Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I THANK YOU ALL for your readership. Here’s an overview of this year’s SimanaitisSays categories and frequencies of their appearance: And Furthermore (120 items); Science & Technology (59); I Usta be an Editor Y’Know (48); Classic Bits (38); The Game is Afoot (28); Vintage Aero (28); Trippin’ (20); Driving it Today (18); and Driving it Tomorrow (8).

Classic Bits reflects my love for older cars and often has material that originally appeared in older R&T magazines. For my other two automotive categories, I rely on Automotive News.

Many Vintage Aero items concern the early 20th century. Occasionally a World War II warbird captures my interest.

The Game is Afoot has expanded beyond Sherlockiana to include sleuths of all sorts.

My primary Science & Technology source is Science magazine, published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

I Usta Be an Editor Y’Know originally focused on English usage. During these years of Trumpery, I have added Etymology for our Times, researching origins of relevant words; y’know, like mendacity, nepotism, narcissism, complicity, and collusion.

And Furthermore characterizes my love of researching just about anything I feel like researching: opera, theater, the arts in general, history, mythology, whatever. Occasionally there are overlaps: And Furthermore/Vintage Aero, And Furthermore/Trippin’, And Furthermore/Sci-Tech. Thus, the tallies of categories shown above add up to more than 365.

The London Review of Books and The New York Times Book Review are wonderful resources.

Here are several of my favorite items for the year 2018.

Unexpected History. Imagine a Frenchman of modest birth ending up King Charles XIV John of Sweden! Indeed, Jean Bernadotte was ”The Man Who Would Be—And Was—King.”

King Charles XIV John of Sweden, born Jean Bernadotte, 1763–1844, reigned 1818–1844.

The Game is Aloft. Sherlock Holmes’ career of consulting detective primarily involved hansom cabs in London and train travel elsewhere. However, it was fun researching “Holmes and Aeroplanes,” especially with Hendon Aerodrome and Irene Adler, ”the” woman, part of the encounter.

Finding Words That Fit sums up my Etymology for our Times. Indeed, there were more than 30 Trumpery entries in 2018, any one of which seems increasingly timely today. “I Am Embarrassed” has continued relevance in Trump’s “marginal” conversation with a 7-year-old at Christmas time. Or when he lies to service personnel about raises. Or when he ascends the stairway to Air Force One unaccompanied by decorum.

Image from

“Kakistocracy,” government by the worst, continues to be displayed by the White House’s revolving door. It’s a pity the door couldn’t be linked to renewable electric power.

Illustration by Rick McKee appearing in

And, for those who still manage to be part of Trump’s base, I am reminded of “The Dunning-Kruger Effect, Me, and John Cleese.” The Dunning-Kruger Effect is described in social science research titled Unskilled and Unaware of it: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessment. It’s also related to Martin Luther King’s line, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Thank God for the Arts. My favorite cultural bits include Marc Blitzstein’s 1937 The Cradle Will Rock, Nico Muhly’s 2018 opera Marnie, and Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

The Cradle Will Rock—80 Years Later” has a delightful tale about how the Orson Welles production of this musical worked around a government-padlocked theater.

“Marnie—Book to Movie to Met” celebrates author Winston Graham, director Alfred Hitchcock, and composer Nico Muhly. I love the part about Muhly’s enquiries to B&B landlords.

Nico Muhly, Vermont-born 1981, American composer and arranger. He is a member of the Icelandic music collective/recording label Bedroom Community.

“An Homage to Dr. Strangelove” describes this political satire flick, about which I wrote, “And I cannot imagine a more appropriate entertainment for us in these days of Trump, Putin, Kim, Xi, and other world statesmen.”

Under the Christmas tree for me: Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, by Peter Kramer, BFI Film Classics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Nor can I imagine a better ringing out the old and ringing in the new than ”It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Oddest of Times” appearing yesterday here at SimanaitisSays. Let’s celebrate a Joyous New Year with Derek Bourgeois’ wonderful Serenade. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018

9 comments on “A YEAR IN REVIEW

  1. Peter Ginkel
    December 31, 2018


    Thank you for Simanaitissays. You bring some sanity into a world that surely needs it. Please keep them coming in 2019.

    Happy New Year!

    Pete Ginkel

  2. Gordon Craig
    December 31, 2018

    I, too, thank you so much for your musings, your curiosity, your ventures into the unlikeliest of connections in so many of your areas of interest with a bedrock of common sense and integrity in the use and true meaning of words and language. One and All, they are gems, and yes, please keep on keeping’ on for 2019 and beyond.

    The recent two parter about Christmas Operas prompts me to shout out about a operatic production of O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” recently performed here in Northern California at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. This work was commissioned in the late ’90s to David Conte, Composition Chair of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He collaborated with Nicholas Giardini for the libretto to produce a wonderful short opera (90 minutes) sung in English and set to an original score for a small orchestra ensemble of violoncello, double bass, flute, clarinet, bassoon and piano.

    Conte introduced two onstage characters (Maggie and Henry, friends of the couple respectively) to provide the necessary voices of conscience O’Henry narrated in the original story, and the entire piece is wonderful and totally captivating in this story of true and abiding love for Della and Jim. I came away thinking O’Henry would have happily approved.

    I don’t know how often this lovely little opera is performed, but I hope it becomes revived again and again in many venues for many Christmas seasons to come.

    All the Best and Happy New Year to All, gordon

    • simanaitissays
      December 31, 2018

      Thanks, Gordon, for your kind words. That opera sounds neat.

      • Gordon Craig
        January 1, 2019

        Cheers, Dennis, I forgot to mention Santa brought me the same T-Shirt!…He knows whats going on, dissed by the Trumpery:). best wishes, g.

  3. phil ford
    December 31, 2018

    Thank you for another year of FASCINATING essays. They are the high point of many of my days, or a close second! Best wishes for 2019!

  4. Robin Reid
    December 31, 2018

    I am so grateful for yet another year of varied and always interesting topics. Love the eclectic mix. Your writings are my breakfast staple here in New Zealand, always eagerly anticipated. Just keep on keeping on!

    Happy New Year.

    • simanaitissays
      December 31, 2018

      Hello, Robin,
      Thanks for your kind words. I write this before my New Year and well into yours. As you may know from the website, I enjoyed my trips to New Zealand. Have a Joyous New Year.

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