Friday, October 31, 2014

Before the battle

The hours preceding an attack are slow hours. The minutes pace themselves slowly, and those who wait find a savor in life, for they begin to taste, to feel, to hear as at no other time. They realize these hours may be their last, and their senses are sharpened and more alert, and things formerly ignored are now appreciated, or at least realized, as never before.

(from Kilrone, by Louis Lamour)


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Looking back at Roland Winters as Charlie Chan

To me, and I think to most observers, Warner Oland was the best of the three actors to portray detective Charlie Chan in the series of movies. Generally, Roland Winters is the last choice (after Sidney Toler) because his acting is too stiff, not convincing, etc.

However, after due consideration, my opinion of Winters has risen. True, he does not have the quiet dignity of Oland, but Toler, although much funnier and more enjoyable to watch, just did not seem Oriental at all. His humor was almost always with a twist that made it seem like the Caucasian he was. Winters' halting English and much more reserved personality made him seem more Oriental, even if his greater height did not.


Cruel and bloodthirsty men

"Then love in every heart would reign
And war would cease to roar;
And cruel and bloodthirsty men
Would thirst for blood no more."

This is a portion of a hymn written by William Cowper. I have sung it from my earliest memories. In recent years, as modern communication has made us ever more aware of the disgusting behavior of men in the farflung corners of this globe, this verse has come to mean more and more to me. Truly there are many of this sort, and but for the grace of God Almighty, we would all still be like that. Indeed, He is the only protection, ultimately, from such designing and unscrupulous sorts. May God have mercy!

More HERE about hymns

The ability to write and speak with precision and beauty

Grammar and vocabulary are essentially matters of fashion; they change from generation to generation to some extent. So, writing or speaking according to the fashion of the time is not strictly necessary. However, it is most valuable to be able to express oneself in such a way that those to whom we communicate will have no excuse not to know precisely what we mean. This ability involves the skillful use of vocabulary, syntax and grammar. Further, most people can learn to express themselves adequately in this regard just by reading good writers and paying a little attention as they read. (Of course, no one reads today, and that is the problem.)

Here is an example of poor expression: "Will someone go down to the bus station and pick up a woman there who has a little time to spare?" Obviously, it is not the woman at the bus station who has time, but the person picking her up. Thus, "who has a little time to spare" should be placed after "someone." Just attention to little things like that help make our communication more precise. Also, the use of specific vocabulary helps in that regard. For example, how many more descriptive synonyms are there for the word "walk"? Stroll, saunter, stride, etc. If you want people to know precisely what you mean, then say what you mean precisely.

In this high-tech world, it is also refreshing to read or hear words used beautifully. The ability to turn a phrase in just the right way is an increasingly-rare ability. Consider the skill of Sir Winston in 1940. Had he been an American of today, he likely would have said, "We will be in trouble if we do not win this war." Instead he used loftier phrases, and created something that will last as long as the English language is used: 

"Behind them - behind us- behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France - gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians - upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall."

More HERE about writing


Cheap UGGS Boots?

Now there is an intriguing website name. Evidently it is some sort of Australian boot. Warm looking. And even at "cheap" they are pretty expensive, at least for my economic stratum. Hand-me-downs are a lot cheaper.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The size of ancient Nineveh

According to the book of Jonah, "Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey." That obviously tells us that it was quite large, but in order to find out just how large we have to do a little digging. John Gill tells us that this distance most likely referred to its circumference. He says that Herodotus calculated a days' journey at about 19 miles, which would make the total to be 57 miles. And, if he was to travel through the city preaching repentance, his journey may not have been in a straight line. In any case, it would take Jonah three days to do what he was going to do while walking through Nineveh.

According to Wikipedia:
At this time, the total area of Nineveh comprised about 7 square kilometres (1,730 acres), and fifteen great gates penetrated its walls. An elaborate system of eighteen canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by Sennacherib were discovered at Jerwan, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) distant. The enclosed area had more than 100,000 inhabitants (maybe closer to 150,000), about twice as many as Babylon at the time, placing it among the largest settlements worldwide.


Surrogate children

It is interesting how a substantial industry has sprung up to provide mainly older adults with indoor pets who serve the role of "companions," and frequently are even surrogates for children. Loneliness is a powerful motivating factor in most people, and when those are gone who for years provided the primary social stimulation, many people turn to (usually) dogs or cats for companionship. Thus, breeders have developed breeds that fit the characteristics needed. And this is nothing new, for we see references to the nobility having such pets many years ago.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The benefits of governmental stability

"Revolution, for whatever reason, is self-defeating, for violent revolution results in violent reaction. Oddly enough, the worst reaction usually comes from within the revolution itself, and the first casualty is the revolutionary."

(from Rivers West, by Louis Lamour)


Coffee in the morning

Have you ever wondered why anyone ever had the idea to roast coffee beans, grind them, and then steep them in water in order to make a drink? It seems an unlikely thing. And then who discovered that coffee worked particularly well for a pick-me-up in the morning? I assume someone has written about that.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Adjusting to disabilities

My own experience with temporary disabilities (other than those related to aging) has been limited. However, I can imagine that getting used to the idea of a permanent situation must take a great deal of willpower and courage. And faith.


Friday, October 24, 2014

The advantages and disadvantages of routine

Routine and settled habits make us more productive. We get much more done when we travel in a settled path, making each movement more efficient. However, routine also tends to make us dull, if we are not careful to keep our minds sharp. A little disruption in our lives, if not too great, can do much to make us more lively.

More HERE about routine

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shirley Temple - young and old

She captured the hearts of America as a child actor. But as she matured into a teenager and beyond, she somehow did not fit the parts she played. Her acting was a little bit forced, or contrived, or something along that line. I guess sometimes you just outgrow your roles.

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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The champion Wodehousean buzzer

In Plum Sauce, (A P. G. Wodehouse Companion), author Richard Usborne deals at some length with characters who "buzz" or agitate the conversation in order to "start something." For instance, he notes that Psmith does it frequently merely because he is bored and wants entertainment.

To the surprise of no one, however, his champion "buzzer" is to be found in one certain cheerful gentleman who appears mainly in the Blandings Castle stories. "Take a line through Psmith and fifty young heroes and heroines of stories and novels, and you fetch up at the biggest of all the irrepressible buzzers, Lord Ickenham. His talk is like the flail of a tank going through a minefield."

More HERE about the Uncle Fred and the dog races.


These Wodehousean characters get no sympathy

At least they get none from me. Those are Alaric, Duke of Dunstable and Rupert "The Efficient" Baxter. Both are utterly self-serving, the Duke combining it with blatant and constant rudeness and Baxter with a condescending haughtiness. Neither apparently has any redeeming lovable characteristics. We feel that they deserve whatever negative consequences they get.

There are others who come close. Wooster's aunts, for instance. Still, one feels that if Bertie just had any semblance of backbone, they would beat an indignant retreat and become non-factors, so he bears much of the blame for their defects. Lady Constance is another character who comes close, but finally we see her dissolving into tears and remarrying, so she has at least that much humanity. Only Dunstable and Baxter emerge as complete negatives.

More HERE about Dunstable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Adolph Deutsch - film scores

Not long ago we watched All Through the Night, a World War II comedy/thriller starring Humphrey Bogart. It is one of my favorites, and the musical score is great. Tonight we were watching Northern Pursuit, starring Errol Flynn and also a WWII thriller, and I got to noticing that the music sounded very familiar. I did a little research, and sure enough, Alolph Deutsch had written the scores for both. He was great at maintaining the tension in a film by means of the score.

More HERE about All Through the Night.

Bringing back memories of a snackless home

It was always so embarrassing in my youth when I would have friends over because we never had any snacks. If you went to the refrigerator the only things that would be there would be leftovers - of healthy foods, grown in our garden. The closest thing we had to snack food was something like molasses on cold cornbread. We were disgustingly healthy. I now have a dieting wife. She has lost 20 pounds and intends to stay after it. So now, when I go to the kitchen, what do I find? Healthy stuff! I am having to go through my second childhood. But (sigh) I am probably much better off for it.

More HERE about snacks.


Monday, October 13, 2014

He resembled a barfing dog

The anguished look in Lord Emsworth's eyes became more anguished. It was as if the question had touched an exposed nerve. He gulped for a moment, reminding Lord Ickenham of a dog to which he was greatly attached which made a similar sound when about to give up its all after a too busy day among the fleshpots.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

For him, a tasty meal

          "He comes from Brazil, I hear."
          "Yes, like Charley's Aunt. But - " Here Lord Ickenham's voice took on a grave note, " - On no account mention Brazil to him if you don't mind. His young wife fell into the Amazon and was eaten by an alligator."
          "How dreadful!"
          "For her, yes, though not of course for the alligator."

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


Not the sort of Duke you would want for a neighbor

He was a large, stout, bald-headed man with a jutting nose, prominent eyes and a bushy white moustache of the type favoured by regimental sergeant majors and walruses. In Wiltshire, where he resided when not inviting himself for long visits to the homes of others, he was far from popular, his standing among his neighbours being roughly that of a shark at a bathing resort - something, that is to say, to be avoided on all occasions as nimbly as possible.

(from Service with a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse, describing the Duke of Dunstable)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just the thing to perk you up

Lord Emsworth himself, accompanied by Mr. Shoonmaker's daughter Myra, was on his way to the headquarters of Empress of Blandings, his pre-eminent sow, three times silver medallist in the Fat Pigs contest at the Shropshire Agricultural Show. He had taken the girl with him because it seemed to him that she was a trifle on the low-spirited side these days, and he knew from his own experience that there was nothing like an after-breakfast look at the Empress for bracing one up and bringing the roses back to the cheeks.

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



My son-in-law had an appendectomy last night. Medical science has been perplexed over the years as to its purpose, but you may be sure that if God put it in us then it has one, and that it was not just a "mistake" of evolution. It acts as a safe house for good bacteria. The body uses this to essentially “reboot” the digestive system when one suffers from a bout of dysentery or cholera.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The value of a college education

Colleges are pricing themselves out of business. In so many instances, what with dealing with a mountain of student loan debt that will hamstring him financially for years, the student does not net enough increased earning power to make it worth the headache.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Charlie Ruggles - a lovable, memorable face

For half a century, Charles Sherman Ruggles was one of the most familiar faces in American movies. He generally played, lovable, affable characters in a memorable, slightly addle-brained manner. He appeared in almost a hundred movies, and two generations of Americans watched him on the silver screen.

Charles Ruggles

Charles Ruggles 1963.JPG

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Assisted suicide

I was asked my views on this subject. This was my reply:

Suicide is illegal, and should be, because society cannot be in the position of encouraging that, as a matter of principle. (However, obviously, assuming the attempt is successful, the law cannot prosecute a corpse.)

Assisted suicide is another thing. As a matter of principle, we cannot allow someone to do that, because you always have the possibility that the assistant somehow encouraged or even suggested it; and that can be a line too fine for the legal system to discern. Plus, the medical profession absolutely cannot be in the business of ending life; its task is to preserve life, and to do otherwise would utterly destroy the integrity of the profession.

That being said, any individual has the privilege of refusing medical aid. Even if that results in death, that is his privilege.

"Greatest of all time" lists

There are a multitude of these. But, while not universally true, they generally tend to be weighted toward people with whom the rankers are personally familiar. Old-timers usually get underrated.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The value of patience

Seems to me folks waste a site of time crossing bridges before they get to them. They clutter their minds with odds and ends that interfere with clear thinking.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis Lamour)

Louis Lamour waxes eloquent about the night

Once, in the night, awakened by some small sound, I lay for a time. Overhead I saw a great horned owl go sweeping down some mysterious channel of the night, piloted by I know not what lust, what urge, what hidden drive. Was it simply that, like me, he loved the forest night and liked to curve his velvety paths among the dark columns of the spruce?

I am one with these creatures of the night and of the high places. Like them I love the coolness, the nearness of the stars, the sudden outthrusts of rock that fall off into the unbelievable vastness below.

Like them, sometimes I think I have no sense of time, no knowledge of years, only the changing of seasons but not the counting of them

(from Treasure Mountain)

Monday, October 06, 2014

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

If you want to know what film noir is, this is the movie to learn with. It is also historically important because it represented Dick Powell's switch from a crooner (a good one, by the way) to a tough guy. (He does, of course, wear a trenchcoat.) Those of you who have enjoyed Powell on the radio as Richard Diamond will like this one. The movie is also interesting because the two female leads, Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley, are almost beautiful, but not quite, and are all the more attractive for it. Typical of many Raymond Chandler-derived plots, it moves quickly enough that you have to work to stay with it.

Mike Mazurki comes private eye Powell's office at night to get him to look for his old girlfriend, and the plot circles from there. This is must watching for old movie fans.


Powell and Shirley

One danger of a militant culture

"They were too many for us. We killed them, but our young men died, too, and we had not enough young men to father our children, so we must stop fighting." (from Treasure Mountain, by Louis Lamour)

Some cultures have been essentially militaristic: they lived to fight, and not the other way around. The entire nation gloried in combat and warfare. The problem is that war is entirely destructive, in terms of both materiel and personnel. At some point the nation becomes exhausted. As an illustration, one study found that the male-to-female sex ratio in the German state of Bavaria fell as low as 0.60 after the end of World War II for the most severely affected age cohort (those between 21 and 23 years old in 1946).

Crowded neighborhood

Last time I was up there I stopped to pick wild strawberries and saw a grizzly doing the same thing. I just backed off and left him alone. He was a good hundred yards off, but that wasn't far enough for me. It's wonderful how cramped a country can get when it's you and a grizzly in the same neighborhood.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis Lamour)


Cousins playing together

I had 34 first cousins, and there were times when we were growing up when there were tears when playtime was broken up and we had to go home. No doubt that was exasperating to the parents, but it surely is satisfying for cousins to enjoy one another's company well enough that parting causes sorrow.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Dundreary whiskers

These were an exaggerated sort of sideburns, first popularized in the play, Lord Dundreary. According to Sir Osbert Lancaster, Henry Burton Buckley, 1st Baron Wrenbury, was 
the last man in London to wear Dundreary whiskers in 1869.

Dundreary whiskers

He liked Clark Gable's moustache

My father's twin brother did not have a moustache, but I heard him say more than once that he wished he had one of the short-cropped sort like Clark Gable wore.


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Making plans

I talked to a 49-year-old man today who runs his own small business. I asked him when he planned to retire. He replied that his health was good and he figured he would work as long as he could, so he had no retirement plans. I had no health problems at his age, either (although I did plan to retire). Our health can change so quickly as we get older that it had a tendency to kick many of our plans out the window.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The trouble with specuiation

A man can get carried away by a reasonable theory. Often a man finds a theory that explains things and he builds atop that theory, finding all the right answers . . . only the basic theory is wrong. But that's the last thing he will want to admit.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis Lamour)

Cherchez la femme - Sackett style

If Orrin was in trouble you can bet there was a woman somewhere around. Of course, you can say that of most men.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis Lamour)



          I received word yesterday that the health of an aging minister in another state is failing rapidly. I have known him for years, and to know him is to love him. He has preached, he calculates, in 23 different states over a 60-year ministry. He has the respect and profound affection of saints all across the country. His going will leave an enormous hole in Zion, and great sadness among the churches.
          I think back over the able men who have labored in years past among the Primitive Baptists, and I wonder how acute were the feelings of the churches when those household names passed from the field of battle: men such as the Hassells, John R. Daily, T. S. Dalton, the Cayces, J. R. Respess, Lemuel Potter, and S. N. Redford, to name only a few. One measurement of the usefulness of a man is the depth of the feeling of loss caused by his passing.
          Going back even farther, imagine the feelings of the Israelites when it was told them, "Moses my servant is dead." Through the power of God he had led them out of slavery, organized their nation, borne their complainings and rebellions. As he had aged, his contemporaries were dying, until he was 120 years old and Caleb was the only person in the entire nation even half as old as he. If any man was ever a "father in Israel," surely Moses was it. He led a people who were now young adults and who had known no leader but him. And then Moses died. "What will we do? How shall we go on?" The people of Israel wept for thirty days at the loss of their leader, their father, and their friend.
          When Moses dies, however, there is always a Joshua to take his place; and there will be until Joshuas are no longer needed. Oh, certainly there are men of such preeminent gifts that we are not likely to see their equal again - but they all died, and the church survived. It did not survive, however, without great sorrow and pain and a vast feeling of loss. May we treasure the aging gifts God has given us; and it is good to tell them of our love and respect sooner rather than later, lest we wait too long.


Maximum human communication

Probably the reason that electronic communication is so unsatisfying is that it fails to make use of the full range of expressive capabilities that God gave to humans. Voice inflections, facial expressions, body language, etc.: all these and more are part and parcel of human expressive capabilities, Indeed, some of them are so subtle that they are missed even when seen on a video screen. For instance, we have perhaps noticed what is communicated when a person smiles with his mouth, but his eyes do not quite join in the expression.

It is clear to me that there is even a level of communication that goes beyond the outward expressive capability of man and emanates from the soul itself; and can be felt only in someone else's immediate presence. How could that be transmitted electronically?

Man's first communications were face to face, and that yet remains the most powerful method, despite all man's vaunted technology.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Scientific name for her ailment

From boyhood up, he had not once come near to being her ideal man; but never had he sunk so low in her estimation as at the moment when she heard him giving his consent to the union of her niece Millicent with a young man who, besides being penniless, had always afflicted her with a nervous complaint for which she could find no name, but which is known to Scientists as the heeby-jeebies.

(from Summer Lightning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

To tell the whole truth

Witnesses in court have been required to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," or words to that effect. However, when that witness begins to elaborate upon a question asked him, the Court will interrupt him and tell him, "Just answer the question." It seems to me that if the Court does not want witnesses to tell the whole truth, then they should not make them swear to do so.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Concerning the sanity of coots

          "Mad as a coot!" he said. And the words rang out through the still summer air like a public oration.
          They cut Baxter to the quick. They were not the sort of words to which a man with an inch and a quarter of skin off his left shinbone ought ever to have been called upon to listen. With flushed ears and glowing spectacles, the Efficient Baxter passed on his way. Statistics relating to madness among coots are not to hand, but we may safely doubt whether even in the ranks of these notoriously unbalanced birds there could have been found at this moment one who was feeling half as mad as he did.

(from Summer Lightning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


Being not ourselves

There is an extensive list of things which my brothers and I are not - by a long shot. Therefore when we attempt to pose as one of those things, the result is predictably comical. A silk purse made from a sow's ear is just going to be funny-looking.

When butlers steal pigs

The butler was standing mountainously beside the tea-table, staring in a sort of trance at a plateful of anchovy sandwiches: and it struck the Hon. Galahad, not for the first time in the last few days, that he appeared to have something on his mind. A strained, haunted look he seemed to have, as if he had done a murder and was afraid somebody was going to find the body. A more practiced physiognomist would have been able to interpret that look. It was one that butlers always wear when they have allowed themselves to be persuaded against their better judgment into becoming accessories before the fact in the theft of their employers' pigs.

(from Summer Lightning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Avoid weeping women

Hugo was alarmed. He was now practically certain that this girl was going to cry, and if there was one thing he he disliked it was being with crying girls in a public spot. He would not readily forget the time when a female named Yvonne Something had given way to a sudden twinge of neuralgia in his company not far from Picadilly Circus, and an old lady had stopped and said that it was brutes like him who called all the misery in the world.

(from Summer Lightning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)