Archive for the Entertainment Category

Jonathan Brandis

Posted in Entertainment, Jonathan Brandis, Science Fiction on 11/15/2009 by milkywayfarer

Jonathan Brandis, We Hardly Knew Ye

(I dedicate this series of articles to my recently departed and much-loved, much-missed niece, Suzanne Waterhouse, gone much too soon.)

Blond. Blue-Eyed. Teen Idol. All three phrases describe the late and much-lamented Jonathan Brandis accurately – but they do not, and never did, summarize him. Best known as the whiz-kid star of Seaquest, he also gained notice as the star of Neverending Story Part 2, Ladybugs (with the late Rodney Dangerfield), and Sidekicks (with Chuck Norris).

During his astounding success on Seaquest, Jon received hundreds of fan mail letters per day. I first discovered Jon on Seaquest, as both my husband and I have been lifetime sci-fi fans. Jon also caught my eye because he bore a resemblance to my blond, blue-eyed husband when he was young. When Seaquest was canceled after only three years, Jon went on to college and starred in a few made-for-TV movies.

During his stint on Seaquest, Jon wrote one episode, Siamese Dreams. He expressed an interest in directing also. He possessed talent in acting, writing and directing, as well as being a genuinely nice guy. All of his fans commented on the fact that Jon always stopped to talk with them when asked for autographs and never seemed irritated by the intrusion. When fans included their phone numbers in their fan letters, he often called them up and chatted!

I managed to keep up with Jon through the “InterWebs” until about 2001, when he seemed to fade away. I saw he had a role in Hart’s War and watched the movie for the sole purpose of seeing Jon’s portrayal. However, his role wound up on the cutting-room floor; he was reduced to a couple of passing glimpses that I nearly missed. Much disappointed, I still occasionally checked up on him on the Web with little result.

In August of 2003 my husband and I vacationed in LA, San Diego and Ensenada. I joked to my husband that I’d be on the lookout for Jonathan Brandis! After our trip I discovered Jon had a listed phone number. I could have called him while we were there but I didn’t even realize it!

The only child of Greg and Mary Brandis, Jon began his career at the age of 3 as a child model in commercials. He lived nearly his entire life in the spotlight – until he was well past childhood and got passed over for roles. Well after our trip (about 3 years later), I thought of Jon again and googled him. The first page that appeared carried the title In Memory of Jonathan Brandis! He had committed suicide only three months after my vacation to LA!! Thunderstruck, I read every article I could find on him. I learned of his career’s downslope slide, his subsequent disappointment and depression, and his despair-driven death by hanging himself in his apartment building. I learned how surprised and devastated his parents were to lose their only child.

I also discovered many phenomenal fan sites dedicated to Jon’s memory and many virtuoso video dedications. My next few articles will cover my favorites of these sites. Below is a site hosted by “Mr. Garcia” or “Gar,” as he is called by his friends. Gar had been Jon’s teacher and friend. Devastated by Jon’s suicide, Gar created several touching videos of Jon, accompanied by lovely music. Though it was bittersweet, I watched all Mr. Garcia’s videos and wrote him to thank him for them. Recently, my 41-yr-old niece died suddenly; her death rocked my family as Jon’s death rocked his parents, friends and fans. Reminded once again of how fragile and fleeting life is, I dedicate this series of articles to Jonathan Brandis and to my niece Suzanne Waterhouse. May you both rest in peace!



Apollo 11’s 40th Anniversary

Posted in Apollo 11, Apollo missions, Entertainment, fun site, Moon, Science, space, space exploration with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/20/2009 by milkywayfarer


By Susan Chandler Kelley
©2009; do not reprint without permission

This past week held many noteworthy events, both exciting and sad, that link together in my mind. Endeavor blasted off to return to the International Space Station. Walter Cronkite, America’s most trusted news anchor (and “the voice of the Apollo 11 mission,” at least to me) died at the age of 92. The 40th anniversary of the launch of the first mission to land humans on the moon occurred on 7/16. Today, July 20th, marks the 40th anniversary of the first humans to land on the moon. This article honors that astounding achievement.


Hot summer night. July 20, 1969. A tiny town in south central Alabama. Outside the bedroom window, grasshoppers chirp and tree-frogs croak. Inside, blurry human shapes waver on the 16-inch B/W TV. Newsman Walter Cronkite (RIP), narrates the events unfolding on the little RCA as three men – Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module pilot; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module pilot – ‘shoot for the moon.’

I stare at the grainy image as Astronaut Neil Armstrong intones, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” The odd-looking space-suited Michelin-man plants the American flag on lunar regolith. As a 12-year-old girl, I don’t comprehend the full significance of Apollo 11. Yet still – the tiny hairs on my sun-freckled neck prickle as I watch a man walk on the moon.

480 full moons have waxed and waned since that hot, humid, historic night. Yet the memory still glows like moonbeams. As a geeky bookworm who loved watching Star Trek and reading sci-fi, even at that young age I always expected humans to walk on the moon. 480 full moons later, I can only wonder why we never got humans any further. Yet even that disappointment detracts not at all from that other-worldly vision 40 years ago. I can still see the screen of that minuscule TV, still hear the reception delay for the astronauts’ words, still feel the tummy-tingle of watching that moonwalk.

40 years ago today, moon-booted feet first crunched across lunar regolith, human hands first steered a bouncing moon buggy, human fingers first planted a US flag on other-worldly soil. Since that time, we have launched other manned moon missions and many mechanical explorers such as Voyager, Mariner and the irrepressible Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity. All historic events. All laudable events. All tummy-tingling events.

However, one always remembers the first time most fondly. In remembrance of that space adventure, this human ventures into cyberspace, to moon-walk one more time… – Offers panoramas stitched together from photos taken by Apollo 11 as well as all other Apollo missions. – 40th Anniversary Page – The Apollo Story and NASA’s future exploration plans. With images. – ABC8 WMTW: Apollo facts and highlights, Apollo astronaut info and remembrances, past and future missions, video and images, moon myths, objects left behind, hoax conspiracies, etc. – MOON LANDING FACTS: Apollo 11 at 40; text and images; for National Geographic News. – Wikipedia article on Apollo 11 mission: Crew, Nomenclature, Mission highlights, Spacecraft location, Mission insignia, 40th Anniversary events, images,
references – National Air and Space Museum press release; NASM commemorates this defining moment in space exploration.

MilkyWayfarer's Blog: Roaming Cyber Realms

Free Books

Posted in Arts, Books, Cancer / Chemo Brain Sites, Entertainment with tags , , , , , , on 07/11/2009 by milkywayfarer


Only on the InterWebs could one find so much free reading material. As a hopeless-case bookworm (since age four), I have long revered word-wrought wonders. As a hopeless-case Net-nerd (since 1989 as a CompuServe member – may it RIP), I have long loved cyberspace’s offerings – especially free reading material! Now cyberspace provides a wealth of free books. [M]oney for nothing, get your *books* for free, to paraphrase the song. Below one will find Websites offering free books; there are many more, I’m sure. Feel free to suggest your own favorite book sites in the COMMENTS section by clicking REPLY at the bottom of this article.

* Google Books: Search and preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide; works out of copyright are free, as are those whose authors have given permission to offer for free; to find free books, search by category and select FULL VIEW –

* Internet Public Library: Wide variety of free, full-text sources for literature on the web –

* Library of Congress > Digital Collections: Online access to print, pictorial and audio-visual collections and other digital services –

|| Featured Digital Collections & Services ||

– American History & Culture: A digital library of historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video from American Memory.

– Historic Newspapers: Enhanced access to America’s historic newspapers through the Chronicling America project.

– International Collections: International materials and bilingual presentations from overseas libraries from Global Gateway.

– Legislative Information: THOMAS provides searchable full text of bills, Congressional Record and more.

– Performing Arts: Collections, articles and special presentations on music, theater and dance materials.

– Prints and Photographs: Catalog of about half of the Library’s pictorial holdings with over 1 million digital images.

– Veterans History: Experience first-person stories of wartime service through personal artifacts.

– Web Site Archiving: Searchable archives of historic Web pages including national elections, 9/11 and more.

|| Additional Digital Collections & Services ||

– Children and Families: America’s Library

– Country Studies/Area Handbooks

– Digital Interlibrary Loan

– Exhibitions from the Library

– Folklife Digital Collections

– Global Legal Information Network

– Hispanic Digital Collections

– Local Legacies: Community Roots

– Manuscript Collections

– Map Collections

– Poetry 180: For the School Year

– Rare Books and Special Collections

– Today in History

– Webcasts from the Library

* DailyLit: Read books online by daily email and RSS feed; many books require a fee (usually quite low) but many books are free –

– Most of the free books are classic literary works by such authors as Austen, Tolstoy and Thoreau

* Paperback Swap: Members Swap, Trade & Exchange Books with each other for Free. In Short: Mail a book. Get a book. Any book you request is yours to keep, share or trade. No late fees. No processing charges. No hidden charges. Every time you mail a book to another member, you can request one for yourself from over 3 Million, including hardbacks and audio books as well –

– Biographies & Memoirs

– Cooking, Food & Wine

– History

– Mystery

– Romantic Suspense

– Children’s Books

– Fantasy

– Home & Garden

– Mystery & Thrillers

– Science Fiction

– Christianity

– Horror

– Thrillers

– Audio Books

– Comics & Graphic Novels

– Libros en Espanol

– Religion & Spirituality

– Westerns

– Contemporary

– Historical

– Literature

– Romance

– Women’s Fiction

– Nonfiction

* Swap Tree: Trade the books you have for the books you want, for FREE. Swap your books for video games, CDs and DVDs. Instantly see all the books you can receive in trade. Print perfect postage right from your computer. Discover new books and authors. Recycle, reuse and reduce your carbon footprint –

– Architecture

– Art

– Biography

– Business & Economics

– Children’s Fiction

– Computers

– Cooking

– Crafts & Hobbies

– Education

– Family & Relationships

– Fiction

– Health & Fitness

– History

– House & Home

– Medical

– Nature

– Science

– Self-Help

– Travel

– True Crime

* Largest Free Online Library of Academic Books –

|| Computer Sciences ||

– Introduction to Computing

– Introduction to Programming

– E-Commerce

– Human Computer Interaction

– Visual Programming

– Information Systems

|| Management ||

– Principles of Management

– Project Management

– Organization Development

– Strategic Management

– Leadership & Team Management

|| Accounting and Finance ||

– Fundamentals of Auditing

|| Marketing ||

– Principles of Marketing

– International Marketing

|| English ||

– Business and Technical English Writing

|| Human Resource Management ||

– Human Resource Management

|| Mass Communication ||

– Introduction to Mass Communication

* Project Gutenberg: Free access to thousands of e-books in a wide variety of text and audio formats, including plain text, HTML, PDF, and more; also links to other free book sites –

* Fictionwise: Fiction eBooks for all PDAs and PCs by top authors. Palm, PocketPC, Hiebook, eBookMan, Adobe, MS Reader, and WinCE eBooks. Offers about 50 free ebooks –

Online TV

Posted in Entertainment, fun site with tags , on 06/25/2009 by milkywayfarer

By Susan Chandler Kelley
Copyright 2009;
do not reprint without permission

In an effort to post more often, and provide more info more quickly, I shall occasionally post micro-blogs such as this. Herein are links to various sites where one can watch television online (plus one site with a wealth of info on television shows). Why bother, you ask? Some sites include classic TV shows that are now hard to find on television or cable. Sometimes, despite use of all manner of modern gadgets, one misses an episode of a beloved TV show. Some unusual television shows are not available in one’s own viewing area. Some shows screen online-only. For whatever reason one may want to watch TV online –  enjoy!


* Find Info on Classic TV Shows, View a List of Old Television Shows Online at TV Land One can view favorite classic TV shows on 3rd Rock from the Sun; Andy Griffith Show; Beverly Hillbillies; Gunsmoke; Hogan’s Heroes; Leave it to Beaver; Jeffersons; Sanford and Son. Get detailed information on old television shows online. Find video clips of original television show programs on the official TV Land web site.
* Free Online TV: Watch Free Global TV and Online Video from JumpTV –Online Television –English Offers sports, international and religious programming world-wide through the Internet to consumers’ televisions or computers.
* Full-Length TV Shows – Yahoo! TV One can watch free full-length TV show episodes. See popular current and past TV shows.
* TV Links – Free TV Links One can wtch TV For Free. Streaming TV Online! No Charge, No Wait! TVLinkVault has everything from HBO Series, to old 80’s Cartoons!
* TV News – TV Shows – TV Listings – Entertainment News offers TV and other entertainment news, and reviews on comedy TV shows, drama TV shows, reality TV shows and more. If you are looking for information on new and old television shows, look no further than the new home of TV Tome,
* One can watch 300+ LIVE world TV stations for free. ‘TV’ is an extremely easy to use application and anyone can find their own favorite stations with this TV application.
* Hulu – Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free. One can watch favorite television shows at any time. It costs nothing.
* Fancast | Watch Online Videos, TV, Movies, Trailers, and More! Check out, and watch movie trailers, TV shows, celebrity interviews, and a whole lot more. Fancast is your source for entertainment, news, and information!
* AOL – Watch Full TV Show Episodes for Free One can watch full length episodes for free on AOL Television. Enjoy free, full length episodes of Heroes, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Dexter, Family Guy, Bones, House and many more.
* Joost New ways to find what you would like to watch. You can search in “traditional” ways – by title or category – or you can find suggestions from other people on Joost.

In Memoriam:
Today both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died.
Also, Ed McMahon recently died.


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Agatha Christie

Posted in Arts, Entertainment, Writers & Writing with tags on 04/26/2009 by milkywayfarer

The Lady is a Dame

By Susan Chandler Kelley
Copyright 2009;
do not reprint without permission

The youngest of three children, Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was born Agatha May Clarissa Miller in Devon, England to a conservative, well-to-do family. She never attended school, but was instead educated at home. Strongly introverted, she preferred her imaginary playmates, whom she dubbed The Kittens, to real ones.

Agatha Christie finished her first novel in 1915 but it was not published until 1920. She later developed agoraphobia and avoided being photographed or interviewed, even though she received worldwide acclaim. She divorced her first husband because he “found a young woman,” then later married her second husband, 14 years her junior.

On December 4, 1926, she suddenly disappeared and all of England became alarmed over the missing famous writer. Learn the details of this Christie mystery and other clues to this agoraphobic author at History of the Mystery: Agatha Christie. Find out how she “became a Dame” in 1971.

Learn of her secret life as Mary Westmacott at The Official Agatha Christie Website. Discover details of the woman, her writing, her books, her travels and her work with her second husband, an archaeologist. Read about her life, view her picture, join the newsletter or keep up with Christie events.

Surf over to AOL’s Agatha Christie Site (now archived). Explore Christie themes, learn more about her career or scope out the Mr. Quin or Miss Marple stories.

Hear the Dame’s wise words at Creative Quotations: Agatha Christie. Why did Agatha Christie believe ‘Most successes are unhappy’?

Discuss Agatha Christie at Mystery Net.

Learn all there is to know about “The Queen of Crime” at the sites listed below:

~ History of the Mystery: Agatha Christie –

~ Agatha Christie Homepage –

~ Official Agatha Christie Website –

AOL’s Agatha Christie Site – (now archived)

~ Creative Quotations: Agatha Christie –

~ Mystery Net : Agatha Christie –

~ History of Mystery: Agatha Christie –

~ Agatha Christie Facts –

~ Wikipedia: Agatha Christie –

MilkyWayfarer's Blog: Roaming Cyber Realms

Wil Wheaton

Posted in Entertainment, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Wil Wheaton with tags , , , , on 04/03/2009 by milkywayfarer

Where’s Wheaton?

Copyright 2009
Susan Chandler Kelley

Remember Wil Wheaton – teen star Wesley Crusher of Star Trek Next Generation? Yes, he’s still around and doing fine! He began blogging before blogging was cool. He maintains a Typepad blog with a large and loyal following: WWdN In Exile

Wheaton has also written three books: Dancing Barefoot, Best Days of Our Lives (now in audiobook) and Just A Geek (now in audiobook). An avid gamer, he writes about gaming often but also blogs about his myriad interests: family, being a stepdad, books, writing, hockey, comic books, conventions, and yes, acting.

Wil Wheaton also writes about how he transformed from young actor- who wove Wesley Crusher into a likable wunderkind- into confident adult- now married with a family, who blogs about his sundry passions and how he achieved his transmogrification from young star to adult family man and a “working, struggling actor.”

He may no longer be a teen celebrity centerfold and teenybopper crush, but he quite believably portrayed a comic book artist turned rich soulless collector in an episode of Numb3rs. I do not believe he could have pulled off such an against-the-grain portrayal in his salad days of STNG. Also, he and the rest of the STNG crew recently performed vocally on an episode of Family Guy that premiered 3/29/09.

I stumbled upon Wil Wheaton’s blog back in 2005 quite by accident. I had just learned of the 2003 suicide of Jonathan Brandis (best-kept media secret since the pre-Watergate Nixon era) nearly two years after the fact. (A future blog will cover the late and much lamented JB.) While Websurfing for more information on Brandis, I came across a blog post by Wheaton. A blog reader asked what he thought of Brandis’ suicide at the age of 27, since Wheaton was a child/teen star of 80s-90s as well.

He writes how he might have gone the way of Brandis and so many other child/teen actors who can no longer snare prized parts after passing 20 – had he slipped into a different mind-set. However, Wheaton transitioned from hot young actor to successful adult whose acting career does not rule his life to the exclusion of all else.

Wheaton understood the acting industry very well even as a young man. While speaking to a group of drama students about to graduate he explained: “You have to love [acting] more than you hate how unfair the industry is, more than the constant rejection – and it is constant – hurts. You must have a passion within you that makes it worthwhile to struggle for years while pretty boys and pretty girls take your parts away from you again and again and again.”

He realized he no longer had that passion and was not willing to sacrifice life, love and family to the vagaries of the Hollywood industry. “I have only had three auditions in the last three months. A year ago that would have killed me, but I’m really not bothered by it now.”

Wheaton turned his passion for acting to writing and has since realized “I could be an actor and a writer, but my resolve to put my family ahead of everything, instead of putting Make It As An Actor No Matter What ahead of everything[,] remains.” Well said, Wil Wheaton!

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Walter Koenig’s Star

Posted in Arts, Entertainment, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Walter Koenig with tags , , , , , on 03/16/2009 by milkywayfarer

Give Walter Koenig a Gold Star!

By Susan Chandler Kelley
Copyright 2009;
do not reprint without permission

In June 2009, the Hollywood Walk of Fame Committee will vote on new Walk of Fame Star recipients. Walter Koenig is the only one of the original major Star Trek characters yet to receive a star on the Walk of Fame. After his nearly 50 years in the acting profession, in so many areas of this profession, the time is surely right to award Walter Koenig his well deserved star!

I have completed a letter to the Committee to request that his star be awarded. I ask that those of you who have enjoyed Mr. Koenig’s work in so many areas of the acting profession – acting, writing, producing and teaching – write letters to the Committee as well. Remember, however, to be polite and respectful. Do not forget that our letters will reflect on Walter Koenig himself. Their address is:
Walk of Fame Committee
c/o Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
7018 Hollywood Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
I wrote a previous article on Walter Koenig – available at – that discusses his career. He is a rare actor who has created more than one memorable role, and portrayed many reverse-polarity characters.

In Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Walter Koenig portrayed Tiger, the psychopathic gang leader in “Memo from Purgatory,” written by Harlan Ellison.

Walter Koenig later gave life to youthful Pavel Andreievich Chekov in Star Trek in 39 episodes, 1967-69. During the Cold War and the Space Race, he offered a non-threatening, likeable Russian patriot, acknowledging Russia’s contribution to space exploration. He reprised Chekov in Star Trek’s first seven feature films, earning a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor twice: for Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. He recently channeled Chekov yet again in two Star Trek Web shows: To Serve All My Days and Of Gods and Men.

Walter Koenig also breathed fire into ruthless PSI-cop Alfred Bester on Babylon 5 in 12 episodes as a recurring guest star. B5’s production company nominated him for an Emmy at the end of the third season for “Ship of Tears.” Bester was voted ‘man we most love to hate’ in a Web poll of 2,000+ science fiction fans.

Walter Koenig first appeared on television in 1960 on A Day in Court. In the nearly 50 years since, he has appeared on TV 107 times in 46 different roles. He penned an unusal play, “You’re Never Alone When You’re A Schizophrenic,” and starred in it. He trod the boards in many other plays including “The Boys of Autumn.” He has recently written, produced and performed in many independent movies including But What About My Feelings?, The Bone Eaters, Mad Cowgirl, and Inalienable. He has also taught acting classes.

Amazingly, Walter Koenig still finds time for charitable and human rights work: He visited Burmese refugee camps in Thailand July 2007 and has worked to bring awareness to their plight with public appearances and conferences. He supports The Children of the Night, a Los Angeles based charity which helps children living on the streets. He has supported the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota and the St. Labre Indian School in Montana for many years. He has helped raise funds for Habitat For Humanity. He has supported animal groups including the Nature Conservatory, Humane Society, World Wildlife Fund, Defenders Of Wildlife and SPCA Los Angeles. He has sponsored writing and art contests to help further the arts. He volunteered his time and acting talents for the second episode of the independently produced Web series, Star Trek Phase 2.

For more information on Walter Koenig’s career and the campaign to request his star on the Walk of Fame, visit and peruse Patty Wright’s informative Official Walter Koenig Website.
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