Thursday, August 31, 2017

Do you remember this secret order?

Mystic Knights of the Sea. This was the name of the lodge of George "Kingfish" Stevens on the Amos and Andy television program. The Kingfish is actively involved, but it is not clear just exactly what the nature of the organization is.

Image result for mystic knights of the sea lodge

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unlikely or impossible?

"In this life, Comrade Cootes," said Psmith, "we must always distinguish between the Unlikely and the Impossible. It was unlikely, as you say, that you would meet any friend of McTodd's  in this out-of-the-way spot, and you rashly ordered your movements on the assumption that it was impossible. With what result? The cry goes round the Underworld, 'Poor old Cootes has made a bloomer.'"

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Extinct languages

Here is a LINK to a list of extinct languages - those no longer spoken. (That is opposed to a dead language, which is one that is no longer the native language of any community, e.g., Latin.) There are approximately 7000 spoken languages currently, and one publication estimates that 90% of those will become extinct by 2050.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Not still, perhaps, but close enough

To say that Baxter's heart stood still would be medically inexact. The heart does not stand still. Whatever the emotions of its owner, it goes on beating. It would be more accurate to say that Baxter felt like a man taking his first ride in an express elevator who has outstripped his vital organs by several floors and sees no immediate prospect of their ever catching up with him again.

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Endangered languages

Here is a LINK to a list of the endangered languages in the world today. Note the in 2005, there were 6909 living languages in the world. Did you have any idea there were so many? A very few languages so dominate the world scene that we forget about the others. In the United States particularly, there are quite a few Indian languages that are endangered. For example, as of the date of the attached article, only eight people spoke Achumawi, the tongue of the Pit River people in California.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bridgework Blues

"I had a bad year in '32 and I had to pawn my bridge. I tell you, Andy, it's an awful feelin' to pass by the pawn shop and see your own teeth grinnin' at you from behind the glass."

(from Amos and Andy)

Just put him down

Kingfish: We put our dear, beloved Andy away this morning. And this is the gentleman here that packed the box.

Queenie: You buried Andy Brown?

Algonquin Calhoun: Well, he was dead. There wasn't much else we could do with him.

The funniest prisoner ever

Actor Tim Moore portrayed George "Kingfish" Stevens on the television version of Amos 'n' Andy. Here is an interesting note from Wikipedia about his later life:

          Moore married his last wife Vivian Cravens (1912–1988) eight months after Benzonia's death; they had been performing as a comedy team for some time before marrying in 1957. This marriage won him considerable publicity thanks to the "Roast Beef Scandal" of January 1958. Moore fired a gunshot in his home because of his "mooching in-laws" (stepson, stepdaughter, and her husband) when he found that the last of the New Year's roast beef had been eaten by them. Moore related, "These free-loaders have eaten everything in the house. My wife protects them and every time we talk about it, we get into an argument. The argument got a little loud and the next thing I knew, the big boy (his stepson Hubbard) jumped out of his chair. I ran upstairs and got out my old pistol. I didn't want to hit anybody."

          When the police arrived at the home, Moore, pistol still in his belt, told them, "I'm the old Kingfish, boys. I'm the one you want. I fired that shot. I didn't want to hit anyone, although I could have. Anyway, you should have seen the in-laws scatter when I fired that gun." The shot Moore fired hit the china cabinet; he was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with police calling him the "funniest prisoner in police history." Moore was initially ordered held on $1,000 bond; the judge changed his mind and released Moore on his own recognizance. Tim and his wife reconciled, with Vivian's pleading for the charges to be dropped. Moore entered a not guilty plea before the case went to trial on March 24. He received a $100 fine and a year's probation as his sentence.

Tim Moore Kingfish Amos 'n' Andy.jpg

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kingfish's opinion of Andy's intelligence

"If he had put a bullet hole in your head, that would be the only thing in there."

Kingfish's addition

"Andy, puttin' two and two together, we comes up with one of the nastier fours we ever run into."

(from Amos and Andy television show)

Drunk again!

Hal Smith became famous playing Otis Campbell, the town drunk on the Andy Griffith television show. Obviously, he also had other "non-drinking" roles as well. At least once, however, he played a drunk on a program other than the Griffith show. That was in the episode of Adam 12 entitled "A Jumper Code Two."

Here is a LINK to that episode.

Hal Smith Picture

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reading material of riper vintage

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

(From Leave It To Psmith, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse. It was written in 1924.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One thing that made Wodehouse's works so readable

"An Anglo-Saxon right then had the run of the world's two richest slang systems in their primes, which, laid on top of a classical education, gave him unrepeatable equipment."

(Wilfred Sheed, commenting on P. G. Wodehouse's work in his Introduction to Leave It To Psmith)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Took one on the chin

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bad backs

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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

No more stomachs!

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A nice cut

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

(Donald O'Connor in This is the Life)

Death wish?

"Anything in the mail?"

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

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

Tax cuts

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

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

A Wodehousian description of true love

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be careful with those glances, ladies

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, August 14, 2017

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

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Help wanted

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

(from Something Fresh, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Frances yes, Skinnay no

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

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

Image result for frances langford

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Shannon television program

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

Image result for shannon tv program

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sometimes you just need to get out of town

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

(from Taggart, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

She was REALLY involved in politics

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

Image result for lita milan

Monday, August 07, 2017

Food for special occasions

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

(from Galloway, by Louis L'amour)

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Just listen to the birds

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

(from Galloway, by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Mob mentality

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

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

I sat in this kind of desk in the first grade

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

Image result for Old School Desk

So why isn't he breathing hard?!

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

Image result for broderick crawford highway patrol

The day the thunder stopped

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

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