Monday, December 24, 2007

Keep The Ravioli In Orbit, Folks!

Eris, goddess of discord, courtesy of SilverStar
ROBERT ANTON WILSON ~ "Secret Agent of Synchronicity"* (1932-2007)

Truth be told I'm not much of a joiner (and I'm a sorry excuse for a carpenter too). However, a few months ago I was prompted to join a Facebook Group that calls itself Keep The Ravioli In Orbit - inspired, no doubt, by Robert Anton Wilson's legendary throwaway credo: "Keep The Lasagna Flying, Folks!"

Watch this highly instructive video:



Some of you may want to know just who Robert Anton Wilson is - oops, he hated the word "is" so I'll rephrase that. You may want to know what Robert Anton Wilson apparently signified (the past tense is a minor concession to the popular notion that the Great Man discarded his hydrocarbon-protein spacesuit on 11 January 2007). I dedicated a blogpost in May 2007 to RAW that offers a brief overview of his colossal contributions to Consciousness and Cosmic Humor.

What about the Facebook Group, Keep The Ravioli In Orbit - A Tribute To Robert Anton Wilson? Well, I must confess that I was mighty chuffed to receive a notice from Steven Pratt, Dish Washer of the Group, that he had anointed me Artichoke Duke and Lord of Keep The Ravioli In Orbit.

An honor such as this does not come one's way every day. And so, to commemorate this entirely random event, I've chosen to publish a selection of juicy quotes borrowed from the homepage of the Group....

"The greatest of all crimes are the wars that are carried on by governments, to plunder, enslave, and destroy mankind. The next greatest crimes committed in the world are equally prompted by avarice and ambition; and are committed, not on sudden passion, but by men of calculation, who keep their heads cool and clear, and who have no thought whatever of going to prison for them. They are committed, not so much by men who violate the laws, as by men who, either by themselves or by their instruments, make the laws; by men who have combined to usurp arbitrary power, and to maintain it by force and fraud, and whose purpose in usurping and maintaining it is by unjust and unequal legislation, to secure to themselves such advantages and monopolies as will enable them to control and extort the labor and properties of other men, and thus impoverish them, in order to minister to their own wealth and aggrandizement. The robberies and wrongs thus committed by these men, in conformity with the laws, - that is, their own laws - are as mountains to molehills, compared with the crimes committed by all other criminals, in violation of the laws." - Lysander Spooner


"The normal is that which nobody quite is."
- Arlen Riley Wilson

"And the Beast said,
By their pee shall ye judge them
And by your pee shall ye be judged
And all shall be judged by their pee
And in the snow shall their names be written"

-Stun de Xim, Book of TSOG

"Is," "is," "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment."
- Sigismundo Celine, The Historical Illuminatus

"A change in language can transform our apprehension of the cosmos."
- Benjamin Lee Whorf

"Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper." - RAW, Prometheus Rising

"Events which appear crude or offensive in the instant may become, with a change of perspective, somewhere between droll and riotously funny."
Hannibal Lecter, M.D.

"Do not pester people at home.
Do not annoy them at work.
Leave them alone,
or they will curse you.
"
- Dao De Jing, 72

"What amazes me most is the piss police. Even Kafka and Orwell - who wrote the craziest, most far out satires on totalitarianism that their wild surrealist imaginations could imagine - they did not include piss police. And yet we got them and the American public just gullibly and submissively accepts it." - RAW

"I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs. 'Oh Random Chance! Oh Random Chance!' just doesn't cut it." - RAW

[Interview extracted from Metroactive.com

The Original Slacker: Wilson was the model and inspiration for the Church of the Subgenius and its iconic figurehead J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs.

PREMATURE ILLUMINATION

Robert Anton Wilson, the iconoclastic genius behind the famed Illuminatus! Trilogy, has a few thousand things he'd like to teach you...

*By Bill Forman

Decades before the crossover cult film What the Bleep Do We Know!? popularized the idea that the principles of quantum mechanics could be applied to the world at large, Robert Anton Wilson had laid out much the same theory in his book, Prometheus Rising. Venture further into Wilson's oeuvre and you'll find equally prescient material on longevity research; you'll likely even stumble across source materials that inspired Dan Brown to write The Da Vinci Code.

"I think I'm the most ripped-off artist of our time," says Wilson, seated in the living room of a modest Capitola apartment adorned with an array of pookahs, Buddhas and at least one Loch Ness monster. "People keep coming out with books 30 years after - books on things I wrote about - and they all become bestsellers.

"I wrote about them too early," says Wilson, raising a thin arm and shaking his finger to emphasize his point: "Don't be premature."

Lance Bauscher agrees. "This whole Da Vinci Code thing with Dan Brown, I mean, that's all Bob's material," says Bauscher, who directed a film about Wilson called Maybe Logic and also runs an academy through which Wilson's online course, "Tale of the Tribe," begins on August 14. "Dan Brown has read all of Bob's books. But Bob doesn't really compromise his storytelling - not that Dan Brown does - but it's for a general audience, and Bob just doesn't go there."

Maybe that's because Wilson can't helping throwing his audiences so many curve balls, mixing esoteric facts with wild flights of imagination - and rarely revealing which is which. From self-destructing mynah birds to world domination enterprises determined to grant immortality to Adolf Hitler, the irascible Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy (written in the 1970s with co-author Robert Shea) is a fun-house ride through every conspiracy theory under the sun - as well as a few that appear to have been hatched in some far distant solar system.

At age 73, Wilson's body and voice have both been weakened by post-polio syndrome, but his brain and his humor are as sharp as ever.

"His humor is constant and people are never sure if he's being serious," says Bauscher of Wilson's intellectual gymnastics. "I mean, the Illuminati: is it a joke or serious? And Discordianism: is it a joke disguised as a religion, or a religion disguised as a joke?"

All of which helps explain why Wilson's name doesn't frequent bestseller lists, nor is he routinely credited for the insights that are beginning to capture the public imagination decades later.

In fact, one day this past spring, after Santa Cruz moviegoers had lined up to see What the Bleep Do We Know!? in sufficient numbers to justify its three-month run, Robert Anton Wilson was lying alone, conscious but unable to move, on the floor of this one-bedroom Capitola apartment for 30 hours.

"It really didn't seem that long," says Wilson of his collapse, which ended when his daughter arrived and broke down the door. "And I remember thinking, as I'm lying there trying to move and unable to move: Hey, I may be dying now. And it didn't frighten me or bother me at all."

Wilson's subsequent trip to the hospital, the first of his adult life, was a different story altogether.

"The worst thing about hospitals," says Wilson, who was rescued when his daughter managed to break into the apartment, "is that all the rights guaranteed in the first 10 amendments are immediately canceled. You have no civil rights whatsoever. And the second thing is, all the ordinary rules no longer apply - you are no longer a person deserving of kindness, you're a disobedient child who has to be reprimanded and herded around. My God, I don't know why people put up with such treatment." Wilson, we can presume, doesn't particularly like being told what to do.

"Not by people who treat me like an idiot. Not when I'm 73 years old, I have 35 books in print, I supported a wife and four kids for most of my life. I do not appreciate being treated like a disobedient 4-year-old, the way they treat everybody in the hospital."

Of course, you don't have to go to a hospital to be treated like that, but Wilson's on a roll ...

"I was an editor of Playboy, for chrissake," he cries, as though that, if nothing else, should carry some weight in this culture. "I've had plays performed in England, Germany and the United States; my books are in print in a dozen countries. Why the hell do they treat me like a child? I refuse to tolerate it. If they won't treat me with dignity, I won't go anywhere near them, especially with all the goddamned germs they got floating around there. CNN did a report on it - the number of people who are killed by diseases picked up in hospitals is much greater than the number who are killed by cars.

"I'm never going to a hospital again. Never, never, never, never! I will lie on the floor and die before I go back to a hospital."

Some of It Has Got to Be True

The opening of the American mind, or at least the one belonging to Robert Anton Wilson, continued more-or-less unabated throughout the '50s and '60s. In 1958, he married Arlen Riley - who had worked as a scriptwriter for an Orson Welles radio show - and she went on to introduce Wilson to the work of Alan Watts. Friendship and collaborations with Timothy Leary followed, as well as experimentation with an array of drugs and mystic traditions. But it was in the decidedly secular surroundings of the Playboy editorial office, back in the late '60s, that two associate editors would hatch the idea of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, which remains Wilson's best-known work to this day.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it was much like working at any other magazine," says Wilson, who never even got to visit Hef's grotto. "I mean, you went into the office, you did your job and you went home. The difference is that all the girls were good-looking. Of course, I was happily married and not fucking all the secretaries, I'm sorry to say."

Wilson and co-conspirator Robert Shea did borrow a few ideas from letters to the editor they received at Playboy, but most of the influence on their collaboration came from the broader gestalt of an era that was obsessed with esoteric arcana and increasingly paranoid about all manner of conspiracies.

"He and I were talking one night over bloody marys and peanuts," recalls Wilson, "and he says, 'What if every conspiracy theory is true?' It began as satire, but a lot of people were really scared by it. Which makes sense, because some of it has got to be true."

Careening wildly from detective story to first-person rant, from twisted history to apocryphal speculation, the Illuminatus works continue to influence the oddest assortment of young minds. Camper Van Beethoven were outspoken fans, as were the Seattle Posies, who paid tribute to Wilson on their first album. (Wilson says Guns 'N' Roses were also fans, but it's probably unfair to hold him responsible for them,) Author Tom Robbins is a Wilson devotee, as is Bay Area author R.U. Sirius, who took his name from Wilson's book, Cosmic Triggers, and went on to found Wired magazine precursor Mondo 2000. (Sirius is also one of the instructors at the Maybe Logic online academy, as are Dice Man author Luke Rhinehart; chaos magic godfather Peter Carroll; DePaul professor Patricia Monahan, who is also Robert Shea's widow; and several others.)

Wilson has also inspired at least two religions, or send-ups thereof: Discordianism took root in the immediate wake of the trilogy, while the Church of the Subgenius enshrined Wilson - in the form of pipe-clenching icon Bob Dobbs - as its figurehead some two decades later.

While introducing him at a convention, Subgenius founder and high priest Ivor Stang called Wilson "the Carl Sagan of religion, the Jerry Falwell of quantum physics, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of feminism" and "the James Joyce of swingset assembly manuals."

As the years went on, Wilson continued to write and speak with relentless energy. After he and his wife moved up to Capitola in the early '90s, he used an early incident here as a way to explain quantum physics.

"When I moved from Los Angeles I moved into what I thought was Santa Cruz," Wilson told a European audience during footage included in Bauscher's film. "Then we had something stolen from our car and we called the police, and it turned out we didn't live in Santa Cruz, we lived in a town called Capitola. The post office thought we lived in Santa Cruz, the police thought we lived in Capitola. I started investigating this and a reporter at the local newspaper told me we didn't live in Santa Cruz or Capitola, we lived in a unincorporated area called Live Oak."

"Now quantum mechanics is just like that," Wilson continues, "except that in the case of Santa Cruz, Capitola and Live Oak, we don't get too confused because we remember we invented the lines on the map. But quantum physics seems confusing because a lot of people think we didn't invent the lines, so it seems hard to understand how a particle can be in three places at the same time and not be anywhere at all."

A TRIBUTE TO RAW IN LONDON (WATCH THE VIDEO!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FOLKS!

McBeach Party in China.

What happens when businessmen and politicians opt for Quantity over Quality.


DON'T BE FOOLED BY STATISTICS. MORE ISN'T ALWAYS "BETTER"!

The next few days are going to be busy for me so this a stopgap blogpost. I know there's a lot of idiocy running amok in this country - indeed, all over the planet but what else is new? Right now I won't add to the confusion and heat by shooting my mouth off in anger at the primitive way the Barisan Nazional is reacting to severe criticisms of its abysmal track record (remember, baboons calling each other monkeys is what primate politics is all about).

Friends in the know tell me they detect the evil influence of a fella named Kuranga Jaruddin (better known as KJ) in the recent jackboot antics of the "Polis Raja Di Malaysia" (to quote a wag) - and I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be the truth, after watching him in action during an Al Jazeera panel discussion. I saw in his eyes the same sort of demented ambition and megalomania that must have driven a young Austrian artist wannabe to a diabolical destiny as Der Führer.

Stay cool, folks. These are times of dramatic and radical transformations. Nobody knows for sure how the changes will take place and what form they will take. All that we can be sure of is that it will look nothing like Business-As-Usual - and we have few antecedents by which to measure the effects and impacts of the Quantum Jump in consciousness. This much, we know:

EVOLUTION OCCURS THROUGH EXPANDED CONSCIOUSNESS.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

PEARL HARBOR: THE GREAT DECEPTION



To better understand why events such as September 11, 2001 are allowed to happen, one can look all the way back to December 1941. On the evening of December 5, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president of the United States, received a message intercepted by the U.S. Navy. Sent from Tokyo to the Japanese embassy in Washington, the message was encrypted in the top-level Japanese "purple code." But that was no problem. The Americans had cracked the code long before that. It was imperative that the president see the message right away because it revealed that the Japanese, under the heavy pressure of Western economic sanctions, were terminating relations with the United States. Roosevelt read the thirteen-part transmission, looked up and announced, "This means war." He then did a very strange thing for a president in his situation: NOTHING.

On December 6, 1941, at a Cabinet meeting, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said, "Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese fleet is." "Yes, I know" said FDR. " I think we ought to tell everybody just how ticklish this situation is. We have information... Well, you tell them what it is, Frank", said FDR. Knox became very excited and said, "Well, we have very secret information that the Japanese fleet is out at sea. Our information is..." and then a scowling FDR cut him off.

The very next day, Pearl Harbor was attacked.


The Japanese declaration of war never reached the people who needed to hear it the most, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the unit's commanding general, Walter Short. Pearl Harbor, it was common military knowledge, was where the Japanese would strike. If they struck. At dawn the next morning a Japanese squadron bombed Pearl Harbor and the surprise attack was just that, a complete surprise to Kimmel and Short and the 2,575 American servicemen who died. It was not a surprise to FDR, Generals George C. Marshall, Leonard T. Gerow, Admirals Harold R. Stark and Richmond Kelly Turner. They were the military's top brass in Washington and the only officers authorized to forward such sensitive intelligence to outlying commanders. But the decoded war declaration did not reach Kimmel and Short until after the attack was well underway off in the Pacific.


Internal army and navy inquiries in 1944 held Stark and Marshall derelict of duty for keeping the Hawaiian commanders in the dark. But the military buried those findings. As far as the public knew, the final truth was uncovered by the Roberts Commission, headed by Justice Owen Roberts of the Supreme Court, and convened eleven days after the attack. Like the Warren commission headed by a Supreme Court justice on a different topic more than twenty years later, the Roberts Commission appeared to have identified its culprits in advance and gerrymandered its inquiries to make the suspects appear guilty. The scapegoats were Kimmel and Short, who were both publicly crucified, forced to retire, and denied the open hearings they desired. One of the Roberts Commission panelists, Admiral William Standley, would call Roberts's performance "crooked as a snake."

There were eight investigations of Pearl Harbor altogether. The most spectacular was a joint House-Senate probe that reiterated the Roberts Commission findings. At those hearings, Marshall and Stark testified, incredibly, that they could not remember where they were the night the war declaration came in. But a close friend of Frank Knox, the secretary of the Navy, later revealed that Knox, Stark, and Marshall spent most of that night in the White House with Roosevelt, awaiting the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the chance for America to join World War II.


WHAT WAS REALLY BEHIND WWII?

A widespread cover-up ensued. A few days after Pearl Harbor, reports historian John Toland, Marshall told his top officers, "Gentlemen, this goes to the grave with us." General Short once considered Marshall his friend, only to learn that the chief of staff was the agent of his frame-up. Short once remarked that he pitied his former pal because Marshall was the only general who wouldn't be able to write an autobiography. There were multiple warnings of the Pearl Harbor attack concealed from the commanders at Pearl Harbor. The Winds Code was perhaps the most shocking. That was an earlier transmission, in a fake weather report broadcast on a Japanese short-wave station. It was "east wind, rain." The Americans already knew that this was the Japanese code for war with the United States. The response of top U.S. military officials? To deny that the "winds" message existed and to attempt to destroy all records of its reception. But it did exist. And it was received.

Completely apart from the cloak and dagger of cryptography, the Australian intelligence service, three days before the attack, spotted the Japanese fleet of aircraft carriers heading for Hawaii. A warning went to Washington where the spin by Roosevelt was that it was a politically motivated rumor circulated by Republicans. A British double agent, Dusko Popov, who siphoned information from Germany, learned of the Japanese intentions and desperately tried to warn Washington, to no avail. And there were others.

Why would Roosevelt and the nation's top military commanders sacrifice the U.S. Pacific Fleet, not to mention thousands of servicemen - an act of treason? They had concluded long before Pearl Harbor that they wanted a war against the Axis powers. The attack at Pearl Harbor would surely trick the American public into accepting a war they would have otherwise rejected. Roosevelt believed that provoking Japan into an attack on Hawaii was the only way that he could overcome the powerful America First non interventionist movement led by aviation hero Charles Lindbergh. These anti-war views were shared by 80 percent of the American public from 1940 to 1941.

A small group of men, revered and held to be most honorable by millions, had convinced themselves that it was necessary to act dishonorably, commit treason, allow thousands of American's to be killed, and incite a war that Japan had tried to avoid.

Why did Roosevelt want to enter into World War II? Was it to defeat the tyranny of Hitler? Stalin, who was our partner during the war, was more vicious, sadistic, and tyrannical than Hitler. Was it to stop the aggression of the Japanese? Before the war, this country did everything it could to give Japan no choice and to goad them into waging war.

Besides the fact that the trillion-dollar International War Machine NEEDS events like Pearl Harbor, AND September 11, 2001, to stay in business, and justify its existence, you must realize that Roosevelt was a 33rd degree Mason. That is the highest level one can attain in the Masonic order. One of objectives of the Luciferic Masonic Order is to establish a One World government, with the hidden elite in charge.

After World War I these people tried, and failed, to start a One World government organization, The League of Nations. Realizing they would need another world war to finally create such an organization, they manipulated world events, created World War II, and created the United Nations, another tool for the final phase of One World government, with these hidden elite pulling the strings.

Roosevelt was just one in a long line of American leaders who have been 33rd degree Masons, from many of our founding fathers, to more recent examples, such as George Bush, Bob Dole, Jessie Jackson, and many more. The Great Seal of the United States includes the classic Brotherhood (Prison Warden) symbols which go back to ancient Egypt and beyond, including the pyramid and All-Seeing Eye. Above and below this symbol are two Latin phrases, Annuit Coeptis and Novus Ordo Seclorum. These translate as: "Announcing the birth of A New Order of Ages." In other words, announcing the creation of the New World Order. Today, this part of the seal can be found on every US one dollar bill, and of course, this is appropriate, given that the Hidden Elite controls the American AND world economy.

The decision to put the satanic Pyramid/New World Order symbol on the dollar was made by the 33rd degree Freemason, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1935, with the full support and encouragement of his vice president, Henry Wallace, another 33rd degree Mason. Even the Statue of Liberty was given to American Freemasons by the French Grand Orient (Illuminati) Masonic Order. Recently released government documents concerning the “surprise” Pearl Harbor raid compel us to accept the fact of FDR and American top government foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack.

On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. Amidst its omnibus provisions, the Act reversed the findings of the eight previous Pearl Harbor investigations and found that both Kimmel and Short were denied crucial military intelligence that tracked the Japanese forces toward Hawaii, intelligence that was obtained by the Roosevelt Administration in the weeks before the attack. Neither ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or Fox News carried a word. This all reveals the lengths that the American government, and their mouthpieces in corporate media, will go to deceive the American public, and to keep vital information from the people. That's against everything America was supposed to stand for.

It is through mass media mind control, ignorance and deception, that we allow these incomprehensibly greedy, satanic and corrupt people and organizations to continue to start unnecesary wars, control our lives, and manipulate the world's destiny.

Article courtesy of North Star Zone
Pearl Harbor photographs courtesy of Mike Buck Studios

Friday, November 30, 2007

What Rhymes With Aphrodisiac? An Interview with Rob Brezsny

[Found this brilliant interview with ROB BREZSNY - multidimensional genius without portfolio - conducted by Sarah Phelan for Metro Santa Cruz in August 2005. I just have to blog it, if only because Brezsny comes pretty close to saying it all for me, and probably a lot more elegantly too!]

GRAVE ENCOUNTER

In which we bury a symbol of paranoia in an effort to break on through to the other side with astrologer Rob Brezsny

By Sarah Phelan
Photographs by Dina Scoppettone

It began with an email from Rob Brezsny, that renegade genius whose syndicated Free Will Astrology column runs in 130 newspapers nationwide, including Metro Santa Cruz. Only this time Brezsny, who lived in Santa Cruz for 14 years and has since moved to Marin, wasn't writing horoscopes, but pushing his newest book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia (North Atlantic Books; $19 paper).

"Reading it is interesting and helpful, too, but a lot of good stuff can happen if you just let its edgy benevolence seep into your dreaming mind," wrote Brezsny, who urged me to sleep with a copy of Pronoia under my pillow for at least three nights.

At 296 pages thick, the copy of Pronoia that happened to be sitting on my desk didn't strike me as a dream pillow—even in softcover. But Brezsny's email did get me leafing through his weighty tome, whose cover (a flaming heart at the center of a labyrinth) and optimistic subtitle (How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings) had already piqued my curiosity. And once inside its pages, I was unable to resist the "dear gorgeous genius" love letter, or the "luminous tease page," which in typical Brezsny fashion exhorted me to "rebel against your horoscope," and "sip the tears of someone you love." And then there were Brezsny's miribilia reports, which reportedly come "live from your repressed memory of paradise," and include freeing gems, like the uplifting news that "black sheep have a better sense of smell than white sheep."

Promising to place my copy under my pillow (beauty sleep be damned), I emailed Brezsny my request for a face-to-face interview—something he deemed "so 20th-century, but fun, too."

He ended up suggesting that we meet at the Evergreen Cemetery in Harvey West Park to carry out a ritual burial of my share of paranoia, cynicism and snark.

"Not that you have any more than the rest of us; we all need to bury our load of psychic garbage," wrote Brezsny, adding that if I wanted to bury my paranoia then I should bring a symbol of it.

And so it was that after deliberating on paranoid symbolism for the next two weeks, I found myself standing beside the white picket fence that delineates Evergreen Cemetery, a picture postcard of George W. Bush in my hands. Brezsny says he chose this graveyard for our meeting because of many fond associations he has with the place, including meeting the love of his life, Ro Loughran, who he first spied "flailing like a whirling dervish on top of a sepulcher during a performance art event called "A Happy Birthday for Death."

Oddly enough, my first impression of the historic site, which contains the tombstones of some of Santa Cruz's earliest movers and shakers, was of a lover's quarrel, thanks to the pasty-faced goth couple with matching jet-black hair, who standing beneath the cemetery's metal archway were hurling poisonous insults at each other, as I approached.

Not wishing to invade their space and with Brezsny nowhere in sight, I wandered between the cemetery's white entrance pillars and up the redbrick path that meanders into the hills that flank Harvey West Park. Halfway along the path, I encountered a woman whose body was silhouetted by a blinding sheet of white light. Temporarily disoriented, I was just beginning to wondering if this lady—and the goth couple for that matter—were ghosts, when the apparition stepped out of the sunlight and into the shade, revealing herself to be Metro Santa Cruz photographer Dina Scoppettone, who told me that she had just found an old headstone inscribed with the name "Sarah"—a site she thought might be perfect for my paranoia burial ritual.

Just then an exuberant gaggle of school kids caught our attention as they entered the cemetery screaming happily and followed by a man with windswept silver hair, who was wearing a white lab coat over black clothes and carrying a clipboard and pen. As the sun glinted off the man's Harry Potteresque spectacles, I recognized him as Rob Brezsny, "the master of rowdy bliss" as he calls himself in Pronoia, who was here to help me bury my postcard of Bush "without hate." And so we spent the next hour, sitting on the some cold stone steps that led to a nearby grave and talking, as solitary yellow leaves drifted down from the tree canopy and onto the trails, where wind swept them along in dry rattling rustles.


METRO SANTA CRUZ: What can we do about paranoia in light of the fact that Rove is still roving and Bush just got, er 're-elected'?

BREZSNY: The worst thing is to let any of our responses to Bush make us like him, like the fundamentalist virus, which makes us believe the way we see things is correct.

Confess your fundamentalist virus.

My daughter is always busting me when I'm prejudiced against rich people. The mark of a fundamentalist take on things is that it's totally serious, literal and personal. Those are the three death grips.

How long have you been assuming your lab coat identity?

About six years, part time. I like some of the ways that scientists look at the world, how they shed their personal biases, how they don't jump on a little bit of data and make up stories, but just deal with what's there. One of my hypotheses is that the world is conspiring to give us exactly what we need, not from my ego's, but from my soul's, point of view. I put on the lab coat to inspire me, mostly. To remind myself that I'm a scientist, a researcher, not a know-it-all. I like to say I'm looking for the answers so I can destroy them and think up better questions.

Grave New World: Both Rob Brezsny and George W. Bush share the same astrological signs — Cancer with Libra moon — yet only Brezsny adheres to the ancient Spider-Man koan: 'With great power comes great responsibility.'

Do you think that people sitting there, saying, 'Bush is our greatest teacher,' even as bombs keep killing people in Iraq, can lead to dangerous apathy?

I think the answer is to try to live in both of those realms and maintain a dual perspective. Yes, everything is going exactly as planned, but from the perspective that we as small egos can't see, it will work out in a way that may be immediately difficult and painful, but will be good for all. So you can sit there, but also be prepared to fight fiercely for beauty and justice and harmony, to be absolutely devoted to kicking ass in the most tender way possible. Being a pronoiac doesn't make you passive. There's a lot of fierceness in my particular approach to creating goodness and truth and beauty.

I notice you say 'pronoiac' and not 'pronoid.'

Pronoiac rhymes with aphrodisiac. Pronoid rhymes with paranoid.

By rhyming with aphrodisiac, pronoiac emphasizes a love of life?

Yeah, this pronoia is celebration. It's not a passive optimism. It's not an "ignore the darkness" kind of optimism. This is not a shopping-mall-in-Indianapolis kind of pronoia. This is not a gated-community kind of pronoia. It's a let-the-chaos-in kind of pronoia, because the Goddess is bringing us chaos over and over again. That's how she creates. So, pronoia's got to thrive on chaos. It can't be afraid of it.

A woman with a heavy Spanish accent called our paper a few months ago from Watsonville, and said, 'Rob Brezsny, he hates Aries.' She claimed your column always bashes Aries. Do you have a secret hatred of Aries?

(Laughs rowdily.) No, I love all the signs equally, but as you can imagine, I'm a huge projection screen for people. In general, that's probably pretty good. They can project onto me their inner teacher. They can imagine that I'm somehow the source of this information, when it's actually coming from them, because it's all in how you interpret my work. I think when I'm working at my best, I'm standing in for each person's inner teacher. Since lots of people don't know they have such a thing, I can provide a service, I can materialize it in the outer world.

Your work, then, is all in the interpretation?

I try to keep my intentions extremely clean and pure and loving, because I think that's the only thing that's going to work to ensure that people take what I say and use it in the best way. It's so important that your intentions don't get subverted, or appropriated by the ego or your desire to be loved or please other people. Not that those are terrible motivations, but to do what I do best, I have to give without any strings attached, with the smartest love I can summon.

What made you leave Santa Cruz?

My wife was going to grad school in San Francisco. I also had that sense that as long as I lived in Santa Cruz, that because I resonated so deeply with the starving artist archetype, I would remain a starving artist. I don't think everyone who lives here does that, to the contrary, but I felt I'd remain insular, if I stayed. And within a couple of years of leaving, my column took off and got syndicated, and I made a lot more money.

Do you pray for clarity?

I do. Most of my prayers start with gratitude, asking Goddess what I can do for her, rather than what she can do for me

Is Pronoia a character in Greek mythology?

In Greek mythology, Pronoia was the consort of Prometheus, the divine rebel who stole fire from the gods and brought it to humanity. Pronoia is an ancient word that's been used in different contexts, but used to mean providence, or the abundance of spiritual gifts.

Do you see Pronoia as a female figure, or as a belief system?

I like to say it's a mode of perception and try to take out of realm of belief. I do like to see it as a muse, though, as a somewhat elusive but generous muse, which for me, because I'm a heterosexual man, tends to take a female form, and a muse that bestows an abundance and surprise and clues to me as a researcher. ... It's critical that what we call the archetype of the Divine Feminine returns in full force before we kill the world — or kill the world as it's inhabitable for us.

In 'Pronoia,' you call yourself Global Village Idiot and Fool Czar?

Right, although the president hasn't responded to my request to be appointed Fool Czar.

So, as Fool Czar, how would you exhibit compassion toward George?

I'd love to kiss his ass. I even offered to kiss Rove's butt without his underpants on, but I haven't had any response. And I'd love to talk about the fact that George W. Bush and I share astrological signs. We're both Cancer with Libra moon. I'd like to talk about ways we're similar.

What are those ways?

We're both good at touching into the collective imagination. However, in my opinion, he manipulates that for the powers of greed, of elitism, of militarism and materialism, whereas I'm trying to, I suppose, manipulate it in the name of beauty and truth and the elimination of hierarchy, of pure democracy and feminism. I'd like him to consider creating some new holidays. One of them would of course be the Bliss Blast.

As part of one of the exercises in your book called 'Rank Your Favorite Doomsday Scenario,' I went on the Internet, typed in 'paranoia' and got tons of hits. Waco. Men in black. The Bay of Pigs. The Bermuda Triangle. Chemtrails. Black helicopters. UFOs. Tinfoil Hats. The missing WMDs and 9/11. Bin Laden. Seems like it's a pretty good time in the history of world to be paranoid.

A pretty interesting time.

So, you're swimming against the stream with your pronoia?


I'm not gonna claim that the news is 95 percent good, but I would like to work on the hypothesis that maybe it's fifty-fifty. I think that the absurd domination of bad news is curious and suspicious. It seems to suggest that those who identify themselves as educated and elite communicators in our society believe the opposite of what the poet John Keats said, which is, 'If something is not beautiful, it is probably not true.

The media and a lot of politicians seem to say the exact opposite, which is, if something is not ugly, it is not true. And that's a cockeyed view of world. I'm not advocating that we ignore the darkness and pretend, for instance, that we're not living through a mass extinction event. For example, biologists say we're living through the greatest extinction of species in 65 million years. However, in my opinion we're in the midst of tremendous abundance as well — tremendous beauty and joy and pleasure. The apocalypse is not happening sometime in the future, it's already under way. It's a slow motion apocalypse and it's both apocalypse in the current sense of word, which is a collapse, a degeneration of things falling apart, but also in the ancient sense, which is an awakening. So, right alongside all this collapse and degeneration is awakening and birth and fountains of incredible creativity and reinvention. To be honest, as educated intellectual people, we need to report on the other side.

Tell me about the homeopathic medicine spells in your book. Do you put the bad, negative stuff inside them?

Yes, you recognize the negative. You put it in its place and surround it with blessings, with a spell of protection, so it won't reach out and grab some part of our subconscious mind and say, "This is true. You are like this." So, in a sense, these spells protect us against our temptation to resonate with ugliness, evil and ungenerous anger. Jung talked about the shadow, that part of ourselves that is wounded, sick, that never grew up right. So, we have to have a relationship with our shadows. If we try to deny or ignore their existence, they will bite us in the ass, subvert our good intentions, undermine what we're trying to do. We need to make sure that before we go out and ask the world to change, that we're in very close contact with the ugliness in ourselves and that we're working to redeem that and transform it.

We take a break, during which Brezsny retrieves a long-handled shovel from his car for our burial event. But as he poses beneath the cemetery's metal archway, and I dig a hole safely away from the graves, including the "Sarah" headstone — a police car turns onto Evergreen Road and slows to a crawl, its uniformed occupants eyeing our merry trio with detached curiosity.

Immediately, my paranoia, which I have not yet buried, springs back to life, taunting me with questions, such as, 'Is it illegal to bury a photo of the U.S. president, especially if you're an immigrant on a green card?' Not knowing what else to do with the evidence, I jam it into my pants, with the unintended consequence that Bush's photo ends up kissing my ass. (Hey, maybe the exercise is already working!) And the minute the cop car passes by, I hastily dig a shallow grave, lay Dubya's picture in it with as much kindness as I can summon and cover it up with soil, moments before the cop car cruises by again and Brezsny and I resume our interview.


In 'Don't Think of an Elephant,' George Lakoff warns against framing the debate in the opposition's language. Are you dancing around on the philosophical side of that equation, with your vision of pronoia?


In the Jewish magazine Tikkun, almost immediately after the November election, Rabbi Michael Lerner began talking about how the left can't keep ceding spirituality to the right. We have to add a spiritual aspect to our perspective. That's why a lot of people just gravitate de facto to the right, because at least they recognize or include the element of spirituality. But there are people on the left who represent the spiritual side of left. We do have a moral vision, a very powerful vision about what's good for most people.

As the aftermath of 9/11 showed us, clearly our fears can be manipulated. Is there also a button for happiness?

Right now we as a society are addicted to fear. We need an intervention, to talk in 12-step language. We're so accustomed to being motivated and moved and fascinated by fear that we've lost the capacity to even imagine that pleasure and joy and regeneration and integrity can be interesting. I think it takes a retraining, on a personal level... The first step is to have the intention to be happy. Who'd have thought of that?

What do you believe in?

My personal belief is that there are many other dimensions besides this particular one and that there are beings that are not physically manifest: some are stupid, some smart, good, some bad, some in between, just like in the material realm, but I believe the caricature of angels, kind of a New Age parody, if we look back at John Milton and William Blake, who consorted with angels and many great literary and intellectual minds who took angels very seriously, seriously, not just as a metaphor, not as some empty hope, but as literal entities. I believe in angels, angels who are working full-time to create beauty and truth and love in the world. Unfortunately, they want and need us to identify and ask for what we need, and most people don't do that.

Why do people need to ask?

Because this is a collaboration, not a fascist regime. Contrary to what fundamentalist Christians would say, this is a collaborative effort. The whole point in free will is to participate in a collaborative effort, not leave it to some all-knowing spiritual forces. In a greater sense, I believe in God or Goddess, a single divine intelligence that animates the universe and is simultaneously aware of 500 million galaxies and their function and the six kittens that were recently born to you. From the ego side, that sounds impossible, but I don't think a belief in angels and divine intelligence is required. Some of the greatest spiritual workers on the planet are atheists, but they are supremely ethical, their spiritual work having firmly to do with improving conditions on earth.

In 'Pronoia,' you write, 'I'm allergic to dogma. I thrive on riddles. Any idea I believe, I reserve the right to disbelieve as well.' So, after 'Pronoia' has been out for a while, you're not going to tell us you don't believe in it anymore, are you?

My policy is to believe in the things that inspire me about 75 to 80 percent. I say that about astrology, too. I would never think of saying that I believe in astrology 100 percent, or in feminism or in the perspective of psychology, or leftist politics. All those things, when you identify yourself so entirely with them, that there's no "you" outside of those ideologies, then I think you lost, you're upset, you're possessed by ideas. That's always dangerous, even if the ideas are great ideas. So, I think it's important to maintain skepticism about pronoia. Some people have written to me in a critical way that I expected. Most people resonate pretty well with the philosophy of pronoia, but some say, "You are deluded, you are helping to spread stupidity and laziness." I can understand the fear that if we work at seeing things optimistically, we might lose sight of everything that's wrong with the world. I don't think I'll do that, but that's a valid fear, so in that sense, I'm skeptical of pronoia and I'm not going to promote pronoia as a cure all.

What about the flaming heart in the labyrinth on the cover of 'Pronoia'?

It's the heart on fire, the heart inflamed with the desire to bring beauty and truth and love and justice and harmony to the whole world. Pronoia is not a passive thing. It's fierce, it's filled with strong intention to bring that message that life is much better than it's being portrayed right now, that there's a lot we can do to emphasize what works, and we have to do that aggressively.

William James, the philosopher, talked about how we need a moral equivalent of war. What I take that to mean is that we all have this martial force within us. It's an inherent part of every human being. Unfortunately, it's usually expressed as war and conflict and anger, but there are other ways to express that martial force. As aggressiveness expressed in the name of feminine values. That's my particular angle. That's why I call myself a macho feminist. I want to bring the message of relationship, of intimacy, of love, of caring for other human beings with the same force that a macho dude might use in his struggles to take over the oil fields in the Middle East. This has macho force behind it, but it's done in the name of joy, peace and harmony. That's what that image says to me.

What was your motive for writing 'Pronoia'?

When Henri Matisse started his work, critics said he threatened to undermine civilization, that's the power artists had in some eras of history. It's hard to imagine anyone saying that about a painter or an artist today. It's been demonstrated that art has the power to remake the world, whether to subvert existing values and/or create new ones. I'd like to return to the Henri Matisse kind of place.

So ended our interview, and shortly thereafter, strange stuff started happening. No, the Bush regime did not immediately crumble to dust under the weight of its lies, like vampires in full daylight. Instead, things I thought I'd been paranoid about for years in my personal life turned out to be my angels whispering in my ear all along. And when I confronted the truth it turned out to be more beautiful than the ugliness of living in a lie. So, be advised: burying your paranoia may change your life, not necessarily in the way you were expecting, but in a way that will free you to see the truth and beauty in your own life—perhaps even with humor. As for the bigger picture, I'll leave you with a vision that Brezsny describes in Pronoia's "I Have a Dream" section:

"I'm the president now ... and so are you. I am the supreme Commander of the United Snakes of the Blooming Haha ... and so are you. And what we proclaim is that in the New World, we will love our neighbors as ourselves, even if our neighbors are jerks. We will search for the divine spark even in the people we most despise, and we will never dehumanize anyone, even those who dehumanize us. I have a dream that sooner or later, every one of us will become a well-rounded highly skilled, incredibly rich master of rowdy bliss—with lots of leisure time and an orgiastic feminist conscience."

Metro Santa Cruz © 2005

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.
" ~ Ernesto Che Guevara

Monday, November 26, 2007

PUBLIC SERVANTS SERVE THE PUBLIC!

Photo courtesy of hidupku

Press Statement For Immediate Release

ALLOW FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

The Centre for Public Policy Studies regrets the police prohibition of and use of violence on a number of recent gatherings in Kuala Lumpur.

Two weeks ago on the 10th November 2007, BERSIH, a coalition of non-Governmental organisations and political parties, organised a march to submit a memorandum calling for measures to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

More recently, on Sunday the 25th November 2007, Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) organised a rally to submit a memorandum calling for equal treatment of Indians, highlighting their socio-economic marginalisation in the country.

The Government has responded by saying that demonstrations are unnecessary, that memorandums should be handed in personally, and that any concerns can be brought up in forums through a consultative approach.

However, such forums, panels and meetings have been conducted on numerous occasions to little avail. These articulations are compiled into reports and submitted to various committees, but it is precisely inaction and non-response from the Government that has fuelled frustrations amongst those groups who have not received equal treatment.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees that every citizen has the right to assemble peaceably. This is affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The BERSIH and HINDRAF rallies were peaceful gatherings and should not be misconstrued as otherwise.

1. The CPPS calls on the Government to recognise the rights of civil society to freedom of assembly. The right to freely assemble peacefully is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society. If we want to consider ourselves a true democracy, then the police should stop immediately its highhanded excessive use of force at dispersing peaceful crowds, including the use of tear gas and unrelenting water cannons at peaceful demonstrations and rallies.

We need to urgently review the policy and processes regarding the provision of permits for peaceful assembly as guaranteed in our Federal Constitution. If the police had given permits to assemble and march peacefully, subject, of course, to reasonable and agreed-upon terms, the unnecessary disruption and subsequent chaos would have been avoided.

2. The CPPS also urges the Government to examine the root causes of the deep sense of grievance and frustration that underlie these rallies and demonstrations . The issues being raised by civil society organisations recently are valid and should be urgently considered. The views and opinions of this large cross-section of society cannot be swept under the carpet. These expressions of frustration and anger arise from a significant proportion of the Malaysian public. These must be factored into policy-making processes, and not ignored.

3. At the same time, it would be useful for the Government to meet the leaders of these rallies and find out more about their grievances, taking action to resolve outstanding problems that have adversely affected sections of the Malaysian society. New approaches are urgently needed to ensure greater national unity, peace, stability and progress.

Tan Sri Dato' (Dr.) Ramon V. Navaratnam
Chairman,
Centre for Public Policy Studies
26th November 2007
Kuala Lumpur

For more information, please contact Ms. Tricia Yeoh or call 03-20932820.


Batu Caves, early hours of 25 November 2007. Photos from IndianOnline.com

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impeachment: If not now, when?


Lawmakers need to stand up for the Constitution and support impeachment

By LINDA BOYD
GUEST COLUMNIST
seattlepi.com

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. - Article II, Section 4

On Nov. 6, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney on the floor of the House of Representatives. For one shining moment the will of the majority of Americans and the promise of this nation's founders were truly represented.

The detailed charges were solemnly read from the House podium and televised on C-Span. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer made a motion to table the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobbied hard for votes to table.

In a stunning turnaround, House Republicans changed strategy and voted decisively to prevent tabling the impeachment resolution.

Pelosi was defied by 85 Democratic members who voted against tabling the impeachment resolution. This includes John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and six committee members. The resolution was quickly voted back to the Judiciary Committee, where it is not resting quietly.

Judiciary Committee member Bob Wexler wrote, "The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush administration."

Impeachment is squarely on the table, and momentum is building. A year ago, almost no elected official breathed the word impeachment. Now impeachment has hit the House floor, and our electeds have gone on record. Millions of Americans are demanding an end to executive abuse of power.

After six years of state of emergency, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, continual war and occupations, our Constitution is deeply in crisis. Americans are in danger of losing our system of government and civil rights if they do not roll back the Bush administration's assault on the rule of law.

Allowing Cheney and George W. Bush to finish their terms without being impeached means future presidents are free to copy their lawless behavior. Of course many important issues deserve the attention of Congress. But the Constitution is the foundation of our democracy, not just an issue. Without the Constitution, we have nothing.

Polls show that 74 percent of Democrats and the majority of American adults support impeaching Cheney. "Never in our history have the high crimes and misdemeanors been so flagrant, and the people of our country know it," writes local author Richard Behan.

Kucinich has targeted Cheney first, but investigations will implicate the president as well. For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50 percent of respondents say they "strongly disapprove" of the president. Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48 percent, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974. With these numbers, why aren't Bush and Cheney gone already?

The vice president is accused of:

# purposely manipulating intelligence to fabricate a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to justify an attack on Iraq;

# deceiving Congress about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida;

# threatening aggression against the Republic of Iran, absent any real threat to the United States.

These violations of the Constitution and international treaty are just the tip of the iceberg. More articles of impeachment can be added at any time, and ample evidence to convict is on the public record. Representatives need to introduce articles regarding:

# illegal war, in violation of both international treaty and the Constitution;

# widespread domestic wiretapping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony. Bush already has admitted to this;

# condoning torture in violation of federal laws and international treaties;

# rescinding habeas corpus, the cornerstone of Western law since the Magna Carta;

# obstruction of justice regarding U.S. attorney firings;

# subversion of the Constitution, abuse of signing statements and rescinding habeas corpus.

It's astounding that our representatives to Congress carry on with business as usual knowing that Americans lack habeas corpus and a working code of law. I want my representative, Dave Reichert, to block the doors of the House until habeas is restored as a basic human right in this nation!

In light of Bush's steady drumbeat for war with Iran, Kucinich said he will consider an impeachment resolution against him.

"Impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran," he says.

"The most conservative principle of the Founding Fathers was distrust of unchecked power. Centuries of experience substantiated that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Constitution embraced a separation of powers to keep the legislative, executive and judicial branches in equilibrium," Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said in the October 2006 edition of Washington Monthly.

If Congress were serious about oversight, there already would be dozens of bills and resolutions calling for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The "Unitary Executive Theory" violates the principle of balance of power in the Constitution. The president cites this "unitary" power in hundreds of signing statements that say he can ignore laws passed by Congress.

The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments are all now subject to the caprice of government officials. The Military Commissions Act allows U.S. citizens to be detained without due process if they are declared enemy combatants. Without our permission, this country has become an exporter of torture.

Congress has failed to provide oversight and exercise its authority to rein in a criminal administration. Only swift action on impeachment can redeem it now. The people have done the heavy work of bringing impeachment forward. Representatives need only ask if the allegations are serious enough to warrant investigations.

George Bush and Dick Cheney promote an imperial presidency. They assert that the executive is the most powerful branch of government, undermining the judiciary and Congress in violation of the Constitution's bedrock principle of shared power among three co-equal branches. This subverts the very nature of our system of government.

"This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. ... That's a big problem because that's essentially a dictatorship," Fein said.

Washington For Impeachment and Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney are working to inform the public, collect signatures to petitions, provide forums, and lobby representatives. Washington was the second state to sponsor a bill for impeachment in the state Legislature.

Washington State Democratic organizations have passed resolutions in 11 Democratic legislative districts, five counties and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, has received impeachment resolutions from almost every legislative district within his congressional district. When will he represent the will of his constituents and honor his oath to protect the Constitution?

The national movement to impeach is a non-partisan effort to restore the Constitution and the rule of law. People across the political spectrum can unite to preserve the Constitution and civil liberties given to us by the founders. Impeachment is the peaceful, orderly, constitutionally prescribed way to rid ourselves of a lawless administration.

The issue is not about removing Bush and Cheney as much as it is about preserving the Constitution and redeeming the office of the executive. The Constitution is the contract of governance between the people and the government. What happens when major portions of the contract are violated?

Congress has failed to call the president and vice president to account, so citizens must turn up the heat. Members of Congress who fail to demand investigations are covering for criminals. Every elected official has sworn an oath to "support and protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic." Anything less than impeachment and a full repudiation of the Bush administration's crimes and violations of the law is a dereliction of duty and a betrayal of the public trust.

If we want our democracy back, we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work to clean out the House.


Linda Boyd is director of Washington For Impeachment, www.washingtonforimpeachment.org. Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney, in Olympia: www.citizensimpeach.org

Thursday, November 22, 2007

E8, XML, PHP, SEO, RDF and My Friend Wheel


70 million blogs were tabulated in July 2005 and I hear that 120,000 baby blogs are born into the blogosphere each day.

It seems the explosive growth of the weblog phenomenon worldwide - especially amongst the younger set of internet users - may be due to two factors: (1) the newer blog templates accommodate multimedia encodings which allow bloggers to post not just rich text but also audiostreaming and embedded videos; (2) blogs are interactive and encourage instant feedback by way of comments.

And, of course, advances in software programming have made functions like RSS (Really Simple Syndication) a routine part of the browsing experience. When I began blogging in December 2006 I surfed smack into a wall of acronyms incomprehensible to anybody who isn't a professional nerd: esoteric terms like RDF (Resource Description Framework), XML (Extensible Markup Language), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor - NOT Pothead Pixie and don't ask me why it isn't called HPP!). For someone who hasn't begun Podcasting and who doesn't even own an iPod, all of this was somewhat daunting. Slowly, I began to understand the value of getting my blog listed on Technorati and having an account with del.icio.us.


Two-dimensional E8 image courtesy of Peter McMullen and John Stembridge


However, what's truly amazing about these new developments in the web-dweller's world is the exponentially increasing interconnectivity that is beginning to resemble the latest mathematical model of the fabric of reality, proposed by a 39-year-old Californian physicist named Garrett Lisi who also happens to be a surfer - not just of virtual reality but also of some very wet waves. This stunning mathematical model has been dubbed E8 and I don't pretend to understand it one bit, except perhaps on the intuitive level - and I must admit to being drawn to it mainly because it's so aesthetically gratifying! Here's a beautiful video showing how Lisi's "Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" looks when the E8 is rotated through eight dimensions:




Yesterday I spent a few minutes on Facebook generating a Friend Wheel, which graphically represents how each friend is connected to another and ultimately to me. The sheer beauty of the Friend Wheel makes me happy to be connected to at least 300 people on Facebook alone. There are hosts of other friends and acquaintances who are unlikely to squander their time on Facebook, but if I add them to the mix, my Friend Wheel will ultimately resemble the E8! Mind-boggling, ain't it? Rainbow Fractals forever!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

George Harrison ~ While My Guitar Gently Weeps



A classic number from George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh 1971 (with Eric Clapton on lead guitar and Ringo Starr on drums). The gems you find on YouTube!

WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS
(words & music by George Harrison)

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know why nobody told you
how to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
they bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know how you were diverted
no one alerted you
I don't know how you were inverted
you were perverted too

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps



From the Wikipedia entry on George Harrison:

George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an influential English rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, author and sitarist best known as the lead guitarist of The Beatles. Following the band's demise, Harrison had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the Traveling Wilburys super group where he was known as both Nelson Wilbury and Spike Wilbury.* He was also a film producer, with his production company Handmade Films, involving people as diverse as Madonna and the members of Monty Python. From an initial exposure whilst a member of the Beatles, he maintained a high public profile regarding his religious and spiritual life.

Here's something else that's pretty incredible: Jake Shimabukuro plays "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on a ukulele!


*In 1969 Harrison wrote a song called Badge with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Pete Brown which subsequently appeared on a Cream album. He was credited as L'Angelo Misterioso, probably to avoid contractual complications.

Project 337 in Salt Lake City, Utah



This is a community art project that opened in May 2007 at 337 South 400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. An old building slated for demolition was converted into an ephemeral art gallery consisting of 42 rooms. From an initial collective of artists numbering 94 the total ultimately grew to 144 - and they spanned the entire spectrum from street punk graffitists to veterans in their seventies. The results were staggeringly stimulating, as you can see from the photos at 337project.org.


What a glorious way to nourish and celebrate the artistic soul of a huge impersonal city. This is the sort of thing that can happen only in a city with a funky, enlightened mayor. Bravo, Rocky - more power to you!

Mayor Rocky Anderson enthusiastically endorses Project 337.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An American Mayor Makes A Courageous Stand

We in Malaysia have much to learn from Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, Utah, about moral courage and reclaiming our country from criminal misrule...

ADDRESS BY MAYOR ROSS C. “ROCKY” ANDERSON
October 27, 2007
Salt Lake City, Utah



Today, as we come together once again in this great city, we raise our voices in unison to say to President Bush, to Vice President Cheney, to other members of the Bush Administration (past and present), to a majority of Congress, including Utah’s entire congressional delegation, and to much of the mainstream media: “You have failed us miserably and we won’t take it any more.”

“While we had every reason to expect far more of you, you have been pompous, greedy, cruel, and incompetent as you have led this great nation to a moral, military, and national security abyss.”

“You have breached trust with the American people in the most egregious ways. You have utterly failed in the performance of your jobs. You have undermined our Constitution, permitted the violation of the most fundamental treaty obligations, and betrayed the rule of law.”

“You have engaged in, or permitted, heinous human rights abuses of the sort never before countenanced in our nation’s history as a matter of official policy. You have sent American men and women to kill and be killed on the basis of lies, on the basis of shifting justifications, without competent leadership, and without even a coherent plan for this monumental blunder.”

“We are here to tell you: We won’t take it any more!”

“You have acted in direct contravention of values that we, as Americans who love our country, hold dear. You have deceived us in the most cynical, outrageous ways. You have undermined, or allowed the undermining of, our constitutional system of checks and balances among the three presumed co-equal branches of government. You have helped lead our nation to the brink of fascism, of a dictatorship contemptuous of our nation’s treaty obligations, federal statutory law, our Constitution, and the rule of law.”

“Because of you, and because of your jingoistic false ‘patriotism,’ our world is far more dangerous, our nation is far more despised, and the threat of terrorism is far greater than ever before.

It has been absolutely astounding how you have committed the most horrendous acts, causing such needless tragedy in the lives of millions of people, yet you wear your so-called religion on your sleeves, asserting your God-is-on-my-side nonsense – when what you have done flies in the face of any religious or humanitarian tradition. Your hypocrisy is mind-boggling – and disgraceful. What part of “Thou shalt not kill” do you not understand? What part of the “Golden rule” do you not understand? What part of “be honest,” “be responsible,” and “be accountable” don’t you understand? What part of “Blessed are the peacekeepers” do you not understand?

Because of you, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, many thousands of people have suffered horrendous lifetime injuries, and millions have been run off from their homes. For the sake of our nation, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world, we are morally compelled to say, as loudly as we can, ‘We won’t take it any more!’”

“As United States agents kidnap, disappear, and torture human beings around the world, you justify, you deceive, and you cover up. We find what you have done to men, women and children, and to the good name and reputation of the United States, so appalling, so unconscionable, and so outrageous as to compel us to call upon you to step aside and allow other men and women who are competent, true to our nation’s values, and with high moral principles to stand in your places – for the good of our nation, for the good of our children, and for the good of our world.”

In the case of the President and Vice President, this means impeachment and removal from office, without any further delay from a complacent, complicit Congress, the Democratic majority of which cares more about political gain in 2008 than it does about the vindication of our Constitution, the rule of law, and democratic accountability.

It means the election of people as President and Vice President who, unlike most of the presidential candidates from both major parties, have not aided and abetted in the perpetration of the illegal, tragic, devastating invasion and occupation of Iraq. And it means the election of people as President and Vice President who will commit to return our nation to the moral and strategic imperative of refraining from torturing human beings.

In the case of the majority of Congress, it means electing people who are diligent enough to learn the facts, including reading available National Intelligence Estimates, before voting to go to war. It means electing to Congress men and women who will jealously guard Congress’s sole prerogative to declare war. It means electing to Congress men and women who will not submit like vapid lap dogs to presidential requests for blank checks to engage in so-called preemptive wars, for legislation permitting warrantless wiretapping of communications involving US citizens, and for dangerous, irresponsible, saber-rattling legislation like the recent Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

We must avoid the trap of focusing the blame solely upon President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. This is not just about a few people who have wronged our country – and the world. They were enabled by members of both parties in Congress, they were enabled by the pathetic mainstream news media, and, ultimately, they have been enabled by the American people – 40% of whom are so ill-informed they still think Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks – a people who know and care more about baseball statistics and which drunken starlets are wearing underwear than they know and care about the atrocities being committed every single day in our name by a government for which we need to take responsibility.

As loyal Americans, without regard to political partisanship - as veterans, as teachers, as religious leaders, as working men and women, as students, as professionals, as businesspeople, as public servants, as retirees, as people of all ages, races, ethnic origins, sexual orientations, and faiths - we are here to say to the Bush administration, to the majority of Congress, and to the mainstream media: “You have violated your solemn responsibilities. You have undermined our democracy, spat upon our Constitution, and engaged in outrageous, despicable acts. You have brought our nation to a point of immorality, inhumanity, and illegality of immense, tragic, unprecedented proportions.”

“But we will live up to our responsibilities as citizens, as brothers and sisters of those who have suffered as a result of the imperial bullying of the United States government, and as moral actors who must take a stand: And we will, and must, mean it when we say ‘We won’t take it any more.’”

If we want principled, courageous elected officials, we need to be principled, courageous, and tenacious ourselves. History has demonstrated that our elected officials are not the leaders – the leadership has to come from us. If we don’t insist, if we don’t persist, then we are not living up to our responsibilities as citizens in a democracy – and our responsibilities as moral human beings. If we remain silent, we signal to Congress and the Bush administration – and to candidates running for office – and to the world – that we support the status quo. Silence is complicity. Only by standing up for what’s right and never letting down can we say we are doing our part.

Our government, on the basis of a campaign we now know was entirely fraudulent, attacked and militarily occupied a nation that posed no danger to the United States. Our government, acting in our name, has caused immense, unjustified death and destruction. It all started five years ago, yet where have we, the American people, been? At this point, we are responsible. We get together once in a while at demonstrations and complain about Bush and Cheney, about Congress, and about the pathetic news media. We point fingers and yell a lot. Then most people politely go away until another demonstration a few months later.

How many people can honestly say they have spent as much time learning about and opposing the outrages of the Bush administration as they have spent watching sports or mindless television programs during the past five years? Escapist, time-sapping sports and insipid entertainment have indeed become the opiate of the masses. Why is this country so sound asleep? Why do we abide what is happening to our nation, to our Constitution, to the cause of peace and international law and order? Why are we not doing all in our power to put an end to this madness?

We should be in the streets regularly and students should be raising hell on our campuses. We should be making it clear in every way possible that apologies or convoluted, disingenuous explanations just don’t cut it when presidential candidates and so many others voted to authorize George Bush and his neo-con buddies to send American men and women to attack and occupy Iraq.

Let’s awaken, and wake up the country by committing here and now to do all each of us can to take our nation back. Let them hear us across the country, as we ask others to join us: “We won’t take it any more!”

I implore you: Draw a line. Figure out exactly where your own moral breaking point is. How much will you put up with before you say “No more” and mean it? I have drawn my line as a matter of simple personal morality: I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who has voted to fund the atrocities in Iraq. I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who will not commit to remove all US troops, as soon as possible, from Iraq. I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who has supported legislation that takes us one step closer to attacking Iran. I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who has not fought to stop the kidnapping, disappearances, and torture being carried on in our name.

If we expect our nation’s elected officials to take us seriously, let us send a powerful message they cannot misunderstand. Let them know we really do have our moral breaking point. Let them know we have drawn a bright line. Let them know they cannot take our support for granted – that, regardless of their party and regardless of other political considerations, they will not have our support if they cannot provide, and have not provided, principled leadership.

The people of this nation may have been far too quiet for five years, but let us pledge that we won’t let it go on one more day – that we will do all we can to put an end to the illegalities, the moral degradation, and the disintegration of our nation’s reputation in the world.

Let us be unified in drawing the line – in declaring that we do have a moral breaking point. Let us insist, together, in supporting our troops and in gratitude for the freedoms for which our veterans gave so much, that we bring our troops home from Iraq, that we return our government to a constitutional democracy, and that we commit to honoring the fundamental principles of human rights.

In defense of our country, in defense of our Constitution, in defense of our shared values as Americans – and as moral human beings – we declare today that we will fight in every way possible to stop the insanity, stop the continued military occupation of Iraq, and stop the moral depravity reflected by the kidnapping, disappearing, and torture of people around the world.

MAYOR ROCKY ANDERSON'S COMPELLING CASE FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF BUSH & CHENEY:

Part 1



Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5