UPDATE: April 20th…

ハリファックス (カナダ)


Hi Everyone!

Sorry I have been away from the blog for awhile. Right now it is a rich time for sports, as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had/is having tournaments, the (English soccer) Premier League is winding down their season (Go Liverpool!!), and the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs are on (Go Maple Leafs!!). The IIHF World Women’s Championship was especially fantastic this year, and Finland’s goalie Noora Räty was completely brilliant.

So forgive me for being distracted… I promise I will be back soon with a review of Robert Okaji’s latest chapbook, ethnomusicology/anthropology news, and more. In the meantime here is some music: a live video of The Cure performing “To Wish Impossible Things.”




What is the “Zen Bed”?

zen kanji


Many, many years ago I had the opportunity to do research in a number of Buddhist temples in Western Japan and South Korea for my Master’s and PhD degrees. This meant sitting in silent meditation (Zen), chanting various scriptures aloud (Shingon), and so on. In the course of my research I was taught various mental techniques to clear the mind and sit for extended periods of time without developing any physical problems.

Unfortunately, this emphasis on the tradition of sitting has developed into its own kind of orthodoxy, with little focus given to the contemplative power of walking, or yogic practices such as Shavasana, the well known yoga pose of lying flat on your back with your eyes closed, completely still while being fully aware of (and detached from) your surroundings. But can there be a Zen Buddhist manner of walking? There already is, an activity called kinhin, wherein a meditator gets up and walks around in a meditative state during long periods of sitting meditation, in order to avoid joint injury and blood clots in the legs. Shavasana too is an established tradition in yoga, being physically easy to do but difficult to achieve its intended goal. What about some kind of Zen shavasana technique? One could argue that shavasana is already a Zen technique by its very nature. I will even go as far as to suggest that using a modified shavasana I call “Zen Bed” is a mentally, physically, and practically beneficial activity as a morning waking routine.

One could certain use Zen meditation techniques when laying down at night as a way of getting to sleep comfortably and relatively quickly, but using meditation/awareness techniques to efficiently and strategically wake up is another matter. So what is my Zen Bed concept? I combine meditation, awareness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques to “Zen” myself out of bed in the morning: relaxed, positive, and mentally sharp. So I suppose it is so much a mix of things as not to be particularly “Zen,” but I can’t think of a better term, or at least a less whimsical term! As I am not a morning person, I love going to sleep, and alternatingly not leaving my soft cozy bed in the morning. Being awak and running around is great, but it the miserable, agonizing transition from soft and sleepy to “awake” that night people hate about mornings. Who wants to leave the velvety caress of Lady Night to have an employee review with the Sun? Not me. But getting from sleep to action can be a deliberately positive process, rather than just trying to get up in the morning. The Zen part of the process involves clearing the mind, the shavasana part involves using your already relaxed body to increase your detachment from a desire to avoid the morning, to comfortably transition the body from bed to physical activity, and the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) techniques (emotional regulation) to activate and organize your ‘morning mind’ into a state that is conductive to positivity, not the negativity of resistance to the concept of waking up. This is the Zen Bed, the process of (a)waking up.

(NOTE: This isn’t a perfect, fix-all solution to any and all problems you may experience as part of the process of waking up, especially if you are injured, suffer from clinical depression, have chronic illness, etc. It is also not meant as medical, psychiatric, or psychotherapeutic advice and should not be taken as such, especially as a replacement for professional health services. It is merely something I do that helps me, and I am sharing this information with you.)

First, the Zen part. Soto Zen Buddhist meditation dictates that one clear their mind, that alone, with no goals, directions, or path on which one must follow. Known as shikantaza (“nothing else but sitting”), Soto Zen meditation is sitting still and just allowing thoughts to float by in one’s mind without trying to stop or analyze them. The point being to let them “run around” in your mind without trying to force them to stop or disappear. With enough sitting (not “practice”) the thoughts eventually stop floating by so fast and so often, and begin to decrease in speed and number. Thus, no one “practices” Soto Zen meditation, they just sit in a relaxed state with their eyes closed, as their thoughts float by in a manner that does not emotionally or mentally engage with one’s consciousness. Since waking up is easy and (99% of the time) relaxing, why not take advantage of this head start into a meditative state? You are beginning your day in a Soto Zen-like state, why not take it from there and just lay there just taking nice deep breaths, enjoying the state of relaxation. As your muscles will be relaxed, lay there and just let thoughts appear or not appear without trying to force them to be anything than what they are. For sure, this takes time, and for the first few weeks you will have the same kind of morning mind you have always had up until now. Beware anyone with a magic fix to your problems. There are no magic fixes, and these magic fix people always have some nonsensical book/pill to sell you. I am giving you Zen Bed for free. And it actually works, has been proven to work in my life, so that is at least one factual example. At least give Zen Bed a month of mornings and I guarantee you will see some kind of results. I’ll bet they will be positive. So Step One is: just wake up. Lay there for a few minutes just in your awakened state, soft and relaxed, and letting your thoughts float without resistance or judgement. This teaches your mind to not wake up and just start “running” around with the cares and concerns of the day. Learn to engage with the thoughts of the day when you consciously choose to.

Step Two is to remain relatively immobile in the shavasana position, lying on your back completely immobile while remaining aware of and detached from your surroundings. I find doing this works brilliantly as I move from the meditative to waking part of my Zen Bed routine. Once I have finished adjusting to being conscious in the morning via Zen meditation, I can now start being present in my actually body. Lay on your back with your arms by your sides, and your palms facing up, with the focus being on relaxing your entire body as much as possible. I also have modified this technique by adding the extra step of imagining your body is a giant river of hot butter running from the top of your head out of your hands and feet, as if your body was a tube through which the butter ran. You are aware of your empty body and the “butter,” and as the minutes slip by you feel better and better physically and emotionally. Thus, by the time you want to or must get out of bed, you ate not carrying physical stress out into the day.

The third and final step involves a cognitive and/or behavioral technique that activates your brain and gets you off on the right emotional foot. It is so common to wake on any particular morning and have your initial thoughts be worrying, negative, or outright pessimistic concerns about the activities of your day. This morning negativity can be regulated and changed into something more constructive. As someone who is absolutely not a morning person, my thoughts almost inevitably are negative in or about the morning. But rather than accept this as an unalterable fact, one can reprogram their thoughts to work for rather than against themselves. This is done through a simple and realistic exercise: for every negative thought, the goal is to think of three positive thoughts to counterbalance it. It is that simple. Not unrealistic, Pollyannaish thought, but three productive counterarguments against that morning negativity. For example, if you hate getting up because you have some kind of early morning activity you hate, then the goal is to lay in your bed before physically rising and think up three thoughts that replace the exclusively negative single thought that dominates your consciousness. No Canadian intrinsically likes shoveling snow, though we are so used to massive piles of it falling on and around us for months at a time. But rather than hate having to get up to shovel one’s driveway at 5 am in order to shovel 10 inches of snow off your driveway (in minus 20 Celsius weather) be able to get your car out of the garage, there must be three thoughts that can make the activity anywhere from tolerable to, dare I say, enjoyable. Though 10 inches of snow, minus 20 weather, and 5 am are a miserable combination, it is possible to enjoy getting out of bed to shovel if (1) later that morning you are leaving for a tropical vacation (2) driving your new Lamborghini to the airport, and (3) a massive amount of money in your bank account you won in the lottery paid for your car and vacation.

Though this is a rather fantastical example, it doesn’t take such extremes to find a positive morning engagement with the world and one’s daily activities. It just requires what positives one can find in a situation, even if they are not much more positive than negative. It is a morning behavior that just requires practice and a little imagination. It increases distress tolerance and one’s ability to manage their emotions, and not be ruled by them or ignore them completely, internalizing your morning stress. Shoveling snow at 5 am in minus 20 weather does not automatically appeal to me, until I create the emotional conditions in which it does. If I allow myself to shovel for five minutes then take a ten minute break inside, then it becomes at least emotionally manageable. If I also include shoveling my crippled neighbor’s driveway, it technically becomes more of what I don’t like, but in emotional terms a very satisfying and positive experience knowing that I can reduce emotional distress in someone else’s life. Counting up the various ways shoveling 5 am snow in minus 20 temperature is a great way to make me feel like jumping out of bed rather happily, rather than slowly dragging myself out of bed depressed.

I have found my Zen Bed process to be an enjoyable as well as productive way to wake up in the morning when I need to be active and efficient with my waking hours. On days off and holidays, just waking up and then going back to sleep is a great way to keep from becoming a “waking-up workaholic”, not becoming attached to making everything some kind of self-help goal and achievement. The Zen Bed is for making life (not your “spiritual resume”) better.

Why not try waking up this way tomorrow?




The Twilight Zone Quiz: Part Two


Twilight Zone Quiz: Part Two

(for more information, see Part One)

87). In “A Piano in the House”, where does Fitzgerald Fortune buy the enchanted piano? Throckmorton’s Curio Shop. The actor who played Fortune (Barry Morse) appeared in what 1970s sci-fi TV show? Space:1999. Which lead character in Space: 1999 also appeared in several Twilight Zone episodes, and eventually became a legendary film actor? Martin Landau.

88). In “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank”, what unnatural act does Myrtlebank commit? He returns to life at his own funeral. What legendary movie actor appears as a background extra in this episode? Alan Alda.

89). In “To Serve Man”, what is the name of the alien culture? Kanamites. What 7 foot tall actor from the episode also played a villain in a James Bond film? Richard Kiel. What plot twist from the episode has become an iconic pop culture reference? The technical manual on how to be of service to Mankind is actual a cookbook on how to prepare and serve humans as food.

90). In “The Fugitive”, who does the elderly man (“Old Ben”) turn out to be? An alien king. How long is his reign? 5000 years.

91). In “Little Girl Lost”, where is the girl lost? In a parallel dimension. What is the girl’s name? Tina.

92). In “Person or Persons Unknown”, what does Dr. Koslenko tell Gurney when he arrives at the insane asylum? That “David Gurney” doesn’t exist. Who is it that actually doesn’t exist? The person he thought was his wife.

93). In “The Little People”, how does space explorer Peter Craig learn to communicate with the tiny people? Through mathematics. How does Craig crush the city of the tiny people? With the head of a statue dedicated to him. What does Craig yell at the giant alien explorers before they unintentionally crush him? “I am the god, don’t you understand? I am the god!”

94). In “Four O’Clock”, how does paranoid shut-in Crangle plan to deal with all the (supposedly) evil people? By shrinking them to two feet tall. What is the one word Crangle’s parrot keeps calling out? “Nut!”

95). In “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”, why do the aliens kidnap Frisby? They overhear him lying about having eight doctoral degrees. What musical instrument terrifies the aliens? A harmonica.

96). In “The Trade-Ins”, which of the married couple want to trade in their body? The husband. How long does he have before the procedure is irreversible? One week.

97). In “The Gift”, what is the gift that the alien gives the little Mexican boy? A vaccine against cancer. What is the boy’s name? Pedro.

98). In “The Dummy”, what is the dummy’s name? Willie. The actor who played the ventriloquist’s agent was a Sergeant on which well-known 60s TV show? Gomer Pyle. Who was the actor and what was his character’s name? Frank Sutton/Sgt. Vince Carter.

99). In “Young Man’s Fancy”, what happens to Alex Walker as he spends more and more time in his deceased mother’s house? He becomes a boy again. Sfter meeting and re-bonding with his ghostly mother, what does he eventually tell his wife? “Go away lady – we don’t need you any more.”

100). The episode “I Sing The Body Electric” was originally a script for The Twilight Zone before it became a short story by which iconic sci-fi writer? Ray Bradbury. What is the name of the family’s new domestic robot? “Grandma.” Whoch family member does not bond with Grandma? The oldest daughter.

101). In “Cavender is Coming”, which famous 1970s comedic television actress plays clumsy Ms. Agnes Grep ? Carol Burnett. What department of Heaven does Cavender work for? 3rd Celestial Division Angel Placement.

102). In “The Changing of the Guard”, what subject does Professor Fowler teach at the prep school? English. Who is the statue an image of? American educational reformer Horace Mann.

103). The first episode of the fourth season (“In His Image”) was the first in the series that was what? An hour long. What is the result of the final fight between Walter and his doppelganger android Alan? Walter secretly takes Alan’s place in life and convinces Alan’s fiancé that everything has gone back to normal.

104). What 1980s Marvel hero actor appears in “The Thirty-Fathom Grave”? Bill Bixby. What was the 1980s show? The Incredible Hulk. What island did the submarine sink near? Guadalcanal.

105). In “Valley of the Shadow”, where is the small town Redfield gets held captive by aliens? Peaceful Valley, New Mexico. Why is he eventually allowed to leave town? Because his memory of the previous days has been erased.

106). What soon-to-be legendary actor appears in “He’s Alive” as a young white supremacist named Vollmer? Dennis Hopper. Who teaches Vollmer how to enthrall a crowd? An undercover Adolph Hitler.

107). In “Mute”, why is Ilse considered mute? Because she was raised to only communicate telepathically as part of a secret experiement. Why does Ilse cry at the end of the episode? Telepathy has become confusing mental white noise to her.

108). What is the designation of the space ship in “Death Ship”? E-89. What year is the episode set in? 1997. The spaceship used in the episode is a left over from what 1950s sci-fi movie? The Forbidden Planet.

109). The writer of Episode 107 (“Jess-Belle”) also wrote and directed what 1970s western family show? The Waltons. What other Twilight Zone episode did Anne Francis star in, other than this one? “The After Hours.”

110). What iconic movie actor plays a person obsessed with a museum dollhouse in “Miniature”? Robert Duvall. What is he looking through at the end of the episode? A stereoscope.

111). In ‘Printer’s Devil”, what is the name of the newspaper? The Courier. Which paper is putting The Courier out of business? The Gazette.

112). In “No Time Like The Past”, what is the subject of the conversation around the dinner table that infuriates Paul? American imperialism. What happens when Paul travels back in time and tries to stop the schoolhouse fire? He discovers he is the one who causes it by trying to stop it from occurring.

113). In “The Parallel”, Major Gaines has what rank when he returns to Earth? Colonel. Who is the first person to recognize Gaines is not the same person as before. His daughter.

114). Character actor Howard Morris appears as George Hanley in the episode entitled “I Dream of Genie”. What character did he play in a legendary TV skit with Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar? “Uncle Goopy” (in “This is Your Life” on Your Show of Shows). What was the name of Hanley’s dog? Attila.

115). In “The New Exhibit”, wax figure attendant Senescu is played by which famous character actor? Martin Balsam. What movie role was Balsam most notable for playing? Detective Arbogast in Pyscho.

116). In “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville”, who does Miss Devlin turn out to be? The Devil. Who played Miss Devlin and what role is she famous for? Julie Newmar, Catwoman on the 60s TV series Batman.

117). In “The Incredible World of Horace Ford”, what toy is Ford designing at the beginning of the episode? A robot. What childhood friend does Ford start seeing over and over? Hermie.

118). In “On Thursday We Leave For Home”, what planet was the human colony built on? V9-Gammayear. When was the colony built? 1991. Who is its leader? Captain Benteen. The rescue ship and its crew’s uniforms were leftover items from what famous 50s sci-fi film? The Forbidden Planet.

119). In “Passage on the Lady Anne”, what is the ship is revealed to be? A transport for the elderly from Life into the Afterlife.

120). What iconic TV and movie actor appears in “The Bard” as a pretentious Marlon Brando-esque actor? Burt Reynolds. What is the episode a satire of? The contemporary American television industry of which The Twlight Zone was a part of.

121). In “In Praise of Pip” stars actor Jack Klugman. What famous 70s television was Klugman the lead actor in? Quincy, M.E.

122). In “Steel”, what well know action star plays washed up ex-boxer/manager Steel Kelly? Lee Marvin. What is the name of Kelly’s obsolete boxing robot? Battling Maxo. What comedic western is Marvin most notable for starring in? Cat Ballou.

123). Which iconic Twilight Zone episode stars William Shatner? “Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet.” What The Simpsons Halloween skit shares the same plot? “Terror at 5 ½ Feet,” involving Bart Simpson and his school bus.

124). In “A Kind of Stopwatch”, what is the lead character’s name? McNulty. Where does he break the watch, and what is he doing at the time? He breaks it in a bank while robbing it.

125). In “The Last Night As A Jockey”, who does disgraced jockey Grady ask for one wish from? His alter ego. What goes wrong? As requested Grady is made taller, but then cannot ride as a jockey when he is suddenly given the opportunity to race again. What famous actor plays Grady? Mickey Rooney.

126). In “Living Doll”, what is the name of the creepy doll? Talky Tina. What famous actor played the part of the father? Telly Savalas. What famous 1970s television detective did Savalas go on to play? Kojak.

127). In “The Old Man in the Cave”, who is the Old Man? A pre-apocalyptic computer. What was the Old Man’s main job? To tell the townsfolk which contained foods and liquids were safe to consume. Along with fellow Twilight Zone actors Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin, the Hollywood actor (who played a military commander in the episode) was known for playing “tough guys”. Who was he? James Coburn.

128). In “Uncle Simon”, what does Barbara’s uncle invent? A robot. The head of the robot repurposed from the prototype of what classic sci-fi character? Robby The Robot, from the film The Forbidden Planet.

129). In “Probe 7, Over and Out”, why is Adam Cook permanently stranded on the alien planet? His spaceship is badly damaged and Earth has destroyed itself in a nuclear war. Why is Eve Norda stranded on the planet? Her home planet was destroyed by leaving its orbit. Why does Eve scratch Adam’s face? She mistakenly feels threatened when Adam picks up a stick.

130). In “The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms”, what are the National Guardsmen doing when they travel back in time to Little Bighorn? Driving a tank in local war games. Why do they first suspect something is strange about their settings? They hear Custer’s battle. How does the National Guard locate the missing soldiers? They find the abandoned tank, and the names of the soldiers on Custer’s national monument.

131). In “A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain”, what goes wrong with Raymond’s youth serum? It turns his brother into a baby. What poetic justice is inadvertently served in the process? By the time Raymond grows up, his young and selfish gold digging wife will be old.

132). In “Ninety Years Without Slumbering”, what will happen to Forstmann if the grandfather clock stops ticking? He will die. How does he cheat death? He stops believing in the clock’s power. In what other Twilight Zone episode did actor Ed Wynn appear as an old man attempting to avoid dying? “One For The Angels”. What episode was it? Number two.

133). In “Ring-a-Ding Girl”, what is the name of the movie actress? Bunny. How does she save her sister and many of the townsfolk? By putting on a show that the townsfolk attend instead of going to an annual picnic where a plane crashes. What is the plot twist at the end? Bunny had appeared supernaturally to her sister and the townsfolk, as she herself was on the plane and died in the crash.

134). In “You Drive”, what kind of car does Oliver Pope drive? A 1956 Ford Fairlane. Why does Pope eventually confess to the hit-and-run? The car has become alive and harasses him into confessing to the police.

135). In The Long Morrow”, how long will Stansfield be in suspended animation on his space voyage? 40 years. How old is he when he departs and then returns? 31 and 71. Due to scientific advances on Earth while Stansfield is gone, how old is Sandra when he leaves and returns? 26.

136). Actor Don Gordon appears in both “The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross” and “the Four of Us Are Dying”, both episodes about a man who can do what? Magically alter his appearance and/or circumstances. Gordon also appeared on what other 60s television show similar to The Twilight Zone? The Outer Limits. In one such episode Gordon plays a disillusioned physicist who does what menial job? “Pilots” a spaceship ride at an amusement park.

137). In “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”, actress Collin Wilcox plays Marilyn, young girl who doesn’t want to go through with governmentally enforced physically and neurological alteration. What is the process called? “The Transformation”. What “model” of altered human is Marilyn afterwards? Number 8.What famous movie role had Wilcox played two years earlier? The plaintiff in To Kill A Mockingbird. What legendary actor and fellow Twilight Zone alumnus made his movie debut in To Kill A Mockingbird? Robert Duvall.

138). In “Black Leather Jackets,” what logo is on the back of the jackets? A black “triple diamond” pattern enclosed in a white circle. What are the biker’s names? Scott, Steve, and Fred. Actor Mike Forest (“Steve”) appeared as which god in the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonis?” Apollo. Which biker falls in love with Ellen? Scott. What is Scott? An advance scout of an alien invasion force.

139). In what American state does the old lady live in “Night Call”? Maine. Where are the mysterious phone calls coming from? Her long deceased fiancé’s grave (via a downed telephone cable). What is the fiancé’s name? Brian.

140). In “From Agnes – With Love”, what is sentient computer Agne’s official machine name? Mark 502-741. What is Walter using Agnes for? To solve computational problems for Cape Kennedy. Who is Walter’s co-worker that Agnes is jealous of? Millie.

141). In “Spur of the Moment”, what is the woman in black attempting to do? Warn Anne about marrying the wrong man. Whois the woman in black? A future version of the woman in white who is trying to warn her about her upcoming marriage. What does she try and warn Anne about? Eloping with David, rather than marrying Robert.

142). The episode entitled “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” is the only Twilight Zone episode that was what? A short film made in France. What major prize did it win? Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (1963).

143). What does episode title “Queen of the Nile”, refer to? The silent movie that unnaturally youthful movie star Pamela Morris first starred in. How does Morris drain her victims of their life force? Using a magic scarab beetle. What is Morris’ real identity? Cleopatra.

144). In “What’s in the Box”, what is Joe Britt’s occupation? Cab driver. What channel shows Britt the past, present, and future? Channel 10. Why did co-star Rose Blondell have a 1932 promotional picture of herself banned under the Motion Picture Production Code? It showed her semi-nude, tastefully positioned behind the back of a chair.

145). In the famous episode “The Masks”, what plot twist occurs at the end? The masks all have worn have permanently altered their faces into ugly visages as punishment for their character flaws (narcissism, cowardice, etc.). Who does Jason say the masks were made by? An old Cajun.

146). In “I Am The Night – Color Me Black”, what supernatural event occurs in the village before the hanging? The sun doesn’t rise at dawn. The sun has also not risen over North Vietnam and the Berlin Wall: why is this. Because they are (like the village) places of hate.

147). In “Sounds and Silences” what kind of business does Flemington own? A model ship company. What annoying activity does Flemington engage in? Listening to military battles (loudly) on his record player.

148). The same dummy that was used in “The Dummy” appears in “Caesar and Me”. Name both dummy characters: Willie and Caesar. What are Caesar’s two supernatural powers? The ability to speak, and the power of suggestion.

149). The episode “The Jeopardy Room” is one of only four episodes that does not feature what? Supernatural or sci-fi elements. Who is Kuchenko? A defecting KGB agent. Where is the bomb located in Kuchenko’s room? The telephone. How is it set off? (Only) when he receives an incoming call.

150). In “Stopover in a Quiet Town”, what is the name of the small, deserted town Bob and Millie can’t escape from? Centerville. What is the town? A giant enclosure where the couple are being keep as pets by a giant child.

151). Why was the episode “The Encounter” (co-starring George Takei) withdrawn from syndication? Because of its (WW2) racial and political overtones. What is Fenton’s prized possession? A samurai sword he obtained by killing a Japanese soldier in WW2 combat. What is the truth about Fenton’s prize? He obtained it by killing a Japanese soldier who had already surrendered.

152). In “Mr. Garrity and the Grave”, what is the name of the small Western town? Happiness. What is the name of the cemetery? Boot Hill. What plot twist is revealed about (charlatan) Garrity at the end of the episode? Unbeknownst to him, he actually can resurrect the dead.

153). In “The Brain Center at Whipple’s”, what is the machine number of the managerial brain machine? X109B14. What turn of events occurs at the end of the episode? Whipple himself is replaced by a machine in the same manner as he laid off his employees and replaced them with machines.

154). The episode “Come Wander with Me” features actress Bonnie Beecher as the love interest of Rock-A-Billy singer Floyd Burney. Beecher also played the love interest of what character in the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun” (Hint: the episode is an alien recreation of the battle at the OK Corral)? Chekov.

155). In “The Fear”, what are the occupations of the two main characters trapped in the cabin? State trooper and fashion editor. What does the giant alien turn out to be? A 500 foot balloon. What is the true source of the mysterious occurrences? Two actual, thumb-sized aliens.

156). Which episode number is “The Bewitchin’ Pool”? Number 156, the final episode of the series. How do Sport and Jeb travel to the secret, hidden homestead? By swimming to the bottom of the family pool. Why do Sport and Jeb permanently return to the homestead? Their parents are getting a divorce, and they do not want to decide which single parent to live with.

Twilight Zone Original Series Quiz


The Twilight Zone Original Series Quiz

One of the great joys of living in a digitally advanced age is having access to high quality copies of old media, in particular my favorite science fiction television shows from the 1960s. In this case I am referring to The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and the original Star Trek series. That is nearly 300 episodes of television, a rich mix of story telling and action. So as I wanted to do something special this year, I thought it would be fun for all you fans of trivia games to have a giant list of questions you can break out at (nerd) parties and really test your friends’ knowledge of the three series’.

Having memorized a lot of Monty Python’s Flying Circus dialogue when I was younger, I discovered the secret to developing a deep knowledge of a show was to begin by having a solid framework on which to hang more obscure details. That meant knowing something about each single episode in a way that helped me remember which was which, so I didn’t have to remember the episode numbers: using images, names and such as mnemonics. So here in 2019 let’s have some fun with the old shows, and I hope you enjoy all this. If you can watch and remember some small bit from every episode of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and the original Star Trek, then you are equipped to ace any sci-fi trivia contest that goes anywhere near the 1960s. “Good news, everyone!” I will also be including FUTURAMA trivia as a bonus for all you super nerds out there who share my love of the show.

We will start with The Twilight Zone, split into two parts containing around 70 or so questions. If you are a fan of the show, then here is your chance to print off the list, study and memorize it as you watch the various episodes, and then go out and beat anyone at Twilight Zone trivia. They may know a few more obscure details, but no one around will know the show as completely as you.

1). In the premiere episode (“Where Is Everybody?”) what is the first sound you hear? A bell.

2). In the second episode (“One For The Angels”) what is the first object you see on the screen? A toy robot.

3). In “Mr. Denton On Doomsday”, what is the song that Denton must sing in order to get a drink? “The Near Future”, also know by the lyric “how dry I am…”

4). In “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine”, what type of uniform is the lead actress wearing in the movie? A nurse’s uniform.

5). In “Walking Distance” what is the name of the small town Martin Sloan walks to while his car is getting fixed? Homewood.

6). In “Escape Clause” what does the Devil name himself? Mr. Cadwallader.

7). In “The Lonely” what is the name of the female android left behind on the prison asteroid? Alicia.

8). In “Time Enough At Last”, what famous actor plays the bookish main character? Burgess Meredith. What saves him from the end of the world? A bank vault.

9). In “Perchance To Dream”, who is the woman that haunts Edward Hall in his dreams and in Reality? Maya.

10). In “Judgment Night”, what is the name of the ship that U-boat captain Carl Lanser is doomed to repeatedly go down with? The S.S. Queen of Glasgow.

11). In “And When The Sky Was Opened”, what is the name of the experimental space plane? The X-20 Dynasoar.

12). In “What You Need”, what is the first thing that is needed from the mysterious peddler? A vial of cleaning fluid.

13). In Episode Thirteen (“The Four Of Us Are Dying”) Rod Serling doesn’t do something he ordinarily does in his closing narration. What is it? He doesn’t mention the name of the show.

14). In “Third From The Sun”, what is military scientist Will Sturka’s job? To design and prepare H-bombs.

15). In “I Shot An Arrow Into The Air” the astronauts believe they have crash-landed on an unknown asteroid. Where are they actually? Outside of Reno, Nevada.

16). In Episode Sixteen entitled “The Hitchhiker”, who is the hitchhiker? The personification of Death.

17). In “The Fever”, what does the creepy slot machine repeatedly say? “Franklin!”

18). In “The Last Flight”, what year does Lt. Decker take off from then land in? 1917 and 1959.

19). In “The Purple Testament”, what psychic power does Lt. Fitz have? Seeing a strange glow around people who are about to die.

20). In “Elegy”, what is the name of the space cemetery in which the astronauts are embalmed with “eternifying fluid”? Happy Glades.

21). In “Mirror Image”, what city is Millicent travelling to by bus before she discovers she has doppelganger? Cortland, NY.

22). In “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”, the aliens are wearing uniforms left over from what classic sci-fi film? The Forbidden Planet. A stock photo of the space ship was also used in which (two) other Twilight Zone episodes? “Third Stone From The Sun”, and “To Serve Man”.

23). In “A World Of Difference”, what secret does the main character (an actor) discover? His “real life” was the television show.

24). In “Long Live Walter Jameson”, how does Professor Kitteridge discover Jameson is unnaturally ageless? He recognizes him in a Civil War photograph.

25). In “People Are Alike All Over”, what does Conrad’s house on Mars turn out to be? A caged zoo exhibit.

26). In “Execution”, who ends up being hung in the noose meant for Caswell? A thief from the future.

27). In “The Big Tall Wish”, how does boxer Bolie Jackson win his fight? A young boy creates an alternate reality in which Bolie switches places with the original winner.

28). In “A Nice Place To Visit”, who does the man (Pip) who grants Rocky’s wishes turn out to be? The Devil. What famous (diminutive) actor declined the role of Rocky? Mickey Rooney.

29). In “Nightmare As A Child”, who does Helen meet in front of her apartment building that jogs memories of Helen’s mother’s murder? Herself as a child.

30). In “A Stop At Willoughby”, what does the town of Willoughby turn out to be? A hearse with the words “Willoughby & Son” written on it.

31). In “The Chaser”, what is the “glove cleaner” the Professor sells Roger as an antidote to the love potion he used on Leila? Deadly poison.

32). In “A Passage For Trumpet”, who is the fellow musician who saves (jazz trumpeter) Joey from Limbo? The Archangel Gabriel.

33). In “Mr. Bevis”, what unusual instrument does Bevis listen to loudly on his record player? The zither.

34). In “The After Hours”, what secret does Marsha (Anne Francis) discover about herself after being locked in the store afterhours? She is actually a mannequin. What classic sci-fi movie did Anne Francis star in? The Forbidden Planet.

35). In “The Mighty Casey”, why does Casey (a baseball robot) cease throwing fastballs? He begins to feel empathy for the players who can’t hit them. What is the actor who played Casey notorious for? A lifetime jail sentence for murder.

36). In “A World Of His Own”, what does West (a playwright) make appear in his house to convince his wife that his Dictaphone is magical? An elephant. Who does West make disappear at the end of the episode for comic effect? Series creator/narrator Rod Serling.

37). “In “King Nine Will Not Return”, where did the King Nine crash? A desert in Tunisia. What kind of plane was it? A B-25 bomber.

38). In “The Man In The Bottle”, what happens when Arthur asks to be put in a position of great power? He is turned into Adolph Hitler.

39). In “A Nervous Man In A Four Dollar Room”, who transforms Jackie’s life from one of fear and crime into one of confidence and strength? John (Jackie’s image from a mirror), who has traded places with Jackie in the real world.

40). In “A Thing About Machines”, what warning does the typewriter spell out? “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY.”

41). In “The Howling Man”, who does the “innocent” prisoner turn out to be? The Devil.

42). In “Eye Of The Beholder”, what surgical treatment has failed on Janet Tyler? An attempt to turn her (attractive) face into a grotesque pig-like visage, which is revealed to be the societal norm for beauty in her world. How many times have they attempted the surgery? Eleven.

43). In “Nick Of Time”, what is the name of the fortune telling machine? The Mystic Seer. Who plays the groom obsessed with fortunes? William Shatner.

44). In” The Lateness of the Hour”, what does Jana (Inger Stevens) turn out to be? One of the robots she detested her father for having built. What other Twilight Zone episode did Stevens appear in? “The Hitch-Hiker.”

45). In “The Trouble with Temptation”, what is the name of the script Booth steals from Laura in the (supernatural) speak-easy? What To Do When Booth Comes Back.

46). In “A Most Unusual Camera”, what is the inscription on the camera? dix à la propriétaire. What is the first thing Chester takes a picture of? His wife (five minutes in the future) wearing a stolen fur coat.

47). The Christmas episode “The Night of the Meek” was one of only six episodes not recorded directly on film. How was it recorded? Onto videotape then kinescoped onto 16-mm film. What is “kinescoping”? Recording on film by pointing a camera at a video screen.

48). In “Dust”, what is the magic dust? Ordinary dirt. What is the miracle that occurs when the condemned man’s father scatters the magic dust? The man is pardoned when his (brand new) hanging rope snaps.

49). In “Back There”, who is the good Samaritan that saves Corrigan from being jailed for disturbing the peace in his attempt to warn the public about Lincoln’s assassination? John Wilkes Booth in disguise. How does Corrigan change history? Lincoln is still killed and the attendant at Corrigan’s gentlemen’s club (in the present) is now a millionaire member.

50). In “The Whole Truth”, what magical power does the ‘Model A’ car have? It makes its salesman (Hunnicut) tell only the truth. Who does Hunnicut sell the car to? Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev.

51). In “The Invaders, who is the solitary woman in the farm house revealed to be? A giant humanoid on another planet, and the tiny space ship is a manned probe from Earth.

52). In “A Penny For Your Thoughts”, why does Poole have the ability to hear people’s thoughts? He flipped a coin and it landed on its edge without falling over. Why is Poole wrong about old Smither’s plan to rob the bank? It is just a fantasy.

53). In “Twenty Two”, what is Liz’s profession? A dancer. What is the meaning of the number 22 that keeps on appearing in her dreams at the hospital? It is the number of the flight she will eventual miss, which explodes upon takeoff.

54). In “The Odyssey of Flight 33”, how does the pilot know they have not time travelled far enough forward from prehistoric times? They spot the 1939 World’s Fair. What year are they originally from? 1961.

55). In “Mr. Dingle, The Strong”, what famous character actor plays Dingle? Burgess Meredith. Name all the other Twilight Zone episodes Meredith appeared in: The Obsolete Man, Time Enough At Last, and Printer’s Devil.

56). In “Static”, what live performance does Mr. Lindsay listen to on his radio? Tommy Dorsey and his big band. What makes this eerie? Dorsey had been dead for several years.

57). What Beverley Hills Hillbillies star appears in “The Prime Mover”? Buddy Ebsen. What superpower does he pretend to have lost in order to save a friend from a life of greed and deceit? Telekinesis. What physical ailment does he get after using his powers? Headaches.

58). In “Long Distance Call”, actor Billy Mumy appears as a child phoning his deceased grandmother. What iconic 60s sci-fi role did Mumy become known for? Will Robinson in Lost In Space.

59). In the classic Twilight Zone episode “ One Hundred Yards Over The Rim”, what item does Horn leave behind in 1961? A rifle. What does Horn bring back with him to 1847? Penicillin for his son.

60). In “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”, how long do the main characters sleep in suspended animation? 100 years. What precious commodity have people in the future learnt to mass-produce, making it worthless? Gold.

61). In “The Silence”, on what date does Tennyson begin his year-long bet? June 3, 1962.

62). In “Shadow Play”, what happens whenever Adam Grant is executed in the electric chair? All of Reality resets back to his sentencing earlier in the day.

63). In “The Mind and the Matter”, who is the first person Beechcroft makes disappear when he uses his superior powers of concentration? His landlady (collecting the rent). What happens initially when he brings everyone back? They all have his face and personality.

64). In “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” who turns out to be the Martian scout that the state troopers are looking for? The business man. What is the plot twist at the end? The diner owner is Venutian and they have already established a colony on Earth.

65). In “The Obsolete Man”, what is Wordsworth’s profession (punishable by death)? Librarian. What illegal book does Wordsworth read from on live TV during his execution? The Bible. What does he read? “The Lord’s Prayer” (Psalm 23).

66). In “Two”, what famous action hero plays the male soldier/“Adam” role? Charles Bronson. What Russian word does he call out to the female solider/”Eve” at the end of the episode? “Prekrasny!” (beautiful). What does he throw to her as he says it? A jar of peaches.

67). In “The Arrival”, what is the missing flight and where is it from? Flight 107 from Buffalo, NY. How does Sheckly prove the plane is a figment of everyone’s imagination. He holds his arm out into the plane’s propellers. What plot twist occurs at that moment? The ground crew he is present with also turn out to be imaginary.

68). In “The Shelter”, what do the incoming nuclear missiles turn out to be? Satellites. What do the neighbors use as a battering ram to try and enter the doctor’s fall out shelter? A large steel pipe borrowed from a neighbor the next street over.

69). In “The Passersby”, what is the road the passersby are walking down? The journey between life during the Civil War and whatever destination lies beyond. Who is the last to walk down the road? Abraham Lincoln, the last casualty of the war.

70). In “A Game of Pool”, what famous comedian plays the angelic pool hustler? Jonathan Winters. What famous actor plays the hustler who challenges him? Jack Klugman. What other Twilight Zone episodes did Klugman star in? In Praise of Pip, A Passage For Trumpet, and Death Ship.

71). In “The Mirror”, what does De Cruz say will reveal who Clemente’s political enemies are? A particularly ornate mirror on the wall. How does the mirror say Cristo will attempt to assassinate Clemente? With a glass of poisoned wine.

72). In “The Grave”, which actor was also cast in the famous Western movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? Lee Van Cleef. How do the townsfolk think Miller died at the gravesite? Sykes had reached up out of the grave and grabbed Miller, causing him to die of terror.

73). In “It’s A Good Life”, which actor plays the boy with god-like powers? Billy Mumy. What does Dan Hollis get for his birthday? A Perry Como record.

74). Where is the episode “Deaths-Head Revisited” set in? The Dachau concentration camp. What is Captain Lutze’s punishment? To be continuously driven insane by the tactile memories of the former prisoners.

75). In “The Midnight Sun”, what does Mrs. Benson beg artist Norma to paint? Pictures of ‘cool’ subjects. How did the director set the mood for the episode? He shot it on a soundstage without air conditioning.

76). In “Still Valley”, what are the three things Paradine needs to do to halt the Union Army? Possess a book called Witchcraft, praise the Devil, and renounce God.

77). In “The Jungle”, what does Alan discover in front of his apartment door? A dead goat. What eventually kills him? A lion springing from his bedroom.

78). What legendary silent film actor appears in “once Upon A Time” (as a slapstick time traveller)? Buster Keaton. What is Keaton missing when he shows up in the future (1962)? His pants.

79). In “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”, what do the characters turn out to be? Dolls. What kind of dolls are they? A ballet dancer, hobo, clown, bagpiper, and soldier.

80). What famous Star Trek actor appears in “A Quality of Mercy” as a World War II soldier fighting the Japanese? Leonard Nimoy.

81). What legendary Hollywood leading man appears in “Nothing in the Dark”? Robert Redford. What role does he play? A building contractor who in actuality is Death.

82). In “One More Pallbearer”, what does Radin use to threaten his bomb shelter captives into apologizing for past wrongs? The threat of a fake nuclear war. What is the penultimate plot twist? The world is actually devastated by nuclear war. What is the final plot twist? There is no war, and Radin is imagining it, having gone insane.

83). In “Dead Man’s Shoes”, what gives Nate his confidence and power? A dead mobster’s shoes. Lead actor Wallace Stevens also appeared in which episodes of The Outer Limits and Star Trek? “Keepers of the Purple Twilight”, and “By Any Other Name”.

84). In “The Hunt”, what is Simpson’s dog named? Rip. How does Simpson avoid going to Hell? He refuses to enter what looks like Heaven (Hell in disguise) because dogs aren’t allowed.

85). In “Showdown with Rance McGrew”, who does the TV marshal end up fighting in real life? Jesse James. What does James decide to do to make the marshal’s acting more realistic? Become his agent.

86). In “Kick The Can”, what is the name of the rest home? Sunnyvale. Which resident refuses to play the game, which they later regrets when the others become children again? Ben Conroy.

The Exhilarant Bassoon Incident of 1982


The Exhilarant Bassoon Incident of 1982

As I mentioned in my 2017 New Year’s post, I had once again drew from the Japanese language for my yearly theme. My new word was henkou (変更): change, or alteration. The most profound alteration in one’s life however, is that first moment of real truth when one encounters their future; foreshadowing the arc of their destiny.

Though this is not universally true of all musicians, it is almost invariably the story lifelong dedicated musicians tell of their first encounter with their favorite instrument. For example, the first time legendary rock guitarist Steve Vai saw a guitar (at 5 years old) he felt an almost supernatural thrill, all of his senses heightened and alive with passionate youthful wonder. He was altered by just seeing a guitar; his destiny revealing itself to him whether he understood it or not. It was the same for me; the first time I picked up a saxophone and played a note I discovered my existence was saxophone shaped, there was something about the feel, weight, smell, and fit of the saxophone in my hands and its place in my soul. For others it can also be a similar yet slower process, becoming deeper and truer with each passing month or year. But no matter how one arrives at their destiny, hidden in the fabric of life is alteration (revelation), the seed of time either being planted or blossoming. Thus we come to The Exhilarant Bassoon Incident of 1982.

Though I played saxophone when I was young, I was assigned the bassoon one year in junior high school band. Having no interest in it I complained to the teacher, but she was adamant. I was playing bassoon because it is was harder instrument than most in the band and since I had already learnt the saxophone, I was the most qualified in class to learn the bassoon well enough for our eventual year end concert. So I took it home and started to fiddle around with it. Now if you have never heard a bassoon being played for the first time by someone who has never played it, imagine the sound of two ducks trying to strangle each other… while two other ducks nearby also attempt to strangle each other. But after a couple of weeks of practice I got my bassoon to sound more like a single duck trying to strangle itself, so I was off to a good start.

The real problem though was that I was, and still am, the worst sight-reader on the planet. Reading music on the fly and getting it right the first time is my personal Kryptonite, the skill I will never have to any level of excellence, nor do I desire the skill. Mathematics, sight-reading, and getting good tone on a bassoon: my eternal nemeses. But I kept on soldiering on for a couple of weeks until I secretly stopped caring and would only play bassoon in band class, stashing it away in my closet the rest of the week. So neither my bassoon nor sight-reading skills were moving forward, meaning I was also not learning the necessary musical skills and memorization necessary to pass the class and eventually perform the annual year-end concert.

But as I grew adept at evading my “bassoonic responsibilities” I was having a lot of fun. Since I was in no hurry to do the right thing, I found myself spending more time just “bassooning”: fooling around, making animal noises, seeing what it would sound like if I invented my own fingerings, and playing along with pop songs on the radio, which sounded extremely silly and highly amusing to my 11 year old mind. Thus we arrive at the Exhilarant Bassoon Incident.

One day in class in the Spring, for the first time all year, our teacher wanted to hear us to play our parts individually in one particularly challenging song, to gauge how we were progressing towards the year end concert. As each kid played his or her part I grew increasingly terrified, as I had NO idea what I was doing. I could not read the music, I was still not sure of which fingerings went with which note, and so on, about as unprepared as one can get! It was clear I had no idea how to play the bassoon. Finally we arrived at my turn to play my part in the song and., suppressing my terror, I took a deep breath and improvised what I thought my bassoon part maybe, possibly, potentially, could, might sort of sound like! Though I tried my best, I assumed what my teacher heard was the worst sounding bassoon she had ever heard…playing the music so wrong it might as well have been engine noise for all of its empty bluster. I’ll never forget the look on her face: a very fascinating mix of rage and surprise. The game was up, my secret was out, I had been making up my parts all year and playing quietly enough that I could “hide” in the sound of the band without the teacher hearing that I was improvising my parts to avoid actual bassoon study. For almost a full school year I had been blowing into the bassoon but never studied it at all. I sat red faced and ready for the inevitable scolding and possible eviction from the class to the principal’s office. This meant the inevitable phone call to my parents, and the highly likely scolding for such a massive failing in my scholastic responsibilities.

But then something completely shocking and unexpected happened. My teacher then looked at me with a resigned smile, said nothing, and continued on with the class! As our class continued I sat there stunned, once again faking my parts quietly, and walked out of the class afterwards with no interaction from the teacher. What the hell had happened? She had caught me red handed, a robber in the headlights of a cop car caught sneaking off with the diamonds. I was fully expected to get the band class equivalent of a Scared Straight talk. Later that evening I realized what had really happened, and this realization had an amazing effect on my life, it altered how I saw myself and changed how I thought about music and possibility: a major henkou in my life.

I had realized that the teacher had heard what I did and let it go… because what I actually played, the part I improvised instead of reading from the music had “worked”, it sounded good enough that the teacher, knowing she was not going to get what was required out of me before the day of our class concert, let me continue on with my free form improvising, let me make up my part and play it, as no one would notice it was not the “right” part written on my page! I realized in that moment that I could make up things on the bassoon (and thus on the saxophone also) that “worked,” which functioned as actual music people would accept. I had spent an entire year playing “free jazz” on my bassoon and I had done it well enough to pass the class… and I was barely a teenager at the time!

The Exhilarant Bassoon Incident of 1982 was a foreshadowing of my now almost 40 years of improvising on the saxophone and percussion as a professional musician: the continuous self-inculcation of that process in both my private and professional studies, as well as live performance, public speaking, and multi-media work. I had accidentally learnt that the passionate pursuit of improvisation, in this case to avoid work (!), ended up being the seed of my most passionate work itself. The key was the passion: exploration, self-amusement, curiosity, and fun – put in service to fooling my junior high band teacher – could be implemented in service of personal growth, creative development, and self-fulfillment. I improvised for a full school year on the bassoon, unconsciously building valuable creative skills, and passionately exploring self-discovery via a musical instrument. From that point on my path was set, and I was able to get a PhD and travel all around the world, and so on because I discovered my true gifts (improvisation, ethnomusicology, creativity studies, etc.) on a bassoon in 1982!

So if you are a non-musician who longs to play the guitar, or studying an instrument but want to have some fun with it outside of your official lessons, or indeed any other kind of musician, then take heart, you don’t have to do things the regular way to have fun and learn at the same time. What music lessons CANNOT teach you is the joy and value of exploration, that it is 100% ACCEPTABLE to fool around with a guitar and do nothing else with it, if that is what you enjoy. If you want to be a world-class musician, you must study something. But NO world class musician ONLY studies. They do many other things to become unique, creative performers, and having silly, pointless fun on their instrument is a sure fire way to discover new worlds and new ideas without boundaries.

We now do not live in a world where a 12 year old could secretly play free jazz bassoon for a year in school and “get away with it”. My Exhilarant Bassoon Incident is a priceless treasure in my life, an unbelievable gift and accidental achievement. And you can have the same experience too, by throwing out the idea that you have to practice your guitar.

So I encourage you all to throw away the rulebook sometimes and just be silly and funny and happy on your drums, oboe, bass, saxophone, kazoo, or whatever else you want to cut loose with. Musical abandonment in service of bliss has its own rewards.