Who needs Rose Tyler anyway?

Nerd love is being reminded that there was Who Before Davies, and kick-ass companions as well. The screenshot below from "Remembrance of the Dahleks", episode 152, part 2 (Series 25).

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Toronto's Great Garbage Strike, in pictures

Remembering the Great Garbage Strike of '09

It looks as if the Great Garbage Strike of 2009 is just about over (well, technically it was a strike by Toronto's outside municipal workers, which include day-care workers, those who maintain pools and parks, etcetera) and so this morning I decided to take a stroll along Dundas Street West, between Beaconsfield and Brock and record the filth and chaos to which this city's citizens have been reduced.

For those of you beyond the bounds of the Centre of the Universe, Toronto has been without garbage pick-up for more than a month — and what a month it's been!

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Star Trek: The still (almost) motionless picture

Star Trek: The first thirty minutes or,

Why I (almost) never go out to the movies anymore

More years ago than I care to count, the science fiction writer and editor Judith Merril taught me one of the only vital rules of writing.

"When you're editing your work, think about every word in every sentence of every paragraph. If anything doesn't have to be there, take it out!"

Never a dogmatist, Judy didn't mean that that rule (or any rule) had to be slavishly followed. She did mean that, if you broke a rule, you should know damned well why you were breaking it.

Which, yes, brings me — typically late to a Hollywood party — to J.J. Abrams' "re-boot" of the venerable Star Trek franchise.

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One small step ...

"One small step ..."

Pondering Apollo 11, 40 years later

Magicians and astronauts

Some time in 1969 or 1970 — I was about five years old — my maternal grandparents paid a visit to our small 2-floor apartment, where we lived above my aunt and uncle and three cousins.

Naturally (I was only five after all!), I don't remember a great deal about that visit — in truth, since Grandpa Hart died in 1975, I don't remember all that much about him at all, at least not memories uncontaminated by the memories and stories of others.

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Torchwood: Children of Earth: "SciFi gay slash fan fic comes into its own"? Well no, actually ...

Some informal remarks towards a calculus of modular culture or,

Torchwood: Children of Earth considered as a helix of semi-precious shows

God said to Abraham kill me a son
Abe said man, you must be putting me on
God said no — Abe said what?
God said you can do what you want Abe, but,
Next time you see me coming you better run.
Abe said where'd you want this killing done?
God said out on highway 61

Bob Dylan

It was probably the simply embarassing post-script to the third Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi, that first really taught me there is usually an inverse relationship between hype and reality. (And of course, this year's utter travesty of an end to the sometimes brilliant Battlestar Galactica was a superb reminder.)

Torchwood: Children of Earth screen-cap; copyright 2009 BBC

While most of North America's children and geeks are making hits out of Star Trek or (god help us) of Transformers: Something-or-other, Great Britain's BBC has provided us with something a little different. A five-hour "special event", a mini-series broadcast (in the UK) on Monday through Friday of the week of the 6th called Torchwood: Children of Earth (it's airing starting tomorrow on BBC America in the States, but I haven't been able to pin down when it will show up in Canada).

And for a change, the work pretty much lives up to the hype.

Truth to tell, until now Torchwood has been mostly a guilty pleasure for me. A Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood was and was meant to be a grittier, more "adult" version of the long-running children's show. The violence was more graphic, there was sex (male/female, female/female and male/male as well as "miscellaneous" — these people dealt with aliens, after all) along with near-nudity and swearing, including the F-word, at least during the first season.

By the end of the second, four of the seven original members of the "team" had died violent deaths, leaving fans to wonder whether this year's edition would introduce new characters. As it turns out, long-time fans will have more grieving to do — but I'll say no more along those lines.

For more, along with some (though — I hope — not too many) spoilers, please click the "read more" link below. Otherwise, book-mark and return once you've watched it — and then we can argue!

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