Quick takes

Hell Houses used to be sort of popular in the Fresno / Clovis area.  It seems that they've become scarce these days.  The only Hell House advertised in Fresno is at someone's home.  I looked at the home through Google Street View, and I'll bet they can only fit the whole Hell House inside their yard, and not their home. 

I don't think this is what Pastor Keenan Roberts had in mind for his Hell House kits.  (Only $300 gets you a DVD and a "how to" manual!  But you can purchase extra "scenes" for an additional $45 - except the "Mother's Womb Abortion" scene and "Heavenly Resurrection" scene are sold together as a package for $65! What a bargin!)

I remember there used to be a church that did this in Fresno, they used to turn it into a big production.  I wonder what happened?  Did the church fold?  Did the youth of the congregation grow up and decide not to inflict the "conversion by fear" approach on their own kids?


When I was in the military I got to see a demonstration of military working dogs.  I found the training of drug dogs to be interesting because they were trained to find their favorite rope pull toy.  They'd alert on a drug smell in a box or luggage and the trainer would act as if he found the pull toy inside of it.  Result was a happy, playful dog that wanted to do it again! 

So here's the fascinating part - they would trick the dogs in the same way with letters in the post office.  The trainer would sort of hide the toy and then with a magician's slight-of-hand whip it out when the dog found the right letter.  To the dog, it looked as if the large pull toy came out of that itty-bitty envelope!

Stay with me - I'm going somewhere with this. 

I just saw the movie Transformers on DVD, and was amused to see the same sort of "movie physics" at work.  Enormous robots and giant cubes fold up into much smaller items.  Phil Plait spoke about this in his movie review on Transformers

And this happens in lots of movies.  Remember the movie Men In Black?  An entire universe in a jewel?  Like Frank the Pug said, "You humans. When are you gonna learn that size doesn't matter? Just 'cause something's important, doesn't mean it's not very, very small."  Uh huh.  Size isn't the problem - mass is!

Well, I enjoyed MIB, and I enjoyed Transformers.  But I tend to classify them as "Fantasy" instead of "Science Fiction".  They're based on "Science Fiction Physics" in the same way that cartoons are based upon "Cartoon Physics".  Only by classifying them as fantasy am I able to suspend my disbelief to the point where I don't get annoyed.

But even so I find myself a bit annoyed - how much does this sort of thing color our knowledge of real science?  How much more effort does it take to overcome something that is "intuitively true" when you've seen it reinforced in movies over and over again?

It's no wonder that free energy and perpetual motion scams take in so many people.  There are too many people who think their big floppy rope toy might just appear out of a matchbox.


This is just bizarre!

Last year city aldermen and the president of the city counsel of Green Bay, Wisconsin decided it would be a great idea to plant a nativity scene on the roof of city hall and then dare the Freedom from Religion Foundation to sue them. 

The FFRF tried, but were a little late last year and so they brought it forward to this year.

This year, in order to avoid alienating the portion of the Green Bay population who are not Christian, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt asked the city council to adopt a secular holiday display policy.  The details are being worked out this month.

With that change, District Court Judge Griesbach dismissed the suit as "moot", and explained in his decision that the FFRF had won a "real life victory" because the city is in the process of changing it's policy.  (PDF link to decision)

But according to Liberty Counsel, a non-profit group that provides free legal assistance for Christian causes, the FFRF actually lost and was "sent packing".

Of course, this doesn't jibe with the Judge's decision, and even with the Mayor's quotes in local news reporting.  But being wrong doesn't seem to bother Liberty Counsel.


Signs of the coming Apocalypse.  Kirk Cameron is starring in a big small budget action-adventure Christian movie called "Fireproof".  Oh, never mind.  Even his fans can't get respect from those who recognize Cameron's craziness while they make fun of his on-set "kissing double".


Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to go to a Hell House but somehow not pay for it...I guess my time is running out! JUST LIKE THAT OF THE SINNERS! Ahem.

Calladus said...

I thought it was funny when I ran into the comment that Hell Houses were a way to reenact Chick Tracts.  It's almost enough to make me want to go too.

I think it would be cool if an Atheist group volunteered to help with a Hell House.  We could act out everything that condemns us to Hell... like treating people equally and fairly, loving our family and friends, being kind to others, demanding the basic human rights for everyone. 

Ah, maybe that's why we don't get invited.  Too boring.

Anonymous said...

I *wish* they brought Chick Tracts to life. Then you could sit down and play some D&D, pass by the "Lil' Suzy" room and see some dinosaurs (wait, maybe this is all at the Creation Museum...).