Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And You Just Remember...

"And you just remember that your old man walked Ben Wade to that station when nobody else would." -- Dan Evans, 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Failure in the end might happen, but if you gave it your all, then there's nothing you should worry about.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Please Stop Now

There are some people who just refuse to give up. Kansas City Royals fans, for one. They somehow persist in believing in the impossible will happen.

And then we have Gavin Menzies. A while back, he wrote 1421: The Year China Discovered America. While it was a nice idea, it is nevertheless a tenuous idea at worst with many holes and historical questions that could be raised. There was even a television special where he showcased his ideas and had those very ideas challenged at the end of the program.

Now we have Mr. Menzies talking how in 1434 the Chinese rolled up to Venice and "sparked the Renaissance" in Europe. The first book was nice and made people think for a bit and it also allowed us to play fantasy for a bit. But now? Now it's pushing it. Ridiculously hard. To have someone call your work "historical fiction" isn't exactly an endearing term in the field of history.

But this is the challenge of history. You don't have to have a "license" to practice it for the most part and you can't have your license revoked for being a loudmouthed dumbass. Anyone who can convince a publisher to put out their nonsense can get their half-baked ideas out there into the public where sometimes less than rigorous standards are applied. With the internet, the possibility for people to either make outlandish claims or manipulate history for their own personal agendas is much easier.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chips in the Pot

The film Rounders is about more than just cards. There's a lot to be learned from that movie other than interesting slang terms about bottom dealing jackasses. One of the morals I took out of the film is that you shouldn't bind yourself to something just because someone else says you should do it.

One of the lines in the film uttered by the main character is "You can't lose what you put in the middle...but you can't win much either." It's an interesting concept when put in the framework of life in general. Emotional investment in life is like the ridiculous raise you make when you're drawing for the straight and the flush on the river: you stand to win or lose big.

It's one of the questions I have about life: Is it worth it to make that big bet only to see that your draw didn't pan out or to sit around and let the blinds whittle you down to the felt?

Losing bites, no doubt. But winning is equally as enjoying. And it really comes down to whether or not you want to accept the fact that you'll lose. A lot of the time I ask myself that question, knowing that losing is painful. And you know what? The answer is yes a good number of the time.

Yes, the losing is going to bite hard. Yes, I might disappear for a day or so to "get things straightened out." But it's the allure of finally hitting that outside draw on the river that makes it all worth it. (Note: this is not how I play cards.) If I lose big, at least I'm comforted by a life lesson and the fact that I'm sitting pretty on a large repository of chips.

Sometimes I do wonder if I should just remain uninvolved. It's a real temptation. I'd rather as much just not feel a damn thing in my life. At times in my life, I fantasize about just being a complete robot and avoid the trouble of emotions. It would save me the experience of negative feelings. But I'd never get to feel the joy of finally pulling it off and winning. And if you're going to just sit at the table and not take a risk, you'd be better off putting your money in a savings account in your local bank. Life isn't about watching other people live lives; it's about going out there and doing it for yourself.

While the trials and tribulations of life are sometimes more than a person can handle, it's part of being alive and human. Sure, you'd be able to sit at the table for a long time just getting blinded into oblivion, but is it really all that fun?