Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I will now demonstrate how to seamlessly segue from Neatorama to Star Trek to M*A*S*H to puppeteering to Cake Wrecks. BECAUSE I CAN.
Ready? Here goes.
First, some cool Trek trivia I found on Neatorama today:
James Doohan (aka Scotty on Star Trek) was shot by a German machine gunner six times during the Allied invasion of Normandy. (!!) A shot to his chest was stopped by a metal cigarette case. (!!!) Another shot to his right hand caused him to lose his middle finger, which meant that stand-ins (hand-ins?) were used during the filming of both the show and the movies.
[Read more at 5 Sci-Fi Actors Who Were War Heroes)]
Not only is this fascinating, but my respect for Doohan just went up a thousand-fold. (Sadly, he passed away in 2005.) It also reminds me of M.A.S.H. (another favorite), because Gary Burghoff (aka Radar) also has a deformed hand - although his is a birth defect. They tried to conceal Burghoff's hand on camera as well - ever notice he's always carrying a clipboard?- but you can still spot it from time to time if you look closely.
[In case you missed it, that was my first segue. See how I'm all smooth and natural-like? Eh? And the segue wasn't bad, either. HEYO!]
I first learned about Burghoff's hand back in middle school, when I was part of a puppet troupe called Kids on the Block. Each of our puppet characters had a certain disability or disease, and we toured elementary schools teaching kids about diversity and tolerance and such. My puppet was named Valerie, and she had spina bifida:
She had metal crutches and leg braces, which made her sooo heavy - plus I was/am so short that I had to stand on an egg crate to perform. Even so, I loved it. I even earned a pin - which I still have to this day - for memorizing and performing in the most sketches of anyone in our troupe. And did I really just brag about that? YES I DID.
ANYWAY, [Segue imminent. Repeat: segue imminent.] as part of our training we watched a video of Burghoff talking about his hand and M.A.S.H. and what it was like growing up with a disability. So now he and KOTB are both permanently linked in my mind.
So, on the last stop of our book tour a few weeks ago, John and I were wandering the La Jolla Art Festival before the show. It was a pretty small festival, so we were slow-motion strolling, trying to kill time. As we moseyed down the row, guess who I saw at one of the booths?
No, not Gary Burghoff. C'mon, keep up.
It was Valerie, my old puppet! There she was, leg braces and all, sipping a beer and talking smack with the macrame seller.
Hah, ok, now I'm just messing with you.
The puppet *was* there, though, in a Kids on the Block booth, because - get this - the organization is still going today! (Just to be clear, it's a nation-wide thing; this wasn't the exact same puppet I used.) I spent about five minutes amusing John and frightening the booth attendant with my squees of amazement and gibbered tales of standing on egg crates.
And so, in conclusion, this is pretty cool:
But hey, cool phone, right? You plug your iPhone into it, and then use the handset to talk on. It's silly as all get-out, I suppose, but it's also cool and artsy and steampunked, so that makes it alright.
(John also pointed out that if I let him get the new iPhone then he could give me his old iPhone and then I could use this. To which I responded, "This costs $450," and the conversation abruptly ended. Still nifty, though.)
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