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Settling Into My New Life in Americus, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  My Writing Desk, Americus, Georgia

I have blacked out October 12-14, the three grimmest anniversaries I observe.

Photographer in this post = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I moved from Athens, Georgia, to Americus, Georgia, last Monday, October 11.  I have spent the last few days unpacking, setting up, and settling in.  I have completed many tasks.  I have learned that I must wait on some tasks longer than I would like because these tasks must follow other tasks, which require me to wait on others to do something.

Other people are frequently the greatest obstacles to my efficiency and productivity.  They are not necessarily malicious.  They are usually merely slow.

Above:  My Office, Americus, Georgia, October 15, 2021

I have, however, set up tangibly and physically.  I have emptied all boxes and put away their contents.  I have hung my clothes in my new closet.  And my office, containing most of my books, takes up the dining room and parlor in my mother’s house.  The space, occupied, is not crowded and cluttered.

Above:  The Bookcase for Translations of and Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments

Bonny is always with me, hence the prominence of her photograph and the photograph of her grave marker.

I have also started the process of transferring my membership to Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus.  I have left Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, to which I belonged for slightly over sixteen years.  Parting gifts–books–have begun to arrive.  Half of the expected Biblical commentaries have arrived.

Above:  Woodrow Wilson’s A History of the American People (1902), on My Writing Desk

The set = a gift from Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia

I have known since immediately after Bonny’s death (October 14, 2019) that I probably needed to leave Athens.  This truth set in with greater potency the longer I remained in Athens.  Finally, with the space prepared in Americus, I scheduled my move.

Above:  The Bookcase for Translations and Commentaries on the Bible, Plus French and English Books

My Roman Catholic tendencies and past associating with Roman Catholics are evident.  Notice the Roman translations of the Bible, for example.  Also notice the “Bible Einstein Award,” which the Newman Center at Valdosta State University gave me in 1995.  (The Roman Catholics asked questions, and I knew the answers.)

Leaving Athens and Saint Gregory the Great Church was difficult and emotionally challenging.  Yet I knew that going was the correct course of action.  The time had come.

Above:  A Bookcase Containing an Ecclectic Selection of Volumes

I grew up moving frequently.  For a time, I moved every two years, on average.  I learned that home is where I live.  I never grew up in Americus, but it has become my home.

Above:  My Computer and Writing Desks

I anticipate the positive developments that will ensue.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2021 COMMON ERA

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The Second Anniversary of Bonny’s Death   2 comments

Above:  Bonny Thomas

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Two years ago today, Bonny Thomas, ma chérie, walked into the afterlife.  Her death shattered my life and forever wounded my psyche.  Part of me died with her.

May Bonny be at peace.  I am not.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 14, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted October 14, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

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Farewell to Athens, Georgia   5 comments

Above:  The Cross at Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, October 10, 2021

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Today has been a hectic day.  Yesterday was more hectic.  Yesterday, I moved from Athens, Georgia, to Americus, Georgia.  For an orderly, obsessive, and detail-oriented person (such as yours truly), this move has been especially hectic.  I have been unpacking and establishing new routines.  I have not finished doing this, of course.

Two days ago, on October 10, I sat in church and took the photograph at the top of this post.  The image did not capture the full quality of the sunlight coming through the circular stained class behind the cross, unfortunately.  Two days ago, I said farewell to my church home for about a third of my life so far.

One chapter of my life has ended.  The next has begun.  May this new chapter be wonderful.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

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“Stuff”   3 comments

In one of his less profane monologues, George Carlin discussed “stuff.”  Our houses are where we keep our stuff, he said.  The manner in which Carlin said “stuff” indicated the low importance of what he referred to as “stuff.”

I have become less materialistic as I have aged.  Even if an object is lovely and I may consider owning it pleasant, I consider a counter-argument:  It will occupy space and collect dust.  And, when I move from Dwelling A to Dwelling B, I will have to decide whether to take it with me.  Also, given that I helped to clean out the apartments of my deceased grandmother and my dead girlfriend three months apart, I know viscerally the truth of Luke 12:15:

…for life does not consist in abundance of possessions.

The Revised New Jerusalem Bible (2019)

“Stuff” is on my mind as I make final preparations to move to the opposite corner of the state in less than a week.

I have been thinking in practical terms.  I have pared my library down to about 600 volumes, small, by my standards.  Given that I will not have my own kitchen again for a few years, I have decided to part with almost all of my kitchen supplies.  I gave some away to a family yesterday.  (They needed these items immediately.)  I have decided to put nearly all of the rest in the back of my pickup truck and haul them to my favorite thrift store on the next non-rainy day.  I have reserved a U-Haul trailer; I have granted myself that much space, plus the cab and bed of the truck.

What which matters most is intangible.  “Stuff” is merely “stuff.”  Hair is hair, and ought not to function as a statement of vanity.  That hair takes a while to grow out after each self-administered pandemic buzz cut, but so be it.  And how much of x does one person really need?  I own two sets of sheets, so I can change the bed covers without having to wait for the laundry to finish.  This number of sets of sheets makes sense to me.  Practical matters aside, relationships matter more than “stuff” ever will.  Trust me, O reader; I wish I could still spend time with my beloved Bonny, watch old movies with her, and dine with her.

As I prepare to leave Athens, Georgia, and drive to my new home in Americus, Georgia, I know that (a) I am leaving much “stuff” in good places and (b) leaving places where I have forged relationships that have altered my being for the better.  I also know that this is the time to go.  Therefore, I have mixed feelings about moving.  I am simultaneously emotionally ready to move and sad to do so.  I will miss my parish of about sixteen years yet will remain connected to it via my lectionary class via Zoom, due to the pandemic.  And I will join a parish I have visited for about fifteen years.

“Stuff” is…”stuff.”  The abundance of life resides elsewhere.  We all need some “stuff.”  So be it.  We all retain some items for sentimental reasons.  Given that this practice does not become excessive and burdensome, especially to those who will have to clean out our abodes after we die, that is harmless.  We need to be careful to possess items, not to become their possessions.  How much of our lives ought we to spend in the service of inanimate objects?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Good News about Babylon 5   2 comments

WITH MY JUSTIFIABLE CRITIQUE OF SUPERFICIAL CRITICS

A few days ago, I read that my favorite science fiction series, Babylon 5, will return in a rebooted form.  J. Michael Straczynski, the creative genius who created and wrote most of the original series, will helm the rebooted series.

This reality fills me with optimism about the integrity of the upcoming series.

Most of the articles I read about the reboot of Babylon 5 mentioned subpar special effects of the 1993-1998 series.  I have heard of people younger than I choosing not to watch B5 because of its special effects.  In the 1990s, the special effects of B5 were state-of-the-art.  Technology has moved on.

The writing, acting, and character development in B5 are excellent.  The show, a pioneer in serialized storytelling, stands the test of time.  Those who cannot see past now-dated special effects to appreciate the changes in the characters of G’Kar and Londo Mollari, for example, are superficial critics.  I own the original Star Trek series (1966-1969) on blu-rays.  I have the option of watching episodes with original effects or new effects.  Spock’s Brain with enhanced special effects is just as stupid as it is with the original effects.  Likewise, The City on the Edge of Forever is no less impressive with original effects than with enhanced effects.  Emphasizing storytelling is better than focusing on special effects.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted September 30, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5-Crusade, Star Trek (1966-1969)

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How is That Offensive?   Leave a comment

I am taking a momentary break from revising some test items (for use in public school classrooms in Georgia, U.S.A.).  I write such test items for an arm of the State of Georgia.

I drafted a test item about the federal immigration law of 1924.  This law was notoriously racist, grounded in White supremacy, scientific racism, and eugenics.  In that test item, I used the term, “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants,” usually abbreviated “WASPs.”  One reviewer (whose word I must heed) advised removing it, given that some may find it offensive.

I find racism offensive.  The term “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants” accurately describes many people.  The immigration law of 1924 favored them, in fact.

By the way, I grew up a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.  I am of mostly Western European ancestry–primarily from the British Isles.  I can trace the presence of the European side of my family in the Americas to German immigrants, English people, and Huguenots, during colonial times.  My family tree also contains a healthy dose of Cherokee DNA, but I look Caucasian.  I grew up a Southern Baptist then a United Methodist.  I am a member of The Episcopal Church, and I have strong Roman Catholic tendencies.  Whether I remain a Protestant depends on whom one asks.  I no longer think of myself as a Protestant.  I am too Protestant to be a Roman Catholic, and too Roman Catholic to be a Protestant.  Take those details for whatever they are worth, O reader.

I have written critically of thin-skinned people on this weblog. They have deserved every harsh word.

Life must be miserable for thin-skinned people, regardless of where they fall on the political-ideological spectrum.  Perhaps they would have an easier time if they tried removing the pole before sitting down.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted September 30, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2021

Cultural Rot as an Internal Threat to Representative Government   Leave a comment

Steve Paikin is one of the great journalists.  He, one of the hosts of The Agenda, from Toronto, Ontario, hosts this depressing interview.  Professor Tom Nichols correctly diagnoses the predicament in which much of the developed world finds itself politically.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted September 29, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2021

Blogging Update–September 19, 2021   Leave a comment

Thank you, O reader, for visiting SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.  Obviously, I do not focus on all seven weblogs simultaneously.  Each weblog is a different channel of my online presence.

As of today, I am focusing on BLOGA THEOLOGICA, which links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  A project, “Reading the General Epistles,” is underway at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  A follow-up project, “Reading Revelation,” is underway, in longhand, in a notebook at my writing desk.  The Jerusalem Bible, the germane volumes of The Interpreter’s Bible (1957) and The New Interpreter’s Bible (1998), M. Eugene Boring’s 1989 commentary from the Interpretation series, and Ernest Lee Stoffel’s The Dragon Bound:  The Revelation Speaks to Our Time (1981) are stacked up on that writing desk.

For daily devotions, I refer you, O reader, to ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, which also links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  Each of my weblogs links into the other six.

May something you read at any of my weblogs bless you.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Update:

I have completed “Reading Revelation.”  I have scheduled the remainder of “Reading the General Epistles” and all of “Reading Revelation” for publication at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, at the rate of one post per day, through October 21, 2021.

KRT

September 27, 2021 Common Era

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Posted September 19, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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The Starlost (1973-1974): An Assessment   Leave a comment

Above:  My Starlost-Related Books

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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We believe that [The Starlost] is a fresh and startling exercise of the imagination–an audacious television concept which lends itself perfectly to sophisticated production techniques and to unlimited dramatic stories and characters.

–Keir Dullea, in The Starlost series pitch film (1973)

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Actually, The Starlost was a stale and tedious exercise in ineptitude–a stultifying television series which lent itself to subpar production techniques and to amateurish dramatic stories and characters.  The series was awash in bad hair, worse wardrobe, lamentable science, poor storytelling, and rank gibberish.  How else can one explain a “Class-G solar star,” “space senility,” and “radiation virus”?  Episodic television was a poor choice for a series that should have been serialized.  With few exceptions, nothing that happened in one episode influenced any other episode.  For example, Devon became the commander of the Earth Ship Ark at the end of The Return of Oro (episode #12 in the proper viewing order).  Yet Devon did not seem to know that he was the Ark commander in the remaining four episodes of the series.  Most importantly, though, the series jettisoned its premise early in the sixteen-episode-long run.

The series pitch film is a wonder to behold, even with its faded colors.  Keir Dullea and Douglas Trumbull, their hopes for the series not yet dashed, pitch The Starlost as if it were to become a classic.  The ship visuals come from Silent Running (1972), a fine and profound film on which Trumbull worked.  In the pitch film, the name of Dullea’s character is Victor, not Devon.

I know, based on reading that Douglas Trumbull, one of two Executive Producers, left The Starlost before the series ended.  I do know when that happened, though.  I do know that Trumbull’s name remained on the opening credits until the end.  Furthermore, I know that Science Consultant Ben Bova left a week after Trumbull did.  I know, too, that Bova’s name eventually disappeared from the end credits.

The fictional counterpart to The Starlost in Ben Bova’s 1975 novel, The Starcrossed, was The Starcrossed, based on Romeo and Juliet, yet set aboard spaceships and on planets.  That fictional series was also horrendous, but the studio, in the novel, kept making it.  The fictional series, The Starcrossed, found its audience.  Many science fiction fans, in Bova’s novel, enjoyed criticizing the series.  They watched it then criticized it.  The Starlost seemed never to have found its audience in first-run syndication, though.

The Starcrossed (the novel) is hilarious.  Likewise, the novelization (1975) and the graphic novel adaptation (2011) of Harlan Ellison’s original script for Phoenix Without Ashes (rewritten and turned into Voyage of Discovery) are enjoyable reads.  The novelization includes an informative introduction Ellison wrote.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about The Starlost and what went wrong with it.

The concept and premise of The Starlost are interesting.  Proper execution of it would lead to a series worth watching repeatedly.  This is perhaps more likely in this age of streaming services and serialization.

As I conclude this project, I know I will carry some seemingly odd memories with me.  I will never think of green egg crate mattress roam the same way again, at least.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 COMMON ERA

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The Starlost (1973-1974): The Proper Viewing Order   1 comment

Above:  Title Card

A Screen Capture

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With one exception, I recommend the original broadcast order of episodes as the proper viewing order of The Starlost.  That exception is Circuit of Death the seventh episode broadcast.  It is number fourteen in the proper viewing order.

Each hyperlink below leads to my post about the germane episode.  Within each episode post is a hyperlink to that episode at the Internet Archive.

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  1. Voyage of Discovery
  2. Lazarus from the Mist
  3. The Goddess Calabra
  4. The Pisces
  5. Children of Methuseleh
  6. And Only Man is Vile
  7. The Alien Oro
  8. Gallery of Fear
  9. Mr. Smith of Manchester
  10. Astro-Medics
  11. The Implant People
  12. The Return of Oro
  13. Farthing’s Comet
  14. Circuit of Death
  15. The Beehive
  16. Space Precinct

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted September 17, 2021 by neatnik2009 in The Starlost (1973-1974)