David Thompson
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February 28, 2020

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Alice

Or, In Which Your Host Learns Whether What He Does Is Of Value.

It is, David. Tip jar hit.

David

It is, David. Tip jar hit.

Bless you, madam. May your enemies be doomed to watch Travis Fort’s 2012: Ice Age, unironically, on an endless loop.

sH2

Ping!

David

Ping!

Bless you, sir. When faced with snow, may it appear silently overnight and, in the morning, look pristine and wondrous, only to vanish as soon as you need to go anywhere, without the whole protracted grey-ice-and-slush phase.

jones

You pathetic donation whore.

Is it lucrative?

David

Is it lucrative?

Well, I’m still here. With a bejewelled tip jar.

David

Your host. Hard at work.

K. Knott

"Ah, I see you have the machine that goes "PING!"

Fortunately mine host, so do I. All the best!

jones

I was only asking for a friend/science.

David

[ Returns from shopping expedition, covered in snow. ]

Fortunately mine host, so do I. All the best!

Bless you, sir. May your supply of quality gin always be matched by a commensurate supply of quality tonic. Not that ghastly Slimline crap that someone, who will remain nameless, picked up by mistake.

Y. Knott

"Not that ghastly Slimline crap that someone, who will remain nameless, picked up by mistake."

Vodka.

sk60

Something for your trouble, barkeep.

Mags

Pinged.

David

Something for your trouble, barkeep.
Pinged.

Bless you, sir, and madam. On a damp and gusty winter’s morning, may your spirits be lifted by the smell of fresh coffee and the sounds of someone cooking you a full English breakfast.

MB

No ads.

*throws cash in tip jar*

David

No ads.
*throws cash in tip jar*

Bless you, sir. May your butter dish be free of toast crumbs.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

FWIW, I bought yesterday a stack of 100 blank DVDs (Memorex brand) through your Amazon link. Small change, but all I can afford now.

David

FWIW, I bought yesterday a stack of 100 blank DVDs (Memorex brand) through your Amazon link.

Bless you. It’s what keeps this place here. Over the Christmas holidays, may you never find yourself entertaining the possibility of chocolates for breakfast.

David

If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me (top left) and I’ll poke about in the spam filter.

Governor Squid

Just returned from a week in Mexico, with very limited connectivity. There wasn't much I missed after disconnecting, but I'll admit it's nice to see the usual suspects now that I'm back.

(FWIW: there's nothing like a week spent watching frigate birds wheeling overhead to make one jump-start one's retirement planning. Not sure how many more Minnesota winters I've got in me.)

David

but I’ll admit it's nice to see the usual suspects now that I’m back.

[ Slides pint of Night Nurse along bar. ]

Darleen

or for Amazon US via this link

Shopped!

Joan

Ping!

David

Shopped!
Ping!

Bless you, ladies. Should you be tormented by the snoring of a significant other, may you discover the joys of wax earplugs, which form a snug seal and don’t end up in the small of your back* like those vastly inferior foam things.

*Other locations come to mind.

David

Thanks to all who’ve chipped in so far, including all those much too shy to say hello, or who’ve done shopping via the Amazon links. It’s what keeps this place here and is much appreciated.

WTP

Pinged. I noticed one of the newer hench lesbians was a couple tattoos shy. Load 'er up!

David

Pinged.

Bless you, sir. May your enemies know the sorrow of accidentally giving the delivery guy from the local takeaway a much bigger tip than intended. Resulting in emphatically appreciative noises, and thereby making a belated correction of the error socially impossible.

Em

*kerching*

David

*kerching*

Bless you, madam. May Amazon delivery bods never have trouble finding your address, such that you end up roaming the neighbourhood in heavy rain, peering up driveways and muttering like a mad person at the Amazon app.

David

And in overseas news...

Enrichment in Paris.

So vibrant and diverse.

Ted S, Catskill Mtns, NY, USA

Well, I’m still here. With a bejewelled tip jar.

You got the idea here, didn't you?

David

You got the idea here, didn’t you?

2011 seems so long ago. I’d forgotten about the all-powerful vajazzling conglomerates.

Ted S, Catskill Mtns, NY, USA

Unfortunately, Anna's "baldazzling" link in the comments leads to a now-private blog.

WTP

So vibrant and diverse.

Gotta give props to the French. Those are some awesome looking fireman outfits. Not very well designed for running away, however. Frogs never seem to learn that form follows function.

 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Have finally paid off my bar tab. Keep up the good work.

David

Have finally paid off my bar tab. Keep up the good work.

Bless you, sir. May your bin men be timely and obliging.

svh

Pinged. :-)

Jacob

Some quids for your tip jat, sir.

Jacob

*jar*

David

Pinged.
Some quids for your tip jar, sir.

Bless you, sirs. Should you visit a neighbour and be offered a cup of coffee, may you be spared the discovery that said brew is not only decaffeinated but enlivened with soy milk, resulting in a small but unplanned test of your politeness.

sH2

"Republican mega-donor buys stake in Twitter and seeks to oust Jack Dorsey... Billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management has taken a 'sizable stake' and intends to 'push for changes', reports Bloomberg News... News of the Elliott stake saw Twitter's share price rise on Friday"

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/29/paul-singer-elliott-management-twitter-jack-dorsey

David

Further to recent rumblings, I’ve decided not to suffer any more of Star Trek: Picard. It’s now pretty clear that the writing isn’t going to get any better and may actually get worse. The plotting is terrible; it has no tension or suspense; it’s tonally disjointed, badly edited, and littered with inexplicable decisions that make immersion in the story, such as it is, all but impossible. It doesn’t earn any drama and doesn’t hold the attention.

The mocking recaps, by Critical Drinker, Script Doctor, RLM, etc., are much more rewarding and will do just fine.

David

New umbrage detected.

Jen

It’s now pretty clear that the writing isn’t going to get any better and may actually get worse.

Zombie Star trek.

David

Zombie Star Trek.

Yes, quite. Six episodes is enough. All that’s been promised so far is more disappointment.

David

I don’t want to be a stereotype.

Via Julia.

WTP

Re umbrage, from the responses...

Until a cheetah can build rockets, put satelites into space with them, and use those to beam porn to the computerized glowbox they invented, I'mma say we're superior.

David

Zombie Star Trek.

Again, the writers can’t seem to decide, or remember, what exactly Soji is. Having first been told that she’s an android, and then subsequently told that she’s not an android as such, but a biological human with a “positronic brain,” we’re apparently supposed to accept that a small human woman, with human physiology, can punch through floors and tear metal bulkheads. This is the standard typical of the show, with things occurring because the plot says so - or because the writers can’t quite remember what had been established in the previous episode, or even minutes earlier.

In episode six, Raffi is arbitrarily cunning or too stoned to stand, depending on what’s convenient for any given scene, or even shots within the same scene. Soji and Narek-the-emo-Romulan continue their unconvincing romance-cum-ham-fisted-exposition-dump. Picard and Soji finally meet – she falls through the ceiling right in front of him, because that saves so much time. And Elnor, our elf-boy-warrior, predictably - and in ways never explained - appears on the Borg cube at a very convenient moment and then stays behind on the cube, needlessly, rather than escaping easily with Soji and Picard. Again, because the plot says so.

The producers of Picard obviously want their show to be seen as a prestige drama, a darker, grittier Star Trek for grown-ups. But it’s drained of joy and suspense, and so clumsy and inept that it’s practically insulting.

Darleen

New umbrage detected.

I wonder what their feelz are that my Christmas baking includes angel and Santa cookies.

Fred the Fourth

"I want to assure everyone that we have a watchful eye on some of our most prolific offenders, some of whom have been arrested several times since the beginning of the year."

https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/02/25/mta-subway-crime-numbers-show-rise-in-robberies

Mr. Coogan sounds like he's running a daycare.

And "since the beginning of the year" ? Wtf?
It's only March 1, FFS.

Fred the Fourth

That NYC subway crime story is practically a reprint of a San Francisco crime story (car break-ins) from a decade ago.
I cringe whenever I have to consider going to sf these days.

Clam

Your rashness paid off. Some quids bunged in your tip jar.

Fred the Fourth

"Stereotype"...
Plantbased neighbors?
Huh. I've had some odd neighbors in my mumble decades, but except for the robot wielding his leaf blower like he was caught in a programming loop, they were all meatbased. I think.

David

Your rashness paid off. Some quids bunged in your tip jar.

Bless you, sir. May foxes doze upon your lawn. Unless, of course, you’re a farmer or someone with a smallholding.

Darleen

When leftists fight over who gets to take credit for making yet another personal activity political.

Darleen

"Kill me now."

https://twitter.com/SwanOfTuonela/status/1233493251140849668

pst314

"Kill me now."

These people deserve to be slaves.

TimT

When leftists fight over who gets to take credit for making yet another personal activity political.

It's stuff like that that reminds one what hot, seething messes of emotional and mental disorders leftists can be.

David

This just in:

Presumably, transgender people don’t have “genital preferences” and would be quite content with whatever genitals were attached to their persons.

David

Further to recent rumblings in the comments,

It’s the cultural sneer towards… what one might call mainstream opinion. Most people still feel pride in the country. Most people feel patriotic, to a certain extent… Now when the BBC portrays, as it very often does, Britishness, British history, in a negative light, people get their hackles up… This is something that has become more and more pronounced… Partly, this is borne out of almost a contempt for parts of British culture… The BBC does not reflect, and does not celebrate, that kind of ordinary lifestyle.

Robin Aitken on the biases of the BBC.

John D

Thanks (again), David. Tip jar hit. :-)

David

Thanks (again), David. Tip jar hit. :-)

Bless you, sir. May your ego never be, as it were, balanced on a two-legged stool.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Presumably, transgender people don’t have “genital preferences” and would be quite content with whatever genitals were attached to their persons.

Evidently not or that individual who had a fake johnson attached wouldn't be suing because her natural naughty bits were removed.

Somewhat related, "The Daily Beast" wonders why a certain person has an X over his no-no square.

Meanwhile, Lesbians on a rampage, though it may not have anything to do with TERFs.

David

I’m just going to leave this here, I think.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Fascinating...

David

Fascinating...

It occurs to me that The Sedentary Adventures of Old, Fat Data might have been slightly more compelling than what’s actually being broadcast.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

As mentioned, my interest in Star Trek past the days of The One True Shatner™ are near zero, but I thought Data was some sort of robot, so how the hell would it either age or become body positive ?

If they just wanted to keep the general character, they could get a new one and explain that they downloaded the old one's data (NPI) into the new one, but had to get a new one because Apple made the old one and they lost the charger, and of course the new ones didn't fit it. That would be more believable than a geriatric curvy android.

Mags

The Sedentary Adventures of Old, Fat Data

LOL. Definitely sounds better than 'Picard'.

David

Definitely sounds better than ‘Picard’.

I picture Data and Picard in matching rocking chairs on a porch at the chateau, comparing their various ailments at great length and attempting to recall their earlier, livelier times, the details of which now escape them.

And yes, it still sounds more enticing than anything belched out by Alex Hilary Kurtzman.

Sam

I thought Data was some sort of robot, so how the hell would it either age or become body positive

I imagine he lost CTRL bit by bit, was terminated from his regular gig, then RAM'd bytes of cookies until he crashed.

/ I paid my bar tab. SUFFER ME

Yan Dzban

Criticisms of contrivances, plot holes and deus ex machina storytelling from "The Great War":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaouoRbXWsU

David

If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll poke about in the spam filter.

David

/ I paid my bar tab. SUFFER ME

[ Feels weight of tip jar, gestures for henchlesbians to stand down. ]

Hal

It occurs to me that The Sedentary Adventures of Old, Fat Data might have been slightly more compelling than what’s actually being broadcast.

One possible thought just popped into mind:

Hey, Patrick, have you seen any of "Star Trek ""Discovery"""?---And Yeah, we keep having to add the quotes to keep from giggling.

Stewart: _)#*&$#)&$)_#&$_)@*#^*)(((((((@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, we're calling 'cause we've got some script, and it's really only on the second draft or so, but if we go with it now, then all the work you've done can have a better and different finish than being a lead in for ""Discovery"".

Stewart: I'm in, when can we start?

Squires

Having only filtered the newer Trek excretions through the RLM crew and that other alcoholic David posted, can someone clarify this for me:

Are we to understand that in a post-scarcity, technology-indiscernible-from-magic world where military vessels have booths that just materialize snacks for for every Tom, Dick, and Harriet, the military-industrial complex thought that the most efficient and secure means of constructing starships was to produce an army of sapient androids and then keep them as slave laborers?

Darleen

Can't be going and honoring women on International Women's Day. That's just transphobic!

(can't just once these council critters just tell the bullies to f**k off?)

Richard

Lurking, a better rash, squirrels hurling themselves through space, these are a few of my favorite things.

Daniel Ream

Are we to understand that in a [...]

Star Trek isn't science fiction. It's Greek morality play and/or Shakespearean drama tarted up with rocket ships and ray guns. Assuming it's intended to present an internally consistent universe is missing the point.

Voyager wasn't good for much, but I'll give Berman and co. credit for making this explicitly clear.

Jeff Guinn

Monthly.

Resubmerging to the lurking depths.

Darleen

Star Trek isn't science fiction. It's Greek morality play and/or Shakespearean drama tarted up with rocket ships and ray guns.

Gene Roddenberry pitched the series to NBC as "Wagon Train to the Stars".

David

Are we to understand that in a post-scarcity…

If you pull at that thread - and in the case of Picard, just about any thread – the whole thing comes unravelled. It’s not so much a story as an unstable pile of generic, half-baked ideas, most of which have been seen before, and few of which sit well together. It doesn’t cohere. It’s like the various bits were just swept into a corner and that was it.

Assuming it’s intended to present an internally consistent universe is missing the point.

Given the writing talent on display, I doubt that a self-consistent story, even from one scene to the next, was ever on the cards. I mean, you can watch Picard and honestly wonder if you’ve passed out and missed entire scenes, entire character arcs. As a viewer, you’re continually being thrown out of the story by jumps, mismatches and incongruities. Why are these two characters, who have no connection or chemistry or discernible motive, suddenly shagging? Why is this other character needlessly doing the opposite of what he promised to do? Why does this Romulan, from the planet Romulus, have a heavy Oirish accent – at one point actually saying “cheeky feckers”?

Half of what you’re watching feels contrived, disjointed, arbitrary. It’s so badly stapled together.

David

these are a few of my favorite things.
Monthly.

Bless you, sirs. When attempting to dismiss a website’s prompt for unwanted notifications, may you never accidentally hit ‘Allow’ instead of ‘No, thanks’ and subsequently struggle to find a way of stopping the bloody things.

David

And again, thanks to all who’ve been moved to contribute (including all those much too shy to say hello), or who’ve subscribed, or done shopping via the Amazon links. It’s what keeps this place here and is much appreciated.

Trevor

(can't just once these council critters just tell the bullies to f**k off?)

A forlorn hope. I date the loss of the ability to say 'No!' and the crumbling of backbones to the early 80s, but probably because that's when I began what I must laughingly call my career and became fully exposed to the lunacy afoot.

PiperPaul

"Why are these two characters, who have no connection or chemistry or discernible motive, suddenly shagging? Why is this other character needlessly doing the opposite of what he promised to do?"

It's probably based on real-life SJW social interactions.

David

It’s probably based on real-life SJW social interactions.

Heh. That may not be light years from the truth. It took me a while to realise that the Discovery character of Michael Burnham, a charmless Mary Sue, may actually be an ideal for the people for who wrote her.

Trevor

Why are these two characters, who have no connection or chemistry or discernible motive, suddenly shagging?

That's pretty much the story of my teens and twenties. (And thirties. Possibly.) Halcyon days.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Of course you are a racist, if you think you aren't, you have just been using the wrong definition.

A mere 22 examples (just a small sample) at the link, so stop touching black peoples hair and get with the program, already.

Daniel Ream

Gene Roddenberry pitched the series to NBC as "Wagon Train to the Stars".

And for decades, the way to get a TV show greenlit was to start your pitch with "It's like The Fugitive, but..."

Everyone likes to bring up that quote, and I wonder how many of them have ever actually seen an episode of Wagon Train. Roddenberry was referrgin to the show's episodic structure and rotating guest stars, which is ideally suited for television and syndication.

It's not an accident that he cast two experienced Shakespearean actors to helm the first two shows, nor that Kirk was directed to deliver his lines in something close to iambic pentameter (you didn't think Shatner actually talked like that, did you?)

Mike

As a viewer, you’re continually being thrown out of the story by jumps, mismatches and incongruities.

And two-dimensional villains. BONUS INCEST!

David

And two-dimensional villains. BONUS INCEST!

God, those scenes drag. Anything with Narek and Cartoon Evil Dominatrix Sister, or Narek and Soji, is awful. (They’ve managed to make visiting a Borg cube the most tiresome part of the show.) And after six episodes, more than half a season, Soji is still just an ill-defined MacGuffin, about which it’s hard to care, rather than an actual, you know, character.

Before abandoning the series, I found myself missing Picard’s Romulan housekeeper, even though she sounds like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted.

Darleen

I wonder how many of them have ever actually seen an episode of Wagon Train

[raises hand]

As a child of the era, I loved all the westerns. Wagon Train, Sugarfoot, Paladin, Sky King, Cheyenne, The Rifle Man, Wanted: Dead or Alive (w Steve McQueen) … and my all time fave, Rawhide (with a very young Clint Eastwood, pre-spaghetti western)

That's just the top of my head. Westerns dominated TV in the 50s & 60s.

David

By the way, this is me supposedly taking a few days off. As you can see, I’m not very good at it.

sH2

It’s like the various bits were just swept into a corner and that was it.

Could be worse. :-)

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/386120.php

David

Could be worse. :-)

Oh my. I’d heard it was bad to the point of parody. The poor Doctor sounds done.

Also liked this, re Picard:

You know a show’s doing gangbusters business when they keep the ratings secret.

Heh.

Governor Squid

The answer is to do the work – read things such as Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Brit(ish), Natives, It’s Not About the Burqa and much much more. Listen to those around you, observe things, and call out problematic behaviours.

But, remember that you will never arrive at true racial awareness, it’s an ever-evolving process.

It's not every day that they come right out and say it: "You need to give your money to the race-baiters, prop them up and amplify their voices. You need to be hyper-vigilant against imagined slights. You need to harass your family and friends. And even then, you will still, always and forever, be a racist."

Gotta give 'em credit for pulling the curtain back.

Darleen

Long essay, but oh so worth it.

Choice quotes:

Lenin did more than anyone else to shape the last hundred years. He invented a form of government we have come to call totalitarian, which rejected in principle the idea of any private sphere outside of state control. To establish this power, he invented the one-party state, a term that would previously have seemed self-contradictory since a party was, by definition, a part. An admirer of the French Jacobins, Lenin believed that state power had to be based on sheer terror, and so he also created the terrorist state.

Stephen Pinker has recently argued that the world has been getting less bloodthirsty. The Mongols, after all, destroyed entire cities. But the Mongols murdered other people; what is new, and uniquely horrible about the Soviets and their successors, is that they directed their fury at their own people.

and

Critics objected that Lenin argued by mere assertion. He disproved a position simply by showing it contradicted what he believed. In his attack on the epistemology of Ernst Mach and Richard Avenarius, for instance, every argument contrary to dialectical materialism is rejected for that reason alone. Valentinov, who saw Lenin frequently when he was crafting this treatise, reports that Lenin at most glanced through their works for a few hours. It was easy enough to attribute to them views they did not hold, associate them with disreputable people they had never heard of, or ascribe political purposes they had never imagined. These were Lenin’s usual techniques, and he made no bones about it.

[snip]

“Lenin’s words took my breath away,” Valentinov recalls. I had the same reaction when I first heard a student explain that a view had to be wrong simply because it was voiced on Fox News.

Fred the Fourth

Farnsworth,
#6 on that list is the winner.

Daniel Ream

even though she sounds like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted.

There was a TV movie in the 1980s about Vietnamese and Cambodian children adopted into the US, one of whom went on to win some kind of major spelling bee. The twist was that she'd been adopted by a West Texas family and had the corresponding accent.

One might assume that the Romulans learned English in, I don't know, whatever's left of northern Ireland in the 25th century. But truth is stranger than fiction, and much like Ben Mendelsohn's Skrulladile Dundee, it doesn't much matter if there's a reasonable explanation for it. It just sounds ridiculous, and when suspension of disbelief is a cornerstone of your genre it's a stumble out of the gate.

David

it doesn’t much matter if there’s a reasonable explanation for it. It just sounds ridiculous, and when suspension of disbelief is a cornerstone of your genre it’s a stumble out of the gate.

That. It’s hard to succumb to the drama, especially one so poorly written, if you’re continually raising an eyebrow at the incongruities and half expecting the Romulan housekeeper to say, cheerily, “Top o’ the morning, admiral.” For the most part, so far as I can see, the incongruities serve no obvious purpose, except to draw attention to their modish incongruity, thereby throwing you out of the story. As you say, it continually undermines any suspension of disbelief, any attempt at immersion. It’s not just some quirky aesthetic flourish; it’s a very basic mistake.

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