I was recently watching episodes of Torchwood (second season), a spinoff TV series from the rebirthed Doctor Who series. There was an interesting thought in one episode .. but first, to explain a little .. The Doctor Who genre is science fiction and time travel and saving the world from threats which threaten total destruction. The Torchwood franchise takes one character who had accompanied The Doctor, and plunks him in Cardiff Wales as the backdrop from which to save the world. It's a little farfetched but at the same time, like any creative work, they're able to explore bigger themes.
It's Christmas season. In todays newspaper is an article detailing efforts by so-called "conservatives" to have the official celebrations actually say what's being celebrated. In the past (oh, 50 yrs ago) in the U.S. the Christmas celebrations were clearly said to be about Christmas. The city/county/state would decorate a Christmas tree, the schools would be out for Christmas vacation, there would be Nativity dioramas on the courthouse lawn, etc.
"Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation" -- hmm, at least that's what today's fortune cookie says. This connected with me and I want to write a little of how I take this statement.
The key is to consider what "discontent" really means. And not only what you mean, but what does one do when they're discontented?
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4
There have been child prodigies throughout the ages. There's the example of Mozart, composing music at age 6 or whenever that was. In high school one of my buddies fit that model, though not to the extreme that Mozart did. My friend was a science whiz, winning four years in a row the state-wide high school science competitions. He of course went on to Princeton and to earn a PhD in Astrophysics.
In the 60's (?) some people at the Univ of Chicago made a very interesting movie that demonstrated the size of the universe and the power of orders of magnitude.
Called Powers of 10 it started from a man sleeping on a lawn next to Lake Michigan explored the universe, both the macro-universe and micro-universe, at a rate of one order of magnitude per minute (or so).
This web site - http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/ - takes the same idea, but implements it in a Java applet you can view on your web page.
The eternal quest ... not wanting to be lonely, we reach out for others. Where is our perfect mate? Who might he or she be? Do they live down the street, or thousands of miles away? Is there only one perfect mate, or are there dozens?
The Internet doesn't change any of these questions, it only provides new avenues to answering them. Perhaps you've heard of Internet-spawned romances and the myriad of results from rock solid relationships that will last a lifetime, to stalkers and worse. I, myself, had the great fortune to meet and fall in love with a partner whom I met via the Internet. While wonderful for the time it lasted, it unfortunately did not last long.
Mexico's ancient drink under threat (by Claire Marshall, Sunday, 26 December, 2004 BBC.CO.UK)
This article duscusses Pulque, a drink said to come from pre-Hispanic times. A so-called "nectar of the gods".
But the so-called "nectar of the gods" is in danger of dying out. Beer, rum and brandy are more popular with young people.
Clemente Gonzales is a pulque seller in Ixmiquilpan.
"The custom is being lost. The youth of today are leaving pulque. It's sad, because beforehand it was the base of everything around here," he says.
Body Art (DVD): This documentary covers practices of decorating the human body through the ages. While it focuses most on modern practices of piercing and tatooing, everything is correlated with ancient traditional practices. Often the symbols used in tatooing are ancient. In the documentary the traditional practices are presented soley for art and appearance, whereas these ancient practices almost always having spiritual significance.
While this movie follows the simple "boy meets girl" plot, it also explores these questions.
It follows the romance of Seth, an Angel played by Nicholas Cage, and Maggie, played by Meg Ryan. Maggie is a heart surgeon who has lost a patient whom she really "fought" to "save" from dying. Seth is the Angel who came to greet her patient, and escort his spirit "home" into the light.
When Maggie seems to talk directly to Seth, this piques Seth's interest, and his interest leads to the romance.
Some critics complained that City of Angels could never compare to Wim Wenders's exquisite German film Wings of Desire, which served as the later film's primary inspiration. The better argument to make is that any such comparisons are beside the point, because Wings of Desire was a much more deeply poetic, artfully contemplative film, whereas City of Angels is an enchanting product of mainstream Hollywood. Meg Ryan stars as Dr. Maggie Rice, a heart surgeon who is grieving over a lost patient when an angel named Seth (Nicolas Cage) appears to comfort her. She can see him despite the "rule" that angels are invisible, and Seth's love for Maggie forces him to choose between angelic immortality and a normal human existence on earth with her. Featuring heavenly roles for TV veterans Andre Braugher and Dennis Franz, the film liberally borrows imagery from Wings of Desire, but it also creates its own charming identity. Cage and Ryan give fine performances as lovers convinced they are soul mates, and although the plot relies on a last-minute twist that doesn't quite work, this earnest love story struck a chord with audiences and proved to be one of the surprise hits of 1998. The Special Edition widescreen DVD includes audio commentary by Nicolas Cage, producer Charles Roven, and director Brad Silberling in addition to deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary, a featurette about the film's special effects, and the theatrical trailer. --Jeff Shannon
Even though it's clearly a "chick flick", this guy really loves this movie.