HLS Letters

Newly-Acquired Skills

  • April 22, 1989

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!”

April 22, 1989

Señor y Señora Harvey L. Slatin
78 Main Street
Stamford, New York 12167

Mein Lieber Herr und Dame, freudlichen Grü§en!

In the above salutation, I have demonstrated some of my newly-acquired skills with the use of my new printer.  Writing the associated routines and embedding them in my application program have required countless hours of my time, and countless reams of paper.  But, my time is free, and paper is cheap.  Now, I can add a soupçon of pizazz to the stuff I write.

Here are the fonts that are now available:

Regular old ten-pitch, also known as Pica.

Ten-pitch, or Pica, in italics.

Twelve-pitch, also known as Elite.

Elite, but this time in italics.

My old favorite, Giant.

Giant, now in italics.

By means of Subscript and then Superscript, I can tell you the formula for Ethyl Alcohol (the one that counts) is C2H5OH, which you already know, and that the outside air temperature is 70° F.  A nice day in Santa Fe, which rhymes.  I think it is called a “couplet.”

In any font, I have the following foreign-language characters at my beck and call.  If I want to write about Ångstrøm units, I can do so.  I cal also tell you that the dollar is up against the £ and down against the ¥, if you have any interest in such matters.  Here is the assortment:

Ñ ñ ¡ ¿ Ä Ö Ü ä ö ü à é § ç ß £ Å Æ ø ¥

Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Now that I have dazzled you with my virtuosity, let me move on to substantive matters.

ELECTROCHEMISTS: I certainly did not intend to put down your noblest of professions.  Nor, I suspect, did Fred C. Dobbs.  Au contraire, Tommy — we both admire and respect you, which is more than can be said by or of most people.  Figure out what I just said, and explain it to me.

I recall my early days at Sigma Building.  I had bought an exceptionally gaudy finger-ring in Santa Fe, constructed of several different metals including copper and (I think) bronze soldered to a base of something that looked like silver.  The ring was to big to stay in place on any digit.  I sought a consultation with you and Jim Gore, and your solution (electrochemical term) was to plate it with a layer of genuine silver thick enough to reduce the inside diameter of the ring to match the outside diameter of the selected finger.  The scheme worked, but the ring was then so heavy that I developed bursitis in my left shoulder after wearing it for a few days.  So I hung it on a chain and tried wearing it as a pendant.  One day I was hunched up over my drawing table, and I leaned back suddenly.  The ring-pendant smote me smartly on the sternum, causing a hair-line fracture that took six weeks to heal.

You may not remember the incident because you were preoccupied with Scotch-taping Cleo’s tail at the time, and with trying to keep her from lapping up corrosive chemical spills in the floor of your laboratory.

I have since lost the ring, but I have forgotten neither your skills as an electrochemist nor your generosity with Federal Government silver.  If I had suggested gold or platinum, I’m certain you would have complied, just for friendship’s sake.  That is the sort of person you are, Tommy, despite your veneer of psychopathic malice.

THEATRICAL STUFF:  I hate to keep telling you that you are wrong, but you are wrong.  I was not Whiteside.  I was Mr. Stanley.  As for “my girl,” she seems to have drifted away, at least for the time being. and I have been too busy with ultrasound, CT-scans, X-ray examinations, and lawyers — to say nothing of my official duties as Corresponding Secretary of SFCT — to pursue the matter.  As Walter Huston put it, “I’ll let the old World take a couple of turns,” and then pick up again.  With any luck, I have “time for the waiting game.”

It is astonishing to me how firm your grasp is of the play-selection dilemma facing SFCT.  We are moving forward toward abolishing musicals, for the very reasons you cite.  Instrumentalists, most of whom try to earn a living from their craft, will not perform without compensation.  We can get professionally-trained and experienced actors and actresses, singers and dancers, including Equity members, to perform for free, but the worst trumpet-player west of the Mississippi demands at least $100 for two rehearsals and twelve performances.  Dismal orchestras in the pit have wrecked a number of otherwise brilliant productions, and have cost us a lot of money.

As for the “Classics,” it is hard to avoid them completely.  Some of our patrons seem to want us to do them, probably to make invidious comparisons with a production they saw at the Moscow Art Theatre twenty years ago.  But we have managed to keep Shakespeare out of our season for many years, and I hope we can continue doing so.  Heretical as it may seem, I can’t stand Shakespeare.  Besides, we don’t attract that kind of talent.

On one of your points, I must disagree.  One-acts and stage readings, although they have limited audience appeal, do something for the community that no other performing arts organization, professional, or amateur, does here in Ciudad Diferente.  They open the stage to people who are interested in theatre but who have no other outlet.  Playwrights, performers, directors, designers, technicians and the like can bring something to SFCT and get it in front of a live audience.  if nothing else, this process serves to weed out the total incompetents and encourage them to make career choices.  Diesel mechanic training, for instance, or computer programming.

In my opinion, Tommy, that is what Community Theatre is all about.

Naturally, we need to get audiences into the theatre.  To do so, we have to mount productions that theatre-goers are willing to pay our modest prices to see.  I think we are headed that way.  Our 1989-1990 season has peen chosen, and it includes some real crowd-pleasers like “WHAT THE BUTLER SAW” and “HEARTBREAK HOUSE.”  I don’t remember the others, but they will be announced in the next issue of the NEWSLETTER.  Be on the lookout for it.

“ONE ACTS PLUS” will remain a feature of the season, despite your objections.  it has become a tradition, and it has a hard-core following of sado-masochists.  They cannot be disappointed.

CULTURE IN STAMFORD:  I know about donkey basketball.  It is a bit like wheelchair basketball.  No slam dunks, no three-point shots, no fast breaks, no triple-doubles, and generally low-scoring contests.

If you want to bring sports excitement to Stamford, organize an Australian Rules Football team.  Now there is a game that offers a lifetime supply of mayhem.  How anybody survives an hour of this madness is beyond me.  No time-outs, no substitutions, no rules as far as I can see, and no protective clothing.  Just run, smash, grab, tackle, kick, throw for the duration.  The team with the more living players at the end is the winner, despite the score.  I think the Aztecs invented it, after they gave up human sacrifice.

THOMAS AND ROOM-TEMPERATURE NUCLEAR FUSION:  Here’s an idea.  For his next Science Fair project, help Thomas design a Fusion Kit that runs on two “AA” cells, batteries not included.  Have it power all the exhibits and the lights and the air conditioning for $0.0000002 per KWH.  Prove the ascendancy of electrochemistry over particle physics.  You can do it.

COMPUTER CHRONICLES:  I have seen this once or twice, and I must say it sailed right over my head.  The less I know about the latest developments, the less I will be tempted to buy.

But the idea that a computer would write a novel was discovered and turned into a personal fortune by Louis L’Armour.  he write 82 or so books, all about the same characters, all with basically the same plot.  Only the names of the characters and the settings varied from one to the next.  Sort of like circuses — when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

ON THINKING GIRLS:  I hear and obey.

Fondly, As Always,
John K. Herzog
Executive Director
a/k/a Howard.

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