The Null Device


There's Turkish Star Trek, and then there's the Soviet equivalent, Kosmicheskaya Militsiya, usually translated as "Cosmos Patrol". It's stylistically like Star Trek (it has its own Kirk, Spock (who's implied to be an ethnic German), even a proto-Wesley Crusher), only it's a vehicle for rather heavy-handed Marxist-Leninist dogma.

As on Star Trek, the "strange, new worlds" the Red Adventurer visits often seem ringingly familiar. Let's see: There's the Nazi Germany planet, the Gangland Chicago planet, the Ancient Greece planet, and the planet of the Militaristic Paranoid Fascists (the U.S.A. planet). And there's time travel, too: In my favorite episode, the crew somehow goes back to Zurich in 1917 to help Lenin get to St. Petersburg in time to start the Bolshevik Revolution... Perhaps one of the weirdest borrowings from Star Trek has Dobraydushev and a reanimated Peter the Great challenging holographic supervillains Adolf Hitler and John D. Rockefeller in a chess tournamentto the death!

(via Reenhead)

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As the Second Gulf War approaches, there is debate on where to try Saddam Hussein. The US want an international tribunal, though there is apparently a growing consensus for him to be tried in Iraq under Iraqi law (though presumably they'd have to rewrite Iraqi law significantly; I suspect that rule of law is somewhat ad hoc over there. Unless by "Iraqi law" they mean the whims of whoever is in power, in which case perhaps they can take him to Texas and let George Jr. pull the switch personally.)

(Personally, I still like the idea of parading Saddam around the malls of America as a trophy, at least for aesthetic reasons. Perhaps they will briefly tour him around Australia afterwards as a reward for our loyalty. Well, that and put a plaque honouring the Bali victims in the playground of the Baghdad McDonalds.)

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Strange, but true: In Catalonia, Spain, the concepts of shit and good luck are closely intertwined. Which is why, among other things, bakeries sell turd-shaped cakes, and Christmas nativity scenes always include a figure of a guy taking a dump, known as the caganer (literally "shitter").

Another Catalán commentator and writer Xavier Fàbregas claims that the crouching figure, busy with his bodily needs, represents "a cosmic indifference which contrasts with the spiritual motivation which is awoken by the greatest mystery of human kind". Right. Although that might explain the absence of the character in most church nativity scenes.

(via Plastic)

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