Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Going Backwards

Book Cover

You’ve been Warned!!

In the last generation, in North America, the graphic novel as come of age. In Europe graphic novels have long been a mainstay of publishing and the adult market for “comics” has always been huge. And of course in Japan we have the omnipresence of manga. The graphic novel has led itself quite well to both Science Fiction and quirky ideas. An example of this is the graphic novel The Man Who Grew Young.1

Friday, September 16, 2011

Class in the South

Movie Poster


I recently saw the film The Help, based on a book by Kathryn Stockett.1 The movie was directed by Tate Taylor and stars Viola Davis as Aibileen and Emma Stone as Eugenia and Octavia Jackson as Minny in the main roles.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ground Zero

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the attacks in New York City and in Washington D.C. that killed c. 3,000 people.1 This event has had and will continue to have a large and significant effect on life, politics and culture in our world. Here I will simply talk about my own recollections about and thoughts concerning 9/11.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Meets Hamlet

Book Cover

This is one of those WTF!1 discoveries that make life interesting and annoying at the same time. In this case the WTF moment was brought to us by Orson Scott Card (1951- ),2 Science Fiction and Fantasy writer.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Mulla

Nasrudin teaching

In the Muslim world there as been since early on movements of philosophical mysticism. Most of them are grouped under the name of Sufism, which means “woolly minded”.1 Sufism is not a religious belief system but a movement although various Muslim religious sects have arisen out of it.2

The influences on Sufism are Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and most notably Buddhism. However the influence of ancient Middle Eastern and Eastern traditions of wisdom should not be overlooked.3

One of the techniques of Sufistic contemplation is that of contemplating the “meaning” of various stories, sayings and jokes. That aside from having a surface meaning the stories etc., has layers of deeper more profound, mystical meaning.4

Thus we get to the Mulla mentioned in the title. The Mulla’s name is Nasrudin and no he is not a real person. He is a device to teach and to entertain. He is in the stories, jokes etc., the everyman, and he is commonplace, stunningly stupid and amazingly wise depending on the story. He is in other words as unreal as the Kilroy in the saying “Kilroy was here”.5

So now we get to the real point of this posting some of the stories. However before I go into the stories I must mention that some of the stories I am using come from a collection put together by Idries Shah. Idries Shah, (1924-1996) was a controversial character to put it mildly for all sorts of reasons. However in this case it is because his translations of material were often slipshod and his account of Sufism is not to be trusted. So it is with trepidation that I use Idries Shah’s collection of Nasrudin tales.6