My best mate and his wife are expecting their first sprog
shortly. What's something nice I could get them?
-- Uncle Generous
Scotchguard-coated onesies, a few tonnes of diapers, Preparation
H (for those unsightly under-eye bags from not sleeping for
the first three months), and a pint of the best gin you can
afford. Plus some aged whisky for the new parents.
I've been seeing this woman for a while, and we get along
okay, but last month we had an Andorian Commander on board
and his first officer was the hottest lady I have ever
seen! She's such a firecracker. I can't stop thinking about
her! My girlfriend is kind of quiet and boring in comparison.
I was wondering -- do you think she'd be insulted if I got
some blue body paint and a set of those antennae deely-boppers
and asked her to wear them?
-- Feeling My Way
She might, she might not -- depends on how open-minded and
secure she is. Some people enjoy role-playing. But frankly,
I think you'd be better off dumping the Ice Princess and hunting
down the hot-blooded Andorian woman. I guarantee she'll give
you an exhilarating run for your money. And the antennae will
I'm tired of looking at gray, gray, GRAY. Gray everywhere
I look for years now. I've decided to paint my quarters. I'm
thinking sky blue or maybe pale yellow. What do you suggest?
-- Can't Face Another Gray Morning
Why not invite some friends over for a paintball tournament
instead? Beats paying cr85.50 for a gallon of Ralph Lauren
Dear Shrann Landers:
We're expecting a baby in a few weeks -- our first! I'm very
excited about being a father. But I think my impending parenthood
is weirding out some of our friends without kids. One of my
friends gave us some nice baby blankets, a Kevlar diaper bag
(it's fine, he's just like that -- besides, it protected the
gin), and a beautifully wrapped... tube of Preparation H.
Well, okay, whatever, a gift is a gift and I sent him a nice
thank-you for it. Thing is, he's getting married next year,
and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for an... appropriate
Congratulations on the forthcoming bundle of joy! I think
your practical-minded friend and his bride would appreciate
a service of inexpensive dinner plates, some good white vinegar
(you can use it to clean practically anything -- stained clothing,
pots with burned-on food, gunpowder residue, et cetera), and
a set of barbecue utensils. Plus some top-shelf vodka for
the week after the honeymoon, when all the wedding bills start
to roll in.
Beatles or Stones?
-- Music Lover
Dear Johnny One-Note:
The Cute Beatle vs. animated corpse Keith Richards? Isn't
that kind of a no-brainer?
Last week I had a vision from God, telling me to sell all
my neighbor's worldly goods and use the cash to build a diamond-encrusted
doghouse for my labradoodle, Zippy Gizzardchunks. Will God
be upset if I use diamond DUST on the walls and save the whole
diamonds for the roof where they'll be all sparkly in the
light which comes down from Heaven? My neighbor had kinda
cheap furniture and I couldn't get all that much for his car.
-- St. Francis is a Sissy
Dear Sistine Sister:
I was having drinks with God just yesterday after work, and
She assured me that what She actually told you was
to sell all your neighbor's worldly goods and use the cash
to build a high-end shelter for stray animals and then
name it for your labradoodle. If you'd weed your garden
more regularly, your burning bushes wouldn't mumble like that.
Dear Shrann Landers:
I'm omnipotent. He's a mere human. I'm charming, modest, spontaneous,
and friendly. He's arrogant, aloof, stuffy, and dismissive.
He's also handsome, well-read, intelligent (for a biped),
and loves to explore. He thinks I'm impossible, impulsive,
and immature. My family thinks he's a protozoan with a nice
accent. I've already been yelled at for pestering him, but
it's just so much fun to tease him and watch him try not to
get all flustered in front of his crew! He's never actually
thrown me out, but he's never shown any direct interest either.
Should I forget about him?
-- Lucing for Love in All the Wrong Places
You and Picard aren't fooling anybody...except maybe Picard.
But remember: he's French! A man from the land of musty perfume,
fecund earth, and really ripe cheeses. A bottle of wine, some
grilled garlic snails on toast, a little talk about the aesthetic
properties of the supernova, and he'll be baked brie in your
Does having a child make the father's brains go soft as well
as the mum's? My friend, who has a six-month-old, gave us
10 gallons of vinegar as a wedding gift (along with some very
nice dishes and a grill set).
-- Newly Confused Newlywed
What's the problem? Have them over for fish and chips.
Ever since I lost my left antenna, I haven't felt, well, you
know, "all there." The Mrs. is starting to notice.
I wondered if you had any advice on how to recover from antenna
loss. I know it will grow back fully, but it just doesn't
feel the same.
-- Waggling With One (For Now)
I understand they're doing wonderful things with Viagrantenna.
You should look into it.
The captain keeps asking me to have breakfast with him. He
thinks it's an honor, you know. I really don't want to go.
I find it terribly awkward, and it's difficult to make "small
talk" with him. I feel like whatever I say, he looks
at me as if he thinks I'm 13 years old. I've successfully
dodged dining with him on two occasions, but he just asked
me to join him tomorrow morning. Is there any way I can gracefully
-- Cornered by the Captain
Medical emergencies are your best bet. Find someone sympathetic
in Sickbay who will arrange for you to have a broken bone,
plasma burn, or virulent plague. Then if he's insistent on
joining you in ICU, you can fall asleep or vomit on him without
Dear Shrann Landers:
I accidentally watched a show called "These Are The Voyages"
and ever since I've been alternating vomiting and blindness
with severe depression. Is there any cure for this malady?
The ale isn't helping.
-- Insane in Indy
Dear Tormented Soul:
How do you think ol' One-Eye ended up an antenna short?
My captain gets quite annoyed with the crew if they accidentally
misplace communicators, PADDs, phasers, and the like. He's
paranoid about others getting a hold of our technology, you
see. As a preventative measure, I've been toying with the
following solutions to this problem. They each still need
a little work before they can be presented to the captain:
- I clap twice, and the object self-destructs.
(This currently only works at a distance of 10 meters).
- Attaching a highly elastic bungee cord to
the items of concern. (Not recommended if you have a sensitive
bum. The phase pistol smarts and leaves a nasty imprint.)
- Wearing a little pin attached to your uniform.
When you push the pin, the offending item beeps and reveals
its location. (This one works perfectly, but I haven't found
a beeping sound which I think the captain will approve of.
And I can't decide if the pin should be shaped like a photon
torpedo, a star, Henry Archer's face, or perhaps just some
abstract swooshy thing.)
I need an objective opinion. Which idea sounds
like the best seller to you?
-- Tactical Tinkerer
P.S. I'm still working on a solution for the
stray shuttlepod. I'm going to ask a friend of mine if he
can install the same homing technology we have on some of
our missiles. But I haven't quite worked out how to get the
pod to stop before impacting with the landing bay.
I like the locator pin idea too -- you could use an eyeball
design, or a little targeting bullseye. As far as the response
noise, program everything to shout "Here I am!"
in your own voice. (An added bonus, you can arrange to "lose"
a number of items in the captain's office and have several
friends press their locator pins all at once.) Making things
self-destruct should really be left as a last resort (I'm
talking to you, Kathryn) and only four-year-olds need
their mittens tied to their jackets with string, don't you
think? For the shuttlepod, upholstering the back of the landing
bay with a sufficiently thick layer of Nerf should keep the
Dear Shrann Landers:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
-- Cluck Cluck
Because the Andorian Farming Commission runs from no one!
I attended a formal dinner at the Vulcan Embassy last week.
I'm pretty good with dining etiquette and tableware, but I
was hoping you explain something. Why were there six, count
'em, six knives at each place setting?
-- Cutting Remarks
Dear Ginsu Guest:
The staff at the Embassy is well aware of the propensity of
their ambassadors to make interminable boring speeches, and
thoughtfully provide each diner with ways to cope. Starting
on the right and working in towards the plate, the first knife
is for carving out your eyes so you don't have to watch slide
presentations on grain futures and their impact on agriculture
in some backwater system nobody's ever heard of. The next
one, which looks like a knitting needle, is for puncturing
your eardrums so you can't hear the diplomats droning on about
grazing rights. The third knife (the serrated one) is for
opening your wrists when they start talking about medieval
politics. The fourth knife has a very sharp edge, and that's
for slitting your throat when the monologues get to linguistic
comparisons and sentence diagramming. The fifth is actually
a medium-sized sword for you to fall on if all else fails.
The knife next to your plate is for spreading butter on your
Dear Shrann Landers:
I hope that boa is fake. Children look up to you, and you
shouldn't be promoting the senseless slaughter of helpless
animals for mere decoration.
-- Love Me, Love My Flamingo
Not to worry. They're genuine snipe feathers.
I've just hired an image consultant. I'd been getting reports
that many people think I'm bland, wimpy, and in general just
too nice and ordinary to be a good starship captain. The image
consultant told me I need to do something drastic to make
myself look more authoritative and wise: shave my head, get
scars or pock marks on my face, some intelligent-looking glasses,
that sort of thing. Oh, and she says I definitely need to
lose the goofy grin. But -- you know, it's just not me. And
I think my record should stand on its own and appearances
really shouldn't matter so much. What do you think?
-- But I Like White Bread
Dear Wonder Boy:
Image is nothing. Experience is everything. Spend a few years
getting fighting off homicidal fundamentalist robot clones
and the "bland and wimpy" problem will solve itself.
One way or the other.
I've come down with a language affliction
Which is quite overwhelming my diction.
I speak only in rhyme!
And it's all of the time!
It is causing unspeakable friction.
Do you have any counsel for me
Of a doctor who could set me free?
Or a drug I might take?
For my jaw I will break
If I cannot stop lim'ricking, see.
-- The Girl from Nantucket
My dear girl, why is this alarming?
In my humble view, it's quite charming.
It could be Tourette's
(that's as bad as it gets)
But it's limericks, so who is it harming?
It's not like you stammer or curse,
You're just going from bad to verse.
The best remedy
Is Vulcan poetry --
Logically, your lim'ricks should disperse.
April 8, 2005
June 10, 2005