Wednesday, February 19, 2014

19 February 2014

Luke Pasqualino b. 1989 (Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome)
Arielle Kebbel b. 1985 (The After, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Vampires, Suck, The Grudge 2, Aquamarine)
Josh Trank b. 1985 (director, Chronicle, Fantastic Four [2015])
Caroline Chikezie b. 1974 (Supernatural, Torchwood, AEon Flux)
Benicio Del Toro b. 1967 (Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolfman, Sin City)
Jessica Tuck b. 1963 (Grimm, True Blood, Super 8, FlashForward, Lois & Clark)
Ray Winstone b. 1957 (Snow White and the Huntsman, Elfie Hopkins: Cannibal Hunter, Hugo, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Devil’s Tomb, Beowulf, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
Jeff Daniels b. 1955 (Looper, My Favorite Martian [1999], Pleasantville, Grand Tour: Disaster in Time, Arachnophobia)
David Margulies b. 1937 (Ghostbusters I and II)
John Frankenheimer b. 1930 died 6 July 2002 (director, The Island of Dr. Moreau [1996], Prophecy, Seconds)
Lee Marvin b. 1924 died 29 August 1987 (Twilight Zone)

While Jeff Daniels might be the best known name from the list, I see an interesting pattern with three other well known birthday boys from this day, Lee Marvin, Ray Winstone and Benicio Del Toro, all known for playing tough guy roles. The industry was such back in the day that Lee Marvin could have a long successful career with only two roles in genre productions, both of them on the original Twilight Zone. Winstone is British, and a lot of British actors can avoid being in fantasy or sci-fi if they stay in England and avoid Doctor Who. Almost all of Winstone's genre work is in American productions. Del Toro plays a lot of cops and hoods, but with The Wolfman and definitely with Guardians of the Galaxy, he's shown his willingness to be in sci-fi and fantasy films. (Note that I count Sin City as genre, though doesn't. Another Del Toro movie that is on the cusp is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.)

And after all that exposition, who is in The Picture Slot? Jessica Tuck from True Blood, who plays the vampire who goes on news programs in True Blood. Yep, I went with the fabulous babe. I have no idea who will get the Picture Slot next year.

Many happy returns of the day to all the birthday boys and girls on the list still numbered among the living, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Predictor: T. Baron Russell in his book A Hundred Years Hence: The Expectations of an Optimist, published in 1905

Prediction: We may take it as quite certain that war as an institution will be as obsolete as gladiators in the year 2000. Even if the increasing amenity of the human race did not abolish war, two other things would be certain to do so. One is the enormous development, already clearly in sight, of the means of destruction: the other the revolt of the peoples against the stupendous cost, not merely or chiefly in time of war, but also in time of peace, of modern armaments. The rising tide of educated democracy must inevitably banish war.

Reality: Well, he said he was an optimist right in the title of the book, didn't he? He's making this guess even before the two catastrophes of the World Wars. It's my view that the most important feature of modern history is that the end of World War II is nearly seven decades ago and we haven't had another shooting war between the most industrialized nations of the world. That would be sign we are learning not to use the most horrible weapons we can devise, but it hasn't stopped us from the escalation of "the stupendous cost... of modern armaments", especially in the United States.

My main worry is that so many bad things are fading from living memory, people might decide we can afford to go back to the bad practices of the past. We are definitely seeing this in the dismantling efforts of the social safety net and the attack on Social Security, a program that lifted major percentages of the elderly and disabled out of poverty for decades. I can only hope that no major industrialized nation in the future decides war on another major power. The cost in capital, human lives and environmental damage would be off the charts.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Our new regular predictor on Thursday makes his debut tomorrow. Who will it be and what kind of future will be foretold?

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

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