Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: October 2008

…Not without my cat!

Tonight I watched the movie “Alien”, this will make the… oh, I stopped counting so long ago it is not even worth mentioning.  Let me just say that I have the script memorized and will speak the lines before they are spoken on the idiot box.

To be fair, I do like this movie.  If I am willing to watch it that many times, then that much must be obvious, right?  Right.

But there is an important thing that has always stood out to me, that is:  Why in the hell did she not just leave the darned cat on the ship and take Parker and Lambert and get the hell off (the ship, that is… this was not a porn flick)?

Don’t take this wrong… I love cats!  I think that they are great and I would be truly saddened if something happened to mine.  But get real for a moment.  If my house is burning down and Sally and Critter decide at that particular moment that they want to play hide and seek… I am sorry… looks like broiled kitty is on the menu!

… Wait… we are talking about a movie.  What do you mean, “Get Real!”

Think about it…  someone writing this script had to sit down and think, “What can we do to slow her down?  Let’s create a bond with her and a… uh… Turtle! no, too docile.  Canary! no… it would have a heart attack the moment someone screamed and we would go through two or three every scene.  Ah… a dog!  No… they like almost everyone and would end up wanting to play with the Alien or end up chasing it out an airlock.  Hey… A CAT!!!  They are aloof, like to hide, make an interesting hissing sound when upset.  Perfect.  Now lets make this Rippley chick have a greater bond for the cat than her crew!”

So someone thought up the idea that an officer, pardon me… a warrant officer (apologies to my brother Scott.) would put the life of a cat before the life of her crew.

If this had been me?  Let the cat out of the little glass box and run free.  Cat’s can figure things out pretty well, and who knows?  It might find it’s way to the shuttle on it own.  If not, then Jonesy would become one with the universe.  He would become “Star Stuff”, in the words of my Hero… Carl Sagan.  The kittie would cease to be.

Heck… it might have even made and interesting story line to have Rippley take the cat out of the box and throw it at the alien.  A clawing, spitting, overall pissed off cat would have kept the alien busy for a couple minutes while Rippley got away.

But…  I am not dumb.  I rewinded the movie.  I plotted where the story would have gone from the moment they decided to abandon the ship and leave, had she left the frikken cat.  The movie would only have gone on for about another ten minutes.  This would not have been a good alternate ending and likely would have never made the director’s cut of the special edition DVD box set.

Maybe this is a good reason why I am not a producer!

Observations during Hurrican Ike

Please note, these were observations made during the week following Hurricane Ike and we were still recovering from the devasting effects of the storm, I only mention that to give you some time perspective to the obervations. When I initially shared this with several friends and family members we had been without power since Friday midnight Sept 12th as the storm raged ashore, so this was written about 7 days into the ordeal. I will be sharing other thoughts in the near future.

Some observations-

When did it become ok to just do what you want at a stop light that is out. Do they not teach anymore that a non-working stop light is a four way stop and there is an order to who goes and when, and that the order is not the second car in line going when the car in front does.

Ike-must be global warming or houston failed to purchase enough carbon credits from Al Gore.

For those who believe government run programs are the best way to go- one word- FEMA. They are saying the best way to file a claim is through their website-hmmm 1.4 million people still have no power, gee thats real convenient, oh and you can’t stay on hold, they give you the website address and then hang up on you.

A local radio station somehow managed to give away ice, water and dry ice, 30 hours before any government agency was even in the city.

Deregulation of the electric industry, worst idea since government run health care.

Politicians with previous experience in private industry are the best people to elect. The mayor and county judge for houston, had to solve problems for the federal government like actually sending the trucks with relief supplies to the distribution centers. Instead of having them sit at reliant stadium. These two should be the next President and Vice-President.

Get to know your neighbors, you may need them, and they you.

Forget caffeine, cold showers are the best way to wake up.

Should have listened to Tina about Ike, she tried to warn us!

A friendly face and a hug can take away all stress for both the hugger and huggee!

And yes, being without power let’s you make up words like hugger and huggee!

Thoughts on Asimov

As a writer, amateur as I might be, I have many people that I cite as my inspirations and “muses”, who have helped me in my decision to make this a labor of love.  Most notable of these are such names as Hunter Thompson, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Leo Tolstoy, Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.  Trust me, there are many others out there that have inspired me, but those ones stand out the most.

The reason I started this post this way is because of a thought process I have been on lately.  Something that may be a concern at some point in the not-too-distant future and that is the thought of artificial intelligence.

As we progress with our understanding of technology and it’s interface with humans and biological systems, there arises a chance that at some time a man made creation may become “self-aware”.  Not just aware of ones self, but aware that it does not NEED it’s human counterpart for continuous operation.

When you consider that we are working towards devices that will allow the interface between man and machine on a nervous and eventually a nanotechnological level, it is not hard to consider the converse.  A time when we begin using biological components for mechanical devices, one of those, one day, being a human analog… i.e. a Robot.

These thoughts are nothing new, as I am sure you are all aware.  The king of this kind of thought process was, by and far, Issac Asimov.  He was the one that created what I consider the modern understanding of robotics and the “Three Laws of Robotics”, which will probably be the cornerstone of robotic programming when that time comes  He also authored the series commonly known as the “Robot series”, which was also, unfortunately, butchered into a movie staring Will Smith.

The question does arise, though.  When the time does come that we create a race of mechanical beings that become “aware”, how are we to treat them?  I suspect that it will not be too much unlike another period in time when slavery was acceptable.  Not just black slaves, but there were slaves of many colors throughout the world.  It was considered justified for many reasons.  In some cases it was thought that those enslaved were less that human, in others it was as a form of punishment, like a prison sentence.  In the case that I am describing, I think it will be more along the line of we humans, in our own arrogance, will think:  This is something that is the creation of MAN.  We brought you into existence, we are your lords.  Yes… I know.  That sounds a little over the top… but you get my point and I challenge anyone to tell me I am wrong.

Now, there are probably those of you saying that a “Robot Race” could not exist, they have no way to reproduce.  You would be partly right, but there could be a way.  John von Neumann came up with a theory of self replicating machines that could be used to mine and explore.  Why, then, could that not be taken one step further and a “race” of recently aware robots be able to use those same principles to reproduce and combine the best attributes from their combined programming into the new machine?

The resulting creation would, in some sense, be the offspring of the two, or more, machines.  But would contain the combining of certain attributes of each, resulting in an unique creation based on information from the two hosts.  Not entirely unlike biological reproduction.

One last thought.  As such a race grows and matures, would they see us as their creators?  Would we, for some period of time, assume the role of Gods or Deities to them?  It seems that there would be a chance of this, we would, after all, be the source of their creation.  There would be prototypes that lead to their advancement; a robot “Adam” and “Eve”, so to say.

I wonder how we will handle such a time.  If we will do the right thing and let such an evolution take place, step back and let it follow it’s own course.  Or will our arrogance get in the way, causing us to abuse the trust that might be placed in us by robots, or “Synthetic Life Forms” as they achieve awareness.

Either way, it will be an interesting time.

Thank you for reading.

Searching for Guy Fawkes.

I am not a radical.

I am not a revolutionary.

I am not a promoter of violence or chaos.

But there is a question I would like to ask, in general, to you, the readers.

Is there ever, in your opinion, a right time or reason to do something that might be considered the wrong thing?

There is a movie called “V for Vendetta” that is set in what I would call a “dystopian” future, in the UK.  A future where the UK has become a closed society and imposes strict rules on what you can read, listen to, say and do.  All TV is controlled and monitored by the government.  In short, it is a very Orwellian story.

The main character is a radical, who, while the story make him out to be a modern hero for that time, is performing acts of domestic terrorism in the city where the story is set.  All this in order to embolden the people, the citizenry, to stand up and take back their country and their freedoms.

So the question stands.  Is there a time when you can justify something that is obviously an act of terrorism, or the actions of what is basically a domestic terrorist, when the popular movement supports that person or group?

Watching this movie, I walk away with an odd feeling from it.  I do enjoy the movie, it is a powerful movie with a positive statement.  “V”, the main character in this movie said; “People should not fear their government, their government should fear the people.”  This statement alone is one that I think we have all forgotten, and this movie demonstrates that act carried, in my opinion, too far.

It is a movies that carries with it a mixed message.  Expressing the need for people to stand up and take their place in the path that their country takes.  It also carries a dangerous message, especially in these “Post 9/11″ years, when even the slightest act of sedition is enough to put you on the government’s watch list.

I watch the movie and I do see many similarities between the society that they show and the way we are becoming.  No… our government is not getting THAT oppressive yet, but the interpretation of the people, willing to sit back and watch as the government tells them how to live, work and love.  That I can see us doing, because face it… many of us Americans are becoming lazy and complacent.

If you have not seen the movie, then I would like to ask that you give it a whirl.  I hope that you will not only watch it for the entertainment factor, but also to take the time and examine it from a historic point of view.  I would like to know what others take from the movie and if that is anything along the lines of what I took from it.

Is there another Guy Fawkes out there, waiting in the wings, waiting for a cause to undertake?

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HALO 3: Recon – Why do they do this to us???


Once again Bungie has played to our Achilles heel and released a trailer for the new game based on the HALO universe.

HALO 3: Recon

To be honest… I am not sure what kind of game this will be without the Master Chief.  I mean, HE is the HALO series.  To be fair, though… I am going in with an open mind.  All I can say is this:

“My name is Sam, and I am addicted to HALO.”  <everyone else says “Hi Sam.”>

H3:Recon is set in the same universe as the Master Chief, but you do not play him.  You play the only other character that can come even close to his caliber in the games.  You are an ODST, the Elite of the UNSC soldiers, also known as “Hell Jumpers”.

These soldiers, the future equivelant to the Navy’s HALO jumpers of today, strap themselves into a pod, in low planetary orbit and are “shot” into a hot zone of the planet surface.  These are guys that make us Marines look like Boy Scouts.

Am I jazzed about the new game? Hell yeah…  is a Rabbi Jewish?

Am I going to put my name on the list for the early release?  Darned tootin’!

Do I have any comments to Bungie?  YES!!!!



Et tu, Bungie???

The ghosts that haunt us…

Not a day goes by when I do not think of my Father.

Unfortunately, he passed away in 1991. When he passed, there were a great deal of things that I never got to say to him and I am sure, there were things that he never had a chance to say to me.

I do not dwell on his death, I can honestly say that I only did that for about the first year, but the times I think about him now are more or less in passing. Idle thoughts that come to me. Things like; “Dad would have liked that”, or “It would have been neat if my dad could have met my Father-in-law.”

If I were to look at the things that bother me the most about his death, it is the fact that I never told him everything I needed to tell him. But I was young and I listened to those that told me that it would hurt him if I talked to him about these things. So I did not, not knowing the ghosts that it would create for me all these years.

I think that we all carry ghosts like this with us through our lives.  Things that we put off doing, forgot to do or never seemed to find the time for.  Then one day you realize that your chances are gone, there is no way to get them back.  These can be as simple as a conversation you should have had with someone or as large as not taking the time to sit down and have a heart to heart with your father… as was the case with me.

The biggest thing to remember with most of these ghosts is that they do not have to be.  We each have control over whether they exist or not by the decisions we make.  We chose to, or not to, act on things.  Sometimes it is because we do not want to hurt someone, or because we do not want to take a chance.  But we must.

Since my issue with my father, I have used that as a learning point in my life.  Since then I try to speak my mind when I can.  I always make sure I say what needs to be said when I have the chance.  If that which I need to say might hurt the feelings of the person I am telling it to, then I do so with the greatest care and compassion.

I offer this as my personal experience in life.  Life itself is so very short when you think about it and even with that, you are not guaranteed the entirety of your life, you never know what may happen that might take it from you or those you love, prematurely.

I will close with this.  It is a small part of a poem I have kept near me for more years than I can remember called the Desiderata:

“…As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant… they too have their story.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

What’s the worst that could happen?

OK… So this is an open question to any readers out there that stumle upon my site or those whom are regular readers of mine.

It looks like the Bail Out package is not fairing well…  So my question to you all is this:

Should the Bail-Out package NOT pass, what is the worst that could happen?  How bad could it really get?

I am not a financially minded person, so the question is a serious one and I would really like to see the answers that you might have.

In addition to your writen answer, please take the time to use my new polling feature.

[poll id=”2″]

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