GOP CONVENTION 2016 Night 3 LIVEBLOG

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This Includes Commercials

 

Pre-game:

 

Wine rack 1 //.  1st airs c 730 pm

VW

Linzess for IBS (extra weird commercial for opiate addicts based on year 1 MTV ads)

Mobile Strike phone game

Leesa mattress (also slightly creepy)

 

Main Event

740 pm

Ugly USA chant dome with great spite

Audi (German)

Aleve patch (pharma based Dr avoidance product)

Progressiver (warren Buffet owned)

23 & Me FDA approved dna scan

CNN self promo

MSC Cruises

Some university

CNN self promo dem conv

 

–rick scott speaks, least popular governor in USA

No mention of his home state. Says yr fired a lot. Lots of sick trump chants. Guiliani 2.0

Sustained hate, fear, isis 3x & counting. Bashes hilarry. More lock her up chants.

 

MB

Alka setlzer

T-mobile

Progressive Flo

Vote4Energy

CNN Promo

Ring Alarm

Rapid advance

 

Ivanka interview

Analysis by panel

 

CNN app commercial

CA Technologies

Koch Enviro friendly commercial

BP (court mandated thru settlement commercial?)

Dollar Shave

Brookdale Old Folks Homes

Rapid Advance

This IS CNN promo

— back to convention

cnn stays analysis w/ wolf and jake

Short Film–History of NASA (which theyve alays voted to defund)  narrated by Reagan voice clone on valium focuses on col aileen collins. Concludes we have fallen behind in space exploration, making us weak.

Collins speaks. Claims we went to the moon in peace??

 

Wolf & Jake again

—–Break—–

Zenni.com glasses

Angies list

Vote 4 energy.com/ energy voters

Ring doorbell

Rapid Advance

CNN promo

__back to convention___

Wolf & Jake

Wolf sets up ted cruz

Sets upcoming 3rd appearance after pence accepts,, sets up Eric Trump to be ‘high point’

Analysis

Speaker State Sen Ralph Alvarado,KY failed doctor, 1st latino elected to KY senate, what a bunch of bigots.seems to try to be saying they arent racists cause they voted for a latino. American Dream speech just like little marco’s. Says all hispanics are republicans and just dont know it. No mention of a wall. Heavy emphasis on ‘legal immigrants’ Hillary hater. Obama hater. Benghazi nut. Very pro trump

A few words in spanish 101

Calls out hillary as hispanic hater.

_Anderson & david axelrod in booth, they note no one will really talk about trump. They agree it’s “Odd”

Speaker Pastor Darrell Scott, Prosperity Minister(?) of Cleveland. Says he talks about discussing military matters with Trump (YIKES!). Didn’t bother to wear a fucking tie. Hates Liberals. Used to do drugs before god grift, now he doesnt want anyone to have fun. Screamed like George C Scott in Patton  or maybe wrestling promoter Jim McMahon. Maybe the first person all night to talk about trump at length, says trump believes in bible,Swerves into the supernatural, speaks on behald of god yet somehow no lightning bolt.

Second straight night the supernatural speech brings house down

Panel Analysis

SE Cupp calls out Prosperity Ministers as awful spokesperson

 

Speaker – Gov Scott Walker, WI. zzzzzzzz Radical ISlam! AHHHH! AAAHHH! Thanks our vets, no mention of help  Lines out ‘america deserves better’ throughout specch. Very anti hillary, suggests prison for hilary, lock her up chant again. Urges crowd not to vote 3rd party and scotus fears. Mentions reagan and scalia inn one sentence (DRINK!) Benghazi! E Mails! Never stops shouting . Anti Union Hate Speech.

BREAK

Mobile Strike

CNN promo

Southern NH University, online school

Ring

Cnn promo

BACK FROM BREAK__

Video Narrated by Trump Employee

VP of Eric Trump Foundation & Sr Family Asst Lyn Patton. Looks like CNN says shes just their personal asst’s.  Speaks like pro Wrestler on behalf of Orlando’s LGBT people,, then minimizes it and says its attacks on America, not gay community. Speaks on behalf of BLM as a non member who hates them. Says she has to support Trump because shes black. Invokes god

 

Video- Rigged Political System with Little Marco Rubio attacking Hillary. FEAR! BENGHAZI! (DRINK)

 

Speaker- Sen Ted Cruz ® Tex

Starts with god of course. RTL then States Rights. Lotsa inaccurate statements,esp re: education

ISIS refugee fears. Down ballot plea, “Vote your conscience” gets raucous applause, we want trump starts up too

Trump cheer takes hold for awhile but he holds forth despite hostility, clearly unwanted there. DOES NOT ENDORSE, suggested maybe vote for someone very unlike Trump. NY GOP heckled him badly. Got his digs in. Booed off stage with his manhood intact for once

__back to Wolf & Jake narrate Trumps entrance  Trump looks straight up pissed when not flashing the phony smile.

Panel Discussion hosted by anderson

__Speaker = Trumps son, Eric Trump just a lot aggrandizing of his dad. Kind of looks like the bully from Karate Kid

___back to the booth

NO COMMERCIALS

__SPEAKER_ Moon Governor Newt Gingrich- praises wifes various direct mail businesses –  pushes back on Cruz ‘vote your conscience” thing “our enemies are determined to kill us’ FEAR! Focuses on ISIS attacks, nuclear fear. Says all of America can be lost under Hilary. Really fearful

Back to Anchors CNN no Commercial
Reports of deep ugly fight backstage with Cruz and Trump supporters, Cruz wife escorted out

Paul Ryan comes out to the Who’s Eminence Front (about cocaine) and talks up Mike Pence

SPEAKER-___ Mike Pence, VP Candidate. Looks like a cialis or viagra spokesman.  His dad owned gas stations and Mikes all about Jesus. He has an awful homophobic record and has never fared well in interviews . Keeps it safe praises his wife & kids, one of whom is a Marine.

he has moved on to extolling Trump as a good man.

NOTE – Pence was once a Catholic Democrat but is now an Evangelical Republican.

Vows hillary will never be president

We Want Trump chant starts to become ongoing while Pence speaks meekly about how tough they will be

Pence alludes to the land of the free and the home of the brave and a USA chant breaks out

Praises cops in a sort of divisive way. Praises Trumps kids.    Goes after Hillary , Make America Great again, claims to represent change, HUGE change. ( Crowd chants “Huge”??) border fears. Vets get screwed but no answers or ideas except ‘we’ll be smarter’ Attacks Hillary. claims to be pro union in coal industry

Speaks on behalf of minorities despite being the whitest man alive . Says election will define scotus for 40 years. Promises under hilary judges wont get approved

makes right to life and second amendment plea very nakedly after all the talk of orlando massacre. Talks about his marine kid more and uses that as justification of his ability to judge character. More terrorist attack stuff but nothing about guns. Calls Obama a weak apologist. “DONALD TRUMP WILL DESTROY THE ENEMIES OF FREEDOM! AMERICA STANDS WITH ISRAEL” ok. Mentions Obama’s term ends in precisely 6 months (fact check) Now theyre chanting “we like mike” cause he’s been hateful and fearful for a long while.

He seems to have no eyebrows. He goes into the second supernatural invocation of better times ahead if we make the Trump choice. he extolls trump again in a longwinded way. knowing Trump will appear has people impatient.

he thanks god and asks for blessings.

WALKOUT BY TRUMP, he doesnt appear to be about to speak

Anderson notes its 3rd appearance in 3 nights

My Question- when is Trump guy studying and writing his big speech for tomorrow??

Looks like CNN blew off a lot of commercials time that probably was result of all the anti trump boycotts. as you can see very few prestigous companies bought air time and the Koch Brothers notably bought just one spot

this has benn an awful bore, i hope you spare yourself the viewing by reading this. i consider it a public service

mcteag out

UPDATE 7-21-

Ted Cruz is still attacking Trump and ‘refuses to be his lap dog’. he finally has a hint of gallantry for defending his family

 

Crazy Dystopia’s of Star Trek- A Piece of the Action

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Star Fleet vessels routinely encounter Dystopic Societies. Sometimes a mad computer has been left in charge by a vanished race, sometimes they cause their own problems, and every once in a while it’s Federation ineptitude. Because my buddy Paul suggested this episode as one of the best (and i pretty much agree) I’m going with a fan favorite. I think this is perhaps the most interesting planet, as well easily as the most hilarious, so I’ve decided to start with The Gangster Planet! AKA Sigma Iotia II from the Episode “A Piece of the Action”

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I had touched on the Iotians in an earlier blog about the Republican Cargo Cult of Ronald Reagan. Since I am now turning to analyzing Star Trek episodes on their own merits there’s no question its worth giving these lunatics a blog post of their own.

The Iotians are completely normal looking humans. The only difference is that every single female on Iota is very young and FUCKING SUPER HOT.

The innately impressionable  and imitative Iotians are one of the first societies we see that’s been contaminated by earlier contact with the Federation, in the days before the Prime Directive. In this case the previous ship, the Horizon, which may just be the same USS Horizon that’s featured in the underrated show Enterprise (there’s clues, among them a copy of ‘The Book” visible on the Horizon of that shows era and continuity. Whichever ship it was, Federation personnel interacted for a while with the Iotians, who were then on the edges of becoming an Industrialized Society, resembling something akin to 1400-1600 ce in Northern Europe.

Before departing the Horizon left behind books, for the most part technical in nature. It would seem the Horizon crew was intentionally providing them with enough information to advance Iotian society faster. They did not consider for a moment the implications this might have on the impressionable Iotians.  A History book; ‘Chicago Mobs of the Twenties‘ published in 1992, was also left behind. The Iotians were sort of overwhelmed by the First Contact. They were immediately driven on by their other innate trait, curiosity. They tore into all the materials the doomed Horizon left them, especially the lurid tales of violence and rebellion of the colorful and glamorous American gangsters of the prohibition era.

100 years later the Enterprise, having only received the distress signal from the Horizon (Lost with all Hands shortly after leaving Iotia) a few weeks earlier arrives in the system. It’s noted that Iotia is on the edge of the known Galaxy. The purpose of the mission is to assess and report any Cultural Contamination the Horizon’s presence on the planet may have had. There’s some things suggesting it may have happened, though Kirk points out, in pure Shatnerian; “The ….evidence is only….circumstantial.” Still, in this episode Kirk is more a scientist and explorer than a soldier. He’s more than up to it too,  until he attempts to drive a car at least.

The Enterprise bridge is as busy as always as the episode opens. Kirk’s in his standard uniform and almost everyone of importance is on duty. McCoy is on hand along with Spock, Chekov, Uhura and even Scotty at the bridge’s engineering station.  For some reason Workaholic Sulu is not around. Kirk’s upbeat and cheerful. He even manages a paternalistic chuckle when the planet’s representative hails the Enterprise using archaic titles (Boss) and outdated radios.

A bizarre conversation with the “Boss” Bela Okmyx ensues. The Iotians have to know that there is life on other planets , but Okmyx betrays they have no understanding of things beyond their solar system.  Realizing their apparent leader lacks educational  sophistication Kirk goes with small words and specific basic information we rarely see him bother with. “The ship won’t actually land,” he tells Okmyx, blowing off explaining the Transporter or much else til he can size up what the deal is on Iota.

pieceoftheaction_018Kirk puts Scotty in charge and brings Spock and McCoy to Iotia to meet Okmyx. In the turbolift they ponder the possibility of Cultural Contamination plus 100 years since the Horizon departed. All three are very curious, even Spock betrays enthusiasm. The Iotians are described as highly intelligent. Kirk makes clear it’s their job not only to assess whats gone on, but to try to mitigate any damage to the planets development that may have occurred. McCoy and Spock are on the same page here for once, seeming more biased towards the idea there’s surely been contamination.

Upon arrival they’re initially charmed by the Iotian city, a time capsule of Pre World War II Chicago. This would seem to be pretty good progress technically for the Iotians, who were at the beginning of Industrialization when the Horizon arrived. They’ve quickly advanced considerably from “the beginnings of Industrialization”, so say the printing press and the first mechanical devices, to the mid 20th century in 100 years. Something like 150-300% faster than on Earth. They had help, but hey, not bad! They have media via radio and telephones as well as every fucking gun you can think of from the first half of the 20th Century.

No one is unarmed. Most carry tommy guns with drum magazines. Citizens dress as though it were 1930’s America. The “Law of Parallel Development”, the usual excuse for a planet being nothing more than a Paramount back lot set isn’t mentioned. It doesn’t apply. The planet worked to remake itself into early 20th century Earth after the First Contact. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are fascinated and concerned at the same time.

Of course he real reason for all this is because the wardrobe and sets were available at no cost to show via the Paramount Studio they filmed at. Unlike the episode Miri, where the city is in fact none other than a made over, uglified Mayberry from the “Andy Griffith Show”, this is a movie quality (of the era) Chicago street set. Patterns of Force is made for similar reasons, as is “Specter of the Gun”. In other words, if the production department at Paramount wasn’t so cheap we don’t get this awesome mid Season 2 episode. We pay the price in other episodes like “Of Bread and Circuses” but here everything works.

The landing party is quicklly taken prisoner and disarmed by the ‘reception committee” , 2 thugs with tommy guns, who threaten them in barely decipherable early 20th century “Gangster” talk (as opposed to late 20th century “Gangsta” talk). The city is populous. The streets are pretty packed. Hot flapper girls are everywhere. There’s some Cult of Personality type ads for Boss Okmyx here and there, shown holding a tommy gun himself.

The Gangster Talk is so far away from standard english it nearly gets McCoy killed by the  leader of the “Reception Committee”. Communication is very inhibited. Spock, though regarded as sounding moronic, has the best results in the initial conversation.

Then en route to Okmyx an old school drive by shooting goes down, killing one of the Reception Committee. Only the Star Fleet personal are surprised by the apparently random violence and the fatality . McCoy notes “That man back there’s dead!” They’re basically told to shut up and keep moving. The landing party is shocked and now sure the planet has been negatively impacted by the Horizon contact. “The crew of the Horizon wasn’t composed of cold blooded killers!” a frustrated and somewhat disgusted Kirk notes to McCoy and Spock. All agree the level of contamination is so high the planet is effectively a Hellhole and the Federation is the culprit. From what we see no trace of their previous culture survives. The landing party is as annoyed as they are freaked out.

Pieceoftheaction_M1903 (1)Next two beautiful flapper girls berate the remaining thug of the reception committee with public service complaints pointing out they pay Okmyx ‘their percentages” for protection and civil services. This is pretty telling as on the block his own office is on Okmyx can’t keep the streetlights on or maintain any kind of ‘Green Zone‘ where machine gun duels aren’t prevalent. No two ways about it the Federation fucked the place up. In what amounts to a “You break it you bought it” policy the Federation is going to have to do some reparative social engineering.

Entering Okmyx office he preens, scratching a shot with the cue ball on his office billiard table betraying an utter lack of skill. Its unimportant, Bosses have pool tables, nothing else

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Okmyx playing at Pool

mattered. To him its ritual, because IT’S A CULT! A Cargo Cult in fact, though the words are never uttered.

 

What is a Cargo Cult? They appeared on the islands of the pacific where we built bases  during World War II. It’s believed they were a result of the culture shock experienced by the never before contacted natives in places like Papua, New Guinea. The natives were stone age peoples who suddenly had parts of their home islands turned into a mid 20th century military base, usually with a port and an airfield. The planes seemed like great dragons. The Crates from within opened to reveal treasures, so the natives related them to eggs.  They start to worship a deity based on an african american United States Navy SeaBee they dub John Frum (possibly short for John From America). They covet everything they can get from the base personnel and get modern things through barter. Things like a case of coca cola, or a mirror, or iron pots and pans to cook with. When the war ends shit gets seriously weird because the bases are abandoned as fast as they were built not more than three years earlier.

The “Cargo” was gone. That’s when the natives tried an experiment that becomes a full blown religion, the John Frum Society and the Prince Phillip Movement (on British occupied islands). They occupied the abandoned bases (and build a few of their own with  bamboo mock ups) and start to imitate military drills in the best possible pseudo uniforms they could get hoping to bring the planes full of goods back. Their society was co-opted by this. It was 1941, there was a war to win, no one bothered to think about the impact of the bases on the locals until sociologists start remarking on it post war. Over 70 years later they still exist. It’s worth noting the Imperial Japanese were so fucking mean no one wanted imitate them and there’s no known Japanese oriented cargo cult, so at least it might be a sign we were sort of benevolent.

Back to Star Trek, this is a humorous allegory on the concept of the Cargo Cult, and we’ll Chicago_Mobs_of_the_Twentiessee more in the Final Frontier. The Iotians are an extreme case and its all on the Federation.

Shortly after meeting Okmyx the landing party spots “The Book”, the aforementioned Gangster Chronicles of the early 1900’s, prominently displayed on a stand in Okmyx office. Kirk, Spock and McCoy instantly get it, this particular book had an extreme impact on  the Iotians, arresting and retarding the planets development. Everything on Iotia is based on graft, violence and bribery.

apota3

Okmyx copy of “The Book”

After making it clear questioning anything in ‘The Book’ is blasphemy and shutting down all criticism of it, Okmyx explains, in a fourth grade vocabulary; that he’s not exactly the leader of the planet, just the biggest, richest and toughest of the planets dozen or so “Bosses” and his territory is by far the largest. It’s a dog eat dog Iotia though, and he does take a moment to lament how someones always nipping at his heels.

 

Still amazed the planets lasted this long with these kinds of problems the landing party is informed of the terms Boss Okmyx is demanding. Surprisingly futurist, it’s right out of the Ronald Reagan Playbook (still well into the future when this aired).

Step One-Arms for Hostages. Send him a hundred or so “fancy heaters” (phasers) and some training personnel and he will cooperate as far as answering any questions and of course they’re free to go. If not he will kill them all.

Step Two-World Domination,  Okmyx demands the Federation back him in violently unifying Sigma Iotia II. Kirk, Spock and McCoy share the same mixed reaction. No way on Step One, there’ll be no phasers, but a tacit Okay on an alternative attempt at Step Two where they install a Boss peacefully. Things are that far gone.

The planets doomed to degenerate into total chaos unless it unifies soon and Okmyx seems typical enough and has the local gravitas and potential to just maybe be the Federations guy if he shapes up. His estimation that the Federation (“You Feds”) must have advanced technically in the last 100 years is spot on, showing off the “highly intelligent” aspect of the Iotians. He’s a not a criminal by his society’s standards. He’s actually just the best enactor of the policies from ‘The Book’.

Radical Social Re-Engineering’s pre approved. The landing party is thinking on the fly. They don’t bother telling Okmyx about their Step Two feelings for the moment as his heads already big enough. For the moment they’re captives but their hopes of controlling the situation seem pretty high, so they play along.

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Scotty’s WTF moment

Using a communicator with some grudging assistance from Kirk ,Okmyx tries to shake down Scotty, who consults the ships computer to try to figure out just what the fuck Okmyx is trying to say. Notable is how hot Okmyx secretary/ girlfriend is. An adorable pepper pot.

As for his part Okmyx has the landing party taken to a warehouse under guard. Amongst the broken pinball machines and crates; a few feet from another prominently displayed copy of ‘The Book” the guards play cards while the landing party ponders the situation.

McCoy thinks Okmyx is a repulsive creep. Spock puts Okmyx in a different light- the most successful of all Iotians and a visionary of sorts. His methods are all wrong, a war is the last thing the planet needs. But “his goal is essentially correct.” Kirk makes a decision its time to invoke the “You broke it you bought it” clause in their orders and see if they can’t set things right., or at least minimize the dysfunction in the Iotian society the Federation has caused. They need some help from the ship, so it’s time get the guards out of the way and locate and grab up the phasers and especially the communicators. Seems like a tall order, but Kirk has a trick up his sleeve, he’s going to use the imitative qualities of the Iotian’s against them to distract and subdue the guards.

Enter – Fizzbin;  a card game that Kirk describes as “a real game, a man’s game. It’s probably a little beyond you… it requires intelligence.” Bait= Taken! The three thugs are fascinated and the alpha thug starts a game against Kirk who’s also acting as dealer.

fizzbinAs Kirk explains; it’s really quite a simple game.

  • The game can be played with a standard Earth deck of cards, despite the slightly differing deck on Beta Antares IV.
  • Each player gets six cards, except for the player on the dealer’s right, who gets seven.
  • The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays.
  • Two jacks are a “half-fizzbin”.
  • If you have a half-fizzbin:
    • a third jack is a “shralk” and results in disqualification;
    • one wants a king and a deuce, except at night, when one wants a queen and a four;
    • if a king had been dealt, the player would get another card, except when it is dark, in which case he’d have to give it back. [1] Memory Alpha Fizzbin entry

The top hand is a “royal fizzbin”, but the odds against getting one are said to be “astronomical”.

So as you can see Fizzbin is really very simple.

Whats not said is the reason the guards want to play so badly is the innate imitative traits as well as the fact that they are aware ‘The Fed’s’ are the source of the book and might just lead to more cargo. Its the same reason Okmyx mindlessly plays pool. They don’t see the landing party as gods like the cargo cults of earth, but they’re definitely taken with them.

As the Fizzbin game reaches its end the guards are so distracted that the landing party makes its move. A fight right out of the 60’s Batman show ensues. with Kirk, McCoy and Spock kicking the guards asses. McCoy especially distinguishes himself, needing a mere judo chop to subdue his adversary.

Kirk sends Spock and McCoy to locate and take over one of the planets radio stations in lieu of communicators, Uhura is monitoring the planets communication. Kirk’s going back to the original beam down area to try a little gunboat diplomavy with Okmyx. The Prime Directive’s so out the window now they can basically do anything they want, including using a local broadcast station to have a conversation with the Enterprise that anyone tuned in on the planet will hear. Everyone’s got a tommy gun and Spock sporting a .45 to boot

Kirk makes it about 30 feet before being captured and tossed into a classic 1920’s car.

Spock_on_the_radioSpock and McCoy are more successful, the former uses his Vulcan Nerve Pinch to subdue the gorgeous female Deejay. They jump on live in what must’ve been a ‘War of the Worlds Caper” on super steroids to the locals. They return to the Enterprise.

Kirk, on the other hand meets Jojo Krakko, aka Mel from Mel’s Diner on Alice aka the great Vic Tayback. He’s got the same plan as Okmyx, who he hates. Krakko refers to his territory as ‘the whole South Side’, a very Chicago flourish. His secretary/ girlfriend is blond and beautiful. He also has a copy of “The Book” on display. As an added incentive the Fed’s get a third, something Okmyx would never do.

 

Kirk makes a counter proposal let’s all sit down and divide up the planet like reasonable men and try to work together to keep the lights on and break out of the Gangster culture.

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Jojo Krakko

Krakko balks at this ridiculous blasphemy. ‘The Book’ dictates all disputes be settled with violence and that’s how he’s going to do it. So we’re back to “Arms for Hostages”. He stashes the captain to maybe snuff him later. Kirk works on escaping by tearing apart an old fashioned tube radio.

 

Back on the Enterprise Spock and McCoy are trying to come up with a plan to undue the “Moral Inversion” on the planet. Okmyx interrupts them to let them know Krakko’s got Kirk. A truce is declared and Spock and McCoy  talk to Okmyx, agreeing to come down soon to hammer things out. Spock points out they need some help from a cooperative Iotian or two if they’re going to get the captain back, McCoy is less than thrilled. He’s probably thinking about Romulan Ale at this point or maybe some space drugs.

On the planet Kirk’s “advanced technical skills” have given him the ability to unravel the copper filament from the radio in his room  to create a tripwire by the door. then he trashes his room and calls for help. The guard rushes in and trips, Kirk throws a blanket over his head and kicks his ass Star Trek Style (in other words with minimal believability).

Spock and McCoy discuss with Okmyx how to get Kirk back from Krakko (no one knows he’s already escaped).  He promises the games are over and he’ll help them get Kirk back. They take another trip down to Iota via transporter to Okmyx office where he immediately double crosses them.

Spock’s’ supplemental log notes that the whole situation is “unlikely”, but there they are, held at gunpoint again and stripped of their phasers and communicators. Okmyx is feeling pretty sly.

Spock and McCoy drop all pretense and level with Okmyx. They’re trying to help and he’s not comprehending it, thinking by The Book, looking to solve his problems with leverage and threats. Spock tells Okmyx the Federation isn’t against the idea of unifying  the planet. They’re trying to tell him he can be Boss Number One when megalomania gets the better of him and he rants about his power and potential only to be interrupted by an armed and angry Kirk who has somehow found Okmyx office and beaten security. Hey, he didn’t get to be captain for nothing, right?

Reunited in Okmyx office Kirk, McCoy and Spock review the situation.  Spock’s got no idea how to proceed. The situation on Iota is unique and completely illogical. There’s no time for gradual change. The Iotians are fanatical about The Book, which has made reason impossible.   Planetary societal collapse is inevitable, continued radical social engineering is allowable under both the circumstances and their actual orders.

Kirk, ever the First Contact gambler, announces, with whimsical Kirk enthusiasm, he’s ‘going to play a hunch.’ Spock hates it right away.

The rest of the episode is maybe the best Star Trek we get out of the first series. It overcomes all the cheesey budgetary mandates, like using existing sets and wardrobe. Decked out in appropriated Gangster Outfits he leaves McCoy in charge of the prisoners and takes Spock, also in native gangster garb, to ‘put the bag on Krakko!”

apieceoftheactionhd0722Then the hilarious driving sequence ensues. The 23rd century Starship captain and his Vulcan first officer are stymied by a five speed transmission but manage to grind their way across town to Krakko’s.

The unforgettable con with the street urchin ensues. The kid proves invaluable by providing a rouse for “A Piece of the Action” if they can get Krakko. The kid takes the lead, playing at being a knife welding murderer, which charms the guards. The kid fakes an injury and Kirk and Spock subdue the guards. Inside they casually stun a few people but Krakko’s not bothered. He’s got a few more goons who quickly to take Spock and Kirk prisoner, back to “Arms for Hostages.”

Kirk quickly uses The Book’s emphasis on criminality and underhanded deeds to convince Krakko they need to talk alone. Spock and Kirk give him the bottom line, with Spock sort of playing catch up as Kirk re-engineers Iota. In gangster talk Kirk tells Krakko he’s basically a pieceoftheaction_330nobody and the whole planet is “Peanuts to an outfit like the Federation.” Their tech is amazing, they have many planets to draw from, they have a Star Fleet and its all pretty kick ass.

Krakko, like a good criminal, knows the law and asks what happened to non Interference.

“Who’s interfering? We’re taking over!” Kirk tells him in no uncertain terms. The Iotians are finally back on their heels after having used their criminal genius to maintain the apieceoftheactionhd0849initiative up to this point. Now Kirk’s on a roll. “We don’t come in here and use our muscle. We let one guy take over and pull the strings and then we pull his, eh??”

Kirk’s idea is crazy but it has the advantage of being close to the current political reality, unification has to happen to stave off disaster, they can fine tune it later. For the meantime they put their feet up and cut a deal with Krakko. Kirk gets on the line with Scotty and makes as though the Federation is about to launch a violent coup backing Krakko, but its a rouse to beam Krakko up. The Enterprise crew has put the bag on Krakko and Scotty has him at phaser point.  Krakko tries to figure out how he ended up in the transporter room, which is filled with amazing tech he’s gotta be fascinated by as he rants. Scotty casually threatens to kill him to shut him up, trying his hand at the planets gangster speak.

After Krakko’s beamed out Kirk and Spock kick the two guards asses just to blow off steam and split. Despite Spock’s protests, Kirk drives and they make it back to Okmyx place.

Kirk belittles and threatens Okmyx, calls him a penny ante operator and tells him more or less what he told Krakko. The Federation is taking over the whole planet. If he plays ball he can be in on it, if he’s not willing to cooperate he’ll be “out, all the way out.” So even if they don’t kill him he’s likely a dead man as an ex Boss. Spock keeps his machine gun level to Okmyx head. The Enterprise landing party are doing things “by The Book” for the moment because that’s just the only way to get through to the brainwashed Iotians.

apota4Because there is a language barrier between these two English speaking cultures due to Iotian slang Kirk has to say everything he tells Scotty twice. Once in 1920’s Gangster speak to impress the Iotians and then again in 23rd century English for Scotty.

Kirk’s plan is to unite the mobs into a syndicate in the hopes the violence and dysfunction would taper off while the Federation itself, with its vast resources, could get some experts to the planet to help. To this end he has Okmyx call everyone on the planet of importance and kidnaps them via transporter to Okmyx office where they are held at gunpoint.

Kirk, seeing the Iotians are not making very quick progress, prances along Okmyx pool table and explains its over. The Federation is going to help them run the planet like a business and they would all make a profit with the Federation getting a 40% cut off the top.

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Kiss my grits, Okmyx!

At this point they finally call Kirk out. They’ve seen nothing but a few explorers with ideas that go against The Book. Where’s the proof of the Federations power? Obligingly, Krakko’s boys choose this moment to attack to break their boss out. Kirk gets the Enterprise to fire a stun burst (a contingency ordered earlier by Spock) at the combatants fighting outside Okmyx office. When the ships phasers level everyone Kirk gains the upper hand permanently. Any questions of the Federations power are silenced in a huge way. Gunboat Diplomacy at it’s purest.

The Iotians are now prepared to go along with the Syndicate proposal. Okmyx admits they’ve definitely got problems and suggests Kirk be Overboss. Kirk immediately defers, its too small time for him, he’s a Big Wheel in the Federation. He puts Okmyx in charge, which is pretty reasonable as he is the most powerful and had just admitted the violence was pointless. To keep Okmyx in check he makes Krakko his lieutenant. Then he tells everyone else to fall in line unless they want the Federation to come back pissed. Every year a Federation Starship will come by to pick up the Federations 40% cut. The Iotians are totally down and offer more, but Kirk gamely holds to 40%.

Everyone drinks a toast to the new Syndicate.

Days later on the bridge Kirk, McCoy and Spock discuss the mission. Spock debates the morality of leaving criminals in charge and how Kirk will explain to the Federation why a starship will need to go to Iota every year to pick up 40% of the gross planetary product. On a whim the captain decides the money be deposited in a planetary fund to guide the Iotians toward a more ethical system in a kind of Nation Building Approach.

McCoy has a more immediate issue. He’s forgotten his communicator on the planet. The Iotians are smart enough to figure it out and extrapolate all key Federation technology from it, albeit not overnight because they’re still stuck in 1930, but they will.

Kirk laughs off this major misstep quipping “One day the Iotians may come looking for a piece of OUR action!”

The episode closes with the ship leaving orbit.

What makes the Episode Great?

Where do we start? The dystopia on Iota is a hilarious and slapstick world of crazy criminal geniuses. Why does The Next Generation not return to show us what happened? We have only a comic book of an unused script, “A Piece of the Reaction” to tell us that. Basically they imitate Star Fleet as a whole but still have some criminal issues. I haven’t read it. Lets just say they aren’t going to be ideal Federation citizens anytime soon.

It’s a genius plot and because the sets were high quality the campyness works. The whole Spacemen with culture shock thing is great fun. McCoy is more cantankerous than usual when it comes to the Iotian culture, making him something of a snob towards them at times.

Kirk is full on Kirk, Shatner doesn’t hold back, he pushes forward. As a starfleet officer with an agenda he’s believable. His flourishes and speech are amazing. He overacts up a storm but lets remember what he’s what he’s got to work with here. Gene Roddenberry was a genius but a lot of his stories and characters relied on some hard to deliver tech babble. In this episode Shatner’s also got 1920’s Gangster Iotian to deal with, although he’s supposed to be bad at it, and Spock’s no better at comprehending the Iotians but somehow they kind of get him. In fact its McCoy whose probably best set up to talk to the Iotians with his blunt mannerisms.

The music in the episode is some of the best ever. The “Floosie Music” and the jazzy 20’s incidental music is pretty different from what we hear in most episodes and adds to the fun.

The sets have lots of well costumed extras and great classic cars. Its not your typical boring Star Trek Planet with an orange sky and a styrofoam rock. Its also not the other planet location they frequently used that becomes the set of MASH (you see that same mountain from the opening credits of MASH you see in like 12 Trek episodes and a couple of Next Generations). It might even be where Soran ‘kills’ Kirk.

All the women on Iota are beautiful. All the men are ugly. I’d be a movie star there. The average age for men is 60, for women its 23.

I can’t recommend this episode enough. It’s Star Trek at it’s finest.

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Mad Captains of Star Trek- Matt Decker in The Doomsday Machine

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The Doomsday Machine

Mad Captains are a recurring problem in the Final Frontier. Sometimes Star Fleet training fails to uncover hidden personality flaws. Others go mad when they lose their command. Because the episode is so strong I’ve opted to start this series with Commodore Matt Decker from the episode ‘The Doomsday Machine”

This memorable, classic episode opens with the Enterprise discovering the Constellation, a sister ship, wrecked and dead in a freshly pulverized solar system. Its action packed and tension filled. It’s probably one of the best episodes of all as far as minimally moralistic pure trek escapism. It also features a unique and legitimately effective ‘monster’ in the form of the Doomsday Machine.

 

Its a season two episode and opens with Kirk, in his alternate Green shirt,  doomsday_kirkdealing with the apparent B crew on the bridge as almost no one of importance but Spock is on duty. Uhura is noticeably absent. Sulu is at the helm though like a workaholic who won’t take a day off.

Kirk’s defenses are up as the lifeless Constellation floats devastated in space displayed on Enterprise main viewer. In an analytical mode, Kirk is giving orders and roaming from station to station assessing the situation. Finally, looking at the Constellation’s damage up close Kirk says what everyone is thinking; “She’s been attacked!”, he orders Red Alert.

At this point I need to point out what watching Original Series Star Trek is like now. The outer space shots and exteriors have been enhanced with Computer Generated Images. The model of the ship gets a slick CGI paint job. Sometimes the ship is pure CGI. On Netflix the enhanced special effects are amusing. I’m ok with them. Not everything’s been changed and the added component is that the original Foley art is still there. The crippled Constellation looks great floating through the remains of the stricken solar system. This episode is probably 2 or 3 minutes longer than its original run time as the expanded battle sequences now take place more on the outside of the ships and features real effects as opposed to mostly using crew reactions (people thrown around the bridge,etc) to portray the action.

Beaming over with Scotty, McCoy and some red shirts Kirk leaves Spock in command of the Enterprise. The Constellation is a mess inside, with the engine room in shambles. Fortunately Scotty has a few tricks up his sleeve to revive some of the ships systems.

In the auxiliary control room, equally as shattered as the Constellation, is the ships captain, Commodore Matt Decker.

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Commodore Matt Decker

After McCoy shoots him up with some space drugs he gets it together enough to emotionally relate his ships fate. What he tells Kirk is deeply unsettling.

An enormous  robotic space monster, which survives by destroying and absorbing entire planets, had engaged and bested the Constellation in a one-sided battle. On Decker’s orders the crew abandoned ship as he valiantly stayed behind making sure all escaped to a nearby planet, only to hear their desperate cries as the entity destroyed that planet, killing all. He had come to and passed a moment where he was prepared to die without actually getting killed. He’s contemptuous of his borrowed time and longs for death or heroic redemption like a dishonored Klingon.

Faced with this beyond unthinkable fate Decker cracks and becomes vegetative until the landing party finds him. It’s a sad state of affairs for a man so accomplished. Decker is not a mere captain but a commodore. In the Star Fleet world apparently Commodore is a senior, more empowered captain rather than the outright commander of multiple ships, although he nominally is in command of both the Enterprise and the reanimated Constellation for a few moments.

Played by William Windham, Decker is portrayed as being as forceful and dramatic as Kirk. The acting styles are similar but they have strange chemistry. Kirk is short-tempered with the disoriented Decker early on despite some knowledge of his ordeal. One too many captains is obviously going to be an issue from the start.

Despite personal friendship, Kirk, as usual, doesn’t bother playing games. He mercilessly ramrods Decker for information, after all there’s a wrecked starship and dead crew to account for.  He gets a pretty good idea of what happened from the unshaven, unkempt skid row drunk looking Decker before McCoy finally reins him in.

Windham scenery chews his way through the episode, but in a great Star Trek-like way. He  plays Decker as a broken and now very violent man with grandiose self-confidence. He is deeply and overtly angry at himself and feels he is culpable for the loss of his crew. Self loathing doesn’t stop his alpha Star Fleet captain personality though as he soon starts to work toward his own agenda.

Speaking with Kirk on the Constellation Decker passes quickly through the stages of grief and is fast arguing about the need to destroy the robot, referred to as ‘The Doomsday Machine” or the “Planet Killer” for the rest of the episode.  Obligingly, the fantastic robotic de facto Death Star shows up while some of the landing party, including Decker and McCoy, are in mid beam back to the Enterprise, and attacks. While the first wave arrives safely the transporter is knocked out in a raucous battle.

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The Planet Killer firing its primary weapon

The Doomsday Machine/ Planet Killer is an enormous cone shaped robotic weapon. When it needs fuel it destroys planets and sucks the rubble into its maw, which is about as big as a small moon, “miles wide!” as Decker describes it. Its made of exotic metal, “solid neutronium!”, many, many meters thick, making it immune to phaser blasts.

The Artificial Intelligence it possesses is described by Spock as maintaining a defensive sphere inside which any energy source is attacked. By leaving its proximity you can trigger the Planet Killers reflex to return to feeding/ travelling mode.  Using this strategy Spock escapes major damage to the Enterprise and plans an intercept course with Constellation that will keep them clear of the Planet Killers defensive perimeter. This doesn’t sit well with Decker who starts to pull rank and influence operations. Tensions on the bridge are high and rising.

Kirk, after some consultation with Spock and analysis of the Constellations log, has

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Lt Palmer stands in for Uhura

surmised that the Planet Killer was a Super Weapon of Beyond Mass Destruction built as a bluff in a long ago conflict (the Planet Killer looks beat up as Hell). In a leap of faith he further deduces it’s so inconceivably awful that it was likely never intended for use but rather something akin to our  20th century Cold War ‘Nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction” policy (building enormously powerful weapons in the hopes that mutually assured destruction would ensure peace). It weaves seamlessly into the plot without overwhelming it. Kirk  further theorizes the race that built it is likely extinct but their creation simply will move on destroying til stopped. Analysis confirms its destination is a heavily populated region of the Federation.

The Planet Killer is like the shark from jaws, and the episode is like Jaws in some ways. For one thing, they need a bigger boat, the Enterprise is  presumably identical to the Constellation, which couldn’t have fared worse against the Planet Killer. Commodore Decker, like Captain Quint, is undeterred and commits everything to destroying his adversary.

The newly resolute Commodore Decker / Captain Quint, is unreasonably and heavily driven to destroy the shark/planet killer immediately when there’s several rational options available as well as the imperative to clear the subspace interference generated by the Planet Killer and warn the Federation of the threat. Clearly Enterprise is no match for the Planet Killer whereas Star Fleet could deploy a task force capable of dealing with  the situation far better with an assured favorable outcome. Every passing minute Decker’s getting it more together and refocusing himself after arriving on Enterprise. He doesn’t bother to groom in any way though, unshaven with mad scientist hair, he’s the picture of crazy in his soiled Star Fleet uniform.

On the now somewhat less crippled Constellation Kirk and the remaining skeleton crew are cut off from ship to ship communication with the Enterprise. The blinded Constellation will need a few more minutes to be of any use. Those aboard redouble their efforts to breathe some life into the hulk and have any clue whats going on.

Meanwhile on the Enterprise it doesn’t take too long for Decker, who is now progressively becoming every obsessed captain ever rolled into one, to take exception to Spock’s actions Matt_deckerfollowing the attack by the Planet Killer. In an acting / directing flourish and possible homage to “The Caine Mutiny” he fusses with data tapes between his fingers just as Bogart’s Lt Commander Queeg would jiggle ball bearings while acting insane and giving impossible, possibly illegal orders.

After the immediate danger of the initial attack on Enterprise abates Decker makes a bid to take command. Showing he’s still got the killer instinct that made him a captain in the first place,  he deftly breaks a coalition of Spock and McCoy by using Star Fleet regulations to achieve his goal, albeit on the merest of pretexts.

Now in full douchebag mode an increasingly and dangerously overconfident Decker orders a full on attack. As the crew hesitates Decker deals with the reluctance by citing regulations and old fashioned upbraiding of anyone who voices doubt or dissent. Spock makes a last ditch attempt to appeal to reason, backed by a fired up McCoy who may be considering

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Spock and McCoy try reasoning with Mad Commodore Decker

more space drugs to solve the problem (always his first option) and who has surely drank that day.

McCoy in particular is keenly aware that Decker is currently incompetent and needs months of therapy and treatment before any decisions on his command ability are made. Decker may in fact have some blame for his ships destruction. His aggression may have enhanced the level of carnage. Spock had proven tactical retreat would eventually cause the Planet Killer to disengage, something that seems to have been overlooked by Decker. Also, once his ship lost power the Planet Killer returned to feeding. While abandoning ship seemed reasonable it was an unavoidable death sentence for the crew accidentally imposed by their captain. Had they stayed aboard their crippled ship they would have been safe

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An angry Bones McCoy

when the Planet Killer moved off.  Decker couldn’t have known but is deeply traumatized and unbalanced by the consequences of his actions. he’s learned nothing.  McCoy had also seen Decker’s emotional state in the first moments after they found him.  Like Kirk he’s short and sharp with Decker and shows minimal military discipline.(he’s a doctor, not a soldier, dammit!). In something that would be a big deal in any military he shouts right at Decker that he’s wrong. It’s a great moment. Spock remains disciplined and retains his military bearing but clearly is looking to get Decker out of the command chair and into a straight jacket. In the end regulations prevail and Decker has command.

Decker prepares for another attack despite objections. Several more pertinent facts are presented that merely annoy Decker, who is flaunting his commodore status. He arrogantly throws McCoy off the bridge when the later refuses to back down and respect the legitimacy of his command, continuing to engage in severe and caustic verbal jousting even after Decker’s put Spock in momentary check. Bones certifies Decker insane, which Spock informs him can’t be done without a full medical examination. Decker prevails and relaxes in the command chair, preening. McCoy heads to sickbay to get a hit of Romulan ale and put his balls in a bucket of ice. It’s a great McCoy blow up all the better as he is completely right and not in the least bit illogical despite his emotions getting the better of him.

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What could possibly go wrong?

It’s some of the best acting DeForrest Kelly does in the entire series and Nimoy is brilliant

doomdsay2 as well. Windham holds up his end and is highly convincing in some challenging acting situations.

Decker gathers a quick situation analysis and (surprise) opts for a full on no holds barred attack on the Planet Killer. The New Netflix edition offers a decent visual battle that I enjoyed. Several phaser runs fail to damage the monster. Decker, Patton-like and delusional, continues to order all out attack, steadily losing the confidence of the crew.

The attack occurs as Kirk has almost fixed the view screen in the auxiliary control room of the Constellation. The Enterprise makes several full on phaser strafing runs with no effect. On the Enterprise bridge Spock is advocating against continuing the attack but Decker wont hear of it. The bridge crew is increasingly hesitant to follow his orders and look to Spock for validation.

This time the Enterprise is heavily damaged and takes many casualties. After beating on the ship for a few minutes the Planet Killer grabs Enterprise in a tractor beam and starts pulling it towards its maw. About this time the Constellations viewer is restored to working order and a horrified Kirk is witness to the rest of the battle.

Spock informs Decker the ship needs to immediately start evasive action or be pulled into the Planet Eaters maw where it will be completely destroyed. Decker reacts with anger and tries to continue the attack. Time starts to run out as the ships power can only escape the tractor beam within a limited window. Decker finally takes Spocks advice but its already too late, the Enterprise is caught firmly in the tractor beam and on its way to being sucked in and destroyed.

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Excellent fan art of the Attack on the Planet Killer (artist unknown but brilliant)

Kirk and Scotty rescue the Enterprise by attacking with the now semi resurrected Constellations’s one recharged phaser. Faced with two targets the Planet Killer changes tactics by releasing the Enterprise and going after the weaker ship first. Together the two Federation vessels engage in a well presented (in the updated version), very watchable battle with the Planet Killer. The combined attack confuses the Planet Killer and it opts to move off and begin feeding off the destroyed planets rubble to build up its reserves for another attack. The Planet Killer’s Artificial Intelligence seems to have its limits. Kirk and Decker are able to manipulate the encounter to their advantage to buy time. Both ships will need every minute to repair their multiple failing systems.

As the Planet Killer moves off ship to ship communications are reestablished. Kirk, brimming with raw anger is stunned to hear Decker answering his hails to the
Enterprise and launches into a verbal attack on Decker the entire bridge crew hears. He tries to relieve Decker, who cites regulation. Kirk, with maybe his best hair in any episode, is outright pissed and stands by his declaration that Decker relinquish command. He orders Spock, on his own authority, to ignore regulations and remove Decker, who is advocating for another attack. Spock knows they have deferred to Decker long enough. “I don’t recognize you’re authority to relieve me,” Decker snarks when Spock makes his move. It doesn’t matter. The crew, having heard their own captain call Decker an insane idiot, backs Spock and Decker is removed under guard to sick bay where an angry and possibly drunk McCoy will surely certify him insane as soon as he gets done treating the massive casualties Decker’s attack caused. Spock takes command of the Enterprise with Kirk in overall command from Constellation.

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A reanimated Constellation lumbers through space

Getting off the turbolift  under guard on his way to sick bay, Decker has other plans and in a fit of full crazy super strength has a one of the better Star Trek fights with something we rarely see, a young, fit red shirt. Super insane and maybe still high on McCoys stimulants, he devastates the red shirt and stashes him, unconscious in some closet. Wild eyed, he knows the layout of a Constitution Class Star Ship and stalks off to commandeer a shuttle craft.  While he’s on his way there Kirk and Spock coordinate and plan their next step, to meet outside the Planet Killers defensive perimeter.

The Constellation, while still a mess, is moving and has some defensive capacity with more systems coming back on-line by the minute as repairs continue.

It’s this moment that Decker out-crazy’s most Mad Captain’s in the Final Frontier and goes for broke, a suicide run with the shuttle into the creatures maw where he hopes to hurt it enough to slow it down or kill it. More than anything else he’s morose and feels unworthy of life. He’s Ahab alone in a whaleboat on a Nantucket Sleigh Ride into oblivion against his own whit whale. He answers Enterprises hail and converses with Spock and Kirk. He states he has failed in his duties and should have died with his crew. He’s firmly suicidal, ignoring logical assertions from Spock as well as Kirk’s emotional plea “We’re stronger with you than without!” The shuttlecraft enters the Planet Killer and explodes. It seems a pointless suicide.

Immediately it becomes clear that the Shuttlecraft’s explosion had a small but measurable effect on the Planet Killer. “Maybe Matt Decker didn’t die for nothing” Kirk declares and forms a plan. By rigging the Constellation’s engines to explode on a 30 second timer he can guide it into the Planet Killers maw and destroy it with the over 97 megaton explosion that would result. He’s informed the transporter only kind of works but still opts for the ‘calculated risk’, hedging his bet by sending Scotty, the best person to deal with the Enterprises transporter, back first just in case. This is a master stroke as Scotty with some help from Spock, manages to get the transporter working just in time to beam Kirk off the rapidly disintegrating auxiliary bridge of the Constellation.

Kirk’s plan works brilliantly and the explosion kills the Doomsday Machine by blowing it up from the inside.

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The Constellation exploding inside the Planet Killer

After finally reaching the bridge he and Spock reflect on 20th Century humans and their folly in the use and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, noting that Decker’s suicide was instrumental in defeating the machine. The Enterprise changes course and limps back into Federation Space where full repairs can be made.

As far as Crazy Star Fleet Captains go Decker comes off better than most. He’s one of the first we see. He’s much more honorable than Captain Tracey in ‘The Omega Glory” He doesn’t violate the Prime Directive. He doesn’t harm anyone intentionally. Although he loses a starship due to his impetuous nature, aggression was not in itself a mistake. His real mistake is neglecting to inform Star Fleet of the threat, leaving the Enterprise to wander in blind. Definitely an error in judgement. He’s obsessed with the immediate destruction of the Planet Killer over all other concerns. Decker never seriously considers any strategy other than relentless attack. He runs a gamut of emotions but remains suicidal throughout the episode, appearing pathetic at some times and impressive in others. His kamikaze suicide is accidentally relevant and he is listed “Killed in the Line of Duty”. He ends up being remembered well and his son eventually captains the Enterprise by the time of the events of Star Trek The Motion Picture take place.

In the end a good script, strong direction and a simple but riveting narrative make this a great episode with a great Mad captain, unique in being benevolent rather than a mad dog killer.

 

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The Women of Star Trek- Mea 3 from ‘A Taste of Armageddon’

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The Women of Star Trek- Mea 3 from ‘A Taste of Armageddon’

What kid from the 1970’s DOESN’T remember the women of Star Trek? Every episode featured not only smart and sexy female regular characters among the crew, but also exotic sometimes alien women that the Enterprise would encounter each week. For no real reason I’ve chosen to start with an Alien.

MEET MEA 3!

  

In one of my favorite episodes, ‘A Taste of Armageddon” we see both one of the very best dystopic  societies Star Trek ever presents in  Eminiar 7 as well as a bunch of Continuity issues in regards to the level of benevolence and interventionism the Federation is willing to exercise. An aggressive humanitarian stance is the only motive mentioned for the ‘diplomatic mission’. Vague mention is made of the need for a “Treaty Port” that would have saved “thousands of lives” in the last half century, so maybe the Federation is just exercising old fashioned and highly aggressive “Gunboat Diplomacy.”

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Special Ambassador Fox

The episode features the annoying and fiery Mr Fox, Special Ambassador from the Federation, aboard the Enterprise on a mission of Diplomatic Intervention designed to force a treaty on the planets Vendekar and Eminiar 7, their destination, for rights to the aforementioned Treaty Port. Fox can and does over rule Kirk and later Scotty, as he is highly and lawfully empowered by the United Federation of Planets to do anything to achieve the missions goals.  These goals are completely at odds with the Prime Directive, which stresses Non Intervention, but hey,it’s season 1 and the Star Trek lore isn’t fully established yet (for example Spock also refers to himself as “Vulcanian”).


Unknown to the Federation, whose first contact attempt had ended with the ship listed as lost a half century earlier, the two planets have somehow managed to negotiate their vicious war into a surgical endeavor via transferring all tactical actions to an adversarial Real Time Strategy Game where theoretical attacks result in actual casualties with those classified as victims willingly reporting to Disintegration Booths spurred on by an innate sense of duty and order. Those traits and some jaunty fashion choices are the only differences we can see between humans and the Eminians. Theres no makeup, brow ridges,etc. They appear as earth type humans.

Kirk, already dealing with Fox intense drive to contact the planet despite being strongly warned off, prevails upon the Ambassador to allow him to make First Contact. He beams down with Spock, Yoeman Tamarand and two red shirts to beautiful, prosperous Eminiar 7 and sees no trace of war. Even  tricorders and ships sensors reveal no trace of conflict. After meeting Mea 3, who assures them they are indeed at war with Vendekar, they re taken to

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Anan 7

the Concil War Room where Anan 7, council leader, and several other council members await testily. He demands the Enterprise leave immediately and refuses diplomatic relations. Kirk begins explaining to him that the Federation is going to be part of the future whether they want it or not, because, hey, we’re way more advanced.

Suddenly one of the theoretical ‘battles’ begins, causing massive ‘casualties’ and ‘Destroying’ the Enterprise (hypothetically). A frustrated Kirk is told that for the greater good he and the entire ships compliment, as well as tens of thousands of Emenians will all hop into suicide booths. Anan apologizes and gamely offers to return the Enterprise (for deposit?) to the Federation. Irritated, Kirk doesn’t bother playing games. Pointing to his superior technology, well armed warship and  highly trained and battle tested crew he confidently promises the total destruction of every city on the planet in a very un-Federation like move. At this point he’s sounding more like a Klingon or Mirror Universe Kirk than any Starfleet Captain.
Mea 3 is the beautiful assistant of the leader of the planet, douchebag liar and video game junkie Anan 7, a functionary with a deep appreciation for the savage nature of his race (and that of the interloping humans who blew off a warning to stay away.) Its Mea who initially greets the landing party, sadly aware of the danger they have thrust themselves into.

The ironically perfectly named Anon knows how to be savage and cold, but only kills by remote control and his ‘victims’ are cheerfully willing. As a leader he’s openly rudderless and opts to go underhanded to stay at war. He whines openly to his fellow council members about what a terrible leader he is. The fact he is running this place with zero vision or charisma may be another way the writers are trying to show the docile, orderly nature of the Eminians. They simply fall in line.

Anon 7 is a truly evil prick who is simply overmatched and out savaged by Kirk and the Crew, who practice straight up war all the time. He ham handedly tries to fool Scotty, in temporary command with McCoy in semi executive role.scotty After its clear his rouse failed Anan decides to attack the Enterprise outright with even less success than his attempts at deception. He continues to attack the ship to no avail, with a  capable, aggressive Scotty  several steps ahead the entire time. Later he foolishly tries a straight up shakedown, perhaps projecting the locals sense of duty on to the Enterprise. Contacting the ship with Kirk in the room gives Kirk the chance to call out to Scotty “General Order  in 24 hours!”. Shockingly, the benevolent United Federation of Planets doesn’t even make it to 25 before their “General Orders” include going Death Star on any planet that crosses them or pisses them off. It just doesn’t square woth later episodes and the assertion they’d die before interfering, a concept that was out the window in the opening sequence.

After the attack on the Enterprise Fox and Scotty clash when the later, fed up and ready to show the power of the Enterprise, decides a few photon torpedoes might just get his point across to the Emenians. Fox makes contact with Anon, and gets a pack of platitudes and lies which seem to reassure the otherwise canny Fox. The final straw comes when Scotty refuses Fox order to drop shields (Anan is seen ordering an immediate attack as soon as the shields are down) as a sign of good faith. Scoffing at a threat of jail Scotty backed by McCoy have the Enterprise assume an attack posture via attaining a higher orbit as Fox and his assistant storm off to venture down to the planet for negotiations and are promptly scooped up for execution, albeit with a deep apology from Anan.
Mea 3 is played by TV stalwart Barbara Babcock. She’s tooling for Anan dressed to kill in yoga pants and a drape strategically wrapped around her. A platinum blonde and complete stranger to modesty she never gets with Kirk or anyone else and is not overly passionate about anything outside her duty, even when that’s as grim as hopping in a suicide booth to be blown to bits, depriving her planet of her super flat stomach and alluring eyes.
On the other side of the coin Mea never gets slapped, punched, phazed or otherwise roughed up by Kirk. She gets off with a grab of the arm and a firm shove. Since this is to prevent her from dutifully committing suicide though we’ll give James Tiberius a total pass on what amounts to mildly accosting her.


Mea is pivotal in the episode. She represents everyone on the planet outside the political upper class (she’s merely a dutiful administrative assistant). She has to thread together some tough dialogue and very lofty intellectual plot elements as well as show the inner nature of her planet’s inhabitants. She’s also the test case for Kirk’s highly imaginative strategy. He’s annoyed and ready to kill and decided he’s gonna mind fuck and terrorize the planets government into negotiating an end to the 500 plus year war as well as establish relations with the Federation. She believably portrays how an essentially human type alien with an exaggerated sense of duty could buy into Kirk’s plan, as much as he reveals it, based on duty and trust. She flips loyalty and aids the Enterprise party in a violent raid where several Emenians get killed by the red shirts Kirk bought along, neither of whom manage to die, likely because after the initial escape they toss their uni’s and put on native dress.
The real target of Kirk’s plan are the instruments of the war, namely the Suicide Booths.
Shocked by the overt and frighteningly effective  violence prosecuted against the security forces by the now Raiding Party from the Enterprise she’s probably the first Emenian to start to believe they can maybe end this war. She may also be somewhat inspired by the gorgeous yoeman Tamarand, who takes a relatively hands on role in the whole operation too. For Kirk’s part, shes the first Eminian he bonds with (shes not trying to kill him, which helps). In her he sees the potential for the race to end the war as well as their alien form of ‘humanity’. She also betrays the level of duty and longing for order that are ingrained in her race.
The final showdown between Kirk and Anan takes place in the war room and is best seen right before watching Seth MacFarlane parody it.  Kirk and Spock then destroy the computers controlling the war simulation, a violation of the two planets agreement and a sure trigger for real hostilities.

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Game Over!

It’s a great, imaginative episode with an unforgettable Trek Chick who maintains believability in a challenging role on preposterous sets (that we all simply love).

In the end she seems to be set up to take a leading role in the new society,which opts to allow Fox to remain behind and attempt a dialogue and treaty to finally, truly end the war.  Hopefully they throw Anon in one of the suicide booths before they retire them.

As the Enterprise prepares to leave orbit Kirk, Spock and McCoy, together for maybe the first time in the episode, remark on Kirk’s strategy on the bridge. Kirk explains he took a ‘calculated risk’, betting a small, highly violent intervention would be a wake up call to the inner fear of the chaos and horror a real war would visit upon them and spur negotiations. Had he failed, well, they had already been at war amassing 3 million deaths a year, so nothing would really change.

Fox’s final report, via subspace radio from the planet is prospects for peace appear promising.

 

 

 

The Force Awakens- Real McTeag Review

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Ok, so reviewing a Star Wars movie is a No Win Scenario, something I truly love, so here goes.

Im trying to be spoiler free, or at least very low spoiler, knowing that read on

I enjoyed The Force Awakens in some ways, there definitely are moments of win,  but in many ways its a story of missed opportunities. I would say that its comparable to Jurassic World as far as entertainment value. Its pretty fun, but has scenes that make you laugh the wrong way. In the case of Jurassic World for instance, who among us didn’t spit out their soda whenever Bryce Dallas Howard used tech talk? “We have a Phase One Real World”. Not exactly “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”, not that you have the right to expect it from a sci fi horror movie. The truth is both movies are Trope fests.

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Perhaps the blandest First Order aligned creatures we see. A near copyright infringing Harley Quinn Type and  huge reptilian walrus man knock off.

My point in comparing them is for that for 20 bucks we still got enough high energy entertainment from a reliable franchise ( lets forget about the second one) in a slightly updated form. In this case though there’s nowhere near the nostalgia for the original series and the original characters are for the moment at least.just gone.

On to Episode 7. My first issue is huge, its about 25 minutes too long and a lot of suck is packed into that wasted time. If he had dedicated just 5 minutes of it to enabling dialogue JJ Abrams movie is markedly better. like half star better.

Lets for one moment consider Director and de facto new creative overlord of the Star Wars Franchise, Generalissimo JJ Abrams. He’s able and been great in his career to be sure. At the same time he made a fool of himself and enemies of the Trek fans with that trainwreck Into Darkness and a truly condescending directors commentary from his Trek movie 1. If you listen to it you can never unring that bell. He wanted Trek to be Star Wars so badly he made it look very similar every chance he got. A great example is how rei’s motorcycle is very much something that you’d see in his trek movies as is Han Solo’s new ship. A more endor type speeder bike approach would’ve been cooler and still made sense as she lives on a scrap yard desert planet.

Movies have changed and Star Wars has changed with them. Flawed Star Wars beats no Star Wars, but this one didn’t need to be so flawed.

The fact is that JJ has now made the same movie 3 times in a row. Star Trek, Into Darkness and Episode 7 have so many similarities its a blog post of its own. Briefly- Painful death of parent/ father figure, bad guys with death stars, Creature Cantinas of an Episode 4 sort of feel. Similar looking props, similar looking costumes, Snow combat, undermotivated villains and occasional poor treatment of beloved characters.His movies have become reliably sort of erratic.  Lately he’s been a combination of semi great and then suddenly he’s a trope addled lens flare addict.

Movies have changed and Star Wars has changed with them. Flawed Star Wars beats no Star Wars, but this one didn’t need to be so flawed.

Star Wars The Force Awakens is a hard movie to really nail down in the moving goal posts of Star Wars Fandom. The Phantom Menace was a movie people turned into the highest grossing film in the series by a comfy margin until Episode 7. It took till the video release until people sort of unified on the growing internet and started savaging it. We can’t assess this movie fully til we see if it sets up the next one well. Here’s how i see it as of now–

The Open- hey, you miss the 20th Century Fox Fanfare, what can you do?   The main theme is also perhaps a touch slower. The cinematics are great, but then the credit sequence from his first Star Trek movie ensues as the landing craft aka Federation Shuttles, depart the Non Imperial Cruiser. They look the same inside and out. OUCH!

Things improve pretty quickly though, Max von Sydow was an excellent touch. BB8 manages not to offend as he is literally rolled out for the first time.

The First Order promptly show they have an inferiority complex but are willing to do on the job training to catch up to the old Empire by just massacring people (to make their troopers hard apparently). Kylo Ren makes a pretty creepy and violent first appearance. Make what you will of his costume. Neither helped not hindered the movie.

Of the new characters

Fin easily is the best. A solid performance and he has that Star Wars urgency that benefits the movie. No issues. You’re instantly on his side. He might even be the straw that stairs most of whats good in this movie.

Rei will hopefully improve and become less uninteresting. Her backstory is just right off the shelf. More annoyingly she apparently proves that the darkside is actually NOT  a faster easier path to power because on some sort of Jedi Instinct that’s believable til she keeps matching and sometimes besting Ren in melee despite his years of training and embracing of the Darkside. Abram Overkill on that one

BB8- they pulled him off well and he has the least amount of what I call “The Abrams Overkill”. (JJ Abrams directs in superlatives. You have a moon sized death star? Fuck you, we have a planet sized Star Killer!). He manages not to offend and occasionally entertains. He also probably has the single funniest gag in the movie

Kylo Ren- Ren is either mysterious or just confusing. I guess we’re supposed to believe he has too much of his dads crusading nature and moms morality in him? A very likely “Psycho Ranger” (tropes!) who could switch sides. The problem with that is after what he’s done no franchise fan will forgive him and he’s got “Season 1 Bad Guy” written all over him if you go by Tropes.

Why he keeps his helmet on what appears to be a bed of hot coals when not in use is another head scratching moment later. Killing his ass early in movie 2 might make everyone pretty happy.

Ginger Haired Tarkin Type- No real complaints except his huge nazi style speech sounds it was written by JJ Abrams lawyer. Whatever, he’s button pushing killer by remote control and shores up the Non Empires cold bad jerk image. In the Trope Guide he is known as “The Mad Scientist”. Well cast and played

The First Order- Well hey they couldn’t just call them the Sith or JJ gets less for the toys. The Non Rebel “Resistance” also play by the same rules. Whatever, we knew how Abrams works when it comes to protecting his merchandising rights from his Star Trek behavior.

star-wars-force-awakens-han-solo-chewbaccaHan Solo – Not bad but Abrams went in a somewhat different direction than I expected or would’ve liked to have seen. After making Captain Kirk into Han Solo JJ Abrams finally gets the real Han Solo but mostly uses him as Indiana Jones, complete with an awesome weathered leather jacket and a pretty funny gun joke. I would’ve expected he’d have shown the “Han Shot First” quality and  made him just a little more ruthless. He is supposedly ruminating over serious personal disappointments. Maybe he was really just trying to combine all the goodwill Harrison Ford has, its was briefly off putting but not movie killing. Another more charitable way of looking at it would be that he reverted to his post unfreezing comedy relief Solo from Return of the Jedi and its just the way he is now.

The Falcon- Lots of win, some suck. Way too crash-y. Hand solo would’ve woven through obstacles to a certain extent before just plowing through anything beyond the snowbanks they mogul over. The slightly different, lower profile sensor dish makes sense and looks great. For the most part the foley art (sound) of the falcon is consistent with how we’re used to the Falcon sounding.

General Leia- She still shines through. Somehow she just does, and shes pretty amazing in the sequences with Han. The Rebellion, now the New Republic, are aggressively exporting democracy these days. In other words, they’re more less the George W Bush administration waging a war of choice by proxy against the first order. This is fine as the Old Republic was also a war machine and a mess at the end when we really see it. It comports well though its occasionally awkward.

Po- Po has potential and is well played. Sadly its just a bunch of convenient plot devices to bring him back into the movie. When he reappears his face is pretty covered by the new bulky X Wing helmets and I was didnt recognize him while he’s doing some pretty cool dogfighting. Hey, its not like he has a distinctive voice.

Supreme Leader- UGH! on this character they screwed the pooch bad. No grease. Someone says it’s Andy Serkis, Im not even interested enough to check. Someone let me know in the comments. If true why they bought in an amazing physical actor to play a guy who sits in a chair is something maybe the next movie justifies. He lacks the awesome voice of Ian McDiarmid, the best bad actor this side of Shatner. He also looks like a Peter Jackson Monster mixed with Prometheus cast offs. Had he been named Corporate Commander it would’ve bee more appropriate and at least funny. He has a totally unimaginative name. Even King Something or other would’ve been better than Supreme Leader. The Star Wars cartoons are higher quality than this aspect as far as writing.

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Chewie- They got him pretty much right. No issues. He also gives Kylo Ren something to think about after he douches out and gets all Hamlet.

The New Republic- While they take a devastating hit from the First Order that’s sure to lead to all out war, from what we get they are aggressively backing insurgents into the First Order and seem to be the initiators of the conflict. Not exactly a Peace and Justice oriented government. Sounding much like a Reagan-esque or Bush 1 or Bush-Cheney America. Military adventuring would seem beneath the standards of the Old Republic, at least until it becomes seriously decayed and co-opted in Episode 2.

The final combat scene is as great as it is frustrating. While superior to the way the Obi-Wan/ Qui-Gon verse Darth Maul fight was cut, its infuriating as the plot holes sort of come at you- since they knew they would destroy the sun why does no one on the First Order side have an evac plan for a planet now presumably about to begin hurtling through space with no star to hold it in an orbit, presumably losing atmosphere?  Could we have been thrown a few lines of enabling dialogue to shore up why the bad guys decided to build a weapon that could seemingly be fired only six times? Mention the star is unique and regenerates would have done it and if I can think of it whats Abrams excuse? Also, just a funny aside, are they now as broke as the Soviet Union? How many of their kidnapped brainwashed army did they lose? Not bad for an attack that seems to feature roughly 16 X-wings.

The jedi combat is great, but undercuts the idea the Darkside is the quicker path to power. This can be fixed in the next movie, right now its an unscratchable itch that I worry will just be blown off. Like lets just find out they retarded Ren’s training on purpose and i’ll be happy. Anakin complained about it enough.

Finally in the most annoyingly convenient plot device in the history of movies with sound; the breaking up of the Genesis planet, umm i mean the Star Killer Base, simply puts the good guys on one side of the sudden opening in the earth and the bad guys on the other. At this point though the fact a decent jedi jump would vault the new chasm falls by the wayside, no one bothers and Kylo Ren shuffles off pounding his pancreas to stay angry (it took me a long time to realize this is why he did this).

John Williams- He’s written better soundtracks. There’s long pauses in the music, its sort of very unStar Wars. His music is a character of it’s own and often eased rough dialogue and enhanced the story telling. Maybe Abrams felt like i do when he heard it and just minimized it? By going with the non Empire “First Order” Abrams assures us we only hear a reprise of the Iconic and plot cementing Imperial March very briefly and mildly when we see the melted Vader mask.

Finally, there are notably, very few cinematic wipes, (i only counted one) a standby of all the other movies and a homage to early sci fi i always enjoyed. Too bad. I held  off this point for last for good reason, the film still works well enough without them. Other rabid fans of the other movies may take it a little harder. I’m not devastated but there’s no not mentioning it.

Overall- See it, its tied with a couple of the other movies at third best. Its not Phantom Menace, but don’t let anyone tell you its as good as Empire or A New Hope. Its just not.

 

 

 

 

Eulogy

  • I know that if everyone had a father like my father there’d be No Sorrow in this world. And have no sorrow for my Father. Remember him whenever you see any man whose greatest pleasure was simply to be with his family
happier times

my dad on one of his happiest days, crazy shirt & all

 

  • thanks to the NYPD honor guard for escorting my father, he was proud to be counted among such a fine group of professionals. He rose quickly to the rank of detective because his life and actions were in keeping with the highest virtues of the department. Honesty, Bravery, Loyalty and Dedication. He was especially proud of the people he worked with and was a team player. He was incorruptible.
  • I suppose the biggest case he worked on was Son of Sam where he was part of the team that matched up the parking tickets, which is what cracked open that terrible case and bought a measure of justice. That guys still in jail.
  • More amusingly he was also was part of the police detail for the Beatles at Shea Stadium. I’m sure he considered them a bunch of british weirdos and couldn’t wait to go home, have a beer and listen to the clancy brothers. Ask my Uncle Jerry to tell you that story. He embraces the beatles later in life.

 

  • My Father’s gift was not some kind of unique quality to him, it was simply that he  had the characteristics and qualities of all good men, but in greater proportion.
  • Upright and true. Charity was his hobby. He was always looking to help his fellow man and derived pleasure from it. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus from age 17 which was where a lot of his charity happened.
  • My father never let obstacles prevent him from fulfilling his goals, he was his own worst critic. He also wasn’t afraid to ask for help when he needed it. Emotionally, my mother was his rock and he was always thankful for her
  • bought home a yellow rose to my mother every payday and some other days too just because he had class and appreciation. When i started working he told me to make sure i also bought a rose for my mother every payday. Thats the sweetest rent i ever had.
  • He graduated high school in 1957 and became a Bank Teller! Thats impossible to imagine. I gotta imagine he hated it too because he turns around and joins the Army. Ironically this keeps him OUT of Vietnam, He loved his country and served well but always expressed gratitude that he had been spared any kind of combat. The worst thing he fought was boredom in the Azores thankfully.
  • I’m glad he decided he would have a family rather than joining the clergy and that he chose us as that family. he was a truly great father and he enjoyed being a husband and a dad. Maybe that’s why he was so good at it
  • My dad was a man of actions and few words.
  • It was my dads faith and honesty that first caught the attention of my mother. Then she also noticed he was quite handsome with a self assured air and boundless optimism. Cool as a young Steve McQueen.
  • Their love grew and endured through 48 years and would have lasted forever.
  • My father knew true love in his life and my mother never left his side during his many trips to the hospital, advocating for him, especially after he no longer could do so for himself. she deserves a medal. Certainly no one ever meant it more when they said ‘I Do”. Everyone should know this kind of love, few are so fortunate. Her dedication over his long decline and many medical problems was nothing short of heroic. She never put herself first and made sure my dad was as well taken care of as possible. She was Guardian to his dignity.

 

       To think of my dad in his happiest days would bring to mind the 1970’s where he had cool sideburns and some of the greatest, loudest, craziest suits ever, plus some super psychedelic ties. Every once in awhile some disco sunglasses to go with it too. He carried his service revolver in a sort of monogrammed Flower Power holster that must’ve freaked criminals out if they could take their eyes off his crazy ties! My dad could do things with maroon that just should never have happened. In the summer he’d pair kelly green shorts with a hunter green polo. He looked like Conan O’Brien but with a sorta catholic school haircut and the suits of Tom Willis from the Jeffersons! Funny, goofy, filled with mirth. He came home every day smiling and you’d never know he had such a stressful job.  Sometimes in his sheer passion for life he could show great levity,like shouting the chorus of “Talk About Pop Music” out the sunroof of his car, with that brooklyn meets boston  irish american accent, just filled with happiness. And always the greatest joy on his face when he would be anywhere near my mother, his Queen. Later in life my sister and i would get him cool hip hop sort of tee shirts that together with his brooklyn hat and love of overisized jeans made him the first ever Ironic Dresser.

 

 he literally glowed with happiness when my sister keri was brought to us by the kindly Father Peter Higgins, completing his family of choice. He was Living his dream and was so fulfilled.  The road to this adoption hadn’t been easy or cheap, he didn’t care he loved being a dad and couldn’t get enough.

I want everyone to know how great it was to be his son and to have him as my best friend, it’s the only way i knew him.

  • I can still remember hearing the distinctive sound of his VW Bug approaching from a block away and running downstairs excited that my dad was home just because he was so loving and pleasant. I can still see him getting out of that car shouting greetings to all kids and and their parents. he loved all you kids so greatly like honorary  little nieces and nephews.  I think maybe this was because he was a happy approachable adult who was still always a kid at heart.  We had such outstanding families on the block. The Scalises, Burkes, Pumas, Rizzutos, Santomeros and Gregories just to start and more. He was a big part of what made our block such a great place to grow up. If you stretch it out to childs and rose you have so many quality people, even as far away as poorly named pansy avenue.

 

  • he promised me when i was about 6 he would always be there for me and he always was. I could tell him anything He was caring and dedicated as a father. If his idiot son and his friends wanted to play their guitars all night that was fine by him, he never complained he needed to sleep… and we werent always that good either!
  • Three people who taught me the meaning of cool as a kid were Captain Kirk, Harrison Ford and my dad.
  • The only two people i ever heard my father speak ill of were Felix Milan and Daryl Strawberry. Apparently “Lack of hustle getting paid big bucks to play a kid’s game” was something he just couldn’t stand. That’s a complete list. Sometimes he loved Strawberry too, so maybe only Milan or possibly Billy Martin if he hadn’t been fired yet. 
  • Loved words and prose, a big reader and occassional finisher of books
  • He loved everyone but chose his friends carefully, be honored to be among them

 

 So many great memories growing up, him taking me and my cousins denise and michelle to see the 1976 king kong at the bellerose theater and he was so great no one cared the movie redefined awful.

He would take me and my uncle paul all the way to new jersey to see the devils despite a perfectly good hockey team 20 minutes away. i think he just wanted an excuse to meet up with jerry and my uncle ron and still see a game. He loved to be surrounded by family and friends at a game.  We saw the ‘Mickey Mouse Game” where we beat Edmonton! He always said ‘The Devils are the only Irish owned team in the league and pat verbeek is a great player!” Lets go devils, i will always think of him when i see the logo. The Jets too. He was loving out Irish qb this year.

 

He was above all things a lover of life. He danced well, sang badly, laughed loud at any joke and delivered his own jokes so poorly it was actually funnier than the joke itself if told well

 

In 2000 we went to yankee stadium for a game against the hated red sox.. me, my dad the closet yankee fan in full brooklyn dodger war gear, my uncle paul and dads close friend frank smith all went and it’s a memory that sort of crystalizes all of it. My dad danced to his own beat just like every day. After convincing him a 40 gallon fishing cooler was never gonna make it into yankee stadium my uncle paul and i snagged a flyball near the bullpen manny ramirez hit during BP. Minutes later it bore the signature of derek jeter and dad and i cherished it ever since.  He was enjoying the day just because he was with some of his favorite people. True to his unique nature he gave me and my uncle paul a 90 minute heart attack during his “short cut” through the south bronx and uptown manhattan. Frank accepted his fate stoically. So we we were all gonna die, no sweat. My Uncle and i were as scared as little girls. Dad laughed like a jackal at us, that was my dad.

He never stopped laughing.

Remember my Father, Keep him in your hearts, always.

 

 

 

(NOTE- the bartender at the after party was, in the greatest of coincidences, a surviving victim of Son of Sam.)

 

the duality of facebook and the rise of Anti Knowledge

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Social Media. Its one of those things in life, we find ourselves in the 21st century and its literally a room full of all your friends ever via you phone wherever you go. You can dial up or down your own volume. I think much like our speaking voices its hard to judge from inside our own heads. So while i admit my statuses are those of a semi irritable germophobe, this post is more my observation of others postings, especially on facebook.

Its the people who fit in and have a pretty good life whose statuses I’m thinking of and there’s is a new element and new themes creeping in.

The theme that seems to strike out at me the most is the people who have posted pictures of their admittedly beautiful families, with very happy and congenial overtones. It reaffirms some ideas about the idea that America might still work. They’re admirable people, some go to church, they have houses and jobs and paid vacations and a measure, it would seem, of the american dream. When my buddy from high school is grilling with his cute kids he’s everything i love and remember.

    And then they post a picture of a racist Obama meme where they show school yard racism. Its a strange disconnect to me that those who are actually prospering have been inspired to feel fear of some impending threat that i am kind of sure is invented. Certainly recent economic trends of growth in jobs and housing are real facts that used to reassure people. To many now they’re moot.

The right sells protection from a threat thats currently got Obama as its primary straw man bad guy. Predictably it developed an ugly racist edge early. People are already so desensitized from it that with a year to go before an election we all wish ended yesterday,  I’m afraid the societal damage from this election may go on for years.

The right sells protection from a threat thats currently got Obama as its primary straw man bad guy. Predictably it developed an ugly racist edge early. People are already so desensitized from it that with a year to go before an election we all wish ended yesterday, that I’m afraid the societal damage from this election may go on for years.

The debate around Police use of Force issues is running concurrent to this and its seemingly not about to go away.Most interesting of all to me is how i have observed that the character of the crowd seems to change as soon as cops start gearing up. The part where this usually happens right about nightfall makes it a little hard to read. Is it that the cops just know when to gear up into Warrior Cop Mode or do American Citizens simply react very badly to the police militarizing in any fashion? I don’t think anyone should dismiss the latter.

So transpose this onto the mind of a middle class american who’s in way deeper than me with stuff like a spouse and kids. It seems to come back to a simple Pro Wrestling view of the world. Obama, bad. He speaks and they hear a bad guy wrestler talking trash. Refusal to acknowledge his actions is commonplace. On so many of the occassions that police officers have been killed Obama has made a few remarks or a borderline eulogy. He calls them heros and promises justice routinely, but the empty podium memes appear anyway with a caption saying this was his reaction. Its anti-Knowledge

Anti-Knowledge is a complex reverse logic that allows a guy too dumb to believe in evolution to develop the cognitive dissonance to be a successful brain surgeon. Its a growing element of 21st Century of America as two sets of facts compete for pre-eminince. One set of facts is old school stuff that people educated in the analog age got in the north. These are ideas like a civil war that developed over slavery, the robber baron versus Captain of Industry debate and a US Constitution meant to be amended.

The competing “New School Facts” are mostly southern regional ideas. These include a static religously inspired US Constitution, happy slaves, benevolent slavery, a northern Invasion to restrict states rights as the cause of the Civil War and a celebration of the failed confederacy. Throw in some serious climate change denial and a biblical sex ed lesson and youve got a pretty good approximation of a 21st century south carolina 10th grade social studies and science curriculum….and its useless nonsense.

Anti Knowledge seems to have emerged from the evolution versus creation non debate as a pseudo scientific shield for Evolutionists, who really just are the greatest intellectual heretics of our time. By creating a separate set of ‘facts’ i believe they think they can reorganize the thinking of their adherents to create knee jerk conservatives. Dylan Roof, the South Carolina Church shooter was a big anti-knowledge scholar.

It could end in 50 little fiefdoms

BARRY LAW CFO ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT

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 When I attended Barry they were using Convict Labor to finish a well below code building, turns out that criminals have administration jobs there too!

Ive written several posts about Barry School of Law here. Their sins are impossible to count. Some include- Lying to the ABA and national publications to the tune of deducting 75% of the cost of a degree, which made them a top bargain and happened just in time, coincidentally, for them to increase class sizes. Then theres the policy of having a minimum GPA so low that not even straight A’s can save you in the next semester(this is called ‘separating a fool  from his money’).  All the while scraping the bottom of the barrel for unqualified people, like me, who NEVER should have been accepted to a law school (only every other school in America passed on me, right?). Their IT situation is late 90’s at best, not supportive of the newer computers a student would buy if the wished to have the best equipment for the job. Example- While they knew many apple products wouldn’t work there they never told the students.

Lastly and most disgustingly- if youre disabled they’ll hide behind Catholic School status and simply not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Yup, fuck you handicapped person, pay no mind to the American Flag over their campus.

Welp, one of their admins is on his way to being a jailbird…..Go Figure!!

This was the best mug shot my readers found.  Featured image

Heres an excellent, thorough article from the Orlando Sentinel–

Ex-school CFO charged after spending $50K on drinks, other expenses

School CFO uses his corporate credit card to spend thousands on dinners with friends and drinks at Hooters.

The ex-chief financial officer at a law school with an Orlando campus is accused of spending $50,000 with his work credit card to buy drinks at Hooters, dine his friends and pay for his personal utility bills, court records show.

The ex-chief financial officer at a law school with an Orlando campus is accused of spending $50,000 with his work credit card to buy drinks at Hooters, dine his friends and pay for his personal utility bills, court records show.

A witness told authorities that LaTorre used the American Express corporate card “excessively and and made unauthorized transactions” from February 2014 through June 2015, according to the arrest affidavit.

A witness told authorities that LaTorre used the American Express corporate card “excessively and and made unauthorized transactions” from February 2014 through June 2015, according to the arrest affidavit.

The affidavit also said LaTorre wrote checks to himself.

On Tuesday police arrested LaTorre, a 56-year-old who lives in Broward County’s Hallandale Beach.

After he heard his Miranda rights, LaTorre admitted “he was aware he made personal transactions on the university’s corporate account,” the affidavit said.

Barry University is a private school headquartered in Miami Shores, with an Orlando campus located at 6441 E. Colonial Dr.

According to LaTorre’s LinkedIn page, he has worked at the law school since January 2014.

When contacted Thursday, Barry University officials declined to comment on the allegations or LaTorre’s employment history except to say he is no longer employed at the law school.

“The University continues to work with law enforcement on an active investigation, therefore we cannot comment any further,” the university said in a written statement.

grusson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5470

Copyright © 2015, Orlando Sentinel

I was wrong about Edward Snowden

After a whole lot of thought and some mind blowung revelations about he underheaded nature of the NSA domestic ‘data gathering’ have convinced me that someone needed to blow the whistle.

The Data collection program needed to be exposed and Snowden should be pardoned and allowed to return.

Some of my other assertions about Snowde though, may still be valid. For example I pointed out he had top sexret clearance with an underachivers resume and seemed too young and inexperienced for the sort of security clearance he had. Its fortunate he decided to use this access to do good rather than personally enrich himelf. He lost everything when he exposed the program. He seems to have been convinced it was important Americans knew what their gvernement was doing, which was essentially spying on everyone all the time. Its actually quite patriotic. While thats cool it does show he was a bad hire for it, as bad as Chelsea Manning.

I had speculated the Russians may have thrown a hot chic at him or otherwise tried to manpulate him. That also still may be true, but he I really dont think he should be viewed as an enemy agent. Putin certainly enjoyed the complte embarrassment the Snowden leak caused the United States.

In the end though its much like the Pentagon Papers, we needed to know and were actually being harmed every moment we spent in the dark while the government digitally profiled us.

So while its still cool with most everyone that you would tap a criminals phone, the idea there needs to be a legal procedure that justifies it with a warrant and some sort of date in the next couple of years to become public information is now seen as the minmum standard.

So to the man who shares my birthday I say- I’m sorry and Thanks.