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Matt Weinstock, Dec. 21, 1959

December 21, 2009 |  4:00 pm


Death in December

Matt Weinstock     The National Safety Council has focused its apprehension this Christmas on the office party.  Before me as I write this is its Drinking and Driving Fact Sheet, a sobering document.
  It begins, "During 11 months of the year, drinking is a factor in approximately 30% of all fatal accidents.  In December the figure jumps to 55%."

    Another punch line, "It takes at least three hours to oxidize (eliminate) one ounce of pure alcohol (about two cocktails)."

    And then this one, "Coffee or other stimulants will not offset the effects of alcohol."

    NOW JUST A MOMENT, NSC.  Are you telling us that drinking black coffee won't bring someone out of his alcoholic lassitude?  Are you stating that we've been wrong about its well known medicinal values?


Dec. 21, 1959, 1950s      You know, gentlemen, this could be heresy.  Don't you realize that black coffee is the traditional prop on which tottering humanity has depended for generations?  Why, it's as basic as the movie scene in which the unfrocked doctor, prevailed upon to perform a delicate operation or deliver a baby in a wilderness cabin, shouts hoarsely, "Boil water!  Boil all the water you can!"

    Come to think of it, the safety people may have the problem upside down.  Why not simply urge people to drink coffee instead of liquor at office parties?


reporter Don Dwiggins wrote about an L.A. inventor.

    The other day he received a handsome Christmas card from him with this personal message:  "Thanks for the nice article about me.  My next item will be  a button radio operated by the sun.  No larger than a dime.  You will write about me again in about 8 years.  What I want to make will be a ray that will destroy anything within a mile.  Merry Christmas."


Now that disc jocks can
    no longer beguile,
Perhaps music will come
    back in style.
        --OSCAR TUCKER


    A WEST L.A.
householder wishes to add his complaint to those recorded recently by telephone users before the state public utilities commission.
His phone bill last month was unreasonable and on his indignant inquiry he was told there was a $40 charge for a call to Covina.  He'd made the call, he said, but not $40 worth.  Someone checked and found there'd been a tabulating machine mistake -- it should have been 40 cents -- and he would be credited for the amount.

Dec. 21, 1959, 1950s     But when he got this month's bill the $40 charge was still on it.  Screaming like a wounded eagle, he said he wouldn't pay it and wanted to know why such a mistake couldn't be corrected in a month. 

    "Well, after all," he was told, "these things take time!"


parents in town are the Ed Hardings.  He's a child welfare and attendance worker.  They took their 4 1/2-year-old daughter to see Santa Claus and afterward her mother asked, "What did you tell Santa you wanted for Christmas?"

    "You'll see!" was the mysterious response.


enterprising radio reporter decided to broadcast "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" in 12 foreign languages and was going along fine, with the co-operation of UCLA foreign language departments and consulates, until he came to Thailand. 

Dec. 21, 1959, Abby
    "I'm sorry we have no such greeting," a man at the Thailand consulate said.  "We're Buddhists, you know."


    AT RANDOM --
Lady on the phone asks a typographical posy for Robert Burke, driver of  a 42 bus.  A woman passenger left her briefcase on the seat when she got off at Clinton St.  The driver found it when the bus reached Melrose and he stopped, ran the block and gave it to her and ran back.  His explanation:  "It looked important" . . . There's a gripe about the parking meters springing up all over town.  Some people think the fees -- 1 cent for 6 minutes, 5 cents for 30 and a dime for an hour -- are exorbitant . . . Mike Molony overheard an actor type fellow in a Beverly Hills bat cave say to his companion, "So this joker is bucking for Hamlet like always!"