My Mind Is Like a Racing Engine

My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the work for which it was built. Life is commonplace; the papers are sterile; audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from the criminal world. Can you ask me, then, whether I am ready to look into any new problem, however trivial it may prove?
–Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes

A Mid-East Afternoon: Falcons, Hummus, and Sherlock Holmes

When I was deployed to Qatar, we rarely, if ever, got into Doha, the main city about 45 minutes away from the air base. There were forms you had to e-file and driving around town was a drag. Plus we worked long hours. But every now and then, we managed to get off base for some city entertainment.

One afternoon, while myself, two chiefs, and another JO were walking around the souk, we came upon a falcon store. It was fascinating, mostly because you could get so close to the hunting birds. They were masked and quite docile. Currently, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER has a photo essay up on falcons, including shots of the exact shop we putzed around in:

in the fall the souk fills with men shopping for falcons, including sakers, lanners, and peregrines. Prices start around 5,000 riyals (about $1,400) for a captive bred bird and can reach as high as one million riyals ($280,000) for a wild caught

In the fall the souk fills with men shopping for falcons, including sakers, lanners, and peregrines. Prices start around 5,000 riyals (about $1,400) for a captive bred bird and can reach as high as one million riyals ($280,000) for a wild caught.

That was a fun afternoon. We talked a country Chief into trying some of the local food. He was a hamburger guy. Mustard on his french fries was exotic to him. (He was this kind of country.) He ended up liking the hummus and the shwarma. But not some of the other food we tried to foist on him.

After the souk, the falcons, and the meal, we grabbed the Sherlock Holmes movie at the Villaggio movie theater. Mini movie review: excellent. I am a Sherlock Holmes aficionado, going way back to Basil (don’t call me Baaaaasel) Rathbone and Jeremy Brett. But Robert Downey, Jr. nailed the part with more physical style than either of the two prior gentlemen.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in Elementary

Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller, Elementary

I also liked PBS’ Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’s Holmes. Ben Cumberbatch (as he is known to his closest of friends) portrays Holmes as far more cerebral than Downey Jr. A thinking man’s Holmes, if there is such a thing.

And the former Mr. Angelina Jolie, Johnny Lee Miller, nails Sherlock Holmes in the television show Elementary as a tattooed genius, just out of rehab. Poor Lucy Liu. Her Watson has to strive to keep up with Holmes, but she does it with a nice sense of subtlety.

There you go: falcons, country music, hummus, and Sherlock. All in one post. Phew!

The Art of Phil Noto

Phil Noto has is an accomplished artist with a blog.
Here is his take on Sherlock Holmes,
with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
and Martin Freeman as the pinched Dr John Watson
:

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes), Martin Freeman (Dr John Watson)

His new solo gallery show opens July 6 at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque, NM.