Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Dec. 12, 1959
Mash Notes and Comment
"Re your column in which you became confused over the use of the words 'lay' and 'lie' and settled by saying 'get prone.'
" 'Lie' would have been the correct word. Intransitive, you know.
"But it would be difficult to 'get prone and read my column' -- as you suggested.
"Perhaps you meant 'supine.'
"Look them up in the dictionary. Undoubtedly some friend of yours has one.
"But do not worry about split infinitives.
"Only a pedant would insist that, because the Latin infinitive is one word, the two-word English form must not be separated.
"In fact, juxtaposition adds strength to the adverb." (signed) Leonard E. Miller, Montrose.
--Listen, Lenny, why don't you just let sleeping dogs lay?
(Press Release) "It had to happen -- and, of course, it could only happen to KMPC's Johnny Grant.
"Grant reports with all the chatter going around town about disc jockey 'payola' -- that the first Christmas gift he received was a wallet.
"It came from a record company." (signed) Publicity Dept., KMPC, Hollywood.
"Apparently there is no escape for anyone from you or your spies and espionage system.
"I was having a bowl of soup in the cafeteria on Vine St. off Hollywood Blvd. today when this spy of yours at the next table asked me if I had seen you recently.
"We became quite chatty in moments and I found myself being closely questioned as to my opinions about you.
"In brief, I confided that the last time I'd seen you, there was considerable panther-like pacing of the floor on your part. I said you had aged quite a bit and had quite a waistline.
"Your spy asked if I was aware that you helped many persons.
"I retorted that the only person you helped was yourself, in fact, quite conceited.
"He has yet to find his SELF, I explained.
"I explained that he shouldn't conclude that I dislike you because of my criticism of you.
Here's How It Is
"If I did not like you, I would ignore you.
"But what I can't understand is why don't you face up and admit to yourself that you've been ruthlessly using other people for your own devices.
"If you can admit that, you'll be a better man for it. Anyway, Merry Christmas." (signed) Memphis Harry Lee Ward, P.O. Box 1963, Hollywood.
"I am a little mad at my friend Memphis Ward of Hollywood. He wrote me a letter saying Parkey if you have to have $200 to get your book published, quit buying beer. Go to the grocery and buy canned beans, drink milk, and quit playing the horses.
"Paul that's one thing I never do even if I knew the jockey.
"He also told me to buy canned fish. Paul you can't go on a bean diet when you weigh 230 pounds like I do.
"Tell Memphis Ward I don't need his advice Paul."
(signed) Parkey Sharkey, Bay Road, East Palo Alto.
--Tell him yourself. I'm not speaking to him.