Leonard Nimoy’s Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

December 25, 2009

Remember all those years when Xmas day meant going to see Lord of the Rings after dinner? Here’s a little throwback to that time. It involves Leonard Nimoy with the Spock haircut and a gaggle of girls in neon sweatshirts wearing the Spock ears and I don’t understand what it is at all, but damn if I’m not gonna be singing it for days now.

Merry Xmas if you lean that way; enjoy your Chinese food if you don’t. I’ll be doing both.


Live long and prosper: the Jewish origins of the Vulcan salute

May 22, 2009
Give me three more of these and I'll show you a playground trick.

Give me three more of these and I'll show you a playground trick.

The Vulcan greeting is based upon a blessing gesture used by the kohanim (koe-hah-NEEM) during the worship service. The kohanim are the genealogical descendants of the Jewish priests who served in the Jerusalem Temple.

The blessing gesture forms the hand into the shape of the Hebrew letter Shin, which stands for Shaddai, a name for God.

Shin.

Shin.

Like most Jewish children, young Leonard Nimoy could not contain his curiosity about what the kohanim were really doing up there in front of the congregation. He writes:

“The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality… I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek.” (From his autobiography, I am Spock.)

Nimoy felt that there should be some kind of distinctive greeting among Vulcans, analogous to a handshake or a bow. Alan Dean Foster’s novelization, based on an early script, has Spock kneeling before the Vulcan matriarch, T’Pau, who places her hands on his shoulders, like royalty dubbing a knight. But Nimoy didn’t care for this. Previous episodes had already established that Vulcans are touch telepaths. Therefore, a touch on the shoulders would be an invasion of privacy. Instead, Nimoy drew upon his own Jewish background to suggest the now-familiar salute.

Full article here, via Metafilter.

He's totes Spock.  Mixed-race, tight haircut, pointy sideburns, measured vocal cadence, plus HAWT.

He's totes Spock. Mixed-race, tight haircut, pointy sideburns, measured vocal cadence, plus HAWT.

The thing is, not everyone can make the Shin gesture. Nimoy himself had to practice as a child, and apparently neither William Shatner, nor Zachary Quinto- who plays Spock in the 2009 movie- can hold the gesture. I actually suspected that Quinto had a little help to form his salute- his hand seemed strained and weirdly angled in every scene where he had to throw down the old LLAP. Turns out that Shatner tied his fingers together with fishing line; Quinto used superglue.

Umm, you guys, this begs the question….

WHY DID NOBODY SUGGEST THAT THEY USE….

SHIN-SPLINTS!!?!!

amirite?

huh?

guys?

Some photos don't need jokey captions

Some photos don't need jokey captions

There’s some more Pageslap Star Trek fun here.

Hey what do the Kohanim play in the winter?
SHINNY HOCKEY


Star Trek

May 20, 2009

Saw Star Trek last night. I enjoyed the movie. In its honour, here are some fun Star Trek links:

Moments later, Shatner dropped the soap

Moments later, Shatner dropped the soap

Tons of candid Trek photos from the original series. Awesome stuff with Shatner & Nimoy posing with their cars, Spock laughing with his mouth open in full costume, etc.
Full post with lots of links to noteworthy candids at Metafilter.

Tea.  Earl Gr-- ah, forget it, I'll make it myself.

Tea. Earl Gr-- ah, forget it, I'll make it myself.

This man’s wife left him and to compensate, he spent thousands turning his apartment into a Starship. Ummm…. awesome.

A few things I was thinking about after seeing le movie:
(I suppose you could say there are very very mild spoilers ahead)

Loved all the lens flares. Here’s a post Kottke put up a few weeks ago about Abrams’ use of lens flaring.

Luuurved Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto as Uhura & Spock. Great casting overall. Zoe Saldana is super-compelling.

The midwife who birthed Kirk had hella creepy funhouse mirror eyes- cool/scary.

It’s so lame that of the main cast of Trek, so far in the future, there were only 2 beige people and 1 woman. Come on. I mean I know it was groundbreaking in the 1960s and all, but hell.

Why do all aliens have the same haircut as all other aliens of their race?
Not really enough aliens in this movie, actually. I could have used more aliens.

Winona Ryder is officially a hot mom now, I guess.

Ebert complains that this movie is a fun action romp– but… that Trek has a responsibility, or at least a precedent, of tackling philosophical concerns, which doesn’t really happen in the movie. I think that’s a fair critique. But then again he also makes some weird opaque comment about how Zoe Saldana is “unsuited to her costume”, and that’s such bunk I will totally kick him.

And finally, hey, science fiction, why are all alien ships so uncomfortable? Don’t aliens like being warm and having enough light to see by? The Enterprise bridge is comfy and bright like it was made by Ikea, but the Romulans seem to live in the rafters of my creepiest neighbours’ garage. Why are their ships always a series of scary, slippery bridges spanning endless abysses? Who the hell designs for these people? Do I have to go to Romulus and hold a seminar about the value of laminate flooring? Because I’ll do it.

SUCK IT ROMULUS

SUCK IT ROMULUS


Sparock Obama

May 11, 2009

I’m in full gameshow mode right now- like literally on a 30min lunch break between taping a kabrillion episodes. It’s going well, we’re a little behind, but today we had a lil run of questions about Monty Python, so, you know, cool. And busy as I am, I am still inappropriately making the time to bring you this fusion of two of my favourite dudes. SUCH IS MY DEDICATION TO INTERNET AWESOME.

He's only half-Vulcan but there's that pesky one-drop rule.

He's only half-Vulcan but there's that pesky one-drop rule.

From the New York Times (huh?), via Elliott.


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