On National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Book coverAs you know, gentle reader, I think this is the best film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath.

That gag aside, it’s actually from a short story written by John Hughes for National Lampoon. Given that it has spawned, what, five or six sequels, a set of commercials, and a television series currently in development, I have to say it’s a heck of a short story. The humor aligns kind of nicely with A Christmas Story, which was written by Jean Shepherd, also a print humorist. It’s not as zany as modern comedies, and it relies on adults dealing with adult things, not adults dealing with childish things.

At any rate, you know the plot: Clark Griswold decides to take his family to the Walley World theme park and wants to drive them out cross-country. Instead of his expected new car, he gets a hooped up station wagon. He piles his wife and two kids into the car, and they travel the country, having misadventures on the way to California. When they get to Walley World, it’s closed, whereupon John Candy delivers the only line I really quote from the film: “Sorry, folks. Park’s closed. The moose out front should have told you.”

It holds up well, I suppose at least if you’re of a certain age not maladjusted to contemporary R-rated comedies. My boys liked it all right, but I’m hopefully helping their cinematic tastes and predilections by showing them old films like this. The oldest added “Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham to his regular playlist, so we hear that often whilst he plays video games.

But the real question from the film: Beverly D’Angelo or Christie Brinkley?

Continue reading “On National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)”

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Gallows Humor In Our Time

I might have turned off the Nuclear event setting on my First Alert Emergency Weather Radio prematurely.

How many people will Democrat policies have saved should a nuclear event occur, a strike on a city that has been turned into a dystopian, crime-ridden pit from whom many residents have already fled? Are they playing four-dimensional chess?

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Book Report: Star Trek 2 by James Blish (1968, 1975)

Book coverI picked up the first book in this series for the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge, and once I abandoned that effort (although I got eight of fifteen categories this year, which is not as good as last year, so I still get the undersized coffee cup), I decided to start running through some of the book sets I have. And, as I mentioned, I have a bunch of these books, short storizations of the Star Trek episodes as well as the Alan Dean Foster short storifications of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Sorry to bore you regular readers with the repeatings of the minutiae, but some people might someday hit this from a search and not have the proper context. Not that I’m providing that; what I am providing is a bunch of links for myself in the future when I re-read posts so I can click about in my own past. Thanks for joining me on that journey today, which, as I mentioned, is already the past.

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, Star Trek 2. Originally published in 1968, this is the 19th printing in 1975. Apparently, they were selling. Enough that a decade later, they’d make another television series and even launch a television network based on it. Remember those little television networks like Fox, Paramount, and what was that other one, CW? They had cutesy names and foreshadowed a bit the streaming services of today (tomorrow’s yesterday).

At any rate, this book includes:

  • “Arena”, the one with the Gorn.
  • “A Taste of Armageddon”, the one with two fighting planets who compute casualties by computer until Kirk breaks it.
  • “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”, the one where the Enterprise first travels back in time and ends up with a fighter pilot on board. No, not Gary Seven. That’s to come later.
  • “Errand of Mercy”, the one where the Klingons and Kirk fight over a planet whose inhabitants have more powers than either expect. To be honest, it’s not an iconic episode, so I’m not sure I’ve seen it, but I must have.
  • “Court Martial”, the one where Kirk is on trial for dereliction of duty in letting a crewman die, but did he? I honestly don’t remember this one at all, but the tropes alone were enough to make it familiar.
  • “Operation–Annihilate”, the one with the space virus or whatnot spreading and making people kill each other. To be honest, this one was not one I remembered, but it didn’t have a Gorn in it. So I probably saw it and did not recollect it clearly.
  • “The City on the Edge of Forever”, the one with Joan Collins in it. C’mon, man. Joan Collins. Something something time travel and Joan Collins.
  • “Space Seed”, the one that introduced Khaaaaaaaan!

As with the other books, this one has some anachronisms and variations from the mythos.

Continue reading “Book Report: Star Trek 2 by James Blish (1968, 1975)”

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I Would Have Guessed Kelly Chase

The headline in the Springfield Business Journal article was not specific: Former STL Blues player files for Congress

I would have guessed Kelly Chase, but it’s actually Jim Campbell; the snippet named him, and I remembered his nickname Soupy and his number 10 without any prompting. He played for the Blues in the late 1990s when we watched all the games and had partial season tickets.

I was not impressed with his play, actually, and I’m not impressed that a business owner in the St. Louis area is filing to run with an address in Camden County. It looks carpetbaggish to me, but maybe he does live out there and only has business interests in the St. Louis area.

Kudos to the St. Louis television station for diminishing his entrepreneurship:

The domino effect of U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s decision to run for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat instead of seeking re-election to the House in the fourth congressional district appears to have led a former St. Louis Blues hockey player-turned St. Louis County bar owner to run for a seat in Congress.

A bar owner. How seedy-sounding, probably by intention.

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The Source Of That Thing The Kids Always Say

So my children have taken to shouting, “Hog rider!” with a particular inflection. Apparently, this is the call of one of the units in the game Clash of Clans.

Which has led me to text them or to say, “Hog writer!” The youngest corrected me, believing I was getting it wrong, but eventually, he caught on that I was shining him on.

When I had a spare moment, I created an image to share with them at appropriate moments. Like whenever they bother me with text messages asking for a ride.

Oh, the things I do to torment my offspring.

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What I’ve Always Said, But….

Severian mentions in a post on a book report about a book about the nineties his relationship to the vaunted Harry Potter books:

The Harry Potter books are influential because they somehow made it ok for grownups to get weirdly, creepily obsessed with kids’ books. You know why I haven’t read Harry Potter? Because I’m not twelve years old. It’s that simple. If you’re reading them with your twelve year old kids, fine. But if you’re not — if you’re reading them for the story — then you need to seriously reevaluate your life choices, comrade.

I’ve said this myself since the 1980s.

Except I read other children’s books from time to time that I missed, such as Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates or the Little House series which I finished up a year or so back.

Why do I read those classics but not the more “modern” classics (::spit::) like the Harry Potter books?

Because a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

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Together Again

I’ve removed the whiteboard that I put on my office wall when we moved in. It’s out of arm’s reach from my sitting position, and it’s outside the rolling radius on the carpet protector beneath my chair, so I really didn’t use it for much. I made columns for home projects, things to write, and other things to do, and I might have written a thing or two under the column headings in years past, but I didn’t actually strike much off of them. I used my whiteboard a lot when I worked in an office and I could roll a couple of feet to it and add a task or strike one off.

So I took the whiteboard down. I shall likely clean it and cut it to fit into monitor bezels for smaller whiteboards.

Instead, in the space, I have put my mother’s spoon collection (or I will, when I polish them all) and two paintings by my great grandmother.

I bought a spoon cabinet whilst Christmas shopping last year, as although I had inherited my sainted mother’s spoons, I apparently did not get her rack.

The spoons hung on the wall near these paintings in our apartment in the housing projects forty years ago. We had the paintings on the wall in our dining room at Nogglestead, but the dining room is the only place where our walls have changed much over time. We replaced the paintings with a chicken key hanger that I wood burned several years ago, and they’ve been floating on my office desk or beside it since.

Their presence on the walls means that we nominally have four generations of Noggle art on the walls. Well, had. These paintings, a sketch by my youngest aunt on the Noggle side, and two pot holders that came from art that our children made at school. Sadly, the potholders replace multimedia art that my grandmother did, which is in my office closet awaiting a good place, I guess.

I was going to polish all the spoons at once and hang them, but it’s turning out to be a harder chore than I’d expected. Individual spoons are taking fifteen minutes to polish. I remember sitting down with my mother and brother maybe annually and doing this at the table in the apartment and maybe the trailer, and it never took us that long, but they’ve been in storage for at least the twelve years we’ve lived at Nogglestead.

As I’m working on them, I have noticed that they’re mostly not collectible spoons or even silver. Instead, most of them are just stainless steel patterns that you would get in a grocery store. My aunt who worked for the government traveled for work sometimes and brought my mother a spoon from Washington D.C. and pre-revolutionary Iran, but my mother did not travel far in those days. The corridor between St. Louis and Milwaukee, mostly, with an occasional trip Up North and one vacation in Rockaway Beach, Missouri, which is about forty minutes from where I live now. It was only after my brother joined the service that she travelled, visiting him at his graduation in California and at his postings in Hawaii and Quantico, Virginia. She would then take cruises with her sister and went to Las Vegas for her sister’s wedding, but she was past spoon collecting then. So most of the spoons that I am polishing are stamped Oneida on the back.

At any rate, I got the spoon cabinet in early or mid-December, and I started the polishing project in January. Las Vegas puts the over/under on my completion of this project in April 2023. Perhaps I should enlist one or more children to make family memories. But they, as I was, are not keen on those kinds of family memories, although it was gratifying to see the silver emerge from beneath the tarnish.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour Continues

On February 18, 2016, I quipped:

When the little old lady threw her shoulder into me, knocked me off my chair, and took my ten of hearts, I realized it wasn’t a misprint: we were really playing contact bridge.

Also, on February 18, 2020, when I was taking a triathlon class at the YMCA, I said:

I kick through wood better than I kick through water.

Given how few martial arts classes I’ve had in the last year, this might no longer be true.

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What One Doesn’t Hear From The Basement Office

You know, I amaze my beautiful wife sometimes when I can hear the propane delivery across the house and across the garage buffer zone, a package delivery, or the mail carrier visiting our mailbox sixty or eighty yards down the driveway (that one’s easy, as I can hear the pattern of acceleration and braking–both acceleration, I know, physicists, but give me a break, okay?–as she (Ginger, now Cara) drives from our mailbox to the next.

But an explosion at the power plant up the road? Nah, brah.

Although it was not dramatic; from the picture in the article, it looks like something small in a shed might have gone up.

Meanwhile, the city of Springfield is blowing up another of its power plants on purpose.

Because excess power generation capacity is so civilization, man.

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Book Report: Mr. Monk Is Miserable by Lee Goldberg (2008)

Book coverWell, the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge has a category Character/Author With A Disability category. I guess, were I a noble man, I would have maybe tried again The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, but instead of buying the university textbook store offering of it, I bought a Barnes and Noble or Waldenbooks omnibus copy that included that book amongst four in the volume, so I would not have counted it as a book in my reading. I also know I have The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time somewhere with an autistic narrator, but that’s in a Reader’s Digest omnibus (not a condensed book, although, you know, you don’t see them much in the wild anymore). So it, too, would not count as a book in my annual total, and I’m not sure whether I would count it as a complete book for the winter reading challenge. Wait a minute, Brian J., you say. Didn’t you count your own book in the challenge? Well, gentle reader, I didn’t actually think you read these book reports and would hold me to account! But I selected this book because I have enjoyed previous Monk novels (Mr. Monk Goes To The Firehouse and Mr. Monk Goes To Hawaii which I read last year), and I’d count his OCD and various phobias as a disability.

So this book takes place several books after Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, so we miss the set-up and activitites that get Mr. Monk somewhere over the sea again–this time, apparently, he goes to Germany because he absolutely needs to talk to his analyst immediately. But after he solves the murders in that missing book (Mr. Monk Goes to Germany), his assistant Natalie, the first person narrator of the books, Watson to Monk’s Sherlock, she manipulates/compells him to visit Paris on the way back.

Of course, he becomes a pest on the short flight to Paris, but solves a murder on the flight, which leads to introductions with the local police, which comes in handy when Monk, on a tour of the sewers of Paris, he discovers the skeleton of a recently dead man amongst a pile of other bones. The skull belongs to a wealthy American man reported dead by suicide after prosecution who, apparently, fled to Paris and joined a dumpster-diving, living off the grid movement with a charismatic leader with whom he might have fallen into conflict.

So we get a bunch of humorous set pieces playing fun on Monk’s, erm, habits, including one where he takes a sidewalk cleaner for a ride, and the city employee lets him ‘borrow’ the vehicle for the duration of the stay as long as he cleans the sidewalks with it twice a day. And then, Monk solves the crime.

So a fun book to read. I don’t think I have any more Monk titles by Goldberg in my library, but I do have several in the Diagnosis: Murder series that I will get to before too long (but I am more likely to finish other series/sets that I’ve started recently). And I’ll continue to watch for other Monk titles in the wild.

I am probably going to call a lid on the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge, though. I’ve read enough–six books, which is five if you discount my own, and the categories are just not leading me into the next book like they did with the 2021 Winter Reading Challenge, where I read 16 books in the 15 categories. I probably won’t turn the form in until the end of the month just in case I slip another one in, but I’m going to focus on other books for the nonce.

Also, as I look at the hardback copy of Mr. Monk Is Miserable, I see I have flagged some things for individual comment. What did I flag? Continue reading “Book Report: Mr. Monk Is Miserable by Lee Goldberg (2008)”

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour Plays The Bars

From this date in 2015:

The government won’t admit it, but pinball score inflation is a real problem that working class families experience every time they play pinball.

A bumper that would have scored you 100 points in 1972 now scores you 10,000,000 points.

When will we stand up to Big Pinball and the cartel’s point gouging?

Man, I have a long Internet trail.

Also, sometime this year I am likely to repost a Recycler Tour post that I have already posted. A full trip around the sun will occur since I started these posts in last April.

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Book Report: The Courtship of Barbara Holt by Brian J. Noggle (2011)

Book coverYou know, I have already read and reviewed my own play in 2016, but the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge has a category Makes You Laugh, and now as it did then (in 2016) and when I wrote it (in 1993 or 1994), it makes me laugh out loud at some joke I’d written thirty years ago that catches me by surprise and makes me chuckle anyway.

I should have flagged it, gentle reader, but I don’t know it would have worked for you without context. As I’ve mentioned, this play is rife with wordplay, in jokes for serious English or Philosophy majors, and general silliness.

In 1995, Stages St. Louis, which was really one guy, a courier by day and arts influencer by night who ran the open mic Tuesday night at the Oasis, but Stage St. Louis sounds better, presented a staged reading of the play one month of spring Sundays in the aforementioned Oasis coffee shop. A “staged reading” is when actors read from the script, and the stage has no sets, but they do kind of emote their lines. So I took over the production and shanghaied people I knew to play the parts. Mike played Todd. For balance, I had Todd, a high school acquaintance who went on to be Navy Search, an actor in actual productions in St. Louis shows, and later a Hollywood stunt man and actor with a SAG card, played Mike–although Mike wondered if I made him the villain because he might have matched the character in real life. Scott, the friend who told me of Mike’s passing played Mark, the main character. Nicole, my girlfriend at the time, played Jenn. Eve, who was a poet and the only one of us to turn pro–she teaches in the St. Louis area, although I think she’s touring other continents presently, played Barbara Holt. Dennis, a guy from our role playing gaming group, played Rick/Phil (the character’s name is Rick, but the character Mike calles him Phil because he’s a philosophy major and his last name is Specter; this was before the real Phil Spector killed his wife). Penny was played by…. Well, that was the one person associated with Stages St. Louis, so I don’t remember her name.

One weekend, Steve from Stages St. Louis brought along a camcorder (that’s like a thing that takes video like a cell phone, but it records it to VHS videocassette, you damn kids) and recorded the performance. He set up with his back to the front window, which meant that the performers had their backs to most of the coffeeshop. But several people I’d known came to see it. Dena, a classmate from Marquette with whom I’d traveled to Memphis, New Orleans, and Biloxi right after our graduation, came down from Chicago to see it and to bang Mike even though I’d said, c’mon, man, you hit everything else, don’t nail this girl I’d gone to school with, but as I’ve mentioned, he was a horndog and might have enjoyed nailing girls I was interested in just because I was interested in them. A guy I’d worked with at the Price Chopper brough his girlfriend and their toddler. And some woman came in and watched of her own volition. On a previous week, I’d invited a Washington University student with whom I’d worked at the car ad measuring place to see it, and I remember that my then-girlfriend (who did not become my beautiful wife) referred to her as “that dancer” (I knew a lot of people pursuing advanced art degrees at Washington University in those days).

At any rate, I can say this with certainty because I found the MPG file I’d transferred from the videocassette several computers and probably not a whole decade ago, and I shared the said MPG file on Google Drive with Scott and Todd, and they passed it around with other players that they were in contact with. Scott said:

You were a really good writer even way back then. It’s funny that my memories of the scripted reading revolved around my own stress of reading the script, never really stepped back.

The banter between the characters.

I sold a copy of it in December; it was probably him.

Oh, yeah, and Dennis Thompson Goes On Strike? A bit self-indulgent, but I had to have a certain number of pages to get the flat spine, so there it is.

I wrote a pile in that era; most of it was–oh, not that bad. Compared to what I see in the literary magazines these days, anyway.

So, um, by my book? Or not. In a couple of years, I shall re-read it and laugh in spots.

Hey, maybe I should write something else, too.

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Livin’ the Meme, Again

I’ve seen, once or twice, on the Internet the photograph of a principal or teacher standing in a gym where the school and mascot name, the Sparta Trojans, are on the wall behind the principal, and the text is something like, “The history classes at this school are suspect.” I didn’t snag it because it didn’t really speak to me. I went looking for it this weekend, but I couldn’t find it via an image search nor on recent meme round-up posts at Knuckledraggin, Powerline, or Bayou Renaissance Man. So just take my word for it.

On Saturday, I went to an archery tournament in Sparta. Home of the Trojans.

This isn’t the first time I’ve known the exact location of a meme; the overpass with the Buffalo Springfield sign is over on Kearney. And who can forget the CAPTCHA that was just a few blocks from my home in Old Trees.

I wonder how many people have experienced first hand the subject of memes. Probably a lot, especially amongst the kids that are on the TikTok and sharing things from their lives with their friends.

But, still. I’m talking nationwide.

It’s kind of like I always see individual street lights that go out when I’m near. It might be because my aura disrupts them, or it’s more likely because I am looking for the pattern and see it.

Oh, by the way, the Answer Man once researched the history of the mascot, and his results were inconclusive.

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Our Different Calculus

Bad news for the Bayou Renaissance Man:

Miss D. and I headed down to Big Texas Metroplex a couple of hours from us yesterday, to take her car (an old-model Subaru) to the dealer there for a major service. We get routine services done up here at a local shop, but for the big stuff (every 50,000 miles or so) we prefer to use the dealer.

We left the car at the dealer, asking for a detailed quote before they went ahead with the work. It’s a good thing we did. We were sure we’d be facing a bill of a couple of thousand dollars, but when the quote came back late yesterday, it was for over $11,000!!! Turns out all sorts of little things had accumulated that our local shade tree mechanic hadn’t picked up on, so their cumulative effect has reached very expensive proportions. Some of what the dealership wanted to do was cosmetic, rather than really necessary, but even so, the laundry-list of repairs was a shocker.

Gentle reader, we are getting to that age with our cars, too, and in a different age, the internal algorithm would be different.

Our newer car is a 2008 Lexus SUV with 150,000 miles on it. We’re still carrying a note on it (not much more, thankfully). But it developed a habit of suddenly deciding to gallop instead of ride smoothly. It has an adjustable rear suspension–you can set it to smooth luxury ride, or you can set it to offroading. Well, sometimes–often after a trip to Sam’s Club, where I picked up a couple hundred pounds of water and cat litter, it would get very, and by very, I mean painfully bouncy.

This storm had been gathering for a while–the shop where I take my vehicles had previously experienced the condition and had give a bid of $2000 or thereabouts–but when they looked it over again, they determined they’d need to replace all the shocks, air springs, and whatnot. So the total bill would be $5000 or thereabouts. They were very apologetic about the estimate.

So we had that done. Because I hope/expect to get another 100,000 miles and a couple of years out of that vehicle. I mean, replacing it would cost a pile–check out this ad with used truck prices in the vicinity:

I mean, trucks with similar mileage are $30,000. So we had the shop redo the rear suspension. I mean, they could get the parts and everything. If we’d held off, who knows if the parts would be available in summer or autumn, or how expensive they would be then.

The other vehicle is a 2004 Toyota Highlander with almost 250,000 miles on it. To demonstrate how the calculus has changed: The check engine light is on and has been for over a year–it’s got a catalytic converter electronically reporting problems, but it has not actually failed. When the guys at the shop checked it, they said it would be, I dunno, $600 bucks to replace it. And back then, I thought, “Should I spend $600 on this old truck?” I am thinking about getting it replaced after all since I’m also hoping to have this car for a couple more years–it’s the secondary vehicle in the household, so it doesn’t get as many miles as the primary truck, although it is penciled in as the vehicle for the boy who will get his driver’s license this year.

However: The beginning of last month, someone backed into our Highlander. We’re just now to the point where an insurance adjuster is going to look at it, but I took it to the body shop to get an estimate because the damage was minimal–the bumper got knocked an inch out of alignment:

The estimate from the body shop was $2400 which include 16 hours of labor to repaint it–two whole days for someone. The blue book value of the vehicle is somewhere around that. So for this cosmetic damage, the vehicle might be a total loss. The replacement cost of this vehicle, as we have seen, is probably several thousand dollars more than that, so we will probably end up driving it unrepaired. Although I’m not sure what that will mean for our insurance insurability going forward. Probably that it’s long past time to drop collision coverage on it.

I would not even have filed a claim on it, but I married into the middle class, where driving cars with dents in them is inconceivable.

I guess this illustrates a mindset of someone–me–who wonders if automobiles will be scarce and/or more expensive in the future and who is mentally just a couple of steps of planning bubble-gum-and-baling-wire repairs in the future.

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In Other Shatner News

A British tabloid has a headline that clashes with the news immediately after the event: Star Trek legend William Shatner confesses he ‘wasn’t impressed’ after visiting space

Last autumn, when he actually took the trip, our stories were different.

William Shatner delivers spacey monologue to Bezos after Blue Origin launch

“Everybody in the world needs to do this!” a tearful Shatner told the second-richest man in the world while others celebrated over champagne in the background.

“To see the moon come and whip by — now you’re staring into blackness — that’s the thing,” he added.

“The covering of blue, this blanket, this comforter of blue we have around us. We think, ‘Oh, that’s blue sky,’ and all of a sudden you shoot through it and you whip the sheet off you and you’re looking into blackness, into black nothingness.

“As you look down, there’s your blue down there with the black up there. There is Mother Earth and comfort and there is — is there death? I don’t know. Is that the way death is?” he asked.

“It was so moving. This experience, it’s something unbelievable.”

A British tabloid, making something up? Inconceivable!

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Book Report: Star Trek Memories by William Shatner with Chris Kreski (1993)

Book coverTo be honest, when I finished Star Trek, I went looking for a Chuck Norris memoir I have somewhere in my office, but I came across this book instead, so I read it to fill in the Celebrity Memoir category in the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge.

Although, to be honest, I might be stretching the definition of memoir a bit to include this book since it’s not focused solely on the life of William Shatner. Instead, it talks about the production of the original Star Trek television series. Shatner (or Kreski) interviews a number of the people involved, including not only the actors (Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley most prominently, although George Takei and Walter Koenig also appear–but James Doohan does not, as Shatner explains in the epilogue), but also some of the behind the scenes people, telling stories about Gene Roddenberry (recounted by Majel Barrett), Gene Coons (writer), D.C. Fontana (writer/secretary to Roddenberry), Bob Justman (producer), Fred Freiberger (producer), and even some of the lighting men and gaffers.

So it’s an interesting and insightful look into the show and its origins in the late 1960s.

You know, I cannot help but to compare it to the Firefly books I’ve read (Firefly: The Official Companion Volume One and Two and Firefly: Still Flying). While we don’t get shooting scripts or “new stories”–that’s what the Blish and Foster books are for–we do get paragraphs and stories with greater depth and emotion than the Firefly books which plumb to the equivalent depths of Entertainment Weekly sidebars. This book talks about The Kiss, political struggles to get the show on the air, details about the timelines of writing versus actually shooting the episodes (writers had weeks to come up with scripts, which the crew would then have five or six days to shoot), and even admits that the other actors didn’t appreciate Shatner’s approach and belief that he was the star of the show (Roddenberry admitted he was, but Nimoy got more attention as Spock, not necessarily to Nimoy’s liking–his autobiography of the time is called I Am Not Spock). So it’s got some dirty laundry–well, reality–mixed into the hagiography.

I flagged a couple of bits. Below the fold since this is getting long. Continue reading “Book Report: Star Trek Memories by William Shatner with Chris Kreski (1993)”

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It Seems Like Yesterday

Lileks on the decline of written checks:

“So,” I said, “That’s done. Now the second part. Ready?” I slid a piece of paper across the desk. “I need some more checks.”

She reared back in mock surprise: whoa, we are going way back in time. We had a conversation about the decline of checks, the annoyance of checks, our annoyance with people who write checks, and how the grocery store cliche of the old lady who has to dig to the bottom of her purse for the checkbook, then takes forever writing it out, then enters the amount in the register – where did they go? What will be the equivalent in 30 years, I wonder. Someone who has to get out his phone, swipe up, find the app, tap it on the terminal, I guess. Behind him in line, people who’ll pay by blinking a personal code in front of the retinal scanner.

I went to the grocery yesterday morning, as I’m one of those old people who still go into the grocery store instead of having them bring it out to your car or to your home. Want to know what will be gone in 30 years? That’s what will be gone in thirty years: Shelves where you can pick your own amongst wide variety. How it ends remains to be seen.

At any rate, an older lady ahead of me wrote out a check for the amount of the purchase only. But she didn’t take to long for it; I think we waited longer for the lone cashier to appear from her overstuffed obligations to actually check us out.

But, I sadly note, not much older than me. Who still writes checks for select bills, such as magazine and newspaper subscriptions, so they don’t just jack the price up on me to the max I won’t notice every year.

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