31 July 2020

Coronavirus #13: Putting the brakes on in the UK

Cases are starting to rise in the UK again; that seems to be pretty unambiguous. The localised restrictions in the North West and slowing down some more reopening make sense, although the communication has been pretty haphazard to put it mildly.

It's become clear that we've probably reached the limit of where we can reopen with present levels of infection and we need to work on getting the levels of cases down again. This requires continuing clear public health campaigns from the government, cooperation from the public and patience from all of us.

We are not likely to get back to normal before Christmas.

11 July 2020

Coronavirus #12: Heading for the global peak

While new cases continue to come down across much of Europe, the virus is very much in full 'rage' in many major countries outside it.

Most notably the United States of America, where the woeful incompetence of Donald Trump is being shown up in a way much worse than hoped. There are those who feared he would spark a massive war with his approach, but to the most extent, he prefers to pick on small targets that can't fight back. Now he faces an enemy he can't tweet bully into submission. 200,000 American deaths out of all of this is a real possibility; all the economic loss of the first lockdowns has been for nothing as governors opened up too early, Trump supporters refuse to wear face masks and the virus remains downplayed by many Republicans.

India, unable to fully lock down in an economy where millions live hand to mouth and South Africa that is largely the same, are also facing large increases in cases, with their testing systems unable to keep up.

It's likely we will get a number of healthcare collapses in the next few weeks as systems even in developed countries like the United States are unable to cope with sheer numbers, bringing up overall death rates.

It will not be a nice time.


While only a small percentage of people are dying from this, a significant minority of around 10% seem to be developing longer-lasting health problems as a result of this virus and rehabilitation for them is going to be something that will be a major cost going forward.

This virus doesn't seem to be Ebola or the flu... if anything, it's seeming a lot like polio - most won't have serious problems, only a few will die, but a lot of people will be seriously messed up by this.

I continue to pray for those working to tackle this situation. I would suggest you do so to if you are a believer.

04 July 2020

This Earth Thing Called Kissing 2: Electric Choke Collaroo (Review: 'Star Trek' 2.16, "The Gamesters of Triskelion")

Other titles I considered include "Game of Weird Clothes" and "Whip It Good".


As they are about to beam down to a planetoid, Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are 'yoinked' out of the transporter bay and taken to a strange planet in a trinary system i.e. one with three suns, where they are captured by some bloke who looks a bit like Ming the Merciless. Their intended fate - to spend their lives as slaves fighting for the entertainment of unseen beings called ""Providers".


Written by a woman - a comparatively rare thing in science fiction television even today - this episode has a load of concepts that I am sure I've seen in other works, including control collars used to ensure discipline, an array of very weird costumes (William Ware Theiss clearly had a field day) and brain aliens.

Indeed this episode has been parodied in a number of other shows, including Futurama and South Park.

The overall story is frankly rather poor; there's no true impression of the size of the enslavement operation, the whole security of the operation is reliant on a single person (what if he's asleep?) and the resolution involves some rather lucky misses with spears.

The regulars are mostly pretty good with Scotty, McCoy and Spock getting some fine material on the Enterprise. The main issue is Kirk, who again loses his shirt (good thing they've got a replicator) and falls for an alien woman. His willingness to bet this entire shp is rather worrying...

Speaking of alien women, we have Angelique Pettyjohn as Shahna, a humanoid woman wearing a silver cutout leotard more appropriate for BDSM and with green hair. She has no concept of romance... and generally no concept of acting with her dialogue very clipped. Kirk kisses her... twice. Because he's Kirk and that's what Kirk does.

The other guest stars are also nearly all poor; with the same stilted acting and some more ridiculous costumes. One of the slaves tries to rape Uhura on the grounds that he has been "selected" for her. After she fights back, the whole thing is never mentioned again. Something true of a lot of sexual assault survivors even now.

At least we don't get a comedy ending. 



To be rather frank, I wouldn't pay 10 quatloos for this, let alone a hundred.