A sinister cult has taken over a quiet Maryland town and is terrorizing the surrounding countryside.
Investigators for Federal Deviation Investigation (FDI) announced today that The Morman Temple, an eccentric cult of star worshippers, is secretly controlling the town of Silver Spring, Maryland. "I haven't seen anything like this since Stepford," commented Agent Phil Kahn.
Little is publicly known about the cult which gathers every Third Friday of each month for intellectual orgies and bizarre rituals under the leadership of a mysterious figure known only as "Mother Mary". Special Agent Jack Uzi stated, "This 'Mary Morman' operates through several fronts, including her husband and love slave Kent Boom and the nominal leader of the cult, Tom Shod. The cult also uses a semi-secret jargon to protect their inner workings from outsiders (known as mundaans to the members, or fen)."
The FDI investigation is continuing and further developments are expected.
The First Friday in October meeting convened at 9:15, 5 October 1990.
President Tom Schaad asked the Publications Committee for the minutes of the previous meeting or other report. Secretary Lee Strong reported that, in a daring break with tradition, the Committee was going to attempt a straight report. Chaos enSued.
Susan Cohen expressed concern that a "straight report" would discriminate based on sexual orientation. Lee agreed, stating that his word processor was so corrupted by WSFA business that it routinely spelled "kinder and gentler" as "kinkier and gentler". Susan asked if Lee's system was floppy. "No, it's nice and hard," responded Lee. Michael Walsh asked, "So, how're your drives?" Before Lee could respond, John Cappalucci begged, "No RAM jokes, please."
Lee climaxed by delivering his report: the minutes were in the October 1990 issue of The WSFA Journal along with a report on his efforts to notify the members of the Disclave Chair Election Meeting. Lee then moved that the reading of the minutes be waived. Accepted unanimously.
Mary Morman corrected the misspelling of her name in a previous issue. She is not connected with the Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Lee stood up and stated that he stood corrected.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported that the club has $7084.28 on hand. Motions to have a party, a recession, or a sequester failed for lack of seconds. A motion to purchase our very own S&L also failed.
Alexis Gilliland reported that the Entertainment committee was in the Blue Room entertaining herself. He mentioned that the nuclear fantasy film On The Beach was playing at the Smithsonian (prior to the Smithsonian being closed).
Disclave Past was not here.
Disclave Present Chairfan Peggy Rae Pavlat reported that a copy of the registration form for Disclave 1991 was included at pages 9 and 10 of The WSFA Journal, conveniently placed for removal and sending in. Further, a current list of Disclave '91 department heads would appear in the Journal. See Disclave Reports elsewhere in this Journal.
John Cappalucci, Chairfan of the Committee to Spend a Great Deal of Money on Something Incredibly Controversial and Expensive, reported that the Committee had been following the workings of Congress. The club erupted into applause and hoots of laughter. Joe Mayhew stated that "Congress " has another meaning, which is appropriate to the current situation. Mike Zipser announced that Harlan Ellison is writing the new Federal budget with a working title of I Have No Funds and I Must Govern. Mike Walsh beat out John Cappalucci to announce that this will appear in Harlan's Last Dangerous Visions. Some anarchist pointed out that our club Treasurer has successfully balanced our club budget and should do so for Congress. "Which [definition of] Congress?" asked Bob.
Of Old Business, there was none.
Of New Business, there was some. The Trustees announced that Covert Beach was unable to come, but had appointed Peggy Rae Pavlat to act up in his place, the bum.
The Secretary stated that those wishing for their announcements to appear as they wished should provide the Secretary with written copies. Bob MacIntosh noted that the Secretary did not actually promise to print any written material provided. Another clever ploy foiled by sharpies.
Mike Walsh offered books for sale after the election. The price is one dollar. "For the books or the election?" asked Lee. Mike declined to touch that one with a fork.
Mike went on to say that Father of Stones, first published by the WSFA Press, won the Locus Best Novella Award, and was up for the World Fantasy Award. Next year, The WSFA Journal Novella Awards!
Mike continued that he was looking for a ride to Philcon for two tables of books and himself. Peggy Rae announced that she was Vice Chair of the San Francisco Worldcon. She noted that this fact had already been announced in The WSFA Journal, which she characterized as "terribly up to date". (Thanks, Peggy, but that's our job.) She invited applications for Worldcon work, noting that this is your opportunity to fatten up your resumes for Disclave jobs.
Susan Cohen is looking for crash space in Takoma Park. She will be taking the Graduate Record Exams and can arrive fresher and smarter if she crashes nearby rather than facing the loonngg trip from Balmur.
Steve Fetheroff announced that the WSFA Pencils have returned in time for the election. He also told the traditional cigar box story which is really boring and which I am not going to repeat here. Talk to Steve.
Winton Matthews announced that tickets for The Phantom of the Opera are available by male order only. Susan protested that male orders discriminated against femail orders. Don't worry your pretty little head about it, hon.
Someone identified as George Koelsch announced that he was not disconnected as related in the October WSFA Journal. He had just gotten out of Lorton and had been out of the loop for a while but was not disconnected. (Actually, George, we reported that your telephone was disconnected.)
Hal Haag had 3 announcements. First, he is still collecting pull tabs from drink cans. Third, he would like to talk to someone with a complete collection of The Washington Post for July and August. He is trying to find the drop site for the pull tabs. Try the public library.
Second, Hal announced that writer Shariann N. Lewitt will speak following the BSFS meeting, 13 October 1990, at the BSFS Clubhouse, 2233 St. Paul Street, Balmur.
Mary Morman announced that today was Steve Smith's birthday. The members dirged 3 choruses of "Happy Birthday?" before Matt (Music Lover) Leger moved we waive further verses. This motion passed overwhelmingly.
Matt (Centaur) Leger also made 2 announcements. First, he no longer has extra legs or drugs. "Darn!" shouted one rowdie. Second, The City Paper had a review of a new biography of Philip K. Dick. No one knew what it was, which is typical of Dick's work.
Terilee Edwards-Hewitt attempted to move adjournment of the meeting but was ruthlessly suppressed. Susan dared not protest.
* Lee Uba's correct telephone number for The Decorating Den is (703) 497-2108.
The Treasurer read the official WSFA Domesday List of members in preparation for the Disclave 1992 Chair Election. During the reading, Matt (Matt Who?) Leger announced that his name was pronounced Matt Leshy, and John Pomeranz announced that he was really John Cappalucci.
Susan Cohen moved that the meeting be adjourned. The motion was accepted and the meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
The election meeting followed after a short break during which all nonessential personnel were furloughed.
Lee Uba, also known as The Decorating Den of Woodbridge, will be having a Grand Opening Celebration, Wednesday, November 14, at 7:00 at the Best Western Hotel, Quantico, VA. Munchies and gulpies will be served. If you're interested, please call Lee at (703) 497-2108.
The special meeting for the election of the Chairfan of Disclave 1992 convened at 9:47, 5 October 1990. Jointly presiding were Trustees Dan Hoey and Erica Van Dommelen together with Trustee-appointee Peggy Rae Pavlat.
The Trustees had previously nominated Steve Fetheroff and Joe Mayhew for Disclave Chair. Mary Morman was nominated from the floor. Nominations were then closed.
Beginning a new tradition, each candidate made a short campaign speech. Mary stated that she wished to make changes in how Disclave was run, including a new hotel, higher con rates, and a greater focus on sf as opposed to leather & bondage. Joe emphasized his previous experience as Disclave Chair, including his enabling Evan Phillips to create the renowned Discave. Steve gave the shortest speech, stressing his desire to run a real con since his first con experience.
The members then voted for Chairfan. Steve Fetheroff won. Joe and Mary led a round of applause for the weiner. Steve simply said, "Thanks."
The election meeting adjourned at 10:00.
The Saddam Hussein Geographical Society will meet in the phone booth at 711 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD at midnight, 31 November 1990. New members are welcome! Please bring an eraser; no pencils required.
The Third Friday in October meeting convened at 9:14, 19 October 1990. "It's time for a meeting," Schaad said shortly.
Before the meeting, the President carefully placed the Official Gavel on his chair and sat on it. And you wondered why gavels are painted brown. It can't have been very good for Tom since he left shortly afterward.
President Tom Schaad asked the Publications Committee for the minutes of the previous meeting. Secretary Lee Strong actually read the serious portions of the minutes, and stated that the adjectives would be added later [along with the adverbs, innuendo, character assassination and genial slander that makes reading The WSFA Journal so entertaining]. The minutes were approved as read.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported that the club has $7094.28 in the pot. A motion was made from the floor to increase revenue by imposing a bheer tax. This motion failed when the proponent was shot.
Disclave Past (1990) was not here.
Disclave Present (1991) was at a "con", whatever a "con" is.
Alexis Gilliland reported that the Entertainment Committee has outdone itself presenting the month-long spectacle of Congressmen and -women biting themselves on the foot. Someone objected that they were putting the bite on the taxpayer, not their feet. Joe Mayhew objected that, as a Federal employee, he did not find this spectacle to be entertaining.
The Incredibly Controversial and Expensive Committee was not here. Susan Cohen moved that this Committee balance the budget. Further discussion clarified that the Committee should balance the national budget as the WSFA Budget has a nice surplus. This suggestion was referred to the Committee.
The Trustees reported that Mr. Steve Fetheroff was elected Disclave 1992 Chairfan. "Sucker!" hollered one rowdie. Mike Walsh observed, "But he has nice eyes."
No Old or New Business was raised.
Dan Hoey announced that the BSFS Baltimore Clubhouse had been broken into. The thieves systematically drilled through each locked door and looted a VCR, a copier, and several Balticon T-shirts. They left a broken typewriter. If you see anyone selling Balticon Berserker T-shirts from the trunk of his car, at least knock down the price.
* Baltimore Police Chief John Roy McClain stated that the neatness and thoroughness displayed during the theft ruled out the Capitol Hill Gang as suspects.
Someone reported a recent tornado in his daytime parking lot. He's not in Kansas any more, either.
Speaking of Oz, Steve Boucher is visiting from Sydney, Australia. Welcome, mate!
Lance Oszko reported that the Polish science fiction fans aborad the Iskra got their CARE package despite the efforts of the Polish Secret Service and Prime Minister to steal the package for themselves. The Gdansk club would also appreciate receiving donations of role playing games.
Mike Walsh announced The Usual. Joe W. Haldeman sold the movie rights to Buying Time. If he writes the teleplay, greater sums of money will descend upon him, especially if the studio also produces the resulting movie.
As a public service, Mike also provided the club with a flyer on ways to spot space aliens at work. See flier elsewhere in this issue. Unfortunately, most fans also display many of the described symptoms. So be careful before making accusations.
Brian Lewis reported that a large demonstration by the Haitian organization Enforcers Against Discrimination was broken up by the D.C. police. Seems 20 people were arrested for "demonstrating without a pursuit". Previously, a permit was sufficient.
Lee Uba announced the Grand Opening of her enterprise The Decorating Den of Woodbridge. See advertisement on page 3 for details. Susan Cohen thought that Lee was celebrating Prince Charles' birthday.
Kent Bloom had the World Series going on in the Bloom/Morman Library. It was a tight fit.
Matt (Softwarrior) Leger announced that he was giving away free software: 2 Macintosh kits for America On Line. You only pay for the time actually used, and the first hour each month is free. Also, America On Line will give Matt a discount if he recruits you. Talk to Matt off line about this offer.
The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
In Other News... The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors turned thumbs down on pot bellied pigs in Fairfax County. The Board doesn't want the competition.
Disclave 91 Staff List SECOND DRAFT: Chair Peggy Rae Pavlat Vice Chair Tom Schaad Treasurer Steven Fetheroff Art Show Michelle Smith-Moore Babysitting _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Dealers' Room Scott Dennis DisCave Evan Phillips Truck Rental/driver _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Furniture Rental Evan Phillips Table Rental Dan Hoey Food/drink/etc. Dick Roepke Obtain Liquor Lic. Evan Phillips Con Suite Shift Supervisors: Larry Baker, Andy Culhane, Dan Hoey, Bob MacIntosh, Dale Sharrick, Jim Tracey, Eva Whitley, Walter Miles Door Guards _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Explainer Bill Mayhew Films Kathi Overton Fliers Covert Beach GoH Book Peggy Rae Pavlat Publicity Michael Walsh Hotel Liaison Covert Beach Hosts _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Information Chris Callahan Staff Andy Culhane, Steven Fetheroff, Tracy Henry, Matt Lawrence, Erica Lilly, North Lilly, Maura Scharadin, Steve Smith, Lee Strong Signs Joe Mayhew Mugs & T-Shirts Dick Roepke Program Beth & Mike Zipser Green Room _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Kids' Stuff Jul Owings Pocket Program Beth & Mike Zipser Readings Rachel Russell Ribbons Beth & Mike Zipser Program Book Jane Wagner Speaker to Printer Joe Mayhew Registration John Sapienza Deputy Dan Hoey Members' Badges Joe Mayhew Restaurant Guide Covert Beach Special Events John Pomeranz Kitchen Cabinet: Larry Baker, Covert Beach, Mary-Rita Blute, Chris Callahan, Steven Fetheroff, Dan Hoey, Bill Jensen, Bob MacIntosh, Winton Matthews, Jr., Joe Mayhew, Mary Morman, Kathi Overton, Paul Parsons, Evan Phillips, John Pomeranz, Robyn Rissell, Dick Roepke, Rachel Russell, John Sapienza, Tom Schaad, Steven Smith, Mike Stein, Lee Strong, Erica Van Dommelen, Michael J. Walsh, Beth Zipser, Mike Zipser.
Appearances, it seems, do count for something.
A subgroup of society renowned for its unusual tolerance of that which lies outside generally accepted societal norms in appearance, dress, taste, behavior, etc., is now, with exquisite irony, being accused of discrimination. An entire subset of the subgroup, having believed itself to be entitled to a place in the subgroup, for reasons which are at best unclear beyond the fact that their modes of grooming, their tastes in clothing and music and their politics seem outlandish and repugnant to the rest of the subgroup.
The aftermath of the latest Disclave (1990) leaves many fans in the area, particularly those of us involved behind the scenes at the con, with alarming questions in our minds. The convention, sadly, left many others with a bad taste in their collective mouth, a contempt for Washington area fandom (or at least certain elements thereof), and a bitter resolve never to attend the con again. In addition to the obvious administrative problems with the convention, the unfortunate incidents of the weekend (including a violent assault committed with seeming impunity upon a convention member by a police officer, with the presence of witnesses galore, and the resignation of a security staff member over a badge-passing incident at one of the Saturday night parties) have precipitated a reassessment of just who is and is not entitled to be considered "a part of Disclave a "a fan" (as opposed to an "attendee").
A short article in the program book appears to have initiated the dispute. "How to Disclave", written by Joe Mayhew, was quite innocently intended as a gentle reminder for people to conduct themselves in a constructive, considerate manner at the con, to preserve both the utterly necessary goodwill Disclave has built up with its chosen hotel facility, and the equally necessary goodwill of attending fans. Such a reminder was deemed necessary in light of the perennial presence at Disclaves past of what some have called "parasites," i.e., unruly or unscrupulous persons, sometimes paid con members and sometimes not, who tended to cause trouble, for which the sponsors and membership in general were afterward blamed. In the same vein, the experiment of dubbing the security staff "The Politeness Patrol" was initiated to dispel the traditionally negative perception associated with the term "Con Security". This name was widely derided as the con drew to a close.
On Sunday afternoon, a large group of people gathered outside the entrance to the Exhibition Center and engaged in a heated debate with Mr. Mayhew about the distinction between "fans" and "attendees." Having not seen the end of the discussion, I cannot say if anything was resolved. But the fact that it occurred at all indicates that a significant portion of Disclave's attending members have serious problems with what they perceive as the attitude of the con staff towards them. This could lead to a harsh and destructive word-of-mouth campaign against Disclave.
Why do I fear these people? The answer, I suppose, is that I am a flawed, fallible human being, who like so many of us, all too often falls short of his ideals.
Is it simply because of the way they look, that it somehow intrinsically repulsive? Are we put off by the tendency toward black jackets and boots; metal studs and silver chains; torn jeans and T-shirts; hair dyed every conceivable color and partly shave to scalp level and/or styled outrageously; safety pins and rings through various bodily areas? Or is it the worldview that this look symbolizes, a view cynical and contemptuous of "the system" and advocative of rebellion against established mores and (in a few cases) replacement of the current form of society with nihilistic forms? Since when have SF/F fans ever been champions of "established mores"? One of our own WSFA members who affects this look to an extent once said, "We dress like this and wear our hair like this to test the limits -- to see how far we can go and still be considered people." Certainly science fiction fans have long been advocates of "pushing the envelope" of both scientific and social progress, pushing the boundaries ever further back. Is this, then, the point where even we find ourselves compelled to draw the proverbial line? The Disclave Committee thus find themselves forced to walk an ever more precariously balanced tightrope between the general welfare and avoiding seeming unjust discrimination.
It should be borne in mind that not everyone who looks and dresses this way this way is necessarily a troublemaker, and that, on the tails side of the same coin, not all troublemakers look and dress this way. How do you sort out the decent ones from the troublemakers -- before they they make any trouble? That question has been asked, in one form or another practically since the dawn of Man. It is either tremendously flattering or unreasonably demanding to expect to the Disclave committee -- flawed, fallible human beings all -- to have discovered a foolproof, totally non-invasive means of detected scum upon first inspection.
To the Committee members of Disclave Future, I can only say: Be as careful and as thoughtful as you can in making policy, and be as receptive as you can to suggestions from the paying members, without whom there would be no Disclave -- and when you hear what they have to say, act upon it promptly, decisively and effectively.
And to the members of Disclave Future, and those who would have been members but for their treatment at Disclave '90, I can only say: Please realize that you are dealing with ordinary people like yourselves, with an honest desire to put on the most worthwhile entertaining s-f con they can, and with extremely limited authority vis-a-vis the hotel management and local officials. Allow for this in your dealings and be understanding in your judgment of them.
In other words, to borrow from the Church of the Subgenius (R), "Give slack and ye shall receive it." Not too bad a credo, that, for cons or for life in general.
Many Americans work side by side with space aliens who look human - but you can spot these visitors by looking for certain tip-offs, say experts.
They listed 10 signs to watch for:
1. Weird or mismatched clothes. "Often space aliens don't fully understand the different styles. So they wear combinations that are in bad taste, such as checked pants with a striped shirt or a tuxedo jacket with blue jeans or sneakers," noted Brad Steiger, a renowned UFO investigator and author.
2. Strange diet or unusual eating habits. Space aliens might eat French fries with a spoon or gobble down large amounts of pills, the experts say.
3. Bizarre sense of humor. Space aliens who don't understand earthly humor may laugh during a serious company training film or tell jokes that no one understands, said Steiger.
4. Takes frequent sick days. A space alien might need extra time off to "rejuvenate its energy" said Dr. Thomas Easton, a theoretical biologist and futurist.
5 .Keeps a written or tape-recorded diary. "Aliens are constantly gathering information," Steiger said.
6. Misuses everyday items. "A space alien may use correction fluid to paint its nails," said Steiger.
7. Constant questions about customs of co-workers. Space aliens who are trying to learn about our Earth culture may ask questions that seem to be stupid, Dr. Easton said.
"For example, a co-worker may ask why so many Americans picnic on the Fourth of July," noted Steiger.
8. Secretive about personal life-style and home. "An alien won't discuss domestic details or talk about "what it does at night or on weekends," said Steiger.
9. Frequently talks to himself. "A space alien may not be used to speaking as we do, so an alien may practice speaking when it thinks it's alone." Steiger noted.
MICROWAVE ovens and other high-tech gadgets will cause mood swings in space aliens when turned on, says a renowned expert.
10. Displays a change of mood or physical reaction when near certain high-tech hardware.
"An alien may experience a mood change when a microwave oven is turned on," said Steiger.
The experts pointed out that a co-worker would have to display most if not all of these traits before you can positively identify him or her as a space alien.
I disagree. Not voting encourages them even more.
Not voting means that the incumbents never get any feedback, either negative or positive. And that means "business as usual" for the foreseeable future.
WSFAns have enjoyed a number of jokes at the expense of Congress, President Bush and the Federal budget process. And it certainly gives one a pleasant feeling of superiority to know that we can and do balance a budget better than the "great brains" on Capitol Hill. Many fans are content to let their concern with the subject rest there.
However, foolishness with the Federal budget has some very serious real world consequences. Potentially, the Feds could close hospitals, not just museums. Police could be furloughed, not just zookeepers. Whatever your concept of Government is, it could be destroyed if the "great brains" can't govern. That's what we pay them for, and that's what they're not doing.
I suggest that we fans of the future are also citizens of the present. And, as citizens, we owe our government our thoughts as well as our jokes.
Thomas Jefferson remarked that a revolution every 20 years could be a good thing. Thanks to our system of elections, we can cause a peaceful revolution more often than that. On 6 November 1990, one hundred percent of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for election, along with one third of the U.S. Senate. It's time for a republican revolution.
Here are some facts to take into the election booth with you:
-- Since 1980, the revenue of the Federal Government has almost doubled, from $570 pillion to $1170 billion.
-- However, since 1980, Congress has spent, on the average $1.56 for each $1.00 raised in revenue.
-- Since 1980, no Federal agency has actually had its budget reduced when compared to the previous year's spending. When Congressionals speak of "budget cuts", they really mean that the rate of increase over the previous year was smaller than what was proposed.
-- The "first drafts" of the 1991 budget bills have spending increases programmed for all non-defense agencies. The non-defense agencies account for over 70% of the total budget. At a time of alleged fiscal crisis, Congress can only think of one nonessential program: the defense of the United States.
Conclusions: the Federal Government has plenty of money coming in. The problem is Congress spends too much. The problem will not get better without the strongest possible message from the taxpayers. The strongest possible message will come at the ballot box on 6 November.
As Lazarus Long remarked, "The problem with strong drink is that it causes you to shoot at tax collectors, and miss."
My fellow Americans: pick your targets carefully ... and throw the rascals out!