7 August 2008
By Matthew B. Tepper, Scribe
Once again, Vice President Rob "Gizmo" Powell thought he saw his chance. "They say third time’s a charm!" he exclaimed, vaunting to the head table and quickly calling the meeting to order at 2016, when President Michael Thorsen was still lumbering his way to the dais. Rob shrieked "Dammit!" as he saw his opportunity to run a LASFS meeting drift away for the third time. Will he ever get to oversee more than the first five minutes of one of our shindigs? Only time will tell.
Under Special Orders of Business, CL memorialized Harriet Burns, the first female designer for Disney’s Imagineering team, who died last week aged 80. Marty Cantor asked to speak now so that he could get home right away, reminding us that there would be no Board meeting, but the Second Sunday open house will begin at noon.
Mr. Thorsen now had a positive kind of Special Order for us, as it was the actual 75th birthday of Dr. Jerry Pournelle. And there was much cheering. This love-fest was briefly and rudely interrupted by a reading of the previous week’s Menace, which got approved (at Dr. Pournelle’s suggestion, in fact) as "Don’t quit your day job."
And now it was time to celebrate Patron Saints, of which the first for the evening was, guess who? That’s right, Jerry Pournelle! Scratch Galloway called him "one of my favorite authors. With all of his talents and years of experience, he still treats us as normal human beings, and we try to do the same." Karen Anderson said he is "one of my oldest friends. I met him in 1961, and I’m always glad to see him when I can." Joe Zeff had this appreciation: "Jerry has spent many years doing strange, weird, and sometimes extremely dumb things to the computers at Chaos Manor, so the rest of us don’t have to do it." Hare Hobbs had particular praise for Mutually Assured Survival, written with Dean Ing. Hm – Deaning? That’s a very interesting collaboration, Jerry and a gerund. Tadao N. Tomomatsu was "happy to say that Dr. Pournelle is the only person who can embarrass me, and the only one I will let call me ‘Kaka’ in public." Tom Safer simply remarked: "I have never known a nicer man than Jerry Pournelle." Len Moffatt reminded us: "Jerry gave more than money to this club, he gave a lot of sweat to fix up this room we’re sitting in now. He’s a multitalented person, including being one hell of a carpenter." Michelle Pincus noted: "Jerry knows how to be a proper gentleman, especially when walking me to my car, because he always walks on the outside to protect me from splashes and hooligans. Things like that are disappearing from our society. It’s nice to know there’s someone who still remembers." Mr. Thorsen remembered "a number of times when Dr. Pournelle regaled us with strange and interesting things which I had never known before, such as how to build a helicopter which could fly to the moon." Your humble Scribe saluted "another appreciator of opera, which is after all a form of fantasy." John DeChancie stated: "Dr. Pournelle is a very good friend of mine. You can’t imagine the things he does for his friends. I’m proud and pleased to know him, and to call him friend." Karen called Jerry "the only person alive who still knows the words to ‘Die Beiden Grenadiere.’" That’s Heinrich Heine’s poem as set by Schumann (not Schubert; trust me, I’m a musicologist). That aside, we gave our beloved Patron Saint Jerry Pournelle three rousing cheers "and anything but more rads!"
Our other Patron Saint this week was Tim Merrigan. Hare reminded us that Tim was that longtime Official Collator of Apa L, a mild-natured, soft-spoken guy with a great sense of humor. Joe Zeff remembered the time Tim got so tired of his father bothering him to get a haircut that he shaved his head. Apparently, he was pretty much unrecognizable until he began collating. Mike Thorsen said that Tim was a recipient of the Evans-Freehafer award, celebrated for his other efforts on behalf of the club. We gave Patron Saint Tim Merrigan three hearty cheers, "and they sometimes call him Tim."
Did we have any guests? Registrar Michelle Pincus skipped to the front of the room to say we had one, Brenda Duarte, a friend of Eris Young; she likes animé and RPG, and identifies as a student, gamer, artist, and student [sic]. We couldn’t welcome her just then because she was actually touring the front building.
There was no Money Gouge, but Tadao said that next week would be the Big Auction. Bring your money!
We had neither Old nor New Business, and there was the usual reaction to this good news.
Treasurer’s Report: Ms. Pelz was in Denver already for Worldcon, so Marcia Minsky was virtual Elayne for the evening, and wanted people to pay their dues.
Timebound Announcements: Gizmo said that SIGGRAPH 2008 was all next week, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Appointed Committee Reports: Tom Safer noted his upcoming programming: August 16th was Tom Safer Presents Cartoons, presenting some films emanating from a certain Burbank studio that doesn’t have a famous water tower, commencing at 10:00 a.m. There would also be a full day of actual science fiction films on August 23rd, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Reviews: Tom Safer went to the Hollywood Bowl the previous weekend to see a performance of Eric Idle’s "Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy)" and found it hilarious, an oratorio version of "Monty Python’s Life of Brian." It was a wonderful evening, with fireworks at the end. And remember, always look on the bright side of life. Hare enjoyed Catherine Asaro’s Alpha, about an evil android, the sequel to her Sunrise Alley. Mike Thorsen had been entertained by a new series, on the ABC Family television network, "Middleman." His review was a gesture, which was how some of the characters in the show itself expressed four exclamation points. Your humble Scribe would represent it as [phonetic punctuation, in the style of Victor Borge, here]. Hare liked it too, particularly for sneaky references to the names of various directors of Westerns. Tom Safer was pleased that "Eureka" had returned to the Sci-Fi Channel with new episodes.
Faanish Committee Reports: Joe Zeff had a medical report about a prescription. Scratch was winding up his summer school D&D class, noting that he’s now teaching a third generation of players.
Bill Ellern was at Acres of Books yesterday for their going-out-of-business sale, and while they’ve sold thousands of books, he said you can’t really tell it. Tom Safer had seen an Oddly Enough story about British athletes photographed nude as part of an ad campaign for a sports drink, Powerade. Timon was astonished: "Not Naked Juice?" Your humble Scribe recommends the photo of Rebecca Romero riding a bicycle, but still thinks she ought to have been wearing a helmet, to promote safety.
Moment of Science: Karen Anderson brought us up to date with current observations, from a series of satellites arranged in a row, about what causes the Northern Lights. Evidently they are related to Earth’s magnetotail, and energy from the solar wind. When they snap, you get a spectacular light show. Satellites and ground stations are being coordinated to observe these magnetic storms.
Miscellaneous: Scratch is having a procedure on Tuesday to take care of his kidney stone, so he might be out of action for a while. Various TMI methods were discussed.
And with that, there was nowhere to go but screaming into the night, and a motion to do so passed at 2100.