Tag: Star Trek: The Next Generation

Day 999: Buh-Bye, So Long and Hallelujah

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It’s a completely valid question.

For the past 50 or so days I have been fielding one question more often than most: what am I going to do for Day 1000? Will the final kilograph reflect upon the 999 that came before, like some extended clip show of my greatest guffaws and most aww-rending moments? Will I spend my final entry in closing-credits mode, thanking those who have made this all possible and put up with my considerable dearth of free time over the last 2 years and almost 9 months?

In short… no. While my original intent was to meander down that self-serving footpath for my final article, I decided that I would only do so if I could cite the Wikipedia page that had been created about me – as it turns out, that doesn’t exist yet.

In order to figure out my final missive, I felt I should turn to the moulder of my wisdom, the sage oracle who has helped to shape my morality, my perception, and even my understanding of the world: television. I have experienced the highs and lows of series finales – certainly at least one of them could illuminate the road to a poignant, entertaining, and (most of all) worthy coda to this monstrous undertaking.

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My first option is the beloved trope of bringing back a classic character for the finale. In my case I could introduce a surprise cameo by Yoko Ono, Craig David, Mary Nissenson, or if I really want to stretch to my roots, Phineas Gage. I could style the entire piece in a blend of haiku, musical theatre and secret code (did anyone ever figure that one out?). It sounds trite and cliché, but that’s always a place to start, isn’t it? Read more…

Day 842: Locked Up For Life, And Then Some (part 1)

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On June 29, 2009, District Judge Denny Chin sentenced Bernie Madoff to a whopping 150 years in prison for defrauding thousands of investors and ripping off more than $65 billion for his own pocket from people who presumably actually worked for that money. Madoff had committed an act of wickedness that would make any Bond villain shake their heads in filthy humbled admiration, but Judge Chin’s sentence was a headline unto itself. The federal probation office had suggested fifty years. Madoff’s lawyers had asked for twelve.

At the time, I questioned the reasoning behind sentencing a 70-year-old man to 150 years in prison. Fifty would have been plenty to ensure he died behind bars, even if Bernie had been spending giant globs of that $65 billion on youth-juice injection treatments. One hundred years would have been sufficient to deliver a message to any would-be Ponzi-cookers out there that the benchmark standard for such schemery was death in the joint, even with time off for good behavior. But 150?

It’s a glorious fuck-you to Madoff’s great-great-great-great grandkids, a permanent etching of shame upon the family name. But even as far as prison sentences go, Madoff’s lengthy booking is far from the longest ever handed down. His crimes may have been more despicable than those committed by some of the others on this list, but I guess it’s all a question of who you piss off.

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Velupillai Prabhakaran had a dream. He wanted to create a peaceful Tamil state just northeast of Sri Lanka, a gift unto his people, albeit with himself as the corruptible, mustachioed leader-for-life. He founded the Tamil Tigers, an organization dedicated to achieving this goal through violent means if necessary (which, as it turned out, was constantly necessary). 32 countries called Velupillai’s organization a terrorist group. After an unsuccessful attempt at peace talks broke down, Velupillai was killed in a clash with the Sri Lankan army. Read more…

Day 674: How To Screw Yourself Over In One Simple Temporal Paradox

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So Marty McFly shows up back in 1985, the timeline restored and the set-up in place for a whacky epilogue. His parents are now confident and healthy, his brother has an office job and his sister no longer dresses in thrift-store rejects. But wait… why does his brother still live at home? Why does the family end up in the same banal future slum-house when clearly their very beings have been existing in an improved state for the past three decades? And why does it seem like George Mcfly was going grey when he still had the slick-black Brylcreem look in the original timeline?

Unfortunately, every time travel story seems to end up splatting paradox juice all over the walls upon closer analysis. And while generations of brilliant minds nevertheless attempt to rationalize the possibility of temporal jet-setting, we are still shoulders-deep in what-ifs. And despite our fantasies of returning to high school and telling our younger selves not to ask out that hell-wrought shrew that messed up the last part of our senior year, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Besides, there are more serious implications to consider. Time travel is not for the soft-hearted or for those prone to spiraling headaches when confronted with circular trains of thought that derail into themselves. Before you strap yourself into that DeLorean you’d best prepare yourself for the implications of the Grandfather Paradox.

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Not to be confused with your grandfather’s pair o’ docks.

This conundrum of time travel is fairly simple to understand: if you were to travel back in time and murder your grandfather before he had children, what would happen? Simple – you would have never been born. But then you wouldn’t have travelled back and murdered him. Therefore you would have been born. And you would have travelled back to murder him. And so on, until your brain explodes. Read more…