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No. 429, August 22, 2010

Sherlocking With John Farrell
By Don Hobbs

I was in my home away from home this week – Los Angeles. It was another grueling two-day workweek. My company recently released a major software revision and I have been calling on existing customers and sitting with radiologists as they read exams. I show them the new features of our software and offer them suggestions on how to be more efficient. These trips are mostly stress free. I had already trained the staff at the hospital that I was at this week so it was like a homecoming visit. Of course, I did not allow a bit of work interfere with doing a little Sherlocking.

I was working in Downey which is not too far from John Farrell. John lives in Long Beach and we arranged to meet on Thursday afternoon. I was finished in the early afternoon so I made it to John’s house with plenty of time to visit. John and I have known each other for nearly twenty years. We first met in Moriarty, New Mexico at one of the Unhappy Moriarty You Bastard Celebrations. This was the famous meeting that John read letters from Senators and Governors in response to his requesting them to send samples for the Manure Pile.

For those unfamiliar with the proceedings at the Unhappy Birthday celebration, this celebration is  always held at the Frontier Saloon. At evening’s end everyone goes outside and a bonfire of manure is set ablaze as Unhappy Birthday Moriarty You Bastard is sung. It was sort of a Sherlockian Cum-by-ya moment. The responses from the elected officials were hilarious. The Governor of Washington state sent five pounds of cricket feces from a research facility near Tacoma and the Governor of Colorado sent coprolite , petrified dinosaur feces, and another senator sent in a copy of one his speeches, stating that pretty much everything he said was full of s***.

John is rather a large man. He could pass as the twin brother of the Harry Potter character Hagrid. John takes up all of the space on his side of the rental car but this did not stop us from heading from Long Beach to Westminster where we visited Little Saigon. The proprietor of the first Vietnamese bookstore we entered was visibly nervous. One could tell she had never seen the likes of such a large person. Between the three of us, we could not communicate the fact that we wanted Sherlock Holmes books in Vietnamese. The proprietor kept handing us Vietnamese-to-English dictionaries. I was able to find Harry Potter, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie in Vietnamese but no Sherlock Holmes. This very scene repeated itself several more times, as we ventured from bookstore to bookstore and received  the same bewildered look and then the sacrificial dictionary offering.

We finally gave up and retired to a small Vietnamese restaurant. This was an authentic place and the menu was written in Vietnamese and only made it more difficult to order. With the help of our server, who spoke very broken English, and John and I who spoke zero Vietnamese, we managed to order dinner. At least they did not offer us a dictionary. After dinner, we drove back to Long Beach, to a local theater where John was reviewing a series of five one-act plays that night.  It was another grand evening of Sherlocking in California.

Happy Collecting!!

John Farrell reading from the Ogden Nash book at
the first Kennedy’s dinner in NYC



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Archives for 2009

Past 2009 Columns

January 3, 2010
Happy New Year! A Sherlockian Potpourri

January 10, 2010
Sherlockian Nirvana

January 17, 2010
Sherlocking in New York City 2010

January 24, 2010
The Forgetful Sherlockian

January 31, 2010
Barcelona October 2010

February 7, 2010
Sherlocking in Southern California

February 14, 2010
Sherlocking in the Sun

February 21, 2010
The Don Hobbs Olympics

February 28, 2010
Sherlockian Potpourri

March 6, 2010
Six Degrees of Sherlockian Separation

March 14, 2010
Lake Sherlockbegon Revisited

March 21, 2010

March 28, 2010
Spring At Last

April 4, 2010
Another One Bites The Dust

April 11, 2010
The New Sherlock Holmes

April 18, 2010
Adventures of a Maniac Collector

April 25, 2010
More Sherlockian Potpourri

May 2, 2010
Sherlock Holmes: The Melodrama

May 9, 2010
Sherlocking in the Pacific Northwest

May 16, 2010
Sherlockian Ramblings

May 23, 2010
Marriage, Sherlock Holmes and Logic

May 30, 2010
Foreign Accent Syndrome

June 6, 2010
Sherlocking With Les Klinger

June 13, 2010
The God of the Hive -- A Review

June 20, 2010
Sherlock Takes A Back Seat

June 27, 2010
The Manga Sherlock Holmes

July 4, 2010
Sherlock Is Still In The Back Seat

July 11, 2010
Tough Decisions

July 18, 2010
The Signs of the Four

July 25, 2010
Sherlocking in San Luis Obispo, California

August 1, 2010
The No Fog Countries Meeting

August 8, 2010
Sherlocking at The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes

August 15, 2010
The Crucifer of Blood

August 22, 2010
Sherlocking with John Farrell