22MAR2020 – OCF Update – Locked Down in New England and Annoyingly Upbeat

Don’t ask me why but for reasons unknown I am disgustingly cheerful today.  It can’t be the temperature because it was 20F this morning and that’s not spring in my book.  Maybe it’s the sunshine and the increased daylight hours.  But whatever the cause I haven’t got any angst to distribute this morning.  What’s a prophet of doom to do?  So, I’ll use my COVID-19 lockdown leisure time today to walk the prison yard, shank a few of my enemies with a shiv, or shiv them with a shank and start a new tunnel to freedom.

I was looking around at a number of science sites talking about quinine derivatives that might be a component of an effective COVID-19 treatment and a couple of interesting things emerged.

  • The first is that there is some pretty good evidence that chloroquine and azithromycin is effective in preventing COVID-19 infected people from developing life threatening pneumonia.
  • The second is that many people in the pharmaceutical industry hate Trump so much that they are angry that he may get credit for pushing a successful treatment forward in a timely manner.

I work with a lot of technical types and they are mostly anti-Trump.  There will be a fair amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth if the President gets credit for shortening the pandemic to something manageable.  These people really are almost gleeful in the face of a looming depression.  That’s how much they despise the President and, by extension, how much they despise us.

Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m optimistic and cheerful today.  I think the therapy being mentioned is going to be effective at lowering the death rate to a very minimal level and allow the rest of us to get back to work.  Boy, that would piss off a lot of people I know.  Good.

This week I expect some more movie reviews and possibly music reviews.  I also feel it is time for a political satire.  What exactly it will entail is hard to say sonce there are so many targets to choose from.  I think I’m overdue to put together a description of the current state of Sony mirrorless photography and identify the much smaller number of holes in the system that exist currently.  And going along with my recent defense of Western Civilization, I think I’ll have a post giving my take on outreach to the various groups that are assumed to be wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democrat party.  I mean, some of those people, women especially, probably haven’t heard a conservative argument about anything in their whole lives.  We may be able to do some recruiting.

And on the photo side I’m going to do a few more focus stacks.  I was at a standstill this week because suddenly my computer thought my camera was a storage device and not a camera and so I couldn’t use the software that allows remote control.  I found that the only thing that fixed the problem was reloading the drivers for the USB devices.  Of course, it is a little chilly for outdoor focus stack work but I am a martyr for my art.

Finally, a suggestion came up during the preliminary planning for ShatnerKhan II.  It was hinted that maybe the program could include non-Shatner-related themes.  It seemed like heresy to me but I said I would consider it.  I throw it out to the readership if this is anathema or is it the natural evolution.  I think the only way to even consider this is if deep theoretical research is done in advance to justify the validity of non-Shatner content.  I foresee the need for enormous quantities of deli meats and potato salad to even begin this kind of philosophical discussion.  What do you think?

So good morning my fellow prisoners of the COVID-19 gulag.  We have nothing to lose but our chains so have a fun day.

Shatner Moves On

William Shatner Refuses To Reprise His Role As Captain Kirk, ‘Star Trek’ Icon Says Character Is “Played Out”

Say it ain’t so!  Well, my real question is, “Was anybody actually asking?”  Actually, eventually they would.  The desperation in Hollywood will require even the deceased Star Trek actors to appear in later movies as digital zombies, kinda like poor Fred Astaire dancing with a broom in some vacuum cleaner advertisement.  But Shatner is right.  He’s outgrown Star Trek.  He’s ready for Hamlet.  Well, maybe Falstaff.  He’s old and fat enough for it.  But I kid, I kid.  Shatner is one of the legends of early television and deserves all the attention and mockery we give him.

 

Hat tip to one of the Shat’s biggest fans for passing this along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 4 – Conclusion

After reviving ourselves again with refreshments we estimated that we had time for one last course before exhaustion would set in.  Almost at random we selected Mudd’s Women.  It was a mistake.  What we thought we were going to watch was the episode called I, Mudd.  This one is about Mudd selling women that he artificially beautifies with a drug.  It’s boring and meaningless. At the end the women are seen to be beautiful without the drug because they’re self-confident.  Yeah sure, and I’m Brad Pitt.

Anyway, this poor episode angered the delegates and disrupted the complacency that the massive junk food binge had produced.  We set to work repairing the situation with mass quantities of supplies.  Once we had re-established our equilibrium, we decided to quickly bring the ShatnerKhan to a rapid close.  But we did ramble on about what we had learned and vowed less poisonous food at ShatnerKhan 2.

So, what did we learn?

  • William Shatner is indeed a demigod of bad acting. Series television, made-for-tv movies, big studio major motion pictures, even minor awards ceremonies; none of them are proof against his patented lousy acting skills.  He is a ham for all seasons.
  • As lousy an actor as Shatner is, he is definitively the best part of the original Star Trek series. His character possesses almost the only heroic characteristics to be found on the show.  The rest of them are even bigger weirdos and losers than he is.
  • Shatner actually seems to be a decent comic actor. He is able to perform self-deprecating routines quite skillfully.  We decided not to hold this against him.
  • Much more study will be needed and a much higher grade of food supplies will be needed for future ShatnerKhan events. I personally advocated for deli, others spoke of Thai food and barbecue.  These questions will be sorted out in committee.

But all agreed that ShatnerKhan 1 was a roaring success both academically and gastronomically.

All hail William Shatner, long may you endure as a shining beacon of terrible acting.

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 1

 

 

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 3

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 2

 

As stated at the end of the last post we settled on Star Trek episode “Space Seed” as our next course.  And there it all was!  Ricardo Montalban and William Shatner battling to settle the question of who could chew up the scenery faster.  Khan proves to be an even more persuasive lady’s man than Kirk.  He convinces a lady scientist to turn traitor to the Enterprise and assist Khan in taking over the ship.  Of course, the most absurd part of the story is that Kirk provides Khan with the ship’s technical manuals that allow him to figure out how to selectively flood most of the Enterprise with knock out gas.  Could there be any logical reason to provide a known megalomaniac with the details of these most sensitive technical secrets of the ship?  Of course not.  While he was at it, he might as well have given Khan his social security number and his bank account PIN.

There is a great scene near the end where Kirk and Khan are fighting mano a mano.  Khan starts out by snatching away Kirk’s phaser and twists it in half with his bare hands.  Kirk gets tossed around like a rag doll but at the critical juncture he grabs hold of a solid metal bar and clonks Khan over the head a few times with it and shows that even a super-strong super-genius should go for the quick kill instead of ending up having the tables turned on him like some kind of super villain in a James Bond movie.

Watching the final scene where Khan and his colony agree to be exiled on a world of their own is of course ironic.  We know that in the future the Wrath of Khan is awaiting Kirk and the rest of the crew.  This was discussed heatedly.  What should have been done.  Should Khan have been handed over to a re-education camp.  Should Kirk have checked to see if Ceti Alpha was a stable star that would permanently support a colony?  Should such dangerous genetically superior individuals have been liquidated, for the safety of all humanity?  What, precisely, was rich Corinthian leather?  The answers to all of these were debated endlessly and then abandoned because we got hungry again.

But certain things were agreed on.  Kirk and Khan are both hounds and neither Shatner nor Montalban believed in understated performances.  And these two things were linked with the fact that this is one of the most popular episodes of the series.  Shatner and Montalban are over the top ham actors.  The characters they are playing are out of a comic book.  But they are fun.  They are motivated by the things that men are interested in; women, adventure, honor.  This makes them about a trillion times more fun and interesting than Spock or Picard or any of the other “futuristic” characters.  Shatner taking shoulder rolls and bouncing around under pretend Khan pummeling is laughable and sophomoric but it’s still the best thing Star Trek had in this episode.

So this is the revelation.  Kirk is the best part of the show because he provides the only example of a normal man doing normal manly things.  He doesn’t do them well or convincingly but he’s all there is.  So we gave one cheer for James Tiberius Kirk and took some time out to eat some more food.

You may think that there was an inordinate amount of time taken away from the proceedings of ShatnerKhan to eat junk food.  You would be correct.  The plain truth is that all the delegates there were taking the opportunity to eat types and amounts of food that their wives would normally prevent.  In many ways it was almost as if ShatnerKhan was an excuse to pig out.  Once again, you would be correct.  But we justified this by pointing out that Shatner himself always looked like he could lose about thirty pounds and we perceived something heroic in men of a certain age throwing caution and wifely warnings to the wind and seizing the day and the Dorito (as it were).

In the final post we will look at the concluding viewing content and then our final thoughts on ShatnerKhan 1 and the prospects for later editions.

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 4 – Conclusion

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 2

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 1

Shaking off the lingering effects of Rocket Man wasn’t easy.  But after enough refreshments were absorbed, we were ready to go forward.  Believing they had sustained the worst shocks possible they were steeled to delve deeper into the less familiar works of William Shatner.  They knew that I possessed one of the few copies of the 1984 made-for-tv movie, “Secrets of a Married Man” (SOAMM).  A unanimous vote decided that it would be next.

For those who don’t know about this little known “treasure,” Shatner plays an engineer, Chris Jordan, working on an important project that will make or break his career.  He has a wife and kids but the wife (played by former Momas and Papas singer Michelle Philips) has been so busy with her own career that she has sort of neglected her conjugal responsibilities toward Chris.  So, what with the stress of the project and his neglected libido, Chris starts availing himself of the services of various prostitutes.  This provides moments of Shatneresque hilarity.  One scene shows Shatner in the shower when suddenly he looks down and must see some kind of rash or other skin problem on his genitals and almost has a stroke in his own special Shatner style.  In the next scene he has gone to some doctor other than his family general practitioner and is relieved to learn it’s just an allergic reaction to soap or laundry detergent or “something else.”  One particularly funny scene involves Shatner driving down the main drag with his wife in the car and all the hookers are calling out to him “Hi Chris” and Shatner is trying to explain to her how the name Chris is just hooker code for a new customer.

This goes on way too long until finally he meets the dream girl.  Cybil Shepard is a high-priced hooker who drains Shatner of cash and even has him second mortgage his house to keep up with his weekly visits.  But when the hooker’s pimp needs five thousand dollars Shatner’s whole life falls apart as his wife finds out what’s happening and leaves him and the police step in.  We watched about forty percent of the show fast forwarding to the scenes where Shatner brought his unique acting abilities to bear on this stunning plot.  But even that was too much.  We finally shut it off.

When it was over the delegates were restless.  They felt we had strayed too far from the core of the Shatner canon.  While it was agreed that SOAMM contained some powerful and unique Shatner moments nevertheless the unheroic nature of the role separated it from the true spirit of Shatner.  Even the hideousness of Rocket Man maintained the heroic nature of the Shatner persona.  We had a to regroup.  So, after reviling SOAMM and making fun of Cybil Shepard’s career that allowed her to play in this kind of movie we moved on.  We decided to go back to the classics.  And we picked for our next selection Space Seed.  ShatnerKhan needed a little Khaaaaan!

But first we decided to take a break and restore ourselves with our choice of refreshments.

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 3

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 1

On the 27th of October 2019 word spread that an opportunity existed for ShatnerKhan 1 to occur on November First.  I scrambled to confirm that the resources were in place.  I searched for any conflicts that could interfere with the operational excellence needed for such a critical mission.  ShatnerKhan 1 was a go!

So much had to be done in such a short window.

  • Venue reservations
  • audio-visual equipment rentals
  • purchase of archival quality motion picture and television recordings
  • intellectual property rights agreements
  • hotel accommodations
  • security staff and clearances
  • media announcements
  • insurance waivers
  • local permitting

The time it took to N/A each of these items on the public domain occasion planning list that I downloaded from a random website was time taken away from the planning of exactly which Shatner masterpieces would be included and which would have to be sadly excluded due to time constraints from ShatnerKhan 1.

When I arrived home that fateful night ShatnerKhan 1 had already kicked into high gear.  The delegates, some of whom had travelled from locales almost as far a way as the Andorian, Tellarite and Coridan systems, were attempting to regale Camera Girl with droll anecdotes of their exploits on their far-flung travels.  She on the other hand, being a woman and therefore of a practical nature, was more interested in when they intended to leave.

I bounded into the gathering full of enthusiasm and the bright good spirit of camaraderie and feasted on a sumptuous repast of not only wonderful chicken chop suey, marvelous won ton soup and priceless egg rolls but also a mysterious dessert that attempted to predict my future!  O Brave New World!

And now sated of our ravenous hunger and perfectly receptive to the cinematic delights we were about to experience we discussed the program.  What would be included in this inaugural edition of ShatnerKhan?  What would have to be postponed for a subsequent occasion?  And what order would we arrange the included courses?  I proposed to start off the evening with “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”  This seemed a safe and non-controversial strategy.  But surprisingly, the delegates were opposed.  The attitude of the room was that this was too tame, too familiar.  They demanded a more challenging, a more esoteric choice.  I knew that some of the delegates had not delved as deeply as I into the less well-known strata of Shatneriana.  I resolved to stagger them with something they were surely unprepared for.  I played Rocket Man.

For those who had not seen it before, the effect was devastating.  By the time the third Shatner appeared there were howls of pain emanating from the audience and shouts to stop the show.  I refused.  They had sown the wind now they must reap the whirlwind.  When the last “long, long time” died out into merciful silence I could see that those who had revolted against the safe choice of “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” were now sadder and wiser.  They probably wished they could go back in time and undo that revolt.  But no one can unsee “Rocket Man.”  Their innocence was shattered.  Like the victims of a Lovecraftian eruption of eldritch horror, the image of the tuxedoed Shatners was seared permanently into their souls.  I contemplated describing here the experience of watching “Rocket Man.”  It can’t be done.  The experience is inexplicable.  You’ve either seen it or you haven’t.  It’s like trying to describe green to a blind man.  Suffice it say that it is Shatner at the height of his powers, confident, almost arrogant.  In complete control of the audience and his cigarette.

We stopped to revive ourselves with licorice and pretzel rods.

 

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 2

 

 

02NOV2019 – OCF Update

First off, my apologies for the delay last night of the Photo of the Day and Quote of the Day.  Automated systems failed and I was unaware due to my preoccupation with a hastily convened ShatnerKhan!

That’s right November 1st 2019 will live in infamy as the Inaugural, the Premiere, the Initial, the First ShatnerKhan.  I will provide a detailed report but suffice it to say that the world will never be the same.

On non-Shatner related fronts, the political world is unfolding in all its hideousness.  I continue to marvel at how President Trump has broken the old paradigm so thoroughly that even those most heavily invested in it are starting to admit that he has won.  I’ll have some comments on this soon too.

Meanwhile winter has descended on New England.  I took a few last foliage photos yesterday but today I woke up to a killing frost that drained the color from the landscape.  The horror, the horror.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 3 – Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

One of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes.  The magnificent awfulness of Bill Shatner’s acting is on full display.

 

The story is simple and short enough.  Bill Shatner is Bob Wilson, a salesman who had a nervous breakdown on an airline flight and is returning home with his wife Julia after a six-month commitment to a mental institution.  As the couple board the aircraft for their flight home, Julia tries to reassure Bob that he is cured and their lives are back on track.  Bob pretends to agree but when he sees that they are sitting in the emergency exit row his panic is there for both to see.

Julia takes a sleeping pill but Bob is too nervous to sleep.  But as he looks out the window into the rain storm he sees a furred man-like creature with a strange masklike face walking on the wing.  Bob rings the service bell and wakes up Julia and tells her what he saw but when she and the stewardess look out the window there’s nothing there.

Now Bob is afraid that he is hallucinating.  But shortly afterward he sees the creature again and he tries to get the crew to see it.  He tells them that the creature is tampering with one of the engines.  The flight engineer pretends to believe but Bob sees through his charade.  Bob says, “I won’t say another word.  I’ll see us crash first.”  When the flight crew gives him a sleeping pill, he pretends to swallow it.  When Julia falls asleep Bob leaves his seat and steals a gun out of the holster of a sleeping policeman.  When he gets back to his seat and sees the gremlin at work again, he fastens his seat belt, wakes Julia up and asks her to get him a drink of water and when she leaves, he pulls the emergency exit handle.  The window flies out and the depressurization and wind speed almost pull Bob out of his seatbelt and pin him against the outside of the fuselage.  The gremlin sees him and trundles toward him menacingly.  Bob pulls his body forward, brings up the gun and fires all six rounds into the gremlin apparently killing it.

The next scene is Bob under a blanket on a stretcher being removed from the plane and waiting on the tarmac for an ambulance to bring him to an insane asylum.  He tells Julia that it’s all over but no one believes what he’s done but that soon they will believe.  In the ending monologue by Serling he shows us the damage to the engine visible on the wing and tells us that soon other people will know and believe Bob’s story.

The story is fun because of its wild nuttiness.  The gremlin creature’s suit and facial makeup is pathetic.  It looks like something that you might buy in a cheap Halloween Costume Store.  Whenever anyone but Shatner is looking the monster jumps off the wing and it’s obvious that a wire is involved.  And when the gremlin is advancing on Shatner’s character at the end of the episode, he walks like he’s stuck on flypaper.  The whole effect is laughably bad.

But what truly makes this story so special is Shatner’s facial expressions.  Many of his grimaces at seeing the gremlin are hilarious but I have two favorite moments.

The first is when Bob first sees the gremlin pull back the engine cowling and start tampering with the wiring.  The Shatner’s masklike expression of terror is uproarious.

The second moment is when he is trying to steal the gun from the policeman’s holster, Shatner’s attempt to look guilty and sneaky at the same moment is pure Shatner gold.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, anyone who can’t laugh at these two scenes has a heart of stone.

This episode is obviously an A+.  Going beyond the scope of these Twilight Zone reviews this review will be a part of the ShatnerKhan corpus of scholarly papers.  I will use this as the basis for a more detailed examination of this very important part of the Shatner canon.

 

17JUL2019 – OCF Update

As the days of my vacation dwindle down I am reminded of the importance of prioritizing tasks.  Yesterday I returned the lenses and teleconverters to the rental company, taking a flurry of photos right before packing them up.  Just as a preliminary statement without actually having analyzed any of the files I took with the Mitakon SpeedMaster 50mm f/0.95, I will go out on a limb and guess that I won’t want to own this lens.  First off its a manual lens (which isn’t a deal breaker by itself).  Secondly the aperture is not only manual but it doesn’t register on my Sony A7 III files.  And thirdly, I’m kind of a sharp lens junky.  This lens is not that kind of lens.  At f/0.95, sharpness isn’t even a possibility.  So, I’m guessing I’ll be giving it a pass.  But that’s not to say I might find some applications where it makes sense to use it.

I will also review the Sony 100-400mm GM zoom lens.  This is a very good and useful lens that I’m very interested in.  There will be a lot of comparisons between the 400 with and without the 1.4X and 2X teleconverters attached.I’ll have a lot more to say about these combinations but one thing I will state upfront is that telephoto work is a lot more than a honking big lens.  Technique is everything.  Using monopods, tripods, teleconverters, polarizers and using the correct camera modes for ISO, exposure and focus are every bit as important as the lens.  And hand holding a very heavy lens is an art in and of itself.

The political news cycle is jam packed with important and bizarre occurrences so I actually have to show restraint and concentrate on the most entertaining items.  Otherwise I might overload on SJW outrage and lose my sunny disposition.

On the review front, today I’ll be reviewing the last episode of Twilight Zone, Season Four.  That will be the last of the hour long episodes and back to the half hour format that I think works best for this genera.  So that means we have about ten more weeks of TZ articles.

Last week the first phase of ShatnerKhan began.  And as expected it was cheesy and pathetic.  It exceeded all expectations.  I will write up this first volley soon and all will be amazed at how truly sad an acting career can be.

Stay tuned.

After you’ve read enough sexbot articles on Drudge maybe switch to something interesting