Do Not B.S. and P.O. Picard!

Suggestion… either read along while playing back the above orchestral performance… or not…

 

Ever since the September 8, 1966 birth of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek Universe, this visionary man has provided Sci-Fi screenwriters a golden opportunity to [1] offer up their parable-like morals and [2] present their problem solving models to put them into practice.

Against Roddenberry’s futuristic backdrop of the United Federation of Planets… a macrocosm of the United States of America… Sci-Fi does have the potential…

“To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

This genre liberates writers, with spines, scruples and the drive to go the extra mile (kilometer / light-year / parsec), to tackle more down-to-Earth, present-day, contentious issues. For over half a century, now, there have been plenty of small and big screen storylines to offer a glimmer of hope to the casual and chronic Trekkers, alike… to inspire humanity to Think Big!

Indisputably, one of Star Trek’s most honorable, admirable and recognizable characters is Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Upon hearing his take-no-crap-from-anybody, soul searching sermons, wrongdoers (oft instantly) feel strongly compelled to mend their errant and/or evil ways.

Let’s take a closer look at our two, featured, Next Generation, YouTube clips. For anyone who has yet to watch the full TV episodes, you are now linked to the plot synopses… SPOILERS AND ALLThe First Duty and The Pegasus. No time? Spare me the details, you say? Not to worry, the remainder of this post can get you up to Warp 9.9 speed.

Each video vignette features a Picard subordinate who has [1] demonstrated ferocious, misguided loyalty to a flagrantly lawless, egotistical superior officer, [2] this heedless allegiance has resulted in the needless loss of life, [3] via the deliberate suppression of the truth, he has participated in a self-serving conspiracy to cover up and bury the facts, which a subsequent Star Fleet investigation is so desperately in search of and [4] the inquisitors all suspect they are being lied to / BS’d.

The First Duty

The Pegasus

When Picard’s independent inquests uncover truth’s distortion / demolition, he becomes rightfully and royally PO’d. He instinctively, instantly sets aside his role as galactic explorer in order to preserve, protect and defend Federation rules and regs (an interstellar “United States” Constitution). As for anyone who has the unmitigated gall to subvert such ideals… be they an ethically adrift subordinate or superior… they will incur the Captain’s unmitigated wrath until, somehow, someway, they can manage to relocate their moral compasses… realign / re-calibrate their moral sensors.

Since Sci-Fi does have the potential “To boldly go where no one has gone before,” let’s apply this to today’s front page news.

Would it not be totally sensational for we, the multiple billions of ethical folks… worldwide… to ear and eyewitness Patrick Stewart reprising his Star Trek role… delivering, yet, another passionate, stern sermon… in this instance… directed squarely at the U.S Senate… just prior to the kickoff of Trump’s Impeachment Trial.

It is conceivable that Mr. Stewart could stare down and scare the crap out of the wayward, devoid of all ethics, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his like-minded, mindless throng of hardcore strange… REALLY STRANGE… bedfellows of Donald J. Trump… i.e., convince them to [1] mend their evil ways, [2] honor their Oath of Office, [3] conduct a fair and impartial hearing and [4] if (IF?) convicted, grant the fake prez his much deserved, Constitutional Ouster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half a Century of Hilarity… No Argument Here!

At the risk of starting another argument with the Argument Clinic’s Mr. Barnard, he’s absolutely wrong! I mean, this quarrel did not last 5 minutes, at all. Hell, I’ve got proof positive! The entire clip tracks out at only 4:32!

No it doesn’t!
Yes it does!
No it doesn’t!
Yes it does!
No it doesn’t!
Yes it does!
No it doesn’t!

ENOUGH! Geesh! Anyway… setting aside my lame attempt at levity (maybe)… I want to wish the entire Monty Python’s Flying Circus gang… Graham Chapman (deceased), John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin… a Happy 50th Anniversary and thank you, too, for all the laughter you’ve inspired. Your ingenious, hilarious skits and films have made our world a far, Far, FAR better place to live in. I really, Really, REALLY DO mean that, guys!

No you don’t!
Yes I do!
No you don’t!
Yes I do!
No you don’t!
Yes I do!
No you don’t!
Yes I do!
No you don’t!
Yes I do!
Yes I do!
Yes I do!
Yes I do!
Yes I do!
Yes I do!

 

 

 

 

Life Imitates Art? (Vid of the Day)

Lately, I’ve been having this nagging feeling that, unlike the typical cause / effect relationship where art imitates life, the exact opposite has been in play.

As I began free associating words such as “opposite” and “alternate”, that’s when it dawned on me that… not unlike what’s been going down in our troubled Trumpian times… most of us have seen an upheaval of astronomical proportions, before. These scenes span several incarnations of the Star Trek franchise… backdated to the Original Series episode: Mirror Mirror.

This is not to say that Captain Trump and his (non-enterprising) crew have actually been taking their cues from Mirror, Mirror. Of course, seeing how that narcissist always has his eyeballs glued to his TV and mirrors; how he gets off on evil empires, too, maybe I’ve been too hasty in dismissing this?

Anyway, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling horror re the evil crap that’s been going down since StarDate 0120.17. That is what makes it easy to relate to how Captain Kirk and his away mission team must’ve felt emerging from their transporter beams… setting foot into a malevolent, sadistic, violent alternative society where, things are simultaneously, vaguely familiar and, yet, totally bizarre. Prime example is our above clip where we find the bearded, dagger toting Mr. Spock sadistically, pointlessly, inflicting agonizing pain upon transporter chief Kyle.

Hell, the Fascism channeling, barbaric Trump and his like-minded enablers / supporters could easily align themselves with that Empire. Indeed, white nationalists would have zero tolerance for The United Federation of Planets.

While Kirk, Uhura, Scotty and Bones do eventually make it back home to their kinder gentler dimension, our return to a kinder, gentler American homeland won’t likely be as easy as slipping Mirror, Mirror’s disc into the nearest DVD / Blue-Ray player.

 

 

 

 

 

“LAFF… You know you want to!”

Earlier this week, I speculated over the possibility that world-weary humanity might be forgetting how to laugh. I suppose you could consider what now follows to be Part Two to that linked previous post.

I cannot say, with certainty, what had caused me to awaken from my slumbers on my living room sofa this early a.m. I dunno what even compelled me to reach for my TV remote. But, thanks to my digital converter box’s Artificial Intelligence / memory, I found myself viewing a local affiliate of the LAFF Network.

And this turned out to be a perfectly timed out, most welcome TV moment. For the next sixty minutes, I found myself watching 3rd Rock from the Sun, the 1996-2001 NBC sitcom. Even better, this involved the bookended series finale and debut episodes.

Series co-creators Bonnie and Terry Turner’s premise:

To showcase four extraterrestrial anthropologists who assume human form / go incognito to study Earthlings. They take on the role of the Solomons… an on the edge of “nuclear meltdown”, (a)typical, quirky (quarky?) family of four. It is the combined interstellar culture shock / cluelessness / faulty coping skills of High Commander Dick, Security Officer Sally, Information Officer Tommy and Communications Officer Harry, which never ceases to get all of them into hilarious predicaments (at times risking the revelation of their true identities).

The Turners wound up with a hit series on their hands, due, in part, to clever cinematography, consistently imaginative, storylines and superb character development. The phrase, “Every Tom Dick and Harry”, had to have been the basis for the name selection.

Nuff said? I believe so… save to say… I hope that above clip has afforded us all some much needed comic relief.

Indeed, the best Rx for a happier life can be found within that above-mentioned network’s own logo / motto…

“LAFF… You know you want to.”

 

 

 

 

 

Michael / Marty B. Goode

Mention the name Michael J. Fox and (at the very least) two particularly memorable acting roles will instantly come to mind… namely… the big screen’s, Back to the Future, time-tripper Marty McFly and the small screen’s Family Ties, right-winger Alex P. Keaton.

As for that latter character, we’re talking about every aging hippie’s, where-did-I-go-wrong, parental-concerns-come-true. Imagine how disillusioned the Sixties, Woodstock era, flower children, liberals Steven and Elyse Keaton must’ve felt upon discovering how their Eighties era, politically rebellious son, Alex, is aspiring to be a materialistic, arch conservative Reaganite WHEN… correction… IF he grows up? YIKES!

Even so, the politically conservative Alex did have his socially redeeming qualities. Neither he nor his parents and siblings were ever conservative with their genuine love for each other… love, which could easily bridge the political divide.

Contrast that with today’s families. Let’s call them Families UnTied. Here’s where we find America’s party planners wringing their hands while tying to figure out “safe” holiday, dinner table seating charts. You know… just to [1] keep their invited, politically polarized family members (and friends, too) at arm’s length and [2] prevent them all from engaging in altercations that’d be far worse than a food fight. Long sigh…

On a much happier note… let’s turn our attention to another of Fox’s particularly memorable ventures into the entertainment world spotlight. In our blog topper video clip… he’s the honored, guest guitarist at a Coldplay concert… cast in the dual role of playing himself and reprising his Back to the Future character. Both Michael and Marty… get to stand center stage, play to their heart’s content, wow their adoring fans by really making that ol’ electric ax sing.

Obviously it’s heartwarming to see Fox being able to momentarily forget about life’s troubles for awhile. However, we must not forget the stark realities, too.

As most of us already know, this Coldplay concert venue was… still is… especially noteworthy… seeing how… since 1991… Fox has been courageously, fiercely rebelling against Parkinson’s Disease. Of course, as to be expected, there have been health setbacks, too. But Michael J. Fox is a courageous man who still has dreams of the day where medical science will come up with either a cure for Parkinson’s or, at the very least, find medicines / therapies to better keep it in check.

Working towards materializing his dream… towards getting back to a happy future, Fox has been going the activism route to put a public face on Parkinson’s… even appearing before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee back in 1999. From his first book, Lucky Man, author Fox elaborates on resorting to whatever it would take to win over conservative poliiticians’ hearts… that is… if politicians… in every negative connotation of that “P-word”… even have hearts. Said Fox…

I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.

Regrettably, what should’ve been Fox’s eye and government purse opening tactics hadn’t sufficiently startled the science hating, conservative politicians… neither back then nor now. Indeed, twenty years later these critically flawed lawmakers still see nothing wrong with sadistically taking their budgetary ax to nearly all medical research.

The very entities who are supposed to selflessly represent their bosses… the very voters who elect them… are selfishly lavishing tax breaks upon themselves / feathering their own nests, instead. Their fallacious feelings of self-importance… their ME ME ME vs. WE WE WE ‘tude is what’s upstaging Michael J. Fox and every other person in desperate need of help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mr. Worf… Fire!”

There are select Star Trek TV episodes that I will always re-watch… even though I’ve totally lost count of how many times I’ve previously seen them.

I know… I know… were Mr. Spock present, he would certainly point out…

“That’s totally illogical. You already know… by heart… these entire story-lines and their happy endings, too. You’ve gotten to the point where you can even blurt out character lines… oft verbatim… oft even in sync.”

At that point, I’d counter with…

“So… I’m an actor wannabe! So… I know their / “my” lines… what’s wrong with any of that? Besides, were not happy endings normally foregone conclusions even when these episodes were first run?”

But to set all debating aside…

Earlier, on Wednesday evening…. courtesy of the H & I (Heroes & Icons) Network… I got to relive Star Trek TNG’s 3rd season ending cliffhanger… The Best of Both Worlds (Part One). I courageously boarded Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise 1701-D to help my crew mates engage and conquer the Borg… i.e., save humanity from assimilation / being reduced to mere automatons / drones.

BACKSTORY: Back in the day of home-taped VHS cassettes… I had tons of fun seamlessly, selectively editing into The Best of Both Worlds (Part Two), the Battle of Wolf 359 scene footage (culled from the debut episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9).

But, to get back to my main topic…

Never has there ever been a finer example of Sci-Fi screenplay writing and episode scheduling. After all, with Part One originally airing on June 18, 1990 and Part Two on September 24, 1990, we, the TNG geeks wound up anxiously waiting to discover whether the Federation or the Borg had prevailed. True, we were already expecting a happy ending… but there was still one unanswered  Q: Would it take one episode or more to achieve plot closure? Hell… the writers could’ve easily transformed this Man vs. Machine conflict into an entire season… and I think their opting out from that was a mistake.

Even though Part Two’s airing is tomorrow night… 19 hours and 30 minutes from my posting time… the wait will still feel much longer. Even so… as it was in the Distant Past… I can still feel the anticipation in the Here & Now! Thanks H & I!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phrasing our responses in the form of questions…

 

ANSWER: The personification of dignity, integrity, impartiality and amicability, he has presided over intellectually stimulating, quality, televised programing since September 1984…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!

ANSWER: The human whose upbeat resolve will afford him the best chances for surviving Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!

ANSWER: Jeopardy! fans and all other caring folks… globally… now wish this man a complete recovery and long life… both in TV land and in the real world…

QUESTION: Who is Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek!