H. L. Mencken
Subject: Mencken


I've been worshiping Mencken since I read Alister's book Disturber of the Peace, back in Junior College when I was seventeen or so.

Then I read pieces of Mencken's "Prejudices" series from the American Mercury. "Prejudice" volumes were being discarded at the Carnege Flint Library where I swept, mopped, filled the stoker and put on LP music poetry and drama records at 6AM on Saturdays. Filled the fucking library full of poetry, prose, authors, music on the PA system. At 6AM it rocked.

Throwing out the empty cans of heat the homeless spooned, and the homeless themselves came later in the day when I closed her up. Ah, what a wonderful review you let someone else write. I recall still a line from "Prejudices." Mencken wrote of a Boston Presbyterian church so holy, "On dark nights you could see the Holy Ghost dancing among the chimney pots. " I think Watch and Ward were pretty active in Boston along with the Comstockers. That got Mencken's goat.

Add to my disappointment I didn't get to the 2004 Annual Mencken Weekend in Baltimore. My favorite Spectator Bitch, Julie Burchill was speaking. The one from Cornwall. Didn't get to that or the one last summer either

Added to my life of tragedy my strongly anticipated Elderhostel trip to Vegas last week was cancelled. Called "Virtue and Vice," a history of gambling and prostitution in Vegas, sponsored by some college there. Not enough elders wanted the Vice part I guess. I was rather anticipating the Lectures on "How To Run A Hooker" and "Making the Brothel Pay." The last was the highlight of the trip in which we Elders were to be taken to an actual sporting house for our lecture.

Then comes your note about the Mencken review --- I've been unable to bear to read someone else on Mencken --- and your weatherperson report! Its running 15 or 20 degrees here. The latter is the high for the day. Actually feeling rather proud of myself for....as I tell my dog, "Just hunkering down and bearing it and bitching ... but secretly pleased."

The gratuitous news of your fine weather did me little good except for the jealousy thing. The sinking ship --- which end was going under? --- did buoy me up a bit though.

The good news is that my library is holding Turgenev Fathers and Children for me as well as Van Heerden's The Storms that Sank New Orleans and Hughes' The Things I Didn't Know. An added bonus is that my spouse who has been around since Xmas is returning to NYC next week. She did pretty well in the Cheerful Micromanaging Department through New Year's. Good Ceremonial occasions with the kids and their significant others. Since then it's been a bit trying. On Wednesday or Thursday, me, the dog, and cat, books and Wild Turkey will celebrate and exhale. God is good.

Just read in The Economist that ironists attribute Harvard's Endowment Annual Increase of 23% to the fact they don't listen to their economics department.

Also someone today suggested that although History doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes.

--- Cheers
Paul Nickel
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