sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, January 25, 2016

What Passes for Life

Sunday I watched the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots in what turned out to be a remarkably good football game. I went into my daughter's home with her in-laws present in large numbers and the place was awash in blue (red and white trim) jerseys. Her husband and his family are from Boston. And they show a dedication to their regional teams at a level that I find is -- a bit over-the-top. Naturally, I favored the Broncos and had to tread softly when they won. It's not as if fists would have flown (I suspect they fear that I would prevail against five men and their angry wives - my daughter would have sat a fight out). The in-laws/outlaws are all former Navy or Marine Corps, not that it matters. 

Since New England won't be in the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks, I invited my son-in-law to my house for the big game. At least one other son-in-law will be at the house. I'll BBQ burgers and dogs. He said that he had to get over the Patriot's loss and that it would take a few days for him to clear his head. He is serious about that. Serious as a heart attack. I love football. I should be the coach. If they listened to me (sitting at home on a couch), things would go MUCH BETTER for any team. I just don't make bonehead mistakes the way the people in the stadium do at times. For the record, if I was the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, they would win the Super Bowl. The fact that they're not even close this year is mute testament of how much they need me to take charge from my armchair.

Logo of the Lake Elsinore Storm
Baseball Team
I'm not a regional sports team fan. I don't "support" (whatever 'support' is supposed to mean) teams because they are local. I like the Chicago Blackhawks for ice hockey, and while Chicago is one of the truly great eating cities in the world, I don't want to live in Chicago. I roll like that when it comes to sports teams. I do like going to watch the Lake Elsinore Storm (AA baseball) play because the stadium is small, and the players turn over as they are sent up to or down from the majors. AA players make more mistakes and seem a bit more human than the rock-star major league players. Any seat is about $5.00. The dog and soda are another fiver.

The Man in the High Castle (review) has done what Netflix did with House of Cards  (season four of House of Cards due out April 2) when they produced their own series, which can be viewed on their website (or on Netflix). The Man in the High Castle is an alternate history series based on the Philip K. Dick novel. It explores a version of 1960’s America in which the Axis powers  won the Second World War and occupied the United States as conquered territory. The story followed the exploits of resistance fighters and intelligence agents from the Japanese-occupied Pacific States in the west to the Greater Nazi Reich in the east.

I planned to watch the series when it first came out but it's taken me this long to watch it. The production was very well done and that's why I'm reviewing it here. Amazon is currently filming the second season (no release date has been made public).

Philip K. Dick was one of those science fiction writers who was very under appreciated while he lived. Now that he's dead, Hollywood has adapted MANY of his books, short stories and novelettes into films. One of the most famous was Blade Runner, followed his short story, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (Screenplay by David Webb Peoples).  Minority Report is another.

It's one of those series that has very deep characters and a somewhat complex plot, set in the dystopian past where things went a different direction than the history you are familiar with. Dick, and the writers of The Man in the High Castle series treated the topic with a serious respect. It speaks to the sci-fi themed alternate realities timelines (to some extent theorized as possible by quantum mechanical theory - which will bend your mind if you study it). In the film series and book, Germany developed a nuclear weapon before the US did and used it to win the war. Japan still has no nuclear technology and their alliance with Germany reflect their 'junior status', which is a heavy burden on Japanese hearts.

I highly recommend this series and give it an 8.5 out of a possible 10. The acting, writing and cinematography are all first rate. This is not some cheap, slapped together production.

The map of the world, as depicted in the film series