Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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So I come upon this post of yours. As it happens, there are exactly six books to the left of my laptop, all equally close, and I should note, there to be moved upstairs (and, also, they're not only not necessarily what I am reading currently, but also not necessarily my reading, if you know what I mean--though, that said, I've read in whole or in part, for one reason or another, all but one).

You want I should still do this?


The titles:

Tales From Shakespeare (the Great Books for Children version, copyright 1924/1958)

Modern Practical Joinery

Shaped By Images: One Who Presides

730 Easy Science Experiements

Dead Men Don't Lye

Kurdish National Movement: Its Origins and Development.


Try and tell me you're not LOL, as I am.


So, should I carry on?


This creates an unbidden picture in my mind of chasing a laughing, breathless nun, her habit flying, over green grass.

I'm quite fond of The Anchoress, by the way, and it is due in part to the evoked images.


I had gone to bed, alas. I think you may have just started a new (and possibly better) meme -- listing the titles of all the books within arm's length; it makes quite a found poem.

What to do if you have six equidistant books?? Beats me. Is there a message for you in one of the six, which you might miss if you don't do p. 123 of all of them? This could be a real problem for someone with OCD. Insofar as I found a "message" (and finding one was not the purpose of the game, or if so, only implicitly), it was only by looking further, following trails.

Sissy Willis

My favorite kind of blogpost, suggestive of worlds within worlds. One thing leads to another, and if you're lucky, you pull it all together with a twist of your wit. A perfect little masterpiece! All that, and cats, too.

I may take you up on your "open tag," although I'll probably have to cheat a little, since Merriam-Webster's Unabridged -- on the bookstand right behind where I sit at the computer -- has virtually no complete sentences on page 123. Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club -- on top of a pile of books including your own A Return to Innocence! across the room -- on the other hand, promises world without end.

Maybe I could convince myself that since your book is at eye level -- the windows to the soul and all that -- it is truly the nearest to me. Hmmmm:

"The ancient Buddhist texts explain that it keeps the mind steady, instead of letting it bob about like a pumpkin in water ['Reminds me of blogging] -- it is the opposite of superficial attention. So when your Bare Attention confronts the object you're examining, your mind doesn't 'float away' and let another 'train of thought' carry it in some other direction. Here is a very brief introduction to technique of 'making mental notes,' as developed by Mahasi Sayadaw."

I'll make a mental note of that.

Once you cheat, you've sold your soul, so it's easier to cheat the second time. Glenn Reynolds's An Army of Davids is in that pile too:

"Well, sort of. Everybody knows it. But they don't KNOW it, yet, down deep where it counts."

Not to mention Mark Steyn's America Alone:

"Not 7:32 Paris time, which is when the nightly Citroen-torching begins in the 'burbs, but 732 AD -- as in one and a third millennia ago. By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within two hundred miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours."

. . . and finally, The Metaphysical Club:

"It is a process without a mind. A way of thinking that regards individual differences as inessential departures from a general type is therefore not well suited for dealing with the natural world. A general type is fixed, determinate, and uniform; the world Darwin described is characterized by chance, change, and difference -- all the attributes general types are designed to leave out."

I'm sure there's a blogpost in there somewhere.


Cool. But I'm at work. The only books are three-ring notebooks of financial statements. I'll find real books later tonight, and join in the fun.


Marvelous!! Thank you for taking up the open tag. I think cheating is the way to go, too. There's definite fodder there for a worlds-within-worlds blog post.

In the terms of my favorite psychologist James Hillmen, A Return to Innocence is too monolithically spiritual; blogging is soulful. Hillman says we've lost the crucial distinction between "spirit" and "soul," tending to use the words as synonyms. They are not. Spirit is supercilious and monotheistic. It looks down on digressions and attempts to dismiss or purge them. The ground-clearing, defoliating absolutism of the "spiritual" perspective, manifested in radical Islam and more gently in Innocence (defoliate the weedy ground of your consciousness!), "regards individual differences as inessential departures from a general type is therefore not well suited for dealing with the natural world." Darwin is soulful.


Not to say that spirit is "bad." Separated, they tend to get into conflict -- spirit policing, soul sabotaging. They're supposed to marry each other. Then soul keeps spirit humble -- brooding over the bent world in compassion, not disapproval -- and spirit keeps soul out of the clutches of the devil (put one way) or from being nothing but the human face of the animal (put another).


eol (end of lecture)

Charlie (Colorado)

Not till I get home. No one, not even me, really cares about three sentences from "The UML Modeling Language Reference Manual Second Edition".


What to do if you have six equidistant books?? Beats me. Is there a message for you in one of the six, which you might miss if you don't do p. 123 of all of them? This could be a real problem for someone with OCD.

Answers: #1: Hesitate. Flail. Scream. Cry. Surrender. #2: Maybe, best to check all 6 and then double-check - at least I read p. 123 of every one again. As to your last point, writing as a borderline case, it brought me near tears of frustration. (OK, I exaggerate, but not by much.)


I considered cheating after Randy tagged me, but for a very different reason: Is the text that fits the rules important only to me, too fundamental a thought to be important in the blogospheric meme mentality?

Then I let it go. It mattered, yes, in more than one way: The nearest book (relatively speaking) is what I chose, and that work happened to be the most important in my life at the moment. How lucky is that?

Had that not been the case, however, I might have felt more easily compelled to stretch the first rule to mean anything I can think of that I can put my hands on without going to the nearest library or bookstore.


Jason, you should have provided a link. Everyone, please go there.


Thanks for the tag. I did mine. As they said on the Twilight Zone, "It's a cookbook!"


I'm embarrassed, Annie. Thank you for feeling it worthy of sharing.

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