Friday, April 26, 2013


It's my birthday today.

It's also Mr Wrath's birthday.

And our wedding anniversary.

We are just now back from eating out. Our meal consisted of many dishes all involving bread and/or cheese. The boys were in heaven.

When I was younger I didn't see the point of flowers. Then I got older and older still (and as of today I am FORTY!) and I stopped wanting things for the sake of owning things. This is not to say I'm unmaterialistic or enlightened.  Far from it. But I know my own head and my tastes and because of this I'm harder to please. Factor in that I shop sales and frequently indulge my "wants" when good deals come around, the scope of possible presents is even smaller. Plus I don't want the pressure of asking for or receiving a present that is laden with emotional significance or intended to become an heirloom. I don't need that kind of burden. Which is why I now like receiving flowers:

["Can I eat them? Please?," asks Fogo.]

This bouquet came from my husband. Earlier in the week he smuggled the vase out of the house (having given it to me full of flowers for Mother's Day four years ago) and ran it down to the florist.

The other part of my present is the black tool cabinet (the green top is a piece of wood that my husband cut down to size and I painted and shellacked). When I went to pick it up at the Sears depot last Friday, I mentioned to the manager (who we've dealt with frequently) it was my birthday present from Mr Wrath. He was mightily impressed. "There are not a lot of women who'd let their husbands shop for them in the hardware department of Sears."

When I explained that Mr. Wrath's present from me is Lodge camp dutch oven, he commented, "You guys are so great."

YES. WE ARE GREAT. It has now been independently confirmed.

Even if our home decor is pretty eclectic. And we tend to fuck around with typical gender roles.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What Xenu wants, Xenu gets.

It's my birthday next week, and I have already received several early presents:

Sixteen books comprising The L. Ron Hubbard Series! They are the latest attempt by Scientology to legitimize the cult by getting their propaganda into public libraries. If you are lucky, your library is run by someone who will refuse to add these donations into the collection1. This way when patrons type "Scientology" or "L. Ron Hubbard" or "washed up science fiction writer who invented a religion about aliens in order to make money and rob people of their freedom and money" into the library catalogue they won't be swamped with public relations drivel churned out by Scientology's Planetary Dissemination Organization. Hopefully, instead they will find some of these titles:

Beyond Belief: My Life In And Out Of Scientology by Jenna Miscavige Hill.
Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.

Or better yet,

Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard. There really is no better indictment of this "church" than the reading the source material first hand.

Despite being chockablock full of crazy drivel, outright lies, paternalistic attitudes, and bad medical advice my new books are beautiful. The paper is glossy and high quality. The bindings are expensive looking. Aesthetically the design and layout is pleasing and engaging. From an early age until he became a hermit in the early eighties, L. Ron enjoyed posing for photos. Many of them are included in the various volumes. My favourite part is that 30% of each book is given over to glossaries of dubious merit and relevance. But they are in keeping with the Scientology's Study Tech education curriculum belief that adherents must analyse and memorize Hubbard-approved definitions of words. Like this one from the Humanitarian: Rehabilitating a Drugged Society volume:

Let me be completely clear: THIS is not what schizophrenic means. If you don't believe me (and you shouldn't) google other sources and/or read this.

In conclusion: there are six more shopping days till my birthday. It's not too late to buy me this:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 -- other options: have a bonfire, recycle them, put them on the book sale shelf.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Warp Speed Wednesday: When JB Fletcher Comes a Knockin' (on the Enterprise airlock).

I thought it would be a breeze to blog about Star Trek actors appearing on Murder, She Wrote. I was wrong. First I compiled a looooong list of Star Trek cast members and checked their profiles on for Murder, She Wrote credits. But I also wanted to blog about series regulars popping up on Murder, She Wrote. I made another list. Then because I am a bit of an aficionado of famed character actors and I couldn't resist the temptation to include them. Another list was created. Then it occurred to me that I had overlooked the movies. In short order (well not that short, it was rather time consuming) I had an extensive -- but by no means exhaustive -- master list1 and was faced with the logistical problem of presenting it in a single post.

My solution is to present the information over a series of posts in chronological order of the series production. Then there will be a single post for all TWELVE movies. But not for Enterprise. Enterprise sucked long and hard for three seasons. Sure, the fourth season was excellent, but I'm still bitter about the whole series and I don't know enough about that shows to do it justice.

I have now put more thought in to this topic than I did in to planning my own wedding.

Let's start with Star Trek: The Original Series.

• The only series regular to appear on Murder She Wrote is George Takei. As an aside, Takei only appears in 51 of 80 episodes of TOS. Yet Mr Takei continues to present himself as being the victim of William Shatner's ego. He would prefer if no one drew attention to the fact that Shatner was the star of the show, whereas Takei was set dressing. It was only when the cartoon series was produced, and Takei could be hired for spare change, that Sulu's character developed. But I digress.

Takei appears on "The Bottom Line Is Murder" (MSW, S3) as Bert Tanaka. It's a one dimensional characterization, and it's uncomfortable to watch Takei's performance as a deranged buffoon employed as a janitor. It strays uncomfortably close to Ugly Stereotype category thanks to Takei's over-the-top accent.

In 53 episodes of Murder, She Wrote, William Windom played Seth Hazlitt, Cabot Cove's doctor. Trekkies know him as Matt Decker from "The Doomsday Machine." He took over command of the Enterprise and damn near got everyone killed. But Kirk saved the day. Phew.

Hazlitt often reminds me of TOS' Bones, and is as loveable as Decker was maddening.

•Ricardo Montalbán played the role of Khan in "Space Seed" (and in the second Star Trek movie) and showed up as Vaacclav Maryska in "Murder in F Sharp" (MSW, S7).

•In the same Star Trek episode Madlyn Rhue was Montalbán's love interest Marla McGivers. In Murder, She Wrote she was Cabot Cove librarian, Jean O'Neill. The role was created for Rhue by Angela Landsbury to ensure that Rhue didn't lose her Screen Actors Guild health insurance. Rhue desperately needed the coverage as she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. Angela Landsbury is a classy lady.

Morgan Woodward is probably a name you don't recognize. But chances are you have seen him -- and heard his distinctive voice -- at some point. He was Sheriff Brademus in "Test of Wills" (MSW, S6). Over twenty years earlier after he was cast twice in Star Trek. In "The Omega Glory" he was Captain Tracey and in "Dagger of the Mind" he was Dr. Simon van Gelder. Both men were off their individual rockers and when I watched the episodes I found him terrifying. In my defense, I was 10.

Melvin Belli was an excellent lawyer and a horrible actor. The latter is evident if you've seen him as  Gorgon  in "And The Children Shall Lead." Two decades later he was still stilted and awful when he turned up in "From the Horse's Mouth" (MSW, S7) as Judge Harley. Rumour is that Belli leveraged his legal expertise to get clients in Hollywood to cast him in their shows. It's really the only plausible explanation.

Mariette Hartley wooed Spock in  "All Our Yesterdays" as Zarabeth which is one of my favourite episodes. "Night of the Coyote" (MSW, S9) was her only appearance on Murder She Wrote.

• The character of Losira in "That Which Survives" is played by Lee Meriwether. She was also Grace Overholtz in "A Lady in the Lake" (MSW, S2). In which series do you think she wore the above ensemble!? GUESS!

• Kim Darby was the titular character in "Miri" (TOS). She showed up twice in Murder, She Wrote. The episodes were "Flim Flam" (MSW, S11) and "We're Off to Kill the Wizard" (MSW, S1). I've seen both of these episodes at least once and I never made the connection to Miri till now. She's a grup, now! Finally she can track down Kirk and show him that she's better than that floozy Yeoman Rand.

If I missed any appearance let me know. Next week  Eventually I'll be tackling cross over appearance between Murder, She Wrote and The Next Generation cast. I don't know when that will happen though. I'm already burned out.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
  1 -- This is my defensive way of showing you that I tried my best and I know I missed some names, but please be gentle with me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be Your Own Hero.

Several "news" sources (and yes, I'm using "news" in the loosest sense of the word) recently carried a story about the sexist clothing selection at the online Disney Store. I'm not sure whether this was inspired by, OR was the inspiration for, an online petition called Stop Selling Sexist Avengers T-Shirts @DisneyStore. Women Can Be Heroes Too! that I've seen referenced in posts as well.

Of particular offense was a women's shirt with the slogan "I need a hero" emblazoned with the faces of four Avengers. It is no longer up on the page, but I did find this equally sexist offering:

This one is still for sale in the boys' department:

Various Avengers shirts are also sold in men's sizes.

There are zero Avengers shirts offered in the Disney Store's girls' section. But Disney is selling 174 Princess themed clothes for girls. Fifteen tops are shown in the women's Princess line. No Disney Princess fashions are offered in the boys' or men's lines. But this oversight isn't seen as alarming or sexist and no one is starting petitions about that.

Don't interpret the above points as my disagreeing with the sentiment behind that petition or the online discussion. I just want to illustrate that a great deal of sexism is permitted to pass unquestioned by popular culture. If we're expected to get upset about Lego's Friends line, shouldn't we be equally upset that Maplelea and American Girl's websites, marketing and toys are deeply rooted in sexism? This is a double standard that makes me uncomfortable.

If Disney and Mighty Fine (producers of the offending shirts) do revamp the Avengers clothing line, they might want to choose their graphic carefully. Because a great many images of female superheroes are inappropriate for children's wear. And adult wear, too. One of the first boards I started when I joined Pinterest was Images of Wonder Woman where she doesn't look like a whore. The criteria I use for adding images is whether or not I'd be comfortable letting my young sons see them. Quite frankly, a lot of Wonder Woman art, photos and products involve inappropriate postures, ridiculous body proportions, minuscule clothing and violent scenarios. This is true of all female superheroes. I've collected some of the more inappropriate images on another Pinterest Board called Superhero or Sex Worker. You might want to make sure your kids or employer are not in the room when/if you click that link.

Also I recommend checking out The Hawkeye Initiative, which "uses Clint Barton as well as other male comic characters to illustrate how contorted and hyper-sexualized women are commonly drawn in comics."

Saturday, April 13, 2013


There are certain types of people who use Twitter as a forum for discussion and debate about the seal hunt

1. Sane, intelligent people who are informed about the issue and are willing and eager to respond to seal hunt critics. 

For samples check out Mad Inuk, Radical Ominvore,  Chris Mitchelmore and me.  

2. Celebrities who are great at public relations, but not exactly renowned for their brains, subtly, compassion, or logic

Their king is Bill Maher:

I wonder if  Bill Maher knows the Humane Society of the United States' annual revenue is $148,703,820?!  Why does the HSUS need more money? Does the money that people donated on Maher's recommendation go directly into funding the HSUS' anti-seal hunt activism or their general coffers?

This tweet from Hilton is from October and refers to Bill S-210.  Drafted and championed by Senator Mac Harb it was meant to kill the Canadian Commercial seal hunt. It was defeated on February 28, 2013. Coincidentally this was the same day the story broke that Harb's finances are being audited for his part in an expense scandal.

Other anti-seal hunt celebrities (ie, Ke$ha, Morrissey, Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop, Sarah McLachlan) have remained silent about this year's hunt. Pamela Anderson has retweeted a single message from another Twitter user. Fair-weathered activists.

3. People who anthropomorphize seals because they believe they're actually Beanie Babies:

These "activists" are the ones most likely to have a whitecoat seal as their avatar. They also love using the word "baby."

4. People who only have compassion for animals and don't give a rat's ass about humans:

I watched that video and I still say the seal hunt is okay. I'm not sick in the head, but I do still have a bit of head cold. Does that count?

5. People whose attempts at activism are just so idiotic that I can't help but laugh:

I hope that before she renounces her theoretical Canadian citizenship, she learns to spell Canadian correctly.

On behalf of all Canadians -- the majority of whom have never seen a seal -- I will answer this query. No, we do not say sorry to the dead seals because:
a. dead seals don't listen very well, and 
b. it's insulting to perpetuate ugly national stereotypes. Don't you have some homework to finish?

• • • • • • • • • • • • 

It's going to be a long season.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Return of Point Form Friday.

• This ad popped up on a website earlier this week:
It gave me a chuckle. Even more amusing: the commercial that Cheryl Burke (who is evidently a dancer on a show called Dancing With the Pseudo Stars of Yesteryear) made for the company:

Who is the target audience for this campaign? People who need adult diapers but are too embarrassed to admit it? People who are so scared of public washrooms they'd rather use an adult diaper? People who are just curious and like free things?

What's the name of "charity" that received money because Cheryl Burke tried on these adult diapers? The Cheryl Burke Retirement Account? The Society For The Preservation of Wiglets?

Reasons My Son Is Crying makes me appreciate having older children.

•I'm officially giving up on the Molly Murphy book series by Rhys Bowen. I love the basic concept for the series (a recent immigrant from Ireland in the early 1900s, Molly works as a private investigator in New York City) but the plots are plodding, convoluted, and transparent. All the same when I saw The Family Way on my library's New Releases shelf, I checked it out. By page 30 I'd guessed the "villain." I'd also remembered that I was annoyed at Bowen for marrying Molly to her stiff lipped, stick-in-the-mud, social climbing, police officer boyfriend who disapproves of her career, her social circle and her politics. In this book Daniel Sullivan continues to be a priggish, mama's boy and Molly SLAPS him at one point. And now I don't like either character.

Also there was a glaring error on the book jacket, which said the book was set in 1905. However the first page of the book states the year is 1904. See:

This makes me unreasonably grumpy.

• I'm rolling my eyes at Halle Berry. One minute she's cursing at paparazzi to stay away from her child, and trying to get her custody arrangement altered so she can relocate the girl and "protect" her from media scrutiny. The next second she's making official statements to gossip sites confirming her pregnancy and the child's sex. Be consistent, lady!

• My husband and I are stymied by this picture from wikipedia's Los Angeles entry.Has the photo been heavily edited? Has LA been relocated to Japan? Am I misremembering the opening credits to LA Law?

And now I'm going to interact with my family...

And the cats.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Éste es número once.

When it comes to Spanish homeschool lessons I try to stray from my comfort zone, aka WORKSHEETS!

Today we practiced counting en español by playing a game of dominoes.  I thought this was rather inspired, especially because I am loathe to pull out the dominoes. It's a time consuming, fussy, and noisy business to get them back in the tin and have the lid fit on.

We bought this set a dozen years ago and only today did it occur to me that it would be completely acceptable and probably preferable to store the tiles in a plastic tub.

Why did this not occur to me earlier?!

• • • • • • • • • • 

Last week I was looking at pinterest when Klaxon wandered by the computer and mused, "That cat has hair like Ishara Yar."

 I think he's right. This cat does bear more than a passing resemblance to Tasha Yar's sister:

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Today we drove into the big city for shopping. We didn't have any pressing things our to-do list, but I was hankering to get out of town. It's been seven weeks since our last trip. Seven weeks of spring thaw-freeze cycles is hard on the soul. As luck would have it, we timed our drive to coincide with a snowstorm. The drive was pretty, but nerve wracking

We picked up Mr Wrath's birthday present: a Lodge camp dutch oven, aka a cauldron. We checked out beds for the boys and bought none since none were in our budget. I went to a fabric store where I bought a pattern and some fabric for a summer dress -- blind optimism, thy name is Nan. The male members of the family went to the hardware store and the library. Mr Wrath and I got our Starbucks coffee fix and we brought home take out Indian food for dinner.

I also attempted to purchase jeans. First I had to find a pair that fit my stubby legs. Then I had to try on a few pairs to see if that particular store was using vanity sizing or REAL sizing. Next I had to decide if I wanted low-rise, contemporary or classic fit, aka zipper length. Then I rejected numerous styles based on pocket placement, and ass embellishment. Did I want straight leg, boot cut or skinny? Dark wash or light? Faux distressing on the thighs or the butt or uniform colour throughout?

And in the end every single pair -- each one a different brand and a different combination of features -- was saggy in the ass. No jeans for me!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

OPINION: An Open Letter to Trekkie Women in the throes of Pon Farr.

This is a parody of an open letter published in the Daily Princetonian on March 29, 2013. 
Susan Patton has been discussed and lambasted far and wide.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Advice for young Trekkie women: the daughters I never had.

Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out — here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you: it is beneath you to marry a man who doesn't know a dilithium matrix from a bio-neural gel pack.

For years (decades, really. Since 1965, to be exact) we have been bombarded with comforting notions that our beloved fandom is going mainstream. This has been especially true in the last five years. Maybe it's the rise of Etsy purveyors selling beautifully rendered fan art, the popularity of The Big Bang Theory, or the rebooted movie franchise? Whatever the cause, it appears that the stigmatization of being a Trekkie is lessening. We can have it all — we are Trekkie women, brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated females with extensive canonical knowledge of all things Trek.

I was a single Trekkie woman looking for a suitable mate with which to enter my Finiis'ral in the
mid-nineties. I knew that the virile plains of Star Trek conventions were a precursor to professional, biological, Roddenberry-esque success. Never being one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion, I said that I wanted to get married and have children. With a Vulcan male. It was seen as heresy. And slightly delusional. But I persevered and attended as many Star Trek conventions as I could once I was released back into the community. And I found my very own Jean-Luc.

For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry. Only at Star Trek conventions will you have a high concentration of men who are worthy of you and your Mirror-Universe Uhura outfit.

Here’s what nobody is telling you: find a mate at a convention before you can no longer hold your own against the "allure" of the booth babes. Yes, I went there.

I am the mother of two sons who are both Trekkies. The universe of human women they can marry is limitless. Hell. The universe of human men they can marry is also limitless. The reason is simple: everyone loves a man in uniform.

Men regularly marry women who don't have a highly-refined appreciation of Star Trek. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty or merely agrees to give their first born child a middle name like Leonard, Jean-Luc, Miri or Guinan. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t already Trekkies. As Trekkie women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are when it comes to esoteric details about the series and movies. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you as you are at the Official Star Trek convention held in Las Vegas every summer.

Of course, you could try to meet prospective mates via other means. Participating in on-line fan forums.  By sending tweets to Star Trek actors.  While standing in line in the early hours of May 17 hoping to be amongst the first Trekkies to see Into Darkness. You could even attend conventions that aren't dedicated specifically to Star Trek. This latter option is particularly fraught with danger. Here is a truth that you know: by attending a generalized entertainment expo you face the real threat of having to settle for a Bronie, a Brown Coat, a Doctor Who fanboy or worst of all: some clown who collects comic books. But ultimately, these men and these fandoms will frustrate you. A Trekkie woman can only be happy if she finds a man who loves Star Trek to the same extent.

If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.

Live long and prosper,

Nan |

Monday, April 1, 2013

Things that make Canada great: toques, poutine, Ryan Gosling, gay marriages.

Just a reminder to my fellow Canadians that a new amendment to the Civil Marriage Act goes into effect on this, the first day of April.

Under Section 5 of the act (formerly known as Bill c-38), all Canadians have the right to enter into a same sex union AND an opposite sex union simultaneously. This amelioration is a step forward in the name of equal rights and will be a great boon to the Canadian wedding industry.  But it's important that we familiarize ourselves with the new regulations. For the benefit of all, I'll explain it using illustrations of famous Canadians:

Rachel McAdams is legally entitled to marry Ryan Gosling.

Rachel McAdams is also legally entitled to marry Celine Dion.

Under Section 5 of the Civil Marriage Act, Rachel is now allowed to have two spouses at one time, provided they are of different sexes.
Furthermore, while married to Rachel, Ryan Gosling is free to marry Nathan Fillion.

If Ryan Gosling doesn't wish to marry Nathan Fillion (which is ridiculous since Nathan probably gives amazing birthday presents and sublime full body massages) he is not obliged to do so. But Ryan Gosling can not convert his right for ONE same-sex marriage into a SECOND opposite-sex marriage.Translation: if Ryan cruelly rejects the love of Nathan, he can NOT take Celine as wife #2, because he's still married to Rachel. It's one vagina or the other. Or one vagina and one penis.

The same goes for Rachel McAdams. If she decided to divorce Celine Dion, she couldn't replace her with Nathan. Hence:
This change in marital law does not alter the long standing rule that marriages between Canadian citizens and people of other nationalities are not legally binding in Canada. Ergo:

In a related development, the Canadian flag is being revised to look like this:

Please keep in mind that Rachel (and all Canadians) are not obliged to enter into a second marriage -- or even a first marriage -- of either persuasion. But they are obliged to celebrate April Fool's Day.