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The Strange Case of the Underpants Monster

Potatoes, O'Brien?

Sure, O'Brien. Much more nutritious. That's how you got to be the only heavyset person in the whole 24th century. Well, Picard's mother didn't use a replicator either, but it was probably all wine and snails and he ran it all off on the track team anyway.

"Cute" intercultural banter aside, did these two seriously never eat together before they got married? In a future free of STI's and unplanned pregnancy, maybe dating involves fewer meals than it does now, but you'd think it would have come up at some point. Engagement party? Rehearsal dinner? Wedding reception?

Dating on the Enterprise-D seems to mostly consist of walks in the arboretum. Or, "walks in the arboretum." They show us the tame, sciencey part of the arboretum in a couple of episodes, but I'm imagining the rest of it looks more like Vauxhall Gradens in the 18th century and is littered with dense bushes, discarded uniforms, and trees with initials carved in them.

How can you tell Data was programmed by a man?

Well, you know what, Data? That works out just fine, since she didn't ASK you for any advice in the first place.

Oh, I kid, you big manly manbot, you. Never change.

Ever since the 25th anniversary event, I've been going through the whole series on Netflix again, for the first time in years. Different things are standing out to me with the passage of time. I used to be all about Picard and Data, but this time I'm really starting to appreciate Riker as a character. Maybe I'm more in touch with my emotions than I was when I was younger. Or have less of a need for a father figure. Anyway,it's been a blast. Optimism needs to make a comeback.

If the future holds nothing but pocketless jumpsuits, though, I am so screwed.

Henry has Tudor Daddy
 I just finished The Shadow of the Tower, from the same fine folks who brought you Elizabeth R and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. No doubt about it, the BBC of that era really knew how to put a historical mini together. And yet… though the writing was as good and the production values nearly so (points off for cheating outdoor scenes in the studio with a blue backdrop and a couple of potted trees), I didn’t get into this one quite as much. Henry VII just didn’t make for a compelling dramatic lead. Sure, he was the cooler-headed king the country needed, and acquitted himself, as Grandma would say, “under ad-verse conditions,” but he comes off as kind of a dull fellow. A real cold fish.


Isn’t that always the way, though? His dick of a son, while being a dick, is more fun to watch. And I did feel better when, in the penultimate episode, they had Henry tell Perkin Warbeck's wife, "People say I am cold and unfeeling, but I am not." Well, fair enough, then. James Maxwell's sort of detached, Percy Blakeny-style delivery was a feature, not a bug. And man, he sure does look the part, doesn't he?

A Ration of Grog
Saw the rheumatologist yesterday. He gave me Hydrocodone for the arthritis pain that's waking me up at night. OK.

I took it last night, and slept quite deeply, only waking up once, OK.

Only trouble is, the medication is leaving me just as groggy as the missed sleep did before. Enh.

Pills, eh? can;t live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Same as it ever was
The annual “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” conversation has started over at Metafilter, and it’s one of those moments that reminds me why I don’t just cough up the fi’ dolla’ already.

It’s all well and good to say, “It was written at a time when that sort of interaction wsa common between men and women, and there’s absolutely no imbalance of power there, and we can’t read it with modern eyes,” but the thing so many peoiple just aren’t getting through their thick skulls is that there are stil A LOT of people out there, men and women both, who still think that’s the way things are, and should be.

A not insignificant segment of the population literally believes that “no means no” is just some sissypants PC crap that beret-wearing libruls cooked up to take all the fun out of everything for us regular guys, AMIRITE? Do they not know that a sizeable portion of the Mad Men fanbase is people who watch it and say, “Man, wasn’t everything great back then? I wish I could get drunk at work and slap the secretaries’ asses. Those humorless Feminazi bitches I work with just don’t know how to enjoy themselves!”

It's like FOX News: it'd be hilarious if you didn't know that some people believe it.

It would be nice if we could just dismiss the song as a quaint, harmless relic of times that are gone with the wind, never to return, but it just ain’t so. I’m not saying the song can’t be defused, or that it has no artistic or historical merit. But to pretend it has no deeper implications whatsoever for modern society is laying the “oh, you dumb paranoid feminists” on a little too thick.

Acknowledging the dark side of the text actually takes the sting out of it and allows me to enjoy the song. Pretending a problem doesn't exist never, ever makes it better.

On the Bus
Pants-Down Man is sporting a new-looking Walt Disney World jacket. He may not be able to keep the lower half of his body covered, but it looks like he had more sense than I when deciding what time of year to go.

I've decided his name is Lord Pantsdowne, master of Pantsdownton Abbey, and he lost his waist in the Great War.

At first glance
Lately I've been doing a lot of that thing where you look at a sign or a title quickly, only pick up a few letters, and your brain fills in the rest.

A paper titled, "Bias in the Legal Profession" read as "Bras in the Legal Profession." Probably as good idea if you don't want to distract the judge.

"Option Transfer Period" read as "Onion Tasting Period." Tears before bedtime either way.

I see the "Undergraduate Admissions" sign almost every day, but the other day it clearly said, "Pomegranate Admissions." Jeez, they're letting anyone in these days.

Affairs of the heart
I got a call from my aunt - Mom's twin - last night. She told me she'd had a pain in her shoulder, so she went to the ER and was kept overnight for tests to see if it was heart trouble. Very casual, sounded completely chipper.

Now, I'm known for not letting on when I'm sick, but this woman makes me look like a raving hypochondriac. This is the woman who drove herself to the hospital after a mild stroke, and to this day denies that it even WAS a stroke. So I shouldn't have been surprised when her son called later and said she'd definitely had a heart attack, had collapsed and been taken to the hospital <i>two days ago,</i> and had to wait for the catheterization (the "tests" she mentioned) because her liver enzymes were too high. She won't release the hospital to give information to anyone else, and I certainly understand where she's coming from since I hate doctors talking behind my back*, but still. Not even her next of kin.

She had the cath this morning and apparently the damage isn't too bad. Two arteries were blocked enough to get stents, but she's up and around. She's planning on going to her brother's birthday party tomorrow, even if she has to sign herself out AMA.

OK, OK, I've signed myself out AMA before. But not after a heart attack.

I guess I shouldn't worry, but with her being Mom's twin, it just brings it closer to home. I'm just worried she'll take up smoking again like her other brother did after his attack, with the reasoning that quitting didn't prevent it. So glad Mom quit so long ago, and doesn't seem to have any regrets about it.

Yeah, that's my family. Bunch of Black Knights. Makes me almost glad the choice of whether to pass on those flimsy genes was taken out of my hand.

*Fucking surgeon told my sister once that "all we can do is pray." Probably took years off HER life with that one.

Keeping it all in hand
Operation Sinister kicks off the day after tomorrow, so naturally I've got a lot of extra stuff to take care of both at work and at home in a very short time.

In an interesting, related coincidence, I had to stop all my arthritis medications and anti-inflammatories two weeks before surgery, because of increased risk of bleeding and infection. So, not only am I working with a hand and a half, but also coping with levels of pain and stiffness I haven't dealt with in years. I can't think of any compelling reason I shouldn't be able to hit the world's giant pause button until the end of September. I figure it must be located under the giant dish at Aricebo. Probably got stuck when Pierce Brosnan chucked Sean Bean it it.

History in Black and White
The History Channel is running actual shows about history this weekend. Labor history, for Labor Day. Makes me wish I had signed up for that Labor History course I was going to take this fall. Well, that's why the Good Lord gave up the spring semester.

Anyway, I just caught one on the integration of the U.S> Armed Forces. It still blows my mind whenever I remember that my grandfather served in a segregated Army. He used to talk about the time his unit left him behing with a "Colored" unit when he got sick and couldn't move on with them. He said it was the best time he had during the war. Apparently, since so many men of color were assigned to kitchen duty in those days, there was a high concentration of good cooks in the unit, and the foor was better than anything he'd had since joining up. He apparently got along much better with them than with his regular unit, too. If they were a bunch of middle-class white boys I can certainly see it; dirt-farming mountain folk like Poppy's family probably didn't have much in common with them.

To her dying day, Grandma described WWII as "the time your grandfather took off and left me to take care of everything by myself." There's a picture of her somewhere in her Red Badge of Courage lipstick, with my preschooler uncles in tow, in little souvenir T-shirts from the fort where they went to visit him. They didn't ship married men with kids oiverseas if they could help it, so he spent the war as a radio operator somewhere in the Midwest. (He probably would have volunteered to go to France for the epace and quiet.)