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Dear Shrannie

Advice from
Shrann Landers

Dear Shrannie:
My best mate and his wife are expecting their first sprog shortly. What's something nice I could get them?
-- Uncle Generous

Dear Moneybags:
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.

Dear Shrann:
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

Dear Feelings:
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 be real.

Dear Shrannie:
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

Dear Monochrome:
Why not invite some friends over for a paintball tournament instead? Beats paying cr85.50 for a gallon of Ralph Lauren Sphagnum Mold.

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 wedding present?
-- Daddy-to-Be

Dear Pop:
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.

Dear Shrann:
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?

Dear Shrannie:
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

Dear Q:
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 hands.

Dear Shrannie:
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

Dear Snickpiddled:
What's the problem? Have them over for fish and chips.

Dear Shrannie:
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)

Dear One-Eye:
I understand they're doing wonderful things with Viagrantenna. You should look into it.

Dear Shrannie:
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 decline?
-- Cornered by the Captain

Dear Rat:
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 guilt.

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?

Dear Shrannie:
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.

Dear Tinkertoy:
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 damage down.

Dear Shrann Landers:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
-- Cluck Cluck

Dear Fricassee:
Because the Andorian Farming Commission runs from no one!

Dear Shrannie:
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 bread.

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

Dear Pinkeye:
Not to worry. They're genuine snipe feathers.

Dear Shrannie:
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.

Dear Shrann:
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

Dear Nan:
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.

Dear Shrannie, April 8, 2005

Dear Shrannie, June 10, 2005

Co-writers: Tripper, Archer4Trip