'A Brief Lesson in Kitchen Table Anthropology' Opening 
  Comments by Richard Lynch, title illo by Sheryl Birkhead
You know, this has turned out to be a busy year so far. I expect that most people who are reading this know of me (and Nicki, too, for that matter) only from fanzine fandom, but I do have a real life, too. I work for the U.S. Government here in the Washington, D.C. area, which means that much of my time is spent catering to the whims of the politicos, both elected and appointed.

Nicki has a real life, too, as a software tester for a financial management company, and to qualify herself for eventual advancement she has been taking graduate-level courses in computer science at The Johns Hopkins University. The JHU computer science curriculum is fairly highly regarded, but they also have other prestigious programs. I came across some of them when I looked through their college catalog the other day and saw there were listings for both anthropology and archeology.

Being a fan history preservationist, both anthropology and archeology ought to interest me, but they don't really. Personally, I don't think you have to poke around people's attics or dig through ruins to learn about the social and cultural development of mankind. I think you could learn almost as much by attending a science fiction convention, reading fanzines ...or by simply cleaning off your kitchen table once in a while.

I'll prove it. Our kitchen table is a bit oversized for the two of us, so the far side of it tends to accumulate mail, magazines, fanzines, and the like. Moving downward through the stack is like traveling through time. On the most recent clean-off, the top of the stack held the most recent Newsweek that both of us were looking for the other day, an apa mailing (still some time before the deadline, luckily), and a reminder from the quick lube shop that my car is due for an oil change. A little further down were some clipped coupons for ice cream shop discounts (some of them expired, *sigh*), a postcard (partly in Polish) from a friend in Warsaw, several pencils and pens, and a long-lost stapler. Near the bottom of the pile, I rediscovered receipts for March's power and water bills (at least they had been paid), the local PBS station's February listings magazine, and the most recent File 770 (old news is still good news). At the very bottom, I'm embarrassed to admit, I came across the file folder of masters... for the previous Mimosa.

Actually, it's not quite as bad as it sounds, as that folder had been diligently filed once -- we had taken it back out of the file cabinet to get photocopies of some of the fan art for the web version of M19. And maybe this is a good place to mention that our Mimosa web site has expanded. There are now eight issues of Mimosa on the World Wide Web (starting with M12) [the web site has further expanded since then], thanks to some hard work and perseverance by our [then] webmaster, Roxanne Smith.

But back to that 'kitchen table' theory of anthropology. This issue of Mimosa might be an example of how it applies to fandom. In it there's information about the earliest science fiction conventions and the most recent doings of fan artists; the beginning of a major U.S. fan organization and a farewell to a fan whose activities spanned many decades; there are tales of things fans do, from the southeast U.S. all the way to southeast Asia.

In short, we hope we've got something for everyone this issue, and that you'll get some enjoyment from M20. We think it's filled with entertaining things to read. We hope you think so, too.

Title illustrations by Sheryl Birkhead

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