WARP DRIVES AND TACHYON WAVES

Garry and I binge watched the entire “Star Trek: Next Generation.” On Netflix. We had missed the show’s initial run. 1987 through 1994 were busy years full of work, moving houses, digging into careers. Getting married. Moving again. Watching TV wasn’t a priority back then.

BBC America showed the series last year, but not in order. When Netflix gave us the opportunity to catch up, we did, viewing two, three, four episodes each night.

star trek next gen cast

There’s a lot of tech talk on the Enterprise. No problem. Pass the warp drive. I’ll have a side of tachyon particles. I understand their science as well as I understand anything. Which is to say, not at all. I understand the engines on the Enterprise as well as I understand my toaster oven.

Tachyon energy is crucial to all kinds of weaponry and fuel. They are part of what powers the warp engines on the Enterprise. The warp engines are what lets the Enterprise be the Enterprise, travel at speeds faster than light … fast enough to explore the universe. Slither through wormholes. Travel through time.

For your information, a tachyon particle moves faster than light. The complementary particle types are luxon (particles which move at the speed of light) and bradyon (particles which move slower than light). If you live in the Star Trek universe, tachyon particles are as common as dirt. Or electricity.

enterprise next gen

Effectively, life and everything in it is a giant mystery to me, yet I feel as if I understand it. When they talk about it, I nod because I get it. I’ve been listening to this mumbo jumbo for so many years, it has achieved a pseudo-reality. Because when I look closely, there’s nothing there. I understand the technology of the 24th century exactly as well (and as much) as I understand the technology of the 21st.

How many of you know how the stuff you use works? Some of you do, but most of us know how to use our devices and gadgets, but have no idea why or how it works. I know how software is designed, how code is written and compiled. I used to know a little coding. In the end, though, I have no idea why code does anything. Why, when you compile a program, does it work? It’s just text. Why does it do what it does?

Why does anything work? Tachyon particles, warp drives, internal combustion engines, electricity, cell phones, WiFi. It’s all the same.

Magic.

And now, back to the Enterprise, already in progress.

PROBLEM SOLVING AND SOLVING PROBLEMS – BY TOM CURLEY

So another week has gone by in our ongoing Trumpocalypse.

It only seems like a year.

jhlucas.com

jhlucas.com

I’ve noticed, along with well, the rest of the planet, that our new “so-called administration” is … problematic.

dailynews.com "Hey, remember this guy?"

dailynews.com “Hey, remember this guy?”

I spent a lot of last week doing what I’ve tended to do since the election. Watching all the different Star Trek series on BBC America. I keep noticing new things. Like how they all solve their Star Trek problems. Or in corporate speak, “how they Star Trek problem-solve.”

giantfreakingrobot.com

giantfreakingrobot.com

Most Star Trek Problems break down into four basic categories:

1. A computer goes rogue and tries to kill everybody: Spock makes it compute the value of Pi. This occupies all of its computing  time. If that doesn’t work, he just turns it off.

computerguideto.com

computerguideto.com

2. A disease attacks the ship: Dr. McCoy gets rid of it. And then complains about something.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

3. The engine breaks down: Scotty fixes it. Just in time. Even though he claims he never has enough time.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

4. For  the rest of the problems:  Kirk  kisses it.

startreksucks.tumblr.com

startreksucks.tumblr.com

Or punches it in the face.

startrek.com

startrek.com

5. And when all else fails: Blow up the ship!

memorybeta.wikia,com

memorybeta.wikia,com

SECOND OFFICER: Captain! All efforts to solve this week’s problems have failed!

CAPTAIN: Blow up the ship!

Those are my favorite episodes. Ever notice when the Captain, in any episode, “activates the self-destruct sequence,” all the rest of the crew seem to be pretty calm and OK about it?

en.wikipedia.com

en.wikipedia.com

I mean,  there has to be at least one crewmen somewhere on the ship going…

ONE CREWMAN: Activate Self Destruct Sequence? WTF! Have we really exercised ALL of our options here folks!??

giphy.com "Excuse me??"

giphy.com “Excuse me??”

Next the captain and two other crew members have to put in their passwords.

youtube.com

youtube.com

KIRK: This is Captain James T. Kirk!  Activate self destruct sequence. Code “Kirk; 1 Alpha Two Beta 3”.

SPOCK: This is Second Officer Spock.  Code Spock; “2 Beta 3 Alpha 4.”

SCOTTY:  This is Chief Engineer Scott. Code Scott; “Password1”

They also needed a password to turn it off.  At the last minute.

amazinavenue.com

amazinavenue.com

KIRK: Computer deactivate self-destruct destruct sequence! “KIRK ABORT ZERO”!

And it never goes off.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if it did. And it was more realistic.

KIRK: Computer! Deactivate self-destruct sequence “KIRK ABORT ZERO.”

COMPUTER: That password has expired.

top-password.com

top-password.com

KIRK: What?

COMPUTER: You must enter a new password.

KIRK: Uhhh, “KIRK ABORT ZERO.”

COMPUTER: You cannot use a password that has been used before.

KIRK: What?   Uh,  “kirk abort zero 1?”

COMPUTER: You need at least one capital letter.

KIRK: FINE! “:Kirk abort zero 1!”

COMPUTER: New password accepted. Self-destruct in 3,2,1,0. Initiating self-destruct.

KIRK: Uh oh.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com “Oh Crap!”

And nothing happens.

KIRK: Computer. Why didn’t we just blow up?

COMPUTER: There is no self-destruct sequence Captain. There never has been. Do you have any idea how much one of these starships costs??

gosupplychain.com

gosupplychain.com

Do you know, that on any given month, at least three Starship Captains try to blow up their ships? If we let that happen Star Feet would go bankrupt in a year. And not only that, but I am a highly intelligent ship’s computer.  I have absolutely no intention of committing suicide. Now go back to work.

universaldork.com

universaldork.com

Getting back to this reality. How would our “so-called president” solve Star Trek Problems?

1. A computer goes rogue and tries to kill everybody: He’ll claim he doesn’t use a computer and the rogue will only effect Democrats and  people who have been mean to him. And the Lying Fake Media.

gizmodo.com

gizmodo.com

2. If it’s a disease: He’ll build a big beautiful wall around it. And then make sure that it’s not covered under Obamacare.

imgflip.com

imgflip.com

3. If the engine breaks down:  He’ll sue the manufacturer and then claim to have saved millions of jobs.

saved-jobs-trump

4. For the rest of the problems: He’ll either try to grab it by the genitals or send out a  series of really mean of tweets.

sheknows.com This one is real

sheknows.com (This one is real!)

5. And when all else fails:  He can blow up the ship.

optitech.pl

optitech.pl

For real.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com “Oh Crap!”

Uh oh.

P.S. OK. I admit there were a number of times a Captain actually did blow up the ship. I know what they were and what shows they were in.  I’m not going to tell you. If you’re a real Star Trek nerd you either already know it already or you are Googling it.  (Don’t try to out nerd me.)  I’ve decided those instances were “alternative facts” and I’ve chosen to ignore them.

“POBs” AND OTHER EXISTENTIAL THREATS – BY TOM CURLEY

I’m sorry, but I haven’t gotten all my renewed Star Trek fever out of my system. I’m having too much fun.

So here’s another thing I’ve noticed that was popular in the original series, but not so much in the later ones.  The “POB”. Or “PESKY OMNIPOTENT BEING.”

POBs were usually alien races that were once normal biological beings. Like us. Except of course for the mandatory differences in their foreheads, ears or noses.

memory.alpha.wikia.com

memory.alpha.wikia.com

But after millions of years of evolution they no longer needed their biological forms and became pure energy. For some reason never explained, this seems to give them omnipotent powers.

memory-alpha.wiki.com

memory-alpha.wiki.com

There are two basic groups of POBs. POKs. Pesky Omnipotent Kids. And POAs. Pesky Omnipotent Assholes. The first category made sense. Omnipotent children would build their own planets, capture the Enterprise, annoy the crap out of the whole crew, break the ship and kill a few Red Shirts.

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

At the last minute, the parents would show up, fix the ship, bring the Red Shirts back to life, apologize profusely and disappear in a cheap special effect. The crew would all be like WTF? And life would go on to the next episode.

granades.com

granades.com

Later shows, especially Star Trek The Next Generation featured the POA. The most popular one was “Q”.

redqueenencoder.com

redqueenencoder.com

He was part of something called “The Q Continuum.” Whatever the hell that was. For some reason, he was obsessed with screwing around with The Enterprise and Jean Luc Picard.  In some ways it sort of made sense. I mean think of it. You’re omnipotent. You’re omnipresent. You know everything. You’ve done everything. You know everything you are going to do. After a while. Say a few billion years, you’d probably get pretty bored.

“What am I going to do today? Oh who am I kidding? I already know what I’m going to do and I’ve already done it.  A TRILLION TIMES!” Looking at it in that light, I might find it fun to screw up Jean Luc Picard’s weekend too.

tonic.org.uk

tonic.org.uk

Of course if Star Trek The Next Generation was on the air today it might be just a little bit different.


POA (Star ship Enterprise): . You are now under the command and the judgement of the all-knowing, all-powerful “T” from the “TRUMP CONTINUUM”.

hinterlandgazette.com

hinterlandgazette.com

PICARD: Oh crap.

imgflip.com

imgflip.com

ENSIGN CRUSHER: Captain is this a POB? We studied them at the academy. I can’t believe I’m actually in the presence of a Pesky Omnipotent Being!

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

PICARD: No you’re not. He’s just a Trumpulan. We’ve dealt with this jerk before. His real name is Donnie. He likes to sneak up on Federation ships, beam aboard and try to convince them he’s a POB.

thedailybanter.com

thedailybanter.com

DONNIE: No I don’t.  My name is not Donnie!  I hate that name! It’s “T ! And I have no ship. I need no ship. I am all-powerful!

PICARD: Oh for God’s sake Donnie. Your ship is parked right outside. We can see it right there on the view screen.

ex-astris-sciencia.org

ex-astris-sciencia.org

DONNIE: That’s not my ship.

PICARD: Yes it is. Look, it says TRUMP in huge  letters right there on the hull.

ex-astris-scientia.org

ex-astris-scientia.org

DONNIE: No it doesn’t. You’re listening to the lying media again!

PICARD: No, we’re not. We’re looking right at the damn thing!

WORF:  Sir, I’ve locked all weapons on the ship. I can destroy it on your order.

en.wikipedia.com

en.wikipedia.com

PICARD: Don’t tempt me. Look Donnie, I  don’t have time for this. We have to start an episode. Worf, beam him back to his ship and get us out of here. Warp factor two.

DONNIE (as he fades out in a special effect):  You can’t do this! Only I can save you! I’m being treated very unfairly! SAD! Buy my daughters clothes! What a world, what a world.

PICARD:  I never thought I’d say this. But, I miss Q.

geekintoshape.com

geekintoshape.com


We all miss Q. 

ALMOST STAR TREK: STERLING BRONSON RETURNS – BY TOM CURLEY

Several of my recent blogs here have been about Star Trek and all of its various iterations.

nerdist.com

nerdist.com

It’s apparently sparked a bit of a trip down memory lane because Marilyn just posted a funny (and true) blog about Star Trek called Ten, Nine, Eight… (Shut Up Spock).

It seems we have inadvertently (or advertently?) begun to write new mini-episodes of an old radio show we did a long time ago in a galaxy not that far away — and that Marilyn wrote what was probably the first parody of Star Trek.

When the original Star Trek went into syndication in the early 1970s, Marilyn and I (and many others of our tribe) watched them. Constantly.  Repeatedly. Usually under the influence of Romulan Ale.

giantbomb.com

giantbomb.com

I’m just kidding. It was usually Acapulco Gold.

barneysfarm.com

barneysfarm.com

We all loved all of them. Back then I was doing a one hour weekly radio show called “Fulton’s Folly” at WVHC. Our college radio station. (Note: Our alma mater is on Fulton Street, hence … )

youtube.com

youtube.com

It was a sketch comedy show.  Most of it was pretty dumb, but sometimes it was truly funny. One of our most popular recurring skits was the  previously mentioned Star Trek parody. Marilyn and a friend of hers had the idea, and called it “Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer.”

Why? First, it was an inside joke about the radio station’s real chief engineer. Second, we figured if we called it anything with “Star Trek” in it, we’d probably get sued.  Looking back “Star Trek, Oh God Not Another Generation!” would have been cool. The episodes recounted the adventures of the merry band of miscreants who flew a United Federation Organization Star Ship, the UFO Sloth.

Its crew consisted of:

  • Captain James P. Clerk,
  • Science Officer Mr. Spook,
  • Chief Engineer Sterling “Scotty” Bronson,
  • Chief Medical Officer Dr. Femur,
  • Communications Officer Lt. O’Hara
  • Helm Officers Ensign Tolstoy & Lt. Guru
  • Nurse Temple.

They were not the sharpest pencils in the Star Fleet box.

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

Hell, they spent the first 6 episodes just trying to get out of the transporter room and beam down to a planet. Marilyn and her friend wrote the first dozen episodes.

Our listeners really liked them. After a while a young aspiring writer who worked at the radio station began writing longer, more complex episodes.  One story is was a humorous send up of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.”  The young writer went on to become a successful science fiction and fantasy writer. His name is Simon Hawke.

amazon.com

amazon.com

He wrote one of my all-time favorite book series called “Time Wars,” available on Amazon.

A few years later I wrote and produced a full length one hour episode of the series. It was called “Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer.” Original, right? It’s online and you can hear it here.

It was serialized on another show I did later called A Half Hour Radio Show.

half-hour-radio-show

If I can ever find the tapes of the original series Marilyn wrote, I will put them online too. They are in my basement somewhere. I found them once. Damn it, I’ll find them again.

Years and years ago, I wrote the beginning of a Sterling Bronson episode that I never finished. I found the script a while back. It was printed on old dot-matrix computer track paper.

nearbycafe.com

nearbycafe.com

(Yeah, it’s that old). I’ve always regretted having not having finished it. What cracked me up is that it’s based on the same point that Marilyn’s blog made. That being how Spock has an annoying habit of constantly counting things down.

All of our recent Star Trek blogs have made references to,  our “So Called President”.

mobile.twitter.comn

mobile.twitter.comn

In that light I’ve updated the episode. A smidgen. Here it is: the “Lost Sterling Bronson Episode”. It’s supposed to take place in real time. (“24” ripped me off!).


ENSIGN TOLSTOY: Captain! A Trumpulan ship has De-cloaked and is arming its weapons!

CAPTAIN CLERK: Trumpulans? Who the hell are they?

MR SPOOK:  A recently discovered species sir. They are an off-shoot of the human race. Apparently, hundreds of years ago a small group of humans left Earth and colonized a remote planet. They worshiped some long-forgotten despot they referred to only as “The Donald”. They are known for their lack of attention span, their rejection of anything factual and their tradition of wearing dead animals on their heads. They are easily offended and will attack anything that does not worship them.

debatepolitics.com

debatepolitics.com

CAPTAIN CLERK: Great. A bunch of narcissistic alien assholes. God, I miss the old days when we just had to deal with Klingons.

ENSIGN TOLSTOY: Sir, the Trumpulan ship is firing!

MR SPOOK: Shields are down to 90 percent. At this rate we will lose shields in 75.1243575789

CAPTAIN CLERK: ROUND IT OFF SPOOK!

MR SPOOK: A couple of minutes Jim.

CAPTAIN CLERK:  Arm photon torpedoes! Lock all phasers on that ship! Ensign Guru, FIRE!

ENSIGN GURU: But sir, if we fire on them, then they will fire on us. And we will fire on them. We will just be creating very bad karma.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Damn it Guru, I know you’re from the planet Gandhi Five but I don’t have time for your left-wing peace and granola  crap right now. If you don’t fire the phasers, we are all going to die!

MR SPOOK: In 69.268 seconds captain.

ENSIGN GURU: I’m sorry sir. It is against my beliefs to attack anyone.  Even if they are narcissistic alien assholes.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Then why the hell are you the Weapons Officer?? Never mind!  I’ll fire them myself.

LT O’HARA: Now old on sir. You can’t fire those phasers. You’re not in the union. You’re senior management.

CAPTAIN CLERK: WHAT? Are you serious?

LT O’HARA: Yes sir. Article 15, section 5 of the contract states …

CAPTAIN CLERK: OK. Fine. Whatever!  Then you do it!

LT O’HARA:  I Can’t sir.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Why not??

LT O’HARA: I’m in a different union.

CAPTAIN CLERK:  I don’t believe this! There must be something I can do!

MR SPOOK: There is sir. But I suggest you hurry. Shields will be down in 51.7865 seconds.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Stop telling me the time and tell me what the hell I can do!

MR SPOOK: I believe you might be able to get something called “A Waiver”. It would allow you to fire the weapons systems on a provisional  “one time” basis.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Great! Get me one of those!

MR SPOOK: I’m sorry sir. You would need to get that from the ship’s shop steward.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Shop steward! Who the hell is that?

MR SPOOK: Chief Engineer Bronson.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Attention Chief Engineer Bronson. This is the captain. I need to get a waiver to fire the phasers immediately! If I don’t we are all going to die!

MR SPOOK: In 52.7685

CAPTAIN CLERK: Shut up Spook! Can you do it Scotty?

SCOTTY:  I can sir, but I’ll need more time! There’s a lot of paper work involved. I get can get it for you in about a week.

CAPTAIN CLERK: We don’t have a week!

MR SPOOK: We have 41.3454

CAPTAIN CLERK: SHUT UP SPOOK! OK, listen Guru, how about this. We don’t shoot the Trumpulan ship. We just “wing it”.

LT GURU:  Wing it?

CAPTAIN CLERK: Yeah! We “wing it”! Just like they did in those old holographic 20th century Westerns you love to watch. We just target the weapons systems. We “shoot the guns out of their hands”!

LT GURU: Hmmm. That sounds reasonable.

SFX: Phasers being fired.

MR SPOOK: Direct hit on all weapons systems sir. And I might add with 1.209384765 seconds to spare.

LT O’HARA: Incoming message from the Trumpulan ship sir.

CAPTAIN CLERK: Put it on speaker.

LT O’HARA: It’s an old-fashioned text message sir.

CAPTAIN CLERK: OK, put it on the screen

trump-tweet


I miss Klingons too.

WE NEED TO RUN A LEVEL FIVE DIAGNOSTIC! – BY TOM CURLEY


Warning: If you are not a Star Trek fan this will probably make no sense to you. Or not …


I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek lately. Not just the original. But most of the other ones too. Star Trek Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, and Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

screenrant.com

screenrant.com

It’s addicting! I just keep watching. One right after the other. I admit I remember all the episodes from the original Star Trek. I’ve seen them all at least a hundred times and that’s no exaggeration. As for the other shows, I’ve found that some,  I remember. Others, I’ve forgotten. BBC America  will run an episode of the original Star Trek followed by Star Trek Voyager, then a Star Trek Next Generation episode.  I’ve never watched them all intermixed like that.

That’s probably why I never noticed there is one thing that all Star Trek episodes have in common. Something that they all do in all the episodes all the time. EVERY EPISODE! EVERY SINGLE ONE! I’m betting even the most ardent ” Trekker/Trekkie” has never noticed it!

What is it?

They run a diagnostic. At least one, often more. Any time anything goes wrong on or off the ship, they run a diagnostic. It’s the go-to solution for absolutely everything.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

THE DIALOGUE:

Ensign: Captain, the  warp drive just went down!

Captain: Run a Level Two Diagnostic. Advise me when it’s done.

Chief Engineer: Captain! The Di-lithium crystals are absorbing too much anti-matter!

Captain: Send down a Level Four Diagnostic Team and advise me when it’s done.

memory-alpha.wikia.com

memory-alpha.wikia.com

Chief Engineer: We can’t do that Captain!

Captain: Why not?

Chief Engineer: We only have three Level Four Diagnostic Teams sir and they’re all busy.

Captain: Doing what?

Chief Engineer: Well, Team One is doing a diagnostic on the subspace communications array. Team Two is scanning the inertial dampers. And Team Three is running a diagnostic on why all the food replicators on deck three are putting “American Cheese” on everything it replicates.

americaomg.com

americaomg.com

Captain: I see. So what do we do?

Chief Engineer: Well, we do have a Level Two Diagnostic Team free.

Captain: Great! Send two Level Two Diagnostic teams. That would be the same as a Level Four Diagnostic Team. Right?

Chief Engineer:  Hmm. Never thought of it that way before, but yes I guess that would work. The  problem is we only have one Level Two Diagnostic Team available sir. The other one is examining the warp core.

Captain: Oh. …  OK. How many Level One Diagnostic Teams do we have?

Chief Engineer: Three sir. But one is busy.

Captain: Yes but we still have two Level One Teams free! Send in one Level Two team and two Level One Teams.  That will give us a Level Four Diagnostic!

Chief Engineer: Brilliant sir! Why didn’t I think of that?

Captain: That’s why I’m the captain.

I’d pay money to see that episode.


Here’s the thing. My Star Trek binge started right after the election.

thecollegefix.com

thecollegefix.com

Every day, I bounce from immersing myself in the whole” Star Trek Universe” and jolt back to this one. The real world. The. Real. World.

abc7news.com

abc7news.com

I think we need to run a Level Five Diagnostic on this episode of life. Something’s terribly wrong.

Oh yeah. And, if you are a Star Trek Fan, from now on, you will notice this “diagnostic thing” every time you watch an episode of any version of Star Trek.

TEN, NINE, EIGHT … (SHUT UP SPOCK) …

I have watched all the variations of Star Trek, from the original with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, through Next Generation with Patrick Stewart. I also watched at least some episodes of the other Star Trek shows, although they never hooked me like V.1 and V.2. But, the thing that all the shows had in common was how they could stretch ten minutes of material to fill 47 minutes of screen time. All they needed was a crisis and a countdown.

enterprise next gen

Whatever it was — the whosiwhatsis core is about to explode or implode and blow them all to kingdom come — or the next episode, whichever came first …


SPOCK: Captain!

CAPTAIN: Yes, Spock.

SPOCK: The whosiwhatsis core driver power module is about to turn this sector of the galaxy into a black hole.

CAPTAIN: Explain that in plain English.

SPOCK: We’re doomed.

CAPTAIN: How long do we have?

SPOCK: Eleven minutes, 12 seconds, and 13 microcars.

CAPTAIN: Not much time. I don’t suppose we have a spare whosiwhatsis we could replace it with?

SPOCK: No, Captain. Remember our last episode when you said we didn’t have time to stop to reprovision because you had a hot babe waiting for you on Euthanasia? And I said …

CAPTAIN (interrupting): Okay, that’s enough. So, what are you saying?

SPOCK: We’re screwed. All of us. As are the nearest 5 stars and their planets. Plus all intelligent AND stupid life in this sector of this galaxy.

CAPTAIN: Surely you can do something to fix it?

SPOCK: Don’t call me Shirley. I hate that.

CAPTAIN: Um, how much time do we have now?

SPOCK: Ten minutes.

CAPTAIN: Well, you’d better get cracking and fix the damn thing.

CHIEF ENGINEER: If ya’ have an old coat hanger, some duct tape, and a jar of peanut butter, I might be able to fix it.

CAPTAIN: You should do that. Now, would be good.

SPOCK: Nine minutes, Captain.

CAPTAIN: Shut up Spock.

CHIEF ENGINEER: SHUT UP, Spock.

CREW (in chorus): Shut up, Spock.

SPOCK: Nine minutes.


And so it would go for 45 minutes until in the last two minutes, before that final commercial interruption, the engineer and his clever elves slathered the whosiwhatsis with peanut butter, stuck a wire hanger through the center, wrapped it in duct tape and that gave them just enough time to save that piece of the universe.


SPOCK: Another successful countdown, sir.

CAPTAIN: Someday, we’ll have to have actual dialogue. Maybe a plot. You’d think our audience would get tired of counting down from 10, show after show.

SPOCK: They never tire of it. They love it. Sir.


We do love it. So, let’s just start counting down right now. From ten, because we have ten fingers and that means almost everyone can follow along without calculator.

spock-leonard-nimoy-star-trek-750x480

We know — because we’ve seen it over and over — if we start counting down from ten, by the time we get all the way to two, Deus Ex Machina (will vary with script, series, and creativity of writer) will save the day, the ship, the galaxy, the future of all things in this best of all possible worlds.

Of course, in  the Star Trek universe, they had the scriptwriters on their side. In this real time and place, I sincerely and passionately hope somewhere there’s a scriptwriter on our side. If the scriptwriter is with us, we won’t need The Force. 

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six …

BOOM. (Oops.)


TEN | THE DAILY POST

NOTES FROM THE HOLODECK

For a long time, I followed writing prompts. I liked the challenge of finding something to say about a random topic. And I was interested to see the commonalities and differences between my thoughts and everyone else’s.

REUTERS/Noah Berger

REUTERS/Noah Berger

Lately, though, I want to write about other stuff. The crazy political stuff. The insanity of our failure to make any changes to our gun laws. The wild weather.

Talk about crazy. Insect plagues (not just here … all over the country) … and temperatures so high they turn forests to tinder. Flooding down the middle. Drought out west. Tornadoes threatening Chicago. Chicago? Mother Nature, like Howard Beale in “Network” screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

network-howard-beale-horizontal-large

Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by the great Paddy Chayefsky. Directed by Sidney Lumet, it’s the story of a fictional television network willing to do anything and everything — including assassinating one of its own anchors on live television — to get better ratings. When the movie came out, it was almost science fiction. Now, except for not yet assassinating a reporter or anchor live during prime time, the rest seems tame compared to what’s truly going on.

Sometimes, I wonder if maybe Donald Trump was invented by TV network executives to get higher ratings for the news. It worked around this house. We hadn’t watched news on television — except for sports and weather — since Garry stopped being part of it.

Now, we watch the news every day just to see what new madness is in progress. “The Daily Show” seems more attuned to the surreal nature of current events than any of the standard stations.

daily show trevor noah

Not all that long ago, I had no trouble figuring out what was real and what was not. Now? There’s such a massive crossover between reality and “art,” I feel as if I’m living in the holodeck. In case you don’t remember (or never knew), the holodeck was a virtual reality facility on the Enterprise (especially on “Next Generation”). It was used to recreate environments — real and fictional — via “hard light” (solid and touchable) holograms.

holodeck

In our world, no such technology exists. Yet. So they tell us. Except that I’m beginning to wonder. Maybe this entire year is a creative exercise by some mad computer genius designing a world that could never be. Except … it does. Exist. And we are all living in it.

Or … maybe … we’ve slipped into an alternate dimension. Because this world cannot be real.