Posted in review

The Swift Précis

The Swift Précis Is a Tuesday feature where I choose what I found the most interesting reading during the past week and piece it together for your browsing pleasure. Most of it will be from blogs and other internet offerings — with appropriate links. But when I choose something in print, I will reference that as best I can too, for you to look up and follow if you so choose.

This link here is a blog by Cedar Sanderson on her struggle with helping her kids, and how it can strangle their independence. With two kids of my own I see the same thing. Perhaps it is just my memory, but I think I had more independence in my growing up, and my kids generation has less, more protection, less risk, less independence.

For Humor, try this link of short vignettes.

Over at According to Hoyt an article on one of our cultures current insanities.

Considering being a writer? Cedar Sanderson suggests there are benefits in the part-time trajectory and longevity is one of the big ones.

For those of you that get more out of video, here are some good advice videos, all rounded up in one blog.

Hey, what is an unrealized life skill? Standing still. See this excellent blog on how to achieve this with ease.

Posted in review, Uncategorized

Muppets: Luck of the Irish

I decided to do a Muppet-themed blog today. Ran into both of these today while surfing the internet.  Just wanted to shout out how lucky we are to have had such a creative person as Jim Henson and his muppets. Certainly is the luck of the Irish that the world gets such creative people.

Posted in review, Reviews

Hugo Awards: Voting for Best Related Work

Continuing a theme I will feature a few more times, below is the listing of the category “best related work”:

BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)

  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)

Over at Mad Genius Club they have been doing features on the various categories, helping people get a handle on the material (but not telling them how to vote — a clear distinction). The comments there helped me view these works better, but I definitely have my own opinions on the works themselves.

Between Light and Shadow: Mad Genius Club said this is “very well written and as densely layered and rich as Wolfe’s fiction.” I can agree it is good writing, and dense. But why, oh why, does it have to make Wolfe’s fiction sound so boring. All this analysis makes many of the stories just totally disappear.  I’ll admit I haven’t read any of Wolfe’s works, and this work certainly discourages me from reading any of them.

The First Draft of My Appendix N Book: This was a real undertaking, an exhaustive study of the fiction that inspired the gaming world’s core initial creation: Dungeons and Dragons. I haven’t had time to read this, but I like the idea of the book, and I think this sort of focus on the influences of other eras that is needed today.

Safe Space as Rape Room: This book really puts the fear in me. I am attending my first convention this year, and was excited to get my kids to be influenced by it as well. Now I’m wondering if they should go. No, not that seriously, but I will give them caution. Truthfully, this is a good work, and I am glad it was written. But I think other works deserve the honor more.

SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police: Now, this is a well written piece. I enjoyed reading this. Probably the same comments about its suitableness could be made as I made about the Safe Space, and will make about the final entry. But the writing and wit give me a better rating for this one.

The Story of Moira Greyland: This is a personal story. About people in Science Fiction, but not directly about science fiction itself. I applaud it for the moral strength to say what was said, and to stand up. It should have made the list. I just don’t think this is the type of stuff I would vote for the top.

 

So here is my ranking:

  1. The First Draft of y Appendix N Book
  2. SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police
  3. Between Light and Shadow
  4. Safe Space as Rape Room
  5. The Story of Moira Greyland

Feel free to read and/or comment on your own views of these works. This post is not to persuade you to vote my way, but to think about why you would vote.

Posted in Music, review

Starlight Opens

This is the first year we have attended Starlight’s Broadway shows on Tuesday nights. As such, we are going to attend a lot of opening nights. Most of the Broadway shows open on Tuesday.

The first show of the season is tonight. It is Matilda, by Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It could be a good show.  We’ll find out and let folks know.When you read the copy every show is great.

Posted in Politics, review, Social Issues

Gestalt of Firefly

Firefly_Trio.jpg
The Ballad of Serenity

Take my love.
Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don’t care,
I’m still free.
You can’t take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black.
Tell em I ain’t comin’ back.
Burn the land
And boil the sea.
You can’t take the sky from me.

There’s no place I can’t be
Since I found Serenity.
But you can’t take the sky from me.

The above song is the theme song for the one-season Science Fiction cult series Firefly. This show is the space western that Star Trek TOS was sold as to the network but really wasn’t.

I rewatched the series through (all 14 episodes) recently, thanks to Amazon Prime. Seeing it in a sort of marathon viewing helps give you a gestalt of an impression about the series.

The movie is set against a background of the little independents battling the big behemoth and losing. This show has multiple scenes where the idea of big, central government is given a very negative view. The main character, Mal, makes many comments about the uselessness of government.

This is a dystopian future, set 500 years from now in a new solar system we moved to after Earth was used up, a solar system with a multitude of earth-terra formable planets and moons.And yet, even though we see the defeat of the independents, we see that there is always an area of freedom somewhere, that the ability of totalitarianism to completely lock things down is never complete.

So I would call this a human wave show. What does that mean? It means a story where humans are important, where humans aren’t all bad, where humans can make mistakes, but can also make a difference.

So if you have a little freedom in your heart, a little rebellion against the powers that know what is best for you, if you love a good western well done (which was never an all shoot-em up — that too is well done on this show — a lot of withholding of shooting), then you might want to give this show a try.

And then you will understand why it is such a cult classic. And why studios and networks couldn’t get it or understand it to give it a better run than it had.

Posted in Politics, review, Uncategorized

Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it

Today’s post is going to be a quick quote out of Heretics by G.K. Chesterton:

Every one of the popular modern phrases and ideals is a dodge in order to shirk the problem of what is good. We are fond of talking about “liberty”; that, as we talk of it, is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about “progress”; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about “education”; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. The modern man says, “Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace liberty.” This is, logically rendered, “Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it.” He says, “Away with your old moral formulae; I am for progress.” This, logically stated, means, “Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it.” He says, Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education.” This, cleary expressed, means, “We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children.

No comments, just a couple of questions. What exactly did your mind decide to apply this to? Chesterton wrote this for the first half of the 20th century. How relevant is it to the 21st century?

Posted in review

Veterans and Books

Today seems a perfect day to tout the Avondale United Methodist Book Club’s latest book discussion. On Saturday, Nove. 14, 2015 at 10 a.m. in the church library, we will be discussing the book When Books Went to War about the efforts to give American service personnel reading material during World War II.

I have been taking classes from Gonzaga University, online, and one of the interesting features of my most recent classes was the number of current and former military personnel that were involved in the classes. Far from the caricature of military people taking the job because they couldn’t find anything else, this is one part of the evidence that military personnel are often some of the best educated people in our country.

The book I mentioned at the beginning of the post is evidence that this was true back during World War II, and I would wager before that as well.

I will end this brief post with a quote from an Army Basic Field manual:

In all phases of administration, training, and operation, make every effort to keep your men informed. Nothing irritates American soldiers so much as to be left in the dark regarding the reason for things.

P.S. — For another good column about Veterans Day and veterans, follow this link to a post by Cedar Sanderson at Mad Genius Club.