The Official Communique of the USS Ronald E. McNair
Boston, Massachusetts

October 31, 2000 ---------- Vol. 8 No. 1 ---------- Star Date: 36830.9


Editor's Note
Captain's Log
TV Schedule
The USS McNair's Mission
McNair Ready Room
Chief Medical Officer's Log
Comm Channel News
Code 47 via Subspace Radio
Shore Leave 2000 Report
From Data's Humor Chip
Nova Scotia Trip
Wildlife in the 'Hood
Women MBAs in the IT Industry
Fun On The Internet

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As the TV series Star Trek Voyager begins its final season, I am pleased to provide an issue that is jam packed with news, rumors, and upcoming events. This issue has a slightly different focus, since it includes the interesting away mission logs of two USS McNair crew members.

The big news is the USS McNair's planned away mission for April 22, 2001 to Las Vegas, Nevada. The away mission includes a visit to the Star Trek exhibit at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel and casino. All USS McNair members, Trek fans, and scifi fans are urged to join us in Las Vegas in April. Don't miss it! More information is available at the Away Mission to Las Vegas page.

Other big news includes the upcoming addition to the Johnson household. Yes, Kevin and Sabrina have an addition planned. I think that I can safely say congratulations to the couple on behalf of the entire ship, and wish them all of the best as they enter parenthood.

A hearty dose of recognition and congratulations goes to Val "The Klingon" Hope> She organized volunteers to help with a Big Sister Association Halloween party for grade school-aged children. The event was Saturday, Oct. 28th at Roxbury Community College.

One surprise item in this issue is a transcriipt from Monday Night Football. Football commentator Dennis Miller found a way to link two NFL teams, Captain Kirk, and MNF in one smooth comentary. Don't miss it!

George Jenkins
First Officer
Stardate 36827.9. October 28, 2000 - Boston, MASS.

P.S. DS9 will live on both in reruns and ultimately as a mini- series sometime after 2002. Note this prediction. You read it here first in INTERCOM!

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INTERCOM is published quarterly. Copyright © 2000, USS Ronald E. McNair. All rights reserved. Questions, comments, permission requests, and submissions should be sent to the INTERCOM Editor, USS Ronald E. McNair, P.O. Box 255159, Boston, Mass. 02125 - 5159.

INTERCOM is free for USS Ronald E. McNair crew members, and single courtesy copies to region ships offering a newsletter exchange. For others, an annual subscription (4 issues) is available. Enclose a check or money order for $5.00, payable to the USS Ronald E. McNair, and send it to the above address.

If you decide to link to this web site, to an INTERCOM newsletter issue, or to an article within an issue, please register with the USS McNair Guest-book. Otherwise, the INTERCOM Editor will not be able to notify you when links or pages change.

Star Trek: Voyager is a Trademark of Paramount Pictures. Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: The Next Generation are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. This publication in no way intends to infringe upon any copyrights, trademarks, or licenses held by Paramount Pictures or by Viacom.

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Captain Kevin Johnson reporting
Captain's Log October 28, 2000
Stardate: 36827.9

[Due to a tear in the fabric of the space-time continuum, the report ws destroyed by a cluster of tachyon particles.

Captain Kevin D. Johnson
Commanding Officer, USS Ronald E. McNair

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Here's the latest information available:

# Air Date Episode # Production # Star Date Title
146 10/04/00 STV701 40840-247 not given Unimatrix Zero, Pt II
147 10/11/00 STV702 40840-248 54038.4 Imperfection
148 10/18/00 STV703 40840-249 54096.6 Drive
149 10/25/00 STV704 40840-251 not given Repression
150 11/01/00 STV705 40840-250 not given Critical Care
151 11/08/00 STV706 40840-252 54219.7 Inside Man
152 11/15/00 STV707 40840-255 54238.3 Body and Soul
153 11/22/00 STV708 40840-256 54274.7 Nightingale
155 11/29/00 STV709 40840-253 54315.3 Flesh and Blood, Part I
155 11/29/00 STV710 40840-254 54315.3 Flesh and Blood, Part II
156 ??/??/00 STV711 40840-257 not given Shattered
157 ??/??/00 STV712 40840-258 not given Lineage

Notes: Obviously, (R) indicates a previously aired episode, and NG indicates a star date not supplied during the episode. The air date is the date of the first uplink to affiliates. Actual air time will differ. In many local TV markets you can catch reruns of Voyager five nights per week.

Sources: Vidiot: Voyager

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By George Jenkins, XO
Star Date: 36827.9 (October 28, 2000)

The current issue of Cinefantastique magazine is a double issue dedicated to the final season of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. There are about 18 different articles covering the final episodes and character/actor biographies. The issue also includes reviews of several upcoming films such as "Red Planet," the latest Dr. Seuss flick, the coming Dune remake, and "Unbreakable."

Was DS9 the best of the four Trek TV series? Consider this quote by Rick Berman, executive producer, "[On DS9] things are always surprising you, that you didn't expect were going to happen. The fact that we were land-based, as opposed to on a starship, gave us the ability to have literally dozens of recurring characters that were written so nicely that they kept coming back. When you are on a station, you can have a lot of people that can come and go, as opposed to on a starship, where people are either there or they are not. Unlike any Star Trek series before or since, we had 30 or 40 characters that a fan could describe and get to know. That was a very welcome surprise, how many characters were developed over the years."

On this point, Berman is right. DS9 produced a long list of recurring characters BESIDES the main cast, and enhanced several recurring characters that debuted on TNG:

  1. Kai Wynn
  2. General Martok
  3. Moogie (Quark's mother)
  4. Grand Nagus Zek
  5. Admiral Ross
  6. Weyoun (all four clones)
  7. Ferengi Commerce Official Brunt
  8. Gul Dukat
  9. Damar
  10. Kern (Worf's brother)
  11. Ben Sisko's father
  12. The Female Shapeshifter Leader
  13. Vic Fontaine (the singing hologram)
  14. Rom
  15. Garak
  16. Sloan (from Section 31)
  17. The "Jack Pack" (Dr. Bashir's four genetically engineered patients)
  18. Vedek Bariel
  19. Nog
  20. Ziyal (Gul Dukat's daughter)
  21. Kai Opaka
  22. Kasidy Yates
  23. Luxwanna Troi
  24. Keiko O'Brien
  25. The Pagh-wraiths aliens
  26. Klingon Chancellor Gowron
You may not have liked all of these recurring characters, but they were memorable. None of the other Trek series had such a long list of recurring characters.

In the same issue, the writers and executives of the show picked their top 10 DS9 episodes:

  1. Duet
  2. Way of the Warrior
  3. The Visitor
  4. Rejoined
  5. Little Green Men
  6. Trials & Tribble-ations
  7. Far Beyond the Stars
  8. In the Pale Moonlight
  9. His Way
  10. Treachery, Faith, and the Great River
Like a DS9 fan said recently, DS9 is the best Star Trek series. It also has the richest character development and variety. TNG was a very enjoyable and well-made series. DS9 was just plain better.

News is heating up about the next X-Men movie: "X-Men 2." Pretty original title. For more information, visit:

Rumor has it that singer Mariah Carey is the top choice to play Wonder Woman in Joel Silver's upcoming movie version of the comic series. Do you think she's right for the part?

I say: if the comic Dennis Miller can be a football announcer on ABC's Monday Night Football show; and Ronald Reagan, the former actor, radio broadcaster, and former Democratic party member, can become a Republican and President of the USA; then Mariah Carey the singer can be Wonder Woman. I'm not sayng all of this is logical or that she can act, but strange things do happen. Who knows? The Wonder Woman movie might be a musical. Heard that awful singing lately on Lexx on cable?

Speaking of Dennis Miller, during the pre-game hype of a MNF game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, our football comentator extraordinaire ranted about the poor play of the Jacksonville team and the turmoil between the team and its coach:

"Al Michaels: [Coach] Tom Coughlin's under some pressure; a little bit of heat for the first time since he took over the Jaguars.

Dennis Miller: Yeah, its hit the fan in Jacksonville, Al, and everybody's got their theory on how Coughlin's going to handle it. Seems the local citizenry assumes he's going to become Captain Bly. Start Keel-hauling any presumed malcontent [player]. The local press has gotten even more paranoid. They think of him as Captain Quig: hallucinating that there are strawberries missing from the team's walk-in cooler. But, I met with him on Sunday and the guy's much more like Captain Kirk. He's genial, he's alert, sitting upright at the captain's chair ready to do battle with his personal Klingons, the Tennesse Titans."

Well, on that MNF game the Klingons won convincingly.

An item from the "you'd better red this book" file. The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings (Vol. 1/6 July 25th, 2000) recently said this:

Dark Matter - A seminal work in Science Fiction

"I'm sure many of you are aware of the release of "Dark Matter A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora" edited by Sheree Thomas. If not hit: to read my review of it on Science Fiction Weekly. In short, I think this is one of the most important works of Science Fiction to have ever been released.

Perhaps some of you were at the October 1999 events I set up both at Dixon Place with Nalo Hopkinson & Paul Miller A.K.A. DJ Spooky, and the AfroFuturism panel with Nalo, Carol Cooper, Jewel Gomez, Sheree R. Thomas, and Alondra Nelson.

Well this Friday, July 28th WBAI 99.5 FM will interview several of the contributors live on from 2-3 pm. Then that evening at 7:30 PM at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble, in NYC's East Village, there will be a panel discussion with several of the contributors to the collection. I encourage you all to attend this event as it'll be history in the making."

Some more rumors from around the Web: Former "Babylon 5" star Michael Doyle is reportedly involved in a "Babylon 5" revival. The actor is running for Congress. For more information, visit:

Former "NYPD Blue" star Jimmy Smits has joined the cast of Star Wars Episode II. Smits reportedly will play Senator Bail Organa, Leia's adoptive father. According to Ain't It Cool News, Christopher Walken will assume the role of Darth Bane in the next flick.

From the "oh no!" file: Jurassic Park III is in production, but early rumors have problems popping up already. (Duuuhhhh!) Internet reports have the film delayed because of script problems. Script problems? What problems? Of course the next script will read: people wander into island they shouldn't. Dinosaurs stalk and eat people. People run and scream. The End. Sam Neill will reportedly return as paleontologist Alan Grant and William Macy has been rumored in the film. Shooting starts in August in Hawaii and California.

From the "I told you so!" file: reportedly, Majel Roddenberry announced that Paramount rejected two premises for the fifth Trek television series after Voyager ends its seven year run. The two rejected settings involved a much younger cast (possibly the rumored Academy idea) and another about a non-Federation outpost (probably the all-Klingon show) idea. She also said that the 10th film is "on hold." Gee, do you think that the actor's strike had anything to do with this? With the strike now over, things should get moving to sign the actors for the next TNG film.

A Canadian Web site reports that the sequel 3001: The Final Odyssey will soon start production. The premise: "One thousand years after astronaut Frank Poole died while on the Discovery Jupiter mission, he is resurrected by science. Brought back to life thanks to the technology found at the start of the fourth millennium, Frank Poole must now face a bizarre and strange world: one that has been fundamentally changed by the enigmatic monolith he and fellow astronaut Dave Bowman were sent to investigate one thousand years earlier." Hmmmmmmmm. This sounds like wishful thinking.

From the "why didn't they do it sooner?" file, there is a new web site that presents the postal stamps of Star Trek. Of course the site is named Star Trek Stamps. You can view Trek stamps offered in countries around the world. While the content is interesting, the site is not well organized. It is slow to load on a dial-up connection, is image heavy, and the site navigation is inefficient: it forces too many mouse clicks.

From the "so what!" file: "Star Trek: Voyager" received seven Emmy Award nominations. For what, you probably are asking? Well, the nominations included hair styling, music,costumes, editing and other categories of behind-the-scenes work. No nominations for "high quality" script writing. Surprisingly, Voyager has already received four Emmys and 26 nominations. None were in the category of best drama.

In case you missed this item from this summer. Robert Beltran's official Web site has the full text of an interesting interview of the actor transcribed from his recent UK tour. The actor had some very interesting things to say about the Voyager series; some good and some not so good. Here are some excerpts from the interview about the current state of the TV series:

"Q: On Voyager, which people would you say you've got along with really well?
RB: Our cast all get along very well. We do. We are a pretty close group. I would have to say that Robbie, Garrett, Tim and myself are very close. Just because we spend so much time on the bridge doing nothing. I would say that we are probably the closest on the set. Also because our trailers are very close together. But it's also because the four of us are crazy and try to top each other all the time."

"Q: Any memorable moments on the set?
RB: Well, yeah, six years worth! There are a lot that stand out, because we make it a point to make our ten, twelve, fifteen hours on the set as fun as possible. Otherwise we would all have quit a long time ago. But it's kind of hard to pinpoint. And there are kids here too. That's very limiting as far as telling some of our stories! But take it from me we have a lot of fun."

"Q: If you don't get much satisfaction out of the role, is it the camaraderie that makes you go on doing it?
RB: Pretty much. Plus the fact that the cheque is usually on time. I don't mean to denigrate my work in Voyager and I'm not saying anything that probably the rest of the cast wouldn't say either, but you know Star Trek is pretty much a formula show, and the episodes that we've seen on Voyager are pretty mush variations of the same episodes from Deep Space Nine or the Next Generation. And so it's limiting in some ways. I appreciate the fact that people appreciate the show and that's the main thing, it doesn't matter what we think about it. That's another reason I've been able to do it for six years, going on seven years. I suppose the analogy is if we were doing a stage production we'd have a full house every night and a very enthusiastic audience. It's hard to beat that experience."

"Q: Do you know yet if there will be any Voyager films?
RB: Well, the ratings are going lower and lower down. It's funny, they were bragging about the fact that some of our episodes got a 4.6 in the Nielsen ratings. Well, let's put it this way, the highest rated show probably gets 90 or 91, we got a 4.6, and they were very happy about that. Our first three seasons that was generally our average, between 4.6 and 5.2."

"Q: What about the Star Trek franchise?
RB: Well, I think the Star Trek franchise has sort of run its course, it's peaked, and it can only go down now. Then hopefully it will peak again. But their spin about the show is that Seven of Nine saved the show, but the numbers don't bear that out at all. I wouldn't say I had a bitter taste about the show, but it makes me a lot less caring about the show when the writers don't seem to care about all the cast. When that happens, I check out right away and give as little as possible emotional involvement as I can. So I would have to say honestly that for probably the last two or two and a half years I haven't quite read a full Voyager script. It's not necessary because I already know what's going to happen. I don't want to put myself to the aggravation. But then again it's not my show, so they can do whatever they want, but that doesn't mean that I have to be enthusiastic about it. A lot of people have commiserated with me abut the emasculating of Chakotay but I'm not that emotionally involved. If they want to write some good episodes for me they're capable of doing it. They seem to write better for non-humans. But I think it reflects on them, they're missing the boat on a very talented cast."

"Q: If you had script control, what would you change?
RB: Well you know, that's another dilemma that I'm in, because I'm perfectly capable the way Bob Picardo is, of calling up the producers and saying (Picardo voice) "I've just come up with a wonderful idea, I'm sure you'll find it very clever." I can do that too, but when it comes to science fiction and Star Trek, I'm not very creative. It seems that so much is available, and so much is possible, that its hard to think where I would like my character to go or what I would like him to do. I'd just like a couple of scenes every episode where I could speak like a human being and not just give information that will advance the story line of that particular episode, that's all I ask for, and if I have to call them to ask specifically for that it's not worth my time. I get paid the same whether I say one line or a hundred lines. If it's a line that absolutely goes against my being, I call them and say, "What the hell's the matter with you guys," and frankly, I think that's one of the things they don't like. I have voiced my concern, just because I get so dammed bored. That's what I told them, "You're dealing with a very bored actor and if you guys aren't going to use me, why don't you just let me go and I can go on and do the next thing in my career," and that always scares them a little bit! But contractually I have no say in it. I have to do the seventh year whether I want to or not. So I think I've sort of pushed their buttons the wrong way, which made them not really enjoy writing for my character, and if they want to take it personally that I'm quite honest in my criticisms of the show that's fine too."

You can read the entire Q&A interview at:

UK Tour 2000 - The Official Robert Beltran Web site

Unfortunately, the web page doesn't list an exact interview date. However, the web page was loaded on July 2, 2000. Beltran's comments seem to match up pretty well to the expose former DS9 and TNG writer Ron Moore wrote about his brief time on the Voyager staff.

As I've commented before, the actors on the show have done a fine job. The quality of the scripts has been suspect at best and consistently uneven. The show has not been consistent with the Star Trek universe.

On the SciFiNoir email discussion group, in late July, a member asked this about the Star Trek Voyager TV series, "I never understood why the producers so neatly wrapped up the major Marquis/Federation conflicts so quickly. In very short order, everyone became nice, obedient Star Fleet officers, and somehow have carried on an incredible level of discipline and cohesion despite their predicament. It makes the show too bland. But I'd imagine that as they approach Earth, issues of criminal charges against the Marquis will start to surface."

My reply to that fan: actually, the situation is WORSE than what you both have described above. The writers on the show made this mistake TWICE. As a group, they don't seem to learn from their mistakes.

As you correctly indicated, the show's writers made this mistake the FIRST time when they integrated the Maquis crew too quickly into the Voyager Starfleet crew. Then, the writers made this mistake a SECOND time when they integrated the crew of the USS Equinox into the Voyager crew. (If you don't remember, go back and see the two-part episode "The Equinoz where Janeway does battle with Captain John Ransom of the USS Equinox. The two ships fire on each other, crew members are killed, and the survivors are integrated without any conflict? I don't think so.)

By the time the writers got around to episodes about the Borg children, I guess they'd learned their lesson. While we've seen those awful expisodes with the Borg children, we STILL have not seen a single episode about the integration of the surviving USS Equinox crew (i.e., there were five or six) into the Voyager crew.

This is pathetic.

The achilles heel of this series has been its poor quality writing which has been inconsistent with the Trek universe. The actors do the best they can under the circumstances, but the show's writing staff should have released years ago.

Currently, I find the Star Trek novels much more entertaining. Another Trek fan said this about Voyager, "It's sad because the series is coming to an end and in my estimation it is going out with a fizzle as oppoesed to a bang. I find that if I miss a week it's no big deal."

The Sept. 1, 2000 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine contained a commentary discussing the pathetically narrow range and number of Black male characters and their limited portrayal on television. The commentary covered Blair Underwood ("City of Angles"), Gregory Hines ("Will & Grace"), Steve Harvey, and Bill Cosby. The article highlighted just how shoddy the writing has been for network television shows:

Color Decoding
Ken Tucker discusses how "Survivor" and "Big Brother" are struggling to keep it real with unguarded portrayals of modern black men
Entertainment Weekly
Sept. 1, 2000 - Page 64

Some excerpts: "But this summer, with the pervasive prime-time appearances of two non-actors -- Gervase Peterson on "Survivor" and William Collins, a//a 'Will Mega' on "Big Brother" -- we witnessed black men whose complexities and conflicted behavior would never be permitted on a conventional drama or sitcom."

"Given a television landscape in which, on any given week, the most well rounded images of black men may be the underrated cartoon characters of Eddie Murphy's "The PJ's" and David Letterman's stage manager Biff Henderson, I don't want to hear TV sitcom and drama writers whinning about how the reality-show craze is robbing viewers of vivid characterizations."

Also in the same issue is an article on the upcoming crop of Black male authors of romance novels:

Sex and the Single Guy
With a screenplay, a memoir, and two film adaptations of his books, E. Lynn Harris -- the chart-topping author of romance novels about black men -- has got it going
by Clarissa Cruz
Page 38

This summer, the film "Witchblade" premiered on TNT cable. The movie was based on the comic book character. What did I think of Witchblade?

I enjoyed it. The film had lots of action. The film presented good character depth for the main characters. The plot was well paced. You didn't get bored. At times, the parts and scenes played like a music video on steroids. The images flew by too fast.

I liked the plot as the lead character didn't know what the witchblade bracelet was or how to use it. She learned about herself as much as she learned how to use the witchblade. I also liked how the mysticism and supernatural stuff was worked into the plot and character's backstory.

However, the action scenes were heavily influenced by "The Matrix." (what action flick isn't these days?) that detracted from the film's originality. The film also lacked African-American characters and actorss. There was one African-American cop in one of the policeroom scenes. Come on! This film was set in a big city like New York! The only Asian character was killed about halfway through the pilot, but (thankfully) he played a crticial role even after his death.

One question: don't any other women know about the witchblade? Why is it that only two men, Nottingham and Irons, seem to know? This strains the film's believeability, which is alredy stretched to the limit since it is based on a comic book.

If it becomes a series, I'd probably watch it to see if the show's writers and executives can develop it properly.

With the debbut of the "Dark Angel" TV series and "Witchblade," that's two new scifi shows with strong female lead characters.

The "Dark Angel" pilot movie was an okay movie. Not great. Not terrible. I wish that there had been more people of color in more substantial roles. We were at the periphery: neighbors, coworkers. I don't recall seeing many Asians.

"Dark Angel" lacked the realism of the martial arts scenes in "The Matrix." There is no comparison here between the two films.

One question bugged me after seeing the pilot: What happened to the HIV virus? The movie was strangely silent on this.

One scifi fan observed this about Dark Angel: "I HATE... I mean absolutely DETEST when they get an African-American to play someone from the Caribbean (most often a Jamaican). The lone black guy in Dark Angel, though he played a minor role, annoyed me in a major way. First off, why is it all these Ja-FAKINZ (pun on Jamaicans...get it?) dress like Muslims!?! And just who the HELL are they supposed to sound like? All us catz from the isles don't sound alike. And a Trinidadian can detect >a distinct difference in speech patterns from a Jamaican. Thus, when this guy starts speaking in some multi-hybrid West Indian dialect it sounds absolutely ridiculous! Stop it! Please! There are more than enough West Indians eager to get the role. No more of these fake terrible accents! I beg you! Have mercy on me ears!"

The point is clear. It would seem that soe hollywood directors -- James Cameron, like George Lucas in ST:TPM -- really have trouble with accents. I guess it sort of proves that Lucas' world view is very limited.

As usual, the story (e.g., Dark Angel) is United States-focused. What's happening elsewhere in the world? None of America's allies are helping them out in the post EM-pulse world? Or was the EM-pule worldwide? Good scifi needs to have a global view.

In a post EM-pulse world, the movie never explained why some things worked and other items didn't? How did Max (Jessica Alba) manage to maintain her motorcycle while living in a condemned and supposedly vacant building? She wanted to live "below the radar" but had a very visible motorcycle? That doesn't seem consistent.

I guess that chase scenes on bicycles wasn't exciting enough. ;-)

Speaking of action, Entertainment Weekly (EW) magazine reported that Cameron spent $10 million on this pilot film. Where'd the money go? I didn't see $10 million worth of stunts and action. I didn't see $10 million worth of props, backdrops, and sets. Maybe $3 million of it was Cameron's fee.

It was disgusting that all of the genetically engineered children were white or had white features. This doesn't say much about the future. The more I think about this, the more insulted I feel. Cameron should watch the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars" directed by Avery Brooks. He could use the enlightenment.

Entertainment Weekly magazine reported that the movie was aimed at teenagers. Yep. They were right. Fox doesn't seem interested in us older Americans, except on Sundays for football.

So, who is this Jessica Alba? Her acting ws passable, but I'd never seen her before. According to the INternet Movie Database:

Jessica Alba:
Date of birth: 28 April 1981, Pomona, California, USA
Sometimes Credited As: Jessica Marie Alba
Actress - filmography:

  1. Sleeping Dictionary, The (2001) .... Selima
  2. Dark Angel (2000) (TV) .... Max
  3. "Dark Angel" (2000) TV Series .... Sara Rutherds/Max
  4. Paranoid (2000/I) .... Chloe
  5. Idle Hands (1999) .... Molly
  6. Never Been Kissed (1999) .... Kirsten Liosis
  7. P.U.N.K.S. (1998) .... Samantha Swaboda ... aka Rebels (1998)
  8. Too Soon for Jeff (1996) (TV)
  9. "Flipper" (1995) TV Series .... Maya Graham(1995-1996)
  10. Venus Rising (1995) .... Young Eve
  11. Camp Nowhere (1994) .... Gail
  12. "Secret World of Alex Mack, The" (1994) TV Series .... Jessica (1994-1995)

Notable TV guest appearances by Alba: "The Love Boat: The Next Wave" (1998), "Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990), "Brooklyn South" (1997), and "Chicago Hope" (1994).

With this resume, teens will definitely recognize her. My 14 year old son used to watch Alex Mack. Would I watch the series? It depends upon 1) how multiracial it is, and 2) the quality of the script writing. If not, I'll go back and watch reruns of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Speaking of new scifi series on television, earlier this month the Andromeda series debuted. Here in Boston, Andromeda debuted on October 7th at 7 PM on the WB (e.g., "we're blond") network affiliate. What did I think of the show?

Nice ship.

Frankly, I was underwhelmed. The action was fast and the CGI stuff was okay, but the story hinged on the retread "Lost in Space" premise, except that Kevin Sorbo and his ship are last in time. Nothing new with this premise. Andromeda reminded me more of "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." The robots on the ship looked cheesy and just as bad as the robots on Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica.

I was hoping for something new, fresh, and different. Instead, the show seemed like yesterday's chewed gum. Nothing new here.

The pilot episode was written by Robert Hewitt Wolf, who worked on Star Trek Deep Space Nine. He's a pretty sharp fellow and I had pitched several stories to him in 1993 when he was the story editor on DS9. I don't know what went amiss with Andromeda. Maybe it was the writing, the studio's meddling, a difficult premise to execute, or jast a bad pilot episode.

The Star Trek Voyager series proved pretty well that the "Lost in Space" premise is extremely difficult to do well and not become repetitive. This premise is plagued by the repetitiveness of plots limited to:

  1. planet-of-the-week
  2. alien-of-the-week
  3. something-goes-wrong-on-the-ship-this-week
  4. somebody-goes-wrong-on-the-ship-this-week
  5. we almost get home, but don't due to some time warp or similar device
Based on the opening episode, I don't have high hopes for this new series. The lack of minorities on the show also disturbed me. Let's see, there's the usual hulky blond swash-bukcling blond guy in the lead as the captain. The crew of the salvage ship is lead by anther blond captain. There's a purple-skinned blond bimbo alien with a tail. Then, there's another blond in the engineering room on the salvage ship. And, there's an alien that looks like a well-dressed mutant rat; more suited for the Red Dwarf series with its mutant cat.

The lone African American character was introduced at the end of the pilot episode, and he appears to be another, stereotypical brother with dreds who is the "muscle" or warrior-for-hire. No minorities in command positions. That sucks. Well written scifi needs to present minorities in the future in positive positions. In Andromeda, we see a woman in command of the salvage ship, but not much else.

Which characters on this show are over 30? Over 35? Probably, only Sorbo. Again, the future doesn't speak well for people over 40. We are non-existent at best.

The show seemed pretty antiseptic and conservative sexually, just like the Star Trek series. The captain's computer usued an image that seemed right out of "I Dream of Jeannie." Nothing new here, except a retread of Augur's computer image on EFC (Earth Final Conflict). The show has a minimum of T&A, if any. Gee, this is the new millenium. I was hoping for something fresh, new, and different; maybe something with the hulks and babes in Sorbo's prior Hercules series.

Captain Dylan Hunt's uniform looked like a rejected costume from Michael Jackson's music video "Thriller." That cheesy, plastic look. The mutant rat's costume looked right out of the "Red Dwarf" series. Fire the cosutme designer now.

Moreover, the dialog was awful: way too many cliches. Do humans and aliens 300 to 500 years in the future use the same cliches we use today? I don't think so. Think of it this way. Do we use in our daily language the same cliches that people used in the 1600's?

Last, this show reminded me of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. (That is not a compliment.) Both had a lot of eye candy and no message. No moral center. No perspective. When Sorbo stands up and hollars about standing up for the Commonwealth, it souds hollow.

Who cares? I didn't.

I'll give this show about six or so episodes to improve. I'll give it its customary probationary period. Star Trek: The Next Generation had a rocky first year until it got the charater's backstories presented. Maybe Andromeda is off to a slow start, too. I hope that the show presents a high level of quality script writing.

So far, all that I can say that's good about the show is: nice ship.

From the "you ought to read this" file since it covers the portrayal of African Americans in fiction. In August, I had the good fortune to attend a book-signing that featured Barbara Neely, author of the Blanche mystery series, including "Blanche on the Lam." My wife is a huge fan of Neely's books and I wanted to get an autographed copy of Neely's latest book ("Blanche Passes Go") for my wife's birthday present.

Petite and sporting long, salt and pepper dreadlocks, Neely was engaging and very interesting to listen to. The audience asked many questions about the characters in her books, how she began writing, what she thought of Boston (Neely lives in Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighborhood), and Neely's history of activism, since many of the issues in "Blanche Passes Go" addresses violence against women. Neely added that earlier during her book tour, she participated in several fund-raising events for programs to combat violence against women.

I was surprised to find myself both the only male in the audience and the only African-American in the audience. There I was sitting in a Borders Book store in Natick, Massachusetts with about 16 white women between age of 30 and 60 who were captivated by Neely. They all seemed genuinely interested in both a good mystery and African-merican culture. During her talk, Neely mentioned that she wrote the Blanche series both as a good mystery but also to provide a way for people who don't have any access to African-American culture to learn about our culture.

One audience member made a very telling comment. While in line for an autograph, she said that she liked Neely's books bbecause they made her think about things. It felt so good to hear such a comment beause, in my experience, too many Whites I've met never really want to think too much or talk about racial issues.

Of course, since I was the only African American at the event, some of the attendees wanted to glom onto me and energetically share their cross-cultural views and experiences. I just patiently listened.

I must admit that I haven't yet read any of Neely's books. But I defintely will now. She read a passage from "Blanche Passes Go" which was as engaging and eloquent as she was a speaker in person. and Black Expressions (TM) Book Club are having a writing contest. You can write "The Next Episode," their on-line romantic, sci-fi novel. The e-mail notice read, "We`ve got the first chapter, but we need your help with the second. Read our chapter and let us know what you think happens next in the story of Malik, Commander Shaw, Kesha and Wasow. Write a chapter that takes up where our story left off. If your chapter is selected, it will be featured in our Book Channel and you will win 5 Black Expressions (TM) books of your choice."

To enter the contest submit, your submission must be 400 words and you must be a member of All entries must be received by midnight on November 6, 2000. For more information, contact:

This next item is from the "how quickly can an author sell out?" file. Entertainment Weekly magazine reported that a small storm is brewing over the film adaptation of the book "Pay It Forward" by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

The fact is that actor Kevin Spacey was cast in the role of Reuben St. Clair. If you read the book, then you know that Reuben is an African-American character. With so few roles for African-American actors, why did the filmmakers change the character? Why did the author, Hyde, agree to this change? In her Web site, Catherine Hyde wrote this attempt at an explanation:

"The most obvious change, and the one which will raise the most questions, is the casting of Kevin Spacey in the role of Reuben St. Clair. Those who read the book will know that Reuben is an African-American character. That's a big change. Many will object, and I won't say they are wrong to care. Almost nobody wants to see more roles lost for actors of color. But if you ask me why I think this was done, the answer is easy. They cast Kevin Spacey because he's Kevin Spacey. He's a tremendous talent and great box office and will bring a lot to the film."

Frankly, this is insulting. It isn't an answer but an artful dodge. There are plenty of excellent African-American actors available. Was Morgan Freeman busy? Samuel Jackson unavailable? Denzel Washington unavailable? Hyde's explanation sounded a lot like what you hear way too much in Corporate America, "We can't find any qualified Blacks." It's a dodge -- a cop-out -- from someone trying to avoid responsibility when they know they messed up. Hyde continues, adding insult to injury:

"The roles played by Denzel Washington in "The Pelican Brief" and "The Bone Collector" were originally white characters. The reason they were changed was equally simple: They wanted Denzel Washington. Who wouldn't?"

Another dodge. We're discussing the film "Pay It Forward" not some other movie or Denzel Washington's films. Please don't insult m intelligence by trying to change the sujbect! The issue here is that the film adaptation strayed far from the book. Hyde continues her explanation and seems to hint at the real issue:

"A lot of readers have written to me and expressed regret because they feel the book has a strong undertone of racial healing which will be lost in the movie. Personally, I agree. But this is a fact of life in movies. Shadings are lost, subplots deleted. Condensation causes characters and nuances to disappear. The film is always more tightly focused, less detailed. One thing that makes me a little more comfortable with the casting of a white Reuben: he's no longer Reuben. His name has been changed at Kevin Spacey's request, and is now Eugene Simonet. This seemed jarring to me at first, but I quickly grew to like it, because I felt that we were now no longer pretending that this was Reuben St. Clair. I was able to share these thoughts with Kevin Spacey the day I visited the set, and he confirmed that it was indeed one of his reasons for making the change."

Regret? No. Disgust? Yes. Fact of life? Not everybody sells out. A true test of integrity is when it is difficult.

I have no issue with Spacey. He is a talented actor. The issue is with Hyde, the scriptwriter, Leslie Dixon, the director, Mimi Leder, and the film studio, Warner Brothers. How hard did any of them try to keep Reuben an African-American character? You'd like to believe that the movie you plan to see is consistent with or close to the book. You'd like to believe that integrity was important to the filmmakers. Hyde also wrote:

"Yes, it's strange to see your work undergo changes. But I like to think of the movie as the same story told a somewhat different way. Much of it is eerily the same, whole scenes taken straight out of the book and transferred to the screen. Much of it is totally new material that may take the reader by surprise. Bear in mind that Leslie Dixon wrote three complete drafts of the work before it was able to find a great director and a great cast. The first draft was much closer to the book. So I have to remind myself to keep it in perspective. Which would I prefer: A faithful adaptation sitting on a shelf somewhere? Or a more creative adaptation in theaters everywhere?"

Let me see if I got this right. The movie changes one of the two main charcters from African American to Caucasian and you get a "more creative adaptation?" I don't think so. The underlying message seems to be: African American actors, characters, and audiences aren't important. The message from the studio, director, and scriptwriter seems to be, "Hell, we'll just change the character and nobody will mind. We'll make more money by targeting the larger (e.g., White) audience anyway." Consistency with the book be damned.

When I read Hyde's explanation, it seemed as though she made the classic "dash for the cash;" she sold out. She went for the quick movie credit. She quickly took the money and ran; abandoning any attempt to remain true to her original book. She went for the quick route to get her work on the big screen regardless of the consequences. Her explanation lacks any real conviction or integrity. It read more like spin-control so Hyde could keep her options open with Hollywood for future films and not alienate any Hollywood executives. Hyde has published many other books before. She is not a novice author.

Simply, she made the effort and work to write a book where one of the two main characters was African American, but quickly relented when a movie bcame an option? It just sounds false to me.

Her explanation doesn't describe how hard she may have fought to keep the film true to the book; if she fought at all. Were other scriptwriters sought? What African-American directors or actors did she and the studio seek out? What talent organizations were used to locate actors? Why did she relinquish all creative control with the movie? Did she attempt to regain partial or full control? Was she willing to wait instead to keep the film closer to the book?

The Entertainment Weekly review makes a key observation about the film, "Complicating matters further is the fact that the only African American character with extensive screen time is a gangsta style thief named Sidney (David Ramsey). While the filmmakers argue that he is not an entirely negative figure -- Sidney saves the life of a stranger, albeit by intimidating unarmed bystanders with a loaded gun -- Kersey-Henley [Tanya Kersey-Henley, the publisher and editor in chief of the trade publication Black Talent News] finds it problematic that, because of Spacey's casting, there is no longer a positive black role to balance the more dubious Sidney."

Any interest I had in seeing the film "Pay It Forward" has long since passed. A friend, who read the book, said this about the film, "I saw the movie yesterday, by the way. It is unfortunate that they didn't use this opportunity to showcase an African-American actor. It would have been a plum role. Kevin Spacey was excellent, but I don't see how the author of the book could say that race had nothing to do with it. A mixed race couple would have added just that much "tension" and uncertainty, a whole layer of hurt for the people to work through, and that WAS a part of the book. Much of the book was changed, and I couldn't see why, other than to give a more sappy, sentimental story line. YUCK!"

Once again, Hollywood ruins another film adaptation in its compulsive pursuit of the almighty dollar. To read the Entertainment Weekly article, visit:

On the Bleach
"Pay It Forward" courts a racial controversy. Kevin Spacey's
character in the novel was an African American
by Ethan Alter

© 2000 USS Ronald E. McNair and George Jenkins. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.

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Behold, the power of chocolate! You say that you don't believe it? Read on:

The Science Behind a Dark Delight: Chocolate
is no aphrodisiac but it can raise your spirit
By Katherine Miller
Newsweek Magazine / MSNBC

Sept. 14 — A wave of groans filled the room as waiters briskly delivered the plates to the tables. “Good lord, not more chocolate!” This wasn’t just any chocolate. This was the Secret Marquise, a cool, dense, creamy mixture of three kinds of chocolate lying seductively amid a pool of cream that had been whipped just until it whimpered. It was a dessert to die for.

TROUBLE WAS, we had already given our lives many times over in the previous 16 hours. Sixteen food editors and writers had gathered in the stately rooms of a 1738 Georgian-style manor outside Baltimore to learn the latest news on the science of chocolate: antioxidants, fermentation, the physiology of cravings, fat’s relationship to flavor, and how to repair melted chocolate that has seized.

Don’t be mistaken: These journalists were gathered strictly in the name of science, brought together by the American Chemical Society to provide a greater understanding of the role science plays in the food world. If this meant attendees had to eat enough top-quality chocolate to frost a 747, so be it.

As with wine and coffee, the media have shown an insatiable appetite for news about chocolate. Often, however, the news gets distorted. In his opening remarks, Joseph A. Schwarcz, professor of chemistry at McGill University in Montreal, laid to rest the myth that chocolate is an aphrodisiac.

Phenylethylamine, one of chocolate’s more than 300 compounds, is a substance found at higher levels in the brains of people in love. But, according to Schwarcz, after chocolate is eaten, the phenylethylamine is metabolized during digestion and does not increase in blood levels. In any case, he pointed out, sauerkraut has a lot more phenylethylamine than chocolate.

What some people experience as a romantic reaction, said Schwarcz, is likely to be caused by the stimulants found in chocolate, caffeine among them. For the record, 1 ounce of chocolate contains 10 to 20 milligrams of caffeine. A 6-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 105 milligrams, and a 12-ounce cola 35 to 50 milligrams.

Although chocolate is no love potion, Schwarcz says it can raise your spirits. Since it is a carbohydrate, it raises the level of serotonin in the brain and acts as an antidepressant in the manner of drugs such as Prozac. Chocolate also stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, helping to create a state of well-being, much like the “high” created by vigorous exercise.

At this point, the audience was all abuzz. Not from Schwarcz’s remarks, but from the dessert: chocolate mousse pie with praline crust — plus homemade bittersweet truffles presented with fresh strawberries in a box made of bittersweet chocolate.

The next day, scientists gave journalists the chemical side of how cacao beans are made into chocolate and processed by the body. The speakers tried to present their information in layman’s language, but, bottom line, chocolate is a complex food, made up of things such as anandamide, theobromine and oligomeric procyanidins.

As college students, most journalists made a point of sidestepping such names by taking such classes as “Invertebrate Adaptation for Nonmajors.” Now, we desperately tried to digest the complex information, along with the delectable dessert we ate at lunch: Double Chocolate Pudding (a/k/a Country Chocolate Pudding) served with honey ice cream nestled in a lace cookie cup.

Marcia Levin Pelchat, an associate member of Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research institute in Philadelphia, explained why so many people crave chocolate. According to Pelchat, chocolate’s unique sweet-fat flavor and its smooth mouth feel (it melts at body temperature) make it the most frequently named food in surveys of cravings. But some of us appreciate it more than others. Pelchat said 60 percent of females crave sweets (and remember, the sweet they crave most is chocolate), while 35 percent crave savory foods. Those numbers are reversed for males.

Numerous hypotheses have been proposed to explain chocolate craving, including a nutrient deficit; self-medication for depression; hormones; conditioned response; and an environmental trigger.

According to Pelchat, some of these "mechanisms" have already been disproved. For example, the idea of self-medication for depression, she explained, isn’t valid because "Triscuits and cheese work better" than chocolate at raising serotonin levels, and yet people don’t crave those foods.

Pelchat hypothesized that because women crave chocolate more than men, and younger females crave it more than older females, there may be some biological basis — such as ovarian hormones — that explains the gender preference. However, Pelchat said it is still not known whether one or multiple mechanisms control chocolate craving.

Joe Vinson, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, described some recent preliminary research that linked consumption of cocoa powder and dark chocolate to a slight increase in HDL levels. HDL is the "good" type of blood cholesterol that fights heart disease by preventing the buildup of cholesterol in arteries.

This is because chocolate is rich in polyphenols, and the darker the chocolate, the more polyphenols you get (cocoa powder contains the most, white chocolate none). Polyphenols — a k a antioxidants — have several benefits, most importantly the ability to help limit artery damage by preventing the oxidation of LDL, the “bad” kind of cholesterol.

A 1.4-ounce bar of milk chocolate contains 394 milligrams of polyphenols, about the same amount as in a glass of red wine; a bar of dark chocolate has 951 milligrams, slightly more than what’s in a cup of black tea. "You shouldn’t feel guilty about eating chocolate," Vinson said. "The only negative about chocolate is that it has calories. ... The key is moderation and not excess."

In short, he recommended, do not start substituting chocolate for broccoli. Actually, by the time the conference ended, some lightly steamed broccoli had started to sound very good. But there was no escape. As we departed, we were given bags containing a chocolate-bar-motif T-shirt — and a chocolate bar.

(Country Chocolate Pudding)
Makes 4 servings
Pudding layer:
12 ounces whipping cream (1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped in small pieces
Cake layer:
3 3/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
3 3/4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Honey or vanilla ice cream

To making pudding layer: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and yolks. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over chocolate. Stir until melted. Slowly add the cream into the yolk mixture. Pour into four 8-ounce buttered ramekins no more than half full. Place in 9 1/2-by-13-inch pan; add hot water to halfway up the sides of ramekins. Place pan in oven and bake 45 minutes or until pudding jiggles when lightly touched. Cool completely.

To make cake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave or in a heavy pan set over the lowest heat on range (Use a flame-tamer if you have a commercial range). Whip the eggs and sugar on high speed until lemon yellow. Pour the chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs while still mixing. Divide batter over the cooled pudding layer in ramekins. Place ramekins in 91/2-by-13-inch pan; add hot water to halfway up sides of ramekins and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in just the cake layer comes out clean. Serve warm with honey or vanilla ice cream or chill completely. From Belmont Conference Center, Elkridge, Md.

Katherine Miller is a staff writer for The Oregonian of Portland, Ore.) © 2000 Newhouse News Service. Newsweek.

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Dateline: Boston, Massachusetts. Saturday, August 26, 2000. 10:00 AM
Subject: Wildlife in the Hood

Real life is often more entertaining than fiction...

I am happy (sic) to report that there is indeed wildlife here in the 'hood. No, I'm not talking about the neigborhood cats and dogs. No, I'm not talking about homeless rats displaced by Boston's Bog Dig construction project.

Nor am I talking about the skunk that wanders through our block every few days. It sleeps under several neighbors' back porches, we speculate. But, that's another story.

Sometime during the night our cat, Jasmine, killed another mouse. That's four kills of little brown field mice by my count; about one kill per year. I am happy that we are bigger than our cat, otherwise she would likely torture us the way she does the mice.

Before she killed the last mouse, I saw her batting it around the living room floor like Wayne Gretsky maneuvers a hockey puck. At another time, our cat had the mouse sideways in her mouth. All you could see sticking out of Jasmine's mouth was the end of the mouse's tail dangling about, like the preview trailer for the film "Stuart Little."

My wife discovered the kill early this morning on her way to the bathroom. I can accurately report that dead mice do not make a loud crunch underfoot. The sound is more of a squish with a little bit of a crunch. My wife was very happy that she had her shoes on at the time of the discovery.

At this point, you probably think that this is the end of the story. Well, it isn't. There's more.

This morning I woke at 5:05 AM. That's pretty early for any morning, let alone a Saturday morning. No, it wasn't a neighborhood kid's boom-box blaring or a loud car stereo. I've adapted pretty well so I can sleep through loud car stereos most of the time.

Nor was it our teenage children. They were asleep. This morning it was a rooster that started crowing at 5:05 AM.

At first it was a novelty, but "Rocky the Rooster" continued to crow steadily since his 5:05 AM debut. He didn't fly away either. At first, I thought that "Rocky" was the object of a neighbor's religious ceremony; Santaria, or some such ritual. My wife thought that it was an indicator of an upcoming neighborhood cock fight.

By 5:45 AM I was definitely wide awake and not going back to sleep. I never grew up on a farm. (I grew up in Harlem in New York City.) So I didn't know how loud one rooster can crow. Somebody once said, "when life throws you lemons make lemonade." I took the opportunity to fire up my PC and check my email inbox. At 5:45 AM on a Saturday, you can get a very fast Internet connection without any delays.

We later discovered the rooster next door in a cage in an Asian neighbor's kitchen. It was sitting right there; out in plain sight on the kitchen table for everyone to see. I guess that "Rocky" will be somebody's teriyaki-style dinner soon. There will not be a great escape for this "Rocky" compared to the recent "Chicken Run" movie.

All of this actually happened this morning. Reality often is more entertaining than fiction. I couldn't have made all of this up.

Here's to wildlife in your neighborhood, too.

George Jenkins
First Officer

© 2000 George Jenkins. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.

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Thanks to Frank Faas for providing this report:

Date: Sunday, August 13, 2000
Frank Faas

Where shall I begin with the telling of my Shore Leave 2000 experience? It is not as though I have never been to this event before, since I have worked its pre-registration table many years... as I did this year. But this time shore leave was a bit different for me. It was the FIRST year I went solo. No, not Hans (excuse the pun), although I met up with friends there as I always have.

Anyway I arrived not on Friday as I usually had done but early Saturday morning. Heck, it's on Saturday when all the excitement, people, you name it takes place anyway.

So after meeting up with the other pre-registration volunteers I once more was checking names, stuffing programs and other goodies in bags and stapling name tags AND giving DIRECTIONS as to where is Claudia Christan signing, how do I find the discussion group on such and such, has the blood bank begun yet, where do we leave the food we have for the food bank collection, and who will be next to be arrested by the infamous Klingons, who are always on the prowl at this event to fill their Klingon jail cells lit up of course with glitterings red lights and other Klingon fun things... even wrist stocks to lead off a captor (of which one was a pre-registration volunteer NO NOT YOURS TRULY - sorry George! ;)

As always, the Art Auction was held and no I did not win the wine decanter set I'd hoped for. Hey! They auction other things besides painting you know, but no wine!

All through the day/night there were fans in various costumes, some could not be explained or understood. So what else is new. I have noticed the combined costumes were not only of Trek but B5, Star Wars and I only saw one Borg, the rest must have been in sleep mode Data (oh come on, we all remember that dialogue).

Unfortunately, I did not get to the costume awards later in the evening since I had to leave late Saturday nite to head back to my home on Planet Risa. But, no doubt trophies were given out as in years past and those award winners truly deserve them. What talent!!

I even took part as a spectator in a Starfleet wedding for Starfleet's Region's 7's own Bob Vosseller and his new bride... and they walked under crossed swords yet at the recessional of the ceremony. She in a blue gown and he wearing his white formal uniform jacket (as seen in the last Trek movie.) Bob still reminds me of Kelsey Grammer (my opinion). But the fun part of the ceremony was when the people tossed NOT rice but WHITE TRIBBLES.

Oh, of course I also saw Denise Crosby a couple times and spoke to Claudia Christen (VERY nice if I do say so myself -- hey I even spent $30 on photos of her for a favorite charity. That tells you what I thought of her. Never did that at ANY convention before in my long Trek/Starfleet career.

Since I was working the pre-reg table almost all day which is a fun experience in itself, I didn't get to see any of the guest Q&A's nor did I see the other guests in attendance (not well known actors to me anyway). Of course [novelist] Peter David stopped by the table where I was, with his daughter. I like his books a lot but I personally think the man needs a makeover. Sorry Peter.

And what is a convention without walking at least once thru the dealer's rooms and I beleive there were 3 of them plus 2 hallway's leading into them also with dealers. Yes, I did buy a few "important" items; not for me but my son and a close friend.

Then it was time to pack up my personal things and head back to the Greyhound "shuttle". I gave as a personal memento to be auctioned off my very own captain's grey movie jacket which I doubt will be worn by myself in the future. So I hope it went to a deserving Trek fan and for a worthy charity.

Will I be at next year's Shore Leave? At this time I do not know. It's about the only convention I attend anymore, so I find working on them and I have done that many times and not only shore leave. I will have to see what happens in 2001. However I do have the dates for anyone wanting to go there at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, Shawnee Road, Towson, Maryland.... July 13 - 15 2001.

Guest Writer
Captain Frank Faas
Starfleet International
Currently Unassigned (for the very first time thank God) and a crewmember of the Special Security Division - UPF USS Legend
Rank: General (Reservist)

© 2000 USS Ronald E. McNair. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.

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Meeting agendas are available via Internet e-mail or fax. To learn more, see us at the next ship meeting. New members are welcome! Meetings are the second Sunday of the month at 3 PM. Call or write us for directions. Contact the USS McNair at P.O. Box 255159, Boston, Mass. 02125-5159.

The meeting minutes from prior USS McNair meetings:

Date: October 15, 2000
Attendees: George, James, Joan, Jocelyn, Ken, Kevin, Muriel, Roxanne, Taka, Todd

  1. We will see Red Planet the Saturday after Thanksgiving
  2. The next meeting is Nov. 3rd at Joan's. The December meeting is at Ken's. The January, 2001 meeting is at George's.
  3. Severl members played Ken's Star Trek pinball machine.
  4. Kevin shared news about Sabrina's pending arrival

Submissions to INTERCOM are welcomed and encouraged from both crew and non-crew. Articles must relate to TREK events, planets, characters, adventure, actors, literature, fandom, IDIC, collectibles, conventions, events, space science and exploration, or NASA. Articles should not exceed 1,200 words. For writer's guidelines, send a SASE to the INTERCOM Editor. Send submissions to: INTERCOM Editor, USS Ronald E. McNair, P. O. Box 255159, Boston, Mass. 02125 - 5159. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned. Submissions and coments are also welcome for sci-fi movies, the X-Files, Crusade, or other sci-fi works. Submissions received after the deadline will appear in the next issue, space permitting. The Editor reserves the right to edit and/or reject any submissions. Submission deadlines:
Deadline (Issue Date)
Dec. 12, 2000 (Dec. 15th)
March 10, 2001 (March 15th)
June 12, 2001 (June 15th)
Sept. 12, 2001 (Sept. 15th)
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In September of 2000, I took a 15 day bicycle trip through the western end of Nova Scotia, Canada. I spend the trip by myself, exploring the beauty of that maritime province. Below is my email correspondence from that trip. If you want to see pictures from he trip go to: Enjoy.

Correspondence #1, Sept 6, 2000

Bonjour everyone:
Here I am alive and well in Nova Scotia. As I write this I am in the Digby Library at 6:30, Atlantic time. We are an hour ahead of you. I left Monday night (Labour Day) and took the overnight boat from Portland Maine. The boat was quite big, but there is very little to do unless you like to gamble. I sat in the lounge watching reruns of "Married with Children" drinking Canadian beer. The boat rocked so much I could not sleep one wink. I woke up (or just got out of bed) and tried to eat breakfast but got sick in the restaurant in front of everyone. It wasn't the food. It was the seasickness. It snuck up on me. What a way to start a vacation. Couldn't wait to get off the damn boat.

Got to Yarmouth Nova Scotia in the morning. Every time I stood still I would rock back and fourth like I was still on the boat. Took most of the day for it to wear off. Yarmouth is a beautiful old Victorian town. A lot like Martha's Vineyard only with poverty. The weather is great, sunny, warm, but there is a strong head wind of 20 mph. I fought it the whole way to Church Point, my first stop. Took me twice as long as normal to get there. Saw the tallest church in North America at Church Point. Stunning. Had my first serving a "Rappie Pie." It's like chicken pot pie, but has no vegetables and is mostly made with potatoes.

Made it to the Belle Baie park campground by sunset. Still very windy and going to be cold that night. Had cold Dinty Moore beef stew from a can for supper. Beats going hungry. It is very sparse up here and you can't count on food being readily available. I carry lots of food with me, just in case. This is roughing it. Visited St. Bernard's Church. Then made it to the little fishing village of Digby. I am staying at the Westway Bed and Breakfast. Very quaint here. Tomorrow I will head out to Westport on Brier Island and then head back to Digby. All is well and having a great time. I am becoming very present and just stay in the moment whenever I can. Hope all is well with all of you and I will try to email again soon.

Correspondence #2, Sept 8, 2000

Bonjour Everyone:
Here I am back in the Digby Library on Friday night the 8th of September, 2000. I biked out to Westport on Thursday and came back today. Westport is the end of the Digby neck and Islands. These are submerged mountains in the Bay of Fundy, and mountains they are. I have never had such a difficult bike ride in my life. Not only were there monster hills, but Thursday I had to fight a 30 mph headwind the whole way. It took me 8 hours to bike what should of taken 4 hours. After the Digby neck, I took a ferry to Long Island (no not that Long Island.) The ferries run every 15 minutes and remind me of the "on-time" ferry on Martha's Vineyard, only much larger.

On Long Island I saw Balancing Rock. Pretty neat. (Check out the link below.) Then I took a ferry from Long Island to Brier Island. Westport is the only town on Brier Island. It has a population of about 350. It is very out-of-the-way and quaint with a capital "Q." Stayed at the Westport Inn. It had 3 rooms above a diner. Not much to do there, but they have more light houses per square mile than any other place on Earth. Came back today. With the wind at my back it was a breeze returning (pun intended). I got here in 3 and a half hours. Had lunch at a Kwick Stop in Sandy Cove. The locals, all 5 of them, came out to talk to me. I was the talk of the town (pun intended).

The weather has been great. I am a little sun and wind burn and my legs are sore but it really feels like I belong here. I have only been here four days and I feel like I have been gone for months. Hope to email you all again soon.

Love to you all,

P.S. If you want to see Balancing Rock check out:

Correspondence #3, Sept 11, 2000

Hello all:
I am no longer in the French speaking part of Nova Scotia so I am back to Hello instead of Bonjour. Much has happened since I was in Digby. I left there on Saturday hoping for an easy ride through the Annapolis Valley. The town of Annapolis is a wonderful little tourist trap. Very upscale but not uphill. I was only planning to bike to Bridgetown. The terrain was flat and the wind was behind me. However, when I got to Bridgetown I could not find my B&B. Turns out it was in Hampden, a village of Bridgetown. Only problem was that it was on the other side of the North Mountains. I spent almost two hours pushing my bike up a steep incline. The sweat was cascading down my face. Over the summit and I had a great view of the Bay of Fundy with New Brunswick on the horizon.

The people I stayed with had relatives visiting from Toronto. The house was filled with people. They were so nice. They saw how tired I was and fed me dinner. Very unusual for an inn keeper. Next day I went to Waterville but went over the mountains a different way. Much easier. Today (Sept. 11) I am in Windsor. I met another cyclist like me today. His bike was loaded like mine. We chatted for awhile. He is from Demark and he is making his way to Boston. He was travelling in the opposite direction I was. The weather is still great here. It might rain late in the day tomorrow, but I have not seen a bad weather day yet. I hope it stays this way for at least a little longer. Tomorrow I work my way over to the Lighthouse Trail. The scenery is supposed to be spectacular. I hope there is some sun so I can take pictures. Hope you are all doing well, I will try to email again soon.

Correspondence #4, Sept 13, 2000

Last time I wrote I was in Windsor. Windsor is the birth place of hockey. Surprisingly the town does not play it up too much. I stayed at the "Angels Wrest" B&B. It is the best one yet. The hosts were just wonderful. The next day was my worst. I was not in the mood to bicycle at all. I just wanted a day off. I find this is the best times to keep going. It is what I call a break-through point. What is on the other side is often great. They route was hilly, boring and a strong head wind prevailed. The next B&B I stayed at was in Chester Basin. Chester Basin is the cutest little cove I have ever seen. There was a full moon last night and it lit up the whole basin. Today I went to Mahone Bay and saw the famous three churches. As I took my picture a large moving truck moved into the shot a stayed there for a half an hour. I come all this way to get my great picture and a truck is in the way. He eventually moved. I got my great shot. As I write this I am in Lunenburg, fishing capital of Canada. They build boats here. The town has a great fishery museum. The south shore or Lighthouse trail as it is called, is nothing like the northern side of Nova Scotia. It is like two different countries in one. This is the first day the sun has not been out. It is supposed to pass and be sunny again tomorrow. It seems so normal for me to be cycling everyday. I can't remember what my old life was like. When I get back to work you guys are going to have to show me how to do everything again. Hope you are all doing fine.

Correspondence #5, Sept 14, 2000

Hello everyone:
Today I am emailing you from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Last night I stayed at the "Tradewinds" B&B right on the LeHave River. I got rained on a little.

That area is so sparse that dinner came from a Quick-Mart. Hey, but food is food. The hosts at the Tradewinds were German and told of the trials in refurbishing their B&B. The woodwork was beautiful and original. This morning I biked up the river valley to Bridgewater. This entire area, for the past two days, has looked like Rockport (Mass.) without the tourists. The terrain is flat and the weather is great. But when I pulled into Bridgewater, I went around a bend and there was a shopping mall. A big one. I did my laundry there and walked around it. It is amazing how much Canada is so much like the United States. The mall looks like any other mall except the store names are different. Instead of Dunkin Donuts, there is Tim Hortons. Instead of Sbarrro there is Pizza Delight, etc. However, Radio Shack seems to be everywhere.

The drivers here are so polite. The roads have no shoulders, but the drivers patiently wait until they can pass me. Everyone here is so friendly. My trip is coming to an end soon and I don't want to leave. The next few days I will be in a sparse area so I might not be able to email again. If I can, I will. But if not, I will see you all when I get back. I am taking the boat back to Portland next Tuesday the 19th.

See you all soon. I will have lots of pictures.

Correspondence #6, Sept 15, 2000

Hello everyone:
Yes it is me again. The cyclist that won't go away. Today I am in Liverpool. Funny thing, I can't find any monuments to the Beatles anywhere. Oops. Wrong Liverpool. When you bike "8 Days a Week" and your are a "Daytripper" you get disoriented. But "A Day in the Life" of a cyclist can be enough for him to scream "Help" along the "Long and Winding Road.

Liverpool Nova Scotia is not unlike Liverpool England. This is an industrial town where life is hard. Fishing and logging are the industries here. The people are not very friendly here. "Yesterday" I biked to Green Bay which is a nice little village along the sea. I stayed in a B&B with a cabin in the back. I took the cabin. The host were in the 70's. Very nice, but they fussed over me like I was their grandson. It is very humid here and that weather you guys are probably experiencing now will be her tomorrow.

Torrential downpours and strong winds. I don't have far to bike but I have to bike no matter what or I won't make it to my boat on Tuesday. I hope it subsides a little sometime tomorrow. I can't complain. It will be the first day of bad weather in 12 days.

Love Me Do

Correspondence #7, Sept 18, 2000

Hello everyone:

"I just biked Nova Scotia and boy are my legs tired."

I did it. I am done. I am now back where I started 14 days ago. I am in Yarmouth where my ferry will leave tomorrow morning. I have traveled almost 600 miles and have seen so much I feel I have had 4 vacations in one.

When I wrote you last I was in Petite Riviera. The next day I made it to Port Mouton. Mouton is French for sheep. The town gets it's name from a ship full of sheep that ran aground there. I stayed in a B&B right on the beach. The water is greenish blue just like the Bahamas. The woman who ran the B&B lived in the house next door. I had an entire house to myself. The big rain storm we were supposed get, never came. The next day I went to Shelburne. Shelburne is a town that has a historic district that looks like Sturbridge Village (Mass.), except it is along the ocean. I stayed at the Cooper's Inn which is a 17th century structure. I watched some of the Olympics that night, with the other guests. Canada is not putting in the time delay the United States is. I get to see the events about 8 hours before you guys do. Funny thing is that all of the cable [TV] systems here carry the Boston local stations.

The next day I went to Barrington. The headwind was so strong that at one point it stopped me dead in my tracks. Fortunately, it was a short day and I didn't have many miles to travel. Barrington has a lighthouse museum that is an actual light house. Funny thing, I am bicycling on what is called the "Lighthouse Trail" and the only lighthouse I have seen is a museum. Barrington is the junction to Cape Sable Island so it has lots of so-called "progress:" McDonalds, Wendy's and lots of other fast food places. That night I stayed at the Old School House Inn. It was a former school turned into a motel.

Had trouble sleeping last night. Probably anxious about the trip ending. Got up early and started my way here to Yarmouth. I bicycled almost 50 miles today, that longest I have done in one day during this trip. I am going to become a tourist and do some shopping since I don't have to worry about carrying things with me on my bike. I am looking forward to returning and sharing my adventures with all of you. This has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. I hope I get to do it again sometime soon.

Exhausted but content

Ken Dumas

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Nov. 4 – 5, 2000. Creation Con at the Pacific Beach Hotel I Honolulu, Hawaii. Who cares who the guests are? Go to the convention, enjoy the warm weather, and have a great vacation in Hawaii. ‘Nuff said.

Nov. 10 - 12, 2000. United Fan Con 10 in Springfield, Mass. For more information visit

Nov. 24 – 26, 2000. Star Trek/ Sci-Fi Media Convention at Hofstra University on Long Island in Hempstead, New York.

2001 Noreascon *2001. The fan con of the next millenium. Memberships start at US $8.00. For more information, contact: Boston for Orlando in 2001.

February 22 - 25, 2001. A three-night Carnival Cruise Line cruise to the Bahamas with cast members from "Babylon 5" and "Earth Final Conflict." The ship leaves Port Canaveral, Florida. Confirmed guests include Richard Biggs, Jason Carter, Richard Chevolleau, Lisa Howard, Anita La Selva, Leni Parker, Eugene Roddenberry, Jr, and Majel Roddenberry. Invited and unconfirmed guests include Robert Leeshock, Jayne Heitmeyer, and Von Flores. For more information, visit or or or Costs: grade 4A Inside Cabin, $688.00; 6A Outside Cabin, $758.00. The Cost includes cruise fare, port charges, taxes, tips, ocean transportation, accommodations on the ship, food, food, and more food, cruise activities, registration fee for the convention. Booking Bonus to Fan Clubs:

Travel Agent Booking Information:
Ron Strazykalski
R S Travel
Phone: 1 (800) 517-9730

April 22 - 25, 2001. USS McNair away mission to Las Vegas, Nevada for your vacation pleasure and to visit the Star Trek exhibit t the Las Vegas Hilton hotel and casino. Potential vacation activities include tours of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. So, take the Dam Tour with us! More information is available at the Away Mission to Las Vegas page.

For a comlete list of conventions in the Northeast for 2000, visit the Northeast Science Fiction Conventions Web site, Creation Entertainment, or Cruise Trek. If you visit this Web site you'll quickly notice that most Creation conventions now feature guests from a broad range of sci-fi shows: Xena, Hercules, X-Files, and Babylon 5.

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You can find the following items on the Internet:

October 9, 2000 - The Top 15 Science Fiction Geek Pickup Lines

15. "Someone must have shot you with a phaser set on 'stunning.'"
14. "I can't help it -- my eyes are trapped in the gravitational field of your breasts!!"
13. "Nice Asimov."
12. "Not only can I beam you aboard, I can beam you a woody."
11. "W-w-w-w-w-wo-would y-y-y-y-you g-g-g-g-go o-o-out w-w-w-w... ah, screw it."
10. "Is that Shai-Hulud, the life-giving spice-producing god-worm in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
9. "Earth woman, prepare to be probed!"
8. "Forgive my Kirk-like boldness, but you wanna go back to my mom's place and watch 'Dr. Who'?"
7. "How 'bout I slip into something more comfortable... like these STAR TREK VOYAGER pajamas!"
6. "I'm the droid you're looking for."
5. "Is that a spare Vulcan ear in your pocket or... well, I'm just asking because some jerk in the parking lot pulled off one of my Vulcan ears."
4. "Hey, baby. I own Microsoft."
3. "Your mouth says, 'Shields up!', but your eyes say, 'A hull breach is imminent.'"
2. "I sense something... a presence I've not felt since I saw you bend over the registration table."

and the Number 1 Science Fiction Geek Pickup Line...

1. "If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you watch me masturbate while I download pictures of Jeri Ryan?"

Selected from 113 submissions from 44 contributors.
Today's Top Five List authors were:
Peter Bauer, Rochester, NY -- 1 (14th #1)
Dave Henry, Slidell, LA -- 2, Banner Tag Email
Gene Markins-Dieden, New Haven, CT -- 3
Gregory Swarthout, Murray, UT -- 4, 11 Email
Michael Whitmire, Houston, TX -- 5
John Mozena, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI -- 6
Daniel Weckerly, Limerick, PA -- 7
Chris Irby, Dallas, TX -- 8
Larry Baum, Hong Kong -- 9 Email
Ed Brooksbank, Sacramento, CA -- 9
Eric Lipton, Washington, DC -- 10
David W. James, Los Angeles, CA -- 11 Email / Website / Hall of Famer
Dennis Koho, Keizer, OR -- 12 Email / Website
Curt Cutting, Santa Monica, CA -- 13
Bill Muse, Seattle, WA -- 13 Email / Hall of Famer
Beth Black, Misawa City, Japan -- 14 Email / Website
Doug Finney, Houston, TX -- 15 Email
Tristan Fabriani, Passaic, NJ -- Topic Email
Jim Griffith, Sunnyvale, CA -- Runner Up list name
Kristian Idol, Burbank, CA -- Honorable Mention list name Email / Website
Chris White, Irvine, CA -- List owner/editor Email / Hall of Famer
Vomit Launch, whereabouts unknown -- Ambience (explanation)

Copyright 2000 by Chris White.
The Top 5 List *--* *--*
To forward or repost, please include this section.
You like to receive credit for your work, and so do we.

October 3, 2000 - The Top 17 Signs Your Pet is an Alien from Space

17. Carefully spoons "Tang" into the toilet before he drinks out of it.
16. Last month's bill had $135 worth of unexplained long distance calls to David Duchovny's cell phone.
15. The scratches in your sofa look suspiciously like crop circles.
14. Most dogs: sit, stay, roll over. Your dog: levitate, balance checkbook, help Junior with calculus homework.
13. "Polly wants a crollop of phylixinis... Polly wants an Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator..."
12. Always arranges his Kibble 'N' Bits in the shape of the Andromeda Galaxy.
11. Shares your intense hatred of all earthlings.
10. Fido wakes you up every morning by bursting out through your abdomen.
9. When your son faked throwing a stick, Fido vaporized his happy ass.
8. Fluffy keeps urging you to vote for Pat Buchanan.
7. Rover has an irresistible fascination with airborne plastic replicas of flying saucers.
6. Instead of sniffing the butts of other dogs, your pooch uses mind-control to get you to do it and report back.
5. As far as you know, Sigourney Weaver never fried anyone *else's* cat with a flame-thrower.
4. It can't be coincidence that your whenever your rottweiler takes a dump, it's in the shape of Devil's Tower in Wyoming.
3. You find pieces of the missing Mars landers buried in your back yard.
2. Not only catches the chuckwagon running across the kitchen floor, but administers an anal probe to the driver.

and the Number 1 Sign Your Pet is an Alien from Space...

1. Constantly using the Vulcan leg hump to render the postman unconscious.

Selected from 146 submissions from 53 contributors.
Today's Top Five List authors were:
Chris Irby, Dallas, TX -- 1 (5th #1)
John Mozena, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI -- 2
Dennis Koho, Keizer, OR -- 3, 8 Email / Website
Curtis Matthews, Kennesaw, GA -- 4, 16 Email
Rob Knapp, Charlotte, NC -- 4 Email / Website
Michael Whitmire, Houston, TX -- 4
Bill Muse, Seattle, WA -- 5, RU list name Email / Hall of Famer
Brad Osberg, Calgary, Canada -- 6
Chris Walker, Calimesa, CA -- 7 Email / Website
Jim Griffith, Sunnyvale, CA -- 8
Jesse Weiss, Dallas, TX -- 8 Website
Rob Wolf, Seattle, WA -- 9, Honorable Mention list name Email
Doug Finney, Houston, TX -- 10, 14 Email
Kathy Good, Phoenix, AZ -- 10
Peter Rogers, Austin, TX -- 10
Jim Rosenberg, Greensboro, NC -- 11 Email / Website / Hall of Famer
Lisa Lavoie, Waltham, MA -- 12 Email
John Voigt, Chicago, IL -- 13 Hall of Famer
Kevin Wickart, Normal, IL -- 13 Email / Website
John Treusch, Burlington, NJ -- 14 Email
Michael Sheinbaum, King of Prussia, PA -- 15 Email / Website
Andy Ihnatko, Boston, MA -- 17
Tristan Fabriani, Passaic, NJ -- Banner Tag, Topic Email
Chris White, Irvine, CA -- List owner/editor Email / Hall of Famer
Dogs In Space, Australia -- Ambience (explanation)

Copyright 2000 by Chris White.
The Top 5 List *--* *--*
To forward or repost, please include this section.
You like to receive credit for your work, and so do we.

October 5, 2000 - The Top 16 Super Powers of Celebrities

16. Bob Costas: PermaThuse -- ability to simulate enthusiasm for Greco-Roman wrestling
15. Jerry Springer: Trashinesis -- ability to suck the intelligence out of an entire roomful of people and millions watching at home
14. Prince Charles: Really Super Duper Incredibly Amazing Hearing
13. Dennis Miller: TriviaKinesis -- ability to cause football fans to scratch their heads in bewilderment with arcane references
12. Geena Davis: Translucency -- enables you to see right through her clothing AND cheesy sitcom dialog
11. David Hasselhoff: Bellykinesis -- the ability to suck in his gut for one hour each week
10. Al Gore: Snore-o-Speech -- immediately eliminates insomnia the minute he begins citing statistics
9. Jennifer Lopez: Lopitational Pull -- can increase mass density in her buttocks to produce artificial gravitation and bend light rays
8. Yasmine Bleeth: Camp Ray -- mere appearance on television causes young males to pitch tents
7. Richard Hatch/Darva Conger: Temporal Elasto-Lewinskesis -- ability to make 15 minutes seemingly last forever
6. George W. Bush: Hyperwhine -- can turn even normal-sounding text into a pouty screech
5. Ben Stein: DigiBidirectionality -- slightly double jointed in his left thumb
4. Britney Spears: AuralDiscombobulator -- uses SuperCleavage to distract young men away from hearing her singing
3. C.J. Hunter: AlchemAntiSheen -- the ability to make gold seem a little less shiny
2. Elvis Presley: Tackometry -- ability to influence trailer-park decor posthumously

and the Number 1 Super Power of Celebrities...

1.Kathie Lee Gifford: CodyShield Inducer --- irresistible force that drives one to stuff cookies in their ears to avoid hearing her blather about her kids

Selected from 99 submissions from 37 contributors.
Today's Top Five List authors were:
Kathy Good, Phoenix, AZ -- 1 (Woohoo! 1st #1!)
Daniel Weckerly, Limerick, PA -- 1, 10 (11th #1)
John Treusch, Burlington, NJ -- 2, 16 Email
JB Leibovitch, Oakland, CA -- 3 Email
Steve Hurd, Oakland, CA -- 4, 7 Hall of Famer
Larry Baum, Hong Kong -- 5 Email
Dennis Koho, Keizer, OR -- 6 Email / Website
Dave Henry, Slidell, LA -- 7 Email
Curtis Matthews, Kennesaw, GA -- 7 Email
Dave Wesley, Pleasant Hill, CA -- 8 Email / Hall of Famer
Mark Niebuhr, Minneapolis, MN -- 9 Website
Kim Moser, New York, NY -- 10 Email
Curt Cutting, Santa Monica, CA -- 11
Paul Paternoster, Los Altos, CA -- 12 Email / Hall of Famer
John Voigt, Chicago, IL -- 13 Hall of Famer
Kevin Wickart, Normal, IL -- 13 Email / Website
Peter Bauer, Rochester, NY -- 14
Dave Goudsward, Harrisburg, PA -- 15 Email
Jeffrey P. Davis, Honolulu, HI -- Topic
Lev L. Spiro, Los Angeles, CA -- Banner Tag Email / Hall of Famer
Alan Smithee, Sugar Land, TX -- Runner Up list name Email
Tristan Fabriani, Passaic, NJ -- Honorable Mention list name Email
Chris White, Irvine, CA -- List owner/editor Email / Hall of Famer
Public Enemy, Long Island, NY -- Ambience (explanation)

Copyright 2000 by Chris White.
The Top 5 List *--* *--*
To forward or repost, please include this section.
You like to receive credit for your work, and so do we.

Quiz for Management Candidates

Are you management material? Do you have what it takes to be an effective manager in corporate America? Take this quiz and find out. The brief quiz below includes four questions and indicates whether you are qualified to be a manager in your employer's company. The questions are not that difficult.

  1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

    The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, insert the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

  2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

    Wrong answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator door.
    Correct answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, insert the elephant, and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.

  3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?

    Correct answer: The elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. This question tests your memory.

    OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your management abilities.

  4. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?

    Correct answer: You swim across. All of the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, about 90% of current corporate managers they tested answered all of questions incorrectly.

Do you like puzzles? Then try this:

Multimedia Puzzles

To view the puzzles, your computer may need the Shockwave plug-in. Enjoy!

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I thought that you might find this interesting. This site is now on my list of favorites. Star Trek is prominently featured in this site:

Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 10:49:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [SciFiNoir] Overused Science Fiction Cliches

July 17th, 2000


Aspiring science fiction writers are always told to: 1) read widely in the field, and 2) avoid using the genre's overused cliches. It's possible, though, to read widely and still not recognize a well-handled cliche when it stares one in the face! Now there's a site entitled the Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches, which can help in the process. It's divided into Overused Plot Lines, Overused Characterizations/Settings, Overused Story Events, and Silly Science.

The site also marks items with symbols, which show the degree of overuse and/or indicate sexist or bigoted items, and those that contradict the known laws of science.

The New and Improved Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches:

-- Emily Alward

Do you like to study science-fiction? Want a degree in it? Then enroll in The Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF) at the University of Kansas. Founded in 1982, the CSSF serves as a focus for the programs in science-fiction created at the University beginning in 1970, with the first course taught by Professor James Gunn. That same year the University held its first Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction, and, in 1977, the Institute became an annual event. The Center is associated with the English Department, and its course in "Science Fiction" and "Studies in a Genre" are offered for undergraduate and graduate English credit. The Department offers a creative writing option at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Center offers within a four-week period in July, a two-week intensive Writers Workshop and a two-week intensive science fiction course. For more information, contact the CSSF via e-mail at

© 2000 USS Ronald E. McNair. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.

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This arrived recently via e-mail:

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 10:25:06 -0400
Subject: Catalyst: WOMEN MBAs WORKING IN THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY SEE OPPORTUNITY; Most are more satisfied with career prospects than male counterparts

WOMEN MBAs WORKING IN THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY SEE OPPORTUNITY; Most are more satisfied with career prospects than male counterparts

SEPTEMBER 11, 2000, NEW YORK, NY. Women MBAs working in the IT industry —- more than their male counterparts in IT and more than their female counterparts in non-tech fields —- are very satisfied with both their current positions and job opportunities, according to a Catalyst study released today. Ninety-one percent of women MBAs surveyed report high levels of satisfaction in their current jobs, compared to 82% of men MBAs in IT and 84% of women MBAs in other industries .

What’s more, these survey respondents say they are positive about their visibility with top management (82%), the support of their colleagues (74%) and the helpful performance feedback they receive (59%).

These women are twice as likely to work in marketing and sales than women MBAs working in other industries and 60% of them work at large corporations of annual sales of $1 billion or more. As companies grow, the ability to manage people and systems —- the presumed forte of business school graduates —- is touted as increasingly needed in the IT industry. With functions such as these becoming increasingly vital in this hyper-competitive industry, Catalyst undertook this study to shed light on the career expectations, values and experiences of women and men MBAs working in the IT field.

"MBA grads in tech see their organizations as a fertile work environment for personal development. This coupled with the huge demand for talent, translates into opportunity for the women in this growing industry, as well as for the companies seeking their talent," said Sheila Wellington, president of Catalyst. "This study provides the IT industry with the opportunity to continue to leverage the things that are working well and to re-examine the workplace elements that can be improved upon."

Of the respondents, 47% are women and 53% are men. The average age for women is 39, and 40 for men. While 70% of the men have children, only 46% of the women do. The majority of women (89%) have spouses who work full-time, compared to men, of whom less than half, 46% have spouses who are employed full-time in the labor force.

This study was sponsored by IBM Corporation, Pfizer Inc, and Texas Instruments and represents a secondary analysis of the Catalyst research project, entitled "Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity," published in May 2000 in conjunction with the University of Michigan Business School. Of the original survey respondents, 16% (276) are currently employed in the IT industry.

Catalyst is the nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business. Its dual mission is to enable professional women to achieve their maximum potential and to help employers capitalize fully on the talents of their female employees. For more information about Catalyst, visit our Web site at or call 212-514-7600.

© 2000 George Jenkins. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.

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