TV Review – Star Trek Discovery Episodes 1.01 and 1.02


I have seen the first two episodes of Discovery. Here is my very spoileriffic review.

And it is not the review I wanted to write.

I love Star Trek. Back when I was a kid, I grew up watching TOS. I know I saw Star Wars in the theater in 1977 (or maybe during the re-release in 1978), but I don’t remember those. I DO remember seeing The Motion Picture in early 1980.

Whenever I had a birthday party, my mom would rent a VCR (yes, that was a thing), and we’d rent video tapes to go along with it. If I wasn’t watching the David Warner trifecta (Tron, Time After Time and Time Bandits), I was watching The Wrath of Khan. Great movie.

I really began to embrace Trek with The Voyage Home, and then along came TNG. Excited? Oh, yes. And I quite enjoyed the show. I fell in love with Deep Space Nine, occasionally liked Voyager, and watched Enterprise, which of itself puts me in rare company.

The less said about Star Trek Into Darkness, the better, but the other two movies were very good in their own way, if full of occasional unnecessary stupidity.

So when Discovery was announced, I was very excited! A new Trek series! Strange new worlds, new life, new civilizations, and best of all, an optimistic future that runs counter to the fucking nonsense we get in most sci-fi these days. And, hey, Bryan Fuller, who makes some very good TV, was involved, and so was Nicholas Meyer! What could be better?

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Makin’ Chili with Badger


I had a special request from someone who wanted me to post up my recipe for delicious chili! So here it is. Enjoy! Or don’t. But I hope you do! If you want. Anyhow, here it is.

(here is where there would be a picture, but apparently I’ve never photographed my chili process! I have pictures of the last split pea and ham soup I made, but no chili. So here’s what you get instead)

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WARNING: Not to be taken internally

5 pounds of ground beef

1 pound of ground sausage

9 (15 oz) cans of chili beans in sauce

5 (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes

2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste

1 large onion, diced

2 tablespoons of bacon bits (non-pork imitation bacon bits can be substituted)

6 cubes of beef bullion

1 cup of beer (Fosters works best, may be left out if needed)

1/2 cup of chili powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of oregano

4 teaspoons of cumin

4 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of pepper

3 teaspoons cayenne pepper

3 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons of white sugar

This makes a considerable amount of chili. The numbers may be halved for a more reasonable experience. Also, feel free to play with the spices until you find a mix you like. I find this mix tends to be hot enough to get attention, but not so hot that it overwhelms the flavor.

Going Away Again


Yeah, I’m putting the blog on indefinite hold once more. Why?

Frankly, I’m getting a bit burned-out. I mean, the ongoing amateur hour White House is a source of much amusement, yes, but it’s also a source of great anxiety for people like me. I laugh so I don’t cry, but even the laughter starts to get a bit tiring after a while.

So I’m stepping away. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for, but I’ll be back eventually. Just you wait and see. In the meantime, I leave you with this.

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Sully’s Return


Andrew Sullivan has gone back to regular writing. He’s working for nymag.com and has a new weekly column.

This pleases me. I’ve always liked his writing, though I disagree with him on many points. So, yeah, go take a look at the first article, and check them out every Friday. It’s quite nice.

Conscience of the Conservative


What happens when a conservative Republican ex-president, who has been out of office for more than two decades, decides he’s completely out of fucks to give, and starts looking at the damage his policies caused?

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This is the premise of Epix’s TV series Graves, which began airing last year. Somehow I’d not heard of it. I’m guessing I was too busy paying attention to real politics. Or perhaps their PR just sucked. But either way, I’m glad to have found it now..

Nick Nolte plays the titular character, who, it is implied, was a two-term Republican president that came along after Reagan but before Clinton. He’s now retired and living in New Mexico, and is becoming very unhappy with his life. After a confrontation with former New Mexican governor Bill Richardson, he starts looking at the way his time in office is being remembered. He starts to realize some of the consequences that were experienced by the American public when he did things like cut cancer research, “get tough” on illegal immigration, or speak out against gay marriage.

He looks at these things with the distance of time and wisdom and doesn’t like what he sees. So he starts acting up and speaking out. As this is going on, his wife is being courted by the Republican establishment to run for the Senate, his daughter is going through a divorce, and his estranged son has returned from service overseas.

To a great extent the series is a liberal wank-fest. We all want to have someone like Bush 41 or W admit that they were wrong in what they believed and fought for. We want to have a moment where they say, “Yeah, I fucked up, and shouldn’t have done X, Y, or Z.”

But the show does this liberal wank-fest in a very entertaining way. Nick Nolte is absolutely magnificent as the main character, and Sela Ward is fantastic as the former First Lady. The rest of the cast is spot-on, as well, and there are many cameos by the likes of Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, Barney Frank, Michael Steele, and others.

If you’ve got a hankering for an enjoyable diversion of a political series, do check this out. It isn’t quite as sharp as Alpha House, but it’s still very good. You can find it through Epix’s channel on Sling, and possibly your cable provider. It’s also available on the various streaming services. Vudu has the first two episodes for free, and the series as a whole is only $20 through them. Not bad!

On School Choice


The nomination and approval of Besty “Eeek! A grizzly!” de Vos for Education Secretary has had me spending some time thinking about education and what I’d like to change about it. There are many things, but in the context of this particular person, I’m thinking about it when it comes to school choice.

School choice is, broadly, the concept that parents should have a choice as to where their child goes to school. In principle, this is a good thing. It means that parents can get their kid out of a public school they judge to be failing and put them into z private school that they judge to be better, and best of all, they can do this with the state paying some or part of this, due to school vouchers.

These vouchers provide a certain amount of money for less well-off parents so that they can afford private education for their kids. Again, in principle, this isn’t a bad thing.

But when someone does this, they’re taking money away from public schools that are generally poorly-funded to begin with. So if a school is already failing, they’re likely to fail even more, due to the fact that they’re now losing money.

It used to be that almost everyone sent their kids to public schools. There were private and religious schools, but either the wealthy sent their kids to them, or the less well-off used scholarships.

With most people’s kids attending public schools, this means that people had a stake in how those schools perform (which we all have anyhow, but you know what I mean). It meant that they were willing to do things to improve them, like volunteer or pay higher taxes.

Sadly, the Republicans continue their desire to privatize everything, including education, and so we get into school vouchers.

I am generally in favor of freedom of choice, and if you can afford, on your own or with scholarships, to send your child to a private school, go for it. But I’m severely against the government assisting you with doing so. If the school your kid is going to isn’t doing as well as you think it should, go find out why, and work to change it. Run for the local school board, even. It couldn’t hurt, and it might help.

But abandoning the idea of public education is stupid, wrong, and just generally terrible, and that’s where this is leading us.

The Force Asleeps


Good ole Mister Plinkett, of Red Letter Media, released a video a couple of months back that I missed out on. It’s his analysis of why The Force Awakens didn’t really work well as a movie. I can agree with pretty much all his points here, though he does go on, and on, and on, for quite some time before actually getting to them.

Also, the “character” is starting to wear on me.