Month: May 2006

I See a Bunch of Melons

Face-blindness. I’d never heard of it, except in connection with the old racial joke, “We all look alike to you, anyway.” Interesting stuff:

Severe prosopagnosics may mistake complete strangers for acquaintances even as they fail to recognize family members, close friends, spouses, and even themselves.

If I learn how to pronounce it, I wonder if I could use the defense of prosopagnosics if I’m caught kissing a woman besides my wife.… Read the rest

Godspy and DaVinci

If you haven’t seen it, check out Godspy’s coverage of TDVC. It hits TDVC from unique angles (which is difficult to do, given the swamp coverage it has received). I especially liked this piece by John Zmirak from earlier this month. Amy Welborn referred to Dan Brown as the “mystery man,” since no one knows much about him. But Zmirak had lunch with one of Brown’s old friends. Excerpt:

But Ted didn’t rise to the bait. He just shook his head. “Dan Brown’s not anti-Christian. He’s not anti-anything. I doubt he’s pro-anything, either, except pro-Dan Brown. That book has as much of an agenda as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hockey. Dan Brown doesn’t have enough conviction to make a decent agnostic. He grew up a faculty brat in New England, and I don’t think he set foot off campus until he was in his 20s.”

I perked up, and ordered another beer. “You know Dan Brown?”

“I knew him for years. He started out as a joke-book author.” Ted said, dunking a clam-strip in tartar sauce. “Some of the jokes were funny. But he wanted to be a novelist. He kept pestering me about it, so finally I gave him this paperback, Writing the Blockbuster Novel, by Albert Zuckerman. It’s a paint-by-numbers guide on how to write a page-turner. One important part of the formula was: Find a villain your readers can safely hate. A few months later, Dan brought me this manuscript to read—and it followed the formula precisely … as if he’d poured Jello into a mold. In this case, the ‘safe villain’ was the National Security Agency, government

Read the rest

The Lair

While spanning the blogging world, looking for new Catholic blogs, I ran across this one: The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. After five minutes, I decided to bookmark it. How could I resist, after seeing their sub-title: “The Car Crash of Blogs. You Don’t Want To, But You Just Can’t Help But Look”?

You might want to check it out.

Anti-disclosure: I don’t know the cavemen, don’t want to know the cavemen (smile), and wasn’t even asked to plug their blog. This is pure endorsement because their site made me laugh. Read the rest

Day 3

It’s Day 3 of the Chesterton and Friends 16-Day G.K. Chesterton celebration. The reception around the web has been remarkable. Over 400 people came yesterday, and 300 on Memorial Day.

Today’s topic: The Chesterton-Shaw Debates. I kept it brief. It also has a few of my favorite Shaw anecdotes at the end.… Read the rest

Prince of a Guy

AMERICAN IDOL judge SIMON COWELL has turned his famous barbed comments on PRINCE after being appalled by the pop superstar’s surprise performance at the show’s finale last week. The PURPLE RAIN hitmaker took to the stage at the Kodak Theatre for a quick run through two new songs before dashing off, refusing to meet the Idol contestants or greet the audience.

Link.

I’m always amused by Hollywood protocol, primarily because it amuses me that anyone thinks there’s any protocol. I like Simon just fine, but he’s surprised that Prince was haughty? That’s like Super Bowl officials being surprised by the wardrobe malfunction. You get what you invite, and Prince has been known for years to be one of the most arrogant performers in the entertainment world, and that’s some stiff competition.

A friend of mine worked for Prince as a roadie. He did it after graduating from college and before starting medical school. He enjoyed it. He saw a lot of new cities and hung out with celebrities, but he said Prince never joined them or condescended to speak to him or any of the other stage hands. He said the guy is every bit as arrogant as rumored. … Read the rest

Conning Smart People

Clever, though not terribly-novel, article at Paul’s Tips this morning:

Most smart people have a hidden weakness and it’s this – they’re absolute suckers for anything that sounds clever.

As soon as you start hitting people with technical terms, fancy graphs, famous names and the like, you’ll immediately increase your credibility. If they’re smart, they’re even more likely to find themselves nodding in agreement. Many intelligent people would rather cut off a finger than admit they don’t know what you’re talking about.

He then gives a few examples. It’s worth reading.

I’m primarily interested in it because all the techno-complication–whether it’s new agers or computer salesmen–contrasts sharply with simple philosophy. Everyone assumes philosophy isn’t understandable and isn’t worth understanding, but they assume the techno-garbage should be and can be understood. Just the opposite is the truth. The techno-garbage can’t be understood (for reasons set forth in the article; to wit, it’s nonsense), and philosophy can be understood.

If you doubt me, try reading philosophy. Good philosophy, the type that teaches you how to live. Email me if you want suggested readings, but a few quick names: Josef Pieper and Henry Veatch. You’ll have to read them slowly and carefully because they’re methodical, but it’s almost common sense after you digest it. … Read the rest

Only in the Netherlands . . .

. . . and in California (don’t forget about NAMBLA, which started there, if memory serves correctly):

Dutch pedophiles were launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations from 16 to 12 and the legalisation of child pornography and sex with animals.

Daily Telegraph Link.

The Dutch legalize everything else. Surely they knew they were on the slippery grope slope of permissiveness. … Read the rest