My Top 20 Favorite Crime/Mystery Novels!

A couple of days ago I posted a rundown of My Top 20 Favorite Thrillers.

Today, I offer up a list of My Top 20 Favorite Crime/Mystery Novels.  If you’re a fan of the genre, check out any and all.  You won’t be disappointed.



#20. Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyers

Some would call Detective Benny Griessel a legend. Others would call him a drunk.

Either way, he has trodden on too many toes over the years ever to reach the top of the promotion ladder, and now he concentrates on staying sober and mentoring the new generation of crime fighters — mixed race, Xhosa and Zulu. But when an American backpacker disappears in Cape Town, panicked politicians know who to call: Benny has just thirteen hours to save the girl, save his career, and crack open a conspiracy, which threatens the whole country.

#19. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

#18. Sirens by Joseph Knox

Infiltrating the inner circle of enigmatic criminal Zain Carver is dangerous enough. Pulling it off while also rescuing Isabelle Rossiter, a runaway politician’s daughter, from Zain’s influence? Impossible. That’s why Aidan Waits is the perfect man for the job. Disgraced, emotionally damaged and despised by his superiors. In other words, completely expendable.

But Aidan is a born survivor. And as he works his way deep into Zain’s shadowy world, he finds that nothing is as it seems. Zain is a mesmerizing, Gatsby-esque figure who lures young women into his orbit–women who have a bad habit of turning up dead. But is Zain really responsible? And will Isabelle be next?

Before long, Aidan finds himself in over his head, cut loose by his superiors, and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.

#17. The Whites by Richard Price

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted berserker on a crowded street. Branded as a loose cannon by his higher-ups, Billy spent years enduring one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all post-midnight felonies from Wall Street to Harlem. Mostly, his unit acts as little more than a set-up crew for the incoming shift, but after years in police purgatory, Billy is content simply to do his job.

Then comes a call that changes everything: Night Watch is summoned to the four a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, and this time Billy’s investigation moves beyond the usual handoff to the day tour. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a twelve-year-old boy-a savage case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese-the bad old days are back in Billy’s life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family.


#16. Police At the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty

Belfast 1988: A man is found dead, killed with a bolt from a crossbow in front of his house. This is no hunting accident. But uncovering who is responsible for the murder will take Detective Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on a high bog where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave.

Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs, and with his relationship on the rocks, Duffy will need all his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.


#15. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It’s the stunning portrayal of one man’s all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial–including his own life. It’s a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you…long after you have reached its shattering conclusion.


#14. The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill

Laos, 1976: Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old medical doctor, has been unwillingly appointed the national coroner of newly-socialist Laos. Though his lab is underfunded, his boss is incompetent, and his support staff is quirky to say the least, Siri’s sense of humor gets him through his often frustrating days.

When the body of the wife of a prominent politician comes through his morgue, Siri has reason to suspect the woman has been murdered. To get to the truth, Siri and his team face government secrets, spying neighbors, victim hauntings, Hmong shamans, botched romances, and other deadly dangers. Somehow, Siri must figure out a way to balance the will of the party and the will of the dead.


#13. For Those Who Know the Ending by Malcolm Mackay

Martin Sivok is in trouble. Tied to a chair, plastic strips biting his wrists, inside a deserted warehouse. . . There are only so many ways this scenario can end, most of them badly. For now his best hope is figuring out who put him here – and staying conscious long enough to confront them.

To stay awake he reviews the past year of his life: evading the law in the Czech Republic by running to Glasgow, settling into a borderline respectable relationship with his landlady, and getting back into the life at the very bottom of the criminal ladder, alongside Usman Kassar, a cocky, goofy kid anxious to prove himself.

The job should be simple: Smash heads, grab cash, run. The trouble with being two outsiders is, you don’t always know whose heads are too dangerous to crack, or whose cash is too hot to handle…


#12. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews—or anyone, really—but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily—whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe—and asks for his finest “master of the art of death,” the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a “mistress of the art of death.”

In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, Adelia must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she’s assisted by one of the king’s tax collectors, Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend … or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia’s investigation takes her along Cambridge’s shadowy river paths, and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again…


#11. The Drop by Dennis Lehane

Three days after Christmas, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live rescues an abused puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman looking for something to believe in. As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia; a man grown dangerous with age and thwarted hopes; two hapless stick-up artists; a very curious cop; and the original owner of the puppy, who wants his dog back. . . .


#10. The Force by Don Winslow

He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.


#9. Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg

The headline reads ? LOCAL GIRL SLAIN, BODY FOUND IN TRASHCAN. When Richard Bone sees a picture of conglomerate tycoon J.J. Wolfe in the newspaper, he’s struck by how closely he resembles the man Bone saw dumping the body: could this millionaire redneck be the killer? Bone’s close friend Cutter, a crippled Vietnam vet, is convinced that Wolfe is the killer. With nothing much more to lose, the reckless Cutter and handsome gigolo Bone hit the road to the Wolfe headquarters in the Ozarks, totally unprepared for what awaits them.


#8. The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?


#7. Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired to find four-year-old Amanda McCready, abducted from her bed on a warm, summer night. They meet her stoned-out, strangely apathetic mother, her loving aunt and uncle, the mother’s dangerous, drug-addled friends, and two cops who’ve found so many abused or dead children they may be too far over the edge to come back. Despite enormous public attention, rabid news coverage, and dogged police work, the investigation repeatedly hits a brick wall. Led into a world of drug dealers, child molesters, and merciless executioners, Patrick and Angie are soon forced to face not only the horrors adults can perpetrate on innocents but also their own conflicted feelings about what is best, and worst, when it comes to raising children. And as the Indian summer fades and the autumn chill deepens, Amanda McCready stays gone, banished so completely that she seems never to have existed.

Then another child disappears. . . . Dennis Lehane takes you into a world of triple crosses, elaborate lies, and shrouded motives, where the villains may be more moral than the victims, the missing should possibly stay missing, and those who go looking for them may not come back alive.


#6. The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry

A threat is called into the LAPD Bomb Squad and when tragedy ensues, the fragmented unit turns to Dick Stahl, a former Bomb Squad commander who now operates his own private security company. Just returned from a tough job in Mexico, Stahl is at first reluctant to accept the offer, but his sense of duty to the technicians he trained is too strong to turn it down. On his first day back at the head of the squad, Stahl’s three-person team is dispatched to a suspected car bomb. And it quickly becomes clear to him that they are dealing with an unusual mastermind–one whose intended target seems to be the Bomb Squad itself.

As the shadowy organization sponsoring this campaign of violence puts increasing pressure on the bomb maker, and Stahl becomes dangerously entangled with a member of his own team, the fuse on this high-stakes plot only burns faster.


#5. Get Carter by Ted Lewis

Doncaster, and Jack Carter is home for a funeral – his brother’s. Frank’s car was found at the bottom of a cliff, with him inside. Jack thinks that Frank’s death is suspicious, so he decides to talk to a few people. Frank was a mild man and did as he was told, but Jack’s not a bit like that.


#4. IQ by Joe Ide

A resident of one of LA’s toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores.

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can’t or won’t touch.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he’s forced to take on clients that can pay.
This time, it’s a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes.


#3. Green Sun by Kent Anderson

Hanson thought he had witnessed the worst of humanity after a tour of duty in Vietnam and a stint as a cop in Oregon. Then he moves to Oakland, California to join the under-funded, understaffed police department.

Hanson chooses to live – alone – in the precinct that he patrols; he, unlike the rest of the white officers, takes seriously his duty to serve and protect the black community of East Oakland.

He will encounter prejudice and hate on both sides of the line… and struggle to keep true to himself against powerful opposition and personal danger.


#2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?


#1. The Winter of Frankie Machine by Don Winslow

Frank Machianno is a late-middle-aged ex–surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront when he’s not juggling any of his other three part-time jobs or trying to get a quick set in on his longboard. He’s a stand-up businessman, a devoted father to his daughter, and a beloved fixture in the community.

Frank’s also a hit man. Specifically: a retired hit man. Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast Mafia, he was known as Frankie Machine. Years ago Frank consigned his Mob ties to the past, which is where he wants them to stay. But a favor being called in now by the local boss is one Frank can’t refuse, and soon he’s sucked back into the treacherous currents of his former life. Someone from the past wants him dead. He has to figure out who, and why, and he has to do it fast.

The problem is that the list of candidates is about the size of his local phone book and Frank’s rapidly running out of time.

And then things go really bad.

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites!

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #4 (cover art by Rahzzah)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (cover art by Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (variant cover art by Jock)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Giant-Man #2 (cover art by Woo Cheol)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Immortal Hulk #18 (cover art by Alex Ross)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Daredevil: Fearless Origins (cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Doomsday Clock #10 (cover art by Brad Anderson, Gary Frank)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

God of War (E.M. Gist)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Grimm Fairy Tales #28 (variant cover art by Alfredo Reyes)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #39 (variant cover art by Xermanico)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Spiderman: City at War #3 (variant cover art by Gang Hyuk-Lim)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Spawn #297 (variant cover art by Francesco Mattina)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #4 (variant cover art by Ricardo Federici)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Thanos #2 (cover art by Jeff Dekal)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

Thor #13 (variant cover art by Alex Ross)

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

X-23 #12 (cover art by Ashley Witter)

So, which were your favorites?


August 3, 2012: A Fablelous lunch break! Phone-spinning! Wormhole Riders! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! Irresistible!

I’m in the midst of an exhaustingly thorough life/housecleaning. Today, I decided to take a break and grab lunch at Fable Kitchen (in the premises formerly occupied by Refuel, and Fuel before that).  We came in on Dessert Master (and Stargate fan) Curtis Luk working his confectionary magic:

Spinning a web of liquid sugar that, once hardened, will figure into that day’s dessert.

We said our hello’s, grabbed a table, and enjoyed a casual lunch of:

A green herb salad and quinoa salad for Akemi. Bonus points for the use of shiso which is rarely used in anything outside of Japanese dishes.
The chicken salad sandwich and house potato salad for me. The sandwich was great, but the pulled chicken with the tomato jam I had the last time was outstanding!

And, of course, what lunch would be complete without dessert(s):

The chocolate pudding uses five chocolate variations and offers a variety of tasty textural contrasts. I could have had three of these.
Peach Melba with vanilla-raspberry swirl ice cream and that spun sugar we saw earlier. Akemi LOVED this dessert.

And then, it was back to work – into the crawlspace, hefting boxes, looking through old files and financial statements.  To be honest, it’s a pleasant break from all the business-related phone calls of late.

Yesterday, Paul and I were on a call that, as far as we knew going in, was going to be all about on one of our pilot scripts.  Instead, it turned out to be a pitch call.  “Your agent says you have some other ideas?”we were asked – at which I scrambled to bring up my file on the series ideas Paul and I discussed the other week before launching into my sales pitch.  We’ve got a drama, a procedural, a fantasy series, and an SF offering.  I’ll freely admit that we are better on paper and wanted to say “Why don’t we just wait and you can read the script in a couple of months?” but pitching/spinning is part of the business.

I didn’t think anything was going to stick UNTIL we were asked “Anything else?” and I considered, then realized: “Yeah.  We do have one more.” at which point I launched into the pitch for the series we’re developing with Ivon Bartok and Robert Cooper.  To be honest, Rob is A LOT better at pitching than any of us and I would have preferred to defer to him – but he wasn’t on the call.  And I didn’t know if he would be talking to these people anytime soon so I went ahead and made the pitch.  Happily, they ended up liking the idea and asking for any materials we had on the proposed series.  And, double-happily, Rob is in L.A. this week and next and he’s scheduled to meet with them Monday morning.

Speaking of calls, I’ll be doing a phoner with the gang at Wormhole Riders this Sunday night.   I hear the topic of conversation will be fairly open.  Comics books?  Chocolate? The last episode of Master Chef?  I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Continuing our trip down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane…


One of the great things about working on Stargate was the freedom it gave us when it came to scripting a wide variety of episodes.  For instance, the season opener, No Man’s Land, is a big, splashy visual effects-laden affair that touches on some of the major threads woven over the show’s previous seasons.  The season’s second episode, Misbegotten, also touches on some of these same big arc elements in a story that is more human, character-centered and, ultimately, quite tragic.  The season’s third episode, Irresponsible, switches gears in delivering a lighter, more humorous episode that presents Atlantis under threat from a most unlikely source – a seemingly affable, simple fellow named Lucius Lavin.

In playing the role of Lucius, actor Richard Kind becomes one of a handful of actors who guest-starred in both the series and the original Stargate movie (in which he played the part of an archaeologist).

Eagled-eyed viewers will also notice a familiar face among Lucius’s village admirers – namely Julia Anderson (now Julia Bensons) who would go on to play Lieutenant Vanessa James in Stargate: Universe.

Some memorable bits of dialogue:

LUCIUS: “The sick have been cured, the lame can walk again … well, some still crawl, but they crawl a lot faster than they used to.”


LUCIUS: “How do you get your hair to go like that?”


SHEPPARD: Well, what about Beckett?

McKAY: Oh, he … now, he can walk on his hands. Did you know that? Yeah, he was showing Lucius just before he left. You should have seen it. He was down on his hands …

– Which was actually a reference to Paul McGillion’s reputed background as a wrestler and his ability to, yes, walk on his hands.  Ask him to show you next at his next con appearance!

And finally:

LUCIUS: Mess hall. Blue jello. Just a little bit of whipped cream.

– Yet another reference to Stargate’s famed blue jello.

I remember that we shot this episode in late April, around the time of my annual chocolate party.  Richard Kind was in the office across the hall, making travel arrangements while I was in my office, making arrangements for incoming chocolate shipments.  He happened by and I invited him to join us that Saturday night at my place.  He ended up having a great time and, even years afterwards, would drop me an email or note about some heavenly dessert place he’d discovered (like Graeter’s in Cincinnnati, OH).  Very nice guy.

Kudos to Carl Binder on the script!

This blog’s resident film critic, Cookie Monster, urges you to join our Supermovie of the Week Club.  Every week, we’ll be screening and discussing a different superhero movie.  We’ve been working our way chronologically through Hollywood’s superbest and superworst and have finally reached 2000 and Monday’s entry, X-Men.  Cookie Monster is confident we’ve turned the corner and that, from here on in, it’s super smoooooooooooth sailing.

All of Cookie Monster’s past film reviews have been archived here: Film reviews by resident film criti…

May 24, 2011: Transporter: The Series Pre-Production Update! Site Stats!

No turning back now!  The production machine is rolling along and picking up steam, speeding, faster and faster, toward the precipice that will launch us into glorious flight!  Provided the mechanical wings on this contraption hold firm.  Our European team is gearing up to start shooting in Paris, Berlin, Nice, Marseilles, and the south of France.  To that end, we had a conference call this morning to go over the storyboards for the early episodes.  The guys in France have come up with some terrific car action sequences that, like the ones in the Transporters film series, are fun, inventive, and holy-smokes-impressive!  I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise since a number of the key people on our car and fight stunt teams are the same ones who worked on the movies.

When car stunt coordinator extraordinaire Michel Julienne gets into town, I’m just going to start catching a lift with him in the morning.

I figure that’ll allow me to shave about fifteen minutes off my twenty-two minute travel time.

Every so often, I like to check out my site stats – Top Referrers, Top Posts, and, my favorite, Top Search Engine Terms that directed new readers to this blog.  I always find it very interesting.  For instance, here’s a sampling of the Top Search Engine Terms over the past six months…

Search Views
julia benson 59,088
joseph mallozzi 36,572
joe mallozzi 16,013
mallozzi 7,600
joseph mallozzi blog 7,581
elyse levesque 6,252
jennifer spence  5,400
alaina huffman  4,193
mallozzi blog  3,876
batman  2,914
joseph malozzi  1,882
julia anderson  1,766
joseph mallozi  1,751
vanessa james  1,659
stargate blog  1,553
amanda tapping  1,526
julie mcniven  1,450
jamil walker smith  1,047
brian j smith  984
elyse levesque hot  955
louis ferreira  932
jewel staite  895
patrick gilmore  882
joseph mallozzi weblog  865
joe malozzi  839
peter deluise  831
bermuda triangle mystery solved  751
mike dopud  744
david blue  727
malozzi blog  707
stargate universe destiny  706
stargate atlantis  693
leela savasta  693
iron chef chairman  455
michael shanks  454
joseph mallozzi’s blog  433
peter kelamis  428
lexa doig  424
paul mcgillion  416
mint leaves  313
icarus base  288
wraith todd  282
julia benson pictures  267
todd wraith  265
julia benson hot  263
andy mikita  263
stargate destiny model  243
todd the wraith  242
christopher judge  234
chocolate party  223
vanessa james sgu  217
julia benson actress  203
julia benson pics 192
“jennifer spence” 190
mark savela 189
butterscotch schnapps 189
stargate universe shuttle 188
sgu destiny 188
stargate universe julia benson 175 171
julia benson sgu 165
stargate universe chloe 163
vanessa james stargate universe 161
julia benson photos 149
joseph mazzolli blog 149
space shuttle interior 133
stargate atlantis city 131
seed ship 131
blog mallozzi 129
julia benson stargate universe 127
stargate universe ship 117
rodney mckay 117
2nd lt. vanessa james 109
batman pictures 109
destiny gate 109
“elyse levesque” 109
viscous 109
lieutenant james stargate 102
robert picardo 101
brad wright 101
sgu vanessa james 91
stargate universe cast 89
best atlantis episodes 89
stargate atlantis todd 89
ben browder 79
amaretto cream 79
stargate universe ships 71
paul mullie 71
coq au vin 67
carl binder 66
alien ship 55
teryl rothery 54
destiny corridor 54
the chairman iron chef 53
julia benson images 53
peter de luise 53
stargate destiny schematics 53
stargate universe kino 53
stargate destiny bridge 53
kobe beef 53
joe flanigan 51
stargate atlantis gate 50
jaffa stargate 50
julia benson picture 48
florida state cowgirls 48
dr rush 48
leaves 48
butterscotch liqueur 25
snow monkeys 19
fedora hat 15
Carl learns he comes in at 66 searches, beating kobe beef by 53 but falling well short of amaretto cream at 79. Also, for what it's worth, just a shade under "coq au vin".

More people searching the internet came here looking for “Julia Benson” than “Joseph Mallozzi” and “Joe Mallozzi” combined.  Searches for “Batman” (2914) beat out searches for “Patrick Gilmore” (882), “Stargate Atlantis” (693) doubled “mint leaves” (313), while “Joe Flanigan” (51) was trounced by “Brad Wright” (101), “Robert Picardo” (101), and “viscous” (109).

Even more interesting are the daily single digit search engine terms that range from the obscure to the downright bizarre.  Today’s stats yield a unique mix:

Search Views
sucking pig 3
brian j smith girlfriend 2
godzilla tokyo 2
mallozzi fondy divorce 2
janina javankar married or single 1
raccoon lottery 1
leon with pig puppet 1
psych symptoms include speaking in accents 1
confit brain 1
bermuda trapezoid 1

I would assume the first one was supposed to be “suckling pig” rather than “sucking pig”, but the fact that three different search attempts went with “sucking” gives me pause.  It’s nice to know there are people searching for love on the internet, doing their research to ensure their prospective future partners are indeed single: Brian J. Smith, Janina Gavankar, and my ex wife.  Also, I sincerely hope that whoever searched for “psych symptoms include speaking in accents” found the sound medical advice they were looking for here on this blog.  Finally, what the hell is a “raccoon lottery”?

October 22, 2009: Julia Benson! Jennifer Spence! Birthday Swag! The Weird Food Purchase of the Day!

Well, hey!  Look whose IMDB starmeter has skyrocketed 360% this week!  None other than SGU’s Second Lieutenant Vanessa James, Julia Benson (formerly Anderson).  Yes, she’s gorgeous – in addition to being a total sweetheart.   AND a wonderful actress, which you’ll find out for yourself in the coming weeks.

Julia Benson (Second Lieutenant Vanessa James)
Julia Benson (Second Lieutenant Vanessa James)

Anyway, in addition to joining the ever-growing SGU twitterati (, Julia has also started a blog.  Check it out:

Also, actress Jennifer Spence (SGU’s Lisa “Earthquake Girl” Park) joins twitter (

Two of my favorite Jen Spence picks – and not just because I’m in them…



Hey, another big thanks to all those who posted or emailed birthday wishes.  Special thanks to Shirt’n’Tie, Anais33, Polly, For the Love of Beckett, Sara Nice, and Quade for the cards and gifts.  “What gifts?”many of you may ask.  Well, check out my birthday swag…

Birthday cards.  The one on the very left, sent by Anais33, sports a pic of my three pugs (Bubba, Jelly, and Maximus).
Birthday cards. The one on the very left, sent by Anais33, sports a pic of my three pugs (Bubba, Jelly, and Maximus).

Big paw magnet.
Big paw magnet.
Chocolate rocks and framed pic of two of my faves (Carl and Jelly).
Chocolate rocks and framed pic of two of my faves (Carl and Jelly).
Carl claims possession of my gift.  It now sits atop HIS desk.
Carl claims possession of my gift. It now sits atop HIS desk.
Bacon gumballs, a picture/frame, and hot sauce.
Bacon gumballs, a picture/frame, and hot sauce.

By the way, the Dragon’s Blood hot sauce is made from Naga Bhut Jolokia Peppers, purported to be the hottest in the world.  How hot?  Well, Quade helpfully provided the following Scoville scale breakdown (offering comparable ratings for other, less fiery peppers):

0 = Bell Pepper

5,000 = Jalapeno Pepper

200,000 = Habanero Pepper

1,000,000 = Naga Bhut Jolokia Pepper

Was it really THAT hot?  In a word: YES!  Check out the video of Carl and I sampling the goods (Camera work by Lawren Bancroft-Wilson)…

Bacon-Chocolate chip cookies.
Bacon-Chocolate chip cookies.

September 5, 2009: Dinner with Ivon and Brian! Julia Benson! Braving the Tokyo subway system!

Ivon considers his menu options.
Ivon considers his menu options.

Last night, I went to dinner with Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok and actor Brian J. Smith (SGU’s Lt. Matthew Scott). We ended up at Quattro (now Q4) on West Fourth for an Italian extravaganza. We ordered and were immediately presented with a wonderful little amuse-bouche of bacon-wrapped sablefish (?) served with a sundried tomato pesto.


Then, we moved on to our first course – the house antipasto platter that included, among many other things, a heavenly grilled radicchio-wrapped mozzarella and proscuitto in cherry vinaigrette.


Then, we moved onto a second course served family style – a double pasta portion – the house special Spaghetti Quattro (black beans and lots of garlic!) and the not-on-the-menu-but-you-should-ask for it-anyway Fettuccine Tartufati (Portobello mushrooms and truffle cream). The latter, by the way, has the Carl Binder seal of approval.

Fettuccine Tarufati (left) Spaghetti Quattro (right).
Fettuccine Tarufati (left) Spaghetti Quattro (right).

 Speaking of Carl – the first few times I took him out to dinner, he would ignore my recommendations, much to his regret. Eventually, he got into the habit of actually listening to me when I said “Try the crispy duck!” or “Get the squash agnolotti with black truffle butter!”. Last night, both Ivon and Brian went with my suggestion for their mains – the Galleto al Mattone (marinated de-boned Cornish game hen grilled with Riviera herbs, garlic and pepperoni), another house specialty. Needless to say, no one regretted the choice.


For dessert, we decided to go with a platter comprised of four selections: house tiramisu, warm chocolate cake with home made ice cream, a vanilla crème brulee, and the sour cherries with phyllo and mascarpone cheese. After seven long sugarless weeks, I finally partook.

Ivon is stunned!
Ivon is stunned!
Brian is overwhelmed!
Brian is overwhelmed!
I'm armed and ready!  Note the crazy eyes.
I’m armed and ready! Note the crazy eyes.

All around, a most satisfying and delicious meal. I believe I counted about a half dozen “Wow!”’s from Brian.

Brian J. Smith is hankering for a fan Q&A.
Brian J. Smith is hankering for a fan Q&A.

Anyway, in addition to food and the wine, we talked – about the show, the franchise, and the future. Yesterday, I mentioned that the people who worked with Zac Efron described him as “very professional, incredibly focused, grounded, courteous and kind”. Well, the exact same words could be used to describe Brian as well. Thoughtful and well-spoken, he’s also surprisingly low-key, not at all interested in the trappings of celebrity. Rather than partying it up, he prefers quiet time spent reading, watching a good movie, or working out. He expressed a desire to do some stage work this winter. I’ll keep you all posted should you find yourselves in the New York area in late 2009 and early 2010.

Brian, by the way, is super keen to do his own fan Q&A on this blog.  So, once I’ve organized and sent off the questions for David Blue, I’m going to start taking questions for SGU’s very own Lieutenant Matthew Scott!  So, what would you like to ask him?

Julia Benson (Lt. Vanessa James) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.
Julia Benson (Lt. Vanessa James) – photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Speaking of our impressive cast, I want to make mention of yet another recurring player who has really stepped up over the course of this first season. Julia Benson (formerly Julia Anderson – She claims the name change was the result of her recent marriage but I suspect it has more to do with that whole fugitive from justice thing. But I digress.) plays the role of Second Lieutenant Vanessa James and, like much of our supporting cast, impressed early and continues to do so with performances that have won her the respect and confidence of the entire writing-producing team. I mention Julia because we were watching the director’s cut of Pain the other day, an episode in which she delivers one stunner of a scene. I’m also looking forward to her nice, meaty moments in an upcoming episode.

Running through a scene with stunt coordinator James Bamford.
Running through a scene with stunt coordinator James Bamford.

Well, with my Tokyo trip a mere two months away, I’m putting the finishing touches on my travel plans. On past visits, I’ve relied on the city’s cab drivers to get me where I want to go – with varying degrees of success. On this visit, however, I’ve decided to be a little more adventurous and hazard the Tokyo subway. Last time I was in town, my friend Jessica took me through the paces ( so I sent her an email today requesting her input. I wrote:

“I’m thinking of using the subway and wanted to now about that all-inclusive card you had. Does it allow you to travel everywhere in the system? For how long? What is the cost?



P.S. Tokyo Times article, February 12, 2010 = “Remains of Tourist Found”: Yesterday, transit officials discovered the desiccated remains of a Canadian tourist almost two months after his mysterious disappearance. It is presumed he got lost on his way to eat some matcha opera cake at the Sadaharu Aoki Patisserie in Roppogni and perished after getting stuck in a turnstile on the Hibiya line. Next of kin have been notified.”

Hey, check it out. Stargate: Universe made the list of TV Guide’s 10 Most Anticipated New Falls Shows:

Pics of Zac Efron with actress Ming Na (SGU’s Camile Wray):

Some on set photos from Stargate: Atlantis’s fifth season:

Actress Leela Savasta (Captain Alicia Vega) at gun school with armorer Rob Fournier.
Actress Leela Savasta (Captain Alicia Vega) at gun school with armorer Rob Fournier.


Today’s entry is dedicated to DemonHunter’s niece Hannah (Happy Birthday!) and Netty (Happy 1st Anniversary!).

August 11, 2009: Going for an inspirational ride. The kino. And some mailbag.

I had two scenes to write today. I worked out the first one in my head as I was driving in to work this morning and was able to write it up in no time. I was on fire! I immediately moved on to the second scene, confident I would have the scripts wrapped up in no time. And…nothing. I spent two hours sitting in front of my laptop, wondering what kind of Thai dishes the production office had ordered for lunch and whether the spread would include chicken with yellow curry which I’m partial to but don’t love as much as that pork with eggplant and jalapenos that I used to get every time I visited that restaurant in Yaletown and that Paul would always get when he was ordering in and what was I going to have for dinner tonight and, hey, I should really catch up on my emails because it’s been almost a week since various friends and acquaintances contacted me but first let’s go online and see what’s making news and, if not making news, then at the very least amusing the general net pop and, well, you get the idea. I was getting nowhere fast. This was in marked contrast to my creative charge only hours earlier. What happened? Well, simply put, I got out of my car. Yep, for some reason, I do some my best writing while I’m at the wheel. So, rather than sit there and wait for inspiration to strike, I hopped into my car and went for a ride. By the time I rolled back into my office some forty-five minutes later, I had my scene.

I went over both scripts and made some tweaks. Tomorrow, I’ll review them one last time and then, finally, put them out – if not for me, then for Carl who seems especially eager to read them, his eyes lighting up whenever I stroll by his office. “Script?!”he’ll call out in anticipation. “No,”I have to tell him. “Not yet.” His obvious disappointment breaks my heart. It’s like telling a kid Santa Claus forgot to bring him presents. But not as funny.

Hey, since there’s been a lot of talk on the forums about the upcoming SGU “webisodes” and the kino in particular, I thought I’d leave you with some kino-related material. For those of you who don’t know, the kino is essentially a high-tech “hover MALP” capable of investigating and recording events on ship and off. Some of these kino sequences will find their way into episodes. Other clips will be made available online, often tying in with certain episodes. To those asking, the kino footage appearing online will not be crucial to your understanding of a particular episode. However, these clips do shed light on our characters and Destiny itself so watching them will offer a fuller understanding of certain in-show elements.

Early kino design
Early kino design

Kino director Ivon Bartok discusses a scene with actress Julia Anderson –

Today’s entry is dedicated to Pol as she heads in for wrist surgery. Good luck! You’ll be waving in no time.


Thornyrose writes: “I notice that the Fuel website doesn’t show the crispy duck for two on it. I take it that it can be requested off menu? Any other interesting entrees you might recommend?”

Answer: It is on the menu and you should have no trouble ordering it if you drop by. As for other interesting entrees – I’m always partial to the pork dishes, but their salmon is excellent as well.

Thornyrose writes: “Anothre question of idle curiosity. Was the change of font communicated, or were you expected to pick up on the changes telepathically?”

Answer: No it wasn’t a secret. I simply forgot.

Narelle from Aus writes: “When you’re pitching something like your Horror movie (any further news on that by the way?) do you just pitch the concept or do you need to include some of the peripheral details such as your target market/demographic, marketing ideas etc or is that something that the network works out for themselves?”

Answer: It depends on the project and how much detail you want to provide. In the case of the horror movie, we also pitched the marketing angle because it was unique.

Luis writes: “Joe I have never had Duck talk to a friend she said to go to a Chinese Rest. they make good Orange Duck…ever hear of Orange Duck???”

Answer: My father used to make something similar called Duck a l’Orange when we were kids.

PG15 writes: “Speaking of SGU (well, you spoke of it, I didn’t), a poster at Gateworld, Colonel Sharp came up with a pretty cool origin for the name “kino”, he says:

As we know, the Ancient language is ’supposed’ to be a form of Latin

Kino…well cyno (The abl/dat form of cynon), refers to a type of eye-ointment, and from what it seems like, this thing is basically an eye floating around looking at everyone.”

Answer: Interesting, but no. Kino stands for Kinetic Interactive Navigational Orb.

Actually, no it doesn’t. But it should.

Shiningwit writes: “Just letting you know that Sassie passed away at 11.57, she went the way she would have wanted, growling at the vet.”

Answer: Sorry to hear it. Did she suddenly take sick? Do you have any pics of Sassie you’d be willing to share?

Imadaman writes: “So I was wondering if the SGC will be moved to Atlantis, have they disabled the Atlantis’ gate or have McKay, Carter and Zelenka written a program that prevents incoming wormholes to connect the Atlantis’ gate?”

Answer: This is covered in the movie script.

Bugguy writes: “I’m back. Making a job change and things have been quite hectic.”

Answer: It’s been over a year! I had you declared officially dead and already collected the insurance money.

Mishmee writes: “What’s up for the next BOTM?”

Answer: September’s Book of the Month Club pick is Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover. Details in the right sidebar.

Paloosa writes: “It’s so frustrating with so many formats to view and create shows these days, as in; network, cable, direct to DVD, webisodes, YouTube, podcasts and God only knows what else in the future, it seems that technology is separating us more than bringing us together. I remember when there were only three US networks and we, as in the entire country, all talked about the same “big event”. Not so much nowadays. As an older person, it’s also expensive to keep up, and I think kind of sad as well.

How do you feel about this, and what do you see for the future?”

Answer: I’m holding out for the brain microchip that will allow me to do it all – make phone calls, take pictures, watch film and television, and learn how to darn a sock.

Silver_comet writes: “You’ve never asked questions yourself for any author’s Q&A, have you? Why not?”

Answer: Because, of course, you all come up with such terrific questions.

DP writes: “1. What is the relationship between the kino and the long-range communication device?

2. What are the main components of a kino?

3. How many kino are there?

4. Does the kino have any artificial intelligence?

5. What has the kino been doing all these millions of years?

6. Does the kino have any quirky traits?

7. Does the kino go off the ship?

8. Does the kino facilitate communication with aliens who don’t communicate in conventional ways?

9. Does the kino facilitate contact with aliens who live in environments inhospitable to humans?

10. Does the kino facilitate communication when the communicators are experiencing relativistic effects?

11. Is the kino nosey?

12. Does the kino have any pets? If so, what is its understanding of selective breeding?”

Answers: 1. There is none.

2. Not sure. I’ve never taken one apart. This is a question for Eli.

3. Again, I haven’t counted. Somewhere between several and not enough.

4. No.

5. Catching up on a backlog of t.v. shows. It’s partial to Lost.

6. You mean like an affinity for opera capes? No.

7. Yep. Appropriately enough, someone in the Art Department coined it the “hover MALP”.

8. It could.

9. It could.

10. What communicators?

11. It isn’t sentient – so no.

12. It had a 40 000 year old Chihuahua named Mordecai but, since a recent falling out, they don’t talk much.

Tawny writes: “Do you think we’ll be seeing another sort of transitional show, like “From Stargate to Atlantis, a SciFi Lowdown”?”

Answer: I haven’t heard but I wouldn’t be surprised if we do.

June 16, 2009: The Joys of Scriptwriting, Production Update, and Oodles of Pics.

Spoiler Alert!  Brad's diagram explains the science behind an upcoming episode!  Oh, and Carl.
Spoiler Alert! Brad’s diagram explains the science behind an upcoming episode! Oh, and Carl.
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok loves to drop by the offices and just hang out - much to Paul's delight.
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok loves to drop by the offices and just hang out – much to Paul’s delight.
Ivon shows off his People's Choice Award for Best DVD Extras.  Coincidentally, MY People's Choice Award went missing today.
Ivon shows off his People’s Choice Award for Best DVD Extras. Coincidentally, MY People’s Choice Award went missing today.
Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela presides over Space's green screen mayhem.  Now with 50% more dinosaurs!
Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela presides over Space’s green screen mayhem. Now with 50% more dinosaurs!
1st AD Alex Pappas and actor Patrick Gilmore (Volker) strike.  Later, the visual effects depatment will magically transform the green screen backdrop into a scene from The Hogan Family reunion movie.  Because they can.
1st AD Alex Pappas and actor Patrick Gilmore (Volker) strike a pose. Later, the visual effects depatment will magically transform the green screen backdrop into a scene from The Hogan Family reunion movie. Because they can.
Actress Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park) and fan who was later escorted off the lot.
Actress Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park) and fan who was later escorted off the lot.
Director Andy Mikita calls the shots on Space, episode #11.
Director Andy Mikita calls the shots on Space, episode #11.
Andy is shocked by Carl's improvised shower scene.  Save that one for the director's cut.
Andy is shocked by Carl’s improvised shower scene. Save that one for the director’s cut.
Ashleigh blocks my path with this pose for five full minutes until I finally relented and snapped her picture.
Ashleigh blocks my path with this pose for five full minutes until I finally relented and snapped her picture.
Today’s lunch room conversation centered on the frustrating, lonely, arduous, dispiriting, painful, occasionally lucrative job of the professional scriptwriter. How to best describe the scripting process? Well, have you ever spent a night in a feverish haze, tossing and turning, falling in and out of sleep, endlessly repeating variations of the same weird, maddening dream? It’s like that except that you’re not confined to your bedroom. No, so long as that script sits unfinished, it’ll weigh on your 24/7 – at the office, in the shower, while you’re having that long distance conversation with your mother about that celebrity dance show. We compared and contrasted our various writing processes. My writing partner Paul, for instance, has to work an entire scene out in his head before sitting down to write it. Brad and Robert, on the other hand, write at their laptops. I’m a pacer, generally running dialogue anywhere but in my office, nailing down a run before getting it down. And, like Carl, when I sit down at the my laptop, I review and rewrite what I’ve got before moving on, advancing a few pages and retiring for the day, then repeating the process the following day. By the time the script is complete, I can recite that first scene line for line. Yes, it can be extremely demanding and incredibly taxing but, at the end of the day, it’s the constructive fan criticism that make it all worthwhile.


I headed down to Stage 4 today where Director Andy Mikita was overseeing one of the big green screen sequences in Space, episode #11. On the observation deck this afternoon: Patrick Gilmore (Volker), Julia Anderson (James), Jennifer Spence (Park), and various others taking in the pyrotechnic display. During a break in the action, Patrick regaled us with the tale of his first memorable Chris Judge experience way back on a little SG-1 episode called Morpheus in which he played the role of the sleepily ill-fated Bernie Ackerman. In addition to being a terrific actor (yet another instant of someone whose small initial role continues to grow as a result of some impressive performances), he’s a really good guy. And funny. You can check out his twitter here:

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to Das and her hubby who are mourning the loss of Cowboy. Also, belated condolences to Maggiemayday on the loss of her buddy Cricket.

June 4, 2009: New Episode Titles! -Ish! It’s Party Time! What Does The Future Hold? A Comic Book Series Perhaps.

Alaina Huffman (T.J) and Julia Anderson (James) are dispatched to deal with the bear that wandered onto the lot this morning.
Alaina Huffman (T.J) and Julia Anderson (James) are dispatched to deal with the bear that wandered onto the lot this morning.

Hey, everybody! It’s time to play “Guess the Upcoming Episode Names!”

Episode #14 shares a title with a song by God Module.

Episode #15 shares a title with a song by The Beastie Boys.

Episode #16 shares a title with a song by Coldplay.

Another round of clues tomorrow. In the meantime, knock yourselves out.

Well, damn. Even though we’re a couple of weeks away from the beginning of summer, you wouldn’t know it by the beautiful weather. Sunny and HOT! At lunch, the circus is transformed into party central with the actors and crew members lounging outside the trailers, chatting, laughing, and listening to the booming tunes compliments of Mr. Robert Carlyle. It’s like Woodstock North, a laidback and fun atmosphere. I bet if Jason Momoa were around, he’d have his guitar out and be strumming right along. At least actress Elyse Levesque got to cool off in the dunk tank.

After lunch, Paul and I had the big conference call in which we pitched out our vision for the comic book series. They’ve already read the pilot (which I pitched out as a double-issue because I think that final WTF?! revelation is key), so I gave them a rundown of how the opening story wraps up and sets the stage for the rest of the series. We discussed thematic elements, the moral conflict at the heart of the story, the search for answers, and the surprises in store, then moved onto a brief overview of the seven main characters, their stories, relationships, and respective journeys. It seemed to go very well but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Exec. Producer Brad Wright came into my office this afternoon and started scanning the shelves in search of a good hiatus read. I recommended Charlie Stross’ Glasshouse, one of my fave reads of 2009.

Speaking of reading – Okay, readers, let’s finish up Elric: The Stealer of Souls. Discussion begins Monday and, later in the week, we’ll be joined by legendary author Michael Moorcock for a little Q&A.

May 29, 2009: Shifting From Dark and Dangerous to Moody and Mysterious. I Weigh In On The Big News Item. And – Some Mailbag.


Lock and load, baby!
Lock and load, baby!


Julia Anderson (Vanessa James) takes a break from the action.
Julia Anderson (Vanessa James) takes a break from the action.
Josh Blacker (Sgt. Spencer) tries to blend in.
Josh Blacker (Sgt. Spencer) tries to blend in.
Director of Photography Jim Menard suddenly realizes he's standing in a puddle - much to Director Robert C. Cooper's delight.
Director of Photography Jim Menard suddenly realizes he’s standing in a puddle – much to Director Robert C. Cooper’s delight.

The quiet suspense of today’s shipboard mystery was in marked contrast to the gloomy, dank, heavy ordnance-laced mayhem of the preceding days. And it’s just as well. My teeth are still chattering from the M5 barrage that lit up the shadows of Stage 1 the last time I dropped in. Yes, some delightfully creepy goings-on in Time (a Robert C. Cooper joint that completed shooting yesterday) that will no doubt look all the more delightful and creepy once the episode is finished. By all indications, the cast enjoyed themselves immensely – particularly actor Jamil Walker Smith who was reveling in the cold, wet, and muddy conditions. Now, we shift focus from the dark and dangerous alien environment of Time to the shocking discovery and troubling developments presented in Justice. Will Waring is doing the honors here, directing an episode that promises more than a few surprises in addition to decisions both startling and unsettling that will have far-reaching consequences for the Destiny crew.

Rob will be doing the pass on my script, Space (episode 11), this weekend and informed me of a few character additions he wants to make off the top (which tie in directly to Justice), in addition to a dialogue tweak to the final exchange that had me raising an eyebrow in stunned silence. I love both of these characters, and this little revelation raises the stakes, offering a beautiful segue into the next episode, Divided.

Nothing is quite as it seems? Try – No one is quite as they seem. Furtive moves, shifting alliances, and hidden agendas guarantee a dysfunctional and disquieting galaxy-hopping community.

One of the things I’m really loving about the new series is the colorful cast of characters: Rush, Young, Armstrong, Scott, Telford, Wray, Eli, Chloe, T.J., Greer, James, Brody, Franklin, Volker, Park, Spencer, Kane and Riley. I told Brad that Darkness and Light do a wonderful job of offering the viewer insight into these varied individuals thrown together by circumstance, glimpses of their respective personalities only the kino can capture.

Hey, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the big news item of the past few days. I refer, of course, to the fact that, after 65 years, comic icon Archie Andrews is finally getting off the fence and choosing…drum roll, please…Veronica over Betty. Apparently, he and the dark-haired socialite tie the knot in issue #600. Reaction in the production offices has ranged from my writing partner Paul’s bewildered: “Married?! For sixty-five years he’s a high school student and suddenly he’s old enough to get married?!” to Carl Binder’s dismissive: “Hmph. I’m an Archie-Jughead slasher.” Of course, whenever we start talking Archie, the inevitable question pops up: Who would you pick? Who would I pick? Well, to be perfectly honest, if the gals were cool with the situation (which Betty and Veronica certainly seemed to be), I wouldn’t. But if I HAD to choose – well, it would be tough. On the one hand, Veronica possesses the upscale style and social charms better suited to my wining and dining lifestyle, yet seems somewhat shallow by comparison and, quite frankly, a bit of a bitch. On the other hand, Betty is sweet, genuine, and far more down to earth, but strikes me as somewhat dull. I also think that Betty’s – uh – curvier, but every time I bring that up (Hey, it comes up in conversation more than you‘d expect.) Paul is quick to point out that Betty and Veronica are drawn exactly the same and only differ in hair color and style. He tried to convince us by drawing comparisons between Betty and Veronica as they appear in various comic book covers. I countered, presenting the case for Betty being more statuesque than Veronica by also drawing comparisons between exhibit A and B (or C really, at least, but I digress). Anyway, in the end, we agreed to continue to disagree.

Whatever. For all this talk of looming nuptials, I don’t buy it . My prediction for the upcoming storyline: Archie will ask Veronica to marry him, not because he thinks she’d be a better pick, but because Veronica’s father, Hiram Lodge, is dying (suffering from an inoperable brain tumor located behind his left eye or some similarly hilarious predicament) and wants to see his daughter wed before he leaves this world. But on the day of the wedding, genius Dilton Doyle comes up with a plan to save the filthy rich codger’s life. He shrinks Archie and co. down to size so that they can board the nanite-sub he injects into Mr. Lodge’s bloodstream (which, incidentally, is 33% gin). In a race against time, our heroes travel through the body and up into the head area where they destroy they excise and destroy the tumor from the inside. Mr. Lodge is saved, the marriage is called off but the story ends with a wedding after all – that of Moose and longtime girlfriend Midge. They end up naming their firstborn after the late Reggie who was consumed by belligerent white blood cells while trying to save the rest of the gang, thus redeeming himself after 65 years of dickitude. And our hero Archie returns to his double-teaming status quo. The End.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday girl Amy Lynn.


Nadine writes: “Joe, 2 questions:
1) have you read anything by Neil Stephenson?
2) was there a BotM discussion for Neuropath which I missed, or did you just recommend it?”

Answers: 1) Yep. I’ve read Quicksilver and The Diamond Age.

2) No, Neuropath was one of the many books in my every-growing collection I finally got around to reading last year. Great.

Ken Davenport writes: “As the Producer and Co-Conceiver of Altar Boyz, I can honestly tell you . . . you are not the first person to have thought that you wouldn’t enjoy Altar Boyz! Lots of people think EXACTLY what you think . . .

But talk to me after you see it (and if you can, get to the original Off-Broadway production). I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

In fact, I’ll make a double or nothing bet with you and your friend Kerry . . .

If you don’t like it . . . I’ll pay for your tickets.

Ken Davenport

Answer: Ken, please don’t make me go in there with an open mind. Fine, alright, I’ll keep an open mind. Is there anything I should know that would prepare me for the experience. But just to be clear: Is it a Christian parody of boy bands, a parody of Christan boy bands, or the second coming of NKOTB?

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Will the midseason 2 parter be between Justice and Space, or Space and Divided?

2. If you get a quick moment, could you ask Carl the exact date of MGM’s 85th B-day please?

3. Will Andy be Directing Space?

4. So what do you think of my video? (We actually did this back in november, so it was like the second video we ever made).

5. Any updates on the N. John Smith Q&A?

6. It has been said that there will be SGU trailers on the SGA season 5 boxset. Will those be new feature length trailers or already aired trailers?”

Answers: 1. Yes.

2. I’m sure Carl would be the last person to ask.

3. Yes.

4. It’s tough to judge an unfinished story.

5. What N. John Smith Q&A?

6. No idea.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Joe, could you please define “jerk blowhard”? What sort of personality type drives you nuts?”

Answer: Self-centered know-it-alls who think nothing of inconveniencing all those around them so long as their needs are met. Come on, we’ve all had to deal with these types over the course of our lives.

Nadine writes: “At Chocoatl do you have any favourite chocolates in particular?”

Answer: I like the Denso, extra-thick drinking chocolate.

April 26, 2009: The Best Chocolate Party Ever!

Speical Features Producer, Ivon Bartok, sports the prep school look.  Executive Producer Carl Binder pretends to be sociable.
Ivon Bartok sports the prep school look. Carl Binder pretends to be sociable.
Script Coordinator Lawren Bancroft-Wilson in happier, less nauseous times.
Lawren Bancroft-Wilson in happier, less nauseous times.
Carl's wife Karen is on hand to keep her husband in check.
Carl's wife Karen is on hand to keep her husband in check.
Executive Producer Robert Cooper goes over his chocolate strategy.
Robert Cooper goes over his chocolate strategy.
Actor Brian J. Smith grabs a photo op with Producer John G. Lenic.
Brian J. Smith grabs a photo op with John G. Lenic.
Our friends Duc and Lily settle in for the feast.
Our friends Duc and Lily settle in for the feast.
Watercress Veloute with spring garlic custard and croutons.
Watercress Veloute with spring garlic custard and croutons.
Special Event Photographer Lawren Bancroft-Wilson caught in the act.
Special Event Photographer Lawren Bancroft-Wilson caught in the act.
Globe Artichoke Salad with fava beans, smoked pork shoulder, and organic olive oil.
Globe Artichoke Salad with fava beans, smoked pork shoulder, and organic olive oil.
Actor Jamil Walker Smith just happy he made it to the party.
Jamil Walker Smith just happy he made it to the party.
Roasted Prime Rib and Lamb
Roasted Prime Rib and Lamb
Actress Alain Huffman yuks it up with husband John.
Alain Huffman yuks it up with husband John.
Ricotta and Egg Yolk Ravioli with fava beans, french breakfast radishes, and black truffles.
Ricotta and Egg Yolk Ravioli with fava beans, french breakfast radishes, and black truffles.
Polderside Farms Spring Lamb with morels, sauteed ramps, and english peas.
Polderside Farms Spring Lamb with morels, sauteed ramps, and english peas.
Roasted Rib of Dry Aged Alberta Prime Beef wth black truffle bearnaise, potato fondant, and young leeks.
Roasted Rib of Dry Aged Alberta Prime Beef wth black truffle bearnaise, potato fondant, and young leeks.
Actress Alaina Huffman and husband John.  Camera loves these two!
Alaina Huffman and husband John. Camera loves these two!
Whipped Camembert with raisin brioche, spiced almonds, and fine herbs.
Whipped Camembert with raisin brioche, spiced almonds, and fine herbs.
Kerry says hi.
Kerry says hi.


Assorted sorbets.
Assorted sorbets.
Jean Paul Hevin Cave a Chocolat featuring twelve of his most famous creations.  Basically, a briefcase full of chocolate.
Jean Paul Hevin Cave a Chocolat featuring twelve of his most famous creations. Basically, a briefcase full of chocolate.
Oriol Balanguer's Collection 72 and 12 piece assortment including their hugely popular Mascleta with pop rocks.
Oriol Balanguer's Collection 72 and 12 piece assortment including their hugely popular Mascleta with pop rocks.
Oriol Balanguer mini tubes.
Oriol Balanguer mini tubes.
Jin Patisserie 24 piece jewelry box.
Jin Patisserie 24 piece jewelry box.
Jin Patisserie 20 piece silk box.
Jin Patisserie 20 piece silk box.
Payard masterpiece collection.
Payard masterpiece collection.
Payard muscadines.
Payard muscadines.
Payard vanilla rum truffles.
Payard vanilla rum truffles.
Debauve & Gallais 54 piece assortment.
Debauve & Gallais 54 piece assortment.
La Maison du Chocolat 122 piece Coffret Maison.
La Maison du Chocolat 122 piece Coffret Maison.
La Maison du Chocolat Habanera Gift Box.
La Maison du Chocolat Habanera Gift Box.
Richart Tribal Ballotin
Richart Tribal Ballotin
CocoaNymph 32 piece collection.
CocoaNymph 32 piece collection.
Mink Chocolates 9 piece Artist Series Presentation Box.
Mink Chocolates 9 piece Artist Series Presentation Box.
Joel Durand Alphabet des Saveurs 200 piece collection.
Joel Durand Alphabet des Saveurs 200 piece collection.
Mariebelle 100 piece blue box.
Mariebelle 100 piece blue box.
Mariebelle Croquette au Chocolat.
Mariebelle Croquette au Chocolat.
Wen Chocolates Bananas Foster Truffles.
Wen Chocolates Bananas Foster Truffles.
Wen Chocolates truffle assortment.
Wen Chocolates truffle assortment.
Wen Chocolates assorted truffles.
Wen Chocolates assorted truffles.
Pierre Marcolini Conoisseur Collection.
Pierre Marcolini Conoisseur Collection.
Michel Cluizel
Michel Cluizel
Michel Cluizel
Michel Cluizel
Amadei porcela and chuao bars.
Amedei porcelana and chuao bars.
Martine's Chocolates 72 piece selection.
Martine's Chocolates 72 piece selection.
Chocoatl drinking chocolate - milk chocolate.
Chocoatl drinking chocolate - milk chocolate.
Chocoatl chocolate fountain and assorted dipping goodies.
Chocoatl chocolate fountain and assorted dipping goodies.
Christopher Norman Grand Mosaic Box.
Christopher Norman Grand Mosaic Box.
Christopher Norman Luxury Tea Collection.
Christopher Norman Luxury Tea Collection.
Christopher Norman Coconut Snowball Collection.
Christopher Norman Coconut Snowball Collection.
Christopher Norman Blue Cheese Box.
Christopher Norman Blue Cheese Box.
Patrick Roger 75 piece assortment, ganaches, and pralines.
Patrick Roger 75 piece assortment, ganaches, and pralines.
Jacques Torres champagne truffles and 50 piece assortment.
Jacques Torres champagne truffles and 50 piece assortment.
Vosges smoked applewood bacon truffles.
Vosges smoked applewood bacon truffles.
Vosges assorted truffles.
Vosges assorted truffles.
Vosges Peanut Butter Bonbons.
Vosges Peanut Butter Bonbons.
48 piece assorted collection.
Tesucher 48 piece assorted collection.
Christopher Elbow 21 piece chocolate collection.
Christopher Elbow 21 piece chocolate collection.
Ivon keeps David's gal Holly company.
Ivon keeps David's gal Holly company.
David Blue mentally prepares himself for the chocolate blowout.
David Blue mentally prepares himself for the chocolate blowout.
Director Alex Chapple and Carl Binder.
Director Alex Chapple and Carl Binder.
Brad Wright with wife Debbie.
Brad Wright with wife Debbie.
Jamil's hat looks better on Alaina.
Jamil's hat looks better on Alaina.
The chocolate buffet!
The chocolate buffet!
Chocoatl chocolate dessert.
Chocoatl chocolate dessert.
Will Waring and David Blue talk shop.
Will Waring and David Blue talk shop.
Duc and Lily.
Duc and Lily.
Ted takes a break.
Ted takes a break.
David Blue and truffle.
David Blue and truffle.
Brian about ready to tap out.
Brian about ready to tap out.
Julia Anderson and fiance Peter Benson.
Julia Anderson and fiance Peter Benson.
Actor Justin Louis, son, and girlfriend Mary.
Actor Justin Louis, son, and girlfriend Mary.
John Lenic feeling the chocolate buzz.
John Lenic feeling the chocolate buzz.
Lawren takes up the challenge.
Lawren takes up the challenge.
Smooth sailing.  At first.
Smooth sailing. At first.
Beginning to draw a crowd...
Beginning to draw a crowd...
Slowing down...
Slowing down...
"What have I gotten myself into?"
"What have I gotten myself into?"
"He's not gonna make it..."
"He's not gonna make it..."
Rob gives the sick boy a round of applause.
Rob gives the sick boy a round of applause.
Lawren is comes up short.  He's done!
Lawren is comes up short. He's done!
Jamil looks pretty done too - but is consoled by Elyse Levesque.
Jamil looks pretty done too - but is consoled by Elyse Levesque.
Julia and Kerry.
Julia and Kerry.
Fuel's Tom Doughty and Chef Rob Belcham.
Fuel's Tom Doughty and Chef Rob Belcham.


David and Ivon (photo compliments of Kerry).
David and Ivon (photo compliments of Kerry).
Alan and Teresa (photo compliments of Kerry).
Alan and Teresa (photo compliments of Kerry).
Me experiencing a chocolate rush (compliments of Kerry).
Me experiencing a chocolate rush (compliments of Kerry).
Julia and Kerry
Julia and Kerry
Alan, Teresa, Kerry, and I.
Alan, Teresa, Kerry, and I.
I know, I know. I said the same thing about last year’s chocolate party – and, at the time, it certainly was The Best Chocolate Party Ever! Until yesterday’s chocolate party of course.
This was the second year in a row I hosted the party at my favorite Vancouver restaurant, Fuel. After some discussion with Tom, Rob, and Ted, we decided that unlike last year when we went whole hog (quite literally, we had foie grass and black truffle sausage-stuffed roast suckling pig AND crispy duck), we would opt for a lighter menu so that our guests would still have room for chocolates. To that end, Tom, Rob, and Ted put their heads together and came up with a spectacular menu that, while certainly not light, was substantial and satisfying without overwhelming.
First up was the watercresss veloute with spring garlic custard and croutons. It was a beautiful presentation and a lovely contrast in textures – creamy, firm, and crunchy.
The next course was a globe artichoke salad with fava beans, smoked pork shoulder, and organic olive oil. Now I’m usually not a salad guy but I thought this one was spectacular – and many of my fellow diners agreed.

Next up were our mains. For the vegetarians among us a tasty-looking ricotta and egg yolk ravioli with fava beans, French breakfast radishes, and black truffles. It looked so good this was one of those rare occasions when I actually wanted the veggie selection.

I went with the Polderside Farms spring lamb with morels, sautéed ramps, and English peas. Wonderfully tender and flavorful.

Fondy, meanwhile, went with the roasted rib of dry aged Alberta prime beef with black truffle béarnaise, potato fondant, and young leeks – and this dish blew the doors off the place. Everyone was raving about it, especially a certain Mr. Carl Binder.

Next was a whipped camembert with raisin brioche, spiced almonds, and fine herbs. Nice, not overly sweet. Jamil in particular enjoyed this one.

We capped the meal with a gorgeous presentation of assorted sorbets served atop carved ice blocks. Unbelievably good, especially the coconut that seemed to be everyone‘s favorite.

After dinner, we moved on to the main event: the chocolates. Last year, I brought in a selection from fourteen different chocolatiers worldwide. This year, it was 21.

JP Hevin’s 96 piece Cave a Chocolat made a return appearance after so impressing last year. Twelve of Hevin’s most famous creations collected in a stunning briefcase. Loved them last year and loved them just as much this year. (

Barcelona’s premiere chocolate designer and chocolatier, Oriol Balanguer, makes his first chocolate party appearance with a stunning assortment. These were a bit of a deal to bring in but they were well worth the effort – refined and utterly delicious. Some of the stand-outs included the delicate filled mini tubes, hot toddy, chestnut and nougat, and a Mascleta with pop rocks that my friend Steve couldn’t stop talking about. (

Speaking of refined, Jin Patisserie made it two years in a row with a delicate and distinguished assortment beautifully presented in silk and jewelry boxes. They were reluctant to ship to Canada last year but, after much pleading relented and their chocolates turned out to be a huge hit. This year, they shipped no problem and, again, their creations had the room buzzing. (

This was a first year for Payard as well and, in addition to a chocolate assortment, they amazed with their vanilla rum truffles and, my personal favorites, their muscadines (dark chocolate ganache dusted in powdered sugar, Grand Marnier, and sugar powder). Even after I’d reached my limit, I couldn’t help ending the night with a couple of the latter. (

The most expensive chocolates hailed from France’s Debauve & Gallais, chocolate-makers to the French royal court. “Buddy, there is no royal court in France,”my writing partner Paul informed me as he sampled a chocolate. “They had a little something called the French Revolution. Maybe you’ve heard of it?”. Well, over the course of its rich two hundred year history, this company has served the likes of King Louis XVIII, Charles X, Louis-Philippe – and now, us. Fantastic chocolates I won’t hesitate to re-order for my next bash.

This is my fourth annual chocolate party and La Maison du Chocolat has made an appearance at every one. An incredible assortment of world-class chocolates including their Habanera Gift Box made up of dark chocolate perfumed with vine peaches, and milk chocolate infused with Mirabelle plums. John, Alaina’s husband, was blown away by the subtle milk chocolate/plum combo. (

Richart offers up an unbelievable selection of their marvelous creations grouped into different flavor families (balsamic, roasted, fruity, citrust, herbal, floral, and spiced) in addition to dark and milk chocolate samplers ranging from rich milk chocolate to intense darks. (

New York’s Mariebelle is another heavy hitter than never fails to impress with its beautiful blue box collection. Their croquettes – crispy and crunchy buttery European cookies in milk or dark chocolate – always draw A LOT of interest. I ordered four boxes this year – and all four were finished by night’s end. (

I decided to check out of some of the local flavor and picked up an assortment from Vancouver’s own CocoaNymph. Owner Rachel has been at it a year and a half and obviously puts much love and imagination into her creations. My favorite was one she had me sample when I dropped by her shop – a remarkable blueberry and balsamic. (

Also hailing from Vancouver and making their first chocolate party appearance was Mink Chocolates and their exciting collection that included a pear and rosemary with milk chocolate ganache in dark chocolate. In addition to the bonbons, they also boast an intriguing line-up of inspired chocolate bars. (

Speaking of inspired, French chocolatier Joel Durand’s Alphabet des Saveurs offered up a range of extraordinary combinations, from A (Gold Square – dark chocolate, 70% cocoa) to Z (Almonds Praline – 40% milk chocolate with home made praline from Provence almonds). Some other surprisingly good letters of note included F (dark chocolate and Corsica arbutus bitter honey), P (Provence almond praline and black olives from “Les Baux” Valley), and W (dark chocolate and fresh Provence thyme). (

What would a chocolate party be without a contribution from my buddy Will Poole and his shop, Wen Chocolates, in Denver, Colorado? I first glimpsed his Bananas Foster truffle creations on Food Network’s Road Tasted and have been a fan ever since. In addition to the Bananas Foster (“It tastes like Christmas!”someone enthused), other truffles to garner the Oooh and Aaah reaction included Mint Julep, Kaffir Lime, and California Bay Leaf. (

Another perennial favorite is chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. A wonderful collection that took me back to my last Tokyo trip when I would while away the afternoons at the Pierre Marcolini location in Ginza, enjoying his marvelous chocolates, ice creams, and hot cocoa. (

Michel Cluizel’s line of chocolate bars is simply terrific – and what better way to enjoy them than with a sampler of some of his most popular offerings. In addition, Cluizel offers a Once Upon A Bean presentation box that treats novices to an overview of the chocolate-making process, from cocoa bean to finished product. (

Hey, speaking of chocolate bars, I figured no chocolate party would be complete without my very favorites: Amedei’s porcelana and chuao bars. I personally think you’d be hardpressed to find better. (

Martine’s Chocolate makes yet another chocolate party appearance with their varied 72 piece selection. My wife’s favorite. (

I don’t think you can find anyone more passionate or as knowledgeable about chocolate in Vancouver than Themis Velgis, owner of Yaletown’s Chocoatl. This year, in addition to making some dark and decadent desserts, he supplied milk and dark drinking chocolate, milk and dark chocolate fountains, and oodles of delicious dunkables. (

Christopher Norman is another chocolate party mainstay owing to the quality of the product and the beauty and care that goes into their presentation. Their hand-painted Grand Mosaic Box is stunning and, while oft-copied (Vancouver’s most famous chocolatier comes to mind), nothing comes close to the original. The luxury tea collection is a sublime mix of unique tea flavor profiles (green tea, tropical mango, China Rose, and Lapsang Souchong), chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate. This was the first year I had the pleasure of enjoying their Coconut Snowball Collection in addition to their Blue Cheese Chocolate Truffles. The latter were an acquired taste. Brian found them surprisingly subtle while David was quick to politely but vehemently disagree. Of all the chocolates I brought in, these Blue Cheese Chocolate truffles were the ones that Ashleigh was most excited about. Alas, no leftovers but I thought it might be nice to surprise her with a box later in the year. In lieu of a Christmas bonus. (

Hey, speaking of acquired taste, Vosges is always a chocolate party favorite in large part due to their bold, out-there flavor combinations: wild Tuscan fennel pollen and milk chocolate, sweet Hungarian paprika and dark chocolate, horseradish, lemon zest, and dark chocolate. But my personal favorite has to be their smoked applewood bacon milk chocolate truffle. Also, last year, I brought in two boxes of their creamy organic peanut butter bonbons topped with sea salt – and they were the first to go. This year, I brought in four boxes – and they didn’t last any longer. (

France’s Patrick Roger has been described as an up and coming chocolatier. Judging from the creations I sampled last night, I think it’s safe to say he’s arrived. Incredibly accomplished chocolates that had Chef Rob, in particular, singing their praises. (

I’ve wanted to bring in Jacques Torres chocolates for years but, every time I contacted their shop in New York, I was informed they didn’t ship to Canada. Then, this year, I included a link to my last chocolate party with the request. Well, a company representative contacted me and informed me they were willing to ship for the special event – and, boy, are we glad they did. Wow! The chocolates were superb and those champagne truffles outrageously good! (

Christopher Elbow’s artisan chocolates are a sight to behold – and they are as tasty as they are dazzling. In addition to chocolate pieces, Elbow also makes some mighty unbelievable bars and, in all likelihood, the best coffee/chocolate bar out there. (

And, finally, this was the first year for Teuscher.  I ordered the 48 piece assortment.  Excellent chocolates, but the truffles were unbelievable!  (

Whew! It was a chocolate extravaganza. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves although some definitely overdid it. Take Lawren for instance. After attacking the chocolate, he was offered a significant sum of money if he could finish four sinfully rich chocolate desserts in twenty-five minutes. Well, despite the fact that he was chocolated-out, he decided to give it a try. He put the first dessert away no problem, making everyone else at the table mighty nervous. As he put the second one away, he began to draw a crowd and, by the third dessert – which took him a good ten minutes to get through – he had his own cheering section. By the time he started on that fourth dessert, the entire room was crowded around him, shouting words of encouragement and, in some cases, discouragement. He got halfway through the fourth one when, with five minutes to go, he threw in the towel. According to Tom, he had dialed 9 and 1 and was waiting to dial that last 1.

Well, he may not have won the cash but Lawren won the respect of many of those in the room – who would respect anyone crazy enough to try and put away four decadent chocolate desserts after maxing out on a chocolate buffet.

Thanks to the gang at Fuel, the wonderful participating chocolatiers, and, of course, my guests.

So, yeah – Best Chocolate Party Ever!

Until next year of course.




April 2, 2009: Waiting for the Other Vengeful Shoe to Drop, Peter DeLuise Wants to Hear From You

Carl and Ashleigh
Carl and Ashleigh


Alan McCullough, formerly of Stargate, presently of Sanctuary.
Alan McCullough, formerly of Stargate, presently of Sanctuary.

Lawren.  Or is it Alfie?
Lawren. Or is it Alfie?

I walked into work today, fully expecting some sort of payback for my April Fools coup (see last issue, editor). To my surprise, things were quiet. Too quiet. I just knew my co-workers are scheming. Apparently, after I left the office last night, the wheels had begun to turn.

“How can I get Joe back?”Brad asked aloud.

“Fire him!”Carl helpfully suggested.

Thankfully, Brad decided to file that one away as Plan B. As for Plan A…

“Boy,”I said today at lunch, “I can’t imagine how you’re going to exact your revenge on April Fools Day next year.”

Ashleigh threw me a pointed look and assured me: “Oh, you won’t have to wait that long.”

“Are you sure?” I felt the need to point out the bad sportsmanship in pulling an April Fool’s prank, revenge-motivated or otherwise, on a day other than April 1st. Ashleigh made it perfectly clear that she had no problem whatsoever being labeled a poor sport.

Hmmm. It’s possible that she’ll eventually forget.

Nope. I don’t think so either.

Today, we screened Ivon Bartok’s directorial debut. The first batch of kino scenes were a lot fun, featuring Eli and Chloe, Spencer and Brody, Scott, Young, and a peeved James (played by the lovely Julia Anderson. What a sweetheart!).

As for the actual episodes: Ernest Dickerson continues to do a bang-up job directing Earth, Peter DeLuise is in the editing room working on Fire, and Andy Mikita is putting the finishing touches on Air I, II, and III, promising us a cut by late tomorrow.

Oh, speaking of Peter DeLuise – if you have questions for the walking Stargate omnipedia, start posting. He’s agreed to come by and do a Q&A. Once he’s completed his director’s cut of course.

Today’s pics: Last night’s dinner at Modern Burger. They had to kick us out.

February 24, 2008: Baron Destructo and Cookie Monster’s Oscar Picks

It’s Oscar Night and, as promised, Baron Destructo and Cookie Monster have dropped by with their predictions for some of the major awards…

Cookie Monster: Ohboyohboyohboy. Me love dis time of year. Finally, after months where it off radar and get no attention at all, Hollywood finally put itself in spotlight and hold awards show to honor itself. Hey, if dey not going to do it, who will? De Hollywood foreign press? De people? Come on! Is nice to see dey finally get some recognition for all deir hard work. Is not easy to make people laugh, cry, and cough up twelve bucks for to see Eva Langoria “comedy”. And even if real best picture of last year, Ratatoowee, not in running, Cookie Monster not mind because dis night not about who win or who lose but about spectacle of always too long best director acceptance speech dat nobody care about, embarrassing cuts to celebrities asleep in seats, and how Nicole Kidman red carpet outfit remind everybody of time Bert go through cross-dressing faze.

Baron Destructo: Every year, a special awards ceremony is held to recognize the best and brightest in what is, without a doubt, the greatest industry in existence. I refer, of course, to the Villains of Excellence Galactic Awards for Notable Sinfulness. Yes, this year, the VEGANS will be held at the lovely Shrine Auditorium on Alpha-Twix Sub-Prime where none others than yours truly has been nominated for several awards including Best Earth Villain, Best Use of Time Dilation in a Nefarious Master Plan, Best Codpiece, and the coveted Best Theme Song (Celine will be doing the honors for the Baron‘s memorable “My Heart Will Go On But Yours Won‘t Because I‘m Going to Reach Into Your Chest and Pull it Out While It’s Still Warm and Beating. “). Incidentally, Baron Destructo’s Spork of Doom is in the running for Best Weapon of Mass Destruction, while his dimension-shifting spider monkeys have also been nominated in the category of Best Minions.

MATCH-UP: BEST ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE – Cate Blanchett vs. Julie Christie vs. Marion Cotillard vs. Laura Linney vs. Ellen Page.

(Julie Christie favored at 2/1)

Baron Destructo: In a very tough field, the Baron has to give the edge to Julie Christie who delivers a deeply moving performance in her role as a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s and dated Glaxnor the Miscreant for several months in the late 70’s. By the way, did I mention that the Baron is up for a record 8 VEGANS?!

Cookie Monster: Ooooh, so hard to pick. Is an honor just to be nominate and no one a loser tonight because dey all winners! Until someone get Best Actress award and den only one winner and de rest all losers. Cookie Monster like Ellen Page for dis. Not so much for Juno but because she tear it up in Hard Candy and not get award so dis make-up call. First down! And award to Ellen Page!

MATCH-UP: BEST ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE – George Clooney vs. Daniel-Day Lewis vs. Johnny Depp vs. Tommy Lee Jones vs. Viggo Mortensen.

(Daniel-Day Lewis favored at 3/2)

Cookie Monster: Sure, me find George Clooney dreamy (Easy for monster to get lost in dose eyes.) but he up against shoe-in Daniel-Day Lewis. Not even triple team of Aragorn, Jack Sparrow, and Two-Face able to take him down. Winner: Daniel-Day Lewis!

Baron Destructo: The Baron has always believed that the key to great acting is an ability to thoroughly disassociate oneself from reality so as to wholly immerse oneself in a completely different persona. A great acting school is good, but full blown psychosis is even better. Which is why many of the world’s greatest actors make for spectacular super villains, and vice-versa. Remember the Soul Emancipator’s masterful turn opposite Scarlett Johansson in 2002’s steamy remake of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Or David Niven’s telepathic gorilla take-over of the then Federation of Rhodesia. Seriously. Did you simply assume that it was mere coincidence that Pauly Shore has yet to mount any serious threat to humankind (And, no, Bio-Dome doesn’t count)? Anyways, where was I? Oh, yes, best actor: Daniel-Day Lewis.

MATCH-UP: BEST DIRECTOR – Paul Thomas Anderson vs. Joel and Ethan Coen vs. Tony Gilroy vs. Jason Reitman vs. Julian Schnabel

(The Coen brothers favored at 2/1)

Baron Destructo: The Baron should also mention that he will be a special guest presenter at this year’s VEGANS, conferring the Phineas T. Armageddon Lifetime Achievement Award to my good friend and colleague Professor Alvarez Diablo for his unwavering commitment to intergalactic mayhem and contributions to shaping the future villains of tomorrow. What? Get on with it? How dare you! You shall all taste Baron Destructo’s wrath – which I tend to dole out in bite-sized homemade tarts that have been described as bitter-sweet and just a little spicy thanks to the addition of cinnamon and chili (my grandmother’s recipe). Best Director: For the ¾ of a movie I did enjoy, the Coen Brothers.

Cookie Monster: When me go to see There Will Be Blood, Cookie Monster totally lose self in movie. Could be because of great script. Could be because of great performances. Could be because me get up to go pee and take wrong turn because so dark in theather and instead of find lobby step out through emergency exit and into alley where guy who look like extra from Michael Jackson Beat It video steal Cookie Monster’s shoes and lucky Rolex. Or could be because of great directing. Me tink all of the above. But mostly de directing. And theater with exit sign dat not clearly marked. Winner – Paul Thomas Anderson.

MATCH-UP: BEST PICTURE – Atonement vs. There Will Be Blood vs. Juno vs. No Country for Old Men vs. Michael Clayton

(Atonement favored at 2/1)

Cookie Monster: Cookie Monster pick for best picture of last year be funny Crockett and Tubbs caricature sidewalk artist draw of me and Grover during last trip to Myrtle Beach. For best movie, me pick Dere Will Be Blood.

Baron Destructo: No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood struck the Baron as incomplete movies – expertly set-up and followed through up until their ultimately unsatisfying denouements. They reminded me of a certain someone’s failed plot to turn the Earth’s ozone layer into phosphorus jello. Cough. Cough. Commodore Chaos. Cough. Cough. Juno was sweet but, in the end, more after-school special than serious best picture contendor. As for Michael Clayton – while Baron Destructo salutes stories honoring perseverance in the face of adversity, he finds it difficult to muster much enthusiasm for a movie chronicling the professional career of a wide receiver for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And so, by process of elimination, the Baron awards the Best Picture Oscar to Atonement.

Well, there you have it. Let’s see how they do. Hopefully better than their football picks.

Tomorrow, discussion begins on Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. And, time permitting, I’ll be getting around to that mailbag.