Feathered Critters of Summer at the Yangs’ Abode

DSCN5870I haven’t had a chance to do a lot of photography around the yard lately, since I’ve been so busy with writing and traveling.  However, we do have many neat critters to see.  We still have many interesting birds, for DSCN5877examSas for several days, visiting around 5:00 in the afternoon.  Rosalind noticed the turkey first and tipped me off.  so, we got some nice shots of her.
DSCN5879The cardinals have been bringing their kids to visit.  I see plenty of Mr. and Mrs. Cardindal, but I’m not sure how many adolescents they have because they are all olive colored with black beaks (The beak helps you distinguish kids from female adults). I only see one baby at a time, so I don’t know if it’s the same one repeatedly or different Cardinal kiddos every time.  Last year, the parents brought quite a few to the feeders, andDSCN5880 we had about six males and females in the winter and through the spring.  Then, we only seemed to have two adults.  My guess is the last generation of kids moved off to college or got a job and nest in a new territory.  What do you think, Cardinal experts?  Anyway, this kid is pretty aggressive.  He was on the feeder with a female Rosebreasted Grosbeak, who had scared every other birds off, including Mommy Cardinal.  Not this kid!  He kept pecking right back at her for some time.
DSCN5867Speaking of Grosbeaks, we have at least three males (whom I’ve seen all at the same time), but I’m not sure how many females.  I have noticed that I do see a pair show up frequently, though I usually see a male or two show up DSCN5886without the wife. Occasionally, I’ve seen a female without the hubby.  These two like to hang together on this particular feeder.  They also decided to check out the oranges we put out for the Orioles as well.
DSCN5885The catbirds used to come frequently in the beginning of the summer, then they disappeared, pretty much, for about a DSCN5979month.  However, now they are BACK.  And they are aggressively defending the suet, cocking up their black tails and showing off that red spot underneath.  I’m glad to see them-and hear them call my name, “Sharon! Sharon!”  There’s one outside my window right now!
I’ll have to do another bird blog, to show you more pictures of our other feathered visitors.

Spear, er Phaser, Carriers of Star Trek, Part 2

DSCN5943This blog starts with everyone’s favorite, Lt. Riley (Bruce Hyde). But really, pity poor Kevin Riley, a character with some of the worst luck in Star Trek.  First, his parents get wiped out by Kodos the Executioner on Tarsus IV.  Even Captain Kirk was only visiting when he lived through that horrific time.  Still, you kinda wonder what special qualities old Kevin had that made Kodos spare him but not Mom and Dad.  We already know it wasn’t his singing voice.
So, with his whole family pushing up quadrotriticale, things ought to be DSCN5893looking up for our Irish lad.  Enough tragedy for any poor soul.  And even with that, he’s still a cheery sort, joking around with Sulu. Well, Lt. Riley was on his way up for a while, rising to Lieutenant in Star Fleet and taking the position of navigator.  Unfortunately, in “The Naked Time” doesn’t he happen to be one of the first crew members to get infected by the inhibition-freeing virus from PSI-2000?  And that happens because he joins Sulu in trying to save Joe Tormolon!

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Anyway, one minute, he’s playing that navigation panel like a maestro, the next he’s taking over the engine room, controlling all ship’s functions, then ordering all female personnel to wear their hair “loose and about their shoulders” and ice cream to be served to the crew (except for Lt. Uhura for being a killjoy by trying to cut him off the com).

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Oh, he also shuts down the engines, dooming the entire crew to shriveling up in an atmosphere-entering flame out of the Enterprise.  But all of that’s nothing compared to his subjecting the entire ship’s contingent to an excruciating rendition of “I’ll Take You Home, Kathleen” over the ship-wide com. Repeatedly.

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Once cured, do Lt. Riley’s tribulations end? Uh-uh.  He comes back in “Conscience of a King” to relive his horrific experience on Tarsus IV, with DSCN5945a disguised Kodos the Executioner doing Shakespeare on the ship.  Then, he’s nearly murdered by Kodos’s nutcase daughter who surreptitiously spritzes a milky poison into his cow juice.  Apparently, Uhura has DSCN5949forgiven Riley for his no-ice-cream edict, for she had been serenading him via the intercom with  a magical version of “Beyond Antares.”  Fortunately, the com link was open and the people in the rec room heard Riley gasping for life after a sip of his murderous milk.
DSCN5954Next, after overhearing McCoy recording the fact that ole Kodos is actually Karidian on board the Enterprise, Riley decides that he’s no Prince of Denmark and is going to exact revenge forthwith.  Fortunately, Kirk heads him off in the flats behind the stage and prevents Kevin from ruining his life by committing murder (however, well justified it may seem).
Riley’s placement on the Enterprise gets a little confusing in this DSCN5951episode.  Earlier, we’d seen him as navigator, now Spock mentions he’s in the Communications department.  Kirk then transfers him “back to engineering,” as Spock says.  The poor lieutenant’s head must have been spinning.  And after the last time Riley was in engineering, you’d think it would be the last place they’d want him to be in again.  At least he let Lt. Uhura do all the singing this time.
DSCN5901Actor Bruce Hyde who gave us the never-boring Irishman (even when uninfected), was under contract to Desilu for multiple performances.  So,  when Hyde was cast in the role of Daiken, someone remembered that he’d played Riley earlier. Consequently, the character’s name was switched to Riley for consistency.  Too bad we never got to enjoy more exploits by this lively guy, though let’s hope without musical accompaniment.  The Riley character also appeared in several of the Star Trek novels published over the years, moving up the ranks in Star Fleet into the diplomatic core.
Hyde earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and taught there and at the Theater of Film Studies and Dance at St. Cloud University in Minnesota, where he served as Department Chair.  And, hey folks, he was an English major at Northwestern University! Here’s a tip of the hat to Kathy Healey for this link to an interview with the late Bruce Hyde.  You can see that he’s a neat guy.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0404953/
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/bruce-hyde-dead-star-trek-832762/
https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2015/10/15/former-scsu-prof-star-trek-actor-hyde-dies-74/74012044/
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Kevin_Riley
WeddingLt. Angela Martine-Teller-(Baker?)-Lisa (Barbara Baldavin)  Wondering why I included “Baker” in her list of last names?  Don’t worry; I’ll get to that.  Angela does have almost as many surnames as there are crew members on the star ship.  Well, there are reasons for that.  When it comes to marriages, she’s kind of the Zsa Zsa Gabor of the Enterprise.
In her first appearance, in “Balance of Terror,” Specialist 2nd Class, Ensign Angela Martine is on her way to marry Lt. Tomlinson, whom DSCN5915she met as a co-worker in the forward phaser-room.  She rates so highly that Mr. Scot is giving her away! However, even as Captain Kirk was starting the ceremony some pesky Romulans rudely choose this time to break through the neutral zone, wipe out some forward Star Fleet bases, and go after the Enterprise.  Some DSCN5924beings have the worst timing!  Before the Romulans end up making our girl a widow before she can become a wife, we do see her exchange some sassy banter with her husband on the job, telling him “You don’t get off my hook that easily.  I’m going to marry you, mister.”  We also see that she’s quite efficient at her job making sure those phasers fire.

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Unfortunately, though Mr. Spock rescues the bigoted Mr. Stiles, thus Dscn5933neutralizing his anti-Vulcan/Romulan bias against him, Lt. Tomlinson is too far gone and succumbs to poisoning by phaser-coolant leak from a hit on the Enterprise. At least we don’t have to add Tomlinson to Angela’s lengthy chain of names. Still, the poor guy is the only Enterprise death from the encounter?  And he wasn’t even wearing a red shirt.

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Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, and Tales of the Unknown Redshirt offer some interesting background info on the wedding ceremony from the DSCN5916original script.  The direction calls for Tomlinson not to kneel “according to his beliefs” but for Angela to kneel at the altar (no mention of beliefs written in).  From that information, several sources have described Angela Martine as a Catholic, though no conclusions are clearly drawn about what Tomlinson’s beliefs are:  Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, really reformed Protestant?  Your guess is as good as mine.
The penultimate scene where Angela sits in the chapel, alone, until comforted by Kirk is poignant, an emotion created partly by the words they share and their hear-felt expression.  Yet, perhaps the most effective technique is the framing of Angela in profile when Kirk enters.  It’s one of those images that always haunts me.

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The next time our girl appears is in “Shore Leave,” filmed several episodes later but broadcast the following week.  Angela is still in her command gold, but now her hair is a little more reddish, while the wiglet and side curl have disappeared into a bob. She suddenly has the last name Teller, but she’s  romantically involved with Lt. Esteban Rodriguez.  Wait?! What?!  Tales of the Unknown Redshirt DSCN5957points out here’s where big controversy arises, with some fans looking at Angela as quite a tootsie, not only moving on too fast from Tomlinson to some Teller person, but having ditched Teller to get all flirty with Rodriguez, even when hiding from a tiger.  The author raises the point that sometimes great emotional loss leads to rebound romance, while also kind of paraphrasing the sentiment of the MST3K theme:  “Repeat to yourself it’s just a show.  I should really just relax.”  I might also add, we’re never quite sure exactly how long the time span is between the events of episodes.  Anyway, let’s DSCN5959not get too hard on the girl.  She does get strafed and killed when the overly imaginative and voluble Rodriguez starts talking about WWII stuff on a planet where what you imagine comes true.  She is resurrected (don’t ask me to get into metaphysics here), but, sheesh, dying is pretty tough on a girl.  Why rag on her about anything else, at this point?
AngelaHer re-appearnce is also kind of interesting.  We see the revived McCoy walk in with two show girls.  However, Angela has no visible entrance.  One minute Sulu, Barrows, and Rodriguez are standing in a line, the next Angela is cuddling up to Rodriguez.  She just kind of “appears”! That mystery may be explained by the fact that a line of hers had been cut, which may have been filmed as part of her entrance.  However, she and Esteban are verrrrry friendly, as you can see.
Interestingly, the character originally had a different name, Mary Teller, but it was changed when someone remembered that Barbara Baldavin had already played Angela.  Apparently, it didn’t get changed in Shatner’s script, so he called her Teller rather than Martine, where everyone did call her Angela.  Anyway, yes, MST3K-theme philosophy applies.
So, when do we see Angela again?  In “Turnabout Intruder,” two years DSCN5691later in the final episode of the series.  Now, she’s switched departments and moved to communications; has a new hair style and slightly different color; and, you guessed it, a new last name!  Now she’s Lt. Lisa.  Who knows what happened to Teller and Rodriguez?!  Apparently, being around our Angela is more hazardous than visiting your friend Jessica Fletcher in Cabot Cove, DSCN5714Maine.  As communications office on duty, Angela Lisa doesn’t show off the same technological capabilities as Uhura or Palmer, like repairing and rewiring an entire communications station.  Still, she’s not a slouch.  She’s our court reporter for the Janice-Lester-in-Kirk’s-body Queeg-style court martial of his senior officers.  She even has the gumption and integrity to join Sulu and Chekov, ahead of otherDSCN5725 members of the bridge crew, in refusing to follow the possessed Kirk’s whacko orders.  So, with her promotion, her new department, and new coiff, let’s hope that Angela has found happiness at last with Mr. or Ms. Lisa.  Let’s just hope she hasn’t been watching Double Indemnity lately.  Interestingly, Memory Alpha breaks from most Star Trek sources to list Lt. Lisa as a different character from Angela Martine-etc-.
tumblr_cacd1a3658d2497314a98d5b68794229_37278c53_1280Ah, here’s the Baker story.  According the Tales of the Unknown Redshirt, apparently, Barbara Baldavin filmed a scene with Marla McGivers (Madlyn Rhue) in “Space Seed” that was cut before the final broadcast.  She is listed as “Baker” for that episode.  Now, her hair’s long again! She’s still in command gold, though.   Lord knows what happened to Baker to make room for Lisa.  Anyway, do you think she was giving Lt. McGivers romantic advice about Khan?  That would explain a lot.
Barbara Baldavin is quite interesting, herself, though she doesn’t have nearly as many names as Angela.  She was married to Joseph D’Acosta, Star Trek’s casting director and later became a casting assistant and associate, herself.  I remember being pleasingly surprised to see her 231335_v9_baname in that credit on Trapper John, M.D.  She also worked in casting on Dynasty and Matt Houston.  Her acting career included a stint as Nurse Holmby on Medical Center. If you check out her photo on Rotten Tomatoes you can see she still has that sassy smile.  I especially like the fact that she is a home girl to my state of Massachusetts, being born in Quincy.  I wonder if she ever strolled on Wollaston Beach, as I and my husband do now?

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https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0049682/#actress
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Angela_Martine
https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Angela_Martine
https://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/barbara_baldavin
The Star Trek Compendium.  Alan Asherman, 1986
The Star Trek Concordance .  BJo Trimble (1976)
Photos:  Author’s collection:  screen shots from episodes “Balance of Terror,” “Conscience of a King,” “Naked Time,” “Shore Leave,” “Turn About Intruder.”  Star Trek, the Original Series. Season One. Paramount Pictures. DVD.  2004
Image of Barbara Baldavin as Baker from  https://redshirtgal.tumblr.com/post/179184621577/the-story-of-the-character-angela-martine-is-an

Casting Characters, Part 3: Always Play the Dark Horse

Part Three: Always Play the Dark Horse  horse and rider

Now we come to Always Play the Dark Horse, with a cast of characters 106738603_10223680069933821_7022871368887621055_nboth new and familiar.  Rose Nyquist, Jessica’s professor friend, returns from Dead Man, only this time she helps Jessica navigate academic politics at the College at Margaret Point, even joining Jessica and James to face intrigue and murder.  Who better to play this part than the straight-from-the-shoulder, quick-witted Barbara Stanwyck – with a dash of my good friend Kathy Healey, who is also quick-witted and straight-from-the shoulder.
DSCN5749The English Department’s chair is Nigel Cross, a man of powerful character, icy cold control, and a devastating wit to those who try to play cute with him.  With those he respects, though, he seems a square shooter. The perfect inspiration for the character, especially the first part of the description? How about Nigel Bennett, well known as the formidable and cool LaCroix on Forever Knight?
Terry Clarke was Jessica’s college boyfriend many years back, in a Selby2relationship that didn’t end well when he opted to look for a gal with the do[ugh]-re-mi to restore his family fortunes.  Now a professor at Margaret Point College, he’s intelligent, capable, witty, and charming enough to balance out his ego, almost.  However, Terry’s also a bit of a ladies’ man, to his wife’s chagrin.  My casting choice was the handsome, young Quentin played by David Selby on Dark Shadows.  That hint of a Southern accent dovetails nicely with Terry’s Virginia horse-country roots. No Quentin-1897 sideburns, though. But those blue eyes, WOW!
Maureen_O'Hara_1950Meanwhile, there’s Carolina Brent Clarke, the wife who resents Terry’s philandering with another teacher who has mysteriously gone missing.  Who should inspire the Virginia belle whom Terry thought he could marry for money, only to discover she had the same misapprehension about him?  Well, I don’t have enough redheads in my stories, so how about the fiery-tressed and -tempered Maureen O’Hara?  I know she usually plays a heroine, but she could go fatale when she wanted.  So I traded in her Irish accent for the faint strains of a Maryland one and let her take the folks at Margaret Point for one hell of a ride!
Then, there’s Sailor, aka Phil Novack, the mysterious man who rides theRyan equally mysterious Dark Horse of the title.  A solitary sort, haunted by war memories and perhaps something more, to whom Jessica is drawn by their mutual love of horses.  This becomes dangerous for them both. My inspiration was the craggy-featured, brooding presence that Robert Ryan so beautifully brought to the screen.  Naturally, I’m thinking more of the decent but tortured and confused types he played in The Woman on the Beach or Act of Violence, not the sly, murdering racist in Criss-Cross.
DSCN4673And what inspired my College at Margaret Point?  Ah, that’s interesting.  Over the years, I’ve made many a visit to the campus of UConn at Avery Point.  It’s located on the Long Island Sound, with wonderful grounds, a gorgeous view of the ocean, and an impressive mini-chateau that was once  a wealthy business person’s Branford House.DSCN4684  Now the House holds administrative offices and hosts conferences or even weddings in its magnificent Great Hall, with its first-floor rooms  boasting gorgeous woodwork and carved mantels.  On the second floor is a  small but nifty art gallery.  Although I embroidered on the campus a bit by including stables,  victory gardens, and cozy faculty-cottage housing in my novel,  the fictional Cameron House neatly captures the elegance of Branford House.
Once again, Dusty remains Dusty!  Mice, murderers, and master spies beware! What’s she nabbing now?!

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Stay tuned for more blogs to whet your appetite for Always Play the Dark Horse, coming out on August 24th.

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Barbara Stanwyck Image, unknown source
Nigel Bennett Image:  Screen shot, Forever Knight, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006
Maureen O’Hara Image:  By J. Fred Henry Publications – page 32, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44624486
Images of David Selby, Robert Ryan, Branford House, and Dusty:  Author’s collection

No copyright infringement intended by use of images.  Only educational and entertainment purpsoes.  Contact me should you feel your copyright has been infringed

Always Play the Dark Horse

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Casting Characters, Part Two: Letter from a Dead Man

Casting Characters, Part 2:  Letter from a Dead Man

Letter from a Dead Man gave me some nifty casting possibilities as well.Fred  For the experienced Detective Leo McLaughlan, I chose Fred MacMurray.  Not the befuddled, cuddly MacMurray of My Three Sons, but the shrewd, been-around-the-block-a-few times  version in Bordertown, Singapore, Calloway Went Thataway, and Double Indemnity  (without the murderous leanings). Yup, I found great inspiration for Leo in Calloway when MacMurray’s jaded press agent told a neophyte Western actor, “You’ve got two expressions:  hat on and hat off.”
Whom did I select for the sexy, treacherous Alanna Tewkesbury of the evil clairenovel?  None other than that queen of noir femme fatales, Claire Trevor.  True, Trevor has played reliable smart-talking gals (Crackup), but her conniving dames luring men to do her selfish, illicit bidding in Murder, My Sweet and Johnny Angel were the ideal inspiration for Dead Man’s “barracuda in Max Factor.”  Take a look at Trevor’s seductive first meeting with Philip Marlowe in Murder before you read Alanna’s interview with Leo McLaughlan and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Don’t forget FBI agent Jeff Hooley in the novel, either.  For him I went to axfilesfandom,com more modern source.  Who might be a model for an acerbic, black-sheep agent with a touch of the romantic?  A chap with a dark secret about betrayal and corruption driving him for justice?  How about David Duchovney from The X-Files fitting the bill?
I decided to dip into my preoccupation with Star Trek for casting two supporting players in the cast.  Iris’s boyfriend Walter Castle got his start in Walter Koenig, with a pun on the last name.  It makes sense if you know German.  And the mysterious Kavanaugh that Hooley sought out to clear his family name?  Leonard Nimoy.  Don’t you think he could do jaded, world-weary, and feelings tightly guarded?  Don’t worry, though,  there were no point ears in this role to keep his hat from fitting right.
So, whom from the classic era do you think might have inspired the Minton sisters’ friends Iris and Lois.? Or Alanna Tewkesbury’s torpedo Eddie Kubeck? Let me know what you think and I’ll let you know whom I had in mind.
Once again, Dusty is always Dusty. Dustyac

Photos: No intention to violate copyright law,images used for entertainment and educational uses only. If there are any problems, contact me to remove the image
Fred MacMuray Photo from The All Americans (James Robert Parish and Don E. Stanke)
Claire Trevor Image unknown source
David Duchovny image: xfilesfandom.com
Dusty image:  author’s collection

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Continue reading Casting Characters, Part Two: Letter from a Dead Man

Casting Characters, Part One: Bait and Switch

2021Bait and Switch_Front_2021Readers often compliment me on the believability of the actors in my novels and ask me how I create even supporting characters who seem so human.  One explanation I have harks back to my choice of the word “actors,” above.  For I love to cast my novels as one might a movie.  “Casting” my novels gives me a way to develop a more convincing character by drawing on actual expressions, ways of moving, ways of speaking, and general behavior.
My casting tends to reflect my preference for films of the golden age of Hollywood, especially the 1940s.  Sometimes, I even select folks who are more contemporaneous, or more contemporary to when I was in my teens and twenties.   I almost feel as if I’m creating exciting roles for some of my favorite performers that the limits of their careers might have denied them. 
house101Many of you have heard me explain how the Minton sisters, Jessica and Liz, are based on the witty, smart, Rosalind1independent parts played by Joan Bennett and Rosalind Russell, respectively.  You’ve also heard me mention that the sisters’ traits and relationship is also flavored by the wise cracking, warmth, and wackiness I share with my sister-in-law Pam Healy.  But how about some of the supporting characters?
In Bait and Switch, Jessica’s boyfriend is drawn from a young Laurence Olivier.  So, we have a chap with enough wit, charm, dependability, and good looks to give James Crawford a run for his money in the romance department.  No Ralph Bellamys or Alan Mowbrays being obvious second choices in my books!

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When it came to the law, I had some fun in this novel.  James Crawford’s Ed_Asner_1977partner is gruff and sarcastic, with a bit of the old softie hidden under his prickly exterior.  Who better to cast in this brusque-on-the-surface part of “the fire-plug” but Ed Asner of Lou Grant fame.  James’s partner also hates spunk.  Casting Detective Winston particularly gave me a chuckle.  Loving irony, I thought it would be a hoot to have this intelligent, calm, world-weary, patient man be a dead ringer for Moe Howard of the Stooges.  Characters in Bait and Switch trying to square his appearance with his capabilities provide some fun moments in the novel-though not so much for Jim Winston.
Dusty transWho inspired the wise-guy cat, Dusty?  None other than my first cat, Dusty.  Want to hear more about her wise-cattery?  Check out this blog that I did on her.  All Hail Dusty!

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Bait and Switch

Photos from author’s collection except of Laurencer Olivier and Ed Asner

Images for educational and entertainment purposes only.  Contact me if you feel your copyright has been violated and I will remove the images
Oliver:  By Tower Publications – The New Movie Magazine page 65, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37784453
Asner: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ed_Asner_1977.JPG

Continue reading Casting Characters, Part One: Bait and Switch

Spear, er, Phaser Carriers of Star Trek, Part 1

We all know about the main supporting cast of Star Trek.  Lt. Uhura, LtCorridor. Sulu, Ensign Checkov, Nurse Chapel, Yeoman Rand, and Mr. Scott were all regular players with important roles in the action of the original series.  However, the show also created a sense of verisimilitude with another level of players, supernumeraries.  These spear, or phaser, carriers may not have had lines (though many did) but they appeared in multiple episodes as crew members, thereby creating continuity.  Sometimes, though, that continuity might have been set askew by outfitting them in different uniforms and occasionally having them show up as aliens or civilians filling out the background.  After working my way through the series this year, I thought it would be fun to create a run down on the cast supporting the supporting cast.
mbenga4My first entry is Dr. M’Benga (Booker Bradshaw).  This sawbones made such an impression that many people, myself included, were surprised to realize that he only appeared in two episodes.  In “A Private Little War,” his background interning in a Vulcan ward provided him with the knowledge that in order to bring Mr. Spock out of a healing trance, the first officer needed a good sock in the kisser.  Poor Nurse Chapel, following Dr. M’Benga’s instructions, ended up in a tussle with Scotty, who didn’t understand why she was smacking Spock around.  Fortunately, Dr. M’Benga arrived on the scene to slap Mr. Spock back to consciousness.

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We might wonder if Mr. Spock thought the good doctor had been a little too good with his rough prescription. In “That Which Survives,” SpockDSCN5500 verbally slices down the doctor for being a bit too cheery about pronouncing he has no idea why a crewman had died from having every cell in his body exploded.  Then again, when crewman are dropping left and right (some not even in red shirts!), maybe a playful attitude about your ignorance deserves a cool comeuppance.
Even after the series ended, Dr. M’Benga’s popularity in the Star Trek universe lived on.  He has been a major character in Star Trek novels and some non-canonical works.  Everybody and his brother has a first name for him.  Memory Alpha provides a nice bio of the character with more details. Actor Booker Bradshaw has the intriguing background of graduating from Harvard University, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and acting as talent manager for The Supremes (IMDB and Find a Grave)!
Palmer1Lt. Palmer (Elizabeth Rogers):  Uhura has to sleep sometime!  So, in two episodes, we find Lt. Palmer taking over for her at the communications panel:  “The Doomsday Machine” and “The Way to Eden.”  With her blonde beehive and patrician features, Palmer8Palmer remains stoic and efficient in times of adversity, be it an omnivorous space Hoover, a nutso commodore commandeering the Enterprise, or really obnoxious space hippies.  She must be fairly high in Communications, because she’s the only member of the department who, like Uhura, knew how to repair the Communications equipment.  Enterprise GRRRLS do science!

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In one Star Trek short story, her first name was revealed to be Elizabeth – a tip of the hat to the actress who played her.  In at least one of the appearances, Palmer replaced Uhura because Nichelle Nichols had a singing commitment to fulfill.  Reports differ as to which episode this was, but Rogers herself said that she was used as “an instant ‘threat’ replacement.” This last statement is according to Wikkipedia, which I am loathe to quote because they’re frequently soooo wrong about stuff; however, the writer of the article did cite These Are the Voyages, Season Two as the source.
Rogers is an interesting actress. On Star Trek, she also voiced “The DSCN5585Companion” in “Metamorphosis.”  If you watch much sixties or seventies TV, you are likely to see her in a guest-starring role.  Further, she was a friend of producer Irwin Allen and played in The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure.  I didn’t catch her in the second film (though I’ll be sure to look for her next time), but I remember her in The T.I.  She’s the first one to ride the captain’s chair across the cable strung between two skyscrapers – and she’s screaming all the way! Planet-devouring doomsday weapons and pain-in-the-ass space hippies are nothing to her – but heights? That’s another matter!  Memory Alpha and Memory Beta are solid sources for more information on the character and the actress.
 
Farrell8Mr. John Farrell (Jim Goodwin)  Like Dr. M’Benga, Mr. Farrell only appeared in a limited number of episodes.  Three to be exact.  Usually, he was navigator, though the gold-shirted young officer with reddish hair and slightly protruding eyes did take a turn at Uhura’s console in “Miri.”  This installment of “Phaser Carriers,” we just seem to keep catching our girl Nyota off-shift! We discover that Farrell’s first name is John Farrell5when Sulu refers to him as “Johnny-O” after they both have been knocked off kilter by the hormone-stimulating drugs of “Mud’s Women.”  In this episode, poor also John Farrell gets schnoockered out of a communicator by one of Mudd’s gals, Magda.  Interestingly, according to Memory Alpha and The Lost Redshirt sites, some dialogue cut from the scene reveals that Farrell had a girlfriend and was thinking of growing a mustache! Anyway, he’s not doing too well in the formal inquiry of Harcourt Fenton Mudd and his hotties, is he?

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Also like M’Benga, Mr. Farrell made it into Star Trek short-story adaptations of episodes and other fiction.  Though Farrell was scheduled for more appearances, his character was replaced in “Charlie X” and “The Naked Time.”  Hmm, if it had been Farrell instead of Riley who’d been infected with the inhibition-freeing virus, maybe we would have discovered what his girl friend’s name was, with him singing, “I’ll take you home…?”  James Goodwin, who played Farrell, was friends with associate producer John D.F. Black, so when Black left the series, our actor’s connection disappeared – and so did Farrell.  Interesting to other New Englanders, Goodwin was from Boston and passed away at  fifty years young in Beverly, Mass.  There’s great detail on the character at Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, IMDB, and at the tale end of Tales of the Unknown Redshirt.

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Images:   author’s screen shots from original episodes (no copyright infringement intended, informational and educational use only)
Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, Tales of the Unknown Redshirt

Hillside Cemetery, A Dunwich Kind of Place

Well, here I go trying to create a new blog with WordPress’s Godawful new editor.  Forgive me if this comes out crappy.  It’s taken me forever to figure out how to switch back and forth between html editor and visual-nothing is clearly labeled or explained.  I know this format is much uglier than the one I had previously.  We’re all at the mercy of tasteless, unimaginative, homogenizing forces.
DSCN5809Anyway, let’s move on to a more enjoyable descent into darkness.   Here’s a DSCN5834last gasp at wintry images with Part 2 of my report on the Hillside Cemetery of North Adams.  Across the street from the original portion of the graveyard, lonely mountains rise up to close you you in and the rest of the world out on this grey day.

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This is the newer portion of Hillside, and much more on an actualDSCN5812 hillside.  With the rolling slopes here, the graves, mostly 19th century,  tilt and are almost upended  as the ground has settled and shifted over the years-or is someone or something trying to push out?

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DSCN5865And those slopes are pretty darned high, too, with gravestones and monuments, bleakly, implacably towering upward from an earth  both browned by autumn and frosted by snow.

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This cemetery has it’s share of intriguing, impressive statuary, but theDSCN5850 brutal western Massachusetts winds, rain,DSCN5826 and snow have not been kind to them, gradually wearing them down to softened blurs in many cases.  The dove embracing this shrouded cross has lost its distinctive features and  now softly merges into the cross’s drapery.  The child and the lamb, representing her innocence, have melted into the seat of broken rocks symbolizing her life cut too short, too soon.    A DSCN5819relief that should have preserved a woman’s identity in endurable stone for eternity has blurred her features into  gentle vagueness.  Even her identity in the form of name, family, and birth and death dates have been smoothed away to soft whiteness.    A book of life’s secrets DSCN5830has subsumed its truths into a creamy blank of pages melted together, marked only by the stain of mold and decay.  Or might this be an edition of the Necronomicon?
DSCN5832Of course there are also still striking images of angels and symbolic broken columns, some standing relentless against nature’s assault by winds, weather, and  devouring by lichen and mold.  DSCN5854
Some are  less successful than others in resisting the assaulting elements, but are no less beautiful.DSCN5859
There was only one large mausoleum in this portion of the cemetery-butDSCN5837 it is impressive, especially for the art deco angel guarding the resting bodies of the family beneath.  There’s a wonderful starkness in its rising near the crest of the rolling hill, the dark tree grasping hungry branches at the sky beyond it.
And here is a closeup of the angel.  Regard the myriad layers of feathers creating a shield of wings behind its head, seeming both like a peacock’s tail in full extension and a wall of tongues of flames.

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The day had been cold, but not bitterly so.  The ground betrayed the tracks of deer, racoon, and perhaps more predatory mammals.  It was an isolated spot where no human seemed to have ventured to grieve or pay veneration for a very long time.  In fact, this day this cemetery seemed like a place lost to time, to  human connections.  Thank goodness I saw this cute guy and not some colour out of space.

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Continue reading Hillside Cemetery, A Dunwich Kind of Place

Celtic Crosses, Funerary Statues in a Winter Cemetery

As winter, we hope, is wrapping up and March approaches, I thought I’d post a couple of last minute winter visits to some of the local cemeteries to show you some of their lovely funerary work.  Last December, when we were first treated to snow-and when snow still seemed like a treat-, I took some neat shots in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Worcester.  I was particularly struck by not only the statuary but some reliefs and some Celtic crosses.
First, check out some of the neat  reliefs.  This one is graced with a stone head of Christ looking lovingly down at a stone chalice of His blood.  The Celtic cross also has the austere yet graceful petals of flowers carved upon it.  The vivid French blue of the winter sky bespeaks the crispness of the day.

 

There are many styles of Celtic Crosses rising out of the snow and winter-browned grass of this cemetery.  Many also are adorned with striking, symbolic carvings.  Others may  hold statuary.  This Celtic cross particularly caught my eyes, with it’s intricate  interlocking designs along its body and its distinctive symbolic figures at the top.  The snow beautifully reflects the cool purity of the sky’s winter blue.

 

A closer study of the figures in the upper central section of the cross reveals the creatures symbolizing the four gospel writers on each branch of the cross, with the knot of eternity and the Infinite in the center and praying angels at the very top,  From the top and moving clockwise, you have the winged ox/calf (Luke), the man (Matthew), the griffin/lion (Mark), and the eagle (John)- their wings and halos signifying their divine nature.

You can additionally see Celtic crosses and other monuments honoring priests in the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

The statuary is also quite striking in the winter light.  Here, a woman clings to a cross for salvation or for comfort at her losses.  The stone is weathered smooth, the statue almost featureless.  Perhaps a comment on the  transitoriness of life.

 

 

 

A time-smoothed lamb, couched within the limited protection of this monument further testifies to the relentless passage of time over even the young whom parents see as embodying a kind of immortality. It’s posture is not even terribly peaceful, seeming to indicate tightening oneself up in fear or cold.  Maybe both.

 

 

 

Then, there is this triumphant angel-who seems to be wearing a bustle in the height of 1880s fashion.  Her broken wing unintentionally testifies to the limits of human commemorations.

 

Still, when I tried to capture her face with  a shot from the front, the glow of the sun created this divine image that perhaps suggests that true immortality and enlightenment come from beyond this earth, transcending the capability of our mortal vision.  Ya think?

 

Winter Birds at Chez Yang

We’ve been seeing some wonderful birds this winter in our yard at our feeders.  Let me share some of them with you, starting from December.  This first set of pictures were taken that month, before and after the snow started.  I have  pictures here of some old friends and some new-like this Downy Woodpecker.  Do you think someone should tell her that bugs don’t live in concrete or vinyl siding-or does she know something that I don’t?
We also see plenty of our old standbys, the Chickadees and the Titmice.  They like to come and dine about 9:30 in the morning and about 4-5:00 in the afternoon-with an occasional snack or two throughout the day.  The Titmice are one of Yang’s favorites, and he likes to call them “little faces.”  With their big, expressive eyes, you can understand why. In this picture we have one of the cute chickadees.
One of my favorite birds is one of the first signs of winter:  the Slate-Colored Junco.  That’s the name they went by when I was first birding; however, I’ve noticed them now called “Dark-Eyed Juncos.”  Maybe they all invested in brown contacts.  I love their blue-grey coloring (though some are more brownish) and  their white tails that flash when the fly away, as they give a call that sounds like castanets.  We have large numbers of them in my yard, which it just fine with me.
These two Juncos don’t look to happy to meet.
“Who You lookin’ at?”
“No, who YOU lookin’ at?!”
The Goldfinches haven’t flown away until the spring.  They’ve just changed their sprightly spring plumage for heavy winter coats.  One fellow appeared to have a white cap of feathers, even with his winter color.  So, I dubbed him Whitecap.  Original, aren’t I?  However, closer viewing of him through these photos shows that his cap is more light yellow than white.  Nevertheless, he’s staying “Whitecap,” as Slightly Light Yellow Cap” is way too much of a mouthful.
Here’s another nice shot of Whitecap, with a Goldfinch pal (in the upper left corner) who apparently thinks he’s a bat.  I’ve got to stop watching Forever Knight when these guys are in the windows.

Here’s another one of Snowcap, after he was reading up on Edward Taylor and thought he ought to go out and starting preaching to Juncos.  Of course, if Snowie believes in predestination, that suggests that even other species can be saved.

 

 

I particularly like this picture because it includes so many:  Juncos, Goldfinches, and another of my favorites, the Carolina Wren, on the left.  She doesn’t quite look like a wren because she doesn’t have her little bum cocked in the air, but her long beak and white eye-stripe give her away. We have at least one pair who come to my feeders.  They’ve been around the house for several years, but it’s only the past three or four that I’ve seen them year round, and so frequently in the winter.  I often hear them in the trees of the woods behind my house and across the street.  I named this pair, Carolina and Carey.  Additionally, note the Goldfinch coming in out of inter-dimensional travel in the upper middle of the photo.
We also had an unexpected visitor on our suet feeder.  Regard this handsome Mockingbird.  Usually I don’t see them in the winter.  However, I  was informed that they don’t travel south, but hide out in deep woods during the cold months.  Apparently this guy didn’t get the memo about hiding out. He or she comes to see us just about every day to chow down on the suet.  I know these birds tend to be highly aggressive, but this one really doesn’t seem to mind sharing.

 

Now, there’s one last interesting addition to our flocks:  Mr. Cooper, as in Cooper’s Hawk.  This guy showed up low on the Canadian Maple in our back yard, right outside my living room window.  The first time I saw him was in mid-January, when I couldn’t get any good shots.  Then, this week, he popped by and I was lucky, getting these three pix.  Now I definitely know what caused the splash of blood and feathers on the snow near the tree last week.  Still, he does leave alone the little birds-hardly worth consideration as hors d’ouevres?  Anyway, click on the photos to get a good look at him-or her.

Anyway, now I think I understand  why White Ears (named for these white tufts in his ears) has been keeping a low profile recently.

 

 

Forever Supreme: Mary Wilson Passes But Her Spirit Will Always Shine in Our Hearts.

Those of you who know me, know what a tremendous Supremes fan I am. So, you can imagine my sadness at the recent passing of Mary Wilson, one of the groups founding members.  Mary was such an extraordinary woman.  In addition to that delicious smoky alto of hers putting feeling and power into so much music, she contributed tremendously to making the world a better place.  She and her fellow Supremes helped break down racial barriers in the 1960s and ’70s, she gave herself generously to help others through her work to protect the rights of recording artists, drew on her own experience as an abused spouse to encourage and support others in the same situation, helped at-risk young people here and abroad, acted as good will ambassador for the U.S., and supported the efforts of the Humpty-Dumpty Institute against the use of landmines.
Mary also helped so many people around her on a personal level to believe in themselves and follow their dreams to become the people they wanted to be.  She loved her children and grandchild. And she was wonderful with her fans, never treating them as beneath her.  She welcomed everyone with sincerity, graciousness, and humor.  You knew she was just as happy to see you as you were to meet her.  She had a sense of humor about herself and could tease in a way that was fun.  And she loved life, especially these last years, still singing and performing to delighted audiences, competing on on Dancing with the Stars, publishing a delightful book on the Supremes’ magnificant gowns and the stories behind them, starting her own YouTube channel, and even announcing the cd re-release of  her solo album with new and never before released material.  We’ll miss her joy and warmth, but we’ll carry her in  our hearts for all the love she gave us.  I think these lines from “Nature Boy” sum up her bond with us perfectly:  “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to  love and to  be loved in return.”
Here’s Mary sharing her philosophy of life with us in a fairly recent release: “Life’s Been Good to Me.”

 

Dancing with the Stars Photo: https://dancingwiththestars.fandom.com/wiki/Mary_Wilson

Other Photos shared from web sites Mary Wilson of the Supremes:  New Ways but Love Stays; Motown 1970:  Not Just Another Record Company;  Seventies Supremes,

If you feel your rights have been infringed by the posting of any of these photos, please contact me and I will remove them.  Photos posted for personal or educational reasons.  No profit is derived from this post.