Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bachelor Father

This was a 30-minute television series that ran for five seasons in the late 1950's and early 1960's. It was a lot of fun and very well done. John Forsythe stars as a man who has to raise a niece who starts off as a 14-year-old and matures as the series progresses. The show-stealer, however, is Sammee Tong as Forsthe's house boy, Peter. Quite a few of the episodes of this show are available for purchase. I highly recommend it.

Bachelor Father, 1961.jpg

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A common redundancy

"Maybe, maybe not." The second half of that expression is not necessary. The word "maybe" carries with it the possibility that it will not happen.

Percival Forsythe Smith

This was the uncharacteristic name of a taxi driver in one of the episodes of The Green Hornet. He was in on the finish of the case, and since there was no reporter in this particular instance, decided he would call in the story himself - and maybe even become a reporter. But the cop on the case advised him to stick to driving.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chuckles' epitaph

Here lies Chuckles, who wore brass knuckles
And slugged every man in Pomona.
He led quite a life
Till he picked on his wife
Now he's waring a wooden kimono

(As delivered by Digger O'Dell on The Life of Riley radio show)

Richard Diamond's habits

"I have lots of habits. I drink lots of milk, go to the fights, dance the meanest rhumba west of Ebbets Field and write fan letters to June Allyson." June Allyson was, of course, his wife.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut

My father found this story in a humor book years ago. It is great fun to read.


The Story of a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull

by H.L. Chace
Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage, honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
Wan moaning, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut's murder colder inset. "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disk ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun stopper peck floors! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder nor sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers!"
"Hoe-cake, murder," resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, an tickle ladle basking an stuttered oft.
Honor wrote tutor cordage offer groin-murder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anomalous woof.
"Wail, wail, wail!" set disk wicket woof, "Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut! Wares are putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?"
"Armor goring tumor groin-murder's," reprisal ladle gull. "Grammar's seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter an shirker cockles."
"O hoe! Heifer gnats woke," setter wicket woof, butter taught tomb shelf, "Oil tickle shirt court tutor cordage offer groin-murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den - O bore!"
Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, an whinny retched a cordage offer groin-murder, picked inner windrow, an sore debtor pore oil worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh, disk abdominal woof lipped honor bet, paunched honor pore oil worming, an garbled erupt. Den disk ratchet ammonol pot honor groin-murder's nut cup an gnat-gun, any curdled ope inner bet.
Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft attar cordage, an ranker dough ball. "Comb ink, sweat hard," setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse.
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut entity bet rum, an stud buyer groin-murder's bet.
"O Grammar!" crater ladle gull historically,"Water bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!"
"Battered lucky chew whiff, sweat hard," setter bloat-Thursday woof, wetter wicket small honors phase.
"O Grammer, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!"
"Battered small chew whiff, doling," whiskered dole woof, ants mouse worse waddling.
"O Grammar, water bag mouser gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!"
Daze worry on-forger-nut ladle gull's lest warts. Oil offer sodden, caking offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disk hoard-hoarded woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.
MURAL: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spare the rod

"Sometimes quickest way to brain of young sprout is by impression on other end."
(from Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

An under-appreciated swashbuckler ending

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., was, in my opinion one of the best of the swashbucklers - certainly one of the most athletic. The climactic fight scene in the movie, The Exile, is one of the best in swashbuckling history. Fairbanks fights off the bad guys while jumping around on a windmill, including several rides up on the rotating wings.

A girl named Africa?

María África Gracia Vidal

That was the birth name of Actress Maria Montez.



"He could not look upon this girl and hear her voice and believe that she was not at heart as sound and sweet, tender and loyal, as any that any breathed." (from The Lone Wolf, by Louis Joseph Vance)

This is really an absurd statement, when you consider it. The Lone Wolf made his living by deceiving people, and for him to say that about a girl was tantamount to denying his own character. Of course, she is the heroine, so it turns out that his instincts were correct; but it is amazing that anyone like he would have had such instincts.

A big let-down

"It was anticlimax exaggerated to the proportions of the grotesque." That is a unique way of expressing it.

(from The Lone Wolf, by Louis Joseph Vance

Friday, April 22, 2016

Were Jack Benny and Fred Allen actually friends?

Allen himself wrote, "For years people have been asking me if Jack and I are friendly. I don't think that Jack Benny has an enemy in the world....He is my favourite comedian and I hope to be his friend until he is forty. That will be forever." (from Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Would they know who Lillis was?

I wonder how many current students at Gonzaga University would recognize this name. It was, of course, the middle name of Harry (Bing) Crosby, arguably Gonzaga's most famous alumnus.

Mail Call radio show

This program was very much like the Bob Hope live on-site broadcasts to entertain military personnel, except that the cast varied from week to week. It essentially was a half-hour variety program, mixing in music and comedy, depending on who was in the line-up that particular week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sir Douglas

He usually was the hero in swashbuckling movies. He was a Hollywood heart-throb. He was a bona fide World War II hero. And he was Sir Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., having been awarded an honorary knighthood.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Iron actor

In an interview, Parley Baer, who portrayed Chester on the Gunsmoke radio program, said that he missed only five out of about 590 shows.

Abraham and Strauss, and radio history

Some of the Sherlock Holmes radio programs were sponsored by Clipper Craft brand clothing. During their advertisements, they would list some of the retailers in the New York City area who sold that brand. Among them was Abraham and Strauss. I went to work for Wolverine Toy Company in Booneville, Arkansas in 1979, and I remember that we sold toys to A&S. The name was dropped by owner Macy's in 1994, so it became a part of retailing history.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Swear to perjure yourself

It is interesting to me that courts require witnesses to "tell the whole truth" and then pointedly refuse to let them do that, but rigidly restrict them to only the specific points introduced by the attorneys. Witnesses are required to act against their oath.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Even those towns have their limits

          "Stop that man!" ejaculated Officer Garroway. He turned back, baffled, with a darkening brow. "Now he's gone!' he said sombrely. "And he was wanted up in Syracuse."
          Sigsbee H. Waddington shook his head. He was not fond of that town, but he had a fair mind. "Even in Syracuse," he said, "they wouldn't want a man like that."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Look for the brainy sort

The girl eyed him worshippingly. One of the consolations which we men of intellect have is that, when things come to a crisis, what captures the female heart is brains. Women may permit themselves in times of peace of stray after Sheiks and look languishingly at lizards who only claim to admiration is that they can do the first three steps of the Charleston; but let matters go wrong; let some sudden peril threaten; and who then is the king pippin, who the main squeeze? The man with the eight and a quarter hat.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Now here is a nice mixed moniker

The Mexican actress known as Margo was born María Marguerita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Bolado Castilla y O'Donnell.


Gildersleeve was Portugese?

Harold Peary, the actor who portrayed Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve on the radio, was born José Pereira de Faria to Portugese parents.

Harold peary.jpg

Not the world's best-looking cop

The door opened, and Molly found herself gazing into the inflamed eyes of a policeman. She looked at him with surprise. She had never seen him before, and she rather felt that she would have preferred not to see him now: for he was far from being a pleasing sight. His nose, ears and eyes were a vivid red: and his straggling hair dripped wetly on to the floor. With the object of diminishing the agony caused by the pepper, Officer Garroway had for some time been holding his head under the tap in the kitchen: and he now looked exactly like the body which had been found after several days in the river. The one small point that differentiated him from a corpse was the fact that he was sneezing.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Not pleasing to a mother-in-law

It would be idle to deny that in the past three weeks George Finch had found his future mother-in-law something of a trial. Her consistent failure to hide the pain which the mere sight of him so obviously caused her was damping to an impressionable young man. George was not vain, and if Molly's stepmother had been content to look at him simply as if she thought he was something the cat had dragged out of the dust-bin, he could have borne up. But Mrs. Waddington went further. Her whole attitude betrayed her belief that the cat, on inspecting George, had been disappointed. Seeing what it had got, her manner suggested, it had given him the look of chagrin which cats give when conscious of effort wasted and had done elsewhere to try again. A lover, counting the days until the only girl in the world shall be his, will see sweetness and light in practically everything: but George Finch, despite his most earnest endeavors, had been compelled to draw the line at Mrs. Waddington.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Better know which is which

          "I say again, that I have a presentiment that this marriage will never take place. I had a similar presentiment regarding the wedding of my sister-in-law and a young man named John Porter. I said, 'I feel that this wedding will never take place.' And events proved me right. John Porter, at the very moment when he was about to enter the church, was arrested on a charge of bigamy."
          George uttered protesting noises. "But my morals are above reproach."
          "So you say."
          "I assure you that, as far as women are concerned, I can scarcely tell one from another."
          "Precisely," replied Mrs. Waddington, "what John Porter said when they asked him why he had married six different girls."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 11, 2016

In other words, she was getting really mad

There came upon Mrs. Waddington a ghastly calm like that which comes upon the surface of molten lava in the crater of a volcano just before the stuff shoots out and starts doing the local villagers a bit of no good.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hard on the eyes, was he?

George was gazing at Molly's father as at some beautiful work of art - a superb painting, let us say - the sort of thing which connoisseurs fight for and which finally gets knocked down to Dr. Rosenbach for three hundred thousand dollars. Which will give the reader a rough idea of what love can do: for, considered in a calm and unbiased spirit, Sigsbee Waddington was little, if anything, to look at.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, April 09, 2016

The revolt of the hen-pecked husband

It would be idle to deny that, at this particular moment, Sigsbee H. Waddington was in a dangerous mood. The history of nations shows that the wildest upheavals come from those peoples who have been most rigorously oppressed: and it is so with individuals. There is no man so terrible in his spasmodic fury as the henpecked husband during his short spasms of revolt. Even Mrs. Waddington recognized that, no matter how complete her control normally, Sigsbee H., when having one of his spells, practically amounted to a rogue elephant. Her policy wa to keep out of his way till the fever passed, and then to discipline him severely.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, April 08, 2016

Not a candidate for a police recruiting poster

He was a long, stringy policeman, who flowed out of his uniform at odd spots, as if Nature, setting out to make a constable, had had a good deal of material left over which she had not liked to throw away but hardly seemed able to fit neatly into the general scheme. He had large, knobby wrists of a geranium hue and just that extra four or five inches of neck which disqualify a man for high honours in a beauty competition. His eyes were mild and blue and from certain angle he seemed all Adam's apple.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Good, or fancy?

In his novel, Mojave Crossing, Louis L'Amour refers in one sentence to good women and to "fancy" women. Obviously, he intended for them to be contrasted. Young women ought to remember that. "Good" never has been "fancy," and never will be.

Not the best circumstances for a proposal

     "I went to see her just before I left Bingley. I was absolutely determined that this time I would ask her to marry me. And do you know what happened?"
     A bitter laugh escaped Bill Bannister. At least Lord Tidmouth presumed that it was a bitter laugh. It had sounded more like a death-rattle. "The moment I appeared - before I could even speak - she said, 'Put out your tongue.'"
     "What did you do?"
     "I put it out. 'Coated,' she said, and prescribed a mild tonic. Now, could I have followed that up by asking her to be my wife?"
     "It wasn't what you would call a good cue," admitted Lord Tidmouth.

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

How to cure a ventriloquist

Did you ever hear the story of the ventriloquist who played solitaire? He used to annoy his wife by holding long conversations with himself in his sleep. It became such a trial to the poor woman that she had serious thoughts of getting a divorce. And then one evening, by the greatest good luck, he caught himself cheating at solitaire and never spoke to himself again.

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

It must be love

She was on the point of coming briskly to business when the extraordinary pop-eyed nature of his stare forced itself upon her attention. A moment later he advanced a step towards her, still looking like a prawn, and in an odd, strangled voice emitted the single word "Guk!"

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 04, 2016

Pigs are NOT the answer

"Squiffy, have you ever felt a sort of strange emptiness in the heart? A sort of aching void of the soul?"

"Oh, rather!"

"What do you do about it?"

"I generally take a couple of cocktails."

Bill shook his head. "Cocktails aren't any good. Nothing's any good. I've read books, gone in for sport, tried work. No use whatever."

"What sort of work?"

"Stock-farming. And what's the result? I have a thousand pigs, and my heart is empty."

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Image result for pigs

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Of halibuts and their enemies

I read an interesting thing in the paper the other day," said Lord Tidmouth. "It appears that the sardine's worst enemy is the halibut, and I give you my word that until I read it I didn't know the sardine had an enemy. And I don't mind telling you that my opinion of the halibut has gone down considerably. Very considerably. Fancy anything want to bully a sardine. I mean to say!"

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Hoping for a brokered convention

Totally apart from the issue of who is involved and who wins, I would very much like to see a brokered political party convention this year, for purely historical purposes. According to the information I was able to find, the last nominee from a brokered convention was in 1952 - the year before  I was born. Basically what that means is that a person would have to be 70 years old to have even the vaguest memory of such an event.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Milking time

When I was about four years old, my family moved from Magazine, Arkansas to Booneville (the next town down Highway 10) and built a house on thirty acres of rocky hillside, where I grew up and where my parents live to this day. Daddy enjoyed messing with cattle, and always kept a few head on the place to keep the grass eaten down and to provide beef – and milk. Yes, as strange as it seems in this health-conscious day, we milked a cow every day that we had one fresh. The only health precaution taken was that Mama would strain the milk through a boiled cloth. As far as I know, we never suffered any ill health effects whatsoever. As long as my digestive system allowed me to drink it, I loved a cool glass of milk, and cornbread and milk was a staple on Sunday nights at our house.

Daddy loved clabbered milk, strangely enough, and he would set out a jar of milk for that purpose. Eventually the curd would separate from the whey in a white mass. He would dip out the curd and eat it like ice cream. We made our own butter, of course, and it usually fell to us boys to churn. Most of the time Mama would put the milk in a gallon jar and we would slosh it back and forth until the butter came. Later on, Mama got a Daisy churn, which was easier. The best method, however, which we never had at home, was the crockery churn my Grandma Green had. It had a wooden plunger, and you would raise and lower it in the church with a pleasant and satisfying  “ker-sploosh” sound. Great fun!

 Some of the time Daddy had a bona fide milk cow of a dairy breed. I particularly remember one named Pet (a Guernsey, I think), who was very tame and mild-mannered, and who actually would let us children ride on her back (for a few steps, at least). However, if we did not have a milk cow per se, Daddy just milked whichever of the cows he could get to stand still in the stall. Hereford, Angus – it mattered not, as long as they were milkable. Daddy was a good milker. He had strong hands and could really make the milk foam. As he milked, there would be a particular rhythm to the sound, which fascinated us children.

Eventually, we boys got old enough, and Daddy got a job at the college in Fort Smith, which necessitated his leaving earlier, so we took over the milking. None of us ever was as good as he was, but we muddled through. I remember the routine well. We would stumble down to the barn in the early morning hours, put the feed in the trough, turn in the cow, secure her head in the stanchion, and go to work. It took us a good bit longer than Daddy, and we never were able to strip the milk as completely as he did. One of the real challenges of milking was to keep the cow from stepping in the bucket. You had to have our left hand ready to block her hind leg when she would kick. Despite our best efforts, however, occasionally she would kick the bucket, or even get her foot in it, and the milk would be ruined. That did not go over well at Headquarters. Another hazard of milking was that in the summertime we probably would not wear shoes, and there was always the chance  the cow would step on our unprotected foot. That was a thrilling experience!

Much of the time there would be a goodly contingent of cats in the barn, waiting for their fair share of the proceeds. They could get to be pests at times, trying to get to the milk bucket. What with swatting cats and watching for the cow's foot and dodging her tail, things could be very lively. We taught the cats to catch streams of milk in their mouths. They would stand on their hind legs and drink the milk "on the fly."

One thing about drinking raw milk in an unimproved pasture is that the milk takes on the flavor of whatever the cow eats. We always had a problem with bitterweeds, and so sometimes the milk would have a definite unpleasant flavor. As boys, one of our fund-raising projects was to pull bitterweeds. Daddy would pay us a penny for every 50 plants we pulled. We attacked the project with gusto - but you had to be careful not to put your hands in your mouth until you had washed them. Yuck!