HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

24 February 1990

Hey, they’re, Udo!–

(Rates May Increase Next Year!)

TIME: 9:47 A.M.
HIGH: 67º F., LOW: 37º F.
BAROMETER: 30.20″ Hg.↔
TODAY IN HISTORY: Titan launched in 1960.

YOU WILL NOTICE that the above report has been modified by popular demand, to include a forecast for outside temperatures and rainfall.  The forecast is from The Bee, so you can take your choice about believing it or not.  We get The New York Times every day, and their California weather forecast is always more accurate than it appears in The Bee.  But the Times doesn’t provide temperature forecasts, just atmospherics.  Also added is Today In History, which will spotlight great events of the past, to remind you of the value of humility.

THE UNMASKING OF HARPO MARX!  Pursuit of the classics can be rewarding in more ways than cultural.  (I am, of course, fluent in Latin and Greek.)  Did you think, as I did, that Harpo Marx got his name from playing the harp?  It is time to rip away the mask of hypocrisy and lay bare the rotten core!  Harpo’s other distinguishing characteristic was muteness.  “So,” you say, “what else is news?”  Brace yourself, Udo.  To the Greeks and Romans the God of Silence was Harpocrates!  Didn’t know that, did you?  It didn’t pay to monkey with Fred C. Dobbs.  Loan that be a lesson to you (and the Osterhouts and Alexanders, too).  Stick to wheelchairs and lectoro-chemising and your life will be rich and full.  Loan off Astro-tottle and Plu-starch.

ANOTHER REASON not to monkey with me is that mechanical engineers are finally getting the recognition they deserve.  The new chancellor of U Cal Berkeley is a mechanical engineer, and Sununu in Washington is an M.E.  Walk a little softer, Udo.  Anything I don’t like now, all I got to do is pick up the red phone and heads will roll.  You lectoro-chemises has had things your own way too long.

DID YOU GET the recent invitation to the 45th Reunion?  If not, again, I’ll make one for you.  What are friends for?

CREATIVE THINKING FOR ANNE’S CAMPAIGN!  Environmentalism and merchandising!  Do bacteria roam free where angels fear to tread?  Can decent Stamfordites walk into the IGA and ear off the floor?


Away the masks, lay bare the chores!
Health monitors in all the stores!

Do the shops drip with slops?
Should the deli smell so smelly?
Are the bakers bathless fakers?
Were you bilked by sour milk?

Was that lime packed in slime?
Is that watermelon swellin’?
Any clues to the ooze
On the year-old honeydews?

I’ll be firm with every worm,
And germs will learn to fear me!
And mice and lice, take my advice,
You’d better not come near me!

My husband’s such a prankster!
(He used to be a gangster.)
To show you how to vote,
He may take you by the throat.

Don’t let this manner scare you,
When he threatens to wheelchair you.
He’ll just wheel you to the polls,
So much smoother than a Rolls.

Take note before you vote,
How everything’s infected!
Bacteria will gloat,
If I am not elected!

So vote for me, my name is Anne,
As much and often as you can!
But, if you don’t, you’ll wish you had
Not made my prankster husband mad!

Away the masks, lay bare the cores!
Health monitors in all the stores!

If Anne doesn’t win with that campaign song, then the election was rigged by the Osterhouts and the Alexanders.  Take it from an old hard-heeler.

FROM THE BIG ORANGE TO THE BIG TOMATO BY FLYING MACHINE!  If necessary, let that be your fallback position, but don’t buy a ticket yet.  Our plans are still fluid because no one knows how the relocation of our houseguests will schedule itself.  They could find a place, get the loan approved, and move before you can say Jake Rubenstein.  Or a little longer, or a lot longer.  You will be updated regularly by pigeon post.

UDOBBS PRESS: O.K., we become a holding company.  We incorporate in Luxembourg.  When you’re in Russia you negotiate deals for everything on our Spring List.  (They don’t know that nothing is in print yet.)  Accept payment in gold only.  And see if you can also negotiate a cut-rate subscription to Argumently I Fakti for me (West Coast Edition).

I AM HANGING ON THE ROPES with all your disclosures about the Blackmons and Brooklyn Poly, to say nothing of United Fruit.  When I was at BPI, the father of my best friend was a chief engineer for United Fruit.  If I recall accurately (Blackmon should be able to confirm this) the company had four refrigerated cargo vessels at this time.  They were named (guessing again) Veragua, Quirigua, Paragua and another I can’t remember (possibly Peten or Chiriqui).  However, at that time the name of Mr. Big in United Fruit, which I think was headquartered in Boston, was Samuel Zemurray.  He was regarded with deep suspicion by the lower echelons, because I think he got hold of the company by what were then called “sharp practises.”  His name was rarely in the papers.  It’s possible that one or both of the Blackmons knows my BPI friend, whose name was William Banner.  I haven’t been in touch with him for 2000 years (by actual count).

TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE: Lukenbill is not a pseudonym, but his name is seldom seen in The Bee these days.  As I told you, they were supporting him six ways from Sunday in his attempt to have the city build a football stadium, as well as blight the skyline with the ugliest buildings this side of the Ziggurat.  Then one day the mayor of San Francisco claimed that Lukenbill had funded an attempt to have the voters turn down a new stadium in S.F.  Lukenbill and The Bee denounced the mayor as a demagogue.  But now the bagman for the payout admitted that Lukenbill did what he was accused of, and Lukenbill himself finally admitted it, too.  A grand jury will be impaneled.  Is The Bee’s face red?  Of course not.  They printed the story without fear, omitting their own part in the machinations, which was to have one of their own sports reporters attend a “closed” meeting of the Movers/Shakers and stand up and assert that The Bee supported the endeavor 100%.  (I think I sent you that item.)  Be glad you have The Stamford Science-Monitor, and nobody wants to build so much as a waterside around there.  And I must add that results of the poll taken by The Bee to learn who influenced Sacramento the most in 1989–with emphasis on Lukenbill, in case you were a reader who couldn’t read–have never been printed.  I promised I would send the results, but I doubt they will ever be known.  (Names being withheld to protect the innocent.)

LUNCH WITH ALLEN GINSBERG?  “Plutonium”?  What does he know about buffer solutions?  Are you a closet Beat?  Did you drive over to Woostock and sob quietly?  Out with it, Udo!  I just told you what happened to Lukenbill.  Take heed.

THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL:  What name?  “Who Put The Knife In Big Snyke’s Back”?  “I Was An Atomic Slavegir;”?  Which one on our Spring List?  Before typing a word, I await your input.

I NEVER SAND “SONNY BOY” in pig Latin.  Real Latin: “Climb upon my knee, filius puer.”  Etc.  You remember.  It was a big hit at the NCO Club’s Talent Revue.  You told me you would call the Shuberts the next morning.  Later you said that too many Ph’s changed overnight, and you spent all day adding baking soda to the plating baths.  Still later you denied everything.  That’s where it stands today.

RECIPES: I don’t remember if I sent you the Turkey Loaf recipe, but if I did, and it seems to taste “different,” put in breadcrumbs in stead of wheat germ.  The wheat germ is more nutritious, but it changes the taste.  And below I provide John’s magic recipe for margaritas: none better.

2 oz Herradura Gold tequilla
1 oz Counttreau
1 oz fresh lemon juice

If you can’t get Herradura, use a good substitute (not Panchito’s XLente “Made From Ingredients!”)

John’s recipe has pronounced tequilla taste.  We prefer something less tequil-ish.

1 oz Herradura Gold
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice.

Blend to ice slush.

IMPORTANT!  Use Cointreau!  No triple sec, Udo!

Happy happy hours!

Fred C. (“Ha-ha!”) Dobbs

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)