Sunday, September 6, 2015

Very small matters, quickly

Very minor points, but they struck me:
  • a woman judge shows up in the courtroom scenes of an old episode of Perry Mason, which I watched late one night for the fabulous '50s clothes and makeup; who knew that such a thing could occur prior to our own enlightened era? 
  • consider new meaning in the phrase "to have a pair." Nowadays it refers to testicles and courage, and is only vulgar. In the Nero Wolfe mystery Too Many Clients, Rex Stout uses it in an entirely different context. Wolfe's factotum (I guess) Archie Goodwin says to a helpful acquaintance, " 'Come off it. You haven't even got a pair.' " Any young person reading this today would probably laugh happily at such a startling modernism, but also miss the point. In 1956 it was a poker reference, wasn't it? And it meant "you haven't even got [so lousy a hand as] a pair [of any two cards]." 
  • and, Archie's meals so far sound delightful, as cooked by Wolfe's chef, Fritz. Wolfe also employs an orchid valet, but more on that at another time. Chapter 3 opens with this:
"There was a bowl of chestnut soup, a cucumber-and-shrimp sandwich on toast, a roast-beef sandwich on a hard roll, home-baked, a pile of watercress, an apple baked in white wine, and a glass of milk."
I take it Archie's glass of milk is going to be a running gag throughout Rex Stout's series.

Finally, your Shakespeare quote for the day. We'll pick at random as usual. Perhaps it will, coincidentally, have to do with mystery or crime? People say everything is in Shakespeare.

Oddly, it might --

King Pandion, he is dead
All thy friends are lapped in lead

-- but it's from The Passionate Pilgrim, grouped in "Poems of Doubtful Authenticity."

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