Cool. Taking of the Great Redoubt of Raievski at Borodino in a "moving lithograph" set up the music of Wagner. It just doesn't get any better than that!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Posted by Red Tory at 12:19 PM
Posted by Red Tory at 4:38 AM
Friday, January 25, 2008
An audio only presentation, from a lecture thattook place in the Conference Center Golden Gate Room, San Francisco.
With gentle demeanor and tight argument, Sam Harris carried an overflow audience into the core of one of the crucial issues of our time: What makes some religions lethal? How do they employ aggressive irrationality to justify threatening and controlling non-believers as well as believers? What should be our response?
Harris began with Christianity. In the US, Christians use irrational arguments about a soul in the 150 cells of a 3-day old human embryo to block stem cell research that might alleviate the suffering of millions. In Africa, Catholic doctrine uses tortured logic to actively discourage the use of condoms in countries ravaged by AIDS.
"This is genocidal stupidity," Harris said. Faith trumps rational argument. Common-sense ethical intuition is blinded by religious metaphysics.
In the US, 22% of the population are CERTAIN that Jesus is coming back in the next 50 years, and another 22% think that it's likely.
The good news of Christ's return, though, can only occur following desperately bad news. Mushroom clouds would be welcomed. "End time thinking," Harris said, "is fundamentally hostile to creating a sustainable future."
Harris was particularly critical of religious moderates who give cover to the fundamentalists by not challenging them. The moderates say that all is justified because religion gives people meaning in their life. "But what would they say to a guy who believes there's a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in his backyard? The guy digs out there every Sunday with his family, cherishing the meaning the quest gives them."
"I've read the books," Harris said. "God is not a moderate." The Bible gives strict instructions to kill various kinds of sinners, and their relatives, and on occasion their entire towns. Yet slavery is challenged nowhere in the New or Old Testaments; slave holders in the old south used the Bible to defend their practice. The religious texts have power because they are old, but they are also hopelessly out of date because they are old.
It's taboo among religious moderates to compare religions, said Harris, but we must. "Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers? For that matter, where are the Palestinian Christian suicide bombers--- they're as Arab and aggrieved as anyone." The fundamental beliefs of Islam really are a problem. "Martyrdom in jihad is not a fringe doctrine; it is believed by millions of Muslims." It's not a question of ignorance... two-thirds of al Qaeda operatives are college educated.
"We have no reason to expect to survive our religious differences indefinitely. Faith is intrinsically divisive. We have a choice between conversation and war." It was conversation that ended slavery, not faith. "Faith is a declaration of immunity to conversation. To make religious war unthinkable, we have to undermine the dogma of faith. The continuance of civilization requires not moderation, but reason."
Harris ended by lauding meditation and mysticism as a form of experiential science, and observed, "The wisdom of contemplative life is not evenly distributed. The East has more than the West."
Posted by Red Tory at 11:16 PM
Yeah, it's one of those "Ah-Ha!" moments that Archimedes is renowned for.
Posted by Red Tory at 2:07 PM
Just what sort of a media environment would we have if this cynical douchebag actually got her way? CTV, CanWest Global and… um, well that’s about it. Gee, that would be just super, wouldn’t it?
Posted by Red Tory at 5:41 AM
Possibly. But perhaps in a “good” sort of way. He proposes that the presidential candidates be forced to play poker. This is similar to my own suggestion that they be subjected to a round of “Jeopardy!” to demonstrate their general knowledge. So maybe I too am insane. Or even a “dumbfuck” according to some.
Posted by Red Tory at 2:33 AM
Posted by Red Tory at 1:14 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Why they can't join these fucking clips up mystifies me completely.
Posted by Red Tory at 1:41 PM
A tad ponderous (typical Bernstein… what can you say?), but an otherwise decent rendition of the quintessential American classic. Is it possible not to think of New York when hearing this?
Posted by Red Tory at 1:29 PM
Hey, it’s just “The Three Little Pigs”… I mean it can’t be taken as anything other than a harmless story about pigs in a children’s story, that happen to build houses, right? It’s not like other interpretations could be drawn from it. Heaven forbid!
Posted by Red Tory at 8:39 AM
Again, “La Gazza Ladra” is a magnificent overture — but the whole rest of this opera is utterly forgettable tripe. Apparently, Rossini chucked it off in some kind of frenzied dementia, hurling sheets of hastily scribbled music out the window to his copyists. Doubtful, but it makes for a colourful story.
Posted by Red Tory at 8:11 AM
CC reviews the goods presently on offer from the Grand Old Party.
Posted by Red Tory at 7:29 AM
Thank goodness for overtures. Opera is insufferable otherwise.
Posted by Red Tory at 6:59 AM
Ugh. Having skimmed the round-up of daily idiocy, it's time for some refreshment from another Dick.
Posted by Red Tory at 6:37 AM
The sorry delusions of those who pretend to be “non-partisan” centrists.
Posted by Red Tory at 6:06 AM
Bored? Nothing better to do…? I suppose you could go here and “vote” for the “best” gardening blog... or something.
Posted by Red Tory at 5:01 AM
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
There’s something highly curious about this particular ad campaign by Quantas and the Australian government. Can you imagine promoting tourism to Canada, the United States or Britain in the same manner? By the way, that aussieweek.com website is terrific.
Posted by Red Tory at 11:53 PM
How’s that whole “peacekeeping” and “reconstruction” thing going?
Posted by Red Tory at 10:53 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Posted by Red Tory at 11:52 PM
A rebuttal of sorts to that “Darkside of the Rainbow” set of videos. By the way, in case you didn’t know, Ambrose Bierce, the author of the short story on which this curious little film (and a “Twilight Zone” episode!) is based upon and uses as background/subtext to Ian Anderson’s wonderfully flatulent musical diatribe, was the author of the venerable “Devil’s Dictionary” – a highly recommended compilation of cynical aphorisms.
Film Spoiler: Biggles is just writing up his memoirs in Cornwall.
Posted by Red Tory at 6:59 AM
There’s that damn-blasted “ad sense” at work again. Here, we see the ever-mysterious algorithms of the Googlicious Intertubes® linking up the obligatory legal backpedaling away from libelous comments made by shrieking midget racist Kathy Shaidle with an advertisement imploring us to “be sweet” and patronize Amazon.com for all our needs on yet another phony, commercial “holiday” wherein we trade toxic, fattening confections as a way of expressing “love” for all and sundry under the imprimatur of some obscure Catholic saint.
Posted by Red Tory at 6:09 AM
Update: If this article in the Globe & Mail is accurate, then all that can be said of the findings of the “blue-ribbon panel of eminent Canadians” is easily summed up in three words: COMPLETELY FUCKING USELESS.
Posted by Red Tory at 5:00 AM
Posted by Red Tory at 4:06 AM
Posted by Red Tory at 3:44 AM
The points Dawkins makes here are music to my ears. I’ve been saying this for years… Especially when it comes to maths; something at which I completely hopeless at, but yet find absolutely fascinating.
Posted by Red Tory at 3:34 AM
Posted by Red Tory at 3:29 AM
Monday, January 21, 2008
Well, and so on. There's quite a number of little three minute parts that follow expanding on this idea. Why they all couldn't be strung together into one video is quite beyond me.
Posted by Red Tory at 11:05 PM
The presenter is Michael Ignatieff.
Posted by Red Tory at 7:12 AM
"It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering." — J.G. Bennett
Posted by Red Tory at 6:58 AM
Somewhat ironically sponsored by BMW. Heh.
Posted by Red Tory at 12:47 AM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Posted by Red Tory at 11:12 AM