Saturday, June 29, 2013

One of my favorite letters to the editor... Car and Driver magazine was from... heck, back in the Eighties, I guess it was. It went like thus:
Dear Sirs,

I am not pleased. About anything. My life is one vast, arid expanse of joyless ennui, punctuated by occasional moments of terror or disgust. Consequently, I would like a refund on my subscription.

A. Camus
Ed. gave a witty retort* about belonging to the J.P. Sartre car club or something.

There are days I feel like writing that letter myself. Like today. I've got housework needs doing and assignments that need writing and email that needs answering and my give-a-damn is just flat broken. There's this big black dog staring at me and I haven't got a Milk Bone to my name with which to distract it.

I've got fun scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully it will break me out of this funk.

*Car and Driver's letters column is always entertaining. Around the same time as the above, a reader in New Jersey wrote:
Praise the Lord
And pass the subscription,
Finally an issue
Sans a Porsche description.
which drew the response
We thank you for writing
To express your elation.
We value our readers
In the armpit of the nation.


roland said...

I knew it was going to be a C&D letter.

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

So, babysitting Barkley? How's he get along with Huck?

Tam said...

"So, babysitting Barkley?"


Jesus Christ, this happens every time I use this metaphor.

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

Hey, honest mistake, Tam. Not trying ta Piss you off, amigo.

fast richard said...

Maybe you should be babysitting Barkley. It's hard to be distracted by a metaphorical black dog when a real black dog is demanding your attention.

staghounds said...

Mike_C said...

@staghounds: is that for real? Passenger vehicle drafting at low highway speeds led by a "professional driver" (however that is defined) in something with a big-ass wind shadow (which would not otherwise been on the road, or will say, standard trucks be um, drafted into service) will reduce emissions by 20%?

If it works, great (I guess), but it'd better not involve being locked into your own vehicle with two unpleasant people for the interminable trip.

"Greetings, sir. Today you have your choice of being confined with a manipulative lesbian, a blonde golddigger or a cowardly asshole. Pick two please." (Trotting out my sadly decayed high school erudition, such as it is.)

Anonymous said...

To combat the black dog:

Wash the kitchen floor. It almost always can benefit from it, and then you have a sense of achievement that you can bring to the rest of the day.

WV romavat 6208

billf said...

Re:anonymous 2:57;wow,do you also bang your head against the wall cause it feels so good when you sop?

billf said...

Er,should be 'when you stop'

jed said...

Thanks for the laugh. Not quite ennui I'm suffering from, but close enough.

My mood should improve around 4PM, in the company of friends, with 1 or 2 new mags in hand.

You and Vanderboegh, eh? I find TMBG helps, often, but I doubt it'd do much for Mike.

Micki Mahoney said...

Well, on the upside, didn't Camus die upside-down in a sweet-ass Facel Vega? Better that than pushing a rock uphill, ad infinitum...

And as your legal representative I advise you to screw chores and play rock music at excessive volume.

Scott J said...

Jed, Vanderboegh was at my place today. He's called off the trip to CO. Wisely IMO. He really, really needs to get healthy.

We ran two reloading machines for about four and a half hours and he was clearly in rough shape after.

After he recovers from his next medical procedure he's going to regroup on sticking his finger in the eyes of the CO legislature.

Scott J said...

Tam, you're more adaptable than me. I haven't been able to stand reading (or attempting to read) C&D since around the time Bedard left.

CGHill said...

My favorite C/D editorial response of all time was to an attorney who wished to cancel his subscription, owing to the deeply unfavorable characterization of his chosen profession in such-and-such issue.

Said Ed.: "Perhaps you'd be interested in our sister publication Ambulance and Chaser."

Scott J said...

C&D is the magazine that started my car buttery.

It was 1983. I was 15 with a month or so old learners' permit in my wallet.

At the grocery store with mom I spot the December issue old with the Countach and the lady in black on the cover. I was deeply smitten with both.

I begged for the magazine and got it.

The rest as they say is history.

Kevin said...

I had a subscription to C&D for years. The loss of David E. Davis in 1985 marked, I think, the beginning of its slow decline. I finally dropped my subscription about 1989. But I did always enjoy the Letters to the Editor.

Anonymous said...

Rent Snatchlow always had the best letters.

global village idiot said...


About 16 years or so ago I lived in the same apartment building as an artist of some considerable repute in my area. Several of his statues can be found around Northwest Indiana.

He had received a commission from his hometown in Germany. It was a stylized version of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, which was to adorn a fountain in a prominent place in town. You can see the work here, about halfway down the page, as well as a few brief tidbits of his biography:

I am extremely proud to say that I have a tiny part in this statue's existence.

This was not his first iteration of this statue. The first was damaged during shipping to the foundry where it was to be bronzed. The shippers having failed to follow Mr. Gurfinkel's instructions on crating it. The clay was ruined and the only part which survived undamaged was the rebar armature underneath the clay.

I had got his mail for him and brought it down to him on the day the statue's remains had arrived back in his tiny studio apartment. He was, as you may well imagine, completely dejected. He'd spent several months on the lion and the grief at the destruction of his creation was profound and deeply saddening.

I should add that I'd made Mr. Gurfinkel's acquaintance sometime after he'd suffered a stroke. He had to lift his right arm with his left to shake your hand. This statue, in other words, was carved entirely one-handed.

When I asked him if he was going to redo the statue, he said he didn't think so.

I looked around his tiny apartment. In it were miniature versions of many of his sculptures, including his beautiful "Reader" which is on display in the Lake County Public Library's Central Branch. I asked him if he'd ever looked at any of his pieces and said to himself "If I had it to do all over again, I know exactly what I'd do to improve it."

"All but one," he said. "The only one I wouldn't change is the Reader."

When the Lion shipped off, were there things you wished you'd done differently?

"Yes, several things."

Sir, God has given it back to you to make the changes you wish you'd made? I'm surprised and a little disappointed you'd treat His gift with such contempt.

I instantly regretted saying this because he looked at me as though I'd slapped him. Presently, however, he came to himself and said, "Thank you! I would never have looked at it like that. Will you please excuse me? I have work to do!"

When I left to go to work the next morning, he was still working on it.

Some months later I got his mail and found him in much the same state as Tam found herself this morning. His give-a-damn wasn't working. He was discouraged at the increased difficulty of not merely starting from scratch but repairing and improving. He was having a gut-check moment.

I asked him to promise me to give it fifteen minutes' work. Just fifteen, no more. He did.

Next morning, he told me he'd worked for seven hours straight.

Anon 9:27 was giving almost exactly the same advice to Tam. HE understood the metaphor and was responding to it.


global village idiot said...

Anon 2:57. Sorry - honest mistake.

treefroggy said...

J.P. Sartre Car Club ? I guess their motto is Hell is other peoples cars .

Scott J said...

Buttery? Should be nuttery. Talk about your auto correct fail.

mikee said...

C&D may provide good editorials, but R&T had the PS last page, of which one stands out in my memory from the early 1980s:

A Ferrari is wrapped around roadside trees like a pretzel, with a man standing on the road surveying the scene. The text reads: "Good tires," Bob said, casually lighting a cigarette. "But definitely not great tires."

NotClauswitz said...

Had a C&D subscription from around 1971 to '75 - the letters were most fun and quite an awakening for me as a yout. Now it's all I read when I come across one.