Happy 47th birthday Star Trek: An open thread

Hi kids! As John is busy flying back to the states today, it’s time for another installment of random open thread goodness, brought to you by the letters N, B, and C and…. Star Trek!

Happy Birthday: Star Trek! 47 years ago on September 8, 1966, a brand new kind of science fiction television show entered America’s living rooms…and American culture. I’m betting Gene Roddenberry had no idea this one show would go so far — especially since it had such trouble just staying on the air for a mere three seasons. (In fact, the show is so ridiculously popular — and profitable — the photo in this post is one of the very few public domain photos available.)

German scientists work on an asteroid defense system. Hmm… wasn’t that a Star Trek episode? Nah, I have ’em all memorized, so obviously not. Or maybe something I read in a comic book? Well, as long as these scientists aren’t wearing iconic uniforms, I’m guessing we’re safe. Hopefully.

Legends are born: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner...and a model that decorated many a kid's bedroom

Legends are born: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner…and a model that decorated many a kid’s bedroom

Sleep deprivation makes you stupid. Or, more precisely, getting enough sleep is important to good brain health, because it encourages the repair and growth of replacement brain cells.

The recently discovered Tamu Massif is the largest volcano on Earth, and at 120,000 sq/miles is roughly the size of the state of New Mexico. It’s located under the Pacific ocean about 1000 miles east of Japan and is rumored to be the home of Gamera. (Okay, I made up that last part.)

From the “This is just cool” files: One of the reasons video conferencing (among all the other reasons) hasn’t caught on all that well is a detail most users know all too well: The camera isn’t in line with what people are looking at. A viewer is directing his/her gaze at the screen showing the other person, and not the camera. Well, apparently a group with a paper appearing in Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia has been developing software that will automatically extrapolate and correct a person’s image, so they appear to be looking at the camera. They’re working on a Skype plug-in, also.

A singularity of crazy-stupid: Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) went to Egypt, where in a press conference that amazingly did not destroy the planet, they expressed gratitude for the Egyptian army overthrowing the government — and basically said, contrary to reality and facts, that it was the Islamic Brotherhood who were responsible for the 9/11/2001 terrorists attacks in the U.S. Really. I’m beginning to think “dumb as a bag of hammers” doesn’t go far enough anymore.

People are most nostalgic not for the music they grew up with, but with music from their parents’ era. Although most adults have emotional attachments to music from their own 20s, it’s music from their parents’ time (and their parents’ 20’s) that tends to evoke the most vivid memories. (Of course, an alternative interpretation is the music of the 1960s is simply light-years better than any of the crap kids play today.  Yeah, that must be it.)

And with that, I will leave you with an invitation to this Open Thread — and exactly the kind of song they’re talking about — one that never fails to evoke powerful nostalgia for me. It’s a silly little thing, but every time I hear it, I just stop in my tracks and listen, with a stupid, sappy smile on my face. (Please feel free to post any interesting links and stories of your own in the comments!)

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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  • Mike_in_the_Tundra


  • Boy do I ever miss her. Wimbledon White, Maroon interior convertible.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Well, “Star Trek” may warm my heart, but that ’64 Mustang makes it go thump, thump, thump.

  • Two things that can always warm the American heart: Star Trek and a ’64’ Mustang!

  • kladinvt

    I remember originally, watching Star Trek (2nd season I think) on Friday evenings with my Dad, when I was 7 or 8 yrs old.

  • wmforr

    The thing that always bothered me about Captain Picard is that he romances Michelle Phillips, Amanda McBroom, and Donna Murphy–but none of them sings a note!

  • greyzip

    what a strang site this is. You can call me any name you like and accuse me of beating my dog but I can’t respond in kind with my own like obnoxiousness?

    This is inconsistent but not for here strange.

  • Thank you I much appreciate it. peace, m

  • Moderator3

    Problem addressed.

  • Using my gravatar is very uncool dipstick.

  • I really liked Babylon 5! I didn’t like Battlestar—too much testosterone.

  • Me, too, Michael. Fortunately my dad relented to my wheedling and whining.

  • No, I wouldn’t be that silly. We didn’t have any quadro-whatsits in the cellar — just those bags of grain.

    I think I’ll go stock up on honey-BBQ sauce…

  • Michael J. Robinson

    Yes, I remember those days when I had to ask my parents if I could watch the show.

    Good times, good times….

  • nicho

    I once spent a weekend in the Ocala state forest (?) with a friend whose father had a place there. One day, some good old boys came riding through on horses with shotguns over the saddles. When asked where they were going, they said, “We’re going to shoot some cans — Afri-cans, Mexi-cans, Puerto Ri-cans. Yuck, yuck, yuck.” Decided then and there I never wanted to live there.

  • nicho

    Typical abused wife syndrome. I used to work in family court. If I had a dollar for every time I saw this, I’d be retired now. It’s a well identified pattern.

  • pappyvet

    LOL !!!!

  • Oh my… lol

  • Thom Allen

    Superb troll:

  • Thom Allen

    And, the freedom to use them when they will, with impunity.

  • pappyvet

    She even looks a little like Bachmann

  • pappyvet

    Yes but I hear that the Klingons softened towards them as they were great lovers of basketball and the Tribbles…[wait for it] could do a marvelous double tribble dribble. All groans accepted…love you folks in the cheap seats. Enjoy the Romulan Ale

  • Indigo

    I don’t understand your point. She died 20 years ago from breast cancer.

  • pappyvet

    OMG ! Mad as hell laughter abounds !!

  • pappyvet

    LOL, love it.

  • Rob Dowdy

    Well … sorta. She did go off and get her ship blowed up real good. Oh well. Women drivers, right? What ya gonna do.


  • At least TNG rectified that particular misogyny by putting a heroic female captain, Rachel Garrett, in charge of the Enterprise-C.

  • Re: John Noble — Agree totally. The man’s a frickin’ genius actor.

  • You have every right to be bitter. ;-) lol

  • Monoceros Forth

    Indeed. There’s always been this almost pornographic fascination with guns in the way they are described, discussed, and photographed. I suppose the same could be said of many devices of modern technology, especially cars, but the car at least is a device with a constructive and useful purpose. The veneration of the gun, though, is always suffused with an unholy glee in its destructive power and the scarcely concealed wish to unleash it on a person some day.

    It ties in with the disquieting fantasies indulged by gun nuts who imagine, with unwholesome detail, bizarre scenarios that purport to explain why they need their guns, fantasies anout confronting gangs of home invaders or armed robbers. Elaborate stories about chance encounters leading to gunplay–are they not pornography’s stories of chance encounters leading to sex?

    It has been said of the gun that from its barrel flows power, which is cynical perhaps but more honest and credible than the American gun nut’s insistence that the gun is the only source of freedom. I rather distrust self-proclaimed guardians of freedom who seem inspired to guard only the freedom to own guns.

  • Indigo

    Floribama? I live in Orlando, the Land of the Mouse, about 20 miles south of the Zimmerman hijinks. It’s a crazy part of the world but it’s home.

  • Word to your mother.

  • Xyzzy.

    I miss the text-based game internet days. I was still playing/programming MUDs well into the late 1990s, until MMOs killed them and spit on their corpse.

  • I’m sure it’s just a pure coincidence that the commercials started today. :-0

  • Rob Dowdy

    Me too, on the text games, since I’m almost 40. “Pick up the paper” “Inspect the paper” “Stab the gyzort with the knife” … and then they added parsers that could do compound commands, “Go north, then east”!

    But that’s not technically true. Pitfall and Joust and Pac-Man and all that stuff was first for me, on an Atari 2600, come to think of it. My parents bought it for me when I was little, so it was a Santa present.

    My mom loves to tell the story, to this day, of how they opened it up to make sure it worked and check it out after they bought it and — great parenting! — liked it so much they hid it in the closet, then sent me to bed early every night for the three weeks before Christmas so they could hook it up and play it after I fell asleep!

    I’m still bitter.

  • Rob Dowdy

    Yeah, DS9 (and Babylon 5 even more so!) really pushed the limits of what the networks and distributors would allow regarding story arcs. They wanted everything to be episodic and self-contained back then so that casual viewers could pop in and out without feeling lost.

    DS9 was one of the first to go long-form, which sounds like a good thing and it can be (see Battlestar Galactica), but it can also be a twisted, pointless waste of time with no payoff whatsoever (see Lost).

    As for Fringe, John Noble not winning multiple Emmys is a travesty. That man can do more with a glance than many actors can with a five minute soliloquy.

  • Rob Dowdy

    I actually like that episode! It was just flat-out crazy, so bad it was art.

    I always pictured the writers all sitting around going, “Holy shit, we got renewed? The show airs when? Next week!? Let’s drop some acid and get this shit written …”

  • Which is, no doubt, among the reasons why there wasn’t a 4th season…

  • I’m 50. My first computer games were text-based.

  • I’ve been thinking about re-watching DS9 — I rather liked that one as it developed the long story-arcs.

    Aye, TNG — for me — lost most of its steam after the 3rd season. Although ‘The Inner Light’ remains, IMHO, one of the finest hours of science fiction ever broadcast.

    We’ve watched Buffy and Angel a bunch of times…generally enjoy the humor, although I think we’re tapped out on watching them again for a long while.

    One I quite enjoyed was Fringe, but only -after- the 1st season. Also been thinking it may be time to re-view Babylon 5…

  • Rob Dowdy

    Even finally going over the edge, murdering someone in cold blood, and totally getting away with it doesn’t seem to be cathartic. Who knew?

  • Monoceros Forth

    “Spock’s Brain” is very much the guilty pleasure for me. I love the show but I’m hardly blind to its failings, all of which are concentrated in “Spock’s Brain” and distilled into an essence of pure Trek awfulness, and not a moment is dull. It’s all there: a ludicrous plot requiring impossibly magical technology to work, ham acting (“Spock’s…brain…controls!!), embarrassing sexism, casual meddling with an alien society, and sets and props that look as if zero effort had been expended to make them look convincing, e.g. the operating table that’s a board with a hole in it for Spock’s head. And this trash was the third season opener!

  • Rob Dowdy
  • Rob Dowdy

    I remember clicking like a madman on those shield indicators and yelling “Shields! Shields!” at Scotty. I was a terrible captain. Most of the time I just flew around picking fights. Ah, the joy of spotting a cloaked ship and lobbing a photon torpedo into its flightpath … now I’m all nostalgic.

    But then Freespace 2 came out and … OMG, those ships were so insanely large, there was a passing nod at actual spaceflight physics … those were the days, huh? When stuff was still new and not just refined and rehashed.

    OMG. I’m old.

    That’s something an old person would say.

  • I remember — and played — both of those games.

  • The missing scene from The Doomsday Machine:

    [Constellation Auxiliary Control]

    KIRK: We’re moving, the Enterprise isn’t. Maybe that thing will see us and let the Enterprise go. If I only had some phasers.

    SCOTT: Phasers? You’ve got ’em. I have one bank recharged.

    KIRK: Scotty, you’ve just earned your pay for the week. Stand by. Fire phasers.

    (Recovered footage begins)

    (SCOTT closes his communicator and hangs it from his belt)

    SCOTT (mocking): ‘My pay for the week’? My pay for the week?! Ye glaikit shite… I deserve a promotion and a lifetime supply of Saurian brandy for putting up with this fannybawbag and his dobberin’ ‘Scotty, gae me more power!’ and ‘Scotty, I broke MY ship a’gin!’ and ‘Scotty, can ye program my cabin replicator to dispense antibiotics because I caught the space-clap a’gin from some alien hoor and Bones makes fun o’ me wee peedy dick every time I ask ‘im tae treat it.’

    Day after day, this numpty’s wreckin’ my fine, beautiful starship. Gives me bare minutes to clean up his manky jobbies — and what thanks do I get fer bein’ a miracle worker time after time? A promise not to dock my pay? Feckin’ knob wanker…

    Fine, ye bampot bastert, ye want phasers, I got yer phasers right here.

    (Grabs at crotch and yanks vigorously while slamming a fist angrily onto an engineering control panel.)

    [Exterior shot]

    One beam lances out, and the Doomsday Machine turns.)


    (SCOTT grimaces angrily and, looking up as if through the ship towards AUXILIARY CONTROL, makes a very rude gesture.)

    (End 1st section of recovered footage)

    [Enterprise Bridge]

    SULU: We’re loose, Commodore.

    DECKER: Good boy, Jim. Between the two of us, we’ll kill that thing.

    [Constellation Auxiliary Control]

    KIRK: Mister Scott, it worked. Great. (Sees the maw turning towards them.) I think it’s great. Scotty, get us out of here.

    (Begin 2nd section of recovered footage)


    SCOTT (muttering): Feck off, ya manky git.

    KIRK (through SCOTT’S communicator): What’s that Scotty? I didn’t catch what you just said.

    (SCOTT stops rubbing the communicator against his behind and speaks directly into it.)

    SCOTT (as if speaking to a complete idiot): I said, ‘Aye sir, I’ll gae her all she’s got.’

    KIRK (on communicator): Good man, keep it up.

    (SCOTT closes his communicator.)

    SCOTT: Arse-wipe.

    (End scene)

  • Rob Dowdy

    He even put a Russian on the bridge. He could readily envision the amicable end of the Cold War, but a lady captain? Crazy talk!

  • Rob Dowdy

    I recently finished DS9 again. It has held up surprisingly well. TNG, on the other hand, especially the first season or two … not so much.

    Then I re-watched Buffy. Up to the end of season 5. Because nothing after that ever happened.

  • Rob Dowdy

    I grew up in extremely rural north Florida, not far from the Georgia and Alabama state lines. Wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Rob Dowdy

    I hope, somewhere, there are six people reading this and feeling very proud of themselves.

    But not nearly so proud as they should feel when he eventually kills someone.

  • Rob Dowdy

    Which, when you think about it, doesn’t speak very highly of Kirk’s captaining skills …

  • Monoceros Forth

    It’s impossible not to like Scotty. He did, as the show went on, get a bit “Flanderized” to use the TV Tropes term; that is to say, an aspect of his character was exaggerated over time until it got to be a bit much. In Scotty’s case he became a bit too panicky and fretful about his “poor bairns”. At his best, though, he could be as ice cold as Spock, and he always acquitted himself well in his few stints as acting captain.

    He was wonderful in the TNG episode “Relics”. I’m not TNG’s biggest fan but his conversation with Capt. Picard in the holodeck simulation of the original [i]Enterprise[/i] is among my fondest television moments.

  • Rob Dowdy

    “Brain and brain! WHAT IS … BRAIN!?”

    Here it is, condensed down into 4 magnificent minutes.

    You could make a drinking game out of this, drinking every time they say “Spock’s brain,” but you would die very quickly, I think.


  • Rob Dowdy

    They’d have come down on the side of the gun, just like always. Doesn’t matter who’s firing it, or at whom.

    Edited to add: It always comes across as a weird religious type thing, and/or some twisted sexual fetish, the way they worship the gun as an object.

  • It’s rather amazing in hindsight that Rodenberry could be so forward thinking about race (he really had to fight with NBC to keep Uhura on the bridge), but so backwards about women’s rights. I agree that the way women are portrayed is cringe-worthy. Worst of all is the woman who is bitter about not being able to become a captain because of her sex. (The body-swap one which was the final episode of TOS.) How ridiculous is that!

  • Thom Allen

    Mrs. ZImmerman has apparently declined to prosecute her “husband” even though he threatened her and her parents with a gun and caused her father to think he was having a heart attack. I think the state or local police can still charge him, but I doubt it. Let’s see, that’s been two speeding tickets and now this incident on George’s record just since he walked on the murder charge.

    I wonder if either his Missus or her dad had been armed and blown this slimy toad away, which side the gun nuts would have come down in favor of. George, their hero or his wife/her father for being armed and standing their ground. The NRA would have probably endorsed both parties and told the neighbors that they needed to be armed, too.

  • Everybody loves Scotty. There’s hardly an episode where they wouldn’t have all died if he hadn’t gotten the Enterprise to do something she wasn’t designed to do.

  • Rob Dowdy

    That’s too bad. How you holding up? :)

  • Thom Allen

    (Horrible) Lyrics are at snopes.com Roddenberry
    Omega Glory

    Cordwainer Bird (aka Harlan Ellison)

  • True that. They lived in tribbled times.

  • Scotty was our people!

  • Rob Dowdy

    I remember back in the early 90s when the Star Trek 25th Anniversary Edition video game came out. I remember thinking it was the best thing I ever saw.

    You could fly the Enterprise around and blast Klingons and Romulans! You could lead away teams on dangerous missions to strange new worlds! And the graphics were amazing! And it ran, more or less, on my craptacular no-name 12Mhz 286 that cost way more than this MacBook Air I’m typing on now.

    It’s funny to remember how much fun I had with it, how immersive it seemed. I could get lost in it for hours. And yet it looked like the picture below. Weird how our perception of “good enough” changes right along with the technology.

    The second pic is from Star Trek Online, which I’ve never played. I guess that’s what 20+ years of Moore’s Law will get you.

  • Danko

    Still My Favourite ! Love IT ! :)

    Ironman Games

  • Me neither, sad to say.

  • Aye, Windom was terrific.

  • True. She wasn’t a daughter of the crew who’d crashed on Talos IV, but one of the original crew, and supposedly the Talosians didn’t just repair her, but managed to keep Vina alive despite advancing age.

    But yeah… plot holes big enough to drive a starship through, given cultural , scientific, and medical advances — even from our era. Hell, by time we get to season 3, it’s clear they have instant-temporary cosmetic surgery down pat, disguising Kirk as a Romulan in The Enterprise Incident.

  • pappyvet

    I am also a big William Windom fan and thought he was marvelous in My World and Welcome to It. A great Thurber inspired series.

  • samizdat

    Rap is booooooorrrring…so, so booooorrring. Personally, I’d like to meet the man who invented the subwoofer and strangle him blue. The artificial bass-heaviness of so much music of this era is like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

  • pappyvet

    Zimmerman….what an ultra maroon[sorry Bugs]

  • pappyvet

    LMAO ! Yes if it had not been for Mr. Scott, and his “givin her all she’s got Captain,”
    the Enterprise would have been toast many times over. I’m still a bit miffed at him for transporting all the Tribbles to the Klingons. But I’m sure they were no tribble at all.

  • My personal favorite is The Doomsday Machine.

    Of course, back then, I had the biggest crush ever on Mr. Scott, and it bothered me to no end that the real hero in the whole thing wasn’t really Kirk or Decker, but Scott, who managed to fix EVERYTHING just in time.

    Scotty fixed the Constellation and got her moving again. He thought to charge up a phaser bank. He managed to keep the impulse engines from exploding under the strain, then rigged a self-destruct that would cause them to explode on demand. And he fixed the Enterprise transporters at the very last second.

    The guy was robbed, I tells ya!

  • That’s cool. Glad I don’t have to endure the commercials though. ;-)

  • Guess he was afraid his 15 minutes were over.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Oh, dear, that nice young man, who had only been defending himself against a violent thug? I never would have imagined.

    Zimmerman probably will finally be sent down for murder–someone else’s.

  • pappyvet

    Cant get over that it’s been almost 50 years of Star Trek. Still think that “The Menagerie” was my favorite but there is much to be said for a Tribble.

  • grayzip

    I just loved that Pike could imagine no possible role for her in the galaxy at large so long as she looked like THAT

  • I think there was an implication that she was older than Pike and unable to bear children because of her age and injuries from the crash.

  • Yes, we all know what an unstable compound silicon dioxide is :-)

  • Various episodes of all the different series are available for free on CBS.com, they do have commercials, but hey, you can turn down the volume on your speaker if you need to. ;-)

  • pappyvet

    Bachmann huh……There is no Dana only Zuul

  • Consider the upside: The pigs are identifying themselves.

  • That one’s in my queue, too.

  • Aye, losing Mr. Banks is a major blow to quality modern science fiction. I adore his Culture series.

  • Me too. I’m on a Enterprise binge now.

  • nicho

    Unfortunately, the Zimmerman fanboys are out in force on the Intertubes. The wife is crazy, nuts, greedy, a liar, a perjurer, a phony. And George is a saint.

  • Yeah. People with anger management issues, lousy decision-making skills, and poor impulse control don’t just “get better.”

  • nicho

    I’ve been counting the days since he beat the murder rap to see when he’d show up on the police blotter again. I figured it wouldn’t be long. Now, all the Zimmerman defenders need to do is wipe dried egg off their faces.

  • nicho

    Nobody will visit us. We have nothing they want or need. We’re way too primitive, and anything they want to know about us, they can find out without getting too close.

  • nicho

    I’ve tried. God help me, I’ve tried. Just can’t do it.

  • Indigo

    I wish I could find a way to be open-minded about rap but I can’t.

  • Indigo

    She’s already got a looser boy friend.

  • Wow… sweet jumpin’ Jeebus. Same here, but I wish I could say it surprises me, as it doesn’t.

  • Indigo

    Life in Florid’oh. Ain’t it great?

  • Indigo

    It might not be soon but it’s an obvious possibility.

  • Maybe the Zim will divorce her and take up with Tot mom.

  • lol

  • txiconoclast

    Thank you Lucille Ball for helping Star Trek be able to celebrate its birthday.

  • I thought the Thesaurus died out in a mass extinction event.

  • OMG, the idea of a micro nana bot communication system—- very compelling. It already works in cancer chemistry.

  • When fossil fuels wear out we will once again play instruments and sing epic ballads. Star Trek will visit us, but obeying the prime directive will not make contact because we are too primitive.

  • Music stopped being produced when the virus of rap began infecting the world.

  • nicho

    I could not see this coming. Honest to Gomer, this took me completely by surprise:

    LAKE MARY, Fla. – George Zimmerman was being questioned Monday in Central Florida after his estranged wife called police saying he threatened her with a gun.

    Lake Mary police say they were called around 2:30 p.m. to the Sprucewood Road home of Shellie Zimmerman’s parents, David and Machelle Dean. According to Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell, Shellie Zimmerman called 911 claimingGeorge Zimmerman had a gun and was making threats.

    “He’sin his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and he keeps saying ‘step closer’ and he’s just threatening all of us,” Shellie Zimmerman said in the 911 call, adding that George Zimmerman was “trying to shut the garage door” on her.

    “He punched my dad in the nose my dad has a mark on the nose. I saw his lasses were on the floor,” Shellie Zimmerman said in the call. He then accosted my father then took my iPad out of my hands. He then smashed itand cut it with a pocketknife, and there is a Lake Mary city worker across the street that I believe saw all of it.”


  • Just fell out of my desk chair without my anti-gravity suit! :-)

  • Indigo

    At times I get lost in the fantasies of Ian M. Banks where the Culture Wars are fought and transplants are the least of it.

  • I have Amazon Prime and occasionally go on Trek binges via streaming.

  • I hear ya… 33 1/3 rpm: High-fidelity! Long, long ago, I even owned a few Quadrophonic albums and a turntable that could play ’em.

    Anyway, seems to me that once digitized, the only real innovations possible are in the storage and delivery systems.

    If I could have a brain implant that let me listen to anything in my collection, at any time… lol.

  • I loved it when Picard left a comment on Americablog that said: “Where no troll has gone before.” Even when we have our shields up! :-)

  • SciFi has been running back-to-back old episodes on cable. I had forgotten how good they were.

  • I’m serious. Don’t click on that Youtube video link unless you’re prepared with a large jug of brain-bleach, a honkin’ long drum solo to drive out the near-permanent earbug, several bottles of scotch and a weekend you don’t mind spending in a complete fugue blackout.

    The scotch can be the cheap stuff. Anything to get the job done.

    There’s stuff that’s “Not Safe For Work (NSFW)”. This is “Not Safe For Sanity.”

  • Indigo

    Yes, I see that too but a nagging uncertainty leads me to suspect there’s a holographic storage system in the backroom, pending development or even a sub-molecular swarm that evades NSA supervision on a drawing board somewhere. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that 33 1/3 LPs were the ultimate.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Dear God! I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.

  • Don’t say it — you stored them right next to those big yummy sacks of quadrotriticale, didn’t you?

    Silly Zorbear!

    Pro-tip: They’re delicious barbecued, although the de-furring process is somewhat problematic. And yes, they taste just like chicken.

  • Monoceros Forth

    1. I don’t remember the lyrics aside from some gawdawful line about “love, strange love a star woman teaches,” but Gene Roddenberry wrote them strictly as a money-making dodge (I don’t recall the details) and his lyrics were never intended to be performed.

    2. The theremin, I’m guessing.

    3. Not a clue. Spock’s ultra-logical persona was a bit slow in developing so I’m guessing it wasn’t until halfway through the first season maybe.

    4. I won’t name him, but I can think of few writers more titanically overrated. Salinger maybe has him beat.

    5. Silicon, which is utterly ridiculous: the great complexity of carbon chemistry relies on the strength of the C-C bond, permitting carbon molecules to form large networks and chains, and on the nonpolarity of the C-H bond, which contributes stability to organic molecules. Si-Si bonds are weak and Si-H bonds are polar and highly reactive; hence the silicon analogues of organic molecules are invariably far less complex and less stable, often spontaneously inflammable in air and quickly hydrolyzed in contact with water. But, yeah, fiction.

  • I don’t know — it seems to me that digital is the end-point, after which time it’s just a matter of converting between different encoding schemes, which is easily done with software tools.

    CDs are already disappearing, with the latest ‘value add’ from the music sellers (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) being the ability to download your licensed copy, as well as to play it directly from their cloud-based storage on any Internet-connected device.

  • Too easy:

    1. Roddenberry wrote the lyrics. There’s a copy of them over on the Wiki page. They were never expected to be used, but Roddenberry (in a rather sneaky and dickish move) wrote the lyrics so he’d receive half the royalties whenever the Trek theme was played, thereby denying Alexander Courage his full due.

    2. Theremin. It’s actually vocal.

    3. Okay, I’ll admit, I think you may have me there, but I want to say ‘Amok Time.’ However, I also recall that ‘Highly Illogical’ was the opening cut on Nimoy’s solo music album, the same one that included ‘The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins’ — which is some pure distilled nightmare fuel, especially if you watch the video.

    4. One of my favorite curmudgeon-y authors of all time: Harlan Ellison. (He also served as a consultant on Babylon 5.)

    5. Silicon.

  • uh, oh…I stored them in the basement — and now I can’t get the door open!

  • Indigo

    I see you found a thesaurus.

  • Indigo

    It’s fascinating to watch how the technology is coming together into one format. I fear the day when that one format is fully realized, though, because a week later, a new and more expensive technology will probably appear on the market and it’ll be the mix-tape cassettes story all over again. Plus ça change, n’est-ce pas?

  • Thom Allen

    What are the words to the Star Trek theme song? Yes, there are words to it. Who wrote them?
    What musical instrument is rumored to be played in the Star Trek theme, but isn’t?
    What is the first episode where Spock says, “Highly illogical”?
    Who was the author of the episode, “City on the Edge of Forever”?
    The Horta’s native biochemistry was based on which element?

  • We -are- talking the 1960s after all. Blatant sexism was the rule on broadcast TV, not the exception.

  • grayzip

    Some of the sexism in the original Star Trek is so over the top that it just becomes camp.

    In the first pilot “The Menagerie,” starring soon-to-be-dead Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike, he’s imprisoned on a planet with a beautiful woman who crash-landed there years ago, and his captors use the power of illusion to try to get them to fall in love. It sorta works, so at the end, when the Enterprise crew has freed both of them, Captain Pike asks the woman to come with them. She says she’d rather stay, and to explain why her captors reveal how she really looks without their power of illusion. And boy is she a mess, because they when the aliens patched her up they put everything back together wrong. “Now do you see why she can’t go with you?” the cauliflower-head aliens ask Pike. And he says, “Uh… YEAH. Never MIND. Toodle the F oo!” Because what else could a woman possibly offer but her looks? And off he goes.

  • According to Dr. McCoy, that last part doesn’t matter… Best have your parents check the attic and crawlspaces.

  • The part I find amazing: That I can have all of my favorite music on one small hand-held device, in near perfect digital fidelity, playable on demand. Plus be able to play it on my computer, my mobile phone, and even through my TV.

    It felt weird, the day I finally threw out all of my mix-tape cassettes. I regret selling my vinyl in ’97, but I was desperate for cash at the time.

  • I got Mommy and Daddy each a real Tribble (complete with vibration and purr) earlier this year (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ac6e/?srp=3) with great plans to go into business Tribble farming!

    Alas, it turns out they were brothers…

  • Hue-Man

    Local TV coverage of the UBC forum as well as this Globe & Mail article are a timely reminder that in much of the world HIV/AIDS is not a manageable chronic illness but continues to destroy families, leaving young orphans and their grandmothers:

    “Six grandmothers, fresh off various flights from sub-Saharan Africa, had arrived at the Stephen Lewis Foundation, whose offices span the fifth floor of a wheezy, converted warehouse in Toronto’s Chinatown.

    Back home, the problems these women face are overwhelming and immense: AIDS is still the leading cause of death around the world for women 15 to 49 years old, and grandmothers shoulder the weight of the aftermath. They endure extreme poverty, mass eviction and even sexual violence
    (younger and older women are often targeted on the mistaken assumption that they don’t carry the disease) as they struggle to raise children, often by the handful, who have been orphaned by the virus.

    The plan was for the grandmothers to fly on to Vancouver, where they would testify at a “people’s tribunal” on Saturday, staged at University of British Columbia and adjudicated by (admittedly biased) judges such as Gloria Steinem. This bit of theatre was conceived to promote a crucial point: that the international community and its governments should fight for these long-forgotten women; that without them, all is lost.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/giving/can-ilana-landsberg-lewis-keep-her-fathers-aids-cause-in-the-spotlight/article14173525/

  • ArthurH

    Star Trek has become so much a part of American life, the last time I was in Las Vegas I played a Star Trek-themed slot machine where you accumulated Tribbles in the Bonus Round.

  • ArthurH

    I’d guess the second pilot episode was called “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” But then I may have to bone up on Star Trek history by tuning in to ME TV Network on Saturday nights.

  • Well done! You win a Tribble.

  • ArthurH

    There is new car music but frankly would you prefer listening to “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by the Ting Tings when “Temptation Eyes by the Grass Roots or “Radar Love” by Golden Earing is playing on the next station down the dial? As for flying cars, the traffic accidents would be spectacular provided you weren’t standing below one.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Bro-ther. Just a little supercilious, eh? It’s possible to get a graduate degree and also watch a bit of TV from time to time, believe it or not.

  • Indigo

    I don’t remember. I was in a graduate school evening seminar that day, working on my master’s degree.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Trying to go from memory here: the original pilot was “The Cage” with Jeffrey Hunter as Capt. Pike, who would have been interesting to see as the star of a continuing series though he comes across a bit wooden and forced in “The Cage”; the second pilot was ” Where No Man Has Gone Before” guest-starring Gary Lockwood; the episode that aired first was “The Man-Trap”, the one with the salt vampire.

    It’s been a long journey through the stars, starting with a man who held his own on screen with John Wayne and ending up with a man (sort of) who makes you think that Starfleet will take in and promote from cadet straight to captain any infant who bothers to show up.

  • Indigo

    Speaking of music, I remain dumbfounded that I can be driving along in the car listening to the same music I was listening to in the early 70s of the last century while diving along in the car.

    Issue #1: hasn’t any fresh car radio music been released in the past 40 years?

    Issue # 2: Where the frack is my flying car?

    And speaking of video conferencing, they still do that? I thought everybody’d already rolled over to Skype.

  • On the other hand, this here isn’t creepy at all:


    Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, unveiled the newly-fan-restored Shuttlecraft Galileo on Wednesday (July 31) during a science fiction celebrity-studded event that featured one of the original actors from the full-scale spacecraft’s debut episode.

  • Bonus props and nerd street cred if you can:

    – Name the the original-original Star Trek pilot episode (the one later chopped up and broadcast as a two-parter)
    – Name the second pilot episode
    – And finally name the episode actually aired first, having been swapped in because, as ever, the network didn’t think average viewers could handle “high-brow” science fiction

  • Sanho_Tree

    The Head of NSA once hired the original set designers from Star Trek to design his command center complete w/Captain’s chair http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/09/08/the_cowboy_of_the_nsa_keith_alexander and that’s the LEAST creepy thing about him!

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