Welcome to "One Trek Mind," your new look at the lighter side of being a Star Trek enthusiast. What you'll find in this weekly (mostly) column are ruminations and lists on topics both esoteric and mainstream. With luck, they will confirm your most closely held beliefs and enrage you with their wrongheadedness – hopefully at the same time. I invite you to both cheer and chastise me in the comments below; just don't be shocked if I throw my two cents back. We want this to be a fun space where fans can hang out, pop open a bottle of Romulan Ale and maybe roast a few sacred cows. Today, in column #2, we endeavor to help you celebrate Thanksgiving, Trek-style.
We Star Trek fans may celebrate the Talaxian holiday of Prixin of exclaim “Peldor joi!” during the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, but the fact remains that most of our family and friends are Terran. This means it is time, once again, for Thanksgiving.
An afternoon and evening devoted to a group consumption of massive amounts of food (please, pray there are no Kreetassans in sight), the holiday has its roots in the story of cooperation between Pilgrims and American Indians. Oh, if only the colonists of Cestus III or Deneva could have been treated to turkey and stuffing instead of an assault by the Gorn or those pesky Neural Parasites!
Despite these Earth-bound origins, here are some tips to help you have a Trek-themed Thanksgiving.
What to wear?
That obnoxious rich cousin from Cleveland coming this year? Why not dress to impress? Dress uniforms are in order, and we say go for broke with the man-skirts worn by officers of the Enterprise-D in the early seasons of The Next Generation. This sartorial flourish makes a striking statement, and the deep-red color comes in really handy should you get clumsy with the cranberry sauce.
How to decorate?
Sure, you could go with anthropomorphized turkeys or bountiful horns o' plenty, but why not festoon your dining area with the spore-spitting pod plants of Omicron Ceti III? These botanical wonders seen in the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise" don't just make the room say "rich harvest," they'll also soak up all those harmful berthold rays. Yes, they may stultify your emotional growth and lull you into a sense of complacency, but isn't that what the holidays are all about?
What music to play?
You want something in the background that is innocuous and agreeable. This is a time for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. A good place to start would be the Brandenberg Concertos, particularly the first movement of the third concerto. We know of a lovely (and ultimately heartbreaking) version performed on Ressikan Flute and Matalan II Piano from the TNG episode “Lessons.”
So your mother-in-law is a member of the John Birch Society and your uncle came over direct from the local Occupy Wall Street protest. How do you get through the meal without reliving the Battle of Wolf 359? Look to our heroes for inspiration. Captain Kirk was able to maintain civility between the piggish Tellarite Gav and snooty-pants Ambassador Sarek with a repeated reminder that "there will be order." Should you elect yourself to be the diplomat, we suggest maintaining an air of neutrality, but also keep a sharp eye open for anyone with blue skin or antennae.
Restrict the booze
An additional suggestion for maintaining the peace is to be mindful of how much of any synthehol-like substances are consumed. Yes, under the right circumstances a hearty quaffing of bloodwine can lead to rousing, joyous songs of how Kahless vanquished Molor along the River Skral, but it can just as often lead to some hurt feelings. Should you anticipate the unholstering of loose tongues set to the highest setting, we suggest you take a cue from Captain Janeway and order up some… coffee.
A Dessert With Feeling
If you slaved away on cooking the meal the last thing you want to do is worry about dessert. Luckily, the galaxy has something everyone can enjoy: chocolate. Counselor Troi swore by it, and she's in touch with everyone's feelings. Works for me.
After Dinner Entertainments
When I was a kid I can't recall a family gathering that didn't involve a deck of cards when the meal was done. I also remember my grandfather and uncles beating the pants off me year after year. Why not fight back this time with a Trek-centric game of Fizzbin? By the time you are finished explaining the rules everyone else will have forfeited and you'll be the winner by default!
Take In A Movie
Hollywood's holiday season is now officially in full swing, so do like Trip Tucker would and organize a movie night. You can fire up an old monster movie, or, if you are lucky enough to keep a Bird of Prey in your garage, take a slingshot around the sun and head back to 1986. When you get there (or is it when you get THEN?) head to the multiplex for the big release of Thanksgiving weekend, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. You may just spy a young Jordan Hoffman about to take the leap from amateur Star Trek fan to full-fledged enthusiast.
Jordan Hoffman was the movies editor at UGO.com for more than four years. He has produced two independent films (look 'em up!) and is a member of the New York Film Critics Online. In 2005, he was named the Ultimate Film Fanatic of the NorthEast by IFC. Jordan fell in love with Star Trek through TOS reruns just as TNG was getting ready to launch. On his blog, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. He has a funny story about the one time he met Leonard Nimoy.