Last Saturday was really beautiful; we couldn't've asked for better weather for our trip to Busch Gardens. About a dozen people showed up, and we had a relaxedly enjoyable day wandering around, drinking beer (or soda pop, as the case may be), and watching the animal life. I arrived at the Gardens about 15 minutes late, to find a small crowd of fans waiting at the main entrance for company. We all waited another 15 minutes to collect another carload of latecomers, then went in, 8-strong: Bruce & Dian Pelz, Chuck & Sally Crayne, Lee Klingstein, Gail Thompson, Lyn Stier, and myself. Checking at the Busch Bavarian pavilion every hour brought us Neil Reynolds and his son, Jeff, at 11:00 a.m., and Don Fitch at noon. And Ted and Lin Johnstone showed up at the end of the day. I was a bit disappointed not to see any of the newer members of the LASFS turn out, but we had a comfortably-sized group as it was.
We were pretty well agreed on what the three top attractions of the day were. First was an otter in the otter house, playing an otter version of beach ball with a rock from the bottom of the swimming tank. The otter shoved it up a tree trunk with its nose, balanced it, and seemed to be trying to find as many things as possible to do with it without cheating by resorting to grasping it in its mouth or paws. The otter was having a delightful time, and we had a delightful time watching it. Second was a rhea -- or one of three rheas, actually, only they usually came by one at a time. The rhea was a small-size ostrich, about shoulder-high, on the look-out for goodies from the tourists. Anybody with a bag of snacks from the food stand was fair game. The rhea would amble over, snatch the bag from the person's hands, shake it vigorously until all the contents were spread over a 3-foot radius, then inspect them to see if they were anything it cared to eat. Cheese puffs were gobbled down with machine-gun rapidity. Peanuts were tolerated. Tortilla chips were disdainfully ignored; if it weren't for the other birds in the Gardens, the ground would probably have been buried in rhea-spread tortilla chips. The rhea's favorite prey was small children, who could only save their bags of goodies by standing on tiptoe and holding them over their heads. It was most interesting to watch the rhea approach a group who hadn't seen it do its trick yet; the rhea was usually only successful with one tourist per group. Lee lost her bag of peanuts, though, before we realized the bird's trick of opening every bag in sight before checking it for edible contents. The third attraction was an unofficial one; a pocket gopher that just happened to be there, plowing up the lawn. But it liked barbecued potato chips, peanuts, and pretzels, as we soon found out, and we spent about half an hour loafing around, watching it gorge itself and drag goodies down its hole. There were other high spots, such as Dian's getting two large blue-&-yellow macaws to ride on her arm. We all enjoyed ourselves, & will probably attend the next trip to the Gardens -- in about a year?
Cover -- (Harness) A nice bit of work, Jack. We're glad you're back with us.
THINGS YOU MIGHT NEVER KNOW... -- (Trimble) The idea of arranging a LASFS Night at the TV previews sounds very attractive. It's the sort of thing that we'd better not make too free with, tough, if we don't want the privilege of coming in 40-strong withdrawn. It sounds like it's worth a try, though. If the LASFS picks a date, will you order the tickets for us? ## Let me know when your next border run is scheduled; I'd like to get in on it.
RICH'S CRITICS UNLIMITED #2 -- (Rich) Isaac Asimov? That reminds me of an article I saw once in a fanzine about "Hollywood's most spectacular monster -- THE WAFLMAN!" It was supposed to be "Wolfman", of course, but I said to myself, "The Waffleman?". Everybody else who read it said that he had the same reaction; it was a bit of unintentional humor that botched what was supposed to be a dramatic introduction to the article. (The article was pretty bad, anyhow; WAFLMAN was all that anybody remembered from it.) Asimov did not pioneer the field of s-f mysteries, either; he's just one of the few authors at any time to try writing them. His handling of s-f mysteries can be traced back to his first Foundation short stories. Murder whodunits, no; but mysteries -- yes! Hal Clement's Needle, which appeared in 1949, is an excellent s-f mystery.
STATE OF SHOCK #3 -- (Barr) Your artwork is beautiful, but I'm glad that you have something to say verbally, too. ## I'm glad that you aren't homesick for Salt Lake City, and I hope that L.A. Fandom helped prepare L.A. as your new home for you before you came out. Personally, I'm chauvinistic -- I love Southern California, and I think all fans should at least visit here frequently. Apa L helped give Len Bailes enough friends here that he picked UCLA when the time came for him to go to college. (He came out from North Carolina.) I'd be unhappy if I heard that L.A. wasn't succeeding in keeping somebody from being homesick.
WEST KOPY #1 -- (Whitledge) ValAPA is bi-weekly, isn't it? Add up two weeks' worth of Apa L and I think it'll still beat ValAPA. And of course, the question of which has the more enjoyable reading doesn't necessarily have to be in proportion to the size of the dist'ns, though it's true that skinny dist'ns tend to discourage people from putting effort into their future zines, and a downward trend can develop fast. Having had a preview at what Tim Kirk intends to do for Apa L, though, I sure hope it keeps going for another few months, at least. ## I don't think that Sally's column in the last SHAGGY was too ingroupish. It told about an ingroup, yes, but it was intended as a description of that ingroup, rather than being for the benefit of that in-group and incomprehensible to anyone else. I, personally, am not interested in the discussion of the morality/legality of pot, but enough people are responding to it to show that such an interest exists in fandom -- and it's not easy to find a subject that everybody's interested in. (Of course, once the discussion of pot is worn out, as it seems to be getting by now, I assume Ken will have the good sense to drop it in favor of something new. When an editor tries to keep one subject of discussion alive past its natural lifespan, he is being too ingroupish.)