The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'Belief Systems'

Teenage mumbo-jumbo?

August 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I think my high school offered one basic course in psychology, which I did not take. Surely it dealt in stripped-down basics – the classification of emotions, some de-sexualized Freudian theory, and maybe a little Jung thrown in for the artsy kids. I’d like to think, if I’d had the opportunity to take a class […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Belief Systems · Education · Forteana · Hoaxes · Mad Science · Mysteries · The Ineffable

The False Joan of Arc

July 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments

People lie for different reasons: cowardice (the truth can hurt), cupidity (falsehood can be more profitable), arrogance (the truth can be improved), or ignorance (the truth is unknown). I don’t know what motivated Jeanne des Armoises.  True, she got attention and cash, but she must have known it couldn’t last.  In fact, I don’t know […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Eccentrics · Hoaxes · Literature

A Spirit Drawing From Victor Hugo

June 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Spiritualism was all the rage in France in the 1850s; like many others, Victor Hugo and his household experimented with seances, table-rapping, and channeled communications.  This intriguing drawing dates from sometime around 1854. Hugo’s large body of graphic work may be unfamiliar to some of you: he left behind more than 3500 drawings.  He had a particular […]

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Tags: Animals · Belief Systems · Diversions · Literature

Medicine and Methodology

May 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

[Here is, approximately, the outline Dr. Mamie Caton and I followed for our bit in our Medi-Vaudeville event.  I prepared it to allow interaction with Mamie (who was too busy to write anything herself) and with the audience.  And I’ll pursue it on another page, to keep the home page tidy.] (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Politics · Symbols

The U.G.N.D.P.

May 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

In May 1776, the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of “Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.”  Since then, our presidents have occasionally marked off a special day for prayer; and in 1988 Reagan fixed the first Thursday in May as “The National Day of Prayer.”  Humiliation and fasting have apparently been cut. Not all presidents have hopped […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Politics · Symbols

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (9)

May 1st, 2009 · No Comments

[The flurry of activity that went into our event, “Medi-Vaudeville,” delayed the last installment of this talk on Darwinism.  Please do read the earlier parts; it’s all connected.] If “BC” could introduce the Bible into the caveman cartoon, then, obviously, the next step is to introduce the caveman cartoon into the Bible. So, busy theologians […]

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Tags: Animals · Belief Systems · Eccentrics · Education · Forteana · Politics

The Digital Backlash (5)

April 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

On a recent bus trip from upstate NY, back to the forlorn isle of Manhattan, a woman somewhere behind me indulged in a long cell phone chat.  For a full, voluble half-hour, she kept her yakmate abreast on where the bus was: every freeway exit, toll booth, and road sign we met on our perilous journey was described in […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Technology

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (8)

April 5th, 2009 · No Comments

[Darwin continues to munch on a birthday cake with 200 candles; and we continue to cheer him on with my talk on his cultural impact.  We’re now in the full cry of the Cold War, watching the Scopes Trial be rewritten as “Inherit the Wind.”  Oh dear.]  In fact, “Inherit the Wind” departed so much from […]

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Tags: Animals · Belief Systems · Education · Misconceptions · Politics

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (7)

March 27th, 2009 · No Comments

[Yes, Virginia, there is a Charles Darwin; and we continue to fete his bicentennial by serializing my talk on the impact of his theories on American culture.  Have a seat.] A few days after the Scopes trial had pooped out, Bryan died.  Mencken exulted, “We killed the son-of-a-bitch,” and ran a rather nasty obituary, calling […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Literature · Misconceptions · Politics

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (6)

March 20th, 2009 · 4 Comments

[The serialization of my talk on Darwin’s odd cultural impact marches forward.  We take a break from the Scopes Trial to ponder the history of caveman cartoons — and the curiously tenacious popularity of the brontosaurus.] Well, the legal news is always engrossing, but let’s turn for a moment to the funny pages.  It’s as good […]

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Tags: Ancient History · Belief Systems · Education · Politics