Monday, February 09, 2015

The Walking Dead Presents the Good and Evil Choice at Death

The Walking Dead pulls no punches when it comes to killing off our favorite characters and Sunday night was no different.  This time we said goodbye to Tyreese.  However, unlike our former characters who have died, we were given a glimpse of what Tyreese hallucinated, saw, thought he saw, or perhaps he actually had a vision of those in the afterlife.  The entire death scene presented the major possibility that Tyreese was actually being pulled two different directions.  Good and evil was bidding for him to join their way of thinking during his last minutes alive.

Now set aside all theology and all thoughts of various religions as we believe them to be and remember those old cartoons.  Remember when the good angel would sit on one shoulder and the bad angel would sit on the other should and encourage the person in the middle?  It was the ultimate wrestle of the conscience and usually one or the other won out depending on the comic needs of the show.  Sunday night was no different.  We have Beth, Bob, Miki and Lizzie acting as the "good" side trying to encourage Tyreese by telling him "It's better now."  We have to assume that they are trying to help Tyreese to the other side.  It was interesting to note that Hershel was nowhere to be seen.  Maybe he had some other stuff to know, being all closer to God than most characters who have died seemed to be.  Anyway, on the other side we have Martin and the Governor trying to pull rage, anger and even admitting that he owes the Governor something out of Tyreese.  It's as if they want him to be angry and join them.  

The pivotal moment comes when Tyreese tells the Governor off.  You can almost imagine that he's telling the Devil himself to get away.  Once that is done we are given some glimpse of other scenes before we find Tyreese seeing all his "good" friends again in the Suburban.

Tyreese is dying at this point.  After all, most of us in Twitter land had already noted that he was looking a "little green" there.  While Rick and company try to drive to the others and save Tyreese - not sure why they didn't maybe decide to make a fire where they were and save him, but hey, that's TV for you.  Anyway, everyone in the Suburban turns into someone dead from Tyreese's past.  He doesn't ever see some of the people he knew- which besides wondering about Hershel also leaves us wondering about Karen - but Miki, Lizzie, Bob and Beth all encourage him as they ride along that things are going to be okay.  There's a moment when everyone watching has to stop and think, "Wow, Beth get your eyes back on the road or we're all going to get killed," but I guess when you're riding that final ride to Heaven, you don't need to see the road to get there.

So, once again the Walking Dead has found a way to bring some former characters back.  Rick had to spend some time with his dead wife and hear other lost characters on the phone, and now Tyreese has allowed us to see some favorites one more time.  I'm left thinking a couple of things.  First, the "Bring Beth Back" campaign must have done some good since "Whoop, there she was!" and two the writers must want us to believe in the afterlife and that good and evil continue to struggle....besides, did Tyreese ever see the Governor with a hole in his head?  I thought this was done after everyone left the prison, but sure enough you can see the hole and blood right there on the left side of the Governor's head.  Since Tyreese couldn't have known that, maybe it's a hint that these good and evil people do come back to carry the dying across to that great unknown.  Whatever the case may be, we can gain comfort knowing that Tyreese chose the right side and rode off into the sunset with Bob, Beth, Miki and....oh yeah, one crazy little Lizze who must have been healed of her mental issues once she passed over to the other side as a member of the "Hole in the head" club.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Signing Off From the Shack One Last Time - The End of Radio Shack

When I was a kid I loved to go to card shops, comic book stores, and Radio Shack.  Card shops have long faded or blended into comic book stores in the larger cities, but Radio Shacks were still on every corner.  At least they were on every corner until this weekend.  This weekend marks the bankruptcy death of the famous chain.  All across the world the 1700 or so remaining "Shacks" have going-out-of business sales.  Prices range from 25% off in some stores up to 70% off in other stores.  After the sales, Sprint will take over some of the stores, but nobody knows if these sites will simply sale Sprint phones and services or if they will carry traditional "Radio Shack" stuff.

This weekend I visited two Radio Shack stores to search the sales, but more importantly to bring back some memories.  I can still remember my first computers from Radio Shack, the childhood electronic project kits, scanners, all the adaptors any young person might need to make a stereo work perfect.  I can remember looking at all the little switches, circuits, and boards.  I can remember when the Tandy 1000 TX was replaced by the newest model of computers.  At the time it seemed like nothing could beat a 286 and that the floppy drive would never die.  I can remember all the cool spy stuff, not that it was supposed to be used for spying, but anything that amplified sound had applications for a budding spy!

As I strolled through the store I wondered briefly why I had not been to one in years.  Looking at the prices, it quickly came to me that I had not been to the stores because they no longer held up against the competition.  For example, at one store I found a Macbook battery for an older computer my daughter uses.  With the discount it came to $27.99 before taxes.  That seemed like a good deal until I used my cell phone to search E-bay and found better batteries for a price range of $12.99 to $25.99.  So much for the big sale.  I did manage to buy some "IRig" adaptors at a fairly decent price and a 400 watt converter for a little over twenty bucks.  Overall, I found that many of the sale prices simply did not compare to what I could find at online electronic stores or on E-bay.  It was at that moment that I realized that while Radio Shack was dying this weekend, it had died to me many years ago at the onset of Internet retail.  I had simply moved from the "Shack" to my home computer screen.    Now if I needed computer adaptors, radio supplies, scanners, or even project supplies, I simply clicked the button on a mouse, placed the order and waited for it to arrive at the house.  There was no longer a need to run to the "Shack," and often it was overpriced anyway.

When I left Radio Shack today the clerk reminded me, "All sales are final."  It was a polite way of saying, "You can't bring this back because we won't be here."  I glanced at my receipt that said, "Radio Shack" and looked back at the big, red sign.  My mind raced through the childhood thrills once again of a young man who was convinced that Radio Shack held all the components needed to make a space ship and go to the moon.  I cherish those memories and those days spent searching for just the right items to make my electronic dreams come true.  Soon, Radio Shack will slide into history alongside other greats such as Montgomery Ward.  Then in a few years the "Shack" will just be a footnote for history classes and economic classes.  I'll miss the "Shack" least for awhile, but ultimately that is due to sentimental reasons.  It won't take me too long to hop back on the Internet and buy the electronics I need.  It is ironic that Radio Shack began symbolically to represent a Ham radio operator's "Shack," a way to communicate worldwide through the air.  Now we are able to communicate worldwide through the Internet.  The very mode of communication that helped bring down Radio Shack, is now transmitting the end of the retail chain around the world.  Soon, Radio Shack will sign off from the world one last time on the medium of communication that brought about the end of the electronic giant.