Saturday, December 9, 2017

Tarantino-oh no!

Um...no? Like, I know I shouldn't judge a movie before it even comes out, but I have some pretty strong, possibly unfair feelings about the prospect of the next Star Trek movie being an R-rated Quentin Tarantino joint.
"Yeah, I look at Star Trek and think, you know what this
needs? More guns and characters shouting motherfucker."

-Quentin Tarantino
(probably)
In my defense, the last one had
Krang. Krang! I'm only human.
I don't necessarily have anything against Quentin Tarantino, I mean I, like most people, had a brief flirtation with his gritty, dark humor and ultra-violence in college, but I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting old and curmudgeonly, but I kind of outgrew his two hour murderfests around my late twenties. It's weird to say since I outgrew anything since I'm a grown-ass adult who still plays video games and saw not one, but two Michael Bay directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies.

Unless you're infested with alien parasites,
in which case it's set phasers to head'splode.
There's something about a Star Trek film with 'from the director of Inglorious Basterds and Death Proof' plastered on the poster that just doesn't sit well with me. It's not that Star Trek's never had violent scenes before, I mean red shirt jokes aside, the original Enterprise had a serious crew fatality problem. It's just that Tarantino characters tend to approach violence with gleeful enthusiasm and most of his movies are about bloody revenge rampages. Starfleet officers on the other hand tend to treat violence as a last resort.

No really. Go ahead, name something
Star Trekkier than that. Well? 
Of course, Tarantino is purportedly a huge trekkie and there's no reason he couldn't make a Star Trek movie in line with the series philosophy, but according to this, he's only agreeing to make the film if he can have an R-rating which...look, I'm not against R-rated movies. I mean, I really could care less about your kids, but Star Trek? Sure, Deep Space Nine was pretty gritty for what it was. Half the series was taken up with the Dominion War, but that war ended because-and this is a spoiler-our heroes taught the Dominion's leaders about what we humanoids call 'love.'

I guess I have a hard time reconciling something like that with whatever Tarantino has in mind that's going warrant an R. But on the other hand, the new show, Discovery is rougher than previous incarnations, what with its casual swearing, Klingon war and a seriously uncomfortable sex/torture scene, but it's still recognizably Star Trek.
Sure, this guy did eat Michelle Yeoh's character, and his ship
has a corpse room, but I think Captain Lorca has a tribble...
Sadly, not even a Rihanna tie-in music
video could save Beyond from a
 mediocre domestic performance. 
Ok, so maybe it'll work. Just because his Star Trek would be full of the swears and murder sprees doesn't meant it can't also explore strange new worlds or whatever. But it still seems like a dramatic 360 after the bright and colorful J. J. Abrams series, so what gives? Money. Try to act surprised. Star Trek Beyond was pretty good but didn't do as well at the box-office as the studio hoped. In fact, and this is the nutty part, it might have been disappointing enough to re-reboot reboot-universe altogether. With me?

Oh yes, buckle them nerd belts because noted blowhole enthusiast and actor Sir Patrick Stewart says he'd love to play Picard again if it means working with Tarantino. If it pans out, it would mean abandoning the alternate reality of the Abrams movies and picking up up where the TNG movies left off. Which I'm all for, but more importantly it would mean Captain Jean-Luc 'Let's Work it Out Over A Cup of Earl Grey' Picard in a movie directed by the guy who brought us Reservoir Dogs.
"It's like I always say Mister Data: fuck the prime directive, phasers on kill."
-Jean-Luc Picard,
about to make it so

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Today in shutting down the containment grid:

So he's moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, what's the big deal? I mean other than recklessly upending seventy years of U.S. foreign policy and potentially setting off a wave of violence and distrust that could end any chance of a lasting peace in the region?
Yes, other than all that.
I read the wikipedia page...well, some
of it, making me more versed on the
subject than Trump seems to be.
What am I talking about? Here, let me explain. You see...wait, no, look, I really don't understand all the geopolitical nuances of the situation, but I do know that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is rooted in an impossibly complex knot of religion, politics, national identity and decades of violence and that the President's move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy there flies in the face of the rest of the world's efforts to maintain a status quo in which peace may some day be brokered.

So why in the name of hell is President Trump doing this over the objection of basically the entire planet? Because he promised the goons who voted for him he would. Goons who live here, half way around the world from Israel, in our many electorally over-represented red states where they'll never see the dire repercussions of their actions.
Fun fact: a voter in Wyoming's vote counts for 3.6 times that of a Californian.
So in many ways the electoral college can go fuck itself.
"Vote for me and I'll recognize the
crap out of Israel. Big fan. Big fan."
-Candidate Trump to the rubes
Apparently support for Israel among American Evangelicals is like super-high even though its political situation has exactly zero impact on their lives. So why do they care so much about where the U.S. keeps its embassy? If you said 'because Jesus, you'd be correct. According to this Pew Research poll, 82% of white American Evangelicals said 'yes indeedily doodily' when asked if they thought that God gave Israel to the Jewish people. Guess how many Jewish respondents agreed with this? Go on, guess? 40%. So this isn't so much about the Jews and the Palestinians so much as it's about the Ohioans and Minnesotans.

Sure, it sounds crazy, but you have to
admit, the four Horsemen are pretty metal.
And look, I'm not like a religious scholar or anything, but I gather that part of this whole American Evangelical interest in Israel has little to do with the people who live there and everything to do with Armageddon, which they're totally into. I don't know all the details, although that's apparently not a prerequisite, but my understanding is that Evangelicals support Israel because doing so will hasten the second coming, Judgement Day and the end of the world. Yup, they're voting eschatologically and if a buffoonish gameshow host can get them there, then so be it.

I don't think he, the President that is, even knows what he's doing. Like, at all. I think in the face of low approval ratings and increasing scrutiny from the Mueller investigation he just wanted a win and since this is something he can do unilaterally...blamo. And I mean that onomatopoetically. As in the sound of the explosions the people in the middle east can look forward to because our President wants to score some points with American Evangelicals who literally want to watch the world burn.
The most apt analogy I can think of here is that Trump is Walter Peck who, over the
objections of a room full of people who know what they're talking about, shut down
the containment grid and will then blame everyone else when shit goes sideways.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Today in totally plausible explanations:

"No please, go on about my emails..."
-That women we elected
So did you see the thing on Saturday about the President's Tweet? You know, the one about how he fired Mike Flynn for lying to the FBI? Which he did, lie to the FBI about his Russian contacts I mean. In fact he plead guilty to doing just on Friday, which as a member of the Trump transition team can't be good, right? For the administration or for a President who keeps asking everyone to stop investigating him and his associates' connections to Russia. You know, because there's nothing to see here. Move along.

Anyway, the Tweet was weird because it suggests that if Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI and then went and asked James Comey to stop investigating Flynn, then it might look like obstruction of justice. Of course this was certainly a big huge misunderstanding, I mean, the President would never Tweet something so blatantly incriminating. Right? ...right?
"So lawful, you wouldn't believe how lawful.
Just like my entire administration. So lawful."
-President Donald 'Lawful' Trump
"Yeah, that's right, I wrote the Tweeter-post
or whatever it is. My client is innocent."

-John '(insert lawyer joke)' Dowd
Gee that's pretty damning...this certainly calls for an immediate investigation into-oh wait, I'm getting something over my earpiece which-huh? Hey, you don't know I'm not wearing an earpiece. Like I was saying, in breaking news you can all breath easy, the President didn't write that buffoonishly self-incriminating Tweet after all. His lawyer did. Yes, today in a mea-culpa, youa-idiotas one of the President's many lawyers, John Dowd, announced that it was he, and not the hot-tempered and famous-for-ill-advised-Tweets Trump, who wrote Saturday's seemingly incriminating Tweet.

Amazing! All my suspicions
have completely vanished!
Well, that settles that. After all, what would Donald Trump's personal attorney have to gain by lying to the American people about something that could possibly bring the Trump administration crashing down in-huh? Where's the proof? Well, according to Dowd, he dictated the Tweet orally to the White House Social Media director who in turn blindly published the Tweet on the President's account. Obviously this raises a more serious issue, namely: "holy shit, is he saying that the White House has a social media director?"

Keep up the good work Dan.
Well, they do and his name is Dan Scavino and he used to run one of Trump's golf courses, and if his name sounds familiar it's because he was charged with an ethics violation like two months into the job. So at least we know that the President chooses his staff with the same scrutiny and high standards that he fills his cabinet with (zing!). Anyway, just to be clear, what Dowd is saying is that this Tweet went through the social media director and still got posted? Which raises further questions.

Questions like: 'Do all Trump's Tweets go through Dan Scavino or just the ones he'd like to disavow?' and 'Exactly how stupid do they think we all are?' Um, far be it from me to question the word of a lawyer who works for probably the least trustworthy person this side of Norse trickster god Loki on opposite day, but seriously? Seriously.
"Ouch...hey! Don't...don't say things you can't take back."
-Loki

Friday, December 1, 2017

Today in the one thousandth trip to the well:

Hey guess what? This is my one thousandth blog post! Post 1K. Sorry, that was kind of stupid...and technically this is one thousand and one, but I don't think I should count that first one as a proper post, but whatever, I really appreciate your taking the time out of your day to read all of my...you didn't read all of-well thanks for reading most-oh. Some? The occasional? Occasional's good? Super. Thanks for reading the occasional post!
My first post was a 29 page comic about how
 mad I was that they rebooted Star Trek...no, really.
Or, you know, prison. Six of one...
Without the support of my ones of readers, I'd just be screaming into the void about the things that are important and/or infuriating to me. Things like the social justice and the environment-huh? Ok fine, I talk about nerd stuff and vent about politics-and holy shit, I know, there's been too much about politics lately. Are you sick of talking about the President too? Because I'd be happy to never talk about him again if he'd just resign and oh, I don't know, go back to that gameshow he used to host.

My solution involves orcs so
like, look out Warren Buffet. 
But whatever, we also touched on a lot of things that aren't Star Trek, homophobes and politics. It's been a busy seven years. We've discussed sports, video games, British people, rich people, Nazis ('couple of times), religionunreligionspace religion and even a religion I made up, which I suppose is also space-related. Oh, and I don't know if you know this, but I actually solved the world's economic woes back in 2011 so...you're welcome.

And also whatever this is.
We've talked about sciencepseudoscience and batshit crazy science. And, of course, batshit terrifying crazy science. And space, we talked about space a lot and the people who've gone there, the people who want to go there (turns out they're Dutch) and people who've done weird, weird things to it. Then there was assault rifles, Black Fridaynude restaurants, a couple of Popes, The Titanic and breast feeding. Then there was the time the an ad on a bus told me that the world was coming to an end. But then it didn't. Um...spoiler.

Did you order yours yet?
Or do you lover terrorism?
Hey, did you see what I did there? I cleverly snuck in a bunch of links to previous blog posts in the hopes that you'll revisit earlier, funnier entires. Like this one about the 9/11 coin. I think it might be my favorite. Anyway, It's sort of like when a TV show's writers are on strike and the whole episode is a clip show? Like that. And isn't the first time I've done this either, I did if back at number 500 and my annual posts about Federation Day and New Years are full of that kind of lazy padding. It's like a middle school English paper.

And you know what? I'll probably pull something similar when I run out of ideas and do a final post. So like, check back in a few weeks?
Pictured: the inevitable conclusion.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hey, you know what else is kinda garbage?

Russia. To be clear, I'm not referring to all of the people in Russia or even the geographical area that is Russia necessarily, but rather to the chest-thumping, mob-run, burnt out husk of a global super power that beat us to space. So what's my problem with the land that gave us Tetris and...well, mainly Tetris? This.
"Ridiculous! Russia is free and open society! We even spread democracy
around world. Are you saying you don't like president I choose for you?"
-Unrepentant oligarch
Vladamir Putin
Pictured: soccer, which
 I suddenly care about. 
Did you click? No? You didn't? You know what? Fine, don't worry about it, I'll explain. FARE, an organization that works to combat inequality in football (soccer football, not whatever it is we call football) is warning gay soccer fans not to hold hands or show signs of affection while attending the World Cup in Russia next year. How come? Because Russia is a seething, lawless cauldron of homophobic rage and FARE is concerned that foreign attendees might risk assault or worse by being all gay and shit.

"Look, maybe just watch the World
Cup on TV. Russia? Kinda garbage."
According to Piara Powar, executive director of FARE, the guide will:

"...advise gay people to be cautious in any pace which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans."


-Powar, agreeing with 
my earlier assessment 

Pictured: Russian riot police bravely
apprehending a kid with a rainbow flag.
Homosexuality isn't illegal in and of itself in Russia, but it is illegal to promote to minors thanks to a law entitled and I'm not kidding: 'for the purpose of protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values.' What the shit does that mean? Admittedly I'm not an expert on the Russian legal system, but I think the law just means whatever the arresting officer wants it to mean. You might recall anti-gay watch-dogs once went after a milk company because they had a rainbow on their cartons.

This guy made a career out of ranting about
 gay sex. It's just gay-gay-gay with him...
And look, I'm keenly aware that the U.S. is also chock full of petty-minded homophobic jerks, many of whom hold high office. We're still fighting in the courts with cake bakers and repair shop owners who insist that 'because Jesus' is valid legal ground to refuse service to gay people. Lawmakers seem to collectively loose their shit over who gets to use what bathroom, and have even tried to ban the word 'gay.' But at least in America we have the wherewithal to call homophobes out on their bullshit and publicly shame them on the internet.

I'd like to think that if the World Cup were held here in the States, foreign fans could at least feel safe in the knowledge that the danger they face just walking down our streets would be random and impersonal rather than a hate crime. Probably.
"Hey, it's nothing personal..."
-America

Monday, November 27, 2017

Today in too much to ask:

Is it too much to ask that the President stop acting like such a garbage human all the time? And to be clear, I'm not likening him to America's sanitation workers, they're great.
No really, municipal trash removal is one of those things
that separates civilization from chaos. I'm dead serious.
Um, that's a portrait of Andrew 'Trail of
Tears
' Jackson back there, you know,
just to set the bar for the proceedings...
What I'm trying to get at is why can't our technicality President stop spewing hateful, ignorant garbage all the time? Like, all the time.  Did you see this thing today? Here, I'll explain. The President was honoring some Navajo WWII veterans at an event today and of course his comments were a shitshow of rudeness and insensitivity.

"I just want to thank you, because you're very very special people."

-Donald Trump, arbiter of specialness

Buckle up guys, it's about
to get racist in there.
Ok, not so bad. Idiotic sure, and I'd imagine fairly insulting but so far not as jaw-droopingly racist as I'm sure you can predict it's going to get. The President continued:

"You were here long before any of us were here..."

-The President, right around 
the time his handlers started to
clench up, knowing what's coming

He's talking out of his absolute
something, but it's not his heart.
"...although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas, but you know what? I like you, because you are special. You are special people, you are really incredible people, and uh, from the heart, from the absolute heart we appreciate what you've done, how you've done it, the bravery you've displayed and the love you have for your country..."

-The President of America

Remember when we weren't constantly
embarrassed by our President? Good times...
Oh for fuck's sake. Does he not get that he's the only one calling her Pocahontas? The Pocahontas in question here is Senator Elizabeth Warren who says she is 1/32 Native American, which Trump insists is a lie. Warren admits that her claim is based on family lore and has produced no evidence, but apparently Trump fancies himself some kind of genealogical genius having previously insisted for years that President Obama is a secret Muslim from Kenya. 

You know, even for a guy who routinely makes wild, demonstrably false claims about things like inaugural turnout and illegal votes, and who is even now saying that that recording of him bragging about sexually assaulting women to Billy Bush is fake, it takes some chutzpah to demand that Warren take a DNA test to prove her Native American-ness to him. 
Above: a picture of a tax return for no particular reason.
Is it me, or does it seem like a lot
of this White House's policies can be
boiled down to calling women liars
?
Anyway, he keeps calling Warren Pocahontas because he thinks racism is hilarious. Sorry, it's not racism, at least according to White House Spokesgoon Sarah Huckabee Sanders. When asked about why the President felt the need to shoehorn in an offensive dig against Senator Warren during an event that was supposed to honor Navajo code talkers, she replied:

"I think what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career."

-Press Secretary Sanders, 
just going all in, all in

Really? Because I would have thought most people would find an entitled, rich white asshole setting himself up as an authority on racial identity more offensive, but them I'm not the Press Secretary. So then another reporter asked Sanders how she responds to the general sense among the American people that the President lacks decency, to which she stammered:

I know he has no decency, she knows
he has no decency, the whole room
knows it, but here she is, towing the
shit out of the line. God bless. 
"Look, I think the President uh, uh, certainly finds...ah, an extreme amount of value and respect for these individuals, that's why he brought'em and invited them to come to the White House and spent time with them recognizing them and honoring them today. So, I think he is constantly showing ways to honor those individuals and he invited them here to the White House today to meet with him and to also remind everybody about what the historic role that they played many years ago [sic, like all of that]."

-Sarah Huckabee Sanders, tap-dancing

I also kind of admire the reporters who ask
these things knowing full well the line of
preposterous balderdash they're in for.
Just to be clear, I'm not making fun of her rambling, barely coherent response that in no way answered the reporter's question. Calling bullshit on it, sure, but not making fun. In fact, I almost admire the way she consistently defends the President's behavior in the face of cold hard reality. Note that I said almost. I think she is a reasonable, intelligent person, but it's just that she's still someone who gets out of bed everyday and bullshits her way out from under a torrent of reasonable and valid questions we deserve answers to. 

Look, I don't know if Elizabeth Warren is 1/32nd anything and I don't care. What I do know is that an event set aside to recognize veterans isn't the time to get a cheap dig in on your political opponents. And I'm also pretty damn sure that it's like super easy to go through one's day without insulting entire swaths of the American public and I guess I just wish the President would try it. Even for a day. Just to see what it's like.
I kind of feel like these guys should get a whole n'other ceremony to recognize their
outstanding bravery in the face of the President's patronizing comments at today's event.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Here, let me ruin Batman for you...

Why do we, nerds that is, love to rank things so much? Like, I'm going to estimate that fully 9% of the entire internet is devoted to lists and rankings and top 10's. All of them subjective and all of them kind of meaningless.
Yeah, but what else are we supposed to do?
Not obsess over where on a continuum of
ten arbitrary positions something falls?
Above: yes.
That said, I take issue with this list. Go on, click on it. See my problem? You don't? Did you even click on the-fine, I'll just sum up: it's a ranking of the Batmans...Batmen? Bats Man. Whatever, it's a top ten list of the different live action and animated versions of Batman from the last fifty years. Well, the well known ones anyway, and I have an issue with it. The writer, Matt Fowler from IGN, is of course correct when he ranks Kevin Conroy's Batman from the Animated Series at number one, but he puts Christian Bale at number two. Two!

I know this isn't a popular opinion, but Christopher Nolan's Batman movies are overrated and Christian Bale's Batman is the worst Batman. Ok, maybe not the worst, Val Kilmer was the worst. But Bale's pretty low on my list. Not that I'm making a list...
Hey, incidentally, when Dick Greyson's parents die in
Batman Forever how come Val Kilmer adopted him? I mean, Chris
 O'Donnell was an adult, shouldn't he have just gone and got a job?
One of his most formidable foes quacks and
steals bejeweled bird statues. Professionally.
Blasphemy, I know, but hear me out. Sure, Christopher Nolan's films, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, were like super-successful and everybody loved them, but I found their grounded take on Batman kind of uncalled for. It's a story about a kid who, after his parents are murdered in front of him, devotes his life to fighting theme crime whilst wearing tights. I guess I just have a hard time seeing what part of this premise calls for gritty realism.
"This is the only clue we have, we're not 
even sure what to call him. I was thinking
Clownface, but I'm not married to it..."
But I digress, here, let me explain my Bale beef in spoiler-filled detail. So movie one spends more than half its run time explaining in needless detail every single step of Bruce's training with ninjas in Tibet-which, do they even have those there? Anyway, then he and Alfred build the Batcave and get a Batmobile. All that out of the way, he goes up against the conspicuously non-magical Ra's al Ghul, wins and then has a chat with Jim Gordon on the roof. Gordon hands him a playing card and says something like, 'hey, there's a new villain in town, maybe go stop him?'

Which brings us to movie 2. According to my extensive internet research, some time has passed, but we're more or less picking up shortly after the first movie. Anyway, he goes up against Joker, one of the Gyllenhaals-I forget which one-gets blown up and Batman is forced to kill his best pal, Harvey Dent.
Was it Jake? Was it? What? Don't look at me like
that-wait weren't you Katie Holmes in the first one? 
Who, because the screenwriter had
apparently never heard of Batman
before, is a cop whose name is Robin.
Blamo, movie three. We learn that Batman, distraught after the events of The Dark Knight has given up his secret identity and has spent the last eight years bumming around stately Wayne manner. Bane shows up, growls out some impenetrable dialogue and tries to blow up Gotham City. Batman stops him, and is apparently killed in the process. But in a surprising twist he's totally not killed in the process. No, Batman just faked his own death and goes on vacation to Italy with Catwoman, leaving his crime fighting mantel to be picked up by the kid from Third Rock from the Sun.

Now, I'm no mathematician and admittedly the elapsed time between the films is open to some debate but as near as I can tell Christian Bale's Batman was Batman for a total of like eight months before taking an early retirement. Yup, this Batman quit. He never faced the Rogue's Gallery, never decked out the Batcave with souvenirs from crimes he foiled. Again, I'm not a top ten list person, but Christian Bale's tenure as Batman was, at best, eighth place. Maybe seventh depending on how you feel about George Clooney.
He never even got to recklessly endanger the life of a youthful ward...