Matt Weinstock -- March 30, 1959
Back on Canopus ...Another election is only a week away and the air is heavy with confusion, obscurantism and apathy -- mostly apathy. The confusion belongs to the voters. Many of them are recent arrivals who don't understand our dual government -- city and county.
For that matter, many people who have lived here all their lives don't understand it either but in another way. They don't understand why they should pay for duplicating functions. New and old alike wonder why we go to the expense and bother of such an election as this one. Couldn't it be included in some other one, they ask.
The obscurantism -- political double-talk -- belongs both to the incumbents and aspirants bent on knocking the incumbents out of the box. As an example, one councilmanic candidate states in his literature that if elected he plans to become a veritable tiger in solving the smog, tax and transportation problems. It so happens that the council, although it absorbs much of the blame, has nothing to do with any of these three. The smog and tax matters are county problems. The MTA or bus mess is a weird creation of the state Legislature.
And so it goes. Bert Leson Taylor, the Chicago Tribune columnist of another day, said it best:
When quacks with pills political would dope us,
When politics absorbs the livelong day,
I like to think about the star Canopus,
So far, so far away.
A HOLLYWOOD bartender named Joe, born in South San Francisco of Portuguese descent, tells it on himself.
During WWII he was in naval intelligence, assigned to counterspy duty in Portugal. For six months he went out on the boats with fishermen, never speaking English, always Portuguese, gathering information on the Germans, who were in cahoots with Franco of Spain.
He thought he was doing fine and had escaped detection until one night in a Lisbon bar he got to talking with two men he knew to be German agents. One said casually, "How's everything in South San Francisco, Joe?"
WHILE IN New York recently, Marc Lawrence, noted for his sinister movie gangster roles, was invited to come up and see how the bulls and bears were doing in the Stock Exchange on Wall Street. He was standing on the floor of the famous place in the midst of the orderly confusion, watching the buying and selling by the passing of slips of paper, when someone handed him a piece of paper. On it was written, "Drop the gun, Louie."
ONLY IN L.A. -- A stranger, about 45, came into Izzy Moidel's law office and said he'd like to know how much a divorce would cost. He told how much money he made and detailed his property holdings, which were considerable. In turn, the workings of the divorce court were explained to him and he was given an estimate of what a judge normally would award his wife. He got up, put a $100 bill on the desk and started out.
"What about the divorce?" Moidel asked.
"Oh, I guess I'll marry the girl and take a chance," he said. Turned out he was a cautious bachelor contemplating matrimony and wanted to know the worst first.
ONLY IN MALIBU -- A man who for several years has been driving cars with automatic shifts recently acquired a foreign job with a gear-shift lever and he's entranced with it. "It gives me something to do while I'm driving," is the way he puts it.
MISCELLANY -- Milt Forrest calls them radioactive divorces. After all, they're the result of fallout ... After deep desperate deliberation, Jack Perkins has figured out a simple solution to the awful freeway traffic. Just make them toll roads ... Roberta Morgan has put her hex on the TV villains who give a long commercial spiel, then add, "And now a word from next week's sponsor" ... Day after Easter note: Well, what'll it be for dinner -- creamed eggs, deviled eggs or egg salad?