Saturday, July 04, 2020

Wartime luxuries

"She stints our rations all week in order to have a real joint of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on Sunday - when we have a one o'clock dinner, of course - and everybody in the place could be murdered before Cook would let that dinner be interfered with. And I've got to carve the roast and serve it properly or she wouldn't let it come into the dining room." (from The Applegreen Cat, by Frances Crane)

Those of us who never experienced wartime rationing would not appreciate just how precious little luxuries of life were to folks at that time.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Defensive stamina

"We must outlast the offense on every possession! Great defense takes consistent effort and a commitment to excellence, every second of every practice and every game. It is not good enough to just go through the motions, to give the impression that you are trying, that you care. You must take pride in your defense, in your effort, and be committed to outlasting your opponent." He implored, almost pleaded, "You have to believe that! Anything less gives our opponent the edge. Gentlemen, we must outlast the offense on every possession. That must be our foundation."

(from A Season with Coach Dick Bennett, by Eric Ferris)

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Lady Cavendish

The Applegreen Cat is a murder mystery by Frances Crane. In it, she refers to a Lady Cavendish, who was Fred Astaire's sister. Her given name was Adele, and like her brother she had started as a dancer and vaudeville performer. In 1932, she married Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish, who was the son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire. They had three children, who lived only a few hours.

Adele Astaire, Lady Cavendish.jpg

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Wrong catch

Louis L'Amour starts off one of his Sackett novels, "What I wanted was a fat bear; what I got was a skinny Indian." I can sympathize. I badly need to catch a skunk that is staying at our house. So far I have caught two possums.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Do the British realize their country's shortcomings?

"People of so many nationalities come to live in England, that I dare say we don't give the matter a great deal of thought. I mean to say, if Americans choose to live here, and pay our outrageous taxes, and put up with our climate, I dare say we should be more flattered than anything else."

(from The Applegreen Cat, by Frances Crane)

Friday, June 26, 2020

Training to be a manhunter

"Listen, I didn't know a thing. I didn't know how to walk or talk or even eat right. I had to watch everything I said and did not o give myself away in that job, because when I applied I faked a high classa education on my application. But I learned. I went without food and lived in a dump in order to have clothes and an Arden Complexion and figure. Nature didn't give me this beyootiful silhouette, darling. I acquired it, and I keep it now by main force."

(from The Applegreen Cat, by Frances Crane)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The downside of tips

"The poor kid. She was such a good egg. Wouldn't hurt a fly, and would do anything for you, just anything. I hate to give money to people. That is one thing I can't get used to. I mean the tipping. It always seems a king of insult or something. I come from a little town in Indiana and there you wouldn't think of handing out money to people just because they'd been kind to you."

(from The Applegreen Cat, by Frances Crane)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Gail Davis trivia

She lived in McGehee and Little Rock, Arkansas, in her early years. She was the daughter of a prominent Little Rock physician, who went on to become the State Health Officer.

She made 20 films with Gene Autry.

She was the star of the Annie Oakley television series.

She made a guest appearance on The Andy Griffith Show as Thelma Lou's cousin.

She had to rise each morning at 4:00 while they were shooting the Annie Oakley series.

She said that Smiley Burnette was a wonderful cook.

Gene Autry and Gail Davis Toronto.jpg

Monday, June 22, 2020

Leo Carrillo trivia

He was most famous for playing The Cisco Kid's sidekick, Pancho.

He was of Castillian Spanish derivation, which means that the "double ll" in his name is pronounced with a liquid "L" sound, and not as a "y" as is the case in Mexican Spanish.

His great-great grandfather was governor of Alta California, and his great-uncle was a three-time mayor of Los Angeles. His father was the first mayor of Santa Monica.

A California State Park is named for him.

He was paid $500 per episode of the Cisco Kid television program.

His daughter was named Marie Antoinette.

His actual first name was Leopoldo.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

English courtesy

    "Thank you, Madam," she said again. The polite people of England are eternally thanking you for nothing. She walked towards the door, and, her hand resting on the knob, said, "If you'll just leave your suit on the wardrobe, I'll press it when I can, Madam."
    "Why, thank you, Elsie."
    "Thank you Madam," she said, and went out.

(from The Applegreen Cat, by Frances Crane)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Charles Bronson trivia

At the height of his fame in the early 1970s, he was the world's #1 box office attraction, commanding $1 million per film.

His birth surname was Buchinsky. He was the 11th of fifteen children in a family of Lithuanian descent who lived in the coal region of Pennsylvania.

He learned to speak English when he was a teenager. Before that he spoke Lithuanian and Russian.

During the Depression his mother could not afford milk for his younger sister, so she fed her warm tea instead.

He flew 25 missions in a bomber during World War II and received a Purple Heart.

He said of himself, "I guess I look like a rock quarry that someone dynamited."

Charles Bronson - 1966.JPG

Thursday, June 18, 2020

That guilty look

    Lady Lacklander stared at him like a basilisk. She had a habit of blinking slowly, her rather white eyelids dropping conspicuously like shutters: a slightly reptilian habit that was disconcerting. She blinked twice in this manner at Alleyn, and said, "What are you getting at, my dear Roderick? I hope you won't finesse too elaborately. Pray, tell us what you want."
    "Certainly. I want to know if, when I arrived, you were discussing Sir Harold Lacklander's memoirs."
    He knew by their very stillness that he had scored. It struck him, not for the first time, that people who have been given a sudden fright tend to look alike; a sort of homogeneous glassiness overtakes them.

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fact and truth

    "What persuaded you to leave the Service for this unlovely trade?"
    "It's a long time ago," Alleyn said; "but I seem to remember that it had something to do with a liking for facts - "
    "Which should never be confused with the truth."

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Monday, June 15, 2020

Colorful British language

    "Do you mind having your brains picked at nine o'clock in the morning?"
    "What do you want with other people's brains, I should like to know," she said. Her eyes, screwed in between swags of flesh, glittered at him.
    Alleyn embarked on a careful tarradiddle. "We begin to wonder," he said, "If Carterette's murderer may have been lying doggo in the vicinity for some time before the assault."

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh) 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Still wet behind the ears

He arrived with his alma mater's milk wet on his lips, full of sophisticated backchat and unsophisticated thinking.

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Right and justice

One of the more important moments in the film The Winslow Boy is when Sir Robert Morton distinguishes between "right" and "justice" during a discussion of the phrase in British jurisprudence, "Let right be done." Embodied in that discussion is the principle that there are limits to the ability of the law to ensure that the right thing is done.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Big band beginnings

Ann Sheridan was one of the biggest female movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s. While she was in college at what is now North Texas University, she sang with the jazz band. North Texas is now noted for having one of the best jazz programs in the country.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Village eccentric

    "Mr. Danberry-Phinn?" Alleyn said sharply.
    "Mr. Octavius Danberry-Phinn to give you the complete works. The 'Danberry' isn't insisted upon. He's the local eccentric I told you about. He lives in the top house up there. We don't have a village idiot in Swevenings; we have a bloody-minded old gentleman. It's more classy," said Sir James acidly.

    (from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Furze bushes

"Their torches flashed on rods of rain and dripping furze bushes." 

This is a line from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh. I like that poetic description, "rods of rain." But I must admit that I had to look up what a furze bush is. It is a thorny evergreen shrub.

Monday, June 08, 2020

"Light cruisers"?

So it had fallen to Lady Lacklander to break the news to Kitty who she had found, wearing her black velvet tights and flame-coloured top, in the drawing room. Lady Lacklander in the course of a long life spent in many embassies had encountered every kind of eccentricity in female attire and was pretty well informed as to the predatory tactics of women whom, in the Far East, she had been wont to describe as "light cruisers."

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Sunday, June 07, 2020

He missed an opportunity

Because of his prodigious dancing talents, Fred Astaire necessarily was cast in movies which had dancing in them at some point. However, his facial features, especially with make-up, would have lent themselves to horror movies. He easily could have played the role of a zombie or some such character.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Casual cat

"He had the air of having got himself together in a hurry and was attended by Mrs. Thomasina Twichett, who, after the manner of her kind, suggested that their association was purely coincidental."

Thomasina Twickett was a cat. Those marvelous creatures always have an air of disinterestedness, as if they are permanently "just passing through."

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Out where men are men

Smith, on leaving Harvard, had been attracted by newspaper work, and had found his first billet on a Western journal of the type whose society column consists of such items as, "Jim Thompson was to town yesterday with a bunch of other cheap skates. We take this opportunity of once more informing Jim that he is a liar and a skunk," and whose editor works with a pistol on his desk and another in his hip-pocket. Graduating from this, he had proceeded to a reporter's post on a daily paper in Kentucky, where there were blood feuds and other Southern devices for preventing life from becoming dull.

(from The Prince and Betty, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Market value

She had come and gone as she pleased, her path smoothed by her stepfather's money, and she had been accustomed to consider herself free. She had learned wisdom now, and could understand that it was only by sacrificing such artificial independence that she could win through to freedom. The world was a market, and the only independent people in it were those who had a market value.

(from The Prince and Betty, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sounds like Hollywood could have used her

The second Mrs. Carterette did not match her Edwardian name. She did not look like a Kitty. She was so fair that without her make-up she would have seemed bleached. Her figure was well-disciplined and her face had been skillfully drawn up into a beautifully cared-for mask. Her greatest asset was her acquired inscrutability. This, of itself, made a femme fatale of Kitty Cartarette. She had, as it were, been manipulated into a menace.

(from Scales of Justice, by Dame Ngaio Marsh)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Steel Poles

In the United States, because of the location of Polish ethnic neighborhoods and the steel industry in the western Pennsylvania area, Polish surnames and steel just naturally became welded together. What I do not know is whether or not the steel industry was prominent in Poland before the migration to the United States occurred.

Friday, May 29, 2020

How to describe being in love

     "Elsa," she said, suddenly, "What is it like? How does it feel, knowing that there's someone who is fonder of you than anything?
     Elsa closed her eyes. "It's like eating berries and Cream in a new dress by moonlight on a summer night while somebody plays the violin far away in the distance so that you can just hear it."
     Her eyes opened again. "And it's like coming along on a winter evening and seeing the windows lit up and knowing you've reached home."

(from The Prince and Betty, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse. Sir Pelham could get right poetic when he set his mind to it.)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Van Heflin trivia

Heflin is one of our favorite actors. He was really good at playing low-key, whimsical detective sorts.

His name (Van) was short for his middle name, Evan.

He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Johnny Eager

He was born in Oklahoma, the son of a dentist.

He had a Master's Degree in theater from Yale, so he was more qualified than the average actor.

His sister, Fran, was a regular on the soap opera All My Children.

During World War II he served as a combat cameraman with the 9th Air Force in Europe.

Nineteen different Los Angeles real-life detectives attended the radio performances of Philip Marlowe when Heflin had the role.

Heflin died from a heart attack suffered in his swimming pool. He was in a coma for 17 days.

His grandfather and four granduncles served in the Alabama Cavalry in the War Between the States.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Really green

I am a Green. Obviously I am one by name. I do not hold to the extreme environmentalist attitudes, so I am not one in that respect.

But one way in which I am really Green is in my appreciation of the color. As I look out my window this morning the yard and pasture has that deep green color that makes springtime such an invigorating season. Very pleasing on the eyes and to the soul.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Chilled-steel wives

Why on arth do you think that you would have been happy with this girl? What do you know about her except that she is a beauty? I grant you she's that, but are you aware of the infinitesimal part looks play in married life? My dear chap, better is it for a man that he marry a sympathetic gargoyle than a Venus with a steak of hardness in her. You know - and you would admit it if you were honest with yourself - that this girl is hard. She's got a chilled-steel soul.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Don't worry!

"He couldn't do anything till he had consulted Jerry, so there was no use in worrying. And, being one of those rare persons who can cease worrying instantly when they have convinced themselves that it is useless, he dismissed the entire problem from his mind and returned to the more congenial occupation of thinking of Elizabeth." (from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wouldn't that be a wonderful ability to have - just to be able to turn off worrying at will?

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Not up to snuff as a creeper

Of what was taking place he had not the remotest notion. All he knew was that for some inexplicable reason his quarry had come to a halt and seemed to have settled down for an indefinite stay. Voices came to him in an indistinguishable murmur, intensely irritating to a conscientious tracker. One of Fenimore Cooper's Indians - notably Chingachgook, if, which seemed incredible, that was really the man's name - would have crept up without a sound and heard what was being said and got in on the ground floor of whatever plot was being hatched. But experience had taught Mr. Pickering that, superior as he was to Chingachgook and his friends in many ways, as a creeper he was not in their class. He weighed thirty or forty pounds more than a first-class creeper should. Besides, creeping is like golf. You can't take it up in the middle forties and expect to compete with those who have been at it from infancy.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Falling in love

A feeling of helplessness swept over Mr. Pickering. He was vaguely conscious of a sense of being treated unjustly, of their being a flaw in Claire's words somewhere if he could only find it, but the sudden attack had deprived him of the free and unfettered use of his powers of reasoning. He gurgled wordlessly, and Claire went on, her low, sad voice mingling with the moonlight in a manner that caused thrills to run up an down his spine. He felt paralyzed. Caution urged him to make some excuse and follow it with a bolt to the drawing-room, but he was physically incapable of taking the excellent advice.

Sometimes when you are out in your Pickering Gem or your Pickering Giant, the car hesitates, falters, and stops dead, and your chauffeur, having examined the carburetor, turns to you and explains the phenomenon in these words: "The mixture is too rich." So was it with Mr. Pickering now. The moonlight alone might not have held him; Claire's voice along might not have held him; but against the two combined he was powerless.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Bees ride the subway?

The surface of the frame was black with what appeared at first sight to be a thick, bubbling fluid of some sort, pouring viscously to and fro as if some hidden fire had been lighted beneath it. Only after a closer inspection was it apparent to the lay eye that this seeming fluid was in reality composed of mass upon mass of bees. They shoved and writhed and muttered and jostled, for all the world like a collection of home-seeking City men trying to secure standing room on the Underground at half-past five in the afternoon.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Don't blame yourself

"I don't see why you should worry, Bill. How, by any stretch of the imagination, can you make out that you are to blame for this Boyd girl's misfortune? It looks to me as if these eccentric wills of old Nutcombe's came in cycles, as it were. Just as he was due for another outbreak he happened to meet you. It's a moral certainty that if he hadn't met you he would have left all his money to a Home for Superannuated Caddies or a Fund for Supplying the Deserving Poor with Niblicks."

(from Uneasy Money by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Stay away from wills

"We've got the will in the old oat chest," went on Jerry Nichols. "I won't show it to you, partly because the governor has got the key and he would have a fit if he knew that I was giving you early information like this, and partly because you wouldn't understand it. It is full of 'whereases' and 'peradventures' and 'heretofores' and similar swank, and there aren't any stops in it. It takes the legal mind, like mine, to tackle wills."

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The proprieties of rank

"It's so exasperating!" she broke out. "When I first told my friends that I was engaged to Lord Dawlish they were tremendously impressed. They took it for granted that you must have lot of money. Now I have to keep explaining to them that the reason we don't get married is that we can't afford to. I almost as badly off as poor Polly Davis who was in the Heavenly Waltz Company with me when she married that man, Lord Wetherby. A man with a title has no right not to have money. It makes the whole thing farcical."

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, May 01, 2020

Living the good life.

His tastes were simple. As long as he could afford to belong to one or two golf clubs and have something over for those small loans which, in certain of the numerous circles in which he moved, were the inevitable concomitant of popularity, he was satisfied. And this modest ambition had been realized for him by a group of what he was accustomed to refer to as decent old bucks, who had installed him as secretary of that aristocratic  and exclusive club, Brown's in St. James Street, at an annual salary of four hundred pounds. With that wealth, added to free lodging at one of the best clubs in London, perfect health, a steadily-diminishing golf handicap, and a host of friends in every walk of life, Bill had felt that it would be absurd not to be happy and contented.

(from Uneasy Money, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Maligned pooches

"It is to be hoped that the Teutonic origin of the dachshund is not going to affect the popularity of this clever and amusing little dog during this war as it did, very stupidly too, in the last. Because 95 percent of our dachshunds are native-born American citizens. What's more, dachshunds couldn't possibly make good Nazis. This long-bodied underslung dog was specially bred in Germany centuries ago to hunt out a burrowing animal called the badger. A badger is something like a rat. Hitler couldn't own a dachshund with any peace of mind, because he'd be afraid every time his dog dashed into a burrow it would pull out one of his pals."

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I'm not fond of such situations

Patrick's back was to the screen door. Rafferty sat down gain where he'd sat previously. Thus he faced us both from an equal distance. Patrick could be covered from the rear by Vittorio. The man in the brown hat lurked behind me. Nice situation, if you like them.

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ominous observation

     She walked out. Pancho trotted along, after a glance or two back.
     In the lobby Mr. Scott joked tritely, "Two dogs long, half a dog high." The ancient joke was noteworthy because those words were the last I ever heard from Mr. Scott.

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Friday, April 24, 2020

I need it to look different!

This virus situation has proven that electronic activity cannot stimulate the brain enough to keep it fresh. What we have to have in order to stay engaged is an occasional change in scenery, and you can't have that sitting in the same room all the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Olympe Bradna trivia

Bradna was a French actress and dancer who was active in the movies from the late 1930s to 1941. She was born in 1920 in a dressing room in the Olympic Theater in Paris. Her parents were famous circus bareback riders before she began her career.

She first appeared on stage when she was 18 months old, and by the time she was 8, she was being booked as a single act, separate from her parents.

Bradna married Douglas Wilhoit in 1941 and retired from acting. They had four children and were married for 70 years, with Wilhoit dying within nine months of Olympe.

We watched her in Say It In French, from 1938, and she actually did a pretty good job acting.

Her given name was pronounced O-lamp.

Her last movie was International Squadron, which starred Ronald Reagan.

Bradna was not a great actress by  long shot, but she had a fresh-faced beauty that made her screen presence very appealing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How much did a dogface make?

What was the pay for an enlisted man in the US Army during World War II?

Buck privates made $50 per month, or somewhere around $800 dollars at today's prices, depending upon exactly when in the war we are talking about. Considering how much they might have been making in a civilian job, that was a lot of give up, considering that many (most?) of them were drafted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Jones drummers

Philly Joe Jones and Papa Jo Jones were both famous jazz drummers, Philly known for his work with Miles Davis and Papa most famous for his place in the Count Basie Orchestra (see below). What is especially unique is that, in addition to their names and occupations, they were tied together by their deaths. Philly died August 30, 1985 and Papa four days later.

See the source image

Monday, April 20, 2020

A morning sight

"Then I was still slightly awake at Cliff House with Patrick pointing out the wonders of a mother-of-pearl dawn and the frightfulness of a submarine rising like some monster from the sea."

(From The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane. Folks who lived in the coastal areas during World War II did have to get used to some striking sights.)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Don't complain

I do not like bad weather on any side of the spectrum - cold, hot, or violent. But I ought not to complain. There was no bad weather in the garden of Eden. We got what we deserved.

But I still feel sorry for folks that are affected by it, because I know it could happen to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Some faces fit, some did not

Some of the really great voices in radio history just did not fit the screen (either TV or movie), at least not in the roles they played on radio. The most notable example was William Conrad, who was short and fat, and just could not make the transition from the radio Matt Dillon to the television Gunsmoke series, giving way to James Arness. However, Conrad's deep, resonant voice certainly fit the bill for gangsters and toughs, and he played several of those parts on the screen.

Another miscast voice was Bob Bailey, who, as my younger son put it, had "a face made for radio." The sad fact of the matter is that, although tall, he just was not very handsome, and so he never quite made it in movies.

One great radio voice that did make it in movies in a minor way was Gerald Mohr, who gained fame as detective Philip Marlowe on radio. Possessed of a dark sort of good looks, he parlayed them and his memorable voice into three of the Lone Wolf movie series.

Some great voices were never meant for the screen, and some were. Just a hard fact of life. On the other hand, there were those cases that were on the flip side. Jean Arthur's twangy voice did not switch particularly well to the screen, but she was such a good actress and was so cute that she made it to the big time, anyway.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I wish they would slow down at the same rate.

Our bodies wear out as we age. The problem is that our schedules and desires do not necessarily age with them. We want to work in the yard, but our bodies tell us it was not a good idea. We want to build something, likewise. And our "honey-do" lists certainly do not age at the same rate. It would be convenient if things wore out more consistently.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


"Companion" dogs are nice to have around, but they can be a lot of trouble. They are like having children who will grow old before they grow up. In fact, companions of any sort are trouble. Any human relationship is. The wise men said that men who would have friends must show themselves to be friendly, and being friendly can sometimes be difficult, and almost always inconvenient.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I want others to share my opinion

"I do dislike that man heartily," I said, presently.

"He likes you, Jeannie."

"I said, "Do you mind?"

"Mind? Do you think I'd want to get hooked by a girl other men won't envy me?"

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Monday, April 13, 2020

The non-musicians

For those of us who did study music, one of the comical features of movieland is when someone who obviously knows nothing at all about music is cast as a conductor, pianist, etc. You would think the "conductor" could at least wave his baton in time to the music, even if it were not in the prescribed pattern, but some of them are not even close. And the pianists could at least move their hands to the right as the pitch goes higher and vice versa, but again, that is not a guarantee.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Boston Blackie - for young boys

If you want a fictional character to be a hero for little boys, try Boston Blackie. There is a full body of movies, television programs and radio shows about him, and all of them are watchable and listenable, even for adults. Yes, Blackie evidently had some sort of a shady past, but he is thoroughly reformed now, even though Inspector Faraday can't quite bring himself to believe it. Perhaps he does meddle a little too much in police affairs, but just think of how many cases they would not solve were it not for Blackie. His real name, by the way, is Horatio Black, but no one calls him that (except perhaps his mother). If you have little boys, I highly recommend your introducing them to Blackie.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

So few are truly noble

I stood a moment just feeling defeated. What had happened couldn't be helped. It was a tragedy. But I couldn't smother my own disappointment under lofty thinking. I suppose I am really not a fine character. I practically always have to stop and think first to be noble and unselfish. I mean I can't swing it spontaneously the way a really noble being would.

(From The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

The Yellow Violet by Frances Crane

Friday, April 10, 2020

The tyranny of spring

For those of us with allergies, spring can be the most trying season. By dose ruds all the tibe. I would have to have an analysis done to know what all is affecting me, but I feel sure ragweed is in the mix. An allergist once told me that western Arkansas was the ideal world for his profession, because most of the usual allergens are here in abundance. I believe it! But I cannot take antihistamines because they agitate my prostate, and that is an absolute no-no according to my pharmacist. So, I just blow by dose and suffer quietly.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

That would be scary!

The Professor was regarding Sidney with that penetrating gaze of his which made him look like Boris Karloff on one of his bad mornings.

(from "Sleepy Time," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Visions of gorillas

He had parted so recently from Sidney McMurdo that he had not had time to erase from his mental retina what might be called the over-all picture of him. The massive bulk of Sidney McMurdo rose before his eyes, as did the other's rippling muscles. The discovery that in addition to possessing the physique of a gorilla he had also that animal's easily aroused temper was not one calculated to induce a restful peace of mind. Given the choice between annoying Sidney McMurdo and stirring up a nest of hornets with a fountain pen, he would unhesitatingly have cast his vote for the hornets.

(from "Sleepy Time," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A large lad, what?

Sidney McMurdo was always a rather intimidating spectacle. Tall, broad, deep-chested and superbly muscled, he looked like the worthy descendant of a long line of heavyweight gorillas, and nervous people and invalids were generally warned if there was any likelihood of their meeting him unexpectedly. Harold Pickering could not  but feel that an uncle who would want anything like that at his sickbed must be eccentric to the last degree.

(from "Scratch Man," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 06, 2020

Women are like that

     At the outset she was assisted by the fact that success had rendered Julia Prebble a little overconfident. She did not concentrate. The eye which should have been riveted on her ball had a tendency to smirk sideways at her affianced, causing her to top, with the result that only three hole had been played before the match was all square again.
     However, as was inevitable, these reverses had the effect of tightening up Julia Prebble's game. Her mouth hardened, and she showed a disposition to bite at the man she loved, whom she appeared to consider responsible. On the fifth, she told him not to stand in front of her, on the sixth not to sand behind her, on the seventh she asked him not to move while she was putting. On the eighth green she suggested that if he had really got St. Vitus Dance he ought to go and put himself in the hands of some good doctor. On the ninth she formally broke off the engagement.

(from "Tangled Hearts," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Which Volga?

Until this moment, Horace had been going through the motions with something of the weary moodiness of a Volga Boatman, his face drawn, hi manner listless. But now he had become a different man. As he advanced to the ninth tee, his eyes gleamed, his ears wiggled and his lips were set. He looked like a Volga Boatman who had just learned that Stalin has purged his employer.

(from "Excelsior," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, April 03, 2020

Piccadilly Weepers

In his short story, "Excelsior," P. G. Wodehouse refers to one Sir George Capstone who did not wear "long side-whiskers of the type known as Piccadilly Weepers." So, just exactly what is this variety of facial foliage? See below.

Edward Askew Sothern as Lord Dundreary with Dundreary Whiskers, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Guaranteed modesty

Wallace, as I say, despite all his advantages, was a thoroughly nice, modest young fellow. And I attribute this to the fact that, while one of the keenest golfers in the club, he was also one of the worst players. Indeed, Charlotte Dix used to say to me in his presence that she could not understand why people paid money to go to the circus when by merely walking over the brow of a hill they could watch Wallace Chesney trying to get out of the bunker by the eleventh green.

(from "The Magic Plus Fours," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Louis Quinze bed

In one of his short stories, P. G. Wodehouse mentions this piece of furniture. Aside from being something in which you sleep, I had no idea what it was.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Resort for bad golfers

     "It is a pity," I said, "that you could not have induced Ferdinand to go to Marvis Bay for a month or two."
     "Because it seems to me, thinking the thing over, that it is just possible that Marvis Bay might cure him. At the hotel there he would find collected a mob of golfers - I use the term in the broadest sense, to embrace the paralytics and the men who play left-handed - whom even he would be able to beat. When I was at Marvis Bay, the hotel links were a sort of Sargasso Sea into which had drifted all the flotsam and jetsam of golf. I have seen things done on that course at which I shuddered and averted my eyes - and I am not a weak man. If Ferdinand can polish up his game so as to go round in a fairly steady hundred and five, I fancy there is hope. But I understand he is not going to Marvis Bay."
     "Oh yes he is," said the girl.

(from "The Heart of a Goof," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 27, 2020

First male Triple Crown actor

Thomas Mitchell was probably one of the most notable actors that no one remembers. He won two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. However, he also won an Emmy and a Tony, becoming the first male actor to cop that particular Triple Crown, which really does attest to an actor's versatility.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

He also played baseball

Depending upon which venue you knew him from, John Beradino was also an actor, or also a major league baseball player. He was a baseball player first, from 1939 to 1952. He played for three different clubs, with a lifetime batting average of .249.

He appeared in his first film in 1948. He was best known as Dr. Steve Hardy on the soap opera General Hospital from 1963 to 1996.

John Beradino Steve Hardy 1973.jpg

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Orangey the Cat

List this fellow among the animal movie stars you might never have heard of. He won two PATSY awards for his roles in Rhubarb and Breakfast at Tiffany's. We watched Rhubarb last night, and Orangey really did a great job.

Like many human actors, Orangey could be hard to work with, sometimes scratching or biting actors. And he also would sometimes flee the set and have to be tracked down. He was at least 16 years old at the time of his death.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Gale Page - blueblood marriage

She had a pretty good lineage in her own right. Actress Gale Page. Her father was a U. S. Senator and later Ambassador to Peru. Her great-grandfather was the first Governor of Oregon. She further upgraded the family bloodline when she married Count Aldo Solito de Solis. And, she thus became a Countess.

Gale Page in Four Daughters trailer.jpg

Monday, March 23, 2020

Jack Oakie could ruin any movie

I realize that character actors are just that: they are paid to be "characters." Some of them are fairly versatile. Jack Oakie was good at one particular type of personality, but it was always an irritating one, to the point that if he is in the movie, it just loses something from the get-go.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

It makes women humble

     "Women should be encouraged to take up gold. There are, I admit, certain drawbacks attendant on their presence on the links. I shall not readily forget the occasion on which a low, raking drive of mine at the eleventh struck the ladies' tee box squarely and came back and stunned my caddie, causing me to lose stroke and distance. Nevertheless, I hold that the advantages outnumber the drawbacks. Gold humanizes women, humbles their haughty natures, tend, in short to knock out of their systems a certain modicum of that superciliousness, that swank, which makes wooing a tough proposition for the diffident male. You may have found this yourself?"
     "Well, as a matter of fact," admitted the young man, "now I come to think of it I have noticed that geneieve has shown me a bit more respect since she took up the game. When I drive 230 yards after she has taken six sloshes to cover fifty, I sometimes think that a new light comes into her eyes."
     "Exactly," said the Sage.

(from "The Rough Stuff," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Women will do that

I was standing quite near to Vincent Jopp, and at this moment I saw a bead of perspiration spring out on his forehead, and into his steely eyes there came a positively hunted look. I could understand and sympathize. Napoleon himself would have wilted if he had found himself in the midst of a trio of females, one talking baby-talk, another fussing about his health, and the third making derogatory observations on his lower limbs. Vincent Jopp was become unstrung.

(from "The Heel of Achilles," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 20, 2020

He had treated her abominably

     "How are you, Agnes?"
     "If you had asked me that question this morning, Vincent," replied Mrs. Agnes Parsons Jopp, "I should have been obliged to say that I felt far from well. I had an odd throbbing feeling in the left elbow, and I am sure my temperature was above normal. But this afternoon I am a little better. How are you, Vincent?"
     "Although she had, as I recalled from the reports of the case, been compelled some years earlier to request the Court to sever her marital relations with Vincent Jopp on the ground of calculated and inhuman brutality, in that he had callously refused, in spite of her pleadings, to take old Dr. Bennett's Tonic Swamp-Juice three times a day, her voice, as she spoke, was kind and even anxious. Badly as this man had treated her - and I remember that several of the jury had been unable to restrain their tears when she was in the witness-box giving her evidence - there still seemed to linger some remnants of the old affection.

(from "The Heel of Achilles," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Why Washington was so influential as a young man

"Powerful Virginia elders, who saw much of loose living and indolence around them, found stimulation and reassurance in a young man of unassailed morals and of mature, sound judgment, who was full of energetic vigor and was devoted to the defense of a people slow and slothful in defending themselves."

(from Volume 2 of Doughas Southall Freeman's Pulitzer Price-winning biography of George Washington)

The Pat and Jean Abbott mystery series

Written by Frances Crane. I have head only the first two of them, in which the Abbotts are not yet married. Pat is a private detective who inadvertently gets involved in her life because of a local murder mystery. I don't know how the others will be, but the first two were very good. Sometimes mysteries get a little long and the action starts to bog down, but not in these.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Got to have the goods first

     "Does that mean he did it, Pat?"
     "It means he's an unreliable witness."
     "Do you know who did it?"
     "Who committed the two murders? I have a pretty good idea, but I haven't collected enough evidence to hook a fly. You don't just walk up to a murderer and say, 'You done it, you skunk!' unless you can prove it, Jean."

(from The Golden Box, by Frances Crane)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Imprudent arrangements

Evidently his late uncle hadn't been just an ordinary small-town grocer, weighing out potted meats and raisins to a public that had to watch the pennies, but something on a much more impressive scale. I learned later that he had owned a chain of shops, one of them as far afield as Birmingham, and why the ass had gone and left his money to a chap like Bingley is more than I can tell you, though the probability is that Bingley, before bumping off with some little-known Asiatic poison, had taken the precaution of forging the will.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Just wasting your time

For though I had affected to consider that the ancestor's scheme for melting L. P. Runkle was the goods, I didn't really believe it would work. You don't get anywhere by filling with rich foods a bloke who wears a panama hat like his; the only way of inducing the L. P. Runkle type of man to part with cash is to kidnap him, take him to the cellar beneath the lonely mill and stick lighted matches between his toes. And even then he would probably give you a dud check.

(from Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Mothers as murderers

"A desperate mother is the most understandable of murderesses, Mr. Fabian. Most of us not only understand but would almost applaud such a mother, even though she herself was guilty of matricide. Such a mother takes a comparable risk in doing murder for the sake of her child that she would take in rescuing it from a burning building. She does it knowing the risk. She doesn't care, because the child is more important than her own life."

(from The Golden Box, by Frances Crane)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Turquoise Shop

Like many arrogant, selfish people, Mona Brandon is hypersensitive to the opinion of those she pretends to despise. She knew that you had many friends and would have heard the gossip, and she was trying to get you to talk. She would think it beneath what she calls pride to come right out in the open and tell you why she wanted to know what was being said.

(from The Turquoise Shop, by Frances Crane)

Friday, March 13, 2020

When art casts away morals

I said then, "Poor Michael."

"Poor? A man who cheats and murders?"

"But he was such a fine artist!"

(from The Turquoise Shop, by Frances Crane)

So many people think that way, don't they? Excuse any sort of immorality as long as it is for art's sake.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The westerns meet Laurel and Hardy

Rand Brooks was a minor actor who appeared in a number of Hopalong Cassidy movies and as Lucky in several episodes of the television series. He was at one time married to Lois Laurel, the daughter famous movie comedian Stan Laurel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The burden of artsy towns

     "It's no joke," I said.
     "Joke?" he said. 'It's about as funny as a corpse. I never saw such a lunatic fringe. I'll be one myself if I hang around here much longer. The place is crawling with nuts. I doubt if it's worth trying to be an artist if it means that you have to live in places like this."

(from The Turquoise Shop, by Frances Crane)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Living in the past

I daresay there are people who can go cleanly from one moment to the next. Not I. The past encroaches on my present which is already crowding the future.

(from The Turquoise Shop, by Frances Crane

Monday, March 09, 2020

REALLY a liar

"Chimpie," said Mr. Molloy, I wouldn't trust you as far as a snail could make in three jumps. I wouldn't believe you not even if I knew you were speaking the truth."

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Get another head

     Mr. Molloy uttered an agonized cry. His presentiment had been correct.
     "I'd have thought of that myself," he wailed.
     "Sure you would, replied Chimp, comfortably, if you'd of had something that wasn't a hubbard squash or something where your head ought to be. Those just-as-good-as-imitation heads never pay in the long run. What you ought to do is sell yours for what it'll fetch and get a new one. And next time," said Chimp, "make it a prettier one."

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, March 07, 2020

A lovely voice

So absorbed was he with this spectacle that he did not see her enter, and was only made aware of her presence when there spoke from behind him a clear little voice which, even when it was laughing at you, always seemed to have in it something of the song of larks on summer mornings and winds whispering across the fields in spring.

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, March 06, 2020

No one cried for him

     "Oh, ah, yes. She was a pal of yours, you told me."
     "The best I ever had, and she was always saying to me, 'Dahlia, old girl, if I pop off before you, for heaven's sake look after Phyllis and see that she doesn't marry some ghastly outsider. She's sure to want to. Girls always do, goodness knows why,' she said, and I knew she was thinking of her first husband, who was a heel to end all heels and a constant pain in the neck to her till one night he most fortunately walked into the River Thames while under the influence of the sauce and didn't come up for days."

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Dick Powell trivia

First of all, was born at Mountain View, Arkansas, and went to college at what is now UALR.

He got his show business start as a singer for the Charlie Davis Orchestra, with whom he recorded a number of records.

He made his film debut as a singing band leader in Blessed Event in 1932.

After years in light-weight musicals, Powell was able to change his on-screen persona in the movie Murder, My Sweet in 1944, in which he played tough guy detective Philip Marlowe.

Powell's ranch-style house was used for the exterior filming on the television series Hart To Hart.

One of his brothers was a Vice President of the Illinois Central Railroad.

He died the same day as actor Jack Carson. They had different forms of cancer. Powell's cancer stemmed from the filming of the movie Conqueror in 1956 near a nuclear test site in Utah.

He sold his 55-foot yacht to Humphrey Bogart.

Late in his career, Powell became a director, about which work he said, "The best thing about switching from being an actor to being a director is that you don't have to shave or hold your stomach in anymore."

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

A hearty aunt

She greeted me with one of those piercing view-halloos which she had picked up on the hunting field in the days when she had been an energetic chivvier of the British fox. It sounded like a gas explosion and went through me from stem to stern. I've never hunted myself, but I understand that half the battle is being able to make noises like some jungle animal with dyspepsia, and I believe that aunt Dahlia in her prime could lift fellow-members of the Quorn and Pytchley out of their saddles with a single yip, though separated from them by two ploughed fields and a spinney.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

All bark and no bite

     "Talking of being eaten by dogs, there's a dachshund at Brinkley who when you first meet him will give you the impression that he plans to convert you into a light snack between his regular meals. Pay no attention. It's all eyewash. His belligerent attitude is simply . . ."
     "Sound and fury signifying nothing, sir?"
     "That's it. Pure swank. A few civil words, and he will be grappling you . . . what's that expression I've heard you use?"
     "Grappling me to his soul with hoops of steel, sir?"
     "In the first two minutes. He wouldn't hurt a fly, but he has to put up a front because his name's Poppet. One can readily appreciate that when a dog hears himself addressed day in and day out as Poppet, he feels he must throw his weight about. His self-respect demands it."

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, March 02, 2020

Dead or alive rewards

Back in the wild west days, we hear of "dead or alive" rewards being offered by individuals. How much this actually happened, I do not know, but it did a good bit in Hollywood. But, if you think about it, that would have been strictly illegal, the same as putting out a contract by a mob hit man in the 1920s.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Goofy females

One learns, as one goes through life, to spot goofiness in the other sex with an unerring eye, and this exhibit had a sort of mild, Soul's Awakening kind of expression which made it abundantly clear that, while not a super-goof like some of the female goofs I'd met, she was quite goofy enough to be going on with. Her whole aspect was that of a girl who at the drop of a hat would start talking baby talk.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

It's killing me!

     "It woke me up," said Mr. Bennett complaingly. "And I had had great difficulty in dropping off to sleep. I was in considerable pain. I believe I've caught the mumps from young Hignett."
     "Nonsense! You're always imagining yourself ill," snapped Mr. Mortimer.
     "My face hurts," persisted Mr. Bennett.
     "You can't expect a face like that not to hurt," said Mr. Mortimer.

(from The Girl On the Boat, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The man is in trouble

Billie knew all. And, terrible though the fact is as an indictment of the male sex, when a women knows all, there is invariably trouble ahead for some man. There was trouble ahead for Samuel Marlowe. Billie, now in possession of the facts, had examined them and come to the conclusion that Sam had played a practical joke on her, and she was a girl who strongly disapproved of practical humour at her expense.

(from The Girl On the Boat, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Happy with his underclothes

Eustace Hignett looked up brightly, even beamingly. In the brief interval which had elapsed since Sam had seen him last, and extraordinary transformation had taken place in this young man. His wan look had disappeared. His eyes were bright. His face wore that beastly self-satisfied smirk which you see in pictures advertising certain makes of fine-mesh underwear. If Eustace Hignett had been a full-page drawing in a magazine with "My dear fellow, I always wear Sigsbee's Superfine Fetherweight!" printed underneath him, he could not have looked more pleased with himself.

(from The Girl On the Boat, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

She couldn't fall in love with him!

     "You've been refusing your oats the last few days, and that's a sure sign. Is he that fellow that always around with you and who looks like a parrot?
     "Bream Mortimer? Good gracious, no!" cried Billie indignantly. "As if I should fall in love with Bream!"
     "When I was out in British East Africa," said Miss Hubbard, "I had a bird that was the living image of Bream Mortimer. I taught him to whistle "Annie Laurie" and to ask for his supper in three native dialects. Eventually he died of the pip, poor fellow."

(from The Girl On the Boat, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 24, 2020

What a girl's smile can do

Sam had been feeling a good deal of a fellow already but at the sight of her welcoming smile his self-esteem almost caused him to explode. What magic there is in a girl's smile! It is the raisin which, dropped in the yeast of male complacency, induces fermentation.

(from The Girl On the Boat, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Make him look better?

     "But what I came about, Bertie," said Gussie, breaking off abruptly as if this dip into the past pained him, "was to ask if you could lend me that tie of yours with the pink lozenges on the dove-grey background. I shall be dropping in at the Vicarage tomorrow morning, and I want to look my best."
     Apart from the fleeting thought that he was a bit of an optimist if he expected a tie with pink lozenges on a dove-grey background to undo Nature's handiwork to the extent of making him look anything but a fish-faced gargoyle, my reaction to these words was a feeling of profound relief that I had had that talk with Corky and obtained her promise that she would lose no time in choking Gueeie off and putting him on the ice.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Fishy looking

Jeeves, in speaking of this Fink-Nottle, had, if you remember, described him as disgruntled, and it was plain at a glance that the passage of time had done nothing to gruntle him. The eyes behind their horn-rimmed spectacles were beaming with fury and resentment and all that sort of thing. He looked like a peevish halibut. In moments of emotion Gussie's rememblance to some marine monster always became accentuated.

(from The Mating Season, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Casey Jones TV series

For a television program that appeared to be focused mainly on the juvenile market, the plots in this series were unusually intense. The situations involved any number of cliffhanger situations that were unusually well conceived. Alan Hale, Jr. was the star, and had just a little too much of the Skipper from Gilligan's Island, but still did a good job. Definitely worth watching. Available on YouTube.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

She would be a plain-spoken aunt

This was nasty news, and I found myself chewing the lower lip a bit in undisguised concern. This sudden decision to follow me to Totleigh Towers could mean only one thing, that Aunt Dahlia, thinking things over, had become mistrustful of my will to win, and had felt it best to come and stand over me and see that I did not shirk the appointed task. And as I was fully resolved to shirk it, I could envisage some dirty weather ahead. Her attitude towards a recalcitrant nephew would, I fears, closely resemble that which in the old tally-ho days she had been wont to adopt towards a hound which refused to go into cover.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

He sounds funny

     From his earliest years, there has always been something distinctive and individual about Gussie's timbre, reminding the hearer partly of an escape of gas from a gas pipe and partly of a sheep calling to uts young in the lambing season.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

That's a cow?

     So I wasn't expecting the heart to leap up to any great extent at the sight of this exhibit. But when the whiskered ancient pottered off into the shadows and came back with the thing, I scarcely knew whether to laugh or weep. The thought of an uncle paying hard cash for such an object got right in amongst me.
     It was a silver cow. But when I say "cow," don't go running away with the idea of some decent, self-respecting cudster such as you may observe loading grass into itself in the nearest meadow. This was a sinister, leering, underworld sort of animal, the kind that would spit out of the side of its mouth for two-pence.

(from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 17, 2020


"He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled, so I tactfully changed the subject." (from The Code of the Woosters, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Yes, Virginia, "gruntled" is a word. It means "pleased, satisfied, contented." Sir Pelham was entirely proper in his usage of it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

One more fact in his favor

     "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 any weight with you? Think! These things come in very handy in the long winter evenings."

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

Saturday, February 15, 2020

What makes and excellent girl

As he approached her now, he was thinking pleasantly of all those delightful walks, those excellent driftings on the lake, and those cheery conversations which had gone to cement his conviction that of all possible girls she was the only possible one. It seemed to him that in addition to being beautiful she brought out all that was best in him of intellect and soul. That is to say, she let him talk oftener and longer than any girl he had ever known.

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

That's "Psmith"

     "The name is Psmith. P-smith.
     "Peasmith, sir?"
     "No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my fther always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the prevalent custom of tacking another name on in front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The p, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan."

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Murder investigations

There were times when being the detective in charge of a murder investigation was a great deal like being a bookkeeper. You added facts instead of figures; you subtracted errors instead of debits; in the end, if you were lucky, you balanced the books. If you didn't the first time, you kept at it until you did.

(from Murder Within Murder, by Richard and Frances Lockridge)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love's strange ways

Love's silken bonds are not broken just because the female half of the sketch takes umbrage at the loony behavior of the male partner and slips it across him in a series of impassioned speeches. However devoutly a girl may worship the man of her choice, there always comes a time when she feels an irresistible urge to haul off and let him have it in the neck.

(from Jeeves In the Morning, by Sir Pelham Wosehouse)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A new experience

     The change into something loose. The well-earned dinner. The quiet evening. Bed. That was the year in, year out routing of a man like Chichester Clam, Sundays and holidays excepted, and it was one ill calculated to fit him for the raw excitements and jungle conditions of Steeple Bumpleigh.
     Steeple Bumpleigh must have come upon him as a totally new experience, causing him to wonder what had hit him - like a man who, stooping to pluck a nosegay of wild flowers on a railway line, is unexpectedly struck in the small of the back by the Cornish Express.

(from Jeeves In the Morning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Uncle was young, too?

This was news to me. I had never pictured Uncle Percy as a bird who had gone about with rackety sets as a young man. In fact, I had never pictured him as ever having been a young man at all. It's always that way. If an old buster has a bristling moustache, a solid, lucrative business and the manners of a bear when aroused when hibernating, you do not probe into his past and ask yourself whether he, too, in his day may not have been one of the boys.

(from Jeeves in the Morning, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)