Daedalus Howell

Blue Snaggletooth Lives: I’ve seen the action figure, and He is Us

Officially, he doesn’t exist. He has no past, no story—he’d be prime black-ops material if he wasn’t part of the most visible cultural phenomena of the past two centuries. And, then again, he isn’t really visible at all. They say he’s a mistake. Who Is Blue Snaggletooth? Ever see Star Wars? Yeah, well, he’s not in it. But he’s of it. He’s an action figure—a totem, an idol, a symbol—without a referent. In the world of Star Wars, let alone the world at large, there was never meant to be Blue Snaggletooth. He isn’t in the movie, he’s not “canon” and he was pulled from the market as soon as the mistake of his existence was realized. He does not belong. One of his problems is that he’s just not cool. I mean not in the way that Boba Fett, say, has always been cool. Fett can credibly affect the s...

Gift from the Heavens: Chabot Space & Science Center reminds there are more stars than the one on your tree

Given all that’s happened in 2020, the notion of an asteroid smashing earth to smithereens is inevitable—and it is—except not any time soon, assures astronomer Ben Burress of Chabot Space & Science Center. This is a relief, particularly since there’s a smorgasbord of sights to see in the season’s night skies that likewise won’t destroy civilization (well, any more than it already has been). Moreover, turning one’s eyes toward the heavens is inherently centering—not in a geocentric sort of way (sorry, Ptolemy)—but in a manner that is both humbling and literally puts things in perspective. Burress puts it best when reflecting on his relationship with the Oakland-based Chabot, which he began visiting as a kid in the ’60s. The space and science center hooked him on astronomy, which eventua...