Matt Weinstock, Dec. 30, 1959

Year-End Recess

Matt Weinstock

       Again this year there’s an unmistakable though unorganized trend toward calling everything off between Christmas and New Year’s Day and letting the week drift itself out, which it does anyway.

          Nobody feels up to anything, especially answering the phone or paying attention to the stern, year’s end admonitions by savants and politicians.

          They’re recovering from the Dec. 25 overindulgence and bracing themselves for the Jan. 1 bacchanalian revel.

          Actually all they’re interested in, besides having a little fun, is getting through the week alive or at least not spending a night in the drunk tank.  Everyone is frightened by the traffic statistics.

          So they operate at half speed, maybe exchanging unwanted Christmas gifts or going to the market for a loaf of bread for turkey sandwiches.

          A candidate for president could make a lot of hay coming out foursquare for declaring Christmas week a national holiday, dedicated to meditation.  No, not medication, mister printer, meditation.


          THE WIND blew down the Christmas decorations, including some pine cones, on a Woodland Hills home and the 10-year-old boy who lives there was trying to reassemble them when a neighbor boy came along.  Their fathers work at the same aircraft plant and they are usually playmates.  But this time the visitor was mischief-minded and kept tugging at the decorations, pulling them down again.  Finally the boy who lives there exclaimed, “If you don’t stop that I’ll have my dad fire your dad!”  Anyway, it stopped the mischief maker.


                START TO FINISH

A football coach at the

                season’s start,

Unbeaten, untied, untired,

Is all fired up.

                At season’s end

The chances are he’s

                just fired.

                –RICHARD ARMOUR


          SECOND STREET between Main and Los Angeles Sts. has been barricaded to traffic, forcing motorists to detour, not a simple matter in Civic Center traffic at the rush hours.

          Not only that, high wooden barriers painted green on the sidewalk side have been erected along the curbs, apparently to prevent people from seeing what goes on in the ripped-up street.  This is frustrating to sidewalk superintendents, who have become accustomed to gawking through peepholes.

          One theory about the block-long blinders is that the contractor really is about to dig for the buried treasure of that early-day L.A. resident, Don Hidalgo De Nada.  Another is that the operation is a publicity stunt for the motion picture “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

          So I asked an aluminum-hatted workman, busy lifting large timbers from one spot and dropping them five feet away.  He said cryptically, “Strum dren.”


            AS IF ALL THIS were not enough, there are also strange goings-on in the next block on 2nd St., between Main and Spring.  Many months ago a scaffold was put up on the county engineering building so workmen could remove the overhang without endangering passers-by.  Nothing happened except that all this time pedestrians have had to thread their way through the metal framework supporting the scaffolding.  But a few days ago the job was quickly done and Monday the scaffolding was taken down.  And then yesterday it was put up again.

          This corner has long suspected that a sinister clique meets regularly in a dark room and plots ways in which to bedevil the public.  Obviously they’ve been at it again.


          AT RANDOM — Attendance at Disneyland last Saturday exceeded 40,000, bringing the week’s total to more than 100,000.  The license plates in the parking lots tell the story.  They’re from almost every state, including Hawaii, but particularly Washington and Wisconsin . . . Speaking of which, Nick Nickcevich of Long Beach says he has a bad case of “ennui-sconsin ” from reading the sports pages . . . Smirnoff has got out a “rescue kit” – a flask of vodka, a can of tomato juice, a headache remedy and dark glasses.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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