Jody Baker: Incredible Imbecility

Friday, June 28, 2013 - by Jody Baker

In *The Five Orange Pips* John Openshaw had already told Sherlock Holmes the details of the mysterious death of his uncle, Elias Openahaw. Elias was found face downwards in two feet of water in a little green-scummed pool. That death was ruled -- suicide. Now, John Openshaw was putting before Holmes the details of the death of his own father, Joseph Openshaw. Joseph was found lying senseless with a shattered skull in a chalk-pit. That was ruled -- death from accidental causes.

Sherlock Holmes admonished young Openshaw: “Tut! tut! You must act, man, or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair.”

Openshaw advised Holmes: “I have seen the police…..But they listened to my story with a smile. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters [warnings from KKK] are all practical jokes, and that the deaths of my relations were really accidents …and were not to be connected with the warnings.”

Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air. “Incredible imbecility!” he cried. 

“‘Incredible Imbecility’--- ‘Incredible Imbecility’” I said to Mrs. Baynes. “What a marvellous expression! What an excellent combination of words and of concepts. It is a delight to the ear and a titivation of the mind. It is the ultimate in perspicuity. I’ll bet that Peter Blau is pleased that Holmes came up with that one.”

Then, I continued, “You know, Mrs. Baynes, I wish that I had said that.” 

“ I’m sure you will, Inspector. No doubt about it; I’m sure you will,” she said as she left the room.

Respectfully,
Insp. Baynes


(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at josiahbaker@bkhcw.com.) 


A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

The Committee For Plain English On Hamilton County Ballots

First, there is no “committee.”  But there ought to be. Now I am not the brightest guy in the county. I only have a Bachelor of Science degree (five years), Graduate work in English, Philosophy and Economics (two years) and several years experience teaching at Chattanooga State and substitute teaching in Hamilton County public schools.  I recently voted in the November ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Owls Beat McMinn, 30-12, To Complete Unbeaten Regular Season

Undefeated. Sounds nice, huh. After a sluggish first half that produced only three points on a Laszlo Toser field goa., third-ranked Ooltewah came to life in the third quarter, riddled McMinn County’s defense with three Kelvin Leon touchdown passes in the third quarter and went on to beat the Cherokees, 30-12, at James N. Monroe Stadium to secure the school’s third unbeaten ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Clobbers Grundy Co. For 7-AA Title

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant is always hoping that his Fighting Irish football team can get off to a fast start. He never thought it would be as quick as what he saw Thursday night at Jim Eberle Field. With a District 7-AA championship on the line on an evening when they honored all of the fall senior athletes, a football game turned into a track meet and eventually a victory ... (click for more)