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I wonder how many people don't realize that the Battle of the Bulge was, in fact, a real battle that had nothing to do with dieting?

In other news...

I went to see the Golden Compass the other day.  I enjoyed it, but I found myself spending most of the movie struggling to remember who people were and how they fit into the basic plot, because it's been too long since I read the book, but I still have vague memories of what ought to have happened.  I think some fundamental stuff involving our world was left out, but that could be because it comes later in the books.  It was fun, and I enjoyed it, and my parents and I spent the drive home discussing what our daemons would be.  Dad said he wanted an Ice Bear daemon, which made me laugh. 

Regarding the anti-religious theme:

Well, duh.  It's fairly obvious that the magisterium is very churchy, possibly even specifically Catholic.  They throw around the word 'heresy' enough.  I don't recall if they were more specifically churchy in the books or not, but the church-against-science motif is reasonably obvious if you're looking for it.  However, I see it more as anti-authority than anti-God, particularly since there's a certain spiritual nature to the "dust" in the story.  Regardless of what the author has said, the anti-authority, or at least anti-controlling-power theme is very strong and obvious.  Heck, the first thing that my dad said when the lights came up was that the Magisterium was like the Democratic party--they think they know what's best for the nation and they're going to set up government programs to enforce it.  (My dad, obviously, is a small-central-government advocate.)  I think that's a reasonable message to get out of the story, whether you view the authority in charge as church or state or some mixture of the two. 

Assuming for the moment that the anti-controlling-religious group theme is intended, I'll say here again what I've mentioned before:  Any religious person has the option of following blindly or thinking through what they believe.  It's much easier to follow blindly, and lots of people--even most people, to some extent--do just that.  But that doesn't mean that religion is only for those who don't think.  Anyone who thinks that religion is only for the power-hungry in charge and the mindless sheep who follow them has a very shallow view of religion in general. 

I'm inclined to include the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy in that category, but you know what?  That doesn't keep me from enjoying the books, or the new film, or the others that will be out shortly.  And I get annoyed by people who think I should boycott the film because OMG it's anti-religious RUN!  I mean, seriously, folks.  Give me some credit here.  I certainly hope I am steadfast enough in my faith that a fantasy story isn't going to shock me out of going to church.  I know about the _real_ crap that supposedly religious people have done over the years (inquisition, anyone?) and I am more than aware that any human institution is inherently flawed.  But that doesn't mean my underlying faith is seriously shaken, because there's more to it than a mere human institution. 

Anyway, I typically like my fantasy straight-up.  Animal companions who are people's souls?  ARMORED POLAR BEARS???  Count me in!  :-D

In other-other news, it's Christmas Eve, the weatherman called for snow, but is it snowing?  Of course not!  It's RAINING, which is going to mean that whatever remnants of snow were left will melt and turn into a miserable icy-slushy Christmas tomorrow.  Rats!  :-P
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