Thursday, June 30, 2005

White Cosmic Wizard

Apparently there is a close encounter scheduled for October 2005. The article reads:"Earth and Mars will have a breathtaking close encounter in October 2005. Science@NASA -- By the time you finish reading this sentence, you'll be 25 miles closer to the planet Mars. Earth is racing toward Mars at a speed of 23,500 mph, which means the red planet is getting bigger and brighter by the minute. In October, when the two planets are closest together, Mars will outshine everything in the night sky except Venus and the Moon. (You're another 50 miles closer: keep reading!) We won't actually lap Mars until autumn, October 31st at 0319 Universal Time, to be exact. Only 43 million miles (69 million km) will separate us from Mars, then, compared to an average distance of about 140 million miles (225 million kilometers). It's a great time to send spacecraft there. Mindful of that, NASA plans to launch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on August 10th, 2005. Because it takes 6+ months to reach Mars, the best time to start the trip is a month or so before closest approach--thus, August. MRO will arrive in March 2006, enter orbit, and begin a 2-year mission to map the red planet in greater detail than ever before. The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are already there. They arrived in January 2004 on the heels of another Earth-Mars close encounter in 2003. (Remember, this happens every two years.) The two robots were supposed to stop working months after they landed, worn down by wind, stuck in sand, or exhausted by too little solar power. Credit NASA engineering: Spirit and Opportunity are still rolling and, if they hold true to form, they'll be "alive" to see Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter when it gets there, a tiny point of light in the martian night sky, mapping the red planet for explorers of the future.

...even the least attentive of your neighbors will be remarking on "that bright red thing in the sky." Mark October 31st as the best day of all: Mars will rise at sunset, hang overhead at midnight, and "blaze forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself." That's how astronomer Percival Lowell described a similar close encounter in the 19th century. More good news: you're now 1000 miles closer to the planet Mars.

Source: Dr. Tony Phillips

We have no parents; we make the Multiverse our parents.
We have no home; we make Kia our home.
We have no divine power; we make Laughter our Divine Power.
We have no means; we make Metamorphosis our Means.
We have no magic power; we make Gnosis our Magic Power.
We have no eyes; we make Imagination our Eyes.
We have no ears; we make Receptivity our Ears.
We have no laws; we make Randomness our Laws.
We have no talent; we make Ready Wit our Talent.

You could try this website. It has pics taken from Hubble at the time.

"I just learned that protons have mass!!!! I didn't even know they were Catholic."

"They said I was gullible .... and I believed them."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Red Crystal Earth, galactic activation portal ;-))

"All migrants, I think, are optimistic, or, anyway, hoping the blazes that they've really done the right thing. And we were odd sorts of migrants, in that we were migrating to home, which from fifteen years and a half a world away could be distorted by the curve of the earth, memory, and couriers' reports, into Utopia or Hicksville."
"For the rest of her life, Charmian Clift would continue to ask whether Australia was indeed a Promised Land or the end of the earth. She would turn her rare skill of social observation and analysis upon her own country and compatriots, just as she had examined the people and customs of Greece in her two travel books. As she did so, the initial optimism started to wane."
(from the Life and Myth of Charmian Clift, by Nadia Wheatley, p. 473.)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Poems of Martin Johnston

In Transit — a Sonnet Square
for Roseanne
1. Duende in Darlinghurst
If out of our quarrels with ourselves we make poetry, what

do we make of our quarrels with Canberra? Suddenly
someone has gone and invented a new emotion
just as we were coming to terms with Weltschmertz.
Let them in and look what happens.
All the same, the streets are ajitter with larrikins
and outside the boarded-up brothel a tart and her hoon —
but a cat from a different poem cuts out, folds itself in
in a lump at the bedfoot; in this universe cats are sinisterly dextrous;
in antiworlds at the bottom of the class. Feng-shui, lion and lamb,
their sadness of a tightrope walker over shadows. Do we all fall now like shooting-gallery ducks? There’s a kind of snowdrop that grows, but never flowers, in the lowest circle.

2. Biography
About love and hate and boredom they were equally barracudas, took an arm or leg quick as winking,their totem Monkey Aware-of-Vacuity. Empedocles added to the four elements

Love and Strife to set them spinning, Aeschylus invented tragedy by adding the second actor.Back past the sold houses in the lost domains down in the midden-humus glows the rotting trelliswork of “family”, odd slug-coloured tubers wince at the touch with feigned unanthropomorphic shyness, naked pink tendrils explore holes. It is all tentative, and these days the Island supports a “Jungian sandlot therapist”.

3. Hecate County
“This faux pas may be on the nose” (SMH crossword) and while amyl nitrite does give the nostrils a bloom and the head a rush of fake Pythagorean claritas — imaginary number, gaily unfecund — the urethritis goes away of its own accord. Being more at home always in the abstract, and counting the streaks of the tulip all too like afterwards asking whether
It Was Good For You Too Darling, remember Edmund Wilson was cured by silver nitrate, knowing the risks, in no time.
Well, you have ridden away on your bicycle, Adrian Leverkühn’s doctors kept falling down dead like something out of Straw Peter, the undergoing of the evening-lands though refuses to focus,the shimmering spokes setting far in the northwest.

4. The Rout of San Romano; or, Arsenal 3, Manchester United 2
Three goals in the last minutes, when tens of thousands were already on their way home! — Niccolo da Torentino,arching truncheoned in the foreground, washed in yellowgreen mauve skyblue green yellow, has yet to notice there where the shadowline subtends the wave of breaking colour — the two knights outside the battle companionably riding up the hill out the back of the canvas not giving a stuff who wins. And Cattignola only arrives in the Uffizi; why hang around so scattered a pictorial space? — the eventual winner was anyway winning already. The pig-snouted trumpeters,angelic pigeon-chested page, the “web of men” foreshortened in a third of the triptych, are in “London”, in nothing:turn off the set. And they broke up and scattered across nothing.

5. The Modern Primitive (for Theofilos Hadjimikhail)
Only real loaves of bread fall down.Painted ones stay where you put them. — Theofilos
He ground his own pigment from brightly coloured stones. The neighbours stoned him when they found him outgrinding down sea and sky for blues and revealing a glassy shore-sea full of brightly coloured stones a thousand fathoms within reach, and only the greyolive midworld under a glass sky’s tiny brightly coloured stones’ wheeling glitter a thousand chilly fathoms up. He stood there stockstill and gave back what he’d stolen: the glass burst into paint.The neighbours stoned him and the rocks hit him exploding steeped in colour:he ground himself down and painted all the neighbours’ portrait in bright stone.
You can read
Martin Johnston’s essay on the paintings of Theofilos in Jacket 11.

6. The Café of Situations (for Grace Edwards)
In this café they have solved the problem of names.Orders go to the bar: “Coffee for Calendar,two cognacs for Backgammon Board and Football Poster.”You are where you are. They know names must be revealed most cautiously and that numbers only serve numbers. In the café of situations they have found the golden mean:sit there often enough and you’ll win a table and name, Clock, say, or Air Vent, which feeds not on you but you,drop in occasionally and you’re still gifted while you’re here with just that identity-in-place you’ve been so long in quest of. Wherever I go I wear the café walls around me, and the shuffling step of the invisible waiters brings subtly misconstrued orders to

Broke or Loving or Drunk or wherever I happen to be.

7. Games and Pastimes I: Chess
Sui-mate: Black moves first and forces White to checkmate him.
Maybe things will improve when Borges becomes the first to gain a posthumous Nobel. Meanwhile the fifth-floor window gapes on Luzhin’s board; oddly it’s no temptation.Situation: ten days to go in Athens and I can do one of two things: (a) pay the hotel bill, (b) eat.In the chessworld web of interconsequence, shall I blame Black Holes, go back in time and shoot my great-great-grandfather? Both are free like sonnets. For the best effect you don’t strip yourself of all your defences; rather deploy them as vast as futile, done up with funny faces, tripping over each other’s shoelaces. Spend years learning what no one wants, then so arrange things then you can’t even do it. Let the sleek-haired Spartans win Thermopylae. Who needs the epitaph?

8. Games and Pastimes II: Crossword
— Hearing, as I do the crossword, “You like Turkish coffee? — “Turkish? in Athens? Outside the donkeyboys play Ayatollahs. A crimson knot of panzers at the counter are bawling “Shrimp! Shrimp!” — I think we’re defeated, and it’s as cold as London. The Caryatids’ blank niches wait for amalgam: Seferis’ dream — “Yeah man your little ol’ Parthenon’d make a great ad for toothpaste” —naturalism and a big gold grin. The last clue looks like a giggle and slides off. In the local paper “Infant bites snake: a female Herakles?”; an easy one that though, uncryptic, the story begins “In a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.” O to think“this isn’t ‘my’ Greece”; it never was. With years to run
the phony lease has been scrapped and the demolishers come.

9. Games and Pastimes III: Jigsaw
Everyone in the village sues everyone else over land rights.This is the literal Arcadia. My book on cryptanalysis dissolves unnoticed; there’s no shower curtain to the only shower in town. But where else to write a critical study of SF? My enormous friend the Christopher Brennan expert, trying to grow eyes in the back of his head, shatters the plate-glass door.I talk for three hours about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight till too drunk for pain I smash my jaw on a milepost.“Jeeze it’s great the way you keep it up”; somehow my nerve-ends nod and also the locals think we’re CIA. They’re throwing the blacks in the harbour and there aren’t enough blacks to go around. And while we fall my other friend works at the Jackson Pollock jigsaw for the twenty-second year, remarking: “I’m a slow tourist.”

10. The Plato’s Cave Hotel (i.m. Mimis Leoussis)
Now his old mansion houses a double ghost.
I’ve carried the first like a furled handkerchief twenty years now, since the child’s day they wouldn’t let me see him, only the twin shadows winging pendulum with the gold-crystal chandelier that’s gone now his house is the hotel where all night I wake, wait, sweat.I met the second on the hill, in the olive-groves:Paris-Edwardian fashion catalogues, bills of lading for timber and sponges and marble; envelopes with his name in mauve and sepia copperplate; as though in the midday hush a landau had clip-clopped by and frightened the crickets.He was whisper-thin and stained as those envelopes, wore a carnation buttonhole he could no longer afford, and spoke in copperplate of his ships, the mists of Oxford, the waltzing beauties.

11. Of Time and Typing
I sit here writing you letters that always cross and thinking about time and typing.Those “effortless” lyrical tropes, how drearily long they gestated “beauty, that unicorn” — fourteen years younger,proud of how much I knew, how hard I revised. The terms of the problem have changed: how to answer your last when your next is on its way without warping both how to fit the machine with seismograph paper so as to write the honest poem that’s mainly white space to denote all the hours of just smoking and staring at crosswords reading and trying not to auguries in what’s not in your letter, drinking and hopelessly masturbating, knowing the room smells,the cleaning lady is at the door, the toilet will never flush.

12. Drinking Sappho Brand Ouzo (after Vassilis Vassilikos)
Crackup, last day of Carnival, first of Lent,an ouzo-sodden moony pall hangs over the city where we swim, soft wet flies, mad and silent and American sailors on leave, their faces covered with moist red apertures, buy Greek pornography.“I only come to observe the audience.”Cheap ouzo, Sappho brand, the dawn brododaktulos, in the Lesbian dialect. The normal awaking hangover this time is milky white not blue, has the half-twist of sexual origami. Try being stoic in the Stoa five minutes’ walk off — crackup — the sherds carry dialectal variants of your name, and a gypsy follows everywhere singing: “I shook down the flowers from the blossoming almond-tree.”

13. For the Cretan Maker (i.m. Nikos Xylouris)
Then he died ... so I made him a song — General Makriyannis,Memoirs
As always, lose a friend and gain an emblem.So Xylouris is gone too. Unmet, unknown. Oh, hell, hell,write more poems, half-Berryman would-be Cretan, sing his lament in the shower?
High in the White Mountains they’re listening for the black horseman with the clanging chains dragging the
Heroes; no one is crying, no one.
Cancer of the stomach, nine months. I don’t know what’s born —for me — if a billion dead Chinese jumped —they propped his knife and his lyre against the stone and named a street after him. And for my mother.Last night at dinner three shepherds sang his songs and I did the sort of thing one seems to have done with the idea of putting it into some tawdry poem — bile, black bile —I hid my tears behind the TLS.

14. On Aggression: Group Self-Portrait as Greylag Goslings
(for LD, JF, GR, JT and MJ)
And home at last between drafts. Back in Athens air like unwashed dogs, the temples pitted grey, friends passing leaving me phials of curious pills. Old favourite pin-up Emperor Julian Apostate, bless these spiralling austerities as calculated as the filioque. Then flattening air, a flight more of a waddle, a sling-stretch of the mind to silicon-chip blackjack and my friends again in the ruined beer-garden. They’ve stolen another sky.The goslings fight, as do adults, using their wings,but as these are no more than tiny stumps, their blows fall short, for they aim them as if their wings were in the right proportion to the size of their bodies thus Konrad Lorenz. (It’s not the heat but the humidity. Make love not imprintings.)
M.J. — Sydney — Athens — Sydney, November ‘79 — March ‘80

Yellow Spectral Owl/Warrior

And meanwhile, in the summer of 1960, visitors to Hydra included a poor young Canadian poet and folk guitarist named Leonard Cohen, who gave his first formal concert at Katsikas's grocery store ;-))

Sunday, June 26, 2005

As if I needed evidence.....

Pagans III on Compass seems very interesting tonight: I had intuited, to Bjorn Erik, that Odin seemed dead (a sign of Ragnarok advancing); but if Odin seems dead, i.e. leaders capable of showing their ambiguous feminine side, subtlety and compassion, does that not mean the death of liberal political parties everywhere, from Bob Hawke (with his so-called "crocodile tears") to Bill Clinton? Both of those men have embodied Odin much more than the brute force and brawn of conservative parties (Thor)? The good news about Ragnarok seems that Thor will also get his ;-))

Hehe, just to get up the noses of the FBI and CIA ;-))

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate illumination?
(courtesy Gabriel of Modern Fabulosity, blog)

Martin Johnstone, on the long road "home", to Greece?  Posted by Hello

Martin Johnstone, very much in the shadow of his mother, Charmian Clift, in Greece? Posted by Hello

Omg, the myth of George and Charmian continues, in the progeny?

There seems just too much to comment on here, and, out of respect for copyright, I refrain from overly quoting, but, omg, the "sins" of the mothers and fathers seem duly visited upon the children? My friend Sebi met Martin Johnstone, and, due to the remarkable synchronicity of his reading a book of George Johnstone's at the time, seemed able to fill him in on childhood acquaintances he had apparently forgotten......not that I would like anyone to accuse this blog of name-dropping, in any way, shape or form! lol

But, omg, his little sister Shane suicided, like their mother Charmian, our own Sylvia Plath? There seems to exist a suicide gene? There seems also a genuine curse hanging over this family... Martin himself quit Sydney Uni. before finishing his degree, to the chagrin of his father Charmian quitting high school early to spite her father? The list of coincidences goes on and on... It seems Oz has lost yet another "brilliant mind" in Martin Johnstone: talk about "psychological dislocation", and I thought I amounted to a "deracinee"... No wonder we smoke and drink so much down under :-((

And this really sucks ;-P

"It is not uncommon for family or friends to feel a mixture of pain and violation when they find pieces of their character or aspects of their experience turning up in a novel." (from book quoted in post below)
This certainly seemed the case in my own family, and contributed to my parents' breakup, to the extent of my mum destroying all my dad's notes for a biography of the Montsalvat artist Justus Jorgenson, in a fire, and 'dancing through the flames', as she described it, while he, fictionalizing as always, later called it the "iceworks fire", claiming it had happened at work, while he worked in an iceworks... (There seems something Norse and mythical about that juxtaposition of ice and fire in my own background, lol!) This amounted to an act of revenge by her for his unflattering depiction of her in earlier works, and he did not even equate to a 'professional', public author! But especially when writers, amateur or professional, write in a 'realistic' mode, and obviously draw on aspects of their own experience, the lines between 'fact' and 'fiction' grow very thin indeed; and not only do their own lives come to imitate their work (as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy?), but in their real life, they can often fail to remember what 'really' happened, and in their reminiscences, draw upon their fictionalized, dramatized, even mythologized, reality instead... I speak not just of George Johnstone here re Charmian Clift (he portrayed her as cuckolding and sexually aggressive, while he engaged in a very public, and humiliating affair with a much younger woman), but also my own family dynamics... Peter Carey, another Aussie author, deserves the last word on this: all writers seem "illywhackers" or "bullshit artists", whether in their life or their art, and my own dad seems just such an "illywhacker", which sad gene may well have also turned up in my son, with his compulsive tendency to always put the most positive light on all experiences, no matter how painful? Funnily enough, my father and son, for all their similarities, now have nothing to do with each other. My son does not even write ('fiction', that is), but I wonder also about how the characters in the New Testament proto-novels, called gospels, also felt at seeing themselves so portrayed! lol

George Johnstone and Charmian Clift

"The difficulty - perhaps the real tragedy - was that because of the time in which Charmian and George lived, the opposed issues of freedom versus control were seen as individual idiosyncrasies or faults, and not as symptoms of a broader and more ordinary conflict. Again, George Johnstone in 1963 was starting to understand:
"It may be argued that [Cressida] is fundamentally, by instinct, and even by upbringing, a natural pioneer of changing values. (Is Simone de Beauvoir a valid and genuine prophet of the same change in values? Is Doris Lessing?) The point is that David Meredith, at heart and by instinct, emphatically is NOT.
"The work of writers such as de Beauvoir and Lessing would provide a political framework which would enable some women to move beyond the personal aspects of gender conflict, to see oppression as the result of a complex patriarchal system. For Charmian Clift in 1950, however, this framework was not available. Consequently, the anger, the resentment, were all focused on the spouse. But because Charmian was a woman of her own time, there was also a sense of guilt and puzzlement at the very fact of the resentment. After all, she had the husband she wanted; she had two beautiful children; she had good looks and good health; she had enough money for books and records and other little luxuries as well as essentials. (...)
"another problem was the extraordinary expectations which both she and George placed upon their relationship. It was as if they had to live up to an idealised myth of marriage. The ideal union was, of course, the sense of the couple united in love and literature which had been promoted by the publicity surrounding the Sydney Morning Herald award. According to Garry Kinane, 'they both shocked Neil Hutchinson by openly declaring that they "made love every night"', often the consummation of an evening's writing together. This was the kind of statement that furthered the mystique which surrounded these two. If the Melbourne myth was of Love Persecuted, the Sydney legend was Love Triumphant."
- from the Life and Myth of Charmian Clift, by Nadia Wheatley (pp. 237-9).

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Red Galactic Skywalker: Bush, Cheney and the neo-Machiavellian Politics of Secrecy

After reading Ansur's blog on the Coalition of Evil, I decided to dig this one up from my archives, where I posted it on the 23rd January, to let it see its well-deserved light of day again, as it still seems all too relevant.

Damn, I spent half the morning thoroughly reading, quoting and commenting on this, and lost the lot due to a screen freeze and subsequent refreshment (o O, the conspiracy continues, although the blogosphere still remains a "freedom zone"?), but I urge all planetary fellow citizens to read it anyway; it seems George Bush is not so much the Antichrist (see picture below), as the mouthpiece of the Beast (Book of Revelation) ;-P

Never brain has been fed with this food for thought; now feed your own! ;-))

"It is not difficult to see the imprint of Machiavelli in the activities of the current Bush administration and in the Neoconservative movement. As various observers have suggested, Bush's campaign advisor, Karl Rove, is not only an admirer of Machiavelli, but one of the great Machiavellian strategists of all time, who took a thrice-failed businessman and transformed him into a remarkably popular presidential candidate: "Bush is the product. Rove is the marketer. One cannot succeed without the other." A key part of Rove's marketing was to repackage Bush for several different audiences—as a pro-corporate, big business advocate on the one hand, and as a devout Christian and liaison to the powerful evangelical Right, on the other. Rove helped present him, in short, as a kind of ambiguous ink-blot, whose message of "compassionate conservatism" could be read in a variety of different ways according to various corporate and religious interests... Bush's longtime friend, confidant and handler who had earned the sobriquet Bush's Brain. His solution was to create a Rorschach test candidate so that moderates, conservatives, and independents would see in Bush exactly what they wanted to see. ...Rove's political strategies could in fact be quite ruthless, perhaps in ways that would make even Machiavelli think twice. ..."the practice of negative campaigning, the old Sun Tzu,…was something Rove not only practiced but taught at the University of Texas."
[139] By many accounts, however, the far more Machiavellian (and more powerful) figure in Bush administration is vice-President Dick Cheney. ...As various critics have suggested, Cheney's role in the administration is so powerful as to represent a kind of "co-presidency" or "shadow presidency."[144]

Can anyone fail to see the resemblance to the Machiavellian, if not Mephistophelian, figure of Sir Humphrey, always behind the minister, and ultimately prime minister, in Yes, (Prime) Minister?

"In 1999 Ledeen published Machiavelli on Modern Leadership; Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, which was then circulated among Members of Congress attending a political strategy meeting shortly after its release.
[150] ...War, according to Ledeen, is not an aberration or unusual occurrence in human history. On the contrary, war is the natural state of human affairs: "Peace is not the normal condition of mankind. War and the preparation for war are the themes of human history…Bloody conflicts are history's leitmotif."[154] Strong leadership means recognizing this fact and fighting ruthlessly to win the inevitable conflicts that structure human relations: "If you're going to lead, you've go to fight. Whether you're on the way up, are striving to acquire greater power or are at the top…you're involved in struggle…"

Kind of reminds me of the role of King Arthur in the Grail legends ;-P

"Thus Machiavelli concluded that "Whoever reads the Bible sensibly will see that Moses was forced, were his laws and institutions to go forward, to kill numberless men."

"You read your Bible day and night/but you read black where I read white" (William Blake)... Wish I had a buck for every time I quoted that! lol

Moses killing all the worshippers of the golden calf, Elijah slaying all the prophets of Baal... and both of these war criminals flanked Jesus at his transfiguration. Where will it all end? ;-P

Even Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them", and I judge my Bush-voting American daughter-in-law (recently "returned to sender" as the white trash she is) by the same standards
- and she thought I equated to the satanic, witchy one! lol

[to be continued...session adjourned in the interests of lunch!]

You know, I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office.
— George W. Bush, to Roland Betts

No, George, especially when that resume involves drilling for oil in Texas and not finding any, you dipstick! How dumb can anyone get? ;-P

"There is indeed much about the Bush administration that seems scripted, simulated, and often quite hyper-real. One need only think of Bush's staged landing on an aircraft carrier to declare "mission accomplished" and the "end" of the apparently endless Iraq war, which is itself a weird sequel to the first, already hyper-real and media-constructed Gulf War under the first Bush. Such an event is the epitome of Baudrillard’s hyperreality... One of the oddest aspects of the Bush presidency has been how reluctant journalists are to report that Bush lies. Reporters who jumped on Bill Clinton for disingenuous hair-splitting and piled on Al Gore for harmless exaggerations have given George W. Bush pass after pass after pass.
[177] " ...The shock of 9/11 in turn aroused a new spirit of hyper-patriotic civil religiosity throughout the country, including the media, in which criticism of the president was tantamount to sacrilege. ...In testing the frequency of three specific mistaken impressions – that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda had been found, that weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq, and that world public opinion approved of America’s going to war – results showed that Fox News watchers were three times more likely to hold all three. The audiences of NPR/ PBS, however, consistently demonstrated a majority who did not hold any of the three views. Some 80 percent of Fox viewers…held one or more of the three perceptions.[188]" ...What makes Bush so effective in conjoining these overlapping interests is precisely his own status as a kind of "floating signifier"—or perhaps what Roland Barthes calls a "degree zero signifier"[190]—that can be manipulated by various factions for their own political interests. ...In contrast to Baudrillard’s empty simulacra, these individuals—Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and company—have committed real acts that have had real consequences and often devastating effects on real human beings: U.S. citizens suffering toxic environmental hazards, U.S. soldiers dying for a false cause, Iraqi civilians killed by the thousands for no apparent reason other than American imperial hubris. There are real secrets hidden beneath the simulacra, and they should be brought to light."

And toxic environmental hazards, as we now know as global citizens of Gaia, know no borders - witness how quickly the effects of Chernobyl spread throughout Europe ;-P

"Nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest.
— Luke 8:17 "
Hehe, William Blake has the last word, again: "you read your Bible day and night/but you read black where I read white" ;-))

"As Bruce Lincoln observes, “there is a political dimension to all religious discourse,” including scholarship.
[194] Our study of religion is no more neutral or disinterested than the religious objects that we study. The key difference, however, is that as scholars of religion we cannot appeal to divine "authority," a gift from the Almighty or a calling from God; rather, we can rely only on our own human and fallible methods of “persuasion,” by which we marshal evidence and argue our case, while at the same time remaining open to the critical objections of others.[195] "

"There is a political dimension to…what sociology should do in the modern world...Acts of research...are acts of struggle, conquest and victory over taken for granted assumptions about social life: scientific research is a struggle against all forms of symbolic domination."
[196] For the scholar of religion, that means unmasking relations of power and oppression that have been mystified by appeals to divine authority, wars of Good against Evil, and coded references to scriptures. That is how we can exert our, admittedly limited, political effect within the academy, among our students and within our communities.
It is surely high time that we began doing so. "

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Silly questions asked at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893

Q. In which building can I find the pope?
A. You will not the pope here, madame.
Q. Where is he?
A. In Italy, Europe, madame.
Q. Which way is that?
A. Three blocks under the lagoon. (This 'Columbian Guard' apparently shared the sense of humour of our own Aussie tourism site holders, published earlier!)

Q. Can you tell me where to find the building that has the artificial human figures?
The Columbian Guard began telling her he did not know, when another visitor jumped in:
A. I have heard of them. I have seen them over in the Woman's Building. Just ask for the Lady Managers.

An amputee, sick of people asking him silly questions, promised to answer only one more, on the condition that he would answer no more.
Q. How did you lose your legs?
A. Someone bit them off.
And he walked off chuckling, before the questioner could ask any more.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Today's Tarot seemed so bizarre...

...I had to go the whole hog and do a full Lovecraft reading, letting it choose the spread for me, which equated to the Relationship(!) spread.

The card at the top left represents how you see yourself. Queen of Tomes (Seven Cruptical Books of Osan), i.e. Queen of Wands again(!): The essence of fire behaving as water, such as a rainbow: The natural embodiment of passion and sensuality, who is always the center of attention. One who reflects the desires and ambitions of others, and ignites them. A radiantly vital person, cocky and charismatic, who sees what she wants and goes after it.

The card at the top right represents how you see your partner. Hastur: the Emperor. Worldly authority and power. A patriarch or primary male influence...primal, even!

The card in the center left represents how you feel about your partner. Tsathoggua: Being seduced by the material world and physical pleasures. Living in fear, domination and bondage. Being caged by an overabundance of luxury. Discretion should be used in personal and business matters.

The card in the center right represents what stands between you and your partner. Nodens: New hopes and splendid revelations of the future. Insight, inspiration, courage and enlightenment of the spiritual self. Body and mind and converging towards the light at the end of a dark time.

The card in the lower left represents how your partner sees you. Six of Sites (The Mountains of Madness): Success and generosity in material things. Power and influence turned to noble pursuits. Philanthropy, and the balancing of physical and spiritual life. May suggest gifts or aid to one in need.

The card in the lower right represents what your partner feels about you. R'lyeh Rising: Unforeseen catastrophe. An abrupt change, perhaps leading to a new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.

The card in the center represents the present status or challenge of the relationship. The Hounds of Tindalos: The path of destiny. Karma on a grand scale. An unexpected turn of good fortune. A link in the chain of events. Success, luck, and happiness.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Blue Spectral Night

Actually, you missed the Ace of Wands in between; Queen of Wands I relate to my surge of anger and annoyance at cyber-tarot disappearing; Ace of Wands (which also saw the 'birth' of Craig's blog, remember?) to my surge of new vitality and enthusiasm at presenting Centrelink with my application for fulltime volunteer status yesterday; King of Pentacles (after a night in literati hell, when Yahoo games refused to score me for winning rated games, and only credited me with losing scores ;-P), the "grounded shaman", would indicate the need to for a complete change of pace, slow down, concentrate on being reliable and down-to-earth... ;-))
Had a wonderful dream (keyword for today!): from which I did not want to waken: in it, it seemed I struggled to write a short story about an alien who visited earth, did not like what he saw of my family, and so returned whence he came; I wanted to call it "the return of the Jedi" but realized someone else had already done this (!), so wanted to change it to "Jedi returns"... I just could not capture enough of the family dramas to make it realistic ;-P
Comments and interpretation: "alien" does not necessarily "channellings from higher dimensions"? "Alien" in this case means simply "family alienation"?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tarot for today (in the absence of Blogger still not showing my cyber-Tarot, even after I recopied and pasted the code in the template! *grr*): Mambo, fiery Queen of Wands from the Voodoo Tarot of New Orleans: "water behaving as fire"! Looks like you might have to do your readings the old-fashioned way, until I or Blogger can correct this error. In my Tarot the Queen of Wands represents the snarling lioness-goddess Sekhmet, btw; may have to get her on the case! ;-)) Posted by Hello

To Clone or not to Clone?

Another fine "insomniac hour" presentation on Aunty, hosted by Richard of the Doug Anthony All-Stars; unfortunately, his fast-paced idea of presentation did not seem as under control as Andrew Denton's similar presentation of the issues surrounding heroin on the Money or the Gun. Still, it managed to spark some intriguing thoughts in me.
Normally, my sympathies would lie with the "gung ho scientific warriors", but not, however, on this one. There seems very little real reason or justification for human cloning. Even to those who would like it on "compassionate grounds" (e.g. parents who have lost their children in tragic circumstances), I would point out that the "later-born twin" seems not so much that child actually extended, as another inhabiting the genetic shell of the original person. Parents tend to think of children as "little clones" of themselves, anyway, as witnessed by the possessiveness of the phrases, "my children", "my family", "my dynasty", etc., with corresponding expectations that the children fulfil their expectations. Human cloning would, in my humble opinion, only exacerbate this unfortunate human tendency (echoing Nietzsche's "human, all too human"). A clone would not represent an extension of a particular individual, since we consist of roughly 70% genes and 30% experience (so the current psychological consensus goes): if a clone of me were to truly equate to me, Vatican II, from the days of the Latin mass onwards, would have to happen all over again, and Gough would need to be sacked again in yet another constitutional crisis, because these both represented part of my lived experience. Even the experience of an identical twin supposedly differs in subtle ways from that of the other identical twin. The idea of creating "later-born twins" of oneself seems flawed and ludicrous, when the planet already groans under the impact of human over-population. And everyone seems to have forgotten one potentially valuable use of cloning, not of ourselves, egotistical primates as we seem to equate to: when will they bring back the Thylacine (Tassie tiger) and other extinct species? ;-P

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The politics of paranoid schizophrenia

Ok, I have got the Gawith Villa blog up and running, which should hopefully show in my sidebar as you read this. It took me a while to figure out how to delete my own profile from showing up on it (cos I don't want it to appear as "my" blog in any way, shape or form, but rather the blog of any Gawith Villa clients who want to contribute). Only some of the clients at Gawith Villa, a day centre for the intellectually disabled (and sometimes also physically disabled, as in Katrina's case) have psychiatric issues, and Colin represents one of them, or Colin Maxwell Jenkins, as he would have the world know his full name. They have diagnosed him "paranoid schizophrenic" on account of his unrelenting self-identification with "God", but all we who have seen What the Bleep Do We Know? know that could just as well apply to any of us. The only "problem" in Colin's case I can see, consists in getting him to also perceive the divinity in others. Now, his key worker, and my "superior", stomps on his ever labelling himself "God", and will not hear of it. So when Colin dictated his first post to me, I felt I "channelled God", but that put me in a difficult position as "secretary"/scribe/typist. It seems I "channel (God)" (a key word for today, btw), but organizational circumstances, and politics, forbid me to name him by name. I do not wish to appear to undermine his key worker, in any way, shape or form, even if, and I do, think he errs. When I similarly acted as web "secretary" and scribe to my similarly "paranoid schizophrenic" hubby Bjorn Erik, I did not do so under any organisational constraints, and therefore I could present his web page completely free of censorship, unexpurgated and unedited. I would love to do the same for Colin. But for fear of his key worker eventually viewing the blog, I cannot continue to present it as such in the long term, or he will not allow me to work with Colin any more. So, as a compromise measure, I will allow Colin's post to circulate in the blogosphere for the duration of the long weekend (hehe!) and then judiciously edit out the "God" bit, only. As he dictated it to me, I only commented, "Well, that has let the cat out of the bag, put the cat among the pigeons, and opened a can of worms." He smiled, as only a so-called "paranoid schizophrenic" can. He knew himself as a bit of a "devil" already in coming out with it. By definition, "paranoid schizophrenic" seems to mean "being persecuted for one's beliefs", with the inevitable censorship in one form or another ;-P
Hehe, today's Tarot seems also to relate to this situation: "Temperance: Calm and restraint. Self-control, patience and tact in handling situations. The act of applying balanced spiritual and psychic forces to physical life."
Quote of the day (from As Luck Would Have It, by Samuel Lock): "And this takes me back to what I was saying about the Virgin, and about the birth of Jesus: that what it symbolised - and still does, for that matter - was a sudden switch of emphasis, away from a God up there in the sky, to one that is not only down here, close to us, upon earth, but that is actually inside us. That light and understanding come from within, not from without; is born, as one might say, out of darkness - even out of ignorance. (...) So it's worth pointing out, I think, that this book [and blog] has been built brick by brick, as I believe I put it at one point, and has been drawn directly out of the material as it presented itself.
"So what needs to be said, I suspect, is that what seems to be going on here is something that is a little akin to the work of the alchemist - who, incidentally, was considered to be an artist; (...) it represents a new, more modern practice than, say, any form of premeditated or conceptual type of writing, in which everything is planned and plotted beforehand, and over which the writer presides in godlike, omnipotent fashion." And here once again, Colin's own "book" springs to mind, but his, and my, supervisor forbids access to that, to any but himself ;-P

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Red Overtone Earth

Ok, after completing my webnovel last night, and not having done any real blogging on my regular blog in a week, I also saw my first bit of television (in insomniac hour, on the ABC, last night), when I woke briefly in the middle of the night: a genetic scientist giving a Press Club conference. One journalist called him a "gung-ho genetic warrior", and he smiled at that; can't remember his name, as it seemed something unpronounceable and Rumanian, although he seemed in every other respect like a very enthusiastic Aussie on speed. He also called himself a "practical ethicist", and raised all sorts of interesting ethical points about the present status and future possibilities of all sorts of "assisted reproductive" and "enhancement technologies". My main concern, still largely unanswered, seems that all these technologies remain very expensive, and therefore available only to the rich. If it comes down to the right of the individual to choose, in every case, whether they want a particular enhancement or not, then surely they should either open them to every individual (and not just rich individuals, in rich countries) or no one, otherwise we will perpetuate the same injustices and inequities already rampant with our two-tier health and education systems. And some people will always choose against the enhancement strategies, e.g. 10% of people will either still continue with a Down's syndrome pregnancy, or not have the test at all, preferring not to know, and will just accept whatever happens, anyway. Some enhancements would also involve losses, e.g. the old dilemma of so-called "bipolar disorder" and its high correlation with artistic creativity; how many highly artistic and creative people would sacrifice all their creativity in the interests of mood stabilisation?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yellow Self-Existing Owl/Warrior! Guess who turned up at my astral doorstep last night, but Russell (aka. the Rag and bone Man) from Ballarat, just as in waking life, only very curt and imperious, saying he just had to 'return a lot of stuff', mostly electrical cables and junk, and then he went to spread some nasty rumours about me to the neighbours... ;-P

Sunday, June 05, 2005

White Lunar Wizard

OK, I have completed the first chapter of my webnovel: access it under Wednesday's Child (through viewing my complete profile) ;-))

Red Magnetic Skywalker: happy galactic anniversary, Sebi!

A princely man wearing the hood of the Sphinx. He wears the beard of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and a hawk protects him. He carries a drawn sword, and he wears waxing and waning moons upon his shoulders. The wheel of the chariot below him seems like the rays of the sun, with a jewel at its center. He represents conquest on all planes; in the mind, in science, and in progress.
Posted by Hello Victory!! This seems to reflect the bind-rune of victory I used in my spellworking this morning...tomorrow will tell... Interesting that Egyptian imagery comes up, cos I also invoked Thoth, the moon-god of wisdom
and consumed a sweetie in his name: how sweet it all looks! As part of my astral magick visualization, I also visualized a jewelled spider, as guardian of the centre, "within", connected via her web to all the other guardians. Hawk reminds me to remain vigilant and observant, stay on my toes ;-))

Did someone say, "a change of occupation"? Well, the Collingwood magick sure has worked! ;-)) Posted by Hello
A new season KICKS off to a grand new beginning when VENUS (love) enters Cancer on June 3rd, and solo doesn't seem so bad if things didn't go quite right. Jupiter, (abundance) the ruler of Sagittarius, goes direct on the 4th bringing about an interesting time of philosophical, global, and political awareness, especially in the areas of finance. The stock market seems sure to find a better time over the next three months and into the 4th quarter, than what we've seen thus far this year. An interesting June we have this year, with more people traveling than ever before. The economy has gone up and people feel better about life, love, and their personal and professional pursuits of happiness, i.e. catch the Jupiter wave while ye may, ye magickal practitioners, and magickally seize the day!
Quote of the day, from Tim Winton's The Riders: "Well, stay at home on your own big island, he thinks, and do yourself a favour and never leave. Never grow old. Never chase the hard buttocks of the Scandinavians. Do not stand for winter, by God. And never leave your teeth in a glass of Newcastle Brown Ale at night, lest ye become a sad, sick travesty like someone we all know but do not quite care for.
"Gravely, and with a great horrible smile cut into his round face, he unscrews the Stolichnaya and pours a breakfast inch without catastrophe."
"Winton is not a great Australian novelist; he is a great novelist full stop" (The Times): a "metaphysical thriller", indeed ;-))

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I think Jen's mystical, skywalking blog puts this humble effort in the shade; seriously, how can you compete with: 'I think my "dream thesis" was titled something like, "The Metaphysical Implications of Healing Geometry in the Sacred Dance of Ancient Sumerian Dogs."'? See blogroll for link; so nice to share the blogosphere with a wyrdling of this calibre... Also check out Jen's mystical webnovel, Witches' Brew, also one of the best-kept secrets of the blogosphere, until now? Only I must warn you, once you start reading, you will find it very hard not to turn the next page... Starseeds, walk-ins, men in black and all: enough to fascinate any Skywalker? ;-))

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I found many images of the Gateway Arch, St Louis, Missouri (the town's only claim to fame, according to one literati gamester), but I liked this best for its poetic quality, as a virtual tourist ;-)) Posted by Hello

Hermgirl's Tarot Blog Ring
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