So I was filling out my pimpin’ March Madness bracket (obviously UK is gonna win it all) when word got to me that William Hurt died.
According to Marlee Matlin, maybe Hurt wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around (to put it mildly). Which is another reminder that Hollywood is a terrible, godawful place filled with fragile egos and needs to be nuked off the map entirely.
But this is also a reminder that some of my favorite artists and actors are passing on and we should appreciate their art while they’re still fresh in our collective consciousness. Some of my favorite performances from Hurt are in Ken Russell’s Altered States, Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, and David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence.
“We are going home,” I announced to the crew onboard the Sagan. “To repair the ship, we’ll need Yah’s help. He’s being brought to the surface as we speak. His chamber will be stored in the cargo area, where Dr. Jackass will release him. We cannot get too close to Yah. He’s highly radioactive, but the Doctor will be equipped with a radiation absorber that I stole from the Ishnarians. You are ordered to remain out of the cargo bay. The Doctor will ask Yah to remain a safe distance from the crew.”
“If he’s God,” Patel asked, “can’t he make more radiation absorbers?”
“Good question Patel,” I replied, “but let’s not overthink this. Yah is not a supernatural being. He is made of real matter and is bound by gravity. That’s why he needs a spaceship to get off this planet. Additionally, it should be noted that Yah can read minds. But it appears that he can only do so at a certain distance. Perhaps up to 60 feet. If possible, stay 60 feet away from the cargo area. I can’t go into any more details, but when I order everyone to be at their stations, you will have 30 seconds to get there. Am I understood?”
“Good. Begin preparations for launch.”
I exited the Sagan to meet with Hazov. Off in the distance, Yah’s chamber was being wheeled towards the ship.
“It’s a shame that you are unable to stay,” Hazov said, “hopefully this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship between our two worlds.”
“Possibly,” I said.
“If you don’t mind me prying, Captain, I thought your ship was having trouble launching.”
I smiled. “Someone forgot to carry the 1.”
“I see,” he said. “Farewell Captain.”
We shook hands and I immediately went to engineering to speak with Commander Mwangi. “Commander, once when you see that the hydrogen drive is back online, fire it up immediately,” I told her.
“But Captain, with lift thrusters firing we’ll be moving at a tremendous speed. We risk burning the hydrogen drive out again.”
“Just do it.”
I went to the bridge and strapped into the navigation station next to Valdez. “What’s the fastest you’ve ever flown a ship?” I asked her.
“About 1/8th the speed of light sir.”
“Prepare to shatter that record.”
The Doctor then came over the intercom. “The chamber is loaded sir,” he said.
“Close cargo bay doors and release Yah from the chamber,” I ordered.
Yah spoke up. “Thank you for releasing me from my chains, Captain,” he said.
“Don’t mention it.”
I monitored controls from the command post. Moments later, Valdez spoke up. “Lift thrusters are online sir!”
The Sagan began lifting off the surface and into the atmosphere. I channeled down to engineering. “How’s that hydrogen drive coming along, Nia?!”
“Hydrogen drive is fully operational!”
Then a deeply distraught Hazov came over the radio. “Captain Kananga! Our planet is facing a torrent of earthquakes and tornadoes! We are dying! What have you done?!”
I radioed down to the cargo bay. “Yah! Unleashing the apocalypse on Ishnar wasn’t part of the deal!”
“Sorry Captain,” Yah replied. “The people of Ishnar have broken the covenant. They shall face my wrath.”
Now Yah was about to face my wrath, I thought. “I see,” I responded to Yah. “Dr. Jackass, please report to the bridge.”
I looked over to Valdez. “Have we cleared the atmosphere?” I asked.
“Yes sir, we are about to leave the outer orbit of Ishnar’s moons.”
“Good. Hopefully we can put enough distance between Yah and Ishnar.”
Moments later, Dr. Jackass entered the bridge. “Doctor,” I said, “on my count, open the cargo bay doors.
I went over the intercom. “Attention crew: please be at your stations,” I ordered, then activated life support systems on all decks.
After 30 seconds expired, I looked back over to Valdez. “Alright Commander, step on it!”
“Damn it Valdez! FLOOR IT!”
As we accelerated to an extraordinary speed, I ordered Dr. Jackass to open cargo doors. Centrifugal systems instantly cut out and we were floating at zero-g.
“Sir!” the Doctor yelled, “all contents in the cargo bay have been suctioned out! Including Yah! Closing doors now!”
As the gravity was being restored, I looked up at the radar. An energy source outside the ship was keeping pace. “Damn it! Yah is on our tail! More speed!”
“But we’re traveling near the speed of light!” Valdez replied.
“Can God go faster than light?!” Dr. Jackass asked.
“I guess we’ll find out!”
The ship began to rattle back and forth. We were under attack. Using his god-like power, Yah came over the intercom. “Is this how you want this to end Captain?” he asked. “Empty space makes a cold grave.”
“Faster Valdez!” I ordered.
“She’ll fly apart Captain!”
“Fly her apart then!”
Alarms and buzzers were going off across the bridge. The vibration intensified. If we were going to die, we were going to die going the speed of light.
Then I looked up at the radar. Another energy source was was gaining on Yah.
“Dear God,” I prayed, “we’ve never talked before. Mostly because I’m pissed off at you for doing nothing about Earth’s suffering. But I have no one else to turn to. So if you are a just God, I pray that you keep this crew safe as we enter into uncharted waters. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a lost soul drifting among the stars. Give me the strength of courage. Give me the wisdom I need to guide this crew. Amen.”
Right then, Commander Mwangi entered my quarters. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb your prayer sir,” she said.
“I wasn’t praying,” I replied. “I was uh…I was beating off. You know, masturbating until ejaculation?”
“I thought you said your dick don’t work. You told the whole crew.”
“Well I like to cum soft. What do you have for me?”
“This is the full report on the condition of the Sagan.” She then handed me a tablet. “While she’s holding now, the hydrogen drive might not survive a return trip to Earth. I also report that we have cleared the Astroid Belt and are approaching Jupiter. The hibernation chambers are now fully functional.”
“Very good Commander. Thank you.”
I departed for the bridge where I found Dr. Jackass marveling at Jupiter. “What a sight,” he said.
“Doctor, we were here three weeks ago,” I replied.
“I know, but this planetary beauty never ceases to amaze me.”
I nodded. “Assemble the crew,” I ordered.
The crew gathered in the hibernation section, ready to be briefed. “We will be hibernation stasis for the next 50 years. During that time the hydrogen drive will slowly pick up speed. Eventually we’ll be traveling near the speed of light,” I stated. “Once we’ve arrived at Tau Ceti, braking thrusters will fire and we will be awakened from hibernation. Have a nice long rest.”
The crew and myself then began dressing down into our undergarments. This predictably caused a stir. “Damn Patel! Does that hog have a rank of its own?” Smashhouse joked, referring to Patel’s abnormally large penis protruding through his shorts. He then looked over to Hansen. “Hey Liz! Nice tits!”
“Commander Smashhouse,” I interrupted, “behave yourself. You’re a Space Fleet officer.”
“Pardon me sir,” he replied, “hibernation makes me a little nervous.”
After he said that, I began to admire Mwangi’s body in her Space Fleet issued underwear. That’s all I could think about when I climbed into my chamber. I began to wonder if my partial erection would stay throughout hibernation stasis. Wouldn’t that have been something? A guy that hadn’t had a boner in nearly 10 years would now have a permanent one for the next 50.
It probably would have been a record.
50 years later…
Unfortunately the boner didn’t last. But I figured that I’d get it next time.
The crew slowly woke up and climbed out of their chambers. Everyone except Smashhouse.
“What’s going on?” I asked Dr. Jackass.
“It appears sir that Smashhouse didn’t make it. He died during stasis.”
The crew was stunned. Valdez began to cry. This was my first death after 20 years in command.
“Funeral will be held at 1500 hours,” I said. “Everyone please attend.”
Dr. Jackass placed Smashhouse’s body in a makeshift casket and draped the flag of Space Fleet over it. The casket was put into the the jettison chamber where it was waiting to be released.
“Unfortunately I didn’t know Commander Smashhouse for long,” I said at his eulogy. “He dedicated his life to the service of Earth and the exploration of space. This crew loved him and his presence will be sorely missed. He was a brave man.”
Dr. Jackass then readied the chamber.
“From the cosmos whence we came. To the cosmos we shall return.”
Commander Smashhouse’s casket was then released into the vast, empty void beyond.
After the funeral, Mwangi and her two engineers began work on fixing the stasis chamber. “I can’t guarantee that this won’t happen again,” Mwangi said to me. “It’s going to take a long time before we can get these chambers fully calibrated.”
“You have all the time you need,” I replied, then patted her on the shoulder.
Dr. Jackass approached me alone as I was walking towards the bridge. “When are you going to tell the crew about Earth?” he asked.
“Doctor, they just lost a fellow crew member. Now’s not the time.”
“Don’t wait too long.”
As I came onto the bridge, Valdez announced that we were approaching the fourth planet from Tau Ceti…our destination.
It’s resemblance was strikingly similar to Earth’s.
“Send out a message on the same frequency as the extraterrestrial transmission. Let it state: ‘Your message has been received. We come from Earth and are currently orbiting your planet to establish peaceful communication. Please respond.’”
Valdez relayed the transmission and the bridge stood silent until we received a response.
Moments later, a message was coming in through the computer. What appeared to me as gibberish, Dr. Jackass gawked at in amazement. “My god,” he said.
“This appears to be a mix of Hebrew and possibly other Sumerian languages. Whatever it is, it’s definitely an Indo-European language.”
“How’s that possible? Can you decode it?”
“Running it through the computer now,” the Doctor said. He typed away frantically until the results were in. “I have it, sir. These are coordinates. A diplomatic party will be there waiting on us.”
“These guys don’t fuck around,” I said. “Alright, assemble the crew and initiate landing procedures.”
Everybody was gathered together once again. At that moment, I hadn’t yet processed the gravity of the situation. “Shortly we will begin landing on this planet, whatever the occupants call it,” I said to the crew. “You need not worry: surface conditions are extremely Earth-like. Dignitaries will be there to greet us when we land. The Doctor and I are both trained in diplomacy, and we handle this situation. Please be on your best behavior. Now strap in, we will be on the surface shortly.”
I sat on the bridge while Valdez steered the ship towards the surface. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This planet was like a second Earth.
Finally we landed on a prairie-like terrain. I walked towards the back of the ship with the Doctor where the bay doors were. I took a deep breath. “Open the doors,” I said.
We proceeded down the lowering platform, and there waiting on us were 15 humans. I was puzzled by this, but I pushed forward with the plan.
The Doctor and I walked up to the man in front. “I am Captain William Kananga. And this is my first officer, Dr. Sergei Jackass. We are members of Earth’s Space Fleet. We come in peace.”
The man smiled. “I am Hazov. And welcome to Ishna.”
He spoke perfect English.
“How can you understand us?” I asked.
“We were able to decipher your language by monitoring your communications.”
“Please Captain, we will go over all the details in time. But first, you must know why we invited you here.”
“We have undergone a massive revolution in the last 100 of your Earth years. We have taken control of Ishna by overcoming a being that both our planets are familiar with. We want to offer you a chance to bring to justice a Being so powerful that he forever altered your history.”
“I don’t understand.”
“We are offering you what was once called the One…Adonai…God.”
It has been absolute Christmas for me the last few days. My blog’s existence has been vindicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the state of journalism reporting on it.
The internet really has ruined everything…especially the Twitterification of political discourse.
Case in point is Glenn Greenwald, sometimes referred to as the “GOAT” of journalism, who is now having an total fucking meltdown on Twitter.
Monitoring this situation, it has occurred to me that people can’t handle that multiple things can be true at once.
No, Greenwald is not a “Putin agent”. Yes, “propaganda” is bad, especially when it’s used to drum up war. And yes…Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country and no matter how terrible propaganda and American foreign policy has been, it doesn’t change the fact that….Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country.
I’m always hesitant to say that the “media lies to you”. It’s more complicated than that. What they’re actually doing is spin doctoring, omitting facts, and failing to interrogate all available information and opinions (but I guess in a certain sense, that is lying).
That’s why it’s up to YOU, fellow reader, to be honest enough with yourself to interrogate all available facts. That’s all we’ve got for the time being.
Because there is no trustworthy journalist or media figure. They’re all cynical actors until proven otherwise…especially the ones that have prior ideological convictions (what they are specifically for Greenwald, idk. But they’re easy to infer: has close associations with Noam Chomsky, his husband is a Socialist politician in Brazil, etc) and simultaneously criticize Big Tech yet profit off of it (via Substack, Twitter, etc)
But if you’re a Greenwald defender, relax: “iM jUSt aSkiNg QuEsTIons”
I’m gonna leave a link to these two articles here. Maybe they’re old. Maybe they’re outdated. Maybe they’re inaccurate. You be the judge.
My news feed has been buzzing the last 24 hours. More so than usual. No, it has nothing to do with the Russians possibly invading Ukraine. It’s the announcement of a fourth “Kelvin Timeline” Star Trek film.
Unlike most Star Trek fans, I am content with saying that Star Trek died with the last episode of Enterprise. And we all owe Rick Berman an apology (even though he sounds like a legit asshole).
So I don’t give a shit about this new film (written by a bunch of writers whose work I also don’t give a shit about). 🚨 Spoiler Alert 🚨: it’s gonna suck.
How do I know?
Let me tell you about two men named JJ Abrams and Alex Kurtzman.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be too harsh. They did revive Trek. Because of them, there are four…about to be five…Star Trek shows airing. Audiences change. As ridiculous as it sounds now, TOS fans were reluctant to accept TNG.
Now I’m a TNG fan that’s reluctant to accept Kurtzman Trek.
The thing that TOS and TNG had in common though is one VERY important thing: Gene Roddenberry. And Roddenberry was succeeded by Rick Berman, who was hellbent on carrying out his predecessor’s vision.
No such chain of succession with this new Trek.
JJ Abrams did do one thing right though: the first 10 minutes of Star Trek 09. And that kinda highlights my biggest gripe with this current set of producers: they are Kliff Kingsbury of Star Trek.
All three movies, plus Picard, plus Discovery, start off fairly strong in their opening acts (or first few episodes) and then inexplicably derail into a total train wreck.
Moreover, this new “cinematic” feel to Star Trek just doesn’t…feel right. Trek works best on a shoestring budget, phenomenal writing, and the perfect casting. Case in point: Wrath of Khan. It is probably the Trek film with the smallest budget, but it’s also considered the best.
There’s a Shakespearean, theater-like quality to the Roddenberry/Berman-era Trek that, I think, many fans find appealing (even if we didn’t appreciate it at the time).
Of course, those days of television and movies are over (in part, due to JJ Abrams’ impact on the industry) and that’s okay. Things change.
“Just be warned,” Joe said to me, “Hell ain’t what you think it is.”
“You just have to see.”
Joe, Pete, and I gathered our divinely blessed weapons and proceeded to the cellar in the woods. Joe went into the portal first, then Pete. I hesitantly went in last.
I felt my body break down into its molecular and atomic parts while time and space melted down. Then reality reconstructed itself and the three of us were in a large theater.
On stage was a nude couple: one an elderly woman and the other an average-looking dude with an abnormally large dong. A horse was also on stage. It was a community theater production of Equus.
“Ah shit. Now I know what you mean,” I said.
We rushed out of the theater, side by side, weapons on ready. We were men on a mission, a mission to find…and kill…Jezebel. And more importantly, we had to stop the dead from invading the earthly realm.
Outside the theater, we hailed a cab. The driver stopped and we all piled into the back. “Does anyone want to sit up here with me?” the driver asked. “Son of a bitch,” I said then got in the front seat.
“Where to?” the cabbie asked. “Downtown” Joe replied.
The cab driver then blasted Jon and Vangelis from the radio and was humming along. I turned to the backseat.
“Hell seems more boring and mildly irritating,” I said, “much like Minneapolis.”
“Yeah, but imagine spending spending eternity here,” Joe replied.
He had a point.
The cap pulled up to a downtown bank. We all piled out of the car. “Are you sure that the Empress of Hell and all of Damnation is here?” I asked.
“Of course, with their ungodly interest rates, there’s nowhere else she could be!” Joe said.
So the three of us…a wizard, an idiot, and a guy with a shotgun…walked into the bank lobby. We went up to a loan officer.
“We’re here to see Jezebel,” I tell the man.
“Do you have an appointment?” he asks.
I cocked the shotgun and blasted a hole in his chest. “She’ll be with you shortly,” the loan officer replied.
Security guards rushed into the lobby and began firing indiscriminately. Pete became an absolute beast and started slicing away with his machete. Joe unleashed fire bolts from his staff. I unloaded shell after shell from my shotgun.
As we looked over the absolute slaughter of security guards, with blood and guts strewn about the lobby, Joe nodded his head. “I think our plan is working out pretty good,” he said.
“I’m out of shells,” I said and dropped the shotgun. Then I pulled out the .38 and kissed it. “But I still got six shots.”
We all went into the elevator and Joe hit the button for the 666th floor. “Holy shit!” I said. “How many floors are in this building?”
32 minutes later, we arrived. Jezebel was in a conference call with all of her minions. She was planning the final stages of her Hellish invasion of earth.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
“Your slow ass elevator,” Pete said.
“You think your earthly powers can stop me?”
I lifted the .38. “Nothing can stop these bullets sister.”
“So you’ve been in hell for 70 years Joe?” I asked.
“Why is that so hard for you to believe?”
“Did you die first? Or did you go down there for shits and giggles?”
“Unbeknownst to me, my family has been guarding this portal to hell for 200 years. Jezebel was a maid at our estate and I went outside my marriage to be with her. But Jezebel was secretly the devil and she cast me into the portal.”
“So is your body buried in that cemetery or what? If so, how the hell are you standing here with a flesh and blood body?”
“Don’t worry about it. The point is there’s been a rebellion in hell. Spirits are escaping to this earth and if we don’t stop Jezebel, there will be hell on earth!”
“Relax Joe, you’re just describing Toledo,” I said.
“You already made that joke.”
“How can three flesh and blood men stop an army of evil spirits?” Pete asked.
“While in Hell, I learned the ancient dark arts of Mesopotamia,” Joe replied. “I’ve been made a priest in these ancient religions. All I have to do is bless your weapon of choosing, and voila.”
“Can you bless the bullets of my .38?” I asked.
“What about my pocket knife?” Pete asked.
“That’s a pretty lame weapon, Pete.”
“Grab as many weapons as you can carry,” Joe replied.
“What about this machete?” Pete asked.
“What about this IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun?” I asked.
“Yes, yes. I will bless them all. We must hurry though.”
“Thanks Joe!” I said. “By the way, I’ve always wondered: what’s it like having sex with Satan?”
“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.
“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”
“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”
“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”
“You will join him soon enough!”
“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”
I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.
I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.
Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.
I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.
“Thank you Jesus,” I said.
“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”
I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”
“119 to be precise.”
Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.
“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.
“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”
“He’s still alive dumbass.”
“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”
“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”
“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”
“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”
Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.
“Mother!” Pete screamed.
“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.
I took a moment to gather myself.
“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”