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Monthly Archives: May 2014


Links of Possible Relevance, Part 2

The quintessential Enlightenment-nonsense song gets the comic treatment.

A List Apart, instead of being a resource for UI/UX industry thought and trend, will soon be a platform for constant social-political hand-wringing, finger-wagging and other such compound-word descriptors. Such is the chosen way of all tech sub-industries, it seems.

If you’re a man, you need to know how to fold a suit for travel or shipping.

A band covers Dream Theater’s “Erotomania” using kid’s toys, and they mostly pull it off.

The Bigotry of the New Atheism (by an Old Atheist): “Institutions claiming to embody Christianity or Islam have murdered thousands. Institutions claiming to embody Marxism, National Socialism, or other types of socialism, have murdered tens of millions.”

Didn’t you know the sun is electric, hollow, and interdimensional?

An (perhaps the) earmark of a collectivist is that they do not want dissenters leaving peacefully—they must conform or be killed.

Til We Have Faces, Chapter Four, Last Paragraph

cs_lewis_til_we_have_faces_chapter_4_last_paragraph

Ahsoka Tano: A Near Perfect Tragic Story

When in doubt, blame the chick with the facial markings.

When in doubt, blame the chick with the facial markings.


The final few episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series concerned the framing of Ashoka Tano in the bombing of the Jedi temple, and subsequent related crimes. It was one of the better story arcs of the series but the writers left didn’t include a crucial piece of logic that would make the .

During Ahsoka’s trial and everything else leading up to it, it was never established what Ahsoka’s motive was for the bombing. Most of the evidence considered was circumstantial and Ahsoka’s motive would be an important piece of information in any trial, given that it was completely out of her known character, and given Ahsoka’s past dedication to the Jedi order.

Strategic bombings aren’t meant for killing as much as it is to send a message. If Ahsoka was behind the bombings she wouldn’t deny it at the trial. She would claim responsibility for it and protest whatever ideological reasons she had for doing it—just as Barriss Offee did so when she was captured and brought into the courtroom to testify as the real perpetrator.

The writers should have had the investigating Jedi look for what possible temple insider—Jedi, Senator, or otherwise—would have known to be at least semi-rogue to what the Jedi were doing (there are plenty of Jedi and politicians that come to mind immediately). Thankfully this huge oversight didn’t take too much away from the decision Ahsoka made after she was ultimately acquitted.

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 1

Taking cold showers may be a good idea.

Looking at net neutrality through the libertarian lens: “They are against regulation of the Internet, so they support ceding power to the government to…decide how and whether the Internet should be regulated.”

Stefan Molyneux’s new, free ebook about atheism and agnosticism is out. His arguments about the supernatural are underwhelming as usual.

Leather jackets: not even once.

Somewhat related to the previous two links: stream the entirety of Eyehategod’s new self-titled album right here.

Vik Kuletski Expresses Disinterest In Metal Dudes’ Sexual Orientation, Gets Labelled A Hate-Filled Hatey Homophobe. Hate.

The short of it: luthier (that’s a “guitar maker,” for you public school kids) Vik Kuletski got slammed as a homophobe because he didn’t care about Cynic’s Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal’s sexual preferences, and said he personally disapproved of it but ultimately didn’t care. Reinert’s and Masvidal’s preferences were of the gayish kind and they recently came out about it. To my knowledge, no one asked.

Read most of the story here in the Google search results. I should note here that Cynic put out one of my favorite albums to date. Their newer stuff isn’t as appealing to me but it’s still head and shoulders above what is out there in terms of progressive metal/rock. Like Kuletski, I don’t care about what kind of person or thing into which they stick other things.

As far as I know, Kuletski hasn’t apologized, only clarified. I’m fine with that. Apologizing just makes things worse with leftoid hammerheads once they smell blood.

I should be more specific, here: Vik’s crime isn’t exactly not caring, it’s that he didn’t fall down in worship, cry rainbow tears of joy, or fart out waves of glittery happiness (but not too much—that would make things unequal) because of some dudes and their sex lives. For his non-participation in the adoration ceremony, see now the mark of Cain upon Kuletski’s brow: the blackest of black souls from the frozen-solid depths of white man priveleged-hell. Only Resocialization Camp Jesus can save him now from the doubleplusungood thoughts he dared type into a connected computer.

Book Review: Anna and the Dragon

Anna and the Dragon ook cover - Jill DomschotAnna and the Dragon is Jill Domschot‘s debut speculative fiction novel, an impressive dive into the “soft” supernatural realm. The titular Anna is a computer engineer with mild character quirks who falls for an errant academic with a heart condition and a fixation on dragonry.

Though the title and book cover suggest something of a YA (young adult) story (what isn’t shoehorned into YA nowadays?), yet the subtle speculative manner of Domschot’s plot does away with that label. There’s no pressing need to expose all the anthropologies of the “our-world” legendarium that earmarks YA literature and TV series. Anna and Franklin battle with it in their respective contexts—yeah, there’s history lessons, but it’s well below exhaustive. There’s no need to find out more than what they need to know to avoid getting caught. The tiresome jetsetting around the world to unearth archaeologies and weapons for a final showdown is replaced with bike rides to beaches and phantasmagoric ladder appearances. In holding back, Domschot dodged one of the worst tendencies of modern Westernized storytelling*.

One possible criticism is Domschot’s portrayal of Anna as an inactive agent of change. I can see this as a valid point, though the drastic decision Anna makes within the first few chapters Anna pointedly rebukes this idea. A cardinal rule of fiction is the protagonist must act, not react, but this doesn’t have to be if the character’s flaw is literally (heh) indecision. This may very well be Anna’s destined path to tragedy, since in the partitioned second half of Anna, fate’s hand forces her into a situation of near-complete confusion where she can do nothing but act.

In all, Anna is an enjoyable read, though I may have lowered my expectations since I knew it was a debut. She avoids the simplistic narration of timid first-timers and the overcompensating verbosity of Duning-Kreuger amateurs, landing her safely in the middle. There were a few spots where a good edit could tighten or unloose for a better impact, but those episodes were far between. A more solid second book has potential to take her places.

* You reading this, George Lucas? You stop right there with that midi-chlorian material sciences silliness for Force-sensitive life forms. You should’ve left it as an intuitive power of uncertain boundary and whimsy. Suppressing the urge to over-explain origins will prevent the wondrous mystery from being further plunger-sucked out of the Star Wars EU.

The Shakers and Abstinence

Interesting fact about the Shakers.

Enforcing celibacy in mixed communities would seem to be an impossible task, but the Shakers set up a strict hierarchy of Elders and Eldresses and deacons and deaconesses to enforce the sexual prohibition. Shakers who spent time outside the community were interrogated upon their return. Outside visitors were held to strict rules, and much of the community was off-limits to them. On occasion, when young local men attempted to elope with Shaker girls, the “sisters” were known to have attacked and beaten them with mop and broom handles. Typical boys’ play, such as wrestling and playing ball, was prohibited, and close male friendship strongly discouraged, presumably to suppress masculinization. Eldresses employed spies to keep track of the whereabouts and activities of the young and lusty.

One thing to consider: a law or community custom applied equally is an impossibility if you believe that men and women have different tendencies, because the law or custom is “received” differently.

A rule of no talking might be harder on girls since they tend towards verbalization more than boys. A rule against physical activity—no running, no horseplay—might affect boys more harshly*. Take note that these are both rules enforced in some degree or another in schools.

In the case of the Shakers, would enforced vows of celibacy be harder on men than women?**

* I know these tendencies are true heuristically/intuitively. Sure, go Google a study to prove it wrong. I’ll go and do the same and we’ll get nowhere.

** I can only know how celibacy would affect women by induction and implication. I know how hard celibacy would be for a normal man, being one myself, because I know how “automatic” sexual desire is for men, as opposed to a more generative (?) basis it is for women. I couldn’t imagine it being any more difficult than I imagine celibacy would be for a man, but I don’t think that imagination, even if it is accurate, would qualify as true knowledge.

The Saga of the Baphomet Statue Continues

A group of satanists will go ahead with plans to erect a statue dedicated to the devil outside the Oklahoma statehouse, despite the building permit being suspended in a row over religious freedom.

New York-based Satanic Temple members said they would press on with plans for their 7ft bronze and stone sculpture of Baphomet (Satan in his Goat-headed representation) outside the Oklahoma State Capitol building.

Permits for all new monuments have been suspended by the state authorities following a legal squabble over the display of religious artworks on government property but Satanic Temple is undeterred.

I wouldn’t mind a statue of anything like this where I live. Stone and bronze don’t have special, evil magical powers and they don’t suddenly gain then when they are chiseled or bent into certain configurations.

The Christians who are offended by this don’t realize that Satan is something of a worldwide inhabitant, not confined to silly statues.

The real issue here is, why doesn’t the baphomet have female breasts as most interpretations do?

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