April 5, 2013
In my ongoing quest of watching all 79 episodes of Star Trek – The Original Series (TOS), I have stumbled on a rather unusual one. An anonymous friend once characterized TOS as “banal American optimism”, comparing it favourably to its successor series’ Evil Nietzscheanism. There is a lot to be said for banal optimism, American or otherwise, for emotional-anaesthesia and/or gently-rinsing-one’s-brain-at-the-end-of-the-day purposes. Therefore, I like Star Trek best when it does not focus on deep philosophical contents, because when it does, it usually, and not surprisingly, gets it wrong (Although, to be fair, the general rule of Narm Charm holds even here: when Star Trek is good, its is good; when it is bad, it is usually So Bad it’s Good).
The episode in question is ‘Bread and Circuses’, and has been generally rated as rather mediocre (possibly justified, though there are far worse), and, interestingly, as sort of betraying what Star Trek stands for. The script is written by no less than (Star Trek inventor) Gene Roddenberry and (inventor of Klingons, Prime Directive, and much more) Gene L. Coon. Kirk , Spock and McCoy beam down to a hitherto uncharted planet to find it a planet of Space Romans – Romans with -us names, the Roman deities, slavery (albeit more humanized), arena fights (circuses!) – and Earth 20th century technology. For the first time, we even get an explanation why all these suspiciously Earth-history like planets are not just a ruse to make the most of pre-existing scenery and costume in a low-budget production: it is due to Hodgekins’ Law of Parallel Planetary Development. As I said, science explains everything.
Anyway, Kirk, Spock and McCoy first run into a group of runaway slaves drawn together by a sun (?) worship with ideals of brotherhood, non-violence even in the face of cruel treatment (i.e., they are the goodies of the episode). McCoy is confused, as he does not know of any sun worship amongst Earth Romans, and everything on the planet is just so plausibly transformed-into-20th-century Romanism. However, everyone is far too busy being imprisoned, threatened, made to fight in the arena, consoled by pretty half-clad blonde alien females, and the like, to bother about that detail. Happily back on the Enterprise, they pick up this thought again, and Uhura is able to clarify things: She has been listening to the Space Romans’ radio programme, in which they tried to ridicule that religion of the protesting slaves, without success. It turns out they do not worship the sun, but the Son: Christ. And Kirk is blithely intrigued, wishing it was possible for him to “see it all happening again” – confident that slavery and arenas will soon disappear on this (unimaginatively named) Planet 4 of star system 892 through the rise of Christianity.
might be a cool nerdy Christian witness T-shirt. You could have bets who among your pious friends gets it.
This could be a good place to discuss the questions of a) whether, theologically, we can exclude the possibility of intelligent non-human life out there somewhere, b) whether, if there should be intelligent non-human life out there somewhere, they are either not fallen, and have a natural end, or fallen, and unredeemed, or fallen, and redeemed by Our Lord, or what. It could also be used as a justification of wasting one’s time with watching Star Trek, because, hey, it is after all, sometimes, and awkwardly, sort of Christian, isnt’ it?
March 16, 2013
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Long-time readers having stated their dissatisfaction about the increasing seriousness of this blog and the preponderance of hardline doctrinal posts, coupled with the absence of shoe-post and the like – and given that even an unnamed male person did express some concern about the increased ‘blokishness’ of Laodicea – it seems I must try and rectify this to some extent in the future.
So here my first attempt:
Given it is Lent, some of us may – as a side effect – be living more healthily than during the rest of the year. Probably female are more likely than male Catholics to have given up chocolate, sweets and the like, and may be suffering from scruples about their side thought that, in addition to being a good and pious thing to do, this will result in them loosing weight, and thus be partly motivated by vanity. The good news: As I have just heard (as a scientist I should check if there is actually empirical evidence for this, but I am lazy, so I won’t) if you are eating lots of unhealthy, sugary and fatty things for a while, your body becomes unable to absorb all the nutrients of the more healthy stuff you eat. As a consequence, as soon as you cut out these unhealthy things, you may well gain, instead of loose, weight. Which makes your fasting really a spiritual, not a self-seeking thing.
From another perspective, the message would seem to be that the more unhealthy the food you eat, the more you can eat of it. So at the end of Lent…
November 17, 2012
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For anyone who’s ever felt out of their depth with a shop assistant…
October 25, 2012
Is this disrespectful? I hope not: it’s very funny.
July 11, 2012
A recent concert of our University choir featured, among other works of musical genious, the Gummy Bear theme song ( in German, Danish, Hungarian, Chinese, and Klingon, in fact). For some odd reason, this animation, one of the first ‘western’ ones we got, had impressed me very much as a kid (don’t judge me too harshly for this). Hearing it again (in German, not Klingon, though one of my co-bloggers would maintain that those two languages are hard to distinguish) I realized that they actually translate ‘faithful’ with ‘devout’!
Also, the starting menu of wordpress.org in Germany seems to be in German by now.
Did this give you an earworm as well? You are welcome. I always love to share my little miseries.
August 24, 2011
August 9, 2011
From the Purple Lady in the parish “Team of Neighbourly Help”, which is sort of a branch of Caritas. I think.
3 glasses plain flour
1 glass icing sugar
3/4 packet of margarine or butter [(250g/4) x 3 = 187 1/2g]
Fruit (any kind – raw if raspberries or strawberries or plums, chopped and lightly cooked if apples)
Mix the flour with 4 yolks and 1/2 glass of icing sugar. Layer the dough on your baking tray/tin (lined or greased) and stab it all over with a fork. Bake till golden.
Add a layer of fruit.
Beat the whites and remaining sugar till stiff, add on top of the fruit, and bake till golden.
I don’t have a piccie, so here’re two examples of Nigella Lawson’s Guinness cake recipe, which also appears to be idiot-proof. They look a) burnt b) like wet peat hags, but they are neither, and very tasty.
July 8, 2011
Written in a rage of frustration on the back of a parish bulletin during a particularly banal platitude laden sermon in a Scottish cathedral six years ago.
Oh praise ye the Lord ye men of all lands
In joyful accord at His pierced hands
In low obeisance at His wounded feet
Receive ye His mercies with penitence sweet.
O praise ye the Lord ye priests of the Word
And smite with His ban all those who have erred
Dispense ye His mysteries with trembling and fear
And wring from each black soul a penitent tear.
O praise ye the Lord ye God-fearing kings
And vanquish the foe with His warlike hymns
Subdue to the Gospel the ends of the Earth
Protect ye the altar, defend ye the hearth.
Oh praise ye the Lord ye armies of God
And put to the sword the land where He trod
Reduce to bleak ruins the walls of the foe
And carry the cross wheresoe’r ye shall go.
Oh praise ye the Lord great Emperor of Rome
Cast thy golden crown before His bright throne
St Peter’s successor commandeth thy knee
O champion of Christendom and lord of the free.