The Triple Tragedy Of The Misfits Of Science

Misfits of Science is an American science fiction comedy-drama television series that aired on NBC from October 4, 1985, to February 21, 1986. Although the show only lasted 1 season and 16 episodes, it’s only my childhood favourites and it should have been more successful. It starred Dean Paul Martin, Kevin Peter Hall, Mark Thomas Miller, a very young Courtney Cox, Jennifer Holmes (she was only in 7 episodes), Max Wright (just before he joined ALF) & Diane Civita. It’s about a group of super-powered humans, and later inspired the tv show Heroes, (same writer). It was a lot of fun.

Dr. Billy Hayes, the leader of the team (who has no superpowers). He is a young research scientist at the Humanidyne Institute who specializes in “human anomalies” and his boyish enthusiasm who often gets the team into as much trouble as he gets them out of. He like Jane Miller has no superpower but his thinking always finds a way out. Dr. Elvin “El” Lincoln, Billy’s colleague and close friend. He has the ability to shrink for minutes at a time from his height of 7 ft 4 in (224 cm) to 11 in (28 cm) via hormonal treatments which he activates by pressing a nerve on the back of his neck.  Johnny “Johnny B” Bukowski, a rock and roll musician who was electrically shocked on stage which resulted in disturbing electrical powers. He continually drains any electrically charged items in his surroundings, forcing him to live in isolation. He wears sunglasses because his eyes glow when he is fully charged. He can throw lightning bolts forcefully and run at superhuman speed, but is vulnerable to water.

Gloria Dinallo, a troubled telekinetic teenager with a history of juvenile delinquency and a mother in a mental institution who claims Gloria’s father is from outer space. She has a crush on Johnny. Gloria can only use her telekinesis on things that she can see: using a blindfold on her renders her powerless.  Jane Miller, Gloria’s probation officer. Although attracted to Billy, she is often put off by his eccentric behavior. Her character appears only in the earlier episodes, disappearing after the first 7 episodes. Dick Stetmeyer, the uptight director of the Humanidyne Institute & Miss Nance, the scientists’ secretary, who is more interested in working on her nails and coffee breaks, round out the characters.

Dean Paul Martin died in 1987 in a snowstorm up in the mountains. Kevin Peter Hall, who would later portray The Predator in two films and Harry in Harry & The Hendersons, would later died due to AIDS related pneumonia in 1991. In 1991, Mark Thomas iIller was in a disfiguring accident that stalled his career, so he became a building contractor specializing in home remodeling for the handicapped, which he did until 2003. Mark made a minor attempt at reviving his career by performing with the Groundling Improv Group, but soon found out that he had lost the patience required for the business of acting. In 2003, he started a product engineering and development company.

Blast From The Past : What A Country!

Mind Your Language was a super hit British tv series that premiered in 1977. It had a worldly appeal due to the simple yet hilarious situations and jokes that almost seem innocent by today’s standards. There were several attempts to recreate the dynamics and base a new show around the same concept. India did it twice and several other countries had a show or two copying the Mind Your Language formula. However the only one that I had watched and liked was an American show called What A Country!

Now while MYL was about an adult education college in London and focuses on the class in English as a Foreign Language taught by Mr Jeremy Brown, who teaches a group of enrolled foreigners, there as a change in the scenario for What a Country! in that being an American sitcom, starring Garrett M. Brown and Yakov Smirnoff that aired in first-run syndication from September 27, 1986, to May 23, 1987, it focuses on  a class of recent immigrants to the United States who are trying to pass the citizenship test. The series was intended as a showcase for Ukrainian-American comedian Yakov Smirnoff, whose catchphrase provided the show’s title.

Their teacher, Taylor Brown (played by Garrett M. Brown), is a part-time substitute teacher looking for a high school soccer coaching job but is convinced by principal Joan Courtney (Gail Strickland) but mostly Russian immigrant Nikolai Rostopovich, to become the permanent teacher. Rounding out the cast were George Murdock as Laszlo Gabo from Hungary, Vijay Amritraj as Pakistani immigrrant Ali Nadim, Harry Waters, Jr. as a former African prince in exile Robert Muboto, Ada Maris as Maria Conchita Lopez, Julian Reyes as Victor Ortega & Leila Hee Olsen as Yung Hi from China. Strickland would be replace by Don Knotts as Principal F.J. “Bud” McPherson.

It didn’t reach the highs of MYL, and the show was cancelled after the first season of 26 episodes. But it does have some memorable laughs. I watched it when I was 12 or 13 and it was a lot of fun. Even though some of the dialogues in the first episodes are taken straight from MYL.

It Was A Long Long Time Ago In Thrikkakara

Let’s go back in time…You’re 15, it’s Saturday night. What are you up to?

Phew! That’s a long journey back in time to when I was 15 – 1991 to 1992. The years of great music, music videos and great movies. The launch of cable tv in India was in 1991 and by 1992 we got cable in our homes. It as a fun time. Holidays and vacations I and my sister loved to spend time with our cousins and by extension our uncles and aunts.

But we are talking about the weekend. Saturday nights at the age of 15 I never really went out much unless it was with my family or my close cousins. I only went out to a movie with a friend that year. I usually stayed in at home on the weekends, unless we had some relatives come over or we had a family event. On a typical Saturday evening, I would be up in my room listening to rock music and perhaps reading a book.

I would come down to the living room for dinner with the family. Usually we would look for a movie to watch, either on the VCR or if we got lucky those years, we might get a good movie that the fledgling cable company would broadcast. Post dinner it would usually just be me and my sis and we had a cousin also staying with us that year, watching movies or something until it was time for bed.

Special Honourable Mentions To My Favourite Sitcoms I Watched As A Kid

Back in April of last year I wrote about my top 5 favourite sitcoms that I watched as a child (back in Kuwait, ages 1 till 11). This list is a few honourble mentions that either I watched very little of or the show didn’t last long but I have fond memories of them.

The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons was a spinoff sitcom from All in the Family that ran between the 1970s and the 1980s. It followed George and Louise Jefferson “moving on up, to the East Side” with their family in a new and expensive high-rise apartment. The show put George Jefferson, a notorious bigot and opportunistic businessman, at the center of it all alongside his much gentler wife Louise played by Isabel Stanford in an Emmy-winning role. The series was groundbreaking for how it tackled topics like racism and gun control, and for featuring a Black family at the forefront.

Diff’rent Strokes

Airing from 1978 to 1986, Diff’rent Strokes followed the lives of two young African-American brothers from Harlem – Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis Jackson (Todd Bridges) – who were adopted by wealthy widower Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) after their mother’s death. This sitcom tackled various topics such as race relations, class disparity, and drug abuse with sensitivity and humor. Coleman’s memorable catchphrase “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” became an enduring part of American pop culture.

He’s The Mayor

He’s the Mayor is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from January 10 to March 21, 1986. It stars Kevin Hooks as a 25-year-old man who is elected mayor of his hometown. He sometimes clashes with his widowed father, an electrician and comic relief Wardell, his friend who is now his chauffeur. David Graff who plays a counsilman is also hilaious in the show that only lasted 13 episodes before it as cancelled.

The Two Of Us

The Two of Us is an American television sitcom starring Peter Cook, Mimi Kennedy and Dana Hill that aired on CBS from April 6, 1981, to February 24, 1982. It is a remake of the British LWT sitcom Two’s Company (1975–1979). Cook plays an English butler named Brentwood, who works for a single American mother, Nan Gallagher (Kennedy). Dana Hill played Nan’s 12-year-old daughter, Gabby. Notable guest star was a very young Helen Hunt

Monopoly Is The Board Game I Remember Playing The Most

November 19th is Play Monopoly Day. Have you ever played Monopoly? If so, who did you play with? What happened? Who won?

Well does this game ever bring back memories. Even though I think we also played the Indian version called Hind Trade (with Indian places and Indian Rupees) Monopoly is where it’s at. I never owned a board of my own but a couple of my cousins did and whenever we had a few days off from school & college, we would gather up in one house and play hours and hours of games while listening to music. I associate monopoly with late afternoon & evening games with my cousins.

Hind Trade (not sure when this game came out, but I’m guessing early to mid 80s) was the first one we started playing on, which we played a lot during the summer holidays of the years 1987-90!  I’ve always felt that Monopoly was best played with 5 or 6 players at the maximum. More fun that way. Best time to play Monopoly would be immediately after lunch, spread out on the floor, on a large table or as we did at times, keeping the board on a bed and sitting on chairs around it! With some music playing throughout and you won’t even know how quickly the time passes by.

Evening rolls on by and you drink coffee, tea or juices and have a snack – the game still continues. When you are young this pleases the adults cause they can go one watching their movies & their tv shows in blissful peace and not have to worry about you guys! One summer in Kacheripady at my mom’s eldest brother’s house with 4 of my cousins, numerous evenings in Mattancherry with the entire gamut of cousins playing during summer, Onam and December vacations and one 2 week stay in Calicut where we used to play the game in the night – these will forever be in my pleasant memories list!

The Three Halloween Episodes On Frasier

“Halloween” (season 5, episode 3)

The best Frasier Halloween episode is its very first one. Simply titled “Halloween,” this season 5 episode is not just one of the show’s best farces, but also contains a major reveal that changes a character’s entire story arc across the series. At a Halloween party hosted at Niles’ apartment, the very inebriated psychiatrist somehow gets the wrong end of the stick and believes that Daphne is pregnant with Frasier’s child. Someone’s pregnant, alright, but it turns out to be someone else in the episode’s jaw-dropping final twist. It’s also notable for featuring a cameo from Kelsey Grammer’s then-wife, Camille. It’s worth a watch for the sight of David Hyde Pierce in a Cyrano de Bergerac nose alone.

“Room Full of Heroes” (season 9, episode 6)

It took another four seasons before Frasier returned to the Halloween well. Perhaps because of the hi-jinks of what happened the last time, this Halloween celebration sees the gang gather for a more intimidate party at Frasier’s place. For a psychological experiment, Frasier demands that they all dress as their heroes and stay in character. Frasier is Sigmund Freud, Roz is Wonder Woman, Daphne is Elton John, Martin is Joe Di Maggio, but Niles goes as Martin. Father and son bond well at first, but a drunken Niles (apparently he can’t get through Oct. 31 without getting sozzled) spoils the fun when he accidentally reveals his belief that Martin is ashamed of his sons. There’s lots of cosplay comedy in the first half, but the tragic turn this one takes makes it a surprisingly hard watch.

“Tales from the Crypt” (season 10, episode 5)

Frasier squeezed out one more Halloween episode in its penultimate season, which is one of the more memorable entries in an otherwise solid if slightly patchy run. In “Tales from the Crypt,” Frasier and KACL colleague Bulldog’s old prank war begins again, with the stakes being raised each time until the hilarious finale, in which an attempt to convince Bulldog the zombie apocalypse has happened appears to take a murderous turn. The whole zombie attack sequence is a riot, with the various heist movie-like twists and turns giving the episode a unique format and feel. There’s also a complimentary subplot about Daphne’s mother Gertrude having her own prank battle with the neighbor kid who previously appeared in “Room Full of Heroes” (as played by Steven Anthony Lawrence — aka Beans from Even Stevens).

Nostalgic Look Back At A Trip To Munnar With Friends

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Hmmm, I will have to go back in time to a lifetime ago, all the way back to 1998. Why? Read on to find out why. I was around 22 at the time and studying in NIIT and having a fun time with my fellow students. As our course was coming towards the last couple of months of a 2 year course (albeit for me, I took a month or two off and joined a different batch after 1 semester as I voluntarily got a circumcision due to having tight skin). The second set of guys and gals that I had joined after coming back was a much better set of people and good friends to spend some time with.

So it was natural that we would want to cap off a great two years, give or take a few months as a gap in between, with something to create a special memory of our time together. So we decided to take a quick trip to Munnar and hang out for a day. We picked a Saturday that all of us would be free, booked a Tempo Traveller van & driver who would take us to the place and drop us back at our homes. We got the budget and pooled our money for the rental, petrol and breakfast, lunch plus snacks & drinks. We decided to leave early and have breakfast on the way. So we left early and spent the day at a tea plantation.

We took a bunch of photos and talked and laughed a lot. We found a small little patch of land covered in grass that was on a lake that was perfect for a picnic and we had lunch and some soft drinks there and took more pics there and spent a good 2 hours just chatting. We left pretty soon and reached home by 6pm. Now this trip is a happy memory but it is a nostalgic and sad one for a special reason. I had to borrow my sister’s camera for this trip and I didn’t have one for a long time since the age of 18 I think. This was the age of film. The morning of that day, I took one of only 2 photos I have of my beloved dog, Shawny the Golden Retriever. The other one is of her behind the kennel we had for her and so it isn’t very clear, so this is the only proper pic I have of her.

And that makes me sad! But I am glad that I have this one.

Prompt from 71 Personal Blog Topics for When You’re Feeling Stuck at The Penny Matters

Some Facts About The Phantom

The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip, first published by Lee Falk in February 1936. The main character, the Phantom, is a fictional costumed crime-fighter who operates from the fictional  African  country of Bangalla. The character has been adapted for television, film and video games. In 1966, King Features stated that The Phantom was being published in 583 newspapers worldwide. At its peak, the strip was read by over 100 million people daily.

In the strip, the Phantom was 21st in a line of crime-fighters which began in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed during a pirate attack. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s murderer to fight evil, Christopher began a legacy of the Phantom which would pass from father to son. Nicknames for the Phantom include “The Ghost Who Walks”, “Guardian of the Eastern Dark” and “The Man Who Cannot Die”.

Unlike many other superheroes, the Phantom has no superpowers; he totally relies on his strength, intelligence and the myth of his immortality to take action against the forces of evil. The 21st Phantom is married to Diana Palmer; they met while he studied in the United States and they have two children, Kit and Heloise. He has a trained wolf named Devil and a horse named Hero, and like the 20 previous Phantoms he lives in the ancient Skull Cave.

The Phantom was the first fictional hero to wear the skintight costume which has become a hallmark of comic-book superheroes, and was the first shown in a mask with no visible pupils (another superhero standard). Comics historian Peter Coogan has described the Phantom as a “transitional” figure, since the Phantom has some of the characteristics of pulp magazine heroes such as The Shadow and the Spider and earlier jungle heroes such as Tarzan, as well as anticipating the features of comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Captain America.

Classic Scary Movies To Watch This October

Five Classic scary movies to watch this October

Evil Dead (1981) : The Evil Dead is a 1981 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi (in his feature directorial debut). The film stars Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly. The story focuses on five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audio tape that, when played, releases a legion of demons and spirits, four members of the group suffer from demonic possession, forcing the fifth member, Ash Williams (Campbell), to survive an onslaught of increasingly gory mayhem.

The Exorcist (1973) : The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin from a screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based on his 1971 novel of the same name. The film stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, and Linda Blair. The story follows the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s attempt to rescue her through an exorcism by two Catholic priests.

The Omen (1976) : The Omen is a 1976 supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner and written by David Seltzer. An international co-production of the United Kingdom and the United States, it stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens (in his film debut), Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson, and Leo McKern. The film’s plot follows Damien Thorn, a young child replaced at birth by his father, unbeknownst to his wife, after their biological child dies shortly after birth. As a series of mysterious events and violent deaths occur around the family and Damien enters childhood, they come to learn he is in fact the prophesied Antichrist.

Friday The 13th (1980) : Friday the 13th is a 1980 American independent slasher film produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, written by Victor Miller, and starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, and Kevin Bacon. Its plot follows a group of teenage camp counselors who are murdered one by one by an unknown killer while they are attempting to re-open an abandoned summer camp with a tragic past.

Halloween (1978) : Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis (in her film debut), with P. J. Soles and Nancy Loomis in supporting roles. Set mostly in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, the plot centers on a mental patient, Michael Myers, who was committed to a sanitarium for murdering his teenage sister on Halloween night when he was a child. Fifteen years later, having escaped and returned to his hometown, he stalks teenage babysitter Laurie Strode and her friends while under pursuit by his psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis.

Prompt from 31 October Blog Post Ideas For Fun Fall Inspiration (2023)

My Favourite Things To Do As A Child

What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

I guess one of my favourite things to do was read a lot of comics and books. I was a bookworm and I was quite happy to spend hours in a nice comfy chair or in my bed reading book after book, usually with some music playing in the background. My relatives found it easy to give me gifts – just get him a book to read, was what they would say!

Another favourite thing was ofcourse being lost in watching cartoons or some of my favourite tv shows that I watched growing up. We used to record them on VHS tapes and hence I could watch them for ages after they aired on the tv. Other than cartoons I loved The A-Team, Knight Rider, V and comedy shows like Mind Your Language. Awesome time during the 80s to watch some fun tv shows.

Other than that was spending time with my cousins. I loved the times that we played football or cricket in mornings of our holidays and board games in the evening post tea and then watch movies together as a group at night. Those were some awesome times.

Prompt from 30 Best September Journal Prompts at

Summer of 1988 – Staycation In Kacheripady

Ah yes, the good ole 80s! Well we – my family and I – had moved back to India from Kuwait (and in my case, moved – as I was born in Kuwait) in the summer of 1987 and I joined a school near our home in Thrikkakara. During the work week we would occasionally drop by at my mom’s eldest brother house in Kacheripady. We had our two cousins who were 9 and 3 years older than me and we spent a lot of time with them. And then that summer during the school holidays, I spent almost a month with them along with two other cousins.

First of all my aunt is a sweetheart and she managed u 5 boys with no complaints and a smile on her face and she probably loved the fact that we were there. We didn’t have enough space to play outside so we instead spent the days inside. After a shower and breakfast, my cousins and I would spend the entire day playing Hind Trade (an Indian version of Monopoly) while playing The Beatles, Scorpions, Dire Straits & assorted other 70s & 80s rock music. We would only stop for lunch after which we would watch a movie.

Evenings after tea was more games until dinner after which we would watch another movie and then go into the bedroom and fall asleep while we read books or played general quiz, with our eldest cousin playing the role of quiz master. The whole month that’s all we did and it was a fun time. After a month 1 of my cousins, the youngest of the 5 of us, and I went back to my house and he stayed at my house for a couple of weeks before his parents came to bring him back to their house. Such memories of summers gone by sometimes just come back to me.

Ode To The Phone Booth

Well, it has been a long, long time since I stepped foot into a phone booth or an STD/ISD booth as they are usually called here. We also had the old coin operated booths as well which were only for local calls. Back in the 80s & especially throughout the 90s and early 2000s we used to be dependent on them. Usually when you were out of your home and you wanted to make a phone call, you had to go to one of these.

We had the landphones at home, initially the old rotatory ones before we got the ones with a keypad in the mid 90s. But usually if we wanted privacy – as if you only had a single phone in the house, it would be in the living room and everyone would hear you if you talked on it. So if you wanted to speak to a girl, you’d have to do so when the folks were out of the house.

Or you could go to one of these booths and spend some time feeding coins and talking for a long while to your girlfriend. I found a couple of places that didn’t blink an eyelid if I stood in there for an hour or more and talked to my girl at the time. One was about 3 kms from my home at a petrol bunk and the other was more in the city area, inside a shopping center. Ah, memories!

Have You Ever Performed For An Audience Or Shared Creative Work With Others?

Have You Ever Performed for an Audience or Shared Creative Work With Others?

Well I have a few times:

  • When I was 6 or 7, I was one of the Kuwaiti sheiks in history and I had to play this role in front of the entire school. I was dressed up, face painted to look like I had a mustache and beard and stood on a stage in front of the entire school.
  • That same year I was some other character – can’t remember who – but this time I had dialogue.
  • Next it was back here in India and I think I was 12 or 13 and for Christmas I had to play Santa Claus. It was fun and I had to improv some lines at the last minute because the principle wanted me to stay and talk as I gave away sweets.
  • When I was 13 I was selected to be part of this chorus singing a couple of cringe songs. I still remember part of the lyrics. We had to practice for 2 months and it was terrible on the actual evening. We just wanted to end the torture for ourselves and the audience and luckily for us, we were running out of time so the principle cut it after 1 song!
  • The next time I was on stage was when I was 31 – live on stage for 1 night only – singing 3 rock songs with a guitar player, bassist and a keyboard player, with drum tracks added to the keyboards. It was a blast!

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network