Monday, April 17, 2017

Aloha to Sherlock Holmes, Dancing Men, and Rare Books

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On Saturday, hubby and I ventured to Clyde's Restaurant for the "irregular" meeting of the Diogenes Club of Washington, DC.  Fans of Sherlock Holmes know the fictional detective often found his brother, Mycroft, at the Diogenes Club. From its Facebook page (link), 

A scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars for current and past employees of any agency, department, or branch of government be it local, state, federal, or foreign, including members of the Armed Forces and diplomats. We meet upon an "Irregular" schedule in the Washington, DC Metro area. Based on a roundtable model, Diogenes Club combines a refined clubby atmosphere, an erudite speakers symposium, fine dining experience.

Jeremy Brett (right) stars as Sherlock Holmes in 

The luncheon featured S. Brent Morris and "Dancing with Cryptographers: An Evaluation of Sherlock Holmes' Cryptanalysis of The Dancing Men Cipher”.  From Wikipedia,

S. Brent Morris is an American author who writes on Freemasonry. He is a Master Mason, a 33° Scottish Rite Mason, and currently the editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, a publication of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction.

Morris has served as Executive of the Cryptologic Mathematician Program at the National Security Agency and as U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the area of computer security.

We sat with two couples - the couple to our right, Dennis and Mary, are also a retired Air Force family.  Dave attended Purdue University several years before my husband.  Plus they lived on Maui when Dave was assigned to the Air Force observatory on Haleakula (for more pictures from Haleakula, check out my travel blog at this link).

Our other table mates were Brian and Rebecca.  Rebecca shared that she taught English in a small Japanese village. My husband served in Japan so we shared memories of the Japanese culture.  Brian and Rebecca then chatted about their jobs as rare book dealers.  I replied, "All I know about rare books I learned from the History Channel's PAWN STARS (link). Set in Las Vegas, the pawn store is operated the Harrison family, leading to drama between the grandfather, father, and son.  When they receive a rare book, they often call an expert named Rebecca to give them an evaluation."

Rebecca was that Rebecca.  I almost fell out of my chair.  From the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop website (link),

Rebecca Romney’s background is in Linguistics, Classical Studies and Philosophy. Languages are one of her chief passions: she speaks three (English, French, Japanese) and reads in six (add Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English). She can recite poems in each. She currently works as an independent book expert and appraiser.

Learn more about Rebecca from her website,

Let me say Rebecca looks great on the show ... but she is gorgeous in person!  She was kind to answer our questions about rare books ... and allow me to gush over her reality star status. Rebecca even expressed an interest to learn more about rare books in the romance industry.

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Have you met a reality star?  Do you have a favorite reality show?  Have you visited a pawn shop? Do you have any "rare" books?  

I enjoy PAWN STARS and STORAGE WARS - I am curious what people collect and what objects they think are valuable.  I have not visited a pawn store yet - I am tempted to visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, as featured on the show, when I next visit Las Vegas.  As I shared with Rebecca, I have several hardcover books published in the late 1800s, including Emerson's poems, but the books themselves are in fair condition.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Leighton Hall in  Lancashire served as the 
film location for DANCING MEN.


  1. I've never met a reality star, tho I do enjoy some reality shows like Say Yes to the Dress, Long Island Medium, Who Do You Think You Are, Survivor ...

  2. I've never been to a pawn shop but I do have a children's book that was published in 1853.

  3. My favorite is Amazing Race. I enjoy traveling the world with the contestants.

  4. No, I've not met any. I watch Survivor. I've never visited a pawn shop but have watched that show and enjoyed it. My books probably aren't rare but they are precious!

  5. Haven't met any reality stars. Don't currently watch any reality shows, but I used to love Basketball Wives.

  6. Have not met any reality stars, Never visited a pawn shop. I like Survivor and Dancing with the Stars.

  7. I watch Roadshow Antiques sometimes. It's amazing how the family quirky items turn out to be very valuable.

  8. I also love both shows. That's fascinating how you met Rebecca. In my late MIL's attic there were several Nursing books from early 1900's. A children's book from 1942. I've never been to a Pawn shop though.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  9. I have never met any reality stars, though several Survivor "cast" members live in our area. I have been to a few pawn shops looking for specific items.
    I love old books and have quite a collection of them. I don't know if any are of any value, but they are so interesting. We have to remember they are contemporary books for the time in which they were written. It is like a window into the time period. I have a large book written in the 1860's on how to keep house, be a wife , and raise children. There is a copy of a guide for the english who are leaving for India giving advice on everything from hiring and managing servants, to shopping and what prices to pay for rent, servants, etc. It is also combined with another book on basic medical care and prevention while in the tropics. There is another one that is a rather sensationalized illustrated account of the Johnstown floods in PA. There is also a set of what I believe are romances written in either the late 1800's or early 1900's. Haven't gotten to them yet. I have pictures of some of them, but can't figure out how to post them. Some of the books are in good condition, others not so much. I have a lovely old set of beautifully illustrated books, but the covers are in bad shape. The lithographs inside are in perfect shape.

  10. No never met one. No fave one don't really watch them. No never been to one. No rare books.

  11. Interesting enough, I'm reading this while watching Pawn Stars marathon! I've never met a reality star. I don't think I've met any tv stars. Your club sounds like a lot of fun. Funny how those Purdue people end up everywhere! I live in Bloomington, IN and we usually use the term 'that other school' in this part of the state!!

  12. Never met a reality star or visited a pawn shop. So cool that you met her!!

  13. What a fun story, I love sitting down and striking up a conversation with those around you. You just never know who you will meet. Though no one I have ever chatted with was famous, I have learned a lot.

  14. I've never met a reality star nor do I have any rare books - sadly. I have been to a pawn shop but it wasn't as nice as the one in Pawn Stars. A friends ex had let himself in to her house with a copy of the key he had made and had pawned a bunch of her jewelry.

  15. I have not visited a pawn shop, met a reality star and not into reality t.v.
    Patty B43

  16. I don't collect anything, never been to a pawn shop and don't watch reality t.v. - Strike 3 on me. LOL.
    Natalie's mama

  17. No I never met a reality star, but when we lived in LA, sometimes my daughter's were invited to birthday parties where a celebrity's child was also in attendance.

  18. I have never met a reality star but how exciting to meet someone who knows so much about books.

  19. I have never visited a pawn shop, I have some nice Bellick figures.
    PattyB 43