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, December 30, 2013

DIY Tradition: A Festivus Miracle -Sitting Now

Originally Published December 30, 2013 via sittingnow.co.uk
“It’s a stupid holiday my father invented.  It doesn’t exist.”
-George Costanza

I’ve spent the week thinking about the strange place tradition comes from.  Mostly because of the fairly new holiday known as Festivus, which Wikipedia says is “a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 which serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas holiday season.”
Festivus was a plot device used in Seinfeld that has become a nationally recognized holiday.  In fact, I got two “Happy Festivus” texts this year. Must be getting popular.

But Festivus was just a giggling thought floating around in the back of my head on Christmas morning, when my wife exposed me to one of her family traditions: Christmas cake.  It’s basically just a cake, but you’re allowed to eat it for breakfast.  I think we made it through at least three quarters of the damn thing over the day.  Compounded with the mountain of candy I’d been steadily devouring since I’d woken up, the massive stores of sugar finally had their way with me sometime in the late afternoon, as I stared at the computer screen, trying desperately to work up the effort it takes to finish writing another one of these wonderful pieces.

I was six hundred words into a trotting study of the Juggalos’ recent declaration of war against the Illuminati.
I’d known about the Juggalos for a little while.  Fans of the rap outfit, Insane Clown Posse (or “ICP” to those in the know), they were known for wearing fishnets and clown makeup, drinking Faygo by the gallon, and throwing their dictionaries out of the holes in their tents that served as windows.

What I didn’t know was that ICP have apparently been developing some kind of quasi-Christian, carnival-themed religion over the past twenty years, and at least some conspiracy nuts are absolutely sure that we are watching the first movements of a cult (most likely backed by the New World Order).

I was just about to begin breaking down the cosmology of their home-grown religion, when the looming specter of sugar withdrawal quietly curled around my shoulders, waiting to rip my eyes out of the back of my head.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Kill All Muggles -BoB

Originally published December 13, 2013 via theblogofbaphomet.com

My wife had to explain to me that “muggle” is from Harry Potter. She claims she was reading it for the benefit of a friend. I’m not convinced. But don’t worry. The divorce papers have been filed.
 Muggle 1
It came up because my Facebook feed was filled with this video, last month. “Muggle” was being thrown around like whatever they throw around in that Harry Potter game. I know it as internet slang for those nerds who don’t know about magic. Christians and accountants, mostly.

The video is a short report from Colorado’s 9 NEWS, concerning the finding of an “occult altar” in a deceased man’s backyard shed. Amongst the paraphernalia was found human bones. Most likely, it was connected to Palo, a Cuban magical tradition.

The video contains a clip from Dr. Max Wachetel, the station’s on-call psychologist, answering the question, “What draws people to the occult?”
“Usually, somebody will turn to that when they are an outcast from society. They already don’t fit in. Maybe they – maybe they’re actively trying to not fit in, so they’re trying to do something shocking in order to push other people away. Other times, you know, maybe from their childhood, they’ve been pushed away by others, and this is their way of kind of reconciling that in their minds.”
This gross generalization, of course, had many commentators spitting mad, letting anyone within shouting distance know that they are absolutely not what Dr. Wachetel described, and that he is obviously one of those dumb muggle bastards, always trying to make the rest of us look like weirdos.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rasta Zombie: Director Mitch Williamsmith on Legalization and the Undead -Disinformation

 Originally published December 12, 2013 via disinfo.com

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of zombies.  My favorite zombie film is still Night of the Living Dead and I only made it through about twenty minutes of the first episode of The Walking Dead before getting bored and switching to some cartoons.

I really didn’t think there was too much ground left to cover for stories about the undead.  We’ve seen proverbs of survival, criticism of consumer culture, and allegorical tales of human beings facing the personification of the primal lizard brain.

But zombies versus pot?  Scary.

Writer and director Mitch Williamsmith, along with producer Shaun Kennedy and cinematographer Brian Kennedy, are working on their new film, Rasta Zombie, which will combine marijuana activism, zombie apocalypse, and every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard.

But how can a zombie film successfully tackle a theme like marijuana legalization?  I cornered Williamsmith and demanded answers.

ISLA: Tell me about your plans for the film.
Williamsmith: This is our first attempt to make a new film industry completely independent of Hollywood.  The miracle that is crowd-sourced fund-raising makes this a real possibility, with special FX that rival Hollywood standards.  And if we put the film out for free, we can still have a way of expanding our operations through the sale of merchandise related to the film.  Crowd-sourced fund-raising could take Hollywood’s business model and turn it on its head.  If the fans are the ones who fund the films, it eliminates the need for big business to get involved.  I feel this is the future of film entertainment.  A direct relationship between fans and the filmmakers.  For the most part, alternative media has become the way people receive real news.  We feel that in order to save our country, there must be a cultural Renaissance: a grass roots movement of independent media, industry, art, music and film.  If these new industries work together in new and innovative ways to challenge big business, we might have a shot at real change.  It may be a drop in the bucket, but we’re just doing our part.

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