By TheophileEscargot (Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 02:46:30 AM EST) Reading, Watching, OBLF (all tags)

Multipoll.

Finished Telempath by Spider Robinson. 1970s SF with an interesting setup. A genetically modified virus has massively increased everyone's sense of smell. This causes civilization to collapse as cities are too smelly to live in. It also allows humans to detect previously mythical psychic smell gas beings.

Not actually as silly as it sounds: has some decent action and chase scenes. A lot of period stuff: ostentatious marijuana use with faithful use of seventies slang, and a fair amount of cod-mysticism. Final plot twist is a bit blatantly obvious though

Verdict: not a classic. Worth it for fans with a high tolerance of archaism only.

What I'm Watching
Saw Shadowlands. Movie about C.S. Lewis's autumnal love affair with Joy Gresham. Enjoyed it: much better than I expected, without so many of the usual clichés of dried-up dusty old professors discovering Love. Goes a bit over the top at the end though, and is pretty heavy-handed with the philosophical stuff.

Film doesn't cover much of C.S. Lewis's life as a whole: omits any mention of Tolkien, the Inklings, or his earlier relationship with Jane Moore. I think that's a good thing though: I've never really been into "biopics", and don't think you can really cram a person's life into something as short as a movie. Also I think Anthony Hopkins does a good job of portraying C.S. Lewis as articulate, confident, and more worldly than some of his academic colleagues; so you don't really need a lot of detail on how he got that way.

Verdict: worth watching. Wikipedia on C.S. Lewis.

Me
Oddly enough, I think living alone has hidden from me a bit of what a misanthropic, ungrateful arsehole I am. Lost my temper a couple of times lately, which reminded me of it.

Bloggy-type stuff. The screenwriter has an entry on Hollywood and biodegradable poop bags.

The Onion had a long interview with sex-advice columnist Dan Savage: pretty dull, but with a few interesting observations later on:

If anything, the one way the column has changed me over the years is, I feel so sorry for straight guys. Because their sex lives are a terror, and are really circumscribed by straight guys policing the behavior of other straight guys--"Hey, you're a fag--and by gay guys policing their behavior, and straight women. Paradoxically, straight guys run the world, but sexually, they're so imprisoned and it's not just a prison of their own creation...

It's also tragic that straight guys have so little access to sex. And it's always their fault. This just happened with Savage Love, with FS and WILLIE. WILLIE was the guy whose wife wouldn't have sex with him, and FS was the woman whose husband wouldn't have sex with her. And all the letters that I got in response to my column treated them both in a very similar way. In WILLIE's situation, it was his fault, and here's why, and in FS' situation, it was her husband's fault, and here's why. And it just put complete responsibility for sex on the men in those relationships. And men do sort of bear all responsibility--whatever's going wrong is completely their fault, women are always the victims. I just think there's no respect for male sexuality in this empathy culture that's shaped by and defined by a female perspective on relationships and emotions.

Operation Become Less Fat
CW: 13st 2
SW: 14st 4
Loss: 16 pounds
Weeks: 10
Loss per week: 1.6 pounds

Fell off the wagon a bit this week. Only a pound lost after eating too much: big roast dinner Saturday, pub lunches Monday and Friday, big restaurant meal Friday too. The Happy Time of everyone else being on their new year resolutions is over now: all I have left is my own willpower. I'm fucked.

Fortunately, kept up with the exercise. Hitting the wall a bit with that though. 5BX Chart 3 is a lot harder than the previous two: I keep going over the time limit. So, going by the book and sticking with level C- till I'm comfortable with it. Also slow going with the dumb-bells: I'm OK doing the heavy-weight exercises with 12.5 kg per hand, but the next available is 13.5kg; and I can't do those without messing up the form.

Saturday 4 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1 cup coffee.
Lunch: Chicken and mushroom soup (250kcal, 5.4g protein), 2 bread rolls (160g,426 kcal,13g protein), 3 slices pastrami (58kcal, 10g protein), 4 cherry tomatoes.
Supper: Roast chicken breast quarter (572kcal, 59g protein), roast potatoes (280g 420kcal), roasted parsnips(200g ~200kcal). Steamed carrot, leek, asparagus. Tesco "Healthy Living" chocolate mousse (185kcal)
Snacks: 1 cup tea
Booze: 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C- (12 mins)
2111kcal food plus veg, tomato, booze

Sunday 5 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1 cup coffee.
Lunch: Fillet steak (120g, 230kcal, 24g protein) Steamed potato (300g, 216kcal, 6g protein) carrot, leek, asparagus. Tesco Finest Rhubarb yoghurt (213 kcal).
Supper: Tesco Chunky Chilli soup (230kcal, 20g protein), large piece bread, 2 Ryvita, brie.
Snacks: 2 Ryvita, 1 slice pastrami, 1 M&S "Count on Us" Mediterranean crisps (90kcal), 1 cup tea
Booze: 1 pt London ale, 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C- (12 mins), dumb-bells

Monday 6 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1 cup coffee. Frosties and skimmed milk.
Brunch: Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel
Lunch: Potato wedges and cream cheese
Supper: Fillet steak (120g, 230kcal, 24g protein) Steamed potato (220g, 158kcal, 4g protein) parsnip, leek, asparagus. Milky bar (68kcal)
Booze: 1pt beer, 2 whisky.
Snacks: 2 Ryvita, 1 slice pastrami,
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C- (incomplete last set due to stitch), 3.5 miles walking

Tuesday 7 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1.5 cups coffee. Cornflakes and skimmed milk.
Lunch: Thai chicken soup, medium sandwich
Snacks: 2 Ryvita, 1 slice ham (46kcal, 8.3g protein)
Supper: Approx 100g rice (247 kcal, 8.4g protein), Chicken Jalfrezi (385kcal, 34.5g protein)
Booze: 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C-, dumb-bells, 3.5 miles walking

Wednesday 8 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1.5 cups coffee, coco pops
Lunch: Pastrami and gherkin bagel
Supper: Beef stew (336kcal, 32g protein), 220g potato (158kcal,4g protein). Mango.
Snacks: 3 Ryvita, 1 slice ham (46kcal, 8.3g protein), 4 cherry tomatoes
Booze: 1 beer, 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C- and jumping around, 3.5 miles walking

Thursday 9 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1.5 cups coffee, Rice Krispies with sugar, 1 slice ham (46kcal, 8.3g protein)
Lunch: Large ham and mozzarella roll
Supper: 2 beef grillsteaks, 300 potato (216kcal), carrot, parsnip, leek, asparagus. Dime bar (150kcal).
Snacks: 1 Ryvita
Booze: 1 beer, 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C-, dumb-bells, 3.5 miles walking

Friday 10 Feb 2006
Breakfast: 1.5 cups coffee
Brunch: Pastrami and gherkin bagel
Lunch: Nachos with chicken breast, cream cheese, barbecue sauce, cheese
Supper: Big Indian restaurant meal: chicken starter, lamb curry, rice, butter/garlic nan
Snacks: None
Booze: 4 beers, 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 3 Level C- and jumping around, 3.5 miles walking

Am I the only one... by NoMoreNicksLeft (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 03:23:11 AM EST
That gets tired of illogical christian arguments?
(warning: generally non-rabid atheist accused of rabid atheism from time to time)

This, and Pascal's wager have to be the 2 stupidest arguments for anything, on the face of the earth. Period.

Am I supposed to believe that those 3 watered-down options are the only ones? How about...

• Jesus knew that he was lying, but in his imperfect human brain decided that a few white lies to get the people to believe greater moral truths might be necessary? (he might be wrong, but it's a common human failing)
• Jesus was speaking poetically/metaphorically, as spiritual leaders sometimes are fond of doing.
• Jesus meant it quite literally and honestly, but our interpretations are just whack. In some sense (if you are a christian), are we not all children of god? Are you not the son/daughter of god, just as I am. Dimwitted christians might only think that "son of god" means the big bearded guy came down and used the turkey baster on Mary, but for someone truly spiritual, would not the greatest, most exalted interpretation mean that we -ALL- are? He might not even see reason to point this out, thinking it obvious...
• Jesus was a great moral teacher, who spoke in aramaic, but accounts of what he said were only written down years after his death, and often in languages other than the one he spoke (greek primarily). Maybe he didn't claim to be the son of god, or later writers embellished.
And on, and on, and on. It's sad. I'd be a greater christian advocate than the people that try to be, if only I could believe in their bullshit.

And the worst part is, I -like- CS Lewis. Read the Narnia books as a kid, and Screwtape Letters as an adult (which might prove the best writers of demonic fiction are indeed the religious... haha).

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

trying to prove a religion is not a good idea. by garlic (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 04:04:40 AM EST
It's pretty hard to show any evidence that a skeptic will believe about something that happened thousands of years ago. It's also pretty hard to explain why there were plenty of miracles happening around the time of your holy book, but God sees it as unnecessary now.

[ Parent ]
It's not hugely convincing by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 04:21:12 AM EST
But I don't think it's a particularly relevant argument these days. It's commonly argued now the Jesus just thought of himself as a Jew, and never actually made most of these claims of being the Messiah.

I tend to agree with the underlying point for other reasons though: that you can't separate the ethical teachings of Christianity from its mystical aspects.

Christianity seems to me just too tough to work as a secular philosophy. Any system of ethics can say something like "don't commit adultery". Christianity says "don't commit adultery, oh, and if you even think lustfully about it that's just as bad". Any ethical system can say "don't revenge yourself on your enemies". Christianity says "Don't revenge yourselves on your enemies, oh, and you've got to feel all-out love for the bastards as well."

It's all too absolutist to work in a secular framework. It works in the mystical framework in two ways. First, Jesus may give you a mystical source of strength to obey the seemingly impossible commands. Second, you have the concepts of grace and salvation, where it doesn't matter that you can't obey the commands, because Jesus has taken all your sins upon himself.

So, basically I agree that you can't really be a secular follower of Jesus: it's the religious route or nothing.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Why not? by NoMoreNicksLeft (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 04:47:49 AM EST
Modern psychology tends to think that thinking about something wrong is just a precursor to committing the act. It's why they dream up all sorts of weird theories for pedophiles like aversion therapy. They sure has hell don't go around telling them "it's ok to lust after little girls and think about it, but don't actually do it now, ok?".

As for all-out love, I've never really heard that one. Maybe I tend to stay away from the nutbags though.

My statements don't reflect a belief that you can be a secular Jesusoid or anything, just that those 3 options are far from being the only 3 plausible ones. At least in one, time and hearsay make his teachings so distant as to be all but lost.
--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

[ Parent ]
"feel" all-out love? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 09:59:42 AM EST
Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment to the good of another person.

[ Parent ]
OED says ... by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:28:05 AM EST
...different.

What a horrific concept: that love is what a CEO has towards his shareholders...
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Dictionaries are bad at defining words. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:44:04 AM EST
And the point is the Christian theological use of the word, not what modern English usage says. I somehow think loving your enemies means something a bit different than loving that darling pair of shoes.

[ Parent ]
Please expand by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:59:09 AM EST
Which ancient Greek word for love do you regard as not having an emotional element? What is the basis for your believing that?
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Who the hell's talking about Greek words? by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 11:01:45 AM EST
I'm talking about theological interpretation of thet text. Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other party. If you want more details, the pope wrote a giant encyclical on the subject of love. Whatever it comes down to, it is not a feeling.

[ Parent ]
Um by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 11:09:57 AM EST
From that encyclical:
Moreover, love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will.
(My italics)
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
yes? by gzt (2.00 / 0) #14 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 11:39:36 AM EST
Read as part of a larger discussion of the issue. That in some contexts you can say [imprecisely] that it is a feeling does not prove your point.

[ Parent ]
Well, it's a tough choice by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #15 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 11:49:29 AM EST
On the one side, we have the Pope, the Oxford English Dictionary, and my common sense.

On the other side, we have a three letter internet handle whose sources seem to contradict his opinions.

However, I have made a decision which to believe, and so I think this thread is at an end.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
this is, indeed, quite unfortunate. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:07:00 PM EST
I hope, someday, you see the light of reason.

[ Parent ]
On love. by NoMoreNicksLeft (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 08:02:28 PM EST
I don't think that any simple definition could explain just what this word means, not even in some narrow slice of context. True, the greeks had several words that all translate in english as love, and had different meanings for them.

But to say that it's some primitive emotion that boils up out of my amygdala, I don't buy that for a second. It's not even the refined version of that, as anxiety might be to reptilian fear, a mother's love for her child isn't just distilled maternal instinct filtered through human intellect.

If I were only more clever, I could probably write volume after volume of 1000 page books on the subject and still only touch the surface. And I'm talking actual thoughtful, meaningful commentary... not some batshit insane teenybopper's crush on the cheerleader.

And the scary part is, even if I could prove that christianity as practiced everywhere today uses specific emotional and intellectual mechanisms to spread itself as a cult merely to grant its leaders financial/powermongering benefits, some of the stuff Jesus reputedly said concerning love don't exactly jive with that. Sometimes I wonder, sometimes I think Jesus wasn't a christian at all, maybe he was buddhist. Haha.
--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

[ Parent ]
i dont want to argue about it by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 01:07:15 AM EST
but christianity is not catholicism. generally, other christian religions are waaaay more laid back.
Send me to Austria!
[ Parent ]
mostly denominations. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 07:45:45 AM EST
IE Most Christians believe that other denominations (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic) are all the same religion, Christianity. Some people who call themselves Christians like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses are not considered Christians by the first group because of their differences in beliefs about the divinity of Christ.

[ Parent ]
yeah, it depends on the integrity of the texts. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:04:37 AM EST
Though the thing about the Jesus of the text of the Gospels is that it's not only that he says, "I am the son of God," but that he says things like, "I am the truth," "Whoever sees me sees the Father," "Before Abraham was, I AM [given teh Judaic context of the Gospels, quite shocking]". If you read the bloody things and trust the texts, the "trilemma" really does fairly well catch it all. The question really is trusting the text and there are several ways not to do so.

[ Parent ]
and re: pascal. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:08:44 AM EST
Quite frankly, you're being ignorant. You've never read the text and if you did, you never understood it. You're quite right that what popularly gets passed off as Pascal's Wager is pretty dumb-assed, but don't impugn Pascal himself. The point of "On the necessity of the wager" is that Christianity tells you how you can know God, and the only way to know for certain whether it is or is not true is to try it. You can't only look at it from the outside and say, "Posh, there is no God."

[ Parent ]
Straight men by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 04:24:19 AM EST
Are the worst served in terms of meeting their sexual needs.

Firstly they need sex on the whole more than straight women so have a weaker hand to play in that regard in relationships.

Secondly the initiative to meet new sexual partners always lies with them mostly. Not so good if you are lacking in self confidence.

Thirdly they have to act like a man but at the same time be sensitive which quite a tall order for most men.

Fourthly the old male advantage of using physical force can't be used thses days.

good thing the other advantage still works by martingale (2.00 / 0) #19 Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 12:38:14 AM EST
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily so... by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #21 Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 08:55:43 AM EST
Did Howard Hughes get laid, or just abused?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't presume to know by martingale (2.00 / 0) #22 Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 02:08:03 PM EST
but given his reluctance to have contact with the public, I suspect a "glory hole" style of interaction.
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
great quotes from Savage by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #17 Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 05:13:42 PM EST
I think the "straight men run the world" aspect of reality leads to the idea that men don't get to complain about sexual dynamics - in their own lives or the culture in general. Basically it's taking advantage of the victim culture and sexism of a previous age in today's world.