Friday, April 29, 2011

Las Vegas Noir, Eds Keene & Pierce, Akashic Books - A review

4**** out of 5

Sin city, underground writing, hard core no nonsense, this book hits the spot if you are a noir fan. Bringing things right up to date, all of the stories are good stuff, there is some fun stuff - like a story about the mob setting up a fake rabbi, some dark stuff, some 'even darker yet' stuff that scared me. All in all a good read.

I was disappointed in some of the stories - perhaps they are just not my taste but to me noir is hard-core crime, not a short story that features a gun. Overall there is a good variety of writers. As a man I like the old Chandler style stories but you will be pleased to hear that diversity has reached the crime fraternity and there are plenty of women writers.

I would like to mention Felicia Campbell, her story was unusual, cool and dark. That is one heck of a lady.

'Crip' by Preston L. Allen is one of the best short stories I have read. I have never been so impressed by a story. It has the most magnificent of themes - an ugly character redeemed.

Up until now I wouldn't have considered visiting Las Vegas - now I would consider it and I would like to travel through the desert. I have seen some weird things in the deserts of Peru, like a live pig strapped to the back of a motorcycle but I would love to go on a road trip to Las Vegas.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creative Transformation

"Creation is not a periodic intrusion of the First Cause: it is an act co-extensive with the whole duration of the universe. God has been creating ever since the beginning of time, and, seen from within, his creation (even his initial creation?) takes the form of transformation. Participated being is not introduced in batches which are differentiated later as a result of a non-creative modification: God is continually breathing new life into us."

Teilhard, Paris, unpublished 1920.

If anyone is interested I can send them a copy of the essay associated with this quote - 4 pages in total.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homicide Watch D.C.

I had no idea it was as bad as this in Washington D.C.

Homicide Watch

If you want to find out what it is really like then visit this website.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An existentialist theology

Is it possible that Paul was more fundamentally existentialist - or Jesus even? Macquarrie has pointed out the similarities, they call for an end to tradition, a call to see the full potential of all men rather than the modern scientific view of seeing all human beings as intelligent but beastly. The modern world would be more sympathetic to the viewpoint that we should only aspire to be like animals - that we are 'nothing-more' than monkeys. It is inspiring to me that the existentialist thinkers of the 20th Century shared the viewpoint of Christian theology that we do not have to follow the world, we can have an authentic exististence. To follow the world and to simply accept that we should expect nothing better than what we have is something that the existentialists also dreaded. I find this refreshing because the media and the scientific establishment seem to be so keen to press on us that there is no meaning to life, that our existence is mechanistic and there are so few people willing to speak out against this.

Macquarrie points to the term of Heidegger - Jemeinigkeit - existence is always mine. To quote from p. 33:

"One cricket-ball is pretty much like another. They are all made to a standard pattern, and while there are no doubt minor differences, it is true to say that if we have seen one, we have seen them all. Things can be classified - indeed not only science but everyday life would be impossible were we unable to classify and expect that one object will behave in the same way as others in the same class. But man as existing is an individual and defies classification. This is a point on which existentialism does justice to the biblical understanding of men as individual creatures of the Father and sets itself in opposition to modern scientific humanism to regard the being of man as at bottom no different from the being of things, an therefore amenable to study by scientific methods."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011