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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "Assignment: Earth"

This week it's the Star Trek Spinoff Showcase! 

Up first! He's a homosexual Asian helmsman!  His best pal's a wig-wearing Russian navigator who can't say W!  When these two Federation officers share a living pod on Alpha Centauri's tiniest moon, it's warp factor funny!  Tune in for The Sulu & Chekov Show!

Next on tap! The last thing this fan-dancing communications officer with a spark plug in her ear wanted was to share her quarters with three adorable kids and one playful scamp of a dog, but when their parents are killed in a space-car accident, she has no choice but to let her orphaned nephews, niece and their dog Tribble onto her starship...and into her heart.  It's Hailing Frequencies Open, this fall on CBS!

And finally! He's an earth-man raised on a far distant planet and sent back home with a magic ballpoint pen and a kitty cat.  What kind of hairball schemes will this zany pair of mismatched misfits get into?  Tune in to Assignment: Earth to find out!

Of the three choices above, I'd pick the first two a million times before I chose number three.  Unfortunately, number three was this week's Star Trek episode.

The show starts with the Enterprise back in 1968 to shoot at hippies from orbit.  Kirk says they're doing "historical research," but if you're going to travel through time and not space wouldn't it make more sense to do so with a team that's already on Earth rather than to pull a deep space ship all the way back to home port?  Not to mention the myriad potential risks of sending a ship and crew back in time for something that could be researched with a Federation library card.  The one thing Star Trek seems to get most right week after week is the timeless fact that government bureaucrats make moronic decisions.

Scotty apparently forgot to turn the transporter off, probably because he was busy slapping butter in his greasy hair and combing it with a fish skeleton comb like Moe in the short where the Stooges were cavemen.  A guy in a suit and carrying a cat appears in the transporter room.  The cat says "meow" and sounds like Terry Jones yelling "cock-a-doodle-do" in Monty Python's Life of Brian.

The guy in the suit was beaming from somewhere a zillion light years away.  There are vast expanses between stuff in space, so it's possible there were no moons, planets, suns, asteroids, black holes, or Golgafrincham Ark ships between there and Manhattan, his ultimate destination, but it seems pretty unlikely to me that he missed all that other stuff on the beam over only to land on a time-traveling starship's transporter pad just above Earth.  The odds must be a couple of quadrillion to one against.  When he does get to New York, his first stop should be a liquor store to pick up a lottery ticket.     

The guy in the suit says he's "Mister Seven" and that this "is the most critical period in Earth's history."  The arrogance of that odious Sixties generation makes me wish the Enterprise really was there to shoot hippies from orbit.

Mister Seven is there because of all the orbiting nuclear missile platforms that got sent into space in 1968.  At first, I figure he's also there to stop all the unicorns that got launched up there to keep the missile platforms company, but then I realize that the Star Trek writers are serious.

Kirk puts one guard on duty outside the cell of a guy who beat up everyone in the transporter room without breaking a sweat and on whom Spock's Vulcan neck squeeze doesn't work.  He also doesn't have the prisoner frisked, so Mister Seven takes out his magic ballpoint pen which knocks out the prison cell's force field.  The ballpoint pen can also deliver long-distance heroin injections, judging by the stoned look on the guard's face after he gets zapped by it.

Mister Seven escapes from the Enterprise and materializes in the bank safe that Mister Mooney and Lucy got trapped in every week.  On Earth, he's got a high-tech computer that looks like a toilet seat glued to a sideways movie poster frame, and Terri Garr is his secretary.  When the toilet-seat computer is turned on it announces "com-pu-TOR on."  And I thought Windows was annoying.

We learn that Mister Seven wants to stop the U.S. from launching an orbital missile platform to catch up with the orbital missile platform that another, unnamed country already has in orbit (I'm looking at you, Mother Russia).  Maintaining the balance of power in this situation would be bad.  I'm confused, because I remember the earlier episode where Kirk and the Klingons got into an escalating contest supplying arms to Planet Vietnam, and that time escalation to maintain the balance of power was good.  Maybe its just bad on Earth.  Oh, you crazy humans!

Kirk again picks the one guy on the whole ship that looks like an alien to accompany him down to New York.  Spock's brilliant disguise is, as usual, a hat.

Kirk and Spock walk all over town while from the ship Scotty directs them to Mister Seven's groovy penthouse apartment.  There's nothing preventing them from beaming directly into the apartment since, in fact, they do that very thing at the end of the episode.  Hey, it takes a lot of work to stretch these things out to an hour, minus commercials.

I narrowed my choices down to this or my equally inconspicuous pope hat.


Mister Seven flees with his pussycat in Mister Mooney's safe and turns up at the missile launch site.  This guy's been trained to be a super-genius spy on some mysterious faraway planet, but apparently no one told him that walking around NASA stroking a cat like Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the opposite of discreet. 

A guard tries to stop him, but Mister Seven puts the man to sleep using his magic pen which, he doesn't seem to realize, could hugely alter the future.  If the guy is caught napping on the job, gets fired, is divorced as a result and doesn't have the two kids he was destined to have, it could have a ripple effect through time that results in a sentient cockroach swallowing Schenectady in 2083.

On the Enterprise, Scotty can't see the ground unless he bounces his signal off a satellite.  Radio Shack has more sophisticated equipment than the starship Enterprise.

On Earth, Mister Seven hides in the trunk of a car to get to the launch platform.  His beamer can beam him clear across the universe but couldn't beam him directly to the platform.

Kirk and Spock beam to the launch site, but are captured.  Luckily, no one looks at Spock's ears, which are clearly visible under the brim of his fishin' hat.

Scotty sees Mister Seven tampering with the missile, but when he tries to beam him to the Enterprise, Terri Garr beams him back to his swinging New York bachelor pad.  The missile goes off and starts acting all screwball. 

At the apartment, Terri Garr finally realizes what with all the beaming and the talking green computer box and the cat that says "meow" in Mel Blanc's voice that something fishy might be going on, but Mister Seven locks the doors and zaps the phone cord with his magic pen when she tries to call the cops on him.  I start to think that Arthur C. Clarke was full of crap, and that if this pen can do anything Mister Seven wants it to do, then at some point science actually is magic.

Terri Garr whacks Mister Seven on the head with a box of Cuban cigars and says hers is a generation of rebels because they wonder if they'll be alive at thirty.  We viewers know that, unfortunately, most hippies are still alive long after that, are soaking up social security like pampered, bell-bottomed sponges, and are still yammering out their big, fat pie holes about how great they are at sixty-five.

Kirk arrives and lets Mister Seven blow up the missile before its nuclear payload starts World War III.  So Russia, a malevolent prison-fortress nation intent on world domination still has its floating missile platform, but the benign superpower doesn't have one to counter it.  Way to go, team!

Mister Seven's cat briefly turns into Morticia Addams, but only Terri Garr sees her.

Kirk and Spock say they checked the history tapes on the ship and that Mister Seven and Terri Garr are in for lots more sexy adventures on their spinoff show but, since there was apparently a time when all television executives weren't complete morons, no, they weren't.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Music

I'm no more out of touch with current music than I was when I was a kid, but looking at a list of the big, popular current musical acts, I can safely say that I am much happier to be out of touch with what I'm out of touch with now than I was to have been out of touch with what I was out of touch with then.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thanks for the review

Thanks to J. Buckley for his terrific Amazon review of One Horse Open Slay (A Crag Banyon Mystery). Positive reviews help for a host of reasons, and it's always gratifying -- particularly with the oddball Banyon books -- when folks get the joke. Great review, and if you've not yet entered Crag Banyon's world, what's keeping you? Hey, it's better than this one.
 One Horse Open Slay
 

Emmy outrage of the day:

Jessica Walter, as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, should have won the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy three years in row, but didn't win even once.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "The Ultimate Computer"

This week's Star Trek begins with the Enterprise flying up to a giant floating space mushroom in order to pick up Commodore Wesley who lives there.  Wesley is apparently a commodore because he has a tinfoil sun stitched to his yellow pajamas instead of that dented triangle thing Kirk has, so that's why he gets to live on a metal space mushroom.

The Enterprise has been chosen to host some new super computer called the M5 Multi-Something Whatchamacallit.  The M5 is also a highway in England, but the Brits probably let the trademark lapse by the 24th century so Starfleet snapped up the name.  Their next two computers will be "The Autobahn" and "Route 66, starring George Maharis."  The inventor of the M5 is Dr. Daystrom, who is twelve feet tall, sounds like that guy who used to say "this is a cola nut" on those ancient Earth 7-Up commercials, and wears a pale blue and orange jumpsuit that looks like he swiped it off the Partridge Family's touring bus.

Daystrom wires the M5 into the Enterprise's system, completely automating the ship's functions.  Kirk has been ordered to keep only twenty crew members onboard and the Enterprise is sent off to engage in war games with a bunch of other Federation ships.  After reading the two previous sentences, who could possibly guess what's going to happen next?  Not me!

Instead of everything going exactly according to plan and the M5 functioning perfectly, the plot takes an amazingly unexpected and shocking twist.  Brace yourself for the incredible turn of events: the M5 takes over the Enterprise!

The M5 blows up an unmanned cargo ship.  Every other ship the Enterprise has ever encountered has had people onboard, so it's pretty convenient that the plot tracks down the only unmanned ship in the entire galaxy in order to let us know the M5 means business but without, you know, actually killing anybody yet.  Suspense?  You bet!

Kirk feels useless because the M5 can do everything he can do, but Spock tells Kirk how much a ship needs its captain in a scene that ends as close to two guys making out as 1960s TV would allow.

Commodore Wesley says on the space telephone that the M5 is just swell, and that Kirk is "Captain Dunce Hill."  Kirk runs off to cry into his plastic pillow while Spock explains to McCoy that Dunce Hill is a term back at Starfleet Junior High for something useless.  This strikes me as an incredibly nasty comment from Commodore Wesley, but I'm suddenly distracted by the realization that Wesley was the name of that annoying kid on the New Generation Star Trek show.  I wonder if Gene Roddenberry went to a barber named Wesley who gave him half-price haircuts every time he worked his name into a script.  I've seen pictures of Gene Roddenberry.  Half-price for those haircuts was still half-price too much.

I don't care how funky your disco roller skates are, Daystrom, Shirley Partridge wants her costume back.


McCoy brings Kirk some lime Jell-O shooters.

Spock examines the glowing gumdrops on his console and confirms that they're delicious.

Are those bra straps under Kirk's yellow pajama top?

M5 begins to shut down systems all over the Enterprise.  In the far-off distant future, killer, sentient space computers will look like silver manhole covers with lightning sparking through them.  This doesn't seem like a very practical design to me since the silver manhole cover serves no apparent purpose other than to sparkle.  Maybe the moron at Starfleet headquarters who decided to strip virtually the entire crew off a hugely expensive ship and send it off fully armed to play war games in order to try out an untested piece of equipment is the guy who ordered the sparkly kaleidoscope installed so that when things inevitably go horribly wrong he can claim that M5 hypnotized him into making such a boneheaded decision.

Kirk says that Daystrom is as smart as "Einstein, Gazongas, and Sitar of Vulcan," but he apparently isn't smart enough to install an off switch.

The war games start, and M5 begins blowing starships up left and right.  On the USS Lexington, Commodore Wesley acts like Kirk is in command even though he knows the robot has control of the ship.  It doesn't occur to Wesley that the machine they were insane to put in charge might have taken complete control of the Enterprise, something I figured out was going to happen three minutes into the episode, which means I'd be a better starship captain than any of these guys.  If you need me, I'll be out buying a pair of yellow pajamas and a spare toupee.

Kirk learns that Daystrom downloaded some of his own smarts into M5, so Kirk outsmarts it by telling it that it's killed people and asking it the penalty for murder.  M5 says "death," which means they at least get one thing right in the future.  M5 shuts itself off so that the other war games ships can blow it up, and as soon as it does Kirk orders Scotty and Spock to pull the plug and shut the thing down; something a phaser blast or a stick of dynamite rolled through the door would have accomplished half an hour ago, but okay.

At the end, Spock and McCoy playfully argue about whether computer companionship is preferable to that of humans, and Kirk laughs.  600 people just died on the ships the Enterprise attacked.  Hah-hah-hah.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've groused about our regional bus service before, but it really is insane. Two or three people on a huge bus, and more often than not that includes the driver. The most I've ever seen on one bus was seven or eight people, and I've only come up with that head count twice in twenty years of lazy observation. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, I've seen three buses in a row pull in at the mall and only two or three people get off. A fortune could be saved if they sold all the buses and fired nearly everybody who works down in this taxpayer rat-hole. A less insane approach would use a couple of vans to hit the high density population areas and most common destinations every two or three hours. It'd be more economical, saving on fuel, equipment and manpower AND the service would be retained. Want to know what they've done instead? They've now gone out and purchased hybrid buses. No kidding. These empty behemoths roll around town announcing "HYBRID" on their sides to all the people who don't ride on them but who pay for them with their tax dollars. So a crummy technology that no one wants that exists only because government throws billions at it is installed in buses no one here rides; buses which are, of course, themselves subsidized in the first place and sold to a taxpayer-funding regional bus line that nearly no one uses. But, no, there's no place to trim government. Why, think of the children!

Sixteen trillion in federal debt and counting...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "The Omega Glory"

This week's Star Trek begins with the Enterprise flying up to a planet and finding another ship parked in the handicapped space.  The Enterprise wasn't ordered to find the USS Exeter, which has apparently been missing for months, they just stumble across it while they're looking for a Space CVS to restock on yeomen beehive hairspray and to refill Kirk's syphilis prescription.

Kirk orders Spock, McCoy and Lt. Expendable to beam over to the derelict ship with him, and they find a bunch of uniforms lying around the floors.  Knowing the way Kirk molests every female crew member on the Enterprise I assume the captain on the other ship has instituted a clothing-optional day to make Starfleet's rampant sexual harassment that much easier.

The empty uniforms are spilling rock salt from their neck holes and McCoy says humans are 96% water and that a couple of pounds of crack cocaine is all that's left once you've sucked all the water out.  I'm pretty sure 96% is an astonomically high figure but I, just like all Star Trek writers, have forgotten most of my grammar school biology.  Unlike Star Trek writers, I'd probably check an encyclopedia before I pulled percentages out of my rear end and passed them off as facts.

Kirk tells Spock to see if there are any log tapes.  You can't take a leak behind a Dumpster these days without inadvertently winding up in a three camera shoot, but state-of-the-art starships don't even have those shoplifter ceiling bubbles with cameras in them like at Kmart, so they have to rely on the hope that someone's made a Starfleet's Funniest Home Videos to tell them what happened.

Luckily the ship's doctor made a tape warning anyone seeing his message to get down to the planet pronto because anyone looking at his recording has already contracted a virus just by being on the Exeter.  On the ship they'll die, but on the planet they'll live.  It didn't occur to anyone on the dying ship to raise the shields to prevent people from getting in there in the first place, or to crash the ship into the sun or to at least hang a big "Keep Out: This Means You" sign on the radar dish out front in order to warn people away.  If the Klingons had been first to fly through the neighborhood they would have captured every Federation secret without firing a shot because there are apparently no protocols in place to deal with pretty much the same situation that happened on the show a couple of weeks ago.  I suppose the inability to adapt quickly is what happens when you rely on a distant, sclerotic central bureaucracy to set policy for every far-flung corner of a society.  Good thing we don't have to worry about that in 21st century America.

Kirk and co. beam down to planet Mongolia where they find Captain Ron Tracy hanging out with a bunch of extras from that scene in Marion's bar in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  They learn from Tracy that there are two groups on the planet: the Yangs, who are savages, and the Cooms, who are Chinese but from outer space.

Tracy is the only member of his crew who survived the virus that turned everyone else into rock salt, and he tells Kirk that the planet has some mysterious fountain of youth property that kept him alive.  No one bothers to ask why he didn't order the whole crew of the Exeter to beam down so they could enjoy not-dying too, or why they didn't just do it on their own after the first hundred of them had turned into the stuff I throw out on the back steps in January.

We learn that the civilizations that once lived on the planet had the same kind of bacterial warfare we had here on Earth back in the 1990s.  That was some decade.  What with the Eugenics Wars, the nuclear war and the bacterial wars, it's a wonder we found time to invent Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo.

Captain Tracy has gone bad, which might have something to do with the fact that he has a girl's name.  The last starship captain Kirk met was nuts, this one wants to use this planet's fountain of youth to get as rich as a P. Diddly-Doo-Doo Combs, that rappy man with all the bad rhyming and tacky gold jewelry.  Do they do any psychological screening whatsoever at Starfleet Academy or do they just rock-paper-scissors the command assignments?

To demonstrate he means business Tracy kills Lt. Expendable, who lived at least two times longer than most Red Shirts but still 500 times less than some fruit flies.

Tracy contacts the Enterprise but doesn't bother to do it in another room, giving Kirk the opportunity to yell something to Sulu before a Space Mongolian knocks him out.  Tracy tells Sulu that Kirk is sick which is why he yelled, and then says "landing party out" in a tone so evil he might as well have been cackling and twirling the end of his handlebar mustache.  Sulu doesn't find anything suspicious at all and doesn't immediately send help which probably explains why it took three seasons and six movies for him to finally get his own command.

Kirk is locked in a cell with a Yang man and woman who are dressed in caveman Halloween costumes.  The girl has plastic chicken bones around her arm and the guy is wearing a mink coat that would get red paint thrown on him in Manhattan.  The caveman is upset that Kirk says "freedom," which is one of the sacred Yang words along with ni, peng and neee-wom.  The two of them team up to pull the bars out of the cell window, and the caveman says thanks by whacking Kirk so hard on the back of the head with a hunk of rebar that it should have sunk his toupee halfway to his socks but only knocks him out.

According to Spock, who is manning the stopwatch in the next cell, Kirk is out for seven hours and eight minutes.  Good thing Mr. Superhuman Strength used his giant brain counting "one Mississippi, two Mississippi" instead of figuring out a way out of there.

When Kirk wakes up the next day, rested, relaxed and somehow miraculously without brain damage or so much as a drop of blood on his yellow pajamas, he sees a convenient set of keys that has been sitting on the floor the whole time.  Did I mention Gene Roddenberry wrote this episode?  It's too bad they waited until he died to launch him into space.

In the meantime, McCoy is across town working in a lab but takes time out to leer at the Space Chinese chick who delivers his pu-pu platter.  These guys should thank God that Gloria Allred died in the bacteria warfare wars way back in the 1990s.

Kirk and Spock show up in the lab but neglect to stick a chair up under the doorknob and for the third time this episode Captain Tracy jumps through the door and yells, "Aha!"  No kidding, have they never heard of a doorstop?

Tracy shoots Spock, but lucky for Spock he's not wearing a red shirt so he's only stunned.  Kirk and Tracy get into a fight outside and Kirk is saved only because Tracy's phaser happens to run out of bullets at the precise moment he finally gets the drop on Kirk.  (Gene Roddenberry, you national treasure, you.)

There's been a big battle between the Yangs and the Cooms, and the Yangs have won.  They show up with spears while Kirk and Tracy are wrasslin' and take everybody captive.  They bring them back to Yang HQ where guys wear green Ramada Inn hand towels over their pants as loin clothes and the screaming outside sounds like that cowboys & Indians movie Arnold the pig used to watch every week on Green Acres.

 Well, yeah, we're a million light years from Earth yet it's still written in English and in Thomas Jefferson's handwriting. What, you thought the scripts would somehow get less ridiculous after Planet Nazi?

Someone brings in an American flag and Kirk says the Yangs are Yankees, the Cooms are Communists, and they fought the war we didn't fight on Earth.  This contradicts not only the bacterial wars stuff from earlier in the episode, but all the other wars Star Trek was always saying we fought because we are unenlightened barbarians, not like sophisticated Hollywood wife-swappers and cokeheads, but okay.

So apparently this is Planet United States because they not only have the flag but the Constitution.  They also have a bible and a frantic Tracy tells the Yangs that Spock is the devil, and when they look it up --whaddaya know? -- there's Spock.  Because of this, for some reason Kirk and Tracy get handcuffed together like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones and have to fight over a kitchen knife.

Spock uses an old Vulcan bar trick to hypnotize a chick to open a communicator and signal the ship, Sulu finally figures out something is wrong and beams down, and Kirk beats evil Captain Tracy but -- in a shocking twist that I never saw coming -- lets him live!  He then reads the entire preamble to the Constitution with the exception of, curiously, the "for the United States of America" bit at the end.

Kirk sets the savages on the path to a representative republic that interferes with the natural growth of the society at least as much as what Captain Get-Rich-Quick Tracy was doing, although without the bloodshed, but Kirk's the good guy so his egregious assault on Starfleet's noninterference directive is passed off with a wink.

Canadian William Shatner smiles at the American flag, and back up in space the Enterprise flies off alone, apparently leaving the Exeter in permanent orbit as a special present to the cavemen of Planet United States when they finally get around to rebuilding NASA.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Red Menace #3, Red the Riot Act. Finished.

Emmy outrage of the day:

John Mahoney never won an Emmy for playing Frasier's dad. They kept piling them up on David Hyde Pierce's mantle year after year, even though that Niles shtick of his wore thin after about three seasons, yet the guy who knocked every line out of the park for eleven seasons never once won.

Monday, September 3, 2012

On the news was amateur footage of a bear wandering around some guy's backyard. He was filming out the window, and when he spoke the bear charged at him. There were toys all over the yard, so the guy has kids. He was right to shoot it out the window, but not with a camera.

The city is talking about catching it and relocating it. They've put out a bear trap in the neighborhood which is, I imagine, baited with a pic-a-nic basket. Madness. Shoot it. And the thing had plastic tags on its ears, so it's been captured at least once before. Life is not a petting zoo, people. If this huge, vicious animal attacks someone, it'll be the fault of whatever government agents didn't kill it when they had the chance.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "Patterns of Force"

This week's Star Trek begins with Spock and McCoy hanging a picture of Kirk's Great-Grandpa Tiberius on the bridge, while Kirk tells them, "Just a little to the left, now a tiny bit to the right.  You know, fellas, maybe Sulu was right and it looked better over the sofa in the den."

Actually, it isn't a framed photograph at all, it's a static image on one of those super high-tech bridge screens and only looks like someone glued a big picture to the wall.  Apparently in the future you don't need screen savers, which is good because it gives everyone in the audience time to get a good, long look at the photo of the old man, like when the Stooges used to lock the camera for five minutes over those maps with the crazy names like Giva Dam, Hot Sea, Tot Sea and Bay of Rum.

The old man is John Gill, and he was sent by the Federation to observe a system with two planets.  Planet Echo is primitive and violent, planet Zion is peaceful and technologically advanced.  Planet Echo, the primitive one, launches a nuke -- technology it shouldn't possess -- at the Enterprise.  Uh-oh.  Who got chocolate in my peanut butter?  Who got peanut butter in my chocolate?  Two great tastes that together make...Space Nazis!

So we've finally reached Planet Nazi, but Kirk doesn't find out it's with Planet Nazi until they beam down.  The Enterprise can leap from star to star, but apparently Google Earth technology was one of those things lost in the nuclear wars of the 1990s.  I'm glad the Nineties are still in the far-off distant future, because I'm sure not looking forward to them.

Kirk is a decade off, so he's disguised as Ralph Kramden.  Spock's disguise is, as usual, a hat.  Four hundred crewmen onboard the Enterprise and when Kirk is picking teams, he skips over the 399 who will blend right in anywhere they go and always picks the guy with the rubber devil ears first.     

They beam down to the Paramount backlot which looks, unsurprisingly, very much like the Paramount backlot.  Spock says that it makes sense that the architecture would be similar to a 1960s TV studio backlot, but when the Space Nazis show up a minute later, Kirk and Spock agree that it's virtually impossible that another Nazi Germany developed somewhere else.  Really?  So the architecture can develop to be identical to our own and that makes perfect sense to these guys, but the culture that developed the identical architecture can't develop identically to any culture on Earth?  Not to mention the fact that all they ever beam down to everywhere they go are planets identical to one period or another from Earth history.  Look, it's Planet Revolutionary War!  Hey, over here!  Get a load of the flappers on Planet Roaring Twenties!

Some Space Nazis try to capture them, and Kirk and Spock knock them out and have the great, brilliant, all-new, all-original, no-one's-ever-thought-of-something-so-clever-before idea of dressing in their uniforms.  They should probably patent that idea before somebody steals it.

They get nabbed in full Nazi garb trying to sneak into the headquarters where Gill is hiding out, which shouldn't surprise them.  Obviously someone knew they were coming or they wouldn't have had that nuke launched at them before the opening credits.  Although this fact doesn't seem to occur to Kirk, Spock, the Space Nazi who captures them or the episode's writer and director. 

Apparently Gill, the Federation guy, has taken over as Fuhrer of Planet Nazi, but he's like the Wizard of Oz: no one ever sees him, and a guy named Mallomar runs the show.  I scarcely have time to wonder why they didn't have themselves beamed directly into the building or at least try to sneak in through the kitchen door out back disguised as Italian waiters, when they're whisked off to be tortured. 

Kirk doesn't seem too worried about the brutal scourging, and I wouldn't either if a vicious beating with a cat-o'-nine-tails only drew pretty pink Kool-Aid stripes on my back and didn't even manage to break the skin.

Before they left the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock were both injected with tracking devices.  So they finally developed the technology we've got right now to track dogs, but it doesn't matter because Kirk rips them out to make a laser with a 40 watt light bulb to zap open their prison cell door.  It seems pretty convenient to me that this technology never existed in the show before and, as far as I can recall, is never used again, and only happens to show up this one time just when they need it in order to escape these specific circumstances, but I guess even Houdini probably had a convenient key hidden up his rear end just in case.

Luckily, this version of Berlin -- which is the Berlin that runs a whole planet -- has only one street and about ten people living in it, so there's no sweat that Kirk and Spock and the underground guide they've freed will be recaptured until the plot says so. 

They're taken to meet with the local underground, and I wonder if the Star Trek writers understand that when we say "underground" we don't actually mean "under ground."  This underground operates under ground in caves with perfectly level floors and Reynolds Wrap on the walls.  Eva Braun shows up and tells them she'll take them into HQ for a pair of nylons and a Hershey bar.

Scotty, beam down two schnauzers, a case of pickled herring, a Hitler costume (extra husky) and a St. Pauli Girl dress in Mr. Spock's size!  We've got a war to win!


 Once inside Nazi headquarters, they see through the convenient window in Space Hitler's door that the  head honcho of Planet Nazi looks drugged, so they call in their expert.  Kirk has Bones beam down into a broom cupboard.  If he and Spock had done that earlier, they could have ended the episode in the second act.  Apparently the transporters work like the Bat-poles on the Adam West Batman series, because Bones materializes in full Nazi garb but still asks, "What in blazes is this?"  He couldn't guess, or did he think when they stuffed him in that Luftwaffe uniform up on the ship that he was beaming down to Planet Samurai?

Space Hitler gives a TV speech with the microphone strategically placed over his mouth and not one person on all of Planet Nazi notices that he doesn't so much as twitch a single facial muscle.  Even Mortimer Snerd's face moved when he talked.  After the camera is turned off on the prerecorded speech declaring war on Planet Zion, Bones wakes up Gill who tells Kirk that he thought he could do the whole Nazi thing, but for their cuckoo clock-manufacturing efficiency and not the whole evil thing.  He thought he could make Nazis  benign this time around.  This guy's supposed to be a history bigshot, so I'm not sure how he squared that circle, but for some reason he also thought his benign Nazi planet needed the uniforms, right on down to the swastika armbands.  That's probably the first thing that I'd get rid of if I was trying to soften up the whole evil-monster-race-hatred Nazi image.

Gill says Mallomar took over and that's when things took a Reich turn.  Sleepy Gill gets back on the air and tells everyone to live in peace and harmony, so Mallomar shoots him through his picture window.  Mallomar gets shot, too, and we're treated to the bizarre, eccentric, bug-eyed death of a villain who had barely five lines in the whole show and who I could have easily missed if I hadn't waited for a commercial to run out and grab that bag of M&M's.     

Spock suggests that Planet Nazi will eventually make a "fine edition to the Federation."  On Earth, our Nazis didn't stop the goose-stepping slaughter until the free nations of the world united and kicked the holy living crap out of them, but Commander Sciencepants thinks these Space Nazis will go cold turkey from the whole genocide thing just like that because an old man who's now dead told them to.  That sounds pretty illogical and like a huge leap of faith to me, but what do I know?  I'm only human. 

Back on the bridge, Spock and McCoy begin to argue and Kirk cuts them off with a cute joke about not wanting to go through another civil war.  Hah-hah-hah! 

Wait, how many innocent people are dead because of Federation interference again?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On Reviews

"The prominence of a book on Amazon.com is determined primarily by two factors: how well the book has sold and how positive its reviews are. More highly rated books are displayed more prominently, which leads to more sales. Increased sales leads to even more prominent display, which leads to still more sales. Through the miracle of the positive review snowball effect, a few hundred rave reviews can transform an otherwise unremarkable book into a worldwide bestseller."

The Real Reason What John Locke Did is So Appalling