oneschemeofhappiness

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Live Forever!

With a few provisions. First and foremost is of course that the contract option of eternal afterlife remains in force, subject to the usual conditions. In addition, the choice does not preclude the ability at some future point to learn or discover how to read minds either directly or indirectly, or to profit from either choice. The assumption is that the two options are mutually exclusive only at the time the offer is made and accepted. Re-licensing issues would need to be agreed upon as well.

However, before taking that leap, and signing on, we must pause, ever so briefly, to contemplate the conditions and consequences of each choice in the light of history. Having watched just about every episode of the Twilight Zone (and that includes the hour long ones) growing up, I am instinctively, almost neurotically paranoid when it comes to accepting offers of supernatural powers. Sure, I would like to assume the best of others, but in these cases, the odds are stacked significantly against it. Look at literature throughout the ages as well. In almost every case, you know, just know, who is backing the deal and even if by some miracle the person thus granted such abilities does not lose his or her eternal soul, involved in that process of repentance is a heavy dose of contrition and pain. No thanks! Most of the time, though, the signee loses big. Remember that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy signed over his soul so that he couldn’t be killed. How long was it until he wound up in jail for murder? And guess what, he got a life sentence (this was back in the day when it really was more of a life sentence than what is meant by the term as used today). Not Good. Game Over. Dr. Faustus, though refusing to drag his love down with him, did not make it himself, but was only to be consoled that she, in her death had gained heaven.

Now, in the past few decades, there has been a trend toward adapting this deal with the devil in order to downplay the impending doom. It is a dead cert in these modern stories that the main character is going to have a change of heart and be given an out at the last gasp so that everything works out OK, and everyone gets to remain alive and in improved circumstances! In Bedazzled, for example, at the end God and the devil are sitting down  together and discussing how things worked out with the implication that they were both on the same side just helping this guy grow into a more successful and well-adjusted person. Theological implications aside, I am getting tired of the ‘nothing bad ever really happens, and everything can be made just like it was’ genre. That isn’t to say that we don’t grow through adversity, or that God can’t use the poor and/or evil choices of others for good–far from it. But these “negative” consequences don’t just go away.

So what is to be done? I mean, if we are going to choose the live forever option, we certainly do not wish to be subjected to an infinitude of sappy movies and books, right? Just look what happened to those poor crew members in “Mystery Science Theatre 3000.” No! We shall not have it! Go back and read the old stories, find the new movies or remakes that pull no punches. As one wit recalled, in Shakespeare it is easy to differentiate his comedies and tragedies–in the comedies, not as many people die. And what kind of blogger would I be, were I not to offer some starting points upon this grand adventure? N.B. the mind reading option, though usually not in the eternally-damned category of Bad Things that Happen, still turn out pretty bad.


Sucker Punch. Live Action. Not for the young, nor the faint of heart, those easily confused by the blurring of realities or the squeamish. Lots of action, great choreography, some great lines and loads of symbolism–most of which I am sure sped by me. There is a lot of humor for those acquainted with a large genre of movies and literature. It is not, not, not, a comedy. But it is well done. A more in-depth review is in the works, but I will need to watch it again. There is also a Kindle version for significantly less, and a blu-ray extended edition.



The Three Musketeers. Dumas trans. Pevear. Excellent book, but you must get Pevear’s translation. I have an in-depth review of the Three Musketeers elsewhere with reasons for preferring this translation. This is no sappy-movie remake with airships, this is the original. And while events fall on the for-the-better side of things by the end of the story, it is certainly not of the happily ever after variety.



The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare. No punches pulled in this play. Suffering, bad choices and the corruption of morals abound. It is all the more poignant and ironic, in that Faustus was truly more aware of the enormity of the consequences, but thought he could handle it on his own, make the deal, get the power and remain unaffected by it.  Excellent play and not very long, and Marlowe isn’t much given to judging the characters for his audience and injecting “here’s the moral of the story”–he has a much higher opinion of his audience. The edition I read it from was an excellent, older paperback borrowed from the university library. The book pictured is I believe the same, but looks like a decent edition in any event (check out the book images), has several other plays as well, and the necessary end notes to render the plays comprehensible. There is also a free edition of the play for Kindle owners and another print version, too.

Enjoy, and share in the comments any other movies or books that pull no punches, and why you think they are great.

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Return of the Native (Coder)

After much tramping around, virtually of course, I have come to the conclusion that in order to develop programs for the web, I will have to learn everything. Yes, I mean everything. Should’ve only taken a couple weeks, but here we are and sadly I am no where near to knowing it all. (I will be retaining the title of Know-it-all, in case you were curious).

In the mean time and to help keep me sane, I chose two tracks. The first is php, and the web frameworks that go with it. Drupal and Symfony2 have both caught my eye. My desire would be to continue to track my progress on this blog. I am not holding my breath, so neither should you, but I will try. I have also missed a few daily post challenges that would have been fun to write about. Anyway, if I can find a decent way to keep track of my workflow that I will actually use, this desire might become a reality. Any suggestions are welcome.

The second track, and where a lot of my time has been spent the last two weeks is in setting up another website. Every Thursday, or sooner, there will be a new review of something. That something as of now is most likely going to be books or programming. It is still in the hatching stages. It is also a place for me to test out affiliate marketing, so that I can offer coherent thoughts and opinions of how it works, what works, things to avoid and so on. Again, any thoughts on affiliate marketing, what you like or what could be done better is appreciated. Personally I don’t like the rotating, moving, flash ads with products only tangentially related to the article topic or my interests. We’ll see how it goes.

Later, I would like to follow in the venerable tradition of bloggers, and have some guest reviews and content. If there is anything you think would make a for a good review, or information piece, let me know in the comments here or on my new site. It is still a work in progress while I learn to get everything the way I want it, and not the way WordPress thinks I want it, so you will have to bear with me.

If you do decide at some point that you would like your own hosting plan, hostgator seems to be good. I used them once before, and host my new site with them now. It’s not that difficult to set up, and they are cheap. I will put my affiliate link on this site as well, if you are interested. It doesn’t cost you any more to use my link, and in fact it will cost you less. I added a 25% off coupon code. You have to enter the coupon discount to get it. The savings come out of any commission I might make. (25% was the most I was allowed to make it). After I have hosted with them for a while, I’ll put up a review of their service. I thought I might also do some webcasts on setting things up and using cpanel.

Cheers!

The last movie. . .

One of the last movies that I have seen, but not one of the latest, is the Dinner Game. Now, this is not the remake that was recently released in the US, but an earlier French version. I have watched it several times over the years, and it remains hilariously funny. Most of the comedies of this type here are much too adolescent and their actors leave behind that ‘look-I’m-being-funny-but-my-character-doesn’t-know-it’ residue that just never seems to clean up easily.

Not so, the French version. But first, a brief intro for those who may be unacquainted with the plot. This group of well-to-do friends, have a weekly dinner. They each invite a guest. The winner of the evening is the one who brought the most idiotic, stupid guest with the strangest interest. Of course, the ‘idiot’ does not know this, and thinks that they are truly impressed, may offer a book deal, &c. Well, this time it doesn’t quite work out as planned. The gentleman in question has certainly found the ‘perfect idiot.’ Too perfect. I shan’t give away any more, except to say that it involves not only the man and his idiot guest, but also the man’s wife, her former lover, the man’s current mistress and the idiot’s best friend, who happens to be a tax inspector for the French government.

Each of the characters is believable and well acted, but none more so than the idiot. His is superbly acted and seems as if he really is that inept. I am really picky about how characters are acted, and don’t like it when my suspension of disbelief gets interrupted. That doesn’t happen here at all.

Check it out, and if you do decide to watch it, keep the original French audio and use subtitles if needed. There is no way a dubbed version could hope to match the delicate, rapid and intertwined conversations.

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