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Kobayashi -Maru (Living with the No-Win Scenario) November 5, 2007

Posted by rengawman in Humor with a point, life, Motivation, Movies, philosophy.
Tags: , , ,

There are in fact great moments in movie history that no one will ever forget.  For instance, the moment that Clark Gable uttered those famous words in “Gone with the Wind,” – “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  Or how about in Braveheart when William Wallace yells out “Freedom!” with his last ounce of strength after having been drawn and quartered?  What about Jack Nicholas’s performance in A Few Good Men? (“You can’t handle the truth!”)

Certainly these are memorable movie moments, but one that can’t simply be expressed by pickout out one lone or scene- a moment that changed movie history- possibly forever…

Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan.

This movie changed my life as a young boy.  How could it not change you?  HOW I ASK!!??  Not only did you have the great American hero Captain Kirk and his faithful shadow Mr. Spock, (along with Bones McCoy and the other cast members from Star Trek), but you had the greatest Star Trek villain… possibly ever: Ricardo Montalbon as Khan.  Kids all around America- nay, the world- wanted a fake chest of their own to wear like him.  Could there be a more perfect villain than the guy from Fantasy Island?  If there is one, he hasn’t been born yet.

Look at those (fake) pecs… KHAAAANN
While I could wax on about this… well, masterpiece of cinematography, I will spare you and get to the point.  There is a great opening scene in ST:II that I have used in my life since I first saw it in 1982.

The opening scene has a young Kirstie Alley playing the part of Saavik, the Vulcan protege of Mr. Spock and the conn of the Enterprise.  She is commanding in this performance, and thank goodness, because it took all of her might to replace Diane on Cheers just a few years later.

Just then a distress call comes in from the Kobayashi -Maru, some kind of transport ship filled with innocent people.  It seems that it hit a mine and is now drifting in Klingon space.  Saavik has two choices- leave the people to die at the hands of Klingons, or risk the crew of the Enterprise and enter the territory, opening them up for attack by the superior Klingons.

They of course go in to save the Kobayashi -Maru, and get blown to smitherines.  (Well, OK it was just a simulation, but it really look like Uhura bit it this time.)

This is the classic no win scenario.  We all have to face the Kobayashi -Maru from time to time- the situation in which any decision we make is going to result in someone getting hurt, or someone losing out.  It is the classic not pleasing everyone scenario.

I hate those kinds of decisions.  They really happen all the time- to people- to organizations- to businesses- where the good of the whole family or organization has to outweigh at times the good of the individual.  Of course there are times as well in which to save a life, one must make a sacrifice.

I would guess that what we are talking about is really love.  I have a few definitions of love that are important- they are really a conglomeration of my own experience as well as things I have learned from other people.  The two that I will deal with here:

Love is a choice not a feeling
Love is the choice of doing the greatest good for myself and my neighbor

When it comes to these “no-win” situations- where someone or something is going to have to suffer, we have to ask ourselves what the greatest good is in any particular situation.  Sometimes the greatest good stinks- it is often painful to do, but if it is the greatest good, it must be done.  I guess another definition of love is the pursuit of the greatest good at all costs.

I guess in personal situations, that could mean ending a relationship to preserve greater hurt down the road.  Maybe it is the father of a family taking a job in another city that will help the family survive in rough times- perhaps it is laying off 500 people from a factory so that 2000 might not lose their jobs.

I have discovered, especially in the last couple of years, that life is a very messy affair, and is rarely clean cut or clear.  If love is the pursuit of the good, then courage is the virtue by which we carry out that good- sometimes we just have to fly the shop into Klingon territory just to try- even if it means that no one is going to make it out.

Pursuing the greatest good on an individual or corporate level is a constant balancing act that requires us to think ahead and do what is best- not only for ourselves- but for everyone involved.

I guess there should be a post on here as to what “good” means.  That has been a question that goes back to the beginning of philosophy!

Someone has a lot of time on their hands….


Recapturing the Magic October 8, 2007

Posted by rengawman in humor, Movies.
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1 comment so far

I thought I would take a little break from my deep philosophical posts for the next couple of days.  I figure that I owe some people some Excedrin headache medicine.  You ought to hear me actually talk about this stuff… I go on and on and on… blah blah blaaaahhh…

 I grew up in the 80’s.  I was a very lucky child.  VERY lucky.  I look over the past couple of decades, and while there are certainly some defining moments in cultural history, I don’t think that there will ever be a time as wonderful as the 80’s in terms of movie and television programming.  I mean, Punky Brewster had TWO shows- one featuring an irish gremlin that could grant wishes of some sort.  I would put that up against Rugrats or Spongebob any day as quality programming.

Not only that, but there were such great shows as Knightrider, the A-team, Airworlf- do I need to go on?  I don’t think so. 

Of course two other great animated series came to the limelight- three really- Transformers, He-man, and of course, The Simpsons. 

The 80’s were a special time for a young boy.  A time when he could hear his brothers playing bands like Twisted Sister, Van Halen, and any other number of hair bands that rocked the stage.  The country was truly coming out of the haze which is known at the 70’s.

What were they thinking?

As a side note, a lot of people that were around in the 70’s don’t actually remember the 70’s.  Even those who didn’t do drugs really don’t have much to say about it.  I was there myself but don’t remember.  If you have something to say contrary to this, leave a comment.

Finally, I will mention two movies, among MANY, that were landmark movies for me, and may other people who grew up then.  That is not to say that they were the best movies ever made, but they certainly hold a special place in my heart.

The first was the Princess Bride.  If you have ever seen this movie, I don’t think I need to tell you why it was so iconic.  It has been 20 years since that movie came out, and Jenny from Forest Gump is still pretty!  I think that this movie actually deserves another post all to itself.

The other defining movie moment for me, well one of the others (I guess the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie was pretty important) was the Goonies.

Ahhhhh the Goonies.  Sloth still loves Chunk.  The Fratelli brothers (and their mother from Throw Mamma from the Train) are still clumsy oafs that can somehow thwart police with guns and cruisers, but can’t outsmart a group of nerds.  There is Corey Feldman, Samwise Gamgee, and a bunch of other people you never ever see in other movies.  It was a great adventure because these kids were pretty much like us- that meant it was possible that we could have an adventure like their and live to tell about it!

Sloth loves Chunk!  Baby Ruth!

Sometimes I still wake up screaming lyrics to Cyndi Lauper songs.  Doctor said a few more sessions and I might be cured of that particular ailment.

What was SHE thinking?  Well if it’s good enough for you… I guess it’s good enough for me.


The reason I am mentioning this particular film is that I read on the Internet today they are planning for a Goonies 2. (The Revenge of Sloth?)  I dunno… I am not convinced that they will recapture the magic which made the first one so memorable.  I mean, where is the box that Cyndi Lauper has been living in these past 2 decades?  How will they find her?  Or Chunk?  I am sure he had a heart attack or something.  Are these people still alive?  I know “Throw Mamma” Fratelli is herself joined One-Eye Willie in the pirate ship in the sky.

RIP Mamma

Probably the sequel will do what all sequels do, and that is to ruin the original a little bit for a us all.  Still it will be good to see them all again, even if it isn’t cute or relatable.  I am sure it will be more like sitting around the table discussing the stock market.  Maybe they will have kids of their own and only make cameos.

All I know is that they had better not make a Princess Bride 2.  Andre the Giant is irreplaceable.