Heaven is for Real

No, it’s not. It’s just not. There’s no evidence what so ever that would indicate otherwise. As near as we can tell, the experience you have after death is the same one you have before conception. This hasn’t stopped Sony from making the following movie.

This movie is based off a book written by a minister about his son’s alleged trip to Heaven; something that happened when the four-year-old boy experienced some nasty problems during surgery. Now if I had a kid who came out of intense surgery talking about strange visions, we’d sit down and have a chat about the way the brain can behave and about hallucinations and dreams. As the kid got older, we could expand this discussion into one about brain chemistry and the reaction your brain has as the electrical signals get disrupted. We’d handle this rationally, and not treat it as though the kid actually experienced Heaven, because that would just be stupid.

But I’m not a minister who is likely, at least on a sub-conscious level, to be desperate for anything that validates what I say I believe. In a case like that, it’s quite likely that someone would very believe, with token reluctance, the story that their child weaves. They’d likely encourage that child, and the child, eager to please, would provide ever more detailed information as time went by.

That’s what I think happened here. I’ll be generous enough to assume this man isn’t engaged in intentional fraud. I’ll assume that this little hiccup in his life, which has likely made him and his family quite a bit of money, was his actual, sincere interpretation of what happened. But, man, it’s clearly some grade-A bullshit. I mean, even if I were a believer, I wouldn’t believe in near death experiences, because they wouldn’t make sense. They would imply that God is imperfect enough to let people almost die, but not quite, and get as far as the afterlife before saying, “Whoops,” and I don’t think that really holds up theologically.

It doesn’t help that this movie looks like the worst bit of treacle nonsense. I’ve worked in it a few times, and, ugh, it looks even worse than the trailer led me to believe. But, hey, I’m not in the target audience for this because, you know, I still have active brain cells.

In an Alternate Universe…

…filled with incompetent people, who are incapable of executing the most basic of tasks…

On Paying for Autographs

Phoenix Comicon is coming up in June, and as per usual, I’ll be there doing various things (mostly shilling for Big Finish). I’m sure it’ll be all sorts of fun, and I’m pleased to note that they have a good variety of media guests, including some, like Mark Sheppard and John Rhys-Davies, that I’m actually interested in. However I also note, to my distress, that both of those men want $40 each for their autographs. I note with even more distress that their fees are on the low end.

Yes, people charge quite a lot for autographs these days, which is a pity. Not only are those guys charging $40 each, but Stan Lee wants $60, and Richard Dean Anderson seems to think that $75 is a fair trade for a few lines of ink.

Now I don’t really have a huge problem with this. I think it’s kind of dickish on their part, but I understand not wanting to have to sign something for all the 50,000+ people who will be there, and charging for your signature is a way to have some control over that.

On the other hand, Anderson, Sheppard and Rhys-Davies, as well as several others who will be there, are all working actors. They make a living, you know, acting, where they get money that most of us couldn’t even dream of seeing.

Here is a particularly egregious example: Matt Smith and Karen Gillian, who won’t be at the con, allegedly charge $99 each for their signatures. $99. For them to sign something. They’re both fairly in-demand actors, who probably got paid tens of thousands of dollars per episode of Doctor Who, and both of whom are under 30 and still working. Charging $99 for a signature is insane. If someone earns minimum wage, they’d have to work about 25 hours just to pay for two signatures. That isn’t even getting into the cost for getting into whatever event they’re signing at, which can be really expensive. The cheap price for someone to get in to PCC is $60.

Now do you know who I don’t have a problem with when they charge for signatures? Actors who aren’t really working anymore. Actors who really only can make a living doing the occasional commercial and appearing at conventions. If, for example, I wanted Nichelle Nichols to sign something for me at a convention, and she charged $30, I wouldn’t mind. I’d pay that and happily, since I know it’s the main way she makes a living, and since she isn’t pricing herself out of the market.

Fandom is expensive these days. The conventions are nice, but they’re pricey. When I Was younger, it used to be you could get the autographs of many people for free. You still can at some cons, like Gallifrey. But sadly, this sort of high-priced event is the new normal, and that’s a shame, because it really deprives young fans, and low-income fans, of the chance to mingle, meet, and have a good time, and that doesn’t help to build up the next generation of fans.

Oh, Discovery…

Remember when the Discovery Channel was about things sciencey? Yeah, that was some time ago now. It used to be that they had programs about science, but then, as often happens with networks, they moved onto other things, like shows about monsters in garages and monsters in houses and people gathering seafood. They do still have Mythbusters, which is something to their credit, but otherwise? No, Discovery is basically a joke, and their digital cable channels are even worse. True, they have the Science Channel, but everything else is pretty much anti-science, or pseudo-science, and almost all of it is total dreck.

And this leads us into a new show of theirs, Cell Block Psychic. Yes, what could be better than a TV show about a con artist who goes around convincing the families of murder victims that she has magical powers that let her communicate with the dead? Why, if that isn’t science, I don’t know what is!

For more details on this unmitigated crap-fest, click here. Suffice to say that there is nothing, at all, even remotely good about this show. Everyone involved should be ashamed, and this fraud who goes around claiming she has magic powers, should be investigated and shut down; possibly even prosecuted. That’s the only way to stop con artists like her from continuing to bilk a gullible public.

Hong Kong…Macau…

Where are they? What do they do? Why should we care? Etc? Learn.

Batman at 75

Yeah, it’s been 75 years since Batman first came along. DC Comics is celebrating with some rather wonderful videos. Here’s the first two! Enjoy!

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And So, 42

Today is my birthday. I am now 42 years old. Which means that my mom and dad have a son that’s 42. I’m sure that’s reassuring to them both. 42 is, according to the various Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the infinite question of life, the universe and everything. I figure that means this is a good chance to discuss what I think the meaning of life actually is. So here we go.

Life has no meaning other than that which we assign to it. That’s it. There’s no greater plan, purpose or meaning to the universe. And frankly, that’s just fine. I don’t need religion or anything like that to tell me that there’s some greater purpose. My personal goal with life is to make the world at least slightly better than it was when I came into it, and that’s all I need.


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