Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Coen Brothers

I don’t usually pay much attention to filmmakers nor to movies in general. I see maybe a dozen a year and sleep through many more. But if I see one I like, I don’t usually search out who did it. And it is not like it is as easy as an author, you like William Faulkner, you buy a William Faulkner book.

I certainly like some stand-outs. I will always give Alex Proyas a try hoping he will repeat his brilliance in Dark City. I will always check out a Simon Pegg, Nick Frost comedy. I will consider a new Leonardo DiCaprio (shut up, he’s a great actor) film because the man can act and he has a knack, sometimes, for choosing a really great film. Or the Christopher Guest spoofs.

iTunes and Netflix are great because you can easily see who directs it or produces it and a single click of my remote leads me to whatever else is available by this person.

So last night I watched a film called Barton Fink Continue reading


Showing, Not Telling in Religious Music

I follow a small number of blogs that interest me and one of them is by a Marc Barnes called Bad Catholic. Today (yesterday on all of your times) he had a post about an album by an Audrey Assad called Fortunate Fall.

Now I realize that music can be a very subjective experience so the following is with that fact in mind. I find a boring complacency in this music. There is no sense of any opposition to this music, no tension. It has all the emotion of a Norah Jones yarn about losing a boyfriend. Yawn.

If you are going to have that music and singing style, the lyrics hardly matter. It will make whatever the lyrics are that music. People nowadays seem to have this fixation on lyrics (or words) to the utter exclusion of whatever else is going on. Merely singing the praises of God will evoke the emotion of praise for God. Merely singing lyrics about lamenting God’s absence will, magically, convey the emotion of sadness or whatever the lyrics tell us we are supposed to feel.

There is a rule in fiction writing: Show, Don’t Tell.

I had a conversation with someone many years ago about Jewel’s first album which I loved then and still love now. The person thought it was odd that I, a guy, should like it at all. She’s girl music, right? I told him I liked it because she made me feel miserable. “Why the hell listen to it?” “Because,” I said Continue reading


Plato, Berkley, You’re Needed on the Holo-Deck

Alright, one thing not too serious.

Seems last year scientists discovered, they think, that we live in a giant hologram. I didn’t really read up on why they would think this. And really, who cares?

Reading this article one immediately thinks of Plato’s Cave, but I also couldn’t help but to think of this little witty limerick from Monsignor Ronald Knox,

God in the Quad

There was a young man who said “God
Must find it exceedingly odd
To think that the tree
Should continue to be
When there’s no one about in the quad.”

Reply:
“Dear Sir: Your astonishment’s odd;
I am always about in the quad.
And that’s why the tree
Will continue to be
Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God.”


An Apology on the Awkwardness

I was rereading the post I made last night (and editing some garish mistakes) when I noticed something that used to bug me at my old site. I said when I made this site that it was going to be more serious than the last one. And part of that was going to be better all around writing. Not a total polish but an effort to stay away from those awful transitions.

I noticed however on the last post that I started a new paragraph by commenting on the lead sentence of the prior paragraph. That is usually caused by insertion of material that occurs to me after I have left a paragraph.

I have never learned to navigate a computer editing screen. I can cut and paste and delete letters and stuff, but damn it, it is so slow! If you are writing longhand you simply scribble arrows pointing this sentence this way and that sentence that way, write a new clause in a bubble, an alternative wording in the margin. Even if you are typing old school you simply write it directly on the paper while it is still in the carriage, or you have a scratch pad next to you.

I would simply print it out and do it that way as I do with fiction. But my printer stopped talking to my computer a few months ago, and so I went on strike. Not from writing but from editing.

Screw the finicky things, what could they possibly have to fight about?


Taking a Look at Atheists

When I was an atheist I was the laziest of atheists. I belonged to no clubs, attended no “freethinkers” debates or functions or anything like that. Although I did have one of those stupid Darwin fish with leg things on the back of my car in the early 90’s…  but I happened upon that in some store. I thought Madalyn Murray O’Hair repugnant, Dawkins and Harris intellectually nonintellectual. Hitchens I liked, not his arguments, but I just enjoyed him in a debate. But I came across these people over a span of decades by chance, and they had nothing to offer except vacuous arguments and grossly erroneous logic.

Atheism meant nothing for the same reason that Nothing means nothing to me. Meaning atheism is a negative concept, it denotes the absence of a something, namely, theism.

And for the same reason I never got involved in attacking the “other side”. Quite frankly I was indifferent to the other side. Until recently I had never had any real contact with either “side” atheist or theist. I simply could not get interested in the Bible – not even enough to attack it. Or to debate with a religious person. I am not claiming it never happened, but I never actively pursued it. But I was an atheist, I did hang out with atheists, and I did belong to a pseudo-philosophical school that was atheist, Objectivism. So I have been exposed to a lot of atheist thinking, including my own of course, and what atheists think of themselves and the other side.

And I have become interested in the whole debate now.

And boy, am I learning a lot. Over at a place called Strange Notions is an article about a much touted study that claims atheists are more intelligent than Continue reading


A Nothing Something

Richard Dawkins goes against Cardinal George Pell. Here Richard Dawkins elaborates on how everything came from nothing. The Cardinal corrects him that the theory Dawkins is elaborating doesn’t postulate a nothing. Dawkins equivocates saying it depends on how you define nothing “…you can dispute what is meant by nothing”. The audience laughs, and Dawkins, unaware he has said anything funny, asks the audience, entirely serious, why they think that is funny. That part is at 12:56.

The question and discussion starts at 7:41. I have found parts one and two to be very good so far.

If there is something that is indisputable, metaphysically, it is nothing!


A Proper Study Guide

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After many failures I think I may have found an adequate study Bible. I had an uneasy feeling reading the other Bibles, their commentaries. What I was seeking was an actual presentation of what the Bible represents by people who assume, or believe, it is true. I was looking for the best argument. What I found in the other versions I tried eluded me for a time, but had an air of the familiar.

When I studied Objectivism I would use many sources but I found that many started from a premise of disbelief. They started from the premise that what they were discussing was wrong and then proceeded from there. The problem was they almost always misrepresented the arguments they would proceed to pick apart. So if the pro-Objectiivst books lacked any criticism, they at least presented the correct argument. And the non-Objectivist presentations while having a balanced criticism (sometimes) were not arguing against the actual positions of Objectivism, or, at best, a distorted statement of the positions.

While not exactly the same thing, the study Bibles I have used thus far have given me a similar feeling. And I realized why. Their starting premise is that the Bible is Continue reading


A Welcome, And Preliminaries

I welcome anyone to this site to comment as they see fit. I fear that I may have lost a reader in my move over here. But, if not, it would be appreciated if they would drop a line. You know who you are!

I am currently in the process of studying Christianity, particularly Catholicism (you have to choose a flavor, is how I’ll put it for now) so a lot of posts will be on that topic. I will do other topics as time goes by, and I hope to touch upon some of my thoughts on fiction writing, and even some of my stories.

But first this.

Despite a smattering of Christian education in my youth, I have been a thorough atheist most of my life. Of the Christian education, this consisted of Bible Camp for a summer or two, my father reading my sister and I the Children’s bible at some point, and a couple of trips to church (Lutheran). This also includes the mores of home-life that are instilled, the perspective that your parents try to have you see through, etc.

Of the atheism: this consisted of the usual atheist behavior, a complete repudiation of any upbringing (at least in word, not so much in deed) and the regarding of any non-naturalist subject as silly folly. Jesus and the Tooth-fairy are interchangeable members of a fantasy world. And, as it turns out, a complete ignorance of everything religious.

I held all the atheist-correct views such as the following: religion (and we always meant Christianity) is opposed to science. The one example, that every atheist finds sufficient, was Continue reading