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Remembering “Spock,” actor Leonard Nimoy

In Entertainment, Movies, National News, Opinion, television, Theatre, Uncategorized, World News on March 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

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In 1982, fans of the science fiction franchise, “Star Trek,” more commonly referred to as “Trekkies,” or the more accepted, “Trekkors,” took a kidney punch when Leonard Nimoy’s character of Mr. Spock died at the end of the film “Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan.” But, thanks to the miracle of science fiction, Spock was resurrected and the Starship Enterprise continued to boldly go where no man had gone before.

Sadly, fans must now face a more painful and permanent fact of life as they mourn the passing of the actor who, for nearly a half century, portrayed their favorite pointy-eared alien. Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27th at the age of 83 at his home in Los Angeles following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

As a lifelong fan there is no way to adequately convey the sadness of losing such a talented performer whose on-screen character inspired so many. Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, were great sources, not only of entertainment, but incredible inspiration for individual achievement and social change.

spockNetwork executives originally told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to, “get rid of the guy with the ears.” But, thanks to Mr. Nimoy’s talented development of the character,  Mr. Spock became a quintessential part of “Star Trek’s” hopeful future in which everyone worked together to eliminate hunger, pettiness and poverty.

Such a vision is still somewhat unique – and often poked fun at – in the science fiction genre, which more often paints a dark, pessimistic outlook for man and a holocaust-ravaged world of tomorrow.  But with Spock’s presence, a bright future for mankind seemed more plausible. In Spock, Mr. Nimoy created the embodiment of chaos with focus, logic with feeling, and understanding with wonder.

I have been incredibly fortunate on a couple of occasions to have had the chance to meet and speak to Mr. Nimoy, as well as see him perform. At one Star Trek anniversary convention I attended, he invited questions from the audience. He chose my raised hand from several dozen other hopefuls seated nearby and I didn’t waste the opportunity.

A bit stunned at having been selected, I stood up and managed to ask something from the original “Star Trek” pilot episode that I’d been wondering about for years. With a genuinely amused laugh, he thought for a moment and informed us that he’d never before been asked about it.

Then, he answered with a detailed, behind the scenes story and directly thanked me when he finished. I will never forget that. Naturally it was cool even to be picked out of hundreds, but I was far more privileged to have given Leonard Nimoy even a tiny moment of entertainment in return for all he’d given us.

Mr. Nimoy played Spock for the last time in the most recent “Star Trek” film, “Into Darkness,” and, although he will be most remembered for his logical alter-ego, he also performed in dozens of other movies and television programs over the years. Besides “Star Trek,” he’s probably most remembered for his time on “Mission Impossible” and, more recently, in the TV drama, “Fringe.”

Besides being a gifted actor, Mr. Nimoy was a director, poet, photographer and activist. In the “Star Trek” animated series Spock is quoted to have said, “Loss of life is to be mourned. But only if that life was wasted.” Clearly, his was certainly not wasted.

Any of us should be so lucky as to have touched even a fraction of the lives Mr. Nimoy did, and in so many positive ways. To all those mourning a loss, remember the burden will ease over time and those we lose really aren’t gone, as long as we remember them. Live long and prosper.

If you would like to know Gery’s convention question to Mr. Nimoy and what answer he gave, read the BONUS MATERIAL at the end of this article.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.

  

BONUS MATERIAL:
Question from Gery Deer to Leonard Nimoy in a talk at the Star Trek 35th Anniversary Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gery L. Deer: Mr. Nimoy, in the Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage,” you beam down to the surface of planet Talos IV with Captain Pike and a landing party. As you walk around the planet set, you appear to be limping and I wanted to know if you could tell us why? I’ve heard people say it had something to do with your boots, or the set floor, whatever. I just wondered what the real reason was.

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Leonard Nimoy: (Laughing) You’ve been worried about that all of these years, why I was limping? Well, I have to say I have never been asked about that before.

(The crowd of about 1,200 in the room was really laughing at this point and applauding.)

Leonard Nimoy: Well, I’ll tell you because I really don’t want you to be troubled by this any longer. (More laughter). If you remember in the story there was some discussion about a fight that had taken place on a planet several weeks prior.

As the story goes, the Enterprise crew was ambushed and there was a battle in which crew members were killed or injured. Spock was supposed to have hurt his leg in that fight. In television and movies, you often shoot scenes and story lines out of sequence and the scenes where the fight takes place would have been in another episode to go before the events in The Cage had Star Trek had been picked up without any changes. Then you’d see Spock get hurt and know why he’s limping later. (Crowd applauds.)

Leonard Nimoy: (Nimoy, looking back again at Gery) That’s why I was limping and now you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thank you for that question, that was really the first time anyone has ever asked me that. (Mr. Nimoy gives Gery the Vulcan salute and the crowd applauds again.)

END.

 

 

Duct cleaning reduces indoor air pollution

In Economy, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on February 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

According to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air may be as much as 70-percent more polluted than outside. Much of that contamination can be attributed to bacteria and mold growing inside residential and commercial air handling systems.

Allergies, asthma, and other illnesses may be aggravated by microbe-laden air circulated through a building’s duct system. Larry Phillips, owner of Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley, is a professional residential and commercial duct cleaning specialist. A 30-year veteran of the health care industry, Phillips chose a second career that offered the opportunity to continue improving the well being of the community.

Air duct before cleaning.

Air duct before cleaning.

“A thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the air ducts can minimize pollution-causing agents lurking in the air system,” Phillips said. “Cleaning the air system at a seasonal change, such as when switching over from heat to air conditioning, is ideal.”

Phillips also cautions consumers to make sure the duct cleaning service they hire is well qualified. “Duct cleaning technicians should be well trained and follow the guidelines of the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA), the professional organization that sets the standard for air system cleaning,” he said.

“It should take 4 to 5 hours to clean an average size home’s duct system,” said Phillips. “If done properly, the cleaning should not have to be done annually, but instead only every few years.” Phillips suggests that, in addition to a high efficiency filtration system, air duct sanitization and ultraviolet germicidal disinfection equipment can maintain the air quality after cleaning.

Besides older, existing structures, it’s also a good idea to clean the air systems of new construction before the space is occupied. In new buildings, duct work, filters and vents can be layered with dirt, sawdust, and drywall dust from the construction process.

Air duct after cleaning.

Air duct after cleaning.

Home owners and operators of commercial laundry facilities should also pay close attention to the condition of clothes dryer vents. Lint that escapes the trap inside the dryer accumulates inside the vent tube creating a fire hazard. According to statistics provided by Ductz, an estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 310 injuries are associated with the lint in clothes dryers annually.

“Cleaning the ducts and dryer vents is also good for the environment,” Phillips noted. “Regular maintenance of the air circulation system improves the efficiency of heating and air equipment which helps to save energy, and reduce operating costs.” For more information contact Larry Phillips at Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley by calling (937) 399-8500.

Still unregulated, e-cigarettes may prove as toxic as tobacco

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on February 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm

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DEER IN HEADLINES : SPECIAL EDITION – By Gery L. Deer

As smoking bans continue to expand across the United States, more smokers are taking to electronic cigarettes as a way to skirt around the law while still getting their fix. While proponents of the gadgets contend they are a safer, healthier alternative that may actually help smokers quit, new research is showing they are likely to be just as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes.

The concept that people want to inhale poisonous gas is for the non-smoker, and for lack of a better word, baffling. If it makes a person cough, wheeze, choke, and gasp, it probably means the body is trying to reject it. To those trying to breathe clean air (well, as clean as is possible), smoking is just plain disgusting. It makes clothing and people smell bad, it pollutes the air around the smoker and is responsible for more than 440,000 premature deaths in the United States annually. Now that researchers are finally studying the alternatives, they may be proving the electronic options just as dangerous.

“It’s plausible that e-cigarettes have their own particular dangers,” stated Japan’s health ministry following the release of a recent study on the effects of using electronic nicotine delivery inhaler, more commonly known as, e-cigarettes. “That can be true even while e-cigarettes are, in general, less dangerous than traditional tobacco smoking.”

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the Japanese research found high levels of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in the vapors of several different e-cigarette brands. The Daily Mail later issued a correction to their original story regarding the amount of carcinogens discovered, however the basic findings of the report are still relevant.

Although e-cigarette proponents (mostly those who earn revenue from the sale of these products) vehemently condemn the Daily Mail’s report and the Japanese findings, a spring 2014 study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) essentially supports the conclusions.

CBS News reported the following excerpt from the study, “Because e-cigarettes are fairly new, there could be other long-term health complications that have yet to be discovered,” the report stated. “Results of long-term exposure to such substances are unknown. Due to the lack of production oversight, most consumers don’t know what’s in the e-cigarettes they buy.”

The report indicated that e-cigarettes operated at high voltages produce vapor with large amounts of formaldehyde-containing chemical compounds. Manufacturers provided a response to the CBS report, suggesting that it would be unusual for users to alter the voltage on the delivery device. READ THE ENTIRE CBS STORY – January CBS News Report indicating formaldehyde in the vapor – click to read.

vaping

All of this study and debate is just a dance around the overlying point that smokers should not have the right to pollute the air of those around them, regardless of the delivery system. Smokers would do best to stifle the tired old argument about the addictive nature of smoking and stop blaming the tobacco companies for their suffering.

In the end, the detrimental nature of smoking is the sole responsibility of the smoker. No one forced the smoker to light up that first time, or the second, or the third. Smoking is a choice that becomes an addiction. If they hadn’t started, they wouldn’t be hooked.

Creating a socially acceptable “cheat” method for taking in nicotine is a little like making alcoholics drink from a cup instead of the bottle. The final effect is the same – the person is still addicted. On the subject of addiction, the idea that e-cigarettes help smokers kick the habit is also unsubstantiated.

Dr. Pamela Ling, an associate professor at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco, was lead researcher on a study published last March in the Journal of the American Medical Association. She concluded, “When used by a broad sample of smokers under ‘real world’ conditions, e-cigarette use did not significantly increase the chances of successfully quitting cigarette smoking.”

An electronic drug delivery system resembling some kind of refugee prop from Star Wars is still just another way of enabling addiction and polluting the air. If the recent studies are accurate, what is released into the air could be just as toxic as the vapor inhaled by the user, possibly even more so. Without further study and government regulation on these chemicals, no one really knows.

“Vaping” is still not widely controlled as actual smoking, so people still light up indoors where smoking is prohibited and that needs to end. Smoking bans should exist for all forms, whether achieved by burning dried leaves or electronically heated vapor.

One person’s right to smoke shouldn’t be more important than the health and safety of those around them. Imagine the result of an asthmatic child falling deathly ill from an attack triggered by the second hand vapors coming out of one of these things (or a tobacco cigarette for that matter), and all because someone couldn’t wait to light up?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, doctors ridiculously gave their seal of health to tobacco products. They even took money to provide testimonials as to the health benefits of smoking. Sadly, a lot of people had to die before health professionals faced the truth. Face the facts – if human beings were meant to breathe toxic gasses, we would be living on Venus.

 

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