On “Knowing”

December 21st, 2009

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” –Paul

“The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.” –Ezekiel

(SPOILERS AHEAD) I just watched the recent Proyas film Knowing again with my seven-year-old son, Hal.  Within the first 30 minutes, prior to any big-scale CGI destruction, he had it pegged as a sci-fi film, and the strange men in black coats as aliens.  Later, at the first mention of solar flares, he predicted that humanity would have to go underground to survive.  A few minutes thereafter, and well ahead of the big reveal, he spoke up again saying that the whispering aliens were moving to save a select few breeding pairs to take to a safer planet.  How Hal followed the movie so closely, says nothing of the plot’s originality (it is quite original), but much about my son, and much about the mood and logic of the time he was born into.  As the film’s final shot faded, my son sighed, “I LOVE THIS MOVIE.”  The feeling’s mutual. Read the rest of this entry »

On Obedience

April 6th, 2009

What a delicate endeavor, obedience.  I’ve always struggled with the subject in my own way, namely, by being very obedient within a highly rewarding and impersonally ordered system, where the rule-maker is invisible (school, formal games, addictions), and very rebellious and contrarian where either a) the rule-maker is known and, inevitably, known to be a flawed human being or group thereof, or b) the system is not highly rewarding.  Often I rebelled against rules because the system was not rewarding because the rules were not well ordered therefore indicative of a flawed human rule-maker, leading me to uncover the idiot behind the great Oz’s curtain–which is just to say, often my reasons for rebelling were/are all interconnected.  Read the rest of this entry »

249th and 250th Annual Burns Supper Loyal Toasts

February 9th, 2009

For those not familiar, a Burns Supper is one of several thousand suppers held annually on or around January 25th and serving to honor the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns with a mix of wit, whiskey, ritual, and revelry.  My friend attended one last year, and another this year,  the 250th year of the Burns Supper.  For both occasions, he recruited my services in writing a loyal toast–the first toast of a Burns night, directed customarily at the ruler of the nation in which the supper is held.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Curious Case (Name That Film Pt 2)

December 27th, 2008

Name that film:

A white man is born fatherless in the south with birth defects that lead many to think he may never walk nor live a normal life.  His saintly mother believes in his potential anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Recipe for Heaven Pt 2: Steps

September 20th, 2008

“Their skulls are full of electronic chips instead of brains,” I said.”Maybe they’re immortal,” Fat said.”…They can travel backward in time.”

–Philip K. Dick, VALIS

RECIPE FOR HEAVEN

Pt 2: Steps

Step 1:  You’re going to want to set up your heaven’s space first before you start adding souls to it.  This means getting out your solutions to suffering, your solutions to spacetime limitations on populations, and your transcendental bodies.  Fold these together in an infinitely expandable mixing bowl and set aside. Read the rest of this entry »

Recipe for Heaven Pt 1: Ingredients

September 19th, 2008

“When I’m at the pearly gates
This will be on my videotape, my videotape
Mephistopheles is just beneath
and he’s reaching up to grab me

This is one for the good days
and i have it all here
In red, blue, green
Red, blue, green”  — Radiohead, “Videotape”

Read the rest of this entry »

Re: Alities

August 19th, 2008

If ever there were an overburdened term, it’s “real,” or its aggregate, “reality.” We obviously find it important to discuss whatever we’re discussing when we ask if something is “real,” but we mean so many different things by the term, agreement on the reality of an object of discussion is hard to arrive at, and once we agree we’re not often too certain that we agree on how the object at hand is real. Therefore I suggest breaking down any discussion of the reality of an object into a discussion of seven related qualities of that object, seven qualities that most often underlie any discussion of an object’s reality. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Memetics, Game Theory, Free Will, and Transfinite Math Got to Do with It?

August 18th, 2008

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love, but a sweet old-fashioned notion?” –Tina Turner

I’ve previously spent a lot of digital ink exploring the nature of love. And I’m fairly confident that most of what I wrote holds together and offers a nucleus of wisdom or ethical knowledge, with a platinum and golden rule at the core. But humanity has been discussing the nature of love for millennia; the real task seems, to me, not just to establish a firm and credible and inspiring sense of what love is, but also to establish some firm theoretical connection between this wisdom and the realm of hard science and analysis and math. Read the rest of this entry »

Cherry Yacht of the Gods: Floating an Idea for an Improved Naval Megavessel

June 27th, 2008

So I live with this person who likes to watch Titanic, as well as the Wolfgang Peterson remake of Poseidon, over and over and over again. And over again. And so I too have watched over and over again as Mlle. Titanic the debutante munches thoughtfully on an icecube and decides to emcee a rousing round of King of the Mountain for her 2,223 guests. And I’ve watched over and over again as a rogue wave rolls Lady Poseidon over on her back as if to see what happens. Answer: She gets screwed. Read the rest of this entry »

Odin’s Frican Balls: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Beowulf

June 26th, 2008

The key to Robert Zemeckis’s recent film Beowulf is to understand that it’s an old man’s story. Not so much a story about an old man, as the sort of story an old man would want to tell the youngsters around him. And not a story told by just any old man, but by one with a great sense of humor, a great sense of regret, and a great memory of what it’s like to be young. Read the rest of this entry »

Spear It in the Sky: Pinning Down the Utility of the Term “Spirit”

June 24th, 2008

“While we scoff at them, what we don’t realize is that these shamans, in speaking of ‘spirit,’ are using ‘spirit’ to describe a highly complex and technical reality, much the same way that physicists use the term ‘quark.’ ” –Terence McKenna, reconstructed from memory. Read the rest of this entry »

Quote Eco-Warrior Attacks Big Families Endquote

June 21st, 2008

Dave Toschi: And man is the most dangerous animal of all?
Arthur Leigh Allen: That’s the whole point of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Hornless Unicorn Studios: Movie Ideas of Mine That Won’t Come to Fruition Any Time Soon

June 7th, 2008

Hornless Unicorn Studios, in coordination with Human Dwarf Productions and Virgin Rum & Coke Entertainment, presents a Wingless Fairy Film. Several, actually. If you read the following and realize you’d like to turn one of these ideas into a living breathing movie, by all means go for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Deprogramming Your VCR: Famous Scient*l*gists and Their Secret Cries for Help

June 6th, 2008

If you were bound by blackmail to represent an insane cult for the duration of your natural life, but you had regular access to audiences numbering in the millions, you’d sneak out a few hints about your desperate situation, just like these folks. Read the rest of this entry »

Whole & One: Integrity, Intrapersonal Love, and the Two Perfections of the Lover

May 12th, 2008

“A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.” – Charles Evans Hughes Read the rest of this entry »