On A LOST Highway



I loved LOST.

I loved its ability to make you wonder.

OK, we know there ARE polar bears on the tropical island. But exactly WHY are there polar bears on the island? Everything was presented matter-of-factly, leaving the audience to wonder exactly what made the highly improbably possible.

And that’s why I love the car on the mountain.

It’s far and away the most interesting thing on my hiking trail — a dilapidated white car, sitting several yards off of the Sugartree Trail on Green Mountain in Huntsville.

It makes no sense at all. Having walked the area many many many times. I have no idea how it got there. And, “how” aside, I have no idea why it got there. It’s completely random, and possibly the closest thing to a LOST mystery I’ve experienced in real life.

I’ve tried treating it as a writing prompt, trying to come up with a backstory that would make it make sense. And I struggle to come up with anything I really like, anything I could really believe, that doesn’t involve someone putting it there to make people wonder why it’s there.

So, after years of walking past it, I remain as clueless as I was the first time.

And, in the age when my “Pocketful of Omniscience” iPhone can give me the answers to just about any question I can think to ask instantaneously, I love the car on the mountain for reminding me that there are some things I just don’t get to know.







Lost Possibilities

And, with that, Lost is done.

I’ll probably have a post about the finale or the series or the five years I spent watching it or something before too terribly long; I’ll wait a little while to let people watch it and to process my thoughts.

But, this finale-spoiler-free post is not that. This is my polite request for what I would like to see next.

Oh, sure, the series is over. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have more Lost goodness. In fact, I would argue that rarely has a series done a better job of opening up literally new universes of possibility than Lost has.

These, then, are the Lost spin-offs I would most want to see.

They Call Me Doctor Linus — By day, Benjamin Linus is the world’s most dedicated high school teacher. By night, he’s trying to navigate his way through this crazy thing called love. But who really cares, when he’s also teaches the world’s creepiest high school classes. Dramatic pauses cause basic American history to be goosebump-inducing. “They say that the Civil War pitted … brother against brother.” Every student’s question is answered with another foreboding question. “What were the causes of the Vietnam War, Dr. Linus?” “What makes you think … the Vietnam War didn’t cause itself?” Ben is joined in his school adventures by permanent substitute John Locke, who still teaches school from his wheelchair — until there’s dancing or butt-kicking to be done.

LAPD: Lost Souls — Miles and Sawyer aren’t just detectives, they’re two buddy cops who … well, really, are pretty much like any other buddy cops. But, heck, it’s Miles and Sawyer. That’s gotta be worth something. Miles respects that there’s no crime that Sawyer can’t nickname or sleep his way to solving, but can he help his friend overcome his obsessive secret before it destroys them both?

Stab And Kick — OK, this one wasn’t really a spin-off idea, per se. But in the season premiere, when Ben and Locke pulled the ol’ stab-and-kick to take out Jacob, I kind of liked the idea of that being how they resolved the rest of the series — season six would be devoted to the duo tracking down the remaining characters, stabbing them, and then kicking them into fires. But why stop there? What show wouldn’t be made better by a little Ben-and-Locke-stab-and-kick? An actor on another series wants out of his contract? Ben and Locke show up, and resolve his storyline neatly. They could wrap up other series’ finales conclusively. And, hey, what Conan fan wouldn’t want to see a little Ben-and-Locke-stab-and-kick on the Tonight Show, for example? Or imagine the ending of 60 Minutes — “You know what really bugs me about popular televisi… Ow! Ow! No!”

The Mafia Of Love — With Desmond’s awesome suit, the kidnapping, the money, their elaborate plans, their willingness to do whatever it takes, LA-verse Desmond and Hurley are kind of like the mafia, but the most awesome mafia ever — a mafia of good. By original idea was to turn the basic “Stab And Kick” concept over to them instead of Ben and Locke, with them having a series where they basically keep doing what they were doing in the last few episodes of this season. The crossover-with-other-shows idea had possibilities, too; they could go help characters on other shows learn important lessons — by any means necessary. But then I realized — this one is just begging to be a reality show. People write in about problems they’re having, and then Desmond and Hurley show up in character to help them solve it, whether that means kidnapping them and taking them to a concert, or beating the crap out of them in a school parking lot. You never know what they’re going to do next; you just know, whatever it is, it’s gonna be awesome!!

So, what Lost spin-offs do you want to see?


Heather wanted me to include, from our post-finale discussions, the spin-off that I wouldn’t watch:

Island Rose — Rose and Bernard hang out on the island. Not getting involved. With their dog Vincent. Normal things happen. No one guest stars. Largely unnotable, except for the Emmy awarded to Bernard’s Beard of Awesomeness.

Various And Sundry 3: Variouser and Sundrier

Random stuff I’m writing about today:

— I was in the Barnes & Noble at the Summit in Birmingham Sunday. For the first time, I got to see a copy of the Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration, which includes Homesteading Space in its bibliography of essential spaceflight reading. When I was browing through the humor section, it occured to me that they probably also had The World According to Twitter, and, in fact, they had three copies of it. Amused and intrigued, I pulled out my phone, confirmed they had a copy of it, and went and found Black Men Built the Capitol on the shelf. Even without having a copy of Homesteading, there are three books in that bookstore that have my name in them. That’s kinda cool, and more than a little funny.

— Ole Miss students will be voting today whether to replace Colonel Reb with something else or to “remain the only school in the Southeastern Conference without a mascot.” The vote today is just yea or nay, the exact “something else” with which Colonel Reb would be replaced would be determined later. I wrote about my thoughts on this issue back during football season, and won’t go into all of that again now, other than the fact that I think it’s sad that Ole Miss is gradually losing having any unique character at all. However, I will share this mascot option that I’ve seen posted on Facebook.

Best. Trek. Novel. Ever.

— I taught kids again at church on Sunday morning. The materials were different this time; last time I had multiple activities to do with them, this time I was just telling a story. Part of my problem was that I got overconfident. The story was about David and Absalom, and I figured the studying I’ve done of David over the past year would help me, but, really, not so much. I also figured that my improv experience would help me ad lib some funniness that would make me more engaging, but, again, not really. I felt boring, and it was a lousy feeling. Just have to do better next time. And hope for better material.

— I went to the zoo in Birmingham Sunday also. Not that I didn’t have fun, but it was a bit more impressive 30 years ago.

— Stuff Christians Like: The Obligatory Lost Sermon: “But maybe you were unaware of the need to experience an obligatory Lost sermon. Maybe you didn’t even know that was an option. And with the show in its final season, you’re lost as it were with how to properly judge the quality of a Lost sermon. It’s almost as if you need a Lost sermon scorecard.” Now I kinda wish my preacher did this sort of thing.

— I’ve heard versions of this story about three janitors at NASA enough that it may be apocryphal, but I hope not. And it is a good reminder, not only for those of us in the agency, but for life in general.

— Two bits from “Overheard in the Newsroom:

Reporter: “A preacher just lied to me! Isn’t there a commandment against that?” Editor: “Was he Baptist?”

Editor to Reporter at Canadian paper: “Space crap is all the American’s can do right, and they are not even doing that!”

This picture by my coworker Heather may be my favorite thing thus far to come out of the 365project.

— I went to improv rehearsal last night, official improv rehearsal, for the first time in about three months. It was very good to be back. As I’ve mentioned, I’m working in shows Friday and Saturday night, to which you should come, so it was good actually being able to get some rehearsal in before working again this weekend. Probably the biggest thing to come out of the rehearsal was discovering that, even rusty, I’m still competent, though I’m hoping that being back in an actual show again will inspire a bit more than just competence. Last night, I karate-chopped my wife, pitched racist t-shirts, got hypnotized, and became a genius phrenologist via head trauma. All in a good night’s work.

Course Correction

OK, the latest entry from the Gospel of Lost: 😉
(This is gonna ramble a bit before getting to the point, so be patient.)

So about a year ago, a friend of mine came into town whom I had not seen in 16 years. And the 1992 encounter was only for a few minutes; I’d not spent much time with her since my ninth grade of high school.

And I had sort of a weird realization. When I go back to Indianola, where I lived seven years ago, people are surprised when they see me — I’ve lost a good bit of weight, etc. since living there. There’s very much a “wow, you’ve changed” factor there. But for Beth, not so much — I probably seem more like an adult version of the kid she knew today that I would have when I was in Indianola. I imagine I seem more like the 13 year old me now at 33 that I would have at 23.

OK, hold that thought for a moment, while I move on to a completely unrelated anecdote:

A friend of mine went last night to the church where her dad pastors for a community service. Her dad had been the pastor of another church in the community like 15 years earlier, and had been voted out by the congregation. He, and they, went on with their lives, until a while back when an opportunity brought him back to a different church in the same community. Several of the people who had been members of the old church are now members of the new church. And, last night, for the open community service, there were even more of his former flock in the congregation.

OK, hold that one, and we’re going to get back to Lost, as promised in the very beginning:

I’ve been intrigued recently by the similarities between what’s been going on on Lost recently and the book I blogged about recently, God of the Possible. For those that don’t watch Lost, the current season has included a time-travel story. The main characters are now back in time on the island, and there’s been a discussion about whether or not they can change things. The prevailing philosphy has been “Whatever happened, happened” — if they knew when they were in the present that something had occured in the past, then while they’re in the past, they can do nothing to prevent that from happening.

Last week, however, introduced the possibility that it might be possible to make decisions that would change things.

But it sort of echoed a point in the book … Do you really have free will if the future is already decided? If the future can’t be changed, then the characters in the past really don’t have free will to make choices that affect their world.

OK, you can take that thought, and put it aside, but it isn’t really directly relevant to where I’m going with this, but just sets up the foundation for the discussion we were having about Lost and theology.

There’s a fan theory going around that the island is self-correcting, that it has means for making sure nothing happens that changes the timeline.

And that idea of “course correction” brings us back to the community church service. My friend basically asked, what if God does the same thing. She noticed while sitting in the service that it really wasn’t that different than it might have been if her dad hadn’t been voted out of the church. We talked about the idea that maybe that was where he was supposed to be after all, and God used a “course correction” after he was voted out to put him back where he was needed.

While it’s a little bit different, it reminded me of the anecdote that I started this post with. Where I am now seems more like where the road seemed like it might be going when I was in school. In reality, it deviated greatly from that, but then eventually came back closer to where it started. Another course correction, perhaps?

Or, to pick a more concrete example, I had the opportunity to move back to Huntsville ten years ago, but decided not to. That decision led to some of the more difficult times in my life. But another three years after that, another opportunity came to move back, and this time I was in less of a position to decline. There’s no telling how my life would have been different if I had taken the first opportunity; whether the hardships that resulted from not doing so could have been avoided. But did I end up in basically the same place either way in terms of the relevant factors? And what details would have been different if I’d taken the other road? If the course correction hadn’t been necessary?

Have you had any experiences in your life where that’s happened? An opportunity came along that was passed up, but then later events put you in basically the same place? Or has there been a time when the actions of others have affected you negatively, but things worked out to put you back where you would have been if they hadn’t?