Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dragnet - sometimes too realistic

Jack Webb's object in the Dragnet radio show was to show the real-life situations of police officers. To that end, the program included lots of conversations about completely mundane subjects that were irrelevant to the case on the program. All that is well and good, and it reinforced the idea that cops are just real people, but it also made big portions of the show very uninteresting.

What you want is a pig expert

          George Cyril Wellbeloved was a long, lean, red-haired man with strabismus in the left eye. This rendered his left eye rather unpleasant to look at, and as even the right eye was nothing to cause lovers of the beautiful to turn handsprings, one can readily understand why Sir Gregory during the chat which followed preferred to avert his gaze as much as possible.
          But, after all, what is beauty? Skin deep, you might say. His O. C. Pigs had a mouth like a halibut's, a broken nose acquired during a political discussion at the Emsworth Arms, and lots of mud all over him, but when you are engaging a pig man, Sir  Gregory felt, you don't want a sort of male Miss America, you want someone who knows about pigs. And what George Cyril Wellbeloved did not know about pigs could have been written on one of Maudie Montrose's picture postcards.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More brains than a cuckoo clock?

          "Come, come, Jeeves. Would I start pressing gloves to my lips at the moment when I was about to pinch a policeman's helmet?"
          "Apparently Mr. Pinker did, sir."
          I was on the point of explaining to him that what old Stinker would do in any given situation and what the ordinary, normal person with a couple of ounces more brain than a cuckoo clock would do were two vastly different things,when I was interrupted by the re-entrance of  Gussie.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Just like Sherlock

I was astounded at my keeness of perception. The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said  to myself, "What ho! A Dictator," and a Dictator he had proved to be. I couldn't have made a better shot if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living in Clapham

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Marlowe just got knocked out

I listened to an episode of Phillip Marlowe on the way to work today. He took a gun butt to the head and got knocked out. Naturally. All good private eyes get knocked out.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Not a poetic soul

I remember Mrs. Bingo Little once telling me, shortly after their marriage, that Bingo said poetic things to her about sunsets - his best friends being perfectly well aware, of course, that the old egg never noticed a sunset in his life  and that, if he did by a fluke ever happen to do so, the only thing he would say about it would be that it reminded him of a slice of roast beef, cooked just right.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Quite a curse!

          "Bertie," she said, "I wish to begin by saying a few words about Sir Watkyn Bassett, C.B.E. May green fly attack his roses. May his cook get tight on the night of the big dinner party. May all his hens get the staggers."
          "Does he keep hens?" I said, putting a point.
          "May his cistern start leaking, and may white ants, if there are any in England, gnaw away the foundations of Totleigh Towers. And when he walks up the aisle with his daughter Madeline, to give her away to that ass Spink-Bottle, may he get a sneezing fit and find that he has come out without a pocket handkerchief."

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stay on the good side of JPs

The thing that poisons life for a country policeman, the thing that makes him pick at the coverlet and brings him out in rashes, is the ever-present fear that one of these days he may talk out of turn and get in wrong with a Justice of the Peace. He knows what happens when you get in wrong with Justices of the Peace. They lay for you. They bide their time. And sooner or later they catch you bending, and the next thing you know you've drawn a strong rebuke from the bench. And if there is one experience the young copper wishes to avoid, it is being in the witness-box and having the Bench look coldly at him and say something beginning with, "Then are we to understand, officer . . .?" and culminating in the legal equivalent of the raspberry or Bronx cheer.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The Doctor Watsons of this world

Although Sherlock Holmes was fictitious, his relationship with Watson was not. It is not an uncommon thing for brilliant people to feel the need for a companion in order to do their best work. These sidekick generally contribute little from a cognitive standpoint, but their very proximity seems to serve as a motivation or a to have a stabilizing effect upon the primary member of the duo.

In short, squashed

I have spoken earlier of the tendency of the spirit of the Woosters to rise when crushed to earth, but there is a limit, and this limit had now been reached. At these frightful words, the spirit of the Woosters felt as if it had been sat on by an elephant. And not one of your steamlined, schoolgirl-figured elephants, either. A big, fat one.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, August 26, 2016

La Boheme - again

For the third time since I got satellite radio in my car, I got to listen to the last scene of La Boheme as I was riding to work. This time it was from 1952, with Licia Albanese and Giuseppe Di Stefano in the lead roles.

"Poor folks got poor ways"

So often young couples  starting out in marriage have a hard time making it financially. There is nothing wrong with that. It teaches them how to make it on just a little, draws them together, etc. But what happens too often is that young couples want to start off where their parents finished. They forget that poor folks can't live like rich folks - and stay solvent.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


We are no longer a very expressive people, in contrast to our European forebears. "Yestreen" means "last night" or "yesterday evening." Might even make an interesting girl's name, what?

Why wouldn't my watch have a second hand?

It's a secondhand watch.

(Mortimer Snerd, on the Edgar Bergen radio show)

Public policy affects names

We used to eat boysenberry pie. But of course, now that we must recognize gender equality, we have to eat personsenberry pie.

Image result for boysenberry pie


"Surprised detective might as well clutch iron ball and dive in lake."

(Charlie Chan in The Shanghai Chest)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hats and headrests

One of the blows to the habit of wearing dress hats are the headrests that are mandatory in cars today. With a bill in the back, it is difficult to wear hats while driving, and unless you spend a lot of time outdoors, it is just not worth the trouble. So, ball caps have replaced hats.

Unique odor

It was one of those mid-Victorian jobs in glazed red brick which always seem to bob up in these olde-world hamlets and do so much to encourage the drift to the towns. Its interior, like those of all the joints of its kind I've ever some across, was dingy and fuggy and smelled in about equal proportions of apples, chalk, damp plaster, Boy Scouts and the sturdy English peasantry.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

McLaglen the boxer

Movie fans know of his famous battle with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, but perhaps not all of them know that Victor McLaglen was a real-life boxer and wrestler before he entered the field of acting. In fact, in 1918 he was the heavyweight champion of the British Army.

Image result for victor mclaglen boxing champ

Deliver us from well-meaning people

          My heart stood still. I clutched at the windscreen for support, and what-whatted.
          "The great thing to remember, the thing to bear in mind and keep the attention fixed on, is that he meant well."
          My heart stood stiller. In your walks about London you will sometimes see bent, haggard figures that look as if they had recently been caught in some powerful machinery. They are those fellows who got mixed up with Catsmeat when he was meaning well.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, August 22, 2016

No eating and running here

Instead of the ordinary dinner, a regular binge had been arranged, with guests from all over the countryside. No fewer than ten of Hampshire's more prominent stiffs had been summoned to the trough, and they stuck on like limpets long after any competent chucker-out would have bounced them. No doubt, if you have gone to the sweat of driving twenty miles to a house to dine, you don't feel like just snatching a chop and dashing off.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tough aunts

"It's the old dragon gag. In the days when knights were bold, as you probably know, girls used to hound fellows into going out and fighting dragons. I expect your old pal Childe Roland had it happen to him a dozen times. But dragons are one thing and aunts are another. I have no doubt that Esmond Haddock would spring to the task of taking on a fire-breathing dragons, but there isn't the remotest chance of him ever standing up to Dame Daphne Winkworth, and the Misses Charlotte, Emmeline, Harriet and Myrtle Deverill and making them play ball."

(from The Mating Game, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Restful reading

I have generally found on these occasions when the heart is heavy that the best thing to do is to curl up with a good goose-flesher and try to forget, and fortunately I had packed among my effects one called Murder At Greystone Grange. I started to turn its pages now, and found that I couldn't have made a sounder move. It was one of those works in which Baronets are constantly being discovered dead in libraries and the heroine can't turn in for the night without a Thing popping through a panel in the wall of her bedroom and starting to chuck its weight about, and it was not long before I was so soothed that I was able to switch off the light and fall into a refreshing sleep.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


His whole attitude recalled irresistibly to tie mind that of some assiduous hound who will persist in laying a dead rat on the drawing-room carpet, though repeatedly apprised by word and gesture that the market for same is sluggish or even nonexistent.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Not a fresh smell

Eve went in. The single sitting-room of the cottage certainly bore out the promise of the exterior. It contained a table with a red cloth, a chair, three stuffed birds in a glass case on the wall, and a small horsehair sofa. A depressing musty scent pervaded the place, as if a cheese had recently died there in painful circumstances.

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

Be prepared

Meanwhile, back in Confusion, circumstances were moving men on the chessboard to involve Matt Coburn. For there are, in the affairs of men and nations, inexorable tides  from which they cannot remain aloof. If they do not enter upon them prepared, they will be caught unprepared, and at the wrong time.

(from The Empty Land, by Louis L'Amour)

The making of peace

"If you're going to have peace rather than violence, both sides have got to want it. Once side alone  can't make peace. You cannot go down there and talk the law and the rights of the public to men who can only profit by breaking the law. They just aren't going to listen."

(from The Empty Land, by Louis L'Amour)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jester Hairston - one actor who stuck with it

He was more famous as a conductor and arranger of spirituals, but he also did a good bit of acting on radio, television and the movies. Jester Hairston was married to the former Isabelle Margaret Swanigan for 47 years. I actually got to see him direct a master class on spirituals while I was in college.

LINK to Hairston conducting Elijah Rock.

Calm aplomb to the end

I  relapsed into a baffled silence. But it is never any good repining on these occasions. When I next spoke, I doubt if Catsmeat spotted the suspicion of a tremor in the voice. We Woosters are like that. In moments of mental anguish we resemble those Red Indians who, while getting cooked a crisp at the stake, never failed to be the life and soul of the party.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A tough old babe

The thought crossed my mind that life for the unfortunate moppets who had drawn this Winkworth as a headmistress must have been like Six Weeks on Sunny Devil's Island. Previous to making her acquaintance, I had  always supposed the Rev. Aubrey Upjohn to be the nearest thing to the late Captain Bligh of the Bounty which the scholastic world had provided to date, but I could see now that compared with old Battling Daphne he was a mere prelim boy.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Miserable fathead!

This is a very useful term, I think. What could better summarize some of the people I have met. Not that they are miserable - far from it. They do not have misery; they are carriers.

Of crawling to aunts

          "I told him I wouldn't have any more to do with him unless he asserted himself and stopped crawling to those aunts of his."
         "He crawls to his aunts, does he?"
         "Yes, the worm."
          I could not pass this. Better men than Esmond Haddock have crawled to their aunts, and I said so, but she didn't seem to be listening. Girls seldom listen to me, I've noticed.

( from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, August 12, 2016

An abrupt surprise

I opened the door, accordingly, and was immediately knocked base over apex by some solid body with a tongue like an ant-eater's. This tongue it proceeded to pass enthusiastically over my upper slopes and, the mists clearing away, I perceived that what I was tangled up with was a shaggy dog of mixed parentage. And standing beside us, looking down like a mother watching the gambols of her first-born, was Catsmeat's sister Corky.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sometimes blind dates work

Famous comedian Jerry Colonna met Florence Purcell on a blind date in 1930. They were married until his death in 1986.

Jerry Colonna 1951.JPG

Forget Sicily - stay away from Albania!

According to the Christian Science Monitor, from 1992 to 2008, there were 5000 people killed in vendettas or blood feuds in Albania.

That really was his name?

A glance at the young visitor was enough to tell me that he was low-spirited. And, mind you, it isn't often that you find the object under advisement in this condition. A singularly fizzy bird, as a rule. In fact, taking him by and large, I should say that of all the rollicking lads at the Drones Club, Claude Cattermole Pirbright is perhaps the most rollicking.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Makes it hard to find seating

If, as is advertised, all these gunslingers of the old West would only sit with their backs to a wall, that must have limited the seating space in eating establishments.

What do you have?

The Basenji breed has been called the "barkless dog" (although they can make bark-like sounds). I was just wondering what you would have if you had a disgruntled pig.

The Looney Bin

His lordship was no novice in the symptoms of insanity. Several of his best friends were residing in those palatial establishments set in pleasant parks and surrounded by high walls with broken bottles on them, to which the wealthy and aristocratic are wont to retire when the strain of modern life becomes too great. And one of his uncles by marriage, who believed that he was a loaf of bread, had made his first public statement on the matter in the smoking-room of this very castle. What Lord Emsworth did not know about lunatics was not worth knowing.

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Twice as good as a half-wit

He looked at Eve. He looked at her searchingly. Into her pleading eyes he directed a stare that sought to probe her soul, and saw there honesty, sympathy, and - better still - intelligence. He might have stood and gazed into Freddie's fishy eyes for weeks without discovering a tithe of such intelligence. His mind was made up. This girl was an ally. A girl of dash and vigour. A girl worth a thousand Freddies - not, however, reflected Mr. Keeble, that that was saying much.

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

Monday, August 08, 2016

It is just tough to be still

Miss Peavey eyed a clump of bushes some dozen yards farther down the drive. They were quivering slightly, as though they sheltered some alien body; and Miss Peavey, whose temper was apt to be impatient, registered a resolve to tell Edward Cootes that, if he couldn't hide behind a bush without dancing about like a cat on hot bricks, he had better give up his profession and take to selling jellied eels. In which, it may be mentioned, she had wronged her old friend. He had been as still as a statue until a moment before, when a large and excitable beetle had fallen down the space between his collar and neck, an experience which might well have tried the subtlest woodsman.

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

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Here's a new term of admiration

"Liz," said Mr. Cootes, lost in admiration, "when it comes to doping out a scheme, you're the snake's eyebrows!"

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

Saturday, August 06, 2016

He botched this one

          "In this life, Comrade Cootes," said Psmith, "we must always distinguish between the Unlikely and the Impossible. It was unlikely, as you say, that you would meet any friend of McTodd's in this out-of-the-way spot; and you rashly ordered your movements on the assumption that it was impossible. With what result? The cry goes round the Underworld, 'Poor old Cootes has made a bloomer?'"
          "You needn't rub it in."

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

Friday, August 05, 2016

Reckon they were kin?

Jill Ireland and Jeff Chandler

Jill Ireland, London, England (1936-1990) Actress, Breast Cancer. Married to David McCallum and Charles Bronson.

Image result for jeff chandler

Not conceited, just convinced

"I think you're terribly conceited."

"Not at all," said Psmith. "Conceited? No, no. Success has not spoiled me."

"Have you had any success?"

"None whatsoever."

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

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Familiarity breeds contempt

The first few times I watched episodes of the old Dobie Gillis TV show, Bob Denver as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs was really funny. And I can imagine that back when the show was life, he was funny all the time, watching him once a week. However, these days when we have a collection of the shows and watch him several shows in a row, funny quickly becomes merely irritating. I mean, after all, no one can be that stupid!

Once again, concerning fish

To me, Miss Clarkson, from the very start, the fish business was what I can only describe as a wash-out. It nauseated my finer feelings. It got right in amongst my fibres. I had to rise and partake of  a simple breakfast at about four in the morning, after which I would make my way to Gillingsgate Market and stand for some hours knee-deep in dead fish of every description. A jolly life for a cat, no doubt, but a bit too thick for a Shropshire Psmith.

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

To my generation, he WAS beatnik

Maynard G. Krebs

Image result for maynard g krebs

Fishy subject

"Yes. He is a hard man, and he judges his fellows solely by their devotion to fish. I never in my life met a man so wrapped up in a subject. For years he has been practically a monomaniac on the subject of fish. So much so that he actually looks like one. It is as if he had taken one of those auto-suggestion courses and had kept saying to himself, 'Every day, in every way, I grow more and more like a fish.' His closest friends can hardly tell now whether he more nearly resembles a halibut or a cod. . . . But I am boring you again with this family gossip?"

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

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

King of the finny denizens

"Owing to a financial upheaval in my  branch of the family, I was until this morning at the beck and call of an uncle who unfortunately happens to be a Mackerel Monarch or a Sardine Sultan, or whatever these merchant princes are called who rule the fish market. He insisted on my going into the business to learn it from the bottom up, thinking, no doubt, that I would follow in his footsteps and eventually work my way to the position of a Whitehead Wizard. Alas! he was too sanguine. It was not to be," said Psmith solemnly, fixing an owl-like gaze on Miss Clarkson through his eyeglass.

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

Monday, August 01, 2016

They have to be Old!

He went to the waiting room, and, having picked up a magazine from the table, settled down to rad a story in The Girl's Pet - the January number of the year 1919, for Employment Agencies, like dentists, prefer their literature of a matured vintage.

(From Leave It To Psmith, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse. Fans of old radio shows might recall that once, when they were trying to set up an office for the dentist who had moved to Pine Ridge, Lum and Abner were frustrated because they could not find any magazines that were old enough to put in the dentist's office.)