— I think Lady Mary of “Downton Abbey” arranged to have a hit man take out that horrible guy Green. Or her suitor, Lord Gillingham, had it done.
— “Ulzana’s Raid,” starring Burt Lancaster, is a fine and under-recognized Western movie. I think of it it just about every Wednesday.
— James Thurber’s story “The Greatest Man in the World,” about a pilot named “Pal” Smurch who flies solo around the world with only gin and salami for sustenance, is one of the funniest ideas every put to paper. And I steer clear of both salami and gin.
— If you want to explore the roots of the 20th Century American newsroom, of course read or see “The Front Page” — I am especially fond of the Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon version — “Who’s going to read the second paragraph?” — but I also recommend the Thurber story “Newspaperman — Head and Shoulders.” I prefer not be reminded of our more craven tendencies, so I haven’t watched Kirk Douglas in “Ace in the Hole” in many years.
— I am a fan of alternative versions of history, so I think Thurber’s “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” is always worth another read. And I don’t drink.
— It’s obvious I have been re-reading Thurber, but I recently purchased Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal — Medicine and what matters in the end.” Except that I bought at the same time Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay collection “Loitering,” and I’m going to read that first.