A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..
I’ve come to the conclusion that life is like a game of chess. To be successful (in worldly terms) one must strategize and plot moves in advance. One must learn to differentiate between pawns who, while they serve a purpose, are not worth stressing out about, and more significant players like kings, queens, bishops, & knights. One must concentrate, ponder, calculate, make the occasional sacrifice, and ultimately not become trapped in a checkmate. Benjamin Franklin once said that “by playing chess we may learn foresight, circumspection, & caution…and we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of persevering in the secrets of resources”. The older I get though the more I realize that most of us play life like a game of checkers, thoughtlessly reacting to circumstances instead of planning ahead, simplistically jumping over other pieces in a dogged determination to, like the proverbial chicken, get to the other side and achieve temporary bliss by proudly demanding “king me!!” only to discover that the game is far from over.
This isn’t usually the forum where I discuss movies. Outside of my 100 Favorite Movies series I normally reserve all comments about films I have seen for the year ending Sammy Awards. However, an exception must be made. I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness on its opening day. I liked it. Is it the best movie ever in the history of movies?? No. Is it even the best Trek film?? No. Is it a more than decent movie and a pretty darn entertaining way to spend a couple of hours?? Sure. Even The Owl apparently liked it, although since he seems to have lost my phone number I have only an ostensibly positive comment on Facebook to go by. At any rate, curiosity got the best of me in the days following my visit to the cineplex and I began to read reviews and especially comments posted after reviews. I was…to say the least…bemused & bewildered. I consider myself a Trekkie, but there are levels of Trekkie and I am of the sort that has seen a woman naked, has not read the Klingon dictionary, and doesn’t automatically hate everything that didn’t emanate from the mind of Gene Roddenberry or doesn’t star William Shatner. Seriously hardcore Trek traditionalists…in the words of Shatner himself…get a life!! I saw so many comments whining about something called “lens flare” that I finally had to look it up, and you know what?? It’s no big freakin’ deal!! Shut up!!!! If you even know what lens flare is it is a sign you need to leave the house a bit more. Another common complaint about Into Darkness (spoiler alert) is that it is a remake/rehash/reimagining of Wrath of Khan. First of all, way too many of those comments spelled the villain’s name Kahn, as if he was some sort of brooding Borsht Belt reject transported thru time to wreak his special brand of Jewish evil on outer space. Note to anyone who posts any kind of comments on any sort of message board or articles: when you can’t even spell the whole key to your point correctly you immediately lose all credibility. Secondly, I think people are missing a very key element of this whole alternate timeline concept. You want to criticize director JJ Abrams for not coming up with an innovative plot, but the idea isn’t that the new versions of Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, & Chekov are living completely different lives than their original counterparts…it’s that their lives are kind of cracked mirror images. In other words they will encounter some of the same people and have some very similar experiences, but with certain elements twisted or slightly altered. It’s a brilliant mechanism that the writers use to great effect in Into Darkness. As a fan I very much appreciated the nods to established Trek canon while also digging the fresh perspective. I can be as curmudgeonly as anyone, but I really can’t stand miserable people who go out of their way to look for things to complain about. Grow up.
I don’t have children of my own yet I have never considered myself to be a person who dislikes other peoples’ kids. However, I do believe there are certain places & situations in which it’d be best if the young’uns were left at home. My Dad has always said that everyone raises their children differently and that different doesn’t always mean good or bad…just different. Therefore I understand that my opinions are just that and might be taken especially lightly due to my inexperience. I can only fall back on how my parents raised me, and I know that if myself or my sister would have run around like a pack of wild animals being an unfortunate distraction to folks in a public place we would have been appropriately punished. That is really a moot point though since we never would have been allowed to act like that for longer than about two seconds. Yes the little ones are cute and don’t realize they are doing anything wrong. Yes friends & neighbors will smile and appear tolerant, as if what the kids are doing is amusing and not annoying at all. But the truth is that sometimes the behavior is annoying and not the least bit cute. Parents need to be more aware of whether or not certain places are a suitable atmosphere for their children and sometimes make the difficult choice of leaving them at home, even if it means sacrificing their own plans when a babysitter isn’t available. It’s a matter of respect.
So I was driving along on a pleasant spring evening, listening to the radio as I drove. I can always hear The Owl’s voice in my head lamenting that “radio has gone to hell in the tri-state” (and that was 20 years ago), but I just can’t drive in silence and my local talk station recently did some switcheroos, meaning that instead of Sean Hannity in the late afternoon and sports talk at night we get a lot of some house fixer upper guy giving people advice about caulking & sump pumps and a financial advice guy whose head would probably explode if he had me as a client. I prefer to take my chances with the “we’re doing our best to please everybody” pop/rock station, which means that I’ve developed a healthy disdain for Taylor Swift and if I hear that damn Lumineers song one more time I might go postal, but also means that one never knows when Boston, Journey, Bon Jovi, or some catchy 80’s tune may instantly brighten an otherwise prosaic day. Anyway, the local lady jockey of discs was reporting live from a watering hole that hosts a weekly ladies’ night and mentioned that the drink special was some concoction called The Sonny Crockett. She went on to say that Sonny Crockett was a character from Miami Vice and that “if you don’t know about Miami Vice then go ask your parents”. Wow did that make me feel old!! I was slightly taken aback for a moment and then I began doing math in my head. Miami Vice was on TV from 1984-89 and it is probably fair to say that it was at its pinnacle in 1986 when it was a Top 10 show. That means that a child born then would be 27 years old and probably the target demographic for a ladies’ night. If I would have fathered a child when I was 19/20 years old (certainly not out of the ordinary) they would now be of legal drinking age…and also born a few years after Miami Vice was cancelled. In other words…yes…the radio chick was right…I am old!!
- Star Trek Into Darkness…. with a side of Tribble and SPOILERS (filmbyfelix.com)
- Trekkie (joe2poetry.wordpress.com)
- Has “Star Trek” Changed Its Mission? (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)
- Has Star Trek’s Khan Noonien Singh been “whitewashed”? (americanturban.com)
- Dear Trekkies: It’s OK To Like J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ Movie (mamapop.com)
- STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Spoiler Review! (badassdigest.com)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) (seeingthingssecondhand.wordpress.com)
- The Dork Knight’s Star Trek Into Darkness Review (cosmiccomicslv.com)
- Our Dysfunctional Relationship With The Wrath of Khan (tor.com)