You know, I think he could have changed the laws of physics, if he had to.
We don’t know who first offered Jimmy Doohan a smoke, but it saved his life. One can assume he kicked the habit, since he lived into his middle eighties, but he was still packing away the gaspers in ‘44. He had a cigarette case in his shirt pocket, and it stopped a German bullet. He may have laid on the sand for a moment and wondered if it would all end here on the shores of Normandy – but no, of course not. He got up, he made it through the day. He made it through the war, went home, took up acting. One day his agent called: Can you do a Scottish accent?
Sure. What’s the part?
It’s impossible to understate Doohan's appeal - if you sneak into a NASA control room during a mission and ask the controllers how many chose their profession because of Scotty, half the hands in the room would go up. No one wanted to go into space because of that whiny little red-head kid on Lost in Space. It takes something indefinable to be a Kirk, it takes med school to be a McCoy, it takes green blood to be Spock, but Scotty – aye. Any man could be Scotty, if he applied himself. And he'd be among manly things, too.
In a hundred years from now, no one will remember Brad Pitt. But they’ll have a picture of Scotty taped up in the break room off the moon shuttle.
A musical tribute to Doohan can be found here. Warning: it's loud. Last third's the best.
Speaking of Trek - I was rolling through ST2 to find a good screengrab of Scotty, and noted this. Hmm. It's not necessary in modern offices, but required on the bridge of 24th century spacecraft. Apparently cigarettes make a BIG comeback:
Today's found object - and a hint of the stuff I'll be posting weekly in v.10 in the Institute. It's a Slingo!
Hey, Mom, can I have one? It shoots through a 100-age magazine!
Also this, which will bring a smile to those who remember the Jerry on the Job site: one of the most violent flip-takes I've ever seen. Anywhere. My God, the man must have severed an artery:
Some pictures today, since I'm still buried by work. First: the simple summer pleasure of writing on the sidewalk with chalk. Next: the dog, for all you Jasper fans. Third: the other day I made a crack about Keillor, and this earned me a few letters: who are YOU to criticize Keillor? Well. I think Keillor can write a brilliant monologue; I think Prarie Home Companion is unbearably twee (Guy Noir, for heaven's sake); I think his political commentary is crude and mean, and I think he's a banal essayist, and I think his novels are generally pretty good and often great. As it turns out my next Sunday column is on the very same subject as his last Sunday column, so you can compare and contrast. Anyway, one letter gave me a little tweak: next you'll say Gnat is better than Picasso. Well, I don't think much of Picasso; he's one of those painters that never grabbed me. But she does love to paint, and in an effort to completely grind myself down to a parody of an uncritical father convinced the rest of the world is as fascinated with his child as he is, here's a watercolor. And here's a drawing of an art show, complete with two painters in the traditional stances: one is holding out the brush, the other appears to be chewing on it in comtemplation. ("She's thinking what to paint next," Gnat explained.) She drew a picture of me napping this afternoon, complete with wavy black lines to indicate the sound of the oven timer in the next room beeping to wake me up.
Back to work - as I said yesterday, I have a 63 inch piece due tomorrow. Wish me luck; this one's important.
(Perm link here.)