Tag Archives: Howdy Doody

“I feel really great.”

 

 

“I feel really great,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s going to be a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. I think it’s going to be really successful, and I think we will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt.”

 

 

Donald Trump: windbag. One in a long line of them.

I was talking recently to someone I met in a Manhattan diner whose native language is not English. I said to her that it was a blustery day and asked if she knew what it meant. She said she didn’t.

It means very windy, I explained. One of those great words in our language for expressing a precise shade of meaning — it was indeed a blustery day.

I went on to explain, which amused my interlocutor, that blustery can also be used with the connotation of a kind of talk. The dictionary definition is as follows:

Bluster (noun): loud, aggressive, or indignant talk with little effect.

And, used as a verb: to talk in such a manner.

 

 

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Famous blusterers of yore (including fictional characters):

Branch Rickey, the legendary General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. As Fritz Knapp related in his book Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey: Nobility, Rickey’s office was known to sportswriters (was so called by them) as “the cave of winds” because “he was so fond of pontificating on baseball and life.”

George Shinn, the mayor in The Music Man. Played unforgettably by the actor Paul Ford.

Phineas T. Bluster. A puppet character on the children’s television program Howdy Doody, which was required viewing for my friends and me in the 1950’s. Phineas T. Bluster, side-whiskers and all, the orator who never stopped his bluster, was one of my favorite characters.

Can you think of others? Shouldn’t be hard to.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    June 2018