Sunday, March 28, 2010

You can't do anything? Hold up

Okay, so the last post and this post are related to politics, but politics is something I feel we too often ignore, but something that's terribly important.  Now, even though the health care bill is a huge deal I'm not going to talk about that, that's the past.  This post is about us doing something about the future.
Part One
Many teens, and adults, would happily sit back and do nothing, until it came to voting.  So they do their one act of politics that year and vote, then they go home and wait to see the results.  Surprise surprise, they candidates they voted for didn't win.  What happened?  They hardly did anything.  If all someone does is vote, if they don't get involved then their not going to make a huge difference.  The sad thing is, some don't even vote.  Not to say voting isn't important, that is a civil duty.  Given our freedom it's our responsibility to vote.  (Of course, if you're a teen I don't expect you to vote yet, nor can I vote yet, but have no mistake that I will vote when I turn 18)
I was reading a book yesterday entitled A Century Turns by William J. Bennett when I read about an education bill in congress.  George Miller, a liberal congressman from California, proposed an amendment that would practically outlaw homeschooling.  Mike Farris and his Home School Legal Defense team weren't happy about this, nor was Focus on the Family.  Soon tens of thousands of homeschoolers and their supporters were phoning the capitol.  The capitol's phone lines were so backed up that the congressmen and congresswoman could hardly even call their offices.  Soon the capitol gave up crying for the mercy of the callers.  They removed the amendment from the bill.  Point of the story?  We got involved.  I realize that not all of my readers are homeschooled so it doesn't have the same affect as it does for me.  But the point is that this was an example of people getting involved and stopping something they didn't want to happen from happening.  This is a perfect example of what we should be doing.  We need to get involved in our government and change things.  Us as teens are not limited by our age[and certainly not adults].  I will be out there campaigning for good, conservative republicans into congress and my state legislature.  If you don't think that our government is in trouble see part two of this post below.

Part two
I think we can all agree that communism is wrong.  If you don't let me explain.  Take the two sides of Berlin during the Cold War.  One side, West Berlin, was controlled by the U.S., France, England, and other generally free countries.  The other side, East Berlin, was controlled by the U.S.S.R., a communist government.  When you look at pictures and statistics it is clear that West Berlin was very prosperous under the free governments, while East Berlin was the exact opposite.  I will not go further then that, if you need more information, Google it[that's the norm these days isn't it? If you really want to get into it, go to the library].  The basic thing though was that the communist side was like a wasteland, while the free side was a very prosperous land.
We can conclude from this and other examples that communism is not a good thing.  With that in mind, let me inform you, if you did not already know, that America was founded as a free nation, a capitalist nation, and a democratic nation[actually, it was not a simple democracy, it was also a republican nation, but that's another topic].  We don't want our nation to become a communist nation, or a socialist nation.  Besides the fact that socialism itself is bad, the simple fact is, one way or another, socialism will always lead to communism.
The other night, at my economics class (it was the night after the health care bill passed in the House) we were talking about command economies, otherwise known as communist economies.  The curriculum was written around fifteen years ago.  In the first page of the chapter we studied it listed seven things that would happen before we, America, became a communist nation.
  • Confiscation of private property-The government can now take your property if they deem it necessary. There was a time when the government 'bought' a house from a family in order to put in a mall in the area.
  • Restraint of economic competition-This is happening with health-care reform because the government is now going to control one seventh of the economy.  When they take over health-care their removing health-care insurance companies economic competitive market.
  • Governmental monopolization of production and distribution-This happened when the Obama administration took over General Motors, a top car manufacturing and distributing company.
  • Control of consumption through forced rationing-This is one that you have to think about, but in a way the government has started to do this through health care reform.  I won't explain.
  • Strict control or abolition of labor unions-This is the only thing I could not find out via internet or remember from the class, but I am certain that this has happened in some form.
  • Nationalization of banking systems-Sadly, I could again not find a direct source for this, though I am certain it has happened, if not from economics class, from watching the news.  One way, in an indirect relation however, the government has nationalized banking systems is by bailing them out.  If the government can bail the banks out they can take them over, simple as that.
  • Governmental determination of wages-The government made the minimum wage.  This may sound nice at first but if a company has to pay their employees more their unable to hire more employees and/or build up their company.  When this happens the company starts to go down and then there's less and less jobs until the company goes bankrupt.
[As a note written after this blog post, two or three days afterward.  Even though I sadly cannot remember some of these, for which I apologize, even without them, even if I didn't say anything about them, the others that have happened should be enough to convince you that we're not going in the right direction as a country]
     All if not most of these has happened in some way or another.  This is a very scary thing.  It means that we're on a fast road to communism.  Remember this book was written roughly fifteen years ago, this is terrifying.  I'm not going to ramble on any more.  I think we can agree that our government is changing in a bad way.  I urge you to get out on the streets and campaign for good candidates, do sign waving, walk door to door, go to your local republican party office and see what you can do to help.

    That's the last political post hopefully for a while, as I don't like to be so negative as I was in this post.  The next post[hopefully] will be on wizards and powerful beings.

      Sunday, March 21, 2010

      Health Care?

      Well, it's practically official, health care will be taken over by the government.  I'm not going to try to change your view on this, it's not all that much necessary at this point.  Now that it's passed in the House, the revised edition will go to the senate again before it goes to the presidents desk.  Which he will sign.  It's a sad day in America.

      On another note, if you go to the viewpoint page on this blog you'll find an essay I wrote on Tolkien vs. Rowling.  It was requested and there it is!

      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Fantasy, Part Four

      FANTASY, Part Four, Humans
      'As you all know and agree humans originally come from monkeys, chimps, apes etc...'  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  This is the real opening sentence for this post 'Humans have been around for approximately six thousand years, when God created the world and all in it, including man'.  Though man can be a fantasy element, they are also a real species, as you may have guessed.  Since they are real I think I should cover the basis before going into their fantasy counterparts, though their counterpart is for the most part the same. 
       'Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."'-Genesis 1:26
       And thus man was born!  Or rather created.  And then the story goes on to say how Eve was created and they walked with God in the garden.  But then the snake enters the scene, and we come to the fall of man, the entry of sin into the world.  And from thence forth man is basically sinful, it is now our nature.  So we must have a Savior to cover our sins.  He is Jesus, the Son of God, and He is God, and He is the Holy Spirit.  The Three are One.  If you don't understand, then, well, that's a topic for another day.
      Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins.  And though I could continue and I would like to some other time, this post is on another topic.  (If you would like to learn more please consult your local pastor or youth pastor, or shoot me an email at smr411[at]gmail[dot]com, though the former would probably be better :D)

      So, back to sin.  If man in the real world is basically sinful, is man in fantasy also basically sinful?  I would say yes.  Although there are some books that have a goal of showing what sinless man might look like, namely Christopher Hopper's White Lion Chronicles.  But in most other books humans are naturally sinful.  The reason for this being, quite simply, we don't understand what a sinless human is, and from a worldly perspective, we wouldn't even know that there ever were sinless humans (the only sinless humans were Adam and Eve, though there sinless nature didn't last) and thus it is natural to write about humans as sinful in fantasy.

      So, then there's the question of other species, such as dwarves and elves, are they sinless?  Well, no.  The above paragraph is true for them as well.  The reason for this being that dwarves and elves are based off the image and characteristics of humans.  And we've established that humans are basically sinful, so naturally, if dwarves and elves are based off humans, they are basically sinful as well.  Okay, done with my little sin sermon.

      There really isn't much else to say about humans, I would expect you, my readers, to understand humans.  Though I've been corrected for assuming things before, nevertheless, there is one more element of humans in fantasy.  

      Humans in fantasy are usually the largest race.  And if they're not the largest, they are the most public, that meaning other races are usually hidden under mountains or secluded in their forests.  This, like many things, is not always true, but for the most part, it is accurate.  So, that's about all I can say on the subject of humans. 

      I have a race in mind for the next post, but if there is a race you want me to cover please drop me a comment.

      And on another note, the poll is now closed, I personally like this one, and apparently you guys do too by the results.

      Edit:  For those that don't know me well enough to understand my sense of humor, I was being sarcastic in the beginning, I in no way at all believe in evolution.  The earth was created by God, and God continued to have a hand in it since it's creation.  But that's another post...

      Tuesday, March 16, 2010

      Word War 3.16.10

      WORD WAR!!  If you haven't done a Word War before, I'll explain it.  At 8:00 tonight we'll start.  Before then, any time, post your current word count for your chapter, novella, whatever it is you're working on.  Then, at 8:00, write like a maniac until 9:00.  At the end, post how many words you wrote and we'll see who won!  Remember though, it's not about winning, it's about encouraging each other in our writing.
      Note:  8:00 and 9:00 are both Eastern Time Zone, if you are in another time zone, adjust in accordingly.

      Also, tonight I'll post the poll for the templates, voting continues until tomorrow night where I'll see which one won and make the final decision on the permanent template for The Narrowing Road!

      Edit:  Change of time, start time is 6:30, end time 7:30, still EST.

      Sunday, March 14, 2010


      Whether it be fantasy, mystery, romance, or any other type of fiction, as well as non-fiction in most cases, when the good guy does something bad, they should be punished.  This is very important, as it displays the morals and the ethics (they are different) of the author, as well as the protagonist and supporting characters.  It's also the natural order of things the way God designed it.  When someone does something wrong they should, and will be punished.  [The last sentence is talking about real life, not books]  There are some authors that try to avoid punishing their characters for doing wrong, this is completely wrong, and in addition to not being a good book, it also is against the Bible.  Don't ask which books do this, I know of at least seven, and if I told you their titles it could spark unneeded debate.

      For example, take this completely random situation (I just made it up, it is not from any book, also, don't judge it, it's just an example, I didn't spend hours editing it lol):

      Sleen took a hammer to the window.  He heard a crack and then glass falling on the ground.
      He crept down the isles of the dark store, completely alone.  He checked his watch, 1:30 AM, he only had five minutes to get it and get out.  He found what he was looking for while waving his flashlight around.  He brought out a hammer and smashed a lock on a cabinet, grabbed a small portable computer and ran for the door.
      Sleen noticed a police car was parked on the other side of the street, the officer standing at the door of the building opposite to the store.  The officer ran over to the door, not wasting a moment.

      Now, we know nothing about this guy[Sleen], but let's assume he's a good guy.  He works hard everyday to provide for his family of three, but he just has to have this computer.  From here we can take the story two different ways, only one is Biblical, has morals/ethics, and only one makes sense.

      Option one
      As the officer got closer Sleen started to feel himself panic, he wasn't a bad guy, he was just in a bad situation.  However the police officer didn't seem to be coming to arrest him, he simply waved and approached very friendly.  "Whatcha got there?" the office asked while shining his flashlight on Sleen and then shining it on the window of the store that had been broken.
      "Oh, nothing..." Sleen said nervously.
      "You got the new Shiny-Laptopo(fictional computer)I hear that this is the top-of-the-line computer."
      "Really? That's good." Sleen said, still panicking within.
      "Okay, well you have a good night now." The officer said as he turned to go back to the other building.

      Option two
      As the officer got closer Sleen started to feel himself panic, he wasn't a criminal, he didn't kill people, he just wanted a computer.  The officer crossed the street in a flurry and brought his gun out from his belt, "Freeze!  Put your hands in the air and set down the computer down softly,"  Sleen obeyed.  "You're under arrest," the officer quickly grabbed his hands and cuffed them, then shuffled him over to the police car.

      I don't think I need to tell you, but the second one is right.  Does it make sense that a police officer would just let the person go after breaking into a store and stealing a laptop?  No, it's against the law and against the Bible.  This is something we've got to remember when writing, we can't let our good guys deeds go unpunished.  We just can't.  Now, you may ask "Are you saying that we should let our bad guys go unpunished?", and I would say yes.  And no.  Yes, they will not be punished yet, though sometimes you can throw in a defeat in battle or whatever fits to your book.  The reason I say no though is because eventually they'll get what's coming to them.  Take for example the devil.  He sinned, he was punished by not being an angel, or being able to reside in Heaven, but in addition he'll be punished in the end, he will suffer forever in his pit.

      Thursday, March 11, 2010

      Fantasy, Part Three

      FANTASY, Part Three, Dwarves
                                                                                                                 (Bombur from The Hobbit[animated])
      Dwarves.  Usually that word brings an image of a short, fat, often bald, long bearded, man figure.  Much like the image to the right.  However, what many people that are not well read in fantasy is how cool dwarves really are.  Again, though this isn't the best way to do it, and I will try to avoid it, this will be very much like Tolkien's dwarves.  The way I'm going to try to diverse it from Tolkien is by looking at Tolkien's Dwarves, and then looking at Dwarves in general.
      I'm going to look into a few main points.
      • Tolkien's Dwarves
      • Dwarves in General Fantasy
       (Gloin from The Hobbit and the
      Lord of the Rings, film version)
       Tolkien Dwarves.  Tolkien's dwarves have a very rich culture I'd say.  Not rich in an elegant type of way, but simply the depth that is their history.  [Warning!  Small recap of Tolkien Dwarf history ahead]  So, without getting too deep in Tolkien history I'll say this.  In Tolkien's world the Elves were the firstborn, men, second born, Dwarves were not created by the God of that world(Eru), but rather one of the Vala[Valar] (somewhat like an angel) named Aule.  Aule created them in secret because he was impatient to wait for the Elves to awake from their sleep.  So, because they were not Eru's creation Aule had to put them into a deep slumber (note that I'm not going into the full story because that would take much longer) and await until after the elves and men had awakened to rise.
      So that's a brief history of dwarves in Tolkiens works.
      Now, on to dwarves in general fantasy. Dwarfs, in general fantasy have their own language.  Actually, come to think of it, it seems that almost every fantasy race has its own language except for humans and hobbits etc.  Anyway, the dwarven language in most fantasy is just plain gruff.  Very rough speech, not elegant or enchanting like elves, but also not just some random chanting like goblin speech is (though I'm not altogether sure if they even have a language... I'll do some research and find that out during my post on goblins), it is not some random combination of letters.  It's still a complex system of words and grammar that makes it unique from others.  Dwarves in Tolkien's world are very protective of their language, very few, if any, outside of the dwarven race are permitted to learn it.  In other fantasy works, while the dwarven language may not be as protective as Tolkiens dwarves, they are in general, pretty protective.  Their language is not something they just let anybody gain knowledge of.
                                                                                                                        (a hammer is a common dwarven
                                                                                                                        weapon, although they would
                                                                                                                        usually not look like this example)
      Also, while dwarfs generally are thought of as 'fat', that is a term which doesn't quite do the dwarfs justice.  Because of dwarfs larger attributes they are better for it.  Take for example, the differences between a dwarf and an elf.  An elf is very lightweight, which allows them to be much swifter, and travel longer distances faster.  However, a dwarf, being heavier in weight, they gain the ability of endurance.  Their fighting styles are also much different because of this.  Elves generally use thin swords and bow and arrows, while dwarves generally use.  They are much more sturdy, their blows come slow but strong.  But that phrase "...much more sturdy..." can be taken to every part of the dwarves culture.  I'm not going to go into all of them though.

      That's all for this post on dwarves.

       Also, you may have noticed something different about the Narrowing Road.  I'm experimenting with some new templates for this blog, expect some new ones every other day or so, and at the end of the week I'll post a poll that you can vote on to decide which template will be used for the Narrowing Road.  This one is not completely finished, and neither will any this week, I will do the finishing touches after the poll is finished, thank you readers.