Merry Christmas to all my fellow geeks and heathens. As a (sort of) gift, I am providing links to some of my YouTube playlists for you to ignore or enjoy. Note that I would like to edit the start and end times for some of these, but it seems that YouTube (aka Google) has decided to take this feature away. For some reason.
I maintain all these playlists to varying degrees.
Canada’s Worst Driver is probably my favorite reality TV show. And most episodes are available on YouTube! The last 6 seasons are at least. I maintain this playlist because my wife and I like to go back and watch it from time to time. As more episodes become available, I will add them.
Canada’s Worst Handyman is another good reality TV show from Canada. It’s also very Wintery, so it feels like Christmas.
Here is a playlist featuring movies, TV shows and other videos for geeks. Many of these are anime. Note that some of these get deleted from time to time and I have no control over that.
This is a playlist of standup comedy in no particular order.
Secularism, Atheism, and Skepticism
Conspiracy Roadtrip is a BBC show that takes true believers in various conspiracy theories, including the idea that evolution is a scientific conspiracy, on a bus throughout the United States to show them the evidence that their belief is wrong and to see if they can change anyone’s mind. Note that the host of the show is a nonbelieving comedian, but he seems to treat the people pretty respectfully.
This is a collection of secular and atheist videos I’ve found across YouTube in no particular order.
Below are two playlists of my favorite Atheist Experience episodes and clips.
Here is a small list of ex-Jehovah’s Witness videos. Note that it includes the one about Kissing Hank’s Ass.
On the surface, the first season of Penny Dreadful, by Showtime, is about a group of monster hunters trying to save Mina – the girl from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I think it’s a TV show that most will either love or hate. The critics seem to like it overall, but I know some viewers who have had trouble adapting to how it tells its story. This is understandable. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or leave it during the first few episodes. Then I figured out what Penny Dreadful was really about and how much I was missing. Even some of its fans have missed the real point. (Keep reading to find out what that is.)
The most obvious comparison to make with Penny Dreadful is surely League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which did some things well and some things badly. (The ending of League was pure stupid on buttered toast.) Both feature characters and settings from Victorian England. But Penny Dreadful is not a ripoff of League. Or if it is, then it does whatever League was striving for and does it far better.
When I first started to watch the show, I thought it didn’t know where it was going. Now, I realize the show wasn’t the problem. I was. That’s because I didn’t understand the show’s central conflict. You could say that I was paying attention to the wrong things and waiting for the story arc to turn on the wrong axis.
Here’s the secret toPenny Dreadful: It isn’t about killing vampires or rescuing Mina. These are just the things that get the characters working together on screen. Instead, Penny Dreadful is about the monsters within us all. This isn’t unusual by itself, but the show truly revolves around this theme and focuses on it almost exclusively. The battle against external monsters all but slips into the background. If you pay too much attention to this outer conflict, you’ll miss the good stuff and be underwhelmed. There’s only so much I can say without spoiling it for you, but a closer look at the major characters will give you some things to think about when watching the show.
I watched the new Doctor WhoChristmas Special 2013, called The Time of the Doctor, the day after it first aired. For my money, Doctor Who has always been one of the more uneven TV shows out there (please don’t burn down my house) and the Christmas Specials even more so. Alas, some of them have been truly awful, while others have been truly great. I realize that part of this is because Doctor Who is first and foremost a kid’s show. But I’m not a kid. I have, at times, wished for a more adult version of Doctor Who. And no, Torchwood isn’t it, so don’t even go there.
Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas. These behaviors range from memorizing sacred texts to wearing distinctive undergarments to killing infidels. Such defenses worked beautifully during humanity’s infancy. But they weren’t really designed for the current information age.