Archive for December, 2008

On Manliness(!)

Posted: December 31, 2008 in Braak
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columnistspragerThere’s a fellow named Dennis Prager, who’s written a couple columns at that festering sewer and embarrassment to erudition known as Town Hall.  I’m not going to link to the articles [UPDATE: yes, I will], but I will link to a couple of devastating deconstructions of them here and here, at Jezebel.  Dennis Prager is a symptom of a problem that I would like to address, because it really pisses me off.

What is the modern man?

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Six Favorites of 2008: Music

Posted: December 30, 2008 in Jeff Holland

beckI listened to 24 newly released albums this year. The old saw abouthow writing about music’s like dancing about architecture holds true for me. Responses to odd sounds, weird turns of phrase, vocal affectations, and a hundred other things in any pop song can be insanely idiosyncratic and subjective, so how much can you really get out of someone else’s impressions?

So I’ll just mention five albums I quite loved this year and why, a few that I’m sure I’ll love by next year, and one that will just punch you in the eardrums if you listen to it. In a bad way.
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schmucks_logo_new_web[Ha--you thought I was going to forget about my little challenge, didn't you?  Well, I didn't.]

I saw a play this month. It was called Schmucks, and it played at the Wilma Theater. In my opinion, the Wilma Theatre is the best venue for new theater in Philadelphia; the Walnut Street is older and pays more, but they also only do old-timey plays that everyone’s done a thousand times already, and half of them are musicals. I don’t think this is inherently bad; just inherently boring. This is why I go to the Wilma.

Of course, the problem with doing new theater is that sometimes you pick a stinker of a play, and oh, man, was Schmucks a stinker. Jesus, this was a terrible play.

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Christmas Eve

Posted: December 24, 2008 in Braak

I was going to rant about some new thing, but then I figured, “Hey, Christmas Eve.  This is the time of the year when nobody, even me, should be a dick.”

In case you were wondering what a committed irreligious atheist can find to celebrate in Christmas, it’s that.  Peace on earth, good will towards men and women.  Man, you don’t need Jesus to want that, and it doesn’t matter what you call it.

Happy Holidays.  Jerks.

the-christmas-star-small

christmas-star-warsYou might think that we here at Threat Quality Press are anti-Christmas. You would be wrong.

We are, on occasion, anti-sentimental. But, y’know. It’s Christmas. So a little sentiment is okay, right?

So here, for your holiday pleasure, are three of my (Holland here) favorite Christmas songs.

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Christmas!

Posted: December 22, 2008 in Braak
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Ugh, am I even supposed to post this week?  Are you poor suckers really working today?  Why aren’t you home with your families, not spending time on the internet but instead basking in the warmth of their love, and also drinking?

Is it because you don’t have families, or because YOUR FAMILIES DON’T LOVE YOU?

I am betting it’s the last one.

I will maybe post something later on today.

The Mind of the Irreligious

Posted: December 19, 2008 in Braak
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I have to stuff envelopes for my boss’s Christmas cards today, so why don’t you all read this, which is a piece I wrote for a friend of mine about what it means for me to be an atheist.

My parents made a decision, before I was born, that they would not push me towards one religion or another, but rather let me read about as many different religions as I liked. When I was fourteen, I could pick one. The problem with looking at all religions without having any kind of background in this one or that one is that, equidistant from all points, they kind of all look the same.

[I Fight the DJ]

ironmantrailer_54Favorite part of December? Year-end lists. So much gets released in a given year, it’s hard to keep track – even for some anal-retentive bloggers (ahem) who obsessively scan their own Netflix history.

Of the hundreds of films released this year, I managed to catch 21 either in theaters or on DVD, give or take. Which is not that bad, really, considering I know people who are actually happy to catch one lone film a year in theaters.

Less impressive: I’ve managed to miss the vast majority of films that end up on the big top-ten lists, like, say, Roger Ebert or the Onion’s AV Club (and you should go read those, they’re both fantastic). Not because I don’t want to. It’s just hard to justify paying $10.50 to see, say, Frank Langella as Nixon, when it’ll be just as satisfactory on DVD.

So instead of boldly proclaiming which were The Best Movies of the year, I’ll mention my five favorites – not necessarily the greatest movies of 2008, but certainly five that make me smile just thinking of them – in no particular order (links go to my longer reviews).

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It’s unlikely that I’m going to contribute much to the actual ideas in the New Thought, or whatever it is we’re calling it.  But I think we’ll all have a better time talking about it if we can find agreement about what we mean by certain things, and if establishing a consistent nomenclature to the argument is all I’m able to give, then I guess it’s what I’ll have to offer.

So, INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED SCHOLAR of religion and science fiction, Gabe McKee, has this post over at the SFGospel, in which he seems bothered by Grant Morrison’s use of “religion” when what he really means is “church,” and his use of “spirituality” when what he really means is “religion.”  I’m not sure I agree with this taxonomy, and I’ll get to why after a brief digression.

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punisher-4I have two birthday traditions. 1) I do not work on my birthday. I am neither a surgeon nor a farmer, so I’m pretty sure they don’t need me. With my day off, 2) I go to the movies.

Now, this year I was spoilt for choice, right? I could’ve seen Philip Seymour Hoffman aim for another Oscar nod in like three different movies. Or I could’ve seen Keanu Reeves finally, FINALLY play a stonefaced alien. Or…hey, who doesn’t love Jason Statham? So I decided to split the difference.

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