Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tough job

We arranged to start on the following Saturday from Kingston. Harris and I would go down in the morning, and take the boat up to Chertsey, and George, who would not be able to get away from the City till the afternoon (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two) would meet us there.

(from Three Men In a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Don't take short sea trips

     I objected to the sea trip strongly. A sea trip does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it but, for a week, it is wicked.
     You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore, light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into one. On Tuesday you wish you hadn't come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish you were dead. On Saturday you are able to swallow a little beef tea, and to sit up on deck, and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kind-hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.

(from Three Men In a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A true hypochondriac

I said, "I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is not the matter with me. I have not got housemaid's knee. Why I have not got housemaid's knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I have got."

(from Three Men In a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome)

Monday, September 16, 2019

NOT gourmet

We ate a silent and dismal dinner out of the cans I had salvaged from our cottage in Connecticut. Tomato soup, then black bean soup, then succotash for the main course. For dessert I offered Jeff his choice of vegetable soup or two marshmallows. He picked the marshmallows and threw them at me. Not playfully.

(from The Frightened Stiff, by Kelley Roos)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Why husbands leave rearranging alone

     "Jeff, couldn't we just take an hour or two off from murder and try to make the place look like home? It would do wonders for my morale."
     "Sure, tell me what to do."
     "I should have known; Jeff wasn't much help. He would pick up a lamp or a chair, walk thoughtfully around the room with it, then deposit it exactly the same spot where it had been standing.

(from The Frightened Stiff, by Kelley Roos)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Didn't look the part

He was a little man, his hands and feet so small that they seemed almost feminine. His eyes were meek and colorless, his face had the look of a scared rabbit. Never in a million years should George Turner have been cast as a landlord. If he could foreclose a mortgage, I could play tackle for West Point.

(from The Frightened Stiff, by Kelley Roos)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sneezewood

The common name for Ptaeroxylon is "sneezewood tree." It is found in southern Africa. The wood produces oils containing nieshoutol, which causes violent sneezing by workers exposed to it. It is not poisonous, but has been known to cause respiratory complications.

Ptaeroxylon obliquum, habitus, Walter Sisulu NBT.jpg

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

True bravery

When I hear of a man doing a brave deed, I always want to discover whether at the time he was well and comfortable in body. That, I am certain, is the biggest ingredient in courage, and those who plan and execute great deeds in bodily weakness have my homage as truly heroic.

(from Prester John, by John Buchan)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Keep the emotions under control

"Indeed I was a convert, if there can be conversion when the emotions are dominant and there is no assent from the brain." (from Prester John, by John Buchan)

This is the ingredient found in mob psychology.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Aasvogel

Here is another word from John Buchan's writings. Aasvogel is from "aas" (carrion) and "vogel" (bird, from the Dutch). Or, in other words, a vulture.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Kloof

I just finished reading Prester John, by John Buchan. This novel is set in South Africa, and so I am encountering many new words. One of them is kloof, which means "a steep-sided, wooded ravine or valley."

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Not a very appealing fellow

He had a face the colour of French mustard - a sort of dirty green - and blood-shot, beady eyes with the whites all yellowed with fever.

(from Prester John by John Buchan)

Friday, September 06, 2019

The re-uniting of twin souls

     "We've always suited each other, Squiffy," she said. "I'm not denying we had our rows, but we're older now, and I think we should hit it off. We both like the same things. I think we should be awfully happy if we had another try at it." Lord Tidmouth stared at her, impressed.
     "Perfectly amazing you should say that," he said. "That very same thought occurred to me the moment I saw you at Bingley. I remember saying to myself, 'Squiffy, old man,' I said, 'haven't you rather, as it were, let a dashed good thing slip from our grasp?' And I replied to myself, 'Yes, old man, I have.'" Lottie beamed at this twin-soul.
     "I'm awfully fond of you, Squiffy"
     "Awfully nice of you to say so."
     "After all, what are brains?"
     "Quite."
     "Or looks?"
     "Exactly."

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 05, 2019

The evolution of this particular dinosaur

Newspapers are dinosaurs, who are on their last legs. When another half-generation is gone, there won't be enough people left who can read to make them worth doing. However, the news-gathering systems of newspapers are hugely valuable entities, and they are going to have to figure out how to translate that value into something that is profitable.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Poor Mr. H.

     "Let me tell you you're mistaken if you think you can get rid of me so easily."
     "Lottie," said Bill, please!"
     "Lottie, please! said Lord Tidmouth.
     "Lottie, please! Lottie, please! Lottie, please!" cried the injured woman in the tones which had intimidated a hundred theatrical dressing-rooms and which when heard during the course of their brief married life by the late Mr. Higginbotham had always been enough to send that pusillanimous cotton magnate shooting off to his club for refuge.

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Just the way it is

The brutal, brutal fact of the matter is that grandparents are older than grandchildren. That is not quite so much of a factor when the grandparents are 45, but when they are in their sixties and the children are two-year-olds it can be exhausting.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Eloquent applause

     "Well, well, well, well, well, WELL!" said Lord Tidmouth.
     Lottie moved to the mirror and scrutinized herself in it. She was pleased that her very considerable beauty had won this striking tribute.

(from Doctor Sally, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Taking in and taking out

It was a cattle-trail town and ran long to saloons and gambling houses. The folks who lived in the country around were mostly raising cattle. The rest of them were stealing cattle. Both industries were in what you might call a flourishing condition when we came into town.
/
(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cosmo Lengro

In the novel Lando, we learn that this is the real name of the Tinker, that mysterious character that appears in several of the Sackett stories. He is described as being a gypsy, which is a name for the Romani people, who originated in northwestern India about 1500 years ago. Accordingly, they tend to have a swarthy coloration with dark eyes and a generally exotic and mysterious look. All of that fits in with the character of the Tinker.

Hutsul, Ukraine, from Iryna with love

Friday, August 30, 2019

Beware of those accountants

"Mr. Sackett, face a man with a gun or a sword, but beware of bookkeepers. They will destroy you, Sackett. They will destroy you."

(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Frittering

"Waiting for tomorrow waste of today."

(Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Image result for charlie chan in egypt

Monday, August 26, 2019

Integrity under trial

Caffrey had a reputation for honesty, but many a man with such a reputation simply has not been found our or tested, and for Will Caffrey the test of those bas of gold was too much for his principles to bear.

(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Isolated for too long

     There was a yearning in me to be off the mountain, for I'd lived too long in the high-up hills, knowing every twisty creek to its farthest reaches, and every lightning-struck tree for miles. Other than my cabin the only places I knew were the meetinghouse down at the Crossing where folks went of a Sunday, and the schoolhouse at Clinch's Creek where we went of a Saturday for the dancing and the fighting.

(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

REALLY dark

The darkness of the place was dreadful. In every direction there was a gloom so dense that it seemed to forbid movement and breath as well as sight.

(from Grey Mask, by Patricia Wentworth)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Egbert is not a catch

     "Well, she's Margot Standing, isn't she?"
     "You guessed when she said 'Egbert'?"
     "I guessed the second time I saw her," said Archie. "She wants a whole heap of practice before she can conceal anythin'. Does Freddy know?"
     "I expect he does by now. Egbert isn't the sort of name most fellows would be seen dead in a ditch with."

(from Grey Mask, by Patricia Wentworth)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Just get them worried

"I have always found worried people very willing to talk. The more worried they are, the more they will tell you."

(from Grey Mask, by Patricia Wentworth)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Fifi Tremaine

Miss Tremaine was a character in the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show who remained almost entirely off-stage. She was the object of a spirited romantic competition between Mayor LaTrivia and Doc Gamble. The visual picture of those two over-aged Romeos panting after the glamorous Fifi provided a great gag line for several episodes. It was helped on, of course, by Fibber's constant razzing of the two suitors. But what a great name for a glamor-girl character!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Feminine vanity

"Women are all vain," said Archie. "I only once met one that wasn't, and I give you my word she was a grim proposition."

(from Grey Mask, by Patricia Wentworth)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Just keep your mouth shut and disappear

He was always around, and a man who is always around and taken for granted by everyone hears a great deal. If he is a man of intelligence, he learns much more than people give him credit for.

(from "Rustler Roundup," by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

One tough job

To be a Deputy U. S. Marshal in India Territory was like standing yourself up in the business end of a shooting gallery.

(from "Caprock Rancher," by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Good advice for life

The words of Olaki, his Japanese instructor, were ringing through his brain: "Distract his attention if you can; but, as you value your life, don't let him distract yours."

(from Bulldog Drummond, by H. D. McNeile)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Algy Longworth

He had told [Algy] Longworth more or less on the spur of the moment, knowing that gentleman's capabilities to  nicety. Under a cloak of assumed flippancy he concealed an iron nerve which had never ye failed him; and, in spite of the fact that he wore and entirely unnecessary eyeglass, he could see farther into a brick wall than mot of the people who called him a fool.

(from Bulldog Drummond, by H. C. McNeile)

In most of the Bulldog Drummond, Longworth is portrayed as a virtually useless fop, utterly without common sense or even very much intelligence.

Monday, August 12, 2019

"Caution" is not his watchword

"A fly in the gear-box of a motor-car would be a sounder proposition for a lite insurance than you will be - if you continue on your present course."

(from Bulldog Drummond, by H. C. McNeile

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Poor Pudlington

He looked at the mauve envelope doubtfully, and examined the postmark. "Where is Pudlington, James? And one might almost ask - why is Pudlington? No town has any right to such an offensive name."

(from Bulldog Drummond, by H. C. McNeile)

There are several towns in Arkansas about which that same question could be asked.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Cabin Kids

On the Gene Autry movie, Round-Up Time in Texas, there is an appearance by a group of black youngsters who do a musical number. They also appeared in another Autry movie and in a number of "short" movies.

Here is a LINK to watch the Cabin Kids perform.

Image result for the cabin kids

Friday, August 09, 2019

Bulldog Drummond

Drummond was a fictional character created by H. C. "Sapper" McNeile. He was a World War I veteran who craved adventure and thus got into all sorts of tight spots in his quest not to be bored. My wife and I have a complete collection of the series of movies that were made using Drummond as the main character, most of them starring John Howard. First, however, there was a series of novels. They are slightly less mysteries and slightly more adventure stories than some of the others of the same genre. Good reading, though, and good watching, although the movies were not on the Academy Award list.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Opera over cinema

"Oh, my word! Sergeant, beware of the cinema. It has ruined many a good man. Try grand opera for a while - it's more borin' but less corruptin'"

(from The "Canary" Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine)

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Oleaginous

"She's much too good for the oleaginous Mannix." Another phrase from S. S. Van Dine. Oleaginous is defined as "rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy."

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

DeMarco vs. Andrews

There were several "sister" female singing groups during the World War II era. The Andrews Sisters were undoubtedly the most famous. However, I personally prefer the DeMarco Sisters. Their sound was much better. They made a name for themselves on the Fred Allen radio show.

Image result for demarco sisters

Monday, August 05, 2019

Abecedarian

There is a good word for you. Here is a sentence from The "Canary" Murder Case: "You yourself apply psychology in its abecedarian implications, yet ridicule my application of it in its higher developments." Its meaning? "1. Arranged alphabetically 2. Rudimentary; elementary."

Sunday, August 04, 2019

How to spot a copy

"Even enlightened scions of the law, I fancy, are aware that there is bad drawing in Botticelli and disproportions in Rubens, what? In an original, d' ye see, such flaws don't matter. But an imitator never puts 'em in: he doesn't dare - he's too intent on getting all the details correct. The imitator works with a self-consciousness and a meticulous care which the artist, in the throes of creative labor, never exhibits."

(from The "Canary" Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine)

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Middle age strut

He was a large man, and he walked with the forced elasticity of gait which epitomizes the silent struggle of incipiently corpulent middle age to deny the onrush of the years and cling to the semblance of youth.

(from The "Canary" Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine)

Friday, August 02, 2019

Fran Ryan: old news, bad news

Fran Ryan was an actress who was the second Mrs. Fred Ziffel on the Green Acres television program. She was twice widowed, in 1951 and 1953. In both cases her husbands died in crashes of planes they were piloting. Her only child was born after the first crash.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

"Kuhn Kahn" game

S. S. Van Dine references this game in The "Canary Murder Case. Information about it is a little sparse, but it evidently had some popularity around the time of World War I. Here is a little information given by Tony Hall:

Kuhn Kahn

Kuhn Khan, Nemo, Goodall, Chas Goodall and son, antique playing cards, vintage playing cards.  World War 1 card game

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pseudopyriform

This line from S. S. Van Dine: "Beware of those pseudopyriform faces." That was a new one on me. I got the first half: pseudo indicates "false." Pyriform means "pear-shaped."

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Boulle cabinet

In S. S. Van Dine's novel, The "Canary" Murder Case, a piece of furniture that plays a significant role in the story is a Boulle cabinet (Van Dine spells it with one "L"). So what do they look like?


Image result for boulle cabinet

Monday, July 29, 2019

"Pops" Crosby

One of Bob Hope's running gags in the "Road To" movies was Bing Crosby's age. Hope was born May 29, 1903. Crosby was born May 3, 1903. So, yes, Bing was older, but only by 26 days.

Image result for road to singapore

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Dorothy Lamour about the Road pictures

The two male stars began ad-libbing during filming. "I was trying to follow the script but just couldn't get my lines out," she said later. "Finally, I realised that I should just get the general idea of a scene rather than learn the words by heart, then go along with the boys." Said Hope, "Dottie is one of the bravest gals in pictures. She stands there before the camera and ad-libs with Crosby and me knowing that the way the script is written she'll come second or third best, but she fears nothing." (from Wikipedia)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Quite a description of a woman

The murder victim in S. S. Van Dine's The "Canary" Murder Case, Margaret Odell, he described as "a scintillant figure who seemed somehow to typify the gaudy and spurious romance of transient gaiety." Not very flattering, if you can wade through the verbiage.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

She must have been right pretty

Hers was the type of face, voluptuous and with a hint of mystery, which rules man's emotions and, by subjugating his mind, drives him to desperate deeds.

(from The "Canary" Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What kind of animal is that?

     He retracted the lower abdomen, and holding it retracted, leaned well over to the left side, contracting the muscles of the left side forcibly. He kept his legs straight all the time, his knees stiff. He revrsed to right side, and repeated twenty times - ten right, ten left. This exercise was done slowly and steadily, without jerking.
     "Ah!" said Hamilton Beamish, relaxing. "Splendid for the transversalis muscle, that, converting it into a living belt which girds the loins. Have you ever given considered thought to the loins, Garroway?"
     The policeman shook his head. "Not that I know of," he said indifferently. "I've seen 'em in the Bronx Zoo."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lesley Woods - detectives' girlfriend

Woods was a busy radio actress, appearing in some 17 different programs. She is notable for having portrayed the girlfriend of two different radio detectives. She played Mary Wesley in the original radio version of Boston Blackie opposite the movie Blackie, Chester Morris. Then she spent a while as reporter Ann Williams, the sweetheart/sidekick of Casey, Crime Photographer.

Image result for lesley woods actress

Monday, July 22, 2019

The cruel gender

"Well, after what happened this afternoon . . ." said Molly. She drew away. She was not normally an unkind girl, but the impulse of the female of the species to torture the man it loves is well-known. Women may be a ministering angel when pain and anguish wring the brow: but, if at other times she sees a chance to prod he loved on and watch him squirm, she hates to miss it.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A new exclamation

"Sweet suffering soup-spoons!" This is from P. G. Wodehouse. That is a new one for me. It raises the question, In just what fashion could soup spoons suffer?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Poached egg wedding

     "This is the Reverend Gideon Voules," said Molly. "He's going to marry us."
     "This," said Mrs. Waddington, turning to the clergyman and speaking in  voice which seemed to George's sensitive ear to contain too strong a note of apology, "is the bridegroom."
     The Reverend Gideon Voules looked at George with a dull and poached-egg-like eye. He did not seem to the latter to be a frightfully cherry sort of person: but, after all, when you're married, you're married, no matter how like a poached egg the presiding minister may look.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

We're not getting anwhere with this conversation!

     "Say, listen!" said Sigsbee H. Waddington.
     "Proceed," said Hamilton Beamish.
     "Say, listen!'
     "I am all attention."
     "Say, listen!" said Mr. Waddington.
     Hamilton Beamish glanced at his watch impatiently. Even at its normal level of imbecility, the conversation of Sigsbee H. Waddington was apt to jar upon his critical mind, and now, it seemed to him, the other was plumbing depths which even he had never reached before.
     "I can give you seven minutes," he said. "At the end of the period of time I must leave you. I am speaking at a luncheon of the Young Women Writers of America. You came here, I gather, to make a communication to me. Make it."
     "Say, listen!" said Sigsbee H. Waddington.
     Hamilton Beamish compressed his lips sternly. He had heard parrots with a more intelligent flow of conversation.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Don't destroy her dreams

"She has forbidden him the house?"

"Yes."

"I suppose it's because he has no money?"

Hamilton Beamish was on the point of mentioning that George had an almost indecent amount of money, but he checked himself. Who was he that he should destroy a young girl's dreams? It was as a romantic and penniless artist that George Finch had won this girl's heart. It would be cruel to reveal the fact that he was rich and the worst artist in New York.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Did Wodehouse really know?

P. G. Wodehouse wrote about the British aristocracy like he was a fly on the wall in those baronial estates, like he had firsthand knowledge. But did he? Well, first of all, his great-grandfather was Sir Armine Wodehouse, 5th Baronet. Another great-grandfather was Sir Edmund Bacon, 6th Baronet. In another line, his great-great-grandfather was Sir Robert Kemp, 3rd Baronet. And so forth.

But then Baronets, though somebody, are not peers of the realm. They are only Sirs, not Lords. But Sir Armine's maternal grandfather was William Fermor, 1st Baron Leominster. And so on. Once you get in amongst the bluebloods, who knows where it all will end?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Not the prize guest of the year

"Sigsbee H. Waddington is one of those men who have only to express a liking for anybody to cause their wives to look on him as something out of the Underworld. Sigsbee H. Waddington could not bring the Prince of Wales home to dinner and get away with it. And when he drags in and lays on the mat a specimen - I use the word in the kindliest spirit - like you, and does so, moreover, five minutes before the start of a formal dinner-party, thus upsetting the seating arrangement and leading to black thoughts in the kitchen, can you blame his wife for not fawning on you? And on top of that you pretend to be an artist."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, July 12, 2019

A synthetic Westener

"Sigsbee H. Waddington is a synthetic Westerner. His whole life, with the exception of one summer vacation when he went to Maine, has been spent in New York State; and yet, to listen to him, you would think he was an exiled cowboy. I fancy it must be the effect  of seeing too many Westerns in the movies. Sigsbee Waddington has been a keen supporter of the motion pictures from their inception: and was, I believe, one of the first men in this city to hiss the villain. Whether it was Tom Mix who caused the trouble, or whether his weak intellect was gradually sapped by seeing William S. Hart kiss his horse, I cannot say: but the fact remains that he now yearns for the great open spaces and if you want to ingratiate yourself with him, all you have to do is to mention that you were born in Idaho - a fact which I hope that, as a rule, you carefully conceal."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Smells and memories

"Why is it that smells are so strongly associated with memories? But is usually the smell that inspires the recall of the memory, and not the other way around."

(from Mojave Crossing, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Your memory was critical

In those days every saloon was a clearing house for information. Sitting around in a saloon or standing at a bar, loafing in a cow camp or riding the trail, men just naturally talked about places they'd been. It was likely to be all a body would ever get to know about trails or towns until he traveled them, so men listened and remembered.

(from Mojave Crossing, by Louis L'Amour)

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Eric Blore as Jamison

One of the most under-appreciated comic performances in cinematic history is that of Eric Blore as Jamison the Butler in the Lone Wolf series of movies. He played the role in ten different films. Certainly none of them was in the Oscar-nominated category, but all were thoroughly enjoyable, and in most of them Blore steals the show. Taken as a whole they deserve a much higher place in the annals of comic cinematic performances than they have.

Image result for eric blore lone wolf

Saturday, July 06, 2019

The basic rule of commerce

Nobody ever claimed I was any kind of a businessman, least of all me, but if a body can buy cheap and sell high, he just naturally ain't liable to starve.

(from Mojave Crossing, by Louis L'Amour)

Friday, July 05, 2019

Before horses

Before they domesticated horses, how did the plains Indians get around? By dog power. According to Wikipedia:

Traditionally an Arikara family owned 30–40 dogs. The people used them for hunting and as sentries, but most importantly for transportation in the centuries before the Plains tribes adopted the use of horses in the 1600s. Many of the Plains tribes had used the travois, a lightweight transportation device pulled by dogs. It consisted of two long poles attached by a harness at the dog's shoulders, with the butt ends dragging behind the animal; midway, a ladder-like frame, or a hoop made of plaited thongs, was stretched between the poles; it held loads that might exceed 60 pounds. Women also used dogs to pull travois to haul firewood or infants. The travois were used to carry meat harvested during the seasonal hunts; a single dog could pull a quarter of a bison.

Image result for travois

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Tarantass

In his novel Sitka, Louis L'Amour makes reference to a particular style of horse-drawn vehicle called a tarantass. (L'Amour spelled it with one "s".) Evidently it was made to endure bad roads, and not for comfort. It was common in Russia during the early 1800s.

See the source image

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Naval high collars

On our living room wall we have a picture of a British naval officer with the stiff coat collars that went all the way up under the chin. They looked awfully uncomfortable, and awfully hot. But when you consider that much of a sailor's time was spent where it was extremely cold, such clothing was indispensable.

Image result for british naval officer uniform 1800

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Ersatzbrot

Literally "replacement bread." This was made with potato starch and extended with sawdust. It was given to prisoners of the Germans and often brought on legal dysentery.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Tom Conway's best effort

We have enjoyed Tom Conway as The Falcon in the series of movies. Considering that he had to step in and replace his brother, George Sanders, who was an outstanding actor, that was a tough task. However, I don't know but what Conway's best effort was in replacing Basil Rathbone as the radio Sherlock Holmes. Rathbone, of course, WAS Holmes, and following up a legend is always difficult. However, Conway did a creditable job, imitating Rathbone's voice style approximately, if not exactly.

Image result for tom conway actor

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dust off your resume

"Wages of stupidity is hunt for new job" (Charlie Chan, from The Black Camel)

Image result for the black camel