Sunday, July 31, 2016

The downside to a name

          "The last time I heard about you was an announcement in the Morning Post that you were engaged to - I've forgotten the name, but I'm certain it wasn't Jackson."
          "Rollo Mountford."
          "Was it? Well, what has become of Rollo? You seem to have mislaid him. Did you break off the engagement?
          "Well, it - sort of broke itself off. I mean, you see, I went and married Mike."
          "Eloped with him do you mean?"
          "Good heavens!"
          "I'm awfully ashamed about that, Eve. I suppose I treated Rollo awfully badly."
          "Never mind. A man with a name like that was made for suffering."

(from Leave It To Psmith, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Live photography

Occasionally you will run into an old movie that features live footage of real-life situations as a prominent part of the movie. For example, Steel Town features some great shots of actual work in a steel mill. The Last Alarm shows live shots of fires burning and crews fighting them.

Well-turned phrases

Some of the quotes I include in this modest blog are there because of the subject's historical interest or some other miscellaneous reason. Most of them, however are included merely because they are skillfully expressed. I enjoy reading passages that are well-written, and I share some of the better ones  here. A well-turned phrase is an admirable thing.

Attitude adjustment

McClary was a reckless and ambitious young man known from Mescal to Muleshoe as fast on the draw, and finding that punching cows failed to support him in a style to which he wanted to become accustomed, he acquired a proclivity for cashing in his six-shooter at various cow country banks. To say that this practice was frowned upon by the hardworking sons of the sagebrush was putting it mildly, and Ranger Johnny Sutton had been called upon to correct McClary's impression that the country owed him a living.

(from "The Passing of Rope Nose," by Louis L'Amour)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Professional spongers, in other words

          "Who is this Sir Jaklyn Warner?"
          It was a question Joe felt fully competent to answer. "He is London's leading louse, a worm, a chiseler, a rat, a sponger, never done a stroke of work in his life, supports himself by borrowing money, which, of course, he never pays back.
          Mr. Trout nodded sagely. "I know the type. Young men like that abound in Hollywood. They live on cocktails and appetizers at parties to which they have not been invited. They roam the streets of Beverly Hills till they hear music and see a string of colored lanterns, and then they go in and eat sausages on little sticks."

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Only one offering

"I'm on the board of the U.E.L.I.S., the Undertakers and Embalmer's Life Insurance Society. We have only one policy: we cover you completely."

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

It depends on who tells the story

With your quick intelligence you have spotted that the coming clean of Trout if the one thing that was needed to extricate you from the soup in which you are wallowing. It gives verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. I go to her and say, "Hello there, Miss Fitch, I'll bet you've been wondering why Joe asked you to dinner and didn't turn up. The matter is readily explained. Somebody gave him a Mickey Finn," and it carries little or not conviction. But it's very different when Trout, tapping his chest, says, "I dun it." She swallows his story whole and asks for more.

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

One of my life's ambitions

Joe, after standing congealed for a second or two, had time to leap into another hired vehicle which happened to be passing and shout into the driver's ear those words familiar to all readers of the right sort of book: "Follow that car!"

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Let the Cards Decide

This is one of my favorites of Louis L'Amour's short stories. A girl is traveling west with her father. He dies, and she is left with debts. She promises to marry a boorish man if he will pay her debts. The stage on which they are traveling turns over and the travelers have to spend the night in a way station. To pass the time they start a poker game. The young man telling the story decides he will try to win the girl's freedom. There is a slender, sickly man with a chronic cough in the group who says he is a "gentleman of fortune," so the young man signals to him what he intends to do. They play the boor for a sucker and take his money. Then she cuts high card for her freedom. He angrily responds that he won't do it, and the sickly fellow indicates that he will, indeed. He starts to go for his gun, but one of the travelers warns him that that is Doc Holliday. Great story.

That will get him moving!

          "If you aren't here in  twenty minutes, I'll take all my business away from you and give it to Jones, Jukes, Jenkinson and Jerningham."
          The threat was one Mr. Trout could not ignore. Mr. Llewellyn's business was extremely valuable to him, and Jones, aided and abetted by Jukes, Jenkinson and Jerningham, had been trying to get it away from him for years.

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's an old joke, but

I don't think I could name the most famous cubist painters, because quite honestly I do not know any painters from Cuba.  (hyuk, hyuk, hyuk)

Why tires specifically?

There may be lots of objects around that would do, but why is it that a dog will almost always go to a car tire to lift his leg?

Why Do Male Dogs Lift Their Leg to Urinate?

Has to be one or the other

He was not unintelligent, and he knew that in this world a young man has the choice between two forms of self-expression when dealing with an elder whose patronage he is seeking. He can so ingratiate himself with him as to become his trusted confidant, or he can take him by the seat of the trousers and throw him out of stage doors. He cannot do both.

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Watch her like a hawk!

"My sympathies are all with you," Miss Dolby continued, softening. I wish you life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and I shall give three hearty cheers if you come through, but I'm like the referee in a football game. He can't take sides. He may want the boys in the pink shirts to clobber the lads in the green with purple stripes, but he doesn't allow that to affect his decisions. Let the pinkos step for an instant from the strait and narrow path and, much as he loves them, up goes his whistle and starts tootling."

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Stiff upper lip

          "Take the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled. Can't have been very pleasant for him."
          "Not very."
          "But I've never heard that he grumbled. And Napoleon. He suffered from chronic dyspepsia. Couldn't digest a thing. Every time he got up from dinner he felt as if a couple of wildcats were fighting for the wildcat welterweight championship inside him. And Waterloo on top of that."
          "And probably all he said was Oo la la."
          "I shouldn't wonder."
          "Or Zut."
          "Yes, possibly Zut."

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, July 22, 2016

On the plump side?

          The young man said, "Mr. Pickering here tonight, Mac?"
          To which Mac replied, "He's round in  front," which would not have been a bad description of the visitor propped against the wall, who was noticeably stout. Julius Caesar would have liked him.

(from Bachelors Anonymous, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Power corrupts

"Many a small man is considered good while he remains small, but let power come to him, and he becomes a raging fury."

(from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Positively looking forward

"Only the weak blame parents their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, This I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds."

(from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour)

The Conning Tower

At one time in my parents' lives, "The Conning Tower" was a well-known newspaper column written by Franklin P. Adams. Unfortunately, to today's populace he is largely unknown; but his wide range of knowledge made him a formidable panelist on the Information Please radio program.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

White sheep of the family

Caesar Romero: "How come you never mentioned this uncle of yours?"

Milton Berle: "The family never mentioned him. He was the one that was honest and legitimate."

(from the movie A Gentleman at Heart)

Seeing the future

          "Can you see the future, Kerbouchard?"
          "Who would wish to? Our lives hold a veil between anticipation and horror. anticipation is the carrot suspended before the jackass to keep him moving forward. Horror is what he would see if he took his eyes off the carrot."

(from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gut Bucket Blues

In his novel Spade and Archer, author Joe Gores has Sam Spade whistling a tasty little number called "Gut Bucket Blues." And, yes, there is such a piece of music.


Just do this

Life is a continual learning process, and if a man lives to be as old as Methuselah there will still be issues in which he makes mistakes. However, if a man could just resolve to learn from his mistakes and contrive somehow not to repeat the same mistakes, he would take a giant step toward a prosperous and happy life. The problem with most of us is that we are very reluctant learners.

Sometimes Louis L'Amour came up with some good thoughts

"The woman who wishes to be the equal of a man usually turns out to be less than a man and less than a woman. A woman is herself, which is something altogether different than a man."

(from The Walking Drum)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Why books?

"Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book  is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think."

(from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

George Zucco - one of the all-time great bad guys

His imperious manner, his piercing eyes, his articulate speech - they all combined to make Zucco a very effective bad man.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

An idiotic statement

Donald Trump said he would ask Congress for a declaration  of war against global terrorism. You can only declare a state of war against a recognized state. If you declare war against ISIS, all you are doing is validating their claim to legitimacy. A criminal organization cannot formally surrender as can a state, thus putting an end to the conflict. If you put into the hands of a President the considerable powers of a declaration of war without any way of clearly ending that condition, then you are basically giving him dictatorial powers indefinitely - which probably is what Mr. Trump has in mind.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Count of Auschwitz

Sergeant Major Charles Coward was himself involved in several escape attempts. However, perhaps his greatest exploit was in helping a few of the inmates of Auschwitz to escape - at least for a while. As the ranking NCO in the prison camp, he had privileges of movement, and bribed a guard to give him corpses from the gas chambers at the death house. Then, when a group was being marched along the road toward extermination, he and some buddies would help a corresponding number to escape, then after the column had passed, place the corpses along the road to be found later - presumably being those who had collapsed en route. He became known as The Count of Auschwitz. Coward later gave important testimony about what he had seen in the war.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Talking peace

To talk of peace with him who holds a drawn sword is foolish unless one is unarmed, then one must talk very fast, indeed.

(from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Early morning

My medical condition means that I am rising even earlier than usual, so I get to see the first light of day most of the time. It is beautiful and refreshing, even if it does remind me that I am running behind on sleep.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Joan Crawford's deterioration

Joan Crawford is another of those actresses to whom time was particularly unkind. Reasonably attractive when young, she was notably at the other end of the spectrum when she aged.

Image result for joan crawford

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

One form of luxury

I am not going to work today. I was up early, but the rest of the household are sleeping late. I have a great deal to get done, but all of it is MY work, not the other man's, and I will get it done (if I do) on my schedule. Ahhhhh, luxury.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Don't let the sweet smile fool you


She was a Soviet sniper during World  War II, with 59 kills to her credit.

The Great Escape - for the first time

We are watching the movie The Great Escape - for the first time for my son-in-law. It is one of my two all-time favorite movies (the other being The Quiet Man). I can watch it over and over again.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Elisabeth Bergner - a forgotten star

Paris Calling is a very good WWII thriller about the French Underground, It stars Elisabeth Bergner. Almost forgotten now, she gained great fame on the stage in Germany until she and her husband fled Nazi Germany. She had almost unbelievably large and soulful eyes and portrayed an innocent and defenseless persona. Theater critic Alexander Woollcott once said she was "probably the ablest actress living today."

Dr. Gillespie and Nurse Parker on Dr. Kildare

The Dr. Kildare radio show was remarkably well done, even though it was essentially a soap opera. The real charm of it was the running battle between Lionel Barrymore (Dr. Gillespie) and Virgiinia Gregg (Nurse Parker).

A trivial but poignant moment in movies

Dean Jones running down the foggy streets of San Fransisco calling Herbie's name.

Friday, July 01, 2016

A no-nonsense proposal

          "I spoke  to you about this  the other day, if you remember. You'll agree that if there's trouble around, you're sure to get into it?"
          Crispin found it impossible to deny this. From early manhood he and trouble had been inseparable companions.
          "So you need a wife."
          "I do."
          "Try me," said Barney [Bernadette].

(from The Girl in Blue, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)