Category Archives: Books

My Twilight Theory

“If you don’t like Twilight so much, why did you read the books? Why do you like talking about it?”

I have the answer.

Twilight, for some inexplicable reason, is a pop culture phenomenon. Eventually it’s going to burn out, but while it’s here it’s the big newz. People are talking about it, they’re into it, if you can’t keep up you’re out of the loop. And it’s as simple as that – I hate Twilight. That entire series is the most vapid, boring, worst ending-y horrible nonsense I have ever had the displeasure of reading or watching (except maybe for Charlie, who’s actually pretty likable). Yet I did both, I think, because it’s my way of being included in the fooferrah. If everyone is going to be talking about it anyway, I might as well go out of my way to do so, too. My talking about it just doesn’t happen to match what the fans are saying.

But yeah, I think that’s it – it’s just a way to be not left out of the event. It’s not that I cares so muuccch! that I have to talk about it. It’s that everyone is talking about it so I might as well talk about it, too…but, you know, with fun. Otherwise I might go insane from the prattle and have to lock myself in a box until after the last movie is released on DVD. That’s just not practical.

So in “honour” of New Moon, the crappy movie I have not seen yet (but I feel comfortable judging considering the source material), here are some Twilight-related links for those who’s vaginas don’t get wet (or penises hard) at the thought of sparkly vampires not boning us:

  • Masala Skeptic reviews the latest movie on Skepchick.
  • There’s this wonderful and concise synopsis in comic form.
  • Here’s the original movie in 30 second bunnies. It appears they haven’t done New Moon yet. (Although admittedly lately these are less “hilarious synopses in 30 seconds” and more “30 seconds of random cuts”.)
  • Ponder this abomination for a second.
  • These products made the rounds the first time out, but they bear repeating just to illustrate how frighteningly bizarre these fans are and how much money they’re willing to spend on shit. Bandages? Really? Also, shadowy decals to simulate night stalking are, I think, completely unprecedented and extremely disturbing. And giant, disembodied “pay no attention to that man [on] the curtain” head is way creepy (in fact, go watch Wizard of Oz; that movie rules).
  • Check out the podcast Read it and Weep that reviews Twilight and New Moon, among other crappy books.
  • And of course, the ever objective website Twilight Sucks.
  • There also various spoofs from both movies worth checking out.
  • See Cracked‘s take.

I might have to see New Moon just for the “so bad it’s good” hilarity it’s sure to provide, but I’m not sure I can take it without the Rifftrax. Although I’m fairly sure I can take it if I have unfettered use of the pause button and am free to laugh my face off when appropriate (which, if the movie is anything like the book, will be often).

But there you have it, folks – I just want to fit in! (Apparently.) So let me have my fun.

UPDATE: Moar. Even moar.

Apparently Victor Stenger doesn’t get it

Over on Friendly Atheist, they reviewed this guy’s book and he didn’t like what they had to say about his neglect of blogs. His responses: More…

Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 7

This is it. The final countdown…uh, I mean chapter. Chapter 10: Animals that Talk, Spell, and Find their Way Home. See parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 for other “interesting” topics.

This chapter is about animals that have special cognitive powers. There are lots of pretty cool animals that can do pretty cool things. Bonobos have their sex. Dolphins have their trickery. Crows have their fishing lines. African gray parrots have their, well…pretty interesting stuff. But these are not special magical powers. They are highly trained in some cases and rudimentary versions of more complex behaviours in other cases (ex: often people, even scientists, can confuse “communication” in animals with “language”). Other behaviours are impressive, yes, mysterious, for now, unexplained/beyond belief? no.

Imagine my surprise when I’m browsing this inappropriate chapter (because, again training =/= magic and anecdotes =/= data) and I see a glaring example of failing to do basic research. It’s one thing to tell a story that’s probably wrong, it’s another to irresponsibly promote a story that is definitely wrong – and known to be so for over 80 years before the publication of this book.

I have to give Brad credit for this one example. It would have taken a lot of effort not to realize that this particular animal is used in probably every single animal behaviour class in North America as an example for classic blunders of experimental design. This animal is so famous that, chances are, even people who didn’t take so much as an intro psych class have probably heard this story. This is a story so classic that its mere presence in this already condemnable book eliminates all doubt that this is the most profoundly thick dumbshittery ever set to a printing press. More…

Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 6

Sorry for the delay (if anyone cared), I was a little busy this week with not writing this. Welcome to Chapter 9 The Terror of Spontaneous Human Combustion. See parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for more chapters from this hilarious and infuriating book. More…

Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 5

See parts 1, 2, and 3, and 4. Now onto Chapter 8 Spooklights and Fire Devils (I decided to do Chapter 9 separately as it requires more research than previously thought). More…

Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 3

So I’ve been exploring the book Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown, by Brad Steiger (1991). Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Now onto Chapters 4 and 5 – Missing Civilizations and Vanishing Islands (note: chapter titles presented minus the excessive adjectiving). I’m sure this is the part of the book where he turns things around and critically examines the evidence for and against his claims. More…

Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 2

So I started reading this book that I had from when I was a kid. I started with Chapter 1, which was about ghost ships and now I’m ready for Chapter 2 – Here there be Sea and Lake Monsters, Chapter 3 – Giant Birds, Beasts, and Human Skeletons of Great Size (it took me many years to read that grammatical mess in a way that wasn’t redundant), and Chapter 11 – Fairies, Elves, and Little Men from UFOs (my favorite one…see below).

At first I was like “well I won’t do every chapter”, but every time I flip farther into the book I see something else that makes me cringe. I’ll take these chapters together because they fall under the same category: strange, usually unverifiable beings. In other words, cryptozoology. More…