The long-proposed LASFS party to the Busch Gardens turned out to be a bust, as a LASFS party. The four of us who did show up, though, had a great time.
The Gardens are notable for two things: beer and birds. I'd heard about how beautifully the grounds were landscaped, which sounded nice, but I'm not particularly turned on by landscaping, and I don't drink beer, so I'd never bothered to go to the Gardens before this. But nobody had told me about the birds. I do like birds, and if anyone had told me about them, I'd've gone out there before now.
I won't try to list all the different kinds of birds they have in cages, but those wandering and flying loose around the gardens include macaws, swans, Canada geese, flamingoes, peafowl, pheasants, crested pigeons (the ones that are almost extinct in their natural habitat), ducks, storks, cranes, and the nastiest crow I've ever seen, to name just the birds I recognized.
I arrived at the Gardens 15 minutes before opening time, and waited until 15 minutes after for any other fans to arrive before going into the Gardens. Once inside, I spent about an hour wandering around, looking at the grounds and birds, before running into Chuck and Sally Crayne, and Ken Rudolph, who'd just arrived. We spent several hours together, talking and looking and sampling the free beer to be gotten in the three pavilions (Budweiser, Busch, and Michelob -- Michelob was closed) in the Gardens. (That is, Chuck & Sally, and Ken drank beer; I bought Pepsi -- the soft drinks were not free.) We saw a fantastic bird show; I've seen birds before that were trained to climb ladders and pull things, but none that would curl up and let you play catch with them (these were macaws).
Later in the afternoon, we all went out to the Craynes' camper to have lunch, and incidentally one of the best s-f bull sessions I've been in in years -- a pity we can't program things like these for the LASFS. Afterwards, we took the free monorail ride through the Budweiser brewery, which is nice as a monorail ride, but you don't really see anything meaningful in the brewery, you go through so fast. (Also, it was Saturday, and quite a bit of the production line was shut down.) After this, the others went back for more beer & birdwatching, while I returned home to continue finishing up my NyCon preparations. We were a bit disappointed that more fans hadn't shown up, but we had a fine, leisurely, non-crowded day to ourselves, which was more than worth the trip out there. I'd say that the Busch Gardens should become a 'must' for any fans visiting the area, ranking with Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Marineland.
Bruce Pelz -- We'll have to phone you after midnight to find out which three languages you swear in. ## Is it true that croquet is going to be the next Blackguard Tournament after bowling is over? My back yard would make an excellent court.
Jim Schumacher -- The "pretty plastic hippies" creep into any social organization that becomes In, be it motorcycle clubs, surfers or whatever. So far, s-f fandom has been safe, but I hope we don't get 'discovered' like the comic books were recently. I enjoyed old movie serials and Tolkien before they were discovered, and I'll still enjoy 'em after the Camp crowd, and the hobbit lovers have gone on to something else. ## Mauldin's marijuana cartoon seemed to me to be a sort of cop-out, very cleverly done. Yes, Mauldin seemed to be saying something about marijuana, but just what? Was he saying that Pot is innocent, or that Pot claims that it's innocent? That cartoon, I suspect, will be interpreted by both factions to mean what they want it to mean,and everybody will be happy that Mauldin agrees with his view. ## Pore ol' Al Snider. He can't even kill a fly with his typewriter.
Ruth Berman -- I agree; comic books don't really influence opinions to any great degree. I think we had a good test case of that here in Southern California, just after World War II. If you ever saw any of those wartime comics, you'll remember that they really preached race hatred against the Japanese -- we weren't just against the Japs because they were totalitarian warmongers, but because they were dirty little yellow monkeys. ("Yellow niggers", sometimes.) All the kids read these comics, yet after the war, when the Japanese-American children came back from the internment camps to our schools, I don't remember that there was any anti-Japanese prejudice to be noticed. ## Speaking of comic-book justification, look at the back-up feature in the current issue of BLUE BEETLE, which reads as though it were written by Ayn Rand. ## Thanks for your list of art holdings.
Felice Rolfe -- Don't give the White Guard ideas.
Dian Pelz -- I read the script of Man of La Mancha the day before going to see the shows; it was handily passing through my hands. That's one handy thing about being the College Cataloger in a library-supply business; all of the Best Sellers and Most Important Books pass through my hands. I must've sent on half a dozen copies of The Territorial Imperative by now; I skimmed through it during lunch hour once, and found it interesting, though not interesting enough to read the whole thing thoroughly. ## My reading tastes still run almost entirely to s-f and history. ## After hearing for years about what kinds of books the libraries absolutely will not stock, it's come as a bit of a shock to me to see some of the things that're being ordered by some libraries, after all: the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and other series books; standard course textbooks and outline-notes; paperbacks galore -- why would anyone pay to have a dozen copies of a 50¢ pb edition of Huckleberry Finn especially rebound for longer lasting, when you can get as many hardbound editions of much greater permanence for the same amount? -- and similar things. ## I had an interesting memento of wartime shortages, last week. It was a scientific book, published in England in 1946. The dust jacket was printed on the back of a portion of a War Office topographic map of Sumatra.
Tom Digby -- Your Lab Party was very pleasant. Is that sword collection on the wall yours? I thought it was Hannifen's. The old slan-shack atmosphere isn't entirely gone yet, but the Lab has gone a long way toward looking like a private residence instead of a social center, now.
Chuck Crayne -- I was surprised that there weren't more beer drinkers at our LASFS outing on Saturday. What happened to Ed Cox?