Thursday, April 17, 2014

Each of us has his small talents

"Who asked you?" It was the smaller of the Marvellous Murphys who spoke. He was an unpleasant youth, snub-nosed and spotty. Still, he could balance himself with one hand on an inverted ginger-ale bottle while revolving a barrel on the soles of his feet. There is good in all of us.

(from The Adventures of Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two of Fibber McGee's favorite songs

Pretty Redwing

Dear Old Girl

Pretty Redwing popped up from time to time. One memorable time was when a company hired Fibber to sing Pretty Redwing with a quartet, because he had such a strong voice. He starts out with the initial "Oh . . .," but does not get to go any farther, because they cut it. He learns that they were recording a dog food commercial, and wanted him to play the part of the dog.

Dear Old Girl shows up in the episode where Doc Gamble has been selected to be in the Elks Club barbershop quartet instead of Fibber, so Fibber cons Doc into practicing the tune until he supposedly loses his voice. In reality, he did not want to go where the contest was, because there was a woman there who wanted to marry him.

"I would have to put a new set of tires on that."

What the car salesman - EVERY car salesman - will say when you show him your trade-in, even if you just drove it off the lot.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hate crimes - one of the stupid ideas of our day

This is a "politically correct" law. Aside from perhaps mercy killings or other unusual situations, are not all murders crimes of hate in some sense and to some degree? And why does hatred for a class of people as opposed to an individual make the crime any more heinous? It just makes no sense at all to make this an especially grievous crime. We just had a man who killed two people, and they are prosecuting it as a hate crime. Does that mean that they will execute him twice?

Candy Matson radio show - not quite there

There are a few examples of this program available today, and it is very interesting - but it never quite lives up to its potential. The idea of a beautiful, glamorous private eye is intriguing, especially when she has a policeman sweetheart. The plots are OK, but not spectacular. However, it is the acting by Natalie Masters that does not fit. She does not sound like what she is supposed to be. Sometimes voices just do not fit the perceived personna. She might have looked the part, but she did not sound like it. Not a bad program, and definitely worth listening to; but it falls short of what it could have been.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Slow-moving detectives

Nero Wolfe was, of course, famously fat. "Inclined toward corpulence," one might have put it. Needless to say, he did not generally move very quickly. In fact, if he could keep from it, he did not move much at all. We also learn from the Sherlock Holmes stories that his brother, Mycroft, was not an energetic person. In fact, he makes several pointedly negative remarks about Sherlock's often-frenetic pursuit of criminals.

You have to dig deeper

"Front seldom tell truth. To know occupants of house, always look in back yard."
(from Charlie Chan in London)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ferry Command and old radio history

If you listen to the old Bob Hope radio shows, you will hear at least one in which he and his group perform life for what was called Long Beach Ferry Command. The actual name of this military function was Air Transport Command. Their mission was the delivery of supplies and equipment between the United States and the overseas combat theaters and the ferrying of aircraft from the manufacturing plants in the United States to where they were needed for training or for operational use in combat.

Here is a LINK to the broadcast.

A profession built upon falsehoods

She had spoken vaguely of past theatrical successes, but he knw they were the sort of lie the theatre breeds. What actor or actress was ever strictly honest about past successes or failures? - Louis Lamour

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The emptiness of war

"War is unlike life. It's a denial of everything you learn life is. And that's why when you get finished with it, you see that it offers no lessons that can't be better learned in civilian life. You are exposed to horrors you would sooner forget. A disconnect needs to be made to get yourself cleansed." (Robert Graff, as quoted in Neptune Inferno, by James D. Hornfischer)

This is a profound statement. War is a complete negative. It is in its nature completely destructive. Though sometimes necessary to protect our homes, there is no glory in it - at all.

You can't love a ship

I now see that I had a love for the Atlanta like that you afford a human being and that ships are after all just floating offices and as warm as a dead fish. I will never forget the Atlanta. She taught me a lesson. I won't ever try to love another ship. I'll take them for what they are worth which is nothing.

(Bettsy Perkins, widow of one of the officers of the Atlanta, sunk at Guadalcanal. As quoted in Neptune's Inferno, by James D. Hornfisher)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Detectives sometimes go overboard

In the episode of Richard Diamond entitled "Joyce Wallace," he is hired by a performer to protect her because attempts have been made on her life. During the show, while Diamond is in her apartment, a bouquet of roses arrives from her estranged husband, as happens every week. This time, however, there is a snake in the bouquet. She becomes hysterical, and Diamond pulls out his gun and fires three bullets at the snake. This probably was a very expensive apartment, and the snake (which was not poisonous) could have been disposed of by stepping on it, dropping some object on it, etc. But no! Diamond has to haul out his .38 and blast away. No mention is ever made of the damage done to the apartment, who will pay for it, not any complaints from other apartment dwellers in adjoining units where the bullets presumably penetrated. It is all just accepted matter-of-factly as what anyone would have done.

Even Earl Derr Biggers told terrible puns

          After breakfast in the morning he recalled that and old college friend named Spike Bristol was reported in the class histories as living now in Pasadena. The telephone directory furnished Bristol's address, and Eden set out to find him. His friend turned out to be one of the more decorative features of a bond office.
          "Bond salesman, eh?" said Eden, when the greetings were over.
          "Yes - it was either that or real estate," replied Bristol. "I was undecided for some time. Finally I picked this."
          "Of course," laughed Eden. "As any class history proves, gentlemen prefer bonds."

(from The Chinese Parrot)

Oriental calm

"All time in San Fransisco I behold white men hot and excited. Life like a fever, always getting worse. What for? Where does it end? Same place as Chinese life, I think."

Charlie Chan, from The Chinese Parrot, by Earl Derr Biggers