"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)

"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
September 19 is the last post for this blog. Thanks to all my readers!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

9 January 2014

Nina Dobrev b. 1989 (The Vampire Diaries, Never Cry Werewolf)
David Ellison b. 1983 (producer, World War Z, Star Trek Into Darkness, G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Julia Dietze b. 1981 (Iron Sky)
Patrick Sabongui b. 1975 (Almost Human, Arrow, Warm Bodies, Sucker Punch, TRON: Legacy, Stargate: Atlantis, Caprica, The Cabin in the Woods)
Marco Sanchez b. 1970 (Star Trek Into Darkness, Super 8, Dollhouse, Star Trek: Enterprise, SeaQuest 2032)
Rhoda Griffis b. 1965 (The Hunger Games)
Joseph Culp b. 1963 (Cyxork 7, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Apollo 13, The Fantastic Four [1994])
Anthony Harrison b. 1961 (Fringe, Supernatural, Aliens vs, Predator: Requiem, The 4400, Smallville, White Noise, Dead Like Me, The Core. Strange World, The Sixth Day, The X-Files)
Imelda Staunton b. 1956 (Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Psychoville)
J. K. Simmons b. 1955 (Spider-Man, Jennifer’s Body)
Vincent Grass b. 1949 (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
Susannah York b. 1939 died 15 January 2011 (Superman)
Paul Mantee b. 1931 died 7 November 2013 (Apollo 13, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Logan’s Run [TV], The Six Million Dollar Man, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, The Time Tunnel, Batman, Robinson Crusoe on Mars)
Algis Budrys b. 1931 died 9 June 2008 (author, The Falling Torch, Rogue Moon, Who?)
Lee Van Cleef b. 1925 died 16 December 1989 (Escape from New York, Twilight Zone, It Conquered the World, Space Patrol, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms)
Karel Capek b. 1890 died 25 December 1938 (author, Rossum’s Universal Robots)

A long birthday list today with some well-known names - Imelda Staunton, J.K. Simmons, Susannah York, Lee Van Cleef - but most of them are better known for work outside of genre. The two actors best known for sci-fi are probably Paul Mantee, who starred in the now largely forgotten Robinson Crusoe on Mars and Julia Dietze, a German actress whose best known role in an English production is as the Nazi babe in Iron Sky. The Picture Slot goes to a poster from a production of Karel Capek's 1920 play Rossum's Universal Robots, which is the origin of the word we use so commonly today, which derives from the Czech word for "slave labor".

Many happy returns to all the living on our list, and to actors Paul Mantee and Lee Van Cleef and authors Algis Burdys and Karel Capek, thanks for the memories.

Predictor: Isaac Asimov in 1964, predicting the year 2014 in honor of the World's Fair being held in New York

Prediction: Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be "farms" turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The 2014 fair will feature an Algae Bar at which "mock-turkey" and "pseudo-steak" will be served. It won't be bad at all (if you can dig up those premium prices), but there will be considerable psychological resistance to such an innovation.

Reality:  A lot of people online have discovered Asimov's predictions and are publishing some or all of them, and a lot of the commentary is along the lines of "ooh, wow, look how good this was."


Again, this was a very popular view in sci-fi that food production was not going to keep up with population and that we'd have to rely on algae or yeast or eating insects just to produce enough calories. The reality is that we are doing a better job of feeding the 7 billion people alive today than we did feeding the 3.3 billion people alive in 1964, changing the basics of our diet very little, with the exceptions of sriracha (YAY!) and Tofurky (BOO!). That said, there are concerns that we have pushed agricultural production too hard, notably with antibiotics, pesticides and genetic modification. Time will tell if something like bee colony collapse or some other screw-up will put a serious strain on the food supply.

Cheerful bastid, ain't I?

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

TED talks! Fabulous stuff just around the corner! Wait... did we pass the corner? I must have missed it.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. that we'd have to rely on algae or yeast or eating insects just to produce enough calories


    I love Iron Sky. So good.


      Just the right mouth feel. Not as good as cheese and crackers, though. I guess they need to process more fat people to make it just right.

      I actually did download her picture from Iron Sky and decided at the last minute to go with R.U.R. instead. I thought people who didn't see it would fail to understand she's the cute nice Nazi.

      Maybe next year.

    2. Wait.

      Are you...are you implying that there are people who haven't SEEN Iron Sky?

  2. Oh man, I'm old. I didn't recognize a single name until Susannah York and aside from the Star Trek shows, have not seen a single film after Apollo 13. It's interesting that in this country the food fashion these days is to be a locovore, eating only foods grown or raised close to where one lives. Of course in third world countries just about everyone is a locovore whether they like it or not.

    1. I am slightly younger and both J.K. Simmons and Imelda Staunton are recognizable on sight for me. (He's in the Farmer's comercials, she was the star of Vera Drake.) I go on imdb.com every morning to check out the birthdays, so a lot of these people are not that well known to me, either.

      I shop a lot at Trader Joe's, so I'm not very good at being a locavore. But because I love red wine and IPAs, it's very easy for me to be a loca-holic.

  3. TED talks! Fabulous stuff just around the corner!

    Two different things.

    1. One definition of fabulous is "barely credible", so using that, I stand by the sentence construction.

    2. That's why you're a Professor! Ya got me there.


Traveler! Have you news... FROM THE FUTURE?