Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Improv Everywhere

Man. I absolutely love these guys for doing this. The moment where the two little kids are shown made me so happy to think about the magic those two must have been feeling, seeing Darth Vader and Princess Leia in real life. They may be old enough to understand that it is not real, but the thought made me happy nonetheless.

If you have not already experienced the joy of Improv Everywhere, go spend an hour or two on their website. It is wonderful.

Here they re-enact the opening scene from Star Wars: A New Hope.

In this one they re-enact the library scene from Ghostbusters.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Papa's Poem Corner Episode 35: Stefu Financial Advice

I don't plug other people's blogs on here too much (more like I don't think I ever have before). I guess I figure you all already know each other and read each other's blogs. In case this is not so, let me tell you about Stefu Investing. My good friend (whose name I will not write in its entirety just in case he would not want me to) runs it and he gives financial advice on how to save money and plan for the future. He does this while making it fun to read, which is an art in and of itself, because for some people talking about financial matters is like getting your teeth pulled.

Check it out (and thanks Stefu for all the timely, tantalizingly tasty tips). In honor of your financial goodliness, I wrote a poem for you.

Sir Stefu, If It Please You

Sir Stefu, if it please you,
continue to lob your soft bloggy blobs
of wisdom at my brain.

I want to purchase many things:
rings for my Wifey and comforts for my lifey
and maybe someday go to Spain.

But first I'll have to learn to save,
for good times and those rainy days
or be caught in a world of pain.

So let me give my hearty thanks,
singing your praises indeed, post haste
Thank you Magic Money Man, Sir Stefu The Sane.

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Nine: Dark Magics Not Served Here

It's back! The one, the only... John's old boring essay! I think I can wrap this thing up in two more installments. Que gozo. <-- Spanish for "What joy." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In fact, compared to many popular science fiction movies, the magic of Harry Potter seems less extraordinary. Star Trek presents a futuristic world in which space travel is possible to a far greater extent than our current technologies allow us to go. Yet, bad acting seems to be the largest complaint made against the show. Star Trek presents the imagined technologies available to them as of the future, and society accepts it as perfectly acceptable. Harry Potter calls it magic and the complaints start pouring in. Mike Hertenstein argued that "if it makes a moral difference to you whether the carpet is powered by pixie dust or a dilithium crystal, I would suggest you're missing the point" (qtd. in Osling 6).
In the world of Harry Potter, "magic is a matter of training..." (Ostling 10). Great emphasis is placed on discipline and mastery. The greatest of wizards and witches must train and study for years to master the art. It is the tedious nature of learning that brings the amount of self-control necessary to wield such great power. Magic which is mystical in nature or easily obtained is looked upon with disdain by the magic society. Take for example the way Professor Trelawney, whose main area of expertise is divination or in essence fortune-telling, is treated. She is mocked and set aside more as novelty than as a legitimate source of magic. One reason for that may be the lack of control she is able to have over her magic. It is wholly dependent upon supernatural phenomenal forces, thus it is considered silly to pursue it as a legitimate study of magic. Lindy Beam remarked "An odd phenomenon it is when, even in a book about magic, the Western value of reason and accomplishment is held up over the supernatural as a source of power" (qtd. in Ostling 10).
In fact, great effort is given to distinguish occult dark magic from "technological" magic in both form and application. Those wielders of dark magic are pointedly different from the rest of the magic world. The Death Eaters (Voldemort's band of evil power-hungry followers) are not pleasant people. They are largely border-line insane and egotistical. They are self-serving and most often "racist" in their pure-blood status. The types of spells they use not only bring harm to others; they also differ greatly from the spells used by good wizards. In fact, even the ingredients used in many of those spells are strange and dark. In order to purchase those dark ingredients, they have to go to seedy scary locations. Rowling effectively illustrates the differences between dark occult and good "technology" based magic. Good magic helps others and its basic use is convenience. That being the case, then perhaps Harry Potter is guiltier of promoting laziness than witchcraft.

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