A 14-man crew that included evangelical apologist Josh McDowell says it returned from a trek to a mountain in Iran with possible evidence of the remains of Noah's Ark.Awright, so you wanna see this thing for yourself, eh? Slam down with the mouse here for some pics of a curious ark-sized object. There's also another story about the find over at AOL News.
The group, led by explorer Bob Cornuke, found an unusual object perched on a slope 13,120 feet above sea level.
Cornuke, president of the archeological Base Institute and a veteran of nearly 30 expeditions in search of Bible artifacts and locations, said he is cautiously, but enthusiastically, optimistic about the find...
...Also on the team were Barry Rand, former CEO of Avis; Boone Powell, former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems; and Arch Bonnema, president of Joshua Financial.
The team returned with video footage of a large black formation, about 400 feet long – the length of the ark, according to the Bible – that looks like rock but bears the image of hundreds of massive, wooden, hand-hewn beams.
Bonnema observed: "These beams not only look like petrified wood, they are so impressive that they look like real wood – this is an amazing discovery that may be the oldest shipwreck in recorded history."
The team said one piece of the blackened rock is "cut" at 90-degree angle.
Even more intriguing, they said, some of the wood-like rocks tested this week proved to be petrified wood.
It's noteworthy, they pointed out, that the Bible recounts Noah sealed his ark with pitch, a black substance.
When the retrieved pieces were cut open, a marine fossil was discovered. In the area around the object, the team found thousands of fossilized sea shells, and Cornuke brought back a one-inch thick rock slab replete with fossilized clams.
With the discovery of wood splinters and broken pottery at the remote 15,300-foot level, the team says it also found evidence that ancients considered it an important worship site for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Cornuke became involved in the search for the ark after meeting Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin, participating with him in several searches on Mount Ararat in Turkey, but with disappointing results.
Cornuke began looking elsewhere, after finding clues in the Bible such as Genesis 11's reference to descendants of Noah coming to the Mesopotamian valley from the east. Cornuke believes that would put the biblical mountains of Ararat somewhere in northern Iran.
He also points to ancient historians such as Nicholas of Damascus and Flavius Josephus who wrote, just before and after Christ, that timbers of the ark had survived in the higher mountains of present-day Iran.
Cornuke noted that during World War II, an American Army officer and road construction engineer in Iran named Ed Davis said he saw the ark on a high mountain in the country after being led there by Iranian friends. After the war, according to Cornuke, Davis passed a lie detector test affirming he saw timbers from an ark-like object.
Before his death, Davis gave Cornuke a map showing the way to the object.
"It was right where Ed said it was in his map," Cornuke said. "After seeing it from a distance, I thought it at first unimpressive, but once we stood on the object we were all amazed at how it looked just like a huge pile of black and brown stone beams."...
Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
the Beagle 2 Mars Rover
We were told it crashed
Its final transmission
was classified top secret
It was the only warning
we would ever get
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Here's Mr. Fishbine's opening monologue from the movie. I crack up every time I hear this...
"I don’t have to tell you people times are tough. You read the papers. The country’s going to Hell. Now you take inflation, recession, welfare. There’s nothing we can do about that. But thanks to muggings, malnutrition, assassination, and disease, we got a chance to make a buck! I can see that some of you men must be shocked by that statement, but I didn’t write the rules of life myself, no sir! The cripple, the junkie, the wounded, and the dying. Society calls them all worthless. They’re not worthless. Not to us! To us each one is worth $42.50 plus 50 cents a mile, and let’s not forget it! When it comes to realizing that people in distress will jump into the first rig that shows up, well, then that’s when the drive and enthusiasm of you men will make the difference! But there’s another group out there, men... and I will not dignify the Unity Ambulance Company my mentioning its name, but they want our territory. Our sick! Your jobs! But we’re not gonna let them do it to us, are we men? You bet we’re not! No sir!"By the way, I've heard from several people that this is definitely a must-see movie if you're involved in medical/rescue services. Who knows... maybe you'll relate to this movie somehow :-)
(Jugs tells them they've got a call about a woman in labor)
"A woman in labor. What could be more eloquent than that? Well, it looks like life has it’s own little ways of summing up the situation, doesn’t it men? Gentlemen? The F&B Ambulance Company is rolling!"
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Serious Study: Immaturity Levels RisingPersonally, I don't know of very many people who fit the description of "psychological neoteny".
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
June 23, 2006 —The adage "like a kid at heart" may be truer than we think, since new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever.
Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth.
As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry.
Among scientists, the phenomenon is called psychological neoteny.
Stay tuned for my next article: a review of the blockbuster hit Nintendo DS game New Super Mario Bros.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
There's two problems that I see here: one, the whole rating system is terrible. It's capriciousness in determining what is - and what isn't - suitable for the screen is legendary. Mostly it has to do with how it's not a system that's suited for determining the merits of an individual film at all, but rather an arbitrary determinant of how controversial a movie is likely to be. I imagine that if Facing The Giants does have a lot of Christian sentiment, that alone would raise the eyebrows of the judging board. Clearly, some other system is needed.
Now, the second: these Christians, and too many of us do this also, are giving the rating system way too much importance. I know of some Christian parents who won't let their children see any movies with a rating over a G. Okay, well does that automatically qualify the movie for family viewing? I've seen plenty of PG-rated movies that should have been rated R, or at least PG-13. And one R-rated movie in recent memory, The Passion of the Christ, had a very powerful Christian element to it. I'm not saying that little kids should be allowed to see that, but there are certainly enough adolescents and up who could readily comprehend that movie... and maybe be affected by it in a positive way on some level. As it is, I know that some Christian pastors literally begged their congregations to "go see this R-rated movie!"
We as Christians are supposed to adhere to another measure than that imposed by the world around us. When we let something like a "PG rating" get under our skin, it's saying to the world that it has a power over us, when instead we are supposed to be free from its grasp.
Long story short: Christians should start thinking for themselves more, instead of letting others - like the Motion Picture Association of America - think for them.
For the record: What you see is what happens when truth is presented half-way. For instance, Scripture (Old and New Testaments) clearly teach that homosexuality is a sin--along with gluttony, pride, anger, malice, idolatry, adultery, disobeying parents, drunkenness, orgies, witchcraft and a host of other things. However, no where does it indicate that man can pass judgment or condemn a fellow man... this is reserved for God alone. Likewise, Scripture clearly teaches that all have sinned--not just homosexuals--and that everyone (yes, everyone) is deserving of eternal separation from God as a result (i.e. Hell). However, Scripture also teaches that God in his loving mercy and grace has provided forgiveness of sin and redemption from sinful behavior through his Son, Jesus Christ.Amen, bruddah!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Well, toward the later end of what was a remarkable run in the home computer market, Commodore rolled out the Amiga: maybe the first serious multimedia platform anywhere. There were a few models available for various-sized budgets, but the high-end system was the Amiga 2000. It boasted what was then a whopping 512 K of RAM, which depending on release version it was it could go all the way up to (back in the day anyway) an inconceivably huge 9 MB of memory. The processor speed was 7.14 mHz. And the way the entire system was clocked to run... well, let's just say it lent itself toward some astounding applications.
In 1990, Brad Carvey (brother of Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live fame, and the inspiration for "Wayne's World" character Garth), Tim Jenison and a few other engineers at a company called NewTek rolled out the Video Toaster. And the Amiga 2000's full capabilities were at last unleashed...
The Amiga 2000, loaded with a Video Toaster, could create a virtually limitless number of titles, graphics, wipes, and other visual elements for real time television production. As a result, hundreds of smaller TV stations (and many visual artists) were able to do with approximately $5000 - the cost of an Amiga and a Video Toaster - what the big network affiliates in town were doing with equipment costing $50,000 and up. Probably the most impressive thing that the Amiga/Video Toaster combo did was rendering the special effects for the pilot movie and first few seasons of the television series Babylon 5, which called into service an entire render farm of networked-together Amigas loaded with Video Toasters.
There's no telling how many Amiga 2000s and Video Toasters wound up being put to work out there. And amazingly enough a few of them - like the setup at our station - are still being used, now almost a decade and a half after acquiring the equipment (the Video Toaster we're using is version 3.1, released in 1993).
NewTek is still making Video Toaster these days, but it's now a plug-in board/software suite for Windows-based machines. No doubt the latest versions are much more robust and slick than the original Amiga versions and certainly faster: it took our system about fifteen seconds to update the dollar amount last night as the pledges came in. But, it still works and gets the job done. And in the end, isn't that the real measure of how good a computer is, no matter how antiquated it may seem? Does it do what it's intended and does it do it fairly well?
In a cyber-driven society that's gone mad with upgrading to the latest model, our station's humble little Amiga 2000 and Video Toaster 3.1 are a nice reminder to me that older technology still has qualities that merit some appreciation. If for no other reason than because they helped pave the way for all the things that we can do with the latest innovations. But it's still nice to know that against the more modern tech, a 20 year old computer and an early Nineties circuit board are still holding their own.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Saturday night I downloaded and watched "Love & Monsters" a few hours after it premiered there. And ever since it's been like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad. You know how some things you can't "unsee" after you've seen them? Well, that's what "Love & Monsters" is.
I've raved a lot about how good this new Doctor Who series has been: the Eccleston episodes and now David Tennant's turn as the Doctor: episodes like "The Girl in the Fireplace", "The Age of Steel" and then "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" two-parter. All excellent work. Like that guy in Big Trouble in Little China: "I've got a really positive feeling about this."
And then comes "Love & Monsters".
This could have been a brilliant episode. I keep thinking this might have been to Doctor Who what "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" was to The X-Files (or what the other Jose Chung episode was to Millennium).
I can accept the "Scooby-Doo" antics at the beginning, and the L.I.N.D.A. group, and the off-kilter way how this episode was presented: as a perspective from the average "man on the street" who witnesses all these events of the Doctor's adventures. I can even accept the Absorbalof as a unique creature in the Doctor Who bestiary.
What I can not accept is the horrible, horrible ending: something is lost from the Doctor's character when he "rescues" a woman by trapping her disembodied head - that will never die - in a slab of pavement so she can be used for oral sex by her boyfriend.
This episode was vile and disgusting... a real shame 'cuz it had so much promise. If the BBC was smart it would make "Love & Monsters" one of those legendary "lost" Doctor Who episodes that forevermore only exists in the memory of whoever got conned into watching it.
Maybe there's some redeeming quality about this episode that I'm missing. Maybe someone will tell me where that is. But as it is, "Love & Monsters" has the dubious honor of being the first Doctor Who episode to get wiped off my hard drive. There's three more episodes this season: hope they're better than this dreck was. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to just forget that "Love & Monsters" ever happened. This is some kind of sick twisted fevered delusion that doesn't belong at all in the Who canon.
(Besides, if you ask me there's no way the Sonic Screwdriver could pull off a trick like that.)
Monday, June 19, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Checkered Pig is actually the racing circuit spin-off of Pigs R Us BBQ in Martinsville, not far from the NASCAR racetrack. We found its official website and got directions to the place. Took maybe 45 minutes to get there and it's a little off the main highways, but well worth looking for. We told our waitress that we'd heard of the place from the special on Food Network and she said that ever since it ran, that they'd been getting new customers at a staggering rate. We looked over the menu: Lisa got chopped barbecue and I got the full rack of barbecue ribs. When my plate arrived the ribs were smothered in the restaurant's special Checkered Pig Grilling Sauce (a bottle of which I bought and took home while we were leaving).
Pigs R Us BBQ is awesome!!! Every thing about this restaurant is perfect in my book: good and friendly service, all food fresh and home-cooked, prompt delivery of food after it's been ordered... and what might be the best barbecue ribs I've had anywhere. I've written before here about Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q in Marietta, Georgia (a full review of the place is planned in the future) and how much I love their ribs, but I only get to eat there when we're visiting Lisa's family in Georgia and those are goooooood ribs! And I've been wanting ribs around here that are that high a level of excellent. Well, I think I've finally found it. I can seriously see myself visiting the place at least once a month from now on. I'm very much looking forward to another visit to Pigs R Us: maybe the best-kept secret when it comes to great barbecue in the entire Greensboro/Reidsville/Danville metro area :-)
Color me cynical, but I've still got bad memories of the disastrous-as-hell "Clone Saga": a Spider-Man story that started with only the best of intentions but soon spun completely out of the writers's control. I guess if the Marvel honchos decide that doing this was a very bad decision, they can always count on Doctor Strange to mystically alter the memories of everyone on Earth so that Petey can have his secret identity again. But then again, change can be a very good thing, especially when we're dealing with a forty-some year old character, if it helps keep that character fresh. Time will tell. In the meantime I might have to check out Civil War.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Everything about the whole event was ugly. I don't understand why some people in Greensboro keep bringing it up. There was nothing "socially significant" about what happened that day at all: it was two groups of people who hated each other, and one way or another they were both aching too much for a confrontation to let one slide by. It was like two schoolyard bullies going at it against each other, but with grownups and guns. I've never had any sympathy toward either party involved: as much as the Nazi-Klansmen caused bloodshed in the tragedy, the Communist Workers only had themselves to blame for antagonizing them in the first place.
(Here's a video of the confrontation on YouTube, showing not only the Nazi-Klansmen shooting at the Communists but the Communists shouting insults at the Klansmen and hitting their cars as they drive by.)
Two nights ago I witnessed firsthand something that I've heard of for a long time, and even wrote about when I was in college, but never expected to see with my own eyes: a "protest" by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas (the "God Hates Fags" bunch). You've probably heard of them: they're the "church" that have been going around the country picketing at funerals of fallen soldiers, waving around the most vile signs and spitting out vicious slander at anyone who doesn't fit within their narrow definition of what it is to be right with God. Here's my full report on what happened, including plenty of photos of the Westboro members in action.
Fred Phelps, his daughter Shirley Phelps Roper (who accompanied her family two nights ago and is the spokeswoman of the group), and the rest of Westboro Baptist Church are trying to elicit a response with their antics. I wonder if they really understand what it is they are doing, and if the ramifications of their actions are within their realm of comprehension.
These people are doing nothing but asking for trouble. And when it comes, it'll be in spades.
Folks, I honestly believe – enough to make a statement about it even – that the Westboro Baptist Church is headed toward a nasty situation like what happened in Greensboro in 1979. One day, sooner or later, the Westboro gang is going to picket the wrong event and honk off the wrong people. All it really takes is one person. Someone is going to see the Westboro Baptist members with their signs and their songs and their sickening disregard for sympathy toward others. And that someone is going to decide that Westboro Baptist Church has gone too far. And then, that person is going to take matters into his own hands.
You heard it here first: if they keep this up, the members of Westboro Baptist Church can only look forward to some of them being dispatched with extreme prejudice. I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened already.
Well, what else can I say except this: I've never wanted to see anyone get hurt, for any reason. But if it happens to the people of Westboro Baptist Church, I can’t imagine anyone else who would have brought it upon themselves more.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I reported yesterday about Shirley Phelps Roper, spokeswoman for the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas and the notorious "God Hates Fags" website, coming to our studio later in the evening to talk about her group's demonstrating at the Southern Baptist Convention going on in Greensboro. They're especially miffed at a ten-foot statue of evangelist Billy Graham that was unveiled during this year's conference. Well, Phelps Roper was scheduled to be live in the studio between about 7 and 9 P.M. About quarter past six we got word that she was en route to the studio... along with several other members of Westboro Baptist (who happen to be members of her family) who were being given a police escort on the highway. ETA was going to be sometime after 7. Shortly before 7 two protestors arrived, one of whom had a small sign saying "God is love". By this point we had a camera set up on the sidewalk outside the studio and we got a few minutes live footage of them making their presence known.
About 7:15 the caravan (2, maybe 3 SUVs) arrived at the studio and parked along the curb. We immediately heard some of them say that they weren't expecting counter-protestors to be present.
Shirley Phelps Roper had arrived, bringing with her about 10-15 other Westboro members who disembarked their vehicles...
The Westboro Baptist people then went inside the studio and Shirley Phelps Roper (in red shirt) talked with host Mark Childrey before the show began, as members of her family began whipping out the signs for which they have gained so much notoriety...
This kid looked to be no more than 5 years old. He's looking through a bag containing several of the "God hates..." signs:
I can only say that the mood among the Westboro Baptist gang was nothing short of jovial. They seemed outright happy to have been there. I've never seen anything like it before: I mean, here were these people with these signs saying some downright horrible things, and I didn't see them stop smiling at all. You know, the guys who ran the gas chambers at Bergen-Belsen didn't even really think about what it was they were doing: they just pumped in the Zyklon-B, cycled out the bad air, then went home and had dinner and played with their children. More often than not being "happy" with their work didn't really register with them. And here were people who couldn't be happier showing the world how much they hated other people. It was just... mind-boggling to see, being one with a history background. But anyway...
While Phelps Roper was getting started inside the studio with Mark, the rest of her entourage took to the sidewalk outside the studio to do their "protest". I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...
While they were out on the street waving their signs around, the Westboro mob was singing some absolutely blasphemous song... no, not "parodies". A parody is something funny. There was nothing funny at all about what was coming out of their mouths. Song mockeries like "God Hates America" and "America the Burning", replete with all kinds of lyrics about "fags" and thanking God for dead soldiers. To me, personally, hearing such classic songs like "America the Beautiful" filked like this by these heartless bastitches was the worst thing they did that night. It was enough to make me dream of seeing them beaten to a pulp by a mob of Ray Stevens fans.
And no I'm not caring right now whether this is the most objective report I can file or not. But I'm not going to let these people win some kind of victory over me either. I'm posting this because I believe in the school of thought that Mel Brooks practices when he attacks Hitler: the best way to destroy someone is to make others laugh at them. And the Westboro Baptist Church is a pretty laughable bunch. If they hadn't been doing this for fifteen years already (and if they really weren't so deadly serious about hating other people) they might be mistaken for shoddy satire. They're pathetic is what they are: running around the country with God only knows what kind of funding they have to manage on, going to the slightest little event that insults their petty sensibilities, and proceeding to act like clowns waving stupid signs around.
Speaking of which, look at those signs: with a change of wording they would look like protestors in support of Rastafarianism. "Want you some ganja, mon?"
Okay, back to last night...
The "Billy" here is a reference to Rev. Billy Graham. Yah, I never thought I'd live to see the day either: someone in the middle of Reidsville, North Carolina waving an anti-Billy Graham sign...
Meanwhile, inside the studio the interview with Shirley Phelps Roper was well underway...
The counter-protestors were busy, well, counter-protesting...
The Westboro Baptist Church was starting to be an impediment to pedestrian traffic...
And Reidsville's finest were starting to take increasing note of the shenanigans...
Shortly before 8 P.M., more Reidsville Police officers than I've ever seen congregate in one place descended on the scene (I'd say four or five, maybe more than that, police vehicles parked on the street) and approached the Westboro Baptist protestors. The Chief of Police informed the Westboro Baptist gang that (a) they were blocking the sidewalk and (b) the signs they were waving were too big. In short, they couldn't be demonstrating outside the studio as they were...
At this point Shirley Phelps Roper left the interview and discussed the situation with the officers. It was agreed that her group would leave the sidewalk and come inside, where they sat inside the station and sit in another studio while the interview went on. After the situation had been brought under control, the Reidsville Police left, amid cheering from the counter-protestors...
And the interview went on. It was now sometime past 8 o'clock...
It was sometime after this that came my only direct interaction with Shirley Phelps Roper (or anyone else from Westboro Baptist Church for that matter) of the evening. The rest of her group had left the studio when I wasn't looking and during a commercial break I asked someone if they knew where they had gone to. Phelps Roper snapped at me "Why do you want to know where they've gone to?" I told her that I'd wondered if they had gone out to dinner, that there were several good places to eat in the surrounding area, "that's all". It was the tone she used toward me that I wanted to make note of: she really did come across as someone very paranoid. Anyway, that's the first and probably last time that I'll have any interaction with someone from the Westboro Baptist Church, so I might as well mention that.
Here's the side studio after the other members of the church had left (and it turns out they did go out to grab a bite to eat) with the signs they left behind...
It wasn't long after the break that Johnny Roberson, a local minister who had debated the Phelps family the last time they were in the area, was brought out and another debate ensued between Phelps Roper and Roberson. It was during the next commercial break that I really took notice of the profanity that Shirley Phelps Roper seems inclined (and even proud of) toward using, when she referred to Roberson as an "asswipe"...
So much else I could report on, like the heated argument that broke out among the Westboro Baptist group and another person in the lobby area during the interview. But as it was, it was now going toward 9 o'clock and I'd decided that I'd seen enough, so I punched out and headed for home.
That is what happened when the Westboro Baptist Church came to town. Coming into contact with these people is not something that I enjoyed in the slightest bit. There is nothing Christian at all about the Westboro Baptist Church: they are so fixated on God's justice that they have no concept at all about God's grace. I would even say that their idea of His justice is warped beyond measure. If anything good has come of their hate-driven activities, it escapes my mind: "by their fruits shall ye know them", we are told. Well, the fruit of Westboro Baptist reeks of rot and is crawling with maggots. The most uplifting thing they could do to further the Kingdom of Heaven would be to just go away... far away! The farther the better. And maybe I'm doing the wrong thing anyway by reporting on these loons.
But, God has called me to be a writer, and to be a witness for Him. Who knows: maybe I'll do more for Him by writing about all this than the Westboro Baptist miscreants ever will.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
I'm going to conjecture that Luceno is going to put Qui-Gon Jinn in this novel somewhere. Why do I think that? Because Luceno said in an interview awhile back that he'd love to examine how both Plagueis and Jinn, in their own separate ways, searched for immortality... but Jinn learned the right way to do it. Whatever it is he's got in store for us, expect the novel to come out in 2008.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
This is definitely the best work that Pixar has done in the animation department. Now going on eleven years after Toy Story and the studio's digital handiwork has improved markedly (if it needed any at all). From the detail done to the cars to the blur of motion as they race down the track, amid a dizzying amount of beautiful scenery, Cars is a movie with an admittedly silly premise but good lord, it all looks so real! You know how some Pixar movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles has that "Toon-Town" look, that's very good animated but "obviously" animated? That's barely there in Cars at all, folks. And it doesn't look any better than when the action is going fast in this movie.
But what I really appreciate about Cars is the vocal talent, and it indicated to me that the Pixar crew has not only a great sense of casting, but respect as well. Owen Wilson is Lightning McQueen, the main car-acter. He's a hotshot rookiee racer gunning for the Piston Cup. And the first indication that this movie has real class came toward the end of the first race, when McQueen is in a three-way tie with two other cars: Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton) and a car painted a certain shade of blue with the number "43" on its sides, the car known as The King. And sure enough, The King is voiced by racing legend Richard Petty (that's Petty's wife Lynda doing the voice of Mrs. The King). Listen also for the voices of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darrell Waltrip and Mario Andretti, among many others. The core cast is rounded out by tow-truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Ramone (Cheech Marin), and what I thought was the grandest touch of all: Paul Newman playing Doc Hudson. Which if you know anything at all about Newman and his passion for racing you'll understand how appropriate this is.
Cars is a wonderful homage not only to the American culture of the car and racing, but also to the days gone by when driving wasn't so much about getting from here to there as fast as you can, but also about enjoying the ride along the way. This movie could have been titled Route 66 (which was its working title at one point) because this movie is very much a loving tribute to that legendary highway. Indeed, after the movie while we were driving around Greensboro it was enough to make me almost sneer in derision at the mighty I-40 that we drove over, which cuts a swath far into the west through Lord knows how much spectacular scenery with not a thought about any of it. Who knows what wonders are waiting to be re-discovered out there, somewhere along Route 66?
This is the second CGI-animated feature that I've seen in the past few weeks (the first being Over The Hedge), and they've both exceeded my expectations. Cars is definitely worth a drive down to the local cinema. By the way, stick around after the movie: there's one last scene tacked on after the end credits that's pretty funny (not to mention all the extra stuff the Pixar crew peppered the credits with).
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
"The extrapolator's working, we've got a fully functioning force-field. Try saying that when you’re drunk."This evening the Sci-Fi Channel wraps up its presentation of the first (or twenty-seventh, depending on how you look at it) season of Doctor Who here in the States with "The Parting of the Ways". At the same time Season 2/28 of Doctor Who is rolling on in Great Britain this weekend with "The Satan Pit", the conclusion of a two-part story that began with last week's "The Impossible Planet". That episode (the eighth with David Tennant as the Doctor) was classic Who-vian horror with a strong dash of everything from H.P. Lovecraft, the movie Event Horizon and a LOT of what can only be references to the videogame Doom. "The Impossible Planet" had me hooked so much that I had to re-watch it twice, and I'll be downloading "The Satan Pit" as soon as our British friends put it online tomorrow.
"Worship him! Worship him! Worship him!"
"I'm dead or about to die any second with no chance of escape. And that's okay, hope it's a good death... Have a good life."
"He's fighting for us, this whole planet, and I'm just sitting here eating chips!"
"You are the weakest link... goodbye!"
"Hail the Doctor: the Great Exterminator!"
"I am the Bad Wolf."
"I think you need a Doctor."
"Rose, before I go I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!"
"Hello, I tremufu... hmmm, new teeth. That's weird. So where was I?"
But as for Doctor Who in America, tonight belongs to Christopher Eccleston.
This is Eccleston's final performance as the Doctor: a portrayal that he brought just about everything to but especially a personality that was as manic as it was magnetic. After just one season, I think he easily became my personal favorite Doctor. It would have been terrific (or maybe I should say "Fantastic!") to have seen him go an extra season or two, but I'll be thankful for what we did get to see of Eccleston in the role. He'll forever be known as the man who brought the Doctor back into the public conscience. And tonight, he gets to leave in a fashion truly fitting the Doctor, as our hero prepares to face down thousands of his old enemy, the Daleks. Expect some mysteries to be revealed tonight, especially the whole "Bad Wolf" thing that has followed the Doctor and Rose throughout this season. The final scene is something of a tear-jerker, as Christopher Eccleston undergoes the time-honored Doctor Who tradition and regenerates into the new Doctor (David Tennant). All told, some darned fine television tonight at 9 P.M. on Sci-Fi.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
If "You're Pitiful" is an indication of what's to come, I think it's safe to say that the art of Al has only gotten better with time. Can't wait for the new album (which reportedly also features a parody of "We Are The World" called "Don't Download This Song"). In the meantime, head over to Al's official site and check out "You're Pitiful" and prepare to laugh a lot :-)
(Oh yeah, I found the "You're Pitiful" faux cover art at Yankovic!)
UPDATE 9:56 PM EST: The official Weird Al site is hosed but BAD!! So many people are trying to get the song that the site is erratic in coming up at all. Fortunately some Al fan sites - notably Al-oholics Anonymous and We've Got It All On UHF have been given permission to mirror "You're Pitiful". So try downloading the song here or here or here or here or here or here, or here if all else fails!
Great, we nailed a bad guy. One of the biggest terrorist ringleaders even.
So... when does the "War on Terror" stop?
When do we go back to the America we had before 9-11, when our government didn't run roughshod over the Constitution in the name of "safety and security"? I mean, with Al-Zarqawi out of the picture, there's no more need for anything like our government spying on its own citizens, right? right?
Let's just state the truth of the matter: the "war on terror" is never going to end. It's not supposed to end. It is the perfect example of Orwell's "continuous war", where the state will always have to produce a hobgoblin for its people to fear. Al-Zarqawi has been the big hobgoblin of the past few years. I'm glad that he's gone, if he indeed was doing all of these terrible things... but realistically that only means our government is going to produce another one just like him, and none too soon.
The "war on terror" was the greatest gift that believers in big government ever received. And in spite of today's events, there's no indication that they are going to relinquish that gift in the slightest anytime soon.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
He wasn't going to be allowed to be the Republican front-runner though... not by the party bosses who really pick and choose who the candidates are going to be, who decide which ones get the media exposure and the big big money. Keyes would have been too great a threat to their power structure.
But in spite of that, Alan Keyes is still showing America that he's a man of principle. Someone with that doesn't need high office or material wealth or elitist approval to make a difference for the better. And once again Keyes is proving that by coming out against the atrocious border policies of President Bush and too many others in this government. Here's the speech Keyes made a few days ago at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Minutemen movement in Arizona. I like this part especially:
"Well, we're taking care of having to deal with the problem of millions of people who have come into this country as a result of the dereliction of duty of these political elites. And they wish us to accept what they told us in '86 and '94 and every time they turned around: 'Trust us! Trust us! Trust us!' I think we need to send them a good, clear, strong message: 'We don't trust you anymore!'It's hard to argue with Keyes on this at all. The Republicans have been on a roll since the 1994 elections, and they were supposed to have more political capital "to get things done" in the last two presidential elections. Well, what good has it done them? What benefit to the American people has really come out of their being in power? No, I'm not shilling for the Democrats at all: they're just as bad if not worse. But really: why should we trust the Republicans and George W. Bush in particular? What reason have they given us to trust them?
And I want to say it outright. I'm a Republican... but it's about time that we look G.W. Bush in the eye and tell him, 'We don't trust you, either!'
On another note, there are several pictures from the Minutemen event that Keyes was at on the above-linked website, including several taken by Connie Hair, Minutemen publicist and longtime associate of Dr. Keyes. Miss Hair is without a doubt one of the classiest and most thought-provoking ladies that I've ever been given the opportunity to have met, having done so on several occasions. Am really delighted to see her in the middle of the action, as she so very often is :-)
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
In my junior year of high school I was assigned locker #666. I opened it several times a day and there were no scenes of Dante's Inferno lurking in there that I ever saw (there was a lot of other junk though but that's neither here nor there). There've been a few times that when I buy something in a story it rings up $6.66. At least twice the cashiers have tried to give me a penny back so it won't be exactly that amount. I always tell them to keep it: to me, it's just a number that falls between 665 and 667. It's got no more special significance or power over me than any other number does.
And today is just another day. It's not even a really sequential numerical, because before it there would have had to be 665 days from the start of the year and followed by 667. Thank goodness the year only has 365 days, I guess. But some of the hysteria about today (one woman in England wanted her doctor to induce labor because the due date on her baby is today and she didn't want it associated with the devil's number) is positively mind-boggling. You'd have thought we as a civilization would be past such nonsense as numerology.
Well, whatever 666 really is in biblical prophecy, however it fits into what's supposed to happen, I doubt this day out of all days has anything to do with it. The only thing really abominable that I've heard is happening on this day at all is the remake of The Omen: a movie that I've heard nothing but bad about. Give me the original version anyday (which for the longest time has been something of a comedy for me, but that's another story...).
Monday, June 05, 2006
Some people may not know what I'm talking about. It's this: the belief among a lot of Christians that we are only supposed to use the Authorized Version of 1611 – more commonly known as the King James Version – of the Bible as our text. They further believe that it's a dire sin to use any version of the Bible other than King James.
(For the record, I use the New International Version in my personal study, but 99% of the time when I'm writing something and need to quote scripture, I will use the King James Version… if for no other reason than because it's classier to use a time-tested masterpiece of the English language, despite some problems in it that have been addressed by modern scholarship.)
Here's what I think: some Christians put too much faith in an earthly incarnation of the Word of God, and contend too much for the sanctity of that incarnation, instead of meditating upon the meaning of the Word itself. Instead of letting themselves be changed by the Word of God, they desire to have the Word as something that they can wield as a tool, or a weapon, to be used against the things and even people of this temporal realm.
In other words, some Christians are imbuing the King James Version of the Bible with a power that it does not have and never was supposed to have, on the sheer basis of its linguistics and structure. To them, it's not the truth that is conveyed by the words, but which exact words are used and how they are ordered that is what is more important.
This belief in the complete inerrancy and superiority of the King James Bible above all others is something very much based in one of the most enduring tenets of Gnostic thought: that things of matter can be given power. Indeed, power is the only driving motive behind King James Onlyism and the lust to destroy the credibility of other versions of the Bible. In doing so these Christians have taken the living Word and made it as something sterile, diminishing utterly its power of spiritual nourishment.
I may write more about this later, but I felt led to share that thought here for some reason or another. If anyone disagrees with my sentiment on this, they're more than welcome to make a comment to this post. I won't delete anyone who disagrees with me (unless the comment crosses the line away from common decency).
Sunday, June 04, 2006
These are the same ones that President Bush is telling us to have compassion toward, the ones he's pushing to grant amnesty for.
This country is being invaded from the south. Hell, 10% of the entire Mexican population is in the United States right now. How the hell does this President get away with calling himself a "homeland security" Commander in Chief when he does NOTHING about our southern border and lets this kind of thing happen to REAL Americans?
President Bush doesn't care one damn whit about you or me, my fellow Americans. And as for the illegals coming over and doing this sort of thing, I'd recommend the following: fire one shot over their heads as a warning, and another between their eyes to take them down if they take one step more over the line. Let the Mexicans take charge over their own country: it's more than enough for us to manage our own.
Friday, June 02, 2006
"You have GOT to be kidding."
-- The Doctor, "Bad Wolf"
The less said about this episode to the uninitiated, the better. Definitely one of the best of the Eccleston episodes. From the opening moments when the camera is spinning madly while focused on the Doctor unconscious on the floor, this one is outrageous as all get out. Doctor Who during its long run has done just about every genre imaginable - from sci-fi to horror to western to everything in between - except the musical. Well, tonight they add one more notch to the belt: the reality game show! Want a taste of what's to come? That's Anne Robinson herself doing the voice of "the Anne Droid" on The Weakest Link of 200,000 A.D.! Definitely to be recommended if you're an American fan who's just now able to see the revived Doctor Who and it's an absolutely must-see before Eccleston takes his bow in next week's "The Parting of the Ways".
Thursday, June 01, 2006
No doubt he sees a lucrative market here: putting VeriChips into all those people will make the company billions of dollars.
Here's the real danger from where I sit: how long after imposing this on immigrants is this going to be expected that all normal American citizens be "chipped"? "For our own good" of course.
Are we willing to alleviate one serious problem by taking the first step down a very slippery slope toward something that would be altogether worse?
Dear friends, it's not your average American people that are messing up this country. It's a very disproportionately tiny group of individuals in government and political parties and the media and corporations like VeriChip, that are destroying everything that was once good and true in this land. They do nothing to sincerely help their fellow man out of compassion, but they will not fail to act when they discover some new means of shackling and controlling their brother.
Remember: you are not a number. You are not a piece of meat that lives only to spend and consume and screw and die. You have a soul... something that too many in this world would deny you sentience of that fact.
I for one will never relent to being "chipped". As for Scott Silverman, the president of VeriChip: might I suggest that he have his company's largest model firmly embedded far up his own ass.