Seventh Doctor: Clueless About 50th Anniversary

The Seventh Doctor

Oi, Professor, shouldn’t someone have told you something by now? Filming of the anniversary story is about to begin!

Erstwhile Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy said in a recent live chat with fans that he knows nothing about the 50th anniversary story: “No. Nothing. Nyet. Zilch.” Then he recounted a rather interesting anecdote:

“The other day I was with Tom Baker, Peter [Davison] and Colin [Baker] — the 20th century Who-ers — and Tom asked, ‘Well, little man, have you heard anything?’ and I told him, ‘No, I haven’t heard anything.’ So none of us has heard anything.”

Gee, that’s — wait a minnit! McCoy was hanging out with Davison and the Baker boys? Why? What were they up to? Perhaps it was something to do with the Big Finish audio story. Perhaps…

Anyway, something to keep in mind: We will not always have so many living former Doctors around: Tom Baker is 79; Davison is 61; Colin Baker, 69; Sylvester McCoy, 69; Paul McGann, 53; Christopher Eccleston, 48; David Tennant, 41; but current Doctor Matt Smith is just 30. Fans may not get many more chances to see this group all together — especially at such an auspicious time, when there’s a story they coulc all have fun with.

Blink to the Future?

This is an amusing little animated mash-up of DOCTOR WHO and the Back to the Future franchise. It doesn’t really make much sense, but the cartooning style is fun and dynamic, and the little touches – like the Adipose, the (I suppose) Judoon Biff, “Auton Detailing,” the “Save the Clock Tower” badge on the Angel and the absolutely badass final image of the TARDIS team on the train (with K9 motoring alongside) goes a long way toward salvaging the whole enterprise.

Looking Back — 2012: The End is Not Near

Now that Dec. 21, 2012, has come for us all (already passed for our friends Down Under) with no apocalypse — Mayan or otherwise — I’d like to congratulate everyone who didn’t fall for the manufactured Doomsday crap. Here I represent my very first post of the year, dated Jan. 1, 2012, in which I explained it all. Enjoy this blast from the past (okay, rerun)…

On this first day of 2012, what could be more appropriate than to address the impending end of the year – and the world – on Dec. 21, 2012? I’m referring, of course, to the end of the imminent end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which some believe heralds the end of the world. Don’t worry, dear readers, I haven’t gone soft in the head and succumbed to superstition; I want to address the so-called “prophecy” in a bid to debunk it.

First, and foremost, there is no “Mayan prophecy” about the world ending when the calendar does. That’s a myth conjured by fools and con men out to exploit the foolish. The calendar indicates nothing of the sort. You will be seeing a glut of books, DVDs and probably even TV specials designed to appeal to the base instinct of fear of the end of the world.
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Is DOCTOR WHO a religion?

Of course it is! Well, to some people.

But we’re not talking about mere slavish devotion to, and willingness to move mountains for, a TV show. To be serious for a moment, I know any number of completely devoted fans of the Doctor (me among them), but not one actually believes the Time Lord is a real lord in heaven.

Meet Mike Rugnetta of PBS’ Idea Channel, who makes a shockingly convincing case that “Whovians” might be the unrecognized congregation of a new religion dubbed “Whovianism.” Prepare to have your eyes opened:

See what I mean? He almost had me going. And while I agree with what a lot of what Mike says, Whovianism is lacking in that vital area that makes a religion different from a philosophy: belief.

With a true religion, whether the central deity of your religion is fictional or not, what matters is that the god’s followers believe it’s real. Belief is what matters to a religion, and belief doesn’t have to be rational. If you believe you’re reading this blog on a shiny plate held and animated by angels (or demons), no amount of proof will persuade you otherwise, because you’re not operating on facts and evidence; you’re taking a flier on chaps with wings.

It’s the same with the tens of thousands of folks who registered their religion as “Jedi” on census forms in the United Kingdom and elsewhere: They’d have to believe the Force is real in order for Jediism to be classified as a real religion. If you just think a TV show or movie has good ideas and a rational framework for organizing one’s life, that’s a philosophy. Which is terrific. It’s good to have a philosophy, and the Doctor’s passion for  intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism is a fine one.

I know the Doctor isn’t real. I just wish he were…

Bill Nye Resists Holy War on Science

We’ve all heard the numbers — so often that it sometimes feels numbing: The United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in a ranking of 31 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. led the world in high school and college graduation rates 25 years ago; today, the U.S. ranks 20th and 16th, respectively. At this point, it’s no longer about leading the global rankings; it’s about not slipping further behind.

So along comes Bill Nye, known to legions of children as “Bill Nye, the Science Guy,” and he makes a calm, reasonable, common-sense case for teaching children about science and reason, pointing out the challenges our country faces — and the advantages of having a scientifically literate populace to respond to those challenges.

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Death and the Lady Drinker

This is a cool find first noted by the good folks over at i09… a vaudeville-era warning about the dangers of drink and consorting with men who… play cards!

In 1906 The Journal of the English Folk Song Society published a piece on the old English ballad “Death and the Lady.” Some enterprising female entertainer encountered the article and realized the story might be used as a great vaudeville piece about the evils of card play and alcohol […] Here Joseph Hall, the Brooklyn born photographer who had made a career on baseball pictures and theatrical production stills, captured the sequence of the action, providing a peculiarly detailed & rare view of the progress of a single vaudeville performance.

Did Easter Island Heads “Walk”?

This terrific video from the good folks at National Geographic tests a theory that the giant statues of Easter Island — the moai — were “walked” into place.

National Geograpic magazine has more on the subject, which I find very fascinating. How did the islanders move those 90-ton things without use of the wheel? (And why were several moai found buried up to their necks, leaving only the heads showing?) Why do some wear hats? But surely “getting there” was more than half the problem for these stone sculptures; the question has dominated talk of the island ever since it was discovered on Easter Sunday in 1722. Its official name is Isla de Pascua (Spanish for “Easter Island”), while the Polynesian name for the place is Rapa Nui.

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MechaWhales Will Melt Your Brain

If you’re like me, you’ve often looked at giant sperm whales and thought, “You know what would make those cetaceans cooler? Mecha armor.” Well, lucky for us, our dreams have been answered — and the results are even better than we could have hoped. Especially when presented in an animation style that looks like it fell out of a time capsule from 1988.

Have a look at the first adventure of Hauke Scheer‘s MechaWhales!

This Supercell is Really Super

It’s kind of a lazy Sunday here, so I thought instead of boring you with another of my skreeds, I’d blow your minds with this photograph that I found. It’s Copyright: © Mike Hollingshead, and depicts Amazing supercell storm during twilight nears a York Nebraska truck stop on I80 as it spits out lightning, June 17, 2009. Only a half hour or so earlier this storm was producing a long-lived large tornado near Aurora Nebraska.”

This photo really captures the majesty of this destructive natural force.

Dalek Relaxation Tapes for Humans

New Dalek vs. old Dalek

If you’ve been wondering what the Daleks have been up to since being “rested” from DOCTOR WHO for series 6 (apart from a brief, dismembered cameo) now we have the answer: They have been working to make things better for their pals, the human race!

Yes, I know it’s difficult to believe, but it’s true, and  we have a clip to prove it. The Daleks are releasing a series of tapes — on cassette, no less! — designed to help humans relax. You must relax. That is an order! Thanks to Peter Serafinowicz, who has a radio show on BBC Radio 6, I can connect you to the snippet, thanks to the good folks at Doctor Who TV.

Personally, I would have expected the Daleks to work on a weight-loss tape after their most recent redesign left the pepperpots with considerably more junk in the trunk, but who knows the will of the Dalek Supreme?

In any event, I cannot stop laughing every time I play this loop.

Check out Dalek Relaxation Tapes for Humans here…