Jurassic Planes of Existence

Now that the movieverse has established a veritable “world” of dinosaurs that exists, I would like the next treatment in the “Jurassic Park” film series to go less macro, and more philosophical. I would like to see filmmakers tackle some of the big questions.

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What does it mean to be a dinosaur? Just like there is a blurry boundary between sex and gender, there must be a difference between being a dinosaur in species and in spirit. My father, for instance, doesn’t walk on four legs or have scaly skin or eat live animals, but he does reference films that nobody else has watched in about 50 years and until recently didn’t know how to upload photos from his phone to facebook. According to our society, this is very dinosaur-like behavior. Also, I have been told that I eat Asian food like a raptor, or with T-Rex hands (as if this were interchangeable!). Truly, dinosaurism runs genetically within families.

But what of the dinosaurs themselves? If a human can act like a dinosaur, can a dinosaur act like…another animal? Can one be a giraffe in a dinosaur’s body? What makes a dinosaur a TRUE dinosaur as opposed to a freak of nature? How does the genetic manipulation witnessed in the “Jurassic Park” film series mess with the natural instincts of these creatures and instead turns them into some monstrous hybrid of ancient and modern desires? What do these new dinosaurs want? What makes them tick? What makes them sad? What makes them hungry?

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And can they dance?

Are dinosaurs capable of love? Of shame? Of cultural alienation?

The emotional range of a tyrannosaur seems quite limited…but what of the pteranodon? Brontosaurus? Indominatrix Rex? So far we’ve only seen the dinosaurs in extreme situations…hunted by or hunting humans, freed from captivity, on vacation in Los Angeles; but off-screen, what are these animals up to? What would happen, for instance, if instead of a live goat, you dropped a Monopoly game board into the T-Rex pen? Or another, lovely lady T-Rex? How do dinosaurs define culture and community? Would we weep along with the T-Rex when they cry out for a mate? Or the velociraptor who is less than adept at tracking and killing other animals? When any creature, even a vicious carnivore, is no longer self actualized, does this not inspire pity?

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Do dinosaurs exist in other realms? Alternate timelines? Is there a Universe without dinosaurs?

Perhaps there is somewhere in our Universe, or another, where dinosaurs exist as intelligent animals; perhaps they survived the asteroid, or the asteroid never even happened. They developed opposable thumbs or discovered the secrets of calculus. Maybe aliens gifted dinosaurs with pyramids and great knowledge. In this world, what if the dinosaurs were to build a theme park filled with humans? “SIMIAN WORLD”, a deranged entertainment where dinosaurs cage the most dangerous game in the world. Imagine the fear and terror of a family of triceratops when a beast armed with sticks and spears and the capability to man a helicopter with lasers escapes on the loose? Perhaps in that universe…man was not meant to be re-awakened?

“The difference is that when Raptors of the Carribbean breaks down, the escaped Raptors don’t start endlessly quoting lines from old Seinfeld reruns.”-Dinosaur Ian Malcolm

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What is the ultimate purpose of the dinosaurs’ resurrection? 

What if there is a greater purpose, a divine inspiration, for the return of the dinosaur? What if InGen and Richard Attenborough’s character were in fact answering a higher calling? What are they not telling us about the real reasons why “Jurassic Park” was created? What if in the world where that takes place,the Messiah was meant to return…as a T-Rex? Would mankind accept a dinosaur as a Christ figure?

Or, conversely, what if the resurrection of the dinosaurs was meant to instigate the next apocalypse? How fitting, no? The dinosaurs were wiped out in the last great extinction, and they will help finalize the next one. Admittedly, this is a rather grim fate for the humans, but why does existence need to be anthropocentric? What if…what if we were meant to bring them back? And then extinguish? Sometimes we need to look at purposes greater than ourselves. All science since the beginning of the last millennium has been deconstructing man’s role in the cosmos. This would be an appropriate conclusion to all of this discovery. It was not man who was meant to travel the stars…but the Diplodocus.

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This post was brought to you by Dinosaur World Theme Park.

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Is Jon Snow A Secret Jew?

jon Many people believe that in his epic “Song of Ice and Fire” series George RR Martin is drawing on historical episodes from the War on the Roses. However, while this may be true for the political machinations in Kings Landing, it seems as if the Nights’ Watch adventures on and around the Wall are a rather overt retelling of the Exodus story. Although the metaphor is inexact, consider the details of the life of Jon Snow. rbavtwg4filx9cyhvmjv

  • Born into royalty but smuggled away from his true origins and raised as a member of a noble house. Forced to witness the systematic oppression of his people. This works whether he is a Targaryan or a Stark progeny.
  • Secretly sympathetic to the downtrodden (among the Watch and then the wildings), always an outsider, a man of two spheres
  • Jon Snow exhibits an appropriate and neurotic anxiety over sexual intercourse and perhaps even a touch of shame.
  • Takes an excursion as an outcast into the wilderness, where he finds love and learns new things about himself. Rose Leslie’s character even serves as a rather ingenious stand-in for an encounter with a “burning bush”.200_s
  • We haven’t seen Jon Snow being good with money, or try to dance, or face accusations of putting blood in his matzah…but then again, Moses didn’t have to face these modern stereotypes either. Jon Snow is the uber-Jew, the warrior who leads the nebbish out of the darkness.

This leaves several important unanswered questions:

  1. Is Jon Snow circumsized? Neither book description nor television depiction answers this definitively. It’s possible, but unlikely, that this is part of taking the vows at the Wall. Winterfell didn’t appear to have a mohel, certainly not one who was kosher certified. But it was possible that it was done in secret, with the help of his adoptive father Ned. This leads to another question, however: where is Jon’s foreskin? Surely the red priestess could have use for such an item, for there is much magic to be wrung from such a specimen.
  2. What plagues will Jon Snow unleash upon Westeros? Dragons, I would imagine. Lots of dragons. Will the white walkers take the first born sons of every noble in Westeros? That feels a bit contrived. It looks like darkness and winter will descend on Westeros completely independent of Jon’s doing.
  3. Where is the promised land? Valyria? King’s Landing? Winterfell? It’s all speculation for now.
  4. Winter is Coming…So Where are the Latkes? Probably not from Sam. That guy can’t cook for shit. Jon is too busy. Perhaps he can conscript some Wildlings into doing kitchen work. Tormund can peel the potatoes, little Ollie can heat the oil. Are the Nights’ Watch allowed to accept gifts? If Jon Snow wants to prove himself as a leader, perhaps he can help the Wildings and the Crows bond over spinning the dreidel. 53c7cb924f162

You Know Bupkes, Jon Snow!

***(SPOILER ALERT- FOR THOSE WHO, LIKE JON, ALSO KNOW BUPKES)***

UPDATE: SEASON FIVE FINALE IMPLICATIONS

Can you believe the chutzpa of the showrunners (and George RR Martin)? To spend (literally) years building up speculation on the origins of this character, to predicate his value to the story on future revelations, only to make him the latest casualty in the shlocky, shocky death toll that mounts every season in the rather nihilistic land of Westeros?

Let’s assume, then, that for story purposes Jon essentially must be resurrected somehow. What does that mean for his Judaism?

Well, one of the most famous Jews in history was famously resurrected.

But that’s not a Moses story at all. It’s also kind of trite. It would be a better tale if Jon Snow was more of a mishmash of various Jewish mythical figures. And that is why I think it is far more appropriate and apropos if Jon Snow is reborn as a kind of GOLEM

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The Golem’s role in Judaism is a kind of unkillable savior who is brought to life to defend them against the Goyim. The Golem has unrivaled power but my impression of the mythology is that with great power comes great responsibility…and general danger.

The-Golem-1920The Golem is like unleashing the kraaken but these are the Jews so instead its more like unleashing this gross Jewish man made out of clay. And while yes, Kit Harrington is very far from ugly, this is the realities of television and besides, we don’t know how he will be changed by his rite of passage through death and back again. Will he be burned and unburned? Will he look like a White Walker? Who is the enemy in this confusing story, exactly? It would be such a Jewish kind of angst if Jon Snow is reborn as an invincible weapon…who is reluctant because he sees good and bad in everyone. How does uber-Jew Jon Snow mete out justice in a complex, convoluted fantasy world? Perhaps he will prove his Judaism once and for all…by giving up and moving to King’s Landing to do bad vaudevillian stand-up.

What reader would see that coming. Me. (except I’m not a reader of the series)

Oscar the Grouch Summer Vacation Tips: The Pacific Garbage Patch

Leave me alone! Go away!

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Well, if you won’t go leave, I guess I’ll tell you what I think about this new travel destination I heard about by googling on a smartphone somebody had thrown into my garbage bin.

Here’s the thing about me: I love trash. And as much as I love Sesame street, I heard there were some great diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Pacific Ocean. As it happens, I have my diving certification from the local Fresh Kills dump in Staten Island. So I took a flight to Los Angeles and then followed the trash out to sea. Here’s my take on “the patch”, as my trashy friends have dubbed it.

First Impressions: The Pacific Garbage Patch was basically billed to me as the Hawaii of Garbage, but it’s really more like the Australia of garbage. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But this is really a vacation for trash lovers like me who want to get away from it all for a while. The garbage patch is an opportunity for some reflection (in the plastic) and walk-about, or swim-about. And this is the biggest issue I have with the patch, something they don’t tell you in the travel magazines: if you’re going to the patch, you need to bring your own inflatable wastebin. Unlike a trip to the dump or landfill, this trash “patch” is really more of a soupy swimming hole. There are unfortunately no amenities, which is fine, but sometimes it’s good to have a can to sleep in at night.

The water, however, is truly spectacular. The trash here is, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful in the world. As far as the eye can see, tiny flakes and pieces of “nurdles”, at least a thousand different species of plastic, things that have to be seen to be believe: pigmy plastic bottles, sharks caught in fishing nets, broken yo yos, Starbucks cups that have been melted by the sun into funnel shapes, dirty dishes, clean dishes, an entire IKEA furniture set.

It’s enough to make you cry tiny plastic tears.

Dining: If you’re going to the patch, you better like plastic. Plastic coated plankton. Plastic fish. Some of the more exclusive dining options include a variety of different chemicals that have leached into the garbage.

I personally enjoy the “Debris Platter”, bisphenol and polystyrene-infused litter which can also be ingested by aquatic life, giving them the a kind of nutty aftertaste that you just won’t find in the dumpsters of even the most celebrated New York restaurants.

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Price: The cost of a vacation to the Patch depends on what kind of accommodations you want to bring with you. A typical plastic wastebin will set you back about $15, although you’ll also need to bring some garbage with you to eat. Unless you want to boil the water from the ocean, I’d suggest trying to collect about 50 opened water bottles or so, and if they’re plastic you can just dump them in the water and watch them “follow” you into the heart of the ocean. It’s usually pretty hard to find a snorkel or fins, even if you put a sign out on your trash bin that says “HUNGRY STARVING AND GROUCHY PLEASE GIVE ME AQUATIC SUPPLIES.”

However, if there are any plastic straws that are intact and haven’t decomposed, you can use those when you get out to the Patch.

Activities: My favorite option that I found was the “polymer tasting” which includes a sample of 117 different kinds of plastics from all over the world, although most of them at one point or another were in China. In the beginning, you can really taste the subtle differences, and appreciate the nicer venues accompany the plastic with small edibles like neuston. But after about a few dozen you’re pretty far gone from all the chemicals, so honestly I could barely remember the last hour or so. Which just makes it even better.

Deep sea dumpster-diving companies also let you view the “ocean before garbage”, a land time forgot, approximately 20 feet below the surface. It’s kind of boring.

When to Go: My recommendation is to try to get here before 2016. Right now the patch is relatively pristine, but with an aggressive advertising campaign from the environmental industry, the tourist population figures to grow pretty rapidly over the next few years.

Also it seems like developers are scheduled to come in in about a year and clear out some of the scummier sections, which is a shame. This is gentrification at its worst; if they raise the cost of polluting in the ocean than nobody will be able to afford to experience the garbage patch.

Not to mention, all the noise of all those clean-up boats swarming what was a peaceful and quiet neighborhood. Truly despicable.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of activism trying “save the patch” and prevent the destruction of this amazing habitat. For a citygoer like me whose idea of a “big landfill” is over in Fresh Kills, its pretty mind-blowing to know you amidst a collection of trash that’s approximately the size of Texas. Although there are other gyres that generate patches of garbage, overall the Pacific Patch is the largest so it would really be a shame for someone to clean this up.

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What You Can Do to Save the Patch: Just try not to do anything different. Business as usual is what created this beautiful seascape, and if we can maintain this kind of progressive inertia then we can continue to keep the patch open for tourism.

Please don’t try to clog the pathways along rivers and streams with filters or garbage nets, because we need the plastic to be able to stream into the ocean. Please don’t recycle or sort your trash, because then the garbage will stay on land, where it can’t provide any nutrients to the marine plankton.

Parting Thoughts: Okay now scram!

Does “Game of Thrones” Reinforce Wight Privilege?

SPOILER ALERT- Yes.

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“Game of Thrones”, the television show, has never shied away from controversy, and in fact seems to thrive on provocative programming. However, last night may have crossed the line into a place where I dare not follow. If this is a sign of what’s to come, then I’m tuning out from here on in.

SPOILER ALERT

In the most recent episode viewers were forced to bear witness to a scene of White Walkers and thousands of wights accosting men for no other reason than they wear black and forcibly removing them from their homes. The leader of the “Crows”, Jon Snow, looks on in horror as the new wight population of Hardhome rise up from the ground, presumably to erect multipurpose apartment complexes. For “Game of Thrones” to so uncritically depict gentrification in action is irresponsible and offensive.

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What’s next for “Hardhome”? Imitation boutiques and overpriced coffee, I’d imagine..

The wights depicted in this show seem to have no concept of the damage they are inflicting upon the society. With an innate sense of entitlement they literally drop down on the village below and yet still seem to take offense when the current impoverished citizens aggressively defend their home, even as they retreat to marginalized places elsewhere.

Don’t these creatures realize that their newly discovered immortality is purely the product of chance, the fact that they were lucky enough to have been reborn as undead in a racially pure wight society?

One of the big problems here seems to be the arrogant assumption (based on their actions) that everyone wants to be a wight. There’s actually no evidence or reason beyond basic prejudice to believe that wights are any better than living people, or have more skills. In fact, considering they same to decompose like zombies and show little range of emotion being focused aggression, I’d say the life of a wight seems pretty sad and boring.

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They certainly can’t sing or dance. Listen, wight people, falling off the steep side of a mountain and rising again to confront the living with your come-ons is NOT dancing. It’s just pathetic, really.

And don’t tell me that the wights takeover of the city was meant as a “deconstruction.” If we were meant to believe so, than why was the wights’ victory shown in such titillating fashion? Why is this episode being hailed as “cinematic” and one of the best-staged battles of the season?

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I have nothing else to say, except that this dude needs to put his fucking shirt on.

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