Got the hairs cut tonight, and had a great stylist. We were talking about how so many things were so much better now than before - really, honestly, some people think this - and when Star Trek came up, and I mentioned how my young self traumatized by the cancelling of ST would have been delirious and incredulous to learn there would be a dozen movies and half-a-thousand more shows, she said, offhand, in almost a whisper

“And DS9 would be the best of them all”

Yes! Yes! And off we go, and we’re still talking about how all the writers and novelists seized on the small technical throwaway lines to explain the technology and culture, and it hit me:

I would hate this thing happening if I was waiting for a haircut, and the guy who just got a haircut is taking up the stylist’s time when she could be cutting my hair, because who the hell ever wants to sit in a hair salon a moment more than need be?

So I said “we’ll take this up later” and made a mental note: “dilithium crystals” and left.

Salons are strange places, full of wanderlust stylists; I may never see her again. I hope she remembers what I said, and takes it with her, wherever she may go. Voyager gets better. It’s not DS9, but it has marvelous moments that surprise you.

May it give her hope and comfort.

Daughter came back from choir trip tonight, all jazzed and full of experiences. She’d been in LA.

“You got a haircut,” she said.

“The Force is strong with you.”


When she came home I was outside in the dark watering the lawn, because I needed to lend life to the seed I put down on Sunday; I’m sure it summed everything up. You have just been a Peer for four days on a trip, flying around the country with your friends, at home in the world by yourself (even though every aspect of the experience was funded and facilitated by external structures) and now you’re back to the old home, where you’re a Child, and your parents are increasingly seen as individuals with their own baffling, strange lives proceeding on a track divergent from your own.

So of course Dad would be outside any 10 PM watering in the dark. There’s probably a reason but whatever. Parent stuff.

At 16 or 17 kids start to think they have their parents figured out. Maybe they do. That’s the most horrible thought I’ve had today.




This is not a review. This is a plea for not expecting me to accept anything in a movie because Jennifer Lawrence is wearing a slip half the time. The movie is “Passengers,” which one imdb critic called . . .


Which means of course they probably got it very right.

Here's what the review says:


The movie is in line with real facts, such as NASAS endeavour to colonize other planets (due to the earths overpopulation & its inevitable demise etc). I have seen this film twice in the cinemas & about 10 times online. Will definitely be purchasing in 4K as soon as its released. The acting was exceptional. You are morally challenged by some actions that take place. I believe its every mediocre mans or commoners dream, to be in an environment that will grant you access to a beautiful women, who would otherwise be unattainable. I just pray they make a sequel to this fantastic movie. It has been a while since watching such an enjoyable movie. Best movie of the year.

It’s possibly the worst big-budget large-scale sci-fi movie I’ve seen in years. I got that vibe from the very start, when we see the ship: it has a certain elegant beauty, with its pods rotating to provide gravity for all the passengers, but A) the passengers are all asleep, and B) it has a long skinny pole in front that’s absolutely vital for shielding the ship, and hence is the most vulnerable thing you can possibly imagine. It also seems to shield the front of the ship, so anything that hits it at a perpendicular angle snaps it right off.

Okay okay I can live with that if everything else makes sense, but once we get inside the ship we see that the cryo-sleep area is like a big spa with lots of empty space. If you’re sending a ship on a 128-year trip (!) you’re going to maximize every possible inch of space, but no: the ship has cabins for everyone who’s sleeping, because they’ll have to get up four months before they land. So imagine a big cruise ship with all the passengers passed out and stacked in the dining room. But all the restaurants have place settings and robot waiters, and the bar's open.

Here's where I said hey now wait a minute. (Russian language because that's what I found on YouTube.)

If you're going to use that shot, then you have to make a horror movie. Right?

Anyway. The ship is going to a colony that’s already established on a planet. There is one company that handles this, and they made a lot of money already. The round trip time is 250 years. The same company. See also Pan Am, Atari, Toshiba, etc.

The movie sugar-coats a really, really, really bad thing the main character does, because otherwise young women wouldn’t want to see the movie. The problem is that the really, really, really bad thing is immoral and unforgivable. Our acceptance of the act - achieved, if at all, through the implausible reactions of Jennifer Lawrence - is required to have any investment in the movie. But you don’t want to invest in the movie, because once everything starts to fall apart - literally - it becomes a ridiculous “let’s fix this spaceship” thriller.

Another review:

The whole idea of traveling between stars has been contemplated for a long time. There are huge obstacles that would have scared off most scriptwriters, but not Jon Spaihts, or the director, Morten Tyldum. Not sure who had the most guts, perhaps both, but the result is spectacular and engrossing.

"What? A movie about space travel? Are you crazy? It’s - it’s simply incomprehensible! I wouldn’t know where to start!"

Well, I'm just the producer, not a writer, but how about you invent Hyperfusion drive?

"I don’t even know how that would work. Come on."

You don’t have to know how it works, just say they have it.

"Okay okay even if I grant that, what’s the story? Just going to another planet? What am I supposed to do with that?"

Now, some will say that “plausibility” is overrated in sci-fi, especially if it’s the service of a good story. No. You can invent devices that do futuristic things; that’s okay. But you canna change the laws of physics too much. You can go around a star to get a speed boost, as they do in Passengers - even though it makes you wonder what sort of course they plotted from Earth. Does it make sense to go a long ways that-a way to get a boost to go the other way? You can wonder how the ship would handle the strain. You can wonder many reasonable questions you would think about later if the story was great and the situation compelling. But you cannot go through the star itself.

That’s where plausibility comes in. It’s like telling the Titanic story, and inserting a scene where they deploy the Emergency Helicopter Blades to keep the back of the ship from sinking so Jack and Rose can swim to a lifeboat using the webbed feet they just sprouted.

Hey, why complain? Don’t let a few fanciful moments get in the way of a good story. But it’s not a good story if it requires me to justify the ridiculous.

Another review title:

The SILENT RUNNING of the 21st century

I agree completely.

Oh, and here's why it has to be a horror movie if you use that shot, because of course the director knows what he's referencing.

The Passengers bartender is nicer than this fellow, though.



Having done the 70s, we start the cycle over and go back to the halcyon days of the late 19th century, when the ad culture was quite different - but still instantly familiar.

Are you a disfigured cartoon character? You too can pierce your leg with the entire grid of Manhattan, causing pain so startling you almost smile with the absurdity of the sensation:

Right across the street from Grand Central Depot. That's different from Grand Central Station. No cab fare! Until, of course, you need a cab.

First, get a small version of hte giant shell Botticelli used in the "Birth of Venus." Next, order some baking powder:


Multi-level marketing has been with us since a Roman tried to sell a friend some garum for 20 sesterces. In fact they were probably on to it then.

Not even this one in particular, but one like this! If it has a relief of a bro who's had a few, you might be in the cabbage:

This ad is at least twice the size of the original. How they expected people to read this I've no idea. I mean, I've written entire stories with fewer words.

And tan and lovely! The girl from Somatose goes by:

The word sounds like mild form of unwakeability. Is he - is he in a coma? No, but he's somatose.

It's an extract of meat. Because when people think of meat, they always wonder if they can get it in concentrated, extracted form.

Only one day's work? Must be cheap crap:

You had to sell Bluine to get it.

And what in God's name is Bluine? I have to say it's a laundry detergent that whitens your whites. They called them Blueing Agents, because they made things blue, which made them look white, thanks to spectrum shifts in the atmospheric condensity.



Pronounced: GRA - poff - One.

A summer's night in the modern world: everyone sitting around on the porch, fanning themselves, wearing too much clothes, sipping lime rickeys, listening to the Great Hits of the Day.

Which would be what? Well, this is 1896. Let's see what I have in the archives . . .

Even in the 19th century, infants were brand-conscious:

If you wished, you could scour the internet for that Washburn Book, and learn why these were the best instruments made.

Or you could go to their website.

Who believed this? The same people who send away for brain pills and reducing belts, I suppose. There will always be lots of people desperate to believe that a pillow-gusting machine can solve Catarrh.

No stomach-dosing, which is a relif. No douching, though? You mean to say this pillow inhaler doesn't require douching? Huh. Snuffing? No snuffing.

Three bucks in 1896. That's a lot of money. Unless you had one of those coins. Or you'd cleaned up in the Bluine racket.

That'll do for today! Don't miss my MONDAY newspaper column! Just click on the Star. You know: The big green Startribune Star.


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