Star Sturgeon

(with apologies to James White)

Yesterday I ran across an article [Link] entitled “10 Space Operas to Read Before You See Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  This article is a list of books – supposed “Space Operas” that one should read before viewing the latest “Star Wars” oater film.

Let me start by reminding folks that I consider the whole “Star Wars” shtick to be unadulterated, odoriferous, nauseating CRAP. I have stated this previously but it is necessary to keep repeating it because the shtick glorifies slavery. Yes, the central theme is supposedly a conflict between totalitarianism and democracy but the actuality of democracy is never demonstrated. And the cancer of slavery is continually demonstrated.

The only merit of this shtick is that it provides a teaching case of Sturgeon’s Rule: 90% of everything is crap. In this instance it is the ensemble of “Science Fiction” cinema. 

I should comment that it was physically nauseating to key those last three words. Real Science Fiction and cinema are almost orthogonal. Cinema that may be considered actual Science Fiction is a rarity on the scale of chicken teeth. So to avoid having to halt periodically and sanitize my screen and keyboard, I adopt the convention of pSFcinema where the “p” stands for “pseudo”.

There is some good pSFcinema. Forbidden Planet is the epitome, mostly because of a story line plagiarized (?) from Billy Rattlelance and good acting – expected from Walter Pigeon, surprisingly from Leslie Neilson, and consistently from the supporting cast, especially the robot. 

Sadly, most contemporary pSFcinema is cartoon-like. The acting is abysmal to non-existent and the visual effects are imitations of Coyote (Road Runner?) cartoons – the old ones, not the contemporary ones which are single layered. 

This is the nature of Star Wars cinema. The cartoon effects are coyote quality but the acting pretty well died in the first reel when Sir Alec Guiness shuffled off. Not that there weren’t good genes and efforts but the scripts were basically counteracting. 

That dogs lunch, however, does not really address the CRAP issue. It is a component but there are so many components to the CRAP that an enumeration would be diverting as well as annoying.

The teaching aspect is that the Star Wars cinema balance out the good stuff. In this they have value. Because the Star Wars cinemas are so bad, there is actually room created in the universe for good pSFcinema. A couple of the Star Trek movies were fair, mostly because of Leonard Nimoy and Deforrest Kelley. Sadly they never rose to the excellence of the television versions, but then a large budget can spoil the milk.

And Star Trek actively combats slavery and tyranny and injustice and Capitalism and Nazism and …. Grail quest. Occasionally a bit preachy and evangelical. But better. Marginally.

So, as with most crap, even Star Wars has some redeeming value by making it possible for good pSFcinema to be made. 

Waiting Is.

Getting back to the article. It consists of a list of books. This gets into the realm of actual Science Fiction. And it fails. The books are almost all Star Wars genre. Which is 100% CRAP as Science Fiction. Useful for delivering babies – the ink is antiseptic even if the pages are small – but not real Science Fiction. About on the par of elected politicians being honest and honorable.

What should have been recommended was actual Science Fiction space opera: the Smiths – George O. – Venus Equilateral; and Edward Elmer – Skylark and Lensman series; Asimov; Anderson; ….;. But NOT Star Wars CRAP.

This omission is crucial to these bounders. If the people who worship the Star Wars CRAP were exposed to actual Science Fiction, the religion would collapse. And that would damage the cash flow.

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Confederate Waterloo

“It had been a damned nice thing – the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. (Waterloo 18 June 1815)

I have to admit to being bemused a bit about the election of Tuesday. 

Living in Alibam, I have to also admit that I didn’t expect very much. Alibam has the attraction of being primitive: I enjoy the primitiveness of its environment – except where it has been polluted by capitalist oligarchs – but I don’t enjoy dealing with some of the people. Especially the politicals and the ersatz Christianists.

When I approached the polling place I was a bit concerned that I would be met by a Christianist Fascist militia demanding loyalty oaths to their demigod, but the path was surprisingly void of any form of influence, including candidate propaganda signs. Inside the hall was as usual except for being a bit more crowded. But the density of scattergun toting ruffians in forest camouflage was no greater than usual. In fact, the notable thing was the density of women.

I presented my ID and was not greeted with growls about it being Federal in origin, but I was offered a privacy envelope for my ballot. I declined. Better to die young than suffer the transition from “Heart of Dixie” (license plate catch phrase) to “Heart of Pedophilia.” 

Even before the senator from the Campus of the Black Warrior had spurned his party’s candidate, I had reasoned my way past any consideration further. Simply put, the man was a pariah and if elected would reduce the number of Alibam senators to one even if he was seated. His career has been marked by an absence of cooperation with anyone so I would not expect any from him in the Congress.

I marked my ballot, admittedly in a booth, and walked to the nearest (of two) scanning machines. No one offered to look over my shoulder. I slid the ballot into the slot and the traction wheels drew it from my grasp into the bowels of the machine. I accepted an “I Voted” sticker and departed the hall, displaying my maternal programming by holding the door for three women leaving as I did. As Southrons used to do they thanked me and I “you’re welcome”‘d  them in reply before entering my motorcar and motoring to Castellum SCP. 

On the morrow, in gym, I was surprised to be informed by one of the Huntsville television stations that the other candidate had won. My efforts to steel myself to the reign of an ostracized sociopath proven needless. By a sparse but adequate margin, the citizens of Alibam had overwhelmed my fears of their depravity.

Not that such depravity is not still present, but it is demonstrated in smaller quantity than I feared.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, related to me that he saw a clip – on the same station – of the loser in denial invoking among other things, the “Pursuit of Happiness.” We both rolled on the floor laughing over that. 

Why? Because the politician in question is a rather flaming evangelical bigot. Who evidently has no idea that that basic tenets of contemporary evangelical doctrine (dogma?) is antithetical to the “pursuit of happiness” in the Founding Fathers’ sense. As I understand it, contemporary evangelicals have no use for science unless they can warp it to support their interpretations of (many times translated and unknown authorship) scripture. 

The current theory and interpretation of “pursuit of happiness” is finding the deity by studying nature in a scientific fashion. It was practiced by the national founders and still, but also still rarely in number, today. 

And to my naive view, these two outlooks cannot be reconciled no matter how much shaken or stirred. But then I have scant ability at evangelical idea warping.

I find it hurtful that so many of our founding fathers who held political office “pursued happiness” and so few today. So no great victory of Amerika, only a small one for Alibam.

Language Porn

For those who have better things to attend to, it snowed yesterday in Nawth Alibam. Mostly a nuisance snow. The only dangerous part was sharing the roads with the typical Alibam driver who practices the somewhat suicidal idea that the best way to drive on low friction roads is as fast as possible. 

This is an intriguing concept based on minimizing the time of risk. The problem is that it doesn’t minimize risk; in fact, in many ways it maximizes risk. And I cannot decide why this is so: are Alibamians just naturally not-smart; or is it a blindness thing mentally like being unable to be rational or do maths? 

So the only actual risk of the snow was the people who were not minimizing the risk for themselves and others. In particular, the rational, sedate drivers were at considerable risk of some typical Alibamian spinning out into them, or ramming them for driving too slowly.

Happily I was available to avoid both with some difficulty because of the high optical densities of falling snow flakes. The real kind, not the pseudo-curse word used by Repulsians.

After a night of dripping faucets to ameliorate the low temperatures, considerably below the liquid-to-solid phase transition of dihydrogen oxide, I ventured out this morning to gym. There I was exposed to a dialog on Faux News that reminded me that it an elected official announces that something is false, it is generally not. And since this politician’s tirade was singular negative, I was unable to establish the converse. 

Then driving home I met a fellow walking in the road – on the wrong side – that is, with the traffic flow. And his ears were muffled. 

So even without the snow, we have ample signs of the behavior – nationally.

Along the way I began to muse on a couple of phrases. One I heard yesterday – “We do not know the future” – and the other – “The future is not promised/guaranteed” – today. And I reflected on these. 

Yes, we do not know the future, even if, as Quantum Mechanics may indicate, the future reaches back – probabilistically – to drag us forward. But more the situation, we do not know much of anything about future, past, or even present. All we know is what we experience, what we sense. So while we know nothing about the future, we know astoundingly little about past or present. In effect, we can say that we know very little about anything that is not universal. 

If we live in Alibam, we cannot experience or sense what goes on in New York. In fact, other than what is immediately around us we cannot sense, so we only know about a small part of Alibam. 

So the “We do not know the future” is a rubbish statement. What is intriguing about it is that the majority of humanity doesn’t understand this. They keep uttering and believing this sort of garbage.

Similarly, “The future is not promised/guaranteed” is a rubbish statement. Who promises or guarantees the future? Other than that there will be a future? Time will not change. I resist saying “time will not stop” because we don’t know if time is discrete or continuous.

But the point is that no agency we have, human or social or legal, can guarantee or promise the future. Except as a prevarication. So the very idea of expecting a promise or guarantee of a future is void. To say nothing of how would we collect on a broken promise or a violated guarantee? Would we receive an apology or a return on investment? 

Time is not a commodity. We cannot contain it, nor can it be traded or refined. I can understand people not wanting to think about it since it is intangible. Hunter-gatherer genetic heritage does not make us natural philosophers. 

But we continually say things that are absolute garbage. Reeking and with maggots. And that is worrisome. 

 

Hubris Natter

I have had to spend TOO much time lately with Medicalists and Toothists. It’s one of those stochastic condensation things, not – per se – due to physiological failure. But I do have a bit of a grouch to express.

Why is it that all of the dentists are able to send me .ICS files and I can confirm my appointment by handshake and none of the physicians are able to? All of the physicians have humans – at least these do – call. So why? 

I don’t think it is any humanitarian thing.

My conjecture is that dentists are more technology savvy but I can’t elaborate how. 

But it is a bit of a mind hemorrhoid. 

The dentists send me a file that conveys all the information to my calendar client. And the confirmation is either by pinging my calendar or a web pulse.

The physicians demand I remember all the data, they get huffy if I have to write it down and make them slow down, and it’s a pain. Because I have to hand enter the data in the calendar and I have to call back if I’m OOA.

 

Alabama Morality

Evidently, for most Alibamians, being a Democrat is worse than being a Pedophile.

And almost all of those people are professed Christianists.  

Not sure exactly what that indicates but it certainly makes me feel like I am living in a third-world state.

Foot Ballistics

Yesterday, I motored into Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for provisioning and staff call. Quite frankly, the motoring was dismal almost all the way. Too many egotists and incompetents. Especially motoring (??????) down Whitesburg Mountain. These rectalcrania accelerate on the short straight bits of road and brake frantically on the curves, the length of the two being about equal on this stretch of US 231.

I coast down this stretch, unless prevented by these folks’ inconsistency, at the speed limit and do not need to use my brakes except when the springs flowing across the road are frozen. Which was not the situation yesterday. 

I don’t understand what appears to be deep stupidity. I get down as fast or faster than these people and use much less petrol and do not wear my braking apparatus. 

But once I crossed the bridge over the Tennessee and had motored north a couple of miles I spied a Roy Moore campaign sign, the small yard variety. Normally this would be a downer, in the parlance of my generation, but this sign had been graffiti-ed with the word “PEDOPHILE” in black (?) spray paint.

Somehow this brightened my day. And while the traffic did abate a bit once I got off US 231, this protest against evil enhanced my tolerance and morale.

And then, this morning at gym, I was bemused and even amused by the numerous grammar and spelling mistakes in the graphics displayed by one of our local television stations – WAFF. 

This led me to some musing. First, how can people let themselves be so consumed by their rush to work (?) that they actually impede their own motion by acts of irrational and, apparently, insentient, stupidity?

Second, how can we abide a political candidate who is clearly not only a bigot but a pervert?

Third, how can we abide people who disobey laws, in this case by spraying graffiti on political signs? Even if the scrawling is rightful and good and the candidate is evil and prevaricative? 

Fourth, how can people who claim to be students of morality via a revealed religion support patent evil? And enthusiastically? While their commitment and steadfastness may be laudable, it becomes damning by the evil supported. 

The latter is somehow the least part of these. Observation indicates that most, many, at least, of the adherents of this religion do so for reasons other than assimilating its tenets. This observation indicates that these people falsely claim membership for either personal gain or to better their social status. And, apparently, to persecute those who are not members, or who are, but do not meet their acceptance. 

So perhaps that these adherents of this religion do rightly support perversion? 

But this doesn’t seem to tell us why we permit criminality and stupidity and incompetence?

Film at Eleven.