Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Les Aventures de Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic strip narratives created by Georges Remi under the pseudonym Hergé (a reversal of his initials, R G, as pronounced in French). They first appeared in French in a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle in 1929. Set in a painstakingly researched world closely mirroring our own, The Adventures of Tintin present a number of well realised characters in distinctive settings. The series has continued as a favourite of readers and critics alike for over 70 years.


The King of Handcuffs...

On October 31, 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series Champions
St. Louis - 4 Detroit - 1

10th Championship - 2nd Most All-Time

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Birthday John Cleese...

Declaration of Revocation:
by John Cleese

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of
your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to
govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical
duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.

Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the
97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world
outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without
the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether
any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown
Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be
amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and
'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness
on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without
skipping half the letters.

You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed'
not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."

You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g.
Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if
you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.
Look up "vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed
with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an
unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

Look up "interspersed."

There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're
not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have
chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you
won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft
know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to
take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to
cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).

You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents ---
Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with

While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no
such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is
"Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American
States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire,

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to
play English characters.

British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will
not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience
who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want
you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one
kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a
very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your
borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.
You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play
proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a
difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed
to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not
involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full
kevlar body armour like nancies).

We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an
event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played
outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is
a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead
of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called
"rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized
gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no
longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public
than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible
enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a
permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a
new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called
"Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand
what we mean.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time,
you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of
conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call
'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they
are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered
fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.
Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called
"crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The
traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served
warm and flat.

Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added
to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this
quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper
British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of
known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The
substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be
referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the
product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true
Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech
Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. >From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline,"
as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005)
prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to
those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK
petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to
sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,
then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you
shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.

Big Babies...

Bombarded by petty rules, bossy advice and celebrity tittle-tattle, we have forgotton how to be adults. It's time we grew up, says Michael Bywater...

"...My grandfather was born in 1888 and he didn't have a lifestyle. He didn't need one: he had a life.

He had a hat and a car and a wife and two sons and a housekeeper and a maid and a nanny for the children, and the housekeeper had a dog and the dog had a canker and lived in a kennel.

My grandfather read Charles Dickens mostly. Sometimes they went on holiday. His house was furnished with furniture.

There were some exotic things in it, brought back from exotic places. The most exotic things were African carvings and Benares brassware. The African carving had been brought back from a war, possibly the Boer one.

The brassware was brought back from Benares by my grand-father's friend Dr Chand, who lived next door but was a Brahmin from Benares.

Dr Chand didn't have a lifestyle either. Nobody had a lifestyle then, because there was nobody to tell them to, and anyway they were too busy having lives.

They were grown-ups. They went about their business. In my grandfather's case, it was seeing patients and making them better, where possible. In Dr Chand's case, it was the same, because he was a doctor too.

I suspect that my grandfather's life was real in a sense that my father's life hasn't quite been, and my life is not at all.

The crucial difference is my grandfather's lack of self-consciousness, and that self-consciousness is a hallmark of the perpetual, infantilised adolescents we have all become, monsters of introspection hovering twitchily on the edge of self-obsession, occasionally aware that the life that exists only to be examined is barely manageable; barely, indeed, a life.

It is a preparation for a life. The consistently introspective life of the Big Baby is as much a simulacrum as life on Big Brother.

To keep the simulacrum going we need help. And we need that help because that help is available.

It's the old paradox. We need distraction from our fragmented and solitary lives because the distractions available to us have rendered our lives fragmented and solitary.

And we need lifestyle advice from magazines and websites and newspaper supplements and health advisers and personal trainers precisely because we are being nagged about our lifestyle all the time by magazines and websites and newspaper supplements and health advisers and personal trainers…

If one of the markers of adulthood is autonomy, then one of the preconditions of autonomy is being left alone.

My grandfather wasn't nagged. Once he turned 21, he was a man, and a grown-up, and nobody battered him round the clock with opportunities he was missing, miseries he didn't know he had, aspirations ditto, inadequacies doubly so.

Nobody told him about being good in bed, grooming tips, what his car said about him, what he should have to eat, how much he should drink, what his house said about him, how Benares brassware was so over, where he should go on holiday, what this season's must-have product would be, how his suits should look.

He knew some of these things, and didn't care about the others because nobody was drawing them to his attention. He knew what his suits should look like: trousers, waistcoat, jacket, all made out of the same material.

He knew about grooming: you shaved. He knew what he should eat: breakfast, lunch, dinner. He probably had no idea that good-in-bed even existed, or that furniture did anything except furnish, or that where he went on holiday was of any significance, or that his car said anything about him at all, except 'Oh, here comes Dr Bywater, I recognise his car.'

But the Big Babies have no such autonomy, and are harangued to death; nor have they learned the adult trick of simply ignoring the fishwife-and-huckster voices. Instead, Baby tries to comply.

Believing it when he is told that he is unhappy, he then believes the cure the same fishwives and hucksters proceed to offer..."

Big Babies

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit put the war behind him. Why can’t we?

"...Wilson’s description of Mahoney’s death is as brutal and moving a description of the madness of combat as can be found in postwar fiction. But what happens to Rath as a result of that day in Karkow? Not much. It does not destroy him, or leave him permanently traumatized. The part of Rath’s war experience that leaves him truly guilt-ridden is the adulterous affair that he has with a woman named Maria while waiting for redeployment orders in Rome. In the elevator of his midtown office, he runs into a friend who knew Maria, and learns that he fathered a son. He obsessively goes over and over the affair in his mind, trying to square his feeling toward Maria with his love for his wife, and his marriage is fully restored only when he confesses to the existence of his Italian child. Killing his best friend, by contrast, is something that comes up and then gets tucked away. As Rath sat on the beach, and Mahoney’s body was finally taken away, Wilson writes:

A major, coming to squat beside him, said, “Some of these goddamn sailors got heads. They went ashore and got Jap heads, and they tried to boil them in the galley to get the skulls for souvenirs.”
Tom had shrugged and said nothing. The fact that he had been too quick to throw a hand grenade and had killed Mahoney, the fact that some young sailors had wanted skulls for souvenirs, and the fact that a few hundred men had lost their lives to take the island of Karkow—all these facts were simply incomprehensible and had to be forgotten. That, he had decided, was the final truth of the war, and he had greeted it with relief, greeted it eagerly, the simple fact that it was incomprehensible and had to be forgotten. Things just happen, he had decided; they happen and they happen again, and anybody who tries to make sense out of it goes out of his mind.

You couldn’t write that scene today, at least not without irony. No soldier, according to our contemporary understanding, could ever shrug off an experience like that. Today, it is Rath’s affair with Maria that would be rationalized and explained away. He was a soldier, after all, in the midst of war. Who knew if he would ever see his wife again?..."

Getting Over It...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bad Vicar

Visiting Basil Seal's Church...

Via Mrs. P.

The Amazing Clovis Sangrail...

Imagine, if you will, that Psmith visits Blandings Castle, and while there kills the Empress of Blandings and has her served at breakfast to Lord Emsworth without his knowledge...If you have that picture in your mind, then you have a picture of Clovis Sangrail, one of the most languidly malicious characters in all of literature.

As with all of Planet Saki, the stories are all immensely readable for their elegant style and because they are hysterically funny -- though with Saki, as V. S. Pritchett famously wrote, "our laughter is only a note or two short of a scream of fear." The tone is what Robertson Davies called "a malice without ugliness."

Here we see Clovis in "The Stampeding of Lady Bastable":

"...Clovis said suitable things in a highly unsuitable manner, and proceeded to make punitive expeditions among the breakfast dishes with a scowl on his face that would have driven the purr out of a peace conference. The arrangement that had been concluded behind his back was doubly distasteful to him. In the first place, he particularly wanted to teach the MacGregor boys, who could well afford the knowledge, how to play poker-patience; secondly, the Bastable catering was of the kind that is classified as a rude plenty, which Clovis translated as a plenty that gives rise to rude remarks. Watching him from behind ostentatiously sleepy lids, his mother realized, in the light of long experience, that any rejoicing over the success of her manoeuvre would be distinctly premature. It was one thing to fit Clovis into a convenient niche of the domestic jig-saw puzzle; it was quite another matter to get him to stay there..."

Or here from "The Quest":

An unwonted peace hung over the Villa Elsinore, broken, however, at frequent intervals, by clamorous lamentations suggestive of bewildered bereavement. The Momebys had lost their infant child; hence the peace which its absence entailed; they were looking for it in wild, undisciplined fashion, giving tongue the whole time, which accounted for the outcry which swept through house and garden whenever they returned to try the home coverts anew. Clovis, who was temporarily and unwillingly a paying guest at the villa, had been dozing in a hammock at the far end of the garden when Mrs. Momeby had broken the news to him.

"We've lost Baby," she screamed.

"Do you mean that it's dead, or stampeded, or that you staked it at cards and lost it that way?" asked Clovis lazily.

"He was toddling about quite happily on the lawn," said Mrs. Momeby tearfully, "and Arnold had just come in, and I was asking him what sort of sauce he would like with the asparagus--"

"I hope he said hollandaise," interrupted Clovis, with a show of quickened interest, "because if there's anything I hate--"

"And all of a sudden I missed Baby," continued Mrs. Momeby in a shriller tone. "We've hunted high and low, in house and garden and outside the gates, and he's nowhere to be seen."

"Is he anywhere to he heard?" asked Clovis; "if not, he must be at least two miles away."

"But where? And how?" asked the distracted mother.

"Perhaps an eagle or a wild beast has carried him off," suggested Clovis.

"There aren't eagles and wild beasts in Surrey," said Mrs. Momeby, but a note of horror had crept into her voice.

"They escape now and then from travelling shows. Sometimes I think they let them get loose for the sake of the advertisement. Think what a sensational headline it would make in the local papers: ' Infant son of prominent Nonconformist devoured by spotted hyaena.' Your husband isn't a prominent Nonconformist, but his mother came of Wesleyan stock, and you must allow the newspapers some latitude."

"But we should have found his remains," sobbed Mrs. Momeby.

"If the hyaena was really hungry and not merely toying with his food there wouldn't be much in the way of remains. It would be like the small-boy-and-apple story--there ain't going to be no core."

Read the complete tales here...

And as Will Self says:

"Delight in Saki's capacity to render the sensate in terms of the insensate, as he compares the soul to a drawing room, or comments on the pain threshold of toast. Titter nervously as he avers that the oyster is more beautiful than any religion. And gasp with delight as your expectations are not so much reversed as sent into free fall..."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade: the survivors return

October 25, 1854 The "Charge of the Light Brigade" took place during the Crimean War as an English brigade of more than 600 men, facing hopeless odds, charged the Russian army during the Battle of Balaclava and suffered heavy losses. Flashman was there, and leaves a vivid account in his Flashman at the Charge...

"...The Charge of the Light Brigade caused a sensation in Victorian Britain and throughout the world. It quickly became the stuff of legend, Lord Tennyson writing his famous poem.
Controversy has raged over the mistake that sent the Light Brigade down the valley instead of up onto the Causeway Heights. Lord Lucan bore most of the blame. Hamley, who was present at the battle, questions the ambiguous wording of Raglan’s order. Without a doubt the extraordinary clash of personalities between Cardigan, Lucan and Nolan played a major part. The one unquestionable feature that emerges from the battle is the courage and persistence of the ordinary troopers and regimental officers of the cavalry regiments that fought at Balaclava. All the Crimean battles show the mid-Victorian British soldier to have been a very tough breed..."

Calling the roll - charge of the light brigade
The aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade: calling the roll

Monday, October 23, 2006


Series tied 1 - 1

On to Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Divers Topics

RW has more rules for us:

1. Her hair is more important than yours. You probably get a cut from the same barber you've been going to for twenty years and you spent maybe $12. She can't ever seem to find the right hairdresser and every stop on the journey costs her another $65 minimum. That's why nobody tells you "nice hair cut" - because it pales to insignificance beside hers, and besides (get over it) nobody gives a crap about your hair unless it is filthy - which is strike three. You pay her a compliment on how her hair looks and that's the end of it.
2. Christmas and Birthdays are for kids and women. Get over it. On Christmas your gift has to top out hers on the expense list. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a guy whose wife or girlfriend gave him a more expensive gift on Christmas than he gave her. Unless he is a "kept man", in which case nobody I know would want to have anything to do with him. Get used to ties and shaving cream and shirts and bottles of liquor. That's good enough for you. It's your job to find out what would blow her away - and then get it.
3. Men tell women how good they look right out there in the public view. Women not only spend an hour or two dolling-up because of their own self-respect, but also because they want you to notice them. If they dress up for a date with you, you should be complimented. And if you show up in the perfect nines yourself, that's good enough for you. Women talk about what you look like amongst themselves. They don't do it in public, right out there for the world to hear. So if you're sitting there waiting for someone to tell you how pretty you look - get lost! and get over it.

He also has a very nice account of what the world was like in the year of his birth: 1953

Happy Birthday RW!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Gashouse Gang

After having faced the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics in their previous four World Series appearances, the Cardinals found themselves up against another powerhouse opponent in the Detroit Tigers. Led by catcher Mickey Cochrane, Detroit had won its first pennant in 25 years, sending the city on wheels into extremes of delight. (Cochrane had been sold from the Athletics to the Tigers by a cash-hungry Connie Mack.)

On paper, the Tigers were the stronger team. But as wise men have been known to say, the game is not played on paper but on grass. And anyway, that noted prognosticator Dizzy Dean had already announced that "Me 'n Paul" would win two games apiece.

1968 World Series: St. Louis vs. Detroit Work-Release

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mets just can't buy a pennant...

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, right, runs to celebrate with pitcher Adam Wainwright after the Cardinals beat the New York Mets, 3-1, to win the National League Championship, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006, at Shea Stadium (named for the Cuban guerilla leader, Shea Stadium) in New York.

Adam Wainwright (salary $300,000.00) sends Carlos Beltran (salary $13,000,000.00) home while just looking...

The Cardinal's 17th National League Championship...

Her Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Empress

October 20, 1740, Maria Theresa became ruler of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia upon the death of her father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

Maria Theresa (Vienna, May 13, 1717November 29, 1780 in Vienna) was the first and only ruling Empress of the Habsburg dynasty. She was Archduchess of Austria, and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia and ruler of other territories from 1740 until her death. She also became the Holy Roman Empress when her husband was elected Holy Roman Emperor. She was one of the so-called "enlightened despots." She was one of the most powerful rulers of her time, ruling over much of central Europe.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


What not to wear

"...Men, it has to be said, don’t age well, not where clothes are concerned anyway. Sure, Michael Caine still dresses well, and Bryan Ferry, and Terence Stamp. Oh, and Mark Birley. But to a man they all dress traditionally. Because unless you’re Nicky Haslam, then on no account should you ever try and dress ‘young’. Because you will inadvertently look like a fool. And while there’s no fool like an old fool, it’s even worse if he’s wearing a badly cut electric-blue satin suit..."

More rules from RW...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

There can be only one...

LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I'm not only #1, I am the only one...

via Rachel


"There is nothing elitist about good manners and nobody is going to object to being treated more civilly. By adopting the dress code of the upper classes -- and ignoring the rules about brown in town and so forth -- we are rejecting the rules of the class system and proposing that anybody and everybody can be a gentleman or a lady. When we condemn 'vulgarity' we are not condemning the poor or the lower orders, but the dull, the conformist -- the people who keep chains like Starbucks and Gap going because they cannot be bothered to discover their own individuality. That, to my mind, is 'conservative'." -Gustav Temple

Andrew Stevens interviews Gustav Temple of The Chap magazine for 3AM.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I learn that Mrs. P, before she spent her time ridiculing her readers here on the Internet, spent her time ridiculing wealthy patrons in their own homes...Well, I'm sure they deserved it, don't you know...

She did make an interesting point though:

"...That jacket, combined with a black silk ribbed turtleneck, jodphurs and boots are all the proof a middle-aged man needs to understand how much middle-aged women are still on top of their game with their feminine charms.

Middle-aged women are not old, they are experienced. It is a pleasure to dress your age. You've earned it. Now be wise enough to enjoy it..."

She is right on the money, there are few things more enticing than a women in riding habit...Trust me on this if you have never actually seen it...The point here is that why are so many women and men afraid of middle age? As you know, there are many middle aged women who are still striking...And they need not dress like a teenage hooker to draw attention to this...Middle age is the time intelligent women employ all the tools and experience they have acquired over a lifetime...Hide any imperfections and highlight the positives...They have, or should have, learned that the more things are covered up, the more enticing they become...This, what was once womanly wisdom passed down from mother to daughter and common modesty seem to have been lost along the way to moderninity...

One problem that goes hand-in-hand with the obvious lack of mirrors in most women's homes, is that the modern women has not, in most cases, been taught the "graces"...These have been jettisoned as reeking of patriarchy and we now have girls and women who dress, walk, talk, drink, cuss and fornicate like men. The feminine arts have been lost...And ladies, regardless of whether you are wearing pants or not, when you sit, you sit with your legs closed or crossed...And when you bend down, you bend at the knees, not at the waist...Just some helpful advice...

As a women, what is wrong with middle age? You are still beautiful, you are smarter and more experienced, you have much nicer jewelry, can afford much better attorneys and have much more insurance than any young woman...Men have a much harder time...All we can hope for is a fat wallet by this time...As this is the only attraction we have left. And in my case, the fat wallet happens to belong to my wife...

I am a middle aged man, not what I once was, but still slim, which I count a major victory...But as I tell my son when he laughs at my thinning pate: "I had it when I needed it..."

That time of year...

The covert coat (pronounced ‘kuvert’)

"...During the next hundred years, the overcoat would assume a variety of shapes. Some of them are still with us, such as the raglan, the chesterfield and the covert. Others, like the ulster, the paletot, the inverness and the frock coat, have been left to molder in history's closet. This century has seen the addition of the macintosh, the polo and the British warm. All are the children of the greatcoat, but we should make one brief point of nomenclature here. By the turn of the twentieth century, the greatcoat had divided generically into two basic camps. There was a lighter-weight version, which was worn in the spring and fall of the year, and called a topcoat; since the 1940s this has been replaced by the ubiquitous raincoat in its various guises. The heavier version worn during the colder months of the year was called an overcoat. These terms still apply, and are worth keeping, although increasingly they are used interchangeably. Regardless of its weight and generic name, an outer garment must of course be both dolce et utile; it must offer both style and protection..."

"...The covert coat is named for the cloth from which it is made. The term comes from the French couvert, meaning a shady place or thicket, and in English came to mean a hiding place for game birds. Covert cloth is a twill-woven fabric in which a combination of two threads of different tones of the same color are twisted together to form a marled effect--i.e., a slightly mottled look rather than a clear color. The cloth itself is fairly stout, closely woven, and has a certain elasticity--all of which makes for a very resistant and durable material and a very smart-looking, long-wearing garment. It is sometimes waterproofed for additional protection.

While covert cloth can be used for trousers, jackets and a variety of field coats, its most popular use is for topcoats. Originally made as a country outer coat, the classic straight-cut, single-breasted,fly-fronted covert is always fawn-colored, although dressier mid-gray versions are often seen. Characterized by its four rows of stitches on each sleeve cuff and on the bottom hem, which falls no lower than the knee, the classic covert coat has two side pockets and a ticket pocket, and it's acceptable to add a green velvet collar cover for a dressier look..."

Covert coat...

Monday, October 16, 2006

James Stuart

James II and VII James Stuart was born October 14, 1633, at St. James's Palace in London. He was the third son of King Charles I and of his wife, Princess Henrietta Maria of France. From his birth James bore the title of "Prince of England, Scotland, France and Ireland". At the same time he was designated "Duke of York".

Six weeks after his birth James was baptised according to Anglican rites by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were his aunt Elizabeth, Electress Palatine of the Rhine ("Winter Queen of Bohemia"); her son, Charles Louis, Elector Palatine of the Rhine; and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.

In 1638 James was named Lord High Admiral of England. He was named a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, April 20, 1642, and raised to the Peerage of England with the title of "Duke of York", January 27, 1644.

James II, Our Catholic King

James II at Irish Elk

Raid on Harper's Ferry

On October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led a group of about 20 men in a raid on Harper's Ferry, Va.

One of these men was
Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman V.C. K.C.B. K.C.I.E sent by Wiliam H. Seward, and the Kuklos to ensure that Brown does not survive the Raid...His adventure is detailed in his Flashman and the Angel of the Lord edited by George MacDonald Fraser.

16 octobre 1793: Exécution de Marie-Antoinette

La reine Marie-Antoinette est guillotinée le 16 octobre 1793, dix mois après son mari, Louis XVI.

Marie-Antoinette quitte la Conciergerie pour l'échafaud, par Georges Cain (musée Carnavalet)Le procès expéditif de la reine (38 ans) ne s'explique par aucun motif politique mais par la Terreur qui, de septembre 1793 à juillet 1794, jette un voile sanglant sur la Révolution.

Du temps de sa splendeur, Marie-Antoinette, fille de l'impératrice Marie-Thérèse, était surnommée avec dédain l'«Autrichienne».

Après la chute de la royauté, le 10 août 1792, elle est jetée en prison avec son mari, sa belle-soeur, Madame Élisabeth, et ses deux enfants, le Dauphin et Madame Royale....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Margaretha Zelle

On October 15, 1917,
Dutch dancer Mata Hari, convicted of spying for the Germans, was executed by a French firing squad outside Paris.

The Execution of Mata Hari

Friday, October 13, 2006

Social Descenders

"The great difference I observe when I visit Cambridge nowadays is that compared with my own time there, they are all-dons and undergraduates alike-on the run, and, as is the way with fugitives, tend to disgard more than they need to make a getaway. Whereas in my time, poor boys like myself were induced to copy others-their clothes, their ways, their speech-now it is the other way round. The upper-class boys copy the poor ones, decking themselves out in a weird kind of proletarian fancy dress, and speaking in an accent which sounds like a badly rehearsed number in a satire show. They are social descenders, who display in reverse, all the absurdities, and more, of social climbers. The most comical part of the whole thing is that when, to clinch the transformation, they adopt what they consider an appropriate ideology, it usually turns out to be a half-baked regurgitation of the Marxism and associated revolutionary notions which were fashionable at the time of the Spanish Civil War. Again, the parallel with the situation in reverse as I knew it is strikingly close. The social climber in my day felt it necessary to go to the extremes of Kiplingesque patriotic loyalty to King and Country, in precisely the same way that the social descender nowadays goes to the extremes of revolutionary disruption. It is difficult to decide which of the two attitudes is the more ludicrous; but on the whole, the latter seems to me to be the more deleterious. A ruling class may gain strength from its apes, but the forces of necessary change are weakened and discredited by jackals." -Malcolm Muggeridge

Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell are classic examples of the social climber and the social descender. Waugh was educated at Lancing and Oxford and Orwell was an Old Etonian, Waugh adopted the pose of the country squire and Orwell that of the working class, Waugh was Ultra-Tory and Orwell Marxist/Socialist...They were both born into the English middle class.

Today the 'climber' has virtually disappeared and we are left with nothing but 'descenders'. As one reader pointed out; "
It is when societies are in decline that this process reverses. Thus, in the United States today--indeed throughout Western Civilization-- we see the degeneration of those who are wealthier and better educated. Those who should know better now go around imitating the underbelly of society, the poor and criminal elements. As a result, you see rich suburbanites and prep school kids going about with tattoos and dressed like whores. And using language that's identified with drug addiction and prison life."

Mr. Udolpho had a brilliant post concerning the horrid state of dressing in the business world. We disagreed on his point that the men of the wealthy/educated classes were the worst offenders in this area, much more so than women of the same class. I felt that this was not true, except that yes, women probably dress better at work or in the office than men (but I have seen exceptions to this, as I am sure we all have) but outside of the office I think wealthy/educated women are worse than men. Mainly because women should indeed know better, much more so than men who are notoriously ambivalent about how they dress. But I think that Mr. Udolpho sees where I was coming from when I saw this update to his post:

Postscript: "A few people have observed that the general problem of informal and immature dress afflicts women as well as men. I think it is true that women do not dress as formally or impressively as they did 50 or 70 years ago, and there is a growing percentage of women (most with daddy issues) who get into tattoos, piercings, and skank couture � which at its bimbo-ish extreme leads to breast implants and pubic haircare and other Maxim-izatons. So I am open to being convinced on this point. A worse problem for the distaff sex is that of aging into their 30s, 40s, and 50s desperately deploying cosmetics, surgery, dyes, and injections to acquire that mummified youth look which is so unflattering. The worst of this are the punky hairstyles so many of them go for well into menopause. Very undignified."

Exactly. It was the tattoos, piercings and skank that I was trying to get at...This is ubiquitous and is being adopted by girls, I suppose with the support of their mothers, at younger and younger ages. And this goes back to the original post: middle aged women (and men) should act, dress and conduct themselves as middle aged people. Your youth is over, time to be an adult. Dressing like one might just help you to act like one.

***Hat tip (I actually wear one) to the Ladies High Tea...You know who you are.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mutton Dressed as Lamb...

Speaking of dressing like a retard yesterday, I and some of my readers disagreed with one point the author made...The point being that dressing like a child, while an adult, was essentially a "male" deficiency...I beg to differ (see above photo)...

This vulgarity is widespread and practiced by both male and female members of society. This behavior really drives me up a wall, and it should stop right now. But in a nation where there are only 37 adults, I'm not surprised...There are many reasons we have come to this: Boomers, youth worship, Boomers, sexualizing of everything and every child, Boomers, television/Hollywood, Boomers, lack of moral teaching, Boomers, laziness, Boomers, and too many more to go into here, but I will note that it is the fault of those damn Boomers...

You need further proof concerning the female? Well, here you are...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dressing like a retard isn't impressing anyone…

Via Rachel:

"Dressing like a retard isn't impressing anyoneThere was a post at 2 Blowhards contrasting the formality of dress for pre-Baby Boom generations vs. today. Because I despise the modern fashion for men to dress as if they are eleven years old, I made a few comments on behalf of people putting a tiny bit more effort into their appearances, which, BECAUSE THIS IS THE INTERNET and is run by and infested with nerds, prompted the typical nerd reply, or non-reply as it were because they can never get further than, "I like to dress like a small child" in defending their choice of apparel..."

"...Whereas the new business casual costume works to eliminate concepts of professionalism and mutual respect, the other component to this sartorial problem affects private character. Outside the business arena standards of attire have plummeted to what must be, barring some universal adoption of nightshirts and thonged underwear in all settings, the nadir of human apparel since the loin cloth..."

"...One cannot fail to notice that here too the slovenliness of his dress is the least of the contemporary male's behavioral issues. His appreciation of female sexuality seldom rises above sniggering at women's fake tits, his tastes in art and entertainment have not changed appreciably since he was a teenager (and they were bad then), and his consumption habits have turned him into a reverse portrait of Dorian Gray – somewhere there is a Polaraoid of him getting slimmer and more elegant..."

"...But his dress is the outward sign that you notice whether you know everything or nothing about him; it is, again, an indication of his concern over what anyone thinks about him. But why would anyone care what others think? For an American, this is tantamount to servility, allowing others to control or define how he sees himself. So, like a rebellious child, he is determined not to care, and to cling to a therapy-resistant inflated self-esteem as if this alone will soon vault him into the leadership caste where his judgements on cartoons and breast sizes will define society..."

Read the whole thing, I could'nt agree more...

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto...

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI has decided to loosen restrictions on use of the old Latin Mass, making a major concession to ultraconservatives who split with the Vatican to protest liberalizing reforms, a Vatican official said Wednesday.

The pope's intent is to "help overcome the schism and help bring (the ultraconservatives) back to the Church," said the official, who asked that his name not be used because the papal document has not yet been released.

It was not immediately clear when the pope will make his decision public, but the Vatican official said it was expected soon. The Times of London, in a report Wednesday, said the pope had already signed the order and it could be published in the next few weeks.

The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X in 1969 in opposition to the reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, particularly allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin. The Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent.

Benedict has indicated he wants relations with the St. Pius X group to be normalized. He met last year with the current head of the society, Bishop Bernard.

The Tridentine Mass, the name of the old Latin Mass, can now only be celebrated with permission of the local bishop. In addition to the use of Latin, the priest faces the altar - away from the worshippers - and there are no lay readers as in the modern Mass.

The issue of the Mass will only be one of the points in the papal document that will reach out to the ultraconservatives, the Vatican official said.

The pope already took a concrete step in that direction when in September he approved an institute for French priests who left the movement. The small group based in Bordeaux, made up of five priests and some seminarians, is allowed to celebrate the old-style Latin Mass in exchange for their recognition of the pope's authority.

Are we the baddies?

Waffen SS Humour...

Stolen from Misspent...

What the Grand Duke Wrote

"Books have their dates, and books have their fates, and at a sale at the Library of Serendip I recently discovered a copy of Once A Grand Duke, published in 1931, a book of memoirs by Grand Duke Alexander of Russia. The title promised monarchical nostalgia of the Czarist court, along the possible lines of Madame Cantacuzene, the descendant of General Grant who married a Russian and ended up consorting with grand duchesses in St. Petersburg. And since Grand Duke Alexander Mihailovich’s claim on our attention was that at the time of his writing he was among the last living Romanovs, why would one think otherwise? Furthermore, the publisher was not some high-toned house of the period – Boni and Liveright, or Lippincott, or the new entry, Alfred A. Knopf, but instead humble Garden City Publishing (of unidentifiable Garden City, New York). And there was slight foxing on some of the pages. I was taking a chance...

The book did not disappoint..."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Around the cup, looking for the handle...

Now this meme has been around...But what the heck:

1. One book that changed your life: While still in short pants I came across Go, Dog, Go...I mean, dogs can drive? This really rocked my world, you might say.

2. One book you have read more than once: There is not just one book, I read all of Waugh, O'Brian, Flashman, Dance to the Music of Time, Beerbohm, Wodehouse in a cycle which works out to about once per year, maybe two for each authour...

3. One book you would want on a desert island: Symthson's Guide to Boat Making

4. One book that made you cry: I tried to read a book by Virginia Woolf once... I stopped at about page 8, It hurt, I was crying...

5. One book that made you laugh: A. G. Macdonnell's Autobiography of a Cad makes me laugh, as does Augustus Carp, Esq. by Himself...Two of the funniest books you've never heard of...

6. One book you wish had been written: Waugh died before he could finish his autobiography...He only finished the first volume, covering his early years, I would have like to have seen the rest...

7. One book you wish had never been written: Only one? That's hard...But we could surly have done without The Feminine Mystique...It would be okay with me if the "Beats" would never have been born as well...

8. One book you are currently reading: Max by Lord David Cecil

9. One book you have been meaning to read: I have been meaning to read John Boot's Waste of Time, but have'nt got around to it yet...

Happy, Happy, Mr. & Mrs P...

Happy Anniversary Baby...Mr. and Mrs. P....

Sunday, October 8, 2006

A Crack Young Aesthete


5. One book that made you laugh

Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. Sure, it may not be as politically relevant as Waugh’s Black Mischief but it’s as funny as heck.

Read the rest...

Saturday, October 7, 2006


Ye who read are still among the living...

October 7, 1849,
author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.

"No aspect of his life has so fascinated Poe's fans and detractors as his death. Unfortunately, there is also no greater example of how badly Poe's biography has been handled. Shrouded in opinion and contradiction, the essential details of Poe's final days leave us with more questions than answers. In the end we must accept that the few tantalizing facts we have lead to no certain conclusion. Poe's death must, probably, remain a mystery -- but the puzzle still teases and entices us. It is easy to find ourselves reviewing the stories again in hopes of finding something new, to settle the question once and for all...."

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Thoughts on the Rules...

We have been discussing our divers theories on men and women and the possible connection thereof...After dissecting bobgirrl's Bucket Theory, fellow 'old school' chap RW came up with some simple rules for chaps to follow while in pursuit...Now, like RW, I am many, many years removed from the 'dating scene'...When I was last involved it was called 'courting', which might give you some idea of the time period...But, even so, I think I might add a rule or two to the list which is probably still applicable to today's young ladies...

Additions to "The Rules":

1. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes -- Chaps, hear me, the first thing that a lady will look at is your shoes...This is true, ask anyone. So, make sure that you own a nice pair of leather shoes, bench made at least, and ensure that they are clean and highly polished...Trust me on this.

2. Humour, lack of -- Be funny and pleasant...A good sense of humour will go a very long way with most ladies...They like it when someone can make them laugh, we all do. And do not be afraid to laugh at yourself. If you are a humourless stick, then you had better lighten up and find someone to help you.

3. Good manners -- If you have none, then find them...As RW points out, good manners are appreciated by ladies, even if they don't realize it. It does not matter how liberated they are, they will appreciate good manners. Master your manners, in conversation and at table...Buy a book and practice at home if you have to. And in the words of Evelyn Waugh; "Never apologize, never explain".

4. A note on scent -- If you are going to wear cologne, follow these rules: Purchase real eau de parfum for yourself...Do not wear the synthetic garbage out there, and do not wear trash designed for men and women...There is no such thing! Purchase a real (non-synthetic) masculine scent and remember: When wearing cologne, only someone very close to you (physically) should be able to smell it. That is what it is for, you are not trying to freshen the entire room...Just a little dab will do...It also need not be expensive, a little known fact is that you can wear one of the old classics, like Clubman...Yes, you see, these older classic scents work because it reminds the lady of her father. Sounds weird, but it works...The key factor with almost all ladies is that you do not over do it...Overspray is a very big show stopper...


Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm (August 24, 1872 May 20, 1956)

`But in a tragedy,' I insisted, `the catastrophe MUST be
led up to, step by step. My dear Brown, the end of
the hero MUST be logical and rational.'

`I don't see that,' he said, as we crossed
Piccadilly Circus. `In actual life it isn't so.
What is there to prevent a motor-omnibus
from knocking me over and killing me at this moment?'

At that moment, by what has always seemed
to me the strangest of coincidences, and just
the sort of thing that playwrights ought to
avoid, a motor-omnibus knocked Brown over and killed him.


"Death cancels all engagements."

Max Beerbohm was educated at Charterhouse and Merton College, Oxford. He was a critic, essayist and caricaturist. His caricatures were collected in various volumes including A Christmas Garland which was published in 1912. His one completed novel, Zuleika Dobson was published in 1911. It is an ironic romance of Oxford undergraduate life. As a half brother of the actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Max was a brilliant dramatic critic of the Saturday Review from 1898 to 1910, succeeding George Bernard Shaw. In 1910 he married an American actress, Florence Kahn and went to live in Rapallo, Italy (except for the duration of the two World Wars). His broadcast talks from 1935 were a brilliant stylistic accomplishment. A month before his death he married Elizabeth Jungmann.

Seven Men and Two Others - Reviewer from New York City August 13, 1999
These fictitious biographical sketches are superb blends of gentle humor with worldly wisdom. This is one of the finest books of the twentieth century and maybe one of the finest books ever written. If you can, try to get the hardcover Oxford World's Classics edition, which reproduces the pencil sketches that Beerbohm (who was a highly talented caricaturist as well as a fine writer) made of five of the "seven men." The sketches add yet another layer of meaning and resonance to what is already a marvelous book that easily bears any number of rereadings.

Max a biography by Lord David Cecil
Max Beerbohm, or The Dandy Dante by Robert Viscusi
Conversation with Max by S. N. Behrman
Max Beerbohm: A Kind of Life by N. John Hall

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Buckets of Women

In relaying her meeting with Hans (any man who uses smiley faces is suspect) bobgirrl again shares her theory of male classification: The Bucket Theory, like so:

"...I think I may have met a new member of possibly bucket #1, quite likely bucket #2, and probably bucket #4. You remember the buckets, don'’t you? For those who are uninitiated and those just too lazy to follow the link, let me '’splain. You see, dear reader, it seems that all of the men I meet fall into one of four buckets:

    Bucket #1: Unhappily married (whether they know it or not)

    Bucket #2: Mentally unstable

    Bucket #3: Gay (whether they know it or not)

    Bucket #4: Some or all of the above..."

Now, I have done no research on this theory to establish it's validity, but bobgirrl is probably on to something here...But in all fairness I want to also list the buckets of women, in order to help out some of the poor chaps out there who may still be in the market, so to speak...So without further ado, here is the bucket theory as applied to women:

Bucket #1: Unhappily married (all of them, they know it, especially my wife)

Bucket #2: Mentally unstable (duh...She'll boil your rabbit...)

Bucket #3: Bisexual (You can spot the bull dykes, the problem is all the rest)

Bucket #4: Save yourself: Look into a montastary...

There you have it chaps, I certainly hope this helps...And bobgirrl, Hans is probably a Bucket #4, so tread warily my dear...

The Small Town Metropolitan

The musings of a small town girl turned big city woman.

Thanks for the link STG/BCW...I have added this new link over there, seems an interesting site...Being from a small town myself, I can say I have been there...I do not know STG/BCW personally, but if you chaps will take a look at her list of "True Loves" you will see Basil Seal...No, just kidding, but you will see: Evelyn Waugh, Sir P. G. Wodehouse and Patrick O'Brian! Plus (as if this were not enough) she likes Blackadder, Billy Wilder and Cecil B. (I'm ready for my close-up) Demille!!!!Now where has she been hiding...This obviously can't be for real, can it? I mean don't tell us you also don't mind The Three Stooges!?! I have some friends in the RCBfA who are just dying to meet you...

As you all know, the Evelyn Waugh mention gets an automatic link, the rest is just gravy, so to speak...

All kidding aside, welcome and thank you for the link. Oh, and please leave comments, Mrs. P is getting tired of being the only one...

Monday, October 2, 2006

The Best Adventure Movie of All

"...Gunga Din, starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is the best adventure movie ever made. Watching it today, one marvels how entertaining and compelling it remains, and how little “action” there is in this quintessential for-the-boys narrative..."

"...Unfortunately today, the word ‘action’ has replaced adventure in movies. Action movies mean what they say - lots of movement, motion, kinetic energy: explosions, chases, fights, battles; fast paced with quick cuts. These movies have come to resemble first person shooter, computer video games with sequences that never know when to stop rather than actual stories..."

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Most Popular Myths in Science

No. 3
There is no gravity in space:

Blame the term "zero-gravity" for this common misconception. Gravity is everywhere, even in space. Astronauts look weightless because they are in continuous freefall towards the Earth, staying aloft because of their horizontal motion. The effect of gravity diminishes with distance, but it never truly goes away. Oh, and while we're at it, it's also untrue that space is a vacuum. There are all kinds of atoms out there, albeit sometimes far apart (and this thin gas adds to the collective gravity budget, too!)

Complete List

Alas, Poor Mozart

Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

"About the only thing less pleasing than having to sit through Hans Neuenfels's production of Mozart's 1781 opera "Idomeneo" is the news that Berlin's Deutsche Oper, citing an "incalculable" security risk from enraged Muslims, has decided to cancel its scheduled showing of the piece.

Don't get me wrong. I am certain that the production, which premiered in 2003, is a horror. In Mozart's version, the opera, set on Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a play about sacrifice and reconciliation. The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a "last command. I announce peace," before ceding power to his son.

Mr. Neuenfels's version is Modern German--i.e., gratuitously offensive. It is more Neuenfels than Mozart. Instead of appearing as the harbinger of peace, Idomeneo ends the opera parading the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. How do you spell "anachronistic balderdash"?

Poor Mozart. Mr. Neuenfels is one of those directors more interested in nurturing his own pathologies than in offering a faithful presentation of the geniuses with whose work he has been entrusted..."

The Standard Bearer

A cultural critic makes no apologies for being an elitist.

By Jonathan Yardley

Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes

"...Earlier, from the Jesuits, Hughes had learned that "no matter what the demands of 'self-expression' may be, nothing is anything without fully articulate, conscious form." This conviction, coupled with his passionate belief in the transcendent possibilities of art, permitted Hughes to evolve over the years into modern art's most demanding critic. Deeply sympathetic to "the hostile, nervy freedom from parental and religious authority embodied by Surrealism," he nevertheless insisted that art had to be more than "new" to be good, and over the years he came to be a fierce opponent of the faddism to which the art world is so susceptible. He was strongly influenced by the writing of Kenneth Clark, Cyril Connolly and, especially, George Orwell, whose "direct use of the English language, in exposition and in argument," and whose willingness to follow his own nose he emulated to obvious and happy effect..."

"...Hughes is, by his own rather defiant declaration, "completely an elitist, in the cultural but emphatically not the social sense." He is, "after all, a cultural critic, and my main job is to distinguish the good from the second-rate, pretentious, sentimental, and boring stuff that saturates culture today." He quite properly refuses to apologize for this: "I am no democrat in the field of the arts, the only area -- other than sports -- in which human inequality can be displayed and celebrated without doing social harm." How right he is, and how vigorously he argues his case -- which is to say the case for informed judgment independent of fashion -- in this splendid book."

Other People's Books

Gentleman in his Library
byJulian Barrow

What's on your shelves?

By Jay Parini

"...In Scotland my roommate for a time was an English fellow, and his father, who was a novelist, owned a lovely secluded Georgian house in the countryside of Surrey. I spent one Christmas at that house and returned many times in later years. Apart from the good company, I was attracted by the glass-enclosed bookcases in the sitting room. That collection represents, for me, a fine example of an English gentleman's library from an earlier era, when there was ample time and space to read and think. The library contained the Sussex Edition of Rudyard Kipling (in 36 volumes), the Vailima Edition of Robert Louis Stevenson (26 volumes), and the novels of John Galsworthy, W. Somerset Maugham, and Hugh Walpole, among others.

In such a library, one also always found a copy of Palgrave's Golden Treasury of English verse and poems by Robert Bridges, John Masefield, and Algernon Swinburne. Those were collections redolent of Edwardian England, when every room had a fireplace, and the smell of fires permeated the books themselves. As the British have always been world travelers (and world conquerors, alas), one usually also found an array of travel books a genre in which the British excelled..." Note: Mr. Parini's regret that the British conquered the world, is regrettably typical of today's Englishmen...

"...Another novelist I once visited was Anthony Powell, who actually wrote a novel called Books Do Furnish a Room. Indeed, they did so in his case. He lived deep in the English countryside, in Somerset, in an old stone manor on many green acres. We had tea in his sitting room, which had floor-to-ceiling shelves on every wall. There were first editions by his good friend Evelyn Waugh, and countless volumes culled from his decades as a reviewer. "I can't give a book up, if it's a book that meant something to me," he said. "I always imagine I'll go back to it one day. I rarely do, but the intention is there, and I get a warm feeling among my books." I wished I could have spent days wandering in that house, as he had books in nearly every room..."