Sobering and trivial reflections on a 25th anniversary

Every five years in March, I seem to write this same article reflecting on the history of Jammer’s Reviews and/or the unstoppable passage of time. This marks the fifth of those five-year articles. That I’ve done this website for 25 years and am still doing it is something worth noting. I will continue to take note every five years (as long as I and my website are still here), because they provide markers for myself even if no one else cares. I looked back at some of those previous anniversary articles and grinned while taking the trip down memory lane.

But it feels different this time, because as I check in today, the COVID-19 crisis continues to escalate in the United States and across the world. Had I written this even three weeks ago as I’d originally planned, I might not have mentioned the coronavirus at all. Yes, it was definitely already happening and was a serious concern, but it was still a slow march seemingly far away, something to keep an eye on but not all-consuming. Things have escalated quickly.

Right now this crisis has not personally touched me or my family in a serious way (no one I know has gotten sick yet, but that day is probably coming), other than the mild inconvenience of having to stay home. I’ve been working from home, and my kids’ schools have been closed, for two-and-a-half weeks now, although it feels longer. I’ll just say that if you can stay in your house, you should do it to do your tiny, easy part in slowing down the spread of this thing as much as you possibly can. Where you live might not look like New York City right now, but I fear that fate may be coming for all of us, to one degree or another.

This is frightening when you look at what’s happening. The more I think about it, the more scary it is. I try to push it out of my mind. My wife is one of those front-line healthcare workers they keep talking about on the news. As of right now, the hospital where she works has announced no confirmed cases, but that could change at any moment. It’s stressful and real, and it feels like a disturbing calm before a very certain storm. Everyone talks about working from home, and for those of us who can, it’s a great option. Trying to do my day job while also parenting two young kids while my wife goes to work — that’s not practically conducive for my idea of being a good parent or employee, but if that’s all the sacrifice I have to make to help keep my family safe, I will consider myself lucky.

I just wish my entire family could hole up in the house and wait this out. Three of us can, for which I should be grateful, but one of us can’t. There are countless people who simply can’t do that, and those people and their families are subject to what feels like a daily roll of the dice, despite all the attempted precautions. Not only the healthcare workers, but everyone who works in the operation of an essential service, of which there are countless. (People who don’t seem to get enough attention in all this: grocery store employees. We all need to eat, and the people working in grocery stores are exposed to an insane number of people every single day, many of whom are probably not practicing the safe practices that are going to mitigate the infection risks.) I wonder what actual percentage of people working are actually working from home. I doubt it’s as high as we need it to be to slow this down enough.

My hope is that most of us can look back in a year or so and be glad that it’s over, and have been able to have long ago moved on with our lives. My fear is that there will be far too much lasting damage experienced in our families and communities because of a death toll that will touch far too many of us in an immediate way. (That’s setting aside for the moment the economic damage, which will be severe.) I suppose we should take some hope from the numbers, which indicate the large majority of us will be fine even if we end up getting infected. But a large majority of us is not all of us, and yesterday the federal government announced that a “good” outcome in the U.S. would be if we could keep the deaths “down” to about 100,000 or 200,000.

That is a chilling figure, especially if it’s very possible that number will be much higher. This is scary stuff, and reflecting on the anniversary of a hobby website feels trivial amid what’s going on right now. Going back and reading this article in a year, after we have a full picture of the outcome, will be … well, I don’t know what it will be, since that reflection will be framed by something that’s currently unknown. We are truly a moment in time, uncertain what the future is. I suppose that’s always the case, even when not staring down the barrel of an unfolding crisis.

The flip side of the coin is that even if those of us who can remain in our homes for the duration of this do so, we can’t and shouldn’t shut down our lives. We continue to work from home, we continue to post articles to our websites or social media, and we continue to observe our silly milestones. Life goes on for most of us, even amid a bunker mentality, and so we try to maintain the normalcy we can.

So on that note, let me tell a trivial little story.

Rewind: Fall 1992

I’d had my driver’s license for maybe six months. In those days, very few people were on the internet, there was no such thing as social media, and entertaining yourselves as teenagers meant being with your friends and driving somewhere. Sometimes that meant driving with no destination in mind — simply driving around as its own form of entertainment. We had cars (often borrowed from our parents) and time to kill, and in not living in a major city, simply exploring pockets of our town or nearby towns had an appeal when there was nothing else hugely interesting to do.

Cell phones existed (as big, blocky things), but most people did not own them, and certainly most teenagers didn’t, and definitely we didn’t. I had a small, core group of a few friends, with some other people who would rotate in and out of the core group. We would frequently go “country roading,” which meant driving on Old Route 66 a few miles north or south of town before turning off and then just seeing where the county roads, surrounded by unending miles of corn and soybean fields, would take us. Where would they connect? Where would we end up? Back at a main highway? Lost in some rural area? (Getting lost, even without GPS, was pretty hard, because the road system was a simple grid, with intersections roughly every mile.) Would we end up unexpectedly driving into some small nearby town where we could stop and get something to drink? Riveting questions, these were.

We did this in either one car or a few, depending on how many of us were together. If there were four of us, we might pile into one car, or head out in two cars, with two of us in each car, and one car following the other, sometimes with no knowledge of where the lead car was taking us. This sometimes led to pranks, where the driver of the lead car would at first let the driver of the following car believe he was going one place, and then make a sudden turn in the opposite direction, prompting the following car to wonder what had changed. Expect the unexpected, or something.

One day, we decided to incorporate CB radios into this activity. CB radios were inexpensive, had a pretty good range, and using them was free. We’d pick a channel to have our back-and-forth, set them on our radios, and then head out in our two or three cars. Of course, you don’t use your real names on CB radios (anyone can hear your conversations); rather, you use CB handles. I remember one of my friends went by “Floor Tile,” because one of those words incorporated part of his last name. I lamely decided to incorporate part of my name as well, and went by “Jam Man.”

I hated it the instant I picked it.

A few days after picking my initial handle, we decided to go out driving with the CB radios again. I decided a do-over was in order regarding my terrible name. After a few seconds of consideration, I settled on “Jammer.” That was better. I guess.

We went out driving with the radios maybe a handful of times. We quickly lost interest, or gave it up as stupid. This was all within probably a few weeks or months, if memory serves, which it may not. Even without the CB radios we continued to drive around as an activity. (I’m reminded of what the Dude does for fun: “Bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.” We did the second of those things. Not so much the first and never the third.) This adventurous driving did eventually result in an incident in the spring of 1993. But that warrants its own story that I’ll tell some other time.

In the fall of 1994 when I went to college I had my own internet connection and student account, and discovered the internet community of Star Trek reviewers and commenters. I started posting my reviews on Usenet, initially under the subject title “Epsicokhan’s Reviews.” That was prosaic and cumbersome, albeit not as prosaic as the title Star Trek: Picard. Within a few months I decided to repurpose the short-lived unofficial CB handle, and started posting my reviews as “Jammer’s Reviews,” which had a much better ring to it. You know the rest.

So now, after more than 25 years, I’ve revealed my origin story and you know where “Jammer” actually came from. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone.

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63 comments on this post

Occuprice
Monday, March 30, 2020, 6:11 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you for all the years of reviews, Jammer! And an especially delightful “trivial little story”– much appreciated as a way to break up the too real and serious news.

Booming
Monday, March 30, 2020, 6:24 pm (UTC -5)

That is a little sad. 🙁 All the best to you and your family. In Germany we press thumbs for luck. *Pressing*

And thank you that you showed us and the producers of STP how to do a good flashback 🙂

Dave in MN
Monday, March 30, 2020, 6:48 pm (UTC -5)

@ Booming

The flashback comment made me laugh.

@ Jammer

Thanks for doing what you do, sir.

@ Everyone

Stay safe and healthy!!!

Trent
Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:14 pm (UTC -5)

If not for “The Big Lebowski” reference, this would be the saddest thing ever written on this website. He opens with his fears of mass death, pandemics and the vulnerability of his kids and family, and ends with his birth as the young, strapping Jammer.

It’s like watching the ending of “Stand By Me” while listening to Camus and Sartre give a lecture on existentialism.

aerdna
Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:41 pm (UTC -5)

Here in Germany I am surviving the isolation (re-)watching all of Star Trek chronologically with my partner (we are watching now DS9 Season 4 and Voyager Season 2). After each episode I (re-)read your review and agree with you 9 times out of 10. I was never so thankful for your work as I am now. Stay safe and healthy, you and your family (especially your wife!)!

Luiz Castanheira
Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:51 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you man for such great memories…

From a fellow Niner & Homicider…

I cant think in one of these shows without thinking in you!

Congrats from Brazil!!!

centianon
Monday, March 30, 2020, 8:40 pm (UTC -5)

As one of those grocery store workers you gave a shout out to it’s much appreciated. Holding onto hope that we weather the storm better than my own expectations, even if experience teaches me to expect less so.

Anyways, I only started reading through your lovely (and extensive) collection of reviews about 4ish years ago? Either way, good lord it’s been fun to see a lot of your input on so many episodes of Trek, Orville, and the like – even if I occasionally disagree. Still, there’s a whole bunch of insight and well thought out critique, and its certainly expanded my horizons some on how to analyze and appreciate the best parts of these TV series (and movies). So please do keep on writing your reviews, they’re certainly being read!

Much thanks from Texas!

John Witte
Monday, March 30, 2020, 9:29 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, my thoughts and prayers go out to your wife during this crisis.

As someone who has followed your website for nearly all of your 25 years, I can say that it’s been a pleasure frequenting your website and reading your reviews. As someone who is a father and a husband now, I understand more than ever that time is such a precious commodity and there is so little of it. The fact that you are willing now to share a piece of that precious commodity to continue doing this has not gone unnoticed by me. And I thank you for it.

Here’s hoping you and your family stay safe.

James White
Monday, March 30, 2020, 11:18 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, knock off the “this is scary!!” part. 3-4x the people have this and are showing mild to no symptoms. The mortality rate will be 0.3% or less. The real issue is how we, as Americans, will draw the line between freedom and order the next time this happens. With actual data, not bullshit panicking

Matthew Martin
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 12:08 am (UTC -5)

Been around for a good decade, reading and loving your reviews.

Without you, I never would have given Battlestar Galactica a shot. Thank you for being a voice to fellow Trek fans!

Chris
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 12:49 am (UTC -5)

Jammer, I am in the exact same boat as you. Two small children at home, no school, I work from home now and my wife is an ICU nurse. No cases at her hospital yet either, and the waiting is simply the worst part. While I am happy that we have no known exposure and my family is healthy, we know it is coming sooner or later and the stress of her going to work will be great. We too try to keep perspective and realize how lucky we are to have stable work, good health, steady paychecks, and a backyard to run around outdoors in. What you said resonated with me right now.

Anyway, stay safe, and know that I appreciate your website, especially while stuck in my house for an extended period. Thank you, and thank your wife for what she does too.

Mal
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 3:17 am (UTC -5)

We love you Jam Man!

Hope you, your wife & kids emerge from all this unscathed. In the olden days these websites used to have counters. I wonder how many thousands of people your site is keeping sane during this lockdown??

5 more years! 5 more years!

Booming
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 3:46 am (UTC -5)

@ James White
What you are saying is very likely incorrect. I find irresponsible. The only numbers we have are are now at 4.8% mortality rate, everything else are just estimates. South Korea because of very extensive testing is a good indicator for the actual numbers and there it is 1.65%. Credible estimates put the mortality rate between 1,5% and 1%. The mortality rate isn’t the problem, though. It is the hospitalization rate which is around 20% and a third of that needs intensive care. In Germany we have fairly extensive capacities to handle a spike in intensive care cases. The US does not. The problem is that the “normal” intensive care cases don’t go down. In northern Italy now for almost two weeks they have to let many people die because there are no intensive care capacities. So while the mortality rate for the corona virus may be around 1,5% to 1% that doesn’t include all the people who don’t have corona but still die because there is no place in intensive care.

And to clarify “mild” symptoms means anything between a rough cold and pneumonia. The difference to the non mild cases is that the serious cases need constant life support, everything below constant life support is a mild case.

John Harmon
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 4:00 am (UTC -5)

Congrats on 25 years. Thank you for the reviews. It honestly looks forward to reading them more than I do watching new episodes of Star Trek these days. No matter what, they’re always entertaining and insightful and frequently made me look at episodes of shows I love in ways I hadn’t considered. The Internet just wouldn’t be the same without you Jammer. Stay safe.

Bradley Hinds
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 6:34 am (UTC -5)

My deepest gratitude to you, Jammer. You’ve been one of the greatest contributors to the Trek fandom. 25 years is an astonishing amount of time – I firmly believe that you’re an important part of Trek history now. I hope you and all your loved ones stay well during this awful period and I hope you continue to create a thoughtful space where we can all share our thoughts on Trek for a long time to come.

Edmund
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 8:17 am (UTC -5)

I really enjoyed your Jammer origin story. Thanks for the insight!!

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 9:25 am (UTC -5)

@Booming, @James White

Why can’t we be concerned about of both things?

On the one hand, even a mortality rate as low as 0.3% is serious business. It’s not the apocalypse, but it’s still very *very* bad. You do the math: How much is 0.3% of the US population?

On the other hand, fear and panic never solved anything. The media outlets all over the world are having a field day with this, and many people of power are taking advantage of this crisis to further their own ends (and are really hoping that none of us will notice). What’s even more alarming, is how quickly this panic is causing people to meekly submit to the will of these powerful people.

So yes, both concerns are very real.

The only difference is that the pandemic, regardless of how awful it gets, will end one day. The collateral damage done by powerful people being dickheads, on the other hand, might stay with us forever.

So please, people, stay alert. Use your common sense. Keep thinking with your own brains, and don’t let the worldwide panic turn you insane. This virus is serious business, and this precisely why we should all strive to remain as sane and as cool-headed as possible.

Chris
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 9:35 am (UTC -5)

@Booming – A very good response, thank you for that.

@James White – Regardless of the mortality rate, the fact is that a huge amount of people get very very sick, even if they do eventually recover. Right now, 14% of NYC police officers are out sick with COVID. That one out of every 7. And that number will go up, given the very long recovery times. EMTs, nurses, and doctors are facing similar crises in their ranks. The whole goal of society shutting down the way it has is to try and ensure that we can keep certain vital sectors (like police, food supply, and medical workers) from total collapse while we slow (not stop) the spread. It will also save lives, but arguably that isn’t even the point.

If you don’t trust American media to not exaggerate and be sensationalist (and I don’t entirely blame you for that), then I encourage you to use google translate on some Italian media or Spanish media. The full scope of the problem is hard to grasp.

Booming
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:38 am (UTC -5)

@Omicron
My problem is that James made a recommendation based on speculation. And people in power always try to use situations, this is no different. In Germany for example the government often pushes through shitty legislation during Football world cup or Europe Cup.

Also it may be different in the USA which often appears to react very emotional to things and frames everything in war terms (everything is a war in the USA) but here in Germany nobody is panicking and that goes for most of Europe. People are concerned, that’s all. People panic when they are desperate and in a first world country there is really not much reason for that. In a third rate country the mortality rate will be far higher.

J Ryan
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 1:11 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, loved the origin story.

Don’t think for a minute your reviews and website are trivial, especially now in the situation we find ourselves. I became a Star Trek fan in the 70’s watching TOS in syndication reruns (40+ years ago), and your thoughtful, well-written reviews have become an integral part of my ongoing Trek relationship. You keep it positive, insightful, and quite often humorous. I truly appreciate all the time and effort you put into Jammers Reviews.

And as I work from home in quarantine 50 miles from Detroit (the next big Covid hot spot) I look forward to your review on the Picard finale. You’re keeping us sane out here, buddy.

Keep it up, stay safe, prayers for your wife and family’s health, and Happy 25th.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 1:43 pm (UTC -5)

@Booming
“My problem is that James made a recommendation based on speculation. And people in power always try to use situations, this is no different.”

Oh, it *is* different. At the very least, what’s happening now has no precedence in in the past half-century.

But I don’t want to bog down Jammer’s anniversary post with another argument. There’s little point in “arguing” about this anyway, because you could see what I’m talking about for yourself if you just look around attentively.

gfox
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 1:44 pm (UTC -5)

Excellent origin story to the blog name we all know and love. And MTE to J Ryan’s above comments on triviality or lack thereof. What the hospital and the grocery store do for our body, our hobbies and interests and pastimes do for our minds.

Watching Star Trek Picard season 1 with my wife (who is still having to go in to the office to work for the city) during this pandemic has been a a welcome distraction for the mind, a relief, and a reminder that this too shall pass and we’ll be dealing with way different issues by 2399. Thanks for all that you do, Jammer, and congratulations on 25 years of your website, an epic total!

Sven
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 2:35 pm (UTC -5)

Thanks (again) for the all the time you have spent writing these countless reviews. It’s one of my go to places about Star Trek, but I appreciated the BSG reviews as well.

As for covid-19: we’re nearing the peak here in Belgium (we hope) and though no one in my immediate circle of friends or family have gotten sick, I already know of one person I remotely know from work who is in ICU (induced coma) and of the grandma of a colleague that has sadly died. It’s at these moments that I realize that we’re still a long time away from medical tricorders and Beverly Crusher’s miracle hyposprays.

Stay safe everyone.

(Time to hold my breath again)

Tim M.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 4:16 pm (UTC -5)

Your secret’s safe with us, Jam Man. 😉

Chrome
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 4:22 pm (UTC -5)

Thanks for your wonderful site, Jam Man. We’re bunkered down here ourselves in L.A. and hopefully this thing passes sooner rather than later.

Stay safe, stay healthy and keep writing. 🙂

Cynic
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 5:00 pm (UTC -5)

The last of the Trek reviewers from the “good old days” of Usenet. The rest of us retired or petered out or worse long ago, but here you are still churning it out. Here’s hoping you and yours stay well, and I’ll see you on the other side, old friend.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 5:24 pm (UTC -5)

Yup.

Jammer’s site is pretty much the last sane place on the internet.
(I’m exaggerating a bit, but not by much)

Philadlj
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 6:29 pm (UTC -5)

*SNIFF* …Ah, jeez, it’s a bit dusty in here!

Warm Regards to you and yours, Jamahl, and heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful, thoughtful writing I’ve had the honor of reading for at least half of those years. Stay safe!

Dave in MN
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 7:31 pm (UTC -5)

@ Omicron

.3% of 320 million would be 960,000 deaths.

Peter G.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:21 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you for your dedication, Jammer, in keeping the site and the moderation going. Bet you never thought things would get this wild again in the Trek world!

Dave
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:27 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer

Its been an absolute pleasure to visit your site over the last 25 years (I remember coming here as far back as mid DS9 so I would have been on in the first couple of years of its existence.

It is essential reading anytime I do a run through on a series, and of course when a new one comes out. You also got me into the BSG reboot which I did skip over and thankfully your reviews made me realize that error and I now consider it one of the greatest TV series of all time.

Best to you and your family and thank you for this special place on the internet. Heres to more good trek and shitty trek and everything in between for another 25!

Mitch Spector
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 2:44 am (UTC -5)

Congratulations on a quarter century of reviews!

I believe I’ve been following your site since the very beginning! I discovered your site while on school campus one day back in March 1995, trying out this unusual little program called Netscape Navigator, and saw the Internet, *graphically*, for the very first time ever (I had only experienced the Internet as ASCII text up until that point). And how cool I thought, someone is reviewing the latest Trek spinoff, Star Trek: Voyager. And so intelligently written, thoughtful and in-depth, I’ll have to keep following these reviews at home. Still have the URL I jotted down that day… (actually found it in a list of hand written bookmarks on my old Apple IIGS computer that I used back then!). Remember this?

http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~epsicokh/trek/

Hope you and your family stay well during this crisis. I’m unfortunately in the epicenter of COVID outbreak in Canada, we surpassed over 4,000 infected in just this province alone (we’re above New York). Trying to stay self-isolated and occupied but I was shaken when one of my neighbors was wheeled out on an ambulance stretcher in the middle of the night, right next door to me. Keeps getting closer it seems. Scary stuff indeed. Could you even had imagined this kind of scenario just a few weeks ago?

Well, still enjoying your reviews all these years later, it’s like no time has past coming back here and reading them! It’s a bit like comfort food, it brings you back to days of long ago!

Quinalla
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7:02 am (UTC -5)

Ah, good old CB radios, we had them too growing up as we often took 2 cars on family trips or would be going somewhere with another family. CBs were the coolest thing before cell phones and listening to truckers was *ahem* interesting as a kid. The funniest time was my Mom and I were driving to do some college visits and had the CB on listening for truckers warning of cops and traffic jams and we heard one trucker checking out all the women that were passing him in cars and giving amusing though fairly tasteful descriptions to the CB radio listeners. We finally passed him, he rendered his verdict, and my Mom got on our CB radio and said something like “Be careful about checking out me and my daughter!” He was slightly embarrassed but then tried to flirt with my Mom saying we didn’t need to worry as he was hauling way too much weight to catch up with us.

This COVID-19 thing is going to be something to look back on for sure, for now, I’m just trying to do my best and be my best in whatever ways I can and do my part to help by working from home along with my husband who thankfully can also WFH and our 3 kids doing distance learning.

Tim C
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7:34 am (UTC -5)

Happy anniversary, Jammer. Oh, to be young again…

James HYK
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7:40 am (UTC -5)

Hey Jammer, nice reminiscent post. Like aerdna, I usually check out your review after watching an episode of star trek (Netflix has them all, which is awesome) and find myself typically nodding in agreement.

Anyway, keep up the great stuff, and thank you for continuing to post your insightful thoughts.

methane
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 10:23 am (UTC -5)

Happy anniversary Jammer. As one of the few here who read you on usenet, you never fail to make me feel old when you write one of these posts!

dollerz
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 1:22 pm (UTC -5)

Love your site so much, thank you for continuing to do what you do. In difficult times, it is a great distraction 🙂

Yanks
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 1:44 pm (UTC -5)

Congrats on 25 years Jam Man!!

Trek ages well, and so do your reviews.

Always level-headed, well thought out, well-spoken, sometimes side-splittingly funny and always well received whether one agrees with them or not.

Thank you for providing your insight into our favorite TV franchise and a forum for others to share theirs as well. Tons of wonderful conversation has taken place because of your efforts and the tone you set here.

Be thankful your children are young during this global threat, at least you have positive control over them. I have 4 out of the house to worry about, with little to no control whatsoever.

Thanks again for everything Jammer and may you and yours stay safe!

Ruth
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 3:46 pm (UTC -5)

Oh please everyone, don’t argue about coronavirus here.

I liked the story, Jammer. Jam Man – yes it’s kinda stupid sounding, but also kinda formal? “Mr Jam Man, but we call him Jammer.” I don’t know. Don’t take website branding advice from me!

I hope you and yours stay well. I look forward to the next 5 year anniversary post 🙂

SC
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 5:01 pm (UTC -5)

Look after yourself and your family Jammer. Thanks for the reviews 🙂

Late To The Party Girl
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 10:35 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you, Jammer, for this wonderful site – I have been around long enough to have watched TOS in its first run but I’ve have only been following your site for a few years. Like many others here, I turn to see what you have said after watching any episode either for the first time or in review. I hope you never underestimate the importance of this site – at first your site was a way to contemplate the progression of the Trek stories; now it’s a respite, a reprieve from days that seem far too scary. Although I am writing from Canada, I’d also like to send my thanks to your wife for her work to help fight this dreadful battle. Wishing you and your family well.

SlackerInc
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 12:20 am (UTC -5)

I followed the links and read all five of the anniversary posts. I wasn’t sure whether I was around in 2015 although I thought probably so. After reading the blog post I didn’t think I had actually read it, since even if I was around I tend to stay in the reviews and not check the blog. But then I saw that I commented on the post, so I guess I did read it!

I really like that you made a point of talking about grocery store workers. They and everyone else who is doing essential jobs deserve our respect and gratitude. And we should really pay attention to which jobs those are, and make sure we compensate them appropriately, not just now as hazard pay but henceforth, now that we really see how crucial they are.

I enjoyed your reminiscence of how you got the nickname Jammer. But the origin story does not square with the one mentioned in the 15th anniversary:

————
I guess technically it’s only the fourth anniversary of “Jammer’s Reviews,” since the 10 years before that the site was called “Star Trek: Hypertext.”
————

Retcon alert! 😉

Or are you saying you called them “Jammer’s Reviews” on Usenet, but not on this site until 2006? (Not that it really matters, but what kind of Trekkie would I be without nitpicking continuity?)

methane
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 3:36 pm (UTC -5)

SlackerInc:

You can browse the old usenet channel yourself if you want: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/rec.arts.startrek.reviews

and see that, yes, his reviews had the label “Jammer’s Review”.

AR
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 4:33 pm (UTC -5)

Congratulations on your silver jubilee! I only wish that I had found your review site earlier rather than missing the first 24 years of your musings.
Keep going during these difficult days but stay safe.

PleasurePlanet
Saturday, April 4, 2020, 2:13 pm (UTC -5)

Thanks for sharing your website name origin story and for this site. I’m a relatively recent reader here, stumbling across this site when looking for reviews after doing a rewatch of various Trek series while introducing my kids (both now teens) to Trek. We started on TNG season 3 (gotta get ‘em hooked!) then backed up to all of TNG, TOS, DS9, VOY and we are on S2 of Enterprise. Also did Picard.

I love your reviews as well as those of various consistent posters, for myself but I also have to thank you on behalf of my kids. I homeschool both (since the beginning, not just “pandemic schooling”) and your analysis (and those of other posters) have really helped my teens learn how to engage with stories more fully. I can’t think of a better way to ease kids into thinking deeply about texts and literary structures, or various film techniques. This site has been of particular help for my older son, whose on the autism spectrum, and for whom these sorts of skills don’t come easily. So thank you. You’ve given us so many hours of enjoyment as well as education.

I wish you and your family continued health and happiness. Stay well.

Derek
Saturday, April 4, 2020, 11:34 pm (UTC -5)

Stay safe, Jammer and family. This was a great post. My Jammer’s Reviews anecdote is, I remember being irrationally excited when the delayed (hard to believe there were ever delays on this site 😉 ) review for ENT’s “Azati Prime” finally posted way back when. I was a fledgling college student far from home hoping you liked the utterly ridiculous yet stupidly fun nonsense that it provided.

Feel free to punch your computer screen, or not. I’m not the boss of you!

TH
Monday, April 6, 2020, 10:33 am (UTC -5)
PM
Monday, April 6, 2020, 3:13 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, your Picard Season 1 finale review added greatly to my enjoyment of this already-enjoyable episode.

Here’s to another 25 years of great sci-fi, your reviews of it, and thoughtful discussions that have created a true and lasting community here.

James White
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:57 am (UTC -5)

TH – the point is everyone needs to calm down and just act prudently. Stop panicking or lamenting the end of things and think for a change. Germany has a much lower mortality rate than the U.S., Italy and others because they actually tested their population aggressively. So asymptomatic people were at least partly included.

Also, some people in the U.S. included in the coronavirus deaths had significant, preexisting ailments like Parkinsons, Alzheimers, dementia, cancer, heart conditions and so on. It’s dubious to lump these into the death toll without differentiating such cases from those people who were generally healthy before they caught the disease.

When the dust settles, for people who are generally healthy, the odds of you dying in an automotive accident will be substantially higher than dying from coronavirus. But you’re not inundated with panic-ridden media messages to stop driving. You’re more likely to have a heart attack in a normal year than to die of coronavirus. But you’re not bombarded with anti fast food ads, or demands to change your frenetic, pressure-laden lifestyle.

The funny thing is that automotive and heart attack/stroke deaths are actually down right now. There are a number of factors I’m sure that will be analyzed, but having to not drive, downshift at work (for many), and focus on family probably are significant. The point is that 2020 may see less OVERALL DEATHS in the U.S. than most years.

Lastly, a vaccine will be coming. Better treatments of the ailment as doctors learn. So everyone calm the **** down and enjoy your life.

Lee
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 10:13 am (UTC -5)

You could say… it’s been a long road… Gettin from there to here…

James White
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 9:29 am (UTC -5)

In thinking about all of this, Jammer’s right in showing compassion and decency to people, and taking the time to actually reflect on what you have and who you care for the most. And maybe that’s the most important lesson from all of this. We defeat not only the disease but the people using it to divide and scare us, when we take ownership of our lives. When we decide for ourselves what will and will not move us. I’m abrasive sometimes because I call it as I see it.

Overall, though, Jammer’s built quite a community here of people who actually care about the world they inhabit and the great ideas that, we believe, will lead to a better future. Maybe that deeply-felt sentiment is why so many of us have a problem with the stuff we’re seeing today.

Sergio
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 3:29 pm (UTC -5)

Congratulations on the anniversary. This has always been one of the consistently outstanding sites out there. Here’s to many, many more years.

I can only imagine the worry and fear as your wife goes to work. Regards to you and yours from the UK. Stay safe and all the best.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sunday, April 12, 2020, 4:16 pm (UTC -5)

@James White

Stop panicking about people panicking 😉

I kid, but that’s actually a lesson I’ve had to learn myself during this crisis.

This thing fell upon us completely unexpectedly, so it is natural (as misguided as it may be) for people to panic. It is also natural for all kinds of men in power to milk the most out of this situation.

It’s crazy and it’s horrendously sub-optimal, but we’ll survive. And while people are panicking, I doubt there is much point in trying to get them to stop.

Eventually the dust will settle. The panic will subside. And when we reach that point, it will be far easier to hold a rational discussion about how we’re going to prevent this kind of farce from happening ever again.

Meanwhile, we should not panic ourselves. We should just sit back, observe, and learn as much as we can about the human condition. You couldn’t ask for a better test case, after all.

James White
Monday, April 13, 2020, 8:03 am (UTC -5)

Omicron – “It is also natural for all kinds of men in power to milk the most out of this situation.”

I could of sworn there were a few women leveraging the situation as well. 😉

Omicron- “Eventually the dust will settle. The panic will subside. And when we reach that point, it will be far easier to hold a rational discussion about how we’re going to prevent this kind of farce from happening ever again.”

People were delusional and divided before the crisis hit. And people in power have been exploiting this fact for a very long time now. When the dust settles, at least initially, we’ll be in election mode with two options: an abusive, double-speaking sociopath or a corrupt, out-of-touch mental case. Rational discussion? Yeah, sure.

Beyond that, we will have a chance to weigh in on some very important issues of liberty vs. surveillance, restraints on citizen movement, autonomy from China in key areas especially re supply lines, and so on. But what sort of dialogue will that be? Thoughtful and pragmatic, seeking the best solution for the greatest number? Or angry, fingerpointing demagoguery with convenient (mis)recollections of what actually occurred? I think you know the answer.

You can’t prevent a farce unless the people are no longer willing to participate in it. To accept it. Things like this crisis have the capacity to snap people back into reality, if only for a bit. The reality is our country is soft, debt ridden and lacking in leadership. The people are spoiled and petulant. Will the people finally step up and demand change? Will anyone in power even listen? Possibly, but only if we resist the urge to blame someone and take ownership of the problem

The sad truth is that things will probably need to get a whole lot worse before real change happens. In the meantime, my point is that people need to use this crisis to see just how vulnerable we, as Americans, truly are. To use this fact to strengthen ourselves. Limit our dependence on a great many things. So when things do get worse, they will be much more ready.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Monday, April 13, 2020, 2:42 pm (UTC -5)

When I said “we” I was refering to the citizens of planet earth.

This isn’t just about America. It’s bigger than that. Case in point: I’m not American myself, yet I truly feel that we are all in the same boat here. The entire world has gone mad.

(it was actually slowly going mad for quite a few years now, but this recent crisis has completely ruined whatever sanity our poor species had left)

“You can’t prevent a farce unless the people are no longer willing to participate in it. To accept it.”

This is precisely what I’m hoping for. That people will wake-up and realize they don’t have to play these stupid games any more.

Remember all those sci fi stories, about aliens that observe humanity and just don’t get why we’re doing the crazy stuff we’re doing? Well, after Covid-19 is through with us, *we* will be these aliens. That’s the upside of having a world-shaking crisis that forces people to stop whatever they are doing, You start realizing just how batshit insane our usual way of doing things was.

Plenty of people are already realizing this. Hopefully, there will be enough of them to create a lasting change in the world after the crisis is over.

And yes, if enough people demand basic decency from our politicians and our service providers, the latter will have no choice but to listen. That’s the beauty of living in a capitalistic democracy: The masses can vote with their ballots and with their wallets to create change.

Seriously, have you ever thought of why the typical politician, all over the world, is a lying egotistic scumbag? Or why the typical billionaire is a guy who would be willing to sell his grandma (or your online browsing history) for a dollar ninety nine? That’s because we, as a public, continue to give these people our votes and our money.

We should really *really* stop doing that. And the aftermath of this current crisis is going to be a wonderful opportunity to start afresh and do things right.

James White
Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 7:39 am (UTC -5)

Very well said, Omicron. Glad some people are paying attention.

RichardGereHead
Monday, April 20, 2020, 8:03 am (UTC -5)

No earth shaking comments here. Your site was one of the earliest things I can remember reading on the internet. As soon as Picard came out, I thought, man, I better check on Jammer’s take! Whenever I revisit my DVDs, I remember to hit this site to remember what really bad things to skip.

You’ve been part of my life for 20+ years and I want to really thank you for that.

Brad G
Friday, April 24, 2020, 9:21 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you for all the years of reviews and General Social Commentary.

I found your website because my cubicle partner at my software job was one of your college roommates (“E.G.” let’s say for Google’s sake). He and I had an inside joke where we’d name Really Important Events at work as Named Entities Like So, and we’d share other “Jamal-isms.” I felt like I almost knew you through E.G.

Cheers to you. LLAP

Tanagra
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 5:28 pm (UTC -5)

Long time lurker here, just wanted to say I enjoy your website a lot Jammer!
A couple years ago I decided to watch TOS to get into star trek. Inmediately after TOS I watched TNG and DS9, and then Battlestar Galactica, and your reviews were always a companion to each episode, full of insights I had missed. Thank you for the amount of thoughtfulness and effort and congratulations (the consistency of keeping this 25 years is… incredible).
All my thoughts and strength for your family in these times!

DualBoot
Friday, May 15, 2020, 12:13 pm (UTC -5)

Thank you very much. I read nearly everthing here and enjoyed it very much.
To celebrate take Some time off and freshly start with that good old Babylon 5 cAtch up. I would love a jammer take on that.

Saffer
Sunday, May 17, 2020, 1:01 pm (UTC -5)

I’ve been a regular on this site for…I don’t know actually. Over ten years? I know I will always keep coming back.

As regular a visitor as I am, I’ve never wanted to comment – my introversion isn’t limited to “real life”. Your anniversary post touched me deeply.

Thank you for doing what you do, Jammer. Thank you for being a space of rational thinking in a weird world. Thank you for writing so often about The Wire that I finally gave in, and enjoyed it. Thank you teaching me how to watch TV with discernment. Just..

Thank you from South Africa

Buckbart
Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 3:06 am (UTC -5)

Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your site over the years. The number and variety of people commenting is a testament to the value you give us.

MaraCass
Saturday, May 30, 2020, 10:24 am (UTC -5)

That’s a ten-four, good buddy!

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