How Star Trek The Wrath of Khan Became the Perfect Movie

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On June 4th, 1982 all of Star Trek Culminated in what may be the greatest Science Fiction movie of all time- Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan!

It stormed into theaters and held audiences in the palm of its hand for 113 completely brilliant minutes.

Fans were enraptured by the amazing story that features brilliant exposition and a natural flow of action that make this a highly watchable gem. Every Sci-Fi fan needs to see and appreciate this great movie. Few can watch this and not feel the emotion of the great scenes. Solidly acted and well directed the movie is Star Trek’s best story and a triumph for the often troubled franchise.

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Wrath of Khan is on most every Sci Fi Movie Top 10 List fighting it out with Empire Strikes Back for the number one slot in several categories. Any list ranking it lower than Third Best SciFi movie of All Time should be disregarded out of hand!  It’s as good as Stanley Kubrik’s sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Recently covered by amazing critic The Critical Drinker and guest Nerdrotic in a brilliant podcast I’ve pasted at the end of this article; I have some reactions to what they said in here but its not built off the podcast. So while this post does react to some of what they bought up, it was actually mostly finished about a couple of weeks ago and I’ve just been redrafting. So while I recommend and, as I said, will link the cast for you at the end of the post, this is my account of how the movie got made.

I picked it all this up from a lifetime of following Star Trek and tried to source it all, please correct me if you find a mistake.  On certain aspects of the Final Frontier I do have expert knowledge, but if I cant find something I will mention that its more rumor. Comments are as always, enabled.  Back and forth discussions with you the reader have helped for better Star Trek posts every time, and I will fix any errors I confirm. None of this was ever secret and it will check out.

For this post I’ve scoured through all the internet has to say and what I recall and I have compiled all the best of it here!

Making A Perfect Movie

Making a Perfect Movie isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen by mistake, obviously.  Wrath of Khan may just be a perfect sci-fi movie. This is it’s voyage.

After a traumatizing and even sort of bad experience all around for writers, financial backers, cast and fans with Star Trek The Motion Picture, we get what could be described as “The perfect Star Trek Movie.” The second Installment of the series, Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie. This is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of the first Trek movies franchise.

Why is it so perfectly brilliant? Lets explore!

One Last Chance

The first movie was a confusing, kind of boring mess. It was a hybrid compromise that started as a TV pilot and fails its way up to feature film by sucking up a lot of money and getting sidetracked a lot.

It’s the Phantom Menace of the first crews Star Trek movies.  You could make a case it’s actually pretty good, but you really need to know how that thing was conceived and what it became to understand how that story made it on to the Big Screen.

The would be TV pilot was just so expensive the idea of doing something like this on TV weekly slowly started seeming a bad idea. There was a need to recoup the money and the fastest path was simply turn the TV pilot a mediocre movie.

With a new ending soldered on to make it more Movie-like, the first movie is released and makes a tidy sum. Its kind of boring it’s a bit confusing, lacks humor and is overall a fans only recycled Original Series episode re-do on a grand scale.

No one was really crazy about the first movie. But something the studio had counted on happened anyway – people still showed up in droves despite bad reveiews because they loved the characters and they loved Star Trek.

Leaving the theater as a kid all my cousin and I talked was how awesome seeing the crew was and how cool the ship looked. We surely made reference to the story being just like an episode (The Changeling). It was that obvious I could tell even then. Then we were back to how great it was just seeing Scotty,  Uhura and so on.  It was a success in spite of itself.

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By the time they start gearing up for sequel Paramount was fed up and felt it was time for this franchise to make a profit in a timely manner with a good film. They weren’t really opposed to another movie with some cerebral elements and a kind of a deep story though.

The idea Star Trek stories should be a bit brainy was sort of baked in to its culture still. The difference was this time the mission needed to feature action and adventure as well as a smart storyline. The other driving force was for the production to remain under control and on budget.

Somehow they make that happen. In a stunning tale of the tape they make Wrath of Khan for a mere 11 million, this movies dirt cheap compared to its predecessor.

All goals for the concept seem to have been met in a great final product.

This movie is pure Action and Adventure at the Final Frontier, but also smart and respectful of the material. Instead of being a mere reprise of an episode, it’s a bolder concept.  It’s a sequel to the beloved episode “Space Seed.”

As episodes of the original series go Space Seed’s tied with several others for “Best Ever”. Its a top 5 at the very least. It has an awesome villain, played by Ricardo Montalbon, some Starfleet turncoats thrown in and a compelling story that defied any sci-fi fan to look away.

In a show that could sometimes be corny and just dumb fun in some flubbed episodes it was well conceived and brilliantly acted. Stand out broadcast TV excellence.

Failure Analysis and a New Look

We had the bad first movie lighting the way to “How Not To Make A Star Trek Movie”. It’s fair to say that “Failure Analysis” is the biggest contributor to this movies success.

The bad first movie was a clear road map to a film people would actually enjoy. In a moment more like Seinfeld, we get “Opposite Day” where they just make a movie that avoids the pitfalls of Star Trek The Motion Picture, aka Star Trek TMP.

The movie would be serious, but human and action packed. A more military and orderly Starfleet is the first thing we see.

The costumes completely depart from all past uniforms and now have 19th century British Royal Navy feel while still looking futuristic.

This was actually a big part of setting the more serious tone. All future uniforms seem for this crew will be more or less the same.

Phazers and notably communicators are more like they were in the show than the first movie. Things looks look tactile and real.

Then there was a bigger problem to deal with…

Axing the Creator

Originally, series creator Gene Roddenberry was on the project. He shocked and scared people with his idea for the second movie!

Paramount was appalled by a JFK Assassination script with Time Travel courtesy of the Guardian of Forever. It even sounds bad. This was just too shocking and far out to even seriously consider for the studio and that could have been it for Star Trek. No one was going to tolerate another bad, slow, overly important movie. And Kennedy’s assassination was still in most living memories. There’s proably even legal implications along the lines of Defamation.

That was it for Gene Roddenberry as a writer for this or any other Star Trek movie, ever. Paramount had been severely strained under the bloated budget and failed story of Roddenberry’s first Star Trek movie. “45 MILLION DOLLARS!” is just burned into the minds of the Paramount People.

They decide Gene’s a TV genius and to set him to work on what he’s best at – a Star Trek TV Show.

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So here’s how I see it going down – Gene Roddenberry was called into the Paramount office for a friendly chat. The Cuban cigars and good booze are probably out. It’s a set up!

They tell him he’s a genius, they give him an unexpected Golden Hand Shake and then THE KNIVES COME OUT and they FIRE HIS ASS for the mockery of a sham that Star Trek :The Motion Picture had been AND the shockingly bad idea for a sequel.

We can only imagine the scene.  Paramount is horrified and out of patience. The unacceptable sequel idea was beyond the last straw.

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What could have been said? Maybe it was; “We saved this franchise at great financial risk and we all got raked over the coals because lot’s of people thought that movie was so bad! You got the smell on you Gene! You can’t write this one.

“Hey, hey, hey….its not all bad news. Go to the awesome office we gave you (on the far side of the lot) and write more TV stuff that we’ll get out there when the times right. Here’s a check in advance for the show. Did we mention we think you’re a genius? Meanwhile, DON’T WRITE OR TALK ABOUT THIS SEQUEL!”

Star Trek The Motion Picture was proof to the studio that Gene was no movie maker. The fact we get The Next Generation from him on the small screen is proof they were probably right. He makes one of the best TV shows ever that’s hands down the best Live Action Sci-Fi series.

He still manages to sort of haunt the production and the Paramount people blame him for some plot leaks. I don’t believe it. I guess possible he got trashed and revealed he hated it with the heat of a thousand suns, but I don’t think he wanted Paramount any more mad at him then they were. Next step was probably a Hit-Man! Besides he has a new agenda- to dream up Jean-Luc Picard and the Next Generation where he could have total control!

Besides Gene wants the movie to be a hit despite any bruising to his ego.

New Blood

Someone new was needed to be what we would now call a Showrunner for the franchise. Preferably someone not so taken with the franchise they gushed too much and produced another mediocre movie.

Things would be different this time. A deadline is imposed and a small piece of the profits from TMP are allocated to a movie. First order of business, someone not named Gener Roddenberry to create this one.

Enter non Star Trek fan Harve Bennett. His genius in thie production starts a three movie arc of movies that could rightly be called a trilogy sandwiched into the other Trek movies.

Paramount was NOT going through another creative genius melting down on them. In accordance with this, upon hire, Bennett was warned strongly about not blowing tons of cash or ending up with a meandering, mediocre movie. Bennett absorbs it and is sure he can do the movie for about one-fifth the money of the original.

This is what the studio wants to hear. Bennett really works out. He cared about making a good movie that respected the fans who saved the flawed first movie from failing is spite of its problems.

Research is Key

Bennett goes and watches the entire series and the first movie. His take-away? The show had some truly great stories and there were a few very good episodes to build on. The movie however, was really boring and he figured out why. This was probably harder than you’d think because so much is bad and wrong in TMP.

Bennett narrows the first movies biggest problem down to one major issue-The movie had no real villain. The Bad Guy is an Evil Cloud.

The monster is even rehabilitated instead of killed too. In fact at the end the Genocidal and murderous V’ger entity is sort of given one more victim and exonerated. This thing was a threat and Starfleet’s solution is a bit bizarre, but hey it did veer away from Earth and never enter lore again, so okay. Minimal damage.

The plus side is there’s No In-Universe damage from the first movie. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate this just watch Last Jedi and imagine trying to come back from that. You’ll get it. This franchise’s mistakes had limited implications.

It didn’t break a bunch of Star Trek rules and was in direct sequence to the events of the show. At the end of the day it did no harm and showed people what not to do story-wise.  It was merely one of the less exciting adventures for the ship. The whole Planet Destroying Probe concept will be back in a couple of movies anyway with a new dangerous entity.

Things weren’t like they were for the Star Wars franchise after the Last Jedi at all.  Final Frontier was still intact.  In fact things that hurt the experience of watching the first movie clear the way for the sequel by sweeping away characters never meant for the big screen.

Bennett decides that more time will have passed for the crew than had elapsed in real life and now the series is 15 years in the past just like in real life. So the actors are the age their characters supposed to be (at least the human ones). No ones trying to hard to hide their age, they look the part at this point. Theyre known and beloved, they can hit 40 and 50. In fact he works this in to the movie.

The ageing of Kirk and the other characters gets due attention and enters into their motivations as characters. The actors had to love it. They could look like themselves outside Leonard Nimoy. He’s somewhat made up for the character but still gets to age. Spock really is about 100 anyway.

Bennett’s next good choice is that his movie will have a strong villain and have ties to an actual episode or two. He also became familiar with the characters and ends up writing for them as good as anyone ever had.

The episode Space Seed was the best path and its obvious when you watch it. Some rumors say that Harry Mudd would be the one who blundered into Khan. It would not have worked better. The opening is fantastic and Khan is immediately frightening and familiar.

While its not a huge issue Chekov is not in the episode for Khan to recognize, but Chekov and Captain Tyrel of the Reliant get to have the first, amazing encounter with Khan.

It’s still one of the most amazing villain scenes in Sci-Fi History. They just play it like Chekov was there but we just don’t see him in the episode and its no problem. It’s even believable.

And that’s the right move. Ricardo Montalban is a force on the small screen and starring in a huge show, Fantasy Island. Bennett was aware and was lucky Ricardo could fit the movie into his schedule. For Ricardo Montalban’s part, he considered the role a career high both times he plays it.

He menaces and kills crew members, partly destroys the Enterprise and is just brilliant vile and mean. He’s a real adversary. They’ve tangled with him before and he’s had 15 years to grind an axe while using his genius IQ to come up with all sorts of revenge plans on Admiral Kirk. The crew knows he’s fully capable of beating them. He’s got as much gravitas as Kirk and his command of military tactics is pretty up to speed, even if two dimensional.

Mostly relegated to relatable Native Americans in Bonanza and other shows for the entire 60s, Ricardo got better and more successful with age. This movie is a home run for Ricardo. No one in Trek has achieved his status as a bad guy.  It’s probable he’s always going be their best bad guy.

Physically impressive for a roughly 60 year old man (playing a 200 year old man) , they say those are his real muscles, I suppose its true.

Whether they are or not they put together an excellent look for Khan and it manages to be pretty authentic. He looks threatening, he’s got some wild hair and his worn out clothes are perfect. The partially destroyed Starfleet logo he wears around his neck is clearly an albatross-like burden symbolizing his desire to destroy, well everything, but the Enterprise more than anything else. I want one.

Khan and his crew easily could have degenerated into Road Warrior bad guys had so much detail not gone into their costumes. They work well.

Space Seed

In this episode Khan makes a bid to take the Enterprise but instead Kirk turns the tables and, after a hearing, he convinces Khan to agree to exile on an Earth-like planet with his genetic freak cohort and Starfleet traitor Marla McGyvers, ships historian and girlfriend of Khan. So spared prison Khan to his own devices on an unexplored sort of earth-like planet.

Space Seed shows us a worthy adversary. It takes un-frozen Khan maybe a weekend to get up to speed for the 200 hundred years hes been out of it and of course he keeps to himself that he used to be a slightly less mean Hitler type.

The best scenes are verbal cat and mouse games when McCoy, Kirk and Spock work in tandem against Khan to get him to slip up and admit, through a fit of anger, that yeah, he’s that Hitler-ish guy they had suspected he was.

Khan is the greatest foe this crew will ever face. Both times.

He really pushes Starfleet people around. He’s a super genius and he’s like 5 times stronger than the average human. In his time, the 1990s, he had been a semi-benevolent (so he believed) dictator who was forced to flee into space in a pre-warp speed ship. This requires they hibernate, much like in Alien. So of course they need to wake him up and leave the other genetic freaks in cold storage while they figure out what the deal is with these 200 year old popsicles.

Khan successfully takes the ship and is going to kill everyone in reverse rank order. Slowly and painfully, of course. Only his new girlfriend returning to the Starfleet side, briefly stops him. She saves Kirk and the captain foils Khans plan.

Very quickly Khan takes control of the movie and everyone’s destiny in a big way and doesn’t let go. Intellectual Vanity and a huge reservoir of anger are his greatest assets and greatest flaws at the same time.

He gets up to speed quick on everything thats happened since he’d been marooned 15 years earlier. He’s so well written, right down to his angry incredulity on learning Kirk is now an admiral. Ricardo delivers in every way.

Khan also learns all about far too powerful “Project Genesis.” A high minded but ultimately very flawed Terra-Forming Miracle Device. Also, it makes any ship with it into an immediate Death Star! It absolutely destroys a ‘dead’ planet and remakes it. Good thing its safe on Space-station Regula One where some scientists are playing god…. and cards.

The Musical Score

The series retains the great Jerry Goldsmith and the musical score is perfect. Give it a listen, its great. He’d been with Star Trek from Day 1 and his powerful music has been all but a character to this point. It helps move the narrative along and theres some leit motif thrown in, where individual characters and ships have their own themes.

Red Hot Writer

If JJ Abrams were actually good he’d be Lawrence Kasdan in the early 80s. Writing Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi and an intriguing Sherlock Holmes movie called  The Seven Percent Solution that shows Holmes struggling with addiction.

So he knew how to use and treat existing characters. This would is a key skill jumping into a franchise. They just bagged their show runner, so they played it safe and paid for a top knotch screenwriter.

His script is a masterpiece.

So get together a drink or a soda, relax and rent and watch the Best Sci Fi Movie of All Time, certified by me. Put on Star Trek 2- The Wrath of Khan!

 

Is The Phantom Menace Well Written? A Star Wars Essay

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Recent online and Youtube debates have sprung up during Quarantine regarding comparing the different Star Wars trilogies. The Prequel Trilogy was beat up by fans and critics when the films were released, but views seem to have softened.

The truth is now there really are three far worse Star Wars Chapter movies and one terrible origin movie out there. Only Rogue One has managed to work for Disney. Everything else we’ve gotten has been really bad.

While the Sequel Trilogy seems to draw universal condemnation; the Prequels are being reexamined.

Recently the EFAP youtube broadcast, (which I would call an amazing youtube follow) featured a sometimes heated debate about whether or not The Phantom Menace is well written.

To be fair, people are rightfully bored and we have time for it. I’m reacting to their specific question “Is the Phantom Menace Well Written?” I now feel like it’s a little harder to answer than you think.

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While a little acrimonious and no Rise of Skywalker Order 66 episode, it was still an amazing Star Wars discussion.

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The EFAP podcast on youtube is often brilliant. Listen to it. The Star Wars and film making discussions are probably PhD level. These guys know their stuff.

I buy in to much of what you hear on EFAP. Their views on how Disney has just botched all three of these movies they spent so much money on hold a lot of water.

I also agree with some of the political views the Star Wars people are broadcasting, but not so much when I’m in the theater! There’s a real world waiting outside with all sorts of real problems. I don’t need to be lectured or validated by a Star Wars movie! That’s a bridge too far, man.

Most likely I’m not on the same political page as the EFAP guys, I share their feelings on Star Wars and that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I don’t know what else they believe. It kind of doesn’t matter to me either. They aren’t monsters or jerks like Disney would have you believe though. They’re funny and they know this stuff better than JJ Abrams.

As far as Star Wars goes I’m about 80% in agreement with EFAP personalities Mauler, The Critical Drinker, Shad and Rags.

Do the EFAP guys go hard after Disney? You don’t pick up a label like ‘The Fandom Menace’ for being soft. But hey these Sequel movies have pushed hard to be talked about. It’s the one thing they did well. They uncorked four stinkers and this is what happens. Try making better movies, Disney!

Lastly,  on politics in Sci-Fi but this is huge; it’s emerging more and more that while geopolitical points or just the need to be on guard against oppression and protecting freedom work, anything more personal than that just doesn’t. Or at least has yet to be done well by anyone credible.

There; I’m done with the disabusing of my ignorance. I’m not planning to revisit it. Time to dissect Star Wars a bit.

 Rules of Assessment

EFAP has a great policy regarding how to assess the movies. The big rule here is that the novels, video games and comic books don’t count. The movie has to work “out of the box” so to speak. Also, writing the movie for the writers is unacceptable, they’re the artists we’re viewers. The answers need to be on the screen. This really does put the movie in perspective for me. I was tired of people using novels, comics and video games to excuse stuff anyway.  At some point it becomes expensive, un-fun Star Wars homework.

I willingly take on the mantle of Novice Objective Movie Critic. Thanks EFAP.

A Very Mixed Bag

Is this movie Well Written? It’s pretty Bi-Polar and seems to lack key information. Perhaps the opening crawl could have had more information? Or some throw away lines to illustrate the blockades origins and whatever sparked such a radical move?

At times the movies plain boring and depends on big budget CGI sets. For instance, a lot of the CGI has held up in the ho-hum senate sequences and helps getting through a Galactic Senate debate on Intergalactic Politics.

There’s so much to be said about whats bad about this movie. There’s a few really bad characters like Jar Jar Binks. Notable for being the first ever all CGI character and not much else, Jar Jar is the Rose Tico of the PT, fading into the background in subsequent films.

This movie Jar Jar’s front and center and he’s a mess. Some found him offensive he may have been meant for much younger kids. He seems real enough and present though, more real than Leia in Rise of Skywalker.

We have some really terrible dialogue pretty much all over the place. George Lucas is directing and he seemingly never gets your best performance. He doesn’t care, he’s going for your best Star Wars Performance. I’m thinking he doesn’t give you a lot of Direction.

The Galactic Republic political system is logical enough, it’s pretty effectively shown to be nearly completely broken and approaching uselessness.. And that’s advancing the story but it’s just not a lot of fun to watch.

If you wanted to see some exposition on the Republic’s size and unwieldy nature you do get that though. It’s pretty well told in words and images in the debut of the Senate Chamber. For the most part though, it’s C-Span in Space.

Still, Lucas has a complete vision and says everything he wants to say. The problem is that in accomplishing that he didn’t really entertain. A Pyrrhic Victory.

So its a Mixed Bag of mostly bad. Maybe the musical score is the best part. John Williams does well. Duel of the Fates is absolutely great. Starting to count positives with the musical score says a lot though. Not much else gets to be called Great. Costumes maybe?

The plot in and of itself, is actually NOT terrible. Its sort of good. Lucas had pondered the three movie arc a long time. A lot of stuff is also mandated and locked in by OT dialogue.

The fact its a bad movie yet still was somewhat well conceived complicates assessing it.

Then there’s some things that are just hard to justify.

Objective Problems, Lucas Style

Why is there a blockade?

It does seem nebulous but just requires closely watching a slow movie. It’s plainly said. It’s money.

In the senate chamber Senator Palpatine says the dispute started over the Taxation of Trade Routes. So that’s that. The disputes over money and trade. That’s all we get.  It’s easy to find. It’s just blurted right out, Amidala asks for a Vote of No Confidence right after at Palpatine’s suggestion. The “Badly Written Faction” was dead wrong on this.

How are they tracked?

One thing that was discussed on EFAP is “Just how does Darth Sidious trace the Queens transmission and find her and the Jedi on Tatooine?” Watching with subtitles actually answers this. It’s also pretty amazing to read the babble that Jar Jar actually says.

As far as how the Sith track them; its in the movie. In one brief exchange – They exposed themselves to being traced by even accepting the message. It’s not great but it’s said.

After Obi-wan tells them not to reply we get Sidious and Maul. They say theres a “contact trace.” I don’t think this new concept ever comes back again. It’s a contrivance to be sure, but I don’t find it that horrible. It’s done sort of bad but the answer is in there. This problem definitely took some to effort to even find. That to me makes it a bit more minor.

How Do They Get To Tatooine?

How do they get from Naboo to Tatooine if the Hyperdrive is leaking? This never really gets explained. This issue is legitimate as far as an objective flaw. How did EFAP miss it? The “Badly Written Faction” was right on this.

However the characters do not say the Hyperdrive doesn’t work at all. We don’t see them initiate hyperspace or drop out though. An Undocumented mini-jump seems to have been left out.

It’s probably a real mistake. This leaves merely the implication only that they can still move in an interstellar manner pretty quick without hyperspace because, hey- they get there. Not well done though. Sorry, George.

How they get to Tatooine is not spelled out. It is bad writing here.  This one also just slipped by even the objective obsessed EFAP guys.  It really was an objective problem.

The Separatist Blockade simply mentions to Sidious a Naboo cruiser ran the blockade and has passed out of their range. Nothing more. Nothing about having even a general idea where they went. It’s treated no different than if they did go to Hyperspace and couldn’t be tracked (ah, the good old days). That’s another reason that I think Lucas either forgot to write or cut a scene and just forgot to fix this error.

I guess it is sloppy. I can’t make it work either. Somehow its lost in other issues and doesn’t hurt the movie for me. Maybe Lucas is good at damage control and is better at everything at the end of the production then he was the beginning? Because its easy to miss and a little hard to find. Maybe he smoothed it out in editing. There’s no real way to know.

It’s cheaper and actually smarter to do what Watto says and buy a new ship.

They’re on what amounts to Air Force One and everyone is looking for it. The fact the ship itself is valuable is validated when Watto bets on it. I buy this as an objective problem. Lucas makes a mistake here too. Watto should never have said they would be better off buying another ship and created this issue. It’s a real mistake. The characters opt for the harder, dumber path.

Why are Republic Credits worthless and not exchangeable?

Republic Credits being worthless and not exchangeable anywhere on Tatooine was also a little weird and really doesn’t make sense. It’s a criminal planet, there’s no money launderer? Not movie killing, but a head-scratcher and just one more problem.

Why Leave Anakin’s Mother in Slavery?

That fact the Jedi leave Anakin’s mother in slavery when she’s spontaneously generating super powerful force users is a weird choice.  The characters fate could have still been the same in the end without leaving her to Watto. This one is the worst loose end of all. What was Mace Windu thinking on this one? I still can’t get past this.

Lucas is inspired to a point but he’s never really right on in this movie writing or directing. It’s just too ambitious in a lot of areas. Like it’s overuse of 20th Century CGI.

Questionable Choices and Affluenza 

Another issue is that a very key role is played by a child actor. This is compounded when the child actor is asked to act woodenly and Lucas-like. The first entrance of the future Vader is designed to be cute. It’s strange but not unintriguing.

Young Anakin also has to transition the fans from hating Vader to pulling for him. The movie does get there but its a tough slog. I got there after Qui-gon dies and we see Anakin as a padwan at the very end. And its just a visual. This is more a questionable choice than a mistake.

Maybe if Lucas had somehow made Anakin a padwan earlier it would have helped. Maybe he’d have been better with as a youngling apprentice doing things on purpose rather than sort of accidentally destroying a key enemy ship through a series of coincidences?

I think in the moment he writes TPM Lucas was simply too well insulated from any real feedback. There’s no real internet for him to get go and get beat up on yet, that comes in later. Does anyone think in 1996 when the wheels start really turning on this there was any person was able to say “hey George there’s some real problems here.” ? Or that they cared?

The studio knew demand was really strongly there. One example of how they knew- Bad movie Meet Joe Black was a hit that no one saw because all the people left after the Star Wars trailer and it played to empty houses. The trailer even made them money. They just let George do anything he wanted. The Studio was getting a Star Wars movie for the first time in a long, long time.  They didnt care what he made.

Script Problems

The Phantom Menace script needed doctoring it never got. It’s too bad he didnt run it by Spielberg or really good creative.  I don’t know if it could have been totally saved but this movies was worse than it had to be for sure.

The pacing of the movie is slow all the way through. There’s flashes of excitement, but usually these moments happen while another plot point is unfolding at the same time.

The great light saber duel, for instance, is about five minutes strung out over maybe 20. It might even be 3 minutes of 15, I’m unsure. The point is like all other action scenes we’ve got plots unfolding with other characters. This time it doesn’t work.

Some of this sequence is so bad it’s ‘un-Star Wars-like’ if you can say that about a Lucas movie. “Lets try spinning, that’s a good move!” is some really bad dialogue that takes you right out of the movie.

The execution and direction are bad. There’s also a few of worthy paths not taken.

The Acting

Most of the acting isn’t bad, but no one has a super great performance either.

Liam Neeson is okay but his greatest feat may be hiding how bummed out he is to be there. He mostly stays away from Star Wars after this. It probably complicates Attack of the Clones as I think he would have died in TPM anyway and been a Force Ghost in the next two movies. Seems he wanted none of it.

Ewan McGregor, on the other hand does a great Alec Guinness imitation. He owns the role from here on, but he doesn’t save the movie. He’s just not in it enough for one thing. The ensemble cast is all over the place to the point of some confusion.

Everyone else is just sort of okay. Natalie Portman is good enough in her really confusing role. She’s not to blame for any of the problems. Shes mostly just really beautiful wall paper in all three of these movies.

The use of CGI was cutting edge and not all of it holds up. Lucas is trying to do stuff, it’s just not working! He’s no Peter Jackson with the CGI at first. The Disney Plus version may be a little more enhanced than my DVD is.

Is It A Childrens Movie ?

Okay this time maybe the movie really was aimed at a slightly younger audience then the rest of the films. Is Lucas out of his element, aiming too low in age to hit the right beats? It would explain a lot. In fairness we never get a story this bad from George Lucas again.

Way back in 1997, when he was teasing the release, I remember George Lucas saying some elaborate stuff about how he viewed the Prequel Trilogy’s audience. It was fairly well thought out and all about building the fan base through appealing to six to ten year old’s instead of middle school kids with Episode 1.

He was pretty proud of this concept and later it becomes a shield against criticism with the whole “childrens movie about space wizards” defense apologists for JJ Abram’s make later.

The idea these movies are for children shows up around the release of this movie. Until then I just thought the Star Wars movies were for everyone, turns out I was wrong. So I guess I like children’s movies to a point. Perhaps we all do? The flaw in the excuse is that ‘these are some VIOLENT children’s movies.’ The adversaries had to mostly be robots or its an R for violence.

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Lucas 3 movie concept on the Prequels was daring, The movies were meant to be more mature as they went on, ageing up with the audience. Whatever the case, it gets said out loud that at least sometimes the movies were for 12 or even 8 year old’s.

It seems believable when you look at the three movies as one long story. Attack of the Clones has its plot unpacked better and is a departure from Phantom Menace. It’s not as simplistic and unpopular characters get semi-shelved. Then Revenge of the Sith has a dark, violent and somewhat mature tone. Episode III sort of justifies the journey, but that’s another blog post.

This one time the children’s movie excuse might be applicable. This one time the movie actually really seems to be aimed at younger children. Maybe that’s why it kind of sucks.

Is the Movie Just Bad?

Why lie? You could just say this and you’d be mostly right.

The Phantom Menace is definitely not a good movie. It’s fair to call it bad. I think it’s Lucas’ worst Star Wars movie. It was my worst in Theater Lucas movie experience! Especially the part where I saw it in theaters three more times thinking it must be me only walk out in the middle of the fourth viewing thinking about Stockholm Syndrome and

The complex plot is never fully unpacked. Its probably partly by design. It seems to have been Lucas’ thing. He was good at getting an audience to instantly invest in characters anyway. There’s minimal information about the nuts and bolts of the overall situation in this movie. It mostly holds up enough, it’s not good though. The conflict is pretty clearly over money.

We never find out why Naboo is such a priority. A line or two could have fixed this. It could have had some rare commodity the Trade Federation wanted or just been conveniently located on the hyperspace routes. We never get that. Its a fair point against the movie being Well Written too.

Lucas probably regrets he once boasted that the idea dawned on him one day and he wrote the script fairly quickly. It shows in The Phantom Menace. So while his concept was around a long time, he just fires off this script.

It was also the first time in a while. He’s a bit rusty and hard to advise. I doubt he redrafted it much. It seems like no one else was consulted.

In this movie Lucas is at his least successful in so many ways as a creator. The thing is he’s still better than most. His bad ideas are still overthought. He has a backstory and a reason for everything and he can spit out an answer on any aspect of his universe in most any interview. He’s wasn’t winging it, he just didn’t have the story refined enough.

Lucas is completely free to make any movie he wants and it will be funded. That cuts both ways in this movie and he owns the failure. It makes money and he doesn’t destroy his franchise, he just makes a bad Star Wars movie. The Studio didnt care, they just wanted their Star Wars movie after about 16 years of not having anything.

It was the franchises highest grossing movie. Lucas never rakes in more money but the criticisms are there. Having burnt off the Pent Up Demand the next movie had problems finding audiences by comnparison.

There’s real plot holes that got mentioned by EFAP and by people as far back as when the movie came out. The biggest issue is clearly “Why wouldn’t you break loose some cash and send a Jedi back to free Anakin’s mother from slavery?” That’s a problem that Lucas never addresses.

The journey through the center of Naboo was debated as unrealistic. On that point I just say “This is a Star Wars planet, its not even a Star Trek planet. You want to say the core is water? Okay.” That said, the sequence is a terrible mess. It’s not easy to tell who is doing what and why as we avoid a few too many monsters.

Lucas is not really mailing it in; but he has a bad day writing and directing. He gets the performances he wanted. They’re just not what everyone else wanted. The homage to serials was just too wooden in this movie. The expectations may have changed when it comes to acting styles from the release of the OT to the point this movie is made. The generation that grew up on serials was Lucas age. They weren’t running out to see it like they did in 1977. That generations grown kids were the target Lucas fails to appeal to. They were ready to follow him anywhere but this movie just kills Star Wars momentum for the entire prequel trilogy.

There’s a whole post to be made about how this movie is the moment so called “Head Canon” and Toxic Superfans start showing up. Who hasn’t had to sit through a lecture about how they need to throw 100 or so bucks into EU materials to walk into the theater? That’s just not a valid argument. The movie is supposed to simply make sense and entertain. I should be prepared enough when I fork over my twenty dollars.

One huge problem is Lucas has some dialogue and details from the Original Trilogy hemming him in a little. He tries to justify how a 10 year old can be a great pilot, but the solution is the Pod Race, which is only just so exciting and mostly played for laughs. It’s only kind of entertaining. Later when Lucas hits the ‘great pilot’ theme again during the fight on Naboo it doesn’t work either.

The final product has problems and is slow and boring. On the plus side- the damage is real but minimal to the franchise. It still feels like Star Wars, even with the warts. I could make a huge list of continuity and dialogue problems. I’ll mention just one – Theres some characters whose English accents just come and go. Notably Queen Amidala.

Lucas does sell his young Vader for the most part though. Its not a fun romp through the Galaxy Far Far Away, but its the Galaxy we liked for the most part.

The Force is explored to a point but the assumption is that you’ve seen the OT (and you have). There’s more powerful Force use on display, but just better, stronger versions of what we’ve seen for the most part. It’s logical enough a Jedi master would have more raw Force muscle than a glorified padwan like Luke is in Empire Strikes Back or a near complete Jedi Knight in Return of the Jedi.

TPM just sort of boring, though. So the limited exposition about the nature of the Force is an issue as much as the clunky dialogue. They are issues that count against the movie being well written. It’s not poorly conceived though, it just doesn’t work out.

The Midochlorian thing stays around and seems to relate to what’s called Garbage DNA in the real world. Its not in itself bad.

Viewed simply as the first of three prequels we can say we do get some more on the Force a little later. I myself also feel that some mystery surrounding the nature of the Force is good.

Directed with in a throwback fashion this only works just enough to be mostly coherent. Highlights are few and far between. A few more mistakes and it would have been awful.

You can’t say its Well Written but its not franchise-killing garbage. It’s a boring Star Wars movie and yes, overall its bad. Leave it to the Sequel Trilogy to make The Phantom Menace look like “the Good Old Days.”

Because the Prequels get better fast the movie has some fans. Its not Unwatchable.

My Verdict

It’s a Bad movie with a decent but poorly executed plot. Its only just so well written. Its an aberration among the six Lucas movies. I’m staking out a position in the middle. It’s the worst Lucas Star Wars movie. It’s only written just so well. On the other how smart was it holding off on this origin story now that we see it? Episode IV was a better starting point for sure! That doesn’t help TPM though.

The movie has an idea of where it wants to go but still meanders. It’s slow for a movie that has a lot of conflict. Its too long and its got bad dialogue. The plot was only okay. It’s only written okay. Its NOT written outright bad. The story is clear but can be hard to follow as things unfold so slowly.

The plots is pretty good but the movie is sub-par. If being immersed in Lucas’ Galaxy is your thing you’ll enjoy some of it. It wasn’t the best but is no longer the worst Star Wars movie. It’s a below average movie and a below average Star Wars movie and a fairly bad movie in general. Its about a Two Stars out of Five kind of movie.

I dont know if saying it sets up the next two movies well is redeeming to this movie in and of itself. Its still not good.

In a word “Underwhelming.” I guess “It never completely falls apart and just keeps plodding along” is my one sentence summation of positives.

If it got a grade its a C, maybe a C plus. One to ten as far as well written? It’s like a 6. I mean, there’s so many much worse movies for one thing.

It’s also a pretty bad movie, but there’s four that are much, much worse Star Wars movies out there now.

Perversely, its now mediocre among Star Wars movies. Thanks, Disney, you Force Healed The Phantom Menace to fourth fifth worst Star Wars movie!

Epilogue – The Internet Saves Star Wars

Around the time of the release of The Phantom Menace things like AOL get social media going and Lucas has anonymity again on the internet. This was the honest feedback Hollywood money men weren’t giving him and never would.

I’m convinced the internet revolution and it taking on its present form grounded a newly anonymous Lucas online, where people would just unload on the movie and say what they wanted.

My only real proof is that pretty much everything people hated was addressed in some form in the subsequent movies. There’s a darker story unfolding with things like more lightsaber duels, chases and space battles. Things sorely missing from TPM.

There’s a case to be made Attack of the Clones is a fairly good movie. It strongly departs from the stuff that killed TPM.

But the Internet hasn’t happened yet. The Phantom Menace was conceived and made before any real social media at all. The world was different. Cell phones could only make calls and send text messages when this movie comes out.

Here’s the EFAP Debate. This blog post is my theories, heres several others should you want to hear them.

Star Trek Picard Final Episode Reaction

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Well, we had an intriguing start but sadly Star Trek Picard falls apart and never gets it back together. I hope that it is discontinued, it’s not even Star Trek. I was more and more let down every episode. If they do go forward it’s pretty compromised but I guess it has some possibilities.

We know going in that Patrick Stewart’s skill is pretty high. This creates an expectation the script just never meets. It also makes it take a moment to realize that it’s all that bad once things really go sideways.

Over the course of the season its similar in tone and theme to Next Generation pilot  Encounter at Farpoint; but much longer and slower. It feels like it was one long pilot. I have to hope it’s the end because it’s sub par.

It seems like this is it for The Next Generation.  As a lifelong Star Trek fan I once again see a project and say; “We deserved better.”

The idea you would hate watch Star Trek is just unappealing. This Trek shows cynicism is forced. Its backward looking and sentimental.

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One weird thing that I noticed about Star Trek Picard is that it’s almost completely unrelated to the Picard character. He’s along for the ride at best and even sort of in the way from time to time.

There are so many problems. The show’s title character not being that involved is just the tip of the iceberg.

He’s also not the guy we remember in any way. The character now has no charisma. Yelled at by all and sent to his room at one point in the first part of episode 10, he’s not in command of anything.

No one in this show really likes Picard, who is newly inconsistent. These two flaws extend to everything. Patrick Stewart seems to be more in a Professor X mode here. Where’s Hugh Jackman to inject more enthusiasm as Patrick plays a dying man?

Overall the new take on Picard is that he’s almost exactly C-3PO. Sort of scared, maybe mind-wiped. It’s like he’s never been in space.

There’s limited highlights to report after the 10 episodes.

The sexy new Romulan Villainess is gorgeous and wonderfully evil. Her  needlessly complicated story is that shes part of a secret organization within a secret organization who hate all androids. I’m sorry did I say androids? They are now called Synthetics. DO NOT SAY THE ‘A’ WORD !!

The lowest moment of this series is a Synthetic Suicide that makes no sense and doesn’t really look cool.

We also just get bogged down in some bad references to the current state of the world….only they’re from back in 2019. The needlessly complicated story is related to things like Brexit and the US political atmosphere. That turned out to be a bad, deadline creating choice. We didn’t get the show until the expiration date was almost up.

Its too date specific and events have overtaken it already. So much for “Ripped from the Headlines” Star Trek. That’s supposedly a Law & Order concept anyway!

Some other inconsistencies are just unforced errors. For instance, back to Picard himself.  He’s either well known or sort of obscure depending on the needs of that episodes story.  While he’s supposedly a huge media laughing stock at the moment the show takes place; he’s still easily able to blend in with a preposterous costume and a leftover accent from some other, likely better project.  And that’s in one of the less bad episodes.

When the best thing about your Star Trek show is that the actor from Voyager is good enough to somehow stitch together her newly inconsistent character you got problems. Red Alert! Just kidding, no one says things like Red Alert. Or Shields Up.  Or Energize. Or Make it So. They say “Fuck You!” and “Weapons Hot!”

That said the cast is mostly good in these mediocre stories. Like I said, it makes it hard to believe the shows actually as bad as it is when the script just can’t deliver any substance.

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It seems to me that the script was just too long and too boring.

There’s so many rabbit holes. Like some jammed in stuff with Riker and Troi we never asked for or needed. The episode is terrible and features actual rabbits. Space rabbits show up for I guess the first time since the Original Series.

We started out in a bad place – by mentioning the dreaded and hated Kelvin Timeline. Everyone flinched, but it seemed to be handled well early on. It ultimately wasn’t.

What seemed like some attempted damage control was really just a harbinger that lots of mediocre and outright bad Star Trek was to follow.

I was Dis-Engaged and bored a bunch of times on this pointless journey.

It’s hard to take but like I said earlier- Picard himself essentially ends up being C-3PO in this dull but well acted appendix to the The Next Generation.  Anthony Daniels could have played this version of Picard though.  He’s that weak and his intellectual estimations are that useless.

The last episode just doesn’t connect. It actually drags. Its boring when Picard dies. And when he Un-Dies its boring too. His new resurrected body is best explained as a dumbed down Replicant in almost every way. So he’s an android or a synth and even more like C-3PO!

Brent Spiner is okay but he cant at any point pull off the ageless android. De-Ageing Tech may have been better, but this mess looks costly enough. His other character in the series isn’t developed. There’s not much to go on as to why he develops, almost pulls off and then drops his super-genocidal plan. And everyone is okay with him and his planet of flake-y, sometimes murderous ‘synths.’ They just write it off and forget about the (idiotic) plan to help synthetic super beings kill all in intelligent organic beings in the entire galaxy. Pretty heavy.  Couldn’t they have just have tried to kill some the crew and had a believable conflict instead of super genocide as their plan? Something they could be more easily forgiven for?

Killing everyone for no reason also feels like Plapatines plan in Rise of Skywalker.

Anger, shame and deep embarrassment over a life wasted watching Star Trek all compete for the forefront of my emotions. It’s still fresh. They gave me a “Rise of Skywalker” Star Trek project. In a couple of ways.

Diminishing Returns

Things got progressively weirder and dumber and less consistent every episode. We’ve never recovered from the series destroying visit to Troi and Riker. That episodes almost a bright line after which things are just completely thrown out of wack. Was there another episode they broke up and parceled out through the rest to cram that bad one in? Was it filmed later?

No later mention is really made about the things we hear from these unhappy and paranoid but somehow upbeat people. The episode is just a bridge too far, I wanted to like it, I really did. The continued story of Riker and Troi is almost joyless.

The way it works out Riker could have just shown up cold in episode 10 anyway. We didn’t need to know his life has simply sucked since the events of Star Trek Nemesis. He’s strangely unaffected by it.

In his appearance in episode 10, heading a substantial armada (after we hear the Federation is resource challenged). Its a weird series of events.

It’s hard to understand why he touts his ‘acting captain’ status to the Romulans. Seems to make him seem weaker in a moment where he needs to be strong. We can deal later with why he isn’t ‘Re-Activated Admiral’. Or why they put him in the not so cool and very identical and generic looking armadas strongest ship if he’s such a fossil.

Things that seemed destined for a (hopefully abandoned) season two start spiraling to a convenient end. Like a death for our Sexy Female Romulan Agent thats so similar to Kylo Ren’s Penultimate Death its reeking of JJ Abrams inspired incompetence, she’s just tossed into a chasm by 7.

And just like that she’s gone. We don’t see her die, and death just becomes irrelevant soon enough. Feels like a season one Bad Guy sort of death, surely the Big Bad is in the Future? Or maybe that’s the end? I guess the Big Bad is ill explained half Vulcan Romulan Admiral Oh?

When we do see Oh here and there advancing her bizarre anti-android agenda, shes vague, in fact she’s explained more in the episode synopsis CBS provides more than the show. Did they simply have to lose her story? Why is she the only person in the future who had cheap plastic sunglasses? She makes no sense.

By episode 10 Oh has deserted her deep cover job as head of Starfleet Security. Thats it, her decades long treachery is just right out there. Apparently she’s at Endgame for this droid killing mission thats thousands of years in the making.

We see her now as the Romulan Fleet commander. Its been a long haul for this character to get to this point. So much subterfuge, Shes in the perfect job to destroy the Federation, she was seeding in Romulan double agents at will!

But hey, turns out she’s not really that dedicated to her life’s work after all! She’s really not too hard to talk down. The cowardly Romulans simply run.

Meanwhile the Synth Race of Data-like robots and Sochi back down from their Evil Plan and pitch in to help the previously hated humans more or less on a whim. This episode and it’s ending just doesn’t add up; but we already crammed in one useless episode we have to justify.

These writers just hope seeing Picard again will be enough. The script is more “populated by events” then complete in its feel.

I started to think “It’s probably already been too long a journey.” Any goodwill and fan forgiveness is lost after terrible episode 3, which is simply bad.

At no point do we simply go to a planet because human beings are driven to explore. That would be too relatable. And this show has be just so different for some reason. Damn you JJ Abrams! We can’t shake your curse!

New showrunner Alex Kurtzman is best known for bad non sci-fi Hawaii-Fiveoh’s current bad iteration. They might as well have given it to Soap Opera writers. Kurtzman’s people are really bad when it comes to seeding their scripts with endless rabbit holes and outright contradictions.

Star Trek Discovery has the same show-killing problem, we’re only going for ridiculously high stakes here. Both shows plots culminate in the respective crews saving ALL LIFE EVERYWHERE. Let that sink in.

HOW IT GET SO BAD? 

Throughout the too long season the mistakes and convenient plot devices start to pile up. By terrible episode 3 they’ve lapsed into very lazy writing.

The Final Frontiers ‘Tech’ is more or less the Force now; and I mean that in a Sequel Trilogy sort of way, so BAD BAD BAD! It now does whatever you need it to and is ill explained. Maybe calling it “Harry Potter Magic” is closer to how they use tech in this show.

‘The Tech’ is used to move the story along by letting Picard see previously unwitnessed things from DNA traces. Is that how DNA even works? The Irish Romulan seems confidant enough in it. DNA is still topical now, I guess. Sort of.

It feels like a stretch because it just is. The DNA scanner was an irrelevant, unneeded mistake. Just hot-wire the security log or something. It seems like it was just time to use a Magic Wand because they needed a “Star Trek Moment.”

Jeri Ryan is still pretty and wow, she is actually a good actress. Maybe I was too fascinated by her looks on so-so Voyager, where they spent a lot of time developing her character into something completely different from what we had here.

In this bad show shes got a full plate of bad lines and bullshit to spiel but she kind of pulls it off. Throw in some new Matrix-Like fighting skills that make sense and new personality traits that just don’t. Still, she delivers as best as anyone can with this.

So much for Searching for Positive Stuff. I’m not going to re-write or excuse plot holes for them. 7 of 9 makes no sense as presently constituted, but okay. lets move on.

The new ship sucks. Its non Federation and looks more or less like  Eddie Van Halen’s most well known guitar.

The new captain, or more like the new number one, seems to be a really good actor.  For Instance -The bad idea to have him have him play his entire crew isn’t developed that much,  but he’s game in about 6 roles. I’d see him in a play based on this prolonged audition. So we got that.

Maybe the only good thing was we didn’t get anything from Deep Space 9. So your opinion of that show stays intact for good or ill.

It took exactly 2 episodes to start to pity Captain C-3PO….I mean Picard.

Everything just comes together in time to still get wrapped up too quickly despite taking forever to get to the end.

Don’t bother with this bad Star Trek show. The Final Episode of The Next Generation was a better end. It’s sad. Hopes were high going in.

Looking back its been a long haul with these characters.

This franchise was pretty much ONLY good as Episodic TV. In theater’s it was hit or miss. The movies end poorly. This show is just more badness and reminders that we’ve seen most of it done better before.

It’s not all that episodic and the themes it hits over the season aren’t that Star Trek-ish. Its got so much more co-opted Philip K Dick ideas than Gene Roddenberry stuff. While there was some overlap its just not overly compatible as a way to expand this Franchise they’ve inherited but aren’t stewarding well.

The final episode just fails in all sorts of ways. Its self important. It cant really pay anything off.

Picard even dies like C-3P0. In other words -briefly and temporarily.

The only good move for the future of the Franchise seems really unlikely now. The idea was out there for a second. It was – ‘Reboot the Next Generation with a new cast in a Quentin Tarantino movie where he gets to kill off as many of the Kelvin cast members as he wants in a great and plot hole closing story.’

This was really bad and may be the end of all Star Trek.

Maybe Star Trek started to die slowly when The Next Generation TV show wrapped. The further we get from Gene Roddenberry’s vision the worse we seem to do. Maybe enough is enough.

If I were an enterprising sci-fi writer I might seize this moment to advance my new franchise. It might be time to turn the page on Star Trek if we just can’t do it well …or even consistently mediocre.

If you get CBS All Access try the 1970’s Star Trek cartoon instead maybe. I’m cancelling my subscription as soon as I get over my anger at myself for getting it

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New York City Covid-19 Diary

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Day 1- My New York State flag arrived. I decontaminated it. Then i jury rigged a flagpole out of an old pool cue and hung it, in a very safe way, off my fire escape. Then I hoisted my Bernie 2020 flag on the roof off an old pipe that sticks up high enough to be seen from the 7 train. I’m ready to vote for Biden if I must, but thats so far down the road now, who knows?

Days ago i shaved off my beard for 2 reasons. It made me touch my face and it would stop a good seal on an oxygen mask. I also buzzed my chest in case i need the paddles of life. Hey, at this juncture I want to be 100% ready for 10% possibilities. Seems the only way.

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The presidents daily displays of ineptitude only make it worse. He should stay off TV.

I talked to my bio-dad Eddie. He’s a nice guy.

I also spoke to my amazing Uncle Richard, who i fear for most. He’s a dedicated and very kind Roman Catholic Priest who learned Spanish to administer to that community. Hes an amazing and selfless leader to his flock. He sees a lot of people, I’m afraid he may have been exposed to the virus. He wouldn’t care. Hes truly kind and a great leader of Catholics.

I told him he had been a great uncle. He was the first to appreciate my intellect and helped me develop it. I was one of few 4th graders to have read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia all thanks to him. The last movie I watched with him was TOLKIEN and we both enjoyed it.

I also exchanged emails with my mother.

I only heard sirens 3 times today. My neighbor Abe works for the MTA. He says its not a gauge of police activity as the cops and EMT’s are smart and do not want to panic us. The streets are pretty empty. He theorizes they are simply not using sirens. I noted it for consideration. I will now try to listen for the Squelch they use to warn of pedestrians in their path. They have to use that.

I’m fairly well secured. I apocalypse shopped for a week and totally destroyed a high interest credit card. I don’t care.

I may be an asymptomatic carrier or I may still be negative. There’s still no way to know. I feel weird but i did drink a bit for the first time in a couple of weeks. Truth is i kicked down a paywall due to finally having a positive reversal of fortune.

Since January I have again had a subscription to the New York Times. I was aghast at the tales of the COVID-19 virus and I slowly started prepping.

Today i mostly finished my apocalypse shopping and i think people seem to have stupidly overlooked things like the sanitizer i easily bought at the hardware store. Its industrial strength and you can dilute it a lot and and its still effective. I also bought de-greaser. Its pretty hostile to viruses and the COVID-19 virus is apparently covered in lipids, aka fats, aka grease. So There’s a good shot that de-greaser will kill it. Im also good on pesticides and fly strips. Im not risking insects being carriers in New York City cramped-ness. I think im okay

As my kays and 20 bucks in quarters soak in a bath of mouthwash Im only starting this now to make my experiences known as I face what i think will be a mighty pandemic

I also put on my biological fathers Vietnam Dog tags. They made it through the Tet Offensive. Now, blessed by my Dad Johns brother, the Kindly Father Richard, i put them on to deliver me through this chaos. Im an atheist, but you cant be too careful.

Feel weird but hoping its alcohol. I had to get a little drunk tonight. I am glad i had the means to do it.

I dont feel so great but its not COVID symptoms.

If im up to it, and i really hope this is hayfever or something, I’ll talk about the art of second best apocalypse shopping tomorrow. You can still be safe. People have apparently forgotten stuff like coffee and, astoundingly- bar soap! I have a lot.

Stay safe, wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, ration your sanitizer and food.

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Day 2 –

The presidents racist account of the situation is a fresh insult every day. He was a complete jackass again today addressing the nation.

Heard the first siren about 4 pm. My mother panicked and broke quarantine. Im pretty scared for her. Here unwillingness to tell me what she was thinking and what she had decided to do drove her to put herself in a couple of situations she could have been exposed in. She clearly tunes out everything I say.

Mostly i argued with her that she never needed to leave the house and she just kept making excuses. Now she seems to maybe believe that she can bank from home. All so Unnecessary. Im just angry

Sunday Mar 22 – Day 3

9:08 AM  -Yesterday i spoke to some neighbors, from a distance. even the smarter people are least a bit short and angry.

i dont want to go to the bodega much. the bodega workers are okay people, but the owner is a dick and he was scared and anry on wednesday. hes taken  no precautions and ran a dirty store and now hes upset? he sold the last of the cleanser rather than use it to have customers sanitize their hans, He didnt care about playing it safe before. anger wont help him.

i find so far my OCD & fear of germs were actually crazy…..last week. now i see how very minor my OCD was. The routine i have now actually adds up.

i have outside clothes and inside clothes. once the outside clothes are on i know im funky and i can only touch my face when i am freshly sanitized.

I only heard sirens twice. I think going to sleep at 9 pm probably figures in. I picked the right time to get a memory foam bed and upgrade the apartment.

I’m okay on food. Currently obsessing on the need for one more quality spray bottle. The hardware might still be open and its cold. less people will be out. My pre-shower routine today is to go to the Hardware store. Maybe no one will breath on me. i leave at 10 am.

9:58 Heard from my mom. she seems to have pulled off her frantic move without making any overt mistakes or even seeing any humans who weren’t sealed in their cars like she was.  Some banks are closing. moms agreed to check in for 6 days.

Time start thinking about gearing up to visit hardware store.

12:12 PM- got the last couple of for real spray bottles from the hardware store. I will need some it to make it through tomorrows pharmacy run.  In 36 hours the spray bottles have almost disappeared and are going for 4.99? I have several aluminum bucksets. In good times they were for beers on ice. Now they represent the several degrees of isolation my possessions that leave the house have.

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Update 420 pm. Woodside has very little foot traffic. Its something like what you’d expect in a small town.

7 Train is still running for now.

Sirens on and of since 4. last ones were closer.

Angela Merkel and Placido Domingo have tested positive. Probably because outside America there are tests. a medical friend just asked we all donate to help get PPE. i gave what i could. i wrote a letter with a card and a hundred pre-plague bucks to my nephew. I feel terrible Jake’s sixteenth falls amidst this mess. It sitting on the radiator for awhile.  Sterilizing.

I haven’t seen or heard a plane today.  That’s highly unusual being under the flight path for LaGuardia. Come to think of it i didn’t see any yesterday that I can recall.

7:39 PM the presidents press conference was again a complete an unmitigated disater. Throwing shade at possible corona virus sufferer Mitt Romney? It was a low, low moment in an already awful presidency.

The Senate’s actions are baffling, they still were going to their gym? Some of these people truly don’t believe in Science.  But of all people Rand Paul? His father was Medical Doctor. He proved you could be a nut and a medical doctor at the same time. Could he not believe in germ theory? He does love 18th century ideas like the Gold Standard a great deal, could he be so ignorant? I wonder what ever happened to the school that let Rand Paul get licensed to operate on peoples eyes. Look at the stupidity of their graduate on basic Germ Theory! No WONDER he changed professions!

8:06 PM sirens, somewhat close. lots of siren squelches.

Update 9:05 pm – squelches and distant sirens. The Mayor was just on CNN. He clearly can’t really react to Trump’s insanity as a feud at this point would just bring out the dictator that Trump wants to be.

9:47 PM – I knocked back an anti-anxiety pill and my nightly shot of jameson after the last entry.   i hear an ambulances siren squelch as i write this and look to end my day listening to a book on tape. i have all the medication i need. im still gonna venture out for more if my prescription shows up tomorrow. Because I think this will last a long time.

Monday March 23, Day 3

9:05 AM – awoke at 8 am and i dozed on and off for a half hour before i grabbed some  of my limited and precious supply of coffee. I heard distant sirens for a moment ago. The weather sucks. Its overcast and rainy, there was even a moment of hail. I heard the jets engines momentarily drown it out, the hail didnt last long. the plane seemed to be taking off.  So people are still leaving, ot at least the wealthy are. Sounded like a big commercial jet. The 7 train is still running too.

New York is now the epicenter of the nation’s impacted zone. I realize there will be no trip to the dentist to fix my wonky tooth. At least it doesnt hurt, its a potential problem, though.

The internet has moody at best since this started to get real Friday. Its up and down, spiking then lagging.

DeBlasio is now mayor of one enormous Ground Zero for the pandemic. He’s in the same position as the mayor of San Juan. The whole country is now going to get the same treatment the people of Puerto Rico got after their hurricane.

The president is a complete idiot whose making this worse.

3:47 – My meds are ready, this is about the last time I want to go out til work Wednesday.  Its pouring and thats not gonna help my limited Improvised PPE. In a sick way I feel like Im playing Tom Clancy’s The Division! This will be the end for most of the current “outside” clothes. i surely need my hoodie

4:57 PM – back and cleaned up and into my inside clothes after a rainy trip to the pharmacy. some people had masks, not everyone knew to stay back. I had to ward off some people. There is no sanitizer of any kind. There is  no dish soap, there is limited hand soap. They did just have alcohol swabs out where anyone could grab them. i resisted the urge to buy all 8 boxes. I can use atm machines and pinpads at reduced risk with these. i left 4 or more boxes.

I need B12 injections monthly. Its as much as i usually buy, I’m just gonna use them all instead of having them expire for a change.

Friday –

Wow this week was a fucking drag. I take silkwood showers twice a day. Inside clothes vs outside clothes is a constant stresser and I’m already afraid to leave the house on wednesday! Ouch!

I went up to the roof, I am not too happy with all the dog shit up there.

Prices at the Bodega are up 10% out of nowhere this week. I am gonna try to use that dump even less.  His dickishness endangers the whole building. May time for to call the Law on Mo. He’s been a dick for years anyway

Saturday- 1:29 AM

The new dat started like the old day ended. In sirens. Theres been sirens pretty much nonstop from here. Its so quiet I guessI  can hear most of the traffic going to Elmhurst. It’s getting scary. I hope Im not infected.  The tightness in my chest could just be from climbing on and off the fire escape. I definitely beat myself up climbing in and out the window. I guess I really ain’t a kid no more.

On the other hand – I never hoped I had a brittle old man injury before. This time I do. I really do.

I dont know if I can sleep. I am definitely slightly scared.

Do NOT Get Google Fi!!

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Abandon all hope ye who Enter the nether region that is Google Fi. As I sit here awaiting yet another callback i can tell you for 800 dollars the Google Pixel 3 XL has been a nightmare that I will continue to pay for for 18 more months.

While YES; they DO deliver sometimes amazingly low bills, its mostly after you fight an uphill battle to be credited for your troubles.

Whatever you do NEVER use the headphones, because the doggle will destroy your charging port in under 35 hours of average use. And you may not be able to charge it. And that would be REALLY bad, wouldn’t it? Sadly adding Bluetooth headphones wont help much and is another damaging expense that will bring all sorts of new problems to the surface.

You need to have about 2 grand in credit to deal with the dizzying (and slow) exchange policy I’ve sadly walked through no less than 7 times. Its been a helluva 6 months

Having no sim card causes little issues here and there too.

So yeah the cameras great and T mobile service for talk and text are just fine, but app failure and random reboots means that when the super slow camera is up, if you haven’t already missed the moment, it might just crash.

I’m not alone in these experiences. Reddit is doing a brisk trade in hate stories about these people. I long ago began to Fiwish that the volcano on whatever remote island these people have their customer service center on would just blow up and leave it a lifeless atoll.

I’ve been misunderstood, over-talked, condescended to, patronized, double crossed, dropped off hold and transferred badly so many times its pathetic, and again the Reddit Horror stories back me up.

Google Fi may or may not be an intentional scam;  but at the end of the day it may as well be.

They absorb my money and just lay pipe to me like the bitch they surely think I am. And since I just don’t have 600 bucks laying around to buy a phone that I have come to loathe, they might just be right. Goodbye self esteem!

But at least I probably will never have to live with any more of this outright Unethical and dishonest way of doing business on a daily basis. And maybe I’ll be able to listen to a book on a train with enough clarity!

So this is what its come to – I’m probably gonna deactivate the phone, punt pay for it til i can sell it for anything I can get it will only cost me 25 bucks a month. I’m literally gonna pay money not to use this thing. It’s cheaper.

And its worth the disruption. They’ve put me through so many this is nothing  Maybe I can get an Obama-phone for a while in my enhanced financial distress? I guess down the road its regular T-Mobile with a phone I don’t hate? Or perhaps I could bring back carrier pigeons because if I have to call in sick using this thing I don’t even trust the Contacts App to work while I find a payphone I’ll lose my job and feed pigeons  so I may as well train one. Maybe I could even race them like Mike Tyson? Because I’ll have plenty of phone-less time getting back to nature if I don’t pry loose almost a months rent to Un-Fuck this mistake.

Don’t be like me! Or the person who listens to my outright lies about this on Ebay where I’ll say I loved and but I really want to upgrade to the 4 so bad cause Fi is the shit! There HAS to be someone dumber than me!

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Star Trek- Picard Reaction. Is Now the Time to Try CBS All Access ?

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Its been a rough 10 years for Star Trek. So much was lost in the horrible JJ Abrams experiment. Finally a product worth watching is out there. With an interesting first 2 episodes and seeming to be trending up ‘Star Trek – Picard’ is worth a few weeks of CBS Unlimited. As of episode 2 its shown some real Star Trek possibilities while also being one of the smoother pilots in franchise history.

NOTE- The series is over, you can Fast Forward to my Final Episode Reaction if you want. Or read on to see how they fooled me for about 4 episodes.

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The Picard Show DOES have one aspect seen in the Hated Kelvin Timeline. There was a Romulan Supernova in this timeline as well. It’s canon, it happened. The scale has been reduced as the Red Matter simply was more effective on this side of the timeline.  However it was a big enough deal to take out the Romulan Solar system and wrecks their Empire.

The Romulans had always seemed the more devious adversary, and you’d think theyd be so invested in other systems that they could lose even their best system and still be okay.

That said, the repercussions seem to be confined to that. The Romulan’s lost their solar system and apparently their Empire collapsed too.  Supposing the supernova was enough to at least wreck the economies of the surrounding area maybe the Romulans do get sort of cored out.

In episode 1 we find out most Romulans became refugees in a noble but highly unpopular rescue operation championed and coordinated by Picard. The Romulan Diaspora seems to have taken away none of their duplicity though.

Romulans being Romulans the rescue only went just so well. It tore at the fabric of Star Fleet and almost tore the Federation apart. And of course the Romulan’s were only just so grateful. Some love Picard, and some are ready to kill him. So the Romulan’s mostly still act like Romulan’s. They also seem to have some kind of coordination or agency working on their behalf and have possibly infiltrated Star Fleet Intel. We’re awaiting some key information there, but it sure looks that way

In other depressing future news, it seems androids of all types are now banned and Picard is the one champion of the noble, but highly unpopular idea that the lives of certain androids are in fact equal to those of humans. This view was never really popular in the Federation, and after the Borg pull off a decent attempt to Assimilate all humanity in Star Trek Fist Contact, the disdain for androids is well set up.

Now former Admiral Picard has left Star Fleet. He disagreed with its increasing militarism in the wake of a Pearl Harbor-like attack by ‘synthetics’ that destroys Utopia Planetia Shipyards and killed a lot of people. Seems the nihilistic Romulans have had a hand in it. We find out later from Admiral Clancy that this has left Star Fleet short of ships and resources. Mars is a mess. The problem still hasn’t been cleared up. One thing I did verify was that the entire fleet of rescue ships they used to help out the Romulans was there when the attack was carried out by apparently hacked and totally suicidal synthetics.

Episode One shows us some very enjoyable sequences of Picard’s beautiful french manor house where he’s kind of gone hermit to a degree, but has several causes he is championing as a private citizen.

We find out there is mass media and that people are pretty interested in what a former Galaxy Class Starship captain’s views would be.

In a nod to today’s atmosphere Picard is set up and slammed by a sort of intolerant Media operation in an interview gone wrong. Whether the interview was always an ambush or Picard really is just a bit too naive is left up to you. The truth seems somewhere in the middle.

The Hack Attack on Utopia Planetia and a nebulous media reflect right back on modern society like good Star Trek Should. So it’s doing Star Trek things right away by shining a light on what’s going on in the real world at the time its created, in this case that the media can be biased and the various Federation races can still be petty and factional.

The crux of the story revolves around some very Philip K Dick-like Replicant-type androids and what exactly is being done with a half destroyed BORG Cube that’s still lingering , wherever it is. Whats left of the Romulans have some access to it as well as regular Federation scientists.

Picard, a known humanitarian and something of a black sheep celebrity, naturally draws the competing forces to himself in a convincing and believable way. It’s not forced.Nothings been jammed in. The story lines unify nicely. These are the sort of things Jean-Luc Picard was always about

None of the stink of the JJ Abrams era really affects this show.

We have some big time baddies in the form of the jerk Romulans and their constant aggressive militarism and the man who still wants to save them anyway. It took a couple of views to figure it out, but the Romulan assassins all seem to have cool new and very Romulan weapon, a mean spirited and super evil “Take Them with You” suicide pill (implanted in their teeth?) that allow them to spit acid as they die.  Such a Romulan thing to do They’re still mostly a bunch of heels!

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The cast is up to it. With Patrick Stewart firmly in the center the show has no problems. Unlike terrible Star Trek Discovery this show has familiar warmth and people show concern for each other.

In Episode 2 Admiral Picard gets a dose of reality along with the audience. Star Fleet C in C Admiral Clancy is well played by Ann Magnuson. While seemingly hostile to Picard, this character seems likely to warm up to the old Admiral. Right now though, Picard is officially NOT a Star Fleet officer of any kind. In fact, maybe he should stay 1500 feet away from any Starfleet installations for awhile!

It’s now that Clancy also reveals the media wasn’t kidding in his poorly received interview.  Things on Mars are still just horrible, as a result they’re hard up for ships and they can’t really do diplomacy in the wake of the Romulan Supernova. So while the media was confrontational to Picard he had some guilt, delusions or coping mechanisms of his own about the Mars attack.

This is a huge moment. So many revelations are dropped. Star Fleet’s hard up? The Federation isn’t engaging diplomatically? It’s on point for BREXIT and the American withdrawal from the world stage without hammering it home awkwardly. Again, it’s good Star Trek.

Then Picard gets a really bad but mostly unexplained medical diagnosis from someone who isn’t Dr Crusher.  He only has just so much time left as we find out in effective and appropriately Star Trek-like style. He views his newly limited mortality as just one more fact, albeit an unpleasant one.

He’s pretty clear how he dies is nowhere near as important as finishing his life’s work before whatever it is catches up to him. It would seem to line up with what we saw of an elderly Picard in the final episode of Star Trek The Next Generation. So at least some continuity is being preserved so far. It should be kept in mind though the elderly Picard in “All Good Things” was in a hypothetical future generated by The Q entity, whose probably just too powerful and campy to show up in this, the most serious Star Trek show yet.

Just so we know for sure that Picard may not want to live on a whole lot longer, his doctor warns him against going back into Space, but then admits getting killed may be better than the disease. So whatever it is 24th Century doctors are afraid of it.

Two hours in the plot is increasingly complex but unfolding nicely and makes sense. We can see why Picard has all of these intense traits and how he would be so interested in the things that are driving him. Unlike EVERY other Star Trek show this project assumes the fans are fairly smart and doesnt try to re-invent Star Trek on the assumption its somehow bad in the first place. Roddenberry’s vision is more or less intact. This is the Star Trek you remember.

Maybe the best part is the show slows down and develops things rather than showering us with the substance and plot-free Abrams material. It’s a much batter show than Discovery (which I may now bring myself to watch).

Again, all signs in the first two episodes are GOOD. Patrick Stewart reprises the role perfectly. He’s the guy we loved. The story is not episodic but still so far seems to be really good. The new themes are longer looks at things we’ve touched on before. The very Philip K Dick theme of Androids who are very much biological with android minds, whether or not they have a humanity of their own. We have some great episodes regarding AI and androids. This deeper dive on the topic is very much in tradition of The Next Generation. The Borg are still a Roddenberry creation and effectively menacing. Nothing good is gonna happen on that Cube, even if it has been 16 years since it last posed an issue per the sign inside regarding assimilation’s.

So with the make or break third date/ episode about to drop it seems that NOW is the time to pick up CBS Unlimited. If you wait until after Thursday you can see all the way up Episode 4 on your free trial.

Do yourself a favor and go with the “With Commercials” option. Its the way youre used to seeing this kind of TV anyway.

This show is good and it’s definitely time to try it out for a few episodes. Its seems to be trending up.  As good as the Mandalorian. I truly approve.

Skipping Rise of Skywalker was the Start of Fan Rebellion Against Disney

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Well, howd y’all like that Episode 9? The lowest rated Star Wars Movie of all time is still slipping on Rotten Tomatoes.  I dont think its going to stabilize anytime soon. JJ Abrams is now a Serial Killer of Sci-Fi franchises.

Let’s look at the Wake of Destruction he hath wrought.

For Starters; thanks to JJ Abrams 7 years after was basically run off the Final Frontier Star Trek is still reeling and very much needs the Picard show to work out or that might just be it.

Devastatingly bad ideas like the hated Kelvin Timeline are still just tying the hands of the creatives. Bad Star Trek Discovery  is losing a plagiarism suit to a video game and it shows. File that bad show under “not good enough for regular TV” Its bad Star Trek and bad TV. Hopefully they can abandon the Discovery ship out some plot friendly back door? I would suggest “They were ALWAYS from another Dimension” or “They’re ONLY from the Hated Kelvin Timeline”? Just brainstorming.

Why listen to me I’m just the guy who championed Rey being a clone made from LUKE’S SEVERED HAND! Something Palpatine would have been able to get! It’s better than anything about her we got from JJ Abrams in these movies at any time.

Seriously I’m just gonna say it; the Luke’s hand idea is better than all three JJ Abram’s origin stories on Overpowered Rey. Okay, its fan fiction, but the movies awful and its just to prove it didnt have to be. We just filled in one HUGE plot hole problem using what they call creativity. JJ Abrams is supposed to be great at this? Why’s he losing a brainstorming contest to a blogger?

First of all the story starts elsewhere. Yup, the movie starts with a reveal in the blurb that fans of Fortnite already knew. Old Palpy is alive?! It’s such a bad idea maybe people wrote it off as a little canon fun, but NO! A video game starts the story.

JJ Abrams unspools the plot of the movie in a shock reveal in a video game. Yup. And if you didn’t play that game he sort of think’s you came in unprepared. Abrams is that dick professor who kicked you out of class as an example to others.

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So if you ‘cheap-ed out’ or didn’t finish the game here’s the deal – despite being dropped a few miles and being blown up twice, the Emperor is back. Don’t bother thinking too much about it, its never explained. Like so much else in these Sequel Movies things just happen.

So far since Disney took over and hired him JJ’s been destroying Star Wars. I was stunned how badly he did. I mean, I knew he would fail, but WOW!

I can hold my head up knowing I didn’t waste my money on this Rise of Skywalker turd. Sure it made its Billion Dollars, but it took longer than the other movies to hit the number. The reviews weren’t mixed, they were excoriating. Still, for a day or two the fan score held out on Rotten Tomatoes, then it just collapsed. What went wrong? It was JJ Abrams and his half-assed Star Wars vision…or should say lack of vision?

Disney has made five of these Star Wars movies and only one is good in the form of Rogue One. Solo is at best mediocre and its poor box office take really upped the pressure for Episode 9 to be great. Wow did that ever not work out.

Star Wars is supposed to be about Rebelling against an Evil Empire, not submitting to one! It’s that simple. In this case, the Evil Empire is Disney.  Darth Abrams was a bad choice from the word go. The signs were there but people ignored them

JJ Abrams – The Man Who Kills Franchises

The problem is JJ Abrams can only write beginnings, and even then only by creating issues he cant fix because hes simply not that creative.  Abrams being stuck in his schematic “Mystery Box Method” of always doing a shock reveal and the endless lens flare just gets old fast. He’s incorrigible.

He’d failed to end the show LOST acceptably and made perhaps the most anger generating final episode ever. There’s a reason LOST isn’t in re-runs. It was all false canon and zero pay off.  It might be the worst series ending of all time. But people convinced themselves he was David Lynch. He’s so not.

Then one bad movie revealed all and the failures have pretty much always gone down the same way.

JJ Abrams created a movie so bad that it exonerated every other Star Trek writer or director in TV or film to that time. We’re talking all time low. The Rise of Skywalker implodes almost the same way.  A quick look back at JJ Abram’s recent work in Sci-Fi is informative.

Only 10 years ago he was the New and Forever Star Trek Creator. It was a marriage made in Hell. Movie one was surprisingly good. It seemed like we’d be okay. At first glance it was a lot better than Force Awakens. Then he very quickly falls off a cliff.

Awful sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was just a disaster. The word tropes started getting thrown around. If we unpacked it, really its just another one of his high stakes movies where the bad guy has a Death Star like weapon. He lied to the fans to make the story pop more, and fans hated the movie.

Rhymin’ and Stealin’ – How JJ Abrams Movies Implode

From the false flag pre movie rumors and outright lies in the early pre publicity right up to the botched rollout, Star Trek Into Darkness was a heap of shit you knew wasn’t going to work! Abrams sort of ends up telling people they watched his movie wrong while also saying he actually did blow a few scenes in the movie in the publicity leading up to the release. He apologized for inartful jamming in an exploitive scene of a woman getting undressed in front of Kirk. He was right, its done like shit. This starts the trend of JJ’s movies falling apart after a half hour and then being somewhat worse as every increment of 10 minutes goes by til the movie finally just stops (rather than ends).

It’s also maybe the first time he kills and then un-kills a beloved key character using a plot device that just wasn’t given enough attention to seem viable. Basically a Supersoldier Blood Infusion to bring back a dead Kirk. Anything out there in pop culture is fair game. Let’s call it the start of shamelessly stealing from Marvel too (more recently Rise of Skywalker re-used the end of Avengers-Endgame).

Benedict Cumberbatch’s career faltered momentarily and he needed to stay out of America til the stench cleared. For a minute there it really looked like he didn’t know how to act. Cumberbatch has since more than redeemed himself. We know now it was bad dialogue and bad direction. And a movie with an introduced that just needed to go somewhere. Like even just some planet, do some Star Trek stuff, and fails miserably.

Around the same time people starting listening to JJ’s insulting commentary on his first Star Trek movies special edition back when DVDs were all the rage. Let me tell you no one can make their own work seem so bland and undercut their authenticity better than Abrams.

At some point he’s maybe drunk or stoned or something and riffing on his movie. There’s an accidental admission that his first Star Trek just didn’t work at all. The he lets go it had a lot of cut scenes (which we saw) and that they’d gotten lost in a couple of rabbit holes. This only makes you wish the movie had gone in a different direction. Moreover the left out ideas seem really interesting.  Still, the movies pretty good and the franchise seem set up.

The JJ Uncorks a wild one- while discussing the “Angry Future Romulan’s” it becomes obvious a lot of writing happened post filming and it seemed three Star Trek projects leading in different directions were unified by a few lines enabling dialogue and a genius editor. What role CGI played I can’t say but the approach being ad hoc is out there

It was also just unsettling to hear. Sounded a little bit like maybe he just got lucky. Now we know that’s actually what happened. The movies one long introduction anyway, so it was deceptively good. The guy writes good beginnings, but then he can’rt advance without all sorts of canon destroying parent killing trope-y-ness.

Scapegoating Fans

In interviews JJ always seemed to be passively aggressively attacking the fans. I lost count of how many times he criticized the original show or anyone who’d be so dumb as to watch it. I guess because Felicity was available on DVD? I can’t figure him out; I can only forecast his movies by low-balling everything and assuming he’ll miss the mark. This is simplistic, I know, but it has worked. Its worked for essentially 5 straight movies where he’s head creative. Why should he get a break for The Last Jedi? He was in charge, he was too into his 2 years off to care and when he paid attention again Star Wars was seriously fucked up.

JJ’s basic schtick was – I fixed your lousy Star Trek.

Soon he was gone from the franchise. These traits were well out there though and he gets the Star Wars gig.

The Destruction of Star Wars

All JJ Abrams problems would be even worse when he got to Star Wars. Out of control parent killing. Having it both ways on killing characters by ping-ponging from life to death in a flimsily explained way. Fleeing in shuttles, over and over. Crashing your ship into an enemy ship. Bad Guys with some kind of Death Star Variant. Lying to the fans trying to make the movie pop more. Failing to pay off story elements (Luke’s lightsaber’s journey from Bespin to Rey’s hands?) and lots of false canon.

Firstly, to most fans, it wasn’t that badly broken. Turning Kirk into Indiana Jones and boasting about it made Kirk predictable. You knew from Indy that “When he fights doesn’t so much win as gets lucky because he can take a beating” and all the other traits were there too.

At this point JJ had double dipped by both angering the Star Trek fans and  signing with Disney and he was pretty much on his way out to go and destroy Star Wars. While we now know its because he cant write, at the time it seemed like he was trying to kill the Star Trek franchise.

A few humiliating TED Talks about the schematic nature of his film making gave away way too much. And it’s now obvious he just has no plan. Its probably why they bought in a different director and writer to write a middle for the series.

At this point some of us realize the movies are just getting worse. And the amount of homework we have to do to understand whats going on starts to really go up and become a boring grind.

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Others bash Rise of Skywalker better than I ever can, but we all know that  all through this Sequel Trilogy they’ve treated the original characters with great disrespect. Carrie Fisher had to die to be treated respectfully and by then only so much could be fixed.  So we wont dwell on the problems Carrie passing caused. There’s no need. There’s plenty else wrong with this movie.

It’s a Fetch-Quest Video game like The Division. Except not as engaging.  Thrown together with the highlight being Babu Frick and Power Ranger Felicity. Keri Russell will make a fortune and possibly was on set 3 hours.  Its all a joke to JJ!

Soft Death scenes and what seem like true losses of characters are just bought back with little explanation or a bad explanation.

Now we have an insanely bad Star Wars movie I was able to watch online with a few slick moves. EFAP and Mauler on youtube have a combined 14 hours of podcast on just what a disaster The Rise of Skywalker is. One thing’s for sure Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome, while real, was broken to pieces. No amount of fanciful justifications will ever make people see one of these if the trailer is bad again.

Just because the real world is  a mess is our escape from the real world to be a mess as well? I wont pay for this until the quality is there. That means 8 weeks of Disney Plus a year to watch the baby Yoda Show at this point.

JOIN THE REBELLION! If you saw this movie dont see it again! And dont stream it! that’s just rewarding Disney and they’ve taken that as a licence.

The Last Jedi brutally woke us up to the fact no one had clue how to write this stuff and the Lucas dialogue is now sounding a lot better. Seriously we have that much fail here

That JJ was too lazy or damaged to bother giving us a movie that made sense and since The Last Jedi had already shattered some canon Abrams had a blank check to fail.  So he did. Every bad thing we heard made it into the movie.

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One things his Star Wars movie did at the end was unite the fans in anger.

From Palpatine’s horrible military plan built around shock reveals, to trying to un-do Rian Johnson’s failed vision of an old, cowardly, grumpy failed child murderer Luke Skywalker, nothing worked. Throw in some really bad continuity issues for fun too.

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So we got action instead of substance.  We’ve got lots of things jammed in together quickly. Like all our heros in one place at the same time. For the first time in this series. At least it was on the Falcon!

Who are these new characters and is anyone else upset they were named Zora and Zaina but were unrelated? Not too creative.

Tales of a better cut of the movie abound. The amount of cognitive dissonance it takes to believe Disney killed the movie or had some kind of hard cap on run time is preposterous. An excellent movie could have flirted with three hours. The idea this horrible movie that makes no sense was made in spite of better product is ridiculous.

He will say we watched it wrong soon. We weren’t wrong, it was the same ending as the Avengers Endgame, just done badly this time.

So much was lost in the shuffle. The preposterous and unexplained journey of Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Bespin to Rey is a novel few will pony up for, and just one of many pay offs that this trilogy fails to deliver.

If your name is JJ Abrams the only price you pay for failure is critical blog posts and youtube content providers killing you. He’s off to destroy DC. It’s a mind blowing end to a contract that probably just should have just been given to Peter Jackson.

I was right. This movie is a streaming rental.

So while the Baby Yoda show seems to be promising, it seems the Marvel People will now get what’s left of Star Wars, and really, its for the best.

Pour yourselves a drink Star Wars fans, JJ Abrams is gone. Now dont be an idiot and pay another hundred bucks to buy the comics and novels they will crank out to try to un-fuck this turd. There should be a price for failure.

If you go out there buying the new merchandise and help them to a point where THIS movie is a success? The movies will keep getting worse.

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I’m Not Seeing The Rise of Skywalker and Neither Should You!

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Bad Trailers and Two Bad Sequel Prequels Point to Bad Movie

Sadly, we have been down the road of Bad Star Wars movies, especially since Disney took over, too many times. At every step of the way the sacred trust and love people have for the movies prevent you from getting any read on a movie you’ve seen 10 out of context minutes of in all sorts of commercials already. From candy to cars, Star Wars sells it all. 

Right now an early, spoiler-y but terrible review has emerged from GQ which kills the movie; starting with it’s really bad re-introduction of Palpatine. Here’s a quick quote that sums up what sounds awful – 

The “return” of Palpatine could easily turn out to be some clever scheme by some unknown villain, who hopes gain power by drafting on the reputation of the terrifying emperor.

 

And then, just a minute or two later, Kylo Ren comes face-to-face with Emperor Palpatine himself—very much alive, thank you—and Rise of Skywalker starts digging a hole it never finds a way to climb out from.

This damning piece of information, which shows nothing was learned from the (Horrible) Solo Movie Easter Egg as far as being unexplained and bad, seems pretty movie-killing just on its own. Its apparently right up front and there was worse in there. 

The Phantom Menace Paradox

My warning here probably won’t stop anyone either,  because Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome is REAL! People sympathize with anything slapped with the Star Wars logo.

How bad is it? Well, The Phantom Menace was the biggest grossing of the Lucas made movies. So, in a sense there’s no way to measure how good the movie is. That Phantom Menace defied the few realistic but much shared bad reviews and scathing word of mouth to be the most lucrative Star Wars Movie clouded peoples judgement. The malignant concept “now they’re Bomb Proof” was born. Fortunately the prequels got better fast, but the Box Office, while still great, was a bit down after Phantom Menace initially tarnishes the concept. even though it takes til home video for anger to really emerge. 

In contrast; near perfect movie Revenge of the Sith had a sort of disappointing box office. It wasn’t really about the movie, which, again, is really good. People were tired of Star Wars by this point.  Some people had hated both the previous movies. Also at that point, with all the video and re-releases, they had flooded the market. These things as well as being the only R rated Star Wars movie made it a cautionary box office tale compared to the inferior film, Phantom Menace. Another bad precedent was set. 

NOTE-Revenge of the Sith is slowly redeeming itself because there’s just a lot worse Star Wars movies out there. It had mixed reviews and was somewhat overlooked initially, but that’s another post.

But the idea a truly bad Star Wars movie was still going to do great financially was out there and it was just too intoxicating. Crank out the movies and merch and stay away from what made Return of the Sith great was sort of built into the game plan. 

Disney seems to have taken this as a license of sorts. They know the movies can’t truly fail (or so we still think), so what difference does it make if it could be better so long as it opens on time? Sort of like “Its crazy to own an Orange Grove and not plant oranges in orange season.” They paid out the nose for this and they built a theme park around it that costs a fortune to go to. 

No one believes they’re ever going to slow down the franchise until they can make, you know, decent movies. They just want their holiday Skywalker franchise and their summer Star Wars Stories  to open on time. After all, a lengthy delay didn’t help SOLO, which wasn’t even the best Sci-Fi movie with a Paul Bettany Death Scene in theaters that week (That would have been Avengers: Infinity Wars).

Critics have finally found some courage since the disaster that was The Last Jedi and the lackluster “Solo” movie that just felt like what many said it was- a wikipedia page on screen. So while Rogue One was an amazing view, the other three movies from the JJ Abrams crew up to now are bad or even awful.

The Curious Curse of Hiring JJ Abrams

While some people might be more forgiving, JJ Abrams will always be the guy who gave us the worst series ending of all time with LOST way back in the day. A seed was planted – JJ Abrams can only wrote beginnings. Nothing since then has disproved it.

Abrams romp through the Star Trek Universe left it so messed up things are still not really together a decade later! Chances Quentin Tarantino directs a Star Trek movie are far from high and seeming to drop weekly. The two TV shows, one bad, one yet to be seen, won’t be on regular TV but a streaming pay service from CBS. In the case of Discovery, season one wasn’t good enough for TV. The other show, Picard, appears to exist outside the so called “Kelvin Timeline” people so hate, so it may be good.

The truth is JJ Abrams is a Tropey, check off the boxes and terribly safe writer on the Star Wars movies. He’s mistake prone and creates boring enemy ships and aliens. The formula when Abrams is writing is schematic and transactional, never, ever missing a merchandising plug. Grasping at any plot device to advance from one “Star Wars Moment” to the next, we get from point A to point B in the most predictable way possible most every time.

For example- Is it really plausible Finn and Po are close friends because for 3 minutes they attempted to escape the First Order together? Consider for a moment how brief and frenetic their meeting actually is. No effort was made to really give them the kind of time together it takes to sell a buddy connection. It’s simply bad storytelling. It’s okay, you didn’t watch it wrong, it really is bad.

So the clunkiness and the impersonal nature of the heroes compounds to the point you’re just waiting for something to happen or the movie to end. JJ Abrams didn’t invest emotionally in these characters, why should we? Because he talked us out of about 18 bucks? Because getting conned sucks? I don’t know but people seem to never attack the movie without throwing some justification in there too. In this case it’s “worth it so see the end of the franchise no matter how good or bad.” It’s a cult in some ways.

Back to the new character.  The fact that BB-88 is one the most popular and relatable characters says something. Non verbal and usually pure slapstick. He’s a break from the lack of substance because a droid bouncing off the walls during a space dogfight was funny and didn’t go on too long. The other characters? Maybe the fact they ARE verbal hurts? Dialogue has never been great in Star Wars, but these Disney movies feature some of the blandest techno-babble ever.

McTeag’s Law of New Star Wars Movies

The Rule seems to be ‘The further they get from Lucas material the worse the movie.’

Selling Out to Sell Toys

Who among us will ever forget the Disney lowpoint with C-3PO pointlessly mentioning his red arm? Out of context and needless. It was just there to visually (and financially) differentiate the Toy income stream. It differentiates the C-3PO toys Disney and Abrams gets more of than the ones that are more like the Lucas version, which Lucas gets more of the money from. 

These movies have some of the worst toy connections ever, probably because the ships and creatures aren’t that good so they have to be pushed hard. And really, it’s only just so great compared to the Lucas conceived stuff.

At this point I have to note -JJ Abrams is also a bad toy developer, which in these movies, really hurts. The stuff he outright inherited from Lucas is amazing and we love stuff like Han’s blaster, Luke’s lightsaber and the sounds they made when primed, when fired and the level of damage they did to a target. In contrast Abram’s gave us things like Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which angered and confused fans with its ‘self amputating’ looking crossguard. 

The elephant in the room is simply money and an intellectual property contract that showed Lucas is still an amazing businessman. Disney only “owns” it just so much and Lucas seems to have found a way to get paid again if too much of HIS vision is used. It turns out Lucas is also pretty successful in litigation when he sets his pack of lawyers on people, even Disney. I don’t think he went out of his way to make this clear and waited for them to make a mistake. Rogue One was almost pure Lucas and I think, with no proof, that he had his lawyers go down there to Rat HQ at Disney with a very serious letter about how much they needed to pay for exceeding the copyright. Good for Lucas, bad for fans as the run from Lucas properties becomes a priority and a plot driver for the Disney Movies.

This is why the killing off of his properties has been central to this new series. In The Last Jedi they kill off the ships from Lucas’ movies. Before that in so-so Force Awakens, Han Solo is just plain old killed in a typical ‘Abrams Parent Killing Scene’ we’re so used to its no longer emotional. For example, he kills 2 parents in half an hour in his first, deceptively good but “all beginning” Star Trek movie. It’s his last nominally good movie. Follow up Into Darkness was a complete mess and disaster that angered all Trek fans as he seemed to sabotage the franchise on the way out the door. One of the biggest insults- lying about what was in the movie to make it pop more. “It’s not Khan but a new villain named Harrison” was ridiculous and no one was surprised it was just bull when they saw the movie. 

Into Darkness was THE most apologized for moment in a Franchise that at different times has starred a bunch of geriatrics, was written by soap opera and western writers, was for a time abandoned by its creator and was led by William Shatner on a shoestring TV budget in the Politically Incorrect 1960s!!! Whats THAT say? 

Since it’s the same fans for the most part, no one was all that psyched to see him land at the helm of Star Wars, and Disney has turned out to be a bad fit. Talk about “Failing Your Way Up!”

In the Disney Star Wars Universe it’s this simple -the closer they get to Lucas’ Vision of The Galaxy Far, Far Away the more Lucas must be paid. But the closer to Lucas the better the movie. Disney just wants money.

George Lucas, The Real Emperor of the Galaxy Far, Far Away

Unlike Abrams,  Lucas’ genius as a filmmaker pales in comparison to his abilities as a highly profitable business man. Time and again he puts profits first and gets them. 

George Lucas generated a fortune for the studios and he managed to please the fans about four and half times out of 6 tries. The only things people truly hated was his slow pace of development between projects and retconning too much.

Hollywood loved that he put profits first too. In one case a better video transfer technique was right around the corner, but the deadline was more important and a pink shift/ purple shift affected the way the entire first trilogy looked. (Note- the version in Disney Plus right now is even a little more re-engineered, with the damage from other transfers somewhat addressed.) Now it looks like he understood the market and his abilities better than people ever gave him credit for. 

Theres Only One George Lucas

At the end of the day the fact is George Lucas was far and away a better creative than JJ Abrams and still made a lot of money. Mountains of it. This is because Lucas self corrected a couple of times. Abrams, contrastingly, has been making and remaking the same two plots for 15 years now.  And one plot is just ‘total pasted together fan-angering mess!’ and the other is “Bad Guys Have an ad hoc Death Star”  

Yes, Phantom Menace is terrible, but things improved fast despite the lack of goodwill for awhile towards the prequels. The bottom line – most of the things people hated in Phantom Menace are minimized or written away in Attack of the Clones, a movie that gets BETTER every 10 minutes even if its never really “great” it’s not terrible like its prequel and doesn’t make all the same mistakes that movie makes(only some of them, mostly upfront). 

You’ll Love it for 6 Bucks

That’s right, I said it, Rise of Skywalker will be a great view in a few months when you can watch it at home for 6 bucks. You’ll probably feel pretty good about punting on it. The theater is just a bad risk now. Some people I know have already seen it and one review was ‘preposterous’. So I don’t think I’m gonna end up being wrong on this. 

My Plea

Don’t bother going to the theater to enable a bad incarnation of a once great franchise. The movie looks derivative and bad. The lead up and trailers are bad. The promise to slow down making the movies if we just see this one is not encouraging at all and wont be kept.

So skip this movie, or, as a wise Sith once said to Luke Skywalker; “You will pay the price for your lack of vision!”

May the Force be with You as you watch the Mandalorian with a borrowed Disney code. That at least has mostly been really good.  Screenshot 2019-12-20 at 11.53.10 PM

Just Another Sci Fi Franchise

That’s right, you heard it here first. The bloom has been off the rose for awhile, but now the Star Wars movies are just plain old movies like any other franchise.  Worse yet, these newer movies have a higher chance of being bad than just any sci fi movie, and in fact Avengers has been better for a while.  While Rogue One delivered, really the next best movie they’ve given us is the shaky (and now undermined) The Force Awakens, which is not quite as good as Phantom Menace. 

And there’s no real need to go to crime ridden Orlando for the Theme Park til the price comes down either  but that’s another post. 

Trump Impeached- So What Happens Now?

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Trump’s Historic Disgrace

Donald Trump could have just stayed on TV as America’s nominally favorite nominally wealthy guy. It wasnt meant to be though. From the moment he won the election he’s taunted Congress and much of the American Public with non stop crass statements and ham-handed lawbreaking . Now what many called Inevitable has happened.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was resolute about not impeaching Trump as recently as October. Then Trump’s attempt to cheat and gain politically in the next election by shaking down the Ukrainians came to light and everything changed.

The Democrats, for their part, were outright scared the president was trying to fix the next election and essentially become a Dictator. Nothing the president did made this seem any less likely. Blundering dismissive statements by the likes of Mick Mulvaney, Gordon Sondland and others amounted to admissions. In Sondlands case, he was seemingly looking to step back from the concussive wave of criminal charges.

Three Most Likely Next Steps

So here we are. The future seems to have three possible paths.

First, Pelosi can give Trump his wish and send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for a Reverse Drum-head Show Trial where he’s pre-certified Innocent along partisan lines. For a president who is only able to live in the moment immediate exoneration is a physical need. We all know it’s his preferred scenario.

The second option is Pelosi can take the legal route and return to letting the courts slowly but inevitably continue to rule unfavorably for the White House on who can and can not exercise Executive Privilege. This was taking forever, but mostly was wins for the Dems. It would probably drive Trump completely crazy. We all know he can’t hold his fire long or wait out a bad situation.

Then there’s Scenario Three; Negotiate a Better Trial in Senate

Pelosi could just hold onto the approved Articles of Impeachment and tighten up the case and negotiate for a better set of rules for the Senate trial. She has that right and wields the Speakers power well most times. This has the advantage of making Trump into his own worst enemy because the lack of a celebration of innocence and declaring Trump the victim in the Senate will drive the bloated Chief Executive absolutely crazy! We all know when Trump’s end comes his own actions will figure in greatly. Why not give him the chance to run his mouth? His clown Giuliani will chime right in.

When the two of them get going at the same time watch out!

Prediction – Pain

I think we’ll see a combination of scenario 2 and scenario 3. Pelosi will not immediately forward the Articles to the Senate. She’s going to hold off for a chance to have a say in how the Senate handles it and pick the best Impeachment Managers she can find.

While shes not doing that; there’s nothing stopping the Democrats from simply proceeding in court, where things haven’t gone all that bad.

Off the Rails at a Rally

The combination of No Exoneration and continuing legal setbacks could start a meltdown so profound Trump destroys himself. The same night he was Impeached Trump tried to appear unaffected and breezy, but as usual he couldn’t hold it together at all and resorted to a favorite tactic- attacking a deceased opponent.

In this case, he trashed the late Rep John Dingell (and his widow), of Michigan right on his home turf. For the first time ever there was a sort of mixed reaction when, at his hate rally, he went after Dingell’s wife and implied Dingell was in Hell. Once again another grieving family was fair game for the president, who just isn’t that stable and seems perpetually enraged. His only moments of happiness seem linked to low road behavior, like trashing dead people or War Heroes.

He could lose some more people and start to spin towards George W Bush approval ratings or worse. While the most deplorable 30% of Americans will run off a cliff with Trump no matter what, numbers matter. It’s going to be the other 70% who will get their way.

So while the Dem’s let Trump steep in his own juices for a bit, the very real possibility is he loses his mind and scares enough people to get Removed. The House could show some initiative by shuttle passing the Articles of Impeachment after a series of fresh bad revelations. Like some of his taxes getting out there or a new sexual attack accuser. This always triggers the president into a shameful meltdown across all media.

Trump’s Many 9-11 Lies

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The worst day ever. A day where even Howard Stern went into News mode and stopped all on air humor. By 10 am the entire national character was changed forever.

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The Donald’s Self Centered 9-11 Lies

What didn’t change that day was Donald Trump’s penchant for self centered grandiose lying. The buildings had just fallen when he started off a blue streak of horrible lies that continues to this day. The only person who had a 9-11 as emotionally fulfilling as Trump would be Osama bin-Laden.

And every 9-11 since Trump has refreshed and updated his lies. Always bigger than the previous years. The lies have really piled up. Eventually he presented himself falsely as prominently featuring in the recovery efforts by supplying labor and equipment. It’s untrue.

Remember just how badly he screwed the pooch last 9-11? A day where he acted a little worse every hour?

The fact is the president is simply plain old bad with serious things, especially death. Be it the death of a military hero, the death of a rival politician, the death of an average citizen, you name it. He’s made inappropriate comments about all of it. He always speaks horribly and never offers anything in the way of comfort (unless you count violent retribution).

Failing to show any compassion in the face of national tragedies has been Trump’s True North. Be it defending Nazis, disappearing completely when gun violence by angry right wingers unfolds, trashing the late John McCain or making grandiose false claims in the face of bigger tragedies, like the Hurricane that he won’t admit devastated Puerto Rico. Trump’s been a total bust in a role where the nation used to look to get a few sober words of encouragement from their leaders.

In New York Trump was already old news by 9-11 and no one was overly surprised he said outrageous hard to believe things. Mostly no one noticed because everyone except Trump and Giuliani were emotionally overwhelmed and not reading Page 6 to see Trump’s crazy claims. So some of his worst remarks were shot into the dark, luckily for him. But not all, some people noticed. Trump’s vulgar personality was well known.

The things Trump has done and said revolving around 9-11 have been just plain disgusting. He started off immediately, gloating THAT DAY. As the fire raged he falsely claimed he now had the biggest building in Manhattan. Later came the delusions that he saw people falling from the building from his vantage point 4 miles away. Most obnoxious of all was maybe the lie about seeing “thousands of arabs dancing on the rooftops celebrating” when the buildings fell. This last lie seems to have no bottom and lead to some deep lows through the campaign and beyond. 

Shamelessly taking 150K in Federal Aid he probably didn’t deserve and definitely didn’t need was the first thing he did when the dust started to settle.

Needless to say there was no aspect of 9-11 Donald Trump didn’t personally appropriate. he was the biggest victim if he’s to be believed as far as personal loss goes. Notably saying “I lost hundreds of friends” on 9-11.  It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious. It would mean Trump knew about one out of every ten people who died in the Towers.

Does anyone believe he ever had hundreds of friends to begin with? How many friends do you have? How many of them work in the same quarter-mile area? Yeah it was downtown Manhattan, but being friends with ‘hundreds of people” in just the Towers?  This is BEFORE Facebook changed the definition of friend. There was virtually no social media yet. So anyone having ‘hundreds of friends’ in 2001 seems a stretch anyway.

So the idea you could have “hundreds of friends” who died on 9-11? Is this even true of anyone outside say the pretzel vender who had the stand outside the buildings? That’s about like as likely as having both your children become left-handed starting pitchers for the Yankees the same season kind of a long shot. It’s a damned lie.

The biggest lies Trump has uncorked about 9-11 have mostly been about seeing completely imaginary “massive celebrations” of ‘arabs dancing in the streets and on the rooftops’ of Newark when the Towers fell. Sometimes he has claimed to have been in midtown when he saw it. we all know he cant remember anything and never stops lying. Sometimes he really screws his lies up. This is the claim that lead him to famously mock the disabled reporter who tried to clarify the tale, which was reported as an unverifiable rumor and NEVER involved ‘thousands’ of people.

It seems to never have happened. There’s never been any footage or pictures of it. It was just a random thing Trump happened to remember that was never really true. It was in with all the other misinformation like the car-bomb that wasn’t on the 59th Street Bridge or the pipe-bombs in the subway that were just abandoned suitcases.  In other words; it was one of the misconceptions and wild rumors that flew around in the ether that day.

It’s a story only in the papers that were put together by dazed survivors who had been in proximity of the Attacks, later on 9-11 (as limited a run as those papers were). Facts were few and far between for about a week. New York papers did some of their best and worst work at the same time. It was followed up but the reporter could never verify it. There were rumors all over the place. This one ends up being the most toxic, but not for a really long time as Trump doesn’t recall or speak of it  for 14 years.

Maybe the most notable thing about this racist lie, he’s first recorded uttering in 2015, is that its the first time we know of that he ever sees a large crowd that isn’t there.

Could these be some of the same imaginary people he saw at his inauguration?  That particular shindig, which Trump’s lied non stop about, sometimes claiming it was “a million people”, had far less than a third as many people at it as President Obama turned out in 2009, where it really was close to TWO MILLION people on hand in the moment in DC. So it’s a notable first as far as outright hallucinations the ‘president’ occasionally has.

Back to Trump’s extraordinary claim. I personally refute it based on the fact I lived through the same events here in the New York City area and can tell you it absolutely would have ended in murder if you tried to be happy and start dancing the day 9-11 happened. It wouldn’t have been something only one person ever saw. The people who did something like that would have been jailed for inciting a riot the moment such behavior began if someone didn’t simply attack them first.

Anyone who had attempted to dance and celebrate on 9-11 would have been physically attacked, possibly killed (and the killers would have gotten Community Service) on 9-11. Where’s the police records? Where’s the Emergency Room records? Where are the court records for the crimes this would have sparked. Where’s even one other witness to this massive display?

The Bully in the Bully Pulpit resurrects this day far too often. And always for far too little. In this case it’s just his mean-spirited nature can’t miss a chance to attack a minority female and its wrapped up in 9-11 to disguise his attack. I feel like it comes off as part of his whole hatred of women and minorities more than anything else.

The day of 9-11 was horrifying and wouldn’t end. Only Trump found a way to celebrate that day. Trump knows an ignorant cottage industry sprung up around 9-11 and when he lies about it it’s just a mentally ill guy looking to create other mentally ill people to hang out with.

It’s strange that History will have no choice but to call Trump “a powerful, seductive voice” but it just will. He’s led Marine Generals and captains of Industry off of cliffs. And still they keep falling in line to fall of that cliff. It’s plain old hard to fathom how anyone finds him well spoken or compelling enough for the label to fit but it is what it is.

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Trump Vs Omar & The Squad

Trump of late likes to take bigoted, racially tinged shots at prominent female freshman congressmembers. Rep Rashida Tlaib, Rep Ayanna Pressley and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (better known as #AOC), collectively known as The Squad are female Democratic Party progressives. Trump likes falsely alleging they’re radically, even violently UnAmerican. He’s railed that they ‘should go back where they came from” despite three of the four being born right here in America. Bizarrely, a lot of the attacks on The Squad revolve around 9-11.

The creation of an ‘enhanced’ out of context audio clip of Omar that the Trump people then manipulated was bad and dishonest enough without looping it and juxtaposing it with the worst moments of 9-11. Like 7 times in a row.  Ihan Omar, elected from the sae state that gave us Michele Bachmann, is something  of a poorly spoken novice as a freshman House of Representatives member from Minnesota.

To attack her over 9-11 when Trump himself is particularly dishonest about it was a bridge too far to start with for most of the American Public. Its also  just a pretty flimsy pretext to send a message that’s straight out of the Third Reich as far as hatefulness. Way too eager to be a creep there.

When it comes to 9-11 I’m a lot less prone to be upset or offended by someone understating the whole thing than I would with a person who misappropriates it and co-opts it to advance their own egotistical designs.

So the real Trolls of 9-11 have always been Donald Trump and Ann Coulter, not necessarily in that order at any given time, but really, no one’s said anything that comes close to what these two have said.

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Star Trek – The Motion Picture -Why Is It So Bad ?

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Star Trek The Motion Picture, or Star Trek TMP, is the Phantom Menace of the Star Trek franchise. Featuring a bi-polar plot that never connects, it’s the feature film equivalent of a “Monster of the Week” style Trek TV episode.

The movie will be back in theaters for a bit this summer to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of its release. If you have a Roku or other device you can see the first three Star Trek movies for free uninterrupted right now using the DUSTx app/channel. So it seemed like a good time to rewatch and review them in order.

Star Trek roars into theaters for the first time on December 7, 1979 with a whimper in the form of this bad film redundantly named Star Trek The Motion Picture.

In a Nutshell

Its A Mess! This movie is just not that good!

The plot is a little complex and assumes full knowledge of the series. It was born and spent most of its life as a TV pilot. There was no “Un-TV-ing” the way its paced. It’s important to remember a switch is literally flipped when they realize its going to be a feature film. Then the TV pilot tries to be a movie and it’s at odds with itself. In essence it’s a miffed attempt to re-boot the TV series that ended up sucking up so much money they can’t just walk away; so it fails its way up to feature film.

We’d seen a very similar story before in the TV episode “The Changeling“, which is imaginative among episodes, but not a movie-building episode. I can only imagine they were going for something closer to what we get in the pilot for the Next Generation.

This supposed pilot had things it needed to do as a pilot. Re-Introducing the original characters and giving us some new characters through an interesting monster of the week two part episode with an emphasis on showing the ship and the gear and setting up future episodes was more important than making the single best episode of the series. So motivations aren’t really there to make a movie at all, or even a really good episode.  There were people lined up around the block looking to write the new episodes too. We get the best ones later in the Next Generation.

Development Hell

In fits and starts some stuff was getting done, but it’s just not going anywhere. The plugs not pulled but things slow down while Paramount reconsiders. Things are up in the air.

Star Trek TMP was on its way to a similar fate as another failed Star Trek pilot “The Cage”. It’s tempting to the network, and Roddenberry could sell Star Trek, but sci fi is dead. So it kind of ended up in what they call “Development Hell.’

“Development Hell”, a term first popularized by Tim Burton, is what killed off his  mediocre Superman movie but produces this bad Star Trek movie. It’s a term for a movie or show that’s got some elements in place, but not quite enough. Outright bad ideas don’t end up there, they die. On paper a Star Trek movie is actually a good idea, especially when the second release of Star Wars A New Hope is just vacuuming up money. And that outside development was the final thing that bought Star Trek back.

So basically it’s just pulled off the scrap heap and gets a pretty big injection of cash for cinematic special effects really late in the game. This is why some effects are much better than others.

In Real Estate terms, this wasn’t a complete teardown so much as an extensive refurbishment with a poorly planned addition.

The Really Expensive Pilot that Just Didn’t Work

This pilot had problems from the start. The biggest was Star Trek rip off, TV show Space:1999. The Star Trek people probably knew they had problems when they saw that there were a few too many similarities between their new production and this show.

I think the similarity the new Star Trek production’s look had to that of bad TV show SPACE:1999 cheapens their vision right in the moment. I’m sure it bothered the writers and creators, who immediately move on from this look.

The Space:1999 people seem to have blundered into this and the Star Trek people just found out too late. You can’t very well look like a bad TV show when you’re making the jump to film, but it was too late and unfixable. It also may have started people thinking these two shows on TV at the same time would be confusing.

Both Star Trek and Space:1999 showed a bad vision of the future.

Making a believable Sci-Fi movie is never easy to do anyway, but this movie fares worse than most. No expense was spared in creating a huge series of only okay sets that would have seen heavy use in a series. They saved what they could but most of it looked wrong.

It’s fair to call the uniforms and this movies Enterprise a dead end experiment. Sick Bay may have been an exception to an otherwise bland Enterprise, but the future has caught up and many of us have seen our CAT scans and MRI’s in real time on a big screen, so it’s a push there.

As I mentioned, it’s sort of a Star Trek tradition to have a pilot fail and then re-emerge in a slightly altered form. Similarly, this failed pilot is re-cut into a bad movie on the fly.

It was “throw this out there and get what we can or forget about Star Trek forever.” There was only one choice for the Star Trek people. They rebuilt the movie as best they could on the fly and prayed some heavy effects scenes would carry the movie.

They were pretty much wrong.

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All this had actually sort of run out of gas maybe 6-18 months before Star Wars is released.  When a lot of this work is being done there didn’t seem to be a huge interest in Science-Fiction. Then 1977 rolled around and  Star Wars begins a Sci-Fi craze like never before. A bunch of franchises ride its coat tails into mainstream success.

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Space:1999 featured a similar look

Ironically, Paramount’s disdain for the project helps prolong it and ends up keeping the idea alive long enough. The movie does get made when things change and sci-fi is hot again (and forever) in the wake of the 1977 Star Wars movie, aka Episode 4.

If production hadn’t been so far behind we may have lost Star Trek forever. So it was a fluke this gets released. So we probably owe the continued existence of the Star Trek franchise itself to this reckless decision that pays off just enough.

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Starfleet’s New Look

Star Trek Stops Losing Money

So now the public is hungry for Sci-Fi and Paramount wants in. Looking around, the fastest path is a half finished Star Trek pilot on the ‘In Need of Help’ pile. It’s not that good, but hey, it’s almost done! It can be finished and in theaters pretty quickly. 

There was also just a lot of Star Trek fans out there having conventions and buying lots of merchandise even after Star Wars. So there was demand and an audience for a Star Trek movie. It had become iconic in re-runs worldwide.

The decision was made. They would finish the pilot as a feature film. They throw another 15 million bucks, a fortune in 1979, into cinematic effects and do what they can with what they have. It’s about one third of the entire budget. It was a lot of cash, but it shows up after TMP is almost done.

Obviously, it was the right move. Per Wikipedia the movie takes in 139 Million Dollars off a budget of 46 million. So it brings back triple what they spent. Much more than it ever could have raked in as a TV show. Paramount had thought they’d get somewhat more, but the movie is far from a failure financially.

It was all found money for Paramount. They couldn’t have been happier. The only reviews that counted came from the people over at the Accounting Department! This passed over pilot had been really costly. And really slow. Now, the studios attitude towards Star Trek changed considerably. It was finally set up to make a profit.

Everyone’s pretty happy to have gotten off relatively lightly as the franchise moves to the Big Screen with a better sequel as top priority… just as soon as we get this turd out of the way.

This was never going to be all that good of a TV show anyway.  We don’t know exactly when they made the decision to go from TV to intentionally mediocre movie, most sources  say two thirds into filming, so a lot of the scenes remain very TV-like. They were writing as they were filming by the end. So things got frantic. It shows up most in the no pay-off, bad ending, written on the fly under a looming deadline.

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not everyone’s gonna make it to the end

The Biggest Problem

My Guess? At some point Gene Roddenberry has too much control and all the delays give him too much time to think and make bad decisions. Then they pulled away a lot of control with a deadline and some harsh takes on his results so far.

And times really changed in the roughly five years it takes from start to finish with this Star Trek project.

When things start out 2001 A Space Odyssey is the standard for big screen sci-fi. Before they’re done Star Trek’s original 1977 release had really, really changed things. Special Effects not the least.

V’ger ends up just a badly done alien by the time they are ready to release this movie. It’s also not any kind of real villain, despite its genocidal streak. They only got some of the pop they had hoped for from the Special Effects. The 1974 ideas may as well have been 1954 ideas after Star Wars hits theaters. They looked bad.

The One Good Hire

While much of what we see onscreen is sort of bad when you watch it now, they do start introducing some recurring themes and make a key hire. Composer Jerry Goldsmith, who did the music for the series and was in fact a very in demand movie score guy at that point, was bought on to handle the musical score.

They were smart and right on to get back Jerry Goldsmith to work on most of the music for this movie. Reunifying him with the franchise is maybe the most important thing this movie gets us. His contributions are not to be underestimated. We have the first ever attempt at the Next Generations theme used in the movie. We also get the Klingons now familiar theme song for the first time in the cold open.

The soundtrack, for the most part, is good. The Star Trek music is as good as the Bond Music as far as themes go. And on par with some Star Wars movies as well. It assures some continuity from the series to the movies mere atmospherics could never have accomplished.

There’s what’s called Leitmotif as well. All that means is some characters have their own theme music, just like in all John Williams scored movies. The evil cloud, for instance, is always accompanied by harsh synth music when it manifests its various guises. We get an Enterprise theme as well. It adds to the believability of all Star Trek movies.

The Controversial Firing

Whatever else he may have done, the one thing Gene Roddenberry had absolutely cemented in Paramounts minds was he was an idea guy and a TV Guy, NOT a Movie Guy.  His Star Trek movie was not what they wanted and he had serious objections to the studios ideas. They also already had some problems with things he was saying about the sequel, which scare them even more about giving him control of the movies.

He was pushed out to a degree and his lack input to the movies (but perceived prowess on TV) gets us the amazing Next Generation. So in a way it all worked out. Gene Roddenberry later has similar issues with the Next Generation, but his somewhat untimely death resolves that.

The key decision that Star Trek didn’t always have to be profound is made. While its too late to lighten up this pretentious, self-important movie at all, it shows up in the sequels. Sort of like Pink Floyd when they part ways with Roger Waters. They wanted to be meaningful and artful, but they also weren’t always going to make some deep statement. It was freeing in both instances.

It was the right decision for Star Trek, where they immediately see how the wrong approach makes a movie fail in the way this one does. The tagline for this release is “The Human Adventure Has Just Begun.” Very 2001 A Space Odyssey-like. Pretty important sounding, for sure.  It didn’t have any scenes that lived up to that tagline.

So now, sometimes we’re just gonna have fun in this ready made Galaxy.  We might allude to something larger here and there in an observational way, but everything doesn’t have to be Asimov-level profound.  Being meaningful was still out there, but profundity was not the number one goal anymore.

It worked. The 5 direct sequels are all better for these decisions, it was okay to be lighthearted and funny after this movie. In this movie there’s a total of one lighthearted scene courtesy of DeForest Kelley. The rest of the time the stakes are super high with a failed attempt at building tension and some conflict between Kirk and Decker.

Incongruities

It’s still essentially a TV script and its partly made when they switch gears. While that’s part of its appeal to the producers, it leads to some uneven pacing when the movie slows way down later.

We also get a couple of very doomed new characters leftover from the days of it being a pilot. They just don’t fit anymore, but they have key roles in the story and maybe some of the already filmed scenes. We can pretty much figure out what’s going to happen to them.

New character Captain Will Decker is the only qualified non dinosaur around, but he’s been quickly, curtly demoted and, shall we say, Red-Shirted. This was also going to happen if it stayed on TV. He was going to be Kirk’s Number One.

Then we have Captain Decker’s ex girlfriend, whose inexplicably verbal about being  celibate. Welcome aboard Navigator Ilia, who I guess gets downgraded from TV cast member to “Hottie of the Week”. Her shaved head is less disturbing now then it was in 1979. Her other alien trait is a Russian Accent. Aside from showing up Chekov’s accent theres not much to say about her. They’re an early, underdeveloped version of Riker and Troi. So we’ve seen this done better too since this movie.

She’s not an effective alien even when she returns in ‘replicant’ form.

They never seem like they’re going to make it to the end of this movie. This isn’t helped by the fact the movie itself at one point seems it will never end!

It’s the first appearance of a Seventh Heaven cast member in creepy Stephen Collins, who was at least okay in his not so great role. His Seventh Heaven TV wife shows up in Star Trek IV as a Marine Biologist.

The Mediocre Movie, Act 1

As revealed later its 2 years since the Enterprise ended its 5 year mission, so 7 years from start of the Mission and our season one stories. Everyone looks pretty much the same. Its an evolutionary moment in the lifespan of William Shatner’s hair, he has a strange piece or weave, but the Shat is BACK and Kirk-er than ever!

The movie opens as the Anomalous Cloud later revealed as V’ger easily destroys three klingon warships in true 70’s sci-fi fashion. The primary weapon of the cloud is best described as ‘bad’ and has a pretty laughable effect when it actually destroys anything. The point is made though – don’t mess with the cloud.

Fortunately for the Klingons its just passing through their neck of the woods on its way right to the homeworld of the hated and annoying Federation. So they just leave it alone. In due course it consumes a Federation listening post at the edge of Klingon space.

With TV-like brevity we get a quick glimpse of Spock flunking his try at the Kolinar Emotional-Purging Ritual, which is presented as lengthy and difficult and shows a stressed Spock with long hair. Then, assuming full familiarity with the series we get a mind meld that we may not have really needed where we learn Spock is sensing V’ger. While it doesn’t add up that it’s being sensed by his human side (other humans don’t mention sensing it) we move on fast enough to forget this.

We then transition to an actually pretty cool looking Starfleet Headquarters and find out right away Starfleet Command is hyper focused on the Anomalous Cloud that defies all analysis. Chief of Starfleet Operations, Admiral Kirk, is point man on this one and he’s game, but he also has his own agenda- to be Captain of the Enterprise once more.

Admiral Kirk and Scotty, whose still chief engineer of the re-vamped Enterprise give us a real show of the ship as the move around in a shuttle to dock with the Enterprise, which is refit and now snow white.

At TV speed we find out Kirk’s far more taken with the idea he’s back in the Captain’s Chair than with the enormity of the impending encounter with the dangerous cloud. He’s James T Kirk, he does deals with this all the time.

The ultra clean Enterprise is going to become a constant in the series and on TV but we never see the Enterprise looking quite like this again. Its white and spotless. The main sensor array is just a glowing blue disk. There’s lots of humans hanging around it for scale reference and the movie ends up behaving more or less like a TV pilot.

In a TV Pilot-like manner Kirk busts Captain Decker down to “Executive Officer”. Decker takes this well enough, but he doesn’t mince words calling the Admiral a manipulative jerk. He’s right too. Who cares? This is a man whose father almost destroyed the Enterprise tangling with the Doomsday Machine in a great TV episode. Good command decision isn’t in his DNA anyway.

The Enterprise itself gets an almost character-like intro. The convenient reunification of the characters is amusing only with McCoy. You could be excused from missing Janis Rand completely. Shes one of the horrified transporter crew that melt a couple of crewmembers. It’s one of the few moments the movie has any emotion.

Minutes later Kirk’s pretty glib about the transporter as we get the aforementioned 2 amusing minutes courtesy of Dr McCoy, whose more than a little angry over having been drafted back into Star Fleet.

In short order we reassemble the most of the original crew plus some bland toss ins. We move via the Enterprise to intercept the Cloud, eventually to be known as V’Ger, which no one bothers to keep consistent in size. Best guess is its about the size of our solar system and is emanating enormous power readings.

Act 2

We get what at this point is a brand new concept – the ships not quite finished and the crew is not that trained, but there’s a threat and its the only Federation ship in the area. This will get re-used a whole lot but this is its first invocation in the movies.

While en route to intercept the cloud Kirk pushes everyone too hard and the opportunity for another very 70s moment of special effects shows up in the form of a Worm Hole created by an imbalance in the warp engines. Then his mistakes is compounded by an asteroid pulled into the ships path. They have just a few seconds to figure it out. We get another very 70’s moment where time is passing slowly and everyones speech is slurred. Showing his ignorance of the new design Kirk orders a phaser blast while at warp and Decker saves the ship by countermanding Kirk’s order and using a photon torpedo instead. Brief tension ensues.

This is a deeply technical and not so good sequence that really hurts the movie. The effects are bad.

Then, the first cast member we saw briefly and then veered unevenly away from returns as a shuttle with Spock arrives to dock with the Enterprise. The whole desert emotion-purging thing has Spock acting like he’s abusing downers. He’s not going to reach his normal conversational level that quickly. He, like Kirk, has his own agenda anyway. The anomaly is what reached out and stirred his human emotions and ruined his training in the first place. He assumes science officer duties and for once Decker is happy to yield ground.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are in place, so your pretty sure things are gonna be okay. Spock is somewhat ‘communing” with V’ger. He can’t elaborate on it just as the sensors can’t quite pin down the makeup of the cloud. It’s been done in a real “checking off the boxes for a TV pilot” way.  You gotta imagine most of the effort was going to try to find an ending for this movie at this point as they rewrite on the fly.

We find the ship offline to a degree for a moment while Scotty applies Spock’s convenient software patch and fixes the warp engines. We’re off to meet the cloud.

When we finally get to the Anomaly, Kirk doesn’t probe it and leaves down the shields. He’s dead set on not triggering its defenses, which are as effective as they are silly. The shields hadn’t helped the Klingon’s, right?

Approaching the Anomaly we get some pretty state of the art attempts at effects for 1979, but they.re by no means astounding. There’s some great exteriors of the ship flying through the cloud. If you only like Enterprise-porn, where they just show off the ship, you’ll love this movie.

A game of cat and mouse ensures and the Enterprise is sort of engaged with V’ger, eventually entering the cloud and barely escaping destruction by persuading the entity at the heart of the cloud, that they’re not a threat moments before it would have atomized the ship.

Act 3

The movie is now primarily trying to find it’s way to a few Star Trek moments and to feel cinematic after a lot of TV shooting and pacing. It really slows down in the final act.  It feels uneven because it is.

At some point the Enterprise manages to end up inside the giant ship within the cloud and we find out the V’Ger entity has really been around. There’s a visual library of a very extensive journey.

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the Enterprise approaching the outer event horizon of the V’ger Cloud

A sensor wave from the cloud cuts through the bridge but seems to cause no damage. Then it fries the navigator, Ilia and with the sum of the ships computers knowledge it simply disappears.

Meanwhile there’s some form of communication coming from the cloud and the Enterprise finally picks it up. With some communications established we get a ride through the cloud.

Eventually we get our navigator back but now shes a scantily clad replicant-like emissary from the Anomaly, which finally announces itself as V’ger. She has little to offer about V’ger’s nature and is more about checking out the carbon based life forms the ‘infest’ the Enterprise.

Since they used to be lovers, Kirk has Decker hang out with the thing and show it around. It would seem it deeply affects him. Kirk’s pretty perplexed and the stakes are going up as they approach Earth.

Meanwhile Spock shows off what surely would have been heavily used gear in the show, a rocket powered spacesuit that’s pretty imaginative.

So anyway we have Spock outside his ship, which is inside another ship, attempting to penetrate further into the V’Ger entity to get some clues about just what this thing is. He finds enough to get overwhelmed and the 2001: A Space Odyssey is playing deeply in to the effects approach and it’s not unlike Bowman’s journey from The Discovery to meet god.

When we see Spock again hes drifting in fetal position towards a spacesuited Kirk in a possible heavy handed salute, or attempt to draw a little legitimacy from Kubrik’s movie.  It isn’t all that bad, I suppose its a high point in the now slow moving movie.

V’ger attempts communication with Earth but gets no response and then, in a moment we see again soon in Moonraker, it starts to deploy killer satellites around the planet and gets ready to rid the planet of the Carbon based life forms (so humans and everything else). By doing this it hopes to contact it’s creator, whom its obsessed on.

Attempts at pop psychology and other justifications for the V’ger entities motivations and all of them are heavy handed and bad.

Kirk bluffs the Ilia Clone Probe thing and we all take a walk across the outside to the the heart of the V’ger entity, it’s mysterious origin and form soon to be revealed

Again leaving the ship but now just wearing some spiffy jackets and walking down the saucer section, V’ger is finally revealed for what it is- a lost 20th Century Space Probe FROM NASA back on EARTH!

Kirk removes 3 centuries of Space grit with his hands to show what whoever super-empowered this probe missed; the true name of V’ger is actually Voyager 6! All we need is the old NASA code and this baby will turn right off. The bridge crews right on it!

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the Heart of V’ger, NASA Probe Voyager 6

We quickly hear that Voyager 6, programmed to gather information and return to report it, fell into a Black Hole. Then, mostly because we’ve seen all this before in the episode “The Changeling” , the away team deftly auger that it must’ve emerged on the other side of the black hole and crashed onto a planet run by super intelligent machines. Imagine THAT happening TWICE? And much later it will happen again in another movie in this franchise. This plot device should be avoided forever more. 3 times is enough. Whiplash for even me at 9 seeing this. Seemed unfair to just throw a slightly higher budget twist on to one so-so episode as your movie.

Kirk reveals it to V’ger in true Shatnerian form; “V’ger, WE are the Creator”

This is a total let down to V’ger. It immediately becomes depressed.

Goodbye Inconvenient Characters

Ilia is now just a replicant and Decker has no role in this new dynamic. He decides he would love more than anything else to do a couple of screwdriver turns and key in the final command codes, confirming mission accomplished. Everyone has somehow figured out this is going to cause some sort of mergence between himself and V’ger. He has to do it manually because V’Ger itself burned out the leads to avoid admitting to itself the annoying carbon based life forms are its Creator.

So Decker keys in the codes and via really questionable effects we see Decker and Ilia merged.

The V’Ger entity is now a lot happier and a little more complete, so it seemingly goes unsaid it’s no longer a threat. No one bothers to ponder the idea this man made death machine has genocided its way across the Galaxy. And we never hear about this strange plot device again. This enormously powerful entity simply goes away and is never spoken of again.

In TV Style the movie wraps up with Kirk, Spock and McCoy pondering and exchanging verbal jabs on the bridge.

Roll Credits!

The Good

The acting in this movie exceeds what they had in the script. The cast comes off authentic. Everyone’s well prepared to reprise their character. The new cast members, well, we wont have to put up with them that long, but they’re okay.

And we found out that Star Trek could succeed without being profound, which was what this movie tries and fails to do. It was so bad that part gets lost in the many other criticisms.

We have Jerry Goldsmith onboard doing the music and we have the original crew well set up to do more movies. Thats all we get. ‘Star Trek’s back, but we’re gonna have to work on it a little more’ is the message here.

Some special effects are pretty cool. The musical score is mostly good.

Seems like with leaving almost all of this behind is the sort of thing we could have skipped, and we could have. Unlike Phantom Menace, which is about as bad, it serves no purpose in the continuity of the series. One of the best parts of this movie is you can easily skip it and still enjoy the other films.  Almost nothing is the same when we get the next movie, Wrath of Khan.

In the end the best part is what didn’t happen. It didn’t become a pilot for what would probably have been a mediocre Star Trek show and we probably never get the excellent Next Generation at all.

The Bad

Where do you start with a project so deeply flawed? At it’s worst moments this movie takes itself far too seriously and then makes a confusing glib turn. Its uneven and the pacing drops off once we encounter the V’ger cloud.

The new characters are bad and have the smell of red shirted death on them the whole time.

Long preposterous chunks of dialogue of Star Trek speak aren’t as prevalent as moments showing Kirk as unflappable and rigidly determined, but theres too much of both.

Rather than Majel Barret the ships computer has a harsh male voice, probably influenced by 2001’s male voiced HAL 9000. This is jarring and doesn’t work.

Most effects aren’t so great, some are distractingly bad. Plot-wise V’ger is just Moby Dick and the Death Star mixed together.  The similarities to the episode The Changeling wouldn’t have been so bad if this had ended up a pilot.

The ‘save’ attempts are hit or miss. They never have cool uniforms. we see some updated phasers but there’s no action in this attempt at a cerebral movie. The movie’s makers realized the best case was for TMP to be kind of okay. When they try to make it seem like theyre being deeper and thoughtful they try to be Kubrik-like and it doesnt work in a big way.

The smaller, faster earlier scenes are at least brief. When we end up in the depths of V’ger the movie slows down and seeks some kind of direction and redemption. A real pay off is sort of not possible. The effects were good enough for 1979 but just barely and things that wouldnt have been quite as bad on 70’s TV are simply awful on the big screen or a modern HDTV.

This whole movie is bad. Its bad Star Trek, its bad TV and it’s a bad feature movie. It wasn’t well reviewed, though some notice was taken of some of the better special effects.

The look of this Enterprise is a one off. The outside is never this white again, going with a more believable bluish metal look. Inside maybe some of the Engine Room was reused but not much. It’s the hugest engineering section we see in this series.

Next journey, to do battle with Khan, we have a more Industrial ship and a more tactile looking, somewhat Star Wars influenced bridge that looks more functional and has some military-like sparseness. TMP’s  bridge is more like the one JJ Abrams liked to show. Large, bright and with more crew than it would seem to need. It seems to have some Next Generation set elements in it. We know everything in Star Trek has several lives as a prop.  Future bridges in this series are far darker and less populous.

This overall look for the Enterprise wasnt going to work and there’s a rare but huge fail on their uniforms and communicators too. Everyone looks like theyre in their pajamas.

By the next movie more military style uniforms simply work better.

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The more familiar uniforms for the rest of this Series of movies

Perhaps oddest of all, there’s NO BRIDGE AMBIENT SOUND.  It takes a moment to realize it but then you really miss it. Here and there a button gets pushed and there’s a reactive sound, but aside that the technical background of ambient starship bridge noise isn’t there. We didn’t realize how much we count on this great foley art was to helping us to believe it all til it was absent. It definitely stands out when they talk on the bridge, undercutting the believability. It’s a weird omission.

The Legacy

The legacy of this movie was making just enough money to greenlight Wrath of Khan and all subsequent movies and shows. This could have been the end of the line without ever seeing the light of day. If anything demand was so high they could skate on a bad movie if there was a good one in the development pipeline!

Still, I was thrilled leaving the movie as a kid just because I’d seen my Trek hero’s again. I was really happy there would be more Star Trek in the future! But we all realized it was not a great movie, but in 1979 things were much different going to the movies. B movies were around, the level of bad was acceptable when you realize that it was so much cheaper to go to the movies then and you could still just laugh off the three to five bucks you paid.

Paramount’s enjoyed nearly pure profit considering they’d scrapped the pilot and still recovered anything! A lot of the money was spent years earlier and was considered lost at one point. They had turned chicken-shit into chicken soup.

They had finally recouped some money and Sci- Fi was hotter than one bad Star Trek movie could ruin, and so, with some serious strings attached, they greenlight another movie.  On that point there first movie had sort of overperformed and revealed the fanbase had indeed grown. It wasn’t a blockbuster or that great, but in Hollywood money and making money is all its about. In a weird and circuitous way- Mission Accomplished.

So sit back, grab a strong drink and get through not so great Star Trek The Motion Picture. Or not. The next movie starts a story arc that ignores everything from this movie including Kirk being in command.

Star Trek The Motion Picture is the Phantom Menace of the franchise. Only the really strong story and box office success of the sequel justifies the existence of this movie. Basically for Paramount there was only interest in using House Money from this project to give a revamped Star Trek writing team, with a minimized role for Roddenberry, one more shot to succeed.

From this movie came the long enduring “Odd Numbered Movie Curse” peculiar to Star Trek where only even numbered sequels did well or were well reviewed. In the Abrams universe/ Kelvin Timeline its reversed.  The odd numbered movies are better.

For that alone this bad movie is justified. But its really not that good.

Dr. Fredric Cogan in Floral Park an Honest Review

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Despite the glib charm of a sociopath Fred Cogan’s personality is that of a high handed jerk. He’s indiscreet and might just be banned from practicing in New Jersey. Personally I hope he reads this and tries to maybe change his ways (and takes a medical refresher course).

Secretive “Doctor” Fredric Cogan – UNPROFESSIONAL, SHADY and has Covered His Tracks Online 

Here’s a review  I found when i spent 2 hours creeping his internet footprint.  It’s on Vitals.com. It lines up with what most people say, like that he doesnt bother with stuff like keeping records or getting test results or even take blood.  He’ll put you on  or take you off serious meds on a whim!

This is rank incompetence and sheer greed. I consider him almost an accomplice to murder by this point. Guess its useful in litigation. By freewheeling it without testing people for anything by the time the patient figures it out, IF they figure it out) and he gets sued; they’re at Deaths Door from his Quackery and he just has to delay court proceedings. Soon enough you’ll be dead from malpractice and his problems will be solved. You know how easy it is to get a temporary adjournment?

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Over the course of my life I’ve seen him about 12 times in 3 different decades and I find him to be one of the most unprofessional doctors this side of a M*A*S*H* rerun. If he’s a character from that show he’s Frank Burns. Always my second or 3rd choice he simply operates in the area I grew up in and isn’t ever all that booked up (wonder why?).
I didn’t expect him to punish and shame me. I figured he’d take the money I was trying to give him and, while he would of course be a dick the whole time, maybe he’d just do his job. No such luck.

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He quite a fan of himself, just ask him. Aside from the fact he seemingly couldn’t get into a real medical school and has covered up 15 years of his career for some reason that you can bet is pretty good, he’s an open book. He’s  completely transparent in the sense you can see a Search Engine Optimization Damage Control Team seems to have filled the 1st 2 pages of his Google results with one line descriptions over and over, on page 3 or so things get more authentic.

He thinks he’s Floral Parks answer to TV’s Doctor House, but is more ‘Dr Outhouse’ because he comes across like hes full of shit (he is).

I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to him for as much as an aspirin. He’d misdiagnose a hangnail. The only thing he has in common with House might be that both seem to have had legal or porfessional issues in New Jersey.  We don’t know, what the HELL he did wrong BEFORE the Internet. That’s probably the only reason he was able to move his medicine show from Jersey to New York and get away with it.

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No Professional Accolades and a Hard to Fathom Move

So a man with no professional awards and no specialization suddenly is ambitious enough to take a whole new set of medical exams all over again in the neighboring state? Sounds like he lost his license to me. Yellowpages says “Speaks English” as his sole distinguishing trait. Not good. What did he do? Did he arrogantly fuck up and hurt someone? That’s what I think.

I have experienced firsthand and have suffered from his incompetence. How mediocre is he? Well they dont give 2 point 2 Stars to just anyone (he’s pushed up to about 3 of 5 of late), you gotta earn that kind of mediocrity. And surely one of the high ratings is from him and others from his SEO guy, so maybe he’s actually a 2 out of 5! Reviews of his work are few and far between. Seems his medical experience is about as current and useful as the art of making wooden barrels. So, almost nil.

His pathetic 3.7 of 5  stars  rating on google should frighten ANYONE.

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This is about the highest rating he has on any site.  On Vitals.com he reviews at 3 of 5 stars. Thats only good for movie ratings. The math says hes just a hair below 50-50, which is bad odds to gamble on your life, he doesnt care though. Fred “Not So Great at Medicine” is incompetent or lazy and greedy. He not test for problems, avoids sending samples to labs to lazily avoid paper work and just wings it. Theres no way he hores staff that are qualified, hes cheap as a seersucker suit from the Salvation army.

Fred is almost a doctor from another time. His knowledge is so out of date its seemingly from when Barbers gave medical treatment. I didn’t notice a jar of leeches, but it fits with his out of it and foolish ideas.

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So he and an employee seem to be the only people whose opinions made it on most websites. What reads like its real is mostly bad.

The comments are, and he paid for them if you ask me – “He has great bedside manner”? I laughed when I read that. That’s like a kindergarten teacher saying they’re good with children. It’s a minimal standard at best. I think he wrote that one himself because he has no beds and no manners. Just tables and a God Complex. Right out of Marketing 101, promote yourself by calling your flaws strengths. Its just not true. He’s aggressively angry and rude. He once raised his voice to me regarding my insurance and showed no compassion from that was real. Something the next guy caught- with a simple blood test!

He’s more a businessman than a doctor. Thinking Patient or Visitor are his only titles in ANY hospital. Could every hospital be wrong? Or is it simply just too risky to allow his total shitshow in there?

No one has responded, as he and all are free to in the comments section, to assert that he can go in to any hospital, and this is not a recent post.

The internet footprint he has surely paid to be scrubbed doesn’t tell you much except he has things he needs to hide.

Why is the “Medical School” he went to some unknown place in the Middle East?

Why was it that every school in the US, Canada or Mexico (or even Grenada) was apparently unwilling to admit him as a student?

If you think about it I guess “Trying Hard to Avoid Going to Vietnam” is maybe his best possible excuse and it just goes downhill fast from there! Really only he knows.

All rating sites combined have a total of about 2 dozen reviews TOTAL. And one of each of them (at least) were surely written by him.

These are my  opinions, experiences and feelings about a guy holding many lives in his hands. Some of them are my friends. You deserve better.  I’ve also compiled what little there is on the internet, none of which is that impressive and all of which is suspect and possibly scrubbed. If you didn’t vote for Hillary over her missing Emails why would you go to a doctor whose apparently lost HALF HIS CAREER?? Isn’t that allegedly a sign of incompetence? And he’s the guy checking out YOUR HEART! Something he DOESN’T even have?

When you Google around searching for information the biggest thing you find out is he’s pretty much ghosted his a huge chunk of his professional life from the internet.

That’s a tough and pricey thing to do. It would possibly show he knows he is pretty incompetent, but he likes your money too much to become a mere pharmacist.

He’s intellectually vain. He’s not open and transparent thats for sure. I don’t think he has much of a conscience.

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0 out of 5 stars on Yellowpages website

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only image i could find online

Arrogant, Mysterious and Indiscreet  

This arrogant guy should not be a doctor. Or even a vet.

He acts more like an angry school teacher most of the time. I’m still reeling over the fact a doctor would call a patient “A Dismal Character” because they needed prescriptions refilled that he never bothered checking out. That was his opening line. Was it because he already knew I wouldn’t be coming back and was pissed? Who knows? The guys got a bad temper.

No Other Options

I had an opportunity out of state to advance myself and I needed my medication renewed before I left town. I had also decided to fire my shrink and I didn’t a general practitioner at that moment. I winced at the idea of going to Fred but my reasons were legitimate and I had not seen him have a tantrum yet. I just knew he was prone to yelling when making any point.

Truth be told- I was looking to change shrinks, it was sort of time consuming. I was down to like 2 days of meds and going there just made sense. Had the guy had even a 19th Century view of psychology it would have been no big deal. Like he really doesn’t respect people who ask for any kind of psych meds.

But at that moment I thought “Ok he’s not the best but he can fill these almost mundane prescriptions I can prove I’ve been on for years and  at least I’ll have a month to find a new shrink.”

I was already less than a fan but I figured an honest appeal to his professionalism and compassion would get me the medicines I had been on for a couple of  years til I could swap out therapists. Its no big deal unless the person you ask to help you is angry and semi-incompetent. So I went and I asked and things started off badly. I showed him my medical records and told him my situation and there was no compassion there. In fact what happened was it triggered a prolonged angry outburst and some semi-public shaming. He’s big on yelling.

In my experiences Fred Cogan possesses zero professionalism and has as much compassion as a robot.

The HIPPA Violation, Childish Meltdown and Lies 

Doc Cogan is an ill tempered easily triggered scream-y Primadonna who has to perform for the patients in his waiting room to appear like a doctor. So while he actually is a doctor its all about being something of a performer. Think Snake Oil Guy here.

While accolades are hard to find on his walls he wears the full white coat get up and tries to look important. I mean, hes a local doctor, wheres the ‘Good Bedside Manner” when the guys dressed like a stuffy-type doctor extra on an episode of Scubs?

Like Doctor Phil he spends most of his time and energy acting. Even so the result is he comes off as a strained and unpleasant man whose in over his head as a physician.

He was horrible to me and made sure to tell his whole waiting room, filled with my friends and neighbors, heard the names of the medications I needed as he grandstand about what he would and wouldn’t give me, making sure to BLURT OUT ALL SPECIFICS in his very public waiting room. So if you go to him the prospect he disassembles you in front of people you know is on the table. He’s got fits to throw and doesn’t care.

The 20 some odd people in there looked at me like I was scum, but one person got up and left, presumably shaken and maybe afraid of what “Doctor” Cogan would do to him when his turn came. He was the smartest person in that room that day.

Why am I okay discussing I go to a shrink and take meds? Soon the whole town knew after that anyway. I heard  back from people. It’s a small town he seeded gossip. I resent it, but here we are. It was his idea this be made public by shouting it in his waiting room in my hometown, and it followed me around. So I’m telling my side of the story.

Screenshot 2019-06-24 at 5.57.50 PM

3.2 of 5 stars from about a dozen reviews in 46 years is the best he could do

The evidence is right there in his horrific demeanor.  This is based on mostly my own personal experiences.  Besides, I feel guilty letting others be mislead by a guy who I feel only cares about his wallet and is, in my opinion nothing but a huge charlatan. Throw in a penchant to yell and a loud speaking voice and its just toxic to be around him.

I would pity his staff if working for him wasn’t so unethical. He was brisk and brittle to his paying patient, whats it like when he’s paying you?

As far as reviews the people who think he’s great are just his friends and a few fake accounts some SEO guy created to help him out. His lone 5 star reviewer has never reviewed anything else on Google, he’s fake, heres the proof-

cogan_fake_review

So either he lies about his reputation or someone just woke up and decided to overly praise him one day. You decide whats more likely

It sure looks like this person, so moved to support Cogan, whose only other review is for a place is Japan and has no info and no pictures posted is just fake. As fake as Fred’s smile.

In these troubled times can a man who has to create fake endorsements deserve your trust? If he were painting houses with that rating you wouldn’t allow him to paint yours, would you? Cause throw out that fake 5 star reviews and hes around a 1.9 out of 5.

The lack of information online, and the fact he seems to have PAID a Search Engine Optimization guy to cover his tracks from 1974 til now on the internet seems to be damning enough. Compassion-less and indiscreet, he will blab about your prescriptions and condition in a waiting room full of your neighbors. He enjoys it. He’s an actor more than anything else, and a bad and dangerous one at that; faking it every minute while he gets richer.

Seems since 1974 he’s received NO MEDICAL AWARDS, and NO recognition of any kind he can put on the internet. I think he’s on the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce, so he probably has “Best Doctor At 176 Tulip Avenue” on a plaque. That’s about as much as he deserves.

The internet wasn’t around yet, so he’s gotten away with it longer than he should have. There’s lots of questions but very few answers.

Everyone Will Know Why You’re There

Like I said, last time I went to see him I just had no choice. As I awaited him he loudly spoke to a woman I know just feet away about serious issues.  As usual he just wasn’t sure what was wrong with her even after the many visits he mentioned, but he still enjoyed telling her bad news loudly. Through the half open door I could SEE THEM looking at images in his idiotically public x-ray viewer. They were too shocked and upset to notice, but I was mortified for them. A bad feeling set in.

Every time I saw her after I want to tell her but Im not her doctor and it would seriously upset anyone. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place! I haven’t seen her in a long time now, who knows where his incompetence landed her. The poor woman could well be dead from his lack of integrity.

I watched them, mystified, as he victimized them with a HIPPA violation and  ‘interpreted” her chest X-Rays! I didnt see anything about being a radiologist anywhere. He’s NOT qualified but he does not care and is too cheap to be through.

It was so avoidable an error. Had he thought through ANY of his methods? Had he even bothered letting a radiologist look or was he freelancing? He was baffled; so I guess the second. She was in tears and just needed better care. Fred didn’t even consider that option. Fred doesn’t suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect. He knows he’s mediocre and just doesn’t care. Her boyfriend, who I went to HIgh School with, was there trying to do the right thing comforting her and I don’t think they appreciate what I overheard.  How do I tell them? It was just WRONG.

Simply put Cogan was raking in more and more cash from his own incompetence! He didn’t recommend a specialist, for a LUNG PROBLEM and just set her up for another appointment. CHA-CHING! Hey if she gets better or goes to a better doctor he loses money, right? So he was out of his league and couldn’t help, but he was motivated to keep getting paid. So much for “Do No Harm.” Thanks for the moral dilemma, Fred.

Funny how it doesn’t bother him that he’s doing things so unprofessionally when even I know better, and I’m a mere college grad, he’s DOCTOR! Or at least he’s a doctor in New York, and maybe the Golan Heights. I’m thinking he may be forbidden from touching ANYONE in New Jersey due to botching a boob job or cutting off the wrong leg. Or his terrible temper, or his general lack of any skill.

What Happened in his Hidden Wasted Years?

What did he do for 25 years that landed him in another state starting over about a quarter century after Med School? It’s not like he moved to California for the weather. He stayed close to New Jersey. It seems he couldn’t just move to the next town in that state. He instead opted for a long commute, through and past New York City and all that traffic, to the most western town on Long Island. To a town with plenty of doctors already. Floral Park was probably the closest place he could go to start over. It seems really odd, but he’s not saying why.

As I’ve said, I think he HAD to LEAVE New Jersey because he was just incompetent and got in trouble. So he’s is playing the citizens of Floral Park for suckers. He’s also playing god. He likes doing both.

If I’m wrong he could always respond. Or list his credentials in the town paper. I doubt he’d need much Ad Space to cover his accomplishments.

A Public Shaming Rather than Compassion and Treatment

When it was my turn to face his ‘selection process’ or whatever you call the insane nazi-like way he acted towards me, he came in like he was shot out of a cannon and almost foaming at the mouth. Was he drunk or high from a little snack from his small fridge of drugs?

Never dropping below a blistering shout he admonished me for having come to him at all and described me in cruel, demeaning terms because I take some psych meds. So he’s a believer in Eugenics on that count. He was shouting and it escalated as he fed off his own preposterus indignance. At this point I ready to be examined and couldn’t simply leave, it was a clever angle of attack. An attack he ENJOYED. I was near naked and cornered. It was AWFUL!

I told him to shove his character assessment up his ass as he doesn’t have a psych degree and asked to return to the matter at hand- I had no doctor and needed my meds or I’d end up in a hospital ER from the physical effects of a cold turkey withdrawal. It was dangerous and bad for me, the supposed patient. He was an ass about the whole thing and was surely getting off on the scene he was acting out (like I said he thinks he’s a TV doctor). He was more than happy to expose me to danger. He seemed to enjoy that too, He’s a judgmental prick. Great trait for a “Healer”. In keeping with the spirit of Josef Mengele! I dont think even lowly unknown Middle Eastern Med Schools would countenance that. So hes worse than a rookie with no experience.

He couldn’t have cared less about my medical problem and was biased against people who need psych meds.. He just kept preaching in a vacuum of facts, spitballing hateful opinions of a non medical nature about me.

He shouted out he considered my visit there as an attempt at seeking drugs. Is there even a black market for Latuda?  So I said “Fuck you” got dressed and went to take care of the bill, which is to say I was informing the secretary that I’d received NO treatment and requested my records (he never sent them). Thankfully I wasn’t yet out of meds and was able to not punch him in the face like I would have if someone attacked me verbally on the street. Hes a cowardly bully.

Not getting paid for 2 minutes of verbally abusing me might have set him off. Guys all about money. He flipped out. His already bad behavior deteriorated into a screaming fit. I was walking away pulling on my shirt. He stepped right into the lobby and began his unseemly soliloquy.

He again assaulted me verbally, but now publicly. It was humiliating. He enjoyed playing to the audience. He took pleasure in belittling me. When I told him “Hey, not in here:” he looked shocked and I guess already knew how unethical he was acting, he just likes to belittle people. His secretary looked up momentarily with a sad look of sheer embarrassment. She’d surely seen this before.”Its fine” Cogan knowingly lied to the gaping crowd more than me. “It’s not fine, in fact it;s probably illegal” were the last words I said as I walked out of his little death camp of an office. “Dick!” I seethed as I walked to my car.

That’s right, I went for help and he insulted me and belittled me and yelled my diagnosis out loud, complete with details and medicines, in his waiting room. Unethical at best. Half those people knew me. He’s a creep. I barely maintained my composure. I was already in a bad place. He just needed to yell at someone. Is he a drunk? He’s got enough anger.

An hour later a different local doctor handed me the scripts with compassion and I sure wish I’d gone there first. He may have saved my life, he definitely spared me a trip to the ER or worse.

Almost Absent from the Internet in 2019 -So Whats He Hiding? 

This guy has worked harder to stay off the internet than he ever did at that Middle Eastern medical school. Theres only nefarious, vague stuff. I have  bigger internet footprint. He’s hiding something pretty bad is what it seems like.

One thing i Found was “No Malpractice Suits IN NEW YORK”.  First of all what does “No Malpractice Suits in New York” mean? It didnt say “No Mlpractice suits” so he’s probably just settled out of court, or more likely, conned the person til they died.

As we all now finally know; after being a doctor from the early 70s he just materializes in Floral Park a quarter century later? With no internet yet he must have laughed his ass off at the new set of rubes he would con.

I’m betting he has a few legal and professional problems back home in Jersey. When he showed up in New York and even up til now he has no track record he’s willing to show. Sure looks like he fucked someone up in a different state. Here’s the link to his 2 sentence bio.

Or – read it here – Dr. Fredric Cogan, MD is a family medicine specialist in Floral Park, NY and has been practicing for 45 years. He graduated from Sackler School Of Medicine, Tel Aviv University in 1974 and specializes in family medicine.

Two sentences is all he’s got? He’s at it almost a half century and it boils down to 2 sentences? One of which is simply his location? Not good.

SO WHATS HE HIDING? 

If you can figure this out tell me, here’s all i don’t know –

IS HE THE SAME DR COGAN WHO CANT WORK IN HIS HOME STATE OF NEW JERSEY?

WHY DID HE HAVE TO GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

IS HE JUST A FAILED PLASTIC SURGEON?

IS HE ALSO BANNED FROM ISRAEL WHERE HE GOT HIS START?

IS HE THE SAME FRED COGAN WHO HAS NO HOSPITAL WILLING TO LET HIM BE AN AFFILIATE?

WHY DOES HE HAVE A FRIGHTENINGLY LOW 3.2 of 5 STARS on the Real Yellowpages site? WORSE- WHY DOES HE HAVE ZERO STARS and no reviews ON Yelp ? A rating  site thats now 15 years old? I think it took effort.

He has all of 12 reviews on that Yellowpages site and barely breaks even. He’s a hair away from being rated bad because the truth is he’s mediocre. And I’m pretty sure he wrote one review himself and probably hired someone to write at least one more. Without that he could be like 2.5 out of 5. Are you okay with that? If so, put me in your will. I like money too.

Remember- he started in 1974 but has apparently never done anything to distinguish himself and earned DISMAL RATINGS! (you see what i did there?)

His reputation is subpar and his specialty? He has NONE. FAMILY PRACTICE is all he admits too. What specialty did he fail at? Or was it a character issue? Was he a pill pusher in the day and thats why hes so angry when people need medicine? Hes just angrily thinking of the money hes losing because he’s a greedy dick.

It’s odd. Most guys eventually get good at something they can put on their sign. One site describes his specialty as “General.” Meanwhile he can’t diagnose worth a shit, so why even bother?

Your family doctor is essentially supposed to be able to figure out whats wrong with you quick and if he can’t help you send you to someone who can. So he’s 0 for 2 in the only 2 things you need your General Practitioner to be good at. Just using the internet is probably about as good, and you can also find REAL doctors with real bios on it. Fred’s got only a one sentence description. Part of that sentence is simply stating the year he graduated. What was he? A phrenologist?

I think he’s a quack. One mans opinion. Go ahead, search the internet and if you find any answers I’ll amend this post.

You Wouldn’t Take This From Your Mechanic, Why’s a Doctor Any Different?

Would you hire a roofer or mechanic to do any job if he’d been at it for 50 years but has no details, no testimonials, but says ‘hey trust me?’ Of course not.

This isn’t your replaceable house or your car, IT’S YOUR ONE AND ONLY LIFE AND THE LIVES OF YOUR LOVED ONES. What is it he won’t let us know? For all we know he killed someone or messed up someone in whatever his ‘specialty’ once was. Who practices anything for 50 years and has no accolades? Even chiropractor Dr Ruppolo on Tulip ave once consulted with NASA! And hes not actually a medical doctor! so whats up with Fred?

Is he just a failed plastic surgeon who disfigured someone? Did he get caught at work drunk? He’s got a 25 year gap in his career. He’s invited speculation.

On one site there’s all of maybe 4 testimonials, two apparently written by him because both revues are 5 stars when he pulls between zero and 3&1/2 of 5 stars everywhere else. He still had a low rating is spite of this. It’s not a representative sample and they shouldn’t have rated him at all based on less then a half dozen opinions total since 1974!!!

“Drop-Dead Fred” Cogan has kept most of  the key information about his professional life off the internet. No small feat in 2019. Seems like he paid an SEO expert and a lawyer to sanitize his internet footprint, which is so small you can read it all in 4 minutes.

You gotta wonder why. I think its cause his past performances have gotten him in trouble. If he disagrees he can write to me here and I’ll be happy to listen, but he probably won’t because he really is an just arrogant guy.

Why the ghosting? Is he just afraid if we’re already on the internet to book an appointment his shady reputation will be right out there and people will rightly move on? I think so. Simpest answer is – he’s hiding something and rightfully ashamed he couldnt get into an American (ot maybe even Canadian) Med School. I bet he graduated low in his class.

howard

As good a Doctor as Howard the Duck is a movie

Poorly Rated and Has Scrubbed the Internet

He’ll let you get sicker and if you die he’ll sleep like a baby.  He once blamed ME for the disease he, shocker, couldn’t pin down. Turns out one glimpse at my blood through a microscope revealed the problem IMMEDIATELY. So thorough is NOT in his lexicon.  I already found him lacking as a human being and a doctor, but I needed my meds.  I was on these medications for years and they were triple prescribed in the sense every REAL doctor was all for the course of treatment. But this guys not a REAL doctor. Real Doctors are discreet and caring.

He’s an internet mystery in the Digital Age. Im not sure who he even is he’s covered his tracks covered so well. How does this guy even have patients with no internet footprint? I think it’s simply LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! And why doesnt anyone google this guy before going there? He’d be making people sicker in Maryland or something by now if they did!

The little you find on the internet about Fred is not good. Were I him I’d be all over the internet setting people straight with a rebuttal. He’s not. Could it be because calling him a bad doctor has already held up to legal scrutiny? There’s probably court papers somewhere (in New Jersey) certifying he’s a bad doctor in so many words and he CAN’T answer the charges or change the verdict.

If he’s never done an internet search on himself, wouldn’t that alone be sort of reckless and dumb?  Thats plain old bad judgement. FROM A DOCTOR! These are 2 traits that fit well with the guy who mistreated and admonished me from his high horse like an asshole.

I would think he would address these issues if he could, so the fact he hasn’t may mean he can’t. If theres another Dr Fred Cogan ruining his rep you’d think he’d try to establish an online rebuttal where he shows his pelts and degrees. If it exists anywhere I couldn’t find it.

So youre relationship starts off with a lie. How’s that usually work out? You’d walk out on your Tinder date for this kind of deception, why take it from him?

I think he’ll shorten your life and just blame you. He’s a self important prima donna. Is he just overcompensating because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Were his parents just failures who raised a jerk? Wheres his credentials? Of course he’s got a great lobby, he has to take your mind off the things that aren’t on his wall. Things like Diplomas and certifications. Last time I was there he was in Floral Park like 20 years and still hadn’t got around to it. Could it be because he never earned a prestigious degree and is hiding how unqualified he is? The only case for going to him is if you judge doctors by the magazines in their waiting rooms. That’s his strongest area. Seriously.

HIs bio leaves simply omits what he did for the first 25 years of his career, about half. Nothing between 1974 until he pops up in New York in the 90s can be found. Did he just blow off 25 years of his career as unpostable? Ask him, see what he says.

When I asked where he went to medical school he just said he was very backed up and changed the subject. He’s evasive. So the question is WHY?

If you need a compassionate doctor, look elsewhere.

STAY AWAY! HE’S COMPLETELY INDSCREET IN HIS OFFICE. I WONDER WHAT HE’D SAY WHEN HE”S OUT HAVING A BEER ?! I’d go to a Voodoo Witch Doctor before him!

This is the only thing the internet verifies – his address, a former porno movie studio, once occupied by a therapist who went to jail.  I consider it an ongoing crime scene. It certainly isn’t a very lucky place historically.

As for Cogan? He’s out of step, slow to comprehend and is hostage to his narrow-minded ways. He probably has leeches somewhere and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear him say that someones medical problems were that their bodily humors were out of balance. He would have been perfect around 1860.

Do you want a doctor whose just bad at analyzing medical information? Do you? Do you really? Well then go to Fred.

He lacks the compassion a good doctor needs and his knowledge is more outdated every year. As he approaches retirement he probably cares less than ever. If the internet was around in 1974 I bet he’d be a Dog Catcher at best by now.

STAY AWAY!

So thats my personal experiences and opinion of this ‘doctor’.  Lets him sue WordPress and see if he gets anywhere. Barry School of Law wasn’t able to pull down the truth i posted about them, and they’re a law school with nothing BUT attorneys. He wont be able to silence me either either.

This is still America, I have the right to tell the truth just as Freddie Kruger Cogan has the right try to scrub what he can off the the internet.  This post is not going away.

He looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck so I’ll just say it- All signs are he sucks at his job. He’s just too self important to quit. He’s a Quack.

Were he to become an insult comedian he certainly has the skills.

He’s Don Rickles in a lab coat as far as I’m concerned.

Go elsewhere, the life you save will be your own.

What’s great is I think we have the same lawyer so if he comes after me it’s the B Team for him up against me and the 1st Amendment. I won’t need counsel to destroy any legal attempt to smother the truth. And then I’ll sue his ass for Unjust Persecution and win acting as my own lawyer. He’ll probably act out on court and hand me an easy win. Lawyers tend to hate doctors anyway. So I’m just not concerned.

Theodor Morell was more qualified and less abusive, whats that say?

Trump Probably Doesn’t Actually ‘Sleep’

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There’s this theory I have. It’s not that crazy. It’s got the benefit of holding up to some analysis. I think Trump is perpetually sleep deprived. He’s got that reservoir of anger, he seems easily confused and makes mistakes in basic knowledge that 5th graders know. Like that the Moon isn’t part of Mars.

I don’t believe Trump really thinks the moon is part of Mars, I think it’s a Tell. It’s the lazy mistake of a fatigued mind that’s just not at 100 percent, ever. Screenshot 2019-06-09 at 10.53.44 PM

What the president was possibly alluding to is some ideas for a Mars mission involve slingshotting around the moon to build momentum. In some harder to fathom plans the moon would possibly be the launch point so the rocket wouldn’t have to use any fuel escaping the Earth’s gravity. NASA probably told him about this but he was half awake when he heard it. So we get a mangled tweet about the moon and Mars being the same thing.

Lots of easily google-able tests have universally shown if you just don’t sleep at all you’ll have some kind of medical emergency within a few weeks and die. It’s common knowledge, it doesn’t need citation.

So clearly Trump ‘rests’ in some way. I’m not suggesting that he hangs upside down from the rafters with his wings folded, but its not quite ‘sleep’ either.

Here’s the Theory –

It’s Not Quite Sleep

It’s not that Trump doesn’t have times when he’s not really awake, it’s more that he’s only sort of sleeping. It’s always in small amounts after being awake for too long.

Trump doesn’t fall asleep and wake up like a normal person. In fact I think he’s like 2 days of sleep behind all the time. This would explain his constant confusion and brittle disposition. He can’t ‘sleep’, he only passes out from being awake too long for say 4 hours about every 20 to 30 hours.  12 Diet Cokes a day will do that to you.    70bca94666aebfd358b86ba94315e04b

So in a nutshell; my theory is he passes out from sheer exhaustion (and a caffeine crash) after 20 to 30 hours of ‘wakefulness.” Of course the TV is on the whole time.

Less than 5 hours later he snaps to consciousness (as opposed to waking up) in a cold sweat screaming the moment his body has been in stasis long enough for his mind to start to panic again.  Then he ‘Get’s Up’ and starts the cycle again. He’s never anything but overtired, grumpy and scared. By most accounts he rarely eats breakfast. Only the most important meal. So mental acuity is all sorts of in question from this lifestyle.

Much of the time he’s not really awake, just in a torpor half out of it half watching Fox News Opinion shows that tell him he’s great. This is so his ego never has to stop grazing. That’s “Executive Time”. The president half snoring from being so heavy. His eyelids are mere slits, drooling with the TV remote in one hand, cellphone in the other. At least its some form of rest.

Throw in the fact he’s pretty old, pretty fat and those things affect your sleep and sleep patterns. Sleep apnea may figure in too. Its a sure thing there’s more than one or two contributing factors as to why the guy has sleep problems.

For one thing, he knows he’s a horrible person and the guilt and shame must show up sometime. It part of why he famously wont read. Reading involves quieting your mind, something a horrible person just cant do.

What Happens When People Are Overtired?

From experience I can say you sometimes get a rush of creativity in that second wind you get right before the wind gets knocked out of your sails for good. I think it’s probably safe to say that it only last just so long and you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. It would however, explain why Trump occasionally is sort of able to crack a joke and be glib and pith-y. It also explains some of the times he’s been creatively very mean in interviews or on the stump.

So outside my personal experience I of course checked Wikipedia and looked at the results of being overtired and bounced them off what we see of Trump.

Here’s some stuff I found interesting. It’s from the second paragraph of the wikipedia entry on sleep deprivation

A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and increased appetite leading to weight gain.[1] It adversely affects the brain and cognitive function.[2] However, in a subset of cases sleep deprivation can, paradoxically, lead to increased energy and alertness and enhanced mood; although its long-term consequences have never been evaluated, it has even been used as a treatment for depression

Well let’s see. We have clumsiness pretty well documented and increased appetite seems a sure thing for a man that big. As I mentioned in my own experiences there’s that weird little high you get where you end up with an elevated mood for a while. 3219It’s akin to smoking pot. And the last sentence, about it dubious use to treat depression, would seem to indicate you get manic. Sounds pretty Trump-like!

Adverse brain and cognitive functions? Always on full display. Trump’s a text book case. Don’t believe me? Look at the time stamps on some of these tweets going back as far as you like. He’ll blast something out at 4am.

Other Effects include “Selective Attention”. We can just leave that right there. Theres so many accounts of the president only hearing what he wants to hear.

Executive Function? This one takes some explaining, but once you get it a lot of things start to make sense about Trump, again, from wikipedia –

Researchers believe that three of the most ‘basic’ executive functions are: shifting, updating, and inhibition.[17] Shifting back and forth between different tasks is considered a very important mental behavior involved in executive functioning as it involves active disengagement from the present task and engaging in a new task.[18] Updating is believed to be involved in working memory (closely associated with the function of the prefrontal cortex[19]), where the information that is active needs to be updated by replacing old, now irrelevant information with new, relevant information based on the objective.[20] Inhibition involves controlled and deliberate impedance of automatic, predominant responses.[21]

The anterior cingulate cortex has been implemented in the process of inhibiting a habitual response or detecting possible conflicts in responses;[22] this is shown by the Stroop test.[23] Studies have found that as little as 36 hours of sleep deprivation cause a performance reduction in tasks requiring these executive functions.[24]

Well, thats a lot to take in but essentially the sleep deprived person becomes less and less able to do 2 things at once or to do one thing and then something different immediately after.  Examples would range from not being able to pick anything off a menu (so only having burnt steak with ketchup or McDonalds) to greeting more than a couple of people. No wonder Trump is always inappropriate. The guys just trying to remember if you eat salad with a spoon or a fork and can’t discern the president of China from the president of Japan! If he mets them too close together or at once it will overwhelm him. His cognitive abilities just aren’t up to it.

Lastly, just from these excerpts, the science says he’s also inhibited in “Conflict Avoidance”. Easy to believe. Pick any of the poorly chosen battles the presidents engaged in and there’s proof that’s going on too.

There’s so much more but this post has made enough points. Besides, others have wondered and written about it as well.      5c19073056cdcf5f644ec871-1920-960

In February Business Insider looked at the presidents sleep schedule and found cause for concern, writing – It’s not clear whether or not Trump is part of the 1% of the population that appears to actually need less sleep, scientifically speaking. If he is not, Trump is severely sleep deprived, according to health professionals that generally recommend seven to eight hours of sleep.

So there it is. The president is a stranger to Circadian Rhythm and is cognitively impaired from it. And he has control of the worlds largest nuclear arsenal.

The only good news is if you hate the guy he’s on the threshold of all sorts of  health problems. Like maybe a heart attack or stroke, especially with a famously horrible diet and being way overweight.

Sweet Dreams!

How Trump Avoids Doing Any Work

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UPDATED –  One thing we can be sure of in the 4 awful years since Trump announced his candidacy –  the guy hates work.

It’s beyond obvious he’s delegated (through inaction) all responsibilities to the least qualified and most inept people to handle any given thing. That’s how you get so many failed ideas on things like the Southern Border and the infamous, repeated ‘INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK’ Meltdowns.

During the campaign he was able to show up for a lot of rallies and puff out a lot of anger and it sort of looked like he was able to work. But it turns out boasting in front of an all white crowd of angry, intolerant people is actually Trump’s preferred form of recreation.  So let’s not call campaigning “Work”.lazy_trump

He despises work and you can tell. When forced to go through the motions he’s always visibly bored or angry.

He came prepared with a host of methods to avoid doing his job, but now this is the White House and the schemes to avoid work become obvious.

Fake it 

Essentially,  Trump’s faking it. It’s not like he’s all that good at it, but he doesn’t really care how it plays. Laziness is at the core of the “Trump Leadership Style”, if you can call it that.

Let’s look at a few of his “Go-To” ways to dodge things; like reading (CAN he read?) or working in any way.

A Major Announcement is Coming…

There’s a MAJOR policy announcement coming on whatever he’s been asked about; and really any and all topics. When? In about 2 weeks. It never ends up happening.

As the president has stonewalled off all transparency and minimized his exposure to the press there’s been no way to really follow this up.

 Busy Looking Meetings and Confusing Outright Lies

The president likes to look like a work-a-holic who also has the time to develop and keep a very deep tan. These two at odds traits make it hard to look all  that busy, but he goes through the motions anyway.

The meetings traditionally have gone one of two ways. Either the president will sit back and drinks in praise from whoever he’s invited to a meeting, and it could be anyone, from Mitch McConnell to Kanye. It looks so Banana Republic because it is.

Another track these meetings and brief press availabilities often go is that Trump will take exception to a question and have a tantrum. But he’s standing in front of his helicopter so he has sort of an excuse to shout. Its when I feel he looks most like a dictator. No helicopter needs that long to warm up! See “Showing off his toys” later on in this post.

When forced to work he hates it and it shows. The busy looking moments come with a price. He usually undermines whatever he did musing on Twitter later the same day.

G7 Work Slowdown

More recently he managed to get in some busy looking moments in scattered attendance at meetings while lying about skipping a few of them, tomake up for this he went on a spate of lies throughout the conference, where people say he was an adverserial jerk. He didnt understand what was going on so he either co-opted, tuned out or skipped a few conferences because he just doesnt want to work.

Soon after we got more work avoidance of a slightly different nature related to ‘kicking the can: for two weeks’ thing. Its designed to stave off critical questions or things he just dosn’t know.  This would be lying about getting a couple of calls from the Chinese and how they were going to cave to him in his preposterous trade war, which in itself is a work-avoidance scam. Of course, as the Chinese let us know, it never happened.

The G7 is where he dropped some a couple of weird statements and tweets and the lightened schedule of meetings still took its toll on him. He rambled incoherently at times. The bizarre statement that his wife had gotten to know Kim Jung-Un somehow was just weird. For the record theyve never met.  The bottom line is he probably doesnt remember they never met because he cant remember much in general. Like for instance what a Category 5 Hurricane is, even the fifth time around since he took office.

Either way the meeting gets on TV and the Dear Leader looks busy. And again, he just doesn’t care how bad it looks. He leaves any meeting of world leaders with a flurry of erratic tweets.  Just to look busy.

Create A Crisis 

Instead of getting down to the brass tacks of Trade or Infrastructure the president will start tweeting something crazy and draconian that he may or may not do.  Insulting a world leader, screaming about a perceived Trade Injustice or just attacking some random person are all possible when he goes this route.

trump_hurricane_dorianWe just saw the perfect illustration of this with Trump showing he’s not working. realizing it, and lies to cover it up when he claimed Hurricane Dorian was heading towards Alabama. This was only true for a tiny sliver of Alabama on models that had been out of date for about 4 days at the time of his announcement.

In fact all parts of Alabama were out of danger when he gave his web announcement. He later needlessly lied to cover his laziness. Since he had to pretend to be busy and informed he couldn’t look four days behind! So he faked it like a fourth grader, apparently scribbling in what we can only call “The Executive Storm Track” of the storm, with a sharpie, over other, legitimate models he displayed on a map.  The map didn’t have the marking on it when they gave it to him. He literally extended into the storm track with a pen on his own…. or possibly had a  aide do it, but he knew he was showing altered, inaccurate information.

Thats right, the president put a fake storm track that included Alabama rather than admit he was wrong. The only good news is like everything ls else he does it was obvious and badly done. I guess we’re left to wonder how bad things might be were he to get better at the lying. Maybe the problem is the lies are spontaneous and unplanned. Maybe its because they’re so huge and sloppily done to this point, but the president created the impression of danger anyone believing was real probably spends like 200 dollars preparing for. In  the case of Alabama, you just had a needless financial burden thrust on you by Trump’s ego.

‘Solving’ the Created Crisis

One great thing about inventing a fake hurricane is being able to make it goins away! That Dorian Non-Strike on Alabama will be seen as a win by Trump. The other places where the storm could cause a problem can;t be seeing this delusion as a good sign though.

When a tweet goes sour or an idea goes viral in the wrong way the president will use the aforementioned “A Major Announcement is coming very soon” stall.

We’ve seen him claim credit for stuff he’s had nothing to do with over and over, or that were in the works for years if not decades , stealing the credit or blame from whoever really tried to legislate the issue. Problem solved.  He feels he looked engaged and busy.

Then, a day or so later, an aide or cabinet member will say on the record the president wasn’t serious about the crisis he created or the horrible things he was ‘forced to say’.

Sometimes we find out that he’s simply bitching about something that was settled months ago. It’s just done for it to be on TV anyway.  Again, he could care less how it plays. He considers it a win.

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We just saw this in the Mexico Tariff Shell Game. At the last minute he pretended he had issues with Mexico and would impose tariffs. Then nothing happened and BLOTUS tweets he’s made a major deal. The Mexicans, for their part, were rightly confused and a little annoyed that an issue from a deal previously signed and settled is coming up again.

The media usually notes the deal is weeks or months old and there was never much chance Trump was going to do any of the things he threatened. It doesn’t matter, he looked busy. Mission Accomplished.

The Kremlin loves this too, by the way.

Wrong Time

The president will make threats and spitball policy ideas on Twitter at 4:56 am and then not show up anywhere until like 1 pm. When the rest of America wakes up hes passed back out but it looks like he was working.

This is part of a deeper theory I have. It’s that Trump doesn’t fall asleep and wake up like a normal person. In fact I think he’s like 2 days of sleep behind all the time. This would explain his constant confusion and brittle disposition. He can’t ‘sleep’, he only passes out from being awake too long for say 4 hours about every 20 to 30 hours.  12 Diet Cokes a day will do that to you.

So in a nutshell; my theory is he passes out from sheer exhaustion (and a caffeine crash) after 20 to 30 hours of ‘wakefulness.” Less than 5 hours later he wakes up in a cold sweat screaming the moment his body has been in stasis long enough for his mind to start to panic again.  Then he ‘wakes up’ and starts the cycle again. He’s never anything but overtired, grumpy and scared.

Most of the time in he’s just in a torpor half out of it half watching Fox News Opinion shows that tell him he’s great. This is so his ego never has to stop grazing.

 Wrong Place

This is maybe the Kremlin’s very favorite thing Trump reliably does.

The ‘president’ will just go somewhere and be completely inappropriate. Time and again we’ve seen him showing absolute contempt for his surroundings. He hates to work at all but has to make it look like he must be doing his job. Whether he looks like he’s doing it badly just doesn’t matter to him.

Be it standing in front of the CIA Wall of the Fallen while just lying about the size of the crowd and weather at his inauguration, saluting a murderous North Korean General, accepting Putin’s offer to investigate the 2016 Election, or sitting in front of the graves of 9,300 Americans who were killed storming the beach at Normandy; he says and does the wrong thing every time.

Remember last year when he shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of the way? Or early in  his presidency when he scared the shit out of thousands of Boy Scouts and angered their adult leaders with a crazy militaristic speech? That last disgraceful move has the president BANNED from any Boy Scout function. There’s a presidential first! The guy’s plain old inappropriate and he doesn’t care.

The president will act badly, provably lie and say completely inappropriate things in places you would consider sacred or at High Stakes Summits.

He has no idea about protocol and disgracefully supplicates himself to Putin and other nefarious figures regularly. He just wants the Photo Op to make it seem like he’s working.

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He then dominates the news cycle with whatever disgraceful move he made, every crazy lie he told and/or bizarre threat he made.

Since getting on TV and getting things accomplished are pretty much the same thing to Trump, he considers it a win. At least no one’s talking about his terrible poll numbers or the multiple failed dictator moves like the Travel Ban, right?

Some people seem to buy it.

Fighting With Dead People

Death isn’t the end of Trump having a nonstop problem with you. No one is dead enough to escape his perma-rage.

One thing this president has shown is a boiler-plate pattern of being highly inappropriate and crude, especially about things that scare him. For instance – Military Heroes and the whole concept of death.

Usually it’s a beloved or revered Military hero that he focuses on. It’s the sheer insecurity of a Draft Dodger who didn’t even have the courage to say he was against the War. He just invented a disability and when the war ended he was magically cured. I’m sure most of the people with Incurable Bone Spurs would love him to share how he made them go away. No such luck.

Since dead people cant really fight back and he could care less how his words affect their families, he does it all the time. Be it refusing to lower the White House flag when John McCain died or mocking the parents of a soldier whose made the ultimate sacrifice, Trump feels like this makes him look on task and in charge.

Again, some people buy it.

Showing Off His Toys

Informal and insane statements while walking to his helicopter, with engine roaring, are a great way to look busy. So this is how we usually see Trump. The fact he usually yells when he talks anyway is slightly less out of place, but he makes up for it by being extra caustic in these moments.

So what if he’s flying to his own club to play golf or to one of his “Show-Rallies”? Any guy getting into helicopters that much must be working. Same thing with Air Force 1. He makes a few scathing comments in front of the plane, engines warming up, and he’s off.

Way to go, he just looked like he was working!

WHY?

Why would anyone act so stupidly? The short answer is “Donald Trump is LAZY and BAD AT EVERYTHING.” This extends to, well,  everything. Be it what he tweets or who he hires and even to what information he takes in. He’s not an able Chief Executive.

In fact, were Articles of Impeachment built around an inability to fulfill his Oath of Office as such it would be hard for anyone to argue it wasn’t valid and would probably pass the House of Representatives.

Ever since his unexpected win Trump’s shown he’s unable to fulfill the Oath of Office. Nonetheless, he’s the president. Could it be that the Russians were punking all of us AND Trump too ? Like maybe he never thought he was going to win? It’s pretty easy to make the case he wasn’t trying to win with insane ad hoc policies and actions we saw on the trail. He was on the Low Road the whole time.
He’s never spent 10 seconds considering the importance of his job or shown any reverence to the office he holds.

And those are some of the ways Trump avoids doing any work.

Trump UK Visit – Was George Washington Simply Wrong?

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President Trump is so bad and so hard to take that he’s a one man case that we should fire our entire government and return to British Empire. If given our own parliament and a several party system maybe this fascist craze will just blow over?

After an apparently sleepless trip across the pond where Air Force 1 sadly didn’t crash into the sea Trump blew out a bunch of insults and went to go visit the Brit Royals.

While the entire idea of having Royalty is completely stupid, the two princes seem to sort of be painfully aware of this. They do what they have to do with some humility. Quiet, gracious and compassionate, they couldn’t be more opposite Trump. Seeming to be always trying to earn the high degree of admiration they were born into, there’s no not liking them. And some of the Royals are really easy to not like. I was born into it from my Irish heritage. I had some relatives who HATED the Royal family. Those were different royals though and a much different time.

Prince Chuck, The Queen, crazy old Prince Philip? Take your pick. You could go to town on them, but then again they are all possessed of a great deal more dignity than Trump.

I guess I just think of my old Uncle Paddy who fought in Easter Rising bashing the Royals and it’s a little hard for me to admit they’re titular heads of a better government than ours. But it’s a mental hurdle I’ve now jumped.

Mostly because of the Princes. They’re simply nice guys. They were even nice to Trump.  The princes are polar opposites from the scamming lowlife Trump clan; whose patriarch bashed prince Ginger’s wife, Meaghan Markle for no real reason and then just lied about it.

Watching Trump around the Queen is way too close to watching ‘The Naked Gun; from the Files of Police Squad’! Always inappropriate, dressed like shit in an off the rack suit, the president looks bad all the time and is an un-funny Frank Drebin.

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He’s been there 3 hours, lets see what happens when they stop praising him and he opens his blowhole.

Why Not?

Meanwhile, would you not trade congress for an immediate parliamentary election with direct representation on all levels? Then they can do things like just remove Kavanaugh from the Bench.

The people have proven they can be lied to and there’s been a few presidents, like Trump, Reagan and Nixon, who colluded with Enemy Powers to win their bids. Maybe the people here in America are just like the people of Westeros and deserve self determination? Make the president a figurehead and super-ambassador with no power and no pardon power, and no nuclear football! It’s not like Cocaine Mitch McConnell isn’t calling most of the plays anyway.

Why NOT a Prime Minister who could quickly be removed? The Trump nightmare would have been a six week footnote rather than a protracted time of intolerance and bad governance.  Plus we get all the screaming and yelling of a parliament, which also makes lots of sense for America. Imagine 4 parties. Maybe more, but there’s a mandate to cooperate. Like we wouldn’t benefit from more cooperation?

I could easily foresee the GOP and Democratic party enduring, and maybe a moderate party from the right and the left in the mix may better represent us. The more moderates would have a greater ability to influence more policy. Maybe the other two parties would be the Progressives and the Libertarians? It probably wouldn’t be worse.

Maybe, just maybe, George Washington was wrong. Or perhap just took it too far. The Chief Executive Office has by all definitions grown beyond its original mandate and is prone to tampering. There’s a whole bunch of arguments about why congress is a mess. Why not a bicameral parliament?

Then there the Electoral College Choke-Point leftover from making room in the Constitution for slavery. It didn’t come out of anything good and lead to the Civil War and so many bad chief executives its can only be called bad. It’s purpose is long past. When it’s been successfully tampered with we usually get a terrible president. It needs to go.

The wave of protests against trump will surely be BFD when we see them eclipse him accepting accolades in the coverage of this humiliating trip.

Perhaps New York could petition to renew it’s Royal Charter and just join Canada?

 

Here’s What Robert Mueller Said

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Well it was only 10 minutes and delivered without emotion, but we finally heard directly from Robert Mueller. The full video is at the end of the post.

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It’s hard to sum up how he really feels, he did provide some cover for Barr and say he wasn’t going to speak to congress. Here’s what went down

Mueller walked on and said he wasn’t taking questions and hoped to never speak in public about this again.

Then he basically disgorged his opinion of his legal mandate and goals. He cleared up who he was responsible to (mostly the Acting Deputy Attorney General) and what his mandate was. He stressed he could ONLY investigate. In other words – Mueller’s opinion of his mandate could be summed up as – He had investigative authority, but no legal teeth. The president is un-Indictable, at least by him, merely because he’s president and that’s all there is to that.

So after again thanking his team Mueller sort of underscored what he thought was the most important things in his report. It would seem to have a disregard for the present circumstance.  At best it could be called forward looking.

We’re Under Attack

He stressed that there was a coordinated and elaborate attack on our 2016 Election by Russia. Both the Kremlin and some kind of private entities were involved. Wikileaks was used to launder the information and get the Russians some deniability.

He said it was done with the aim of ‘influencing” opinions and ‘to damage a candidate.’ That candidate can only have been Hillary Clinton. He didn’t speak her name, but really, who else could it have been? He repeated the interference was ‘extensive’. It seems pretty clear we saw Putin’s hand here.

Then he went to his report and specified Volume 1, which is about the Russian efforts and whether Trump coordinated with them. It was inconclusive as to direct conspiracy, but maybe not because he didn’t think Trump had tried something. He would refer to the limits of his mandate, that you can’t charge a sitting president, was the governing philosophy of why no charges were filed.

Then he specified Volume 2, which dealt with Presidential Obstruction and obstruction of the Investigation. Again he referred to his mandate and said there was no Indicting the president under seal either. So Mueller’s view is hands were tied.

With confidence he said in so many words “It’s UnConstitutional” for the Special Counsel to Indict a sitting president. He alluded to Justice Department policy as the reason that he could do nothing about Obstruction as far as charges and Indictments. He again alluded to his limited mandate as the big reason there was no charging Trump.

More than anything else he spoke of how very limited his legal mandate really was.

Over and over Mueller deferred to his mandate about not being able to Indict rather than cleared the president. He said plainly he had ‘no confidence’ the president had NOT committed a crime.

Mueller made it very clear he could not clear the president. This is about the strongest thing he could say under his interpretation of his mandate. He seemed to be saying that anyone else would be looking at getting arrested over this and confirming the broken nature of our Justice System.  He seemed more concerned about the coming election than anything President Trump may have done to this point, despite saying he was prosecutable outside of Office.

It seems Mueller really wanted us to be aware he NEVER had authority to indict the president.  He stated policy and law as to why HE COULD NOT INDICT OR CHARGE THE PRESIDENT, NO MATTER WHAT HE FOUND.

One curious thing he said was that since there was no method to try the president legally while he was in office he had decided he simply couldn’t charge him based on that. The decision notably was NOT because he didn’t think Trump was guilty. In fact, he seemed to be saying he thought the law shielded the president from the consequences of illegal behavior more than anything else aside from the deep concern over the next election.

He then again thanked his staff and categorized his staff and investigation were ethical and professional.

He repeated that he wasn’t taking questions.

Mueller- He’s Not a Player; He’s The Official      signal_personal_foul

In essence Mueller didn’t so much punt to congress. That’s because PLAYERS punt. Mueller has cast himself (or felt locked to the role) more as the referee or some other official.  So like an NFL official what he did was turn on his mic, address the crowd, explain the penalty and handed the ball to congress.  signal_grounding

Could you say that when he hands the congress the ball on Impeachment it’s on the GOP’s own 20 yard line. Mueller’s message between the lines seems to be “You’ll easily score a field goal if not a touchdown if you pursue these charges I laid out because if he wasn’t president he’d be a criminal. He may just leave the White House for the Big House.”

Mueller may be right on about the biggest issue now that all is said and done being keeping the next election clean of Russian (and all other) interference.

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And that’s what Robert Mueller said.

Here’s the whole statement

 

 

 

Mueller Speaks Out

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Well if today had started out quietly at the White House you can throw that right out the window. A tweet storm is brewing over the word that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will speak to the media from inside the Justice Department.

Gathering Storm of Unknown Nature

Rep Gerry Connolly of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was quick to suggest the location, from within the Barr Justice Department, casts a shadow all it’s own over what’s going to happen in just about 2 hours.

Will Mueller show himself as the “Man of Conscience” his reputation suggests, or will we get a Barr-like series of equivocations? Or is he just trying to get out what congress would ask him without having to actually appear? It’s unclear.  The good news?  We don’t have long to wait to find out. At 11 or so this morning, Mueller will either drop a major WMD of a Truth Bomb or throw in with Barr. There’s signs pointing to both possibilities.

The revelation the White House was given a ‘Heads Up’ on this is not a reassuring sign though. What the president thinks about what we’ll all hear will, almost surely, be revealed through a childish tweet storm no matter what Mueller says. mueller

 

Cap’n Kirk Douglas Reacts to Black Sabbath Comparison and Review of Hundred Watt Heart Record Release Show

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One of the most successful (and nicest) people I know personally has got to be Cap’n Kirk Douglas. He was one of the many gifted musicians I met from the eclectic original players of Long Island’s East end when I went to Stony Brook University.

In my experience Kirk was always friendly and approachable, hes was welcoming of a newcomer and impressed me even then with his amazing guitar abilities. I was lucky enough to even jam with him a bunch of times. Obviously, I had my work cut out for me just keeping up. You could tell then there was something about him that set him apart musically from others. To me it seemed amazing competence and chameleon-like ability to play the right way for whatever role he took in any project.

Because at that time there were probably a dozen decent original acts from a pool of like 30 super talented people. I fooled them into thinking I was good enough to play with them and it was pretty great. It was a great time of expansion in my own musical life. Getting away from Queens for a while paid off creatively.

These days, as guitar player for The Roots he’s in many Americans living rooms weeknights laying it down with a variety of beautiful guitars. Last night I saw the first Hundred Watt Heart show. It was as at times as heavy as the single I had downloaded on the way. Guitar Driven is one way to put it.

Having only the Roots to go on I decided to do some preparation. I downloaded “I Used to be in a Circus”, the only available track as the record, Turbulent Times,  only dropped today.

The song was great and honestly not what I had expected. You can hear it for yourself, but what caught my eye was what Google Music showed as the “related Artist”; Black Sabbath.  The tile next to it was from Black Sabbath Volume 4, so its the older Sabbath that seems focus of the comparison

After seeing the show I sort of concur.

Some things that back up the Sabbath allusion would possibly be Kirk’s riff driven and solid. He has some Sabbath-like traits in his song writing. His vocal delivery was right on and full voiced. He delivered as hard as Ozzy in his prime (on a good night).

There’s a whole lot more to it than just that, but its not a bad thing to be compared to by any long shot.  So I’m not the only one who sees something in this record.

Now, having now listened to the whole album I can see where the reviewer came up with the comparison Some of the songs have a Sabbath-like vibe and similar tone and heaviness, but Hundred Watt Heart, by intent, covers a lot more musical ground. For one thing, they don’t seem to have set out to sound like Black Sabbath at all. The similarity is Organic and stems from Kirk’s influences having some overlap with Tony Iommi’s is my guess. And while its easy and fun to compare bands, Hundred Watt Heart is actually unique. With the quality of pop music seeming to be trending down, here’s a listenable and sincere album that starts with an admission – These are in fact Turbulent Times. Why pretend things are great?

Its a solid and interesting guitar album and the songs are catch-y as Hell. While appealing and beautifully melodic, it’s confident and solid all the way around. I love the single ‘I Used to Be in a Circus” and ‘Uma’, with it’s blistering solo and brooding lyrics, might just be my favorite. It may just sound a bit like original Black Sabbath as well, but in the best possible way.  To take it a step further, as a Black Sabbath fan myself, I found myself taking to this album in a big way.

The Gig

Back to the show;

An hour and 3 el presidente beers after hitting Billyburg I was immersed in what Kirk accurately described as a sonic bath. I was pumped for the whole high energy performance. It’s hard believe 3 guys made all that noise. Mark Kelley (bassist for The Roots) and Ricc Sheridan (drummer for Earl Greyhound) join him on the record and this show.

First off – SEE THIS BAND! I hate everything and I even enjoyed it.

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While I would not go so far as to say he sounds like Black Sabbath and the lyrical topics seem quite different from what I’ve heard so far, I can see how the critic who made the comparison came up with it. Unassuming and powerful would how I would describe the show. No punches pulled, mostly non stop music, though he did generously acknowledge the audience a few times. The club was packed and the energy was great. The band didn’t disappoint.

Hundred Watt Heart is a live show well worth seeing. Kirk’s vocals are right on as is his playing. Not to mention, he’s still a man of the people, the price of the show was completely affordable. Music came before money and I for one appreciated it. His A-List supporting cast on bass and drums was amazing. And lets talk about New York here for a second – Having an affordable but high quality evening out in a city that EATS money is not an everyday thing.

Considering there wasn’t a bad place to watch in Williamsburg’s interesting “Baby’s All Right” it was even that much more intimate. It also featured a super cool stage. You can only hope this show comes to your town. Hundred Watt Heart was amazing live.

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I’m sure when more critics hear and review it we’ll get different comparisons, but I was lucky enough to get Kirk to agree to give me a clean reaction about the Sabbath comparison on audio and he was kind enough to agree. So I didn’t tell him what the comparison was, just that it sort of surprised me.

Still, I have to thank Kirk for being completely cool about this request for a reaction. No one respects Bloggers anymore, there’s been too many bad, biased and dishonest ones. Hey, I swim with sharks, right?  He could’ve just said no and that would have been just fine; but he’s always been an open and friendly guy so I was comfortable asking him to give his reaction. It was a lot easier in fact than getting the audio on youtube. The video is what it is. Its about what he said.

So here’s Cap’n Kirk Douglas, leader of Hundred Watt Heart, reacting to being compared to Black Sabbath. Its rough,  but you can clearly hear us. Not a youtube expert yet.

So there you have it, Kirk’s reaction and a great little Ozzy story you wont find elsewhere.

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Left to Right – The Real McTeag, Michael Grace jr (of My FavoriteMy Favorite) and Cap’n Kirk Douglas

Here’s a longer interview with the band from Relix –

Read more: https://relix.com/blogs/detail/premiere-the-roots-captain-kirk-douglas-shares-song-from-forthcoming-hundred-watt-heart-project/#ixzz5osSwOXps

Trump’s Sick Joke – Early Release for ‘American Taliban’ John Walker-Lindh

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Its been a long time since the early days of the War of Necessity in Afghanistan. In New York City the smell of the destroyed towers still blew in toxic clouds to every corner of Manhattan at some point every day that dreary, angry fall.  It’s a time no one really wants to be reminded of. We mark it solemnly and move on because it’s still painful. Sadly this president trades in pain. Especially when he co-opts the pain of 9-11, an incident he made money off and lied about from day one.

As an insulting and offensive reminder of 9-11 President Trump allowed early release for a hated Traitor whose name is forever tied to that day.

Thanks to Donald Trump, John Walker Lindh is a Free Man. The president didn’t stop it for reasons all his own.

It looks to many like he just wants to minimize Treason and insult the CIA.

The Tale of Johnny Taliban

Very soon after the 9-11 Attacks, we got  real sickening surprise. Among the evil Taliban we found an American from California who just loved shooting at American soldiers with an AK-47. Somehow we took him alive. Maybe heroin had led him down a bad trail, you can see for yourself in the pictures he could have been drugged up, but it doesn’t really matter WHY he was shooting at Americans.

John Walker-Lindh was and is dangerous. He was then and he is now. Looking back to 2001 he was way too involved with the people who attacked America. He may have offered them some tips on how to fit in for all we know. As far as I’m concerned he may as well have been flying one of those planes

He took up arms against his country in very proactive way. Like shooting at people proactive, which is obviously really violent and extreme. We don’t know he didn’t manage to kill one of the Americans he was, lets face it, trying to kill!

Lindh was right there in it, he was captured on the 25th of November, 2001 just weeks into the war. To dispel any romance about him, he was on the run from US Forces for weeks and he surrendered when the rest of his unit gave up. So calling him a real follower seems fair.

He was down with al Qaeda. He MET Osama bin Laden! He was an enemy combatant. At just 20 years old he couldn’t even buy a beer. He was rightfully hated by Americans for his actions. And he’s still the same guy. Unrepentant and evil to the core.

People reacted emotionally to Lindh. Hatefully called “The American Taliban” or mockingly derided as “Johnny Taliban” he was scorned and would have been ripped apart by an angry mob anywhere in America.

A lot of people thought he should be shot on the pitcher’s mound of Yankee Stadium by an NYPD firing squad; and I would have bought a ticket. They would probably have been hard to get. He bought peoples anger right to the surface. I think it’s because he looked like any one of us if he cleaned himself up and could have done something sinister anywhere easily.

For better or worse, George W Bush’s Justice Department’s preferred image was that of  a ‘kinder, gentler’ Department, maybe even just a little more for white people. So in the end they gave him just 20 years. It was an unpopular outcome.  I considered it too light at the time. I still think it deserved no less than 25 to life. Or, hey, Death.

Trump;s Sick Johe-Now Lindh Walks Among Us

Thanks to President Trump, Now he walks among us. The 38 year old is a real threat to the American People and early parole just isn’t for people like him. I know I don’t sound too progressive here, but the Boston Bomber is going to die, why is Lindh walking free? Probably only cause he’s white.  I’m a strict Constitutionalist on Treason. If it’s really treason you should really die.

But he’s walking around Free and I think he’s looking for a way to hurt people. Obviously, he needed all of that extra jail time of that too short sentence and more.

Enter the Commander-in-Cheat blowing off an easy call – asking he remain locked up. If Lindh were an of Arab descent would he have been silent? because to Trump this wasnt worth so much as a tweet. Its like he lacks all connection and sentiment for his the his home town of New York Lindh helped attack.

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Trump Endorsing White Privilege

Let’s be honest; John Walker-Lindh owes his light sentence and his life to what amounts to White Privilege pure and simple. Does anyone think a fourth generation Pakistani-American would have gotten the same sentence? Or anyone but a white rich guy? White Privilege makes this release even more appealing to Trump.

Make no mistake the early release of John Walker-Lindh is tantamount to letting an aspiring Oklahoma City Bomber (at least) loose on the streets of America. He’s not ready for or deserving of freedom. He’s still a young man and he’s clearly had time to think up awful things to do to people he hates. I doubt he was reading the classics in prison. This guy’s a threat and should have gotten life. Or Death.

But John Walker-Lindh is a white guy whose family had some money. His more than decent lawyers got him charged with Providing comfort to the enemy and 20 years instead of Treason and Death. At the time it was seen to be a very brilliantly litigated legal coup by the defense. The sentence was considered by most extremely light in face of the facts we knew. Sold to the court as sort of an OCD Idiot who happened onto Islam, his lawyers did well. He’d walk free still a young man. I hated it.

It happened the way it did because there was an eagerness then to just want him to be misguided and maybe crazy rather than a guy who wanted with all his heart to kill Americans. It was done to make people feel like no sane American could ever do this willingly. It was saying that there wasn’t a terrorist lurking inside everyone waiting to come out. The guy was just another asshole. It made everyone a little less nervous.

We were wrong about all of that. Seems the only person who didn’t figure this out was ‘President’ Trump.

Nothing more than a letter to the parole would have been needed. Trump chose not to act.

Now President Trump is releasing Lindh early despite the charges of “Providing Support to the Taliban” being the sort of thing a self proclaimed ‘Law and Order’ president would rightly be expected to go hard on. But instead this accomplice to the murder of a CIA Agent will go free.

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A recently captured in Lindh in 2001

He looked like a Chechen rebel and maybe had powder burns on his face. If captured with the Nazis doing the same thing in 1944 he would have been tried and hung.

 

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Now and Then

After he was in jail in Afghanistan he still got into trouble again in a prison riot that cost the life of the very first American to die in Afghanistan, CIA agent ‘Johnny” Michael Spann. His daugter Alison Spann advocated strongly to his early release and I am inclined to agree.

Some prison recent prison documents in the form of his writings and a few statements show Lindh’s no more than an unrepentant fan of ISIS and a real jerk who might try something again. He probably should have served his time at GITMO considering these results. He’s learned nothing.

He’s as dumb as Trump and is now also his pawn.

Minimizing Teason and Insulting the CIA

So WHY the early parole? I see President Trump’s hand. He sees a chnce to both downplay Treason AND slap the intelligence Community in the face. Lindh was, after all, paty to  the killing of a CIA Agent.

It’s wrong and it’s UnAmerican that he serves one minute less than the 20 years. I saw what he helped do in New York, I don’t like the guy. Still, hows hating America and admiring ISIS ‘Good Behavior” for a guy who is supposedly getting out early for being ‘rehabilitated?

Trump’s wrong as always to allow this to happen. He loves that its happening and maybe he’ll mention it. Walker IS white though, so maybe not.

The only people who had a ‘Good Day’ on 9-11 were soulless Rudy Ghouliani who kust loved being on TV,  Lindh and Osama bin Laden for obvious reasons, and, no longer surprisingly, a lying, gloating Donald Trump. who spent the day lying and gloating and has amassed a heap of 9-11  lies since.

If you look at the people this president has pardoned or freed its a sad list of mostly true criminals, creeps and lately, military murderers (with the odd Kardashian-aided exception)

Its all to denigrate the office of president. I still believe thats his witting or unwitting Kremlin mission

 

I Survived The Attack of the Bed Bugs and You Can Too! NYC Edition

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UPDATE- It worked, well over a year later the bed bugs never came back. I beat the infestation! Here’s how I did it –

Well it was over 5 weeks ago that I awoke covered with bed bug bites and discovered a nice sized colony of a few dozen in the folds of my bed.  A Useless (but quite normal) panic attack ensued.

So here’s how I got through it; in short- I used “The All of the Above” Approach

Moment to moment escape tips are at the end if that’s all you need. 

Oh No, It’s For Real! 

How did this happen? I’m really clean! Was it the subway? The movies? The library? That time I accidentally put a hat on my bed? (Probably)It no longer matters, the problems right here.

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If you have anti-anxiety meds, now’s the time. Ignoring this will be appealing, but only make it worse. Smoke something, have a drink or whatever, cancel plans and after a little while coming to terms with this horror story get to work ending it.

So youre gonna want some rubbing alcohol, lots of it. For one thing it takes the sting out of the bites real well, for another it kills bed bugs on contact, so get some atomizer bottles too. Or an old cleanser bottle, more on this later when we get to the Bed Bug Phazer

After I got up off the floor I realized my bed and box spring were shot. Out they went with the bed frame. Fast as possible. Then, being a cautious kind of guy I tossed my bedbugs1area rug. You’re supposed to encase these things in plastic trash them before you throw them out so no one else takes them in.

Clear shower liners and duct tape work, or thicker disposable plastic painters drop clothes. You might want some of these for sorting your stuff since its all possibly infested (and you have to act like it is or you wont get rid of them). This is overkill, because you’ll still need to clean the floor, but it wont hurt. So the stuff went outside looking like Chernobyl waste.

This didn’t stop some idiot from taking both, in just the time it took me to retrieve the spray paint to mark them “Bed Bugs”.  So, as blood smeared as they were, encased in clear plastic and clearly sketchy, they were snatched up.  Honestly, it looked like someone was murdered on them; but some people just see garbage as gold. So, too bad for them.

Back to me. I started running all my clothes and drapes through the drier at the laundromat. Budget like 75 bucks for this and only wash what you must. A lot of stuff can just be rin through the drier.

Drying for over a half hour will kill the bugs in its own, but youre gonna wanna keep washing what you always wash. You might get away with washing at regular temperature, its a long hot stint in the drier that’s the killer of bed bugs. The washing machine WILL probably kill most anyway, but they cant survive a half hour in a drier on high. ALWAYS DRY ON HIGH FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES FOREVER MORE!!!

You’re about to spend a fortune. Keep receipts. Some may come back to you depending on local laws and after this I got renters insurance!

Right as I’m going through this science discovers they’re even tougher than we thought, surviving the asteroid the killed the damn dinosaurs! DAUNTING TO SAY THE LEAST.

I bought some kind of flea and bed bug fogger and pulled everything off the walls. I went triple dosage. I spent 4 rainy hours wandering Queens waiting for it to dissipate. Of course the fogger said it can’t outright kill them, but it did say it would keep the small ones from  maturing, so hopefully the populations now static and I’m killing the ones that are left. And thanks to the fogger they are messed up and can no longer have sex. This makes me feel a little better. If I can’t neither can they, right? Because, lets face it, my social lifes fucked for a month or so.

The City to the Rescue

My landlord here in Queens is an asshole who tried to escalate it into an eviction. My lease was almost up, he might’ve had me. So I called 311, City Services. When they found out my landlord threatened eviction they kicked it to the cops. STAY CALM. This could have ended with my landlord in cuffs for yelling at me, but I just decided that the Police should know he was an asshole and leave it at that. So with that in my hip pocket I started googling and throwing stuff away. I should have googled longer as I trashed some save-able stuff. What can I say, I was stressed, overtired and overwrought!

The authorities  immediately started heating my landlords ass; and after a sleepless night I got the landlords exterminator there for the first dose. In other words – it was free.  That happened mostly because he HAD to and now throwing me out now was considered some kind of retaliation so the new lease was tendered and signed. 7 days later. I didnt feel great about it,  a rent hike and 2 more years in an apartment thats currently a dump filled with sealed trash bags and not much furniture.

Also, as far as the city goes,  if you keep the paperwork and are sort of diligent, you can have the city send over a super adorable Jack Russell terrier to re-check the place, but it has to be at least a month after the insecticide treatment for them to be able to detect them.

Surviving

There was no two ways about it, I had to go crazy washing and throwing stuff away like crazy. For days after sleep deprived day. It’s a long, painful, expensive game.

It sucks but there’s a couple of hacks to save some money. But wow is your dry cleaning bill gonna suck. You can space it out by isolating stuff in sealed bags that you’ll never open in the house again.

You’ll need lots of large strong garbage bags. Clear bags are the best cause they need no labeling. I couldnt find any in time. I labelled the bags with a sharpie and some painters tape. It paid off a million times over because you dont want to keep re-opening suspect bags.

As NYC heat laws made the couch up against the radiator across the room the last place they’d want to be I opted to try to use it as a bed. It worked out as far as I was never bitten again. But I slept like I was in a cage at GITMO as far as sleep goes. Dont count on being rested for awhile. Again, some anti-anxiety meds might make a huge difference. I would stay way from ambien though, unless you want to have bed bug hallucinations and no sleep. Valium, xanax, seroquel. Something like that.

Now you’re not gonna get anywhere if your ‘bed’ touches any wall or drapes, make it an island. Don’t let your sheets touch the floor. Check them every day for blood and put all your bedding through the wash like every 4 days and dry it for a half hour like every day!

A Dash of Luck is As Much as You Need

There was one unaffected piece of furniture I could sleep on. I had to concentrate on how much worse it could have been. Sleeping in a sleeping bag in a hardwood floor? Or maybe a long walk to try to buy a pool float to sleep on would have been even worse.

Losing Your Mind

Well this WILL probably happen if youre coming out of winter into spring and you already were cooped up for awhile, but no matter when it hits you, it’s depressing. You’ll feel filthy and you’ll be throwing things away like crazy and you will have to lose sentiment in a way moving never approaches. So much has to go.

And you’ll be a little apprehensive about going to sleep. I advise a trip to the shrink or doctor for something valium or xanax. I never felt so filthy and worthless, and for the first 2 weekends it sort of seemed unfair to others to go out as I suspected I always had them on me (probably untrue)

Surprising  Saves and Hacks

Well, the plague claimed my Jets hat. It was the same hat I left on the bed by mistake and started this whole run of bad luck, but thats another post. Maybe that was the source as the infestation as it appeared right where the hat made contact. One way or another, NEVER PUT A HAT ON A BED!!!

Books and picture frames are supposed to go or be sealed for a year. I went with a novel and dangerous approach to saving my baseball hats as they wont survive the drier.

Vacuum like nuts and run it for a minute when youre done to trap them inside. Dont change bags inside. I emptied my dyson vacuum container at the public trash can on my corner. NEVER INSIDE!

I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS BUT I DID IT. As we all know from High School English class paper burns at about 451 degrees. Bed bugs die after about an hour at 140. I lucked out on this as I had an electric oven with NO OPEN FLAME. if you have a gas oven you’re out of luck. You’ll burn your house down for sure. However, I cooked my books, while I was right there with a  timer, at 170 degrees. About 40 minutes will do a medium sized book set upright on the rack as high as possible above the element.

Fitted baseball hats are good after 30 minutes but I went an extra 5.

Later i found out the magic temperature is actually 140. Too late, almost none of my shoes made it.

After

As it really seems to start to be over stay vigilant. Fix and pay may lay off some of this expense on my landlord.

Change your anti-roach discs and treat for them too.  Fun Fact – Bed Bugs LAUGH at roach killer and anything short of napalm in most cases.  Small roaches are hard to tell from bed bugs. So try to wipe them out as best you can at the same time, if nothing else for piece of mind. Because believe me, your going to be looking through every bug you kill through a magnifying glass to make sure it’s not a bed bug. (Oh yeah, buy a magnifying glass)

As I write this Im starting week 6.

In retrospect waiting out the toxic spray the exterminator used that took like 5 or 6 hours to be non lethal by seeing the 3 hour Avengers Endgame movie was the only fun part. Good movie.  Captain Marvel was good too, but left me with a lot more time to kill. You’ll be at the movies and probably the library a lot. Ironic, right?

I’ve reduced the amount of bags and chaos and most of my new Wayfair stuff is here and bed bug proof. Ive cleaned and repopulated the dresser and the closet and I’ve moved onto my new bed. You’d think I’d be fine but now I’m actually the most stressed as the idea they may come back and monopolize my time again is palpable.

I also have some not so paranoid new routines. They fall under the “Ounce of prevention” school of thought.

Street clothes go into a hamper or closable bin before I turn in. I change and rinse my hair if not shower before bed and never sit on my bed with regular clothes and never go sit anywhere but bed in my bed clothes.  My backpack NEVER gets near my bed and gets run through the drier once a week for a half hour on high forever more. Jackets too. My jackets hand far from my bed and some stuff done for a whole year til I’m sure the bed bugs are as dead like they deserve to be.

To keep me sane I have my one proactive weapon.

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I truly enjoyed throwing my GITMO couch away

My Bed Bug Phazer

Do all the googling you can. There’s lots of information on line and this is just a few tips, not the comprehensive way for surefire extermination.

Some extermination companies have lots of great info, in fact thats what led me to my Bed Bug phazer.

Simply put rubbing alcohol or Dawn dishwashing liquid kills all stages of bed bug and eggs on contact.. Whether other brands work I didnt research, Dawns readily available here. I suspect it does, but why take chances?  1/3 rubbiing alcohol, 1/3 water, 1/3 dawn will create the most deadly anti bed bug sprat ever. So I mist the area around my bed every night, spray suspect areas near where they like to hang out and I feel kinda powerful.

The pile of bloody mattresses and pictures in the trash along with the Wayfair boxes from other apartments tell me theyre still here. So I taped over all outlets not in use. The bastards love to travel along electric wires. Tape your over your unused outlests and around the edges of any poorly fitted outlet plates. Again, blue painters tape works.

So good luck my friend. Tonight, going on 6 weeks in I will sleep on valium with my Bed Bug Phazer at my side. I will be having that Jack Russell back to be sure theyre gone, but lifes changed. I’ll have Bed Bug PTSD for some time.

But, if you do your research, throw away stuff like crazy and saty calm things will eventually get better. And whatever you do, dont cut corners. This is a war. Think Im kidding? I’m still not sure that weird flu-like spell where I was sick for 3 days wasnt them. Lets face it I was also depressed, forced to stay out in the spring rain a lot and not sleeping well. Even if not the direct cause, they ended up making me sick.

So take it seriously and remember – slow and steady wins the race. Stay vigilant forever more. Lastly – Fear No Bed Bugs! We also survived the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, and we have the brains to fight them!

Cleared by the Bedbug Dog

New York City is strict and punitive when it comes to bedbugs.  I requested a bedbug dog check out the place and they happily obliged. Keep in mind it has to be at least a month after you chemically treat the place or the dog can’t detect anything I worked with 311, essentially filing a new complaint a month later, so I could have this oeace of mind. So worth it!

So you get a visit from a city housing inspector with a super cute dog. All my paranoia and overkill had paid off. The apartment was certified bed bug free. Also, the housing inspector was a totally alright guy who gigged my landlord to fix some other stuff.

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Seriously once the dog cleared me I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. And I could lay off the ongoing expense. I was still scared and all OCD about it until this reassuring thing happened. Now I can finally stop looking at mosquito bites and every bug I kill here under a magnifying glass.

It Was a Real Life Horror Story- My Mini-Escape Tips

Well, as you finish this post here’s some things that helped me survive. It’s a horror story,  you can’t totally turn it off. So you might as well embrace it. Take advantage of every free offer for home movie services. You’ll still have a TV, a computer or device, and a smartphone. You’ll want to use these to escape.

Watch everything on Netflix (wild wild country will take up a whole night).  I didn’t have the energy to play guitar or Game much. So its possible you’ll be a bit lethargic at home. Better that than in a panic though.

The first six Black Sabbath albums were made for real life pain this bad. Maybe check them out.

Kubrick movies, movies about Kubrick movies, movies about the people who worked on Kubrick Movies all helped. Full Metal Jacket especially was enhanced by paranoia and feeling under siege. And the ending is even more ominous. As Rafterman says in the penultimate scene, “Hardcore man, Hardcore.”    Joker_fmj

Youtube Red has a lot of books from before Audible. Just search “Book on tape” and a subject or title and save 20 bucks, you’ll need that money.

Watch Horror a little. Sci-fi and escapism are good too.

And read more. Read Horror. I did. It was appropriate. Im biased Hey, my friend Josh WROTE Bird Box, i re-read that. SO I KNOW about not wanting to open your eyes! Sadly that book was too thick to save.