Friday, April 13, 2018

Classic Science Fiction Movies: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Flying Saucer + Giant Robot = GREAT

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Before Data, before R2D2, before Robbie we had Gort.

Putting this movie in context.

It is 1951. Think about 1951 for a little bit. World War II has been over for only six years. In just a few years you have seen the world going from fabric covered biplanes to a world of jet planes, rockets, and nuclear weapons. During World War II you saw cites in Europe bombed into rubble, the Nazi death camps, the rape of Nanking by the Japanese, the death toll of Iwa Jima and Okinawa, the dropping of nuclear weapons on Japan, and the living skeletons coming back from the Japanese POW camps. After World War II and you thought things were going to be great you live through the Berlin Blockade by the Soviet Union, the Reds have the bomb, the fall of China to the communists and you are in the middle of the Korean War. You have seen more death and destruction than just about any generation.  Heck if you are a kid you still have seen way too much death and destruction. People today are worried about a little global warming and these folks have seen millions die! What is so odd is they seemed to have more hope back then than we do now.

The Opening

A flying saucer lands in Washington DC and the Army surrounds it. Out of the flying saucer comes a man in a spacesuit. He pulls out a divice and an nervous soldier shoots him.

The Plot

An advanced civilization trys to make first contact with humanity. Just like Federation from Star Trek this civilization does not bother to make contact until a plant reaches a certian level of development. In this case it is the development of nuclear weapons and rockets.  The pilot of the flying sauser is named Klatu and after being shot and taken to a hospital informs the officials that he must meet with all the leaders of the Earth to give them an imporant message. He is told that is impossible. Klatu escapes the hospital and goes out to learn about humanity. He soon finds a child to be his guide.

My Thoughts

This is considered a class movie with good reason.  Today robots and aliens are common fair but in 1951 they where not common subjects of movies outside of serials like Flash Gordon aimed at kids.  It was all about being rational and honestly practical. In many ways it almost seems like a model for the Federation in the Star Trek universe but in many ways far more pragrmatic. The problem that movie address is that humans seem to be bound and determened to kill our selves with war. While Klatu's people did not want see humanity kill themselves but they really didn't see that it was their business to interfer. What they wanted even less was for us to go out into space and mucking up the galaxy. 

Just Say No!

I really was looking forward to a remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still then I read how they reimagined it. NO!!!!!! They made it a story not about war but about ecology. These aliens are going to kill us because we are trashing the planet which is just dumb!  Gee, they don't have the tech to produce power without putting too much carbon in the atmosphere. I know we could just give them the tech. Naw, let's just kill them all.  Really? While wars are often fought over resources it isn't always the case. Tech might not be a solution for war but it sure as shooting is for environmental problems and these guys have the answers but no they have to kill everyone. They could have kept the original story or reverted to the short story it was based on where the robot was the commander of the mission.  Skip the remake and see the original. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cat Free YouTube Channels: April Wilkerson

April Wilkerson

A show about making stuff.
When I was a kid, I loved to watch PBS shows like The Woodwrights Workshop, This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, Hometime, and the Victory Garden. Ms. Wilkerson has made a YouTube channel in that same spirit. She did not start out as a super expert but has learned a lot and is tackling some big pretty complex projects.

So what kind of stuff does she make? Everything from little projects like a bath caddy to building a massive workshop. A lot of her projects are practical and would be pretty easy to duplicate. She is not a super craftsman like Norm Abram from the New Yankee Workshop but she does a great job of showing you how she builds her projects.


The Rating uses G, PG, PG-13, and R while the other categories use A for the best that I know of, B for good but others might be better, C is average, D below average, and F is just terrible. 
  • Rating G This is totally family friendly.
  • Quality B+  Production quality is very good now, maybe just a notch below broadcast TV. What I really like is that she doesn't do b roll or silly intros to her videos.
  • Community A The communities on youTube Channels are often terrible. Ms. Wilkerson's channel has one of the best communities on the Internet. In fact, it is shockingly good.
  • Depth A- April does a lot of different projects of different skill levels. She is now building a metal working shop to go with her woodworking shop. She is not a master craftsman but that does not detract from her channel.
  • Entertainment Value A  It is fun, clean, interesting, and informative. Ms. Wilkerson seems like a very likable person and is really fun to watch. Ms. Wilkerson has that traditional southern friendly style that is just really pleasant. She is also good at explaining what she is doing.
  • Overall A I really like this show. If you like home improvement and woodworking shows, watch this
Where to watch it

You can find April Wilkerson at
  YouTube April Wilkerson
Instagram wilker_dos

What I think of this show

I really like it. Ms. Wilkerson is just a fun person to watch. She makes a wide variety of projects. Her current project is a huge shop and she is building it from the ground up.  She also does simple things like a bath caddy. I have no problem recommending this channel to anyone. What is there not to like?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Four Years Without a Post.

Aircraft clock

I didn't have many readers to start with but I am certain I'm down to zero now.

Sometimes life just gets ahead of us and then it seems like it's too late to start again. Shortly after my blog post on the start of World War II, I began a new job. I wanted to keep blogging. There were even a couple of posts (one by my wife) after I started the new job but there just didn't seem to be enough time to keep up with the writing I wanted to do.

Time wasn't the only issue. During the time I was away, I lost two family members in a very short time frame.  Blogging just didn't call me to while I was dealing with two deaths so close together.

Despite the passage of time, I've decided I really want to begin blogging again. No, I don't have more time. In fact, I started a new position at the end of 2016 that has given me an almost three hour round trip commute. I also returned to college after almost 30 years. I may even have less time than I did in 2014 when I stopped blogging. While I am in the middle of a time crunch, I have still felt the pull to begin blogging again. So here I am.

My plan is to start where I left off in 2014, creating posts about my favorite YouTube Channels, Podcasts, and Websites. I may even do some of my longer in-depth opinion pieces on energy policy, technology, space policy and possibly some military technology posts.  My focus will be on shorter posts. The time crunch still exists. But you never know where my interests may lead.

Stay tuned I will make my first new blog post on Tuesday with a short review of a really good YouTube Channel