Jun 24, 2020

To Boldly Go... Star Trek Enterprise Review

I was raised on Star Trek and watched most of the 80's Star Trek movies as a kid with my family in the theaters.    I watched the original series but it was a little too dated for me as a kid.   I was all over The Next Generation but Deep Space Nine and Voyager are kind of a teen-age blur.   When they rebooted the movies recently I was excited again.  New Kirk, new Spock!  Let's go!  Now it's Quarantimes and CBS All Access had a free month deal.  I have publicly expressed my disdain for every damn channel having exclusive streaming platforms in the past.  I mean like, I pay for TV already, now CBS want's to be fucking Netflix?  So now that I've accepted my fate as a hypocrite,  I could finally watch Discovery and Picard.  It's been a couple months and the free trial has ended so I guess I have CBS All Access now.    I was boycotting Discovery on principal but it's a pandemic and who's got time to bitch.  Bring me the streaming content!   I'm even paying for AppleTV now like a fucking dick head.   I already  binged Picard.  Loved it!   I just finished both seasons of Discovery.  Loved it!   Then I was looking through the shows and found a Star Trek series I never gave much thought to when it was originally on.   Star Trek Enterprise.  I fully thought this came out in like 2009 or 10.  When it started I kept thinking that it looked like a 90's TV show. And then the theme song played.   So painful.  Why are they using late 90's power ballad music for a Star Trek show?  And the collage of American flight historical images blending into bad CGI of modern space flight was so folksy and Live Laugh Love I wanted to puke in chalk paint.  WTF is going on?  Watch at your own risk... 

Then I looked it up and the internet says this came out in 2001.   Woah.  I had no idea it was that old.  Kinda explains a lot but nothing can explain why a Star Trek series is bucking the tradition of a timeless orchestral theme.   At least the dumb Firefly theme song fits the cheesy folksy "Western in space" vibe they were going for.  This is Star Trek dammit!  Despite the 90's production and horrible intro, I pressed on.  I'm 7 episodes in and I'll say its tickling that Star Trek nerve but I have some issues.

First of all, not that they could know this in 2001 but... it takes place in 2156 or something. If they knew the backwards ass shit happening in 2020 they might rethink  the rate of our scientific progress.  I really doubt that in 100 years things will be that advanced.  But if what Chief Engineer, Charles "Trip" Tucker III says about humans overcoming hunger and war, then maybe there's hope.  Here's to hoping. 

In the second or third episode there's this dumb sub plot about a slug that the translator of the ship (not a biologist by the way)  took as a specimen from some new-to-them planet they visited.  It's all lethargic and they don't know how to treat it. The doctor keeps suggesting to feed it to his bat.  I thought this was a science vessel?   Anyway at the end of the episode they find another random planet that has the same atmosphere as the slug planet and set it free with happy ending music.  "there ya go little sluggo, you'll love it here"  But these "scientists" at no point considered the fact that  they just introduced an invasive species on a random planet they spent zero minutes studying beyond whether the atmosphere was compatible with the slug.  Now you have this one slug with no way to reproduce.  And if it was some asexual being that doesn't need a mate then, you're looking at a slug invasion in a world where it has no natural predator.  Or it does have a predator and it just gets wiped out right away.  Maybe I'm overthinking this but it just seemed really reckless, hasty and not very scientific. 

Doctor, translator, captain, engineer (which seems to mean, works on the engine) security, Vulcan science officer, navigator. 

Speaking of not scientific, hasty and reckless. Early into the series you learn that the captain has a pet dog with him. A fucking dog. On a star ship meant to "visit strange new worlds and seek out new life" they let you bring fucking dogs?  A dog that one can only presume based on the fact that the only scenes you see him in he is locked in the captains tiny private quarters.   Where does he pee? Does he go for walks? Is there a  doggy day care on the Enterprise? 

"there ya go boy, go piss on plants and shit
we've never seen or studied before".
A few episodes later they find a planet that, on paper seems exactly like Earth only there's no intelligent life.   So they get in the shuttle craft and zip down there to study the flora and fauna.  You know, scientifically.   So what's the first thing that pops out of the shuttle when they land?   His fucking dog!!!    So the one time you see the dog outside of the Captain's room is on a foreign planet they've never been to before.    Maaan who's fucking writing this show?

Maybe it was the intent of the show all along being that it's early on in Earth's warp capable era but it's annoying how dumb the Earthlings are portrayed.  Another thing that is bugging me is that it seems like when they say Earth in this show it actually means America because as far as I can tell there are no foreigners on the ship except for the Vulcan Science Officer and the Doctor who's a Denobulan.  Everyone else seems very American. Even the original series had a more diverse crew even by Earth standards. 

Come for the Sci-Fi, stay for the Vulcan tittays.

Despite this shit I'm gonna keep watching.  It's still Star Trek after all.  I'm surprised that I still haven't seen a "live long and prosper" hand gesture yet.  On the last episode I watched  I finally got a Vulcan neck pinch.  There's still three more seasons.  I'm hoping it gets better.  I doubt they'll change the theme song tho.   Woof, it's bad.  


UPDATE: I just read this again after discussing the show recently and it's more forgiving than I remember.  I watched more of it and it got worse and I quit because it got so bad.  I've been told that it gets better in the later seasons but I couldn't make it passed season 1.  That theme song might be the main culprit.  It's like one step forward with a good episode then 2 steps back because you have to hear it again before the next episode.  Discovery season 3 has got to be one of my all time favorite collections of Star Trek ever.  

Jun 22, 2020

The L in BLM

Marvia Gray, 68 yrs old, and son Derek. 
I just read a story
about a black man who bought a 65” TV at Sam’s Club, that didn’t fit in his car so they agreed to hold it there so he could come back with a bigger car to get it later.  I’ve worked at a hardware store for years and I know this happens ALL THE TIME with large items.   It’s not uncommon to put things aside for someone to come back later.    When he came back and an employee who wasn’t privy to the situation saw him in the parking lot with the TV and for some reason reported it and a cop who must have just been there already.  The cop followed him to the car and accused him as well despite being told that he had bought it.  The man went home with the TV but he and his mother felt like they should just return it and get their money back to avoid any more harassment.   When they came back to the store, despite other employees recognizing him, and telling the officer, and the other employee that he in fact did purchase it, the cop still persisted and called for back up.   As one would, the man got offended and argued his case.  Things get out of hand and became physical.  The man’s mother even tried to plead his case for him but was also physically assaulted by the now 3 other cops that showed up. Both sustained injuries and humiliation in front of a busy store full of people.  All for a guy who was trying to load a TV he had purchased.  No matter how well-off and law abiding and upstanding citizenly you are, if you're black, there's always that chance some asshole will think you're doing something illegal and a cop ready to back them up.  This shit doesn't happen to well-off law abiding white people.

In a cellphone video you can hear a bystander say something like  “just stay down, do what they say” 

This is always a reaction to cases like this.  People will chime in with stuff like  "just do what the cops say and you wont be hurt (or shot, or killed)" . The problem with that is most of the time when your skin isn't white; while no matter how completely innocent you are or how easily proven or obvious your innocence is doing what they say can have a less than desirable outcome.  You're doing the right thing and DON'T give into your natural urges to resist someone accusing you and trying to restrain you physically for something you didn't do, you'll get arrested anyway.  But you're thinking maybe it's just some handcuffs and humiliation, maybe a trip to the station where they ask you your side of the story and they apologize and let you go.  But that's not what happens.  Despite the cops knowing they're  wrong, they'll tell you just do what they say and everything will be fine.  So you do.  And a drive to the station turns into a night in jail.  You done everything right, you're innocent and you know they know it, but you can't afford bail and end up waiting days, weeks, months, possibly years for your case to be heard in court.  All while the DA, judge sometimes even your own lawyer tries to convince you to just take a plea deal saying you did it so you can reduce your sentence. You persist and finally 5 years later after being an exemplary inmate staying out of trouble while living with actual convicted criminals the Judge sees your file and says "yea, they have no case, you're free to go" Oh and by the way that cop that falsely accused  you and beat you up has been promoted twice and despite being wrong and fucking your life over, get ZERO discipline for it.   But, you're free to go.  Try not to commit suicide like many do after shit like this happens to them.  This shit happens.  It's real.  It's documented.  It happens a lot actually. 

I'm not saying black people should resist arrest, but I understand why someone who knows the cards are stacked against them would.  It's not handcuffs they're resisting, it's a system of unjust racist policy that's sewn into the fabric of this dumb-ass country. The game is rigged. That's what Black Lives Matter means.  Black lives matter doesn't just mean "cops stop shooting black people"  It means stop looking twice when a black person walks in a room. It means don't call the cops because black people are having a bbq.  It means not passing over a resume because someone's name 'sounds black'.    It's every black person's whole  life, from birth, being tagged as less-than by a society that for the most part doesn't even know they benefit from generations of this kind of discrimination. There's no way as a white guy who's done nothing to earn it, but has benefited from it that I'll actually ever know how it feels to be black. That's why we all need to acknowledge that this discrimination exists even if you don't see it. Even if you're not racist, and your town's not racist, and you do work in your community to help people of color, you've got to understand why the L in BLM is more that just a person's name on a protest sign. When you finally get it, then you can make other’s understand and so on, and so on.   When we all do, one day in the future all lives can actually matter equally. 

Sorry, shit got all serious.  Serious times call for serious Noggins.

Jun 12, 2020

History Repeating (Mrs. America review)

Meg had the news on last night and Trump was bumming me out. As he usually does.  They said that Trump gassing innocent peaceful protesters so he could do a photo op at a church was "last week" ….  last week?  Jesus so much shit has been happening on a daily basis I feel like that was a month ago. 

So we put on Hulu.. We finished the last few episodes of the show Mrs. America and now I feel exactly the same way again. Just with disco playing in the background. Holy shit it's all right there man.  In the wake of Nixon getting very publicly busted and despite a huge swath of morons still supporting him there was an impressive progressive movement in the 70's, Carter put solar panels on the White House, then it was completely crushed by a bitter and frightened conservative party that used the fringe religious right to get more support and let it backfire into the Reagan shit show of the 80's.  Just like now none of those fucks care about values or religion.  The almighty dollar is their god. Then we had brief reprieve in the "gay 90's" then literally all the same white men from the Reagan years prop up another puppet conservative to push their agenda.   A little break with Obama. Which REALLY pissed off the racists ... cue "hey racists, you really have no reason to support me, and I'm such a narcissist that being racist would require me to think about someone other than myself, but hey what if I said something like "mexicans are rapists" on TV sound good? Oh hey also religious conservatives, I’m a lying adulterer rapist living a life of sin forever but hey what if I said “I will overturn Roe v Wade” into  microphone?  Oh hey old school fiscal conservatives, I’ve never run a successful business but I am friends with all the rich people who you wish you could be… so??   Yea? cool make me president?   That’s all it takes for a bunch of shallow assholes to vote for someone so completely opposite of their beliefs  and wrong for the country. 

This is a big part of how we got where we are now. Fuck, watch that show. I was too young to know what was going on, and since it was wasn’t taught in my history class... hell it was barely even history at that point... I really didn’t know how similar it was and frankly surprised that more grown people who were around then (Ok Boomer) don't see history repeating and aren’t screaming about it.  For some reason in my ignorance of history I thought this show was going to be about a conservative woman fighting against women’s rights finally see’s why the women’s lib movement was important because she’s constantly getting fucked over by the men around her and the very politicians she’s propping up… but no, this cunt Schlafly despite actually getting fucked over by her male counterparts in politics  because of her vagina remained a die-hard shithead literally until she died in 2016. Her last book that came out the day after she died was “The Conservative Case For Trump”  way to go you piece of shit… At least your dead.