The Ecphorizer

Letters - Issue 43

Issue #43 (March 1985)

Dear Editor:

As an admirer of Bulwer-Lytton's filmed classic, I must correct John Cumming's statement that The Last Days of Pompeii was made into three movies. To date there have been six: an Italian one-reeler in 1908 (directed by Ambrosio); a six-reel film by Ambrosio in 1913; a two-reel version (pirated) from Italy in 1913 combining footage from the 1908 version and Itala's The Fall of Troy (Italy, 1911); and a fourth film, eight reels this time, made in Italy in 1913 by Pasquali, a former partner of Ambrosio. The Italians weren't satisfied - in 1926 Carmine Gallone directed a fifth Italian version (nine reels). The one non-Italian version was made in the U.S. in 1935 by Ernest B. Schoedsack.

With the current interest in volcanoes it would seem to be time for another version.

Paul W. Healy

[line width="40%"]Dear Editor:

I enjoy The Ecphorizer but do wish you printed the addresses of the writers. I'd like to write to some of them.

Virginia Sturges

I will forward letters to contributors. --Ed.

[line width="40%"]Dear Editor:

Mr. Ed Rehmus challenged the readership to provide “in any language, a Legitimate word for this substance [hemp]...that is truly isolated from the universal roots.”

Without going into the matter of his etymological approaches, which I find somewhat suspect, I will offer in evidence the African word dawamesc, which certainly means hemp or marijuana but does not conform to Mr. Rehmus's models.

I regret that I am unable to name the exact language or dialect from which this word derives.

Terry T. Tilford

[line width="40%"]Dear Editor

I received the February Ecphorizer today (late again; start sending it on time and maybe these things won't happen). In it I read that silly article "Randomness and Artificial Intelligence," by George Towner. Then I read the blurting allegedly written by some computer seduced by his Prosewriter program ("software," he said - and elaborately rationalized by him in the foregoing). In Spaceships and Angels Fred C. Brown had a story entitled "ETAOIN SHRDLU," in which a cunningly placed linotype began to take over Planet Earth by programming those who thought they programmed it; Huxley had an essay entitled "Time and the Machine," another revelation about machine takeover of this planet.

The point is, you computer Congeries are going to have to recognize that your addiction to electronics is not machine-free; that computers are machines; and that these computer-machines are taking you over.

OK. I read about Prosewriter. Then I wrote a rather brief letter of complaint to you and the whole bunch at The Eephorizer. Needing a stamp, I went to the USPS Automat. I put a quarter in a machine. Then this obnoxious sonnet came out:


"A poem reproduces my program."
–Prosewriter.l, "Mysteries About Atoms"

"'Essence is a deceptive mystery.'
Her eyes were like an essence and, therefore,
Mysterious. Mysteriously she
(Just with those eyes no cognate could ignore)
Sorted the quintessential randomness
Sparking between us. Her synaptic merge
Complexified our feinting to progress
From since to sense. I urged to demiurge:
'Let us consume a very good steak and...’
Explore our functions, for the wind tonight
Is full of moonlight getting out of hand.
Turn on! you bold Prosewriter, let us write.
Read out to me your bytes, completional.
Your 'circuit cards are very beautiful.'"

by Rave Dolph

[line width="40%"]Dear Editor:

Is The Ecphorizer converting me into a go-between between machines? Stop it. Use microdots.


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