Monday, September 30, 2019

Roy Glenn of the deep voice

If you are an old movie and television fan, you probably would recognize the face and voice of actor Roy Glenn. His voice was amazingly deep and resonant. He appeared a few times on the Jack Benny television show as a friend of Rochester.

And, without any chance of being sued for slander, you could have said that he was married for about 35 years to a "fractious" woman. In 1936 he married Pauline Fractious, and they remained married until his death in 1971.

Roy Glenn (publicity still).JPG

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Navy Log

This television series aired for one season in 1955-56. It was a group of true-life adventures and problems from various areas of the Navy, most of which are set in the context of the Korean War. It is reasonably well done, and the quality of the production is acceptable. If you like military stories, you might enjoy this. Many of the episodes are available on YouTube.

Image result for navy log tv show

Friday, September 27, 2019


In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Unnatural Death, we encounter the surname Gotobed. I assume it is pronounced just like it looks. Other spellings have been found in history. One site I found said that its original meaning was "the son of Godbert." One of the first known bearers was Roger Godberd in 1273.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


This was a musical "instrument" played by Smiley Burnette, the sidekick one a multitude of old western films. Here is a LINK to a video of Burnette (as "Frog" Millhouse) playing the jassackaphone in The Old Barn Dance (1938).

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A British Southern colloquialism

"That cock won't fight." That is from Dorothy L. Sayers' novel, Unnatural Death, which features amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. I take it to be the equivalent of, "That dog won't hunt."

Monday, September 23, 2019

Not even close

"Shut up, Sherlock," said his friend, "the doctor's story is not going to be obvious. Far from it, as the private said when he aimed at the bull's-eye and hit the gunnery instructor."

(from Unnatural Death, by Dorothy L. Sayers)

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


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


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


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?"
     "Or looks?"

(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)