Friday, October 19, 2007

Today's Find!!!

I found this in the fall "Paragon" gift catalogue that came to my door yesterday. They are actually trying to pass off this delicious item as a "faceted crystal PUMPKIN" [caps mine]. Whom do they imagine they are kidding?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Yeah, baby!

This is from one of the early scenes in John Carpenter's Prince Of Darkness. Professor Howard Birack, a physics professor at an unnamed university, is exhorting the grad students in his class to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CHAOS:

"Let's talk about our beliefs and what we can learn about them. We believe:
"Nature is solid and Time a constant. Matter has substance and Time a direction. There is truth in flesh -- eh? -- and the solid ground??? The wind may be visible, but it's real. Smoke, fire, water lightning. They're different. Not as to stone or steel, but they're tangible! And we assume Time has an arrow because it is as a clock. One second is one second for everyone!
"Cause precedes effect. Fruit rots, water flows downstream. We're born, we age, we die -- the reverse never happens!

I love this speech so much that whenever I watch this movie, I rewind to watch it over and over. Last night, however, I saw the students' faces in a new way. At every previous viewing I have seen them as vaguely overwhelmed and uplifted by what they were hearing, as if they'd realized that on some level they were free from boring old gravity and linear time and la de da. Not last night, though. Last night it seemed as if they were listening politely and TRYING to understand, but they really didn't see. Knowing at this late date how the movie comes out, I knew they would have an enhanced understanding in fairly short order. Jameson Parker's face, as he approaches the mirror at the very end, certainly shows a new awareness of the Dark Side.

And what is the Dark Side in this movie? The realm of subatomic particles, also known to some as Chaos. A level of being where none of our rules apply. What's REALLY COOL about this is the stark fact that WE ARE ALL MADE OF THAT CHAOS.

At the end of this class, Birack smiles a lopsided, cheery, faintly sadistic smile and offers the class a parting thought:

"While Order does exist in the universe, is it not at all what we had in mind."


I wonder if I'm not projecting my own bafflement here, though, as I watch the grad students watch Birack. This is the first time I've seen the movie since reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I confess I was absolutely boggled by the chapter on subatomic particles. Maybe I've treied to learn more about the Dark Side, and been rebuffed.