Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stories below the fold

Middle Earth radio taken down to protest Obama's reelection?

Oh well: the European based Father Roderick's podcasts are still around to keep up on what's going on, as are the Riddles in the Dark podcast by the Tolkien professor...

Another article by "experts" saying let your child suffer with a high fever, which helps him fight infection.

Sorry, but I think 5000 years (at least) of Mom's insisting we lower the fever has some merit.
and the experts base their instruction on "opinions" not hard science.
and no, it is not "big pharma" causing the problem: even our tribal African moms would dose their kids with herbs for fevers: to stop overdoses, we gave out bottles of vitamin placebo for them to use instead.

Most of the opinions are based on questionable studies (including self reporting and theoretical reasons)....Anyone do any "double blind studies" on animal fever? I couldn't find any with a quick google...

While trying to google for "fever" in babies (and failing to find any good scientific studies) I ran across this delightful study:

GaGa for GooGoo

analyzing why people want children.

Includes this:
the researchers found three factors that consistently predicted how much a person wanted to have a baby. The first factor was positive exposure -- such as holding and cuddling babies, looking after babies and looking at baby clothes and toys -- that made people want to have a baby. The second factor included negative exposure -- such as babies crying, children having tantrums and diapers, spit-up or other 'disgusting' aspects of babies -- that made people not want to have a baby. The third factor included trade-offs that come with having children -- education, career, money and social life.
which is why if one woman in the workplace has a baby, soon others start getting starry eyed then pregnant...
and why the idea of globalists, to free women for the workforce to improve the economy and save money by limiting families, works against motherhood.


This movie review for the new "Anna Karenina" gives it a thumbs down:
those sorrows come across as tepid, due in part to the fact that the bland, 20-something actor playing Vronsky, who bears a vague resemblance to a mustachioed Justin Bieber, seems more boy toy than heartthrob ..

Well, actually the Vronsky character was a boy toy...in the novel... Sounds like this movie is the usual meme "evil good people drive Anna nuts because they disapprove of her pure love".

But in the book, Anna is self destructive: adultery wasn't the problem in her circle, as long as you kept it quiet...so she wasn't exactly ostracized. But if you read the novel, she saw herself as "good" and then reframes her husband as "cold and uncaring" in her mind...so insisted that everyone approve of her actions, even those outside her sophisticated circle, and when they didn't approve, she became self destructive and her behavior very erratic...

and I never could figure the reason for her erratic behavior (it seemed to go beyond guilt or depression) until I saw the TV version, which openly shows she got addicted to drugs and alcohol,(although her addiction was probably "innocent" to start with, becoming addicted after being given morphine when she was suffering from childbed fever)...

Since everyone is rewriting famous novels from the bad guys's point of view (from Grendel to the one about Mr Rochester's wife) maybe someone should write a novel from nerdy but reliable husband's point of view, or even Vronsky, whose flirtation with a married woman (very common back then) left him saddled with an erratic "wife" who destroyed his career and life...which is why ironically his mother is one of the few in the book who calls Anna an "evil" woman (most of the good people in the book see her as a good woman who fell into evil ways and they want to rescue her from it)...

Related item: I finally got around to watching the Brad Pitt movie on "Troy".
They seem to have changed a few of the details from the book.
But ironically, they did what good story tellers do: reframe the story to their audience and, to use a Tolkien comparison, take some parts and make it into a new stew.
So the Achilles theme (which was about accepting death) is reframed into accepting death and mercy, and the mercy part, which in the book is found in Priam's visit, is changed by love for Breseis...

And the ending is a bit fake: Achilles trying to save Breseis, but killed accidentally because Paris thought he was doing the dirty...it's not in Homer, but later stories attribute his death to being in love with Priam's daughter Polyxena....and he died in an ambush while making a sacrifice with the aim to marry her and end the war...

So is the rewrite accurate? No, but it is good story telling. Having Paris steal a wife during signing a peace treaty makes the insult more important to modern men, who don't recognize his breech of the taboo of visitors. And the more modern themes of love changing people is in the movie: so not only Achilles learns compassion, but by the end of the film, Paris goes from being a coward and a boytoy to a responsible man.

Too bad they had to kill of Menaleus, however. And I like Sean Bean's portrayal of Olysses: the best one I've seen since the old Kirk Douglas version.


Important question of the day:When Brain Implants arrive, will we still be "us"?

Kurzweil discusses this in a longer article at Slate.

Not a new discussion: Are we merely a "ghost in the machine", or as the ancient philosophers insisted, a combination of mind, body, and soul...the ancients recognized the mind and soul were not the same, and perhaps we should do the same, as the mind can be destroyed by drugs, injury, or improved by drugs and modern medicine, but the soul is the inner "ME"...don't believe me? Ask your wife if when raging hormones affect her mind and body if she is in reality a raging beast or merely a nice woman who wants to do the right thing but is not able to control the anger caused by too much progesterone...

Mrs. Gay Caswell continues her fight with the local bureaucracy in the oh so politically correct Canada...

give it a few years, and all the Christian schools in the US may face a similar problem.

Uncle Orson rereads and then reviews the classic "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"...

and shudders at parallels to today's world's propaganda and political spin. He also reviews books on WWI and the American Civil war...

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