Last night was Wrestlemania 33. The final match of the night was Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker. For his 25th appearance at Wrestlemania, The Undertaker lost the match… and has apparently retired from wrestling in the ring…
— WWE (@WWE) April 3, 2017
What was different about this end of match… The Undertaker got dressed in his hat and duster AFTER the match had ended and Reigns had exited ringside. Then he proceeded to appear to leave, stopped, walked back to the center of the ring, and decided to leave it ALL in the ring…
… where it remained as the crowd exited the venue.
I watched from home as The Undertaker made his WWE debut at Survivor Series in 1990… and I watched from home as he closed out a 27-year career at Wrestlemania. There have been rumors for years about his retirement… so much that it’s hard to believe it’s actually true.
There’s really not much else to say… because anything I come up with seems inadequate compared to the years of chilling entrances, great matches, and memorable moments both in the ring and back of house. I’ll just leave it with this:
This morning Punxsutawney Phil, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, has prognosticated for the 131st time and says there will be 6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER!!! In Groundhogese… there is a SHADOW!!!
Not surprisingly, Phil has been counter-prognosticated by the New York upstart Staten Island Chuck who did NOT see his shadow and is predicting an early spring. While this counter-prognostication is not uncommon, it should be noted that Phil was the first. In 1886 it was a newspaper editor, a member of hunters dubbed the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, who put Phil‘s prognostication in the paper making him famous locally and eventually immortal worldwide.
While many will point out from that historical fact that the power of the media is great, I would have to point out that the power of the media is a power granted by those who consume and spread their content. In an age when propaganda is passed off as “news” and where transparently fraudulent claims are emboldened by a Steve Jobs-esque reality distortion field the responsibility of the individual to vet and take EVERY report with skepticism (whether it be from a Gray Old Lady or a Cunning Red Rodent) has become vital to our existence as a society.
I love Groundhog’s Day… it’s by far my favorite holiday of the year. I continue to revel at the lack of commercialism and expectation placed on Ground Hog’s Day while the world continues to believe in the mythical weather forecasting powers of an over-sized rodent. You can’t have disappointment without expectations, right?
So weather (misspelling intended) you choose to bundle up or get the shorts out, HAPPY GROUNDHOGS DAY!!! Tomorrow you can stop disappointing by regurgitating everything you’ve been spoon fed by others and instead digest, research, and share the news stories with your added commentary and annotations… otherwise it may as well be winter all year long.
Now that HBO‘s West World has concluded and a relatively safe amount of time has passed I don’t think I necessarily need to make a **SPOILER** disclaimer… but then again you never know. So… yes… this will potentially include **SPOILERS** so don’t read any further unless you’ve a) seen West World b) don’t care about the secrets of West World.
Recently I had a job that required a 4-hour one-way commute. I made this trip a total of six times which gave me roughly 24 hours to think about a variety of subjects but mostly contemplating HBO‘s series West World. I know that people tend to focus on the science fiction aspect of the show, how an Artificial Intelligence can gain sentience. I think the show does much more than highlight that but also provides a statement on what it means to actually be human and how we are shaped as individuals.
Foundational moments are something in the show used to anchor the AI Hosts to their lives. Foundational moments are nothing new to understanding how humans develop, it is essentially a person’s “defining” moment with one small tweak. Most people see their “defining” moments as something that defines them from that point infinitely going forward. A hosts “foundational” moment upon which their personality is built has the ability to be changed through re-programming.
I actually think the “foundational” moment is more akin to human nature, simply because it has the ability to change. While someone may have a moment that defines them for a period, the chances are there will, in fact, be another moment with the power to redefine a person. This change, like all change, can be unnerving and scary but nonetheless it will happen. Over time the effect that moment has on a person can wane but will remain underlying. Stacking defining/foundational moments atop one another is how critical thinking is developed.
On the show, the hosts follow pre-defined “loops” as each day dawns. These loops can change based on the interactions they have with guests but at the core, this loop defines their behavior including the behavior they have with each other. The minute details of the loop can be illustrated by the can that Dolores ALWAYS drops from the satchel and rolls in the dirt. While the person picking up the can may differ and therefore the course of the day can change, the can always rolls.
I am a creature of habit. I tend to have a similar routine in the morning, go to the same Dunkin’ Donuts for my ice coffee, and travel along the same paths to get where I am going. I am, for all intense purposes, on a loop of my own. I also find myself in similar circumstances when it comes to interacting with people. My initial text for the day to someone can usually be narrowed down to 1 of 3 variations per person. There are certain places I go only with certain people, and certain things I would only do with specific people. Granted things may take a turn and we can become disassociated from the pattern. There remains the possibility that at some point we will fall right back into that familiar pattern… right back into the loop we were in.
The power of choice is a determining difference that defines us as humans. On the show they point out that while the hosts think they are making choice… well the truth is they are just following their programming. In the season finale, the choice to divert from their programming is illustrated both by Maeve getting off the train that was poised to take her out of the park. While there had been a sub-routine programmed in called “Escape“, her decision to get off the train and NOT escape really illustrated the power of choice and how it is a defining feature of sentience.
Interestingly enough I am of the mindset that many of the so-called choices we make every day are simply illusions. The influence of others, societal expectations, and the extreme ease of just going along with everyone else help us to choose what would seem obvious. The easiest choice isn’t always the right choice to make and sometimes it can also mean the difference between having been programmed to the choice or making a decision truly independent of the influence of other factors.
If we really look at ourselves… look at our lives… the “loops” we fall into… the “choices” we make… are we truly able to consider ourselves sentient? The more I thought about it the more obvious the “loops” in my life became, the more apparent the “choices” I was making weren’t necessarily my own, and the influence by defining/foundational moments ebbed and flowed like a lapping tide.
Am I sentient? While science may agree that I am indeed it sure sometimes doesn’t look that way. More importantly, have I been deserving of such human defining sentience? The answer to that question can’t be found here… it can be found in the results of what I actually do.
For those of you in the northeast you may have had Labor Day plans that a few days ago were altered or cancelled altogether. The reason for this was because the Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hermine (yes, that is the correct spelling contrary to what all the Potterheads out there are trying to say) was tracking to be over the area with high sustained winds and potentially damaging rains.
Yeah… not so much.
The storm fortunately turned early and headed out to see. There may be some coastal action, as storm surge and tides battle it out, but otherwise it was a pretty nice weekend.
My big concern about this is the fact this kind of alarm raised and the result reminds me very much of Hurricane Irene back in 2011. The warnings for that storm were very dire and included these graphics of lower Manhattan being flooded with water. In the end… it was a lot about nothing for the city, although other areas did experience severe flooding.
The following year when Superstorm Sandy hit… well they didn’t use those graphics of lower Manhattan flooding… but they sure as heck should have. For that matter, the damage was worse than what was predicted for Irene.
This is one of the dangers of getting a weather forecast wrong. It gives people a false sense that the next big storm to come through is also going to be a great day for a barbecue. It’s a tough thing to contend with, especially on the preparation side for the next storm, when a storm falls short of expectations.