Thursday, June 28, 2007
"The Bridge over the River Kwai" shall be reviewed in a few days. Stay tuned.
The main conflict does not center on race.
Someone gets stabbed to death.
One of the main characters is an engineer; he worked at reducing the weight of a certain sort of steel girder.
Plastic explosive is a major plot device.
Meanwhile, here's what H.L. and Histor are listening to. (Featuring Grizzly Adams on washboard!)
Thus Spaketh Histor at 19:54
I love coffee. So, thank God, did Pope Clement VIII.
Speaking of which, I read that Sufi mystics would try to get high on coffee. The more fool them - I know what happens when you drink too much coffee, and it's not pleasant, let alone desirable.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I am willing to use any excuse to load myself with champagne.
Seriously, I wonder (a) if my rather cynical interpretation of the situation has been disproved by this, or (b)whether this means some high-profile schismatics are about to return to the Church or yield a point to the Magisterium.
I have only been to one Tridentine Mass in my life, coincidentially the wedding mass of the Former Babysitter. I have but one complaint - it was hard to hear the priest even when he was speaking out loud.
I kind of like the idea of Novus Ordo for ordinary Masses and Tridentine for extraordinary. Especially if (a)they use 20 or 30 servers who belt out the responses and (b)lots of incense.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Guess what I was listening to as I wrote on the Monroe Doctrine and the causes of the Civil War?
(sung by Edwin Starr)
what is it good for?
Say it again
'Cos it means destruction
Of innocent lives
War means tears
To thousands of mothers how
When their sons go off to fight
And lose their lives
It ain't nothing but a heartbreak
Friend only to the undertaker
It's an enemy of all mankind
the thought of war blows my mind
war has caused unrest within the younger generation (what a sentence for a pop song!)
WHO WANTS TO DIE?
It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
it got one friend that's the undertaker
War has shattered
Many young men's dreams
made him disabled, bitter, and mean
life is much too short and precious
to spend fighting wars these days
war can't give life, it can only take it away
It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
Friend only to the undertaker
We've got no place for it today (and still it persists....)
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there's just got to be a better way
War-Good God, yall
Give it to me, yeah
What is it good for?
(Notes: I really liked the lead-in drum roll! More seriously, this songs, although very good in what it's against, has nothing about what it's for. That's where it messes up. I believe that all organizations based on opposition will fail eventually.)
I shall respond.
Five favorite Latin Hymns:
- Adoro te Devote
- Alma Redemptoris Mater
- Salve Regina
- Tantum Ergo
- Pange Lingua (yes, it's cheating....)
Five favorite English hymns:
("In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" is a hymn, right? Just kidding...)
- Amazing Grace
- Hail, Holy Queen
- Ye Sons and Daughters
- Table of Plenty (easy to parody)
- One Bread, One Body (same as above)
Can't think of anyone to tag. Maybe I should go to bed.
Author: Frank Herbert
A science-fiction novel; first published in 1965.
(Rating: 5 Stars; objectionable material in book: use of drugs, sexual themes including homosexuality, extensive violence, pyschology that conflicts with Catholic teaching)
It's Muhammad with laser guns! Seriously, even I couldn't escape the conclusion that Dune is based upon the emergence of Islam. However, instead of the Angel Gabriel, however, a series of supernatural coincidences, skillfully-planned military campaigns, and daring deeds makes the son of a duke, Paul Atriedes, leader of a fierce, tough band of desert men, the Fremen, sworn to spread their religion across the galaxy and turn mankind upside down (or spill its collective guts). The story is enhanced by lots of drug abuse and combat.
CHATTERING ABOUT THE BOOK
A little detail on Frank Herbert. He published this book in 1963, about the time LSD and similar hallucinogens were discovered and began to be produced. He also used them.
This accounts for the major role that "melange" and various other drugs have in the story. The purpose of these drugs is to get into the subconscious, non-rational core of mankind; Paul's success in doing so gives him the power to see into the future, although not completely.
Paul, as you may have guessed, is not a very pious sort. He is driven by a "terrible purpose" of unknown origin, not by anything resembling love of God. Yet this "terrible purpose" seems to have godlike control over the events of this world; past, present, and future. Over the course of the book, it becomes obvious that most of the major characters were unconsciously preparing for the "messiah." Despite this unseen influence, Paul gets to choose what he does; up to the very end he knows he can be killed and defeated. Free will, of course, is necessary in any story, especially fantasies like Dune; without free will, most stories would be dull as instruction manuals.
One thing that impressed me about Dune was its "world-building." It may seem unbelievable, but swords and laser guns coexist in Dune. Herbert pulls this off by inventing "shields," a kind of force-field that, when shot with a laser, destroys both the shield-wearer and the laser-wielder in a nuclear reaction. The shields only let slow-moving substances pass through; it is therefore necessary to gradually pass a blade through this invisible wall to kill your enemy. This explanation also gives Herbert an opportunity to describe some very interesting sword fights.
With all the other cool gadgets and talents featured in the book, Herbert gives a more-or-less believable explanation, and remains consistent. The organizations of Dune, such as the feudal government and the Bene Genesserit (an all-female combination of the KGB, a pyschological institute, and an order of nuns) are also developed well.
(A parenthesis: Unlike a certain, larger fantasy, known for its huge appendices, Dune has only 40 pages of explanatory material at the back; however, only the glossary is actually necessary for enjoying the book. In fairness, the unnamed fantasy doesn't require you to read the appendices either. I strongly recommend reading the glossary first, referring to it when necessary, then reading the other appendices once you feel like it.)
However, I have to say my favorite part of Dune is the villain, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. A very fat, disturbingly homosexual, subtly wise, and Machiavellian man, the Baron is a perfect embodiment of evil, and an interesting character to boot. His interactions with his two nephews and advisors are tense and disturbingly revealing of the Baron's true character. Best of all, he suffers a grimly humorous demise, which I naturally will not spoil by describing.
Unfortunately, the dialogue - especially that of the 'good' characters - tends to have annoying pyschological talk, necessary to the plot but grating to the mind. Herbert also feels the need to add some damned awful free verse to the book - again, the verse makes sense in the plot line but rubs me the wrong way.
(Another parenthesis: Herbert refers to a drug-music combination called "semuta," a sort of super-sedative that creates "sustained ecstasy." This drug-music idea, oddly enough, always reminds me of Jefferson Airplane.)
It's a weird book in many ways, and has reams of morally repugnant events scattered throughout. However, the plot is both exciting and believable, and the main antagonist is an especially interesting character, thus making Dune a very enjoyable book. If you are into science fiction or like to read long fantasies, I definitely recommend Dune.
H. L. Crawdad is a freelance columnist whose articles have appeared in the Mobile Register, the Houston Chronicle, The San Antonio-Express-News and other newspapers throughout the Southern US. He has 1 wife and approximately 59 children, all of whom have moved out. In May of 2007, he received the Mudball Award, given by the Library of Congress to honor talent among crustacean writers, for his short story "The Shell of an Idea." This essay was never before published, and is copyrighted ©2007, H. L. Crawdad & Works.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Remember that a CERTAIN PERSON once said he would review Dune, The Bridge over the River Kwai, and Heart of Darkness for your enjoyment and enlightenment? Well, that guy hasn't done it, so I'll do it. It's about time, you know. Dune is already coming down the chute, and with luck the other two will come down soon.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I feel like invading the whole Middle East.
More practically, it might not hurt to offer refugee visas to any Iraqi Christians who might want it - America is a 99 percent terrorist-free nation.
but first a recap.
I spent the whole of last week doing school. Well, except for Friday. That day, the Former Babysitter got married, and I was invited. It was a good wedding, the groom was a good man, and there was plenty of dancing at the reception afterwards.
Anyhow, the explanation. I'm behind in school. Way behind in school. Therefore, I'm only going to post on weekends, and then only if I can. It's all a matter of prioritizing (i.e. deciding what will help me make money in the long run; blogging is more a game than a profession.
Another thing I have to do is read some of the books that actually are on my "To Read" list at the side. I'll hopefully get some of those read now.
This state of affairs shall last until July 8th, when a cataclysmic change in my lifestyle shall (temporarily) occur. A change which, hopefully, will increase the amount of time I have for blogging.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
I got this "Vietnam Special Forces Weapons Set" on Friday. From top to bottom: 2 'Claymore' antipersonnel mines, a M16/M203 grenade launcher combination; a Remington 870 shotgun; an AK47; a machete; an M79 grenade launcher; a silenced M1911; an Uzi submachine gun; four 'baseball' grenades; two strips of shotgun shells.
Below, Pfc "Stonyface" Roberts poses with them.
Friday, June 8, 2007
''Bush is trying now to fool Pope Benedict XVI,'' Castro wrote. He predicted that during his visit to the Vatican this week Bush would tell the pontiff, ''The Iraq war doesn't exist, it hasn't cost a cent, there's not a single drop of blood. And hundreds of thousands of innocent people have not died in a shameful exchange for petroleum and gas.''
Yeah. Like Benedict would believe that. Like Bush would think it worth his while.
A 'modern' country elects a guy who thinks a mammoth nuclear reaction is God.
What happens when the Sun stops reacting? Will there be no God?
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Excerpt from Act II, A Man for All Seasons.
CROMWELL: We'll do whatever's necessary. The King's a man of
conscience...if the King destroys a man, that's proof to the King that it must
have been a bad man, the kind of man a man of conscience ought to
The Vatican gets solar power.
Of course, it's probably motivated by strictly economic motives. With which I have no problem. I'd prefer less of my donations to the Vatican to go to electric bills and more to go to worthwhile projects like feeding the poor and commissioning some decent musicians for new hymnals.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Coffee, in my opinion, should have a maximum of three ingredients: coffee, sugar, and cream. Yet I'd pay extra on coffee to get Internet access, so you know where I stand on this particular subject.
I don't live in South Dallas, if you're wondering.
"When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants 28 to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' "
Whether or not your bishop and priests are intelligent, prudent, or holy, you have to respect them. No garden-hosing, no sticking uncalled-for statues on the altar, and no misuse of the Eucharist - it's just not moral.
Maybe I'm carrying my "uncanny valley" hysteria to an extreme.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Anyone who has some bug spray they haven't any use for?
Or something like that.
You're a Gila Monster!
While you like to wear bright and discordant clothing to warn people
that you can be dangerous when provoked, most people merely take it to mean you have
terrible fashion sense. You try not to care what they think, as you'd rather be on
your own, looking around at bugs and rodents. Yes, you're a bit eccentric, though you
really resent some of the names you've come to be known by. While many folks don't
look for you at all, kids expect to see you at the airport.
Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Hat tip: Raulito.
You must admit, Raulito, that reptiles are dead sexy.
If you want to study childhood, examine a child. Don't program a robot to mimic a child - it will invariably influence your research, and badly.
Personally, I'd hate to spend an hour in the same room as that....robot.
In fairness, idiot logos probably got their start over here in the USA.
Yet, HOW COULD SOMEBODY INCORPORATE HEAVILY STYLIZED MAPS OF VIETNAM AND AUSTRALIA INTO AN OLYMPICS LOGO - AND TAKE IT SERIOUSLY??????!???!!!!!
Hat tip to Mr. Milne (snicker).
And happy Queen's Birthday/Bank Holiday to you English folks!
When I wasn't studying for the SAT, guess what I was doing...;)