The Last 1360 Days of the Trump Presidency

Morning Shmoe 2

(The set of the Morning Shmoe News Show)

Morning Schmoe (MS) – It’s sixty seven seconds past the quarter hour and we’re back at the Morning Schmoe Show.  I’m the eponymous Schmoe Browfurrowed and I’m joined by my lovely and enthusiastic co-host Lycra Spandexy.

Lycra Spandexy (LS) – I am lovely and enthusiastic, amn’t I?

MS – Yes you are Lycra and we wouldn’t have you any other way.  It’s actually in your contract.  And now here’s the rest of our panel.  First up, former disgraced journalist and now shameless democrat shill Mike Carbuncle.

Mike Carbuncle (MC) – I like to say semi-disgraced.

MS – Yes you do. Next up, my fellow network superstar host and advocate for comfortable women’s shoes Snarkful Sadclown.

Snarkful Sadclown (SS) – Everyone should wear them.

MS – Well almost everyone.  Not you Lycra.

LS – Oh thank God.  No offense Snarky.

SS – Almost none taken Lycra.

MS – And finally my other fellow network superstar host Chris Cashews.

Chris Cashews (CC) – Ooh, just hearing my name gives me that tingle up my leg.

SS – Please try to pace yourself Chris.  It’s a three-hour show.

MS – Well gang, let’s get right down to it.  Fraudulent and illegal President Trump has just passed the 100-day mark of his fraudulent and illegal presidency.

LS – He’s so not good!  If I was allowed to hate people I’d hate him.  And I’d hate his wife who is older than me and not young like I am.  I’m not old yet you know.

MC – That was very well put Lycra.  You are very young.  And your platinum blonde hair reminds me of the time I interviewed beautiful Hollywood blonde bombshell Jean Harlow right after she starred with Clark Gable in 1933’s Red Dust.

SS – But you would have been four years old in 1933.

MC – Yes, I was quite precocious.

MS – Getting back on track.  We are here to look objectively at the events of the last 100 days and without bias decide exactly where it became a failed presidency.

CC – That won’t be too hard at all.  Back when I was working for storied Speaker of the House, Slip  O’Peel, we had a saying, “The buck stops here.”

SS – Didn’t well-known racist and US President Harry S. Truman say that?

CC – Oh, he said it too but he stole it from us.

SS – But O’Peel would have only been 13 when Truman was quoted as saying it.

CC – Yes, he was precocious.  Anyway, my point is that obviously, Trump’s presidency became a failed one on Inauguration Day when he failed to use his entire speech as a hymn of praise to Barack Hussein Obama, the most gifted and beloved person ever to occupy the Oval Office.  Did I ever tell you the time I got this tingle up my leg during one of his speeches?

MS – Yes, Chris you have.  But we’ve really got to move on now.  Well, folks, Chris says Inauguration Day.  Any other opinions?

LS – Yes Shmoe.  I think it happened later.  I think it happened when he was mean to those reporters on TV.  Reporters (and TV people in general) are the best and nicest people in the world.  Being mean to them is like really not good.  That is when I feel his presidency failed.

SS – Wow Lycra, compared to Chris and Mike your thesis was surprisingly free of anachronisms.

LS – Thanks Snarky I can see that you respect my intellect.

SS – Sure.

LS – By the way what’s an actronism?

SS – Never mind.

MS – Okay Mike care to share your opinion?

MC – Certainly Shmoe.  This presidency officially ended when Trump nominated Gorsuch.  When Trump told the country that Gorsuch represented the highest standards of judicial competency he overplayed his hand.  To quote from my highly popular and respected blog post of that day, I extemporized, “Mr President, you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”  Man was I on fire in that post!

SS – Wait, Abraham Lincoln said that!

MC – He stole it from me.

SS – But that would make you two hundred years old!

MC – I don’t think it’s polite to discuss people’s age.  Even if they aren’t nominally women.

LS – Yes, Snarky.  That’s wrong and hurtful.

SS – Oh good grief.  This is almost as bad as election night.  This is not a dream and this is really happening.  Maybe I should cut a deal with Fox.

MS – Mike, Lycra that’s enough.  We can’t work out the chronological details of all these people right here and now.  Let’s just agree that the Trump administration is already over.

All Participants – Oh yeah;…  That’s for sure;…  Damn straight;…  I’ll say.

MS – So the question that has to be answered is what exactly is going to be going on for the next 1,360 days?

LS – Well Shmoe, don’t you think that evil Trump and his evil people will see that they’re beaten and run away?

MS – Well Lycra, you might think so but it’s a funny thing.  Not everyone is as reasonable as we are.  I’m afraid Trump thinks that elections have consequences.

MC – Hey he can’t use that line, it’s an Obama copyright.

MS – Something ironic about that.

MC – What do you mean?

MS – Oh forget it.  Well anyway, let’s just say that if we just keep saying that this is a failed presidency long enough and often enough the public will believe it.

SS – I’m not so sure.  Have you noticed that the last few surveys say the public trusts us less than Trump?

MS – Yeah but once we tell them that Trump is a greedy billionaire and we’re honest friends of the common man they’ll believe all the crap we tell them, right?

SS – But that’s what I’m trying to tell you.  They don’t believe that anymore.

MS – But why?

MC – Maybe because we backed the BLM movement and the Antifa and the White Privilege whiners and the Transgender bathroom crowd and the illegal rights groups and …

SS – Hey, those are my viewers!

MS – Yeah but look at our ratings.  They’re not that much right?  Looks like we may be outnumbered in this thing.

LS – But Shmoe, we won, didn’t we?  We’ll be all right now and Hillary will be President and we’ll live happily ever after.  Won’t we?

MS – I wish I knew Lycra, I wish I knew.


Wherefore Art Thou Shmoe-meo?

Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer – A Very Short Review (by Proxy)


I have a relative, a boy in seventh grade, who is a ravenous reader of science fiction and fantasy (among other things).  Being a conservative and being allergic to anything smacking of political correct narrative fiction I have made it my practice to pass along the older stuff that I grew up on back in the time before fun was banned.  He digests these old books at a rate that seems almost supernatural.  But recently I bought something modern to see how that would fly.

I had heard good things about Dave Freer’s “Changeling’s Island.”  I ordered it on Amazon but instead of the usual two days, it took about two weeks.  I guess it had to be printed on order.  I did a quick read of the first couple of chapters and found it engaging and appropriate for my young reading machine.  I dropped it off a week ago and hoped he would like it.

Well, I spoke with him today and discovered that not only did he like it, he wanted more of the same.  Apparently, this was good stuff.  I told him I didn’t have any more at the moment but would check for more stuff from Freer.  He was unpleased at my unpreparedness to feed the machine with its new fuel of choice.  In desperation, I foisted off a set of the Foundation trilogy on him that I had been holding onto since 1970, and told him I’d try to do better in the future.  So now I have to find out if Freer has any other young adult sf&f available.  If not I’ll be responsible for disappointing the next generation.  Wish me luck.

A9 Bottom Line

A week ago, I said it would be a week or two to evaluate the performance of the Sony A9 camera.  Well, it’s been a week and I’ve waded through a boat load of reviews, hands-on reviews and technical discussions.  It’s enough.  I’ve got the information I’m looking for.  But, you may say, it’s too soon.  We haven’t seen the raw files opened up in a legit version of Lightroom (or fill in your raw browser of choice).  True, it may be that once you look at the 20 frames per second exposures made with the electronic shutter in fluorescent light they’ll have banding and rolling shutter jello and polka dot noise and blah, blah, blah.  And someone else will discover that at 20 frames per second when the raw files are only 12 bit there is a 2% chance of producing artifacts if you exceed the dynamic range of the camera.  And I’ll say sure.  What else is new?  All this is the same as saying no camera is perfect.  Tell me something I don’t know.  But what I do know now is that Sony has figured out autofocus.  The A9 has very good autofocus.  Is it better than the Nikon D5 or the Canon 1DX?  Will it work perfectly in low light?  Don’t know.

What I do know is that Sony mirrorless cameras will have competent AF from now on.  I have been waiting for that for about seven years.  I absolutely do not need 20 frames per second.  I wouldn’t mind good tracking AF and a silent shutter is a big advantage when shooting an occasion.  I doubt that I’ll buy the A9 (although my gear lust is sorely tempting me right now).  I’ll definitely rent it this summer to calibrate the advantages it provides over my ancient A7S.  I want to see what it does in a normally lit house or a dimly lit restaurant.  I’d like to compare the 24 megapixel files of the A9 with the A7S 12 megapixel files in very low light.  ISO 12,800 is a good setting for astrophotography.  Can the A9 make a good Milky Way shot?  I’ll try to find out.

So, there it is.  Sony has finally crossed the Rubicon.  They have proven to me that mirrorless cameras can fully replace the DSLR.  I’d expect Canon and Nikon will now produce their own mirrorless lines to compete head to head with the A9.  May the best man win.  The web sites and magazines (both print and electronic) will expend millions of words “proving” that x, y or z is the top company and all other options will fall by the wayside and end up on the ash heap of history.  And who knows?  Maybe Sony will stumble and one of its competitors will emerge as king.  Completely possible.  But that’s a problem for another day.  As I said back a few weeks ago, the A9 will determine whether Sony mirrorless cameras can provide a full-frame camera with highly competent autofocus.  Based on what I’ve read it does.  Congratulations Sony.  You’ve succeeded in keeping me aboard.  Next stop, my next camera.

More Spring Photos

Early Spring in a New England Swamp

To paraphrase George Costanza, “Spring, renewal, rebirth, all that crap.”  Stuff is coming up all over the place.  Some pretty, some scary.  Here’s a little cross-section from my neck of the woods (southern New England).  Most are with the Minolta 200mm Macro on the A7S but the first one is with the Loxia 21mm.  Several of these are similar.  I was trying to decide which were better, so feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.













Reading the Tea Leaves – Reviewing the A9 Hands-On Reviews

I viewed the YouTube hands-on reviews by all the Sony guests at their demonstration.  I watched Max Yuryev, Patrick Murphy-Racey, Steve Huff, Jason Lanier, Tony & Chelsea Northrup and Gary at DPReview.  They seemed pretty positive.  But based on my previous experience of the difference between the first hands-on reviews and the performance of the camera in real life conditions I found them inconclusive on the most important point, auto-focus accuracy.

That’s why I was very encouraged when I viewed the video by David Schloss, the editor of Digital Photo Pro.  He’s written in the past ( ) about the inferiority of mirrorless autofocus compared to DSLR.

Then in this A9 review ( ) he mentions that even the A-6500 autofocus which is touted as excellent is still not as good as DSLR autofocus.  This sounds like someone speaking the straight dope.  And he says the AF on the A9 is flat out incredible.

By the video discussion Schloss is seeing the A9 autofocus on sports subjects like boxers, hockey players and pole vaulters in motion.  Most likely the lighting conditions were optimal.  To my mind this represents a legitimate test of the AF.  This may not guarantee that the A9 can compete with the D5 or the 1DX but it should satisfy my needs for medium level DSLR level autofocus. So, this says to me that Sony has probably reached a very important milestone.  They have leveraged advanced processing and sensor technology to match the simpler DSLR autofocus technology of the older camera makers.  Now they have to make this technology cheap enough to incorporate in the A7 cameras.

So, all this triangulating of reviews is just a game I play until the definitive information emerges in the next week or two.  Once Sony hands out the loner copies of the A9 we’ll start getting real results and informed opinions.  Until then I’ll comfort myself with the voodoo answers I’ve cobbled together here.  If you have a different analysis, feel free to leave a comment about it on this post.  After all I’m not actually Nostradamus or Sherlock Holmes.

Well, fellow Sony camera users, hang in there it can’t be long now.

A9 Bottom Line

The A9 Has Arrived. Halleluiah!

So, SonyAlphaRumors was right. The mythical A9 is real.  For $4,500, even I can become a professional Sony photographer and capture 20 frames of a hummingbird’s wing beat in one second.  I’ve not yet had a chance to go over in detail all the double plus goodness of the specs but I noted that it has a fully electronic shutter and a new type of stacked sensor.  And of course it has all the goodies that Sony has needed forever like dual memory cards and a bigger battery.  The auto focus has 693 phase detection points and supposedly re-focuses the lens 60 times a second!  The ISO maximum is 51,200 but is magically  extended to 204,800 when you want to take pictures in the dark.  It has a minimum exposure time of 1/32,000th of a second, a maximum of twenty frames per second with continuous auto-focus and it can cure the whooping cough in adults.  It is the ubercamera.

Will I buy it? Probably not.  But I will rent it.  My though process is the following.  I want to know if the auto-focus is very good.  The only way to determine that right away is to try the camera.  Once I know that I’ll be able to determine if I’ll continue as a Sony photographer.  If it doesn’t auto-focus as least as well as a conventional Nikon or Cannon camera (not the top of the line mind you, but just a regular old mid-range DSLR from the big two) then I’ll be exiting Sony.  If it does prove to have reasonable auto-focus then I know this improved feature will eventually find its way to the A7 series.  That fact will be enough to keep me in the Sony camp.

Sony has announced the release for June. I’m guessing the rental places will have it shortly after that.  That means I can rent it for a family gathering I have in July.  That should give me all the testing targets I’ll need to give it the thumbs up (or thumbs down).

So now that I’m through acting cool let me say how I feel about this camera viscerally. Man, this sounds like a great piece of tech!  24 megapixels is the sweet spot in my mind for resolution.  Even for landscapes I think it’s plenty enough.  If the auto-focus really is as good as their claiming it will be amazing.  And the 20 frames per second will make action photography doable even for old guys like me.  This could be the greatest technical innovation since sliced bread.  So, thank you Sony.  You finally put your cards on the table and now I can judge whether you have a full house or a busted straight.  For all of you Sony shooters out there, we are about to find out what the future will be for us.  Because over the next year or two, this new tech will begin trickling down to the A7 cameras and Sony will become the premiere camera company (or it will fail and they’ll be cast into the outer darkness along with the Delorean and Betamax).

The Eclectic Prince by Caspar Vega – A Short Book Review

Back on March 14th 2017 I reviewed favorably Mr. Vega’s novella “The Pink Beetle”.  That was the third installment of his “The Young Men in Pain Quartet Book Series.”  The Eclectic Prince is the first installment but the grouping is only thematic and not sequential so you may sample in any order.  As I noted in my earlier book review, Mr. Vega has a very distinct writing style.  He makes sudden transitions and violent plot shifts.  His characters are not introspective but very impulsive and action oriented.  The plot progresses rapidly but rarely linearly.

The first piece of information to convey is that this is an adult book.  There is a fair amount of sexual content that would be entirely inappropriate for even teenagers (in my opinion).  And there are some situations that are fairly disturbing from the point of view of conventional social mores.

Now for some personal information as a point of reference on my taste in books.  Full disclosure, I’m not typically a consumer of dark fiction.  I mostly inhabit the sunnier climes of story-telling.  I will indulge in something like Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs if it’s very well written but it’s not my usual fare.

The Eclectic Prince is relatively dark.  There aren’t any good guys to cheer.  The protagonist at various times indulges in violent assault of a stranger and murder of a family friend.  And there are even darker doings that I will not mention so as not to spoil the story.  Suffice it to say he’s not such a nice guy.  And he’s not even justified in the sense that he’s getting revenge on someone who committed a terrible wrong against him.  He’s just a sociopath.

The outline of the story is episodic and consists of different vignettes that are tied together by the fantasy mechanism that underlines the story.  This mechanism isn’t entirely clear from the text and this vagueness adds to the seeming randomness of the plot.

Let me sum it up.  It’s a dark disturbing story of an unsympathetic protagonist, a kind of story that I would not typically choose to read.

But it’s well written, original and engaging in a transgressive way.  Once again Mr. Vega is in the tradition of a noir type story with a fantasy framework to remove the bizarre story from the realm of reality.  This allows some justification for suspending a very heavy bias against such a disagreeable protagonist.  For those who seek out this type of story I can wholeheartedly recommend it.  It is not for the faint of heart.

I haven’t decided whether to delve deeper into his quartet.  This type of story is, as I stated above, not my typical choice.  But maybe when I’m in a darker mood I’ll venture in again for another dose.

Morning Shmoe 2 – Trump Hates Bannon!!!  Just Saying.

Chris Buskirk over at American Greatness is fast becoming one of my favorite reads.  He had a great article ( ) that has once again inspired me to revisit our friends at Morning Shmoe.


Scene: Studio Set at Morning Shmoe

Shmoe Browfurrowed (AKA Morning Shmoe) (MS) – It’s three and a half minutes before the quarter hour and we’re back.  Lycra have you heard the latest evidence about how Trump has already eliminated Steve Bannon and is about to replace him with Barney Frank.

Lycra Spandexy (LS) – No Shmoe, tell me all about it.

MS – Well it’s obvious to anyone paying attention.  Trump is wearing ties.  And as you all know Bannon doesn’t wear a tie.  You do the math!

LS – That’s so true!  Well now that Barney Frank is the virtual president what wonderful changes do you forsee?

MS – As first order of business, Melania will be eliminated as First Lady, either by divorce or deportation and Caitlyn Jenner installed in that position.  Next Ivanka will begin the slow, deliberate process of becoming Ivanko.  After that Trump will begin his transition which will culminate in him grabbing herself.

LS – It just writes itself, doesn’t it Shmoe?

MS – Yeah, sort of.

LS – Shmoe, what do you think caused the original loss of trust between Trump and Bannon.

MS – Well Lycra, we may never truly know but we can speculate.

LS – Can we?

MS – Oh, not only can we but we will.  We’ve still got several hundred words to add before this post is full.

LS – Post?

MS – Nothing, nothing.  Anyway, if you remember during the election it was rumored that Donald Trump had become a werewolf or possibly a loup garou.

LS – Yes, that was definitely a theory that swirled around the press corp.

MS – Well, I recently heard from someone (or possibly from a voice inside my head) that Bannon had become a vampire or some other type of undead.

LS – Well, that would explain a lot of things.

MS – Yes it would Lycra, yes it would.  After all, if Underworld has taught us anything it’s that lycanthropes and vampires are always enemies.  Also, we haven’t seen Bannon during the day recently.  And he is obviously suffering from a skin condition brought on by his vampiric aversion to sunlight.

LS – Of course, why didn’t I realize this before?

MS – Because it’s only obvious after a great mind points it out.

LS – Oh Shmoe, you are wise.  But where do we go from here.  Now that progressives are firmly in charge of the US executive branch again what is the next order of business?

MS – There are so many Obama initiatives that are languishing and that need a few trillions of taxpayer dollars to really perk up.  I would say that a new cabinet level department is the first order of business.  The Department of Black Lives Matter is the unofficial name I heard mentioned (by a voice in my head) but the name is secondary.  The important thing is eliminating this whole law enforcement and justice concept that has somehow infected our government for too long.

LS – Shmoe, that’s marvelous.  And to think, the Trump administration hasn’t even acknowledged Bannon’s departure yet.  What are they waiting for?

MS – I would guess it has to do with the cycles of the moon.  Lycanthrope/vampire interactions are far from an exact science.  My guess is the announcement will occur at the new moon.  That’s April 26th to you normals.

LS – Shmoe, isn’t it great to be living in this best of all possible worlds?

MS – Yes it is Lycra, Yes it is.


The Last 1360 Days of the Trump Presidency

Morning Shmoe

I read the following article this morning ( ).  It inspired the following parody.


Location: Morning Shmoe TV Studio

Morning Shmoe (MS) – Welcome back.  It’s twenty minutes past the hour and I’ve got to say I’ve never been more pessimistic about the future of this country, this planet or this universe.  I believe, based on the universally applicable experience I gained by being a republican congressman twenty years ago, that the Trump administration is not only doomed but that putting Gorsuch on the Supreme Court will end life as we know it on planet earth and quite probably will cause the complete collapse of the universe into a singularity or as the unscientific people would say, a black hole.

Lycra Spandexy (LS) – Wow, Shmoe.  That sounds really bad.

MS – It is Lycra, it is.

LS – But Shmoe, can we say black hole?  Wouldn’t that be cultural appropriation or white privilege?

MS – No Lycra.  It’s science.  And science is settled.

LS – Well I hope all you Trump voters are satisfied.  You’ve ruined the universe.  And it was a really good universe too.  There were stars and planets and dolphins and Al Gore.

MS – That’s right Lycra.  There were many wonderful things.  But that’s all over now.  By my calculations, the whole universe will end on April 16th at 11:47 AM, Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  This final collapse will be triggered by the complete loss of credibility of the Trump Administration when everyone realizes that the Easter Bunny is a fraud and that the winner of the White House Easter Egg Hunt is fake news.

LS – Well I guess I better skip getting my hair and nails done for Easter.

MS – That’s right Lycra.  There’s no reason to do anything anymore.

LS – Thanks a lot Trump voters.  You all really stink.

MS – Yes they do Lycra, yes they do.  But I just want to throw out one small hope.  If all the Trump voters repent of their sins and demand that Trump be impeached and expelled from the White House and Hillary is allowed to ascend to the presidency and Gorsuch is replaced with a liberal and all the senators and congress persons are magically replaced with Bernie Sanders clones, then maybe, just maybe, the universe will be spared.

LS – Oh, that would be so great.  Hillary must be president.  And she’s got that great new hair-cut and those great new shoes that look so good with her white pants suit.  Oh Shmoe, make this happen.  Make the Trump voters do this.  Make them do it now.  Then I’ll know not to cancel my hair and nails appointment.  Make them do it now.

MS – I’m sorry Lycra.  But I can’t make them obey.  They are the selfish deplorables.  They hate everything good like Amtrak, tote-bags and polar bears.  They are monsters.

LS – Oh Shmoe, why is this happening?  Why aren’t the good people winning?  We’re so much smarter and prettier than these deplorables, except for Ivanka who is really very pretty and don’t you think that is wrong.  I mean, shouldn’t she be really ugly and fat and not have her own perfume?  Shouldn’t I have her perfume instead and also her daddy’s money too?

MS – Yes Lycra you should.  And that is how we know that there is no god.  If She existed She would give you all of Ivanka’s things and she would have to toil away on this stupid show instead.

LS – Oh Shmoe, you are so wise.

MS – Yes Lycra, yes I am.

Morning Shmoe 2

Bring ‘em Back Alive by Frank Buck – A Short Review

I’m going to reference this post under both Science Fiction and Fantasy and Current Events.  Under either category an error is being committed.  But that’s the great thing about being the proprietor.  You can break the rules when it suits you.  Frank Buck was a wild animal importer back in the nineteen twenties and thirties.  He brought back never before seen creatures to Europe and America for zoos and circuses and other exhibitors.  He brought in the first Indian rhinos out of Nepal when that country was as isolated and inaccessible as the Moon is now.  His stories are full of hair-raising escapes from tigers and cobras and he fills them with exotic people from India and Southeast Asia.    The language and the characterizations of these non-western people is extremely politically incorrect even by the standards of fifty years ago.  But they are probably closer to reality than the current over-sensitive portrayals of non-western customs in the “thou shalt not offend the non-westerner” popular press.

Now the case for putting this under sf&f is because it ties into the movies King Kong, Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young.  These movies are demonstrably some amalgam of sf&f.  The fantasy of an adventurer heading off into the uncharted jungles of the still partially untamed world and bringing back some fantastic and almost mythological creature is in part based on the popularity of Frank Buck’s stories in “Bring ‘em Back Alive.”  He goes into these jungles and using contacts with the local inhabitants locates and captures these legendary creatures.  Now granted, capturing a verified man-eating tiger or the largest orangutan is a lot less spectacular than fighting dinosaurs or shooting a fifty-foot gorilla off the Empire State Building.  But in the imagination of kids in the 1930s both were more exciting than going to school or working at a shoe factory.

Reading these stories recently, I am struck by the certainty that many of the details have been exaggerated to make the story more exciting.  This is especially true of the poetic justice that catches up to a cruel Maharajah in the story Tiger Revenge.  Also, it is amazing to see how primitive the methods for transporting these amazing creatures were back in the 1920s.  Tropical primates like orangutans were loaded onto freighters that took weeks to cross the Pacific Ocean and the conditions in the hold or on the deck were pretty bad.  Add into this equation storms or even typhoons and it’s amazing that he got anything “back alive.”  If any of the practices employed in those times were used today the ASPCA and the local animal welfare agencies would call for the death penalty for the importers.

But the stories are interesting and exciting on their own terms.  In one story a tiger trapper is caught in his own leg trap.  He is trapped out in the jungle at night with mosquitoes torturing him, ants attacking his wounded leg and the threat of jungle predators all around him with nothing to defend himself with if they attack and no way to escape.  Is the story true.  I doubt there is any way to know.  But the tale is compelling.

There are about twenty of these stories.  Most linked only by the presence of the author and a few other supporting characters like Frank’s Malay “boy” Ali (actually a man in his fifties) who assists him in his adventures and the directors at the zoos and circuses that were his clients.

My father read this book in the 1930s.  He gave it to me in the 1960s.  And I’ve given copies to my grandsons and nephews in the 2010s.  It seems to have a universal appeal to the male animal.  I recommend it highly.