Down the Ballot

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope wherever you are tonight, whomever you are with, you are thankful for both an end and a new beginning tonight. Tomorrow is a new day, and new year.  Resolutions are plenty this week and I hope you make ones that challenge you over 2014.

Here for some NYE humor is Mr. Bean.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the Road to 2015

In just a few days the race to 2015 begins. 2015 would  traditionally be known in political science
circles as the 'Hidden Primary', though pundits and the public have been speculating about who is going to replace President Obama since he won re-election in 2012. The Hidden Primary is the year prior to the first ballot or caucus when candidates announce, and raise funds to get in that precious top tier status or become a media darling. There will plenty of them running around the country by then, there is at least a dozen+ in each major party and various third parties considering a run.

By November 2014, the campaigns on the ball to get going will already start to get staffing questions settled and going through the recommendations of folks who worked on state and local campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2014. If you want to work on a presidential campaign in the Iowa Caucus or New Hampshire Primary in 2016; the place to start is volunteering or working on a local race in 2014 in those states.

 I look at my wall of buttons and see all the ghosts of campaigns past and know that by this time in 2016 they'll be another 20 buttons on the wall. It's a cruel cycle at times, but we always seem to survive to do again in four years.

Grinston Video from Mark Allen Shepherd

Got this funny little video in my facebook inbox from fellow Trekkie and friend to all, Mark Allen Shepherd. It was an unexpected-quirky delight. I don't pretend to have any idea what it means, but it will give you a chuckle when he gets to Santa having to digitize his naughty and nice list or respond to people asking about his networth.

It seems to be those unexpected Christmas treats that just make you feel good. I hope you enjoyed your time with family and friends this week and if you hosted out of towners wish them well on their trip back to wherever they came from.

If you can't guess Mark's Star Trek connection, look closely at his eyes. Still stumped? Go find the local bar and think about it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas. Live Long and Prosper

So it turns out these photos of the light up U.S.S. Enterprise are from the Parade of Lights by the City of East Peoria, Illinois.

They did a great job. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sherman Christmas Price Index 2013

PNC Wealth Management released their annual 'True Cost of Christmas' this month and the cost of Christmas went up again! The economy must be doing much better. In 2012 the actual cost had only grown around 6% and this year it is nearly 8%! This is a fun little commodity price index, and I wouldn't read too much into the numbers.

The price comes from getting your 'true love' to purchase everything mentioned in the verse of the 12 Days of Christmas. If you bought items 1-12, all the Lords a Leaping; Pipers Piping, and Maids Milking it would come to $27,393.18. While the 'True Cost', is the cost of buying all the gifts for every verse each day. They add up, buying 5 Golden Rings every day for the last half of the week. The TCOC comes to $114,651.18.

I've always preferred a much simpler Christmas Price Index. One that would be more reasonable for working middle class people to obtain. Who can afford 12 Lords a Leaping that isn't a millionaire? I like the Sherman Christmas Price Index or SCPI. This price index comes from the classic holiday parody done by Allan Sherman.


A note on my very unscientific methodology: I tried the best I could to find items as close to the ones mentioned in the song, and to keep them cheap versions of these products. Even the PNC folks have their own difficulties with the classic version of the song. For instance, different localities have things priced differently. If you were stuck in Arizona, getting the cows for the milking maids will be more expensive than getting them in Wisconsin. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Non Traditional Christmas Music

Taking a page from my friend Lance, here are three Non Traditional Christmas Songs for you this season. I have looked far and wide for some of the most unusual or off beat songs that might possibly appeal to that special Grinch in your life.

The first is from The Kinks

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

John Goodman SNL Recap

Well I tuned in for Saturday Night Live after a long day of moving some friends into a new apartment and really enjoyed John Goodman's performance. While most of the skits were not particularly memorable, they also were not over the top ridiculous. Nor boring. Easy going is how I would categorize the show this last Saturday.

John Goodman is not Kerry Washington, Justin Timberlake, Paul Rudd, Miley Cyrus or Beiber. You won't feel bad about not rolling on the floor laughing and you also won't be left scratching your head at most of the skits going 'WTF?".

Goodman is a solid, dependable performer and makes the most of any material. Some of his best SNL moments over the years have occurred when he dawns a dress for a skit. I was happy to see him return to his SNL Linda Tripp roots. Again, not a episode to post all over the social media world, but a good run for Goodman. The community theater skit and the cold open were also pretty good. Drunker Uncle on Weekend Update also worked somehow.  Let's hope they bring him back sooner than 12 years from now.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Speaking of Speaking: Advice on Public Speaking from the Back Row

As I was going through my facebook updates today I noticed an off hand comment from someone presenting at a public forum geared toward general audiences. It was of course about another speaker; but presented a common problem when we gather groups of professionals together to talk in front of the general public. Apparently, this speaker was very knowledgeable about their topic and got lost in the presentation and neglected to bring the audience with them on the journey of discovery about the topic.

Work in any field long enough and you are going to build up a good deal of knowledge about your topic, the organization you represent, and the community around your issue. This is good, don't get me wrong, we want people who are highly knowledgeable about higher education, climate change, and other topics. What we don't want as a general audience is to be lost in the minutia or details of your chosen field.

Most people do not get a whole lot of formal training in communications, let alone public speaking. This why candidates for political office, non profit, for profit leaders, even lawyers and ministers hire consultants to help them hone their skills. If you don't believe me, go down to your local county courthouse and sit in on a few cases. Odds are you wont see much in the way of Perry Mason or Alan Shore legal oratory. You will see a lot of heads down in file folders, rambling of case precedent and poor eye contact. Don't worry most people pay for good legal representation, not good communications representation at the courthouse. Still, public speaking isn't something most people are very experienced with nor would want to have a lot of experience with. I thought I'd share a tip with you from the back row.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela A Leader of the Future (1918-2013)

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” -Long Walk to Freedom 

There are few people I would ever think to nominate for President of Earth: Adlai Stevenson, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and  Mandela himself. I don't know if we will ever make it as one people, united in purpose for our own mutual prosperity. I am hopeful. Our diverse voices make us stronger not weaker. 

While we seem to have an unending supply of things to argue about and conflict over. Some governments and people can't seem to treat each other with the respect and compassion they deserve as human beings. Others are more hopeful and are working for that brave new world we must pass on to the next generation. Mandela was one of those working for that future. Like all those that inspire hope, when ones time is at an end, the others they have inspired will pick up where they left off to continue the march for freedom, peace, compassion and understanding. 

Stand between the darkness and the light friends. It may be the only thing that will save us. 

Top 10 Star Trek Voyager Guest Stars

I only have another month or so of 2013 to get through two more Star Trek television series. I have previously listed my Top 10 Guest Stars of TNG, and DS9. Now it is Voyagers turn.

10. Vaughn Armstrong

Perhaps one of the more recognized of the Star Trek acting troupe of guest stars, he might be most familiar as Admiral Maxwell Forrest from Star Trek Enterprise. Armstrong is one of five actors to have appeared in a Star Trek production in more than 7 different roles, his number is currently at 13. Spanning from TNG to Enterprise. He's lent his voice to numerous Trek computer games and even had a role in the first film of Star Trek the Experience. His appearance in the first season of VOY Eye of the Needle was a great performance and was one of the few appearances of the Romulans in VOY. He would eventually come back during the final episode to play a Klingon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Reunion with Archie Bunker

Thanksgiving at the Bunker's House is exactly what the meme going around the internet right now about how to talk to your 'Republican Uncle' about Obamacare is all about. Instead of your Republican Uncle, you have Archie, your Republican father.

For those of us who were not around in the 1970s, here is a brief overview. All in the Family, the show that Archie Bunker's Place is a based on was considered a groundbreaking show in the 1970s. The concept was based on a British program, Til Death To Us Part. All in the Family centered on the lives of a blue collar family dealing with the problems of adjusting to life in the 1970s. It centered around Archie Bunker; a bigoted conservative that didn't approve of anything he didn't like. He was upset that the world was changing so fast around him and now expected him to 'get with the times'. Constantly telling the audience what being pro-USA meant and how our new ideas ways were not helping the country.  Loads of political issues were explored in the show and those same political issues were carried over to the spinoff.

Archie Bunker's Place aired from 1979-1983. The first season, where this great Thanksgiving Reunion episode is from, was probably the closest to All in the Family. It was the last time all the cast from All in the Family appeared together on screen at the same time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

SNL: John Goodman is Back!

I couldn't be more thrilled to discover while checking out my various SNL related pages that this December, John Goodman will be hosting Saturday Night Live. He was on my list of top 10 hosts for Season 38, and while he didn't get the chance last season to host, I am glad Season 39 marks the return of this veteran funny man.

This will be his first time hosting in 12 years. I don't know how he'll play with a completely new team, but hopefully those writers have some good skits in development. I will for sure be tuning in on December 14 for this one. Goodman is currently appearing in an series Alpha House. I don't recall if SNL has ever had a guest based solely on web series. If Goodman is the first, he's a good first choice. Perhaps there is hope for all these other talents on various web series and non traditional studios.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Competitive Turkey Curling

Looks like Red Green is providing us with something we can do to help burn off all those holiday calories. I have no idea if this will ever catch on across the United States. Some areas apparently love the idea. Just head out to Laramie, Wyoming. They do turkey curling for charity.

If you end up needing a little excitement this year and think curling is the activity for you, Portland has a curling club with a brand new facility for people to get their 'curl on'. It is the Evergreen Curling Club. They have been around since 2002, but just built Oregon's first Curling rink in 2012.

Be it Turkey or Stones you curl, please have fun this holiday season. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Star Trek Renegades Teaser Trailer Released!

Star Trek Renegades is even closer to being finished now that the official teaser trailer has been released. Tim Russ and his band of Trekkers are taking Star Trek where it has never been before! I can't wait to see the finished product.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creative Writing: Scooby Doo Meets....

Growing up we watched a lot of Scooby-Doo in my family. They were always on whenever we needed a distraction. Some of my favorites were from the 1970s and featured the Headless Horseman or the ones where Scooby Doo meets Batman and Robin. I later found out that there was a whole series of Doo mysteries centered around bringing in a special guest or guests like the Adams Family. These were called The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Every show featured a special guest that involved themselves somehow with the episode.

Feeling uncreative last summer I put in a few episodes on dvd and started to wonder what some of the guest stars from our more recent popular culture might have been if they were to restart the New Scooby-Doo Movies series again at the present time. Imagine: Scooby-Doo meets Lady Gaga or Scooby-Doo meets Shaq and Charles Barkley. Scooby-Doo meets Jerry Seinfeld might have an interesting appeal. Scooby-Doo meets Dick Cheney might be too scary for some of us. I finally found one I thought would make a interesting episode. Here is the first part of the opening scene.....

Pointing his flashlight, he caught a glimpse of a lanky figure near the far side of the hall.

“FBI. FREEZE! Put your hands on your head and slowly turn around.” yelled a voice in the dark.

“Oh man don't shoot. I'm just a guy in a super creepy place” a quivering figure spoke.

“Slowly turn around and keep your hands on your head.” the voice sternly warned the frazzled young man.

Thanksgiving Cheers!

October, November and December seem to give our entertainment industry ample opportunities for holiday themed programing.There is ample opportunity in Thanksgiving to poke fun at human nature and relationships of all kinds.

Well I'm glad to see you're all fending off the holiday blues. This time of year is filled with arguments, suicides murders; yeah I  guess it is that seasonal happiness of others tends to throw a glaring light on the flaws of our own interpersonal relationships. -Dr. Fraiser Crane

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Starship: Weird Al & Bruce!, the great group of fans behind the Enterprise-D bridge restoration project got some more star power behind their venture with Weird Al and one my favorite Oregonians' Bruce Campbell. I hope they can make it to Portland soon.

Check out the picks and the website.
Incoming transmission on a UHF frequency?

There is nothing to fear anymore, not even the dead.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tom McCall Display

Finally got enough Tom McCall items to fill a riker display case. Mostly stickers, but still looks nice once I put it all together.

Still looking for a Tom McCall button or something from his 1978 and the 1954 congressional campaign.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween is Grinch Night

We all know the famous Dr. Seuss tale of the Grinch That Stole Christmas, but many of us are probably unaware of the tale of Halloween is Grinch Night. This is a Halloween tale involving the Grinch. Depending on who you talk to, this is considered the official prequel to the Christmas classic or takes place after it. I'm not sure to be honest. If it is after, then it appears the Grinch hasn't learned too much from his Christmas encounter. It aired October 29, 1977 on ABC. It was produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, a very active animation partnership in the 60s and 70s.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Hilarity: Roseanne (1988-1997)

Roseanne was one of those shows that my family grew up watching. I'll never know if we were the targeted demographic; working class, blue collar people living on a pay check to pay check. If we were, kudos to Barr the crew for doing their job, and if we weren't kudos the same. The show was great on a lot of levels, the populist-progressive politics, the drama, the comedy and what many people still love about the show: the awesome Halloween specials!

Welcome to the Tunnel of Terror!

Over the 9 seasons, all but the first featured a Halloween special. There is a great dvd collection of all eight episodes for like $5 bucks. Here is the season 2 episode BOO!, which was the first Halloween special.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rick Roll Someone in Klingon

To think we live in an age when the Klingons have translated Rick Astley's 80s "Never Gonna Give You Up" hit into Klingon and made a music video. This is exactly what the cast and crew from Chicago's Commedia Beauregard Theater have done. During the holiday season this theater puts on a Klingon interpretation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.

Kling-ON All! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Special Session Decompress

Say what you want about the legislation passed during the recent session of the Oregon legislature. I dare not call it a special session. Governor Kitzhaber could call another one for the Columbia River Crossing sometime this fall or winter.

Blue Oregon did a great job (far better than the old media) of breaking down the votes and giving real opportunities for opponents and advocates of some of the legislation a chance to weigh in on the session. All five bills got the required votes needed to pass. It wasn't all along clear party lines. 

The biggest problem with this last special session and the one last December is that when we try and legislate supposedly important laws in such a compressed time frame a lot of the public doesn't get a chance to give input into the law making process. How many town halls were held about the five bills that were passed? I feel it was somewhat arrogant of the governor and legislative leaders to think they could do all this in a single one day special session and the expanding of two extra days was somewhat beneficial, but not nearly as beneficial to the public as it would have been had these bills come up during the regular session.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Can't wait for Cosmos II

Was going through a box in the closet and found this great Carl Sagan cover and made me remember what a wonderful job the first Cosmos series did at opening up science to general audiences. It wasn't just science that Sagan and those around him opened up to a wider audience, it was philosophy and politics too. That how we fund research and science matters just as much as how we fund other parts of government.

Future Life was a magazine that lasted only about four years (1978-1981). It was dedicated to both science and science fiction. This cover of Future Life has a headline that reads, "Space Activism: A Growing National Movement?" They talk about the forming and constantly growing 'space constituency'. These are activists that want to influence government and society in a direction that takes us further into the stars.

These groups continued and did not simply just 'go away' as I am sure some in the various power circles in our country would have preferred. Even President Obama had a group of these folks in the 2008 campaign. The Obamanauts worked for his election in Florida and other parts of the country.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Creative Writing: Close Quarters

The big city promises big dreams and even bigger disappointments for fools of all fortunes. This is just one of the thousands of stories from within the city limits....

Water hitting the pavement again. Peter rolled over in his bed to look at his alarm clock. three in the morning, three the damn morning he thought to himself. Tossing himself face up; he began to stare at the ceiling. The sound of the water grew louder and louder until he forced himself to get out of bed. Lumbering towards the bedroom window he exerted what little strength he had left in him to open it to the outside world. Leaning against the windowsill; he started taking in all that he saw. The few faint stars, the cityscape and then the eyesore before him; the big city water truck.

"I say; do you mind not running that aquatic monstrosity this early in the morning? Some of us are just getting into bed at this time" he attempted to yell over the sound of the water shooting from the pressure washer.

No response.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Governor's Desk Found!

I was recently visiting Tillamook, Oregon most famously known in the region for their cheese factory and aviation museum. I was visiting to go see the freshly renovated  Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. I had not been in for a visit since they had finished the renovations. I was amazed to see how they had made the first level much more open and inviting. Nearly everything else remained the same from what I could recall. The old cars in the basement, the American Service room filled with military artifacts from the community, the pioneer living area and of course the nature preservation room.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Petition Season is Here!

Most likely if you have been out and about in Oregon at a high foot traffic area you have been asked to sign a petition to get put something on the 2014 Oregon ballot. Oregonians United for Marriage have been out for several weeks now collecting signatures to help get Oregon to repeal Measure 36 (passed in 2004) by Oregon voters. Public opinion has changed a bit on the matter of marriage equality and groups like Basic Rights Oregon think 2014 is a good year to try to amend the Oregon Constitution. Currently, 13 states + DC, and 5 Native American Tribes recognize marriage for same sex couples. Oregon would soon join those ranks if OUFM is successful in getting on the ballot and winning their campaign in 2014. It should be noted that the chances are very good for Oregon. All the states that currently have full marriage equality are states that have generally been carried by Democratic candidates in the last 12 years. President Obama carried all 13 in both 2008 and 2012. This does not mean that it is guaranteed per say, but it perhaps help boosts the confidence of those mounting the campaign. I expect it will be one of the top three campaigns on the ballot after the Senate race and race for Governor.

Another petition drive out there currently, which will probably not garner as much attention as the Marriage Equality debate is the campaign to get Tom McCall a recognized state holiday. Governor McCall turned 100 this year and supporters and friends hope to make sure Oregonians remember him in another 100 years. They want a state holiday on May 22nd of every year. In conjunction with the holiday, they hope to gather support organizations around the state for a Tom McCall Festival, which they want to call Vortex (after the famous rock concert McCall sponsored).

I was approached while I was attending Atomic Arts Trek in the Park this last weekend to sign the McCall petition. I was happy to do so. Perhaps if more people were like Tom McCall our state would be a lot better off today. I don't know how Tom McCall would vote on the marriage equality issue, but I sure bet he'd want it on the ballot for voters to have the chance to debate it in full. If someone tells you "well, we've already decided this issue when we passed Measure 36 in 2004". Remind them that Measure 36 will have been passed a decade ago by the time 2014 roles around. Think about how much has changed in the last 10 years. It is about time to reexamine this issue. I still think it will be a tough vote to carry, but I hope it will pass.

Religious freedom, which is sometimes used as a rallying cry for folks against marriage equality has been lost or confused in this debate. America is a great country when it comes to religious freedom. So long as you don't harm others, you're pretty much allowed to believe what you want to believe in terms of religion. Christians and all the colorful denominations that comprise it, Muslims, Judaism, Buddhists, Scientologists, Hindus, and even those who don't have any religious leanings all make up that wonderful patchwork that is America. Denying a someone the right to marry the person they love is the exact opposite of respecting freedom of religion. Using your faith to dictate how others live their lives isn't right. We wouldn't tolerate people passing laws telling us:  that restaurants can't serve steak on Fridays, preventing businesses from being open from sundown on Friday nights until the appearance of three stars in the Saturday night sky, and of course people would be infuriated if we passed laws saying women could not drive cars.

Religious freedom requires tolerance for faiths different from your own. I hope that in the coming debates over marriage equality in Oregon folks on both sides remember that.

I'm sure there will be others gathering signatures, as soon as I hear about them I will spread the word.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SNL Top 10 Hosts for Season 39

Well SNL'ers Season 39 will soon be upon us. It is looking like some of our longstanding regular cast members are moving on for different projects. Seth Myers will be departing in December to get ready to replace Jimmy Fallon at Late Nite so that Fallon can then take over for Jay Leno. Let's hope this goes better than the last time Jay retired.

Fred Armisen won't be coming back. Here's hoping he's devoting his new found free time to more Portlandia. He had been with the show since 2002 (Season 28). He started on SNL, when one of my all time favorites, Will Farrell left the show. Amazing how much staying power a lot of these folks have. Bill Hader also announced that Season 38 was going to be his last. Simply stating, "maybe it's just time to go". He had been with the show since 2005, and has really grown on the show. I am excited to see what his next thing will be. The other departure is Jason Sudeikis. He's not going sit around doing nothing. Never one to just do one thing, he'll continue on with a solid career he has been building up the last few years.

Last year I wrote about the Top 10 Hosts for Season 38 I would love to see on the show. Here is the Top 10 Hosts for Season 39!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Top 10 Star Trek DS9 Guest Stars

In continuation of celebrating all things Trek, I have put together a list of the Top 10 DS9 Guest Stars. These are actors who had one or two appearances on Star Trek Deep Space Nine during the seven seasons the show was on the air. This list was a little more difficult to make in my opinion because of all the great recurring characters that were utilized week after week during the production of the show. 2013 marked both the 20th Anniversary of Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5. Two shows that fans sometimes let a healthy competition between go a little too far, but all in good fun none the less.  There were just so many great established characters that some weeks there were no big surprise guest stars booked. Still, I was able to get my list of TEN!

Back on the Grid

Spent a week away from the grid. It was very relaxing and I spent most of the time fishing and swimming. Here is one of the places I ended up visiting along NF-57 in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Tom McCall said, "Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens." It was inspiring to be out enjoying Oregon the last week.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Obama's Race in America Statement

Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race.  It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society.  It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.  But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are -- they’re better than we were -- on these issues.  And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

I think out of all the pontification and posturing that comes about from a discussion of subjects like Race in America or anything of a similar nature is that progress lies in the hearts and minds of those who are yet to come. This is an idea born back in the annals of epistemology and how we come to understand and know ideas. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Old Friends Catching Up

This is a small sample of something I started writing a few weeks ago. Typical fan fiction type of stuff. Use some characters in a pretty established universe and let your muse take you somewhere. Many talented people have used the Star Trek universe to tell all sorts of cool stories over the years. Some of them even get paid to write Star Trek stuff. Do your thing. Keep writing friends.

 Imagine for a moment you are an invisible observer on the bridge of the Defiant. Watching two old friends catching up with each other during a lull point of a mission. What do you think you would hear them talking about?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oregon Outdoors: Hagg Lake

I took a trip out to Hagg Lake this last weekend to do some early morning fishing up by the rocks near the dam. Those of us that went loaded up the truck and were on the road by 6:15am. On the way we stopped in at the Lake Stop Grocery. It is a little bit better than your typical convenience store. It also serves as an excellent tackle shop. In the age of the big box store, you have to try and support the local folks where you can.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ready for Hillary?

Got my free Ready for Hillary Sticker a few weeks ago. To get your free sticker you can visit here: free sticker!

Senator Ed Markey

A few weeks ago Ed Markey became the newest member of the United States Senate. He won his first race for congress in 1976, taking office the same year Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President. Unlike Carter, Markey held onto his seat in 1980 during the ensuing Reagan landslide and has been re-elected by more than 60% of the vote every time he has run for re-election. His lowest margin of victory was 62% in a three way contest during the 1992 election.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Adventures in Trek: The Scream of Khan

In Star Trek into Darkness we get to see Zachary Quinto's take on the famous Khan Scream. He is only one of a handful of people to get the chance to replicate the scream on screen. I thought it might be fun to look at a few of them. I personally thought that doing two Khan screams in Trek was probably one too many. No one does it better than the man who made the scream famous. If you didn't like Quinto's take on the scream, you might be interested in seeing these counter examples. I saved the best for last!

Of course this list is only of the ones I know about, so if you know of another Khan scream besides the original from WoK let me know. Another note, is that this list does include the various incarnations of the scream that substitute the word Khan for something else. Examples might include Spongebob Squarepants "PRRAAAAAAWWN" or The Big Bang Theory "WWWWWWWHHHHEEEEAAATTTTTOONN!"

The Long Khan was started by EPIX and was an effort to create the longest Khan scream in existence. All you have to do is upload your Khan scream and they edit it into the ever growing video. There have also been organized events held with William Shatner to get the most people in one place doing the Khan scream into the world record books. For 31 years, this 2 second clip has been inspiring people across the globe to yell at the top of their lungs. Do not worry fellow fans, Zachary Quinto won't be the last to take it on.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

GSY: Star Trek Into Darkness

 Boldly going where we've been before! 

There is nothing quite like seeing a Star Trek movie in theaters. I can still recall going to see Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in theaters as a child and being amazed at the story unfolding out before me. Good stories have the ability to make us forget we are watching something that isn't 'real' and draw us into the world created by the writers. Great stories put us right there in the midst of the action. Reviewing Star Trek into Darkness,  I so want to give this film 6/6 on my Star Trek enjoyment scale...yet I just can't. Don't get me wrong the story was good. When I start to ask why the story was so good, that's where my rosy colored Star Trek glasses fail to hide the problems associated movie.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Star Trek Continues in Great Trek Tradition

Over Memorial Day weekend I sat down to watch the first installment of Star Trek Continues by Farragut Films. Let's talk about 'fan films' first. Fan film's are basically groups of fans that attempt to produce (note the attempt part; sometimes these loose groups of fans are overly ambitious in their goals and fizzle out) quality stories for release on the internet. Depending on the quality of fan film will determine on the group of fans producing. Some groups have vastly different resources than others. Still, the goal is to tell a story that is in keeping with their source inspiration.

Star Trek Continues centers around the journeys of the U.S.S. Enterprise as if the series never ended at the end of the third season. It picks right up where we left Kirk and company back in 1969. There is even a short video revisiting the events of Turnabout Intruder. From a story telling standpoint this seems like a natural place to pick up the start of a fan series.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek into Darkness: Gut Reactions

I went down to the Bridgeport Cinema in Tigard with a friend to watch the 10am showing of Star Trek into Darkness. I won't do a full review until this weekend when I don't have as much homework. Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie. Although, I did end up laughing during the final battle due to the destruction of a famous San Fransisco tourist stop in the bay. J.J. Abrams knows how to make fun of himself and that kind of humor is one I greatly appreciate.

This was a lot better than Star Trek (2009). It had a villain that you could clearly define and feel justified in loathing. To my first generation Trekker friends (those of us who loved Star Trek long before the 2009 film) all I can say is you will like this movie and probably with a range of confusion to irritation with this film for those same reasons. I also ponder if Nicholas Meyer should be getting a little something for his contributions to this movie....but we'll talk about that later. To those of you that only started watching after the 2009 movie, you will likely not regret your decision to see installment number 2 from the Bad Robot folks.

Go enjoy the experience of seeing a Star Trek movie. You can hen and haw about it afterwards to your hearts delight.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GSY: Star Trek (2009)

This was originally published on May 9, 2009 as a Facebook Note. Since no one uses FN anymore I am transferring some FN to this blog. Star Trek Into Darkness opens tonight at some theaters so this seemed like a good time to post this review of the first film from 2009. 

By far the most epic part of Star Trek (2009)
 ****Warning, may include Spoilers*****

Sweet and Sour is how I would describe Star Trek XI. It is very sweet going down, but leaves sorta of a sour after taste in the mouth. Still a good movie, not quite to Wrath of Khan goodness, but somewhere between First Contact and The Voyage Home.

First, the Sweet

Kudos to the effects people, they really spruced up Star Trek for the 21st Century movie goer. Everything had a distinct feel and it was Star Trek. Most of the acting was well done and the casting choices for the most part were sound. I'm just not a Winona Ryder fan. Didn't seem like a shoplifter would make a good fit for Amanda. Villains are hard to do for Star Trek movies to begin with and Eric Bana does a good job at trying to make the audience worried about Nero. He's certainly not as bad ass as the Borg Queen or Dr. Soran (I mean he killed Kirk, how more bad ass can you get..Khan couldn't even kill Kirk!). Nero made sense, he's a Romulan, hates the Federation. His planet goes boom; he blames the Federation(which is sorta lost on me why they are to blame) When he is given the means to get his revenge, he turns out to be willing to go the distance. Majel reprises her role as the voice of Star Trek and is a superb tribute to her memory. I hope through digital technology that they are able to bring back her voice for the next movie. With 212 appearances as the computer I'm sure they have more than enough to make some edits and keep her alive in Star Trek.

My favorite character from the original series has always been McCoy, and I thought Karl Urban did a commendable job at attempting to create his own McCoy and pay respect to D. Kelly. Sorta little darker McCoy than I was expecting, though still witty. Now if only we could get Karl Urban to get rid of that insufferable K and replace it with the proper C. Carl.

Nimoy makes a good showing for his seventh Star Trek movie, and had a much larger part than I thought they were going to give him. Missed him in Generations.

So with all that praise, here's what's leaving the sour taste in my mouth.

Red Matter? Seriously? Why is Spock carrying Red Matter? It's all rather too convenient. I hope he was using metaphasic shielding when he was traveling towards the Romulan star. Also the whole idea that Spock would be late for a supernova is highly questionable.

Now the next bit is a what allows the movie to work (yes) and is also the flaw that my mind can't escape. Which proves that moviegoers can understand such things, even if they don't like them.

The Back to the Future Linear Time Problem

We all know BTTFII well, Old Biff uses the DeLorean to travel back to 1955 to give young Biff Grace Sports Almanac, causing the timeline to branch off into an alternate 1985. You can't go forward from that point unless you want to be stuck in the alternate reality. So you have to go back to the point where the timeline was altered to fix it. The problem with the new Star Trek movie is Spock doesn't seemed all that concerned that the timeline has been altered. Almost as if he shrugs his shoulders and goes "Meh, close enough". He's aware that something has happened when he meets the young Kirk on Delta Vega (which should not be confused with the Delta Vega Gary Mitchell was stranded on in TOS) A new planet name would have been sufficient...unless this is some "alternate reality" Delta Vega.

It would seem to me that Spock would care enough that the timeline had been altered that he would attempt to set it straight. It's not as if he hasn't time traveled before, but instead he sorta just goes with it. When he was with Kirk, they traveled back in time to abduct whales to save Earth from a giant space whale! Vulcan I guess is not as important. Then again, I sorta liked watching Vulcan explode. The writers for ENT had made them so snobbish that I enjoyed watching them all die. MUHAHAHAH.(wink)

There's other problems with the story that just left me scratching my head on top of that now I have to remember differences between the "alternate reality" and the "prime-universe". I don't have time for that. Maybe Star Trek XII will be about correcting the time line....

I think my rating of 3/6 is very fair. Considering I didn't mention the lack of some political, philosophical moral conundrum. I let it slide, sometimes it is ok for a movie to just be a movie. These are the times we live in and they are reflected in our popular culture. Movies will always have big explosions and lots of special effects, actors who bring characters to life, but in the end I'm looking for a story with meaning. Why was it important to go back and show these characters at such young ages? Harvey Bennett wanted to do that for movie six. Alas I don't get paid the big bucks to worry about such things. While I don't claim to be right, I know I'm not wrong. There was something amiss with the story and it bugged me while I watched it.

In the meantime, I'll keep dreaming about a TNG based animated series. The cast sounded great on Family Guy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Students Rally in Oregon

I recently participated in one of the many annual student activism events Thursday in Salem. Overall, aside from some confusion about when exactly the rally was starting and where people were suppose to meet up, I thought the rally was a good show of energy. A rally of several hundred students and education advocates descended on the capitol to fight to advocate for $510 million in funding for Oregon community colleges, $850 million for Oregon universities and $15 million for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Yellow balloons flew over students with the amount of student loan debt they are carrying and will be carrying for years to come. The crowd of about 400 chanted that education is a right not a privileged; that legislators needed to stay on track and not roll back funding this session. Student debt has always been a problem, but in the last decade it has ballooned into a monster of a hindrance to graduating students being able to become productive members of society. Students can't buy homes, cars, make investments if as soon as they leave school they are saddled with, on average $25,000 in debt. It would be one thing if students could get a living wage job after graduation, but far too many students are leaving school directionless. Some even question if they should have gone to college in the first place if they knew the job prospects would be so grim.

Adventures in Politics: Politics & You #24

OHS Archives
My birthday was on Tuesday and I decided to treat myself this week and as I was searching the Book Bin in Salem I found a book I had been looking for quite a while for, it is by United States Senator Richard Neuberger (with assistance from his wife, Senator Maurine Neuberger). I had been looking for this book because inside is an neat Appendix entitled Politics & You. Both of them were serving in the State legislature at the time of this publication. He in the State Senate and she in the State House. As of the time of the publishing in 1954, the Council of State Governments could find no records of any other husband and wife serving along side each other in a state legislature in United States history.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth is Where We Must Make Our Stand

Carl Sagan said, "The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand."

For this moment, in our short few seconds of eternity there is no where else to go friends. Our Earth is all we have and if we don't find better ways to treat each other or it, we may burn ourselves right out of existence.  The hard part for many of us is recognizing this reality.

Take a look down the brown band for the small blue dot. That's all of us on Earth. There is something even more important about Earth Day than picking up litter or recycling cans. Earth Day is also about taking care of each other and all the life on this little dot.

Hopefully, we'll figure out better ways to help us cherish and protect our home from the inevitable progress that is to come. Have a positive Pale Blue Dot Day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Background Checks Lose out to Politics

Well, tougher background check standards lost out by 4 votes in the United States Senate yesterday. For all the handshaking and meetings the Newton families held with lawmakers it just wasn't enough to overcome long held fears and questions of the constitutional rights of gun owners. Let's get one thing clear from the get go. I come from a family of gun owners, I target and skeet shoot in the summer. I have no qualms with anyone wanting to purchase a firearm. At the same time I recognize that we do a horrible job of managing our guns. It is this mismanagement that allows for people who shouldn't have guns (i.e. criminals, and mentally unstable, and the uneducated) to get their hands on guns.

The Toomey-Manchin background check amendment was an acceptable start to putting our personal armories in order. It should not have been considered the final word on the subject of background checks. Most folks in opposition to background checks cited one of two or both of the following arguments.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tom McCall for President? What a Tease!

Few Oregonians have been able to capture the nations attention like Governor Thomas Lawson McCall. For three decades he dominated the scene here in Oregon; towards the latter end of his provocative and curious career, when he was looking for a next step to capitalize on his popularity, his staunchest supporters had plans to help keep their hero in the spotlight. They would make him Vice President of the United States.
McCall with Vice President Spiro Agnew.

You may recall that during the mid-70s the United States was going through some pains. President Richard Nixon was engulfed in the largest scandal of the modern day presidency: Watergate. It was in these waning hours of the Nixon Administration that McCall loyalist Phil Freeman of Eugene and his associates began an 11th hour campaign to get McCall elected Vice President. The 17 member committee was called "Citizens for McCall for Vice President". The group composed a letter to House Speaker Carl Albert in Washington D.C. I'm still trying to track down a copy of the letter, but all we have right now are these snips found in the Eugene Register Guard.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creative Writing: Eulogy for John Smith

When I feel that I haven't been writing much in a while, I like to write eulogies for fictional characters. Here is one for John "Hannibal" Smith of the A-Team. Written from the perspective of a former client of the A-Team.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oregon Experience: Tom McCall

This week Oregon Experience released the Tom McCall documentary. You can't look at modern Oregon without looking Tom McCall's impact during his life. He was a mover and shaker of public policy for most of his adult life in Oregon. Enjoy.

Watch Tom McCall on PBS. See more from Oregon Experience.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Babylon 5: The Gathering Turns 20

The Gathering turned 20 today. Here is the original opening few minutes of the episode. Babylon 5, the dream of one sci-fi fan turned into reality. Makes you feel like anyone can go from frustrated fan writer to professional writer over night. J. Michael Straczynski and the rest of the crew that brought you B5 should be proud of the quality production they created.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Race Preview

Mr. Bill Says: "Take a look at these Polls!"
2013 looks to be just as interesting for the political junkie as 2012 turned out to be. There are 4, count them 4 special elections for congress going on right now. The race to fill the remainder of John Kerry's senate term is happening in Massachusetts right now. Congressman Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch are vying for the Democratic nomination. The Republicans have several candidates, none of which are household names. Former Senator Scott Brown declined to run and he was probably the only Republican that could have fared well against either Markey or Lynch. Mo Cowan, a former Chief of Staff for Governor Deval Patrick will be filling in as the interim Senator until the election is over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

GSY Review: Earth Final Conflict Season 1

I know. It has been a while. School has been keeping me busy. So, to ease back into to some daily writing I thought I might start off with a Go Screen Yourself Review of Earth Final Conflict. This is yet another great show from the television buffet table that was 90s science fiction. It was a little slow to build, but once you got about four or five episodes in it started to click. The series deals with the ramifications of first contact by a race called the Taelons. They appear genderless, have advanced technology and want to be humanity's friend. Gee. What could possibly go wrong?

Running from 1997-2002, the show holds up great for sixteen years out of production. This was one of two shows that Gene Roddenberry had written down ideas for before he had passed away in 1991. His wife, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, shopped around and was able to get both Earth Final Conflict and Andromeda into production. She served as executive producer of both shows. Her partner on Earth Final Conflict was David Kirschner.  MBR was also able to secure a recurring role in the first season as Dr. Julianne Belman.