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Josh

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About Josh

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  • Birthday 04/01/1943

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  1. What's going on with you?

    There's a "meteor storm" taking place now that is observable in at least parts of North America. It's supposed to go for three hours, during which the meteors will manifest as lights like stars that move "very slowly". Better suited to Diana's level of patience than my own, unfortunately for me (but not her).
  2. I'm trying to read Robert Bork's Slouching Towards Gamorrah, to my knowledge his first book after Congress would not confirm him as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. So far it looks like rightwing conservative blather. The problem here is that Bork is an important man on the U.S. Right, much more so than his failed attempt at getting onto the Supreme Court might indicate. This is the best political political summary of the man's life that I've seen: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/12/24/bork-d24.html Given that he was a law professor at Yale, it's unlikely that he wasn't able to write cogently. So I'm assuming that amid all the drivel there is something of import. His consistent opposition to racial civil rights legislation was an important part of his political life, so I'm hoping I'll see some seriousness in chapter 12, The Dilemmas of Race. If I find anything worthy of comment there, I'll post. Btw, I've just finished C.S. Lewis' first Chronicles of Narnia book, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and liked it. I hope to get hold of the second book, Prince Caspian, soon.
  3. Why not, Charlie? As to my progress through the Left Behind series of fundamentalist post-Rapture books, I'm into the 4th of the 12 books in the series and I'm already slowing down. The writing is starting to feel repetitive, which is always a killer for me these days. So I'm trying to read through more quickly and less carefully, while still hopefully being able to catch the bigoted stuff. As to that in the previous books, the first book had the Pope as possible "missing" in the wake of the Rapture which took away so many people -- and fetuses, too, with all these women suddenly flattened out and no longer being pregnant. But in the second book the authors gracefully "flip the script" on fundamentalist anti-Catholicism and make orthodox Roman Catholics look like the intolerant ones in that regard. A high official of that church tells the news media that the disappeared new Pope had been a believer in a heresy that had his theological thinking be more like certain types of Protestantism than Catholicism. When asked why all those people disappeared if it wasn't due to being raptured, he replied that he believed that it was indeed divine action, but that God was taking away BAD people. So orthodox Catholicism expresses hatred toward good, Bible-believin' Christians. Which shows how evil orthodox Catholics are. Now seriously, did authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins seriously expect anyone to buy that there is a chance in Hell that the Curia, or whatever high-level Catholic committee, would choose a Pope who is AT ALL close to ANY kind of heresy? Not that that was the only thing wrong with this scenario. In around the middle of the 3rd book, the authors broach the whole abortion issue. When they did so, I quipped to myself that since it was one of the two big "social issues" for the American Christian Right, that gay-related issues weren't far behind. And unfortunately, the leadership of the Christian Right yet again lived down to the lowest expection. Another employee of the Antichrist's monopoly news media empire who had given Tribulation Force member and ace reporter Buck Cameron some trouble in the past was accidentally discovered by Buck's sharp-witted wife Chloe to be a lesbian. So Buck and Chloe use her lesbianism to blackmail this woman into not telling the Antichrist about some of Buck's activities that could cause him serious trouble. Later, this woman and Buck have a short conversation about what his fundamentalist Christianity thinks about homosexuality, and the authors use the time-honored tactic of weakening the treacherous Sapphist's pro-gay argument against fundamentalism. If you can't defeat an opposing group's actual argument, put a weak misinterpretation of that argument into their mouths that is so pathetic it can't withstand kind of scrutiny. Or, maybe engaging a real argument would have pissed off too many readers. But of the two "social issues", the 3rd book spent far more time with abortion. Again, it comes to the reader from within the book's circle of central characters. The Antichrist's now ex-girlfriend, Hattie Durham, discovers that she's pregnant. And now she faces the choice of getting an abortion or not. She is starting to become more Christianized according to fundie standards, and is having some problems with the choice. The members of the Tribulation Force group try to gently influence her to not have an abortion, though it isn't clear what she'll finally do about this. Only one member of the Force says one time that it would be icky to have the Antichrist's baby. Nicolae Carpathia, world leader and Antichrist, is completely cool with whichever choice Hattie might make. He sorta prefers that she'd have an abortion, but isn't doing anything to encourage or coerce her either way. She has for some time been traveling independent of him and whlle he has some concern about her whereabouts and how she might damage his image, he's letting her do this for now. I've mostly been avoiding online commentary about the Left Behind series, but one source indicated that Carpathia's attitude toward Hattie's pregnancy up to now is what it will be through the series. That commentator believes that in making the Antichrist's attitude toward his female significant other's pregnancy that of a modern pro-abortion choice male, authors LaHaye and Jenkins are saying that this attitude is Satanic. This makes sense to me. In the macro view of humanity that sits in the background of the central characters' stories, Carpathia has proclaimed that all pregnant women will get mandatory amniocentesis [sp?] and all "unfit" fetuses will be aborted. Again, LaHaye and Jenkins jump quickly from a permissive attitude on the part of those they disagree with to a dominating one. The United Nations and the pursuit of peace among nations is really the precursor to world domination by the U.N., and the next step after ecumenicalism is forced worldwide adherence to a single religion. And now voluntary international efforts to improve female reproductive health are a step toward mandatory worldwide eugenical abortion. I've read about 3.2 books into the series and it continues to be a very undiverse world. Action involving the characters takes place only in the U.S. and the Middle East, and in the latter, the only apparent non-whites have been Arab Muslim attackers of the two prophesied holy Witnesses of the Wailing Wall, who the Witnesses use their holy super-powers to quickly dispose of. Only one or two African-Americans have been in the story, and they were raptured away early in the first book. The potentially troublesome co-worker is the only LGBT person, and there have been non-free thinkers, agnostics or atheists that I have spotted yet, and few or no Hindus or Buddhists individuall, though I'll admit I could have missed some that were briefly mentioned. Commone, Charlie, why would you as a devout though progressive, leftwing Christian not want to read this wonderful series? :icon_wink: (Okay, I've written this as a rhetorical question because at this point it seems like I just HAD to do that, but I'm seriously interested in your take on these books as a Christian and why you wouldn't want to read them. (Believe me, I'm not saying you should!))
  4. RIP Spain Rodriguez

    Oh wow. I grew up as a teenager to U.S. underground comics, which started to be published in a big way in the 1970s, so I saw these as they came out. I hadn't heard of either of the titles Christian mentioned in his original post, but Spain also did many multiple page one-offs. One I read was about Josef Stalin, one about what happened with a motorcyclist club called the Road Vultures at a biker event, and there were a bunch more. It's funny. You read some things as a young person, especially something that's part of a cultural movement, and they were good enough that you remember them decades later. And that time period cements itself into a part of your mind as current, though of course it isn't. You get to be a lot older. And then you find out the amazing artist or writer who created whatever it was that stuck in your mind so strongly has died. You know that they must have been older than you if you read their work when you were a kid, and then you also consider that creators within that particular cultural movement had a great likelihood of being hard partiers and drug users. So their deaths coming at this later point in your life can't really be a surprise. But still, they can hit you hard anyway. Though I haven't seen everything he's drawn or read everything he's written, I feel safe in recommending any of his work. And I've just reserved for myself a copy of Trashman lives! : the collected stories from 1968 to 1985 / by Spain at the library.
  5. Declare a love for something

    Its from a picture of Mr. Whimsey, one of DIana's cats. I'll tell her you liked it. :icon_wink:
  6. I've gotten into the Left Behind series. This is about 12 books long, with a parallel series for young people on the same subject, graphic novels and audio books and who knows what else. I have so far finished the first three: Left Behind, Tribulation Force, and Nicolae. For those who don't already know, the Left Behind novels recount the future occurrence of the pre-millenial version of the Rapture, the rise of the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the glorious world that God will bring us after all that - according to a literalist reading of the Bible's Book of Revelations popular among Protestant fundamentalists. It's authored by prominent Christian Rightist Tim LaHaye and professional writer Jerry Jenkins. LaHaye is basically a Religious Right culture warrior and his Left Behind books are a very big deal here in the U.S., so I had to check them out, especially after hearing that their portrayal of those fundamentalism doesn't like was kinda nasty. (I'll admit to being entertained by sick things.) LaHaye and Jenkins' telling of this story begins with a hundred people disappearing out of a full 747 in the middle of the Atlantic. Nobody knows what has happened, but when people call home, many of them discovered that relatives have disappeared also. Pilot Rayford Steele dreads that he knows all too well why his very religious wife and son disappeared and he and his highly intelligent Stanford-attending daughter Chloe. He and Chloe were Left Behind. [/cue dramatic music] We meet Buck Williams on the flight, the world class reporter who will marry Chloe, and Hattie Durham, the strikingly beautiful flight attendant with whom Rayford almost had an affair. I had expected the books to be badly-written and hard to get through, but so far the story is well-paced and carried me along. This fundie version of the Tribulation and God's final victory is eventful to say the least, including the slaughter of a huge portion of humanity, but LaHaye and Jenkins tells the story from the point of the view of its central characters, who keep finding themselves pulled into personal contact with the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia, originally a businessman and politican from Romania. The story strides along through the lives the Rayford Steele and Buck WIlliams and their family and associates. The authors' male supremacy for now is underplayed, but the story is mostly told from Steele and Williams' point of view, with men being the principals and leaders in pretty much everything. LaHaye and Jenkins are clearly trying to teach readers their version of the End Times, as well as proselytize for fundamentalism, andthe books work hard at not alienating readers. But given the authors' fundamentalism and LaHaye's nasty social conservatism, I knew it was only a matter of time before the appearance of negativity toward groups the fundies don't like. Especially since fundies dislike so many types of people. But it's even better than that, because the authors set themselves up by taking on the Rapture. They would, sooner or later, have to talk about those types of Christians that won't get raptured. [i'm not finished, but have to stop for now]
  7. Declare a love for something

    Dairy fat. Pomegranets. Pomegranet season (in the San Fran Bay Area, now). Mickey Eye's ferret pic.
  8. When first posted, this was so short it was useless, so I filled it out a month or so after original posting: I just finished Budd Schulberg's first novel, What Makes Sammy Run? I thought it was quite good. Basically, it's about the rise of a quintessentially American ambitious man with few apparent morals to hold him back. Characters like Sammy Glick are difficult to write as complete human beings for whom it's possible to feel sympathy, but Schulberg managed that quite well. This is good enough that someone somewhere has probably put it on a list of "Classic American Literature". Schulberg's most well-known effort is probably the screenplay for On the Waterfront. He also wrote the book from which it came, Waterfront.
  9. What's going on with you?

    We just had a good little shaker here, which turns out to have been two earthquakes of equal magnitude quite close together, one in the San Francisco Bay, I'm guessing on Angel Island, and other looked to be in Oakland across the bay. They took place a little over an hour ago, 5:33:12AM & 5:33:19AM, or 13:33:1x UTC. To me they felt like one long, rumbling affair. I was my apartment and I could hear structural stuff moving all around me: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US2/37.39.-123.-121.php I think this was the biggest quake I've felt since the aftershocks after the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. All that was 20-22 years ago. The fault systems that run near here really quieted down after Loma Prieta, and the last two decades have been the most seismically quiet that I've ever experienced. I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 50+ years. Avaunt and Mark, I'm sorry I didn't reply right after you wrote your welcoming posts to me, which I greatly appreciated (in the Christopher Hitchens thread). And I think Avaunt had asked me a question there which I didn't get around to answering. Wolvy, if I can offer an opinion so soon after having been away so long, to my mind the most important thing is that you don't let resentment build up too much. Maybe if he never brings up the Bible again and you're not too annoyed you can let it lie. But if he persists, then you need to say something. Bottled up resentment can lead to being explosively angry to a friend at a time that might surprise you, or if there's no release it can result in the slow poisoning of the relationship which is even worse. It's better to say something earlier while you are still calm enough to pick the time and place and not be (too) harsh. I wouldn't bother to say much about the Bible or religion. The issue is his laying a bunch of stuff on you that you don't want to hear, which (I'm assuming) makes you feel as though he isn't respecting you and your boundaries. If this is caused by memory problems, tell him that you told him before you didn't want to hear it, he got it then, but the next time you were together he started in again as though he didn't remember you'd stopping him before. He may be unaware he did that, and may appreciate being told about it.
  10. What's going on with you?

    Thank you, Avaunt! :icon_wink: And Happy New Year, Avaunt, Red and everybody!
  11. What's going on with you?

    Good to see you, Red. I'm doing alright. I could complain, but things have been manageable. Hope things are going alright for you as well. It's been 41 minutes since the first Midnight of 2012, Pacific Standard Time, and I'm deciding whether I will or won't venture out....
  12. what voice do you hear for john constantine ??

    This makes the most sense to me. I'd only disagree with the last clause; the London overlay would be habit by now, though a little time in Liverpool might bring out a bit of the original accent to anyone who is paying attention, especially if that's Constantine's intention. As to which cultural figure's voice would be best, I don't have enough handle on British cultural figures or British accents. I often can't tell British accents from those of other Commonwealth countries. But some time spent in London would probably be fascinating for all the distinctly different accents in one place.
  13. What's going on with you?

    Since New Years Eve is on Saturday this year, I decided to go out on Friday night, because I wanted to see what the ol' town was looking like and because I had to get out of the house. It looked like the youngest bar-aged cohort was out more than usual, while older demographics were less evident than on a usual Friday night. So I'm guessing the older portions of the population are pacing themselves for New Years Eve tomorrow, while the youngest legal drinkers will be most physically able to withstand consecutive nights of drinking and/or they are less experienced and haven't yet learned to pace themselves. Certainly the people who were out were drunker than usual. As has been the case with me for the last number of months, I drank no alcohol, hanging out just to hang out. Then I got some good, reliable takeout and carried it back home. As it is, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, New Years Eve in San Francisco. Avaunt, I wish I had some worthwhile advice to give you on your family situation, but none comes to my mind right now, and in times like this, receiving bad advice can be worse than none at all. So I'll wish you a more upbeat outlook and whatever patience you might require to deal with this over the next few days.
  14. My vague understanding has been that a brigade is a special purpose unit that's larger than a regiment but smaller than a division, and doesn't fit neatly into the heirarchy of smaller to larger units.
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