Thursday, April 28, 2016


The creator of the anime series, Baccano!, had a line in adapted episode which probably probably sums up LOST: 

Stories never begin, nor do they end. They are comprised of people living. An endless cycle of interacting, influencing each other, and parting ways.

It was a way to try to describe a complex and layered novella series with a wide range of characters. In the end, the confusion comes down to when a drama-adventure series turns into a standard soap opera.

Soap operas were early transpositions of live theater acting to the television audience. A weekday drama airing during the daytime, intended for women (particularly "homemakers"/"at-home moms"), soaps were known for excessively emotional acting and shallow plots and scripts. Soap operas are so-called because the earliest dramas, which originated in the 1950s and 1960s, were sponsored by soap-making companies.

When the LOST show runners continually defended their series from critics, they inferred that the critics did not get it: the show was about character development and not explanations of sci-fi story lines or mysteries.

The one difference between LOST and a standard soap opera is that LOST did have complex plots and scripts, but it had only vague and shallow answers to the mysteries and questions the plot lines posed to viewers. Viewers, who were as rabid as daily soap watchers, spent years trying to figure things out to minute detail. The problem with LOST is that it was not a long running soap opera in terms of fixed characters and slow moving to tedious cliche plots. LOST fans were promised by the creators and writers that it would be different; that if fans kept with them they would get answers to their questions. 

After Season 6 concluded, the show runners claimed that they had answered most of the "big" questions which set off another round of fan debates and arguments. However, Carlton Cuse said afterward, "Very early on we had decided that even though LOST is a show about people on the island, really, metaphorically, it was about people who were lost and searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. And because of that, we felt the ending really had to be spiritual, and one that talks about destiny. We would have long discourses about the nature of the show, for many years, and we decided it needed to mean something to us and our belief system and the characters and how all of us are here to lift each other up in our lives."

Damon Lindelof  explained, "For us, one of the ongoing conversations with the audience and there was a very early perception, was that the island was purgatory and we were always out there saying 'It's not purgatory, this is real, we're not going to Sixth Sense you.' And we felt it too that the show had to become sort of meta in this way. And so the writers said, 'Obviously, there are all these mysteries. But what if we answered a mystery that was never asked, what's the meaning of life and what happens when you die?'"

Damon added that the idea for the "Flash Sideways" world came about between the planning of seasons four and five because "We were out of flashbacks and we were done with flash forwards. So we started to think about, what if we sort of Trojan horsed in a paradoxical sideways story line?"

So basically, the show creators admit that they used soap opera techniques of changing course, mixing up the characters, adding strange and disturbing elements in order to keep the audience engaged in the show despite the show's writers running out of original ideas.

And even if the hidden agenda of the show was to ask The Big Questions, what's the meaning of life and what happens when you die,? LOST failed to deliver because there was no clarity on when the main characters died and where did their souls go. Was the island heaven? Was the island hell? Was the sideways world purgatory? Or heaven? Or was the O6 arc purgatory (as in Jack's breakdown and suffering return to the island)? Or was the O6 arc heaven (for characters like Walt who was in a normal family with school friends leading a normal life)? Or was it up to each viewer to impress their own belief system on to the events to come to their own conclusions?

Critics of the final season bring up the "more questions than answers" response to this narrative as proof that the show lost its bearings after Season Two by throwing disassociated concepts at the writers wall to see what would stick.

Fans of the final season are content with the mere fact that the main characters grew into a group of friends at the sideways church. That the loners, misfits and troubled souls could find a measure of happiness in the end, whether it was actually real or an illusion.

Friday, April 22, 2016


The US Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific released this picture from a rescue that occurred earlier this month.

Three men left on a day boat trip between two Micronesian islands. A large wave hit their boat, overturning the 19-foot craft. They swam a few miles to the nearest land mass, an unihabited island called Fanadik, which is located a few hundred miles north of Papua New Guinea.

When the men did not arrive at their destination by the next day, relatives called the US Coast Guard. A joint Navy-Coast Guard operation to find the men was started. But there are countless tiny islands in Micronesia, and they would not have found them if the men had not used palm leaves to spell out their distress signal on the beach.  A Navy plane spotted the sign early Thursday morning. A boat was dispatched from nearby Pulap, their original destination, to bring the men home.

In LOST, the series, the plane crash survivors did little, if anything to get the attention of potential rescuers. 

In the beginning, there was not big attempt to light signal fires or mark the beaches with HELP signs. The only thing the passengers did was to burn the airplane debris to stop disease and wild boar attacks. It was Bernard, after several Others attacks, who decided it was time to start signal fires on the beach. But it was long after the initial crash, no one helped him.

Michael got fed up with the lack of attention of finding a way off the island to build two rafts. The first one was scuttled by his son, Walt, who did not want to leave the island and his new friends. The second raft was intercepted by the Others and sunk.

When Desmond's fixed sailboat was found, Sayid's group decided to use it to rescue Kate, Jack and Sawyer instead of trying to leave the island. 

When the survivors found native long oar boats, they were only used to get to and from Hydra Island instead of trying to go deep out into the sea lanes for a possible rescue attempt.

The only time they got excited about rescue was when Widmore's freighter's shore party hit the island. Only Ben warned them about what was going to happen to them. But once Penny's boat rescued the O6, instead of trying to get the U.S. Coast Guard or UK/Australian officials to help return to the island, the O6 group decided to lie to the world - - - which doomed rescue for those left behind.

It is one of those odd plot points in the series that the survivors were not aggressive in their desire to escape the island and go back home. One would think that escape and survival would have been of paramount importance to the main characters.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


A article posed the solution to any problem. The author postulates that it takes a person only three answers to find a solution for a personal or professional problem. 

If you think of any problem you are dealing with right now — a difficult colleague, changes to your business wrought by the digital revolution, or even, say, the struggle to get into better physical shape —and honestly ask yourself these three questions:

Are you really willing to change what you’ve been doing?

Can you think of a better strategy or idea than the status quo?
Can you execute on your chosen solution? 

Nothing gets done until you say “YES” to "are you willing to change what you've been doing." Otherwise, you are just spinning your wheels in self-pity.

Everyone struggles to adapt to changing conditions;  most are held back almost entirely by their own unwillingness to change. It’s not that people cannot change, it’s that they’re unwilling to do so.

How about your own life? That colleague who is congenitally uncooperative? He’ll keep doing it until he has a reason not to. Are you prepared to take him on? If he works for you, are you prepared to reassign him, or fire him if necessary? It might take a lot of work, but if you’re not willing to do it, then stop complaining.

By this point, you should be able to connect the dots on the third example: improving your physical health.  Despite all the excuses we come up with — too busy, we don’t really have a problem, I’ll get to it later — the reason we choose not to go to the gym or select a healthier diet is because we don’t really want to.

All of us — individuals and companies alike — could be well on our way to better personal and corporate health if we were willing to recognise that things could be better and have the guts to do something about it. There is no replacement for the courage to say yes.

Can you think of a better strategy or idea than the status quo?

Even if you are willing to change, you’ve got to come up with a solution to your problem. In some cases, it’s quite easy. Becoming healthier by improving your diet and doing more exercise is not exactly a secret or a revolutionary solution.

Other times, however, it is more difficult. The writing was on the wall for some time for mom-and-pop video  and Blockbuster stores when digital streaming became a better solution for more people than heading to your local DVD store.  Blockbuster did have choices — buy Netflix when they were still quite small and run them as an independent entity, create their own “Netflix” business, retrench into a small niche player doing what you’ve always done for the tiny market that might still prefer to browse the shelves, or selling out to another company better — or dumber — than they were. Blockbuster made an attempt, too late, to create its own version of Netflix, but ultimately collapsed under the weight of change.

On a personal choice, if one wants to lead a healthier lifestyle, then one has to map out goals and how to achieve it. If you want to lose 30 pounds, then write out a plan: join Weight Watchers, get a calorie intake calculator, plan out weekly meals in advance, impose limits on snacks or sweets, start an exercise routine, and/or join a gym.

The point is, when you are open-minded, curious, and creative, you’ll have options to tackle your problems.

Finally, the Big Question: can you execute on your chosen solution?

You may understand your problem. You may have a brilliant solution. But if don't get off the couch and take action, nothing will happen.  No matter how great your strategic idea, if you can’t execute on it you’re doomed. All of this is hard work, something that runs counter to your current habits and behavior.

Even going to the gym and eating better doesn’t happen by itself. Maybe you need a personal trainer to keep you motivated (and raise the embarrassment factor if you quit or the financial strain if you have to pay for a missed training session). If you don’t have the personal discipline to stay away from those wonderful high calorie desserts, there’s an entire industry that has sprung up to help you execute on your eat-healthy strategy: diet clubs, diet programs, diet apps galore.

Every step of the way is challenging, from having the courage to change, to creatively developing a new way of doing things, to actually making it happen. But these three questions will always be at the heart of any solution. Problem solving need not be so confusing, complex and overwhelming.

The author concludes, "When you really think about it, you’ve got everything you need to solve your problem."

It really is sound advice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


A person has the most friends when they are young. Elementary school brings together hundreds of kids and sorts them into classes of 30 or so individuals. Team sports brings together more opportunity to add to the mix of individuals. Friendships form because kids work and play in the same environment, the school and the neighborhood. They are in contact with each other on an almost daily basis.

But as we grow older, friendships change like our individual interests. We may not realize at the time that time itself has begun to cull the friendship herd. You do not have enough hours in the day to socialize with everyone you know. Subsets of friends become more important to you.

Then, hormones take over and attraction to the opposite sex takes priority over the past. This further defines the parameters of one's social circle. Some women want their boyfriend's full and complete attention and affection. Some men want to maintain a level of freedom, going out with the guys to play sports or hang out. Everyone learns to find a balance between old friendships and demands of their most personal relationships.

Things change again when a person is out in "the real world." A job becomes a time consuming task master. Marriage and a family suddenly takes up all the old "free time." There is always something to do in one's home - - - from chores, cleaning, maintenance, kids activities and spousal duties. Even time alone on vacation becomes a logistics project. But those are the strongest bonds that can be made by an individual, in a family unit.

It is rare for adults to make many "new" friends. Colleagues at work may or may not get beyond the casual, professional co-worker status because everyone in the work place has settled into their own off-hours personal routine and lifestyle. It is harder for single people in the work place to find new deep bonds because most companies have anti-fraternization policies. You are in the work place to serve the company objectives and not to find your soul mate.

So how do adults find new adult friends? Instead of feeling sorry for one's self, or accepting the negative habits of one's daily routine, an adult needs to "work" on expanding their horizons, forcing themselves to go out and meet new people at events or places that interest them. The easiest way to open a conversation with a stranger is to have something in common to start with . . . whether it is at a charity event, an art gallery opening, a play or a coffee shop. It is not just introverts that have problems overcoming the fear of rejection when meeting new people. Extroverts have to check their energy levels so as to stop from coming off as a blow-hard or bragger. Everyone knows that first impressions (within a minute or two) are the most important message signals between people. That added pressure to be liked also adds an equal level of anxiety. It is like an NFL kicker lining up a 55 yard field goal to win the game, but this time it is a personal game of life.

You cannot make someone like you or to be your friend. The physics of force (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) does not work in personal relationships. One can forcefully try to impress another person, but that may not give back an equal level of attraction, affection or curiosity. In some situations, when a person "tries too hard," it actually repels a person away.

People are creatures of their own comfort levels. However, if a comfort level in dealing with other people is set so low as to become a hermit, then it creates a level of distrust, depression, loneliness and desperation. Some people then lock themselves in their own fantasy worlds because they cannot emotionally cope with the real world (or the perception of how they have been treated by others). For every time a person turns down a friendship offer, it is like a knife being plunged between two ribs. We all get that Life is hard. It is full of choices and demands. Everyone's path is a different quest for the same benefits of acknowledgement, acceptance, appreciation, admiration and affection.

An article from Fast Company magazine tackled the issue of making adult friendships.

It stated that while social circles increase through early adulthood, friendship networks peak and start to decrease as you move through your twenties, according to a 2013 study published in Psychological Bulletin.  Researchers found that the drop in friendships was often due to marriage, parenthood, and a desire to focus on closer relationships.

Unfortunately close relationships aren’t guaranteed to last; a study by Utrecht University.  It found that we lose half our close friends every seven years and replace them with new relationships.

Factors include life changes such as moves, career transitions, relationship changes, and different life stages bring a shift in our friendships and frequently leave people  drifting apart. Researchers at BYU found that having too few friends is the equivalent mortality risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is riskier than obesity.

"When friendships themselves are healthy, they relieve stress, which is extremely beneficial for health. Most people find it hard to create a deep and meaningful friendship in adulthood, but it’s not so hard if you know what to do." says Robert Epstein, of the American Institute for Behavior Research and Technology.
To cultivate new friends, a person needs consistency. People like to have friends around for whom they can count on in good times and bad. In children, it is almost automatic because you go to school, summer camp and play outside with the other kids in the neighborhood until dinner is ready. Adults rarely have that kind of consistency outside of work.

Counselors suggests joining groups that meet on a regular basis, such as a associations, networking groups, book clubs, classes and workshop because when you join a group, the consistency is built in; people are already showing up without you having to invite them.

The trick is that the friendship is limited to its "container"—the group—until someone initiates gathering outside of it.  If friendships aren’t practiced outside of the container, they will most die when the activity or class ends. In other words, being friendly within the confines of a group does not equate to true friendship until you move a relationship outside the parameters of the initial contact group.

Counselors also think that one can use  friendship containers as long as possible, but the goal is to move out of them. Start small. Invite work friends out for lunch, happy hour or over to watch the game. The idea is to practice doing other stuff together, and glue more pieces of your lives to each other,. It can take six to eight experiences with someone before you feel like you made a friend.

To deepen relationships, research says you must be willing to be open yourself up to personal topics and disclosures. Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial and meaningless.

Children are naturally put into situations in which they feel vulnerable, such as school, sporting events or on stage in front of a crowded room of parents and classmates. Adults should look for similar scenarios.

If you can put yourself and potential friends in a place of vulnerability, people tend feel needy and provide occasions for other people to provide comfort or support. An example would be to volunteer or get part-time work at a hospital or a charity.

There are times where life circumstances can lead to friendships. A single experience—such as meeting on a vacation—can produce a deep friendship that lasts a lifetime because the experience itself opens people up to share their experiences, opinions and goals. Strangers that become humanized in the eye of someone are no longer strangers. The mind's protective mechanism for protecting against danger is muted by trust.

When you are building friendships, it is important to, work hard to keep the communication upbeat. "Be conscious about the value and joy you're adding to the other person," counselors advise. And that is what friendships are about: adding positive value to a person's life. The quality of friendships help bring out the best in an individual. It is that mutuality of friendship that helps develop close bonds.

This site has written in the past about the main LOST characters and friendships. If there was a takeaway from the Ending would be the reunion was symbolic representation of the characters mutual friendships. And the series journey could be summed up as the path toward true friendships.

A common trait of the main characters was a lack of pre-island friends.

Jack apparently had no real friends. Even when he stood up to the bullies in the schoolyard, and got beaten badly for it, no one stood up for him. It seems that Jack had no siblings. His father was not a friend, but a rival. Even at the hospital, it appeared that Jack was friendly with his colleagues but spent no time with anyone outside of work. And it also was shown that Jack did not have a social life outside of the hospital. It was his "miracle" surgery for Sarah that gave him a girlfriend, then a spouse, then a bitter divorce because Jack lacked the social skills to handle a marital friendship.

Sawyer also appears to be a single child. When his parents were killed, Sawyer is comforted by his uncle. We can assume that Sawyer was then raised with his cousins, but there was no lasting bonds between family members. This was probably because Sawyer had vowed to kill the man that caused his family turmoil. As a result, he turned himself into a lone wolf, an avenger. As a con man, he purposely kept his personal life from his professional thefts. The closest thing he had to a relationship was the ill-fitting, ill-advised fling with Cassiday, one of his marks gone bad. He left her and his infant child to complete his quest of vengeance. We can assume that when Sawyer left the island, he did not return to have a life or relationship with Cassiday since she was not with him in his final journey at the church reunion.

Kate was a popular child because she was the typical girl-next-door, tomboy.We know of one childhood friend, Tom Brennan, the boy who got in trouble with her when she tried to steal a lunchbox. Later, when Kate returned to visit her mother in the hospital, Tom, now a married doctor with a small son, helped Kate get past security. When she confronted her mother seeking support for what she had done (killed her father in an explosion), her mother yelled for security. In the police chase, Tom was killed by a police bullet. One could assume that Kate, an only child, placed her mother as her best friend. When all of her classmates moved on with their lives and their dreams, Kate did not grow or leave her mother's side. Tom, who clearly believed Kate was his first puppy love, did not realize that Kate was not a true friend but merely used him like she did with the other men in her life on the run. She came close to finding friendship with another broken woman, Cassiday, who helped cause a diversion for Kate's escape. Kate never knew of Cassiday's relationship with Sawyer, but Cassiday and her shared one thing in common: the free spirit adventure of living near the edge.

Locke was another only child. But his case was different. He was abandoned by his parents at birth. His mother was institutionalized for mental illness. His father fled to be a con man, and eventually destroying Sawyer's family in the process. Locke always pushed to fit in. In school, he wanted to be part of the "popular" group which would have been the jocks. But his intellect was more science. When counseled to follow an academic path, Locke rebelled to find himself outside any group: academic or sports. He was moved to various foster homes, but never had strong relationships with the other children in those households. Throughout his life, he continued to try to find a substitute family to the discouragement of making normal, traditional friends. He would work odd jobs and have colleagues at work, but we never saw him interact with co-workers outside the work place. Locke was a true loaner but also a odd dreamer. He was quick to abandon a situation if it did not work out like he thought it should. He felt trapped and cursed by Life itself. He thought joining a commune would bring him the sense of family and belonging. But even that was a bitter illusion (as the commune was merely a front from drug manufacturer and distribution.) The only person who would accept him was Helen, a woman he met at an anger management meeting. They began to have a relationship outside of the group. Within six months, the romance had blossomed to the point where Locke gave her a key to his apartment. However, Helen knew that Locke was obsessed with tracking down his father and establishing a potential disappointing relationship with him. Helen accepted the key only if Locke would abandon is mission to connect with his father. Locke lied to her, which led to their break-up. Locke lacked the social skills to realize that Helen was the best thing he would ever find in his life. When his father broke his heart, and then his spine, Locke used to call a phone worker "Helen" as a coping mechanism to his loneliness. When Locke was ready to take his great adventure, the walkabout, he did not have a friend to share that experience. And when the operator denied him his outback adventure, it was clear that Locke's dreams died as a lonely, middle aged man. This was bitterly confirmed when no one showed up at Locke's funeral. It was also ironic that in the sideways universe, he was happily together with Helen - - - but at the final reunion, Helen was not part of it (causing one to surmise that the sideways world was a fantasy-dream state).

Hurley had a more normal friendship path. He grew up and he was very close to his father. But he was extremely hurt when his father abandoned his family; he started to eat to compensate for his loss. Even so, Hurley was still able to make acquaintances and friends because of his likeable and non-threatening personality. We know that he had at least 22 friends because he was on the deck that collapsed which led to his guilt and mental institutional treatment. But even after the accident, he still had friends. His best friend was Johnny, who he would hang out with outside of work. Hurley was also friendly with a record store clerk, Starla. In fact, Hurley got the courage to ask her out on a date. But his relationship quickly soured when Johnny got upset that Hurley failed to share his lottery win secret with him. As a result, Johnny left him and started dating Starla. Hurley was convinced that the lottery win had cursed him. The numbers he played were from one of his mental institution buddies, Lenny. But Hurley's "best" friend was his imaginary friend, Dave. Dave made many appearances during the series, including one on the island which he almost got Hurley to jump off a cliff to end the illusion that he was living. Hurley was stopped by Lilly, the girlfriend he met on the island (but in a contradiction, she was seen as a mental patient in Hurley's same day room at Santa Rosa). Hurley never recognized her as a former patient which has always been a plot point problem.  As with many people, as Hurley grew older, he had less friends because he feared that bad things would happen to people around him. Like Locke, Hurley went alone on his quest to find the meaning of the numbers. He had no one he could trust with his secrets or feelings even though he got along well around other people.

Ben had a tragic childhood. His mother died at his birth, and his alcoholic father blamed him for it. His father apparently moved from odd job to odd job until he landed a position on the island. Ben came to the island as a polite 8 year old child. In the Dharma school, he met one friend, Annie, who gave him a present she made (two dolls of their likeness). Ben seemed to be a social introvert: quiet and reposed. It seemed he did not seek out friendships, but to hide in the shadows (to keep away from the wrath of his father). It seems as a boy he made a connection with Richard Alpert, one of the Others, who marveled that he could see his dead mother on the island. This gave Ben one thing to look forward to: leaving his father to become a member of the Others.  He probably thought that he could make more lasting friends in the Others camp than staying with in the rigid confines of the Dharma collective. It also appears that Annie left the island during the Incident, when women and children were evacuated by Dr. Chang. At that point, Ben lost his only friend. Ben thought he did not need friends to become powerful and respected by other people. He did not want to be a low level janitor spit upon by those in leadership roles. He wanted to command the respect of people around him. When he joined the Others, he found the same constraints as in the Dharma world. He loathed Charles Widmore because of his indifference to defenseless children. Ben's first act of defiance was saving Alex, whom he then raised as his own daughter.

So when Flight 815 crashed on the island, most of the main characters on LOST were at the crossroad of their life, staring down the path of loneliness and depressive regrets.  Even Bernard and Rose were struggling to beat her terminal cancer - -  for Bernard, losing Rose would be losing his own life. Jin and Sun's relationship had soured to the point that Sun was willing to flee her spouse and her rich family. Michael was a man without stateside friends when he picked up his son, Walt, in Australia after his mother had passed on. Walt also appeared to be a sullen, quiet and friendless child (in some ways mirrors Ben's story line). It was only after Walt left the island and lived with his grandmother, did Walt is seen in the company of school friends living a normal life (so much so that Locke decided against trying to bring him back to the island).

For the vast majority of main characters, the island was shocking life event that allowed adult strangers, through mutual adversity, to make new friends - - - the most friends each character ever had in their lifetime. And as friends, they laughed, cried, fought, argued, worked together, solved problems and had their intimate moments. In one respect, the island and the survivors were what most of the characters had been secretly longing for in their past lives: a sense of belonging, a sense of family structure, a support system, mutual caring, mutual security, a sense of community and purpose.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


2016 marks the 12th year since the launch of the epic series, LOST.

Your decision to be, have and do something out of ordinary entails facing difficulties that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else. — Brian Tracy

So goes this this blog, one of the few small corners of the internet which still actively discusses the series.

In 2013, the LOST producers decided to finish discussing their series in one last rant while discussing the ending of Breaking Bad. At the Paleyfest TV convention, there was  a LOST 10th anniversary panel. It was more of an awkward high school reunion than a ground breaking discussion of the series.

Since then, LOSTheory continues to post stories, theories, science stories that may tie into the LOST-centric fan communities when the series was at its peak.  This site which started in Season 6, now has posted 1,097 articles. Two years ago, we did not know how much longer we would continue writing posts. But we just hit the milestone of 20,000 unique page views. There still appears that there are fans who still miss the series, and who still want to engage their minds on the ramifications of it.

For the LOST fan community, nothing really has replaced it. No other show has had the layers of complexity, the clues, and the rabid fan theories and story lines.

LOST is like an old friend that you want to stay in touch with even though real life has started to occupy more and more of your time and energy.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Anagrams (hidden words within a word or phrase) were part of the LOST background.

A generator for "Jack Shepherd" reveals 23 anagrams. 23 was Jack's candidate number. Huh.

Anagrams for: jackshepherd

Displaying all:
Jack Shepherd
Jacked Rep Shh
Jacked Per Shh
Paced Jerk Shh
Caped Jerk Shh
Chad Hep Jerks
Chap Shed Jerk
Jack Shred Hep
Jack Herds Hep
Jack Sherd Hep
Jacks Herd Hep
Cap Jerked Shh
Hadj Heck Reps
Hadj Hecks Rep
Hadj Hecks Per
Hadj Peck Hers
Hadj Speck Her
Hadj Pecks Her
Jar Pecked Shh
Jack Ed Rep Shh
Jack Ed Per Shh
Cap Ed Jerk Shh
Jar Peck Ed Shh

Cap Jerked Shh . . .  Jack was a CAPtive, he was clearly JERKED around on the island and in the O6 arc, and SHH, the revelation came to him in churches.