Tuesday, October 19, 2021



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

This bites

I've always found it frustrating when a rock band's guitarist learns to punch a few chords on a piano, and then suddenly they're a guitarist/keyboardist. You're not a keyboardist, you just know how to play Chopsticks. Or Jump. Here's an example.

Yes I'm being sarcastic. That was incredible. The band is Lovebites and I'm absolutely astounded at their overall musicality. They have two of the best guitarists I've ever heard, and I love how they both have solos in each song. That wasn't even their best one: this is. (If you want to skip the intro, go to 1:25)

So, two of the best guitarists I've ever heard, and the freaking drummer is insane. I don't know how many beats per minute she's putting out but holy crap. Their instruments just seem like extensions of their bodies, I can't recall seeing metal musicians that gave me that impression so strongly. I'm worried that I'm being too impressed by them because they are women, since metal just sounds hyper-masculine to me and it's not something I expect from that direction. But the upside is that Lovebites is correcting any such latent sexism.

This song is a close second.

So . . . did I mention the singer? My first listen I thought she was excellent, but not my particular cup of tea. Then I played it for my wife (who hates metal) and she said she sounds a lot like Ann Wilson from Heart. I don't know why that changed my perception of it, but now I love her.

Here's another song that they just released a few months ago:

I'm not into symphonic metal that much, but I am amazed again at their musicality. Here's another:

Yeah. Every single one of these musicians could front their own band and be the premiere performer, but instead they banded together (ha!) for the sole purpose of overwhelming me.

Now you'll notice I didn't mention the bassist. I'm not confident I can judge bass playing. But she is the founder and leader of Lovebites, and she writes a lot of their songs, though not all by a long shot. So she is the cornerstone; the band is her vision. And she just quit. I discovered the band three weeks ago and one week ago they announced she was leaving. The rest of the band says they're not breaking up but they'll take a hiatus. I stopped keeping track of new bands and popular songs a few decades ago, so this is the first time I've become emotionally attached to one for a while. I'm not saying it's my fault the bass player left, but . . . well . . . it's kind of a coincidence, don't you think? Groucho Marx said he wouldn't want to belong to a country club that would have someone like him for a member. Maybe the bassist didn't want to be in a band that would have someone like me as a fan.

Anyway, here's another Japanese all-girl metal band:

Update (Sep. 21): OK, sorry, this is their best song.

Ho. Ly. Crap. That first guitar solo is insane, and the second one is just haunting.

Update (Oct. 5): Sorry, darn it, sorry, this is their best song:

I'm starting think their best song will just be whichever one I listened to last.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

A dream is a wish your heart makes

 I dreamt last night that they were making a sequel to Buckaroo Banzai. I didn't see what the whole title was, but it wasn't "against the World Crime League." It was going to star Rowan Atkinson. It was a good dream.

Thursday, July 22, 2021


Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism

My next book is being published in several days. My title was Naturalized Skepticism but the publisher (Bloomsbury Academic) rejected that in favor of The Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism: Context, Exposition, Repercussions. That's a link to the Amazon page where you can read the the preface, chapter 1, and most of chapter 2. Here's a link to the publisher. You can also read some of it on GoogleBooks. And as I mentioned last December, my first book is available in paperback now, so it's much cheaper.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Quote of the Day

…an unintentional but perhaps inevitable result of the removal of religious values from health care has been to cut it off from the very source from which compassion springs. … Compassion is not a quality that can be called up at will. It can be desired, it can be encouraged, it can be cultivated. But without a transcendent and spiritual basis, it lacks the sustenance necessary to nurture and perfect it. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

It's the end of the world

Oh, this is just glorious: The Centre for Applied Eschatology. "Imagine a world that doesn't exist. That is our commitment." Also: "At present, it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of a global catastrophe. Researchers who study such scenarios vary in their conclusions. The best estimates place the chances of humanity surviving the present century somewhere between 9% and 50%. This is an unacceptable level of uncertainty. We can do better."

Sunday, May 16, 2021

For your reading enjoyment

Molyneux's Problem. This was a question posed to Locke whether a person born blind and who knew shapes by feel (cubes, spheres, etc.) would be able to identify those shapes without touching them if they suddenly gained the power of sight. It's basically a question of how unified our senses are, whether we can take information from one source input and draw conclusions from other sources. It's one of those issues where empirical observation -- science -- can step in and solve the problem. Turns out the answer is no.

Sunday, May 2, 2021


I just finished The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft after reading it on and off for a couple of years. I really enjoyed it, Lovecraft's style of writing is perfectly suited to the contents of the actual stories. I actually have a Cthulhu fish on the back of my car. I planned to list some of my favorite stories, but there were some from the beginning of the book that I loved that will slip my mind because I read them two years ago.

Anyhoo, now I have to decide what other author's oeuvre I'm going to start going through. So I thought I'd ask my reader(s). Should I read The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke

Just so you know, I'm under no obligation to follow your recommendations. Right now I'm also reading Night of Light by Philip José Farmer, Medicine and Religion: A Historical Introduction by Gary B. Ferngren, and Beyond Realism and Idealism by Wilbur Marshall Urban. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fly the friendly skies

The Mars Ingenuity, a small helicopter that went to Mars with the Perseverance Rover, is set to take off early tomorrow morning. This will be the first time anything like this has been done. Mars's atmosphere is much thinner than Earth's, so you have to generate an insane amount of lift for whatever weight you have. There have been delays so I'm really hoping they pull this off. I'll update this post accordingly.

Update: It worked! First picture: 

Update: Video!

Update: More!

Update: On its last flight, it took a picture of the Perseverance rover that brought it to Mars. It's in the upper left corner of this photo.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Recent acquisitions

 I've said before that I'm a hoarder but I'm exonerated by the fact that I'm primarily a book hoarder, which is the most forgivable type of hoarding (according to my sister). A further exoneration is that I'm a cheapskate -- I almost never pay more than six bucks for a book -- so my book hoarding hobby is more a problem of storage space than of money. Recently, however, I broke down and bought three books I've been wanting for, like, ever, but which never dropped down to a reasonable price. I spent a hundred bucks on three books. I'm still kind of shaking about it. But I've also received some from publishers to consider as textbooks, and bought others more in line with my normal cheapskate spending habits.

William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.

William Desmond, Being and the Between.

Gary B. Ferngren, Medicine and Religion: A Historical Introduction.

Gary B. Ferngren, ed., Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, 2nd edition.

Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, and Ronald A. Binzley, The Warfare between Science and Religion: The Idea That Wouldn't Die.

Stephen J. Shoemaker, A Prophet Has Appeared: The Rise of Islam through Christian and Jewish Eyes: A Sourcebook.

N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


 I made a doctor's appointment with the VA for today. They outsourced it -- they call it the community something or other -- to a non-VA clinic. It took a couple months from the time I requested it to the actual appointment. I show up and they have no record of it. It turns out that they changed it to another clinic in another city and changed the time to last week when I wouldn't have been able to go. And they did this without informing me of the change. Because of this appointment, we couldn't go do certain things this week. So I'm frustrated.

Rant over.

Saturday, March 13, 2021


Once on this blog I wrote that the second movement of the New World Symphony is what got me into Dvorak. Similarly, the first movement of Piano Concerto #1 is what got me into Rautavaara. It's not completely atonal, but it's not exactly tonal either. The glorious NOISE at 0:53 makes me hyperventilate and my heart starts beating faster. Calling a piece of art transcendent is cliché and artificial, but I don't know another word that will do the trick here. This is one of the greatest pieces of music I've ever heard.

I love the YouTube phenomenon of putting these great pieces of music on with the accompanying video following the sheet music. But when I got to 8:52 and saw that it said "Untertasten Cluster mit den Arm" I thought, no. No way. They don't pound their entire forearms into the piano to play this piece. So I looked for a live performance of it and . . . yes; yes they do.

Monday, March 1, 2021


I've stopped updating my GoodReads list on the sidebar, but just in case anyone's wondering I'm four-fifths of the way through reading The Chronicles of Prydain to my son, and might start the Earthsea books with him next. On my own front, I've just finished Awake in the Night Land and I'm in the midst of A Journey to the Center of the Earth.