Star Trek Stamps from USPS

Posted on January 3, 2016 at 8:00 am

The US Postal Service is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek with a new set of stamps that have four digital illustrations inspired by classic elements of the television program:

the Starship Enterprise inside the outline of a Starfleet insignia against a gold background;
the silhouette of a crewman in a transporter against a red background;
the silhouette of the Enterprise from above against a green background; and,
the Enterprise inside the outline of the Vulcan salute (Spock’s iconic hand gesture) against a blue background

The words “SPACE… THE FINAL FRONTIER,” from Captain Kirk’s famous voice-over appear beneath the stamps against a background of stars. The stamps were designed by Heads of State under the art direction of Antonio Alcalá.

Copyright USPS 2015
Copyright USPS 2015
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Science-Fiction Television

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm

We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, “Star Trek’s” half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original “Star Trek” were provocative political and cultural allegories, but the heart of the show was the reflection of the internal struggle we all try to reconcile: fire and ice, Athenian and Spartan, id and superego — between the passionate, impetuous Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the cerebral, deliberate Mr. Spock.

Adam Bernstein wrote in the Washington Post:

Spock was the ultimate outsider — a trait Mr. Nimoy said he understood. He was Jewish and had grown up in an Irish section of Boston. Going to movies as a child during the Depression, he was drawn to actors who specialized in bringing pathos to the grotesque — especially Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein” (1931) and Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939).

By most accounts, Mr. Nimoy portrayed the most popular character of the “Star Trek” cast. While some critics thought that Mr. Nimoy’s acting was dour or wooden, fans might have argued that these were precisely the characteristics of the emotion-suppressing, logic-obsessed Spock.

Copyright 1968 Paramount
Copyright 1968 Paramount

Nimoy was a fine actor, and he gave a dry wit to Mr. Spock. The character was fascinating because of his emotionless, stoic, purely rational approach.  Once in a while, his human side showed through. And although most of the time he seemed to conclude (rationally) that the Vulcan approach was superior, he occasionally seemed to envy his human colleagues’ capacity for emotion. And certainly, he showed himself capable of friendship with Captain Kirk.

I loved his father’s explanation of why he married a human: “It seemed the logical thing to do at the time.” Spock also had the enviable ability of telepathy and could immobilize a humanoid enemy with a neck nerve-pinch.

Bernstein’s obituary quoted an interview Nimoy gave to the New York Times:

“I knew that we were not playing a man with no emotions, but a man who had great pride, who had learned to control his emotions and who would deny that he knew what emotions were. In a way, he was more human than anyone else on the ship.”

He added: “In spite of being an outcast, being mixed up, looking different, he maintains his point of view. He can’t be bullied or put on. He’s freaky with dignity. There are very few characters who have that kind of pride, cool and ability to lay it out and walk away. Humphrey Bogart played most of them.”

He spoke to Pharrell Williams about his life and career and developing the character of Spock.

The devotion of “Star Trek’s” fans is legendary, and the subject of documentaries including Trekkies and its sequel, and no character had more fans than Mr. Spock.

A particularly fitting tribute was in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” where the hyper-rational Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) has the most emotional reaction in the history of the series because he receives a special gift, a napkin that had been used by Leonard Nimoy.

In another episode, Nimoy provided the voice for Cooper’s Mr. Spock action figure.

Nimoy was the son of Jewish immigrants from what is now Ukraine. It was his idea to use the traditional rabbinic blessing gesture, with the fingers spread apart in a V shape as the Vulcan greeting.

He was also a successful director, not just of “Star Trek” films but also of the popular comedy “Three Men and a Baby” and the Diane Keaton drama “The Good Mother.”

In 1968, Nimoy responded with warmth, generosity, and wisdom to a letter from a biracial girl who identified with his bi-planetary character. He told her to “realize the difference between popularity and true greatness. It has been said that ‘popularity’ is merely the crumbs of greatness. When you think of people who are truly great, and who have improved the world, you can see that they have realized that they are people who do not need popularity because they knew they had something special to offer the world, no matter how small that offering seemed. And they offered it and it was accepted with peace and love.”

He left us with a beautiful final message via Twitter.

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Nimoy gave us many perfect moments.  As long as there are devices to view content, new generations of fans will love and be inspired by Mr. Spock. May his memory be a blessing.

EPIX will pay tribute to Nimoy this weekend.

A Conversation with Leonard Nimoy: AIRING: Friday 2/27 – 11:00PM ET, Saturday 2/28 – 5:40PM ET & 10:00PM ET, Sunday 3/1 – 8:00PM ET 

Leonard Nimoy shares insights and personal anecdotes from his nearly 50-year involvement with the phenomenon that is Star Trek.  

Star Trek Into Darkness: AIRING: Saturday 2/28 – 10:15PM ET, Sunday 3/1 – 8:15PM ET

In the wake of a shocking act of terror from within their own organization, the crew of The Enterprise is called back home to Earth. In defiance of regulations and with a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads his crew on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

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Actors Television Tribute

Watch “Star Trek” Free on Hulu This Week

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm

The original “Star Trek” series is free on Hulu this week and Slate has a great list of the essential episodes everyone needs to see.

But — what, no tribbles?

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Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Science-Fiction Series/Sequel Television

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I feel like Goldilocks.  It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s not as awful as the second one.  So, if that doesn’t make it just right, at least it makes it better than the second one and with some summer movie chases, fights, and explosions that make it popcorn-worthy.

It begins with a prologue that cheekily re-imagines the space race of the 1960’s as a secret mission to learn more about a mysterious rocket that crashed on the dark side of the moon in the late 1950’s.  Archival footage of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and newsman Walter Cronkite is used to make it appear that in the brief moments our first moon landing was not visible from earth, the astronauts were exploring a cavernous machine.  Even the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident is tied into cold war-ear secrets about what was found on the moon.

Then, we are in present day where Sam (Shia LeBeouf) returns as Sam Witwicky.  Still in high school in the first movie, he is now out of college and looking for a job in Washington D.C.  It’s tough these days, especially when you’re not allowed to put “saved the world — twice” on your resume for reasons of national security.  Sam also has a new girlfriend named Carly (model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).  The departure of Megan Fox is explained in a few short lines.  No one seems to miss her.

Sam meets Carly’s boss Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), a fabulously wealthy but very arrogant businessman (think Dr. McSleazy) and tries not to be jealous, even after Dylan gives Carly a $200,000 Mercedes.  But, you know, blah blah and the bad robot decepticons are back, blah blah the head of National Security (Frances McDormand) tries to keep Sam away from his friends the autobots, and blah blah all something will do something if Sam doesn’t get that tractor beam out of commission, I mean knock out that pillar that has “the ability to reshape the universe” and build a bridge to another world (didn’t we just see that in “Thor?).

And then the humans fight each other and the robots and the robots fight each other and the humans.  In 3D.  Various characters turn out to be not what we thought.  There are surprise guest cameos.   And at two and a half hours it goes on much too long (believe me, they could have lost an hour and had a nice, brisk evening at the movies).     McDormand, Ken Jeong (stuck with an embarrassing attempt at homophobic humor, literally with his pants down), and John Malcovich are completely wasted.  Huntington-Whiteley is better at posing than acting — but she’s got legs and knows how to use them.  And we once again do not get enough of John Duhamel.  John Turturro wore out his welcome well before the first one ended but Alan Tudyk makes the role of his aide into something enjoyably off-kilter.  It’s too loud, it’s too long, some of the battles are hard to follow, the action is entertaining and so is the but relief that it isn’t as awful as the last one.


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3D Action/Adventure Science-Fiction Series/Sequel Superhero
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