HLS Letters

The Valley News

  • May 22, 1991

HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

THE VALLEY NEWS
Zeitung-Le Monde-Guardian-Shimbum

The World’s Newspaper

Publisher: Vin Fandel — Editor: Quinn Fandel
Advertising & Circulation: Lyn Fandel

HONEST     FEARLESS     OBJECTIVE


Volume 1 | Number 10

VANISHES AGAIN!
Palenville, N.Y. Immediately after leading a candlelight vigil to persuade Thomas “Big Tim” Udo to remain a political “power behind the scenes,” Shoiman Shoiman, the mysterious international figure, vanished again. “One minute he was here, the next minute he was gone,” said a native of Palenville, who had participated in the candlelight appeal. “We all went to the IGA for root beers, but when we got there, he was nowhere in sight. It’s real scary. I’m lockin’ my doors and windows from now on.” When candles used in the ceremony were counted, none were missing. The theory that Shoiman planned arson was discounted. The theory that he vanished to avoid paying for “root beers all around” was given more credence.

DOBBS HAS THEORY
Tampico, Mex. Fred C. Dobbs, vice president of Udobbs Press and the Udo & Dobbs Railroad, told a reporter by telephone that he thinks he knows why Shoiman Shoiman keeps vanishing. “I think he found gold in the Catskills. Men will do anything for gold, even give up good jobs like what Shoiman had in that limey prison. I know for a fact that there’s gold near Dobbs Ferry, and as soon as I can catch a banana boat to the states, I’ll teach a course in how to find it. I don’t know what happened to banana boats. Don’t Americans eat bananas any more? They’re full of potassium. Anyhow, there’s lots’a guava boats and papaya boats and pineapple boats, but no banana boats. Guess I ought’a start singin’, Yes, We Have No Banana Boats, hah‘?” Dobbs laughed so hard he dropped the telephone, and broke the .inter— national connection.

NESS 0N TRAIL!
Palenvflle, MY. Special Agent Pinchot Ness told this paper today that he is ”..hot on the trail of Shoiman Shoiman. We tracked down Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd, so this Shoiman character is small potatoes. I have an agent following a trail of muddy footprints up the hill to Haines Falls. And another agent is following a trail of dirty fingerprints around the IGA walls. It’s just a question of time. If he had any sense, he’d turn himself in. Of course, he’s not wanted by the British any more, and nobody in the States has a warrant out for him. We’re acting on our own. Special agents have initiative. Warrants are O.K.. but you can’t beat initiative.”

WHEELCHAIR RE—SALES
Rutherford, Ca. Thomas “Big Tim” Udo told this paper today that he is selling back to the Soviets the wheelchairs he imported from Russia. “There’s a real shortage over there. I made a deal with Yeltsin, because Gorchyboff is always traveling someplace like Tierra del Fuego or Tannu Tuva, or he’s ‘unavailable.’ I’m fed up with him. Yeltsin wants the chairs and I can sell them back to him for more than I can sell them here. That’s the free market, which Yeltson understands better than Gorchyboff.” Local wheelchair manufacturer Zin “Grapeseed” Fandel, when told of this development, said, “He ain’t sellin’ them back account of they pay him better. His Commaniss chairs wasn’t sellin’ around here account of they fall apart. People is comin’ back to my chairs which don’t fall apart even when they’s left out overnight. He couldn’t fool the American people no more, so now he’s tryin’ to fool the Rooshans. I’d feel sorry for them except I don’t like them. They’s just another bunch of foreigners, far as I’m concerned.”

SISTER VISITING Rutherford, Ca. Mrs. Concetta Rizzo, manager of the gift shop at Auberge du Soleil restaurant here, told this paper today that, “My sister Giulietta is here from New York on a visit. First thing she starts complaining she can’t sleep account of it’s too quiet. Then she can’t find a delicatessen open at one in the morning to buy pepperoni for snacks while she’s watching TV. Then there’s no subway to get around on. I tell her we drive cars, and she says nobody in New York in their right mind has a car. Then she says why’s a nice Italian lady like me running a gift shop in a French restaurant? I tell her it’s her fault account of I wanted to Visit her in New York so I could ride my chair down the tenement stairs but she insisted on coming; out here. I’m at the end of my patience. Now she says she’ll go back next week unless she meets somebody. She’s a widow. I hope she don’t meet nobody.” When Mrs. Rizzo’s son Pete, in solitary confinement in Sing Sing Prison in New York, was told of his mother’s comments, he said, “My mother should follow Tommy Udo’s example and strap her in a chair and let her roll down the hill from the restaurant to the Silverado Trail. She might meet somebody on the way. She used to come up here on Visitor’s day, so I asked the warden to put me in solitary.”

LITTLE PEOPLE’S PARTY
Stamford, N.Y. The Little People’s Party, formed recently by Thomas “Big Tim” Udo of this community, held its first caucus at the U & D Depot today. Nominations were dominated by the unanimous support for Udo, who was endorsed “..for any office he wants to run for.” Udo was moved to tears, but assured his supporters that he would not run for office himself, but would carefully screen all candidates applying for Little People’s support. “I intend to be fully objective and fair—minded. I support Mrs. Anne Udo for Council, and Thomas Udo Jr. for pageboy. I shall be equally unbiased in support of candidates for other offices. The selection of candidates by the other parties has been poisoned by flagrant favor— itism, and we’ll have none of that here.” CUOMO APOLOGIZES Albany, NY. ‘lBudget contstraints forced me to send a collect telegram of congratulations to my goomba, ‘Big Tim’ Udo,” said Governor Mario Cuomo today. “I’m sorry he took it the wrong“ way. and decided to found The Little People’s Party. I think he’ll find that it isn’t easy to attract the lobbyists and bribers and payoff artists who are so necessary to the smooth working of representative government. The good people of this great state will not support unknown candidates who have never been tried or convicted for corruption. Our wonderful voters demand experienced representatives, not amateurs who have no understanding of the political process. ‘Big Tim,’ come back to us! There’s an envelope full of cash in my desk drawer, with your name on it! Come back, ‘Big Tim,’ before all the bribe money goes under the table to the wrong party!”

BLAUGH APPALLED
London, U.K. Former 10 Downing Street butler Blaugh, now returned to his previous employers, Sir Charles and Lady Occipita Leatist, said today, “I am appalled at the condition of the kitchen and butler’s pantry here. The Brigade—of-Guards officer brought in to take my place apparently never washed a dish or a pot, or put kitchen scraps in the dustbin. Below stairs has been turned into a pest hole. I can well understand why ‘he leaped at the chance to be recalled for the Gulf war. I shall require at least a week 0 restore the kitchen and pantry to heir former spotless conditions.” ir Charles and Lady Occipita assured this paper that the inconvenience of dining temporarily at yons’ Corner Houses was more than ffset by Blaugh’s return. “Seems hat in the Brigade that Guards chap ad a batman do everything for im,” said Sir Charles. “Here he ssumed someone came by the day, ashed pots so forth. Nothing of he sort. Good man with a gun, poor an with a bun, so to speak.” Lady Occipita admitted that she became concerned when dinners were served n plates spotted with dry 62:9: yolk. “I thought at first he might b putting egg in the shepherd’s pie I see now that my suspicions were valid, especially since the yolk spot did not change from one dinner t the next.”

APPLIES BY MAIL
London, ELK. The Brigade—of~Guards officer formerly employed by Sir Charles and Lady Occipita Leatist, returned from the Gulf War but could not find suitable employment in “Civvy Street,” as he expressed it to a reporter for this paper. He has decided, therefore, to apply for the position of usher at the Bijou Theater in Stamford, New York, which our readers may recall is in America. SCRUBS HALF—FULL Wormwood Scrubs, U.K. The warden of this correctional establishment said today that more than half the Cells are empty. “That Shoiman chap-the-Yank was the reason everyone wanted to come here. Now he’s gone, they’re not interested. I suggested to the Home Secretary that we vacate a wing and post ‘To Let’ signs, to help the housing pinch. But a totally unexpected effect of this Shoiman’s vanishin has been a reduction in criminal offenses. Seems there’s no motive to break the law if Shoiman’s not at The Scrubs. Jolly nice for Scotland Yard, but playing the very devil with us here, I can tell you. Don’t know what I’ll do if they close The Scrubs. May have to put on Beef- eater’s livery and go back to The Tower. Not looking forward to it, I can tell you. Tourists are worse than old lags, you know.”

SUES ATTORNEYS
San Francisco, Ca. Zin “Grapeseed” Fandel, well known wine maker in the Valley. announced his intention to sue the firm of Nock, Downe & Dragoute for not taking to court his case against Thomas “Big Tim” Udo. Downs and Dragoute are in the penitentiary, and Nock is out on bail. Speaking for the firm, Nook said, “I don’t know what case he’s talking about. The only cases we’re plead— ing are our own. Besides, Dragoute is suing me for release of the firm’s lawbooks. Naturally, I have filed a countersuit. Downe has filed countersuits against each of us. We have filed countersuits against him. I have also filed suit against the penitentiary warden who escorted Dragoute to court. We have enough on our minds without worrying about this Fandel person. I never heard of him.”

REVIEW CONTROVERSIAL
Stamford, N. Y. Author Kurt Vonne— gut, who reviewed Self~8urgery Self—Taught for The Daily Rag, said today that he would “..never review another book for that paper.” The author of Slaughterhouse Five and other best sellers said that he was ”..not paid a nickel. All I got were copies of I Was An Atomic Slavegirl and a lot of other non—sellers published by Udobbs Press. On top of that, I’m being sued by The American Medical Association for promoting illegal surgical procedures and self—administered anesthesia, which I certainly didn’t. I criticized many aspects of the book, such as lack of references, poor illustrations and unbelievable examples of Self—— surgery. Now I will have to file a counter-suit at great expense. This taught me a lesson. Reviewing is dangerous. Giving interviews like this is dangerous. I’m. sticking to authorship, in spite of the Deconstructionists.”

EDITOR ECOVERS
Rutherford, Ca. “Inky” Hive, editor of The Sacramento Bee, who has bee under treatment for “total exhaustion” here at Valley Emergency Hospital & Quik-Lube, was release today, reportedly fully recovered He issued the following statement: “I am ready to take the helm of th good ship Bee again, but I want t comment on something that occurred during my inconvenient illness. minor Eastern paper, The Daily Star of Oneonta, N.Y., used the expression ‘days and moths’ in its religious report. I recognized immediately that it had been lifted from our Stile Manuel without attribution. The Be works hard to enforce standards 0 journalism, and is pleased when the, are adopted by other papers, but i another paper uses ‘pouring over the report,’ “throne to the wolves, ‘the last rows of summer,’ etc., Th Bee should be cited as the source 0 the higher journalistic standard. W put a lot into the Stile Manuel. feel that credit should go where it i due.” When he read our story, Mr Hive said that his Stile Manuel would have corrected our usage to read “credit should go wear it is do.” H offered to sell copies of the Manuel to this paper at a reduced price i ordered in quantity. Editor Quinn Fandel thanked Hive, but explained that The Valley News staff has never made mistakes in grammar, syntax or spelling, but added that if such mistakes begin, he would definitely consider the Bee editor’s generous offer.

LUKENBILL MUM
Rutherford, Ca. Gregg Lukenbill, giant among Northern California developers, has been silent recently about his plans for a super stadium in this wine valley. His original proposal, which was well received here, included provisions for bulldozing half of the Vineyards in the Valley, and a billion dollars, “No strings attached,” from the Valley communities. Half of the billion would be retained by Lukenbill for “contingencies.” Aides told this newspaper that he was in San Francisco “finalizing” arrangements for the start of construction. Although none of the billion has been depos— ited in local banks, the same aides assured this paper that the full amount would be deposited as soon as Lukenbill has the time to count it. “He doesn’t want to be accused of sloppy bookkeeping.”

CUOMO’S “GOOMBA”?
Stamford, NY. Thomas “Big Tim” Udo, political “boss” of this Catskill community, said today that he is “..no man’s ‘goomba’ automatically,” a term of close friendship based on long, trusting association. “You want to be my goomba, ask first. Too much goombazia is taken for granted. For one thing, no goomba sends collect telegrams.” Udo apparently referred to a collect telegram of congratulations sent to him by Governor Cuomo, in which the governor signed himself, “Your Goomba, Mario.” The governor explained that he was forced to telegraph collect because of the tight state budget. Udo subsequently rejected both major political parties, and founded The Little People’s Party. “If I am elected to public office, all correspondence will be by postcards, which are not prohibited by tight budgets.”

SHOIMAN AT BATTLEFIELD‘?
Gettysburg, Pa. Thomas “Big Tim” Udo, with his wife Anne and son Thomas, made a special trip to this battlefield to investigate a rumor that the elusive international figure Shoiman Shoiman, might be hiding out here where his ancestor, General William T. Sherman, made military history during the Civil War. “The rumor had it that he was masquerading as a brass-cannon polisher With the superintendent’s permission interviewed all the cannon polishers. Shoiman was not among them We then went into Gettysburg, where I checked out a rumor that unusual amounts of brass polish had bee sold recently, and hardware store were out of stock. It turned ou that the stores were overstocked because they had heard a rumor that the brass polish market had bee cornered by the makers of Shinola who expected the next ‘in’ fashion 1; be brass shoes, which have become popular among punk rockers. I the checked with a local punk rock group, The Gory Guts, and learned that the ‘in’ fad is not brass shoe but bronzed shoes, like those baby shoes on rearview mirrors. The leader of the group, Intestines Crud offered to give us a special private performance of their latest hit, ‘Punk Splat Rock,’ but we had to catch plane. In any case, Shoiman Shoima was not at Gettysburg, which was great relief to Crud, who said, ‘The less competition, the better. That battlefield pulls a lot of people who would otherwise come to us.'”

HEATED EXCHANGE
Stamford, NY. Thomas “Big Tim Udo, political “boss” of this community, penned a heated exchange of letters-to-the-editor with another local resident, George C. Bergleitner over the issue of police protection Bergleitner accused Udo of demanding 24-hour police patrols, which Udo denied vigorously. “The last thing I want here are cops. My pal Pete Rizzo is in Sing Sing on account of cops, and look what that did to his poor mother. She slaves away in California, delivering hot lunches on a ten-speed. Without cops the crooks knock each other off to get control, and wipe themselves out at no cost to the community. I defy Bergleitner to recommend a cheaper approach.” When reached for comment, Bergleitner said, “Under Udo’s recommendation, we’d need a coroner and a morgue, which would cost more than police patrols.” In response, Udo said, “I grew up in a neighborhood where crooks got knocked off by other crooks, who immediately hauled them away to get rid of the evidence, at no cost to the community. The system works. Bergleitner probably grew up in a ritzy neighborhood where the crooks were stockbrokers who pushed each other out of Wall Street office buildings, and left them for the street cleaners.” Mr. Udo then went to the middle of Main Street with his concertina and, accompanied by the Stamford Gilbert & Sullivan Players, halted traffic to present the following musical exhortation:

Here’s a first-rate opportunity
To enhance our great community,
And create a multiplicity
Of advances from rusticity.’

We shall patch our streets with stone and oil,
Then dispatch elites who moan and spoil,
But reside outside the city lines,
All the While mumbling snide self-pity whines.

(Stamford G & S Players’ Chorus:)

They lines, Where they mumble snide self-pity whines!
Where they mumble snide,
They mumble snide,
Such sni-i-i-ide sel-l-l-l-f pity whines!

Exit Chorus. Udo then passed the hat among the appreciative overflow crowd while continuing his concertina performance with Where ‘ My Caravan Has Rested and Bird-Songs At Eventide. The coins he collected would be divided, he assured the generous crowd, between the G & S Players and The Little People’s Party, except for a few applied toward replacing reeds in his concertina.


WINE COUNTRY

SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
WHISPERS!


 

Your roving reporter obeyed a whispered confidence last eventide, and hied to a local bistro, there to espy the Valley’s familiar and unattached wine—and—wheelchair king, Zin “Grapeseed” Fandel, in the company of an East Coast charmer who volunteered no more than her enticing name, Giulietta. As they partook of gastronomic delicacies that set your roving reporter’s salivary glands a—drooling, Zin, ever the gracious host, produced, as if by magic, flagons of his ever—popular vintages from a hitherto concealed brown bag ’neath the groaning board, and decanted glasses of the precious libations for his lovely guest and yours truly. He then replaced the corks with his teeth, a feat of skill–as everyone knows–performed by a talented few. The Enchantress of The East gave voice to protests of sincere concern, begging her companion to desist, lest she succumb to the vapors from his electrifying repertoire. Ye humble scribe thereupon exited unremarked, whilst the pair gazed mesmerized into each other’s orbs. Do bells impend? Stay ye tuned!


Stamford, N.Y.
Thomas “Big Tim” Udo, president of the Udo & Dobbs Railroad, and owner/operator of the depot in which a group of whittlers whittled during the cold weather, said today that the time has come to “bind up the wounds” of the dispute between the whittlers at the depot and those who remained at the IGA during the winter. “As founder of The Little People’s party, which stands for sweetness and light in all things, I cannot allow this division of our township into two camps to continue any longer. I shall now Take Steps.” As a result of the dispute, those who remained at the IGA, led by James McNeill (“Jimmy Mac”) Whittler, had declared themselves “true” whittlers, and denounced those who moved to the depot as “separatists” who violated the Whittler’s Code. Udo proposed to make peace between the factions by presenting “Jimmy Mac” with a tube of zinc white paint he located on his trip to Gettysburg. “Jimmy Mac” has been unable to finish his usual “Winter in Stamford” paintings because of a zinc white shortage. At the ceremony, the poet laureate of the depot whittlers, John Greenleaf “Johnny Leaf” Whittier, cousin of “Jimmy Mac,” will recite his poem commemorating the reconciliation of the two groups. “Johnny Leaf” has agreed to allow this paper to publish the opening lines of the deeply moving narrative:

’Tis Spring! Hear early insects hum!
Now early, eager tourist come,
To vie for whittlings on display,
Now hie to Stamford’s IGA.
Together we must Whittle long,
Together sing the whittler’s song,
And Whittle whittlings ever sought.
Let not them seek us but for naught!

USHER FROM GUARDS?
Stamford, NY. The manager of the Bijou Theater in this community said that he has received an application for the vacant usher’s position at the Bijou from a Brigade-of—Guards officer in England. “Says he’s interested because the ‘billet,’ as he calls it, requires someone with a firm approach to handling crowds. That’s O.K., but I don’t know about wearing his own uniform, with a sword. I mean, we don’t need to use swords on these audiences. The trade—off is that people would come here just to see him, regardless of what we’re showing. I’ll have to think about it.” He added that he really wanted Shoiman Shoiman for the job. “He wouldn’t need a sword.”

COURSE OVER-ENROLLED
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. The chairman of the department in which Fred C. Dobbs would teach a course in gold mining, told this paper today that the course is over—enrolled, and the prospective students are becoming impatient. “I don’t know what to tell them. Dobbs assures me that he will be here as soon as he can take pas- sage on a banana boat. In the meantime, the enrollees have paid tuition, bought picks and shovels, and burros, in some cases. The streets of Dobbs Ferry are full of them, with nothing to do. They shuffle along our thoroughfares, dressed like drifters, leading their burros and shouting to each other in some foreign language, probably Spanish. They go into the bars, which they call cantatas, buy beer and say they are waiting for Barton MacLane. I have no idea who he is. If the course has to be canceled, I’m afraid of violence. On top of all that, the burros make smelly messes Let not them seek us but for naught! on the streets.”

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