Saturday, December 28, 2013

If, then

I recently read The Lost Special and The Man with the Watches, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Phillip A. Schreffler makes the claim (in the "Afterword") that the character who writes to the newspapers with a possible solution is none other than Sherlock Holmes, even though his name is never mentioned. In the story, he is referred to as "an amateur reasoner of some celebrity at that date." And the first line of the letter contains one of Holmes' most famous axioms, in addition to the words "elementary principle." After reading the canon, it seems to me that he favors the word "elementary." He is also an INTP, and this type likes logic and theories, which involves applying principles.

Well, if the unnamed fellow is indeed Mr. Holmes, then I do believe Professor Moriarty, or one of those under him, is undeniably in The Lost Special. The events took place in 1980, before the death of the professor. The principle perpetrator engaged the aid of an agent he described as "one of the acutest brains in would be unjust to claim all the credit for myself."

The perpetrator also wrote of his agent: "he had command of a band of workers who were trustworthy and intelligent. The idea was his, and my own judgement was only required in the details."

Finally, he said, "I have already spoken of my English agent--who is a man with a considerable future before him, unless some complaint of the throat carries him off before his time."

The crime itself was rather spectacular. They made a train disappear without a trace.  The finesse and successful completion of the crime further points to Moriarty being behind it somewhere.  

And I really should try and find what the Sherlockian scholars have to say about it...


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. Pleasantville, N. Y. : 1993

Joe Butt, INTP Profile.

For more about the personality type of S. H. see:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Disney's Frozen is an adorable movie I definitely recommend.

The plot and the message are actually good. It isn't about following your heart or disobeying your parents. It's about love, both filial and romantic. It also says straight out that marrying someone you've only known for one day is silly.

In my opinion, (since people are actually talking about this) the songs were not as spectacular as Tangled, or as finished.

It was visually spectacular however, with the snow, ice crystals, and a gorgeous castle which is reminiscent of the Norwegian Stave churches. In fact, the whole film was lightly infused with Scandinavian culture, from the clothing style to the trolls.

Now, about the trolls, instead of being the traditional large, fearsome creatures of Nordic lore that turn to stone in the sunlight, they are little magical creatures that turn back and forth between stone and troll at will.

For parents wondering whether or not their children should see the film: there is very little crude humor, and it is very mild. They just mention nose picking, that young men give off rather pungent odors after working hard, and Olaf uses the word "butt" a few times, and he's a snow man, so his bottom is just a ball of snow. Some parents will take issue with the use if magic. It's a fairy tale! However, through Elsa's magical gift one sees that talents can be used for good or evil and one needs to be careful about hurting other people with your skills.  The most important thing is to act in love.


All photos are from the downloads section of the Disney website:

And, in case you've never heard of it before, ships really do crack up when frozen in ice. This was an added touch of realism. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

More of my thoughts on "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

A pile of disappointment.
Hoping for a dragon's hoard,
Finding instead a mess of dusty bones.
Yet a few gems glisten in the moonlight.
The shadows were darker than they should have been.
Biblical reference that could only mean demons.
You don't know what you're digging into.
The evil that it opens up to.

There was enough dirt to build on,
Without this added evil.
Dare I watch it again?
The first I watched a thousand times and one.
Yet like femur and tibia wrenched, they are
It's like being tossed far,
From the fireside to an icy river,
In the dead of night. Frigorific.
It left me with fear and distrust.

Can they take it back and remake it?
Hoping for the return of light and clarity,
Hoping for so much more for part three.

~ I am disappointed with The Desolation of Smaug. But I like The Unexpected Journey. I really hope part three is back on par with part one. DoS was really different from The Lord of the Rings, and The Unexpected Journey; I was faced with references and innuendos I never thought I would have to face in a movie in this series. It is one thing to portray darkness, but it goes to a whole new and inappropriate level when an orc starts saying that he is "Legion." Yes, the necromancer is demonic in a sense, but to mix the spiritual realm of Middle Earth with the real spiritual world is beyond disturbing.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My thoughts on "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug"


The film was decidedly darker than the first. There are very few warm moments. The fact that the story takes place in winter or in gray cavernous places added to the mood.

For being 161 minutes long, the movie sure condensed most of the events of the book. The parts based on the book were greatly abridged and the extended story lines filled the movie. 

The biggest disappointment was the fact that the film really didn't give much time to the events that actually took place in the book. Mirkwood, the spiders, the journey to The Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo's encounters with the dragon where very condensed and abridged. I was looking forward to seeing the Elves' woodland feasts and watching the spider scene unfold in a nice, methodical moment by moment approach, watching Bilbo gather his courage and use his wits to free the dwarves. In the film he just falls right into the middle of it.

In the book, this is where Bilbo draws first blood. In the first movie, he has already done that by slaying a warg and fighting goblins and orcs. Now, I really liked the part where he tackled the orc and saved Thorin. It was a wonderful act of heroism. But, since Bilbo had already done this, the need for him to be the hero and rescue the dwarves is not as high.  All the same, I wish this part had been closer to the book.

However, just because the movie didn't follow the book doesn't mean I didn't like it. There were parts I loved, and parts I did not.

The introduction of Smaug was well done.

Tauriel is not a part of the original Middle Earth, by J. R. R. Tolkien. However, she is a wonderful character in the movie! The warmest person in the film, a fantastic fighter, and a lover of stars, she is poetry in motion.

 My favorite part was the escape from the elves and the barrel-riding scene, a fact which really surprised me. It was different from the book and over the top, but I enjoyed seeing Legolas, Tauriel, and the dwarves all fighting orcs. When Bombour and his barrel took out a number of orcs, it was hilarious though unrealistic. Thorin saved Legolas by killing the orc that was about to strike him. This sequence was filled with many astounding feats that required precision, and hearkened back to the dish washing scene in An Unexpected Journey, (a scene I also loved). The location was beautiful too: green sunlit tree-clad banks, and a twisting, rushing river. Sunlight and spray create joy and excitement.
Tauriel and Legolas

The moments where the ring is affecting Bilbo, I did not like. Of course, I don't like them in the book either, and you're not supposed too, that is kind of  the point!  But, in The Hobbit (book), there are very few signs of the ring's evil power, Bilbo had to have it for a long time before it's effects began to show. They are made clear in The Lord of the Rings

Another disappointment was Kili's crude innuendo. I don't have a problem with Kili being attracted to Tauriel, just that one remark. From what I gathered, it is unclear whether Tauriel returns Kili's affections although she clearly does care about his safety. Nice, keep us guessing!

Problem: Kili is shot with a Morgul arrow. Now, a friend pointed out to me that it is unlikely the orcs would have a Morgul weapon, even though they are in the service of Sauron.  The fact that kingsfoil was needed and that the characters knew this was needed, detracts from Aragorn's skill as a healer, which is a part of his kingly heritage.  It would have been better for Kili to be shot with a poisoned arrow and then for Tauriel to use her Elvish healing knowledge and a different herb to heal him. It was too much of a repeat of The Lord of the Rings, and there are a enough similar things that happen already (giant spiders and eagles, for example).

And the ending... ah well, it's a middle film, what can you say? That actually doesn't bother me.

All in all, it's not a movie I plan on owning.

The photos are from The Hobbit Offical Site, downloads section.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Who is your favorite dwarf from the film, "The Hobbit"? Poll Results

The winner is Thorin Oakenshield with 6 votes (42%).

Next, we have a four-way tie:

Fili (the blond one) - 3 votes (21%)
Kili (the dark one) - 3 votes
Balin - 3 votes
Dwalin- 3 votes

Then we have a three-way tie for third place:

Gloin - 1 vote (7%)
Bofur - 1 vote
Bombour 1 vote

No one voted for:

Oin, Bifur, Dori, Nori, Ori.

There were 14 votes total.
Thorin Oakenshield   

I still think the beard is too short for a dwarf.  Oh, well, I still enjoyed the movie. For more on that: The Hobbit

The photo is from the downloads section of the official "The Hobbit" website: downloads