........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

A fable of the forest:

‘It happens every spring’

....It’s Spring! At least I think it is. And it must be spring because crazy things are happening. Baseball players are holding out for million dollar contracts. The newest game in the forest industry is “musical presidents’ chairs,” and Eliz-abeth Taylor has left or returned to Richard Burton. It happens every spring!
....This is just a fable – so don’t lose any sleep over it.
....“Miss Farnsworth, will you come in here please?” The voice on the intercom had a ring of authority and went by the name of P.V. Mandel – chairman of the board of Mandell-Swartz, the fourteen and a half largest forest enterprise in the world.
....“Miss Farnsworth, send out a telex to our board of directors that we shall convene an extraordinary meeting of the board one week from today. Tell them it is urgent that they be here. That’s all, Miss Farnsworth.”
....P.V. sat back in his chair and picked up the monthly reports from the far flung empire of Mandell-Swartz. Lumber looked good. Pulp was holding. Shingles were tapering off. Then there were the diversifieds – the sugar cane fields in Africa had made a sweet profit, but had been taken over by a local revolution. The railroad in Iceland was running out of steam, and the cookie cartel in Columbia was crumbling.
....With a furrowed brow P.V. Mandell leafed through the final report. The furrow became deeper as he read down the page. Fifty million in the red! Fifty million! The furrow not only got deeper, it got redder. What the hell had happened to Mandell Sports Inc? This was the company that all the biggies in the United States had tried to grab. This was a solid gold Cadillac when P.V. had acquired it four years ago, in a snappy well-timed piece of work. And right from under the noses
of the U.S. giants. Fifty million in the red! Wait until the board hears about this.
....Homer “Home-Run” Kazowski stood in the batting cage of the Tulsa Toilers, hitting long fly balls to the outfielders. It was a warm sunny day in Florida where the baseball team was in spring training. Homer was happy. He had a half a plug of tobacco in his jaw and a brand new two million dollar, 10 year contract with the Tulsa Toilers. Life was lovely in the sun in Florida and if he could just get a few of the gourmet pounds off his belly he’d be ready for another year of 40 home runs. Mind you Homer’s batting average was about the lowest in the league – but the fans loved those 40 home runs. And Homer could charm the fans. In Fact, he could charm anybody with his tales of past World Series. Ah, spring!
....Coach and manager Barney Apple-gate stood behind the batting cage casually watching Kazowski, and thinking of his multi million dollar out-field he had finally signed up. Good thing the Tulsa Toilers were owned by Mandell Sports Inc., who were a part of the fourteen and a half largest forest enterprise in the world. Barney had dreamed of such a team since the days he broke into managing for one of the old Yankee farm clubs. He figured there might be a bit of flack from Mr. Swartz, who loved baseball with a passion, but he guessed that nice Mr. Swartz would back him up. “Hit ‘er a country mile Kazowski,” yelled Barney.
....Miss Farnsworth had contacted nearly all the 10 men on the board of directors of Mandell-Swartz and had been assured they would come to the head office for the extraordinary meeting. She buzzed Mr. Mandell and told him the only one she could not find was Mr. Swartz, the president. This
bothered Miss Farnsworth as she was used to everything being methodical and statistical for her boss. “Stats” Farnsworth she was known as by the young fellows about the building.
....“Keep trying to find Swartz, Miss Farnsworth,” said P.V. Mandell. As he turned off the intercom he won-dered how the hell he had let Otto Swartz talk him into “stealing” a baseball team.
....“It’s the wooden bats, P.V. We can corner the market on baseball bats if we have our own team.” It sounded great at the time – but now – fifty million in the red! And the contracts this fool of an Applegate had signed with names like Woody Oakly, Flash Fountain and what’s this – “Home-Run” Kazowski. – Oh God! And the fringe benefits – Cadillacs, condo-miniums in Hawaii, a chauffeur to bring Flash Fountain to every ball game, complete with 20 feet of red Persian carpet from the car door to the turnstyle.
....The week passed by. The baseball team sunned itself in Florida, ran a bit and hit a few balls, while the board of directors of Mandell-Swartz started converging on the home office from all over the country. Both groups were big men in the big leagues and they knew about keeping an eye on the ball.
....Friday morning the board of directors filed into the boardroom of M&S. “Morning J.D. – morning T.D. – morning B.G. – morning L.B. – morning Sam.” They took their places around the boardroom table and all eyes turned to the doorway as P.V. Mandell walked into the room. “Good morning, gentlemen.”
....Miss Farnsworth busied herself passing around papers to the directors and quietly left the room. One vacant seat at the table was obvious – Otto Swartz had not been found.
British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1976

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....“Gentlemen I have called you together because for the first time in the 40 year history of this company Mandell-Swatz is in trouble. We shall be declaring a loss – and a substantial one for our last quarter. If you will look over your agenda and the balance sheet information in front of you, you will see the reason.”
....The directors looked over their papers – a hum arose in the room as they spoke to each other of the facts before them.
....“P.V. this is monstrous. Why were we not informed of this sooner? Where is Otto, and who the hell is Homer “Home-Run” Kazowski?” The others joined in and soon the room was filled with protests and remarks of despair over the obvious surprise of the board to the news of the loss.
....B.G. Porter, a powerful and long time member of the board exclaimed, “P.V., now that you’ve shown us this disaster, what do you intend to do about it? All heads turned to P.V. Mandell.
....“As I see it,” he replied, “we are in for a rough time from the stockholders and the rest of the forest industry when they find out about the loss. We shall have to find a way to justify these players’ salaries. I may remind you that some of them are getting more than some of our senior people – including myself. And their contracts are valid and unbreakable. Otto did a good job in seeing to that. Gentlemen we are in a fix and we need some bright ideas.”
....The discussion continued, at times getting quite heated. Otto Swartz’s resignation was spoken of. “We can’t let that man take us down the drain.” This is a forest company – what the devil are we doing with millionaire athletes?”
....“Now just a minute gentlemen. If we’re going to solve this problem, we better stop shouting and come up with some answers” said P.V. “I’d like at this time to let you gentlemen meet Mr. Barney Applegate, who I have flown in from Florida to help us with this problem. Miss Farnsworth send in Applegate.”
....Barney Applegate, a 222 second baseman, in his best year in the majors, and now coach and manager of the Tulsa Toilers entered the boardroom. He looked around at the leaders of industry around him, drew in a deep breath, and with the reflexes of making a double play on Mandell and Bera said, “Gents, I know yer in a bind, and I think I see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
....“When a ball team gets in trouble and can’t win games they do one of two things. Go into last place or make a trade. Sounds to me like you boys are heading for last place, so my ad-


vice is make a trade! Here you got a guy like Mr. Swartz, a sweetheart and a ball fan, who is pulling in a hundred and fifty thou a year, plus benefits, and I got me a two hundred thou' a year hero like “Home-Run” Kazowski, who I gotta get rid of ‘cause he is killing the team always trying to hit home runs. I figure it this way.”
....Barney never stopped for a minute. The words tumbled out like line drives all over the infield, and the board of directors sat with their mouths open and their eyes popping. But when he had laid it all out as a man they leaped

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from their chairs, crowded around him pumping his hand. P.V. Mandell had done it again. Timing – that was it. And P.V. knew timing like he was born with it.
....The sports pages and business pages of every newspaper in the country were full of it. Never before had such a unique deal been made.
....Homer “Home-Run” Kazowski, of the Tulsa Toilers was traded to Mandell-Kazowski (formerly Mandell-Swartz) for Otto Swartz, former president of Mandell-Swartz (now Mandell Kazowski).
....Otto Swartz, when found in Arizona watching the spring training of the White Sox, was elated. He was now the manager of the Tulsa Toilers giving Barney Applegate more time to concentrate on being coach.
....Homer Kazowski stepped in as president of Mandell – Kazowski, the fourteen and a half largest forest enterprise in the world. In one year’s time they would go up to thirteen and a half. At the next annual stockholders’ meeting the board of directors and P.V. Mandell sat back while Homer regaled the stockholders with his stories of how he won a World Series when he pointed his finger at the left field bleachers and drove the winning home run. He was their hero and they had confidence in Homer.
....Otto Swartz, through some smart trades with the Yankees and the Oakland A’s took the Tulsa Toilers into the World Series that year and won it. In the Big Trade, Miss Farnsworth found herself involved, as she made up for the balance of the fifty thou between the two men. They say Miss Farnsworth is the best statistician in the league, and all the players call her “Super-stats.”
....P.V. Mandell sat in his office, a rather pleased chairman of the board as he read the year end report. The big forest enterprise was rolling again and market uptrends looked good. He did notice, however, that on the last page of the report one of the new companies they had acquired this year seemed to be in a bit of trouble. He would have to look into this Edsel Company!
....It takes all kinds – and all kinds of things happen in this forest around us. But of course this is just a fable – and nothing like this could ever happen every spring. Or could it?

Keep out of the bight,


British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1976