Digressions & Diatribes

by Kort E Patterson, Editor

Fourth Anniversary Issue!

To the amazement of some - your editor included - Port of Call has racked up yet another year of questioning conventions and postulating profundities - or perhaps just entertaining its readers with annoyingly alliterative absurdities.

In keeping with tradition, this anniversary issue includes another short story by your editor. Once again, I had to conjure up this tale special since I exhausted my stock of stories short enough to fit in POC a couple years ago. I have a couple more short story submissions by Peter Stevens that will appear in future issues, but they tend to be a bit dark and I wanted a story with a more upbeat flavor for this issue. I like to think "The Puzzle Shop" turned out pretty well, and I hope you find it entertaining.

Either through appreciation, complacency or just plain apathy, the members of Region 7 have not yet risen up in mass protest, burned effigies of the editor, or submitted sufficient letters and articles to displace your editor's humble scribbles from the pages of the newsletter. Nor does it appear that the years of writing filler articles for the newsletter have as yet exhausted the list of potential subjects your editor is willing to risk exploring in print.

This will be the 25th issue of POC. 25 issues each containing 7 usable pages has resulted in 175 printed pages of hopefully interesting stuff. POC's website contained 205 HTML files (webpages of varying lengths) before uploading this issue, with probably around 30 of those files being indexes, tables of contents, etc., and the rest containing articles, letters, or features from the newsletter.

Editing POC has been an education on many levels. There is of course the experience of being a small scale/limited distribution publisher since POC's volume is small enough that I can do all of the layout, printing and mailing myself. But I've learned most by trying to write coherent articles. I often start out thinking an article is going to be about one topic and find by the end that it's actually about something entirely different. Intending to advocate a favored perspective, in the process of trying to write a convincing article I often uncover flaws in my own thinking and end up turning my own opinions around. The roadkill article in this issue is a prime example. By the end of the article I realized that it hadn't ended up anywhere near where I expected - it was really about the difficulty of defining common sense in law, not scraping dead animals off the road for the dinner pot. I then had to throw out the original beginning entirely and write a new one to fit with the unexpected ending.

Note that as an expression of extraordinary magnanimity, I remain willing to share this unique educational experience with the rest of the membership. You too can expand your understanding of the world by writing intellectually stimulating articles for POC. Once again I want to remind all of you that the best way to change the nature or flavor of your newsletter is to submit thoughtful or entertaining letters and articles. Region 7 member submissions always get priority, followed by Intertel members outside region 7, followed by whatever I can find to fill in the remaining white space. Writing something witty or wise for POC could be just the way to achieve your 15 minutes of fame or a lifetime of infamy!

And so we head into Port of Call's fifth year...

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