Dalton owns up: He's a sci-fi geek. And you? Take his test and find out. Plus: the perfect pet for the discerning movie fan, the five worst songs to play while getting it on, and reader mail

By Dalton Ross
Updated April 15, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Everett Collection

The Glutton: Are you a sci-fi geek? Know the signs…

Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica wrapped up recently, yet no matter how often the drama transcends the science fiction genre, there are scores of people who refuse to watch any show set on a starship. I’m the exact opposite: a true sci-fi junkie. I’ll check out pretty much anything that features lasers and people dressed in stupid rubber alien costumes, and I’m not ashamed to admit it….

Actually, what am I talking about? I’m totally ashamed. It’s embarrassing as hell to be that dude at a party waving his hand in front of his face and proclaiming that ”these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” only to receive a group of blank stares in return. Such is the life of a geek, I suppose.

But misery loves company, and I’m fairly confident that there are plenty of other science fiction lovers out there, even if they don’t want to admit that they’re part of our exclusive fraternity of freaks. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy (although really, shouldn’t he be the one apologizing to us for all he’s done?), you might be a sci-fi geek if…you own not one but two V miniseries on DVD, or if you understood a single word coming out of the mouth of the old computer-program dude (the Architect, if you want to get technical — and if you want to get technical then you truly are a geek) at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. Here are some other signs that you’re a science fiction nerd, and remember, resistance is futile.

— You’re undoubtedly a Dorkus Maximus if you have ever substituted terms like ”frak” (Battlestar Galactica) and ”frell” (Farscape) for actual down-to-earth curse words. Your intergalactic potty mouth should be immediately rinsed out with soap, or at the very least rinsed out with something manly like…I don’t know. What do manly people drink, Jack Daniel’s?

— While we’re discussing beverages, if you have ever put food coloring into your drinks to make them look like the funky space cocktails served at Quark’s bar, then you are most definitely drunk on dorkiness. Actually, come to think of it, if you even know what the hell Quark’s bar is, you qualify.

— If you have ever at any point in your life donned Spock ears, proceed immediately to the end of this column. No further testing is required.

— Do you enjoy mercilessly mocking Jar Jar Binks, yet sometimes catch yourself humming the melody from the Ewoks’ celebratory jingle, ”Yub Yub”? It may be time to take a long, hard look in the mirror…after you remove your oversize Wicket W. Warrick costume, that is.

— Speaking of which, if you have ever carried on a conversation that contained the phrase ”midi-chlorians,” then the Force (of geekdom) is strong with you, my friend.

— I pray for your soul if you have found yourself in the awkward position of mounting a defense for The Arrival (featuring a goatee-rocking Charlie Sheen) with an argument that goes something along the lines of ”Seriously, it’s not that bad. See, the global-warming thing is not our fault after all. It’s the aliens, man! The aliens!” (Not that I ever did that or anything.)

— Enjoy penning fan fiction? Go take a seat next to the Vulcan-ear posse.

— Are you able to decipher each of the following acronyms: TNG, HRG, ESB, BSG, TARDIS, and — this one’s a toughie — CSM? Congrats, you’re one of us.

They say there is strength in numbers, but I’m guessing most of us are not the pumping-iron types. Nonetheless, the next time you are mocked for knowing the difference between ”warp drive” and ”hyperdrive,” rest assured you have a fellow nerdling willing to get your back. (P.S. Hyperdrive is cooler.)


I’m a cat guy. Always have been. But there are two dogs in Malaysia that have caught my attention. Their names are Lucky and Flo. Lucky and Flo have a unique ability: They are able to sniff out counterfeit DVDs. Piracy is rampant in Malaysia, and Lucky and Flo are the only dogs in the world that have been trained to detect a chemical used in making discs, and as a result, they have uncovered over a million pirated DVDs and CDs worth nearly $3.5 million in raids. They have been so successful that pirates over there have actually placed bounties on the dogs’ heads! First off, I’m sure there is some sort of movie starring Tom Hanks or Jim Belushi to be made out of this. But more importantly, I’m interested in taking Lucky and Flo’s skills one step further. Sniffing out DVDs is pretty impressive, but what if we could train them to sniff out crappy movies from the good ones? How many times have you looked at a disc and wondered, Should I bother? With Lucky and Flo around, the guesswork is gone! No more wasted hours sitting through lame Ben Affleck flicks. (Good Will Hunting — worth it. Daredevil — not.) No more hours sitting through the entire Steven Seagal catalog trying to find the one in which he ”takes out the posse.” (Marked for Death, incidentally.) So here’s to Lucky and Flo, and the possibility of the best bad-movie filter ever created.


This week: The Worst Songs to Listen to While Getting It On

1. ”Mr. Roboto” by Styx
The only thing robots put me in the mood for is break dancing. Plus, who wants a ménage à trois with Kilroy?

2. ”I Drink Alone” by George Thorogood
Nothing spells romance more than an ode to solitary boozing in which the main object of affection is Jim Beam.

3. Anything by ”Weird Al” Yankovic
Go ahead, you try being intimate to the sweet sounds of ”My Bologna.” There’s nothing funny about that.

4. ”I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
Good song, but you know in the heat of passion you’re gonna think about that dude’s wacky hairstyle. Too distracting.

5. ”Ninja Rap” by Vanilla Ice
It’s Vanilla Ice rapping about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Is any further explanation really necessary?


You Glutton readers are a loyal lot. You not only indulged last week’s ramblings on American Idol, you actually chimed in with your own thoughts, as well as feedback on my Top Five Sopranos Characters and yet more thoughts on James Spader. (Can we ever have enough?) On to the mailbag!

You would think Sanjaya would do the right thing and forget his lyrics so he would be voted off Idol! He’s making a mockery of the show and letting talented people be voted off before him. Doesn’t he realize he would get ”BETTER publicity” by doing the right thing? How can he look at himself in the mirror every morning and respect that image staring back? I do give huge amounts of credit for every one of the other contestants on the show and the ones voted off. You are ALL handling this situation as professionals, the shame of all this is…NOT one of you is safe, talented people have been voted off already (Sabrina, Gina, Stephanie). Maybe the way of voting is the answer: Can it be changed somehow so real talent stays on the show and people like Sanjaya get voted off immediately (no talent)? Thank you for letting me vent!!! —Sandi Lisa

Wow, Sandi, we are on separate sides of the aisle on this one, my friend. I am loving the whole Sanjaya brouhaha. Maybe that’s because I can’t get all in a tizzy about the voting on a televised pop music competition. Think about it: Does it really even matter who wins? Clay Aiken has outsold Ruben Studdard, early exit victim Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, and it is Chris Daughtry, not Taylor Hicks, who is currently burning up the charts. So taking home the actual title of American Idol is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. What I want is a show that is both unpredictable and a little bit bonkers. That’s Sanjaya. Admit it, when the show begins each week, he’s the one you’re most curious about: What is he gonna wear? What will his hair be doing? How badly will he butcher the song? To me, that’s exciting television.

I believe that the judging for American Idol should be left up to the panel of 3 judges until they get down to the last 4 singers. This way they would have eliminated the pohawk kid because he surely does not have the talent as most of the other contestants. As it has been said many times before, ”This is about singing, not anything else.” After the final 4 contestants are left, then the public would be left with the most talented. That is the way it should be. —Paul Francis Trudell

Part of what makes Idol such a huge hit is the fact that people can vote, that people do have contestants they become invested in. And when great singers do get ousted early, it only adds more buzz to the proceedings. When you take the power out of the people’s hands, you run the risk of all the decisions becoming either more predictable, or even more arbitrary. (Like Project Runway, in which actual talent is secondary to who makes better TV. Don’t believe me? Read the disclaimer at the end of the show’s credits.) Either way, viewers would care less.

I’m a little surprised that Paulie didn’t make the cut of top 5 Sopranistas. Christopher’s best episodes revolve around the bungling relationship between these two characters. And AJ’s such a popular character that his development was the subject of a PopWatch posting. PopWatch may not be the indicator of something being hot or not, but on the other hand, there’s not been a posting for Richie Aprile before, now has there? —Enrique Fernandez Roberts

I hear ya on Paulie, but AJ? AJ?!? Don’t get me wrong, I think the character was pretty interesting when he was a underperforming and overweight kid, but were you ever like, ”Man, you know what that episode was missing — more AJ”? No way he makes that list.

Any word as to when Rescue Me is coming back? I love that show and haven’t heard anything at all so far. Help!!! I need my Leary fix! —Paula Satin-Shein

You’re in luck, Paula. Rescue Me will be back on the air in the middle of June. I worried about the show after its dreary and depressing second season, but thought it got back to the perfect balance of humor and heavy stuff last summer in season 3. They also got away somewhat from having the last three minutes of every episode be a music video. (There are other, more creative ways to show emotion than with a sappy song and pensive, slow-motion glances in the distance.) I’m totally looking forward to another summer in the firehouse.

Dalton (and don’t even try to deny it, when Road House came out and Swayze rocked your name all over the South like a big dog, you KNOW you were full-on stoked), I gotta say that I am responding to your response to a response, and yes, I think the universe just collapsed on its ownself. Here’s the deal: Jack’s Back is a perfectly serviceable B-movie and a pretty entertaining flick for what it is. What I’m saying, I guess, is that it totally has the right to exist. I personally think that the reveal of Spader being a twin is a GREAT twist and done perfectly — not so much if you don’t go in cold and you already know he’s playing twins, which I did not. Thus, it was well done. And yes, I just realized that I have name-checked not one, but two Rowdy (and we both wish we had THAT name, am I right?) Herrington flicks in one post, and defended each of them as being quality entertainment. Good God. I think I need to go lie down now. —AJ Muller

First things first: Swayze has been swiping my hype for years now. Dude needs to step off! As for Jack’s Back, I’m not gonna hate anyone defending my man Spader. I don’t know if the words great and perfectly really belong in a description of that film, but I’ll let it slide. Yes, I too agree the movie has a reason to exist, as do both Jean-Claude Van Damme films in which the Muscles From Brussels plays twin brothers. Hey, I know! What if Spader and Swayze played brothers? Now that would be legit!

Are you a certified sci-fi geek? Have another unsexy song that has no place in the bedroom? And where do you stand on Sanjayagate? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to theglutton@ew.com, or simply fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!