Thursday, April 26, 2007

moon phases module

I have added a nifty piece of software into the regular links down the side, to go with the 'Pataphysical Calendar, showing the phases of the moon - one of the few astronomical events most people can recognise, observe and share (apart from sunrise and sunset).

Astrology has begun to emerge as 'interesting' around the MLA - with a recommended course coming up later in the year, for people who think of it as merely newspaper trivia (Sun Signs).

NB: this blog does not have links to the Admin side of MLA, so has no pretensions to objectivity. If you would like to check out ALL the MLA courses, past present and future, go here.

I referred to this course by Antero Alli

Astrologik: Astrology Without Tears 8 week course: October 29 - December 22

Part of Antero's Intro:

We are made from the stuff of stars. When Aleister Crowley suggested that "every man and woman is a star" he could have been talking about our astrological Sun signs. Though the out-there Sun is a star, it also symbolizes a dynamic process of molting Self-realization within us. Though everybody has a Sun sign, not everybody lives as Self-realizing stars. This crash course in horoscope interpretation introduces the rudimentary building blocks of astrology -- planets, houses, aspects and signs -- towards an accurate, down-to-earth yet imaginative translation of your own map (horoscope) towards access the territory of realizing your fullest potential. Your Sun sign amounts to about 15% of your horoscope; the rest of the astrological symbols represent a multidimensional network of influences that constantly challenge and/or support this process of Self-realization, of becoming "as a Star."

I have known the study and practice of astrology as an adventure. After almost thirty years as a professional astrologer, I have also discovered that astrology doesn't require my belief to work. In fact, I don't believe in astrology; I use it because it works. You do not need to believe in astrology to do this course. You just have to be willing to learn a new language and find out for yourself whatever degree it works for you. When approached as a language -- and not a science or philosophy or belief system -- astrology can help us articulate the characteristics and tendencies of living forces in our daily lives.

"...Antero Alli is the architect of a rowdy and iridescent system of astrology that liberates and never ensnares. He can shock you in the friendliest ways and teach you how to teach yourself..." -- Rob Brezsny, columnist/author

As added interest - what originally got published as The Complete Astrological Writings of Aleister Crowley did not contain everything he wrote on the subject. A new compilation has revealed that he ghost wrote a couple of major texts on behalf of Evangeline Adams. This new version, now an official OTO study text, contains much to enjoy. As usual, he cuts away waffle, and makes the process clear. The book also contains examples of his savage wit (probably a disguised attack on Adams when she failed to acknowledge him, or pay him a share, when she turned the project into a real money-spinner). I still recommend Antero Alli's course, for its modern approach, but if one can get over the idea that Crowley somehow represents 'evil, etc' [demonized by some of the press, he chose to work up that image rather than deny it!] then you might recognise that he studied Classics, English Literature and Science at Cambridge University - had deep knowledge, a sharp mind, and a great deal of wit.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Conspiring All Together

Its coming together, i've got em' them-my thoughts

They have conspired together long enough to make

Break through into megagrand unified theory that is

Grand Unified Conspiracy. Plot hatched by my mynd

To find co-operation and con-nectivity, in all things

In my my'd. But conspiracy and physics and science?

A unified science of conspiracy theory? language vs.

The Equation? My version is spacetime allied and so

Mindtimespace allied, and so mind your connectivity

Make the nu Bridge our link of unity; the conspiracy

The plot, your plots, your mind plotting a conspiracy

Novelty and your Concrescence no center no essence

Eschaton Immanentizing conspiring to come together

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Amen Brother

After Hangin' up me mouse last night, i dreamt

Amen, Amen brother. I can sure dig that beat.

One for the Winston's. Amen and drum nd' bass culture

Dansin' blayzing chronic times, sweaty times, Thunder bass whu wowu womb

And to the Funky Drummer: Clyde Amen brother, and the udder drummer

Bernard Purdie, and the other...

Drummers 1.2,3-4 like horses hoofin' it

Good god' the Break-bits, is there no school left?

Once rare Akai now popular Digital sampler software fully-

Loaded HTML SD

To King Tubby and Lee Perry, Sly and Miles

Amen, Peace

To the funny people who came again and again,

Paid their fees and maybe ate a few E's and got down

On their bare knees

With Whistles and Horns and lighters

Amen brother, heh heh Reconnected with Funk-Soul-Reggae roots roots

To the "Amen" break break, Church of Drum and Bass?

Congregations and splintered jungle sound orgies! Wap wap wum wum wum wum wum

This pom pom: A sample sample of term Word word, jams germs

Credit where credits due

Amen bro. NOW Now

Let the DJ DJ DJ DJ

Bee YU, Allmen.

Things to say BEFORE you die

It probably comes as no surprise that quite a lot of people who enjoy the MLA also smoke (or have smoked) either grass or hash. Even today, it can prove ill-advised to admit to it in certain careers, and Lenny Bruce got it wrong predicting that it would become legal within a few years (he spoke in the early 60s) because "all the law students I know smoke it." He didn't realise just how hard 'They' would beat us all up in the later Sixties, and ever since - and how cowardly the dope-smokers who wanted to become lawyers, politicians, journalists, film stars, etc - let alone parents, school-teachers, policemen (even) would mostly prove. Rock musicians seem the bold and brave exception. Oh and people demanding Hemp as a medicine (possibly one of the oldest medicinally used plants on the planet). Well, now someone tells me that Carl Sagan liked a smoke. I'd missed that.

According to Wiki:

Carl Sagan was an avid user of marijuana, although he never admitted this publicly during his life. Under the pseudonym "Mr. X", he wrote an essay concerning cannabis smoking in the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered, whose editor was Lester Grinspoon. In his essay, Sagan commented that marijuana encouraged some of his works and enhanced experiences. After Sagan's death, Grinspoon disclosed this to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. When the biography, entitled Carl Sagan: A Life, was published in 1999, the marijuana exposure stirred some media attention (quickly forgotten). I had read Grinspoon years back, but didn't much worry who hid behind the mask of Mr X. It could so easily have hidden a creative scientist in just about any field...

I'd like to produce in evidence someone my mum loved (and she hated dope-smoking). I can do it because he has left the planet, and because, before leaving, he decided to declare his love in his own words. Louis Armstrong. You can read a whole bunch of his own words here, under Pot Smoker of the Month.
But more relevant to the whole damned stupid story of wasted money in pursuit of a victimless crime (and if I could grow my own I wouldn't come in touch with either criminals or hard drugs) - in the light of recent new estimates of the harm that different drugs do to individuals and society [1] - I would like to quote a chunk from this website (and I hope they'll forgive me - but I just know a lot of people don't click through on links - and they put the case so clearly!) These lucid and sane words come fromKeith Halderman: Louis Armstrong and Marijuana an Anecdote [2]

In his recent biography Laurence Bergreen summed up Armstrong’s relationship with the drug; "He loved marijuana too. He smoked it in vast quantities from his early twenties until the end of his life; wrote songs in praise of it; and persuaded his musician friends to smoke it when they played. He planned to call an unpublished sequel to his autobiography Gage, his pet name for marijuana, but once his manager found out about the title and the subject of the work, he suppressed the manuscript, trying to protect Louis's reputation. Sections of the work that survived the censorship show that he regarded it as an essential element in his life and beneficial to his health." (from Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life, page 4) Armstrong maintained marijuana to be a thousand times better than whiskey and that it relaxed him while also keeping him clear headed. He pointed out that, though he smoked marijuana, during the entire forty-five years he had been blowing trumpet he had never let his public down, claiming that they had a reverence for each other. [...]

The arguments against marijuana have drastically changed over time. During the 1920s and 1930s, when prohibition came about, reform groups and government officials strenuously maintained that marijuana caused it users to become violent and that long term use led to inevitable insanity. After World War II the primary rationale for keeping marijuana illegal became the "stepping stone" or "gateway" theory, the idea that smoking pot caused the use of harder more hazardous drugs. A common modern day point of view on the drug is presented in the following paragraph from the online encyclopedia Encarta's entry on marijuana; "Negative effects of marijuana use can include confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self-control. Chronic marijuana users may develop amotivational syndrome characterized by passivity, decreased motivation, and preoccupation with taking drugs. Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana intoxication impairs judgment, comprehension, memory, speech, problem-solving ability, reaction time, and driving skills." Contemporary charges also include a propensity towards lung disease and depression in users.[...]
Although he operated in an often violent milieu, which included the honky tonks of New Orleans and mafia owned venues in Chicago and New York, there is no record of Armstrong committing violent acts himself, no arrests, no charges of domestic violence from his ex-wives. As for insanity he contended that he "always had a sane mind from the day he was born." [...]
The notion that marijuana leads to the use of more problematic drugs also finds no support from the life of Louis Armstrong. Easily available heroin and cocaine held no interest for him and Armstrong never used them. [...]
Armstrong eluded amotivational syndrome too, in fact, a fair description of him might include the word workaholic. He composed dozens of jazz standards, recorded over a thousand songs, averaged more than 300 concert dates per year, toured much of the world for the State Department, had parts in thirty plus films, became ubiquitous on radio and television, and found time to write two autobiographies, more than ten magazine articles, hundreds of pages of memoirs, and thousands of letters. He kept up this strenuous pace well into his sixties.

He worked so hard because he enjoyed it, as he enjoyed life in general. No confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self-control plagued Louis Armstrong. He often commented on how good life had been to him.

Marijuana did not affect Armstrong’s memory, he carried literally thousands of tunes in his head. It did not impair his judgment, comprehension, or problem solving ability when it came to his career, he earned the accolades of the world as well as financial security. His speech in the form of scat singing has influenced vocalists ever since it was first heard. As for reaction time, it was an essential element of his genius. The improvisional nature of jazz required quick and innovative reactions and Louis Armstrong was the master.

Louis Armstrong's biography reveals no automobile accidents. It does, however, disclose a remarkable set of lungs. A consensus of jazz critics consider recordings he made for Okeh records in 1925 under the name Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five then later Hot Seven to be among the finest in jazz history, with his ability to hit the high notes especially remarkable. No one with lungs impaired by marijuana smoking would have been able play that music. Yet, Armstrong reported that some specific songs were laid down after he and the band had smoked, the implication being that this was the usual practice. One of the tunes named "Muggles" was a synonym for marijuana. Armstrong continued to play and record until the very last year of his life, with plans for more music when his health recovered. He died of heart disease, one of the few illnesses that the government has not yet tried to link to, as Armstrong would put it, that beautiful gage.

In his book Chocolate to Morphine Dr. Andrew Weil correctly contends that, "Any drug can be used successfully, no matter how bad its reputation, and any drug can be abused, no matter how accepted it is. There are no good or bad drugs; there are only good and bad relationships with drugs." The evidence is clear, Louis Armstrong had a very good relationship with marijuana and we are all the better for it.

So finally, in his own words:

As we always used to say, gage is more of a medicine than a dope. But with all the riggermaroo going on, no one can do anything about it. After all, the vipers during my haydays are way up there in age - too old to suffer those drastic penalties. So we had to put it down. But if we all get as old as Methuselah our memories will always be of lots of beauty and warmth from gage. Well, that was my life and I don't feel ashamed at all. Mary Warner, honey, you sure was good and I enjoyed you 'heep much'. But the price got a little too high to pay (law wise). At first you was a 'misdemeanor'. But as the years rolled on you lost your misdo and got meanor and meanor. (Jailhousely speaking).
Sooo "Bye Bye, I'll have to put you down, Dearest."
[signed] `Soul Foodly, Satchmo'.

[1]Professor Nutt and his team analysed the evidence of harm caused by 20 drugs including heroin, cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, LSD and tobacco.

They asked a group of 29 consultant psychiatrists who specialise in addiction to rate the drugs in nine categories. Three of these related to physical harm, three to the likelihood of addiction and three to social harms such as healthcare costs. The team also extended the analysis to another group of 16 experts spanning several fields including chemistry, pharmacology, psychiatry, forensics, police and legal services.

The final rankings placed heroin and cocaine as the most dangerous of the 20 drugs. Alcohol was fifth, the class C drug ketamine sixth and tobacco was in ninth place, just behind amphetamine or "speed".

Cannabis was 11th, while LSD and ecstasy were 14th and 18th respectively. The rankings do take into account new evidence that specially cultivated "skunk" varieties of cannabis available now are two to three times stronger than traditional cannabis resin. [NB: 2-3 times seems modest, as the media often amp that up to 25 times stronger - such hysteria seems best countered with Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column

To get their scare figure, The Independent have compared the worst cannabis from the past with the best cannabis of today. But you could have cooked the books in exactly the same way 30 years ago if you’d wanted: in 1975 the weakest herbal cannabis analysed was 0.2%; in 1978 the strongest herbal cannabis was 12%. Oh my god: in just 3 years herbal cannabis has become 60 times stronger.

And in fact, what’s most amazing is that this scare isn’t new. In the US, in the mid 1980s, during Reagan’s “war on drugs”, it was claimed that cannabis was 14 times stronger than in 1970, which rather sets you thinking. If it was 14 times stronger in 1986 than in 1970, and it’s 25 times stronger today than the beginning of the 1990s, does that mean it is now, in fact, 350 times stronger than 1970?

That’s not even a crystal in a plant pot. That’s impossible.

[2] Source: Trebach Report (3-29-06)
[Keith Halderman is a research assistant at the Trebach Institute and is working on his Ph.D at American University. His is a member of the Liberty and Power group blog at HNN.]

Excuse me, I have to stop now, as it sounds as though someone is kicking down my front door for the fourth time in my life... (the others happened back in the Sixties when the Notting Hill police station had a famously corrupt guy in charge). And I don't even have any weed! (sigh) Back then it wouldn't have mattered, as they often brought their own to plant on you...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent

I just got the news that Kurt Vonnegut has died at the age of 84.

One of my favourite atheists, perhaps one of the most lucid and evocative of writers - with a style to die for - and great jokes.

Finding myself at the day job, I don't have time to add much right now - so I'll poach a little from Wiki, and return later with thoughts of my own.

My favourite of his books? Maybe - Cat's Cradle, or... probably (for re-reading) Sirens of Titan.

If you don't know - Sirens of Titan (1959) has the feel of Douglas Adams' Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (only written much earlier). Not to hint that DNA might have read it...

In fact, now I think of it, perhaps Kurt had already fallen into a phenomenon known as a chrono-synclastic infundibulum (nothing like the Total Perspective Vortex), which he defines as "those places ... where all the different kinds of truths fit together." Vonnegut notes that any detailed description of this phenomenon would baffle the layman, but any comprehensible explanation would insult an expert.

Consequently, he "quotes" an article from a (fictional) children's encyclopedia. According to this article, since the Universe is so large, all ways of observing it seem equally valid because people from across the Universe can't communicate with each other (and therefore can't get into an argument). He describes chrono-synclastic infundibula as places where these "ways to be right" coexist (sounds like the MLA). Creatures entering the infundibulum become "wave phenomena", somewhat like the probability waves of quantum mechanics. The heroes of the book exist along a spiral stretching from the Sun to the star Betelgeuse. When a planet such as the Earth intersects their spiral they materialize, temporarily, on that planet. And so Kurt temporarily materialized, and has now waved goodbye once more.

To quote the 'messiah' of The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent

"I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lovecraftian Mind Tricks

5 Phoebus - 86 p.s.U.

This is a funny thing that happened a couple of weeks ago. I was going to post it at "Blog Is Not A Four-Letter Word", but then I thought it might be more appropos here at "Only Maybe".

I'm reading a collection of H.P. Lovecraft's stories, entitled "Dagon And Other Macabre Tales", at the moment--along with several other books (including Robert Greenfield's Timothy Leary bio, Antero Alli's Angel Tech and other brain-food goodies). I was turned on to ol' H.P. through my younger (and in a lot of ways, hipper) brother and of course, Robert Anton Wilson. Though my bro sang Lovecraft's praises for quite some time--I never got the urge to actually read anything by the man until I spotted "The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward" in R.A.W.'s on-line library a couple of years ago. The page is here (but the links at the page seem to be broken now..D'oh). I read through it and was enthralled and terrified...siriusly, I was looking over my shoulder and more than a bit creeped out in the dark for a couple of days afterward. I went out and bought the Lovecraft "Ominbus 1" and tore through it. I meant to buy the other two books in the series--but then I was side-tracked by other books for awhile.

I recently bought "Omnibus 2" (along with Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, Terry Pratchett's The Colour Of Magic and Yukio Mishama's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea) and have been rocketing through it. There's a story in "Omnibus 2" called The Hound, which concerns the un-named narrator and his companion, intriguingly called St. John (you're never told if it's a nick-name, surname or anything). They seem to be a pair of fin-de-siecle doom-mongers--proto-goths, if you will--but, since they've got no Cure records or hair-spray, they take to grave-robbing and other nefarious deeds. They mostly just lounge around in their self-fashioned 'museum of demise debauchery' in the basement of their ancient house in Merrie Englande. It's got drab paintings, niches in the walls with skulls and even heads (in "various states of dissolution"--if you can grok that to it's fullest), statues of "winged daemons carven of basalt and oynx" and pipes that put forth various necrotic scents--it's the ultimate bad-trip crash pad. They've even got some "nauseous" musical instruments, on which they play "dissonaces of exquisite morbidity" and "cacodaemonical ghastliness"--and dig, this was waaaay before Electric Funeral by Black Sabbath or Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus.

All play and no work make our boys dull, however, so soon they're off to Holland for their greatest grave-robbing yet...the tomb of some geezer who lived 500 years before. They succeed in digging up the coffin, open it and find a "surprisingly firm" skeleton and a jade amulet that resembles a winged dog/sphinx/demon. They're intrepid and recognise some of the lettering on the amulet and realise that it has something to do with the Necromicon. Of course, they steal it, though our narrator thinks he hears some awful baying, like from a gigantic hound. Heading back to England, they're whooping it up at the Casbah Of Corpses--but then, the really weird stuff starts...

They start hearing fumblings at the upper and lower windows as well as shadows that obscure the windows, whirring and flapping noises and that far-off baying. The narrator gets a knock at his bedroom door, bids the person to enter and receives shrill laughter as a reply. The two are in their museum and they hear a scratching sound, as if someone is trying to enter--they throw open the door, get a blast of icy air and hear dismbodied chatter in Dutch--but no-one at the door. Creeeeeeepy. Finally, St. John is killed by some thing--and the narrator flees to London, after destroying the 'museum'--of course, he still has the amulet. He soon finds that whatever was stalking them at the manor house has followed him to London. He resolves to return the amulet to that grave in Holland and does so, only to find the "skeleton" in a state of reverse decomposition. He throws the amulet in the coffin and high-tails it out of there--only to find that the baying hasn't stopped, nor the flapping or whirring. The last few sentences find the narrator, revolver in hand, ready to free himself from "the hound".

Now, I had read that short story and enjoyed it--but I will admit to being creeped out by it, in the way I imagine a really well-written horror story will do. I don't read a lot of the genre--but Lovecraft's stuff seems to be a cut above a lot of it, the way Raymond Chandler's detective stories raised the bar for the murder mystery. A few days later, we had a power cut about nine o'clock in the evening. Even the streetlights had gone out. I fumbled around for a candle and we sat in the near pitch-darkness, looking out of the windows at the benighted neighborhood. All of a sudden, there's a knock at the door--which seems really strange, 'cos nobody comes around at that time of night. We both look at each other and then slowly make our way downstairs to answer the door. My wife opens the door and there's nobody there! I swear I almost expected to hear Dutch whispering...Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Turns out it was our neighbour, checking to see if we knew anything about the power cut--she confessed to the "haunting" the next day. Ya had me for a second there, Lovecraft!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring in the Northern Hempisphere

Regular visitors may notice we have tweaked a few things, to reflect the changes in how the Maybe Logic Academy and its members present themselves to the world. Like the Masons, we could now call ourselves a society with secrets, but not a 'secret society' (heh heh).

In the links on the right hand side of the page you will now find 'latest posts' from the main forum - as well as links to the MQ magazine, the main forum (MLA 4.0 public area), a fantastic archive of RAW material - RAWilson Fans - as well as starter links to some of our favourite subject matter, from General Semantics to Bucky Fuller to Charles Fort to James Joyce, etc, and a rather erratic index of some-but-not-all (sombunall) of the content we have generated over the last couple of years.

Welcome, and please feel free to chat to us, through Comments. We like feedback...


Member of the NEW TRAJECTORIES webring