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On Star Trek Day 2019: some thoughts on the Prime Directive

September 8, 2019

On Star Trek Day 2019: some thoughts on the Prime Directive

September 8th is Star Trek Day…in 1966, the first episode was aired in the USA of the original series (ST:TOS). That was Man Trap…not really a typical episode, and not the first one filmed, but it marks when the public could first have seen the Enterprise and crew.

In honor of Star Trek Day, I’m running a poll on Twitter (I usually run at least one poll a day: #BufoPolls):

Twitter poll

People are picking an idea from ST:TOS. One of those is the Prime Directive, and that prompted quite an interesting discussion online about it.

Every Star Trek fan, certainly of the original series, is familiar with the Prime Directive. It gets referenced a few times, although we don’t see it, say, posted on the walls on the ship.

It’s basically this:

  • Federation vessels and crews can’t interfere with a developing civilization

The idea is usually credited to producer Gene L. Coon, and is believed to suggest positive development since the then current time, when the Vietnam War was seen as technologically superior countries fighting in countries which weren’t as advanced (again, technologically), and affecting their development.

It raises some serious ethical questions, and logistical ones.

I’m going to give you some of my interpretations of and thoughts about the Prime Directive. I’ll quote the show at least once, but I’m not claiming that what I say is canonical. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Let’s pretend that you are a potential starship captain, learning about the Prime Directive at the Academy…let’s further imagine that they give you an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document:

Q. When do I have to worry about the Prime Directive?

A. When you are encountering a developing civilization. The Prime Directive does not apply when interacting with other members of your crew, or with other developed civilizations, such as the Vulcans, Klingons, or Tellarites. See document SFA094732, “List of Developed Civilizations”

Q. What is a developing civilization?

A. A civilization is a group of sentient beings which live according to an agreed set of rules. “Developing”, in this case, means that they have not yet developed interstellar flight. Anyone you encounter traveling through space using their own methodology can be considered to be part of a developed civilization

Q. What is considered interference?

A. Any action you take which changes the development of the civilization. This would include, but not be limited to, the sharing of advanced technology. Other examples might include changing the social structure, such as introducing an alternative political system

Q. What if using our advanced technology is the only way to defend ourselves or the ship?

A. The Prime Directive still applies. To quote starship captain James T. Kirk: ” A star captain’s most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive”*

Q. Does that mean we can’t ever defend ourselves?

A. No. The Prime Directive applies to civilizations, not individuals. If attacked by someone from a developing civilization, a member of Starfleet is justified in defending themselves with the least force necessary, provided that such defense would not alter the course of the development of the civilization. Any such action should be reported to the Starfleet member’s commanding officer for evaluation

Q. What if I have more questions?

A. Ask your commanding officer, or alternatively, consult with a Federation counsel

Again, that’s just my take on it, but that seems to work. Being attacked is not a reason to invalidate the Prime Directive. You can’t say, “That kid threw a rock at me: fire photon torpedoes!” For an interstellar traveling race, they are probably going to find you…after all, that’s part of the mission: to seek out new life and new civilizations.

Does the mission mean they should just find new civilizations and catalog them, rather than interacting? There are a lot of things in the series which suggest that’s not the case, including the amount of resources that the Federation puts into diplomacy.

Now, for another question: why does the Prime Directive exist?

Is it to keep the Federation and its opponents from exploiting the developing civilizations, which was the concern with the Vietnam War? Well, the Prime Directive appears to be part of Starfleet: not something to which the other space-faring civilizations are signatories.

I think it’s a point of humility, and a scientific understanding of how to get the best outcomes. It’s better to have a variety of options when approaching a problem, especially an unknown problem. If Starfleet considered that they were the best possible model, it would make sense for them to align other civilizations with theirs.

However, if one acknowledges that another society might turn out be better for the universe, then cutting off lines of development is counterproductive.

That’s honestly what I think the intent is. I think Starfleet is allowing for the possibility that a civilization would develop which is better than their own…if they are given the opportunity.

Obviously, you might have another opinion about that. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear it, either in replies to this post or on Twitter, where I am (@bufocalvin)

Live long and prosper! \\//_

*This quote is from the Omega Glory, a season two episode written by Gene Roddenberry, and which examines the Prime Directive pretty thoroughly.

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books

December 14, 2017

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books

This is another great example of something which has happened “Because of the Kindle” (I’m writing a book by that name…you can still share your opinions for possible inclusion): Amazon has much better analysis of what readers are actually, you know, reading. 😉

While undeniably, some people find this creepy, your Kindle can save how far you are in a book. By looking at that in the aggregate (not how much did so-and-so read how quickly, but the whole group of people), Amazon can give us an accurate sense of what people read as opposed to what they buy (“bestsellers”).

There are a number of reasons why that information is interesting. It doesn’t just have to do with people buying books they never read: I would say more importantly is what people re-read.

Many people re-read books…a lot. It may also be current events (both in their lives and more globally) that make them want to re-visit a book.

We can see that in this new “article” from Amazon:

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The top ten most read books are really dominated by the “backlist”, not recently published…some are decades old. #1 is The Handmaid’s Tale and #2 is Stephen King’s It (both driven by media adaptations). “A Game of Thrones” (that’s the title on the cover) is on the top ten…as are four Harry Potter books. Origin by Dan Brown is a recent title…at #9.

I’m guessing that the Harry Potter books and It are being heavily re-read, as opposed to first time readers.

They also give us a breakdown by area of the United States (states/territories). There are some fascinating data there, although it’s a little unclear to me as to when they are measuring reading and when they are measuring sales. I’ll point out that Utah was one of the Top 10 Reading Spots (Kindle reads per capita, it looks like)…but was one of only four where The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t the top seller (Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer ((at AmazonSmile*)) beat it out there…but Sanderson does have a Utah connection. The book was also a NYT bestseller, and one of the fastest read, according to another section of this article). Two of the other locations where Margaret Atw0od’s book doesn’t top the list are Guam and Puerto Rico. I think what I available through Hulu is different in those territories (not individual programs, but types of services), so that might affect adoption of the app there.

There is a lot more information on that page! I may expand this later…it’s definitely worth checking out!

Let me and my readers know what stands out to you by commenting on this post!

Thanks, Amazon!


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

My interview about (and IN) VR with Len Edgerly…and giveaways!

April 8, 2017

My interview about (and IN) VR with Len Edgerly…and giveaways!

It’s here…and the word “here” may soon have a new meaning. 🙂

I did an interview with popular podcaster Len Edgerly of

The Kindle Chronicles

about Virtual/Augmented Reality…and at my suggestion, we actually did the interview in VR.

Now, I’m not an expert on VR…I’m a consumer of it. This is different from when I started my

I Love My Kindle

blog back in August of 2009. In that case, I really could bring special expertise. I had been a manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and I was a techie from way back, so I had a special insight on electronic books (e-books).

In the case of what I call VAMM** (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality), I’m coming at it from the point of view of an observer of and commenter on popular culture. I do think that there is a significant Amazon/book element coming to VAMM, and coming fairly soon.

However, in one of my other blogs,

The Measured Circle

I write about movies, TV shows, games (I also managed a brick-and-mortar gamestore), tech…a very wide array.

I think I’m pretty good at understanding pop culture. One year, I called eight of the last nine eliminations on American Idol in order, before any of them happened. My Oscar Prediction contest produces results which tend to be more than 90% accurate (and I do quite well myself). I called (not publicly) the successes of Jim Carrey (based on one interview on TV where he did “facial impressions”), Darryl Hannah (after seeing Bladerunner), Big Brother (before it aired one episode in the USA), and more.

Not that I’m always right…but I’m not always wrong, either, which is saying something. 😉

I’ve been on the Kindle Chronicles several times before and it’s always been a great experience. Len is a former professional journalist, and we shared an enthusiasm for the Kindle.

I noticed Len had been broadcasting in 360, and I knew he was at least dabbling in VAMM. So, a couple of months ago, I suggested that we actually do an interview in VAMM space.

I wasn’t sure at that point how we would do it, but I suggested using


One reason for that was that I knew you could record VAMM sessions there, which would mean that our audiences could see and hear us later.

Unfortunately, when the time came, that feature (vCast) had been taken offline for improvements.

That created some technical challenges. We both happened to be using Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phones and the Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). That has the built-in ability to take screenshots and record video…but not to record audio

We ended up each recording our audio separately, and then Len put them together. I had a good microphone, and tried a few apps before setting on the free version of


I played around with the settings, and found something I liked.

Apparently, sometimes while I was talking, I had my mouth too far away from the microphone…with the headset on, I wasn’t aware of that, but again, Len was able to boost the sound.

I loved doing the interview!

Avatar with a blue jacket sitting on a rock in a wilderness river

That’s a screenshot of my avatar sitting on a rock in a wilderness river…we were talking about how interacting in VAMM space compared to doing videocalls.

I should mention that my avatar is randomized: hair color, skin color, body type (including gender), and so on. I could have made an avatar that looked very much like me (in fact, I did that at one point), but my regular readers know that I don’t like to identify inherent characteristics…I like people to be known (online) for what they think and feel and how they express it.

My thought is that I’ll randomize a different appearance many times. That was a lot of work: I think it took perhaps half an hour. I can automate that process outside of vTime (by generating random numbers in a spreadsheet, although it would be great if they would just let people pick an entirely random avatar.

I think one error I made was making a choice in every category. I figured that “facial hair” would include a “none” choice, but I don’t think it did. That means my avatar has a hat and glasses, but I need to include a “no glasses” option (for example).

I’ll summarize some of my thoughts on what we discussed, but if you would like to listen (it’s audio only…no special equipment needed) to the whole thing (before or after), it’s here:

TKC 453: Bufo Calvin in Virtual Reality

I’d say the biggest takeaway is that I expect Amazon to get into VAMM significantly before the holidays at the end of this year.

Breaking it down more:

  • Prime Video: I would be shocked if this doesn’t happen…and perhaps by September. I spend more time in VAMM space watching videos (Hulu, Netflix, and others) than doing anything else. Amazon shouldn’t cede all that habit building lead to other services. When Amazon went years without making a profit, Jeff Bezos once said something like “Market share will never be cheaper than it is now”, and that’s the case for VAMM video market share, too
  • An experiences store: this seems pretty likely to me. “Experiences” is the term for VAMM apps. I think it probable that Amazon lets people get experiences through Amazon before the end of the year, but that can be a bit complicated. I would always rather have Amazon process my payments than anyone else…they already have all my info
  • VAMM book reading: I want, want, want this! 🙂 I showed Len a screenshot from the Chimera Reader VR app. It’s not a great way to read books at this point, and Amazon could do that. I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but I want to be at work and be able to read my Kindle books at lunch in a different environment with a virtual book that looks like a paperbook in my hands
  • Amazon VAMM hardware: probably not likely this year, but possible. They could make a headset (I think glasses would be a few years off for Amazon) that would be platform independent
  • Alexa in VAMM: yes! I definitely want to be able to see my calendar events, the weather from Alexa, pulled up by voice in VAMM. However, Alexa as a navigator would also be a big improvement. Getting stuff done in VAMM space, currently, is difficult. You can “eye gaze” to select things, and sometimes use voice input…but I want the latter in a lot more places. I want to be able to ask Alexa to start a specific experience and to do internet searches (I do use the Samsung VR internet browser, and it does voice input…but not as smoothly as Alexa)
  • Shopping in VR: I want a virtual Amazon store to buy things…and ideally, I’d like the option for it to be social, so I can ask other people questions and maybe have Amazon employees virtually present

Now, being in VAMM space wasn’t perfect, by any means. Len disappeared for me a few times…it seemed to me like I was able to be on consistently,  but it’s possible it looked to Len like I disappeared.

The other thing was that I couldn’t have any notes I could see…and I made two big mistakes. I’m usually good and careful about crediting people properly, but in this case, I gave the wrong title for a book and for a video series.

I want to try to make up for that for those two, even though they are properly linked on Len’s site.

What I’ve decided to do is Amazon giveaways.

The first one is for

The Fourth Transformation (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

I mistakenly called it “The Fourth Revolution”…there is a popular book by that name, but it’s entirely different. I did identify “Scoble and Israel” as the authors.

I think this a well-written and insightful book by a couple of people with an excellent track record of predicting what will happen with technology as it relates to business. I’ve recommended it to people at my company: I think if you have a major consumer presence and aren’t starting to prepare for VAMM interactions in the next five years, you are missing an opportunity.

I made it a requirement of the giveaway that people follow one of the authors, Robert Scoble, on Amazon…and I’m giving away two (one for ILMK and one for The Measured Circle…or one for Scoble and one for Israel, however you want to see it). 😉

Here is the link for the giveaway:

The second one is a VR specific comedy series, and I unfortunately really butchered the name (badly enough that I don’t want to repeat it here and mislead people).

The right name is

“Virtually Mike & Nora”

and they really understand what Virtual Reality means (while being funny at the same time). They completely (and intentionally uncomfortably) bring you into the experience. It is a bit racy…maybe “edgy” is better.

Since this is a video series which is part of your Hulu subscription, I needed to find something to giveaway.

I’ve decided to give the same VR headset I gave to a relative:

Blitzwolf VR Headset (at AmazonSmile*)

This is generic, simple headset…nothing fancy, but it did work for my relative. I can’t tell you for sure that you’ll be able to watch

Hulu VR

and therefore Virtually Mike & Nora, but it should be fun even if you can’t. 🙂 It’s going to depend on your phone.

To benefit that very creative duo, I’m requiring that you watch a short YouTube video (under two minutes) from them about the show before you enter.

I’m going to give away one of those, via random draw of the entries during the period.

Here is the link for the giveaway:

Again, my apologies to both pairs of artists…hopefully, this will help discovery of both of these good works.

Finally, I am doing one more unrelated giveaway. I’m giving away ten Kindle versions of my sibling’s 4.6 out of 5-star (at time of writing, with over 100 customer reviews), triple Silver Falchion winning mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I am requiring that people follow Kris Calvin on Amazon to enter…I want you to know when the second Maren Kane mystery is released, and other titles Kris may do.

Here is the link for the giveaway…feel free to share:

Thanks again to Len for taking the VAMM adventure with me for our interview (interVR?)!

Note: feel free to connect with me in vTime. I’m listed there as Bufo Calvin.

If you have any questions or thoughts about this, you can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

**VAMMers is my term for people who use Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality: for more information, see Welcome, vammers! Our Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality coverage starts here

Happy Halloween from Batman and Ruffin, the Caped Cursaders!

October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from Batman and Ruffin, the Caped Cursaders!


"To the Barkmobile!"

“To the Barkmobile!”

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Shop through your Echo  device and get a great deal on a Tap today

July 8, 2016

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the Measured Circle blog

Harold Ramis reported dead

February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis reported dead

Harold Ramis will be fondly remembered by us as the geekiest of the Ghostbusters, Dr. Egon Spengler. While Venkman may have been the “front man”, it was Spengler who warned about crossing the streams, and who used the Twinkie analogy.

Harold Ramis also co-wrote Ghostbusters…and Groundhog Day, another geek crossover hit, which Ramis also directed. Ramis directed Caddyshack, Multiplicity, and the Brendan Fraser version of Bedazzled.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


A short history of the Lone Ranger

July 2, 2013

A short history of the Lone Ranger

The Gore Verbinski/Johnny Depp version of The Lone Ranger opens in the USA on July 3rd.

The character has been around for eighty years, and is a solid part of pop culture.

Before I give you a chronology, let me talk a bit about the Lone Ranger. If you know nothing about the character, it’s possible that you might consider some of this as spoilers, but I think that’s unlikely for most people. I have not seen the movie, so this won’t reveal anything specific to that production (which looks like it is going to take a different approach).

The future Lone Ranger was one of the Texas Rangers, along with his brother. The group rode into an ambush set by the Cavendish gang. All of the rangers except for the one who would become The Lone Ranger (in the original series, his first name was not given, but he is generally now thought of as John Reid) were killed.

The future Lone Ranger was rescued by Tonto. Tonto buried the other rangers (including the future Lone Ranger’s brother), and made an extra grave for the future Lone Ranger, in order to fool the Cavendish gang and give the future Lone Ranger a chance to recover.

After being helped back to health by Tonto, he becomes the Lone (the last left alive) Ranger. He dons a mask, made from the bullet-ridden vest of his brother.

There is a wild stallion that he later names Silver. It may not be appropriate to say that he tames Silver, but they do become a team.

Traditionally, the Lone Ranger doesn’t shoot to kill his opponents. In fact, he avoids gunplay. That’s why he uses silver bullets…it’s because they are rare, expensive, and difficult to get. That means he will always think twice about using one. Obviously, there is also symbolism here, as seen in naming his horse Silver as well.

The Lone Ranger travels around, helping build the West. Tonto travels with him. It’s important to note that the Lone Ranger generally treats him as an equal, and the audience is expected to do the same. While Tonto does encounter a great deal of prejudice, it’s from other characters (townsfolk, bad guys), and the audience believes the prejudice is wrong.

There are other things associated with the Lone Ranger. “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” starts a ride. When the Lone Ranger leaves an area, after having saved someone, they might say, “Who was that masked man? I wanted to thank him.”  The William Tell Overture, used in the radio show and the TV show, is also closely linked to him.

The Lone Ranger is someone who has sublimated his own identity for the greater good. He believes in the individual and helps others. He tends to side with the less powerful against those who abuse power and who might dictate the way the West develops.

To quote the show, “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

Timeline (click links for information and content, including the original radio shows)

January 31st, 1933: the first Lone Ranger radio show is broadcast (there is some suggestion that it might have played on January 30th as a test, but the 31st was the official debut). It would run for close to 3,000 episodes, and become a national show and sensation

1936: the first Lone Ranger novel is published. Seventeen more in the series will follow through 1956. The Lone Ranger Rides

Late 1930s: a serious silent cartoon version is produced

1938: Parker Brothers released The Lone Ranger boardgame Board Game Geek listing

February 12, 1938: Republic releases the first chapter of a 15 chapter serial, just called The Lone Ranger Watch at YouTube

September, 1938: A Lone Ranger comic strip starts, and will run through 1971. Lone Ranger comic strip

January 7, 1939: The Lone Stranger and Porky, a parody with Porky Pig (and directed by Bob Clampett) is released Watch at YouTube

February 25, 1939: A Republic sequel (again, fifteen chapters) is released: The Lone Ranger Rides Again Watch a restored version at YouTube

1947: As a premium for Kix cereal, kids can get a Lone Ranger Atomic Bomb ring…which reportedly actually contains a radioactive isotope Tracy’s Toys

1948: Dell Comics begins a Lone Ranger comic book, originally reprinting strips, but later including original material. It will run for 145 issues

1948: Cheerios prints special editions of the boxes with 9 different paper card model sets, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the show Board Game Geek listing

September 15, 1949: The Lone Ranger becomes an early hit for TV with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. New episodes run through June 6, 1957 The Renegades episode of The Lone Ranger

1951: Dell publishes a Tonto comic book series…it runs 31 issues

1951: Dell adds a Silver comic book series…it runs 34 issues Silver comic book

January-February, 1953: Mad Magazine does a parody: Lone Stranger!

December 1953 – January 1954: Mad Magazine does a parody…sequel: Lone Stranger Rides Again

1956: Parker Brothers releases The New Lone Ranger boardgame Board Game Geek listing

1956: A theatrical release is done with Moore and Silverheels

1956: Lisbeth Wirthing releases The Lone Ranger and the Silver Bullets boardgame. It is reportedly later pulled due to licensing issues Board Game Geek article

1958: Another theatrical release with Moore and Silverheels, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold

September 1964: Gold Key begins a Lone Ranger comic book series

1965: Bill Cosby’s album I Started Out As a Child features a Lone Ranger routine audio clip on YouTube

1966: A Lone Ranger animated series runs, with Michael Rye as the Ranger. It is reportedly a darker tone than might be expected at the time

1966: Milton Bradley releases The Lone Ranger boardgame, apparently based on the cartoon series Board Game Geek listing

1973: Gabriel Toys released a line based on the Lone Ranger Skooldays article

1978: Warren Company releases The Lone Ranger& Tonto boardgame Board Game Geek listing

1980: The Tarzan/Lone Ranger (later Zorro was added) animated series. William Conrad (Cannon) voiced the Ranger. Ran through 1982

1980: Milton Bradley releases a Lone Ranger board game, The Legend of the Lone Ranger Board Game Geek listing

1981: A big budget version is made…with Christopher Lloyd as Butch Cavendish. A controversy at the time is Clayton Moore, TV’s Lone Ranger, being prohibited from wearing the mask in public appearances (so as not to conflict), and switching to sunglasses

1994: Topps comics does a four-part Joe R. Lansdale miniseries

July, 1991: Konami released a Lone Ranger videogame for the NES

February 26, 2003: A TV movie with Chad Michael Murray as the Lone Ranger IMDb listing

September 6, 2006: Dynamite Entertainment begins another comic book series

2013?: Lego releases a series of figures and sets connected to the new movie Lego

June 6, 2013: Disney releases Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer inspired characters for Disney Infinity L.A. Times article

July 3, 2013:  The Johnny Depp version opens

Lone Ranger collectibles

The Lone Ranger search at Amazon

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Lassie Come Home…using GPS

October 29, 2011

Lassie Come Home…using GPS

Here is an example of how modern technology can do good in the world…in case you wondered. 🙂

My Significant Other (SO) and I were on a walk, which we often do on Saturday morning. We saw a dog running along by itself…it didn’t seem very nervous, which is a good sign, but there was definitely not a person around.

The dog was very friendly, so we were able to check the name tag without scaring her.

First, we found a phone number, but the area code has changed where we live, and the old tag had the old number. When I called it, it was a business, so we weren’t sure. I left a message anyway.

There was a rabies tag with a vet number…we called that, and they confirmed the address on the tag…we hadn’t wanted to walk a strange dog to a strange house. We were able to confirm with them that the address on the tag was correct…and they even said we could take the dog to the vets if we wanted (this was before 9:00 AM on a Saturday).

The next thing was to figure out where to take the dog…how far away it was, and the directions. I have a Samsung Captivate. That meant that, while we juggled the dog and a cup of coffee, I could just do Google voice search to say the address, and it popped up on a map. Then, I had it go to Google maps. I turned on the GPS (I usually leave it off to save battery charge). It showed us how to walk there…maybe half a mile away.

My SO cleverly turned a sweatshirt into a leash, and we were able to walk the dog there. The dog was very happy to be home…and the owners were happy to get her back.

Thanks, technology! 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

“I have noted that the healthy release…”

August 24, 2011

“…I have noted that the healthy release of emotion is frequently very unhealthy for those closest to you.”
–Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy)
Plato’s Stephchildren
episode of the original Star Trek
screenplay by Meyer Dolinsky

I’ve been working, from time to time, on a book of quotations for many years.  I call it, “The Mind Boggles”, from one of my favorite quotations.  I do source quotations a bit differently from a lot of people.  In the case of a work of a fiction, I consider that the character said the line…not the author.  As a bit of an author myself (in a minor way), I can tell you…my characters definitely say things that I would never say.  These are all quotations that I’ve collected myself: I’ve read the book, seen the TV episode, and so on.

Hope you enjoy them!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

What’s happening at Comic-Con 2011?

July 20, 2011

What’s happening at Comic-Con 2011?

This Wednesday is the preview night for San Diego Comic-Con, and then it runs through the weekend.

The nature of Comic-Con has been changing. The news that comes out of it is usually related to movies and TV…it’s becoming (yuck!) relevant. 😉

Geeks revel in embracing the outcast. You know, things in which the mainstream couldn’t be less interested…robot toys, animals doing kung fu, theme park rides, superheroes based on Norse mythology, mutant teenagers…hey, wait a minute! Outside of R-rated comedies (which are doing very well, without costly special effects), those are the mainstream hits this summer!

Demon dogs! They’ve caught us! 🙂

Quick, go watch The Guild on YouTube, and have a Mighty Boosh marathon. That should help.

Even given all that, major studios don’t really get geeks…they can’t tell how the way the Comic-Con conference halls respond affects their eventual box office. Here’s a secret: we can be completely enthusiastic about something we don’t like and won’t go see.

So, who (and what) is going to be onstage at Comic-Con?

First, here’s the programming grid:

Wednesday’s preview evening belongs to Warner Brothers, in terms of the content providers. They’ll be talking about upcoming series, including Alcatraz, Person of Interest…and the anime version of Supernatural.

Thursday is where it really takes off. Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane…in the same room! Kinnect Star Wars! Planet of the Apes in comics!

Are you jumping up and down in enthusiasm? No? Um…okay, more mainstream stars, then…

Thursday’s celebrities: Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, The Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep); Wes Craven (writer/director: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream); Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model, The Surreal Life); Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible); Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth); Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, Covert Affairs); Richard Hatch (the original Battlestar Gallactica); author Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson); George R.R. Martin (author, Game of Thrones); Rick Baker (make-up artist…when I met him years ago, he was “Rick Baker, Monster Maker”); James Roday and Dulé Hill (here for Psych); author Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden); Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy, here for Ringer); Nestor Campbell (Lost, here for Ringer); Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory…here for the animated Napoleon Dynamite); Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public); Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Game of Thrones…here for the latter); author Kim Harrison (The Hollows); Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld, The Tick); Aisha Tyler (24, Ghost Whisperer) here (along with H. Jon Benjamin and Judy Greer) for Archer…Archer? Can I stop now? That’s enough reason to go…if you could still get tickets; Matt Smith (Doctor Who); Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory); Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood); Jorge Garcia (Lost and the upcoming Alcatraz); Robert Rodriguez (director, Spy Kids, Sin City); Mark Hamil (Star Wars, but here in conjunction with Batman: Arkham City…he’s been voicing the Joker for some time); Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under); William H. Macy (Fargo, Shameless); Morena Baccarin (Firefly, V); Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, here for Wilfred); Penn & Teller

Friday celebrities: John Barrowman (Torchwood, Desperate Housewives), Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Lauren Ambrose, and Bill Pullman (who I think is giving a great performance in what I’ve seen of Torchwood: Miracle Day so far) are here for Torchwood; Sid & Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville); William Shatner; Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Spenser: For Hire); author Timothy Zahn; Skyler Samuels (The Gates, The Nine Lives of Chloe King); John Cusack (Say Anything, here for Raven, where he plays Edgar Allan Poe); director James McTeague (V for Vendetta, here for Raven); director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s 11); producer Chuck Lorre, Jim Parsons, Kelly Cuoco, John Galecki, Mayim Bialik (and more…here for The Big Bang Theory); Jeff Bridges (True Grit, Tron); Bradley Cooper (Limitless, the A-Team); director Guillermo del Toro; Kate Beckinsale (Brokedown Palace, Underworld); Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, here for Children’s Hospital); Megan Mullally (Will and Grace); Lake Bell (Surface, Boston Public); David Boreanaz (Bones, Angel); Emily Deschanel (Bones); Colin Farrell (Horrible Bosses, Alexander…here for the Fright Night remake); Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Hearts in Atlantis); screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (Murder She Wrote, Babylon 5); Colin Ferguson (Eureka); Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me); Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show…and one of our Box Office MVPs last year); Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian…here for Falling Skies); Seth Green (Austin Powers, Robot Chicken); Nicholas Cage; Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation); Jessica Biel; Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle…here for Total Recall); Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man…maybe I should call him The Andrew Garfield 😉 ); Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland…here for Spider-Man); Saul Rubinek (Frasier, here for Warehouse 13); Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody…here for Phineas & Ferb); Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men…here ((along with a bunch of other people…Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, creator Alan Ball, Rutina Wesley, and more…for True Blood); Lucy Lawless (Xena…but here for Spartacus: Vengeance); Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker from the original Dark Shadows (could there be surprise guests from next year’s version…Johnny, Tim?); David Straitharn (Good Night, and Good Luck…here for Alphas); Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar from the 1960s Batman series; producer/writer Gale Ann Hurd (Terminator, Aliens); Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000) do RIFFTrax live; LL Cool J (here for NCIS: LA); Sonny Chiba, Mark Hamill, and Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story) are here for Sushi Girl; Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, but here for the animated Batman: Year One); Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, but also here for Batman: Year One)

Saturday celebrities: Stan Lee; Deepak Chopra (with his son, Gotham…they’ve written a book on superheroes); producer/screenwriter/director David S. Goyer; Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and others from Chuck; Stephen Lang (Avatar, but here for Terra Nova); Amanda Tapping (Stargate, but here for Sanctuary); author Sherrilyn Kenyon; director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, here for TWIXT); Katey Sagal (Married with Children, Sons of Anarchy…here for Futurama); voice artists Tara Strong, Townsend Coleman, and the remarkable Rob Paulsen; Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, here for Immortals; Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong (another of our MVPs)…here for Community; Frank Miller; Summer Glau and Peter Dinklage (here for Knights of Badassdom); John Barrowman, Thomas Dekker, Tyler Posey and others on a panel; Joss Whedon; Damon Lindelof; Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and more from The Vampire Diaries; Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor)…both here for Snow White and The Huntsman; Anna Torv, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole, and John Noble from Fringe; Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, and Martin Short (here for the animated musical, Dorothy of Oz); Annie Ilonzeh, Rachael Taylor, and Minka Kelly from the new Charlie’s Angels; Jorge Garcia (Lost, but here for Alcatraz); Maggie Q, Shane West…here for Nikita; Thomas Jane; Jim Cavaziel, Michael Emerson (Lost), Taraji P. Henson and more for Person of Interest; Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and more for Mythbusters; Vivica Fox; Jeff Fahey; Robert Picardo

Sunday’s celebrities: author Amanda Hocking (USA Today bestselling author…with independently-published Kindle books); Ryan Murphy and Brian Falchuk (Glee); Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural); Laraine Newman; Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible…here for Castle); author Greg Bear; author Vernor Vinge; Matt Smith and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who); Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Repo! The Genetic Opera, here for Merlin); Danny DeVito (here for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia); Ron Perlman (here, with a repeat appearance by Katey Sagal, for Sons of Anarchy)

Wow! That was a lot more work than I expected. 🙂 Celebrities, please don’t feel sad if I didn’t include you…that doesn’t mean you are any less loved. 😉 That’s especially true for comics celebrities, of which there are some great, legendary ones…I was trying to go more for the mainstream here.

As for my readers…now are you thinking about going next year? 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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