23 May 2009

Valkyrie

"I swear by God this sacred oath
that I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler,
the F├╝hrer of the German Reich and people, supreme commander of the armed forces,
and that I shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath."


If you haven't seen the 2008 movie Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, this author humbly suggest you do so immediately.

Valkyrie is the story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a young officer in the Nazi army. Von Stauffenberg was a key player in the July 20th, 1944 plot on Adolf Hitler's life. German officers plotted to kill Hitler, and then use Hitler's own national contingency plan to assume control of the government.

Ultimately, the plan fails, but the film does a superb job drawing the viewer into the tension and drama of the story. Even in the end, when the conspirators are arrested and facing execution, the ending is dramatic and artfully done.

From the opening oath, to the final "Long live sacred Germany!," this film delivers a powerful look at the German Resistance movement. It is definitely food for thought, and is in my opinion, a very good movie.

B

12 May 2009

Bertrand Russell's First Cause Argument

In his essay “Why I am Not a Christian,” Bertrand Russell addresses several arguments frequently made by Christians to “prove” the existence of God. One of the arguments he addressed was the cosmological or first cause, argument. However, in refuting the argument, he first redefines the argument to make it sound ridiculous. Let’s look at what the cosmological argument really is, before looking at what Professor Russell says it is.
In its most basic form, the cosmological argument reads like this: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The Universe began to exist. Therefore, the Universe has a cause. Christians then go on to say that this Cause is God, and He reveals Himself through the Bible. This argument is backed by scientific evidence, as most scientists would agree that the Universe did begin to exist at some point in the past.
Bertrand Russell, however, says that the cosmological argument reads thus: Everything has a cause. He goes on to say that since everything has a cause, God must have a cause as well, and thus He must not be what Christians claim He is. His second response is that the premise “everything has a cause” is made because humans’ imaginations are so lacking that we cannot imagine anything without a cause. He then posits that the Earth could very well be eternal, and thus the cosmological argument is ‘refuted.’ However, not only does science tells us that the Universe began to exist at some point, it also tells us that the Earth began to be as well. This refutation overly-simplifies the cosmological argument to disprove the argument, but in the end, it misses the point of the argument.

Keep thinking!
B

08 May 2009

If Spring's spring were wound, Spring would have sprung

What do April Showers bring? Pilgrims, of course!

It isn't acting as if it's spring. April decided to annex May, so we've been having rain, and rain, and more rain, with only very small hints that there are May flowers out there, somewhere. It's no different, really, than winter. Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned that there are only two more weeks of school for me. The year has past so quickly. When the co-op ends, I shall post a year in review, for my myriad of adoring fans out there. :)

I should probably get to the real point of this post: the ten things I love about spring.

10. School's almost done
9. The Sun starts looking through clouds
8. Summer movies start coming out
7. Snow Geese
6. Picking up new school books
5. Violin Concerts (John Williams and Vivaldi for the win)
4. Log rolling down really wet hills
3. The smell of rain
2. Yearbooks!
1. It is now almost legal to wear shorts

01 May 2009

I'll Fly Away Part II


I am sorry to say that Molly, poodle friend of 3 years, joined Thor in the Great Beyond on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, at 6:30 pm. She was going to turn 7 years old this June.

Molly was to turn 7 this June.

Her death has really shook me. Three weeks ago, she was fine, a little bundle of energy and high spirits. Then, when I came back from Regionals in Colorado, she was on permanent bed rest; Her left legs were no longer supporting any weight. Over that last two weeks since then, she has steadily worsened. As her condition deteriorated, a look of pure, blind terror starting coming into her eyes. A week ago today, we took her into the emergency pet hospital because she lost feeling in her right foreleg as well. We started her on a liquid diet last Monday, but on Tuesday night, she was having seizures and we didn't think she'd be alive on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning finally rolled around after yet another sleepless night, and Molly started smelling like she was decaying on the inside. All four paws were limp and Molly was effectively paralyzed from the neck down. Her legs and paws were cold, and did not respond to any stimuli. I tried to go to co-op that morning, but as it turned out, I couldn't even last five minutes there without starting to cry. So I skipped classes and spent most of the rest of the day laying in bed with Molly, trying to comfort her. Around noon, her eyes stopped responding to my voice, and she lay with her eyes rolling around in their sockets, or just staring off into space. It hurt to see how terrified she was. I went to my logic class that afternoon, and when I came back, Molly was even worse, much as I thought it impossible. Her eyes would only focus briefly before turning inwards again.

Mom and I had to make the decision to take her into the emergency hospital again, because Molly was truly suffering. We called her previous owner, Mrs. Russell, and she was to meet us at the hospital to say her last goodbyes. As we drove over to the clinic, Molly gradually became more and more calm, licking my hand a little as we turned into the parking lot. I carried her into the hospital, where Mrs. Russell was waiting for us, along with her son-in-law who owned Molly's recently deceased sister. I put Molly into Mrs. Russell's hand, and Molly perked up slightly when she saw Mrs. Russell and heard her voice.

The nurse came back into the waiting room, and started to lead us back to the grief room, where the euthanasia would occur. As I carried Molly back to the room, she started. It looked like she had been shocked or something. We got into the room, and Molly quite literally started having death throes. Her heart and breathing would stop, and then she'd jolt back into life for a few seconds, just to repeat the sequence. Mrs. Russell, Mom, Dad, and I were all around her as this was going on, and she died in our arms a few minutes later, as we prayed over her. We never had to euthanize her. It was as if she was waiting to see Mrs. Russell one more time before she died.

Mea amica, in pace requiescas. Spero vidi te postmodo.