Dumb

The clock is tick-tick-ticking off its judgments. Tick – stupid. Tick – Hey, stupid. It’s new. I bought it for six bucks at the local five-and-dime. La Virgen de Guadalupe smiles serenely from its face, held aloft by angels.

Black Swan, White Swan... Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Formal logic might be the blackest of magics (and it makes for the most excruciating of reads). Just try figuring out the Black Swan Problem. Read a ton of obnoxious articles by formal logicians – who I imagine wear capes and brood in towers while they go about their dark art of turning language into math – without pushing your thumbs into your eyeballs until they pop.

Donald Duck: High Priest of the Illuminati

Conspiracy theorists are dreadfully thorough, but I guess most of them missed this one: Donald in Mathmagic Land, the 1959 Disney featurette starring Donald Duck which teaches us about the Pythagorean cult, the pentagram, the Fibonacci Sequence, and the Golden Ratio.

Jack Kirby And Comic Book Mysticism

You may not recognize the name Jack Kirby, but if you’ve ever argued with your friends over who gets to be Cyclops when you were playing X-Men in your backyard, then you’ve been touched by his creations.

Eye of the Skeptic

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in. Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t. Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kerry Thornley, Discordianism, and the JFK Assassination -Disinformation

Originally published November 25, 2013 via disinfo.com

It’s been fifty years since the Kennedy assassination.  Fifty years since the conspiracy subculture came screaming out of the hivemind’s womb.  Fifty years since the CIA made “conspiracy theorist” a derogatory term (if you believe some people).  I planned to acknowledge the day with some kind of drinking game associated with the Zapruder film, but I couldn’t make it work.

Everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy died, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint the moment they were dragged into conspiracy land.  I was ripe for it.  I believe everything I hear for at least five seconds.  And there’s something sexy about an intricate web of connections.  Thankfully, I was exposed to Robert Anton Wilson’s playful brand of agnosticism at an early age and escaped delusion’s evil clutches.

So, of course, he just had to be tied into the JFK assassination.

Wilson, in his introduction to the Prankster and the Conspiracy, says he was accused of being a CIA “handler” by author Kerry Thornley, who was convinced that he had been the subject of MK-Ultra experiments along with his army buddy, (here it comes) Lee Harvey Oswald.

Thornley and Oswald were in the same Marine regiment in 1959.  Later that year, Thornley was transferred to Japan, where he heard that Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union, an event that he fictionalizes in The Idle Warriors, a novel he finished in 1961.  It was based on some of his companions in the Marines, with the main character as a kind of mish-mash of Oswald and himself, who defects at the end.

Because of The Idle Warriors, Thornley was called to testify before the Warren Commission in 1964 on his connection to the accused.  The following year, he published Oswald, which endorsed the findings of the Warren Commission.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Miracle Staircase of Loretto Chapel -Sitting Now


Originally published November 19, 2013 via sittingnow.co.uk 

 In the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico, stands the Loretto Chapel, home of a famous spiral staircase said to have been built by a divine stranger who was passing through in 1878.  Unsolved Mysteries did a piece on it, and there’s even a 1998 made-for-TV film, The Staircase.

According to the legend, the chapel, which was stationed at the end of the Santa Fe Trail, was completed without a set of stairs leading to the choir loft.  The Sisters of the Chapel were uncomfortable with their practice of climbing a ladder to the loft before mass, as it allowed any passerby the opportunity to look up their habits.  Plans to install a standard staircase were rejected, since the chapel was fairly small, and space was limited as it was.

To solve the problem, the nuns began a nine-day novena to St. Joseph, patron of carpenters, in the hopes that he would give them some sort of solution.  On the final day, out of nowhere, a man with a donkey and a box of tools appeared, looking for work.

The mystery man agreed to build a spiral staircase that would take up little space and be an inspiration to all who saw it.  The only stipulation: he would be given complete privacy and solitude until the project’s completion.

A few months later, the staircase was unveiled to the oohs and ahhs of the chapel’s Sisters, but the carpenter was nowhere to be found.  Wishing to pay him, or at least give thanks, they even put out an ad in the local paper requesting any information on his whereabouts or his identity, but with no luck.
The only possible answer: the man was St. Joseph, himself, visiting the chapel in response to the fervent prayers said in his name.

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