Tag: Lost

Day 999: Buh-Bye, So Long and Hallelujah

Header

It’s a completely valid question.

For the past 50 or so days I have been fielding one question more often than most: what am I going to do for Day 1000? Will the final kilograph reflect upon the 999 that came before, like some extended clip show of my greatest guffaws and most aww-rending moments? Will I spend my final entry in closing-credits mode, thanking those who have made this all possible and put up with my considerable dearth of free time over the last 2 years and almost 9 months?

In short… no. While my original intent was to meander down that self-serving footpath for my final article, I decided that I would only do so if I could cite the Wikipedia page that had been created about me – as it turns out, that doesn’t exist yet.

In order to figure out my final missive, I felt I should turn to the moulder of my wisdom, the sage oracle who has helped to shape my morality, my perception, and even my understanding of the world: television. I have experienced the highs and lows of series finales – certainly at least one of them could illuminate the road to a poignant, entertaining, and (most of all) worthy coda to this monstrous undertaking.

ShelleyLong-1

My first option is the beloved trope of bringing back a classic character for the finale. In my case I could introduce a surprise cameo by Yoko Ono, Craig David, Mary Nissenson, or if I really want to stretch to my roots, Phineas Gage. I could style the entire piece in a blend of haiku, musical theatre and secret code (did anyone ever figure that one out?). It sounds trite and cliché, but that’s always a place to start, isn’t it? Read more…

Day 965: The Inaugural Road Trip

Header

Roll down your windows, crank up the vintage Lindsey Buckingham and ready your innards for a deluge of fast-food grease – we are hitting the open road.

In 1903, right around the time those two bike-shop brothers in North Carolina were writing the first stand-up routines about in-flight meals, the general public was underwhelmingly embracing the automobile. Many thought it was a passing fad, that nothing could beat classic oat-eating, poop-dispensing horse travel. Those who disagreed were eager to test the physical boundaries of motorized transportation. They pushed for faster speeds, longer voyages and snazzier features. Even the kids were too enthralled with the technology to ask, “Are we there yet?”

It was a magical time of firsts for car fans. Among them were Toronto-born doctor Horatio Nelson Jackson and his mechanic friend, Sewell J. Crocker. When the opportunity arose to break the bi-coastal barrier, they couldn’t resist. This is how they grabbed hold of their own little chunk of history.

For those of you who now have "Holiday Road" stuck in your head, I apologize.

For those of you who now have “Holiday Road” stuck in your head, I apologize.

While visiting friends at San Francisco’s University Club, someone bet Horatio a whopping $50 (which is about $1300 in today’s money) that he couldn’t drive from coast to coast in one of those new-fangled auto-thingies. Despite the initial handicap of not owning a car, Horatio agreed to the bet. He had faith in the technology, the kind of faith that propels men to stupid manly endeavors. Endeavors that either result in a comical or ironic death, or a dusty little corner in the cubbyhole of history. Read more…

Day 907: Who Stole The Moon?

Header

I’d like to open today’s missive with a few kind words about President Richard M. Nixon. In an act of international fraternity and savvy diplomatic P.R., the Nixon administration celebrated the American victory in the Space Race by doling out gifts of free moon rocks to every state, every US territory, and a long list of nations. Ever since humankind first stretched its grumpy morning arms over its evolutionary head we have been fascinated by that giant glowing rock in the sky. Now Dick Nixon was dispersing little bits of it all over the world. It’s kind of sweet, really.

The rocks – four per gift, each about the size of a Nerds candy – were mounted in an acrylic bubble within a commemorative plaque that also featured that nation or state’s flag, which had been part of the Apollo 11 payload. So everyone was getting a print of their own flag which had been to space, as well as a few morsels of lunar gravel. The gift was repeated once more after Apollo 17 with a fresh batch of moon-crumbs.

NASA has always been meticulous about tracking the whereabouts of every lunar sample that has been packed in our cosmic carry-on and brought back home. But once these babies touched down into foreign palms, NASA no longer followed their progress, probably assuming that each would end up in some museum under armed surveillance and the snazziest of security. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Apollo11Rocks-1

Out of 270 gifted rock-nugget plaques, roughly 180 have since gone missing. Nixon’s gesture of international goodwill clearly received a meh-level fanfare from the majority of its recipients. In 1998, NASA became sufficiently irked by the growing black market for lunar pebbles that they decided to team up with the US Postal Service for a sting operation. Joseph Gutheinz helmed the scheme for NASA, and along with postal Inspector Bob Cregger they plopped an ad into USA Today looking to buy up some moon rocks. Read more…

Day 799: Poon Adrift

Header

Each of us possesses a limited reach of survival, a finite extension of our  bodies’ and minds’ capabilities to endure. Fortunately, we live within the sanctuary of modernity, with a rather slim likelihood of our true survival being tested. This is a good thing. Let’s be honest, if most anyone you know was stranded Castaway-style on a deserted island, wouldn’t they be less likely to befriend Wilson the volleyball and more likely to drill a hole in it so they could use it as a sex toy?

We simply aren’t programmed to survive anymore. We can watch Lost or Gilligan’s Island and think we’ve got what it takes to build a wind-powered vibrating-coconut massage recliner, but we really don’t. At best, our instincts can kick in and hopefully lead us to devour some non-poisonous plants for a while to keep our bodies moving forward. But we won’t last long.

Then again, this might be the very thought that ran through the mind of Poon Lim, moments before he was launched into a most undesirable adventure, forced to contend with the elements and sustain his withering body upon the desolate void of ocean that imprisoned him for the better part of five months. His story is nothing short of astounding, if only because I know I could never have pulled it off myself.

PoonLim

Poon Lim was born in Hainan, China in 1918. When World War II broke out, he was happy to support the Allied cause, since China and Japan were anything but friendly neighbors at the time. Poon was second steward aboard the British merchant ship SS Ben Lomond, which was on its way from Cape Town, South Africa to the Dutch colony of Suriname, which is tucked into the northeastern armpit of South America. The ship was armed, naturally, but it was a slow-moving vessel and despite the constant threat of German U-boats, it was travelling alone. Read more…

Day 443: Unkillable Television

Header

It’s easy to look at prime time television and come to the conclusion that there simply isn’t much fresh or original going on. Have a look at the top ten ratings from the Nielsen people for the week ending March 4, the most recent they have on their website:

–       NCIS, which has been rolling for ten years now

–       The Big Bang Theory, a formulaic sitcom

–       NCIS: Los Angeles (see above)

–       Person Of Interest, which I don’t really know anything about. Maybe this is a fresh, original series. Could be the exception.

–       Two And A Half Men, which… seriously? Come on, people. Why are you still enabling the continuation of this horrible, horrible show?

–       American Idol, three times that week, all in the top ten. An eleven-season-old show.

–       60 Minutes, which has been on forever.

–       and Blue Bloods, a standard cop show.

Though it does feature Tom Selleck's mustache and an unusual amount of podiums.

Though it does feature Tom Selleck’s mustache and an unusual amount of podiums.

There is longevity in formulaic programming. When something works, the network likes to keep it around, bleeding every last drop of creativity from the writing staff, then hiring a new writing staff to push the withered, empty shells of the last crew aside and take over when necessary. Then they hire other people to take that idea and copy it as closely as possible. Set up the same show in a different city (thank you NCIS and CSI), or simply duplicate the series in some other way (I’m still waiting for Law & Order: Traffic Infractions). Read more…

Day 412: Spun-Off & Spun-Out (Part 2)

Header

Some topics are simply too large to be contained within a single article. A month ago I marveled at some of television’s more obscure spin-offs, but I only scratched the surface. Television networks have a habit of trying to stretch their audience’s limit of how much of a good thing is good enough.

We should be relieved The Sopranos didn’t drop a three-camera sitcom called It’s Janice! after it cut to black. Or that Lost wasn’t rebooted in more mystery-heaping confusion with After-Lost. And thankfully Seinfeld did not beget The Babu & Puddy Variety Hour. Actually, I might have watched that one.

Anyway, here are a few more from the pile:

TonisBoys

Sure, maybe you have seen all 110 episodes of Charlie’s Angels. But did you ever see Toni’s Boys? Actually, yes. If you devoted 110 hours of your life to Charlie and his girls, then you saw the episode in which a lady named Toni employed a stable of strapping young hunks for essentially the same purpose as Charlie kept his Angels. This was a ‘backdoor pilot’, meaning it aired as an episode of its parent series, in hopes there would be enough interest for the network to order a few episodes. Read more…

Day 205: Deconstructing Astral Projection

The following is a free-verse poem I wrote about astral projection. More important than its message is the message you can only see once you’ve mastered your own cerebral air-travel. Yes, this means there is a coded communication hidden within the poem. Seek it out if you can. I’ll post the answer in tomorrow’s article.

 

Astral projection. Believe it or don’t believe it.

Some call it (though not I)

Travel. Or Truth.

 

Religious interpretations abide and confess:

Afterlife, heaven, the soul’s ascent into Funkytown (lucky, lucky soul).

Life after death? The great clouded hall?

Probably not, young caribou.

Really, more likely the natural flick of a brain gone numb;

Out-of-body experience,           but…      can we just turn it on and off?

Just think. Yes or no.

Experience, having been experienced.

 

Classical thought scribbled in bloodstone Crayola,

(Theosophist, so and so)

Intermediate world between heaven and earth; earth and hell;

Only a way-station between launch and stretch; cosmic agoraphobia;

Nowhere and everywhere at once, none and all,

In the realm of devil and angel.

Sprits.             Booya.

 

Could a link between the soul and the body exist then?

Occultists say the body travels through nested spheres – so

Maybe similar to concentric circles of koi…

Perhaps existence itself. Think on it.

 

Life beyond life; a cryptic

Esoteric existence formed between the

Thought and reality – a cosmic, trickling falaj –

Emanationism, yo.

  Read more…