Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Koran

While I am reading the Koran, I plan on sharing quotes from the text.  I realize that I am not reading The Koran in its purest sense.  To read The Koran is to read it in Arabic, something I cannot do.  Reading it in English is rather like a person reading a paraphrase of the Bible--easier but not necessarily theologically sound.

I am not a scholar and I realize that my comments are probably an insult to the true believer.  Please trust me when I say that no offense is intended but my comments are those of a person who is not a Muslim and has no desire to convert to Islam.  

I am approaching the reading from the following presumptions:

1)  I am a skeptic. I do not believe that The Koran is more sacred than any other sacred text.  
2)  I am a woman living in the 21st century, therefore I am probably going to have issues with how women are represented in the text.  (I have issues with how women are represented in the Old and New Testaments as well.)

I am choosing not to read the footnotes of this particular text.  J M Rodwell mentions where the text is anachronistic or contradictory and while this may serve well another reader it is not in alignment with my intention.  

Feel free to ask me questions but I reserve the right to not respond.  Don't take it personally.  I simply want to explore this text for myself and am not interested in debating my thoughts with anyone nor in defending what I perceive.  On the other hand, I am open to discussion and may surprise you by responding.  You never can tell.  I often surprise myself.  

I hope that you will enjoy reading the following and I invite you to return to see what I have added as I continue reading.


Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are was on our “to watch list” but then the reviews were lukewarm and I heard it wasn’t very good through others.  In spite of this, Rob and I decided we wanted to see for ourselves and I am sincerely glad we chose to do so.

Let me say that I can see why people disliked the movie.  The book, wonderfully written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, is written for a young audience.  Although the book was banned from libraries for being too frightening and psychiatrist said it was too dark, children adored the book, lending weight to its honoring the more traditional purpose of fairy-tales which are typically fraught with violent imagery.

For whatever reason, the movie drops one of the essential moments in the story where the mother sends her son to bed without any supper.  When Max eventually leaves for “where the wild things are” it is not an imaginary journey but a real one.  Or as real as such things can be.  In dropping this conflict between the child and parent, there is a psychological depth that is immediately lost.

However, it is important to note that what is left out is replaced by a larger archetype and Max’s less imaginary journey becomes a hero’s quest as he enters a mysterious boat to land on the shore of some forgotten land.

From here the movie progresses into familiar and necessarily new territory.  After all, the highly visual book is only a few pages long so there had to be some fleshing out.  In translating the text to film, the story has matured from a childhood fantasy to something more engaging to a more mature audience.  While an adult may still delight at the “wild rumpus” illustrated in the book, a child will likely feel he or she has outgrown the book.  Sometimes you have to grow up to be young again, I suppose, and this movie invites the audience to be both more mature and young again.  I almost wonder if the older child, the one who no longer finds the book engaging, would enjoy the movie.  Certainly, a very small child will not enjoy it and might even find it a bit frightening.

The dialogue is often brilliant with Max and the various creatures all sounding like children–petulant, hyperbolic, and, yes, even violent.  The games they play are not sweet.  Instead, the games are dangerous and destructive and the true nature of the wild things gradually emerge as Max’s tenuous hold as leader deteriorates.

And herein lies the genuineness of this film for in voice and action these are all children.  Some of the psychological power lost in translating the text is regained in the power of film to approach the story from a somewhat different angle.

Rob and I both really liked this movie, much more than we would have anticipated.  I adored the music throughout and I was thrilled to hear my favorite line in the book is included in the script.  (Spoken by a favorite actress even, so how could it get any better than that?)

Don’t go.  I’ll eat you up, I love you so.

I think Rob and I will end up buying this for our collection.  Probably when we see it on sale, highly discounted because people didn’t appreciate it the way we do.  Silly people who can’t see that growing up isn’t as much fun as they think and that wild things can’t be tamed but still teach wonderful lessons.  The people who “poo-poo” the movie probably would have gleefully banned the book from bookshelves.

Shame shame shame!

Poll Closed

Yesterday the poll closed and here are the results on "What Book Should I Read Next"?

The Koran
  1 (50%)
Tibetan Buddhism
  0 (0%)
Mysticism of Now
  1 (50%)

Votes so far: 2
Poll closed 

There was also a write-in vote left in a comment for The Koran so that is the book I am now reading for my quiet morning cup of coffee.

Did you notice the tabs at the top of the blog?  I added those over a week ago.  Or one of them anyway.  The second one I added this week.  And I'm probably going to add a third to gather quotes from the Koran as I go along.  It will be a temporary page in my blog, only there until I finish what I'm reading.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Randomness--Wordy Stuff

In honor of my sharing some haiku on my blog, I've decided to share some random writing I've been enjoying.

Rachel Green, prolific artist and writer, not only shares her photography but has a very long-running story full of gothic & quirky horror.  This post begins a new facet of her work as she begins adding altered pages to the posts.  (It is a few more posts down the line before every post includes one of these altered pages and there are a lot more posts that precede this one.  Enjoy!

She has several blogs so if this one doesn't strike your fancy, check out some of her others.

I believe I've shared Greg Brown and his poetry before.  If not, then it's high time I did.  Even if I have done so before, I could share his writing time and time again and still find myself in awe of how he juxtaposes imagery and splices metaphors.  He also shares quotes and such.  Don't be shy.  Leave a comment.  Tell him I sent you.

Janice Erlbaum generously shared a short-short story by Courtney Brooks last week.  I had hoped to link over to it in last week's randomness but was too sick and . . . better late than never, right?  (PS:  If you decide to explore Janice's blog on your own, please check the post's date before commenting.  For some insane reason, idiots come to her blog to argue about posts that are years old and it's getting tired.)

This artist writes about the Inner Critic with some advice on how to maintain balance between listening to the self-criticism without falling into self-flagellation.

Also, not to distract from the above but today is Mary's birthday and since she's a Twilight fan (because although she has great taste in friends her taste in reading material leaves much to be desired) I found this image to email to her.

It is also my dear friend Pia's birthday so for her I found this:


Two Documentaries: Born Into Brothels & Very Young Girls

Born Into Brothels is a documentary about Zana Briski’s experience while taking photographs in brothels in the Red Light district of Calcutta.  There she met and became interested in the children of some of the prostitutes and they, in turn, were curious about what she was doing there and why.  Soon the children were given cameras and film of their own with which to take pictures of anything and everything.  Once a week they would meet and discuss the photographs and Briski would teach the children about layouts and editing film, perspective and, as one of the children says when looking at a photograph, truth.

The poverty in India is absolutely overwhelming.  The circumstances into which these children have been born is horrifying.  And their faces, their charm, their smiles are absolutely and unquestionably enchanting.  You ache and hope for these children even in the face of seeming despair.  Briski takes them on field trips to the beach and the zoo.  She fights for these children to afford them an opportunity that will give them a future, a reason to hope, to be something more than another prostitute.

This documentary is what a novel I read last year should have been.

There is also a book of the children’s photographs available.  I would love to buy it but am not allowed to do so.  Such indulgences are simply unnecessary.  But if you can get your hands on this movie or the book, please see for yourselves how amazing these children are.

Very Young GirlsVery Young Girls is a documentary that is much closer to home.  Mostly filmed in NYC, this is a film about prostitution of girls right here in the United States.  According to statistics, the average age of a girl who begins prostituting is thirteen.  That is the average.  This means that for every girl who was able to wait until she was fourteen there’s one who began at twelve.  For every girl who started at fifteen there’s one who started at eleven.

The documentary follows the stories of several young girls who are involved in the GEMS program.  Each has her own story and it is hard to watch how these children have been manipulated by some man saying he loves her who then abuses her into prostitution with threats and more.  You feel the anguish of one mother as she desperately searches for her daughter who is being pimped out while the police tell her to get a court order if she wants them to do anything.  When she asks how she goes about getting one, the never seen officer tells her nothing but reiterates that she has to get a court order.  But how?  It would help if he responded to her cry for help with, if not action, some useful information.

A counseling session with Johns, the men who hire these girls, as well but only a brief peek inside.  A home movie of some pimps trolling for young girls is also shown and how they talk about the girls is sickening, to say the least.  There are also heartbreaking moments such as the one when a young girl is lectured to and berated by her mother rather than offered a safe haven from which the child can rebuild her life.

Thank goodness for organizations like GEMS.  Without havens for these girls, places where they can be removed from the immediate temptation of this lifestyle while also getting the counseling and education they need to improve their overall lives, there is really no hope that they will end up anywhere else but the streets.  And that only if they are lucky.

It is interesting to note that the first movie aired on HBO while the second aired on SHO.  Not to say that one is better than the other but there is a point during Very Young Girls when Rachel Lloyd, the founder of GEMS (Girls Education & Mentoring Services) explains that we talk about the issue of child prostitution and girls being pimped into virtual slavery in other countries as if it were not happening here in our own.  It is.  Still.

The world’s oldest profession may outlast us all but it should never ever include children, regardless of where they live but especially not in a nation that prides itself on being a world leader.  It’s not only shameful; it’s fucking vulgar.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dachshund Saves Owner, "Refused to Leave" Neighbors Home, Vertigo Stricken Collapse - National Ledger

Dachshund Saves Owner, "Refused to Leave" Neighbors Home, Vertigo Stricken Collapse - National Ledger By Julie Pike Aug 11, 2010
A vertigo stricken man collapsed and a tiny Dachshund saved dog owner Charlie Burdon's life. The story is a "Lassie" like tale of the dog going to the neighbor's house and "refused to leave" until the neighbor Charles Mitchell would go with the 11-year-old dachshund named Missy to investigate. Burdon was recovering from open heart surgery when he had a vertigo attack and had collapsed, and was unable to move. The dog decided to seek help. Mitchell lives close to Burdon and said he was working in his yard when Missy showed up and refused to leave, even though he tried to get rid of her.
"I said, 'Missy - Charlie don't know you're here -- you better go back home,' Mitchell recalled to the Associated Press. "She just stood there and looked at me." He decided to investigate and it likely saved Charlie Burdon's life as the neighbor called an ambulance and paramedics rushed to the scene. I had to share this story for obvious reasons. I wish there had been a picture of the dog. But yay to Missy!

Last Chance to Vote

So far there's only one vote (although there is an additional vote in the comments which I could count as a second vote).

Makes me wonder how I'm going to raise money with my writing if people aren't even reading my blog.  Or maybe those of you who are reading are not into voting. I don't know . . .

I really need to think of another way to raise $10,000 because so far I've raised nothing.  And given that my recent relapse resulted in my losing over a month of reading and writing time and exercise which resulted in my gaining ten pounds, I really want to raise money so I can go to Canada and see if this BrainPort can't cure my condition once and for all.

Yesterday my mother was telling me about her friend who just had surgery.  The woman was given some medicine for the pain but it gave her vertigo.  The room was spinning and she was feeling nauseous.  The whole nine yards.  So she decided not to take the pain medicine because living with pain was easier than living with vertigo.

A few months ago I asked for suggestions on how to raise $10,000 and someone suggested that I create a zine.  I have.  Created a zine, that is.  I'm pondering creating another one. Or I may pull together a chapbook from the vertigo poems I wrote for the poem a day challenge once upon a time.

If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave a comment.  Any and all legal and morally sound ideas are welcome.  Otherwise, if you want to do something illegal and/or amoral to help me raise money, feel free to do so.  I'm not above prostituting others in hopes of walking a straight line again.

Review: Taxi Driver

I finally watched the iconic Taxi Driver last night, having forgotten why I had not seen it before.  It wasn’t a conscious choice to avoid the movie.  However, I hadn’t seen it when Ronald Reagan was nearly assassinated by John Hinkley, Jr. and afterwards my interest in the movie was null.

But time has a way of blurring details and I eventually forgot why I hadn’t seen the film.  About halfway through I did remember.  By then I was caught up in the film noire tone–the voice over by Robert De Niro with the beautiful bluesy jazz music playing in the background.  I was put off by some of the racist language, forgetting that we truly have come a long way (and still have a long way to go).  This is the city I grew up in with checkered cabs and a gritty, dirtiness to the city that I know I am guilty of romanticizing.

To be honest, I was surprised the movie was not more violent.  Somehow I assumed it was much more violent than it turned out to be with one very graphic climax at the end.  I didn’t like the epilogue much at all but I have recently learned that there is discussion of a sequel which makes perfect sense to me assuming that there is some progression and a change in the denouement.  (I also hope that the writer and director don’t go for more violence simply for the sake of more.  Less is more, after all, and the violence, albeit remarkably graphic, suited the text of the movie perfectly.)  The acting is brilliant.  It is hard to believe that Jodie Foster was merely 13 when this film was made.  Absolutely amazing.

One last thought, I mentioned to Rob that I could see how this movie informed the filming of Fight Club (one of my favorites!) and he suggested that perhaps it had influenced the novel as well.

I don’t agree with him on this.  De Niro’s character is more a misanthrope than “marginalized” and in Fight Club, the narrator is clearly part of the trappings of corporate America (at least when the novel begins) and caught up in his own navel gazing misery.  The two characters are disturbed (and disturbing) for entirely different reasons.

Not that my opinion is right or more right than Rob’s.  I just like to throw this out there in case anyone wants to discuss.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shutter Island--Movie Review

Shutter Island is one of those rare intelligent movies that Hollywood occasionally makes, typically when there are enough big names behind it to justify the production costs.  Thankfully, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are big enough to make these things happen!

Who says size doesn’t matter?

This is a dark film, the tone established from the very beginning with everything in hues of greys, blues, washed out skin tones.  The only vivid slice of color is in the memory of the protagonist, wonderfully portrayed by DiCaprio, whose deceased wife wears a bright yellow floral dress.  Michelle Williams, who plays the apparition of the wife, is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as well but I’ll write more about her some other time.

I know this film is labeled a thriller but it feels more like a mystery which gradually unfolds.  This is the type of movie that people love or hate, typically.  Enigmatic.  Character driven.  The ending was not a huge surprise to either myself or Rob but we found it gratifying for that very reason.  I shudder (no pun intended) to think what the ending might have been but trusted that Scorsese wouldn’t disappoint.

Is this brilliant film-making?  No.  Is it better than most?  Yes.

And whoa . . . there’s a novel and a graphic novel.  Seriously, where have I been?  I am tempted to read one or the other to see how the one compares with the other.  Needless to say, should I do so a review will find a home here.  In the meantime, if you are tired of comfortable or safe movies, check this one out.  It may not be one you love but hopefully you won’t hate it.  (You might try to keep in mind the movies I love and let that weigh your choice as well because my tastes are often off the beaten path.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movie Review: The Secret

What do you do when an actress you love is in a movie directed by an actor you love but the description of the movie is rather repulsive to your sensibilities?  What if you eventually decide to give the movie a shot in spite of your misgivings because of your adoration of the aforementioned (but as yet unnamed) actors only to see that the movie is based on a Japanese movie which means once again Hollywood has decided to make a derivative version of a better film?

I suffered through my quickly multiplying misgivings to watch The Secret.  No, not that mind-numbing insult to anyone’s intelligence that was the over-hyped nonsense of a few years ago.  I am referring to the movie starring Lili Taylor (love her!) and directed by Vincent Perez (love him!).  Taylor’s part is small and most of the movie is dominated by David Duchovny and Olivia Thirlby–the former is a blip on my radar but nothing more and the latter I’d never heard of before. (I did, however, think she looked familiar and she should because she also appeared in Juno but I digress.)

The movie is about a family. The mother and the sixteen-year-old daughter are in a car accident and the mother’s soul/personality is transferred into the daughter’s body.  Sexual tension follows as the wife, inside the daughter’s body, and the husband try to reconcile themselves to what has happened.

Ewwwww . . . this is a Freudian fantasy fringing on the perverse.  Woman in daughter’s body tries to seduce husband?  Ewwww ewwww ewwww.  I was pretty sure I would need to shower after I saw this thing but it ended up being at least a little more interesting than I would have anticipated.  Yes there were uncomfortable moments but they were handled tastefully.

Olivia Thirlby blew me away.  She was completely convincing in all her angst and confusion, both as a teenager and as a woman struggling with who she is inside her daughter’s body.  There are some poignant moments.  David Duchovny was good in his sort of manic persona that seems par for his X-Files course.  I probably need to see him in more things given that I’ve only seen a few episodes and then only in this so all I know is “obssessive” and “moody” and “creepy” characterizations.  (I know that some people will find it hard to believe I thought Mulder was creepy but I did and do.  I’m definitely a Scully when it comes to UFOs and extraterrestrials when you get right down to it and tend to think believers are creepy.  But I digress yet again.)

I haven’t seen the original upon which this movie, Himitsu, is based so cannot say whether Perez’ direction was derivative or very good.  I enjoyed the movie and thought that he did an excellent job of drawing a great performance out of Thirlby.  The music was also very good and I actually stopped the credits to see the scoring information, something I don’t often do even when I enjoy the music.  There was no “soundtrack available” in the credits which is unfortunate.  I think some of the music was worth hearing time and again.

So I am not necessarily suggesting that you should run out and see this movie but if you want something that is relatively mindless and even a bit of a pleasant surprise, this movie could very well fill the bill.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Help Me Choose What To Read Next

In the morning I get up and typically make myself a cup of coffee which I sip as I read . . . whatever.  Typically my morning book consists of either a philosophy or spiritual book.  Later this week I’ll be finishing a book and I need to choose a new one.  The book can be anything from one of the Pop Culture and Philosophy books to a discussion on Buddhism or Yoga philosophy.  My choices for the next book are as follows:

The Koran

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and although I have made some progress in the past I’ve never finished it.  I also wonder if there is any point in reading it because I know it is not a spiritual path I will ever embrace.  Is there merit in reading a sacred text even if you know it is not a part of your spirituality?  Yes, without a doubt.   But when there are so many books that are closer to my personal path, would it not be wiser for me to set aside spiritual distractions and focus on what will be most edifying for me now?

Tibetan Buddhism

This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost as long as the previous one and still I haven’t read it.  The editor, Robert Thurman, is highly respected.  It isn’t that I am consciously avoiding this book; I just want to read it when I am truly ready for it.  I suspect that I also wonder if I am not avoiding it on some level because the more books on Yoga and Buddhism I read, the closer I will come to making a commitment in my own spiritual life.  Assuming, that is, I don’t fly off in a completely different direction, which is quite possible.

The Mysticism of Now

I know why I’ve been avoiding this book: I’m afraid it will turn out to be a lot of New Age nonsense that doesn’t inspire me so much as it does frustrate me to the point that I want to hurl the book across the room.  I’m afraid that too many books with promising titles have lured me in and I’ve been burned often enough that I hesitate to grab this one.  On the other hand, I am also at a point in my life and in my reading that I don’t have the patience to suffer fools lightly.  If this book did start sounding too superficial for my taste, I would simply choose to stop reading it altogether.

I probably could add to this list simply by walking around my home and exploring my bookshelves further.  I will refrain from doing so.  Three books seems enough.  Look at the bottom of this page and you’ll see the poll (you can just hit End on your keyboard to get there faster).  You are welcome to choose more than one but don’t choose all three.  It sort of defeats the purpose.

Five More Caldecott Medal Reviews

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous and the story is endearing, gentle and a reminder of the power of belief.  There is a certain poignant tone to the text and you might want to save this book for the child who is beginning to question the existence of Santa Claus, to give them room for their questions and for their ongoing belief.

For anyone who has seen the movie, I have to say that they did a remarkable job of fleshing out the story without compromising the emotional force of the book.  I'd absolutely recommend reading and being familiar with the book before watching the movie.  (Then again, I may be biased about this because my mother encouraged me to read books before she would take me to a movie so it's quite possible that I'm inclined to encourage everyone to read the book before seeing the movie.)

And here is yet another gorgeous book with a lovely story.  This one, as the title implies, is a variation on the Red-Riding Hood story with which most westerners are more familiar.  (It also has hints of The Three Little Pigs.)

If your child is familiar with Little Red Riding Hood and especially if this story is a favorite then you should absolutely get this book and read it.  Discuss how the two stories are similar and how they are different.  Of course, you should also enjoy these gorgeous book that draws on Asian silk panels and soft watercolor techniques to bring the text to glorious life.

Jane Yolen is one of my favorite young adult writers so I may be biased in favor of liking this book.  (I seem to be very biased today.)  This simple story of a father and child going out one cold winter's night is elegant and enchanting.  Yolen's voice is pure and her use of redundancy for emphasis is perfect for the voice of the child.

The illustrations, by John Shcenherr, are also wonderful.  Although the reader, I suppose, would assume by the color of the child's coat that the narrator is a girl, there really is nothing in the text nor in the illustrations that really demands a gender bias.  I almost wish the coat had been yellow or red or a more gender neutral color.  However and in spite of this, the book is just a wonderful bedtime story to be shared time and time again.

This book screams for more because it lends itself to so much so forgive me if I spoil the story for you but here are some suggestions on how to really have ongoing fun with this book.

First, of course, read the book together many times.  Invite the child to draw a picture of what kind of bird he would have become had he gone to the island.  (Or she, obviously, but doing the whole he or she thing was tedious.)  Have the child draw what your pet would look like.  If you don't have a pet, invite the child to draw you as a bird.  Or take modeling clay and make these imaginary transformational birds in 3D.

Second, when the child is ready for mythology, this book lends itself to being discussed in conjunction with the story of Daedalus and Icarus.  A natural progression from simple children's book to archetypal myth!

Definitely a cute one.  I have to commend the artist for managing to communicate the movement of dance through colorful and downright adorable illustrations.

However, overall the story was disappointing.  It didn't really say much albeit it's always nice to see a story about grandparents and grandchildren sharing some joy and learning together.  Still, I don't know that this is a book that screams to be read over and over and even the most brilliant artist can show how much fun vaudeville was.  I'd give the book an A for effort but not go out of my way to read and/or recommend it.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer

Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer is a well-organized, comprehensible look at Darwinism and the argument against evolution that has evolved from “Creation Science” to the more contemporary “Intelligent Design.”

Shermer obviously knows his stuff and has respect for those who are in the Intelligent Design movement, although he also addresses some of his personal concerns about underlying agendas and the obvious issue of why ID is a political movement rather than a scientifically researched debate.  If, Shermer argues, Intelligent Design is a rational point of view, then prove it scientifically, discuss it with other scientists, and let proof decide what will be taught in the schools.

Of course those who argue for Intelligent Design suggest that scientists conspire to keep “the truth” of their beliefs from the scientific journals.  Shermer makes no apologies for why IDers are not represented in established journals and he explores ten of the most common arguments they use one at a time in the longest chapter of the book.

But he doesn’t just finger point at the failure of ID arguments; rather, he addresses the weaknesses that are inherent and remain within the theory of evolution as well, opening the debate further while also sharing these as opportunities for further research.  The book concludes with a tongue-in-cheek coda and a list of books for further reading.  Not surprisingly, this list includes books in support of Intelligent Design, including websites both pro-Intelligent Design and pro-evolution.

I want to also take a moment to mention the appendix in which Shermer lists no less than fourteen different perspectives on how man came to be, not including evolution itself.  And Shermer points out that this list is far from exhaustive meaning that there are many more theories out there that he did not include in his list.  If we are to give equal time, as Intelligent Design proponents seem to demand, then we have to give equal time not only to the Biblical account of creation but also to other beliefs that are still very much a part of the multiple religious beliefs out there.
Human Evolution
This issue is close to my own heart because I grew up in a climate where this was never debated.  Evolution was assumed.  I went on frequent trips to the Museum of Natural History where I saw displays of prehistoric man including the images and skeletal displays of man’s transition from ape to homo saipen.

When I became a Christian, I read the creation story as a myth and then tried to read books on Scientific Creationism with an open mind but I never understood the argument (or, to be honest, agreed with the argument) nor why it even mattered.  But I tried and tried to not read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as merely metaphor.

It didn’t work. And I knew that fundamentalist Christians would argue that I had been brainwashed as a child.  There is something pathetically ironic in that which I won’t even discuss.  Simply insert an eye-roll here and let’s move on.

I just can’t believe that this nonsense is still being argued.  The Supreme Court made a decision a long time ago and we need to just drop this or those who want to replace evolution need to come up with some scientific reason to do so.  And yet we have people like Kathy Cox right here in Georgia making uneducated and incredibly foolish choices that make us look ridiculous.  And don’t kid yourselves if you live outside of Georgia and think you are not seen as foolish too.  Believe me, beyond the borders of our fine nation there are many people who are laughing their asses of over the fact that we, who pride ourselves on a separation of church and state, are having political conflict over something so clearly religious.

The fact that nine out of ten of the strongest defenders of Intelligent Design are Christian based and funded is evidence enough that this is not a scientific debate but a spiritual one.

I am glad I read this book.  I don’t really need to read another on the topic.  Shermer does an excellent job of showing both sides of the argument and defends the Truth very clearly and does so without petty attacks or silliness.

Oh, and he also references one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Which I will share again here:

Thank you Sidney Harris.

Vicious World Has Returned

So Vicious World has truly returned and the first few pages are such a tease!  Notice the touch of red on page 1.6?  That immediately reminded me of Edward Gorey's set and costume designing for Broadway's Dracula.  (For those who don't know, and most everyone who reads this probably doesn't, Gorey designed the sets to be black and white and the costumes were the same with shades of grey.  However, each scene also had a bit of red in it.  In one scene the red is the wine they drink.  In another it is in a jewel on Lucy's dress. This delicate touch was completely lost in translation from stage to film, unfortunately.)

But oh so cool, they have an Edward Gorey's Dracula Toy Theatre!  Lust want!

Whoa.  Way to totally digress here.  Sorry about there.  Here's the page to which I am referring but follow the link to see more of the comic.  And it's much larger on the official site too.  (And no, I am not the artist of these comics so let me put that out there now before someone praises my talent.)

Pages 1.1 & 1.2
Pages 1.3 & 1.4
Pages 1.5, 1.6, & 1.7