Dreams are really very puzzling things. Sometimes they seem to make all the sense in the world, and sometimes there is nothing about Great Aunt Marge chassing you on rollerskates that suggests intelligent design. Of course, there are people like Sigmund Froyd who believe that dreams spring from the unconscious. In allot of ways, that seems fairly reasonable. If Great Aunt Marge secretly terrified you as a child, a nightmare with her at your heels might spring from some reality. You might not even reaslize she ever scared you - and think it hillarious when you wake up - but lurking in your unconscious the image of her never quite rests in peace. I think we've all experienced that. But there's another kind of dream that can be quite fascinating; the kind of dream that just cannot have sprung from any experience conscious or unconscious. You wake and feel like you've walked in another world, spoken another language, or been part of something that seemed almost more real that reality. Tolkien apparently experienced a particularly vivid form of this, as did his son, Christopher. In the Notion Club Papers (a fascinating read if you ever get the chance) Tolkien dwells upon this in depth. Ransom, a philologist and proffessor at Oxford, experiments with his dreams, attempting to access a different timeperiod through them. The story was unfortunately never finished, and it almost seems like Tolkien could never make up his mind about the outcome of such an attempt. Practically, dreams definately cannot be used as a timemachine, transporting us physically back or forward, but the idea that we can access a different time or place in our dreams I find very interesting. Who knows? That faerie land may still be open to those who dream.


Merry Christmas gentle readers

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now.


The Good Neighbors

Anyone feel like traveling back into the 60's? Definitely not me...but it can have it's charms, if you're just watching it. I ran across an old tv show originally entitled "The Good Life", but rechristened "The Good Neighbors" when the Americans made off with it. Yes...the cloathing his tasteless, the hair frankly terrifying, but the humor is good. If you're looking for a lowkey show that will make you laugh 'til you cry... try the Good Neighbors. Man - that sounds like an advertisement. whoops.


Arriba, arriba...

It is hard to believe that the Spanish Civil War was a mere seventy years ago. That kind of passion, courage, and faith don't seem like virtues you could find much of anywhere in Europe; and to think that there are still people alive who remember a much different time--a time where these virtues were very much in evidence--is quite frankly remarkable. Spain today is a sorry mess of dying culture and futureless appeasement. It birth rate is a heartbreaking 1.1 (no country has ever pulled out of a death spiral like that) and the churches are nearly as empty as the cradles. The country that in former times spent an agonizing 770 years driving out Islamic invaders now kowtows to Islamic terrorists and meekly does their bidding. You would think that a bomb going off in your capital, killing innocent hundreds would provoke some kind of ire. But no...the reaction is instead to frantically try to smooth the ruffled feathers of killers who get upset when you curtail their activity. And this from the grandchildren of men and women who shed so much blood, sweat, and tears in what now seems a futile attempt to secure the future of their beloved country. But then when there are fewer and fewer children to think of, I guess it's not so surprising that they have ceased to think of the future and are trying desperately to just survive the present.


jelly beans

Apparently, people amount to just that, jelly beans. Check out this doozy of an article that appeared in USA Today on the 7th: “LATEST SHUTTLE CREW IS ONE OF DIVERSITY- NASA Corps still has ‘a ways to go’ The seven astronauts on space shuttle Discovery will be undistinguishable today as they wait for liftoff clad in bubble helmets and orange launch suits, but their gear will mask a milestone: For the first time, two African-Americans will rocket into space together. They’ll be joined on their 12-day flight by a half-Indian astronaut, making this the most diverse shuttle crew in recent years. The six crewmembers on September’s flight were white. The composition of Discovery’s crew illustrates how far NASA has come in building an astronaut corps that reflects America…. ‘We’ve made some great strides, and this mission is an example of that,’ says former astronaut Winston Scott, an African-American who is vice president of the Engineering Sciences Contract Group in Houston. ‘But clearly there is a ways to go.’” Hm. Is it just me, or should we be worrying more about people's qualifications rather than their skin color? I was raised to think that skin color was just as important as eye or hair color. (Unless you were really white to begin with...in which case you want to make sure your skin never turns red) Seriously; if we wanted a really diverse crew, we would send a contingent of righties as well as lefties, democrats and republicans, artists and engineers...and the mission quite possibly would end in a disaster. Who cares whether the astronauts are black or white or latino? Let's just make sure they know what they're doing, please. It would seem America does have a ways to go if we're still tolerating this kind of stupidity.


Lock your doors

Uh-oh. that just isn't a good idea...funny that he wants better treatment for his illness. What's wrong, Jack? Don't you want to die? Yeah. he makes me blood boil, creepy, evil old man. but anyway i have to go...watch a movie with my brother. I'll be back after the season. Merry Christmas.

Stardust Movie

More info on Neil Gaiman's first big-budget movie. Stardust has gone into preview screenings for test audiences and has been getting sweet reviews. Comparisons to Princess Bride abound, but it looks like it's kept that Jonathan Strangesque darkness that made the book so cool. Its about time we got to see a straight up, non-cheesy fairy story, set in Faery, and with some acting muscle behind it (Clarie Danes, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O'Toole, etc) Read the Aint it Cool News Review here.


football feevah

I just realized that I am a total footbal fanatic. How did I come to this conclusion? Listen to this. Today I decided that the world's three major religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, can be seen in the light of...you got it, football. It's like this. Because Muslims are the farthest away from the truth and therefore, of the three, the least well informed on God, they are like a high school football team. They play (pray, hehe) on Fridays. Jews, however, are better off than the Muslims, and are like a college football team. College football teams are better than high school team; and they play on Saturdays (Jews go to synagogue on Saturdays...)! Lastly, you have the Christians; they are like professional footballs teams and play on Sundays. And are better than college or high school teams. At first I was highly amused. Then I thought...did I actually just come up with that?


Faeries Part II

All the flurry that surrounded my last post on the topic has set me musing on what we do and don't know about these legendary creatures. And I guess the final and only conclusion you can come to at this point is that we plain don't know. Which is why I've begun to dislike the angels&demons theory so strongly. It feels to me as though there's a fundamental human tendency to deny that there is anything in this world or universe that can't be explained. It's as though because God did not impart any revelation on faeries, they either cannot exist, or must exist within the context of what He has revealed. Nothing could be farther from the truth (in my opinion). In point of fact, if humans were the only intelligent life form (besides angels) that God created; if earth was the only habitable planet in the universe; if scientists do indeed end up mapping and charting the entire universe; I would be extremely disappointed. If there's no mystery or wonder left it does make everything a bit bleaker...kind of a "this is it?" feeling. So I'm going to discuss all that I know about faeries; material gleaned solely from myths, folktales, and legends. And while we're at it, I have to emphasize once again how important the element of human contact is in these stories. I have found in every myth cycle I've ever read, the gods that cultures came up with rarely had direct contact with humans. The one glaring exception to this is, of course, the Grecian mythology. There we have gods talking with, marrying, destroying, helping, and interfering with humans 24/7. However, the Greeks did not in fact have any traditions of faeries. The closest thing in the Greek tradition would be a nymph, nyad or dryad. Now take Norse, Irish, Native American, or Japanese mythology. Whenever the gods are the subject of a story, it is mainly to explain a natural phenomenon (lighting, seasons, weather, natural disasters, etc.) or develop a story cycle around them. Thus the Norse gods' activity is (as far as I've ever read) confined to themselves and Valhalla (aka home sweet home). The same holds true for the other cultures listed. What makes faeries different? Because in all stories concerning them, they are (for good or evil) interfering in human affairs. Now that we've come to this, it's time to talk about some pretty intriguing conclusions that we can try to draw from the spotty knowledge we have of them. A question I hear often is: do faeries have souls? Obviously no one has any idea, but the question is very interesting regarding what information we do have on them. Take for instance the fact that they are seldom if ever bound by the laws of nature or physics. They don't necessarily fall if thrown into the air (also known as HE CAN FLY!!!), they can fit into small spaces, grow and shrink at will, and do not age. This is all in direct contrast to humans, who live according to a very strict set of rules that involve gravity, aging, and physical matter. The same applies to the effects of time on these guys. To us, time is pretty much a constant; it moves at the same pace, is predictable, and can be charted. Not so with faeries. Read any story of a human spirited away to some faerie kingdom, and you find that one night dancing with the fair folk can translate into several hundred human years when the guest comes back to the human world. Even that isn't consistent; sometimes seven days over there is seven years here, and sometimes a single night there is three hundred years over here. For those of you who have read Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, her footnotes and statements on faeries are very much in the British and Irish tradition ( that being the tradition with the most information on the subject). Most telling ( I think ) in her book is the statement that humans are most rational and unmagical; while faeries are most irrational and magical. This would seem to be confirmed by any conversation recounted betweeen a faerie and a human. From a human point of view, most faeries' answers and/or question are random, schizophrenic, and suggestive of ADD. As far as anyone can tell, faeries just are not linear thinkers...which fits with everything else told about them: their, well, inhuman, view of death (which includes amusement, delight, and plain curiosity at times), the fact that the laws of nature by which we abide has little to no affect on them, the fact that their affections are so capricious and inexplicable, and their (what we call) magical prowess. Perhaps the best concept of "fairy land" is the Irish Tir nan-Og, which holds that the land in which the faeries live is sort of a parallel universe; such that we exist nearly on top of each other, with only brief and infrequent glimpses into this other world. It makes sense to me, at any rate. That somehow outside (in an indefinable way) this material world exists another one which we can't and couldn't explain or understand because in every fundamental way it is so radically different.

Dead White Guys

More evidence today of how much smarter people were in the past than they are today. I already had a general idea of this when I was a kid, and it only got reenforced further when I came to TAC (either Euclid was some sort of weird savant or he wasn't entirely human). But when something like the Antikythera Device came up, it only weirds me out even more. The Device was discovered in 1901 onboard a shipwreck near Greece. It's aparently from the 1st century BC. It's only within the last month that scientists have figured out what it does; track the planets, the sun, and even follow the irregular orbit of the moon, along with predicting eclipses. What the aztecs figured out with math, the Greeks built. There's other evidence besides this that the ancient world, especially in the late Roman empire, was on the verge of an industrial revolution, and with technology like this, I believe it. Examples of this kind of clockwork were never seen again until almost 1500 years later, when they had to be reinvented from scratch. I just can't wait till someone builds a replica.



I find it fairly monstrous that a forum (here if you're interested , but you can't log in if you're not a Seton student) that has no problem discussing the possibility of Satan founding Washington D.C.; that has no qualms about listing anyone except muslim terrorists (including big oil, neo conservatives, Jews, and a secret government organization that no one knows anything of...) as the real force behind 9/11; that this forum will then get such a laugh out of some poor soul trying to start a reasonable and intelligent debate about the existence of fairies. What is it about fairies that makes so called rational souls recoil in horror? We're Catholic, after all. I had thought that the Protestant ban on imagination was limited to just that, Protestants. Since when does the absence of proof (there has been no scientific documentation of fairies as a species) become proof (therefore fairies do not exist.)? I guess I just don't get the complete refusal to even talk about fairies existing hypothetically. As for me, I couldn't say for certain if I believe that fairies do exist currently or not. All I know is that at one point there had to be something, some reason for the stories to exist. How do you explain Native Americans, South Africans, English, Irish, Italians, Scandinavians, all coming up with the same idea: clever, crafty, dangerous, and spooky humanoid (uh-oh, here comes the Star Trek vocab) creatures? All I'm saying is let's please find a better explanation than "they were all strung out." Aha. It doesn't really matter to me that people don't tend to sight the "fair folk" these days. If we're speaking of their hypothetical existence, then it would be a stupid move on their part to come out of hiding, or hibernation, or wherever they are. Can you spell "labs"? Why don't we all come out of the "information" age induced stupor society seems to wrap around itself, and acknowledge that we will never know everything about the world we live in? "There are more things in heaven and earth...than are dreamt of in your philosophy."