Friday, January 06, 2006


Having barely survived the first day of the semester, I'm still recovering. I've had lots to blog on, but not much time to blog it out, so today I'll throw out a bunch of random one-liners that I've been wanting to write on:

  • Civ 4 is terribly unstable (even with the latest patch), and terribly addictive. A friend called me the other day and began the conversation with "What time did you get to bed?" It was 3AM for me, 4AM for him.
  • In reluctant defense of Pat Robertson, in all the quotes (both audio and text) of what he said, I can't make out that there is any truth to the story that he called Sharon's stroke punishment for giving away the settlements. It seems to me that media folks are being unsurprisingly uncharitable in their interpretation of his remarks. Now, mind you, it sounds like the kind of thing he would say, but that doesn't excuse inventing an unfair meme.
  • Asking me after the first day of class, "Do you know where I can find an abridged version of The Odyssey? My friend read it, and said it was kinda a drag" is not the way to impress your professor.
  • Cutting class the first day is not a way to impress me either, especially if I already know you, and know full-well that you can easily find the classroom.
  • By the way, on the science front, I recommend revoking the PhD's of any holder of a doctorate who utters with contempt, "That's not science; it's philosophy." Er, what did you think the "Ph" part of your degree stood for ... how acidic you are? Perhaps you thought it was "pHD"? If you work in the field of science but denigrate philosophy, you aren't a real scientist at all ... you are a glorified lab tech.
  • The studio was right -- King Kong was about 15 minutes too long. Some of those characters should have been conflated. Otherwise, it solidifies Peter Jackson as the great filmmaker of his generation.
  • What's the proper balance between popular and specialized scholarly work? I'm still trying to work that out for myself.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica episodes come out soon. Good ... I need my James Edward Olmos fix.
  • I've never liked the medieval morality plays, but I was re-reading Mankind yesterday and was totally charmed by it. It is interesting how age can change your tastes.

[Edited for content at the request of a colleague (Jan 6, 3:15PM)]


  1. Anonymous10:10 AM

    You are causing me no small amount of distress. I was seriously considering puchasing Civ4 today, but now I am conflicted. Do I want to deal with the instability? Is there a cure in sight? Do I want to become that addicted again? Is there something hanging from my nose?

    It's times like these that pushes one towards religion.

  2. I want an abridged version of the Domesday book, do you think that would still be a useful research tool? ;)

    As for Peter Jackson, I loved Kong and LoTR, but let us not forget Meet the Feebles and Bad Taste.

  3. Paladin,

    I would suggest keeping an eye on the Civ 4 website. When the next patch comes out, buy the game. No sense in putting yourself in the position of becoming addicted to a game that crashes before you have a chance to win.

    In fact, up until now I've only been able to finish a single game without the Wonder movies crashing me. If they would just include a "turn off Wonder movies" button, I could play with few stability problems. I've seen some players give instructions on how to manually turn off the movies by re-writing some of the coding, but that is far beyond my ability.

  4. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Have to agree with you on Kong. There was probably one T-Rex fight too many, and the scene with the attacking giant insects felt more like Jackson indulging in his horror fantasies than a necessary sequence....DESPITE that, Kong was still incredible. Acephalous had an interesting post discusses how Jackson plays with the racial issues inherent in the original (for my part, I thought we was very conscious of those issues and knew what he was doing). I liked the "Heart of Darkness" parallels alot, too.

    The final New York sequence was, I thought, really great. There was a sense of doom to the whole thing that I don't remember the original having (but it's a while since I've seen it, so I don't know). And the ice skating scene was very touching.

    I hope that the box office picks up through word of mouth or something. Although most people know that money does not a good film make, if there's a sense that Kong is somewhere a "failure" (despite making $180 million domestically so far, and over $200 million oversees) it would be an unfortunate reputation. For my money, I think that the mainstream media is overly obssesed with box office numbers, and the whole "Narnia vs. Kong" thing is a bunch of hooey. They're both good movies, and it's not a contest to see who can "win."

    Anyway, this post is far too long. Kong is good, very good. And Meet the Feebles is hilarious.

  5. Civ 4 is out?


    I need to resist buying the thing. If you see no comments from me until 2007, know that I have failed...

  6. Outstanding comment on scientists and philosophy. Also, let's not forget Jackson's masterpiece -- "The Frighteners." One of Sinbad's greatest films.

  7. Dear Professor,
    Science relies on data, replication and confirmation to prove an hypothesis.
    Philosophy is mental excrement. Kindly do not equate the "soft" arts with the truth of science.
    If all the works of the Bard of Avon, Homer, and the various other sophists were lost, we dont stand to suffer great harm.
    But woe, befalls us if we forget what Sir Issac told, or what Dr Einstein proved.

    btw. Philosphy is meant for students who cannot do math, so get over it, your kind are just addons to civilization. Unsubstantial, subjective and full of uncorroborated drivel
    P.K. Rao