Monday, November 10, 2008

From the Gasogene

Greetings Amateur Mendicants:

As I write this, I’ve recently returned from the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, held over the Labor Day weekend (Editors note: OK, so I'm a little late posting this). It was dedicated to LeMans - series sports and closed wheel racing cars and was quite entertaining.

Now, astute readers may recognize that “Detroit”, “Belle Isle”, “grand prix”, and “LeMans" are all French words. Which also might remind us, of course, that Sherlock Holmes was of French origin. In “The Greek Interpreter”, Holmes claimed that, “My ancestors were country squires…my grandmother…was the sister of Vernet, the French artist.”

It should be of little surprise, then, that Holmes’ quirky and, occasional, moody behavior, might reflect the French temperament.
But I digress.

With a change in seasonal moods, we’ve set our fall meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society (the fourth of this calendar year) at a new venue, the historic Dakota Inn in Detroit.

Rather than write a narrative recap of the Mendicant year, let me offer you a brief summary of our 2008 so far:

By the Numbers:

Meetings held: 4 (Feb. 2, May 4, Aug. 2, Oct. 11)
Venues: 3 (Commonwealth Club, Detroit Yacht Club, Dakota Inn)
Papers presented: 4; Winter (Roy Pilot – Narcotics in the Canon); Spring (Rob Musial - Bruce Partington submarines); Summer (Regina Stinson - Holmes in Film); Fall (David Mohan - Irene Adler)
AMS attendees at meetings: 213
Toasts given: 18
Lascars appointed: 1 (Richard Jeryan)
Beggar's Cap newsletters published: 2 (May and September)
Beers consumed at meetings: 527 (good grief!)
Lifetime achievement awards given: 3 (Jerry Alvin and Edward Stein and one in process)
Stories Discussed: “Second Stain” (winter), “Naval Treaty” (spring), “Reigate Squires” (summer), “Copper Beeches” (fall)
Number of words in “The Naval Treaty”: 12,631
Planning meetings conducted: 6 (all at the Commonwealth Club on “fish and chips” night)
Beggar's Cup writing awards presented: 2 (Michael Ellis and David Mohan)
Sherlockian porcelain tiles (with S. Paget portraits of Holmes) auctioned: 4

“God Save the Queen” sung (out of tune): 4 times
Steak pies consumed: 93 (gasp!)
Tributes to Ezekiah Hopkins, founder of the Red Headed League: 2 (given by Jerry Alvin)
AMS Website updates: 12 YTD; 16 by year end
Quizzes administered: Only 1 so far (Spring meeting; winners: Regina Stinson 1st, Chris Jeryan 2nd)
Announcements made by Ray Mandzuik - 27 (just kidding, Ray)

So, by most any measure, we have had a fun and successful year.


As an aside, precautions must be taken to insure our little scion is not infiltrated with (ahem ) “undesirables.”

At the summer meeting, a new person attended, a “W. Scott Monty”, an alias name if I ever heard one.

Then, in the most recent edition of the “Jib Sheet”, the newsletter of the Detroit Yacht Club (issued just after our meeting at the club), I found the following “new member” announcement:

“The Membership Committee would like to Welcome the following new members to the Detroit Yacht Club.

Kathleen Vandelaare & James Moriarty (!)”

So, beware, and remember – “Loose lips sink ships”.

In conclusion, dear friends, I thank you for your active support and participation in 2008.
And I assure you that, looking forward, we are planning a series of meetings for 2009 that will be fun and entertaining for the membership along with paying homage to our mentors, Sherlock Holmes and Dr James Watson.

Yours in Holmes,

John Kramb, Gasogene.