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Monthly Archives: February 2007

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Steve Jobs Tops the Hypocrisy Music Charts

The press is of course rebroadcasting Steve Jobs’ call for music companies to begin selling music DRM free. This will of course be met with cheers by the Apple fanboys and make it look like Steve Jobs is fighting for the consumer against the big evil corporations. In actuality Steve Jobs is jumping on the bandwagon of the Anti-DRM movement and doing it with a very particular agenda in mind. Here’s the salient points.

“Apple has been under pressure in Europe to make iTunes music compatible with players other than the iPod. On January 25 Norway’s consumer ombudsman said Apple must open access to iTunes by October 1 or face legal action.

“Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies toward persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free,” said Jobs about the European action.”

In other words don’t force me to actually make ITunes music compatible with non-IPod players consumers might own. Instead Jobs is trying to feint and duck by directing attention to the music industry instead, The problem of course is that it’s been thoroughly proven by now that ITunes is all about the DRM.

Companies that want to sell their music DRM free, must nevertheless wind up selling their music with DRM included if they want to sell via ITunes. Steve Jobs is trying to pass the blame on to the companies but it’s ITunes whose business model to be a loss leader for the IPod and that business model wouldn’t work if people could buy 99 cent songs at ITunes and play them on their Sony or Creative Zen or Zune.

Locking people into the IPod and creating a monopoly has been the whole premise behind Apple’s business success. Steve Jobs can no more afford to lose DRM, then Wallmart can afford to begin giving their entire stock away. Steve Jobs in fact needs DRM more than the companies do.

But Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field approach now lets him distract from his monopoly and forcible DRM by blaming the companies and appearing to be a crusader against DRM. What a douchebag.

Take a Break from Battlestar Galactica

Wonder why Battlestar Galactica’s ratings are falling, take no look further than the incredibly lame ‘Take a Break From Your Worries,’ which should have been titled, Take a Break From Writing Episodes, except that you can’t really blame this episode in isolation for perpetuating the idiocy of Battlestar Galactica’s awful third season.

Now here’s a simple quiz. Baltar, former President and Cylon collaborator, who has arguably been the star of the show with BSG focusing on him more intently than on any other character, has been captured and in the hands of the crew. With the show’s previous focus on politics, a focus that mostly went out the window this season, you’d think the logical move would have been to make his imprisonment the centerpiece of the episode, or at least an equally compelling story.

Ah but how foolish you are, unable to grasp the genius of Ron Moore and his crack writing staff (yes it is indeed a writing staff on crack) which instead decide to focus the episode on the ongoing KaraAdama soap opera, which continues to go nowhere. It’s bad enough we had to hijack the previous two parter with this idiocy, but now we have an episode that dedicates a few minutes to Baltar and dumps the bulk of it on KaraAdamWhininess. Thank you Ron, you’re truly a master of bad romance novels.. oh wait you were trying to do a Science Fiction TV series. Sorry, my bad.

And of course the Baltar material has to employ the just discovered gimmick of giving him hallucinogenic drugs, an idea that apparently Adama didn’t bother to come up with when Cylon collaborating terrorists were blowing up parts of his fleet in suicide bombings. Because if it’s one thing that Baltar and the audience needs, it’s more hallucinations.

Battlestar Galactica’s ratings still dropping? Nope, can’t imagine why. Flush.

Fear of a Gay Starship Captain

“With the premiere of ENTERPRISE officially set for September 26th @ 8:00
P.M., UPN has sent the first completed or near-completed footage in the form
of a two and a half-minute sales promotion tape to UPN affiliates across the
country. In what may perhaps become the newest ‘Star Trek’ tagline, Scott Bakula as
Captain Jonathan Archer has his own unique phrase, similar to Captain
Picard’s “make it so” or “engage”. When getting the Enterprise underway,
Captain Archer tells the helm, “straight and steady.”

Apparently Berman and Braga were worried that people might believe the rumors of a gay Starship Captain and thus they made sure to have Captain Archer clear that up by proclaiming his heterosexuality every time the ship launched.

Alternative possibly catch phrases might include, “Go to Warp 5 and please understand I mean this in a purely non-sexual way,” or “Fire on the Klingons but realize that I am not at all and not not want to have sex with other men.”

Then there’s the always popular, “Hard to starboard, and I don’t mean that in a gay way in the least.”

Alas David S. Goyer Joss Whedon – We Hardly Knew Ye

And there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth in fanboy town on learning that David Goyer had been dumped off The Flash. For anyone who was looking forward to a Flash movie in which the Flash constantly cursed at everyone, ran around aimlessly, incorporated montages from 70’s cop shows and struggled through a senseless plot Goyer thought up while snorting cocaine to try and be more like Sam Peckinpah… well you’re outta luck.

On the other hand Night At The Museum’s Shawn Levy is all but certain to make a Flash movie that’s fun for the whole family, in the Fantastic Four sense. On the other hand the only people who enjoy David S. Goyer movies are sadists who can take masochists to them.

Then Joss Whedon was dumped off Wonder Woman. Of course the amount of wailing and gnashing touched off by this epic tragedy in fanboy town is unbelievable. How? Why. Bwaaaah. And all that. After Buffy and Angel were gone, Firefly cancelled and Joss Whedon’s various Buffy spinoffs ranging from the British Giles TV show, the cartoon Buffy prequel, the Faith spinoff and possibly a spinoff focusing on Harmony and the undead corpse of that Irish guy on Angel who O’d after he was fired off the show… Wonder Woman was Joss’ stab at pretending to be gainfully employed on a major project.

Now with Joss’ removal from the project, we’ll never get the chance to have Wonder Woman talk in Joss’ trademarked weird and wacky ways, or see her take a job at a fast food place and spend 120 minutes dwelling on the ennui associated with fast food service or perhaps corporate law.

Oh the inhumanity.

There is no joy in fanboy town, mighty Whedon has struck out.

SCiFi TV: Am I going Crazy?

Why does it seem every genre show set in some kind of science fiction or fantasy universe feel the need to do an episode where a character finds himself or herself in a mental institution and being convinced that his universe is really a made up delusion of his own demented psyche.

Smallville is the latest show to do it, giving us a pretty tedious alternate reality Smallville. Buffy did it before in one of the remarkably bleaker 7th season episodes, and for the later seasons of Buffy, bleaker is saying a lot, but then having Buffy trying to murder her friends including her little sister, in order to “get well” is definetly on the bleaker side.

Before that Star Trek had camped out on the whole “you’re only hallucinating all this” doorstep basically refining and replicating this same kind of plot line, Smallville and Buffy lifted. Star Trek The Next Generation gave us Riker locked up in a mental institution, in a genuinely disturbing episode, that used the context of a play and distorted realities to simulate real mental illness.

By contrast DS9 churned out a pretentious Far Beyond the Stars, an episode so full of itself, it almost gagged on the stench of its own platitudes. Never mind that the show’s entire premise distorts reality by passing DS9 off as the progressive work of a black man in the 50’s, when it’s actually the tedious work of some white writers and producers in the 90’s. This dishonest attempt at historical revisionism then gave us a ‘sequel’ in the form of Sisko briefly hallucinating himself in a mental hospital.

Voyager put out an episode that had the EMH flashing back through its memories imagining itself to be human, that was made a good deal more entertaining by the presence of Barclay. Not to mention the EMH informing Janeway smugly that she and the rest of the crew are about to be taken away and tortured.

Of course what almost all these episodes have in common as a driving mechanism is a weird brand of psychiatry in which therapists insist the character has to literally kill or destroy people or themselves in order to get “better.” You have to wonder if this entire plotline is a signal that the writers think they’re nuts or that the premise of the shows they’re writing is.

Alf Joins Cast of Enterprise for Season 2

Alf Enterprise

(Caption: Captain Archer shakes hands with his new first officer as T’Pol looks on disapprovingly in second season cast photo)

Hide your cats, Alf is coming on board the Starship Enterprise

Facing sinking ratings and falling viewer interest, UPN is announcing a crew shakeup as one of the most famous aliens besides Spock will be joining the Enterprise crew. Alf, the cat eating alien who starred in his own series and film will be coming on board Enterprise as its new first officer.

“Bringing Alf on board was a natural step.” Enterprise producer Rick Berman said. “They’re both television icons familiar to a generation of viewers. By merging these two popular franchises, we think that we can maximize viewer interest and make the series more accessible to the casual viewer.”

In response to complaints from die hard Trekkies that bringing Alf on board will destroy Star Trek and degrade the legitimacy of the series, Berman remains unapologetic.

“Look I’ve made a lot of decisions over the course of my time on Star Trek that were controversial. You can’t change anything about the series without making some fan somewhere angry.” Berman explains. “I used to joke about having a bust of Roddenberry on my desk and I’d have to keep him blindfolded so he wouldn’t see what we were doing. Fans are always upset about something and Enterprise has been one battle after another. First the Klingons have brow ridges, the Enterprise looks too new, the Ferengi didn’t appear until TNG and now Alf is a puppet and doesn’t belong on Enterprise. Just as with DS9 and Voyager, the fans can either deal with it or change the channel.”

While it is not clear what role UPN’s new President, former Lifetime chief, Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostrov played in the decision to bring Alf on board Enterprise, rumor has it that she had been pushing to make Enterprise more family friendly.

In an interview given only a week before, Ostrov stated that she was uncomfortable with the show’s dark and serious orientation and thought Enterprise would gain more viewers if it resembled “Great SciFi television like Mork and Mindy and Lost in Space, Alf and My Favorite Martian.”

While some fans have already denounced the addition of Alf to the Enterprise crew as a desperate and shameless publicity stunt that will destroy the franchise, others have suggested giving Alf a chance.

“I’m not ready to write off Alf just because he’s a puppet,” lifelong Trek fan Dave Wintergreen said. “Farscape has muppets, I mean puppets too and it’s a great show. Before we condemn Alf and Rick Berman, I’d like to see what the character arc is going to be like and what Gordon Shumway can bring to Enterprise. I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised.”

Rick Berman meanwhile is developing this strategy further and if Alf’s addition should boost the ratings, intends to digitally insert Gumby and Marvin the Martian into old Voyager and DS9 episodes in hopes of boosting DVD sales.”

Breaking News: ‘Enterprise’ to be scrapped in favor of ‘Obnoxious Trek’

Facing sagging ratings and a distinct lack of viewer interest, Rick Berman announced after a closed door meeting with Paramount executives that he will be scrapping Enterprise in favor of a new take on the Star Trek franchise tentatively titled, ‘Obnoxious Trek.’

“Somewhere around the middle half of Feb, we realized what our mistake had been all along.” Berman explains. “We were trying to create a series that fans would enthusiastically love when what we should have been doing was creating a series that fans would enthusiastically hate. And that is what Obnoxious Trek is all about.”

Unlike previous Star Trek series’, Obnoxious Trek will feature a cast of returning Star Trek cast members, rather than an all new cast with Mulgrew returning as Captain Janeway in command of the U.S.S. Deviant. Will Wheaton will also be returning to play Commander Wesley Crusher, first officer of the Deviant who is also hiding his secret addiction to cough syrup. Nicole DeBoer will also return as the navigator whose only role will be to act confused and whine all the time since the ship will never actually go anywhere.

The rest of the cast will be filled out by Doctor Neelix who knows nothing about medicine and whose patients die more often that not. James Darren as Vic Fontaine who will give the crew relationship advice in the middle of tense battle scenes and occasionally break character to hawk his CD’s and his brand of tomato soup on air. And the series’ only new character, A Pakled as the engineering chief who is unable to ever get the warp drive running thus preventing the U.S.S. Deviant from ever going anywhere.

“Our goal was to bring back some of the most obnoxious characters from Star Trek history, characters we knew the fans would hate. We’ve given up on creating new characters that would attract viewers and we’ve decided to bring back characters that everyone hated so much that they simply wouldn’t be able to not watch Obnoxious Trek the same way you can’t not slow down to see a car accident.” Rick Berman explains. “And the entire show is geared towards this philosophy.

“For instance every episode will end in the holodeck in the Irish village of Fair Haven, even the cliffhangers, and Majel Barrett’s voice on the computer has been replaced by Nana Visitor’s voice which will respond to every command by delivering a speech about the oppression of the Bajoran people. We really want to make people hate our show, we want to make both long time Trek fans and casual viewers hate our show, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that hatred happen.”

Other plans under consideration for alienating viewers include a first season finale which will end with a temporal anomaly that erases all the events of the entire first season, random appearances by John DeLancie’s son, playing John DeLancie’s son and getting Bette Midler and Roseanne to sing the Enterprise theme accompanied only by the sounds of cats mating.

“We’re really going into the experimental realm with this.” Brannon Braga explains. “For example the ship will never go anywhere. DS9 tried to make a show like that but they added the Defiant when their ratings began to sink. But the Deviant will never go anywhere. And no one will ever leave the Deviant. All the adventures will come to it and every episode will be a bottle show which will really save on money.

We’ll also save on money by firing all the writers and just openly recycling old scripts. I mean we’ve been paying writers thousands and thousands of dollars just to recycle old TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager scripts we already had and we figured that we have hundreds of old scripts around and we might as well reuse them openly. And the same thing goes for special effects. Admittedly some of the old FX footage we have in the can is a little incompatible and some of it is decades old, but we’ll make do. And as a final money saver, all our episodes are going to be directed by David Livingston whom we’re going to keep chained up in the studio basement.”

As a bonus, Obnoxious Trek will also be reusing all the Enterprise sets without even bothering to redress them. Once the studio would have avoided such a move for fear of alienating fans but now banking on its new approach, such a move will only serve to enhance the hatred that viewers will feel for the show.

“I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before.” Brannon Braga said while sensualiciously sipping his swiss mocha cappuccino. “It was always staring us right in the face. We’re just not any good at creating a series that people will like and we were so good at
creating shows that people just hated almost as much as they hated Saddam Hussein. And we should stick to what we’re good at. Obnoxious Trek.”

Flatland the Movie

Get Two Dimensional.

More Open Letters from the Author of Open Letter to America from a Canadian

After the firestorm caused by the incisive and brilliant political
analysis of McDougal’s Open Letter to America from a Canadian
appearing in the Baltimore Chronicle, which proved among other things
that the FBI killed JFK, blew up the World Trade Center, assassinated
Enron executives and of course the international banking conspiracy
that runs the world (see Kampf, Mein) and that all Americans spend
their time eating cheeseburgers while watching COPS, we had no choice
but to give a public craving more, more Open Letters from that same
fount of brilliance. While they seem to concern more ordinary everyday
affairs, they nevertheless contain that same scintillating wit and
trademark mastery of rhetoric and logic, that made the original Open
Letter to America from a Canadian such a masterpiece of political
oratory in our time.

Letter 1:

READ AT YOUR OWN RISK:

Open Letter to My Upstairs Neighbor

Dear Mr.. Sagall,

And so it has come to this.

Our once untroubled relationship has gone by the wayside as you seem
to have descended into a pervasive madness that causes me to question
your sanity and shudder in terror at the horrors your diseased mind is
set to loose upon your downstairs neighbor.

You are a sick man, but you continue to carry on as if nothing is the
matter. Strange noises resound through the thin walls of our building.
Horrid animal noises. Your dubious excuse for this has been to claim
that these satanic wails are meant to be some form of music, yet I
would contend that they are nothing less than the willful and craven
means to intimidate me into rescinding my complaint to the landlord
and the police over the inappropriate noises by you and the succession
of whores who traffic their way into your apartment.

You have become a whoremonger, Mr.. Sagal.

Hypocrite.

Liar.

Monster.

Adulterer.

I have long tolerated a seemingly endless succession of your crimes.
The noises your bicycle makes early in the morning. The time your
newfangled toaster oven blew out the electrical circuits leaving me in
the dark to contemplate the newfound depths of your evil as I was
deprived of my weekly broadcast from Mr.. Lyndon LaRouche. The number
of visitors to your apartment who knocked on my door, claiming to have
accidentally mistaken my apartment for yours, though this is clearly
impossible as our two apartments are on different floors and marked by
different numbers.

I have seen your soda bottles piled in the bin like a mountain of
human skulls. I have gazed upon the trash you collect in large
oversized bags the color of darkness, of your black heart, hoping to
conceal their contents from me. But though the material of which they
were made was tough, it was not impenetrable and I know that you have
had an ear infection as recently as this February. Yes I know that and
many other things about you and when the time comes I shall reveal
them to an eagerly waiting world which has not yet come to know you
for monster you are. And still despite all these atrocities I remained
silent (except for my anonymous notes signed ‘A Vigilant Watcher’ and
‘The Shadow’ hoping the madness of your parties and your endless
carousing would come to their close. Yet matters have only grown
worse.

You stood by as Mrs.. Zanuck in 3B slaughtered untold amounts of
innocent ants and roaches with a bug spray. A chemical bug spray full
of pesticides. And when her own supply ran out, you gave her more.
Your conscience was not troubled by the terror that she wrought, nor
was your soul stirred by the chemical messages of desperate ants
scurrying for shelter as they were poisoned, exterminated from the
air. Adolf Hitler himself could have been no more ruthless, no more
callous to their helpless plight. No monstrous tyrant in all of
history had more crimes to his record than yours. Not the worst
butcher felt so little pity for his victims as you. And in your
cynical arrogance you say that they are only ants. You say that if
they stopped living in my apartment, there would be no need to kill
them.

And yet this entire campaign was a folly. The ants have returned as
have the resources. Your chemical perversions of nature could not keep
them down. And yet rather than recognize the folly of your actions,
you continue to perpetuate this same hopeless campaign with more
powerful and lethal bug sprays. Blind to your own evil madness, you
seek out more powerful chemical substances from the supermarket like a
madman never satisfied with the carnage he has wrought against the
helpless and the innocent.

How can you look at yourself in the mirror every morning, Mr.. Sagall?
Does this record of your crimes not trouble you in the least?

You were never concerned about the impact of your disgraceful
behavior. No you were too busy swilling all sorts of alcoholic drinks
and listening to vile music that leaks through the walls like toxic
waste polluting my mind and my sprit. No it’s simply time for you to
party again.

Go back to your ten billionth party, Mr.. Sagall. Stuff your rotten
decaying corpus with every form of vile snack and beverage. Let the
toxic rhythms of your stereo system destroy your hearing and the last
sad remnants of your brain. You’ve never used it anyway. Since you
refuse to listen, you might as well be deaf and since you refuse to
think, you may as well be brain dead.

When did you stop caring Mr.. Sagall? Was it when you first moved into
the building and you dropped a gum wrapper in the lobby? Was it when
you began radiating secret orders to my cat, Paine, forcing her to do
your dirty bidding to spy on me, thus forcing me to poison her kibbles
with draino? Does your conspiring with the Martian Priests from the
Ancient Cult of Gra not cause you the least bit of worry, even though
by doing so you have betrayed your own race?

Forget it, just throw another party.

You excoriate those courageous souls like myself and 89 year old Mr..
Shelby from 4E, though they are the only individuals in this building
who have the courage to condemn your amoral lifestyle and alien
conspiracies. You hound them as you hounded me when you called me a
‘loon’, a ‘crazed kook’ and a ‘nut-job who needs to be locked up in a
loony bin.’ And yes I remember when you sent your hired goons from the
telephone company to fix my line, even though there was nothing wrong
with it at the time.

Mr.. Sagall, you are a goddamn shame.

What law matters now in your despicable state? What justice? What
truth?

When will you wake up?

If there is any spark of human decency left in you, you would dig out
that alien transmitter from your frontal lobe with a pair of common
household pliers and take out an ad in the next to last page of every
paper written in backwards script proclaiming that the international
Martian-Zionist-Commonwealth conspiracy no longer controls your
thoughts. But you are dead, spiritually, emotionally and
intellectually dead.

As I write these words, I can only imagine what horrors you and your
alien puppet masters are plotting together and what you will commit to
justify my extermination. For you must know that I have stumbled onto
your plot and that you must terminate my existence or risk me exposing
you to the world for the monster that you are? A massive conspiracy
with its roots in every European capitol. The diversion of my mail for
several days? Perhaps a hypodermic needle used to inject dihydrogen
monoxide into my soymilk?

Or perhaps I will slay you first, committing that terrible deed and
taking your life. The last thought on my mind, is keeping the promise
I made to Paine as he lay there, the draino eating out his guts. My
cat shall be avenged!

——
Mr. McDougal’s neighbor has at yet to respond to this letter in any
way. Should this state of affairs continue, Mr. McDouglas wishes to
state that he will no longer be responsible for his actions.

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