My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1970 NOT for minors

The Corona virus appears, when least expected, In this case in my memories of my first ā€œrealā€ job now 50 years ago. ā€œO tempora! O mores!ā€ as that old windbag Cicero once exclaimed.

Afterward: For more on how Scanlanā€™s Monthly in June 1970 failed to disrupt that august race try as it might to disrupt the derby as effectively as Covid-19 already has, please six years ago, I published this account of my eight month career at Scanlanā€™s because Ā I badly needed to raise money to attend my younger daughter Amelia Altalenaā€™s wedding where I ā€œgave away the bride.ā€ This posting below was a gimmick to sell my complete set of Scanlanā€™s Monthly.Had I not loved my daughter so, I might have waited forever before parting for $480 with this memory of what I had done when I was 23ā€“ now 50 years ago.

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Next time think twice about Germany

Think twice about Germany. From my personal collection.

Premature Publication

Why this posting is being published before completion:

  1. To await the references from William Gillis, editor The American Historian, to arrive by U.S. mail. Gillis is the author of a brilliant paper on Scanlan’s Monthly written as a graduate student at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Here is a link to the paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Toronto, Canada, August: 2004. http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0411a&L=aejmc&P=46716
  2. To acknowledge that without Gillisā€™s paper giving my 8 issue service at Scanlanā€™s a patina of respectability, I would not have had the courage to write let alone publish this work in progress.
  3. To sell a complete set on Scanlanā€™s on e-Bay or to the highest bidder, preferably a well-healed university. Gillis says it is difficult now for scholars to read the publication. [Scholars!]
  4. To entice Ralph Steadman to send me the original drawings of his work that appeared in Scanlanā€™s. Most especially, this one which I saw him create at the editorial offices above a bar in the then seedy section of Times Square.Ā Ā Scanned from my personal collection

Scanned from my personal collection

  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 7Ā instead of 1?] As a kindly suggestion for Chanukah / Christmas presents to suggest purchasing childrenā€™s book and not-for-children art as gifts while the British pound is weak and the dollar strong: http://www.ralphsteadman.com/
  2. To locate J.C. Suares whose work at Scanlanā€™s prepared for the creation with David Schneiderman of the op-ed page of The New York Times.
  3. To express appreciation to Warren Hinckle III [http://www.argonaut360.com/] not only for having shared with him months of near-lunacy [near?] but appreciation for his work at Rampartā€™s which convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. to denounce the War in Vietnam.
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector
  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 9Ā instead of 1?] To allow frequent site contributor Hadley Baxendale to make a pre-publication comment to this prematurely published posting.
  2. To convince my skeptical webmaster and friend Kathy Forer I really did work for a publication that PAID for advertising
  3. To insert a permalink in my published, incomplete, and out of control posting on ENRIQUE IGLESIAS https://joelsolkoff.com/enrique-iglesias-plucks-an-adoring-fan-from-the-audience-sings-with-her-on-stage-as-she-and-he-take-cell-phone-photos/

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My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1971 [NOT for minors]

Working at Scanlanā€™s was one of the weirdest experiences of my life

The advertisement that begins this posting is a good example of what I mean by weird:

ThisĀ is the back cover of the second issue of Scanlanā€™s Monthly where in 1970 I worked on the editorial staff after having been hired at the downstairs bar of Sardiā€™s Restaurant.

This is the upstairs bar at Sardiā€™s:Ā Ā Sardiā€™s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardiā€™s is across from the center of the theatre district.

Sardiā€™s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardiā€™s is across from the center of the theater district.

The restaurant appears regularly in films showing Broadway producers, playwrights, and actors celebrating or bemoaning the first performance of a play. Generally, the scene includes an out loud reading of a review from The New York Times, a review that either made or broke the play. [Note: the offices of The New York Times are around the corner; Clive Barnes then its theater critic was a bar regular.]

Working out of bars in fancy New York City restaurants was an essential part of my first real job after graduating from Columbia College. [Many years later President Barack Obama received his bachelorā€™s degree from Columbia.]

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I was 21 years old, having majored in Medieval European History without a salable skill to my name except the bravado to convince the magazineā€™s already notorious editors to hire me.

This was regarded as a dream job for any journalism school graduate. Only I was not a journalism graduate and had no formal training. As it would turn out, now that I am weeks away from my 67th birthday, I had no formal training to do any of the jobs that punctuated my career including:

  • Writing a speech for a controversial President of Lebanon who was literally blown up before he was able to deliver it
  • Publishing a book on food policy read by the most influential Secretary of Agriculture in my lifetime with whom I became telephone buddies after he was forced to resign from office in disgrace
  • Working on a report on the M1 tank for Congressā€™ General Accountability Office
  • Serving as a political appointee in the Carter Administration in a job requiring extensive security clearance and confirmation by the U.S. Senate
  • Designing on-line documentation for startup companies in the Silicon Valley of California describing how to use a software product when the software had not yet been completed

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My first task of the day was to report to my boss the late Sidney Zion, co-editor of Scanlanā€™s Monthly. Instead of going to the magazineā€™s office, located between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, I got off the subway at Eighth Avenue and climbed the steps to the bar. Sidney appeared, first thing in the morning (11 A.M.) for his first scotch on the rocks.

Sidney, formerly a legal reporter for The New York Times, was my boss because only he was allowed to write checks.

Sidneyā€™s co-editor Warren Hinckle, III, who had turned Rampartā€™s Magazine from a Catholic school publication into the Bible of the 1960s counterculture, was so notoriously a spendthrift he had to ask Sidney to write checks for his many expensive story ideas and ventures.

Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Warren was the most brilliant editor I ever worked for. (I have worked withĀ many brilliant editors). With rare often disquieting exceptions, Sidney did little work.

Warren ran the magazine. Running the magazine was often a complicated affair because Warren lived in San Francisco where he had an office and staff ā€”flying into New York once a week. My first experience with a FAX was the now primitive contraption that tied the two offices together sending editorial material and nonsense back and forth from coast to coast.

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Let us start with the advertisement that begins this posting: Think twice about Germany. The third issue of Scanlanā€™s, for which I co-authored with Warren the cover story on Russian Pornography, had an editorial ā€œTHAT LUFTHANSA AD.ā€

The editors explained:

ā€œSince Scanlanā€™s charges money to print letters to the editor (write us a letter and weā€™ll send you the rates), we make things more or less even by buying advertising. Our back cover last month carried an ad for Lufthansa, the German airlinesā€”but not from Lufthansa.

ā€œSome ads we buy because the editors like them and think they make interesting readingā€¦.Other ads we buy for other reasons, as you will see. One such ad appeared last month on our back cover. And for that story we take you to Advertising Age, the weekly newspaper of the advertising industry.

ā€œNEW YORK, April 1ā€”Second thoughts about the new Lufthansa German Airlinesā€™ ad theme, ā€˜Think twice about Germany,ā€™ appears to be in order.

ā€œScanlanā€™s Monthlyā€™s April issue carries what at first glance appears to be a Lufthansa ad, but at second glance turns out to be a doctored version.

ā€œThe back cover ad of Scanlanā€™s substitutes two photos for the gemuelich scenes carried in the original Lufthansa ad, by Dā€™Arcey Advertising. One of the pictures in the spurious ad shows a nude woman, hands bound behind her, about to be thrashed by a soldier while a cameraman records the scene. The second picture shows Wehrmacht officers giving the ā€˜Heil, Hitlerā€™ salute.ā€

Thus endeth the editorial.

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Subsequent Ad Age reports, read by the Scanlanā€™s staff avidly, reported the agency pulled its expensive campaign, one executive complaining about Scanlanā€™s ā€œThey did not even bother to show it to us first.ā€

A lasting consequence of Warren and Sidneyā€™s stunt is today all advertising contains a copyright line, not then considered necessary because no publication ever had the effrontery to BUY advertising.

After revealing one of my first tasks on the job was to deliver by hand the check to the man who doctored the ad, the best way to proceed is to show how buying ads was possible.

What follows are photographs of the covers of each of the eight monthly magazines (with short descriptions of each) Scanlanā€™s produced before it went bankrupt and I was left unemployed.

The first issue of Scanlan's Monthly, March 1970
The first issue of Scanlan’s Monthly, March 1970 from my personal collection.
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlanā€™s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlanā€™s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Table of Contents

TOC_Russian

Russianporn1

Ā coverRussian1

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Scanlanā€™s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlanā€™s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlanā€™s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlanā€™s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlanā€™s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: ā€œThis issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.ā€ Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.
Scanlanā€™s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlanā€™s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: ā€œThis issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.ā€ Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.

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Copyright 2014 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved. As for the copyright status of bankrupt Scanlan's Monthly itself, the author welcomes comments from well-credentialed copyright attorneys.Ā 

My first scooter: Originally published as a Valentine to the Durable Medical Equipment Industry

Ā [The following was originally published in the February, 2011 edition of HME News as a Valentine to the Durable Medical Equipment industry. The love continues.]

I was so angry, wild with fatigue, that I lifted my ugly drug store cane intending to destroy my employerā€™s computer printer. This was in Californiaā€™sĀ Silicon Valley. The printer was networked to nine computers. After a late night writing a portion of a manual on silicon wafer inspection, I commanded the computer to print.

After I weaved my way to the printer (seemingly miles away from the computer), there was no document. Five trips back and forth (nothing each time) and my level of frustration caught up to my level of exhaustion. My control was at the breaking point.

Six months previously, I had lost my ability to walk. The concepts I was writing about were hard to understand even when I had been healthy and well-rested. My ability to physically support my body was shaky. I fell several times a day. My right arm had been badly dislocated in a fall. What I needed was a fore-arm crutch with properly fitted prosthetics or a scooter. My doctors focused on understanding how I lost the ability to walk and little on how I could live without walking.

Mortgage payments were due. Home was North Carolina where a wife and two elementary-school-aged children waited. The local economy determined technical writers were not currently needed. At the same time (1996), California needed my skills as of yesterday and I was promptly hired forĀ KLA-Tencor, a company paying large sums to do fascinating work.

I did not break the printer. I drove to my apartment, slept and thumbed the yellow pages praying for relief. I did not know what I was looking for. After a while, I left a voice mail with a dealer in wheelchairs andĀ scootersĀ (not knowing then what a scooter was). That is how I purchased my first mobility device.

Scott returned my call and listened to my situation. We talked price. He recommended a used front-wheel drive scooter. I was skeptical. ā€œLet me show you how it works,ā€ he said, crossed town quickly and lifted a scooter from his truck. I sat down and drove circles around the empty street. My able-bodied college friendĀ David Phillips, in whose house I had an apartment, was fascinated.Ā Keeping DavidĀ from driving my scooter was hard.

I had discovered three important things about mobility devices:

    • They are fun.
    • They take away the drudgery of not being able to walk.
    • They remove the image that I am someone to be pitied.

I arrived atĀ KLA-Tencor, having:

    • Given ScottĀ a down payment (the beginning of many, mostly personal, expenditures, on equipment, including rear-wheel Ā driveĀ scooters, power chairs, wheelchair lifts and ramps)
    • Taken the scooter apart myself and shakily inserted the parts into the trunk
    • Slid sidewise hugging the Pontiacā€™s body
    • Reversed the process

My colleagues applauded. I had solved a physical problem with a technical solution and in theĀ Silicon ValleyĀ that was worthy of commendation.

As I look back on the past 14 years, especially worthy of commendation are you, the suppliers ofĀ DMEPOS. My time with you here is almost up. Traditionally a column is about 750 words. I have used most of them. A 750-word column can express effectively only one major idea. That idea is that you, the medical suppliers, and people like me, your customers, are a family.

We are a family surviving in a world whereĀ David Stockman, Ronald Reaganā€™s former budget director, said in November on ABC News that the United States can no longer afford to provide its disabled citizens with ā€œscooters.ā€ As competitive bidding illustrates, clearly a bipartisan effort is underway to make it difficult for the disabled to receive mobility and otherĀ DMEPOSĀ devices and for you, our local medical suppliers, to get paid for them or even to stay in business.

The pain is especially felt by indigent consumers and small suppliers. In this month where every day is Valentineā€™s Day, it is helpful to remember the words ofĀ Benjamin FranklinĀ (an amorous man if ever there was one) on the signing of the Declaration of Independence: ā€œWe must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.ā€

–Joel Solkoff is a monthly columnist on disability and elderly related issues for Voices in State College, Pa. He is the author of three books, including The Politics of Food and Learning to Live Again: My Triumph Over Cancer. He served in the Carter Administration as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Labor. He has a bipartisan loathing of anyone trying to keep assistive technology from individuals with disabilitiesā€”a loathing he is trying to turn into corrective love.