30 September 2008

christian rock/folk hilarity

Props to Sarah for the original post

Well Styled and Profound

From H.L. Menken, his introduction to his translations of Nietzche's Der Antichrist (which can be translated either "The Antichrist" or "The Antichristian"; both are probably intended) the second-to-last book Nietzsche ever wrote.
Because the average philosophical writer, when he essays to expose his ideas, makes such inordinate drafts upon the parts of speech that the dictionary is almost emptied, these defective observers jump to the conclusion that his intrinsic notions are of corresponding weight. This is not unseldom quite untrue. What makes philosophy so garrulous is not the profundity of philosophers, but their lack of art.
The book itself is equally stunning in its eloquence. As expected from Nietzsche.

29 September 2008

My Email to Obama

Following up on a challenge from Michael Moore, I just sent the following email to Barrack Obama.
Senator Obama,

This morning the House of Representatives scored a major victory against the corporate elite of this nation, those who would transform this great nation into a kelptocracy, when they voted against the proposed $700-billion bailout. As one of the citizens you were elected to the United States Senate to represent, I urge you, Senator Obama, to oppose this legislation if it should come through Congress again. George W. Bush and his cronies have taken enough money from the American people. One more dollar is one dollar too much--let alone 700 billion!

Please, Senator Obama, oppose this attempted redistribution of debt--from Wall Street to everyday taxpayers like me. For too long the rich have run this country, exerted an influence far greater than the number of votes they represent. If your talk of change and hope is more than empty rhetoric, _prove_ it. Stand up to this measure, which is just more of the same, and fight for the change we so desperately need.

Best regards,

Joshua Arnold

26 September 2008


I've begun work on a new writing project. The others I've put on hold. This semester I am taking an independent study in "Advanced Creative Writing" (that's at least what it's called on my schedule). My professor has given me interesting assignments. First I was to write a parody of Bartleby the Scrivener.

Next he asked me to bring in excerpts from different projects. Long story short, the project he most liked was the one that I'd done the least work on. Specifically, aside from the 5 page section I wrote for my excerpt, I hadn't done anything else. Still, though it will mean more work for me, I'm glad he's leaning toward that novel.

I think it will give me a good chance to ferret out and then work on my strengths as a writer. From my short stories I've discovered that I do best with character-based stories, stories where the real appeal is the characters, not the setting or the plot. In plenty of my longer projects, the scope and complexity of the world forces my attention away from the simple and powerful elements of human nature.

The story I'm working on now is called Avalon, though that will likely change, possibly to Valentine. It's a science-fiction piece set near enough in the future that modern vocabulary still has relevance. (I can use words like T-shirt and Swedish.) My goal is to keep the plot relatively simple. Like Firefly, this novel takes place mostly on a spaceship and focuses on the handful of people that crew it. A lot of the tension and the conflict is personal, not external. I'm attempting to tell a sort of everyman sci-fi story. More updates to come.

I recently went a purchasing spree. I've now completed my Tiesto library (until he releases something new). I've become a bit obsessed with the song "The Force of Gravity" original by BT and remixed by Tiesto in volume 4 of his In Search of Sunrise series. I also bought a DVD of his recent show in Copenhagen, which was part of his Elements of Life World Tour. Watching that DVD has redoubled my conviction that my life will not be complete until I see this man live.

I also watched the debate tonight, but that post will have to wait. Need to digest it first. Initial thoughts: blech.

23 September 2008

Exemplars of Absurdism

I love dance music. By this I mean music that you would find in the "dance" section at a record store, or would hear on a station called Dance Factory, not the broader category of "music one can dance to."

Earlier tonight, whilst on my way to Taco Bell to enjoy a quesadilla, I had my radio turned 99.9 fm, the station of the aforementioned factory. I heard the following lyrics and decided that Dance music is the heir to the Dada Movement. In other words, gloriously absurd.

The lyrics:
I'm a killer
I kill for love
gonna get you alone.

Don't you know that I'm a stripper
gonna strip it off
you got nowhere to go

You better know that I'm a thriller
gonna make you hot
won't take it slow

But did you know that I'm a killer
I kill for love
Won't let you alone.

And here's a YouTube Video of the song with the lyrics...and some pictures of cars.

The song is 100% stereotypical dance music. It sounds almost identical to any other song you might hear on this station.

Is it stupid? Yes. Did it require any talent to produce? No. Is it evidence of some deep-seated creative decay lurking at the heart of our civilization? Maybe.

But does that make me love it any less? Hell no.

22 September 2008

This Movie Needs to Come out Yesterday

And it's sequel needs to come out today.

First concept art of Transformers 2 Megatron. Got the same spiky look as Transformers 1. He's somewhat reminiscent of Galvatron.

(For those who don't speak nerd, just ignore this post.)

Harris 1, Palin 0

Sam Harris tears Palin to pieces, in a Newsweek article.
Her fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that broadcast the good lady's misfortune—and, above all, upon the "liberal elites" with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century, only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our nuclear arsenal.
Bush ran on this ticket, now Palin is taking it. She's just a regular person like us. Ordinary people are great. But when it comes to serving as Vice President of the United States, ordinary is just not good enough.

Another gem.
What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance.

Two Pioneering Ideas

Arthur C. Clarke passed away a few months ago. In November, an international conference will be held in Japan to talk about the possibility of building a space elevator. The idea for such a structure was first proposed by Clarke in his 1979 book, The Fountains of Paradise.

For you Gundam fans out there, aside from recognizing the importance of the year 1979, notice the following blurb in that Telegraph article.
Scientists hope that as well as carrying human passengers, the carriages could also haul huge, solar-powered generators that could power homes and businesses back on Earth.
Gundam 00 fans might find that idea sounds familiar.

The second pioneer, stem cell guru Robert Lanza, is fighting for the right to clone human embryos to create human spare parts. I for one support his efforts.