About once every year or so I have an idea for an essay that really makes sense. This helps explain why I did horribly in college where I was expected to write two good essays every week. Anyway, it gets worse in that most of these essays never even get written. Here's a selection of the ideas that I can remember. Most of them are negative in one way or another.
If you'd like to encourage me to write any of these essays, especially if the encouragement looks like cash money, please send me email.
In paperback, Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Ecco is 533 pages long, and Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut is only 192 pages long. They both have the same moral, though. As Vonnegut puts it in his introduction, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
The movie Bladerunner is constantly plagued by arguments over the humanity of Rick Deckard. Some people, including the director, say that he is a replicant. The movie is already sufficiently different from the book that merely pointing out that this would destroy everything Philip K. Dick was trying to say is not enough to convince people not to think this way.
I've come up with an alternate theory. Not only is Rick Deckard a human being, he's a completely detestable human being. He is, in short, an asshole. He's a complete anti-hero and the actual villain of the story.
The movie Fight Club starred Ed Norton and Bradd Pitt, and was based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. While the story certainly takes place in a world of violence and degradation, it's not really about these things. It's really a love story. In the words of our narrator, " and suddenly I realize that all of thisthe gun, the bombs, the revolution has got something to do with a girl named Marla Singer."
Clifford D. Simak was the third recipient of the SFWA's Grand master award, honored prior to such luminaries as Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. He wrote dozens of novels and piles of short stories, but today he is fairly obscure, even among SF fans. Who is he, what was his influence, and does fame await him in the future?
Many people don't see the importance of Tom Bombadil to The Lord of the Rings and were happy to see him left out of The Fellowship of the Ring movie. However, he's quite important to the overall story, and I can tell you why.
Conventional wisdom is that the first Matrix movie was very promising, but the second and third sucked. My viewpoint is that none of the three is excellent, but they're all pretty good, and the series overall is better than most people think.
Between the ages of 13 and 16, I spent three weeks every summer at a sleep-away enrichment program called CTY. This program promised the content of a semester long college course in three weeks. It promised this to teenagers. It was great.
I tend to break wristwatches before the battery runs out, so one side-effect of having switched to pocket watches is that occassionally I have to have a battery replaced. Sometimes, this turns out to be a bigger pain than it should be. You wouldn't think that taking the watch back to the national chain where you bought it would be so much trouble, but it was.
In November of 2004, I became interested in buying an ounce of gold. I don't understand much about the complex issues surrounding stocks, but I figured if you could reduce a market to a single element, I might be able to get a handle on it. So what are the whys and wherefores of buying gold?