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Cinema Appreciation and Six Degrees

     To the movies last night to seee the new X-Men. I thought I went in with my expectations at a reasonable level.  I thought it more than deserved the 86 percent it recieved on Rotten Tomatoes.  The actors playing Xavier and Magneto both played their parts very well.  Of course both of them can now count themselves as links in the "Six Degrees of Separations from Kevin Bacon" game. Speaking of Kevin Bacon,he does evil quite well and practically stole every scene he was in.  That's not a criticism, scene stealing is what any actor playing a larger than life villain should do. 

    Kevin Bacon was a guest on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" this morning. He was of course asked the six degrees game.  I was somewhat suprised to learn that he was initially upset by the game. He thought it was meant to call his abilities as an actor into question.  I was glad to hear that he eventually came to embrace it though.


On the Seeming Elasticity of Certain Words

     A  few months I finally gave in and joined Facebook ,and very quickly what enormous time black hole it really was.  That I didn't  really get much practical use.  Real world friends use it let myself and others no when certain events will be held ,but aside from that I use it for little else.

    Today I recieved an e-mail from my alma mater informing me that I had friends there.  I scrolled through page after page of people and only saw one or two people I recognized and I would hardly have called them friends.  I will obviously not be the first to sound off about this ,but I would still like to say something about Facebook's expansive definition of friendship. I realize that genuine friends stay in touch with each other using Facebook ,but how many people can honestly say they are friends with every person that has sent them a friend request.  Real friendships take a long time to cultivate.

   I realize that language does change ,but we have a very bad habit of taking a word with a very specific definition and stretching it far beyond it's original meaning. Take a word like fascist for instance it used to mean to conjure up images of oppressive dictatorial regimes. Now any right leaning invidual or heavy handed authoritarian is referred to either as a fascist or a Nazi.


Plan Nine From Outer Space

What is your favorite cult film, and why?

     Plan Nine has to be among my favorite cult films for one reason.  It seems as though the film makers went out of their way to make the worst possible decision at every turn.  Ed Wood was apparently determined to see this film through to the very end ,and nothing was going to stop him not even the death of one the people he had wanted to be in it.  I believe Bela Lugosi died before the start of filming so Wood simply used pre-existing footage of Lugosi and filled in the rest with shots of someone holding a Dracula cape over his mouth and nose.  Film making at it's finest

Another Doomsday Come and Gone

     Well and unless the news media was really slacking off on Saturday it would seem as though life will continue on as before.  I wonder if Mr. Camping has another of these predictions in him ,and if so will his followers have the patience to stick with him when that one fails to come. William Miller  duped his followers not once but twice ,so it would be very sad indeed if Harold Campng were able to do it three times. 

    But seriously though it is far to easy to mock and ridicule the kind of people who believe in this sort of thing.  I want to know what it is that drives people to wish for this sort of thing? I want to know what makes people desire so complete an escape from the world.  If our world really is as bad as they say then why won't they work with us to make it better. There may be a reality beyond the one we can experience with our five senses, but this present reality is all we can sure of for now so let us try to make the best of it while we can. 


     I hope my fellow Dr. Who fans on Livejournal enjoy this evenings episode.  Based on the previews I saw last week it looks as though we're in for a good one.  So far I don't have any complaints with Matt Smith as the Doctor and think he's doing a fine job.

    I also want to say a word or two about the importance of really letting your inner geek out to play once an while.  I went to the movies  last week and was fortunate enough to see the full length trailer for the upcoming Green Lantern  movie. I am going to commit an act of supreme optimism and say that it looks like it's going to be a great movie.  I really "geeked out" and recited the Green Lantern oath along with the onscreen Ryan Reynolds. It was quite fun.  For those unfamiliar it goes

"In brightest day, in darkest night
 No evil shall escape my sight
 Let those who worship evil's might 
 Beware my power, Green Lantern's Light"

Stirring words


      In honor of the day being Friday the 13th I thought I might give a mention to the The_Thirteen_Club.  A dining club that met in 1880's , and was apparently dedicated to debunking the idea that thirteen at a table not only unlucky but one of the diners was likely to die withen a year.  Apparently the club could also count several presidents among it's honorary members.

Google books has rather kindly made there Annual Report available. It is of course there 13th.   In it I ran across this choice quote

 "On the occasion of the celebration of the One Hundredth Dinner of the Thirteen Club, held at the Columbia, in this city, on the evening of January 13th, 1892, it was proposed to commemorate the event by the formation of one or more groups of Thirteen from among those present at the dinner. The members of the groups so formed purchased thirteen bottles of wine, which were sealed with due ceremony and have been stored away to be opened and drank on the occurrence of the Two Hundredth Dinner of the Thirteen Club. This event will probably take place thirteen years from January 13th, 1892. The members pledged themselves, if alive, to be present on that occasion to open the bottles and drink the wine. "

If this meeting ever took place hopefully a good time was had by all.

     Speaking of a good stiff drink at the moment I am reading Queen Victoria: An Intimate Biography  by Stanley Weintraub.  In it among other interesting things I see that Queen Victoria enjoyed a splash of whiskey in her tea.  I may be the only one who does but for some reason I find the image of a slightly tipsy Victoria somewhat amusing

Elisabeth Sladen

I realize that I am a few weeks late in commenting on this ,but being a Doctor Who fan I felt like I needed to say something about the death of Elisabeth Sladen.  Of all the companions I think Sarah Jane Smith is and continues to be my favorite.  It was quite fun to watch her and Tom Baker play off of one another ,and it seemed as though she was having enormous fun to boot.  I now thank her for all the hours of enjoyment she has and will continue to provide.


Of Magpie Minds.

     I see that there is another user who's using the name magpie mind.  I hope they don't mind it's just that that was the most apt phrase for what this journal would be about it.  I have a very magpie mind, or to put it differently I have a collector's mind.  I collect bits of information that I find interesting. I get them anywhere really. They can come from whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment all the way to something I happen to have heard on NPR ,and like a magpie I carry nearly everything back to my nest.  So I figured the best thing you can do if you have a mind this is to find a place you can write about it.

    For those more well versed in animal behavior than I am I realize that this might not actually be part of the magpies actual behavior but myths can sometimes be as attractive as reality.  There is certain tendency on the part of we silly humans to impart characteristics and motives onto our animal friends.  People describe their dogs as brave and loyal, cats as being aristocratic and owls as wise.  I think this might also account  for why some people claim certain animals as totem animals because they think they embody certain characteristics they wish to cultivate in themselves. Oh I am also a librarian by trade and temperament, so if you want to read a book that examines some of our beliefs about our animal brethren you can do better than several in Bergen Evan's book  A Natural History of Nonsense.

Well I think to magpie you'd better add digressive as well I had no idea I was going to end up there until I got there. But sometimes it's by pursuing those unexpected little rabbit trails that we come to the most interesting places. Bye for now