Genesis (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 19) The crew de-evolve into hominids, a spider, an amphibian, and such.

Rewatching ST:TNG After Worf loses a photon torpedo. Picard takes Data with him on a three-day shuttle jaunt to find it. I realize so far that probably sounds like a joke, but it’s accurate. They return to find the Enterprise-D adrift, and the corridors filled with animal noises. (I was listening with headphones, and the audio effects were great.) Picard for some reason decides to stop by Troi’s quarters, where he finds the counselor is now an amphibian. Lurking in the ready room, Riker is a grunting, hairy-knuckled primate; Worf is a spiky, venom-spitting predator, and Spot the cat is…


Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality

Rewatching ST:TNG Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality. This script is a mess. The comic opening is good. During an art class in the children’s center, Troi encourages Data to explore his imagination, but his sculptures are comically literal. The ship encounters an uncharted rogue comet, which causes a scanner glitch that will take some time to resolve. That’s good news for the plot, because it provides the characters with more downtime, during which they can notice odd things, like a tabletop obelisk appearing in…


Sub Rosa (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 14) Dr. Beverly’s Space Ghost Romance

Rewatching ST:TNG Dr. Crusher eulogizes a grandmother she’s never once mentioned, on a colony terraformed to resemble Scottland (scotta-formed?). A man who looks like he swaggered off the cover of a romance novel throws a flower into the grave. A grumpy old caretaker warns Beverly not to light the candle which is her family heirloom.  Beverly learns her 100 year old grandmother had been in a relationship with a 34-year-old named Ronin, and tells Troy of the unusually erotic dream she had. Of course, there’s more to it than dreams. The grumpy caretaker is killed while apparently sabotaging the colony’s…

I Cannot Begin to Tell You How Proficient I Am in Microsoft Word

Is this satire? It doesn’t matter. It gave me feels. For me, though, it was Word Perfect and Broderbund Print Shop that were there for me as a teenager finding my voice. Bold and italics are the oils that grace my palette. Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Fonts, bullets, columns, indentations—these stubborn materials are no match for the alchemy with which I extract meaning and impose order. For I am proficient in Microsoft Word. Many are the candidates who come touting their areas of expertise—beginner Spanish, ability to work well under pressure—but none compare to the fluency…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,” said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy Inc., a global research organization that studies disinformation and extremism, referring to Twitter. Jones found QAnon followers (identified by the QAnon identifiers in…

Florida Woman Bites Camel

Identifying her as a “Florida woman,” as I interpret it, suggests that we’re dealing here with what Newfoundlanders would call a come-from-away and New Yorkers would call an out-of-towner. The tantalizing implication is that a local woman would have known that you could give a truck-stop camel an infection requiring antibiotics by biting its genitalia.

While the veterinarian was caring for the camel, was anyone attending to that Florida woman? She had, after all, been sat on by a six-hundred-pound camel, an experience that has to be at least uncomfortable and probably injurious. A reader has to wonder if she had some broken bones or some cracked ribs or at least a nasty taste in her mouth.

And we still have the deaf dog to deal with. –Calvin Trillin, New Yorker


Conspiracy (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season One, Episode 25) Parasitic Bug Doppelgängers on Earth

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation This episode piles on the cloak-and-dagger tropes such as secret messages, clandestine meetings, imposters, and, of course, conspiracy. “Don’t trust anyone,” warns an old friend of Picard’s who, no surprise, doesn’t make it to the end of the next act. The story ambitiously builds upon suspicions that Admiral Quinn first mentioned to Picard in s1e18 “Coming of Age,” warning of high-stakes fractures within the mostly utopian Federation. Yet the execution overall feels out of place in the Star Trek canon — even during the herky-jerky first season. The teaser is a bit odd. While…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In February, 2001, I was blogging about computer nostalgia, Napster, a horror typing game, usability, and web blurbs.

In February, 2001, I was blogging about Computer nostalgia and text adventure games.“Walking into a room rendered in the Q3 engine can be lovely and impressive, but when you’ve only 16K to tell a story, you have to rely on the gamer’s imagination to provide the details. Just the words ‘you are on a beach’ can summon vistas no game can provide.” — James Lileks Napster. File-sharing was destroying the economic model of the recording industry. Here’s a screenshot of what the Yahoo News “Technology Full Coverage” section looked like on February 23, 2001. The Typing of the Dead: A…


I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about the gender of a plastic potato with detachable body parts.

  I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about a plastic potato, but Hasbro is removing the “Mr.” from its “Potato Head” logo, and offering a new mix-and-match package that includes two potato bodies, one baby potato, and a bunch of loose parts that will let kids put them together however they want. That doesn’t mean it’s discarding or re-gendering the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters.  (Though the whole ethos of a toy with detachable body parts makes you wonder why any of this is even necessary.) A tweet from Hasbro confirms the characters are still named Mr.…

Details on the disappearance of the Utah monolith

Mr. Bernards, 34, of Edwards, Colo., was visiting the monolith on Friday night when, he said, four men arrived as if out of nowhere to dismantle the sculpture. Mr. Bernards had driven six hours for the chance to ogle the sculpture and to take dramatic photographs of it. Using upscale Lume Cube lights attached to a drone, he produced a series of glowy, moonlit pictures in which the monolith glistens against the red cliffs and the deep blue of the night sky. Suddenly, around 8:40 p.m., he said, the men arrived, their voices echoing in the canyon. Working in twosomes,…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2000, I was blogging about the US Presidential election, mirrors, Arts & Letters Daily, and more

In November 2000, I was blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin Why we perceive mirrors reversing things left/right but not up/down Pioneering blog Arts & Letters Daily (just a year older than my own blog) Nick Montfort’s constrained poem “Upper Typewriter Row“ The 2000 US Presidential Election controversy (ballot design, hanging chads, recounts, political cartoons) The Web Economy Bullshit Generator The Onion’s fake “Fontly Speaking” typeface design column. James Lileks’s Orphanage of Cast-off Mascots A Quake 3 gamer who misses solving puzzles in text-adventure games


Booby Trap (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 6) When LaForge gets absurd with a hologram nerd, he’s a-creeper

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. To escape a thousand-year-old booby trap, LaForge interacts with a holodeck simulation of the designer of the Enterprise’s engines… and gets waaay too attached. The teaser shows LaForge on a date — a failure that he later talks over with Guinan. Meanwhile, Picard, thrilled to explore an old warship, is dismayed that his officers never played with ships-in-bottles. (“I did, sir,” says O’Brien. Picard must not have seen the ship Geordi brought to engineering in Elementary, Dear Data.) After a very slow exploration of a very small derelict set (because budget), and just a hint…