Noah's Ark: The gruesomeness of classic children's stories

Posted: July 8th, 2009

Noah's Ark by Edward Hicks

It dawned on me today that the story of Noah’s Ark is pretty terrifying. Think about it—as the story goes, God basically sentenced every living thing on the planet to death by drowning or starvation (except for, of course, two of every species). We only think about the people and animals who were saved from the flood, and not about the billions of living things that died. It’s honestly a pretty adult story, when you imagine the multitude of death. And yet I had several versions of the Noah’s Ark story in picturebook form as a kid.

I’ve always been aware that The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories are pretty rough—in the former, there’s a little girl with a green ribbon around her neck whose head falls off when she unties it; and in the latter the Little Mermaid kills herself. I knew the “real” versions of these stories even when I was little. They were dark, sure, but I knew that up front.

Perhaps that’s why the “real” Noah’s Ark story is so much more disturbing to me—it masquerades as a cute story about animals and forgiveness.

I think Noah’s Ark would make a great disaster movie* (which, of course, would be rated PG-13 or R by the MPAA), à la 10.5 or The Day After Tomorrow or Flood.


This post was inspired by listening to RadioLab’s April 7th podcast, In Silence.

*Upon further research, it appears that two live-action films have been made about Noah’s Ark, one in 1928, and the other in 1999. You can watch the latter in its entirety on YouTube.

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The fourth, of course.

Posted: July 4th, 2009
Elvgren Pin Up
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Pang: a sudden sharp pain or painful emotion

Posted: February 11th, 2009

Here’s something that I hate that is completely hip right now: sharing cool stuff online. Every time someone shows me (aka tweets or posts to Facebook or worst of all, RETWEETS) something I’ve already seen (but didn’t share with the world), and “acts” as if they’re the first to share it, I get a physical TWINGE, a PANG of annoyance. Like, for serious.

It’s the strangest rivalry. On one hand, I’m thinking “I’m so much cooler. I saw that yesterday. And I didn’t feel the need to share it.” And on the other hand, I’m all “I SAW THAT FIRST. I SAW IT FIRST I SAW IT FIRST YOU ARE NOT COOLER THAN I AM JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE SHARING THAT BECAUSE I SAW IT FIRST EVEN THOUGH NO ONE KNOWS I SAW IT FIRST DAMMIT I SAW IT FIRST.”

I think this is related to “liking that band before no one had heard of them and they hadn’t sold out.” (Example: I heard Band X this summer on All Songs Considered, and got their album. Cut to Winter Break, someone tweets about Band X and how awesome they are and how everyone should be listening to them. Cut to two weeks later and someone replies to said tweet with “I KNOW I LOVE THEM TOO OMG. And then said band starts showing up as background music in homemade videos and I cover my face in frustration.)

So what’s at the root of all of this? I think I might just still have hints of stuck up “hipster elitism” in me, despite having shed that persona ages ago (BECAUSE NEWSFLASH! I have never been a hipster or a punk or particularly indie I just like the music and it took a while for me to realize this).

So yes, just to be clear (EXAMPLES!): we’ve seen it, your mom’s seen it, the Wall Street Journal has seen it, and now we can let it die already, okay?

(Let’s just chalk this up to my bitch side because I know how stupid I am about this subject and get on with things.)

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A media consumption experiment: Day 1

Posted: January 28th, 2009

I realized today exactly how much media I consume on a daily basis: a metric ton. And often it blurs into itself. I’m plugged in from the beginning of the day to the end. As long as I’m not actively socializing with someone over coffee, chances are I’ve got my headphones in and am listening to a podcast or hunkered down in front of hulu or flipping through my incalculable number of RSS feeds which I can’t keep up with. By the end of the day, it all runs together.

“So,” said I to myself, “why not keep a log of all the media I (intentionally) ingest each day?” That way, when I hit my umpteenth podcast, I can look back and say “Yeah, the one about crocodiles and rainbows in the 1940s was pretty good, but I liked the one with Sophia Loren better.”

With that in mind, today’s media consumption is as follows, as best as I can recall (with notes):

  • The Dick Van Dyke Show – S1E24 “The Twizzle,” and S1E25 “One Angry Man.”
    • I learned that “The Twizzle” was the cast’s least favorite episode of the season via IMDB, and I can see why—it was my least favorite before I even looked it up.
  • Belle & Sebastian – “If You’re Feeling Sinister” (1996).
    • This is my favorite album from one of my favorite groups. Also, major points for nostalgia.
  • The Sound of Young America – “The Ten-Cent Plague” (5/2/08), “Kirby: King of Comics” (5/8/08), “Mike Birbiglia” (5/16/08), and “Nellie McKay” (5/20/08).
    • “The Ten-Cent Plague” and “Kirby: King of Comics” both discussed crime and romance comics that were popular circa WWII—genres that no longer really exist.
    • Mike Birbiglia is a comic, and author of the show “Sleepwalk with Me,” which I really want to see when I’m in New York this May.
    • Nellie McKay is a quirky, fun musician, who keeps popping up in my podcasts and blogs (and last year in my city)—and I might just have to sit down and listen to some of her music on my own, one of these days.
  • “Internet Power!” Vol. 1 (1995).
    • This is seriously just too funny and nostalgic and best of all, relevant to my thesis. Hooray.
  • Scrubs, S8E5 “My ABCs,” and S8E6 “My Cookie Pants.”
    • Also nostalgic. The show ends this year, I believe.
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Wednesday, January 28, 2008″

Today’s total: 11 “units” (is there a better word for this?) of media consumed

And on top of that, I taught my mom how to use Skype this morning, all while eating breakfast. How’s that for productivity?

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Attention deficit disorder, and why I don't have it but feel like I do.

Posted: January 28th, 2009



via FFFFound


I’ve had a realization that I’m having trouble concentrating on anything that isn’t in a constant state of change. I used to love to read, but now it’s difficult. I still love the idea of reading, and I love what can happen when I pick up a book and become enthralled—it just doesn’t happen too frequently, anymore. I think that this is part of the reason why I have trouble writing anything of worth these days, and why I hate doing anything “menial” (read: putting on my makeup, doing the dishes, etc.) without my headphones in. I can’t even be satisfied with just listening to music, I need to be listening to a podcast, someone talking to me.

I blame it on technology.

And just to show how short my attention span is, I wrote this entry ten days ago today. So here it is, with minimal edits, and just one additional thought—I’ve been contemplating trying to go a day without consuming any electronic media (tv/video/podcasts/internet/iPhoning [other than calls] etc.) and see if I’m focusing better by the end of the day, or if I’m just a nervous wreck. Watch this space!

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I've had a thought.

Posted: December 21st, 2008

(That’s what blogs are for, right?)

This blog is here for stuff I want to expound upon.

My tumblr is for stuff online I find and love.

My ideabook is for stuff in real life I find and love and write down.

My process book is for stuff I’m actively working on.

The End

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Mozart to muzak.

Posted: August 28th, 2008

Having made two bureaucratic calls today and spending over half and hour on hold so far, I would like to make the following observations:

  • The State of Alaska PFD office’s hold music is perhaps the very worst I have ever heard. It is a single schmaltzy soprano sax number, which repeats indefinitely until you are a) helped, or b) automatically disconnected after waiting for 10 minutes. (As you might guess, the latter happened to me today.)
  • The IRS’s hold music is slightly less bad, but still fairly horrendous. I am listening to Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite,” and it is nowhere near Christmas. (As I am typing this, the music has just changed to “Bah, bum bah, bum bah bum bah ba baaaa!” which I am having a hell of a time placing. Update: It is Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” (thanks, SongTapper). Oh, and now we’re back to “The Nutcracker!” Sweet Jesus. And a recorded message keeps breaking in every 30 seconds to reassure me that their representatives are helping other people, and I should keep holding (currently at 22 minutes on this call).

That is all.

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TEAL has been arrested.

Posted: August 27th, 2008

Ever since learning of the Typo Eradication Advancement League‘s spot of legal trouble (yesterday, I guess—how time flies), I’ve been mulling over the situation.

I don’t think that correcting the grammar in any sign, government property or otherwise, is worthy of a year’s probation, a $3,035 fine, and a year-long ban from all national parks.

I hate to tell the government to lighten up, but that’s how I feel about the matter. As far as I’m aware, the “repairs” being made to the sign which was “defaced” will restore it to its prior, incorrect punctuation (and the egregious [or archaic, depending on whom you ask] spelling of “emense” [sic] will surely remain). I am fairly certain that it would take very little effort to correct the sign in a manner which would match its original appearance—it is not the sign’s grammar which makes it historic.

Let me state that I do believe that TEAL went a little too far on this one, and I think Jeff would agree. A quote from 5/24/08 on the TEAL blog clarifies:

Could I get in trouble if I fixed the mistake on my own? If you’re smart about it, you’ll be okay. Again, having a buddy along is helpful, for running interference or keeping watch while you work. Make it look as pretty/consistent as you can. You should only really correct something without asking if there’s no one around to ask or you can predict that the response would be tepid. I would recommend staying away from state- or federal-owned property, though… trust me on this one. (Emphasis added.)

I am not suggesting that anyone ought to be able to doodle all over government signage, but that Jeff + Ben should have received a (metaphorical) slap on the wrist for such a small offense. They were not acting with any malice, but instead with the overall intent to enlighten the American population and promote proper grammar and spelling. 

Just as excellence begets excellence, errors beget further errors. Reinforcing incorrect language patterns is of no use to anyone. 

Writing a letter to the management about the errors would have been the best line of action, I think—though I doubt anyone would have bothered to listen.

I sincerely hope that TEAL will return to its faithful supporters, when legally allowed to. The world is sorely in need of a good editor. I’ll be waiting.


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I love stationary and office supplies.

Posted: August 20th, 2008

As I’m sitting on my livingroom floor working on the beginnings of my thesis, I’m feeling the need to shout out to Rhodia notebooks (my favorite size is the 11×17, though I am coveting some of the wire-bound renditions).

I also have to say how much I love my journal from Chameleon Books. It’s refillable, so I forsee having it for a long time to come. And the color I have (aqua green with orange accents) is fantastic.

I’ll post re: my favorite pens in the future, when I’m not procrastinating (slightly).

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hulu has been eating my life.

Posted: August 15th, 2008


I have been consuming way too much media, lately. It’s just so hot, I don’t really want to move. (I mean, it’s 82 degrees F and 1:33PM. Seriously? We have an expected high today of 99.) And I got a little tired of the Olympics after about day 4.

This is my first academic break with hulu available to me. It’s deadly, let me tell you. It’s remarkable how much content it has available that’s not crap. I mean, the complete Arrested Development? They had me from the start.

This summer, I have watched the following shows:


  • The Riches (hulu)
  • Mad Men (Netflix)
  • Dexter (Netflix instant)
  • The Daily Show (TV+hulu)
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show (hulu)
  • I Dream of Jeannie (hulu)
  • Lipstick Jungle (hulu)


I am going to defend Mary Tyler Moore and Jeannie by saying that they’re valuable cultural knowledge, and as for Lipstick Jungle, well, I had a weak moment. The show honestly kind of blows.

I’ve read some this summer, too. I’ll validate myself by writing about it.

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