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Last weekend of the year

Got this yesterday. 🙂

The title is “111 Dogs and their Strange Stories.” In Italian. The book made its way here from Rome, and while the packaging barely survived (one more tiny tear and the book would have fallen from the envelope and disappeared forever into postal oblivion), the contents are pristine

The reason I have it is because my St. Guinefort appears inside. I wrote about that last June

The crop is unfortunate, but since each story is illustrated by a full-bleed photo or piece of art, it was the best they could do to be consistent.

I can almost read the story, too, with my patchy old Italiano. Having 111 dog stories might inspire me to see what I can pull out of memory and online dictionaries.

On other topics …


Dave Barry can be pretty hit-and-miss, but his 2017 year-end review is almost entirely really funny.


PETA is so despicable. Let us count the ways (in language NSFW).


Oh damn. The great mystery writer Sue Grafton has died. There will be no “Z” in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series — novels I’ve loved since A is for Alibi and B is for Burglar, right down to the recent Y is for Yesterday.

Back around C or D is when a friend told me I just had to read the tales of this private investigator who reminded her so much of … gulp, me. (It’s true or was — right down to the single all-purpose black dress dragged out strictly for emergency use. But Kinsey is a much better liar than I could ever be. And I’ve aged while Kinsey did not.)

Grafton never allowed Kinsey to appear in a movie or TV series (even though she must have had offers that could have made her rich) and never let an assistant or a ghost write a word of her books. So as her daughter said, “The alphabet now ends at Y.”


Did pirates help keep the U.S. from adopting the metric system?


Happy New Year, one and all. Thank you for making my 2017 far better than it might otherwise have been. In fact, thank you for making it a fantastic year.

I hope your 2018 will be one of your very best.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 30, 2017 4:03 am

    I’ll have to look at the Grafton novels again. I vaguely remember reading at least some of them. Too bad there will be no Z.

  2. Joel
    Joel December 30, 2017 5:29 am

    Cool! So does this make you a published…artist? Not sure if that’s even a thing, really. But as an old tech writer I used to say “It’s not real till somebody pays you for it.” Or something like that, it’s early…

    Anyway, I think that’s cool.

  3. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2017 6:19 am

    LOL, I’m not sure whether “published artist” is a thing, either, now that you mention it.

    As a former toiler in the field of corporate communications, I agree “it’s not real till somebody pays you for it” And since the only pay in this case was a copy of the book … it ain’t real. However, I did sell the original of Guinefort to a fascinating scientist/farmer who lives around here. So that was something.

    I’m pretty jazzed about Guinefort being in a book, especially one written in Italian.

  4. Pat
    Pat December 30, 2017 8:34 am

    I remember reading (somewhere) last year that Sue Grafton wasn’t worried about what happens when she gets to the end of the alphabet. She must have believed then that she wouldn’t make it. Somehow I kind of like it that Z was not written; it feels like she’s still working on it, and we have something to look forward to.

    Glad to hear that you received St. Guinefort, Claire. Reading Italian will give you something to do in your “spare time.” 🙂 And it’s nice to know that St. Guinefort is published and that someone cares.

    I couldn’t get past January in Dave Barry’s article; 2017 was a BAD year to remember, and I’m glad to leave it behind.

    I dislike the metric system but I know it’s only because I never learned it. If we had grown up with it, it would be no problem. I’ve determined to convert my kitchen to it this year.


  5. lairdminor
    lairdminor December 30, 2017 9:09 am

    Happy New Year to you, Claire, and all the regulars here! I’m ready to be finished with 2017!

  6. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas December 30, 2017 9:10 am

    I stopped reading mysteries years back, after making my way through any number of authors. But you’re the second online presence I’d pay attention to who has very sadly noted Grafton’s passing. I will have to start with A.

    Too bad about the crop, but very cool, nonetheless. Congratulations, I’d say.

  7. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2017 9:59 am

    Let me know what you think, firstdouglas. Who was the other who noted Grafton’s passing?

    IMHO, the best in the series are: I is for Innocent, which is actually two novels relating the same events, Rashomon-style, from two conflicting perspectives; L is for Lawless, which I just found funny and irreverent; and Q is for Quarry which is not only a good novel but a kind of public-service work that asks readers to help identify the remains of a real-world Jane Doe murder victim.

    You don’t have to read them in order, though I suppose it helps.

  8. Dana
    Dana December 30, 2017 10:42 am

    I’m confused. Is PETA bad?

  9. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 30, 2017 1:04 pm

    The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 declared that it was the policy of the United States “to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce.”
    I remember that. USDOT actually started putting up highway mileage signs in KM. We The People greeted it with the same enthusiasm generated by New Coke.

    Sue Grafton is one of a very few authors my wife waited for her books for. I’ll have to break it gently.

    I’m back. Luckily she was sewing, which is a calm time for her.

    Imagine what we Hunter Education instructors think of PETA.

    I’ve seen that poster in the wild. No, people cannot become vegetarians. People can choose to limit themselves to vegetarian diets, or even vegan, but they still aren’t vegetarians. Homo sapiens are designed and built by whatever creator they believe in to be omnivores, to eat both veggies and meat.
    YMMV, and what you choose for your diet is your business, not mine. It would be nice if the type of folks who infest PETA had the same attitude. [/rant]

    And yes, you are a published artist. Cash is not the only form of remuneration.

  10. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas December 31, 2017 6:36 am

    Bretigne Shaffer, on facebook, “oh no!” And her, quoting somebody else, “‘the alphabet now ends at Y.’” (So I suppose maybe that’s not exactly a passing being noted “very sadly,” as I’d said.) Anyway, Shaffer often has interesting and useful things to say.

    ..and so maybe I’ll start with L, or I, or Q..

  11. fred
    fred December 31, 2017 9:35 pm

    We listen to Sue’s books on the kindle.

    I Looooooove your dog,awesome!!!!!!

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