A Little of This and a Little of That

Someone asked me the other day if I was excited about the new Star Wars movie coming out this winter. Let me repeat my answer.


No, no, no, no, no. Couldn’t be less interested. In fact, the trailer has been out for several months on my Apple trailers app and I couldn’t care less. Haven’t even felt tempted to look. Look, the new Star Wars movies plain suck (with the exception of the stand alone Rogue One). The tragedy here is the last film cannot salvage the mess. The Last Jedi (the second film in the new trilogy) could have saved the mess made in the first film. The big one being the Mary Sue problem, but also of the poor writing and mischaracterization and the missing Luke Skywalker (that is who I came to see and saw him for five seconds of the first movie and not at all in the second – although the actor Mark Hamill was in the second film a lot, there was no Luke Skywalker).

The second film was a hash. So horrible, that the third would basically have to ignore most of the previous two movies… except for the part of the missing princess (RIP Carrie Fisher) but also of Han Solo (because someone finally gave Harrison Ford his childish wish of whacking his character).

If one need to know how and why these two film suck, watch Mr. Plinkett explain it to you far better than I ever could.



Oh no! The wife has woken up! Time to do stuff. See ya!

I’m Back!

Hopefully for good this time. I’m on a four day a week, ten hour a day work schedule, so I should have time to do extracurricular activities like writing (I wish it weren’t a luxury but facts be facts, ma’am) and posting here. It won’t be a lot. Even today I didn’t get done with house stuff until about half an hour ago.

I even batted out a few chords the other day to the tune of AN ALTOGETHER UNSERIOUS BREAKFAST. Only a fragment and I keep those all in a giant mega-file like a guitarist would keep riffs. Keep rolling those fragments and things slowly come together after awhile. I would have wrote more of it at the time, but I was already three hours late for bed and I don’t have a slacker job. Here is the fragment (I have no fear this will be stolen!).

What a strange, strange world I live in. Not your world, no. Your world is as normal as normal gets. Which is to say it is completely Continue reading

The Eighth Voyage

So the Eighth Voyage sucked. No, the story didn’t suck, but the voyage for the the story’s protagonist certainly sucked. This was the second story in Stanislaw Lem’s STAR DIARIES.

In it a man is representing Earth as it is about to be included in a sort of federation of planets. A distinguished position representing the very best the galaxy has to offer. But it turns out that man doesn’t belong in such an elite group. It starts off with the man being interviewed by his sponsor. This is the usual run of questions you would expect in a story of this type: What are your specie’s achievements, etc? This doesn’t go well as it turns out we used atomic energy to fry a bunch of people and other such embarrassing gaffs.

Then we are brought out to a galactic senate of sorts where the motion of mankind’s inclusion into the federation of Milky Way planets is debated. As the proceedings progress man’s representative, Ijon Tichy, is feeling most unwelcome.

But things take a drastic turn for the worse as he discovers that his entire race’s existence is a complete accident. It turns out Earth is not a planet that is hospitable to the emergence of life, and that it is a high crime to purposefully or accidentally start life on a planet that doesn’t naturally spawn the emergence of life. It turns out (and at this point Ijon Tichy simply allows himself to slide off his chair and under the table to hide) that life on Earth was started by two drunk cooks from some species who were pouring out the kitchen slop from their spaceship onto the barren Earthly ground. And that the direction of the proceeding evolution of life on Earth was determined by the fact that one of the cooks was sick and sneezed all over the slop pile.

That is just in a simplified nutshell, I did the rollicking story no justice skimming it out like that. Go read it!

Why would I like such a story? Simple. It can be taken two ways (maybe more, but two obvious ones jump out at me). One is from a materialistic evolutionary point of view and that we are merely accidental meat monkeys and a giant mishap of chance occurrences. That is what the story depicts. But this version of looking at the story I call the serious or face value view. It is the leading view of most people who consider themselves in the know. From what I understand of the author, this would be how he meant the story. However, maybe not, and that leads me the second way of looking at the story.

The second way is looking at it as a reductio ad absurdum. Accepting that life on Earth was the result of a series of accidents or chance occurrences (which is really the only other option after you are left with only matter) then even the most absurd event could be the one that led man to be and to where and who he is. If he is small and insignificant because he is in a vast machine by chance and his being or non-being makes no difference whatsoever then even a ridiculous answer such as drunken space cooks throwing slop on the ground is sufficient and makes the evolving animal even more ridiculous.

I don’t really care what the author’s intention was, the story can be read either way and was delightful if appalling!

Spoon Fed Entertainment and the Imagination

I mentioned in my last post that there have been improvements since the early 60’s. One of them was race relations (no, CNN, it is not worse, and it is even better under Trump than Obama) and the other way technology. However, I added that many of us are locked in this technology unable to communicate with our fellow man, and unable to use our imaginations.

I wonder if this has been studied with any seriousness? I assume I am not wrong in this. I am noticing more and more the lack of public examples of reading. I counter that with the caveat that I live in the sticks in eastern North Carolina. Reading requires that you take parts and create in your own mind images and meaning that are conveyed through words by the writer to your mind.

A lot of people simply watch stupid things on YouTube. There is a scene in Mike Judge’s excellent Idiocracy where Luke Wilson’s character, waking up 500 years in the future, awakes in another man’s apartment. This man is a drooling dolt as is everyone in the future and he is sitting in his chair

watching a show about a guy getting his balls repeatedly wracked in various ways. With eyes half open he stares vacantly at the screen laughing moronically every time the guy on the television experiences testicular damage.

Likewise on the big screen now people are spoon fed giant spectacles of thinly cut characters in base stories of good guy versus bad guy. The stories are on comic books on the big screen. These kinds of spectacles started with Star Wars. And I am a big fan of the original films (also a great enemy of the Disney sacrileges!)

Although I find the comic movies to be too stupid to be enjoyed by those over five, there is nothing wrong with enjoying such a spectacle in principle. One wishes they were deeper than a kid’s wading pool…

But something happens to the imagination when it is simply Continue reading

The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem and Other Stuff

This is one of those finds that happen at a used bookstore, read the blurb on the back and, intrigued, brought it hope to gestate on a shelf for several years.

I fell in love with him on page four. I like things off center, off kilter and plain upside down. Actually, upside down is a little too linear, how about we knock that upside down by 17 degees? To the left…no, the right… yeah, that’s it. Seventeen degrees though? How about just 2 degrees – ah, squim, just spin it!

Anyway, the first story from The Star Diaries is a time travel romp that takes place in a spaceship that is traveling through a series of vortices. Each time it does a version of himself from some future or past time shows up. At first it is only one instance of himself from a few hours or days ahead or behind himself, and this multiplied as he advances through this part of space. The trick is there is a repair that needs to be performed outside the spaceship and it requires two people, but there is only one spacesuit. The conflict comes from him trying, in various incarnations of himself, to convince the other of the predicament they are in. If you can convince yourself in the past to put on the spacesuit before you are aware of the problem, then a future self can also be wearing one. The problem is the man is inherently uncooperative – even with himself! The convolutions are handled extremely well, and it is a purely entertaining romp.

I finished this the other day. Not bad, a little long for the set-up. Really a love story. I had thought it was going to be a baby boomer Democrat’s love story to all things Kennedy. That if he saved Kennedy and returned to the future, that future would be like Disneyland and all groovy and stuff. That is not how things turn out. So I give King a grade on sticking to story (which he has always done for the most part, although one wonders if he can in the TYRANNY THAT IS TRUMP!!!!).

It wasn’t really a democrat or republican thing one way or the other Continue reading

What’s the Point?

Of this blog, that is. It used to serve some purpose. But I have no interest of using it to highlight the adventures of home repair gaffs from a person devoid of any skills in that area. My life remains in a flux. I have a trifecta of basement issues at the moment in addition to retaining wall issues and yard maintenance.

The yard maintenance is the most time consuming. Basically where I live is a rain forest. It is in the Smokey Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the western part of North Carolina. It is WET and MUGGY here. Average humidity for this time of year is about 90%, I rarely see it below 85%. Everything, and I mean everything, here grows, and it grows fast. You can clear a patch of weeds one morning and come out the next morning and – there they are, back again. My property is one giant hill that has to be mowed (all of it says City Hall in a letter I received last month). This takes a good three hours including clean up of trimmings. And then there is the weed whipping, weed pulling, hedge trimming (I’m removing these time-consuming bastards next year). Then there is the continuing removal of the English Ivy that these ignoramuses planted some thirty years ago and simply let crawl up the building’s side and into the basement. There is also the repair of the brick and mortar damage done by the ivy. And the retaining wall damage done by same ivy.

Then there are the constant issues that come up with the genius idea of owning an eighty-eight year-old house. This is broken, or rotted, or busted, etc.

Some of it is one-time stuff. The previous owners installed carpet over beautiful hardwood floors sometime in the (we estimate) 60’s (and judging by it’s state the early sixties). The carpet is in deplorable condition, baffled, matted, and filthy. But we only had to get rid of it once. The crappy wallpaper (cuz – 70’s ya know) only has to be taken down once.

A company came out and examined the duct work we want removed in the basement and found that the tape used is asbestos and has to be removed. They said they had been here before and told the previous owner about it. That means they did not disclose it on sale. These are the same assholes who had their ninety-four year old mother living alone in the house with a smoke alarm that was wire powered (as opposed to battery powered) hooked up to…nothing.

The company said they require adequate water pressure for the asbestos removal – which we do not have. It comes out strong and then reduces to a dribble. Although the shower seems to work fine… The asbestos removal has to happen before they can take the duct work, which has to be done before the joist work (because the home inspector we had made no mention of any structural defects – I believe he was paid off by the previous owners) and now I guess I need to get a plumber in there before any of that starts.

Apartments may leave you with nothing in the end, but you have peace of mind all the way through!

And as it stands, I make it here about every six weeks and I make it to the writing almost twice as long in-between as that – if I am lucky!