The Ecphorizer

Letters - Issue 16

Issue #16 (December 1982)


I am in the process of writing an instruction book for life, which I hope to bequeath to my forthcoming first child "just in case." All of that material a parent might wish to be offered to a child. All of the tips and warnings and "rules for life" and some of the better questions will hopefully be inside that book. Not that I offer myself as someone who knows all the answers, but what good is a father who doesn't enable his child to have access to whatever it is that he has been able to learn.

Under the heading of "Goals" one item I want to present is the memory of a man who had goals ...and worked to accomplish them. Way too late I am realizing that those years spent dreaming of being a messiah, and Alexander the Great, and a writer, and everything else, were years spent dreaming. I remembered an article about this guy who had a hundred or more specific goals that he wrote down and has spent his available time achieving. I had no idea when or where I saw the story. I thought it was Life, which had been out of business for many years prior to its rebirth; and I thought it was probably from about 1956-58. Without a name to go on I couldn't look up anything.

So I wrote THE ECPHORIZER, the [San Francisco Regional Mensa] Intelligencer and the {Mensa] Bulletin and asked my question ....

John Goddard was born in 1925 and when he was 15 he wrote a list of 127 goals on a pad of yellow paper. In 1972, at the age of 42, he had achieved 103 of his original goals. From exploring the Nile and the Great Barrier Reef to visiting every country on the globe and climbing Mt. Everest, John Goddard is the perfect illustration for the example of achieving goals through planning and working rather than dreaming.

And here's the last fascinating fact from my search for this man. I went backwards and forwards in the Reader's Guide Periodic Literature from 1940 till 1982 and there is not another entry for the man. Make of it what you will, but the way I see it, John Goddard isn't spending his energies seeking publicity. He is busy attaining his goals.

I'm getting all I ever hoped for from Mensa. Thank you to every one of you who helped me to get my answer, particularly to those of you who put those three Mensa publications together.


Jerry D. Moore
San Rafael, CA

[Editor's Note 1982:  ECPHORIZER subscriber Lee Erickson was the first to direct Jerry to an article about John Goddard in the March 24, 1972, issue of Life.]

[Ed Note 2006:  A Google search brings up a number of hits, including Goddard's own web site where he lists his goals (and has checked off those completed).]

[line width="40%"]Editor:

Barry Leff's "Mensa Politics" in the November ECPHORIZER reminded me of a small ditty, which is hereby revised and updated to make it apropos to the continuing Mensa political saga.

Once upon a time in Mensa there were two groups, named politically the "Ins" and the "Outs." Both attempted to occupy the limited number of available offices simultaneously, which was of course impossible After much slaying, slewing, mayhem, and tongue-outsticking, they agreed on a compromise: when "Outs" were in, "Ins" would stay out, and when "Ins" were in, "Outs" would stay out. One time, however, when "Ins" were in and "Outs" were out, "Outs" sniffed the political wind and knew "Ins" were in, but had become rotten with fraticide inside

How did "Outs" know this? "Ins" stinked.

Burt Schmitz
Cupertino, CA

[line width="40%"]Editor:

Thought you did an excellent job with the picture of Mr.Dooley. However, by inverting the third digit of F.P.Dunne's birth (9 instead of 6), you had him writing the first Mr.Dooley at the age of one. Would that Thomas Paul Healy, christened last Sunday here in Pleasant Hill, were so precocious.

Paul W. Healy
Walnut Creek, CA
[line width="40%"]Editor:

I have come to enjoy THE ECPHORIZER. Congratulations on having put together some good humorous stuff, and thanks for the pleasure of reading it.

The publication is, however, substantially or completely on the light side, whereas your avowed theme "to ecphorize is to evoke ideas ...from latent to manifest" doesn't limit to humor. Are you going to tackle serious submissions?

I have found the typical Mensan references to the country's political life superficial and no credit to our group. Many of the comments are downright embarassing, and come from talented thinkers unawakened ("presumably intelligent" one of our guest speakers said at a Colloquium).

Enclosed is a more serious submission, and one with conclusions differing from much of what I have read by Mensans. Can you run it? Can we get a dialogue going?

Charles Walton
Los Gatos, CA

Editor's Note: Charles' article appears in this issue.

[line width="40%"]Editor:

I read "Those dedicated to death salute you" by Gareth Penn in the November issue with great interest, for ciphers and such have always intrigued me.

I find that the proofreader probably is not too well acquainted with metric practice, however, as evidenced by the periods after the symbol for millimeters (mm).

People often mistake the metric symbols for abbreviations, which they are not. The standard (ISO-1000) clearly states they are symbols. They also take neither plurals (much easier to accept) nor mixing with written-out words when a ratio is implied with a solidus (rarely in error, but it happens). They also require a space between the numeral and themselves (happens as often as not).

Perr Cardestam
Manager, SC County Chapter, US Metric Assn
San Jose, CA

[line width="40%"]Editor:

Re: THE ECPHORIZER No. 14, Page 22, center

Is a letter all you can get out of Keith Woodmansee? He must have written more than just "a short history of aviation."

ted kelly
Santa Monica, CA  

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