Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: March 2009

Battlestar Galactica – The End… Maybe

So… a couple weeks ago Battlestar Galactica ended.

I really liked this show, a lot.  But like Babylon 5, years before, the writers were smart, and instead of creating an open ended storyline that would keep going until it was little more than an excuse to keep a franchise running (… can anyone say “Enterprise”?), they made a series that would have a clearly defined beginning, with interesting people who all had back-stories, and ran with it, keeping us guessing the entire five years. Then, like clockwork, it had a clearly (or not so much, depending on who you ask.) defined end.

If you are one of those people that has not seen the whole series yet, you may want to stop reading now, I plan on talking about the last show and some of the other things that I saw through the series that made me stop and go “Hmmm”, as Arsenio Hall might have said. So consider this your “Spoiler Warning.”

First…  I liked the feel of the Galactica from the onset.  It looked like a Battleship, had the feel of a battleship, and even had that appearance that you might expect from a ship that was made for battle in an airless environment.

As an example, take a moment the next time you watch BSG, and look at the layout of the ship, then watch a movie like “Hunt for Red October” or “Red Tide”, and notice that the Galactica resebles a submarine in many aspects.  This is also, more than likely, how any near-future ship that we send into space will look.

Then there is the story line.  While this BSG series used most of the same issues and plots of the original series from the 70s, it did it the way I think the original writers wanted the stories to flow.  For those of us who recall, the original series was kinda campy and hard to take too seriously.  But there was good reason for that, from my point of view, that was that it was competing against the legacy of movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  There was just too much serious Sci-Fi out there at the time, so they had to “lighten it up” a bit.

This series, the new BSG, was dark.  Yes, It had it’s ups and downs, but overall, like one of the guys in the little show right before the series finale said… how happy can you make a show, when your race is in jeopardy of destruction?  There were no “cutesy” or “warm and fuzzy” moments in it, and no thought provoking epilogue from Captain/Admiral Adama at the end of the show.  If you recall the original series, you will remember what I am talking about.

The storyline that the new BSG carried with it is one that I think we will all carry with us.  Watching Rosalyn grow as a character and then watch her as the cancer ate her alive but she still fought through it all, then, once they were all safe on the new “Earth”, she finally lets go and dies with Adama by her side, his last act being that of placing his ring on her finger.  Seeing Cara Thrace seem to die, then come back… only to discover, in the last episode, that she probably was never really there to begin with.  Then to learn that the colonists may have been the seeds of what you and I are today in some form of modernized Panspermia.

BSG was one of those programs that, now that it is over, has left a hole in me.  Not just in the sense that now there is some open slot in my Television viewing schedule, but in the sense that it leaves so many questions open to interpretation.  There things that you sit and try and think out, now, that probably will never be answered.  I hope, though, that Ron Moore and his team leave it that way.

Let BSG be one of those things that all of us, the fans, will sit around for years and wonder about.  Let it fuel our conversations as we sit in Starbucks (pun intended) and drink our latte’s, and talk nerd talk about these shows.

That is what keeps the characters alive.

A New Addition is coming!!!

Hello all… on April 1st, I will officially launch the SamuraiMarine PhotoBlog.  There will be no changes here, this will be a new site dedicated to pitures and the art of picture taking.  I will post my pictures as well as having area for subscribers to post theirs.

Mark your calendars!

Of cars and people…

The is a book out there called “Pale Blue Dot”, by Carl Sagan.  I do like this book, but mostly for the science in it.  I try to ignore the political and eco-political parts.

But in the book, he makes and observation that has always stuck with me, especially when I am on the freeway or highway, driving to some place that might happen to be important to me, or to my wife that we be there.

He makes the arguement that if an intellegent alien race should find us and observe us, especially the northern American continent.  Should they decide they wish to meet the dominant species on this blue-green planet, they would more than likely introduce themselves to a car.

He says that from afar, they would watch as cars zip to and fro, and everywhere they go, these parasites climb into them and they take off again, seemingly to try and get rid of these parasite.  Finally stopping as the infestation leaves, only to come back again.

OK… so such an alien race would have to be pretty thick to think such a thing if they had spent any decent amount of time watching us.  But the thought does make one stop and think about it for a moment.

Look at how many cars we, especially Americans, own.  Even many people that are not financially well off have at the very least one, and sometimes two cars.

Look at how cars have not only become an integral part of our lives, but also of our culture and our history.

There are movies about cars; cars that kill, cars that win races, cars in cartoons that talk, they appear in commercials telling us what gas to buy and what tires we should get for them.

One day, as the Bible is manipulated over time and through the natural flow of events, there may be an entry in there about a car.  It will read that Noah was in a Peterbuilt towing three trailers of animals while being chased by a Texas Highway patrol and his inbred son. (My apologies to Burt Reynolds and the rest of the Bandit team.)

In fact… as Americans, especially on the west coast where mass transit means waiting 45 minutes for a bus that takes an hour and a half to get across town… at least where I live… people almost cannot live without a car.  I am a good example of how having a car makes you lazy.

Driving, it takes me five minutes to get to work.  Five minutes.  If I were to walk, at a casual pace, I could make the trip in thirty minutes.  Why do I drive?  I have two healthy legs, I even have a 10-speed bicycle.  But I drive… because… I am lazy.  As are many of us.

We want to listen to our talk radio or music in the morning, we need to stop and get our coffee, bagel, McMuffin, etc… so we drive.

I am not scoffing those of us who do it, it is just who we are.

One day, evolution, yes… I said evolution… will adjust, and some poor baby will be born with little vistigial wheels on his or her feet, and the world will rejoice.

Let’s Play… USA!

There are probably not too many of you out there that will get the title of this post.  You have to have a strange taste in music like I do and have listened to those odd groups from the 80’s.

There was an artist by the name of Peter Schilling, a German singer, who’s only real popular hit in America was a song titled “Major Tom” of the album “Error in the System“.

The song, “Let’s Play, USA” was a commentary on how he saw American life.  In this song, there is a courus that keeps repeating:

Let’s play USA
Let’s play USA

How I love the life I lead
Cannot think and cannot read
Watch our values slip away
Play the game of USA

While Peter may have thought poorly of the government at the time, this statement is more true not than it ever was in the 1980’s.

Looking at the way the country is going… the direction that it is heading, there is no doubt in my mind that today, there is an error in the system here.  When the government shells out billions upon billions of dollars to companies like AIG, who then pay their executives bonus’ to the tune of $165mil, then there is a problem.  While it looks as though much of this money might be given back, it is still money that should not have been given to AIG to begin with.

Personally I would be interested in seeing if there are grounds for a Class Action case like “The American Tax-Payers vs. AIG”.  Granted, we would not get a lot of money, if any, but it would be on PRINCIPAL.

History show us that simply throwing money at a problem does not fix it.  Likewise, simply throwing money, as this new administration seems intent on doing, at the financial issues presently plaguing America is not going to help, not when in order to do so you are taking the money out in the form of a mortgage against the future of the nation.

I am not a financial expert… but I do understand on how to, and not to, stay solvent.  If I keep borrowing money to pay my bills, there will come a time that the interest and payments on the money I am borrowing will exceed that which I am able to pay back.  That is called Bankruptcy.  That is where we are heading if our administration is allowed to keep sending out these so called “Stimulus Packages.”

Thanks for your time.

Making the move to Vonage…

So… after almost twenty years with AT&T, feeding the giant, so to say, the wife and I have decided to move our phone line to Vonage.

I am sure that this evokes images of the silly commercials and the famed “Woo Hoo” song by the “5,6,7,8’s” who sang the song in the first installment of the Kill Bill movies.

All that aside, I have actually been with vonage for a few years… about four or five now, they provide my 877 number for this site and the second line that comes into my house.  More often than not, I use that line as my main line because the clarity is so much greater than that of the land line.  It is also the line I use for the TTY device I use to speak to my mother, who is deaf.

In all, vonage does offer a lot of features for what you pay.  The few times I have had to call them for something, I have never had to deal with anyone rude or with an accent so thick I almost feel like I need a passport just to ask for technical support… much like I have to go with any time I call AT&T for line or DSL support, when I am at work.

I have had a couple people tell me the not do this, but I have to think that they have been around long enough to be considered stable… and if my office “SamuraiMarine Hotline” is any sign of thing to come, then I am sure I will be plenty happy.

Besides…  it is also going to save me about $25 dollars a month making the move!

The passing of a radio legend… “Good Day”

Over the weekend, the world lost a true radio legend.

Paul Harvey was a radio fixture for several decades.  He was always a pleasure to listen to and I could always count on him to make me feel better when there seemed to be nothing but bad news on the air that day.

I always saw Paul as being the a grandfather on radio, sort of charactor.  He was always there to give us a little reassurance in the bad times and make us feel a little better about ourselves and the world.  Rarely did he have anything negative to say about anyone, and he always kepts his politics in check.

I had the pleasure of meeting him once, if only for the briefest of moments, at the Bakersfield Business Conference many years ago.  He was shaking hands and I got in line to be one of those that had the pleasure.

I am not sure what life will be like without his voice in the mornings and for the lunch time show.  Yes, I am sure life will go on, but there will never be a replacement for him.  He will be missed.

To the Harvey family… You have the condolences of the Wright family.  Your loss is our loss, as it is a loss to the world.

What is Conservative? What is Liberal? What does it matter?

The other day a co-worker found out that I listen to Sean Hannity during the day while I am at work.  His first response was;  “You’re listening to Hannity all the time now, so now you’re not even going to pretend you’re an Independent anymore?”

First off, this is not the first time someone has said something like this, people assume that when you listen to a certain type of music or a certain type of talk radio, that you are automatically a certain class or political persuasion of people.  Yet through that train of thought, at least for those that ask and are serious about the question, they do not realize exactly how ignorant they sound.  No offense to the asker listed above, since he is a reader.

The best part of understanding anything, is to be able to, objectively, listen to both sides of an argument and make a determination based on what both sides have to say and compare it to your own research.  I do this with everything I hear on the stations that I listen to.  For the record, the stations that I listen to are as follows: Sirius – Patriot 144, Sirius – POTUS 110 and Sirius – Left 146.

To be honest, the hardest one to listen to is Left 146.  These people are fawning and cooing all over the Obama administration like he is the best thing since sliced white bread (you may take that however you want.)  This station is like one long continuous squishy ObamaGasm, I usually feel like I need to get tested for an STD after listening for too long… ironically this is something that CBO will cover in his new Universal Healthcare.

As if things are not bad enough on their own, we feel the need to divide ourselves further by creating these petty “Gangs” of political rivals whose only goal in life is to squabble over how to run the government instead of actually RUNNING the Government, like a poorly made remake of “West Side Story” with the rival gangs dancing up and down the streets getting nothing more done than producing their own CO2 atmosphere.

Look at the government the way it is now, and look at the achievements that have been made by it over the last several years, say about the last twenty years.  In fact, in my opinion, the last good president we had was Reagan… not to mention that he was my Boss for a short period of time.  There are many out there that will debate this fact, but look at the history and what he accomplished in the disastrous wake of the Carter administration.

I am not opening this post up for debate or argument on the effectiveness on presidents of the past, however I am going to bring into question the effectiveness of the current political parties that are in power.

If the next four year pass the way I expect them to, I feel that we are going to truly see what little value there is in a single party “running the show”, so to say.  If CBO and his team accomplish nothing ver the next four years, then who will they have to blame?  The Dems control the house and the senate, there will be no one to blame but themselves.

That being said, you might ask; “‘Samurai… are you saying that the Republicans would do better?”  And to that I would answer a resounding NO!!!  The Dems and the Reps have made a special point of demonstrating their uselessness over the last fifteen years or so.  If there has ever been a better time for a Third party to come in, like the proverbial knight in shinning armour on his (or her) white steed, then it is now.

There are unfortunately few “Third” parties that would even have a chance to do anything, and among these would be the two more powerful… the Libertarian and Independent parties.  Both of whom I respect a great deal, and the reason for which I abandon the sinking ship of the Republican party and boarded the smaller, but better staffed, Independent Party.

I would ask that anyone reading this, take the time to look at the reason they belong to the party that they chose and learn about it and why you are part of it.  Have they done everything that you think they should of or are you simply staying on with them because you think it is the right thing to do.  If you can look at the recent history of their ACCOMPLISHMENTS, not what they SAID they would do, but what they DID… and say that you are proud of them and what they stand for, then by all means… stay with them.  But if you cannot accept that they have made their decisions based on your desires, or if they do not stand for what you believe in, then for G-d’s sake, leave them behind!!!

You may think you are only one person, but every movement starts with one person.  Maybe if the Dems and the Reps see people leaving them in record numbers, then they will realize that they are making mistakes.  I feel that the only reason that they get away with half the stuff they get away with is because of the complacency of us, the people that put them in power in the first place.

Thank you for your time.

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