INTERCOM NCC 74657
The Official Communique of the USS Ronald E. McNair
Boston, Massachusetts

June 15, 1999 ---------- Vol. 6 No. 3/4 ---------- Star Date: 36326.9

CONTENTS

Editor's Note
Captain's Log
Chief Medical Officer's Log
Collectors' Corner
The USS McNair's Mission
McNair Ready Room
TV Schedule
Comm Channel News
Dear Mr. Mot
Flip The Page
Horror In Vietnam
Code 47 via Subspace Radio
From Data's Humor Chip
The Warning Signs of Violence
Lookin' Great at 58!
Fun On The Internet

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EDITOR'S NOTE

Well, it's over.

The end of DS9 has come. During its seven year run, DS9 became my favorite Star Trek series. Yes, you read it right. It even out-performed the TNG series! As much as I loved the TNG crew and stories, I loved DS9 even more.

DS9 provided us fans with stories that were more human humans, plots that were more controversial, conflicts that were messier, alliances that were more unpredictable, and political intrigue that was more intense and more complicated. As interesting and entertaining it was to watch the Klingon civil war unfold in the TNG series, the Cardassian - Klingon - Federation - Dominion - Romulan war was far better, nastier, more complex, and more unpredictable.

Where the Enterprise D on the TNG series was neat, orderly, and predictable almost to a fault, DS9 offered us a space station where as soon as you understood a set of characters, conditions changed and/or alliances changed. I often wondered if the show's writers drew storylines and arcs from the Middle East conflicts.

Where the TNG and the TOS series both lacked spiritual themes and religion, DS9 boldly explored this area. Religion was a constant factor for the plots, story arcs, and the leading character. Captain Sisko first rejected his Emissary role and later grew into the "job" reluctantly. Where Picard became a Borg temporarily, Sisko became a Prophet or wormhole alien permanently. Cool!

We saw politics overlap with religion on DS9. And we actually saw the Bajoran religion; both citizens and Starfleet officers praying, and the structure of the Bajoran Church. Neither the TNG or the TOS series came close to presenting this side of the 24th century.

DS9 treated us to some episodes with deliciously complex and knotty ethical issues. What is a definition of a war collaborator? What rights should genetically engineered humans have? What rights should clones have? If you kill your clone, is that murder a punishable crime? When has medicine gone too far in replacing a human brain with a synthetic or mechanical one? When or where is personality lost as a result? Should governments fund covert operations? And if not, why? Under what circumstances is genocide or ethnic cleansing permissible? What is death? And, when should you stop the search for your Dad, who wasn't really killed in a Warp core accident?

We saw the slippery, messy, and uncontrollable sides of war. We saw episodes that dealt with collaborators, torture, deceit, and espionage. We saw the Federation in all of its "glory" and high ideals look the other way, attempt genocide, and fund a covert operations unit when it was politically and militarily expedient. How American the DS9 series has become!

DS9 went far beyond the places TNG happily took us all. We met Vic, a self aware and singing hologram. Professor Moriarity should demand an upgrade! We saw marriages, births, separations, and death. We saw all sides of life in the Alpha Quadrant. Where TNG had women in some command positions, we saw more women on DS9 in full command positions; not as doctors or counselors, but as kick-ass commanders, smugglers, majors, colonels, and admirals.

We saw mixed race and mixed species humanoid relationships flourish and succeed. And we watched a strong, African-American commander grow and succeed as a leader, captain, alien emissary, and as a single parent.

Frankly, we saw it all. It was great, and it was sad to see it end. Sure, all good things eventually end, but it is sad nonetheless. I wish to publicly thank the producers, staff, writers, and actors of the DS9 series. When I reread past Editor's Notes in Intercom, I am struck by the consistent high quality of the plots and scripts. Great work!

I wish that I could say the same message for UPN executives. Recent actions by UPN executives are a cause for concern. To read more about this, see the column "Code 47 via Subspace Radio" in this issue.

The DS9 finale was well done. The series was well done. It was a great, enjoyable ride! Thanks for the memories and fun!

Now, I wish to welcome all of our Intercom readers to this double issue. Enjoy!

George Jenkins
First Officer
June 23, 1999 - Boston, MA.

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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DEAR MR. MOT

Editor's Note: Mr. Mot, the Enterprise's Bolian barber, has an opinion on any question pertaining to all four television series and films. The author of this column wishes to remain anonymous. You don't know who Mr. Mot is? Then, watch the following TNG episodes: "Data's Day," "Unification, Part I," or "Ensign Ro." If you wish to ask Mr. Mot a question, send all email to the Intercom Editor, and I will forward it to the author.

Dear Mr. Mot:
I think that Commander Chakotay is cool. Should I get a face tattoo like him?

Signed,
Thinking About It in Natick

Dear Thinking:
People will argue about whether or not tattoos are cool. Everyone will agree that they are painful. Even 24th century technology hasn't eliminated the pain entirely. In your message you didn't say whether or not you are Native American. If you are and tattoos are part of your heritage, I say go for it. If you aren't, I say keep thinking about it. The Voyager series may end long before your tattoo is complete, and Chakotay's tattoo will become a footnote in Trek history. However, a tattoo covering half of your face will never become a footnote. So think long and hard. Tattoos are rather permanent. Find a state where tattoos are legal and get it done by a licensed professional.

Dear Mr. Mot:
Help! My granddaughter is a Trekker. What should I buy her for her birthday. She turns 25 next month.

Signed,
Confused in Hingham

Dear Confused:
My personal favorite gift is the Jean Luc Picard 12" action figure. However, your daughter may have a favorite series. Does she watch Deep Space Nine? Voyager? The original series? TNG? What collectibles, toys, and artifacts does she already own? Your letter was short on details. If she likes to cook, get her Neelix's new cookbook. If she likes to cut hair, tell her to wait for my book next year on Federation Hairstyles. Most young adults like music. A safe buy is the CD with the title themes from all four TV series.

Dear Mr. Mot:
In the last issue, someone asked you who the sexiest captain is. Well, I have a different question. Of the major, recurring characters from all four television series, who is the ugliest?

Signed,
Serious in South Weymouth

Dear Serious:
At the risk of offending fans who love a very popular character, I will answer your question. Any Klingon would top my list of the ugliest ( or smelliest) characters. So you know that means Worf wins the grand prize. The second ugliest? This position is a hot battle between Neelix and Quark. Chief Engineer Belanna Torres is the exception to my ugly Klingon rule. Besides the late Ambassador K'Ehleyr, Belanna is one of the prettiest (and smartest) Klingons I have never met. The fourth ugliest spot is any Jem'Hadar soldier. Ugliness is genetically bred into them. Wesley Crusher rounds out the top five ugliest spots. Fans seem to be sending questions along a familiar theme for this issue. Read on...

Dear Mr. Mot:
My buddy and I are arguing over who has the largest beer-gut on Star Trek. Admiral Ross on DS9 seems to be an early favorite. My friend claims it is Sisko? Who do you think has the largest beer- gut?

Signed,
Two Guys in Danvers

Dear Two Guys:
You have nothing better to do? I assume that you have gotten bored admiring your own guts. Anyway, my list of the top five Star Trek characters, obviously males, with the largest guts includes fellow who all enjoy Romulan Ale:

  1. Admiral Ross in DS9
  2. Engineer Montgomery Scott
  3. any male, human Starfleet Admiral
  4. Captain James T. Kirk in any of the films
  5. Captain Ben Sisko
To make my list, the gut must be large both in cubic meters, and it must protrude far past the shoe tips. A large gut makes it difficult to clean one's feet in a sonic shower. So, Admiral Ross wins the top prize bellies down!

Do you have a question for Mr. Mot? Send an e-mail message to the Intercom Editor, and we'll forward it to the author. If Mr. Mot agrees to answer your question, we'll print it in the next newsletter issue.

© 1999. 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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McNAIR'S MISSION

INTERCOM is published quarterly. Copyright © 1999, 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'S LOG

Stardate: 36343.4
Captain Kevin Johnson reporting
June 28, 1999

The crew and I send thanks to Rob Leach for getting tickets to the first showing of Star Wars (12:01 am 5/19/99, even though the tickets said 5/18/99) and well wishes to him as he starts his new job as a bioinformatist at in New Mexico.

We also send congratulations to Diana on completing high school and wish her all the best.

Star Wars:

I enjoyed Phantom Menace as well as the other Star Wars movies, but I always have a problem if one can associate an alien race with a specific ethnic group.

SETI:

Along with over 700,000 other people, I have been looking for extraterrestrials using the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home program on my PC. I'm doing my small part (26 days out of more than 18,000 years of CPU time). If you want to learn more about SETI@home, check out http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu.

Away Missions:

We have two upcoming away missions. First, on Saturday, July 10th, we will be meeting at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center in Foxwoods Connecticut at the front entrance at 10am. Second, in August, we will be journeying to George's Island for a day of exploration. More details about the George's Island excursion will be forthcoming.

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

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TV SCHEDULE

Here's the latest, based upon reliable web sites.

STAR TREK: Deep Space Nine - 7th Season (Unofficial)
# Date # Title Star Date
150 06/13/98 550 Tears of the Prophets (Season Finale) NG
151 09/26/98 551 Image in the Sand NG
152 10/03/98 552 Shadows and Symbols 52152.2
153 10/10/98 553 Afterimage NG
154 10/17/98 554 Take Me Out To The Holosuite NG
155 10/24/98 555 Chrysalis NG
156 10/31/98 556 Treachery, Faith And The Great River NG
157 11/07/98 557 Once More unto the Breach NG
158 11/14/98 558 The Siege of AR-558 NG
159 11/21/98 559 Covenant NG
160 12/26/98 560 It's Only A Paper Moon NG
161 1/02/99 561 Prodigal Daughter NG
162 1/30/99 562 The Emperor's New Cloak NG
163 2/06/99 563 Field of Fire NG
164 2/13/99 564 Chimera NG
165 2/20/99 566 Badda-bing Badda-bang NG
166 2/27/99 565 Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
(Latin: "in war, laws will be silent")
NG
167 4/03/99 567 Penumbra NG
168 4/10/99 568 'Til Death Do Us Part [aka Umbra] NG
169 4/17/99 569 Strange Bedfellows [aka Eclipse] NG
170 4/24/99 570 The Changing Face of Evil NG
171 5/01/99 571 When It Rains... NG
172 5/08/99 572 Tacking Into The Wind NG
173 5/15/99 573 >Extreme Measures [a.k.a. Night Tremors] NG
174 5/22/99 574 The Dogs of War NG
175
176
5/29/99 749 What You Leave Behind [2-hr Series Finale] NG

STAR TREK: VOYAGER - 5th Season (Unofficial)
#DateEpisode #Prod#TitleStar Date
9305/20/98STV426[194] Hope And Fear51978.2
9410/14/98STV501[195] Night 52081.2
9510/21/98STV502[196] Drone NG
9610/28/98STV503[197] Extreme RiskNG
9711/11/98STV505[199] In the Flesh52136.4
9811/04/98STV504[198] Once Upon a TimeNG
9911/18/98STV506[200] Timeless52143.6
10011/25/98STV507[201] Infinite RegressNG
10112/02/98STV508[202] Nothing HumanNG
10212/09/98STV509[203] Thirty Days52179.4
10312/16/98STV510[204] Counterpoint (aka "Refugee")NG
104 1/20/99 STV511 [206] Latent Image NG
105 1/27/99 STV512 [207] Bride of Chaotica NG
106 2/03/99 STV513 [205] Gravity 52438.9
107 2/10/99 STV514 [209] Bliss 52542.3
108 2/17/99 STV515 [211] Dark Frontier, Part 1 52619.2
109 2/17/99 STV516 [212] Dark Frontier, Part 2 NG
110 2/24/99 STV517 [210] The Disease NG
111 3/03/99 STV518 [213] Course: Oblivion 52586.3
112 3/24/99 STV519 [208] The Fight NG
113 3/31/99 STV520 [214] Think Tank NG
114 4/26/99 STV521 [215] >Juggernaut NG
115 4/28/99 STV522 [216] Someone to Watch Over Me NG
116 5/05/99 STV523 [217] 11:59 NG
117 5/12/99 STV524 [218] Relativity NG
118 5/19/99 STV525 [219] Warhead NG
119 5/26/99 STV526 [220] Equinox NG

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.

Sources: Vidiot: DS9 | Vidiot: Voyager

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CODE 47 VIA SUBSPACE RADIO

By George Jenkins, XO
Star Date: 36326.9 (June 15, 1999)

What's going on at Paramount? In case you hadn't noticed, back in March, 1999, the UPN network started cutting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes from each episode of Star Trek Voyager. Talk about killing the golden goose!

When a television series doesn't deliver the ratings that were promised to advertisers when the advertising rates were set and ad slots sold, then the network usually runs more ads instead of providing a refund to advertisers. To make room for more ads, the network usually cuts scenes from the show.

Shame on you UPN!

Why UPN would slice up its leading show is a complete puzzle, especially since the network is shaky. Consider this: when the UPN and the WB networks started almost simultaneously about four years ago, most industry observers agreed that only one would survive. UPN looked healthier since it was anchored with "Star Trek: Voyager." Times have changed. At the start of this season, UPN's audience was only half the size of WB's. During the November, 1998 sweeps, its prime-time viewership was down about 40% from a year ago. Meanwhile, WB gained 13%. While UPN lost half of its teenage and young adult audience, WB's increased 20%. UPN's latest plan? To appeal to younger viewers, particularly males. UPN's top rated show, Voyager, ranks 89th. UPN executives are high on the "Dilbert" series. The coming crop of new UPN shows are briefly reviewed. The premiere of "Dilbert" was second only to Voyager in the ratings. For more detail on UPN's ratings woes, see the Paramount & Viacom news area of STasis.

If you've watched Voyager closely, then you've noticed that the end credits were cut in addition to some scenes. It is particularly apparent if you compare the original viewing of fall 1998 episodes to reruns shown this year. Of course, UPN doesn't tell us fans. (You won't read about this in Star Trek Communicator either.) I hope that you will write to the network and complain. Here are three good "empty suits" you should write to immediately:
Dean Valentine
President/CEO
United Paramount Network
11800 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025-9425

Adam Ware
COO
United Paramount Network
11800 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025-9425

Tom Nunan
Entertainment President
United Paramount Network
11800 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025-9425

UPN is jointly owned by Viacom and Chris-Craft Industries. Of course, you'll have to write the old fashioned way via snail mail, since these empty suits don't publish their email addresses. Don't complain to the film studio. This debacle isn't their fault. They filmed complete episodes of the show, only we never saw complete episodes of Voyager.

Star Trek fans are some of the smarter TV viewers around. Once again in its arrogance, UPN tries to pull a fast one on us fans. Some studio executives seem to hold on dearly to the idea that us fans (or any consumers) will watch anything. A lot of businesses went out of business with this attitude. If you want to read more about the specific scenes cut from specific episodes, I suggest that you visit the Voyager section of the Vidiot web site.

Speaking of unannounced cuts in TV episodes, did you notice that Paramount Domestic Television (PDTV) released two different version of the two hour DS9 finale? Yes, you read it correctly. If you watched the series finale of DS9 as two separate one hour episodes, then you didn't see everything! Here in Boston, WLVI 56, a WB network affiliate, presented both the two hour version and the two separate one hour version of the DS9 finale.

Hello, Paramount! This is confusing. What master logic led to this decision?

I had the "opportunity" to first watch the final two episodes as separate episode. Then when I saw the final two episodes as a single two hour block, I saw several "new" scenes (e.g., the laughter scene between Damar, Kira, and Garak outside the Dominion headquarters on Cardassia during the final battle). This scene was shown in the two-hour block version but cut from the two-part separate version.

USS McNair crew member Laurie Paszko also noticed the scene cuts. Said Paszko, "If people did not watch the 2 hour version then they missed at least two scenes that I know of. Last week they cut out one scene which is right after Garak said they had a problem getting into the Dominion's headquarters. He started laughing and saying how ironic it was that they were ready to storm the Dominion but couldn't get in. Another scene was a "touching" moment when the Female Shapeshifter stumbled and said she was dying and Weyoun said 'you can't die, you're a god!' She replied, 'My loyal Weyoun, you are the only solid I have ever trusted.' He said, 'I would give my life if it would save yours,' and then she replied, 'If only it were that simple.' "

Paszko added, "In my opinion this was a very important scene to have cut out because it shows just how arrogant the shapeshifter was and how little regard she had for [solids'] life. Also, it led up to the scene where Weyoun said "We have a security breech" and it was his fault for sending most of the Jem'Hadar security away to kill the Cardassians, a subtle irony that her most trusted Weyoun was the cause of the shapeshifter getting captured so easily."

Why did Paramount Domestic Television (PDTV) package and distribute DS9 to affiliate and non-affiliate stations in this manner? Why did PDTV distribute a version of the DS9 finale without such critical scenes? This is most puzzling and disturbing. I doubt this was an oversight or mistake. Assuming it was intentional, then some "empty suit" at PDTV decided to package the show this way, thinking that the stations would buy it and fans would accept it. Well, I don't. And almost everyone I know who saw both versions didn't like the scene cuts.

The cuts and two different finale versions were also infuriating. To me, it goes to the issue of trust. Can we fans trust Paramount to deliver Star Trek in an unfiltered, untouched, and whole form? Can we fans trust Paramount to do the right thing? Can we fans trust Paramount to communicate openly, honestly, and directly? It would seem that we can't trust UPN, based upon the two examples described above.

And, it's not just the scene cuts that were made. It is also the order of some of the scenes. The order changed between the two finale versions. A couple scenes occurred before or after the one-hour break, depending upon which version you watched.

I encourage you to write to PDTV. Both PDTV and PNTV are division of the Paramount Television Group. Here are a few more empty suits to write to:
Joel Berman
Co-President
Paramount Domestic Television
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 956-5000

Frank Kelly
Co-President
Paramount Domestic Television
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 956-5000

Michael Mischler
Executive Vice President, Marketing
Paramount Domestic Television
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 956-5000

Paramount Network Television (PNTV) produces both DS9 and Voyager. If you want to write to some empty suits at PNTV, try these:
Marshall Coben
Vice President, Programming
Paramount Network Television
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 956-5000
Steve Stark
Senior Vice President, Programming
Paramount Network Television
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 956-5000

Even with this duplicity and poor decision making, I applaud the writers, actors, staff, and producers. The two-hour block version was a big "thumbs up." It was exciting. It wrapped up most of the issues we fans expected to see closure with. There were surprises, twists, and turns.

I never expected Sisko to become a wormhole alien. It was sad that Keiko didn't even make an appearance in the final hour episode. It was infuriating that in the memory sequence, Worf didn't even remember Jadzia Dax! (Some of these memory sequences should have been cut instead.) That was also very unrealistic. Worf would remember Jadzia. Clearly, the studio and Terry Farrell never came to terms about payments. So, the studio snubbed her. I wish her well in her new television series show, "Becker."

Speaking of a big thumbs up, I found the Star Wars spoof "Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle" a real hoot! It was very funny and entertaining. What is "Thumb Wars?" Consider the opening copy, "If there were thumbs in space, and they were mad at each other, then there would be... Thumb Wars!"

If you haven't seen the 30 minute flick, then I suggest that you find a friend or a fan and watch the video. The clueless ones amongst you will order the video at UPN''s web site for $9.99. Black Helmet Man (i.e., really a thimble painted black) never looked so good! The dialog is crisp, the battle scenes were well done, and the special effects were surprisingly good. If they make this a TV series, it just might outperform Voyager in the ratings.

The end of DS9 won't affect actor Armin Shimerman (i.e., the Ferengi bartender Quark) much. He has already developed several acting options to stay busy. Before signing onto DS9, Shimerman had recurring roles in the TV series "Hill Street Blues and "Beauty and the Beast." During the past two years the Shakespearean trained actor has appeared on three of the most popular prime-time series. He has played a judge on both "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice." Most of his appearances outside DS9 have been as school Principle Snyder on "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer." His favorite series is "Buffy" although his character's future is uncertain given the violence rumored in the season-ending episode, which hasn't aired yet. The episode's air date was delayed given the recent Littleton, Colorado school deaths.

Best wishes to the newlyweds! In case you hadn't heard, former Cuyahoga County, Ohio Commissioner Tim Hagan and actress Kate Mulgrew, Starfleet Capt. Kathryn Janeway on "Star Trek: Voyager," were married in April 19th. The ceremony reportedly included only the couple and a close friend of Mulgrew's. Hagan did not run for re-election for commissioner last year, a post he had held since 1983. The father of two daughters is now serving as a consultant to Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, in charge of developing the college's new Civic Forum speakers' program. Hagan is also a consultant to the nonprofit Mandel Foundation.

On behalf of the USS Ronald E. McNair crew, I wish to extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to the family of DeForest Kelley who died on June 11, 1999 at the Motion Picture and Television Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. Kelley was 79. We appreciated his work as an actor in TOS series and in the films. I also remember seeing him in episodes of the two television series "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke." (Yeah, I'm a 40+ Trekker and proud of it!) Some of his film credits include "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suite" (1956), "Gunfight at the OK Corral" (1957), and "Apache Uprising" (1966). We will miss him greatly.

In case you are keeping track, here is the list of major Trek celebrities who have left us:

The Matrix. A few months ago, Alison and I went to see this flick. Every now and then a movie comes along which is slightly different, innovative, combines cinematic elements in a new way, and has a tightly crafted story. "The Matrix" is that type of movie for me.

Obviously, I liked it a lot. I liked its messages, one of which was: You are defined by the limitations you believe in. The special effects were great and the story line was very tight. In many ways, the movie makes the holodecks on Star Trek seem antiquated. For me, the movie was a blend of The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Enter the Dragon, and Alice in Wonderland.

Plus, the actors both trained in martial arts for up to a year before the movie started filming, and did most of their stunts. That added a lot of authenticity to the film. The latest issue of Cinefantastique magazine described in detail how the film was made, the actors' training regiment, and how the filmmakers created "bullet time." Cool!

In case you hadn't heard about this, animation via the net is hot. What do you get when you combine the latest Star Wars movie with the gang from South Park? You get...

Park Wars: The Little Menace
http://www.phantomcast.com/Fan_Mult imedia/

You'll need a high speed Internet connection to download this, and a full multimedia PC to experience the audio and video. Enjoy!

Call for papers about DS9. With the end of the DS9 television series, a couple history professors at Texas A&M University seek scholarly papers about the series for an upcoming anthology. The email message read:

"We would appreciate your assistance in passing this call to interested colleagues and posting it to related discussion lists. Apologies in advance for cross-posting."

"Second Call for Papers (_Star Trek: Deep Space 9_ Anthology; September 15, 1999)"

"Since the 1998-99 season is the last scheduled one for this series, we are calling for papers for an anthology on T. Papers are solicited from any discipline. Analytical and pedagogical papers are welcome. Any topic will be considered, but we are especially interested in issues of:

Deadline for completed papers: September 15, 1999
Length: 35 pages maximum
Attribution: MLA parenthetical or endnotes

Submit two copies of your completed paper to one of the following persons:

Robin Anne Reid
Department of Literature & Languages
TAMU-Commerce
Commerce TX 75429

Judy Ann Ford
History Department
TAMU-Commerce
Commerce TX 75429

If you are interested, I strongly suggest that first you contact the professors for a copy of the submission guidelines. Then, learn about the papers that have already been written. The most comprehensive collection of scholarly, academic papers, manuscripts, and theses I've seen on the Internet can be found at the STasis Web site.

Robert S. of Florida wrote to me with a very interesting DS9 question from the episode "Badda Bing, Badda Bang." You may recall that in that episode Vic Fontaine's 1962 casino is taken over by the mob, and Sisko refuses to join the operation to rescue Vic. Robert's question: "Just wondering -- did Sisko's resistance to joining the program strike you the same way it did me? He said he wasn't comfortable pretending that black people were accepted in Vegas casinos in 1962 when in fact they weren't. Cassidy assures him that the holosuites alter the past to how it should have been, and Sisko relents."

A very interesting question. Robert goes on to elaborate, "I thought it odd in the 24th Century (or is it 25th?) Sisko would still make a reference to "our people," meaning black people. I thought maybe it could be an after-effect of the Prophets playing with his mind in that other flashback show where he becomes the writer. But I found it strange that Sisko would still have any resentment about the past treatment of black people in an era when humans has supposedly left racial prejudice far behind.

I think that Robert has raised a very interesting point. I agree that Sisko's comment about "our people" struck me as odd. It seemed an inappropriate comment for the 24th century assuming people are beyond racial prejudice then. We also know that the "white race" and the "black race" were artificial constructs. There is one race: the human race.

I agree that it is entirely possible as Robert indicated, that Sisko's adventures with the Prophets definitely could have affected his opinions and attitudes on race. Then again, the next time you see an episode with Sisko's living quarters, notice the African-American artifacts all around the room. It could be that he's had an interest in A-A history all along.

I strongly believe that there is possibly another factor at work in this episode. In TNG series, Patrick Stewart had input into the scripts and his character's motivations. His influence increased during the TNG movies, too. It is logical to assume that Avery Brooks has the same type of input, especially since he has directed DS9 episodes too.

I see it as entirely possible that Brooks insisted on including that racial reference into the script, not so much from the perspective of 24th century accuracy, but because the DS9 series speaks to a 1999 or 20th century television audience. That is, he is taking the opportunity to challenge today's audience. To do so, he must introduce 20th century values (and attitudes a little) into a 24th century show. Like it or not, today's society has a long way to go towards resolving our racial, gender, ethnic, and religious prejudices. Ask any citizen of Kosovo or of Jasper, Texas.

It would be very interesting to ask Avery Brooks and Penny Johnson, (Kassidy Yates) this question at a convention. I wonder what their reaction and answers would be.

Robert's question begs some related, hypothetical questions. Given holo-deck technology, would you want to play in a holo-deck recreation of the 1963 march to Selma, Alabama? Or the demonstrations where Police Chief "Bull" Connor turned firehoses on civil rights demonstrators?

While it would be appealing from a historical research perspective, I wouldn't want to do it. I prefer to remember history as it was, and not as I would want it to be. To me, that is what is going on in the holo-deck recreations; a bit of informal but equally deadly revisionist history. The holo-deck can only be as accurate as the information its programmer programmed into it. And we know that history is usually written by the victors.

At the same time, I tend to agree with Sisko's position. I wouldn't want to go back to 1962 Vegas, or 1962 anywhere else. (I already lived through 1962 since I was born in 1955.) I wouldn't want to go back to 1862 either. I wouldn't want to go back 400 years to a holo-deck recreation of 1599 to explore Native American life in the North American continent before Europeans arrived. While it'd be interesting to explore my Native American ancestry, the recreation would only be as accurate as current knowledge. Only now are the alternative "histories" from Native Americans becoming more accessible.

Last fall, I visited the new Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center near the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. This is a huge and unique Native American developed, owned, and operated museum where you can experience the last 10,000 years of North American history from a Native American perspective.

Since I only visited in October for about three hours, I didn't get to see everything. Next month, the USS McNair crew is going on an away mission to the museum. This away mission is consistent with our club's goal of pursuing IDIC, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. If you live in the Boston or New England area, you are welcome to join us. We will meet at the museum entrance at 10 AM on Saturday, July 11th. Admission prices are:
Adults (age 16 to 54) - $10.00
Seniors (55 & Older) - $8.00
Children (6-15) - $6.00
Children under 6 - Free
Group visits (10 or more with reservations) - $8.00/person
Museum hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, seven days a week. The last admission is at 6 PM.

I think that Sisko's position was a good example of 24th century tolerance of diversity. He kept his opinions to himself and shared them only when pressured by Kassidy Yates. (Sharpeton or Farakhan would have led a demonstration, called a news conferences, and made it a huge media event.) Sisko respected his staff's holo-suite adventures, and modified his position when he saw the importance his staff placed on the friendship formed with Vic. Maybe he felt guilty since he asked his staff to play baseball against the Vulcan crew.

With all the episodes with war themes lately, I'm sure that the show's producers felt that the DS9 series needed a playful episode. While the show's producers chose this one, I wish they'd chosen another.

What do you think?

What makes a web site great? I am constantly amazed at the range in quality of fan created Star Trek web sites. Too many sites lack a navigation area or the navigation selections are buried at the bottom of a web page that's 2 miles long. Too many web sites are loaded with graphics and take 10 minutes or more to load; even with a 56K speed data line.

Too many sites have broken JavaScript code, or the code isn't optimized for different browsers. Hey! Your audience probably uses more browsers besides IE and Netscape!

Too many sites offer both frames and a non-frames formats. Dear confused web site owner and operator: make up your mind. Either serve the frames version or the non-frames version, but not both. It's confusing. It shows that you don't understand your target audience or their minimum browser and computer configuration. And, why do twice the work by updating two web sites?

What's a web site operator to do? Well, there are plenty of free tools and advice on the web. Much of it is good. You might try the web page What Makes a Great Web Site? for some helpful guidelines. This page could easily be called "Things to Ignore if you Want a Crappy Web Site that Discourages Repeat Visits." Seriously, this is a good starter set of suggestions and guidelines.

Once you've built your web site, please test your code and graphics at either NetMechanic or the Web Site Garage. And, please optimize those GIF images in your site. There are several Web-based tools to do this easily and quickly, such as HVS GIF Cruncher.

And if you feel that you must use frames -- most sites don't need them unless there's an overriding and compelling reason drive by the content -- please serve up a minimal number of frames. Three is optimal (e.g., top, left and center panels). Four is too much. The problem with frames is that the user gets easily confused about which frame to click in and navigate with. This is especially true in sites where the navigation moves from frame to frame. Visit a site like Vincent Flanders' Web Pages That Suck and learn both what to do and what not to do when designing your site.

Some sites stick a huge GIF image, with the audio control buttons, right in the middle of the page. Wake up! Unless you have a site where the content focus is sound or music, then please move the audio controls from the page center. If I have a multimedia PC, then I am going to surf with the sound and won't use this anyway.

Wanna ride on a space ship to Mars? NASA invites you to send your name to Mars on the Mars 2001 Lander! NASA is collecting names which will be placed on a CD-ROM that will be carried on the Mars 2001 Lander. To submit your name, visit http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/2001/. Even though the site is designed for kids, it's still fun for adults.

The Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander is scheduled for launch on April 10, 2001, and it will land on Mars on January 22, 2002 near the Martian equator. For more details, visit the Mars Surveyor 2001 mission home page at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov, or write to:
Cassini Outreach Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA. 91109

Beam me up, Abdullah! Thanks to Captain Kevin Johnson for asking the question. The former Prince and new King of Jordan did indeed have a walk-on appearance on Star Trek Voyager during the Neelix episode "Investigations."

According to a Sunday, January 31, 1999 article in the New York Post titled "One Small Step for Amman; Next Jordan King Boldly Went on Star Trek," the next king of Jordan is an avid Trekker. Prince Abdullah Bin Hussein, 33, visited the film stage of "Voyager" in December 1995, and was given a walk-on as a uniformed medical officer in the episode "Investigations."

"It was known he was a big ' Star Trek' fan. He watches it all the time," said Paramount Studios exec A.C. Lyles. Prince Abdullah's 15 seconds of screen time as an extra came during a Los Angeles stopover on a return trip from Asia to Jordan, the country he'll lead upon his father's death. Ailing King Hussein stunned the world last week when he decreed that his oldest son, 37-year-old Abdullah, would succeed him as king in the capital of Amman. It had been believed that Hussein's brother, Prince Hassan, would be the next king.

Paramount seems to have a thing about princes. In a March 10, 1999 story in the Daily Record, Paramount Pictures indeed extended an offer to Prince Edward as a walk-on role in Star Trek. A.C. Lyles, the head of Paramount Pictures, made the offer to the Prince while he was in Los Angeles on a charity tour. The prince, who runs a film company, does have some acting experience dating back to college.

Honey, let's get married on the Enterprise. Paramount has boldly gone into another merchandising area. According to a February press release, four star-gazed couples were married on Valentine's Day on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise aboard the "Star Trek: The Experience" amusement ride in Las Vegas. The amusement operators have developed a package specifically for Trekkers who wish to say "I do" in space at either 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. Then, the wedding party is ushered to a reception at -- oddly enough -- Quark's Bar & Restaurant. Apparently, the operators of the "Star Trek: The Experience" amusement have received nearly 50 requests for intergalactic marriages this past year. The price? Bring your latinum. The Captain and Admiral Packages start at $2,000 which includes a complete arrangement of wedding services, rehearsal, and ceremony time on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise; plus the reception at Quark's. No word on whether or not Spock provides the music.

Viacom Consumer Products has completed an agreement with Vision X Software, creators of ScreenThemes, to produce a series of high-quality, digitally-restored Star Trek photographs for use as screen savers and wallpapers for Windows compatible personal computers. Images of the cast and ships from TOS are available now. Images and ships from TNG, DS9, and Voyager will be available later this year. ScreenThemes is the official source for Star Trek screen savers on the Web. The program includes a wallpaper manager and screen saver. It requires Windows 95, 98 or NT 4 and it supports all video displays. Users can purchase approximately 100 pictures for US $22.95. The images can be downloaded and purchased directly from the ScreenThemes web site. A Macintosh version is planned for fall, 1999.

Have you seen the new documentary, "Trekkies?" Whether you have or have not, the Trekkies web site is worth a visit. While it isn't the most beautiful site, you can read all about the documentary, complete a survey for your favorite starship captain, and view film clips. There is also a trivia page for those so inclined.

Captain John Sullivan of the USS Kasimar (Bangor, Maine; NCC-1784) writes that his ship owns a life sized replica of the Bridge of the original USS Enterprise. The USS Kasimar will display the Bridge at the Bangor State Fair from July 30-August 7. According to Sullivan's email message, "In the spirit of cooperation and to further the ideals that were laid out by Gene Roddenberry, I would like to invite any of your crew who would like to take part to be a part of our display this summer. If you have never seen the Bridge, it is truly an awesome sight." If you are interested in participating in the display, please contact the USS Kasimar via email.

Last, if you didn't like the latest Star Wars movie, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," then here are a couple web sites you'll want to visit:

Jar Jar Must Die
http://members.xoom.com/joelrevs/

Fan Consensus: Jar Jar Binks Stinks
http://www.eonline.com:80/News/Items/0,1,4833,00.html

The first site has some really good fan-created pictures. While there, you can vote for the 10 stupidest things Jar Jar Binks did during the movie. The second site explores the viewer reaction to the Jar Jar Binks character. Meesa thinks Mr. Lucas should have spent more money on languages and linguistics in him movie. That's not enough for you? Then try this site:

80 Unforgivable Things About "The Phantom Menace"
http://www.bressler.org/recycle/80things.html

© 1999 USS Ronald E. McNair. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This article may be linked to provided it is presented in its entirety with this copyright message appended.


How far from home is the USS Voyager? The USS McNair Captain Kevin Johnson submitted this answer:

It would seem that the USS Voyager is about half way home. What do you think? What numbers have you uncovered?

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CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER'S LOG

Note: The CMO position is currently vacant. We are currently accepting inquiries and nominations. Please send any correspondence to the Captain or the First Officer.

The following information was reported recently in the Internet Scout Report:

Women of Color Health Data Book -- NWHIC
http://www.4women.gov/owh/pub/woc/index.htm

"Provided by the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC), this new data book is intended to help policymakers and women's health advocates understand the health status of women of color and assist them in addressing their needs. The first of the three sections, Factors Affecting the Health of Women of Color, provides an overview of health factors as they relate to ethnic and racial heritage (Native Americans, Hispanics, Black Americans, and Asian Americans), as well as special health issues facing adolescent females and elderly women of color. The second portion of the report, Health Assessment of Women of Color, contains a collection of data on a wide variety of topics illustrated with tables and graphs. These include life expectancy; major causes of death; body weight; tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; preventive health care services; access to health care; morbidity and mortality of various specific diseases; and many others. The final section addresses the issues related to improving the health of women of color, such as research and treatment needs, facilities, and the need for more minority physicians and health care providers."

If you are looking to contribute to the Red Cross or to one of the other, major relief organizations, then you will find this helpful. An April issue of the Edupage email newsletter provided contact information for the following organizations:

American Friends Service Committee, http://www.afsc.org
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, http://www.jtc.org
American Red Cross, http://www.redcross.org
American Refugee Committee, 612-872-7060
Baptist World Aid, http://www.bwanet.org
CARE, http://www.care.org Catholic Relief Services, http://www.catholicrelief.org
Christian Children's Fund, http://christianschildrensfund.org
Church World Service, http://www.churchworldservice.org
Direct Relief International, http://directrelief.org
Doctors Of The World, http://www.doctorsoftheworld.org
Doctors Without Borders, http://www.dwb.org
Feed The Children, 800-328-2122
Food For The Hungry International, http://www.fh.org
International Aid, http://www.internationalaid.org
International Medical Corps, http://www.imc-la.org
International Orthodox Christian Charities, http://www.iocc.org
International Rescue Committee, http://www.intrescom.org
Lutheran World Relief, 800-597-5972
MAP International, http://www.mag.org
Mercy Corps International, http://www.mercycorps.org
Oxfam America, 800-77-OXFAM
Salvation Army World Service Office, 703-684-5528
Save The Children, http://www.savethechildren.org
U.J.A. Federations of America, 212-566-8610
U.S. Association for the UN High Commissioner For Refugees, 202-296-5191
U.S. Committee For Unicef, http://www.unicefusa.org
World Concern, http://www.worldconcern.org
World Food Program, http://www.wfp.org
World Relief, http://www.wr.org
World Vision, 888-511-6423

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COLLECTORS' CORNER

By
Kevin Gawthrope

"WIPE THEM OUT. . .ALL OF THEM"
The Episode I toy wars - Part 3 of 3 : THE INVASION!

Well, it's 2:44 AM on Monday, May 3rd, and I've just finally calmed down from one of the most unbelievable events I've ever experienced. Not unbelievable from an amazing point of view, but more from outright shock. It's REALLY hard to experience a culture shock from within the culture you're a member of. However, tonight's experience was an eye opener to the mass effect of Star Wars and more importantly, its marketing machine.

First off, take all my theories last week (OC #59, NEWS) of store layouts and toy disbursement organization and throw them out the friggin' window! I followed my own advice and pursued to the nearest TOYS R US that was opening at midnight. To my surprise earlier in the evening, not all TRUs were opening at midnight. Only the ones who wanted to, I guess. (Some were opening at 6:00 AM instead.)

As my friend Joe and I waited outside a full hour before the doors opened, we heard assorted grumblings by the 100+ people in line (we were about 13th in line) that some had been here for 4 hours and some others discussing their own theories of how we were going to obtain our elements of raw hype. The consensus was that they were going to shuttle people in single file and distribute the figures one by one. Ah. . .nope. Or, maybe there were going to be an entire aisle of the items, stocked to the ceiling, and everyone, large or small, could spread out and pick calmly from the pegs. Uh-uh.

No, what we had here was your good old-fashioned, Filene's Basement bridal gown sale, FREE FOR ALL! At first everything was fine. They unlocked the doors and everyone with their carts came in one at a time, patiently moving towards the display at the front of the store, littered with over a dozen cardboard cutouts of the character and signage. What took place next can only be described as WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY when people were trying to find those golden tickets. I mean, it looked like TRU was just giving away stacks of $50s or something.

And if you asked some of these hardcore collectors, you wouldn't be that far off. Here's the breakdown:

12:04 AM (they were LATE opening the doors, those bastards!)
All the 3 3/4" figures, Deluxe figures, and a few vehicles and special items were neatly arranged in a 4 x 6' space in the front of the store. Way too small. As soon as the first 5 people in line parked their carts to load up, it looked like downtown Manhattan on a Friday afternoon WITH a parade. 100% pure chaos. Bumping, squeezing, excusing, apologizing, swearing, reaching, grunting . . .and those were the Moms.

There was another entire other section of the same size for the Galoob/micro machine items and Legos. But, at first, no one gave a rat's ass about those blue boxes. Everyone was seeing red. (The new figures are on Darth Maul red cards, for those of you who have forced yourselves not to see what they look like.)

12:06 AM (give or take a few seconds)
The dozens of 3 3/4" figures on about 30 pegs were gone like leaves off a tree in a locust storm. By this time I had snagged 2 of the only character I was really there for, Darth Maul. So, I'm already happy. I also managed to grab 2 Anakins, 2 "Liams", 2 Queen Whatsherface, and 2 C-3POs. At this point I'm content. Joe and I were going to be walking out of there with SOMETHING. Mind you, it was not without frustration.

12:10 AM (probably the longest 4 minutes of my entire life)
People are mulling about picking from the some of those lame-ass toys that nobody cared about 4 minutes ago, but will probably be paying twice as much on eBay in a few weeks. Grumblings rise up about the clerks bringing out more. ("Well, I would HOPE so!") I grab a few Legos items, and the double-edged Darth Maul lightsaber (which shouldn't cost twice as much, because it has twice the blades, OKAY?!), and a couple deluxe figures. This is when thew REAL fun begins.

It was like someone tossed one slice of bread in the middle of EVERY seagull in Massachusetts. The clerks couldn't even put the cases down before they were picked through by the hungry crowd. I mean, would you drive into the South Bronx with a tractor trailer and a megaphone and yell out "Free crack!" Unless you're Tom Green, NO! As far as I'm concerned, these stupid TRU clerks have only themselves to blame for not devising a better system of delivery. Now keep in mind, I'm not standing on the sidelines here playing the role of Wuss Master. I admit, I was in the thick of it at this point. Joe and I had a good system. One watches the cart, and one goes into battle. We both emerged every 30 seconds with a pair of new characters to add to the soon-to-be-expensive pile.

12:30 AM (No more cases.)
With my trusty Palm III I sat patiently and checked off our mutual scores one by one. Joe was making fun of me earlier that I brought it, but was kissing my ass at this point because I had it. We ended up with two each of all 18 figures coming out tonight. We even had a few extras that we threw back to the sharks. We also put back the make-up toys we grabbed that we didn't really want anymore, nor could afford. It seemed like everybody did just as well. No arguments, no hair-pulling (unlike Filenes), and no major complaints. Just a bunch of slightly overweight 20-somethings looking to blow their paycheck on plastic. Everybody's happy.

12:45 AM (there was a LITTLE wait trying to cash out)
After noticing the full size replica Battle Droid near the exit door on the way out, Joe and I walked out unscathed physically, but slightly scarred emotionally. It's kind of scary looking in the mirror. My head was truly spinning for the entire ride home. We felt satisfied, for we had saved ourselves many after-work crusades to the toy stores looking for a Boss Nass, Jar-Jar Binks, or a Ki-Adi Mundi. We made out like bandits.

3:39 AM ("yawn")
Lastly, if anyone out there ventured out this morning for any of their toys themselves, I hope you made out well. Also, I would love to hear your own war stories. Tell me where you went (part of the country), which store, and your successes and losses. Let me know if last week's list and previous helped at all. In the meantime, happy hunting and get the wallets out because it's going to be a long, expensive summer.

Remember. . .it's cheaper than therapy.


ADDENDUM: Tue, 04 May 1999 17:54:27

I just wanted to send out an apology in reference to my "South Bronx" analogy that was written in this week's COLLECTORS CORNER. I have been made aware that it was in very poor taste, and after thinking about it for a little while, I agree that it was.

My only reason for not using more discretion was that I wrote the column at 3:00 AM, so I wasn't as sensitive as I should have been. I realize that's not an excuse, but it won't happen again.

My apologies to anyone I may have offended.

- Kevin Gawthrope

Copyright, 1999. Organized Chaos. This article is reprinted with permission.

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LOOKIN' GREAT AT 58!

A few weeks ago, I watched the 2 hour Voyager episode "Dark Frontier." It was very entertaining. The story was tight, the action good, and the characterization consistent. Moreover, I enjoyed the episode's presentation as a 2 hour movie and not two episodes cobbled together. After the episode, I had two questions:

  1. Exactly how old is the character Seven of Nine?
  2. When exactly was the existence of the Borg first discovered?
How old is Seven of Nine?

Perhaps some astute Star Trek fan can answer these questions. Why do I ask? Consider this: Seven of Nine sure looks great as a woman aged 58. 58 you ask? Is she really that old? Here are my calculations:


According to the episode "Dark Frontier," the USS Raven departs Federation space to research the Borg. Anika Hansen is about 4 years old. About a year later, the Raven locates a Borg ship which it follows for about three years.

So, about four years later, at the age of 8 Anika Hensen is assimilated by the Borg when the USS Raven's shields fail. Seven of Nine becomes Anika's new designation. Using 365 days = 1 human year, the stardate would be about 34071 (=32611 + (4 X 365)).

Stardate: 51003.7
The episode "Scorpion, Part II" where Seven of Nine "joins" the crew of the USS Voyager.

Stardate: 52542.3
The episode "Bliss' aired immediately before the 2 hour episode "Dark Frontier."

So, to calculate Seven of Nine's age: stardate 52542.3 - 32611.4 = 19,930.9 days.

1 human year = 365 days

19,930.9 days divided by 365 days = 54.6 years

Since Anika was about 4 years old at stardate 32611.4 when the USS Raven left Federation space, then her calculated age would be: 4 + 54.6 = 58.6 years old. Seven of Nine would seem to be almost 60 years of age!

Watch out Avon! Beware Clairol! Step aside Oil of Olay. No more revitalizing or anti-aging cream. Vidal Sasoon's new slogan could become, "We don't look good unless our Borg nano-probes make you look good." There'll be a rush on Borg implants and nanites to look as good as Seven of Nine does at age 58! Victoria's Secret will sell the Borg suit in their next catalog.

All of this leads to my second question:

2. WHEN EXACTLY WAS THE EXISTENCE OF THE BORG FIRST DISCOVERED?

I always thought that the Borg were first discovered in the TNG episode "Q Who" when the alien Q flung the USS Enterprise D into Borg space. (the Borg were alluded to but not mentioned in the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" at stardate 41986.) You'll note that the stardate for the episode "Q Who" was 42761.3, which was significantly later than when the USS Raven left Federation space on its research mission (e.g., stardate 32611.4).

So, the calculations: stardate 42761.3 - 32611.4 = 10,149.9 days

1 year = 365 days

10,149 divided by 365 = 27.8 years

How did the Hansen's know enough about the Borg to leave Federation space almost 30 years before the Enterprise D encountered the Borg? Perhaps an astute Star Trek fan can confirm these calculations, or answer this question.

Perhaps the wrong stardate was given in the Voyager episode "Dark Frontier." Maybe it should have been 42611.4 instead of 32611.4. But that would still place the USS Raven's departure for Borg space about 5 months before Q flung the Enterprsie D into Borg space. Somehow the Hansens knew enough about the Borg far enough in advance to schedule a deep space mission, secure funding, and obtain a starship; when Picard and company didn't even have a clue yet. The Hansens even knew what a Borg cube looked like before they left, because Anika played with one.

Then again, maybe the story editor fell asleep during the filming of this episode. According to the Okuda's Star Trek encyclopedia, stardates weren't designed to be closely scrutinized. But close scrutiny is fun anyway.

A couple fans replied the most comprehensive answers. Said USS McNair crew member Rob Leach, "As far as age goes, 7 of 9 might very well be 58. Who knows how long drones live? I'm sure they probably have the technology to keep them alive a lot longer than the human life-span."

"The Hansens were a very "private" family and they were in a world of their own with their research. The episode alluded to reporting to Starfleet, but it was obvious they didn't know very much at all about them. Annika did however play with a Borg cube, but you could say that their research at the time was not considered to be of very much importance, so that knowledge could have gotten buried under a pile of other research and never looked at. By the time the Enterprise D got knocked into Borg space and met up with them, they already apparently had more knowledge of the Borg in that one encounter than was submitted by the Hansens in their research. (Remember, the Hansens stopped transmitting reports before they even ever saw a Borg cube for themselves.) I'll bet it's feasible to guess that the model of the Borg cube was just a witness's creation from an assimilated species that got passed around as more of a rumor than anything. Also remember that Guinan knew of the Borg!, so the knowledge existed in the federation, it's just that the Borg were never a threat and was only an interest to a few in the scientific community (the Hansens). For all we know, Guinan could have told someone what a Borg cube looked like. Then when voyager found the wreckage of the Raven, they downloaded all the in depth files that the Hansen had on the Borg."

"I don't know about any of the [stardate] numbers, but it's all explainable within reason even if the dates you submitted are correct."

"Plus, when the Borg were alluded to, but not seen in the episode you spoke of, they had no way of knowing that what they were up against was the Borg - the same species that the Hansen did their research on. Too little was known to make the connection."

Edward James Hines of Norwalk, Connecticut, submitted the following analysis: "You obviously gave a lot of thought to trying to answer this question by using stardates and arithmetic. I think it's a lot more simple than that, however. First of all, I don't believe that stardates are accurate time indicators that you can add, subtract, multiply or divide with ANY degree of accuracy. For all intents and purposes, they are "random counters" used to show the "march of time" in TNG, DS9 and VGR. So, despite all your hard work with arithmetic, I put it to the side."

"Let's use the information from the episodes themselves. Let's say that Annika was 4 years old at the beginning of the Raven's mission and 7 or 8 years old when she was assimilated. In "Scorpion, Part II" (which I just reviewed a few weeks ago), I believe Seven said that she was assimilated 18 years ago. This would make her about 25 or 26 years old in 2373, which is just a few years younger than Jeri Ryan's actual age (and the age I believe the producers were aiming for with Seven)."

2. Borg Discovery

"Keep in mind that Brannon Braga cowrote "Dark Frontier." He also cowrote "Star Trek Generations," in which the Enterprise-B rescued a group of refugee El-Aurians after their world was decimated by the Borg. I believe that Starfleet debriefed these people, who related their story of the Borg. Thus, Starfleet knew about the Borg as early as 2294 - almost 75 years before "Q Who." Starfleet must have believed that the Borg were too incredible a threat at the time, what with the Klingon peace process just coming together in a destabilized Alpha Quadrant. Thus, Starfleet classified the information as "ultra" top secret and put it away. Not even Picard, flagship captain, knew about the Borg before "Q Who" in 2365 (just as Kirk knew nothing about the "reason" behind General Order 7 and Talos IV prior to "The Menagerie")."

"Somehow, the exobiologist Hansen learned about the Borg sometime prior to 2352. Maybe they interviewed some El-Aurians. However they found out (and that is ONE of the leftover questions from "Dark Frontier"), they petitioned Starfleet to go on an expedition to find out more. Presumably, this is about the time when the Federation was at war with either the Cardassians or the Tzenkethi (or both). Starfleet probably had no science ships that could be fully crewed and sent off on this wild (and insane) goose chase. Somehow the Hansen finagled the Raven from Starfleet and set off by themselves."

The rest is history. The SECOND leftover question I have is this: Given the danger posed by the Borg from El-Aurian accounts, why would Starfleet commission a mere two-scientist team to go look for them? If El-Aurian accounts were completely accurate, Starfleet should have known that if the Hansen were discovered by the Borg, then the Borg would learn of Starfleet and the Federation and probably come have a look for themselves. During wartime, this Borg incursion would have been disastrous for the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant. Of course, Starfleet sanctioned the Hansen' expedition almost 60 years after rescuing the El-Aurians; it probably figured that if the Borg hadn't come to the Alpha Quadrant by now, then the Borg probably weren't as tough as the stories made them seem."

Two other fans from the West Coast submitted these replies:

"In the days of Kirk, remember him? Mr. bad actor himself. I remember this question of time came up where something didn't add up, after all guys it is fiction and they don't always get it right. I myself would like to know how the wild child, Zephram Cochran we saw in the movie mellowed out to be such a conservative mate for the companion. Maybe age does mellow us all. At any rate they explained it by saying that when you travel at warp speeds, the time at other points in the universe may be different. Sounds like a cop out but that's what they said."

"I seem to recall that even in Kirk's time human lifespan had increased to about 200 years (How old was Bones in the first TNG episode?). In one of the movies Kirk has a Birthday where he is getting on in age (by our standards), but looks pretty much middle aged. I this recollection is even close, then 7, by your calculations, would be the equivalent of someone in her twenties, about right. As to the second question, why would the Hansen need to "know enough about the Borg" to follow them? Isn't that the point of "seeking out new life..."? Anyway, it is an interesting exercise."

I agree. What's your opinion?

George Jenkins
First Officer
USS Ronald E. McNair

© 1999 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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Read any good books lately?

Hi! I am pleased... no EXCITED to announce that a good friend and a USS Ronald E. McNair (Boston, MA) crew member, Mary Jacobsen, has had her first book published. I attended her book discussion and signing for her new book:

Hand-Me-Down Dreams: How Families Influence
Our Career Paths and How We Can Reclaim Them
by Mary H. Jacobsen

The book discussion occurred on June 9, 1999 at 7 PM at The Harvard Coop at 1400 Mass. Avenue in Harvard Square. Here's what the announcement flyer said:

"Hand-Me-Down Dreams" examines how parents influence career selection; values about work, success and money; job roles and relationships; and attitudes toward authority, leadership and teamwork. Jacobsen's book lays out a complete plan for readers to help clarify their own dreams and values, translate these into specific goals, and make needed changes to build fulfilling careers."

"Psychotherapist Mary H. Jacobsen has a private practice in Arlington, Mass. and has more than 15 years experience as a licensed social worker, teacher, counselor, and career coach. She has been presenting workshops on what she calls "Hand-Me-Down Dreams" to audiences for the past eight years. In her first book, "Hand-Me-Down Dreams: How Families Influence Our Career Paths and How We Can Reclaim Them," Jacobsen explores how many people who are trapped in unsuitable careers got there because of family pressure and expectations."

Of course, you can buy an autographed copy of the book at the book signing, or order a copy online at Amazon.com.

In the Star Trek universe of the 24th century, mixed race and mixed species individuals operate freely with minimal difficulty. Unfortunately, 20th century American still has a long ways to go to achieve this ideal state. If you are interested in books about, by, and for multiracial or multiethnic individuals and families, consider this novel:

Caucasia
by Danzy Senna
Riverhead Books, New York. A division of Penguin Books.
1998

Caucasia is the coming-of-age story about a biracial girl, Birdie Lee, growing up in Boston, Massachusetts during the late 1960's and early 1970's. While Birdie's mother is White and her father is African-American, her life experiences are shaped by her light skin and Caucasian features compared to her older sister's dark skin and African-American features. Birdie's attitudes and experiences are also shaped by her parents participation in the Civil Rights and the Black Power movements of the time.

I enjoyed Senna's first novel immensely. Senna's writing is very visual, entertaining, and engaging. In her story, Senna addressed all of the experiences and controversial issues that any multiracial person would encounter. I laughed, cried, and worried with Birdie during her trek through new England while passing as a Jewish girl.

Upon meeting another African-American girl in a mostly White high school, Senna writes, "...I didn't speak to her, either, but I did watch her with a wary fascination, glancing over my shoulder at her in the hallway, never stopping to look too closely, rubbernecking, the way one slows to look back at a freeway accident."

"Her hair especially stood out to me. It tried not to be nappy, tried hard to consider itself just a little frizzy, but I saw what was happening in the kitchen of her skull, at the base of her neck--what she tried to hide with scarves and upturned collars. I knew, watching her, that she should have either let it go natural or straightened it, but she did neither... Her eyes were a color I had never seen on eyes before--a dark charcoal gray, the color of slate, of dirty blackboards. I imagined what a field day Maria could have had with her, a bottle of Queen Helene hair grease, some cocoa butter lotion for her skin, which was now so dry it appeared to be covered in a layer of dust..."

Like her novel's main character, Ms. Senna is a biracial individual with mostly Caucasian features who grew up in Boston. If you are looking for interracial books to read, try the following Web site:

Shen's Books
http://www.shens.com/
Shen's Books and Supplies
8625 Hubbard Road, Auburn, Ca 95602
Voice: (800)456-6660 Fax: (530)888-6763

Want to learn more? There are several web sites on the Internet about, for, and by multiracial families and individuals. Here are a few:

Are you a closet racist?

What exactly is a closet racist? Do you know any? For an explanation, see the article "Language of Closet Racism: An Illustration" by Paul Gorski (1995) at http://curry.edschool.Virginia.EDU/go/multicultural/papers/langofracism2.html. The full text of this and many other interesting articles can be found in a wonderful web site:

Multicultural Pavilion (MP)
http://curry.edschool.Virginia.EDU/go/multicultural/home.html

The pavilion's mission is "to provide resources for educators to explore and discuss multicultural education; to facilitate opportunities for educators to work toward self-awareness and development; and to provide forums for educators to interact and collaborate toward a critical, transformative approach to multicultural education."

The MP is an excellent site for teachers, students, and researchers. It contains plenty of resources including statistical databases, journals, magazines, articles, interviews, indexes, and research organizations. And, there's a healthy list of links to related web sites, just in case you can't find what you need at the MP. The site has won several awards.

How exactly do colleges and universities admit students? How is this done for affirmative action programs?

In their new book "The Shape of the River," authors William G. Bowen and Derek Bok explore the long-term consequences of considering race (and of not considering race) in the college and university admissions process. Previously, many admissions policies, the public debate, and governmental laws have been developed without much empirical evidence. The authors present hard facts and examples exactly how affirmative action policies are administered based upon an actual database of admission data from over 45,000 undergraduate students of all races who matriculated at 28 "academically selective" colleges and universities during the 1970's and 1980's.

The phrase "academically selective" is important because it identifies one of several misperceptions about affirmative action policies. The authors estimated that only 20 -30% of all four-year colleges and universities are "academically selective." That is, only 20 - 30% of schools have enough applicants that they can pick and choose students. Said another way, 70 - 80% of all four-year colleges and universities accept all qualified applicants who apply.

So, the debate over "race sensitive" admissions policies applies only to the smaller pool of colleges and universities that are "academically selective."

Another area of confusion around admission policies is "...how one measures the degree of advantage that black applicants receive when they apply to a genuinely selective institution. The most obvious approach, comparing average SAT scores of black and white students, is seriously flawed and should not be used for this purpose. The fact that, nationally, blacks are very underrepresented at the higher SAW levels and very overrepresented at the lower levels ensures that they will have substantially lower average SAT scores even if a college were to use precisely the same SAT cut-off in admitting white and black students. For example, if a school admitted every applicant with SAT scores over 1100 and none with lower scores, the white students would still have a higher average SAT score than the black students because relatively more of them score at the upper end of the SAT distribution. This result obtains even though no racial preference was given in this hypothetical situation."

In selective institutions, admissions officers usually weigh four considerations in admitting applicants who seem capable of completing the course of study successfully:

  1. "...an ample number of students who show particular promise of excelling in their studies. By and large, such students have the greatest likelihood of taking full advantage of the academic strengths of the institution and contributing to the education of their peers."
  2. "...the need to assemble a class of students with a wide diversity of backgrounds, experiences, interests, and talents. Graduating students and alumni/ae--of both undergraduate colleges and professional schools--regularly stress that much of what they gained from their educational experience came from what they learned from their fellow students."
  3. "...to attract students who seem especially likely to utilize their education to make valuable or distinctive contributions to their professions and to the welfare of society. Colleges and universities receive an exemption from taxation because they serve a social purpose."
  4. "...to respect the importance of long-term institutional loyalties and traditions. Almost all selective institutions give some advantage in the admissions process to applicants whose parents or other family members attended the institution (often called "legacies"), and many also pay special attention to applicants from children of faculty and staff."
What few people realize and even fewer discuss is the fact that admissions policies based solely upon academic criteria (e.g., SAT scores and grades) must eliminate the advantages given to applicants whose parents or family members attended the school, to children of faculty or staff, and to athletes. The authors document the fact that "...the overall admission rate for legacies was almost twice that for all other candidates and roughly the same as the overall rate for black candidates."

The authors also tracked the post-graduate activities of the graduates to assess how they performed in and contributed to society. The authors also presented the results of several simulations using the admissions database where a "race neutral" admissions policy was used.

Another area of confusion the authors documented was, "It is also easy to exaggerate the degree of preference that has been given to black candidates. Looking simply at the aggregate number of black students who would be rejected under a race-neutral standard (compared to the number who would be retained) is by no means the only way to think about the question. As we suggested...it is on the margins of the admissions process that the degree of preference should be evaluated."

Said another way, in a race-neutral admissions policy many if not most of the minority students would still qualify for admission. The common misperception is that none would qualify for admission, or that somehow, all have displaced more qualified (white) students. Frankly, when hard numbers are assessed, this mis-perception falls apart. Many minority students would qualify for admission regardless. The phrase "on the margin" refers to the fewer number of minority students given the advantage. Not all minority students get this advantage, since many would have qualified anyway.

William G. Bowen is an economist, President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the former President of Princeton University. Derek Bok is the former President of Harvard University and the former Dean of Harvard Law School. Both authors have extensive experience with the subject of their book.

George Jenkins
First Officer
USS Ronald E. McNair

© 1999 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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McNAIR READY ROOM

Star Date: 36326.9 -- 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: June 13, 1999.
Place: Roxanne's
Attendees: Kevin, Sabrina, George, Alison, Peter, Roxanne, Todd, Ken
Minutes: Future meeting schedule clarified for 1999 through November. July: away mission to the Pequot Museum. August: away mission to George's Island. September: Ken's. October: Todd's. November: Roxanne's. The July away mission will most likely be a day trip due to the high cost of rooms in the Foxwoods/Mystic Seacoast area. Sabrina will investigate room rate discounts. Details for the August away mission will be distributed by Ken after he returns in July. The ship celebrated several birthdays.


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 Babylon Five, the X-Files, or other sci-fi subjects. 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)
June 1, 1999 (June 15th)
Sept. 1, 1999 (Sept. 15th)
Dec. 1, 1999 (Dec. 15th)
March 1, 2000 (March 15th)
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HORROR IN VIETNAM

By Mary Nguyen '99

The Vietnam War came to its devastatin last moments as the Northern soldiers and army tanks swarmed into the Southern capital, Saigon. The Southern people would lose soon, quickly, and abruptly. To the Southern Vietnamese, it was a time to choose to stay in their homeland and live a life with no freedom, or take a tremendous risk and live the life of a refugee. My mother and father were tempted by what lay beyond their homeland, which suddenly was a stranger to them and which also frightened them a great deal. They left their home, family, and everything behind them as they sought their future. When my parents left Vietnam, they wondered if they would actually live and if they would ever see their loved ones again.

I was fifteen when my parents decided it was time to go back to the country they feared and fled. they believed it was time for me to meet my family as well as get acquainted with Vietnam. I was not particularly excited by the notion of going to a hot, humid country where the mosquitoes preyed and infested on the human flesh. I was told of the difficult life and poor living cnditions people faced in Vietnam and had clear visions in my mind of what to expect when I arrived. Besides that fact, however, all that was revealed to me about my parents' homeland did not prepare me in the slightest fo what was to come.

My perceptions and beliefs have changed as a result of this trip to Vietnam. I witnessed poverty like I never had seen. The difference in attitudes and culture was also new to me. Some families are forced to live in huts made of leaves and bamboo, along the side of dirt roads because they cannot afford a house in the city. Nevertheless, in the city where I stayded, I still saw poverty. Even the people who had houses were still destitute by our American standards. Despite all of these things, one particular incident is etched into my memory and was one instance which I know I will never forget.

I was getting acquainted with my cousin one day, when I peered out of the window for another look at the stange land. I was mesmerized by the sigt I saw: a man with only one leg and one arm deformed (which he held against his chest). He could not walk, and therefore he pushed himself by his one leg ad one good arm along the dirt streets of the city. Not only did That seem like an arduous task for him to do, but he was also pushing a plastic bowl with his leg while moving forward. He was a beggar, one of the many I saw during my visit.

The sift was so horrendous, yet I was fascinated. My cousin and my aunt behaved as if it was an everyday occurrence. I tried to suppress my fascination but to no avail. I was told that there were many beggars, crippled, old, and young. These people were a direct result of the war. they were the neglected aftermath of when the war was over. This incident holds special meaning and it has changed my perception of life.

I had a sense of rebirth that day when I saw the beggar. I realized that my life was glorious, and that upset me. The beggar laid there on the street in rags while Ipeered down from the three-story house in my overpriced designer clothing. I felt tremendous guilt because I could not help but think that the beggar was living in poverty because of me. This thinking may have been irrational at the time, but when I left Vietnam I took not only souvenirs and pictures, but I also took with me a new understanding of reality. All the times I begin to whine and complain about the things I don't have, my thoughts ofen wander towards the beggar and how he had nothing. I have placed less emphasis on material possessions since then and I believe that I have become much more grateful for the opportunities I have.

© Mary Nguyen and the Woodward School. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Editor's note: Miss Nguyen is a 1999 graduate of The Woodward School in Quincy, Massachusetts. The above article appeared in Vol. 7 No. 5 of Woodwords, the student-produced newsletter.

Interested in reading more about Vietnam? Visit Vietnam Information or Vietnam Online.

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COMM CHANNEL NEWS

July 10, 1999 August 14, 1999 Away mission for the USS MCNair crew, friends, and guests to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center near the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. For details, contact the Captain or First Officer.

July 9-11, 1999 Readercon 11 in Waltham, Mass. at the Westin Hotel. Guests: Harlan Ellison and Ellen Datlow.

July 9, 10, 11, 1999 Shore Leave 21 at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn in Hunts Valley, Maryland. Reservation Cut-Off Date: June 17, 1999. Many non-Trek guests. Star Trek guests: Barbara March (Lursa in TNG), Gary Lockwood (Gary Mitchell in TOS on "Where No Man..."), Richard Arnold (Star Trek Consultant), Tim DeHaas (Trek Script Writer), Michael Jan Friedman (Trek novelist), BobGreenberger, (Trek novelist), and Howard Weinstein (Trek novelist).

July 23 - 25, 1999 Infinite Visions: Visions 99 at the Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester, MA. Guests: Nicole deBoes(Ezri Dax In DS9), Ray Park (Darth Maul in SW: TFM), Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite in Hercules: TLJ), and others. For info, call (508) 896-7448 or ivisions@cape.com

August 7 - 8, 1999 Slanted Fedora at the Valley Forge Convention Center in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

August 14, 1999 Away mission for the USS MCNair crew, friends, and guests. A picnic at George's Island in Boston Harbor. For details, contact the Captain or First Officer. Rain date: Sunday, August 15, 1999.

Late Summer Private tour with the crew of the USS Christa McAuliffe of the nuclear submarine USS Providence at the Groton, Connecticut sub base. For details, contact the Captain or First Officer.

October 1 - 3, 1999 Viable Paradise III on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Guest of Honor: Joe Haldeman. Artist Guest of Honor: Rick Berry. Other guests and a writers' workshop September 27 - October 1st.

October 8 - 10, 1999 Rising Star 8 at Glenvar High School on Malus Road in Salem, Virginia. Guests: Richard Biggs (B5 - Dr. Franklin), Gerard Christopher, Frank Gorshin, Erin Gray, Linda Harrison, Herbert Jefferson, Jr., Deanna Lund, Michele Matheson, Joyce Meadows, and Heather Young. For more information call: (540) 389-9400.

October 8 - 10, 1999 Farpoint '99 at the Marriot Hunt Valley Inn in Maryland. Guests: Peter Jurasik (Lando in B5), Jamess Darren (Vic in DS9), and others.

November 5 - 7, 1999 United Fancon in Springfield, Massachusetts at the Springfield Marriott. Guests: Robert Picardo (EMH in DS9 and Voyager) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa in Dr. Who). Hotel reservations: (413) 781 - 7111. Tickets: (781) 986 - TREK.

2001 Noreascon *2001. The fan con of the next millenium. Memberships start at US $8.00. For more information, write to Noreascon*2001, PO Box 1010, Framingham, MA 01701-0205. E-mail: Noreascon 2001 or Boston for Orlando in 2001.

For a comlete list of conventions in the Northeast for 1999, 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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FROM DATA'S HUMOR CHIP

The following messages arrived recently via e-mail:

Top 12 things likely to be overheard if your company has a Klingon Programmer:

12) "Specifications are for the weak and timid!"

11) "This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual MIPs processors if I am to do battle with this code!"

10) "You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you've read it in the original Klingon."

9) "Indentation? I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!"

8) "What is this talk of 'release'? Klingons do not make software 'releases'. Our software 'escapes', leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in it's wake."

7) "Klingon function calls do not have 'parameters' -- they have 'arguments' -- and they ALWAYS WIN THEM."

6) "Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak."

5) "I have challenged the entire SQA team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again."

4) "A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!"

3) "By filing this PR you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!"

2) "You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!"

1) "Our users will know fear and cower before our software! Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they are!"


The Coffee Prayer

Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.

It maketh me to wake in green pastures: it leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.

It restoreth my buzz: it leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction, I will fear no Equal(tm): for thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.

Thou preparest a carafe before me in the prescence of Juan Valdez: thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over.

Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the House of Maxwell forever.


At my place of employment, it has been very busy and stressful lately. The following prayer has circulated the office, thanks to Courtney:

A Prayer for the Stressed

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I cannot accept,
And the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people
I had to kill today because they pissed me off.
And also, help me to be careful of the toes I step on today,
As they may be connected to the ass that I may have to kiss tomorrow.
Help me to always give 100% at work....
12% on Monday, 23% on Tuesday, 40% on Wednesday,
20% on Thursday, 5% on Fridays.

And help me to remember.....
When I'm having a really bad day,
And it seems that people are trying to piss me off,
That it takes 42 muscles to frown,
But only 4 to extend my middle finger and tell them to bite me.


Here is a riddle (the answer is at the bottom of the page, but don't cheat). Take a few minutes to think about it. 80% of kindergarten students solved the riddle. Only 17% of Stanford graduates solved the riddle. Good Luck.

What is greater than God,
more evil than the devil,
the poor have it,
the rich need it,
and if you eat it, you will die?

Answer: Nothing

After reading the part about something being greater than God, you should have known the answer.


Amazing Math Trick

DON'T CHEAT BY SCROLLING DOWN FIRST! It only takes 30 seconds. Work this out as you read. Don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!

OK, now, work quietly by yourself, at your desk!

  1. First of all, pick the number of days a week that you would like to eat out.
  2. Multiply this number by 2.
  3. Add 5.
  4. Multiply it by 50.
  5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1749. If you haven't, add 1748.
  6. Last step: Subtract the four digit year that you were born.
  7. SEE BELOW
You should now have a three digit number:

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e. how many times you want to go out each week).

The second two digits are your age !!!

This is the only year (1999) it will ever work, so spread the fun around while it lasts.


SIGNS ON CHURCH PROPERTY

"No God -- No Peace. Know God -- Know Peace."

"Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!"

"Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins."

"Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!"

An ad for St.Joseph's Episcopal Church has a picture of two hands holding stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed and a headline that reads, "For fast, fast, fast relief, take two tablets."

When the restaurant next to the Lutheran Church put out a big sign with red letters that said, "Open Sundays," the church reciprocated with its own message: "We are open on Sundays, too."

"Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons -- come hear one!"

A singing group called "The Resurrection" was scheduled to sing at a church. When a big snowstorm postponed the performance, the pastor fixed the outside sign to read, "The Resurrection is postponed."

"People are like tea bags -- you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are."

"God so loved the world that He did not send a committee."

"Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!"

"When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out alright."

"Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday."

"Fight truth decay -- study the Bible daily."

"How will you spend eternity -- Smoking or Non-smoking?"

"Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives":

"Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world."

"It is unlikely there'll be a reduction in the wages of sin."

"Do not wait for the hearse to take you to church."

"If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns."

"If you don't like the way you were born, try being born again."

"Looking at the way some people live, they ought to obtain eternal fire insurance soon."

"This is a ch__ch. What is missing?" --------- (U R)

"Forbidden fruit creates many jams."

"In the dark? Follow the Son."

"Running low on faith? Stop in for a fill-up."

"If you can't sleep, don't count sheep. Talk to the Shepherd."


CHILDREN'S BOOKS YOU'LL NEVER SEE

"You Are Different and That's Bad"
"Dad's New Wife Timothy"
"Pop! Goes The Hamster....And Other Great Microwave Games"

"Testing Homemade Parachutes Using Only Your Household Pets"
"The Hardy Boys, the Barbie Twins, and the Vice Squad"
"Babar Meets the Taxidermist"

"Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence"
"The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables"
"Start a Real-estate Empire With the Change From Your Mom's Purse"

"The Pop-up Book of Human Anatomy"
"Things Rich Kids Have That You Never Will"
"The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and are Shot Dead"

"How to Become The Dominant Military Power In Your Elementary School"
"Controlling the Playground: Respect through Fear"
"You Were an Accident"

"Strangers Have the Best Candy"
"The Little Sissy Who Snitched"
"Some Kittens Can Fly!"

"Getting More Chocolate on Your Face"
"Where Would You Like to Be Buried?"
"Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her"

"The Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Book of Wild Animals of North Amer-Hey! Let's Go Ride Our Bikes!"

"All Dogs Go to Hell"
"The Kids' Guide to Hitchhiking"
"When Mommy and Daddy Don't Know the Answer, They Say God Did it"

"Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia"
"What Is That Dog Doing to That Other Dog?"
"Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?"

"Bi-Curious George"
"Daddy Drinks Because You Cry"
"Mister Policeman Eats His Service Revolver"

"Clifford the Big Red Dog and his Large Appendage"

Do you have a joke or riddle you want to share? Send it to use!


GEOGRAPHY 101

Thanks to Ken for sending this along. See how many of these you can answer. The answers to the following questions are cities or town in Massachusetts. Answers will be provided in the next issue. Get your pencil ready. Now, go:

Seven municipalities in Massachusetts have names that are women's first names. Name them:
1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________
4. ________________________
5. ________________________
6. ________________________
7. ________________________

One town in Massachusetts has the name of one of the 50 U.S. states:

  1. ________________________

Two towns in Massachusetts have names that are colors. Name them:
1. ________________________ 2. ________________________

Two towns in Massachusetts have names that are nouns. (This one is hard.) Name them:
1. ________________________ 2. ________________________

Four towns in Massachusetts have names that are verbs. (Hint: one of the four towns is a verb in the way it is spelled, not the way it is pronounced).
1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________
4. ________________________

Last question for extra credit. One town in Massachusetts is a brand name product. Name it:

  1. ________________________

Having trouble? Try this county map, this topographic map of Massachusetts, or MapQuest.

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FUN ON THE INTERNET

This is for the Internet luddites or computer-challenged fans amongst us. Do you wonder how you would use the Internet to answer a real-life question? Do you wonder what information is on the Web that you can really use?

Well, here's a real-life Internet story just for you.

A few weeks ago on a quiet Saturday morning, my 13 year-old son woke me at 6:00 AM from a deep, restful sleep. "Dad, there's a bug in my armpit and it's sucking the blood out of me."

Still sleepy and in a dream fog, I wondered briefly if this was real or another adventure in my dreamworld. Then I saw him standing next to my bed looking worried. That's my son standing there, I thought. I must be the parent. I have to take action. This definitely was reality.

I had no idea how to remove this bug. Heck, I was just finding my slippers. We walked to the bathroom where I could inspect his armpit under a brighter light. On closer inspection it definitely was a bug stuck in his armpit. Actually, it was a tick to be precise.

"Dad. Do you know how to take it out?" he asked. I replied no, and that I couldn't think of anything at the moment. I suggested to him that he shower first. This bought me some much needed time to plan about how I was going to educate myself on how to remove a tick.

If it was later in the day, I would have called some knowledgeable friend or relative. That was not an option since I figured that nobody would appreciate me calling them at 6:00 AM to ask about removing a tick. Then an idea popped into my head: try the Internet.

Some of you may ask, "the Internet? Don't you have a good first-aid book at home?" I did have a first-aid book, but I had no idea where it was. I felt confident that I could find an answer faster using this new tool than with the old method.

You hear so much these days about how useful the Internet is or should be, and how everybody is getting online. As an experienced online searcher, I enjoy searching the Internet just as much as anyone else. I've searched a lot to research companies, products, people, and events in my current and prior jobs. Now, here was a real life situation where I could put the Internet, and my searching skills to the test.

So I fired up my 486 PC, logged into my ISP, and fired up my Netscape browser. I chose to search Yahoo! first. What search terms would I use? As the Yahoo main menu poured into my browser at 6:15 AM I was in a minimalist mindset. My son had a tick in his armpit and I had to find a way to remove it. So I entered as my search terms: "tick remove" without the quotes. Short and concise search criteria. That's what I like.

Yahoo delivered one search result. This was disappointing. I scanned it quickly. Since it didn't meet my needs, I surfed on over to HotBot and repeated the same search criteria. Now I was cooking! HotBot delivered a good two dozen quality hits on the first page, which I could wade through. I was feeling less panicky.

I read through three sites. One contained exactly what I was looking for: step-by-step instructions to remove a tick. I was starting to relax. The instructions suggested tweezers. I had them. It directed me where to position the tweezer and where to pull on the tick to remove it successfully.

Hell, now I was getting cocky. It was barely 6:40 AM.

A second site explained the different types of ticks: dog ticks and deer ticks. There were some helpful pictures and advice. This was important since deer ticks carry lyme disease. I learned that I should save the tick for further identification by the doctor in case there was a disease.

Another site repeated the same information and warned me that I'd better remove all of the tick to avoid infection. Several other sites provide warnings about how to avoid tick bites. I soaked in all of this information cheerfully, just as the tick was probably feeding off of my son. He was out of the shower now and the surgery could soon start.

My fiance's 17 year-old daughter stood outside the bathroom. It must have been about 6:55 AM now and she was getting ready to go to work. The seriousness of the upcoming operation must have been apparent to everyone, because she didn't demand to use the bathroom. Instead, she asked for a towel and washcloth, and used the upstairs bathroom. Will miracles never cease!

Under the bright lights of the bathroom mirror, the operation began. The light was ready. I was ready. The tweasers were ready. My son was ready, and I guess that the tick was as ready as it ever was going to be. I had my magnifying glass to help. Ticks are quite small and this one wasn't full of blood yet. So, I guess that this tick had just started eating its breakfast which was my son.

My son raised his arm so we could get a good view of the tick. I pulled. The tick resisted. I pulled again. The tick was more stubborn than I though. I pulled harder at the base of the tick. Then, the tick came out; that is most of the tick. The tick's mouth was still stuck in my son's armpit under the skin. A partial victory.

The tick looked like a dog tick. I placed it inside a tissue, and then put both in a small plastic container. My son was still looking worried. I told him that we had to remove the whole tick to avoid infection.

I dug and pulled some more. My son winced. The tweezers slipped. I pulled again. He winced again. The tweezers slipped again. This scenario repeated itself at least two dozen times. I couldn't seem to get enough traction to pull the rest of the tick out. My son tried some. After a half-hour of pulling in vain, we gave up. This tick was more pit-bull than tick.

I decided to call in the calvary. I called the pediatrician, who suggested I bring my son in so she could remove the rest of the tick. A couple hours later, the doctor removed the tick's remaining parts from my son's armpit. All was now well. The doctor inspected the tick and confirmed my earlier diagnosis: dog tick.

How have you used the Internet to solve a real life problem? Share it with us, and we just might print it in the next Intercom issue.

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THE WARNING SIGNS OF VIOLENCE

By now, I'm sure that everyone has heard about the events in the Colorado high school. How does one (parent or child) recognize the signs of violence? The American Psychological Association's Help Center Web site contains a couple really good and brief guidelines on how to recognize the signs of violence before it happens.

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