Tuesday, December 31, 2013

31 December 2013

Bronson Pelletier b. 1986 (Twilight Saga, Dinosapien)
Steve Byers b. 1976 (Alphas, Total Recall [2012], Immortals, Smallville, The Dresden Files)
Bruce Ramsay b. 1966 (Hellraiser:Bloodline, Continuum, Riverworld, Supernatural, Babylon 5: The Lost Tales)
Val Kilmer b. 1959 (Red Planet, The Island of Dr. Moreau [1996], Batman Forever)
Bebe Neuwirth b. 1958 (Jumanji, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
James Remar b. 1953 (Horns, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, The Vampire Diaries, FlashForward, Jericho, Battlestar Galactica, Blade: Trinity, The X-Files, Judge Dredd, The Clan of the Cave Bear)
Jane Badler b. 1953 (V)
Barbara Carrera b. 1945 (Embryo, The Island of Dr. Moreau [1977])
Connie Willis b. 1945
(won 1993 Hugo and Nebula for Doomsday Book)
(won 1999 Hugo for To Say Nothing of the Dog)
(won 2011 Hugo and Nebula for Blackout/All Clear)
Ben Kingsley b. 1943 (Ender’s Game, Iron Man 3, Hugo, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, A Sound of Thunder, A.I., Alice in Wonderland, Species, Slipstream)
Anthony Hopkins b. 1937 (Thor, The Wolfman, Beowulf, Meet Joe Black, Dracula [1992])

Okay! Sometimes I write that there are honest to Odin movie stars on our birthday list. Who's here today?


But Sir Anthony does not get the Picture Slot, because I wanted a Pretty Girl to counterbalance the human filth in the prediction section. Jane Badler would also have been an excellent choice in her iconic role on the original TV series V, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Bebe Neuwirth, regardless of the fact that she is nowhere near twenty feet tall.

Many happy returns of the day to all the birthday boys and girls on our list.
Prediction: On 23 March 2013, all American citizens must have a Radio Frequency Identification Device implanted in their hand, as mandated in the Obamacare bill.

Predictor: Pastor Paul Begley, 17 February 2012

Reality: Here's a link to his You Tube page.

Here's a link to Snopes.com, who calls bullshit on his You Tube page.

Undeterred, disgusting grifter Paul Begley changed the date of his prophecy (not unlike now extinct grifter emeritus Dr. Harold Camping) when it didn't come to pass this year to 31 December 2017, which is why I'm publishing it today.

This is an example of what I consider the biggest problem facing humanity today. If you want to believe a certain thing, you can use the Internet to feed you just the garbage you want to consume. As a bonus, those sources will tell you that anyone who disagrees is an idiot or a liar or both. Usually, there is a liberal vs. conservative split in these shouting matches, but not always. There is a feeling of the school yard arguments, with a lot of "No, you are!" repeated by both sides. We call them wingnuts and they call us libtards and both sides use the phrase "low information voters" to describe the other.

Who wrote "the center cannot hold"? Just some dirty Irish terrorist sympathizer. Good Americans like us can ignore that, right?

Looking one day... INTO THE FUTURE!

OMG! Is it like another whole new year already? What will happen then?

More birthdays! More predictions! More fabulous babes!

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, December 30, 2013

30 December 2013

Kristin Kreuk b. 1982 (Smallville, Beauty and the Beast, Earthsea, Snow White: The Fairest of Them All)
Eliza Dushku b. 1980 (The Guild, Torchwood, Big Bang Theory, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Tyrese Gibson b. 1978 (Transformers, Death Race)
Lucy Punch b. 1977 (The 10th Kingdom, Dinotopia, Ella Enchanted)
Bryan Burk b. 1968 (producer, Cloverfield, Star Trek, Lost, Super 8, Fringe, Revolution, Almost Human)
Ellen Sandweiss b. 1958 (The Evil Dead, Oz the Great and Powerful)
Patricia Kalember b. 1957 (Signs, Limitless, Jacob’s Ladder, Cat’s Eye)
Fred Ward b. 1942 (10.5, The Crow: Salvation, Invasion: Earth, Tremors, UFOria, Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann)
Russ Tamblyn b. 1934 (Joan of Arcadia, Babylon 5, Quantum Leap, Necromancer, War of the Gargantuas, tom thumb)
Tom Keene b. 1896 died 4 August 1963 (Plan 9 from Outer Space)

Several choices for the Beautiful Young People in the Picture Slot today, and I went with Kristin Kreuk from Smallville and the most recent version of Beauty and the Beast on TV. A couple names I put on the list because they were near the top of the bill in famous cult films, Ellen Sandweiss from The Evil Dead and Tom Keene from Plan 9 from Outer Space. Mr. Keene started in movies in 1923(!) and was credited under the names George Duryea and Richard Powers as well. He made a wagonload of low budget, one hour long Westerns and his character was almost always named Tom. You might think that is a one way ticket to Palookaville, but the one hour Westerns were the start of John Wayne's career started as well. Luck always plays a factor in show business, and for Mr. Keene, he worked steadily but never became a household name.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and to Mr. Keene, I hope you are catching better breaks wherever you are now than you did when you were here.

Prediction: 30 December 1999: The last moments of the life of a robber shot by the police are recorded on a SQUID, a device that lets people relive the experiences of others.

Predictor: From Strange Days, released 20 October 1995

Reality: It's an interesting premise that has been used many times, but we really don't understand the wiring of the human brain very well, certainly not well enough to record memories. To show that it's "the future", L.A. is a nearly post-apocalyptic and gas sells for the oppressive price of $3.00 a gallon. In reality, gas in 1999 L.A. was actually about $1.55 a gallon.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We will all have radio frequency chips implanted by the end of 2017. Thanks, Obama!

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

29 December 2013

Jude Law b. 1972 (Hugo, Repo Men, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortuante Events, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, A.I., eXistenZ, Gattaca)
Leonor Varela b. 1972 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Blade II, Stargate:Atlantis)
Patrick Fischler b. 1969 (Grimm, Lost, Idiocracy, Star Trek: Enterprise, Angel, Charmed)
Andy Wachowski b. 1967 (director, The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas)
Dave McKean b. 1963 (artist, Sandman, Coraline, MirrorMask)
M.H. b. 1955 (blogger)
Jon Voight b. 1938 (Dracula: The Dark Prince, National Treasure, Transformers, Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Anaconda)
Barbara Steele b. 1937 (Dark Shadows[TV], Piranha, She Beast, Castle of Blood, Nightmare Castle, Castle of Blood, The Ghost, Pit and the Pendulum, Black Sunday)

I was a little surprised at how much of Jude Law's career has been in genre films and considered putting him in the Picture Slot, but instead you are looking at a picture of the 1960s scream queen Barbara Steele.

Many happy returns of the day to all mentioned.

Movies released
Twelve Monkeys released, 1995
Prediction: Starting In 1996, a pandemic virus is released that forces the survivors to live underground.

Predictor: Twelve Monkeys released 29 December 1995

Reality: Like the plot of The Terminator, one man is sent back to the past to avoid an apocalypse. Since The Terminator was made in the 1980s, the great fear was nuclear war, but in Twelve Monkeys, made in the 1990s, the threat was some biological terror escaping from a lab.

The reality of time travel is that it's very tough to accomplish and if it did work, it would take huge amounts of energy. You have to wonder how people living in a post-apocalyptic hellhole could pull it off.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Yet another prediction from a 1990s movie, this one about what will happen in Los Angeles in the last days of 1999.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

28 December 2013

Thomas Dekker b. 1987 (Star Trek: Generations, Village of the Damned, Star Trek: Voyager, Heroes, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010])
Beau Garrett b. 1982 (TRON: Legacy, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Sienna Miller b. 1981 (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Stardust)
Noomi Rapace b. 1979 (Prometheus)
Joe Manganiello b. 1976 (True Blood, Spider-Man)
Denzel Washington b. 1954 (The Book of Eli, Virtuosity)
Dame Maggie Smith b. 1934 (Harry Potter, Nanny McPhee Returns, Hook, Clash of the Titans)
Nichelle Nichols b. 1933 (Star Trek)
Stan Lee b. 1922 (Marvel Comics)
Lew Ayres b. 1908 died 30 December 1996 (Donovan’s Brain, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, The Questor Tapes, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Damien: Omen II, Battlestar Galactica)
F.W. Murnau b. 1888 died 11 March 1931 (director, Nosferatu)

A long and varied list today of birthdays today. A lot of the good looking young people who have been in genre films and TV this century and two honest to Odin movie stars in Denzel Washington and Dame Maggie Smith. For my money, the two genre icons are Nichelle Nichols and Stan Lee, and as often happens when I allegedly flip a coin, pretty wins. I do love the story about Nichols considering quitting and being talked out of it by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who knew how important it was to have such a hopeful view of the future.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on our list, and to Lew Ayres and F.W. Murnau, thanks for all the memories.

Favorite predictions published in 2013

Prediction: World War III will be fought with intercontinental missiles. The entire conflict will be over in 36 hours with millions of lives lost on both sides, though America will emerge victorious.

Predictor: General Henry "Hap" Arnold, reporting to his superiors in 1945, the findings illustrated and published in the November 19th, 1945 issue of LIFE magazine.

Reality: This prediction does not have a date of any kind assigned to it, which is usually a prerequisite on this blog. I decided to include it when it was kindly forwarded to me by Professor Ian Abrams of Drexel University because it is the start of the nuclear anxiety that was so strong in the global consciousness of the last half of the 20th Century. When Arnold wrote this, we were the only country with nuclear technology and intercontinental ballistic missiles had not been developed yet, but that situation changed soon enough. As luck would have it, all out, toe to toe nuclear confrontation with the Russkis never took place, though people were honestly and rightfully terrified by the Cuban Missile Crisis. More than that, there were several false alarms and accidents that happened during the Cold War that could have been disastrous.

This is the third time I've mentioned this prediction this year. Let's hope it isn't like Candyman. As a pre-caution, I was not looking in a mirror when I made the mentions.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We return to previously unpublished predictions tomorrow with a warning of a pandemic that would send the human population underground.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, December 27, 2013

27 December 2013

Laurence Belcher b. 1995 (X-Men: First Class, Doctor Who)
Emilie de Ravin b. 1981 (Once Upon a Time, Lost, The Hills Have Eyes, Roswell, BeastMaster [TV])
Aaron Stanford b. 1975 (The Hills Have Eyes, X2, X-Men:The Last Stand)
Heather O’Rourke b. 1975 died 1 February 1988 (Poltergeist I, II and III)
Thomas Wilson Brown b. 1972 (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids)
 A lot of the younger names on today's birthday list are best known for their work as child actors, including Heather O'Rourke, the little girl in the Picture Slot who tragically died at the age of 12 from a heart attack. Emilie de Ravin is probably the best known face on the list from her work on TV.

Best birthday wishes to all the living on the list and best wishes to the family and friends of Heather O'Rourke, who died much too soon.

Favorite predictions published in 2013

Prediction: In 2012, young people will get all their music from computers the size of industrial washing machines.

Predictor: Archie comics, 1972

Reality: I love the Jetsons feel to the clothing styles in this one, and Archie using a hip 1970s term like "grooving". This one was sent to me by regular reader Leo Lincourt, and it happens to be his birthday today. Happy birthday, Leo!

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

One last prediction on my list of favorites this year.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

26 December 2013

Zach Mills b. 1995 (Super 8, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium)
Kit Harington b. 1986 (Game of Thrones)
Temuera Morrison b. 1960 (Star Wars: Episodes II & III, The Island of Dr. Moreau)
Jon Kilik b. 1956 (producer, The Hunger Games, Pleasantville)
Akihiko Hirata b. 1927 died 25 July 1984 (Godzilla, Rodan, The Mysterians, The H-Man, Mothra, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Atragon, Ghidorah, Ultraman, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
Shirley Patterson (aka Shawn Smith) b. 1922 died 4 April 1995 (It! The Terror from Beyond Space, World Without End, The Land Unknown, Batman [1943])
Elisha Cook Jr. b. 1903 died 18 May 1995 (Rosemary’s Baby, Star Trek, Salem’s Lot, Blacula, Batman [1966], Adventures of Superman)

Okay! It's St. Stephen's Day and we survived Christmas! The birthday list has more than a few choices for the coveted Picture Slot. For famous right now, Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, Ned Stark's bastard who knows nothing, would be the obvious choice. For the "Oh, That Guy" selection, Elisha Cook Jr. started out in the 1930s in character roles and worked for decades with a few roles in genre, probably the best known of those as the lawyer who defends Kirk from a court martial on Star Trek. But instead I went with the Japanese "Oh, That Guy" Akihiko Hirata, who plays the "I have a bad feeling about this" scientist in the original Godzilla and goes on to roles in about a dozen sci-fi and giant monster movies over the next twenty years. (Note: this is the only movie where he wore an eye patch, if I recall correctly.)

Many happy returns to the living on the list and to the departed, thanks for all the memories.

Favorite predictions published in 2013

Three predictions from two contributors to the 30th Anniversary issue of Amazing Stories, dated April 1956.

Hubert J. Schlafly (engineer): Systematic information will be in a form instantly available for response to remote inquiry.

Reality: He didn't say how exactly, but that's not a bad description of the Internet with a search engine. 

Gen. Carlos Romulo (Philippine delegate to the United Nations): Colonialism will have ended... I might be able to talk to Manila from New York with something I have in my pocket.

Reality: Colonialism is pretty much over and a cell phone can call internationally. 

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The 1970s version of Archie Andrews looks at being a teen... in 2012!

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

25 December 2013

CCH Pounder b. 1952 (Avatar, Warehouse 13, End of Days, The X-Files, RoboCop 3, Quantum Leap)
Sissy Spacek b. 1949 (Carrie)
Rick Berman b. 1945 (writer, Star Trek)
Dick Miller b. 1928 (Small Soldiers, Weird Science [TV], Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Lois & Clark, The Flash [TV], Star Trek: The Next Generation, Amazing Stories, Gremlins, V; The Final Battle, Twilight Zone: The Movie, The Howling, X; The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, The Little Shop of Horrors[1961], War of the Satellites, Not of this Earth, It Conquered the World)
Rod Serling b. 1924 died 6/28/1975 (writer, Twilight Zone)
Dean Ellis b. 1920 died 12 October 2009 (illustrator)

In an unusual twist, Everyone on the list today is older than I am and the deceased were born before my dad was. If I was in an "oh, that guy" mood, Dick Miller is a quintessential example. I could have also chosen a Dean Ellis illustration for those unfamiliar with the name, but instead it's Rod Serling. I wanted to make sure I got a picture of him in a dark suit and with a cigarette. You likely recognize the set where he is giving his intro to the episode. William Shatner and Patricia Breslin will sit at that booth during the episode, but on the other side.

Many happy returns of the day to the living, and to Rod Serling and Dean Ellis, thanks for all the memories.

And oh yeah, merry Christmas.
Movies released
Gulliver’s Travels released, 2010

Favorite predictions published in 2013

Predictor: Robert A. Heinlein, making predictions about the second half of the 20th Century in 1950.

Prediction: Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between the sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.

Reality: Regular readers will know I have mocked Heinlein mercilessly on multiple occasions, but there is Ridiculous Bob and there is Sensible Bob and this prediction is from the latter. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a middle class badge of honor that a man's wife didn't have to work, but by the 1970s, that became tougher as the percentage of women in the workforce grew. Women weren't forced to marry to survive and they could choose when they wanted to get pregnant. To make this prediction in 1950, when The Pill isn't even in the laboratory yet, is a prediction to be proud of.

Good on ya, Bob.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Two predictions from the April 1956 issue of Amazing Stories, the 30th anniversary issue that includes many celebrities from several fields predicting life in the year 2000.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

24 December 2013

Stephenie Meyer b. 1973 (author, Twilight/New Moon)
Carmen Moore b. 1972 (Stargate SG-1, Wolf Lake, Andromeda, The 4400, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Eureka, Flash Gordon, Caprica, Supernatural)
Mark Millar b. 1969 (writer, Kick-Ass, Wanted)
Nicholas Meyer b. 1945 (director, Time After Time, Star Trek II, The Day After, Star Trek VI)
Fritz Leiber b. 1910 died 5 September 1992
(won 1958 Hugo for The Big Time and 1965 Hugo for The Wanderer)

A short list of birthdays with a preponderance of writers for a change, and the Picture Slot goes to the most highly regarded of the writers, the late Fritz Leiber, instead of the most financially successful, She Who Will Not Be Named. The one actress, Carmen Moore, has something in common with many actors who get a lot of appearances on 21st Century sci-fi TV shows. She's Canadian. This is not surprising given how many lower budget shows are filmed in Canada these days.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to Fritz Leiber, thanks for all the memories.

Favorite predictions published in 2013

Predictor: John Elfreth Watkins, writing in The Ladies' Home Journal in 1900

Prediction: Giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, and will hurl anywhere within such a radius shells exploding and destroying whole cities. Such guns will be armed by aid of compasses when used on land or sea, and telescopes when directed from great heights. Fleets of air-ships, hiding themselves with dense, smoky mists, thrown off by themselves as they move, will float over cities, fortifications, camps or fleets. They will surprise foes below by hurling upon them deadly thunderbolts. These aerial war-ships will necessitate bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as at their sides. Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of to-day. They will make what are now known as cavalry charges. Great automobile plows will dig deep entrenchments as fast as soldiers can occupy them. Rifles will use silent cartridges. Submarine boats submerged for days will be capable of wiping a whole navy off the face of the deep. Balloons and flying machines will carry telescopes of one-hundred-mile vision with camera attachments, photographing an enemy within that radius. These photographs as distinct and large as if taken from across the street, will be lowered to the commanding officer in charge of troops below.

Reality: Welcome to a five day retrospective of this year's predictions. Regular readers should not be surprised to be looking at a picture of my man crush John Elfreth Watkins. He does not technically count as "science fiction" because he was a museum curator and not an author, but I open up the prediction section to anyone willing to speculate about the future that is now the past or is only a few years away. I'm not sure if I found him on a wild Google hunt or got his name from one of the many very helpful bookstore employees or reference librarians who have been such a wonderful resource for me.

There are several very good predictions from Watkins, though regular readers will recall he went a little overboard on what the great advances in agriculture would look like. This one in particular predicts a lot of stuff that is not in existence in 1900, including "flying machines", effective submarine fleets, tanks, aerial surveillance and very long range artillery. For this and other predictions, John Elfreth Watkins was my favorite of the early weekly "regular contributors". His Wednesday regular spot has been taken over by a contemporary, the British writer T. Baron Russell from his 1905 book A Hundred Years Hence. I haven't been able to find out as much about Russell as I found out about Watkins; for example, I haven't been able to find a photograph of Russell. I haven't made all five selections for favorites yet, but so far Russell is not on the list. Sadly, Russell is to Watkins as Shemp is to Curly, as Kenney Jones is to Keith Moon. We will never love the replacement as much.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another weekly regular gets on the year end list. Yes, we are going to hear from Sensible Bob one more time.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, December 23, 2013

23 December 2013

Conor Carroll b. 1998 (Ender’s Game)
Estella Warren b. 1978 (Planet of the Apes)
Corey Haim b. 1971 died 10 March 2010 (Silver Bullet, The Lost Boys)
Stefan Arngrim b. 1955 (Land of the Giants, Fear No Evil, Strange Days, The X Files, Battlestar Galactica:Razor, V, Caprica, Fringe, Arrow)
Charles Herbert b. 1948 (The Fly, Men Into Space, 13 Ghosts, Twilight Zone)
Robert McCall b. 1919 died 26 February 2010 (artist, LIFE magazine, 2001: A Space Odyssey)

Odd coincidence today. Four of our six birthday folk got their start as child actors. Stefan Arngrim was on Land of the Giants, did a little work in the 1970s and 1980s, but from the mid 1990s on has worked very steadily. He lost his baby fat and is not recognizable from his childhood pictures. I'm not sure he even qualifies as an "Oh, that guy" actor, despite a lot of roles. The late Corey Haim is the best known face of the four child stars, Estella Warren easily qualifies for the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot criterion, but for a change the picture is an illustration, Robert McCall's poster painting from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Like Syd Mead and others, McCall drew a bright shiny future, very unlike the dystopias that are depicted as the probable future today.

Predictor: OMNI Future Almanac, published 1982

Prediction (score): The Office of the Future! Here are ten innovations that OMNI thought would be in effect by the end of the century.

1. Electronic Mail. (1 for 1.)
2. Data Banking. (They mean large data storage systems. 2 for 2.)
3. Teleconferencing. (3 for 3.)
4. Supergraphics! (Well, they don't leap tall buildings in a single bound, but compared to what was available in 1982, this has to count as a hit as well. 4 for 4.)
5. Automatic translation of speech. (This is still not practical, so I'll count it as the first miss. 4 for 5.)
6. Voice activated typewriter. (Again, this wasn't available by 2000 and is still in the early phase, so let's call it 4 of 6.)
7. Programmable sound silencer for open office space. (Things started out so well, didn't they? 4 of 7.)
8. Electronic blackboards that store images for later use. (5 of 8.)
9. Faxes will reproduce tens of thousands of pages a second. (Umm... no. 5 of 9. Also, at that speed, can you imagine how often the machine would jam?)
10. Videodisc storage of data. (Well, kind of. CD-ROM is the same idea as videodisc, and for a while that was a popular data storage device for big stuff until flash drives became so tiny and cheap. If we count 2000 as the cut-off date, I'm going to give this one a full point, bringing the whole prediction up to 6 of 10.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Looking backward, I pick my five favorite predictions of the year and put them up in our Year End review. Tomorrow, my man crush returns. Longtime readers need no further explanation.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

22 December 2013

Brooke Nevin b. 1982 (Animorphs, Charmed, Smallville, Supernatural, The 4400)
Heather Donahue b. 1974 (The Blair Witch Project)
Dina Meyer b. 1968 (Johnny Mnemonic, DragonHeart, Starship Troopers, Star Trek: Nemesis, Saw III & IV, Piranha 3D)
David S. Goyer b. 1965 (writer, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Blade, Blade II, The Puppet Masters, Dark City, Demonic Toys)
Ralph Fiennes b. 1962 (Harry Potter, Clash of the Titans, Strange Days)
Hugh Quarshie b. 1954 (Highlander, The Tomorrow People, Star Wars: Episode I, Doctor Who)
Graham Beckel b. 1949 (Battlestar Galactica, Heroes)
Peggie Castle b. 1927 died 11 August 1973 (Beginning of the End)

Another shortish list today, all movies and TV, all but Peggie Castle still alive. For my money, there are two iconic roles on the list. We could be looking up Heather Donohue's nostrils from her last shot in The Blair Witch Project or we could be looking at a guy with nearly no nostrils, Lord Voldemort. Whatever you might think of Harry Potter as a series, I would argue that He Who Must Not Be Named is the best Big Bad in genre films since Darth Vader.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list and a sad reminder of Peggie Castle, a lovely actress who died much too young.

Movies released
Night at the Museum released, 2006

Predictor: Ray Bradbury in The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950

Prediction: It's April 2005, and William Stendhal's vision of a house built to the specifics in Edgar Allan Poe's story The Fall of the House of Usher is finished. All copies of the book itself had been destroyed in The Great Fire of 1975.

Reality: There is no good reason this story had to be set on Mars, but it is, so it's included in The Martian Chronicles, a book that is much more a collection of short stories than it is an actual novel. Each of the chapters has a specific month and year as though the story were actually going someplace, but only a few chapters at the beginning and a few at the end make any reference to stories told previously. This story was published before Fahrenheit 451, so we see the early seeds of Bradbury's idea that another great book burning was coming.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another weekly visit to the wonders to be found in The OMNI Future Almanac.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

21 December 2013

Jackson Rathbone b. 1984 (Twilight Saga, The Last Airbender)
Kiefer Sutherland b. 1966 (Touch, Monsters vs Aliens, Dark City, The Lost Boys)
Fabiana Udenio b. 1964 (Babylon 5, RoboCop 2, Bride of Re-Animator)
Samuel L. Jackson b. 1948 (The Avengers, Star Wars, Jumper, The Incredibles, Unbreakable)
Jack Nance b. 1943 died 30 December 1996 (Eraserhead, Dune, The Blob[1988], Ghoulies)

A very short birthday list today and arguments could be made to any of the five in the Picture Slot. Since I am not a fan of Twilight, the argument for Jackson Rathbone loses, but for the rest:

Argument for Kiefer Sutherland: Dark City is my favorite work out of all the movies and TV shows listed here.
Argument for Fabiana Udenio: Pretty Girl = Picture Slot. A character actress from Argentina, she is very pretty indeed.
Argument for Samuel L. Jackson. He is the one true A List actor on this list and both Mace Windu and Nick Fury are iconic roles in extremely successful franchies.
Argument for Jack Nance: You are looking at the argument for the late Jack Nance. He played the title role in Eraserhead. There are only a few movies whose posters are better known than the films themselves and I would argue that the top three given that criterion are all genre films: the silent movie Metropolis, Eraserhead and (ahem) the 1958 version The Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on our list and to the late Jack Nance, is there any way you could shut that kid up?

Prediction: December 21 2012: The world ends according to the Mayan calendar and deranged millionaire John Hodgman.

Predictor: John Hodgman in his show Ragnarok, which can been seen in streaming format on Netflix.

Reality: What, I was going to forget the world ended exactly one year ago? If you like Hodgman's appearances on The Daily Show, you might want to give the show a shot, though I think he is funnier in shorter spurts.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

It's back to Mars and Ray Bradbury, our regular Sunday predictor at least another month or so.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, December 20, 2013

20 December 2013

Christopher Bertolini b. 1989 (writer, Battle Los Angeles)
Nicole de Boer b. 1970 (Stargate: Atlantis, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Cube)
Eduardo Sanchez b. 1968 (writer, The Blair Witch Project)
Nicole Maurey b. 1925 (Day of the Triffids)
Albert Dekker b. 1905 died 5 May 1968 (Dr. Cyclops)
Edwin A. Abbott b. 1838 died 12 October 1926 (author, Flatland)

A rather short birthday list today, with a lot of folks whose work in the genre is limited to one title. Both Albert Dekker and Nicole Maurey had long careers, Maurey mostly in French films, but the movies listed are the only sci-fi they did. Bertolini has written three screenplays total so far, only Battle Los Angeles is sci-fi. Sanchez has more work, but for my money, only the first Blair Witch Project is worth mentioning. Abbott's Flatland is more math fiction than science fiction, which may explain my soft spot for it. And so that leaves the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot choice of Nicole de Boer, who played the new symbiont host Ezri Dax on Deep Space Nine after Terry Ferrell left and has several other roles in sci-fi and fantasy, mostly on TV.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and to Mr. Dekker and Mr. Abbott, thanks for the memories. 

Predictor: John Clark Ridpath, 1840-1900, author and educator, predicting the next 100 years of progress in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago.

Predictions: Mankind with leave the Age of Iron for a new age, the Age of Aluminum. None shall call it "aluminum" or "aluminium", but "alum" for short. This new age will shine with all the luster of the metal for which it is named...

The second great change will be the substitution of sound over sight... the coming century will bring us the sound book in some form, and with that the intellectual equipoise of mankind will begin to be restored. The mental diseases and unrest of our race are largely attributable to the over excitement of the faculties through the sense of sight.

Reality: First things first, the facial hair. This is not some hillbilly, this is a learned man, the kind of fellow who uses the word "equipoise" correctly in a sentence.

And now to the predictions. If there is a metal that defines the 20th Century, I'd say it's steel instead of aluminum, and the Yanks and the Brits still can't agree on how to pronounce the 13th element. That said, stainless steel has made the 20th Century much shinier than the 19th, though its shine and resistance to rust come from chromium, not aluminum.

In his second set of predictions, he was right about the "sound book", but the sense of sight has not been made secondary to the sense of hearing in education. He was dsimissive of "words and symbols", and so in some ways people are using sight in a way Ridpath would consider more "natural" when they watch most movies and TV. As for the sense of sight being the cause of mental diseases, he obviously never went to a Motorhead concert. (All kidding aside, he's writing this in his early fifties. I wonder if his vision was failing and he didn't get a good prescription.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

It's the one year anniversary of the end of the world. You didn't think I'd forget that, did you?

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

19 December 2013

Jake Gyllenhaal b. 1980 (Prince of Persia, Source Code, The Day After Tomorrow, Donnie Darko)
Blake Lindsley b. 1973 (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Starship Troopers)
Alyssa Milano b. 1972 (Charmed, Commando)
Kristy Swanson b. 1969 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer [movie], Dude, Where’s My Car?, Deadly Friend)
Robert MacNaughton b. 1966 (E.T., The Electric Grandmother)
Jessica Steen b. 1965 (Charmed, Stargate SG-1, Armageddon, Earth 2, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future)
Jennifer Beals b. 1963 (The Book of Eli, The Grudge 2, The Bride)
Sir Ralph Richardson b. 1902 died 10 October 1983 (Things to Come, Rollerball, Dragonslayer, Time Bandits)

Not to be rude, but when comparing the star power of yesterday's birthday list with today's, I wish I could make a few trades to even things out. Jennifer Beals turns 50, the first "Jeez, I'm old!" moment of the day for me. Jake Gyllenhall is the one "name above the title" movie star here, but the person best known for her work in genre is Alyssa Milano for Charmed, one of the many fabulous babes on the list. Just out of a goofy sense of "You're not the boss of me!", I chose Sir Ralph Richardson for the Picture Slot in his role as The Boss in the 1936 film Things to Come, taken from the H.G. Wells book The Shape of Things to Come, source for a lot of depressing and inaccurate predictions about the 20th Century. Richardson did this one genre role very early in his career, became one of the most respected film and stage actors of his era, then returned to genre for a few short roles at the end of his career, for which I can only assume he was paid handsomely, and well did he deserve it.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list and to the late Sir Ralph Richardson, thanks for all the memories.
Movies released
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring released 2001

Predictor: Isaac Asimov, predicting the world of 2014 in honor of the 1964 World's Fair

Prediction: As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. In fact, one popular exhibit at the 2014 World's Fair will be such a 3-D TV, built life-size, in which ballet performances will be seen. The cube will slowly revolve for viewing from all angles.

Reality: Wall screens, check.

3-D cube TV... umm, not so much. Huge technical problems with this in terms of projection, especially if it can be viewed from any possible angle above ground level.

So our pal Isaac gets a 50% score on this one. To Asimov's credit, he was one of the few grown ass men trying to bring back 19th Century facial hair back in the 1960s, which I am sure our regular reader Zombie Rotten McDonald appreciates.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Because Saturday's regular prediction will be preempted by Winter Solstice stuff, we move the 1893 predictions to Friday for one week only.

Teaser: 19th Century facial hair at its most awesome.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

18 December 2013

Katie Holmes b. 1978 (Batman Begins)
Josh Dallas b. 1981 (Once Upon a Time, Thor, Doctor Who)
Anna Walton b. 1980 (Hellboy II, Mutant Chronicles)
Julian Arahanga b. 1972 (The Matrix, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Victoria Pratt b. 1970 (Mutant X, Cleopatra 2525, Xena)
Casper Van Dien b. 1968 (Dracula 3000, Sleepy Hollow[1999], Starship Troopers)
Brad Pitt b. 1963 (World War Z, Meet Joe Black, Twelve Monkeys, Interview with the Vampire)
Jeff Kober b. 1953 (V, Alien Nation, The X-Files, Tank Girl, Kindred: The Embraced, Charmed, Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hills Have Eyes II)
Steven Spielberg b. 1946 (director, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, A.I., Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Hook)
Alan Rudolph b. 1943 (director, Breakfast of Champions)
Keith Richards b. 1943 (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Michael Moorcock b. 1939 (writer, Elric of Melnibone)
Alfred Bester b. 1913 died 9/30/1987 (won 1953 Hugo for The Demolished Man)

Wow. That's a heck of a birthday list. There are several choices for Pretty Girls to put in the Picture Slot, Brad Pitt is an honest to Odin A-List actor and we have a bunch of people whose best known role is in a genre film or TV show. But for me, the Picture Slot has to go either to Alfred Bester or the guy you are looking at. I'm old enough to remember when Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg were all put in the same category, but as time has progressed, Spielberg and Scorsese continued doing successful and respected work and Lucas and Coppola have faded.

As important as Star Wars and Star Trek are to the progress of science fiction films and TV, Spielberg is both tremendously successful and an artist people take seriously, and the fact that he still champions science fiction film making along side his serious historical dramas shows how integral the genre is to the industry today. Spielberg's sci-fi movies have done as much for the genre as John Ford's best work did for both the success and the status of the Westerns.

Many happy returns of the day to all our birthday boys and girls, and to Alfred Bester, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers released, 2002
Avatar released, 2009

James Cameron may be an egocentric wanker, but he does know how to make a jillion dollar movie. Peter Jackson seems like a nicer fellow, and he also seems to know how to milk a huge sum out of an audience.

Predictor: T. Baron Russell in A Hundred Years Hence, publish in 1905

Prediction: [I]t may with perfect safety be predicted of the master's cane a hundred years hence that it will be found only in museums, and (whether rightly or wrongly) be regarded as a relic of degrading barbarism. One reason why corporal punishment will have to be abolished is that boys and girls will certainly be educated together instead of apart.

Reality: What I love most about the predictions from before World War I is to be reminded of what life was like back then. Russell gets full marks for this one. There are some who argue today to return to the separation of the genders in the classroom, but corporal punishment when it is discovered is as socially unacceptable as overt racism.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Thursdays belong to our pal Isaac Asimov, bolding gazing at the wonder world of 2014 from his vantage point in 1964.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17 December 2013

Emma Bell b. 1986 (The Walking Dead, Arrow, Elektra Luxx, Supernatural, Dollhouse)
Milla Jovovich b. 1975 (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil, Ultraviolet)
Giovanni Ribisi b. 1974 (Avatar, Ted, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The X-Files)
Marissa Ribisi b. 1974 (Pleasantville)
Sarah Paulson b. 1974 (Serenity, American Horror Story, American Gothic)
Rian Johnson b. 1973 (director, Looper)
Claire Forlani b. 1971 (Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Mystery Men, Meet Joe Black)
Laurie Holden b. 1969 (The Walking Dead, Fantastic Four, The X Files)
Bill Pullman b. 1953 (Independence Day, Torchwood, Alien Autopsy, Titan A.E., Spaceballs)
Barry Livingston b. 1953 (The Sara Connor Chronicles, Tremors 3, Sliders, Lois & Clark, Masters of the Universe)
Joel Brooks b. 1949 (The Twilight Zone, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Lois & Clark, Babylon 5: The River of Souls, The Big Bang Theory)
Wes Studi b. 1947 (Avatar, Mystery Men, Ice Planet)
Ernie Hudson b. 1945 (Torchwood, Heroes, Stargate SG-1, Ghostbusters, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone)
Bernard Hill b. 1944 (Lord of the Rings, The Scorpion King)
Richard Long b. 1927 died 21 December 1974 (Twilight Zone, House on Haunted Hill)

Today's birthday list taught me three things of which I was not previously aware.
1. I did not know Giovanni Ribisi had a twin sister.
2. I wasn't aware that Barry Livingston, who played Barry Martin on Ozzie and Harriet and Ernie on My Three Sons, has had such a long, successful career as a character actor.
3. I might have known it at one time, but I had completely forgotten that Richard Long, a very good looking actor who was a regular on several 1960s TV series including 77 Sunset Strip, The Big Valley and Nanny and the Professor, had died so young.

While none of the actors on the list are quite household names, some do have iconic roles in genre and my completely non-random choice this year for the Picture Slot was Milla Jovovich, chosen for her fabulous babe-osity. Next year, I think it will be Ernie Hudson's turn.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on our list and to the late Richard Long, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
Tron Legacy released, 2010
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released, 2003  

Predictor: H.G. Wells in The Shape of Things to Come, published 1933

Prediction: [As] soon as the bankrupt railways ceased to operate there, America became detached and local autonomy much greater. The authority of the federal government shrank to Washington, very much as the Eastern Empire shrank to Byzantium, but Washington had none of the vitality of Byzantium, and was already a merely historical capital long before the revival of tourism towards 2000.

Reality: Umm... no. I'm willing to stipulate that Washington has certain "tourist trap" aspects, but it's still the seat of power for our nation and now is The Leader if the Free World in terms of the size of the economy and military. That was not true quite yet in 1933, so Wells takes a big swing and a miss on how important America would be in the second half of the 20th Century.

Looking ahead one day... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another visit with our Wednesday regular T. Baron Russell, making much more optimistic guesses about the 20th Century from his vantage point in 1905.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, December 16, 2013

16 December 2013

Anna Popplewell b. 1988 (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Theo James b. 1984 (Divergent, Underworld: Awakening)
Christina Cabot b. 1969 (The Incredible Hulk [2008])
Miranda Otto b. 1967 (War of the Worlds, Lord of the Rings)
Benjamin Bratt b. 1963 (The Andromeda Strain[2008], Catwoman, Red Planet, Demolition Man)
Shane Black b. 1961 (writer, Iron Man 3, Last Action Hero, The Monster Squad)
Xander Berkeley b. 1955 (Being Human, Kick-Ass, Timecode, Apollo 11, Apollo 13, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, The X-Files, Candyman, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Twilight Zone, V, Gattaca)
Ben Cross b. 1947 (Star Trek, Jack the Giant Killer, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Dark Shadows[1991], The Twilight Zone)
Terence Knox b. 1946 (SeaQuest 2032, Lois & Clark, Twilight Zone, V)
Philip K. Dick b. 1928 died 3/2/1982
(won 1963 Hugo for The Man in the High Castle)
Sir Arthur C. Clarke b. 1917 died 3/19/2008
(won 1974 Hugo and Nebula for Rendezvous with Rama)
(won 1980 Hugo and Nebula for The Fountains of Paradise)

If I were in the mood to give the Picture Slot to an actor today, it would likely be Xander Berkeley, a serious "oh, that guy" face with a long career. But since this blog is about science fiction, the Picture Slot has to be one of our two late writers, and since I've had Arthur C. Clarke's picture up many times, instead you are looking at a young Philip K. Dick and his cat.

(Also in my research for birthdays today, Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in 1770 and Jane Austen in 1775. That's a whole lot of famous for one day.)

Many happy returns of the day to the living on the list, and to Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke, thanks for all the memories, some of which may not actually be ours.

In the Year 2000!

Predictor: OMNI Future Almanac,  published 1982

Prediction (and reality): The 10 most populous states in 2000, with population rounded to the nearest thousand (actual population in parentheses, percentage mistake)

1. California 27,309,000 (33,872,000 low by 19.1%)
2. New York 17,961,000 (18,976,000, low by 5.3%)*
3. Texas 17,167,000 (20,852,000, low by 17.6%)*
4. Florida 14,394,000 (15,982,000 low by 10.0%)
5. Pennsylvania 12,317,000 (12,281,000 high by 0.3%)**
6. Illinois 11,923,000 (12,419,000 low by 4.0%)**
7. Ohio 11,051,000 (11,353,000 low by 2.7%)
8. Michigan 10,148,000 (9,938,000 high by 4.8%)
9. New Jersey 8,425,000 (8,414,000 high by 0.1%)
10. North Carolina 7,226,000 (8,049,000 low by 10.2%)

Okay, how good is this mathematically? It misses the growth in the Sun Belt by a bunch. Texas and New York should be switched, as should Pennsylvania and Illinois, while North Carolina was 11th in the 2000 census behind Georgia. If I was grading this, I would say two of the predictions are excellent, four more are acceptable and four are not acceptable.

It may seem that I just enjoy mocking The OMNI Future Almanac, but I love it as a source. It was absolutely unafraid to write down exact numbers on exact dates like it knew what it was talking about. Better to be bold and wrong than wishy-washy and kinda sorta right.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We get another grumpy view of the 20th Century from H.G. Wells, still our regular Tuesday guy until the end of the year.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Never to be Forgotten:
Peter O'Toole 1932-2013

Peter O'Toole, one of the most celebrated actors of his generation, has died at the age of 81. He is not best remembered for his work in genre films and TV, but that doesn't mean he was in any. On imdb.com I found Phantoms, Stardust (taken from a Neil Gaiman book, pictured here), Creator, Supergirl, Ray Bradbury Theater, High Spirits, Gulliver's Travels and Ratatouille.

In all honesty, I will remember him for Lawrence of Arabia, Lord Jim, What's New Pussycat?, The Lion In Winter, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year, Venus and Conversations with Dean Spanley, only the last of which can even kinda sorta be counted as fantasy. Most agree his best work was on stage and most agree he threw years of good work away with his love of the bottle. For all that, he was hilarious in My Favorite Year, he was gorgeous in Lawrence of Arabia, he was gorgeous and hilarious in What's New, Pussycat? And to top all that off, he fought Katherine Hepburn to a draw in The Lion In Winter. I'm not sure any of her co-stars did any better, and that would include Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne. A movie star at the head of that class is a movie star indeed.

Best wishes to the friends and family of Peter O'Toole, from a fan. He is never to be forgotten.

15 December 2013

Camilla Luddington b. 1983 (True Blood)
Charlie Cox b. 1982 (Stardust)
Stuart Townsend b. 1972 (Queen of the Damned, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
Michael Shanks b. 1970 (Stargate, Elysium, Smallville, Supernatural, Eureka, Andromeda)
Ralph Ineson b. 1969 (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Garrett Wang b. 1968 (Star Trek: Voyager)
Robert Charles Wilson b. 1953 (won the 2006 Hugo for Spin)
Don Johnson b. 1949 (A Boy and his Dog)
Jack Gwillim b. 1909 died 2 July 2001 (A for Andromeda, Jason and the Argonauts, The Avengers[TV], Clash of the Titans, The Monster Squad)

Several of the actors on the list today only have one role in genre, including Picture Slot winner Garrett Wang, who played Harry Kim on Voyager. It might be fairer to give the picture to Michael Shanks, who has been on a lot of sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, but not ones that I've watched very much. The person with the most name recognition is Don Johnson, but for me, the next choice for Picture Slot is likely Jack Gwillim from Jason and the Argonauts, who casts the Hydra's teeth on the ground, which gives rise to the skeleton squadron.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list, and to Jack Gwillim, thanks for all the memories.


Predictor: Ray Bradbury in The Martian Chronicles, published 1950

Prediction: In June 2003, all the African Americans in the South get on rockets and leave for Mars.

Reality: This chapter takes place on Earth and there is no follow-up about what life is like for all these travelers on Mars once they arrive. It follows the pattern of other Bradbury stories about race relations I've read, where black folks suffer in relative silence, most white folks are equally inactive, but a few are blatant racists and nobody tells them to shut the hell up.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Monday is OMNI Future Almanac day, but more than that, there are a couple Big Damn Deal birthdays to celebrate.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

14 December 2013

Vanessa Hudgens b. 1988 (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Sucker Punch)
Martin Christopher b. 1977 (Fringe, Stargate, Eureka, Night at the Museum)
Natascha McElhone b. 1969 (The Truman Show, Solaris, Feardotcom)
Ted Raimi b. 1965 (Supernatural, Spider-Man, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, SeaQuest 2032, Army of Darkness, Darkman, Alien Nation, Evil Dead I and II, Shocker)
Debbie Lee Carrington b. 1959 (Total Recall, Return of the Jedi, Invaders From Mars, Batman Returns, Mighty Joe Young, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Celia Weston b. 1951 (Under the Dome, The Invasion, The Village, K-PAX, Hulk)
Dee Wallace b. 1948 (E.T., Cujo, The Howling, The Stepford Wives, Critters, Alligator II: The Mutation, The Frighteners)
Lee Remick b. 1935 (The Omen)
Lewis Arquette b. 1935 died 10 February 2001 (Babylon 5, SeaQuest 2032, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, The Man From Atlantis)
Laurence Naismith b. 1908 died 5 June 1992 (Jason and the Argonauts, The Valley of Gwangi, The Invaders, Village of the Damned)
Frances Bavier b. 1902 died 6 December 1986 (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

All actors on the list today, females outnumbering males. Ted Raimi has had the most work in genre TV and film, much of it in projects where his brother Sam is the producer or director. Debbie Lee Carrington is a little person, working sometimes in body costumes as an ewok or penguin and other times not. Yes, Frances Bavier, a.k.a. Aunt Bee, was in the original The Day the Earth Stood Still.  Laurence Naismith played the ship builder Argo in Jason and the Argonauts, Lewis Arquette was part of the improv team Christopher Guest worked with, Dee Wallace is still getting work one role at a time, bless her. But I decided as I often do that Pretty Girl = Picture Slot and went with Natascha McElhone. My late mom was a model back in her teens and twenties, and she had a long nose, high cheekbones and a wide jaw. It's not like anyone needs any extra boost to think Natascha McElhone is gorgeous, but that look always gets a second look from me.

Many happy returns of the day to all our birthday boys and girls, and to the departed, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey released, 2012
King Kong released, 2005
I Am Legend released, 2007

Now it's a year later and we get the second installment of The Hobbit. I have a friend who I expect would like to see it, but if that doesn't work out, I'm not waiting for it to come out on video. Some movies are big screen or not at all.

Predictor: Asa C. Matthews (1833-1908), first comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, predicting the 20th Century in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition held in Chicago.

Prediction: Looking to the future my eye detects on the dim horizon an American republic which shall embrace not only the present United States and Alaska, but all the remainder of the North American continent now under British, Mexican or minor domination.

Reality: Given how much expansion had already taken place in Mr. Matthews' life, it's not surprising he would think that we would somehow conquer or acquire everything from Panama to Ellesmere Island. We had a similar prediction from John Elfreth Watkins back at the beginning of the year. But even with the Spanish American War and the Panama Canal still in the near future for Matthews, the United States did not do much more land grabbing, and almost none on the continent itself. Canada, Mexico and the countries of Central America are still independent of us and happily root against us whenever we play soccer.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Ray Bradbury is back with his stories about the colonization of Mars at the dawn of the 21st Century.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, December 13, 2013

13 December 2013

Jeffrey Pierce b. 1971 (The Tomorrow People, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, S1m0ne)
Harry Gregson-Williams b. 1961 (Shrek, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Borrowers)
Steve Buscemi b. 1957 (Armageddon, Spy Kids 2 and 3, The Island)
Christopher Plummer b. 1929 (Up, Dracula 2000, Twelve Monkeys, Wolf, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Dreamscape, Somewhere in Time)
Dick Van Dyke b. 1925 (Night at the Museum, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins)
Don Taylor b. 1920 died 29 December 1998 (director, Island of Dr. Moreau, Damien: Omen II, The Final Countdown, Escape from the Planet of the Apes)

Three household names on our list of birthday boys today, but not best known for their work in genre. The Picture Slot goes to Christopher Plummer as the Klingon general Chang, a performance so over the top even Bill Shatner and Ricardo Montalban would have to say, "Chris, buddy... sometimes less is more."

Many happy returns to all the living and to the late Don Taylor, thanks for all the cheesy movies.

Predictor: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita at a TED Talk in 2009

Prediction: By the end of 2010, Iran will have enough weapons grade fuel to show the ability to build the bomb. There will be some political support in Iran for building it, but none for testing it. Also by the end of 2010, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad loses power.

Reality: The exact state of Iran's nuclear capability is hard to pin down. As of 2010, they had the ability to produce weapon grade uranium, but it wasn't clear they had made any and they have never announced the production of a bomb. Ahmadinejad was still in office until 2013. Bueno de Mesquita started the talk by saying game theory methods got stuff right 90% of the time. The first prediction was correct, the two about "political support" are hard to test and the one about Ahmadinejad didn't come true. Looks like about 50% right to me.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Saturday is our day to go back to 1893 to see what folks then thought was in store for the 20th Century.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12 December 2013

Mayim Bialik b. 1975 (The Big Bang Theory, Pumpkinhead)
Jennifer Connelly b. 1970 (Hulk, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Inkheart, Labyrinth, Phenomena)
Madchen Amick b. 1970 (Witches of East End, Fantasy Island[reboot], Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sleepwalkers)
Sarah Douglas b. 1952 (Superman II, Conan the Destroyer, Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, Beastmaster 2, V: The Final Battle, Space: 1999, The Last Days of Man on Earth)
Bill Nighy b. 1949 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Jack the Giant Slayer, Wrath of the Titans, Doctor Who, Total Recall [reboot], Underworld, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead, Phantom of the Opera)
Leslie Schofield b. 1938 (Star Wars: A New Hope, Doctor Who)
Eugene Burdick b. 1918 died 26 July 1965 (author, Fail-Safe, The 480)

I'm assuming people do not need the first five names on the list "explained". I always love a same day birth pair, and with Ms. Amick and Ms. Connelly, that's a whole lot of pretty. You could argue that Sarah Douglas in Superman II is not the most iconic genre role on the list, but then, you'd be arguing with me and... it's my blog.

Leslie Schofield played a Death Star officer who told Grand Moff Tarkin the stolen plans could present a problem, only to be on the receiving end of serious Moff scoff.

Eugene Burdick, the only dead guy on today's list. wrote Fail-Safe and The 480, a political thriller that warns of people predicting the future using... computer simulations!

Yes, this is back in the punch card days. Scary!

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and thanks to Mr. Burdick for all the memories.

Predictor: Isaac Asimov, asked to speculate about 2014 in honor of the 1964 World's Fair

Predictions, (interrupted with reality): Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica, shown in chill splendor as part of the '64 General Motors exhibit.

(Okay, let's just stop here for a moment. This is a tape measure home run. Not just picture phones but documents on the Internet and large scale com-sat networks. Very nice work, Mr. Asimov, really tip-top.)

(What could go wrong now? Well, Isaac gets a little space happy.)

For that matter, you will be able to reach someone at the moon colonies, concerning which General Motors puts on a display of impressive vehicles in model form with large soft tires intended to negotiate the uneven terrain that may exist on our natural satellite.

(Would soft tires make the most sense? Fixing a flat in a vacuum sounds like a major pain in the butt.)

Any number of simultaneous conversations between earth and moon can be handled by modulated laser beams, which are easy to manipulate in space. On earth, however, laser beams will have to be led through plastic pipes, to avoid material and atmospheric interference. Engineers will still be playing with that problem in 2014.

Conversations with the moon will be a trifle uncomfortable, by the way, in that 2.5 seconds must elapse between statement and answer (it takes light that long to make the round trip). Similar conversations with Mars will experience a 3.5-minute delay even when Mars is at its closest. However, by 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works and in the 2014 Futurama will show a model of an elaborate Martian colony.

(Okay, space happy but not space crazy. No one stepping foot on Mars by 2014. Recall that Heinlein and Clarke had us all over the galaxy by the turn of the century. Isaac steals a point from Bob and ACC by being sensible.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

TED Talks! Movers! Shakers! Game Changers! Clueless dorks!

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

11 December 2013

Hailee Steinfeld b. 1996 (Ender’s Game)
Ashley Hinshaw b. 1988 (Chronicle)
Max Martini b. 1969 (Contact, Pacific Rim)
Gary Dourdan b. 1966 (Alien: Resurrection, Impostor, Lois & Clark)
Ben Browder b. 1962 (Farscape, Stargate: SG-1, Doctor Who)
Teri Garr b. 1947 (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Young Frankenstein, Star Trek)
Dick Tufeld b. 1926 died 22 January 2012 (Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
Vampira b. 1922 Died 19 January 2008 (Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Magic Sword, The Vampira Show)
Marie Windsor b. 1919 died 10 December 2000 (Batman[TV], The Day Mars Invaded Earth, Cat-Women of the Moon)
David McMahon b. 1910 died 27 January 1972 (The Deadly Mantis, It Conquered the World, The Creature Walks Among Us, The War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing from Another World, The Monster That Challenged the World)
Paul Wegener b. 1874 died 13 September 1948 (The Golem)

A dirty secret of the blog exposed! For the most part, I ignore voice work. My exceptions are The Venture Brothers and Futurama and the work I consider iconic. Dick Tufeld's work as the voice of the robot on Lost In Space is iconic in almost everybody's book, even those of us who did not love the show, so he gets the Picture Slot, sitting next to Bob May, the guy who was actually in the costume.

There are other options for the Picture Slot on future December 11 posts, but David McMahon isn't one of them. He showed up in a huge number of films and TV shows, but has more uncredited roles on his imdb.com page than I've seen for anyone. I saw his face and did not have a "oh, that guy" moment. I respect him for his perseverance in the business, but he never caught that one role that made him recognizable. The closest thing would be his role as the Conductor on the TV show The Virginian.

Many happy returns to the living on the list, and to the dead, thanks for the memories.

Movies released
Star Trek: Insurrection released, 1998

Prediction: We may safely suppose that the ocean ships of a hundred years hence will be driven by energy of some kind transmitted from the shores on either side. It is absolutely unquestionable that no marine engine in the least resembling what we know to-day can meet the requirements of the new age.

The ships of a hundred years hence will not lie in the water. They will tower above the surface, merely skimming it with their keels, and the only engines they will carry will be those which receive and utilise the energy transmitted to them from the power-houses ashore perhaps worked by the force of the very tides of the conquered ocean itself.

Predictor: T. Baron Russell in A Hundred Years Hence, published 1905

Reality: Oooooh, hovercraft once again! So much fun and strike one!

Also, Russell thinks ships will run on transmitted power, which is not something we've made work wirelessly. I give him some credit for going almost completely sci-fi with this, but this is one of the problems with non-technical people guessing about future technology.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Thursdays belong to Isaac Asimov. Let's see if he can do any better than Russell did today, which is not that hard to do.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10 December 2013

Xavier Samuel b. 1983 (Twilight Saga)
Kenneth Brannagh, b. 1960 (Frankenstein, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; director, Thor)
Michael Clarke Duncan b. 1957 Died 3 September 2012 (The Island, Sin City, Daredevil, The Scorpion King, Planet of the Apes, The Green Mile, Armageddon, Weird Science[TV])
Fionnula Flanagan b. 1941 (Lost, Star Trek: Enterprise/The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine)
Tisha Sterling b. 1944 (Breakfast of Champions, Batman[TV], Village of the Giants)
Tommy Kirk b. 1941 (The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, Village of the Giants, Mars Needs Women, It’s Alive)
Mako b. 1933 died 21 July 2006 (Samurai Jack, Bulletproof Monk, RoboCop 3, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, The Time Tunnel)
John Colicos b. 1928 died 6 March 2000 (Star Trek: Original Series/Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica)
Jean Byron b. 1925 died 3 February 2006 (Invisible Invaders, Jungle Moon Men, Science Fiction Theatre, The Magnetic Monster)
Alexander Courage b. 1919 died 15 may 2008 (music, Star Trek, Deep Rising, Congo, Jurassic Park, Gremlins II, Superman IV, Lost In Space, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Anne Gwynne b. 1918 died 31 March 2003 (Teenage Monster, House of Frankenstein, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe)
Mary Norton b. 1903 died 29 August 1992 (author, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, The Borrowers)

Odd birthday list today. There's a lot more sci-fi on both the big and small screen than there used to be, but we have only one birthday boy younger than 50 and sadly, the dead outnumber the living. We have Anne Gwynne, a scream queen from the 1930s, and Jean Byron, a scream queen from the 1950s, better known as the mom on The Patty Duke Show. (The dad William Schallert, an amazingly busy actor, also shows up in small roles in a bunch of 1950s monster movies.) Alexander Courage is often a conductor or orchestrator, but we know him best for compositions on Star Trek.

If not for Michael Dorn yesterday, John Colicos as Kor would have been a great choice for the Picture Slot. Michael Clarke Duncan has some iconic roles as well, as does Mako. But since we have two birthdays from Village of the Giants AND a publicity still that shows both of them AND they are both still alive, you are now looking at Tisha Sterling and Tommy Kirk. Regular readers will note that this is a scene before Ms. Sterling grows to over thirty feet tall, so I have shown some restraint, but not much. (This is also a movie from 48 years ago, my first "Damn, I'm old!" moment of the morning, so... thanks for that.)

Many happy returns to all the living on the list, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader released, 2010

Prediction: Save for a few exceptional centres, the diffusion of news by radio died out completely by 1970.

Predictor: H.G. Wells in The Shape of Things to Come, published 1933

Reality:  The "money quotes" from this book are Wells' predictions of wars that would start in the 1940s, Germany vs. Poland and the United States vs. Japan. Other than that, his view of the 20th Century is almost completely wrong and very pessimistic. I'm going to give Herbert a couple more predictions this year and then he's going to get a break for a while.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The normal weekly schedule gives Wednesdays to T. Baron Russell, a much more cheery Brit than Wells, looking with anticipation into the 21st Century from his vantage point in 1905.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, December 9, 2013

9 December 2013

Simon Helberg b. 1980 (Big Bang Theory, Dr, Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, The Guild)
Reiko Aylesworth b. 1972 (SGU Stargate Universe, Lost, Aliens vs. Predator:Requiem)
Toby Huss b. 1966 (The Venture Brothers, R.I.P.D., Cowboys & Aliens, Harvey Birdman:Attorney at Law, Carnivale, Bedazzled)
Felicity Huffman b. 1962 (The X-Files)
Richard Brooks b. 1962 (The Crow: City of Angels, Firefly, Good vs Evil)
John Malkovich b. 1953 (Being John Malkovich, Warm Bodies, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, The Mutant Chronicles, Eragon, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shadow of the Vampire, Mary Reilly)
Michael Dorn b. 1952 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Heroes)
Beau Bridges b. 1941 (Stargate, 10.5 Apocalypse, Amazing Stories, Alice In Wonderland, Space, Village of the Giants)
Dame Judi Dench b. 1934 (Chronicles of Riddick, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)
John Cassavetes b. 1929 died 3 February 1989 (Rosemary’s Baby, The Fury, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
Dick Van Patten b. 1928 (Spaceballs, Westworld, Lois & Clark, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, Soylent Green)
Kirk Douglas b. 1916 (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Final Countdown, Saturn 3, Holocaust 2000, The Fury, Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Margaret Hamilton b. 1902 died 16 May 1985 (The Wizard of Oz)

Nice long list of birthdays today with plenty of honest to Odin movie stars, including Kirk Douglas, Dame Judi Dench and John Malkovich. When I saw Dick Van Patten's name, I thought I should include him for Spaceballs, forgetting how many other genre movies and TV shows he was in. For genre icons, I went with Worf from Star Trek, though next year it will either be Simon Helberg if I go New School or Margaret Hamilton if I go Old School.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe released, 2005

Prediction: 9 December 2012: Two filmmakers start their investigation into a conspiracy theory that claims people from the moon are controlling all events on earth since at least 1947.

Predictor: Lunopolis released direct to video 2009

Reality: Well, not so much, but I do have a soft spot for the modern micro-budget sci-fi movies, probably because I grew up watching all those silly 1950s sci-fi films on TV in the 1960s.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

You know who we haven't heard from in, like, forever? Grumpy old H.G. Wells!

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

8 December 2013

AnnaSophia Robb b. 1993 (Bridge to Terabithia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jumper, Race to Witch Mountain)
Ian Somerhalder b. 1978 (The Vampire Diaries, Lost, Smallville)
Dominic Monaghan b. 1976 (Lord of the Rings, FlashForward, Lost, X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Tyler Mane b. 1966 (X-Men, Halloween[2007])
Matt Adler b. 1966 (Chronicle, Smallville)
Teri Hatcher b. 1968 (Smallville, Spy Kids, Lois & Clark, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Kevin McNulty b. 1955 (Fantastic Four, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: Atlantis, Smallville, Andromeda, Dark Angel, Millenium[TV], The X-Files, Timecop)
Kim Basinger b. 1953 (Batman, Cool World, My Stepmother is an Alien)
Rick Baker b. 1950 (Make-Up and special effects, Men in Black, Tron: Legacy, X-Men: The Last Stand, Hellboy, Planet of the Apes, Escape From L.A., Starman, An American Werewolf in London, Star Wars, King Kong)
Belinda Belaski b. 1947 (Gremlins, The Howling)
John Rubenstein b. 1946 (Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed, Angel, Star Trek: Voyager, The Boys From Brazil)
Mary Woronov b. 1943 (Death Race 2000, Buck Rogers in the 21st Century, Night of the Comet, Babylon 5)
David Carradine b. 1936 died 3 June 2009 (Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Death Race 2000, Nightfall, Charmed, Q)
Maximilian Schell b. 1930 (Deep Impact, The Black Hole)
Dewey Martin b. 1923 (The Thing From Another World, The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone)
Richard Fleischer b. 1916 died 25 March 2006 (director, Red Sonja, Conan the Destroyer, Soylent Green, Fantastic Voyage, Doctor Doolittle, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)
Georges Méliès b. 1861 died 21 January 1938 (director, A Trip to the Moon, The Hallucinated Alchemist, Gulliver’s Travels, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)

A long list today, all movies and TV. A few well-known stars, more than enough fabulous babes to choose from, but I would like to note the people behind the scenes. Rick Baker has done some great make-up and special effects, as well as a lot of on-screen time dressed as a gorilla. Richard Fleischer directed a lot of well-known genre films, notably the 1954 Walt Disney produced 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, one of the first big budget sci-fi hits, finishing second in the year's box office to White Christmas and just ahead of Rear Window. But it is the first born on our list, Georges Méliès, who gets the Picture Slot, making the first special effects in films back when films were still brand new. It is no surprise that a fellow who decided to put such things on film started his career as a magician.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and to the dead, we give thanks for their work as pioneers.

Prediction: By 2010, seven million people in South Africa will have died from AIDS/HIV.

Predictor: 2002 report by NMG-Levy, South African Labor relations organization, reported in Our Final Hour by Martin Rees

Reality: Rees is a glum bastard, I'll give him that. Looking at the chart, the blue line is the best estimate of deaths, the red line is the high threshold and the green the low for the 95% confidence interval. The black line at 7,000,000 is at the very top of the graph, and as we can see even the high estimate is nowhere near it. In 2002, the total number of death crossed one million, but in 2010, around four million people have died of the disease since 1990 when numbers were first tracked. This looks like exponential growth, but in fact the numbers are slowing down. It's hard to be proud or optimistic when there are still 300,000 people dying a year from the disease in this country, but according the numbers from the World Health Organization, it looks like the epidemic is on the wane after two decades of steady growth.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Strange events on the moon are uncovered by filmmakers in 2012. Could lunar beings control life on Earth?

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!