HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

Plaza Azul Productions
2954 Plaza Azul
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Office Of The
Executive Director
(505) 473-1954

“Semper Pothoegdus!”

January 2, 1989

Dear Tommy, If I were the apologizing type, I would apologize for the lon delay in responding to yours of November 27, 1988. But, I am not the apologizing type.

The month of December went by in a rush, what with the play, a fund— raising campaign for the theatre, publishing the NEWSLETTER (Winter Edition), command appearances at parties, fetes and galas, and other year~ end nonsense. I see light at the end of the tunnel, but I suspect it may be the headlight of an onrushing locomotive.

Note name change above. We have outcorporated or decorporated or discorporated or whatever one does when when does not pay the fee to renew one’s Certificate of Incorporation. We are now a sort of foundation, with the same high aims and purposes as before, and I am the Executive Director. The motto means “ALWAYS PRESS ON TO HEIGHTS OF EVER GREATER DISTINCTION!“ and the “US” at the end is to make it look like a Greek word.

You suggest that Jeanne may not be as evil as she looks. That is her genius ~~ she may not even look the least bit evil. Bear in mind that I have not seen her for eighteen years, and I probably wouldn’t recognize her if she showed up at my front door. But of one thing you may be sure: She is more evil than she looks no matter how evil she looks. The strongest magic may not be strong enough, but keep up the good work.

The eighteen-year-old actress has drifted away, as I knew would happen as soon as the show was over. You know about shipboard romances, being (I’m sure) a regular viewer of “Love Boat” re—runs. ‘Well, a play at the Community Theatre is much the same —— we all get on board at the beginning, fall in love, vow eternal devotion, and then the cruise is over. Everybody goes his or her separate way, and we go back to our travel folders (audition notices) seeking new adventures. You might say that the boards of a cruise ship are not much different from the boards of the stage. “Boards is boards, and broads is broads.” Quote me if you like.

Here’s a suggestion for dealing with Thomas and his zeal for driving. Buy him an “Excalibur” kit and a set of Craftsman tools from Sears. Tell him that if he wants a car, he can jolly well build the sonofabitch himself. Offer to help him with Metric conversion, but otherwise leave him alone. When you hear the engine purring in the driveway some frosty Sunday morning, pull the comforter up around your ears and go back to sleep. He will be thirty at least, and a licensed driver. Think it over.

You offered (Silly Tommy) to help me out with my stupid system that won’t do italics or subscripts or superscripts. Well, you asked for it.

My computer is a Tandy 1000 Personal Computer SK. It has 640 k. of internal memory and two floppy drives. Hung on it is a Radio Shack TRS-SO Printer Controller, and hung on that are a DATASPEC printer switch and two printers. One is a Tandy DWP—220 (daisy wheel) and the other is a Tandy DMP—lSO (dot matrix). I switch between printers depending on the results I want, using the daisy wheel infrequently when I need letter~quality output and for addressing large numbers of envelopes or making mailing labels.

My operating system is MS—DOS/GW—BASIC 08.20.00, and my application programs are DeskMate (which came with the computer and which I use for keeping track of my check register) and something called T/Master, Version 1.54 for PCDOS 2.0 DS/DD. Imbedded within T/Master are a bunch of printer utilities that are supposed to drive just about any kind of printer a chap might have. I have found that if I set the DIP switches on the DMP-lBO to IBM codes, and use the IBMPROPRINTER utility, everything works just fine. But IBM evidently doesn’t believe in italics or subscripts or superscripts. There is another printer utility in T/Master, customrmade (I’m told) for the DEF-130, and it doesn’t work at all. I re—set the DIP switches for Tandy codes, bat the TNYDMP—lSO utility, and then have at it. The fonts I select show up on the screen, but nothing comes out at the printer except 10 CPI. I have talked to the guy who wrote T/Master, and he tells me it must be my printer. I think he is full of shit, because I can produce italics (along with anything else I want) by using Tandy codes at the printer and writing a BASIC program. See enclosure.

But I am.not about to take a course in BASIC. I went through this exercise just to demonstrate to my own satisfaction that my hardware is working. It seems to be.

Generally speaking, I like T/Master. I have learned to use many of its features — blocks, zones, stuff like that — and I am familiar with the required keystrokes for doing what I do most of the time. I would hate to have to abandon it for WordPerfect or WordStar and learn a whole new system from scratch just to get italics. I believe the problem is with the Goddam printer utility — it doesn’t work. If you can figure out a patch that will let me use other fonts beyond those I now have, I will be forever in your debt. And forever is a long time.

See other enclosure. This is some sort of conversion table that is supposed to allow one to choose just about any typeface one wants. I have tried, without success, to build this into my printer utility for the DMP~180. The symbols (almost) show up on the screen, and then some other symbols show up at the printer. Everything else comes out 10 CPI. ’Tis. a puzzlement. Illuminate me, Tommy, lest I go mad.

Your house must be knee—deep in guano, to say nothing of cat hair and dog doo—doo. How do you keep all those creatures from eating one another? Or is that the secret? I recall a get—rich—quick scheme from years ago the involved a fox farm and a mink farm separated by a high cyclone fence. One went out into the fox farm, slaughtered a few beauties, skinned them and threw the carcasses over the fence to the mink. Later on, one went into the mink farm, wasted a bunch of them, removed the pelts, and tossed the remains over the fence to the foxes. Completely self”sufficient and ecologically sound. My guess is that you simply let your animals run wild, pecking and clawing and gnawing at one another, and videotape the whole grisly business. Being near Noo Yawk, where there is something for everyone willing to pay the price, you should have no trouble finding a market. Shame on you, Udo. Mink and foxes are a tidier way to get rich — they are bothy nasty creatures and should be exterminated.

Sorry you don’t like cats. I have told my cat about you, and he has made it clear that you are not welcome in his home. Not until you mend your ways and provide clear and convincing evidence that you are no longer a cat-hater.

The critics loved “THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER” and so did the people who saw it. Trouble is, not enough people saw it. We only sold 41% of the house for the run, and 46% of the seats were occupied. Our competition was fierce: “PAL JOEY” at the Greer Garson, “MUCH ADD ABOUT NOTHING“ at the New Mexico Repertory Theatre, “A WEST END CHRISTMAS” at assorted bars and grills around town, and other stuff by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Sangre de Cristo Chorale, assorted dance troupes and the Salvation Army Band. Entertainment—seekers had no trouble finding places to spend their money. I think we did pretty well, considering.


After reviewing yours of November 27 and the foregoing, I have come to two conclusions:

  1. Most, if not all, your questions have been answered, and
  2. You may be a Black Belt in Word—Processing Management, but you are the World’s Worst Typist. I have not seen so many typos on three sheets of 8 1/2 by 11 paper since I was in high school. Please look at the screen now and then, and try to be neater. Maybe neatness is a lost cause — I remember the floor of your laboratory in Sigma Building; it was always awash with toxic chemicals of various sorts. Now, it’s bird-shit. No accident that Dobbsy nicknamed you H. Lester Slobboon.

Despite the critical tone of the above, I love hearing from you and can usually decipher what you have encoded. Keep those cards and letters coming and I will be more prompt in my responses.

John K. Herzog

Encl: Little BASIC program I wrote
Other Enclosure, as noted above.

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