Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I CONTINUE TO encounter comments I wish I had said. And, paraphrasing Oscar Wilde’s quote, I offer here several good ones originally appearing in the London Review of Books.

Fries With That? LRB “Letters” make for compelling reading. A Barcelona reader comments, “Marina Warner writes that St. Laurence, who was burned to death on a gridiron, is the ‘patron saint of cooks—and, less obviously, comedians’ (LRB, 4 February). I imagine the association with both professions arises from a story which has Laurence, in the midst of his torment, still capable of coolly admonishing his executioners: ‘I’m done on that side. You can turn me over now.’ ” 

Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, by Palma il giovane. Image by Didier Descouens and one more author from Wikipedia.


A Call From Home. An LRB reader from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, writes that “Justice Roberts’ absurd analogy between judging and baseball umpiring brings to mind a long ago interview with the umpire Bill Klem (LRB, 21 January). When asked if he had ever called a pitch a ball when it was really a strike, or vice versa, Klem replIed briskly: ‘It ain’t nothin’ till I call it.’ ”

Image from National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But Do They Have French Fries? Letters to the LRB not infrequently encourage followup letters. A reader in Copenhagen responds in LRB “Letters,” May 6, 2021: An earlier reader “is unpersuaded by the claim that ‘a Danish pastry can’t be distinguished from a croissant, since croissants are also produced in Copenhagen,’ (Letters, 18 March). In Denmark ‘Danish’ pastries are called Wienerbrød—‘Vienna bread’—because they were reportedly introduced by Austrian pastry chefs. So while one may be able to distinguish it from a croissant, a Danish pastry is not what it claims to be.”

Danish pastry or Wienerbrød? Image from

The Next Presidential Library. Richard Ovenden’s LRB article “All the President’s Email,” May 24, 2021, is replete with delightful commentary. 

Image from

Ovenden writes, “Since Joe Biden’s victory last November, there has been no shortage of speculation on the nature of the next presidential library. Will we see the opening of the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library Casino and Resort in Las Vegas? Others suggested a garden shed or a prison library. One proposed name for it resonated strongly with me: ‘Bodleian Total Landscaping.’ ”

You may have to be an Anglophile to get the full giggles. I sure do. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 

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