This is not even close to the topics at hand, but it does involve several people connected with these boards.
There was an obituary today in the New York Times. Former Flight Lieutenant Bertram Arthur "Jimmy" James died at the age of 92. Jimmy James was one of the last survivors of the so-called "Great Escape." He had made at least 11 attempts to escape, succeeding twice, but being re-captured both times. In one attempt, he and several others dug a 100-foot tunnel, 10 feet below ground, using only a table knife.
But the thing that typifies the spirit of the English-- maybe even above and beyond their profound gallantry-- is this:
"Mr. James... once told the BBC about a flier who was annoyed over having been shot down when he had London theater tickets for the next night. 'He'd bought a ticket for "Arsenic and Old Lace" in London that was on in the West End... he was bemoaning this fact when he came into the camp. He said, "I bought a ticket for this show," and I said: "Oh, that's all right old boy, we're putting it on next week. You can see it here."'"
Post by BrokenSword on Jan 31, 2008 15:02:26 GMT -5
Thanks for the heads up about 'Jimmy' James, and I agree with everything you've said about the British. Adds up to a special kind of style.
When your sergeant says to you, "Keep your head down now boy. Mus'nt become a casualty. No need upsetting the tax payers reading their newspapers at the breakfast tables. There's a good lad now," --- Ya gotta love 'em.
The only thing harder than being a soldier at war is being married to one.
One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous before, time and again.
The following obituary of a British barrister (trial lawyer) is also nothing to do with the usual business of these boards, but it says something about our society and is quite amusing.
Patrick Pakenham, who has died aged 68, was a talented barrister and the second son of the 7th Earl and Countess of Longford; highly intelligent, articulate and possessed of an attractive and powerful voice, Pakenham could have attained great professional heights, but his boisterous nature and bouts of mental illness rendered it impossible for him to adhere to the routine required to sustain his position at the Bar, and he retired after 10 years' practice. During his legal career, Pakenham became something of a legend, and, 25 years on, accounts of his exploits are still current. During his appearance before an irascible and unpopular judge in a drugs case, the evidence, a bag of cannabis, was produced. The judge, considering himself an expert on the subject, said to Pakenham, with whom he had clashed during the case: "Come on, hand the exhibit up to me quickly." Then he proceeded to open the package. Inserting the contents in his mouth, he chewed it and announced: "Yes, yes of course that is cannabis. Where was the substance found, Mr Pakenham?" The reply came swiftly, if inaccurately: "In the defendant's anus, my Lord." Pakenham's final appearance in court has been variously recorded. As defence counsel in a complicated fraud case, he was due to address the court during the afternoon session, and had partaken of a particularly well-oiled lunch. "Members of the jury," he began, "it is my duty as defence counsel to explain the facts of this case on my client's behalf; the Judge will guide you and advise you on the correct interpretation of the law and you will then consider your verdict. Unfortunately," Pakenham went on, "for reasons which I won't go into now, my grasp of the facts is not as it might be. The judge is nearing senility; his knowledge of the law is pathetically out of date, and will be of no use in assisting you to reach a verdict. While by the look of you, the possibility of you reaching a coherent verdict can be excluded." He was led from the court. Patrick (always known as Paddy) Maurice Pakenham was born on April 17 1937, the third of the eight children of Francis (Frank) Pakenham and his wife Elizabeth (later the Earl and Countess of Longford). Frank Longford was variously an Oxford don, a Labour minister, a City banker, and an outspoken campaigner for penal reform. His wife was a noted historical biographer. Three of Paddy's siblings, Thomas Pakenham (who succeeded to the earldom in 2001), Lady Antonia Fraser and Lady Rachel Billington, are successful authors, while another sister, Judith Kazantzis, is a poet. Of his two younger brothers, Sir Michael Pakenham, a diplomat, was the Ambassador to Poland from 2001-2003, and Kevin Pakenham is an investment banker. A fourth sister, Catherine, died in a motor accident in 1969. His parents converted to Catholicism in the 1940s, so Paddy, who remained a devout Catholic, and his brothers were sent to Ampleforth. He then took up a place at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was called to the Bar in 1958. Pakenham had an exceptional memory and could be wise and compassionate. It was thought that his tendency to manic depression, which required occasional admission to nursing homes, may have had its origins in two unconnected events. At the aged of 17 he suffered a nervous breakdown, a result of the ruthless treatment meted out to officer cadets in the first six weeks of his national service. In his mid-twenties his mental state was further damaged by a boating tragedy off the Sussex coast. Pakenham survived, behaving with exemplary courage, but two of his closest friends perished. Notwithstanding all this, whilst at the Bar, he became a proficient golfer, on one occasion winning the Bar Golf Tournament at Rye. From 1962 he was a colourful member of the exclusive but mercifully unpompous Sunningdale Golf Club, where he triumphed in the Founder's Foursomes. In his autobiography, the golfer Sam Torrance described how Pakenham "would always be turning up wearing different coloured socks or different shoes or even no socks at all. His trousers would be held up by a tie instead of a belt. Paddy once told me I would never make it on Tour unless I improved my short irons. He was dead right." Pakenham made several attempts to rejoin the Bar, at last persuading someone to offer him a place in chambers. Pakenham was treated to a homily on ethics and the standards of behaviour to which he was expected to adhere. But the following day, Pakenham's first in his new place of work, was interrupted by the arrival of two burly policemen, who then proceeded to lead the head of chambers away in handcuffs. Paddy Pakenham's outstanding gift was for loyalty and friendship, and he had countless friends in all walks of life. Whilst he could be a tremendous attention-seeker, he was also generous and loving, and created an atmosphere of immense gaiety wherever he went. All his friends were tolerant of his erratic behaviour, which was also the source of much of his charm. He had been suffering from cancer and died on June 8. An unexpected but entirely happy consequence of one of his bouts of exuberance was that he married his nurse, Mary Plummer. This union, which led to a divorce and then re-marriage, yielded three sons, Richard, Guy and Harry, to all of whom Pakenham was a devoted father. Latterly, he found love and companionship with Dominique De Borchgrave, a Belgian countess resident in London.
Post by harpskiddie on Feb 1, 2008 21:28:43 GMT -5
"gullible" from the Old English gwillalal -adj. meaning to have a large always-open gullet, and hence prone to swallowing anything easily. Also a derivative from "Gulliverable", adj. referring to persons who believe the events of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, many editions; shortened through usage in the early nineteenth century [see also 397, 398, 465, 533, and 992fn]. For a contrary view, see Huxtable 'Origins of the Modern English Language' Black Thorn Books, London 1992. Also attributed to an Americanization of 'gullable' adj. describing one who has adopted the eating habits of a gull, Forsythe and Groom They Said It First, Salisbury and Bristol 1879.
"There are opposing views of when the Old English transmogrified into the Middle English. See Chapter Fourteen "Words Beginning with the Letter 'G.' For an extensive discussion see also pp96-97 English As She Is Spoke, New York 1971."*
* From The Harper Brothers Dictionary Of The English Language, page 1, np nd. It should be noted, for those keeping score, that this is the only entry on said dictionary,and that, in fact, only one of the Harper Brothers [the smarter one] actually contributed to the book. The other one was out playing golf.
"Golf" Ostensibly a game..........................................................