Showing 1 - 10 of 10 posts found matching keyword: star trek
Monday 4 October 2021
Wednesday 6 February 2019
Believe it or not, I listened to the State of the Union speech live last night. Listened. Didn't watch. The difference is amazing.
Listening to him speak, I can understand how a significant portion of the country could believe the current White House occupant as he counted down the many, many ways that he, personally, all by himself, has made America the single greatest country in world history, a greatness that is as strong as he is yet fragile enough that it is in imminent danger of being destroyed by busloads of Mexicans. He genuinely sounded like he believed most of what he said, so why shouldn't we?
Answer: We shouldn't because most of it was made up lies. But if all you ever listened to was him or his echo chamber, you wouldn't know that.
Which reminds me of the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren," in which the starship Enterprise is being held hostage by an alien dictator who promises to make Dr. McCoy's dreams come true if he's willing to betray his crewmates. The dictator talks a good game, and McCoy is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good until Captain Kirk points out that the dictator is a vain lying liar. McCoy's mistake was in taking the dictator's own word for how awesome he was and what great plans he had for everyone, if only they could keep the rabble out.
We could all stand to pay a little more attention to Captain Kirk.
Sunday 2 December 2018
Christmas is over. I have already bought myself the only present I needed.
Yes, this is a functioning bluetooth-enabled speakerphone.
And no, you'll never talk to me over a normal phone again.
Friday 25 January 2013
I hate Diane Sawyer. She's smug and condescending as she delivers the bullet points that ABC News thinks will scare you the most.
Last night, she told me to be afraid of North Korea, rumored to be on the verge of testing another nuclear weapon delivery vehicle. Diane, I stopped worrying about the possibility of global thermonuclear war when Ronald Reagan's policies won the Cold War in 1989.
She followed her first scare with the news that dangerously cold temperatures were, like Sherman, marching south to the sea. Last week, the flu was the unstoppable killer, this week it's frostbite. I don't know about most people, Diane, but I can't worry about more than 1 impending environmental threat at a time, so just tell me if I should buy a flu shot or a blanket. I can't afford both.
Desperate, she sounded the alarm that there is a national shortage of chicken wings available for Super Bowl snacking this year. Diane, I may have been the only one, but I was paying attention last summer when you told me that a killer drought in America's Breadbasket was resulting in record low corn production and we should all expect to starve in coming months. Now you want me to worry about whether Pizza Hut® Wing Streets can stay in business?
I thought that Diane had thrown her worst at me and began to relax. Sensing my weakness, she pounced. In her most chipper voice, she delivered the "good" news: "It was announced today that the creator of Lost, J.J. Abrams, will direct the next Star Wars movie."
In case you didn't know, J.J. Abrams also is in charge of the Star Trek films that have reinvented a classic, beloved, thoughtful science-fiction franchise as a drunken action orgy fit for the idiocracy of the 21st century. I dislike J.J. Abrams more than I hate Diane Sawyer, and that's saying something.
Congratulations, Diane! You win this round.
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Friday 5 November 2010
According to an article at dailymail.co.uk, the online portal for London's Daily Mail newspaper, Haynes will be releasing a guide for the U.S.S. Enterprise. My Haynes mechanical manual failed miserably in helping me with the relatively simple wiring for the dashboard and brake lights a few years back (before it was "accidentally" caught in a week's worth of downpours as the Jeep sat open-topped at the mechanics). I advise that Scotty tread carefully around the warp core with Haynes manual in hand: poorly written instructions are far more dangerous than any Klingon.
Tuesday 31 March 2009
A follow-up to my last post:
In my last entry, I referenced vulcans. I've wondered since if the word should have been capitalized.
Mr. Spock, the logical first-officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise and inspiration for my comment, is the result of a mating between a humanoid of the planet Earth and a humanoid of the planet Vulcan. Mr. Spock is frequently referred to as a capital-"V" Vulcan by his colleagues. And here is where I made my erroneous assumption: the English name of his actual race is never clearly established.
Calling Mr. Spock a Vulcan is the same as calling Captain Kirk an Earthling, i.e. a resident of the planet Earth. As residents of a particular planet, Vulcans and Earthlings deserve their capitalization. However, Captain Kirk is as much an Earthling as a kangaroo rat, fruit bat, or camel spider. (Note the lack of capitalization of the common names of those species.) Captain Kirk, more specifically, would be described as a human. Based on the context of dialogue overheard exchanged between Mr. Spock and his ship's doctor, one Leonard "Bones" McKoy, I assumed that Mr. Spock must represent a race commonly called vulcan, hence my lack of capitalization. But this now appears to have been a mistake. Damn it, Bones, you're a doctor, not a linguist!
A little research reveals that Vulcans call themselves V'tosh or whl'q'n in their native tongue. Clearly, words that hard to pronounce would be bastardized or ignored by English speakers. In fact, the language, like the people, the planet, and practically everything else associated with them (including nerve pinches!), is simply called Vulcan by almost everyone the crew of the Enterprise ever encounters. Were I an apologist, I'd blame these quirks of language on the weak programming of the Universal Translator. (Clearly vocal recognition software is as crappy in the 24th Century as it is today. But any computer is only as good as it's programmer, right, Dr. Daystrom? [See Star Trek episode 53, "The Ulitmate Computer" for details.])
So, in hindsight, I should have capitalized the word Vulcan. On the up-side, I don't have to apologize to anyone, as being a logic-driven Vulcan means never having to say "I'm sorry."
Sunday 27 April 2008
Supervillain henchmen are status symbols like trophy wives or pocketbook chihuahuas. Anonymous behind their theme masks, colorful matching costumes, and ridiculous pun-inspired monikers, henchmen stand around reinforcing their egomaniacal bosses' deranged leitmotifs for any uninitiated observers. ("Who's that?" "I don't know, but since he's surrounded by 3 guys wearing matching lederhosen, he must mean business!") All for the thrill of being involved in something bigger than themselves. In that way, they're not too far removed from subscribers to People magazine.
What does it take to make someone think that robbing a bank while dressed as a pumpkin-headed scarecrow or Grecian god alongside several other like-minded individuals is a good idea? It can't be the pay. (Crime doesn't pay, as comics always remind us.) It can't be the shortened life expectancy. (Has the Joker ever even had a henchman he didn't kill for kicks?) It must be the thrill of appearing in public in a garish costume. Just ask your average Star Trek convention attendee. (Yes, I have a Trek shirt hanging in my closet, but you don't see me wearing it out in public, do you? It might get dirty.)
Wednesday 21 November 2007
In the Star Trek episode "Operation: Annihilate!", Mr. Spock is infected with a mind-controlling parasite. As an experiment to remove the parasite, Spock is exposed to the full spectrum of light at high intensity. However, when Spock is blinded by the experiment and lab reports show that the parasite is vulnerable to spectra of light invisible to humans, Kirk blames McCoy for blinding Spock. Note the following:
- Captain Kirk rejects the "logical" proposal by Mr. Spock that the infected inhabitants of Denev be destroyed to prevent the spread of the parasite. Apparently concerned about his legacy, Captain Kirk refuses to be the man who killed a million people to save a billion.
- The "expose the space aliens to light" plan was based on Captain Kirk's own suggestion that the parasite may be vulnerable to light. None of the science or medical officers on board the Enterprise's "best in the galaxy" labs have come up with or endorsed this apparently desperate plan of action.
- The experiment was rushed on the orders of an emotional Captain Kirk so that he may save his nephew, who has also been infected. Kirk's earlier plan of interrogating his sister-in-law for information about the parasite and its weaknesses resulted in her death.
- Captain Kirk orders Mr. Spock to participate despite Dr. McCoy's objections. Though Spock is willing to participate (as the logical participant), McCoy is concerned that Spock should have eye protection, a concern that Kirk immediately and unreasonably overrides.
The moral to this story: If you're going to be a dick, be a Captain.
On a side note, immediately after ridding the planet Denev of the parasitic invaders, Captain Kirk orders the Enterprise out of orbit. This is despite the fact that he has just left his only nephew, Peter, an orphan on the planet's surface. Nice show of compassion, Captain Dick.
Monday 19 February 2007
After completely schooling me at NCAA Football 2006 on the PS2, my brother made the horrible mistake of trying to teach me to play his favorite card game, Cribbage. (Note, please, that my brother was playing the mighty Georgia Bulldogs, a team boasting two recent Heisman Trophy candidates and a National Championship, and he had given me the lowly Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a team that couldn't find its ass with three hands and a sliderule. In the first quarter, I tried 4 passes: 3 went to receivers that I DID NOT throw to -- seriously, pressing triangle and watching the ball sail to the R1 or circle receiver gets really, really old very, very fast. Apparently the computer decided that my pressing the triangle button only constituted a suggestion -- and were not caught. The 4th pass was intercepted. I did not attempt another pass until the 4th quarter, when I went an entire drive calling ONLY Hail Marys, 4 of 5 of which were completed, resulting in my only touchdown of the game. In a fit of pique, I ran my linebacker into the offensive line before every future attempted play, preventing my brother from ever running a play again because the game was not programmed to prevent me from repeating the gambit as a real referee would do by ejecting players or ultimately declaring my team forfeit. So, to summarize, NCAA Football 2006, like all the Madden games on which its physics and rules are based, sucks balls.)
Now where was I? Oh, yes. The so-called "game" of Cribbage.
Cribbage, it should be noted, was apparently the invention of a seventeenth century poet named Sir John Suckling. After making up a shitload of completely inane and nonsensical rules, he reportedly passed marked decks out to the English nobility and traveled the country ripping them off for a small fortune. Though at first hearing, that anecdote may seem ridiculously implausible, once you realize that only a truly foolish individual would appreciate a completely random game such as Cribbage, you will recognize the likelihood of such a misadventure.
In case you can't tell, I think Cribbage sucks. But what else should I expect as the offspring of a poet named Suckling?
If you've never played Cribbage, I can sum it up thusly:
- The Deal: The dealer deals everyone 6 cards and then everyone throws 2 of those 6 away.
- The Play: Take turns turning over the 4 cards that you kept. Every time you turn over a card, yell out a number and then score yourself anywhere between 0 and 12 points.
- The Show: Once you all have turned over all 4 of your cards, reveal how many ways you can combine the cards that you turned over plus the top card revealed from the remaining deck to total 15 points or just create some pattern that you find pleasing to your eye. Then give yourself anywhere between 0 and 29 points.
- The Crib: Now the dealer gets to look at all the cards that were thrown away and repeat step 3.
I'd like to say that there is some sense to the game, but there simply isn't. A player is rewarded for reaching an odd-numbered 15 points or having pairs which can never add to an odd number. Triples are scored as multiple pairs but runs of cards are scored by the number of cards in a run, thereby rewarding a player holding a three-of-a-kind but comparatively punishing a player for having a much rarer Royal Flush. Playing a run is worth more points than having a run in your hand. You get a point for playing a card that prevents other people from playing, unless the added total of the cards played equals 31, in which case you get 2 points instead. Rhyme? Reason? No, not with Cribbage.
When my brother revealed a Jack of Clubs and with a chuckle said, "I get a point because this card is the same suit as the card that is on top of the deck," I was done playing.
There is a Star Trek episode titled "A Piece of the Action" in which Kirk tries to trick aliens who look and act like Al Capone's gang by luring them into a card game called Fizzbin. As one of my favorite episodes, I've seen Fizzbin played many, many times. Since Kirk's rules for Fizzbin change based on times of the day or days of the week, I always chuckled at the gullibility of the gangster trying to learn the game. Now the poor gangster seems that much more the sap to me; Fizzbin probably sounded like a likely game to him because he was probably a Cribbage player.
Friday 30 September 2005
I've been watching a lot of Star Trek, and I've decided 2 things:
1. Leonard Nimoy is spectacular.
We all know him as Mr. Spock, a distinguished role among many on TV and movies. He is also an accomplished director of both media. Even more astonishing, he is a singer with nearly a dozen albums to his credit. ("The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" gets all of the glory, but if you've never heard Nimoy sing "If I Had a Hammer," you haven't lived. It brings me to tears every time I hear it.) And I've just recently discovered that he is a photographer specializing in nude female photographs. Damn, Leonard, do you have to make all of the rest of us look like such spectacularly lazy bastards?
2. Captain Picard is a shitty captain.
Sure, he strikes a distinctive pose, all regal and bald, but he has no idea what his ship or his crew are ever capable of. When confronted with any new situation, he is as confused as an old man presented with a new children's cereal box. Worse still, after he acquires even a little information about his new situation, he jumps to some immediate, outlandish solution that could only possibly be correct on a syndicated science fiction television show. (Better to be lucky than good, eh, Jean-Luc?)
To disguise his foolhardy blustering, many Picard defenders point out that Picard is simply a more calm and rational man than his forebearer (the great and mighty Captain Kirk). This could hardly be further from the truth. To jump to a faulty conclusion at the drop of his last hair is neither rational nor commendable. Picard's outrageous temper tantrums, seen frequently in outbursts against his crew (especially including that impetuous young Ensign Crusher) but rarely discussed, are further evidence of his instability and inability to lead. The fact that the crew follows the old man (who leads from the rear *tsk, tsk, tsk*) demonstrates only that they are just as sick of him and desperate for escape from his tyranny as I am.
At least he's still better than Captain Janeway.