the Book of Truth

The Book of Truth

(a classic from my heydays on IIDB, 6 years ago)

One day in heaven, the philosopher was walking with God, waxing philosophical.
God: Everything you ever wanted is here.
Philosopher: Everything? Do you mean the Truth, too?
God: Why, yes. If its true, its in the Book of the Truth.
Philosopher: What’s that?
God: Come follow me.

They walk towards the Official Library of Heaven, where all the books that have ever existed, or will exist, are located. In the center there’s a tall podium with the biggest book ever lying atop of it, and open. The golden letters are printed in type 6 font, new roman times style, on the finest paper.

God: Every single truth is in this book.
Philosopher: Indeed? All true sentences?
God: But of course. I am essentially omniscient and I also know this to be true. That’s also in there!
Philosopher: Au contraire, mon deux.
God: What?
Philosopher: I can think of at least one true sentence that cannot be in there.
God: Surely thou jest!
Philosopher: Not at all, your eminence.
God: Alright, what is this sentence? I warn you it cannot be meaningless. I am wise to the art of sophistry!

The philosopher takes a piece of a paper and writes “This statement is not in the Book of Truth.” God’s eyes bulge, and He begins to stammer.

Philosopher: Is this sentence in there? If so the book contains a falsehood. If not, then the book does not have all true sentences. Therefore it is not the Book of Truth.
God: Oh, dear. I hadn’t thought of that. I should have never made that Cretean….

Qualities Exercise

Browsing the Galilean Library this morning, I came across a thread about a creative writing technique called “Qualities Exercise.” You try to describe the characteristics of a quality or an abstract concept as if it was a person. There’s an art to this exercise of anthropomorphism, as I found out:

Boredom is a stubborn and dedicated motherfucker that never takes a day off and works twice as hard on the weekends. He is fond of interrupting anyone, especially when they’re having a good time, and starts going on the most irrelevant subjects. Although he is rarely ever officially invited, you will always find him at any party or social event- he’s the last one to leave. If you tried to remember what he looks like you wouldn’t be able to describe him – a nondescript, mousy, totally forgettable look – but you’d recognize him right away in a crowd. Most people complain about Boredom, how he drags them down. Although some of them have figured him out and when they invite him over for tea, he turns them down flat. He lives in the basement of his brother Despair’s house, and is married to Ennui, but he hasn’t spoken to his twin Ecstasy in decades.

Fingersmiths “R” Us


Bob – a short story author, published a novel

Erik – a screenplay writer

chez moi – a graphic novelist

Fred 62 Diner in LA

Yesterday, at 2pm, I arrived at the diner mere moment before Erik did, despite the best efforts of the traffic gods and an unreliable GPS. We agreed to sit outside, and after we obtained refreshments, the conversation lurched immediately into a “whatcha done lately?” mode. Erik is a filmmaker who desires greater control over his craft, so he decided to break into script writing.

After taking turns in exchanging horror stories about grad school, and before we ran out of gas, Bob made his grand entrance. He’s a middle aged man with the wittiest sense of humor this side of George Carlin, or an American version of Lord Henry from the Picture of Dorian Gray. We spoke a bit about the goals of the club, what we expected from it, and what we hope to gain from each other, and so forth. Continue reading Fingersmiths “R” Us

God of War III review

Before I jump headfirst into this review, perhaps a little background information is in order:

I grew up on mythology the same way most children of the 80’s grew up on Hasbro toys like GI Joe or Transformers, Barbie or Cabbage Patch dolls, etc. I mean, sure, like any active 10 year old, I enjoyed toys and cartoons and video games, but mythology – Greek mythology – was so fascinating and it served as my springboard into science fiction, literature, religion, and philosophy.

The life-long fascination with Greek myths drew me to God of War. Now, although I had stopped playing games by the time the original game came out in 2005, I was easily intrigued with it when I visited another child of the 80’s who had a bigger video gaming addiction. God of War was a brilliant blend of the action platformer & the hack n’ slash game that mined the rich heritage of Greek mythology. The sequel, while being bigger and badder than the original, also ended on one of the greatest cliffhangers I’ve ever seen. Once I heard that the finale would be released on the Playstation 3, I bought it in advance- 3 years ago. Continue reading God of War III review

Disability redefined

The very basic function of the concept called “disability” has perplexed me for decades. Why is it automatically given a negative connotation when thought or spoken out loud? Why do we teach our children that it’s inappropriate to look at a disabled person rather than encouraging them to inquire freely? It seems to further ingrain the lesson that disability is something to be avoided rather than approached as an opportunity for learning.

For the sake of brevity, I will focus solely on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of disability which states:
“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.” 1

I propose a different definition for “disability”: “opportunities unrealized”. Continue reading Disability redefined

Decline and fall of a great club

Greetings, everyone. I bring you sad news. My book club, that unique mix of professionals and literati, has reached a crucial point in its 6 year history.

Let me give you a bit of background: the book club was founded by a couple of deaf bookworms who wanted to discuss books in their native sign language. Soon enough, my sister joined and I followed not long after. The membership stayed roughly at around 6 to 8 people. We struck a near-perfect balance between a linguist, a lawyer, a historian, an activist, a psychologist, and a heretic.  However, about a year ago, more and more members started to join. By last summer we had balooned to 14 and decided on a cap. Sure enough, by fall a couple of people stepped down (moved away or leave of absence) and that opened up roster spots.

Now, a middle aged man was recruited to join but to the general chagrin of the club. I won’t go into personal details – but suffice to say that his addition somewhat skewered the chemistry. Now, for the final spot, I proposed a great candidate (in my opinion but I’m sure she qualifies much better than the other guy) but she had one drawback. She wasn’t deaf by nature. However, she was born to deaf parents, and her first language was sign language. That should have been good enough of a counterargument in itself.

Not to several fundamentalists, unfortunately. They wanted an exclusive all-deaf club. That in itself isn’t a bad idea, given that there are thousands of book clubs out there in the greater metro area we can’t participate. But that bothered the hell out of me – we participated through the use of sign language, not because our audiogram passed a certain level of hearing loss.

After I submitted a petition for the coda (child of deaf adult(s)) citing her merits (she’s involved in the community, has a fantastic personality, well-read, etc) the members voted on her. Some were for, others were against (due to a dubious argument that her profession as an interpreter could lead to conflicts in the future). Battle lines were drawn, blustery emails were fired, ideologies were spouted, etc. The vote was suspended for the next meeting.

Now, my feeling is that the hardliners will dig in, ignore all charges of reverse audism, and with numbers, reject the coda’s application. My sister will then write a card that says “HYPOCRITE,” and then tell everyone that she doesn’t want to be one, and resign. Then some of us will follow her out of the door and set up our own inclusive club.


I haven’t seen every movie that’s worth watching, and I doubt I could legitimately rank the great movies according to a single value scale, without being unfair. I started with about 40, and it took forever just to whittle it down to 10.

10. Memento

Most gimmick movies hardly rise above their gimmick, but Memento successfully pulls it off. Memento is a mesmerizing tale that depends on YOUR memory, and takes full advantage of the distinct nature of cinema with multiple narratives. Guy Pearce has never surpassed his role as “Leonard Shelby from San Francisco.” A breakout hit for Christopher Nolan that unleashed a career full of great movies. Continue reading TOP 10 FILMS OF 00’S


by Chris Madden

I don’t have a dramatic story to share: my deconversion was a slow process that began in childhood. It began when I, a bored catholic boy started to discuss religious matters with a young child of a Jehovah Witness family. We went over the differences in our religions, but even then, I could tell that his faith limited the bounds of our discussion, and that I had hardly any of my own. I remember asking Matt which bible he used, and he simply declared it to be the first one. I did not press matters there, and did some researching of my own. I asked his mother if I could borrow those short books they had around the house and I enjoyed reading the extensive explanation in their stories that expanded the bible stores. Lovely paintings. Of course my mother didn’t like this and insisted that I study our religion before I start to investigate others, and of course I readily ignored her advice. Continue reading Deconversion

Politics and good conversation do not mix

Yadda yadda

Why isn’t politics germane to good conversation? Why is it a dangerous topic to discuss in public? The answer lies with what conversation is for and what distinguishes harmless, approving subjects from the more important and yet contentious ones.

Conversation makes up a large percentage of communication, and remains the source we seek approval of the others. But what has changed is the nature of conversation itself. It used to be solely between family members, whereas nowadays it is done between competitive peers in society. Continue reading Politics and good conversation do not mix

The 50th Law by Robert Greene (review)

I bought this book on September 8th and finished it last night. As a fan of Robert Greene, the modern-day Machiavelli, I was eager to snatch his latest book that’s a collaboration with 50 cents, the rapper.

The 50th Law is a decent book that spins 10 variations on the single theme of fearlessness into 10 chapters. Each chapter is further broken down into sections: the eye of the huster, the key, the strategies, and the reversal, which is similar to the original structure of the 48 laws of Power. 50 cents contributes the material of his biography and the key to fearlessness as pithy quotes. Several new individuals are also included here, from Richard Wright to Malcom X to Amelia Earhart to John Ford, along with returning favorites like Napoleon and Scipio. However, 50 cents’ biography is stretched thin across 200 plus pages, and there seems to be a great deal of overlap that borders on repetition. Robert Greene should be applauded for moving into new territory, into the world of the hustlers and the rappers to supplement his previous works on the great leaders, seducers, artists, thinkers, and generals.

One thing that bugs me: there’s no mention of the 49th law. Perhaps in the next book?