1814 Rejection.

The other day I found out that one of my favorite books is being made into a movie; A House With A Clock In It’s Walls. Then I found out Jack Black is cast in it, and I was filled with dread. The man is movie poison. I don’t know if it’s his choice or the choice of his masters, but he just is. I know he can act. I’ve seen him do it. He just doesn’t for some reason. He’s going to be Uncle Jonathan. I don’t know this for sure, but he’s the only obvious choice, and he fits in some ways. Uncle Jonathan is a loud, ginger, lumberjack of a man. I can see Jack Black being that, but he also has to convincingly develop a fatherly relationship with his orphaned nephew.
I’ve waited for this movie since I was 10. The idea that it will be ruined like so much source material I’ve loved is depressing. My fingers are crossed, but I’m bracing for the worst.

It’s a young readers book & a series, but worth reading at any age. You can get it cheaply in paperback & it’s available on Audible now too. It’s not very long. You can listen to the entire thing in a couple of sittings. It’s worth the time in my opinion. John Bellairs has a descriptive but direct writing style that gives exactly enough information for your mind to fill in the blanks. I only wish I could boil storytelling down to such a succinct, but almost perfect selection of words.

There are 3 series Bellairs is primarily known for the Lewis Barnaveldt series, the Anthony Monday series, and the Johnny Dixon series. They are all worth reading. Brad Strickland completed the works in progress when Bellairs passed away in 1997, I think. He did a good job with the only one of those books I read; The Ghost In The Mirror. That book focuses on Rose Rita Pottinger, who is the best friend of Lewis, and casts her in the role of hero in a way that isn’t cloyingly feminist. It’s the believable tale of a strong girl who feels like a real person. In spite of coming from an older generation Bellairs treats his female characters as fully formed humans in a way that is still uncommon.

Anyway, I seriously can’t recommend these books hard enough. Years ago, before the internet made it easier, I tracked down a hardcover copy of A House With A Clock In It’s Walls. It’s beaten up, but a treasured possession of mine. In fact I’ve been searching for a copy in better condition for a long time, but even my beaten up ex library copy is about as good as it gets most of the time.

I wanted an original copy because modern copies of the book usually take out the scary illustrations that were done by Edward Gorey. You’ve probably seen his art even if you don’t recognize the name. He famously did the opening for Mystery! on PBS before they changed it.


A good Jack Black movie (where he’s not playing a crazed, screaming idiot) is his new one, The Polka King. Its about how a Polish immigrant accidentally set up a ponzi scheme in Pennsylvania in the early 90s. Based on a true story.

Yeah he’s putting on a fake accent, but he’s just so charming and likeableas the character, which is apparently true to life. I rather enjoyed it.

that’s encouraging.

Hello Jackie. I really like John Bellairs’ work, as well, The only books I was aware of were The House with The Clock in it’s Walls trilogy (and if you’re a numismatist, like I am, the second book was a real cracker with the silver type 2 three cent piece {which is a real thing, let me assure you, there are two or three in my collection and I believe this book started my fascination with weird denomination American Coins} as a main object in the story) and another book involving Egyptian fiance ushabti’s (I can’t recall the title. Oh well, I’ll have to dig the books out, one day. Anyway, A few years ago, I found the three books as an omnibus edition at Barnes And Noble (In the bargain ares, no less) and the real kicker was that it had the original illustrations!! I think I bought that edition for somewhere around ten dollars. If I find another one, I’ll try and remember to buy it and send it to you, if that’s ok. As for the movie, I’m a little bit skeptical about Jack Black being able to pull this one off, I think Zach Galifikinas (Sorry, I know I murdered his last name) would probably be a better choice. I just really hope that the movie is made as a period piece, remember the uncle drove a Maxwell, I’d really love to see that. Anyway, any word on who is slated to play Mrs. Zimmerman?


This has been bothering me for years: If you put Jack Black and Jack White in the same movie, would they spontaneously annihilate each other in an earth-shattering kaboom, and destroy the spacetime continuum?

Working title: Jack Shit!

I’m going to guess no one has ever told Reggie to never judge a book by its cover.

You can actually tell a lot about a book–or rather the intent behind it–by its cover.

Yes and no, Archangel. Modern books do make use of well-established imagery and titling but classic novels are more ambiguous with their presentation.

That’s probably one of the stupidest bits of “common wisdom” out there. I’ve yet to meet someone dumb enough to try to study calculus from a book with the cover “Identifying wood”.

Reggie’s being an ass about it, but he’s not wrong.

He’s not wrong but he’s not right either. Appearances are ultimately subjective anyways and are not a defining trait into one’s success. In the long-term, people will judge you based on how you do your job and your appearance will be fazed out as a standard.

But he is saying to use that as the basis for an INITIAL judgement… Letting it stop there is what is wrong, but no matter what, one uses the initial meeting, including the appearance of the person, to get a place to start from in terms of judgement. That part of his reasoning is not wrong. What is wrong is assuming there are no extenuating circumstances between a person not being able to bathe or for a person to be overweight, thus making neither an outright reason to start the bar low. Essentially put, it sounds like he lets the initial reaction be the only reaction. In other words, his words are right, but his actions do not support that he fully goes by those words.

The tone still conveys to me that one’s initial appearance can still be grounds for perpetual judgement, which it shouldn’t.

Plus, when it comes to business establishments, I don’t see why people can’t be bothered to do a quick Google search into the reputation of the business. Hearsay and external impressions shouldn’t cut it in this day and age anymore when it comes to such establishments.

Reggie is talking an establishment that looks dirty…this is not about “appearances” it is about maintenance. He is totally right in my opinion. We can and should separate appearance (such as your choice of clothes, your natural build, what you look like) with cleanliness. And especially about a restaurant where you eat food. I am completely with Reggie (on this one).

But doesn’t this all become a moot point anyway when the reputation of the restaurant for its quality food was rated top notch by a collective majority over the years? Sure, maintenance should be a priority but if nobody had ever gotten food poisoning or encountered any other health risks at the establishment, why would Reggie’s argument hold weight, even if it is sound? He may be a sharp critic but he’s not the President of the United States.

The counterpoint is that some people have skewed priorities. As with dingy old chinese places, it may merely mean that they are passionate about making quality food, and there’s even the possibility that their kitchens are spotless- but they don’t care about the outside of their store, or the fact that their restaurant has a horrible atmosphere. To them, if the environment manages “sanitary”, past that point quality of food matters more. They consider what they do to be of value.

The coder who is fat or unkempt because they value the time they could spend coding more than they value a balanced life. Each laziness, insofar as lazy is “I will minimize doing what takes away from my true calling.” Often, dingy restaurants that are still in business are exactly this.

While I do think the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has always been a tad flawed in the literal sense (To borrow a line from Phineas and Ferb, “That’s why books HAVE covers: to judge them!”), it’s still a good lesson. To be fair, it’s probably a lot more costly to fix up the outside of a restaurant. If a restaurant can only afford to make the inside OR the outside clean, I’d rather eat at a restaurant that’s clean inside. Also, perhaps the owners are elderly and can’t clean the outside as easily as the inside. Sorry, Reggie, but your sister is right to say you blame laziness too readily.

Yay! Another Bellairs fan!

Unfortunately, I’ve only had the chance to read one of the post-mortem books of the Barnaveldt series: The Mystery of the Magician’s Museum… I think? I found it in a Japanese used book store for 50 yen, and no, it was not in English.

I shall hold some shred of hope here, but only a shred.

If you’re looking for this book, please try these ideas:

( I’m guessing you mean the book: The Specter From the Magician’s Museum by Lewis Barnavelt).

1) if you are in the U.S., ask your local library(s) to borrow from another library- through the Interlibrary Loan system, aka the I.L.L. service,

2) look/ask at your local, public library, and see if they have a copy of the book,

3) amazon [dot] com has a kindle [R] / electronic version of the novel, + used copies of the novel, that you van buy here:


4) Other sites for used books, rare books, + old books are:

a) www [dot] bookfinder [dot] com


b) www [dot] abebooks [dot] com.

I hope that these ideas might help people find this book.
Cheers, TRA

Also, one reviewer of sites, says:
you get better prices, if you buy directly from the abebooks site, and not from other stores on their site.

You can also use these methods, to find the other books in this series.
I think there are 12 books in the series, altogether.

Say what you will about the new Jumanji, but it certainly did pretty well (And half of the movie’s fun is watching Jack strut his acting chops as a teenage girl in a middle aged fat man’s body).

He’s not wrong when it comes to restaurants. Sanitation is a big freaking deal as well it should be Christ easiest way to avoid getting sick

Exterior facades of a restaurant are not a quintessential definition of sanitation within though. A restaurant can look run down on the outside but can look much nicer inside. It’s a common staple with independent establishments.

Vice versa, having worked in VERY nice looking places, some of the most expensive restaurants treat their equipment like garbage and would look super sketchy in the areas clients never go.

Edward Gorey, (also Ogdred Weary), magnificent Artiste in the style of Charles Aadams, (but who knows who he was, anyway?). Gallows humor at its best, with mystery thrown in. Amphigory!

John Bellairs is great. Tick Tock Tick Tock.

But I didn’t know about the Gorey illustrations. I first encountered Gorey in the opening animation for the PBS Mystery series.

One rejoinder can be: you can be poor and clean, UNLESS you needed to spend your money on food for you and your kids this week, and didn’t have any money after that, to buy soap.

The best thing about watching “Mystery!” on PBS in the 80’s (and 90’s?) was the opening animation and Diana Rigg as the host. I enjoyed her introduction to each movie and the brilliant effect of the “cartoon” that proceeded her entrance because it managed to be campy, fun AND a little bit creepy all at once. The new intro is lifeless and forgettable.

Anyhow, Victoria is the perfect foil to Reggie, and I can see how she’s managed to counter some of his ego over the years. She’s only become smarter and more adept at reading him since they were kids, so, while it’s an even match on intellect, I think he better understanding of people gives her an edge. Great characters, Jackie! :)

Id rather a resturant focused on keeping the inside prestine heck one of my favorite resturants dosent even have a paved parking lot (its a place in a tourist town the locals dont share w tourists i only know about it cause i have family in the area) but from the outside it looks like a dive

It would definitely be interesting to see some animators take on the task of throwing in a Gorey sequence during the credits, especially taking on some of the characters that he never illustrated.

“Dreeb! Dreeb! I am the Fuse-Box Dwarf!”

I also imagined him doodling Jailbird from the later books. The happiest creatures in Edward Gorey’s universe always seemed to be kitty cats… a fact that should make Carol very happy.

I have not read the book series in question nor am I familiar with Author or his works (though I intend to read them. Succinct detail is a huge thing for me). Just wanted to show solidarity for fear towards a book to movie adaptation as they historically are bad. And Jack Black hasn’t inspired much in the way of faith in his acting lately, though I haven’t seen Polka King yet so he might be pulling out of his weird dark pact with Hollywood.

“Not judging a book by its cover” is one of the most obnoxious things I’ve come across.

Like… no, you can tell a shitton about most people from a glance. Knowing stats and averages about any given group allows for abstraction for most people.

It becomes a lot easier the more you refine what you want out of other people, and out of other things. People who study people (in whatever ways… psychology, sociology, criminology) can pull a lot more data out of it. High functioning Autistic folk are particularly good at it, lacking functional intuition.

The *intent* of the original saying is “Don’t just a book based on your *feelings* of the cover”. Like, don’t judge it as pretty or ugly. It’s not saying that the blurb on the back can’t show the book to be good, or a shitty picture shows, if nothing else, that the guy writing it is probably pretty shit at marketing…

The expression pretty much means to not reserve sole judgement on the book as a whole just from the cover alone. The author wants you to use the cover and the material written therein to ultimately judge the book. This goes the same for people. You can judge people abstractly by their clothing attire, jewellery and other bodily appearances as a primary phase but complete judgement needs to be reserved until you are able to know the personal mutually. That’s really all there is to it.

Jackie mentioned on his twitter, a webcomic named: “Alvery Nerveaux’s Secret Case Files” by Jean Q. Public.

I think it’s pretty good! :) :)

Please give it a look, here:


Thank You,


Also, for some reason girls judge me on my initial appearance. Within seconds, my chances dwindle through my grimy fingers and generally unkempt appearance into nothing. So there’s that.

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