The Awl linked to this list of things that are 20 years old and things that are 40 years old. I was actually thinking about Nevermind the other day and realized that it was indeed 20 years old. Sheesh.

What got me here though was that it points out that the way I think of things from the early 70s, i.e., things that pre-date me by 5-10 years, is the way that high schoolers today think about Nevermind and things of that time. Some salient examples for me are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Dirty Harry. I like them. They don’t seem “old” per se, but they do have a certain 70s quality that makes them feel definitively older than me. By the time I was paying attention, movies didn’t really look like that anymore. Nevermind, by counterexample, is something that blew up when I was in 9th grade. I was fully and totally aware of it happening. So it will always seem modern to me.

But today’s 16-year-old thinks of Nevermind the way I think of Willy Wonka. Great, sure (at least they better think that, lousy kids), but old. Pop culture references to it seem as important to them as Animal House references do to me, which is to say, dated and irrelevant. Ouch. And it will only get worse, of course. It’s not that I’m feeling down about being old, although I’m getting more and more aware of time passing. I distinctly remember when my Mom went to her 20 year high school reunion. My sister and I were I guess like 11 and 13, respectively. Seemed like something that adults went to, and I would never get there, or it would just seem so different. Well, my 20-year reunion will be in four years. (Not that I’m going, but still.) (And that’s another thing. When I was in high school, I absolutely would have thought I was going to go to future reunions.)

I read this Slate article about the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which was interesting enough if you grew up reading this books. But more interestingly, it led me to a few internet treasures. First, this totally obsessive infographic breakdown of a few books in the series, with several observations about how the number of endings changed over time*. Second, this gamebook information repository. That, in turn, led me to something really fabulous: Project Aon.

*It’s a pretty long discussion (and white text on a black background, which I absolutely can’t read for more than a couple of minutes before my eyes feel like they’re about to melt) so I may have missed it if the author mentioned this, but my thought about the decline in the number endings was pretty straightforward: as a kid, I actually didn’t want a lot of endings. The early books get tiresome because there’s an ending every few pages. The later books, with much longer, more elaborate stories, were more satisfying to read. I guess the authors agreed because they got tired of coming up with 30+ endings per book, per the Slate article.

So among the vast realms of CYOA-style books was this one role-playing type of series called Lone Wolf. You got to sort of customize your character and you’d have supplies, and you’d have to make sure you had some food and a good weapon. You developed the character more as the series went along, gaining experience and new items. You’d get into battles too, and you had to be careful because you could indeed die, and it felt like a much more serious death than in a standard CYOA, since you’d invested in this character a lot more. Anyway, I always liked these and always wanted to get to work my way through the whole series.

Uh, then like twenty years passed. So now I’m probably never going to pick these books up again, but the whole point of this is that Project Aon has digitized all of the original books and many of the subsequent ones (which I didn’t even know existed!) with the full blessing of the author. So if I DID ever seriously want to reread these things…

Man, yesterday’s post was boring. How can I talk for that long about this telescope and have it be that boring? (He asks, knowing full well what the answer is.)

So here’s something. I was thinking about a ’50s sci-fi/monster movie centered around the concept of the “bejeesus.” The setup is that the main character, as a child, literally gets the bejeesus scared out of him, so he has to spend the rest of his life without it. Only legend has it that once it’s gone, if you’re scared that badly again, you die. So the bejeesus is like an extra guy, and you can get damaged that one time, but then that’s it. Of course this poor dude keeps getting into tense situations.

And now, there’s a murderer on the loose…

Of course I’ll still have the telescope after this (this is a “lifetime telescope” after all) but I imagine this will be the last chapter in the “I finally get a telescope and must share every obsessive detail” part of the story.

So after Thursday’s initial test drive, Saturday was a chance to take another crack at a nice clear night, with as much prep and observing time as I wanted, complete with learning how to use the Intelliscope computer. Although it was clear, the moon was out and at first quarter, and very bright in the early evening when I’d be out, so I did have to contend with that. Just so you understand, the moon is awful pretty and all, but it is ungodly bright compared to everything around it and more or less washes out almost anything nearby that you want to look at with a telescope. I also had a good chance to play with the Starry Night software the telescope comes with. It’s a little clunky usability-wise but still pretty fun to play with. It’s easy to see what’s coming up in future weeks and months and years. I even fast-forwarded to August 21, 2017, and got a preview of the solar eclipse scheduled for that day.

Anyway, my primary goal was to get a shot at observing Jupiter, which is visible at the moment, but only just barely, as it can be seen very low in the southwest just after sunset. From my backyard, it was low enough to have trees as a problem, and the later I would be able to get outside to observe it the worse it would be. It will only start lower each night too, until the fall, when it will start rising at night again.  So this was my last shot for a while. I got the telescope set up early, before sunset, and hung around with K trying to figure out how to time dinner while waiting for it to get dark enough. In the end I just barely got to see it. I did get a quick look, mostly like a sneak preview of things to come, but it was too low to really be an easy target and further, we ended up having some dinner-making hijinks that kept me preoccupied (the short version of the story is: recipes from Cook’s Illustrated are wonderful but insanely precise in their timing and required attention). Oh well. I’ll have a better chance in the fall when it rises again.

I got back out later on in the evening after it was fully dark and no food was burning on the stove, and had some quality time with the scope. K came out for a while too, and I got to show her some good things, but we were mostly thwarted by bright moonlight washing out some of the dimmer things to see. Plus there are no planets up right now so all in all it wasn’t a great night for showing off, so she went back into the warm house while I tinkered.

One goal, to learn to use the computer, was met. It’s actually a pretty clever little device and not at all hard to use once you get the hang of it. Biggest issue at this point is that simply sticking it to the base with velcro is not a great solution. The velcro comes off and the cord gets tangled. It’s certainly workable, but maybe a holster and a wireless link would be ideal (it just so happens they sell a holster – thanks, Orion, for not including the actual useful part in my $1300 purchase – but the wireless link is probably asking for a pretty huge step up that would probably just be overkill). It generally worked fine though in its primary mission, though, which was to tell me where stuff was. I’m not sold on its ID function thus far, though I’ll play with that more. The idea is that you can point at anything in the sky and it will identify it. I’m not sure it was working, and anyway it relies on the object being one of the things in its database. Considering there are millions and millions of things in the sky, but only thousands and thousands of things in the database, you’re going to have a lot of misses. One nice feature was the Tour: I took the February Tour, which hit on most of the highlights. It has a pre-programmed tour for each month where it cycles you through some interesting things to see. It focused on a few star clusters and nebulae, although the nebulae were generally not visible with the ambient light.

So at two observing nights completed, I’m happy with the scope. I’m learning (or re-learning) a lot about the sky and using a telescope and what it’s like to have access to a nice toy like this. I think I got a good scope for me overall – I could have saved some money, but I think I would have probably just been wishing I’d have gotten more had I gone with a smaller device. Unfortunately I have been spoiled by some very nice telescopes and observing opportunities in my life. But I think this will keep me happy. I traded some features like easy setup and a tracking motor for a larger mirror, but I think that’s really what I care about the most, so I am pleased. Mostly at this point, I *love* feeling in touch with what’s going on in the sky again: having a sense of what phase the moon is in, where planets are, what constellations are visible, and when all that will change, and having a good tool to witness it.

Last point of discussion: my backyard. Is this really going to work for most observing? With some qualifications, I say yes. Now, it’s not great. B-/C+ probably.

Good:

  • It’s MY yard, and right outside my door, and near my kitchen where I have snacks. For a telescope as big as this one, convenient location wins.
  • Best view is to the south, which is really where you want to be looking anyway.
  • If I get the telescope in the right spot in the backyard, I have privacy and no visible streetlights (though they are around and do contribute to some light pollution, certainly–I just can’t see the bulbs).

Bad:

  • Downtown is also to the south, so there’s a fair amount of ambient light low in the sky.
  • Very limited view to the north or west, thanks to tall trees.

In short, I could be doing a lot worse for backyard observing, but I could also be doing a lot better, and once in a while I’m going to be forced to drive somewhere darker or with a more complete view of the sky.

Anyway, I’m excited for a lot of upcoming observing. Saturn will be visible in the early evening hours before too long, and this first year with the telescope should be a lot of fun as I get to plan to see all the major hits as they cycle through the sky during the year.

Telescope obtained and assembled, and now used a few times.

Telescope parts

Before

Finished telescope

After

Assembly took all evening Monday and some additional time Tuesday. The implication being: if you expected to open the box, attach it to the tripod and get right outside with it, this would not be the telescope for you. No, this took about four total hours of assembly time. All in all it wasn’t that difficult or confusing. I actually enjoyed doing it. But, that’s the kind of person I am. I sometimes think I should have a business where I assemble people’s furniture for them because I believe that I dislike doing that less than others. (It’s probably not viable because I’d have to charge enough to make it worth my own time, which would subsequently raise the total cost of the item up to where it would make more sense for people to just buy some higher-quality, already-assembled furniture. Anyway.) So of course I naturally had the thought that I should contract out to build people’s telescopes for them, but that also fails as a business model because the kind of people that buy $1300 telescopes are the kind of people that like to do the building themselves. (They are also generally the kind of people that think it might be awesome to buy a Klingon Empire flag and attach it to their house.) Like me.

We’re in the middle of a really clear stretch of weather so I got to exercise my obsession immediately. Thursday I got it out despite having no idea how to use the computer control. My feeling was, I still know how to point a telescope at stuff. The moon was really nice. Bright enough through the telescope to wash out your retinas and ruin any darkness adjustments your eyes have made to that point. But really nice look at crater details and such. I got K out to have a look, though I failed to show her the view through the more powerful eyepiece. She went back in because it was cold, but I stayed out to check out the Orion Nebula and a few stars (i.e., things I could find with the naked eye). I tried to figure out how to use the computer but that turned out to be pretty amusing for the computer, I’m sure. Definitely need to read the manual. So all told, I wasn’t out too long, but it was productive and a nice first run.

Things I learned:

  • This telescope is heavy. To get it outside I can either break it down properly and haul it out in four components, or take a shortcut and just do two heavy ones. Of course I did the latter just to prove how manly I am and do things the brute force way rather than the smart easy way, but now that there are no questions about my mettle I’ll probably try to make a habit of doing it the smart easy way from now on.
  • Clomping around and hauling large telescope pieces out a door I usually don’t use scares the hell out of the cats.
  • The finder scope requires a bit of alignment but that’s pretty easy to do.
  • It’s fairly straightforward to find visibly bright objects in the sky without computer aid. If I wanted to take the time to find things manually I could do that. Maybe for fun, on occasion. (Yes, I sad “fun.”)
  • My scope is well-designed for hand-slewing. It smoothly moves around with moderate force and will stay stable as long as you don’t bump it. However, I’m already missing a motor control that will keep objects in the field of view automatically.
  • My backyard is not the greatest for astronomical observing, but it’s certainly workable. More discussion on this later.
  • The attached computer will take at least some rudimentary education to learn to use, rather than just my trying to figure it out on the fly.

I got out again for a longer observing session last night. Will post that update soon.

The crazy storms in the midwest that messed up half the country’s work, school, and flight schedules did not disrupt the trek of my telescope from California to North Carolina via UPS, so as far as I’m concerned, that storm was of no real consequence. It arrived Monday. Therefore I spent Monday evening putting it together. I had a chance to get outside Thursday and had a little bit of good viewing. I’m definitely excited about it, and obviously that’s the whole reason I got the thing. However, more on that soon, with some pictures of the assembly process. First, I had some leftover thoughts about the decision-making process and what went into this particular purchase.

Stuff I knew already (I did learn SOMETHING with my astronomy degree, although that’s yellowing and the emphasis was definitely not practical observational stuff):

  • The obvious telescope buying tips. There are two big things here. First, people have a common perception about what telescopes look like, and those kinds further turn out to be relatively inexpensive and available in any department store, but those telescopes (i.e., refractors) are generally terrible for astronomy and should not even be in a serious purchasing discussion. Second, for whatever reason, “magnification” is a specification that sounds important, but actually isn’t. Cheap scopes can easily do things to boost magnification, but that’s actually not what’s important when doing astronomy. Magnification necessarily reduces the brightness of what you’re seeing. Rather…
  • The number one factor in seeing a lot and seeing it well is aperture diameter. The bigger it is, the more light-gathering power. I’ve spent time looking through 8-inch diameter telescopes, as well as an observatory-quality 16-inch. There’s a big difference there, but things get expensive fast. I knew I wouldn’t consider going less than 8, and I probably wanted more.
  • The decision came down to a Dobsonian-style scope, which gives you a huge aperture per dollar but are more unwieldy, or a more classic Schmidt-Cassegrain or something similar, which were a bit more expensive for a similar size, only the overall design was more compact.
  • I was going to be mostly backyard observing. It would be unrealistic to make bold plans to spend a lot of time driving out to dark spots and setting up for long nights of telescoping.

Stuff I learned whilst doing research:

  • Back to the “obvious tips” point above, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this kind of thing was easily found online. Someone with an interest but without experience would learn these things quickly if they were paying any attention at all. It occurs to me that if someone bought a telescope without doing a lick of reading they would probably get themselves in trouble by what they thought they knew. So for any other major purchases I may make in the future in which I don’t know much about the topic (this includes nearly everything else on Earth) I should remember this and know that I can probably improve my standing even with just the most basic research.
  • Good optics are also very important. Some companies have a better reputation for high-quality lenses and mirrors than others.
  • Internets have lots of personal telescope-review websites, only they were built in 1997 or so. Finding articles in Sky and Telescope or Astronomy or another actual publication is a better route. Fortunately I am a science librarian and have access to such things.
  • If you’re mostly just hanging out in your backyard in suburbia, mirrors beyond about 12 inches supposedly don’t add much extra versus the cost.
  • There is a decision to be made about whether you’re going to be mostly just looking at stuff, or trying to take pictures (meaning you need better optics and have to spend more).

Decision points:

  • Had to be honest about my expected behavior. I loved staying up observing when I was 20. Now I am 34 and when it’s 10pm I generally want to be in my bed where it is warm and where my wife is comfortably sleeping. Often I do not even have a choice in the matter. Most weeknights I’m tired enough by 10 to be nonfunctional. Also this sometimes turns out to be true on weekends, too. Being up until 2am or later is out of the question probably 362 days a year. Packing the scope up and driving somewhere dark is less unlikely, but still rare. Unless I come home soon to find a giant pile of cash in my driveway, doing away with my need to continue full-time employment, or start aging backwards, none of this is likely to change.
  • My backyard isn’t great. It’s in the ‘burbs so there’s a fair amount of ambient light. There are a number of tall trees so I don’t have any view to the north (though that’s the boring direction, stargazing-wise). Nevertheless, it can be acceptably dark and it has the advantage of being, you know, MY backyard.
  • I was willing to spend some good money, but (a) there is diminishing rate of returns beyond a certain level of quality, (b) I’m not planning on doing any astrophotography.
  • I have no issue with having to set the scope up or do some manual work, because assembling a telescope is a very nerd thing that I like.

In the end:

I ended up going with this one, which is kind of a monster but high on the aperture-per-dollar scale. It has about the biggest mirror you can get. I sacrificed a bit on ease of use here. The other one I thought a lot about would have had a lot less setup time and effort. I had a feeling the latter would have left me feeling underutilized. I would have wanted a bigger scope and would have been willing to do more work to get it up and running. That would have been a good purchase if I thought I’d be more interested in driving myself to a dark location or if I didn’t want to spend a lot of time tinkering with it.

Amazon went out of their way to e-mail me this important product recommendation:

I...what?

I didn’t even buy that bird guide from them. I just rated it because I am the kind of person that has opinions on bird field guides. (The Stokes guides are easily the best organized and have the best pictures, says me.) So…therefore I want a phone?

Do the thing with your fingers56. Spock’s Brain. Somewhere I read about how, after a vigorous letter-writing campaign to extend TOS into a third season, and the first episode shown was “Spock’s Brain,” everyone must have wondered just why they’d bothered to put so much effort in. Because, wow, this is some kind of sorry episode. It’s widely considered to be one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, of the series, and as with my watching of TNG the internet was absolutely right about which episodes I can anticipate being bad. So that was a long way of saying that the internet has something knowledgeable to say about Star Trek. Here is where I should probably just get on with it. The basic plot is that some aliens appear on the Enterprise and knock everyone out, and when they come to, Spock has been deposited in sick bay…but is missing his brain! Oh no! This is a thing that can happen in space! Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty set to tracking down the missing part, which mostly consists of Kirk barking angrily at the brainless aliens until he gets what he wants. They don’t have much to tell him because they’re all pretty vapid, mostly being kept sentient by their supercomputer. There are a lot of holes in the story, at least I think there are, upon reflection. Maybe I missed these details and I’d look them up just to make sure they didn’t omit some major explanations, but let’s not kid ourselves. It really doesn’t matter. The end sequence is so corny there is nothing that can save this one. I’m not sure how adults could write this stuff, so I must conclude that they didn’t. This is the 1960s version of Axe Cop. It starts with McCoy subjecting himself to a computer procedure where a bunch of information on how to re-implant a brain is zapped into his head. Then he becomes a surgical genius (observing him work, Scotty yells, “I’ve never seen anything like it! He’s operating at warp speed!” Ha-ha, WARP SPEED! That means fast!). Only the effect is temporary, and the process wears off, in an effort to both create suspense and make sure no one ever speaks of this ridiculous procedure again. But it’s OK because he’s far enough into the surgery that Spock is conscious again and talks McCoy through the rest of his own brain surgery. I’m necessarily leaving out the dozen other insane things here, but what else can I say? Maybe the thing that I’m most bothered by is the completely amateur view of science: complex knowledge is treated like learning it is just a matter of procedure. Not, say, a mixture of deep systemic knowledge combined with experience. Nope: just learn these simple steps and you too can perform brain surgery. Killer Spock line: “While I might trust the Doctor to remove a splinter or lance a boil, I do not believe he has the knowledge to restore a brain.” Overall: Just totally out of character for the show. The actors were trying their best, but the writing and direction here are just abysmal. This is like, Roger Corman and Michael Bay teaming up. 0 out of 5.

Trek tropes (number of instances encountered in series so far in parentheses):

  • Strange probe encountered in space (4)
  • Badger alien until you get what you want (2)
  • Even in interstellar space, the best way to resolve problems is with your fists (4)
  • Highly experimental plan with low probability of success somehow works anyway (5)
  • Lighthearted banter to close episode (6)

57. The Enterprise Incident. Wait, one last dig at “Spock’s Brain”: one of the episode write-ups plagiarized by Wikipedia mentioned that Leonard Nimoy felt embarrassed during the episode, and would go on to feel that way more often in the third season. But we’re not there yet, and “The Enterprise Incident” isn’t without flaws but really turns things around. The premise is pretty intriguing, and keeps up a high level of suspense throughout. Kirk is clearly engaging in some sort of ruse even with his crew.  He’s ordering them to do all sorts of strange things, and having a pretty snotty attitude to boot. It turns out to be a cunning plan to steal some Romulan technology, and the episode gets to be “the one where Kirk is disguised as a Romulan.” Two stories are intertwined here, something TOS doesn’t often do and do well, and both tread a fine line of believability, but ultimately I dug them both. Kirk is able to engage some pretty good tricks to get his hands on the Romulan cloaking device, while Spock is keeping their female captain busy by just being his usual irresistible self. So I guess both were a little odd but I bought it. The suspenseful Kirk stuff is fun but mostly it ends up being a good Spock episode; he reveals a lot about his Vulcan/Human conflict sort of because he has to to keep the Romulan captain busy, but sort of because you feel like he’s made very comfortable by her. Somehow she understands his plight as a Vulcan surrounded by gross humans. Killer Spock line: “What is your present form of execution?” Overall: solid. 5 out of 5.

Trek tropes (number of instances encountered in series so far in parentheses):

  • Highly experimental plan with low probability of success somehow works anyway (7)
  • Spock displays Vulcan superpower never really seen again (5) [debatable, actually; they leave it a little fuzzy whether he really has a Vulcan death grip or it’s a fake]

58. The Paradise Syndrome. This is “the Native American one” and you know it’s going to be dicey the instant that’s established. TOS tries really hard to be a progressive show, it does. I think everyone involved wanted to break through stale cultural stereotypes on gender and race. Sometimes they were brilliant and years ahead of their time. Other times…not so much. The Enterprise crew frequently encounter primitive civilizations in the series – it’s one of the standard setups. Most of the time these races are sort of like cavemen. Race is irrelevant. But TOS and TNG always seem to get in a little trouble when the people are, in fact, not white. Since the people here are like Native Americans (obviously they aren’t Native Americans, being that they aren’t on Earth and all, but you wouldn’t know it from their wardrobe and customs) there is some criticism that the episode doesn’t portray them very admirably. See also, the widely criticized TNG episode “Code of Honor“. Wil Wheaton is quoted about “Code of Honor” that if the people hadn’t arbitrarily been cast as African-Americans, there would be no issue. Exactly. There’s little doubt the episodes couldn’t be better, but I think it’s missing the point to focus on race. It’s not like the producers in either case ever thought, “Hey, let’s make sure to cast it as [race] because we want to make a statement about what those people are like.” That’s pretty ridiculous. Instead, let’s judge “The Paradise Syndrome” on its merits rather than casting choices. Well, turns out we won’t get far going that direction either. Because there is some definite cheese here. Without rehashing the whole plot, it is set up that Kirk is stranded on a planet of very Native American-like people and has lost his memory, while the Enterprise is trying (and failing) to destroy an asteroid headed right at that planet. Things are further set up that several weeks pass during the episode, so Kirk has enough time to develop a whole relationship with an alien woman (and marry her, and she gets pregnant) while a damaged Enterprise is trying to get back. There are a few interesting things going on, I think the problem is more in execution. The love story with Kirk is a little unbelievable, it relies on some native mysticism to get going, and generally seems about as serious as one’s junior high dance date. There is a scene with Kirk and his wife chasing each other around and frolicking in the woods, to give you some indication of its portrayal. The idea is actually interesting as we really see a detour in Kirk’s life (the idea that he’d love to just get back to nature is seen several times in the Trek movies), but compare it to another TNG episode, The Inner Light, which had a similar idea for Picard, but was much more effective. We do at least have the positive of an unusual show structure, which for TOS is a novelty. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Spock battles both McCoy and Scotty with his decisions every step of the way in the old endless logic versus emotion game. This part of the show works a lot better, and while it had its weirdnesses, it makes for an interesting portrayal of what leaders have to deal with all the time, namely a bunch of dopes who think they know best and want their opinions heard when they are just that: opinions. Spock has to make some tough, logical decisions, and they turn out not to work. But he did make the right decisions. Killer Spock line: (after a mind-meld with Kirk) “He is an extremely dynamic individual.” Overall: a strange one. Doesn’t do a lot well but has some good ideas. 2 out of 5.

Trek tropes (number of instances encountered in series so far in parentheses):

  • Recent Earth history will always be relevant (9)
  • Spock displays Vulcan superpower never really seen again (6)
  • Kirk hits it off with alien babe (6)
  • The Enterprise is the only ship within range (4? I should have been tracking this one from the start)

59. And the Children Shall Lead. I thought I’d seen an episode like this before, with superkids, and I did: the first season’s “Miri.” But it’s been a while and I’ll have to get back around to it for a full comparison. Memory Alpha reports something I’ll have to come back to when I do get there, at which point the third season will be fully behind me. It says that Fred Freiberger, producer of the third season, implied “And the Children Shall Lead” was a great episode while “Miri” was trash, which seems to be exactly the opposite of popular opinion. So right now Freiberger is on the hook for me. The first disc of season three has been a strange one and Freiberger’s name is prominently placed over the final shot of every episode. Is this what I can expect from him all season? Anyway, ATCSL has some good moments (the part where the kids all see their parents and it hits home that they’ve been killed is effective, if mean), but is not too memorable, and was often a little sloppy. Ultimately a lot hinges on the group of kids’ inability to get Kirk to succumb to their powers. While the rest of the crew is immobilized or tricked, Kirk is free to run around and set things right. It seems like they just inexplicably never tried to get him. But there are also hints that they did, only he is Kirk and is able to fight off those kinds of things. So which is it? Also, somehow Kirk knows the identity of the evil force behind the kids, referring to it by name, even though he never actually hears the name. (Memory Alpha reports that this was an editing mistake, but even without the mistake it didn’t quite make sense.) Also McCoy likes it when children are sad. Also other than the part where they cry, the kids spend a lot of time being sort of annoying and pretty poorly developed (ice cream and “Ring Around The Rosie?”…sheesh). Killer Spock line: none.  Overall: hit and miss, mostly miss. 2 out of 5.

Trek tropes (number of instances encountered in series so far in parentheses):

  • Anonymous redshirt killed (6) [two of them accidentally beamed out into space – whoops!]
  • Shatner showcase (4)
  • Only Kirk can truly make command decisions (6)

(Edit: just read Tor’s reviews of the last few episodes. Regarding #58, I missed some bits about how the Native American-like people were in fact Native Americans, explained the same way that a lot of other human-like races are explained, in that an ancient race called the Preservers actually brought humans to other planets. Sure it’s ridiculous, but that’s the deal. Regarding #59, man. There really was a lot of goofy, inexplicable stuff. I won’t revise my rating but it’s definitely generous.)