Date:         Wed, 15 Mar 1995 12:50:41 -0400
From: "Ol' blue eyes" 
Subject:      Torkel's first FTF
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

As I discovered yesterday, I'm the first wordsler Torkel has ever seen 
(Marcia doesn't count, of course, since she became a wordsler only after 
they knew each other). I am deeply honored.

Marcia and Torkel picked an absolutely *perfect* afternoon to visit The
Farm -- 75 degrees, bright sun, soft breeze.  We can only hope that
early July comes close to such a marvelous day.

As always, my directions were easy to follow, and they arrived to
effusive greetings by Tasha and Scotty.  I should note at the outset
that Torkel goes absolutely gaga over animals, and that they are equally
appreciative of him.  Same with Marcia.

We started out by wandering about our acreage, examining the various
buildings, plantings, vistas.  The dogs accompanied us, of course, and
were entertained by the tossing of sticks, cornhusks, and whatever else
happened to be lying about.

Later, we retired to the house, cracked open a few beers (Penn Pilsener
was new to both of them, and was well-appreciated).  We talked of all
and sundry, from Sweden to politics, from wordslers to soccer, from
Necco wafers to skunks.  Dinner consisted of a very fine beef stew with
kidney beans (he said, patting himself on the back) spiced with allspice
and garam masala, along with salad, bread, and a bit more beer.

Impressions --

        a)  it's true ... Torkel and Brad *are* doppelgangers.
        b)  Marcia is wise beyond her years, and they make a fine,
natural couple.  If the Swedish bureaucrats don't welcome her
application for residency, they'll be making a big mistake.
        c)  the somewhat dour, pedantic Torkel of early WORDS-L days was
nowhere to be seen.
        d)  his English is unaccented (no, Natalie, he doesn't sound
like you).
        e)  just about the only words-related discussion of the day
turned out to be between Marcia and me ... she mentioned 'pop,' I
countered with 'soda.'  That's an Eriean contrasted with a
        f)  in discussing 'age' (he and I are both 44), Torkel revealed
a minor secret.  I'll let Marcia and Torkel decide when/how/whether to
let the rest of you know about it; my lips are sealed.

All in all, a fabulous WORDS-L experience.  I recommend to everyone
who can possibly find a way to get to New York next Tuesday evening that
it *behooves* them to do so.

neal                  412-624-0097 (office)
                         412-624-7397 (fax)
                      "I'm a farmer ..."  -- Max Yasgur

Date:         Fri, 17 Mar 1995 00:38:19 -0500
From: Marcia Booser 
Subject:      Re: Torkel's first FTF
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

Torkel and I are both going to write about the day. I get to go
first. As Neal said, we found our way without problem but the road to
his house was just a narrow dirt lane and I had to exclaim, "If my
mom saw me driving her car in this..." Otherwise no problem. We were
greeted by two barking dogs and 3 gorgeous cats. One cat Simon, had
stitches all down his back from major surgery. (Don't forget to post
what the biopsy results were!) We made quick friends, despite the
fact that Tasha smelled a little of skunk (so did Torkel by the end
of the day). His cat Miles, decided that we were so nice that he
wanted to go home with us (he was in the car when we getting ready to
leave.)The farm was a typical PA farm and beautiful, of course. Neal
was a very laid-back, relaxed kind of guy and was quite proud of his
new-found status as a farmer. Dinner was creative and really good. I
thought the kidney beans in the beef stew were a nice touch. I'll try
it some time.

        My impressions can be easily summed up. Go to Wordstock '95!
You will not regret it! Nice farm, wonderful animals and a great
host! You'll regret not attending!

>b)  Marcia is wise beyond her years, and they make a fine,
>natural couple.  If the Swedish bureaucrats don't welcome her
>application for residency, they'll be making a big mistake.

Thanks, Neal. That means a lot coming from someone who spends a lot
of time with people in my age group. Do you think you could call the
consulate with those comments?

>e)  just about the only words-related discussion of the day
>turned out to be between Marcia and me ... she mentioned 'pop,' I
>countered with 'soda.'  That's an Eriean contrasted with a

It's pop. Get over it!

> f)  in discussing 'age' (he and I are both 44), Torkel revealed
>a minor secret.  I'll let Marcia and Torkel decide when/how/whether
>to let the rest of you know about it; my lips are sealed.

Soon, very soon. I promise!

 This is Torkel. Enough of the nice stuff! I have only complaints. I
tried my best to be dour and pedantic, but irritatingly, Neal didn't
seem to notice. I think this is a basic flaw of these FTF:s. It's
just not possible to be as dour as you would like to be. People
insist on interpreting your words and gestures and facial expressions
in the nicest possible way. So, when I was making jeering,
small-minded comments, Neal smiled pleasantly, as though I had been
commenting on how nice the farm was, and when I made rude faces at
him he thought I was trying to make friends with the cats. This is

  (I must admit I did like the dogs. "Going gaga" is not an
inaccurate description.)

Date:         Wed, 22 Mar 1995 02:15:59 EST
From: Rashmi 
Subject:      we know the secret!
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

It was a great thrill to meet Torkel and Marcia--Neal was spot on in
his post--they make a wonderful couple!  Wedding pictures were passed
around (the bride wore combat boots!), we got to see half of a tattoo,
heard reports of early Wordstock preparations (good job, Neal), tried
to figure out how many pennies we'd need to put aside each day so we
could afford CultureBake '98, designated Pickwick Arms the official
Words-l hotel... We had the waiter take a group picture and the ensuing
squeeze had the diners at three nearby tables interrupt their meal and
watch in amusement.

Marie, Heather and I got to Virgil's within a few minutes of each other
and made our way through the crowds (yes, on a Tuesday night) to the bar.
Heather was afraid that the guests of honor might not be able to locate
us and kept checking the door every so often.  We spotted them as soon as
they walked in and waved them over--Torkel matched names to faces with
great ease (you'd never have guessed it was his first group ftf)

Good to see the old gang again--worth the slooow train back (packed with
Knicks fans going home to Joisey).

Good Luck with the bureaucrats, Torkel and Marcia,

Date:         Wed, 22 Mar 1995 08:24:43 -0500
From: Myles Callum 
Subject:      WHTUINY
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

The Franzen Affair

So Emily goes off to Yale and leaves two utter neophytes to coordinate
what would only be the biggest, most international NY FTF yet.
Fortunately, she had the good grace to return to the <center of the universe> 
to supervise, and her presence was a calming influence that
kept Marie and me from screwing things up too badly.

Nine wordslers, including our visitor from Stockholm, convened at
Virgil's barbecue place at 152 West 44th St. in New York, in the heart
of Times Square, on what turned out to be a fine night.  It had been
a wet day, but the rain had stopped hours earlier and the wonderfully
gaudy signs and lights of Broadway could be enjoyed in mild weather and
clear skies.  The cast:  Torkel and Marcia Franzen (but you can still
call her Booser), Emily Horning, Hiroshi Amari, Marie Tomlinson, Tom
Lee, Heather Hewitt, Rashmi Murthy, Myles Callum.

When I arrived at about 7:15, Rashmi and Marie were already cozily
ensconced on stools near the bar, waving with those big warming
smiles; Heather had also arrived and was upstairs, powdering her nose.
Tom Lee strolled in, then Torkel and Marcia, finally Emily and Hiroshi.
We were seated in pretty short order at a roomy round table in a corner,
and I found myself glad we'd opted out of Silk Road.

Virgil's is a sizable and comfortable joint, nicely located, with a
world-class choice of beers.  This was our second time there, and it's
growing on us; Marie allowed as how we could do worse than let it become
a tradition.  She's right.  It has all the requisites:  good food,
moderate prices, plenty of room, cozy ambiance, that great beer list,
good service; and you can make reservations.  And the best part of all,
that fine Yankeefied cornbread, which has been renamed Nataliemuffins.

Torkel Franzen was entirely in character.  He scowled ferociously the
entire evening, barked orders like a drill sergeant at the cowering
waitress, and complained ceaselessly about American dining traditions.
That's all I have to say about him.

Okay, the truth is that he was mild, gentle-mannered, sort of shy, with
a nice smile, and spoke English about as beautifully as he writes.  He
wears silver-rimmed glasses and has entirely too much hair.  Marcia is,
as advertised, bright, cute, and vivacious.  Her blonde hair is cut
short, and she has a lovely creamy complexion.  She sported a dolphin
nose pin and showed us part of a tattoo of a crescent moon on her upper
left arm; most of it was obscured by her sleeve, but we got the idea.
Looked tasteful.  She passed around a photo album of their wedding at a
park outside Stockholm.

I know, you want to hear Marcia's secret.  It's slipped my mind.  You
tell 'em, Marie.

I wasn't taking notes, so other people will have to tell you what they
ate and drank.  I had a Bud.  Marie had warned me that I could expect to
be "severely ridiculed" if I ordered a Bud in a place with that beer
list, though she kindly added "Not by me."  I also had grilled shrimp,
mashed potatoes and house greens.  Set my weight-loss schedule back,
but it's okay; I'm down 48 pounds and can take a day off.  Marie was
the only one who dared to order dessert, something that looked like pie
but tasted like chocolate-fudge cookie, with whipped cream.  We
graciously helped her eat it; wouldn't want the girl to balloon up.
She's been known to eat two >>cheeseburgers<< at a time. anyway, it was an 
excellent dessert. best-named item: we passed around a bottle of 
"scorned woman hot sauce," after a warning from rashmi that it would fry our 
taste buds. how true. we gabbed. not much listgab, just catching up. 
torkel and marcia are a little nervous about their interview tomorrow 
(which is now today) and marcia's application for swedish citizenship. 
emily, glowing as usual, is happy in new haven and loves everything about 
her new situation: the job, the area, the people, and her great, roomy, 
low-cost two-bedroom apartment. it was good to meet hiroshi, a grad student 
in economics; he looked like he was enjoying himself in general. i was delighted 
that the sometimes elusive tom lee showed up, looking good. heather, despite 
being broke, trekked up from rhode island and would go on to new haven 
to stay overnight with emily before heading back tomorrow. she's cutting classes, 
but is doing so well that it won't matter. my pal marie graciously wondered 
aloud why she was sitting next to me when she could be talking to someone else; 
i am used to this abuse and laughed gaily as is my wont. rashmi talked about 
possibly camping out at hayride '95. she does not have a tent, however. i may be 
borrowing a tent from marie and it is now alleged that i cordially invited both 
women to share my tent. i do not recall at this time, senator, and never actually 
used the word "centimeters," although it is true that at some point in the evening 
i detected a certain rolling of eyeballs. highlight of the evening: a waitress 
came over and announced that there was a phone call for myles callum. 
the goddam white house bugging me again? i've never been called in a restaurant 
and thought it was a gag. but in fact it was our buddy john what's-the-m-for williams, 
calling from arizona to send greetings and say he wished he was with us. made our 
night, john! we hoisted our glasses in the direction of mesa, as promised, after toasting 
torkel and marcia with the wish that they be blessed with a wordsler marriage. 
interpret that as you will; i'm pretty sure it means good things. i also learned 
that we almost had a tenth. rashmi, who a few days earlier had asked me for the 
names of a couple of (oxymoron alert) reasonable new york hotels, tonight admitted 
she'd been asking because of brad. he actually entertained the idea of popping in 
on a surprise visit. wish you had, man. but we appreciated the thought. somebody 
took a couple of pictures for a possible gif; i'm not sure whose camera was used. 
what am i forgetting? probably everything important, but anyone who was there is 
welcome to fill in. once again i came away thinking what a remarkable group this is. 
not just those of us who were there; words-l, i mean. people travel long distances to 
spend two hours with a group of friends who have come to feel something like family. 
i don't know, it's pretty cool. torkel and marcia: it was a great pleasure to meet you, 
and best of luck with your mission at the swedish consulate. see you at culturebake '98. 

date: sun, 26 mar 1995 00:00:29 0500 
from: marcia booser 
Subject:      Our version of WHTUINY
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

        My email has returned, so finally an account of everything!

Well, we arrived in NY unharmed, despite the near fist fight on our
plane (long story, maybe later). Torkel and I took the subway from
the airport to downtown Manhattan, which seemed to impress the New
Yorkers, especially Myles, who didn't know that it was even possible
to do so. We walked to the Pickwick Arms during rush hour with me
muttering, "Never in a trillion years", referring to living in NY. We
had just enough time to freshen up and then walked to Virgil's to
meet the other wordslers. We were greeted at the door by Heather, who
didn't look at all what I had expected. Actually, no one was what I
had expected, except Myles. We said our hellos and got our table.
Unfortunately, the music was loud and made conversation difficult.
Immediately, I picked on Myles choice of beer - Budweiser. Myles, how
can you drink that swill? Heather embarrased the hell out of me (it's
OK, Heather) by calling me beautiful. I was ready to crawl under the
table. Dinner was great and so was the conversation. I was surprised
to find out that Emily and Marie are librarians. They definitely
don't act like the librarians at the libraries I worked at! The phone
call from John took the cake and we raised our glasses up heartily to
him. Everyone was so excited to see us and I was pleased with how
warmly we were welcomed. The FTF was wonderful and pictures were
taken with my camera. I was sad when the evening ended because I was
having a good time gossiping about the list and Torkel secrets. Also,
because I was so nervous about the interview and this meeting was
taking my mind off of it. We all hugged and promised to see each
other again at CultureBake '98. Please come guys!

As for my impressions of NY. It is just like you see on TV - full of
cabs, traffic jams and screaming people. There is no green anywhere,
except in Central Park. I couldn't take the pace - ever. Obviously
there are some people who like it. Otherwise, no one would live
there. To each his own. I'll visit but never stay!