Archive for April 30th, 2009

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Today’s Moron: The Guy At The Corner Store

April 30, 2009

I stopped off at the corner store this afternoon to buy a loaf of bread. I like this corner store. It’s a funky, cluttered space, not one of the sleek modern Mac’s chain-stores this city is littered with. It always has a strange assortment of weird hats for sale behind the cash, and VHS tapes for $1 each.

And the owner wears combat fatigues and stocks a healthy selection of muscle and fitness magazines, which he clearly never reads.

He and I make chitchat from time to time, which is kind of unusual for me, and probably for him, too. I think it stems from the time I bought a pair of dusty sunglasses from the rack hidden at the back of the store, because I had lost mine and the sun had just come out, and they were $5 Wayfarer ripoffs. He was impressed that I had even known the rack was there.

Anyway, today, I was waiting to pay and I noticed a styrofoam coffee cup beside the cash. Written, crookedly, in blue ball-point was “Leave your pop tabs here to by a wheelchair for a child.”

That old urban myth is still making the rounds?

Let’s review:

  • It’s bogus.
  • You can’t trade pull-tabs for wheelchairs.
  • Even if you could sell the aluminum, why not donate the whole can? Why just the tabs?
  • Landfills are loaded with piles of these tabs, left in shame after earnest would-be do-gooders hauled trashbags filled with them to the nearest hospital and were told “What the hell?”
  • Every expert on urban myths and stupidity has exposed this nonsense. Snopes has a good look at it.

Me being me, I said all this to the corner-store guy, thinking he’d say something like “I know, but some dim kid wanted to do it, so I said okay.”

Instead, he inflated his chest, which meant I got to see manboobs, and said this: “Why don’t you want to help kids?”

“But it’s an urban myth,” I said, realizing as I did that he didn’t know what that meant.

He gave my bread a good, damaging squeeze as he was silently and sullenly ringing it up. And now I need a new corner store.

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