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Media Viruses: Things You Wouldn’t Say in Broad Daylight.



Milton and me.

So I’m really digging Paradise Lost. I read this unwieldy bugger for the first time when I was about 16  or 17.  I liked it then, too, but I was also just coming out of my “too religious for words” phase then, so I read it with the same reverent awe in which Milton wrote it.  Milton is very good at explaining the free will/predestination paradox without making God look bad. 

See, if there was a God (which I don’t believe, but what the hell, I’ll play Devil’s advocate for the purpose of this argument) and if that God is omnicient, then He would know that Adam and Eve would fall, if given the choice.  So, presuming that He already knew they would fall, He had to engineer the fall itself, first by giving them free will, second by placing temptation within their grasp.  And if this God created everything, then He created the Angels.  And He created these Angels to be perfect, and to obey His will.  He gave the choice of free will to men, but not to the Angels. 

So where did The Adversary get the idea to rebel, if not from God?  God knew Satan would rebel, had to rebel, to become an anti-God, so He planted the seed of rebellion and independence in Satan’s mind.  So even when Satan was tempting Eve into eating the fruit of knowledge, he was doing God’s will.  And therefore, everything, even evil, comes from God.  It must, or creation is a paradox.  For if there was no choice, free will would be superfluous.  However, how can an omnicient God allow anything to happen except what He plans?  So really, even though we are making our own choices, God already knew what choice we would make, so we are predestined, just not forced into one decision or another.

Of course, being an athiest clears all that up, since God is a figment of your imagination. 

That doesn’t mean Milton was wrong, just that he was working under an assumed set of axioms which are flawed to begin with.  I like my version of the story better:

As early one morn, while in her garden
Eve the Mother of All Things walked,
she espied a Serpent, lowly and cunning
where through the trees it twined.

From its fork’ed tongue,
a sound at once ensued, 
this creature invok’ed platitudes,
her lonely heart to woo

“Oh great Eve, beautiful flowr’d woman
to whom none else compares,
where is thy mate, thy equal in the world
who shares thy garden fair?”

“Mate I have none, requiring none
for in myself I am whole,
and no other shares my garden,
save thee and the creatures of my creation.”

The Serpent fell upon her, from the tree above,
and to her womb implanted
a seed of doubt and scorn, and pride
and ignorance, to which she soon gave birth.

Thus was Adam born
from the union of the Earth,
Eve, the fruitful lady,
and the Serpent, Lord of Dust

Okay.  So I’m not Milton.  But then again, who is?


Crash Test Cell Phone Dummies

A new Slashdot article claims that “A University of Utah study claims that drivers who use a cell phone will be ‘more impaired than drunken drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.08.’ The study also says that use will turn a driver who is age 20 into age 70. Hands-free systems apparently don’t help much either as they still require a driver to ‘actively be part of a conversation.’ What about in vehicle systems like OnStar?”

Hmmm.  What about people who listen to music?  What about dashboard drummers?  Or air guitarists?  Is there a study out there to figure out how many accidents these people cause?  I suspect that fishing for CDs, switching stations and rocking out in the car causes as many accidents if not more than cellphones.  Apparently, I’m not the first one to have this thought, since there was a hullabaloo in Washington a few years ago over just this issue.  According to this article, fiddling with radios, air conditioners and other in-car devices is far more likely to cause an accident than your cell phone.  The article cites a 2001 study by the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center, which “…revealed that only 1.5% of traffic accidents were causedby drivers distracted by cell phones.”

Some people, apparently, have no problem talking on the phone while driving.  This begs the question “Why not license some people to drive with their cell phone?”  There could be a little sticker on your driver’s license, right next to the ones that say “prescription lenses required” and “organ donor.”  Of course, this wouldn’t stop people from getting into accidents while driving, but at least the state could make some money off of them, since this “cell phone endorsement” would cost money and be an extra class, just like a motorcycle endorsement.  And for those who really screwed it up?  Let’s hope it says “organ donor” next to “registered cell phone user.”


Don't Abuse Your Zoology

A friend of mine recently sent me this picture:



There’s only one problem with this picture…Polar bears live at the North Pole…penguins only live at the South Pole.  Also, Wa points out (having had many years of percussion experience) that a penguin’s wings are not designed to grip the cymbal straps, although he points out also that they would make good bass drum players.  It’s these kind of errors (along with drawing humans and dinosaurs in the same cartoons) that get us in trouble with the Christians.  Not to mention that the other penguin has a purse.



The Dead Boy.

Well it’s happened again.

When I was a teenager, this guy I went to highschool with was in a movie. Actually, it was a miniseries, called “IT” and based on the Stephen King book.

The show starred a bunch of kids, including Ben Heller (the guy I went to school with) as the young Stan Uris, Seth Green as Richie Tozier, and Jonathan Brandis, (of Seaquest DSV) as Bill Denbrough.

The night IT aired, I also happened to be in the middle of reading Lord of the Rings. It was kind of eerie, because after watching the second half of IT, where Pennywise the Clown turns into the spider and they all kill it, I went to my room to read before bed. I was reading, and the date in the book was April 14. “That’s cool,” I thought. “because it’s April 14 today.”

I looked up. I hadn’t changed my John Howe Lord of the Rings calendar to April yet. It was still on March. So I got up and changed the calendar, and guess what the picture was?

Shelob. A big f-ing spider.

A few days ago, I was in the local record shop, and what do I see on the shelf but a copy of the miniseries on DVD. My best friend, who also went to high school with me used to have a massive crush on Jonathan Brandis. In fact, we had to watch Seaquest (she was my roommate in college) every time it was on. So naturally, when I saw the DVD, I thought of getting it for her, as sort of a late-birthday gag gift.

I went home that night and started going through some stuff I’d recently brought home from my mom’s house, stuff that had been stored in her garage since I was in college.

I found my roommate’s old Jonathan Brandis calendar.

“Okay. This is getting freaky.” I think. So today, I looked Jonathan Brandis up on the net, since I hadn’t seen him in any movies lately, and I wondered if he’d given up acting and become a lawyer or something.

Apparently, he committed suicide on November 12.

Yesterday: You’re famous. You’re popular. Your face is splattered on the cover of every teen mag in the country.

Today: You audition for parts and never get called back. You audition for the part of Anakin Skywalker in Episode II, but they cast some Canadian twerp instead.

Tomorrow: You hang yourself in your L.A. apartment.

Good night dead boy.


Since You Asked...

Someone sent me this comment: “Do you have any comment, please, on spirituality outside the structure of an organized religion?”

No. I don’t. The main reason I don’t is that I have no problem with individual spirituality. I think people are entitled to their own opinions. If you believe in a higher power, a creationary force, whatever, then good for you. I hope that faith enriches your life.

The problem I see with organized religion is that following one usually causes THE RELIGION and not THE DEITY to be held in highest esteem.

Even Jesus said “Where ever two or more of you are gathered together in my name, there I am also.” He didn’t say “Hey, broadcast this service on network TV so you can sucker old grannies out of their Social Security checks.”

Spirituality is a lovely way to interface with the natural order on a personal level, no matter what name you give to it. Religion is a club that defines its members by pointing out how much better (read: holier) they are than any one else.