World Enough and Time…

March 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm (Diving, Education, History, Travel)

Just when I thought that all of the great ancient voyages had been replicated, some visionary (and presumably financially well-connected) Brit has to go and prove me wrong. Sigh. If only I (a) didn’t have a baby on the way (not that I’d trade that in for anything) and (b) didn’t get seasick by stepping within fifteen feet of a boat. But it sounds like a grand adventure, doesn’t it?

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In Memoriam

March 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Books, Comics, History, Horror, Languages, Movies, Travel)

It saddens me greatly to think that we have lost two of the greatest minds in the history of science fiction and fantasy in the last two weeks. On March 4, Gary Gygax passed away, and then, just two days ago, Arthur C. Clarke died in Sri Lanka. Arthur C. Clarke, I must confess, never made that significant of an impact on me, although I recognize his influence on the field of science fiction and, frankly, science. I’ve only actually read one of his books, Rama Revealed (which was an excellent novel, although it will also make you loathe the base nature of the human race), and I’ve only seen 2001: A Space Odyssey once. However, he fell into the brilliant class of authors who wrote what is called “hard science fiction,” that is, sci-fi that is firmly tied into what we know/believe to be possible, and was quite a visionary: For example, he was the first person to suggest the system of communication satellites which currently orbit the Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revisionist History

March 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm (Comics, History, Humor, Movies, Music)

As I have only two readers, I’m trying to be more sensitive to your tastes in what I post. Unfortunately, your tastes differ dramatically. ;o) So, Shannon, I’m warning you in advance that this particular Youtube video will probably NOT be your cup of tea, and I’d suggest keeping the kids away from it, too. Mary, you’ll love this. It is a… somewhat novel take on our dear first president, George Washington, and is solidly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

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Mad Science

March 10, 2008 at 10:57 am (Comics, Horror)

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of science fiction. But I also love science fact, if only because each new development gets me closer to the fantastic future of which I’ve dreamed since I’m a kid. So, while this little study mentioned today on NPR may not seem like much, I promise you, it’s super-cool. Why, you ask? Because it shows that creatures which can effectively change their shape can still retain memories from their previous form.

Yep, you head me right. “Change their shape.” I like how the article describes the transformation from caterpillar to moth, which “turns their brains and bodies into soup.” But the implications for me go way beyond insects. If insects can do it, why can’t aliens, or humans with advanced technology, or whatever, while still keeping their mind, and therefore their identity, intact? Just yesterday, this was essentially science fiction (at least, to me), but today, it’s science fact. And that’s pretty cool, if you ask me.

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Wartime Espionage Is Always Fun

March 10, 2008 at 10:43 am (History, Movies)

Last night, Heather and I watched Black Book, a Dutch film set during the end of WWII. Although I’m the person who put this in our Netflix queue, I actually didn’t really want to see it. I’d heard it was good, I knew it would have some German in it, and I figured, what the heck, let’s pretend we’re cultured. I had no desire to see what I assumed was a tragic period romance/drama of lost love and destroyed dreams.
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Fiddle Sticks

March 5, 2008 at 8:07 pm (Arts, Family, Music)

When asked by people what my fondest dreams are, I list “learning to play the fiddle” right at the top. It’s a bit bizarre, I know, although my being bizarre shouldn’t surprise people anymore. As for why fiddle, as opposed to piano, or guitar, or whatnot, well, I come up with excuses about it being more portable, etc., but that really isn’t it. A number of years ago, while at St. Paul the Apostle over in Westwood, we sang a particular hymn called “The World Is About to Turn.” Now, I’m fairly confident I’d heard that hymn before, but for some reason, on that time, the rather unique tune really caught my attention. Glancing to the top of the page, I saw that the tune was based on an Irish Traditional called “Star of the County Down.” Once I got home, I googled that song until I found a recording of it, and by the second verse, was dead set on learning to play the fiddle, just so that I could play that song. Read the rest of this entry »

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