Voyager and Warriors

I was watching a bit of Voyager today, like 3 or 4 episodes, and it suddenly struck me how similar it is in plot and theme to the 1979 cult classic The Warriors.
Since I enjoyed that film, I felt no conflict in the comparison.

Think about it, though: The Voyager crew (the Warriors) were hurled into the Delta Quadrant (North Bronx) and are trying to find their way back to Earth (Coney Island). Along the way (in every episode) they meet rival gangs (evil aliens) who are dressed in the most outrageous costumes ever seen outside of a Pride Parade. And they proceed to either beat the hell out of them or escape from them in some very clever way. The fight scenes may take place with baseball bats (phazers, photon torpedoes) or other strange devices (really, in the 24th damned century, what is the point of something like a batleth existing?)

I suppose it’s a classic plot line, trying to fight your way back home. Come to think of it, that’s the plot of the Odyssey, and that’s so old nobody knows if the author even existed.
So, why mess with a winning formula?

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Joe Biden is Senile

It’s hard to know at one point ‘a propensity for gaffes’ becomes ‘clear evidence of senility’ but it’s clear that Joe Biden has passed it.
Since becoming a candidate for president, he has sent potential followers on a wild goose chase by saying “Go to Joe 30330” instead of “text 30330,” referred to Theresa May as Margaret Thatcher (twice), and confused Burlington, Iowa with Burlington, Vermont, which I guess is understandable. He’s running for the presidency, not applying for a job as a travel agent. He’d be a disaster as a travel agent.
He has also said, while speaking at an Asian-Latino conference “Poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids.” It may not be actual proof of racism, but it sure sounds racist, somehow. In response to a week of back to back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, he offered sympathy to the people in “Houston and Michigan,” which took some of the heat off president Trump, who offered his condolences to people in Toledo. It’s as if they are in a competition for who can say the stupidest thing. At the Iowa State Fair (a lot of these gaffes seem to have happened in Iowa – I don’t think that’s relevant, but I haven’t seen anybody else point it out yet, so there it is) he said “We choose truth over facts,” which is kind of a strange thing to say. Truth is good and all, but facts are also good, and facts are true, so what was he saying, really?
But none of those gaffes are as damaging as the ones in this video, where he seems to say that Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated in “the 70s, late 70s.” Now, it could be argued that he was correct, because he was talking about when he got engaged in politics and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated by then (1968), but then his explanation was rambling and incoherent and implied that men have better memories than women and something something hippies. It was slurred. Really, just watch the video. Share it with everybody. It is clear evidence that Joe Biden belongs in a nursing home, and not on the campaign trail.

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The New Burger

As with many things that I don’t care a lot about, I will wait and see. It is interesting, though, if it’s true. Burger King, and a lot of other places that sell hamburgers, are peddling a new kind of burger, a veggie burger but not like previous veggie burgers.
The word is that scientists have finally figured out what gives meat it’s delicious flavor that makes it so much more viscerally desirable than vegetables, and you really can’t tell the difference. Well, we’ve heard this kind of thing from vegetarians before. I remember, decades ago, I’d been hearing from a lot of my vegetarian friends that tofu burgers were delicious, you couldn’t tell them apart from meat, so I tried one.
Well, I hate to call a whole class of people liars, but they were at best seriously delusional. I can accept that. They see it as a moral cause and are willing to propagandize a little bit. It’s not like a deliberate misrepresentation, more that they got carried away with their own bias. It happens. We can still be friends, but tofu does not taste like meat.
Will this be the same, or will it totally taste like meat?
Bear in mind, this is not the experimental science where they take a few meat molecules and stretch them, essentially turning it into a factory process and making animal-less meat. This is the science that puts together a mix of vegetables, spices, whatever to wind up with an artificial meat flavor.
Both hold promise for the future. I love eating meat, but if either of these technologies can replace it, it might go a long way toward saving what little rain forest we have left.
I’ll write on this again after I get around to trying it.

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Respect

I just saw a very interesting post on Facebook. Paraphrasing. “Everybody says that respect has to be earned. That’s not true. Disrespect has to be earned. Respect should be the default position.”
And that’s kind of true. As you go through life, as you walk down the street, it just makes life more reasonable if you respect everybody. You may not give to the beggar sitting and blocking the doorway, but you should respect them. You may totally despise your boss, but you don’t walk into their office and pee on their potted plants. Respect. It’s what society is built on.
There are lots of other phrases like that, which people repeat and post on the internet but when you think about them they’re not exactly true. They say ‘the early bird gets the worm’ but it is ‘the second mouse that gets the cheese.’ ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ almost directly contradicts ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ They say ‘You can’t please everyone’ but really, shouldn’t we be trying? Also, some people come very close. Who doesn’t like Audrey Hepburn? Who doesn’t like Betty White? Who doesn’t like Kermit the Frog? They say ‘honesty is the best policy’ but Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are in jail, so it wasn’t really the best policy for them. People thought there was a possibility that Jeffrey Epstein might turn honest, in return for a shorter sentence, and look what happened to him. (like most people, I just don’t believe the suicide story)
There are lots of little sayings like that. I guess we need them, because thinking of all the exceptions and all the different angles would make our brains hurt and not necessarily be productive. But, you can always turn something around, or just on it’s side a little bit, and you’ll see something different. Well, maybe not always.

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The Perfect Ride

We had a lovely little bike ride this afternoon, just Helena and I. Sam has not been feeling well the last couple of days, so I didn’t expect him to come, and Isabel declined as well. I was O.K. with that. Quality time.
We rode through our local park, in front of the 17th century military hospital that gives Invalidovna its name, and then through the soon-to-be-completed neighborhood just this side of the bike path that goes along the river, on which we turned left, toward the center.
Helena suggested we pay a visit to ┼átvanice Ostrov, that is, ┼átvanice Island, and I said sure. Despite the fact that it’s a part of the local landscape, it’s an island and, never having a reason to go there I’ve probably only been on that island two or three times, and we went to the bottom end of it, where I’d never been before. We stood and watched the water pouring over the weir. “Niagara Falls!” I said, and Helena ignored me. We saw a father and son standing in the water below the weir and calmly fishing, and it wasn’t even up to their knees. Then we biked up toward the northern end of the island, sat on a bench, looked across the river, and shared a Bounty candy bar. Then we rode back.
It was perfect weather for a ride. Cloudy, and it just started to rain when we were almost home.

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An Evening in Grebovka

Just got back from a poetry reading. As poetry readings go, it was maybe a bit better than average. Maybe 25 or so people (I didn’t count, and it fluctuated a bit) About 10 or 12 people read. The usual mix of good, bad, and unintelligible. There was the poem in Turkish followed by the English translation, about an old man who planted an olive tree because life weighs more than death. I liked that. The best poem of the night, though, I thought was “When the Cleaning Ladies Take Over.” Spoiler alert: it ain’t all pretty. There was one guy who gave a bit of a speech about how great he thought it all was, people coming together and communicating and such. He kind of kept interrupting but he was so positive and enthusiastic that he was an enjoyable part of the evening.

But the best thing about it was the location. We were in the grotto in Grebovka Park. It’s a lovely space, there’s a fountain with a statue in the middle and the water pours down it and there are arches all around the terrace leading to rooms without front walls, and that’s where the stage was. To the sides, there were stairs going up to the balcony above, and above that jagged towers of rock. All very ancient Greek.
Behind us the woods. Above us the moon.

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Election Line Ups

So, you say you want a candidate who can beat Trump? Well, there are two.
Here’s how it breaks down:
If it’s Biden vs. Trump, the election will be about who gropes women more and who commits more gaffes. Of course, Trump is actually worse on both those counts but, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, Trump’s supporters don’t care about his weaknesses. Feminists will have a hard time supporting Biden due to his treatment of Anita Hill, black people will not turn out for him in large numbers, and young people will stay home in droves. Trump will win.
If it’s Harris v. Trump, she will still have to answer to the voters for all her sins as California Attorney General, which are numerous. Tulsi hit her on four of the big ones, and she had no answers. Trump, or his surrogates, will hit her again and again, and she will still have no answers. Trump will win.
If it’s Trump v. Warren, it will be Pocahontas, Pocahontas, Pocahontas the whole time. It’s his stupid joke, his fans love it. Warren will either try to ignore it, which doesn’t work well, or she’ll respond to it which, as we’ve seen, also does not work well. She would have better luck than Biden or Harris at keeping Bernie voters in the fold, but she has no appeal for independents. Trump will win.
Buttigieg is a good speaker but, oh boy, the Republicans will have fun with his name. He is the mayor of a medium-sized city, and not a particularly good mayor at that. The black people of South Bend hate him, so a lot of black people will stay home on election day. Trump will win.
If Corey Booker gets the nomination, Democrats automatically lose two of their biggest issues: corruption, and health care. That’s because Corey Booker is corrupt, and he is very specifically in the debt of the pharmaceutical industry. Trump will win.
If Andrew Yang gets the nomination, you have two wealthy entrepreneurs running against each other. The argument will be about which of them is the more successful. Trump could lose the argument and still win the election, because his fans are impressed with wealth, and the average voter not so much. Turnout will be low. Trump will win.
With any of these candidates, from July to November the Democrats will be using the slogan “Vote for the lesser of two evils.” It’s a shitty slogan, and it does not win elections.

But if either Tulsi or Bernie get the nomination, they can run on health care, raising the minimum wage, forgiving student debt, ending private prisons, ending regime change wars, taxing the rich, and legalizing marijuana, all of which are very popular with the American people. They are both good speakers, and exciting candidates. Turnout would be high, and the Democrats would win.

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