Hasslein Blog: October 2012


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


By Paul Giachetti

The brilliant folks over at Epic Rap Battles of History have outdone themselves with their latest video, a verbal duel between the Tenth Doctor and Doctor Emmett Brown, with special guest appearances.

Epic Rap Battles, fronted by Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD,  never cease to amaze with their witty, dead-on impersonations and attention to detail and the nuances of their characters. Joining the duo in this video is MC Mr. Napkins and George Watsky. Take a look, then check out their other videos for some more geeky fun!

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Are You Telling Me You Built a Time Machine......

By Paul Giachetti

I can't even finish the headline...

This little tyke's Halloween was just made more awesome than any of ours will ever be with the addition of a super-slick Delorean time machine push stroller. 

According to mom, the idea for a Back to the Future-themed costume "started with a red puffy vest Cooper already had and a side comment from my husband about Marty McFly in late September." From there she spent several weekends and nights building a time machine.... out of a stroller. (dammit! I couldn't resist) 

This amazing recreation comes complete with hoverwheels, a Mr. Fusion, time circuits and EL lighting. No word yet on whether an attempt was made to push little Cooper 88 miles an hour to see some serious shit.

Visit their Flickr page for more pictures Here

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ANATOMY OF A COVER—A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon

by Rich Handley

In case you're curious about how a book cover evolves from initial sketch to final design, Pat Carbajal has posted some of his sketches for the Back to the Future Lexicon, as well as the final painting that was used in creating the book's cover.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Star Trek: The Newspaper Strip, Vol. 1: 1979-1981... Reprinted at Last

by Rich Handley

Two decades ago, I began collecting the Star Trek newspaper strips published by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate from 1979 to 1983. Four years' worth of material, spanning 20 storylines, were printed during the course of that series. These stories were well made, but suffered from poor distribution and were largely unknown to fans.

At the time, there wasn't much of an Internet to speak of, so finding these strips proved to be a hugely difficult task, taking several years and a hefty number of dollars to complete. Over the years, I tried to convince other publishers to reprint them (most notably, Pocket Books' John Ordover and Wildstorm Comics' Jeff Mariotte), but despite their best efforts to see the project through, various circumstances prevented this from occurring, much to my and their regret.

After a while, I resigned myself to the fact that the strips would never be reprinted, and that the majority of fans would never get to read them. But now, thanks to IDW's Library of American Comics and editor Dean Mullaney, that is finally changing. In December 2012, the company will begin reprinting the entire series as a two-volume hardcover set. I helped to compile the strips, wrote an introduction to the first volume and assisted Dean editorially, and I am pleased to report that these books will be VERY worth their cover price.

Today, IDW officially listed Volume 1 on its site (here), for which I'm very excited. After all the years I spent trying to see these strips reprinted, it will be so gratifying to hold the final product in my hands.

More information coming soon!



What If Doc Brown Had Invested in Xerox?

by Rich Handley

Did you know that in 1952, Emmett Brown's colleague Charles tried to convince him to become a major stockholder and employee of the fledgling Xerox Corp.? Convinced that the firm had no future, since few would know how to pronounce its name—he initially mispronounced it "X-rox"—Doc turned down the offer.

Three years later, Doc's university boss, Dean Wooster, pressured him into taking part in one of three projects: developing the Edsel automobile, creating a chemical-warfare compound (to be dubbed Agent Brown) or helping to build Xerox. When Emmett refused all three opportunities, Wooster put an end to his affair with the dean's daughter, Jill. Learn more next month, in A MATTER OF TIME: THE BACK TO THE FUTURE LEXICON!

Pre-order your copy now at BTTF.com!

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Ohio State Goes Back to the Future

by Rich Handley

Are you telling me they made a DeLorean... out of a marching band?




Monday, October 22, 2012

Do Zombie Films Exist in the Walking Dead Universe?

by Rich Handley

I came across a cartoon today based on The Walking Dead (the only TV show currently on the air that I make a point of watching, other than Red Dwarf), which had me chuckling:

Very funny, indeed. It would be like watching the Airport films, Cast Away, Final Destination, Con Air, Die Harder, Passenger 57 and the pilot episode of Lost while flying across the Atlantic Ocean. But putting the humor aside, it also got me thinking about something:

Before the apocalypse, did zombie films exist in the Walking Dead universe?
Read more »

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How Planet of the Apes Helped to Quell the Iranian Hostage Crisis

by Rich Handley

I watch a lot of films, but I tend to form opinions about actors and directors that limit my viewing habits. For example, I am not likely to watch another Adam Sandler film any time soon, as I've seen enough over the years to realize there are far more Jack and Jills than Wedding Singers on his résumé. Still, every now and then, an actor will turn in a performance that surprises me, making me reevaluate whether I should start paying more attention to that person's career.

As of today, that is true for Ben Affleck.

Take THAT, Matt Damon.

Previously, I didn't necessarily consider Affleck a bad actor, per se, nor did I actively dislike his films. I enjoyed Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love, for instance. But my appreciation of those stories hadn't been due to Affleck's involvement—more often, it was despite it, as I tend to find his performances bland. Much of his other work (Armageddon, Reindeer Games, Pearl Harbor, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil, Gigli and Jersey Girl) has left me thinking "meh," both in regard to the films and his acting. And I know I'm not alone in this view, as I've seen many critics make the same observation.

One exception was Hollywoodland, the biopic in which he did a remarkable job of highlighting Superman actor George Reeves' troubled life and suspicious death. But I'd always considered that to be a diamond in the rough—a rare shining moment among two decades of mostly continuous dullness.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... drunk Superman's package.

That is, until today. You see, I've just returned from viewing his latest work, Argo, which he both directed and starred in. And I'm starting to change my mind.

Read more »

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Presenting... R2-Tutu

by Rich Handley

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far ballet, Being a Geek posted this photo:

Yes, I am ashamed of myself for the puns. Thanks for asking.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Back to the Future Short Film: The Libyans

by Rich Handley

If you haven't yet watched this hilarious Back to the Future fan film, written and directed by Eric West, do yourself a favor and view it now. You'll be happy you did.



Coca-Cola Asks "Unsuspecting" Train Riders (In Other Words... Actors) to Unlock Their Inner 007

by Rich Handley

Now pay attention, Double-Oh-Seven. Coke Zero has released a video showing what it purports to be "unsuspecting train passengers" challenged to "unlock the 007" within them for a chance to win exclusive tickets to see Skyfall, the next James Bond film. Those interested in winning, according to the video's description on YouTube, had to work their way past a long string of obstacles and reach a specified location within 70 seconds.

Now, I think it's pretty clear that everyone in the video is an actor, and that the entire thing is staged. This isn't so much a spontaneous stunt at a train station as it is a commercial. But putting that aside for a moment, it's pretty inventive.

Still... first Heineken and now Coke. Is it just me, or has James Bond developed an affinity for carbonated beverages of late? Let's just hope he forgoes the usual "shaken, not stirred" routine, or he'll ruin his tuxedo jacket.

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Skyfall Reviews Are Coming In... And The News Is Very, Very Good

by Rich Handley

Skyfall, the latest James Bond film, will hit theaters soon, and many critics have been allowed to view it. So how's the movie stacking up with the reviewers?

They're stirred, not shaken.

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The Back to the Future Lexicon—Coming in Only One Month!

by Rich Handley

A quick update regarding A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon:

I just spoke with my art director, Paul Giachetti, and it looks like we're definitely on schedule to have the encyclopedia out in time for the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping rush. Thanks to everyone who's been asking about it—we appreciate the enthusiasm!

In the meantime, the book can still be pre-ordered from the official Back to the Future site, by visiting lexicon.bttf.com.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Back to the Future Outtakes



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't Forget to Submit Your Entry for the Create-a-Slogan Contest!

by Rich Handley
Hi, folks. Just a reminder that our Create-a-Slogan Contest is still in effect. We've received a number of great submissions so far, but the contest continues until Nov. 30, so feel free to send along some suggestions!



SNEAK-PEEK: A Matter of Time—The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon

by Rich Handley
Here's another advance look at artwork from the upcoming book, A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, by yours truly. This time, it's a tiny portion of 3-D, excerpted from a sketch of Biff Tannen's three cronies, illustrated by brilliant artist Pat Carbajal.

You'll be able to see the entire drawing this Thanksgiving, along with many others, once the encyclopedia is published. Pre-order your copy now, at BTTF.com!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Future Voices, Passed: Larry Nemecek Opens Up His Star Trek Archives

by Rich Handley
If you're a long-time Star Trek fan who has ever delved deeper into the franchise than merely watching the series on television, then chances are you've been touched by Larry Nemecek.

OK, that didn't come out right. Let me start that again.

Since the early 1990s, Larry Nemecek, an author, archivist, consultant and editor, has been extremely influential in the Trek realm, both in print and at conventions. So there's a pretty good chance you've either read his work or encountered him at an event. His latest effort sounds pretty damn cool—but I'll get to that shortly.

Read more »

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cosplaying Goes Back to the Future at New York Comic-Con 2012

by Rich Handley

Twenty hours.

That's how long I was awake yesterday, as I attended New York Comic-Con 2012 with Paul Giachetti. That's a long day. After it was all over, despite being so tired that I would have fit right in with the zombies encircling the Walking Dead RV parked outside Javits Center...

Dale and T-Dog, doing what Dale and T-Dog
did for pretty much all of season two.

...I checked my e-mail at 2:00 a.m. instead of going to bed, and commented to a friend, Leia Calderon-Rox, that "I may never walk again. My legs are worn down to tiny nubs where I once had feet—I look like Rob Liefeld drew me."

On the other hand, we got to see this...

...and this.

Read more »

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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Pinheads: Where Are They Now?

by Rich Handley

Thanks to Pat Carbajal for the image.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are You Trying to Tell Me They Built a Watch... Out of a DeLorean?

by Rich Handley

Why, yes. Yes, they did.

Now you can make sure you're never "outtatime" again. It's an authentic DeLorean time machine. And it costs 15 grand.

Only 81 units were made. I can't believe they didn't make seven more, for an even 88. Then their slogan could have been, "When this watch hits 88 units, you're gonna see some serious shit."



Self-Publishing: The Next Big Thing for the Comics Industry?

by Rich Handley
VentureBeat has reported that ComiXology is set to launch a portal enabling amateur comic book creators to professionally publish their work (see story). According to VentureBeat, ComiXology Submit will be broad in terms of what creators will be allowed to publish via the portal. ComiXology will keep 50 percent of revenue for each comic purchased, and will not charge creators to optimize their work with its Guided View technology (which enables readers to zoom in on a particular section of a comic page in order to view a larger version).

As someone who co-founded a business as an independent book publisher, I find this development fascinating. Comic book prices are soaring lately, making me re-think my desire to continue buying them. And the lack of distribution avenues available make it very difficult for indy comic publishers to sell their titles, or even to make others aware they exist.

This could change things, as it would allow those indy publishers not only to gain notice and a distribution channel for their work, but also to sell their comics below what the major publishers (DC, Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Image, etc.) are charging. Conceivably, this could eventually upset the balance, forcing the big comics houses to bring down their prices.

Of course, this could also be offset by the fact that any hack with a poorly written comic will now be able to offer it for sale at the portal alongside those with bona fide value, thereby diluting the pool (just as the indy book-publishing world has seen a lot of crap published by those with more ambition than talent). But the portal is still young, and in time, that may be dealt with.

How that will spill over into the book-publishing arena is not yet clear, but there's a lot of potential for this to have wider ramifications than just comics. The terms "independent publisher," "vanity press," "print-on-demand" and "self-publish" could gain some much-needed traction over time, making it easier for all of us to succeed in an industry long held hostage to traditional thinking. I think we may be seeing a new age dawning for indy publishers, and we at Hasslein Books will certainly be watching what happens with great interest.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Hasslein Books' Back to the Future Lexicon Now Available for Pre-order at BTTF.com

The unofficial Back to the Future encyclopedia, written by Rich Handley and due out this holiday season, can now be pre-ordered at the officially sanctioned Back to the Future Web site.

Hasslein Books has announced the pre-order availability of its upcoming publication, A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon. The book is slated for release this Thanksgiving, and will be available on Amazon.com and via special-order in retail stores, as well as via wholesale. But in the meantime, fans can get a jump on their Christmas shopping by pre-ordering the book right now, at BTTF.com, the one-stop shop for all Back to the Future collecting needs.

Back to the Future is one of the most successful and beloved film trilogies of all time. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Tom Wilson and others, the movies have stood the test of time, remaining as entertaining, hilarious and exciting now as they were when theatrically released between 1985 and 1990. But if you've only watched the films, you've only seen part of the story. A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon brings fans the entire franchise: every character, place and object ever featured in the BTTF mythos, from not only the films, but also the screenplays, cartoons, novels, video games, card game, amusement-park ride, music videos and more.
Read more »

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Brent Spiner Imitates Patrick Stewart

by Rich Handley
This is absolutely brilliant.

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Support Indie Film/TV: Help Jerry Seward and Babylon 5's Jason Carter Make a Pilot

by Rich Handley
If you're like me, you love Babylon 5 and all things connected to it. And if you're not like me, you just clicked off this article after reading that first sentence, which means I am now free to talk about you, since you won't be here to know about it.

If you ARE still here, though, I hope you'll consider spreading the word about an upcoming project. Independent film producer Jerry Seward is looking to produce a television pilot starring B5's brilliant Jason ("Marcus Cole") Carter. The film is titled Pendragon, P.I., and Carter's character is "an unconventional private investigator who's a bit of Sherlock Holmes, a splash of Sam Spade and a dash of The Doctor."

Jason Carter in Pendragon, P.I.
Doctor Who producers, take note.

I'm happy to support Jerry's efforts, both because he's a friend and because Marcus was one of my favorite character's on B5, and I hope you will, too. You can help the project immensely by either making a donation or sharing the film's Indiegogo page with others whom you think may be interested in making a contribution or otherwise sponsoring the production.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DT Moviehouse Review: Back To The Future Part II

by Rich Handley
Ed Erdelac has posted another Back to the Future review, this time of the second film. As with his review of the first part of the trilogy, it's a great (Scott) read. Enjoy!



Monday, October 8, 2012

NEW BOOK! Back to the Future Lexicon Now Available for Pre-order


A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized 
Back to the Future Lexicon
By Rich Handley

Consider yourself a Back to the Future fan, butthead? If you've only watched the films, you've only seen part of the story. A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon brings you the entire franchise: every character, place and object ever featured in the BTTF mythos, from the movies, screenplays, cartoons, novels, video games, card game, amusement-park ride, music videos and more.

Every McFly, Brown, Tannen, Parker, Clayton and Strickland... every eccentric invention... every Hill Valley business—past, present and future... A Matter of Time covers it all. This staggeringly complete encyclopedia, written by the author of Timeline of the Planet of the Apes and Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, contains:
  • Nearly 3,000 alphabetical entries detailing every character, scientific innovation, institution, location, vehicle, business and more, from every corner of the BTTF universe
  • A stunning painted cover and more than 25 breathtaking, full-page interior sketches from artist Pat Carbajal, produced exclusively for this volume
  • A nostalgic and informative foreword by BTTF.com's Stephen Clark, a noted expert on the Back to the Future mythos
  • Detailed listings of Doc Brown's many inventions, as well as all known ancestors, descendants and aliases for every major character (and even some minor ones) from the film trilogy
  • An episode guide to Back to the Future's entire expanded universe—the films are just the beginning
  • A gallery featuring more than 150 covers spanning three decades, from the films' home-video releases, as well as novels, comics, video games and more
Great Scott, not even Grays Sports Almanac is this complete! Beautifully designed by Paul C. Giachetti—and geared toward both casual fans and those who know Biff Tannen's middle name—A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon is your guide to the whos, whats, wheres and whens of Hill Valley's history. So make like a tree... and pre-order it.

Pre-order the lexicon now from BTTF.COM, the official Back to the Future Web site!

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Unboxing the New Back to the Future DeLorean Hallmark Ornament

by Paul C. Giachetti

Yep, that's pretty much it. Personally, I never understood the whole "unboxing" thing...

I will say the ornament is quite solid, and more detailed than I would have expected. I'm not a BTTF DeLorean enthusiast, so I can't compare it to the current line of 1:43 scale toys and models, but at $17.95, I think it's well worth the price! 

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Angry Birds Star Wars Death Star Jenga

by Rich Handley
"So my great idea, boss, is this: Kids love Star Wars, right? And they love Angry Birds, too, right? And they love Jenga, so—"

"Actually, Jenkins, Jenga's kind of a '70s to '90s thing. No one really talks about that anymore."

"Hmm... true. But still, boss, what if we could combine all three of these into one single, mega-marketable game?"

"Good god, Jenkins... you're right!"

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Friday, October 5, 2012


by Rich Handley

Um... well, that's pretty much it, actually.



Adele's Skyfall Theme: A Return to the Classics for 007

by Rich Handley
Following months of rumors, it was recently confirmed that British singer-songwriter Adele ("Chasing Pavements," "Rolling in the Deep," "Someone Like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain") would perform the theme song for Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond, Skyfall, hitting theaters in November. This week, the tune was officially released, as you can hear below:

In contrast to the more modern styles featured on recent Bond films' soundtracks, Adele's "Skyfall" is a definite return to the classics. Many reviewers have commented about how reminiscent it is of Shirley Bassey's iconic themes for Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever (Bassey also recorded Moonraker's theme, but I've never considered that one on par with the others' brilliance). And they're absolutely right.

In fact, that was undoubtedly the producers' intent. Following the events of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Skyfall will reportedly bring 007 full-circle, with Bond growing into the dashing hero we all grew up with, finally at peace with the demons haunting him during those films. I, for one, consider this the best theme song to date of the Daniel Craig era, and am excited at what it portends for the film itself.

So what do you think of the song, Bond aficionados? Chime in below.

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Hasslein Review: Red Dwarf—"Trojan"

Review of Red Dwarf X: Episode 1 — "Trojan"
By Paul C. Giachetti

Welcome to the first of many (well, six) reviews of Red Dwarf X. We begin with the new season's premiere episode, titled "Trojan."

First off, let me start by stating a fact well-established among those who know me: I. Love. Red. Dwarf.  I love it all... the good, the bad (and by bad I mean the not-as-good, as I truly don't believe there is such a thing as "bad" Red Dwarf); I even liked series VII and VIII, as well as Back to Earth. Hell, I even loved the storyboarded "lost" episodes "Bodysnatcher" and "Identity Within." So admittedly I'm a tad biased, and probably not the best choice to write an objective review; I could have asked Rich Handley (who watched the episode with me) to write it instead, but his level of fanaticism parallels mine, so it probably wouldn't have helped.

Read more »

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Planet of the Apes Sequel Lets In Cloverfield Director Matt Reeves

by Rich Handley
If you're like me, you were heavily bummed by the news that Rupert Wyatt, who did such a brilliant job directing Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will not return for the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, coming in 2014. Despite a few plot holes and inconsistent acting, Rise, in my opinion, shot up the ladder to become one of the best films in the series. I was blown away by Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar, as well as Wyatt's approach to the touching screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and was very much looking forward to seeing what this team would do next.

Without Wyatt aboard, I dreaded the inevitable changes the next film might bring. Would the story flow smoothly from one chapter to the next? Would the two films' directorial styles clash? Would continuity become a mess, as it sometimes was for the original Apes films?

Caesar is home. But is he still in good hands?
Read more »



Heroes' Claire Bennet REALLY Loves Sloths

by Rich Handley

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Back to the Future Trivia: What Was Doc Brown's Middle Name?

by Rich Handley

Did you know... that the "L." in "Dr. Emmett L. Brown" was short for "Lathrop," after his mother, Sarah Lathrop—and that she had a rag doll as a child that she called "Emma?"

Learn more this holiday season, when Hasslein Books will present A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, by Rich Handley.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lost Star Wars Short Story Now Online Again

by Rich Handley

Several years ago, I had a short story published on starwars.com titled "Lando Calrissian: Idiot's Array," which was a sequel to two other Star Wars tales I'd co-written ("Crimson Bounty," with Charlene Newcomb, for Star Wars Adventure Journal #14 and "Lady Luck," with Darko Macan, for Star Wars Tales #3). Unfortunately, the short-fiction section was later removed from starwars.com, leaving "Idiot's Array" in limbo.

A scene from "Lady Luck," set shortly before "Idiot's Array." Dominic Raynor's
resemblance to Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III is no coincidence.

Today, I found out (thanks to friends Ed Erdelac and Greg Mitchell) that Del Rey Books has made a deal with Lucasfilm to present all of these lost tales on its site. "Idiot's Array" is now available here. This is a big relief, as I was always bummed out about its unexpected unavailability, as were all of the authors whose work had been taken offline.



If Only Scrooge Had One of These...

by Paul C. Giachetti

Leave the ghosts of Christmas' Past, Present and Future in the dust with Hallmark's upcoming Back to the Future DeLorean Christmas Ornament, due out this week. A perfect companion gift to Hasslein's upcoming book A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, coming late November, just in time for holiday gift shopping! The ornament comes complete with turning wheels, allowing you to recreate your favorite scenes from the movie while you think no one's looking. We'll be buying several of these.... oh, yes, we will.  

Hopefully, they'll release the future version next year. Who do we have to bribe with a free book to make that happen?

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Gangnam Klingon Style

by Rich Handley
Some might ask, "Why would you post this?" And I would reply, "Why would you NOT post this?"