Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cowjacked!

Some inventive thieves in the R. S. of A, using local resources in their carjacking exploits:
The gang of six men apparently herd the cows into the road to first stop motorists travelling through Mpumalanga's deep rural KwaMhlanga district, and then herd smaller groups of cows to surround the cars so their victims cannot escape.
"Once the vehicle is surrounded, the men produce firearms and force the driver out of the vehicle.
They tie up the victim, clear the cows out of the way, and all six men then jump into the vehicle and speed off,"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hoo boy

At the blood donation center yesterday:

Tech: So I see you've been overseas in the past three years. Whereabouts?
Me: South Africa
Tech: And what countries in South Africa?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Health news: don't be religious

From religionnewsblog:
Women who watched religious television programmes and read religious texts were more likely to be obese than women who did not (although frequent religious attendance was also associated with lower rates of obesity). Men did not show a similar pattern.
Even allowing for their Southern roots, Baptists were the largest all-round congregation, with 30 per cent being obese. Next, with an obesity rate of 22 per cent, was Fundamentalist Protestant (including Church of Christ and Pentecostal). Third, at 19 per cent, was Pietistic Protestant, which embraces the Methodists, among others.
Some 17 per cent of Roman Catholics are obese. Among non-believers, the rate was 7 per cent. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons came in at 3 per cent, and Jews at 1 per cent. Taken together, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists had an obesity rate of 0.7 per cent.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Euchre and Joker

I had always assumed, without thinking too much about it, that the tarot trump The Magus (aka The Magician or The Juggler) derived from the playing card The Joker. The International Playing-Card Society has an excellent short history of cards that gave the true derivation:
Americans added to the Euchre deck a card even higher than the designated Bowers. It was called the Imperial Bower or the Best Bower. This was the genesis of the Joker. According to the latest theory, the Best Bower alternatively was called "the Euchre card". This could have been mispronounced as "Juker card," which then gave rise to "Joker card".
and later
...it is certain that the Joker card itself was not a European invention. It is one of America's most picturesque contributions to the history of playing cards.
So there you have it - the Joker was actually the later development.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Madame Bovary - very educational

about items of women's clothing that I knew nothing about. For instance:
Fichu: a light triangular scarf with a point in the pack and tied in the front.
Muff: ok, I've seen these in the movies, but I didn't realize what they were called.
Pelerine: a short cape with pointed ends that meet in the front.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekly Aleister Crowley Media Roundup II

The Lonelygirl15 saga has dominated all Crowley media mentions. Enough already.

Well, and apart from that there is a Rolling Stone article on Daniel Pinchbeck, which has the following quote:
"Leary, and Aleister Crowley before him, had messages that were essentially optimistic and expansive, about making your life a joy and a triumph through the methods they touted," says Brian Doherty, author of This Is Burning Man...

Best quote from a politician ever

Comes from Hungary's Prime Minister:
In the excerpts [of a tape leaked to the media], Mr Gyurcsany says harsh economic reforms are needed.
"There is not much choice. There is not, because we screwed up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Oldest writing in the Americas

Probably by now everyone has read of this discovery, which may date to around 2900 before present. From the BBC:
The stone slab, named the "Cascajal block", was first uncovered by road builders digging up an ancient mound at Cascajal, outside San Lorenzo, in the late 1990s.
It weighs about 12kg (26lbs) and measures 36cm (14in) in length, 21cm (8in) in width and 13cm (5in) in thickness. Its text consists of 62 signs, some of which are repeated up to four times.
...
The team says the text "conforms to all expectations of writing" because of its distinct elements, patterns of sequencing, and consistent reading order.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weekly Aleister Crowley Media Roundup I

As Crowley's name gets better known, he is mentioned (sometimes just in passing) more often in the mainstream media. I thought that it would be fun to catalogue these appearances in what may be a regular entry.

The lonelygirl15 saga seems to have been exposed as viral marketing (see this article from the Chicago Tribune as an example.) As to her connection with the Beast:
...Oblique references popped up to "my religion," which was never named but which forbade things such as attending Daniel's high school graduation party.
... Above her bookshelf hung a photo of famed occultist Aleister Crowley.

Apart from that there are three references to Crowley from the art world. By far the most interesting comes from South Africa's Mail and Guardian Online concerning the prolific artist Aryan Kaganof. I was not aware of this chap until reading this article, and his work seems rather interesting. Besides his gallery art and digital works, there is also
a stream of books (poems, stories, novels, musings) that have appeared in the past few years, under names including Abraxas, “the prophet of nothing”, a sort of Aleister Crowley manqué...

Of course Crowley continues mentioned in connection with various musicians including Tool (in which Adam Jones says in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News,
I meet fans and you can see it in their eyes that they're disappointed because I'm not some kind of Aleister Crowley guy.) They are also mentioned as an influenced on the 'Extreme Metal' (what happened to Death Metal?) band Celtic Frost, in an article on an upcoming show in Springfield.


And finally the Seattle Times has a review of Geoff Powter's book Strange and Dangerous Dreams, which I have previously written about in a previous entry.



Saturday, September 09, 2006

FLDS lineages

I'm interested in spiritual lineages, particularly Thelemite (e.g. A.'.A.'., EGC episcopal), western Shaivite (e.g. AMOOKOS, various Nath groups), and various other yogic groups that have become popular in the west (e.g. Self Realization Fellowship, Ramakrishna Order). But most lineages are interesting in their own right. The Deseret News has a nice short article on the lineage of the various current polygamist LDS groups.

Parsi death rites ain't what they used to be

The Parsis have the (quite sensible, I think) practice of leaving their dead out to be eaten by vultures. Trouble is, most of the vultures on which they rely have been dying due to lack of habitat, use of pesticides, pollution, and the like. So the dead are not getting eaten quick enough, and are lying decomposing for rather long periods. From the Khaleej Times:
For centuries, the Zoroastrian dead have been wrapped in white muslin and left at a leafy, funeral ground in downtown Mumbai’s Malabar Hill, where they are devoured by vultures. But with only a handful of the critically endangered birds remaining in the city, authorities installed solar panels three years ago to dry out the bodies and speed up decomposition.

Soapbox Derby

We attended the opening heats of the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby this morning. Well, done everyone that took part - many great racers. I got a few photos on ye olde el cheapo disposable camera, which should appear on flickr sometime soon.
My favourite racer was the office cubicle one (link is a photo by the Portland Mercury.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Matisyahu at the Edgefield

I saw Matisayu and Roots Tonic at the Edgefield last night - it was great fun.
I can't remember the name of the opening band. I suppose that I could look it up easily enough, but they made such a small impression on me that I can't be bothered.
Highlights of the evening:
  • The crowd was nicely mixed (though mostly whitey) and having a good time.
  • Matisyahu does one hell of a beat box.
  • He also has a great voice.
  • He dances like a white boy, but a white boy that is having a great time.
  • Two drummers (or a drummer and a percussionist.) Good stuff.
  • McMenamins has fine beer.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

eBay: get a tarot reading from Robert Anton Wilson

As RAW prepares for passing over, he is giving one card tarot readings to the first 77 buyers. As the auction says:
Each Tarot Card will be STAMPED with a HAND MADE official discordian stamp made with a real potato from Bob's own fridge. To Ensure AuthenticityAndEach card comes with an official Certificate of Provenance. This is the third such Tarot Auction, and will likely be the last.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A beautiful phrase

I had not heard the Bob Dylan phrase "the old, weird America" before I ran across it today. What a wonderful phrase! I wish that I had experienced the old weird America. The new America, though not lacking in weirdness, can be rather mediated.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Crowleyesque bar?

From the Scene Report in the Portland Mercury, comes this interesting snippet:
...Loveland is more or less closed down; in its place Rotture will be opening, and Food Hole will be taking a short break. Says booker Bennett Yankey, "We're opening a new bar at 315 SE 3rd. It's called Rotture (roh-TUR-ay, Italian for 'breaks,' the alternate name for Aleister Crowley's Book of Lies).
If anyone gets there before I do, let me know what it's like.

O.T.O. news: International Cabinet appointed

From the O.H.O.:
...
As implemented in our Bylaws, the Cabinet is not a voting body, being purely advisory. Membership in the Cabinet is not restricted beyond a ceiling of twelve members, and appointees can have differing religious affiliations. The Frater Superior, Secretary General and Treasurer General are ex officio members of the Cabinet. The initial non-member appointments are Prier Wintle (South Africa), David Michael Tibet (UK) and Harvey Bialy, Ph.D. (Mexico), all of whom have longstanding involvement with Thelema.
...

Of the three, I have only had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wintle. He was a true gentleman and I greatly enjoyed our conversation.

Canby Depot Museum