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Flight (The New Moon Walkthrough Ch. 19)

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

We made our flight with seconds to spare”

Have you ever been on a flight? Has anyone at any time ever gotten to the airport with seconds to spare and just made the counter? Oh you have? That’s because it was pre-9/11 wasn’t it. While I’m against shoehorning the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 into any story just for the sake of doing it, I’m also kind of for it when you reflect on how much it changed life in the US. Bill Maher openly declares that the security protocols instituted after 9/11 are less “war on terror” and more “war on travel.” You can’t just show up at an airport and buy a ticket with seconds to spare. You have to be there early, early early. Especially for international flights. Now, granted, two white girls from Washington State aren’t exactly on the stop and frisk list, but their behavior would still raise some eyebrows. Besides aren’t we missing something here? Like some explanation of where they are.

Last chapter ended with Alice and Bella taking off for Italy from Forks. Now, unless Forks has an international airport (it doesn’t) we need some transition from where they were to where they are. Did they take the flight from Seattle or some other city? Is there a layover? I mean there has to be, no plane is going to make the trip from Washington to Italy without refueling. Odds are they stop in either NYC or somewhere in Canada. Ok, we’re not there yet, but I’m willing to bet these details about flying aren’t coming. Honestly at this point it would just make more sense if they borrowed from the George Lucas and the Muppets to “travel by map.”

Alice does a curious thing while the flight is still ascending, she uses the phone, “Alice lifted the phone on the back of the seat in front of her before we’d stopped climbing, turning her back on the stewardess who eyed her with disapproval. Something about my expression stopped the stewardess from coming over to protest.”

No that’s not what happens at all, at least not in real life. The curious thing about this universe is that Meyer alternates between trying for realism with quasi-scientific explanations of certain things but then ditches all of that when she feels it convenient. The tidal pools from the first book showed at least some basic research into nature. Yet when it comes to plot convenience the real world doesn’t matter anymore. If it were consistent, it would still be annoying, but at least it wouldn’t be jarring. Here we are supposed to be getting the impression that Alice’s phone call is important, too important to wait. She had plenty of time to make this call on their way to Seattle…or wherever so she uses the phone in the plane in defiance of every airplane’s rule about not doing so.

It matters because the plane’s phones won’t work until the airplane is safely in the sky. The reason for this: radio transmissions have the capability of screwing up an airplane’s radio tethering to from one control tower to another. Mythbusters proved this back in 2006. Shout conspiracy all you want, but no airline in the world lets you do it.*

The plane is in the air, Alice has hung up explaining that Emmet and Jasper are going to try and stop Edward from killing himself. His plan is a little convoluted and at odds with what we were told last chapter. Edward isn’t going to ask the Volturi to kill him, he’s going to force their hand by either killing a whole bunch of people or throwing a car through a window (someone saw Spiderman 2). Just like suicide by cop, he’s going to expose the vampires and they are going to have to put him down.

That begs the question, who are the Volturi? It’s exposition time! For around five pages we get the usual tired tropes about vampires: royalty, powerful, legions of guards, handpicked, yadda yadda. They are also old, three thousand years old in fact; why they are older than Jesus. As lords of vampiredom they enforce the rule, the only rule, the same rule that Woody and Buzz abide by–they can’t expose themselves to the human folk. Despite the fact that they have no reason to hide. None at all. Just think about the world three thousand years ago. We’re talking the end of the bronze age, the proto iron age is beginning. The Greeks don’t even have their written language yet, (still using linear B-the losers) David is king of the Israelites which means weapon of mass destruction=sling, and the Zhou dynasty still has 800 years left in it. The point is that warfare is still a one on one physical affair and the vampires decided to hide from the world instead of setting themselves up as the godkings over humanity? Given their abilities they would have had no match. Perhaps one human gets lucky and cuts a head off or two, but that’s it. He has to sleep sometime.

Is planning to flout that in their own city-the city they’ve secretly held for three thousand years, since the time of the Etruscans.

Ah the Etruscans, the people that gave us the fascii, the bundle of reeds with an axe in it symbolizing the monopoly of the state over violence. (you can see one in the US Capitol building, it’s a replica) Too bad the Etruscans weren’t a civilization until the seventh century BC. Being accurate here, would actually make the Volturi seem more fearsome but whatever.

Alice discusses how dangerous and difficult this is going to be. Bella doesn’t care because if they kill Edward, they’ll probably kill her too and that’s ok, because what is living without your sociopathic boyfriend who already dumped you? Alice, to her credit, gets angry, “Knock it off Bella, or we’re turning around in New York and going back to Forks.”

Ok, so the layover got mentioned. I wonder if it’s an idle threat. Is Alice really going to sacrifice Eddie to teach Bella a lesson? Is there a way they can both die? These are the questions I want answered but am thwarted at every turn.

What’s frustrating is that there are two side conversations that shouldn’t be here in any respect. The first is that Alice mulls over turning Bella into a vampire. I suppose it’s a long flight but given that Alice knows Bella’s desire does it really make sense to get her hopes up? The second is more plot based.

Alice reports her visions of the future as soon as she gets them to Bella. Edward has asked the Volturi to die, they offer him a job with them because he’s oh-so-special. Even though he really isn’t, he has faulty telepathy. Then Edward begins to think of ways to expose himself as a vampire. The conflicting visions are good, because it represents the branching timeline given Edward’s choice, that’s actually-dare I say-clever. My issue is that I can’t seem to fathom how far in the future these decisions are. We know from experience that Alice sometimes sees minutes ahead. I’m confused as to whether I should be feeling tension or despair. As they land we aren’t told the time of day. It can’t be day light out or else Alice is going to sparkle up the airport, but the sense of panic only allows us to assume that it’s just Eddie that sparkles. It’s too bad also that neither the Peretola airport nor the Sixt Autonoloeggio Firenze are international airports either. For that they are flying into Pisa at the Galileo Galileii airport.

This is important because they have to steal a car to drive to Volterra. They jack a yellow Porsche and now must speed down the highway to cross the forty miles in order to find and save Eddie from doing something incredibly stupid. It’s not just the suicide either, it’s his method. He’s basically going to out every vampire in the world with this one act. All because he has some pain, selfish jerkoff.

__________________________
*Caveat. Certain airplines are attempting it, but very careful electromagnetic shielding goes into the plane to protect the cockpit. This is still in the experimental stage.

Physics

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Inquiries about the workings of nature are universal among human societies, almost as universal as the existence of alcohol. The stoic argument is that the world is infused with the gods, that the world is divine. This is not to say that the gods of the Stoic world were the gods of the Greeks, while the term “Zeus” is used sometimes this is just a generic term for the Supreme God, the creative force behind all of the creation, i.e. nature itself. For the Stoics the word “nature” didn’t just mean the outside world with grass and hills and all of the other stuff we in Western society claim that we’re going to go out and get into sometime, just not today…later. Next week, but not Thursday that’s not a good day. Because the world is divine any enquiry into the workings of the natural world can no longer be considered strictly “science” it now has to be considered theology as well.

 

Nature for the Stoics is that which sustains the world, what makes the things grow. It is not directed but self directing.[1] Physics is the inquiry into the workings of nature. For this the Stoic physicists divide the world into two categories of causes: specific and generic. Specific causes are the i) bodies, ii) principles, iii) elements, iv) gods, and v) limits, place and void; for the generic causes i) the world, ii) the elements, iii) enquiry into causes.[2] Diogenes also divides the world into two principles: that which acts (the logoi of Heraclitus) which is everlasting and that which is acted upon: the unqualified substance, i.e. matter. These principles are ungenerated and imperishable, they are bodies without form. The elements which are particulars in this understanding are those that pass away they are the bodies with form, i.e. tables, chairs, all things which exist and have shape.[3] Calcidius summarizes Zeno’s (the founder of the school) position, “so he thinks there will be no form of shape or quality at all intrinsic to matter which is the basis of all things; yet it is always united and inseperably connected with some quality or other.[4]” Matter exists, but as pure matter it has no form. Then how does matter achieve form.

 

This allows a conception of the world that falls under what is now known as the “design argument,” although perhaps this is the earliest formulations of the argument itself. It begins by stating that any thing which is needs to be shaped and formed by cause.[5] From that starting point the rest becomes obvious. If there are bodies with form, which began as formless bodies something must have caused the form to attach to the body. The standard objection to the design argument still holds, we cannot favor this iteration because it’s older than the ones that we are more familiar with: that if all things require cause then what caused the cause? Is it an infinite regression or do we arbitrarily stop with a notion of “god?”

 

Moving past that, we have the ultimate difficulty in which we must discuss the bodies with form. Understanding that “body” applies to any thing physical, for it is only the physical that can act or be acted upon.[6] The standard definition of body applies here, that is the definition laid out by Euclid in his elements, that body is that which as length, width and depth. TO this the Stoics add a curious but essential remark, that the body needs resistance as well. In other words a body cannot pass through another body. Euclid’s omission of this fact is probably due to his concentration on mathematical formulations and in the purely idealist realm of math it does not matter if two bodies overlap. Adding resistance moves us away from the theoretical and into the real.

 

If we have the case in which bodies must possess resistance to be physical, and only physical things can affect physical things is then the soul physical? The Stoics believed that this indeed must be the case. The common understanding of death (even today) is that death is the separation of the soul from the body. Accepting this means that the soul must be physical for if the soul was incorporeal then it could not be separated from the body for it could never have been attached.[7]

 

Because all of the things in the world are with form, they are all perishable. While the divine is mixed in with all the world, excepting of course the void which simply is not, it is also the first cause. It created the first element, which is fire[8] then the other three of the classical elements. The method in doing so is along the lines of the Pre-Socratic Anaximenes, through condensation and rarefaction fire becomes water, earth, and air. Which are then intermingled, but make no mistake—like the Vikings believed the world ends in fire.

 

It is perishable, all of it simply because the parts are perishable. And in anything, that which has perishable parts is perishable as a whole.[9] This destruction is not final.

 

The world recurs over and over again, ad infinitum. It is generated, exists for a time (time is the world’s motion), and then it perishes in the great conflagration only to begin anew. The Stoics seem to offer no proof for this, only that this is simply one of the tenets of their beliefs. This brings us to a question that is implied by this belief. Simplicius, in his treatise on Aristotle’s Physics, asks whether the person in this existence is the same as the person in the prior world or the subsequent one. It’s a valid concern as it addresses a conception of whether or not we are our matter or not. If everything is exactly the same then how can we claim that we are unique, when in fact everything which is has had infinite predecessor and will have infinite successors?[10]

 

In the long run, it won’t matter. As the Stoics adopt a position that only the present matters. The far future or the far past matter as nothing to the individual. We only have the present at our disposal, and we cannot be deprived of the future nor the past because we don’t posses them, and no one can suffer a loss for that which they do not have.[11]


[1] Diogenes Laertius

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] Calcidius

[5] Sextus Empiricus 9.75

[6] Cicero Academica

[7] Nemesius

[8] Aristocles

[9] Diogenes Laertius

[10] Simplicius, “On Aristotle’s Physics”

[11] Emp. Marcus Aurellius

Categories: philosophy

I’m sure I’ll do Fine

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I title this post because while I’m sure they are done with the best intentions, I’m just venting my frustration and I’m sure everything will work out.

On Monday my QP is due. Or it may be that they “are due” I’m really not sure how many are supposed to be done. The assignment is one, but I know that some people turn in two, so I prepared two much to the neglect of my classes that have currently started. The QP is the “Qualifying Paper,” a requirement that I need to jump through in order to get a PhD. It’s basically just another paper that I have to write that has no class attached to it.

My previous foray in Grad school took this differently. After our first semester we have a test, of five essay questions that was due after the first month of our second semester. Again, it took away from the classes that I was supposed to be taking at the time. Why neither school has decided that it might be better to have these things due at the end of the summer, or at the end of the first month of the summer is a question that I may want to bring up should the situation arise where my input is solicited. The exam was a chore, but a chore that made some sense as to the requirements. The QP is extremely vague.

The only requirements we have are the amount of writing (4500-6000 words), that we write an abstract (brief summary of the paper), and have a bibliography. There is nothing indicated that gives us a clue as to what makes a good QP. The only guidance we have is the suggestion that we use a paper previously submitted to a class and make corrections based on the Professor’s remarks. That professor is not supposed to give us guidance on the paper if they know we are to use it as a QP. I don’t know the reasoning behind this.

The trouble is that within the last year or so there was some problem regarding the QPs. Students were turning in amended papers from classes they received an A in. The papers were failing the QP, but that seemed impossible–if they were getting A’s then how were they failing the requirement? Apparently the professor in question was an easy grader, but that still begs the question of how can a paper fail? Were they that badly written, was the professor not even looking at them? Even given that there was an easy grader looking at the papers, how easy must he (I assume as there are only two female professors in the grad school) have been?

I have prepared two papers, one of them for my philosophical issues in biomedicine class and the other from the aesthetics class. I chose the biomedicine paper not because it was my best one, or the one that I like the most, but because it is the paper that I had to rewrite four times. This gives me the confidence that it ought to be ok, I did enough of the research and the writing is definitely good. My only question is that it may not be philosophical enough, most of the paper is spent on studying the bullshit vaccine controversy and cloning but those are philosophical issues-it’s just not metaphysical.

The second, the aesthetic paper, is a bit strange because I just wrote it and am kind of sick of working on it. My trouble with that paper is that my references are not high brow and for some reason I think this may hurt it. Most aesthetic papers deal with concertos and english literature whereas mine references Escape From New York and the Warriors. Again I know that I am psyching myself out. It’s just one of those things that vodka takes care of.

Categories: Uncategorized

Can You Hear Me Now? (New Moon Ch. 18)

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

History time:

Back in 1973, Martin Cooper of Motorola made a phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell labs. It wasn’t just a normal phone call, if it were, I probably wouldn’t be mentioning it. Motorola and Bell Labs (then owned by AT&T) were in competition to build the modern cell phone. When Martin Cooper made the call in 1973, he was effectively telling Engel, “we won.” They had done it, built a phone that could be carried (sort of) around wherever a person went. This wasn’t the first time, in 1946, a mobile telephone call had been made but the phone wasn’t exactly portable, it weighed over 88lbs (40kg) and it was not a cellular phone but a radio telephone. The differences are minor but the point is that this technology is old.

Only within the last decade or so has the use of cellular phones become ubiquitous to the point that the United Nations has declared them to have spread faster than any other technology. This is evidenced by the fact that it seems more odd if a person doesn’t have one than if they do. This will all be important in a little bit.

We are not doing the typical chapter summary this week. The reason is that I just realized exactly what the plot hinges on, what is now driving it, and it’s utterly ridiculous. In brief here’s what happens in the chapter that isn’t the real important thing: Jacob comes over, yells at Bella for being a vampire lover, Bella explains that she loves Alice and isn’t going to dump her* but can’t they all be friends. Everything kind of works out, there’s a scene where Jacob almost gets kissin’ action until Alice gets a phone call. She looks scared.

Here’s where we get going, keep in mind everything I said about the cell phone before.

In the first novel the vampires had cell phones. The poor Swans and Blacks even have Antonio Meucci’s device in their houses. People have the ability to make phone calls in this book. I know that I keep hammering that position but I really want to be clear about that fact because it is very curious that no one even thinks to pick up the damn phone:

-Last chapter Alice told us that she had a vision of Bella jumping off a cliff. Instead of picking up a phone and calling her immediately she buys a ticket, gets on a plane, and comes down to save her–getting there too late. See what I mean? If Alice had simply had the vision (of which there are numerous problems but–I’m not going to get into that) then dialed up Bella to make sure she was ok everything would have been fine.

This is another problem I have, that I ought to have brought up earlier. Why did Alice have to break up with Bella when Edward did. I know it would be kind of weird, but Alice could have still been friends with Bella. Is Eddie the king of the Cullens? As much as I hate Ed and Bella, it might have been nice for Alice to continue to have her friend. It’s not like Bella left Scientology and now the rest of her clan have to shun her (you can sub in Mormonism/Amish for Scientology there if you prefer).

Back to Alice not calling, maybe she didn’t call because she saw that Bella was ok and just wanted to see her. It’s a stretch because it goes against specifically what is said by her, but we can still pretend right?

Alice’s phone call was preceded by a mysterious phone call that Jacob answers. What happens is this: the phone rings and Jake grabs it. By the way we are at Bella’s house but it’s the man’s role to answer the phone. Jacob answers a few questions, then mutters a derogatory comment about vampires. What Jacob tells the person on the other line is that Charlie is not home, he’s at the funeral.

This is the “plot.” The person on the other line was Edward asking for Charlie. Why was he doing this? Because Alice told her family that she saw Bella die in the future, at which point she flew down. Edward, who apparently still cares for Bella but not enough to call her on the phone, called Charlie to offer his condolences I suppose–instead of doing anything at ANY POINT EARLIER TO STOP WHAT ALICE KNEW WAS HAPPENING. When he finds out the exact thing that he expected he hangs up.

At this point Alice gets a call from Carlisle. Here’s where it gets stupid(er). Because Edward thinks Bella committed suicide, six months after they broke up, he is going to the Volturri (I’m not looking it up) to die. He’s going to ask them to kill him, something he can’t do himself for whatever reason, because he blames himself for Bella’s suicide. This, despite the fact that it’s been several months and she could have done so for any number of reasons (broken family issues, other people, realization that she’s a horrible person) he can’t live without her–even though he dumped her, moved away, and told her he was never going to see her again.

It’s also been two days since Alice got to Bella’s house. Upon arriving, why didn’t she just call to check in, “hey Carlisle, yeah it’s me. You know how sometimes I’m wrong with my predictions and don’t see everything, well it happened again. Yeah Bella’s fine, by the way I can’t see werewolves in my visions and the Forks is overrun with trash now, those two statements aren’t independent. bye bye.”

The entire developing “plot” would be thus eviscerated. The phone call Alice should have made would have prevented Eddie from thinking Bella had died. No need to suddenly head to Italy to save him.

Never mind that the plan is stupid: couldn’t they just throw a call to the Italians and let them know that Ed is operating under incorrect information, “Hey Viktor, yeah Alice Cullen. No, Cullen…C-U-L-L-E-N. Yeah, Carlisle’s kid, sure whatever. Listen remember Edward, Edward. Kind of douchey looking, spikey hair, angsty for no reason…yeah him, the asshole. Listen he thinks his girlfriend whom he dumped committed suicide and thinks he’s responsible…no six months ago…yeah he is self-centered…I know…listen, she’s alive and fine…just let him know…I’ll see you…I promise I’ll visit…ok bye bye”

Boom. Book solved. Instead they have to go to Italy. Does Bella have a passport? She does. Why? Because she needed one to attend a failed attempt by her crazy mom to marry her boyfriend. Odd, that she would need a passport for that.

The thing about cellular phones now is that they have quick access to the internet, if you have the right model. Of course in 2006 they wouldn’t have unless you had a BlackBerry or a Nokia Symbian, which was in the book was written. Why is that important? Because in 2006 you didn’t need a passport to get into Mexico or Canada. All you needed was a valid ID, and a reason for doing so. The US used to have an open border policy which used to be a big deal given that the US/Canadian border was the largest unprotected border in the world. They stupidly changed that policy in 2009 to prevent…uh, something I’m sure. What I’m saying is that while having a passport let’s you cross the border easier, it isn’t essential and if you were only planning on going to Mexico for one thing you probably wouldn’t grab a passport. Research Meyer.

All of chapter 18 could have been taken care of in two phone calls. Now, we have to chase Alice and Bella to Italy. Which, by the way, Bella decides to up and leave her father, who just loss a close friend, in the care of Jacob who doesn’t have the time due to the hunting of Victoria. Nice girl.

_______________________________________
*American President Thomas Jefferson rewrote the bible removing all references to the supernatural, it would be interesting to do that with this series: what we would be left with is the story of a depressed angsty narcissistic girl who falls for a abusive sociopathic boy and his weird cult family. That would be the first book, the second would–as of right now–be about a love square between Bella, Jacob, Alice, and her ex-boyfriend whom we don’t see anymore. Without all the vampires and werewolves it almost sounds quite compelling.

The End and Happiness (Section 63 The Hellenistic Philosophers Vol. 1)

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

The advantage of studying the Hellenistic philosophies is that they don’t merely relegate themselves to academic pursuits, they are more about ways of living along with academic pursuits. Stoicism and Epicureanism are not just ways of determining Being, or determining whether the cat is on the mat, but then do not matter at all in the individual’s daily life. Stoicism, the third of the major Greek schools: the others being Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lyceum, and Epicurus’ Agora; was literally created by word of mouth. The story is that Zeno taught underneath a porched a column (the stoa), attracted followers and became an established school.

 Stoicism eschews devotion to the gods of the Hellenic/Roman world although it does not go as far as the disciples of Epicurus in advocating atheism. For the Stoics the divine is nature, for nature epitomizes virtue and “living in accordance with virtue is equivalent to living in accordance with experience of what happens by nature…for our own natures are part of the nature of the whole.[1]” Because we are part of nature it is living along with the rules and ways that nature has prescribed that gives us a guide to the virtuous living.

 It is reason, the gift from the divine that is our tool in discovering the virtuous way. For reason is what is best in man, it is our peculiar ability which separates us from the plants and animals of the world, it makes us superior but aside from reason all of our virtues are shared with them.[2] In this we still share in Aristotle’s teleology that humans have a directed goal in life, that they have a purpose which is to pursue reason, to perfect it, and the perfected reason is man’s virtue.[3]

We know this because the animals and the plants in the world, i.e. the non-rational beings do not pay attention or take care of the world. The events of experience merely pass them by, and they give no thought to them. Because humans do take care of the world of experience, and operate beyond their mere instincts. The question then becomes of where this adherence to reason leads us.

Reason leads us to toward the good life, towards wisdom and being happy. The wise do nothing they regret, against their will, everything rightfully, honorably, and consistently. They anticipate nothing as if it were bound to happen referring to their own judgment which they stand by.[4] They forgo material happiness as those can be lost. Nothing the wise man prizes is anything that can be lost to him, he must not just be largely unafraid of the travails of life but completely unafraid.[5] This wisdom leads him toward community, which is, again revealing the influence of the Lyceum, the good that humans are directed toward.

The Stoic creed leads us to accept the whole of nature as being divine, by this we can infer that life itself is divine. By living in this we are merely a smaller part of a larger mechanism, in which all virtue is possessed.


[1] Diogenes Laertius 7.87-9

[2] Seneca Letters, 76.5-10

[3]ibid

[4] Cicero Tusculan Disputations 5.81-2

[5] Cicero Tusculan Disputations 5.40-1

Categories: Uncategorized

Alice, Oh Alice (New Moon Ch. 17)

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

At the end of the last book, I felt that only two characters were really worth being interested in. That is if they were two characters in a different story. One was Jacob, he seemed nice and genuinely caring toward Bella. So far, that has been maintained here but now he’s pretty much a doormat for the narcissistic Bella. The other character was Alice. I liked Alice because she represented an interesting paradox, she was someone that could see the future and yet wasn’t crippled by the boredom that knowing what was going to happen always did. She remained cheerful despite the crushing knowledge that the fate of her family was essentially in her hands. Now, because Meyer has run out of ways to use the primary and secondary characters that have occupied most of this book (I can’t use the word “plot”) she comes back to us.

Is this a good thing? Well, I’m torn here. Alice is waiting for Bella in her house. It’s strange though because upon reading it was her I was filled with dread. One thing I have learned about this series, and this writer, is that the more we spend time with a character the more they will become less likeable. Bella, of course is ecstatic that Alice has returned, she no longer has to go slumming with the wolves on the reservation. They almost make out because Alice has forgotten to eat before she came over. And we’re starting to lose Alice now…

Alice, who can see the future forgot to grab a little snack before hanging out with the delicious human. Seems like an odd omission for her. Alice however serves another purpose, and that is to move the plot along lest we become inflicted with twenty pages of Bella’s groveling. She gets to the point, “Speaking of which, would you like to explain to me how you’re still alive?

For you grammar sticklers out there, yes Meyer is wrong. The question mark is incorrect. Question marks are to be used at the end of sentences that would be considered questions or requests. Not at the end of an imperative sentence in which one person tells another to explain something. Alice was being nice in her wording but that wasn’t a request.

She is of course referring to the cliff diving earlier. The dive that she should have in no way survived. The fall yes, but the water no. A fishing trawler should have picked her up in their nets six months from now. Alice is angry, she yells at Bella for jumping off of the cliff, although she tends to view it as a suicide attempt. She gets some points in my book for yelling at her. It seems someone finally gets to call Bella out for her selfishness. Bella denies this, but can she honestly do so? During her free fall she was happy, during her under the sea moment she told everyone who matters (re: Eddie) goodbye. Alice is right to be angry with her although Alice didn’t see the complete event. Her prescience missed the fact that Jacob pulled her out of the water, probably because Alice’s foresight can only work on things that are possible and not plot contrivances.

Someone pulled you out?”
“Yes. Jacob saved me?”

Alice sniffs her for some reason. In my version of this story Alice is self aware that she’s in a story (because of the future) and remarks, “the god of this world is so stupid.”

In the actual story though, Alice detects a bad smell. Now Bella is left with a decision, does she spill the beans on Jacob and the pack for being…well, an actual pack or should she clam up? She’s dealing with the prescient Alice, so the odds are that she knows what Jacob and the rest of them are. But she doesn’t know whether Alice knows. So she ought to just follow the moral of the story in the MAD TV short “Ragin’ Rudolph”–to “always keep your fucking mouth shut.”

She doesn’t and her reasoning, “It was too hard to keep secrets, I decided. Jacob knew everything, why not Alice too?”

I’ve had this conversation with various people I know. It’s not hard to keep a secret, you just don’t say anything. That’s it. It’s not like a secret is pressure that needs to be released. There are only two reasons that people reveal secrets: the first is to feel important, to brag that they know something that no one else knew before they said it. This reason is hilarious when everyone already knew. The second is to kiss up to the person you are telling the secret to. As if to say “you are important so I’m going to let you in on something, and remember who told you.” Bella isn’t telling Alice, she’s telling the Cullens and by extension Edward. Clearly she’s doing this for reason number two.

Her other reason that “Jacob knew everything” is total bullshit. It’s not the same situation. Jacob and the wolves knew everything before Bella was in the picture. They had it figured out on their own. Further, Alice should already know, but for some reason she doesn’t and I bet I can guess why, but it won’t make any sense.

It’s the same reason that Laurent was killed by the werewolves. Meyer is going to claim that vampires’ powers don’t work on werewolves. Maybe one on one Laurent had a chance but there were five of them. She’s going to limit the vampiric special powers on the wolves. Edward’s telepathy, and the other one’s emotional manipulation won’t work on them. If that’s the case, then it STILL doesn’t explain Alice’s blindness. Remember what James said at the end of the last book, Alice was psychic before she was turned.

Bella recounts the story up until this point, we are thankfully spared the recreation. Alice leaves to get clothes, although I’m not sure from where. I’m also curious because Alice claimed that she flew to Forks, yet she was driving Carlisle’s car. Have they been hiding in the area the whole time? That would be both convenient and stupid. That’s not the case because Alice was in Denali visiting Tanya’s family, whoever the hell that is.

Charlie comes home. Charlie had something of a crush on Alice we found out earlier, so he’s kind of happy to see her. Bella wakes up the next morning eavesdropping on a conversation between Alice and Charlie. Alice gets Charlie to go over everything that happened after the break up. It’s a nice scene because it really does make us sympathize with Charlie as a father as he details his helplessness with Bella. It’s also nice because for the first time we are dropped hints that he doesn’t want Edward to come back.

A day or two goes by (shouldn’t Spring break be over by now?) and the doorbell rings. Alice looks up then excuses herself assuming a lack of foresight is foresight itself. Bella puts it together, although this time she actually has the information to do so, “you can’t see werewolves?”
-She grimaced. “So it would seem.” She was obviously annoyed by this fact–very annoyed.

I’m annoyed too. It doesn’t make sense but I’ve already covered why not two paragraphs ago. What doesn’t make even more sense is that if we accept that she couldn’t see Jacob rescuing her from the water, that meant that she saw Bella die and then that’s it? Couldn’t she have checked her future at a later date just to see if she pulled through?

Alice leaves before Jacob enters. Apparently werewolves and vampires can’t be in the same room together. More likely I wouldn’t want to see the two most likable characters become like everyone else in the same scene. That would be too much.

This Again?

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Two what, you might ask, well two end of the world predictions for this year that are very specific. Like my argument with the conspiracist from the fall of last year (still waiting for that email where he admits he was wrong) getting specific dates and times from these people is rare. This is because vagueness is hard to prove wrong. All of the eschatological writing that was spawned out of the book of Revelation, exists because that book is full of metaphor, allegory, and symbolism. This allows multiple interpretations to stem from the book, each giving itself a level of credence because the only person that really knows what the book means is the guy who wrote it (even Bible literalists have a hard time with this one, because by taking it literally they have to buy into seven headed multi crowned dragons which they are unwilling to do–check out the Left Behind series for proof).

We all know that the Mayan calendar runs out in December. This apparently signifies that the world will end. It won’t but the true believers can go ahead and waste their money or something on this if they like. It’s not like there is one person predicting the end is coming and trying to rake in the money like that idiot last year. It’s becoming kind of obvious that there are people out there who desperately want the world to end and are willing to buy into any charlatan that predicts the world will end and has the scantest shred of evidence to back himself up.

People wonder why I have a problem with religion. I know that I am generalizing but religion does hand con men a ready made vehicle to enable them to swindle. People like Ronald Weinland.

Ronald Weinland is a self-appointed prophet who has decided (or been told) that the world is going to end on May 27 of this year. It’s unclear from his website how he arrived at this specific date since the FAQ specifically says that we can’t know when the final trumpet will sound. Somehow, as I am understanding it from his surprisingly clear website (usually these end time websites are horrible) that there are 1335 days from “Trumpets of 2008 to Pentecost of 2012 (May 27th).” The 1335 days apparently references the book of Daniel which is a prime text among Christian Eschatologists (although more likely than “Daniel” predicting the end of the world it was probably more about the writer wishing an end to the Jewish persecution by the Seleucids, or Antiochus depending on who you ask). The “Trumpets” is Rosh Hashanah according to Wikipedia, I’m willing to give Weinland the benefit of the doubt on the date calculation. Why the 2008 Jewish new year is of particular important for the end of the world is a question answered in his books, which I’m not going to read. Although I will point out that they are free, which is nice that he won’t charge for the real “truth.” Although his FAQ does end with how to appropriately give your tithe to his church as demanded by god.

Since May 27th falls on a Sunday this year, I guess we can have an end of the world party on May 26th, and then do again when the Mayan calendar runs out on December 21. What I like about the May date is that it is almost exactly a year from last year’s rapture. The best part of the Weinland prediction is that he states clearly that people who make fun of his prediction and deny it will “die from cancer.” Seriously.

The Founder’s Party (my political party consisting of just me) proposes a new law. We will call it the Michael Stifel law, named after a German monk and professor of Mathematics at Jena university. As a mathematician he is allegedly the first person to use the term “exponent” and created an early form of logarithmic tables. However he was also a crank predicting that the world would end on October 19th, 1533 at 8am (I love when they include the time). Obviously he was wrong, in being wrong though people of his town publicly flogged him and he never made another prediction. Stifel’s law, would punish any person who uses “end of the world” predictions to collect money to fines and public shaming. The only exceptions to this law would be people who give some sort of good or service in return for the income. If someone writes a book saying the end of the world is going to occur on 2/14/2050, and charging for it would not be in violation of the law, but people like Weinland and the dude from last year would. Public flogging would be nicer but there’s an amendment against that sort of thing.