Snapshots 92

Here are 6 developments of interest to fans.

(1) Captain Picard characteristically tugs on his Starfleet uniform blouse after rising or sitting… or breathing — or practically anything, because, my gosh he does it a lot! Someone has edited a tribute montage showing every single instance in the entire course of the ST:TNG series.

Can anybody tell me — Did Locutus of the Borg do this, too, or did he have a better-fitting uniform?

(2) Grantland is attached to the sports franchise, but it also delivers a great sidestream of pop culture commentary. Consider Career Arc: Tim Burton. How did it all go so wrong so fast? by Alex Pappademas:

Hey, here’s a question: When, exactly, are we as a society going to review Johnny Depp’s membership in the One Of Our Finest Actors club? He’s probably a chill bro to split a bottle of red wine and a carton of cigarettes with, and Rango is the best American Western of the last decade that isn’t Deadwood, but come on — when he’s not taking pirate-booty gigs far beneath a man who already owns a fucking private island or sleepwalking through classy dreck like The Tourist or sewing fresh neck bolts onto the corpus of Hunter S. Thompson, he’s donning funny hats and goon wigs in bad movie after bad movie for Burton, channeling Brando’s perversion through Jerry Lewis’s good taste. At this point his collaboration with Burton post–Ed Wood is such a study in diminishing returns that the only logical next step for them is a 3-D adaptation of Zeno’s paradox with Depp as the voice of the arrow.

(3) Roger Ebert, at the end of his review of Argo reveals a couple of projects Ben Affleck is thinking about directing:

Another possibility: Stephen King’s adaptation of his own mammoth sci-fi story “The Stand,” which could run as long as “Lord of the Rings.” Make no little plans.

(4) Laurel Anne Hill, author of Heroes Arise, has created a book trailer for Shanghai Steam [YouTube], the Steampunk-Wuxia anthology which includes her short story “Moon-Flame Woman.” Her argument for spending the time? “This is so much more fun than managing underground storage tanks and hazardous chemicals.” I daresay.

From ancient China to a future Mars, from the British Empire to the Old West, 19 authors show you worlds with alcohol-fueled dragons, philosophical automatons, and Qi-powered machines. SHANGHAI STEAM is a unique mashup of steampunk and the Chinese literary genre known as Wuxia.

(5) James Nicoll ran a poll asking “What would you say the worst frequently anthologized short works of F&SF are?”

I immediately thought “The Cold Equations.” So did the first two commenters. Vindicated!

(6) Researchers told the Wall Street Journal that many things findable with blood tests might potentially be detected with a breath test. [Online article available free for 7 days.]

Scientists are identifying thousands of chemical compounds that create those telltale odors. Tools called mass spectrometers can detect them in quantities as minute as parts per trillion, the equivalent of finding a single ping-pong ball in a thousand baseball fields filled with ping-pong balls…

“The Holy Grail is the Star Trek Tricorder concept, where you would breathe into a device and a sign would pop up saying what health problems you have,” says Cristina Davis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Davis, who is co-chairing an international conference on breath analysis later this month.

Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a highway patrolman…

[Thanks for these links goes out to David Klaus.]

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8 thoughts on “Snapshots 92

  1. Next Gen Starfleet uniforms are made of one-way stretch material (well, the material stretches more on one axis, and a lot less on the perpendicular axis).

    The problem is they were cut on the wrong axis.

    So the fit is fine, but the don’t give properly when sitting, standing, or pretty much moving.

  2. We’re lucky they did a better job with the pants. Imagine Chris Farley as Starleet’s motivational officer.

  3. Burton’s last two films were a bit dicey, I admit. First “Sweeny Todd,” which was well done but suffers from comparison with the Broadway play. I mean, who knew Johnny Depp could sing at all, but he can’t sing in that role as well as Len Carriou! Who could? Then “Alice,” which wan’t really a bad film, just not the film anyone wanted it to be. It was dark, and people forget there were glimpses of darkness in Lewis Carroll’s telling too. I saw it with my friend Bob, and he said it seemed “pointless” to him. Well… I suppose. But “No Country For Old Men” was rather “pointless” as well, I thought, but Bob liked that a lot. So, I’m led back to the supposition that “Alice” was just not the film the audience wanted. Finally, “Dark Shadows.” I can’t comment, since I haven’t seen it. But I almost don’t want to see it, either. I never watched the TV show and have little interest in afternoon housewives’ TV, vampires, or camp. I had the same problem with “Planet of the Apes.” So far it is still the only Tim Burton movie I’ve seen that I have no desire to own a copy of and see again. Whatever gave him the brain-dead idea to remake a Science-Fiction-shaped TV show from the 60s, apparently struck again when he remade another SF-shaped TV show from the 70s. I suppose his next TV-inspired turkey will be based on ALF.

  4. “but he can’t sing in that role as well as Len Carriou! Who could?”

    George Hearn.

  5. @Morris

    I thought George Hearn’s singing couldn’t hold a candle to Len Cariou’s. Cariou was a much better singer. Hearn, on the other hand, was a much better madman, and will always be my favorite barber.

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