The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 30 – Hocus-Pocus and Frisby

Now this is more like it.  After those last two clunkers I was wondering if Season Three was all done.  But this will do.

Frisby (played by the unique Andy Devine) is a general store owner somewhere in the southwest named Frisby.  He is a spinner of tall tales and a terrible braggart.  According to him he has invented just about everything and has studied almost every field of science and engineering.  The customers of his establishment (one of whom is played by Howard McNear who was Floyd the Barber on the Andy Griffith Show) tolerate his lies because while he is pontificating, they are able to steal small pieces of candy behind his back.  We are subjected to an almost constant barrage of these tall tales in the first scene of the show.  Then a car pulls up to Frisby’s gas pump and while he fills their tank and regales them with the story of how he invented the rear mounted engine in their car the two men identify him as the man they are looking for.

Later on, as Frisby is closing his store he hears voices in the dark telling him to walk down the road to embark on a great adventure.  When he timidly refuses, he is levitated into the air and toward the destination that he was invited to.  On the desert floor we see a flying saucer (of course the one from Forbidden Planet) and the same voice invites him to enter.  Once inside, we see the two men from the car we saw earlier surrounded by other crew members.  They tell Frisby that they are aliens come to Earth to select a superior specimen for their menagerie.  After hearing of all his exploits and accomplishments they assume he is one of the most remarkable humans alive.  Frisby tells them that all the stories are lies.  But they do not understand the concept.  His lies have finally caught up with him.

When Frisby tries to leave they block his way.  When he resists and punches one of them in the face, the face cracks and is seen to be a mask hiding a strange non-human visage.  Seeing this Frisby faints.  When he comes to, the unmasked alien talks to him and declares that they will be leaving Earth momentarily.  To console himself Frisby begins playing his harmonica.  But the music has a toxic effect on the aliens and as they stagger back from the sound Frisby dashes for the door which they gladly open to allow his exit.  The saucer takes off to allow their escape from the “Death Sound” of Frisby’s instrument and he heads back to his store.  When he gets there the customers are throwing a birthday party for him.  He tries to tell them of his adventure but they laugh it off as just one of his wilder stories.

It doesn’t get much goofier than this one.  But it’s a great farce. A-

20MAY2019 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Notes on the Great Realignment by Roger Kimball

I haven’t even finished this essay but I can already recommend it.  Kimball looks at the Never-Trumpers’ reaction to President Trump meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and then talks about the reality of Orban himself.   https://amgreatness.com/2019/05/18/notes-on-the-great-realignment/

Things going on in Europe are important because they reinforce the global nature of the attack on normalcy going on everywhere by our beneficent masters.  Coordinating with our allies in Europe and elsewhere must be especially frightening to the Hive.

Max Boot seems to primarily exist as an example of hypocritical idiocy.  He can’t actually believe the things he says but he is stupid enough to believe we’ll buy his lies.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 29 – Four O’Clock

Oliver Crangle lives alone in a cramped cluttered dark apartment and has a parrot that periodically squawks out the word nut. He is near-sighted almost to the point of blindness from obsessively documenting all his enemies and spends his day “investigating” people that he reads about in the paper or sees on television or meets in the street.  He categorizes everyone and any that he deems evil, he harasses and attacks.  If he thinks that the clerk in the post office is a communist then he’ll call up his boss and report him.  If he reads about an accident victim that died in a hospital, he’ll find out who the attending physician was and report him to the hospital as negligent.

The wife of the doctor who he has attempted to vilify comes to Crangle’s apartment to find out why he is doing it.  When Crangle asks whether the hospital is ready to discharge her husband she tells him that the hospital doesn’t believe the charge.  But she says her husband is a sensitive man and the abuse is wounding him.  But Crangle has no sympathy.

Later an FBI agent shows up and interviews Crangle about a complaint he has sent to the bureau about communist infiltration.  While talking to the agent Crangle reveals his new plan.  Crangle says that by using only his will he will turn all the evil people in the world into two-foot-tall midgets at exactly four o’clock pm.  The agent tells Crangle to seek psychiatric help.  Crangle reviles the agent and tells him that he too will be one of the midgets.

At four o’clock Crangle is reduced to two feet in height.

The previous episode, The Little People, and this present one are about height.  But I guess that’s a metaphor for moral stature.  This is a character study about a 1960s version of a social justice warrior.  I wonder what Rod would think of how his side in the culture war has mutated into the thing he hated.  Interesting inversion.  The episode is a little thin for my tastes.  Your mileage may vary.   C.

16MAY2019 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Our Modern Satyricon – VDH

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist by training so it is perhaps unsurprising that he finds the analogies between Petronius’s Satyricon and the cultural rot of our own age.

https://amgreatness.com/2019/05/15/our-modern-satyricon/

But I still praise him for the accuracy of his point by point comparison.  Comparing the present age to post-republican Rome has become a common trope but Hanson points out just how accurate it is.  Nothing new here, just the scholarly expertise of the author pointing out the exactness of the analogy.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 28 – The Little People

Captain William Fletcher (played by Claude Akins) lands his space ship on an asteroid (of course) to repair damage done by a meteor shower.  His copilot Peter Craig bellyaches about the inconvenience of being stuck on a boring speck of dust and about having to obey Fletcher’s orders.  When Fletcher asks him why he’s so allergic to taking orders Craig confesses that what he wants more than anything else is to be the big boss.

While Fletcher is busy repairing the ship, Craig goes out exploring the asteroid.  He discovers water but what is astonishing is that he discovers a civilization of tiny people smaller than ants.  They have towns and automobiles and boats.  And what makes Craig really happy is that he has become their leader and in fact their god.  Because he can destroy anything in their world just by stepping on it the little people fear him and will obey any order, he gives them.

The next day Fletcher discovers that the little people have built a life size statue of Peter Craig.  Craig had ordered them to build it and complete it in one night.  But when Craig starts stepping on some of the little people’s town, just to keep them afraid and show who’s boss, Fletcher knocks Craig down and berates him for behaving like a sadist.

Later on, Fletcher tells Craig that he’s repaired the ship and now it’s time to leave.  Craig refuses to leave and when Fletcher attempts to force him to go Craig pulls out a blaster and threatens Fletcher with it.  In fact, he blows the head off of his statue to show he means business.  Craig intends to stay on the asteroid and spend his days as the deity of the little people and their curse.  Craig gives Fletcher an ultimatum, leave or die.  So, Fletcher blasts off in the rocket and Craig laughs as the ship ascends into the sky.  But later a space ship lands and two giants as tall as mountains happen upon Petr Craig and one accidentally crushes him to death while trying to pick him up.  The giants are saddened by the accidental death they’ve caused but they drop Peter back on the ground near the little people’s settlement as they leave.

Later we see that the little people use ropes to tip over the statue on top of the corpse of their former god.

What can I say?  Claude Akins is an amusing character actor but there’s not much to work with here.  It’s sort of a riff on Gulliver’s Travels and the bad guy gets his comeuppance, I guess.  C+ is the best I can do.

Finding the Missing Link between Microbes and Men

Unless we include progressives there doesn’t seem to be any close relationship between bacteria (a prokaryote) and humans (a member of the eukaryote group).  In fact, even something as humble as a fungus has more in common on the cellular level with humans than it does with bacteria.  Assuming that bacteria were here first (which is an assumption that needs to be tested) it isn’t clear how the jump happened from the bare bones simplicity of the prokaryote to the remarkable complexity of even the most simplistic eukaryotic cell.  Recent discoveries in the organisms that fall somewhere in between these two groups (archaea) is fueling additional controversy.  According to one theory the archaea are the ancestor of the eukaryotes and therefore sort of our multi-great grand uncles.  This rubs a lot of biologists the wrong way.  There are even feuds based on this disagreement.  I don’t have a dog in this fight but I am interested in advancements in the understanding of how life evolved on Earth.  An interesting aspect of the story is that certain components of the eukaryotic cell (like the mitochondria and the chloroplasts) started out as independent bacterial cells that were ingested by some ancient organism but somehow survived inside the cell and formed a symbiotic and permanent arrangement.  And many modern biologists see similar symbiosis between the bacteria living in our intestines and our human selves.  Both species profit from the relationship and in our cases couldn’t survive without the other.  What a strange and remarkable world we live in.  Interesting read.

The Trickster Microbes that are Shaking Up the Tree of Life  by Traci Watson

 

 

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 27 – Person or Persons Unknown

Richard Long plays David Gurney a married man waking up with a hangover after a very late night out with his wife Wilma.  As he staggers around his bedroom trying to shake off his hangover he berates his sleeping wife for not even removing his shoes before letting him fall asleep the night before.  Getting ready for work, he is sore at his wife because she can sleep late so he slaps her on the butt to wake her up.  She wakes up but then becomes noticeably upset claiming Gurney is a stranger to her and threatening to call the police if he doesn’t leave her bedroom immediately.  David decides it’s some sort of joke cooked up between his wife and one of his friends at work.  After a few sarcastic words with Wilma he heads out of the house and drives to his job at the bank in his car.

When he gets to work nobody greets him and everyone acts as if they don’t know him.  When he sees someone sitting at his desk he gets angry and tells the occupant to leave.  The bank guard comes over and Gurney gets into an altercation with him.  The guard pulls his gun out and forces David out onto the sidewalk.  There waiting for them are a few policemen and Wilma.  David attempts to convince them that he is who he claims to be but they arrest him and take him in the patrol car.

In the next scene David is in the office of a psychiatrist who tries to convince him that he has built up an imaginary persona under the influence of a mental illness. To convince David of this the psychiatrist calls up the telephone numbers of the friends and family who David says will know him.  All of them, including his mother deny the very existence of David Gurney.  Desperate to prove his existence David dives through the office window and escapes in a stolen truck.  Going to his favorite bar he tries to get his friend the bartender to recognize him but with no success.  Finally, he goes to a photographer’s store and asks for the photos that he had taken with Wilma.  Looking in the envelope he sees a photograph of himself with his arm around Wilma.  Just as he’s leaving the store, the police and the psychiatrist intercept him.  David triumphantly tells the psychiatrist that he’s found proof of his own existence but when the psychiatrist looks in the envelope the picture only contains David.  Now David breaks down and starts wailing that he does exist.

The scene shifts to David back in his bedroom crying out in his sleep.  Wilma wakes up and tries to reassure him that he’s only having a bad dream.  David is overjoyed to wake from the bad dream to find that his wife knows him.  He wants to kiss her but she tells him to wait until she takes off her cold cream and her hair turban.  But when she returns from the bathroom Wilma is now a blonde instead of a brunette and even though she knows David he is seeing a woman different from the wife he married.  Dant, dant, Dahhhh!

To start off I’d like to express the opinion that Wilma #2 is significantly better looking than Wilma #1 so all things considered this hardly seems like a nightmare ending he’s left in.  Secondly this episode is a “man screaming at his surroundings” episode which I have often condemned on aesthetic grounds.  But I must confess that a number of details in the episode amused me.  First off, I found his hectoring of his sleeping wife and then slapping her on the butt very naturalistic. I always enjoy the portrayal of the war between the sexes as long as the playing field isn’t tilted against the husband as it so often is.  Secondly Richard Long is a decent actor and he made the character personable and sympathetic.  And finally, the psychiatrist was not as ingratiating and condescending as so many characters in that persona typically are portrayed.  Let’s give it a B-.

If You Need Something to Cheer You Up Today

Roger Kimball of the Spectator opines that AG Barr is not a man to trifle with.

https://spectator.us/doggedness-william-barr/

 

“The man is part terrier (and another part Sphinx). He will get to the bottom of this whole rotten story and (as he explained in that earlier confirmation hearing) he will neither pursue anyone groundlessly because he has influential enemies, nor will he forbear to indict someone who has broken the law because he is politically powerful. I believe this is true. Like Koko in The Mikado, I have a little list on which are the names of several prominent Democrats who I believe have broken the law. William Barr surely has a similar list, though his is probably longer.”

Brexit Party Strength in EU Elections Signals a Fight Coming Up

Farange and his Brexit party are attracting voters from both Tory and Labor voters.  The new party is out-polling both of these parties in the upcoming British EU elections and it is plain that in the future the Brexit Party will attempt to force the Brexit by winning seats from both the Tories and Labor in an upcoming general election at some time in the future.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1126422/Brexit-latest-news-brexit-deal-labour-tory-talks-theresa-may-deal

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/11/poll-surge-for-farage-panic-conservatives-and-labour?__twitter_impression=true

Can Farange save the exit from the EU?  Well, that’s a question mark at this point, but whatever else happens the Tories look to be out as the majority party once the next election finishes.  And a self-inflicted death blow is the only way to describe it.  This is what we’d expect from the likes of John McCain or Mitt Romney.  Arrogant tone-deafness is the description I’d attach to this level of  imbecility.