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Lament of an Unhappy Devil

There are times, believe it or not, when we envy mimeographers. For instance, this past week while distributing about ten pounds of pied type. When we had company last month Small Fry and playmate were shooed down cellar to “work off steam.” They played nicely – for a while, but Fate decreed they must bump against a tray of type-forms!

Sure, our fault; should have fenced off the printshop area long ago! But The Kid had been quite respectful of Daddy’s workshop – never really bothered things. This accident made up for lost time: half a dozen pages of undistributed type – ten fonts of type involved, including three kinds of 10 pt.!

So we’ve spent about four evenings sorting out the mess. With foundry type bringing 28¢ per pound we were sorely tempted to cash in the mess as scrap metal – especially with that “page” of 8 pt. Caslon splinters bottomside up and all undone.

Caslon 8 pt.! [Shudders] Must be we’re really getting decrepit. Time was when we could handset pages of 8 pt. Century or 8 pt. Binney or 8 pt. Goudy Oldstyle with never a second thought. Even 6 pt. Binney (check the 1935 National Amateur membership list) wasn’t so bad, and the 6 pt. Copperplate Gothic for stationery or forms was a breeze. But now – now we’re inclined to agree with arthritic Fossils who think that anything under 12 pt. is murder and never should be set except by linotype. That’s what comes of 53 months army vacation and six years of pencil-pushing: age and inter-office-memo cramp creeping up. Better catch us quick, son, while we can still build blocks with you!

Exit Pot Without “Palm”

Now that my bargain begonias (“half a dozen large 5 to 6 inch plants for only $2” the ad read) have all shriveled up – despite the Vigoro tablets and forty cents worth of vermiculite bought to pot ‘em in. As I said, now that I’ve been had for $2 – $2.40, that is – looks like it’d be as cheap to concentrate on type.

Which Are The Fifty Best?

As a topic for discussion this year it’s been suggested that our older members nominate their choices for the 75 Best Amateur Papers of all time. That ought to furnish Fossils, Life Members, and other oldtimers with plenty of recollective fodder.

And since the topic’s been broached, why not a list of The 50 Best of the Last 20 Years, too?

With or without reasons.

It does seem fitting, with 1951 drawing nigh, to dust off the files of papers of which we can be proud.

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File Among Uncompleted Daydreams

Guinane’s advice to the mimeoaddicts reminds us of our suppressed desire to dabble in the mimeo field; we’d almost worked up to use of an electric typewriter and the new automatic hi-speed mimeo at the Ginn editorial office when – poof…. Another experiment we’d like to try would incorporate varitype and multilith – but when “they” quoted $10 just for varityping a four-pager like this in 10 pt. Bodoni on the new DSJ proportional spacing varitypers…!

Belated Acknowledgements

Last year brought to our mailbox a handful of the more satisfying amateur papers. Among those saved for a second reading are (to name a few) Campane, Feather Duster, Pourparler, Just Our Type, Gemini, Stefantasy, Cameo, and Churinga. Cat 73 came closer to standards for a good amateur paper than many of Al’s recent paper-smudgings. From the fourth issue of Muggins Ink it looks as tho this new California paper might be the next to hop the fence separating fluff from solid amateur journals.

Not to forget The 19th Hole, and Dille’s hard-bound reprint of The Mutability of Literature.

Hats Off to Editor Ellis

The 71st volume of The National Amateur requires no apologies from Editor Harold Ellis. His September issue with its lavish pictorial report of the Los Angeles convention is likely to stand unchallenged for some time. The June ‘49 issue undoubtedly is the most substantial fare the NAPA has been served lately.

Latest Walgreen drugstore ad: “It’s New: Beer Shampoo.” We’ve seen bored GI’s give each other that treatment after several hard hours at the PX, but we never realized normal people would pay for a dose of suds in the hair. Something to do with needed vitamins…?

In the Interest of Economy

After the coverage Skinny Lindberg (and cohorts) gave the convention in his Skinny-size St. George Daily Record, and after elaborations by Al Babcock (and cohorts) in his snap-printed 75th Cat, we can’t see much news value left in any official convention minutes. Our constitution decrees (we seem to recall) that said minutes appear in the September official organ. Bosh. The constitution-framers never foresaw the Daily Record.

We hereby propose to forego the expense of re-publishing the minutes by incorporating them as part of the Year’s History in the December official organ.

Go ahead and scream, Heins. You’re only half a Judge this year.

Vying with the shipboard letters of Jack Coolidge’s Africa-bound sister in Stripling for the title of most exotic amateur scribbling of the year is Frances Hyland’s “Nairobi Letter” in Fossil Fred Thomas’ premier Far Afield. Papers like these are the inspiring rewards which compel one to continue in Amateur Journalism.

Brother Al misnamed his press Clarence – it should be Claude. Can you imagine anyone flinging all those Cats thru a press without its (his) being clawed?

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Weaker Moments

Published spasmodically in the interests of the National Amateur Press Association.
Number 28 – July 10, 1949
Ralph Babcock, Editor, Topeka Kansas

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