The Lipsig Letter #24 -- The Cuckoo's Nest

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Chuck Lipsig

unread,
May 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/10/97
to

THE LIPSIG LETTER -- Issue #24 -- May 9, 1997

Housekeeping
The Cuckoo's Nest
TV Comments: _King of the Hill_ and _Ellen_
Movie Reviews: _First Wives' Club_ and Disney's _Robin Hood_

Housekeeping
I hate to be late again -- indeed, I missed a week for the first time
since I started this. Unfortunately, I've been laid off from my job and
notice of that rather threw me off, to put it mildly. Hopefully, this
will put me back on schedule. Maybe, I'll even do an extra issue to make
up for the missed week. After all, I have lots of time, now.

The Cuckoo's Nest
I hate to sound like a prude here, especially since I don't mean what
I'm about to write in the way it's usually meant. But when it comes down
to many of the problems in today's America -- especially dealing with teen
sex -- I blame the music.
But like I wrote, I don't quite mean it in the usual way. I have no
particular problems with the sexual content of present-day popular music.
Anyone who complains about the beat being sexual ought to listen to say,
the Irish tune, "King of the Fairies," which has enough sexual kick in it
to impregnate at forty paces. Or for the more classically inclined, may I
suggest Ravel's "Bolero."
Similarly, I have no complaint about the lyrics in music these days.
In fact, I think it's rather tame. There ain't nothing new under the sun,
as a couple of minutes with Robert Burns's _Merry Muses of Caledonia_ or
John Farmer's _Merry Songs and Ballads of England Prior to the Year A.D.
1800_ can attest. For my money, "The Grand Plenipotentiary" in _The Merry
Muses_ is just as sexual, just as bawdy, and ten times funnier than
anything hitting the charts these days.
The problem isn't what's in the music. It's what missing from
popular music. What is missing is any song that deals with the
consequences of sex, beyond the possibility of a broken heart. Now this
isn't to say that every song in the folk canon demonstrates the
consequence -- for, one the aforementioned "The Grand Plenipotentiary" is
merely a merry catalog of conquest.
Still though, folk music contains it's share of consequences not
found in modern popular music. From shotgun (and crossbow) marriages:
"If he be a married man, hanged he shall be
And if he be a single man, he shall marry thee."
"The Royal Forester"

Pregnancies either wanted:
"And if you prove successful love, please name him after me
Keep him neat and kiss him sweet and daff him on your knee."
"Blow the Candles Out"

Or unwanted:
"Love, oh love, Oh careless love
You see what careless love has done."
"Careless Love"

Even leading to infanticide:
"She leaned her back against a thorn
And there she had two babies born.
She took out her own penknife
And there she took her own babies' lives."
"The Cruel Mother"

Some of the songs are tragic, some are comic, some are merely
everyday accounts. The point is that actions have consequences. Even in
our modern high-tech contraceptive, family planning America, pregnancies
happen, in spite of contraceptives being employed. And whether the
popular songs are a symptom or cause of the drive for a consequenceless
society, it is at least an illustration of the problem.

"This couple they got married, and soon they went to be
And now this pretty fair maid has lost her maidenhead
In a small country cottage, they increase and do their best
And he often slips his cock in her Cuckoo's Nest."

"Some like a girl who is fair of face,
Some like a lass who is slender in the waist,
Ah, but give to me the girl who will wriggle and will twist
At the bottom of her belly lies the Cuckoo's Nest!"
"The Cuckoo's Nest"

TV Comments: _King of the Hill_
Speaking of popular culture and personal responsibility, it is my
sheer delight to recommend a TV series that is hilarious and manages to
get its messages across, while being anything but preachy. _King of the
Hill_ was created by Mike Judge, the creator of _Beavis and Butthead_,
which I am no fan of. This, however, is different.
The series centers around Hank Hill, a 40-something propane salesman,
living in a small Texas town with his wife, 12-year-old son, and teenage
niece. Hill is an everyman, sort of Texas Archie Bunker, filled with the
normal run of prejudices and mild ignorance. He also happens to be a
decent sort who is trying to find his way through a world that is too
complicated for him.
What makes _King of the Hill_ watchable is that the messages are
delivered with a deft touch and lack of condescension. A recent
anti-smoking episode had Hank catching his son trying a cigarette. Trying
the classic method of making his son smoke a carton of cigarettes until he
is sick backfires when not only the son, but Hank and his wife, become
addicted to cigarettes.
The classic Smokers-anonymous meeting ends with Hank Hill declaring
the 13th step: "Quit Yer Whining!" But by the end, the Hills have
managed to quit smoking and the anti-tobacco message has been given, with
none of the preachiness of all the standard-issue anti-smoking messages
that sicken me to the point of wanting to take up smoking.
Also along for the ride are Hank Hill's three friends, including a
right-wing gentleman, too busy with conspiracy theories to notice that his
son is the spitting image of his wife's guru (or maybe he does and doesn't
care) and the wonderful Boomhower (sp?) whose muttered messages don't seem
to make much sense, until he's finished speaking.

TV Comments: _Ellen_
There's one problem with the hype around the outing of _Ellen_. The
official line is that Ellen DeGeneres's character is the first gay lead in
a primetime sitcom. The problem is that it isn't true.
About 15 years ago, there was a series starring Tony Randall, called
_Love, Sidney_, in which Randall played a middle-aged man who takes in a
single mother and her young daughter. Now, it is true that Sidney's
homosexuality was played down in the series. It was part of the TV movie
that developed into the series, but then was barely mentioned until late
in the series, when it was played up in an attempt to increase ratings and
save the series.

Movie Reviews: _First Wives' Club_ and Disney's _Robin Hood_
My review of _First Wives' Club_ can be made rather succinctly.
_First Wives' Club_ was a rip-off of Roseanne, Meryl Streep, and Ed
Begley, Jr.'s _She-Devil_. Only _First Wives' Club_ was whiny, overly
pretentious, and self-important. The leads (Bette Midler, Diane Keaton,
and Goldie Hawn) were unsympathetic, barely more likable than the husbands
who were divorcing them (and in the case of the Bette Midler/Dan Hedeya
pairing, less likable). ** (out of four) for several very amusing scenes
that could have been in any half-way decent comedy.
I caught the Disney Version of _Robin Hood_ recently and was mildly
entertained. It wasn't great, either as a telling of the Robin Hood tale
or as Disney animation, but it's fun. But speaking of great songs of
bawdry, I lost it, at one point when the Robin Hood animals, lead by Roger
Miller's Rooster Alan A'Dale sing a song insulting Prince John. Y'see, I
recognized the tune. I wasn't written by the Disney songsmiths, but a
traditional tune, used for -- appropriately enough -- "The Bastard King of
England." It's rumored that Kipling wrote the song; it's further rumored
that it's the reason Kipling never was knighted. **1/2.
But it was hard enough for me to keep from breaking into:
"He was dirty and hairy and full of fleas
And his terrible tool hung down to his knees.
God bless the bastard king of Eng-a-land!"

THE LIPSIG LETTER is always posted to:
alt.society.conservatism
alt.politics.usa.republican
alt.politics.libertarian
alt.politics.libertarian.creative
alt.politics.democrats.d
rec.arts.sf.fandom
talk.politics.misc
And is always announced on:
alt.society.generation-x

E-mail me at lip...@atlantic.net if you want to receive _The Lipsig
Letter_ regularly.

Thanks to my wife, Patti, for proofreading and providing love,
inspiration, and snacks.

Copyright (c) 1997 by Charles D. Lipsig.
Permission to reprint, repost, or otherwise republish any of my
essays is given, contingent on the following conditions:
1. I am provided a copy of the publication.
2. The essay is run in its entirety.
3. No profit is made by the publication. Although, if you are willing
to pay me, feel free to contact me and we’ll see if we can work something
out.
Those responding with follow-ups on the Usenet are, of course, free
to mangle this however they wish -- and how could I stop them? Brief
quotations may be excerpted for review in other forums
This may be egotistical, but I’m going to cover my assets, just in
case I’m as good -- or at least interesting -- as I fantasize being.

Chuck Lipsig lip...@atlantic.net Gainesville, FL

Loren MacGregor

unread,
May 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/10/97
to

In article , rebecca...@msn.com says...
>
>In article <5l3cgl$h...@news1.panix.com>, Michael R Weholt says...
>> (Big snips)
>>I read an
>> article the other day mocking Ellen for "taking so long" to come out
>> which I thought was a grossly unfair attitude to take, but the
>> writer's further point was interesting -- that Ellen certainly ought
>> not to be regarded as a Hero. The 14 year old faggot who is out to
>> his whole high school in Pocatello, Idaho ... now *there's* a hero.
>
>Would a thirteen year old kid who stood about 6'4" and threatened me
>with a box cutter because he thought I was challenging his gender
>identity do? He was out to the whole Gethsemane Summer Enrichment
>Program and was in a special ed school. The costuming guys at UNCC
>tried to get him a special internship to get him out of the public
>schools at least for a few hours a week, but his mother didn't trust
>white guys.
> Absolutely amazing guy. He told me gay guys were better
>fighters than straight guys.

Sometimes they have to be. Especially, I think, those who are both
non-white and gay. A thirteen year old who is 6'4" and black and gay
probably has one or two issues to deal with, and one of them may
well be centered around his sexuality. Or her sexuality, for that
matter, if it were a young black woman.

I am a white guy who has slept at times with men. Some of those
men have been put into the hospital by people who figured gay
guys wouldn't fight back. One was put into the hospital by
someone who figured he *might* fight back -- so he ran over
him with a car one night.

-- LJM

P Nielsen Hayden

unread,
May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to

In article <5l3cgl$h...@news1.panix.com>, awnb...@panix.com (Michael R Weholt) wrote:

> The irony, of course, is that while the impression in the
>General Public's mind might be that Ellen represents a Break Through
>For Gays, many gays see the whole thing as little more than Society
>(or Somebody) getting its knickers in a twist over nothing, which
>ultimately renders the whole Hub-Bub laughable, of course. I read an

>article the other day mocking Ellen for "taking so long" to come out
>which I thought was a grossly unfair attitude to take, but the
>writer's further point was interesting -- that Ellen certainly ought
>not to be regarded as a Hero. The 14 year old faggot who is out to
>his whole high school in Pocatello, Idaho ... now *there's* a hero.

I hate this sort of invidious comparison. The 14-year-old is a hero.
Ellen is a hero. Life is difficult and mysterious and we never know how
hard anyone else's is.

I'm class-conscious enough that my tendency is to reflexively agree that
your postulated 14-year-old is a worthier object of sympathy than the
well-paid and famous actress, but you know, we don't know. And I've been
bitten too many times by the games of hipper-than-thou and
more-oppressed-than-thou.

It also strikes me that if the "whole Hub-Bub" results in one fewer
14-year-old in Pocatello getting pounded, perhaps it wasn't "laughable"
after all.

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@tor.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh

Rebecca Ore

unread,
May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to

In article <5l3cgl$h...@news1.panix.com>, Michael R Weholt says...
> (Big snips)
>I read an
> article the other day mocking Ellen for "taking so long" to come out
> which I thought was a grossly unfair attitude to take, but the
> writer's further point was interesting -- that Ellen certainly ought
> not to be regarded as a Hero. The 14 year old faggot who is out to
> his whole high school in Pocatello, Idaho ... now *there's* a hero.

Would a thirteen year old kid who stood about 6'4" and threatened me

with a box cutter because he thought I was challenging his gender
identity do? He was out to the whole Gethsemane Summer Enrichment
Program and was in a special ed school. The costuming guys at UNCC
tried to get him a special internship to get him out of the public
schools at least for a few hours a week, but his mother didn't trust
white guys.
Absolutely amazing guy. He told me gay guys were better
fighters than straight guys.

--
Rebecca Ore
http://www.ctv.com/ore

Eugenia Horne

unread,
May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to

In article <5l4lm6$r...@news1.panix.com>,
Michael R Weholt <awnb...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <5l3e4m$i...@news1.panix.com>,
> p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) wrote:
>>In article <5l3cgl$h...@news1.panix.com>,
> awnb...@panix.com (Michael R Weholt) wrote:
>>>I read an
>>>article the other day mocking Ellen for "taking so long" to come out
>>>which I thought was a grossly unfair attitude to take, but the
>>>writer's further point was interesting -- that Ellen certainly ought
>>>not to be regarded as a Hero. The 14 year old faggot who is out to
>>>his whole high school in Pocatello, Idaho ... now *there's* a hero.
>>
>>I hate this sort of invidious comparison. The 14-year-old is a hero.
>>Ellen is a hero. Life is difficult and mysterious and we never know
>>how hard anyone else's is.
>
> Just to be clear, the 14 year old in <rural america> was
>postulated by the writer, not me, but I will take responsibility for
>finding the invidious comparison worth thinking about.

Just for your information:

Pocatello, Idaho is in an extremely "conservative" area
more due to the dominance of a certain religious
organization than being "rural".

The "rural" part comes in because in a city (town) of
50,000 it's extremely difficult to "blend into the
woodwork" (i.e. It's very, VERY easy to be socially
ostracized by the "powers that be" for "making waves".)
There are "rural" areas that are quite tolerant of
"minority" life styles, races, etc. simply because with
a smaller population, it is likely they will get to know
an individual better as a person.

If Pocatello's name was used it's probably due to
recent events such as the infamous "Lesbian kiss"
episode of _Roseanne_ was NOT aired by the local
station (owned at the time by either a company owned
by a certain Church or the private owners where way
up in the Church hierarchy, I forget which one.) The
_Ellen_ episode was aired on Pocatello.

Anyway, it's not a wise idea to make a "big issue" in
this area regarding anything that the Church (whose members
are something like 50% to 99% of the population depending on
the exact location) disapproves of.
--
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The feelings of admiration and even love are not sinful - nor can you
prevent the impulses of one's nature - but it is your duty to avoid
the temptation in every way. - Prince Albert (via Queen Victoria)

P Nielsen Hayden

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

In article <5l6ok3$d...@news1.panix.com>, awnb...@panix.com (Michael R Weholt) wrote:

> I've been to Pocatello several times, as it happens. In fact,
>I am an old Spud myself, having been born in Moscow (Idaho).

Ah, yes, Idaho, birthplace of Ezra Pound. That's why their license plates
say "Famous Poetas."

Gary Farber

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

In <5l6scn$d...@news1.panix.com> P Nielsen Hayden <p...@tor.com> wrote:

: In article <5l6ok3$d...@news1.panix.com>, awnb...@panix.com (Michael R Weholt) wrote:

: > I've been to Pocatello several times, as it happens. In fact,
: >I am an old Spud myself, having been born in Moscow (Idaho).

: Ah, yes, Idaho, birthplace of Ezra Pound. That's why their license plates
: say "Famous Poetas."

Born not far from the Aryan Nation compound, wasn't he?

Gary "look, a grain silo!" Farber
--
-- Gary Farber gfa...@panix.com
Copyright 1997 Brooklyn, NY, USA

P Nielsen Hayden

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

In article <5l7o5s$l...@news1.panix.com>, awnb...@panix.com (Michael R Weholt) wrote:

> That's up near Hayden Lake.
>
> <beat>
>
> Wait ... Hayden Lake ... P Nielsen Hayden ... Hmm ...

I've been to Hayden Lake, and I've wondered whether any distant relatives
ever settled in Idaho, but I've been unable to find out one way or the
other.

The Haydens from whom my surname derives were English Catholics who
settled in Maryland in the seventeenth century, then migrated to Kentucky
in the late eighteenth. Before that they seem to have centered around the
village of Heydon in Norfolk. I found all this out, believe it or not,
from a Web page devoted to exhaustively researching the Haydens in North
America, on which I was able to spot a couple of people I know I'm related
to.

On my mother's side I'm descended from Cornish persons with names like
Couch. I figure this gives me two corners of Great Britain (bottom right
and bottom left), so I'm looking to get the others.

Loren MacGregor

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

On Mon, 12 May 1997 19:40:38 GMT, p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) said:

>On my mother's side I'm descended from Cornish persons with names like
>Couch. I figure this gives me two corners of Great Britain (bottom right
>and bottom left), so I'm looking to get the others.

You're related to Chris Couch? That explains a lot!

-- LJM

lmac...@greenheart.com / The Churn Works
http://www.metacentre.com/
churn...@metacentre.com
lmac...@efn.org

Rob Hansen

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

On 11 May 1997 15:48:47 -0600, horn...@cwis.isu.edu (Eugenia Horne)
wrote:

> If Pocatello's name was used it's probably due to
> recent events such as the infamous "Lesbian kiss"
> episode of _Roseanne_ was NOT aired by the local
> station

Having heard about this 'infamous "Lesbian kiss" episode" for months
before it eventually aired over here, I couldn't believe just how tame
it was when I finally saw it. Our prime time soaps had already had
hotter, longer kisses between Lesbian characters.

> (owned at the time by either a company owned
> by a certain Church or the private owners where way
> up in the Church hierarchy, I forget which one.) The
> _Ellen_ episode was aired on Pocatello.
>
> Anyway, it's not a wise idea to make a "big issue" in
> this area regarding anything that the Church (whose members
> are something like 50% to 99% of the population depending on
> the exact location) disapproves of.

Living in such an area is my idea of Hell.


Rob Hansen
================================================
My Home Page: http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/rob/
Feminists Against Censorship:
http://www.fiawol.demon.co.uk/FAC/

Gary Farber

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

In <33779563...@news.efn.org> Loren MacGregor <lmac...@efn.org> wrote:

: On Mon, 12 May 1997 19:40:38 GMT, p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) said:

: >On my mother's side I'm descended from Cornish persons with names like
: >Couch. I figure this gives me two corners of Great Britain (bottom right
: >and bottom left), so I'm looking to get the others.

: You're related to Chris Couch? That explains a lot!

Chris was at the wake for Lou, which I've meant to write a bit about, but
haven't been able to; herewith some quick and dirty words painfully and
awkwardly forced out.

Chris was understandably a bit tearful; Susan Palermo was clinging to him
at times, when people were speaking about Lou, being more tearful herself.
I hadn't realized that Chris had become a senior editor for Kitchen Sink
in recent times, while still teaching a bit on the side at Amherst, where
his office is next to Chip Delany's. Lots of people were reaching for
each other.

Lou was only 44. Goddamn.

Lou's wake was crowded: over a hundred people at the evening session,
crowding the available rooms beyond capacity, so that most of us could not
see who was speaking, as various friends, family, and colleagues spoke of
the Lou we all knew ("the most arrogant sonofabitch I've ever met"); some
folks stood on chairs for a time, including Moshe Feder, and Lise
Eisenberg, and others. There was a confluence of people from the comics
world, the sf world, the publishing world, the music world, and since Lou
was editor of HIGH TIMES magazine at one point, for all I know, the drug
world.

I saw Neil Gaiman prowling the edges of the crowd, and couldn't help but
think there was no pale adolescent girl in evidence; Matt Howarth and
Karen Berger were among those who spoke, as did Bob Mecoy, Bob Morales,
who told of how Lou convinced another writer that Bob's father was "a big
wheel in the Puerto Rican Mafia," Lou's cousin Angelo, and others
including Lou's former girlfriend Judy, who told of their growing
friendship, and the concert they went to, and how they finally went back
to her apartment, where Lou said "so, we gonna keep this clean or what?,"
one of Lou's sisters, who bitterly spoke of "this crummy world, which
steals people from us too soon," and Lou's partner, Shelle Roeberg, who
barely held it together as she spoke of the love of her life; Archie
Goodwin was there, and so were many comics folk whose faces I didn't
recognize, and doubtless more whose names I wouldn't have recognized, but
should have.

Everyone spoke of how very *Lou* Lou was: you always knew what you were
dealing with -- he'd tell you to your face what an asshole he thought you
were. He rarely told anyone he liked them, but he'd tell someone else,
and you'd know just from the way he tolerated you. We all laughed when
someone said "you know what I mean -- you've heard that stuff he liked to
listen to," referring to Lou's, uh, individualistic musical taste. Lou
was gruff, foul-mouthed, and abrasive, but we all liked the bastard, and
some loved him. His assistant, Axel, spoke of how Lou scared him at
first, and of how generous Lou could be, which was a repeated theme.

Ted White and Dan Steffan were there; Dan spoke of the fancy restaurant he
and Lou once went to, where Lou tremendously enjoyed the huge prime rib,
and, responding to the very hoity-toity waiter's query as to the meal,
said "that was the best fucking piece of dead cow I've ever had in my
life!" We all knew how "Lou" that was, and Dan concluded his remarks by
saying more or less that Lou was the best fucking slab of dead human he'd
ever known. Shelly said that "loving him was a piece of cake, once you
could get to liking him," and then she kinda lost it. A number of folks
did then.

In one room, a large face shot picture of Lou grinned at us: I kept
thinking that Lou would have had extremely sardonic remarks about the
whole affair, very cutting and snotty, and I wished I could hear what they
were. Goddamn.

DC had a handout, with a sketch, and the obit posted on this newsgroup.

Old fans crawled out of the woodwork, beyond Susan, and Chris Couch. Brad
Balfour was there, in a suit, with business card. Frank Lunney was there,
looking understandably unhappy and uncomfortable. Mike Hinge turned up,
surprising several of us with the news that he had been living in
Philadelphia in the last couple of years, since last we had heard he had
moved back to New Zealand.

The chapel had to nearly physically throw us all out: repeatedly
requesting that we leave; people stayed on and on, and on further,
outside, despite unseasonably excessively cold weather many weren't
dressed or prepared for. People didn't want to let go.

Chris Couch, Hank Davis, Lise Eisenberg, Moshe Feder, Kathy Sagan, an
old girlfriend of Lou's, now editor-in-chief of the new "Mary Higgins
Clark's Mystery Magazine," Susan Palermo, and I went to a bar for some
food and drink, and talked till past midnight.

I realized only at the wake that Lou Stathis gave me my first job in sf
publishing, twenty-three years ago, when he was an Assistant Editor at
AMAZING SF MAGAZINE and FANTASTIC STORIES MAGAZINE under Ted White, and he
couldn't keep up, and handed off shopping bags of slush for me to read,
with the quarter-per-manuscript reading fee to be kept by the reader (me).

A little while before that, after a Fanoclasts meeting at his and Barry
Smotroff's Queens apartment, the second I had been invited to, he told me
and Lise Eisenberg, that we were at least temporarily not invited back.
The attendence had spiked up, the apartment was jammed, and we later
found out that he was annoyed that someone had left chip crumbs on his
bed, and mistakenly thought that Lise and I, the two most recently invited
guests, and the youngest -- I was a twerp of fifteen -- were responsible.
I was disappointed, but didn't resent him for it, as I never felt I had a
"right" to be invited to someone's apartment, and I figured this would
pass; a couple of months later, it did.

Barry Smotroff was shot and killed, murdered, less than two years later.

The last time I saw Lou, in October, 1996, he was doing me a favor, coming
out to the passport office with me and Moshe Feder, as readers of this
newsgroup may remember; we had lunch afterwards in a favorite midtown
luncheonette. He bought my meal. He wasn't doing too badly,
comparatively, then, and enjoyed the excuse to get out and walk around,
with only a cane in case he fell; he showed little sign of needing it.
Some of his vocabulary was garbled, but there was little trouble
understanding what he meant after a bit of struggle. He was pretty
cheery, really, and we had a good time. It's a good last memory for me.

Lou expected that after death, you're worm meat. The brain tumor having
taken his ability to read and write, he had said that he wanted to beat
the damn thing, but if he couldn't read and write afterwards, he'd then
kill himself. If there's anything left of you, Lou, beyond your legacy
and our memories, I know you'll give the fuckers hell. And critique
their style the whole fucking way.

Goddamn.

Ray Radlein

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>
> Ah, yes, Idaho, birthplace of Ezra Pound. That's why their license
> plates say "Famous Poetas."

Speaking of license plates, and keeping in mind that All Knowledge is
Contained in Fandom, can anyone tell me what the heck the deal was with
Indiana's license plates? For years, when I was younger, their plates
all said "Wander" in the small place at the center where the county name
is typically located on most states' plates. As a result, for a while, I
thought that was a county name. However, it eventually occurred to me
that it was quite unlikely that *every* car from Indiana was from the
same county; even if "Wander" was, say, Indianapolis' county, I should
have seen the occasional car from Fort Wayne or Gary. This left the
conclusion that it was a slogan of some kind. I gave it high marks for
pithiness, if so, but its exact meaning eluded me.

Then, several years later, the plates changed. Now they said "Back Home
Again."

Aha. A *sequel*. First, the entire state of Indiana evidently went
somewhere -- anywhere -- else, and now they had returned. Was there a
frustrated novelist working in the Indiana Highway Department, spinning
an understated tale of quest and fulfilment? If so, were these literary
works eligible for a Yugo Award?

Or was it the literal truth? Did the entire state simply step out for
dinner one day, and no one noticed? I'm sure that if anyone *had*
actually noticed an entire empty state (other than Montana, of course),
it would have made the news. Heck -- most of my relatives are from
Chicago; how could they have missed the abandonment of Indiana? Weren't
there, like, Pacers games, and Bobby Knight throwing referees and such,
during that time?

- Ray R.


--
*********************************************************************
"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to RULE THE SEVAGRAM!"

Ray Radlein - r...@learnlink.emory.edu
homepage coming soon! wooo, wooo.
*********************************************************************


Ulrika O'Brien

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) wrote:

>Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this is a
>quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.

Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
plates or a sticker afterthought. This serves to reinforce the
weirdness of Atlanta straddling three or four counties.
(At least three, but I can only remember Fulton and DeKalb
off hand...)


--
"Criticism is the only known antidote to error." -- David Brin

Ulrika O'Brien***ulr...@aol.com***caveat lector

Gary Farber

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

A couple of corrections: I typoed "Shelly Roeberg" the first time; Angelo
is Lou's nephew, not cousin, which I knew, but typed erroneously, and more
egregiously, Barry Smotroff was stabbed to death, not shot, which I had
garbled in my memory, but have been reminded of.

I also added to my e-mail version that Lynn Cohen Koehler was another
fan/ex-comics person who was there, which I meant to include in the posted
version, but forgot until after I posted it.

CV Lattin

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

P Nielsen Hayden wrote:

>
> In article <337801...@learnlink.emory.edu>, Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> wrote:
>
> >Speaking of license plates, and keeping in mind that All Knowledge is
> >Contained in Fandom, can anyone tell me what the heck the deal was with
> >Indiana's license plates? For years, when I was younger, their plates
> >all said "Wander" in the small place at the center where the county name
> >is typically located on most states' plates.
>
> Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this is a
> quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.

Florida too if I remember right. Here in New York, they couldn't do it,
because it would cause too many turf wars...

Pesach.

Ulrika O'Brien

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) wrote:
>In article <5la3nk$4...@news.service.uci.edu>, Ulrika O'Brien <uaob...@uci.edu> wrote:
>
>>Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
>>plates or a sticker afterthought.
>
>Yes, but doesn't Georgia have a new county every 750 yards or so?

Less than that in Metro Atlanta, but I hear it's not so bad,
out in the sticks. Well, not so bad in terms of unilateral
proliferation of counties; in other ways, like, say,
stockpiling boiled peanuts outside of a Class 4 bio containment
facility, the sticks are definitely worse.

P Nielsen Hayden

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

In article <5la3nk$4...@news.service.uci.edu>, Ulrika O'Brien <uaob...@uci.edu> wrote:

>Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
>plates or a sticker afterthought.

Yes, but doesn't Georgia have a new county every 750 yards or so?

-----

Ray Radlein

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

Ulrika O'Brien wrote:
>
> p...@tor.com (P Nielsen Hayden) wrote:
>
> >Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this
> >is a quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.
>
> Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
> plates or a sticker afterthought. This serves to reinforce the
> weirdness of Atlanta straddling three or four counties.
> (At least three, but I can only remember Fulton and DeKalb
> off hand...)

Atlanta itself is only in Fulton and (a little of) DeKalb counties.
However, if you include the metro Atlanta area, you get a region which,
depending on your definition of "metro" can easily include up to 20
counties. Most commonly, though, there is also Gwinnett, Cobb (home o'
Newt), Henry, Forsyth, Douglas, and Clayton. A little farther out you
have Rockdale, Walton, Newton, Barrow, Fayette, Paulding, Cherokee
(where our house-free land is; we remain stuck in Dekalb), Hall,
Spalding, Coweta, Butts, Carroll, and Bartow, all of which are still
local phone calls from Atlanta (actually, the local calling area for
Atlanta goes all the way into Alabama).

I believe the county names are printed on the plate, although if you
move into a new county, they'll give you a sticker to place over the old
name.

Ray Radlein

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>
> Ulrika O'Brien <uaob...@uci.edu> wrote:
>
> >Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
> >plates or a sticker afterthought.
>
> Yes, but doesn't Georgia have a new county every 750 yards or so?

The size of Georgia counties was, IIRC, established in colonial days.
The folks who decided the issue felt that everyone should be able to
make a day trip to the county seat if they had business there.

Ray Radlein

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

CV Lattin wrote:

>
> P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
> >
> > Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this
> > is a quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.
>
> Florida too if I remember right.

Yep; although when I first started driving, Florida had a really strange
way of differentiating counties on their license plates: The first part
of the license plate number was a numeric code representing the county
you were from, in numeric order of descending population. If you saw a
car with a "1," it was from Dade County (Miami). A "2" was, IIRC, Orange
County (Miami). "3" was Hillsborough (Tampa). "4" was Pinellas
(Clearwater/St. Pete). 5-8 were scattered amongst Citrus (Orlando), Polk
(Tampa-ish), Pasco (Tampa-ish), and Duvall (Jacksonville). This was
based on the 1960 or 1970 census, probably. And so they went, all the
way down to 68, which was probably Santa Clara, or some small panhandle
county.

Chuck Lipsig

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

CV Lattin <mas...@fantasylink.com> wrote:

>P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>>
>> In article <337801...@learnlink.emory.edu>, Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> wrote:
>>
>> >Speaking of license plates, and keeping in mind that All Knowledge is
>> >Contained in Fandom, can anyone tell me what the heck the deal was with
>> >Indiana's license plates? For years, when I was younger, their plates
>> >all said "Wander" in the small place at the center where the county name
>> >is typically located on most states' plates.
>>

>> Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this is a
>> quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.

>Florida too if I remember right. Here in New York, they couldn't do it,


>because it would cause too many turf wars...

Indeed, Florida does. But recently, I've been noticing that some plates
have "Sunshine State" where the county name goes. In addition, there are
a number of speciality plates from "Challenger" and "Save the Manatee" to
College and sports team plates that also lack the county name.

Chuck Lipsig lip...@atlantic.net Gainesville, FL

Who has actually seen an Orlando Predators license plate.
(N.B. The Predators are Orlando's Arena Football League team.)


Kevin Standlee

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> writes:

> P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
> >
> > Ulrika O'Brien <uaob...@uci.edu> wrote:
> >
> > >Georgia does, though I don't recall if they're embossed in the
> > >plates or a sticker afterthought.
> >
> > Yes, but doesn't Georgia have a new county every 750 yards or so?
>
> The size of Georgia counties was, IIRC, established in colonial days.
> The folks who decided the issue felt that everyone should be able to
> make a day trip to the county seat if they had business there.

Good thing we didn't do that in California -- we'd've ended up with
counties with no residents!

(California includes the first and third-largest counties in the USA: San
Bernardino and Inyo, respectively, which are each larger than several
Eastern states but consist primarily of mostly-uninhabited lands like
Death Valley.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Just a thought from Kevin Standlee -> (stan...@LunaCity.com)
LunaCity BBS - Mountain View, CA - 415 968 8140

syl...@redrose.net

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

Gary Farber wrote:
>
> > Chris was at the wake for Lou, which I've meant to write a bit
>about, but haven't been able to; herewith some quick and dirty words
>painfully and awkwardly forced out.
>
> Lou was only 44. Goddamn.
> Lou's wake was crowded: over a hundred people at the evening session,
> crowding the available rooms beyond capacity, so that most of us could
>not see who was speaking, as various friends, family, and colleagues
>spoke of the Lou we all knew ("the most arrogant sonofabitch I've ever
>met"); some folks stood on chairs for a time, including Moshe Feder,
>and Lise Eisenberg, and others. There was a confluence of people from
>the comics world, the sf world, the publishing world, the music world,
>and since Lou was editor of HIGH TIMES magazine at one point, for all
>I know, the drug world.
>

I attended Lou's wake as well. Unfortunately, I suffer from
claustrophobia and being wedged into the parlor with dozens of others as
they spoke about Lou and read aloud from various books,etc.
quickly proved too much for me. I ended up seeking refuge in the foyer
with Neal Gaiman and Ted McKeever and a couple of others, where we
discussed our memories of Lou quietly amongst ourselves, then I went and
sat with Matt Howarth & his wife in the parlor reserved at the end of
the hall for smokers (I've know Matt close to 10 years and this was the
first time we've met face-to-face).

Lou was my editor at DC/Vertigo. I can remember seeing his name on
magazine mastheads back during my college days. It never once crossed my
mind when I was reading HEAVY METAL that, a decade or so later, I'd be
standing in front of Lou's casket, genuinely distraught over having lost
a good friend.

Lou could be the snidest bastard on the face of the earth, but that's
what I liked about him. Apparently one of the things we had in common
was our inability to suffer fools gladly. We got along because we both
tended to view life with a slightly cocked & jaundiced eye--while
retaining enthusiasm for,and joy in, our profession. Like all cynics,
Lou was a romantic at heart.

I last saw Lou in late October, 1996. He wasn't up to going out to
dinner, so we ordered in and sat and talked for 4 hours. He had some
marked problems with word association (which worsened as he got tired or
frustrated,) but if you knew him well enough, you knew what he was
talking about. It was a good visit--and one where he spoke
enthusiastically, if somewhat disjointedly, about writing, editing,
publishing, music and the future.

I spoke to him a few times on the phone after that, but since he
couldn't remember who you were unless he was looking at you, these were
short and often confused converstations, with Lou constantly apologizing
for not being able to talk better and me constantly telling him it
wasn't his fault that parts of his brain were gone. I prefer to remember
him as I last saw him: standing at the elevator, telling me goodbye &
that he wanted to come visit as soon as he was up to it.

Nancy A.Collins

P.S. It's somewhat ironic, in regard to Gary Farber's original post,
that my editor at KitchenSink is Chris Couch.

Ray Radlein

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

Chuck Lipsig wrote:
>
> Indeed, Florida does. But recently, I've been noticing that some
> plates have "Sunshine State" where the county name goes.

Rentals, I suspect. For a time, all rental plates began with the letter
"Z," just as all unmarked police cars had plates which began with the
letter "Y." Eventually, these patterns were broken: in the first case,
because they probably ran out of possible new plates; and in the second,
because it somewhat defeated the purpose of the cars *being* unmarked.
Or so I suppose.

David G. Bell

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

In article <5lerk7$g...@news1.panix.com>
awnb...@panix.com "Michael R Weholt" writes:

> In article <337AA2...@learnlink.emory.edu>,

> Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> wrote:
> >Chuck Lipsig wrote:
> >> Indeed, Florida does. But recently, I've been noticing that some
> >> plates have "Sunshine State" where the county name goes.
> >
> >Rentals, I suspect. For a time, all rental plates began with the letter
> >"Z," just as all unmarked police cars had plates which began with the
> >letter "Y." Eventually, these patterns were broken: in the first case,
> >because they probably ran out of possible new plates;
>

> Perhaps it was just the hysterical media feeding on further
> evidence of the Breakdown of Civil Society, but I thought I read
> somewhere they stopped giving rentals "Z" plates because Highway
> Bandits were cruising the Florida freeways preying on tourists --
> easily identifiable, of course, by the "Z" plates.

More or less what I heard, and something which probably looked good to
the media, although maybe less effective than it seemed. But I imagine
it would be a pretty cheap option, compared to actually getting more
police officers out catching criminals.


--
David G. Bell -- Farmer, SF Fan, Filker, Furry, and Punslinger..


Chuck Lipsig

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> wrote:

>Chuck Lipsig wrote:
>>
>> Indeed, Florida does. But recently, I've been noticing that some
>> plates have "Sunshine State" where the county name goes.

>Rentals, I suspect. For a time, all rental plates began with the letter
>"Z," just as all unmarked police cars had plates which began with the
>letter "Y." Eventually, these patterns were broken: in the first case,

>because they probably ran out of possible new plates; and in the second,
>because it somewhat defeated the purpose of the cars *being* unmarked.
>Or so I suppose.

I thought it might be rentals, too. But the reason that "Z" plates were
dropped from rental cars was that carjackers and their ilk were targetting
those cars for their activities. Identifying rentals by the "Sunshine
State" plates would bring back that problem.

Chuck Lipsig lip...@atlantic.net Gainesville, FL

It's not just a .sig -- It's a .lipsig.


Chuck Lipsig

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

Ray Radlein <r...@learnlink.emory.edu> wrote:

>CV Lattin wrote:
>>
>> P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>> >
>> > Most states _don't_ put a county name on their plates, in fact; this
>> > is a quirk confined to Iowa and a few others.
>>
>> Florida too if I remember right.

>Yep; although when I first started driving, Florida had a really strange


>way of differentiating counties on their license plates: The first part
>of the license plate number was a numeric code representing the county
>you were from, in numeric order of descending population. If you saw a
>car with a "1," it was from Dade County (Miami). A "2" was, IIRC, Orange
>County (Miami). "3" was Hillsborough (Tampa). "4" was Pinellas
>(Clearwater/St. Pete). 5-8 were scattered amongst Citrus (Orlando), Polk
>(Tampa-ish), Pasco (Tampa-ish), and Duvall (Jacksonville). This was
>based on the 1960 or 1970 census, probably. And so they went, all the
>way down to 68, which was probably Santa Clara, or some small panhandle
>county.

Hope you don't mind a few corrections, but up to a few weeks ago this
was an area of expertise for me. Orange County is Orlando's county.
Broward County is the one north of Miami that includes Ft. Lauderdale.

Citrus County is a retirement haven, on the Gulf Coast, about halfway
between Gainesville and Tampa-St. Pete. One of the fastest growing
counties in the nation, it's population in 1970 was approx. 10,000. By
1990 it was just over 100,000 and has continued to grow.

The panhandle county you're thinking of is Santa Rosa. Which isn't that
small (at over 100,000 people). Mind you, it might have been sometime
back.

And there are 67 counties.

Chuck Lipsig lip...@atlantic.net Gainesville, FL

Who's realizing how mentally naked he feels without access to all that
data.


RSmith2678

unread,
May 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/18/97
to

In article <33796D...@learnlink.emory.edu>, Ray Radlein
<r...@learnlink.emory.edu> writes:

>Yep; although when I first started driving, Florida had a really strange
>way of differentiating counties on their license plates: The first part
>of the license plate number was a numeric code representing the county
>you were from, in numeric order of descending population. If you saw a
>car with a "1," it was from Dade County (Miami). A "2" was, IIRC, Orange
>County (Miami). "3" was Hillsborough (Tampa). "4" was Pinellas
>(Clearwater/St. Pete). 5-8 were scattered amongst Citrus (Orlando), Polk
>(Tampa-ish), Pasco (Tampa-ish), and Duvall (Jacksonville). This was
>based on the 1960 or 1970 census, probably. And so they went, all the
>way down to 68, which was probably Santa Clara, or some small panhandle
>county.

Nebraska still uses this system. I believe the numbering is based on
the 1920 census. The number assigned to each county is used not just
for license plates, but for other legal purposes such as income tax
records and marriage licenses. Most native Nebraskans can tell you
what their county's number is without even stopping to think about it.

--Randy Smith
RSmit...@aol.com

--The Guy From Nebraska


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages