Saturday, April 29, 2006

Biblioscopes: Advice for All Sun Signs April 29 to May 5

Biblioscopes are the union of bibliomancy, divination through opening books to random pages and pondering the meaning of the phrases therein, and horoscopes, in that each sign does share certain commonalities, including planetary transits. Each Saturday I ask the Universe to lead my hands in opening the book to the right page for a week's worth of good advice for each sun sign.
This week's featured book is The Slate Diaries, written by a whole bunch o'folk, but edited only by Jodi Kantor, Cyrus Krohn, and Judith Shulevitz.

Aries (March 21 - April 20)
The second time I was fired, the job also lasted four days, though spread over four months.
Look for hints that you may be in trouble--one of them may be a time lapse.

Taurus (April 21- May 20)
Our very thoughtful priest, Father Krawinkel, delivered an appropriate sermon, ending by quoting Malcolm Muggeride in his Chronicles of Wasted Time, lamenting the loss of the years he'd wasted before finding faith. This closing was particularly stinging to me because not only was I unsure I had yet found any faith, but also I have had Chronicles of Wasted Time sitting on my bedroom bookshelf for about five years, waiting to be read.
Live this week like its your last. Not that it is, but you will avoid some great disappointments.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
When we were tykes, we would never go to the nurse for an itch due to a bug bite or for chapped lips. It was understood hat these things were parts of life with which we coped. Now such visits are commonplace.
"When I was your age..." from you, Gemini? Hush your mouth. When you were that age, you hated those "when I was your age" stories and shut your ears right away. Just listen to what the people around you are saying.

Cancer (June 21-July 20)
As a man I didn't worry about my weight. Men think they look good no matter how they look.
Points of view you had at different stages of your life will help you now, whether those other points involved being the opposite sex or not.

Leo (July 21-Aug. 20)
De-regulation and a sky-high stock market have indeed provoked human nature--a number of 50- and 60-something bankers are making some big, empire-buiding moves, while others are counting their options and golden parachutes and heading for the door.
Be an opportunist, even if you must make lemonade from lemons. In a hurricane.

Virgo (Aug. 21-Sept. 20)
I like now, as then, dark-haired Jewish girls, spy novels, and thrillers.
You will rediscover yourself through your past loves and hobbies. If it will not affect any of your relationships, take a nice, dark-haired Jewish girl to a thriller.

Libra (Sept. 21-Oct. 20)
I was actually inundated today with twisted ankles and stomachaches, urinary accidents and nosebleeds.
Your week may be embarrassing, but not life-threatening. Handle with aplomb.

Scorpio (Oct. 21-Nov. 20)
I really am going to lose my mind if I have to keep reading my parents' words for the rest of my life and not have them to talk to.
If your parents are still around, give 'em a call. If not, write a very short letter to them, and burn it to send.

Sagittarius (Nov. 21-Dec.20)
The red-hot Mongolian sauce in the curious little bottle sent a convincing warmth to every corner of my body.
I don't really have to advise you to try some new cuisine, adventurous Sagittarius? You must be getting away from your true nature. Start with the foreign food, and move on to the foreign books, films. Maybe plan a trip outside the country.

Capricorn (Dec. 21-Jan. 20)
"Now really, Dan," my personal Torquemada said to me at the end of this literary equivalent of a root-canal session, "I don't want you to feel bad about this."
Your superiors can see how badly you feel about this painful situation. And they only know how to pretend to care. I'll never know how you can stand these fake people, Capricorn. I guess your upper lip is stiffer than mine.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb 20)
Inaugural plans have been haunting me for weeks, and I lurch between micro-management mode and lead-me-around-I'm-a-smiling-vegetable mode.
Neither of those modes is good for business. When no one is looking, take a deep breath, shake out your hands, and delegate, delegate, delegate!

Pisces (Feb.21-Mar. 20)
pointing a stream of soundwaves
to translate the dark inside his ribs
into a midnight screen, its pulse
Get thee to a fancy new nightclub, or to a jazz club. Your ruling planet, Neptune is calling you to music, and the night. Just like a vampire. Vampires are sexy, Pisces is sexy...I'm starting to see the connection. What are you doing reading this? Find a night club now, get your outfit together...NOW!

*The dates given to each sun sign are approximate--the dates of each sun sign change annually with the date of the vernal equinox. If you were born between the 18th and 24th of any month, you should get a free astrology report from www.astrology.com or www.geocosmic.org just so you can answer properly when someone asks, "What's your sign?"

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Legendary Giant Turtle Bodes Well for Vietnam

This is my favorite news item of the day.

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Mystery Boom in California

"A group of local scientists has uncovered some clues to the source of a mysterious disturbance that rattled San Diego County on the morning of April 4, shaking windows, doors and bookcases from the coast to the mountains.
"The scientists, based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, say the disturbance was caused by a sound wave that started over the ocean and petered out over the Imperial County desert."
More here.

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Time Travel This Century?

A University of Connecticut professor says in an article here that time travel could be possible sooner than we might think.

"To determine if time loops exist, Mallett is designing a desktop-sized device that will test his time-warping theory. By arranging mirrors, Mallett can make a circulating light beam which should warp surrounding space. Because some subatomic particles have extremely short lifetimes, Mallett hopes that he will observe these particles to exist for a longer time than expected when placed in the vicinity of the circulating light beam. A longer lifetime means that the particles must have flowed through a time loop into the future."

If you could travel anywhere in time where would you go, the future or the past? If the past, when?

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Why Americans Will Believe Anything

"We are the most conditioned, programmed beings the world has ever known. Not only are our thoughts and attitudes continually being shaped and molded; our very awareness of the whole design seems like it is being subtly and inexorably erased. The doors of our perception are carefully and precisely regulated."

Excellent article can be read here.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Penn & Teller Diss Cryptozoology

"What can you say about Penn & Teller? They left no sacred cryptids untouched by their silence and their profanity. Bottomline, you did not miss much "science" (despite their claims) if your cable system doesn’t get Showtime and you did not watch Penn & Teller’s April 24th show on "Cryptozoology.""
Read all about the show here.

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Transparently Opaque

Enraged about the leak disclosing the illegal, unwarranted NSA and CIA domestic wiretaps, the Bush administration went on the warpath to crackdown on any further revelations. They eventually pegged former case officer Mary McCarthy, a career CIA case officer ten days from retirement, as the culprit, and planted false stories about her in the press.

For the past few weeks, we’ve heard that McCarthy confessed to telling journalist Donna Priest about the illegal domestic spying program. Problem is, McCarthy did not confess anything to anyone. Despite reports that she was unceremoniously escorted out of Langley, no such event occurred. McCarthy also did not have any knowledge of the program. The ex-spook now seeks to clear her name.

The blind rage that made McCarthy a sacrificial lamb is characteristic of a neo-con movement within government that has been trying to keep potentially damaging information of a political nature away from the public. In 2003, the White House stamped a record 14,000,000 items top secret, and were on pace to produce 21,000,000 secrets in 2004. By Executive Order, Bush reclassified presidential papers over the objection of former president Bill Clinton, who had no problem with the due publishing of his administrative records. Despite the fact that she had disclosed FBI foreknowledge of the events of 9/11 before Congress, and on 60 Minutes, Sibol Edmunds statements were classified after they had already been made public. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been under continual review. EPA studies that comment negatively on the relationship between the administration’s pet industries and the environment have been taken down from the Agency’s website, and new studies indicating are openly opposed. At the time of this post, the FBI is also trying to suppress the papers of the late columnist Jack Anderson.

Knowledge is a form of power. By keeping the public away from what has been historically considered public knowledge, the administration has the leverage to claim ‘national security’ for any illegal activity that affirms the power of the elitist clique that Bush openly acknowledges as his “base.” Such an atmosphere is conducive to rampant conspiracy.

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Our Quintessential Self

Image from Visual Paradox

Is it possible to tap into other realms or a higher state of consciousness while performing mundane tasks that require little focused thought? While gardening or painting walls? Washing dishes?

Ever been so lost in thought you arrived at work with no memory of the actual drive? As a writer, this has happened to me. Scared me each and every time. But what if you let your mind hang loose? A part of you is intent on the mechanics of driving while the other is busy grasping fleeting images or thoughts from... where?

That's the big question.

The movie, Altered States, Altered States (1980) , asked a similar question. Can a man who experiments with hallucinogens and sensory deprivation, find a way to break into something new? Or would it be something old?

Another dimension, a higher state of mind... or merely basic instinct?

Studies have been done in such places as Cambridge and Stanford with invariable results. Students put into dark rooms with white noise microphones scored higher than those who were less confined.

Dean Radin Dean Radin - Short Bio , a scientist who studies the far reaches of human consciousness, believes "these experiences are responsible for most of the greatest inventions, artistic and scientific achievements, creative insights, and religious epiphanies throughout history."

The Koestler Parapsychology Unit has a site on research they've done into PSI.

Despite the magnitude of this challenge, we have a duty to address it because society deserves a firm understanding of psychicexperiences. As true skeptics, we can question and test both psi and non-psi hypotheses. If there is nothing to the notion of psychic phenomena, we will only learn this by an organised effort to explore the evidence for it. And if there really is some completely new means of interacting with the world around us, then we must come to understand its practical and theoretical implications as thoroughly as possible, otherwise our picture of humankind will remain woefully incomplete." From their website Koestler Parapsychology Unit - Graphical Version for version 6 browser

A few other research sites:
Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
Rhine Research Center
Anomalistic Psychology - PNI.org Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute

It's not a secret that most psychics do their work through the most mind freeing state we reach-- through sleeping and dreaming. We reach revelations or discover ideas while sleeping. Ever consider all the things we don't remember?

Edgar Cayce Edgar Cayce: Twentieth Century Psychic - Medical Clairvoyant , claimed he could place a book under his pillow and memorize it while sleeping. Mr. Cayce believed his gifts came from God but there is also the possibility that he was somehow more open to an ability we all share.

Some people believe psychic experiences comes from tapping into electromagnetic fields. But then, there are those who believe the aura is a person's electromagnetic field.

Auras: The Human Energy Body - The Aura
Life Force Energy: Journey to explore the life force energy

If that's the case, are we bouncing off our own fields... once again being directed back to our center?

Think about the people who do their best work when they rely on gut instincts. How about cops? These are people who train to be on guard at all times, to pick up on behavior, to be ready to spot a bad situation and even rectify it. That sort of training opens doors.

So, since I've made this an essay of questions, I'll end with this one.

Do you think moments of ESP are messages from another plane of existence or... could they be nothing more than us dipping into the very undiluted and concentrated essence of our own minds?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

When You Get Your Ass to Mars...

...this will alow you to tell time on the Red Planet. A useful tool for Sci-Fi Living.

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Smart Chairs?

• Once the chair is placed in the room, it should automatically detect the positioning of all the items in the room and modify the original map of the room accordingly.
• The user would be given an interface, where he/she can pinpoint the location where it wants to move. On the basis of the map and the locations of all the other items in the room, the chair would find the shortest route to reach the point.
• The chairs should auto-adjust themselves in the most optimum manner in the room whenever the room is empty.
• When a user enters the room, a chair will automatically move to him/her when he/she snapped and then called “Chair”

That is part of the design abstract from Smart Chair and I saw Alan Alda demonstrating one on PBS. The one that he was on, which was not the same as this model here, I don't think, (yes, more than one group of people in the world are thinking about smart chairs) showed an imprint of his back and ass on a computer screen. I guess its the test one. In the future we will all be sitting on chairs with brains larger than the ones in our heads.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

The Falun Gong Heckler and the Vandalized Newspaper Boxes

The first report of the heckler at the White House said she had credentials from a Falun Gong newspaper. I immediately knew they meant The Epoch Times, which is readily available here in downtown Manhattan in distinctive blue and yellow street boxes. I pick up a copy of the vehemently anti-Chinese weekly from from time to time to keep abreast of all things Falun Gong-ish. A couple of weeks ago I got one for lunch-time reading, and read about the concentration camps where the Chinese supposedly put the devotees after rounding them up, where they work them to death, and then sell the persecuted saps' organs.
I practiced for a bit Chi Kung, a meditative physical exercise and source of chi cultivation that forms the basis of Falun Gong. I kept up with their protests in Tianemen Square (late 1990s), which eventually led to the group's outright banning in China. Back then, I checked one of their main sites (unoperable now, it seems), and discovered there was lots more than exercise going there. Extraterrestrials were mentioned...
Anyway, I noticed that over the past few months several of the newspaper's street boxes down here had been vandalized--I wondered if secret agents from the Chinese consulate at 520 12th Ave. were responsible...

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The Loving Cup

According to legend, Merovech came to power because of something he possessed: the Sangreal (or Sangraal). The Sangreal is traditionally described as an extraterrestrial item which gave its holder unlimited power by rendering his or her enemies docile. As to what the Sangreal specifically functions as, or looks like, nobody knows for sure.

One can interpret the term as san (holy) greal (grail). Question: what the hell is a grail, holy or otherwise? Ostensibly, it’s a vessel that held the blood of Christ. Many logically concluded that it was the chalice Christ used during the Last Supper. (“Drink, for this is My blood.”) Others see it as the chalice Joseph of Arimathea used to collect Christ’s blood on the cross.The Loving Cup

Before He died and resurrected, however, Christ turned to a fisherman named Simon and said, “Simon, you’re a real peter [Greek for rock – as in bedrock – as in foundation], and upon this rock, I shall build my church.”

“Fine,” Simon probably thought. “What the #$@! is a church?”

The question is an important one. There was no precedent for such an institution, and the disciples were undoubtedly clueless as to what it could be. Christ’s background in arcana would make it quite possible that He wanted to create something that would disseminate His secret knowledge to all of mankind, perhaps something analogous to a present-day university or club. As the first Pope, however, Simon-Peter, who like Christ was Jewish, conceived of the church as a new-fangled synagogue – i.e., a house of worship.

The Church has historically demonstrated its authority through pompous display. Christians have beautiful cathedrals and picturesque chapels on hillsides. In the past, they’ve reserved the right to sell indulgences and call for Holy War. They had Christ’s hand-picked successor as its founder. They would someday have all the televangelists. In fact, the Church seemed to have all the tools necessary to establish its claim as Christ’s sole agent on Earth.

But there were others who would claim Christ’s legacy for themselves. What did the other side have to establish its authority?

The Holy Grail. An item of reputedly alien manufacture which by its very nature gave the holder almost unlimited power.

As I stated earlier, ‘Holy Grail’ is only one interpretation of the word ‘Sangreal’. You can also read the word as ‘sang (blood) real (royal)’. This would imply that the blood was important, not the chalice that held it. It would refer to anybody who carried the blood of Christ, who inherited His royal blood from King David. Thus the phrase could apply to His children, or even to His wife, St. Mary Magdalene.

The term is probably a play on words. These alternative Christians know that ‘Sangreal’ has multiple meanings. The Church and its believers, however, understood only one: the Holy Grail. This would explain why knights and kings loyal to Rome searched in earnest for a chalice. If they could take away the other side’s main instrument of power, then they could reign supreme on Earth.

The Church’s problem was that the Merovingians had the loving cup, and were loath to give it up.

How did they get the chalice? If you ask them, they’ll tell you they got it the same way they got their royal blood. They inherited it. You see, the Merovingians claimed to be the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

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Punks, Pre-Cogged

Last night in my typical Sunday night insomnia, I got down from the bookshelf the egregiously misfiled Nightmare Age, which has been in my Earth Mysteries section for a couple of years due to some lackadaisical flaw on my part. The book, published in 1970 and edited by Frederick Pohl, is an anthology of eco-catastrophe stories culled from 1960s science fiction mags. (It wasn't until a while later I realized it was the waning hours of Earth Day.) (Hit Read more! below) I read one story in there last night, "Day of Truce," by Clifford D. Simak. It concerned a future suburbia in which the subdivisions are veritable fortresses. The suburbanites must daily battle a group of youthful outsiders called--get this--The Punks.
I laughed when I saw that.
The story was published in 1963 in the February issue of Galaxy, beating the "nihilistic" real-life subculture by more than a decade. I wonder if Richard Hell had read this story. "Day of Truce" describes how The Punks started out as your run-of-the-mill suburban vandals and eventually became the force that threatened to bring down all of society, as the Sex Pistols threatened in 1977.
(Check out the movie Suburbia, as well.)
I recall there's also a scene in Philip K. Dick's Time Out of Joint (1959) that seems to describe 1970s-era punks. I'll look it up tonight and get back to you...

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Biblioscopes: Advice for All Sun Signs April 22-28

Biblioscopes are the union of bibliomancy, divination through opening books to random pages and pondering the meaning of the phrases therein, and horoscopes, in that each sign does share certain commonalities, including planetary transits. Each Saturday I ask the Universe to lead my hands in opening the book to the right page for a week's worth of good advice for each sun sign.
This week's featured book is Self-Reliance and Other Essays" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Aries (March 21 - April 20)
By and by that boy wants a wife; and very truly and heartly wil he know where to find a sincere and sweet mate, with out any risk such as Milton deplores as incident to scholars and great men.
Your status will not help you in your search for like-minded others, companions, etc. You will have to go with your background and instinct.

Taurus (April 21- May 20)
So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings and deal wih Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God.
Whether you win or lose, you will have to deal with the consequences. Whatever those consequences may be, mull over the actions you take because of them.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
So I will owe my friends this evanescent discourse. I will receive from them, not what they have, but what they are.
Your chatty friendship is worth more to those around you than you may understand. And admit to yourself that they are worth more to you than a free round at the bar.

Cancer (June 21-July 20)
The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity and Instinct.
Listen to your gut and take spontaneous action, even if it seems out of character or a little risky.

Leo (July 21-Aug. 20)
For every friend he loses for truth, he gains a better.
If a friend seems angry at you, do this simple exercise: raise shoulders to ears, release. Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat with other foot. Keep repeating foot action until you are somewhere interesting.

Virgo (Aug. 21-Sept. 20)
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.
You learned a lot this winter. Stop thinking about it, and start using it.

Libra (Sept. 21-Oct. 20)
Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection.
Let someone you love be your muse, and you will experience success.

Scorpio (Oct. 21-Nov. 20)
The new continents are built out of the ruins of an old planet; the new races fed out of the decompostion of the foregoing. New arts destroy the old.
Some aspect of your life may be dying (or totally flatlined). Mourn, but know a new start is coming.

Sagittarius (Nov. 21-Dec.20)
Only it is to be hoped that, by patience and the Muses'aid, we may attain to that inward view of the law which shall describe a truth ever young and beautiful, so central that it shall commend itself to the eye, at whatever angle beholden.
Sagittarius is known as the Truth-Seeker. This week, you will be a truth-finder. Be sure to write it down a post-it so you don't forget it. Maybe you can sell it.

Capricorn (Dec. 21-Jan. 20)
Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repreat itself...
Savor the feeling that every experience is somehow different than every other. It will truly enrich your life.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb 20)
All that is in the world, which is or ought to be known, is cunningly wrought into the texture of man, of woman.
Passionate times ahead. 'Nuff said.

Pisces (Feb.21-Mar. 20)
We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken.
Be sure to thank people for their thoughtful actions this week, even though they may be near-unnoticeable.

*The dates given to each sun sign are approximate--the dates of each sun sign change annually with the date of the vernal equinox. If you were born between the 18th and 24th of any month, you should get a free astrology report from www.astrology.com or www.geocosmic.org just so you can answer properly when someone asks, "What's your sign?"

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A Ripping Yarn, Pt. III

Forensic pathologist and novelist Dr. Patricia Cornwell fingered Sickert as the sole Ripper in her 2002 book Portrait of a Killer. She offered as evidence a series of letters to the Times of London by someone claiming to be the Whitechapel murderer, who declared that he was “. . . down on whores . . . . and shan’t quit ripping them [hence the nickname]” The penmanship and writing style were similar to Sickert’s. Watermarks indicate that the Ripper letters were written on paper stock purchased by Sickert. Even more telling, some of the letters featured artwork that bore a striking similarity to some of Sickert’s cartoons.As a forensic pathologist, Dr. Cornwell had an advantage over previous investigators in that she knew where to look for viable mitochondrial DNA. Sickert had always been her prime suspect, a bias she clearly states at the beginning of her book. After procuring a sample of Sickert’s, she then received permission from Scotland Yard to perform DNA testing on some of the letters that the Ripper sent to the Times. Most of the readings were inconclusive, due to their age and deterioration. After exhaustive searching, however, she found that the dried saliva on the back of the stamp of one letter positively matched Sickert’s, leading her to conclude that the case was finally solved: Sickert was the Ripper, and he acted alone.

Although Dr. Cornwell does her best to dismiss a possible conspiracy in the Whitechappel murders, she gives evidence of it. The letters themselves provide evidence of conspiracy. After all, if we buy into the Chicago tale, the point of the operation was to divert attention away from the Kelly hit, by masquerading it as one more in a spectacular line of murders by some monstrous individual. Problem was, the first two murders (or three murders, if you count Smith) received very little attention indeed. The Times published nothing about their deaths beforehand. So if the conspirators were to hide Kelly’s death in a series of sensationalistic murders, they would have to make sure that the killings gathered as much media attention as possible.

Dr. Cornwell’s psychological portrait of Sickert shows him to be something of a joker, a man who liked to taunt authority, and shock his friends. She describes some of his artwork that depicts themes of the Ripper murder that she insists that no one but the Ripper could identify. At the same time, she also notes, but dismisses, references to Sir William Whitney Gull and other possible co-conspirators. She also points out that Sickert’s curt resignation from the London desk of The New York Herald followed an incident when a “mysterious soldier appeared at the [office], and announced a murder and mutilation he could not have known about unless he was an accomplice or the killer” (pg. 271). Despite this turn of events, Dr. Cornwell offers no explanation as to why an unnamed soldier’s confession to Ripper-like murders would have spooked Sickert enough to quit his job, since she maintains that Sickert acted alone. In my mind, the event implies that Sickert feared that the soldier, possibly the bayonet stabber described to police by Emma Smith, would rat him out.

Official victims three and four were murdered about sixty-minutes and a hundred yards apart. The first victim of the night was found dead in her stairwell, and the blood still gushing from her indicated that she had died just moments before. A crowd of people had gathered to look at the pitiable sight when they heard screams. They traced the sound to a nearby fence, where they found the second victim convulsing in her final death throes. The police, who finally arrived in response to the first murder, went directly to the dying, disembowelled woman before them. Since the crowd had migrated to the fresher kill, the bobby in charge asked if anyone knew the identity of the second woman. An unknown, masculine voice identified her as Mary Kelly. Four hours later, Scotland Yard positively ID’d her as Catherine Eddowes. Mary Kelly was, at this time, still quite alive, and very pregnant.

The Times-Herald story doesn’t mention the misidentification of Eddowes, but the point seems clear. It wouldn’t be unusual if either Gull or Sickert had some reservation about the whole ordeal, for if Dr. Howard was correct, Kelly might very well have been a friend of theirs. By falsely identifying Eddowes as Kelly, they may have been trying to save the latter’s life, while at the same time satisfying the crown with false evidence that the operation was successful, and at a close.

By the time they finally got to Kelly, the last and most gruesome of the killings, public imagination took over the cover story from there. Copycat murders sprang up all over the place. Furthermore, the police eventually warmed to the cover story, issuing cryptic statements that they had in fact captured the Ripper, and/or he was dead. That didn’t stop the public from looking for a Ripper, however, nor did it keep them from lynching a shocket named Kaminsky. (A shocket is a Jewish butcher versed in the traditional methods – anti-Semitic fervor led many to believe that the Ripper murders were carried out, quite literally, in a kosher manner.) One thing the hysteria did accomplish: it drew attention away from the crown.

Dr. Howard claimed that he, along with the other doctors of the Royal College, had committed Sir Gull to the looney bin in1889, where he died in 1895. The purpose of te commitment was to silence him. Remorseful about his role in the killings, Gull threatened to expose the plot. To cover their tracks, the crown then staged Gull’s death in order to mask the true reason for his disappearance.

Whether or not Dr. Howard was full of it, the fact remained that as the Twentieth Century dawned, the English were unsurpassed when it came to clandestine operations and gathering intelligence. At the same time, England drew closer politically to the United States. Eventually, the British urged the Americans to ally with them and become partners in their little spy games.

Americans, however, still tied to isolationist policies, felt that such “pranks” were strictly European business. Americans found the whole cloak-and-dagger thing rather distasteful, and beneath them. Former Secretary of State Henry Stimson put it this way: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Silly Flying Saucer Lyrics

From one of my favorite pop-punk bands of the early 1980s, The Rezillos:

There's a threat approaching from the stars
All the horrors from Venus and Mars
Everybody better be on guard
When the Flying Saucers land (read the rest by clicking Read more! below)

Watch the skies above the horizon
For the spies who have no flies on
When they appear through the stratosphere
Better lock yourself inside

[Chorus:]Flying Saucer Attack
I'm never coming back
Oh, oh oh
Until it's over

Laser beams and gamma projectors
There'll be nothing on earth to protect us
When they arrive out of the sky
They'll be frying us alive
Call out the Army and United Nations
Alert the Police and Airforce Stations
Tell everybody to run and hide
Because the end is near at hand

[Chorus:]Flying Saucer Attack
I'm never coming back
Oh, oh oh
Until it's over

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9/11 Woodrow Wilson / / BUSH --- The Song Remains The Same

To begin with, I want to remind you, the term "conspiracy theory" does NOT mean the theory is fictitious or wrong. It was only a THEORY that the Nazi's CONSPIRED to commit genocide of the Jewish people. Near the end of the war, the theory was proven to be correct...

The following link takes you to a video report about 9/11 and a conspiracy theory about it. Loose Change 2nd Edition - Google Video

I've seen a similar video. I've looked at pictures. I've read parts of the 9/11 commission report. ( http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htm) I believe the evidence for a conspiracy is not only obvious, but it is overwhelming.

For years now I have believed, and said, that genius is the ability to recognize the obvious and I believe that.

For example, Isaac Newton noticed "If a thing isn't moving, then it isn't GOING to move.... Unless something pushes it."

From that observation of the obvious he began, the study of physics and then calculus...

With that in mind, think back to 9/11. We saw hijacked planes flying into the twin towers, we were told another hijacked plane flew into the pentagon, and that a fourth hijacked crashed into the ground as the passengers fought the hijackers for control of the plane.

We were told that, we believed it, and it angered us. Most of us were so enraged we wanted war against the guilty party.

Now I ask you... Did we REALLY see HIJACKED planes flying into the twin towers?

Consider some painfully obvious evidence that we the people didn't see that day. Let's begin by considering the attack on the pentagon.

The report says this huge plane flew straight into the outerwall and penetrated all the way to the interior. That is 18 feet of steel reinforced concrete, and that doesn't include everything that was within those walls. The hole in the inner wall was only 3 feet in diameter and nearly a perfect circle.

This link will take you to a page in which you can see a Boeing 757 imposed on a picture so that it stands in front of the pentagon. The plane is too large for that small hole. Even the hole in front. The wings would have had to

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A Ripping Yarn, Pt. II

Today, we know the results of this supposed operation as the Jack the Ripper, or Whitechapel Murders. Pretty much everyone knows the story about some unknown madman, who murdered a bunch of prostitutes. But if we give any credence at all to Dr. Howard, then we have an eerie new story of domestic black operations. One might ask if there is anything outside the source that would corroborate the Chicago Times-Herald story alleging that the Ripper Murders were a hit consented to by Queen Victoria.

Believe it or not, there are eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence produced as late as 2002 that point to that very conclusion.

Due to the nature of 1880s press coverage, many misconceptions about the Whitechappel murders took place, and to this day have never been corrected. First of all, the Ripper victims were not wildly hacked to death, but rather have a distinctive MO--a fact that led Scotland Yard to uncover a number of copycat crimes (thirty-four in all).

A number of other things mark Kelly as unusual, in terms of the five acknowledged Ripper victims. The other women were about the same age, and in similar health condition. Such isn’t unusual for a serial killer. Usually, there is some ritualistic or strategic reason for choosing homogeneous victims. While the other women were in their late-thirties to late-forties, Kelly was a twenty-something. Furthermore, the autopsy photos reveal that the other victims showed signs of poverty--badly curved spinal columns, dental problems, calloused hands, and so forth. Kelly, however, was in very good shape, a woman of clear skin, soft hands, perfect posture, and she possessed a head full of healthy teeth. In short, she had lived a life of luxury, a fact totally consistent with the lot of a lady-in-waiting.

Although police believed that there were only five victims. there is good reason to think that there was a sixth, forty-five year-old Emma Smith, the very first to die by the Ripper’s hand. If you’re wondering why the cops didn’t count her in the official statistics, I would speculate that it is probably because on that first night, someone interrupted the “Ripper,” and this allowed this first decedent to live for about twenty hours, during which time she gave a statement to police. According to her, she had picked up a very handsome, wealthy (from his clothes and his watch), younger man, and had taken him back to her flat. When they got to the door, a large, muscular man stabbed her with what she alternately described as a “bayonet” and “a sharp spike.” She was then taken inside by the larger man and a third accomplice, an elderly, left-handed man who, with a scalpel, proceeded to disembowel her on the spot.

The mark of the official victims is that they bear two distinct wounds: one made with a heavy-gauge knife (or bayonet?), and a number of clean, surgical incisions. From their angle, it was plainly apparent that the heavy-gauge blows were from a right-hander, the scalpel cuts from a southpaw. Here, we have further corroboration of the Chicago story, for Howard claimed that the murderous surgeon was no other than Victoria’s trusted advisor and personal physician, Sir William Whiney Gull, an elderly “gentleman” who just happened to be left-handed. By refusing to link this first murder with the others, the physical descriptions given by the deceased would languish into obscurity.

So who would the other assailants be? We will probably never know the identity of the bayonet stabber, most likely a foot soldier or a palace guard. The physical description of the young man who lured her, however, was consistent with that of Walter Sickert. A writer, cartoonist and actor, Sickert was also the guardian of Prince Eddy’s illegitimate daughter, the one whom Kelly had nursed.

In 1895, Howard knew only that Sickert had played some role in the killings, but was unsure as to the nature of that role. A later examination of evidence, however, links Sickert to the murders, and clarifies what part he played in them.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Ripping Yarn

The UK expanded her intelligence activity during the Nineteenth Century. While most of the gruntwork now fell within the jurisdiction of the London Metropolitan Police (founded 1829-referred to by Londoners as Metropol, and by us outsiders as Scotland Yard), the most sensitive operations were still handled by the aristocratic clique that surrounded the crown. In this era, the real cloak-and-dagger aspects of intelligence and clandestine operations were truly a “gentleman’s” game, practiced solely by the elite for the purposes of maintaining the elite.An example of this “gentleman’s game” may have possibly been exposed in 1895. In that year, Dr. Benjamin Howard, a member of England’s Royal College of Surgeons, gave an interview to The Chicago Sunday Times-Herald, and spilled the beans on an extremely sensitive domestic operation that occurred seven years earlier.

Queen Victoria was the penultimate ruler from the German house of Hanover. From the Eighteenth Century onward, political forces within England pushed towards a more limited role for the monarchy. Victoria’s ancestors faced ever-dwindling constitutional powers. Although Victoria had some constitutionally approved authority–- e.g., the power of line-item veto, which she actually exercised on occasion--she still had to cooperate with Parliament, which was likewise beholden to popular vote. As the last monarch of the Nineteenth Century, she indeed walked a tightrope trying to appease the House of Commons and public opinion, while at the same time maintaining the privileges of the nobility in the rigid class structure embedded in English tradition. Any hint of impropriety, any hint of scandal, or anything else that might turn popular factions away from the crown could therefore have been disastrous.

Lo and behold, such a disaster occurred in 1888, according to the Times-Herald’s source. Mary Kelly, Dr. Howard claimed, had served as a nursemaid to Prince of Wales Albert “Eddy” Victor’s illegitimate daughter. Prince Eddy, however, wanted the then-pregnant Kelly as a sex toy. Outraged, and mindful of the political climate, she attempted to blackmail him and the royal family into taking care of her and her baby.

Victoria allegedly responded by authorizing a hit on Kelly.

The queen’s inner circle advised her not to carry out the murder brazenly lest she arouse suspicion, potentially more devastating than the illegitimate child/prostitution/blackmail scandal. The point would be, they insisted, to bury her death among many others.

Today, we know the results of this supposed operation as the Jack the Ripper, or Whitechapel Murders. Pretty much everyone knows the story about some unknown madman, who murdered a bunch of prostitutes. But if we give any credence at all to Dr. Howard, then we have an eerie new story of domestic black operations. One might ask if there is anything outside the source that would corroborate the Times-Herald story.

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Are you worshipping the right gods?

With all the things that can and do go wrong some days, between the toilet backing up, making you late for work and your cell phone dying so that you can't call the boss, making him angry at you, have you ever thought you were worshipping the wrong gods?

If you are not a morning person, you can start with the Mayan Goddess of Dawn, Aya, and now moving on to that toilet problem
there's Zi-gu, the Chinese Goddess of Toilets or if you prefer Japan (or need a lady doctor), there's Mawaya-no-kami, who also specializes in gynecology. Once the toilet is done with, there's always work traffic, or avoidance of getting stuck on the tram from Roosevelt Island for 11 hours, so you can start praying to Hermes (or Mercury). Hermes is an multi-purpose god who can also ensure that the vintage movie poster of "Bride of the Monster" will go for a good price on ebay.

While you are hoping your boss does not notice your ebay traffic, you may want to start praying to Nephthys (so you fly under her radar) or Marduk just to stay in his/her good graces. While your boss is busy not-noticing how active you are online, you can check your stocks. Pray to Leib-Olmai, god of luck against bears. If you then see a bear in your office, you'll know your stock will probably split.
Pray to Hygeia you don't get food poisoning on lunch or to Ceres or Manisar that you get a good deal (maybe they throw in an extra large fry?) when you go to McD's.
Pray to Bast (the goddess of dance) that you don't twist your ankle on that piece of rug in the middle of the office everyone trips on; to Legba so everyone understands you when you call on your cell, and to Venus, Eros, Freya and Yarilo, so that when you finally see your sweetheart, no one picks a fight and you finally get some. If you are not tired after all this, ask Oisin
to give you a good night's sleep.

Thanks, Godchecker. You rock.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kali, Devil Implicated in Queens Murders

From last week's New York Press:

Last Wednesday, two defendants in two separate cases tried to weasel their way out of the Firm Grip of Justice by claiming that they had no choice—they had to do what they did, given the presence of malevolent spiritual forces.
In Queens, Krisna Soogrim, 38, was trying to work out a plea deal in the murder of his girlfriend back in February 2002. Last week, he said that while, yes, he killed her, he couldn’t help himself. See, he was possessed by the Hindu god Kali at the time. The judge informed him that possession by Kali (a force of dissolution and destruction) wouldn’t exactly hold up under the law—and what’s more, blaming everything on a Hindu deity might be perceived as falling a little short of taking full responsibility, which meant going to trial.
It wasn’t long before Soogrim (apparently a diagnosed schizophrenic) decided to just plead guilty and be done with it.
In Brooklyn, Zoila Mosquera, 46, was being arraigned for the stabbing death last January of her 87-year-old grandmother. Mosquera allegedly used a scissors to stab her grandma 600 times. According to court papers, the Flatbush woman claimed she was convinced that her grandma—the woman who’d just made her French toast that morning—was possessed by the devil. Or was the devil. Ripping her apart with a scissors was apparently the only way to save her. Although she had earlier been declared mentally fit to stand trial, the fact that she kept laughing as her grandmother’s wounds were described led the judge to rule that (maybe) she should probably be given another psychiatric exam.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where Was Your God When the Order Got Messed Up?

A friend who works e-tail customer service forwarded this angry complaint she received (all spelling/grammar errors left intact):

“The consumer has enough people beating them out of their money without you doing it. Be sure if you can’t straighten this out then my father in heaven will. What ever you sow you will reap. You won’t get by by cheating your customers the way you have us. According to my bible, what ever you sow you are going to reap. You don’t have to worry about us but you do have to worry about what my heavenly father thinks. By misleading us and not sending us what we ordered you lied, cheated and mislead us. Wheather you believe what the bible says or not you will pay for mistreating one of god’s children. I’m praying for you and do forgive you but you will reap what you sow.”

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More 23M Jokes

Oh, Woody!

Before he starred and directed in his own movies, Woody Allen was a standup comedian of some note. In one of my favorite routines, Allen talks about the time the ghost of a 1939 Packard drove through his living room every night.

He called the American Psychics Institute to get some help with his problem. They told him to get the license plate number of the vehicle.

So he did.

They called back and told Woody that there was nothing they could do. The car, as it turns out, was a rental.

I Told You

A conspiracy theorist watches a skeptic as he paces nervously in front of the Grand Canyon. “C’mon,” she screeches. “I haven’t got all day.”

“Don’t push me,” the skeptic screeches back. “There’s a lot of thinking involved, here. I’ve got to concentrate, and you’re just making it worst.”

“Okay, okay,” says the conspiracy theorist. “Just take your time.”

After much contemplation the skeptic says, “Ah ha! I’ve got it!” He points to his arm and says, “This is my elbow.” Pointing to his backside, he declares, “This is my ass.” Pointing to the Grand Canyon, he triumphantly states, “And that’s a hole in the ground.”

“Hmm.” deadpans the conspiracy theorist. “I was wrong.”

An Old Gag from the Ether

During a midnight church service, the lights begin to flicker on and off, startling some of the congregation. Strange noises emanate from the church’s PA system, and the smell of sulphur begins to permeate the air.

Suddenly the lights go out. An apparition appears behind the pulpit and bellows, “I am Satan, in all my glory in majesty. Bow before me now, lest you truly want to suffer the tortures of the damned.”

The flock, en masse, screaming in terror, haul ass to the church exit. . . . except for one middle-aged woman sitting in the third row of pews. The devil looks at her and says, “Didn’t you hear me? I’m Satan.”

“I heard,” said the woman.

“Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Why should I be?” she asks. “I’ve been married to your son for the last twenty-five years.”

I Don’t Know Where I Picked This One Up, but . . .

An elderly Ojibwa (Chippewa) gentleman and his grandson went hiking one day in a forest near the Wisconsin Dells. They stopped to rest on top of an eighty-foot bluff that overlooked a clearing.

As they sat, admiring the beauty of nature, they watched as a flying saucer landed in the middle of the clearing. They then saw an all-terrain vehicle screeching to the site. Two men in black suits got out of the car at about the time two gray aliens disembarked from the UFO.

The grays and the black suits began conversing, while the old man and his grandson looked on in amazement. Suddenly, one of the gray aliens noticed the Indians, and pointed them out to the other three. The four stopped their conversation in mid-sentence and approached the man and his grandson.

Before the black suits could say anything, one of the grays began to speak to the old man in fluent Ojibwa, and the old man responded in kind. The grays then waved bye-bye, ran to their ship, and took off.

The black suited humans raced after the grays, but to no avail. They then thought to question the old man and his grandson, but they had resumed their hike and couldn’t be found. After making composite sketches of the two and running them through face-recognition software, they finally tracked down the grandson.

The suits went to grandson’s house, and flashed credentials. “We’re from the NSA,” one of them explained. “We’d like to ask you some questions about what you and that old man saw yesterday.”

“Okay,” said the teen.

“Do you speak Ojibwa?”


“So can you tell us what the gray alien said?”

The teenager replied, “The alien told my grandfather that his people were visiting the Earth from another planet lightyears away. They needed a place to set up a refueling station, and were in the process of negotiating with the United States government for landing rights in exchange for advanced technology.”

“And what did your grandfather tell them?”

“Grandpa said, ‘Be careful of these guys. They break their treaties. The next thing you know they steal all your land, and kill off your buffalo.’”

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Somebody Loves Raymond

In January of 1999, the mix format collided with the traditional form of radio drama to produce a sterling piece of conspiracy art when “Spooked” aired on Pacifica station KPFA (Berkeley) as an episode of Over the Edge.

The premise: the host introduces a guest as Raymond, an ex-CIA insider who disguises his voice through computer-generated speech. As the program unfolds, however, the host gets Raymond to admit that he is not in fact human, but rather a computer program, RAICS (Remote Artificial Intelligence Cryptography System), created by the CIA in the 1960s, and later discarded. Hackers found out about RAICS later, and uploaded gigabytes of information into it, causing the program to develop a conscience (after all, it does have artificial intelligence). Consequently, Raymond (the program re-named itself after the main character in The Manchurian Candidate) has been on a crusade to expose the CIA’s “crimes against humanity” ever since.

During the course of this piece, Raymond spews copious information about CIA malfeasance, all of which is not only true, but well documented. Mae Brussell protégé Dave Emory, in the days before his suddenly loutish behavior (witnessed by many, but unknown to him, apparently) got him kicked off of KPFA, appears as one of the actors. One would also suspect that Emory wrote a good deal of the script, judging from the phraseology and cadence of Raymond’s speech.

Also curious to note: a couple of months after this aired, the problems that began at KPFA and spread to sister station WBAI (New York) began a couple of months after this aired. Part of those problems had to do with the implementation of policy directives from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose board had become increasingly staffed by veterans of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, and The Voice of America--three propaganda arms used heavily by the CIA.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Would a Soprano by Any Other Name. . . .

Italian ethnics had settled Sicily since the days of the ancient Romans. In the tenth century, however, Sicily had become invasion central for a number of North African, Middle Eastern, and European groups who wanted this gem of an island. The most serious threats came after the Crusades when Arabic factions tried to take it over. The Sicilians formed a number of small terrorist cells in order to repel the attack, and their success endeared them to the locals. Over the centuries, they maintained their ranks by enlisting new recruits and inducting the offspring of its members.

Over the course of time, the descendants and initiates of these famous freedom fighters from days gone by still went around conducting their affairs in cells. Several of these bands went into the estate management business. Others formed elite theft squads called ‘Brigantaggia.’ Another group of cells dealt in underground business – e.g. prostitution, extortion, and so forth.

Since they had always been a rather informal collection of characters, they never decided on an official name. They only refer to themselves in such generic, or descriptive terms as “Family” or “This Thing We Do,” even today. Eventually, however, a name became associated with them. This name seems to have numerous etymologies, some more plausible than others.

The earliest, extant, documented reference to the term was found in a 1685 list of heretics spared by the Church after their conversion and penance, among them an ex-witch named Catarina la Licatisa, nicknamed Nomata ancor Maffia. Her enemies used the sobriquet to describe her haughtiness, her bravado, and ambition. Where did the term come from? At first, scholars thought that it might have derived from a Florentine slang word for ‘a pitiful person’. Others linked the term to the Piedmontese slang term ‘maufin,’ meaning ‘cutie.’

My friend’s mom, a US native who grew up in Sicily, gave me another etymology born from folk legend. According to her old world kin, the term came about when a number of brigantaggia rescued a young girl from a would-be rapist after her mother shouted “Ma Figlia! Ma Figlia! [My Daughter! My Daughter!].”

Most likely, the term came from the Saracens. According to one story, the Saracens initially came to Sicily before the Crusades. At first, they lived in caves, or mafie, in an attempt to hide from all the locals, who wanted them off the island. Yet, the word could very well come from the name of the Saracen sect themselves, the ‘Ma Afiir’, who went on to control Palermo. Sometime between the Tenth and Seventeenth Centuries, the word evolved in meaning and usage to denote a person who is gutsy, and won’t take shit from anybody.

During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, the honored and legendary defenders of Sicily had pretty much devolved into criminals. After all, they were powerful and organized. They had maintained an aura of fear and loyalty among the peasantry for hundreds of years. Italian officials attempted to control and demolish the brigantaggia. Still, law enforcement had yet to use the term ‘Mafia’ to describe them, referring to them instead as a ‘unioni o fratellanze’ or ‘camorristi.’

Playwrights Rizzotti and Mosca popularized the word in their 1862 comedy I mafiusi della Vicaria. Set in a prison, the play features the hierarchical structure and cutthroat nature that we nowadays associate with organized crime. Goethe University historian Henner Hess, one of the first scholars to do extensive research on the Mafia, writes that after the play, some of the original cells adopted the term as a name.

A few cells had already used the term Mafia to describe themselves, and had even begun to break it down into cute acronyms: for example, Morte Alla Francia, Italia Anela (“Death to France,” Italy groans) or Mazzini Autorizza Furti, Incendi, Avvelenamenti (“Mazzini authorizes theft, arson and poisoning).

In 1799, five men representing five separate cells used the name Mafia when they created their secret Masonic chapter (secret, because at the time, Roman Catholics weren’t allowed to be Freemasons).

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Biblioscopes: Advice for All Sun Signs April 15-21

Biblioscopes are the union of bibliomancy, divination through opening books to random pages and pondering the meaning of the phrases therein, and horoscopes, in that each sign does share certain commonalities, including planetary transits. Each Saturday I ask the Universe to lead my hands in opening the book to the right page for a week's worth of good advice for each sun sign.

This week's featured book is "Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult" by many, many people edited by Richard Metzger

Aries March 21 - April 20
The author alludes to an approaching world crisis brought on by the invasion of the Elder Gods--Qlipothic transdimentional entities who ruled protohumanity until they were banished by "the agent of Intelligence," a Promethean figure who set humanity on its current course of evolution. Your head is ruling your body and your spirit, some very powerful forces that do not want to be cast aside. Take a little break from "thinking over" everything and listen to your body--exercise, dance, eat, and do some meditation or church-going (whatever suits you) for your spirit.

Taurus (April 21- May 20)
...it was necessary to make a dogma of his sexual theory because this was the sole bulwark of reason against a possible "outburst of the black flood of occultism." This week you will encounter someone who goes against everything you believe in, just by being themselves. Try not to pick a fight.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
However...one does not change the universe simply by masturbating...Oh, man! I knew I was doing something wrong! If you want to change things, you are going to have to go out there and deal with actual people.

Cancer (June 21-July 20)
He was a true psychedelic savant, on 150 mics of LSD invoking the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky and the Fourth Dimension to describe the experience. You will be going on a trip. You will know what to do when you get "there."

Leo (July 21-Aug. 20)
What will this world look like? We have no precedent in profane history to use as a guide; we must look further afield, to mythology, to understand the form of a linguistic universe. If you are not going to therapy to recognize and understand how your personal myths affect your life, perhaps you should. Or at least get a self-help book about family/beliefs and read it on your lunch break.

Virgo (Aug. 21-Sept. 20)
You might think that seeking out two Beatniks was a fnny place to start looking for a functional, modern process of magick. This week you will find powerful friends in strange places. Keep an open mind.

Libra (Sept. 21-Oct. 20)
Rosaleen Norton was born in Dunedin in 1917 during a violent thunderstorm which she late claimed was a portent for her love of the night side of life. Find and claim your dark side before it finds and claims you.

Scorpio (Oct. 21-Nov. 20)
It is evident that Dee was to be restrained from opening the gates of the Watchtowers until it pleased the angels. Whatever you are pursuing, wait for the signal before taking action.

Sagittarius (Nov. 21-Dec.20)
Like the Luddite sects who felt that man's technological progress led him away from God, and created all the world's ill and iniquities, the author of the Book of Enoch is telling us hat higher understanding was contrary to man's true nature, and resulted inevitably with woe. Do not buy any hi-tech gear this week.

Capricorn (Dec. 21-Jan. 20)
Let us suppose for the sake of argument that the signal for the initiation of this psychic invasion occurred in 1904 when Crowley received The Book of Law, as Crowley himself believed. And a little over a hundred years later, it looks like the world might be ending. Fancy that. Small things that you do and pay attention to this week will have huge effects on your future and those of your loved ones. Be careful.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb 20)
If the viewer comes closer more information is revealed. The more one looks, the more is revealed. Keep looking! There is more information inside the information you have already discovered!

Pisces (Feb.21-Mar. 20)
They were not armed, or hiding guns in their temples. I think if the Nazis had had any proof of that, it would have been highly publicized. Burn the skeletons in your closet, get that bit of reefer out of your car, don't spend time at naughty websites at work this week. Be squeeeeeky clean. Just for this week. For a little while.

*The dates given to each sun sign are approximate--the dates of each sun sign change annually with the date of the vernal equinox. If you were born between the 18th and 24th of any month, you should get a free astrology report from www.astrology.com or www.geocosmic.org just so you can answer properly when someone asks, "What's your sign?"

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Fiction That Pre-Cogs, Iran, Carl Sagan, and the Need For a New "America's Scientist"

This is a real mish-mash of a post, I tells ya, but it might learn you a couple of things.

Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent" pre-cogged the Unabomber. (I like that Conrad's real name was Teodore Korzeniowski and, well, you know the Unabomber's name...)

There was a novel that eerily presaged the Titanic disaster. From this site: "In 1898 Morgan wrote a novel that at the time was seen as so far-fetched as to not be believable. The novel detailed the harrowing tragedy of an ocean liner called the Titan. This huge fictional ship tempts fate and after striking an iceberg in the mid-Atlantic during its maiden voyage sinks with a tremendous loss of life due to a lack of life boats."

Which leads me to "Threads," a 1984 BBC production about nuclear combat and the horrible aftermath endured by the surviving British. It was downright compelling and scary when I viewed it--unlike the hokey "The Day After" telepic produced by an American network. What made me think of "Threads" this morning is that the nuclear exchange is prompted by a crisis in...Iran. Learn more about the movie here and here.

Dr. Carl Sagan was a scientific advisor on the movie, according to IMDB. I recall he was fervently trying to get the word out about "nuclear winter" back in the 1980s, the Reagan era. Sagan was "America's Scientist" for years, just as Dr. Joyce Brothers was "America's Psychologist," Billy Graham is "America's Preacher," and Donald Trump is "America's Casino Operator/Real Estate Dude." What we need is a new "America's Scientist," a beloved, popular and smart figure that will be feted at the White House, one who can make President Bush listen to--and make him seriously address--real concerns about the environment, global warming, peak oil, and the effects of nuclear combat.

Oh Christ. What am I, on drugs?

Anyway, the Iranian crisis depicted in "Threads" has no resemblance to current events. It's just a simple East vs. West/Warsaw Pakt vs. NATO matter in the film. But let's hope the BBC's Iran reference point does not turn out to be prescient.

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No Book Score This Time Around

Whenever I'm on a trip to these here parts in upstate New York, I enjoy going to a particular used bookstore. It's the sort where you never know what you will find. It's usually in these types of places I can add to my collections of books that have the words "flying saucers" (not UFOs) and "headhunters" (not about executive placement services) in the title.

This time I was dismayed to find out the store was shuttered a couple months ago.

In the past, in one memorable trip to that store, I got "Great Operatic Disasters," "The Strange Ways of Man: Rites and Rituals and Their Incredible Origins," and the first paperback edition (1964) of Philip K. Dick's "The Game Players of Titan." At a buck-fifty each, they'd have been a bargain at twice the price.
(*One review of "The Strange Ways of Man" I looked at included this: "This book deals with many customs throughout the world, such as hara-kiri in Japan, suttee or the immolation of widows in India, the binding of feet in 19th century China, the self-inflicted torture of the fakirs of India, the completely tattooed skin of the Papuans of Borneo, and a number of other customs, strange to our culture." Fair enough, but this smart-ass know-it-all (me) would like to point out that Papuans do not live on Borneo--they live on New Guinea. And it is the indigenous people of Borneo, not Papuans, who practice, with much skill and beauty, tattooing.)

So, as I was denied a chance for some real book hunting, I sought alternatives. The big thrift store's "Book Nook" room should have been labeled "Closet o' Crap." They didn't even have the ubiquitous "Sometimes God Has a Kid's Face" by the alleged pedophile Fr. Bruce Ritter, which I've seen at every thrift store, yard sale, and flea market I've ever patronized while Upstate. The village library's book sale section blew too. The big one, I might add. It was all irrationally normal.

Oh well, I've still got a day and half to do some scrounging. The weather's nice, and yard sale seaon is beginning. Maybe I'll hit gold.

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My Favorite Bible Story

God sends two bears to eat 42 children for making fun of a dude's bald head. From 2 Kings 2:23-24.
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
Thank you, Skeptic's Annotated Bible.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Giants. Real? Myth? Conspiracy?

The giant. A monster of myth. Or is it based on truth?

Stories of giants have circulated for centuries. We have the Titans Ancient Gods - The Titans and the Gigantes MYTH MAN'S GIANTS PAGE. We have Magog and Gog, the last of the British giants forced to stand guard for Brutus. We have stories that depict Hercules and even King Arthur as giants. Names of Giants

I became interested in these old stories at a young age and for two reasons. One, my interest in myth and one based on reality. Myths interested me -- especially the Norse ones. In fact, I had a fascination with Norse culture early. My name is even Norse and it means giant -- a fact friends find infinitely amusing since I'm nearly six feet tall. Rinda, or Rind, was a man-hating ice queen and giant who became Odin's third wife. The Northmen had a running joke that whenever their weather grew unnatually warm, the ice queen was being nice to Odin. The myths about this giantess range from her yielding to the battle god to her being tricked and raped into having his child.

In The Norsemen, a collection of folklore by Guerber, Odin's third wife, Rinda, was a personification of the hard and frozen earth who reluctantly yielded to her husband. According to the same story, she kept turning the God down and in a fit of anger, he beat her with a rune wand until she promised to marry him. A couple of links: Mythology Notes , wotmania: feed your wheel of time addiction

So, I had my interest in Norse giants, but I also had an interest in real, human giants. A member of my extended family suffered from gigantism, a long-suffering, extremely painful disease. People who have this illnss rarely live past early adulthood.

Anna Swann who grew to 7 feet 11 inches .

Robert Wadlow. When he died at 22, he was nearly nine feet tall.

So, what do you think? Could the stories of races of giants be real? Could they be based on real people who suffered from a very real disease? Or, as this article suggests, is there a very "real" conspiracy going on here? Did Giants Really Roam the Earth? - Associated Content

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More Sex!

A continuation of the post, "Sex! Sex! Sex!"

Psychological factors play a large role in the human sex drive. The Kama Sutra, the Tantra, and other protocols, developed over the years to induce bonding in individuals who had entered into a marriage arranged by their parents.

Totalitarians understand the cohesive power of sex, and deal with it accordingly. Some cults built around the aura of a charismatic leader fiercely restrict sex. By this, I don’t mean that they just preach abstinence from the X-rated stuff. They also want their followers to refrain from flirtation and fantasy. They often ask invasive questions to adherents, hoping to elicit confessions of dirty thoughts, and then chastize them for so much as admitting desire even to themselves. This way, individuals find it difficult to form bonds with each other, bonds that can sometimes challenge those between the subject and centralized authority.

Some cults do it the opposite way. They demand sex, sex, sex, and for an occasional change of pace, more sex. Here, the rationale is similar to those who practice abstinence. Since the central authority both initiates and directs sexual activity, and each member co-joins with multiple partners, the bonds of the former are much more powerful than the bonds between each other. Sex is both one of our most primal and secretive urges. Even the more open societies regard sex with some degree of shame, especially if it happens outside the sanctification of marriage. Often the subject of blackmail attempts, sex is one of the few things that could actually scandalize those in power.

The orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut depicts some of the esoteric sex rituals in this context. The super-rich and powerful represent a micro-fraction of the world’s population. The sex serves to bond them together in an us-vs.-the- world type of solidarity. More importantly, it assures a degree of control. Reportedly, one of the first rituals of the Skull and Bones Society requires the initiate to lie naked in a coffin and confess his “sins” before his brethren. Some men have leaked that initiation practices of other secret societies have included homosexuality. Imagine what might happen to the Tom Cruise character, or any of the attendees of the EWS orgy if they broke their silence regarding any sensitive information on how the world is actually run. It would then be a simple matter to discredit such an individual by exposing their sexual relationships with others – especially if the partner happens to be a child.

Many of these rituals prominently feature children. I first heard about this in 1986 while attending graduate school, but could hardly believe it at the time. My last year, I lived off-campus, and spent a lot of time between classes, hanging out in the commuter room in the student union. One of my fellow commuters, Algernon (pseudonym), worked nights as a park ranger. When he didn’t show up for class one week, we were a bit concerned. But we really got worried when he finally showed up bandaged from head to toe; missing a tooth, both eyes blackened, and sans fingernails.

Alger told us that somebody attacked him, and that seemed ridiculous. He was six-foot-six, three-hundred pounds of solid muscle, and knew karate. What the hell kind of opponent could do this to him? Alger explained that while on his usual patrol he spotted a bonfire from a distance. He set out on foot to investigate, because the park had closed hours earlier, and he knew that nobody had any authorization to be there. As he came closer, he saw a number of people in grotesque disguises, and a masked figure at an altar. Too many people for him to handle alone, he called into his station for police backup. But help didn’t arrive before the ritual commenced. A girl--Alger estimated her age to be about seven years--was led to the altar and stripped naked. After an incantation, the man at the altar began to mount her. With backup slow in coming, and faced with the possibility of watching a statutory rape in progress, Alger decided to do what he could to stop the felony, but he couldn’t get past the gargantuan thugs guarding the site. With the help of other masked men, the guards beat Alger to the condition that I then saw before me.

The party disbanded and moved elsewhere. As soon as they left, other rangers found Alger and summoned paramedics. He intended to file a report on the incident the following morning, until his superior came to his hospital bed and had a “chat” with him. Just like the Tom Cruise character in Eyes Wide Shut, Alger listened as his boss informed him that the attendees comprised the upper echelon of Hamilton/Butler County (Ohio) society. They could kill him and his family, and get away with it. He further stated that no investigation would take place, and advised him to forget the whole thing.

I dunno. It’s hard for me to forget the image of a man that large and that powerful, and that frightened.

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Bush, the End Times and You

Excellent take on President Bush's apocalyptic fervor:

"When you've been primed into a rapturous frenzy by the Jerry Falwells, Pat Robertson and Tim LaHayes of the world, those right-wing refrains are music to your ears. If you think you're headed to heaven in short order, what good are the rest of us to you? Or the environment? Or diplomacy? What good is moderation and bridge building when your president can bring about the end of the world, which, to you, is a good thing?"

The End of the World? Here's an excellent take on the run-up to nuclear combat with the Iranians (really, the insights in this interview are mindblowing; it's via What Really Happened):

"However I believe there is very little time: an attack may well happen within the next 2 weeks, while Congress is in recess. There is no advantage to those that want it to happen in waiting."

And, of course, how science fictional is this photo I first saw on the front page of the New York Times on Wednesday? Men dancing in traditional colorful garb while holding the magic vials said to contain enriched uranium:

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Medium Blog

He sees dead people. I am sympathetic.

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Symbology 101 For Christians

Occult symbols are fast replacing Christian symbols in our culture. Therefore, we encourage you to use this list to warn others, especially Christian children who intentionally wear and display them because they are popular.

Keep in mind that some of these symbols have double meanings. For example, the pentagram has been used to transmit occult power in all kinds of rituals for centuries, but to Christians the same shape may simply represent a star -- a special part of God's creation. The image of a fish may mean a sign of the zodiac (astrology) to some, but to Christians it has meant following Jesus and sharing the message of His love. We will continue to delight in the cross, while recognizing that others use the same image to represent their dark forces.

Please don't pass judgment on those who happen to wear these symbols. Instead, let us seek God’s will and discernment so that we might all honor Him with our lives. Remember, "each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block. . . in our brother's way." (Romans 14:12-13)

More here.
(originally posted by Johnny at linkfilter.net)

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The Burnt Over District

Greetings from upstate New York, where I'm spending the week. It's the birthplace of Spiritualism and Mormonism. It was also called the Burnt Over District.

"This part of western New York became famous after the Erie Canal for its history of revivalism, radicalism, communitarian experiments. It was fertile ground for new ideas to take root and spread to other parts of the country. It became a "psychic highway" for New Englanders who left the East and headed West in search of new ways of life."

Oh yeah, and check out Lilydale. I drove through there once. Filled with spirits, it is.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Real Mars/Fake Mars.

According to these guys, the NASA people have been faking the color of the sky on Mars. They do not have a reason why, but I am willing to listen to possibilities.

For the new pictures of Mars, click here.

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Sex! Sex! Sex!

A co-worker asked if I had seen Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut. I hadn’t. I meant to, since I’ve seen and enjoyed many of his classic works – Lolita, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; A Clockwork Orange; and The Shining, for example. Unfortunately, my work-schedule prevented me from indulging in many of my favorite past-times, including movies. My colleague’s question, however, prompted me to buy a videotape of the film later. Lucky me. I got it on sale for two dollars.

Although I had read a number of reviews, they really didn’t convey any sense of the movie’s plot. Instead, the press harped on its stars, Tom Cruise and wife Nicole Kidman, the abundant nudity, the sex (one critic referred to it as Legs Wide Open), and the fact that Kubrick died before its premiere. The plot, however, is quite interesting, especially in light of the subject matter here. All in all, they were two of the wisest bucks I ever spent.

A physician (Cruise) gets mad at his wife (Kidman) after she confesses her lust for other men. He decides to get even with her by attempting a series of flings, which never seem to pan out. As luck would have it, he runs into an old friend of his, a pianist at a local jazz club. This musician friend then tells him about a side gig that’s really strange. He’s never told when or where it will be until shortly before it happens. Furthermore, he has to play blindfolded throughout, and he needs a password to get in. But on one night, the blindfold was looser than normal, and he managed to sneak a peek. All he could see were a lot of naked women running around with guys in cloaks and masks. The doctor, frustrated because his attempts to commit adultery have met with the success of Wile E. Coyote, thinks that anywhere naked women roam like that can’t be all bad. He convinces the musician to help him get in.

Doc buys the required costume and mask, and then takes a cab out to a plush estate. He enters a sprawling mansion where a room full of people don the same disguise. Inside, a ceremony takes place. Kneeling on the floor are ten cloaked women. A shaman of some type utters an incantation in a strange language while Doc’s friend provides the music. The women then stand up, disrobe, walk off with various men and an orgy begins. One of the women goes directly to the physician and begs him to leave before he is killed. The doctor, however, isn’t going to miss any of the action, and demands that the naked masked woman reveal her identity. She tells him that she cannot lest she risk certain death. She stresses that he might die too if he doesn’t, for crissakes, leave.

Before he can, he’s caught. The shaman demands that the doctor remove his mask and take off his clothes. The woman who warned him stands before the crowd, and pledges to “redeem him.” They let the doctor go, warning him that if he didn’t forget what he saw, then they would have to kill him and his family. When he asks what will happen to the woman who stood up for him, the shaman replies, “No one can change her fate, now.”

The next day, Doc finds that his musician friend has disappeared. Furthermore, somebody has been following him. He reads in the local paper that a former beauty queen was found dead in an apparent overdose. He recognizes her as one of his former patients, and now fears that she might have been the naked woman in the mask. He is then summoned to a wealthy patient of his, a powerful businessman. The patient confesses that he was one of the people in the mansion that night. He saw everything. He also knew of the doctor’s continuing efforts to find his musician friend, and the woman who redeemed him. The patient reiterates the warning, adding that the people taking part in the ceremony were among the most powerful in the world.

I wonder how many people watching the orgy scene at the theatre had any idea about what Kubrick presented there. After all, have you ever participated in such an event? At a mansion? With the rich and famous?

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Burning Pits of Passion, Gore, and Cheap Special Effects, Part II

In 1995, The Century Group Ltd., a Canadian telecommunications firm, produced a curious little flick titled Out There, and distributed it through IRS, a celebrated independent record label (home of the Go-Go’s), but not really a major player in the film industry. IRS sold it to the Showtime cable network, where it ran before committed to video.

Out There isn’t your typical B-movie. It sports a number of big name actors: Academy Award winners Billy Bob Thornton and Rod Steiger; June Lockhart, Jill St. John, Bobcat Goldwaith, Julie Brown, and (one of my favorites) slasher film victim PJ Soles. Thomas Strelich and Alsion Nigh, two award-winning playwrights wrote the script, which at times contains some sparkling dialogue.

The deliberate corniness of the movie Out There doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that it is replete with disinformation--i.e. accurate information from a disreputable source. The characters, through the course of the film, give the precise range and scope of the Project Blue Book inquiry. The props used are copies/facsimiles of real cultural artifacts. Serious and pertinent articles that were actually published in Penthouse and its sister publication Omni, figure into the plot. One of the protagonists is supposed to be a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. The picture in question actually won the Pulitzer in 1968. The classification of UFOs used in the movie is real. Since the movie was accurate about so many arcane points of ufology, I wonder if it might have also been accurate about something else.

Out There gives a rather detailed history of Plan 9 from Outer Space even though the script never mentions that movie by name. Instead, the 1995 movie transferred the circumstances of Plan 9 onto a fictitious film, Invaders from Uranus. Instead of being shot in 1957, Invaders from Uranus was filmed in 1969. The star was not Bela Lugosi, but rather Boris Karloff who, like his former colleague, died before the start of the production (and yes, Karloff actually died when the film says he did).

According to the Out There script, Invaders from Uranus served as a ruse to prevent discovery of a real UFO landing. Witnesses saw it and reports of it were coming in from all over the place. US intelligence therefore dispatched a team of filmmakers to provide a cover story. When people reported their CE3 experiences, the Sheriff, or other law enforcement officials would then say that they actually saw a movie set.

It’s fun to speculate that Ed Wood might have made the world’s worst movie as a clandestine spy mission, but that’s all it is: speculation. Yet, Wood was immensely proud of this work. If the purpose of the movie was to obfuscate actual UFO activity, and if nobody suspected that Plan 9 from Outer Space was nothing more than the terrible film it appeared to be, then Wood could rightfully pat himself on the back for a job well done.

Passion pits went into decline during the course of the 1970s. The new megaplexes (or ‘ant farms’ as they’re called in the business--just in case you wanted to know how studio execs think of us when we pay that ten dollars for a seat) pretty much revolutionized the way in which films were distributed, thus turning single-run, repertoire, and drive-in theatres into white elephants. At present, only a handful of drive-ins still exist, and most play A-list, first-run features.

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The UFo/Tornado Connection

In light of the recent flurries of tornadoes in the Southeast, killing twelve people (that we know of), I did some self-edgimication.

Rather than simply buying the idea that storms with strong updrafts cause tornadoes, which makes me think they should be a lot more common, and the population of the world a whole lot smaller, I started looking into other reasons for tornadoes.

Several tribes of American Indians seemed to think that tornadoes were the revenge of the Great Spirit, and told settlers that they would be safe if they lived between two rivers. But since then, this has been proven not to be the case. Maybe the white men made the Great Spirit more angry.

Other people believe that tornadoes are evidence of UFO landings. After the mass disinformation conspiracy in Siberia, where many, many people understood they saw a UFo, but the government somehow convinced everyone they saw a tornado, I am a bit more inclined to believe in the UFO/tornado connection.

It would also explain why there are more tornadoes in rural areas, why so many tornadoes come at once in certain areas. Why a large percentage of the population in those areas seem fearful and none too bright. Are tornadoes caused by UFo's? You decide.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Biblioscopes: Advice for All Sun Signs April 8-14

Biblioscopes are the union of bibliomancy, divination through opening books to random pages and pondering the meaning of the phrases therein, and horoscopes, in that each sign does share certain commonalities, including planetary transits. Each Saturday I ask the Universe to lead my hands in opening the book to the right page for a week's worth of good advice for each sun sign.

This week's featured book is “The Press” by A.J. Liebling, who worked the press beat for the New Yorker in the 1940's and 50's.

Aries (Mar. 21-April 20)*
"In the darkness of the newspaper blackout, many dubious deeds were done in many public places." Just because no one knows who you are doesn't mean you should try to get away with just anything. Besides if you do anything that bad, you know you'll feel guilty.

Taurus (April 21- May 20)
The head over Miss Killen's story read: Hysteria gone, Wives Waiting Scrip Income.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
After 12 weeks of the Wall Street Journal, during which all I had read about Mr. Kennedy was that he was wasting money and plotting against business, it was a novelty to read that anybody was plotting against him, or that he might deserve any sympathy. The enemies of your enemies are your friends. Opinion about you is changing.

Cancer (June 21-July 20)
The Oracles of Mars--Continued Look at the battles you are in. They are saying something about you and your future. Be meditative.

Leo (July 21-Aug. 20)
Up he would get, from those comfortable banquets at which he could have squatted indefinitely in an executive capacity, and back to sea to see what the world looked like. It's time for you to leave your realm of comfort a bit. If you don't have time or money to vacation in an exotic place, even reading a magazine you would never read or visiting a museum you think you have little interest in can open your mind to the world around you.

Virgo (Aug. 21-Sept. 20)
This for me was one of the high moments; would the small joke reassure the human bomb, or would he touch his fingers to the attache case and blow up the air terminal?
Take a chance with your humor this week. A small chance. Really small.

Libra (Sept. 21-Oct. 20)
I shall always be saddened by he thought that I saw Mr. Crum miss a signal that, had he heeded it, might have sent the Star's circulation up to a quarter of a million almost overnight. If you see something, say something! Even if you doubt it, even if it seems like it's probably nothing! Really! Do it!

Scorpio (Oct. 21-Nov. 20)
In conjunction with another story on the same page, about a trip to Russia being made by a reporter named Andrew Tully, it indicated that the organization was now running a shuttle service through the Iron Curtain--a contrast indeed with last spring, when it was still relying largely on intuitional coverage. A week of covert ops and whistle blowing. Your previous intuition are now backed up by hard evidence.

Sagittarius (Nov. 21-Dec.20)
Although Colonel McCormick hasn't publicly made the offer yet, I suspect behind the rolls of newsprint in the Tribune Tower, from the seventh floor of which the S.S. Yale's earsplitting whistle could function as the nation's new liberty bell. He is a man with a sense of destiny. Use your sense of destiny to start a new project this week, even if the project means rebellion.

Capricorn (Dec. 21-Jan. 20)
Daily, while training my anti-Bob White cat, I waited for a newspaper to give us word of what had happened to this thirty-odd million dollars, but never did word come. You should not bother waiting around either.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb 20)
I am more grateful than I can say to Kenneth Robbins for helping me with the emendation of this book. Remember that whatever you accomplished, you did not really do alone.

Pisces (Feb.21-Mar. 20)
I do not wish to intimate that the measure of a newspaper's success is its balance sheet, but Hearst's example, more than that of any other man, has been cited for 60 years by newspaper barroom debaters who say that "you have to give the public what it wants" and what it wants is the worst. You are always helping others. But what if they want something that is actually bad for them? You are going to have to work that out for yourself this week.

*The dates given to each sun sign are approximate--the dates of each sun sign change annually with the date of the vernal equinox.. If you were born between the 18th and 24th of any month, you should get a free astrology report from www.astrology.com or www.geocosmic.org just so you can answer properly when someone asks, "What's your sign?"

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