Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I learned a new word today, one that I should have known already, had I read my Bible carefully enough. The word is sith and is found in Ezekiel 35.6: "I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee."

As can be seen from its usage here, it is an archaic usage of "since." That would be an easy word to use to show off your vocabulary, but likely people would only think that you had a cold.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sounds like a scriptural proverb

It was not in her nature, however, to increase her vexations, by dwelling on them. She was confident of having performed her duty, and to fret over unavoidable evils, or augment them by anxiety, was no part of her disposition

(From Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. This sounds much like several verses from the Bible, for example, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.")

Fatigue bends the twig

Fatigue affects our overall health, our habits, our attitudes, our morale - just about everything in our lives. It hardly could be called a disease, but it is the force that bends the twig, and if the twig is bent long enough, it will break.

More HERE on fatigue.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Waikiki Wedding (1937)

This is a watchable early Bing Crosby effort. Old Golden Tonsils is an "idea man" for a big Hawaiian pineapple company. His big idea is to bring a Pineapple Girl (Shirley Ross) to the islands as a symbol for the company. Her impressions of the islands would be syndicated and sent out all over the country. But she does not like it in Hawaii and is preparing to go home, so the Idea Man is assigned to romance her and make her stay, with predictable results. Among the songs Crosby sings are "Blue Hawaii" and "Sweet Leilani." Martha Raye and Bob Burns are along for a goofy comedy addition. (Burns announces that he is the Champion Hog Caller of Crawford County, Arkansas.) It is Wofford the Pig, however, who steals the show.

More HERE on Hawaii



Sunday, October 19, 2014

I shall never suffer from loneliness

All I have to do is go into the bathroom and close the door, and from one to forty of my blood relatives will immediately be knocking on the door or walking down the hall calling my name.

One sign of a good family

When children are taught to speak to their elders with respect, it certainly is an encouraging sign. Not a guarantee, of course, but a positive indicator.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Literary deficiency

I am reading Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I had never read one of her novels, but had seen this movie; and I was curious to see how closely the movie followed the book. Austen's writing, following the style of the day, is very wordy. Most of the time is taken up with conversations, and the speakers used the involved, formal verbage prevalent in that generation.

What struck me immediately is how deficient society is today in the use of language. I do not deny that Austen's expressions could have been made less unwieldy; my point is that most high school students today probably would not have the verbal skills, and certainly not the mental perseverance, to read this book.

We have become a society of technical experts, and the noble old English language has been left in the lurch. Sad. My concern is not that people do not choose to read after Austen's somewhat ponderous style, but that they would not have the skills and discipline to appreciate it if they were to read it.

Bonner's coalhole

Occasionally in the sermons and writings of Charles Spurgeon you will find references to "Bonner's coalhole." It appears that this was an underground dungeon into which many Protestants were crammed during Queen Mary's reign. It was named after the Catholic Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner (called Butcher Bonner or Bloody Bonner). When Queen Elizabeth came to power, Bonner found himself thrown into the very prison that he has used against the Protestants.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Virginia Cherrill - one more actress who married a blueblood

Virginia Cherrill acted from 1931 to 1936. She went through four husbands, including Cary Grant. Her third was George Francis Child Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey.

The Earl of Jersey and Virginia Cherrill

Another benefit of the law

"Law is honest man's eyeglass to see better."

(from Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)


Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Society (1944)

Abbott and Costello are pure slapstick, and sometimes they get a little overmuch, but this movie is a lot of fun nevertheless. There is a good supporting cast, including the incomparable Arthur Treacher. In this entry, the boys are plumbers and get summoned by our old favorite Thurston Hall. Costello is sweet on female cab driver Marion Hutton (sister of the more famous but less pretty Betty Hutton). It happens that there is a masquerade party going on in the mansion, and Hutton mistakes a wealthy Kirby Grant, who is disguised as a cab driver, to be a colleague on duty. He does not believe she really is a cabbie, and a quasi-Cinderella story results.

One funny scene is the 6'3" Treacher butling for the 5'5" Costello.

Grant later was the star of the Sky King television program that we watched in my childhood.


What happened at the dog races?!

One of the great intriguing mysteries of literature in the English-speaking world is what actually happened when Lord Ickenham and his nephew, Pongo Twistleton, went to the dog races. This notable event is referred to several times in describing the fun-loving nature of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, Fifth Earl of Ickenham (which penchant for fun always gives Pongo a headache at the very mention of it). Perhaps most Wodehouse lovers have just assumed that that story was told in a book they have not read yet.

We do know that at the dog races, Uncle Fred and Pongo were in the hands of the constable within ten minutes. Ickenham gives his name to the court as George Robinson of East Dulwich, and so the family crest is not smudged. The bottom line is that we never get more than a hint of The Mystery of the Dog Races. In his book, Plum Sauce, Richard Usborne tells us that Sir Pelham Wodehouse died without ever having told us the whole story about the dog races.


Pride and vanity

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonimously [sic]. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.

(from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)

More HERE about pride.

Scrupulous partners in crime

Lord Ickenham sighed. In principle he approved of his young friend's rigid code of ethics, but there was no denying that that high-mindedness of his could be inconvenient, lowering as it did his efficiency as a plotter. The ideal person with whom to plot is the furtive, shifty-eyed man who stifled his conscience at the age of six and would not recognize a scruple if you served it up to him on an individual blue plate with bearnaise sauce.

(from Service with a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

More HERE about plotters.