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Saturday Posts . . .

WARNING:

No matter what you’re political ideas are,

unless you are actively engaged in dismantling the Status Quo

AND the Powers-That-Be,

You are already a part of the collective.

borg-queenImage available at: http://www.startrekdesktopwallpaper.com/new_wallpaper/Star_Trek_BorgQueen_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_1920.shtml

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday Posts . . .

Here are a few quotes of Gene Roddenberry (creator and writer for the Star Trek series) on what Star Trek means . . .

1.Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms.”

2. “To be different is not necessarily to be ugly; to have a different idea is not necessarily to be wrong. The worst possible thing is for all of us to begin to look and talk and act and think alike.”

3. “If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”

4. “If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”

5. “Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it.”

6. “I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature, we’re still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We’re growing up, we’re moving into adolescence now. When we grow up – man, we’re going to be something!”

(source: http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/21-gene-roddenberry-quotes-that-inspire-a-great-future.html )

Seeing Stars – Trek or Wars?

A few days ago I had a wild thought, but so far nobody I’ve talked to about it has disagreed with it.  So,  I thought I’d share the thought here and see what everyone out there thinks of it.

Anyone who is a fan of science fiction knows that the fans of Star Trek and Star Wars rarely overlap.  I don’t mean casual fans, but rather the nearly rabid ones who dress up in their home-made costumes (which can actually be better quality than the actors wore on set!) and use their vacations to go to ComiCon.  At that level, you either like Star Trek or Star Wars, and not usually both.

As one who is a fan of both franchises, this has mildly interested me for many years. I think I’ve managed to boil it down to one central thought.  Which franchise you prefer depends on what you think of Big Brother. Both franchises have one.  In Star Wars, Big Brother is the domineering, overpowering Empire.  In Star Trek, Big Brother is the United Federation of Planets, and it’s military – Star Fleet.

So, what do you think of Big Brother?  Is it a benevolent protector, always ready to lend a hand and work towards the betterment of all?  Or, is it the dark, oppressive, dictator that micromanages everything in your life?

Personally, I think it is both. I can see the potential of a truly benevolent organization that is large and powerful enough to be able to help literally anyone anywhere.  However,  Big Brother can not ever be anything but evil, even when built out of the most altruistic of intentions.  The old truism states plainly: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Reflect, if you will, on some of the idle speculation that ran rampant between Barack Obama’s coronation as the Democratic Party candidate for POTUS back in ’08, and when he was sworn in as the new President. There was talk of states wanting to leave the US, and heavily Democratic States threatening a 2nd US Civil War if they tried.

THAT IS NOT A BENEVOLENT GOVERNMENT!  There is no way on earth that a benevolent organization would resort to the use of lethal force to make those who disagree with it bow to their decisions.  Let me be very clear about one thing – NO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HAS THE MORAL AUTHORITY TO DEMAND SUBSERVIENCE, or make decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of people its leaders have never met.

It is my humble belief that the maximum viable population that any government can legitimately lead is about 50,000.  You get much smaller than that, and you really don’t need a government, but any larger than that, and you really do need to look at splitting the populations to separate areas, and having separate, autonomous, groups.  Governments should always answer to the people, and should never have authority to make rules that go against the wishes of the people it serves.  Individuals should always have the option to “vote with their feet” if they feel that a government does not serve them or reflect their ideals.

I’m not the only one . . .

I got a notice in my email yesterday about a blog Wil Wheaton (yes, THAT Wil Wheaton – from Stand By Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation) wrote about needing to reboot his life.  He said that a few months ago he did several very specific things along that line.  Since his raw prose is so much more eloquent than my polished writing (IMHO) – here’s the link:

http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/seven-things-i-did-to-reboot-my-life/

Yesterday’s blog – part 2

AFTER I had already posted my blog yesterday, I was reminded by my wife that she was taking yesterday and today off, due to Fall Break at the university she works for.  This results in a 4 day weekend for her.

We had already planned over a week ago that we were going to do some furniture re-arranging during that break, so my dumping tons of consecutive hours into a TV series marathon wasn’t such a wonderful idea.

Well, yesterday we got most of the rearranging completed – and I completed it after my wife went to bed.  With a caveat, of course.

Don’t ever try to move furniture with low blood sugar.  Bad things can happen.  I’m just extra-ordinarily fortunate that last night it didn’t involve anything that isn’t replaceable.  But I did manage to break the glass case cover that protected my Official Star Trek 3D Chess Set for the last 17 years.

TSA vs. Star Trek movie…

Yesterday, my wife emailed me about the fact that, for (supposedly?) the first time ever, there is a contest for a walk-on role in the next Star Trek movie.  She included the link to the website to sign up.

https://premiere.omaze.com/experiences/startrek?oa_h=4dvhw0

I’m telling you about it because, quite bluntly, I won’t enter.  It wouldn’t make any sense for me to try, because even if I won I couldn’t accept – part of the prize is round-trip airfare to Vancouver, Canada, for the filming.  Until the USA eliminates the TSA, I will never again get on a commercial plane.

So, if you are interested in a movie role, here is your chance.  Break a leg!

Mr. Spock Rocks . . .

It isn’t any surprise that Mr. Spock was an influence in my life, just look at the URL for my blog. I was barely 6 years old when Leonard Nimoy first went on TV with the flat hair cut and pointed ears. The fact that my dad liked the show made it an early influence in my view of being a geek or a nerd. There was always Mr. Spock to look to.

Mr. Spock didn’t fit in with his childhood peers, either. Being only half-Vulcan in a society that rigidly viewed all other races and cultures as inferior, he found it necessary to step out of the boundaries of his society to blaze his own trail. Even in the marriage his parents arranged for him, his betrothed rejected him both because of his mixed heritage and the high degree of notoriety he held. The only place he ever felt completely free to be himself was on the Enterprise.

Except for the fact that I never have found my “Enterprise”, I can fully relate. My mother was such a staunch Democrat that she even at one point was the Committee Chairperson for her county. My dad, on the other hand, is a devout Republican who is the current NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator for SE Kansas. You can’t be more opposite. Both think that their views are the only ones that are right – and the only thing they agree on is that I’m somehow wrong for rejecting Christianity.

Mr. Spock always seemed to have an answer for everything – but often his answer was “We don’t have enough data to support that conclusion.” In other words, “I don’t know.” He was honest, always did everything he could, and was brilliant. With an IQ of 149, I didn’t fit in with my peers either – and my parent’s civil war was even more well known in our small Kansas town than it was within our home – so my peers already had reason to set me apart.

I spent a lot of my childhood reading books in the backyard – alone. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to make friends – it was that I didn’t want the pain of trying to make a new friend and ending up being their punching bag after a week or two. I was reading Agatha Christie in 3rd & 4th grade; Conan-Doyle in 4th grade; Asimov & Clarke by 5th grade. There were many other authors along the way – I went through at least 100 novels every summer.

Reading wasn’t the only area I had advanced abilities in, either. In 2nd grade, while the class was working to understand 2 column addition and subtraction, my father was taking a college math class. He had a classmate he got together with once a week to do homework and study with, and due to lack of babysitting he took me and my brothers along. We were expected to play with his classmate’s kids in a bedroom while they studied at the kitchen table. One night I overheard the most fascinating conversation – about an alternate system of measurements and how to convert from our system to it. It was the Metric System. The next day in school, I asked my teacher about the things I had learned by listening to that conversation. I went up to the board and wrote out what I remembered. It took exactly 2 minutes to realize I knew more about the Metric System at that point than she did. She was the first teacher to tag my report card with the phrase, “Not performing up to potential” – but not the last. Lebo never had a class after that which challenged me – except to find ways to cope with boredom. While I never excelled at any one musical instrument, I learned to play 12 different ones – reading music – before the end of my Sophomore year of high school.

There I was – barely 16 – and I’d already done more than many adults do if they live to be 80. I had a bright future – or so we thought until I applied for admission to my equivalent of the Vulcan Science Academy.

The music teacher from Lebo High School (way back then – he isn’t there any more) had worked out a full-ride scholarship for me to study music at Emporia State University. It was a very big deal. Except for one problem – or actually two. The math teacher I worked with at Emporia High School (where I actually graduated) had worked out a full-ride scholarship for me in the Mathematics Department at Emporia State University, and the Creative Writing teacher at EHS had also worked out a full-ride scholarship for me at ESU. When I talked to the admissions office about my application, they were thrilled that I would consider ESU (to be honest, Julliard and MIT weren’t options because my family couldn’t afford them). I just needed to declare my major before we could get me enrolled.

How does a 16 year old kid who’s never had a friendly peer group decide what his entire life’s future would be? I took a page out of Mr. Spock’s book – turn your back on the Vulcan Science Academy and join Star Fleet. Or, in the real world, I walked away from Emporia State University and joined the US Army.

Thank you, Mr. Nimoy. You’ve done more for me than you will ever know.