Daily Archives: June 13, 2013

Tempest_RevealedDr. Data tries to keep track of the search terms that lead visitors to The Parsons’ Rant and he has noticed a significant uptick in visitors looking for a review of  Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs. Dr. Data would love to find a copy so he could write a review but he has had no luck and herein begins the mystery.

Earlier this month, Dr. Data received a notice from GoodReads.com announcing that Tempest Revealed was released on June 4th, 2013. There were some pretty positive reviews for those who had been fortunate enough to obtain an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book but no word from those who had actually purchased a copy. A visit to Amazon.com revealed that:

  1. There is no product page for the Kindle edition
  2. There is no product page for the paperback edition
  3. There is a product page for the hardcover edition but the book is not yet available, The publication date is listed as October 21, 2014

Amazon is not alone in this; Barnes and Noble has no knowledge concerning Tempest Revealed. A visit to the author’s website shows that the last comment concerning the book was made way back in March of this year. To be fair, it must be noted that Ms Deebs is not the most prolific blogger out there.

Apparently, there has been some hold-up along the way. Rest assured that Dr. Data will read and review Tempest Revealed just as soon he can get his mitts on an electronic copy.

Please see Tempest Revealed is no longer M.I.A. for the latest update.

Somewhere around 5th or 6th grade, I remember doing a report on this poem by James Thomas Fields. There are those males amongst us whose only exposure to barbering is Fantastic Sam’s, Super Cuts or the stylist at the mall will be gob-smacked at the idea of the old time barber shoppe being a bastion of masculinity with stuffed hunting trophies, etc. adorning the walls. Toss in cigar smoke, a copy of The Police Gazette and you were in business.

The Owl Critic

“Who stuffed that white owl?”

No one spoke in the shop,
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The “Daily,” the “Herald,” the “Post,” little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.

“Don’t you see, Mr. Brown,”
Cried the youth, with a frown,
“How wrong the whole thing is,
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is —
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ‘t is!
I make no apology;
I’ve learned owl-eology.

I’ve passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mr. Brown!
Do take that bird down,
Or you’ll soon be the laughingstock all over town!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

“I’ve studied owls,
And other night-fowls,
And I tell you
What I know to be true;
An owl cannot roost
With his limbs so unloosed;
No owl in this world
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,
Ever had his neck screwed
Into that attitude.
He cant do it, because
‘Tis against all bird-laws.

Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches,
An owl has a toe
That can’t turn out so!
I’ve made the white owl my study for years,
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
Mr. Brown, I’m amazed
You should be so gone crazed
As to put up a bird
In that posture absurd!
To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
The man who stuffed him don’t half know his business!”
And the barber kept shaving.

“Examine those eyes
I’m filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem
They’d make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.
Do take that bird down;
Have him stuffed again, Brown!”
And the barber kept on shaving!

“With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”

Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked around, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway:
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good day!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

James Thomas Fields


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