I was searching the internet for something for Caturday and found this.
Here’s something old (2017) but new to me. Illustrator Jenny Parks created a book of illustrations of cats taking the roles of Star Trek characters from the original series. StarTrek.com published an article on it prior to its release. Its cost has dropped since the article. She did a sequel(?) based on the Next Generation and a wall calendar.
Despite the mash-up of two of my interests, these aren’t my thing, but maybe they’re yours.
Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.
I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.
In all my years of going to Vegas, I’ve been off-strip only twice before this trip. Once was to visit my cousin’s aunt, and the other was to play D&D. For the latter, I connected with my now-friend Stephanie via Facebook. She picked me up at the hotel, drove me to a gaming store, ran one of the early DDAL adventures, then took me to In-N-Out so I could see what the fuss was about (meh), and then took me to In-N-Out headquarters so that I could say I had been there and Erik never had.
The Millennium Fandom
This year, Stephanie had a free day Wednesday, so she took me on my third trip off-strip. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the bar:
After this, the owner (Alex) took us into a section of the bar that was closed that night.
Alex took another picture, but it was a bit poorly timed. However, Alex pointed out that it probably caught me at a moment I was using the Force. I think he’s right.
Next, I had to pick up a passenger. She’s why I crashed the Tie Fighter into a bunch of chairs.
After this, I toured the rest of the bar. I didn’t get some of the references, so please fill in the blanks if you can.
The Fifth Element‘s Water Stone.
Lightsabers, a helmet from The Mandalorian, a helmet from 300, the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones (top left surrounded by red light) and some big-ass sword I didn’t recognize. The bottom left look like bullets, and above that is a shield.
Well, sure, you can just look at these things, but ….
What’s that above me?
Beneath the Aluminum Falcon was this guy.
What’s that hanging above R2’s “head”?
Some Raiders of the Lost Ark stuff and stuff from video games I didn’t recognize.
The Air Stone, Pac-Man, and a mashup. I didn’t get the reference on the license plate.
Lots of masks, the Earth Stone, and a katana I don’t recognize. Is it from Highlander? Suicide Squad? Maybe it’s simply a katana.
Wall-E thinking the band would let him play that night.
I almost went back here thinking it was where the men’s room was. No reason.
Enough of this. Let’s have some more Star Trek. And what the hell? Some Hellraiser too.
Now we have the proton pack from Ghostbusters and some Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, as well as some other things I don’t recognize. It’s hard to see from this image, but in the top right corner is an archer with an eagle on its shoulder. I didn’t get the reference, but I’d love to have that in my home. It was pretty cool-looking. The reason it’s blurry is because the lighting in the room forced me to use a “night” setting on my camera phone requiring more than an instant of exposure, and the slightest movement blurred the picture.
Unless you had forgotten, you must have known that the Fire Stone had to show up. Also, we have references to Predator, Alien, Wonder Woman, and Nightmare Before Christmas (a movie, by the way, that I didn’t see until last year).
After the tour, I noticed a couple of other things around the bar itself. First, a Batman vs. Superman sign that was behind me as I entered the bar.
Remember what I said about the camera setting? In this case, the blur created a neat effect. This is a real image. These are real people, not a drawing or touched-up photo.
Okay, but what’s the crowd like? Well, the QAnon Shaman showed up!
Finally, as I was leaving for the night, I went to the men’s room and saw this hanging on the door to the bathroom stall. Brilliant. I love this movie.
As you can see, this is my kind of bar. If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing it’s your kind of bar as well. It’s worth the Lyft/Uber trip. Oh, and a self-delivered pat on my back.
If you think about it, between the mask and the shirt, I personally added to the nerd motif. Alex should put that picture of me on their website.
If you’re ever in Vegas, look them up. Their online store is here, though most of what I was looking for is sold out.
Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s some neat Star Trek art from Young Rascal, a.k.a., Rich Kingston. I’d like to post a sample but, while I don’t know if he properly acquired the rights to publish the actors’ likenesses, I don’t want to trample on his or anyone else’s copyrights or publicity rights.
Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s work-related. Once per week, my office highlights an employee, sending his or her picture to the office with a short autobiography. This week, it was a 30-something who ended her bio with “Live long and prosper.” I was going to respond, but then I’d know I’d have looked like this.
I recently took to to social media to whine about how disappointed I am with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s final season.
This led to a quick back and forth. Two friends agreed but characterized the failure as jumping the shark. I don’t think they’re wrong, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are very few new ideas under the sun. Moreover, as I reminded you on Monday, there are only seven stories one can tell. While there can be other factors, putting this together, jumping the shark occurs when the stories a show can tell run their course among their particular set of characters and settings. In other words, the combination of characters, settings, and stories grow stale even if, as with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office, and Parks & Recreation, the show has talented writers. It often manifests itself with desperate attempts to try something new that stray too far from the show’s premise. When Happy Days did this, it gave the phenomenon its name.
Now that comedy is being killed by a small minority of the perpetually and intentionally outraged, writers are afraid to take any risks, giving rise to a new way in which jumping the shark manifests. They don’t just take stupid chances to keep the show interesting. They also choose to exclude a wide variety of available stories for fear of losing their positions in the industry due to the controversy they cause. That means that shark-jumping occurs far earlier in the life of a series (c.f., Community), and it manifests as recycling the same tired themes with only meaningless differences from episode to episode.
In my humble opinion, with only a few exceptions, Brooklyn Nine-Nine started to lose its originality somewhere around season three, which isn’t even halfway through its life. (I keep watching because I can’t help but finish things I start.) Sure, we remained attached to some clever, well-delivered one-liners (Bingpot!), and the Halloween competition as a recurring theme, but overall the episodes, and even the characters’ personalities, grew tiresome and/or annoying long before the final season started. (I’ve wanted to punch Charles Boyle in the neck for months now.) The writers on that show both recycled themes and also, by the last season, strayed too far from the premise. I fear the stagnation of shows will only accelerate as we continue to fear those that are offended by everything. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the current crop of writers are among those demanding these changes. In that case, they’re wasting their own talent.
Much like another phenomenon that involves premature action, the cause is often psychological.
Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a video that hit my stream before I woke up this morning. It’s a mashup of my favorite Star Trek episode (any series), Balance of Terror, and Das Boot.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia. When the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC had a Star Trek exhibit (1992-1993), I read that Roddenberry stated the Romulans represented the Soviet Union (the current threat), and and the Klingons represented China (the growing future threat). Both my uncle and I found this odd. We both always assumed that the Romulans were the Germans, and the Klingons were the Soviet Union. Romulans with cloaking devices resemble German U-boats (the episode was basically The Enemy Below in space), and they were enemies from a prior war. Klingons, on the other hand, were participants in a cold war with the United Federation of Planets. They had never had an actual war with us, but there were several near misses.
Now, if you go on Facebook, MeWe, Twitter, or any social media site, you’ll get disagreement on what on-screen cultures represent what real-world cultures. Everyone has an angry opinion about that. This video, however, is just another piece of evidence as to which position makes the most sense. No analogy will be perfect; it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits better than the rest. Racist makeup aside, there’s simply nothing about the Klingons that screams “Chinese communism” at me.
But back to the episode. Why is Balance of Terror my favorite?
Star Trek was originally about the morality play first and the bells and whistles of advanced technology second, but both were important. This one gave us both wrapped up in a tense combat with both personal and political consequences. What’s not to love?
Yesterday I recorded my second-ever podcast. Again, it was with my cousin, Kessel Junkie, and again it was Star Trek related. In light of that, I bring up a related, recurring social phenomenon. Every now and then, a misconception enjoys new life on the internet despite having been thoroughly debunked just a few years prior. This one came up again recently. Many people still think that the Star Trek “arrowhead” logo denotes a specific ship, the Enterprise.
Well, no, it doesn’t. As this article on StarTrek.com explains, the arrowhead insignia is the insignia for Starfleet. All Starfleet crew are supposed to use it. The misconception arose from an error in production for the episode, Charlie X, in which a ship’s crew was given a different insignia. That ship, however, was not part of Starfleet. The crew “were the equivalent of merchant marine or freighter personnel,” and thus didn’t use the arrowhead insignia.
I’m not sure how this misconception stays alive after all these bouts with social media. The communication badges for every single person I can think of in Next Generation are based on the arrowhead insignia. That alone should have put this puppy to rest long ago.
Yeah, I know. It’s not the end of the world, but have you ever met a Star Trek fan? Despite unavoidable inconsistencies, but producers and fans alike want consistency from episode to episode and series to series. Considering how extensive the Star Trek intellectual property is, it’s amazing that we’ve enjoyed that.
I’m probably going to have to re-blog this after another five years.
Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s nothing silly, but it’s someone else’s work.
I ran across a story dispelling the misconception that Kirk and Uhura’s kiss on Star Trek was the first interracial kiss on television. The writing is hardly academic, always looking to qualify every sentence with the sentiment, “It shouldn’t matter!” which is obvious to everyone. In doing so, the author dilutes the importance of that kiss. Not only was it an important moment in television history, but also an important moment in United States history, taking the next significant step. TV shows can’t often pull that off, but this is Star Trek I’m talking about.
To refresh your recollection, I concluded that Nebula committed parricide, the killing of a close relative. By my semantics, it would follow that Loki and Sylvie’s relationship is incest (a relationship with a close relative). That doesn’t quite track, though. My first thought (and one contemplated in the article and the science fiction it cites) was that it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a particular form of incest: selfcest. Is that a different thing? The issue with my conclusion on Nebula, as I just said, was one of semantics more than logic. There simply isn’t a word for the killing of your multiverse doppelganger unless you call it suicide, which I declined to do. You’re not really the same person. However, in the case of Loki and Sylvie’s relationship, the genetic similarity becomes even more important because I’d imagine that a child of their pairing would be even more likely to develop genetic abnormalities. But if this logic holds, it’s definitely incest, but selfcest (as I interpret the term) doesn’t really exist, or wouldn’t assuming multiverses existed and could be traversed.
The only way I can fully reconcile this is if we reimagine the word, selfcest. To be a bit blunt, selfcest seems analogous to masturbation, but I don’t think anyone would call it that. Ergo, to be precise, we’d need a new word that describes the specific instance of incest where the other party was your mutliverse doppelganger. Returning to how I handled Nebula’s act, none of the alternatives, whether preexisting my post or coined by me, seem acceptable. Mirrocest, clonecest, dimensionicest, alterocest, etc. are goofy and/or inaccurate.
But having used the term, “multiverse doppelganger,” so many times in this post, I think I have the answer: Doppelcest, and by extension, doppelcide for Nebula. At the very least, you must admit that it’s better than multiversaldoppelcest.
With the multiverse on the horizon, this could become a non-negligible issue for the viewers. Or at least for the weird viewers. Like me.
If you know any good shrinks in the DC area, hook me up. I’m clearly in great need of one.