Monday, August 21, 2017

Took one on the chin

Baxter, meanwhile crawled steadily on his hands and knees towards the light switch. He was in much the same condition as one White Hope of the ring is after he has put his chin in the way of the fist of a rival member of the Truck-driver's Union. He knew that he was still alive. More he could not say.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bad backs

I remember the first time my back went out on me. It was when I was working for the toy company here in Booneville, covering the annual downtown event. I had to move a large number of large boxes of toys, and finally - there it went. I managed to get home, fell over on the bed, and just lay there trying not to move so it would not hurt quite as badly.

Before that time I had scoffed at people who complained about bad backs, figuring they were just using that as an excuse. I got cured of that opinion in a hurry.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

No more stomachs!

He had been growing more and more annoyed with this little person who buzzed and barked and bit at him, but the idea of definite revolt had not occurred to him. But his sufferings at the hands of Beach the butler had reduced him to a state where he could endure no further mention of stomachic linings. There comes a time when our capacity for listening to data about the lings of other people's stomachs is exhausted.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A nice cut

"Her mind is an open book to me. Most of the pages are blank."

(Donald O'Connor in This is the Life)

Death wish?

"Anything in the mail?"

"Just a post card of Grant's tomb from Angela, saying 'Wish you were here.'"

(from "This Is the Life," starring Donald O'Connor)

Tax cuts

If someone owed you a large amount of money, would you think kindly of his taking a lower-paying job just because he did not wish to have to work as hard? Not likely!

The United States of America owe over 11 trillion dollars. We have a moral obligation to pay that debt. A moral obligation. Therefore, we have a moral obligation to run a revenue surplus each year, and to pursue whatever fiscal policy will maximize that surplus, at least until we get our debt paid. I have no sympathy whatever for the party (Republicans) who do not want to pay more taxes nor for the party (Democrats) who do not want to cut spending. Neither party appears to have the slightest intention of fulfilling their moral obligations. To borrow money without any intention of paying it back is stealing.

A Wodehousian description of true love

He was conscious, to the very depths of his being, that a future in which Joan did not figure would be so insupportable as not to bear considering, and in the immediate present, he very strongly favoured the idea of clasping Joan in his arms and kissing her till further notice. Mingled with these feelings was an excited gratitude to her for coming to him like this with that electric smile on her face; a stunned realization that she was a thousand times prettier than he had ever imagined: and a humility which threatened to make him loose his clutch on the steamer-trunk and roll about at her feet, yapping like a dog.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be careful with those glances, ladies

If girls realized their responsibilities, they would be so careful when they smiled that they would probably abandon the practice altogether. There are moments in a man's life when a girl's smile can have as important results as an explosion of dynamite.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ain't it the truth, brother! Ain't it the truth!

Ashe drifted out. He was conscious of a wish that he understood girls. Girls, in his opinion, were odd.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Help wanted

It is the saddest spectacle in the world, that of the crowd collected by a "Wanted" advertisement. They are so palpably not wanted by anyone for any purpose whatsoever: yet every time they gather together with a sort of hopeful hopelessness. What they were originally, the units of these collections, Heaven knows. Fate has battered out of them every trace of individuality. Each now is exactly like his neighbor, no worse, no better.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Frances yes, Skinnay no

Frances Langford was, in my opinion, one of the more under-appreciated of the female vocalists from the big band era. She had a lovely, dark-toned voice and an impeccable style. (Her range dropped from soprano to contralto as a girl because of a tonsillectomy.) Although she was attractive, she was not a drop-dead beauty, and that may have had something to do with why her career did not reach the heights of some of her contemporaries. However, her tours with Bob Hope did help make her a household name.

In contrast, her fellow musician on the Hope tours, Skinnay [sic] Ennis, had to have been just about the worst of the male crooners. His voice was just barely strong enough to be heard, even with a mike, and was not that good even when you could hear it. His phrasing was suspect at best. Maybe his contract as band leader required that they let him sing on the shows, but they would have been much better off to have let Langford have an extra song and to have cut out Ennis from the slate.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Shannon television program

George Nader starred as insurance investigator Joe Shannon in this program that ran for one season in 1961-62. It was fairly low-budget in terms of production values, but the plots were fairly good. Shannon was high-tech for the times. There are several episodes available on YouTube.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sometimes you just need to get out of town

The Bennett brothers had money, cattle, and strong political influence, while Swante Taggart had only a fast horse. A man must use what he has.

(from Taggart, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

She was REALLY involved in politics

Many Hollywood sorts get involved in politics, but few to the extent that Lita Milan did. According to the IMDB site, "In 1958, Lita abruptly abandoned her career after marrying Ramfis Trujillo, son of infamous Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. Her husband seized power of the republic after the assassination of his father in 1961, but the couple were forced to flee the country soon after. She bore a son, Ramses, and has lived in exile in Madrid ever since, remaining there after the 1969 death of her husband following a car accident." By all accounts Trujillo was a thoroughly despicable human being, brutal and licentious to the extreme.

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Food for special occasions

Galloway was making soup. He got that from Ma. Anytime anybody had anything happen, birth death, fight or wedding, Ma made soup.

(from Galloway, by Louis L'amour)

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Just listen to the birds

In the cold of dawn the birds were telling stories in the brush, and that spoke well of the neighborhood. As happy as they sounded, it was unlikely there was anything hateful around.

(from Galloway, by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Mob mentality

Any mob is composed of cowards, and each hopes to commit brutality and cruelty within the safety of the mob. He does not wish to be singled out.

(from The First Fast Draw, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

I sat in this kind of desk in the first grade

My first year was the last in the old building, which was torn down to make way for the new elementary school (which has since itself been replaced).

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So why isn't he breathing hard?!

Portly actor Broderick Crawford is in a chase after a criminal up a long flight of stairs. In addition to being somewhat overweight, Crawford was known to be a heavy drinker. Yet when he apprehends the bad guy he isn't even breathing hard. Amazing!

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The day the thunder stopped

On March 31, 1992, the USS Missouri was decommissioned, and an era came to an end. On that date the US Navy had no more active battleships. One of the things in life that I regret never getting to see is a broadside by one of the big ships. Below is a picture of the New Jersey, which was the next-to-last battleship.

Here is a LINK to some very impressive footage of the USS Wisconsin firing broadsides. If you have young boys, they need to watch this.

Monday, July 31, 2017

She specialized in being icey

Dorothy Green (no relation) was a busy actress beginning about the time I was born. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, but generally played aloof, haughty characters. "Cold" would be the way I would describe her typical role. I always wonder what such actors are like in person. Maybe they are good at a certain role because they do not have to do very much acting to play it. On the other hand, sometimes actors are the opposites of the role they generally played. Tough-guy gangster Edward G. Robinson was a "softly-spoken and cultured man, who spoke seven languages," according to Wikipedia. Dan Duryea played a number of tough, psychotic roles and became identified with that persona, but in real life "lived a quiet life at his house in the San Fernando Valley, devoting himself to gardening, boating, and community activities that included, at various times, active membership in the local parent-teacher association and Scout Master of a Boy Scout troop."

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Schultz's greatest role

We are great Hogan's Heroes fans, needless to say. John Banner as Sgt. Schultz always stole the show, and never more so than in the episode "Art for Hogan's Sake." The saluting scene in the sidewalk café, and especially his dressing down of the Gestapo agents are absolute classics.


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Thelma Ritter - guarantee of an enjoyable movie

She won six nominations for Best Supporting Actress (more than anyone in history), plus a Tony award for best actress in a musical. If you have watched old movies at all, you will recognize her face, but since she played supporting roles, you might not have known her name. But learn it, and remember it. Her performances were classic and memorable. Pick out one of her movies, buy it, and watch it - just for her alone.

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Need a psycho? He was your man.

If you were a movie or television producer and you needed an actor to play a wild-eyed, close-to-the-edge sort, then Elisha Cook was your man.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Who were the Black Irish?

In a place or two in his novels, Louis L'Amour refers to someone as being of the Black Irish demographic group. Here is a LINK to a very good discussion of why that group of people may have been called that.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Busy as a bee

Folks are always talking about how busy a bee is, shows they never really watched a bee. A bee makes so much fuss with all his perambulating around that folks think they're doing a sight of work, but believe me, I've watched bees by the hour and I can tell you all that buzzing is a big fraud. The bees I've watched always buzzed in the sunniest places around the best-smelling flowers, just loafing their heads off fusting around in the play of sun and shadow at the swamp's edge. Busy? Not so's you could notice.

(from The First Fast Draw, by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Goals and living

It meant hard work, and lots of it. Living a life is much like climbing mountains - the mountains are always further off than you think, but when a man has a goal, he always feels he's working toward something.

(from The Lonely Men, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We could use the Sacketts today

"All day my mind kept going back to turnip greens, and to wild-hog hunting in the hills on those foggy mornings when the forest dripped and a body prowled through it like a red Indian, scourint for wile hogs to give us bacon to cook with turnip greens in an iron pot." (from The Lonely Men, by Louis L'Amour)

As big a problem as wild hogs have become today, we could use those Sackett boys. They could take all the bacon they wanted!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Must have caused quite a bit of comment

          "My ideas have changed since my student days. Every boy goes through the stage of collecting, whether it's bird's eggs or butterflies or postage stamps."
          Miss withers knew that well enough, having been confronted with problems of such nature in her classes now and then - particularly did she remember the time when little Abraham brought his collection of white mice to school one afternoon.

(from The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Another song you probably missed

"I'll Meet You At the Hen House, Helen, If You Will Egg Me On"

(from the Fred Allen radio show)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Emergency! television show

I am watching some old episodes of the Emergency! television series. It was really good. The tension they built in some of the rescue scenes was tremendous. And without sacrificing a touch of humor throughout the program. It was something children could watch, for the most part, and (I assume) it gives a very interesting insight into the difficulties and dangers that the rescue squads face.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Now there is a good word that does not get used much. Asanine is very common, meaning "like an ass." Very few, however, take it to its noun form.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to spot a plainclothes cop

Miss Withers realized that she was getting to be an insider, for she could recognize a plainclothes man a block away. Whenever one sees a man who looks as if he had a trade, but weren't working at it, and a man who hangs about as if he had a place to go if he only wanted to, that man is a detective, she told herself.

(from The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Charioteers on the Rudy Vallee radio show

I heard this black gospel group on an episode of the Rudy Vallee Show, and they were really good. Here is a LINK to one of their numbers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The regrets of our lives

Something everyone is left with is regrets. We do not do what we wish we had. We do many things we wish we had not. Much of what we do, we do in the wrong way and for the wrong reason.

Frank Sinatra sang that he did it "My Way." Much of my regret is that I tried to do it my way instead of according to God's commandments. Thankfully, my home in heaven does not depend upon what I do, but upon what Christ has done.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hey Mulligan television show

This sitcom from 1954 is available on YouTube. It was also known as the Mickey Rooney Show. It actually is pretty entertaining. Sure, it is cornball and slapstick in places, but the cast pulls off the funny spots pretty well. Here is a LINK to one particularly good episode.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How an ordinary detective works

This is a real case, not a puzzle out of a story magazine. I'm a detective, not a super-sleuth. Sherlock Holmes would know all about this case in no time, what with a magnifying glass and his knowledge of the bone structure of Polynesian aborigines. Philo Vance would solve it between puffs of a Regie cigarette, from simple deductions based on the squawks of those penguins we met up with yesterday. But not me. I don't know any more than you do. Maybe less, only I know how to act wise. I'm just blundering ahead, trying not to miss any of the more apparent lines of approach. Sooner or later the murderer will leave something open, and I'll stumble in.

(Inspector Oscar Piper, in The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A happy sort, I take it?

"He's the type of man who'd have a wonderful time at a wake."

(from The Penguin Pool Murders, by Stuart Palmer)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I do not recall many times when it has been this green this far into the summer. We have not had a huge amount of rain, but it has come at advantageous intervals.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A little older, but it still works

In my humble opinion, the team of James Gleason and Edna May Oliver in the three Hildegarde Withers movies that they made was at least equal to the legendary team of Myrna Loy and William Powell in the Thin Man series of films. Whereas Powell and Loy were urbane and sophisticated, Gleason and Oliver were more on the crusty side, but just as effective in their roles and with just as good on-screen chemistry.

In the book, however, Miss Withers is listed as being 39 years old, whereas Oliver was about ten years older when the first of her three flicks was filmed. Thus the old maid looked even old-madier than she was in the book.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hogan's Heroes the best

We were watching some of the old Hogan's Heroes episodes when my 92-year-old father was at our house the 4th of July, and he commented that he still thought that program was just about his favorite.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Another private eye

In the pilot episode of the television program Hey Mulligan, Mickey Rooney plays an aspiring actor who tries to demonstrate to the attractive secretary in the firm where he works that he has what it takes as an actor by reading from the script of a program called Peter Abel, Private Eye.

Be prepared

"Too late to dig well when honorable house is on fire."

(from Charlie Chan Carries On)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Jimmy Stewart Show - unique

During the 1971-72 television season, James Stewart starred in his own television series. It only lasted one season, reportedly because it received poor reviews and ratings. Actually, we have found it to be very enjoyable, although it has the easy pace and style (perhaps too easy) of its star, and therefore may not have been entertaining enough for the audience.

This reportedly was the only time Stewart allowed himself to be billed on screen as "Jimmy." All his other credits were as James Stewart.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Harry Bellaver was a good actor

Although, because of his flattened nose, Bellaver got type-cast as a heavy, he was actually a good actor with a wider range of ability than one might think at first glance. He was in several Broadway plays. His transition from tough-guy to a more sensitive character is perhaps seen in what was probably his best-known role as Sgt. Frank Arcaro in the television series, Naked City.

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Sunday, July 02, 2017

An epitaph for General Patrick Cleburne

Cleburne County in north central Arkansas was named for Major General Patrick Cleburne of the Confederate Army. After he was fatally wounded in 1864, General George Gordon wrote this remembrance of him:

"A truer patriot or knightlier soldier never fought and never died. Valor never lost a braver son or freedom a nobler champion. . . . He was a patriot by instinct and a soldier by nature. He loved his country, its soldiers, its banners, its battleflags, its sovereignty, its independence. For these he fought, for these he fell."

Cleburne had lived in America for only fifteen years, the last four of them in arms in the defense of his country. His capabilities were such that he was known as The Stonewall of the West - high praise indeed.

At the time of his death, General Cleburne was engaged to Miss Sue Tarleton. She wore mourning every day for a year. Eventually, three years later, she did marry Captain Hugh Cole, but died less than a year later.

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An institution you may have missed

The Passaic Pinochle and Pinball Athletic Club.

(From a joke by Peter Donald from the Can You Top This radio show)

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Socially relevant programs

I really tire quickly of movies and television programs that obviously are trying to make some sort of a social statement. In the first place, frequently I do not agree with the statement they are making, and in the second place, I watch such programs to be entertained, not to be educated in sociology or ethics. I don't need some degenerate Hollywood sort trying to teach me on those subjects.

Friday, June 30, 2017

One time he got to be the good guy

The television series Law of the Plainsman ran for one season 1959-60. Michael Ansara starred as an Apache Indian who was a U. S. Marshall. Because of his stern-looking features, Ansara usually played heavies, but in this particular show, of course, he was the good guy and got to display a softer side in some of the episodes.

Because of his swarthy complexion, Ansara often portrayed Indian roles. Actually he was of Syrian descent.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Zorro the heart-throb

It is easy to see why Zorro was such a hit with both boys and girls. Tyrone Power (movie) and Guy Williams (television) cut handsome and dashing figures. They were smooth with the ladies, had impeccable manners, and, of course, they fought the bad guys with a flair that rarely has been matched. Great fun!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wisdom from the milk man

"Letting a woman handle money is like letting a cat have its own fish market." (Woodrow Yamada, the milk man on The Jimmy Stewart TV show. He preferred to be known as nutrition dispersal engineer.)

Oops. The subtitles goofed.

My wife and I are watching episodes of The Saint occasionally. She has her tablet set so that it shows what is being said on the bottom of the screen. Except that the actors usually have distinct accents from some other country, so the system that translates the sounds into visual words sometimes slips up.

Like yesterday, when the beautiful lady was offering some food to Simon Templer, and said, "Caviar?" Except that when the computer translated it, it read "Carrion?"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

One advantage of retirement

In an ordinary and desirable situation, upon retirement, the pace of life for the individual involved slows down immediately and markedly. At least that was my experience. And that was a HUGE immediate benefit. Healthwise, for sure. I wish I had had my blood pressure checked before and after retirement, but I am sure it has come down. I am now able to slow down and enjoy life, doing things like appreciating the quietness of a morning, or enjoying an extra cup of coffee with my wife. Or just sitting and thinking. Good things. And, I can actually plan out my day in a rational and sane manner, just the opposite of how it was before.

Monday, June 26, 2017

An honorable soldier

A one point in the War Between the States, one gun crew under the commend of General Patrick Cleburne were caught plundering a local home and were placed under arrest. Shortly afterward, during the preparations for a battle, "Captain Calvert, commander of the artillery piece, approached Cleburne to request the temporary release of his crew so that they could work the gun. Instead, Cleburne ordered him to take his gun to the rear, and in a voice loud enough to be widely heard, he declared that 'his men expected to fill honorable graves and not to rest side by side with thieves.'"

(from Stonewall of the West, by Craig Symonds)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Silly, but fun

I am enjoying an evening of Gilligan's Island with two of my granddaughters. This has to be one of the silliest televisions programs ever that was really fun to watch. Loads of fun, though, if you just sit back and enjoy it. Jim Backus, of course, was one of the great comic character actors in television and radio history.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Wodehouse created despicable characters

"Something, I perceived, had g ot to be done, and done swiftly. From some source I had to raise fifty quid. But where could I turn? My credit, Corky - and I tell you this frankly, as an old friend - is not good."

So here we have a lazy, pampered, deadbeat who, though he needs money badly, refuses to consider the option of gainful employment. We find this type of individual all through the stories of P. G. Wodehouse, and they elicit no sympathy whatsoever from me. Let them starve to death, for all I care.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A quiet brain

"He was standing there with his customary air of thinking hard about absolutely nothing."

(from Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

I know folks like that, don't you?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A glass jaw?

"Well, listen, One-Round Peebles is fighting Teddy Banks at my place next month." (from Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

For a boxer to have gone down in the first round enough times to have earned that nickname is not a very promising sign.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cleburne's manner

It was said of General Patrick Cleburne that "he abhorred the vague and undefined." That is an admirable trait in anyone, and absolutely necessary in a military commander. Given the fact that he was a native Irishman, with their legendary propensity for loquatiousness, it was also fairly remarkable.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A kind of patriotism Yankees do not understand

General Patrick Cleburne emigrated from Ireland, and finally settled in Helena, Arkansas, where he became a respected lawyer. As South Carolina and then Mississippi seceded from the Union, he wrote, "These people have been my friends, and have stood up to [for] me on all occasions." "I  am with Arkansas in weal or woe."

As the war broke out, it is a well-known historical fact that General Robert E. Lee was offered the command of the Union armies, but declined, saying, "Save in the defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword."

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

A fun episode of December Bride

December Bride was a very enjoyable TV comedy show from the 1950s. In one episode two of my favorite movie tough guys, Dan Duryea (below) and Douglas Fowley, were guest stars (Duryea playing himself.) It made for a nice, fun thirty minutes. By the way, Duryea, for all the weird characters he played in movies, was very much a family and community sort of guy.


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Irish eloquence

"Ireland! Land of my fathers. Ireland! Birthplace of my children. Ireland! That shall hold my grave. Ireland! That I l the fondest aspirations, your men are too brave, your women are too beautiful and good, you are too elevated among the nations of the earth, too moral, too religious, to be slaves. I promise you that you shall be free."

This was from a speech by Daniel O'Connell in 1843 during the time that he was the leader of a movement to obtain a separate Parliament for Ireland. Imagine this sort of extemporaneous speaking compared to the mush that gets served up to us today, mostly all canned.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Last of the Maltese Falcon cast

The last surviving member of the cast of movie classic, The Maltese Falcon, was Elisha Cook, Jr., who played Wilmer, the gunman who worked for the fat man.

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Less than noble motives

And then, one afternoon, when I had run into London to lay in a fresh supply of cigars, I happened to meet her friend, Angelica Vining, the poetess, in Bond Street. You may remember this bird, Corky? She was the one who wanted to borrow my aunt's brooch on a certain memorable occasion, but I was firm and couldn't let her have it - partly on principle and partly because I had pawned it the day before.

(from Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

He must really be ugly

"You surprise me, my boy," he said. 'I am really beginning to think that if you continue as you have begun and are careful, when you propose, to do it in a dim light so that she can't get a good look at you, you may win that girl."

(from Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dirt roads and air conditioning

Watching old  television shows from the 1950s reminded me that most cars in my childhood did not have air conditioning, and a much bigger percentage of the public roads were dirt than is the case today. When you met a car on the dirt road, all you could do was just grin and bear it until the dust began to clear out.

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There is a Finnish female hurdler named Nooralotta Neziri, which is neither here nor there, except that I thought that was a very interesting given name. Kind of musical, really.

Hitler's moustache

          The situation in Germany had come up for discussion in the bar parlour of the Angler's Rest, and it was generally agreed that Hitler was standing at the crossroads and would soon be compelled to do something definite. His present policy, said a Whisky and Splash, was mere shilly-shallying.
          "He'll have to let it grow or shave it off," said the Whisky and Splash. "He can't go on sitting on the fence like this. Either a man has a moustache or he has not. There can be no middle course."

(From Lord Emsworth and Others, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse. This was written in 1937, before the start of World War II.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Indian land

"That her father had bought land from the Indians might not help at all, for another Indian could always be found to dispute the right of the original Indian to sell the land at all." (from Flint, by Louis L'Amour)

This illustrates the difficulties of dealing with "Indian lands." Some of the tribes  settled on lands, built homes and farmed the land. However, many of the plains tribes were basically nomadic. How do you  "own" land if all you do is travel across it occasionally to hunt?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tough medicine

The medicine-man, having given him the once-over, had ordered him to abstain from all alcoholic liquids, and in addition to tool down the hill to the Royal Pump-Room each morning at eight-thirty and imbibe twelve ounces of warm crescent saline and magnesia. It doesn't sound much, put that way, but I gather from contemporary accounts that it's practically equivalent to getting outside a couple of of little old last year's eggs beaten up in sea-water.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A man of many - talents?

There was no doubt that it was hopeless expecting Freddie to do anything for himself in this crisis. I'm not saying that dear old Freddie hasn't got his strong qualities. He is good at polo, and I have heard him spoken of as a coming man at snooker-pool. But apart from this you couldn't call him a man of enterprise.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, June 09, 2017

Sums up my view of New York City exactly

"Pretty soft!" he cried. "To have to come and live in New York! To have to leave my little cottage and take a stuffy, smelly, over-heated hole of an apartment in this Heaven-forsaken, festering Gehenna. To have to mix night after night with a mob who think that life is a sort of St. Vitus's dance, and imagine that they're having a good time because they're making enough noise for six and drinking too much for ten. I loathe New York, Bertie. I wouldn't come near the place if I hadn't got to see editors occasionally. There a blight on it. It's got moral delirium tremens."

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Yes, that is indeed lazy

Constitutionally the laziest young devil in America, he had hit on a walk in life which enabled him to go the limit in that direction. He was a poet. At least, he wrote poems when he did  anything; but most of his time, as far as I could make out, he spent in a sort of trance. He told me once that he could sit on a fence, watching a worm and wondering what on earth it was up to for hours at a stretch.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

"I only miss when I want to."

Barnaby Jones (Buddy Ebsen) as he backs down one of the bad guys.

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Small town excitement

"All my bally life, dear boy," Motty went on, "I've been cooped up in the ancestral home at Much Middlefold, in Shropshire, and till you've been cooped up in Much Middlefold you don't know what cooping is. The only time we get any excitement is when one of the choir-boys is caught sucking chocolate during the sermon. When that happens, we talk about it for days.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

How still was it?

"It was one of those still evenings you get in the summer, when you can hear a snail clear its throat a mile away." (from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, June 05, 2017

An assessment of Bertie's character

In the presence of the Unusual, Mr. Wooster is too prone to smile weakly and allow his eyes to protrude. He lacks Presence. I have often wished that I had the power to bestow upon him some of the savoir-faire of a former employer of mine, Mr. Montague-Todd, the well-known financier, now in the second year of his sentence. I have known men call upon Mr. Todd with the express intention of horsewhipping him and go away half an hour later laughing heartily and smoking one of his cigars.

(from Carry On, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Relive a pivotal moment in musical history

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was one of the major composers of the 20th century, and probably the greatest symphonist of that century. Much of his creative years were spent under the brutal and repressive regime of Joseph Stalin. After the performance of Shostakovich's opera Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk, Pravda, the official government newspaper, published a scathing denunciation of the work under the direct orders of Stalin. Shostakovich had completed his 4th Symphony and its performance was planned, but when he realized that he was in very real danger of arrest, he withdrew it and began work on the 5th Symphony. In it he addressed the issues of criticism that had been directed at him.

Now, take yourself back in history to November 21, 1937 and the premier of the 5th Symphony by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. The composer has been under official censure by Stalin, and this is his next major work. No doubt the auditorium is packed. It is said that during the Largo (slow) movement many people wept openly. Then comes the finale, with its soaring, triumphant climax. The ovation lasted well over 30 minutes. Here is a LINK to a performance of the symphony. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, run the button over to about the 46 minute mark and listen to the finish. Just imagine, given the historical situation that existed, what the emotions of the audience must have been.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Telltale initials

It has fallen out of vogue in the last couple of generations, but at least until the generation before mine, it was common to see men named after some famous person, e.g., a President of the United States. Thus, if a man's initials were G. W., it was at least likely that his given name was George Washington, and if T. J., he was Thomas Jefferson, and if A. J. he was Andrew Jackson. The times do change.


"No, Captain. Don't be glimflashey. You have not heard all yet." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Definition? "Angry, or in a passion."

Friday, June 02, 2017

Bobby Troup of "Emergency!" fame

Julie London, who played one of the leads on the long-running Emergency! television series, was well-known as a singer, especially her rendition of Cry Me A River, which was a huge hit. What might not be so well known was that Bobby Troup, who played one of the doctors on the series, was also an accomplished musician before he became an actor. Here is a LINK of his rendition of Tenderly.

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Public men

"Public men are only praised by their party. , , , Believe me, that no man can mix largely with men in political life, and not despise everything that in youth he adored." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

A sober warning to those who would go into politics.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Something folks in Washington need to learn

"Nothing gives such a scope to scandal as mystery; nothing  disarms it like openness."
(from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Code of the gentlemanly thief

"Why have recourse to rough measures, as long as we can find easy fools?"

(from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Love and truth

"Love refines every roughness;  and that truth which nurtures tenderness is never barren of grace."  (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Here's to rich fools

"May fools be rich, and rogues will never be poor." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Old houses creak a lot. I understand entirely. The aging body that houses my soul and spirit is groaning with every move these days.

Friday, May 26, 2017

She stood up to Hitler

Actress Vera Ralston had been a skater in the 1936 Olympics for Czechoslovakia. At those games Adolph Hitler asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." According to her account, she looked right at him and told him she would rather skate on the swastika. The Fuehrer was furious.

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"Stubble your whids"

This is an old English expression that means, "Hold your tongue." If you won't let your children tell people to "shut up," you might let them use this one instead.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gloria Talbott - an interesting Hollywood face

She was not a classic beauty, but her face had a very interesting and arresting quality that gave the impression of great beauty without quite having it.

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Lewis Charles - never a good guy

Some faces  and voices just don't work for good guys. Such was the lot of actor  Lewis Charles. He might have been cast as a good guy at some point in his career, but he made his living playing criminals and tough guys. Another of those familiar faces for which we have no name.

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Can't even remember the truth

"You have been bred to that trade in which, as you say yourself, men tell untruths for others till they lose all truth for themselves." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

He must have been speaking of Presidential press secretaries.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A gorgeous slow movement - Myaskovsky's 20th Symphony

Nikolai Myaskovsky is doubtless one of the best composers that even most college music majors never heard of. He lived from 1881 to 1950 and never became as famous as some of his contemporaries, such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich. However, he is noted as "the father of the Soviet symphony," and he wrote 27 of them, an unusually large number for a 20th century composer.
Given his large output, it is understandable that his symphonies are not of similar quality. Some are very good, some are no better than mediocre, if that.

Very often symphonic composers will fall down on the slow movement. The simple fact is that it is considerably more difficult to keep slower music interesting than it is with faster pieces. A long list of fairly boring slow movements in symphonies could be mentioned, although there are some notable exceptions, including the heart-rending "Going Home" movement in Dvorak's "New World" Symphony.

Here is a LINK to the second movement of Myaskovsky's Symphony #20. In my humble opinion, it ranks with the great slow movements in symphonic literature. It is less than nine minutes long, and well worth the listening.

The cost of being liked

"He seems to make it the sole business of his life to be agreeable, and one imagines that he gained that end by the loss of certain qualities which one would have liked better."

(from Paul Clifford,  by Lord Lytton)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We need to pay attention

One recurring theme in crime fiction (and perhaps in real life, also) is the frustration of law enforcement officers that witnesses to a crime did not notice more details concerning the people and automobiles involved. There is a simple reason for that. Policemen deal with crises all the time and they are training to look immediately for details. Ordinary people are not trained that way, and they are not accustomed to such stressful situations. Under stress, our minds often just go blank as we try to process what is happening. Forewarned is forearmed, however. If we ever are involved in a crime, we need to try to notice everything we can, and write it down at first opportunity.

Believe me, I know!

"Well, we went on splendidly enough for  about a year. Meanwhile I was wonderfully improved in philosophy. You have no idea how a scolding wife sublimes and rarifies one's intellect. Thunder clears the air, you know."

(from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Monday, May 22, 2017

British efficiency

If you want to give your child an efficient name (meaning that you save time and breath by not pronouncing all the letters, then you  might try this one: Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh Woolfardisworthy, pronounced Chumley Fanshaw Woolseri.

If you are rich, it's OK

"Houses of correction are not made for men who have received and enlightened education - who abhor your pretty thefts as much was a justice of peace can do - who ought never to be termed dishonest in their dealings, but, if they are found out, unlucky in their speculations."

(from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Sunday, May 21, 2017


"He threw his length if  upon a neighbouring sofa, and literally rolled with cachinnatory convulsions." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)


a.1.Consisting of, or accompanied by, immoderate laughter.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Here are two (probably) new terms for you

He who surreptitiously accumulates bustle is, in fact, nothing better than a buzz gloak." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

"Bustle" is money, and a "buzz gloak" is a pickpocket.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Three different versions of "Niagara Falls" comedy sketch




"Never throw away a simile unnecessarily." (from Paul Clifford,  by Lord Lytton)

We in the South, especially, ought to take this advice to heart. Our jargon is filled with colorful comparisons, e.g., "As happy as a dead pig in the sunshine." They are part of what makes our sub-dialect distinctive.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


"In each of these three, I believe without vanity I am a profound adept." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

We rarely use "adept" as a noun today, but it is very proper.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Manners and happiness

"I tell you, sir, that manners are no less essential to human happiness than human virtue." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

That might be taking it just a little bit too far. However, if we consider that manners are the consideration of others, then manners would be a sub-set of love; and as such, this statement would be true.

Monday, May 15, 2017

So just ask yourself

"The only person to whom one ever puts a question with a tolerable certainty of receiving a satisfactory answer is one's self." (from Paul Clifford,  by Lord Lytton)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

An interesting insult

"You snivelling, whey-faced ghost of a farthing rushlight."

This is from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton. A rushlight is "a type of candle or miniature torch formed by soaking the dried pith of the rush plant in fat or grease. For several centuries rushlights were a common source of artificial light for poor people throughout the British Isles. They were extremely inexpensive to make."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Shotgun Slade

This was a 30-minute television western that ran for two seasons, ending in 1961. Scott Brady played the title role. There were a couple of interesting features of the show. Slade's nickname stemmed from the fact that he did not normally carry a six-shooter, favoring a shotgun/rifle combination. Also, he was a private detective, hiring out his services like any modern-day shamus would. Lastly, Brady had a pair of the longest arms I ever saw on an  actor.

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The nomination system needs fixing

I have no idea regarding current law governing the presidential nomination process. But the bottom line is that it is a function of the party, NOT of the public. The public will get a chance to vote on the parties' nominees in the general election. But the major parties have tailored the nomination process based on popularity and not on electability. They let the public choose their nominee for them instead  of doing it themselves, and we are getting a steady stream of bad candidates.

Maybe we need to go back to smoke-filled rooms. That couldn't work any worse than what we have now.

Popular is bad

"This gentleman was no other than Mr. Peter Mac Grawler, the editor of a magnificent periodical, entitled the Asinaeum, which was written to prove that whatever is popular is necessarily bad - a valuable and recondite truth." (from Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton)

Although there is some truth in the basic premise here stated, it is not universally true. In it lies the basis of unfounded snobbery.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tannies and smash

"Tannies today may be smash tomorrow."

This is an excerpt from Paul Clifford, by Baron Lytton. According to the footnotes, it means that what is of no value today may be precious tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

A hippo in love

His eyes were starting, his hair ruffled where he had clutched it with an excited hand, and his face as nearly like the Soul's Awakening as it was possible for it to look. Picture a hippopotamus that has just learned that its love is returned by the female hippopotamus for which it has long entertained feelings deeper and warmer than those of ordinary friendship, and you have Stanwood Cobbold at this important moment in his life.

(from Spring Fever, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Buddy Clark - underappreciated crooner

In his day he evidently was a fairly big name, but his legacy has not survived the years quite as well as some of the other big name crooners. Here is a LINK to a video of Clark singing his biggest hit Linda.

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Quiet dignity

          In the code of the Stanwood Cobbolds of this world there is a commandment which stands out above all others, written in large letters, and those letters of gold. It is the one that enacts that if, by his ill-considered actions, the man of honour has compromised a lady he must at once proceed, no matter what the cost, to de-compromise her.
          He did not hesitate. Tripping over the skirt of his dressing-gown and clutching at a pedestal bearing a bust of the late Mr. Gladstone, and bringing pedestal and bust with a crash to the ground, he said with quiet nobility:
         "It's all right, ma'am. We're engaged!"

(from Spring Fever, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Left-handed praise

          Terry was a girl who believed in giving praise where praise was due, even though there was the risk that such praise might increase the tendency of its recipient to get above himself.
          "What a splendid idea. How nice it is to come across someone with a really criminal mind. I  suppose this is one of those hidden depths of yours that you were speaking of?
          "That's right. I'm full of them."

(from Spring Fever, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, May 08, 2017

Messiah Stradivarius

This violin is the most expensive one in the world, estimated at $20 million by one source. Its value is that it is the only Stradivarius in existence considered to be in an "as new" state. It is currently a museum piece.

Guy Mitchell - singing cowboy - really

In the Whispering Smith television series, Guy Mitchell played George Romack, Smith's sidekick and fellow-deputy detective in Denver. In an episode or two he sings, and naturally enough, because he was a big-name singing star. His biggest hit was "Singing the Blues" (see the link below).


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Yeggmen have to be resilient

Of all the learned professions none is so character-building as that of the  burglar. The man who has been trained in the hard school of porch climbing, where you often work half the night on a safe only to discover that all it contains is a close small and a dead spider, learns to take the rough with the smooth and to beaer with fortitude the disappointments from which no terrestrial existence can be wholly free.

(from Spring Fever, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Don't tell him a secret!

There is no vice in Stanwood Cobbold. His heart is the heart of a little child. But, like the little child whom in heart he so resembles, he has a tendency to lisp artlessly whatever comes into his head. His reputation is that of a man who, if there are beans to be spilled, will spill them with a firm and steady hand. He has never kept a secret, and never will. His mother was frightened by a B. B. C. announcer.

(from Spring Fever, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

A stingy duke

All you have to go on is Wellbeloved's word, and that would not carry much conviction. I like George Cyril Wellbeloved and always enjoy exchanging ideas with him,but I wouldn't believe his word if he brought it to me on a plate with watercress round it. On this occasion he probably deviated from the policy of a lifetime and told the truth, but what of it? You know and I know that Dunstable is a man who sticks and nothing and would walk ten miles in the snow to chisel a starving orphan out of tuppence, but we are helpless without proof.

(from Service With a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, May 05, 2017

Grow old with dignity

It surely is a lot easier than the other option.

Be careful what you say

"Tongue often hang man quicker than rope." (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Happiness in the home

There is no surer way of promoting human happiness than to relieve a mild man of the society of a sister who says, "Oh, Clarence!" to him and sees life in the home generally as a sort of Uncle Tom's Cabin production, with herself playing Simon Legree and her brother in the supporting role of Uncle Tom.

(from Service With a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Magazine Mountain has its own endangered species

Magazine Mountain Shagreen. A snail.


More cool jazz detectives

The music track is not quite as purely cool jazz as it is in Peter Gunn, but the Honey West series did pretty well in its own right.

The Irish Rebellion of 1848

In his novel Callaghen, Louis L'Amour refers to "the ill-fated rebellion of 1848" in Ireland. This is sometimes known as the Young Irelander Rebellion and the Famine Rebellion, as it took place during the Great Irish Potato Famine. The rebellion ended with "The Battle of Widow McCormack's cabbage plot."

In other words, he was tight

          "But, look here, we don't want to do anything . . . what's the word?"
          "Yes, we want to move cautiously. You see, on teh strength of getting engaged to the daughter of a millionaire I'm hoping to extract a thousand quid from Uncle Alaric."
          Lord Ickenham pursed his lips. "From His Grace the pop-eyed Duke of Dunstable? No easy task. His one-way pockets are a byword all over England."
          Archie nodded. He had never blinded himself to the fact that anyone trying to separate cash from the Duke of Dunstable was in much the same positionh as a man endeavoring to take a bone from a short-tempered wolf-hound.

(from Service With a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

He made a good tough cop

Ken Lynch played Lieutenant Keller on the Honey West television program. Another one of those familiar TV faces that never has a name to go with it.

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Feline camera hog

The Honey West television series was a well-done detective series, combining tension with just a touch of comedy. However, Bruce steals the show. Bruce is, of course, Honey's pet ocelot. He only gets into the picture for a few minutes of each episode, but he makes the most of them. A really beautiful animal, by the way.

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Monday, May 01, 2017

Cheese it, the cops!

It would be too much, perhaps, to say that remorse gripped Lord Emsworth, but he was undoubtedly in something of a twitter and wondering if that great gesture of his had been altogether well-advised. His emotions were rather similar to those of a Chicago business man of the old school who has rubbed out a competitor with a pine-apple bomb and, while feeling that that part of it is all right, cannot help speculating on what the FBI are going to do when they hear about it.

(from Service With a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

He lithpsed

          "You know the poem about young Lochinvar?"
          "Oh, yes. I used to recite it as a kid."
          "I, too, and to solid applause, though there were critics who considered that I was better at, "It wath the schooner Hethperus that thailed the thormy thea." I was rather short on front teeth in those days."

(from Service With a Smile, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

One actress who held up well

During the single season of the television show Honey West, Irene Hervey portrayed Aunt Meg. Hervey would have been about 56 at the time the show was running, and comes across as a very attractive middle-aged woman. She held up much better than some of the big name stars (Lauren Bacall comes immediately to mind).

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Some things never change

On radio, on television, private eyes still get konked on the head. Honey West was a glamorous private eye, and her male sidekick, Sam Bolt (played by John Ericson) was always getting knocked out. Par (as they say) for the course.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Unique pet

One of the more unique pets in television history was Honey West's ocelot.

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