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abounding with verbosity

Other People Write: Advent of a Miracle by Strongarm

Christine’s comment on my last post inspired me to throw out some song lyrics, as a type of poetry appreciation. The video for the song is at the bottom of this post, but don’t click play unless you’re prepared. At the very least, you can admire Mark deSalvo’s artwork in the video thumbnail, which appears to be from the vinyl version. The CD version just had the glowy hands on the cover.

I had a copy from the first pressing of this CD, which came to be known as the “boob pressing.” The face of the actual CD had a painting of the woman naked, holding her arm up. Her boob was supposed to be in the middle of the CD, where the hole is, but it didn’t turn out like that. So a lot of hardcore punk rock kids got a flash of nipple when they got home from the Christian bookstore. I’m pretty sure the band mentions the nip slip Travis’ podcast on the album’s 20th anniversary.

You’re my beloved, and altogether lovely
As a gift that can’t be bought, as if gold could favor outweigh
Your meaning to me, the secrets of the heart made manifest
Even beauty’s priced beside thee, proportioned by lot the less

Wishes fade, dreams break, promise made

Takes away your will, takes your whole heart captive
Just for one promise, sell it all for one true word
To hold on to, face the shame of it all
Safer to neglect than open your calloused heart

Piece by piece, you’ve lost a part of your self
You share to gain, but lose at love, and learn to hate yourself
More and more each day, and all the days thereafter
They labor to put back together and regain what’s gone forever

Wishes fade, as dreams break, promise made, tomorrow takes

The most costly mistake is to try to change the past today
The filth and the shame, they all wash away
For you, Christ will clean the slate

Only love can fill the void when the world has taken its toll
Hand in hand, by your side, we’ll walk down this path together
I’ll take you to the place where promises will never break
To the advent of a miracle

True love is to die for, and is why I cry for you
And the pain you feel and feed can heal
If you’d just walk with me toward the light

Platonic Solid

Men, arrayed on rays, vertex to vertex
Reach across the plane with probisci
Sleek and curious but blade-grass frail
A lateral-diagonal intermingling

God, as capstone, pours it downward
Perpendicularity, liquid, and unpredicatable
Few could apprehend from whence to where

Most retract their probing lines, prophesying danger
Only a few stay their hand to catch the downward flow

Alien: Covenant Nearly Passes the Jay Test

I re-watched Alien: Covenant the other day, and I was floored to realize that it nearly passed the Jay Test, wherein 90% of all the human deaths that occur are female. I say “nearly” as a relative descriptor, since it was so close to being 50% of all deaths, which is far and away a better rating than any other movie you might see.

I know the specific metric is nearly 50% because the crew of the Covenant is made of up all couples that are on a colonization mission. There are a few thousand colonists in stasis aboard the ship, as well as over a thousand human embryos. All their fates are unknown until the next sequel, so their deaths won’t even count towards the ratio. However, 40 of the colonists are killed in an accident, their sexes unknown, so again the male/female ratio of those deaths can’t be considered.

The ship’s crew, however, all die in the course of the movie except for two: a man and woman, though it’s heavily implied that they are going to buy the farm at the end.

So, if the crew is all couples, and they all die, except for a man and woman, why is not an even 50/50 ratio of deaths? Well, one couple was gay*: Sergeant Hallis and Sergeant Lope. In the scene where David appears after the neomorph attack in the wheat field, you’ll catch one half of this (formerly) happy couple speaking an informal elegy over the corpse of his better half. If you watch one of the deleted scenes it’s very obvious that Hallis and Lope batting on the same team. So there is one more male death to cast.

Leave it to the gay couple to screw up Equality™.

* A note on this: of all the plotholes, goofs, and in-universe non-realistic plot points critics make up point out in the Alien franchise (the Ridley Scott installments, anyway), I don’t think I’ve read anyone else mention this. There’s no way a director would put a non-breeding couple on a colonization mission. It seems far too risky to not have as many people as possible able to populate a planet. But what do I know? There’s probably a good counter to that.

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 26

Jay at 40
I recently turned 40, so like all beautiful young women I took a bad selfie with no filters or edits. Enjoy.

Over-40s most at risk in UK’s laziness epidemic, says PHE
Speaking of middle age…

Starbucks Invite-a-Friend Interstitial
Attn: Starbucks. I think you’re okay. Your Sumatra K-Cups, brewed at 6 oz and served black as night, has ruined me for other cups of coffee. Your online boardgame this summer is also neat, but I can’t make it past the first stage of incentives because I don’t belong to the hashtag and emoji cesspool called Twitter. What gives?

A Churlish Defense
“Marx was a wicked and short-sighted man who weaponized envy on a multinational and multigenerational scale, but nation states don’t set the world in order, either.”

NYT pulls book from best-seller list over suspicious sales
I’ve witnessed a similar kind of market gaming myself, first-hand, while working at music stores near major metro areas, where an artist touring through the area would send a rep to buy in bulk all or most of the artist CDs in the store. Sometimes the actual artist himself would come in and do it himself.

Vegetarians Don’t Live Longer
Via Jill. Keep in mind one can eat anything loaded with sugar, soy, white flour, or anything you’re not supposed to be eating, as a part of a vegetarian diet.

Footprint find on Crete may push back date humans walked upright

Time Cube
Remember the Time Cube site? Thank God someone had the foresight to mirror it. One of the best word salad manifestos I’ve come across.

LOST SPHEAR Gameplay Trailer
The top-down JRPG genre is probably my favorite in gaming, and this looks fun.

Monoculture and Diversity, Redux

Azure had a comment on “Monoculture and Diversity“:

I was thinking of Romans 10:12 – “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him…” And maybe I’ll throw in Exodus 22:21 – “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Those are a couple of verses that come to mind that I think someone could use to make the argument that, from a Christian perspective, diversity is a moral imperative.

Ed had a good comment here, especially in his last sentence: “Diversity in Christ is a matter of calling and mission; there has to be a shared confession in there somewhere or you can’t work well together.” This is probably no more apparent than in Jesus’ inner circle of disciple, the Apostles. There was an admixture of backgrounds among those twelve, Simon the Zealot versus Matthew/Levi perhaps being the sharpest contrast. Those two would have been at each other instantly if they had met outside the context of Jesus’ mission—while together there was most likely a strong requirement of self-restraint on the part of those two for stability’s sake. In a real sense, all the diversity among the Apostles was subsumed into the monoculture of Jesus’ mission; it’s pretty clear that Jesus was the type of guy who, not unusual for a Hebraic ascetic preacher of His time, strongly preferred some things to be left at the door if one were to sign onto the mission.

Don’t Send a Rabbit

“Don’t send a rabbit to kill a fox.”
-Chief Daisuke Aramaki, Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Feudalism in Noragami

For reference, see Ed’s post here, summarizing ANE (Ancient Near East) feudalist social structure.

Noragami is about gods and their work in Japan as they battle phantoms that plague the country’s citizens. The gods are essentially humans in form, with obvious special powers, mostly invisible but can appear to anyone if they decide to. All the gods utilize Regalia (shinki), who are humans who have passed from the Near Shore—the land of the living—under unfortunate circumstances. The wandering human spirits are adopted in the god’s service at his pleasure, thought adoption is too weak a word to describe the relationship. Regalia are essentially covenanted into the god’s service, but are under little obligation to stay. Regalia normally have nowhere else to go except into another god’s service, so “god-hopping” is unusual and rather frowned upon, as serving more than one master, especially at the same time, is distastful.

Regalia are called into service by the god granting the human spirit some of his life force and giving it two names: a new human name and a vessel name, as means of establishing the contract. The spirit then becomes human in form, like the god, and just as invisible. When the god calls the vessel name, the Regalia transforms into some object to defeat the phantom. Usually it’s a weapon, but it can also be an assisting tool, or even an animal or mode of transport.

Yato, a god of calamity, recruits a new Regalia:

It’s worth mentioning that the connection between god and Regalia goes much deeper than slave and master, or even parent and child. The two are linked much more closely, so that what the Regalia does and feels actually affects the god physically. The result is that Regalias risk hurting their master if they make immoral decisions, or get upset or angry. So the Regalia has a duty not only to obey their master, but keep their own sense of well-being. In turn, the god offers the Regalias protection, guidance, and a sense of belonging to a family—all things they didn’t have when they were an isolated spirit. Many of the more successful gods have physical shrines dedicated to their existence, but that comes as a reward for dedicating their power to help humanity. The core of their existence as gods comes from their relationship with their Regalia and their combined efforts to answer the prayers of Japanese citizenry.

In Noragami and countless other series like it, you’ll notice a strong presumption of the supernatural interceding in everyday Japanese life. “First contact” with beings or phenomena are met with merely mild surprise, as though it were not precisely predictable but still inevitable. Contrast this with a more Western view of the supernatural in film and television, in which human characters presume malice on the supernatural world; ghost stories intersect very strongly with horror.

Monoculture and Diversity

Ed has a great post on modern Western diversity schema, which reminded me of what I was trying to say here, but from a different perspective and vocabulary. I left a comment there, the bulk of which is copied below (added numbers for clarity*):

1. The world is diverse (given, self-evident)
2. People self-segregate (given, self-evident)
3. The kind of diversity people commonly refer to is a personal preference, not a moral imperative
4. Diversity within a physical space is a contradiction, since the diversity has to be subsumed under one culture-type. It literally cannot happen, despite there being some theoretical logic behind it.
5. Diversity cannot be planned or bureaucratized effectively, since people and groups of people prioritize their personal preferences in lots of internal ways that can’t be quantified
6. Bureaucratized diversity preferences = enforced monoculture of law, since all subsumed cultures would have to share the law in common with each other. It’s actually the opposite of diversity (see the fourth point above)
7. Bureaucratized diversity preferences will lead to unfortunate blowback. It’s a law of human behavior. Keep in mind that diversity preferences not only include forced integration but forced segregation as well. Blowback can occur when two cultures that want to diversity themselves are restricted from doing so.

* This isn’t a logical proof; the statements don’t necessarily build upon previous ones.

Nevermind What I Said About Buying a Domain

In this post. Well, mostly nevermind. Mostly. As the way things are going now, you really can get a domain taken away from you, if you are known to have Very Bad Ideas™ and incite violence. Most of you that read this won’t need to worry about that since my readership aren’t of that stock (that I know of), but folks who have the ear of powerful people can be very touchy these days, and it’s getting to be that expressing the Very Bad Ideas™ will be synonymous with inciting violence. You’re far less likely to be deplatformed if you incite violence but think Very Approved Ideas™. Humans are excellent at rationalizing a special plead deal with the unwavering gods of logic when it comes to the behavior of their in-group.

Some quick ideas. At the very least, if you’re neck-deep in Google’s services, schedule backups every now and then with Google Takeout, and store the archives locally, or on Dropbox or your hosting (not on Google Drive, obviously). Register a non-Google email address, like at Protonmail, and maybe one that doesn’t identify you personally. Use Firefox or a Gecko-based browser, or Tor, for browsing. Use Startpage or DuckDuckGo for searches. Buy another domain and, like your email address, keep it non-identifiable back to you.

When Androids Grow Hair But Not Beards

“Do make yourselves at home as best you can in this dire necropolis.”
-David, Alien: Covenant