Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The peerage can be complicated

The Duke of Leinster, an Irish peer, is also Marquess of KildareEarl of KildareEarl of OffalyViscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham, Baron Offaly and Baron Kildare, of Kildare in the County of Kildare. The viscounty of Leinster is in the Peerage of Great Britain, the barony of Kildare in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and all other titles in the Peerage of Ireland.
Obviously, someone keeps up with all this.

Hugo O'Connor

In his novel, Fair Blows the Wind, Louis L'Amour introduces a historical figure, General Hugo O'Connor, who befriends the hero of the book. He is supposed to be a commander in the Spanish army. There actually was such a man, although we do not find that he reached the rank of General until later on when he was in Mexico, where he served as Governor of northern Mexico, including Texas. Because of their unique political non-status, the Irish of that period often emigrated to other nations and served in military capacities. Hugo had two cousins serving in Spain, so he went there.

Image result for statue of hugo o'connor

Monday, April 24, 2017

Taking alienation to a new art form

According to the linked NBC news article, not only are Mr. Trump's approval ratings the worst at the 100 day mark of any president in my life time, they are the worst by a bunch. President Clinton was the next-worst, and barely topped the 50% mark, but he was 12 points better than Mr. Trump. In other words, in the 63 years of my life, no president has  come even close to being as disliked this early in his term in office as Donald Trump.

Leod, a mysterious historical figure

In Fair Blows the Wind, Louis L'Amour mentions a character named Leod, who supposedly was the son of Olaf the Black. This Olaf at one time ruled the Isle of Man and parts of the Hebrides. Leod is supposed to have been the founder of Clan MacLeod, and there is some genetic evidence to support that claim.

Image result for clan macleod

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A cynic's evaluation of romance and wealth

Well, well, Captain, keep your eye on the gold. It never fades in beauty. Women? They do fade, and they also grow crusty with age, and shapeless. No, the gold is the thing. Women are forever young when you have gold enough.

(from Fair Blows the Wind, by Louis L'Amour)

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Adept" as a noun

I am perhaps slightly better versed in the English language than the average person (although admittedly no expert at it). But language is such a large field that we are continually learning about it, no matter where our understanding might currently fall on the scale of English speakers.

In reading Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton, I ran across this sentence: "In each of these three, I believe without vanity, I am a profound adept!" I must confess that I had never noticed "adept" being used as a noun, but it is entirely proper. Just one of those things I had overlooked. We can learn something every day - if we pay attention.

"Where did I go wrong?"

Indulgent parents raise bratty kids. And then when they become brats (or much worse) as teenagers, and then deadbeats (or much worse) or adults, the parents wonder, "Where did I go wrong?" This ain't brain surgery, folks!

You don't let children do what they want to do. You make them do what they should do. better And then, as they grow older, you train them to understand why they should do right so that they will make the right choices on their own.

Happiness doesn't necessarily pay very well

          "When the bottom's dropped out of the world, I never know whether to try to keep up a shallow pretense that everything grand or to let myself go and break down. But, honestly, why shouldn't I get something? I'm young and strong and willing for anything. Also - a point I was nearly forgetting - two can live as cheap as one."
          "And money doesn't bring happiness."
          "True. But, on the other hand, happiness doesn't bring money. You've got to think of that, too."
          "I suppose so."

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gems in strange places

Purely out of curiosity I have just undertaken to read Paul Clifford, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and so this blog will have quotes from that book from time to time. I know nothing of the author other than what anyone can find on the internet, but it is remarkable the little pearls of thought that proceed from his pen, at least occasionally. He may have been a most reprehensible person - I do not know - but even so he gave us a few well-expressed thoughts.

Image result for edward bulwer-lytton

Second thoughts

In the time which had elapsed since he had proposed in the scented garden of Claines Hall, Lord Holbeton had been putting in some very intensive thinking, and he had come definitely to the conclusion that in becoming engaged to Sally Fairmile had had made a mistake. He liked Sally. He admired Sally. He wished her well and would watch her future career with considerable interest. But, while still vague as to what exactly were the qualities which he demanded in a wife, he was very clear in his mind that she must not be the sort of girl who routs a man out at midnight to go and pinch portraits and get him bitten in the leg by Pekinese.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An interesting theory

"I'm just trying to prove that a man and woman can be happy, though hostile."

(Carl Betz, from The Donna Reed Show)

So, who was Grover Whalen?

In the P.  G. Wodehouse novel, Quick Service, we find this quote:
"There may be a certain code in these matters. Either a man is Grover Whalen or he is not Grover Whalen. If he is not, he has no right to wear a moustache like that."

That, of course, raises the question, just who was this legendary fungus-grower who apparently was the preeminent proponent of upper-lip modesty? Grover Aloysius Whalen was a prominent New York business man and politician who lived 1886-1962. He held several appointments during the administrations of Mayors Hylan, Walker and La Guardia. He became known as the official greeter and organizer of many public celebrations, finally gaining the nickname of "Mr. New York."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He just flat got mad

And when a man, sorely in need of ready cash, hears that his wife has turned down a dazzling offer for a portrait, belonging to himself, on which he would have put an outside price of thirty cents, he is apt, even if of a mild and equable temperament, to chafe pretty considerably. Mr. Steptoe, who was not mild and equable, had chafed like a gumboil.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)