Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Looking backward

"Hindsight is a miserable thing," she ended in a strained voice. "You keep trying to turn time back so you can do the things you know you could have done to keep it from happening."

(from This Is It, Michael Shayne, by Brett Halliday)

Monday, April 29, 2019

Quite true, quite true

"Maud will have to marry somebody awfully rich or with a title. Her family's one of the oldest in England, you know."

"So I understand."

"It isn't as if she were the daughter of Lord Peebles, or somebody like that."

"Why Lord Peebles?"

'Well what I mean to say is," said Miss Plummer, with a silvery echo of Reggie Byng, "he made his money in whiskey."

"That is better than spending it that way," argued George.

(from A Damsel In Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sakall's sisters

S. Z. Sakall was one of those character actors whose faces we knew well, but whose names escaped us. Perhaps his most famous role was as the head waiter in Casablanca.

What many people may not know is that all  three of his sisters, plus some other relatives, died in Nazi concentration camps.
Image result for sz sakall

Friday, April 26, 2019

Of English ditches

There is nothing half-hearted about those ditches which accompany English country roads. They know they are intended to be ditches, not mere furrows, and they behave as  such. The on that sheltered Lord Belpher was so deep that only his head  and neck protruded above the level of the road, and so dirty that a bare twenty yards of travel was sufficient to coat him with mud. Rain, once fallen, is reluctant to leave the English ditch. It nestles inside it for weeks, forming a rich, oatmeal-like substance which has to be stirred to be believed. Percy stirred it. He churned it. He ploughed and sloshed through it. The mud stuck to him like a brother.

(from A Damsel In Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What he didn't need were scruples

War is war, and love is love, and in each the practical man inclines to demand from his fellow-workers the punch rather than a lofty soul. A page-boy replete with the finer feelings would have been useless in this crisis. Albert, who seemed on the evidence of a short but sufficient acquaintance, to be a lad who would not recognize the finer feelings if they were handed to him on a plate with watercress round them, promised to be invaluable.

(from A Damsel In Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The place to carry a torch

The Rocky Mountains, that traditional stamping-ground for the heart-broken, may be well enough in their way; but a lover has to be cast in a pretty stern mould to be able to be introspective when at any moment he may meet an annoyed cinnamon bear. In the English village there are no such obstacles to meditation. It combines the comforts of civilization with the restfulness of solitude in a manner equaled by no other spot except the New York public library.

(from A Damsel In Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Walter Sutherland - a trivia fact

If you ever want to impress your friends at dinner, here is a fact you can fling at them. Norn is an extinct North Germanic language that was spoken in the Northern Isles of Scotland. Walter Sutherland, who lived in the northernmost house in the British Isles, near the present day Unst Boat Haven, died in 1850. He was the last known speaker of Norn, although there were reported to have been some on the island of Foula who survived him.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Not a very appealing fellow

"What did happen? You must remember I couldn't see a thing except your back, and I could only hear indistinctively."

"Well, it started by a man galloping up and insisting that you had got into the cab. He was a fellow with the appearance of a before-using advertisement of an anti-fat medicine and the manners of a ring-tailed chimpanzee."

(from A Damsel In Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Watchers

Maudie, accompanied by perhaps a dozen more of London's millions, added herself to the audience. These all belonged to the class which will gather round and watch silently while a motorist mends a tyre. They are not impatient. They do not call for rapid and continuous action. A mere hole in the ground, which of all sights if perhaps the least vivid and dramatic, is enough to grip their attention for hours at a time. They stared at George and George's cab with unblinking gaze. They did not know what would happen or when ti would happen, but they intended to wait till something did happen. It might be for years and it might be for ever, but they meant to be there when things began to occur.

(from A Damsel in Distress, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

An apt simile

"I dare you to give me permission to circulate this story up and down California Street! Yes, sir, I dare you - and you aren't game! Why, everybody would be cheering for me and laughing at you, and you'd get about as much sympathy as a rich relative with arterial sclerosis."

(from Cappy Ricks, by Peter B. Kyne)

Friday, April 19, 2019

He made "Best Dressed" his own

Actor Adolphe Menjou was undeniably a natty dresser. That single attribute was probably the one most identified with his name. The extent to which that is true is revealed in the fact that he was voted the Best Dressed Man in America nine times.

Image result for adolphe menjou

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Skinners of the world

Every large business office has its Skinner - a queer combination of decency, honesty, brains and brutality, a worshiper at the shrine of Mammon in the temple of the great god Business, a reactionary Republican, treasurer of his church and eventually a total loss from diabetes, brought on by lack of exercise and worry over trifles.

(from Cappy Ricks, by Peter B. Kyne)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maybe I missed my name

He was what he was - a dapper, precise, shrewd, lovable little old man with mild, paternal blue eyes, a keen sense of humor and a Henry Clay collar, which latter, together with a silk top hat, had distinguished him on 'Change for forty years - it was inevitable that along the Embarcadero and up California Street he should bear the distinguishing appellation of Cappy. In any other line of human endeavor he would have been called Pappy - he was that type of man.

(from Cappy Ricks, by Peter B. Kyne)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A good cop

Ollie had been a good officer, a conscientious man who had a name for thoughtfulness and consideration. He never went in for the rough stuff, knowing the taxpayers paid his salary and understanding he was a public servant. He treated people with consideration and not as if they were enemies.

(from "I Hate To Tell His Widow," by Louis L'Amour)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Larry (of the Three Stooges) was a boxer

Larry Fine was accidentally burned with acid in his childhood. Later, in an attempt to strengthen the arm, he took up boxing and actually won one professional bout. However, his father was opposed to boxing and made him stop.

Image result for larry fine boxing

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The criminal's disadvantage

"One of the great advantages  the law has over the criminal is the criminal's mind. He is always afraid of being caught. He can never be sure he hasn't slipped up: he never knows how much you know." (from "The Hills of Homicide," by Louis L'Amour)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Courteous of him to mention it

"Pull up a chair an' set. No, not there. Move left a mite. Ain't exactly safe to get between me and' that spittoon." (from "The Hills of Homicide," by Louis L'Amour)

Friday, April 12, 2019


Those of us who are Hogan's Heroes fans are very familiar with this city (although, to be honest, until I looked it up, I assumed it was fictional). It is an actual city in south-central Germany with a population of 11,000. Stalag 13 on the TV show was supposed to have been near the city.

In real life, during World War II, Stalag XIII-B and XIII-C were in Hammelburg.

Image result for hogan's heroes hammelburg

Thursday, April 11, 2019

VERY local

"It was a time when few men got more than a mile or two from their door, unless following the sea of the fishing, but I was a restless one, moving about and working wherever an extra hand might be needed." (from Sackett's Land, by Louis L'Amour)

I don't know how true this statement is, but I suspect it is correct in general, if not in specifics. In that day, most poor folks got as far as they could walk. Their world was very small.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

(Sigh) It is an old, old story

"And with this ultimatum Lady Constance withdrew haughtily, leaving the Duke, as so many men have been left by women in their time, with the loser's end of the debate."  (from A Pelican At Blandings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Have men ever won that debate?

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

A spirited lass

He had taken an immediate liking to Linda, but he was not blind to the fact that in making her his wedded wife Johnny would be running up against something hot. She was no Ben Bolt's Alice, who would weep with delight when he gave her a smile and tremble with fear at his frown. She was a girl of spirit, and any husband rash enough to frown at her would very shortly know that he had been in a fight.