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Kirk phones home

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Voicemail: the final frontier

Despite being both a dreadful actor and a lousy singer, William Shatner has been able to sustain a long and award-winning career in the performing arts. On the surface, this phenomenon seems puzzling, even terrifying; perhaps somewhere lies a canceled check made out to Shatner and with a signature reading "T. Devil." But the reality is actually quite simple: by embracing his utter mediocrity --- basically by being in on the joke --- the 75-year-old Shatner continues to keep himself in our collective campy consciousness. His next project? Your answering machine!

Visit the website of the William Shatner DVD Club (don't ask me --- I can't even think about all the pies this guy's probably got his hands in) at www.shatnerdvdclub.com, and you'll spy a link for a contest in which the victor wins an outgoing message recorded by Captain Kirk himself, "the most famous voice in sci-fi." (Up yours, Rod Serling!) Naturally, there is a laundry list of rules, including a stipulation that he can make changes to your desired message if he finds the content in any way questionable (hint: avoid any cracks about that horrid rug). And if for some reason Shatner has a mouthful of scenery and is unable to record your message, you'll get $1,000 to help ease your crushing disappointment.

Oh, you're not a Star Trek fan? That's OK. Even those who enjoy Boston Legal, fondly remember TJ Hooker, or have been itching to stick it to Leonard Nimoy should remember that you only have until July 31 at midnight to enter the contest. It's open to all residents of the United States, or as The Simpsons once brilliantly put it, us "Shatner-stealing Mexicotouchers."

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