Archive for April, 2009


Mr. T on Jury Duty

April 30, 2009

Apparently Mr. T has turned up for jury duty in Chicago. He didn’t get picked, though. Really, if you’re a defence lawyer, would you want Mr. T on the jury? For that matter, would you want him if you were the prosecution?

Mr. T reminded reporters of his catchphrase as he left the courthouse:“You’ve got to testify! Tell somebody about it. God is good!. I pity the fool that don’t get it. If you’re innocent, I’m your best man, but if you’re guilty, I pity that fool.”

In related Mr. T news, here’s a true story. When I was a teenager, we were on a major family vacation — my mother, brother, grandmother, uncles and aunts — when we bumped into an old friend of my uncle’s girlfriend in a little town called Bobcaygeon, Ontario. This cool lady joined us on our houseboat and I sat there for an hour before I realized I was hanging out with Robin Duke from Saturday Night Live, a Canadian comedian of huge talent. She later went on to play, and I am not making this up, Mrs. T. on SNL, hawking Mr. and Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix. There are few things funnier than a skinny little Canadian woman with a mohawk imitating Mr. T.


Happy 100th, Make It So

April 30, 2009

The world’s best Star Trek podcast — and I say that as a presenter on another Star Trek podcast — turned 100 yesterday. And will do so again in the next few days.

Make It So, from Simply Syndicated, recorded a live call-in show to mark 100 episodes. It was a blast. I called in to chat with Rich, Will and Mike about Trek, as did a few other friends, including Scott from Apotheosis of a Bombast and Matt, who was immortalized on an episode of Nerd Hurdles.

This podcast is special to me. It was the show that turned me from a casual podcast listener into a full-on devotee, and was the impetus for me becoming a podcaster myself … and making all my new imaginary friends. I was proud to be there for No. 100. The live show will soon be released as a regular podcast, so those of you who couldn’t be there can hear the fun.

Make It So has gone through some changes over the years — most notably changes to who sits in the chairs beside Captain Richard Smith — but has remained a lively, intelligent look at the world of Trek, a show by fans who aren’t afraid to be critical. And it’s damned funny.

Beam yourself up. You won’t regret it.


Man Lives In Same House For 100 Years

April 30, 2009

I can’t imagine what this must be like. Alfonso De Marco moved from Italy to England when he was seven, in 1909, and he’s lived in the same house ever since. You can read the article here.

We hear a lot about people who are that old, but stop for a moment and try to picture what it was like to have lived through history the way this man has. Mr. De Marco was a teenager when the First World War broke out. He was in his 40s during the second. This is a man who can tell you what it was like when movies were a novelty. He was close to retirement when television first appeared, and by the time man walked on the moon he was almost 70. If I knew his phone number, I could call him and ask him how things changed when telephones became common.

And he saw it all while staying in the same place, as the world changed around him. Incredible.

A century ago, my property was a forest. Most of my neighbourhood was. That’s Canada for you. But when I first moved to this city, I rented an apartment in a house built in 1840 — a rare thing north of 49. My city has a lot of heritage buildings, and the museum features an incredible diorama of the city circa 1860. My kids like looking at it to see the wild woods where our house stands now — but also my mothers’ incredible old house, built around that time as a girls’ school.

I’m kind of a sucker for history. Maybe that’s why I’m so fascinated by Mr. De Marco’s story. When I was a reporter, I interviewed a few centenarians on their 100th; while some weren’t completely present, a couple — one of whom was a First World War veteran — astonished me with the stories they told. It’s one thing to read books about the Edwardian age; it’s another to talk to someone who lived it.

Anyway, I doubt I’ll live as long as Mr. De Marco. I’d like to, though. My kids are stunned when I tell them we didn’t have video games when I was their age, and if we wanted a movie, we had to go to the theatre. The changes he’s seen make that look like chump change. And I would love to be able to tell you, in 2075, what it was like when we could still breathe the air and the planet had separate countries all over it.


Actual Photo of the Starbase 66 Crew

April 30, 2009

Here we have Ro Karen, Weathereye and Admiral Marius, as we look in the Sims. Allison placed us in her Sims world a few weeks back, and who knows what’s been going on since. My observations:

  • Ro Karen really is Bajoran. You can tell by the nose.
  • This is Admiral Marius circa 1987. You can tell by the spandex.
  • I don’t always wear dark glasses. Wait, yes, I do.
  • There is no bathroom wall, but Allison tells me that’s because I was fixing the tub. This is deadly accurate. If I’m coming over to fix your tub, I will probably rip out several walls, and you will have to go down the street to the gas station for a month before I’m done. And then it won’t work properly. I am no handyman.
  • The odd device in the background is a TARDIS prototype we were examining. Honest.

We live at Starbase 66.


Shirley Jones Goes Topless

April 29, 2009

So, it appears actress/singer Shirley Jones, the coolest TV mom of my childhood, will appear topless in an upcoming episode of the TV series The Cleaner. This has taken me by surprise, so I have some random thoughts:

  • I don’t even know what The Cleaner is. Isn’t that a crap Bernie Mac movie or something?
  • Shirley was David Cassidy’s stepmother. Her other son, Shaun Cassidy, was a “celebrity” of some sort when I was a kid, but I ignored that kind of thing. Now he makes TV shows and is no longer mistaken for Mark Hamill, or vice versa, no matter how hard Hamill tries.
  • David Cassidy is playing a free outdoor concert here this summer, and I’m actually looking forward to it. The kids’ll get a kick out of it, too. It’s bubblegum, but it’s fun.
  • The Partridge Family was one of the greatest television achievements of all time, even if it did result in Danny Bonaduce staying famous. And by “greatest,” I mean “epic fromage.” And by “famous,” I mean “WTF, Bonaduce?”
  • The original version of the theme song isn’t as well-known as the later one, but it’s kind of fun, too.
  • I liked the episode where Susan Dey’s braces started picking up radio transmissions. Years later, when I had braces, I hoped the same thing would happen to me, but the only thing I could pick up was no girls.
  • Oscar-winner Shirley Jones is 75. She once played Drew’s older girlfriend on The Drew Carey Show, bringing rare class to that program.
  • I just Googled The Cleaner on my other computer while I was writing that bit about the braces. It’s about a guy who helps people in extreme crisis, and stars Benjamin Bratt, whom I have always thought is a pretty cool cat.
  • Dave Madden, who played Ruben, is Canadian and really, really funny.
  • There was some kind of New Partridge Family reality show revival thing a couple of years ago, but I never saw it. All I know is that Matt King, from the GeeksOn Podcast, was in it. That’s a great podcast, and you should listen to it.
  • “Epic fromage” is not a bad thing, just in case you thought I was down on the Partridges.
  • I think Danny Bonaduce is kind of a weiner, but I would never say that to his face. He’s a scary weiner.

What was my point? Oh, yeah, Shirley’s doing a topless scene for cable. Hey, I like a world where a beautiful 75-year-old woman can take that acting plunge. Go for it, Shirley.

I know, I know, you thought I was going to make some kind of crack. But the truth is, Shirley Jones looks just like my mother, and always has. And delving into this any further is too weird, even for me.


Star Trek vs. Lost

April 29, 2009

This had me in stitches. See more at the Fine Brothers’ YouTube channel here.


Starbase 66: Back In Orbit

April 29, 2009

After a couple of weeks of technical difficulties, Starbase 66, the International Star Trek and Science Fiction Podcast, is on the air again. You can find us at our new home here.

Our latest episode concerns the works of Richard Matheson, the brilliant science fiction, fantasy and horror author whose works have thrilled us, and influenced us, for decades. From the Incredible Shrinking Man to I Am Legend and even to Star Trek, Matheson is a pioneer of genre writing — and so influential people who’ve never heard his name are familiar with his work.

Listen and enjoy!