Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Hodgman, The A-Team, MIT, Terry Pratchett and a way cool Venn diagram

+ Remember how awesome Sharlto Copley was as Wikus Van De Merwe in "District 9?" Well, I suggest you savor that memory because his next big role is going to be as Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock in the upcoming big screen version of "The A-Team." No, I'm serious. He'll be co-starring with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Biel. I hated "The A-Team" as a kid so this whole announcement just makes me sad.

+ Did you enjoy John Hodgman's fun "facts" about the various winners at Sunday night's Emmy Awards? New York Magazine has compiled a few of their favorites.

+ And speaking of facts, how many of us wanted to attend MIT but were hindered by either poor SAT math scores (me!) or the fact that it costs approximately $17 million in tuition and boarding to attend (me!)? Well, fret no longer -- MIT is now offering all 1900 of its courses online for free including syllabi, reading materials, exams and more. Thanks to Daven for the link!

+ New York Magazine has decreed "The Big Bang Theory"'s Jim Parsons to be TV's leading nerd and have a short, interesting article on him to celebrate.

+ Want to add a new computer to your collection? How about a really old one? You might be in luck if you can pony up the bucks. Gene Roddenberry's Macintosh 128 -- with a serial number of 001 -- is up for auction. In related news, Popular Science has their list of "10 Things We Wish Were On Gene Roddenberry's Hard Drive." Thanks to Andi for the links!

+ Are you a fan of legendary fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett? Do you live in London or have access to your own airplane or ocean liner? Then you might want to check out the National Theatre's current production of "Nation," adapted from the Pratchett novel of the same name. Thank you, Kate, for the tip!

+ And in other news, The A.V. Club has an in-depth and intriguing interview with director Jane Campion about her new film "Bright Star" based on the last three years of poet John Keats' life.

+ And finally, thanks to Park Bench reader Sara who sent this in, we've got a cool Venn diagram to help us determine once and for all if we're nerds, geeks or dorks. I knew science would come through for us in the end. :)


Mickie Poe said...

Thanks for the diagram! It's already come in handy and solved a long-running debate in my office.

Liz said...

We're all about service here at The Park Bench. I'm also happy to referee any debates over which James Bond is the sexiest.

Shannon said...

Heh. I'm way to ADD to have any long term obsessions so I'm a dweeb ;-)

Shannon said...

TOO ADD, TOO! (agh)

agent57 said...

Hey Liz, which Bond IS the sexiest? I would generally say Sean for being the original, but I don't know, man, Daniel Craig. Then again, I still haven't watched the latest, which I head was pretty bad.

I guess I'm a nerd, then. I usually think of myself as geek... which I suppose I could qualify for, since I can handle social situations while in them, it's just getting into them that I avoid. (P.S. I love Venn Diagrams)

Is anyone else surprised by the expected price of Roddenberry's Mac? $1200? That's less than a new, non-celebrity-owned Macbook. Maybe I should rethink what my next computer purchase will be. (Do you think it would run Tiger?)

Liz said...

Agent57, I have to go with Daniel Craig on the sexiest Bond question. I was lukewarm on his debut but that had more to do with the writing of the movie and less to do with him. Hands down, the guy just looks good. Plus, I'm still laughing over that skit he did with Catherine Tate so he gets sexiness points for being funny too.

A close runner-up? Pierce Brosnan, who was my first heart-throb as a kid.

I was amazed at the price estimate on Roddenberry's Mac, too! I'm guessing it'll go for higher, though, with all the publicity it's getting. I'd also guess that Tiger would make it burst into flames. :)

Cassandra said...

Hahahaha. That Venn diagram pretty much made my day. Thanks! :D

agent57 said...

I love that it has ONE WHOLE MEGABYTE of space! :D Also, did you grow up with Remington Steele, too? My mom watched it a lot when I was a kid (along with Murder She Wrote, TNG, and Quincy!) so yeah, I have a soft spot for Pierce. Though, honestly, I haven't seen a lot of the Bond films and can't judge the best. (Even though I did, in that last comment. Oops.)

Adam said...

John Hodgman did this whole thing at the White House Correspondents dinner a few months ago about jocks and nerds. I've always considered myself a nerd-jock hybrid considering I read 53 Star Wars novels during the same year I lead my high school soccer team in goals scored. Where would I fit on this diagram? help!

Tracy said...

I too played soccer through high school, Adam. I was told repeatedly back in those days (gasp...the 80s) that soccer was a nerdy / geeky sport. By the guys playing football, mind you.

I will accept "geek" sport ... and identify as a geek.

On the Bond issue ...

1) Connery
2) tie between Brosnan and Dalton
3) Daniel Craig
4) Roger Moore
5) David Niven
6) George Lazenby
7) tie between Barry Nelson and Woody Allen (ok, he was only Jimmy Bond, jealous nephew of James Bond)

nancypearlwannabe said...

I think I fall solidly in the "geek" category, and I'm okay with that.

Also, I've taken two of the MIT free courses and they are fantastic. I would highly recommend the Chemistry in the Kitchen class- made me feel like an (amateur) Alton Brown.

agent57 said...

Really, Tracy? Dalton is so high on your list! Again, I'm speaking from an uninformed position, but I thought he was generally looked down upon as a Bond.*

*This information is from a Buffy episode, and has no bearing on reality. Andrew: "Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!"

Tracy said...


I have a very definite type -- tall with dark hair. Blondes, meh ... they do nothing for me. Probably because I am blonde myself ... seems like lusting after one's brother or something. Eeewwww!

Regardless of my niche tastes, however, I did like Timothy Dalton's 007!

His Bond was actually truer to the character that Ian Fleming created than say, Roger Moore's 007. My father was an avid reader of spy novels so I have read all of the originals and was very aware of what Dalton was attempting with his portrayal. Many critics also appreciated the more serious tone.

Fans, though, were split. Some liked the return of the "real Bond", while others were taken aback. The later pretty much only knew the character from Moore's comedic take and couldn't figure out why things were so much darker in the Dalton films.

Dalton was actually Cubby Broccoli's first choice to replace Connery in the late 60s when Sean bowed out. Dalton was only 22 at the time! When he turned down the role, the producers got George Lazenby. Dalton was also approached in the late 70s and turned down the part again because he disliked the campiness of the 70s Bond films.

He was approached in 1986 when Moore stepped down but could not take the part because of other obligations. That's when Brosnan was first asked but had to turn down the role because NBC would not let him out of his Remington Steele contract. By the time all that played out, Dalton was available.

His first Bond film, The Living Daylights, was very well received and outgrossed many of its contemporaries -- like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon as well as the last two Bond movies. His second Bond movie (License to Kill) did very well, too. Dalton was contracted for a total of three films, but the last one was never made because of a legal battle that broke out between the studio (MGM) and the producers. This dispute was not resolved until after Dalton's contract expired. He wasn't interested in returning by the time Goldeneye went into production.

agent57 said...

The more you know! (doo do do dooo!) Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the positions on the diagram. Was this something the person just made on a whim for fun? I most certainly think "dweeb" and "dork" are in completely opposite positions and need switching, and I would switch "geek" and "nerd" around, too.