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Matt Weinstock, March 18, 1960

March 18, 2010 |  4:17 pm

March 18, 1960, Mirror Cover

For Liquid Prose

Matt Weinstock

    Today's study in wonderful irrelevance brings us to a brochure announcing Writer's Digest's annual $3,500 short story contest.  First prize is $500 and contestants must subscribe to qualify.  But money and fame aren't the only incentive sending exhilarated, hopeful amateurs to their typewriters.  It's the rest of those crazy prizes.

    Second prize, as described in the folder:  "The key to  a new world of beauty and enchantment.  This winner will receive a complete Voit Underwater Diving Lung, expert instruction in the use of it, and will sail into the blue Caribbean Sea to explore the wonders of the water world for five days.  Food, compressed air and underwater writing equipment included.  If allergic to water, alternate prize of $300."

    Fourth prize is a mountain climbing outfit and one week expedition to Pike's Peak.

    Twenty-fifth prize is an interview with an established writer, travel and overnight expenses furnished.

March 18, 1960, Abby

    Eighty-first to 90th prize:  "An insulated Penguin Server to keep your meal warm while you finish that last page or put your mss. on ice, if necessary."

    But it's the 101st to 199th prizes that gets them: "A deed to a square foot at Gettysburg Battlefield, plus certificate recording the place your story won."

    It is hard to imagine  a writer trying to get along these days without a diving lung or a square foot of Gettysburg battlefield.


that the silly season is upon us comes from the International House of Pancakes on Riverside Dr.  Danny, the busboy, complained to the manager that he was seeing spots in front of his eyes.  The manager asked he'd seen an optometrist.  "No," Danny replied solemnly, "just spots."


It wouldn't take much
To square my debts--
A little cash,
A few more threats.


have read, DeGaulle ordered 1,000 anti-communist political refugees in Paris shipped to Corsica on enforced "vacations" to preclude the possibility of trouble when Khrushchev visits France.

    A refugee who teaches the Russian language at a night school in a nearby city blew a gasket of envy when she read it.  "At least," she said, eyes twinkling, "they could have sent me to Hawaii when he visited here."


    A FELLOW named Smith has an uncle and aunt visiting from a small town in Iowa, and the other night he took them to Chinatown for dinner.  As they were seated a cute girl appeared and asked if they wished a cocktail.  Smitty, knowing his relatives are teetotalers and reconciled to a dry evening, was surprised when his aunt said, "Yes, I think I will."  His hope quickly died.  The waitress asked, "What would you like?" and his aunt replied, "I'll have a shrimp cocktail."


food, it appears we are caught in an economic imponderable.  This week coffee went to 15 cents a cup and other menu prices rose in some L.A. restaurants to compensate for a 7% increase in wages.  Meanwhile, Newsweek reports, N.Y. restaurant patronage has fallen off 10% to 30%.  One place reduced chicken cacciatore from $3.95 to $2.95 to lure customers.  Leading theory given to explain the slump is that the internal revenooers say they plan to scrutinize businessmen's deductible expenses more closely.  Incidentally, the thing that baffles the customers about the 15-cents coffee is that the stuff is cheaper than usual in the stores.


    MISCELLANY -- Malaprop note:  A woman phoned a dental surgeon in Santa Monica to make an appointment to have a tooth "distracted."  Understand this doesn't hurt as much as the other way . . . A slow-moving driver in the middle lane on Wilshire blvd. was so busy talking with the gal on his side he held up traffic.  But apparently he had a  license for it.  The letters on it were GAB . . . A young lady who applied for  a clerical job at ABC-TV wrote on her application that she majored in "journetlism."