The FAM: Star Trek TNG: Chain Of Command

It’s Friday, dear readers, which means that it’s time for a dose of whatever I can find on YouTube. Today the FAM invites you to get your nerd on, because today we are showing “Chain of Command,” or episodes 10 and 11 of the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, recognized far and wide as the best Star Trek. Don’t you argue with me. Broadcast on WPIX New York beginning with its first episode until at least 7 or 8 years after its run ended, it still, to me, represents some of the finest sci-fi ever shown on television, and “Chain of Command” (more specifically the Part 2) is an especially outstanding episode.

Indeed, the first half of “Chain of Command” gives no indication that it will stray very far from the structures and motifs of that standard episode. It may seem strange at first to have Patrick Stewart’s Jean Luc Picard play commando and stranger still to see another captain on the bridge of the Enterprise but the writers do not stray too far out of the show’s comfort zone.

With the capture of Picard at the end of the first part, things take a decidedly darker turn. The second part of “Chain of Command” quickly becomes one of the more sinister chapters in the series as we are shown the interrogation of Picard by the Cardassian Gul Madred. Madred is played by David Warner, who shows, as he did in Time Bandits, that he absolutely relishes being the villain.

It also happens to be (both at the time and now) one of the more accurate portrayals of torture shown on television. Perhaps best known for it’s “How many lights are there?” homage to Nineteen Eighty-Four, the images of Picard stripped naked and hoisted into a stress position are perhaps more unsettling since the coinage of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. As Slate’s Juliet Lapidos noted while discussing J.J. Abrams’ Apple store inspired reboot, even the Cardassian’s reasoning for keeping the Enterprise captain seems prescient:

When Picard’s comrades on the Enterprise learn of Picard’s capture, they insist that the Cardassians abide by the terms of a Geneva-like “Solanis Convention.” The Cardassians rebuff the request: “The Solanis Convention applies to prisoners of war … [Picard] will be treated as a terrorist.”

All of this is wrapped up in the typical Star Trek cheesiness, which you either find wretched or endearing. I long ago trained myself to overlook these things. Watching Warner and Stewart go at it here is a treat and they do wonders with dialogue littered with references to alien delicacies and imaginary planets. The other half of the plot, aboard the Enterprise, is fairly standard and may not appeal to those who aren’t fans of the show. To be honest, I think I would have preferred the entirety of the story taking place in that room, excising any of the events taking place elsewhere until Warner was informed of his prisoner’s release, though two hours of that may have been expecting too much of its audience. Nevertheless it remains one of my favorite episodes from (I reiterate) the best Star Trek.

And that’s going to do it for this week’s Friday Afternoon Movie. We shall see you next week. You may now return to your normal levels of nerdery.

Moebiuswear By Cyclus

As I have previously disclosed, I am the the last person one should come to for fashion advice. Were one to approach me modeling an ensemble made of corrugated cardboard I would doubtlessly praise its sharp, awkward creases oblivious to the inappropriateness of packing material for use in clothing the human body.

Do not take my posting these fine bags from Cyclus as a statement of fashion preference then. Instead I present these bags as appropriate gear for, what I think you will agree dear reader, is an inevitable future. When we are wandering the deserted wastelands, on occasion upon the back of a pterosaur, I imagine these will be the bags of choice. Taking their design from the scaled body of the pangolin, or spiny anteater, and made from reused inner tubes, their segmented design makes for a pleasing shape, providing their wearer with a versatile carapace for storage. I especially like the smaller backpack which, when worn, looks like a pill bug desperately clinging to its owner’s back.

Via Core77

Stunning Vintage Photos from Sydney’s Police Museum

Recently, the French photography/arts blog, La boite verte, posted a breathtaking series of vintage photographs of dusty, down-on-their-luck Antipodeans passing reproachfully through their country’s penal system back in the day.

They’re pictures from the Sydney Justice & Police Museum archives. Some of the documented lawbreakers seem sad, ashamed, or a bit mentally unhinged. Other portrait subjects remain defiantly cheerful–  chins up and shoulders back as if to say “So it goes. I do what I have to do.” All of these images are a mule-kick to the heart.

Many more after the jump. Peruse the full series here. Via m1k3y, thanks.

EDIT/ADDENDUM: The original text of this post has been corrected. These are “photographs of commitment” from the Syndey J&P Museum’s archive (1912 – 1964). “The portraits were taken on glass plate negatives and analyzed with high resolution to show the quality of the photograph of the police.” [via]

Related Coilhouse posts:


Was this gent perhaps arrested for cross-dressing? Such a surreal, timeless photo…

Take A Ride On An Arrow

Sometimes there is no good reason for doing something other than because one can. Also, because it will produce some incredibly awesome results, as evidenced by the video above. Take a look at what happens when, at an archery range in Korea, someone decides to strap a rear-facing camera to an arrow and send it hurtling 145 meters down range.

This is officially my favorite thing of today.

Via Blame It On The Voices

A Brief Tap Interlude

As previously noted, The Three are toiling away on the forthcoming issue of Coilhouse’s print incarnation in the lush comforts of their offices above my cell. I have heard that they have all manner of miracles up there: floors adorned with plush carpeting, un-recycled air, food that isn’t gruel, and things called toilets which are like the buckets I have but are not located in the corner of your room and empty themselves (or at all, really). It sounds like a wondrous place.

But all that hard work can be exhausting, regardless of how much your food is not gruel. Indeed, perhaps many of our readers are experiencing a fatigue akin to what my sadistic benevolent mistresses find themselves in the midst of. To them and to you then I present this clip from the short film Amuse Yourself from 1936 starring the Holst Sisters. The benefits of watching two lithe nymphs tap-dance while shackled to one another are, I believe, self-evident.

Fantasia 2000/Four Tet Mashup


Thanks for sharing, Phoenix Marie Paris!

Eep. No doubt I’m outing myself as one seriously crusty-ass graverhippiezoomdweebie by admitting this, but –with all due respect for Stravinsky and his Firebird suite (indeed, with lifelong reverence!)– I’m finding it’s rather nice to revisit this gorgeous animation from Fantasia 2000 with a less bombastic score attached to it, namely Four Tet‘s “Love Cry”. I dunno, is that completely horrible? Should I lay off the Longbottom Leaf? Yeah, probably. Sorry. We’re all working crazy long hours over here (hence the sluggish blogging) on Issue 06, so it was either a half-baked ZOMGDISNEY post, or this animated gif of a tumbleweed…

Katarzyna Konieczka: Medical Dystopia

Polish designer Katarzyna Konieczka first made an appearance on Coilhouse this past July, but these newer photos of her medical fashion are too wonderfully twisted not to share. Above is a new image of her previously-featured Elephant Man-inspired ensemble, shot by Maciej Boryna. After the jump, two dreamlike masks, photographed by Marcin Twardowski. Definitely one to watch.

See also:

The Friday Afternoon Movie: The Lobotomist

Please pardon the brevity of today’s FAM write-up as its inept and cretinous editor has once again succumbed to is inability to efficiently manage his time, meaning that he now has an mountain of goose colons on his desk that require sorting and filing. Also, he needs to get a picture of Spiderman on his boss’s desk by the end of the day. This is not going to turn out well.

But you don’t come to the FAM for the verbiage, you come for the movie. Today’s film once again comes from PBS, this time from their American Experience series of documentaries. This particular episode is entitled The Lobotomist and details the rise and fall of Dr. Walter J. Freeman, who traveled the country in the 40s and 50s in his self-described “lobotomobile” performing what came to be known as an “ice-pick” (transorbital) lobotomy, a procedure he helped to both perfect (even creating a tool which he called the orbitoclast) and popularize, performing between 2500 and 3500 of them during his career. Most famously he performed the operation on John F. Kennedy’s sister Rosemary when she was 23, permanently incapacitating her in the process.

Freeman was more than the country’s most famous lobotomist, he was also the procedure’s greatest evangelist. Always the showman, he would perform two lobotomies at once or assembly line style, once lobotomizing 25 women in a single day. In his crusade he was beyond reckless and unscrupulous. In December of 1960 he lobotomized 12 year-old Howard Dully at the request of Dully’s stepmother because he was “defiant and savage-looking”. Freeman’s license was finally revoked when a patient he was lobotomizing died from a brain hemorrhage. The lobotomy’s death knell came in the form of anti-psychotic drugs like Thorazine in the mid-50s, which allowed doctors to obtain the same results chemically, without having to slice up their patients’s frontal lobes.

The Lobotomist gives a look, then, into the life and career of a man singularly obsessed with his work, work he felt was helpful despite contradictory evidence, and the fame he so desperately sought at the cost of all else and, in doing so, presents another unfortunate chapter in the treatment of the mentally ill.

Wisdom Teeth And Deep

The first, seven episode season of Showtime’s Short Stories features an eclectic mix of mostly animated shorts, but these two may be my favorites and they could not be more different. “Wisdom Teeth” is another brilliant piece of unnerving nonsense from Rejected animator Don Hertzfeldt. It’s a cautionary tale about stitches and the pratfalls of trying to remove them too early. On the other end of the animated spectrum is PES’s ridiculously beautiful and serene “Deep” which details a deep sea community of fish made from compasses, pliers, wrenches, and trumpets. This one really blew me away with both its imaginative use of tools, flawless animation, and haunting atmosphere. Simply lovely. Be sure to check out the other five shorts.

Anouk Wipprecht’s Wearable Tech


Daredroid, Pseudomorphs, Fragilis and Intimacy.

Anouk Wipprecht creates garments that move, breathe, and react to the environment around them. Wipprecht started with a background of fashion, theater and dance, but a growing interest in interaction design and electrical engineering inspired her to develop clothing that appeals as much to the DIY/tech crowd as it does to fans of haute couture. “Instead of the body having to give a purpose to a design” Wipprecht said in a recent interview with Fashioning Tech, she’s interested in developing “design [that] gives a purpose to the body.”

Wipprecht has crafted projects such as Intimacy, a set of garments that become transparent when in proximity of each other, Fragilis, a dress that evokes the heart and veins through lighting and motion, and Daredroid, a cocktail-making robot dress equipped with IR sensors that administers booze through pneumatic control valves. More projects can be found on her site. Here she is discussing Pseudomorphs, her self-painting dresses: