Tuesday, December 31, 2013

80 Books I Read in 2013

  • This is probably bragging. But I'm feeling rather proud of myself, so here's the list. It's been a good year. I set the goal pretty early on, but didn't actually expect to reach it. About a month ago, I started getting a bit strategic and finished the last eleven books, throwing a few short ones in. (Hey, Les Mis and Middlemarch ought to have counted for several.)

Long story short, I finished the last two before lunch December 31.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas - The Greatest Eucatastrophe

Eucatastrophe: a sudden joyous turn in a dark tale—the happy ending "a piercing glimpse of joy...that for a moment...rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through."

“The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—particularly artistic, beautiful, and moving: ‘mythical’ in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of creation.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stephen Meyer Makes Me Feel Cool

I'm not much of a scientist, but like everybody, I have a sort of popular culture science learned by osmosis. Increasingly, lately, creationism has seemed so uncool to me that I was tempted to slap the title "theistic evolution" on it just to feel more intelligent. I knew, of course, that that wasn't really based on any knowledge of science, and have been meaning to do some research, just to be informed.

Well, this worked quite well as a refresher to my high school biology class, and certainly gives me some talking points whenever evolution enters the conversation. It also clears up a lot of misconceptions about the Intelligent Design group.

Also, Metaxas is hilarious and charming as ever. Enjoy.

"Darwin's Doubt" with Stephen Meyer from Socrates in the City on Vimeo.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Doctor Who is a God - Science Fiction and the Worship of Man

[You know how sometimes you write dumb stuff when you're younger and then get over it? That's basically the definition of this piece. I'm keeping it up for human interest, but I'm an enormous Doctor Who fan now.]

I've come to two conclusions about Science Fiction. First, if there's any chance of enjoying things like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, one must embrace the inherent campiness of it. Chewbacca? Alien octopuses in robotic shells that have no emotion but hate? Yes, please. The other conclusion? Stay tuned.

Over the last few weeks, I've watched enough New Doctor Who episodes to get a pretty fair grasp of the show. I know not to call him Doctor Who, but The Doctor. I can hold my own in a conversation that throws around terms like "Cybermen" and "Daleks" and "Time Lords" and even (ugh) "Slitheens." 

For those of you who don't know - Doctor Who is about a 900-year-old shape-shifter who travels through space and time in a ship shaped like a 1950's police-box and saves various realities from malign species, accompanied by amusing, usually female sidekicks. He never dies, but regenerates every few years into another member of RADA. And yes, it's about as campy as it sounds, but there are moments when it transcends its genre.

Here's the thing: I really wanted to like this show. I really did. And I did like it, through the first season. It was season two that killed it for me. (I am compelled to add, however, that season 3 pulled me back into the fold, thanks mostly to Donna Noble.) After what I realized watching the second season, it can never be quite the same.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Indiana Jones Hits Middle-Earth

When I walked into the theater today, I had the title of this post ready and waiting. Last year's review was entitled "A Great Adventure, But Not as Great as it Could Have Been." The second installment had already earned the tag of "Terrible, But Not as Terrible as it Could Have Been."

*Many spoilers*

It turns out I was wrong. Like the first film, Desolation is certainly a mixed bag, but coming up on my horrendously low expectations, it quickly soared into my good graces.

The first movie was so disappointing for several reasons: Radagast. The Goblin King. Stupid dwarf humor. Black magic. Boring visuals. Lazy, ham-fisted foreshadowing of the other films. Ridiculously large, cartoonish action sequences. Not being Lord of the Rings.

How does film two compare? (I know I did the same thing for Thor 2, but it's late at night, these are first impressions only.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2014 BBC Mystery

Yes, the gang is all here, but who is this new person to the right of Molly?

This is older information - for the latest, follow this link. 

My last mystery post, on 2013 mysteries, had several series that are still yet to come out, but their release date is a little bit more certain.

Sherlock Season Three is now certainly coming out in 2014, with a January 19 release date for the U.S. The Beeb has also announced a December 25 minisode, though whether that'll extend to us on the other side of the pond has yet to be seen. Needless to say, the hype is getting pretty loud, since it's been two years since season two's cliffhanger ending, and the speculation is intense. The greatest question is: why does Watson have a mustache?

Martin Freeman's real life partner, Amanda Abbington, will be joining him on-screen as his wife, Mary Morstan, which ought to be fun. Lars Mikkelson is signed on as the new villain, and certainly has large shoes to fill after the amazing Andrew Scott.