Paul Coates -- Confidential File, January 10, 1959
January 10, 2009 | 2:00 pm
Mash Notes and Comments"Dear Paul Coates:
"We can't forgive you for using the objective case instead of the possessive or genitive case with your verbal nouns or gerunds.
"You're an educated man, so please clean up this little error in grammar and be an example for us in language as well as in tolerance and big mindedness.
"The rule is (Scribner's Handbook of English): 'A noun or pronoun PRECEDING AND GOVERNING a gerund is usually in the genitive case.'
"One indication of correct speech is the use of the possessive form before certain words ending in 'ing.'
"The uneducated and even many educated persons make this mistake:
"'What did you think of HIM leaving you?'
"But it's not what you think of HIM, but rather what you think of HIS leaving that you want to know." (signed) Ruth E. Peters, P.O. Box 308. Hemet.
-I'm just sorry to hear they broke up.
"Confidential Service of Mexico is primarily an efficient, effective correspondence club and translation service.
"Its most important asset is the quick satisfying results it gets for its members, results that begin from the very first moment they receive their first letter from a prettyCSM girl.
"CSM can get these same results for you too, a potential new member.
"If you are tired of the lonely life and if you are seeking a wife with whom to settle down and raise a family, this letter could be the most important one you will ever receive.
"If, however, you already have a wife or seek none, then you are just wasting your time reading this letter." (signed) Luz ElenaNorte, Director, Confidential Service of Mexico, P.O. Box 2617, Palm Springs, Calif.
-Let's put it this way. I already have a wife but she doesn't understand me, dear.
BULLETIN (in a manner of speaking), Herman Hover, who's been suffering from chronic frustration lately, had another attack of it last night.
The portly cafe impresario, who made Ciro's one of the world's outstanding supper clubs, only to see it all dissolve in last year's slump that hit the Sunset Strip, has spent his every waking hour in a battle to reopen the doors.
He came close a number of times but at the 11th hour some obstruction -- usually a disgruntled creditor -- would get in the way.
Again last night, Ciro's was scheduled to reopen. This time, as a private with some 600 freshly paid-up members. And again, at the 11th hour -- or more precisely, at 6:30 yesterday evening -- Hover had to get on the phone and frantically call off his invited guests.
"Everything," he explained to me, "was ready. The lights were on. The bar was stocked. But I forgot to get an edible license.
"If you don't have an edible license," he added sadly, "nobody can eat. So, we'll open Monday instead."
I'll wait. But only till Monday. If it doesn't open then, I'm going to let my hair grow and start hanging around in coffee houses.