Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shatner's Kirk Not Aboard for New 'Star Trek'

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- The original Capt. Kirk is disheartened he won't get to boldly go anywhere with his old pal Spock in the new "Star Trek" movie.

While Leonard Nimoy is reprising his role as the pointy-eared Vulcan in next year's science-fiction flick, William Shatner is not on board as Kirk.

"I couldn't believe it. I'm not in the movie at all. Leonard, God bless his heart, is in, but not me," Shatner, 76, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I thought, what a decision to make, since it obviously is a decision not to make use of the popularity I have to ensure the movie has good box office. It didn't seem to be a wise business decision."

Director J.J. Abrams announced last summer that Nimoy would reprise the role he originated opposite Shatner in the 1960s television show and played again in six big-screen adventures.

Abrams said Shatner probably would have a part in the film, which is due in theaters in December 2008. But while Shatner said he had a couple of meetings with Abrams, nothing came of it.

Abrams' "Trek" film, whose plot is being kept under wraps by distributor Paramount, recounts an early adventure for the crew of the starship Enterprise, with Chris Pines as the young Kirk and Zachary Quinto as the young Spock.

The cast includes Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Simon Pegg as engineer Scott, John Cho as helmsman Sulu, Zoe Saldana as communications officer Uhura and Anton Yelchin as navigator Chekov, roles respectively originated by DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig.

Past "Trek" films presented an obstacle to the revival of Shatner's Kirk, who died at the end of 1994's "Star Trek: Generations."

But in science fiction, you can never truly say die.

Spock was killed off in 1982's "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" then resurrected in 1984's "Star Trek: The Search for Spock," with Nimoy's Vulcan living on to co-star in three more films, two episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and now Abrams' new movie.

"I've got a lot to do," said Shatner, whose current work includes the TV show "Boston Legal," narration for the Christmas spoof "Stalking Santa" due on DVD on Nov. 6, and the prequel "Star Trek: Academy — Collision Course," a novel chronicling Kirk and Spock's first meeting.

Shatner says of "Star Trek": "Having been in on the creation of it, I was hoping to be in on the re-creation."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autism Speaks - Walk Now for Autism 2007 - this Saturday, Oct. 27

This Saturday, October 27, my family and I will be participating in a very special event, WALK NOW For Autism benefiting the Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now Foundation. WALK NOW FOR AUTISM unites the community in support of those affected by autism with a noncompetitive 5K walk and community resource fair, where parents meet a variety of autism service providers and kids enjoy arts & crafts, moon bounces and other fun activities. Experience the power of thousands united by a single cause by joining WALK NOW FOR AUTISM: the fast-growing, family-friendly community dedicated to raising necessary funds for autism research, awareness and outreach.

You may be wondering why Cure Autism Now and WALK NOW are so important to me and my family. My involvement stems from a very personal and deep emotional contact with this complicated disease.

My 8-year-old son, Sean, was diagnosed with a form of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, five years ago. I am very proud of Sean and impressed with his progress so far thanks to hard work on his part, our part and an excellent program within the Cy-Fair School District.

I strongly feel that I can have a direct impact on finding causes and cures for autism. I also feel strongly that Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now is a wonderful organization which has been instrumental in furthering autism research. In 1995, when Cure Autism Now was founded there were only 12 researches focused solely on autism. Today there are over 300. That is progress. WALK NOW gives us a tangible way to help the nearly 1.5 million other Americans affected by autism and related disorders.

I am asking for your support in helping us raise money for this worthy cause. Any contribution you are able to make would be greatly appreciated, but I ask you to give big as there is a big need for further research. My personal goal is to raise $500.00 for Cure Autism Now and I hope to far exceed that goal. Last year I raised over $750!

It is easiest to donate online by going to our personal webpage at

Sean's Walk Now For Autism page

If you are unable to donate online, you can print out a donation form from that page and hand it to me. All checks should be made payable to Cure Autism Now.

Please feel free to forward this e-mail on.


Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. A cure must be found NOW. Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that is commonly diagnosed by the age of three, and in some cases, as early as one year. Affecting one in every 150 children born today, autism is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior. The money raised at WALK NOW FOR AUTISM supports Autism Speaks / Cure Autism Now's mission to find the causes, effective treatments and a cure for autism through funding essential biomedical and scientific research.

About Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now
Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now are dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. Cure Autism Now was founded in 1995 by Jonathan Shestack and Portia Iversen, parents of a child with autism. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now (CAN) recently announced plans to combine operations, bringing together the two leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism; to increasing awareness of the nation's fastest-growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. Together the organizations have awarded autism research grants valued at more than $50 million. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit To learn more about Cure Autism Now, please visit .

About Autism

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder of development that lasts throughout a person's lifetime. Because persons with autism exhibit different symptoms or behaviors, ranging from mild to serious, autism is a "spectrum" disorder, or a group of disorders with a range of similar features.

Children with autism have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Many individuals with autism seem to retreat into isolation, or fixate on a word, an object, or an activity.

Sometimes symptoms are seen in infancy, while other children develop normally for a year or more before they begin to slip into their own private world. At best, a high functioning person with autism may simply seem eccentric, a loner. At worst, a person with more profound autism may never learn to speak or care for themselves.

You are never prepared for a child with autism. You will gradually come to believe it, but never fully accept it, get used to it, or get over it. You put away the hopes and dreams you had for that child - the high school graduation, the June wedding. Small victories are cause for celebration - a word mastered, a dry bed, a hug given freely.


I look forward to hearing from you. I thank you very much!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Staite: No Serenity 2 In Works

Jewel Staite, who played Kaylee in Joss Whedon's Serenity, told fans on her blog not to believe rumors of a sequel film.

"Let's address these Serenity 2 rumors before anything else," Staite wrote. "I have no idea what you people are talking about! Seems to me someone (with a name that starts with A and ends in LAN) said something in an interview that was misconstrued as the sequel being green-lit, which is not the case at the moment. I will never say it will never happen, because that's just blasphemy in my opinion, but it's not happening at the moment, ... no matter what you read on the Internet."

Staite referred to comments made by her Serenity/Firefly co-star Alan Tudyk, who played Walsh, to hinting that a sequel was in the works. Tudyk's character was memorably killed off in 2005's Serenity, which was a film spinoff of the cult Fox SF series Firefly.

Staite can now be seen playing Dr. Jennifer Keller on SCI FI Channel's original series Stargate Atlantis.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader

Since 1988, the Bathroom Readers' Institute has led the movement to stand up for those who sit down and read in the bathroom. The Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series is the longest-running, most popular series of its kind in the publishing industry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lucas to do live-action Star Wars TV series

LOS ANGELES — The Force may soon be coming to a television near you.

George Lucas is planning a live-action television series spinoff of the Star Wars film franchise.

Lucas told The Los Angeles Times he has "just begun work" on the series, which will not include the films' major characters Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader.

"The Skywalkers aren't in it, and it's about minor characters," Lucas told the Times on Tuesday.

Lucas wouldn't reveal details, but joked that the series would be about "the life of robots."

Lucas, 63, already has another television series in the works. Lucasfilm Animation has been working for months on the computer-animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cho, Pegg Beam Up To Trek

Forget James McAvoy and Paul McGillion: Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg will play Scotty in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek movie, Variety reported.

John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle), meanwhile, assumes the role of helmsman Sulu, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

English actor Pegg, who had a brief but memorable role in Abrams' Mission: Impossible III, takes over the role of the U.S.S. Enterprise's chief engineer, Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, a role originally played by James Doohan in the TV series and subsequent films. (Chronicles of Narnia's McAvoy and Stargate Atlantis' McGillion had both been rumored to be up for the role.)

Cho, meanwhile, will take on the role of Hikaru Sulu from George Takei. Sulu was known for his love of fencing and was always seen on deck piloting the ship next to Chekov.

Pegg and Cho join a cast that already includes Eric Bana, Anton Yelchin, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Leonard Nimoy.

Written by Transformers scripters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the new Star Trek chronicles the early days of James T. Kirk and his crew. Chris Pine has reportedly been offered the role of Kirk.

Paramount has set a November start date for the film, which will hit theaters on Christmas Day 2008.

Pegg was last seen in Hot Fuzz, directed by his Shaun partner Edgar Wright.

SkyOrb VR'06

See the stars and planets in 3D and from any vantage point--not just Earth.

From any location in space, this freebie calculates the positions of planets, sun, and moon, as well as the rise and set times of the object's satellites. SkyOrb quickly does 3D rendering of views from space, including solar and lunar eclipses, solstices and equinoxes. Very cool.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pine As Kirk, Bana In Trek?

The Hollywood Reporter speculated that newcomer Chris Pine is in talks to star as Capt. James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek movie, joining Eric Bana, who was cast on Oct. 9 as the principal villain, Nero.

It is unknown whether Bana will play a human or a member of an alien race, like a Klingon.

Pine's biggest gig to date has been the male lead in the 2006 Lindsay Lohan movie Just My Luck. He also played a neo-Nazi assassin in Smokin' Aces.

Sources told the trade paper that Star Trek will shoot from November through March.

The cast already includes Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Zachary Quinto as Spock and Zoe Saldana as Uhura.

Trek Film Details Confirmed

Roberto Orci, who with partner Alex Kurtzman is writing J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movie, confirmed to that the movie will focus on the core characters of Capt. Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy.

"That is a big part of what we are doing," Orci told the site. "You are correct that their interaction and how they face the impossible is what Trek is about, and that is no different in our movie."

Orci declined to comment on casting rumors for the movie. "We have ideas, and some of those rumored out there we are considering [for Kirk]," he said. "We are not hiding anything as some people on your site are speculating. It is not uncommon and we are trying to come up with the best cast as possible, and as long as we get them by shooting, that is all we care about."

So far, the only officially confirmed cast members are Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. But Orci hinted that other minor characters from the original series, such as Yeoman Rand or Nurse Chapel, may appear as well.

"Yes," Orci said, adding: "I can't say which. We are aware of all of them, but we are mindful that you can't just try and stuff everything into a first movie just to stuff it in. Our hope is that this is 'movie one' of several, and so anyone who gets omitted is immediately on the list for movie two. It is a factor of what can one movie tolerate and how well can a character be serviced, and if they can't be serviced correctly, we would rather do it well later than do it poorly now."

Orci said he and Kurtzman have completed a new draft of the script for the film. "It is better," he said. "It is tighter. The villain is much better; in a first draft you tend to focus on your heroes. And I got to say that a lot of the things we read on contributed to the second rewrite."

Star Trek is slated to be released on Christmas Day 2008.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Asynx Planetarium

Ease your way into astronomy with this program's night-by-night star charts.

If you're just starting out in astronomy and feel a little overwhelmed with star charting, the free Asynx Planetarium is ideal. You can grab an overview of the night sky for tonight, or for the next night you're outside looking up.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tracy McGrady, left, and Yao Ming watch fans trying to slam dunk at today's basketball scrimmage in Houston.