Snapshots 124 Globemaster

Here are 11 developments of interest to fans. Especially fans with facial hair.

(1) Grantland columnist Charles P. Pierce interrupts his paen of praise to Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara for a comment about the Red Sox players’ beards —

This is a not-inconsiderable feat on [Uehara’s] part, since the 2013 Red Sox have decided that they would win largely through starting pitching and eccentricity, expressed primarily through luxuriant beards that make the dugout look like the final scene in Witness, when the little kid starts ringing the bell and the whole town comes out.

(As someone with facial foliage myself, I, of course, applauded this development. No damn goatees. No Don Johnson filigree. Real damn beards. Civil War photo beards. Ten Commandments beards. However, apparently, the latest thing among the Red Sox is to rub your bat on a teammate’s beard for luck. I believe, as Bill Murray says in Tootsie, that we’re getting into a weird area here.)

(2) Beards also figure in Dorkly’s cartoon series about “people you see at every nerd convention” – Fifteen people you’ll see at every nerd convention, More people you see at every nerd convention and 17 more people you see at every nerd convention.

I identify with the blogjournalist in the third set — I write on the internet, surely you must know me…?

(3) Today you have to order something like this special-made from an outfit like Captain Company

ANOVOS offers the Command Division Gold Tunic uniform / costume piece from Star Trek™ The Original Series’ Third Season, as worn by Captain James T. Kirk.

ANOVOS’s focus is on providing the most accurate representation of the 60’s era top using decades worth of accumulated research and access to original pieces (special thanks to CBS, Paramount, Roddenberry Productions and Greg Jein). The result is this exacting replica of Captain James Tiberius Kirk’s tunic, right down to the Captain’s braid, the Command Division Delta Shield Enterprise patch, and is available for pre-order now.

Yet I remember that style of velour shirt was the fashion of the day when I was in grade school. I had a friend who convinced his parents to buy one for him as close as possible to the same color Kirk wore. You couldn’t buy a Star Fleet logo yet, but it was there in our imaginations.

(4) Speaking of the Captain, there will be live performances of the songs on William Shatner’s new album Ponder the Mystery at three Southern California venues this month

He’ll get the chance with three live performances he’ll give in Southern California venues at the end of the month: Oct. 23 at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, Oct. 24 at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills and Oct. 25 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. He’ll be accompanied by Circa, the prog-rock band that includes Sherwood and Kaye along with bassist Rick Tierney and drummer Scott Connor. They plan to perform the “Ponder the Mystery” album in its entirety, all 15 songs from start to finish.

(5) Looks like Tolkien’s Fall of Arthur is inspiring some kind of Inklings unified field theory. Check out this call for papers from editor Sørina Higgins

The recent publication of The Fall of Arthur, an unfinished poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, revealed a startling aspect of the legendarium. The key is found in notes Tolkien left about how he intended the fragmentary Fall of Arthur to continue (included in Christopher Tolkien’s editorial matter). After Arthur was carried away for healing, Lancelot would follow him into the West, never to return.
In other words, Lancelot functions like Eärendel. He sails into the West, seeking a lost paradise. If Tolkien had finished this poem, he could have woven it together with The Silmarillion so that his elvish history mapped onto the legends of Arthur, forming a foundation for “real” English history and language. In addition, he could have collaborated with Lewis, Williams, and Barfield, creating a totalizing myth greater than any they wrote individually.
The publication of this extraordinary poem thus invites an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of both the actual Arthurian writings by the major Inklings and of an imaginary, composite, Inklings Arthuriad.

(6) Which science fictional universe boasts the biggest starships? The “Museum of Speculative Fiction inspired Spaceships” at Starship Dimensions is the place to find out.

(7) Rusty Ward, creator of the Science Friction video series, shows how close the military is to matching weapon capabilities first imagined in sf —

It’s time you got your laser gun. Since Star Trek Into Darkness is coming out, this episode of Science Friction deals with laser weapons. How are lasers currently being used by the military? What handheld laser weapons are available today and what will the future of laser technology hold? Find out.

(8) Even already-existing weapons have bizarre capabilities when the right artist chooses to demonstrate them:

In this video published by British street artist Banksy, a group of what appear to be Islamist rebels are seen firing a rocket into the sky and cheering wildly … before Disney’s flying elephant character Dumbo falls to the ground. The artist wrote on his website: ‘I’m not posting any pictures today. Not after this shocking footage has emerged.’ Banksy is starting a month-long ‘residency’ on the streets of New York

(9) And never forget, the author of 1984 once was shot with a plain old sniper rifle:

The socialist writer was picked out by a sniper while he helped fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.

…”Orwell was shot in the throat and was very lucky to survive. His neckscarfs were taken by the doctor at the time who removed the bullet from his neck.

“He took them home to England and gave them to his wife before he died and they ended up with Mr Bateman.

“They are mainly red, white and black, which are strong socialist colours.

“The scarf the bullet went through is white with red polka dots. It has a shredded hole, not a clean bullet hole.”

The scarves were auctioned earlier this month.

(10) Visitors to LA’s Griffith Park now have the pleasure of sharing the park with a mountain lion – who had to cross two freeways to get there.

For more than a year and a half, the solitary mountain lion known as P-22 has made himself right at home in Griffith Park within view of Hollywood’s Capitol Records building.

By night, he cruises the chaparral-covered canyons, dining on mule deer, raccoon and coyote. By day, while tots ride the Travel Town train and hikers hit the trails, he hunkers down amid dense vegetation.

To researchers’ knowledge, the 125-pound 4-year-old is the most urban mountain lion in Southern California and possibly beyond — surviving and thriving in a small patch of habitat surrounded by freeways and densely packed human beings that he reached, somewhat miraculously, by crossing the 101 and 405 freeways.

The charming part is that they actually had the cat trapped – and all they did was tag and release it. Since there have been incidents in Orange County of trail bikers being attacked by a mountain lion, I sure don’t understand that decision.

(11) Maybe those scientists deserve to be shortlisted for the Ig Nobel Prize:

Founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony Marc Abrahams said the prize honors achievements that “make you laugh, then make you think.”

The achievements that have been celebrated at the awards (and can be viewed in the above video) range from a bra that can be turned into an emergency face mask to a study which asked: Are cows more likely to lie down the longer they stand?

[Thanks for these links goes out to David Klaus, Andrew Porter, James Bacon and John King Tarpinian.]

5 thoughts on “Snapshots 124 Globemaster

  1. 6) Starship Dimensions has been around at least a couple of years — that’s how long I’ve known about it. It’s a pretty amazing site, though.

  2. 7) I really don’t believe hand-held lasers are going to have any major military use in the forseeable future. But since it’s your money and mine that the Pentagon is spending, they are determined to find as many specialized uses as they can. Need a weapon to pot somebody through a window a mile away without shattering the glass and tipping everyone off? A laser is the perfect thing? So what if you only have use for one a dozen times a year and it set the taxpayer back a half billion dollars for R&D? It’s not the Pentagons’ money… Oh, by the way, it won’t work if theirs excess dust in the air, too many pollutants, its foggy or, worse, raining. And it only fires six times, probably, then needs a new $80,000 battery or cell or whatever they call it. That’s why I don’t think we’ll see the common gunpowder cartridge and rifled barrel become obsolete any time soon.

  3. 7) Rats. I meant to distinguish between actual laser weapons and things like range finders, target designators, possibly explosive detonators, and so on. Things for which lasers already often have civilian functions.

  4. ALmost every kind of beard. But no: there are people who just have hazmats of hair from those who have been trying for a decade or more and still have the attempted mustache. And they wear glasses.

  5. That the expense and power requirements of directed energy weapons make them difficult and expensive to use under current real-world science/engineering is why conventional firearms are what are in common use in the Firefly ‘Verse. There have been two laser weapons shown, a valuable antique (the “Lassiter”) on a rich, inner core world, and a hand-held pistol on a frontier world which ran out of power very quickly and didn’t do it’s soon-after deceased owner as well as a five-shot .38 Colt Detective Special (a typical t.v. p.i. gun in the ’70s) might have done him.

    There have been times when the physics of slug-throwers made them better than phasers even within the Star Trek future, that being a major plot point in the Deep Space Nine novel Fallen Heroes by Dafydd ab Hugh.

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