This blog will be split between book reviews, mostly historical mysteries, and my observations on sports, movies, television and anything else on which I can’t keep quiet. I won’t be reviewing every book I read, but there should be at least one new entry every week.

Why do this blog?

1) I’m curious and want to learn about blogging. Although I am currently retired, if I return to the working world, I’m confident my new position will entail blogging in some form. As a novice, I’ll stick to the basics here, but will experiment some. I’m sure there will be mistakes, but hopefully, I can cover those up.

2) I feel a need to justify all the time I spend reading. I’ll be over 100 books this year. For a complete list of the books I’ve read (and the movies I’ve seen), check out my GRMACHINE profile at

3) Since I’m not working, I don’t have as many social interaction opportunities during which I can spout out my opinions on the topics of the day. This blog gives me those opportunities even though the audience may remain anonymous.

What’s in a name?

When starting this blog, I faced the daunting task of coming up with a name: something that was interesting, easy to remember, not too long, and had some meaning. There were several choices, but eventually “The unset alarm clock” won out.

Way back, even before I was born (so this is many years ago), there was a small book called Happiness is a warm puppy by Charles Schulz.

This book is a collection of one-panel cartoons featuring the Peanuts characters and illustrating a simple one-sentence description of what might make each character happy. The book was so successful that a second, Happiness is a sad song, was also published.

Some years ago, and for some forgotten reason, I wrote out a list of ten “Happiness is” sayings just for myself. At the top of my list was “happiness is going to bed knowing you don’t have to get up at any set time in the morning.” So The Unset Alarm Clock is an effort to capture that sentiment. I hope that this blog will be a happy endeavour for both its author and its readers.

Time for a reader’s contest! There were four runner-up names under consideration for this blog, all of them based on quotes from books I’ve read over the years. If any reader can correctly identify any of the authors, titles and passages, I’m sure a suitable prize can be arranged. Just contact with your ideas.

1) The postman’s happiest walk

2) An intractable evil

3) Tranquility and excitement

4) The scarlet stain

Good luck

What’s with the header photo?

One of the reasons I picked this template among the many available from WordPress is the custom header. I want to be able to showcase a variety of pictures here which reflect my moods and the time of year. Sometimes it will be old family shots; other times more recent images of pets and vistas.

The main one features a crowd at a University of Michigan football game in 1958. Those two handsome folk front and center are my mom and dad. What I find most interesting is that no one in the entire photo is wearing anything that says “Michigan” or “M” or “Big Blue” on it. When did school sports fan attire really take hold?



4 Responses to “About the blog”

  1. 1 Ivy's mom October 22, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Mister’s photo looks nice and I’m honored to be mentioned in your blog. You have been busy with reviews and badminton reports. Hope you are enjoying your new blog adventure.

  2. 2 sun October 23, 2007 at 12:32 am

    In my last reply I didn’t have time to tell why and where you blog made me just happy. It was the one sentence that hit my heart:”Happiness is a sad song!” That is! That is what I feel about happiness!

    Many times when Sufei, my husband played Erhu, a typical traditional Chinese music instrument(he is a very good player), I often asked him to play “Moons in the two springs” which is a very sad and sentimental but also very beautiful Erhu melody composed by a poor blind guy named Abin years years ago. Most of the time he’d say no since it affects his happy and good moon. This Erhu melody could always make me in tears, but also makes me very very happy deep in my heart with tears at the same time, that I don’t think Sufei could ever understand.

  3. 3 unsetclock October 23, 2007 at 10:26 am

    It’s interesting that you connected with the sentence about the sad song. David Michaelis has written a new biography of Schulz in which the artist is portrayed as a depressed, lonely man. “He thought it was impossible to draw a happy comic strip and actually he was fond of saying that ‘Happiness is a sad song,'” Michaelis is quoted in the Reuters story.

    I will be getting the Schulz biography soon and look forward to reading and reviewing it here.

  1. 1 Life is Sweet « The unset alarm clock Trackback on May 16, 2008 at 10:55 am

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