Friday Five (it doesn’t matter edition)

Welcome to the second Friday of May!

Our weather isn’t quite ready to become fully spring here. Given how bad the weather is many other places I suppose I should be grateful.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: two stories about the liars and traitors, the top five stories of the week, five stories about science fiction fantasy and related topics, and five stories of interest to queers and our allies. Plus some notable obituaries.

This Week in Grifters, Idiots, and Traitors:

Trump Wanted US To Retaliate Militarily Against China For Shooting Storms At America With "Hurricane Gun"

How the Jan. 6 panel broke through Trump allies’ stonewalling – High-level aides to the former president aren’t the only ones who can detail his network’s movements leading up to and during the Capitol attack.

Stories of the Week:

Meat Packers Manufactured Pandemic Meat ‘Crisis’ To Stay Open – At least 269 workers died.

OAN Finally Admits ‘No Widespread Voter Fraud’ by Georgia Election Workers After Settling Defamation Lawsuit – Georgia election workers were dragged through the mud on OAN by right-wing conspiracy theorists like Rudy Giuliani. Now the network is finally acknowledging there was no fraud

NASA Releases Ridiculously Sharp Webb Space Telescope Images

The music lives on – iPod touch will be available while supplies last

The Inarguable Logic of UNpacking the Court

This Week in Science Fiction and Fact:

The Sandman creator and star discuss bringing Morpheus to the screen

Random Roles: The Addams Family Star John Astin

Like Elizabeth Olsen, I Also Get ‘Feisty’ Defending Marvel

2022 Locus Awards Top Ten Finalists

Mars Is a Hellhole – Colonizing the red planet is a ridiculous way to help humanity.

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Opinion | How the New York Times Helped Keep People in the Closet – POLITICO

His mother tortured him for years. Child services found out he’s gay & let him be raped

Lil Nas X Wins Outstanding Music Artist at 2022 GLAAD Media Awards

The Pope says that God “doesn’t disown” LGBTQ people, but his Church certainly does This pope keeps trying to find ways to lie about what the church wants to do to queer people…

Joe Rogan claims teachers are telling straight kids they’ll “burn in hell” if they don’t turn gay

In Memoriam:

George Pérez, celebrated comic book artist who redefined Wonder Woman, has died

Patricia A. McKillip (1948-2022)

Friday Five (they aren’t phony rights edition)

Welcome to the first Friday of May!

Our weather isn’t quite ready to become fully spring here. Given how bad the weather is many other places I suppose I should be grateful.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: two stories about the destruction of fundamental rights, five stories that generally aren’t about awful things, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about what’s going on with the destruction of fundamental rights, and five stories sedition traitors. Plus some notable obituaries.

This Week in We Told You This Would Happen:

Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows – “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court Every person who told me I was over-reacting when Trump won needs to offer us all abject apology. Not that I expect any of them to have that much integrity…

‘Betrayal’: Furious Chief Justice Confirms Leaked Draft Is Authentic – John Roberts said he’s directed the Marshal of the Court to hunt down the source of the Supreme Court leak

Stories of the Week:

Things Straight Men Were Told Not To Do Because It’s Gay

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of a Speech That Changed LGBTQ+ History

The ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Trailer Revealed My New Villain Crush

US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine target Russian warship

U.S. takes unprecedented steps to replenish Colorado River’s Lake Powell – Water levels at Lake Powell are so low as to endanger the production of hydroelectric power for seven Western states

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Lawmakers in 19 states want legal refuge for transgender youth

University of Maryland students march for LGBTQ rights on ‘Maryland Day’

Anti-LGBTQ laws inspire many LGBTQ people to seek public office

Justice Department challenges Alabama law criminalizing transgender health care for minors

Don’t Say Gay copycat bill shut down in Louisiana

This Week in The Supreme Court Leak:

In A Post-Roe America, Expect More Births In A Country Where Maternal Mortality Continues To Rise

How the leak might have happened Most important bit: "Start from the premise that there were actually (at least) two leakers, and three leaks. The first leak was to the Wall Street Journal editorial board last week… The second leak was to Politico… The third leak was also to Politico."

Legal Expert Reveals Two Reasons Why Conservatives Might Have Leaked Roe Draft — Not the Court’s ‘Outraged Liberals

Leaked decision to overturn abortion rights shows that marriage equality & sodomy laws are next

Roberts investigation could make the Supreme Court very uncomfortable

This Week in Seditious Treason and Related Crimes:

Sobbing Oath Keeper Pleads Guilty, Rats Out Leader

Third Oath Keeper Pleads Guilty: Seditious Conspiracy – Leader of North Carolina Chapter of Oath Keepers Pleads Guilty to Seditious Conspiracy and Obstruction of Congress

Federal judge rejects RNC lawsuit against Jan. 6 panel – RNC Can’t Hide Its Email List From Riot Panel

Jury Finds “Eye-Gouger” Ex-Cop Guilty On All Counts – Thomas Webster: Ex-NYPD officer guilty of assaulting police officer at US Capitol riot

Ex-Marine Gets 27 Months In Assault On Capitol Police

In Memoriam:

Neal Adams Dead: Batman Comics Artist Was 80

Bob Krueger, the last Democrat to represent Texas in the Senate, dies at 86

Friday Five (in the real world edition)

Welcome to the fifth and final Friday of April!

I’m still way behind on review posts.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: one story about a dumb prohibition, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about haters, and five stories about science. Plus something a notable obituary.

This Week in the Dumb Ideas:

Banning Menthol Cigarettes: Are They That Cynical Or Are They That Stupid?

Stories of the Week:

What a U.N. team has seen while documenting possible war crimes in Ukraine

TV networks did a poor job of covering climate and environmental issues on Earth Day compared to last year

Warren tries to ‘light the fire of urgency’ for Democrats – The Massachusetts progressive is going all-out to try to push her party to emerge from a morass of bad polling and stalled priorities before Election Day

George H. W. Bush-appointed judge warns of GOP blueprint to steal 2024 election

Autocorrect Explained: Why Your iPhone Adds Annoying Typos While Fixing Others – Tpying truble? During the iPhone’s first 15 years, its keyboard software has evolved, but it still sometimes flubs your lines. Here’s how it works and what you can do about it

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Queer comic book artist conjuring up trans fantasies and Victorian romances

Disney Plus finally sees sense and pulls U-turn on Love, Victor

Parents challenge Alabama law banning treatment of trans kids

Literary-themed drag shows in St. Petersburg strike chord over recent LGBTQ issues

Kansas Anti-Trans Sports Bill Officially Dead

This Week in Haters and Abusers:

A look inside banned Florida math textbooks suggests Republicans simply lied about what’s in them

Gay Republicans supported anti-LGBTQ legislation. Now they’re surprised some of it is bad – The gay conservatives called Chasten Buttigieg a "groomer" for opposing Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law just a few months ago. Now they’re finding out that anti-LGBTQ legislation is "truly dangerous." "When I voted for the Let Rabid Dogs Run Wild and Bite Party I didn’t think they’d let the Rabid Dogs Bite Me!"

Georgia Gov Signs Bills Banning “Offensive” Library Books, Trans Athletes, And “Divisive” Racism Lessons

Former Bradford County Youth Pastor charged for sexually abusing teen girl – Pastor Charged With Sexual Abuse Of Teen Girl, Said God Gave Him A “Vision” That They Were “Betrothed”

Proud Boy Pleads Guilty To Felony, Will Rat Out Others – Defendant Obstructed Officers Trying to Secure Building

This Week in Science:

A dog’s breed isn’t the main reason it acts the way it does

Ingenuity helicopter takes photos of debris field on Mars

All of the bases in DNA and RNA have now been found in meteorites – The discovery adds to evidence that suggests life’s precursors came from space

‘Fish lizard’ fossils found in Swiss Alps belonged to some of the largest creatures that ever lived

Pterosaurs May Have Had Brightly Colored Feathers, Exquisite Fossil Reveals – An amazingly well-preserved fossil suggests the common ancestor of dinosaurs and pterosaurs also had some type of feather or feather precursor

In Memoriam:

Clyde Robinson, one of Seattle’s last Buffalo Soldiers, dies at 101

Friday Five (no plausible heterosexual explanation edition)

Welcome to the fourth Friday of April!

I was at NorWesCon last week and I wound up blowing off last week’s Friday Five. I hope this week’s offering makes up for that a bit. Also, between lots of bad hay fever days and lots of deadlines at work I haven’t gotten much of my own writing done. I have dropped the ball of Star Trek: Picard reviews and Moon Knight reviews in particular. That also figured into my decision not to push myself to do Friday Five last week. I was on vacation and part of the point of vacation is to rest and recharge.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: two takes on Tucker Carson’s latest insanity, one story about a major scam, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about haters, five stories about voting suppression and similar crimes, and five stories about traitors. Plus something a notable obituary.

This Week in the Least Manly Fox Talking Head Is Obsessed with Manliness:

Macho Poser Tucker Carlson’s Journey from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to ‘The End of Men’ The promo for this special looks like a soft core gay porno. There is no plausible hetero explanation for Tucker’s obsession with hard male bodies and testicles…

Opinion: Why Tucker Carlson wants men to aim lasers at their private parts

This Week in Grifters:

Health Care Sharing Ministry Sharity Leaves 10K Families with Millions in Unpaid Bills – The network went bankrupt in the face of ongoing legal challenges, and regulators don’t expect members will receive the $50 million-plus they’re owed

Stories of the Week:

Ukrainians Line Up For Hours To Buy Special ‘Russian Warship, Go F*ck Yourself!’ Stamp

Your Guide to Independent Alternatives for Books, Audiobooks, eBooks, and Beyond

Frank James: Why did it take NYPD so long to find the Brooklyn shooting suspect?

Missing set of rare Charles Darwin notebooks anonymously returned to Cambridge University Library

Omicron subvariant now almost 90 percent of US COVID cases: CDC

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Jen Psaki breaks down in tears answering question about GOP attacks on trans kids

For the LGBTQ community and other minorities, war is fought every day

Recreational marijuana access reduces demand for prescription drugs – prescriptions for pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis and seizures significantly decline

Air Force Offers Help To Military Families Hurt By States’ New Anti-LGBTQ Laws

‘100 Years of Men in Love’: New film unearths old stories of gay romance

This Week in Haters and Abusers:

In Florida: Ukrainian family facing hate crime charges for alleged beating of gay man – Police say victim was in gay relationship for months with member of Ukrainian family

Comedian makes a fool out of Republican candidate who wants to make Bible a “basic textbook”

Republican vilifying high school over drag show was part of a high school drag show

School bans unicorn book because it “could be promoting a gay lifestyle”

Transgender Treatment Ban Challenged By Lawsuit In Alabama

This Week in Voter Suppression and Related Crimes:

Texas GOP activist, donor Steven Hotze indicted for voter scheme

Wisconsin Conservatives: Disabled Voters Don’t Exist

Former Staffer Slams Madison Cawthorn, Calls Him a ‘Habitual Liar’ – claimed his district office had ‘more liquor bottles than they do water bottles’

Stephen Colbert Reveals Trump’s Most ‘Embarrassing’ Low Point Yet

Brian Kolfage Of We Build The Wall Agrees To Plead Guilty To Fraud

This Week in Seditious Treason and Related Crimes:

‘Stop the Steal’ leader cooperating with DOJ’s investigation of Capitol riot

Alex Jones Reaches Out to Justice Dept. About Jan. 6 Interview – The effort by the Trump ally to get an immunity deal is the latest sign of progress in the investigation, which recently brought on a well-regarded prosecutor

FBI says Proud Boy tried to derail Jan. 6 investigating by menacing agent – Barry Bennett Ramey was arrested and accused of pepper-spraying officers at the Capitol, calling a FBI special agent later and reading out the agent’s home address

GOP Sen. Mike Lee Flees Reporter Demanding To Know Why He “Lied” About His Role In Election Overturn Plot – Mike Lee Makes Awkward Escape From Reporter Asking About His Texts on Overturning Trump’s Election Loss

FBI has names of hundreds more Jan. 6 rioters. DOJ needs more lawyers to prosecute them – Citizen sleuths armed with the internet say they’ve identified dozens of additional rioters who haven’t been arrested

In Memoriam:

Robert Morse, star of ‘Mad Men’ and Broadway, dies at 90

Friday Five (disturbing sight edition)

Welcome to the second Friday of April!

The pollen count went down last weekend, and I had two whole days where I woke up with NO sinus headache first thin in the morning. Then Monday arrived. The pollen count has been hovering close to the highs of the previous week, but not always as bad all week. So it’s not quite as bad as last week.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: one really good video editorial, one scary story about bribed Secret Service agents, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, and five stories about haters. Plus something a notable obituary.

This Week in Very Good Explainer of Why People Noticing that a Book is Racist is Not Cancel Culture:

SFF180 Editorial – The Implosion of Silver Shamrock Publishing SFF180 Editorial - The Implosion of Silver Shamrock Publishing

This Week in Bonkers:

2 men impersonated federal agents to get close to the Secret Service, FBI says Some details: they provided these Secret Service agents with very expensive gifts and allowed them to live rent free in luxury apartments valued at over $40,000 a year, and the agents are trying to claim they didn’t realize these were bribes. It’s a scary story.

Stories of the Week:

Protocluster has too many dead galaxies in it – What is killing all these galaxies?

Phil Lord, Chris Miller: Animation Is Not a Lower Art Form

Fox News’ viewers can change their attitudes with exposure to CNN

Covid: Record 4.9 million people have the virus in UK

West seeks to ramp up arms deliveries to Ukraine as war enters new phase – Allies are gearing up for long haul — but want to send heavy weaponry quickly

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Apple wields its lobbying might against anti-gay laws

Kentucky Gov. Vetoes Anti-Trans Sports Bill, But Override Possible

Businesses are speaking out against anti-LGBTQ laws

Supportive mom Amber Briggle releases emotional PSA defending her trans son from bully politicians – "Trans kids don’t have a political agenda. They are just kids. They just want to be left alone," Amber Briggle says in the video

Transphobic gays shocked to learn that their conservative allies are anti-gay – And the internet replied, "We told you so."

This Week in Haters and Abusers:

Border Patrol’s use of Amazon’s Wickr messaging app draws scrutiny – A letter from the National Archives and Records Administration hints at growing unease with government officials’ use of some encrypted messaging apps

Ginni Thomas Is Not A Liar – She’s just deeply, deeply deluded

Leaked audio: They defended televangelist Perry Stone in public. In private, they said he was living a ‘predatory lifestyle’ and ‘false reality’

Trey Gowdy Demands Madison Cawthorn Name Names

Trump’s Truth Social Is Doing Even Worse Than You Thought

In Memoriam:

Bobby Rydell Dead: 1960s Pop Idol and Star of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ Was 79

Friday Five (how dare you edition)

Welcome to the first Friday of April!

My hay fever has been much worse this week than last week. I am having a very difficult time finding any energy to write or otherwise be productive once my work day has drained me.

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about haters, five stories about traitors, and five stories about science. Plus something I posted.

This Week in Things That Should Be No-brainers:

House passes bill to cap the cost of insulin

This Week in Victims of the Murder Mob:

Exclusive: Widow of D.C. police officer Jeff Smith, who died by suicide, says battling rioters on Jan. 6 "changed him"

Stories of the Week:

Ariana DeBose becomes first out person of color to win an Oscar in historic moment

BFD ALERT! Judge Rules Trump Likely Committed Crimes

Russian Troops Are Now Turning on Each Other. ‘It’s a Sh*tshow,’ One Soldier Is Recorded Telling Another

Ginni Thomas Texts to Mark Meadows Indicate She Is Several Fries Short Of Happy Meal It’s not just seditious treason, it’s batshit bonkers seditious treason!

Jan. 6 DOJ probe expands to Trump “VIPs” — and maybe members of Congress: report – New subpoenas issued by the Justice Department could "reveal if members of Congress were in on the plot" I’ve seen lots of folk online dismissing this report because, "They’ll just ignore the subpoenas" You’re confusing the House of Representative’s Committee subpoenas with Department of Justice subpeonas. If someone ignores a Congressional committee subpeona, the Committee has to vote on whether to hold the person in contempt, and then the full House has to vote as well, at which point the Department of Justice has to decide whether to convene a grand jury… right? But this is the DOJ already convening a criminal proceeding. If you ignore the subpoena, U.S. Marshalls and/or the FBI take you to jail. So this is a very different situation.

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Lil Nas X’s “baby registry” initiative raises almost $500,000 for HIV/AIDS organisations

The New Head of GLSEN on How She’ll Protect Queer Kids

Utah Students Organize Queer Prom After State Passes Anti-Trans Bill

‘Disturbing’: Biden Education Secretary Warns Florida After DeSantis Signs Anti-LGBTQ Bill Targeting ‘Most Vulnerable’

Texas school superintendent slams Attorney General who demanded she cancel Pride Week

This Week in Haters and Abusers:

2-time Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler arrested on child porn charges

Ben Shapiro Gonna Make His Own Razors, And His Own Disney, And, And, And … Other Stuff Too

DeSantis signs "Don’t Say Gay" bill into law The lie underlying this bill is the myth that people “become gay” by talking about it. The harm that this bill will cause to LGBTQ kids isn’t a myth — it is all too real.

Child sex abuse scandal in TX foster care system should undercut Abbott’s attack on trans kids and their families

Arizona, Oklahoma Governors Sign Anti-Trans Bills Into Law

This Week in Seditious Treason and Related Crimes:

Is It Good When A Judge Says A Lawyer And His Client The President Did Crimes? Asking For John Eastman

Feds Reached Deals with Brian Kolfage, Timothy Shea

Judge Cites Tucker Carlson as Validation of ‘Actual Malice’ in Defamation Suit Against Fox News

Trump’s 8-hour gap: Minute-by-minute during Jan. 6 riot – President Trump’s time during the Jan. 6 riot is reconstructed from texts, tweets, videos, calls and more

Jan. 6 Rioter Admits to Taunting Police With Confederate Flag on Stick

Things I Wrote:

Star Trek Picard Finds the “Watcher”

Star Trek Picard Finds the “Watcher”

Time for my (over due) review of the most recent episode of Star Trek: Picard. This is for episode 4, entitled "Watcher."

It is a really fun episode with some very funny moments. I’m still quite enjoying it and look forward to the next episode.

I have been trying to avoid other people’s reviews until after I write mine, even though I link to a bunch once I do start reading them. Because I’ve been doing that I have sometimes missed something that others noticed that I would like to comment on. I’ll be doing that below.

I do want to note before I get into the spoilery stuff that a lot of people whose reviews/recaps/reactions I have been reading have been commenting on how slow the plot seems to be moving in this season. I don’t completely disagree with them, because I really enjoy a lot of the character development stuff that is happening in the episodes. But I also understand that that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

I can’t talk about the episode any further without spoilers so…

If you don’t want to be spoiled for this episode or episode one, turn back now!

Turn back now if you don’t want any spoilers!

If you haven’t seen the episode you should (if you can) go watch it now!


This is your last chance before the spoilers!

Episode three ended with our heroes split up into three locations: Picard and Dr Jurati are in the ship with the Borg Queen, Raffi and Seven are somewhere in L.A. trying to track down both Rios and the Watcher, while Rios managed to get himself arrested by immigration enforcement (and his comms badge is so far as we know still sitting on a desk in the clinic where Rios got his injuries worked on). So we pick up with these three threads.

One of the things we learn answers a question that was being debated since episode three: where, exactly, did La Sirena crash? Because the dialog in episode three indicated that they were headed right at Los Angeles when Picard asked for navigational control and said he was aiming them "home." Many of us assumed he meant he was aiming for Chateau Picard — but that’s in France, on the other side of the globe from L.A. If you already don’t have enough power to come down in a soft landing and you’re falling toward Los Angeles, how could you aim just a little differently and hit France?

So others assumed he had crash landed them somewhere else in the western U.S. and we were all misinterpreting the "home" line.

Turns out that some how Picard did crash them into the vineyards around Chateau Picard, and he chose it because he knew during the early 21st century no one was living there. We find this out because it’s getting cold inside the ship (systems are self-repairing now, but heating apparently isn’t working, yet). Also, Picard thinks Jurati need to rest, whereas she’s convinced if she keeps busy she’ll recall more information she swiped from the Borg Queen’s mind.

Meanwhile, in Rios is in custody at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility where he learns what it feels like to be tasered. He also has another conversation with the doctor from the clinic before the officials have to release her because they’ve confirmed her U.S. citizenship.

One of the things I missed in the last episode was the name of the doctor’s clinic: the Mariposa Clinic. Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly. And in the previous episode Jurati had warned everyone about the dangers of altering the timeline by referring to the butterfly effect. Just as the Ray Bradbury story, "A Sound of Thunder" when a time traveller accidentally killed a butterfly in the distant past it changed the future. While I had noticed a few butterflies inside the clinic, I had just assumed that this was a visual choice to reinforce the notion that such metaphorical butterflies were everywhere. But now I’m worried that Rios’s budding relationship with the doctor is going to become a problem — specifically that they might find themselves in a situation where they have to let her die or the timeline is broken further.

Meanwhile, Seven and Raffi track Rios comm link to the clinic where they meet a nurse who explains the clinic was raided and that the doctor and a patient who matches Rios’ description was taken away. What follows is a series of funny scenes (no, seriously, hilarious!) as Raffi tried to get the cops to tell her where Rios is, while Seven is trying to keep her calm. A friendly bystander explains them the local police wouldn’t have any records of someone taken my ICE. As Raffi figures out how undocumented people are treated in the U.S.A of 2024 she becomes even more determined.

So, despite the warnings earlier from Dr Jurati, and continued efforts from Seven to talk her down, Raffi breaks into a cop car to use the police laptop to hack the feds computer, which puts Seven in the position (as cops come running from the nearby station), of jumping into the drivers seat of joining in on the theft of the car.

The following car chase was very fun. Technically, as car chases go there have been many examples in film and television that were more pulse-poundingly thrilling. It’s just a good chase. But what makes the scene work is that the whole time they are trying to evade the police while Seven figures out how to drive the antique is the continued banter/spat between Raffi and Seven throughout.

Back in France La Sirena has repaired enough that they can attempt to transport Jean Luc to the coordinates Jurati swiped from the Borg Queen’s mind, so they do.

This is another example of Picard making an unwise choice, in my opinion. Jurati has been compromised before she ever mind-linked with the Borg Queen, so I think leaving her alone with the Queen is a terrible idea. I hope I’m wrong.

Jurati and the Borg Queen have a conversation where the Queen continues to be scarily charming and sinister at the same time. Jurati seems to be holding her own, but…

Jean Luc finds himself at Guinan’s bar in L.A. The same bar he will visit in three hundred years/did visit in episode one. Despite the fact that I have enjoyed the Luke Skywalker scenes in The Mandalorian, I am really glad that the decided to cast a younger actress to play this younger Guinan rather than to do a CGI de-aged Whoppi Goldberg.

Jean Luc finds Guinan in a very cynical and bitter mindset. She is preparing to leave Earth entirely, having given up on humanity. This seemed like an odd choice, given that in canon Guinan, though an alien, appears to be an African-American woman, and by 2024 had been living on Earth for more than a century, and has witnessed a lot on human inhumanity to fellow humans, particularly aimed at women and people of color. Why is it only by 2024 that her patience has run out?

Anyway despite many fan theories leading up to this episode and Jean Luc’s initial though when the Borg Queen’s coordinates brought him to Guinan, she insists she is not a Watcher, but she knows who the Watcher is. She talks a bit about them, saying that they are supervisors who are always very cryptic and are set on Earth to protect particular people. This is a direct call back to the Star Trek Original Series episode, "Assignment: Earth" where the Enterprise travels to 1968 Earth and encounter a mysterious guy named Gary Seven. Seven claims to be a human raised on another planet and sent to Earth at this point in its history to protect the human species during a "delicate time." Seven referred to himself and his colleagues who had been killed just before the episode began as Supervisors.

Anyway, once Jean Luc convinces Guinan to help, she offers to take him to the Watcher.

Rios is loaded up on a bus supposedly simply to be deported, but there have been hints in earlier scenes that possibly in 2024 ICE is actually making people "disappear." So maybe his actually being taken somewhere to be killed and thrown into a mass grave.

Raffi finds Rios finally while the car chase continues, and Dr Jurati has gotten communications boosted enough to talk to them. She can beam them from where they are to a location near the bus… but they will have to stop because the transporters aren’t up to grabbing a moving target. This means the bus chase ends with the completely empty stolen cop car stopped in the middle of a street surrounded by a bunch of confused police officers.

Guinan takes Jean Luc to a park, where they are approached by a child who is being mind controlled by the Watcher. The Watcher threatens Guinan and sends her packing, but agrees to meet with Jean Luc. We have an odd and creepy couple of minutes as the Watcher takes on different bystanders as temporary mental puppets to lead Jean Luc to… a woman who looks exactly like Jean Luc’s old friend, ex-Romulan spy Laris. Who promptly teleports herself and Jean Luc away.

In the brief moments we can see of actress Orla Brady as the Watcher, she doesn’t appear to be Romulan. I’m assuming that the character she is playing is not related to Laris at all. We will presumably get an explanation for why she looks like Laris (other than the meta explanation that Brady is a great actress and this gives her something to do while Laris is in a different timeline).

Toward the end of the episode we finally see Q, and he is apparently targeting a woman who is connected with a NASA mission to Europa that we had seen mentions of in the background of earlier episodes. Exactly why he is targeting her we don’t know, but we do see him try to use his powers–and they don’t work, surprising him.

We end the episode with Seven and Raffi standing on the side of a highway, with no vehicle and virtually no equipment. The bus containing Rios and other undocumented people being deported can be seen coming toward them. How are they going to rescue Rios?

I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Friday Five (that’s not freedom edition)

Welcome to the fourth Friday of March!

It is officially spring–and I have had the hay fever symptoms to prove it all week long![^1]

Anyway, it’s time for the Friday Five in which I bring you: the top five stories of the week[^2], five stories of interest to queers and our allies[^3], five stories about haters, and five stories about traitors. Plus some things I posted and some notable obituaries.

This Week in Crocodile Tears:

Dr. Jill Biden went on ‘Sesame Street’ to promote kindness and conservatives are PISSED

This Week in Things We Should Do More Often:

Seattle Pride Cut Ties With Amazon Over Anti-LGBTQ+ Donations We have to find ways to push back at hypocritical corporations that claim to be pro-LGBT every June, while donated millions to anti-gay politicians.

Stories of the Week:

Why Can’t the West Admit That Ukraine Is Winning? – America has become too accustomed to thinking of its side as stymied, ineffective, or incompetent

Dr. Fauci Isn’t Going Anywhere Until There’s a Cure for HIV

Christianity Today publishes a shocking exposé – about itself

The bodies of Russian soldiers are piling up in Ukraine, as Kremlin conceals true toll of war

On The Money — Unemployment claims at lowest level since late 1960s

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Utah governor cites suicide rates for transgender youth in vetoing sports ban bill: ‘I want them to live’

Joe Biden helps LGBTQ Ukrainian refugees with fast-tracked US resettlement – LGBTQ people in Ukraine are especially at risk during the invasion

Republicans were obsessed with LGBTQ people at Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing – Republican Senators should have been asking Judge Jackson about the law. Instead they aired their own hateful beliefs.

The Crosses We Bear: The Butch Martyr in Science Fiction/Fantasy

Out Judge Alison Nathan Appointed to Court of Appeals

This Week in Haters and Abusers:

Attacks on transgender kids and their families prove that Republicans don’t give a d@mn about ‘parental rights’

More Than One-Third of Trans Kids Are at Risk of Losing Care

Even Alan Dershowitz Thinks Ted Cruz’s Questions Were ‘Bigotry’

Jan 6 pre-riot rally speaker and Texas Attorney General ‪Ken Paxton‬ who is still facing felony securities fraud charges plus an FBI corruption investigation instigated by AG staff (that also involves an affair) accuses school district of breaking the law over Pride Week curriculum

15-Year-Old Florida Teen Arrested Over Antigay Attack on Another Boy

This Week in Seditious Treason and Related Crimes:

Watergate Reporter Calls Ginni Thomas-Mark Meadows Bombshell ‘Unprecedented Entanglement’

Derrick Evans pleads guilty to civil disorder after Jan. 6 involvement – Ex-West Virginia Rep Pleads Guilty To Felony In Riot

Pro-Trump group sent armed members door-to-door in Colorado to “intimidate” voters

MI Gov Kidnap Plotter: We Wanted To Help Trump – Whitmer kidnapping aimed at stopping Biden win

U.S. Capitol Riot Suspect Granted Asylum in Belarus After Fleeing America

In Memoriam:

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state and feminist icon, dies at 84

John Roach, Pioneer of the Personal Computer, Is Dead at 83

Things I Wrote:

Star Trek Picard Tries to Avoid “Assimilation”

[^1]: This is a footnote.

[^2]: In my opinion. And this is my blog, so why not?

[^3]: Even those so-called allies who object to the term queer.