Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of history's more eloquent proposals

Aline's was not a deep nature. She had never pretended to herself that she loved the Hon. Freddie in the sense in which the word is used in books. She liked him, and she liked the idea of being connected with the Peerage, and her father liked the idea, and she liked her father, and the combination of these likings had caused her to reply "Yes" when, last Autumn, Freddie, swelling himself out like an embarrassed frog and gulping, had uttered that memorable speech, beginning, "I say, you know, it like this, don't you know," and ending, "What I mean is, will you marry me, what?"

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Evidently not one of the family beauties

The first shot broke a window and whistled out into the night. The second shot hit the dinner-gong and made a perfectly extrordinary noise like the Last trump. The third, fourth and fifth shots embedded themselves in the wall. The sixth and final shot hit a life-size picture of his lordship's maternal grandmother in the face and improved it out of all knowledge. One thinks no wose of Lord Emsworth's maternal grandmother because she looked like George Robey, and had allowed herself to be painted, after the heavy Classical manner of some of the portraits of a hundred years ago, in the character of Venus (suitably draped, of course) rising from the sea; but it was beyond the possibility of denial that her grandson's bullet permanently removed one of Blandings Castle's most prominent eyesores.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

How much sleep we need - I think

"One of the Georges - I forget which - once said that a certain number of hours' sleep each night - I cannot recall at the moment how many - made a man something, which for the time being has slipped my memory."

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Now there is a priceless bit of information.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The bluebloods have their good points

We may say what we will against the aristocracy of England; we may wear red ties and attend Socialist meetings; but we cannot deny that in certain crises blood will tell. An English peer of the right sort can be bored nearer to the point where mortification sets in, without showing it, than anyone else in the world.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Another detective for our list: Gridley Quayle, Investigator

This character was the creation of Ashe Marson in the P. G. Wodehouse novel, Something Fresh. He was constantly doing great feats and evidently pretty constantly had someone covered by his revolver.

Just plain P. G. will do

If you ask me to tell you frankly if I like the names Pelham Grenville, I must confess that I do not. I have my dark moods when they seem to me about as low as you can get. At the font I remember protesting vigorously when the clergyman uttered them, but he stuck to his point. "Be that as it may," he said firmly," having waited for a lull, "I name thee Pelham Grenville."

(from the introduction to Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Frugal - or stingy?

I fear that Stingy gets credit for much in the name of frugality, but there is a difference between Stingy and Frugal. The frugal person makes prudent use of the assets that God has given him. His joy is not in having, but in doing, for himself and for others. He is not so in love with his things that he deprives himself of the lawful enjoyment of them, but he is careful with money so that he has what he needs when he needs it. "There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God." He also takes great joy is dispensing his assets to the benefit of others. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

The stingy man's enjoyment is in the having of things, and therefore he does not enjoy letting go of those things. He is willing to deprive his loved ones of lawful natural enjoyment that he could provide for them because it pains him so much to let go of his money.

Sinful extravagance and wastefulness are to be avoided; but God has graciously given us a certain amount of natural funds for our use in this life (because we certainly cannot use them in the next). We are to enjoy our money, but not to waste it; but we are to enjoy it. The spendthrift wastes; the frugal man enjoys; the stingy man hoards.

Then and when, but never now

They were upon their great theme: "When I get to be a man!" Being human, though boys, they considered their present estate too commonplace to be dwelt upon. So, when the old men gather, they say: "When I was a boy!' It really is the land of nowadays that we never discover.

(from Penrod, by Booth Tarkington)

Does modern technology give us more time?

I see so many people occupying huge amounts of their day in pointless communication in social media, it appears to me that technology may be a time-stealer, not a time-maker. That, of course, reflects on our lack of personal discipline and our lack of priorities.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Peace and quiet

They are soothing and healthful. We all need them from time to time. They are necessary for our minds to regroup and our bodies to relax.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The most cast-iron stomach

One thought troubled him a little because it gave him a sense of inferiority to a rival. He believed, against his will, that Maurice Levy could have successfully eaten chocolate creams, licorice sticks, lemon drops, jaw-breakers, peanuts, waffles, lobster croquettes, sardines, cinnamon drops, watermelon, pickles, popcorn ice cream, and sausage with raspberry lemonade and cider. Penrod had admitted to himself that Maurice could do it and afterward attend to business, or pleasure, without the slightest discomfort; and this was probably no more than a fair estimate of one of the great constitutions of all time. As a digester, Maurice Levy would have disappointed a Borgia.

(from Penrod, by Booth Tarkington)

The lush summer of 2014 in Arkansas

It is August 14, 2014 in west central Arkansas. The grass is lush and green and deep. Cattle are fat as ticks and their owners’ only problem getting hay has been getting the pastures dry enough to cut it. I have never seen a summer like this normally by this time the grass is dry and crunchy and we are in the midst of a series of 100 degree days that feel like a blast furnace. We have not had a single 100 degree day this summer, and on many of the days the highs have not even reached 90. If I were not experiencing it, I would not believe it. It is easily the mildest summer in my memory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Joan Davis, funny girl

Joan Davis was a contemporary of Lucille Ball. She had her own TV show and starred in a number of movies. Davis was not quite as funny as Lucy, but then neither was she as irritating.

Joan Davis

An irritating figure

He is about 25 years old, drives a pick-up truck and wears a ballcap. He stayed up way too late last night (again), could barely drag himself out of bed this morning, rushed to get ready, and now he is late for work. So he drives like a maniac in the midst of rush-hour traffic, passing in dangerous situations where he gains virtually nothing for his recklessness. I am very glad that his insurance rates are outrageously high, because he deserves it. The problem is that other young men's rates are affected by his negligence.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Law of the Barbary Coast (1949)

Crusading District Attorney Robert Shayne is trying to clean up the Barbary Coast area of San Fransisco. (Shayne made a career out of playing second-best to various leading men.) He is trying to get the kingpin back of all the crime (Stefan Schnabel) named so he can indict him, but his main witness is shot on the witness stand. Gloria Henry's brother is shanghaied and killed, so she goes to Shayne for help. She enlists with him in his fight against the crime. On her own initiative, she goes "under cover" as an entertainer in one of the dance halls. Stephen Dunne (of Sam Spade radio fame) is Schnabel's assistant, and also  falls for Henry, but he dies heroically capturing Schnabel.

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Shayne

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Henry

Judge Hooker's exalted lodge position

On The Great Gildersleeve radio show, His Honor held the post of Grand Screech in the Summerfield Nest of the International Order of Hoot Owls.

Fluffums Wuffums?

This was the term of endearment for the Great Gildersleeve from his romantic interest at one point in the program, Miss Amelia Hooker (the judge's sister).