Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Everyone agrees I could not possibly be two-faced

because if I were, I certainly would be wearing the other one.

(from My Little Margie radio show)

Affection and passion

There is a difference between passion and affection. In fact, one may be (and in some cases must be) present when the other is totally absent. Between spouses there MUST be both. In other relationships there cannot be both. Between spouses affection without passion is a fire that is flickering in a lamentably low level. Outside of marriage passion is a fast-burning fire that can explode to where things are destroyed beyond repair.

Familiar tasks

Although most of us enjoy a challenge and trying something new occasionally, there is a usually much satisfaction and fulfillment in doing things that we are really good at doing.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Digger's poem about speeding

Never speed!
It's not worth the thrill.
If the cops don't get you,
The undertaker will.

From The Life of Riley radio show)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fred Allen knew about Sherlock Holmes' drug habit

Portland: "Are you an authority on Sherlock Holmes?"

Allen: "Why, I got Dr. Watson to join the Needleworkers Union."

The hometown of Pat Buttram

I drove through Addison, Alabama this weekend. I noticed a sign saying that it was the birthplace of Pat Buttram. Not many people my age would know who he was, but then not many people my age listen to old radio shows as much as I do.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ok, Louis, who did she marry?

Usually the endings to Louis Lamour's novels are nice and neat and clean and definite. But he took a different turn in The Cherokee Trial. Did the heroine, Mary Breydon, marry the gunfighter Temple Boone or the stage line operator, Mark Stacy? I guess we will never know.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why European titles don't mean much

Most of those who originally had titles over there in Europe had them because they were especially good at killing and robbing and were given titles for doing it in support of their king.

(from The Cherokee Trail, by Louis Lamour)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The stereotyped private eye frame

How many times have you heard this scenario in an old radio program? The private eye goes to an apartment, where the door is mysteriously unlocked. He knocks - no answer - so he quietly opens the door and moves into the room. There is a dead body on the floor. Just as he is looking things over, someone else comes into the room, and he is nailed for the murder.

A very pertinent question from Abner

(Lum is reading): "Evelyn opened the door and her hair stood on end."

Abner: "Which end?"

Now, I wonder why I never thought to ask that?

A book you probably never read

The Love Life of Alice the Girl Bookkeeper. This was submitted to the Edwards and Edwards Publishing Company (Lum Edwards, President), but was rejected. According to Lum, it was "230 pages of slush and mush." Another tome that got the pink slip was Gilbert the Boy Checker Player, by Grandpappy Spears, presumably based upon that Pine Ridge favorite, Gilbert the Boy Trapper.

Paterson, NJ repaid Lou Costello

Few cities have gained more publicity from an entertainer than did Paterson, NJ from comedian Lou Costello of "Who's On First" fame. He was constantly referring to his hometown in his routines with Bud Abbott. Did Paterson appreciate it? Evidently so, because they erected a lifesize statue of Costello. (Lifesize top to bottom was not too big, but side to side it was more imposing.)


Lou Costello statue.

Bob Matthews, Tenor

On the episode of the Abbott and Costello radio show from 3 May 1945, they introduced a new singer as aerial gunner Bob Matthews, who had “walked into the studio a few days before and started singing.” He had a beautiful, smooth tenor voice, and at least based upon that should have made it in the big time. He became a regular on the program for a while.


I am in complete sympathy with Psmith

The Wodehousean character Psmith originally went to work for his uncle in the fish  business, but he could not stand that, so he looked elsewhere. This morning I opened a sample package of smoked salmon, and that smell has been on my hands ever since. I sympathize completely with Psmith.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Another great role by a famous radio voice

Hans Conried's distinctive voice was a busy one during the days of old radio. And it lived on into the cartoon era. Among others, his was the voice of the memorable character Dudley Do-Right.



That Grand Canyon is a fake!

I went out there to look at it yesterday. There's nothing there but a big hole. They must have moved it someplace else.

(from the Abbott and Costello radio show)

When my brother kicked over the spit cup

My uncle (my mother's brother-in-law) was a life-long dipper. We boys frequently stayed at their house when we visited my grandmother in the southern part of the state. Uncle Carroll would set his spit cup by the side of his chair in the den, where the television set was. One time my brother was playing in another part of the house and came charging into the room and kicked over the cup. Needless to say, our uncle was not a happy man.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An apple from the past

It is interesting how certain phrases from years past, of no consequence, will stock in your mind. My grandfather died in 1975, and this would have been some time before that. He was eating a slightly over-ripe apple at the time, and commented, "Sometimes I like a good meller (mellow) apple." I don't know why, but I have remembered that statement ever since. I think of it just about every time I eat one of those apples.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Current holder of a famous title

The name Lord Lovat is a famous one in history. Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, commanded a commando brigade at Sword Beach in the Normandy invasion in World War II. (See the picture below.) His grandson, Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, came into the title in 1995.

Lord Lovat, Newhaven, 1942.JPG
The Brigadier

Image result for 16th lord lovat simon fraser
Current Lord Lovat

Rain, rain, go away - not really

I realize that without the rains we would be in deep trouble. Drought is a terrible calamity, and if it does not rain during the rainy season, the water tables will be lowered and that is not good. But when the ground is soggy and the driveway is sloppy and you cannot walk across the yard without sinking up above the soles of your shoes, you just yearn for a little dryness. And then when it gets dry, we will be doing just the opposite. We are great complainers, are we not?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ladies, be careful who you attract

"Some women just seem to attract the good men. Others just attract the good-lookin' rascals."

(from The Cherokee Trail, by Louis Lamour)

Louis Lamour on gun control

"Many's the man was killed before ever gun was invented, an' not havin' a gun never stopped anybody from killin' who was a mind to. Nor a woman, either."

(from The Cherokee Trail)


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Democrats are idiots. The Republicans are clowns.

May God have mercy on America!

Art Linkletter on radio

My generation is familiar with Linkletter because of his popular and enjoyable daytime television program. Its highlight was when he interviewed a group of children, who invariably would say something that was entertaining - and sometimes embarrassing.  This sort of thing was nothing new for Linkletter, however. He had been the host of the People Are Funny radio show in the 1950s, in which people were required to do ridiculous things in order to win prizes.


When your old house is torn down

On my way to visit relatives in Lamar yesterday, I drove down Rogers Avenue in Clarksville, where we lived for two years in the late 1970's while I taught there. The street has become highly commercialized, and the house had been torn down to make way for improvements. It was an old house when we lived in it - drafty and cold - but still it was sad that one of our homes was no longer. It was the first place that we lived in a real house as a family, so it held a lot of memories.

What did old folks do back then?

Social Security was instituted when my grandparents were in the middle of raising their family. That puts it in the class of things that were long before today's youth can remember - things they now take for granted. Now, I suspect we ought not take Social Security for granted given the finances of the equation, but that is beside the point in the point I am making. What did old folks do  back in those day. There comes a time when you physically cannot work any more, but you still have to eat.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Central Avenue in Los Angeles

On the Jack Benny show, you will hear Rochester refer occasionally to the goings-on on Central Avenue. According to Wikipedia:

From approximately 1920 to 1955, Central Avenue was the heart of the African-American community in Los Angeles, with active rhythm and blues and jazz music scenes. Local luminaries included Eric Dolphy, Art Pepper, Chico Hamilton, and Charles Mingus. Other jazz and R&B musicians associated with Central Avenue in LA include Benny Carter, Buddy Collette, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Hampton Hawes, Big Jay McNeely, Johnny Otis, Shifty Henry, Charlie Parker (briefly), Gerald Wilson, Onzy Matthews and Teddy Wilson. Commenting on its historical prominence, Wynton Marsalis once remarked that "Central Avenue was the 52nd Street of Los Angeles." Although Central Avenue is no longer the thriving jazz center it was, its legacy is preserved by the Central Avenue Jazz Festival and a small number of jazz clubs, including 2nd Street Jazz in Little Tokyo.

Lionel Hampton composed and performed a tune called "Central Avenue Breakdown". Dave Alvin's tribute to Big Joe Turner, "The Boss of the Blues", describes a drive down Central Avenue and Turner's reminiscences about the scene.

The role of movies in an awareness of history

Hollywood rarely gets things right. (Hollywood rarely even tries to get things right.) However, the movies did play a huge role in educating the public about World War II, however skewed that education might have been. At the very least, there were a lot of names, dates and places that were placed before the public - facts about which the average child today is abysmally ignorant.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The mystery of women

"Man yet to be born who can tell what woman will or will not do."

(Charlie Chan, from Charlie Chan in Reno)


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Situations that are well-managed

do NOT have a perpetual feeling of impending disaster.

Monday, March 16, 2015

There was no reason for Lum to finish his dictionary.

The only two words he could find that they had left out were ort and ain't.


A fertile field for creative writing

One one of his schemes to make money and become famous, Lum Edwards sent off for a correspondence course to learn how to be a writer. It seems that some of the former clients of the course were making vast sums of money writing for such notable periodicals as Boys' Workbench Weekly, Modern Tatting and Doily Revue, and Steamfitters' and Welders' Monthly Magazine.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Don't you hate it when your feet go to sleep?

When I sit very long with my feet on the coffee table it happens every time. Maybe if I weren't such a slob I could avoid it, huh?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

His opponent did not play fair

     "You didn't get hurt, did you?"
     "Only a bruised knuckle. Towards the conclusion of the exchanges I feinted with my left and brought up a snappy right to the heart, only to discover that my opponent was wearing over it, under his shirt, a locket containing a photograph of the woman he loved."
     "I assure you. He showed it to me later in the pub. You wouldn't have suspected a man like that of the softer emotions, would you? But so it as. Her name is Clara. A rather pie-faced girl, if you ask me, though I didn't wound him by telling him so. The locket was made of sheet iron or something, and was about the size of a young soup plate. A nasty crack it gave me."

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The recent history of a young man

     "Your circumstances seem to have changed. The last I heard of you, you were a sailor on a tramp steamer."
     "And after that a waiter. And after that a movie extra and a rather indifferent pugilist. I was also, for a time, a bouncer in a New York saloon. That was one of my failures. I started gaily out one night to bounce an obstreperous client, and, unfortunately, he bounced me. This seemed to cause the boss to lose confidence in my technique, and shortly afterwards I sailed for England to carve out a new career."

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

No accounting for brothers-in-law

     "You know him?"
     "He's my uncle."
     This was news to Joe. Nothing in the attitude of Sir Buckstone Abbott toward their passenger had suggested that the latter was his brother-in-law. Lacking to rather a marked extent that easy cordiality which one likes to see in Baronets toward their wives' kinfolk, it had resembled more that of a man confronted with a snake which is no relation.

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Rainy weather

A blessing to the earth. A wet blanket to human emotions. At least most of the time.


Friday, March 13, 2015

This mystery was hard to follow

     Tubby tried again to interest himself in the book which lay open upon his knee. But once more he found it too deep for him. It was entitled "Murder at Bilbury Manor," and was a whodunit of the more abstruse type, in which everything turns on whether a certain character, by catching the 3:43 train at Hilbury and changing into the 4:16 at Milbury, could have reached Silbury by 5:27, which would have given him just time to disguise himself and be sticking knives into people at Bilbury by 6:38. The detective and his friend had been discussing this question for about forty pages with tremendous animation, but Tubby found himself unable to share their eager enthusiasm.

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sic the dogs on him

     "I wouldn't dream of having him anywhere near your house. Have you dogs at Walsingford Hall?"
     ""Eh? Oh, yes, a couple of dogs."
     "If Peake tries to get into the house, set them on him."
     "They're only spaniels."
     "Spaniels are better than nothing," he said.

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Doc's fishing license

Doc Gamble: McGee, you've reminded me that I have to go buy a fishing license before the season starts.

McGee: Because I'm such a good sport?

Doc: No, because you have a big mouth.

The sad tale of J. Pierpont Suggs

J. Pierpont was a hobo who always had his own private rail car. The reason is that he never rode on box cars, but used cattle cars. He could stand it because he had broken his nose as a child and could not small a thing. In order not to disturb the cattle, he got a complete cowhide, including the head and horns. Things went along fine until a man came along branding the cattle as soon as they got off the car. To this day, J. Pierpont never takes off his pants with anyone around, in case someone from the Triple Bar X Ranch is there.

(As told by the Old Timer on Fibber McGee and Molly)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"It could be worse"

One of the most damaging of false assumptions is that it is wrong to complain about anything if our situation could be worse. From an eternal perspective, this is , of course, very true. Given that we are hell-deserving sinners, then anything we receive in this life is better than we deserve.

However, in the normal context of our lives, to use this thought process is to be pressing constantly downward upon the tenor of our lives. Any acknowledgement that things could and should be better than they are is to “complain” after a fashion. If we register a complaint, then we are pressing to improve, or for someone else to improve.

I have been disgusted when I hear company management, when the compensation package of employees is cut in some fashion, make the retort, “Well, there are a lot of folks out there that do not have a job, so just be glad for what you have.” So we are not to notice any deficiencies in the company as long as we have any kind of a job? Is that what they are saying? We are to assume that management is always doing the best it can do? The truth is that in those cases management got caught short, but they do not want anyone pointing it out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adolph Menjou on the Fred Allen radio program

Fred asks, "May I call you Adolph?"

Menjou responds, "I wish you wouldn't."

"Why is that?"

"A certain paper-hanger named Adolph has spoiled the name for all time," referring, of course, to Hitler.

We had a similar situation in our family. My wife's maternal grandfather's middle name was Adolph. He fought in World War I in the American army, and probably no one thought about the name. But I imagine he was glad he did not have to be in the army during the next war.

Dangerous winter drivers

I do not know which is worse: people who drive on frozen roads at 50 miles per hour when they should be driving 20 mph, or those who drive at 10 mph when they should be driving 40. Probably the former are more dangerous, but the latter are not helpful when their slow pace on a hill makes everyone else have to come to a stop.

Monday, March 09, 2015


Weariness of body often makes it impossible to go on, but weariness of soul is just as debilitating, because it makes us not even care to press on. When the desire is gone, how is the work to be done?

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Clock golf

In the Wodehouse novel, Summer Moonshine, reference is made several times to the game of clock golf. In case you are wondering if that is a real game or some invention of the author, it is real. Here is a LINK to the rules.


It was gaudy, but (presumably) rich

Architecturally, Walsingford Hall offended his cultured taste, but it had the same charm for him which a millioniare uncle from Australia exerts in spite of wearing a loud check suit and a fancy waistcoat. Wealth is entitled to its eccentricities of exterior, and, in return for what lies beneath, we are prepared to condone the outer crust.

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, March 07, 2015

A heel or a twerp?

     Adrian Peake was one of those young men, with whom London nowadays is so bountifully supplied, who live, like locusts, on what they can pick up. Sometimes they sell cars on commission, dabble in gossip writing, do a bit of interior decorating, make film tests which never come to anything and, if they can find somebody to put up the money, run bottle-party night clubs. But mostly they prefer to exist beautifully on free lunches, free dinners, free suppers and free cocktails with little sausages on sticks.
     If "twerp" is the correct word to describe one who acts thus, then unquestionably Adrian Peake was a twerp in good standing. It is significant, in this connection, to recall that Tubby's brother Joe had spoken of him as a heel, for, as all students of humanity are aware, a heel and a twerp are practically indistinguishable.

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Adolph Deutsch's score for The Maltese Falcon

Deutsch did not even get nominated for an Oscar for the musical score for this classic movie, but it certainly was an excellent one. As in others of his movie scores, he is a master as maintaining the emotional tension in the movie through the music. The music in Falcon is nothing extraordinary, but it fits the tense, fast-moving plot exactly.

An introduction to The Maltese Falcon

I am watching The Maltese Falcon with my son-in-law. It is his first time to see it, and I am enjoying getting to see his reaction to one of the great all-time classics, and perhaps the prototypical film noir. It also had one of the great casts of the period.


Friday, March 06, 2015

Peter Chambers: I wonder how real private eyes liked this show

Private investigator Peter Chambers (Crime and Peter Chambers radio show) was dashing, suave with the ladies (and there were always beautiful ladies) and made you think that the life of a private eye was continually one exciting race from one interesting case to another. How realistic was it? I doubt it was at all, but it made for an interesting radio program.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Have I mentioned how much I hate driving in winter weather

Nothing glamorous or exciting about it at all. It is dangerous, stressful and thoroughly exhausting. Bah, humbug!


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

"Man who ride tiger cannot dismount."

Charlie Chan, from The Chinese Ring. Sounds like the Chinese version of having a bulldog by the ears.


Monday, March 02, 2015

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Happy toddlers

Happy 1 1/2 year-olds are at once the most entertaining and exasperating of individuals. They are generally happy, because there is so much to get into that they have never been into before. Life is lots of fun for them. On the other hand, they are always into everything, and so adults have to be watching them ALL the time. One of the more interesting season of our lives.