Name Origin: Brewster, Massachusetts

Brewster_MA_highlight_largeBrewster is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The original Indian name for the area was Sawkattuckett (later Anglicized as Sawtucket) and the current town was settled in 1656 as the north parish of Harwich. The town split off from Harwich in 1811 and was renamed Brewster, in honor of the Pilgrim elder and Mayflower-passenger William Brewster (1567 – 1644).

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Part Two: The Cave of Skulls

“If we knew his name, we might have a clue to all this.” – Ian

After a fantastic first episode, the second has a reputation for being terrible. It is not, but it is also not the classic that the first was. The script is poor and the acting is worse.  That said, the premise is decent and the episode is mature fiction: there is no clear antagonist and the relationships between the characters are complex, as are what drives the plot forward. But even so, the script isn’t as tight as the first episode, the direction and costuming not as well done. The guest stars here are simply unable to build the gravitas they need while covered in fake dirt and furs. It is worth watching, but just.

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Name Origin: Bourne, Massachusetts

800px-Bourne_MA_highlight_largeBourne is a town in Barnstable County, on Cape Cod. Initially settled in 1640, it was a part of Sandwich until 1884 when it ceded and incorporated, taking the villages of Sagamore, Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Pocasset, and Monument Beach with it. Prior to being settled, in 1627, the Pilgrims had set up a trading post called Aptuxet Trading Post (meaning “little trap by the river”) in what would eventually become the village to facilitate trade between Plymouth Colony, New Amsterdam, and the local Wampanoag Indians.

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Part One

“You’ve discovered television, haven’t you?” – The Doctor

“An Unearthly Child”, the first episode of the serial now given that name, is a science fiction classic. How could it not be? First airing on November 23, 1963 (the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy), the episode has held up surprisingly well over time – but only as an introduction to the characters, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan. There is no villain of this episode, except perhaps the Doctor, and most of the 22 minutes are spent establishing the characters. As a result, Ian, Barbara, and Susan are better painted than most of the later companions of the classic series. It does not hurt that this entire episode is told through their eyes as they perceive the alienness of the Doctor and Susan.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)

2294_frontThis is one of the games that made my childhood. I loved the Castlevania series, even if it was just too difficult. The first Castlevania, for the NES, was a source of perpetual frustration – I can’t count how many times i made it to Frankenstein before getting killed over and over again. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Quest was a funny RPG and I have some vague memories of getting to the end of it with the help of a strategy guide. Castlevanis III was a milestone with new characters, an assortment of possible paths to complete the game, and deployability. Castlevania IV, for the SNES, was a graphical update – but never really sang with me.

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Name Origin: Barstable, Massachusetts

1024px-Barnstable_MA_highlight_largeBarnstable is both the name of a county in Massachusetts, as well as the town that is its county seat. It was founded by the Reverend John Lothrop and a group of Congregationalists who settled there and incorporated it in 1639. Lothrop had been exiled from England as punishment for preaching against the established Church of England. He and his congregation had settled first in Scituate, before experiencing friction over land allotments and moving to Barnstable. The area had very recently also been settled by another religious group, led by Parson Joseph Hull, who had been recently kicked out of Weymouth. (He is not the namesake of Hull, MA.) He had also departed for New England after having been expelled from the Church of England (but not exiled) in 1635. The town of Barnstable was primarily an agricultural community with the commercial center of the county to be in nearby Hyannis. The original Indian name of the area that would be Barnstable was “Mattakeese”, meaning “plowed fields”.

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Disney Diary: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Original Snow White theatrical poster.
Original Snow White theatrical poster.

Note: This was the first post in a proposed series of “Disney Diaries”, a new look at the theatrically released Disney canon. I may revisit this series now that I have a place to put it.

Once Upon A Time

“Magic mirror on the wall…”

Once upon a time, an evil queen goes to her magic mirror to discover who the “fairest in the land” is today. When the mirror responds that she is no longer the most beautiful, but rather Snow White, she realized that something must be done. She had been keeping snow in rags and doing the work of a scullery maid, and yet her beauty had shined through. It was time for more desperate measures: Snow White must die. Outside the castle, Snow White dreamt of a prince who she had fallen in love with while singing around a wishing well. The prince appeared and Snow retreated to her balcony and the two exchange a love song while the evil queen looked on in disdain.

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New Site, Old Stuff

Let’s imagine that you had a website that had not seen a major update in years. The HTML was lovingly hand-crafted, full of “TABLE” tags and rendering tricks that worked fine for Internet Explorer 5 but have not been necessary since the Clinton Administration? Got that mental image? Good.

Now toss it in the trash because it’s time to move on. This site is intended to be a place where I can place random things that do not fit on the more “serious” religion blog.

There are still some items on the old site that had been deep-linked to and which may be of some interest. I will keep a prominent link here to the “Wonderful World of Linux” series which is why I suspect most people still visit this ancient page, but if you want to trawl any of the other old items:

I will also be reposting some stuff from semi-public blogging projects which never properly saw the light of day as I start on new material.