Meeting # 3986, January 02, 2014 PDF Print E-mail

Menace of the LASFS

Meeting # 3986, January 02, 2014

Eylat Poliner presiding

Karl Lembke, Scribe

Patron Saints Robbie Bourget, Elayne Pelz, Marty Cantor

(Portions read at the meeting are highlighted like this.)

President Eylat Poliner called meeting #3986 to order at fifteen dozen seconds after 8.

The Menace were read. Milt Stevens bid $1 to call the Menace “A quarter pounder across the bow”.

We have special orders of business. Chris Johnston announced the passing of Joseph Ruskin.

He played a number of bad guys, including Galt in Star Trek Classic. “Who is Galt, John?” asked the Scribe.

Committee Reports

Michelle Pincus announced a historical moment taking place last Friday, honoring the 75th anniversary of L. Ron Hubbard’s first SF publication. She showed off the LASFS banner ASI made for us.

Patron Saints

Dan Alderson

Joe Zeff said Dan was among other things an absolute genius computer programmer, and as far as he knows, JPL still uses his software.  

Matthew Tepper: the concept of sending sending space craft around various planets in the slingshot effect may not have been his, but he worked out the engineering.

Jerry Pournelle: Dan wrote the code to allow a low-thrust trajectory program that would let you see what you could do with slingshot effects.  Dan’s low thrust trajectory program is still used in part for flight control. It’s very hard to simulate low thrust trajectories.  He also developed the Alderson Drive in the Mote in God’s Eye.  That was done in Jerry’s attempt to have battles in space.  Naval battles tend to happen in only a few points where ships tend to come together.  Jerry needed choke points in which interstellar battles could take place.

Matthew Tepper continued with: Dan’s personality -- he was one of the most charming depressed people Matthew’s ever known.  He put on a lively facade because he so enjoyed the company of his friends.  It’s tragic that he wasn’t happier than he was.  He had lots of charm, genius, and wit. He is missed.

CLJII: Dan was a great collector. He had a trailer full of Golden Age comic books.  He had a complete collection of Fawcett superhero books and nearly complete collection of Fawcett funny animals.  Later, Dan sold his collection to Harlan Ellison.  Dan’s life changed precipitously when his house caught fire. The fire started next to a file cabinet that housed his copy of Wiz Comics #2, the most rare early Captain Marvel comic.  Fortunately, the contents got warm, but were not damaged.

Dan is a comic book character, so he’s not dead, he’s merely in limbo.

Scratch Galloway notes Dan was a gentle, sane genius.  He could take an idea and then explain how it would work if it would work. Scratch has enjoyed the engineering feats Larry and Jerry borrowed from Dan.

Dan Alderson was given three cheers and a new voting procedure

Joe Zeff

Tom Safer says he’s appreciated how Joe comes to his programs and has good things to say, and good advice.

Christian: Joe was an incredible friend of Dan, and near the end made sure Dan had access to the club.  He would bring Dan to the club and back. This allowed him to continue participating until near the end.

Scratch: Both he and Zeff are vietnam vets.  Joe was deep water navy, Scratch was on a much smaller thing. When Dan became blind, Zeff took him in to work and acted as hands and eyes for him. This is something that takes lots of hours and native intelligence.

Marcia Minsky: Yes, Joe did become Dan’s seeing eye person, reading code to Dan so he could analyze it.  After Dan died, Marcia needed a place to crash, and Joe opened the house to her.  She was there a year or so before she was able to get her own place.  “I’ve known him his entire life, and changed his diapers.  He’s a great guy all around.”

Christian: When Joe had a job handling tech support, Joe found an outlet for his frustration by relating to the club the funnier stories of his dealings with callers. One thing Joe was a pioneer in was self-publishing a collection of his stories.

Matthew felt honored that Joe liked the term Matthew came up with for these reports -- “Computer Users Too Stupid To Live”.  Joe has served as scribe and vice president. He also served on the BOD for a time.

Jerry Pournelle: If you need a one-word description of Joe Zeff, it would be “reliable”.  He has the ability to suffer fools, if not gladly, but at least while not letting them know he was doing that. This si something Jerry doesn’t do, and not many do.

Tom Safer is reminded of the short time he spent in tech support and heard crazy comments. The one he remembers to this day was “is it plugged in?”  No one can be that stupid.  Well, yes, someone can.

Eylat Poliner: had the pleasure of having Joe over for dinner one time, and we decided to play Cards Against Humanity.  We played for several hours. Never seen Joe blush or laugh that way before. There is a very pleasant and enjoyable side to him and she hopes to see more of that.

Marcia Minsky: a lot of you know Joe as The Guy With The Sideburns.  That nickname came about because Christian was doing Scribe duties, and Christian didn’t know Joe by name.  

Joe Zeff was given three cheers and a no 2 bid.

Registrar Michelle was summoned.  

We have a guest.  Ellery Sorkin, fan name Cellery. Friday, Tony Martinez, and John Perry.

We had an auction.

Tom Safer announced tonight’s program, the Dr Who 2008 Christmas Special, with David Tennant and David Morrissey from The Walking Dead.

Charles Lee Jackson rose to announce:

April 26-27 in honor of our 4000th meeting we have a mini con. We probably have Tim Powers and David Gerrold, Larry Niven, Phil Proctor, and others in attendance. There will be speakers, panels, videos, fun and frolic. If you join tonight, membership is $20.  Next week, it goes up to $25.

TSPC presents Hansel and Gretel, the opera by Humperdinck

Cosplay Sewing Circle is Jan 4, and it’s a dues-paying event.

1/9 Eric Hoffman presents

1/16 Auction

1/23 New business, Amend SR 4 regarding children’s membership and dues.

1/30 Second vote on New Business

2/9 LASFS Soup-er bowl

April 10, 2014 is meeting 4000 of the LASFS. David Gerrold will preside.

CLJII announced: April 26 and 27, LA4000 takes place at the LASFS. We’ll have panels, guest speakers, rerfreshments, and more! Noon until 8 PM each day.

Between now and then, on the 4th sunday of February, FWEMS shows films from 1939.  We will have an assortment of films, not including Wizard of Oz and

Sundance announced LASFS playstadium 1/25, 11 AM until it ends. Bring food, potluck style.

Tom Safer announced January TSPC on the 18th, Hansel and Gretel, by Englebert Humperdinck, preceded by Bewitched Bunny.

Frank Waller announced, “If you’re parked on Aetna, move your car or it will be moved for you.”  And if you are headed toward the 5 or the 118 freeways, there is a lumberyard fire. Have your cameras ready.

David Okamura had a science report.  2014 is the Centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeion.  Flocks used to blacken the skies. It took 50 years of intense hunting and environment depletion to do them in.  They’re looking in to the possibility of cloning the bird.

Scientists have extracted the entire genome of a Neanderthal. Now what?

Time-bound Announcements



Nick Smith read the Children’s trilogy by Catherine Valente, Advanced Oz. Three are out, and there’s a fourth in the works. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making is the first book.

Fannish Committee Reports:



David Okamura had just printed out a picture of Star Trek actors, a montage of every single character, object, or location appearing in the original series.  Right in the center of the picture is the actor.

Eylat reported  on Bill Ellern.  Care is covered during the recovery from surgery.  Several have helped clean up his house, and major parts are passable. More news will be posted on Facebook.

Tom Safer moved for adjournment.

We adjourned at  9:03 PM.
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