Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Throwing Rocks...

Throwing Rocks

I am going to make a departure for a while and we will see how this goes. I am going to try and veer away from the commentary blogs that I am so famous for and take off in another direction. My normal blog is mirrored on myspace.com. I have been reading, writing and commenting on some friends blogs in myspace.com ( http://www.myspace.com/lotus07 ) and some of the other stuff that my fellow bloggers have written has got me thinking. There is a bit more to life than pointing out the failings of society and the hypocrisy of the world. Mind you, I won't stop doing that all together, but expect the unexpected in the coming weeks.

But before I go, there is one little blog idea that has been rattling around my head for the past couple of months that I might as well spit out into cyberspace.

I suppose that it could be termed the loss of etiquette as a result of the mask of the internet, but I am wondering if it isn't a bit more than that. As though it were like shining a bright light into the darkened subconscious of society and finding things that we really don't want to admit to.

I will tell you how this all started. I have a bunch of bookmarks on my homepage.


I sort of use these bookmarks as my morning newspaper. I go in here and check out various news items, entertainment stories, my bank accounts, my ebay listings, stuff like that. One of these links is called Hedonistica (http://www.hedonistica.com ). This is a site that posts daily clips of the odd and bizarre. It is worth checking out if you like that sort of thing. The reason I keep looking in on it isn't necessarily for the content, but for the comments that are posted for each of the clips. There is a whole cast of characters that comment and leave opinions on these various articles and video clips, and the comments are not necessarily high brow or intelligent. Quite often they degenerate into shouting matches with a lot of finger pointing regarding politics, race relations, gender bashing and what have you.

In leaving comments for some of these clips, I have been slammed to the wall and flamed repeatedly by various folks that have a hair trigger regarding certain issues. Not that this bothers me much, since I have to assume that quite a few of these commentators still ride a school bus every morning. I still jokingly refer to myself as the 'racist' on this site since I have been accused of being such on more than one occasion. Which I suppose is better than the never ending accusations of being 'gay' that everyone else seems to get.

However, here is my concern. It is exactly this type of mud slinging that I see time and time again in many a forum or public discussion on the internet. It would appear that when someone can get the attention of others, but not fear immediate repercussions from them, the base nature of their personality comes out and in those base natures there is a lot of anger, bigotry, hate and fear that we don't see in regular 'face to face' society. So when the mask is off and we are in a large dark room, we can shout out whatever we want, because who ever else hears it won't know who is talking. When we turn the lights back on, we all smile, wave and say "good morning" and "thank you very much".

So basically, the internet can be a closet where the lesser angels of our nature take flight and become these little demons with pitchforks. A free-for-all where no rights are respected and no repercussions are likely.

Just like the unforeseen affect that television had on society in the 50s and 60s, there is an affect at work here with the internet and the compression of global time and space. I am not sure where it is taking us, but I have a bad feeling about this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Revisionist History

Only Leonardo Knows For Sure

I watched the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong the other night. It was a good movie although a bit depressing. Nothing like killing a helpless animal all because he falls in love with something he can't have (or society won't allow) but that gets totally off the topic.

While watching this film I noticed something that keeps popping up time after time in the current crop of entertainment from Hollywood. The studio executives are slowly changing history over time. Soon the past will be a fabrication and not the truth. But in a media society, I guess that is to be expected.

When I was a young man working in a classical radio station in Oregon back in the 1970 I read a book. The book was a little known science fiction novel called 'Choral'. It had to do with a society that had to travel back in time and 'relive' history in order to keep the present alive. The theory being, that if history no longer existed, neither would the present. Seems a bit far fetched, but I recall it being a rather interesting read. The fact that it also had to do with the classical music of Ludwig von Beethoven sort of connected it to my job at the time.

What I have noticed in the current output from the boys at Dreamworks and Universal/MCA is that they ARE changing history and passing it off as fact. I don't know where this is going but it concerns me. I will give you some examples of what I am talking about.

Movie: U-472 - Story of a bunch of sailors that highjack a Nazi submarine in World War II. Only problem is, one of the sailors is African American. Not going to happen folks. American society was highly segregated back in the 40s and blacks and whites didn't serve together on the same ships, EVER. So the fact that we have this token black as a part of this otherwise all white crew is sort of like putting a Japanese-American in Roosevelt's war cabinet. Just wouldn't have happened.

Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean - In the later half of the movie, Jack Sparrow (excuse me)...Captain Jack Sparrow is rallying his old crew to go after the bad guys that stole the Black Pearl. Among this group of rag tag lusty ex-shipmates is an African American woman in her 20s. Once again folks, it ain't going to happen. Women were not sailors in the 1600s. Women were not even allowed on ships back then, it was considered to be bad luck and against the current moral code of the time.

Movie: King Kong (remake-2005) - When onboard the 'Venture' on the way to Skull Island, the first mate is an African American. Excuse me? Back in the 1940s, there were NO blacks in the merchant marine of almost any navy in the entire world. In the 1940s, the number of African Americans that were literate and educated numbered in the thousands and most of them were servants. Most would not have been running a tramp steamer around the globe, the fact that he was an officer and in charge of lesser white crewmen makes it even more unbelievable.

What is going to be next? Is there going to be an openly gay George Washington at the battle of Valley Forge? Is Brad Pitt going to portray Martin Luther King in the Selma Bus Boycott movie?

It is nice to make believe that in the past we weren't prejudiced, or sexist, or racist, or cruel, but I am sorry folks. That is not what really happened. We got to where we are today, because we lived that way, changed over time and evolved into what we are now. The fact that there are Hollywood studio executives saying that we need to have a token black in this movie or make the next James Bond and Asian dude isn't serving any purpose except to make people assume the wrong thing about what actually happened in the past.

We need to be enriched by how far we have come and how far we have to go and not be ashamed about our past and lie about it.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Material Wealth

Sorry for the lack of posts. The end of the 2005 Holiday Season was a bit of a tumultuous affair. Between taking two trips out of state, hosting a holiday party and attending four others in the span of 4 days, there was little time left for working in the office or wrapping presents for that matter. However; look on the brighter side, the more time I spend away from writing these things, the more my head fills up with stuff to ponder.

Which brings us to today's topic. Toys....


I spent the first half of my life (like so many others) believing what I was told on television and on the radio and by pushy sales people and my peers. This belief was that material possessions would bring me happiness. At about the age of 40, it all started to fall into place and I realized that it was all a big lie. Material possessions only bring happiness to those that sell them because they make a profit. The stuff that we collect so greedily, ends up in a closet or a garage until eventually making its way to Goodwill or Savers...and from there it is just a hop, skip and a jump to the nearest land fill. Nothing lasts forever, except land, death and taxes.

Quarter Panel

Which is why this past holiday season really made this point pretty clear. I don't give 'things' as presents for the holidays. I gave up on that a long time ago. I give experiences as much as I can. Gift cards or certificates that require the recipient to 'do' something and not collect things. Sadly, I am one of the few. The amount of cheap presents I saw bestowed on folks by the truck load neither made me joyous during the holiday season, nor filled my heart with good cheer. I just thought of how big all the land fills were going to get and all those 50% off sales at Goodwill in July.


Even though I figured out almost a decade ago that I needed to start getting rid of all my crap, we always fall back into a slump once in a while. Like a recovering alcoholic sipping that glass of beer after 10 years of sobriety, or that reformed smoker puffing on a cigar on New Years, the pressure is always on us. Those Hollywood actors do make Hummer's look attractive and if Angelina Jolie wears Versachi, then I might look sexier in one of their gowns as well.

Door Latch

So thanks to a sudden windfall of cash at the end of last year, I let the lesser demons of my nature take control and started looking for what I planned to be the last great American toy. That one thing that I had always wanted, but could never afford. Something that had no real functionality and served no real purpose. Just something for me. The mid-life crisis possession. The different sexes go through this in different ways. Women usually think in terms of jewelry. Men think in terms of horsepower. After searching for almost three months, I settled on something that I had never planned on buying. The stars just aligned right and it sort of fell into my lap (with a hefty price tag).

Rear Deck

So that is the story of my fall from grace. Pictured here is the Red Rocket. A 1991 Lotus Esprit Intercooled Turbo. A rare car. Only 113 were manufactured in 1991. Not that it really matters. It will occupy a junk yard someday, just as my ashes will make up a beach somewhere before the turn of the next century. But I realized one thing while doing research on the car and going over the mechanics with a fine toothed comb. Something that I had forgotten about since riding that first bike without training wheels.

Engine Cover

Accelerating from 90mph to 130mph in 6 seconds while passing a semi on the interstate has a certain satisfaction that cannot be described in dollars. I am sure this car is going to be a sink hole of huge proportions. But while we last, I won't be forgetting what its like to be a kid again.

For those that want a better look at the Red Rocket, follow the "Material Wealth" link at the top of the blog to its temporary web page.