Lifestyle

Waging War on Plastic

Or: My Haphazard Attempts at Good Stewardship

The year is 2018. We are living in the age of “awareness”. Brands everywhere are jumping on the Green bandwagon and hastening to offer environmentally friendly versions of the everyday products modern society has grown so dependent on. People everywhere are turning back the clock and re-examining the methods of our grandparents and great-grandparents to rediscover lifestyle methods that, while often more time-consuming, are better for ourselves and the environment. This societal movement towards sustainability seems painfully slow at times, but at least it’s moving.

So why, in 2018, with the power of the internet, can I not find a reasonably priced biodegradable floss that I can feel 100% good about using?!? More on that later.

Though this topic is not groundbreaking by any means, I’ve only recently begun to think about my own place in this movement towards sustainable living. I’ve taken a first step by analyzing the nature of the hair and skin products that I use (soaps, lotions, etc.) and replacing them with all-natural substitutes – more on them in another post. While I’ve comfortably settled into this new beauty care system of mine, some remaining kinks notwithstanding, the next biggest issue I’ve turned towards is plastic.

I don’t think any reasonable person these days would argue the many faults of plastic – society is rife with information about its utter lack of biodegradability, plastic pollution in the environment, the chemicals they contain…the list goes on. I’m no scientist, but “we as a society should use less plastic” is an assertion I feel pretty comfortable making. And yet the modern world is rife with it – now that I’ve actually started looking, it’s all I can see. Kitchenware, bathroom supplies, even clothing – you name it, there is a plastic version. My retainers? Plastic. All the pens I’ve ever used? Plastic. The desk chair that I’m sitting in right now as I write this? Mostly made of plastic. Where does one even begin?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my lifestyle choices as a whole, and this self-examination has revealed an incriminating flaw in my character: all too often, I blindly accept packaging and the materials products are made of, select disposable products over reusable ones, and more often than not, end up chucking the lot into the garbage without a second thought. Certainly I care about the environment, I would like to recycle…but it took me almost a year to realize that almost every morning at work I was grabbing a plastic spoon for my breakfast, instead of one of the reusable metal ones. Once I made this horrifying realization (and promptly mended the error of my ways) I started thinking…where else have I been making blunders like this, simply because I hadn’t chosen to actively think about the impact of my actions?

Part of the problem is a social one – I don’t really think it’s part of our collective culture to live sustainably. The media bombards us with messages encouraging us to consume, to indulge, to live in the moment rather than planning for the future. The fact that it’s taken me twenty-five years to actually stop and think “wait a minute…” about my plastic usage is a testament to the lack of conscientiousness in our social dialogue (and a pretty alarming testament at that). An additional issue, at least for me personally, is due largely in part to a lack of proper recycling resources in my immediate area. Most of the people know would be more than happy to recycle plastics and other materials, but there simply aren’t facilities or pick-up services available.

Presumably, then, if we cannot recycle environmentally harmful materials like plastic, the next logical step would be to not use them whenever possible. When I started making a mental catalogue of the plastic products that I use on a regular basis, I was quickly overwhelmed not only by the extent of the list, but surprising places where plastic turned up, which includes but is certainly not limited to:

  1. Dental floss (and I am a fastidious flosser…25 years of plastic floss in landfills to my name. Fantastic.)
  2. Pretty much every toothbrush and razor I’ve ever used, also brushes, combs, etc.
  3. 90% of the kitchen products I see in the store (cooking utensils like spatulas, food storage units, drinkware, tableware, and of course disposable utensils.)
  4. All of the bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap, makeup, household cleaners, etc. that I’ve gone through in my life.
  5. Food packaging – I don’t eat a lot of processed food, but a lot of unprocessed food still comes in plastic packaging (milk, bread, cutie oranges in bags of plastic netting, crackers / cereals that come in a cardboard box but are bagged in plastic.)
  6. Really, any product packaging (just today I had to practically use a chainsaw to get into a box of new PLASTIC toothbrushes and then nearly sliced my hands on the jagged edges.)
  7. SO MANY GROCERY BAGS.
  8. Caveat to #7 – miles, and miles, and miles of plastic wrap.
  9. This is a lady issue, but most of the mainstream menstrual hygiene products (pads and tampons) contain some kind of plastic.

And more! And until a few months ago, I really gave no thought to the fact that when I was finished with these items, they went straight into the trash…out of sight, out of mind.

But no longer!

Now, plastic does still have plenty of uses. Sometimes using plastic products is unavoidable. For example, I’m not going to stop using my electric toothbrush – this process, for me, is about finding a balance. It’s really hard to beat the ease and convenience plastic provides, but I figure that cutting out at least some of the plastic usage in my life, at least to start, is still better than doing nothing at all.

As Rome was not built in a day, neither will a plastic-free lifestyle come into being overnight. Plastic isn’t the only issue with regards to more sustainable lifestyles in fact, there are many blogs devoted entirely to the subject of environmental sustainability. Like a friend of mine who recently committed to trying to live as waste-free as possible, I too am determined to revise my lifestyle one step at a time, and this is just the first step in a much longer journey. But instead of getting discouraged at how far there is still to go, I’ll share the progress I’ve made so far!

  1. Floss – I’ve been looking into alternatives, and I haven’t found a lot of great commercial ones so far, but until I find a product I can really feel good about (or am reduced to making my own) I’ve settled on trying RADIUS silk floss. Perhaps I will blog later about the experience!
  2. Toothbrushes, etc. – I’m a firm believer in the benefits of electronic toothbrushes, and I’m not entirely sure it would be possible to make one out of biodegradable materials…but for those who still prefer manual versions, there are quite a few wooden / biodegradable options out there! Razors I’m not sure about, but you can get wooden brushes and combs and so forth.
  3. Kitchen Products – I plan on buying non-plastic products when they are available and limiting my dependence on plastic versions. I have two glass water bottles that I’m currently using and glass snapware for food (which unfortunately still have plastic lids, but it’s a start!)
  4. Plastic product bottles – still working on this one
  5. Food packaging – ditto
  6. Product packaging – ditto
  7. Grocery bags – over the past year I’ve been using re-usable grocery bags and they are the BEST. The hardest part of using them is just remembering to bring them into the store with you, but once you’re there you’re set. I actually find them more convenient than plastic bags – they can fit a ton of groceries, which means fewer trips between the house and the car, and it feels so good not to have thousands of plastic grocery bags laying around begging to be re-used (I generally reuse them as garbage liners, but not using them at all would still be best).
  8. Plastic wrap – I’ve been seeing a ton Facebook videos for “etee” wraps and am seriously intrigued – basically they are reusable, biodegradable food wraps made from cotton permeated with beeswax. If I get around to purchasing some I’ll be sure to relate my user experience! I’ve also been trying to be good about using the glass snapware for my work lunches, which seems to have cut down on a lot!
  9. Feminine Care – I actually think this is where this journey in conscientious living all began, when I found out a couple of years ago that there were alternatives to regular pads and tampons (also, I think there’s something wrong with the fact that this only came to my attention a few years ago, but I digress). Menstrual underwear like THINX, cloth pads, and menstrual cups are all alternatives that can help cut down on waste, plastic or otherwise, and are arguably probably better for your body. I may do a separate blog post about this issue as well…we’ll see how brave I’m feeling.

This post got way longer than I thought it would, so I’d better wrap up here. What other, surprising sources of plastic can you think of? Do you have any tips, tricks, or product suggestions that might help me in my quest? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!

Music · Uncategorized

Terrible Tunes Tuesday

Or, a Case for Diction in Popular Music

This may be the first in a series of several rants posts about popular music.

I often listen to the radio, especially while driving. My current listening tastes extend to a select few local music stations – I refuse to pay a single dollar for XM Radio (however nice it might be to have, their spam mail is incredibly annoying so I refuse on principle), and I can’t listen to talk radio because it stresses me out.

Strangely enough, two of my most frequent stations are for “popular music” – or, to be funny, I like to describe it as “what the kids are listening to these days”. I have mixed feelings about the music on these stations. I generally listen to keep abreast of the current music scene, to occasionally hear a nostalgic favorite, and because for as many songs as I don’t care for, there will be a song or two that I like, or at least find myself singing along to.

Mostly, I’m listening for the words. Music lyrics are a form of poetry, more or less, so beyond a catchy tune or beat, I’m really keyed in to the message of a song. I regard most of the messages I hear in the popular music scene as drivel (at best) but every once in a while I’ll hear something very earnest and genuine, something that if you took the music away would still be poetry worth reading aloud, which makes wading through all the other nonsense worthwhile.

But that’s not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about diction. Or rather, the tragic lack of it in modern music.

Americans are notoriously lazy in their speech patterns. For example, while in British English the “t’s” in “letter” are generally pronounced clearly and crisply (though it depends on your particular British dialect, I’ll admit) Americans are much more likely to gloss over the “t’s” and turn them into “d’s”. Letter = British, Ledder = American.

I know I’m making sweeping generalizations here – but blogs are about brevity so I’m rolling with it.

I can’t tell you how many times I listen to popular music and the only reason I can understand the words is because I happen to be a native speaker of English. Just today, I heard a song (that may have inspired this post) that included the words “hot” and “stop” in the lyrics. But that is definitely not what was actually said. I will try to recreate them phonetically:

Stop = St-aaaaaaaah

Hot = H-Ah

I solemnly swear that that is what I heard.

This is only one of limitless examples. Now, I fully admit that pronunciation can be a stylistic thing. In certain instances it would sound stuffy and stilted to over-enunciate every syllable of every word. But in the above example, there are consonants at the ends of these words that aren’t simply being glossed over or lazily expressed, but downright ignored.

There’s a reason that there are entire classes devoted to diction in classic vocal training. Because if your audience can’t understand what you’re saying…then what, I ask, is the point?

Lazy or nonexistent diction is also why, I kid you not, whenever I hear Taylor Swift’s song Blank Space instead of hearing the actual lyrics (Gotta long list of ex-lovers) I can only hear her saying:

“Gotta love those Starbucks lovers.”

What.

On the other hand though, I do enjoy laughing at examples of misheard lyrics, which we wouldn’t have if every vocalist had perfect diction. It’s a dilemma…more laughter, or proper pronunciation? I’m torn.

I’ll close with one of my favorite examples of misheard lyrics I was ever told from the The Beach Boys’ classic, Barbara Anne:

“Went to the dance, looking for my pants, saw Barbara Anne so I thought I’d take a chance, Barbara Anne, Barbara Anne…”

I laughed for days.

Have favorite misheard lyrics? Leave them in the comments below!

Books

Raptor Red: The Book I Can’t Give Up

I love dinosaurs.

Who doesn’t?

In the wake of the latest installment of the Jurassic saga, now is the perfect time to bring up one of the strangest books in my collection – a random thing I picked up in a secondhand bookstore when I was in high school that has survived the ensuing years of book-purging so well that I think it will still be on my shelf decades from now, garish amongst my more dignified tomes in its bright red, glaringly 90’s dust jacket.

It is a book about dinosaurs, but not just any book…a novel.

Told from the dinosaur’s perspective.

Hear me out.

I always feel vaguely ridiculous whenever I mention this book to anyone, mostly because of the way the first part of the explanation reads: Guys, DINOSAURS. It’s SO GREAT. But there are other successful, critically-acclaimed books written from the point of view of animals, so why should this one be any different? Perhaps its because dinosaurs are so far distant from us – the fact that they’ve been extinct for centuries elevating them to a sort of mythos, despite the fact that we know perfectly well that they were once real. It’s like talking about a book about dragons, without the magic. We can learn what we can from their remains, but our knowledge remains imperfect, and it’s in those gaps that our imaginations thrive.

This book is not exactly Watership Down – though both stories are narrated in the third person, Watership Down is more of a fantasy, where rabbits speak to each other using actual words translated to English (there’s even a glossary of the “lapine language” at the end) and have a highly complex culture and social system, including folklore. The characters in Raptor Red don’t mimic human consciousness in this way, but the narration does explore the thoughts and experiences of the prehistoric creatures as they struggle to survive.

The book was written (and thus, presumably narrated) by paleontologist Dr. Robert T Bakker, who incidentally was directly involved in the making of the first Jurassic Park movie. In fact, during production, Steven Spielberg wanted the raptors in the film to be about ten feet tall – a great deal bigger than actual Velociraptors in real life. He consulted far and wide for any shred of scientific fact that could back his inclusion of such creatures in the film, but was met with disappointment. However, while they were filming, a set of bones was discovered in the plains of Utah – the bones of a giant raptor. Spielberg’s idea thus justified, they were included and made infamous in the film, though incorrectly named – I’m pretty sure they call them Velociraptors in the movie, but they are in fact, Utahraptors (not the most original or poetic name I’ll admit – Velociraptor sounds way more intimidating).

As you might have guessed at this point, a Utahraptor is the star of this particular novel, and Bakker refers to her (as you also may have guessed) as “Raptor Red”, for the especially bright patch of red on her snout. I’m not sure how much biological evidence Bakker actually had at his disposal to be assigning such colors, and there is in fact, some debate about the veracity of some of the details Bakker utilized, but the earlier point I made about blurring the line between fact and fiction stands as a testament to the story’s appeal, at least for me.

I can’t say that the writing is exceptionally exquisite, or that the storyline is always deftly executed – in fact there are several ambiguous plot twists and narration shifts that still leave me a little confused to this day. But its a story about survival, and dinosaurs, and oddly enough, relationships, all subjects which interest me. The book opens in violence and tragedy – while a pair of raptors execute a daring hunting raid, a freak accident kills Raptor Red’s mate, leaving her alone and afraid:

“The female raptor sits stunned for hours – she has just lost the mate she had chosen for life. They had hunted together successfully hundreds of times. They made countless kills without either raptor being injured in the slightest. She does not know what to do.”

How’s THAT for an opening conflict?! How could you NOT being intrigued? I turned the pages eagerly, needing to know more, and was not disappointed. Raptor Red’s journey had only just begun.

Have a similar interest in dinosaurs? Leave your favorite prehistoric reads below in the comments!

Uncategorized

I’m Back…?

Is this blog ghostwritten by an actual ghost? Can I get through even a month of blogging without taking a year-long hiatus? These are the questions. They do say third time’s the charm. Or is this…the fifth? I can’t remember.

A good friend of mine has this really awesome blog that gets more and more awesome every time I stop by. Her witty, insightful writing seems effortless, her topics interesting, amusing, and thought-provoking.

By contrast, I struggle to come up with content that is engaging, but not overly top-heavy with research, or crippled by my need for narrative perfectionism. The end result is generally a time-consuming effort that ends in discouragement, allowing the pressures of living life like a Normal Human Being to talk me out of this thing that I’m convinced that I want and yet seem powerless to execute. Thus, my attempt at a blog fades into oblivion.

But something keeps bringing me back…as Thomas Edison once said, the surest way to succeed is to try again, just one more time…or something like that.

I have things to say! So let’s talk about some things.

Who says blogs have to have a theme? I think that kind of mindset is precisely what’s been tripping me up in the past. So I hereby reserve the right to write (ugh, homonyms, English, why) about whatever errant thoughts drift through my brain. True Confessions of a a Hopeless Pedant might be a better name for this blog, but I’m hurting for continuity enough as it is, so Tempest in a Teacup it remains. Here we go again!

Possible posts to look forward to:

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Adventures in All-Natural Skin Care
  3. Asking the Real Questions: Why don’t people use sun visors in their cars more often?
  4. Star Wars Episode IX: The Force Makes No Sense

Hope you’re as excited as I am, because it’s gonna get lit. As in LITERATURE! Ha! (Why am I still awake.)

Uncategorized

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Ron Doesn’t Get Enough Credit

Though I’m sure many readers are familiar with Harry Potter, just in case you aren’t, potential spoilers ahead.

As the season turns colder and the days turn darker and more mysterious, the holiday spirit begins to stir. And while more hardcore fans may disagree, for me at least, winter is the best (and most socially acceptable) time of year to engage in a Harry Potter movie marathon.

Thus I found myself a few nights ago watching the second movie in the saga, The Chamber of Secrets, with my family. I wasn’t really watching, mind, I have to confess to being much more engrossed in online Christmas shopping. But one scene in particular held my attention, and lead to this blog post.

In the scene, Harry and his friend Ron travel deep into the Forbidden Forest on a mission to find out what happened at Hogwarts fifty years ago when the Chamber of Secrets was opened, and who is responsible for opening it now. Their path leads them to the dwelling of the giant spider Aragog. Harry begins to interrogate Aragog, and while major plot points are being revealed through the dialogue, Harry’s friend Ron repeatedly interrupts him, making frightened noises. Irritated, Harry finally turns to Ron to see what he wants, only to discover that while they were chatting, the other spiders of the hollow have been creeping steadily closer.

Taken at face value, this scene shows Harry (the hero) getting the job done, while Ron (his blubbering sidekick) merely makes a nuisance of himself. Right?

Well…maybe not.

Perhaps it was the fervor of my reckless spending spree that induced such a spurt of abstract thought, but suddenly I wasn’t watching two kids on a crazy adventure in a magical forest. When I thought about that scene, I was seeing a medieval warrior in the hall of his enemy, under an uneasy flag of truce, while his trusted right-hand man scans the crowds of restless enemies pressing ever closer, hands on their weapons.

I’ll get back to that thought. But while Ron is not always my favorite character, he is undoubtedly an important one, and, I think, a tad underrated.

Ron gets a bit of a bad rap through the series for being a bit of a scaredy-cat. Much of this (in the movies, especially) is for the benefit of providing some comic relief. But I’m ready to make the argument that despite appearances, Ron’s role in the scene with the spiders (the film version, anyway) was actually critically important to the success of the mission.

During the scene, Harry’s attention was completely monopolized by Aragog, who revealed that Hagrid was framed, while also dropping some hints about the true nature of the creature currently stalking the halls of Hogwarts. Short put, Harry just doesn’t have time for anything else but what Aragog is saying – the welfare of his friend Hagrid, and the safety of the entire school, depends upon it.

But while Harry is busy listening, he’s let his guard down. Now Harry’s welfare depends upon the fact that Ron is watching his back. And when you’re face-to-face with spiders the size of cars, that’s a pretty big responsibility. In short, while Harry was accomplishing the mission, Ron was busy making sure that they survived the mission long enough for it to mean something.

Because discovering what’s in the Chamber of Secrets doesn’t mean a darn thing if you immediately get eaten by a giant spider upon learning it.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that Ron hates spiders more than anything. Which means that following a trail of spiders into a dark and creepy forest in order to go find MORE spiders would probably be his worst nightmare. But you know something? He went anyway. That takes some serious guts.

The moral of this story is that every hero needs a friend to guard their weak side, and that weak side could be any number of things depending on the situation. Whether you’re a medieval feudal lord embroiled in a bitter border war (which is where I went with the analogy, surprise surprise) or a young teenage wizard fighting the baddest man on the planet, a hero needs a friend, and initiative, courage, and heroism come in a variety of guises.

Another takeaway? Don’t let your guard down around giant talking spiders.

You might just get eaten.

I’ll close with this pearl of wisdom from my father. While we were watching Harry and Ron escape back through the forest with a horde of spiders hot on their trail, I was struck by the urgency of their situation.

Me: *struggling to find the right words* They’ve been outflanked!

Dad: When you’ve been outflanked enough, it’s called being surrounded.

Thanks dad. Glad you’ve always got my back!

History

The Speedboat Goes to War

Each family is unique, and my family is no exception. Where other families might be sports aficionados or agricultural gurus, my family deals in military history. As an example: when I was about eight years old, I saw a tie-pin in the shape a plane that I wanted to get my dad for his birthday. I collaborated with mom, and later snuck off to buy it. When I pointed to the tie-pin and accurately identified it as a B-17, the old-timer behind the counter looked at me in surprise, and asked me how I knew what it was. I don’t remember how I answered, but I remember being confused. To me, it was obvious, why wouldn’t I know what it was?

Nowadays I know better, so for your reading pleasure, I present to you a small piece of history: the PT boat of World War Two. These Patrol Torpedo boats were instrumental in both the early days of our involvement in the Pacific, and later in both the Pacific and European Theaters. High-hulled, streamlined, and small, the PT boat looks exactly like an enlarged speedboat mounted with 50 caliber machine guns. They were motored by aviation engines that required aviation grade fuel, and their main armament consisted of four torpedoes. And I have to say, seeing footage of these little boats racing across the water is a pretty stirring sight.

uss_pt-105Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=399302

They were small and fast, and, now might also be a good time to mention, made of plywood.

Yes. Plywood.

In an age where the wooden ship was all but history in terms of warfare, these little wooden boats were one of the last defenders of the American forces in the early days of the Pacific. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, submarines, even supply barges were made of metal. But not the indomitable PT boat. Needless to say, just one hit from a bomb or torpedo, and it was pretty much over for a boat and her crew. And the razor-sharp coral reefs of the South Seas could tear out the hull of such a vessel with frightening ease.

Knowing this makes the men who served aboard them even more impressive in my mind. I can’t even imagine the courage necessary to take one of these wooden boats to war, but the crews of the PT boats distinguished themselves time and again – iron men in wooden ships.

pt-109_crewBy Collections of the U.S. National Archives, downloaded from the Naval Historical Center [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16522717

See anyone familiar? No? Read on…

The Japanese called them the “devil boats”. A PT boat carried General MacArthur out of the Philippines right before the surrender of Bataan, and one carried him back into Manila Harbor in 1945. John F. Kennedy served aboard one (crew photo above – he’s on the far right), and an account of his service can be viewed in the film PT-109. Another excellent film featuring PT boats is They Were Expendable, starring John Wayne and Robert Montgomery, which I highly recommend. And, on the lighter side of things, the comedy tv series McHale’s Navy revolves around the various shenanigans of a mischievous PT crew.

But alas, as an ignominious end to this otherwise inspiring story, at the end of the war the remaining PT Boats were dragged onto a beach, and burned.

*Insert Indiana Jones screaming: “That thing belongs in a museum!”*

Now, I won’t pretend to be all-knowing about the motives of the military. But that one just doesn’t sit well with me. What a waste, right? Similar things happened to all sorts of planes, ships, and vehicles after the war, but we won’t get into that right now (I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it…)

Fortunately, all is not lost, for a few PT Boats survived. PT-658 can be viewed in Portland, Oregon, and about twelve others still remain, cared for by restoration groups in various parts of the country.

So, that’s my small piece of history for the day. Know of any good movies or books on the subject that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Books and Movies · History

The Rat Patrol: Defying History, with Style

Desert warfare. Unbeatable heroes. All in color.

Some months ago, my dad and I were debating about what to watch on tv one night.

“I know what we should watch!” he exclaimed suddenly. “The RAT Patrol!”

I looked on with amusement on as he rooted around our DVD case for the set of discs. I’d seen a few episodes of his beloved childhood show a few years earlier, but hadn’t thought much of it then, and was preparing to be just as under-whelmed this time around. Therefore, as the first episode began to play, it was with a kind of tolerant disdain that I observed two jeeps dramatically cresting a sand dune, catching air, and thundering into battle while theme music blared. The show started. I watched on. But this time I really watched it.

And it was amazing.

The Rat Patrol (link to IMDb) was filmed between 1966 – 68 and was the first WWII television series that was aired entirely in color. It depicts the struggle between Axis and Allied forces in North Africa through the adventures of a small band of desert warfare specialists. The “Rat Patrol” are allegedly part of the real-life Long Range Desert Group, which you can read about in the book Stirling’s Desert Raiders.  However, as will be discussed in later blog posts, this is actually a historical improbability of epic proportions.

But more on that another time. This band of heroes is made up of four hunky men, two jeeps, and a lot of snappy one-liners. If I had been in charge, I would’ve called it Hunks and Jeeps. Less inspiring, maybe, but accurate. The show views best when it’s not taken too seriously, and for what it is – a live action comic book. I have by now watched the entire series, and consider the time highly well spent.

While fans are consistently disappointed in its lack of a third season (and a fourth, and a fifth…) there’s plenty to like about what was made. Each 24 minute episode fills a pretty tall order for such a short timeframe: quasi-feasible plotlines, compelling characters (more on them in later posts), and plenty of hair-raising stuntwork (back in the good old days when safety was for the weak).

Of course, slightly cheesy television shows from the sixties aren’t for everyone. I, myself, will be the first to point out the improbability of their historic usage, the first to laugh when a karate-chop to the throat completely incapacitates someone, and the first to raise an eyebrow over a glaring plot-hole. But despite these faults, I think the show still delivers its money’s worth of entertainment value.

As Obi-Wan so wisely stated in The Empire Strikes Back, and as with many things in life, my experience with The Rat Patrol depended entirely on my point of view. When I first watched the show it didn’t fit my twenty-first century standards for entertainment – I focused only on its faults and disregarded any virtues it may have had. But when I watched it without that prejudice, I fell in love with the characters and found a story worth sharing. If you’re into hunky guys, comic book plotlines, and laughing at sometimes-but-generally-not-very-accurate WWII history, then this is the show for you!