Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Warp Speed Wednesday. This post was no tribble at all.

After last week'Warp Speed She Wrote post (one in an ongoing series) I decided to make an effort to write shorter posts, more frequently. I'll try not to overwhelm myself or my six readers again. 


I'm backtracking to mention a character actor who I overlooked in an earlier post about character actors on Murder She Wrote and  Star Trek: the Original SeriesAs I mentioned last week, I only recently watched the MSW episode "Witness for the Defense." One of the minor characters is a detective name Ruby. When he first appeared I recognized something about him. As I do very frequently, I surfed over to imdb.com and looked up the actor's name: Charlie Brill, or as he's known to Trekkies: Arne Darvin.



One of the most popular episodes of TOS is The Trouble With Tribbles. In this light-hearted episode, Kirk and crew are guarding a ship of grain about to be transported to a plague stricken planet, dealing with grandstanding, combative Klingons, while the ship is being overrun by cute, purry, hungry balls of fur that reproduce like the Duggars. 


The story hinges upon a Klingon spy who has been surgically altered to appear like a human, named Arne Darvin:

[By the way: if you are angry that I have now given away the plot,  I don't give a crap: 
the show was broadcast 46 years ago.]

Brill reprised the role in 1996 on Deep Space 9's Trials and Tribble-ations


The crew of the Defiant are flung across the Alpha quadrant and transported 105 years into the past by Arne Darvin in an attempt to take his revenge upon Kirk and the Enterprise's meddlesome crew. Thanks to digital manipulation the actors from DS9 share screen time and interact with the cast of TOS. Below is an example, where two DS9 series regulars were digitally spliced and shared screen time with Scotty, Chekov and Kirk. 



Both are really fun episodes and if you are new to Star Trek, or have small/sensitive children they are good gateaway episodes. But maybe don't bother showing the MSW episode to the kiddies.








Monday, June 24, 2013

Have I crossed the line from optimism into naïveté?

I don't believe that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have really named their new baby North West. Not because I think they're too smart to use such a stupid name, but because I'm trying to tamp down my natural pessimism. I'm holding onto a ray of hope that good taste and common sense will prevail.

I keep thinking about Britney Spears and her second son's name. Initially the media was reporting his name was Sutton Pierce. Spears and her enablers managers didn't correct the assumption for over a month.  Maybe North West was used as placeholder on the birth certificate? This would make North West a classic case of misdirection. HA! I'll remain in denial about North West until the news is tweeted by either of the parents.

In case you haven't picked up on my tone yet, I don't care for either West or Kardashian. But I still think it's shitty that TMZ got a hold of the birth certificate. If the leak came from a Cedars Sinai employee, I hope they get fired.

When I blogged last week about  baby names, I forgot one other bit of celebrity baby name gossip that's been on my mind: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer finally revealed their children's names. After months of sitting on the names and supposedly protecting the twins' privacy, they announced them as part of their promotional work for the new season of True Blood. Privacy, my ass. This was well-handled media manipulation.

The twins are named Poppy and Charlie. I'm never a fan of Poppy -- it's one of those cutesy names that works well for a child or a dog, but not for an adult human. Furthermore Moyer has two children with two previous partners (**cough**): a girl name Lilac, and a son name Billy. Yet another situation where the sons get solid names that won't limit their professional options, and the daughters get cutesy, childish thematic names.

And now for a truly disturbing gif:




Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Fogo. The internets weekly dose of my mutt.


Two things of note in this photo:
1. Fogo's weird sitting posture. Do other people's dogs regularly try sitting crossed-legged?
2. Her sad facial expression, but she does have a very sunny disposition.  It's just that she is a very jowly dog, which lends herself to an air of sadness. Promise.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warp Speed Wednesday. Another Marathon Post.


I have not forgotten about my goal to blog all many some of the casting connections between Murder She Wrote and Star Trek. However life (namely: fundraising, homeschooling and personal hygiene) have gotten in the way. But I will not be deterred. Here's part 29 of...


"Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Murder, She Wrote
Character Actors that I Know and Love.

I'm going to start with two of my all time favourite episodes of TNG, both of which have MSW cross-casting.  First: Starship Mine in which Picard wears a saucy v-neck blouse:




It's not the ONLY reason I like the episode, but it helps. It's a fast-paced, action-filled storyline with some great comedic moments. The laughs come courtesy of the interplay between Data (Brent Spiner) and Commander Hutchinson (David Spielberg).  Spielberg had two appearance on MSW. In 1991 he was Lt. Henry Girard iUnauthorized Obituary. He was Detective Travis in the pun-tastically named Menace, Anyone? set in the heated world of professional tennis.



Another TNG episode that I have watched repeatedly is "Yesterday's Enterprise." It's a brilliant story that meshes the TNG universe with elements of TOS, plus it's got romance, dastardly Romulans, time travel and it gives Tasha Yar a better "death" than Skin of Evil.




Tricia O'Neal's Rachel Garrett is the captain of ANOTHER early incarnation of the Enterprise. Her ship travels forward through time to the same era as Picard's Enterprise. For those of you who are new to Trek Nation, I offer the following advice: don't think too much about time travel paradoxes, just try and enjoy the story.


O'Neal also had multiple appearances on MSW:

                             – Lines of Excellence  - Linda Truitt
                             – From the Horse's Mouth  - Althea Mayberry
                             – Trouble in Eden  - Lila Benson
                             – Murder in the Afternoon  - Bibi Hartman
                             – The Murder of Sherlock Holmes: Pilot - Ashley Vickers

O'Neal was also a Klingon scientist named Kurak on "Suspicions," plus she shows up again on DS9 (but more on that later).





"Ensign Ro" is another of my favourites  In it Scott Marlowe played Keeve Falor. On Murder, She Wrote, he was Avery Nugent in "School for Murder."


Noble Willingham was Texas in "The Royale ," an episode where an alien race mistakes a pulp fiction work as an anthropological text and uses it to recreate a world for the benefit of a waylaid human explorer. In  MSW's  "Angel of Death" he appeared as Sheriff Pat McAllester.


MSW's "Hooray for Homicide" included a character named Marta Quintessa played by Samantha Eggar. She was also Jean-Luc Picard's sister-in-law in "Family."



Daniel Davis was Moriarity to Data's Sherlock in "Ship in a Bottle" and "Elementary, Dear Data." Murder, She Wrote devotees saw him as Neal Dishman in "Badge of Honor."

Season 3 of TNG featured Richard Cox as Kyril Finn in "The High Ground." He was a well-meaning, edgy, emotionally-damaged rebel leader who kidnaps Doctor Crusher. I remember at the time thinking he was quite hunky and had great hair. On MSW he appeared in "Witness for the Defense." This was an episode I saw for the first time last month. It's a homage to Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution."  In this respect it's quite clever, but the characterization of Canadians (we all have British accents!) is laughable.  



Another MSW with hysterical stereotypes of Canadians is "Northern Explosion." What is it with American tv shows obsession with Mounties? This episode has 2 connections to TNG.  Firstly, Ned Romero was Joe Quill, and on TNG, he was Anthwara in "Journey's End." Secondly, Jerry Hardin portrayed Hamish McPherson this time around. This was his third MSW appearance having shown up on "What You Don't Know Can Kill You" (role: Tom Sampson) and "A Nest of Vipers" (role: Norman Gilford). For me he will always be Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) from TNG's Time's Arrow: Part 1 and 2. Earlier in the series he was Radue in "When the Bough Breaks."





The first inkling of the Borg were in the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone." The Enterprise encountered an earth ship that houses cyrogenically frozen humans. Fear not: none of them are KHAAAAAAAAAAN!-esque. One of the now-defrosted, once-dead men from the 21st century was named Ralph Offenhouse. Offenhouse looks an awful lot like Lamar Bennett from MSW's "Deadline for Murder." It's because they are the same man: Peter Mark!

Carolyn Seymour showed up as three different characters on TNG:

                                 – Face of the Enemy  -  Commander Toreth
                                 – First Contact - Mirasta Yale
                                 – Contagion - Subcommander Taris


On MSW, she also had three appearances:
                                 – Another Killing in Cork - Nellie Ruddy
                                 – O'Malley's Luck - Alice Montrose
                                 – It Runs in the Family - Pauline Constable


I think she actually wears less make up in her TNG appearances. And smaller shoulder pads. She played Mrs Templeton in two Voyager episodes: 



Here's another familiar Romulan face:




It's Commander Tomalak, who appeared four times in TNG: "All Good Things...," "Future Imperfect,"  "The Defector," and "The Enemy." He was played by Andreas Katsulas. ON MSW, Katsulas was Jerry Pappas in "A Killing in Vegas." The same actor, showed up in ENT years later in a different role. 


Renee Jones was Reggie Evers on "Deadly Bidding" in 1995, but two years earlier Trekkies saw her as "Aquiel."  She played the title character, a flakey Starfleet officer (and murder suspect!) who had a brief fling with Mr Unlucky In Love Because He Has Bad Taste in Women, Geordi LaForge. 





"Attached" was a TNG episode in which Robin Gammell played Mauric. His MSW characters were Roger Meltong and Dr Thor Lundquist in "The Dead File" and "Harbinger of Death."  



Is "The Crucible" still standard reading for high school students? It was in my day, and at the time I strenuously objected, because I went to a Canadian school and took Canadian history so all that blather about it being a parable about MacCarthy Era witch hunts meant NOTHING because I didn't have any context for it. It did however help me when I watched "The Drumhead," a TNG episode from 1991. That episode features the CUTEST boy-band-worthy alien in all the Star Trek series:




This is Spencer Garrett as Simon Tarsers. Don't you want to nibble his cute little ears? He later palled around with Jessica in two MSW episodes:
                                     – Southern Double-Cross as Nicholas Derby
                                     – Murder at a Discount as Aaron Woodman



Gwynyth Walsh was B'Etor on several Star Trek movies and TNG's Firstborn, and Redemption I &  II. Over on MSW,  her character in Murder of the Month Club was called Gina Powell. Don't quote me on this: but I'm pretty sure her MSW wardrobe wasn't quite so boob-centric.


Leo Damian is the actor who played the Passion/Warrior aspect of Riva's chorus in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud As A Whisper" in 1988. It's one of only five credits listed on his imdb page. One of the others is MSW's "When the Fat Lady Sings."




In that episode Damian shares screen time with Theodore Bikel, who made four MSW appearances in total:

                                     – Amsterdam Kill as Inspector Van Horn
                                     – The List of Yuri Lermentov as Yuri Lermentov
                                     – Indian Giver as Professor Harold Crenshaw
                                     – When the Fat Lady Sings as Rosanno Bertolucci


I know Bikel from "Family" where he appeared as the adoptive father of Worf, the Enterprise's token Klingon crew member. In that same episode, plus one more called New Ground, Worf's mother was played by Georgia Brown. Georgia Brown showed up on MSW twice:

                                     – Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? as Kate Kelley
                                     – Trevor Hudson's Legacy as Dorothy Westerfield



The final member of Worf's foster family with an MSW connection is Paul Sorvino. ON TNG, he was Nikolai Rozhenko in "Homeward," and Al Siddell in "Three Strikes, You're Out" on MSW. Sorvino was the star of one of my favourite non-Star Trek, non-Murder She Wrote series: That's Life. However, I still think his episode of TNG was one of the worst. One issue is the implausibility of his being Worf's foster brother. He was too old to be Worf's same-age sibling, as indicated by the show's dialogue.


While compiling this entry, I noted the birthdate's for the Rozhenko family. Bikel was born in 1924. Brown was born in 1933, making her six years older than her "son" Sorvino, who was born in 1939. Granted the latter didn't share screen time with "his parents," but he was obviously 13 years older than Michael Dorn, aka Worf.




The officious Captain Edward Jellico from Chain of Command: Part 1 & 2 was played by Ronny Cox.  Cox's MSW appearance was also a two-part episode. He was Mayor Power in Death Stalks the Big Top: Part 1 & 2.




Thomas Kopache showed up twice on TNG (and he has other Star Trek credits):

                                 – Emergence as The Engineer
                                  The Next Phase as Mirok
 His single MSW credit is for "Nan's Ghost: Part 1 & 2"  in which he played Leonard.

"The Outcast" was a TNG episode that dealt with homophobia at a time when most television shows didn't dare breach the issue. It's main flaw was that the androgynous J'Naii were all portrayed by women, and so the romance between Riker and Soren is somewhat tepid. This is a view shared by Jonathan Frakes who has noted that the casting didn't go far enough to achieve the goal of making a statement about LGBT people in our future and current society.  In the episode Riker's paramour, Soren, is played by Melinda Culea. Her MSW credits were for The Mole (role: Sara Lloyd) and Murder in F Sharp (role: Nicole Gary).








Time Winters was Glin Daro in TNG's "The Wounded." If you check out his imdb page you'll probably recognize his face as he's done a lot of television work. It includes a listing of his two MSW appearances:

                                    – Mrs. Parker's Revenge as Dr. James Lamont
                                    – Murder in Milan as  Giorgio

Yuta was an assassin in "The Vengeance Factor." I don't remember if "Lori Graham" was the murderer in MSW's "Murder on the Thirtieth Floor." Let me know if you find out. Both roles were played by Lisa Wilcox


One of the problems with being an afficiando of character actors is remaining neutral when a familiar face from one show pops up on another. This was the case when I saw Ben Lemon on MSW's "Track of a Soldier." He'd played a rapist on TNG's "Violations," and I incorrectly assumed that his Sheriff Jed Bullock would also turn out to be evil.  It didn't help that both characters had similar names: Jev and Jed.




John Hancock (no really, that was the guy's name) also worked on both shows. On the MSW pilot "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" he was Daniel. Over on TNG he played Admiral Haden twice. First in "The Defector ,"then in "The Wounded."  


Bruce Gray was a MSW regular:
                                    – Murder on the Thirtieth Floor as Ted Hartley
                                    – Murder at a Discount as Ted Hartley
                                    – A Killing in Vegas as Ted Hartley
                                    – Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble as R. L. Pierson
                                    – Hit, Run and Homicide as Dean Merrill

On TNG he shows up twice as Admiral Chekote in "Gambit: Part 1."


In that same TNG episode, I saw a familiar face: Robin Curtis as Tallera ("Gambit: Part 1 & 2"). With Jessica she was in "Murder Among Friends" as Rosemary Tynan.


A few months ago, the boys and I watched "Tapestry." It features JC Brandy, aka Louise Henderson in "Game, Set, Murder."


On that TNG episode, Picard travelled back in time (courtesy of Q) to relive his life and avoid making a mistake that he'd always regretted. While in the past, Picard beds his friend, Ensign Marta Batanides played by JC Brandy. Like all TNG episodes, I've watched it multiple times, but only on this viewing did it strike me as inappropriate for Jean-Luc to be seducing an obviously much, much younger woman.  However the age gap probably didn't bother Stewart: JC Brandy (who at the time was 18 to Stewart's 53) is three years older than Stewart's current fiance.




Erm. I think not even a saucy, v-neck blouse on Stewart could make these age gaps palatable.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Krappy Baby Names.

As I write this, the Kardashian-West child remains officially nameless. I suspect this will be the case until:
1. interest starts to wane -- there is no greater heartache for a Kardashian than being ignored or forgotten on social media,
2. a tabloid offers up enough money for an exclusive photo-op, and/or
3. lawyers and assistants have secured all urls and social media user names connected to the child's brand name.

Best name suggestion I've heard so far comes from a Lord Voldemort twitter account: Kreacher.

In lieu of mocking that baby's names, I'll just mock another family of reality television "stars," the Duggars. The oldest Duggar boy and his wife just had their third child: Marcus. He joins older siblings, Michael and Mackynzie. It seems Josh Duggar is keeping up with several family traditions:
1. having LOTS of children in quick succession,
2. mistaking children for a set of collectible dolls requiring thematic names, and
3. favouring the boys with solid, normal names and giving the girls crap, cutesy names, ie Jinger, Jordynn, Joy-Anna.

Am I right in assuming that the -M name trend is a tribute to Michelle, whose children all have -J names to honour her husband? My theory is that Michelle is a nightmare of a mother-in-law, especially since the end of her child-bearing years ended dramatically at about the same time Anna started having babies, thereby stealing some of the attention from Michelle.

This begs the question: who would you rather have as mother-in-law: Michelle Duggar or Kris Jenner-Kardashian? And who would you rather have for a father-in-law: Jim-Bob Duggar or Bruce Jenner? Oh, dear. I'm scaring myself.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fogo(less) Friday.


Fogo doesn't realize that she is five times Ezri's size and could -- if she desired -- reclaim her crate with ease. Ezri doesn't realize this either.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Staple.

A few weeks ago I went into our local office supply store and requested the biggest stapler they stocked. Which is why I walked out the door with this:


All my stapling needs are now being met by this 14-inch long beauty. Plus -- hopefully -- it will not go missing inside my house.

[Slight aside: WHO THE BLOODY HELL TOOK MY NORMAL-SIZED STAPLER?!?!?! BRING IT BACK!!!]

All the same, Mr Wrath refuses to call him by his full name: Benedict Staplerbatch.

Spoilsport.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Heads up, [Science] Lovers.

On Sunday, the Guardian published an interview with Michael Douglas , who is promoting his new Liberace bio-pic. A great deal of attention is being paid to this part of the article:
The throat cancer, I assume, was first seeded during those wild middle years, when he drank like a fish and smoked like the devil. Looking back, knowing what he knows now, does he feel he overloaded his system? "No," he says. "No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus."

The Guardian has also published a companion piece to the interview discussing Douglas' diagnosis and the connection betweent HPV and oral cancer:
Mahesh Kumar, a consultant head and neck surgeon in London, confirmed that the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in this form of cancer, particularly among younger sufferers. Recent studies of 1,316 patients with oral cancer found that 57% of them were HPV-16 positive. "It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the HPV type 16 is the causative agent in oropharyngeal cancer," said Kumar, who also testified to increased recovery rates among this kind of cancer sufferer. This would help explain why Douglas was given an 80% chance of survival, despite the advanced stage of his illness. 
It's admirable that Douglas is calling attention to the fact that HPV affects both sexes. It's also interesting that he's remaining neutral about the controversial HPV vaccination program.

Personally, I do not think enough attention is being paid to the part of the original article where Michael says:
"[I]t's a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer." He shrugs. "And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it."
WHAT'S THAT NOW?!?

Cunnilingus has curative powers?!  I always suspected this was the case!!!

I believe it behooves society to fully investigate this idea. Immediately. We need to test this hypothesis using the scientific method. And because I love -- LOVE!!! -- science, I'm willing to do my own research. For the greater good of society.  And in lieu of a widespread government funded study, I think everyone should engage in some home-based, grass roots data gathering. Starting tonight.

Who's with me? Do it. FOR SCIENCE, LADIES!!!



Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Saturday we saw "Star Trek: Into Darkness!"

I kind of feel as if I was the last Trekkie on the planet to see Star Trek: Into Darkness. Mind you, I saw it at the same time as my boys (the eldest being a little bit of a Trekkie, the younger being much more open in his devotion to the genius of The Roddenberry). Maybe we'll declare it a three-way tie.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, and don't want it ruined: please stop reading here. Scroll past these photos at your own peril.






Still with me?

Good.

I was prepared to be slightly disappointed with STID. The trailers, sneak peeks and the online speculation has been so extensive, I assumed that I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The plot, the pacing, the dialogue, the scenery, the characters -- there was so much good stuff going on.  Such as:

The villains:

Let's start with Benedict Cumberbatch's "John Harrison," aka Khan. YES! KHAN! He was good. Well, good in a very bad way. I enjoyed his badness. If anything, Cumbie's Khan was more brutal and scary than Montalbán's version. This is saying a lot.

Of all the evil, violent, scary things Khan did, I think the worst (and thereby the best, in terms of establishing the character's nature) was the offhand manner that he snapped Carol Marcus' leg. The skull crushing, the bombing, the shooting spree -- all pale in comparison.


I checked: Robocop is on Canadian netflix. I think we're going to watch it soon so my boys can see Peter Weller, aka Admiral Marcus in another role. The evilness of Marcus took me by surprise since I'd heard nothing about this character in the months leading up to the film's release.

3D:

This was my first time seeing a live-action film in 3D. We don't see very many movies. We live 2 hours from the nearest theatre, and until very recently the boys have been mostly interested in animated films. I left both Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 feeling nauseous, because of the 3D effects. I was concerned about getting ill during STID, but I had no issues. I loved it and I finally understand the hype for this system.

I apologize to whoever was sitting behind me in the theatre because I was ducking and dodging in every single fight and flight sequence. It was probably distracting and amusing to watch. 

I still think that Chris Pine is a fine looking man, but I found his pronounced, 3D philtrum slightly distracting. Personally seeing beautiful people with blemishes and imperfections makes me feel better about my own face. I'm going to embrace this shallowness.  

The deaths:

Pike died. DAMN IT. I didn't see that one coming.

Well, I sort of did. I was worried that I wouldn't get to see the movie before it left the theatres (our schedule is busy right now and the Big City isn't all that big, so movies come and go mighty fast). Last week I bought the novelization of the movie and was slowly reading it pacing myself and really savouring the story. Pike's death was moving in the book and on the screen.

The homage to Spock's death in the Wrath of Khan was perfect. And the "KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!" moment made me clap.


The subtle references to the tv series.

My husband particularly enjoyed the references to Harry Mudd, tribbles and Christine Chapel. They were sly nods to the core audience, that didn't take away from the movie's plot. Thanks, JJ!

As a DS9 fan I appreciated the "Section 31" storyline. I think Keenser is the "new" Morn.

By the way, I only recently realized that the first reboot movie contained a reference to Enterprise. The dog that Scotty lost while working out his transwarp beaming equation was Admiral Archer's prized beagle.

The costumes:

The scuba-suit things? AMAZING!

The Enterprise crew's uniforms remain true to the original series. For the most part. I wish they'd stuck with that limited colour palette instead. There was too much diversity.

The dress uniforms were awful. Maybe it's because the movie was in 3D but it was apparent that the dress uniforms didn't fit properly. Something was wrong with the fit and cut. When the characters were erect (heheheheh) the uniforms didn't hang properly over their backsides. When they were sitting the fabric bunched and gaped. Everyone looked uncomfortable and sloppy. Especially at the end of the film:


The flight jackets with the cutouts and vinyl inserts at the shoulders? Ugly and distracting.


It was unnecessary for Marcus' crew to have completely different uniforms. In fact, similarities in costuming between the two ships would've been more poignant.

The Klingon costumes and masks were interesting, however.


The Bechdel test

This movie fails this gender bias test. I'm disappointed. Of course, Star Trek X just barely passed (thanks to a single exchange between Uhura and Gaila) and the rest of the movies don't fare much better. It is one of the reasons why I'm first and foremost a devotee of the various tv series -- the women are strong, nuanced and real.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Is it too early to speculate about the third installment? I hope Khan returns. I'm already casting about in my imagination for someone to play Marla MacGivers. Any suggestions?