We have published twelve issues of THE ECPHORIZER and feel that we have something to crow about. Actually, though, the crowing should be done for all our contributors who together made this a fun magazine to produce. Our problem, really, was how to suitably honor the best when everything was pretty good. The idea of awarding an Ekkie to various contributors in different categories was discussed, and we felt that perhaps noteworthy and impressive works could be awarded dos equis.
[quoteleft]On the other hand, it was difficult to categorize some of the pieces which graced our pages. It's easy for this or that to be in the "Essay" or "Short Humorous Article by a Woman" or "Grossest Phony Calendar Entry" slot. But how do we make awards for the "Most Reviews by one ex-LocSec of Obscure Lexicons, Bibliotheca, and Dictionaries"? Or how does one choose among the entrants under the heading "Verbose Letters by Indigents of Bergs and Travelers to Who Knows Where in the World"?
Also perhaps we should spare you the news of winners in the "Copious Amounts of Deep Kaka" category.
However, in the end, we decided to merely outline THE EPHORIZER year in brief; we are bringing you these reviews in installments over the next two issues: Our baker's dozen version of the Playmate Review.
Our Charter Issue started off with a prospectus by George Towner. Among this issue's featured articles was Ed Van Vleck's survey of Mensan Wealth, JoAnn Malina on how to hold a conversation with smarties, and Dave Kirby's satire on Biblical scroll translations. Darrell Bross succeeded in grossing out several of our readers with his detailed description of love with a vinyl doll and Allen Pettit submitted a story of youthful trauma ("The First Kill"). Sketches by Polly Pitkin Ryan (P2R), a humorous travel article by Martha Johnson, and a history of the typewriter keyboard by Dave Pressman rounded out the issue.
Everyone who read the October ECPHORIZER undoubtedly cheered aloud upon reading Meredy Amyx's assertion that our subordinates, not our bosses, should evaluate our job performance. Another practice needing reform, according to Dave Pressman, is our way of writing dates. And Gareth Penn would correct still another flaw in American life, our judicial system. (Trial by 60 Minutes anyone?) Electronic chess is evaluated (John Cumming), science fiction is analyzed for its religious messages (JoAnn Malina), and categories for blue-ribbon competitions a la San Francisco County Fair are proposed (Bennett Woll). George Towner's 35-year theory suggests that ten-year old minds determine the fate of our nation. "Lupus Canus" polled the readership on their sex habits, but never followed through on his promise to publicize results-how about it, Lupus? We were treated to cartoons (Tony Steele), humor (Ken Uhland and Louis Yates). Warren Fogard's Letter from Mburg prompted Liz Barry to pour out her heart to Willie in later ECPHORIZERs. Last but not least, Ellen Thomsen's cover art told a wry story of its own.
The cover stock of the November issue was an experimental failure, although the cover art by Joseph Newby was a success. Between the covers, Ed Van Vleck unfolded an exponential vocabulary test, Anderson Fish made his debut with "Sexual Decay in H. Sapiens," and John Cumming rewarded the readers with a review of Johnson's Dictionary, which "is a book that rewards the browser." Further browsing in issue #3 would reward the reader with some French Wine history by Charles Sullivan, an essay on essayist Edward Abbey by JoAnn Malina, a story about growing up male (Allen Pettit), and poetry by Jerry McCann. Also included with this number, free, was the SFRM Roster, a fake ad for a real wood stove, and the announcement of a Cover Contest.
Art by E.E. Thomsen graced the cover of #4; the lead article was a fascinating study by Gareth Penn of the famous Zodiac murders. Dave Kirby contributed a magic square trick guaranteed to amuse. Another letter arrived from the mysterious back country of Mburg. Martha Johnson contributed some warming thoughts on the winter holidays, and Paul Healy looked at some films at the San Francisco Film Festival. The first two of the Xerox Circuit reprints appeared: a psychological study of male waste-disposal habits, and a guide to classes at the Ecphorizer College. George Towner contributed a piece on technoilliteracy. Book review was by Bob Holmes; Tom Horti waxed ecphorically philosophical, and Polly Pitkin Ryan finally visualized our childhood fears in black and white!
In issue #5 we were treated to MURDER IN THE MENSA MANSION, an Anderson Fish effort of such wondrous excellence that it was later to be dramatized at the Wine Country RG to even more acclaim! Liz Barry started something with a love letter to Willie, of all things, and George Towner brought us up to date on the status of this magazine and his hopes for its future. Gareth Penn (croissants), John Cumming (curious words and phrases), a book review (JoAnn Malina), and poetry by Neal Wilgus and Jerry McCann were featured. The artwork of Dorey Moore and Corinne Hintze, and the results of the cover contest completed the issue.
Issue #6 presented us with JoAnn Malina's observations of the world in a nutshell: "Mathematics...2+2=4, always has, and always will. Why beat a dead horse?" David Koblick offered his views on "speling riform," Miriam Eldridge warned us of the new era where banquets will replace orgies, and Peter Barna explained the inadequacies of the institution of marriage. E. E. Thomsen's centerfold art featured fashion information no Bay Area gentleman would want to miss. Belletrina of Hanes reminded us again that pet dinosaurs must be housebroken. Other features included yeasty definitions by John Cumming, a review of Ragtime by Gareth Penn, another Discourse by Bob Holmes, and geographical trivia by Tod Wicks. Dorey's archer was on our cover.
The March issue featured Paul Healy on "scientific" creationism and Polly Pitkin Ryan's speculation that we may become like cows by eating cows. John Cumming reviewed a reverse dictionary, Gareth Penn exposed the "Misquoteers," and Chod Harris wrote up some wine trivia. Barry Leff followed up November's article on love chemistry with more nonsense, and Mburg's Warren Fogard unloaded at Liz Barry. Stories by Marilyn Ducati and Tom Horti, humor by Bob Holmes, poetry by Jerry McCann, and a fine cover by Ellen Thomsen made it an exciting issue.
The Marpril issue was covered by Ann Schmuck's classy artwork; it included Poetry by Carol Fence, Short Humorous Pieces by Dick Dork, Terry Smith and Andy Fish. A study of IQ vs. Movie Habits was documented by Sarah Belluhm, and a humorous look at the history of the Tin Can & String as a means of long-distance communications was rendered by Todd Telephone. Rilly Pretty Polly (RP2) did the centerfold art: a complete deck of half-sized Bee bridge cards, which can be cut out and used, if you and another subscriber get together your two decks, for bridge. Geo. Exforizer wrote the Contributors column; mailing was courtesy the US Postal Snail.
April Fool's Day was not overlooked by the ECPHORIZER. We chuckled over Dan Kottke's Alternate Tax Form, and we secretly applauded the notion of a Tax Revolt in front of the Post Office, as scheduled in the Intelligencer calendar spoof. All of us would flunk out of Mensa if we had to take the nonsensical exam contributed by Jorel Stallones. There were three pseudoscientific articles: Gareth Penn tried to link our planetary positions with musical intervals, Polly Pitkin Ryan anticipated a forthcoming Big Bang, and Ken Uhland gave us more statistics on SFRM members. Sandra Mendoza eulogized Ayn Band, and John Cumming reviewed the 1884 Dictionary of Miracles (The "miracles" read like science fiction!) If you like Tolkein and elephant jokes, you surely laughed at Albert Duro's Hobbit jokes. We had crosswords from Roger Starr, silly wordplay from Gareth Penn, and verse by Neal Wilgus. A Meredy Amyx sketch decorated our inside pages, and on the cover, Martha Johnson's plump duckies warmed our hearts.
. . .more next month
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