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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)