Governor: “Slain Black Male ‘A Common Thug’”

by Buzz on 9/12/2014

Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts has described the black man killed Monday by soldiers in Boston as “a common thug” and “a fugitive from the law” who brought about his death by attacking lawful authorities, refusing to disperse, and resisting arrest.

Attorney John Adams, representing the soldiers and officers who have been accused of manslaughter, said the slain man had precipitated the conflict by his “mad behavior” at the head of a crowd of “motley rabble.”

William O’Reilly, a well known town crier, observed that the soldiers were assaulted by “saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs” and thus forced to defend themselves.

Sean Hannity, another well known town crier who works the same side of the street as Mr. O’Reilly but at a different hour, claimed the dead man had “undertaken to be the hero of the night” and had paid the price for his arrogance while Ann Coulter, a notorious scold, said the soldiers were the true victims in this case as they were accosted in performance of their legal duties.  Spinster Coulter also noted that the man was a fugitive with a price on his head having fled his lawful owner.

(William Cosby, the noted educator, was also scheduled to speak at the press conference on the matter of how the victim’s fashion choices had led to the behavior that resulted in his death, but the appearance of a large crowd of angry women carrying pruning shears prompted Mr. Cosby to hastily leave the stage.)

Governor Hutchinson promised Bostonian citizens that the government and military would maintain order in the face of such lawlessness as exhibited Monday, and prevent any further rioting or looting.  He also decried members of the so-called “patriot” movement for attempting to capitalize on Crispus Attucks’ death, saying by definition anyone who refuses to pay his royal taxes unless he is allowed representation in Parliament is no patriot but merely a rebel.

crispus attucks lawt_what_ill_tell_my_kids_about_america_on_independence_day_580x290

No Comments

“A Mistake” by Czeslaw Milosz

by Buzz on 9/12/2014

I thought: all this is only preparation
For learning, at last, how to die
Mornings and dusks, in the grass under a maple
Laura sleeping without pants on, on a headrest of raspberries,
While Filon, happy, washes himself in the stream.
Mornings and years. Every glass of wine,
Laura, and the sea, land, and archipelago
Bring us nearer, I believed, to one aim
And should be used with a thought to that aim.

But a paraplegic in my street
Whom they move together with his chair
From shade into sunlight, sunlight into shade,
Looks at a cat, a leaf, the chrome steel on an auto,
And mumbles to himself, “Beau temps, beau temps.”

It is true. We have a beautiful time
As long as time is time at all.

(found at Centre For Public Christianity)

No Comments

The Annunciation

by Buzz on 8/12/2014

mead schaeffer - the annunciation

underlying art by Mead Schaeffer

No Comments

Thinkage

by Buzz on 8/12/2014

“[Adolf] Eichmann and his friends firmly believed that, suitably cleansed of its tainted leaders (Himmler in particular was singled out as being beyond redemption), Nazism could be revitalized as a political force. ‘You can lose the world war, but you can be a winner if you are able to write books,’ said [Bettina] Stangneth. ‘And this was the plan. To make the propaganda for the next hundred years.’” — Saul Austerlitz, “No Banality in This Evil”

No Comments

The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 7/12/2014

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP James Baldwin

No Comments

Joyous News For This Holiday Season!

by Buzz on 5/12/2014

Universal Studios

photo 2

puts the

photo 1-1

Krampus

photo 3

back in

photo 4-2

Christmas!!!

photo 3-1

No Comments

I Luvz Me Some RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH

by Buzz on 5/12/2014

PKDRadio_free_albemuth

It’s widely accepted that (a) Philip K. Dick was the greatest novelist to work in the science fiction genre[1] (b) wrote five of the best sci-fi novels ever but (c) nobody can agree which five of his 40+ books those are and (d) was a bugfuck crazy paranoiac and (e) a doper and (f) experienced profound religious visions of a degree that would leave Billy Graham weeping with envy.

Are ya with me so far?

None of which is to say any of that is true or for that matter than any of it is false — or rather, any of that is factual or any of that is fantasy — because the mind and/or universe that PKD inhabited does not seem constrained by simply binary yes/no true/false constructs.

It’s entirely possible they’re all true or none of them are true or they are true and un-true simultaneously or even that they are all true and un-true simultaneously but in a manner we can not comprehend.

Still with me?

PKD may have been crazy but he sure wasn’t stupid and he realized telling too many people outside the circle of sci-fi fandom that he was experiencing intense religious revelations from an entity he sometimes referred to as God but more often as VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System) was a surefire way to get himself even more good & ignored that he already was in his lowly status as sci-fi writer to he turned his experiences into an autobiographical sci-fi trilogy in which he was no the recipient of these visions but rather just a supporting character in another protagonist’s story.

Are ya still with me?

Dick’s work always touches in some form or another on the quest for ultimate Truth, to know what really is is, to tear away the veils & masks around us and truly know our place in the universe.

It is, by its very nature, a religious quest as well as a psychological and philosophical one.  Dick and his characters are seeking operating instructions from on high, something that will give them sense in what appears to be a senseless universe, something that makes the pain and suffering of everyday existence meaningful and worthwhile.

Radio Free Albemuth is a tangential part of Dick’s unfinished VALIS trilogy (the trilogy consisting of VALIS, The Divine Invasion, and the unfinished book The Owl In Daylight).  Essentially a first draft of VALIS, it also differs considerably from the latter book although remaining a fragmentary part of that “universe”.

You see what I’m getting at re not being able to easily categorize PDK’s work?

The variant of Radio Free Albemuth / VALIS that I’d like to draw your attention to, however, is the long-in-production / finally-released feature film, Radio Free Albemuth, currently available on Netflix.

PKDRadio_Free_Albemuth_FilmPoster

Radio Free Albemuth is everything I look for, everything I hope for in not just a sci-fi film but any sort of movie.  It’s actually about something as opposed to senseless / pointless chasing / fighting over a macguffin.

Radio Free Albemuth follows music mogul Nick Brady (Jonathan Scarfe) as he becomes aware of VALIS attempt to communicate with him through an alien[2] satellite orbiting Earth.[3]

PKDphpThumb_generated_thumbnail

The problem — or perhaps it would be better to say the reason – is that Radio Free Albemuth doesn’t take place in this reality but in an alternate one, where President Ferris F. Fremont[4] rules the US of A with an iron fist, sweeping aside Constitutional limitations and fighting a never ending war against a terrorist organization known as Cobra Aramchek, which apparently exists only in his mind.

Fremont and his Gestapo-like thugs, the Friends of the American People (derisively referred to as FAP in a delicious piece of unintentional irony), fear the message coming from VALIS via the satellite, a message that basically pulls back the curtain and reveals that Fremont’s power and authority comes from a false fear, that all people are capable of living in peace with one another, and that wars and hatred are foisted on us by those seeking power for their own ends.

PKDphpThumb_generated_thumbnail2

Brady and his muse / co-conspirator Sylvia (Alanis Morissette) are tracked down and killed by FAP, and Brady’s friend Philip K. Dick (Shea Whigham) is imprisoned as an enemy of the people.  In prison he learns from a fellow inmate, a former pastor now held for subversive ideas, that the ideas Brady and Sylvia received and tried to spread were identical with those of Jesus and the early Christian church, and that while VALIS and the Truth may have suffered a set back, other followers have gotten the message out and the seeds of a rebellion against the authoritarians is starting to grow.

If this sounds like a too-spot-on transliteration of contemporary US politics, guess again; Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 and only published posthumously in 1985.  Dick was long gone from the scene before the country was stampeded off in a panic for a war on terror.

The film is well made; inexpensive, but wisely focusing its attention less on spectacle and more on the attempts of human beings to come to terms with an idea that will transform their world…if they can live long enough to implement it.  It’s well cast, and while production and post-production were strung out for nearly a decade, it looks and feels the right scale for the story.

Highly recommended,
no matter what your
level of reality.

.

.

.

[1]  Acknowledging that greatest novelist doesn’t mean wrote the best science fiction novel or best writer of science fiction or even best writer of science fiction novels but rather was the best master at the specific art & craft of writing 50-80,000 word stories that we refer to as novel-length format.  Because there’s a lot of truly exception writers vying in this field and although PKD was among the very best, we can’t put him at the absolute pinnacle, so instead we give him a slot near the apex and a qualifier that honors his skill & talent without painting us into a corner quality wise.  ‘Cuz Bradbury and Ellison are duking it out on the short story side and Bester has a lock on the best sci-fi novel ever although his output pales in comparison with Dick’s.

[2]  Implied angelic beings tho never clearly identified as such in the film.

[3]  Dick, in the novel, shifted much of his own experiences away from his character and onto Brady.

[4]  “Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast.” — Revelation 13:18 (MEV)

 

 

No Comments

Pooh & Fancy

by Buzz on 4/12/2014

Steve Gerber at work

Those were the names of the late great Steve Gerber’s two pit bulls:  As nice and as sweet and as gentle a pair of animals as you could hope to meet.

Steve took them in as full grown dogs when he found them abandoned in a park (Pooh) and on the street (Fancy).   He gave them food to eat, a warm dry place to stay, plenty of exercise, and love by the bushel full.

They were, and remained until their passing, pit bulls:  If you petted them it felt like petting a coil of steel wire wrapped in industrial carpet.  If you were within swinging room when Fancy wagged her tail, it felt like somebody was slapping you on the leg with a rubber hose.

Big dogs.  Strong dogs.

And despite their breed’s reputation, two of the loveliest, nicest animals I have ever known.

Now, all animals have the potential of being dangerous, and pit bulls by their size and strength need a little extra precaution, and I certainly won’t tell anybody who has ever had a negative experience with a pit bull that’s they’re wrong in their feelings.

However…

Pooh and Fancy were never treated with anything less that love and affection and kindness in Steve’s stewardship.  They reciprocated in turn:  Lovely, friendly animals who were always happy to see a friend of Steve’s drop in.  In all the time I knew them I never saw them acting aggressively, never heard them growl (they could bark — oy, how they could bark! — but that was usually from excitement and happiness).

I bring this up because of the nasty reputation the pit bull has (who was the comedian who said pit bulls were the dog for people too lazy to load a revolver?).  We hear stories of children and elderly people being killed by pit bulls, of adults being attacked seemingly without provocation.

Even the nicest tempered animal can lash out at someone who teases or torments it beyond endurance, and far too often young children don’t realize the dangers of antagonizing an animal, especially one as big as they are armed with strong jaws and sharp teeth.

But in the overwhelming majority of stories I’ve read on pit bull attacks and bitings, there always seems to be an element of human neglect and abuse involved:  The owner never properly trained the animal, often keeping it chained up or locked in a tiny yard, showing it no affection, teaching it to fear the owner but not to refrain from attacking other humans.

Nobody knows Pooh and Fancy’s histories;
as I said, Steve found them abandoned.

But because Steve showed them love, they responded with love.  And because Steve neither feared nor hated anyone in his circle of acquaintances, neither did Pooh nor Fancy fear or hate anybody them came in contact with.

I bring this up because of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and literally hundreds of other young African-American men and women who have been killed by frightened citizens and overzealous cops.

It would be insulting to apply as simplistic an analogy as Pooh and Fancy to the problem of race relations in America, but there is something there we can learn from, a kernel of wisdom, as it were.  And just as African-Americans most explicitly are not animals nor are they obliged to be owned and control by others, there is none the less a reasonable lesson we can learn from Steve Gerber’s dogs.

When you treat people — and animals — the way you would like to be treated, they tend to treat you that way in return.

When you approach a citizen on the street and treat him in a suspicious and denigrating manner, you cannot feign surprise when you receive resistance and hostility in return.

“But they’re n[egroe]s!” some will say.  “They’re not like us!  They’re not law abiding citizens, they’re demonic animals who charged loaded guns and rape people and smoke dope and crank out babies that they expect white people to pay for!”

Un-huh.

And if Steve had treated Pooh and Fancy with rubber hoses,
how do you think they would have acted to any other human?

No Comments

What Kind Of Sci-Fi Punk Are You?

by Buzz on 3/12/2014

A recent discussion sparked by Flint Dille (who excels at getting the creative juices flowing with brain teasers like this) brought up the question as to certain visual styles in sci-fi.

Now, there are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, but I think there are five classic style schools for sci-fi.[1]

Steampunk is the most famous/easily identifiable of the four:  Classic late Victorian stylings & sensibility.[2] Velvet and goggles, brass pipes and rivets, dials and gauges.   Steam inspired even if steam is not the actual power source.  Covers a period from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to end of WW1; significant literary influences include all of Verne, early Wells, Frank Reade Jr and Tom Swift.  Divine right.  Manifest destiny.

Quintessential example:

punk sf Nautilus

Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

“That Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff”[3] occupies the space between the end of WW1 and somewhere between the 1933 Chicago and 1939 New York World’s Fairs.  Big bright gaudy impractical machines and buildings.  Chief artists:  Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank R. Paul.  Buck Rogers.  Hugo Gernsbach.   Unbounded optimism.

Quintessential example: 

punk sf Modern-Mechanix-airship

Modern Mechanix

Dieselpunk is the world Raymond Loewy midwifed.  Officially starts with 1939 New York World’s Fair, continues thru WW2 and well into the 1950s, ending with 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.  Relentlessly uniform and utilitarian.  Gray steel and burnished aluminum.  Streamlined with rounded edges.  Chief literary influence:  John W. Campbell’s Astounding Stories & his astounding stable of writers including Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Clifford Simak & Frank Herbert among others.

Quintessential example: 

punk sf Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet

Transistorpunk has space age lounge music playing in the background, instrumentals with exotic sounds and arrangements.  While the roots are found in the 1950s, it only really flourished after the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair with stops along the way in New York 1964-65 and Montreal for Expo ’67.  Bright!  Open!  Airy!  For those who think young.  James Bond.  Star Trek.  Space Angel.  Spaaaaaaace Ghost.  “Thunderbirds are GO!”

Quintessential example: 

punk sf syd-mead

Syd Mead

Cyberpunk is the granddaddy of the other “-punk” genres, but like a time paradox comes in last on our time line.  Derived from the musical use of the term “punk,” which was a repudiation of and rebellion against the phony soulless glitter of disco.[4]  dark dank decrepit despair  Trash filled, ruined, and retrofitted.  No center, no soul.  A world inhabited by Mad Max and Tron.

Quintessential example: 

punk sf Blade_Runner_6

Blade Runner

.

.

.

[1]  With whatever we’re using currently that isn’t one of the following being considered post-modern science fiction or po-mo sci-fi.

[2]  Though the stories and characters need not reflect actual Victorian values and attitudes.

[3]  We need a “-punk” name for this but so far no one has suggested a good one.  Buckpunk?  Paulpunk?  Decopunk?

[4]  In 1975, Time magazine reported on a contest to predict T-shirt slogans of the year 2000.  The winner was “Disco Still Sucks”.

 

 

No Comments

As We Enter The “War On Christmas” Season, Remember…

by Buzz on 2/12/2014

bullet proof armor in church

There are a lot of folks out there flying false flags, claiming to be Christian but actually espousing violence and hatred.  Whenever you hear somebody scream / bitch / moan about the lack of respect they are being shown as a self-identified Christian, remember this:

By this everyone will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.

John 13:35 (NIV)

 

No Comments