The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
. . . still studying and learning how to live

Latest Rambling Thoughts:
 
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Art & Entertainment ... Nature ... Personal Reflections ...

I was watching “Carrier” on TV last week, a 10 hour PBS series about life aboard a modern US Navy aircraft carrier (the USS Nimitz). Instead of providing an analysis of US military technology and naval strategy, the show was mostly an Odyssey tale devoted to the 5000 sailors, airmen and Marines serving on board the Nimitz. It focused on the human stories involved in a 6-month mission cruising around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, a mission which included a few weeks of combat action from the waters of Iraq. This all took place in 2005.

I didn’t see every minute, but what I did see was pretty good. Most of the crew is young, in their 20’s, so there’s a lot of relationship stuff and “new baby back home” stories. The Navy forbids dating or sex between crew members serving on the same ship, but it does happen; one guy got in bad trouble for it. So there’s a lot of soap opera / reality-TV going on in Carrier.

But being an old geek, the stuff that I liked most was about operations, e.g. steering the ship, tending to the nuclear reactors and launching the aircraft off the deck. I got really caught up in the part where they were trying to land some fighter jets at night when the seas were rough and the deck was pitching and rolling. They finally got all of the jets back on the ship, but most of them had to try 4 or 5 times before their tailhooks caught. Sometimes the jets would actually hit the deck and cause a bunch of sparks, then have to gun the engines so as to bounce back up into the air. Pretty dangerous stuff; you can see why the military wants to eventually replace fighter pilots using unmanned drone aircraft. Computers can react more quickly to a “pitching” carrier deck in a storm than a human can. (Hey, someday war will be entirely mechanized. Robots will fight robots. In a way, that’s good. But the effect on civilians will be bad. When the victorious band of warrior machines invade your town, well . . . it ain’t gonna be fun.)

But anyway, one scene in Carrier really impressed me: i.e., when the Nimitz was coming into dock at Pearl Harbor on the way back from Iraq (SIDENOTE: my father was a naval aviation mechanic at the Harbor in 1944-45). The sailors were on deck in their dress whites and were lined up around the periphery of the deck. The background music was a song called “Almost Home” by Howard Markman. That song really caught the mood. It was a pretty nice song too, so yesterday I went on Amazon and bought the MP3. This ain’t a commercial for Amazon; I think you can get this MP3 for 11 cents less on a site called payplay.fm.

Another interesting thing from yesterday: after getting home from work, I saw a very different bird at the feeder outside my bedroom window. It was black, white and red, really neat looking. It turned out to be a rose-breasted grosbeak. I never saw one of them around here. And probably for good reason. According to my bird book, they spend their winters down in Central America or the West Indies, then come back up in spring to New York State, Canada and New England. Maybe a few hang out in the woods of northern NJ, but they are definitely not suburban birds. These guys are obviously just passing thru.

Well, this morning I saw the grosbeak again. And then there were two. Then three! OK, so they must travel in groups. So it’s another Odyssey story, sort of like Carrier. At one point this morning, there were three of them standing on the roof of the birdfeeder, looking into my window. Obviously they couldn’t see me; being wild birds, they would bolt at the sight of a human. But it kind-of reminded me of that Pearl Harbor scene in Carrier, with the sailors lined up on the deck. And the Markman song would fit the scene just as well. Those grosbeaks are just fueling up for the final leg of their return journey to the Adirondacks (or White Mountains or Laurentians or where ever). They are taking good advantage of the sunflower and safflower seeds that I put out (I did put out extra for them); they seem to be enjoying their stay. But it’s not home, it’s just “almost home”. Well, nonetheless, I’m glad they happened to pass this way.

Home. It’s a small word for a big concept. Perhaps it’s one of those Jungian archetypes, a concept that seems part of the fabric of our minds and of reality itself. The older I get, the more I feel that I’ve never been totally at home. The world that we live in just can’t live up to the idea. All we can do is hope that perhaps there is something more than the world that we live in; and that somehow we’ll all come to find whatever that might be. Until then, to paraphrase the song lyrics . . . . it’s almost perfect, like styrofoam, it’s almost heaven, it’s almost home.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 1:42 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim,
    The grosbeaks must be beautiful to watch.

    However, isn’t where they are heading their “summer” home? Well, “summer” to us. Perhaps where they came from it’s turning to winter so where they are heading is to their home where they go when “winter” comes.

    However, anyway you look at it, it is only a “partial” home; because come autumn, they will be traveling BACK to their other “partial” home.
    MCS

    Comment by MCS — May 4, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  2. Jim,
    The grosbeaks must be beautiful to watch.

    However, isn’t where they are heading their “summer” home? Well, “summer” to us. Perhaps where they came from it’s turning to winter so where they are heading is to their home where they go when “winter” comes.

    However, anyway you look at it, it is only a “partial” home; because come autumn, they will be traveling BACK to their other “partial” home.
    MCS

    Comment by MCS — May 4, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  3. Jim,
    GREAT PIX!!! What beautiful birds–and to see them up close!!

    Just beautiful. Is there anything in a city that beats a bird feeder for enjoying nature?
    MCS

    Comment by MCS — May 6, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  4. Jim,
    GREAT PIX!!! What beautiful birds–and to see them up close!!

    Just beautiful. Is there anything in a city that beats a bird feeder for enjoying nature?
    MCS

    Comment by MCS — May 6, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  5. nice blog. I’m glad you liked my song.
    take care.

    howard

    Comment by chairmanhow — May 16, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

  6. nice blog. I’m glad you liked my song.
    take care.

    howard

    Comment by chairmanhow — May 16, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment:


   

FOR MORE OF MY THOUGHTS, CHECK OUT THE SIDEBAR / ARCHIVES
To blog is human, to read someone's blog, divine
NEED TO WRITE ME? eternalstudent404 (thing above the 2) gmail (thing under the >) com

www.eternalstudent.com - THE SIDEBAR - ABOUT ME - PHOTOS - RSS FEED - Atom
 
OTHER THOUGHTFUL BLOGS:
 
Church of the Churchless
Clear Mountain Zendo, Montclair
Fr. James S. Behrens, Monastery Photoblog
Of Particular Significance, Dr. Strassler's Physics Blog
My Cousin's 'Third Generation Family'
Weather Willy, NY Metro Area Weather Analysis
Spunkykitty's new Bunny Hopscotch; an indefatigable Aspie artist and now scolar!

Powered by WordPress