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Letters, Mar. 7, 1938

10 minute read



Jimminy Crickets ! TIME, please do not let a smart-alecky “future admiral” take you for a sea jaunt [TIME, Feb. 21]. “W. T. Door”—water-tight door in seagoing jargon. . . .

Pardon scratchy script—vessel is rolling.


Seaman Second Class

U. S. S. Seattle

Navy Yard

Brooklyn, N. Y.


You printed a letter from a midshipman signed “W. T. Door.” You may be interested to know that this is a pseudonym, equivalent to the civilian’s “John Doe.” It is taken from the marking found frequently on ship’s doors, meaning “watertight door.”


U. S. Naval Academy

Annapolis, Md.

Prankish sailors will not take in TIME twice. “Charley Noble” is ship slang for a galley funnel. “Joe Gish,” at Annapolis as at Princeton and other universities throughout the land, is equivalent to the civilian “John Doe.” And Reader Noble’s U.S.S. Seattle can scarcely be rolling, for it has not been out of the Brooklyn navy yard for ten years.—ED.

Not Nosy


That smart crack you made in your issue of Jan. 31 about nosy notaries being unable to see figures on the 1937 income tax blanks because of one of Magill’s reforms in putting the affidavit on the back instead of the front ! . . . I am most surprised that it did not dawn upon TIME . . . that before a notary can certify to any instrument, it must be looked over carefully to see that it is properly filled out.

While I have a long nose, it is not nosy enough to give a damn what figures appear on anyone’s income tax statement, and I guess I certify as many as any notary. . . .


Notary Public

San Francisco, Calif.

To TIME, long-nosed Reader Shea’s lack of curiosity seems unenterprising.—ED.



Mention in the current issue of TIME [Feb. 14] regarding the arrival in this country of Lord Leverhulme, English soap magnate, recalls an amusing incident at the time the first Lord Leverhulme, then but plain W. H. Lever, made his debut in British politics.

Lever was contesting the Wirral (Cheshire) district, in opposition to one Holt. The year was 1908 or thereabout.

Holt had local billboards liberally beplastered with huge posters reading, “Vote for Holt and swim with the flowing tide.”

Clever Mr. Lever countered with “Vote for Lever and dam the flowing tide.” Lever won the election. . . .


Philadelphia, Pa.

Some Trouble


In your issue of Jan. 10, reference is made to the “180-ft. bottom” of the Yangtze. I think you will find that it is not so deep as this anywhere within 100 or so miles of Nanking.

I believe the Yangtze would have some trouble getting uphill into the Yellow Sea if this were true. . . .


Harrisburg, Pa.

According to Universal Cameraman Norman Alley and the U. S. Navy, when the Panay anchored at the spot where it was sunk, soundings were taken: 180 ft.—ED.

Little Men


The wittiest account of anything I have read in a long time is the account of the little men’s futile and comical excursion to Washington [TIME, Feb. 14] There were some belly laughs for me in it. Sometimes I think conventions—political or otherwise—show the human race at its silliest. . . .

Anyway, the little businessmen didn’t stop traffic . . . and they didn’t throw bags of water out of windows and engage in other harmless and diverting horse play. Of course they didn’t accomplish anything either, but why expect them to prove the exception?


New York City


TIME usually reports accurately and fairly, but when it devotes three lines to the serious side of the small businessmen’s conference and two pages to belittling, it is misleading its readers. It should study the resolutions of the eleven groups; especially those of the Committee on Unemployment, which received from the general conference the greatest applause as the result of the matured thought and experience of sane and sound business with a definite and constructive outline of how to restore confidence and end unemployment. TIME missed entirely the deep significance of the breakdown of the steamroller at the opening of the conference.



Northeastern Group Small Business Men

Lawrence, Mass.


Snobs ! Smutchers ! Stirrers of wrath—most reporters of the doings of the “Little Men.”

Far from being funny, this episode will go down in history as showing the common people what little chance we now have of being heard or given a chance in this critical period. But, there will come a time—.

I got sick and tired of listening to two penny reporters ridiculing the efforts ot the backbone of our nation. . . .


Baltimore, Md.

Pit Dogs


I was very interested in seeing how you handled “Dog Fight” [TIME, Feb. 7].

Dog fights are not by any means always to the death There is a line across the middle of the pit over which the dog must cross to attack his opponent. When a dog is unable or unwilling to cross this line he loses. In fact the ruling is stricter. The dog must cross to the other dog’s corner and take hold of his opponent.

Dogs often fail on this, due to lack o condition or tendency to “quit.” The last mentioned cause usually causes the dog be destroyed, so as not to perpetuate such lack of quality.

The sponge and towel are used before the fight to wash and dry the dogs to prevent coats having been doped with poison.

The cat, that caused the fight to become known, was probably used not to irritate the dog, but to make him work on a treadmill to get him in condition.

Fighting dogs are an old breed and most of the modern show types of bulldogs and bull terriers have originated from the dogs of the fighting pit. The correct name for the dogs in your picture is Am. Pit Bullterrier (not bulldog) ….


Tallahassee, Fla.



Although I have found TIME heretofore a very exacting magazine, I noticed an error in the Feb. 14 issue. The party, or “Mock Bachelors’ Cotillion” as you termed it [which young Blaine Fairless, son of U.S. Steel’s Benjamin Fairless, helped organize], actually had a receiving line of young men [not young women] holding bouquets of vegetables. Mr. Fairless was one of this number.

Dick Shields Jr.

Shields, Pa.

TIME’s thanks to Reader Shields for clearing up a delicate point.—ED.

I Accuse?


The Feb. 14 issue of TIME states that in the February elections, the Spanish Rightests outpolled the Leftists by about 340,000 votes. Yet, according to Louis Fischer (writer for the Nation), the Popular Front received 422,000 more votes than the Rightest party. Whom shall I accuse?


Minneapolis, Minn.

Let Reader Karatz accuse no one. Louis Fischer divided Spanish votes among the Right, the Left, the Centre. TIME divided them between Leftists and Rightists. The current “official figures” of the Spanish Information Bureau in Manhattan also divide them between Leftists and Rightists, with the Centre parties listed as leftists.—ED.

Confrey v. Lopez


. . . Vincent Lopez [TIME, Feb. 7] proposes that the melody of the immortal “Star Spangled Banner” be changed. . . .

Mr. Lopez objects to the high notes of “the rocket’s red glare.” Would he expect anyone to describe rockets with low notes? . . . He also objects to “land of the free” as being too high. Instead of being too high, it is one of the loveliest climaxes ever written to any song. … I have been a composer for many years, and have never heard as much as one complaint about the high notes of our National Anthem until Mr. Lopez came along. . . .


Riverdale, N. Y.

Mr. Confrey’s most memorable composition is Kitten on The Keys.—ED.

Some of the Boys


In a recent issue of TIME [Nov. 15] I found the address of a recruiting station of the French Foreign Legion in Algeria. … I have lost this issue and the address. I wonder if I could have this looked up for me. Some of the boys here would like to join the Legion and be paroled to the French Government if possible. . . . We would sincerely appreciate this information. . . .


S.R.D. Camp 35

Floral City, Fla.

Enrollment headquarters for the 1st Regiment Etranger are in Algiers, Algeria. But Reader Ragean and friends have small chance of being paroled to the Legion unless the Florida board of pardons has been reading bad fiction lately.—ED.

Broad A


Since the “broad A sound as in what” [TIME, Feb. 21] is not a broad A but a short U. Judge Wham must expect all TIME readers to pronounce him “Whum” until further notice.


Cambridge, Mass.

TIME is appalled at Cantabrigian Miss Franklin’s pronunciation of what.—ED.



You gave many of your readers a fine thrill in printing the picture of that wonderful character “Margery” in your issue of Feb. 21. Scientifically read, every feature and every line of that face indicates honesty and sincerity.

It happens I have personally known this Margery for many years and positively know her to be all she claims to be; there is no know fraud at all in anything she does.


Pierre, S. Dak.

Slave, Woman, Infidel


To celebrate its 15th birthday, TIME is reviving malicious libel. . . . Referring to TIME, Vol. 1, No. 1, Miscellany: a Polish Jew does not thank God he is not “a dog, a woman, of a Christian.” A Polish Jew gives prayer of thanks “he was not created a slave, he was not created a woman, he was not created a goy.” There is no reference to dogs in the entire Jewish prayer book. The prayer originated 2,000 years ago in days of slavery, legal incapacity for females, idolatry among the goyim. Goy does not mean a Christian. Goyim literally means a people of the earth ; in slang it means a non-Jew, an infidel. . . . Women were absolved of rituals and incapacitated to worship. Non-Jews, infidels, presumably never learned the true light. The last view is a bit narrow-minded, but characteristic of all orthodox religions. Anyway, it is far cry between “Thank God I am neither dog nor Christian” and . . . “Thank God I am neither slave nor infidel.”. . .


Wilmington, Del.

To TIME’S Miscellany Editor of 15 years ago, a rebuke.—ED.

In a Mist


TIME’S Religion editor’s memory was rusty and his researcher was careless when one wrote and the other passed the statement that Lord Hugh Cecil has a brother who is Bishop of Exeter [TIME, Feb. 21]. The Bishop—Lord William—died almost two years ago.

One of the nicest of English prelates, Lord William certainly had the nicest white whiskers of any of them. As he cycled at a merry speed round his Devonshire See, his whiskers and Episcopal apron flapped in the wind and anyone could tell a mile off who was coming. Because of his thick whiskers which hid a very jolly face, his clergy nicknamed him “Love in a mist.”


Bronxville, N. Y.

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