Our Sanitation Engineer Discourses on Enforced Bathing
by Sheldon C. Wesson
IF I WANTED a Turkish Bath, I would not go to Cleveland or Philadelphia or Boston or New York in July to get it. Let’s face it: About all we get for the money we leave in big-city convention hotels is a good sweat.
And what idolatrous observance must we give to tradition that we must hold our convention in July in the first place?
Let’s talk seriously this coming July (shudder!) about shifting our convention date to either mid-May or late September. Why can’t we practically take over a small-town hotel or a resort hotel – at reduced rates before or after the vacation season, based on a guaranteed 50 or 70 attending?
One of the most joyous conventions in NAPA’s history was held in a fraternity house, in Berkeley, Cal. A similar deal would add the feeling of informality that we now lack, swallowed up in a 600-room establishment.
We could all use a small private dining-room for lunch and dinner each day, holding simultaneous forums and business sessions. That would leave time for a picnic, a swimming party and a dance one evening. It would leave time for something I’ve wanted to see for several years: An organized display of photos of amateur journalists and their gatherings, with a short program of selected movies.
If nothing else, it would leave more time for those precious extended yak-yak sessions, in the bar or some other such inspirational atmosphere.
Even if it develops that many members must take vacations in the summer, the informal, small-hotel idea would make the convention (1) less expensive for younger folks and those with families; (2) attractive enough for members who balk at sitting and sweating through convention routine.
The Drain on Crane
by Helen V. Wesson
Burton wasted all his glands
Atravelin’ ‘round in foreign lands
His mind has dulled
His pants are lead
He can only put the Times to bed
Our Poultry Department Reports on Chicken Pot Pi
SELDOM has an account of NAPA affairs been written so provocatively as the one distributed recently under various assumed names. Apparently the author built a plausible structure of shrewd guesswork on a foundation of a few bits of real knowledge.
We have been hen-pecked for a decade; and to record our petticoat politics in orderly fashion is a sort of service. Laying aside the question of propriety in revealing (or purporting to reveal) the contents of secret ballots, it seems too bad the author(s) cannot enter this unique effort for the laureate.
Ralph Babcock, with his wild array of Weaker Moments, is like a young rake who flits from girl to girl. If he’d only channel all this energy into one project, he might produce something. A long overdue Scarlet Cockerel, for example.
Maybe it’s the fanciful fricassee of bits of metal that make up Cubicle 33’s illustrations. Maybe it’s the easy conversationalism of Bob Holman’s writing. Maybe it’s the frabjous gallimaufry of obscure verbiage. The result is a dish of unusually piquant flavor.
No one will ever be able to pass lightly over this year’s volume of the National Amateur. It must be read thoroughly to find out what gives. For pure confusion the December number is superb. That one had its head cut off.
No one can fail to appreciate the labor Alf devotes to each number. But we cannot sympathize with his apologetic complaint that he must publish officers’ stuff (including appointees’) as submitted. His title is Official Editor. If he doesn’t edit, he’s merely the official typesetter.
The Seven Wonders: A Contest
Attention historians, bibliophiles and pundits! SS solicits your essays nominating the seven typographical wonders of the amateur journalistic world, 1876 to 1952. Describe the seven of your choice and write something about the printers. Mss wanted by May 1. Let us know if we can expect your entry.
It should be a source of pride to amateur journalism, and to amateur printers in particular, that our hobby was the companion of his last years. Retirement brought him time for what he wanted to do. And what he wanted to do was to print. The hobby satisfied his desire to produce something creative.
Bob was not a flashy person – man or printer. His accomplishments were achieved slowly, persistently. In his own deliberate way he has placed an indelible inky fingerprint on the history of our hobby-world.
Mr. Editor has been issued a special Press Identification Card by the City of New York, Office of Civil Defense.
In case of atomic attack, he will not be required to remain in a shelter, but will be permitted to stay outside to watch what happens.
For this privilege they get a loyalty oath, yet!
Our Family Dragon
by Helen V. Wesson
“And bring him home to stay with us and be our family dragon!” – Margaret Widdemer
Upon a cold and wintry day
When we cannot go out to play,
We go a-hunting mighty prey –
Ormond-san the Dragon.
He’s writhing there upon the wall,
And playing with a silver ball.
He doesn’t frighten us at all –
Ormond-san the Dragon.
He’s fierce and gruff and fiery wild,
But he would never harm a child.
(We rather think his claws are filed.)
Ormond-san the Dragon.
Beneath his lair we stalk his track.
It isn’t courage that we lack.
We know that Ormond won’t fight back,
For he’s our family dragon!
Our Sociological Consultant Flaunts His Friendly Allergy
by Sheldon C. Wesson
I AM HAPPY to be able to report that I have developed what may be an allergy. Not happy that I have developed, but happy to be able to report. For this affliction – if such it be – has opened up new doors of social contact for me.
Last June I began to sniffle, with a persistent itching tickle in the nose. It has not become a disturbing habit – disturbing, not to me, but to others. As a conversational gambit, it speaks for itself.
My wife says it’s nervousness, but I won’t allow her to spoil the fun. It may be an allergy. And allergies have replaced canasta as the arbiter of social acceptability in the great Middle Class to which 98 percent of us say we belong.
In the Thirties, one’s operation was his main conversation piece. It was the catalyst among diverse elements thrown together in a cocktail party. Lengths of scars and attendant discolorations were the bases for polite chatter. It was considered fashionable for a gentleman to pull his shirt from his trousers and display the area of late surgical activity. But, since one-piece dresses were then in fashion, the ladies were placed at a disadvantage. While it was possible to display, fashionably, other portions of the anatomy, the abdominal area was not easy of visual access, without the aid of specially-placed zippers.
While the ladies could talk of their operations, they could not (in mixed company anyhow) display evidence. This led to numerous social frauds, eventual exposure of which (with the advent of the two-piece bathing suit) caused the operation to fall from fashion favor. And no fashion can long endure without feminine support.
We are constrained to note that the ladies still could exaggerate their pregnancies in considerable detail. But this topic failed to fill the gap on two counts: First, it had always been a “staple” item of conversation, rather than a “fashion” item; secondly, it excluded the men from active participation.
The ladies were forced to turn to canasta, with the men sullenly following. Canasta proved a passive indulgence, and society cast about for a substitute which leaned more on conversation and less on skill.
The allergy filled the gap. Symptoms could be readily developed in plain view: Reddish spots, a sniffle, etc. And so much cheaper and easier to acquire than a surgical scar.
Now my allergy, if such it be, has brought me closer to some of the finest circles. In my work I interview business executives, some of whom range from the Very Reserved to the Plain Stuffy. But Mr. VR will frequently ask what I’m allergic to, and may even trot out his own pet allergy. Mr. Stuffy will seldom unbend that far. But he will sniffle uncomfortable sympathy during our conversation. If he finds the sensation pleasant, he may gratefully adopt my allergy for himself – if allergy it indeed is.
Actually my allergy-presumptive gives me a perverse pleasure. As I snuffle and snort through the day, I feel akin to Hindu mystics and mediaeval monks who practiced self-flagellation, for abnegation of body and glorification of soul. I am reasonably satisfied with my body. But if sniffling will help to purify the soul, I’m all for it.
Allergy test? Too simple a solution, and really unsatisfactory. A friend had a 120-substance test, he reported, and we matched rash against snorts. He was found to be sensitive to a third of them – about par for the course, the Doc told him.
I should hate to have to go through life consciously dodging foods, drinks or, perish forbid, women. It would make life so confusing. I’d rather just snuffle.
My colleague on the paper who covers the wool industry (many people are allergic to wool, or to its by-product, the platinum-plated lamb-chop) wants me to take the test anyhow. He announces proudly that he and his wife will, at $40 a head. There is nothing wrong with them, except perhaps for an inordinate fondness for the ballet. But without spending the $40 I have a perfectly good symptom, equally acceptable.
I stand on the status quo.
Why don’t you folks drop around some evening for a chat – snif-f-f-f ?
FOR SALE: Three lining sizes of 6-point Copperplate Gothic, Kelsey card fonts plus spaces and quads; almost new; $3.75 postpaid. Wesson.
WANTED: Candidates for office. Take your choice; only qualification a discernible pulse. Apply to NAPA Nominating Committee.
Quote and Unquote
“Just a note to acknowledge with thanks S.S. 21. Printing is first rate. As for contents, well – We all have our own ideas on what should go into a journal.
Yes, yes, go on. We’re waiting.
“Mommy, what are little boys made of? Plastic?”
“Hurry, Mommy, or I’ll be late for the party. Late – you know, like Daddy goes to work in the morning.”
In this age of frozen fruit-juice: “Mommy, is that an orange? My, it smells just like a tangerine!”
“Oh, Daddy, we’re having a tinkle-party!”
– Sheldon Pierce Wesson, 4
“Notes in your most recent Standpipe anent your ‘Pullman’ printery were enjoyed by the writer and his wife. Our printery is in the basement, and recent acquisition of a 10 x 15 C & P causes the printery to overflow into the laundry, with the net result that I sometimes get the 8-point Della Robbia mixed with the 6-point soap chips.” – George Young
Our hazards are 8-point and 6-point little boys.
Bureau of Critics Report
DAVID ARNOLD WESSON, 18 months in this photo, chairman of the Bureau of Critics of the Lower Southwestern East Rockaway Amateur Printers Club, gives his opinion of the bundle. Which bundle? Who cares. He’s expressing his opinion.
Tenth Anniversary Number
Siamese Standpipe :: 23 :: April, 1952
After producing nine issues in Single Blessedness, your Editors married for the tenth, to eliminate production problems. Hah!
A new note has been added to the symphony of high confusion amidst which this journal is produced. The 10-point Scotch has only five st ligatures. This means that when a thoughtless editor writes a piece in which the word “canasta” appears a couple of times, sentences elsewhere in the form must be rewritten.
Then there is the mystery of how a little handful of lower-case r’s got dumped into the i box.
Having hurdled these and other obstacles too numerous to whimper about, the undersigned have produced this effort at the Griddle Press.
Helen and Sheldon Wesson
East Rockaway, L. I., New York
Illustrations Are Linoleum Blocks by Helen
A Standpipe Editorial Board Publication