robert.admin

September 24, 2020

A nice review-review (DOG EAR)

while ago I read a delightful short story from a collection from a going-out-of-business and lamented-over publisher. The story was Gelato Parlour, and was a very quirky story about a gentleman of adventure. You can read the review HERE. So that was a while ago. But the other day I received a very nice email from the author, Rose Biggin, telling me how much she appreciated my review (the one thing about reading quirky short stories from other people – you might be their only review and she implies I was). But I had been enthusiastically supportive of her story […]
September 21, 2020

Candide (Review)

he driving idea of Candide comes from the titled character, a young man of some privilege who lives in a nice castle and has food, entertainment, a girl he’s sweet on, everything he could hope for. More in amusement than anything else, he chats with the court’s learned philosopher. Doctor Pangloss, with smug certainty, denotes that everything is here for a reason, and hence (by the chain of logic) this reality must represent The Best of All Possible Worlds. Hence the alternate title to the book, Optimism. And hence the coming irony. Of course, almost immediately, Pangloss has his way […]
September 20, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 9/19/2020

he latest session of the TBL was held at the club today. Again, Greg Wells and I gave it a shot. This was the sixth session and the second live session. So this time we ran the full effort with coal extras pulling through Greg’s choreographed local moves. The interesting thing here is to realize that a 2×4 foot layout is so small, you need to be keenly aware what the other train is doing. Here, the dispatcher (me, in this case) needs to look at his lineup sheet and make sure that when a coal extra comes into Tuscarora, […]
September 17, 2020

Reckless (DOG EAR)

ast night, a car came around a sharp corner behind our house, travelled 200 feet with perfect visibility, street lights, no rain, and managed to plow right into the back of a parked car. The debris field was scattered another 200 feet down the road and both cars needed to be towed. I’m willing to suspect, since external factors were nil, that the driver was either drunk, distracted, driving-too-fast, or drifting. You shouldn’t operate a motor vehicle in any of these states. Nor should you read a book in this condition. There are all sorts of books, brilliant books, world-changing […]
September 13, 2020

A Man Without A Country (Review)

s with Kurt Vonnegut and his style, we hop all over the place, looking at the world through this lens and that, reflecting as randomly as a pond on a sunny day. And I rather like it. A Man Without a Country was written at the end of the author’s life, a look at his own history, his experiences in World War Two (and the bombing of Dresden), as well as the current political climate (which was during the Bush/Cheney years). And a note on that – everything he said about the corruption, the abuse of power, the criminality of […]
September 13, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 9/12/2020

ust after midnight. Greg Wells and I found ourselves standing in the cinders of the mainline through Tuscarora, his NW-2 idling behind him, my Southern Pacific GP9 rumbling at my back. We’d just gone over the day’s activity, the switching for him, the coal runs for me. But I’ll admit, for a tiny layout, this tyke has big ops. There was a long pause. I looked up at the guy in the switch tower. He looked at his watch. Acting on a hint, I asked, “Do you want to just go with the locals and leave the coal out of […]
September 10, 2020

Juniors Diner (DOG EAR)

e used to love going to Juniors Diner, a little hole-in-the-wall place just around the corner from us. When I was working, we’d go in on Sunday and try to time it between the church rushes. Still, once it got discovered by the swells of Baldwin Park it really crowded up – there could be a forty-five minute wait for a table. Still worth it. We loved eating omelets slowly, drinking coffee and reading our books. Once I retired, we shifted to Thursday mornings. That made it a walk in for us, right over to our favorite booth. With lighter […]
September 6, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 9/6/2020

ou’re sitting across from me in this diner in 1962, out in the middle of nowhere. This town, Tuscarora, isn’t central to anything. So we look outside into the snow-speckled gathering dusk and, in gratitude for what you are about to endure, I spot you another cup of coffee. You’ll need the warmth and it’s only a dime, right? Then I check my pocket watch. It’s just going 7pm. “Let’s go.” We step into the blowing cold of southwestern Pennsylvania in late November, leaving our comfortable diner to walk south down Railroad Avenue, past the fuel distributor, down to where […]
September 6, 2020

The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye (Review)

couple of weeks ago, I had a rushed book-selection. I thought I had Covid-19. Yow. Isolated overnight in my den (on the floor, poor me). The next day, I cleared the wife out of my path of egress and bolted from the house (heading towards a testing site, then my mom’s beach place). Would be a couple of days away. And before I went, I grabbed the closest thing with words, my collection of Popeye cartoons (from 1930-1934). This constituted Volumes 1 and 2 of the collection by Fantagraphics Books on this, massive things about 20 inches tall (which made […]
September 3, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 9/3/2020

ait! What? Ops on the Tuscarora Brach Line? Yup. Brought the layout home today. Since I got the randomized car sorting worked out the other day, I realized I was ready to go. Even though I didn’t have that tank car and covered hopper Greg Wells promised me a week ago, I just threw box cars into the mix and off we went. Ops for the local switch crew is programmed (with random car ordering). In all, I ran eighteen trains (but to be truthful, this really is five trains and five local / drill jobs that make numerous runs […]