January 7th, 2008

wart

Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slideshows!

Last night, I finally saw Bender's Big Score. I'd been considering buying it, but the prices I saw it sold for were mostly ridiculously high (come on, over $20 for one pseudo-movie that's less than an hour and a half long?), so I just got it from Netflix. Besides, I think there's a good chance they'll eventually release it with the other four movies, so it might make sense to just wait for that. Anyway, I might as well say what I thought of it, and that involves a goodly number of Collapse )

I'm planning on watching it with commentary tomorrow, and maybe some of the stuff I mentioned is addressed therein. I guess now I can go back and read other people's reviews. I'm sure some of them covered a lot of the same things I did.

I'm cross-posting this to my own journal and futurama.
wart

Way down below the ocean, where I wanna be, she may be

I forget exactly how it happened, but some fairly recent Internet surfing brought me to the story of Atlantis and other lost continents, and I found a mention of a book called Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature, by L. Sprague de Camp. Thinking it sounded interesting, I checked it out from the library, and just finished reading it today. I quite liked the book, which does a good job at debunking the Atlantis myth, while also mentioning other lost continents (notably Mu and Lemuria) and thoroughly tracing the theme's development from its earliest mention by Plato through the works of later adherents to the idea. These include people who tried to rationalize the story, as well as occultists who claim that Atlantis was the origin of all civilization and Lemuria was inhabited by four-armed egg-laying hermaphrodites. One particular occult account of Lemuria, namely that some survivors of the sunken continent relocated to Mount Shasta in California, is the origin of two of my favorite songs penned by Mr. Frank Black. Really, most occult beliefs seem to me to be more or less a grab bag, taking elements from various world religions without any regards to their original context.

One idea not strictly related to Atlantis that the book touches upon is the Greek idea of a continent surrounding the encircling ocean. The sixth century monk Kosmas placed Paradise in the eastern part of this far continent. As stated in the book, it's pretty common for cultures, upon exploring previously unknown territory and finding that it ISN'T inhabited by satyrs, Gorgons, or cherubim with flaming swords guarding mystical gardens, to simply transfer these things outward to still-unexplored lands. So, even though Genesis specifically mentions the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (which Kosmas did work into his map, albeit in a somewhat convoluted way) in conjunction with Eden, people in later eras placed it in areas other than the Middle East. Actually, although the Bible does say Eden is "in the East," it also says that the Land of Nod is "east of Eden," so the writers obviously didn't think it was as far east as it was possible to go. I once looked up where people thought Eden was supposed to have been located, and came up with everything from Jerusalem to Africa, with some asserting that it would have been submerged in Noah's flood (which I guess makes sense from the standpoint of a Biblical literalist, and most non-literalists probably don't think the Garden of Paradise actually existed anyway).
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wart

Haw-haw! Your medium is dying!

Hey, new Simpsons episode last night! And hey, it was pretty half-assed! Seriously, it started out well enough, but I kind of get the impression that Homer's comment about wanting to nominate the most ridiculous person possible was a reflection of the brainstorming session for this episode. It was a one-joke kind of thing that didn't have all that many laughs (although I guess the Republican and Democratic meetings were kind of funny), and ended really abruptly. And regarding the Dennis Kucinich bit, aren't goofy celebrity caricatures (assuming you can consider Kucinich a celebrity) more Family Guy's style?

Speaking of Family Guy, are we ever going to get any more new episodes? I wonder if they didn't have enough to fill out the season before the writers' strike started. American Dad was good, though. The idea that Roger has to be a jerk to stay healthy explains a lot, and I liked how the Steve and Haley subplots were just going on in the background without really affecting anything. Also good was John Waters' This Filthy World, which we got from Netflix. I don't have any specific comments on it, but I'd definitely recommend it.

And in regards to things about which I don't have much to say but that I think you should see, there's a new Chick Tract about the book of Exodus. My favorite thing about it is how the Moses-doubting dad has a ridiculously exaggerated caricature Jew nose, but his faithful son doesn't. Also, check out the angry God-hating parents in Panel 30, and the disturbing but apparently welcome rain of blood in Panel 39.