Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 November 2013

Kaley Cuoco b. 1985 (The Big Bang Theory)
Gael Garcia Bernal b. 1978 (Blindness)
Marc Forster b. 1969 (director, World War Z)
Ben Stiller b. 1965 (Mystery Men, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Night at the Museum)
David Yates b. 1963 (director, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts I & II, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Nancy Everhard b. 1957 (DeepStar Six, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, The Punisher)
Mandy Patinkin b. 1952 (The Princess Bride, Alien Nation, Dead Like Me)
Chris Claremont b. 1950 (writer, X-Men, Wild Cards)
Stuart Baird b. 1947 (director, Star Trek:Nemesis)
Ridley Scott b. 1937 (director, Blade Runner, Alien, Legend, Prometheus)
Rex Reason b. 1928 (This Island Earth, The Creature Walks Among Us)
Mark Twain b. 1835 died 21 April 1910 (author, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Mysterious Stranger)
Jonathan Swift b. 1667 died 19 October 1745 (author, Gulliver’s Travels)

Heck of a birthday list today. Kaley Cuoco gets the Picture Slot not only for being a Pretty Girl, but also because she is the most recognizable face in terms of nerd culture today on the list, though Ben Stiller and Mandy Patinkin could also be considered. In terms of influence in the genre, my vote would go to Ridley Scott and the overall most famous would have to be Mark Twain or Jonathan Swift.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and may the names Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift never be forgotten. (If we think of this as a prayer, I like the odds of it being answered.)

Predictor: George Westinghouse (1846-1914), inventor of the air brake, proponent of alternating current, predicting the future in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition.

Westinghouse was in charge of the electric lighting at the Fair, which would have been a wonder to behold in 1893. Also, as my loyal reader Zombie Rotten McDonald is likely to note, wonderful 19th Century facial hair, a style he did not change even when he was old and gray.

Predictions (and reality): I presume that a speed of 90 or 100 miles per hour could be secured with modern locomotives and the improvements to come. (The fastest U.S. train in 1992 went 125. Bullet trains in France and Japan go over 150 mph with a maximum of 185 mph, which in metric is 250 to 300 kmph.)

It is not a question of attaining speed, but a question of control of the train after great speed has been secured. (Spoken like the inventor of the air brake.)

For this reason, I am inclined to think that the development of railway travel in the next century along present lines will not be so much great speed but uniform speed... A steady 40 mph would enable a train to run from New York to Chicago in a little over 20 hours. (The Lake Shore Limited makes the trip in 19 hours, but it runs much faster than 40 mph. Driving takes about 12 hours.)

I am also satisfied the immense cost for furnishing power for electric railways... will make such a development commercially unprofitable. Although he is no doubt that electricity as a motive power for passenger traffic will be used extensively used in the next century. (I take the meaning of this sentence to be: Electric trains boo! Electric cars yay! This would be a full 180° off the reality of the 20th Century. The great success of electric transportation in the 20th Century are the electric subway train systems around the world. Can you imagine what a smoggy nightmare steam train subways would be? Yikes.)

Looking one day... INTO THE FUTURE!

An exact day prediction from Arthur C. Clarke.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, November 29, 2013

29 November 2013

Don Cheadle b. 1964 (Iron Man 2 & 3)
Tom Sizemore b. 1961 (Strange Days, Red Planet)
Kim Delaney b. 1961 (Mission to Mars, Darkman II)
Hinton Battle b. 1956 (Buffy)
Jeff Fahey b. 1952 (Planet Terror, The Lawnmower Man, Under the Dome, Revolution, Lost, Darkman III)
Madeleine L'Engle b. 1918 died 6 September 2007 (A Wrinkle in Time)
C.S. Lewis b. 1898 died 22 November 1963 (Narnia, The Screwtape Letters)

The living on today's list are actors, the dead are writers, and I decided the Picture Slot should go to Madeleine L'Engle, the writer whose work I like best. Next year I might go fanboy and put up a picture of Hinton Battle from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I make no promises. C.S. Lewis is part of an odd bit of obituary trivia, dying on one of those days when there actually was a Group of Three with himself, J.F.K. and Aldous Huxley.

Many happy returns to the living on the list.

Predictor: Billy Graham at the 1998 TED talk

Prediction: "The future will be wonderful, but I won't be here to see it."

Reality: Well, it's fifteen years later and the Reverend Graham is still here, so he still got to see some future. He also predicted we were about to go to war with Iraq as of February 1998, and since we bombed them in December 1998, he gets a half point for that. For an actual war, we'd have to wait for Graham's pal George W. Bush to be elected, for us to be attacked by Islamic extremists and for us to blame Saddam Hussein for the attack on some of the flimsiest evidence in recorded history.

He was 80 when he gave this talk and he made a list of ways he was slowing down. I'm not 60 yet and I understand the diminishing abilities thing, I just don't gripe about it in public much past the occasional "Jeez, I'm old". Some might say it would be unfair of me to call the Reverend Graham a whiny little name-dropping drama queen, but then again, it's not fair to the world that Billy hasn't taken his no account son Franklin aside and told that turd to keep his racist pie hole shut.

Yes, life is unfair in many ways.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Back to 1893 to hear from a captain of industry whose name has survived to this day.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

28 November 2013

Alan Ritchson b. 1984 (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead b. 1984 (The Thing [2011], Grindhouse, Sky High, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
Emun Elliott b. 1983 (Prometheus, Game of Thrones)
Daniel Henney b. 1979 (X-Men Origins Wolverine)
Ryan Kwanten b. 1975 (True Blood)
Maurissa Tancharoen b. 1975 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog)
Alfonso Cuarón b. 1961 (director, Gravity, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
S. Epatha Merkerson b. 1952 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
Ed Harris b. 1950 (Gravity, The Truman Show, Apollo 13, The Right Stuff)
Joe Dante b. 1946 (director, The Howling, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Gremlins, Innerspace, Small Soldiers)

The biggest movie star on the list is Ed Harris, but because I'm a Whedonverse fanboy, the Picture Slot goes to Maurissa Tancharoen, who is one of the show runners on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the bride of Jed Whedon, as well as having roles onscreen in Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible. I watched True Blood for a few seasons, but it bothered me how many of the characters in this very dangerous universe were just too damned stupid to live, and Ryan Kwanten's character had to be near the top of that list, which is not the actor's fault.

Many happy returns to everyone, and of course happy Thanksgiving to all the Yanks, both on the birthday list and reading the blog.

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

Prediction: Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with "Robot-brains", vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. I suspect one of the major attractions of the 2014 fair will be rides on small roboticized cars which will maneuver in crowds at the two-foot level, neatly and automatically avoiding each other.

Reality: Okay! Isaac gets an A for this one, a solid 9.5 of 10. He loses the half point for "at the two foot level", which implies a very high-riding hovercraft, which would have to make noise and send around clouds of dust like a super-sized leaf blower. Getting machines to drive is in its infancy - parallel parking and avoiding accidents - but the "get you to your destination" is used very regularly.

Nice work, Ike, if I can call you Ike. Oh, I can't. Oops, sorry, won't happen again.

Looking on day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Friday means TED talks, and we get a bold prediction from 1998 by Billy Graham.

Billy Graham? The preacher or the wrestler?

All will be revealed one day... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

27 November 2013

Sharlto Copley b. 1973 (District 9, Elysium, Europa Report)
Tadanobu Asano b. 1973 (Thor, Battleship)
Chin Han b. 1969 (Arrow, Contagion, 2012, The Dark Knight, Blindness)
Fisher Stevens b. 1963 (Short Circuit, Lost, The Brother From Another Planet)
William Fichtner b. 1955 (Elysium, The Dark Knight , Contact, Armageddon, Invasion)
Kathryn Bigelow b. 1951(director, Strange Days)
Gerrit Graham b. 1949 (Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, C.H.U.D. II – Bud the Chud)
Barbara Anderson b. 1945 (The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek)
Bruce Lee b. 1940 died 20 July 1973 (The Green Hornet, Batman)
L. Sprague de Camp b. 1907 died 6 November 2000 (author, A Gun For Dinosaur, Conan, Gavagan’s Bar, Viagens Interplanetarias)

Lots of good actors on the list today and the prolific writer L. Sprague de Camp, but to my mind, there is only one icon and you are looking at him. I was just out of high school when Bruce Lee died, and it really hurt to hear the news. I'm stretching a little to call The Green Hornet genre. It wasn't as campy as Batman, no weekly costumed villain to defeat, so I will invoke The First Rule of Blogging, which I first proposed earlier this year: It's My Blog and You Are Not the Boss of Me!

Many happy returns to the living.
Predictor: Norbert Wiener in The Machine Age, published 1949

Prediction: These new machines have a great capacity for upsetting the present basis of industry, and of reducing the economic value of the routine factory employee to a point at which he is not worth hiring at any price. If we combine our machine-potentials of a factory with the valuation of human beings on which our present factory system is based, we are in for an industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty.  

Reality: Jeez, Professor Wiener was a cheery bastard, wasn't he? Lots of fun at a party, I'd wager.

There's no exact date on this prediction, which would usually disqualify it from the prediction list, but it's from the same era as a lot of Heinlein's stuff and I think he Weiner hits the nail much more squarely than our old pal Bob did on a regular basis.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

It's Turkey Day here in the Good Old U.S.A., but on the blog it's Thursday, so we will hear from our regular Isaac Asimov, with his own view of life in The Machine Age.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

26 November 2013

Peter Facinelli b. 1973 (Twilight)
Kristin Bauer van Straten b. 1966 (True Blood, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Star Trek:Enterprise, Galaxis)
Daniel Davis b. 1945 (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Frederick Pohl b. 1919 died 2 September 2013
(won 1977 Nebula for Man Plus)
(won 1978 Hugo and Nebula for Gateway)
Norbert Wiener b. 1894 died 18 March 1964 (writer, The Machine Age)

A relatively short birthday list today. Facinelli and Bauer are best known as vampires, Davis played Moriarity in the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Weiner is more science than science fiction, but he has a quote I'm going to count as a prediction tomorrow. Pohl already got The Picture Slot this year when he died, so it goes to The Pretty Girl instead today.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Movies released
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home released, 1986

There is a saying among nerds "Even numbered Star Trek movies don't suck."

In my book, Star Trek II and Star Trek IV don't suck. Other than those, they fall in the spectrum from "it had its moments" to "hours of my life I'll never get back".

Prediction: In 1986, scientist at Plexicorp invent transparent aluminum.

Predictor: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, released 26 November 1986

Reality: Wow, that's 27 years ago. And when I saw it in the theater, I was a grown-ass man.

Wow, I'm old.

Okay, the scene with Scotty talking into the mouse was cute. As for reality, I've found some websites that say transparent aluminum is possible, but it's crazy expensive to manufacture.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Bumped by Star Trek, today's birthday boy Norbert Weiner gets a prediction tomorrow.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, November 25, 2013

25 November 2013

Kristian Nairn b. 1975 (Game of Thrones)
Stefanie von Pfetten b. 1973 (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda)
Billy Burke b. 1966 (Twilight, Revolution)
Bruce Hopkins b. 1955 (Lord of the Rings, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena)
Tracey Walter b. 1947 (Batman, Independence Day, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Jeffrey Hunter b. 1926 died 5/27/1969 (Star Trek)
Poul Anderson b. 1926 died 31 July 2001 (author, The Technic History series, Hoka, Tales of Known Space)
Noel Neill b. 1920 (Adventures of Superman)
Ricardo Montalban b. 1920 died 14/1/2009 (Star Trek, Spy Kids)
Shelagh Fraser b. 1920 died 29 August 2000 (Star Wars)

I love to find pairs of people who were born on the exact same day, but today we have triplets. Khan, Lois Lane and Aunt Beru! That's pretty cool, and Lois (Noel Neill) is still alive! I guess hanging out with Superman seriously reduces the chance you'll be hit by a bus.

Next year's Picture Slot?


Many happy returns to the living on our list.

Predictions: prices of consumer goods and salaries in 2010

Predictor: The OMNI Future Almanac, published 1982

Reality: I seriously love The OMNI Future Almanac. I know I can just open a page and start reading. If I've already used something, just flip pages until there's something new. Today, it's a page about the salaries and prices of consumer goods in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010, and it made the assumption that the inflation seen from 1970 to 1980 was The New Normal. I'm only publishing the 2010 numbers, which as you will see, are bughouse crazy with very few exceptions.

Living on a fixed income? What's that?

Here is the key to the reading the color codes of the prices and salaries.

Red means super crazy high.
Black means in the ballpark.
Green means remarkably low. 

1 lb. hamburger $22.75
1 lb. bacon $12.00
head of lettuce $5.00
ear of corn $2.50
can of soup $2.75 (Campbell's is usually a buck less, but Progresso, Andersen and other brands can be this expensive.)
1 dozen large eggs $18.00
Loaf of bread $8.00
Quart of milk $5.75
1 lb. coffee $25.00
Cup of coffee $4.50 (Is that a tall or a venti? I don't drink coffee.)
Paperback $22.00 (The only part of the publishing industry that has gone this kind of crazy is the textbook market.)
Newspaper $2.75
Magazine $30.00
Movie ticket $33.00
Gallon of gas $2.00 (Oh, don't we wish?)
Postage stamp $2.25
Candy bar $2.50
12 oz. Coca-Cola $4.75
Subway ride $20.00
Hotel room $1200.00 (I looked it up and found that the Plaza in New York charges $1000 a night, but the Alamanac was talking about a room that would cost $75 in 1980.)
Calculator $50.00 (You can get a calculator good enough to get through statistics for under $20, but the high end TI-83 and TI-89 are closer to $100, and way better than anything available in the 1980s.)
Man's haircut $40.00 (You can get them definitely cheaper, but there are places that charge this much.)
Woman's cut & set $225.00 (Same as goes for men's haircuts.)
Ten speed bike $1,000.00 (Now, 21 speeds are the standard, and if you are on a budget, it's easy to pay about $200, which was the price in 1980, but there are definitely more expensive bikes available, even more than a grand.)
U.S. compact car $70,000.00
3 room apt. rent $10,000.00 a month
3 bedroom house $1,000,000

Secretary $95,000 (average: $30,000 to $40,000)
Ad executive $375,000 (average: $170,000)
Factory worker $197,600 (average: $40,000)
High school teacher $110,000 (average: $55,000)
Subway conductor $135,000 (average: $75,000)
Major league ballplayer
(average skills) $330,000 (rookie minimum is about $500,000)

So what is today's lesson, boys and girls? Yes, we pay insane amounts for cups of coffee, it's possible to pay a lot for a haircut or a bicycle and pro sports salaries are completely out of whack with the salaries of the people in the stands.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

A really cool invention predicted to come about in 1986.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

24 November 2013

Colin Hanks b. 1977 (King Kong)
Shirley Henderson b. 1965 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Doctor Who)
Conleth Hill b. 1964 (Game of Thrones)
Garret Dillahunt b. 1964 (Looper, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The 4400, The X Files)
Alain Chabat b. 1958 (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian)
Denise Crosby b. 1957 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Pet Sematary, The X Files, Lois & Clark)
Spider Robinson b. 1948 (Callahan, Mindkiller, Stardance)
Dwight Schultz b. 1947 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5)
Michael Edwards b. 1944 (Terminator 2:Judgment Day)
Billy Connolly b. 1942 (The Hobbit, The X Files: I Want to Believe, Brave, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Forrest J. Ackerman b. 1916 died 4 December 2008 (Famous Monsters of Filmland, Perry Rhodan, Northwest Smith, Scientifilm Marquee)
Howard Duff b. 1913 died 8 July 1990 (Twilight Zone, Batman)

I flipped a mental coin whether to use Tasha Yar or Lord Varys in the Picture Slot today and Game of Thrones won. I have to say Varys is scarier in the books, though I love Hill's interpretation. My favorite performers on the list are Shirley Henderson followed closely by Billy Connolly and the most important name in the genre is likely fanboy supreme Forrest J. Ackerman.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

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

Prediction: In April 2003, boys run and play in the ruins of a great Martian city, the winner of a foot race getting to be The Musician, the one who gets to desecrate the bones of a dead Martian, playing the skeleton as though it were a xylophone.

Reality: I am not the first to point it out, but Bradbury's most common and powerful emotional appeal is nostalgic, an odd choice for someone who wrote so often abut the future.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Tomorrow, it's another dip into The OMNI Future Almanac, making their predictions about prices and salaries in 2010.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

23 November 2013

Chris Hardwick b. 1971 (host, The Talking Dead)
Oded Fehr b. 1970 (Resident Evil, The Mummy, V, Charmed)
David Rappaport b. 1951 died 2 May 1990 (Time Bandits, The Wizard, The Bride)
Tom Neyman b. 1935 (Manos: The Hands of Fate)
Michael Gough b. 1916 died 17 March 2011 (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Doctor Who, They Came From Beyond Space, Phantom of the Opera, Horror of Dracula)
John Dehner b. 1915 died 4 February 1992 (The Twilight Zone)
Boris Karloff b. 1887 died 2 February 1969 (Frankenstein, The Mummy)

An all male and all actor list today, with more folks dead than alive. I did have a brief moment of contrariness thinking I might put Tom Neyman from Manos: The Hands of Fate in the Picture Slot, what with Thanksgiving coming up and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon being aired again, but seriously, for this first year,it has to be Karloff. It's an interesting coincidence that the actor Oded Fehr who plays the mummy in the most recent remakes shares a birthday with Karloff.

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

 The Day of the Doctor
This is the 50th anniversary of the first airing of Doctor Who and a special episode is now available, featuring the two most recent Doctors, Matt Smith and David Tennant, and also starring John Hurt as The War Doctor.

I've never been a huge fan of the show. I liked Christopher Eccleston and I like that he really doesn't want to be remembered forever as The Ninth Doctor. Still, my personal feelings aside, it is remarkable how successful this series has been and it's definitely a major part of the genre today.

Congratulations to all concerned.


Predictor: Miriam Leslie, author and publisher
A few words about today's predictor. Miriam Leslie had a truly remarkable career for a woman of her era. She married four times, the third time to the publisher Frank Leslie, her employer. She divorced her second husband to marry Leslie in 1874 and on their honeymoon, she met the poet Joaquin Miller and had an affair with him, the main character in his book The One Fair Woman modeled after her.

Frank Leslie went bankrupt in 1877 and died in 1880, and Miriam took over the business and brought it back to profitability, her success much admired by the financial community of the day. When she died in 1914, she willed most of her fortune to the cause of women's suffrage.

Predictions (reality in parentheses):

The world, and more especially the New World, is hastening rapidly toward iconoclasm. Monarchs who used to be worshiped or fear are now only to be laughed at. (Interesting call. It would be another twenty years until the Great War started and five bloody years later, European monarchy would be pretty much over.)

Religion is unfortunately ceasing to be a power in the world. It has become, rather, the recreation of a small portion of the people. (Maybe that was true in the circles Miriam traveled in, but I'd have to rate this a swing and a miss overall.)

Dress, formerly a species of trademark placed by the nations upon their population, is rapidly losing its individuality all over the world. (Gotta count this one as a hit.)

Language is struggling toward universality. Almost anyone can make himself understood almost anywhere. (Sure. If someone pretends they don't speak English, all you have to do is SAY IT LOUDER AND SLOWER.)

In politics the people as a controlling power are coming to the front more or less rapidly in even the oldest empires of earth. And it needs no prophet to foretell that in 1993 the world will have become equalized in every respect, even to dire monotony. (Well, I wouldn't call it monotonous, but the world of 1993 was much more level playing field than it was in 1893.)

The era of woman as a power has commenced. (Not unlike her prediction about the waning of monarchy, it was still more than a generation away, but she certainly saw the direction things were going. You might well say "D'uh!", but you might recall the humorist Bill Nye saying women's suffrage would never happen.)

The "servant problem" is an imminent one, for no one is found to dispute that anarchy in domestic matters is the near result of the present attitude of the domestic official. (Ah, yes, the servant problem. Those lazy, thieving laggards who make life hell for the rich. Not that big a deal now, though I guess it's pretty annoying when they go to the gossip rags and your personal life becomes everybody's bidness.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

On Ray Bradbury's Mars we are up to April 2003, and kids will be kids, having fun, roughhousing and laughing, destroying ancient ruins the Martians left behind.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

22 November 2013

Scarlett Johansson b. 1984 (Iron Man, The Avengers, Eight Legged Freaks)
Mark Ruffalo b. 1967 (The Avengers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Blindness)
Jamie Lee Curtis b. 1958 (Halloween, Virus)
Roy Thomas b. 1940 (Marvel Comics)
Terry Gilliam b. 1940 (director, Brazil, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys)
Robert Vaughn b, 1932 (Battle Beyond the Stars, Superman III)

A lot of star power on the birthday list today. For people about my age, the only name that might need even a little explaining is Roy Thomas, who was the second in command as a writer and editor at Marvel Comics in the 1960s and 1970s.

Regular readers will not need any explanation as to who got the Picture Slot.

Many happy returns to all our birthday boys and girls.

Movies released 
Star Trek: First Contact released, 1996
Back to the Future: Part II released, 1989

Back to the Future: Part II is full of predictions, but I use them near the anniversary of the date when Marty and Doc go to 2015, which is October 21.

Accept no substitutes.

Prediction: “Anyone who thinks the ANC is going to run South Africa is living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Predictor: Margaret Thatcher, 1987

Reality: TED Talks have been around since 1984, but Margaret Thatcher was never invited. Instead, this quote went up on the board during a 2009 talk by Ian Goldin about globalization that had no useful predictions of his own, but instead had a quote by the Iron Lady that served two purposes.

1) Reminding us that predictions about big changes are hard and

2) Anyone with a functioning brain stem can remember that conservatives may say they aren't racist, but they never have a problem with it when there's a buck to be made.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Saturday means a return to 1893, and this week it means we will hear from a feminist titan of industry.

Bet you thought they didn't exist in the 19th Century. I was a little surprised myself.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

21 November 2013

Jena Malone n. 1984 (Contact, Sucker Punch, Donnie Darko)
Alexander Siddig b. 1965 (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Clash of the Titans)
Cherry Jones b. 1956 (Signs, The Village)
Harold Ramis b. 1944 (writer, Ghostbusters, Bedazzled, Groundhog Day)
Jeannot Szwarc b. 1939 (director, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, Twilight Zone, Heroes, Smallville, Fringe, Supernatural)
Ingrid Pitt b. 1937 died 23 November 2010 (The Wicker Man, Doctor Who, Countess Dracula)
Christopher Tolkien b. 1924 (author, The Complete History of Middle-Earth)
Isaac Bashevis Singer b. 1902 died 24 July 1991 (author, The Golem, The Black Wedding, Satan in Goray)

The other person on the list besides Alexander Siddig considered for the Picture Slot was Ingrid Pitt, the biggest female star of the Hammer horror films. The Tolkien on the list is the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, a writer who decided to follow in dad's footsteps. The other prime example I can think of in the genre is Brian Herbert writing more Dune books after his dad Frank died.

Many happy returns to the living on the list. 

Movies released 
Rise of the Guardians released, 2012
Twilight released, 2008

Prediction: In 1964, a manned mission to the Moon launched by the United Nations finds the United Kingdom flag planted there, the moon claimed for Queen Victoria.

Predictor: First Men In The Moon, released 11/20/64

Reality: UN in space? Not bloody likely, mate.

First Men in the Moon is a Harryhausen film, but it's certainly not my favorite Harryhausen film. (In fact, I would suspect it is nobody's favorite Harryhausen film.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Fridays now belong to TED talks predictions and we get one from Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher gave a TED talk?

All will be revealed in just one day... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

20 November 2013

Laura Harris b. 1976 (The X-Files, Dead Like Me, Warehouse 13, Stargate:Atlantis)
Joel McHale b. 1971 (Spider-Man 2, Ted, Spy Kids 4)
Ming-Na Wen b. 1963 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Spawn, Final Fanatasy, Stargate-SG1, Eureka)
Sean Young b. 1959 (Blade Runner, Dune)
Richard Masur b. 1948 (The Thing, It)
Don DeLillo b. 1936 (Libra, Underworld)
Richard Dawson b, 1932 died 2 June 2012 (The Running Man)
Phyllis Thaxter b. 1919 died 14 August 2012 (Superman, The Twilight Zone)
Robert Armstrong b. 1890 died 20 April 1973 (King Kong, Son of Kong)

Several choices for the Picture Slot today. Because I'm a Whedonverse fanboy, I could have gone with Ming-Na Wen, who turns 50, my first big "Hey, buddy! You are really old!" moment of the day. Richard Dawson in The Running Man is a choice, but he got his picture up when The Running Man had a prediction a few weeks back. Robert Armstrong is one of the hammy actors in the original King Kong, but that was just the style of the early 1930s. He had a long career and he wasn't always chewing scenery. But instead it's a picture of Sean Young, back when she was young and pretty and not being a serial stalker.

Many happy returns to the living on this list.

Movies released
First Men In The Moon released 1964
The Twilight Saga: New Moon released 2009

First Men In The Moon was not a huge hit, but it does have a prediction in it, which we will get to tomorrow.

Prediction: Barack Obama will be overthrown on October 19, 2013, arrested on charges of producing a fake birth certificate in an attempt to hide the fact his presidency is illegal.

Predictor: Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman, after his September 2013 "citizen's grand jury indictment" of Obama.

Reality: Of course, the "citizen's grand jury" has no real legal authority, but Klayman was nice enough to give an exact date, and that's what this blog lives for. Klayman is one of those right wing types that I only hear about because left wing news sites like to publish the "look at the crazy people" stories. I don't have the time to figure out how many of these people are small time operators that the press can't stop covering, like Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist congregation, or people who create an actual money making operation feeding off the crazy, like Joseph Farah of World Net Daily.

In either case, Barack Obama remains defiantly out of jail.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The first expedition to the moon in 1964 discovers somebody beat them to it.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

19 November 2013

Sandrine Holt b. 1972 (Underworld: Awakening, Resident Evil:Apocalypse)
Jason Scott Lee b. 1966 (Back to the Future II, Soldier)
Terry Ferrell b. 1963 (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, Hellraiser III)
Jodie Foster b. 1962 (Contact, Elysium, The X-Files)
Charlie Kaufman b. 1958 (writer, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Tom Virtue b. 1957 (Iron Man 3, Firefly, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, Star Trek:Voyager, The X-Files)
Kathleen Quinlan b. 1954 (Twilight Zone: The Movie, Event Horizon)
Robert Beltran b. 1953 (Night of the Comet, Star Trek:Voyager)
Alan Young b. 1919 (The Time Machine)

An unusual list today, given that everybody on it is still alive, including Alan Young, best known as Wilbur on Mr. Ed but mentioned here for his role in The Time Machine, who turns 95 today. All of the women on the list qualify for the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot criteria, but I chose Terry Ferrell because she's tallest. Regular readers will know that's how I roll.

Many happy returns to all our birthday boys and girls.

Movies released
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 released 2010  

Prediction: The next war will be fought with nuclear warheads mounted on inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Predictor: General H.H. "Hap" Arnold, the basis for the LIFE magazine article The 36-Hour War, published in the November 19, 1945

Reality: Usually, the predictions on this blog have dates attached, sometimes exact days, at least the year. That way, they can be verified or falsified. A prediction with no date such as this one is either fulfilled or unfilled, and luckily for us sixty eight years later, this one is unfulfilled and at least in terms of the exact enemy being the Soviet Union, it cannot be fulfilled.

I publish this because it sets the tone for the second half of the 20th Century. We didn't fight a nuclear war, but it was always the threat hanging over our head. I have purchased Eric Schlosser's Command and Control, but I haven't read it yet. (Still wading through Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise, very slow going.) From the few previews I've seen, Schlosser's book makes it clear that we got lucky multiple times, barely avoiding both nuclear accidents and accidental launches based on data that made it look like a first strike was incoming, both on the American side and the Soviet.

All throughout my childhood I heard the United States is the greatest country in the world. I never heard anyone seriously dispute it back in the day, but very few people said the other part of the truth, which was that the undeniable predominant position was only attained after the end of World War II when Europe and most of Asia were in ruins.

Certainly, Arnold wrote this report and the Pentagon brass decided to release it to LIFE for self-interested motives. Our standard operating procedure was to bring military spending down to extremely modest levels once a war was over, and isolationism was a very commonly held and mainstream political position. The military didn't want this to continue, and besides their own pocketbook motives, it was clear that both Japan and Germany thought declaring war against us was a reasonable risk because we were not arming ourselves the way they were. Since then, we have armed ourselves at levels no other country has ever done consistently in peacetime.

Discussing this prediction will be a regular feature on the blog every November 19, a holiday no one officially celebrates that I call You Have Official Permission To Freak The Fuck Out Day. I want to thank Professor Ian Abrams of Drexel University for bringing this article to my attention. You can read it and look at the remarkable illustrations on his website, which you can visit by clicking this link.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Has Obama been overthrown yet? I could have sworn that was going to happen this week.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, November 18, 2013

18 November 2013

Noah Ringer b. 1997 (The Last Airbender, Cowboys & Aliens)
Jake Abel b. 1987 (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, I Am Number Four, Supernatural)
Robert Kazinsky b. 1983 (True Blood, Pacific Rim)
Peta Wilson b. 1970 (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Superman Returns)
Owen Wilson b. 1968 (Night at the Museum)
Tim Guinee b. 1962 (Brave New World, Blade, Strange World, Stargate SG-1, Iron Man, Revolution)
Alan Moore b. 1953 (author, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell)
Michael Swanwick b. 1950 (won 1992 Nebula for Stations of the Tide)
Eric Pierpont b. 1950 (Alien Nation, Star Trek, Babylon 5)
Alan Dean Foster b. 1946 (novelizations of Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien, Alien Nation and many more)
David Hemmings b. 1941 died 3 December 2003 (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
Margaret Atwood b. 1939 (The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake)
Alan Shepard b. 1923 died 21 July 1998

On today's list, the people born before 1960 are predominantly writers, including Margaret Atwood in the Picture Slot, and all the people born after 1960 are actors. Next year, I'll probably be making a decision between the writer Alan Moore and the astronaut Alan Shepard. 

Movies released
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 released 2011
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire released, 2005
Star Trek: Generations released 1994
Cherry 2000 released 1988

Prediction: 2017: Female robots called gynoids are perfect replacements for wives.

Predictor: Cherry 2000 released 1988

Reality: The most common complaint about living in the present that should be "the future" by now is no flying cars or jetpacks, but sex robots are a pretty common idea in sci-fi, regardless of the sexist content. (Besides the orgasmatron in Woody Allen's Sleeper which worked for males and females, there are only a few sci-fi plots that included sexual satisfaction machines designed for women, and several are mentioned bu my ever alert readers in the comment section.) And unlike Blade Runner, where there was about a two out of three chance the sex robot would try to kill you, they seemed to have worked that bug out of the system in Cherry 2000, the machine in question played by the lovely Pamela Gidley.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The 68th anniversary of the most influential unfulfilled prediction of modern times.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Never to be Forgotten:
Doris Lessing 1919-2013

Author Doris Lessing died today at the age of 94. She wrote in many styles throughout her long career, espousing leftist ideology and an interest in Sufism. She also wrote science fiction, which she preferred to call space fiction. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, she is one of only a handful of authors who worked in the genre to be so honored, including William Golding and Jose Saramago.

Her best known works in the science fiction field are two multiple book series, Canopus in Argos and Children of Violence. While she was definitely considered an "important" writer, a distinction that very rarely is bestowed on people who write speculative fiction, she championed the field of science fiction as the home of some of the best social fiction of the age. In particular, she singled out Blood Music by Greg Bear and called him a great writer.

So often when someone dies in old age, all the pictures of them in the obits are from the past decade or so. (Exceptions are made for movie stars known best when they were young and beautiful.) I found this picture of Ms. Lessing when she was much younger and quite pretty, a nice reminder that the eminent are not born at the age of sixty and doomed just to get older from there.

The author Doris Lessing died today. She is never to be forgotten.

17 November 2013

Rachel McAdams b. 1978 (About Time, The Time Travelers' Wife)
Leslie Bibb b. 1974 (Iron Man)
Leonard Roberts b. 1972 (Buffy, Smallville)
Bjorn Stein b. 1970 (director, Underworld: Awakening)
Frank Spotnitz b. 1960 (producer, The X Files)
Stephen Root b. 1951 (True Blood, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Bill Lancaster b. 1947 died 4 January 1997 (writer, The Thing [1982])
Martin Scorsese b. 1942 (director, Hugo)

The biggest name here is Martin Scorsese, and the two young women at the top of the list are definitely attractive enough for the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot, but I went with a poster from the John Carpenter's version of The Thing, which counts as a remake of the 1951 movie, but is much truer to the source story, John W. Campbell Jr.'s 1938 novella Who Goes There? The differences between these two versions show how much the genre had progressed in thirty years, due in no small part to the improvements in special effects that made it possible to tell a story with so many alien/fantasy elements. (A Norwegian 2011 version is billed as a prequel to the 1982 film.)

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Television premieres
The Star Wars Holiday Special, aired in 1978

Somehow, this did not join Charlie Brown, the Grinch and It's a Wonderful Life as evergreen holiday classics. 

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

Prediction: In February 2003, the Tenth City on Mars is built, filled with poets, novelists and beachcombers.

Reality: Yet another very short chapter, one that takes up less than a page. It's easy to see Bradbury writing reflections of himself in the writers and even the beachcomber. The best sci-fi writers or this era worked like men possessed, turning out amazing numbers of pages, but somewhere in the back of his mind it must have seemed somewhat soft and easy to him, compared to his father's work as a telephone lineman.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We are just four years away from really hot sex robots. You might want to consider starting your saving's account now.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

16 November 2013

Maggie Gyllenhall b. 1977 (The Dark Knight, Donnie Darko)
Gigi Edgley b. 1977 (Farscape)
Missi Pyle b. 1972 (Galaxy Quest, Heroes)
Harry Lennix b. 1964 (Man of Steel, Dollhouse, The Matrix Reloaded)
Marg Helgenberger b. 1958 (Species)
Steve Railsback b. 1945 (Lifeforce, The X-Files)
Jose Saramago b. 1922 (author, Blindness)
Burgess Meredith b. 1907 died 9 September 1997 (The Twilight Zone, Batman, Clash of the Titans)

Plenty of choices using the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot formula, but because I am of a certain age and very keen on my memories of The Twilight Zone, you are now looking at a picture of the late Burgess Meredith from one of his several appearances.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Movies released
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone released 2001
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 released 2012
Predictor: Thomas J. Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1889-1893, predicting the state of Native American in 1993, making his predictions as part of the lead-up to the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. (Sorry I couldn't find a picture. I know how keen Zombie Rotten McDonald is on prime 19th Century facial hair.)

Predictions (reality): Note: Mr. Morgan never uses the term Native American, which wouldn't become the preferred term until  decades later.

The number of Indians is now 250,000. A hundred years hence, they will number a million or so. (1990 census put the number at 1,959,000, so off by about a factor of two. In 1893, only one in every 260 people in the United States was a native; it rose to about 1 in 125, slightly less than 1%.)

Some tribes will become wholly extinct. The Sioux and the Navajo will continue to thrive. (Both sentences are true.)

There will here and there be wandering bands of blanket beggars. (Hmm, not so much.)

The tribes will disappear and the agencies will become a thing of the past, thus disposing of the much-abused Indian agents, whether civilian or Army officers. The friction between the Interior and the War Departments will be produced by other causes. (The Bureau of Indian Affairs still exists. Morgan saw himself as a crusading liberal, but during his watch came the last three major atrocities committed against the native Americans by the U.S. Army, all in South Dakota at Buffalo Gap, Stronghold and most famously at Wounded Knee.)

Army officers, having no longer an excuse for trying to run the Indian Office, will seek other fields for the exercise of their talents. (Yep. People no longer leave West Point dreaming to making their name wiping out the people who were here before us.)

There will spring up a new aristocracy, claiming distinction by reason of Indian descent. It will be almost as desirable as to belong to New York's "Four Hundred". (That might be going a little far, but people do like to claim some Native ancestry, though sometimes the genealogy is sketchy.)

Some of the finest poetry ever penned will find its inspiration and material in Indian history, and a whole generation of novelists will win fame and favor by stories whose leading characters are of Indian descent. (I'm not sure Tony Hillerman counts as an entire generation. There certainly many poems that deal with Native American themes.)

An Indian will command the United States Army. (Not so far. With the exception of Colin Powell, the pictures of the heads of the Joint Cheifs of Staff look pretty damned pasty to me.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Sunday is Martian Chronicles day.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, November 15, 2013

15 November 2013

Jessica Stevenson Hynes b. 1972 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Doctor Who, Shaun of the Dead)
Kevin J. O’Connor b. 1963 (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Van Helsing, The Mummy)
Bob Gunton b. 1945 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Demolition Man)
Yaphet Kotto b. 1939 (The Puppet Masters, SeaQuest 2032, The Running Man, Alien)
Gloria Foster b. 1933 died 29 September 2001 (The Matrix)
J.G. Ballard b. 1930 died 19 April 2009 (writer, The Drowned World, The Burning World, Crash)

No A-List stars today, but I go with Yaphet Kotto from Alien in the Picture Slot. While Star Wars and Star Trek are the franchises that made Hollywood change the way they looked at science fiction, there also needed to be other financial success stories to make the genre work, and Alien certainly qualifies.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Movies released
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets released 2002

Prediction: In 2007, 65 million compact flourescent light bulbs were purchased, and in 2008 this will rise to 100 million.

Predictor: John Doerr, venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, speaking at a TED talk in 2007

Reality: Welcome to TED Talks predictions! Exciting, dynamic, important people will give you twenty minutes of their valuable time and your mind will be B-L-O-W-N! (No dinner and a movie first.)

This first one is a bust. According to EnergyStar, 2007 was a peak year and this guy was predicting a 50% increase, which is hard to accomplish even when things are going great. Not being a regular consumer of right wing news, I don't know when the "CFB bad! Evil librul plot!" stories started to be circulated, but in any case, these things are still selling. As of 2012, they are mandated in Europe and Australia, but the big increase Doerr predicted for 2008 failed to materialize.

Is your mind feeling kind of... unblown? Yeah, get used to it on Fridays.

Source: On Netflix, I found a video called TED Talks: Humanity's Future, so I felt I had to watch it.

Understand, I watched it SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO! That's the basic premise of the blog, though you are welcome to read or watch any of the stuff I use as prediction material or even watch some movie or read a book because one of the birthdays made you think something would be cool. A lot of them are cool.

This one. Not cool. Four hours of your life that won't be coming back.

The things I do for this hobby. Oi! Still, it's better than keeping track of the supermarket gossip rags. There are a lot more chances for finding out interesting things looking at sci-fi and predictions than there are reading about the Kardashians and Teen Mom week after week.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another trip back to 1893, with a former Commissioner of Indian Affairs predicting the fate of the native Americans in the 20th Century.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

14 November 2013

Chris Demetral b. 1976 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne)
Dana Snyder b. 1973 (Venture Brothers)
Josh Duhamel b. 1972 (Transformers)
Patrick Warburton b. 1964 (The Tick, The Venture Brothers)
Paul McGann b. 1959 (8th Doctor, Alien 3)
Gary Grubbs b. 1949 (Angel, The X Files)
Kathleen Hughes b. 1928 (It Came From Outer Space, Cult of the Cobra)
William Stieg b. 1907 died 3 October 2003 (author, Shrek)

There's a great Scream Queen publicity still of Kathleen Hughes I might put in the Picture Slot next year, but this year... Brock Samson. Besides the Venture Brothers, my next favorite role on the list is Gary Grubbs as Fred Burkle's dad Roger on Angel.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Predictor: Isaac Asimov in 1964, asked to predict 2014 on the occasion of the World's Fair in New York.

Prediction: An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist in 2014. Large solar-power stations will also be in operation in a number of desert and semi-desert areas -- Arizona, the Negev, Kazakhstan. In the more crowded, but cloudy and smoggy areas, solar power will be less practical. An exhibit at the 2014 fair will show models of power stations in space, collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices and radiating the energy thus collected down to earth.

Reality: Fusion is one of those things that is always just a few years in the future. Solar power works better at a small scale, like panels on a roof. As for heat rays from outer space, that sounds like a big screw-up waiting to happen if the geosynchronous satellite got a little out of whack. Still, this is much better work than his underground suburbs and hovercraft.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

A new feature is going to take over the regular Friday chores... predictions from TED talks!

Do you get the feeling they are going to suck? Oh, regular reader, you are way ahead of me.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

13 November 2013

Aisha Hinds b. 1971 (Star Trek Into Darkness, True Blood, Dollhouse, Stargate SG-1)
Noah Hathaway b. 1971 (The Never Ending Story, Troll, Battlestar Galactica)
Gerard Butler b. 1969 (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
Whoopi Goldberg b. 1955 (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Tracy Scoggins b. 1953 (Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Lois and Clark)
Oskar Werner b. 1922 died 23 October 1984 (Fahrenheit 451)
Jack Elam b.1920 died 20 October 2003 (Twilight Zone)
Robert Louis Stevenson b. 1850 died 3 December 1894 (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Several possible choices for the Picture Slot today, but I was in a Star Trek mood. Noah Hathaway as Atreyu was a possibility, Oskar Werner as Montag was another. Jack Elam was in a jillion Westerns and just one episode of Twilight Zone, but I loved his work and I loved that show, so he gets a nod on his birthday. I also have to say when I see a name like Robert Louis Stevenson and realize he died at the age of 44, it makes me wonder what the hell I've done with my time.

Many happy returns to the living on the list. 

Movies released
2012, escaped 2009
The Running Man released 1987

Prediction: In 2012, Solar storms cause warming in the earth’s core causing irreparable cracks, dooming all life on earth.

Predictor: 2012, escaped 2009

Reality: Roland Emmerich said this will be his last disaster movie, so we’ve got that going for us. While I might sometimes ponder what I've accomplished, this movie is now four years old and I've never seen it nor do I have plans to see it, so I haven't wasted my entire life.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The regular weekly schedule gives Thursday to Isaac Asimov, so we will be treated to another of his brainstorms from 1964 about the wonderful world of 2014.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 November 2013

Anne Hathaway b. 1982 (Ella Enchanted, The Dark Knight Rises, Alice in Wonderland)
Craig Parker b. 1970 (Lord of the Rings, Legend of the Seeker, Xena: Warrior Princess)
Harvey Stephens b. 1970 (The Omen)
Max Grodénchik b. 1952 (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Michael Bishop b. 1945 (won 1983 Nebula for No Enemy But Time)
Wallace Shawn b. 1943 (Toy Story, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Dave Cockrum b. 1943 died 26 November 2006 (creator of Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler)
Michael Ende b.1929 died 29 August 1995 (writer, The NeverEnding Story)
Kim Hunter b. 1922 died 11 September 2002 (Planet of the Apes)

The Picture Slot was a tricky choice today. Anne Hathaway is an A-List movie star and Kim Hunter in Planet of the Apes is an understandable choice. Given the age of nerd that I am, I was all set to go with Giant Size X-Men #1, which finally succeeded in bringing back the X-Men for good, a series that was canceled several times by Marvel before becoming one of their biggest hits. But in the end, I decided to go with young Harvey Stephens from The Omen in the most memorable role from his brief career.  

Prediction: 2019: Ben Richards, a police helicopter pilot on the run for refusing to suppress a food riot in Bakersfield, is caught by the authorities. Instead of a trial and jail, he is put on the popular television show The Running Man, where convicts are hunted down and killed.

Predictor: The Running Man, released 13 November 1987

Reality: The Running Man was written by Stephen King under his pseudonym Richard Bachmann. The book takes place in 2025 near Detroit and the hero is not a cop and is described as “pre-tubercular”. Kings says the character he wrote is very nearly the diametric opposite of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is also the case in the book of Total Recall by Philip K. Dick.

But seriously, anyone who has seen this knows it’s really a Richard Dawson vehicle featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(Note: the movie celebrates its anniversary tomorrow, but so does another film with a prediction.)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Can the end of the world be seen as a positive prediction? Tomorrow, you might understand the bright side.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, November 11, 2013

11 November 2013

Connor Price b. 1994 (Alphas, Carrie)
Leonardo Di Caprio b. 1974 (Inception)
Demi Moore b. 1962 (Ghost)
Stanley Tucci b. 1960 (The Hunger Games, Captain America)
Vincent Schiavelli b. 1948 died 26 December 2005 (Buffy, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Batman Returns, The X-Files, Buckaroo Banzai, Ghost)
Jonathan Winters b. 1925 died 11 April 2013 (Twilight Zone, Mork and Mindy)
John Guillermin b. 1925 (director, King Kong, King Kong Lives)
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. b. 1922 died 11 April 2007 (Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan)
Stubby Kaye b. 1918 died 14 December 1997 (Doctor Who, Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

The Picture Slot choice was pretty easy today. As much as I love the work of Jonathan Winters, Stubby Kaye and Stanley Tucci, as big a movie star as Leonardo Di Caprio is, as pretty as Demi Moore is, the blog is still called This Day In Science Fiction and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is the boss here.

I might switch up my decision next year, but right now I'm thinking I won't.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.

Movies released
Immortals, released 2011

In the Year 2000!
Prediction: Americans will be working a 20 hour work week with seven weeks vacation

Predictor: A 1965 Senate subcommittee, according to the website Mental Floss.

Reality: OMG! America has become France!

Well... as much fun as it is to bash the French, this is the sort of prediction that made sense when labor unions actually held some power in the country.

And, just maybe, they might have cribbed their notes from The Jetsons a little bit.

Looking on day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

From a major motion picture, a look into the dystopic future that awaits us in 2019.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 November 2013

Michael Jai White b. 1967 (The Dark Knight, Spawn)
Vanessa Angel b. 1966 (Weird Science, Stargate SG-1, PuppetMaster vs. Demonic Toys)
Daniel Waters b. 1962 (writer, Demolition Man, Batman Returns)
Neil Gaiman b. 1960
(won 2002 Hugo and 2003 Nebula for American Gods)
(won 2009 Hugo for The Graveyard Book)
Roland Emmerich b. 1955 (director, Universal Solider, Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012)
Roy Scheider b. 1932 died 10 February 2008 (2010, SeaQuest 2032)
Richard Burton b. 1925 died 10 November 1984 (1984, The Exorcist II)
Russell Johnson b. 1924 (This Island Earth, It Came From Outer Space, The Twilight Zone)
Claude Rains b. 1889 died 30 May 1967 (The Invisible Man)

Interesting mix of folks on both sides of the camera today. Russell Johnson is best known as The Professor on Gilligan's Island, the last male actor surviving from the cast. (Tina Louise and Dawn Wells are both still alive.) Roland Emmerich has promised that he'll never make another sci-fi film, so we have that going for us. The three deceased actors, Roy Scheider, Richard Burton and Claude Rains, all had long and distinguished careers with just a few roles in genre. While Vanessa Angel easily meets the Pretty Girl = Picture Slot criterion, instead we get a picture of the unkempt hair and pale visage of Neil Gaiman because... fanboy.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on our list.

Prediction: In October 2002, a second wave of settlers comes to Mars, mostly city dwellers in contrast to the largely rural first wave.

Predictor: Ray Bradbury in The Martian Chronicles, published 1950

Reality: This is another of those one page chapters in The Martian Chronicles, a quick exercise in prose style that Bradbury loved to write.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicts a worker's paradise in the year 2000.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

9 November 2013

Robert Duncan McNeil b. 1964 (Star Trek: Voyager)
Lou Ferrigno b. 1951 (The Incredible Hulk)
Carl Sagan b.1934 died 20 December 1996 (author, Contact)
Severn Darden b. 1929 died 27 May 1995 (Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)

A short list today and any of the first three people on the list could be in the Picture Slot, but I went with Dr Billions and Billions as a sentimental gesture. I included Severn Darden because I had the Second City comedy album back in the 1960s.

Many happy returns of the day to Mr McNeil and Mr. Ferrigno. 
Predictor: William H.H. Miller, former Attorney General of the United States, predicting the future 100 years into the future in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.

Prediction: The divorce laws will become more harmonious.

Reality: I'm cutting his prediction down to the bare bones here. He takes five paragraphs to say that some states refuse to recognize divorces that take place in other states and that has to change. Not that I have any first hand experience, but I believe that change is the case nowadays, what with the now old-fashioned idea of going to Nevada for a quickee divorce.

Still, five paragraphs and not a single discussion of any other legal change in a century. I gotta ask, Mr Miller... is everything okay between you and the missus?

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Sunday is Martian Chronicles day, and going through the book chapter by chapter, we get two brief tales from late 2002 and early 2003.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, November 8, 2013

8 November 2013

Magda Apanowicz b. 1985 (Caprica, Continuum, Kyle XY)
Chris Rankin b. 1983 (Harry Potter)
Azura Skye b.1981 (Buffy)
Parker Posey b. 1968 (Blade: Trinity, Superman Returns)
Phil Fondacaro b.1958 (Troll, Willow)
Ben Bova b.1932 (editor, Analog, Omni)
Bram Stoker b.1847 died 20 April 1912 (Dracula)

In terms of genre, the big star on this list is Bram Stoker, but since the blog is titled This Day In Science Fiction, the Picture Slot is given to the prolific Ben Bova.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list.
Prediction: In 2009, Cadillac showed this experimental design for a car run on a thorium powered turbine which needs eight grams of fuel in a century.

Predictor: Cadillac Automobile Company.

Reality: Okay, I didn't just fall of the turnip truck. I know these experimental designs shown at car shows are made just to look pretty, but DAMN this thing is pretty.

Here's a prettified cutaway view from the top of the drive train. Thorium is safer than a lot of other nuclear fuels, but it's still inside a car and cars get into accidents. Tow truck driving would have to come with hazmat training.

Still. Damn.

To paraphrase agents Doe and Holder from The Venture Brothers:

"If that car were a woman, I'd marry her."

"And I'd jeopardize our friendship to sleep with your hot wife."

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

It's Saturday, so we get a visit from our prognosticators from 1893.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

7 November 2013

Carl Steven b. 1974 died 31 July 2011 (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Yunjin Kim b. 1973 (Lost)
Earl Boen b. 1945 (Terminator)

Very short birthday list today and no A-list actors. Carl Steven played Spock as a kid in the lamentable Star Trek III, Earl Boen was the psychologist Dr. Peter Silberman in the Terminator series and the Picture Slot goes to Yunjin Kim from Lost.

Carl Steven's story is very sad. He became addicted to prescription medications after a tonsillectomy, stole to support his addiction and was sent to jail in 2010, dying of a heroin overdose in prison about a year later.

Many happy returns to Mr. Boen and Ms. Kim.

Predictor: Jeane Dixon, reported in Popular Mechanics in 1966

Prediction:What will cars be like in 2016? The Automobile Club of Michigan, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, wondered about this recently and approached widely publicized seer Jeane Dixon, asked her to gaze into her crystal ball and come up with a few answers. Fifty years from now, Miss Dixon predicted, cars will flit back and forth on cushions of air, the wheels retracting upon starting. They will be fueled by some exotic new compound yet to be developed; gasoline as we know it will have gone the way of the buggy whip. A radar-like device will guard against cars being involved in accidents.

Reality: Did Jeane Dixon crib "hovercraft" from Asimov's prediction of 1964? I'm not putting it past her. As for gasoline being obsolete, that has to count as a strike against her, but the radar-like device to avoid accidents is a solid hit, already advertised in fancy new cars.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Could gasoline go the way of the buggy whip? Cadillac unveils a prototype in 2009 that promises to counter petroleum's stranglehold on the world economy.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!