Friday, September 29, 2017

Pneumonic plague

Ever heard of this disease? It is one of the three main forms of plague, and is even more virulent than the famous bubonic plague. Here is a LINK to an episode of the old TV program Whirlybirds, which deals with this disease.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Now there is a name for you

Viviane Ventura was a minor actress, born in London and raised in Colombia. Her daughter is named Sheherazade Goldsmith. That is an interesting combination. Sort of like being named Giuseppe Schwartz.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The deterioration of speech

"There is a special immediacy to history when one sees the root speech morals of a simple folk disintegrate."

This sentence is from Crooked Shadow, a mystery novel by Kurt Steel. It refers to the phrase "one of the new men," the meaning of which changed during the rise of the Nazis in Germany.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Not so young man

Several times in the movie "Murder in the Private Car" (1934), Russell Hardie calls Charlie Ruggles by the name "young man." This is ironic, since Ruggles was born in 1886 and Hardie in 1888


Truth's path

"Truth, like football, receive many kicks before reaching goal."
(from Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Image result for charlie chan at the olympics

Monday, September 25, 2017

People who never come home

Travel does broaden one's perspective: there is no doubt about that. If we never "get out of Dodge," we do not have much beyond a worm's viewpoint. However, living constantly on the road is not healthy, either. There is a reason that people have homes, and those who do not have one in the truest and fullest sense of the word are lacking one of the most important things in life.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

One of the smoothest

Of all the detectives, one of the very smoothest was Roger Moore (later Sir Roger) as The Saint of television fame. His taste was impeccable, and he was always suave and debonair, and all that sort of thing. But he was quick with his fists and equal to every challenge.

Image result for roger moore the saint

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Standard procedure with women

Mike Barnett: How long will it take you to dress?

Gloria: Five minutes.

Barnett: OK, I'll be back in an hour and wait for your to finish.

(from Man Against Crime television program)

Interesting, if true

"I never knew a really brave fighting man, yet who was reckless." (from The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

If this statement is even generally true, it is quite interesting. Brave men are careful men.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Concerning gun control

"Violence is an evil thing, but when the guns are all in the hands of the men without respect for human rights, then men are really in trouble." (from The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

"Know" - a confusing word?

The "k" is silent. The "w" is silent. It is pronounced exactly like "no," but has an entirely different meaning. Must be tough on people learning to speak English.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

One man's view of politics

"Statesmanship is about ten percent good ideas and motives and ninety percent getting backing for your program." (from The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

Whether or not that ought to be the case, I suspect it is the case in a good number of cases.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tough medicine

Cap was a fair hand at patching up wounds and he made a poultice of herbs of some kind which he packed on my shoulder. He cleaned the wound by running an arrow shaft through with a cloth soaked in whiskey, and if you think that's entertainment, you just try it on for size.

(from The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Don't worry

"There would be trouble enough, but man is born to trouble, and it is best to meet it when it comes and not lose sleep until it does." (from The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

This quote contains the essence of an important biblical principle.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dona Drake - a broad range of roles

She was a beautiful actress who generally was assumed to be of Latino derivation because she looked the part and played so many of those roles. However, Dona Drake actually was 3/4 black and 1/4 white. The remarkable result of this combination of bloodlines made Drake a tremendously versatile actress.

Image result for dona drake

Johnny Midnight

This was a television program starring Edmond O'Brien about an actor turned private investigator. Naturally, its subject matter deals a lot with the stage. The plots are pretty good, and O'Brien does a creditable job with the lead acting. The staging tends to be very dark, and with the production quality that made its way to YouTube, it is hard to watch, but still worth the effort.

Image result for johnny midnight

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Guy Williams - unappreciated sword fighter

Hollywood has had its flashy on-screen swordsmen. They all looked pretty good, whether or not they actually could fight. (Cameras can cover a multitude of faults.) Some that come to mind are Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Tyrone Power, and Stewart Granger. Rathbone actually was supposed to have been a decent swordsman. One who came across pretty well on television was Guy Williams, who played Zorro in the Disney television series. He looked athletic and moved very well.

Image result for guy williams zorro

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sanitizing humor

In today's politically-correct environment, it is very dangerous to use caricatures of people for fear of offending someone. The problem is that much (perhaps even most) of humor involves caricatures. Caricatures are exaggerations, and exaggerations are funny. Political cartoons are funny because they involve caricatures. Take away the exaggeration of the person's physical features and you take away the humor.

It is the same with the ethnic groups. Lum and Abner, Archie Bunker, Andy Capp: all were exaggerations of features sometimes found in certain ethnic groups. Take away the exaggeration and you take away the humor.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What I have in common with the Sacketts

"Far away back and on three sides of the family, we were Welsh." (Tyrel Sackett in The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour)

It just so happens that that statement applies to me, also. Three of my grandparents were born Loyd, Davis and Evans, three of the most common Welsh surnames. (The usual Welsh spelling is "Lloyd".)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Not Freddie's fault

That she should be furious at her failure to find the jewels was excusable, but she had no possible right to be furious with Freddie. It was not his fault that soot had poured from the chimney in lieu of diamonds. If he had asked for a necklace and been given a dead bat, he was surely more to e pitied than censured. Yet Eve, eyeing his grimy face, would have given very much to have been able to scream loudly and throw something at him. The fact was, thee Hon Freddie belonged to that unfortunate type of humanity which automatically gets blamed for everything in the moments of stress.

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

Friday, September 08, 2017

Making his case

          "Good-bye," said eve. "Thank you for being so hospitable and lavish. I'll try to find some cushions and muslin and stuff to brighten up this place."
          "Your presence does that adequately," said Psmith, accompanying her to the door. "By the way, returning to the subject we were discussing last night, I forgot to mention, when asking you to marry me, that I can do card-tricks."
          "And also a passable imitation of a cat calling to her young. Has this no weight with you? Think! These things come in very handy in the long winter evenings."

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

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Getting his forty winks

The ability to sleep soundly and deeply is the prerogative, as has been pointed out earlier in this straightforward narrative of the home-life of the English upper classes, of those who do not think quickly. The Earl of Emsworth, who had not thought quickly since the occasion in the summer of 1874 when he had heard his father's footsteps approaching the stable-loft in which he, a lad of fifteen, sat smoking his first cigar, was an excellent sleeper. He started early and finished late.

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

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Vintage Wodehouse

          He could not analyze the sound, but the fact that there was any sound at all in such a place at such an hour increased his suspicions that dark doings were toward which would pay for investigation. With stealthy steps he crept to the head of the stairs and descended.
          On uses the verb "descend" advisedly for what is required is some word suggesting instantaneous activity. About Baxter's progress from the second floor to the first there was nothing halting or hesitating. He, so to speak, did it now. Planting his foot firmly on a golf-ball which the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, who had been practicing putting in the corridor before retiring to bed, had left in his casual fashion just where the steps began, he took the entire staircase in one majestic, volplaning sweep. There were eleven stairs in all separating his landing from the landing below, and the only ones he hit were the third and tenth. He came to rest with a squattering thud on the tower landing, and or a moment or two the fever of the chase left him.

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

Image result for man falling down stairs

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Making his pitch for her hand

Reflect that I may be an acquired taste. You probably did not like olives the first time you tasted them. Now you probably do. Give me the same chance that you would an olive. Consider, also, how little you actually have against me. What, indeed, does it amount to, when you come to examine it narrowly? All you have against me is the fact that I am not Ralston McTodd. Think how comparatively few people are Ralston McTodd.

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

Monday, September 04, 2017

Poor Freddie!

He looked at Eve. He looked at her searchingly. Into her pleading eyes he directed a stare that sought to probe her soul, and found there honestly, sympathy and - better still - intelligence. He might have stood and gazed into Freddie's fishy eyes for weeks without discovering a tithe of such intelligence.

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

Saturday, September 02, 2017

A speech you might pass on

About now, if she had not had the sense to detach herself from the castle platoon, she would, she reflected, be listening to Lord Emsworth's speech on the subject of the late Hartley Reddish, M.P., J.P.: a topic which even the noblest of orators might have failed to render really gripping.

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

Friday, September 01, 2017

Politically incorrect, but still very funny

According to the standards of today, the Amos and Andy television show was very politically incorrect. But that does not detract from the fact that the actors in the show did a wonderful job, if their job was to be funny. Tim Moore particularly gave a legendary performance as the Kingfish, and Ernestine Wade was the perfect complement as Sapphire, his wife (although they were almost 20 years apart in age). So, regardless of the surrounding political circumstances, we can look back on the crew of actors who devoted two years to this show and say that they were great!

Image result for amos n andy tv