Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Eyjafjallajokulled Your Mom Last Night

I love the name of the Icelandic volcano. I really do. I still can't say it properly but I did Eyjafjallajokull your mom last night...with Captain America's shield. Here's a fun video on how to pronounce it. I'm American I don't need to learn things but in case you're foreign, here it is. Anyway, onto our irregularly scheduled blog post.

I do like to talk about politics and there will be a little bit today but I'm in a pop cultural mood. So here are 10 things going on that you should know.

1. If you've read previous posts here, you know I'm a huge Doctor Who fan. If you haven't and don't know anything about Doctor Who, well, it is a show that you should be watching. Doctor Who concerns a character named "The Doctor." The Doctor is a time traveling hero who just likes to have a good time and go anywhere in the universe. He's the last of a race called the Time Lords. He had to wipe out his own race during a war that engulfed and killed trillions of people. The Time Lords became more and more cruel during the war and the Doctor destroyed his own people as well as the enemy they were fighting. Keep in mind this is a recent development on how he had to kill a lot of people.

For 47 years, Doctor Who has been a staple of British culture. If you're famous in Britain, there's a good chance you've been on Doctor Who. Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new Star Trek and brilliant comedic actor) went as far as to be part of Doctor Who audio plays. Kylie Minogue (she's Australian but y'know, still really big in Britain) was in one of my favorite stories, Voyage of the Damned. Doctor Who is a really big deal in Britain. Its one of the highest rated shows they have and its on a Saturday. Last weekend, Doctor Who premiered in the United States.

Now, I've seen the first 3 episodes of this season. Its fantastic. I was hesitant on the new Doctor. The Doctor doesn't really die. He regenerates into a new person with the same memories. Its a really clever way to keep a show going when the actors grow bored or get fired or just can't handle it anymore. David Tennant, the previous Doctor, is still my favorite Doctor. But the new one? He's really good and the writing is really good. You need to watch because its fun, over the top, and its the best sci fi out there right now. I'll digress as if I can't convince you, look it up on wikipedia, your Doctor Who wikiodyssey will work out, you'll start watching.

2. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!!!!!!......!!!!!!!!!! Scott and I saw Clash of the Titans. Let me say this, Gemma Arterton is smoking. Like, I do want to do fairly unconstitutional things to her. So I have to say that before I explain my Clash of the Titans experience. I didn't hate the movie. In fact, I strangely enjoyed it. Scott and I both cheered at RELEASE THE KRAKEN! There are points in the plot that I got a little confused. There really isn't much of a plot. But, the special effects and the movie's own awareness of not being serious made it enjoyable. I think there were 30 lines of dialogue and it was fun. Do I recommend seeing it? Probably as a netflix rental. That's best for you but I still had fun seeing it.

3. Last night, the show Damages had its season finale. It is easily the best show on tv that apparently no one watches. Go buy the DVDs. The show is utterly brutal and wonderfully acted. Glenn Close terrifies me in the show. Damages is a show about white collar crime. The first season had an Enron type scandal, the second was an environmental one, and this season was Bernie Madoff. I highly recommend the show and hope it gets a 4th season.

4. Here's a Corgi as Star Fox

5. Its baseball season and the NFL draft is this week. So I'm completely obsessed with the Cubs as usual and the draft picks the Bears don't have in football.

6. Did you know we're getting a Wizard of Oz sequel? Yes, we are completely out of ideas.

7. What's going on in the picture? I get the whole sex kitten look but did you have to torture that cat?

8. I'm thinking of having a new girl of the blog. Here are some quick ideas Alyson Hannigan, Karen Gillan, and Mila Kunis. They're the ones I thought of right off the bat but I'm willing to take suggestions and I'll keep thinking.

9. I still am pushing for a show Scott & Hate plus Hate. I say this because I heard Kate Gosselin, a person who is talented at pushing out babies and being a bitch, ruined Simple Minds' Don't You Forget About Me. I take pride in having never watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars outside of when Tom Delay was on...yup, I had to watch it...ugh. I generally lack shame but even I felt dirty.

10. SUBLIST!!!!!! Music on the brain.
  1. Collective Soul's Welcome Home Again
  2. The Heavy's How Do You Like Me Now
  3. Greg Laswell's cover of Your Ghost
  4. Drive Shaft....I mean Oasis' Rock n Roll Star
  5. Michael Franti and Spearhead's Say Hey (I Love You)
  6. London Bus Stop's remix/cover of Get It On (Bang a Gong)
  7. Scissors for Lefty's Got Your Moments
  8. Shiny Toy Guns' cover of Major Tom
  9. Ben Kweller's Penny on the Train Track
  10. Jacob Miller's Charlie Brown's Lament
  11. Decembrists' The Infanta
  12. Otis Taylor's Ten Million Slaves
  13. The Who's My Generation (in Mono) trust me it sounds more cool
  14. U2's Unknown Caller
  15. The La's There She Goes
  16. The Perms' Running Away
That's it for now. See, I avoided politics for the most part...okay fine. I still think Sarah Palin is the biggest scam artist in American media...god damnit, is she bigger than Glenn Beck and Rushbo? Oh man, that's for another day.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Validity of Thought

The United States is a fun place in that if you think something up, there are likely to be those that agree with you. Because others have agreed with you, your idea, no matter how random or outside the mainstream, will become a valid idea that others must treat with respect. You could make the claim this validity of ideas is enshrined in the US Constitution's 1st Amendment. I'm here to tell you that its utter bullshit.

People in this country have a right to believe whatever they want. The government can't and shouldn't do anything about what you believe. But that doesn't mean that because you believe it, your beliefs are valid. Over the past few years there are issues that come up that develop a point-counterpoint narrative that are so ridiculously stupid that it defies comprehension. With many of them, I've reached a point where if you have taken a certain position, all your other thoughts are immediately invalid to me. I don't care any more what you have to say because you have demonstrated an extreme level of stupidity.

I'll give you a for-instance. Climate Change and Evolution. People say they don't "believe" in them. Guess what? Its science. It doesn't give a shit what you believe. Thats the great thing about science; it either is, or it isn't. The other nice thing, is it builds on itself. People who take the opposing viewpoint like to retort "well its just a theory." These are people who don't know what they are talking about. Yes, in our colloquial understanding of the term, "Theory" doesn't mean much. In a scientific context though "Theory" is a whole lot more meaningful. In a scientific context, "Theory" means "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena."

These are general propositions that are tested thousands of times over. Then, when they are tested, they are retested. Intelligent Design has tried to be some sort of counter-theory to Evolution, but frankly its a bunch of shit. With regards to climate change, opponents like to point out the e-mail scandal and also some of the problems with the UN's research council. But the thing they like to ignore is there are still thousands upon thousands of data sets, research papers, and models that all say the same thing. The Earth is warming and its most likely due to human intervention.

If you don't "believe" these two things as scientific theory, then frankly I don't care what you have to say on anything. You are wrong and no amount of evidence will ever dissuade you. I'm done.

But this brings us to our issue du jour. Of course, at this point we're all aware of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's SNAFU regarding "Confederate Pride Month" or whatever the fuck he wants to call it. Most of you are probably also aware of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's defense of Governor McDonnell's omission of slavery. These men like to talk about honoring the soldiers of the Confederacy.

Pardon me for a moment but what exactly are they honoring?

The Confederacy was comprised of a group of states that attacked American soldiers at Fort Sumter. They were fighting for the right to own other human beings as property. Thats what we're talking about when we talk about the Civil War. It was a rebellion fought for slavery. And because "the North" or as I prefer it now be known "The United States of America" was ready to end slavery they fought for the right to break up the United States of America.
They did this by launching an attack on an American military base. They did this by assassinating the President of the United States. They did this by forming an army and killing more American soldiers.

The Confederacy's leadership was composed of traitors to the United States. They were held up by a cadre of wealthy land owners who, today, would be charitably described as war criminals. One of the sadder things about the Civil War is it didn't really need to happen. The US was already showing that one didn't need to own slaves in order to be successful at much of anything. Mechanizing tasks had made simple human labor outmoded. But this was irrelavent to the South. They wanted slaves because they also knew they didn't have the population (without slaves) to be a potent political force. Their options were either to end slavery and let former slaves vote or resort to treason.

If you want to honor the Traitors of the South, by all means, go ahead. But I'm done with anything else you have to say.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 13, 1204

Hey kids, I usually do a post that's random pop culture with politics as explained in the previous post. We interrupt my trend to discuss a little controversial topic. I don't avoid hard issues. I do run away from things. I'll admit that. I run and never stop at times but this is something that I've been wanting to talk about. Don't mind if its incoherent. I can't read.

A note before I begin, today is an important day for the Orthodox. So history means a lot to me. I adore history actually. I like to think I'm part of several decades that I wasn't close to being born into. There are points in history which IOn April 13th, 1204, Catholic crusaders sacked Constantinople, an Eastern Orthodox Christian city. It was the center of so much of the Orthodox ideology. Think New York combined with Washington, DC, London, Paris, and Rome. 806 years later, the Orthodox still do not trust Catholics all that much. I say this before I begin to explain that I probably have a bias

Anyway, I was thinking about the Catholic Church scandals. There have been a lot of attempts to explain what caused things to go so wrong. Some have argued that the Catholic Church is just plain evil. I don't think that's true. Yes, I'm Eastern Orthodox but I've been educated by Jesuits for a good portion of my life. I think there's great possibility in the Catholic Church but there are a lot of problems.

Members of the Church hierarchy have blamed the victims. Yeah, that's it...oh wait, that's awful. Nothing kills me more than the idea of children suffering. So those who think its the victims doing this, go fuck yourself and don't ever comment on what God intends because you're wrong.

Some have blamed the media. Sorry kids, blaming the New York Times only works if you're a pathetic half term governor of a state you most likely couldn't locate easily. It's annoying that it works for the half term governor anyway. Nope, its not the media on this one.

Here's my favorite, blame the Jews. For more information, go here . Yes, its the Jews who are responsible for members of your church leadership covering up sexual depravity. Because you know what? Its tradition. Man, that's crafty...no wait crafty isn't the word, cliched and pathetic...that's a few words. When in doubt, blame the Jews...thanks...because that hasn't led to terrible things before. Oh wait....nope kids, try again.

I heard the Catholic Church's number two man, Tarcisio Bertone, (Really intimidating name) blames homosexuality... see here . Okay, so far they've blamed the victims, media, Jews, and now the gays. I'm kinda disappointed that gypsies aren't in this list. But the whole blame the gays deal is of course a fall back position. Its what right wing people love to blame for pedophilia. Chile would like to have a word with people of this thought process. They've got a priest who has abused young girls. Also, there is not a study that I know of that links pedophilia to homosexuality. Its one of those things that the really really conservative people like to argue on very simplistic terms. For instance, some deny global warming because it was cold that day or they got lots of snow. Here they blame pedophilia with boys on homosexuality. Nope, its not homosexuality. Its about an archaic sense of sexuality combined with an ancient idea of power management.

I really enjoy that the Catholic Church lectures on sexuality because its almost comical. I love the Old and New Testament. I legitimately do. They're beautiful in many parts of it and I accept many parts of it too. However, its not a good document for talking sex. Nor are the writers drawing from the bible like Thomas Aquinas. Trust me, I have a habit of reading a lot of very boring old documents for fun because I'm crazy. But back on point, part of the problem with the Catholic Church's scandal is partly sexuality but it isn't homosexuality that's the problem but understanding of sexuality and also gender in general. I mean for Aquinas, sheep are above women in the Church Hierarchy. Nuns are treated terrible in the Church. There's not a real sense of where people are in the modern world in current Church teachings.

The Catholic Church has an archaic sense of sexuality, gender, and power. You have an organization that's ancient and powerful willing to do defend the Church at any cost because of a higher calling. It never really developed that humans are sexual. It also understands secular society's attempt to punish members who commit horrible things as an attack on the Church itself. I don't advocate arresting the Pope. These guys do . I don't think the Pope should resign. I mean really, that would compromise the entire Church and there are good things in the Catholic Church. I do find that the current Pope did pretty terrible things before he was Pope. Its unreasonable to demand the collapse of Catholicism. These abuse scandals are about an abuse of power at the highest level as well as abusing power on a local level. They ruined a lot of trust and reestablishing trust needs something on an organizational level. I advocate a Third Vatican Council. In time of crisis, the Catholic Church has gathered for council to reexamine how the Church should function. Pope John XXIII brought people together decades ago to discuss Papal direction. He invited Jews, atheists, Orthodox, and many other religions. It should happen again and here are my own ideas that no one will consider but I can't keep my mouth shut.

Here we go,

1. The Church can't protect priests who commit evil. Sounds easy right? It's hard when you feel your church is under siege. But this is how it has to be. The moment you hear about things like this, you investigate and you do it thoroughly and then you turn them over to authorities with all the information.

2. I think women should be priests. Its surprisingly controversial and its not even allowed in my church which is Eastern Orthodox. Women were essential in early Church history. I don't understand why women aren't higher up on Church hierarchy. The Apostolic argument that the Church should consist of men based on the Apostles denies the idea that women were integral to the formation of the early church. I'm not talking Mary Magdalene Da Vinci Code things. I'm talking about early Roman converts in the aristocracy were women initially because the Roman religion wasn't too kind to women. Man, how things change...

3. Marrying priests? Its something worth thinking about. Its not like we're going to have a married Pope. People who rise high in churches which have marrying priests generally aren't married when they become heads of church. I don't think sexed up priests are going to pop up.

4. Stress social justice, progress, and the Catholic Church's role in modern society. I learned a lot from Jesuit Catholics about the modern world.

There are probably more but that's on my mind right now. I'm still outraged about the scandals. Its something that really bothers me a lot. People hurting children and arrogant people in power protecting those who hurt children just kills me. Anyway, new post tomorrow that should be very different. Yes, I ramble. I write here like I talk. Keep in mind I talk much faster and bounce all over the place on topics. Just keep up.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hello, let me reintroduce myself.

It's been awhile. For awhile, I couldn't have a blog. Time and other things. It's one of the few times I've followed rules. But that's life. It's brilliant but has the habit to be a tad unforgiving. So I'm going to reintroduce myself. I think I can do a blog now. I go by Edmund Dantes when I write. It's sometimes Edmond Dantes too. I'm like that. Confusing, contradictory, and manic and etc. Oh I do love the etc. Those who know me personally, and I'm pretty sure those who read this blog do know me personally, know that I'm all over the place. I adore culture, high and pop. I love to talk about culture. Actually, I like to talk about anything but culture, oh culture, you're just brilliant. So this blog at least when I'm posting will talk about TV (I love and watch a lot of TV), movies (old and new), books (I read history, science fiction, biography, political, regular fiction, and comic books), music (Lots of Indie Rock, classic rock, and random ones), and video games (I refuse to grow up), and probably whatever pops in my brain.

I'm also a political animal. I'm an unabashed liberal Democrat. I believe in an active government, an evolving constitution, I'm pro choice, and there are a host of issues that define me as a liberal. Its a safe assumption that there's a good chance I'm more liberal than a lot of people you know. I'm a huge fan of Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and yes, I'm a fan of Barack Obama. I'm a November Does Matt Democrat though. I get governing and not getting exactly what I want.

There aren't many living Republicans that I'm a fan of right now. Sure, there are actually many in the past I like. There are some living right now whom I'm a big fan of on a personal basis. You know who you are. But I hate the Tea Party (yes its a Republican offshoot mixed in with Faux News). I hate Faux News with a passion. Rush Limbaugh disgusts me. Glenn Beck too. Sarah Palin terrifies me because not that she might become President but that she appeals to the worst aspects of politics. I just watched Tina Fey do another Sarah Palin sketch....she's absolutely dead on about her. But that's for a later time.

You want to get an idea about me real quick? I'm a big Doctor Who fan (David Tennant's 10th Doctor is someone I relate well with), I love the West Wing, Psych, Mad Men, Rome, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Smallville, and there are many many others. I watch a lot of TV because my DVR is my god.

I have a huge DVD collection just in case I'm ever bored. There'll be more to talk about. I'm tired. So today begins a new.