Losing LOST

Tonight, for better or for worse, it all ends. The last six years of angst and hope and horror and anger and joy and fear and happiness that has embodied LOST, the television epic, will come to a close.

Thank You, Jesus.

I can finally move on with my life and stop wondering why, if the Professor can replace Gilligan’s missing fillings with melted pennies and a drill operated by rapidly pedalling a stationary bicycle made from bamboo, can’t he just repair the wrecked ship and get them all off that damned island.

Wait.

heh heh

I got a little confused for a minute.

Frankly, I’m banking on more “worse” than “better” for the much-anticipated wrap-up, given that there still seems to be no sign of Juliet in the sideways reality, which means, given that Sawyer has begun to call Kate “freckles” again, and given that he has been casting mooney glances towards the polar bear cages and sighing in remembrance of Things Past, and given that Jack is The One To Stay, and given that Kate NEVER stays ANYWHERE for more than 5.6 seconds, that the writers are almost certainly moving towards a Sawyer-Kate “happy ending”.

Also, given that the whole theme of this season has been “learning to let go”, and given that the writers are obviously hoping desperately through the time-honored method of smoke and mirrors, to encourage us, the viewers, to “let go” of one or two pesky little questions from, oh, pretty much seasons 1-5, such as “wasn’t it VITAL that Claire be the one to raise Aaron?” and “Where is Walt, who was apparently telekinetically gifted and oh-so-extremely important?” and “Why did the hatch blowing up not blow anything else up except Desmond’s clothes (off)?” and “How can a giant wheel move the entire island and cause people to transcend time and space?” and “Why does the smoke monster have a distinctly mechanical sound when he appears, and why did Rose say it sounded *familiar* when she first heard it?”, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

I know there are people out there who will look down their noses with an air of supreme condescension and tell me that somewhere, in the reams of extra-episodic-writings like message boards and “Lostpedias” and “Lost podcasts” and “Lost experience games”, all these questions have been answered, but I’M talking about them being answered in a way that anyone besides OCD-afflicted, media-addicted, Lindelof-Cuse worshiping, fantasy-world-dwellers can remember.

Honestly, I think the most sensible thing to do at this point would be for the whole island to take off into the sky, thus revealing that it is, in fact, a spaceship, and that aliens are, in fact, to blame for the whole mess. The end. It’s Perfect!

I am committed to seeing the thing through for the simple fact that I am nothing if not dedicated, and I still believe that, even if the ending is  worse than horrible, the first season all by itself will shine forever as some of the Best Telebishon In The History of Telebishon, Ever.

And if it IS worse than horrible, I’m ordering this t-shirt, pronto.

shirt

Better Than A Sharp Poke in the Eye?

Lately, I’ve been reading some stuff. This stuff has lodged in my cerebral cortex and, as I have been going about my business, cleaning my bathrooms and teaching spelling and watching Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark in Ironman2 (more on that later), this stuff niggles. It pesters. It demands further review.

Here’s the deal: there have apparently been several different studies published over the past decade that have all come to one resounding conclusion:

Having children decreases your overall happiness in life.

Well. Tie me to an anthill and fill my ears with jam.

You can read more about the studies here, in the April 2009 issue of The Psychologist in an article written by social scientist Nattavudh Powdthavee. It’s a very thought-provoking article, or at least, it provoked many thoughts by yours truly. Don’t worry, I will share them with you. I know you were worried.

Obviously, the idea that children will increase your happiness is inherently flawed. Happiness, as everyone should know (at least intellectually), comes from within, and if you are an unhappy, negative person as a non-parent, you will certainly not become a happy, positive person when you introduce a demanding little suckling into your life.

However, the suggestion, or–seeing as how it has been settled by the intractability of empirical data–the fact that child-free couples are happier than those with children is a bit of a startling concept to those of us, well…to those of us who have ’em, frankly.

Four different studies have apparently shown that, once children arrive on the scene, happiness levels decrease, and marital satisfaction, life satisfaction, and mental well-being all take a serious hit.

Oh my stars and garters, what have we done? I checked my kids; there’s no return address label!

But let’s back up a little bit before we start researching time machines. I’m not arguing with the results of the studies at all. I truly do believe that they are correct, for what it’s worth. It’s just that they beg a few important questions.

First of all, how do we define happiness?

If we are ranking how happy we are, shouldn’t we seek to ascertain if we are all on the same page first?

I would hazard a guess that if your criteria for happiness includes things like a clean house, a peaceful, quiet existence, a toned and fit body, plenty of spendable income, minimal stress, and maximum free time, then having children is almost certain to make you less happy than if you remain childless.

I’m not in any way saying those things are bad, or selfish to want. But thinking you can have them ALL and children too is unrealistic, which I believe hits close to home in the “happy” arena. Many people go into parenthood with a grossly unrealistic view of what it will entail.

The studies were concentrated in Europe and the USA, which is also telling. What other cultures are as steeped in the have-it-all mentality than we are? We are told daily and repeatedly that a certain body and a certain lifestyle will make us happy. Happiness is defined continually for us by the billboards and advertisements that bombard us every moment of our lives. Children are diametrically opposed to that definition.

Let’s look at the facts.

Children will affect your pocketbook. While I do not hold to the popular “how much will it cost to have a child” statistics, it is undeniable that adding children to your life will require certain expenses to increase. Period. You might have to give up weekly pedi-manis. You might have to sell your boat. You might have to give up your home office to make way for the little tyke. You might have to choose between glasses for jr. and the latest home entertainment center.

Children will increase your stress levels. Sure, they bring immeasurable joy to our lives that we would never experience otherwise, but let’s face it: sometimes they can bring levels of grief we never thought possible, too. If you protest that your children have never, ever qualified for that equation, then get out of here. No, seriously. Go away. I don’t want to know you.

The more children you have, the greater your chances for that grief, in the form of sickness, emotional upheaval, or, God forbid, death. You have more to worry about, for pete’s sake. If you don’t worry, you’re some kind of android and, once again, I wish you well, but leave now. Most of us run into issues with our kids, and suddenly it becomes apparent that our superpowers are not going to be sufficient to protect them from everything. And what parent in the world would claim to be “happy” if one of their kids is hurting? And the more you have, the more your chances that one of them is not going to be blissfully content every moment of every day.

Along those lines, can I just say? Having children is cripplingly humbling.  Think about your opinion of yourself before you had kids. You were patient. You were cool. You were intelligent. You were loving. You were kind. Frankly, you were ten shades of awesome. Then kids came along and proved that all previously established levels of the aforementioned descriptives were grossly unchallenged and thus inherently erroneous. In other words: ya never knew just how great you were until you were incessently forced to prove it.

So there you go. The three reasons kids make us less happy:

  1. We can’t have all the crap we want.
  2. We worry more.
  3. We aren’t nearly as bodacious as we thought.

But hold on one minute.

When I see this list, two words come to mind.

Personal Growth.

Now, no psychologist in the world would argue that personal growth is not something to aspire towards in our lifetimes. Sure, our yearbooks all have “don’t ever change!” written in them by our classmates, but who truly wants to remain static, stagnating in immaturity and boredom?

And yet, can I just suggest that personal growth isn’t always a “happy” experience to go through? Frankly, growth is painful, often to the point that it makes you want to lay down and die rather than go on with it. No one going through a trial will say they are “happy”, although once they are through it they will probably assure you that it was for their greater good to have been there. Trials and testings produce character we never could have found in a peaceful little cloister of our own making.

I’m not saying that the child-free have no opportunities for personal growth, just that those with children are prone to daily re-evaluations and personal assessments that might never occur otherwise (should the parents choose to accept such challenges, which is a whole ‘nuther issue).

So, do the results of these studies simply boil down to one real question?

Is happiness, after all, the be-all, end-all goal to life?

It’s a good question. One that we probably don’t really consider on most days. We spend an inordinate time seeking to preserve our well-being, establish a status-quo that ranks considerably above “just okay”, whether we have children or not. But, especially if we claim to be Christians, we are called for quite the opposite: to give our lives away for a greater cause. Happiness was never meant to be an earthly pursuit; our Lord has plenty of it for us where we’re going. Delayed gratification is a concept our culture will never embrace as a whole, but if we individually do not, we will most certainly be desperately unhappy, no matter what lifestyle we choose.

Metaphor Monday: Oil

MM

It has been 7 years since our last trip to Alabama, and a long paper chain in shades of the sea winds its way around our dining room, strips torn off daily in anticipation of the trip planned for this summer. The soft white sands of the Gulf Shore beckoned. It was finally going to happen.

And then, tragedy. Eleven men killed, their families bereft, and a hole in the ocean floor gushing oil into the salty water like a ruptured appendix, throwing the whole system into shock.

Soon the white sands will be covered in balls of oil. The slick, spreading mass will invade the estuaries and wreak havoc. Nesting turtles and birds will die along with countless sea life, fishermen’s livelihoods will falter, and no one is sure just when we can expect resolution.

How can something be so harmless when it dwells beneath the surface, so much a part of the elemental earth, and yet so toxic when extracted from its home within the layers? Like bile within our bodies, it serves our purposes but we don’t want it leaking where it doesn’t belong.

Human bodies have recovered from ruptured appendices, with enough help and time and intervention. I hope the same is true for my beloved, poisoned Gulf.

Kitchen Sink Saturday

Have you heard of this guy named Michael Buble’? I have no idea where he came from, but apparently he’s a little bit popular with some people. I thought “some people” were all, like, okay, my mom, but then I accidentally saw him on SNL and he made me smile, and I wondered if there might be more to his music than just inspiring Frank Sinatra-flashbacks in older folks. Then I forgot all about him. Then I heard him on the radio and remembered. And then I forgot. And then I heard he had some huge concert in Tulsa and I remembered. And then I forgot.

You see a trend here, I guess?

But TODAY I looked him up on YouTube, and oh my word. He has the cutest music video I’ve ever seen. Call me a sucker for the lonely guy in the supermarket who winds up dancing in the aisles to a ticker tape parade with his one true love, but if it doesn’t make you smile, your heart is made of glacial ice, and that’s just my completely impartial opinion.

Haha! as if there is such a thing.

If I’m the last person on earth to see this, don’t tell me. I already know I’m hopeless.

However, there is ONE THING that I am NOT behind the times on. I’m waaaaay ahead of the game here. Counting down the days. Until what? UNTIL WHAT, you say?

Only this.

yes

Six more sleeps, my people. Six more sleeps.

Last night I had a dream that I was playing the female lead opposite RDJ in Sherlock Holmes. We were making fun of Jude Law for being such a weenie. The only way the dream could have been better would have been if I had woken up and found his corduroy coat in my closet.

Friday, May 7th. I’m about to launch a campaign to get My Beloved to shave his goatee into a Tony Stark version in honor of the occasion.

ironman2

C’mon honeeeeeeey….pleeeeease?

Thank you to everybody who said such kindly congratulations on my last post, and who prayed for me when I disappeared off the face of the earth.  I’m happy to be back, and keeping you abreast of the lastest items of earth-shattering importance.

Cue The Discordinant Stringed Instruments

All right, all right, I give in. I’ll post about LOST. After last season’s spectacularly hideous ending, I was completely ambivalent about watching the show at all anymore. I knew I would never be happy with whatever cockamamie, half-assed, pathetic excuse for a wrap-up they would try to foist off on viewers, but on the other hand, could I seriously not watch it through to the grand finale?

I think I could not. I’m fairly certain my life would not be diminished in any way by not continuing to view the series. When I think of all the ways the writers have disgusted me, frustrated me, and insulted my intelligence, I get a little angry. They could have ended the thing literally years ago, but they couldn’t just go ahead and fish, they had to cut bait for ten thousand episodes in which they introduced characters for the sole purpose of killing them off. Genius.

However, not watching the show would mean joining the ranks of unlucky souls who have to endure hearing people talk about their theories concerning it.

Ultimately, there were five reasons I decided to continue to the bitter end:

 jin

sayid

weenie
(josh. get some dirt on. you look like a weenie)

richard

jesus. i mean desmond.

I know! I know! I’m sorry! But I have to be honest. Without this lineup, I’d be sayin’ sayonara faster than you can count to 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.

Let’s be serious, people. The plot is in a shambles. It has never lived up to the standard it set in its (sniffle, snort, *HONK*) mind-blowingly fabulous first season. You remember the first season? The season full of mystery, intrigue, and strange things that went SKREEEAK!!! SKROOONK!!! RAAAAA!! in the night? The season where Jack was admirable and noble, and Locke was freakin’ awesome? The season before I wanted to wrap Kate in cotton candy and set fire to her?

As it was, the grand kick-off episode did not suck quite as spectacularly as I was prepared for. I was surprised by how fondly I still felt about many of the characters, how fervently I still want everything to somehow turn out all right for them, and how much I enjoy it when Ben looks like this:

ben
oh yeah. he’s confused.

Locke, while not exactly Locke, finally seemed to have a purpose and conviction again, albeit an almost certainly evil one, and although Sawyer did not exactly say F*** off, B****!! to Kate, I’m almost sure that he thought it, and that counts for something, right?

At the other end of the spectrum, were I and my family alone in our gape-mouthed-horror-which-rapidly-turned-to-hysterical-laughter-response to the “underwater island” CG JOKE? And who else wishes fervently that the smoke monster would just go back to being a terrifying idea instead of looking like the Tasmanian Devil doing a little freelance work just to make ends meet?

So, Jacob and The Smoke Monster (who we will call SM from now on, for brevity’s sake), are obviously some sort of opposing Egyptian dieties duking it out with each other in a grand chess match involving human beings as pawns. Maybe they were sent to the island ages ago as some sort of punishment by even higher powers? And Jacob is so obviously going to use Sayid’s body to perambulate around in, but I’m believing that it will be in a benevolant sharing sort of capacity. You know, a capacity that leaves Sayid completely unharmed in the end, when Jacob finds a more convenient mode of transportation.

Don’t pop my bubble, people. It’s all I have.

If the writers of the show hoped to distract viewers from the gazillion-and-forty questions still unanswered by throwing out a few tantalizing clues wrapped up in one or two WTF! moments and plenty of parallel universe scenes to convince us that no way, not ever, nuh-uh, no you DON’T, want the series to end with Oceanic 815 landing peacefully at LAX, then, well…they succeeded. At least for me. 

At any rate, I have hope that the season will not be too painful to watch after all.

First Hand

Just wanted to share a VERY enlightening blog post from Apparent Project Mission worker Corrigan Clay, who is in the midst of the Haitian Earthquake relief efforts… he has some good advice for people wanting to help!

 

You can scroll down to the bottom of his eyewitness post to find out the best ways to help RIGHT NOW, but in case you haven’t time to do that, the summary is: They are desperate for food, water, and medical supplies. If you want to give money, the BEST places to do it are with the smaller charities (like the Apparent Project) that are already established in the country.

 

(and might I insert here that Compassion International, while not a “smaller charity”, is in an excellent position to help, being not only established in the country already, but plugged in to local churches and communities!)

 

The sad truth seems to be that aid that is simply flown into the airport and passed out to the first hands to grab it is often going to a black market situation that only serves to capitalize on the great suffering and need. Those who are already set-up in Haiti are the best organizations to know how to get the aid to the right places. Larger organizations such as Red Cross will be most helpful in a month or two, but right now they are still getting their act together and trying to establish the who/what/when/wheres of distribution.

 

Mostly, please keep praying. Consider fasting. Haiti was so needy before the earthquake. The world moves on, but the crisis remains.

Heartache

The stories emerging from the Haitian earthquake are as bad, and worse, than I could ever imagine. The photos are stark and terrifying. The mind recoils; human bodies should not be gathered up in bulldozers and taken to mass graves, entire families should not simply cease to exist. It overwhelms the imagination.

 

At this moment, people are organizing, gathering, tabulating, flying, recovering, ministering, grieving, comforting, distributing, cleaning, and working to help the people in Haiti. I wish I could go. I think most people like me feel the same way. But we can’t.

 

So we stay at home. We change diapers. We feed mouths. We shop. We clean bathrooms. We teach minds. We arbitrate disputes. We do laundry. And we pray. We pray for miracles to surface, for hope to rise, for comfort to reign. 

 

And we give our pennies. We send help the only way we can: with our wallets. There are so many good places to drop your gift, so many noble organizations who will use your money responsibly and carefully. I have listed a few below (plus a couple of links that will enable you to help without spending a dime).

 

We hope it’s not too little. We trust that He will multiply.

 

Compassion International’s Haiti fund (or simply click the button to the left)

 

Pioneer Woman’s generous giveaway (she’s giving per comment, so leave one!)

 

Here‘s a site where you can help out, and possibly win some really neat stuff, for just ONE dollar. Hope for Haiti has gathered together all sorts of raffles where you can donate just one dollar and be entered to win anything from jewelry from Lisa Leonard to a Prada bag. The more raffles you enter (for just one dollar each) the more you help, and the more chances you have to win. This is the brainchild of Jenny Buttler from Simply Delightful Designs, and I think it’s an amazing opportunity.

 

Shel who blogs at Large Family, Many Blessings, is donating $5 per comment, so head over there too!

 

Red Cross donations

 

Real Hope for Haiti is taking donations here

 

World Vision’s contribution page is here

LOST: MY Way

So I finally watched the LOST season finale! I’m all caught up! And let me tell you, folks…I am not a little dissatisfied.

 

Hello, writers for LOST? How about you stop getting all your best ideas from the daily horoscope and instead come up with a cohesive plan for your characters that involves them behaving in ways that are at least 53% in-character at least 67% of the time?

 

But rather than rant about all the things that the writers have done to underestimate their viewers (not the least of which is, ostensibly, expecting us to forget all about the entire first season), I decided to take the opportunity to simply write my own ending.

 

So hold onto your Dharma-issued hardhat and prepare for what will surely be the finest possible conclusion to the dizzying twists and ridiculous turns in the lives of our friendly and conflicted castaways on the mysterious island.

 

Firstly, Sawyer and Juliette settle down in a little California Craftsman bungalow on the coast and have a half-dozen adorable little blonde boys named Desmond, Hurley, Sayid, Jin, Daniel, and Miles. Also a sweet little girl whom they do NOT name Kate. Sawyer becomes a best-selling writer of pulp fiction, and wears his glasses frequently. He homeschools the kids while Juliette does the Doctor thing and they celebrate 63 years of marriage before dying in one another’s arms during an earthquake.

 

(smolder, smolder)

 

Sawyer and Juliette rent their garage apartment out to Jacob, who can weave to his heart’s content without fear of loopholes and psychopathic lesser dieties. Ben comes to visit frequently to work out his Daddy issues without interference from the aforementioned, and every session ends in with healing tears and lots of hugs. He dotes on Sawyer and Juliette’s children, and becomes their much-beloved Uncle Benry.

 

he just wants to be loved, folks!

 

Daniel and Sayid set up a lab at Oxford University, and, with their combined dizzying intellects, change the world by inventing a bra equipped with an anti-gravitational force-field and no underwire.

 

brains AND beauty!

 

cutest egghead around

 

Miles and Hurley join together and create the ultimate forensics team, fighting crime and bringing peace to the families of deceased people everywhere. If there’s a body, Miles talks to them. If not, then Hurley. Super hot girl groupies hang upon their every word. Hurley lives to the ripe old age of 89, in spite of never losing a single pound.

 

super twin powers! Activate!

 

Sun and Jin and little Ji Yeon buy their own sailboat and join Desmond, Penny, and little Charlie in sailing around the world and having pretty much the most freakin’ amazing lifestyle imaginable. Ji Yeon and Charlie get married eventually, of course, and all the far-flung characters from the island come together to get misty-eyed and sing songs from Fiddler on the Roof.

 

awwwwwwwwwwwww!

 

Uhhhh…a little too close-up…sorry…it was all I could find!
 

 

Richard insures his eyelashes for two million dollars apiece and retires to a museum-quality display case.

 

In my living room.

 

Heh. Heh.

 

Is he ugly, or what?

 

Oh! But let’s not forget about Jack and Kate!

 

Oh no, we musn’t forget about them, the precious little angst-riddled, wishy-washy, two-faced, desperately co-dependant, emotional lampreys (bless their hearts).

 

The only question is, what would be the most appropriate conclusion for two of what are surely the most irritating characters ever to grace the small screen?

 

I puzzled over many scenarios, my friends, including those involving sharks and life rafts, but in the end, I decided that the only just and fair finale would be to leave them both on the island, alone, forever and ever, amen. Although it is tempting to have him die by man-o-war eventually, leaving Kate with only palm trees and sea kelp to beguile.

 

somebody needs to file for emotional bankruptcy

 

So there you have it. It gives me intense satisfaction to play out these little endings in my mind, much as I did with Gone With The Wind when I was a child and yelling What??? That’s IT???? at the TV screen as the credits rolled. Anybody out there want to chime in with their own conclusions? Please, tell me what endings you would like to see for your favorite (or not-so-favorite) characters!

I Have Opinions On Stuff

This story relates that a man discovered a hive of bees living in the walls of his home. The hive was so large that the walls oozed honey.

 

Better than blood, I always say.

 

Okay, so I don’t always say that, but it was the first thought that lept to mind. Which is pretty disturbing, actually.

 

Honestly, this whole story confuses me. Do you have any idea how loud 60,000 bees would be? I don’t either, but I’m guessing it’s pretty damn. Loud, that is.

 

He didn’t live alone, either, as his wife is mentioned in the article. So are they both deaf? Or do they watch TV at exceedingly high decibels, 24/7? Perhaps they heard the buzzing but thought it was something else, like a leafblower or a cropduster or a bunch of very tiny people in their walls, all going BZZZZZZZZZ! in unison.

 

So the way the bees were discovered was because the plaster was dripping honey, not because of the noise of 60,000 small winged insects going about their business. The article says that the owner of the house saw the golden substance oozing out of the walls and realized it was honey. How?

 

He tasted it.

 

Sure. Okay. That seems reasonable. If something indeterminate was sliding down the walls of my home, I’d lick it, no problem. 

 

Wait. I mean no, no I wouldn’t.

 

I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but the image I’m getting of these people is rather, ah…unconventional.

 

At any rate, I was relieved to discover that they did not call an exterminator (as might have been the conventional reaction), but instead enlisted the help of local beekeepers to remove the honeymakers by means of specialized vacuum cleaners, in order to safely relocate them.

 

I must take a moment to give you this link about the current plight of human civilization as we know it the humble honeybee, because it is honestly quite troubling. Did you know that 1/3 of the crops grown in the USA depend upon the honeybee for pollination? That’s more than 90 fruits and vegetables. And in the last year over 36% of the honeybee hives were killed off by “Colony Collapse Disorder” which is another name for “We have no idea what the hell is causing this”.

 

Basically, the experts think the bees are very, very stressed out.

 

I don’t blame them. For one thing, there is this.

 

Like many creatures on God’s green earth, the honeybee is often maligned and misunderstood. I feel it is my duty to do my part to set the record straight. Here are a few thoughts for your kind consideration:

  • Bees are valuable. Honey is yummy. So are apples, pecans, strawberries, squash, soybeans, grapes, almonds, oranges, peaches, peanuts, and blueberries, all of which (and this is a highly abbreviated list) are pollinated by the honeybee. Cotton is also pollinated by honeybees, and though I cannot eat it, I am grateful for its contribution to my panty-comfort-level.
  • Bees do not want to sting you. Why would they? They die shortly after stinging, so they are much happier to just go about their business of pollination and nectar-gathering. If a bee is invading your personal space, remain calm. Look as un-flower-like as possible. Do not run and scream and flail your arms about. This may be perceived as threatening behavior, so if you persist in such activities, I cannot help you.
  • Sugar wasps are often mistaken, unfairly, for honeybees. Thus, you often hear people complain about being stung! by! a bee! at a picnic or whatnot, when what they really encountered was a sugar wasp. A honeybee does not want your soda, or pie, or cookies. A sugar wasp does. A honeybee may very well be in the clover at your feet, but she is unlikely to be dive-bombing your head as you drink your root beer.

To further assist in dispelling this confusion, here is a picture of a sugar wasp:

 

And here is our friend, the honeybee:

As you can see, the honeybee is cuter. Okay, so maybe that’s just me. But seriously, the wasp is smooth and bright and menacing! He looks just loaded for bear! He’s looking for root beer, and he’s ready to fight you for it!

 

The honeybee, awwww…just look at her. Innocently stuffing her face with nectar. She is fuzzy, and almost cuddly looking. She wants only to contribute.

 

So do not fear the honeybee. 

 

Okay, if you are allergic and will suffer an anaphalactic reaction to her sting, then you’re allowed. The rest of you, when you see a honeybee this summer, take a moment to appreciate her tireless efforts that make this world (and this is just my honest opinion) a more beautiful and delicious place to live.