Saturday, December 31, 2016

Very uncool

For a television show whose star epitomized coolness, Danger Man (Secret Agent in the U. S.) certainly had a parade of some of the uncoolest cars ever.

Not very complimentary to the fish

"You're much to fond of frowsting indoors. That's why you have the sallow look."

"I didn't know I had a sallow look."

"Of course you have a sallow look. What else did you expect? You look like the underside of a dead fish."

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Jed Clampett's sister

You might know that Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett of Beverly Hillbillies fame) began his career as a song and dance man. What you probably did not know is that his career began as a part of a brother/sister dancing act with his sister Vilma.

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Siberian eel hound

P. G. Wodehouse mentions Siberian eel hounds in his book Very Good, Jeeves. I thought it must be a joke, and a quick search did not reveal any such recognized breed of dog. There is a musical group by that name, however.

The food was bad!

The garbage I had had to insult the Wooster stomach with at the pub had been of a particularly lethal nature. Generally these rural pubs are all right in the matter of browsing, but I had been so unfortunate as to pick one run by a branch of the Borgia family. The thought had occurred to me as I ate that if Bingley had given his uncle lunch there one day, he wouldn't have had to go to all the bother and expense of buying little known Asiatic poisons.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Advice to young men

Always treat women of every age as ladies, even if they do not act like ladies.

William Conrad's voice

If you were designing a voice to put with the actor to play the head of a crime organization, you would end up with William Conrad's.

Now, that is a snort!

Her snorts were not the sniffing snorts snorted by Ma McCorkadale; they resemble more an explosion in the larger type of ammunition dump and they send strong men rocking back on their heels as if struck by lightning.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Do you look like this?

"A physique like a gunny sack full of cantelopes." (Fibber McGee)

Feeling down in the dumps?

Just listen to a series of Fibber McGee and Molly radio shows. Hard to stay down in Wistful Vista.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

She didn't like losers

          "Is he so bent on representing Market Snodsbury in the Westminster menagerie?"
          "It isn't that so much. Left to himself, I imagine he could take Parliament or leave it alone. But he thinks Florence will give him the bum's rush if he loses."
          "He's probably right. She can't stand a loser."
          "So he told me. Remember what happened to Percy Gorringe."
          "And others. England is strewn with ex-fiances whom she bounced because they didn't come up to her specifications. Dozens of them. I believe they form clubs and societies."
          "Perhaps calling themselves the Old Florentians."
          "And having an annual dinner."

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, December 26, 2016

How Bertie got his name

          "Never mind about Tuppy for the moment. Concentrate on the sticky affairs of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster."
          "Wilberforce," she murmured, as far as a woman of her outstanding lung power could murmur. "Did I ever tell you how you got that label? It was your father's doing. The day before you were lugged to the font looking like a minor actor playing a bit part in a gangster film, he won a packet on an outside in the Grand National called that, and he insisted on you carrying on the name. Tough on you, but we all have our cross to bear."

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

One spacey chick

"You look a bit damp," I added, changing the subject. "Was it raining when you were out?"

"A little, but I didn't mind. I was saying good night to the flowers."

"Oh, you say good night to them, too?"

"Of course. their poor little feelings would be so hurt if I didn't."

(from Jeeves and the Tie That  Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fits a lot of people we know, huh?

"It's enough to take the noble earl on the short journey to the end of his wits." (from a synopsis of A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Does that sound familiar?

What if pianos were constructed backward

What if the tones got higher in pitch as you went toward the left. The melody usually is in the higher-pitched notes because they are more easily heard, and the melody is usually more intricate, and most people are right-handed. So if pianos were made backward, we would be playing melodies with our left hands.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting for retirement

I can recall only one other event that compared to retirement, and that was marriage, at least in the anticipation aspect. Having children is almost the same, but in those cases you do not know precisely when the child will be born, and in retirement and weddings you do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The value of knowing truth

"To know forgery, one must have original."
(from Charlie Chan on Broadway)

Having a lot of different version of error is not particularly helpful.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Just the thing to steady his nerves

I was profoundly stirred, for if you think fellows enjoy listening to the sort of thing Spode had been saying about me, you're wrong. My pulse was rapid and my brow wet with honest sweat, like the village blacksmith's. I was badly in need of alcoholic refreshment, and just as my tongue was beginning to stick out and blacken at the roots, shiver my timbers if Jeeves didn't enter left center with a tray containing all the makings. St. Bernard dogs, you probably know, behave in a similar manner in the Alps and are well thought of in consequence.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Just keep a sharp eye

I made no move to accompany him. What little I had had of his society had been ample. As we were staying in the same house, we would no doubt meet occasionally, but not, I resolved, if I saw him first.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Do the family still live here?"

This is a line from the television series Danger Man, starring Patrick McGoohan. It illustrates the fact that the Queen's English (the sort spoken in Britain) considers collectives to be plural, and use verb forms accordingly. "Do they still live here," is how they would  view it.

Not particularly indicative

"She's like one of those princesses in the fairy tales who used to set fellows some task to perform - it might be scaling a mountain of glass or bringing her a hair from the beard of the Great Cham of Tartary - and then gave them the brush-off when they couldn't make the grade."

I recalled the princesses of whom he spoke, and I had always thought them rather fatheads. I mean to say, what sort of a foundation for a happy marriage is the bridegroom's ability to scale mountains of glass? A fellow probably wouldn't be called on to do that more than about once every ten years, if that.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, December 16, 2016


Andrew Vabre "Andy" Devine. Famous film and radio star.

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Was the Pine Ridge of Lum and Abner a real place?

Well, yes and no. The little community of Waters changed their name to Pine Ridge in 1936 and has been known as such ever since, but evidently the name originally was fictitious. In fact, if you look at a Google map of the area, the road on which the community is located is referred to as Old Waters Highway.

Not slander, but still wrong

In law, it is a maxim that truth is an absolute defense against slander. If what you say is true, then you cannot be sued in that regard. However, just because something is true does not mean it needs to be said. It can be wrong to say it without its being untrue.

McDonald's trains their workers well

When they start to work on the drive-through phone, if the customers can understand them, they put a marble in their mouths. Then they keep adding marbles until they are impossible to understand, and then they are trained.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Old, reheated, thin crust pizza

A little like shoe leather in texture, but right tasty.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Only losers are traitors."

A line from one of the bad guys in the TV show Danger Man. I would assume that his expression would continue, "The winners are patriots."

Duly famous

"He who filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed." Shakespeare. Occasionally that bird could turn a phrase, couldn't he? That is a profound statement, eloquently stated.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A beauty hint you may have missed

Cucumber juice massaged gently over the fingernails will improve their growth. However, cream cheese rubbed on a bald head will not improve the cream cheese. (from the Steve Allen radio show)

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Just not for very long

I was touched, as who would not have been, by the eagerness she showed for my company. Too many of my circle are apt when inviting me to their homes to stress the fact that they are only expecting me for the weekend and to dwell with too much enthusiasm on the excellence of the earlier trains back to the metropolis on Monday morning.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pine Ridge's expression of astonishment

"That'll make their eyes bug out like a stomped-on toad frog."

I work just like I get paid

Twice a month, and very little at that.

(not original with me)

She had a hearty way of speaking

I had already divined who was at the other end of the wire, my good and deserving Aunt Dahlia having a habit of talking on the telephone with the breezy vehemence of a hog-caller in the western states of America calling his hogs to come and get it. She got this way through hunting a lot in her youth with the Quorn and Pytchley. What with people riding over hounds, and hounds taking time off to chase rabbits, a girl who hunts soon learns to make herself audible. I believe that she, when in good voice, could be heard in several adjoining counties.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Not even if you think it

If a girl thinks you're in love with her and says she will marry you, you can't very well voice a preference for being dead in a ditch. Not, I mean, if you want to regard yourself as a preux chevalier, as the expression is, which is always my aim.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Almost, but not quite

Actor Patrick McGoohan (star of the Secret Agent/Danger Man television series) was the master of the half-smile. He would smile with his lips, but almost never with his eyes.

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Detectives have sympathetic wives

Jeff jumped out of his chair and started for the door. I stepped in front of him. "Where are you going, Jeff?"

"Up to  have a chat with Polly Franklin."

"Then I'm going with you. I won't stay here alone."

"Haila, why don't you go to some seaside resort for a couple of weeks? Lie in the soothing sand, bask in the healing sun . . .?"

"And read in the newspaper how the murderer gave you your lumps? No, thanks. I want to see you get your lumps. Let's go."

(from The Frightened Stiff, by Kelley Roos)

Friday, December 09, 2016


"To be found listening to what is not meant for your ears is to show that you have something to conceal." (from Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Weddings and retirement

Getting ready to retire is not unlike getting ready to get married. It generally happens only once in a lifetime, and it is approached with great anticipation.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Healthy as a brewery horse

For some odd reason, the standard for good health on old time radio shows seems to have been the draft horse, specifically one that pulled beer wagons. I know of no reason why they should have been healthier than other animals, but they certainly were massive and sturdy beasts.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

So, who originated argyle socks?

According to Wikipedia, Scottish highlanders have been wearing socks with the Argyle pattern since at least the 17th history. Here is a LINK to a Brooks Brothers spot about them.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Paul Robeson - a great singer and a great football player

He was a two-time All-American in football at Rutgers, and sang one of the most famous renditions ever of the the song, Ol' Man River. A magnificent bass-baritone voice. Some aspects of his life were less than admirable, but in these two areas he was outstanding. Perhaps the only rival to his version is THIS one by William Warfield, which has the advantage of more modern recording technology.

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The difference between assault and battery

If I remember my old business law course correctly, if I take a swing at you and hit you, that is assault and battery. If I sneak up behind you and hit you, that is battery, but not assault, because you were never in fear of harm. If I take a swing at you and miss, that is assault, but not battery, assuming you can prove you suffered some harm because of the swing.

Arkansas beauty pageants you are not likely to see

Miss Oil Trough
Miss Bald Knob
Miss Big Flat
Miss Gravelly
Miss Lead Hill

Argyll and elephants

Now here is something I am guessing you did not know. I like the name Argyll, and I am fond of argyll socks. And I knew that the chief of Clan Campbell, Torquhil Campbell, is the Duke of Argyll. However, I did not know that he was an enthusiast in the game of Elephant Polo. It is exactly what you think it is - just like normal polo except that you ride elephants instead of horses.

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No, it isn't Basil

Think the picture below might possibly be of Basil Rathbone? No, it isn't. It is, however, a photo of Actor Frank Benson, who was Basil's cousin.

How we categorize actors

It is interesting what causes us to categorize particular actors. My wife and I are big old movie fans, but we are not into horror movies. Thus, our mental pigeonholing of Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre is much different that it might be with many people. First and foremost, we think of Karloff as Mr. Wong and Lorre as Mr. Moto, two of the famous oriental detectives. We have enjoyed those series of movies tremendously and that is how we think of those two actors.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

The movie actress and the college professor

They were one and the same. Linda Stirling starred in a number of movies from 1944 to 1947. Then she essentially retired from films, enrolled at UCLA and eventually got a doctorate in English literature.

Linda Stirling

My father and the sense of accomplishment

I remember vividly that when my father would offer thanks over the supper table, most of the time he would include thanks "for what we have been able to get done today." To Daddy a day wasted was a crime, and one without something done that was worth doing was a source of shame and frustration.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

When those foreign-born actors change their names

It is a common thing for actors to change their names. There are many different reasons for it. Some are just not very pretty names, some are hard to pronounce, etc. Some, however, were of foreign extraction and had names that did not translate very well into the American landscape. Take, for example Cornel Wilde. He was born Kornél Lajos Weisz in Hungary in 1912.