Ron Paul – The Revolution

I don’t know how long The Revolution will continue without Ron Paul to lead it, but I did pick up a copy of his book when he was in town for the book signing tour today. I’ve already read a good portion of it. I wouldn’t do the book justice if I tried to review it myself, so let me just point you here; The Revolution: A Manifesto.

On the subject of Ron Paul and The Revolution, I ran across this video:


read more | digg story

I daresay I’ve probably blogged my last on the subject of Ron Paul. But then I’ve been wrong before.

Elfquest

I’ve been a comic book junkie for as long as I can remember. If I had a nickel for each time I heard “this isn’t a library” while reading comic books at the local grocers, I’d be a rich man (if I’d taken better care of the comic books I did buy, I’d also be a rich man) back in my youth I would lay down right under the rack and read as many of the books as I could before they would kick me out.

The Marvel stories were my favorites, with the occasional venture into DC and Batman (I never will understand the attraction of reading stories about an invulnerable flying alien. The Wife is a Superman fan, so I can’t be too critical of the guy. Don’t blame me if I root for Luthor) I could never get enough of X-Men, Fantastic 4, Iron Man, etcetera. Stan Lee presents was pretty much all I had to see, and I was off.

I kicked the addiction when I was about thirty, newly married and with a child on the way, but not before discovering the specialty comics shop, and the wider assortment of stories that could be found there. Stories like Elfquest.

Marvel published what came to be known as The Grand Quest story arc a few years before I stopped collecting, and I picked up the original bound collections for that series as one of the last comic purchases I ever made.

I was almost instantly hooked. Beautiful flowing artwork, engaging characters, an original storyline, what wasn’t to like about it? Maybe it was the Tolkien fan in me, or maybe I just have always had a weakness for elves; whatever it was, my attraction to the stories has outlasted all of my other comic book habits, including the X-Men.

The Daughter stole the collections from me for awhile, and she bugged me for years to get Kings of the Broken Wheel (which I finally did get) only to discover there was even more story that I hadn’t even heard of.

Consequently I was overjoyed to hear from Richard Pini recently, that all of the past issues of Elfquest will be made available online over the course of the next year.

Welcome to the Complete Elfquest Online project. There’s over 6000 pages coming throughout 2008, so if you’re new to the Elfquest universe, or if you want a refresher course on the overall story timeline, go here first. Then check out a comprehensive guide to all the different Elfquest print publications. (A number of the collected print volumes are still available too.)

Check back every Friday, or better yet, join the Elfquest forum and Yahoo’s Elfquest news group for news and announcements.

Original Quest #1-5 has been posted today, as well as a whole host of other storylines I’ve never heard of.

So I can direct the Son to the website when he wants to take down the now rare original bound and colored collections to read them. Which is good. Children are hard on books. They don’t understand the treasures hidden within are quite perishable. I may have to buy hard copies of some of the newer Elfquest stories just so I can have them on hand when the web is down.

FFrF Radio: The Golden Compass

Podcast link.
December 8, 2007The Golden Compass Rumpus!

The title says it all. I thought Phillip Pullman was going to come unglued when Dan Barker asserted that the books were not children’s books. I understand where both of them are coming from. Having heard several reviewers state that they did not think the film (and books) were suitable for children, I’m sure Pullman was anxious not to feed the fire of “inappropriateness” that seems to follow so many books that are popular with children these days (the Harry Potter series, just to name one) which lead him to object that the books were “most certainly children’s books”.

But I tend to agree more with Barker’s assertion that they are not children’s books; not because they are inappropriate for children, but because they are not written for children alone. The movie definitely appeals to adult audiences as well as children. I was there opening weekend myself, and I have nothing but praise for the film.

As far as story content goes, it’s hands down the best of the epic fantasy films I’ve seen (and I think I’ve seen all of them so far) and the effects are also top-notch. I can’t think of anything that I would object to, no matter the age of the audience viewing it.


Having now read the book The Golden Compass, I think I can see why hard core fans would object to portions of the film. The film doesn’t strictly follow the book. It doesn’t betray the spirit of the book (the way that Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers destroys one of the central characters, Faramir, of Lord of the Rings) but still, there are significant departures from the book by the film. I’d have a hard time saying one is better than the other, though. I think this is a good example of a Boovie.


2006 Archive episode.
December 9, 2006From “Latter-day Saint” to “Latter-day Ain’t”: Steve Benson

Steve Benson’s first appearance on the show. All of his appearances have been worth listening to. In this episode he speaks at length about his separation from the Mormon church. His description of the origins of the Mormon church is priceless.

Free MP3 download of “Salt Lake City Blues”

O.J. Simpson: Confessed Killer

O.J. is coming out with a book and an interview in which he confesses… I mean, theorises what happened the night that he killed… Excuse me, the night that his ex-wife and her boyfriend were viciously, brutally murdered.

I’d like to echo the sentiment of Harvey Levin of TMZ.com that were expressed on the Olbermann show tonight:

I personally didn’t think I could detest him anymore than I did, and he’s actually raised the bar for me.

I consider it a point of pride that I watched not one minute of the infamous trial that began 15 years ago today. And, even though I haven’t watched the trial, I think I can say with reasonable certainty that he committed the murders, just based on the unavoidable exposure to the facts of the case that can be picked up even when you aren’t trying to follow the subject.

I remember O.J. Simpson playing football, watching with my father. I watched him in several films, and while he wasn’t a great actor, he wasn’t an embarrassment either. And then he killed two people, and arranged things (as can be done when you have enough money) so that he avoided conviction for the murders.

Let the record show that the courts are indeed color blind when there is enough green in your pocket.

As disgusted as I am with O.J. Simpson, I’m even more disgusted by the people who would actually pay him for a signature, or to appear publicly. How do you sleep at night, with the blood of his victims on your hands as well as his?


According to the publisher the book is a confession (published for her own personal reasons, stories here and here) no matter what the title says. It doesn’t make much difference to me, true crime is not my kind of thing; especially when written in the first person.

…and now the deal is off. So much for the publishers strength of conviction. It was a bit of a stretch on her part, to compare O.J.Simpsons effort to Hitler and Mein Kampf.

mrmee, mrmee, mrmee

These are the words that immortalize the Harlequin at the ending of “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison. If you want to know how that is, that these words mean so much, you’ll just have to read the book.

I’ve used this as a siggy for quite some time on some of the forums that I visit. “Why?” you might well ask. Well, I’ll answer you. I have a very personal hostility towards ticktockmen everywhere. People who tsk-tsk every time their clocks say somebody else is late, as if their clocks are always unerringly right. People who exclaim “You’re taking too much time with this!” as if there was a finite amount of this precious substance, and you were at risk of using it all. People who measure out the moments in life like the ticking of the clock.

Oh! …and since I’m posting this at 5:10 in the morning, on a morning when I need to be up in a few short hours, I’ll add: people who can go to bed at a ‘normal’ time, sleep through the night, and wake rested when they are supposed to. Something I have never been able to do. Something that employer after employer has commented on for years on end, all to no avail. I cannot change the pattern. Either I stay up ridiculously late, and have to be jolted awake in the morning; or I go to bed early and stare at the ceiling for hours on end, only to have to be jolted awake in the morning anyway. I am different, and different is bad.

Of course, as the Harlequin, I don’t have to be concerned with this. I simply relish the disruption of the pretty order, and hope that someone somewhere has a laugh over it. That is, after all, what we are all here for, right? To be happy?

“mrmee, mrmee, mrmee”

Postscript

Image screencapped from Goodreads. I discovered to my own horror that I had been misspelling the phrase all along. I really should have looked it up before getting all bent on the subject. The spelling is corrected now and I acknowledge the error with a petulant mrmee.

Beyond the Da Vinci Code

I read the Da Vinci Code; I thought it was a good bit of fiction, a gripping who-done-it with a clever twist at the end, as good as any of the mystery writers that I’ve enjoyed over the years, with just that bit of ‘what if’ that stirs the mental soup even when you’ve finished reading it.

I’d like to stress the word fiction again, just for those jumpy christian types who keep thinking that it is possible to disprove something that is published as fiction.

Seriously, three hours, and counting, of material on the History Channel (which gets confounded sometimes as to whether it’s actually supposed to be the PTL or the militarism channel) attempting to prove that a work of fiction is in fact, fiction.

“Yeah, it’s says it right on the spine of the book, thanks for caring, though.”

Not that they didn’t have some interesting sources during the course of the three hours. Sources that lent more credence to the thought that the story was a bit more than fiction, than to the blatant attempt to discredit the book as, once again, fiction.

So, just for grins, here are the sources:

Dr. Deirdre Good – General Theological Seminary
Dr. Karen RallsThe Templars and the Grail
Richard Leigh – Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Timothy FrekeThe Jesus Mysteries
Margaret StarbirdThe Woman with the Alabaster Jar

A heartfelt encouragement of good reading I give to you all. May you find it as intriguing as I found the History channel programs frustrating, with the exception of the insights from the sources listed above.

People should question their most firmly held beliefs. Every day. If your beliefs cannot withstand your own questioning, then are they really your beliefs?

Vertiginous Air

While struggling with a vertigo attack today, I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite authors Stephen R. Donaldson, a portion of which titles this compilation of previous postings on the topic. When I visited his site today looking for the release date for the next book, I discovered that I’m going to be waiting a long time. 2007, is the best guess; and the quartet of books isn’t due to be finished until 2013. This could be a new test of patience on my part. And I thought waiting on Harry Potter books was hard.

Concerning “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” which I finished re-reading for the 4th time recently.

I stumbled across several words that seemed, well, obscure at best, this time around. I was trying to explore the unexplored with this reading (in preparation for the next series of books) so I’ve been taking time to research a few of the more impenetrable words on the ‘net. I was pleased when I Google’d up this thread online. In fact, it was the only reference for the word “unhermeneuticable“, which was how I found it in the first place. Words like “Formication” (a feeling like insects crawling under your skin) can be found there as well.

(I have removed the direct links to the Kevin’s watch website, replacing them with links to the Wayback Machine archive. The site appears to be infected with malware as of 2018. -ed.)

her·me·neu·tics
Pronunciation: -tiks
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
: the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of
the Bible) (from www.m-w.com)

Which, as “unhermeneuticable” would be something like “a non-methodological principle of interpretation”. Basically an “inexplicable conclusion”, most likely with religious overtones.
[The author himself has answered this question, here]


A few words on the proper reading of Donaldson, from an expert:

  • Unless you are reading the first Covenant trilogy, prepare your brain to be stretched to new proportions. SRD writes on a college level. He pulls no punches, and he doesn’t explain obscure concepts unless they are key to the novel’s progression. You are expected to keep up. The first Covenant Trilogy was written under extreme editorial pressure. They sliced out whole chapters, and re-edited much of the writing to make it appeal to less-educated and younger people. He himself has commented on this, and included one of the chapters that was removed in the short story collection Daughter of Regals. Every other set of books that he’s written has been longer and far more difficult to understand than the first Covenant trilogy.
  • Plot progression can be slow. Glacially slow in some books. That’s OK, because plot isn’t what you read Donaldson for. As an example, the first two books of the Gap series are merely an intro to the story that the Gap series tells. It doesn’t really get rolling until the third book and the introduction of the grafted Thermopyle (pronounced “Ther-MOP-i-lee, BTW) character.
  • Donaldson is obsessed with exploring the concept of redemption. Because of this, pretty much every character he creates suffers horribly through a good portion of the story. I’ve had several people tell me that they couldn’t get past the descriptions of leprosy in the first few chapters of “Lord Foul’s Bane”. But if you don’t understand the suffering of the character, you won’t appreciate the monumental task of redeeming that character. Exploring the world of leprosy brings you face to face with the impossibility of Covenant’s ever accepting himself in the role of hero. Reliving the crimes of the characters in the Gap series (explored in the first two books) gives you an idea of what those characters face when the true nature of the threat to humanity is revealed in the later novels.

That pretty much covers it. I finished the second book in Gap and went that’s it? The next one better get better and doggedly went on. I was rewarded with a pretty decent story from that point onward. It was a lot like reading Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. Doesn’t make any sense unless you read God Emperor of Dune. That’s where the payoff is.

Stone and Sea are deep in life, two unalterable symbols of the world. Permanence at rest and permanence in motion, participants in the Power that remains.

Giantish truism
Postscript

I have now read all of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series. You should take my word for it and skip these last four books, they were some of the most unpleasant reading I’ve ever had to endure. They were so unpleasant to physically read that I was forced to go looking for audiobook copies of the text and then I listened to them rather than even trying to read them myself.

It was this experience with reading that finally convinced me that I had a problem with the back and forth eye movement setting off my vertigo. The story was so glacial in pace, with descriptions of battle scenes that made no sense from a strategic perspective, with decisions made by the protagonists that kept me screaming at the book no, don’t do that, all of that combined with my disability making the chore of reading itself so miserable that I would never have gotten through the books without audio assistance.

Even so, the climactic ending ruined most of the other stories for me. There are some things that a writer should simply not reveal to the reader. The ending of the series was one of those things that should have been left unsaid. To have waited for ten years only to be disappointed with the work? It was truly heartbreaking and has soured me on fiction for the foreseeable future.