Sunday, December 25, 2005

It ain't a fit night out for man or beast...


I realise not everyone thinks WC Fields funny, and many seemed shocked by his attitudes, but I think it very unseemly that so much of the planet should have a raucous party on the day he died. Much worse taste than anything he ever said or did. Observers say he never appeared drunk, but he was touchy about it sometimes. When The Christian Science Monitor complained that Never Give a Sucker an Even Break had "the usual atmosphere of befuddled alcoholism," he wrote back: "Wouldn't it be more terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics to prove that more people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?"


For the younger generation who don't like Black and White movies, can't get his films on DVD (out of fashion), have only ever seen bad prints with muddy soundtracks on late night tv - it must seem strange. I love him as a juggler who brought character to the performance, rather than that pure 'Olympian' skill. I remember him as a person in love with words, and as a fellow curmudgeon (the kind of Dickensian word he loved).

Upon hearing a Christmas carol on the radio, Fields shouted
"Turn it off! Cease! Give me an ax, a heavy tomahawk! The royal mace of England! I'll smash the thing and its illegitimate fugue!"
(Will Fowler, "Sleigh Bells Give Me Double Nausea," Life, Dec. 15, 1972)

According to the Hippy Calendar, on this day in 1965 Tim Leary got busted on the Mexican border, and given 30 years in jail for a small quantity of pot.

How nice to live in a rational and non-judgemental culture.


Godfrey Daniel!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It depends on whether you prefer stress or relaxation, I guess...

It hadn't dawned on me what a (traditionally) female festival this seems like.

Immediate apologies to non-traditional females and males.

Of course, childbirth sits at the centre of the Christian part of it (with cuckolded Joseph standing sheepishly in the corner); then quite a lot of cleaning and cooking gets involved; get-togethers with family members and in-laws(even when you don't get on with them); feeding of the 5000; decorating the house, and wrapping and decorating presents; shopping, of course; giving; selflessness.

For macho males who still believe in bread-winning, and bringing home the bacon (eeurgh)the only game in town seems like the 'my present (given or received) looks bigger than yours'. Conspicuous spending and flaunting of wealth.

I don't really buy that the 'pagans' do shopping, and the Christians do frugal...

...although I do feel amused that the only person who doesn't 'Bah Humbug' me professes Christianity. Not only does he not judge people, but he dislikes the fact that a Christian festival got co-opted by commercialism. As he knows I do not have a faith, he entirely understands and agrees that I shouldn't celebrate Christmas (any more than I do Hannukah or Ramadan or any similar event). Funny that.

I don't understand any of it, so I have tended to sleep through as many of the days as I can and wake up after the fever passes. I don't eat birds, or chocolate or sugar or cream, so most of the 'fun food' passes me by. Like most vegetarians I eat little and often, and don't like the stuffed feeling of one big meal, and I already drink slightly too much, so I don't want to increase that. Funnily enough, I just watched 'The Thin Man', set in the Prohibition period when the US had a law against the sale and consumption of alcohol (although people from all classes consumed it illegally) and marijuana had not yet got banned.

Now I might have enjoyed Christmas in the USA in 1936....

One day I may understand, I suppose.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thank goodness

Thank goodness that's all over for another year. it went pretty smoothly, actually, after all the build-up and anxiety. Jules asked me out for a Solstice drink with Gordon. Julie working from home so we got to hang-out together. Nice compliments from people about the magazine.

And now I can pack away the notional decorations for another year. I still don't know why we don't all get the day off work for such an important festival. The Jewish people I work with don't get Hannukah off, either, so I suppose I can't complain.

[pardon, what's that you say? Whaaaa? You mean there's more?]

but, but, I did my holiday celebration/libation. Quite enough for me!

Oh well, if everyone gets the day off I don't like to complain...what are they celebrating* exactly?

* The Puritans were sticklers for taking the Bible, and nothing else, as their guide for how to live a good, Christian life. And since the Bible never indicates exactly when the anniversary of the Nativity should be observed, they reasoned that God must not have intended for it to be observed at all. Otherwise a date would have been provided. So they banned its celebration. Between 1659 and 1681 it was actually a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of five shillings, to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts.
*****************
Christmas only became a legal holiday in England and America late in the nineteenth century. Before then people were expected to go to work on Christmas Day.
*****************
Actually, rather than trudge through my traditional rant, you could just scan December Archives for 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Nothing much changes, although I find great links and quotes I had quite forgotten:

"After my Christmas Lectures I received letters from the pious saying that they would have no objection if only I had qualified my remarks by saying: 'But I should warn you that many well-informed people think differently . . .'

When did you last hear a priest-in the pulpit, on radio, on television, in infants' Sunday School-qualify his statement with 'But I should warn you that many well-informed people don't think God exists at all . . . ?' " - Richard Dawkins

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice!


Actually I had a grim, grey overcast morning to greet me, nothing like this sparkling picture from Alaska

However, I cheered up immediately when I realised that a bunch of anarchists had once again pulled it off, and published a quarterly online magazine. To avoid repetition, I should just point you to the Maybe Logic Academy's blog - Only Maybe, where I appear under my avatar of BogusMagus.

Robert Anton Wilson will be doing a course on politics, next, but I suspect I will break my run of only attending his courses, and perhaps elect to do Antero Alli's 8 Circuits of the Brain course, as i missed Bob's.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back to Zero

Amazingly, in this season of conspicuous consumption and over-indulgence, I may actually find myself clear of debt. In 33 years of self-employment I didn't borrow, having such an erratic and unreliable income, so I never joined 'credit culture'.

I have had a small steady job now for 7 years, so when I decided to join the computer literates I found myself in a position to borrow enough, rather than save up (and people said buying a computer with a credit card gave you some security, too - as well as probably needing a card for online shopping). So I got the damned card, and have owed on it since. Several times I squeezed it down, but things happened to push it back up (computers died, among other things).

Now, finally, I may have got it Back to Zero.

I can live with the Scrooge story, of living frugally, because if we intend to do a Potlatch festival (redistribution of wealth) then I don't think we should offer gifts bought on credit. In the magic of fairy tales, such gifts would come with a heavy obligation. I dislike the idea of someone giving me something and having to work next year to pay back the debt...and actually, of course, getting out of debt really is a gift to others, if having a debt costs others (which it does*).

So hopefully now I can get into the correct usage of a card, paid off each pay day.

And even if you don't think others pay for your debt, giving yourself a present seems another tradition these days. "One for them and one for me..." So perhaps I just gave myself the present I really wanted.

Big thanks to Steve and Ken for making it possible this month.

* Paying for the Other Guy's Christmas Presents
Still on the subject of credit cards and holiday spending, over 1.3 million households in the United States filed for bankruptcy in 1997, partially a result of the huge number of credit cards readily available to virtually anybody who can sign a name (1.5 billion cards circulating out there, a 300% increase just since 1980). The plastic money seems to come out in earnest every November and December, as even cautious folks seem to lose self-control. Bankruptcy costs the U.S. economy over $40 billion annually, a hidden tax of $400 per household when these costs are passed on to consumers, as they usually are. So, when you add up your own holiday expenses in January, throw in a nice chunk of cash for gifts that other people bought on credit but then couldn't pay for.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's Just a Ride


We reached Bill Hick's 44th birthday - whatever that means when someone died so young. Either way - I miss him. He did his best, with time travel gags - you can listen to his stuff about Iraq and George Bush (Sr) from the 90s and it will freak you out that we went through the same loop within such a short space of time. Everyone knows headlines don't change much - people have such a short attention span - but his stuff sounds really spooky, as in, an exact repetition of events within a dozen years.
And compared to politicians and war economics, how much harm did we druggies do?

"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Diary dates and Family Greetings

I changed the clunky Archiving layout I had, with American dating system, to something more manageable. Some of it got lost in the process. I have re-published the whole thing now, so it should work OK.

In the process of checking back on the last two Christmas season's links and comments I found I had missed Matilda's birthday in the flurry of the end of November. [I may not do clowning and slapstick and acrobatics anymore but I can still kick myself].

Happy Belated Birthday to Tils, on her 4th birthday!

And while on belated birthday greetings, Hi K! (a week before her).

Greetings to all my scattered family members...and best wishes for the end of one year on the calendar and the start of another...however you celebrate it (if you do). I hope the new job suits you, Julia!

Goodwill hunting...


On Saturday night I saw 20 Santas on the street, and two of them were fighting, rolling on the floor. I couldn't tell if they meant it, until all the others ran over and piled on top of them - which lead me to believe that I had just witnessed a local manifestation of Santarchy.

Ah glory be!

The season of goodwill has arrived, when normally pleasant people get grumpy and stressed out about having a few days off without actually getting a holiday, as they have so many compulsory things to do. Where happy families become divided about whether to party by having the relatives around, or by having some time to themselves. Whether to spend lots on yourself or help the homeless (the ones who'd feel grateful to have a stable to sleep in). And all that. Traditionally everyone gets annoyed with me because I won't change, and I point out that it's their tradition that doesn't change. As usual, I highlight different calendars, go around saying Happy Hannukah, and generally act in a boorish manner - and they answer with the traditional greeting of "Bah Humbug!" (Curiously, the person saying it used to have to dislike Christmas, now it gets used to greet them!)

As usual, I point out that vegetarians don't get off on banquets. I don't eat birds, I virtually gave up sugar 30 years ago, and I don't like feeling stuffed (like a snake with a pig in the middle). I already drink and smoke as much as my system likes, so can't increase my consumption without making myself (and others, no doubt) miserable. I still have the ambitious plan to (a) pay off the few hundred quid on my credit card that paid to replace my PC that suddenly died (b) find a few quid to donate to charitable causes (c)express my pleasure in partnership and friendship without having to 'shop'.

All of which makes me the Guy Fawkes on the bonfire, the Scrooge in the corner, the Bringer-Down demon... (sigh)

I know this seems a little premature (!) but I wish you all a Happy Winterval! (they came up with that horrible word as a non-denominational, secular greeting - ANYTHING rather than just stop the whole business) with an emphasis on the word BUSINESS.

For those of you of a Christian tendency, I recommend the Buy Nothing Christmas site for some creative ideas.

For the secular, sorry if you missed Buy Nothing Day on November 26th, but you can still get your Gift Exemption certificate and such on the AdBusters site.

And don't forget, as the forces of 'goodwill' surround you complaining that you're spoiling their party, you don't have to bow to social pressure. Don't feel alone - check out CelebAtheists.

If you insist that Christmas involves spending and giving, try giving a present that will really get appreciated through GoodGifts.org or Concern Gifts.

My last word on the subject.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Words don't come easy

I have spent the last year writing and thinking and participating in several quite demanding online courses at the Maybe Logic Academy. I realise that I have neglected my website development, and even this blog, but I have one last rush to do before taking a break.

I must have written thousands of words in these online forums. Now comes the test, as I have taken on the job of trying to herd cats (sorry, edit the online quarterly magazine).

I have written one long piece on playing cards, Tarot, randomness, games, etc which I hope Dak may feel inspired to illustrate. Also, Bobby (a most inspiring artist who has joined me on several of the courses) felt inspired by James Joyce and Vico to produce images for Vico's cyclic theory of history, for which I promised to produce a few words.

I find it very satisfying to work co-operatively with people like this - and I have found a channel for my creativity, which has got a little thwarted by holding down a steady job for 7 years now (even if I enjoy working in a library, have access to all sorts of amazing old books, and have opened several cyber-doors by working with computers). In fact, before getting involved with the Maybe Quarterly I helped start up a blog called Only Maybe, which gave us rather more room to experiment, and for which I regularly write, too.

Hey, I must have written enough for a book! My friend Mindy set out to write a 50,000 word novel in November (along with thousands of other people). I felt tempted, but tried to get realistic about how many other things I had to finish this month.

Perhaps I should take a month or two off from books and computers, and catch up with my card tricks. Phew!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Snow Joke

Woke up to first snow of the year. The Brits panic, as we seem due for 'the worst winter for a decade'. Of course, for the last decade we have had 'unusually mild winters because of global warming' - so presumably they mean winters as bad as they used to feel in the 4os, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Still, as we never did have routine winters like (say) Finland or Switzerland, we never have devised a culture to go with it. Outdoor plumbing which froze seemed hilariously bad design to me, as a kid. The inability of the grit/salt lorries, or even the snow-ploughs, to get out because of 'the snow on the ground' made me laugh. And yeh, it did get cold, but I liked toboganning.

The charm of slipping and falling down may have drifted away, as I approach 60, but I still feel alternately amused and appalled at our reaction. Already the panic about oil, and heating getting turned off, and 3-day weeks, and disruption, and stock-piling supplies, etc. While compassion fatigue leads to apathy about the people stuck in post-earthquake Pakistan mountains in a cruel winter, we worry about relatively brief inconveniences.

Meanwhile we plan on 'Winterval' (yeeurgh) feasts, to 'treat ourselves' (as if most of us in the West didn't live like medaeval kings and queens almost every day of our lives).

Ah yes, I can feel the first person teasing me with the ever original "Bah Humbug" because I refuse to get all Dickensian romantic about the season of Good Will.

Any moment now... (Still says November, on my calendar), or, 'Pataphysically,

23 As 133 de l'Ere Pataphysique

Friday, November 18, 2005

mirror, mirror...

I saw a couple of great tits fluttering in and around our veranda today. I have put up bird feeders for the mob of sparrows who camp in the holly tree near by, but we do see other birds occasionally.

What I couldn’t understand was why they kept coming right inside and getting so excited. It turns out that my partner has not only put plants, mobiles and other knick-knacks around, but has included an old mirror. The birds had seen themselves in the mirror, responded in a territorial manner, and now persisted in trying to see off the intruders. Of course, their programs evolved in a world without reflecting surfaces, so I can’t actually think of them as stupid. At the same time, I wonder if they will exhaust themselves with this, and whether I should cover up or remove the mirror. Just as I feel torn between laughing and feeling sorry for them, I also feel torn between ‘doing the right thing’ and seeing if they can figure it out for themselves.

Like Philip K Dick, I do wonder sometimes where my own mirror lies, and what form it takes, and whether Higher Intelligence laughs at me, too, rather than simply helping me out by removing the trap. On the other hand, perhaps I prefer the chance to figure out if I should consider myself my own worst enemy.

But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep.


Measure for Measure 2.2.117
I quite enjoyed this enigmatic comment from the English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, in “Space, Time and Gravitation”:
“We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origins. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own.”

Monday, November 14, 2005

Life's a Circus...

I have had a hectic few days. I had promised to give a pre-show talk while Circus Oz performed at the Millenium Centre, so on both Thursday and Friday I got to pontificate about the history of circus, 'new' circus, non-animal circuses, etc.

On Saturday I went to the AGM for NoFit State Circus and heard reports of a successful summer, in which they won several awards, and I got elected as a Trustee,too. I am still not entirely sure I understand all the obligations of a Charity Trustee, but enough to accept the responsibility.

The AGM happened in their new training space for the winter - in a large hall at the back of the Ebenezer (no jokes at the back please)Church. Somewhere high enough to rig ropes and trapezes and the like.

According to this site:

The following classes/workshops are planned:

Mondays: 8pm-10pm Intermediate Trapeze £4 (tutored)

Tuesdays: 7pm-8:30pm Acrobalance Beginners £3 (tutored)

Wednesdays: 8pm-10pm Acrobalance Skillshare £2 (experience required)

Thursdays: 7pm-8pm Unicycle Hockey £1
8pm-10pm Juggling workshop £2

Classes are planned to start week beginning 21st Nov, but it depends how many people are interested so if you would like to attend any of the classes call the Nofit State office on 029 2048 8734.

The party on Saturday night left me pretty ragged on Sunday - and now I am back to work.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thought for the Day

If I had a morning radio slot, this would form the basis for my 'little chat'.

A young woman I know got burgled, and lost passport, camera and cash. She came round to visit, as she was obviously upset at the invasion (student zone, firework night, people out). At some point in the evening she got a phone call, and soon the doorbell rang, and it was a young man come to collect his phone from her! She had found it in the street, waited until one of his friends called, then asked them who he was, and how to contact him (or at least, to let him know it had been found). "Thanks a lot" he said "there aren't many honest people like you around".

I told her that such a good deed deserved a return. The following day someone rang to say her passport had been found, and could she come and collect it. Obviously too hot for an amateur, it must have been thrown away. She went round to find a neighbour who had found her bag with both passport and camera inside. She lost £50, but money (as we all know) is just money. Identity theft (or even just the inability to go abroad without paying again for the privilege) and the loss of recent photos can feel much more upsetting.

Instant Karma, you see.

Here's Tom with the Weather...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mood Swings

Moods swing at this time of year, but the simplest thing can still cheer me up.

For all the gloom about having to move the Central Library into temporary accomodation, and not knowing the plans, and approaching 60, and the light going, and all that - I also get pleasant surprises. Emails from old friends (one of the groups I keep a blog for) - the news that my Murray Roman tracks will arrive back clean (another reason for using a blog - without my having mentioned finding those albums here, another human looking for them would not have found me). He's now cleaned up the crackle of 30 year old albums, and dropped them onto CD. Poifect!

Blogs might lead to jobs, reunions, fresh starts, etc. You see I cheered up again!

Next week I get to see Circus Oz - because the Millenium Centre have again 'announced a talk' and either been let down, or failed to hire someone. I will reprise my 'History of Circus' speech in the foyer before the shows next Thursday/Friday. Last year (when Cirque Eloise came here) very few people turned up to listen so I don't want to over-prepare, but I still get stage-fright after all these years.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Window on the World

We really enjoyed our flying visit to Cornwall the other week. Now at leat when I sit at my computer hacking away I can glance up at my Desktop and see the view...

Sorry about the horizon line - I apparently lean to the left when taking pictures.

PS: Yes, Chris, I have turned Comments back on, now that blogger have added 'word verification' to prevent automated spamming.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hip Semantics


"Have courage, great warrior!"

I just finally got a book/CD on Lord Buckley, after waiting for months for Amazon to track one down. For you language lovers Lord Buckley’s hipsemantics has to appeal. If you don’t know the man who influenced Lenny Bruce and George Carlin and many others…I can only say try to seek him out (hard to find). I know you can Google as good as me, but try these: Richard Henzel has done him on stage, and you can see a reconstruction of one of his earlier acts when he ‘puppets’ four innocent members of the audience – not the full flight riffing, but gives you the vocal tones and attitude. Transcriptions of the pieces you can find here Try Subconscious Mind, or The Bad Rapping of the Marquis de Sade, or oh, any of it, once you know what he sounds like.............
He does Shakespeare like this:
"Hipsters, flipsters, and finger popping daddies, knock me your lobes, I come to lay Caesar out not to hip you to him”
“to swing or not to swing, that is the hanger"

Another version of hip slang, jazz riffing and bopping comes from Slim Gaillard, scat singing in his own version of the hip argot, which he called Vout Orenee. Again, I can only recommend that you track him down. Try the Ethnopoetics page here

Oh, the flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,

Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,

Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,

Floy doy, floy doy, floy doy.


In the UK we heard a very strange performer on the radio in the 50s-60s, called Stanley Unwin. He may not have the hip cool of the american jazz men but he mimicked the jargon of bureaucrats or technicians in an elegant gibberish language he called Unwinese. He loved James Joyce and Edward Lear. You can catch him on the second side of The Small Faces album “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” (ah, the 60s!) where he tells a linking story between the tracks or check him out here sound samples here

Hi ho and a jolly welcode to all you surfwide'n interwebber lopers. Here beholdy manifold things Stanley Unwinmost - all deep joy and thorkus for great laugh'n tittery. O yes.

Deep Joy

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Merci




I came across the script of Alphaville the other day. Saw it in 1965, I guess, and loved this sight gag in such an apparently serious Godard film

LEMMY has arrived at his hotel and crosses the dining-room. As he is walking through a small parade full of automatic machines, he places a coin in a machine on which is written, 'Place Coin Here'. Out shoots a card on which is written, 'Thank you'. He flings it into the air defeated by its inane logic. He reaches the lift.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Run Away and Join...

I feel delighted when I see where circus got to over the last few years, and to know that I contributed in some small way to reviving this excellent artform.

The only curious thing, to me?

If you'd needed all those qualifications in my day, I wouldn't have even got started!

Great news that NoFit State won the Best Theatre Show prize at the Tarrega Festival! I hope that means they can survive another year, and perhaps do more 'mainland Europe' shows next year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You can be in my dream, if I can be in yours...

I enjoyed the Scorcese films of Dylan for the last two nights...not just Bob but social history for those too young to remember it - and if you don't remember the impact of Martin Luther King saying "I have a dream" try this speech from Etan Thomas at an anti-war demo in Washington:
'Giving all honor, thanks and praises to God for
courage and wisdom, this is a very important rally. I'd
like to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts,
feelings and concerns regarding a tremendous problem
that we are currently facing. This problem is
universal, transcending race, economic background,
religion, and culture, and this problem is none other
than the current administration which has set up shop
in the White House.

In fact, I'd like to take some of these cats on a field
trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air
conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill
O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick
Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft,
Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little
bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing
conservative Republicans I can think of, and take them
all on a trip to the hood. Not to do no 30-minute
documentary. I mean, I want to drop them off and leave
them there, let them become one with the other side of
the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no
welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a
laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I'd show them working families that make too much to
receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I'd
employ them with jobs with little security, let them
know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be
fired at the drop of a hat. I'd take away their
opportunities, then try their children as adults,
sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison. I'd
sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding
their young with a daily dose of inferior education.
I'd tell them no child shall be left behind, then take
more money out of their schools, tell them to show and
prove themselves on standardized exams testing their
knowledge on things that they haven't been taught, and
then I'd call them inferior.

I'd soak into their interior notions of endless
possibilities. I'd paint pictures of assisted
productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be,
dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of
pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to
waste terrain on those who finish their bid. Then I'd
close the lid on that barrel of fool's gold by starting
a war, sending their children into the midst of a
hostile situation, and while they're worried about
their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands,
I'd grace them with the pain of being sick and unable
to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common
cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs
introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling
their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the
expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an
intricate web of rationing and regulations. Patients
wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and
quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed
care is cheaper. They'll say that free choice in
medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as
co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their
grandparents have to choose between buying their
medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life
as the only Christian way to be. Then very
contradictingly, I'd fight for the spread of the death
penalty, as if thou shall not kill applies to babies
but not to criminals.

Then I'd introduce them to those sworn to protect and
serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I'd
show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper
spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they'd
soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal
search and seizures, the planted evidence, being
stopped for no reason. Harassment ain't even the half
of it. Forty-one shots to two raised hands, cell phones
and wallets that are confused with illegal contrabands.
I'd introduce them to pigs who love making their guns
click like wine glasses. Everlasting targets surrounded
by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living
pinata, held at the mercy of police brutality, and then
we'll see if they finally weren't aware of the truth,
if their eyes weren't finally open like a box of
Pandora.

I'd show them how the other side of the tracks carries
the weight of the world on our shoulders and how
society seems to be holding us down with the force of a
boulder. The bird of democracy flew the coop back in
Florida. See, for some, and justice comes in packs like
wolves in sheep's clothing. T.K.O.d by the right hooks
of life, many are left staggering under the weight of
the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your
dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes
difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a
train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle,
their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal. I'd tell them that
instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing
corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars
and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton,
maybe they can work on making society more peaceful.
Instead, they take more and more money out of inner
city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and
build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment
continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why
so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their
ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and
vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell
them that numbered are their days.'

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I don't feel alone any more

For all the traumas and expense and angst of the last few weeks (mostly involving computers) I have slowly rebuilt my life (OK internet access) and at least have a glimmer of hope of recovering the data that I didn't have backed up (on a five year old computer, quite a lot!)

I didn't have internet to research on, so I have swung wildly around, so finding that someone else had similar symptoms, and that even the Expert's Exchange couldn't come to a conclusion about cause or cure, made me feel less alone. You have to join to see the solutions, but you can take my word for it...

Anyway. Autumn arrived. Dylan / Scorcese on the box last night, and more tonight. I enjoyed last night - as much a social history document as flashbacks of just one man's life. Excellent stuff. I pre-ordered the DVD sight unseen because I figured it would have stuff I might want to see again.

Greetings to regular visitors, sorry so little updated on the website this year, but I intend to rectify that. I have gone back to studying and books, and online socialising with an interesting gang over at the Maybe Logic Academy (I could brag that I was one of the first dozen to join). I just wrote them a piece on Time, which
could have done with a proof-read before getting posted, but the combination of computer AND internet problems (different problems, as it happens - the cable modem died at the same time my hard drive died, so I couldn't even use J's Mac or my little old laptop) caught me out, when packing for the trip to Barcelona. You can't do it all.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Happy Equinox!

I know this traditionally gets labelled a time of storms - well, will you look at that - maybe Nancy Reagan and the astrologers know something - all the sailors can tell you it has nothing to do with astrology, just extra high tides...(astrology just links to calendars of all kinds).

Anyway - the anarchists brought Maybe Quarterly in on time - and it reflects the gang better than ever. We do this thing. You have to act in a creative way if you despair of the 'official channels'. You can always visit the Only Maybe (OM) blog for a rolling report...

We did it. Enjoy the Equinox, and come visit for the Solstice edition...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What is he like!

Well we got to Barcelona only to go through two days of storms and pouring rain...so when the sun came out yesterday we sat in a square and drank far too many beers...Julie seemed to be outdrinking me, which doesn´t often happen...so by the time we got to our evening restaurant I should have maybe stuck to beer, or just had the one glass of wine. Unfortunately, we got chatting to a couple who shared a bottle of wine with me, and I decided to buy one back. After that I created havoc apparently, knocking wine over, etc, and when we left the restaurant I found I hadn´t got my glasses on (I keep switching glasses and sunglasses here, so got used to pairs hanging off shirt pockets etc.)

So, in full Fear and Loathing mode I turned to lunge back into the restaurant, but the glass door had been closed so I walked straight into it, head butted it actually, rather startling the people still inside! When I found the glasses (with a little help) under the table they had been trampled, and seem unrepairable...(sigh)

Will I ever learn? Perhaps just keeping up the NoFit State reputation...speaking of which, I don´t think we will make it to Tarrega tonight to see the show, as it seems too hard to get back from there late at night...and Julie (quite rightly) doesn´t fancy sleeping on the ground. We assume we couldn´t rent a room, and it all got too complicated, so I guess we´ll give up. Hey ho - it was only a fun plan to try for...

I don't go off and do crazy solo adventures so much any more, I feel more committed to doing stuff together...which doesn't mean we don't occasionally do crazy adventures! We just have to agree on them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

yeeeurgh

I brought some sort of flu thing home from Slovenia, so I was under the cosh from the moment I got back. Yuck. Did a few days work, and then packed to go to Signatopia in Rotherham. They had done so much work setting it up, that it was sad when nobody came. (sigh).

Still, I got to see some old friends again, so I didn't waste my weekend entirely. Came home to find that ntl had gone down. Blamed myself, blamed my router, etc. When I rang their server status line it didn't admit any faults, and when I rang technical support they said they were shut for the Bank Holiday, but why didn't I visit their website (!) [expletive deleted] would if I could!

Generally feeling sorry for myself, and my friend Jules, too. (Hi Jules!)

Back to work today...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Home again, naturally


I just got back from Slovenia after an extraordinary week. 3,500 jugglers in a field full of big tops and little tents. Blazing hot on day one, then three days of rain that tried to turn the site into Glastonbury Fields Forever, but failed, so the sun came out for three good days - then one final hit of rain sent us on our way.

More later.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Online Interview

Just a quick post to say that I have done another online interview about my fim puppet work, which you can find at the LightSabre site.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Maybe you don't know about this...

I realise that most of my energy drained away from the website, and this blog, into online course work and general forum posts at the Maybe logic Academy.

I don't choose to take time to explain right now, but found this Press Release, which gives a pretty good idea. I hope Lance won't mind if I quote in full, for those who don't click on links.

AUTHOR ROBERT ANTON WILSON INSPIRES ONLINE ACADEMY

Innovative online school and cyber community hosts courses by celebrated authors.

Capitola, CA, June 9th, 2005. Located on the shores of the Monterey Bay, the Maybe Logic Academy is running servers at full capacity day and night. Initially inspired by the writings of best-selling local author Robert Anton Wilson, this provocative online school has bridged the celebrity void by ushering cult status authors into the lives of devoted fans. Course subjects include quantum psychology, conspiracy theory, occult magick, history of counterculture, Buddhist philosophy and meditation. With a dedicated audience of over 200 active global members the Academy recently produced a member driven online publication and rapidly expanded its faculty since going online one year ago.

Current MLA faculty includes legendary author and former Playboy editor Robert Anton Wilson, Mondo 2000 magazine founder RU Sirius, world-renowned Dice Life author Luke Rhinehart, Goddess movement pioneer and author Patricia Monaghan, author and cybergnostic Erik Davis, former Buddhist monk and performer Alan Clements, media theorist author/producer Douglas Rushkoff and occult magick icon/author Peter Carroll.

With a surge of popularity in fringe topics via The DaVinci Code and films like National Treasure, the Maybe Logic Academy is educating people directly through contact with experts in the field. Courses feature group teleconference lectures, online discussion forums, audio/video downloads and group chats. The community prides itself on a steadfast adherence to courtesy and intelligent, cutting-edge discourse. The Maybe Logic Academy is blazing a trail in the online education community by providing direct access to some of the world's most innovative minds.

For additional information please see: www.maybelogic.org
All MLA faculty members available for either telephone or email interviews.

New classes throughout the Summer and Fall and enrollment is open to the public.

Deepleaf Productions Inc is a rapidly expanding independent production house dedicated to intelligent content and is responsible for the award-winning feature documentary Maybe Logic - The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson.


If you want to know more about the courses (say, Ray, if you wanted to take the Goddess course) you can find links at Only Maybe, our online zine (link also on the right hand side of this blog...) to the Maybe Logic Academy and more...

And I like this recent interview with Bob, covers most of the territory.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Temporary Post

Hi to Franki and Franz

As you can see I started using the new picture update option in blogger - but only to amuse myself. Perhaps the Only Maybe blog set up for the Academy gives you a better idea, as I have published 'articles' there (in the guise of 'bogusmagus') which I lay out rather more carefully.

That blog works as a group publishing effort, where we all retain editorial control of our own contributions, and can pass around Admin control/responsibility, so we don't need an editor.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

What the...?


I do quite a lot of image browsing now (you can get sick of words) and recently
I found this at Jetsam Cove. Yet another amusing website full of amusing and unrelated images.

This particular one found in their Index under "What the HELL people" - or you can just run through them all in sequence...

And why not?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Listed as an Interesting Autobiography


I have been listed at as an interesting site that collects attempts at a multimedia biography or autobiography, but today I don't want to brag, just point to another item at that same site, a short Dadaist book called "What a Life" from 1911.

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Experimenting with my images

As Blogger has just improved their image posting, I thought I'd give it a try...
This poster comes from the autobiography of Ormond McGill that I have really enjoyed reading over the last few weeks.


It seems to drop any new image in at the top of the post, rather than in place, here you see one of my real heroes (terribly out of fashion right now, and never much liked by women, I gather (as a comedian). The Great Man Himself.



Please don't try to read anything into this - these experiments in blog images relate to my contributions to the Maybe Logic Academy blog - where I like to add images to break up areas of text for screen reading

So it Finally Happened...

...not the rain at Glastonbury - which doesn't seem so very unusual - but the silent concert. Many years ago, when Walkmen first came out, complete with radio, I said we could do a concert in the park without disturbing the neighbours, by transmitting from the stage, although the thought of 50,000 tinny "tss tss tssd tddtat asst" noises leaking out could perhaps drive someone without headphones quite mad!

This year at Glasters?

Some of the biggest names in the dance scene will be performing and there will be a "silent disco" in an effort to sidestep a noise curfew.

Instead of DJs blasting their sounds through speakers, thousands of revellers partying past midnight will be given wire-free headphones with volume controls that directly tune in to a stereo system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Enjoy the Solstice

Longest day of the year up here in the Northern Hemisphere...and I find myself in work, rather than in a field. Hey ho.

I never really tuned into the Stonehenge thing...the only time I went to Stonehenge the man said they had closed at 6pm. "Closed!" I think we all have our own places, and countries, and seasons, etc. Everyone assumes that I'll link to Stonehenge, and I always say nah - maybe Glastonbury (or rather Pilton Festival, not the twee little occult-for-the-rich town) or Avebury will do fine. This picture comes from Avebury...
Summer Solstice at Avebury

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Only Maybe

Although you have to pay good money to join the Maybe Logic Academy forum (and how would you know if this bunch of crazies could turn out as like-minded friends?) - and the Maybe Quarterly magazine may not give you a real idea of what we get up to in real time - a few of us decided a blog might fit the bill. (We found ourselves chatting in the virtual bar at Vico's)

Just today I decided to kickstart one called Only Maybe and invite a few people over, to see what we can come up with.

Watch this space. (or that space).

Monday, June 13, 2005

NoFit State doing Immortal2

I just came back from seeing the new show - it really has gone several gears up from last year's show - which seemed pretty good. This year it excels. Catch it if it comes near you..

24th June - 3rd July Bradford Fest
8th -17th July Cambridge Fest
21st - 31st July Manchester
5th Aug - 29Th Aug Edinburgh
9th, 10th, 11th Sept Tarrega Festival, Spain
17th Sept - 2nd Oct London Thames Fest

I have had a little to do with this magical 'circus' group over the years, and it grew and grew.

Now we have the new generation of about 40 pierced and tatooed, partying but disciplined people doing a three-dimensional show (the audience move around inside it). And this year they have surpassed themselves. I feel so pleased they will go to Tarrega to showcase it (near Barcelona) after the Edinburgh Festival. In Tarrega all the bookers from Europe will arrive to see the unique and magical UFO tent, and a totally trippy 3-D interactive live show. These kids honed their skills doing stilt-walking aliens in clubland, and fire-juggling and black-light juggling, with wild costumes using modern materials, and hair-styles to die for.

I just wish I could fly you all in for a night in the tent. Damn, I found myself overselling it again.
(maybe I just fell in love with my new NoFit State sweatshirt).

These sort of shows have happened since Meyerhold and Mayakovsky in the 20s, the Dadaists and Surrealists, all the way up to happenings and 60s lightshows, and theatre getting rid of the boundaries between performer and audience (or patient and therapist). I don't know if this falls into the classification of art or magic, circus or theatre or performance art. (Nor does the Arts Council who spend all their money on opera, and Shakespeare)

I loved it. More soon. G'night.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Memo

This gets a lot less coverage in The States - the Downing Street Memo

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Jabba Palace Reunion

I keep finding new bits from C3 - you can see the Jabba Palace crew acting out where we were, and what we were doing on the set - for one of the forums. I was told it was very amusing and informative.
As I am sitting (behind Warwick Davis) Dave B had to kneel - in real life he stood next to me. Sean behind us, Femi to our right, Tim smiling in the front (doing Salacious) Simon and Gerald behind him. Full story here. The only glaring error in that story - I didn't do the sock puppet with Dave Barclay - Tim Rose did - when Warwick approached unexpectedly, with the white socks, in front of a thousand people ( with my hangover) I swayed back and let the real puppeteers take over.

Sorry Tim! I don't know who to contact to get that corrected...

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New Welsh Review on NoFit State

The latest edition of New Welsh Review has an excellent article on NofitState and New Circus.

As this edition has just come out, I don't want to mess with online copyright issues, so will just plug it. If anyone lives too far away, or just wants to know the story (and this article covers the whole context of New Circus, from Cirque du Soleil - the "Macdonalds of circus", according to Pierre Bidon of Archaos - to NoFit State) then let me know - I can always send you a photocopy). It gives a great assessment of NoFit State and their place in the field, and even gives me a name check (relating to this review of their first warehouse show).

Sunday, June 05, 2005

UFO Contactee

I very rarely mention updates to the website, as it has become such a labyrinth of connections.

Still, having been teasing the Prophet Yahweh for doing his Las Vegas UFO schtick recently (in the Maybe Logic forum, not here) I remembered the time I played a UFO contactee, and decided to add a page about The X Factor (Close Encounters of a Different Kind).
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Friday, June 03, 2005

Rebel Scum

I just heard that my promo for RebelScum.com turned up online here

Thanks people - spending a few days as a 'star' does wonders for your self-esteem, when you spend your ordinary everyday life in a small, steady job in a library on half the national average wage (not unhappy, I hasten to add, but hardly Hollywood!)

As a pirate, Jabba doesn't have to take sides, so I can remain 'friends' with anyone...HO HO HO....

Sunday, May 22, 2005

See you at Milliways!

I felt delighted today to discover that I might finally get to meet up with my friend Mick again. He always claimed to have met two time travellers (and I believed him) but when he died (or at least left this plane) back in 1994 I missed him terribly...Especially as we had made no arrangements to meet up. Still, he and I seemed pretty good at synchronicity and serendipity, so finally I came across these space/time co-ordinates.

The Time Traveler Convention
May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)(events start at 8:00pm)
East Campus Courtyard, MIT3 Ames St. Cambridge, MA 02142
42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W(42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)

Time Traveller Convention

Technically you would only need one time traveller convention

I know this says May 7th, but, strictly speaking, you haven't missed it. They would also ask that you publicise this for people who may yet become time travellers (the tenses get difficult here) - by getting the co-ordinates published, and the event into oral history...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sue's Diary of C3

If you want to know what it was really like for people visiting Celebration 3, I can only recommend reading Sue Hooven's Diary - that'll give you an idea.

Hi Sue and Scott! Sorry we never got to have a cup of coffee or a little time together...

I just found the detailed pictures of the Origami Jabba process...that was real fun, and I am glad Dave and I squeezed in a moment to go do one fold! The main site is here, and the Jabba sequence is here.

Origami Jabba lorded it over the Saturday night party, but after Dave and I took our picture with him we retreated (I had lost my voice after the Thursday opening night show - shouting over the band while waiting backstage) - and then gone out with the 501s on Friday (and later with Jens and his buddy) and the combination of jetlag, no food, and too much wine meant I looked a bit rough on Saturday morning! By Saturday night I had turned professional again, and had a quiet night, ready for Sunday.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Return of Pink Five

I found this blog today, about Amy and Trey's visit to C3, it made me laugh...

"We're here to say hello to a couple of autograph signers that we happen to know. First stop is Dave Barclay, a fellow puppeteer I'd recently worked with on Team America. Back in the day he was a lead puppeteer on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi. I'm impressed by the number of folks who are willing to pay for the autograph of the guy who played the role of Jabba's left arm."

My role reminds me of Churchill's retort, when told some fellow politician was at least humble...

"He's got a lot to be humble about!"

Sunday, May 15, 2005

"One of the better, cheaper acts"

You could describe Magic as my first love. The fact that I have a love/hate relationship with it now doesn't really change things. You'll hardly ever get me to do a trick. I still spend quite a lot of money on books and gizmos. I just love the subtlety of the art. One of my favourite acts (seen live once, and also on tv) used the slogan "One of the better, cheaper acts" in his publicity - a self-deprecating phrase that could only fit a real Grand Master. Dean of the Society of American Magicians, Jay Marshall, died on May 10, 2005, at age 85. I saw him dominate a huge theatre using just a white glove on his left hand - Lefty - a wonderful variation on the usual Vent Act - and unusual in that the puppet's voice had a deeper tone than the performer's...I never stole the line for publicity purposes, but I used it as a throwaway line about my own act, occasionally. I hoped he'd forgive me. Watching him onstage made me want to do something, so apparently simple and effective, to brighten up people's lives.

One time, as the story goes, he asked a young fan what he wanted to do when he grew up, and the boy replied "Be a magician!" "Son," Jay replied, "you can't do both."

Unfortunately, I finally grew up.

Jay Marshall and Lefty

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers

Here's a really nice story - just to show you the mutual affection that I felt from fans at Celebration 3 - money doesn't have to be the Focus of Fun.

Creature Cantina

This Creature Cantina diary may give you some idea of the kind of event I just attended. Go look at just one person's diary of the hectic days in Indy.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

T'Bone Rocks!

Among the faces I finally got to meet (having done an online interview in Spring 2004, entirely through emails) - here's T'Bone - you can easily find his Universe here at www.starwarz.com

I was only sorry we didn't get much time to really talk. That's kind of how it was all the time (probably for him, too) - and so, back to emails!

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Origami Jabba

I thought they were joking when they told me some people would be making a lifesize origami Jabba...

But Chris Alexander from Star Wars Origami made him real. I'd like to know how to fold him, so if anyone wants to help Chris publish his designs, contact him through his website. Oh, and I am glad to say that Jabba got auctioned to raise money for the Koret Family House.
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Meeting Elvis

I used to think "Who'd wannabe a storm trooper?" I figured them for clones, just designed to get shot by heroes. And then I met Elvis the StormTrooper. Here's his website.

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Back in One Piece

I have just returned from an adventure. Although I still work in the library, the Star Wars fans finally tracked me down, and talked me into attending Celebration 3 in Indianapolis. I met all sorts of great people (many in costume); I met Chris Alexander and his crew who made a life-size origami model of Jabba (!); I met up with Dave Barclay (the other half of Jabba, and chief puppeteer) which was delightful; I met up with Crissie Trigger (who drove over from Springfield) which was amazing; I put faces to several cyberspace friends (who had previously just been email buddies); when I have had time to look at the photos, and digest some of the stories, I will probably make a page up.

What a blast! And the tax man is gonna be happy with his cut, too.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I found a great book, but I didn't read it all yet. Below you will find a very brief glimpse found online at Eric Nehrlich's page

The Gift - Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, by Lewis Hyde

After reading Trickster Makes This World, I went back and picked up this earlier book by Hyde. Again, his mastery of mythology amazes me. I used to read myths and think they were pretty stupid stories. Hyde makes them come alive, expressing the philosophies and beliefs of their tellers.
In this case, he follows the culture of the gift, which will have its value disappear if not passed on. However, if given away freely, it will come back to reward the giver many times over. He brings in many myths to support this, such as the several where a poor peasant gives away their last bit of bread to someone in need, only to have it turn out that the recipient was a god or a king in disguise, who then rewards the peasant for their generosity.
Hyde studies this culture from the viewpoint of an artist trying to find his niche in the modern world, where everything has a price. In a ultra-capitalist economy, how does one value art? By exploring the gift economy, Hyde demonstrates that there are areas where the market economy does not apply, where the gift economy must take precedence. Again, he supports his viewpoint with several myths where the greedy merchant tries to buy something that must be given away, and ends up with rocks instead of gold.

And if that throwaway comment about his other book sounds intriguing, look at Margaret Atwood's Review of Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art, by Lewis Hyde

Monday, March 28, 2005

And heeeeeere's Eddie!

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Gloria Mundi

Nice to hear from Sunshine earlier - on a random email. Another of the fascinating creative people I have crossed paths with. Do you remember (did you ever get to see?) an influential punk/goth (?) band called Gloria Mundi? And hi to Eddie, too!

Sunshine at The Marquee

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Apologies to regular readers

I still feel quite bemused when people tell me they drop in here regularly, as I do think of it not so much as a column, but as a journal or notebook. Basically, I use a blog to talk to myself, and I go to the Academy Forum to talk to other people. I even use Trillian to chat live, occasionally, but I don't have that much time...

The Academy goes from strength to strength - and the Goddess course in the summer (by Patricia Monaghan the widow of Robert Shea, amngst other things) might just shift the balance from male geekdom a little bit. Male geekdom currently having a ball on Crowley 101 (which I gave a miss, as I find kabbalah and all that ritual completely uninteresting). Or perhaps you'd be interested in a course with The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart) or Chaos Magick (Peter Carroll), or Douglas Rushkoff, or...

Oh, and the second edition of Maybe Quarterly has got published. It contains a lot, and who has time to read so much, but I liked the second excerpt of Zen Punkist's HOLeY BIBLE; Trimtabulous' Escape Velocity and Metachor's Dream Quest - and, if nothing else, you should read Kentroversy's piece on Bill Hicks, and his interview with Kevin Booth about Sacred Cow, the new book on Bill Hicks, and much, much more.

I didn't contribute anything this time, but
Issue 1 remains online, so you can still read it, and my piece on the Illuminatus! online course.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

No More Wars means just that

Anyone who knows me will know how much I hate fighting. Or even how much I hate friction, or resistance (most of the time).

Here's something positive for you. Mr Jules has (not quite single-handedly) organised a juggling convention in Slovenia. Not just (boring old) juggling, but street performers of all kinds from all countries. A one-off event you can't even imagine. Value you'll never get from one circus (not Cirque du Soleil, not even NoFit State Circus). I won't do the hard sell right now. I will try to be there. I attended the first European Juggling Convention in 1978, and helped organise one in Spain in 1986, but I fell away as the whole thing grew and I had other work, other interests, and only one short life to experience them in. I got to a few British ones, since (each nation has local breakaway conventions now). You don't have to be able to juggle to come - just to enjoy circus skills, camping, visiting different cultures, hanging out with interesting people from dozens of countries (including, probably, your own) and having FUN!

So no more Wars, please. Not even Wars on drugs, Wars on politically correct speech, Wars on smoking, Wars about imaginary gods. Just stop fighting...

If you think that's the 'unrealistic hippie dream', then that's why it never stops...because you don't believe it can. Forgive each other for mistakes, decide to share the planet, and let's get on with it...

G'night. I don't even kid myself with this stuff. People seem to LIKE fighting...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

You'll be a long time gone

Ah me - I will take a rest from Academy activity, and try to catch up with my life. Keili's album is officially released, but Amazon UK don't seem to have got it yet...He's travelling again, I hear.

I have just heard confirmed that I will be going to Celebration III in Indianapolis at the end of April. This is the big Star Wars event - one not to miss, they tell me. Whether I'll get RSI from signing my name, is another matter...

Some of the Maybe Academy bods seem to be planning a meet in July in Ireland. This might just be the motivation to get me and Julie to get a holiday in Ireland...Cork and Kerry, and all that. Sort of depends on making money at CIII, for me, as I always live on rather tight margins when it comes to that mysterious entity "the holiday". Perhaps we'd both prefer Spain.

Hey ho. Star Wars events even affect performers with that 'if I won the lottery' feeling. The truth, of course, is that it was a couple of months' work, 24 years ago...with a buy-out clause, no residuals or royalties, etc. It's a nice perk if fans pop up now, to decide to pay us a bonus...but Indianapolis would not be my first choice for a holiday destination. I suspect this will also be hard work...Still, a chance to put faces to some of my online correspondents like T'Bone and the Jedi Bendu crew, etc.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It depends what you mean by freedom

No doubt Shabina Begum should be allowed to wear a bit of black cloth around her head at school for religious reasons. Congratulations.

As a non-baptised child I would have loved to have avoided Christian hymns and prayers every morning from the age of 6 to 18, but I couldn't. In the school I went to from the age of 12-18 the Jewish kids did not have to attend these services, but I did. Non-believers in The Book(s), freethinkers, agnostics, atheists, non-theists, humanists and all the other groups that think of religion as a benign (or sometimes virulent) belief still had to attend the State religion's indoctrination sessions (and hear how bad it seemed that 'Communists' put their children through such sessions).

Can I still go back and sue my school (s) for 12 years of restricting my rights and imposing their (improbable and distressing) beliefs on me? I doubt it.

One of the reasons I dropped out in the 60s was that distressing half hour every morning. Instead of fighting my way through 3 changes of bus to arrive in time for ineffective, hypocritical indoctrination I eventually took to arriving late, and then going to sit with the Jewish kids. One term I arrived late every day. After you arrived late for 4 days you got kept in for one hour's detention at the end of the day. I did that for a whole term, in protest. Nothing changed.

They measured me as smart (to even get to the school) and then completely ignored my feedback. Their thing being that if you want to get to be (say) Prime Minister you have to claim to be Christian even if you in fact have no faith at all - and my school thought 'getting on in life' the most important thing. I don't think they had previously met anyone who wanted to remain true to themselves, at any cost...

There must have been a few more after me, as the Sixties rolled on.

I still resent that 30 minutes a day (of every day of my school life) when I could have been doing something more constructive than staying dumb, singing out of tune, making up satirical words, or just feeling severely depressed and persecuted. I could even have avoided the rush-hour where adults pushed in front of me because they might lose their jobs if they were late, and I would only get detention.

Trivial? I think not.

So I praise Shabina for her persistence, even as I resent the fact that she can win because she is using the force of another nonsensical (to me!) BIG religion.

A BIG HELLO to all the kids out there who already know the world doesn't work because of some god (whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim). I know what you mean, people. That doesn't mean I think I know better how the Universe came to be, or how humans evolved. I accept the mystery. I just don't buy a creator god. Darwin, chaos theory, complex systems, emergence, etc will do fine as approaches to (maybe) one day knowing more about our situation...

In the States they do have a Freedom From Religion site - maybe we need to start one in the UK.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Farewell, Hunter

I feel too miserable at this news to do more than publish this piece from Ratatosk:

'And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so it shall be that non-existence shall take us back from existence and that nameless spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild circus.' - Lord Omar K Ravenhurst

Don't be sad, don't feel sorrow... This man shouted to the Universe "Sir, I exist", and in response, the Universe said to him "We know, you smoked our stash".

Hunter in his prime

For Gonzo... that was one HELLUVA circus. And in vision I saw and look, sitting at the left foot of Eris, a Jester, with little cardboard squares on his hat instead of bells. And he looked up unto Eris and said unto her: "Damn it, woman, why don't you get rid of all of these bats!" And Eris laughed, took a hit from his hat and said "I'm glad your back home, Hunter." And a chorus sang unto him, "Hosanna, Hosanna, Kallisti and LSD" and to welcome him home to the Void stood all of the Great Ones. There to hand him a jay, was Kerry Thornley. To freshen his drink, was Douglas Adams with a real Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. Then the great Shroom Pope himself stood and appointed Hunter as the Patron Saint of Alterations and Dry Cleanings of the Mind. And Hunter spoke and said "Damn Tim, you look silly in that big Pope Hat with the Mushroom on it..." And The Leary spoke saying "Wait till you see yours!" Then Eris looked into my eyes and said, "See, he's just fine. Now run along and be happy. For a new child of Eris has been born this very day who will raise above even these ones. Now, I am gonna take all these guys to my room... and you can't watch! SHOOOOO"... and in speaking she exhaled smoke, a cloud larger and larger, streaming from her mouth. My vision clouded, blurred and suddenly I came to, in the wrong lane of oncomming traffic on Interstate-270. And I swear I could hear laughing on the far range of my hearing.
Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Another One Gone

We lost another warrior.

Hunter S Thompson has died of a self-inflicted gun shot (although I don't know if that means by accident or design).

I loved his sheer fierceness, and savagery - it made my own sarcasm sound pretty tame and British. Of course, he might sometimes have been difficult to hang out or work with - but I can't tell because we never met, and I don't know how to decide what aspects of his public persona might also have formed part of the private man.

Either way - another of the great people who I thought of as one of 'my team or karass' has gone when we really could have done with him still doing what he did so well.

Kick those White House bastards in the balls!

That's just the way it was...

I have neglected additions to the autobiography I call my website - and even the updates (this here blog) because I have been doing online courses with the most magnificent bunch of people at the Maybe Logic Academy. Mostly younger than me, though Bob himself has reached 70+ years.

I don't suppose anyone younger can really quite understand how I hitched all over the USA for 18 months without a penny in my pocket (followed by 6 months in Mexico, busking). We have become a much despised 'hippie' generation, but we helped each other out, that's how. These Country Joe lyrics might give you a glimpse of how me and Nelly got from place to place, as like-minded people helped us on our way, and protected us from rednecks and other bizarre people...

Flying High


I'm stuck on the L.A. freeway,Got rain water in my boots,
My thumbs done froze, can't feel my toes,I feel a little destitute.
Wheels throwing water all over my axe
And Mr. Jones won't lend me a hand.
Up come two cats in a Cadillac
And they say, "Won't you hop in, man ?"

I went flying high
All the way — all the way.

The one that's driving's got a bowler hat,
The other's got a fez on his head.
They turn around and grin and I grin back
But not a word was said.

So I took out my harp and I played 'em a tune,
I could see they were diggin' it,
Then the one with the fez, well he turns and he sez,
"We'd like to help you make your trip."

And I went flying high
All the way — all the way.

He said, "We can't leave him out in the rain,
He just might freeze and die,
So why not put him on a plane
And send him home in the sky ?"

So they took me to the L.A. airport,
Laid twenty dollars in my hand.
Well, I paid my fare, I'm in the air
Flying back home again.

And I went flying high
All the way, yeah, all the way, all the way,
You know I went flying high all the way,
Don't you know I went flying high all the...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Clan greetings

As ever, I seem to neglect my family. Yo was quite right that if we didn't meet up straight away then months would pass (and now they have).

Thanks to Julia and Eleanor for the card (and a happy birthday to El - fellow Aquarian).

K's music seems to have got a delayed release, but March 1st doesn't seem that far away...

I can feel extended family out there, too - Noh's dad and Dorothy both had birthdays around about now...and it's our Tom's tomorrow...

Big hello to everyone I have chatted to online recently, or who sent me emails, Ian Tregonning, Tuula, Hadass and all the gang at the MLA.

Now that must be the most boring post for any other people passing through - but tough! You can always leave me a comment....

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

And the Chinese celebrate New Year’s Eve today – tomorrow the Year of the Rooster starts (the Green Wooden Rooster, to be exact). Their calendar uses the moon, and this will be the second new moon after the Solstice. There seems to be some dispute as to whether the coming year should be called 4702 or 4703 – but I guess after nearly 5000 years of civilization it doesn’t matter as much as it does to those Millennial Christians. And 2005 may make them seem like a relatively young religion until you realise that one day later (February 10th) will be New Year's Day (Al-Hijra ) on the Islamic calendar, for the year 1426.

Take your pick.

The Chinese New Year will officially begin on Feb. 9 with the New Moon and end 15 days later with a celebration called the Lantern Festival.

Actually China has used the Gregorian calendar since 1911 – probably about the time that all world politicians started wearing grey suits and ties - but they still celebrate this ancient festival.

And today - mardi 8 fĂ©vrier 2005 vulg – is known in the ‘Pataphysical Calendar as

Samedi 14 Gueules 132 de l'Ere Pataphysique

Nativité de St Jules Verne, globe-trotter en chamber

And tomorrow will be celebrating “Alice au pays des merveilles”

Dimanche 15 Gueules 132 de l'Ere Pataphysique

Pancake Day

Regular readers will know what fun I get from religious calendars. Well, to be honest, most calendars seem religious in one way or another. So today is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day.

In the UK Shrove Tuesday is known as Pancake day but in other countries it has other titles, in Germany it is called Fasnacht (night of the fast) In Italy it is called Carnivale (from the Latin for 'goodbye to the flesh') and Mardi Gras (literally 'Fat Tuesday') is celebrated in places as diverse as New Orleans, Brazil and Australia.
This was the day you used up all your rich food before the 40 day fast leading up to Easter. Interesting how people who claim that the church is infallible also manage to drop bits they find inconvenient. Christians act as though Muslims are a bit weird and fanatical to fast at Ramadan. They just gave it up (it's a bit uncomfortable) and went for obesity followed by chocolate eggs!
Enjoy your pancakes (same as every other day, a long stack with maple syrup, maybe...)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rock On...

The Pentaphobe sent me this, and I had forgotten about it. It seems appropriate on several levels right now:

"What's money anyhow? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." - Bob Dylan


Click pic to see larger

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's not whether they 'are' right, just the beliefs they act on, that scares me....

White House Contingency Plan For A Rapture

By James Donahue
January 2005

If you think his fundamentalism isn’t affecting the way President George W. Bush runs our country, consider this: The White House has a plan for keeping government operating if Bush and all of his Christian sidekicks get lifted up into the clouds with Jesus.

Apparently the Bible thumpers in high places believe the signs of the “end times” are so evident that the lifting of the saints, as described in Thessalonians 4:13-18, in which “the dead in Christ will rise, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord,” is eminent.

They believe this wild story so fervently that a plan is being put in place for continued government if and when Mr. Bush and many of his key cabinet members suddenly fly off through the ceiling.

But who are the so-called heathen on the Bush team that will be still around once the Christians fly away home? And who is our government has the authority to choose which of our leaders got up with Jesus, and which stay behind?

Apparently Vice President Dick Cheney is considered a non-believer and consequently will be still around. But one recent story suggested that Cheney’s bad heart, and the shock of seeing his boss fly off through the office ceiling, might leave him incapacitated. Who governs us then?

The next in the presidential succession chain would be Speaker of the House Tom DeLay. But like Bush, DeLay is a Texas based fundamental Christian and his name is included among the “saints” expecting to disappear.

And that leaves the job to the Senate’s senior statesman, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, now 81 years old. Naturally there is concern that Stevens may not be up to the job of seeing the nation through the turbulent Tribulation, described in the Scriptures as a seven-year-long time of trouble concluding with a mighty war.

So there you have it. If Jesus decides to call home his followers during the next four years, we can expect to have a government run by either Cheney or Stevens, with a fragment of both the House and Senate left to keep things running.

This writer isn’t worried. At least about having Mr. Bush fly off into the sky. The Christian rapture is a fairy tale that is about as hard to believe as the virgin birth and the resurrection of the murdered Jesus. The stories stem from ancient mythology that has been passed down since the days of Nimrod.

What worries me more is the fact that we have a president who believes these stories so fervently that he thinks he might just fly away before his term ends. When a man believes like that, he is liable to do things that will not be in his own best interests, or the best interests of our nation.

For example, the Christians also believe a promise in the Book of the Revelation that after the wars are over, and after Jesus returns with his saints to reign over the Earth for a thousand years, there will be another time of trouble. This is caused by a temporary release of the elusive Devil.

After this, God is supposed to rebuild both Heaven and the Earth.

Since the fundamental Christians believe everything written in the Bible is the gospel truth, and the infallible Word of God, they don’t worry much about taking care of the planet. And there lies the flaw.

The only way for us to save ourselves is to reject these false religious beliefs and turn back to Gnosticism. We need to recognize the Mother Earth as a living sentient entity that provides for our every need.

In return, it is the duty of all humans to cherish, protect and do everything in our power to restore the Mother to the wonderful garden she was when it all began.

Failure to do this means that instead of rewards, the human race can only expect a doomsday scenario. Human extinction looms if the planet dies.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Great Man

Not that he would have cared much. It would have been W.C.Fields' birthday today...

Sucker: "Is this a game of chance?"

Fields: "Not the way I play it, no...."

Click pic to see larger

Friday, January 28, 2005

I hate to ask

but when are you Americans gonna start paying off the 26 grand that each and every one of you owes the world at large (as of today, that is - the meter is running).

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's da noyse!

K's album is already for pre-order at Amazon but they seem to have mis-spelt the easier word

Go figure

Oh, and Amazon UK, here.

Why they can't spell Metamorphosis I have no idea (I've asked them to correct it).

"Sa'Iyr a Tribal Metmorphosis" (sic) - but search under Pentaphobe, and you'll find it.

I just noticed they put a capital I in Sa'iyr, too, but I'll leave that correction to someone else!

Oh and 'noyse'? Just a word I came across - I have no idea if anyone uses it, but on Bob's 73rd birthday, with my 59th in the wind, being uncool could be the most fun on offer for us older critters... Happy Birthday Bob! Hi Lilikoi! Big up to Yo and Tilda! Hey, crap slang could be the new brown... James Brown that is! Wheeeeoooow!

G'night.

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