The WSFA Journal June 1998

The WSFA Journal

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association -- ISSN 0894-5411

Edited by Samuel Lubell

So What Ever Happened to Disclave?
Everything You've Never Wanted to Know About Tax Law
School's Out: It's Test Time
Letter to the Journal
WSFA Haiku
The Voting Game
Motion to Amend WSFA's Governing Documents
Replies to an Invitation to a Scientists' Ball

Ten Top Things to Say When A Friend Asks, "So What Ever Happened to Disclave?"


10.  Arrrrggggghhhhh

9. Yngvi is a louse!

8. Darn, I knew I forgot something!

7.  Umm, what month is this again?

6. Yes, I had a great time what about you?

5. We decided to move it to Baltimore and hold it in August, oh and we changed the name too.

4. There was a party and a picnic, what else did you expect?

3. We're going to hold Disclave 1998 in 1999 to show off our new time travel machine

2.  Disclave will be held at Bucconeer, Peggy Rae won't mind if we shanghai her convention

1. Disclave will be back next year, better than ever!


Everything You've Never Wanted to Know About Tax Law But Were Afraid to Ask

(Note, as always things in <angle brackets> are my comments <and boy! was it tough making this meeting into entertaining reading>)


The May 1st meeting opened with President Lame Duck John saying, "Let's have a meeting now that I've postponed it sufficiently for my purposes. Hello?"  There was no old business.  The treasurer muttered something about having $7,781.78. 

"Trustees?" asked John.  Eric said, "Yes?" "Do you have a report?"  Mike Nelson told people to look at the back page of the April WSFA Journal. Eric then read the backpage.  <At last!  Someone's read the thing!>  John declared himself a member of the Journal fan club by saying "I'm sorry I asked."  John then couldn't remember which "floozy" was his V.P.

Joe commented that "We'll take more nominations from the floor.  There will be a Party at Bill's for Disclave.  He expects to get all the checks in and then expects to go bye-bye.  As Alexis Gilliland put it, Joe will run no more cons forever."

Disclave Next had Nothing to Report.  Disclave 2000 is waiting for DisNext to have something to report.

The Entertainment committee needed to talk with the trustees, but since John came in with the amendment to the constitution, the charades tournament is off.  Joe made a face and said we could stop the amendments.  But actually charades did take place as John stepped down from the chair, Elspeth picked up the gavel, and promptly turned the meeting back to John to announce amendments, instead of running mad with the absolute power of the chair.  John was going to begin to read the whole amendments but Lee, who apparently has gone through this a few times before, motioned to wave the reading.

John then gave a summary of the parts of his amendment he thought might get our support.  He said that he hates the distinction between charter members and other members.  It's a hassle because Disclave is in May and dues in January.  It was set up this way so that we could be a 501c7 nonprofit while still getting money from Disclave by having them be members but not charter members.  So why not become a 501c4?  <Maybe, because only you and Judy knew what one was?>

Fortunately for those of us who didn't study tax law and just plug in numbers into the computer every April 14th, Judy  defined social welfare groups as those organized for the benefit of the community.  A c7 social club is for members.  John said that a C3 are much more educational.  BSFS is one.  You can't deduct money from taxes for donations to c4s.  C4s also can do more lobbying so John's constitution amendments say we can't.

Steve Smith asked, "We've been working hard to be a nonprofit, why not just be a for profit?"  John told him that we'd then have to pay taxes on the money we make.  We took in $10,000 at Disclave.  "But we'd have fewer legal hassles," said Steve.  Elspeth tossed the ball to "Judy, you're our pet tax lawyer."  "You get other tax hassles" said the IRS' representative to WSFA.  Keith asked if we could incorporate in Delaware.  John said it would cost more money.

John then said this constitution would indemnify our officers so if our officers get sued they won't have to put up any money unless they do something wrong.  Suppose we had a Disclave and one of the program items were how to hang people from a sprinkler <to pick an example at random>.  We'd be sued and lose our money.  <And be hung out to dry?>  Right now officers are more at risk.  Members of the club would be only if they pierce the veil by doing something wrong, which would require a cold day in hell.  Officers are most at risk.

Lydia expressed surprise, "No!"  "Yes!" insisted John.  I don't know of any pending claims.  I don't think this is a case of conflict of interest.  Convention chair is an officer so is covered."  Joe asked if this is capped by our assets.  "In practice yes, although can take a lien.  I am talking to insurance in Hartford.  Looking into the price of insurance for officers.  But don't know if we can afford it." Covert pointed out that it came up with the Scottish games.  Insurance doesn't pay for anything but lawyers.  We'd just sign the games over and wish them luck.

John said that it fixes our agent's address.  Erica will be our agent unless Karl objects.  It changes the way we elect trustees.  We will have a big nomination process with the Australian ballot.  First person is trustee, do an Australian ballot again with that person excluded and the top getter will be the second trustee etc. <and the bottom getter becomes a kangaroo, right?>  This is easier to show you than to explain."

Lee disputed the idea of an Australian ballot.  John confessed that it is not the way they do in Australia so it is in quotes.  The usage is understood in our own community <most of whom would be transported to Australia anyway if they were still running it.>  Covert made a motion to change the term Australian to preferential.  This was accepted as friendly <but I noticed that the newspaper and television still use the term Australian to refer to people living down under, perhaps they weren't notified?>

Erica apologized to newcomers <who chose the wrong meeting for their first time.>  Normally business of this type not done more than once every five years.  John then continued saying that the proposed bylaws don't mention Disclave, just say convention.  We did this just in case the only way to get a hotel is to change the name.  We changed rules about the membership card so it is no longer a requirement.  It moves the election of officers to the first meeting in May. 

There was some more legal gobbledygook and Judy and John took some literary liberties.  "It's all very exciting" said John (also a lawyer) who then said "Thank you Judy for doing all the work."

Judy then said, "Another difference is that I am sure when we were selling books we did all the legal paperwork and paid taxes separately, but now we won't have to."  Elspeth said the motion will be voted on next week.  Erica said, "when we also have an election."  John added, "But also my last meeting as President."

Steve Smith said, "I noticed a hole.  We need a person in charge of stuff."  Joe pointed out that art stuff is responsibility of con chair.  Archives are kept by the secretary <somewhere>, administrative stuff is with the president.  John said he'd be happy to do a friendly amendment saying "physical property will be under the jurisdiction of the officer."  Joe said that this should be separate.  John then answered.  "I'll write it up and you could introduce it."

John pointed out that it will cost money to file.  Covert asked if this change in trustee voting arrangements will take place for that election.  John said, "Yes, it will be old business.  The election is after the meeting."  Eric asked "shouldn't there be something about organizing the meetings?"  John said, "It is already in there, Robbers Rules of <dis>Order."

John then took up the chair again.  He directed the secretary to do a WSFA mailing list. 

Erica commented that Karl won't be commuting so much.  He'll be investigating fraud for the IRS <nobody mention anything about those books to him.>  Mike said there will be a Star Trek stamp from the 60s.  Rachel Russell and Eric Baker are the proud parents of Theodore Russell Baker.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:15

Present:  Pres. John Pomeranz, VP Elspeth Kovar Burgess, Sec. Sam Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust Michael Nelson, Trust. Michael Walsh.  Trust. Eric Jablow, '98 Chair Joe Mayhew, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Eric Baker, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Erica and Lydia Ginter, Dan Hoey, Judy Kindell, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Kathi Overton, Rebecca Prather, George Shaner, Steven Smith, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Madeleine Yeh, Doug Houts, Victoria Smith, Marc Gordon, Boots Coleman.


Strange Tales from the Internet:


School's Out:  It's Test Time


These are from test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers by junior high, high school, and college students around the world. It is truly astonishing what weird science our young scholars can create under the pressures of time and grades.


"When you breath, you inspire. When you do not breath, you expire."

"H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water"

"When you smell an odorless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide"

"Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free state"

"Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."

"Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."

"Blood flows down one leg and up the other."

"Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."

"The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is even deader."

"Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."

"A super-saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold."

"Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."

"The body consists of three parts- the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowls, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u."

"The pistol of a flower is its only protections against insects."

"The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to."

"The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."

"A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is."

"Equator: A managerie lion running around the Earth through Africa."

"Germinate: To become a naturalized German."

"Liter: A nest of young puppies."

"Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat."

"Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away."

"Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky." "Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot."

"Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives."

"Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative."

"To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose."

"For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower then the body until the heart stops."

"For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it."

"For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead."

"For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat."

"To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow."

"South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage."

"Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime."

"Lime is a green-tasting rock."

"Some oxygen molecules help fires burn while others help make water, so sometimes it's brother against brother."

"We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on."

"In looking at a drop of water under a microscope, we find there are twice as many H's as O's."

"I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing. "

"Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.

"Thunder is a rich source of loudness."

"A virgin forest is a forest where the hand of man has never set foot."

"The general direction of the Alps is straight up."

"A city purifies its water supply by filtering the water then forcing it through an aviator."

"Most of the houses in France are made of plaster of Paris."

"The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. The head sits on the top and you sit on the bottom."

"The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar."

"Iron was discovered because someone smelt it."

"The word trousers is an uncommon noun because it is singular at the top and plural at the bottom."


Letter to the Journal


            I'm sorry to have to take my e-mail address off the WSFA web page.  While I am happy to receive e-mail direct to me from WSFAns, I do not want to be on any list that is used to send e-mail to everyone in WSFA.

The reason for this is that such e-mail lists tend to devolve from infrequent emergency announcements, to frequent announcements that duplicate what I find out at WSFA meetings, and finally to matters that are not expected to be of interest to everyone on the list but which the sender hopes to be applicable to someone on the list. The ease of sending e-mail to a large list of people means that more time is spent by the people reading such a note than was spent writing it. And the ease of copying such a list of addresses from one e-mail message to another means that one message sent to such a list of addresses begets others.

Those of you who have your e-mail addresses on the WSFA web page will know that it was used for two general announcements this week, and I do not envision that they will cease.  So if you want to send e-mail to everyone in WSFA, please treat me as having no e-mail address.  I do welcome person-to-person communication, and I hope that I may make this easier by listing my e-mail address in the off-line WSFA directory without having it used as a distribution list.


Dan Hoey



WSFA Haiku

by Eric Jablow


Water Sprinkler Floods

Bondage but no Discipline

Cancel All Contracts



WSFA Journal needs

Interesting articles.

Will you now publish?



Blotch of printer's ink

Letters, symbols, and


Knowledge of the world



Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank Lord Almighty I'm Free At Last


The third Friday was called to order at 9:15 by John "Very Lame Duck" Pomeranz.   "We're going to get through this meeting" John promised.  "Any old business?"  "Just the small matter of a constitution change and election" said Sam.  "The format of the election may change" pointed out John.  He then said that this will be his last meeting as chair, "if nominated, I will not serve."  Erica then asked "If served, you will not be eaten?"

The treasurer being absent, Sam said that as of the last meeting there was 7,791.78.  Sam added that there was a list of all official members being passed out and that people are to add their address.  Eric said there will be a trustee's meeting after the WSFA meeting for the election. "Do you remember who the nominees are?"  Trustee Mike Nelson said "I don't even remember who I am."  John announced a new rule, "No trustee drinking before the meeting."  "What about during," said the irrepressible Mike.  "Read the nominees.  Chucky's back."

The entertainment committee, in mourning for Disclave, has organized a month of rain for May.  Disclave Never (Joe) has everyone's refund but 17 people.  He read the names.  "It's costing us $11 a month to keep the account open.  We need to contact these people.  It's bleeding us dry."  Chuck asked, "Do we have addresses?"  Joe said, "We have the address we sent it the check to.  I suggest we close the account if the bank agrees."  Perrianne suggested emailing Bill Jensen to check the names against the Bucky addresses.  John said, "We can afford $33 to keep it open for 90 days."  DisNext and Dis2000 were not here.

"Any old business?" asked John.  On being informed that there was a constitutional amendment, Superlawyer (of the Alliance for Justice) flew into action, surrendering the chair to VP Elspeth and assuming his soon-to-be permanent civilian identity as just another member of the club.  For the benefit of those not here last time, John summarized his amendment <the good parts version>.  He wanted to amend because the IRS says for social clubs your members must pay most of your money.  If we change to a social welfare organization we won't have this problem."

"Can we make a profit?" someone asked. John said that we can never make a profit but we can have a surplus <the difference is left as an exercise for the reader.>  Joe proposed that we call the question and it passed.  Elspeth asked if there were any objections to the motion, Does the membership of WSFA accept the bylaws and amendments to the constitution?  Hearing no objection Elspeth announced the motion carried by acclamation.

John then said, "I am delighted to report that because you didn't read the fine print I now own WSFA."  "Daddy!" yelled the club.  <Now, Dad, about my allowance...>

John then asked if there was any new business.  "You can have the chair back," Elspeth said.

Lee Gilliland pointed out that May has a Fifth Friday.  Erica suggested a picnic BBQ.  Someone said, "we just did one." which was replied with "We're in practice now."  The club accepted and then voted on a time.  Afternoon won.  Bring your own meat.

Judy then walked in.  "You missed it" said John.  "Madam President!" yelled the club.

John thanked Bill Mayhew for hosting and Chuck for bring hamburger.  Perrianne said that Chuck brought ground chuck.  Someone pointed out that the WSFA web page hasn't been updated this year and requested that the event be added.  Erica will coordinate and do drinks and munchies.  Don't forget to bring chairs.

Judy then moved that we allocate $500 to pay for changing to a 501c3 status.  John said that we can continue without paying the money.  Judy pointed out that we are required to file each year.  At some point the IRS database will say we are in error.  Joe said that it would be the best use of $500.  "We just made WSFA legal by changing the constitution."  The motion carried in a strong and manly way with only one objection.  The treasurer will be instructed to pay the IRS by reading the minutes <Yo! Bob! Are you reading this?>. 

John then asked if there were any announcements.  He called on Mike Walsh.  But Sam Lubell interrupted with the usual stuff about submitting your announcements in writing.  "Your last chance and you blew it!"  "Impeach me" offered John.  "No, no, no" said Mike.  "You're president until you get it right."  Perrianne announced her new diet, no grains.  Joe said, "It goes against her grain."  Mike announced that new $20 bills are being printed.  Rumor has it that Al Gore will show up.  "On the bill???"  "No, he's practically the only thing in D.C. that hasn't been on Bill."


Present: Ex-President John Pomeranz, VP Elspeth Kovar Burgess, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Ex-Trust. Michael Nelson, Trust. Michael Walsh, Ex-Trust. Eric Jablow, '98 Chair Joe Mayhew, 2000 Chair Covert Beach.  Dan Burgess, Chris Callahan, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Perrianne Lurie, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Candy Myers, Barry and Judy and Meridel Newton, , Evan Phillips, Dick Roepke, George Shaner, Steven Smith, William Squire, Michael Taylor, Kit Mason, Doug Houts, Meredith Weigner, Wayne Dionne.


The Voting Game


The election was opened with the election chant, "Election meeting has begun/No more talking, no more fun."

For the office of president, trustees had selected Charles Divine.  Nominated from the floor were Elspeth Burgess and Judy Kindell "I suppose". 

In the first round  Judy 11, Elspeth 10, Chuck 4.  In the second round Judy 14, Elspeth 11.  Congratulations Elspeth.  Judy is the new president.

For the office of vice-president the trustees nominated Elspeth Kovar Burgess.  Charles Divine was nominated from the floor.  Elspeth won the election.

For the office of Secretary, the trustees nominated Samuel Lubell. For some strange reason <he types at 1 A.M.> no one wanted to be nominated from the floor.  Sam was acclaimed.

For the office of Treasurer, the trustees nominated Robert MacIntosh.  He was acclaimed.

For the offices of Trustees, the trustees nominated Mike Walsh, Eric Jablow, and Steve Smith.  John Pomeranz <the living embodiment of the constitution> said if more than three nominations, we still vote on all of them at once.  John was nominated from the floor but declined.  Chuck Divine was nominated and accepted.  The election took place and Chuck, Mike, and Steve won.  Eric was thanked for his service as trustee.

The New WSFA Lineup

President Judy Kindell

VP Elspeth Kovar Burgess

Secretary Samuel Lubell

Treasurer Bob MacIntosh

Trustees Chuck Divine, Michael Walsh, and Steve Smith

Disclave 1999 Sam Pierce

Disclave 2000 Covert Beach




MAY 1, 1998

MOVED: That the Washington Science Fiction Association adopt the attached proposed Articles of Amendment and amended Bylaws.

The following Members of the Washington Science Fiction Association sign their names in support of this Motion:




FIRST: The Articles of Incorporation of the Washington Science Fiction Association, Inc., a Maryland corporation (the Corporation) are hereby amended by:

(A) Deleting the Third Article in its entirety and adding a new Third Article to read as follows:

THIRD: Said corporation is organized exclusively to promote social welfare under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, by promoting knowledge of and interest in the science fiction genre in all its forms, including (but not limited to) literature, art, theater, film and television, sponsoring and promoting events and conventions to increase interest in and awareness of science fiction, and specifically planning, organizing, and conducting an annual science fiction convention in the Washington, DC area.

(B) Deleting the Fourth Article in its entirety and adding a new Fourth Article to read as follows:

FOURTH: The corporation shall be non stock and no part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article Third hereof. The corporation shall not engage in lobbying or any form of legislative or electoral advocacy. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

(C) Deleting the Seventh Article in its entirety and adding new Seventh and Eighth Articles to read as follows:

SEVENTH: Upon the dissolution of the corporation, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

EIGHTH: The post office address of the principal office of the Corporation in the State of Maryland is Erica Ginter. The name and post office of the resident agent in the State of Maryland is [censored], Beltsville, MD 20705. Said resident is a citizen of the State of Maryland and actually resides there.

SECOND: The amendments to the Articles of Incorporation of the Corporation as set forth above have been duly advised by the Board of Directors and approved by the Members of the Corporation as required by law.

THIRD: The undersigned President acknowledges these Articles of Amendment to be the corporate act of the Corporation as to all matters or facts required to be verified under oath, the undersigned President acknowledges that to the best of his knowledge, information and belief, these matters and facts are true in all material respects and that this statement is made under the penalties for perjury.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Corporation has caused these Articles to be signed in its name and on its behalf by its President and attested to by its Secretary on this ____ day of ______ , 1998.


By: __________________________
    John Pomeranz, President


Samuel Lubell, Secretary




Ampere was worried he wasn't current.

Audubon said he'd have to wing it.

Boyle said he was under too much pressure.

Darwin waited to see what evolved.

Descartes said he'd think about it.

Dr Jekyll declined-he hadn't been feeling himself lately.

Edison thought it would be illuminating.

Einstein thought it would be relatively easy to attend.

Gauss was asked to attend because of his magnetic personality.

Hawking tried to string enough time together to make space in his schedule.

Heisenberg was uncertain that he could make it.

Hertz said in the future he planned to attend with greater frequency.

Mendel said he'd put some things together and see what came out.

Morse's reply:  "I'll be there on the dot.  Can't stop now, must dash."

Newton planned to drop in.

Ohm resisted the idea.

Pavlov was drooling at the thought.

Pierre and Marie Curie were radiating enthusiasm.

Schrodinger had to take his cat to the vet, or did he?

Stephenson thought the whole idea was loco.

Volta was electrified, and Archimedes buoyant at the thought.

Watt reckoned it would be a good way to let off steam.

Wilbur Wright accepted, provided he and Orville could get a flight.