Matt Weinstock — January 28, 1959

Murder Can Be Fun

science-fiction magazine If for February has a story by George H. Smith
titled "The Last Days of L.A.," and if you frighten easily this will do
it. The subcaption will give you the idea: "Murder on a small scale can be the most exhilarating thing tin the world!"

story is presented as a rambling, blood-curdling dream sequence having
to do with enemy bombs wiping out our city. The narrator, who drinks
continually, is the only one who realizes the jig is up, but no one
will believe him.

The tale is fortified with a sexy lady evangelist and some nasty, if slightly true, cracks at our local perversities and civilization generally.

only complication to the reader is that the narrator has difficulty
separating his drunken dreams from reality. Doubtless this was

You have to keep in mind the science-fiction boys
have been far ahead of the rest of us. For them, the space age we are
now entering is old stuff.

THE LEAD STORY in the same issue is a little number by Fritz Leiber titled "Pipe Dream," and as one who admires provocative, compelling opening sentences, I submit that here we have a classic.

story starts: "It wasn’t until the mermaid turned up in his bathtub
that Simon Grue seriously began to wonder what the Russians were doing
on the roof next door."

There’s a sentence that has everything.

* *

Whether it’s a human or a faucet,
Will you take this tip?
There is nothing more monotonous
Than the noise made by a drip.

* *

seniors know what their grades will be and they’re coasting in.
Attending classes is a mere formality. Their minds are on the big
event, graduation for which they’re rehearsing.

In this prevailing mood, a certain teacher was surprised to come upon Billy Jarman, a senior, reading Tressler’s
"English in Action, Book No. 1." Billy is a fine boy, good-humored,
eager to help, but he is not distinguished for scholarship, especially
unnecessary application.

Curious, she tiptoed behind him and
saw that his attention was riveted to a short section near the back of
the book titled, "Getting to Know Your Teacher."

1959_0128_desotoInasmuch as
Billy hadn’t bothered much about this phase of education, she considers
it one of the nicest things that has happened to her all semester.

* *

ALTHOUGH the plethora of TV westerns is generally deplored, the horses keep galloping across the living room.

During a discussion of this phenomenon at a party a guest said, "I think ‘Maverick’ is the best of them."

John J. Anthony, the problem solver and a man who draws fine distinctions, replied. "Yes, but it’s a cowardly western."

* *

MISCELLANY — A Hill St. tavern has a sign, "Come in and be yourself." Which a patron interprets thusly:
Two drinks and you become yourself. Two more and you’re Superman. After
that, anonymity . . . Inflation note. Beverly Hills business license
fee last year was $5, this $25. As a result there are cries, "You can’t
do this to me." But they’re doing it . . . A recent bride named Sandy
was telling her mother her husband will never have to take cold
sandwiches in his lunch. "I’ll make hot chili and things that he can
put in his thermostat," she malapropped . . . Les McMurray’s sporting goods store on Ventura
Boulevard has a sign, "Have Gone, Will Return" . . . The Madison Avenue
boys are moving into Cuba, an NBC newscaster reported. This can mean
only one thing- they’re going to get Fidel Castro and his bearded
friends to make some razor and shaving cream commercials.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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