Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not the preferred sort of rose

     Lord Emsworth's niece was the third prettiest girl in Shropshire. In her general appearance she resembled a dewy rose, and it might have been thought that Lord Emsworth, who yielded to no one in his appreciation of roses, would have felt his heart leap at the sight of her.
     This was not the case. His heart did leap, but not up. He was a man with certain definite views about roses. He preferred them without quite such tight lips and determined chins. And he did not like them to look at him as if he were something slimy and horrible which they had found under a flat stone.

(from Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Some people have a lot of personality

and they can be lots of fun to be around. But I can tell you now that I value fidelity FAR beyond personality.

How to play Double-Breasted Willie in the Woodwork

A variation of Poker evidently invented by Fibber McGee in a Dealer's Choice game.

 All spades are wild except the King, which becomes a deuce of hearts if you have clubs in your hand or a trey of clubs if you have a diamond in your hand higher than a 7. Red 5s count double if you have more black cards than red cards unless the player on your left has a one-eyed jack.

(As related to Mollie by Doc Gamble, explaining why McGee had been kicked out of the local poker game)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Olan Soule - one of those familiar faces

Olan Soule was a busy actor on radio and then translated his fame into a familiar face among character actors on television and the movies. He was the star of the First Nighter and Grand Marquee radio programs. Andy Griffith fans will recognize him as the choir director who had to deal with Barney Fife’s voice.

Soule was married in 1929 to Norma Miller, and they stayed married for 63 years until her death.


Going through the motions

Life needs to have some spice in it - something that we look forward to so that the days do not become an undistinguishable blurr. We need to have mid-term goals or hopes that allow us to fight through the discouragement - and there is plenty of that in life. Sometimes we forget that those "rewards" do not have to be big things. We can make little things be big things just by thinking of them as big. "I am going to buy a milkshake on the way home from work today." Or whatever. It sometimes works, even that simply. Life needs to be something more than just going through the motions.

Monday, December 29, 2014

I am extremely thankful

that some women are married to their husbands - and not to me.


Charlie Chan on gold digging

Man can more safely search for gold if world thinks he dig ditch.

(from Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)


Sunday, December 28, 2014

A lack of Presence

In the presence of the Unusual, Mr. Wooster is too prone to smile weakly and allow his eyes to protrude. He lacks Presence. I have often wished that I had the power to bestow upon him some of the savior-faire of a former employer of mine, Mr. Montague-Todd, the well-known financier, now in the second year of his sentence. I have known men call upon Mr. Todd with the express intention of horse-whipping him and go away half an hour later laughing heartily and smoking one of his cigars.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

John Smith?

Actor John Smith's birth name was Robert Errol Van Orden. One wonders why he changed it. Usually actors want to have names that people will remember. John Smith is perhaps the most eminently forgettable of all names. Robert Van Orden would seem to be a good stage name. I wonder why the switch?

John Smith 1957.jpg

"The" Mr. Wooster?

     "I fancy I am correct in supposing that Mr. Wooster did not tell you a great deal about himself?"
     "He told me nothing about himself, except that he was a friend of Professor Mainwaring."
     "He did not inform you, then, that he was the Mr. Wooster?"
     "The Mr. Wooster?"
     "Bertram Wooster, madam." I will say for Mr. Wooster that, mentally negligible though he no doubt is, he has a name that suggests almost infinite possibilities. He sounds, if I may elucidate my meaning, like Someone - especially if you have just been informed that he is an intimate friend of as eminent a man as Professor Mainwaring. You might not, no doubt, be able to say offhand whether he was Bertram Wooster the novelist, or Bertram Wooster the founder of a new school of thought; but you would have an uneasy feeling that you were exposing your ignorance if you did not give the impression of familiarity with the name.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

William Conrad as a swordsman

In the movie The Sword of Monte Cristo, William Conrad plays one of the bad guys, a major who supports the plotting first minister of the country. He does a little sword fighting, but he just was not made for the role, being short and stout. (He gets killed in the climactic scene.) He had a magnificent radio voice and stayed very busy on the airways, but as a dashing figure he did not cut the mustard.


Friday, December 26, 2014

George Murphy: from song and dance to Senator

Ronald Reagan was not the only actor of his era who later moved into politics. George Murphy was a son-and-dance man from the 1930's and '40's. (He actually was pretty good.) Later he became a United States Senator from California.

Here is a LINK to a scene from one of Murphy's movies.


A fearsome-looking couple

I was conscious of a rather pronounced sinking feeling, which the appearance of the Pringles did nothing to allay. Sippy had described them as England's premier warts, and it looked to me as if he might be about right. Professor Pringle was a thinnish, baldish, dispeptic-lookingish cove with an eye like a haddock, while Mrs. Pringle's aspect as that of one who had had bad news round about the year 1900 and never really got over it.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Have to be tough to be engaged to this Glossop

Of course, there are probably fellows in the world - tough, hardy blokes with strong chins and glittering eyes - who could get engaged to this Glossop menace and like it, but I knew perfectly well that Biffy was not one of them. Honoria, you see, is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge. A beastly thing to have to face over the breakfast table.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Nestor Paiva - versatile citizenship

Paiva was of Portugese descent, but he made a career of portraying various characters from any number of nationalities, as long as they had swarthy skin and a foreign-sounding accent. Sometimes he was a good guy and sometimes a bad guy, but he had a gift for humor and found his way into a number of comedy films, one of the most notable of which was The Road to Rio. Since the language of Brazil is Portuguese, he at least got to speak with his native accent in that one.

It could have been America

Anyone who thinks that the Gestapo and the Bataan death march or other unspeakable things could not happen in America has a distressing lack of knowledge about human nature. That nature is the same the world over. Men are no better in one place than in another. The difference is the culture and the laws that restrict the conduct of men. It has been said that constant vigilance is the price of freedom, and no where more than in America.

The Navy Hymn - a patriotic moment

Would you like to enjoy a moment of patriotism? Then listen to the U. S. Naval Glee Club sing two of the verses of the Navy Hymn in front of the USS Arizona monument. Very nice.


Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

They Were Expendable (1945)

This is a dramatized story of the role of PT boats in World War II, especially in the defense of the Philippines. John Wayne and Robert Montgomery star as officers in the fledgling PT command. Wayne is trying to build a reputation, so he is asking to be moved out of the PTs. Early in the show the attack on Pearl Harbor is announced. Donna Reed provides the necessary romantic aspect.

There are some great night action scenes. Woven into the movie is a great quasi-documentary depiction of the siege of Corregidor and the history evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur. If you want your kids to learn some history, this is a good vehicle to do it.

One of the great quotes from the movie is by Charles Trowbridge (playing Admiral Blackwell): "Listen, son. You and I are professionals. If the manager says sacrifice, we lay down a bunt and let somebody else hit the homeruns."


Mike Barnett - another private eye

The television program Follow That Man (also known as Man Against Crime) ran from 1949 to 1954. It starred Ralph Bellamy, and was a pretty good yarn. Bellamy was an outstanding actor who featured a somewhat quizzical look when he was inferring something. He was tall and broad-shouldered and fit the part of a tough investigator. The shows are available for purchase and are well worth having.


Aging prematurely

I wonder what the signs are. Seriously. Do people actually do that? I know there is a rare disease in which children look like elderly people. I wonder if there are different degrees of that.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


"Tribulation worketh patience," the Good Book says. We learn to wait, or at least ought to learn. After all, we are just passing through this life. Its hardships, however great or small they may be, only serve to remind us that sin has permanently marred this dying globe and that there is something better - far better, the apostle said.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Edmundo Ros and his Rhumba Band

This is one of the credits in the movie Night Boat To Dublin (1946). Ros was from Trinidad and owned a popular nightclub in London. Here is a Youtube LINK to a performance by him several years later.


Gertrude Eichelberger, Girl Plumber

This is one the books in Jack Benny's library. It is a murder mystery. It seems that Gertrude picked up a monkey wrench and brained her husband because he used her soldering iron to heat his beer. Sounds like a spine-tingling plot with great possibilities.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thundercrest March and my early band years

I started playing the horn in Beginner Band in the 5th grade, then advanced to Junior Band in the 6th grade. By the end of that year, however, I had progressed enough that I was able to play some with the Senior Band. One of their main pieces that year was the concert march Thundercrest. It was great fun and was a wonderful concert piece. (Concert marches are designed to be played in the performance hall, not on the marching field.)

Here is a LINK to a performance of Thundercrest. It is less than three minutes long. If you listen to it a couple of times, you will be humming it all day - it is that sort of piece. One thing I vividly remember involved Jimbo Dunn, the first chair trumpeter. You will note that the last four notes (ta-ta-ta-TAH) involve the lead trumpet on a fairly high note. In this particular run-through Jimbo split the last note, and the band director gave him an exasperated look and said, "Jimbo, don't splatter it!


Symphonic "filler"

In most major symphonic works you will hear certain sections that cause you to wonder, "Why is that in there; what purpose does that serve?" It sounds like the composer had his piece set up, and knew what he was going to do for a big finish, but he needed something to stick in the middle to sort of round out the movement. I call it "filler." The really great works do not have much of that sort of thing. Slow movements were one place where composers are hard-pressed to avoid it; it is hard to keep slow music really interesting. However, some have done it, with outstanding results.

The neighbors complain

I knew lots of chappies down Washington square way who started the evening at about two a.m. - artists and writers and so forth who frolicked considerably till checked by the arrival of the morning milk. That was all right. They like that sort of thing down there. The neighbours can't get to sleep unless there's someone dancing Hawaiian dances over their heads. But on Fifty-seventh Street the atmosphere wasn't right, and when Motty turned up at three in the morning with a collection of hearty lads who only stopped singing their college song when they started singing "the Old Oaken Bucket," there was a marked peevishness among the old settlers in the flats. The management was extremely terse over the telephone at breakfast-time, and took a lot of soothing.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Easier on those close by

Death is generally easier on those who watch the dying than on those who merely see the dead. Those who live close by usually are affected more gently when the final summons comes.


A dominant sort of woman

Lady Malvern was a hearty, happy, healthy, overpowering sort of dashed female, not so very tall but making up for it by measuring about six feet from the O. P. to the Prompt Side. She fitted into my biggest arm-chair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing arm-chairs right about the hips that season. She had bright, bulging eyes and a lot of yellow hair, and when she spoke she showed about fifty-seven front teeth. She was one of those women who kind of numb a fellow's faculties.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Zuffolo - word of the day

Zuffolo: a little flute or flageolet, especially that which is used to teach birds

(from Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

Now you you can go look up "flageolet."

There are no flies on me

There are some things even flies won't stoop to.

(with apologies to Fred Allen)

Charlie Chan on hurrying

"Make haste only when withdrawing hand from mouth of tiger."

(from Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Robert Benchley as an actor

It was not his main line of work, but Robert Benchley was wonderful as an actor. Although his scope probably was quite limited, he had a great flair for understated humor, even in serious films such as Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. He was great as Rosalind Russell's business partner in Take a Letter, Darling. And, of course, his little cameo inserts in Road To Utopia with Hope and Crosby are a classic.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

My most valuable book

(I am speaking here of monetary value, not of spiritual value, although this is a very useful book.) For years I had read references to Semple's A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, published in 1810. I had resolved to get a copy when I got enough money stuck back. Finally I got the cash and asked a professional book-finder to get one for me. He found an original edition in good structural shape, which made it all the more valuable. Finally it arrived, and when I opened the package and looked at the title page, handwritten across it was "John Leland's Book." Some of you may not know who John Leland was, but he was a Baptist minister who was a profound thinker and writer on religious freedom and political science and who, because he knew personally some of the framers of the Constitution and vigorously expressed his views about it, was significantly instrumental in helping to bring about the Bill of Rights.

So, it appears that I have John Leland's personal copy of Semple's book, which is sort of like having a copy of the Declaration of Independence signed by Thomas Jefferson.

Art vs. jute

What Corky kicked at was the way the above Worple used to harry him. Corky's uncle, you see, didn't want him to be an artist. He didn't think he had any talent in that direction. He was always urging him to chuck Art and go into the jute business and start at the bottom and work his way up. And what Corky said was that, while he didn't know what they did at the bottom of the jute business, instinct told him that it was something too beastly for words.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Tardigradous - word of the day

Tardigradous: slow-paced; moving or stepping slowly.

(from Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Older must be steadier

Frequently as we grow older we make up for our slacking speed by becoming steadier. We do not go as fast, but we have less ups and downs. That has to be the case, or our production will die off drastically.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A joke from The Halls of Ivy

Dr. Hall: Nature abhors a vacuum

Mrs. Hall: Nature never tried to get cigarette ashes out of a rug with a  broom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Matrimonial advertisement

"Widow in South Bend wants to meet millionaire with heart trouble."

(from Fibber McGee and Molly)

Candy that had to be laid aside

When I was a child, Sugar Daddies were one of my absolute favorite candies. They tasted great and lasted a long time. However, how that my mouth is filled with fillings, it is not advisable for me to eat them.


The beauty of silence

He liked people, but he felt there was nothing like being alone in the desert or among the mountains, for it is then you begin to know hem. The wilderness does not hare its secrets with the noisy or the talkative; its secrets come to you with silence.

(from Callaghen, by Louis Lamour)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Benita Colman's laugh

Benita (Hume) Colman was a star on one old radio program (The Halls of Ivy) and a frequest guest star on another (Jack Benny). She had a wonderful gift for radio comedy, and one feature that made her performances so entertaining was her laugh. It was infectious. It never sounded artificial, but completely natural and spontaneous, and added significantly to the quality of the broadcasts.


Keeping your mouth shut

Much of a man's character is revealed in what he does not say. Self-control is the underlying principle of much of our virtue.

Sheep-bite - word of the day

Sheep-bite: To practice petty thefts

(from Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

Monday, December 15, 2014

What is fashion?

"Fashion is the lunatic fringe on the cloak of style. Style is a product of the times. Fashion is the product of salesmanship." (from the Rudy Vallee Royal Gelatin Hour, September 1, 1938)

Cosmetics an ancient thing

Magnifying female charms very ancient optical illusion.

(from Charlie Chan at the Circus)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

In-laws are a legitimate question

There are MANY questions beside love that have to be answered by a couple before they consider marriage. In-laws is just one of them, but it is a legitimate question that must be answered. It is a problem that has to be faced, and if the proposition is a difficult one anyway, a touchy in-law situation might make it unworkable.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

If you take pains to look like a thug and act like a thug

then do not be upset if people assume you are a thug and respond accordingly.


Backsliders come in many forms

          "Isn't it true that some Indians do not believe in fighting by night?"
          "That is true of some. They believe the soul of a man killed at night must wander forever in darkness; but there are skeptics among the Indians as well as among ourselves. I've never paid much attention to such generalities, and it would be just my luck to run into a non-believer with a good rifle."

(from Callaghen, by Louis Lamour)

Character and personality

Character and personality are not the same thing. Often people have a wonderful, congenial, accommodating manner about them, but they are of very dissolute habits. Their company is enjoyable because of their manner, but the pattern of their lives is far from commendable. On the other hand, sadly, some of the folks with the most upright and godly lives do not have the most pleasant personalities, but can be a little trying to deal with. We need to learn to identify one from the other, and put our value in the right place.

Rakeshame - word of the day

Rakeshame - a vile, dissolute wretch

(from Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chalk dust

We lost something with modern teaching methods. To my generation the smell of chalk dust will be forever linked with education, because every classroom was permeated with it. Sometimes smells are so identified with scenes from life that they are inseparable, and this definitely is one of those situations.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)

This is one of the three great Michael Shayne detective movies that starred Marjorie Weaver and Lloyd Nolan. In this one there is no romantic relationship, because Weaver has just gotten married, but the wonderful chemistry they had on screen is there nonetheless.

The movie starts with a body being buried in a grove of trees beside a mansion. Then Weaver returns to her home to announce her marriage. In her bed that night she sees a man in her room who fires a gun at her. No one in the household will believe her, so she calls old friend Nolan to come help, posing as her husband. In the meantime her father, who was one of the men who had buried the body, find it uncovered and empty.

The rest of the movie is spent chasing the "ghost" that shot at Weaver and tracking down a man who had mastered the technique of barely breathing in order to be buried alive. It is a great mix of spooky mystery and comedy.

This and the other two Nolan/Weaver movies are MUST watching for any fans of old detective movies.


Weaver and Nolan

Papaw and clean headlights

One of my father-in-law's pet peeves was dirty headlights. He would complain that people will keep their windshields clean, but let their headlights become largely obscured by dirt and dried bug entrails. And, he was right. It is a very good habit to clean your headlights regularly.


Getting credit

So much of our effort in life is to get credit for what we do. We spend time wanting to look good rather than to be good. Anonymity (at least to a degree) is a feature of Christianity. Our Lord commanded, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." If we act to get the credit with men, we may displease God.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Grand Marquee radio show

This was a program that featured half-hour skits that usually were comedies featuring the "Battle of the Sexes." They were a lot of fun.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I could have won $2000 on You Bet Your Life

The grand prize on December 16, 1957 was about the five brothers who were killed in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The contestants missed it, but I got it. Their name was Sullivan, of course.


Wild Red Barry on You Bet Your Life

On the December 16, 1957 episode of You Bet Your Life radio show, one of the contestants was "Wild" Red Barry, who was a professional wrestler. He was very talkative, and surprisingly, also very articulate. He and Groucho got into a length exchange regarding all Red's injuries in his career. Interesting.

Jake the Elevator Man

One of the enjoyable regulars on the Barry Craig radio detective program was Jake. He was the elevator operator in the office building where Craig worked. He had moved to New York because it was hard to farm on the rocky hillsides in Vermont and because the girls were prettier in NY. Jake was played by Parley Baer. In at least one episode, he was more than a bit part, and stayed with Craig throughout the entire adventure, adding humor to an otherwise dreary setting.


Monday, December 08, 2014

Horror movie actors on comedy shows

Some of the funniest of the old radio comedy shows were when one of the famous scary movie actors was a special guest, e.g., Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, etc. They made some excellent spoofs out of the spooky personnae of the actors.

LINK to a great example of Lugosi on the Fred Allen show.

Bela Lugosi

Willie's Wagon (Barry Craig radio show)

The lunch counter near the office of radio detective Barry Craig was called Willie's Diner, or more familarly, Willie's Wagon. Their coffee was compared to sulphuric acid and their hamburgers were chronically undercooked - but Craig continued eating there. Some of his clients would find him at the Wagon, and at least one murder was committed there. Exciting place. In one episode, Willie went with Craig on his investigation, which began in the Wagon, and became more than just a bit character for that show.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Odd couple

Beautiful actress Sheila Ryan was married to comedic actor Pat Buttram from 1952 to 1975. Buttram, of course, was a regular on the Gene Autry radio show and was later famous as Mr. Haney on the Green Acres television program. An odd couple, indeed.

Sheila Ryan - 1941.jpg


Groucho on the Jack Benny program

Below is a clip from the Jack Benny TV program in which they do a spoof on the quiz show You Bet Your Life, hosted by Groucho Marx, who makes a guest appearance here in his own role. However, Benny comes on camera disguised as a contestant, playing up to his cultivated personna as a cheapskate moneygrubber. He also had a major gag in that he claimed to be 39 years old long after it was obvious he was older. Jack gets caught between his two faults. This is hilarious!



Boston Blackie's connection to What's My Line?

One of the long-time panelists on the old TV program What's My Line? was Dorothy Kilgallen. She was for 25 years (until her death) married to Richard Kollmar, who played Boston Blackie on the old radio series.

Kilgallen is in the back row.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Every old movie fan definitely needs to watch The Scarlet Pimpernel - the 1934 version starring Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. Raymond Massey is a superb villain as Chauvelin. It is an early film and lacks some of the frills of modern films (including a big musical score), but the acting is superb, and much of the cinematography is excellent for any age. Merle Oberon was not really a great beauty, but her eyes were wonderful for the close-up photography used in many of the scenes in this movie.


And we think we have problems with diseases

According to Wikipedia: In the Late Middle Ages (1340–1400) Europe experienced the most deadly disease outbreak in history when the Black Death, the infamous pandemic of bubonic plague, hit in 1347, killing a third of the human population. Using 7 billion as the current population of the world, that would be a proportionate death toll of around 2.3 billion people within two generations, should a similar situation happen today.

Rabbits have nothing on guppies

For rabbits the gestation period is 28-31 days, with up to 14 babies per litter. Guppies' gestation is 22-26 days and generally produces two to three dozen at a pop. So . . . if you are wanting lots of pets, go for guppies.


Those poor American husbands

Painter Antoine Francois (mistaking husband Stu Erwin for the hired help): America! You make everything out so different. Here I don't know who are the husband and who are the workers.

Willis Best, looking on: In America, mister, when you're a husband, you got to work twice as hard.

(from The Trouble With Father TV program)

Those great 1950 appliances

One of the nice benefits of watching old television programs is getting to see the styling on the kitchen appliances of the period. They bring back a lot of memories for me.


Willie Best on The Trouble With Father

The Trouble With Father was a television program that ran in the early 1950s. It was pretty typical of family comedy shows of the period: feel-good episodes with gentle humor. However, the developers of this particular program had a stroke of genius when they made the great Willie Best as a regular on the show as the Stu Erwin family's handy man. Best was one of the finest funny-men of all time, in my humble opinion, and he did it seemingly effortlessly.

Erwin and Best

Friday, December 05, 2014

An excellent article about Allen's Alley

Anyone who loves old time radio knows what an important part of it the Fred Allen program was, and what a great feature of that program Allen's Alley was. HERE is a link to an excellent article about the program, and especially the Alley.

Fine line between love and crime

"Lovers use element of surprise - also criminals."

(Charlie Chan, from Castle in the Desert)


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Always marry the cook

          "Who's Fink-Nottle?" asked Plank.
          "The one who eloped with Stoker," said Pop.
          "Who's Stoker?" asked Plank. I don't think I've ever  come across a fellow with a greater thirst for information.
          "The cook."
          "Ah, yes. I remember you telling me. Knew what he was doing, that chap. I'm strongly opposed to anyone marrying anybody, but if you're going to marry someone, you unquestionably save something from the wreck by marrying a woman who knows what to do with a joint of beef."

(from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Avoid baby contests

"Look," he said, and I think he must at this point have pulled up a trouser leg. "See that scar on my calf? That's what I got in Peru once for being fool enough to let myself be talked into judging a competition for bonny babies. The mother of one of the Honourably Mentioneds spiked me in the leg with a native dagger as I was stepping down from the judge's stand after making my speech. Hurt like sin, I can assure you, and still gives me a twinge when the weather's wet. Fellow I know is fond of saying that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Whether this is so or not I couldn't tell you, but it certainly knows how to handle a Peruvian dagger."

(from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Helping Grandma churn

My father's parents lived in the next town down the road from ours, and we spent a lot of time at their house. Grandma would churn butter in a large crockery churn with a wooden plunger that made a wonderful "kerchunk" sound on every stroke. It was great fun. Later, my mother had a Daisy church, which operated with a handle attached to the top of the jar. That also was fun, but not as much as Grandma's.



Sleep stops a bad day

For those who are able to sleep, when it finally come it erases the effects of a bad day, at least until the morning. For those who cannot sleep, one bad day runs into another. The intent, however, is that we enjoy peaceful sleep. "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep."

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

How about Umlaut as a given name?

The word refers to the two dots over some words in the German language. Sort of has a ring to it. Umlaut Schrempfenheimer, or something lilke that.


Retirement: the modern day Russian roulette

Do you retire early on less money, or do you wait and take a chance that your health may give way in the meantime. We all have known so many people who died shortly after retirement that it makes us stop and think. It is a puzzling thing, and since we do not know the future, we can only guess and make the best decision we can. It is not easy.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

"Obambulate" - word of the day

And no, this is not a trendy, contrived political barb. It actually is a word from Webster's 1828 Dictionary. It means "to walk about."

Monday, December 01, 2014

Elmo Tanner, whistler

On the Fibber McGee and Molly radio programs in the late 1930s, one of the regulars for a while was Elmo Tanner. He was a band leader, singer and disc jockey, but made his name here as a whistler. His technique was pretty remarkable, well worth listening to.

Here is a LINK to a recording that includes Tanner whistling.

File:Elmo Tanner.JPG

"Looks sometimes are frightful liar."

from Docks of New Orleans (Charlie Chan)


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Good guy or bad guy?

It is interesting how some actors went back and forth from being a "good guy" or a "bad guy," while others were pretty well typecast as one or the other. For example, could you imagine Roy Rogers as a villain?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Women are talkers

For some time Stiffy monopolized the conversation, not letting me get a word in edgeways. Women are singularly gifted in this respect. Then frailest of them has the lung power of a grammophone record and the flow of speech of a Regimental Sergeant Major. I have known my Aunt Agatha to go on calling me names long after you would have supposed that both breath and inventiveness would have given out.

(from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Friday, November 28, 2014

Dr. Somebody's Tonic Swamp Juice

According to Bertram Wooster, this medicine really does the job - bucks you up considerably right away. It acts directly, we understand, on the red corpuscles and imparts a gentle glow. Due to Bertie's absent memory, we do not learn the name of the physician who developed this effectual medicine, but we are sure it must be the real deal.

Concerning undesirable sons-in-law

          One could understand his fizziness, of course. Of all the prospective sons-in-law in existence, Gussie, with the possible exception of Bertram Wooster, was the one he would have chosen last. He had viewed him with concern from the start, and if he had been living back in the days when fathers called the shots in the matter of their daughters' marriages, would have forbidden the banns without a second thought.
          Gussie once told me that when he, Gussie, was introduced to him, Basset, as the fellow who was to marry his, Bassett's, offspring, he, Bassett, had stared at him with his jaw dropping and then in a sort of strangled voice had said, "What!" Incredulously, if you see what I mean, as if he were hoping that they were just playing a jolly practical joke on him and that in due course the real chap would jump out from behind a chair and say "April fool!" And when he, Bassett, at last got on to it that there was no deception and that Gussie was really what he had drawn, he went off into a corner and sat there motionless, refusing to speak when spoken to.

(from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Back to private eyes getting knocked out

Some of them did weekly. Even granted that in real life there might have been a longer distance between KOs than that, how many of those can a brain stand before some sort of permanent damage occurs? And yet they kept solving difficult (well-nigh-impossible) cases week after week, seemingly without any impairment to their mental faculties. Amazing. Some of them we could have every reason to call Knothead.

Gerald Mohr (radio's Philip Marlowe)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Married to some women, husbands have to be tough

          Rugby football is more or less a sealed book to me, I never having gone in for it, but even I could see that he was good. The lissomness with which he moved hither and thither was most impressive, as was his homicidal ardour when doing what I believe is called tackling. Like the Canadian Mounted Police he always got his man, and when he did so the air was vibrant with the excited cries of morticians in the audience making bids for the body.
          He's engaged to be married to Stiffy Byng, and his long years of football should prove an excellent preparation for setting up house with her. The way I look at it is that when a fellow has had pluguglies in cleated boots doing a Shuffle-Off-To-Buffalo on his face Saturday after Saturday since he was a slip of a boy, he must get to fear nothing, not even marriage to a girl like Stiffy, who from early childhood has seldom let the sun go down without starting some loony enterprise calculated to bleach the hair of one and all.

(from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Butlers affect some people that way

Beach had been an aloof, supercilious figure who had paralysed him with his majesty. He was paralysing him now. It is a very intrepid young man who can see an English butler steadily and see him whole without feeling a worm-like humility, and all Jerry's previous encounters with Beach - in corridors, in the hall, at lunch and at dinner - had left him with the impression that his feet were too large, his ears too red and his social status something in between that of a Dead End kid and a badly dressed leper. There were cats on the premises of Blandings Castle, and those gooseberry eyes had always made him feel that he might have been some unsavoury object dragged in by one of these cats, one of the less fastidious ones.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

If you have a hot pig, he's your man!

Gally might have his defects - his sister Constance, his sister Dora, his sister Julia, and all his other sisters could have named you hundreds - but he was sure to be a mine of information on what to do when you discovered a stolen pig in your kitchen one jump ahead of the police.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The gullible type

The world may be roughly divided into two classes - men who, when you tell them a story difficult to credit, will not believe you, and men who will. It was to this latter and far more likeable section of the community that, judging by his fatuous expressions, George Cyril Wellbeloved belonged. He had the air, which Jerry found charming, of being a man who would accept without question whatever anybody cared to tell him. His whole aspect was that of one who believed everything he read in the Sunday papers.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Of pigs and kitchens

Authors are like that. No reticence. No reserve. You or I, Beach, finding a pig in the kitchen of a furnished villa in which we had jut hung up our hats, would keep calm and wait till the clouds rolled by. But not an author. The first thing this blighted Vail will do, unless nipped in the bud, will be to rush out and grab the nearest passer-by and say, "Pardon me for addressing you, sir, but there appears to be a pig in my kitchen. Have you any suggestions?" And then what? I'll tell you what. Doom, desolation and despair. In next to no time the news will have reached Parsloe, stirring him up like a dose of salts and bringing him round to Sunnybrae with a whoop and a holler. We must hurry, Beach. Not an instant to lose.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)