Jul 23, 2013

Brain Seepage

The Random Musings of An Untethered Mind

In the following blog pages, those unfortunate enough to stumble upon this site will find rantings and ravings about language (good, bad and offensive), news, amusements and various and sundry egregia.

It may help to have a dictionary nearby. Then again, many of the words (see “egregia,” above) are perpetrated from our own lexicon. It shouldn’t be too hard to keep up, even without a foundation in etymology.

For those who don’t see the point in worrying about language, grammar, usage, punctuation and other antique, arcane practices, there will follow many justifications. Do open your minds, please.

Etc., etc., etc.

Also, you can reach me via email.




Many Benchleys—

Al Hirschfeld’s portrait of Robert, Nathaniel, Peter and Nat

Listen to A Complement to “The King’s Speech,” a poetic collaboration between Nat Benchley and Patricia Collinge.

Listen to Nat’s weekly “Language Matters” radio column.

Looking for CDs? Click here.  How about the new “Lost Algonquin Round Table book?

And for something completely different, read Another Opinion.

“Lost” Algonquin Round Table Works Found and Published

New York: July, 2009: In the 90th anniversary year of the founding of the legendary Algonquin Round Table, a new collection of little-known works by some of the group’s most famous members has come to light. Unearthed from private collections, public troves and dark recesses, the works of fiction, poetry, criticism, journalism, humor and silliness sprang from the prolific pens of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, Edna Ferber, Alexander Woollcott, Franklin P. Adams, Heywood Broun, Ruth Hale, Marc Connelly and several other members and visitors at the renowned literary gathering. Keep reading »




“Benchley Despite Himself”

by Nat in Robert Benchley

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Nat Benchley Beside Himself
© Al Hirschfeld
Drawing reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld’s exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries, Ltd., New York

Being a compilation of Robert Benchley’s best monologues, short films, radio rantings and pithy pieces

As recalled, edited and acted by his grandson

And combined with family reminiscences and friends’ perspectives.

A warm, touching, hysterical romp for all who are interested in language and its laugh potential.

“Benchley Despite Himself” is a one-man, one-act stroll through the glory period of literate American humor, from post-World War I New York to post-World War II Hollywood.

It is told through the story of one of America’s premiere humorists, a member of the fabled Algonquin Round Table in New York and a habitue of the Garden of Allah in Hollywood.

Robert Benchley made his mark in the numerous magazines in New York in the early 1920s, rose to stardom on the stage in various revues and wrote and starred in the first all-talking film in 1928. After that, his career skyrocketed in films and radio work, while he maintained several regular magazine columns and criticisms. He is still credited by many of the writers for The New Yorker magazine with inspiring their work. Modern humor writers from Woody Allen, Russell Baker and Calvin Trillin to Dave Barry still acknowledge their debt to Benchley’s innovative style.

Available for a variety of social and literary affairs, “Benchley Despite Himself” presents much of Robert Benchley’s best material in a live, ludicrous look at a unique life. Written and performed by Robert’s grandson, Nat, the show has entertained audiences in formats ranging from 25 minutes to a 90-minute examination of Robert’s life and legacy and the accomplishments of his various descendants. (Robert’s son, Nathaniel, wrote The Off-Islanders, which became the movie “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” and his son, Peter, wrote the thrillers Jaws and The Deep.)

Keep reading »