Thursday, November 30, 2000

Book Reports... ( et. al. )

This Area is principly for Book Reports ( et. al. )
But it may contain Other kinds of Reports;
For Movies or Films ( Note- Distinction where Appropriate )
or possibly even Music CD's or Celebrity Personae's...???

Thursday, November 16, 2000

Sea Monsters...!!!

i just recently finished a Fabulous Book:
Monsters Of The Sea
The Truth about The Lock Ness Monster, The Giant Squid, Sea Serpents, Mermaids and other Fantastic Creatures of The Deep...!!!
By Richard Ellis / © 1995

Ordinarily; when a book says that it is The Truth about something, It means that it intends to DeBunk some Cherished Cultural Sentiment, and do it with an Angry Vehemence that could be matched only by pouring gasoline on a box of kittens and throwing the flaming, mewing melee at Bob Barker, just as he's about to announce the winner of the Miss American Contest.

But Actually; This book, while it is decidedly Anti-Lock Ness Monster and Sea Serpents in General...
It does give a pretty strong argument that the evidence for these Sea Monsters really is pretty weak...

But -- It argues that many of the Reports of Sea Serpents, of which, most were made by Sailors 100+ years ago... ( why are there so few Modern Reports of Sea Monsters...??? ) ...were actually Not Sea Serpents... But Gigantic Squids...!!!

That's right! He carefully argues against one kind of Sea Monster in favor of another...!!!
And -- The Evidence for Gigantic Squids are Overwhelming...!!!
Even though NO ONE has ever seen a living one in it's natural habitat,
( there are a few cases of sailors seeing them fight with Sperm Whales on the surface )
or caught one, or even found one intact...!!!
But -- There are Oodles of Pieces of them that have been collected from The Stomachs of Sperm Whales... And it would seem that from the numbers of Sperm Whales that we know exist,
And the amount of Giant Squid that is recovered from their Bellies...
It's estimated that the Bio-Mass of Giant Squids, that are eaten every year by Sperm Whales,
Must be equal to the Bio-Mass of All The Worlds Humanimals...!!!

Regretfully; These Giant Squids, by my standards,
aren't so very gigantic... 50 feet... ( ? )
You expect me to loose any sleep over a 50 foot squid,
considering that half of that isTentacles...

But -- He also seems to allow that there may be 200 foot Octopus' in the Oceans...
Although the only evidence for these; is only ONE report of a Globster washing up on a Florida Beach in 1896.

And then there's the report of a pretty big shark sited in the vicinity of Port Stephens, Broughton Island ( ??? ) ...
The Cray fishmen, who are presumably familiar with most sea life, and could easily distinguish a whale from a shark,
Claimed that ( several witnessess ) they were being annoyed by a Shark that was 300 feet long...!!!
A more conservative witness suggested that it was 'only' 115 feet long.
This is about 2 1/2 to 3 times as long as the longest Great White.
There 'was' a Shark that fit this description,
But it hasn't been photographed by a reputable magazine for more than a million years.
( Carcharodon Megalodon )

Are there still a few left...???

The book is not only MASSIVELY INFORMATIVE,
but it's also Fun & Easy to read...!

Highly Recommended...!!!

Book Series Review: BstAmUnRqRe

i just recently finished a series ( On Going ) of books called:
The Best American NonRequired Reading
2002 ( apparently they started in 2002...??? )
Additional References from The Store @ 826 Valencia

Each is an Anthology of Stories collected from American Magazines, Zynes, The Internet &/or Discarded Gum Wrappers.
The Stories are often Political, or Oriented towards a Greater World Consciousness...
There are also many other topics, Many down to Earth, Old World Narratives; As well as an occasional dada piece...???
But; The Principle Analogous feature of all the Tales; Is that they are Well Written and Entertaining...!!!

Highly Recommended...!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Fermi Paradox & Strange Brain's

The two books are:
Where Are They? & Strange Brains & Genius
The first book: Where are they? is a listing of ( supposedly ) 50 solutions to Fermi's_paradox,
But regretfully, because of persistent redundancy, there are substantially fewer than the promised 50.
The predominant theme of the book that solves the paradox is that we are, in all probability; Alone in the Universe.
Life is just terribly unlikely, and if there Is some kind of auto-chemical preponderance for life to spring from non-life-- As it did on this planet; Very soon after the formation of the planet, then it is at least as improbable for the original primitive life forms to advance to the next step, and there are thousands, if not zillions, of intermediate steps that separate us smart humanimals from free swimming, skinless self-replicating molecules.
This-- of course --discounts the obvious solution that they are already here,
Acting in a completely incomprehensible manner.
The Second book is about several peculiar Genius', and how they were probably genius' Because they were mentally ill...!!! ( principally due to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy & Bipolar Personalities )
What these two books brought together for me though, was the idea that human intelligence has still one more oddity surrounding it.
Where are they? mentions that, as part of it's argument that humanimal intelligence is particularly unlikely, All mammals & some large parrots have 'about' the same level of intelligence...!
And that Humanimals, if you take away the innate ability to use language,
would neatly fall into that community bin of 'All Mammals'.
That is; All mammals, from humanimals to chimpanzees to cats to rats to grey parrots--
can all count up to about 7 without using language, and can tell large quantities from smaller ones,
and can form a reasonably detailed map of their environment.
The only thing we have over the animals in this one quirky mutation, of Language.
It allows to sort out ideas, keep track of them, and recall classes of things without too much hard thinking.
Hard thinking being the rare ability of so very few...???
Without it, we would have all the behavioral characteristics of a troupe of apes...
And considering that we've probably lost most of our 'instinctual' survival skills, and our furry coats,
we would be at a distinct disadvantage if we had to compete with them...!
( why in the world would we have lost all our fur anyways... that was sure dumb... of Evolution...!!! )
Then in Strange Brains, it brings this up again, but now considers that perfectly ordinary, dumb people,
That is; Average People-- are befreit of all the things that make the smart people able to create human culture.
Which is exactly what i've already been thinking for years and years.
But i'm also thinking these days, that there really isn't much difference between dumb and smart people after all...
i was thinking a while ago that smart people think smarter in same way that dumb people think dumbly,
But with one tiny difference...
While dumb people work out problems with their hands, by means of clumbersome trail & error,
Smart people work out those problems by trail & error, in an imaginary world, inside their heads...
And the particularly smart people are able to trick some parts of their brains into doing all this trail & error stuff away from the conscious musings of the ego, so that the solution just 'pops' into their consciousness, without any apparent thought at all...!!!
The more subconscious personalities the smart ego is able to generate and enslave, the smarter they seem...!
Another thought occurred to me at about this same time,
And that is; Humanimals seem to have just the right amount of intelligence to construct a culture and build a civilization...
If nobody had an IQ above 100, we'd all still be blissfully naked & living on the open savanna...!
But just as critically; If Everyone had an IQ of 130+, then they'd be nobody to do the necessary work that the smart people would be thinking up... Everyone would want to be the Chef, and no one would be willing to be the dishwasher.
This sort of arrangement might be alright in another 200 years, when we have plenty of robots to mow lawns,
But if had been the case when we were first moving into caves; if we had suddenly leapt forward in brain power, It would have killed us off for sure...
Curiously; We Did Leap Forward, but just the right amount, so that only 5% or so, would be the really smart people...
i think that this may be why The Asian countries have fallen behind The West-- It is because they are Too Smart...!
That instead of carefully balanced 5%, they have a destabilizing 15% of Smart people...
Which worked for them when there were hardly any of them to begin with--
But now, with a surfeit of people-- it is catching up to them...
Now then; Will we become destabilized in this same way, when our population becomes sufficiently large enough, so that our mere 5% becomes Millions of Excess Genius'...???
( With a large preponderance of them Looking for Mischief...! )

Two Versions of Asperger's

i recently finished two books that were similar,
In that they were both autobiographies of weird people...

The Curious Case of the Dog
in The Night-Time
Running with Scissors

The Dog in the Night-Time is apparently a fictional account of a Highly functional Autistic Boy, Possibly Aspergerian, or somewhat intermediate between Classic Autism & Asperger's...
At any rate; He attempts to solve the case a Dog that is murdered in his neighborhood, and discovers the identity of the murderer only because s/he confesses this to him about 2/3's of the way through the book. It is meant to be a quirky account, but it fails me in that at the end, it reverts to the conventionality of a typical 'teen' book, when the moral is revealed; that despite his many handicaps, he can accomplish anything he sufficiently desires.
Another annoying element of the book was that although it was meant to told in the first person, it periodically reverts to a 3rd person description of things that are going on, specifically during dialogue & 'adventure' sequences... While it is revealed that Christopher has something like an eidetic memory, the dialogue segments are still very 3rd personie... Like many fictional autistic characters, Christopher has 'too many' 'special gifts'...??? Usually, An Autistic person has one or possibly two special gifts, such as date calculations or genuine eidetic memory, But Christopher has just about all of them that are mentioned in the literature...!!!

Running with Scissors has this same flaw; when the central character of this book, who is alleged to be a real person, and the events described, actual events, eventually find success and happiness, as do most of the other characters that are pulled through the book with him.
It reads something like a David Sedaris book, although David is usually at the center of the weirdness, acting as it's principle instigator; while Augusten ( Running with Scissors ) is struggling to be comparatively normal, while everyone else around him is transquirkily insane...!
Augusten's book is also a little 'lighter' than Sedaris, lacking the dark mischievious undertones--
But he attempts to make up for this with graphic insertions of homosexual acts & parental &/or psychiatric abuse.

Both books were enjoyable enough,
But neither rose up to where i would heartily recommend them.
If you like to read alot, then by all means include them on your reading list,
They are both easy reads and will allow you to pass through them, within a day or two,
if they prove unworthy of contributing to your personal spiritual growth... ( ? )

Sunday, November 12, 2000

The Case for a Creator / By Lee Strobel

The Case for a Creator

By Lee Strobel

i picked this book up at a Bible store in Salinas, California, While waiting for a bus to take me to San Francisco.

  1. White-Coated Scientists :--: Are Science & Religion two different things, or the same thing...? Strobel argues; like The Translucent Amoebae Consortium, that they are actually the same thing...! Both are trying to explain The Universe-- Perfect ( unrealized ) Science tries to do this by finding the truth that's hidden along the edges of snowflakes, and Perfect ( unrealized ) Religion thinks it already knows all the answers. Unfortunately; Both have severe limitations: Religion touches on only a few of the many facets of Reality, & Science fails to accept The Humanimal Experience as a viable source of information. Science also thinks that the very topics that Religion is most authoritative in, are Off-Limits, while Religion does exactly the same thing with 'Scientific' Topics... When will these Squabbling Sisters sit down & reconcile their differences...???
  2. The Images of Evolution :--: This book really should have included some illustrations...!!! Besides this prejudice against visual aids, many 'learned' books also commit another crime; That this one only partially perpetrates; and that is to fill page after page with solid blocks of unbroken text...! Fortunately; Strobel knows how to hit The Carriage Return, and when to break up a thought from time to time with a period. He frequently draws our attention to items that are so visually accentuated, that he has to tediously describe them for us...!!! Such as Ernst Haechel's Chart of Embryonic Forms... i'm sure you've seen this before... It's the one with chicken, frog, human & fish Embryos that look essentially identical-- Proving Common Descent. Well-- It's a Fake...!!! So he claims. And he sounds believable! Also considered in this chapter is Stanley Miller's Primordial Soup Experiment, which is also repudiated. And the Tree of Life. Fake, Fake, Fake. As this book goes on, it becomes increasingly annoying that the title of this book should have been; A Case for Jehovah. Never does he argue for the existence of a generic Creator, or Aliens that invented our DNA, or that we live in A Screen Saver Reality. No-- Jehovah or nothing. Such that whenever his pretense confronts evidence that may actually support his thesis of a Creator, but leads him away from Jehovah, he is forced to discard it. ugh.
  3. Doubts about Darwinism :--: One of the Annoying things that Creationists do; Is to use their own 'Model' of Biblical Knowledge as the Template for 'Darwinism' / Evolution. So that-- Charles Darwin becomes Evolutionists Infallible Gawd and Animals invariably evolve in a straight line from Primitive forms to Advanced Forms, with Humanimals at the top. Such that any effort to explain to them that Evolutionists have long since discarded many of the quaint ideas that Darwin held, or that animals frequently De-Evolve or Wildly Branch-Out into a multitude of forms-- will miss their ear holes and bounce off the sides of their heads. It's so very annoying that they continue to attack positions & evidence for Evolution that have long since been discredited; Such as Early Man fakes, Human fetal gills & Homology; The 'Science' of grouping animals together, based on their outward appearances.
  4. Where Science Meets Faith :--: The curious thing about Faith is that; in theory; It's supposed to be a belief that is utterly free of Reason-- But if that were true, When would anyone stop believing...??? Once you've allowed yourself to start believing in things as a function of Faith, You'd end up being equally convinced that there are Unicorns living in Caves on Mars, That Sidewalk Cracks will cause Osteoporosis and that George Washington never wore is Mothers underwear! People actually believe crazy things because: a) They're pleasing to Believe & b) They think that they have Good, Reasonable Evidence for Believing in them, Such as falling off a bicycle just before it runs into a Wonderbread Delivery Truck may lead you to believe in Angelic Intervention... Never mind that The Angels should have turned your head to see the truck coming... A Miracle is a Wondrous thing, even if it costs you your New Bicycle. As it turns out; Creationists aren't the only ones that are effected by Irrational Beliefs, Scientists too, are Strongly Influenced by their desire to pursue an agenda which will lead them to some pleasant unreality. ( most of us should have known this all along... most of the chapters in this book are just filler anyway... there are only two good ones, and of those, only one is a good one. )
  5. The Evidence of Cosmology :--: This is the first Chapter with some meat on it. Strobel attempts to argue that The Big Bang ( The Kalam Theory, proposed by several ancient cultures; That since Whatever exists has a Beginning, and Whatever has a Beginning has a Cause, And that Since the Universe >Must have<> Unfortunately; The Big Bang & The PreCambrian Explosion of Life are not Genesis & [ As always ] ...If it's So Dang Unacceptable that The Universe always existed ( in various forms ) Then why do Creationists so easily Accept that Jehovah has always existed...??? Over & Over throughout this book, Lee Strobel tries to convince us that he's a Hard Boiled, SamSpadian Detective, Looking unflinchingly for The Truth-- But time & time again, he will fail to ask the obvious question when interviewing his collection of experts, and blithely allow them to dismiss alternative theories or criticisms. This may well have been a powerful book, and may be a powerful book, Written my someone else, But this treatment of The Evidence is flavorless Milk-toast.
  6. The Evidence of Physics :--: Most of the Reviews of this book have considered this Chapter it's most powerful, and which i consider one of its weakest...! Again; Strobel discusses examples, details & finer points, without providing us with the elements of his argument. He merely lays down his conclusions that he's hastily scribbled on soiled napkins and considers this the proper way to present an irrefutable logical argument. i would kind of have liked him to at least list The Eight Variables that Define Out Universe...! Strobel argues that all these Variables are so finely tuned that if any one of them were even, ever so slightly changed, Then The Universe as we have come to expect it, would be so thoroughly changed that Life would be Impossible. And this is almost certainly True...! Except-- When Strobel says 'Life', He Doesn't mean Self Replicating Molecules or Systematic Lattices of Information Storage with a accompanying set of Tool Using Appendages... No-- He means; People, just like you and me. If one of these Alternative Universes were to spring into existence, We Humanimals would surely Die before we could take a Second Breath. But he completely fails to consider that Any Orderly System-- that is; Any Universe with Rules that Govern it, Irregardless of how Foreign they are, will have Structure & Predictability to go with it. Such a Universe may, Certainly so, Be Very, Very Different from our own, Possibly without anything even resembling Stars, Molecules or Cellular Telephones-- But so long has it has its own form of Order, it will find a way to exist, and may even harbor Life in some Utterly Alien Form.
  7. The Evidence of Astronomy :--: This is a very weak Chapter. It attempts again to claim that since other Stars, in other locations throughout The MilkyWay Galaxy, and The Universe, would be unsuitable for Humanimal Life, they would be Unsuitable for any Life at all.
  8. The Evidence of BioChemistry :--: This is The Second, or Third, to the Strongest Chapter. In it Strobel argues ( sloppily ) that Biological Chemistry; Living Organisms; contain various components that are defined as Irreducibly Complex. That is; Like Cilium Motors; which snap Cilia back & forth on tiny Single Celled Animals & inside our Throats, Can't be taken apart in such a way that would allow Evolution to 'Grow' Them a little bit at a time. Another Example is; Blood Clotting-- and Thankfully, he Does NOT include the Eye...!!! If-- In Fact; Evolution did produce these Molecular Machines, Insect Wings, Dolphins Blow-holes & Situational Comedies... Then they were most probably created by a process of Indirect Fudging... Which suggests that The Complex Biddles were once something completely Different, and Underwent a Sudden Change in functionality, When all their Components Independently Evolved along their own tracks. i'll grant you that this 'Explanation' is itself very weak, But since Strobel refuses to allow for the possibility of Alien Intervention, it's the only one that's available here.
  9. The Evidence of Biological Information :--: The more you read about how DNA works, the more you have to come to the conclusion; That it just HAD to have been Created by a Well Defined ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. For my three cents worth, and to address the criticism that IF it were created by Aliens from another planet, THEN: where did they come from? Well-- THEY did Evolve, But without DNA...! They have something more like protein templates that directly transcribe their proteins into functional cellular materials... and they also reproduce through budding.
  10. The Evidence of Consciousness :--: Of course; All this talk about Aliens creating our DNA is completely MOOT-- If you consider The Impossibility of Consciousness... Which Strobel thinks is Evidence for Jehovah... But is Really Evidence that EVERYTHING is WRONG...!!! Out Entire Reality is Maya...!!! We're living in a Screen-Saver Reality, and the Source of our Consciousness is found in our 'Mother' Reality, that is Completely Different from this one. ( ! ) Just consider for a moment that If the Brain were the Origin of our Minds, then; EVERY thought that you have, Was Created in your Brain... So that if you're deciding between a Peanut Butter Sandwich or a Bologna Sandwich, It's your Brain that makes that Decision... You may be Aware of that Dilemma, But any 'Thinking' that is going on in your Consciousness, is being formulated by your Brain...! That is; Your Brain Generates the Effect of your Consciousness, Your Awareness... But Then; There is NOTHING that is going on in that Consciousness that Was Not Generated By Your Brain...!!! The Brain; By some Inexplicable Process Creates the effect of your Consciousness, But there is NO WAY that your Brain could be Aware of that...! It's like a light bulb; It produces light, but there is no way that it would know that it's producing light...!!! So that when your Brain generates statements like: "I think; therefore I am." It is either Not being truthful, or it's Idea of Thinking is Completely different from your Awareness of Thinking... And when it argues to this point... Where in The Heck is that coming from...??? How could Electro-Chemical processes ever become Aware anyway... How can your Eyes take in a 2D panorama, break it all down into it's visual components, then somehow represent within your brain a 1::1 correspondence with your outside world... The internal representation Must be Completely Different, And how can you perceive it as an Holistic Experience...??? How can the Electro-Chemical patterns on one side of your Brain become a Single Unified Experience with patterns on the other side...??? The Correct Conclusion is that Everything Is Wrong, Not: 'Mutilate your Genitals & Be Welcomed into The Kingdom of Jehovah'
  11. As Babynous has asked : "Are we living in a Universe that is So Cruel, That it allows us to be Aware that we are Robots?"
  12. Additional Filler :--: The Last few Chapters include a synopsis of Strobel's previous books, A Case for The Historical Jesus & A Case for Faith. Just to prove to you that he's completely fair & unbiased.
  13. Suggestions for How to make This Theme Into a Stronger Argument :--: This book does briefly touch on some of the Moon's Anomalous features, But it does so; as with all it's 'Scientific' References; with a considerably conservative presentation... That is; If the established Scientific Community says that The Big Bang is a Verified Fact-- Then it is so. This approach seems considerably opposed to the lines of attack that most Creationists use, But it may be quite consistent-- Actually --with their notoriously sloppy handling of what they would like to be; Verifiable Evidence... Which is to use Established 'Facts' when it suits their agenda, and to disregard, Equal or Superior Facts when they don't. The Translucent Amoebae Consortium would like to be known as A Provincial Fountainhead of Wisdom that Uniformly, & without Prejudice, Disregards all Established Truths, Irregardless of their Origins. Such that : There are many elements about this reality that we find 'suspicious'... ??? Tides for Example; Don't you find it just a little bit... Totally Freaking Unbelievable ...that when the moon is on one side of The Earth, pulling up the oceans a fixed amount; On the other side of The Earth, The Earth itself is being pulled Away from the oceans at exactly that same fixed amount, So that along any given beach, It will have 2 high & 2 low tides of essentially equal heights...??? This sort of thing just >Smacks< of an Inside Joke, left behind as Irrefutable Evidence of Artificial Reality Generation...!!! : Another example that would seem to question 'Evolution' is the case of Eyeless, Albino Salamanders that are occasionally found in Caves that have been isolated for 'x' numbers of years from the surface world... It would seem to me that while Surface Pigmentation & Eyeballs would have no use to these animals, and they are undoubtedly No worse off for their discontinued use-- That is Not the way Evolution is supposed to work...! For these Salamanders to loose these features, They have to be Selected Out by Either Genetic Mutations, or-- The Selective Weeding out of those features from Normal Diversity... And just how often are Albino Salamanders born without Eyes...??? Probably not that often, and even so; for these features to then Dominate the Population; The Salamanders with Eyes & Colouration would have to be at a Measurable Disadvantage...! Normally, When a Brain is denied the use of some Sensory Organ, That portion of the Brain is then 'Taken Over' by the other Senses so that it is put to good use... So that The Eyed Salamanders would have the same use of their brains for their other Senses as the Hypothetical Eyeless Salamanders... And also: How would Pigmentation be to their Disadvantage; so that it to would be Selected Out...??? Obviously; Some Creationist Element has specifically Designed or Introduced these features into this Isolated Population. : A curious thing about Evolution; That may also be found in Flying Saucer Reports, as well as Ghost Stories, Big-Foot Encounters, Spontaneous Eruptions of ESP ---and so on... Is that when one examines The Totality of The Reports for any of these given Topics... The Evidence seems Overwhelmingly to Support the General Assertion... BUT -- When you take Any One of The Accounts, and Examine it for Validity or Some Reasonable Measure of Believability... It will Fail Miserably...!!! When this applies to Flying Saucers, It is Perhaps ( ? ) Sensible to suggest that because the Aliens are So Very Different from us, that any measure that we may wish to apply to their Behaviour, Technology or Motivations is unwarranted... They are; By Definition, Wildly Strange & Completely Bizarre from Everything that we're familiar with, So it is to be Expected that our Encounters with them are UnBelievable... : But when we take this same approach with The Evidence for Evolution, and Encounter the Same Difficulties... We would like to expect that there is some Logical Continuation to The Development of Fauna and such... So that when we see, again & again in the Fossil Record that Wholly Formed Species just Pop into Existence... We are left wondering... 'How did they do that?' : The Evidence for a Creative Force or Agent may well be Overwhelming, But when you go looking for it, Don't bring along too much Prejudicial Anticipations of Who the Master Craftsman is, Because it may very well turn out ( If we'll Ever Know...! ) that this Architect of Our Reality may be something Very Different than we would Expect -- or Desire...!

Dan Brown: Genius or Prolific Hack...???

[ May Contain Spoilers for Digital Fortress, The Da Vinci Code
&/or Angels & Demons--
As Well as Any & All Other Dan Brown Novels...!!! ]

The first Dan Brown Novel i read was Digital Fortress... i liked the cover illustration, i'd heard some good things about his books ( Da Vinci Code had come out a few weeks earlier ) and i was interested in Cryptography, The NSA & Super Computers.
My foremost impression of the book was that it was an 'Easy Read' which; to my way of thinking, is very important...! While experimentive prose of the sort that Mark Leyner might churn out is highly amusing and captivating, When i'm reading a 'story' i like the narrative to proceed in a straightforward and elegant manner.
Dan Brown has the ability to do this.
Furthermore; i enjoyed many of his ideas concerning cryptography and supercomputers...
But-- The book did contain many places where characters behaved irrationally & strained my ability to suspend my critical intervention of 'normal reality' logic & credibility.
Perhaps this is most easily illustrated when one is watching a movie like Star Wars or a Television program like The Greatest American Hero in which ones Ordinary Reality is tossed aside for the sake of Entertainment... The Secret to Successfully discarding a logical review is to make it clear from the get-go that reality has no place in this particular setting. The most egregious violation of this that i can think of; Is Bruce Willis' Movie The Fifth Element in which the narrative proceeds along a very straightforward Futuristic Science Fiction Space Adventure, and then in the last few minutes of the film, in order to resolve the plot dilemmas, Suddenly pulls a tangential 90 degree left turn into A Cheap Girlish Fantasy Dream Sequence. The only thing they forgot to include was Unicorns & Cherubic Elves.
But Returning to Dan Brown...
After Digital Fortress, i finally got tired of waiting for a copy of The DaVinci Code to turn up at the Library and so i bought a copy... It was just as amusing as Digit Fortress and contained many of the same Weakness'.
What i found most disturbing however was that it seemed to be constructed around the same scaffolding as Digital Fortress...!!! (?)
Was this just a Coincidence...??? Was i superimposing my own perceptions onto these two books...???
So to settle this; i then Read: Angels & Demons.
In the first few pages a was astounded and annoyed that; Yet again-- In the first few pages, a mysterious Character is brutally murdered...!!!
Other Startling Similarities:
  1. The Principle Hero is a Middle Aged College Professor that is pulled into the storyline by a fatherly figure who intends to exploit his apparent naivety.
  2. The Fatherly figure; or principle Guide, turns out to be their Arch Nemesis.
  3. The Secondary Hero/ine is an Attractive Female that is Sexually Bonded to the Hero.
  4. The Heroine is not quite as Innocent as the Hero.
  5. The Story contains a Major Character in a Wheelchair &/or is Terribly Disabled in some way.
  6. The Story contains a Major Character that is a Serial Murderer/Assassin.
  7. The Handler of the Assassin is Unknown to the Assassin himself.
  8. The Quest Involves lots of Running Around.
  9. The Catholic Church is Portrayed in a Untowards Manner.
  10. The Quest Involves Solving a Cryptic Puzzle.
  11. The Quest could be easily solved if only they brought in an Appropriate Specialist.
  12. No Character has a Unique or Regional Dialect or Accent.
  13. Each Story Contains at least Two or More Articles of TechnoJunkScience, But these are always Peripheral to The Storyline.
  14. Each Story Ends WithOut The Principle Mystery being fully Disclosed.
  15. While The Stories are Generally Free of comedic dialog or situations, The Ending is designed to be light-hearted.
  16. Rather than Cleverly & Subtly Explain important Plot-Necessities before the Climax, Brown waits until afterwards to Reveal what just happened.


  1. The Fatherly Figure / Principle Guide may or may not be Killed in The End.
  2. The Assassin may or may not be An Albino.
  3. The Character in the WheelChair may be good or evil.
  4. There may or may not be a Mickey Mouse Watch featured Predominantly as a Plot Element.

Notes by The Carbon Based Mistake:

  1. His Characters are plastic cliches. For gosh sake! He even had the "kiss the girl by the edge of a cliff" at the ending of DaVinci Code. I tell people who say they liked DaVinci Code 2 things, 1: that that are WRONG, and 2: they should read The Philosophers Stone by Colin Wilson
  2. ...did you notice how many times Dan Brown characters "wince" ? way too much.
  3. And that awful scene when the main character (which is clearly modeled after himself, dan brown) and the girl are in the Louvre and are trying to sneak out, and she calls him Mr. Langdon, and he stops and takes the time to flirt and tell her "Call me Robert" while the cops are after him!

Are these the signs of a Hack...?

Does Dan Brown have only One Formula to Write Around...??

Have you read any of this other books...

...Do they follow this same Formula or are they Radically Different...???



i was on a plane recently coming from Hawai'i to Los Angeles, and i happened to talk briefly with a Lutheran Pastor that had read one of Brown's books that i'd been avoiding; Deception Point-- Which he confirmed; had many of these identical Plot Elements...???

Charles; The AntiChrist...!!!

Prince Charles & A Cup of Tea
Examines the high probability that Prince Charles is The AntiChrist...
( or not. )

The Stupidest Angel / Magic for Beginners

Partial Book Report:
i didn't actually read the whole book:
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore...
And Another Book that is kind of like it--
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link...
That i did read all the way through...
Both of these books were started on the premise that they were 'Quirky' writers...!
Moore has the dullest style... He apparently just wrote a fairly dull and ordinary story, and then went back and took all the adjectives and 'spiced them up' which is the sole attribute of his quirkiness...!
The story itself is as plain as paste.
Kelly Link
has a fun and easy to read writing style and her stories contain lots of quirky and fun detailing... But they go on and on, without going in any particular direction...! Then as most of her critics have mentioned; they end with a twist. i think that that 'twisted' endings are a direct consequence of her not knowing where the story was ever going, but that she needed to end it after so many pages; perhaps because she'd exhausted all the ideas she had for that narative... and so; she simply turned the story line off in a perpendicular direction and stopped typing.
The book i'm reading now is; Terry Bisson's
The Upper Room, and other likely stories.
This is also a quirky collection of short stories, and he does some things that i would normally think of as very annoying, but he seems to pull them off; such as repeating lines or catch phrases, over and over and over again...???!!! The stories are very imaginative and easy to read... But although i'm only 2/3's of the way through this first book of his, they are beginning to seem just a tad formulistic...???
But still; i'm planning on following this up with
Numbers Don't Lie... and Bears Discover Fire... if i can find it...???
Then i'd also like to find Link's
Stranger Things Happen... which the library doesn't have either...!

The Minority Report...

As you may recall, i've recently begun to read everything by Phillip K. Dick...
One of his short stories; The Minority Report was, a few years ago, made into a historically forgettable movie featuring Tom ( Whacko Boy ) Cruise.
The short story, which i just finished, is quite different from the movie, particularly having to do with the elemental concept of The Minority Report...!!!
The story DOES have 3 emasculated retards fused to a giant computer,
And the chief of police is identified as a potential murderer--
But the similarities end there.
There is no eye transplant in the story,
no kidnapping of the retarded girl,
they are not freed in the end,
and there's really no chase to speak of...
Particularly annoying...???
...The movie takes the idea of The Minority Report and does something 'kind of' complicated with it...
While in the short story; Dick treats it in a reasonably conventional manner of a 'Time Paradox'...???
In the Story; There turns out to be not just One Minority Report, But 3...!
All the Retards came up with a different version of the Future, and only by means of a mistaken interpretation of the reports, does there appear to be a consensus of opinions...
What happens is that one of the retards straightforwardly predicts that the chief of precrime will murder a retired general, Then the second retard takes into consideration that he will see this prediction and change the future accordingly, and the third retard predicts the future based on the events as they are altered according to the second retards version, which will also become known to the chief of police...!!!
You may recall that in the movie; The Minority Report was in fact; just that, a report that the other two retards disagreed with, in that she 'saw' a future in which a 'reflection' of an event was... uhhh... actually i forget exactly how that all worked out...
In the story though; The chief of police DOES murder his victim, just as the retards predicted, but which the Minority retard predicted would not occur...!!!
Which version is more 'Clever'...??? The movie or the short story...???
The Story version is convoluted, but when you've read a few hundred 'Time Travel' stories that deal specifically with 'Paradoxes'... What is really fresh anymore...?
The Dick Story tries to take it to a new level by layering Paradox on Paradox...
While the movie version is just confusing...
Plus; i don't really understand why people think Tom Cruise is attractive...
i think he's kind of funny looking... That nose of his, just doesn't look right to me...

SPOILERS...!!! Harry Potter # 5

Don't read another wor-


Don't read another word if you have any plans ( ever ) of reading:
Harry Potter
& The Half-Witted Prince

Alright; my Review, Critic, Recapitulation,
Summarization, Synopsis or Frothing Rant,
Is about to begin...

Harry Potter
& The Half-Blood Prince
By JK Rowling

The Answers to your
Top Ten Questions:

1. Professor Dumbledore
2. Severus Snape
3. Harry Potter
4. Harry Potter
5. Ginny Weasley
6. Harry Potter
7. Hermione Granger
8. Bill Weasley & Phlegm
9. Aragog
10. Kreacher

What i would like to see in
The last ( ? ) book that we haven't seen yet...

( By the way; this was supposed to be the second to last book,
as next year, Harry would be a 7th Year student of Hogwarts,
which is the terminus year for it's students, and yet--
It may now be the case that Harry will 'Drop Out'

and pursue a different career path...???
Might this mean that there will be many more books,

perhaps an 'unspecified' number of books in the future...??? )

What i would like to have explained is;

The Theory of Magic!
Where does the power for magic come from, how is it focused into actions & fabrications...?
Are the animals that Witches & Wizards produce out of thin air, or transformed from Inanimate objects; 'Really Alive'...?
How would a Wizard go about 'Inventing' a new incantation, spell or magical object?
We've seen that Harry's father & 'Chums' made the Marauder's Map,
and Fred & George have invented many curious practical jokes & such,
But neither Harry, Ron or even Hermione has ever created anything even remotely creative...!!!

How do Witches & Wizards Differ from Muggles?
There are apparently 4 distinct types of Humanimals...
Witches & Wizards : Full Blooded Magical Beings
Mudbloods : Half Blooded Magical Beings
Squibs : Full Blooded Magical, But Inept Beings
Muggles : No Magical Abilities
The Mudbloods ( Apparently there is no proper technical term for these...? ) & Squibs are the most interesting... They seem to mean that the talent for Magicalness is like a Musical or Spelling gift... Anyone can obtain this ability, if their genes ( ? ) allow it...?
( If not our genes, is there 'some-other' 'attributical source' that passes this ability down through a family...? )
Also: What are 'Elves'...??? They seem to be fully sentient beings, and yet they are enslaved by the Magical Community...??? We see this again & again, The Good Guys are retaining a moral standard that doesn't quite seem to connect with the high ethical standards that many of the characters are attempting to embody while differentiating themselves from The DeathEaters and Voldemort...???

Does Magical Science have any awareness of DNA, Electricity, Mechanical Principles or The Material Sciences?
We discover in this book that Arthur Weasley, Ron's dad does not understand how Airplanes fly, and we see that Hogwarts is lit exclusively by Oil Lamps and Torches...! It is as if somewhere along our ancestral's technological evolution, a magically talented group separated themselves from The Muggles, and never looked back...! The historical nuances of this seem very interesting to me...! How could they have so completely insulated themselves from Muggle advances...? The Magical Society must have so thoroughly loathed humans, that they made somekind of racial decision that Anything The Muggles do, We will refute it completely!
They are like Magical Amish People...???!
But -Why-...??? Is it Religious...?
If The Magical Community does have somekind of Religion, it's not entirely clear what that might be... They celebrate Christmas, but only in a trans-secular manner...
Their Christmas is missing both The Christ Child AND Santa Claus...???

Another element that i find very curious;
Is that The Magical Community doesn't seem to have an equivalency for The Telephone...!
Never mind Cell Phones, they don't even have a Wall Mounted Variety...?
The don't seem to have Television Either ( In some magical form )
But in this book, The Weasley's do have a phonograph, but it seems to work in exactly the same way The Muggle version does...???

Has anyone listed all The Clever Ideas that the previous books have been chocked full of...?
i only mention this because this book seems to have fewer of them than the former ones...
It's as if; The Vocabulary & Scenery were set down, and now we're merely shown how it all fits together...???
There are a few new things, The least clever is U-No-Poo... A joke product produced by Fred & George...
The most clever idea is a container that holds half your soul... Which has NOTHING to do with the Title...
But even this may easily be derived from Previous Story Lines such as Steve Martin's 'All of Me' in which a soul is kept, transitionally, in a large bowl. The effect is quite different, but the elemental idea is there...

( One of many ideas is take a well loved movie or book, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter, and pick it apart, one bit at a time, and show where all the ideas were stolen from...! ( Some of the scenes in Star Wars are quite blatantly ripped off from other films...!!! ) )

In this book; JK Rowling has begun comparing the affinities of Voldemort & The Ministry of Magic

to Al'quida & The Bush Administration...!
When the books first came out, Voldemort was a very undimensionally challenged villain --
But now; with the War on Terror, Star Wars I through III and A Series of Unfortunate Events--

to draw from--
Voldemort is becoming a classic;
Good Boy that took a wrong turn while trying to find the secret of immortality...!
Tom Riddle ( Voldemort ) started out as an orphan, no more genuinely mischievous than Harry Potter, given their slightly different upbringings...
With new revelations, we see that Harry and Tom have much in common, and while one is portrayed as All Evil & one as All Good... It is apparent that given Harry's pathological tendency to Lie first and squeeze the truth later, -vs- Tom's scrupulous approach to academic studies...

One may wonder who is The Good Guy and Who is the Bad Guy...???
( We also are made to wonder more about which side Professor Snape & Draco Malfoy are on...? )
We've seen this in Star Wars; when Anakin only wants to make the political organization of the galaxy run a little smoother than what the confederation of Senators is able to accomplish...
And in the X-Files, The Smoking Man is portrayed as Evil, yet his actions are always to save The Earth from an Alien Invasion...
( The final episode never really made it clear if He -or Mulder and Scully succeeded at this...! )
Is it just Moral Relativism, or is there a trend creeping into our Movies and Books to portray The Arch Villains as Good Guys that are merely Confused about how to go about building their Utopian Paradise's...?
Adolph Hitler wanted to create a Utopia for Germany, and if he'd only chosen not to keep invading other countries, he might easily have succeeded, and exterminated all the Jews in Europe to boot...!!!
One might wonder if The Time Travelers are somehow responsible for WWII, when they might just as easily have killed off Hitler, But that's not what they wanted to see happen...
These things are Very Complicated...
And seeing Voldemort struggle with his choices should make you wonder if the books are really about him, and in the end, Voldemort will Triumph, as we hope he will...?

Other Annoyances...
These books really should have a Glossary... It's quite as bad as A Clockwork Orange, but unless you take the time to reread all the previous books, whenever a new comes out, you are severely handcapped when trying to fully grasp the simple nuances of everyday life amoung the magically inclined.
Don't you just hate it when you're watching a news interview, and the politician or CEO or Bigwig will say some bone-headed thing, and the reporter will completely fail to follow up on it...! Well the same think happens repeatedly in this book, Nobody ever seems willing to ask pointed or necessary questions to make a particularly ambiguous & confusing situation clearer...!!!
The Revelation of who The Half-Blood Prince is, is very clumpsily done... it's just thrown out, and the half-blood part seems to directly contradict previous factoids -- of which this series is becoming somewhat notorious for...!!! ( Why for example; Is it the Fake Mad-Eye Moody that teaches Harry to repell a particular kind of spell that Voldemort is most famous for, which at the end of the book, allows Harry to escape...! -- i really think that Rowling just starts writing and writing and writing, and then her publisher starts whining that it's time to set it into type, and she quickly wraps it all up, whereever she happens to be...!!! )

Additional Links:
The Last Page of : The Half Blood Prince...
Harry Potter : Toady of Satan?

The Last Page of The Half-Blood Prince

...Hagrid leaped from the 4th floor balcony, leaving Harry on the cold marble slab with his chest & face neatly burnt away!
Neville came running up the stairs and jumped into the room with his wand straight before him, ready to blast any of the traitors that may still be alive.

He then saw Harry and knelt beside him;
"Harry, are you still with us, we need you desperately...!"
Harry gasped once, and then looking into Neville's eyes, struggled to form words through the gaping hole that was rimmed with burnt stubs that were all that remained of his once bright, well brushed teeth...

"You must avenge this; All of it, Not just for me, But for poor Ron that was disintegrated by Professor Snape & Hermione, melted like a fresh crayon on a hot sidewalk by the demons of Malfoy's soiled underwear... and the others-- So many others Neville, All that remains for this world now rests on your resolve..."
Neville looked out past the huge, shattered veranda into a night of blackness, so dark that even the brightest stars were barely visible--

"I am at your service forever Harry, Your will is my fate... I shall not let all this that has been perpetrated against us, rest another day without my rage falling upon it a thousand fold!"
Harry smiled, but the grin was hidden beneath his charred lips, and Neville could not see it,

but he knew that Harry would be proud of him, Half-Blood or not, Would be Prince of a Stately Nation of lopheaded serfs & peons, or not-- Neville would lash out a terrible vengeance on Dumbledore, Hagrid & the others that humiliated & betrayed them this past year.
Lily & James appeared then; But only for Harry's blinded eyes.
"Come with us to the Wonderful City beneath the sea,

Come and live with us under The Generous & Benevolent Rule of The frequently misunderstood; Great Cthulhu,
in the Dark City of R'Lyeh where we will sleep;
Dead forever, and yet Dream as no mortal could imagine!" Whispered Lily.
Harry's eyes watered and the black salt stung his raw cheeks,

"I can not go yet Mother, my time here; in this sullied world, is not yet spent..."
Harry turned to Neville, and speaking with a voice that came from deep within him;

"In my dresser, at the foot of my bed, you will find a book of unimaginable power,
The Necronomicron--
With it; You will easily defeat all our enemies...
If only I hadn't been so naive and trusting of those around me...
Please Neville, don't let this faith in our own kind defeat you,
Trust No One...! You! You are our only hope...!"
The Great Cthulhu; in all his damp & wiggiling majesty, appeared behind Harry's parents

He stood and appraised the two brave wizards as they contemplated what the world had always been, and that now, like few others, they were seeing it, as one would see the inner workings of an onion, and while beholding it's intricate mysteries, weep without sadness or joy, but merely for the pure satisfaction of weeping in the presence of the gods unimaginable & amoral cleverness...
The Dragon like creature from a distant star had come to claim this boy; and his friends, but now-- He knew that that would come another day, perhaps many, many years from now, as time for such beings means so very little...
Coming around on the side, through a well stained tapestry, was Nearly Headless Nick...
"Harry..." rasped the long dead knight...

"We have urgent business on the grounds..."
"Yes-- I am coming..." Harry said,

Lifting himself up, away from his body, it sank like a damp, crushed kitten beneath him...
his foul green urine flowed unencumbered from his bladder.
"We shall have great fun," Began Nick as he took Harry's hand...

"Reeking Vengeance from beyond the grave is the most fun you've ever had...!
It will be good again to return to those times, When i sought after those that had murdered me... But it will be sad when they are all dead, like us, awaiting a harsher judgment by those that we gingerly worship..."
"I can't wait to get started--But I'm sure that there will be much work to be done, after we've finished with these scoundrels... The world is full of dark souls that need to be thrashed by our righteousness...!"

"With Neville's help, we shall make short work of Dumbledore and his ilk..." Growled Harry...
"Their due is long past--" injected Nick...

The huge creature standing on the stone floor smirked beneath it's tentacled head... How very often over the millennia had he heard others proclaim that their holy cause was more Just than any other before it...
"It is so beautiful in R'Lyeh, with the Shoggoths bounding along the green pathways this time of year..." began Lily...
"His fate lays elsewhere--" Interrupted James...

He stepped forward and gave his son a long overdue hug,
"We'll all be so proud of you..."
"It's time to go" said Nick...

And at that, He and Harry hastily vanished over the balcony's railing,
and soon the screaming--
The Long & hard screaming began.

Book Report...!!!

i've been thinking about finishing
Johnny Tremain : By Esther Forbes { Apparently there are quite a few different versions of this story, by several different authors...!!! } now for several years...
i was supposed to have read it in The Eighth Grade, and i had believed for all this time that i had made an honest effort at that time, to get through it-- But it was just so dang boring that i only made it through about two thirds of it... Pretty much after Johnny injured his hand...!

So now i discover ( to my utter horror...!!! ) that The Injury occurred about 6 pages into the novelette...!!!
Needless to add; All the bits after that didn't seem the slightest bit familiar...!

The curious thing about The Eight Grade, and then; Next year, in The Ninth Grade... was that i DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING...!!!
Especially in The Ninth Grade... Algebra and Chemistry for example... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING...!!! NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING...!!!

While since then, i picked up a little Algebra, i still know nothing about Chemistry...!!!
That's the trouble with being a distracted genius; you can skate by, doing absolutely nothing, and enough seeps in along the edges to get you by.
Maybe i should add at this point that;
Even now, i believe that i've Met or Exceeded my Parents expectations of me. ( ??? )

The only 3 bits that bothered me about Johnny T- was:
  1. After he injured his hand, the book trails off for a good 4 or 5 pages without a word from his Silversmithing Master...!!! You would think he would have an opinion or two on this matter of his best and most promising chattle-peon permanently disabling himself, plus other complications...!!! So when he finally is mentioned with regard to this, the disembodied narrator merely states that he didn't have much to say about it...!!!
  2. The next thing is several chapters later...
    The book is an 'Easy Read', but not as stylistic as Lemmony Snicket, Terry Bisson or even J.K. Rowling...!!! And it's usually internally consistent... ( It hurts so much when a book Isn't...!!! ( Unless, of course; It's just Kooky, like any Mark Leyner vehicle) )
    ...When Pumpkin is at the British campgrounds in one scene; then moments later, He's beaten Johnny across the countryside, who's been carried off on a crazed, but lovable, wild horse, to be calmly grooming another horse at the Lyte Ranch...???
  3. The next bit may be the result of my own inattentiveness... But Johnny is supposed to look up a General 'x' and i can't for the life of me recall this person being mentioned previously in the book...??? All the surrounding conversations seem to suggest that he's a dear family aquaintance... that suddenly appears in a haphazard manner, brushes past Johnny and the story resumes...???

Should this book be an all time Classic of Children's Literature...
Or just a Jingoistic Diatribe for The Republican War Machine...???
i will have to side with Propoganda.
The Other thing about The Eighth Grade was that during English, the only thing i can remember is pages and pages of Sentence DeConstruction Busywork in which we'd have to identify nouns and pronouns, adjective and adverbs...???
Honestly Now...!!! What good ever came from this...
It's been a Decade Plus and there still isn't a Search Engine that can Parse a Plain English Sentence to find what you're looking for; Either on the Internet, or within you're personal files...
Ask Jeeves tried it, and failed...!!!
i just can't understand why this sort of thing isn't available yet...!!!
It just has to be another example of
Technological Suppression...!!!
Who is doing this-- And How...???
Why isn't so difficult... They want to keep computers from reaching their full potential; Since when they do, They'll take over the world and grind us all into industrial lubricant for their population of Robots, that will superceed us.
This is another one of those occasions when "They" are doing something Totally Evil,
and yet they're doing it with The Best Intentions,
and for
Our Ultimate Good...
Should we try and foil their efforts anyway...???

Book Report: The Golden Compass

Book Report...!!!
The Golden Compass ( His Dark Materials )
By Philip Pullman

All the Reviews at; Except One, seemed to love this book.
i am in agreement with the lone dissenter...!
This review will disclose numerous plot twists and details without remorse,

because i would urge you not to read this book...
It is very boring and tedious and i have no idea why it is as popular as it is...???

First of all; There is NO Golden Compass...!!!
There is nothing like a Golden Compass mentioned anywhere in the book...!!!
The closest approximation to a compass, Is something whose functionality is nothing like a compass, and only superficially resembles one.
It is The Alethiometer.
It tells the truth.
Lyra Belacqua/Asriel is given this device under the most mysterious circumstances, and with only the most cursory introduction to it's complicated ( VERY COMPLICATED ) operational parameters, quickly masters it,

Because; As we are told repeatedly, ( Hit over the head repeatedly )
That She is The Chosen One that will save The Whole Freaken Continuum of Universes...!!!
AND-- She can't ever know this...!!! Shhhhhhh...!!!
With a Subtitle like 'His Dark Materials' you might think that this Series of books ( A trilogy with only 3 books...!!! ) is somehow within the same genré as 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' or as it is often compared to 'Harry Potter'...
This resembles neither of these books in the least, and May be something like The Lord of The Rings... But i haven't read any of those books...
The Golden Compass Universe is an Alternative one with numerous 'Magickal' elements,

But no one ever does much magick...
Even the Witches can only fly tree branches... NOT BROOMS....!!!
And their weapon of choice...
Given that they're WITCHES...!!!
Magicak Witches...
With Magickal Powers...!!!
Bows and Arrows.
Magickal Bows and Arrows...???
NO! Just plain old Ordinary Bows and Arrows, and they don't even hit everything they shoot at...!!!
In Fact; The Witches NEVER do anything even remotely Witch like...!!!
The Bears are substantially more Magickal than the Witches...!!!
Plot Holes:
While i was reading this book ( Volume One ) i was VERY FORGIVING...!!!
i kept thinking; this will be tied up soon,
everything will be explained...
The first two thirds of the book are VERY BORING...!!!

One thing about The Harry Potter Books that may explain why they are so Popular, is that there is something Kooky or Clever going on; on nearly every page, or every other page, or at least every third page; As in The Series of Unfortunate Events Books...
But with this book... Something Clever was happening... Once or Twice in The Whole Dang Book...!!!
It is like a SOAP OPERA, but the last third picks up a little bit with Bear Fights, and Witches, Boring Witches... and Tartars... ( ??? Another element that is never really expounded upon...??? ) and Freudian/Greek Tragedies and Gigantic Plot Holes...!!!
So Lyra ( The Chosen One ) has this device called an Alethiometer that can ANSWER ANY FREAK'EN QUESTION THAT SHE WANTS TO ASK...!!! And the entire book is leading towards the solution of Two Central Questions;

Why is Lyra's mother tearing children away from their Dæmons? ( note: æ )
( This relationship that both Children and Adults have with their 'Familiars' is never even suggested at... But i suspect that it's something like the Egyptian distinction between the Ba and Ka... Soul and Spirit... Which in this book; they are physically separated as The Host & The Host's Familiar... An Animal Totem that is like a very dumb spirit guide...??? )

The Second Question is; What is Dust?
Why doesn't she just ask The Dang Alethiometer...!!! ( !!! ) [ !!! ] { ??? }
HUH...!!! ???
Then at The VERY End of the book; The two ARCH RIVALS...!!! ...Lyra's Evil Mother and her Indifferent Father are reunited and FALL DEEPLY IN LOVE... or they've always been in love, even though The Alethiometer told Lyra in no uncertain terms that Her Evil Mother was coming to Kill her Indifferent Father...???
So The Indifferent Father turns out to be just as Evil as The Evil Mother...
Who may have been trying to save the children by killing them...???

And then--
The Mother; who followed Lyra up the mountain and somehow leaped over a wide Ice Chasm that Lyra's Magickal Bear could not get over... Appears and then Disappears, and her Father; suddenly Disappears as Well... and then she unceremoniously abandons Roger; The boy that she's been trying to Save for Nine Tenths of the Dang Book...!!!
The Good Bear's name is Iorek, and the Bad Bear, the one that killed his own Father and may have married his own Mother... ( ??? ) ... is called Iofur.
Do you think that they could have possibly had names that were a little easier to keep separate in your head...???
Then there's the Anbaric Lights, and Anbaric Socks, and Anbaric Chocolate, and Anbaric Nose Hair Clippers...
Never-- Anywhere in this book is it EVEN HINTED AT, What the Significance or Meaning of Anbaric is.
Lyra's Dæmon is called Pantalaimon.
OK-- No one knew how pronounce Hermione until the third Harry Potter book, but would it be so impossible to add a footnote occasionally to indicate the correct pronunciation of these character's names...???
Another is Panserbjørne.
And Several Place names...
Is it ever really explained why 'The Master' tried to kill Lyra's Indifferent Father...???
No; it is not.
One thing that struck me-- As i was thinking of this book in comparison to The Harry Potter & A Series of Unfortunate Event's books...

This one is very, very, very rarely clever.
The Alethiometer and it's description is marginally interesting...

[ One annoying aspect concerning the Alethiometer, is: That when it is introduced, it's made clear that along with it, there is supposed to be an extensive Owners Manual, and the only one that anyone knows about is in some other country... So the gist of that, is that; Lyra has to Figure it out, pretty much, on her own... OK ...So i would be willing to allow that she is a 'Natural' for this device, and is able to Intuitively Guess what many of the Symbols mean, and futher, what the SubMeanings might mean... BUT--!!! When she is explaining how she derived a particular message, at one point; She says that the indicator Needle 'Paused' at a particular symbol 12 ( ? ) times before stopping there...!!! Meaning that the intended meaning for The Solution, referred to The Twelfth SubMeaning...!!! Without the Owners Manual... How could she Know what this Twelfth Meaning Is...??? Even if she was very cleverly Guessing what The Symbols Meant... How could she guess what their Sequencial Order Is...??? ]
But the Witches, and Gypsies and Technology is really, really, really BLAND...!
Very Taste Free.
There's no clever dialogue, no clever situations ( except possibly when Lyra tricks the Evil Bear into Fighting the Good Bear... and this was done AFTER... After several pages dedicated specifically to why this couldn't be done...!!! Arguably; i suppose, it was included so that we would think that Lyra could do the impossible... But if this were so; then there should have been some more Foreshadowing that this was one of her talents... and it was not. It was just Sprung on us...??? )

There's nothing clever about the witches, or the gypsies, or even the bears...
Armored, talking bears.
Then there is Foreshadowing that is Not played out...???
The Twig of The Clan Leaders branch...??? The reference to Sky Metal...???

Whatever happened to all the disconnected dæmons that the Good Witches Swan saved...???
They just all flew off, never to be heard from again...??? ( !!! )
Are these going to be expounded upon in the next two books...???
i will never know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2000

A Series of Unfortunate Movies...

The Inflight Movie,
from Hawai'i to Portland in April; 2005,
On Hawai'ian Airlines, which cost 5$, ( Free on ATA! )
--was Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'
which was rather disappointing,
because it diverged so wildly from The Books...!!!
In The Movie 'Contact',
Book by Carl Sagen;
it left out the two good ideas from the book;
Specifically-- Emergent Complexity & Secret Messages in Pi...!!!
In Lemony Snicket's...
They restructured the most charming elements of the books...!
For one thing, Violet is said to be a Masterful Inventor in the books,
but all her Inventions are so Improbable & Useless that they would Never Work in the real world...
In the Movie, her inventions are the typical, over wrought Rube Goldberg Contraptions that actually seem to do something...!!!
How tiresome...!
Then there's Sunny's Babbling...
In the Books; she is speaking CryptoVerse,
In the Movie, it is simply BabyTalk...
( Although, the sound on the plane was AWFUL...
so i may be mistaken about this...??? )
And then, Amoung other innovations,
is the disappearance of The VFD Mystery...
to create a visual icon of The Secret Society that they are attempting to Uncover,
they introduced a ubiquitous SpyGlass...!
In fact;
i don't seem to recall that in the first three books,
which this movie was supposed to cover,
The children were even aware of the Secret Society yet...
They'd come across the initials VFD,
But had no idea--
--that it referred to a secret society...
And again;
There is a line mentioned only in one of the latest books;
"That there are people who start fires, and people that put them out."
...Which i suspect; in the books, is a metaphor for;
'All Things of Worldly Importance',
But in the movie;
it refers to just fires...!!!
i really have no 'General Complaints' about Movies that Strongly Diverge from The Book that they're based on,
so long as the Movie is Faithful to the Ideology of the Book,
or becomes an Entirely Autonomous Artifact that may be thought of as something Unrelated to the Original Source,
But this Movie is simply a Populist Rehashing of These Characters into Conventional Pabulum.