One very late night or early morning in 1939, J.R.R. Tolkien awoke, a full story ready to burst from his already imaginatively feverish brain. Contrary to his normal hesitation and typical obsessive writing and rewriting, Tolkien’s short story, “Leaf by Niggle” emerged “virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out.” If Tolkien had ever toyed with the ideas found in the novel—in terms of setting, character, or plot—he had no recollection of them or of any of it. Like Athena emerging whole out of the head of Zeus, “Leaf by Niggle” simply appeared on paper that very late evening or early morning in 1939, just prior to the beginning of the Second World War. Sometime in 1940, he read the story—presumably to an approving audience—to the Inklings. Again, the story just emerged, and Tolkien never even edited it after his initial copying it down. It was, he remembered fondly, “the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/11/leaf-by-niggle-jrr-tolkien-bradley-birzer.html
It would be no exaggeration to claim that C.S. Lewis’s “Perelandra”—arguably the least read and least remembered part of his “Space Trilogy”—is nothing short of a masterpiece. In it, the author ably blends science fiction and theology, giving us a gripping thriller, steeped in thought, adventure, and myth… (essay by Bradley J. Birzer)
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/11/perelandra-preventing-fall-bradley-birzer.html
In his personal recollections of his mentor, hero, and friend, George Sayer remembered that J.R.R. Tolkien possessed the uncanny ability to match his facial expressions and speech patterns to and with the prevailing mood of any given conversation. “As I sat with him and the Lewis brothers in the pub, I remember being fascinated by the expressions on his face, the way they changed to suit what he was saying,” Sayer recollected. “Often he was smiling, genial, or wore a pixy look. A few seconds later he might burst into savage scathing criticism, looking fierce and menacing. Then he might soon again become genial.” It was not affectation, but sincere intensity. The very same might (and should) be claimed of his writing ability. When the mood calls for levity, Tolkien writes with levity. When the mood calls for depth, Tolkien writes with depth. When the mood calls for contemplation, Tolkien writes contemplatively. As a twentieth-century author, he was an absolute master at this.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/approaching-feathertop-anatomy-scene-bradley-birzer.html
The Republic of China flag emoji has disappeared from Apple iPhone’s keyboard for Hong Kong and Macau users. The change happened for users who updated their phones to the latest operating system.
Updating iPhones to iOS 13.1.1 or above caused the flag emoji to disappear from the emoji keyboard. The flag, commonly used by users to denote Taiwan, can still be displayed by typing “Taiwan” in English, and choosing the flag in prediction candidates.
— Read on www.hongkongfp.com/2019/10/05/taiwan-flag-emoji-disappears-latest-apple-iphone-keyboard/
Preparing for a fresh round of activity with a U.K. tour with orchestra that includes two nights at the Royal Albert Hall, Marillion have everything to be optimistic about. There’s also the ongoing reissues series that next sees 1995 fan favourite ‘Afraid
— Read on www.eonmusic.co.uk/steve-hogarth-marillion-eonmusic-interview-september-2019.html
The films tells the story of Arneson in the 1960s and the 1970s, following his war gaming club centered in the Twin Cities and out of the many colleges of the area, but especially the University of Minnesota. Convincingly, the film explains that what would be Dungeons & Dragons—coming to game stores in 1974–actually originated in Arneson’s basement between, roughly, 1969 and 1971. The war gamers, all avid and intelligent, began to experiment with actual individual personality in games. Rather than simply moving troops around a map, why not send in a spy or an assassin?
The critical question that Arneson and others began to ask during the game: “What do you want to do?” These six words transformed the game (and gaming) into something organic, non-mechanical, and deeply imaginative. “What do you want to do?”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/09/secrets-of-blackmoor-true-history-dungeons-and-dragons-bradley-birzer.html
Fantoons, an L.A. studio known for creating rock-themed animation, has released a new full-length graphic novel that chronicles the making of Rush’s 1977 prog-rock classic, A Farewell to Kings. Spanning 144 pages, fully authorized by the band, and based on interviews with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and Kings producer Terry Brown, the richly illustrated comic offers a detailed account of the writing and recording of the LP that contained future Rush classics like “Closer to the Heart” and “Xanadu.”
— Read on www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/rush-farewell-to-kings-graphic-novel-882168/
For nearly fifty years, we have taught American children that the three greatest determinants in history are race, class, and gender. Virtue is scoffed at; “Great Men” are mocked; and free will is ignored. Should we be shocked—do we even have the right to be shocked—that our press, our culture, and our educators are obsessed with race? In every way, we are a far more racist society than we were in, say, 1989. Everything evil we now call “racist,” whether the thing is actually racist or not. Racist has come to be synonymous with evil and wrongdoing. Aside from the fact that this severely diminishes and attenuates the true challenges to true racism, it is also demonstrably false, especially in regard to our history as an American people.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/09/1619-project-slavery-founding-bradley-birzer.html
Which is why I’m completely — and delightedly — flabbergasted by Fear Inoculum, Tool’s first album in 13 years. Beyond being as heavy, brainy and cathartic as one might expect, this is deeply thoughtful, richly layered, compelling music — a satisfying, unified work from start to finish that also rocks like a truck full of bricks. If this is what Danny Carey, Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones and Maynard James Keenan have been aiming for all these years, it’s been well worth the wait, because they’ve nailed it.
— Read on progarchy.com/2019/09/01/tool-fear-inoculum/
And, yet, why not the opposite? Why can’t social media be about spreading the Gospel, 280 characters at a time; or about the release of information on how to adopt children from war-torn countries; or why not a Platonic dialogue; or how to get the local homeless person much needed food and shelter; or how to plant better tomatoes, or… Like almost everything technological, social media can be good or bad. Sadly, it seems to have gone the wrong direction in recent years. Much of what has happened with social media reminds me of promises made in the 1950s that television would revolutionize the teaching of children. It did, but not in the ways promised.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/09/social-media-plato-cave-bradley-birzer.html
Second, the actors are rather stunning as well: Lorne Greene, Jane Seymour, Patrick Macnee, and Lloyd Bridges? An incredible cast. The two main characters, portrayed by then relatively unknown actors, Richard Hatch (Apollo) and Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), are, again, simply extraordinary. They give every single ounce of talent they each have to the roles, and what they have is not inconsiderable. The two leads have an excellent chemistry as well, with Apollo being the moral and serious one, and Starbuck as the stereotypical fighter jock and rogue (think Han Solo) with a heart of gold.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/08/battlestar-galatica-40-years-later-bradley-birzer.html
While much has been made of the “Ten Commandments” in recent history, men for centuries have accepted these commandments as deeply rooted in the order of the universe and of creation—as an overt expression of the Natural Law. And, to be certain, they are logical as well as honest. They promote good order in the society, in the family, and in the community.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/08/burning-bushes-smoking-mountains-law-bradley-birzer.html