“I liked it all except the algebra and the shoes. The algebra hurt my head and the shoes hurt my feet.”

I managed to stay asleep until six. The house was cold when I woke up, colder than outside, the way it is some mornings this time of year. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but the idea of a hot cup of coffee convinced me. The papers had already arrived so I trekked to the driveway. The weatherman says 70˚ today. I’m hoping it will be.

When I know something odd, I always wish I remembered how I learned it. I guess all those books I read growing up were sources and sometimes inspirations to find out more. The supermarket encyclopedias, the ones with the red bindings, were also fodder for my memory banks. I used them for school, but I also thought of them as fun to read. I used to pick one volume, open a page at random and then read what was there. The end of the alphabet was one of my favorite volumes. I’ve always liked words which begin with x. They’re unusual, even a bit exotic.

I read the Tarzan series a long while back. In the first book, Tarzan, who was raised by an ape after the deaths of his parents, stumbles on the shack where he was born. He finds some books there and teaches himself how to read. Later he is also taught to speak French and to behave like a man, not an ape. The movies made him out to be a savage, an ignorant savage, but he was literate. I think it would have been cool to find a literate jungle man who swung from vines, someone who spoke a bit like Ape in George of the Jungle. I guess, though, he wouldn’t have been as interesting as Johnny Weissmuller and Me, Tarzan, You, Jane.

Doctor Dolittle was a favorite series of mine when I was young. His town had the best name: Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. I still remember those books and several of their characters including the pushmi-pullyu, Polynesia, the parrot, who taught Dr. Dolittle to speak with animals and Jib, his dog, who did the sweeping. I knew the books weren’t real, the word fiction was still a few years away for me, but that didn’t stop me from wishing I could speak with my dog. Those books are really dated now and probably aren’t read very much any more. The movies have taken their place or maybe, just maybe, they were inspirations for some lucky readers to find the books and lose themselves in the doctor’s adventures with the giant pink sea-snail, the floating island and the shoeless Prince Bumpo.

Explore posts in the same categories: Musings

Tags: , , , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

27 Comments on ““I liked it all except the algebra and the shoes. The algebra hurt my head and the shoes hurt my feet.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    and Rex Harrison was to wander Castle Coombe talking to the animals and all that stuff

  2. olof1 Says:

    It seems very few kids read books today, they prefer a movie instead. I loved those old books but I never read about Tarzan. But I did read the Jungle books. I also read about Doctor Doolittle 🙂 I did try to communicate with our dachshund but I guess I never understood his dialect 🙂 🙂

    We’ve had a public outcry here today since a library tried to remove all the comic magazines about Tintin. They are written in a time when most people looked differently to how people from other parts of the world was. There is a text in every book that tells the reader this but still they wanted to remove them.

    It lasted for a couple of hours and then those books were back in the shelves. I grew up with those stories and didn’t become a racist anyway and I do hate it when they try to censor books or films like that!

    Have a great day!

    • Christer,
      I know Harry Potter got kids reading well before the films, but beside that series, I have no idea what kids read today, but I do agree many of them don’t. They are too hooked on media.

      I don’t speak Boxer.

      The Doctor Dolittle books also have some of those racial overtones but they were written a long time ago, and, like Tintin, probably need a text explaining that. Many of the books I read as kids, even the Bobbsey twins, had similar issues. but I don’t thin I ever really thought them racial slurs.

      Tintin never became a huge favorite here, but I bought a Tintin book just to see what it was about. I don’t know why the books never caught on here.

  3. Birgit Says:

    Dogs can speak.
    We even have an official postage stamp “The talking dog”:
    Who would ever question german postal service? 😉

    • Birgit,
      Gracie talks to me, but I never know what she’s saying. By her tone, I figure I’m being reprimanded for some slight or disappointment. The last thing I’d need would be be able to understand her all the time.

      I certainly wouldn’t question the German postal service.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    If I know something weird, I figure it was from Mr Feudo’s Million Unrelated Facts. Mr Feudo was sophomore biology and he had us keep a notebook of the Million Unrelated Facts he was always dispensing. He also always said that Pseudo means false but Feudo means truth and we should remember that.

    The only Tarzan book I ever read was Tarzan on Mars. Apparently I am one of the lucky (?) few.

    Enjoy the day!

    • Hi Caryn,
      I would have loved your bio teacher. Nothing better than odd facts to store away to recall later at boring cocktail parties.

      I think you read other than Edgar Rice Burroughs as his Tarzan stayed on Earth though Burroughs did a whole series, which I also read, about John Carter on Mars. There was a movie a short time back taken from that series but loosely taken.

      • Caryn Says:

        Tarzan, Jane and La all went to Mars. I read it so long ago I don’t remember any of it. I remember being surprised that Tarzan was on Mars at all and that was the only reason I read it in the first place 🙂 I googled it because I doubted myself and here’s a review.

      • Caryn,
        I figured it wasn’t it a Burroughs’ Tarzan as I had read most of them, but this review mentions the John Carter characters and scenes as part of this novel so it does have a sideways connection to Burroughs.

  5. Bob Says:

    While in the seventh grade I started reading adult books. I contracted the flu and spent two weeks in bed reading Leon Uris’s novel of the founding of the State of Isreal Exodus. I was hooked and read Battle Cry that summer. As a prepubescent male I laughed at his punishment if he confused the words rifle and gun. He had to stand in front of the platoon with his fly open, with his rifle in one hand and his ‘gun’ in the other and repeat, ‘this is my rifle and this is my gun, this is for fighting and this is for fun’.

    My 15 year old son read all of the Harry Potter books when he was younger but now he thinks he is too cool to read books. Hopefully, he will out grow this stage and pick up the reading bug again in a few years.

    I was appalled when libraries wanted to censor the ‘N’ word from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Sometimes we take political correctness to a stupid conclusion. Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books and should be read by those ‘do gooder’ folks who get themselves wrapped around the censorship axel in the name of the deity or morality.

    • Bob,
      I know I saw that scene in some movie about boot camp before going to Vietnam. The sergeant made the recruits say and do the same. I got a chuckle.

      Your son is one of the reasons I loved Harry Potter. They got kids to read, some for the first time. I think you may be right about that experience may just spark that reading bug you mentioned.

      I too was horrified by the cleansing of Huckleberry Finn. I read some of the atrocity which resulted and I figure Mark Twain would have had a few choice words for the editors.

      I am wearing a Fahrenheit 451 t-shirt right now. It is one of my favorite novels too, and I also thought the movie was well done-quite a change from the usual book to movie fiascos.

      • Bob Says:

        I think the movie version was copied from Uris’s own experience as a Marine in WWII which is the basis of “Battle Cry” his first novel. I have read all of Uris’s novels enjoying each one more than its predecessor.

        Most books are difficult to turn into movies because of the time constraints of film. The first disaster movie ever made, “The High and The Mighty” was a great adaptation of the novel by Ernest K. Gann. He was one of my favorite authors and the movie, made in 1954, was produced by and starred John Wayne with Robert Stack.

        Gann was an American Airlines pilot in the 1930s and flew for the Military Transport Service during WWII in both the Atlantic and across the hump from India to China. After the war he flew for a steam ship airline flying across the Pacific from Hawaii to California. The airline went out of business and he became a professional novelist writing books about flying and sailing until his death in 1998. His memoirs are contained in his book “Fate Is The Hunter”.

  6. Bob,
    The High and the Mighty is a great movie, and Gann also wrote the screenplay which helped the book’s transition to the screen.

    I read all of the Uris novels as well. When I find an author I like, I read everything. That started when I was young and continues today.

  7. Hedley Says:

    No………….not Andy Williams…….

  8. MDH,
    Andy yelled at poor Cookie Bear!

  9. Hedley Says:

    Hopefully it will be in the Andy Williams Super Deluxe Boxset. AND a big picture of cookie bear on the cover and some super nice duets with the Osmonds and something with Claudine (no spider)

  10. Hedley Says:

    I am so bummed, there is Andy pulling up on a sled singing Christmas songs on the NBC World News
    My boyhood hound was named Andy (Katmah and im6 you know why) in the great crooner’s honor.

  11. Bob Says:

    Unfortunately, everyone will die sooner or later. He was 84 and he lost a year long battle with bladder cancer. I especially remember and enjoyed his rendition of Moon River. We will always have video recordings of his TV shows and recordings of his music. RIP Andy.

    • Bob,
      I think Moon River was his all time best song.

      A while back I saw a retrospective of his shows. The Osmonds were really young when they started singing with Andy, and I enjoyed it when his brothers joined him at Christmas.

      I’m sure we’ll hear and see him sing again.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: