From our Literary Tidbit Department:

Ian Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952 at Goldeneye, his house in Jamaica where all of the Bond novels were written. He had been musing on a name for his new creation. “I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument…” He looked up from his desk and saw this on his bookshelf:


“I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought, by God, ‘James Bond’ is the dullest name I ever heard.” That’s right. The real James Bond wasn’t a globetrotting super spy. He was an ornithologist. And, yes, that’s a first edition.

Fleming would routinely name villains after actual people who had gotten on his nerves at one point or another. Hugo Drax, Goldfinger, Scaramanga, etc., were all part of a grand payback scheme. Sweet.

The Bond books were written while World War II was still a fresh wound. The villains were mostly Germans or Asians with hideous physical disfigurements who were hellbent on world domination.

Fleming’s greatest nomenclature creation is Pussy Galore. Talk about a straight white male fantasy! She was the leader of a gang of lesbian ex-circus performing cat burglars. Bond turned her hetro with his superior lovemaking skills. The film adaptation has Bond overpowering her in a bail of hay in a barn. Afterwards, woozy from a proper pumping from Bond, she willingly reveals Goldfinger’s nefarious plans to the CIA.

In a heartfelt tribute, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery features a character named Alotta Fagina, which I find no less absurd than Pussy Galore.


Would you look at this whopper I bought before work last week. It was enormous! Gerthy, too. Five inches around. I measured.

Am I the only one astonished that I can buy fresh tropical fruit from a street vendor in Manhattan the middle of winter? Isn’t that a cause for wonderment? I’m certain that option didn’t exist not long ago. Only 50 cents.


I have tried for years to develop an appreciation for Gerhard Richter’s work but it’s just visual noise to me. It’s big. You can say that much for it.

Abstraktes Bild (809-2)
From the collection of Eric Clapton
Estimate: $18,000,000-25,000,000
Sold for $22,087,500

Oh. And Eric Clapton owned it. You can say that, too. And say it they did. Over and over and over. That was thought to be one of the painting’s key selling points. They sure couldn’t sell it on its artistic merit alone. Clapton bought it in 2001 for $3.4 million.

$22 million. Give me a break. It was fugly in 2001 and it’s fugly today.

67 thoughts on “Poo-shay

  1. Nice banana segue, you scamp.
    I was thinking the same fruit marvel the other day as I ate strawberries from Chili. I’m old enough to remember the solution for winter fruit being a daily spoonful of Jack and Jill Syrup.
    Don’t forget Ivanna Humpalot.

  2. The things that I learn from reading your posts. James Bond. Well I can only say that Fleming was brilliant, if not original each time when giving names to his characters. But Pussy Galore is the capper of all times and just causes me to remember a certain politician who apparently had great affection for that name. 🙂

    Clapton’s taste in art is, questionable but, he sure knew how to pick art that would make him money.

    • I am a fountain of useless albeit, hopefully, amusing information. Would the certain politician you’re referring to be there same one who’s about to lead the free world? That one? Talk about a Bond villain! He even had a creepy look.

      Clapton had no insight. It’s valuable because he touched it. ANYTHING he buys use going to disproportionally increase in value.

      • Oh yes, the soon to be leader of the free world- the Putin puppet. I’m afraid his party will wake up waaaay too late and after Russia has grabbed the eastern countries of Europe including the Baltic countries. Frankly, I’m petrified and all his supporters are hysterical with giddiness that he is the perfect choice. Voters were subtly brain washed. I really believe that. Or could you say it is similar to the Stockholm syndrome? Really, think about it.

        Yep, people are crazy about celebrity. The times just keeps getting sicker.

  3. Did you read that book (I think by William Boyd) Any Human Heart? God, I loved that book. Ian Fleming is featured in that, sort of historical fiction style.
    I really liked that dip you took into Bond there. Those books were important to me as a kid, growing up. I sold candy at school (illegally) and used the money to buy Bond books, D&D modules, skateboard accessories. But I think I learned to enjoy reading from those books. I recall your story about the same, but from the Mockingbird book, perhaps on a park bench if I’m right?

    • Any Human Heart by William Boyd. Just Googled it. It was made into a BAFTA-winning TV adaptation with some familiar names. Ian Fleming was played by Tobias Menzies. Not a familiar name (to me). If you loved the book you should definitely look into the series, don’t you think?

      The Pan paperback Bond books were the first books I collected. That got me started on a very slippery slope. Haven’t found the bottom yet.

      You are correct about Mockingbird and a park bench. That’s what did it for me. Nice memory, sir. Good heavens, you have a big brain.

      • I wonder if that’s the same series of Bond books I collected. I liked the color combinations on the spines, I know that. They’re in my garage awaiting judgment (whether they stay or go). I think I have the verdict and it’s a thanks, but it’s time for a new home…

      • And actually the fact I remember that scene with you on the park bench says more about your writing than it does me.

  4. A good friend of mine used to buy big bananas because of the inherent value as both sex toy and healthy snack option, she once sent me pictures of her work with the banana and i’ll readily admit it was pretty fascinating, i couldn’t make this stuff up, truth IS stranger than fiction…

  5. P. Galore is still a pretty shocking name today for mainstream movies. I can’t imagine how shocking it was back then.

    I too have often wondered how no matter the time of year, I can go into a grocery store and find pretty much any kind of fresh fruit I want. Weird magic.

    • Can you believe he got away with that? According to Wikipedia, they wanted him to change it for the movie out of fear that U.S. censors wouldn’t allow the movie to run. Good that he stuck to his guns. How to you give up a name like that? You can’t! That name is a 100-year flood.

      When I lived in the city I shopped at the crappy Key Food on Avenue B in the lower east side. Little shelf space meant few choices. The meat was gray. The vegetables wilted. Then I moved to the suburbs. My GOD. What a difference! The cereal choices alone. Amazing.

  6. My favourite Fleming naming story is about the real Goldfinger. He was about to sue and Fleming threatened to add an erratum, with explanation, renaming the character to Goldprick.

    • I hadn’t heard that. It’s fantastic. Doesn’t that make the end product that much more enjoyable? It does for me.

      Here’s a fun fact. In Dr. No, (the movie, not the book) Bond is in No’s lair. He’s about to be taken away under No’s orders to “soften him up.” Bond walks past a painting and stops to look at it. That painting had been stolen during filming. They quickly had a replica made and inserted it into the movie, making it look as if the theft was Dr. No’s doing.

      • I like that Dr. No story.

        It does make the end product more fun. I have developed the habit of Googling the books I like after I finish them to find out about allusions, background or other interesting facts. It keeps the book alive a little longer.

  7. Yikes. I’m old. I remember when a name such as Pussy Galore wasn’t really considered sexist or grossly insulting … it was just a name guys use “to be guys.” But then again, I also remember all the careers/jobs that used to be closed to me because I am female. You think progress has been made and then DT comes along. Oy.

    And the painting – I can see why Clapton sold it. Maybe he was re-gifting. Oh and check out the DT art in London. Some of it is pretty funny. I tried to put in a link but it wouldn’t take.

    • You’re not old. Cut that out. It’s all semantics. My understanding is that the word “cunt” isn’t such a big deal in the UK but you don’t use it here. It’s saved for when you want to go nuclear. Pussy Galore is just fun to say. And think about.

      Please pardon my ignorance but I’m not sure what DT art is. What are you referring to? Our future president?

      • Yes. I’ve spent a lot of time in the UK and that word is not such a big deal there.

        Sorry – DT art is “Donald Trump art.” It has apparently become a thing, especially “the” nude painting. Other examples are paintings of his face as a warning on cigarette packs, him sitting on the toilet, him fondling women. Very irreverent and funny. It’s frustrating that I can’t get a link to work for you.Some days, I think that the brain cells assigned to technology use have migrated to the Caribbean.

  8. I was afraid you’d start a banana measuring contest in the comments. You know how we guys are, no more mature than Ian Fleming’s name-giving skills.
    Since I didn’t grow up in the US, I don’t so much marvel that a tropical fruit is available in the winter, but that it’s even available at all. I remember banana being such a rare treat that I would scrape the inside of a banana peel with a knife or a spoon to capture a few milligrams more of that tropical goodness. And no, these weren’t some Great Depression era times, that was the 90’s or maybe late 80’s.

    • I’m not that competitive. Everyone should make peace with whatever banana they’re stuck with and not get into comparing. There’ll always be a bigger banana around there corner.

      I hope you don’t lose your appreciation for these simple pleasures. I’m going to have fresh salmon for dinner tonight. Shakespeare couldn’t say that!

      • Fact is, Shakespeare isn’t going to have any more simple – or complex – pleasures to appreciate for an obvious reason.
        But yes, I do try not to lose the perspective. Coming from a situation where there just isn’t another banana around the corner, and who knows if there ever will be, helps not to take a banana for granted.
        This is a similar sentiment, only about airplanes, not bananas: https://youtu.be/ZFsOUbZ0Lr0

  9. I knew about the Bond connection, BUT I had to really laugh out loud over the banana follow-up and then, I then had to explain to the MITM why I was laughing. Thank you, sweetpea. xoxox

    (I like Clapton, but his endorsement/ownership of a work does not move me in the slightest.)

  10. As I recall, he seduced her in the movie with a judo fall followed by some arm-twisting. That was Fleming’s fantasy about what women really want from a man.

    If I had to pay 50 cents for every banana I eat I’d be bankrupt!

    • It’s true. First Bond threw her into the hay and then her took her against her will (initially). It was kind of rape-y of you think about it.

      Laughed at the banana comment. Sure. All you have to do is reach up. But are you bananas as BIG? I thought not.

  11. Look how you went from Alotta Fagina to an enormous banana just like that….

    Visula noise always looks good when it’s on a big canvas though. In fact, anything the size of a wall looks good. Even bananas. I think that’s the trick.

  12. That is pretty cool (the Bond trivia, the banana, the ridiculous painting etc).

    I love all of the Austin Powers movies. Goldmember! Yes, my mind is in the gutter a lot and I enjoy silly humor. I am not ashamed. Much.

  13. The word: cunt, is a big deal in the UK. It’s the one swear word I have never said in front of my parents. I save it for special occasions; people always laugh when I say it.
    Meanwhile, nice banana 🙂

  14. Once again, nice variety of topics.
    I always liked Goldfinger’s henchman, Odd Job. The Christmas catalogs in the sixties had an action figure of him complete with steel brim hat you could put on your wish list. Austin Powers’ Random Task character was a very funny play on that name.
    That looks like a seventy-five cent banana at least. Art does pay off, especially if marketed well.
    I don’t get all the uneasy feelings about DT. I am uneasy that BO has condoned riots and executing policeman. See how I did that, using the same stupid rationalization to demonize. Abortion is here forever, thank God, LGBT will not lose any rights and immigrants will always be moved to the head of the line for benefits. Nothing will change.

    • I’d forgotten about Random Task! What a laugh! Thanks for the reminder. Fun fact; in the novel, it’s Odd Job who’s sucked out of the airplane. Not Goldfinger.

      Art pays off ONLY if it’s marketed well.

      I agree that in the end, there won’t be any dramatic changes. Just cosmetic stuff. The system is too entrenched.

  15. I like Richter, always have done, I think they’re attractive and have a joie de vivre about them. Big bananas though — no thanks. The smaller ones are sweeter and have a much better flavour. They also lead to less disappointment for women.

    Clapton could give away the profit from that sale to people who need it more. As if that’s going to happen.

    • You’d think seeing the Richters’ in person would have an impact on me. The colors are quite vivid. But no such luck. They leave me cold.

      You’re RIGHT about the bananas. I’m always inclined to pick the biggest one offered–more banana for your buck–but they’re inevitably dull and flavorless.

      I like that Clapton opened a rehab center on Antigua–a remote Caribbean island that only wealthy people can reach. The fanciest dunk tank on earth.

  16. I’ve always found Bond to be dull and in uninteresting. Flemng himself a better bet. However Alastair could never resist the films – a great sadness to me.
    When I was recently in the Canaries we saw the real bananas au natural. Much smaller, greener and said to be delicious. I forgot to try them.

    • I don’t think Bond–especially those first novels–were intended for a female readership. If you’ve have an XX chromosome, you are not the target audience. Sorry.

      Smaller bananas ARE better. The big ones are dull and flavorless, although you’re full when you’re done.

  17. Fun factoid: In the film, Pussy Galore’s name is never given in toto. “Pussy,” yes. “Miss/Ms Galore,” yes — but never the two words together. Kept it “safe”

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