions remain for you to explore; so much light can be shed on the mysteries of 1895. If you are an experienced Canonical writer, perhaps mentoring a university or high school student would be a rewarding experience. And what better use of our days of summer could we find?

Out journal has recently achieved new highs in publishing excellence; we have received kind comments from all over the world on the articles, research, humour, crossword, and the miscellanea in this very full issue. Now, we need to begin preparing our articles and submissions for the October issue, an issue we hope will continue the standard of excellence established by Dr Joanne Yates, our Editor and Publisher. Our journal is a treasure, our very own Agra Treasure, and it is our members who give us wondrous large pearls every issue.

As the calendar turns to August, we will embark upon our month-long Second Annual John H Watson World Invitational Treasure Hunt. This year, we will attempt to create the most difficult 100 word Treasure Hunt in Canonical history. Last year we had a fine effort and we will try to raise the bar a notch higher in 2014.

KNOW ALL WHO READ, WORLDWIDE: You are invited to field a team of Quiz Masters from your International or U.S. scion club, association, or group. We suggest teams of five members, all working from the Canon as represented by the one-volume edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes; Doubleday, 1930 with the Preface by Christopher Morley. Additionally, the questions will be drawn from the historical scholarship of The Baker Street JournalBaker Street Miscellanea, The Sherlock Holmes Journal, and other publications concerning the Canon.

We welcome inquiries from international teams and hope to have team participation from Canada, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, India, or wherever Watsonians and Sherlockians may be assembled. Please watch the Treasure Hunt page of this website for forthcoming details.

So . . . Enjoy summer. And please enjoy the creative satisfaction of your important contributions to the activities of our Society. We exist because of your enthusiasm. And we are thankful for what you give to us all.

Something Wicked This Way Comes!

The wee voices in Buttons’s head have described (and even more scary, have answered) a Weekly Quiz to bedevil the mind.  See the Quiz Page at 7 pm tomorrow, Friday, to see if you are up to the Canonical challenge.  We prepare for the upcoming Second Annual John H Watson World Invitational Treasure Hunt to be contested in August.

New Page:  Chips’s Tid Bits

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new page to the Society’s website: Chips’s Tid Bits. Here, we will continue to feature the limericks, poems, aphorisms, and important miscellanea brought for our enjoyment and edification by our most active contributor, Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips,” of Denver, Colorado.

He is the Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients and has served as past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. He belongs to The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; is a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and is a co-founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honouring the memory of John Bennett Shaw. His overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson began in seventh grade when he read “The Speckled Band.”  He has always identified with Dr John Watson and now feels he is where he belongs with The John H Watson Society. And we agree.

Please visit the new page often, as “Chips” has weekly additions and often sends tid bits more frequently. Thank you, “Chips,” for making us all a great deal richer.

Update on Journal Mailing

Buttons owes the membership an update on the delayed April issue of The Wastsonian.

For reasons that need not detain us here, the April journal, which we had targeted to mail on May 6th was further delayed and will now mail May 16th.  It will be mailed First Class postage and receipt in your mail boxes should begin by May 20th;  international receipts should begin by May 27th.

The journal is 172 pages (and a big, wonderful issue) and we have shifted to a new mailing system.  The first journal was mailed from our former printer in a bubble bag and the postage and handling charged was almost as much as the cost of the journal itself.  We have changed to a new printer and mailing system which is:  Buttons will drive 100 miles to Tampa, Florida to our new printer and pick up the journals. He will then drive back home to Ocala, put them in less costly poly-wrap bags, address them with labels, and take them to the post office and mail them using stamps. Yes, it is a bit “old school” but it saves the Society a lot of money.

The upshot:  With a new printer now, a new mailing routine, and adjustments to the editing, software system and mailing routine, the next journal (October) will likely be on time.  As always, the lion’s share of the creative work belongs to our great authors and contributors and our talented Editor, Dr Joanne Yates, whose design and layout make our journal one of the best in all of the Sherlockian–and definitely in the Watsonian–worlds.

Sorry for the delays on this issue. . . always learning and adjusting here . . . “We can but try . . . “