Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scott's Penguins

This 1913 photo is from the NOAA photo library and can be viewed online here. The caption reads

"Penguins on ice-foot." In: "Scott's Last Expedition ....", 1913. Dodd, Mead, and Company. New York. Volume II. Page 87. Library Call No. G850 1910 .S35 1913 .

Scott's Last Expedition
can be read online here. An overview of his life is at wikipedia here. EyewitnessHistory has a page on Scott's doomed expedition. There is more information at south-pole.com and coolantarctica.com.

Monday, July 30, 2007

R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman died today at the age of 89. I saw the news first at GreenCine. I watched his The Seventh Seal a couple of months ago.

New York Times
The Guardian

Self-Styled Siren has a report
as does Coffee coffee and more coffee
and scanners
and Cinematical
and LeftWingCracker, who also tells me of the death of talk show host Tom Snyder.

update 7/31/2007: VideosWithBibi has the classic Madeline Kahn parody.

Flickhead has a story.

has a link to the Telegraph article which
goes in particularly fascinating detail into his religious influences and his lifelong themes of sin and eternity.

SFScope has a notice and a couple of links.

update 8/1/2007: Scanners has new coverage, including links to and snips from other sites.

GetReligion has an article touching on the religious language being used in the obits and retrospectives being published on Bergman. GetReligion asks
Over the past day or so, I have read other mainstream tributes to Bergman and I cannot find the answer to a logical question, after all of these references to God, doubt and death. Here is the question: What did Bergman believe, if anything, about the ultimate issues? Did he ever make a clear statement about his religious beliefs?

Fraktastic has a video clip.

RightwingFilmGeek has an article about his films.

from The House Next Door

update 8/4/2007: Now I'm beginning to see less flattering commentary. Scanners, for example, expands on this line.

update 8/7/2007: Greencine has posted a final update with lots of material.

update 8/8/07: Scanners continues linking to new articles, focusing this time on folks who take a less favorable view of Bergman's work.

8/19: more from GreenCine

Get to Know the Night Sky

The night sky is an old friend for me from when I was a child and could clearly see the Milky Way in my own suburban backyard. A growing urban environment and light pollution have changed all that, but the night sky is still faithfully up there. This site is an amateur astronomy primer for recognizing key, easily visible features.

SFF/Horror at Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg, that wonderful home for books no longer under copyright, has a shelf dedicated to science fiction. There are a fair number of real treasures there all in one place.

Precursors of the genre, separated by age, have a different place here. There's a separate bookshelf for the fantasy here. Horror, which sometimes is hard to tell from fantasy depending on who is doing the categorizing, is here. There's a bookshelf for Children's Fairy Tales here, but I don't see the Brothers Grimm on that page, which seems odd to me. Maybe I just missed them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


π or Pi is a 1998 psychological thriller, directed by Darren Aronofsky, centering around a number theorist and the mathematical concept of pi. I was fascinated by the film, first by the character of Max, the number theorist, and then by wondering exactly how much of what happens takes place in his mind and how much takes place in some form in an objective reality. It begs for a second viewing.

The game of Go features prominently in the movie.


Strangely enough, it's currently available online through googlevideo:

9/10/2009: Weird Movies has a review.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 138

1 I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.

6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Simplicity and Social Justice

Frugal for Life pointed me to the Simple Living Network News, a free online newsletter. There's an article in the current newsletter #59 called Simplicity & Social Justice: Thoughts On The Competitive Society which begins

Simplicity has often been attacked as a yuppie movement with no relevance to the poor. Certainly I would never give a talk to poor people about how to simplify their lives! The poor are trying to survive, and that's not what living simply is about. Simplicity is about making conscious choices for the well being of people and the planet, and poor people don't have the luxury of choices. (Ironically, of course, the planet is less harmed by poor people than by richer people who use up so many more resources.)

However, the concept of Simplicity is vital to helping poor people because Simplicity's underlying goal is to "put money in its place." People are impoverished because of the greediness of the rich.

It seems to be basically a promotional article for the book Slow is Beautiful, but it does look like the main thrust of this author is voluntary simplicity in the service of benefiting the poor rather than for the benefit of the environment, which is what I see most often these days.

I'm going to subscribe to the newsletter for a while to see how the purpose manifests itself in their articles.

Enjoy the Fireflies

because their populations are in decline. NoImpactMan has a report, linking to a story that says

Of the nearly 200 species of fireflies on this continent, only a few are urbanites.

“There’s two or three species in North America that seem to put up with what people do,” Lloyd says.

I remember as a child in the city putting a little grass in the bottom of a jar kept from year to year for that purpose, running after them in the dusk to catch them, watching them flash until I fell asleep and setting them free the next morning. I remember the joy of sharing that fun with my kids. It's deeply saddening to think my grandkids might not be able to find lightning bugs.

The photo above of fireflies/lightning bugs in a jar is from Flickr.

Barnabas Collins

I try to keep up with the goings-on of Jonathan Frid, who played vampire Barnabas Collins in the 60's soap Dark Shadows, and today's news is full of reports that Johnny Depp will be playing the character in a new movie. That ought to be interesting. If he wants it, I certainly hope a place will be found for Mr. Frid in the new production.

Dark Shadows had a recent anniversary.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Non-abductees Anonymous

I really did think I had put this video on my blog, but can I find it now, when I need it? No, of course not. So here it is:

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

#1 Son was concerned that we might not be watching enough mindless action movies, so he picked Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Based on a video game -who'd have ever guessed- Lara Croft spends the movie jumping and running and beating the bad guys. I liked the butler best.



HT: Amsterdamn.org

#2 Son's Favorite Movies

I asked for a list, and here it is:

1) The Last Valley
2) Kelly's Heroes
3) Lawrence of Arabia
4) Independence Day
5) The Man Who Never Was
6) House of Flying Daggers
7) The Hunt for Red October
8) Bullitt
9) Star Wars (the first film)
10) Goldfinger
11) LOTR: FOTR (Theatrical Release)
12) MirrorMask
13) The Dark Crystal
14) Secondhand Lions
15) Princess Mononoke
16) The Halloween Tree
17) My Favorite Brunette
18) The Getaway
19) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
20) A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott)
21) Nero Wolfe: Over My Dead Body, part 1 and part 2
22) Catherine the Great
23) Ivanhoe
24) Battlestar Galactica miniseries
25) Hercule Poirot's Evil Under the Sun

I've seen all but 2 of them and like most of them. My favorite 2 from this list are The Halloween Tree and The Dark Crystal.


Another game in the snow.

I doubt they're playing this game as part of their research during the International Polar Year, although they are playing some games.

Wondering what polar conditions are really like? Check this out:


I didn't do so great at Heli Boarding, but then I generally stink at these games.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Draw a House

Here's mine:

Based on your drawing and the 10 answers you gave this is a summary of your personality:

You are sensitive and indecisive at times. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people.

You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.

Aren't I artistic and creative? Now that you know you certainly won't be drawing the worst house at the site, go draw a house of your own here.

HT: About.com

Yet More Post-HP Reads

From SFSignal comes a link to the list at The Guardian and a LiveJournal thread of reader recommendations.

I found the Guardian list less than helpful since some of the folks making suggestions seem not to have read the HP books. They seem to me to be more general suggestions of books kids should read rather than more specialized recommendations of books Harry Potter fans would like.

I didn't find much at the LiveJournal thread.


The SFSignal's own list is much more helpful. I mentioned it here. Their list is available as a 1-page PDF download. How helpful is that! Nice.

The BBC on the Creation Museum

I found it interesting to see a foreign take on the subject. My previous posts on the subject are here and here.

HT: jamonation

Recommended SF Stories

Free Speculative Fiction Online has a list (with links) of short stories they recommend that are available online. Among them are Alfred Bester's Star Light, Star Bight and Norman Spinrad's Carcinoma Angels. There are lots more. Well worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Book #5 for the Book Awards Challenge

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman is one in a series of mysteries featuring Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and police officer Jim Chee. These Navajo tribal policemen are involved in a case that seems to have elements of tribal witchcraft. It's a sad story in many ways. I enjoyed the characters. The main characters have personal sub-plots that I found interesting. There's Lieutenant Leaphorn who is concerned about the health of his wife as he tries to convince her to add "white men's" medicine to the traditional Native healing ceremonies she's always used. Officer Chee is in training to become a healer and has led one Blessing Way ceremony successfully. And then Chee has a cat he's concerned about. The other characters are not fleshed out as well, but I didn't really need them to be. The relationships between the characters are well-drawn, too, and I could hear the conversations as natural.

We watched the PBS Mystery that's based on this book, but it bears little resemblance to the book. We liked the show and thought the characters well-cast, but except for being called Skinwalkers and having characters named Leaphorn and Chee there was very little to connect them.

from the back of the book:

United for the first time, Navajo Tribal Police officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn together embark on a murder investigation that leads them into the dark and mystical world of Indian witchcraft. Tony Hillerman's very special feel for the Navajo Way and the American Southwest has never before been conveyed so powerfully as in this haunting, suspenseful, beautifully written mystery novel.


Oops! I forgot to say that this book won an Anthony Award in 1988.


I said, "I want a rug that looks like something Mondrian would've done."

He said, "Who's that?"

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch abstract painter who founded the Neo-Plasticism movement. He is most known for his paintings of straight lines and rectangular shapes with color blocks in strictly limited colors.

The photo above is from Flickr.

The Zimmers

I knew joining the AARP would have benefits, but I had no idea they would lead me to discover cutting-edge music:

"Hope I die before I get old"???

Not me! No!

HT: AARP Bulletin July/August issue

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after

I have now finished reading Happy Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I enjoyed it overall though there were parts I didn't like. I still really like Luna. One of my main problems in an earlier book was the marriage of Lupin and Tonks, and I still don't like that match. I thought we spent entirely too much time wandering aimlessly though the countryside. It's hard to say anything without risking spoilers so I just won't write it, but as soon as #2 Son has finished it we'll all have to share our reflections.

Penguins and Climate Change

LiveScience has a report that tells how studying penguin remains shows the cycle of the advance and then retreat of the Antarctic ice shelf.

There's a link to a video and links to other penguin-related articles.

Why oh why, at a time when we try our best to control our abject fear of penguins, are there so many penguin stories out there???

Puffin Questions

Get answers here. They even have an answer for, "How many fish can a puffin carry in its beak at one time?" for those puffins who have fish for tea instead of for playmates.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kirk vs. Picard

The final battle. And may the best man win.

Domenico Scarlatti

Today is the anniversary in 1757 of the death of Domenico Scarlatti. Here's one of his Sonatas on harpsichord:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, before

The Daughter has finished it. The Husband is almost done and will finish it today or tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll be reading it at all unless I receive certain assurances....

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 15

1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Many-Colored Land

Book #4 for the Book Awards Challenge

The Many-Colored Land by Julian May is book 1 of The Saga of Pliocene Exile.

from the back of the book:

An orderly and peaceful interstellar society, the twenty-first century's Galactic Milieu had little place for the incurable adventurer, the secret psychotic, or the ruthless con man. So, When a one-way time tunnel to Earth, six million B.C., was discovered, every misfit for light-years around hurried to pass through it, hungry for adventure, the romance of the unknown, and a life free of the Milieu's stuffy rules. Each sought his own brand of happiness. But none could have guessed what awaited them. Not even in a million years...

I don't like time travel books, but the idea behind this one is not the typical time travel conceit and I forgave the author early on. The plot moves along, and the characters, even though there are so many, are well-rendered.

My main problem at this point is that I want to know what happens to these characters and the end of the book says that the next book

tells of the other four members of Group Green in the Tanu capital city, and of their reunion with the northerners....

so I'll pick up the next books if #2 Son wants them after he finishes Book I but not until then. This book was a good read -it's just that I have so many books in my to-be-read stack....

The Many-Colored Land won a Locus Award in 1982.

Joseph and His Brethren

This film, "A dramatization of the biblical story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, but rose from slave to vizier in Pharaonic Egypt," is available for viewing at the Internet Archive (HT: Videos with Bibi) and compliments of Google Video here:

This is a loose re-telling of the Joseph story found in the Bible, beginning in Genesis 37.

Anime Guide

(I'm updating the links as I watch these.)

GreenCine's Anime Guide has a quick general overview on the first page then gives an overview of sub-genres and people on the next 3. At the bottom of that last page is a list of their recommendations for an intro to the field:

Angel's Egg

Blood: the Last Vampire

Boogiepop Phantom

The Castle of Cagliostro

Cowboy Bebop


Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO)

His and Her Circumstances

Key the Metal Idol

Martian Successor Nadesico

Perfect Blue

Read or Die

Voices of a Distant Star

Witch Hunter Robin

The only one on the list that I've seen is Key the Metal Idol. I haven't even heard of most of the others. I'll have to watch for them.

Which Byzantine Ruler Are You?

You’re St. Theodora!

Theodora was the wife of the ninth-century emperor Theophilus and mother of the future emperor Michael III. Theodora ruled the lands after her iconoclastic husband died. She labored to overturn his heretical policies, chiefly by summoning a council that upheld the veneration of images of Christ and the saints. For this, she is herself honored as a saint by the Orthodox Church. Her feast day is February 11.

Find out which Byzantine ruler you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Friday, July 20, 2007


#1 Son and I decided to make it a double feature, and out of the 6 he narrowed it down to I chose Unleashed starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins.

I think this movie did a much better job of plotting and character development than the first movie we watched tonight. It's a great action movie, but it's more than just an action movie. I was impressed with Kerry Condon, who seemed to hold her on with much more experienced actors.


Here's Mozart's Piano Sonata #11, which is a key element of this film:

Blood and Chocolate

#1 Son chose this fun little werewolf flick. I'm now told that most people wouldn't have known the girl was a werewolf from her interaction with the dogs in the first scene, but I've always been strange that way.... Lots of slow motion leaping around, not much blood and not much chocolate. I did think the message part of the movie was intrusive. I mean the line about fearing what is most unlike us... Yuck.


Moon Day

It was 38 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

update: Bad Astronomy blog

In Honor of the New HP Book

HT: Claw of the Conciliator

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sealand Forum

For those of you aching to engage in Sealandish conversation with like-minded fans of the micro-nation, see the forum.

Personality Defects?

Your Score: Hand-Raiser

You are 71% Rational, 57% Extroverted, 0% Brutal, and 0% Arrogant.

You are the Hand-Raiser, that annoying kid in class who always had an answer for everything. No doubt, as a child you probably sat in the front of the class, anxiously waving your hand back and forth in the air while your teacher desperately tried to avoid calling on you because you were the ONLY fucking kid that answered her questions. Clearly, the key traits of your personality are your rationality and your extroversion. You are like a little talkative calculator, in other words. You also tend to be rather gentle and less arrogant than most people. Your presence is a bane to everyone's existence, because you are too nice for your own good and you absolutely will not shut up. So what is your defect, then? Well, you're boring, and when you're not boring, you are just plain annoying with your ultra-logical responses and constant need to talk to others. So keep waving that hand in the air, son. I'm still not calling on you. You are too logical, you talk too much, and your humility and gentleness only makes me hate you more, because they make me feel like I almost SHOULDN'T hate you. But I do. Big time. And by the way, the more you wave your hand in class--your extended hand becoming nothing more than a blur as you insanely wave it, thinking we can't see it--the more smug satisfaction the teacher takes in watching the look of excrutiating pain cross your face as you agonize over not being called on, and the longer we'll wait to call on you, just because we absolutely love torturing you so.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Brute.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Braggart, the Haughty Intellectual, and the Robot.

If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

HT: Pharyngula

More Post-HP Suggestions

I found one list, but this time it's NPR making the suggestions:

The Chrestomanci series, by Diana Wynne Jones

The Earthsea series, by Ursula Le Guin

The Dark Materials series, by Phillip Pullman

The Ranger's Apprentice series, by John Flanagan

The Olympians series, by Rick Riordan

The program also suggests some series books for younger children who aren't ready for the Harry Potter books.

O.F.C.S. Top SF Films

Another of the lists I found linked at sfsignal is the Online Film Critics Society's list of top 100 SF films. Here are the top 25:

25 A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)

24 La Jetee (1962)

23 Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

22 King Kong (1933)

21 12 Monkeys (1995)

20 Contact (1997)

19 Dark City (1998)

18 Planet of the Apes (1968)

17 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

16 Terminator, The (1984)

15 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

14 Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951)

13 Back to the Future (1985)

12 Matrix, The (1999)

11 Aliens (1986)

10 Alien (1979)

9 Clockwork Orange, A (1971)

8 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

7 Brazil (1985)

6 Metropolis (1927)

5 E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

4 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

3 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

2 Blade Runner (1982)

1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Ones I've seen are in bold print. The links are to wiki articles which have links to the imdb listing. I'll have to see which of the ones I haven't seen I can find used.


The Husband claims I saw Back to the Future with him, having rented it when The Daughter was just a little thing. I do not remember that. It is a blank spot in my experience. Now, does that say more about the forgettable nature of the flick or about the fascinating company is was in?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Are You a Nonconformist?

You Are 66% Non Conformist

You are a pretty serious non conformist. You live a life hardly anyone understands.
And while some may call you a freak, you're happy with who you are.

White Rabbit

with Jefferson Airplane and Star Trek:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blade 2

#1 Son offered me a choice from several DVDs, and I picked Blade 2, an action vampire movie starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson.


Puffin Cam

See the puffins!

Monday, July 16, 2007

After HP, What Next?

SFSignal has a list -I just love lists- of sf and fantasy books for different age groups to read after the last HP book is finished.

Their young adult list for sf:

Ender's Game; Card, Orson Scott
Mortal Engines; Reeve, Philip
Tanglewreck; Winterson, Jeanette
Starsiders Trilogy; Gerrold, David (although I couldn't find this referred to as the Starsiders trilogy)
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; Adams, Douglas
Caves Of Steel; Asimov, Isaac
Starship Troopers; Heinlein, Robert
Foundation; Asimov, Isaac
Podkayne Of Mars; Heinlein, Robert
The Supernaturalist; Colfer, Eoin
Maximum Ride; Patterson, James
The Uglies; Westerfeld, Scott
The Martian Chronicles; Bradbury, Ray
I, Robot; Asimov, Isaac
Tunnel In The Sky; Heinlein, Robert
Rendezvous With Rama; Clarke, Arthur C.

Their young adult list for fantasy:

His Dark Materials; Pullman, Philip
Shannara Series; Brooks, Terry
Discworld; Pratchett, Terry
Lord of the Rings; Tolkien, J.R.R.
Young Wizards; Duane, Diane
Pern; McCaffery, Anne
Xanth Series; Anthony, Piers
The Chronicles Of Narnia; Lewis, C.S.
Here There Be Dragons; Owen, James
The Last Unicorn; Beagle, Peter S.
Forests Of The Heart; de Lint, Charles
Magic Kingdom For Sale, Sold!; Brooks, Terry
Bartimeus Trilogy; Stroud, Jonathan
The Dreamhunter's Duet; Knox, Elizabeth
Earth Sea; LeGuin, Ursula K.
Talking to Dragons; Wrede, Patricia C.
Dragonsinger; McCaffery, Anne


My 10th grade Geometry teacher introduced us to Flatland, and I introduced my kids to the book in due season. It's a treasure and available free online here, here, here and other locations. It's been made into a movie several times.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Excellency Divers And Sundry the Loquacious of Snotting on Wold
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

HT: Poppet's Magnificent Traveling Adventures

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 25

1 Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.

9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

11 For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

12 What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.

14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

15 Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.

17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.

18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.

21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Necklace Music

Click and drag to make the music.

R.I.P. Dr. Raymond S. Moore

Dr. Moore died yesterday. A homeschooling guru and author of Better Late Than Early. I never read the book and didn't follow his plan, but he was an inspiration to many.

HT: Home Ed Magazine blog

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dalai Lama Art Exhibit

See the report and some of the portraits here at the PBS site.

Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

#1 Son selected this 1936 British film starring Todd Slaughter.

via Youtube:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Movie. The Husband, #2 Son and I saw it this afternoon to mixed reviews. I really liked this movie. I loved the casting. My new favorite character is Luna Lovegood. To be honest I never attended much to her in the books, but this actress is perfect -and perfectly delightful. I thought she contributed a lot to the mix.

#2 Son called the movie the Weasley Twin Show. I didn't see it that way, but since I like the Weasely clan maybe I just didn't mind.


Remember the Magic 8-Ball?

Ask it a question. Like maybe, "Who dies in the next Harry Potter book? Is it Harry?" or "Is it Hagrid?" or....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

NEH Children's Classics

Here's their list for grades 9-12:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart.
Agee, James. A Death in the Family.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Anonymous. Beowulf.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
Baldwin, James. Go Tell It on the Mountain.
The Bible.
Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.
Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights.
Buck, Pearl. The Good Earth.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger.
Cather, Willa. My Ántonia.
Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales.
Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard.
Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone.
Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim.
Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War.
Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.
Dante. The Divine Comedy.
Defoe, Daniel. Moll Flanders.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations.
Dickinson, Emily. Poems.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment.
Dreiser, Theodore. An American Tragedy.
Eliot, George. Silas Marner.
Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays.
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury.
Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary.
Forster, E.M. A Passage to India.
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Galsworthy, John. The Forsyte Saga.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies.
Graves, Robert. I, Claudius.
Greene, Graham. The Power and the Glory.
Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.
Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Henry, O. Stories ("The Gift of the Magi," "The Ransom of Red Chief," etc.).
Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf.
Homer. The Iliad.
---. The Odyssey.
Hughes, Langston. Poems.
Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House.
James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw.
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Kafka, Franz. The Trial.
Keats, John. Poems.
Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage.
Koestler, Arthur. Darkness at Noon.
Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers.
Lawrence, Jerome and Robert E. Lee. Inherit the Wind.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Lewis, Sinclair. Babbitt.
Llewellyn, Richard. How Green Was My Valley.
Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain.
Marlowe, Christopher. Dr. Faustus.
Maugham, W. Somerset. Of Human Bondage.
McCullers, Carson. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible.
Monsarrat, Nicholas. The Cruel Sea.
O’Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood.
O'Neill, Eugene. Long Day's Journey into Night.
Orwell, George. 1984.
---. Animal Farm.
Pasternak, Boris. Doctor Zhivago.
Poe, Edgar Allan. Short stories.
Potok, Chaim. The Chosen.
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front.
Rostand, Edmond. Cyrano de Bergerac.
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye.
Sandburg, Carl. Abraham Lincoln.
Sayers, Dorothy L. The Nine Tailors.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet.
---. King Lear.
---. Much Ado About Nothing.
---. Sonnets.
Shaw, George Bernard. Pygmalion.
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley. The School for Scandal.
Shute, Nevil. A Town Like Alice.
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels.
Thackeray, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina.
Trollope, Anthony. Barchester Towers.
Turgenev, Ivan. Fathers and Sons.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Updike, John. Rabbit, Run.
Valladares, Armando. Against All Hope.
Virgil. The Aeneid.
Voltaire. Candide.
Warren, Robert Penn. All the King's Men.
Waugh, Evelyn. A Handful of Dust.
Welty, Eudora. Collected Short Stories.
Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence.
White, T.H. The Once and Future King.
Wiesel, Elie. Night.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Wilder, Thornton. Our Town.
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire.
Wolfe, Thomas. Look Homeward, Angel.
Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse.
Wouk, Herman. The Caine Mutiny.
Wright, Richard. Native Son.

That's a list that's hard to argue with. I'd like to see them flagged for the earlier and later years or maybe for less and more mature readers, but there's gold in them thar hills.

I've linked to an online text where I could find a legal copy.

HT: MereComments

R.I.P. Lady Bird Johnson

The former First Lady died yesterday afternoon at the age of 94. Lady Bird Johnson was the wife of Lyndon Baines Johnson, 37th President of the United States. Her main focus was environmental beautification.





New York Times


The photo is from Flickr.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Live Smaller

Here's a presentation on living in a smaller house, one that meets your basic needs. You can see the slides here and listen to an audio presentation here.

The trick might be finding such a house. New construction seems to focus on building the most square footage that will fit on the lot. I'd like to see more, maybe not 140 square foot homes like this presenter promotes, but well-planned multi-bedroom homes under 1400 square feet. What I see are 2- and 3-story houses that are over 4000 square feet. Yikes! What must those heating and cooling bills be like! In-fill developments seem to be concerned with bigger and bigger houses on smaller and smaller lots. Now I realize that settled communities are worried about decreases in property values that they think will result from higher density development, but I think we have to overcome those prejudices to provide simpler/smaller spaces in service of environmental responsibility. This does not have to mean that smaller houses on smaller lots will be cheaply made and ugly and so be bad for established neighborhoods. Some of the pictures I see of small homes are lovely homes. Some of them cost more per square foot and have higher quality features than the larger houses and McMansions.

There was a report at Time last year on small homes. NPR's report from last year is here. The New York Times had an article earlier this year on the subject. MSN has a report here.

My question would be, "Where will I keep my seasonal decorations?"

Photo from Flickr

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge published The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in 1798. It is a dramatic story of a sailor's tragic sea voyage. The poem can be read online at numerous sites, including here, here and here.

Iron Maiden has a song based on the poem which uses some direct quotations from Coleridge:

You can read the song lyrics here.

The picture at the top of this post is one of Doré's illustrations of the poem.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ghost Rider

You've heard of a guy carrying a torch? Well, this guy is a torch! Ghost Rider is an action/fantasy movie based on a comic book character, and it was a fun flick.


R.I.P. Charles Lane

GreenCine is where I first saw the news that this character actor died yesterday at the age of 102. He appeared in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (which we saw recently), It's a Wonderful Life, Tarzan's New York Adventure, The Music Man, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which we watched last October), and many, many more. His last performance was just last year.




update 7/11/2007:

SFScope has coverage.


I found this interesting article at Cinematical.

Cadfael Videos -again

I bought the Cadfael videos last year, and we have just finished watching the series again. We do enjoy them, and they are great for when we want to watch something during lunch. Most are fairly faithful to the books, and we love Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael.

Here's a short scene from one of the videos:

Sumo Mismatch

What a great photo. That little guy looks like he thinks he might win.

HT: Guzer

Silence Day

On this date in 1925 Meher Baba began the silence that would last until his death in 1969. His followers observe this day as Silence Day and do not speak during this 24-hour period.

Meher Baba in the 1960's:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Top-100 SFF Book List

Another list from SFSignal is the book list from Sci-Fi Lists. The top 50 of this 100 book list:

Frank Herbert; Dune
Orson Scott Card; Ender's Game
Isaac Asimov; Foundation
Douglas Adams; Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
George Orwell; 1984
Robert A Heinlein; Stranger in a Strange Land
Aldous Huxley; Brave New World
Isaac Asimov; I, Robot
Ray Bradbury; Fahrenheit 451
Robert A Heinlein; Starship Troopers
William Gibson; Neuromancer
Arthur C Clarke; 2001: A Space Odyssey
Larry Niven; Ringworld
Philip K Dick; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
H G Wells; The Time Machine
Arthur C Clarke; Rendezvous With Rama
H G Wells; The War of the Worlds
Robert A Heinlein; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Dan Simmons; Hyperion
Arthur C Clarke; Childhood's End
Joe Haldeman; The Forever War
Kurt Vonnegut; Slaughterhouse Five
Orson Scott Card; Speaker for the Dead
Ray Bradbury; The Martian Chronicles
Niven & Pournelle; The Mote in God's Eye
Neal Stephenson; Snow Crash
Ursula K Le Guin; The Left Hand of Darkness
Orson Scott; Card Ender's Shadow, but I read the first 4 Ender books and liked them.
Isaac Asimov; The Caves of Steel
Roger Zelazny; Lord of Light This is one of those books I've started but never finished.
Madeleine L'Engle; A Wrinkle In Time
Frederik Pohl; Gateway
Jules Verne; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Philip K Dick; The Man in the High Castle
Stanislaw Lem; Solaris
Robert A Heinlein; Time Enough For Love
John Wyndham; The Day of the Triffids
Isaac Asimov; The Gods Themselves
Michael Crichton; Jurassic Park, but I saw the movie. Does that count?
Alfred Bester; The Stars My Destination
Anthony Burgess; A Clockwork Orange
Neal Stephenson; Cryptonomicon
Daniel Keyes; Flowers for Algernon
Kurt Vonnegut; Cat's Cradle
Philip K Dick; UBIK
Mary Shelley; Frankenstein
Isaac Asimov; The End Of Eternity
Walter M Miller; A Canticle for Leibowitz
Vernor Vinge; A Fire Upon the Deep
Kim Stanley Robinson; Red Mars

I did pretty good with the top 50 of this list, having read the great majority of them. Ones I've read are in bold print.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ

I had no idea Ted Neeley at age 63 was still performing in Jesus Christ Superstar, but it looks like he loves the role. Here's his Gethsemane from the classic 1973 production:

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 66

1 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:

2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.

4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.

6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.

7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,

14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.

15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died on this date in 1930. He is best known for creating that master of private consulting detectives Sherlock Holmes, whose adventures can be read online with illustrations here [dead link]. The Hound of the Baskervilles is on the list of 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online members. Jeremy Brett is my all-time favorite of the actors who've portrayed the detective. Here's the intro to the episodes of that series... [That clip is no longer available] Here's a clip from one of his episodes:

Here's an interview with Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke:

Doyle wrote historical fiction and science fiction as well.

My favorite of his historical fiction is The White Company, which can be read online here.

The Poison Belt, a science fiction tale, was never dramatized that I can find. His The Lost World can be read online here and was made into a movie in 1925:

I watched it this past spring. Other movies, radio plays and a TV series have also been based on the tale.

Tales of Terror and Mystery can be read online or listened to compliments of Librivox.

Bibi.org has more links, including links to some one-act radio plays.

And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies. I can say no ill of someone who believes in fairies.