Category Archives: Fortress of Solitude

Biblophile:Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four


Maybe you have heard the phrases “that’s Orwellian” or “Big Brother is watching” well this comes from a novel written by George Orwell entitled Nineteen Eighty-Four or sometimes published as 1984.

Chances are you might have known the source of these phrases. So I think we should follow with the next question…

Have you read it?

I find that a lot of times people know of books. They have never really  read the book. They simply know about the book.

Sometimes they have seen a Hallmark presentation or film adaptation of the book. But have never really sat and read the book for themselves.

I can not tell you enough about how important it is for you to read. The reason we post a new book each month is to help inspire and motivate you to read. So read something new each month.

This month our book of the month is 1984.

So what if you read it…read it again!

That’s right you heard me. Read eight to ten pages a night before bed. In a month you just read a book.  So what if you read it in high school. Your reading one book each month.This month it’s 1984 or Nineteen Eighty-Four. A book a month is good for you.

No… you will not become Henry Bemis!


Look if it makes you feel better this book like Fahrenheit 451 has been banned, burned, challenged as subversive and has been called ideologically corrupting.

So here is a good reason to read it…

because they don’t want you too…



May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


At the Fortress

An article from the Fortress of Solitude

fortressTHE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE-  Long before there was a Superman, before there was a Batman there was our hero Doc Savage. And yes comic fans he is the source material for most of the great aspects of our favorite comics.One of these concepts is the lair, the place to retreat to… the Fortress of Solitude. Doc Savages’ Fortress of Solitude  was constructed by him and a team member Renny ( yes before the Avengers and X-men Doc had a specialized team). Large sections were fabricated and the materials and construction crews were then airlifted on huge cargo planes to a remote area of the Arctic where the great dome was constructed. The Fortress served as a retreat where Doc could go to spend long uninterrupted periods of time studying, experimenting  and pursuing his interests.For our purposes, the Fortress of Solitude is where we will discuss the things that interest us… our studies , experiments, hobbies and interests and where we go to retreat from the outside world in order to pursue them.


solitudeAt The Fortress

I have received a lot of questions regarding what the fortress is and where it’s located. Many people think it’s just another example of the Man cave. For our purposes the Fortress is actually a state of being.

Growing up my father took us on weekend fishing trips. Going fishing was my fathers Fortress. He could get away from everything and everyone and fish. There was something about the calm quiet serene environment that put him at ease.

I have a lot of friends that enjoy camping and hiking that feel exactly the same way. They leave the world behind and go off to be alone with creation. This is where I heard the phrase going off grid for the first time. People who go off leaving behind the world. Even if it was for only a day they are without phones and texts and tweets. No one can get a hold of them and they don’t care.

The bible records many instances where Jesus went off grid.

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35


But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:15-16


We see that Jesus withdrew in order to pray and seek Gods will for him. From the passage of Mark we see this continue:

Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” Mark 1:36-38


The passage gives the impression that Jesus gained new perspective though his slipping away to pray.

The idea of withdrawing is nothing new. The need to recharge your batteries or to gain new perspective is something I believe everyone needs. Taking time for our selves should be part of our lives.

The idea of unplugging or pulling away or withdrawing from the outside world was really first introduced to me when I read Doc Savage: Man of Bronze. The story begins with Docs friends gathering on the 86th floor and telling Doc the details surrounding his fathers death.

Doc had been away at the Fortress of Solitude studying and working on important research. While there, Doc was completely cut off from the outside world. Even the knowledge of his fathers death did not reach him until he was returning from his arctic hideaway.

The Idea of withdrawing from the outside world in order to enjoy peace and quite or for prayer and mediation or to gain a new perspective and direction or for study and research all have one factor in common…The element of solitude.

The idea of getting your own time alone free from distractions and the demands of daily life is essential for your sanity. The fortress does not have to be a place. It can just be time alone. A walk in the park, a visit to the zoo, a look around the art gallery or just watching a marathon of television episodes ( BSG Virus ).

For me it tends to be an excessive-compulsion to learn everything about a subject right now…which means I tend to abandon everything else. I take up a new interest and eat sleep and drink it for weeks-even months- at the expense of other areas of my life. One of the reasons I began writing about these different subjects was because I was trying to strike a balance in my life rather than just running off like a dog chasing a car.

Back when cameras had film in them (you know film that needed to be developed) amateur photographers had darkrooms in their homes. If the red light was on above the door you couldn’t go in because the were processing film. We need something like this.

We need a way in life to tell others we are currently @ Fortress be back soon. Then we need for society to simply accept the fact that we all need time alone.

No exceptions.

Hopefully this clears up any misconception you have about going to the fortress. While it can be a physical place it is also the act of withdrawing in order to purse those interests, hobbies, studies and experiments.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

The Barbarian


This image appears on both our Twitter and Facebook pages. This is a fansite. I am… even at age fifty… an enormous fanboy.

Wait… that didn’t sound right. OK, I am a little overweight but that’s not how I meant enormous. What I mean is that I still love the things that filled my childhood with wonder.

1977 – So I was in a Drug store looking thought the paperbacks and magazines when I first Saw The Barbarian. This image was on the cover of a book called Conan The Adventurer.

The character of Conan came alive with this cover. I bought the book immediately. I wanted to know who this Conan was. This series published by Ace ran for 12 books and I collected them all. Each cover offered another dazzling depiction of Conan engaged in fierce battle.

I bought each book because of the cover.

Robert E. Howard’s barbarian was fully realized in the compelling illustrations of Frank Franzetta.

While there are other wonderful fantasy artists ( Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Luis Royo to name a few) none have created images that have haunted my minds eye the way Franzettta’s have. Some of these visionary images include Conan, Tarzan, John Carter, King Kong, Vampirella and even Gollum.  All are brilliantly captured by Fanzetta.

His most famous piece of work has to be the Death Dealer which has been adopted by the III Corps of the US Army as their mascot. A life-size metal statue of the Death Dealer stands outside the III Corps headquarters building in Fort Hood, Texas.

Chicago schools have the best field trips in the world. The Planetarium, the Shed Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Art Institute are just a few places on the list. So why is it that after visiting the Art Institute so many times that I prefer  Franzetta’s work over those of grand masters and celebrated artists?

Because I am Geekus Extremus right?

Well actually no.

Franzetta’s work is now celebrated by the art community. For years to come, we will continue to reap the benefit of artists and illustrators who were inspired by his work . Turns out I just had an eye for a gifted artist.

Go Geekus!

What moved me about this artist and his work has since moved and inspired millions. If you are a lover of fantasy then take the time to view his work.

To learn more click on the Barbarian.

To see more of his work visit

We hope you enjoy this featured artist. This month marks his 86th birthday.



May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper



Biblophile:The Hobbit

tolkienJohn Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born January 3, 1892. The vision of his collective works have filled the hearts and minds of his fans since the publication of his first work The Hobbit or There and Back Again in 1937.



With the theatrical release of The Desolation of Smaug crossing over into Tolkiens birthday it only seems appropriate that this months reading should be The Hobbit.


As I have said so many times that I never so completely identified with a character as I did when I read about Bilbo.


The films themselves have so many fans that the film fans call themselves Ringers. (Yes I am a Ringer) However I encourage all of you to take the time this month to read the book.


Maybe you have already read the book. Then I challenge you to take the time to read it again.


If you liked this you will like…


0510132141a(Click the picture to go to article)

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


Cinephile: INTO DARKNESS Part 1

The Mudd and Gorn View



I know you have been waiting for months.

Why haven’t we Viewed it?

The film has been out forever.

So why did we wait to give you our View?

Because we wanted everyone to have a chance to see it before we discuss it. If you haven’t figured it out by now these are not really reviews.They are more like discussions of the films. This is why we started calling them View’s rather than reviews.

There has been a lot of Trekker based controversy surrounding the film. If you are a regular reader then you know where we stand. If you are not, at the end of this article we have placed  links to 47 Years and our View of the first Star Trek film from 2009.

But before we begin we need to do this…

WARNING- I hate when people tell me things or reveal things about a film before I have had a chance to see it. So be warned from this point forward you read at your own risk. See the Film First…

How should we start? let’s do this. We will give the film view, then the Extremus View, then we will discuss film controversy and then we will talk Easter eggs from both films.

Film View

This an action adventure film. It is brilliant. Which it should be. It’s what we want and expect. I remember when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979. The article in the Sunday paper was huge. Every kid had seen what they did with Star Wars and our minds were racing. The Klingon battles in space would be spectacular. The aliens would be awesome.

This was after all Star Trek.

What we got was a really bad movie. I mean really bad. This was not a fan movie. This was not an action movie. In fact… I don’t know what it was.

Well actually I do.

The creators saw an opportunity to cash in on the Trekkies. Yes I said Trekkies not Trekkers. This has nothing to do with elitist fan movements or conventions.Trekkies were the kids growing up watching these re-runs everyday for years. These same kids filled the theaters when Star Wars was released. So they took the aging crew of the original series and threw them into a film. The problems were many, including the fact that they did not know their audience. Or their subject for that matter. We wanted to see Star Trek with a real budget. Shatner and Nimoy were both in their late forties when the film series began. Shatner was sixty-six when “Generations” was released in 1997.

Whats my point?

Exploitation that’s my point.

Case-in-point Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. They realized that they had a cash-cow waiting to be milked. But they failed to connect with their audience. So they reached back into the old series and created a story line based on Episode 22 from season one entitled “Space Seed.”  A fan favorite. Ricardo Montalbán who played Khan Noonien Singh in the original episode returned as Khan.

Again the creators did not have a clue.

Again they missed their mark.

An entire planet exploded. This went completely unrecorded? Then no one took notice that a charted planet was missing when they entered this sector of space?

Really? …who writes this stuff?

Another example is the fact that Khan knows Chekov. He remembers him. Chekov did not join the crew until Episode 1 in Season Two entitled “Amok Time.” So when did they meet? By then Khan was already marooned. 

There are a few redeeming factors in the film. Ricardo Montalbán’s performance in Star trek II was brilliant. His characterization created one of the greatest screen villains of all time. This is the only film from the series that I like. Or will watch for that matter. Mainly because of Ricardo Montalbán’s performance.

This film also gave us the Kobayashi Maru test. This – like Ricardo’s performance- was the one of the few redeeming moments of the film. This was a substitute of an opening action sequence since the crew was now in their 50’s. In fact most of the plot points were generated to create drama and dialog not action.

Like the fact that we find out that Kirk was married and has a son he never sees.

Really? …and that was just all good with the fans?

A man of character… a man of honor… who is revered and loved… but who never sees his son?

Even when he was an earth-bound Admiral?  ..hardly.

Really… who writes this stuff?

They were throwing anything at the screen to see what would stick…

…like a genesis device.

Star Trek into Darkness is not a remake of Wrath of Khan. It is a sequel to 2009’s Star Trek. The Romulan ship that forever changed time continues to having a resonating effect in the world of Kirk and his crew. Admiral Marcus searching space finds and identified Khans ship. He revives Khan believing Khan could give Starfleet an edge both against the rising Klingon threat as well as future threats like the one the Romulan ship offered. Marcus uses the lives of Khans crew against him. Khan believes them to be dead.

Khans response is in like kind.

The fact that Kirk would meet Khan is inevitable. Their futures are entwined. As we discussed in the 2009 Star Trek post they realize their destinies as a matter of divine providence.

The result of this meeting is that Pike dies and Kirk wants revenge. Here in lies the pressing question of our age… How do we handle an enemy who walks among us? How do we respond to a terrorist attack?

Khan and Kirk are both driven by the desire for revenge. Here we see a study in character from both perspectives.

The Star Trek that J.J. Abrams has presented is not the old Trek filled with intellectual and philosophical challenges. His Trek offers us spiritual questions… and struggles.

Kirk without regard for ship or crew pursues Khan to the edge of the neutral zone. The plan is to kill Khan who is hiding on Kronos with some new tech… photon torpedoes.

Jim..For the love of God, don’t use those torpedoes.-Scotty

Here we have the defining moment of Kirk’s character. To kill Khan or bring him to Justice.

These actors are doing a fantastic job of reviving these characters and redefining them for a new generation.That being said Benedict Cumberbatch is.. well…Better.

His performance out shines this brilliant cast.The Khan we see here is more like the Khan of Space Seed. A calculating planner. He is also a ruthless killer.

While he was given license to kill Kirk chooses justice over vengeance. He chose …as his crew was hoping he would …to bring Khan in alive.

In the James Bond film Skyfall released in 2012 an important question was answered. Is James Bond a code name for the double-O agent 7 or is James Bond a real person? Fans for years have speculated that, like Doctor Who, the men change but the code name remains. Skyfall answered that question once and for all.

A question I have always had is how did Kirk ever earn the level of respect and loyalty that his crew shows him. What was his defining moment?

Let’s look at  Episode 20 from season one entitled “The court Martial“. Yes this is TOS. In this episode Kirk is on trial for the for causing the death of a crew member. The computers video image shows Kirk pushing the wrong button which resulted in a mans death. Kirk insists he did not do it. His crew believes him.

I wonder if there was a video showing that I did something wrong… would my friends and loved ones believe me over what they were seeing on video?

Kirks crew did.


Why such loyalty? It was never explained in the series. In Trek Nation Rod Jr. shows J.J. Abrams some footage of his father hoping that someone would one day tell the story of the origin of this crew and their Captain.

This film does that in a way that exceeds all expectations. Kirk has the undying loyalty of his crew because he would give everything to save them. He lost his position at the start of the film to save his friend Spock and he gave his life to save his crew and ship in the end.

At his death, with nothing more than a faint glimpse of hope his crew risks everything to save him. Romulan ship or not …this is the best possible explanation for why this crew is bound to this captain and why they are all bound to this ship.

At the re-christening of the Enterprise at the end of the film, Kirks speech carries us into the opening monologue from the series…Space the final frontier…For the first time it’s coming from Chris Pines Kirk.

He has earned the right to speak those words.

He is now the Captain he was meant to be.


Want to read more like this…






May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper



Holcomb, Kan., Nov. 15,1959


This was the book cover of the trade paperback that I read. There was a book swap at the local library where I worked after school shelving books. Something about the brutal starkness of the cover…  I found it compelling. There is nothing really exceptional about it. Yet there was…and for me there still is.

Maybe it was the same for Truman Capote.

In Cold Blood was first published as a serial in four-parts for The New Yorker. The first  part being published in September 1965. In January of 1966 it was published for the first time as a book by Random House. The cover art was created by S. Neil Fujita. Capote after seeing the original design requested that the blood on the hat pin be darkened to suggest the passage of time. This change, combined with the black border is completely unsettling in some way.

I bought the book because of the cover.

When I said that I wondered if it was the same for Truman I did not mean the book cover. On November 16, 1959,  this 300-word article that gave an account of the murders was published in the New York Times. This was not a front cover story. In fact it ran on page 39.

Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain
A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife, and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged. The father, 48-year-old Herbert W. Clutter, was found in the basement with his son, Kenyon, 15. His wife Bonnie, 45, and a daughter, Nancy, 16, were in their beds. There were no signs of a struggle and nothing had been stolen. The telephone lines had been cut. “This is apparently the case of a psychopathic killer,” Sheriff Earl Robinson said. Mr. Clutter was founder of The Kansas Wheat Growers Association. In 1954, President Eisenhower appointed him to the Farm Credit Administration, but he never lived in Washington. The board represents the twelve farm credit districts in the country. Mr. Clutter served from December, 1953 until April, 1957. He declined a reappointment. He was also a local member of the Agriculture Department’s Price Stabilization Board and was active with the Great Plains Wheat Growers Association. The Clutter farm and ranch cover almost 1,000 acres in one of the richest wheat areas. Mr. Clutter, his wife and daughter were clad in pajamas. The boy was wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt. The bodies were discovered by two of Nancy’s classmates, Susan Kidwell and Nancy Ewalt. Sheriff Robinson said the last reported communication with Mr. Clutter took place last night about 9:30 PM, when the victim called Gerald Van Vleet, his business partner, who lives near by. Mr. Van Vleet said the conversation had concerned the farm and ranch. Two daughters were away. They are Beverly, a student at the University of Kansas, and Mrs. Donald G. Jarchow of Mount Carroll, Illinois.

Did this small article…compel him… the way the cover of his book compelled me? Is that why he packed up and immediately went to Holcomb? Is that why he spent almost 6 years taking over  8,000 pages of notes from hundreds of interviews, including Smith and Hickock in order to tell this story?

His previous Book was Breakfast at Tiffany’s: a short novel and three stories. Yes… thee Breakfast at Tiffany’s… which the film with Audry Hepburn is based on. This is why I wonder if it was the same for Truman Capote. Was he Compelled?

Hopefully your reading with us…hopefully you find it compelling.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


Biblophile: Salems Lot


If you have been following our book of the month club then you know that we have been reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I thought this would be a fun read with Halloween just around the corner. Salem’s Lot was originally published on October 17,1975. Exactly two weeks before Halloween. Before we discuss anything further, I think it’s time for this…

WARNING- I hate when people tell me things or reveal things about a book before I have had a chance to read it. So be warned from this point forward you read at your own risk. Read this book first…

So let’s have a discussion about evil. Can a place be inherently evil? Can a place where evil has occurred summon an evil presence to it like a lighthouse beacon?

The location where Father Abraham leads his son Issac to offer him as sacrifice to God is the same place where Christ is crucified as a sacrifice for sin. Time and again in the Bible we see locations revisited. Some for good. Some for bad. So it stands to reason that evil that occurs in a place might draw further evil to itself.

It is truly frightening when you think of it in these terms. Which is what Stephen King did. The Marsten House sitting on top of the hill overlooking the town is such a place. Old, abandon, with a history of evil, it sent out a call summoning an unspeakable evil to itself.

The oldest evil is man killing man. Brother killing brother. Cain killing Able. Cain who is cursed to walk the earth, in outer darkness, outside the grace of God. Cain who stood long before Egypt rose from the desert sands. The Nosferatu, the Vampir or the Vampire if you prefer are said to be the children of Cain. These abominations are Satan’s mockery of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ is the light of the world and those who follow him are children of that light. In contrast these vial creatures dwell in darkness and rule the night. While the faithful find salvation in the blood of the Lamb these creatures find sustenance in the blood of the living. The blood tainted by Adams sin. Christ rose from the dead. Vampires rise but are undead.

But the lord has not left us defenseless. The sun is our weapon against these creatures of darkness. As are the waters of baptism and the holy wafer which is the body of Christ. In the hands of the faithful the cross is also a powerful weapon.

To kill these creatures a wooden ash stake must be driven through their black hearts. Ash wood like the wood of the cross and just as Christ’s heart burst so must theirs be destroyed.

You probably don’t know any of this lore.  Vampires now attend high school and romance students and are conflicted about being vampires. They are no longer ten times stronger than any man. They don’t summon storms or rats or lesser minions. They don’t transform into creatures of darkness like bats or wolves. Instead they have werewolf rivals who also want to date their girlfriends.

I really miss vampires like Kurt Barlow. Those children of Cain who destroy the living by feasting on their blood. But that’s me. I like my monsters scary. Dracula for example is an awesome evil that needs some heroes to destroy him. In fact Kings inspiration for Salem’s Lot was the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. Dracula was part of his teaching curriculum at the time he wrote Salem’s Lot.

Imagine Stephen King as your teacher how cool would that be?

Anyway just as Dracula was an awesome and powerful evil that required heroes to destroy him so does Kurt Barlow. And it’s in one of these heroes that King does something original. The character of Mark Petrie is truly inspired. Raised on monsters, horror comics, magic and aurora models he in the first geek hero. All the others from the frog brothers in The Lost Boys, to Columbus in Zombieland all owe Mark Petrie for their existence. Even Joe Lamb in Super 8 is another take on Mark Petrie.


Growing up I loved the character of Mark Petrie because he was me. I was that geeky kid who spent hours learning magic tricks, building models and watching Creature Features. I knew Mark. I understood Mark. I wanted to be Mark. I wanted to destroy Barlow.

That is what a good book should do. It should pull you in and take you for a ride. Salem’s Lot gives a hell of a ride. By the way don’t you think Martin and Mister in Stake Land are a lot like Mark and Ben? I do.

I think I will leave the rest for you. I don’t want to analyze anymore of the book because I do want us to read Dracula. But I love Salem’s Lot. Wouldn’t it be cool to open a B&B in some small Maine town and call it the Marsten House? Then in the same town open an antique store called Barlow & Straker Antiques. 

In November we read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Get your copy today.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper




Biblophile: Fahrenheit 451


So if you have been reading with us this month you have been enjoying Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. We are going to look  some important aspects of the book without revealing all it has to offer but…

WARNING- I hate when people tell me things or reveal things about a book before I have had a chance to read it. So be warned from this point forward you read at your own risk. Read this book first…


The Book of Ecclesiastes is written in the form of a narrative. The author of the book acts as a Teacher or Preacher, if you will, in order to offer understanding. The Preacher explores every form of worldly pleasure. Having indulged in all that the world has to offer he is left unsatisfied. This leads to his great depression.His life lacks any real reason or purpose. He warns against seeking happiness in worldly things.

The allusions made to Ecclesiastes throughout the novel marks Montag’s progression. Like the Preacher Montag becomes disillusioned with worldly things. Jet car races, the parlor walls and even his job as fireman leave him empty. He begins seeking something meaningful. He takes a Bible from a book burning. In his taking up of God’s word he chooses to turn his back on the world. The Bible ultimately is a book of salvation. This parallels Montags need and desire to find salvation. Once redeemed  Montag then acts as a savior or Christ like character in helping others.


Initially Bradbury stated that his major theme was state based censorship. After seeing what had happened in Nazi Germany and Joseph Stalin’s “Great Purge” and then witnessing the “McCarthy era” first hand he wanted the book to show what would happen to society if censorship went to an extreme. However in the book the public not the government is to blame. This is clearly pointed out by both characters Beatty and Faber.  Later Bradbury tended to dismiss censorship as a chief motivating factor for writing the story. Instead he claimed that the real messages of Fahrenheit 451 were about the dangers of an illiterate society’s infatuation with mass media and the threat of minority and special interest groups to books. These ideas are expressed by Beatty as well.

Other themes include the resistance to conformity. The control of individuals through mass media. The government using mass media to influence society. Mass media used to suppress individualism. God’s creation offering  haven over Mans constructed society that is perishing.

Technology/Future vision

This book predates paramedics, bank machines, ear buds, flat screen television, Skype, reality television and electronic detection. Yet you find all of this and more…so read!


Until it came to Ray Bradbury’s attention in 1979, his own publisher Ballantine books, had engaged in expurgation of his original text. Here is what Ray had to say:

Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with the censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.

Imagine that the censored version was the only published version between 1973-1979 until it came to Ray’s attention.

How is this possible ?

Read the book…

It is the people not the Government who start it…

That’s spooky…


Hey speaking of spooky in October we are reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

Get your copy today…


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper




The Collectable View


Alright, I guess I have some explaining to do. Yes I wrote47 years. Yes I know that Star Trek: Into Darkness released to video on September 10th. Yes I own it. Yes I have watched it a half dozen times…

...Hello Geekus Extremus remember !

The problem is I could not bring myself to review the film.

Why you ask?

Well I couldn’t figure out why either. Then it struck me. I never reviewed the original film Star Trek from 2009. Which you really can not talk about a sequel without talking about the original. So it only seems fitting to start with the original. Plus it’s another chance to talk TREK.

OK, you got me. So this only applies to Trek films right?

Yes, I reviewed Iron Man 3 and Fast and Furious 6 without reviewing the originals. Or their sequels. Yes, I am reviewing both Trek films because I want to.

Yes, that’s the reason…So there you go.

WARNING- I hate when people tell me things or reveal things about a film before I have had a chance to see it. So be warned from this point forward you read at your own risk. See the Film First…

First lets start with the facts. Star Trek beat the Dark Knights opening Imax  record. Its opening weekend numbers alone out-grossed the entire individual runs of The Undiscovered Country, The Final Frontier, Insurrection and Nemesis. The film is the highest-grossing in  the entire Star Trek film franchise to date. Adjusted and unadjusted for inflation, it beat Star Trek: First Contact for the largest American opening for a Star Trek film. With a total worldwide box office gross of $385,494,555 Star Trek is the seventh highest-grossing film for 2009. In 2010, it was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for Best makeup making it the first Star Trek film to receive an Academy Award.

So why was it so successful? Are the Trekkies just willing to jump at anything Trek? No the poor box office turns of past films proves that Trekkies will not waste hard earned coin on bad Trek. Look at the box office totals on Nemesis.

The Geekus Extremus View

This film is successful for one reason… Divine providence. In the world of TOS Trek we know these characters. We know their stories. This film changes all of that right from the beginning by changing time. The lives of the entire crew have been altered as a result of Spoke Prime and the Romulan ship.

Kirk is being raised fatherless like so many children. His mother who is apparently more interested in her own pursuits leaves him in another mans care. Kirk is reckless, rebellious and self destructive. We know as result of a conversation with Spoke Prime that Kirks father in the other time frame was there for him and was the reason Kirk joined Starfleet. Who will be that guiding force now? (enter Christopher Pike)

Spock is a child of two worlds. How many children are born of two cultures neither accepting a mixed child ? What we see of his development is that he is an outcast. As a child we see that he is mistreated and abused because of his human mother. On what should be his proudest day those same sentiments are expressed by the Vulcan High Counsel. Was this always Spocks history? Is this why Spock Prime joined Starfleet?

Now here’s the question: are we who we are as a result of our environment or do we realize our destinies as a matter of divine providence? How many people suffer terrible set backs, short comings and life shattering trials then wonder if their life would have always turned out the same way if things had been different?

Quietly and suttelly this film answers that question for us. And the answer is one that gives us hope. Our ultimate destiny is unalterable. In spite of the altered time and the changes in the lives of the characters their destinies have not changed.

Kirk is meant to be the Captain of the Enterprise. Spock is meant to be his friend. His crew is meant to be his family. Not even Romulans, Spock Prime and a jug of red matter can change that.

The Star Trek that J.J. Abrams has presented is not the old Trek filled with intellectual and philosophical challenges. His Trek offers us spiritual questions. Is there a greater guiding force alining the universe to ensure that what is to happen will happen no matter what?

Being a Christian one of the things you hear a lot from people is “how could God allow _______?” The Blank is always something terrible. The answer is not easy for people to understand. The good things and bad things that happen in this world ultimately serve Gods will.

The worst event in human history is the day the world put God to death. Beaten, tortured and crucified Christ died nailed to a cross. The world rejected who he claimed to be.They killed him in the most horrible of ways. Yet  God turned this terrible event into something wonderful. The salvation of mankind that Christ came to ensure was going to happen no matter how the world responded to him.

This is divine providence.

This film enforces this idea. It tells us that there is something greater at work in our lives. That we just need to have the faith to live our lives and fulfill our destinies as God intends them to be.

There are people who hate this film. They all have reasons. I am going to attempt to defuse some of these arguments.


1. Bad science- critics have claimed that the film is plagued with bad science. The supernova that destroyed Romulus is Hobus which by the speed of light is 500 years away. 500 years is plenty of time to evacuate a planet.

In the Enemy Within from the TOS Star Trek season 1, episode 5, Kirk comes through the transporter and is split in two. The good and evil Kirk. The problem with the science here is weight, mass and volume. The transporter is a device that moves people or objects from place to place. It is not a cloning machine. It is not a duplicator.  So if you put in a block weighing 100 lbs and there is a transporter malfunction that splits the block in two,  then each block can not weigh more than 50 lbs. Again the transporter can not create new matter it can only manipulate the object that was transported.

Whats my point ? The original series never had good science. But we loved these episodes just the same. Please note that this The Enemy Within episode was written by Richard Matheson who gave us I am legend, the Shrinking Man and Nightmare at 20,000 Feet which starred William Shatner. How’s that for Divine Providence?

2. Kirks cocky demeanor is an incorrect characterization. There is a fine line between cocky and bravado. In the old series what William Shatner brings is bravado. However he is cocky at times. Chris Pines Kirk is cocky with bravado at times. This can be attributed to youth and Pines Kirk growing into the role of Captain.

The critics point at this and say that we do not see the greatness that is Kirk. Kirk’s greatness is his instincts. Kirk see’s what everyone else misses. Chris Pines Kirk delivers this brilliantly.  Kirk’s instincts are displayed again and again throughout the film.

3. The Ship- Critics say that the Nacelles  don’t have a clear line of sight over the disc. First… what are Nacelles ? These are the housings for the warp engines. They are attached to the hull of the ship by the V-shape structure. These long tubes with glowing ends are the Nacelles. I am a modeler. I have studied the structural drawings of the ship. They have a clear line of sight over the disk.

All of the Trek films have included the slow visual tour of the outside of the ship. J.J. Abrams did not include a scene that fans look forward to. For this reason they rebelled. I  was disappointed especially since the previews show the ship under construction. You should have included the scene J.J.  …but we love the film.

However this is not a reason to hate the ship.

J. J. Abrams wanted the Enterprise to have a “hot rod” look while retaining the traditional shape. The team at Industrial Light & Magic did a brilliant job with the design of this ship. For the first time the Enterprise has a stance. If you are not familiar with this term it goes back to the Muscle car era. Car designers wanted the cars to have a stance. They should look as though they were ready to take off. Fast mean ready to move.

This ship has curves, it has attitude and the stance is awesome. It is the only ship other that the TOS original that I have wanted to build. For you modelers Polar Lights released a 1:350 scale of the TOS original with a full lighting rig and Revell Germany has issued the latest Enterprise. Both are on my “things to build before you die” list.

4. Spock- critics claim he is too emotional. First of all in the TOS series Spock grins, smirks and smiles. He is a child of two worlds.  The scene where Spock asks his mother- if she would be upset if he undergoes the right of Kolinahr  to purge all  emotion-is  clearly intended to tell the audience that this event has not taken place.

Hello…did you see the film?

Amanda Grayson is played Winona Ryder who does a wonderful job as Spock’s mother. In this small scene she was able to make us lover her enough to feel Spock’s loss at her death.

5. Spock and Uhura- Dorothy C. Fontana has clearly stated that Pon Farr is not the only time that Vulcans feel sexual desire or engage in sexual activity. Who is Dorothy C. Fontana ? A TOS writer and story editor. Pon Farr is an overpowering hormone imbalance  Vulcan males experience every seven years. Once triggered, a Vulcan must have sexual contact.  Fontana further added the following: “Vulcans mate normally any time they want to. However, every seven years you do the ritual, the ceremony, the whole thing. The biological urge. You must, but any other time is any other emotion — humanoid emotion — when you’re in love. When you want to, you know when the urge is there, you do it. This every-seven-years business was taken too literally by too many people who don’t stop and understand. We didn’t mean it only every seven years. I mean, every seven years would be a little bad, and it would not explain the Vulcans of many different ages which are not seven years apart.

So Vulcans can have a love life. These critics don’t know TOS Trek. Sarek (played by Ben Cross) explains to his son that he loved his mother. Again this supports Dorothy C. Fontana’s view of Vulcans.

OK in the TOS series, season 1 episode 2, Charlie X  Uhura sang to Spock while he played a Vulcan harp. She is flirting with him. A moment when Spock smiles. (  you see that emotion there critics?) But it was Kirk who got to kiss Uhura. You remember the first interracial kiss on television? Did you know it was suppose to be with Spock?

Was this the reason for the relationship in the 2009 film? Doesn’t matter really they are great together aren’t they?

Important  to note  “Uhura” comes from the Swahili word “uhuru” which means “freedom”. Nichelle Nichols was carrying the book Uhuru on the day she read for the part. It is from here that her character’s name was derived. Uhura’s first name “Nyota”  was created by  William Rotsler for his 1982 book,Star Trek II Biographies, with the approval of Gene Roddenberry and Nichelle Nichols. Nyota means “star” in Swahili.  The first time the name has ever been used  is in this film. Another first.

In a 2012 poll conducted by SFX Magazine to find the 100 sexiest female characters in science fiction and fantasy, Uhura, as portrayed by Zoe Saldana in this 2009 film, was voted number one.

Yes that includes Kate Beckinsale…In leather pants…Fascinating !

6. Transwarp beaming-This is new to Trek. So critics are attacking this. To be fair if we are going to talk about transporting shouldn’t we start with receivers. You remember the 1986 version of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum. Remember how he had two pods. One breaks a object down and one puts it back together. How come in Star Trek we only have a transporter on the ship? How come nothing is required on the receiving end? Shouldn’t there be a receiving platform required? Something to put people back together again? How about the other way. Your on the planet,  what sends you back to the ship? what breaks you down the way the ships transporter does?

Again we accept these things because we love Star Trek. Not because of the stellar science. So why not transwarp beaming? I loved the way Kirk meets Scotty. Delta Vega is from season 1 episode 3 Where no man has gone before. This episode also proves that Spock does have the right to maroon Kirk.

7. J.J Abrams- He made the mistake of being honest and saying that he was not a fan of the show growing up. That he was more Star Wars than Star Trek.  For this he has been crucified. Remember the Wars vs. Trek rivalry?

This man is a brilliant director.

Have you seen Super 8?

I took my son to see this Star Trek. I expected to hate it. After the movie my son and I were arguing over who was getting the Captain Kirk collectible glass from Burger King.  In the end we both got Kirk glasses. We both loved the movie.

And yes I have collected all 4 glasses…


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper





Being a Biblophile



The Fortress of Solitude is where we go to discuss the things that interest us… our studies , experiments, hobbies and interests and where we go to retreat from the outside world in order to pursue them. Of all the pursuits I have ever engaged in the greatest is reading.

I am a Bibliophile. Biblio from the Greek word Biblion which means book or books and -phile is a suffix which indicates affection for or loving. So I am a book lover and an avid reader. The first mature book I read was Bram Stokers Dracula. My first job was in a library shelving books. As a child I read the entire set of Golden encyclopedias and as an adult I read the entire Bible. This does not make me smart by any means. I only mention it so you understand that I love to read.

This paragraph might sound familiar, it’s from the article ‘to Kindle or Not.” I am repeating this because I think the single most important hobby a person can have is to read. All of your interests and hobbies begin and end with your ability and willingness to read. For most people their daily personal reading is nothing more than scanning the newspaper, scrolling their home page, Facebooking and texting. People read more off their phones than from books.

So why read? Lets look at a list of benefits gained by reading.

1. Your education. You might be a student or maybe your done with school but life learning never ends. The investment you make between your ears is the greatest investment you can make. Whether your reading for formal education or learning from shared life experiences reading is the best way to get close to new concepts, stay current in your particular fields of interest and to gain new knowledge aside from formal training.

2. Your Mind. So much of what we do in life requires so little focused attention that as we age many of us begin to forget the things we learned. Many people find it difficult to learn new things. To have a sharp active mind someone must do the sharpening. Someone must give the mind a workout. Reading helps the mind stay sharp.

3. Thinking. Reading opens your mind to new thoughts, new beliefs and new understandings. You may have a single mindset which will change as you read the views of others. Sharing opinions, beliefs and views is why many people write in the first place.

4. Communication. Your verbal and written skills will improve as a result of reading. Which it only makes sense that you will become better at using words the more you are exposed to them. The quality of your writing improves because you are a studied word smith.

5. Shared experience. Great writing tends to explore our shared experiences. I have read many books that are hundreds of years old and yet these people are suffering the same problems and posing the same life questions that I have today.  You will find that you are not alone in the way you think or feel.

6. Visualization. Your memory relies on your ability to visualize images. This is the easiest and fastest way to memorize. Reading helps you develop your visualization muscle. Imagining the scenes described in a story, the characters and the action enhances your visual memory.

7. Your imagination. The creative aspects of your imagination improve though use. The more you actively engage the imaginative areas of the brain the more productive it becomes. Again like a muscle it must be worked or it will atrophy.

8. Relaxation. Being able to escape from the stress of the mundane world by being carried away into the adventures of others help our minds relax. Worries are only worried about when we focus on them. When our minds are busy we tend to feel less stress. We worry less. We relax.

9. Accomplishment. When you finish a book you gain a sense of accomplishment. You have the satisfaction that you did achieve your goal. That you finished what you started. You made a commitment and kept it. This is gratifying.

10. Constancy. We have talked a lot here on board the ship about being consistent. Reading is a great way to start being consistent. Reading each day will help you develop that 15 minute commitment as well.

11. Fun. Reading is fun. The world of books is full of wonderful stories and adventures waiting to be shared. In order to join this world you only have to pick up a single book and begin.

12. The Word. Sixty six books, forty different authors over 1500 years maintaining one harmonious theme, the revelation of the messiah Jesus Christ our lord. If you read only one book in your life read this one. The word Bible means Book. As in Thee Book. The Holy Bible means Thee Holy Book. See you read you learn…

Some people join a book of the month club. Some people try to read a book a week. Lists are made every year of the 100 greatest books of all time. Other lists are for the books you must read before you die. What you read and when is your choice. I am simply saying read. Make this commitment to yourself and keep it.

In order to help you start reading join us here in September for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Tables are set up everywhere in malls and book shops filled with required high school reading. So this book will be easy to find. Or you can down load it to Kindle as I did. You have one week until we begin so get your copy today.  Lets start reading together kids it will be fun…


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper