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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just How Much Reviewing Does Sondheim Need? 3.

Plan D was sitting right under my nose all the time.
I just didn't think to look there.

Over the phone, I lamented my plight to my loyal friend and blogreader, Lee.
He quickly asked "What do I do?"
I responded "You're an archivist".
"Correct," he said.
And where do I do it?"
"At the Brooklyn Public Library", I replied.
"And what do you suppose they might have there?", he asked.
"You think they have the Sondheim Review?" I asked, in anticipation.
"We have EVERYTHING", he replied with pride

Within fifteen minutes, I received PDF files of ALL the puzzles.
Well, ALMOST all the puzzles.

There's a great old joke about an old Jewish woman taking her grandson Irving to the beach at Coney Island,
Irving goes into the ocean, wearing his water wings, because he can't swim without them.

Cue the thunder and lightning.
An enormous downpour fills Coney Island and the ocean.
Little Irving in his little water wings is stuck out in the middle of the ocean, fighting for his life.
Grandma is frantic. She approaches the lifeguard.
"Mister! You've got to save my little Irving!
He's out there in the ocean and he can't swim!
Irving goes under for the first time.
The lifeguard swims out after him.
He catches up to him.
Irving goes under for the second time.
The lifeguard pulls him up, and drags him back to shore, performing mouth to mouth rescusitation on little Irving.
Irving recovers.
Grandma is beside herself with gratitude.
"Oh, thank you! Thank you Mister! You saved my little Irving"
"Just in the line of duty ma'am" responds the lifeguard.
Grandma then adds "Oh......just one more thing. He had a hat".

Lee had not sent the Winter 2010 issue, assuming I had it.
But the complementary issue they sent me was for Spring 2011
I alluded to "He had a hat", he got the reference immediately, which is why I love him, and five minutes later, I had the hat.
The entire ten puzzles. For free.

Speaking of free, this gave me the freedom to send the e-mail that I wanted to send them all along.

For your perusal:


Well. it's becoming apparent that I've been dissed, blown off, and left to twist in the wind.
Just because I asked you for some cryptic puzzles at a fair price.
I suppose you have the right to do that.
I suppose you consider yourself above haggling.
Or even responding to haggling.
But you don't seem to be above panhandling: Placing TWO, count'em, TWO solicitations for donations on the front page of your Website.
I guess this means that you consider yourself at least TWICE as worthy of donations as the folks of Darfur, Haiti, Katrina victims, Jerry's Kids, The Salvation Army, Orphans, Food Banks,and the Homeless.
Because, after all, you're doing the world such a noble service: Telling us more about Sondheim than anyone could possibly want to know.
If I was James Lapine (Sondheim's chief collaborator) or Jonathan Tunick (Sondheim's chief orchestrator), and asked for those puzzles, I would already have them, at no cost, with no haggling, with your lips firmly pressed on my ass.
Because they are so much more important than I am.
I guess you only want donations where you don't have to lift a finger.

I originally approached you about these puzzles because the nearest library that had back issues of your magazine is over a hundred miles away from my house. Another example of not cost-effective.
But, as it turns out, I have a friend who works for the Brooklyn Public Library system.
With very little prompting, he sent me all the puzzles.
I now have them.

I also have a very popular blog that has a far larger readership than you do.
And there's probably some overlapping.
I write about Sondheim occasionally.
When someone does a Google search for Sondheim, my articles are often hit.

I now intend to tear your fawning, snooty, sycophantic, elitist, masturbatory magazine a wide one in an upcoming article on my blog called
"Just How Much Reviewing Does Sondheim Need?".
I'm already sharpening my darts.

By rudely ignoring me, you've created a lose-lose situation for yourself: You won't get my money, or my renewed subscription, and you'll get some very negative publicity.
Who knows? Maybe you regard negative publicity as better than no publicity at all.
You've also created a win-win situation for me: I'll have the pleasure of doing the puzzles for free, and I'll have the pleasure of writing and posting this article.
At the moment, I don't know which will give me more pleasure.
It will appear at
Coming soon to a computer near you.
This is what happens when you give someone the back of your hand for no reason.

Mark Rothman

If you are a subscriber, I mean no offense. Who knows? Maybe you're in it for the puzzles.
But these are the kind of people you're dealing with.

So whattya think? Did I tear them a wide enough one, too wide a one. or just the right size wide one?


1 comment:

  1. Gotta tell you. The "he had a hat" joke is legendary in my family, both when I was younger -- and may have first heard Henny Youngman tell it -- and now with my wife and kids. The phrase "He had a hat!" is shorthand for "I've practically killed myself to get this done for you, moved mountains, forded streams, gone above and beyond, and instead of thanks I get "so what else?" (another phrase my mother has patented, or should have).

    In my profession, "he had a hat" happens at least two or three times a week. This simple joke is sheer genius as an allegorical fable about man's inhumanity to man's humanity.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."