Watch Sir Patrick Stewart read a Shakespeare sonnet every day

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A post shared by Patrick Stewart (@sirpatstew) on Mar 31, 2020 at 1:06pm PDT

"Having spent so much of my life with Shakespeare’s world, passions and ideas in my head and in my mouth, he feels like a friend—someone who just went out of the room to get another bottle of wine," Patrick Stewart once said.

On Instagram, he's now delivering a daily fix of the Bard. See them all at @sirpatstew on Instagram.

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It has led me to undertake what follows. When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn't much) and as she put it in front of me she would say: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." How about, “A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away”? So...here we go: Sonnet 1.

A post shared by Patrick Stewart (@sirpatstew) on Mar 22, 2020 at 4:28pm PDT

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#ASonnetADay

A post shared by Patrick Stewart (@sirpatstew) on Mar 28, 2020 at 12:35pm PDT

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CBS All Access makes Star Trek: Picard free to non-subscribers

CBS All Access has announced that they are making the entire first season of Picard free to non-subscribers of the streaming service. You get it for free if you register and use the coupon code: GIFT.

There are nine episodes in the season so far and the season finale will air this Thursday.

ENGAGE!

Update: The coupon code unlocks all of CBS All Access, free for a month.

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Should the Vulcan greeting replace the handshake in the coronavirus era?

In this CNet piece, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper poses the question: should the "Live Long and Prosper" Vulcan greeting replace handshakes in the coronavirus era?

Hell, yes! Let's do this thing.

I've also seen the suggestion that we do the Hindu "Namaste" greeting. I like the Vulcan salute much better.

One of the things you may not know about the Vulcan greeting is that Leonard Nimoy himself came up with it, based on a secret benediction he had witnessed in Temple as a child. He was not supposed to look. He looked and saw the Rabbis giving the congregation this salute. He later found out that it represents the Hebrew letter, Shin, and that it is an invocation of the Shekhinah, the female aspect of God.

When it came time on the set of Star Trek to dream up some Vulcan greeting the first time Spock returns to his home planet, this V gesture was the first thing Nimoy thought of. Here he is telling the story of these origins.

It is amazing to realize that, all of these decades, we have been invoking the female aspect of God whenever we flash the Vulcan greeting. I don't know about you, but I think we could use more of such blessings right about now.

May you wash your hands (20 seconds, people!), not touch your face, and may you Live Long and Prosper. Image: YouTube Read the rest

If everyone on Star Trek: TNG wore the same uniform as Counselor Troi

Posted to Reddit, Twitter and Facebook with already-obscure origins -- if you know who deserves credit, do tell -- this photoshopped promo photo of the Star Trek: TNG roster gives every officer the same plunging neckline as Counselor Troi. [via]

UPDATE: The creator is Kindra Tia: " I posted it in a private Star Trek group to begin with. Someone reposted it on their own page and it snowballed from there."

Below is the original Season 6 cast photo, for comparison.

Note that Star Trek: TNG did play with gender, sometimes depicting masculine junior officers in the skirted version of the Starfleet uniform.

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Nerding out over sci-fi spaceship designs at the Spacedock

When I was a teen devourer of sci-fi, I was obsessed with the spaceship designs on paperback book covers. I would buy any novel or short story collection, however sketchy the contents seemed, if I dug the ship on the cover. Conversely, I would pass over well-regarded books if I thought the spaceship art was crappy. Sometimes, the covers would make a more lasting impression on me than the contents.

I can't imagine how high over the moon teenage me would be for YouTube channels like Spacedock. This excellently-produced channel is a collection of deep-nerdings over the minutia of spaceship designs found in sci-fi media. Episodes look at categories of ships across different sci-fi universes or they are deep dives into a specific class of ship from a world, or a single, iconic ship from a series.

The opinions are definitely those of the creator of the channel, and I don't always agree with them, but current me and teenage me are in love with the nerdiness of it all.

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Watch the first episode of Star Trek: Picard for free on YouTube

CBS's All Access streaming service costs $6 a month and it's the only (legit) way to watch the new series,  Star Trek: Picard. But to give you a free taste in the hope you'll sign up, the first episode of Picard is on YouTube.

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Compare Trump's new Space Force logo with the Star Trek Starfleet Command logo

Damnit Paramount, I'm a blogger not a lawyer... but you might want to call one. Yes, that is the U.S. Space Force logo that Donald Trump just revealed. And yes, that is the Star Trek Starfleet Command logo. (NPR) Read the rest

The Picard sweater

Chicago's Volante (previously) bills itself as "streetwear for superheroes," and I love their clothes. They've just released an addition to their existing canon of Star Trek-themed, cosplay-adjacent clothes: the Picard Sweater, a stretchy knit tribute to Jean-Luc himself, the perfect thing to wear while you're watching Wil Wheaton host "The Ready Room," which airs after every episode. Read the rest

RIP, science fiction pioneer Dorothy "DC" Fontana

DC Fontana was a pioneering writer and editor for Star Trek who worked on shows like Babylon Five, the Six Million Dollar Man, He Man, and Buck Rogers, one of the most prominent women in the field. She died yesterday, aged 80, after a short illness. Science fiction mailing lists and websites have been flooded with remembrances for Fontana, but I'm especially fond of Diane Duane's. (Thanks, Kathy Padilla!) (Image: Larry Nemecek, CC BY-SA) Read the rest

Thanks to an article about why science fiction great John M Ford's books are out of print, they're coming back

John M Ford -- AKA Mike Ford -- (previously) was a spectacular and varied science fiction writer who performed brilliantly across a wide range of genres and formats, from RPGs (GURPS, Paranoia) to licensed Star Trek fiction (his "How Much for Just the Planet" effectively created Klingon fandom) to fantasy novels like The Dragon Waiting, which grip and delight the reader in ways to rival George RR Martin or Ursula K LeGuin. Read the rest

Frozen's "Let it go" sung in Klingon

Ever wonder what the song "Let it go" from Disney's hit movie Frozen would sound like in Klingon? Me neither but then again, something like that would never even occur to me. But it did occur to Jen Usellis, who performs as the Klingon Pop Warrior.

Listen as she belts out her Klingonese version, called "yIbuSQo'":

Nerdist:

After Reddit user staq16 posted the song to Reddit’s Star Trek subreddit earlier this month, the track quickly earned mad parmaq from the forum’s community. However, while most users thought the song was on point, some took issue with the fact that Klingons are known for not enjoying the cold—nor letting things go. They also apparently don’t do a lot of other things.

(Geekologie) Read the rest

New 'Star Trek: Picard' trailer

He calls his cat Number One.

I also dig Riker's 'Stringfellow Hawk' dock on the lake. Read the rest

"To Boldly Go With The Force", Mindy Clegg's essay on the politics of popular sci-fi

Mindy Clegg has posted a wonderful essay covering the "social and political conflicts over fandom", and how even though such discussions are appearing in the modern communities surrounding recent films such as Captain Marvel and The Joker (previously), the reality is that such political and social issues have surrounded both the discussion of, and indeed the very core beliefs of some of our most well-known Sci-Fi franchises for decades:

Roddenberry consciously created a multiracial crew on the Starship Enterprise. The show sought to promote the concept of racial tolerance among its viewers by showing a peaceful and egalitarian multiracial crew of humans. Many saw it as doing just that. Actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhuru, the accomplished and talented communications officer, was told by Dr. Martin Luther King at an NAACP meeting that her depiction of Uhuru was making a difference in the lives of young black women. This was a time when black women rarely had prominent roles on TV, much less in such powerful positions. When she told him that she was planning on leaving the show due to ingrained racism and sexism on the set, he told her that she couldn’t do that, given the positive role model she was for young black women. She even inspired the first black woman to go into space, Mae Jemison. Jemison would later go full circle, and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. George Takai, who portrayed Lt. Hikaru Sulu, eventually also parlayed his acting work into activism.
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Brent Spiner on how Patrick Stewart's pronunciation of 'Data' changed how Americans say the word

Americans mostly used to say "daa-ta", as Brent Spiner relates in an appearance at Big Apple Comic Con earlier this year. Now they mostly say "day-ta". It's all because Patrick Stewart won an argument at the first reading of the first episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Brent Spiner tells a funny story about the Data name from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and how Patrick Stewart is responsible for the way the word is now pronounced. This panel was moderated by Larry Nemecek. For more information on Big Apple Comic Con, head to www.BigAppleCC.com

But I have prior art: 1985's The Goonies. Jump to 50s in for the daa-ta v. day-ta moment.

Also, has anyone written about out how much ... weirder? creepier? offbeat? ... early TNG was? The first season has little of the cosy, formulaic rythyms and Flanderized characters we associate with late-century Star Trek stuff, but I feel we've forgotten how interesting it sometimes was because it was so rough (and mostly bad). I'm thinking a supercut of "weird early TNG" is needed. I'm certain I saw someone riffing on this on Twitter a while ago--who was it?

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Realistic Starfleet meetings

Dan Hon (previously at BB) noticed that Star Trek's meetings and conferences always involve military officers, usually occur with ample time for preparation, yet invariably has them just talking to one another. If there are any graphics involved, they are simple, concise and expressive.

This is of course nothing whatsoever like any military on earth or off it. So Hon decided to photoshop what such meetings would actually entail: PowerPoint, and lots of it. Read the rest

Picard trailer

Here's the trailer for CBS's forthcoming series focusing on the further adventures of Starfleet Captain Jean Luc Picard, starring Patrick Stewart. I'd hoped for a sci-fi mix of Murder She Wrote and Le Carre's George Smiley novels (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, etc), posing a well-retired and wryly dysphoric Picard getting reembroiled in things. That's the first impression the trailer offers, but it also lets the "quickly back in the saddle" cat out the bag, too. Even so, who isn't looking forward to a dozen more hours of Stewart-Picard? Read the rest

Watch this fantastic 1994 Pizza Hut TV commercial that's entirely in Klingon

In 1994, Pizza Hut aired this TV commercial in the UK that was reportedly the first completely non-English advertisement on British television. The entire thing is in Klingon.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

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