21 April 2019

The van cats

Michael Jackson... The King of Pop, Captain EO, Scarecrow... is dead
Published at: June 25, 2009, 5:32 p.m. CST by headgeek

Hey folks, Harry here... Wow. If Farrah Fawcett wasn't enough, the Reaper decided to take the King of Pop... Michael Jackson. There's an entire generation that has grown up in the aftermath of scandal ridden Michael Jackson, but as a member of that "Pepsi Generation" that Michael captured with his amazing songs, dance moves and spectacles... I grieve. I always wanted Michael to do "The Lost Tour" where he'd hire Rick Baker to recreate the classic Michael Jackson to perform classic and new songs that sounded as though they came from that era... all while looking like 1983 Michael Jackson. For film - his contributions were pretty few. His big role was in the Disco reinvention of THE WIZARD OF OZ - THE WIZ - where he played a pretty awesome Scarecrow. Some of us remember seeing THRILLER by John Landis in theaters... and then of course there was CAPTAIN EO which ran for years and years at DISNEYLAND! He also found screen time in MEN IN BLACK 2 and MISS CAST AWAY. Otherwise - we know him from his pretty amazing music and signature dance moves. I remember the days when he truly ruled the Earth - he was preparing a new World Tour and there had been work on a new album as well. In the coming days I'm sure we'll hear all about it. The LA TIMES is reporting that Michael was pronounced dead at 3:15 Los Angeles time. Let's send our best wishes and hopes for his children. For now - I'll leave you with Captain EO: 

15 April 2019

Being online makes me an animal

By the mid-19th century many members of Masonic society had come to feel the proletarian struggle coincided with their greater cause, and the use of Masonic organizations as a cover for revolutionary activity was now a long tradition, as was the tendency to use Masonic rites, customs, and icons to emblematically symbolize the values of equality, solidarity, fraternity, and work.
Pierre–Joseph Proudhon, a Mason who lived to see the formation of the IWA [International Workers Association], wrote that “The Masonic God is neither Substance, Cause, Soul, Monad, Creator, Father, Logos, Love, Paraclete, Redeemer. . . God is the personification of universal equilibrium”.
In Proudhon’s day, the British lodges were admitting increasing numbers of proletarian members – particularly skilled and literate workers – and had come to support the workers’ struggle to the extent that the first preparatory meeting of the IWA on August 5, 1862, attended by Karl Marx among others, was held in the Free Masons Tavern. Many of those in attendance were “socialist Freemasons”, a phrase applied at the time to the members of the small lodges founded in 1850 and 1858 in London by exiled French republicans, and which involved many members of diverse national backgrounds – the “Memphite” lodges, named  after the sacred Egyptian burial ground. The immediate objectives of the Memphite programme were twofold: The struggle against ignorance through education, and helping the proletarians in their struggle for emancipation by way of Proudhonian mutual aid associations. Louis Blanc was among the members of the Memphite lodges (the Loge des Philadelphes in particular) along with at least seven other official founders of the IWA. In Geneva also, the local wing of the IWA was often called the Temple Unique and met in the Masonic lodge of the same name. Many present at the time observed that the incipient IWA’s organizing power was so weak that if it were not for the organizing efforts of socialist Freemasons, the official founding meeting of the IWA on September 28th 1864 would never have come to pass.
Communist and anarchist symbolism, such as the red star and the circle-A, date back to this period and also have Masonic origin. The star, which hosts an endless charge of esoteric meanings in both the Hermetic and Pythagorean traditions, had been adopted in the 18th century (some say 17th) by Freemasons to symbolize the Second Degree of membership in their association – that of Comrade (Compa├▒ero and Camarade in my sources). Among socialists, it was first used by members of the Memphite lodges and then the IWA. Regarding the Circle–A, early versions like the 19th century logo of the Spanish locale of the IWA are clearly composed of the compass, level and plumbline of Masonic iconography, the only innovation being that the compass and level are arranged to form the letter A inside of a circle.

Over time these symbols have developed a new complement of meanings – many 21st century anarchists don’t even know that the star used by communists, anarchists and Zapatistas alike is the pagan pentagram, and are not reminded of the mathematical perfection of cosmogony when they behold it, just as they do not necessarily realize there is a genealogical link between the (neo)pagan Mayday celebration and today’s anarchist Mayday marches. In the 19th century, however, these symbolic associations were well known by those involved, and their adoption reflected how much they resonated with mystical and historical weight. Even Bakunin, while he rejected the personal God of his Russian orthodox childhood, put forward a pantheistic revolutionism. In a letter to his sister (1836) he wrote, “Let religion become the basis and reality of your life and your actions, but let it be the pure and single–minded religion of divine reason and divine love. . . [I]f religion and an inner life appear in us, then we become conscious of our strength, for we feel that God is within us, that same God who creates a new world, a world of absolute freedom and absolute love. . . that is our aim”.
Throughout the 19th century the only people involved in the revolutionary scene who were consistently annoyed by this sort of mysticism were Marx and Engels. Proudhon’s ramblings about God as Universal Equilibrium were the sort of thing Marx and Engels objected to and contrasted with their own brand of “scientific socialism” – “the French reject philosophy and perpetuate religion by dragging it over with themselves into the projected new state of society”. Bakunin and Marx differed on this point and a number of others, the most famous being the role of the State. Whereas Marx considered a state dictatorship of the proletariat to be a necessary moment in his historical dialectic, Bakunin espoused the notion of a secret revolutionary organization that would “help the people towards self–determination, without the least interference from any sort of domination, even if it be temporary or transitional”. Bakunin also wrote that he saw our “only salvation in a revolutionary anarchy directed by a secret collective force”: “We must direct the people as invisible pilots, not by means of any visible power, but rather through a dictatorship without ostentation, without titles, without official right, which in not having the appearance of power will therefore be more powerful.”

The “dictatorial power” of this secret organization only represents a paradox if we do not recognize the long tradition, and larger cosmology, within which Bakunin is working. Revolution may be “immanent” in the people, but the guidance of illuminated men working in the “occult” was necessary to guide them in the right direction. Members of his International Brotherhood were to act “as lightening rods to electrify them with the current of revolution” precisely to ensure “that this movement and this organization should never be able to constitute any authorities”.
—Erica Lagalisse, Occult Features of Anarchism

7 April 2019

"No" to normalizing Pocari Sweat

My First Tiger

Your readers have probably seen this heading two or three times already, but as other peoples' first tigers were not related to my first tiger, it still possesses the charm of novelty, as far as I am concerned. The manner in which he was converted into an ornament for the drawing room was as follows. As I was opening my letters, one morning, I come across a demi-official looking cover which contained a report of the death of a would-be shikari at the hands, or rather claws, of an in┼┐uriated tiger. Two native shikaris had spent a pleasant evening in a “machan” over a 1 of water, and by the light of a waning moon had put a bullet into Mr. Stripes' shoulder; Stripes roared, the Shikaris shivered, and Stripes' mother came up to enquire into the cause of the bad language her son was using; when she saw him going on three legs, she used such fearful expressions that the “machan” shook with the agitation of the shikaris, unused as they were to anything stronger than the ordinary polite language of a native village. Mrs. Stripes helped her son back to the cover of the jungle, and silence reigned around the “machan" where the shikaris sat and shivered till sunrise, when, with rapid steps and many a glance over their shoulder, they made tracks for the nearest human habitation. There, about twenty men soon collected, and our shikaris, whose courage and imagination had been warmed by the sun, told their tale: the tiger was an enormous one, and the tigress still larger; their roars had shaken the hills; the tiger was mortally wounded and was certainly dead by this time; were they going to lose the sircar reward or were they going to show their courage by tracking a dead tiger and skinning it; and were they not twenty to one, and he a corpse! Armed with antiquated spears, guns more dangerous to the shooter than the shot at, billhooks and axes, they started in quest of the dead beast. Arrived at the “machan,” their eagerness for the fray began to diminish, they spoke in whispers and kept sharp eyes on the surrounding jungle; but blood was plentiful on the track, and no tiger could lose so much blood and live, so their spirits rose and they followed the trail gaily for a mile and a half, by which time they had grown careless in the absolute certainty that they would find nothing but a lifeless mass at end. In this they were mistaken, for with a sudden roar, a crash and a spring, Stripes stood among them; they scattered like mice before a cat, but Stripes was too quick for one of them; he caught him by the waist and quietly carried him to the foot of a tree, among the upper branches of which two of the beaters had taken refuge; they were unarmed, but yelled and shouted, and others in other trees did likewise, while some of the most distant slipped off their perches picked up their guns and fired them in the air. The general din had the desired effect; Stripes left his victim and slipped away to cover, where he was left in peace; the man was fearfully mauled, but still alive; his companions did what they could for him and carried him back to his village where he died an hour later. 

My correspondent only gave me an outline of the story, and finished up with an appeal to me to send down somebody to shoot a man-eating tiger as nobody dared go into the jungle until he was accounted for. 
I threw the letter across the table to M. who perused and returned it in silence: even when I asked him if he was "game," his only reply was a withering look and slight curl of his upper lip, so I said no more. It was three days before we could get away, but at last we found ourselves in a small inspection shed within a couple of miles of the ravine which had been the scene of the catastrophe already related. A consultation with some old native shikaris followed; how were we to get at Stripes, or obtain evidence of his death? No elephants were available, so we must walk, and walk circumspectly as the jungle was thick, and the tiger if alive was likely to be a dangerous customer. It would be useless driving cows in, for they would bolt at the first tigery sniff brought on the breeze; buffaloes would be better, but there were none in the adjoining villages; goats, said an old shikari, will do the trick; if the tiger is dead they will walk up to him and give tongue: if he is alive he will take one ; the others will bolt, but we shall track him by the blood of the one he takes. Now, although I should have been exceedingly pleased if Stripes had been able and willing to slay ten thousand goats, I was loath to countenance the admission of those universal exterminators into a reserved forest, but without goats, not a man would come with us to show us the ravine, so reluctantly I gave orders for the goats to be brought and marched in. They behaved beautifully; walked along steadily, till we reached the entrance to the ravine; then spread out like a line of beaters and walked through the thick jungle; we had about a dozen native shikaris with us, and they showed no desire to lead the way; we visited the scene of the tragedy, found one shoe and a sanguinary cloth on the ground, and walked on for about 100 yards; we had come over a mile and a half with our rifles at full cock, and every nerve strained, through thick jungle in which a tiger might have lain within five yards of us without being seen, and had just emerged into more open ground when the goats stampeded; instantly a babel of voices broke out in the tops of the trees behind us, and looking round, we discovered most of our shikaris well out of harm's way and looking anything but happy; two or three however stood their ground, and as soon as it was evident that Stripes was not following the goats, we walked cautiously round to where the stampede had commenced. Stripes heard us coming, and carried his goat off into a thicket before we could catch sight of him, but the fresh blood still sliding down the blades of grass showed that we were not far behind; we sat down and smoked a cigarette each, waiting for the other men to come up ; then cautiously approached the thicket and walking along the edge tried to see into it. We had not gone twenty yards when we saw the dead goat about 20 feet from the edge; Stripes was invisible though he must have been sitting there while we were enjoying our smokes. A small “machan” was soon fixed up about fifteen yards from the kill, and ten feet from the ground, and there we took our seats with one native shikari, whose sharp eyes and ears we thought would be useful. For an hour and a half we sat there, and the discomfort was awful; first one leg went to sleep, and the least attempt to move it produced a variety of creaky noises; then the other leg followed suit; finally I felt that I must move, and slowly I leant back till my head rested against a leafy pillow. I woke up suddenly finding the shikari's hand on my shoulder; he was trembling from head to foot and I was thankful that we had not allowed him to bring a gun with him; his eyes were nearly starting out of his head as he pointed with a drunkard's hand to a loophole on my left; I tried to rise silently but he signalled me back, and from the motion of his hand I understood that the tiger was walking round the machan on his way back to the goat; as soon as the shikari's hand showed that Stripes had his tail towards, me, I raised myself slowly to a sitting posture; M. looked round and shook his head, then got his eye in a line with his sights again. A twig broke; then another; then a huge paw appeared under the brushwood six feet beyond the goat; then a whisker, a nose, another paw, and a head. Bang, bang, went our expresses, and a cloud of smoke shut out the view for what seemed half an hour, though really two seconds would have covered it. When the air cleared, stripes was lying “all of a heap” and the "coup de grace" which I intended for his head caught him in the shoulder which was about the only part of him visible. He took it very quietly; neither moved nor spoke; in spite of which we deemed it wise to take precautions, M. covering the earcase with his rifle while I descended to terra firma, when I did likewise for him; we approached cautiously, and heaved half a brick at his Majesty's nose; it caught him fair on the bridge, without producing any visible or audible effect on his temper. We had already signalled for the other shikaris, and as soon as they came up, stripes was dragged out and measured; seven feet nine inches from nose to tip of tail, and twenty one inches round his fore leg; he was hoisted on two poles and we started back for camp. I almost forgot to add that he was not the wounded beast we were after, but we took it for granted that that one had died from the effects of his wounds. Now, will some old shikari tell me how to measure a tiger; should the tape be held taut, or made to follow every curve of the animal's back? My measurement was with the tape held taut; later on, after his skin had been removed and laid out, it measured ten feet six inches, and I then began to understood the possibility of twelve feet tigers.