Category Archives: Grumble Flap

These are the Voyages of the Starship Voyager


Many years ago, when I wasn’t watching much TV for reasons like–I didn’t have a TV, I was reading a lot, and I don’t know what all because it doesn’t matter, really–I missed out on a lot of Star Trek.

I did not watch the end of The Next Generation. I totally missed Deep Space 9, because I was in a Babylon 5 social group. I am unsure if I was even aware of Voyager for the first several years of its run. I did watch the premier of Enterprise, but it wasn’t fully engaging for me at the time.

Now, with Netflix streaming, I have worked my way though all the Star Trek shows (including the original series and the animated series) while washing dishes at night, and just recently started Voyager. Again. For, maybe, the fourth time. (As I write, CBS All Access has run a couple of seasons of Discovery, is about to launch Picard, and I think I heard something about maybe a third new show. Some day I’ll get up to these shows, too.)


Voyager. I never got past the premier. I thought I has seen about three pretty lousy shows. Turns out all of them I remembered were all stuffed into the premier.

But the show is better than that. After a forgivably rocky start (any new show, even a Star Trek, has to find its legs), it settled into a pretty good science fictional show. If it compares with any previous, it compares with the animated series. And it compares pretty well.

There are a lot of aliens. There are strange mysteries to solve. There are episodes where certain Star Trek-y things happen. There are episodes where these characters have problems only these characters can have.

The writers come up with good solutions (there is always technobabble, of course). And, in a nice move, they don’t linger at the end of the episodes. The problem is solved, maybe there’s a thematic button, maybe not, and the credits roll. Character development happens over the course of episodes, but we are not sucked into a soap opera degree of continuity.

If it’s a little thin, that’s OK. This show isn’t about exploring the depth of some sort of multi-decade conflict. It’s not about expanding the scope of Star Trek‘s world. It’s just about putting some ordinary Starfleet officers into extraordinary conditions, and having some adventures along the way.

It’s a good show, well done. That’s enough.

Who Will I Vote For?

Before I get into the who, here are some why

I’ll vote for someone who I think can work the levers of government. A year ago I worked for a major party during election season, and in the early parts of that, the party primary for governor was going on. Some of the people I called would ask who they should vote for in that election, or–more subtilely–who I was voting for.

I was not going to tell anyone the answer to either of those questions. Firstly, my job was to get people out to vote, not to tell them who they should vote for. The primary was contested between three people. There were a couple of men with some very appealing-sounding ideas. Very Bernie-like. And a woman with a boatload of experience, and some ideas not as far along the progressive dimension as the men. This set of options clarified for me my current selection standards.

One of the men appeared, to me, to be an untrustworthy loon. It seemed clear to me that he couldn’t govern his way out of an open shoebox. The other guy had a little bit of experience in government, and would be working with a legislature controlled by the opposing party. I live in a state with term-limits for state legislators, which means that the legislators are ignorant about solutions until they have been in office long enough to be ineligible. The most they can know is how to use the rules of their office to do things. But the things they do is controlled by professionals within the fields they are trying to legislate about. “Professionals within the field” are also known as lobbyists. Or activists, depending on if you agree with them, I suppose.

So, which candidate to choose? The one with good ideas who can outmaneuver the opposition, rather than the one with better ideas who will be stymied at every turn.

Another factor of relevance is this: former legislators have experience with writing laws, which is good. And, in an era when we should dial back the Imperial Presidency, having the legislature performing legislative control over what the executive can do, and having an executive with some sympathy for that, is a good thing

Moving a current legislator into the executive comes with a cost, though. Congress is narrowly divided, and incumbents know the job better than new-comers (and are more likely to hold the seat, in a squinty-eyed partisan view of things).

So, what candidate to choose? It’s not a great thing to lose a current legislator, all things being equal. All things are never equal, of course, so probably “on balance” is a better way of looking at it.

So… look for a series of posts looking at the various Democratic presidential primary candidates. I’ll probably wait until, like, January of next year before making an actual selection, though.

Blue Feather. Mobile by master of balance Alexander Calder

Obviously, in November of next year, it’ll be “not-Trump.” Because that fascistic power-lusting fellow, and–possibly worse–his hangers-on, should be nowhere near the levers of power.


Just the Facts

With a little bit of opinion…

Today, I was sitting in a lobby. Waiting my turn, all cool, like, we’re each going to get our turn at the thing. So we’re each waiting our turn, and it’s going very … calmly.

Then a lady, maybe 70 years old or so, sitting at the other end of the lobby from me pulls out her phone, and, being a modern cell phone, we can all hear the ringing as it waits to connect to wherever she’s calling. Then the robovoice, which we can also all hear, identifies the name of the place where we all are. But we’re at a place with several branches, so whatever. We’re all going to get our turn. Then things go silent, but we’re all sort of watching her pushing icons on her phone. Not the office staff. They’re solving technology problems which appear to be contributing to the fact that we’re all calmly waiting our turns, rather than already being on our way. They’re pretty calm, too. I’m impressed by that.

Then the woman at the far end of the lobby hangs up.

We’re all sitting there, waiting our turn. Then we hear beeping from the office, a different beeping than previously heard. Paper shlides out of a machine, and an office person grabs it.

Silence. Calm waiting. Calm problem solving.

The woman at the far end of the waiting room calls out, “did you get my fax?”

The office workers call back, “yes, thank you!”

The problems got resolved. We all got our turn, and everyone was calm.

And an elderly woman used her up to the minute cell phone to fax her paperwork to the office about twelve feet away from where she was sitting.

Dream ´╗┐Academy┬á

The Dream Academy did not have a very long career as a hit-making group. However, they linger in my mind as a timeless grasp. Sonically innovative and vocally evocative, I’d say, with some striking lyrics if you can make your way to them.

“The Edge of Forever” appears in a few places in Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, and when we watched it again recently, I thought, “hey, this song is really cool. I like it. I wonder what band this is.” Well. There here you are.