Archive for the television Category

Who said “The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?

Posted in books, essay, television, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by tymora42

Last night over dinner my father tells me, “Einstein said – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I thought about this for a second and considered the fact that Einstein was a scientist. By profession scientists tend to do the same thing over and over and tend to get different results. Granted the variables change through the course of the process, however, each experiment must be performed repetitiously as close to the same way as possible to account for the various results and determine what variable must be changed to achieve a different and sometimes desired result. In my mind there was no way Einstein or any scientist worth their salt could ever manifest a quote such as this.

So, I told him this. He says he heard it on the news. It was Einstein. Then he dared me to “Look it up.” I do not know what news broadcast spouted this obvious misinformation. Knowing my father’s politics and the reference he was making toward the Obama entitlement spending force I can only assume it was probably FOX.

Einstein also proclaimed that “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” I do not see FOX repeating this quote anytime in the near future.

Anyway, I took his challenge and decided to look it up. This is what I have found:

The quote, through great debate, has been attributed to Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Rita Mae Brown. It has been repeated through variation by coaches, athletes, overweight women, neurotic psych patients, housewives and, most recently, conservative political commentators.

I decided to look for primary sources with years and dates attributed to the article. There is no citation of Franklin or Twain actually writing this piece of wisdom or being recorded saying it in an interview. Franklin is cited in Wikiquotes without documentation and with serious debate about redacting it. In that same discussion one user claims to have found an article in an issue of the 1925 New Yorker verifying that it was, actually, an Einstein quote. I followed her link to Google Books to find not enough information to satisfy myself. The picture near the article did not look like it was from 1925, nor did the citation reveal any dates printed on the page. The image was too small to be zoomed into a legibly readable size and there were no links for further perusal. Finally, it seems through context to have been written by a fiction author offhandedly claiming that someone else, Einstein for instance, said it. Thankfully the comment and source was redacted as being unreliable.

Did this leave Rita Mae Brown’s novel, Sudden Death, as the only originator? No. Narcotics Anonymous also used the quote “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results” in their Basic Text (otherwise known as the Red Book yet filed under the title Narcotics Anonymous: Approved Literature) published about the same time. I went to the Library of Congress to determine the actual date of publication for these texts. Brown’s Sudden Death was published by Bantam in 1983. It appears on pg 68. Narcotics Anonymous has a publication date stating 1982, however, a source profiling rare books states that the actual publication was March of 1983. To further shroud the origination in mystery there are claims (without documentation that I could find) that Brown used it in a 1981 interview before her book was published and that the quote was included in the original preview edition of the NA handbook in the same year and that it dates as far back as 1979 when NA began researching and putting together the manuscript.

Who knows? It could very well be just an ancient Chinese proverb. I would sincerely love any information you come across regarding this. After all, the great Einstein once said, “Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle.”

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LOST: end found

Posted in blog, technology, television with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by tymora42

Did all of my questions get answered? No. Is the concept of explaining it all with an afterlife-god-excuse hokey? Yes. But was I satisfied with the end? Yes. For six long years (actually 5 since I came in at the beginning of S2) I have toiled with the rest of the fans waxing and waning philosophically about the island, influencing my friends to watch with the availability of previously on LOST DVDs, been happy about things, disappointed, congregated in silence with a community until the commercial breaks, shushed those few non-addicts that found their way into our living rooms with their questions that would take a hundred episodes to explain if there was any explanation at all, found good conversations at bars and work about it that had nothing to do with sports, and thought on more than one occasion “That episode did not tell me anything,” until four episodes later when I realized the subtle nuances had serious impacts upon the plot. Overall I was completely satisfied with the finale despite the hokiness of the concept. The pure science types are going to hate it. Those who appreciate the archetypical journey of a hero in a spiritual walkabout will be content.

In our current group I could tell who was going to hate it as soon as Christian Shepherd asked why his son was there. No sooner than Jack closed his eyes did the two scientists shout, “That was crap!” It was almost in unison. One is a physicist at NIST. The other is a research biologist. One of these two are the reason I had to stop watching Fringe. The boyfriend of the other said he was not happy about it either, but I know the truth. He has to agree with her for the sake of the relationship. He gave me a knuckle bump of proof to confirm this supposition when I quietly confronted the allegation of his dislike in a whispered corner of the room during a chaos of everybody leaving commotion. He builds scientific equipment with huge machines. Everyone else appreciated it in direct correlation to their ability to suspend disbelief. Mine is very high. I am just glad the girl who kept asking why they all looked like they stepped off a runway (of the model sort not the flying contraption) left early. If she could not get past that, I do not know how she would have ever handled the end.

As much as we liked the other characters more than Jack, the central story does revolve around him. It is his journey. The only conclusion we needed was his redemption. Locke says it best when he says, “You were the obvious choice.” He was. He is. He did, redeem himself that is. I guess Kate did also, my least favorite, and the immediate support role for the hero. Now, about that ‘heaven’ bit. What? I wanted the alternate reality to be real. I am okay with alternate realities as long as they do not become the main timeline that the audience has been following for the bulk of the series. This is the problem I had with the new Star Trek remake. I absolutely hate the waking up from a dream scenario. It worked for Newhart only because it did not matter. Those bug the hell out of me. They are copouts. When the first episode of the last season aired I almost turned it off at the onset of the first commercial break, sold all of my LOST merchandise, found a soapbox, and stood on it in the middle of the city proselytizing my feeling of being ripped off by the networks. Thankfully, I sat under the glow of my television in shock through the product advertisements for cars or whatever, unthinkingly absorbing them subliminally and projecting a negative appetite towards specific types of dishwashing fluid forever without really ever knowing why, until they return with the castaways still on the island. This is when I said, “Thank God.” Little did I know how correct this was for the current direction of the show.

So the bomb never went off? Or it did, but it did not destroy the island? Then, what did Juliette mean when she said it worked? What worked? I still have questions. I expected this. Anyone who did not expect this fooled themselves. Anyone who did not expect a supernatural, larger than life, beyond death, divine intervention ending fooled himself or herself also. Quantum Leap had to do it and you liked that. When they make the spinoff of Hurley and Ben chumming it around in the jungle protecting the light with trusty advisors like Michael and the other dead people cameos brought to you by Hugo’s special gift, I will watch. I will even watch if Hurley pulls a true Jacob style gathering of candidates to keep the series going when he goes, meanwhile crossing paths with the returned survivors so we can see where their life has gone before the big death and constructed afterlife. What if my important moments in life have nothing to do with yours? Do you still get to be in it? Do I get to be in yours? Is my mom in yours if you are in mine? Next on LOST.