Today I'm excited to launch a new regular feature on the blog. Nerd Lunch will be host to a new weekly web comic written and illustrated by Bill Wiist. The comic is called "Snipes" and stars a character named Donny Snipes. But even more exciting, the supporting cast is made up of characters who are named and look like those associated with Nerd Lunch. This week sees CT's debut and future weeks will see Jeeg, PLee, Pax, and even Savannah debuting.

The current schedule has three panels posting every week. And I'll make sure that all the posts are tagged with "Snipes" so you can easily go back and read previous week's strips. When the first story arc is done, we'll look at ideas for doing some sort of digital collection or something.

I have gotten a chance to see some future panels, but not even I know where all this ends up so I'm looking forward to riding along with you and seeing what happens. We hope you keep following along or sign up for our impending newsletter to keep up with updates. Enjoy!


CT, Jeeg, and Pax welcome Aaron Nix back to the fourth chair this week. After checking to make sure everything is OK with Aaron, we try to figure out which real world people or things would be best suited to some scenarios from movies, TV, or comic books. Which real life American football player would save the Earth from Ming the Merciless? Which real life US president would fly a fighter jet and lead Earth to victory over the aliens in Independence Day? Which real life band is most likely part of a Cobra plot using subliminal messages in the music?  You get the idea. In our Nerd To-Dos, we hear a mini review of Star Wars Scoundrels, a plan to visit Dickey's BBQ Pit, some love for Life of Pi, and a revisiting of Dark Knight Rises.

This week, CT abandons the show and we are instead joined by The Retroist in his second appearance and Vic Sage, who is one of the head writers on The Retroist blog, in his first appearance on the show.  We brought in these retro experts to discuss one of the greatest gaming systems of all time, the Atari 2600.  We talk about our history with the system, some of our favorite and least favorite games and whether any of us scored one of those bad ass Master Gamer Patches.  For our Nerd To Dos we discuss Twilight Zone, Crusader Kings II, Wreck-It Ralph and the book Star Wars: Scoundrels.

During my recent post-injury convalescence, I watched a great deal of Star Trek --- lots of DS9, some TNG, even a few Voyagers and Enterprises.  I was looking for some deep-cut TNG, when to my amazement, I realized that there was an episode I had never seen or even heard of --- 6x22, "Suspicions."  Now just the fact that, almost 20 years later, I should stumble across a lost episode, is amazing.  But this is a Dr. Crusher episode, and a lot of it doesn't work for me.  Crusher suddenly hosting a science conference with no participation from the rest of the crew doesn't work, Crusher going rogue doesn't work, and the whole thing just kind of plods along.

Truth is, Beverly Crusher is my least-favorite TNG regular.  I excuse Yar on the basis of early installment weirdness --- watch "Yesterday's Enterprise" and you can imagine that she would've gotten better.  Pulaski was, in many respects, a misfire --- but more about her later.  I've written about Wesley before . . . when played more as a legendary captain in the making and less as Space Mozart, I like young Wes well enough.  Troi suffered from having a rather thankless role, but at least we understood what made her tick.  Once Ronnie Cox told her to put on a damn uniform and start acting like a Starfleet officer --- less therapist, more human resources / diplomat / second officer --- Troi worked fine.

But Dr. Crusher?  Just very flat.  I don't think it was bad acting, although when they give a soap opera actress some rather soap opera lines, it's no wonder that Crusher sometime seems to be on a soap opera.  No, I think it was simple lack of attention, and a failure by the writers to add up all the pieces.  So here's my attempt to deconstruct and reassemble Crusher.  Like a transporter.  Who is this lady, and what does she want?

First, the family stuff.  She's the widow of a Starfleet officer and the mother of a future Starfleet officer.  Bev was occasionally allowed to play tragic and lonely, and worried about her son, and that's about it.  Why not show how this has affected her work?  She's on a ship full of Starfleet officers and crew and their families.  Every one of them is a potential widow or orphan.  I'm not saying she needs to have PTSD, but she may have a unique understanding about the risks involved in their work, and how every loss of life in the life of duty will affect the survivors for the rest of their lives.

For that matter, when Worf is facing life as a single parent of a difficult son, where is Beverly?  She's been there.  I suppose you can joke that Worf didn't want Alexander to turn out like Wesley, but truth is, Beverly was having an amazing career, and her son was a full Ensign at 17 with unlimited potential.  Worf should've realized that he and Alexander were not going to have lives among the Klingons.  Alexander was prime Starfleet material from the day he was born --- mixed species background, early years on Earth raised by a retired CPO who got two sons into the Academy, later years on the flagship.  Worf should have wanted to learn everything Crusher had to teach about balancing parenthood and professional obligations.

Second, Beverly is herself a career Starfleet officer.  She has more time in service than anyone on the crew other than Picard, and as a full Commander, she outranks everyone on the ship except Picard and Riker.  She was "head of Starfleet Medical" for a year.  She is qualified to command the ship, and just for the hell of it, she sometimes takes a shift as officer of the watch.  In an alternate future, she's captain of a medical ship.  This is a woman with a certain amount of ambition and a certain interest in --- and talent for --- leadership and administration.  

This should not have been left as mere subtext --- she's CMO of the flagship, she's already decided that she doesn't like a purely administrative gig, and after 20 years of hard work, she should be deciding what comes next (especially since the boy is off the college).  Forget Scottish space ghosts --- you want a Beverly Crusher episode, you have her go to Riker and say, I want to get some command experience because I think I would like to captain a medical ship someday.  Teach me everything you know.  At a minimum, show that she is a department head, same as Geordi or Worf --- this lost episode makes it seems like her entire staff is Nurse Ogawa.  She should be managing and mentoring and leading.

A final point on the subject --- everyone on the damn ship from Picard down to O'Brien seems to have taken a turn explaining to Wesley what it means to be a Starfleet officer.  Everyone except his mom, the Starfleet officer.  Beverly should not come at Wes's career purely as a worried mom who lost her husband to this job.  She should make sure he understands the risks and the rewards, and then once he makes his decision, she should be pulling every available string, calling in every available favor, and otherwise making sure that Wes's career get off to a good start.  When Wes screws up at the Academy, Beverly should be coming at him both as a mom and as a superior officer.

Third, you have her personal life, mainly her relationship with Picard.  There was actually a decent progression there --- they were somewhat professional and distant in Season 1, they grew closer as confidants and breakfast buddies, and they finally put their emotional cards on the table because of implausible alien technology.  Now generally, the show hit a pretty good sweet spot with these two.  Having a 7th season episode where they finally discuss their relationship and why they might or might not want things to evolve was a great idea, and it did a pretty good job of justifying why things had sort of stagnated between them.  My main criticism is that this came a couple of seasons too late.  A more fully realized Beverly should've been reevaluating her personal life along with her professional life, and she should've been a bit more proactive in deciding what she wanted.  

And as to "Suspicions" . . . you suddenly like metaphasic shielding, Bev?  Hey, you know likes metaphasic shielding?  Geordi.  Go have a cup of coffee with Geordi.  His dad's a xenobiologist, you know.  You like xenobiology, don't you?  Hey, being a department head has a lot of challenges.  Do you ever think about transferring to command?  That was a crazy adventure we had in the cargo bay that one time.  Call me Beverly.  Say, would you be interested in checking out the new decontamination gel protocols?  

Bam, storyline.  Geordi and Beverly try a colleagues-with-benefits thing and try to keep it on the down-low.  Their efforts at discretion fail, because his best friend is a super-android, hers is an empath.  Wes walks in on them.  Picard feels a twinge of jealousy.  Barkley walks in to them.  Riker silently nods to Geordi, a look of understanding and respect.  Wes and Barkley start to develop a weird stepbrother dynamic.           

Her other major relationship was with her supposed BFF, Troi.  They took a Klingon tai chi class together, and gossiped about Tom Riker, and they chatted about being a bridge officer, and that was about it.  That's a damn shame, because what's it like to have a best friend who's an empath?  Troi was at least quasi-medical, but apparently not directly under Bev --- what about seeing them as professional colleagues, or even having a difference of opinion on a psychological / psychiatric issue?

Finally, she's got these weird little hobbies.  She tap dances and she directs little plays.  I have an aversion for community theater, and I've never been crazy about the idea that this is what passes for a good time in the 24th century.  Give a guy like Picard a love of Shakespeare and xenoarcheology, a late-blooming interest in the flute, and an apparent lack of talent as a painter, and he's just a well-rounded individual.  Maybe Bev just needed a bit of context --- just acknowledge that yeah, I'm forty and widowed, my kid is off to school, I have time on my hands,  and I'm trying different things.

So I think the raw materials were all there.  Put them all together in a slightly different configuration, and Beverly would've been both more three-dimensional and more formidable.  Like Pulaski, this is a tough woman, someone who is every bit the equal of the captain (aside from one grade of rank) and can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the ship.  Maybe she's in a period of transition where she's deciding what she wants out of life --- but when she figures it out, get out of her way. 


It’s a three way dance this week as Pax, Jeeg, and CT discuss of all things: sports. After spending a few minutes throwing bouquets at Huey Lewis, we talk about our histories watching and playing actual sports, getting sucked into fantasy sports, and collecting sports memorabilia. Then we move on to a discussion of best and worst sports movies. Our Nerd To Dos include Josey Wales books, an Angel watching update, and something called Improvised Star Trek.

It's been a little while since I've done a League post. It's been a little while since I've blogged for that matter. Things have been a touch on the crazy side. But I'm hoping once things settle down, that I get back into a blogging routine.

Another thing I plan to do when things settle down is make some adjustments to my office area. My office is a converted garage. It's a decent size room and it houses my desk, my wife's desk, and then various shelves full of books, comics, DVDs, and action figures. But the look of the room is a little 80s (and hey, there's something really cool about that now, right?!) and I'd like to re-do it. Take down the wallpaper, paint the walls and wood paneling, tear out the flooring, and maybe even get new furniture.

Finally, another thing I'd like to do is name the room something better. Right now it's just "the office," but I'd love to come up with a name for the room that is more than just generic description. Kind of like how boats or beach houses are named, I want this room to have it's own identity.

Along with that, I'll have the opportunity to redecorate. I've talked before on the podcast about decorating ideas, but this week on Cool and Collected, Brian posted a particular challenge that has been on my mind as I think about redecorating:
You have very deep pockets but your shelves are bare. Go on a shopping spree at Hake’s to make your place a little more awesome.
Hake's is a pop culture collectibles auction site that is filled with tons of fun gems. Given the fictional blank check, I'd like to get the following items for my converted garage/newly named room:

Darkseid head from "Tower of Darkness" lair. Now that I have a Young Justice Hall of Justice for my Super Powers heroes, my bad guys need a base. What better than this (currently priced at) $500 head of the most notorious foe of the Justice League?

The Rocketeer Bronze Statue. There's a shortage of awesome Rocketeer merchandise out there. It exists, but it's hard to find. Standing over a foot tall, this is one classy piece that my new room would be begging for.

Buck Rogers 1953 Original Comic Art. I love pulp heroes and I love comics. So what better way to celebrate both than with some original Buck Rogers comic strip art?

Super Friends Metal Lunchbox. This is "Nerd Lunch" after all so I have to mention a nerdy lunch box. I actually have this in a Christmas ornament form. It's got some great classic art on it. The downside with pieces like this is there are multiple sides to be displayed. I'd probably pick the Superman/Wonder Woman/Batman side, but the Flash/Batgirl/Green Arrow side is cool, too. (There's also a pretty awesome James Bond lunch box that I'd have to get since I have deep pockets…)

Superman Fleischer Cartoon Art. There's never been a better interpretation of Superman and there never will be. Those old Superman cartoons from the 40s are amazing. The fluid art, simple stories, and art deco style make those cartoons something that will forever stand the test of time. This is a simple sketch, but to have a piece of that production would be astounding and a welcome addition.

So there you have it, a few things I'd get if I had those deep pockets. Unfortunately, not seeing those pockets getting deep anytime soon. But, still kind of fun to pretend.

This is a League post so let me recommend a few other posts to check out!

Robot PJs 

Atomic Geek and co-host of The Classic Film Jerks, Andrew Bloom, saddles up in our fourth chair for this week's episode. After getting an update on Bloom's bathroom renovations (seriously), we exchange ideas on what to do if we had the rights to a classic character but not the rest of the universe. Listen to find out how we would repurpose the likes of Galactus, Bigfoot, Jack Burton, Jambi the Genie, and more. In our Nerd To-Dos we hear about one geek's desire to quit Clash of Clans, one nerd's reaction to Snow Crash, one nerd's first forays into Apple TV, and one nerd's plans to watch Lipstick and Dynamite.