In 1946 two Los Angeles booksellers were arrested for selling copies of Edmund Wilson's "Memoirs of Hecate County," which had been banned. The book was ruled obscene and they were convicted.
Now, 13 years later, a new edition of "Hecate" has been published and an interesting experiment in book-selling is taking place.
Several dealers are selling it. They feel that people have come to age since 1946. Even westerns are "adult." Besides, they feel fortified by the U.S. Supreme Court decision which ruled long-banned "Lady Chatterley's Lover" permissible, over the objections of Postmaster General Summerfield and other self-appointed censors.
Other book dealers are refusing to handle "Hecate." They choose to wait and see if anything happens.
The irony of all this is that anyone who keeps up with his reading can quickly name 10 books that are bolder than either.
ON ARISING THE OTHER DAY a chemist whose wife is out of town decided he'd like two soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, the way he'd seen her prepare them. He let them boil about 15 minutes and when he tried to eat them they were of course, quite hard. At this point the scientist in him took over and he was overheard musing, "Of course! An egg is a protein and a protein is irreversibly coagulated at 40 degrees Centigrade! I should have known that!"
Since the quiz show
(I hope it won't start
I've had a relapse-
I'm incurably smart again.
SPEAKING before a PTA group, a Beverly Hills fireman cautioned about the danger of fire, particularly from faulty wiring in old homes, and announced the department stood ready to inspect them to ensure safety.
Failing to arouse any response, he remarked whimsically, "You know, I've been making this announcement for years but I'm beginning to think Beverly Hills is a strange town --nobody's ever home!"
HOT STUFF -- Karen Danehe, 5 1/2, was drinking some lemonade her mother made from a can of frozen lemon juice when she pointed to several lemons in a basket and remarked, "Did you know you could make it from those, too? Grandma does" . . . What should a person do on finding a new form in the office supply room, especially if it won't fit a typewriter? That's what Kay Cataldi, City Hall employee, would like to know. Yep, a girdle, apparently discarded by some gal because of the heat.
SOMEHOW, these last few clear mornings, it has seemed to John W. Mann, as he drove into town on Harbor Freeway, that the cars were just loafing along. Yesterday he figured it out. The mountains look so close that motorists are afraid they'll run into them . . . A man named Alex has just installed a radio with short wave in his car and daily around 6 p.m. he gets Radio Brazzaville, in French Equatorial Africa. Not only that, the announcer, speaking in English, plays currently popular native tunes. So there's Alex, listening to the top 40 from the African veldt, on Hollywood Freeway. Better than the local yappers, he says.
WORD PLAY -- Dave Orr has an alternate choice for people who misuse "patients" and "patience." His firm received a check on an overdue account with a note stating, "Sorry I was so slow in paying and thanks for your patechentz" . . . Meanwhile, back at the dictionary, Dave Soibelman has reactivated his campaign against the female suffix as in poetess and millionairess. Contends it defiles the language, also is redundant.
MISCELLANY -- Lady named Vivian, reading about the $15 million film "Ben-Hur," commented, "I'll bet it'll be a long time before that's on television!" . . . Pat Buttram on CBS Radio: "There are two kinds of highways in America today -- overcrowded and under construction" . . . A player in a Gardena poker club keeled over from a heart attack the other day and you guessed it, everybody kept playing. In fact, one lady was annoyed at the interruption.