Archive for the ‘Doctor Who (1963f)’ Category

Coming Eventually: “New” Saints with Feast Days in July   Leave a comment

Above:  All Saints

Image in the Public Domain


The COVID-19 pandemic has granted me much more free time than I anticipated I would have when 2020 dawned.  I have spent that free time in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. I have watched some entertaining and poorly made science fiction movies from the 1950s and 1960s.  I have watched the entire run of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who serials (1970-1974).  (By the way, critics of “wokeness” in current Doctor Who would have strong emotional and physical reactions if they were to watch the Jon Pertwee serials closely.  Barry Letts made his positions obvious.)
  2. I have transferred the contents of PUNS BLOG to SUNDRY THOUGHTS and deleted PUNS BLOG.
  3. I have written about many saints at this weblog and posted many lectionary-based devotions through the end of the next liturgical year at spinoffs of this weblog.
  4. I have blogged my way through The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  5. Off-blog, I have been taking notes for Revised Common Lectionary-based discussions for Sundays through the end of this liturgical year.
  6. This morning, I started taking notes for Propers 23-25, Year A, otherwise known as October 11, 18, and 25, 2020.  (I intend to complete those notes today.)
  7. I have been leading weekly discussions of lectionary readings via Zoom since May.
  8. I have applied for employment in four cities, all of them sites of universities.  (I would starve intellectually outside of a college or university town.)
  9. I have started reading two books by E. P. Sanders.  I have been reading Jesus and Judaism for my book group.  I have been reading Paul and Palestinian Judaism because I want to do so.
  10. I have been avoiding other people as much as possible since some time in March.  Some days, I have seen other people only through windows.

I have also been working on saints with feast days in July.   I have taken notes on some and drafted posts in ink and longhand on most of those.  I have made plans to take notes on more saints and to draft more posts in ink and longhand.  I have yet to decide when to start writing posts based on these drafts.

More saints are on the way, O readers.










Science Fiction Puns   3 comments

  1. One must have a warped sense of humor to crack a joke about a starship’s nacelles.
  2. Is a man who brawls while wearing a cravat a tie fighter?  Did I force this pun?
  3. Was Percy Montana predestined to be on the Tulip?
  4. It would behoove you to watch more Doctor Who and therefore be more enterprising.  You might even decide to embark on a great trek.  That would certainly be the logical decision.
  5. A Jedi knight who conducts music is Obi-Wand Kenobi.
  6. Every seven years a Vulcan must travel a great distance to tell double entendres.  This is the pun farr.
  7. Watching old episodes of Doctor Who makes me crave cereals.
  8. Is a picture of Mira Furlan a Mira image?
  9. Is a drink favored by a Ferengi junior officer in Starfleet egg nog?
  10. If H. G. Wells had written a novel about herbs, might he have called it The Thyme Machine?

Bigotry, Social Media, and Psychological Self-Defense Mechanisms   2 comments

Above:  The DVD Cover for Series Eleven of Doctor Who

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Never underestimate the human capability to ignore one’s faults yet recognize them in others.  All of us need to be vigilant in efforts to be honest with ourselves about ourselves.

Recently I spent much of a Saturday participating in Dismantling Racism Training at church.  The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta offered the training, required for those who lead in their congregations.  The training was valuable and has remained thought-provoking.

My society influences me, of course.  It influences me for better and for worse.  One cannot grow up without learning preferences and biases.  In my case, the better angels of my nature affirm that any human being who has both a pulse and brain waves also has unalienable rights.  Nevertheless, I admit that I learned certain sinful biases from my culture.  I thank my parents for raising me not to be a racist and acknowledge gratefully that their lessons dominate my thinking.  However, I am not immune to other influences, which I resist in my mind.  I, as a heterosexual Caucasian male, have a different set of experiences than many other people do.  I, as a decent human being, can learn from the experiences of others and question many of my seemingly innocent assumptions, rooted in ignorance.  I do so and seek to continue to do so.

Social media have done much to unleash the ids of many people, unfortunately.  Entertainment franchises have become targets for many online expressions of bigotry.  For example, before Jodie Whittaker filmed her first scene as the Doctor, many people on social media complained about her because she was a she.  Later, many of these individuals complained about socially progressive messages in the new episodes.  How many of these people watched serials (Yes, I understand the difference between serials and episodes.  A serial consists of episodes.  Inferno, from 1970, is a serial consisting of seven episodes.  Please do not refer to Inferno as an episode.) from the classic series (1963-1989)?  (I covered some of that ground in a recent post.)

Sometimes I listen to people discuss a series I have watched then wonder if they have watched the same series I did.  Consider Star Trek (1966-1969), for example.  I hear people contrast it with the contemporary substandard shows, such as Discovery and Picard.  Some points of criticism of Discovery and Picard are legitimate.  I even agree with many of them.  Dropping F-bombs in Star Trek makes me want not to watch a Star Trek series guilty of that.  Nevertheless, the condemnations of socially and politically progressive messages, as if they are unusually preachy for Star Trek, contradict objective reality.  As I consult my copy of The Star Trek Compendium (1986), part of my library since 1988, I notice many “bonk, bonk, over the head” episodes.  I know that Gene Roddenberry designed the series to consist of morality plays.  Cold War allegories pervade the series, as in Errand of Mercy (1967).  The name “Vietnam” is absent from A Private Little War (1968), but the allegory is obvious, and dialogue hints at Vietnam.  Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (1969), with the black-and-white inhabitants of Cheron fighting each other until all are dead, is hardly subtle.  The Mark of Gideon (1969) addresses overpopulation, one of the major concerns of the time.  The Cloudminders (1969) has to do with social stratification.  Patterns of Force (1968) is a story about a recreation of the Third Reich, down to the uniforms, on another planet.  I could continue, but why belabor the point?  Who can legitimately claim that the original Star Trek series was not preachy?

The space Nazis in Star Trek:  The Next Generation and Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine are the Cardassians.

My theory, not original to me, is that many of these vocal critics of socially progressive messages in media feel threatened.  Why else would they be so vocal?  A basic grasp of human psychology points toward this conclusion.  I also factor in an unfortunate social reality that is either worse that it used to be or seems to be worse that it used to be; offending people across the spectrum of opinions is easier to do these days.  Too much is needlessly partisan.  Objective reality is objective reality.  The preponderance of scientific evidence points to certain conclusions.  Not liking objective reality does not negate it.  Finding scientific evidence offensive does not change it.

Other “offending” series full of socially progressive messages include The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) and The Outer Limits (1963-1965), two of my favorite classic series.  They are full of “bonk, bonk, over the head” moments.

We should be less defensive and more self-critical, individually and collectively.




Excessive Negativity on YouTube as Disordered Love   1 comment

Above:  The U.S. DVD Cover for The Brain of Morbius

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


And your petty obsessions! England for the English! Good heavens, man!

–The Doctor, in The Claws of Axos, Episode One (1971)

The Doctor is an internationalist.  So am I.

The Internet has much virtue.  I find it invaluable in preparing hagiographies, for example.  The Internet also has much vice, not the least of which is excessive negativity, often laced with or starring unapologetic bigotry.  Much of this excessive negativity relates to geek culture.  Certain YouTubers have channels on which they focus exclusively or mainly on negative content.

I notice this in the genre of science fiction-related videos, especially regarding Doctor Who.  I cannot help but notice that the recently-completed season of that series has aroused much bile and vitriol, much of it uninformed.  I remember a time before the modern series.  I recall a time when I could watch the series only on Saturday nights on public television.  Furthermore, I have been rewatching the classic series (as much as that is possible), with an emphasis on the William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee years (1963-1974).  Do not take my word for it; watch for yourself, O reader.  Heightened social consciousness goes far back into classic Doctor Who.  Consider the societal background of the Daleks (stand-ins for Nazis; debuted in the second serial, The Daleks, in 1963-1964)) and Cybermen (based on fears related to organ transplants and artificial limbs; debuted in The Tenth Planet, in 1966), for example. The Krotons (the villians) in The Krotons (1968-1969) have South African accents.  One may surmise that the voice actors were making a statement about the evil of Apartheid.  The Doctor criticizes Apartheid by name in The Mutants (1972).  The Doctor’s character is inherently anti-authoritarian.  I also know that, during the Pertwee years (1970-1974), messages relating to problems such as pollution, nativism, and abuse of workers pervaded stories.  Inferno (1970) contains an obvious anti-fascist message.  The Silurians (1970f) and the Sea Devils (1972f) raise questions about the mistreatment of indigenous peoples.  Imperialism takes many hits in stories during the Pertwee years, especially in Colony in Space (1971).  Furthermore, The Curse of Peladon (1972) is more germane than ever in the age of Brexit.  In the domain of canon, in which even the classic series contradicts itself (see:  three mutually exclusive versions of Atlantis, including two during the Pertwee years), the recent revelations about the Timeless Child are consistent with The Brain of Morbius (1976), in which producer Philip Hinchcliffe sought to indicate pre-Hartnell Doctors.

More people should be slower to criticize Chris Chibnall and faster to consult the long and rich heritage of Doctor Who before arriving at conclusions.  They should also repent of their biases and opposition to social justice messages.

People should focus primarily on that they like, not what they dislike.  Are some people’s lives so empty that they seek to fill that void with vitrol?  Are many people not content unless they are angry?  Evidence seems to indicate that the answer is yes.

Much of this excessive negativity, such as that evident on certain YouTube channels and in the comments sections of a plethora of videos, is evidence of disordered love, St. Augustine of Hippo‘s definition of sin.  Some objects are worthy of a certain amount of love.  To love them more than one should is to commit idolatry, to love God insufficiently.  In this case, to enjoy or to dislike Doctor Who is morally neutral, but to approach it with religious fervor is to commit idolatry.  No series or franchise is like a religion for me.  I have a religion, Christianity.  Doctor Who is one of my preferred forms of entertainment.

I choose to refrain from watching any video from any YouTube channel that is primarily or entirely negative.  I opt not to encourage such anger by adding to the number of views.




Against Toxic Fandom   Leave a comment

Social media (properly a plural term, given that “medium” is singular  and “media” is plural) have some useful, positive functions, but are overwhelmingly destructive forces in society.  One can use social media to spread important announcements, family pictures, and cute cat memes.  One can also propagate rumors, hatred, fear, and misinformation.  Social media aid and abet the spread of toxic fandom, too.

I am not so naïve as to imagine that human nature was less coarse prior to the dawn of social media.  I argue, however, that social media provide more outlets for both the dark and light sides of human nature.  Social media, therefore, contribute to the coarsening of cultures and the decline of what passes for discourse.  Human depravity is not an article of faith for me.  No, I have a plethora of evidence for human depravity.  I do not need faith to accept that which I can document objectively.

Much of that depravity manifests itself in toxic fandom.  This is frequently hateful, on the grounds of skin color, gender, or both.  Words matter; they convey ideas.  Based on many of the words many people write or speak via many social media websites, I conclude that a host of people define themselves by what upsets them.  Apparently, egalitarianism and diversity offend them.  Hence we have the term “social justice warrior” (abbreviated “SJW”), intended as an insult.  There are actors of African and Asian descent in Star Wars movies.  Horrors!  If one does not find that casting offensive, is one a social justice warrior?  Jodie Whittaker plays the Doctor in Doctor Who.  If one affirms that she is a fine actress and that her casting does not constitute political correctness, is one a social justice warrior?  And if one is a SJW, is that bad?  No!  And what about the newly-revealed past incarnation of the Doctor, a woman of African descent?  Jo Martin has gravitas; she plays the Doctor well.  I wonder how her incarnation fits into the timeline as I await the inevitable answer.  I also want to see more episodes with her.  If that makes me a SJW, so be it.

I first encountered toxic fandom years ago, at a now-defunct science fiction website.  I read BBS boards, where people asked and answered questions.  I stopped reading those BBS boards because many people were insulting each other and engaging in toxic fandom.  I chose not to consume that content any longer.

Toxic fandom infects many YouTube channels.  By trial and error I learn which channels to avoid for this and other reasons.  We humans need not like everything we hear, see, or watch, but we also need not define ourselves by our bigotry and what we dislike.  I offer some advice to everyone:  If you do not like some form of media, do not consume it.  When you express your displeasure, do so without resorting to bigotry and toxic fandom.  Write and speak mostly about what you like.  I consider Star Trek:  Discovery (properly abbreviated as STD) to be a series that indicates total disregard for Star Trek canon.  I am not shy about making my displeasure known, but I prefer to write about topics about which I hold positive opinions.

Being mostly positive should not be difficult.




Stitch in Time/A Stitch in Time (Redux)   2 comments

Above:  Gallentis, a Mining Platform, in Orbit of Ida (In One Universe, at Least)

A Screen Capture




Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Clive Robertson as Travis Montana

Dawn Stern as Callista “Callie” Larkadia

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

Paul Fox as Marcus Fagen

Graham Harley as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)–in Starhunter 2300

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)–in Starhunter Redux, Season 2


Kristen Holden-Reid as Ritson

Andrew Woodall as Captain Robert Parker

Dorian Kolinas as ?

Mark C. Fraser as ?

Kerry Dorey as ?

Dean Coplov as ?


Director = Colin Bucksey

Writer = Roger Gartland

Composer (Theme–Starhunter 2300) = Peter Gabriel (Darker Star, arranged and mixed by Richard Evans and David Rhodes)

Composers (Episode–Starhunter 2300) = The Insects (Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk)

Composer (Theme–Starhunter Redux, Season 2) = Donald Quan

Composer (Episode–Starhunter Redux) = Donald Quan

Length of original episode = 0:47:53

Length of Redux episode = 0:43:59


Above:  Rudolpho, Travis, Ritson, Callie, and Marcus

A Screen Capture

I am a detail-oriented person.  Consider that, O reader, when I express confusion regarding four listed members of the guest cast.  The IMDB page for this episode is of limited value.  I, after having rewatched this episode carefully, have no idea what roles two credited actors could have portrayed.  The four names are:  Dorian Kolinas, Mark C. Fraser, Kerry Dorey, and Dean Coplov.  The two roles for which I do not know the actor’s name are Derek (whom Rudolpho calls for information) and the voice of Dante Montana. I am accustomed to counting and matching actors and roles.  In this case, I arrive at two more actors than roles.

Dean Coplov also has a screen credit in Painless.

Tanya Allen’s performance as the two Percy Montanas holds up well.  One can tell just from presentation that the Percy from the parallel universe is a different person.

The more I think about this episode, the more I realize that the details are confusing.  The story is, to borrow a phrase, “wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.”  I recommend just enjoying the ride.

The asteroid Ida is real.  A quick Internet search reveals that the asteroid is in the Asteroid Belt, that astronomers have know of Ida’s existence since 1884, that they have known of its moon (Dactyl) since 1993, and that the Galileo probe photographed both in 1994.

The episode seems to imply that evil Percy created the singularity, escaped into our universe, took Parker too, and traded places with our Percy at the beginning of the episode.

Who told Ritson about what evil Percy did on Gallentis?  Was creating the singularity what Ritson meant?  This point is vague in the Redux version of the episode yet clear in the original version.  The reference is to a prison break.

When did Ritson realize who evil Percy was?

Another unanswered question concerns the fate of Ritson.  He drops out of the episode toward the end.  One may wonder if he returned to his universe, and if there is a version of Ritson who returned to the prime universe of Starhunter.  The episode seems to imply that the prime universe version of Ritson died in the parallel universe, and that the parallel universe version of Ritson is still in the brig as the Tulip approaches Jupiter.

The alternative universe version of Ritson seems to have crossed over 18 months ago, when he deserted from Jupiter Federation elite forces. How did he cross over?

How many other prisoners have escaped into the prime universe?

Gallentis has one captain, twenty crew members, and eighty miner-inmates.

I detect shades of Mirror, Mirror (Star Trek, 1967), with evil Percy appearing inside good Percy’s clothes and having good Percy’s hair style.  I also recall from Mirror, Mirror, that, when our heroes returned to their universe, their counterparts disappeared from the brig of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Was Parker’s entire crew on Ida when Gallentis moved from one universe to another?

Another difference between versions of this episode is in the dream sequence.  In the original version, the disembodied voice says, “Travis, my son.”  Then the voice repeats, “Travis” a few times.  When Travis is on the bridge of the Tulip, the voice says, “Travis, help me.”  However, in the Redux version, the voice just says, “Travis.”  The reason for these omissions in the Redux version is to emphasize that “Travis” is not the son of Dante and Penny Montana.  This is fake Travis, although he may not know that.  He seems not to know that.


Above: Travis, Parker, and Callie

A Screen Capture

  1. This episode opens with Travis (the fake one) having a nightmare.  The dream includes the voice of Dante asking for help, as well as Travis finding Percy dead on the bridge.  In the nightmare Travis also sees a flashing light in outer space.
  2. Travis, awake, eventually gets to the bridge.  Crew members and Caravaggio mention that he is late.  Some even comment on how bad he looks.
  3. Travis and Callie retrieve Ritson, a prisoner, from Mars Correctional.  Ritson is a deserter from Jupiter Federation Special Forces.  That is odd, for he used to be a decorated soldier.  The mission is to transfer Ritson to Clarke Station for a prisoner swap.
  4. Travis, back on the bridge, hears a distress call before anyone else does.  A flashing light from near Ida is visible.  Astonishingly, a mining platform (Gallentis, to be precise) appears where empty space had been, in orbit of Ida.  The distress call comes from the mining platform.
  5. The man issuing the distress call is Captain Robert Parker, commander of the penal station.  He wonders where his 20 crew members and 80 miners/prisoners (hardened, violent criminals) are.  Oddly enough, there is no mining operation on Ida in the prime universe of Starhunter.
  6. Travis and Callie take a shuttle to Gallentis, where they find Parker.  The three return to the Tulip.  Below decks, a blue light overtakes Percy and swaps her with her evil counterpart, a mass murderer.  This Percy, dressed the same as good Percy, lacks certain information (such as where engineering is) that good Percy knows.
  7. Evil Percy visits Ritson in the brig.  She asks for his help in seizing control of the ship.
  8. Evil Percy initially does not knows Ritsonn or of him.  She does know of the existence of Gallentis, however.  She also carefully avoids encountering Parker for most of the episode.  Ritson praises evil Percy for her “damn brilliant” prison break at Gallentis.  The Ritson in the brig is from the parallel universe.  Good Percy is on Gallentis, where evil Percy was.
  9. Parker is a conscientious commanding officer.  He is also confused, a condition he shares with the crew and almost anyone watching this episode for the first time.  When Parker contacts the Mines Division of the Mars Federation, he learns that the government does not know of his existence.
  10. Why do the crew members not suspect that something is amiss with “Percy” (not the one they know) sooner than they do?
  11. Travis and Callie continue their bonding nicely.
  12. Travis realizes that Parker disappeared, that his crew and prisoners did not.  Parker states that someone opened a portal between universes, but that the does not know how to reverse the process.
  13. Evil Percy liberates Ritson, but Callie, Marcus, and Rudolpho return him to the brig.
  14. Evil Percy targets Parker, but Travis and Parker subdue her.  Evil Percy, who reveals who she is (“a very successful” mass murderer), spends the rest of the episode in the brig.
  15. Parker devises a method of escaping the singularity evil Percy created and to send people back to their correct universe–maybe.  Travis and Callie return the captain to Gallentis, and he sets his plan into motion.  Gallentis and evil Percy disappear.  Good Percy appears on the bridge.  What about Ritson?
  16. Percy, understandably antsy, says, “I was in a mine with homicidal maniacs.  What the hell?”
  17. Nobody has told good Percy about evil Percy yet.
  18. Did Parker’s plan succeed?  Travis and Callie do not know.

Next:  The Prisoner, with more about the Orchard.



Feast of Edgar J. Goodspeed (January 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  The University of Chicago

Image in the Public Domain



U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator


In the beginning the Word existed.  The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.

It was he that was with God in the beginning. Everything came into existence through him, and apart from him nothing came to be.  It was by him that life came into existence, and that life was the light of mankind.  The light is still shining in the darkness, for the darkness has never put it out.

There appeared a man by the name of John, with a message from God.  He came to give testimony, to testify to the light, so that everyone might come to believe in it through him.  He was not the light; he came to testify to the light.

The real light, which sheds light upon everyone, was just coming into the world.  He came into the world, and though the world came into existence through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to his home, and his own family did not welcome him.  But to all who did receive him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God, owing their birth not to nature nor to any human or physical impulse, but to God.

So the Word became flesh and blood and lived for a while among us, abounding in blessing and truth, and we saw the honor God had given him, such honor as an only son receives from his father.  (John testified to him and cried out–for it was he who said it–“He who was to come after me is now ahead of me, for he existed before me!”)

For from his abundance we have all had a share, and received blessing after blessing.  For while the Law was given through Moses, blessing and truth came to us through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; it is the divine Only Son, who leans upon his Father’s breast, that has made him known.

–John 1:1-18, The New Testament:  An American Translation (1923)


Edgar J. Goodspeed comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his translation of the New Testament and the Apocrypha, as well as from The Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the general article, “The Canon of the New Testament,” for Volume I (1952), of The Interpreter’s Bible.



Before I write about our saint, I choose to distinguish between the two Edgar J. Goodspeeds–uncle and nephew–and to explain which one was which.  Some print and online sources conflate the two men.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (1833-1881) and his brother, Thomas Wake Goodspeed, were Baptist ministers.  This Edgar J. Goodspeed served as the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, from 1864 to 1876.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (October 23, 1871, in Quincy, Illinois-January 13, 1962, in Bel Air, California), the topic of this post, was a son of Thomas Wake Goodspeed and Mary Ten Broek.

As I advise my students in history courses, keep the facts straight and the chronology in order.  I think about that counsel when I read sources that list Edgar J. Goodspeed (1871-1962) as the pastor of Second Baptist Church, Chicago, from 1864 to 1876, and Edgar J. Goodspeed (1833-1881) as the translator of An American Translation of the New Testament (1923) and the Apocrypha (1938).  This is a matter of history, not a Doctor Who story.




Edgar J. Goodspeed came from a family with traditions of academia, intellectualism, and Baptist ministry.  His father, deeply involved in The University of Chicago, taught his son to embrace education.  This family milieu influenced the course of his life.  Goodspeed earned his B.A. degree from Denison University, Granville, Ohio (1890), studied Semitic languages at Yale University in 1890-1891, and pursued graduate studies at The University of Chicago, culminating in his Ph.D. in 1898.  While a graduate student in Chicago, Goodspeed taught classics at Morgan Park Academy and the South Side Academy, Chicago.  After studying in Europe and Palestine (1898-1900), our saint joined the faculty of The University of Chicago in 1900.  He remained there for 37 years.  Goodspeed became the Professor of Biblical and Patristic Greek (1915) and the Chairman of the Department of New Testament and Early Christian Literature (1923).  He also built up the university’s collection of New Testament manuscripts.

Goodspeed, a fine scholar, wrote books and articles for academic audiences, as well as books for general audiences.  He translated the New Testament (1923), the Apocrypha (1938), and the Apostolic Fathers (1950).  He also helped to translate the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952).  His original works for popular audiences included:

  1. The Story of the New Testament (1916, 1928),
  2. The Story of the Old Testament (1934),
  3. The Story of the Bible (1936),
  4. Introduction to the New Testament (1937),
  5. The Story of the Apocrypha (1939),
  6. How Came the Bible? (1940),
  7. How to Read the Bible (1946),
  8. Paul (1947), and
  9. A Life of Jesus (1956).

Goodspeed was a fairly liberal yet not revolutionary scholar.  He wrote, for example, that some of the Pauline epistles were not of St. Paul the Apostle and that St. John the Divine/Evangelist/Apostle did not write and could not have composed the Gospel of John.  These positions have continued to irritate fundamentalists, who tend to have low thresholds for becoming irritated.

Goodspeed retired to Bel Air, California, in 1937.  He died at the age of 90 years, in 1962.

His written legacy persists, fortunately.








O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Edgar J. Goodspeed and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34






Flagrant Disregard for Continuity   2 comments

I am an old-school Trekkie.  I remember a time when available Star Trek consisted of the 1966-1969 episodes in reruns on local stations, a handful of movies in VHS format, and, when the gods smiles, reruns of the 1973-1975 animated series on cable television.  I recall possessing a large library of VHS cassettes full of episodes I recorded.  My earliest memory of Star Trek is the classic episode Metamorphosis, which originally aired in 1967.  I can recite Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan (1982) word-for-word and, when I listen to the soundtrack, know exactly what is happening.  I know that Prime timeline stories ended with the lamentable Star Trek:  Nemesis (2002), and that, regardless of what anyone says, the events of the equally lamentable Star Trek:  Enterprise (2001-2005) exist in a parallel universe created in Star Trek:  First Contact (1996) and do not precede the original series in universe.

I also know that Star Trek‘s Prime Timeline is a sequence of period pieces.  Each incarnation of the Enterprise is a given size and looks a certain way.  The level of technology is what it is.  The uniforms are what they are.  The bridge design is what it is.  Continuity matters.  Maintaining it is a matter of respect for the franchise.

I have no use for the open contempt for human dignity that many critics of Star Trek:  Discovery and other series (notably Series 11 of Doctor Who) spew.  The misogyny, sexism, and homophobia of these individuals is wrong.  These critics also seem not to grasp that socially progressive politics have been part of Doctor Who since 1963 and Star Trek since 1964.  Do these critics forget A Private Little War, classic Star Trek‘s critique of the Vietnam War?  The Daleks, who debuted in one the earliest First Doctor serials, are an unveiled allegory of fascism in general and of Nazism in particular.  I also remember Patterns of Force, a classic Star Trek episode that used reproductions of Nazi uniforms.  In a related matter, I remember that, when news of the recasting of Starbuck (renamed Kara Thrace) in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica broke in 2003, many people complained about political correctness.  I also recall that Katee Sackhoff played that role brilliantly.

My main critique of Star Trek:  Discovery is that it openly shows disregard for continuity in both visual style and story content.  If one is going to film a prequel series to the original series, one should reproduce the look of the technology and uniforms, and mind the chronology meticulously.

My comment to all those is responsible for this abomination of a series is,

I hope your series fails miserably and ends as soon as possible.  Stop insulting those of us who care about our franchises. Don’t let the door hit you where the dog should have bit you.  If you want to take such liberties with details, create your own fictional universe in which to set your stories.




Generational Experiences, Memories, and Knowledge   Leave a comment

Tomorrow I will begin to teach my Fall Semester 2018 sections of United States History I (through 1877) at the Oconee Campus of the University of North Georgia

Whenever I prepare lessons, I think about generational experiences, memories, and knowledge.  The birth years of my students range from 1995 to 2001, with the greatest concentration of in 1999 and 2000.  Given that my memory reaches back to the 1970s, I am beginning to feel relatively old.  I find that PowerPoint is not a useful tool for teaching history; besides, most people who give PowerPoint presentations seem just to read their slides.  (I can read slides; why are people reading them to me?)  Neither do I teach from a script.  No, I teach from skeletal notes.  This means that, after I prepare and as I teach, I speak not quite extemporaneously.  I understand the material, but have no prepared comments.  This means that I have to watch my references.

Technological and cultural references are especially tricky.  I recall that once I confused a student when I said “typewriter.”  My Saturday Night Live references from the Dana Carvey-Phil Hartman era fall flat as nobody recognizes the reference to the Church Lady.  (“Isn’t that special?” “Could it be Satan?”)  These students have no memory of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Most of them have little sense of historical perspective; the 1990s might as well be ancient history for them.  If they do not remember it, it is ancient history, by their standards.  Books seem to be objects of curiosity for many of my students, who are addicted to screens anyway, and who mistake searching via Google for conducting research.

I come from a certain bookish background and a particular time.  Nine thick dictionaries and a thesaurus are on my desk.  I do not need nine dictionaries, but I like them.  The smell of old paper inspires great joy in me.  I like to hold a book. read, and turn pages.  I have no television or streaming service, and want none.  Days pass without me turning on my television set.  I enjoy screening foreign art movies as well as Marx Brothers films.  The original, British version of House of Cards (all three miniseries) is superior to the American version, I know.  Torchwood:  Children of Earth breaks my heart every time I watch it.  Tom Baker is the best actor to have played the Doctor; that is obvious.

I perceive the world differently than my students do partially because I have more and different experiences than they do.  My students are, for better and worse–hopefully more of the former than the latter–part of the future.  I hope to contribute to the shaping of that future, for the better, as I pass on to my students much of what I know.




Spiritual Life and Cinema   1 comment

Above:  A Screen Capture from Bicycle Thieves (1948)


I am preparing to start my fourth year as the person who chooses films for the Spiritual Life Movie Series at my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  On the last Friday of each month, from January to October, I screen a film.  Others set up the equipment, arrange the chairs, and bring the refreshments.  My selections range from classics, such as Citizen Kane (1941) and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s revolutionary The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), the latter of which Spanish Fascist dictator Francisco Franco banned for its apparently leftist politics, to more recent works, such as Away from Her (2006)Second Best (1994), and Doubt (2008).  I program an occasional documentary, such as The Overnighters (2014).  Quality is of the essence.  Toward that end I avoid openly evangelical films, which hold no appeal to me.  Art, however, fascinates me.  At least one spiritual theme is mandatory, however.  Regardless of my great affection for the 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda (the one remade as The Androids of Tara during the Key to Time season (1978-1979) of Doctor Who), I cannot find a spiritual lesson in that classic movie.

That I find myself doing this monthly task (1) makes sense, (2) contributes to the life of the parish, (3) fulfills a need I have to share great movies, and (4) confirms that I am at the right place at the right time.  I recall feeling out-of-place in many of the congregations in which I worshiped prior to August 2005, when I arrived in Athens, Georgia, and transferred to St. Gregory the Great Church.  I cannot imagine screening movies of my liking at any of the previous churches–certainly not in the rural United Methodist churches in which my father served.  Now I rejoice to have become integrated into the parish to which I have belonged for more than 12 years.

The first movie of the 2018 season (my fourth year) will be Bicycle Thieves (1948), a film also known in English as The Bicycle Thief.  The haunting masterpiece, superficially about the search for a stolen bicycle, a vehicle essential for one man to work, and therefore to feed and clothe his family in post-World War II Rome, Italy, is really about what happens to the father and his young son along the way.  This choice is consistent with my appetite for Italian art movies.  A good story can teach a spiritual lesson or a set of lessons without becoming preachy.  Wonderful cinematography accompanying that story adds to one’s experience of art.

As long as I have this opportunity to direct this series of movie screenings, I intend to (1) enjoy doing so and (2) do my best.