The Passage From Living Legend to ‘Legend’

Live Long and Prosper, Spock. Rest in Peace, Leonard.

I’m hardly alone in my sadness today that Leonard Nimoy has transitioned from ‘Living Legend’ to simply ‘Legend’.

It’s fascinating to look back and consider the impact that Leonard Nimoy had, and has, as Spock on our culture. Even those who never watched Star Trek, The Original Series know exactly who Spock is. The icon he became echoes down so clearly in our culture that even the youngest among us know of ‘Spock’, even if they don’t know the difference between ‘VHF’ and ‘UHF’ when it comes to TV’s, or if they can’t remember ever seeing a turntable, or hearing a phone actually ‘ring’.

What many do not know is that Leonard Nimoy, despite the iron grip with which Roddenberry controlled the series early on, had on the development of the character of Spock himself. He was instrumental in bringing Spock to life for us in a way that so few have ever been able to do. To me, it was the actors and characters such as Spock that made the series what it was. The actors took a concept and ran with it; maybe no one faster and better than Leonard Nimoy.

So very many people took inspiration from ‘Spock’ the character, and from Leonard himself, as well. As the years passed, it was always gratifying to see Leonard Nimoy pop up again here and there, and it was always amazing to see the balance that Nimoy was able to strike between being willing to lampoon his character a little and yet maintain the dignity and integrity of Spock.

When you see out-takes and pictures of Nimoy himself as a laughing, engaged, fun loving human, it can be disconcerting to try and reconcile that image he projected as Spock, which to me speaks to his ability as an actor, that he was able to pull off such in incredibly believable portrayal.

His death, to me, doesn’t fall under the trope that so many might get upset about when it comes to ‘celebrity deaths’; and that is because Leonard Nimoy has been part of the family for my entire life. He came into my living room every night when I was young, and seeing him again in the latest incarnation of his character always made me feel like I was seeing a long lost friend. He helped shape some of my outlook on life. I learned from Nimoy, and from Spock.

He will be sorely missed. I know his death has touched me today, and I will fondly remember him for the rest of my life. I’m gratified that he was able to say good-bye to us, in a way. His final tweet was; ‘A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP’

Live Long and Prosper, Spock. Rest in Peace, Leonard.

Everything Will Be Fine

Say you live in a really poor neighborhood. You are one of the very few, maybe one of three people in the neighborhood that have a good, full time job in the area where you live. You have a car and money for groceries, fuel oil and clothes. But everyone around you, all of your neighbors, don’t all have great jobs or any jobs at all. They don’t have cars and barely enough money for groceries; and that is if they can actually get to the grocery store.

You help where you can, but you aren’t rich; comfortable, but not rich. You give your neighbors a ride to work or a ride to the grocery store when you can, maybe you even give out some flour or bread or sugar to your closest, needier friends. But food and fuel is expensive, your time is limited and you need to ask them for a couple for dollars for gas in order to be able to still live the way that you do.

Some of your neighbors start to grumble and complain that it isn’t fair that you have a car and they don’t, that you have money for groceries & fuel oil and they don’t. They start to say to you that they shouldn’t have to pay for fuel for you to take them to the grocery store and what’s more, it’s unfair that you have money for more groceries than they do. They dial up the other neighbors on their cell phones and you can see them outside talking to each other as they smoke their cigarettes.

A bunch of them get together and contact the government with their complaints. In the interest of fairness, the government steps in and directs you to make your vehicle available to your neighbors at their discretion. And you must maintain and keep fuel in the vehicle at your own expense. And they don’t stop there.

The government also directs you to make your pantry open to your neighbors. It’s only fair, they tell you, since you all live in the same neighborhood and everyone will benefit. You also must allow your neighbors to siphon fuel oil from your oil tank as they need to. If you don’t do all of this, you will be fined and possibly jailed.

You resist, but your neighbors and the government both insist that you must hate children and be inherently racist because you refuse to take steps and be opening to benefiting your neighbors. Also, as badly off as your neighborhood is, there are others that are even worse off. The government directs that you must make your property and house available to people from other neighborhoods to stay if they choose to try moving to your neighborhood because you have more than all of those others do.

The government assures you everything will be fine, that they will watch over everything and regulate things so that it’s all as fair as possible. But you know that other neighborhoods they have taken over are now in ruins, corruption is rampant and the rules mean nothing; people who break them regularly are hardly ever dealt with and when they are, it’s usually a slap on the wrist.

For all intents and purposes, everything you have worked for is gone. You have no option to move away because if you do, the government will punish you and besides, there isn’t any place to go where the same thing has not or is not occurring. You are ruined, and so begins your slow descent into poverty and hopelessness.

Without the resources you worked so hard for, that you earned, you will quickly arrive at a point where you have no hope of being of any help or of coming up with any new or innovative ways to help that won’t immediately be stolen by your government in the name of regulation. When you come up with alternate solutions or alternate approaches, you are slapped down and restricted from implementing anything or it is caught in bureaucratic red tape.

And now your government has complete control over everything you do.

Welcome to Net Neutrality.

Disagreement and Admiration

I want to weigh on the recent controversy regarding the King of Jordan and his action regarding ISIS after they executed one of nation’s pilots.

There are a large portion of conservatives praising the man and his actions. They are looking up to him and admiring his courageous actions as a leader of his people.

And then there is another contingent of conservatives who are criticizing the hero worship- or even any kind of admiration- of the King and saying that we have no business admiring a Muslim that ‘buddy’d up’ with the Muslim Brotherhood, or is a Monarch, or is a Muslim, ad-nauseum.

Look, I’m not a fan of making a big fan of bandwagon hero worship. It’s wrong and it’s misguided. But I’m also not a fan of dismissing someone because they don’t happen to be on your religious or political side. Wisdom, leadership and fine examples can come from anywhere.

For a good portion of us, it’s simply a matter of separating the man’s politics/religion from his actions. ‘A person is never just one thing’, as you might know

Do I want a King or do I think that a monarchy is viable as a way to rule? Of course I don’t think that.

Do I admire or do I wish to follow the tenets of the Koran and Islam? No, I do not.

Do I admire the King for buddying up to the Muslim Brotherhood? No, but I also have zero concept of the endless political realities that he has as the leader of his government and his people in the heart of the Middle East- and I really don’t think anyone else here, does, either.

Do I admire the Leadership that has been exhibited by the King of Jordan?

Hell Yes! I admire the man. He said something- and then he followed up on it. He sent his people into battle- decisively, I might add- and then he climbed into an aircraft to join them, regardless of if he piloted it or not, or if it was a transport or an aircraft used in battle.

To keep hammering at him because his politics, position, or personal title is not in agreement with one’s own particular outlook on the world seems to me to be kind of one-dimensional, especially when AS a leader, he exhibits the properties a Leader should exhibit. It is possible to admire a person one does not agree with an all aspects, or even ones direct opponent.

If we could stop being one-dimensional in the way we act, the way we think, and the way we view others, even our enemies!, we would have an easier time making things far better for everyone.

Decisions and Obligations

Life is about making choices. There are a ton of things that you can do, and doing some of those things preclude being able to do anything else. It’s not a pleasant idea, but choices cost us, they cost us dearly. Especially the important choices, like what it is you’re going to do with your life.

In this, you’re on your own. You have to make your own way. When you are faced with a choice, when you have to pick one thing or another, then sometimes that choice is hard- especially if the choice is forced upon you or worse, a circumstance is and you are left without a choice due to your own morality code.

You can do all that you can to mitigate the circumstances. You can make arrangements or pull in favors or you can rely on the kindness of others, but it’s wrong to expect that someone else with whom you may have a business or working relationship to be forced to support or subsidize your life choices that you are responsible for.

If you work for someone and you are faced with a crisis or a situation that will change how your life is going to be lived, why do some feel that it is the responsibility of an employer to subsidize you? If you are not there producing, then that employer has lost that productivity- it’s simple economics.

Like if you were working but you had to leave your job for a year, or even a few months, to take care of your dying parent then you could hope your employer would hold your position or offer to re-employ you when you could return, but sometimes that isn’t possible. They are under no obligation to do so, though most employers I know would hold out as long as possible, especially if you were worth making that accommodation for.

But there are those who would expect that employer to keep paying them as well as keep their (their non-producing) position open; their logic being that it’s a circumstance that came about through no fault of their own, so they shouldn’t have to suffer.

Well, why should the employer suffer? And they do! They suffer loss of income. They are punished for the circumstance of the employee. Why? Because they are successful? Because they have more money? (Maybe)

And then there are people who expect that to take place despite having the circumstance take place through their own actions and decisions.

Should an employer be forced to support you if you make the decision to drink and drive? If you make the decision to improve yourself by traipsing off to India to find yourself? If you decide to take company time to do charity work? “Hey boss, I’m not going to make it in today to help frame that house because I’m building houses for habitat for humanity! I still get paid, right?”

Does that work? Would it work for you if you were an employer?

No, it wouldn’t. And it doesn’t change when your life choices get more intense or more important, even in the grand scheme of things.

Your life is your own. Your decisions are your own. The decisions suck sometimes, but that’s the way things are. If you are lucky enough to have people or employers in your life who will support you or go the extra yard for you, then good for you, you are one of the lucky ones. Be Thankful!

But to expect it to happen, to try and force it to happen through social pressure or, worse, passing laws to punish employers for decisions and issues they have no involvement in is beyond the pale. No matter what the circumstance is.

More and more people are seeing employment as a right. It is no such thing. To expect another person such as an employer to work and pay support you without compensation (your productivity) is well known by another name. Work without compensation is slavery. It is theft.