This paper has a wide range of writers with many areas of expertise.

One of them, for example, is an expert on snakes and turtles , not to mention all kinds of life. Somebody can bring in a bug  and he will immediately identify it as an e. platypus-dusty mountus, that is, a duck-billed doodle bug. He especially loves snakes and knows all about them, everything from an ordinary, household variety hoop snake to a rattlesnake pilot.

Another  is a word expert. You can mention a word, and he can tell you right away that it is a derivative of another word and comes from the Greek or Latin  or Lamar County.

I have a wider range of interests. I deal in totally unimportant things. I have studied more and more about less and less and now know just about everything about nothing.

I do know a good bit about World War II. Literally thousands of books and articles have been written about it, even more than the Civil War…and that’s a big interest, too.

And I know a good bit about older movies, and about big bands and jazz in general.

There are some reference books you should have within reach if we are to have a meaningful discussion. One of my bedtime books is about one chapter of WWII. It deals with the air war in the Pacific/Asian theater, just from the time of Pearl Harbor to Midway, a short period in which we started as woefully unprepared for war, and became the ruler of the Pacific.

The book is “The Ragged, Rugged Warriors,” by Martin Caidin. Good reading! And informative: how many planes attacked Pearl Harbor, what kind were they? And all about the almost mythical Flying Tigers.

You also need to have “Fighters,” by William Green. It gives you all the statistics and figures of every American WWII fighter, all the different models and variations, from the Bell Airacobra to the Vultee XP-54. There are similar books about bombers, too.

The first book I ever bought was a little book that told all about our planes. I was ten. Saw it in Falkner’s when we went to buy fertilizer. I begged Daddy to buy it for me. I don’t know if you knew: I was the self-appointed air warden for Lamar County. Oh, yeah. If a Junkers or Zero had invaded our air space to attack our heavy industry–the gin and the blacksmith shops and Turner’s grist  mill, I would have spotted it immediately.

I’m proud to report that not a one got through during my watch.

You have to know something about movies. Your main textbook is Leonard Maitlin’s “TV Movie Guide.” It lists almost every movie ever made, with the exception of the Saturday Westerns, and there are books for those. Maitlin book tells you the  director, the stars, the year, and a brief synopsis and rating.  There’s a problem, but we can pass it along to our children: the book gets bigger every year with the addition of new movies. In a few years, it’ll be the size of a Volkswagen.

Another must is “The Filmgoer’s Companion.” It’s really a small encyclopedia of moviedom. It’s where you go to find out all there is to know about pictures and the people who make them. My copy is falling apart. There must be a newer edition, but I haven’t found it, although there are similar books available.

There was a time, in the golden era of popular music, when most of the popular songs came from Broadway or the movies.

The book is “The Melody Lingers On.” It tells you about the music of the Gershwins, the Kerns, the Berlins, the Porters, the Carmichaels, and many others. It tells you, for instance, who lip-synced for whom. For instance, that beautiful scene that shows Jeanne Crain sitting on the porch and breaking my heart with “It Might As Well Be Spring?” That ain’t her singing at all. And that’s just one example. All of Rita Hayworth’s “singing” was lip-synced. But at least they did it well.

And there’s a little book that’s kind of handy to have around when you’re think trivial thoughts. It’s called “Why Did They name It…? It answers those questions about, oh,m everything from Chevrolet to Ex-Lax. I would tell you who it’s by, but Frosty hid it somewhere…


Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note.