The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: November 2007

The things we miss…

As I grow older, I also find myself longing for the things of my youth. Things that I know I will never see again except in my memories. While most of these memories are scarred by the passage of time, many are still intact, but when I say scarred by the passage of time, I do not mean that in a bad way. We all distort things as we get older, it is just part of being human. Certain things are worse now than when you were a child, people were nicer, times were better, etc…

In reality, and taken in context, things were probably about the same then that they are now… but there are things that change…

When my family moved to a little town, no too far from where I live now, called Taft, the door had a very basic lock on it, but we never worried about using it too much. The community was small enough that we never had to worry so much about people breaking into the house. We knew all our neighbors and did not have to worry about any of them being criminals or the like. One of the down sides about living in a community like that is that you really do know EVERYTHING about your neighbors. While I was really too young to know it at the time, my mother told me, many years later, about some of the things that happened in Taft. Some good, some bad and some just strange. In short, I miss the security that I felt as a kid growing up in a town like Taft. Yes… at the time it was considered a backwater little hick town. But I cannot say that this is always a bad thing. Sometimes smaller is better!

Here in Bakersfield, Ca. as I was growing up, there were miles and miles of farmland and open fields around the apartments that my mother and I lived in. You could walk for miles in the fields, and except for one farmer that would send his dogs out after you, no one would ever really bother you. Later we even found out that the dogs were not all that bad. They would bark a lot and growl, but when you started talking to them, they would wag their tails and let you pet them. We would go catch crawdads in the canal, and then let them go. Nowadays the same area is overgrown with low income housing, school, fast food and high density housing. The farms, fields, canals and dogs are gone. If you walk through this area at night, you better have a gun or be able to run real fast. It is not the peaceful neighborhood I remember.

I miss Sambo’s restaurant… There used to be two locations here in Bako, but they both closed down. I recently learned that there is one Sambo’s remaining in Santa Barbara, and I desperately need to go there, if for no other reason , than to capture a little of the past.

I also miss the clothes that we used to wear back “then.” I remember my father’s “Leisure Suits” that he used to wear… especially the lime green one, and the peach colored one. The wide ties and the wide collars. I was certain that if my father jumped off a building that he would fly because his collar on his shirt was so large. Then there was my mother’s bell-bottomed jump suits with the bright colors and the paisley designs on them, complete with the large belts and her “go-go boots.” I remember that I had my own, child’s version, of a leisure suit made by a company called Billy The Kid. It was a brown corduroy get-up with bell bottom pants and a checkered shirt.

Looking back now, at some of the pictures of the clothing that women wore back then, and how the styles come back around… I am really hoping that I get to see women wearing mini skirts and go-go boots again. They may not have been a great fashion statement, but they were nice to look at. 😉

There are so many things that we remember from our youth, that we will never see again, or that are too difficult for us to see again. This is, unfortunately, just part of growing older. There is nothing that we can do about it but remember and share with others that also remember.

The good thing about memories is in the sharing. Sharing your memories with others is great, because the stories change as you grow older. The fish get bigger, the fires get larger and the trials and tribulations that you went through get legendary. Before you know it, you are sounding like your grandparents did, and then it hits you… You have become one of those old people you used to chuckle about behind their backs.

Don’t worry though… you can live happy in the knowledge that you will not be the last to come to this realization.

Prisoners of their own success

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be famous?  To have the public wanting to know about you and what you are doing, or to command the respect of many simply by being… you?

Sure… we all have, at some point, considered the idea.  I had alway thought about becoming a a world famous scientist when I was young.  There was also the whole moon and space thing happening while I was growing up, so I also thought I was going to be an astronaut.  Today I am simply working, slowly, on a story that I hope will make it to becoming a book at some point.

The reason I bring up this line of thought, though, is because of what I see and hear about actors and actresses these days.  The lives they lead and the people that they are.  The Paris Hilton’s and Brittany Spears’ of the world along with the Brad Pitts and the George Clooney’s.  They are rich, well known, in some cases admired and they are all prisoners of their own fame and success.

Myself and most of you reading this, are able to live a life free of the gazes of others.  To the best of my knowledge, there are no photographers camped in the Magnolia tree outside my office window.  There is no one following me on my exciting five minute drive to work every morning, and certainly no one rifling through my trash looking for some memento from my life.  If there is, then I am happy to know that someone out there has less of a life than do I.

When you look at your favorite actor or actress, any of them, you choose.  Do you think that they can do half the things that you and I can do?  I can walk through my front door, and down the street, and no one will give me a second look.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would even remember seeing me.  Now, take the same situation, but this time lets make it someone like Matt Damon.  How far down the street do you think he would get before people started stopping to look, or walking up to him.  Worst case, and there are always nuts out there that might try this, how long before someone tried to hurt him?

There was a time, and there may be a few of my readers that remember it, when an actor could walk down the street and people would leave them alone.  They might talk to them, or maybe ask for an autograph, but nothing like today.  Today people are so desperate to have some contact with the stars they like that they will do almost anything.  A good example, and one that has been held up for display more times than I can count, would be John Hinckley and HIS attempt to win the attention of Jody Foster.

While there are some, OK, quite a few exceptions… actors do not all bring it on themselves.  The majority of the problem with the press and the people stalking those that are famous are those of you who feed the wolf, so to say.  The ones that go out and buy the tabloids, watch the “expose'” TV shows and log on to the web sites to see the latest stills of this actor or that actress doing something that will get them news time.  People that watch or read this stuff are the reason it is there.  You are the ones that killed Princess Diana, albeit indirectly, by feeding the industry that chased her down, as they chase all of those in high places.  Face it… if there were no money in the close up of a famous person, then there would be no paparazzi.

Don’t get me wrong… the actors have learned to play to the audience as well.  They know how to provoke the masses and how to get themselves advertising.  A friend of mine once told me, and I am pretty sure he got it from someone else, that “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”  and that is more true that any of us would care to think about.  Look at how many times people like Brittany Spears makes the news for something that she has done regarding her kids, or her exploits revolving around her driving skills.  When the news hits the stands, do her record sales drop?  Do people boycott her concerts?  How about the whole thing involving Paris Hilton? Does anyone really think that she is going to change?

And again… they are all playing to the audience.  They know that for every person out there like me, that see them for what they really are, there are 10 to 20 more that will continue to watch shows like “E!” and any of the many other Celebrity Stalker shows that are out there.  People that have nothing better to do with their lives than to watch their favorite celebrity doing their latest stupid act, getting arrested, pretending to give to their favorite charity, pretending that they have a single clue about politics, etc… all for the sake of the voyeuristic orgasm that they might get out of it.

Me?  Yeah… I have the people that I keep track of.  Here is a short list of the people that I used to and still do monitor, tell me how many you have heard of?

  • Carl Sagan – Physicist – Deceased
  • Robert Heinlein – Writer – Deceased
  • Michio Kaku – Physicist
  • Kip Thorne – Physicist
  • Stephen Hawking – Physicist – All around great guy.
  • Greg Bear – Writer
  • Greg Benford – Writer
  • LarryNiven – Writer.

This list could go on forever.  But I will leave it with those names.  That will give you an idea of whom I think are worth the time to study and follow.  These are people that change the way we think about life and the universe.

Actors and actresses help us escape reality.  They let us see into the imagination of the person that created the character that they are portraying.  Beyond that, they are just people, nothing more.  They are no more or no less important than you or me.  They only have the status that they do because you have fed the monster that put them there.  To be fair, there are those that do do good, that try and make a difference.  But those are not the ones that make the big news, because they know that you do not need to advertise when you do a good deed.  Those are the silent victories that they keep to themselves.   I know they are out there.

If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of those people that religiously watch or read the tabloids or programs that come on TV, then ask yourself why it is really that important that you know what these people, the actors and actresses, are doing.  Is anything you learn going to do anything to better your life?  Is any of it going to do anything to make you or those around you better people?  Isn’t there anything you can be doing with that time that is a better use of your time?

I know… I am probably being hard on you.  But face it, you can either sit and watch another person screw up their lives, or you can go out and make something of yours.  It really is your own choice.  Just keep in mind that we all have something to offer the world, and you will never learn what that is by watching other people live their lives.

Thanks for reading.

Adopt a Soldier for the Holidays!

As Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner… I want to remind everyone of a program that often gets forgotten.

Many areas where there is a military base have a program called “Adopt a Soldier” for the holidays.  We have hosted a couple Marines for Thanksgiving, and it is great.  I am told that the Army, Navy and Air Force have similar programs.

In short, this is where you give a soldier who is away from his or her home, the chance to have a holiday dinner with a family and to share the day with you instead of in the barracks or on base.

I encourage you all to look into this.  I can promise you that this will make them and you feel great.  I also recommend giving them a calling card as a gift.  You can also let them use your phone to call home and talk to their family as well.

I hope that the few of you that are reading this will contact your local base and see if they have this program.


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