Monday, May 24, 2010

"The End" of "Lost"

So now we know the complete story and plan that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had for one of the greatest shows on television. An ending that has everyone talking. I was pleased to see that the series concluded with a final struggle of good triumphing over evil. (And, yes, the MIB was evil. How could any good person threaten Bernard and Rose?) Jack sacrificed himself for the sake of the island, and for all the people who still remained there.

There were so many great moments in the final hours. Jack turning over the island caretaker role to Hurley. Sawyer and Juliet remembering each other by some vending machines. Claire deciding she didn't want to be crazy anymore and choosing to go with Kate and Sawyer on the plane. Kate and Charlie helping Claire to deliver Aaron... again. Locke forgiving Ben for murdering him. Vincent coming to Jack in the bamboo reeds, just as he did in the first moments of the "Pilot" episode.

I like Denny Burks' statements about the show here.

As I’ve said before, the Lost story was not your run-of-the-mill postmodern critique of metanarratives. Good and evil were in a pitched battle, and the good won in the end. Viewers saw in this story what they already perceive to be true about their own story. The world that they live in is broken, something has gone wrong, there is evil afoot, and something needs to be done about it. Everyone living in this broken-down world is broken-down themselves and in desperate need of redemption.

I think it’s easy to see why viewers have been attracted to Lost’s mythology. They feel a yearning that what was true in Lost’s story might be true in their own. They hope to find that what they did here did have meaning and a purpose and that good will win-out in the end. The Christian gospel teaches that this universal human yearning does have an answer. It teaches that good does in fact win-out in the end, that there is a purpose to it all, and that redemption is possible—even for the vilest characters in this drama (1 Timothy 1:15). There was really a man who was pierced for our transgressions to make a new world and new life possible (John 19:34; cf. Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10). Only this man didn’t live in a mythological TV-world. He lived here, was one of us, and has gone on to prepare a place for those who know Him by faith (John 1:14; 14:2-3).

“Lost” highlighted the itch that only the gospel can scratch. This was the unwitting genius of the show, and it is why people will be talking about it for years to come.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Josh Marshall: Rand Paul is "deeply unlikeable" on a "personal level"

So I was reading Althouse, which is one of my go-to places for some lite thought-provoking bloggishness, and I came to this post about Josh Marshall's thoughts on Dr. Rand Paul. Paul is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky, and scored a big victory in yesterday's primary. Josh believes Dr. Paul is a "deeply unlikeable guy," and not just because he's a Republican - no, he's unlikeable "on a personal level."

The interesting thing about this post is that Josh appears to use a lot of therapy-speak. I realize he's not a professional journalist, in the sense that he doesn't have to be objective (or he doesn't have to try to be objective, I should say) when he's writing about persons, places, or things. But Josh seems to have written this as if he was talking to somebody, and he wasn't sure about how he viewed things, and he wanted to check them out. It is my impression that he qualifies his statements to make sure they're accurate.

Do you see what I mean?

  • "So is Rand Paul, on a personal level, just a deeply unlikeable guy?" Josh is asking a question of his readers. He's not actually saying that Paul is an unlikeable fellow - he just wants to know if his readers think that way.
  • "But I am getting the impression that Paul..." Josh doesn't know something for sure - he's just getting the impression. He wants to check it out, see if he's right, and make sure that his observational prowess is still good.
  • "... aside from just being very unlikeable in personal terms..." OK, Josh shows his hand here and writes definitively that Dr. Paul is very unlikeable. Or is he still talking about impressions? This is kind of tough, and gives Josh a cushion in case he has to backtrack and say, "No, no, I didn't say that Dr. Paul is very unlikeable. It's just my impression that he is unlikeable."
  • "... may be a much more devisive figure..." Josh believes that Dr. Paul is devisive. That pretty much goes without saying, right? But he could be even more devisive than Josh had previously thought.
  • "I get the sense..." Oh, my! Josh's feelers/sensors/antennae have activated!

I'm sure we're getting the same impression. Or am I completely off base?

Wenlock and Mandeville

Just when you think you got the Brits figured out, they pull stuff like this. What exactly are they supposed to represent?

Monday, May 17, 2010

"a laughing stock, an absent-minded buffoon.... the one who is silly"

Simon Critchley, chair of philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, attempts to answer an immortal question - what is a philosopher? - in the newest section of the New York Times.
The freedom of the philosopher consists in either moving freely from topic to topic or simply spending years returning to the same topic out of perplexity, fascination and curiosity.
And of course, it takes money to enjoy all that time. Which is why you'd be hard-pressed to find professional philosophers outside academia.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is the strongest, fastest animal in the world?

The copepod. I should point out that it (1) has two systems of movement, so it doesn't fatigue like other animals, (2) is blind, and (3) is 1 mm long.

(HT: Neotorama)

The best illusions of 2010

These illusions are extraordinary. But then again, most illusions are, no? And the great thing is that they're free. But some illusions are for sale...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What does former First Lady Laura Bush think of same-sex marriage and abortion rights?

The answer:

the sins of the mother passed on to the son

A very sad story: Tyler Lamber, the 25-year-old son of "Different Strokes" star Dana Plato, committed suicide. He had reportedly been "experimenting" with drugs and alcohol. Plato committed suicide on May 8, 1999.

Take note: Never "experiment" with drugs and alcohol.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coco still has his sense of humor

Conan O'Brien on TV last night: “Jay’s got The Tonight Show. I have a beard and an inflatable bat. And I’m touring city to city. Who can say who won and who lost?”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

He's dropped the whole "I'm not going to say a word" idea

He's now in favor of remaining silent no longer.

I think that if you're going to write some long piece, Roman, about how you can be silent no longer and about how you should get to stay with your family and remain a free man and not face the consequences of forcing sex on an underage girl, you shouldn't start out with how you were cruelly arrested when you were on your way to pick up some lifetime achievement award.

Thank your local T-shirt salesperson

Your life may have been saved by someone who's just trying to earn a living selling an "I (Heart) NY" shirt.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Medication recall

You read this:
The McNeil Consumer Healthcare Unit of Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily begun a recall of certain children's over-the-c0unter liquid medicines because of manufacturing deficiencies, the Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The deficiencies may affect the potency, purity or quality of products, the agency said in a statement.

Consumers should stop using certain lots of infants' and childrens' Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl products because some of them may contain too much of the active ingredient, McNeil said in a statement late Friday. Other products may contain tiny particles or inactive ingredients that may not meet testing requirements, the company said.

... and you have questions swirling around in your mind.
  1. What standards are in place to ensure quality control?
  2. Why couldn't they have discovered these deficiencies before the medications hit the stores?
  3. What exactly are these "tiny particles or inactive ingredients that may not meet testing requirements?"
  4. What medications are we taking today that will be recalled tomorrow?