HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

December 19, 1989

Hey, they’re, Udo!–

(And No Increase In Price Next Year!)

TIME: 11:14 a.m.
BAROMETER: 30.12″ Hg.

XMAS BIZARRE: I agree that the Bee has never equaled that one. So The Daily Star is ahead as of now. But these ol’boys down t’ The Bee has got fightin’ hearts, you better believe it, Udo. I’m counting on them to leave Stamford journalism in a cloud of dust. I can just hear the Bee editor: “Now, lissen up, you wordsmiths! You gonna let some hayseed sheet put you to shaim? Get back to yore Undarwoods an’ make me prowd of ya! Show them rubes what Big Time jernalism can due, when it sets it’s mine to it!” You bettar fassin yore seet beltz, Udo, is all I haff to say as of nowe.

HAGGIS: That wasn’t no recipe, laddie, that was a deliberate effort to stop true believers in their tracks, haggisless. Shame, I say, shame!

CODE PRINCETON 60’s: I wasn’t at Princeton in the ’60’s, but maybe you were. I was at Squeaky Tech, learning an honest trade, while you studied encryption and nasty tricks to play on decent KGB agents, who were only trying to amass enough Lenin Points to qualify for a free Lake Baikal cruise on the Obrschyeniye Oktyabrskiy [“All Inside Cabins! Try Us, You’ll Like Us! (You Better Like Us!)”] You’ll have to decrypt for me, or transmit in the clear from here on. Over and out.

DABNEY: After he was discharged, Dabney went to work in personnel for John V. Young, as a manager, maybe of personnel records. His office was down the hall from mine. I noticed that his name did not appear on the Reunion form. The last reunion he was Chairman. It’s possible that he is deceased. Anyhow, he and Jeanne had two daughters, and continued to live at Los Alamos. J.R.O.’s BROTHER: With all our correspondence about The Project, I got to wondering for some reason about Oppenheimer’s brother, whose name I think was Frank. I don’t know What made me think of him, especially since I don’t imagine I saw him more than twice. He was pointed out by Someone In The Know, and I remember him as very slender and tall, with dark hair, younger than JRO. Did you know him? (I have a feeling that this is about as significant as James Thurber’s loss of sleep over the name of a place on the New Jersey coast that he never could remember, even when somebody told him. For the record, it was Perth Amboy.)

PARTON AS OCCIPITA?: As I envision Lady Occipita, I don’t hear her singing C&W. I think the role should go to someone with a U accent, like Margaret Dumont, who always played opposite Groucho. (Do you remember “A Night At The Opera”? “The familiar strains of verdi’s beautiful music will come back to you tonight. And Mrs. Claypool’s checks will come back in the morning.”) Sir Charles would have been a romp for John K. We may have to settle for Alec Guiness. NO TAHOE THIS YEAR: Last year the traveling turned into a real problem, especially over Donner Pass, because of the weather. All previous years the weather stayed clear for the drive up and back. Last year changed everybody’s mind. We are having Christmas at step-daughter’s house down the road, and the party-—as of last count—-will be about 22. Just about everybody in the family will be there. When it’s all over, everybody leaves and step—daughter can clean up the mess. How’s that for real Christmas spirit?

WILD TURKEY ATTACKS: Nothing that dangerous out here. An occasional grizzly clawing, but that’s no big deal. Is it possible these are tame turkeys who escaped and don’t want to end up as Christmas fare? Don’t accept at face value everything that a “wild turkey” tells a state trooper. A lot of these turkeys just don’t want to do their jobs. I suspect they’re leftovers from the ’60’s who think they can keep living on permissiveness.

EXCITING ENCLOSURES: You will find a copy of the Reunion form, if you want to mail it for the record; plus an article on HOT fusion, which seems to be as unreliable as cold fusion; plus the front and back covers of “Ukridge,” which I have not read as yet. It will have to wait until “Serviettes” is finished and in the hands of David Merrick. (I read that he was hospitalized.) Anyhow, there’s enough in the pipeline to keep both of us out of the bars and off the street corners. (“Those Wedding—Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine!”)

Happy holidays to all!

Fred C. (“Santa’s Helper”) Dobbs

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