Thursday, January 28, 2010

A contest fit for the King (of the cave)

I don't know why I keep entering these contests. I never win. Okay, almost never...
Anyway, I gots this email this mornin' from the DIY Network, where they are going to pick one lucky sucker to give $50,000.00 to for the ultimate Man-cave.
Now clearly, a TROGLO-dad is worthy of such a prize.
Of course, I won't win. I won't win because I know exactly what I'd do to make my "dream mancave".
First off, I'd tear out the 2x4 and paneling walls in my current work-in-progress man cave. No wussified lumber for me- I'd surround myself with honest-to-goodness concrete block walls- filled with concrete. That way, if any tornado swept by, my basement would survive.
Secondly, I'd fix up the kids' playroom that takes up a good third of the basement. Got to have some way to divert the little monkies so they stay away. Because an ideal mancave would be kid-free. And the only way to make a mancave kid-free is to give them their own cool room. Fixing up said playroom would mean lots of storage- to put away all those damn toys they leave out and I'm always stepping on. They'd also need a comfortable couch, and a big-ass TV (so they would quit hogging my TV). They've got a DVD player and PS2. I guess I should upgrade them to a PS3 or Wii to keep their grubby hands off my Xbox 360 controllers. No need for a surround sound system, though- kids talk through all the movies anyway, and don't appreciate Digital Dolby in the least bit.
Next, I'd go ahead and put that bathroom in the basement I'd like to have. True, it's on the kids' side of the basement, next to the laundry room, but that's good. If a bathroom was ajacent to the mancave half of the basement, then I'd have kids running through my room, disrupting my TV viewing on their frequent potty breaks. And stinking up my mancave, no doubt.
Bathroom and playroom in place, the next step would be a nice steel, sliding door to seal my man cave off like a frickin' bunker. Diversion isn't enough with my kids- they'd still want to come pester me. I'd include a video equipped intercom as well, so that I wouldn't get tricked into opening the door for nothing.
Ah, now I'm sealed behind a foot of concrete and steel, in my half of the basement (when I bought the house the whole basement was my territory- darn kids are encroaching on me).
In hindsight, maybe I should get a reinforced roof put in as well. That wood floor above my head transmits the jumping, running and hooliganism of the wife and kids like a frickin' bullhorn...
My current mancave ("Daddy's Movie Room") is one-third office (storage room) and two-thirds movie room. I'd keep that arrangement, and add in a concrete wall between office and movie room. Odds are, one day the kids will encroach into the mancave, and I'll need a fallback position. Again, a steel door, preferably like something you'd find on a submarine, would be nice. Inside the office, I'd have a nice work bench with my tools, for all the hobby stuff and toy repair I do ("Daddy- fix this!"). And an awesome bat-cave-like computer setup, with multiple monitors, a huge-ass recliner and some state of the art gaming PC. And a back-up Xbox for when mine Red-Rings. Again. To round it out, I think I'd go for an overall bunker look in the office, and throw in a gunsafe for that non-existant gun collection the wife won't let me have.
Moving out of the office, I'd put in some nice, thick carpet in the movie room. Something soft for my feet- a welcome change from the ever present barbie shoes, ello building blocks, crayons and play jewelry. I'd replace my modest 32" TV with some giant ass 55 inch, OLED, hung on the wall theater-style. Which would of course require rebuilding my shelves and bookcases. Then I'd replace the brokedown couch the kids have about worn out. Maybe add in a PS3 for myself as well, and go ahead and get some wall and ceiling-mounted speakers for my surround sound. I appreciate surround sound.
Then it's time to finish, or perhaps, redo, the rough dry bar I put in two years ago. Or rather, started, two years ago. Maybe add in a functioning sink. Throw up some better lighting too.
Not sure what kind of ceiling to put in the wood paneled mancave. I was planning a nice black-felt ceiling to absorb sound and continue the theater theme.
If there's money left over, it'd be time to go back to the wall between office and movie room and put in a nice wood-burning stove or small fireplace. Caves can get cold in the winter.
And then there's a generator. I mean, if this is a true "Dream" cave, you can't have a storm knocking out power right in the middle of the 300th screening of "Predator". And not some damn generator I'd have to go outside to start- no, I'd want a remote-start one. Which means pouring a concrete pad outside, and upgrading our house to 200 amp service, with an emergency generator switchover panel. I guess I could share generator power with the kitchen, to keep the bulk of my food intact and kep the family out of my mancave in storms.
Finally, any true mancave needs a trophy. So I think I'd purchase a nice shotgun and sign up for one of those weekend deer hunt excursions and bag myself a trophy. The head could be put in the new mancave, and the meat- well I could put that in a freezer for grilling up later. If only I could put a grill in the mancave, too...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On this January 27th, let's be flush with national pride, in the memory of a true hero- Thomas Crapper.

They say a man's home is his castle. And what would any castle be without a throne?

Thomas Crapper helped improve and promote the modern flush toilet. Without his efforts, perhaps we'd all very likely, still be going outside to take dump. That's a hero worth remembering- especially in winter.

Salute, Thomas Crapper! Thank you for making the throne a permanent fixture in our homes!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

GSCE Candidate: Cameron Mitchell

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Col. Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder) Stargate: The Ark of Truth
Captain Skills: 5
Cameron Mitchell, a bad-ass fighter pilot, went on to assume command of SG-1, after Colonel ONeill's promotion. If that wasn't impressive enough, Mitchell is given command of the Odyssey, a Daedalus-class vessel for a special mission to find a lost Ancient weapon. While most of his skills weren't really put to the test during this brief Captaincy, there's no denying Mitchell's qualifications for the job.
Starship Combat Skills: 4
Mitchell may be more at home behind the stick of an F-302 starfighter, but he clearly grasps the concepts of starship combat, and had many successes in combat.
Crew: 4.5
When your crew consists of Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Tealc and the best the USAF has to offer, it just doesn't get any better.
Personal Combat Skills: 5
During the episode "Babylon", Mitchell is taken in by a band of elite Jaffa- Jaffa even more-badassed than normal. During this time, Mitchell receives intense martial arts training from the Jaffa- something the fighter pilot needed after multiple instances of getting the crap beat out of him in earlier episodes.
Ladies Man: 3.5
Mitchell definitely had an eye for the ladies, but only occasionally chased them.
Coolness: 4.5
After the stunning success of Farscape, Ben Browder had major geek cred coming to SG-1. It was not difficult for the beloved actor to create a new favorite character- a happy-go-lucky, never-give-up, Medal of Honor-winning soldier. Yep, his character won the Medal of Honer pre-SG-1. That's pretty frickin' impressive.
Total score: 26.5 out of 30.
Yikes! Cameron Mitchell is in the running for Greatest Starship Captain Ever, tying with Commander Cain!

GSCE Candidate: Col. Steven Caldwell

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Steven Caldwell (Mitch Pileggi) Stargate SG-1/Stargate Atlantis
Captain Skills: 4
Clearly, to get assigned command of the USAF's first Dadaelus-Class starships, Caldwell had to be pretty sharp.
Starship Combat Skills: 4
While the USAF doesn't exactly have a War College for space combat, Caldwell leads the Dadaelus  to multiple victories.
Crew: 4
Again, to get posted to one of the USAF's few starships, you must have your shit together.
Personal Combat Skills: 3
Caldwell may be old, but don't count him out. It's reasonable to assume he has some advanced combat training. But for all we know, he could be a frickin' ninja.
Ladies Man: 1
Caldwell is kind of a prick to Dr. Elizabeth Weir, so he clearly wasn't trying to score with her. We can only hope he wasn't a "Don't ask, don't tell" type.
Coolness: 4
Caldwell was once taken over by a Goauld. When he is freed from it, he doesn't suffer shellshock and go wimpering off to some VA hospital somewhere. No, he's right back in the action, blowing the shit out of aliens in the Atlantis Galaxy. If that isn't cool, remember he's also Dep. Director Skinner from the X-Files.
Total score: 20 out of 30.

GSCE Candidate: John J Sheridan

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
John J. Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) Babylon 5
Captain Skills: 5
A war hero from the Earth-Minbarri War, Sheridan was the first choice to Captain Babylon 5, but was withheld in favor of a more diplomatic Jeffrey Sinclair. Sheridan is a skilled starship Captain, who's performance places him in command of the key space station in the known worlds, leading to captaining the White Star- a Minbarri-Human vessel.
Starship Combat Skills: 5
While he is flying a desk at Babylon 5 most of the series, Sheridan's skills as a Starship captain are revealed with the legend of his destruction of the Minbarri flagship, the Black Star, during the Human-Minbarri war. The only victory humans had in the war.
Crew: 4
During his pre-B5 days, Sheridan undoubtably possessed a superior crew, but we can't be sure. Aboard the White Star, Sheridan has a crew made of Rangers- beings part secret agent, part warrior monk, part commando. Clearly a better-than-average crew.
Personal Combat Skills: 3.5
Sheridan may be a Captain, but he isn't afraid to let fly some whoop ass, or bust a cap in enemy's asses when needed.
Ladies Man: 1
Sheridan believed his first wife dead, but that didn't mean he wasn't interested in the ladies, eventually remarrying during the B5 series.
Coolness: 5
If it isn't enough for you that Bruce Boxleitner was better know (from his previous TV Series) as secret agent "Scarecrow", co-starring with a frickin' Charlie's Angel, consider this: When Sheridan is first posted to the B5, the Minbarri about shit- he is, in their eyes, a war criminal for nuking their flagship during the war.Yeah, nuking. How many scifi characters can say they eliminated their enemy with nuclear weapons? Not many. No wonder Sheridan is such a hero he is able to start a civil war and topple the Earth Alliance's corrupt government towards the end fo the series.
Total score: 23.5 out of 30

GSCE Revised Rankings:

The new scores, are now:

Commander Cain








Cpt. James T. Kirk








Han Solo








Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard








Cpt. Dylan Hunt








Cpt. James T. Kirk








Malcolm Reynolds








David Lister








After much arguing, the rankings thus far have changed, to reflect a more precise scoring system.

Skills as a Captain:

0 Pts- No skills whatsoever

1 Pts- Barely able to perform the duties of a Captain

2 Pts- Below avg abilities, possibly some training

3 Pts- Avg skills, indicating inherent leadership ability or training

4 Pts- Above average skills, from advanced training, inherent leadership, or both

5 Pts- Flawless performance- an inspiring leader of leaders


Leadership: properly managing ship and crew, and inspiring crew

Discipline: Keeps crew and ship in the right direction

Stewardship: takes care of the property (ship & equipment) he is responsible for

Starship Combat Skills

0 Pts- No skills whatsoever, will die, get crew killed and lose ship in first encounter

1 Pt- Possesses only the slimmest chance of surviving space combat, possibly through luck

2 Pts- Below avg ability, more likely to lose combat

3 Pts- Avg ability, reflecting training or natural ability. Wins some, loses some.

4 Pts- Above Avg ability, reflecting luck, training or both. Likely to win most fights

5 Pts- Unbeatable in space combat, through advanced training, luck, cosmic awareness or some other factor.


0 Pts- Worse possible crew imaginable, hampering operations more than no crew would

1 Pt- Extremely poor crew, barely capable of functioning

2 Pts- Below average crew requiring constant supervision and prone to mistakes

3 Pts- Average Crew, capable of performing tasks assigned and expected of them

4 Pts- Above Average Crew, excelling in a variety of areas, and exceeding expectations

5 Pts- Perfect crew, capable of operating without the captain, or performing tasks not humanly possible.

Personal Combat Skills

0 Pts- Unable to fight. Couldn't beat way out of wet paper bag. Possible invalid

1 Pt- Barest ability to defend self.

2 Pts- Can defend self, may have minimal training, or experience

3 Pts- Average abilities, reflecting some training or natural ability

4 Pts- Above average ability and/or advanced training. Wins most fist fights

5 Pts- Master of combat, through advanced training, inherent ability, super human powers or abilities. Formal Martial Arts training or special forces training

Ladies Man

-1 to -5 Pts- Measure of gayness, ranging from mildly, to flaming to super gay

0 Pts- No interest in women, due to robotic nature, etc.

1 Pts- No interest in women, due to marriage

2 Pts- Interested in one woman, or flirts a lot with women

3 Pts- Actively pursues women

4 Pts- Actively pursues women, has multiple relationships and is pursued by women

5 Pts- Has multiple relationships, has women chasing him, is surrounded by beautiful women most fo the time

NOTE: In the event that a subject is distracted by women, or has his judgement seriously impaired, deduct one point.

NOTE: Superhot women Captain involved with may earn a bonus point


0 Pts- Completely uncool. A nerd in space

1 Pt- Slightly cooler than average. Dignified.

2 Pts- Cool as a cucumber. Doesn't ruffled by an situation

3 Pts- Very Cool. Who you'd want to be.

4 Pts- Extremely Cool, Inspires others to be like him

5 Pts- Coolest cat around, everyone around him wants to be him, his name alone inspires others.

NOTE: Extreme nerds, slobs, etc can be awarded 1 point for going beyond the 0 Level, in the same manner that a Hawaiian shirt is so ugly it's cool.

GSCE Candidate: David Lister

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
David Lister (Craig Bierko) Red Dwarf
Captain Skills: 0
Lister was a second class service technician trained only in the repair of food dispensing machines. Afte the crew of the Red Dwarf were all killed by radiation, he became the sole surviving crew member and by default, Captain. Unfortunately, Lister has absolutely no Captain skills whatsoever.
Starship Combat Skills: 0
Even if the Red Dwarf had some kind of weapons system, it is highly unlikely Lister could direct the ship to defeat even an unarmed opponent. In all likelihood, Lister would instead somehow manage to shoot the Red Dwarf with it's open weaponry.
Crew: 2
A hypochondriac android, a self-absorbed Cat person and a complete idiot Hologram make for a crew that often endangers the Red Dwarf's very existence.
Personal Combat Skills: 2
Despite being a complete slacker, Lister has had experience fighting during his youth. He is barely able to defend himself, and at least possesses the ability to fire a weapon.
Ladies Man: 3
Lister is very interested in the ladies, but alas, it does not seem to be the other way around.
Coolness: 4
A slob of a magnitude rarely seen, with little to no musical abilities, Lister somehow manages to come across as a likeable guy. Which surely indicated he is cooler than most.
Total score: 11 out of 30.
As expected, Lister completely flunks at being a Starship Captain, with a score of 37%. Did you expect otherwise?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

GCSE Candidate: Dylan Hunt

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Dylan Hunt    (Kevin Sorbo) Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
Captain Skills: 3
Like Kirk and Picard, Dylan Hunt is the premiere officer of his fleet. A noted Captain respected by his peers and beloved by his crew. Well, except for his best friend and first mate, Gaheris Rhade. Wow. That's a pretty poor judge of character, that endangered the ship and crew. Only through sheer luck did Hunt not get destroyed by the black hole the Andromeda Ascendant fell into.
Personal Combat Skills: 5
At 6'3" tall and possessing a strength five times that of regular men, Cpt. Hunt didn't need a lot of combat training to kick ass. But as a High Guard officer, he got it, and frequently unleashed some major whoopass, worthy of Kevin Sorbo's previous show, Hercules. If a Gorn had faced against Dylan Hunt, there wouldn't have been any home-made cannon. Hunt would have kicked some lizard ass with his bare hands.
Starship Combat Skills: 5
Again, the creme of his fleet, Dylan Hunt's skills in starship combat are repeatedly shown throughout his TV series. And unlike Captains Picard and Kirk, he never had to sacrifice his ship.
Ladies Man: 4
While he didn't exactly have a chick in every port, Captain Hunt probably could have. First there was his intelligent ship, Andromeda Ascendantthat was in love with him. Then there was Bekka Valentine, a space pirate that freed him from a black hole. Then there was Trance Gemini, the frickin' avatar of a star, with godlike powers. And the list goes on and on. Basically, the former Hercules could have had nearly any chick he wanted in the galaxy. And unlike Kirk, Hunt didn't suffer temporary dumbfoundedness when he saw a fetching female.
Crew: 3
Hunt's original crew abilities weren't really explored in the pilot episode- but we know that his first officer betrayed him. Not so good. His new, adopted crew from the Eureka Maru were a clever band of misfits, but hardly the creme of any organized fleet. Given the traitorous forst officer, and the misfits of the Eureka Maru 3 seems like a fair, middle-of-the-road score.
Coolness: 5
Remember that thing about the actor being the character? In Dylan Hunt's case, Kevin Sorbo was already hugely popular, after starring as Hercules for many years. Unlike William Shatner, Harrison Ford or Patrick Stewart who were minor actors when they starred in their shows. Now it's true that long hair is girlified, even if it what many a chick likes. But Cpt. Hunt is a genetically engineered, super-humanly strong, uber Captain, who can out fight, out think and out fly most, if not all of the humans in the 52nd century.
Total score: 25 out of 30.
83%. Hunt beats out Han Solo, but still comes in second fiddle to Jim Kirk and Commander Cain.

GSCE Candidate: Commander Caine

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Commander Cain  (Lloyd Bridges) Battlestar Galactica- the Original Series
Captain Skills: 5
Commander Cain is Patton. If you didn't realize this, you should be banned from Science Fiction. And Patton is the undeniable King of Armored warfare. We can extrapolate from that (to use a fancy Trekkian-like word) that Cain was clearly meant by Glenn Larson to be the ultimate Colonial Warrior. A leader of leaders. Not to mention that despite being yahrens behind enemy lines, with no supply, Cain kept the Pegasus and her crew fighting those Cylon bastards for yahrens. If you're still in doubt, the cult-like following of Cain's crew should crush any doubt in your mind whatsoever. Cain was the shit. We really should give him a 6 in this category, as you simply could never have more skill as a Captain than Cain. 
Personal Combat Skills: 4
Colonial Warriors are bad asses. They can fight, shoot and fly. Starbuck and Apollo showed what a Warrior at the top of his game could do. And since Cain was to be the ultimate Warrior, it's pretty clear you wouldn't want to back sass him. Especially since he wore his blaster at his side, at all times, all Han Solo-like. Cain was always on duty, always prepared to kick ass. Yeah, he was as old as Jean-Luc Picard, but he clearly would have blown Jean-Luc away before any meeting could have even been called. Now, I am tempted to take a point off, since he carried that sissy riding crop around. What the hell kind of weapon is that? Then I realized it was to protect the crew from his awesome wrath. Surely proving his bad assedness.
Starship Combat Skills: 5
The Cylons couldn't beat Cain. Even with their cowardly surprise attack, that decimated the Colonies and the other Battlestars. And while Adama ran away with his tail between his legs, playing nursemaid to a bunch of fat cat civilians, Cain stayed behind, slaughtering Cylons with gleeful abandon. In the end, Cain was so bad ass, he had to defeat himself by going Kamikaze on TWO base stations.
Ladies Man: 2.5
Oh, yes, Cain was a ladies man. Remember Starbuck's hooker, Casseiodopia? Well, Cain had already hooked up with her. And probably countless others. Yeah, he was old enough to be her grandpa, but she still dug him enough she dumped Starbuck. Starbuck! The Old Bull definitely had it. Too bad all the planets he went to had stinking Cylons. If they'd have had hot, alien chicks, he'd have no doubt put Jim Kirk to shame.
Crew: 5
Clearly the crew of the Pegasus were without compare. They fought and survived behind Cylon lines for Yahren! And then there was Cain's superhot daughter Sheba. RRwoar! What a woman!
Coolness: 4
BG Fans clearly have a most favorite character- Cain. And let's not forget that Lloyd Bridges was more popular in his day than Harrison Ford was in the 80s or 90s. But most of all, Cain is Patton. And the only American General cooler than Patton was MacArthur. But I'm deducting a point for his age and lame riding crop. Patton used his bare hand to smack his soldier.
Total score: 25.5 out of 30.
85%! A tie with Shatner's Kirk! Guess there will eventually have to be a sudden death to determine the ultimate winner...

GSCE Candidate: Jean-Luc Picard

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Jean-Luc Picard  (Patrick Stewart) Star Trek: The Next Generation
Captain Skills: 5
As with James T. Kirk a century before him, Jean-Luc is the cream of the crop- the best Starfleet has to offer- or else he never would have been given command of the Enterprise-D. Jean-Luc dispenses advice to his idolizing crew, can diplomatically solve any solutuion and is the epitome of charm and sophistication in space. Yes, he's your grandpa, with a starship.
Personal Combat Skills: 2
When TNG started, Picard was totally the chatty Cathy, Merv Griffin of Starfleet. Talk, Talk, talk. As the show wore on, he suddenly became a crack phaser shot, and could duke it out with Klingons. I attribute this to the great Patrick Stewart telling the writers to stop being a bunch of wankers and make Picard less of a fag. But despite his Klingon Batleh, he will always be Grandpa. I mean please, Wesley could have kicked his ass. Picard was a diplomat, not a pugilist. 
Starship Combat Skills: 5
While it may have only been the Ferengi that shit themselves when they went up against Picard, you have got to give props to grandpa. He has a firckin' manuever named after him! True, he needed a fifteen minute peptalk from the crew before any starship encounter, and true the Enterprise was more battleship than exploration vessel, but there's no doubt- showdown with Jean-Luc and he'll blow your ass away.
Ladies Man: 1
Okay, you're friends with the superhot Beverly Crusher, and you never make your move? What the hell? Did the writers actually want Picard to be a queer? What is the deal? Surely Kirk's legend was something every cadet read about when Picard was going through the Academy. Why wasn't he chasing tail in the finest Starfleet tradition?! I'm sorry, Patrick "Professor X" Stewart is an awesome actor, but dude, your Picard was kinda gay. If it weren't for Stewart, I think the show would never have made it.
Crew: 3
I have to be really harsh here. Picard got to hand frickin' pick his crew. Riker was okay, and superhot Deanna Troy was excellent with an extra X, and let's not forget the ginger-haired goodness of Beverly Crusher. But what the hell was the deal with the original Chief engineer? Or having a blind man in the engineering section at all? I know, Worf makes up for a lot of the silly shit, but then Picard throws it all away by putting that dumbass Wesley Crusher on the bridge. Hey, Picard! Didn't you read the history books- Doogie Howser was gay! Man, Picard is lucky Wesley didn't crash the Enterprise into a black hole or something.
Coolness: 4
Again, I'm going to point this out again: great actor equals great character. In the same manner that Han Solo is Indiana Jones, Jean-Luc is Professor X. How frickin' cool is that? I know, Jean-Luc's a geriatric gossiper better suited to talk radio or a classroom than the bridge of the Federation's flagship, but he's Patrick Stewart! Cool! (Not 5 point cool, but COOL)
Total score: 20 out of 30.
66%. Ouch, I really figured Picard would do better than this. It's that damn Wesley's fault, and those San Francisco writers...

GSCE Candidate: James T. Kirk (2009)

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
James T. Kirk  (Chris Pine) Star Trek (2009)
Captain Skills: 3
In the original series universe, James T. Kirk grew up with a Starfleet dad, went to the academy, excelled at his courses and worked his way rapidly through the ranks. In the new alternate reality universe, Chris Pine's Kirk was a fatherless, juvenile delinquent, who spent years when he should have been in the Academy wracking up a criminal record. When he finally goes to the Academy, Kirk shows his intelligence and is a top student. But instead of learning through experience, he gains his captaincy of the Enterprise through bad-assery and saving the Earth. Without the experiences he should have had, Kirk simply hasn't learned the finer skills he will need.
Personal Combat Skills: 5
Put him in an alternate universe with no dad, and Jim Kirk just has even more to prove and is quicker to unleash his fists of fury. Like his Original Series counterpart, Kirk is a master of Whoopassery, but now also possesses a I-don't-give-a-shit, Punisher like mentality. He's dangerous, and maybe a little nuts. Childhood an do that to you.
Starship Combat Skills: 3.5
Again, without the years of experience he should have learned from previous postings to Starfleet vessels, the new Jim Kirk is still a little green. Then again, his deathwish bravado might help him in space as well as in a bar fight. Of course, this does not bode well for the Enterprise...
Ladies Man: 4
Some would say that Kirk's hedonistic, heathen ways are a weakness. That anytime he sees a shapely alien tail all his reason goes right out the window. That's why he has a Vulcan for a wingman. To make sure he doesn't do something overly stupid. We can only assume that the alternate universe Kirk will be as skirt chasing as his TOS self. At least, we hope he is.
Crew: 4
Okay, the only thing keeping Kirk from having a 5 here are those damned red shirts. How can anyone choose Scotty, Spock, McCoy and Uhura as his crew then turn around and pick the Marx brothers for security? Oops. Wait, the new Kirk didn't get to pick anything other than his first officer. Well, he's still stuck with a bunch of suicidal whack jobs in red. Maybe in a sequel he can change that...
Coolness: 4
William Shatner totally made Kirk the legend he is today. Chris Pine has done an excellent job amping that up. And since we haven't seen Pine go all TJ Hooper/Denny Crane, he hasn't lost points for goofiness. He just needs to be taller.
Total score: 23.5 out of 30.
79%! Yow! New Kirk is Han Solo's jock-carrier. Well, what'd ya expect- he's only had one movie to show his stuff. Maybe his score will go up in sequels...

GSCE Candidate: James T. Kirk (TOS)

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
James T. Kirk  (William Shatner) Star Trek franchise
Captain Skills: 5
Okay, Jim Kirk was a brilliant Starfleet graduate. His father was a Starfleet officer before him. He rose through the ranks and became the youngest Starship captain ever. He was given command of the Enterprise (1701) so he must have been pretty hot shit. He's negotiated peace treaties, he's defended whole regions of space. He was so bad ass as a Captain, they promoted him to Admiral.
Personal Combat Skills: 4
Most men in the 24th century might have resorted to just vaporizing their enemies with a phaser set on disintegrate. Not Jim Kirk. He jumped right in, laying out knucklesandwiches like he was the f***ing ship's cook or something. He even tried duking it out with a Gorn! (Before he blew its ass away with a cannon improvised from dirt and rocks laying around!) About the only person on TV in the 1960s that could have beat Kirk's ass was the Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato (Bruce Lee).
Starship Combat Skills: 5
Can you name a starship captain who has had as many space combat victories as Kirk? During peace time? The Klingons about shit themselves everytime his name is mentioned. In fact, most enemy ship captains get all excited like they're about to bang some trophy buck when they find out he's fighting them. Face it, if there's ever a starship war, who's side do you want to be on? I thought so...
Ladies Man: 4
Some would say that Kirk's hedonistic, heathen ways are a weakness. That anytime he sees a shapely alien tail all his reason goes right out the window. That's why he has a Vulcan for a wingman. To make sure he doesn't do something overly stupid. Still, I'll grudgingly take one point off for Kirk's "weakness" for chicks. But you have to admit, anyone who can have that many gorgariffic hotties at his beck and call scores major points.
Crew: 4
Okay, the only thing keeping Kirk from having a 5 here are those damned red shirts. How can anyone choose Scotty, Spock, McCoy and Uhura as his crew then turn around and pick the Marx brothers for security? Did Kirk get a sick, twisted pleasure watching all the Red Shirts die? I know, with his mastery of Whoopassery, he didn't really need the Red Shirts for more than bird dogging, but still, he could have done better.
Coolness: 3.5
William Shatner totally made Kirk the legend he is today. And if he had stopped with the series, well, this would be a 5. But after TJ Hooker, Shatner's protrayal of any role became rather silly. Silly is okay for shows like Monty Python, but I don't want to see Kirk turn silly. It's like finding out your favorite uncle was a crackhead or something. Major point deduction for Kirk's older years, after he got emotional about his bastard son dying, and wept at Spock's passing. Wussy.
Total score: 25.5 out of 30.
85%! Yow! That's pretty frickin' awesome a score, knocking poor, monogamistic Han Solo right out of the lead. Ouch!

GSCE Candidate: Han Solo

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from "Star Wars", "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi"
Captain Skills: 4
Han Solo is an able starship captain and superb pilot- making the Kessel Run in 1.3 parsecs... He can fix his ship, his one-wookie crew would jump in the fires of hell for him, and he's got actual military experience, being a drop out from the Imperial academy. Yes, the Empire considers him a smuggler, more than a legitimate Captain, but he's got all the skills needed: diplomacy (he was able to sweet talk Jabba the Hutt for an extension on his debt) and he is an experienced spacer.
Personal Combat Skills: 4
Aside from the ability to kick ass with his bare hands, Han Solo is a regular pistolero. I think the character shits and showers with his blaster by his side. The blaster with which he is a crack shot, and a qick draw. Fired a shot into Darth Vader's hand in "Empire". Yep, Vader is the most powerful Jedi/Sith ever but Solo managed to quick draw and fire a blast that Vader had to take in the hand, then use the force to deflect others. Vader should have plucked that gun from Solo's hand before it ever cleared the holster.
Starship Combat Skills: 3
I suspect Solo was even more skilled at starship combat, but we'll never know. Still, he showed amazing skills; using a gunship/frieghter to take out a Tie fighter in the frickin' trench of the Death Star; hiding in the trash of the Imperial Star Destroyer after attaching to it without anyone knowing; and best of all, evading the Imperial FLEET multiple times.
Ladies Man: 4
Like Captain Reynolds from Firefly, Solo seems to not be very interested in chicks. While that may make him more manly in a Viking way, fans want to see some jigglies. Then along comes Princess Leia and Solo gets all all obsessed. At least she's a princess who can kick ass and pass as a bounty hunter (Bousch). And once you found Leia in the slave girl outfit, would you really want to go to other planets, searching out hot new ladies? No.
Crew: 4
Okay, I know Solo has one crew member/partner, but it's Chewbacca. I mean, really. Would you rather have a dozen Starfleet Red Shirts, or one good wookie in your crew? Chewie can fly, shoot, repair things and rip the f***ing arms off people! When you have Chewbacca, you don't NEED any more crew. The only thing better than Chewbacca, would be two Chewbaccas- which would earn Solo a 5.
Coolness: 5
Let's remember that the actor is the character. Good casting makes or breaks a character. In Solo's case, he's played by frickin' Indiana Jones. It doesn't get any cooler than that. Harrison Ford has played two awesome, fanboy heroes in his career- what a lucky bastard. All that aside, Solo is clearly the coolest mofo this side of Shaft. You can bet your Holy Grail on it.
Total score: 24 out of 30.
80% puts Han Solo in clear first place. But can his non-gigalo ways help him keep the title?

GSCE Candidate: Malcolm Reynolds

It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the Greatest Starship Captain Ever?
Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) from TV's "Firefly series"?
Captain Skills: 3.5
He's an able captain, with a devout crew, so I give him a 3.5; Jane is always back sassing him, so he doesn't get a full 4. When push comes to shove, Malcolm is a thief who uses a spaceship to get away from his crimes. Being a "Captain" is a cover for his criminal activities.
Personal Combat Skills: 3
He's okay with a gun, but wasn't he always getting his ass kicked and disarmed? I think a 3 is applicable here- he's no Kwai Chang Caine nor could he shoot the apple off someone's head. I only give him the 3 because he's a combat-hardened veteran who survived a war.
Starship Combat Skills: 1
The man has NO formal starship combat training. He basically owns, and can somewhat fly, the Serenity. I give him a 1. Grudgingly.
Ladies Man: 1
Reynolds seems more interested in making money, boozing it up, gambling, and his ship. Until the space hooker comes along. Then he becomes all focused on her, pining after her damaged, used goods. Like Han Solo and Princess Leia. Except Solo's fixation is a virgin princess who can kick ass (and pose as a bounty hunter). I give Reynolds a 1 (Han gets a 2 due to his better choice).
Crew: 3.5
The pilot dude, and his hot wife (I watched each episode only once) are awesome crew. Then you've got dysfunctional hired-gun Jane (clearly the real star of the show), a preacher, some nerd doctor and the Femme Fatal, 12 year old ,Peter Pan-type. WTF? What kind of crew is that? Red Shirts could beat all their asses. Peter Pan may be some kind of genetically enhanced super-killer, but let's see her dodge a phaser set on disintegrate.
Coolness: 2
Maybe it's the actor, but I just don't find Reynolds cool. He's no Han Solo, despite the obvious ripoff/homage. (Wussy- Han Solo's ship has guns and torpedos). Still, he's got a devoted fan following, so I grudgingly give a 2.
Total score: 14 out of 30.
Yikes. That's an "F", at less than 50%. Great? I hardly think so...
It's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the greatest Starship Captain ever?

Now that we have a method for judging who's the best Captain EVER, we need some nominations, then we'll go back and start scoring them. If you would like to nominate a captain not listed below, please add a comment.

Jean-Luc Picard ("Star Trek: The Next Generation")

James T. Kirk ("Star Trek: The Original Series")

James T. Kirk ("Star Trek" 2009 alternate universe movie)

Han Solo ("Star Wars" Original Trilogy)

Malcolm Reynolds ("Firefly" & "Serenity")

Christopher Pike ("Star Trek" 2009 movie; ST: TOS Pike is eliminated because he ended up a pathetic cripple, presented for pity's sake, rather than as a strong character in the episodes)

David Bowman ("2001: A Space Odyssey")

Acting-Captain Dave Lister ("Red Dwarf")

Commander Adama ("Battlestar Galactica" the original series; NOTE- The "reimagined", demasculating series will not be considered, as it violates the tenents of true scifi, turning swashbuckling heroes into chicks, in true "Syfy" fashion)

Commander Caine ("Battlestar Galactica" the original series)

Captain Hikaru Sulu ("Star Trek VI")

Captain Benjamin Sisko ("Star Trek Deep Space 9")

Captain Jonathan Archer ("Enterprise")

John J. Adams ("Forbidden Planet")

The Greatest Starship Captain Ever?

Okay, so it's 2010, the Year We Make Contact. That means Scifi needs to get over the Mayan 2012 doomsday "prophecy", post-apocalyptic craze, and embrace space travel. And what better way to celebrate Scifi's outer space roots than by deciding who is the greatest Starship Captain ever?
Over the next few days, I'll evaluate cool captains by the following criteria to determine who is the best ever:
Live Action- there are plenty of cool starship captains in Comic Books ("Starslayer") and novels, but face it, Scifi (despite it's current feminist "syfy" spelling) is primarily for dudes, and dudes want to see their favorite captain chasing, jiggling, bouncing, alien babes. No matter how good it's art, print cannot reproduce the 3D movement of live action. In the same manner, cartoons just can't do justice the girlish form like live action.
Must be a dude- as mentioned previously, we dudes like to see girls' curves, preferably with as little covering them as possible. Unless the official captain's uniform is a bikini then, chicks belong beside the real captain, not the helm of a starship.
Coolness- Face it, there are many, many starship captains in film and TV, but how many were cool, main characters (or villains) and how many were supporting characters played by actors doing commercials now? If you got less than 5 minutes of screentime, unless you're someone of Samuel Jackson's standing, your character is not a great anything.
Must have a crew- Pilots need not apply for this award. Yeah Luke Skywalker can wield the force and a lightsaber while flaying rings around most ships out there, but a single droid added for comedic effect doesn't count as a crew. Similarly, while the Tardis the the greatest ship of all time, and the Doctor definitely has had some HOT chicks (Rose Tyler and Martha Jones for example), he has no crew. Just occasional passengers. Sorry, Doc, but you are not a captain. More like a time-hopping playboy joyriding in the ultimate hot rod.
Once a GSCE candidate has passed his initial screening, the only fair way to determine the greatest is to score (on a scale of  1 to 5) each captain.
Captain Skills: Anybody can be given a starship to control, but as the many Imperial Commanders under Palpatine proved in the Star Warsfranchise, that isn't enough. How well you conduct yourself, your crew and your ship is what matters. Maybe it's skills as a diplomat, a strategist or a boss, but a good Captain has to be part military tactician, part coach, part pilot and part big brother. A GREAT captain has a little of George S. Patton thrown in for good measure.
Personal Combat Skills: If you're the main character, you can't sit on board the ship throughout your film/tv series. Your ass has to get into the thick of it. Can you unleash your inner Bruce Lee? Or do you resort to talking and firing off stern notes of protest?
Starship Combat Skills: You might be the worst captain ever to set foot in space, but if you're a mastermind at space combat, your crew might forgive you, since you're keeping them alive and all. The ability to keep your crew, and that very expensive ship under your control, in one piece is a crucial skill.
Ladies Man: Scifi fans want to see chicks. So if the Captain is some monkish prude happier playing with star charts more than star tarts, he is going to score low. If however, he's got a hot babe in every port of a long running TV series... well, that tends to keep the fans happy.
Crew: A captain is only as good as his crew some would argue. A better way to look at is a great captain surrounds himself with a great crew. Being the most awesome, ass-kicking, starship piloting, gigalo in space is all fine and good, but if your crew is a bunch of namby-pamby, wet-behind-the-ears cadets fresh from the academy... well, you're going to spend most of your time fixing their mistakes, instead of being great yourself.
Coolness: Finally, you had to be cool to be considered GREAT, but exactly how cool are you? A by the book, military genius with pressed uniform and a stiff upper lip might score points in other categories, but could be the biggest nerd to ever leave orbit. Scifi fans don't want to imagine themselves as nerds in space, they want to picture themselves as a cool bad ass, with hot alien girlfriends.
Now that we've established a fair and impartial judging process, next we start analyzing the captains themselves.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Netflix Review: "The Man from Earth"

Okay, avoid this movie. I know it's free with your Netflix service, but it sucks ass.
This movie was so offensive, and boring, that I am tempted to cancel my Netflix membership because of it. I mean, we obnly get so many flicks to watch instantly at any given time, and THIS is one of the shitty choices offered?
Why am I so consumed over this?
The premise is that this college professor has decided to move on after 10 years. His friends wonder why and he confides in them that he is a kind of immortal- a caveman who has roamed the earth for 14,000 years. He's moving now because people have begun to notice he never ages. Now right there, I should have seen the warning bells. Cavemen are inherently Darwinistic, and anti-Christian.
As the film progresses- at one location (Caveboy's home)- much like a friggin play, with talkey, talkey, talk-talk, caveboy eventually reveals that he studied with the Bhudda. Then later he goes on to say that he was the bhudda. Then he later reluctantly reveals he was Jesus, faked his death (with Yogi-like powers of slowing the heart) but was accidentally discovered as he tried to sneak away.
I turned it off at that point. It was bad enough I had to sit through all that Picardian dribble (there's a Star Trek actor in the movie, so I thought that an appropriate slam on the never-ending dialogue), but sacrilege too?
If you want to watch an movie about Immortals secretly living among us, "Highlander" is way better. There's ass-kicking, sword fighting and no slams on Christianity (other of course than the whole immortals plot). Heck, I'll even confide that while the sountrack is by some Queer, it rocks.
Terrible, terrible film, based on what is clearly a terrible book, that is full of plot holes that I will not dignify with a prolonged discussion.
Just prepare to be offended if you see this stinker. I'd say the author could go to Hell, but since he apparently wrote this shitter on his deathbed, well, I'm sure he's already there.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010: The Year We Make Contact- but not on Netflix...

So, there I was wanting to watch a movie on January 1, 2010. What better film to choose than the classic "2010"?
Now, I don't like the movie enough to own it. And since Blockbuster closed their store in my hometown, my alternative is Netflix. And I do loves stremaing movies onto my Xbox on Netlfix.
So I went to my Queue, and prepared to click on 2010- I'd already added it there a few weeks ago.
It's gone.
It was there December 31, 2009.
But now it's gone.
Now, I ask you, does it make ANY damned sense to remove the movie 2010 from the streaming movies, in 2010? Does this mean 2012 will be removed from streaming (assuming it ever makes it there) January 1, 2012? What other movie will be watched more in January than 2010? I mean, this is "the year we make contact" people!
Maybe Netflix is hoping I'll go to rent through the US Postal service, get tired of waiting and buy a copy from them.
Like hell.
I'm not paying Netflix for something I could have watched for free mere days ago. I'll go to the store and buy it.