Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LOST Explained In Long Form

I was asked by a friend for a literary explanation, and I obliged. (And just for the record, I only did this as a writing exercise to see if I could actually summarize the main plot of "Lost." I am not obsessed...okay, maybe just a little.) Okay, here goes my best...

On the way to Los Angeles from Sydney, plane crashes on a mysterious island in 2004. Crash victims ("Losties") explore the mysteries as their back stories are told through flashbacks, eventually running afoul of two groups vying for control/protection of the island. Losties divide into two groups:  one, led by John Locke, stays on the island and the other, led by Jack Shephard, gets rescued. "Rescued Losties," 3 years later, realize they made a mistake (Jack yells, "we have to go back Kate!") and try to get back to the island, while "Left Behind Losties" meanwhile travel through time on the island caused by the island's mysterious energy. A group of Rescued Losties then make it back to the island and meet back up with Left Behind Losties - in 1977 - while the other half of Rescued Losties hook up with members of one of the groups vying for control of the island - in 2007. Detonating a hydrogen bomb in 1977, all Losties are reunited - in 2007 (Juliet simply says, "it worked," then dies). Losties do not crash on the island, instead landing at their original destination of Los Angeles and are no longer Losties...only problem being that the original Losties are still seen on the island as if nothing had changed. Losties, namely Jack, decide to embrace their fate to act as protector of the island, accomplishing that mission with a handful of Losties again leaving the island. In the final act, Losties are rewarded for their sacrifice in the protection of the island.

The End

Think this is a better, more visual recap though... 

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Series Finale

Ever since the first previews and trailers for LOST in 2004, I was instantly hooked. The entire premise intrigued me, and for most of its six seasons it never disappointed. I became a "Lostie" (Evangeline Lilly and Maggie Grace being on the show may have helped a bit), and even helped recruit "Others." Now it's over. I was uncertain whether the series finale would be satisfactorily pleasing or bitterly disappointing. Would questions truly be answered, or answers left unquestionably vague? And would I be able to appreciate it no matter the outcome? So with those things in mind, this is my take on the finale...

It's basically the ending to Titanic, with the sideways timeline actually a self-created purgatory - and not some alternative what-if timeline - where their souls had to reconnect with each other and remember their lives together because of their special bond ("live together, die alone"). Everything that happened on the island was in fact reality, with the Ajira 6 (Kate, Claire, Sawyer, Miles, Lapidus and Richard) getting off the island and presumably living their lives until dying years later. Jack died on the island after doing what he had to do, and presumably Hurley and Ben then protected the island until presumably passing it on to someone else. Everyone else either died/lived during the course of the show as we saw (Shannon, Juliet, Sun & Jin, etc.), and their souls were there waiting for the souls of Jack and the Ajira 6 to join them so that they could all move on together. 

Truly, as Desmond often said, "see ya in another life, brotha."

So...a bitterly pleasant ending.
In a word, LOST was always about living - living with and for each other, living with our guilt and sacrifices. And living before the end comes, whether in an instant or years thereafter, by making the connections that matter the most. After thinking about it and reading the posts of others who have come to similar conclusions, I'm fine with that ending because of the journey that it told.


(But, in my opinion, they did borrow from James Cameron....)

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Friday, May 21, 2010

Un-American Americans?

As Ms. Malkin and Mr. Powers point out, it would appear ever more the case. Perhaps if President Calderon made Mexico a country where his own citizens would want to stay and the United States federal government enforced our laws against illegal immigrants, then states like Arizona would not have to pass laws to counter the problem. A foreign leader, whose country is the primary facilitator of illegals to this country, publicly condemning the actions of a sovereign state from within the very house of the American people? What gall.

Addressing the issue, two excellent columns for those tired of the America bashing...

"The U.S. Department of Blame America First," by Michelle Malkin

"Dems Stand and Cheer as Calderon Bashes Arizona Law," by Doug Powers


©2010 Steve Sagarra

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thwarting the Sheriffs of Wall Street

Did you really think I was done with this issue? Citibank and its associated Wall Street cohorts have been bad and need to be spanked like any spoiled child caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Having consulted with a genial attorney sympathetic to the cause, it nonetheless seems a snowball has a better shot in hell than a lawsuit – class action or otherwise – against the infernal region's spawn. Not for any lack of initiative or the odds of success, mind you; rather, the benefit versus the cost of pursuing such on an individual basis. By no means does that mean the fight is over.

If you happen to be in dire straits and at wits ends with a financial institution – say one that has bilked taxpayers and card members alike – file a complaint, as I did, with your state's Attorney General. Then, at least, there is the chance that the gauntlet will be taken up by someone with the authority, resources and legal backing to pursue the crooks. As a taxpayer, you pay for that sort of consumer protection. And even if it ends up going nowhere, there's at least the sense of self-satisfaction in the attempt to fight these modern-day robber barons and the economic servitude they represent.

After all, is this not why we keep fresh the idea in re-tellings and re-examinations of the tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men? That people feeling pinched eventually will push back against those doing the pinching? Or is that just an untenable, too-idealistic fable passed through the centuries without any true merit?  

Missouri - Consumer Complaints

Nationwide - National Association of Attorneys General

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Self-fulfilled Apocalypse?

Sorry, I already saw this movie. It didn't end well...for humans anyway. Scientists colliding energy particles that could generate black holes, the creation of Earth-born stars that could be unstable and nanobots that can work without human input??? These are only a few samples of what science is attempting, and only the tip of the iceberg. Am I rightfully paranoid of life imitating art, or should I just accept the advance of technology for the supposed betterment of humanity??? I've always considered myself a man of science, but I don't it the end of the world as we know it, for good or ill? And should we be just fine with that?

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Slow-Roasting the American Flag

This is still the United States, correct? On May 5 ("Cinco de Mayo"), five students at a California high school were compelled to either remove/turnout their t-shirts depicting the American flag or be sent home, due to an alleged disrespect toward "a Mexican Day and we were supposed to honor them." This is a clear violation of the students' freedom of speech, but since when have school officials ever cared about student rights? Even more, Cinco de Mayo is not even a national holiday in Mexico, being celebrated mainly in Puebla where the celebratory battle occurred, and has only gained commercialized popularity in the US thanks largely to the multicultural sensitivity movement. Frankly, the American flag supersedes all others, especially when displayed on the home front. As for the bigger picture, anyone who is an American patriot should be disturbed and reviled by this story.

California Students Sent Home For Wearing U.S. Flags On Cinco De Mayo (Fox News)

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arbitration Clause In Credit Card Agreements Illegal

A recent judgment in a class action lawsuit deems that major credit card companies - including the loathsome Citibank, who has refused the settlement in the belief they did nothing wrong (yeah, right) - "violated federal law by conspiring, with each other and certain non-defendants, to require that their cardholders (a) take all legal disputes to arbitration rather than court and (b) give up any right to participate in class actions against these credit card companies." You would think with the number of lawsuits filed just in the past few years, these institutions would learn that cardholders are fed up with their unscrupulous tactics. Then again, they obviously just don't care about their cardholders or the law.

©2010 Steve Sagarra

Monday, May 3, 2010

We The (Legal American) People...

There exists the American mythos that the United States is a nation of immigrants, openly welcoming “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” Half of that idea is true – we are a nation of immigrants, at least as far as the non-indigenous are concerned. Openly welcoming new ones though? Hardly the case, if history is any blueprint. Over the past two centuries, all kinds of laws, regulations, restrictions and quotas have been utilized to limit the downtrodden, and even the privileged, immigrant to our shores – and these measures were geared toward those legally entering the country and seeking citizenship. As with any course of action, the effectiveness, not to mention the ethics, of these efforts brought both positive and negative results. [For more on this, read Roger Daniels’ fantastic history, Guarding the Golden Door:  American Immigration Policy and Immigrants Since 1882.]

As for illegal immigration, the issue has been a major one for over a century. Multitudes of lawmakers, lobbyists and citizens groups have campaigned for stricter enforcement, ever since the passage of the Page Act in 1875. Why, then, the shock and outrage regarding Arizona’s newly adopted legislation, “Safe Neighborhoods, Immigration, Law Enforcement”? After all, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (U.S. Code, Title 8) requires “every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him.” Thus, the law simply reiterates and enforces what federal law should already be doing, and what proponents of immigration reform have been advocating for years. According to the Department of Homeland Security report on illegal immigrants, Mexicans represented 62% of the unauthorized population in 2009. Further, the Mexican-born illegal population increased 42% over the last decade, followed  by Honduras and Guatemala. Is that profiling, or enforcement of the law?

Consequentially, a national issue has been forced upon local and state officials to act due to the inaction of the federal government to enforce the law. Clearly, the States are sending a message to Washington that it is beyond time to address the issue, rather than yet again turning a blind eye and letting it fester until too late. As usual though, the messenger is killed for delivering the message. Of course, Arizona is not alone, or even the first, to enact state-level immigration reform, nor undoubtedly will it be the last:

Number Of State-Level Immigration Laws Is Growing

Arizona’s Immigration Law Spurs Copycat Legislation

Founding Father Ben Franklin said, “there is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.” Being in this country illegally, no matter your character, is exactly that – a fraud that not only undermines the security of the nation, but also disregards the principles and rule of law to which every native and naturalized citizen pledges and is unconditionally guaranteed. While Franklin also maintained that, “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” the safeguarding of liberty is primary to the continuation of the American people and its founding principles. Securing our borders against illegal immigrants, even if requiring a degree of infringement upon liberties, is not discarding our principles; rather, it is the preservation of those principles, by making certain of adherence to them. The real issue is finding a solution that protects the citizens of this country without allowing the exploitation of our generosity by non-citizens in extending these principles.

©2010 Steve Sagarra