Archive for June, 2020

You may have seen this on FB — wanted to give full credit here also to photojournalist B. A. Van Sise, who also wrote the article. I think the photos are nicely WEIRD!

This appeared in the Fordham News Magazine, Spring/Summer 2020.

Camille Minichino has, in the course of her more than eight decades, been a nun, a physicist, and a mystery novelist, with more than two dozen titles to her credit, including one published this spring.

Her California home is filled with what she calls her miniatures—expansive, intricate dollhouses depicting Lilliputian versions of scenes from her mystery novels. The miniatures, like their creator and her murderers, are careful, meticulous—every bit in its proper place, no table turned over but for plot.
“In the end, it’s all the same thing,” Minichino says. “Physics, mystery, even the houses. It’s about taking the unknown and working, step by step, to know it, to make it real.”
She is effortlessly eloquent discussing physics—in which she earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the 1965 and 1968 before embarking on a long career studying and teaching high-temperature, high-pressure physics—and points out warmly that all physics is commanded by different flavors of quarks, including up, down, strange, and charm. “Come to think of it,” she says with a chuckle, “mystery stories are built on those same elements, too.”
She’s been to college three times. Now, at 82, she’s enrolled in school again, getting a second master’s degree in creative writing—a certification whose lack has always troubled her, regardless of the 27 novels to her name. She has no trouble explaining why, in spite of all her achievements, she’s back taking classes. “There’s so many days, still,” Minichino says, “and every day you’re not learning is a waste of a day.”

Minichino’s latest novel is Mousse and Murder (Berkley, 2020), the first book in the Alaskan Diner Mystery series she’s writing under the pen name Elizabeth Logan.

Camille Minichino holds a tiny vintage icebox from one of her mystery novel miniatures.

The Whites of Their Eyes

The Bunker Hill Monument

June 17 is Bunker Hill Day — one of many holidays in Boston and vicinity that commemorate the Revolutionary War. And one of many, like Patriot’s Day (April 19), that I had to give up when I left Massachusetts. (I take the days off anyway.)

This event is famous for the expression: Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes! allegedly necessary because the troops were low on ammunition.

An embarrassing admission: As a grade school student, on a field trip to the monument, I couldn’t make the climb! Thanks to Joey who gave me a helping hand, c. 1947.


Thursday crept up on me this week, thanks to a birthday. Okay, it was mine, which meant a lot of nice surprises but they messed with my calendar.

So I’m offering an extra cryptoquote this week, one the Cable Guy likes, from an unlikely source:


                                    – EPFDA FUHTDMDI

And for a smile, a classic from an earlier age:

One time a guy handed me a picture and said ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’ Every picture is of you when you were younger, I said.