Sunday, September 08, 2019

So this got under my skin, and I wanted to respond.
Even though I know these things are ultimately a waste of time. sometimes I just need to put in my two cents so I can get it off my chest.
In the old days I would have done this as a blog post, but I decided doing it as a youtube video would take less time than actually writing all my thoughts out.  So I opted for the lazier option of just turning the camera on.
I knew what I wanted to say in vague terms, but the fact that this is not scripted unfortunately shows.  I repeat myself, stumble over my words, and lose my train of thought.
Nevertheless, for whatever it may or may not be worth....

Why Ted Cruz's is Wrong about a God-Given Right to Guns

The article I was referencing:

(Several more with a similar tone can be found with a Google Search).

I completely forgot to add that I wasn't going to talk about his arguments about liberty and the second amendment because they weren't relevant to the argument about God.

Also, probably wasn't clear on a couple points, but...
* The verse Ted Cruz cited is open to interpretation.  It could mean merely that because of mitigating circumstances, the person wouldn't be punished to full extent of the law. It's not clear that this verse means that the person has a "right" to self-defense.
* It's also not entirely clear why killing someone at night is self-defense, but killing them in the daytime is not.  A thief in your house could also be a danger to you in the daytime.  Ted Cruz might be correct--there's possibly an argument to be made here.  (I guess nighttime is scarier.)  But it's debatable. It's another assumption that's being added to a long list of assumptions in his convoluted argument.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

English World 7 Unit 4 Vocabulary

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--English World 7)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Slideshow: slidespub
Quizlet Handout: docspub

English World 7 Unit 4 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 4 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 4 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 4 Vocabulary

Sunday, August 25, 2019

English World 7 Unit 3 Vocabulary

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--English World 7)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Slideshow: slides, pub
Quizlet Handout: docs, pub

English World 7 Unit 3 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 3 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 3 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 3 Vocabulary

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Describe a Place in Your City

(TESOL Worksheets--Projects)
Google: docspub

Describe a place in your city
Name of place:

Adjectives to describe it:

What can you see there?

What do people do there?

What sounds can you hear there?

What can you smell there?

Make some sentences with Participle Adjectives:
Example: The street is filled with hurrying people.

Friday, August 23, 2019

English World 7 Unit 2 Vocabulary

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--English World 7)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Slideshow: slides, pub
Quizlet Handout: docs, pub

English World 7 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 7 Unit 2 Vocabulary

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Life Pre-Intermediate Unit 9 p.105

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Pre-Intermediate)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Transcript: docs, pub

Find 5 mistakes in the transcript.
While I was working as an English teacher in Japan, I tried to learn the language but it was hard.  Even the kids found their own language easy.  This photo is of a second grade class at the school.  They were all practising writing some of the different letters for the sound “shou” in Chinese.  A lot of Japanese words are homophones so they have the same sound but different spellings. Japanese has so many letters and symbols to learn.  There are several thousand, most of which have come from Vietnamese.  It’s similar to English in the sense that it has also taken words in the past from other languages.  For example, you can find lots of English words which have come from the languages of German and Spanish.
While I was working as an English teacher in Japan, I tried to learn the language but it was hard.  Even the kids found their own language (1)hard.  This photo is of a second grade class at the school.  They were all practising writing some of the different letters for the sound “shou” in (2)Japanese.  A lot of Japanese words are homophones so they have the same sound but different (3)meanings. Japanese has so many letters and symbols to learn.  There are several thousand, most of which have come from (4)Chinese.  It’s similar to English in the sense that it has also taken words in the past from other languages.  For example, you can find lots of English words which have come from the languages of German and (5)French.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Life Intermediate: 1D First Impressions p.16

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Intermediate)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Transcript: docs, pub

P: Good morning! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Paola Iannucci.
C: How do you do? My name’s Colin Burke.
P: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Colin. I see you work for an advertising agency.
C: Yes, erm…  Paola. I’m the arts director at Arrow Agency. I mostly work on web adverts.
P: Do you? That sounds interesting.
C: It is. We’re developing some really new ways of advertising. Do you use the Internet much in your work?
P: I do, actually, Colin. I’m in sales.
C: Oh, are you?
P: Yes, I work for an electronics company. We’re starting to sell online.
C: Really? Well, Paola, why don’t I give you my card? Here you are.
P: Thanks. It’s been good talking to you. Let’s stay in touch.

L: Hello, how are you? I’m Lucy.
Y: I’m very pleased to meet you. I’m Yuvraj Singh. I work for Get fit--it’s a chain of gyms.
L: Oh yes, my brother goes to Get fit.
Y: Does he? Great. We’re building a big new gym in the town centre here. It’s nearly ready to open, in fact.
L: Is it? That’s great.
Y: Yes, we’re all really excited about it. Erm, what about you?
L: I’m looking for a new job at the moment, actually.
Y: OK, well, thanks for your time. Let me give you my card. Don’t forget to check out our new gym when it opens.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Life Intermediate: 1C Red is For Winners p.14-15

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Intermediate)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Backs to the Board Doraemon Game: Drive, Slides, Pub

From the AVclub:
R.I.P. Peter Fonda

Peter Fonda is one of those actors who did a lot of stuff, but is only really remembered for one iconic movie.
At one point in 2002, I had Easy Rider on my list of top 10 films of all time.  Although when I rethought that list in 2017, I decided I had outgrown Easy Rider.  But still, it's a classic movie no matter how you look at it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

From today:
Archaeologists find evidence of Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem -- as told in the Bible

This sounds like huge news, but it's actually not.  The Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem was never really in any doubt to begin with.  The Old Testament account of the fall of Jerusalem lines up pretty much exactly with our accounts from other historical sources.  (For more information on this, see The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible by Robin Lane Fox.)

It is a point worth remembering, however. These days, I sometimes feel like half of my conversations about the Bible are defending it against hardcore atheists--people who don't want to credit the Bible with any historical accuracy.  But these people are just as wrong as the hard core Christians who claim that there aren't any errors in the Bible. There is actually a lot of real history in the Old Testament, but it is mixed up with mythology and religions polemics.  Separating the two can be tricky, but also fascinating.

My understanding is as follows:
Story of the Patriarchs, the Exodus, and the Conquest of Canaan--Pure Mythology.  No historical value
Ruth--Historical fiction.  It was a later addition to the King David legend, which was meant as a rebuttal to the racial purism that had developed in Ezra and Nehemiah time.
King David--Possibly historical (For more discussion see HERE).
1st and 2nd Kings-- History re-arranged to fit a religious polemic, but based on real historical events.  The closer we get to the fall of Jerusalem, the more accurate it becomes
Esther and Daniel--Historical fiction.  The settings are historical, and most of the kings were real people, but the story is fiction
Ezra and Nehemiah-- authentic historical documents, that have been mangled by and chopped up carelessly by later editors

...and actually while I'm on the subject...
I was meaning to link to this ages ago and never got around to it, but my old pal Phil Christman has published a review of the Old Testament.  Or as he puts it, "I reviewed the FREAKIN’ BIBLE, no big deal".

It's available at the Plough:
Poetry and Prophecy, Dust and Ashes: A review of The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, by Robert Alter Reviewed by Phil Christman
(The beginning of the essay is a review of the specific translation, but it then turns into a review of the Hebrew Bible generally).

Phil's essay has been attracting attention from a lot of different corners.  Arts & Letters Daily plugged it.  Whisky Prajer also highly recommends it.

I agree with half of Phil's review, and disagree with the other half, but I will resist the urge to comment on every line of the review.  I'll just say that I enjoy reading Phil as always.  He is one of those writers who has the ability to make his thought process clear to his readers, and even when I don't agree with him, I love being able to see what his thought process is.  There's nothing I like more than enjoying a morning cup of coffee and reading Phil's latest post.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Rest in Peace Toni Morrison.

My review of Beloved by Toni Morrison HERE.
Addendum: I'm still Mad About This Video Game Thing
(An addendum to the previous post)

And another thing that makes me so angry about this whole "video games cause mass shootings" nonsense...
Listening to the pundits and politicians talk about the link between video games and violence, it is very notable that none of them are citing any evidence.  At all.  They're just talking about how they don't like video games, and how they're sure that it must be doing something bad to young people's minds.

Look, if you want to just complain about how you don't like what the young people are doing these days, you can retire and spend all day on your front porch.
But if you go on TV and make these allegations, you should do your homework ahead of time.
And it's bad enough when pundits do it, but then when actual politicians (people in actual positions of power) start talking about how they "feel" video games are behind these massacres, then this is the height of irresponsibility.

It's a stupid debate, like I said before.  But, fine, if you guys want to get into it, then let's get into it.  What does the evidence show?  What is the statistical correlation between violent crime and video games?  What is the link between crime rates and the popularity of video games in countries?  What is the evidence that video games cause violent behavior?  (This data is easily available.  The topic has been researched to death.  There have been literally thousands of studies on this by now).

This is serious topic.  And the opportunity cost of addressing the wrong issue will mean that we've lost the chance to prevent the next massacre.  So we should be taking this seriously.
Instead what we have is a lot of out of touch old people talking about how they don't like video games.  Either they're stupid, or they're being deliberately obtuse in order to misdirect.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Fox News & Politicians BLAMES FORTNITE & Video Games for the death of 29 people in El Paso

I am rapidly losing my patience with civil debate and am getting to the point where I just want to scream obscenities at people.  Which on one hand is a completely natural reaction to everything that's been happening the past few years, and yet at the same time is exactly the wrong thing to do if we're ever going to make any progress.

But really, it makes me so, so angry when I see people still blaming gun violence on video games.

This is the stupidest argument ever.  For reasons so obvious that I feel like I'm wasting my time typing them out again.  Violent video games are popular with kids all over the world, but the U.S. is the only place that has regular gun massacres. Japanese and South Koreans play way more violent video games than the U.S., and they don't have these gun massacres.

Part of this frustration is just fatigue.  I've been pointing out this fact out on this blog for over 15 years now.  (See this post from 2003.  And this post from 2012.)  And I just weary of having to type out the obvious over and over again.
But it's not just me.  Lots and lots of people have been making this really obvious point.  For years.
So why are we still having this discussion about video games?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Addendum to the Anarchism Vlogs: Part 2
(The second addendum to post on Anarchism.  For the first addendum, see HERE.)

I saw this recently, and I thought I'd through it in (along with my commentary) as a second addendum.

It's Time to Leave This Planet | Eric Weinstein

The argument Eric Weinstein advances in the video is that ever since the creation of the hydrogen bomb, Earth's days have been numbered.  (n.b. the hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  It would take only a few hydrogen bombs to make the earth uninhabitable.)  We've managed to make it 60 years without someone launching the nuclear weapons, but 60 years is actually not a long time.  Given another 100 years, or 500 years, or 1000 years, eventually someone will screw up and launch the nukes.  Humanity is not capable of having godlike power in its hands without someone screwing it up sooner or later.
Ergo his conclusion, we need to start looking for another planet on which to live if humans are to survive another millennium.

The really scary thing is, he's probably right.

But then, as I pointed out in my vlogs on anarchism, nuclear weapons are only possible in a world with strong centralized governments.  You or I, as individuals, do not have the money, resources or expertise to create hydrogen bombs, attach them to missiles and launching equipment, store them, and guard them.  The American government and the Chinese government can do all of this, but individual people cannot.

And we certainly couldn't stockpile nuclear weapons in the tens of thousands... which is what the USA and Russia have done.

So, if you want to solve the nuclear weapons problem, we need to get rid of centralized governments.

This never occurs to Eric Weinstein though.  And it's telling that it never occurs to him.  His only solution is to start looking for other planets to live.

Well, those are our options.  Get rid of governments, or find other planets to live on.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Addendum to the Anarchism Vlogs: Part 1
(An addendum to the previous post)
There was a minor incident on twitter the other day when Elon Musk mentioned how he'd been enjoying a podcast about the end of Bakunin's life,...

...and then a bunch of people got angry that Elon Musk would in any way try to associate his brand with Bakunin, which is how it came across my twitter feed.
"Huh," I thought.  "I was just vlogging about Bakunin, and how underappreciated he was during the end of his life.  What are the odds?"
Elon Musk, it turns out, was listening to Revolutions Podcast.  And it turns out that, by sheer coincidence, Revolutions Podcast and I were talking about a lot of the same things last week. Revolutions Podcast was also talking about the fight between Mikhail Bakunin and Karl Marx, how the Paris Commune figured into the ideological split between anarchists and communists, and the split of the first International--all topics I tried to cover in the vlog.

But I'd be flattering myself if I implied that there was any equality between my rambling vlog and Revolutions Podcast.  Revolutions Podcast is the real deal--carefully researched, and professional presented.  This, really, is what you should be listening to if you want to learn about the subject, not me.
For the episode on Mikhail Bakunin's biography, see HERE.
For the episode on Bakunin's philosophy, see HERE.  
For the episode on Bakunin's and Marx's view of the Paris Commune, see HERE.
and for the episode on Bakunin's fight with Marx, and the split of the 1st International, see HERE.

(If you're even halfway interested in these topics, it's time well-spent.  Trust me.  These are entertaining and engaging podcasts.)

Revolutions Podcast is by a guy named Mike Duncan (W). He's most famous for his History of Rome Podcast (W), which I only found out about a couple years ago. It came up in a conversation in the school staffroom. 
(We have a lot of good history discussions in the staffroom.  You'd be surprised at how many former history majors and classics majors are teaching English in Asia... actually you probably wouldn't be.  It's probably exactly what you'd expect people would do with a history or classics degree.)
This podcast started in 2007, so it wasn't around when I was in college.  (In fact I'm fairly sure Mike Duncan is a few years younger than I am.)  But my younger colleagues have given me to understand that for ancient history or classics undergraduates nowadays, Mike Duncan's History of Rome Podcast is standard listening for bulking up on all the historical details outside of class.

Then after finishing The History of Rome, Mike Duncan started another podcast of history's revolutions.  It turns out Mike Duncan has the exact same interests as me.  My main historical interests are also ancient Rome, and revolutions.  
It appears Mike Duncan is just an ordinary guy (bachelor's in history) who just deciding to start podcasting about history.  Since he's been working on my historical interests, it occurs to me that Mike Duncan is doing exactly the kind of work that I myself would love to do if only I were better organized and more hard-working.  (And if I had more concentration, and was a better writer, and more intelligent, and had been more aware of what podcasting was and how to do it back in 2007.... etc.)
So I had known about his revolutions podcast, but I hadn't been actively following to it.  (I am planning on listening to the whole thing one day, but I'm working my way through other podcasts first.)  So I didn't realize he was covering the same ground as me last week. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

...I'm not particularly proud of this, but now that it's done I may as well post it here as well.

The origin of this dates back from about 15 years ago, when I had some ideas bouncing around my head, and was toying with the idea of writing a long political manifesto.

I thought about it for a few months, and then never wrote it.  That is the fate of most of my ideas for long epic blog posts.  (And let's face it... that's probably just as well.)

Vlogging, however, allows me to have a shot at the same subject matter without having to do the hard work of writing or paragraphing.  So now that I've started vlogging, it occurred to me that I could perhaps tackle this subject after all.

There were a couple other things that pushed this subject to the front of my brain recently:
* I've been going back and making youtube videos of my old book reviews from 12 years ago, so I've been reminded about a lot of the books I used to read on Anarchism.
* I've been spending way too much time on Leftist Youtube lately, and have discovered there's a whole community of Anarchist youtubers.  (Including another American guy who's also living in Vietnam like me.)  And I've been thinking "Hey! I also know something about this!" So I got the urge to chime in with my own two cents.

The wife and baby were away last week, so I had the apartment to myself, and filmed some videos. I made a rough outline to try to keep myself on topic (something that has been a problem in previous Vlogs).  My notes are HERE, and also posted below. But I didn't get through all the points I had outlined.

As it turned out, the subject was too big, even with the camera on.  (Maybe especially with the camera on.  Writing at least forces you to think about your word choices, but video encourages rambling).

Anyway, for whatever it may be worth, here is my vlog on anarchism

A. Preliminaries
Vlog series, rambling, notes
My history--activist scene.  At first I mocked anarchists. (high school and college education). Media Mouse (Anarchists in Grand Rapids), Reading (History/Biography mainly, not philosophy Melbourne 2010).  Nowadays: not particularly political, no group loyalty, dangers of tribalism
Disclaimer--Other people know this better, Not an expert, Not fresh in memory, Rambling, video time limit, mispronounce French names
Why do? Self-indulgence, (at a coffeehouse talk), possibly clear some stuff up. Invite corrections, Booktube tie in
Structure: What it is, History, arguments for and against.
B. What is Anarchism
Anarchism is difficult to define, and has a lot of different varieties.  Example, the conference I went to.  Anarchists resist strict categorizations.  (Although there are some doctrinaire anarchists.)
Dictionary definition misleading--but same with many political ideologies (Democrats, Republicans, National Socialists, etc).  Historical tradition is more important than definition. Anarchist history 1870s to 1930s.
Anarchism is not anarchy in the sense of chaos (James Bond villain.  Organized anarchism is not an oxymoron).
anarchy= an (no) archy (government/ruler) e.g. monarchy, oligarchy.  Does it mean no government or no ruler?
Usual description: no unjustified hierarchies.  Hierarchy has got to justify itself. (parent/child, ship on high seas)
Anarchism comes out of Socialist tradition--Is this strange?
Common misconceptions: Socialism is higher taxes, Obama-care, etc.  But this is actually welfare state within capitalism
Also: Marx didn’t create Socialism.  Socialist movement from 1820s.
Common misconceptions about capitalism--buying and selling.
History textbooks often say Capitalism emerged in the 18th century.  I found this confusing
Capitalism: shareholders (stockholders) get the profits from the company, not the workers.  (By definition, then, the workers are not being paid the value of their labor, since the profits go to the shareholders).
Socialism: workers control the means of production= workers control the company. (Private property)
Makes sense with anarchism--abolishment of hierarchies.
7. So...It’s on a scale.  Absolute state control of factories (e.g. Stalinism or Maoism) is opposite of anarchism.  But some forms of decentralized democratic socialism are quite close to (or equivalent to) more organized schools of anarchism.  (My experience debating Socialists).  Some of the difference is what tradition you want to identify yourself with. Libertarian Socialism
8. Anarchism: small communes organized into federations.  Direct democracy or recallable elected representatives.  Consensus democracy. (Consensus minus 1).
9. Anarcho-communism versus anarcho-syndicalism.

B. History
Antiquity--Modern (after French Revolution) Max Stirner
Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin
First to self-identify as anarchist. Famous dialogue (But Bakunin often seen as founder). Proudhon more in Socialist tradition. (Against violence)
Biographies: Couldn’t find on Amazon.  Revolutions of 1848 by Priscilla Robertson (Part in the Revolution)
Also, feud with Marx (Marx feuded a lot): Philosophy of Poverty/ Poverty of Philosophy.  Any biography
Dark side of Proudon: anti-semitism (but not major), Patriarchal
Property is theft
4. Bakunin
Russian aristocratic family:
Bakunin also involved in Revolutions of 1848 (Revolutions of 1848 by Priscilla Robertson)  With Wagner (Wagner: A Documentary Study edited by Herbert Barth, Dietrich Mack, Egon Voss)
Imprisonment in Russia, escape to Japan-USA-Europe
Feud with Marx--
Bakunin’s darkside: antisemitism (Francis Wheen: Karl Marx A life), also his love of conspiracies (anti-democratic) Sergey Nechayev; Catechism of a Revolutionary.  Careless about Revolutions (not like Marx).  Also not as brilliant as Marx
But… critiques of Marx still hold (Isaiah Berlin) We believe power corrupts those who wield it as much as those who are forced to obey it. Under its influence, some become greedy and ambitious tyrants, exploiting society in their own interest, or in that of their class, while others are turned into abject slaves. Intellectuals, positivists, doctrinaires, all those who put science before life…defend the idea of the state and its authority as being the only possible salvation of society-quite logically, since from their false premises that thought comes before life, that only abstract theory can form the starting-point of social practice…they draw the inevitable conclusion that since such theoretical knowledge is at present possessed by very few, these few must be put in control of social life, not only to inspire, but to direct all popular movements, and that no sooner is the revolution over than a new social organization must be at once be set up; not a free association of popular bodies…working in accordance with the needs and instincts of the people but a centralized dictatorial power concentrated in the hands of this academic minority, as if they really expressed the popular will….The difference between such revolutionary dictatorship and the modern State is only one of external trappings. In substance both are a tyranny of the minority over the majority in the name of the people-in the name of the stupidity of the many and the superior wisdom of the few-and so they are equally reactionary, devising to secure political and economic privilege to the ruling minority, and the…enslavement of the masses, to destroy the present order only to erect their own rigid dictatorship on its ruins.
End of life: (The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth...and Bakunin, An Invention by Horst Bienek
Workingman’s International--1872 expulsion (and New York) Jura Federation--1876
5. Kropotkin
I’ve read about the least--but he has the best reputation (reasonable, no crackpot.)
The Great French Revolution --A People’s History of the World by Chris Harman
Supported World War I-- Marxists always bring this up (Emma Goldman autobiography)
6. Paris Commune
Big in Marxist and Anarchist mythology, but ultimately an unplanned revolution.  (Marx warned against it).  Working class revolution, but ideology confused
Anarchist--City autonomous.  Recallable delegates (Bakunin at Lyon the year before)
Marx--name associated with it, but delayed Isaiah Berlin, Paris Commune, Revolution and Reaction
Revolution went off--election Jacobin (Blanquist) majority, Proudhonist Socialist Minority (anarchist), Louise Michel (Louise Michel by Edith Thomas)
"The most fundamental split in the Commune so far had taken place, and henceforth its Assembly would consist of a Majority and Minority faction; the one, controlled by Jacobins, wanting to exercise dictatorship and terror--the methods of '93--and blaming the failures of the Commune upon the sentimentality of the Socialists; the other desiring to govern by reasonably democratic methods, to observe moderation in order to leave, as Rochefort put it, 'the door at least half open to conciliation'. In the light of twentieth-century history, it seems perhaps ironical that the exponents of democracy and moderation should have been chiefly the Internationalists, the forefathers of Lenin's Bolsheviks."--The Fall of Paris by Alistair Horne
Brutal repression--future violence
7. Propaganda of the Deed
assassinations--targeted and not so targeted (The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth)
8. Anarchism in the United States
Haymarket massacre 1886
Emma Goldman (Living my Life)
Homestead Strike--Henry Clay Frick--Attempted Assassination
Socialist Critique of this--undemocratic--Emma Goldman sort of realizes this later in life
Leon Czolgosz--assassinated President of the United States (Weird, isn’t it?)  Inspired by anarchists in Europe (witnessed police brutality).  Not allowed in any anarchist group, and yet he self-identified as an anarchist.  (Brings up problems of self-identification, group responsibility).  Disavowed by anarchists, except Emma Goldman.
9. China--attraction to anarchism in 1910s and 1920s--Chinese Communist Party largely made up of anarchists until Cominterm, Chen Duxiu used to be anarchist, sons anarchist
10. Korea--anarchists in 1910s
11. Japan
1910 crackdown--accused of killing the emperor
Osugi Sakae (Sakae Osugi) Memoirs of an anarchist--childhood, Osugi Sakae: Anarchist in Taisho Japan by Thomas Stanley. Free love scandal.  Murdered by police in 1923 (precursor to crackdown).
People my age didn’t know him, but 1968 generation did.  Anarchist versus socialist.  (Chomsky)
12. Spain--Spanish Civil War
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Holocaust (120,000 buses), Stalin secret police Gulag
Manhattan project
anarchist space program

Vlog: Anarchism

Anarchist in Grand Rapids:

Part 2: Anarchism

Books Mentioned:

Biographies of Marx:

Part 3: Anarchism

Books Mentioned:
Bakunin, An Invention by Horst Bienek

The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth

Revolutions of 1848 by Priscilla Robertson

Karl Marx: A Life by Francis Wheen

Karl Marx: His Life and Environment by Isaiah Berlin

Wagner: A Documentary Study edited by Herbert Barth, Dietrich Mack, Egon Voss

Living My Life by Emma Goldman:

A People's History of the World by Chris Harman

Books Mentioned:

Living My Life by Emma Goldman:

The Civil War in France by Karl Marx:

Revolution and Reaction: The Paris Commune 1871 by John Hick and Robert Tucker

Karl Marx: His Life and Environment by Isaiah Berlin

Revolutions of 1848 by Priscilla Robertson

The Fall of Paris by Alistair Horne

The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth

Louise Michel by Edith Thomas

Playlist HERE

Addendum 1 HERE
Addendum 2 HERE

Monday, July 08, 2019

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway: Book Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Spider-Man: Far From Home

(Movie Review)

The Review
A fun little Superhero movie, but nothing particularly groundbreaking like Endgame.

I suppose it's unfair to compare this movie to Avengers: Endgame.  Not every movie can or should be a huge event movie like Endgame.  You need the ordinary superhero movies in between so that the big event movies can feel special.  But... I can't help but think it, this movie does feel a bit anti-climatic after Endgame.

A good Spider-Man movie needs to focus on Peter Parker's high school angst, and Peter Parker's group of teenage friends. 
A Marvel Cinematic Universe movie needs to make connections to the larger world of superheros and reference the big events that happened in previous movies.
This movie does as good a job of balancing the two as can be hoped for.  The decision to send Peter Parker's high school friends on a European field trip allowed the writers to take the story to exotic locations, while still keeping the focus on the group of friends.

The movie is lighthearted and fun.  With a lot of jokes thrown in.
If I was inclined to be critical, I could complain that the movie is not quite as funny as it thinks it is.  (Quite often I thought that a corny joke didn't quite merit all the set-up that the movie gave it).  But why complain about nitpicks? These Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have always done a fairly good job of managing the tone-- keeping their movies fun, but also keeping the stakes real.  (After the complete failure of the DC Cinematic Universe to manage the same act, it's a reminder that we've gotten spoiled by how good the Marvel movies are.) 

Other Notes
* I was a little concerned at first that Marvel was throwing away the dramatic weight behind their own storyline by treating the "blip" as just a joke.  But after thinking about it, I think it works.  The opening scenes were just showing how high school students would react to the blip.  Of course from a high school student's perspective, the injustice of having to retake mid-terms would be the most important thing about the blip. 
This doesn't preclude a later movie from taking a more serious look at the massive societal disruption the blip must have caused.

7 out of 10 Stars.  (Good fun film, but just as easily forgettable).

Marvel Cinematic Universe Reviews Links

1. Iron Man
2. The Incredible Hulk
3. Iron Man 2
4. Thor
5. Captain America: The First Avenger
6. The Avengers
7. Iron Man 3
8. Thor 2: Dark World
9. Captain America 2: Winter Soldier
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
12. Ant-Man
13. Captain America 3: Civil War
14. Doctor Strange--Haven't seen yet
15. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
16. Spider-Man: Homecoming
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18: Black Panther
19. Avengers: Infinity War
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp ,
21. Captain Marvel--Haven't seen yet
22. Avengers: Endgame

Video Review:
Video review HERE and embedded below:

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky - The Relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism (1976)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Horror BookTube Tag

Video in which I got tagged:

The Questions (Which I Ignored):
1. How and when did you get into horror?
2. What was the first horror book that you read?
3. What horror-related goodness can we expect from your channel?
4. Do you have any favourite themes or subgenres within horror?
5. Name an underrated horror novel or author.
6. Name an overrated horror novel or author.
7. Recommend three of your favourite horror novels.
8. Recommend a book for someone who is new to the horror genre.
9. Are there any book to film adaptations that you particularly loved or hated?
10. How do you discover new, or new to you, horror books?
11. What was the last horror book that you bought?
12. What horror book is at the top of your wishlist?
13. (Optional) Tag some people.

Some of the books mentioned and links to my reviews:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore

Slime by Joseph Payne Brennan

The Hound of the Baskervilles

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

Addendum: Books I should've mentioned, but totally forgot about:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Vampire Blood Trilogy by Darren Shan

Graham Quigley

Stripped Cover Lit:

Tags Playlist HERE:

Today in Hey! I Know that Guy!
My former pastor is currently in the national news.  His story is being reported on in publications across the country, for example, the Los Angeles Times:
Minneapolis pastor defrocked and his church expelled for permitting gay marriage
(Also in the New York Times: Minneapolis Church Expelled Over Support of Gay Marriage)

A few notes:
* I currently consider myself an agnostic, and so arguably no longer have a stake in Christian internecine feuds.  But I do feel like whether you're a Christian or not, you can't help but admire someone who is standing up for their beliefs.  I certainly do.  I feel great admiration for him in sticking to his principles in spite of the cost.

* Related to the above point: This guy has always been a class-act.  Dignified and authoritative, but also friendly and approachable.  Always calm, always knowledgeable, always caring.  I admired him back then, and I still do.
...all this in spite of the fact that, as I've moved from Christian to agnostic over the years, I've gone on to reject most of what he taught me about the Bible.
But then, there you go.  That's the thing, isn't it?  It just goes to show how little ideological alignment matters in human relations.  I once had a high school religion teacher, who told us: "Years from now, you won't remember any of the things I've taught you, but you'll remember how I treated you."  So true.

* Interestingly enough, the only issue I ever openly challenged him on was on this same exact issue: homosexuality.  I detailed the whole story at some length (and with a fair bit of digressions and rambling) in this old blog post HERE.
Either his opinions must have evolved over the years. Or perhaps he had more private sympathy for my position than he let on.  (I do remember him laying some stress on the fact that the denomination's official position on the issue had been to re-affirm that homosexuality was a sin, with the implication being that it was outside of his control.)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Started: Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener  (This is a re-read.  I've already read it and reviewed it once before HERE).

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner: Book Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Sunday is the Lord's Day--Interesting Random Facts
So, given the fact that throughout the Bible, the Sabbath is supposed to be on Saturday, why do we celebrate it on Sunday?
My 8th grade Bible teacher told us that the Church moved it to Sunday because Jesus rose again on a Sunday.
But I recently got into a discussion with a 7th Day Adventist about it.  And I began to think that the explanation my 8th grade Bible teacher gave us was probably a bit simplistic.  I mean, what was the history of this decision?  When were the church councils?  What was the debate?
(And funny, I thought, that I had never been intellectually curious about this before.  But a lot of things are like that, aren't they?  You can go for years without thinking about something, and then suddenly get curious about it one day.)

My 7th Day Adventist friend told us that the whole reason the Catholic Church moved it to Sunday in the first place was because they were trying to co-opt the Roman day of Sun worship.  (Sunday was also the Sun Day in the classical Roman calendar as well.)  This actually sounds plausible enough.  The early church co-opted a number of ancient pagan holidays and rituals.  (Easter and Christmas were both former pagan holidays that the Church co-opted, for example).

According to Wikipedia, no one really knows when or why the early Church switched the Lord's Day to Sunday.  It was just one of those things that got established somewhere in early Christian tradition, and then people have been guessing about the reason ever since.  The theory about Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday is one plausible explanation.  But the theory of trying to co-opt the Sun worship day is also plausible, and apparently Constantine's edict officially moving the Lord's Day to Sunday was also influenced by Pagan Sun Worship.

Either way, it is an odd Church tradition that is explicitly in conflict with numerous Biblical texts both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
I mean, sure, Christianity broke with Judaism on any number of traditions.  But usually there is some scripture in the New Testament that explicitly justifies that break.  We don't get circumcised anymore because Paul wrote in the New Testament that gentiles no longer have to get circumcised.  We don't keep Kosher laws anymore because Peter had a vision in the book of Acts that he could eat unclean meat.

But the day of rest on Sunday?  There is nothing in the Old or New Testament to justify this.  (Jesus and Paul both kept the traditional Sabbath day.)  And there is tons of stuff in the Bible about remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy.  Like, it's a really, really big reoccurring theme throughout the Bible.  And also seems to be implicitly supported in the New Testament by the respect Jesus and Paul give to the Sabbath.  So.... kind of strange that the early Church just disregarded it for some unknown reason, right?

Bonus Interesting Random Fact
...Speaking of  7th Day Adventists, there is a lot of interesting stuff on Wikipedia about 7th Day Adventists.  Check out this whole long article on "The Great Disappointment" about what happened when Jesus did not return on October 22, 1844.