Lost and Found

Back in the 80’s, when I was just a teenager, I had a really cool friend.

I had grown up in a very bland environment. I had heard mostly bland music, seen bland movies, read bland books.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that my entertainment sucked. I still enjoy many of the things I watched and listened to back in those days. James Bond, Star Trek, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Genesis, Billy Joel. All still entertaining, but certainly not challenging.

My friend introduced me to entertainment with an edge, people who promoted critical thinking. Hunter Thompson, Harlan Ellison, Dave Sim, Warren Zevon, Penn & Teller. I was introduced to them all by the same wonderful guy. He was also the first atheist that I ever knew.

We lost touch over the years, as people often do.

Last night I was surfing the net, bored, when I did a search for my friend.

He has a web site now.

He’s found Jesus.

He quotes scripture and talks about God’s plan.

I can’t recall ever being that disappointed in my life. I’m still shaking my head in disgust. I thought about sending him an email, but I don’t know what to say. He’s no longer than same guy I knew and I’m not sure I really want to know this new guy.

A Special Thank You To The United Kingdom

A recent conversation I had here with Last Hussar left me thinking a lot about entertainment. I watch a pretty fair amount of television. I watch a lot of movies. I read a lot of books. I also read a lot of comic books. Then there’s music.

I’m a pretty heavy consumer of entertainment.

That conversation left me realizing that I owe a huge amount of my enjoyment of each of those medias to the British. From Doctor Who to Sherlock Holmes to The Beatles, a startlingly large percentage of what I enjoy stems from the British aisles.

So, I’d like to publicly thank my friends from across the pond. To some degree you have made life more bearable for me.

Below the fold you’ll find a partial list of the writers, actors, characters, series, musicians and other things I’m thankful for.

William Shakespeare
Charles Dickens
Jane Austen
Arthur Conan Doyle
Herbert George Wells
Agatha Christie
Margery Allingham
Bram Stoker
Oscar Wilde
George Bernard Shaw
Gilbert and Sullivan
Mary Shelley
Percy Shelley
Lord Byron
Warren Ellis
Alan Moore
Garth Ennis
Jamie Delano
Wallace and Gromit
Dr. Who
Judge Dredd
2000 AD
John Constantine
Sherlock Holmes
Professor Quatermass
James Bond
Vincent Price
Peter Cushing
Christopher Lee
Christopher Plummer
Alec Guinness
Peter Sellers
Monty Python
Rowan Atkinson
John Gielgud
Amanda Donohoe
Ken Russell
Patrick Stewart
Christopher Eccleston
Anthony Stewart Head
Jeremy Brett
Hugh Laurie
28 Days Later
Shaun of The Dead
The Prisoner
The Avengers
Black Adder
Harry Potter
Fawlty Towers
Wire In The Blood
Murder City
Hammer Horror
Blake’s 7
Red Dwarf
Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Etc, etc, etc…….

Need a Little More Who?

In 1989, after twenty six years of continuous production, Doctor Who was cancelled. Like many other fans, I was devastated. My favorite show was gone, there would be no more.

This didn’t turn out to be the case.

Almost instantly the spin offs began. We had original, low budget films featuring supporting characters from the series. Sarah Jane Smith, The Brigadier, even Victoria Watterfield made appearances in these little gems, all portrayed by the original cast. Then we got little movies featuring monsters from the series, like The Auton Trilogy. Then series like PROBE and The Stranger that actually starred previous Doctors in different roles, still slightly connected to the Who Universe.

Virgin books began publishing novels featuring both the most recent Doctor and previous ones.

Marvel Comics continued to publish Doctor Who Monthly.

In 1996, Fox took a stab at it and produced an original Doctor Who TV movie starring Paul McGann.

It was all okay, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t right.

Enter Big Finish.

It was 1999 and somebody had a great idea. They decided to produce original Doctor Who audio dramas. Each story who be told in four half hour episodes on 2 CD’s. They’d release a new story every month. They’d even hire the original casts. They produced dramas featuring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy & Paul McGann, along with their respective companions.

And they were good. Very good. In fact, they were often better than the televised stories of those particular Doctors.

Guess what. They’re still doing it. Big Finish just recently released their 80th monthly drama. That doesn’t count the various spin off audio dramas featuring Sarah Jane, UNIT, The Daleks and even Romana & Leela on Gallifrey.

You can even subscribe to them and have the new story sent to you every month.

So if the new Doctor Who series isn’t enough for you, if you’re jonesing for a little more Doctor in your life, try looking around at http://www.doctorwho.co.uk/drwho/index.shtml

You won’t regret it.

Culture Wars?

I was reading through some threads over at Unscrewing The Inscrutable and ran across the following comment by Daniel Levesque.

Real life situation happening in schools across America. Every religion with the exception of Christianity is being freely taught and discussed as a “cultural phenomenon”. Any time Christianity enters the mix someone, usually the ACLU or Americans United for the Seperation of Church and State sues the school. It would seem that, in this situation at least, Christianity is recieiving a certain “special attention” in that it is being supressed in a forum where other religions are free to be taught to the stdents.

Mr. Levesque has his own blog called Raving Conservative.

Since this is something I’ve heard from Christians over and over again, I thought it might deserve some comment here. Other religions are taught in school as part of a foreign culture topic. Understanding a culture’s beliefs are an important part of understanding the culture itself. Christianity isn’t taught because it is part of our culture, something most people in this country already know about. This might be different if the aim of the curriculum was to convert children to one of these other religions, but that’s not the case. It is just a way to let the children know these other religions exist.

It’s Time For War

Enough shit from the bible belt. Time to do something about it.

If a circuit court judge started saying that he was abducted by aliens, there would be calls to remove him from the bench. Why? Because if he believed something that ridiculous his ability to think rationally and do his job would be in question.

If a state senator declared that Santa Claus was real, would we leave him in place or would we push to drive him out of office? Would you feel comfortable having decisions that effect your life being made by someone who believes a fat, jolly man slides down his chimney every year?

Maybe the belief in a higher power doesn’t fall into that exact category. I have heard plenty of rational arguments for believing in some greater force then us in the universe. I personally don’t buy it, but I can respect it. However, the specific belief in the literal God of The Bible, invisible sky daddy who can make entire eco-systems in six days and doesn’t like it when we don’t pray to him, that DOES fall into the Santa-Aliens category and anyone who believes such stuff is incapable of making completely rational decisions because their belief system influences all that they do.

So we need to make a list of all the people in power who fall into this category. All the politicians, judges, etc. Then we need to hire some lawyers and bring them each into court for competency hearings. A unified movement across the country.

Think that would send a message?

Time to impeach?

To understand this post, you must first understand one thing. I have been a strident Bush supporter.

I voted for him, twice. I think he’s been an excellent wartime Commander-In-Chief. I agree with most of his actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I may have some issues with many of his domestic ideas, especially those based on his religious beliefs, but I’ve been reasonably content with the idea that he didn’t seem to be pushing them too hard. They appeared to be unimportant to him. I didn’t realize that EVERYTHING that wasn’t involved with the war was unimportant to him.

As has been noted elsewhere, the Army Corps of Engineers laid out plans to strengthen New Orleans’ defenses so they could survive something like Katrina. It has also been noted that Bush vetoed the expense because the money was needed for the war effort. This was a catastrophic decision.

I could forgive it, perhaps, if he stood up and took responsibility. If he explained why he made the decision.

That’s not happening.

I’m watching CNN now, and I just saw someone from the administration talking about the failure to properly respond to this disaster. They’re laying the blame on the various agencies and saying it took the President’s personal involvement to get the ball rolling. They’re trying to paint him as the hero.

I feel ill.

This One Makes My Head Hurt

I found a website that has something to say. The problem is figuring out just what that something is. Take a look at this passage…

Educated cubeless stupid, you think stupid.
Why worship a dumb 1 day god when I
demonstrate 4 simultaneous 24 hour days
within a single 24 hour rotation of Earth?
Linear, singularity and trinity equate to
evil math within Nature’s Cubic Creation

The site is one very long single page rant by a guy who has apparently sought help at least once…

My wisdom so antiquates known knowledge, that
a psychiatrist examining my behavior, eccentric
by his academic single corner knowledge, knows
no course other than to judge me schizoprenic. In
today’s society of greed, men of word illusion are
elected to lead and wise men are condemned. You
must establish a Chair of Wisdom to empower
Wise Men over the stupid intelligentsia, or perish.

His thoughts appear to have some religous significance, as seen in the next quote, but I still can’t piece together what he means. (and I probably shouldn’t try too hard or my head might explode)

God created only a single 24 hour day
rotation of Earth, while I have created
4 simultaneous 24 hour days within a
single rotation of Earth – therefore, I
am wiser than the word god, and all
word worshipers. All words are fictitious.
I will wager $10,000.00 that
Cubic Creation is almighty.

An Atheist On Fox

I don’t mind Christians on TV shows. They do make up the majority of the country so I expect most of the characters I enjoy watching to be Christian, it only makes sense. But I do love it when I find an atheist as the lead character in an American series. It makes me feel vindicated in some small way.

Which brings me to the point of this little missive, a new medical drama on Fox entitled “House”. If you haven’t discovered it for yourself yet, please, give it a try. The lead character, Dr. Gregory House, is a cantankerous, unpleasant, misanthrope with the brain of Sherlock Holmes. Each week is a medical mystery, a patient with a strange sickness, and it’s up to House and his team of elite doctors to diagnose and treat the real problem. Did I mention that he is an atheist? Witness the following exchange between House and a patient, a nun who has decided to check herself out of the hospital and return to the rectory where God can take care of her.

House: Room’s paid up for the rest of the week. Might as well stick around.

Augustine: This illness is a test of my faith. If it’s His will to take me, it doesn’t matter where I am. I can accept that.

House: Does anybody believe anything you say? You’re not accepting, you’re running away. Just like you always do. You ran away from the Monastery to get laid, you ran away from the real world when getting laid didn’t work out so good, now things aren’t working out again so off you go.

Augustine: Why is it so difficult for you to believe in God?

House: What I have difficulty with is the whole concept of belief. Faith isn’t based on logic and experience.

Augustine: I experience God on a daily basis. And the miracle of life all around. The miracle of birth. The miracle of love. He’s always with me.

House: Where is the miracle in delivering a crack-addicted baby? And watching her mother abandon her because she needs another score? The miracle of love? You are twice as likely to be killed by the person you love than by a stranger.

Augustine: Are you trying to talk me out of my faith?

House: You can have all the faith you want in spirits and the afterlife, in heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don’t be an idiot. Cause you can tell me that you put your faith in God to get you through the day but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways.

Augustine: I don’t believe He is inside me and is going to save me. I believe he is inside me weather I live or die.

House: Then you might as well live. You got a better shot betting on me than on Him.

Egotistical, arrogant and surly, House is perfectly played by Hugh Laurie, a British comedian who does the job here in a perfect American accent.

You can find House on your TV on Tuesday nights at 9pm, on Fox.