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


"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


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


"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


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