Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Message to William Shatner


 It's been nearly a year since the 2013 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas where I had met a childhood hero, Captain Kirk played by William Shatner.  To him, it was just a TV bit, just an opportunity in a series of rather mediocre jobs.  If I were him, it'd be like my time at GPS in 1993 to 1997.  Not a big deal to me then, Block II and IIa satellites, with my testing of the short-lived Block IIr and its demise on launch all over Cape Canaveral (it was not my job to test the Delta II rocket which was the failure, only the payload software, which was buggy initially until I software tested the Dickens out of it successfully).  Imagine if people came up to me and said, "Hey, remember on October 18th, 1994 when you did an IBM 3745 comm-processor swap when it had never been tried?"  Well, I vaguely remembering being a hero that day, amongst other days.  It was my job.  Granted, I was legendary a GSO; a hero.  My wife Becky was a heroic SSO as well.  We took the job seriously and to new, untried levels, sure.  We were legends, but that was the case at every job I've done.  Without being a braggart, I know I'm most often legendary at everything I do, thanks to my parents and grandmother telling me to give 100% in everything that I do, then do a little more to stand-out.  Still, those things are forgotten in time like, as Rutger Hauer says in Blade Runner, "..tears in the rain."  (Hauer's lookin' a little rough these days, but rather impressive for 70 years old).

William Shatner with Rutger Hauer

Sally Kellerman
  Ah, again I digress.  I had an autograph from the Star Trek episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" female lead role holding Bill.  She was Sally Kellerman.  Nice girl, also starred in M.A.S.H. rather successfully.  She was 76 at the time and a bit overwhelmed by the people.  I had her sign the photograph of them, "Too hot to handle" as she was being cradled by William Shatner in fear of the lead antagonist, Gary Mitchel played by Gary Lockwood having sudden god-like powers and going crazy.  It was the aired pilot episode of the original series and a fine autograph opportunity.  She didn't quite understand why I wanted her to sign it like that but she complied.

Not quite the photo but close

  I bought a rather expensive autograph opportunity with William Shatner, not hours previously a photo-opportunity where I had handed him my Space Command patch I had wore for 15 years, explaining it briefly and he said he'd mention me in a speech at Lowell and thanked me.  When I got to him (I was near the end of the line of several hundred) it must have been quite annoying for him to sign so many, but he was making a killing at $150 a scribble).  I asked him if he could sign it, "I am!" and then his signature.  He was confused an annoyed.  First, he was happy to see Sally and the reference, but when it was an odd signature, he thought better of it as if I was being a jerk.  The idea was for her to sign, "Too hot to handle" and his writing, "I am." would be a bit of a play on his ego.  She would be suggesting she was too hot to handle (while being held by William) but Shatner would be admitting that he was too hot to handle, assuming he was the hotter of the two.  Bill would have none of it.  He announced with a deep, growling hatred, "I don't do that shit!"  The depth of hatred was what got me.  He was so angry and sudden.  I had no words and was wounded fatally.  I did not mean to anger him!  I thought it was in all good fun, but apparently not.  My light-hearted suggestion was handed back to me with pure, deep hatred.  I don't know if it was because he was tired, or that I was being rude (it was pretty rude of me) or a combination of both.  I think though he is willing to play self-comedic roles, depreciating himself, he does so on his own terms.  Humor is something he hands out but does not play on like a comedian.  I thought his heart might be light enough that it'd be fun and amusing.  It is not and it was not.  His heart is heavy and grim.  When he acts funny, it's just that, "acting".  It is not from his soul, though he pulls from there to place it over the light-heartedness, he is not, in truth, very light hearted.  He is heavy hearted.  This is not a bad thing, it just simply is.  I did not know this.  I did not know him.  The darkness that pulls on his heart, the death of his wife, the evils of Hollywood.  There is depth there I did not predict.  Life for him is heavy, at least on that day.  Perhaps he endures pain on a daily basis, a physical pain.  He accepts tinnitus from Star Trek IV.  An explosion caused inner-ear damage supposedly, according to his memoirs.

  Because of his reaction, I was flabbergasted.  He then offered, on his terms, "How about I just write, "Thank you."  Well, this response actually falls into the comedic idea, "Too hot to handle.."  "Why thank you."  It still works.  It's still the same thing.  I'm not sure if he realized it or not.  I suspect not, but I could be wrong.  He wanted to come off as being gracious I think.  Magnanimous.  Above quality.  Heroic, I guess.  Not sure.  Still, it's on his terms, and that he thinks of it is a key here.  Actors who worked with him fussed over this.   I suspect when he's asked to do things, he has his own terms of how it's delivered.  He fancies himself to be above all others I think, though he doesn't know why exactly, and it confuses him a bit, but he goes with it.  Deep inside, he's confused.  He still doesn't quite understand why Captain Kirk is such a big deal despite everyone gushing over the show and the character.  He almost resents it.  He's said so.  He doesn't want to be remembered for a bit-part in the same way I'd probably be annoyed with my GPS days.  I can see that.  I've done things since.  He has too but it's dismissed.  After 40 years he's come to terms with it I think, and says he's okay with it.  I think he's not quite okay with it, but like Hiroshima's nuclear assault, it's something that you have to live with, regardless.  It's not something that can be changed.  Oh, he tried to.  He's parodied the show outright, trying to diminish it.  Trying to loathe it forever.  Trying to parody himself, but it only added wood to the fire, made him seem gracious.  Made him seem even bigger, more noble.  It was not, I suspect, his intent.  There's no escaping it and he has to live with it for his remaining few days like a heavy sigh, yet I can tell he'd rather be free of it, honored for his other works.

  William Shatner, I apologize for being snarky and trite, for suggesting a little play-on-words, perhaps making you the fool when it was merely a fun endeavor, perhaps at your expense, though I would never sell the signature, never in a million years.  It will remain forever in my home amongst other greats of the era.  I was only hoping for a little light-heartedness, not to invoke your rage.  You are not the fool, sir.  I respect your position and what you've been through, what you've endured, what you've been remembered for, and forgotten.  I know it's frustrating and bewildering, why you're honored for some things and ignored for far greater things.  Musicians have to play that same-old song from 30 years ago over and over and over and it's mind-numbing for them, though it seems fresh, it's a pain in the butt, and no one wants to hear that new album.  I understand.  God speed, sir.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup Soccer!

Ram that soccer trophy upwards, baby!

 It's happening!  It's finally happening!  World Cup Soccer!  Even Google is on it!  Wow!  Yay!  WOWZL!11!  2014 FIFA World Cup, baby!  Yeah!  Hell yeah!  Big ball bash!

  World, I have news for you: no one in the US cares about the World Cup.  No one in the US cares about soccer either.  Here in America, more people are interested in the Thomas Cup of Badminton, slapping that shuttlecock around than the World Cup, even though China and recently Japan are the recent winners for the last several years.  I don't even think the World itself really cares.  They stop, just for a second, and realize how gay the whole thing is...

  Soccer is boring.  Playing Eve Online and travelling real-time to far-off worlds taking hours of travel, making sure you don't get sniped at a jump-gate is more interesting.  Sitting on an airplane going to Toledo, Ohio from Dallas, Texas with no in-air entertainment, books, music, or any other sort of distraction but white-noise is more interesting.  Turning off soccer from a TV, then watching a blank screen where once soccer had been moments ago is far, far more interesting than soccer.  The US could give a rat's *ss about soccer, seriously. 

  On an amusing side-note, Batman has been anti-soccer because Brazil is about to collapse as a nation (I'll apologized for Detective Comics' profanity here.. but it's spoken in-context, particularly if you know what's been going on with Brazil lately..)

Lacrosse, a gay-man-s sporty sport
  Now, there are parents that send their kids to after-school soccer games, but that's merely and excuse for aerobic exercise for their corn-syrup-fed fatties.  The kids don't enjoy it either, nor do the coaches.  No one goes to see them run around.  It's cheap a sport.  A peasant's sport just barely above cage-fighting in price.  Every other country is just nuts about it to some degree.. except the US, where it's a glorified baby-sitter.  Once kids grow up, no one plays it except those oddballs who also think Lacrosse is a big deal.  You've been to a Lacrosse game recently?  No?  No one has.  Ever.

  In the US, the LGBT crowd seems to have embraced it a bit, because they want to have something validate themselves, but it's pathetic.  Not that there's anything right with that.  They tried to take over the love of the Saturn car company which promptly self-destructed itself in response (GM was jealous of their no-haggle, hassle-free methods and decent cars that ran forever so they axed them, suggesting they weren't making a profit enough).  There's these few people out there that say they like soccer though, and even call it football sometimes, and pretend they're really into it and turn it on the TV and seem engrossed.  They're lying to themselves, looking for something to believe in, something to have any kind of passion about, but it's forced, and fake.  They know they don't like it, they don't like anything.  They're looking for something to associate with, but they don't quite have a sense of self-awareness in their numb haze of tofu and soy-beans, hoping there'll be some excitement like on that trip to the UK they went on, oh everyone was so intense and excited.. why.. I ... I should be excited too!  Then I'll belong!  Then I'll fit-in too!  One of us.. One of us..  Honestly, NFL watchers are similar, kids trying to emote to their dads who only showed any feelings during an NFL game and were only happy in life when their team won, then son can be happy too, and then for once, everything was all right.  See how daddy smiles when I say I like his team?  It's the only time he ever did.  I.. I should like football so daddy will not resent his neighbor Mike Cronis has a Corvette and goes on long trips to tropical islands every year because he doesn't have kids!  Daddy?  DADDY!

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

  If you're one of those in the US that says they actually like soccer, stop it.  You're not fooling anyone, fatty.  Knock it off.  Stop talking about it at work.  Stop changing the channel at work from Family Guy to FIFA bull-crap, "Oh, look!  It's Côte d'Ivoire against Japan!"  Oh, wait, why doesn't Japan give a sh*t?  Oh, wait.  Why is no one in this room giving a sh*t?  Oh, wait.. who am I?  I like soccer, right?  I.. I'm a person, right?  I.. I like things.. I .. might like vanilla.. sometimes... .. Like meeeeeeee!!!"

Some soccer lovers in the US:


Kaminski's mom always wanted a girl.. so..

As the youngest, I will kill my family in the night, when the Night Snake tells me to, in the night.

Out, losers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Some People's Kids


  Recently went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was quite good, particularly with the character "Mystique" and her political-espionage background as well as the unspoken combat scenes towards the end with glances to show understanding because by that point they've been battling as allies against the Sentinels for so long they just know what to do, and, course, Kitty Pryde sticks with it 'till the end to the very last moment, do-or-die, which I just love.  All-in-all, probably the best movie of this year if you're a fan of the comic story-arc like I was, with decent acting and dialogue and a storyline not quite too complex that you'll get vertigo despite complex undertones and subtext.

Kitty Pryde and Bishop in the future world

  Went to see the movie very early at about 10am to avoid the crowds and got my "coffee and popcorn" setup my local theater offers.  Pleasant, and you're day isn't over once the movie is.  Just in time for lunch.  There was, though, something that bothered me.  A mom brought 6 kids, all under the age of 6.

"X-Men hate Kryptonite!!!"  That's right, 2nd kid from the left.. that's right...

  First-off, the film had male nudity.  In 1969, Midnight Cowboy had a very similar scene and a nod to that Academy Award starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman which included Hugh Jackman's butt as he looks out the window.  I won't include the scene shot but it was pretty scene-for-scene there, though his character, "Wolverine" was placed in a timeframe of 1973 instead of 1969.  Close enough.  Midnight Cowboy earned an MPAA Rating of "X" back in 1969 because of this.  The official X Rating has since been dissolved in 1990 but included Fritz the Cat, A Clockwork Orange, The Evil Dead (interestingly), Robocop, and Schwarzenegger's Total Recall (notoriously the last film to receive the X Rating, check out the Criterion Edition) and to my amusement, we've seen the last two listed at work.  In 1990, the NC-17 Rating took its place, starting in the US with The Color of Night starring Bruce Willis (not a great film if I remember).  On a side-note, there were no official XX nor XXX Ratings, though the adult-film industry played on this pseudo-rating to attract attention to good, mysterious effect. 

Jon Voight in the Academy Award winning, Midnight Cowboy (1969)

  Often, the X Rating was non-sexual in nature, usually due to gore or violence, the NC-17 Rating replacing it stands for, "No Children under 17".  Understandable.  Most often than not, many films release "Unrated" versions on Bluray instead of NC-17 to be able to sell them at WalMart to avoid stigma, but if you go to the heart of it, yep, it's freakin' Rated X.  Here's a list for you cinemaphiles on Wiki (click the link).

Partial X-Rated scene from Robocop (1987): victim melting from nuclear waste barrel dumped on him.  I saw this rare version in the theaters when I was 17.

Oh, well hello there!

 X-Men: Days of Future Past could indeed receive a current MPAA Rating of NC-17 (aka Rated X) thanks to Hugh Jackman's butt and director Bryan Singer.  This is therefore not a kid's film by any means.  There's a lot of dialogue and not too much action except when peppered and needed and, like in real life, rather short (if you get punched in the freakin' face, you're going down down down).

Hale Berry as "Storm" in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).  Yeah, your 8-year-old kid needs to see that.  Riiiiight.

Duh DUY duh duh!  Mother noddingly approves.
  The 6 kids were unimpressed by Brian Singer's directing and responded as such: they ran up and down the aisles and threw food and sang songs and screamed quite a bit like a retard (pronounced, reh'TARd) in all good-taste.  Ahem.  Doy DOY doy doy!  This was rather distracting in an almost gloriously empty theater, perhaps 20 of us in all.  The mom thought it'd be a good idea to have them wear 1990's blinky-lights shoes, though counter-culture and edgy-cool in some ways, like Velcro-straps, it was a bit distracting as they bombarded our senses with ambivalent sonic and optical cruelty.  Dad was nowhere to be found.  Nice.

F*ck you, Mike Cronis!
  I'm guessing the mom thought (wrongly) that this would be a good film for kids.  The mom is obviously retarded, not researching Chris Claremont's 1981 opus story-arc.  I hate that.  Parents just take their kids to anything without realizing what sort of permanent impact it's going to make.  When I saw Star Wars in the winter of 1978 I was floored at age 8.  If I had seen The Exorcist I'd still be in therapy.  Why do parents not do the research?  Why don't they give a flying frack?  Are parents that lazy?

  It's frustrating that even though the film got a PG-13 Rating, "Parents strongly cautioned against children watching under the age of 13" people still go with infants.  I wonder how parents were when they took their children to see Watchmen (2009)?  Full-frontal nudity in that one, and a droll, unimpressive story quite over-rated.  I'm not sure why that one got such popularity.  Probably the same reason it was nuveu-edgy for the comic's time in the same way comedians resorted to shock-value comedy as a cheap way to get revenue (some to blame who "sold out" were George Carlin, Andrew "Dice" Clay, and Sam Kinison). 

There's something more going on here I think...

  My parents were cautious enough for a male pre-teen to make sure I wasn't watching anything that would be too shocking for me to deal with, and honestly, I think that's a responsible and good idea, though I have to admit their purchasing of HBO in the late '70s exposed me to some rather graphic cartoons, such as Bakshi's Lord of the Rings and Richard Adams' Watership Down, it wasn't too heavy for me to cope with at age 8 or so.  Honestly, a must-watch.


  So, if you have young'uns, good for you.  Something convinced you that would be a good idea, be it in your DNA or whatever, fine.  I like kids just fine.  I chose to embrace Life fuller instead, and that's my choice, and not a bad thing.  It just .. is.  I'm very happy with my choice and having a good time.  I recently bought a Can-Am Spyder RS-S and it's a blast.  A lot like a snowmobile (or jetski) with wheels.  Great gas mileage and plenty fast.  I don't judge you, you don't judge me.  Fine.  .. However... if your kids are poster-children for Asperger's Syndrome (lack of social ability) or just plain out-of-control (you know who you are) then please don't take 'em to the movies, especially one as serious as X-Men.  Sheesh. 

By deciding to not have kids I would be negligent in not enjoying Life to the fullest!

Now, I'm a big fan of taking under-8-year-olds to see a Pixar film or something Disney.  If kids are a bit riled-up, well.. I'm on their turf now.  I can't and shouldn't complain.  Indeed, I should run around all crazy too.  Why not?  Naked?  Er... no.  If the film's for kids under 10, then sure, there'll be some kids.  Fine.  However... DO NOT take your infant to any film, ever.  Pointless and annoying.  What are you thinking?  Or worse still, what are you not thinking?  At best, loud noise will damage baby's eardrums, at worst, the imagery, if remembered, will settle itself deep into that medulla-oblongata and mess that kid up for life.  Just because you can't remember anything before age 10 doesn't mean everybody can't.  I can remember age 3 pretty clearly, and perhaps a bit more before that in parts.  Seeing someone get shot in the head?  You want a potential psychopath for a kid?  Well guess what, frack-tards!   (My first film I saw when I was about 4:)


 So.. my advise is to get a babysitter or wait for it to show up on Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, or just plain, free over-the-air TV (like I get in HD from Cheyenne Mountain).  Stop polluting America with your seed-spawn demon-failures.  Everyone thinks you're a bad parent and I think it should be a misdemeanor crime of $500 and/or 5 days in jail.  Tame your kids, your pets, etc.  It's the law, and you're ruining Life for everyone.  Jerks.