“Chips”

Ron Lies

A Note from Chips

In the comments on Sunday’s entry, Chips wrote:

Margie, Beth and all my other loved friends in the John H Watson Society. My health does not allow me to continue my column Tid Bits.
I will try to publish some things as I can. I hate to be so abrupt but I have to do what I can when I can. Thank you my dear,dear, friends, Ron, One for whom the game always has been, always is now always will be, the Lord permitting, Afoot

Our Chips has been dealing with health issues for some time, and he had planned to share a bit about them tomorrow (July 26th), because it is also the date in his much-referenced chronology for Percy Phelps’s recovery from Brain Fever [NAVA].

This is so strangely appropriate to what I have to inform you all of. I waited to inform you because of my off-beat sense of humor coupled with a fanatical love of the Canon. I wanted to tie it in with this occurrence in the Canon.  A few months ago I went in to hospital for some neurological programs. They tell me I  have a small tumor that is causing some problems that could be called an attack of Brain Fever. We are huddling to figure out where to proceed next with treatment.

Our thoughts are with Chips and his loved ones. Ron, please know you have our love, our support, and all our best wishes.

Update on our dear “Chips”

I spoke with his spouse today and “Chips” seems to be recovering well, though it will likely take time. I’ve checked to confirm with her that it would be alright to share the following address with all of you if you wish to send him your warm regards and wish him well:

Ron Lies
Kindred Acute Care Hospital
1920 High St
Denver CO 80218

Chips, if you happen to visit and read this, please know that we all support you and hope you feel better soon.

Our dear “Chips”

I am sad to report that our dear Chips is not feeling his best at the moment.

I last spoke with Ron Lies JHWS “Chips” about a month ago to help him prepare his regular “Chip’s Tid Bits” posts for the site. I anticipated hearing from him again soon to prepare for November, but when I didn’t, I did my best to contact him and I was able to speak with his very lovely wife, Mary.

His health took a poor turn recently, but she is hopeful that he is on the path to recovery. I’m very saddened to hear this news, as Chips’ enthusiasm for the Canon is inspiring and it hurts to know he is not feeling well. I relayed a message through her to Chips that we all hope for his safe recovery, that our prayers are with him, and that we shall be here when he feels better.

Until that time, the “Tid Bits” section of our site will be on hiatus so that he may rest without additional worry. I pray that our dear Chips will recover well.

Sherlock Holmes: Repeat Business

(The Society presents reviews and recommendations on books by its members on these pages. We hope you will enjoy hearing of new books furthering our Sherlockian, Holmesian and Watsonian interests.

Members who wish to have their books featured are asked to email cover photos, book descriptions and reviews to me. You may also contact me if you wish to share your thoughts on a book to inspire dialogue. On this occasion JHWS member “Chips” invited his friend Larry Feldman, “Staff Surgeon of Doctor Watson’s Neglected Patients,” to share his thoughts on a book he recently read: )

Today I concluded reading “Sherlock Holmes: Repeat Business” by Lyn McConchie. The idea here is that it is a collection of new Sherlock Holmes cases, each initiated by someone Holmes served in the Canon.

I was a little exasperated with the first story. Ms. McConchie had a story related to, and having everything to do, with Jabez Wilson, but Wilson himself doesn’t appear in the story! Holmes is hired here by Jabez Wilson’s new wife, who is concerned when her husband is accused of murdering her first husband. How can this author write a story concerning one of the most humorous and memorable Canonical characters, and yet not actually depict him? Where’s the fun in that?

The author somewhat redeems herself in later stories, depicting the likes of James Windibank, who is again trying to take financial advantage of his step-daughter, Mary Sutherland, the banker Alexander Holder of the Beryl Coronet adventure, Grant Munroe, where we get to check in on Effie and her mixed race daughter of “The Yellow Face”, Watson’s old school friend Tadpole Phelps, who has again ran afoul of his brother-in-law, etc. She does use the unique info about these characters as plot points in the stories, which is much to the better. Two obvious examples are a vanished student from the school where Violet Hunter is now Headmistress, and the use of acting ability of Neville St Clair, whose depiction of a London beggar was the central piece in his original Canonical appearance.

While the author’s depictions of these characters are not particularly memorable, Ms. McConchie does demonstrate two important strengths. First, she is obviously an accomplished mystery writer, and her puzzles and problems constructed for these stories are professional and satisfying.. Even more surprising and pleasing is that she is very good at depicting the friendship and interaction between Holmes and Watson, who clearly know each other’s habits and idiosyncrasies as well as we Sherlockians like to think we do. So, despite the use of all these memorable and familiar Canonical characters, it is the Holmes/Watson depiction that is the outstanding feature of this work, and, in itself makes these stories worth reading.

At a time when much of what is called “pastiche” work has the quality of self-published fan fiction, finding yourself in the hands of a professional quality mystery writer and Sherlock Holmes fan is certainly worth noting.

Ron Lies “Chips” is Home!

“Chips” is home after his surgery and doing well. He thanks everyone who sent along good wishes.  His TidBits will be returning soon!  We’re all happy you are back to Watson and Holmes!  His email is:   relies2@outlook.com

October 5th, 2014

“Chips” (who is having computer problems) sends along this Isaac Asimov treasure. It would be interesting to know who made the pen and ink change and whether it was originally as written, or as changed. Perhaps we have a detective who can assist.

3051154_orig

 

Weekly Forum: 26 August 2014 & Napa CA Earthquake

The Earthquake

We have heard from The Chair and our Editor, the good Drs Yates and they are okay. No damage at their home north of Napa at St Helena. Apparently other members in Napa and American Canyon (the epicenter) are–we hope– also okay; there has been no grapevine bad news as yet.  The Society has about 15 Members in the immediate earthquake area and we have had a number of emails from other Members asking if everyone is okay.We also heard from Vamberry at 221B Cellars in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley. He said one bottle of wine broke and two glasses, but the barrels came through completely undamaged.  Whew! That’s a relief!

The Weekly Forum

Our “Chips,” Ron Lies, writes in Chips’ Tid Bits this week expressing his heartfelt affection for the two friends and colleagues, Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes. For “Chips” their friendship has been a life-long joy and inspiration for him.  And, as he always does, “Chips” has expressed his appreciation of the many hours of pleasure he has found from the friends in a way that makes us think and reflect.Where does the “Magic Moment” in the friendship of these two occur for you? For Buttons it has to be the only time the mask is stripped away and Holmes is revealed as having affection and emotion:  when Watson is accidently shot.But the Canon is full of subtleties between the two. Perhaps you have observed those subtleties and have thoughts about their relationship, both the surface one and the one that exists much deeper.

Weekly Quiz 2014: 28   Minor Characters of the Canon

RESULTS: The results this week have honours going to Ron Lies, “Chips” for being first in with 10/10 correct answers. Congratulations “Chips”!

Beth Gallego “Selena” also hounoured with a 10/10, as did James O’Leary “Pippin.” Congratulations to these Quiz Masters!

The team entry, as always, was ably mastered by Airiana Maher “Carla,” Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Margie Deck, “Gwen” of the Seattle SOBs. Congratulations to this trio also!

The answers are posted below. A number of alternative answers were provided by the Masters and, as it always does, this enriched the quiz experience.

This week’s quiz is about the minor characters of the Canon. Please submit solutions to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com by 7 pm Wednesday, 16 July 2014.

Enjoy!

file_download.pngDownload Week 28 Questions and Answers

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.

Dr Watson in Contemporary Times: A Question 

Our members, Ariana Maher and Ron Lies and our observer, Barbara Piper, in recent posts bring to the discussion thoughts on the contemporaneity of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes as a result of several immensely popular cable TV portrayals. Indeed, interest in Sherlock Holmes and John Watson has never been so great in the long history of the Sherlockian milieu.

Without focusing on “elitism” of the “Traditionalists” or “expansionism” of the “Fandom” devotees, what are your thoughts on this massive revival of the Canon in contemporary time and settings?

As background, many of us can recall how the Jeremy Brett series on TV created both excitement and reservations, yet the series was relatively true to the text and the times and now seems almost “traditional.”

Of recent interest in the international news are reports of the huge interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson that is sweeping China. Imagine a new cadre of Sherlockians and Watsonians numbering in the potentially millions and all under the age of twenty-five!

The question becomes: How does the Canon gain or lose by its progression in time and contemporaneity?

An Observation on Our Passion by Ron Lies “Chips”

Ron Lies, our always thoughtful and interesting member from Denver, sent this observation along. It has components pertinent to recent discussions in the Sherlockian/Watsonian world and, therefore, deserves as wide an audience as possible. Feel free to comment, and thank you “Chips”.

An Observation

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, don’t do it.

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.

Ron Lies “Chips” in Denver

From Ron Lies and Sandy Kozinn: An Ode

Our Maven of Miscellanea, Ron Lies “Chips” of Denver, who sends us wonderful tid-bits he finds in his Watsonian and Sherlockian peregrinations, suggested we offer the Ode written by Sandy Kozinn “Roxie”.  Ron writes:

“Buttons, I read this and thought it would be a good piece to put in our blog. I wish you and yours all the best for a blessed and wonderful Christmas and all things great for next year. Please extend all my hopes and wishes for the holiday season to all the members of our Society.”

“Roxie” writes:

“There are always new Sherlockians.  Some of them may actually have never seen this, a toast I presented to a Blue Carbuncle Dinner meeting of The Three Garridebs some years ago. It’s another take on that old question:  What was that stone, anyhow?”

ODE ON THE O.E.D. ON THE CARBUNCLE, or What Was it, Anyhow?

Each year we meet to greet and dine,
Perhaps to sip a glass of wine
In honor of the carbuncle blue.
A carbuncle blue?  It can’t be true!
As I glanced through the O.E.D.
Three definitions popped out at me.
A carbuncle stone, it clearly said,
Was a precious stone of a fiery red.
A carbuncle could be a red facial spot,
An infection or a tumor, but both red hot.
There’s one thing more that it could be:
A small lump of coal, quite black to see.
Such coal in a goose would be quite shocking.
(It really belongs in Moriarty’s stocking.)
But if Mycroft Holmes had sired a child
(And I admit that idea is wild)
And if Sherlock were sad on the day that he sat
For Oscar Meunier — did you get all that? —
And Oscar worked in coal, then that statue or trunk’ll
Turn out to have been a blue carb uncle.
But a statue in black, the size of a bean
In the crop of a goose might never be seen.
So what was the stone?  what color?  what kind?
There’s only one answer I’m able to find.
Since Watson wrote “scintillatingly brilliant blue”
Then what must have happened — I leave it to you —
Was:  He made a mistake!  There’s a very good reason,
For Watson, like us, was toasting the season.

Results: Weekly Quiz #4 and Monthly Quiz #1 with New Schedule (see below; also Answers below)

After grueling competition, the results are in!

Weekly Quiz #4:

Member Individual Category

Denny Dobry “Kirby” took the honors and James O’Leary “Pippin,” Elinor Hickey “Misty”, Ron Lies “Chips” were all close.

Team Member Category

Margie Deck  “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” of Seattle continued their near-perfect streak for team honors.

Non-Member Category

Dean Turnbloom, in his final appearance as a non-member (he has joined the Society) took the honors.

Congratulations to these Weekly Quizzers and Weekly Quiz Masters. This was a difficult Weekly Quiz and required determining the best case of logic, textual evidence, and association or relationship to arrive at a string of connected answers that satisfied the clue design in both inductive and deductive directions (working form the beginning or working from the end). There are several possible sets of answers to the clues, but only one has the highest quotient of logic, evidence and association; however, alternatives that were supportable were considered and accepted when the proofs could be presented.  The best score in all categories was 8/10.

Monthly Quiz #1
This week’s quiz also was Monthly Quiz #1 among those who were successful in the prior Weekly Quizzes, which partly explains the somewhat diabolical nature of the quiz structure. The Monthly Quiz honors go to:

Member Individual Category

Denny Dobry “Kirby” is our first Monthly Quiz Master with a combined score on all quizzes this month of 47/60.

Team Member Category
Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” are our first Monthly Quiz Masters with a combined score on all quizzes of 47/60.

Non-Member Individual Category

Dean Turnbloom is our first Monthly Quiz Master with a combined score on all quizzes of 47/60.

Congratulations to all of our Quiz Masters. You all now go forward to the Quarterly Quiz and on to the Annual Quiz.  As we all now see, participating in every quiz is how you boost your cumulative score towards the Annual Quiz Master honor, a reality shown by the equal scores of 47/60 by all three Quiz Masters. If one misses a week, it can mean a 10 to 20 point difference; of course, if one doesn’t miss a week, it can be a 10 to 20 point advantage . . . diabolique, n’est pas?

Responding to a participant’s excellent suggestion (Dean Turnbloom), Buttons will make it a bit easier for participants to have the time to work on the quizzes by changing the schedule a bit so that a weekend is available to you on every quiz. Therefore, the Weekly Quiz will now be posted on Friday by 4 pm (Pacific) and end on Wednesday at 4 pm (Pacific) when answers have to be received.  The next Weekly Quiz will be Friday, 17 October through Wednesday 23 October 2013.  Good luck to everyone, and for all of our members who have not participated, please join in the fun. A comment from one of our participants sums up what we gain when we work on the quizzes: ” . . . these [quizzes] are certainly broadening my Canonical knowledge.” Enjoy!

Here are the Weekly #4/Monthly #1 Quiz answers:

 
file_download.pngDownload Week 4 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz #3 Results

The results are in! The Quiz Master for Week #3 is Denny Dobry, “Kirby”. He was followed by James O’Leary, “Pippin” in second place.

There were no submissions in the Member Team Category, or Non-Member categories.

Buttons learned that our Quizzees are not too sanguine about Word Scrambles. Next week’s quiz returns to Canonical references that are readable; in fact, it consists of single word clues. You’ll love this one!

Weekly Quiz #4 is also Monthly Quiz #1 for those who are competing in the Monthly Quiz Master challenge. The Monthly Quiz Master will be eligible for the Quarterly challenge as well as the Annual challenge. Monthly quizzes are:

Member Individual Category
Denny Dobry, “Kirby”
James O’Leary, “Pippin”
Elinor Hickey, “Misty”
Ron Lies, “Chips”

Member Team Category
Margie Deck, “Gwen”
Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”

Non-Member Individual Category
Dean Turnbloom

Good luck to you all.  Anyone may participate in Weekly Quiz #4 and we look forward to an expanded roster of members, teams and non-members who wish to match wits with the slow boy who mostly lunches. The questions will be posted by 12 noon (Pacific) on Monday 7 October 2013 and will end at 12 Noon (Pacific) on 12 October 2013.

Results: Weekly Quiz 2; September 23-28, 2013

The results are in and the answers are posted below.  We had good participation this week, and there is always room for more!

Individual Member Category: James O’Leary “Pippin” with all 20 correct answers.

Team Member Category: Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgreive “Daisy” with 20 correct answers.

Individual Non-Member Category: Dean Turnbloom with 19 correct answers.

Other members doing very well included Denny Dobry “Kirby”, Ron Lies “Chips”, and Elinor Hickey “Misty” who all tied for second place in the Individual Member Category.

Tomorrow’s Weekly Quiz 3 will be posted by noon (Pacific) and will consist of 10 questions, but they are diabolique!

Congratulations to our successful Quiz Masters!  Onward to the Monthly and Quarterly Quizzes!

A Marathon of New Charter Members

The Society is honoured to welcome five new Charter Members this Fourth of July, 2013. Please join in extending a warm welcome, en mass, to these new members:

You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

CHARLES PRESS

Charles Press, PhD, JHWS, “Rofer.” Dr Press a is Pofessor Emeritus in the journalism department at Michigan State University and a long-time (50-year) member of the Greek Interpreters of East Lansing. He lives in Grand Rapids and has published a number of books on the subject of Holmes.

HUGH ASHTON

Hugh Ashton, M.A., JHWS “Clancy” is a prolific professional writer and author of Sherlock Holmes adventures.

Hugh Ashton was born in the UK in 1956. After graduating from the University
of Cambridge, he worked in a variety of jobs, including security guard, publisher’s assistant, and running an independent record label, before coming to rest in the field of information technology, where he assisted perplexed users of computers and wrote explanations to guide them through the problems they encountered.
A long-standing interest in Japan led him to emigrate to that country in 1988, where he has remained ever since; writing instruction manuals for a variety of consumer products, assisting with IT-related projects at banks and financial institutions, and researching and writing industry reports on the Japanese and Asian financial industries. Some of the knowledge he has gained in these fields forms the background for At the Sharpe End, his second novel.
Hugh currently lives with his wife Yoshiko in the old town of Kamakura to the
south of Tokyo, where he is working on future novels and stories.

Publications
He has recently published five volumes of Sherlock Holmes mysteries with
Inknbeans Press of Los Angeles: Tales from the Deed Box of John H. Watson
MD
, More from the Deed Box of John H. Watson MD, Secrets from the Deed Box of John H Watson MD, The Darlington Substitution, and Notes from the Dispatch-Box of John H. Watson MD in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The three “Deed Box” collections have been collected and printed together in a handsome hardback edition–The Deed Box of John H.Watson MD.
Inknbeans Press has also published his collection of short stories set in Japan, Tales of Old Japanese, featuring the culture and habits of the older generation of Japanese.
His first published novel, Beneath Gray Skies, is an alternative history set in a “past that never happened”, where the Civil War was never fought.
His second novel, At the Sharpe End, features an expatriate consultant living in Tokyo, Kenneth Sharpe, who finds himself thrust into a world of violence and high finance that takes him by surprise.
The third novel, Red Wheels Turning, takes some of the characters of Beneath Gray Skies, and sets them in the background of Tsarist Russia, where a battle of wits takes place to control the secret Russian wonder weapons that could win the war for the Allies.

MARGIE DECK

Margie Deck, JHWS “Gwen” joins us from Spanaway, Washington where she is a long-time member of The Sound of the Baskervilles. Margie is an enthusiastic Sherlockian cross-word puzzle maker known as “The Pawky Puzzler” and she is a devotee of our beloved Dr Watson. We hope to see Margie’s cross-word creations in The Watsonian.

RON LIES

Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips” joins the Society from Denver, Colorado where he has been an active member of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients since 1972.

Ron writes:

“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 a 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.”

So do we, Ron. Welcome!

DAN ANDRIACCO

Dan Andriacco, D.Min., JHWS “Dutch” is a well-known author of Sherlockian works who discovered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories at about the age of nine. Not long after, he became acquainted with such greats of the Golden Age of detective fiction as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, John Dickson Carr, Earle Stanley Gardner, and many more.
His earliest career goal was to become a mystery writer. He eventually did, while holding down day jobs at The Cincinnati Post as a reporter and editor (1973-1997) and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as communications director (1997-present). From 1977 to 1982, he wrote a monthly mystery review column for
The Post. He also taught non-credit classes in mystery fiction and mystery writing.
He has been a member of the Tankerville Club, a Cincinnati-based scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars, since 1981. He is the author of Baker Street Beat: An Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings and five published mystery novels with Sherlockian overtones. The most recent is The Disappearance of Mr.
James Phillimore
, the latest in his Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody series. He has also been a mystery reviewer and taught non-credit classes in mystery fiction. He once won a bet with a colleague that he could write a novella in less time than it took her to read one of his novels
Mr Andriacco’s Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody mystery series, set in a small town in Ohio, is very much in the tradition of his Golden Age favorites. “McCabe is a great detective in the classic mode,” Andriacco said. “By that I mean he is a polymath amateur sleuth. He’s a college professor at a small Catholic college, but he’s also a mystery writer, a magician, and a linguist. I would love to meet the man, but I’m not sure I’d want to be his best friend. His ‘Watson,’ Jeff Cody is not only his best friend, but also his brother-in-law and the public relations director for the college where Mac teachers. These multiple relationships carry multiple tensions, which I hope is a source of humor. These books are supposed to be fun and funny. Judging by reviewers, they seem to hit that mark for most readers.”
Dan Andriacco, known to friends as “Doctor Dan,” holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia. He was born in 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Ann. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.