GEEK MADNESS: Jor-El Region, Round 1

Voting is closed for Bombadil Region, Round 1—results are posted on the main Geek Madness page, along with the Do’Urden Region, Round 1 results.

But the action is just heating up in the Battle for Secretary of Geek Affairs, as voting for Round 1 of the Jor-El Region is now open, and will close on Sunday, Jan. 4th at 8 pm EST, at which point the last preliminary round (Lobot Region, Round 1) will begin.

Read about all the matchups and go vote, after the break. Spread the word!

Jor-El Region Round 1
click for larger image


Wil Wheaton Wil Wheaton vs. Bruce Campbell Bruce Campbell

Wil Wheaton: Writer, actor; blogging pioneer; most widely known for roles as Wesley Crusher (Star Trek TNG) and Gordie LaChance in Stand By Me.
Notes: Parlayed his much-maligned portrayal of Wesley Crusher into a multi-platform second career; blog/website is a hub for geek discourse; poker player and fan; has his own tag on

Bruce Campbell: Actor, producer, author, writer and director; best known for role as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy.
Notes: Most geeks would like to be him or be with him; most must settle for playing Left 4 Dead and using Old Spice instead.

[poll id=39]


Wesley Crusher Wesley Crusher vs. Dilton Doiley Dilton Doily

Wesley Crusher: Teenage Star Trek TNG character portrayed by Wil Wheaton.
Notes: Despite being a minor, substantively contributed to mission of the USS Enterprise; smarter than his years would normally indicate; left Enterprise to literally travel to alternate planes of reality; seemingly universally disliked by hardcore Star Trek fanbase.

Dilton Doiley: Brainy character from the Archie comic series.
Notes: Is admired by other characters in the Archie universe despite his obvious nerd/geek tendencies.

[poll id=40]


Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking vs. Cory Doctorow Cory Doctorow

Stephen Hawking: Theoretical physicist and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
Notes: Best-selling book A Brief History of Time brought advanced cosmology and mathematics to the masses. Masses might learn a thing or two if they actually dusted it off and read it.

Cory Doctorow: Blogger, journalist, author and intellectual property agitator. Co-editor of Boing Boing.
His novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was the first to be released under a Creative Commons license. Nomination likely to be challenged by Big Publishing.

[poll id=41]


Merlin Mann Merlin Mann vs. MC Frontalot MC Frontalot

Merlin Mann: Creator of 43folders; podcaster (You Look Nice Today), and proponent of “life hacking” productivity methodologies.
Notes: Mann’s “Inbox Zero” series is an invaluable resource in the battle with email overload; originally a joke, his “Hipster PDA” (3×5 cards, a binder clip and a pen) has gained a strong following of users; “West coast Ira Glass” persona may be somewhat polarizing.

MC Frontalot: Rap artist; originator of term “nerdcore.”
Notes: Rapper laureate for webcomic Penny Arcade, and regular performer at PAX; not the originator of the nerdcore genre, but certainly one of its brightest stars.

[poll id=42]


Steve Wozniak Steve Wozniak vs. Ira Glass Ira Glass

Steve Wozniak: Co-founder of Apple Computer.
Notes: One of the original Geeks Who Made It Big. Engaging personality and contributions to the early development of the personal computer more likely to elicit shouts of “Good on ya!” than sour, jealous comments.

Ira Glass: NPR personality; host of This American Life radio and television show.
Notes: Nearly singlehandedly made public radio “cool” over past 15 years (to the extent that it is); deservedly or not, his picture can be found in dictionary as definition of “hipster.”

[poll id=43]


Hermione Granger Hermione Granger vs. Dr. Carl Sagan Dr. Carl Sagan

Hermione Granger: Bookish young witch from the Harry Potter stories.
Notes: An over-achiever who demonstrates throughout the series how brains are as critical as brawn or bravery; generally acknowledged as the brightest witch of her age; selection would ensure civic involvement of lecherous old men.

Dr. Carl Sagan: Astronomer, scientist, and author widely known from PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, novel Contact and other works.
Notes: Brought traditionally nerdy interests to billions and billions (well…certainly millions). Champion of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Involved with the U.S. space program since its inception. Hard core.

[poll id=44]


Penn & Teller Penn & Teller vs. Jamie & Adam Mythbusters

Penn & Teller: Pair of magicians whose act appears throughout American popular culture, and on their show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on Showtime.
Notes: In their act, duo employs humor as they conduct tricks that typically break the conventions of their trade; application of critical thinking to disprove popular misconceptions is just the sort of behavior that gets many geeks in trouble.

Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage: Techno-savvy special effects gurus and hosts of “Mythbusters” on the Discovery Channel.
Notes: Scientific approach to proving/debunking urban and pop culture myths is unabashedly geeky; represent the traditional duality within all geeks of methodical study and over-excitement at blowing shit up.

[poll id=45]


Veronica Belmont Veronica Belmont vs. Professor Frink Professor Frink

Veronica Belmont: Internet personality; co-host of Tekzilla podcast and Qore (Playstation3).
Notes: Strong credentials with stints at CNET and former host of Mahalo Daily; 40,000+ Twitter followers can’t be wrong; “hot chick” factor cannot be discounted, may help get agenda passed by old-boy network in Congress.

Professor Frink: “Nutty Professor”-style scientist/inventor character on “The Simpsons“.
Notes: Although well-versed in matters scientific, frequent utterances such as “Glaven!” and “VR-VR-WheYVY!” could be misinterpreted, cause international crisis.

[poll id=46]


  1. John F
    Posted December 28, 2008 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Damn, a lot of tough ones in this round.

  2. Posted December 28, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I think that when Wil Wheaton faces Wesley Crusher there’s gonna be a throwdown

  3. Posted December 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    1) Will Weaton. I never saw Star Trek, but it’s ftw.

    2) Wesley Crusher. This is where I ran into an interesting situation in the brackets as I originally printed them. See, Crusher and Weaton are the same person. This would mean if they both won the opponent in theory would get a bye.

    3) Hawking, ftw. Not the first time I’ve said that. I’ve definitely quoted him several times over the past year.

    4) Mann. I’m not to familiar with either, so I asked my friend who has. Asking about MC Frontalot I got a “meh”. That settled it.

    5) Ira. Though Woz isn’t as bad a Jobs, the fact that he for some reason likes Jobs baffles me to no end. He was more of the techie guy, and never really the business savy type. If he were running Apple maybe I’d have voted differently, but alas. Sorry Woz. Also he dated Kathy Griffin. Kathy Griffin?! Really Woz? Fail.

    6) Sagan. I mean just read his description – that guy is such a 1337 haxxor.

    7) Mythbusters. They make things go susplode. Also I don’t really like Penn and Teller. On the other hand, I learned about the Mythbusters show in a high school physics type of class. It’s science. It’s math. It’s AWESOME.

    8) <– Yay, emoticon in sunglasses. This was a hard one, especially given the fact that I had Fink originally winning his round in my original. I have since flip flopped, when I found out Fink was NOT a member of tribe and also would not be someone I would trust near… well any kind of button that does… anything.

  4. Will
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    1) was hard for me, as both a fan of The Bruce and Wil Wheaton’s later resurgence. I ended up compromising by voting for Bruce Campbell, and then Wesley Crusher, as a way to both have my cake, and then eat it too, at least for this round.

  5. Daniel
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I voted for Ira. Woz is definitely an alpha geek, but this is about who’s qualified to be secretary of geek affairs, not who can build a better floppy disk controller using the least number of chips.

  6. Posted December 29, 2008 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    A lot of difficult ones this time.

    1) I can’t really vote here. I won’t vote for Wil Wheaton for the same reason I didn’t vcte for Kevin Smith… too many people with the same or similar names in the same or similar careers. I get him confused with Joss Whedon and Will Wright, so I’m never quite sure who did what. And why would I vote for Bruce Campbell? He’s just an actor.

    2) I don’t know either character, so again, no vote.

    3) Doing science-fact is better than writing science-fiction. Stephen Hawking wins.

    4) MC Frontalot, because although I think Merlin Mann has a cool name and ought to be an 80s rock star, I’m not familiar with his work. Oh wait… Merlin Mann worked for Omni Group? Damn… I am kind of glad I already voted, because armed with this new knowledge, that would have been a tough decision.

    5) Easily Woz. He’s just such an awesome person. Besides that, I don’t know who Ira Glass is. I know we’re electing US secretary of geek affairs here, but if you want foreigners to vote then you should pick international celebrities.

    6) Can’t vote here either. I don’t know enough about Hermione, and I won’t vote for Butt Hole Astronomer.

    7) Penn & Teller, because I’ve never watched Mythbusters, but I like what I’ve seen of Penn & Teller

    🙂 Frink, because I don’t know much about the other one.

  7. Posted December 29, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    1. Wil, of course. Yes, Bruce may have appeared in a few zombie flicks and has a few goofy cameos, but he… well, actually, those aren’t even that good of reasons in and of themselves. Wil keeps up with the geek world, he contributes to the geek world, and he knows his way around the geek world.

    2. And now here’s Wil’s flipside. Wesley, on the whole, IS geekish enough for this, but in all honesty, I’d have an easier time voting for him if not for the fact that the writing behind the character was, well, weak. But, luckily for him, he’s matched with someone I’ve never heard of, so I can brush that off and vote Wes.

    3. BoingBoing almost DEFINES the concept of “just another blog” to me. As in, the textbook case of what some mass media zombie would point to as an example when spewing the word “blog” over and over again as if it were cool. Now, that’s not Cory’s fault, nor is it really BoingBoing’s fault, but it still DOES leave a distinct taste of “generic” in my mouth. But Hawking? The man is pure brain, and pure win. He’s got sheer intelligence and theoretical design on his side, and he was cool enough to do an interview in which he actually said that the Large Hadron Collider “will not tear apart the time-space continuum”. How many internationally-renowned physicists can you say THAT about?

    4. If you were looking in on Frontalot’s accomplishments at a first glance, you might make the mistake (and be subsequently forgiven for making the mistake) of assuming him to be some degree of nerd poser. I mean, that much fame and that much attention for someone who can do hip hop about nerdy topics, and mostly the popular ones at that? But actually paying attention to him reveals a few curious facts: He’s got the knowledge to back his rhymes, he doesn’t just latch on to whatever’s popular (sure, PAX congoers know he’s down with Penny Arcade, but an Adventurer is he, performing in a tiny club in Phoenix for The Kingdom of Loathing AND knowing the game enough to fit it into his act), and, let’s face it, heavily lyric-based hip-hop like what he does, focusing more on clever wordplay and complex sentence structure than what one of Front’s contemporaries, MC Lars, terms “Crunk Rap”, is insanely geeky. Front FTW. Aaaand it’s kind of a shame I’ve not heard of Merlin Mann. Now I feel bad.

    5. This was a hard one. The Woz is definitely the geek of the Jobs/Woz duo, and, while still eccentric, he’s the GOOD kind of eccentric. But listening to one episode of This American Life quickly reveals why Ira Glass is on this list. It’s probably my rampant NPR fanboyism, but I’d much rather have Ira’s calm, even temper representing geeks before the POTUS.

    6. I’ll admit to not having read the Harry Potter series. But with that out in the open, I have an incredibly hard time picturing Hermione topping Sagan in this matter. And fictional characters need a pretty healthy advantage over real people in my book to take my vote anyway (watch carefully as somebody goes back through the history to note my votes for Gadget the mouse and the cast of Revenge of the Nerds, but I had good reason! Really!).

    7. Penn & Teller’s stage act seems, at first, to just be a stand-up act that happens to include magic tricks and lots of yelling. But, oddly, they’re well-matched with the Mythbusters, as a quick peek under their stand-up veneer reveals that what they do for a living is reveal the tricks behind their (and others’) acts and dispel misinformation and such. Adam and Jamie, though, do it with a far geekier sort of quality. I mean, with them, you get to see how they screw things up from time to time as they work towards an answer, and that just makes things more “real” to me. Who are the Mythbusters? They’re the ones who just got my vote.

    8. Shame I have to end this week’s voting on a weak note, but I don’t have the slightest clue who Veronica is, not even second- or third-hand, and Frink is really a shallow caricature of the nutty professor archetype. But, since I know his character better and don’t have anything specifically against him, he gets the vote.

  8. DigitalSin
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Belmount FTMFW!

  9. DigitalSin
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Correction! Belmont FTMFW!

  10. Posted December 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    1. Having met both Wil Wheaton and Bruce Campbell, I feel I can safely say that Wil is definitely the geekier of the two.

    2. Had to go with my fandom here. Not a fan of Archie comics.

    3, 4, 5. While Cory Doctorow has possibly one of the coolest, geeky names ever, he strikes me as more of a hipster. As do Merlin Mann and Ira Glass.

    6. Hermione Granger is awesome, and a wonderful role model for geeky girls, but DUDE. Carl Sagan.

    7. I’m loyal to Penn & Teller. Love them and their irreverently skeptical ways.

    8. Professor Fink is kind of a screw-up. Has to be Belmont. And she saved Leo Laporte’s butt playing “Still Alive” in Rock Band at the San Francisco show! 🙂

  11. Ned
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    1) Bruce Campbell – because the Guv’ment needs a good chain-sawing.
    2) Wes – because we all know that neutrinos will save the day somehow.
    3) Hawking – because whilst creativity is very cool, knowing more than pretty much everyone about how stuff works is much, much cooler. Plus he has pretty much kicked ALS in the @$$ by accomplishing more than most of us who don’t have that additional hurdle to get over every day.
    4) MC – I like good, clever rap more than I like good, clever podcasts.
    5) The Woz – because he was on Code Monkeys – sort of.
    6) Sagan – because if we’re scared enough of alien invasion we’ll stop killing each other and all get along. I’ve seen it in many films and TV shows so it must be true.
    7) Mythbusters – because they show me what all the experiments in my head would look like in real life.
    8) Veronica – because I like encouraging the Geek Princess phenomenon.

  12. Marty
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Veronica Should win this region hands down

  13. Posted December 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    So frustrating that you put Hermione up against Sagan. How could I vote for someone fictional over Sagan? He’d be so disappointed in me!

    Other choices were similarly hard.

  14. Jack F
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Toughest category is P&T vs. J&A. I’ve met P&T and love the show BS as well as their books, but they don’t really seem geeky. J&A are about as geeky-cool as it gets. Plus they love to blow things up. That gives them the edge.

  15. Heather
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    This was the first time I actually got to vote on one of these! My sister and I both read the blog and, even though we’re on different computers, if one of us votes, the other only gets to see the results. 🙁

  16. Paul Maki
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Wow, things have really changed since the days of the Wesley_Crusher_DIE_DIE_DIE usenet group, eh?

    Ok, I may have just dated myself…

  17. Julie
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Wil all the way!

  18. Michael Vezie
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    1. Didn’t want to vote for Wheaton twice, so I split my vote. This time I voted for Bruce Campbell

    2. Never heard of Dilton, so gave Wesley the nod.

    3. Went with the other Star Trek alumnus (“Wrong again, Einstein!”). Don’t know anything about Doctorow, only heard his name mentioned on xkcd.

    4. Never heard of either. Mann sounds slightly cooler, so went there.

    5. It’s the Woz! ’nuff said.

    6. Never read (or heard or watched or otherwise experienced) Harry Potter. And Sagan made us look up.

    7. This one was the hardest. I really really like P&T, but I really really really like Mythbusters, so gave the edge there.

    8. And finally, the lady who both told me to vote, and yet kept me from voting yesterday. She’s real, and definitely cuter than Frink (sorry Veronica for the faint praise).

    And yes, Paul, I too (dating myself) remember WCDDD. But things have definitely changed since first season ST-TNG when he kept being annoying saving everyone’s butt.

  19. ErinL
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Tough luck Cory! Maybe if you’d been up against Hermione, but Hawking? No way. Gotta give it to one of the brightest minds, like, ever. Go Stephen!

  20. mtgordon
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    1) Wil. He’s just much more of a nerd.
    2) Wesley. I’m eager to see Wil kick Wesley’s ass in the next round.
    3) Sorry, Cory. As fond as I am of BoingBoing, Stephen Hawking is in a different league altogether.
    4) Merlin Mann. I just have much more exposure to what he’s done.
    5) Sorry, Ira. Again, Woz is just in a different league. I feel bad for voting against two TAL personalities; I gave Sarah Vowell a thumbs down earlier. Really, it’s nothing personal. I *like* TAL!
    6) The fictional character relying on magic comes in second to the real-life scientist. Sagan.
    7) Jamie & Adam. Nothing against Penn & Teller, really, but their methods generally aren’t quite as stereotypically nerdy.
    8) I’ve never told this story before. Back on February 22, when I was waiting in line with Colleenky and some others, I noticed a strikingly attractive woman standing in line. Then, at the end of the show, she got on stage and picked up a guitar controller. Her twitter followers were keeping me from voting yesterday, but I still have to give all my support for geek women. They make the world a better place. Note: unlike Hermione, Veronica isn’t fictional. Really! I saw her with my own eyes!

  21. Posted December 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I can vouch for Woz not being fictional either, saw him with my own eyes, had a pizza with him, played on his Segways (fun fact: you can fit six Segways in a Hummer), went to a concert with him (during which he did nothing but play Tetris, play pranks on people, and do amusing things with the flashing LEDs in his mouth) and let me tell you, he is even more awesome in person. (Well before this happened, he called my on my birthday just because my sister asked him to, and later bought me an iBook just because my sister mentioned my old PowerBook had been stolen, and I needed it for school.) If any of you haven’t voted for the Woz yet, do so now. And read some of the letters and responses on his website… especially the one about the time he was interrogated by the Secret Service.

    Why didn’t I say all that earlier? I might have won him some more votes. Oh well, it looks like he’s winning comfortably anyway.

  22. Posted December 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    jamie and adam totally pwn.

  23. Posted January 1, 2009 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Yeah, my head is about to explode trying to contemplate the Wil vs. Wesley round. I may need to drink heavily.

  24. Colin
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    1 & 2 I cant wait for the wheaton v Crusher throwdown

    3 – Doctorow, this one was close, but being a scientist does not make one a geek, though Hawkings’ appearing in the simpsons and being a total freaking genious/ half robot gave him a bunch of points. Doctorow’s fiction is just over the top geekiness for me, from a story about MMO labor unions to one named “when Sysadmins Ruled the World”.

    4 – Frontalot

    5 – Glass, though this is pretty much because im a TAL fanboy and not based on any particular geek cred

    6 – Sagan, no contest, nobody has done bore to bring geekery to the masses.

    7 – Mythbusters, science + explosions + swords + brining it to the masses = geek++

    8 – Wasn’t too enthusiastic about this pair, but went with Belmont by a quarter length.

  25. Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I’m going to dub this round “round of obvious winners” – not that I voted for the winners each match, but I felt that in every match-up I could predict who’d be winning before seeing the results.

  26. Posted January 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    It was unfair to place Penn and Teller up against the Myth Busters. P&T won, but just barely. Not that it will matter… Wil Wheaton’s gonna kick butt!

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