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

September 19, 1999 ---------- Vol. 7 No. 1 ---------- Star Date: 36422.2


Editor's Note
Captain's Log
TV Schedule
Code 47 via Subspace Radio
Dear Mr. Mot
The USS McNair's Mission
McNair Ready Room
Comm Channel News
The World According to Gene and John
Lost Crusade
Let Your Fingers Do The Playing
From Data's Humor Chip
Take the Dam Tour!
Women in Top Management=Better Stock Value
Fun On The Internet

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Well, we're now down to a single Trek series on television. Star Trek Voyager is now carrying the Trek franchise. (Yikes!)

Before you get too worried about Voyager, its television ratings, and rumors about the new TV series under development, consider recent events. It's no rumor that Viacom Inc., the parent company of MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures, said on Tuesday September 7, 1999, that it will buy U.S. television broadcasting icon CBS Corporation for about $37 billion in stock. The purchase of one of the Big Three U.S. broadcasters will give Viacom ownership of one of the largest collections of U.S. radio stations and outdoor advertising groups, as well as CBS's growing portfolio of Internet investments.

If I were a UPN executive, I'd dusty off my resume. Will Viacom maintain its 50% interest in UPN? I wager that UPN will be sold, minus the Trek portion. That means UPN would essentially be disolved since there's not much else to the fledgling network. Cash needs to be directed toward activities that will yield a better return. The CBS acquisition brings viacom into the big time multimedia and entertainment mega-corporations, like Walt Disney and Time Warner.

What does this mean for Star Trek?

Will we see programming with Trek on Nickelodeon next to the Rugrats? Fat chance. More likely, Trek will be repackaged into a more meaningful programming structure. In the process of reorganizing itself and eliminating duplicate corporate functions, many of those knucklehead studio executives at UPN and Paramount may find pink email forms awaiting them. When you read a lot of the news reports, the Wall Street analysts and gurus that follow Viacom don't mention UPN as one of the company's strongest brands. They mention MTV or Nickelodeon.

Don't forget that Viacom also has a majority stake in the recently floated video-rental chain Blockbuster Inc., and pay-cable-television network Showtime. According to news reports, the new company, to be called Viacom Inc., would be led by Sumner Redstone, who would remain chairman and chief executive. CBS President and Chief Executive Mel Karmazin would be president and chief operating officer.

The combined company would have had $21 billion in revenues last year, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or cash flow, of about $4 billion, Viacom said. CBS owns 15 TV stations and Viacom owns 19, although the FCC will likely force some sales. CBS and Viacom stations overlap in Dallas, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The FCC limits a TV network from reaching more than 35% of the nation's viewing audience. Before the deal was announced, CBS helpd about 33%. After the deal, the new company would have about 41%.

This is the second purchase of CBS. In 1995, the old Westinghouse Electric Company first acquired it afew months after the Disney-ABC merger. In 1998, the Westinghouse assets were sold off, and CBS returned as independent media company.

Enough of the finance report. Now on to the latest issue of Intercom.

Two USS Mcnair crew members had the chance recently to visit Las Vegas and the Star Trek: The Experience amusement at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel. This issue contains a full description of the amusement, the city, and the tour of the Hoover Dam. As always, our anonymous writer has provided another "Dear Mr. Mot" column.

This issue also includes an entry from one of our newer members, Jessica Howe. Her essay about Trek and "Lord of the Rings" is an interesting one. If you are reading this issue on the Web, then you can take advantage of all of the links and images, such as the photo gallery of the George's Island away mission. We hope that you enjoy this issue.

George Jenkins
First Officer
September 18, 1999 - Boston, MASS.

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

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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 Mr. Mot, who will answer your question in the next issue.

Dear Mr. Mot:
I am having withdrawal pains because there is no more DS9 on television. What can I do to ease the pain?

Feeling Blue in Biloxi

Dear Biloxi:
Join the crowd! This is a common illness which I fear will spread later this year and next among more fans. Afterall, this illness first appeared when TNG series ended. Here's my list of remedies which will ease your pain:

  1. Watch DS9 reruns if they are shown in your local viewing area
  2. Join a local fan club. Somebody in the group has episodes on tape you can watch
  3. Buy or rent DS9 videoes from your local video or multimedia store
  4. Write to Paramount and tell them you that you want your DS9 back, either in a mini-series format or in feature-length films
  5. Take two aspirin when Paramount's reply arrives. It may make your pains worse.

Dear Mr. Mot:
I'm thinking about going to see the Star Trek: The Experience exhibit in Las Vegas. How can I do this cheaply and not spend a lot.

Spendthrift in Seattle

Dear Spendthrift:
Fortunately, you have options. If you live reasonably close to Las Vegas, drive your car. That will likely cost less than airfare. If you must fly, book travel far in advance. Compare rates between what your travel agent offers, and the self-serve Web sites like Travelocity. Once in Las Vegas, I suggest the following:

  1. Eat at the "all-you-can-eat" buffets. Almost all of the casinos and hotels have them. The buffets are a big draw for the gamblers and visitors. You can eat for as little as $2.00 for breakfast, $6.00 for lunch, and $8.00 for dinner.
  2. Stay at one of the smaller hotels or motels that aren't on the Strip (i.e., Las Vegas Blvd.) Many are cheaper than the luxury hotels.
  3. If you are an adept gambler, you could leave with more money than you arrived with. The game that gives you the best odds against the casino is blackjack.
  4. Stay at a motel that has efficiency rooms with a refrigerator and stove. You can cook and eat in your room for less than most restaurants.
  5. Take advantage of discount coupons. You can find them in local las Vegas entertainment publications, including "ShowBiz Weekly" and "What's On: The Las Vegas Guide." Also, American West airline provides some coupons in its in-flight magazine, "American West Magazine."
  6. Exhibit some self-restraint when you visit Garak's Clothiers at Star Trek: The Experience (ST:TE). Otherwise, you can easily spend large amounts of latinum in a short time. American West provides a discount coupon to ST:TE in its in-flight magazine.

Dear Mr. Mot:
My fiance and I are thinking of getting married. Should we elope or give in to family wishes for a huge, traditional wedding? We want to get married in costumes similar to those Worf and Jadzia used.

Getting Hitched in Hingham

Dear Hitched:
By all means, elope! It's easier, faster, and the least stressful way. Sure, your relatives will be mad, but you can always have a party or celebration later and invite them. Quark's Bar in the Las Vegas Hilton caters weddings. A multitude of chapels are available in Las Vegas for the couple wanting to elope quickly and easily. Some will broadcast your wedding live via the Internet to family and friends. My leading reasons why eloping is better than a traditional wedding:

  1. It's costs a lot less
  2. You can spend your latinum on something more practical like the downpayment on a house, instead of a lavish ceremony and party that lasts for only one day
  3. You get married when you want. You can wait to the last minute if you want to.
  4. You can wear what you want. Many people have a theme wedding in Las Vegas and come dressed as Elvis, Romulans, Egyptians, Klingons, or whatever.
  5. You can have a drive-through wedding where you don't have to get out of your car or limo. Las Vegas is famous for this. Just stand up in the sunroof and say your vows!
  6. You can have the wedding wherever you want
  7. If you get sick, it's no problem. You can easily delay your marriage date with little or no difficulty. There are no caterers, ministers, church reservations, or reception plans that are difficult or impossible to reschedule.
  8. If your family objects to your wedding because you are marrying an undesireable, like a Jem'Hadar soldier, you can get married anyway.
  9. When marrying a Klingon you can elope and avoid the pre-marriages rites of blood, sweat, and tears.

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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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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Stardate: 36417.8
Captain Kevin Johnson reporting
September 14, 1999

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a nice summer. During the summer our ship had a couple of away missions. One to the Native American museum near Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, and a second to George's Island in Boston harbor. One member had a ride-about and two of our members got married.

For us B5 fans we got to see "Crusades." I hope that it was enjoyable for people. Now that it is the Fall, we will begin to plan new activities. I would like to hear any suggestions you have for future activities.

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

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Here's the latest, based upon reliable web sites. At press time a final schedule was unavailable:

STAR TREK: VOYAGER - 6th Season (Unofficial)
#DateEpisode #Prod#TitleStar Date
119 5/26/99 STV526 220 Equinox NG
120 9/22/99 STV601 221 Equinox, Part II NG
121 9/29/99 STV602 222 Survival Instinct NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Barge of the Dead NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Alice NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Dragon's Teeth [2 hr] NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Riddles NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX The Voyager Conspiracy NG
??? ?/??/99 ??? 2XX Safe Harbour 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. In many local TV markets you can catch reruns of Voyager five nights per week.

Sources: Vidiot: Voyager

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By George Jenkins, XO
Star Date: 36422.2 (September 19, 1999)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas, Nevada and enjoy the Star Trek: The Experience (ST:TE) amusement ride at the Las Vegas Hilton. If you haven't been, then get off of your rusty dusty and go! It was fun. The amusement was well designed. The ride was very enjoyable.

The ST:TE ride is in the perfect location: Las Vegas. Alison calls the town Ferengiville which is very accurate. Las Vegas is probably the best approximation to Ferenginar that there is on Earth. Las Vegas is like any well-tailored Ferengi business suit. It is glitzy, gaudy, tacky, and over the top. You can see it coming for miles. Often, you can hear it coming. The only difference: it rains a lot on Ferenginar.

The Grand Nagus said it well, "Greed is eternal." Las Vegas has been around for a while and continue grow at a dizzying pace. Every few months, a new mega-hotel-casino opens. What’s a mega-hotel-casino? Take a hotel with 4,000 or 5,000 rooms; add a casino the size of two football fields; add a 1,500 seat theatre for lavish musicals and concerts; add about 8 city blocks of shopping stores and eateries; and you have one standard mega-hotel-casino. During a tour of Las Vegas, our tour guide cooly commented that the hotels at one intersection of the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) contained more rooms than in all of San Francisco. Talk about towers rivaling the Ferengi Commerce Authority!

The city sees Disney World as its major competition for visitors’ dollars. Like Disney, don’t leave home without your latinum when you visit. Whatever you want; whenever you want it; it’s available any time of day or night. And like Ferenginar, there is gambling everywhere. In DS9, Quark quoted the 284th Rule of Acquisition well, "Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi." I found all types of people in the casinos; albeit you have to be 21 or older.

After paying the entrance fee of $15 for ST:TE (look for discount coupons at your hotel, on the plane in the printed air magazine, or in the "Star Trek Communicator" magazine), you enter a well-stocked museum. Large replicas of the Enterprise D, Voyager, and the Klingon Bird of Prey ships hang from the ceilings. There are plenty of phasers, weapons, costumes, Star Trek gadgets, props, and artifacts from all of the television series. The bulk of the items are from TNG since DS9 and Voyager were still in production when the amusement was designed.

A visual, graphic timeline by the Okudas, and based upon their encyclopedia, follows you through much of the museum and exhibits. A few years ago, the USS McNair crew visited the Star Trek: Federation Science exhibit in Hartford, Connecticut. If you liked that, then you'll love ST:TE. ST:TE is 100 times better. There are more weapons, gadgets, props, artifacts, and costumes. There's alot of stuff that wasn't displayed in the older exhibit.

Several exhibits focus upon key aliens, including the Klingons, Cardassians, and the Borg. While standing at one display of Klingon weapons, including the Sword of Kahless and the actual wedding costumes of Worf and Jadzia, a Klingon approached. Well, he was a Hilton Hotel employee dressed in Klingon garb. He had clearly prepared for the role. Our conversation:

Klingon: Human, what weapon would you use going into battle?
George: A bat'telh, of course!
Klingon: Hah! I doubt you could lift it, human!
(At this point, I just looked at him pondering my next comment, but he spoke first.)
Klingon: Is this your mate with you?
George: Yeah, but I haven't bitten her on her cheek yet.
(My comment eluded this Klingon. If it eluded you too, I suggest you view the TNG episode Genesis.)
Alison: Do you use knives in the Klingon wedding ceremony and cut the palms of your hands?
Klingon: You humans are so species-centric!

After viewing the museum you then enter the ride portion of ST:TE. I'm not going to go into the details of the ST:TE ride. To do so and to share the plot would ruin it for those of you who haven't gone, Suffice to say, that the plot hangs together well, was well crafted, and was well executed. Yeah, you are part of the plot. I definitely got the feeling of how it must feel to ride in a shuttlecraft chased by several cloaked, armed Birds of Prey filled with angry Klingons!

When you exit the ride, you are conveniently deposited in a decent replica of the Promenade on DS9. During my first visit, sticker shock prevented me from buying anything at Garak’s Clothiers, Zek’s Emporium, Moogie’s Trading Post, and the Admiral’s Collection. During my second visit, I left behind major amounts of latinum. You can buy just about anything you can think of with a communicator emblem, Starfleet insignia, Star Trek logo, or picture of a starship printed on it. UPi can even buy some very blue-colored Romulan Ale.

This was one of the few places in the U.S. where I saw Neelix’s cooking aprons, Bajoran earrings that really looked like those on the show, teddy bears dressed as the Q Judge (from the TNG episode "Encounter at Farpoint"), some really cool artwork such as New Borg City, and actual uniforms for sale.

Yeah, you read that right. You can buy both replica uniforms from the shows (e.g., TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager). Some of the artwork was priced in the hundreds of dollars. One actual Klingon uniform from the show is available for 12 grand! Replicas of Picard’s vest and tunic could be had for about $100.

During my second visit we ate lunch in Quark’s Bar. I got to see the Holy Rings of Betazed that you eat. The Diana Troi Sunday could feed a family of four for an entire weekend. My HamBorger was triangular shipped and entirely organic. The Dabo girls were in the bar section of Quark’s, which lacked a Dabo table. In its wisdom to appeal to underage youths, the bar and restaurant sections of Quark’s are separated. In fact, there is a separate entrance for underaged youths since Nevada law prohibits them from entering through the casino.

Thinking of stealing a menu? You won't be the first. Quark's sells the menus for $10 each. The high price is consistent with the high prices of all of the other merchandise.

Where did we stay in Las Vegas? At the Treasure Island hotel/casino. It's the one with the 16th century naal battle every 90 minutes in Bucanner Bay in front of the hotel. The show is free, but get there early. Standing room only.

Next door was the Mirage hotel. That's the one with the volcano that goes off every 30 minutes. One major reason so many people go to Las Vegas is to see the themes each of the mega-hotel-casinos offer. These are not your grandpa's Vegas casinos! The hotels regularly try and outdo each other with glitz, glamour, and gambling. Some hotels have as many as 5,000 rooms!

For my next trip I'd like to ride on the "Manhattan Express" roller-coaster that goes around, past the mini-Statue of Liberty, and through the New York, New York hotel. The monorail ride from the MGM Grand was pretty cool, too. Then again, the water fountain show and the 3-D motion ride, Search for Atlantis, at Caesar's Palace were pretty fun.

If you are planning to visit Las Vegas soon, then you will definitely want to see the Fremont Street Experience. Never before have I seen a canopy of lights four blocks long present a multimedia imaging show. The great thing is that if you don't gamble there is a lot to do. You can visit Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, play golf and tennis, or just take a self-guided walking tour the theme hotels on the Strip. You can also play "city slicker" at any of the nearby dude ranches or trail rides.

ST:TNG actors Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi) and Dwight Schultz (Lt. Barclay) are scheduled to guest star this season in the same Voyager episode. Sirtis and Schultz will reprise their TNG roles in an episode entitled "Pathfinder," which began filming recently. The episode is tentatively scheduled to air on Wednesday, December 1 at 9:00 PM on UPN.

According to news reports, here's what actress Kate Mulgrew (Captain Kathryn Janeway) had to say about the upcoming season of Voyager, " "I'd say the tone of Voyager is much freer, much more personal, and much more dangerous as we get into season six... There's also no question that we're going after a broader based audience now. We'd love to find more viewers, both those who watched Deep Space Nine and anyone else who's willing to see what we're doing."

Well, duuhhhh!!!

Rumors indicate that the Captain will have a love interest this season, and will almost get killed. We'll see if the show's writers can consistently crank out high quality scripts, like last season's "In the Flesh" episode about species 8472. If I never see another Flotter episode, that would be too soon. I can't wait to see Klingon Hell this Fall. Sounds like an interesting time for Voyager's Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres (actress Roxann Dawson). Of course, we'll see more Borg this season. The Borg are usually a ratings bonanza for the show. Rumors have it that three escapee Borgs from the Collective encounter Janeway and her minions. Their visit will push some of Seven of Nine's (actres Jeri Ryan) buttons, so to speak.

The latest issue of "Star Trek Communicator" hs a very professional, thorough, and inspiring tribute to the late actor Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy or "Bones" in TOS). Several articles review the actor's impact upon the show and his fellow actors. The issue also includes an excellent wrapup of the DS9 TV series.

My smpathies to Wiliam Shatner and his family. If you haven't heard, his wife, Nerine Shatner, died recently in a pool accident at their home. No matter how bad Shatner's singing was, nor matter how awful his toupee was, no matter how big his ego is, I wish him well as he goes through what must be a very difficult and grief-filed time.

Thanks to David Hewel for alerting me to this. Concord Records released on August 24th the Vic Fontaine CD titled "This One's From The Heart." The CD included 17 songs all performed by James Darren as the holographic Las Vegas lounge lizard, Vic Fontaine. The CD:

  1. The Best Is Yet To Come
  2. Come Fly With Me
  3. That Old Black Magic
  4. All The Way
  5. It's Only A Paper Moon
  6. I've Got The World On A String
  7. You Better Love Me While You May
  8. Sophisticated Lady
  9. Just In Time
  10. I've Got You Under My Skin
  11. The Way You Look Tonight
  12. Here's To The Losers
  13. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
  14. Dancing In The Dark
  15. Night And Day
  16. I'll Be Seeing You
  17. Satin Doll
Source: TrekWeb

I wonder if "The Best Is Yet to Come" is the duet from the TV episode with Avery Brooks? While Darren is a good singer, I first heard many of these songs sung by Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and the Duke. I love those classic jazz standards!

Have you seen the version of Star Wars in ASCII format? If not, then visit Some people have way too much time on their hands.

The August, 1999 issue of Air Force Magazine contained a story about the 1999 Space Almanac, which includes facts, figures, agency and system profiles, projects, budget data, other information about the U.S. (e.g., space lore, space terms), and international space programs (i.e., mostly Russian).

© 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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by Jessica Howe
Star Date: 36419.6

Out of all the loves of my life two stick out: "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R.Tolkien and “Star Trek” by Gene Roddenberry (of course). My father introduced both works to me, along with all the other stuff that parents do to a kid to help them grow up. Okay, maybe my dad deviated a little from the normal plan when he started using "Lord of the Rings" as my bedtime story when I was four, but that's beside the point.

The reason that those two works stick out in my mind; the reason that I think that they stick out in a lot of people's minds, is (in my opinion) because of the language barriers that both people put into them. It has always been a pet peeve of mine that in science fiction you often see aliens just happening to not only look human or some version of it, but also speak and act human. The problem is the same in fantasy, believe it or not. Let's face it, any rational being should be able to figure out that different races would have different languages if they spoke at all. It doesn't matter how many interactions they would have had with humans: from "we have watched you for many millennia from space" to "we have watched you from the woods." Logically, the other races would still have different languages.

Tolkien knew this. He was a philologist by habit and hobby, and he knew that language was an important part of making a character whole and real. As a result, his characters work. For instance, the dwarves of the mountains in his novel have a rich, rolling tongue. It's prevalent in the names they have for places: Khazad Dum, an old mining colony famous in dwarf and elves’ legends. That name rings ancient. It gives images of places dark and places deep, places where old secrets sleep... It's old beauty, it's stone, it's hard but soft at the same time, magical and mystical and romantic. The mines are all these things. Tolkien summed it up in just a name, and a name that fits perfectly.

Gene Roddenberry allowed for similar things to happen when he gave the aliens of "Star Trek" their own languages. For instance, the Klingons are the way they are because he gave them a harsh-yet-beautiful-sounding tongue. The word bat'telh carries a whole different meaning than a sword. It's more right for them. We all know what a sword looks like. A bat'telh is different, and you can tell that it is very different just by the word. When you hear Klingon words - my personal favorite are hearing real Klingons speak their own language on their ships - you get a grasp of their culture just as strong as you could see the elves' from their songs.

Klingons are poetic fighters, you learn, not just a bunch of street rats or militaristic lunatics based on Russia under Lenin. They sing in battle. They have specific rituals. You hear the word honor a lot when a Klingon speaks; whether in his own tongue or in English. From that, you learn that honor is an important part of his life.

This does not mean that either Gene or John chose to have their different life forms speak their native languages all the time. That would not work. Literature has not yet evolved to a point where such a thing would be acceptable to the general public. The only I've known was James Joyce. He used a different language (well, really a different linguistic pattern) for the entire span of a book. I enjoyed it immensely. (The book was "Finnegan's Wake," if you are interested.) I don't know that many other people who would take the time to sit through it.

It's rather that the elves, dwarves, and whatnot of the "Lord of the Rings," and the Klingons, Cardassians, Bajorans, Vulcans, and whatnot of "Star Trek" show their tongues at key points; the right moments for us to see who they really are. This is an important thing to do. It allows our brains to actually incorporate something about the creature in question into itself; to go "oh, so that's what a Klingon is like!" We do it automatically, whether we realize it or not. It's a function of our mind. Due to the little blurbs of Elvish, Vulcan, and whatever that we hear, we are able to see what the person is like when they come into contact with someone else speaking in English. It isn't that the creature in question is speaking with an accent. Rather, it's more that the speech patterns are different. The creature’s methods of saying things are different. Their modes are different.

That's the beauty of "Star Trek" and "Lord of the Rings." Because of Gene Roddenberry and J.R.R.Tolkien, the people of their works - and I mean, ALL of the people, not just the humans - LIVE. They have their own lives, their own cultures, and their own thoughts. They exist in reality for us, very much so, all because their creators decided to give them languages.

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By George Jenkins
Star Date: 36422.2

Man - humans -- have always tried to build something permanent. Our history is one long attempt to build something as a permanent legacy to someone’s real or perceived greatness. The building often was something that indicated the person’s power, stature, influence, or wealth. In the past there were pyramids, statues, great walls, and castles. In the Star Trek future there is terraforming and the occassional structure such as a Dyson's sphere (e.g., see the TNG episode “Relics”).

What about today? While visiting Las Vegas recently, I took the time to visit the Hoover Dam in Nevada in the Southwest United States. Built in 1935, it stands about 60 stories tall, one of the largest manmade structures on the planet. Don't ask me how much the dam weighes. It is honkin' huge and massive!

Often, people will quote statistics about the dam's width from Arizona to Nevada, or its depth from front to back, or its height from top to bottom. (For those of you who must know, the dam is Height - 726.4.feet high, 1,244 feet long at its crest, 45 feet wide at the top, and 660 feet wide at its base. It weighs 6.6 million tons.) Yet, none of these statistics accurately convey the size of the thing! You don't realize the enormity of the structure until you stand on top of it and look down - way down -- into the canyon below. The dam really impresses you when you look down standing on top of it, compated to standing at the river level and looking up at the top.

The water level is far, far below you. The sides of the canyon are equally steep; almost vertical. Cars and trucks below look like ants. You can hardly see people at the bottom. The river in the bottom of the canyon is so far below that it looks like trickle of water down a city street curb.

The dam actually straddles the Colorado river with Nevada on one side and Arizona on the other. Looking at the large, smooth side of the dam, Nevada is on the left and Arizona is on the right. Consturction started in 1931, long before the television, satellite dishes, the Chunnel, Boston’s Prudential Building, Toronto's CN Tower, Seattle's Space Needle, and New York’s World Trade Center. Coincidentally, the dam is taller than the Prudential Building.

The Hoover Dam is almost the perfect away mission for any Star Trek club or ship. We took the "Hardhat" tour around and through the dam. It is far and away the better tour. The "Hardhat Dam Tour" is aptly named because you must wear hardhats to visit certain areas of the dam. The hardhat tour group is small -- 16 people - compared to the standard tour groups of 50 or 60.

The small size has several advantages. You can more easily ask questions. You ride in several elevators throughout the dam; the same elevators that the dam workers use daily and not the large, cattle-oriented tourist elevators. You see the dam workers working; as much as government employees work. You see the working areas of the dam. The really exciting part of the Hardhat Dam Tour is that the dam guide takes you inside the dam.

Literally, inside the dam.

Starting at the visitor center, we adorned our hardhats. Much to our amazement, the dam construction crew in 1931 didn't have hardhats. Many scalers, workers who hang from the canyon walls on ropes, died as a result of debris falling from construction above them. One wise construction worker dipped his hat in tar and let it dry. The first, crude hardhat was born!

The Hoover Dam is a gravity dam. It was designed without steel reinforcing rods in the concrete. It was designed to use the water to help keep it in position. But the dam still leaks water. It leaks less when it’s full since the weight of the water compresses the concrete and fills any gaps. During the hardhat tour, we walked through one of the seepage galleries; 6-foot diameter tunnels in the dam designed to control the flow of the seepage.

We also walked through one of the vents in the dam. Looking at the large, smooth side of the dam, you can see four vent holes. We walked through one of them inside the dam. One of the pictures in the image gallery is a view of the canyon taken from one of the vent holes. The vent holes are designed to help the concrete cool and to help the concrete cure. When you layer 60 stories of concrete, it creates heat as it settles and is compressed by the water. According to the tour guide, the concrete was laid nine inches at a time, and the vent shafts help the concrete cure.

Of course, on the hardhat tour, we walked through the turbine rooms. The turbines are huge; maybe three stories tall. There are nine turbines on each side of the dam near the bottom of the canyon. But on the hardhat tour, you also get to descend below the turbines; thankfully with earplugs. It is loud, since the turbines spin at 180 rpm.

We also walked into the tunnels with 18-foot diameter conduits and pipes that carry the water to the turbines. Some of the conduits are almost 1,300 feet in length. That's almost one-quarter mile long! The rumble below your feet of such massive amounts of water moving at over 40 miles per hour is awe-inspiring. You seldom see such huge machinery so up close. You might say its like wandering through main engineering and stopping to look at the Enterprise E warp core while the starship is at high warp.

We also walked through the needle-vale rooms and areas that house the large canyon outlets and valves from the spillways. Just like your bathroom sink, the spillways contain pipes that direct excess water so the dam, or your bathroom sink, doesn't overflow. Unlike your bathroom sink, the dam conduits are so huge, you could walk inside of them if allowed. There are six conduits on each side of the canyon walls.

Everything about the dam is huge. While walking through the turbine rooms, we saw the chains and tools the workers use. The chains are huge. The wrenches are huge. Lifting either definitely requires both hands and lots of muscle. The cranes are huge, but it still takes two cranes to lift one turbine. Standing next to one of the turbines, I imagined I was standing next to the Enterprise's warp core. Both were similar in size.

Want to learn more? There are some excellent pictures of Boulder Dam, the original name of Hoover Dam, at its Web site. Hoover Dam sits a few miles from Boulder City, Nevada, a dry town built solely to house the dam construction workers. During construction, Boulder City was both a dry town and prohibited gambling. This was intentional to keep the workers safe and focused on their work. They worked 360+ days a year, with Christmas and Labor Day off.

The Hardhat Dam Tour covers about 1.5 miles. So wear a really good pair of wlking shoes. When we were finished with the dam tour, our commercial tour guide, Action Tours, picked us up and drove us back to our hotel. The Hardhat Dam tour was well worth it!

© 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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As the summer came to a close, I watched the last episode of TNT's Crusade (from the makers of Babylon 5). Now I want to reflect. With a summer full of repeats, I looked forward to watching a first run show. I was also excited to see more sci-fi from the Babylon 5 universe. But as the summer waned on, I lost interest in Crusade and had to force myself to watch it. I expected much from JMS and family and they did their best to deliver the goods. The problem with Crusade was not the execution, but was the premise.

Crusade takes place 5 years after the show Babylon 5, and just after the telepath war (i.e., mentioned in the last days of Babylon 5). The Earth has been infected with virus by The evil Drahk. All life will perish in five years unless a cure is found. The starship Excalibur is sent into deep space to look for clues which will lead to a cure.

The first problem with the show is the goal oriented premise. I call it the "Gilligan's Island syndrome:" any show where there is a goal. Voyager's goal is to get home. Crusade's goal is to find a cure. However, this goal cannot be reached until the last episode or near the end of the show. Therefore there is little suspense since the goal will not be reached for a long time.

I find this insulting to the viewer. We know they won't solve the problem during this week's episode, so don't bother me with the effort. Crusade did handle this better than most shows by reaching the goal in steps. For example in the episode "Every Night I Dream of Home," we learned a lot about the virus and the requirements to stop it. Had the Crusade series continued, it would of played out like a big puzzle. But there is another problem.

Since the premise means that the Excalibur has to find a cure, any episode that does not deal with the virus seems unnecessary. About half of the Crusade episodes did not deal the the virus. Billions of people's lives are depending on these people finding the cure, and they are off gallivanting around the cosmos exploring new things. This part of the premise makes it worse. You can¹t deal with the virus every week or the show would be over in two seasons, but if you drag it out over 5 years it doesn¹t seem fair to the people who are infected with the virus.

Another issue I had with Crusade was the musical score. It had to be the worst music I have ever heard. Not because it is poorly written, but because it was distracting. Music should compliment a scene, not take away from it. The score kept intruding into the episode, making me aware I was watching a TV show and destroying my suspension of disbelief. I think that this is the first time I have heard music ruin a TV show.

Last, I was disappointed with Crusade because my expectations were too high. Had the show been shown on the Sci-Fi channel, I would of thought that it was well done. But because it was created by the people who did Babylon 5, I had very high hopes. I expected something ground-breaking, new, and refreshing. Instead it seemed like the same old formula. Crusade felt like the series "Star Trek: Voyager," but done well.

Doing a poor premise well doesn't make it a great show. I wanted to see the telepath war mentioned in both series. This, to me, is far more interesting. I hope that the next thing JMS does will not take place in the Babylon 5 universe. Try something different. Really different.

Ken Dumas

© 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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Okay, okay! Enough with the hype about the new Dreamcast system.

It's great, it's fast, and it's a technology step forward for sure. In your zest to play video games, don't pass up the new Sony PlayStation2 system.

With an initial shipment of one million units, Sony's new system will debut on March 4 , 2000 in Japan, in Asian markets in the Summer, 2000 and in Fall, 2000 in Europe and North America. Sony engineers designed the PlayStation2 system to bring together movies, music and games to form a new world of computer entertainment. The new system is backwards compatible with the original PlayStation. (Too many PC software programs cannot make this claim!) Some of the PlayStation2's specs:

Product NamePlayStation2
Suggested Retail Price39,800 Yen (Japan)
Accessories:"Dual Shock"2 analog controller
High capacity 8MB Memory Card
PlayStation2 Demo Disc
AV Multi cable
AC power cord
Dimensions:301mm (W) X 178mm (D) X 78mm (D)
12" x 7" x 3"
Weight2.1Kg(4lbs 10oz)
MediaPlayStation2 CD-ROM
PlayStation CD-ROM
Formats supported:Audio CD
Interfaces:Controller port (2)
Memory Card slot (2)
AV Multicable output (1)
Optical digital output (1)
USB port (2)
i.Link (IEEE1394) (1)
Type III PCMCIA card slot (1)
System Clock Frequency
Main Memory
Memory Size
128 Bit "Emotion Engine(TM)"
294.912 MHz
Direct RDRAM
Clock Frequency
Embedded Cache VRAM
"Graphics Synthesizer"

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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Star Date: 36422.2 -- 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: July 12, 1999.
Place: [no meeting]
Attendees: N/A
The scheduled monthly meeting was replaced by the away mission to the Pequot Museum & Research Center near Foxwood's Casino on July 10, 1999.

Date: August 14, 1999.
Place: [no meeting]
Attendees: Brian, Ellen, Fern, George, Jessica, Ken, Leigh, Tina, Todd
The scheduled monthly meeting was replaced by the away mission to
George's Island in Boston Harbour for a picnic on August 14, 1999. Thanks to Ken for arranging travel details.

Date: September 11, 1999.
Place: Ken's
Attendees: Alison, Brian, George, Jessica, Jocelyn, Ken, Kevin, Leigh, Taka, Tina, Todd
The meeting locations and upcoming events for the remainder of the year were confirmed. Since the annual July RebelCon convention has been discontinued, the group discussed attending Shore Leave in Maryland in July, 2000. The group decided to apply about $50 from the Gorsky Fund toward earthquake relief in Turkey. Several birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated. Ken's Space:1999 party immediately followed the meeting. We watched several episodes of Space: 1999 on laser disk.

Submissions to INTERCOM are welcomed and encouraged from both crew and non-crew. Articles must relate to TREK events, planets, characters, adventure, actors, literature, fandom, IDIC, collectibles, conventions, events, space science and exploration, or NASA. Articles should not exceed 1,200 words. For writer's guidelines, send a SASE to the INTERCOM Editor. Send submissions to: INTERCOM Editor, USS Ronald E. McNair, P. O. Box 255159, Boston, Mass. 02125 - 5159. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned. Submissions and coments are also welcome for sci-fi movies, the X-Files, Crusade, or other sci-fi works. Submissions received after the deadline will appear in the next issue, space permitting. The Editor reserves the right to edit and/or reject any submissions. Submission deadlines:
Deadline (Issue Date)
Dec. 12, 1999 (Dec. 15th)
March 10, 2000 (March 15th)
June 12, 2000 (June 15th)
Sept. 12, 2000 (Sept. 15th)
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By Ken Dumas

As I approached my mid-thirties I found I wanted a challenge in my life. I needed to do something different, something I had never done before. After ots of soul searching, and taking a cue from Dr. Franklin¹s character on Babylon 5 (Walkabout), I decided on a month long bicycle trip. I wanted to re-invent myself, and get a truly different perspective of myself and my life. To walk (or in this case ride) as though I were in someone else's shoes. A bike-about.

Being on a bicycle afforded me a different view of the world. Urban areas seemed larger, livelier and more dangerous. Rural areas seemed more vast. Coming over a hill and seeing a town in the valley below was like something out of a story book. I felt like Marco Polo traveling the state, cresting a mountain and seeing a great vista below. The tall spire of a church represented life, civilization and salvation, not the spiritual kind but a sense of safety. I could get food, supplies, shelter and ask for help. I especially enjoyed the old mill towns from the industrial revolution, unchanged. I felt I was going back in time on my bicycle.

What follows are the four email messages I sent to friends and family each week during my trip.

[Saturday, June 19, 1999]
Hello Everyone:

I made it through the first two days of my trip unscathed and without incident. I am staying with some relatives in Bourne, on the Cape. I biked 40 miles the first day (Friday) and ended up in East Bridgewater. Yes my legs are very sore. I could not find a place to stay the night because there were none. It is the boonies ya know.

Ellen picked me up and we found a place in Brockton. Then we went to Plymouth the next day. From there, I biked to the Sagamore bridge. Crossing that was quite awesome. What a view! Then, I traveled down the canal trail and ended up here. It is late Saturday night that I am writing this. I am very tired and will go to bed soon.

I still can't believe I bicycled all the way to the Cape [from Boston]. Tomorrow, I will travel down Route 6A and end up in Brewster. I have reservations at a Bed and Breakfast there. I hope everyone is well and that the world works okay without me there. Talk to you all soon.

[Thursday, June 24, 1999]
Hello everyone:

It is Thursday morning at about 9:20 am. I am at a KOA campground in Wrenthem, Mass. I did not sleep well last night. It was very humid and my tent was hot. At last you left me, I was in Bourne staying with some relatives. I left Sunday morning and went up the Cape Cod Canal Trail. Great ride!

I rode to the end past the power plant and from there got onto Route 6A. 6A is a tricky ride, but there is lots to see. I biked about 30 miles that day to Brewster. That was a long, but fun day. During the last seven miles or so I met another biker named Tim. He works for the MWRA. We talked shop as we biked and that made the last seven miles go by easier.

Spent the night at a B&B in Brewster. The next day, I biked all the way to P-Town; almost 40 miles. I couldn't believe I did it. I took the Rail Trail, and then went to the seashore. They say you can see England on a clear day.
(HA-HA) :)

I then went through downtown Wellfleet. Really nice. I did not like Truro. Very poor. When I got to the P-town [Provincetown] border, someone had painted on the sidewalk, "Welcome to Oz." Stayed at the most beautiful inn right at the very tip of P-town. Stayed there all day Tuesday. Did not bike that day.

I was surprised how crowded the place was for a Tuesday. Then, I took the boat to Plymouth that afternoon. Had dinner in downtown Plymouth, then biked five miles up hill all the way to a campground. Slept well that night. My first night camping.

Yesterday I biked over 50 miles from Plymouth all the way to Wrentham. My map was wrong in one place and I ended up taking a 10 mile detour. But as detours go it was a beautiful one. I was amazed my legs did not fall off by the time I arrived at the campground in Wrenthem. Rained a little last night. Looks like it is going to be humid the rest of the week. I try not to bike during the high heat of the day. I will only bike 30 miles today and end up in East Douglas.

Hope all is well with you guys. I am having a great time. It is amazing what the human body can do when it is pushed. Hope to get to a relatives house in Agawam by Saturday night. Hope to email you all again then.

[Wednesday, July 7, 1999]
"As the Bicycle Wheel Turns:" a new show from the creators of that old favorite, "Route 66." Starring Ken Dumas, our protagonist travels from town to town fighting obstacles, like fierce headwinds and steep hills, in search of new adventures each week. Premieres on CBS this Sunday and will continue as a 4 week mid-season replacement series for the summer. Check your local listings.

In last week's episode, Ken had made it to the KOA campground in Wrentham after traveling 50 miles in one day. After a brief thunderstorm and a sore rear end he continued on his journey. Lets pick up where we left off last time....

Hi everyone. As you can tell by my colorful opening I am having a wonderful time. I am on day 10 of my trip and it is going by way too fast. I wish that there was a way to slow this experience down, but I cannot. I am at a relative's home in Agawam, Mass. right down the street from Riverside Amusement Park. I got here yesterday around 4:30 pm. Today is Sunday and I am taking a day off. The weather has been cooperative and I am ahead of my schedule to make it to Bennington, Vermont by Friday, July 2nd. I will leave again tomorrow (Monday morning) and bike up the Connecticut River Valley and end up in Deerfield, right behind the Yankee Candle Factory. Then it is on to the Mohawk trail. (Lots of hills).

Left the KOA camprground on Thursday. Went to this great little diner for breakfast in Plainville called "Table for Two." Had the best french toast I have ever had. Biked along, hot that day, and had lunch in Millville. Did I mention that there is nothing in Millville? It is amazing to me how so many parts of this state have nothing in them. I ate a dive bar, the only thing in town. The people in the bar were all nice and wanted to know all about my trip, so I spent my entire lunch telling all these "biker types" about my journey. They seemed to enjoy it.

Called ahead to two campgrounds that I wanted stay at that night. The first one was booked for the season, the second one had room. When I got to Douglas, Mass. I was so happy to find a campground the I went into the first one and did not read the sign. It was the wrong one. I felt so stupid. I went up the road to the other one. It was right on Lake Maunchaug. The most beautiful campground I have seen yet.

The camp is deep in the woods, isolated, and there's a cool breeze off the lake. However, the only food or sign of civilization was four miles away in downtown Douglas. Yes this is the "boonies." I biked all the way into town. Had dinner and then had to bike the four miles back to camp, all uphill. Just want you want to do when you are full and it is getting dark.

The next day I got up early and started biking by 7:30 in the morning. I am glad I did, because even though I only had to go about 35 miles to the next campground, it took me until 4:30 that afternoon to get there. Yes it got hilly out there in central Massachusetts. Once I got out of the Blackstone Valley, the terrain changed. Uphill. Went into a little piece of Connecticut and then back into Massachusetts. Stopped and had lunch in Southbridge, Mass. Neat little town. Went into a pizza place and it was swarming with teenagers. I think it was the last day of school. They were all overly hyper (as opposed to any other day?)

Went on from there to Monson. It rained a little in the afternoon. Got to the campground, which was of course at the top of a very large hill. So steep I had to push the bike up it. Lot of motorcyclists at this campground. It was hard to sleep since they were playing "Aerosmith" all night. Next day only had to go 20 miles to Agawam. Left around 10 in the morning and had lunch in Hampden, Mass. Another "middle of nowhere" place. Had to eat food from a Store 24, but food is food.

From there went onto Longmeadow. Interestingly enough, the place I was at in Longmeadow and where I needed to be in Agawam were right across the Connecticut River from each other, but there are no bridges. So I had to bike two miles north into downtown Springfield, cross the river and then come two miles south. At one point, I took a wrong turn and for about 100 feet I ended up on Interstate 91. I got off right away. There was an off-ramp right there. Whew. Very exciting. I do not recommend you try this at home. Got to Agawam safe and sound. Was the hottest day yet.

That is all for now I hope everyone is well and I will write again if I can. I do not know when or if I will be able to email people again until I return, but I will try.

Ken (tired and sore and having a ball) Dumas

[Monday, July 19, 1999]
Hello everyone:

It has been two weeks since my last message. I have not been able to find any way to email until now. I am staying at a friend's house tonight (Monday) and he has email. Much has happened since my last message so bear with me.

I left Agawam on Monday June 28. It was a very hot and humid day. I was fighting heat exhaustion, so I took it slow. I traveled north through the Pioneer Valley along the Connecticut River. Very nice ride. In Holyoke (the natives pronounce it "whole yoke"), I saw the Dinosaur Footprints. Very cool. Then on to Northampton. Did laundry and had lunch.

Travelled through Hatfield and ended up in South Deerfield behind the Yankee Candle Factory. You could smell the scented wax for miles. I camped that night and it turned out to be the worst night of the trip. We had a thunderstorm at around 9:00 pm that lasted four hours. Everything I had got soaked. I woke up wet. It was awful. The hardest part was packing everything up soaking wet, covered in mud and bark mulch. I biked to Sherburne Falls. Absolutely beautiful! Stopped and did laundry (again). It was sunny so I laid everything out and it air dried. In Shelburne Falls I saw the glacial potholes. A derailed train upriver spilled 60,000 gallons of latex into the river. The spill had a milky complexion.

The forecast called for more rain that night so I made a reservation at a motel in Charlemont. No more camping for now. As I made my way to Charlemont it started to rain (what again!). I stopped at a tourist trap Indian (I know, I know -- Native American) gift shop and waited the storm out. Made it to my motel dry, but the power had gone out. The owners, Bob and Linda Brooks, were discouraging people to stay. I had no choice. I stayed. The power came back on, but it was raining so hard and I couldn't bike anywhere to eat. Bob and Linda took me in and let me eat with them. We stayed up and watched "The Snake Pit" on HBO. We had a great time.

Made it to Williamstown the next day via Adams and North Adams. These old mill towns are really neat. I passed that derailed train along the Deerfield River. What mess! Made it to Bennington, Vermont the next day by lunch time. Stayed with my brother and his wife for almost a week. Saw the Bennington 4th of July fireworks. Visited Brattleboro. I love that town!

Waited until the humidity passed before I left Vermont. I made it from Bennington to Charlemont in one day. Traversed the famous Route 2 hairpin turn. There was a moment when I was in a valley on Route 2 traveling down hill that cannot be described. The valley was so steep and the weather was fantastic. It was moving! The Mohawk trail is very neat; like going back in time. It is too bad it is so rundown. I stayed with Bob and Linda again. They were happy to see me.

Left Charlemont. Went through Greenfield, Turners Falls, Millers Falls, Montague City, and the Wendall State Forest. Got to a B&B in New Salem. It was like staying in someone's house. It was in the middle of nowhere. Had to bike to Orange (five miles north) to get dinner. The last thing you want to do after a long day of bicycling is to bike five more miles just to eat. Ate at the OHOP, Orange House of Pizza. Orange is another one of those old, lost mill towns.

The next day the weather was bad. Light rain all day and chilly. I biked down a boring road, Route 202. Got to Belchertown. Did laundry. Visited the Quabbin Resevoir. What a place! It is hard to believe there were four towns and 2,500 people living there once. Kinda creepy. Ended up at a B&B in Ware. Where? Ware! Ware has some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen.

Took Saturday off from biking. Went to the Brimfield Fair, and then to a B&B in Petersham. From there I went to a campground in Bolton via Route 62. The weather was the best. I stopped in Princeton and at the crest of a hill I could see the skyline of Boston. The air was so clear that day. I biked through Barre, Hubbardston, Clinton, and Lancaster. I went around the Wachusett Reservoir. Not as impressive as the Quabbin. Had a great time camping. Built a large campfire and just enjoyed myself. Today I biked though Harvard, Ayer, Groton, and Pepperrell. Beautiful ride. Had lunch in Pepperrell and then headed East to Dracut where I am staying now.

Tomorrow I will bike to Salisbury where I will camp. Then on Wednesday I will be in Gloucester. I should be home on Thursday in the late afternoon. This trip has been great, but I am looking forward to going home. I have gotten my fill of bicycling for now. Hope to catch up with you all soon after I get home.

Ken Dumas
U.S.S. Ronald E. McNair

Epilogue: This was the longest contiguous period of time I had been away from my job, friends, family, and routine since college. When I returned, the world and all of my worries seemed small. I hope to do another bike-about some day so I can broaden my horizons while keeping my troubles tiny.

© 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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September 25, 1999 USS McNair game night! O'Heck, Star Trek:TNG Monopoly, card games, and similr entertainment. For details, crew members should 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.

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

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.

November 27, 1999 Red Dwarf video marathon. Don't know RD? Come check it out! For details, crew members should contact the Captain or the First officer.

December 31, 1999 New Year's Party for USS McNair crew members. For details, crew members should contact the Captain or the First officer.

January 30, 2000 Do you miss DS9? USS McNair crew members can get their fix at the DS9 video marathon. For details, crew members should contact the Captain or the First officer.

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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The following messages arrived recently via e-mail. The first message could be a message from Data's Spot:

Subject: Cat's Log

DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed.

DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant, pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan...

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick mind could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit.

The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait; it is only a matter of time.

to be continued...

Subject: Fwd: How To Bathe A Cat (different from the previous version)

  1. Thoroughly clean the toilet.
  2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both lids lifted.
  3. Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
  4. In one swoop movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids (you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape). CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for any purchase they can find.
  5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power wash and rinse" which I have found to be quite effective.
  6. Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.
  7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.
  8. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will promptly dry himself.

Subject: A few things a man should know by 40

  1. The difference between love and lust.
  2. How to change a tire, a diaper, and a woman's mind.
  3. When to hold on and when to let go.
  4. His capacity for intimacy and alcohol.
  5. Basic carpentry, plumbing, and automotive repair.
  6. Advanced foreplay.
  7. At least one woman other that his mother whose love is substantial and enduring.
  8. Trouble when he sees it.
  9. True love when he feels it.
  10. A load of bull when he hears it.
  11. The symptoms of PMS and how to deal with them.
  12. His strengths and weaknesses.
  13. How to fast-talk and slow-dance.
  14. The art of seduction.
  15. That his wife, lover, or girlfriend is not his mother.
  16. A woman's ergeneous zones.
  17. How to negotiate the inevitable compromises of a romantic relationship in ways that keep both sides as happy as possible.
  18. What he wants out of life and how to go after it.
  19. Which medical tests he needs and when to get them.
  20. How to make money, dinner, conversation, and love.
  21. His own needs and another person's ability to fulfill them.
  22. How to start a fire--in the hearth and the heart.
  23. A realistic plan to secure his retirement.
  24. An idealistic plan to secure his grandchildren's future.
  25. How to unhook a bra with one hand--in the dark.
  26. Where to get breakfast, gas, or a prescription filled at 2 am.
  27. How to give a toast and take a compliment.
  28. How to be gracious in victory and defeat.
  29. When to talk and when to listen.
  30. At least one true friend who will be there whenever he calls.
  31. The fundamental workings of the female psyche.
  32. The Ten Commandments.
  33. The importance of trying to follow them.
  34. His way around a kitchen.
  35. How to carve the Thanksgiving Day turkey.
  36. The futility of unrequited love.
  37. The ecstacy of unconditional love.
  38. How to open a bottle of champagne.
  39. How to close a deal.
-- Author unknown

Subject: Age barometer

Score one point for each item on the list that you remember:

  1. Blackjack chewing gum
  2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
  3. Candy cigarettes
  4. Soda pop machines that dispensed bottles
  5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
  6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
  7. Party lines
  8. Newsreels before the movie
  9. P.F. Flyers
  10. Butch wax
  11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (plaza- 6933)
  12. Peashooters
  13. Howdy Doody
  14. 45 RPM records
  15. S&H Green Stamps
  16. Hi-fi's
  17. Metal ice trays with levers
  18. Mimeograph paper
  19. Blue flashbulbs
  20. Beanie and Cecil
  21. Roller skate keys
  22. Cork popguns
  23. Drive-ins
  24. Studebakers
  25. Wash tub wringers
  26. 78 RPM records

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-16 = Don't tell your age
If you remembered 17-26 = You're older than dirt!

>Subject: Life BEFORE the Computer

An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something that you lost with age
A CD was a bank account
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
You hoped nobody found out!

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for a while!

Log on was adding wood to the fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode!

Cut -- you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider's home
And a virus was the flu!

I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead!

Subject: A Little Star Wars Humor

Top Ten Sexually Explicit Lines From Star Wars

10. "Get in there you big furry oaf, I don't care what you smell!"
9. "Luke, at that speed do you think you'll be able to pull out in time?"
8. "Put that thing away before you get us all killed."
7. "You've got something jammed in here real good."
6. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"
5. "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
4. "Sorry about the mess..."
3. "Look at the size of that thing!"
2. "Curse my metal body, I wasn't fast enough!"
1. "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."

Top Ten Sexually Explicit Lines From The Empire Strikes Back

10. "I thought that hairy beast would be the end of me."
9. "Size matters not. Judge me by my size, do you?"
8. "There's an awful lot of moisture in here."
7. "But now we must eat. Come, good food, come..."
6. "That's okay, I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while."
5. "Hurry up, golden-rod..."
4. "I must have hit it pretty close to the mark to get her al riled up like that, huh kid?"
3. "Possible he came in through the south entrance."
2. "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"
1. "Control, control! You must learn control!"

Top Ten Sexually Explicit Lines From Return of the Jedi

10. "I look forward to completing your training. In time you will call me master." (Emperor)
9. "You're a jittery little thing, aren't you?" (Leia)
8. "Someone must've told them about my little maneuver at the battle of Taanab." (Lando)
7. "There is good in him, I've felt it." (Luke)
6. "If I told you half the things I've heard about this Jabba the Hutt, you'd probably short circuit." (C3PO)
5. "I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can," (Jerjerrod) with reply "Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them." (Darth)
4. "Grab me Chewie. I'm slipping -- hold on. Grab it, almost got it. Gently now, all right, easy, easy, hold me, Chewie, Chewie!" (Han)
3. "Short help's better than no help at all." (Han)
2. "Hey, Luke, thanks for coming after me -- now I owe you one." (Han)
1. "Back door, huh? Good idea!" (Han)

"Star Wars" Euphemisms for Masturbation

Boxing with Boba
Dating, Trekkie style
Flying with Hand Solo
Going Back to Check on Uncle Owen
Going into Toshi Station to Pick Up Some Power Converters
Leggo My Degoba!
Living La Vida Yoda
Lovin' Mr. Lucas
Makin' Wookie
Making the Bald Ewok Dance
Playing with Le Petit DeathStar
Shaking Hands With Darth Pogo Stick
Surrendering to the Palm Side of the Force
Visiting the Palace of Handjabba Solo
Spanking the Emperor

Things Uttered by Yoda While Making Love

12. "Mmmm ... Now I know why they call you Deep Space Nine."
11. "Shriveled no more!"
10. "How big they are matters little -- handles my ears are not."
9. "That's a hell of a light saber you've got there, Jedi Tommy Lee!"
8. "Mudhole?! Slimy?!! My girlfriend is this!"
7. "Play with the one, but jiggle the two, you will."
6. "Over you must bend, and your dark side show me."
5. "Well, actually, that *is* a snake."
4. "About to spew like Mount St. Helens, am I!"
3. "Fake not. Cum or cum not -- there is no fake."
2. "Into you like a freight train I am, yessss. Oh, my little slutpuppy you are, >mmmm?"

and the Number 1 Thing Uttered by Yoda While Making Love...

1. "The Force is growing gre-- OH SWEET JESUS!!!!!!!!!!"

-- Authors unknown

Subject: More Star Wars Humor

Find your sign and then determine which Star Wars character suits that sign best.

ARIES (March 21 - April 19) Star Wars Character: The Emperor
The Emperor has demonstrated his liking to inflict pain on people just as people born under the sign Aries often do. He feels he is at the center of the universe and he must be in control. He enjoys being a leader and his aggression and quick-tempered attitude also helps him with this.

TAURUS (April 20 - May 20) Star Wars Character: Chewbacca
Chewbaccais a dependable creature but he can tend to be stubborn. He likes material possessions and loves to win at games. He tends to hate being bossed around or losing and he may depend on his physical strength when upset.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 20) Star Wars Character: Ewok
Ewoks are playful little creatures as are Gemini's. They tend to be extremely curious, craving knowledge but sometimes having short attention spans. For the most part they are charming and lovable beings but they can seem scattered and high-strung at times.

CANCER (June 21 - July 22) Star Wars Character: Luke Skywalker
Luke seemed to be somewhat whiny sometimes but he eventually developed the thick hard shell of a cancer. He is strong willed and persistent to get what he wants. He never shys away from a fight at the first sign of danger. Not to mention he began to master the element of mind manipulation.

LEO (July 23 - Aug. 22) Star Wars Character: Princess Leia
Leia adds a whole new meaning to high self-assurance which is evident in Leos. She is a nurturing person with great physical strength. Like many Leos she will see that her mission for good is completed and she is very optimistic about the outcome.

VIRGO (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22) Star Wars Character: C3P0
C3P0 shows his efficiency when working for a good cause but he tends to be a little bit fussy when it comes to doing something out of the ordinary. Like many Virgos he wants to stay out of the spotlight and he does well at picking up minute details.

LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22) Star Wars Character: "Obi Wan" Kenobi
As always Obi Wan continues forward in his pursuit of justice he is determined to succeed. He conveys his art of persuasion through the force. He displays his supreme intelligence and is very talented in obtaining balance between himself and his surroundings.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21) Star Wars Character: Han Solo
Han is a powerful character. He also tends to be possessive and lusty which would explain Han's greedy nature. He feels threatened by Leia's attempt to order him around which displays the disliking Scorpios have for people who try to control them. He is often prone to suspicion and jealousy as seen in the Empire Strikes back. However, his resilience and passion lead him to get what he wants.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21) Star Wars Character: Yoda
Yoda is superbly wise and he has been known to spread this wisdom widely. He seems to be impatient and pushy when people take his teachings too lightly. As always his philosophical side always peeks through.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19) Star Wars Character: R2D2
R2's ambition and inexhaustible desire is to reach his goals/destination. He is a very loyal, sometimes going to great lengths to help someone out. He is a very social unit winning the hearts of many with his cute personality.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18) Star Wars Character: Darth Vader
Vader can be cruel and torment people who disagree with him but deep down there is a peace loving, friendly side to him. He has a knack for inflicting pain on people and he uses his intellect during battle.

PISCES (Feb. 19 - Mar. 20) Star Wars Character: Lando
Lando is the typical character with his head in the clouds. He is self-sacrificing but may be too passive to stand up to Vader. He became fairly pessimistic when put under pressure. He also poses as a chameleon wanting to change his scenery on occasion.

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Bored? This will perk you up: The Death Test. You can learn the exact day and time you will die. Talk about planning for the future! This amazing machine calculated that I will live to the age of 75 and likely die from the following:
Heart failure15%
Organ failure10%
3rd degree burns5%
Horrible accident5%
Alien abduction5%

This test is mostly entertainment and it isn't too accurate. I don't drink alcohol, but it still calculated a 7% probability of dying from alcoholism. Most of my family has died from cancer though; which is listed. In a bizarre way, this was kind of funny with the alien abduction thing. Don't take it seriously.

What is GPS, or a Global Positioning System? How does it work? How accurate is it? Who uses it?

For a very thorough and detailed set of answers, point your Web browser to the Global Positioning System Primer Web site created by the Aerospace Corporation. The answers are easy to understand and straight-forward. You can also learn about military applications and the basics of navigation.

Dell Computer Corporation is running a very interesting sweepstakes. When you buy a Dell computer or register for their "Back to School Sweepstakes" program, you can win $10,000 cash and two new Dell computers. One winner is drawn from each day's orders and sweepstakes entrants. Winners get to configure their new PCs up to a $3,000 value. The first free PC is delivered in two years, and the second PC is delivered two years after that. For details or to register, visit Dell's Back to School Sweepstakes Web site. The promotion ends September 25, 1999.

All too often, biracial individuals, multiracial couples, and multicultural families feel isolated in their neighborhoods. It seems difficult to meet other people similar to ourselves. What options are there?

Here's one excellent solution. Interrace Magazine sponsors an annual cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines for biracial individuals, multiracial couples, multicultural families, and their friends can meet and discuss topics of interest. In the 24th century Star Trek universe this isn't a problem. In the 21st century United States, there are obstacles all too often.

This year's cruise leaves the Port of Miami on December 4, 1999. For complete details, visit the 1999 Interrace Cruise Web site. At the site you can learn about this year's cruise destinations in the Western Caribbean, the ship you'll be traveling on, onboard activities, and onshore tours. There's even a section that answers the questions of first-time cruisers.

If cyber interactions are more your speed, then you can join the conversation surrounding the PBS television series "An American Love Story." The story featuring Bill Sims and Karen Wilson aired this past week in Boston. It focused upon the daily life of an interracial family: the couple and their two daughters. An energetic discussion is taking place at the PBS Web site.

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A couple worthy news items you may find of interest:

Study shows that having women in top management can mean better stock performance for newly public companies

FOR RELEASE: July 19, 1999

Contact: Linda Myers
Office: (607) 255-9735
Home: (607) 277-5035

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Want to improve your company's bottom line? Put more women at the top. According to a study by Theresa Welbourne, a professor in Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the stocks of companies that went public that had more women on their top management teams performed better in both the short and long run than those with few or no women at the top.

The first thing Welbourne discovered when she began her studies of initial public offering (IPO) firms was that the presence of women in top management posts, in general, has increased significantly during this decade. In 1988 when she surveyed 136 companies that went public, she found no women in upper-echelon positions. But by 1993 when she surveyed 535 IPO companies, Welbourne found that women were included on 27 percent of the companies' top management teams. And in a later study, she found that women were in key executive positions at a full 41 percent of the companies that went public in 1996.

To determine whether company performance was effected by the presence of more women at the top, Welbourne tracked over time the performance of the 535 IPO companies that she initially surveyed in 1993. Four hundred and seventy-six of them were included in her final analysis; the remaining 59 had merged, were acquired, filed for bankruptcy or stopped filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for other reasons.

Her study found that firms with more women on the top management team did better at the initial public offering than companies with fewer or no women at the top, obtaining higher values on Tobin's Q -- a measure of IPO performance that compares the market value of a firm's stock with its book value. "I chose Tobin's Q, rather than absolute stock price," said Welbourne, "because it takes into account the opinions of expert investors on the real value of a stock." In obtaining her results, she controlled for such variables as company size, age, risk factors and financial performance at the IPO stage, all of which may affect overall firm performance.

Welbourne then assessed the effect of women executives' presence on the performance of the 476 companies over three years, from initial public offering in 1993 through year-end 1996. There she also found that having more women on the top executive teams had a positive and significant effect on both stock-price growth and earnings-per-share growth, although her results were not quite as impressive as those in her earlier IPO assessment.

"Theresa's findings are exciting," said Murem Sharpe, an executive with a Detroit-based major global supplier of business and technology services. "I've long believed that women bring business savvy and a balanced perspective to the corporate mix. Now here's proof positive that they do. Companies, especially those just going public, would be well advised to take these results into account when assembling their top management teams."

Welbourne said that her findings are particularly interesting in light of earlier studies by others concluding that businesses headed by women don't prosper. For example, a study by R. Chaganti and S. Parasuraman published in "Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice" in winter 1996 suggested that companies owned by women don't perform as well as those owned by men.

"There may be many reasons for that finding," said Welbourne, "none of them having to do with women's acuity for business." To prove the point that women make good business leaders, she cited a leadership study reported on in "USA Today" that showed women managers taking top honors in 28 of the 31 categories surveyed, including ability to meet deadlines, generate ideas and be productive.

Welbourne speculated that the reason for lower performance of some women-owned firms may be due to something suggested in her work. In the paper on her study, she asserts that it is the mix of women and men at the top levels, not the presence of women alone, that made the IPO companies' stock values climb higher. She noted that at nearly all the companies she surveyed, women held less than 50 percent of the leadership positions, and at the very most they held 86 percent of the top posts.

Welbourne observed, interestingly, that there was little or no correlation between companies with more women in top management and companies traditionally viewed as female-oriented. Of the 73 companies surveyed with 20 percent or more women in top management, only five were in so-called female businesses, specifically the marketing of clothing to women and children, while the remainder were in such non-gendered industries as telecommunications, banking and finance, software, manufacturing and hospitality.

Welbourne suggested that the proliferation of skilled women in top posts at IPO companies may be related to the fact that many such companies are start-ups with entrepreneurial structures and lower pay scales than the corporate giants that tend to attract more men at the top. She was cautious about her study's findings and called for more research to determine the effect of women as top managers on a company's financial performance. Nevertheless, she believes that their positive influence has already been noted by the investment community.

The study was part of an overall research project in which Welbourne and her team of researchers looked at what determines success among firms making initial public offerings. Her main source of information for identifying top-level managers and obtaining data on firm financial performance was the company prospectus, which had the advantage of being as accurate as possible and consistent from company to company, in keeping with guidelines set by the SEC.

Welbourne's paper on her study, "Wall Street Likes Its Women: An Examination of Women in the Top Management Teams of Initial Public Offerings," is part of the ILR School's Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies working paper series. Copies may be ordered from the CAHRS office at (607) 255-5347 or downloaded from the web site listed below.

Cornell University News Service
Surge 3
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
607-255-4206 phone
607-255-5373 fax

You may also find this article of interest too:

Women of color often find steep road to top
By Juliet F. Brudney
Boston Globe, 08/01/99

"The uppermost echelons of 30 major corporations are out of sight for many African American, Asian American and Hispanic women managers and professionals, along with vital connectors to them, according to a recent survey. The survey is part of a three-year study by Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that works with businesses to advance women of all racial and ethnic groups."

To read the full text of the article, visit: the Boston Globe Web site.

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