Bits and Pieces

James Doohan is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

‘Star Trek’s’ Scotty Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor James Doohan, best known as Scotty, the feisty, Scottish-accented chief engineer on television’s original “Star Trek” series, has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, his agent said on Wednesday.

I once had the extreme pleasure of interviewing James for the Wisconsin State Journal, prior to a local Star Trek convention.

It was one of the most amazing discussions I’ve ever had, and I could have listened to his stories for hours.

He was witty, sharp, and also cutting — he had some choice words about working with William Shatner. In fact, the National Enquirer called me afterwards, to purchase the tape of the interview. I never returned that call, out of respect for James Doohan, and what with this thing I have about being able to sleep with myself at nights.

Seriously, though, his tales of landing on Juno (I believe) beach in the first wave on D-Day were just amazing. At the time I had no idea…an autographed photo I took away from the interview is still one of my most cherished items.


SO ANYWAY, the Lovely and Talented Judith had to work a Public Radio event the other night. Live reading by Richard Lederer, host of Public Radio’s “A Way With Words”, and father of World Class poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. “Oh, and by the way,” says Judith. “He might want to get a poker game together tomorrow.”

Well, hella-cool.

ANYhoo, Judith, her co-workers Todd, Chuck and Scott, and I (essentially, the core of our poker group) get the call the next day: Richard wants to spend an hour or so playing poker.

Or rather, TEACHING poker.

I grab my chips and drive down to Vilas Hall as soon as I can, where, on the seventh floor, school is already underway.

Richard Lederer essentially takes an hour and a half out of his visit JUST TO FREAKING SHOW US SOME GAMES! It was like the coolest private tutorial EVER. We ran through some basics of High-Low Split Poker, divvied up the chips (“NICE chips. Whose are they?” sez he when he sees them – HUZZAH!) and then he started demonstrating the tactics behind the likes of Seven Card Stud, Omaha Eights Or Better, a quirky little number called 727 and the Grey Marmot Arkansas Double With A Swirlie. At least I think that was a game. It could have been what we ordered for lunch at Ian’s.

The main point being – lotsa poker lessons and lotsa promises of autographed photos of his kids.

It was an amazing afternoon.

Life’s anything but dull these days.


Speaking of Anything But Dull, I was interviewed by Gretchen Woods at Origins, and she took some snapshots of the new hair.

I’m not sure what I’m signing here.

It certainly doesn’t LOOK like one of my books…maybe it’s one of Ken’s…


NOT the strangest body part I have ever been asked to sign, by far…


Juggling Plush Cthulhus. No seriously, I am…


In other Poker news, I loved last week’s Celebrity Poker Showdown</b? marathon on Bravo. And I may be in the minority here, but I think Dave Foley’s a great co-host.

However, most importantly, I now believe that everything in life would be better with more Sara Rue.

My two goals are now lobbying to get her back, and to get Wil Wheaton on. Preferably in the same show…or, say, to get a CARTOONIST on the show… 🙂


A drink I created at Origins.

Still needs some tweaking, but here’s the work in progress, lest I forget:

2 Shots Absolut Citron Vodka
1 Shot Midori
1/2 shot lime juice

Shake over ice. Serve Martini-style, garnished with lime.



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