March 2013


I am once again watching Star Trek in my “DVDs to have on while I’m doing other things” rotation. I’m currently in season 4 of Star Trek: The Next Generation and I’ve come across two of my favorite episodes back to back: “Drumhead” and “Half a Life”.

“Drumhead” is similar in these to perhaps my favorite ST:TNG episode, “Measure of a Man” in that both involve courtroom proceedings and address some aspect of fundamental human rights. OK, I guess that would have to be “sentient being rights” because this is Star Trek, afterall, and although the themes are “human” rights, they’re not being applied to humans. In “Drumhead”, a conspiracy theory/ spy hunt gets a little out of control and it is up to Captain Picard to pull the proceedings back from the brink of disaster. “Measure of a Man” also sees Captain Picard playing the role of defense attorney, in this case in the trial to determine whether or not Data is “alive”. “Measure of a Man” gets me a little choked up every single time I see it.

“Half a Life” is a favorite because of the intensely powerful performances of the guest stars. Majel Barrett is back as the effusive caricature that is Lwaxana Troi, which always brings a special feeling to the episode, but David Ogden Stiers give an absolutely heart-rending performance as the alien Timicin. The plot is reminescent of “Logan’s Run”, with the inhabitants of planet Kaelon II performing “the resolution” when they reach age 60. “The Resolution” is a celebratory suicide. David Ogden Stiers brings such palpable emotion to the screen in his performance, with an immense gravity that plays off the Lwaxana Troi character masterfully. Mr. Ogden Stiers’ portrayal of Charles Emerson Winchester in MASH was always an interesting balance of serious and comic, as was that whole series, but many of his more recent roles have exploited his quiet, serious demeanor. He gives a similarly excellent performance as Reverend Purdy in “The Dead Zone” TV series (another Michael Piller production…). “Half a Life” also features a small role for Michelle Forbes who returns later as Ensign Ro Laren.

I haven’t gone into detail on these episodes because I want you to enjoy them yourself. If you’re not a “Star Trek type”, these 3 episodes would be worth watching. Personally, I find every episode of Star Trek worth watching, but if you’re not as committed to the ST Universe as I am, “Measure of a Man” and “Drumhead” are excellent episodes to explore the moral undercurrent that runs through all of Star Trek (as well as seeing some top notch performances by Patrick Stewart). “Half a Life” showcases some spectacular performances by some guest stars in a very well written and structured episode.

I’ve been having a hard time finding inspiration to post for a few months now. There have been a few things in my personal and professional life that have occupied my time more than usual and I’ve had to examine my priorities… As I evaluated those priorities, Everything Under the Copper Sun has slipped consistently down the list. I’ve been in a funk. And I’m not talking about the good funk that George Clinton brings to the house.

Some of the blame can be attributed to the weather; it has been a long winter in the Red River Valley, and it just keep holding on. One of these days it’ll get above freezing. Really. One of these days.

I’m not going to make some grand resolution like “I’m going to post at least once a week forever!” because those resolutions seem destined to fail, but I’ve come to realize that I truly miss the creative outlet of posting updates to EUtCS. I enjoy it. It’s satisfying. As I evaluate my “To Do” list, I really need to be a little more selfish and prioritize things that are just for me, whether that’s writing a blog post or washing dishes at home or just going for a mid-day walk. I expect the next 2 months to be massively hectic… after that, I’ll have to try and schedule my time and efforts a little more deliberately. Sometimes, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. Or the few.

Hmm, references to Parliament Funkadelic and Star Trek… I need to update my cultural database… Maybe a little Justin Bieber and reality television? 😉