The influence of books and movies

One of my discussions on-line today was about the Ebola patients being moved to a hospital in Atlanta.  Now I understand the theory about this completely.  Their best chance of survival would be to be treated here in the states.  I also know that they have the best quarantine set up possible at the hospital.  I am confident they will contain it and I really hope these folks make it.

However, anytime I hear about Ebola, or a new strain of flu, or the new mosquito borne disease that’s hit the US, Chikungunya, my first thoughts always go to Stephen King’s book The Stand  Continue reading “The influence of books and movies”

What makes a book one of the best

My wife will tell you that when I am not riding or getting things done around the house, or riding herd on the cats of the Manchild, chances are I am reading a book.  I am not the kinda person who can just sit, either my mind or the body (or both if I am stuck in the gym working out instead of outside) has to be occupied.

With the advent of the Kindle, I carry multiple books with me at all times, and I read for 2 or three minutes if I am in line at Starbucks or Safeway, it makes the wait seem shorter.

Yesterday I read a post by a blogger name Lynnette that made me start pondering what makes a book one of the best (in my mind that is…) Continue reading “What makes a book one of the best”

When did I Stop?

I’ve done many a post on the books I read.  Last year I read 55 different books.  When I sit, if I am not working on the post for the day, I have the Kindle open and I am reading.  Since the 4th grade I can usually be found with a book in my hand.

What I read varies.  I am currently working my way through Robinson Crusoe, The Bible (gotta say this one is boring), and a book on evolution all while reading books for just fun.

I like alternate histories, westerns, cycling travelogues, just to name a few.

Over arching all of these though, since I was a kid, I have been a science fiction fan.

But I came to a realization about myself and my sci fi reading that I am really not please with. Continue reading “When did I Stop?”

The Shows I Watched as a Kid!

My last post dealt with a Looney Toons cartoon I liked as a kid, and truthfully, even into adulthood.  I mean, how can you not watch Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Road Runner, or one of my favorites Foghorn Leghorn!

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It started me thinking about the other shows (cartoons and otherwise) that I liked when I was a kid.  Some are well known while others maybe not so much.  So I thought I would share a few!

SeaLab 2020An underwater city, it’s where I first learned about the pressure of deep water as well as “the bends”.  Classic story in cartoons of a brother and sister who wouldn’t listen to their parents and were always getting in trouble!  Scary to think that its only 7 years until 2020…

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Speed Racer:  Who doesn’t know about the Mach 5 (can’t tell you how long I thought it was the Mark 5)  Speed, Trixie, Pops, Spritel, Chin Chin, and the car!  To this day sometimes I wish my old wagon had some of the buttons the Mach 5 did.  Never could remember what they all did, but my favorite was the saw blades!

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StarBlazersDerick Wildstar (who looked a lot like Speed Racer) Sandor and the rest flying a old battleship across space to fight the Gamalons who were bombing earth with meteor bombs.  Starsha from Iskandar called them to come to her, and helped with the Wave Motion Gun!

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Speed BuggyHow many cartoons were there with a bunch of teenagers who solved mysteries?  This one was with a car that could talk!  (kind of) Sadly I have to admit that yes, I can do a pretty darn good Speed Buggy Impression!

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Herculoids:  I remember this as a little kid.  But didn’t remember the name.  All I remembered was Tantro, the Rhino like Herculoid that would shoot energy bolts out of his head and charge into things at a dead run!  More than once I got in trouble pretending to be Tantro and knocking over my sister!  Prehistoric planet with this group fighting off evil aliens!

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Thundarr the Barbarian:  Gotta love the sunsword!  Who cares if it was a obviously stolen from a light saber.  Never liked HeMan, but Thundarr was a stud!

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Danger Island:  UH OH CHONGOOOOO!!  Ok not a cartoon, but a serial show about a professor his daughter, his assistant (Jan Michael Vincent) who get marooned because of Mutan and his prirates.  They meet Morgan and Chongo.  Slapstick action, lots of fights and fun!

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Lost in Space:  “Warning Will Robinson!  Meteor Shower approaching! ”  “Never Fear Smith is here!” Classic Sci Fi of a family in space blown off course and lost.  Robots, bad special effects and loved every show!

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There are many many more.  Land of the Lost, Scooby Doo, Land of the Giants to name a few.  All were fun, many had fights, explosions, danger, but we, as kids, knew it was make-believe!  We would fight with our sun swords, knock over our sisters, and race like the wind on the Mach 5 (our bikes!) It stirred the imagination, shaped our games, and bring back fond memories.

Do this day, I sometimes slip and say “Uh Oh Chongooooo!”

  • Yob! (mountainstroh.wordpress.com)

 

Space, the Final Frontier… (Maybe not anymore)

Once again this has nothing to do with cycling, but one of the fun things about a blog is that the blogger gets to pick what gets posted.  (Who knows, maybe someday I will post something with a cute cat video or Kim Khardasian (yes you may hunt me down if I do!))

This though, is honestly something close to my heart, and I was reminded of it while reading the paper earlier this week.  Two of the engines for the Saturn 5 rockets that took our astronauts to the move have been recovered from the bottom of the ocean.  The good news is, one of these will most likely be donated to the museum of flight here in Seattle.  It will go great with our space shuttle training simulator we got earlier this year (I still think we should have gotten one of the real shuttles!)

The not so good part and the reason for this post?  The bottom of the ocean is where I believe our space program is at this time.  I know we have just recently landed Curiosity on Mars, and that is amazing, especially with all the discoveries it is making.  My hat is off to NASA for making this happen.  This success, though, does not make up for the fact that our astronauts now have to hitch a ride to the space station WE built.

Yes I know it is the International Space Station, and that many countries contributed to its components.  But without launches by our workhorse, the space Shuttle,

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there is flat no way that the thing would have been built!  Now, we couldn’t get there on our own if we had to! 

I grew up with men landing on the moon, Voyager, Pioneer and Viking Space probes, the future looked limitless!

This was reflected in the books and TV shows I read and saw as well!  Star Trek, Lost in Space, Space 1999. Buck Rogers in the 24th Century, the original Battlestar Galactica (I still think Starbuck should be a guy, even after watching the new ones!), Star Wars and Starblazers,  hell, even the Jetson’s showed the view of the future back then!  I read Heinlein, Asimov, Alan Dean Foster, Niven and Pournelle, all of which had the promise of us moving into space, not relying on just Earth anymore.  Reaching for and getting to the stars!

Shoot even shows like Quantum Leap or MacGyver were strong science and knowledge based shows.

Now, however, take a look at the books and movies that show the future. 

Before I go further, I need to stress that I have NO proof of what I am about to say here at all.  This just struck me as a cause and effect one day, and I have yet to shake it. 

Instead of a positive future, without the hope of moving beyond our one planet, we now get books like the “Hunger Games”.  I freely admit  I read all three books, and enjoyed them.  But my point is that I honestly think that kids now are more likely to believe that this is what will happen in the future.

Instead, of kids dreaming about being an astronaut, and making rockets out of boxes, they may think they better practice with a bow and arrow. (Not a bad skill to have at all, but not because you think the Hunger Games may occur!)  On TV, there isn’t one good Sci Fi (And I am talking space traveling Sci Fi. I LOVE “Walking Dead”!) show .  Luckily there are still good space science fiction authors writing out there, but they are vastly outnumbered by those writing books about the demise of world economy, an EMP destroying the infrastructure, and other end of the world subjects.

I even read a recent article that stated the rise of Zombie popularity is due to a lack of optimism in the future.  People think a world overrun with zombies (as long as they are one of the few humans remaining of course) is preferable to what the real future holds.  This makes me sad.

I do hold on to a couple of things though.  First, when you read or watch some of the best Space Sci Fi series, Earth is gone, but we still made it to space.  In “Firefly” (a great show!) they refer it as “Earth that was”, cuz it aint anymore.  Even Star Trek took place after a 3rd World War, and the need to overcome the aftermath.  This means there could still be hope.  Sci Fi writers have a knack for predicting the future. 

The other thing that is promising is that private companies are making moves into space.  Almost a year ago, a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft made it to the station and back.  I can only hope they keep improving and do even more!  Mainly because I will be PISSED if another country (China perhaps) makes it to the moon before we get back.  We need a modern-day Delos D. Harriman! (Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”)  We got there first, we have dibs!

Sorry for such a long rant.  I accepted long ago that I couldn’t vacation on the moon, but I truly still had hope that my grandkids might.  Now I am not so sure….