I interviewed James Doohan once, when I was a writer for the Wisconsin State Journal, and it was a delight. Absolutely one of my favorite interviews of all time. Right up there with Andy Partridge, of XTC, Billy Bragg and Dave Sim.

Much of the phoner was devoted to things I’d never known about Mr. Doohan. For example, he was in the first wave on D-Day, at Juno beach. It was really riveting stuff, and impressed the hell out of me. Moreso, he seemed like just a terrific guy: affable, charming, everything you’d hope for in someone you admired.

In fact, the only sour words he had were reserved for William Shatner, whom he held little in short esteem.

“Oh, look, I’m acting,” he said, imitating Shatner. “I’m crinkling my nose! That means I’m angry!”

It was, in short, hilarious.

I can’t remember how my story went, but, sensing blood, the National Enquirer called me up, and offered to buy the recording of the interview from me.

Now, this was a time when I really could have used the money. But James Doohan’s enormous personality, his honest likability, hell, the sheer sense of humanity that emanated from him meant that there was never a question in my mind.

I told the Enquirer the tape was not for sale, and went to sleep that night feeling very good about myself.

I’ve still got the tape, somewhere.

This weekend, I’ll try searching it out. And maybe pick up a nice Scotch, as well…

****

Some good news over the last couple of weeks. An editorial cartoon I drew for Milwaukee’s Daily Reporter garnered a third-place award in the National Newspaper Association’s 2005 competition. It was a ‘toon on the Miller Park stadium’s less-than-reliable roof that ran lasy summer. All I can recall about drawing the cartoon was thinking “Wow…I’m sick of drawing Miller Park.”

Here’s what the judges said: “Vivid, economic drawing and deft handling of an apt play on words to make a strong point on a local issue.”

This is pretty much all I know of this, as it was -passed on to my by my editors. The award itself came out of the blue. I’d forgotten journalism awards even exist, in all honesty, now that I’m only doing the one edit ‘toon a week.

So I’ll be spending a bit more time on this venture in the future, as I know I can do better.

But, yeah, that was nice news.

As soon as my FTP problems are fixed, I’ll post the drawing.

****

Also in the award-o-sphere, I’m told “Path of the Bold,” a collection of Silver Age Sentinals fiction that I contributed the short story “SF” to, won an Origins award.

This is again welcome news, sorta out of the blue. Proud though I am of the story, and the compilation as a whole, I must admit we were up against some heavyweights in the new “Best Fiction Publication” category.

Here’s a review from the Chronicle (formerly the SF Chronicle) with some info on what the book’s about:

“Path of the Bold is stronger than its predecessor, with more satisfying stories, and a better range of exploration in general. It proves that it’s still possible to produce good superhero fiction, hopefully paving the way for more like it in the future. Again, my only complaint is that sometimes I don’t get enough feel for the setting itself, which strikes me as the bastard child of New York and Vancouver, if such a thing is possible. Also, the ‘signature characters’ they allude to on the back cover sound fascinating, and yet the stories within barely touch upon them, which might be frustrating for a reader who hasn’t also read the RPG source material. That aside, if you like comic books or superheroes, and larger-than-life stories, this is a near-perfect collection.”

John

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