Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’


First off, I did absolutely nothing exciting or Layla-like this week. Unless you count one episode of white-knuckled-driving-several-miles-on-sheer-ice.  But the good news is the bitter cold and crud are supposed to start melting this week.  I sure hope so ‘cause I’m going stir crazy.

Second, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my close friend. He was in worse shape than anyone thought, but as of today he’s out of the hospital and doing better.  He has nothing but praise for the paramedics, doctors, nurses, and other medical folk who literally saved his life.  And I’m grateful too.

Finally, I’ve got to say something about Leonard Nimoy passing away.

Mr. Spock

A part of me (usually hidden) has long been a Trekkie.  As a young kid I watched Star Trek when it was on TV way back in the 60’s.  Mr. Spock and Kirk and the other crew members really were a part of my childhood.  But then the show was cancelled (I was devastated!) only to return in reruns when I was in college, and then in movies, and then in other series, until it became part of our American culture.

If you think I’m exaggerating, check out Nimoy’s obituary in the New York Times (Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83). Speaking logically (Spock would like that), Leonard Nimoy was not a major movie star or celebrity whose passing deserved widespread reporting.  Yet his picture and obituary were front-page headlines on the electronic version of the newspaper and over a thousand readers posted comments.

My favorite is from a scientist who reported that when news of Nimoy’s passing spread through her university, her colleagues closed themselves in their offices to shed a private tear.  “The role of Mr. Spock meant so much to many of us.  Mr. Nimoy’s character made science cool, made being a scientist cool.  Countless colleagues are STEM professionals because of him.  If this alien character could do it and be respected for being a scientist, then maybe we could be doing science too – men, women, African-Americans – no matter what we looked like.”

Kirk and Spock use

What you have to realize too, for those of you too young to remember, is that Star Trek was so freaking POSITIVE.  In a decade of war, assassinations, mass starvation, drugs, struggles for civil rights, and threats of nuclear annihilation, here came this low-ratings TV show that presented an extraordinarily hopeful vision of humanity’s future.

Give us a couple centuries, Gene Roddenberry said in episode after episode, and we’ll stop being violent, ignorant, bigoted jackasses.  We’ll learn to get along.  We’ll have peace and prosperity.  Even today, when dystopian and apocalyptic tastes rule our sci-fi and paranormal creations, Star Trek remains an anomaly.  When I was a kid, I could go from being depressed and scared after watching the nightly news with my Dad, to feeling good after watching Star Trek.

So thank you, Leonard Nimoy, for embodying to perfection a fictional character who became necessary and real to many of us.

Beam him up, Scotty.

Star Trek and Action Movies, Part Deux

on July 14, 2009 in Misc Comments Off

Funny, isn’t it, how the shows we watched as kids permanently mold some small part of us.  How a few of the fantasies they concocted like witching spells in our kid brains never completely disappear.  I assumed when I was a kid that the exciting story lines in TV shows and movies and books would vanish from my imagination with my arrival into adulthood.  And sure enough, the years passed and when silly phenomena like Star Trek or Star Wars conventions appeared on the horizon I dismissed them as absurd.  Men dressing up as Civil War re-enactors?  Ridiculous.  People buying James Bond cars and gadgets so they can pretend to live in his world?  Oh please.

Then lo and behold here comes a Star Trek movie that harkens back to the original series, and I come away from it feeling like a kid all over again.  The same thing when I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No apologies, either.  It’s a damn fine feeling.

So this is the truth I must admit to:  that shadowy threads of my childhood stories have wrapped themselves around my skin and through my emotions and have ever since been a part of me.  It doesn’t matter that for most of my life I’ve forgotten about them or dismissed the longing they occasionally evoke as mere nostalgia.  They’re a small part of me and what I wanted to be.

Some more facts:  I’m now old enough to be on the downward slope of life.   My 401k is in the tank.  The economy stinks.  Jobs are vanishing.  Life is a risk and nothing is guaranteed.  I wrote a novel with a great lead action woman named Layla Daltry.  If I now want to live more like her or in truth let that part of me that is her become real, then why the hell not?  It’s not like I have much to lose.

But no dressing up.  I’m not into that at all, and even Layla wears normal (though really cool) clothes.  Then again, when my own brother tells me that I need to get more of an edge to my wardrobe, it might be time for a makeover.

An embarrassing confession…

When I was a kid watching Star Trek I had unreasonably assumed — me with my braces and thick glasses and a jaw that wasn’t developing right — that when I grew up I’d be as lovely as the women Kirk was always chasing, which was his tough luck because my heart belonged to Spock.

Star Trek and Layla and Me.

on July 13, 2009 in Misc Comments Off

I thought my quads would feel better by now.  No such luck.  Walking upstairs isn’t too bad but walking down is excruciating.  I’m moving like a whiny, arthritic ninety-year-old.

The evening after my first parkour class I went out with a couple friends (suffering all the while) to see Star Trek.  It was the first time for Ann but the second for me and Rich.  Fun stuff, and of course this second time I paid close heed to how Kirk was knocked off platforms and catwalks and the edge of a cliff, and each time he grunted and groaned but pulled his full body weight up over the edges (once with the help of Sulu).  Damn.  Maybe after parkour class #10 I’ll manage one measly chin-up to save my own life!  Layla would certainly be able to save herself.

The stratospherically high skydiving scene was great.  No, I won’t be going anywhere near such moon-high elevation when I do my first skydive, but since starting my plan I’ve found myself gleefully anticipating how in the coming months I’m actually, finally going to skydive and paraglide and zip up and down buildings (or at least try to) and other cool stuff.  It seems that for most of my life I’ve promised myself that someday I’ll do the same thrilling sports or stunts I see in movies or on TV.  Someday when I have the money or the time.

And that’s just the problem — I never seem to have the money and time always slips through my fingers.  Well, to hell with saving and scrimping and being practical and time-conscious.  For my one-year plan, my savings will just have to take a hit and I will rearrange my days so that I have all the time in the world.