The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: December 2007

Happy in my insignificance.

I am insignificant… at least in the eyes of most of the world.

There may be some who would disagree with that statement, like my Mother, wife, relatives and, I hope, my friends.

To the rest of the world, however, my life, and it’s passing, will remain largely unnoticed. There will be no state funerals, there will be no masses held in my honor and no black bands on arms to mourn my loss. I will simply be one more statistic in the book of life and death and one more headstone in the family plot.

When I put it in that context and then really read what I have just written, it does kind of bother me, but in reality I am not that hurt by the idea. That is not to say I would not mind having some notoriety, but in all, I am pretty happy being no-one important.

When you look at the price of fame and notoriety these days, is it really such a bad thing to be an unknown presences it the world?  I mean, when you think about it, people who are truly famous are not always that happy about the attention that they get, and I would have to think that they wish, themselves, that they were not so important to others.  Becoming a “someone” puts your life on display for everyone else’s scrutiny.  You are, so to say, unzipping your fly to the rest of the world and waiting for their reactions.  Suddenly the skeletons you once kept in your closet and the bodies in the back yard become public record.  Next thing you know you are “wrecking your car on the way to rehab” and “suing your dad”, as Brad Paisley put it in his song “Celebrity.”

If you look at people like Brittany Spears, David Letterman, etc…  and the issues that they have been through, and the things you hear in the news about famous people either being stalked or attacked, then it makes being insignificant seem very appealing, at least in my humble way of thinking.  I do think that there is something in all of us that would like a little fame, though.  I am not sure why this is, but there is something that makes some of us look for our “15 minutes of fame” that was predicted for all of us by Andy Warhol.

Personally, if I am ever to be known for something, I would like for it to be my writing.  I doubt that it will ever happen, especially with the whopping 10 average views per day that this site gets.  At that rate, I am not expecting anything short of a miracle to make my name known.  I have also been working on a book for the last several years, and that has gone through several rewrites.  The few people that I have let read excerpts from it do their usual nods and friendly “Mm-Hms” over the parts, but I see this as more of a friendly gesture than anything else.  They are being good people and urging me on, but I am not certain that they consider my work as much more than you might regard a fly getting too close to your BBQ ribs at a picnic.  But I will keep trying.  Maybe I will get lucky at some point and things will fall into place.

The question then becomes this…  Should I suddenly find myself with a book that becomes a hit, how do I tolerate the success?  I know… I know…  not every person that writes a book will become the next JK Rowling or Tom Clancy, and even if you do, that does not mean you will always be elevated to the level of popularity that they were…  you might even become the next Salman Rushdie, which would severely limit your mobility and quite possibly your life.  But both are forms of fame that come with something that you wrote.  Be they good or be they bad, they did elevate you, but that can almost be a Faustian deal, as I am sure Salman probably feels every February 14th.

No…  I am pretty sure that even if I am ever able to publish this book, or anything else of perceived importance , I would not really want the fame.  I would probably publish under a pen name, and then not let them put my picture on the cover, assuming that it was a good enough book to go to hard back or warrant a picture of me.  I would let the money role in from the sales, and remain happy in my anonymity.  I would make contributions to the various charities that I like, and help people where and when I could, but there would be no reason to ruin a good thing by letting people know who I am.  I probably would not even tell my close friends, just see if they happen to pick it up and read it… then listen to the comments that they make without them knowing who wrote the book to begin with.

If you are famous… good for you.  I sincerely hope that it turned out to be everything you hoped for, and that it did not have an adverse affect on you or your family.  But if you are like me… one of the great unwashed masses of the insignificant unknowns, then congratulations. Whether you know it or not, you are in good company.

Do they have the right to their own defense?

I have gone back over this idea more times than I like.  It is a hard topic for me because this is so personal for us all.  It involves the detainees at Guantanamo and what rights they should and should not have.

Because this is such a touchy subject, I am going to write this in two part… The first part I am going to use to gauge the attitudes of people, then I will express my opinion on the topic.

The issue is this:

Do the detainees have the right to know the charges that are filed against them, and should be be allowed to provide a defense for themselves?  If you need a different way to see it, imagine if it were you in their place, say as someone who was assumed guilty by association.  Would you not want the option of contesting the charges that are brought against you?

I am in no way defending those that are responsible for acts of terrorism, but I am questioning the practice of holding a person in custody with no formal charges filed against them and, in some case, without their knowing the exact reason of their detention.

Please express how you feel about it and feel  free to take as much writing space as you need.

Thanks.

Thoughts for Winter

Listening to Paul Harvey a few days ago, he told a poem about November. I wish I could recall the name of the poem and if you, reading this, happen to know the name, I would be pleased if you would share it with me.

There is an electricity in the air this time of year. Not that which you see because of the upcoming holidays and the excitement that always comes with people running back and forth looking for gift and at the lights that adorn all the houses.

There is a crispness in the air… the feel of something that is about to happen. Nature is holding it’s breath waiting in excitement for the spring to come, and you can almost feel it. While this time of year is a time of death and change, as was described in the poem that I heard, there is a beauty there because from that death will come new life. The leaves that fall will be the mulch that will feed the new life that will spring from the ground next year. The snow that falls, if you are lucky enough to live in a place where it snows just enough to be pretty, and not make you wish you lived in Florida, and wraps the land in a covering, like a loved one wrapping a gift for you. When you walk in the snow, you can hear the whispers of voices not of this world, like spirits from the past trying to share a secret with you, but just barely audible. It is a beautiful conclusion to the light and colour show that nature gave us with the changing of the leaves this fall.

Trust me… I was not always this sappy during this time of year. In fact I was pretty much the most negative person you might know, starting right about the time Halloween ended. Back then, this time of year only served to remind me of everything I did not have. My mother and I really did not have a lot, and there was not a whole lot of money to spend on much more than a good Thanksgiving and Hanukkah dinner, then go back to school and hear about what all the other kids got for the holidays. Add to that the fact that my father rarely did anything with me for the holidays.

Growing older just made me more resentful of my childhood. It was not until I met the woman who would become my wife that I would start to get over this. She would show me that this time of year was about more than the bad I experienced as a child. So with her help I learned to enjoy this time of year and see it for what it is. Not just the holidays, though they do have new meaning for me now. Not just Hanukkah, but Christmas as well along with the other joys of this time of year.

Now I look at this time of year as a time of renewal and change. A time to look forward to the next year and what it hold… the good and the bad. I guess you could say it is a time of cleansing.

Review: The Astronaut Farmer

This last weekend my wife and I watched The Astronaut Farmer.

This is truly an outstanding movie. Not for the reality or the graphics, but for the story itself.

Obviously the chances of a person being able to build an orbital craft in their back yard (Or barn, as in the movie) are slim to none on the best of days, and even if Sept 11th had not happened.  I have no doubt that even if a person DID get the ship built, there would be almost no chance of them getting the high-grade fuel that would be required to get them into orbit.  They would have to figure out a way to refine and prepare the fuel themselves.

All that aside, what makes this movie great is that it’s message is to not stop dreaming or pursuing that dream . That you should keep working towards your them, even if others laugh at you for them or call you nuts.   Now I am not telling you to go out and try and start your own space program… unless your name is Bill Gates, Dick Ruttan or Sir Richard Branson… in which case you can do whatever you like and not many people will give you a second look.

No… what I think that this movie conveys is that we all had (or still have) a dream of what we want to do.  We should never give up trying to attain that dream or wish.  Granted, there are certain things that we will not be, especially once you get past a certain age.  I know for a fact that I will never see space, or be a doctor.  These were both dreams of mine at some point in life, but I got distracted and ended up taking other paths.  But that does not mean I cannot help others with their dreams and then, through that, live vicariously through their accomplishments.

We should all embrace our dreams, or the dreams and aspirations of others.  As I am sure you will understand, there are exceptions to this… I would not want to willingly feed the aspirations of someone whose dream was to kill or to in any other way harm others…  unless that wish was to, say, cause all the members of Al-Quida to suddenly develop some new form of spastic priapism.

If you have not seen this movie, please do.  There is a powerful message there, and I think that we all can gain from it.

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