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.

Image result for scott brady shotgun

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.

Image result for paul clifford lytton

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.

Buddy Clark.jpg

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).


Image result for guy mitchell whispering

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)

Image result for charlie chan monte carlo

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.

Image result for ken llunch

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.

Image result for ocelot

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).

Image result for irene hervey honey west

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.

Image result for john ericson actor

Friday, April 28, 2017

Unique pet

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

Image result for honey west ocelot

A beefy clergyman

His expectation was fulfilled. The Rev. Cuthbert Bailey met with his instant approval. He liked his curates substantial, and Bill proved to be definitely the large economy size, the sort of curate whom one could picture giving the local backslider the choice between seeing the light or getting plugged in the eye. Amplifying his earlier remarks, Pongo on the journey to Milton Street had told his uncle that in the parish of Bottleton East, where he had recently held a cure of souls, Bill Bailey had been universally respected, and Lord Ickenham could readily appreciate why. He himself would have treated with the utmost respect any young man so obviously capable of a sweet left hook followed by a snappy right to the button. A captious critic might have felt on seeing the Rev. Cuthbert that it would have been more suitable for one in holy orders to have looked a little less like the logical contender for the world's heavyweight championship, but it was impossible to regard his rugged features and bulging shoulders without an immediate feeling of awe.

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sir Walter Scott

We all know of the famous author Sir Walter Scott. He was the First Baronet Scott, of Beauclear. The baronetcy is still in existence, the current holder being Sir Walter John Scott, the 5th Baronet.

The first absolute requirement

He promised, when I knew him, to become a big shot in the financial world. Even then, though comparatively young, he was able to shoot a cigar across his face without touching it with his fingers, which we all know is the first step to establishing oneself as a tycoon.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

William Bendix - a not-so-funny actor

There were a few comedic actors who were just not very funny - just irritating. In my humble  opinion, William Bendix was one of these.

Image result for william bendix

Etta McDaniel in Charter Pilot

Charter Pilot is a nice little adventure/comedy flick starring Lynn Bari and Lloyd Nolan, who have a good screen chemistry together. The show is stolen, however, by black character actress Etta McDaniel, who was the sister of Hattie McDaniel, who won an Oscar for her role in Gone With the Wind. Good movie. Lots of fun.

Etta McDaniel images2staticbluraycomproducts22305611larg

Image result for charter pilot movie

Great line from Bob Hope

My whimsical proclivities are nothing much. They can't compare with my ludicrous ineptitudes.

(Bob Hope, from Monsieur Beaucaire)

You missed this book?

A volume that is referred to regularly on Lum and Abner is Gilbert the Boy Trapper. (Evidently it was not an actual book.) When the old fellows formed their publishing company, they solicited entries from the local residents. Grandpappy Spears submitted his entry: Gilbert the Boy Checker Player. Another literary gem that didn't quite make it.

Not pleasant, but necessary

"Those who do not wish to be bothered with service to their country soon find there are others only too willing to occupy the places thy shun. Those who shunned service soon become the servants rather than the masters." (from Fair Blows the Wind, by Louis L'Amour)

Thus the inevitable beginning of mercenary armies.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The peerage can be complicated

The Duke of Leinster, an Irish peer, is also Marquess of KildareEarl of KildareEarl of OffalyViscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham, Baron Offaly and Baron Kildare, of Kildare in the County of Kildare. The viscounty of Leinster is in the Peerage of Great Britain, the barony of Kildare in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and all other titles in the Peerage of Ireland.
Obviously, someone keeps up with all this.

Hugo O'Connor

In his novel, Fair Blows the Wind, Louis L'Amour introduces a historical figure, General Hugo O'Connor, who befriends the hero of the book. He is supposed to be a commander in the Spanish army. There actually was such a man, although we do not find that he reached the rank of General until later on when he was in Mexico, where he served as Governor of northern Mexico, including Texas. Because of their unique political non-status, the Irish of that period often emigrated to other nations and served in military capacities. Hugo had two cousins serving in Spain, so he went there.

Image result for statue of hugo o'connor

Monday, April 24, 2017

Taking alienation to a new art form

According to the linked NBC news article, not only are Mr. Trump's approval ratings the worst at the 100 day mark of any president in my life time, they are the worst by a bunch. President Clinton was the next-worst, and barely topped the 50% mark, but he was 12 points better than Mr. Trump. In other words, in the 63 years of my life, no president has  come even close to being as disliked this early in his term in office as Donald Trump.

Leod, a mysterious historical figure

In Fair Blows the Wind, Louis L'Amour mentions a character named Leod, who supposedly was the son of Olaf the Black. This Olaf at one time ruled the Isle of Man and parts of the Hebrides. Leod is supposed to have been the founder of Clan MacLeod, and there is some genetic evidence to support that claim.

Image result for clan macleod

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A cynic's evaluation of romance and wealth

Well, well, Captain, keep your eye on the gold. It never fades in beauty. Women? They do fade, and they also grow crusty with age, and shapeless. No, the gold is the thing. Women are forever young when you have gold enough.

(from Fair Blows the Wind, by Louis L'Amour)

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Adept" as a noun

I am perhaps slightly better versed in the English language than the average person (although admittedly no expert at it). But language is such a large field that we are continually learning about it, no matter where our understanding might currently fall on the scale of English speakers.

In reading Paul Clifford, by Lord Lytton, I ran across this sentence: "In each of these three, I believe without vanity, I am a profound adept!" I must confess that I had never noticed "adept" being used as a noun, but it is entirely proper. Just one of those things I had overlooked. We can learn something every day - if we pay attention.

"Where did I go wrong?"

Indulgent parents raise bratty kids. And then when they become brats (or much worse) as teenagers, and then deadbeats (or much worse) or adults, the parents wonder, "Where did I go wrong?" This ain't brain surgery, folks!

You don't let children do what they want to do. You make them do what they should do. better And then, as they grow older, you train them to understand why they should do right so that they will make the right choices on their own.

Happiness doesn't necessarily pay very well

          "When the bottom's dropped out of the world, I never know whether to try to keep up a shallow pretense that everything grand or to let myself go and break down. But, honestly, why shouldn't I get something? I'm young and strong and willing for anything. Also - a point I was nearly forgetting - two can live as cheap as one."
          "And money doesn't bring happiness."
          "True. But, on the other hand, happiness doesn't bring money. You've got to think of that, too."
          "I suppose so."

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gems in strange places

Purely out of curiosity I have just undertaken to read Paul Clifford, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and so this blog will have quotes from that book from time to time. I know nothing of the author other than what anyone can find on the internet, but it is remarkable the little pearls of thought that proceed from his pen, at least occasionally. He may have been a most reprehensible person - I do not know - but even so he gave us a few well-expressed thoughts.

Image result for edward bulwer-lytton

Second thoughts

In the time which had elapsed since he had proposed in the scented garden of Claines Hall, Lord Holbeton had been putting in some very intensive thinking, and he had come definitely to the conclusion that in becoming engaged to Sally Fairmile had had made a mistake. He liked Sally. He admired Sally. He wished her well and would watch her future career with considerable interest. But, while still vague as to what exactly were the qualities which he demanded in a wife, he was very clear in his mind that she must not be the sort of girl who routs a man out at midnight to go and pinch portraits and get him bitten in the leg by Pekinese.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An interesting theory

"I'm just trying to prove that a man and woman can be happy, though hostile."

(Carl Betz, from The Donna Reed Show)

So, who was Grover Whalen?

In the P.  G. Wodehouse novel, Quick Service, we find this quote:
"There may be a certain code in these matters. Either a man is Grover Whalen or he is not Grover Whalen. If he is not, he has no right to wear a moustache like that."

That, of course, raises the question, just who was this legendary fungus-grower who apparently was the preeminent proponent of upper-lip modesty? Grover Aloysius Whalen was a prominent New York business man and politician who lived 1886-1962. He held several appointments during the administrations of Mayors Hylan, Walker and La Guardia. He became known as the official greeter and organizer of many public celebrations, finally gaining the nickname of "Mr. New York."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He just flat got mad

And when a man, sorely in need of ready cash, hears that his wife has turned down a dazzling offer for a portrait, belonging to himself, on which he would have put an outside price of thirty cents, he is apt, even if of a mild and equable temperament, to chafe pretty considerably. Mr. Steptoe, who was not mild and equable, had chafed like a gumboil.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Noisy eater

Lord Holbeton carved the ham with the polished elegance which marked all his actions, and silence fell upon the room, broken only by a crackling sound like a forest fire, as Mr. Steptoe champed his toast. This gorilla-jawed man could get a certain amount of noise-response even out of mashed potatoes, but it was when eating toast that you caught him at his best.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The sign in the cemetery

What is the saying on the headstones in the cemeteries for expired knights in armor?


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sartorial splendor

The above is not a term that is generally applied to me. In fact, "slob" is used about ten times as much (maybe a hundred times?) - by those who know me well, at least.

Image result for white tie and tails

A tough nut to crack

There had been something in the nature of an informal understanding, when he had come to stay at Claines Hall, that he should take his host in hand and give him a much-needed spot of polish. But so unpleasant had been the spirit in which the other had received his ministrations that he had soon abandoned this missionary work. Mr. Steptoe, when you tried to set his feet on the path that led to elegance and refinement, had a way of narrowing his eyes and saying, "Ah, nerts!" out of the corner of his mouth, which would have discouraged Emily Post.

(from Quick Service, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Surely not a publisher!

The last thing we desire being to cast aspersions on publishers, a most respectable class of men, we hasten to say that behavior of this kind is very unusual with these fine fellows. Statistics show that the numbers of authoresses kissed annually by publishers is so small that, if placed end to end, they would reach scarcely any distance. Otis' action was quite exceptional, and Simon and Schuster, had they observed it, would have looked askance. So would Knopf. And we think we speak for Bobbs-Merrill, Dodd Mead and Lippincott when we say that they, too, would have been sickened by the spectacle.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

What ever happened to model airplanes?

When I was a boy, building model airplanes, cars, etc., was a big hobby. Lots of my friends did it. I spent many happy hours engaged in it. Perhaps it still exists, but it is not nearly as popular as it once was.

Image result for model airplane kits

"My child would never lie to me."

Have you ever heard some parent say that? Now, how in the world can the parent know that that is true? All they know (and all they ought to say) is that they have never caught their child in a lie. There is a big difference.

Thankful for sisters

Watching Otis Painter walk to and fro with his mouth ajar and his knees clashing like cymbals, for he had the misfortune to suffer from adenoids and to be knock-kneed, a spectator would have been surprised to learn that he was so closely related to Sally. But just as daughters have a way of being easier on the eye than their fathers and mothers, so are sisters frequently more attractive than their brothers. Otis was a stout young man with a pink nose, horn-rimmed spectacles and short side whiskers, who looked like something from the Anglo-Saxon colony on the left bank of the Seine.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Startled you, did it?

All the voice actually said was, "Coo!" but it was enough. Indeed, in the circumstances, a mere clearing of the throat would have been sufficient. His knotted and combined locks parted, each particular hair standing on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine; his heart broke from its moorings and crashed with a dull thud against his front teeth; and with a wordless cry he shot toward the ceiling.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Barry Fitzgerald had his day

From a New York Times article January 14, 1945:

 In Hollywood these days everyone, it seems, is excited about Barry Fitzgerald - except Barry Fitzgerald. On the basis of his performance as the whimsical, petulant old parish priest in Paramount's ''Going My Way,'' the New York critics have just given him their award for the best film acting of the year.

Today Barry Fitzgerald is in greater demand by the studios than any character has ever been in the history of the film city. One conservative estimate, by people who figure such things out, has it that if the 56-year-old Irish actor accepted all of the parts that have been offered to him in the past four months he would be working in front of the cameras, night and day, for the next two years.

Image result for barry fitzgerald

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bearing her equine burden

The dinner hour was approaching. In her room, Lady Bostock had finished dressing and was regarding herself in the mirror, wishing, not for the first time, that she looked less like a horse. It was not that she had anything specific against horses; she just wished she did not look like one.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Any way you look at it, a gentleman without equal

You can trust me to look after everything. This is the sort of situation that brings out the best in me. And when you get the best in Frederick Altamont Cornwallis, fifth Earl of good old Ickenham, you've got something.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 09, 2017

He didn't like earls

          "We earls step high," Lord Ickenham assured her. "The best is none too good for us."
          "It must be great being an earl."
          "It's terrific. I often lie awake at night, aching with pity for the poor devils who aren't."
          "Though I suppose you know you're an anachronistic parasite on the body of the state? Or so Otis says. He's just become a Communist."
          "He has, has he? Well, you can tell him from me that if he starts any nonsense of trying to hang me from a lamppost, I shall speak very sharply to him. Doesn't he like earls?"
          "Not much. He think's they're bloodsuckers."

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, April 08, 2017


I listened to an old radio show yesterday that starred Groucho and Chico Marx. What was interesting to me is that Groucho consistently pronounced the name Chick-O instead of Cheek-O.

I could almost take this one personally

"I say," he said, "I forgot to mention it in the swirl and rush of recent events, but I'm most frightfully obliged to you for the very sporting way you've rallied round and saved me from the fate that is worse than death - viz." explained Pongo, "getting glared at by that goggle-eyed old Jack the Ripper with the lip fungus."

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, April 07, 2017

Not the brightest husband

I was hoping that he would marry another girl, a particular protege of mine whom I have watched grow from a child, and a singularly fascinating child, at that, to a young woman of g race, charm and strength of character whom in my opinion has everything. Among other advantages which she possesses is sense enough for two, which, it seems to me, is just the amount the wife of Reginald ("Pongo") Twistleton will require.

(from Uncle Dynamite, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 06, 2017

A man's character

"Once the pattern of a man's life is established, it is rarely, if ever, changed. The character of a man is not a variable thing, but it follows in certain grooves cut long ago in youth." (from Trouble Shooter, by Louis L'Amour) This might not be absolutely true, but it certainly is generally so.

Image result for louis l'amour trouble shooter

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Mahler's First Symphony

The U. S. Cavalry comes riding to the rescue, the Marines arrive just in the nick of time, and the hero gets the girl. Hero music.

Back when butlers were butlers

He thought nostalgically of his young manhood in London at the turn of the century and of the vintage butlers he had been wont to encounter in those brave days . . . butlers who weighed two hundred and fifty pounds on the hoof, butlers with three chins and bulging abdomens, butlers with large, gooseberry eyes and that austere, supercilious, butlerine manner which has passed away so completely from the degenerate world of the nineteen-fifties. Butlers had been butlers then in the deepest and holiest sense of the word. Now they were mere chinless boys who sucked toffee and said "Yus?" when you spoke to them.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Image result for fat butler

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Red-faced gentleman

Captain Biggar, even when seen through a mist, presented a spectacle which might well have intimidated the stoutest. His eyes seemed to Bill to be shooting out long, curling flames, and why they called a man with a face as red as that a White Hunter was more than he was able to understand. Strong emotion, as always, had intensified the vermillion of the captain's complexion, giving him something of the appearance of a survivor from an explosion in a tomato cannery.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 03, 2017

A guilty conscience

Jill was looking at him with grave, speculative eyes. She had that direct, honest gaze which many nice  girls have, and as a rule Bill liked it. But at the moment he could have done with something that did not pierce quite so like a red-hot gimlet to his inmost soul. A sense of guilt makes a man allergic to direct, honest gazes.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Great line from Monsieur Beaucaire

"Oh, my whimsical proclivities are nothing much. They can't compare with my ludicrous ineptitudes." (Bob Hope)

Image result for bob hope beaucaire

Saturday, April 01, 2017

He did not grasp the nub of the matter

          "What I was about to ask you, my dear Tippy," he said, "was, have you ever given a  thought to modern trends?"
          "Well, I'll tell you," said Tipton, learning for the first time that these existed, "what with one thing and another, no."
          "When I say 'modern trends,'" proceeded Gally, "I am thinking at  the moment of the amusement world. Amazing how people's tastes have altered since I was your age. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis."
          "You betcher," said Tipton, fogged but courteous.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 31, 2017

They would have been bad cops

I have been disgusted by the tactics and personalities of many of the managers I had to deal with in my career (thankfully, not all of them). I occurs to me that those individuals would have been very dangerous to society had they been given law-enforcement powers.

Allergic to wealthy women

Nor did the periodical through which he was glancing do anything to induce a sprightlier trend of thought. Its contents consisted almost entirely of photographs of female members of the ruling classes, and it mystified him that the public should be expected to disburse hard cash in order to hurt its eyes by scrutinizing such gargoyles.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lucknow: a little history from Wodehouse

You actually can pick up a little historical information from the novels of P. G. Wodehouse if you follow up his leads. For instance: "It was with something of the emotions of the beleaguered garrison of Lucknow on hearing the skirl of the Highland pipes that he came at long last out of a sort of despairing coma" (from Full Moon). He referred to the prolonged defense of the Residency within city of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. I had never heard of the battle, but evidently it is a fairly prominent event in British history.

The Relief of Lucknow.jpg

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How do you spell "dumb blonde"?

Veronica Wedge, if the dumbest, was certainly the most beautiful girl registered among the collateral branches in the pages of Debrett's Peerage. With the brains of a peahen, and one whose mental growth had been retarded by being dropped on its head when just out of the egg, she combined a radiant loveliness which made fashionable photographers fight for her custom.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lord Emsworth is dotty

The fact is, old  girl, we've got to face it, Clarence is dotty. He was dotty when I married you, twenty-four years ago, and he's been getting dottier and dottier ever since. Where do you think I found him just now? Down at the pigsty. I noticed something hanging over the rail, and thought the pig man must have left his overalls there, and then it suddenly reared itself up like a cobra and said, "Ah, Egbert." Gave me a nasty shock. I nearly swallowed my cigar.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, March 27, 2017

A man of many roles

[Lord Ickenham] was a man who in his time had played many parts, and he took a pride in playing them right. It was his modest boast that there was nothing in existence, except possibly a circus dwarf, owing to his height, or Gina Lollobrigida, owing to her individual shape, which he could not at any moment and without rehearsal depict with complete success. In a single afternoon at The Cedars, Mafeking Road, in the suburb of Mitching Hill, on the occasion when he had befriended the pink chap to whom he had alluded in his talk with Albert Peasemarch, he had portrayed not only an official from the bird shop, come to clip the claws of the resident parrot, but Mr. Roddie, owner of The Cedars, and a Mr. J. G. Bulstrode, one of the neighbors, and had been disappointed that he was given no opportunity of impersonating the parrot, which he was convinced he would have gone on broad, artistic lines.

(from Cocktail Time, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A "friend" in need

His circle of friends, while passing him over when the wanted someone to translate James Joyce into English or to explain the Einstein theory to them, knew that if they were in trouble, they could rely on his help. True, this help almost invariably made things worse than they had been, for if there was a way of getting everything muddled up, he got it, but his intentions were excellent and his heart in the right place.

(from Cocktail Time, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 24, 2017

If it itches

          "You have a sensitive skin?"
          "Yes, I have. Very."
          "I suspected that that was the reason why you were behaving like a one-armed paperhanger with the hives. Watching you at work, I was reminded of the young lady of Natchez, whose clothes were all tatters and patches. In alluding to which, she would say, "Well, Ah itch, and wherever Ah itches, Ah scratches."

(from Cocktail Time, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 23, 2017


One of my father's older sisters was named Dulcie. The name means "sweet." I do not recall that I ever knew anyone else with that name. However, in the television series Cimarron Strip, the main female character was named Dulcey (same pronunciation).

Image result for jill townsend

You can usually count on it

In old detective movies and television shows, if someone steps out of a phone booth, the odds are that said individual is about to be shot.

Image result for man in old phone booth

Lloyd Lindroth on Peter Gunn

Lindroth was a very fine harpist who appeared as a murder suspect in the Peter Gunn television episode entitled "Blind Item." He was noted for his on-stage flamboyance. In this episode he plays a jazz version of "Tea For Two." Very nice. Here is a LINK of a Youtube video of him.

Image result for lloyd lindroth

Humphrey Bogart - the burning question

If he had not been a famous movie star, would Bogart have been considered glamorous?

Image result for humphrey bogart african queen

Why a moated grange?

"My dear old Beefy, you must be feeling like Mariana at the moated grange." This quote if from Wodehouse's Cocktail Time. For those of you who, like me, are not up on your classic quotes, this is from Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, which is was the inspiration for Tennyson's poem Mariana.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stuart Whitman

He was far from being the only one, but actor Stuart Whitman had one of the prototypical "cigarettes and whisky" voices. Sounded like he must have just walked out of a smoke-filled bar.


The sad fact is that the qualities which can make a man a military hero do not necessarily translate into qualities that make a man admirable in the other arenas of life.

The English just have a way of expressing it

"Yo ho," said Lord Ickenham. "In fact, I will go further. Yo frightfully ho," and it was plain to both Bean and Egg that they were in the presence of one who was sitting on top of the world and who, had he been wearing a hat, would have worn it on the side of his head. He looked, they considered, about as bumps-a-daisy as billy-o.

(from Cocktail Time, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Masterpiece of composition

If you want to listen to a masterpiece in the art of musical composition, try Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Every theme in it is one that will stick in your mind and make you whistle it all day. It is not spectacular, since it was written "in the Italian style" of that period, but it is a marvel of efficiency and fully qualifies to be listed among the musical masterpieces of all time.

Fathers don't have the money

When it comes to bidding for Mama's heart, fathers just can't compete. All they can pay is a roof over her head and food on the table and clothes on her back - and that's not much in the currency of this economy. Children (and later grandchildren) have hugs and smiles. That is why, in Mama's day, Daddy usually falls into the "when I get around to it" category - AFTER the children and grandchildren are taken care of. Father's just don't have the money to compete in that auction.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pretty, but hard

There is a class of actresses who are beautiful, but whose countenances have a hard look about them, as if there were some deep-seated meanness about them. Obviously, how they look may have nothing at all to do with their actual personalities, but they do look that way. One example is Dorothy Green, who was a familiar Hollywood face in her day. There was just something about her face that made her look as if she were about to do battle.

Image result for dorothy green

Ray Middleton

I am not a big fan of musicals, so I do not keep up with them to any degree. But Ray Middleton was a leading man in musicals for thirty years. My acquaintance with him came because he was a featured singer for a while on the Edgar Bergen radio show.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A great Hope line

Hedy Lamarr: "All of us can't been Eric Augustine.

Bob Hope: "You'd be amazed how many of us are."

From My Favorite Spy. Hope is burlesque comic Peanut White impersonating ugustine, who is an international spy.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Morally nearsighted

"An educated man, a cunning man, Arnold Soper was morally  nearsighted. He was firmly convinced not only that every man had a price, but that the price was cheap." (from The Rustlers of West Fork, by Louis L'Amour)

People who are habitually immoral have difficulty in comprehending how honest and upright people think; and probably the reverse is also true.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Calculated risks

          "Well" - she was reluctant to leave - "take care of yourself. You take too many chances."
          "Not me," He shook his head. "Only a fool takes chances. That isn't bravery, not one bit. The good fightin' man never takes a chance he can avoid. You have to take plenty you can't help, an' only a fool wold go to gamblin' with his life."

(from The Rustlers of West Fork, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The danger of unused minds

"Hopalong nodded. Carefully he went over in his mind all he had heard. He had the retentive memory of a Western man, but he was taking no chances. Upon what he had just heard his life might well depend, and even more  than his life, the lives of Pamela  and her father."

The passage above is from The Rustlers of West Fork, by Louis L'Amour. It illustrates one of my chief concerns about our modern age, that we are allowing our minds to atrophy through lack of use. Consider how active men's minds were in a day when the use of their memories might just preserve their lives.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Poetic description

"The morning air was clear and pleasant, and every breath was like a long swallow of fresh, cool mountain water."

From The Rustlers of West Fork, by Louis L'Amour. I thought that was a nice description of a beautiful morning.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Barney Fife on McHale's Navy

In the fourth season of the McHale's Navy television program, Don Knotts was a guest star. Here is a LINK to that episode.

The wrong vested interest

People who are trained to fight and kill and who are gung-ho about it have a vested interest in getting into actual battle. They feel can test and prove their worth only by actual combat. Thus the military has a need for occasional conflict in order to keep themselves sharp.

What a negative, self-defeating interest! War is NEVER productive. It is only and always destructive of life and property. That is one reason that civilian leaders must exercise judgment in their handling of the military and always keep them strictly in check.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Not enthusiastic consent

          Geraldine reflected. "I think the best plan is for me to cable him today to return at once, as you are now prepared to give your full consent to our marriage."
          Lord Wivelscombe sat for a moment in thought. "You consider that the best plan?"
          "I do."
          "What's the next best?"

(from "The Luck of the Stiffhams," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Things were NOT going well

There was a silence, broken only by the sound of Nelson ordering a mixed vermouth. Percy tontinued to stare before him like a man who has drained teh win-cup of life to its lees, only to discover a dead mouse at the bottom.

(from The Amazing Hat Mystery, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Rules of Chivalry

In the matter of her loved one's acts of chivalry towards damsels in distress, a fiancee holds certain definite views. If the damsels he assists are plain, he is a good chap and deserves credit. If they are pretty, he is a low hound who jolly well gets his ring and letters back by the first post.

(from Young Men In Spats, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

One unhappy butler

Beach walked slowly away across the lawn. His head was bowed, his heart heavy. It was a moment when a butler of spirit should have worn something of the gallant air of a soldier commissioned to carry dispatches through the enemy's lines. Beach did not look like that. He resembled far more nearly in his general demeanour one of those unfortunate gentlemen in railway station waiting-rooms who, having injudiciously consented at four-thirty to hold a baby for a strange woman, look at the clock and see that it is now six-fifteen and no relief in sight.

(from Heavy Weather, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Trigger in Sherwood Forest

Roy Rogers' famous horse Trigger made his movie debut as the mount of Maid Marian in the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood in 1938.

Lynne Roberts-Roy Rogers in Billy the Kid Returns.jpg

Chunk out the rascal!

Hugo Carmody was not unsympathetic, but he had a fair mind and privately considered the fact that Lord Tilbury had acted with great good sense. Obviously, felt Hugo, the whole secret of success, if you were running a business and had Monty Bodkin working for you, was to get rid of him at the earliest possible moment.

(from Heavy Weather, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Backed into a corner

Another interval for rest and meditation succeeded. Miss Ukridge paced the floor with knit brows; while I sidled into a corner and stood there feeling a little like an inexperienced young animal-trainer tho has managed to get himself locked into the lions' den and is trying to remember what Lesson Three of his correspondence course said he ought to to in such circumstances.

(from Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, March 06, 2017

Not at my best

There are certain people in this world in whose presence certain other people can never feel completely at their ease. Notable among the people beneath whose gaze I myself experience a sensation of extreme discomfort and guilt is Miss Julia Ukridge, author of so many widely-read novels, and popular after-dinner speaker at the better class of literary reunion. This was the fourth time we had  met, and on each of the previous occasions I had felt the same curious illusion of having just committed some particularly unsavoury crime and - what is more - of having done it with swollen hands, enlarged feet, and trousers bagging at the knee on a morning when I had omitted to shave.

(from Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, March 04, 2017

What makes a young man popular

"I think the trouble with Freddie," said the Crumpet, "is that he always gets off to a flying start. He's a good-looking sort of a chap who dances well and can wiggle hs ears, and the girl is dazzled for the moment, and this encourages him." (from Young Men in Spats, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

There you have it, fellows - what it takes to get off to a good start with the ladies. I can't help you much with the good-looking part: you are on your own there. But learn how to fox trot and how to wiggle your ears, and you are two-thirds of the way home.

Different heads for different folks

It's a curious thing about old George Tupper. There's a man who you might say is practically directing the destinies of a great nation - at any rate, he's in the Foreign Office and extremely well thought of by the Nibs - and yet his size in hats is a small seven. I don't know if you've ever noticed that Tuppy's head goes up to a sort of point. Mine, on the other hand, is shaped more like a mangel-wurzel, and this made the whole thing rather complex and unpleasant.

(from Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Grand Exalted What?!

"That is Uncle Joe, taken in the lodge regalia of a grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks."

(from Egg, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Der Fuehrer's Face

This novelty tune was a wartime slap at the Germans by the Spike Jones band.



Rannygazoo: now there is a useful word - and colorful, too. It means "Nonsense, deception; foolishness, fuss, exaggeration."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"He's cute!"

That was my youngest daughter's reaction to actor Grant Withers when we used to watch the old Mr. Wong movies, starring Boris Karloff in the title role.

Image result for grant withers actor

The Restless Gun and Britt Ponsett

The Restless Gun was a television western that ran from 1957 to 1959. In the pilot episode, the title role was named Britt Ponsett, taken from The Six Shooter radio program. After that, however, the name was changed to Vint Bonner. That episode and a number of others are available on Youtube.

Reforming insurance companies

Was there not, he asked himself, a great deal to be said for this theory of hers that insurance companies had much too much money and would be better, finer, more spiritual insurance companies if someone came along occasionally and took a bit of the stuff off them? Unquestionably there was. His doubts were removed. He saw now that it was not only a pleasure, but a duty, to nick the London and Midland Counties Mutual Aid and Benefit Association for five thousand. It might prove the turning-point in the lives of its Board of Directors.

(from Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 27, 2017

She is going to get mad!

The Bingo menage, as you are no doubt aware, is one that has been conducted from its inception on one hundred per cent Romeo and Juliet lines. She is devoted to him, and his ingrowing love for her is such that you would be justified in comparing them to a couple of turtle doves. Nevertheless, he was ill at ease. Any male turtle dove will tell you that, if conditions are right, the female turtle dove can spit on her hands and throw her weight about like Donald Duck. And it needed no diagram to show Bingo that conditions here were just right. Mrs. Bingo had taken a lot of trouble to get him his job, and when she found that through sheer fatheadedness he had chucked it away, she would, something told him, have a lot of comment to make.

(from Egg, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not a fond goodbye

          "Cheer up," he said. "You still have me."
          "No, I haven't," said Purkiss. You're fired."
          And in words whose meaning there was no mistaking he informed Bingo that the end of the month would see his finish as Ye Ed., and that it was his, Purkiss's, dearest hope that when he, Bingo, finally left the premises, he would trip over the door mat and break his neck.

(from Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

They did things differently back then

Gally produced his case. Vanessa stood looking over the battlements, a rather rapt expression on her face.

"I suppose your ancestors used to pour boiling lead on people from up here?" she said.

"All the time. Made them jump."

"That's just the sort of thing I find so romantic about the place."

"I can see how you might. Very attractive, those old English customs."

(from A Pelican At Blandings,  by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Boy, is that an understatement!

From Wikipedia's spot on Ginger Rogers, speaking about movie partner Fred Astaire: "a peerless dancer who sometimes struggled as an actor and was not considered classically handsome."

No kidding! He looked like a refugee from a concentration camp.

The last "Extra"

Putting out "extra" editions for important breaking news used to be a big part of the newspaper business. Of course, that was before electronic media. At some point, extras became a largely thing of the past. I wonder when that last "extra" was issued, or will be issued.

Not a newspaper I have read

To her relief he appeared reasonably placid. He was sitting up in bed smoking a cigar and reading the local paper, the Bridgnorth, Shifnal and Albritton Argus, with which is incorporated the Wheat Grower's Intelligencer and Stock Breeder's Gazette.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Name him Fanshaw?

Considering naming your son Fanshaw? One of those old, honored, British names that just reek history and blue blood. True. So true. But you might want to think again before you do, because "Fanshaw" is how it is pronounced, not how it is spelled. The spelling it Featherstonehaugh.


Short on marbles

No sister could view him now without concern. There was an expression she had heard her husband James Schoonmaker use to describe an acquaintance of whose mentality his opinion was low, which seemed to her to fit the ninth Earl of Emsworth like the paper on the wall. It was the expression, "He has not got all his marbles." What had occurred in the past few days, and particularly what had occurred tonight, had left her with the conviction that, whatever the ninth Earl's merits, he offered an open target for her James's criticism. He was amiable, he was clean, sober and obedient, but the marbles in his possession were virtually non-existent.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Just die

Evidently it does not matter how much of a scoundrel you may be, all you have to do in order to be eulogized as a paragon is to die.

Bulldog Drummond movies

There was a whole series of movies based upon the Bulldog Drummond character. In most of them, Drummond was portrayed by actor John Howard. It is lightweight entertainment, but my wife and I have watched them many times and still enjoy them.

Image result for bulldog drummond john howard

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What it was, was love

That was the night you were so disturbed because she hummed and giggled, giving you the impression that something had gone wrong with the two hemispheres of her brain and the broad band of transversely running fibres known as the corpus callosum and that she was, in your crisp phrase, potty. It was not pottiness, Dunstable, it was the natural exuberance of a young girl who has found love and happiness and is looking forward to the wedding with full choral effects, with the man she adores standing at her side in a morning coat and sponge bag trousers and the bishop and assistant clergy doing their stuff as busily as one-armed paperhangers with the hives.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Image result for sponge bag trousers wedding

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tough way to end the relationship

A thing I've noticed as I've gone through life is that girls never need much of a rason for breaking engagements. It's their first move when anything goes wrong. I remember a fellow named Ponderby at the old Pelican - Legs Ponderby we used to call him - short for Hollow Legs - because of his remarkable capacity for absorbing buttered rum - who got engaged to a girl who did a snake act on the suburban Halls and always took her supporting artists around in a wickerwork basket. And one night, when they were having a bite of supper at the Bodega, a long green member of the troupe got loose and crawled up Legs's leg, and wanting to sell his life dearly he hit it on the nose with a bread stick. He explained to the girl that seeing snakes always affected him profoundly, but she broke the engagement just the same and went off and married a comedy juggler.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

She was glad Dad was stingy

Revolted though she would have been had someone informed her views on anything could coincide with those of her brother Galahad, on the subject of the Duke's affection for money they were identical. This partiality of his for coin of the realm had been drawn to her attention twenty years ago, when he had informed her that their engagement was at an end because her father refused to meet his terms in the matter of dowry, and she could never be sufficiently  grateful to her late parent for his parsimony.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gally to the rescue

If only, he was thinking, Mr. Galahad could have been here to lend aid and comfort to his stricken employer: and even as he framed the thought the door opened and Gally came in. To say that he leaped from his seat would be an overstatement. Men of Beach's build do not leap from seats. He did, however, rise slowly like a hippopotamus emerging from a river bank, his emotions somewhat similar to those of a beleaguered garrison when the United States Marines arrive.

(from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Image result for a pelican at blandings

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Women just grow up faster

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.

(from Easy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Hit him where he felt it

Bill got up. He stood for a moment holding to the back of his chair before speaking. It was almost exactly thus that he had felt in the days when he had gone in for boxing and had stopped forceful swings with the more sensitive portions of his person.

(from Easy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 13, 2017


Not nifty, but NIFFY. I learned this word while reading after P. G. Wodehouse. The phrase was "a niffy piece of cheese." At first I thought I had read it wrong, because I could see nothing about a piece of cheese that would be described as particularly nifty, but then I looked more closely and saw that there was no "t", but two "f"'s. Niffy is defined as "ill smelling, malodorous, stinky, unpleasant-smelling" - all of which would fit a piece being used as dog food.

The good old days

"Those were great days," she said cheerfully. "None of us had a bean, and Algie was the hardest up of the whole bunch. After we were married we went to the Savoy for the wedding breakfast, and when it was over and the waiter came with the check, Algie said he was sorry, but he had had a bad week at Lincoln and hadn't the price on him. He tried to touch me, but I passed. Then he had a go at the best man, but the best man had nothing in the world but one suit of clothes and a spare collar. Claire was broke, too, so the end of it was that the best man had to sneak out and pawn my watch and the wedding-ring."

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

He was thin!

Nutty Boyd conformed as nearly as a human being may to Euclid's definition of a straight line. He was length without breadth. From boyhood's early day he had sprouted like a weed, till now in the middle twenties he gave startled strangers the conviction that it only required a sharp gust of wind to snap him in half. Lying in bed, he looked more like a length of hose-pipe than anything else.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

No water

It was with a dark foreboding that she returned to the kitchen and turned on one of the taps. For perhaps three seconds a stream of the dimension of a darning-needle emerged, then with a sad gurgle the tap relapsed into a stolid inaction. There is no stolidity so utter as that of a waterless tap.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Another old Hollywood star from Arkansas

Gail Davis was the star of the Annie Oakley television show. She was born in Little Rock and raised in McGehee. Her father was a prominent physician and became the Arkansas State Health Officer.

Image result for gail davis actress

The Adventures of Clarence and Eustace

          Things came to a head this morning at breakfast. Clarence, my snake, has the cutest way of climbing up the leg of the table and looking at you pleadingly in the hope that you will give him a soft-boiled egg, which he adores. He did it this morning, and no sooner had his head appeared above the table than Algie, with a kind of sharp wail, struck him a violent blow on the nose with a teaspoon. Then he turned to me, very pale, and said: "Pauline, this must end! The time has come to speak up. A nervous, highly-strung man like myself should not, and must not, be called upon to live in a house where he is constantly meeting snakes and monkeys without warning. Choose between me and -."
          We had got as far as this when Eustace, the monkey, who I didn't know was in the room at all, suddenly sprang on to his back. He is very fond of Algie.
          Would you believe it? Algie walked straight out of the house, still holding the teaspoon, and has not returned.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Do you know boys like this?

He was only ten, and small for his age, yet he appeared to have the power of being in two rooms at the same time while making a nerve-racking noise in another.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A little light upstairs

"Gunther, watch yourself! He's trying to brainwash you. With you it will just take a light rinse."

(Fred Gwynne in Car 54, Where Are You?)

Columbus said it first

          The decision at which Bill had arrived with such dramatic suddenness in the middle of Piccadilly was the same at which some centuries earlier Columbus had arrived in the privacy of his home.
          "Hang it!" said Bill to himself in the cab, "I'll go to America!" The exact words probably which Columbus had used, talking the thing over with his wife.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Image result for uneasy money wodehouse

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

I actually have seen this

"You  treat me," Curtis said without malice, like a tympanist in a jazz band perpetually dodging from one instrument to another." (from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

If you have ever seen a one-man percussion section, you know precisely what Dame Ngaio means in this excerpt from her novel. One minute you are playing this instrument, and the next something else.

Sooner or later you need friends

At some point in life you will need help that cannot be given to you by your close circle of buddies. If your modus operandi has been to insult and alienate everyone who is not among your buddies, then when "crunch time" comes, you are going to be in a difficult situation, because all of those non-buddies, who might have helped you if you had not insulted and alienated them, are going to take great delight in watching you burn.

There is a definite advantage in exhibiting common courtesy and good manners in our dealings with others. Dictators probably do not worry about such things, but people who operate in a free country where people have a say in their government have to think about them if they are going to be successful.

Monday, February 06, 2017

We always irritate the ones we love

Sometimes there exists in people who are attracted to each other a kind of ratio between the degree of attraction and the potential for irritation. Strangely, it is often the unhappiness of one that arouses an equal degree of irascibility in the other. The  tear-blotted face, the obstinate misery, the knowledge that this distress is genuine and the feeling of incompetence it induces, all combine to exasperate and inflame.

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A durable role

According to Wikipedia, Yul Brynner performed the role of King Mongkut in The King and I 4625 times on stage. It would take a great deal of professionalism to keep a role fresh after that many performances.

Image result for brynner mongkut

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Innocence and timidity

          "I suppose," Mr. Phinn said, "I am a timid man, but I know, in respect of this crime, that I am an innocent one."
          "Well,  then," Alleyn said, and tried to lend the colour of freshness to an assurance he had so often given, "your innocence should cancel your timidity. You have nothing to fear."

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

The ideal conducting style

I have found a conductor whose podium style I like about as much as any I have seen. Some conductors' baton technique is far too flamboyant and indefinite (their beats are hard to follow). Others' beats are clear enough, but their manner is bland. Paavo Jarvi has a nice combination of both. He is vigorous and expressive in his manner, but his baton work is very clear. HERE he is conducting Shostakovich's magnificent 5th Symphony.

Image result for paavo jarvi

Friday, February 03, 2017

A few Romani (gypsy) female given names

and so  on.

So, for example you might have Luminitsa Dumitrescu. Pretty colorful, huh? Rolls off the tongue nicely.

One thing I will never get to see

One of those things that I wish I could have seen, but never will, is a broadside by a battleship. Since they are now obsolete, they will never be fired again, and an era has passed away. Here is a LINK to a Youtube spot about the Battle of Jutland in World War I which shows some battleship footage.

A mistake, or historical fact

 Early in the movie Tora, Tora, Tora, Secretary of State Cordell Hull has a meeting with the Japanese ambassador. On the wall of his office is one of the famous pictures of Stonewall Jackson. I wonder if it really was in his office, or if the movie-makers muffed it.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A qualified promise

She: "When we got married you promised you wouldn't bring your work home with you."

He: "When we got married I was still working for the sanitation department."

(from Car 54 Where Are You?)

Regular customer

"Boy, he's been up to Sing Sing and back so often he's listed as a commuter."

(from Car 54 Where Are You television program)


Being a musician, I know what a paradiddle is, just as I know what flams and ratamacues are. (They are some of the rudamental strokes for snare drummers.) However, I was not familiar with the term taradiddle - that is, until I read Scales of Justice by Dame Ngaio Marsh. A taradiddle is "a petty lie; pretentious nonsense."

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

So what does a detective look like?

"Fox was one of those, nowadays rather rare, detectives who look verey much like their job. He was large, grizzled man with extremely bright eyes."  (from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

There you have it. The prototype of a detective.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Red in the face

Aunt Dahlia's face grew darker. Hunting, if indulged in regularly over a period of years, is a pastime that seldom fails to lend a fairly deepish tinge to the patient's complexion, and her best friends could not have denied that even at normal times the relative's map tended a little towards the crushed strawberry. But never had I seen it take on so pronounced a richness as now. She looked like a tomato struggling for self-expression.

(from Right Ho, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Teeth - the great lie of the silver screen

Actors (at least those playing the good guys) almost always have lovely, white, straight teeth. Wonderful, appealing smiles. Do you think that was really the case back in the old days? No braces. No dentists, or at least not any that most people could afford. But, you can't have heroes and leading ladies with crooked or missing teeth, can you?

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Actor Arthur Q. Bryan portrayed Doc Gamble on the Fibber McGee & Molly radio show, and was also the original voice for Elmer Fudd. You might have known that if you follow old radio shows or classic cartoons.

However, you probably did not know that the initial Q. stood for Quirk. Really.

Arthur Quirk Brian the Voice Actor of Elmer Fudd.jpeg