Saturday, July 31, 2021

Gangsta's Paradise

I'm not into rap at all, but for the past couple of weeks I've been listening obsessively to "Gangsta's Paradise" by Artis Leon Ivey Jr., alias Coolio. It just sort of popped into my head.

The video is part of the experience. I like watching his mouth move, and I like how intense the backup singer is.

Yesterday, Bruce Charlton mentioned in a comment that August 1 is Lammas. This led me to the Wikipedia article for that date, and it turns out it's Coolio's birthday.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Today I learned the Swedish word for "crow"

More Swedish corvid puns in the comments here, for those who just can't get enough.

August 1 is coming

I have no idea how reliable this is, but the sync fairies have it that a "bolt from the blue" is coming on August 1 -- which is this coming Sunday. I just want to say that in advance, for the record.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Another unremarked milestone

According to the latest figures, the pecks have now killed more than two-thirds as many people in Taiwan as the birdemic has, and that ratio is increasing by a percentage point or two every day.

Which is totally normal. Nothing to see here, folks.

Welcome, Swedes! What brings you here?

This month is not quite finished, but already the amount of traffic on this blog is more than double my previous monthly record. Checking the blog stats, I find that essentially all of this new traffic is from Sweden!

I thought maybe I had been linked to by some site that's super popular in Sweden, but if so it's not showing up on the "top referrers" stats, which are dominated by "Other."

So, Swedes, welcome! Would any of you care to explain why you all suddenly started reading this blog?

Crows, cats, and -- that's a load of malarkey!

Reader Otto happened upon, and brought to my attention, this 2018 video by Peter Gregory Kelly.

It's very short. Here is a complete transcript:

In this dream, a crow had made its way into my house. And I thought, how did it get inside? It scraffled with the cat a bit, and in the scraffling, I got a few scratches on my arm. The crow seemed to want to stay inside. That was really very puzzling; why would the crow want to stay inside?

This is obviously very suggestive of the birdemic, referencing the name (the crow is Corvus corone, a member of the corvid family), the lockdowns ("want to stay inside," repeated twice), and the pecks ("a few scratches on my arm") -- plus, of course, the face mask that Mr. Kelly wears as he recounts all this!

The only element that doesn't immediately fit is the cat, so I tried to figure out what it could mean. Richard Arrowsmith had previously connected the birdemic with the 19th Tarot trump, called "The Sun." In light of the Chinese tradition of the Red Crows of the Sun, the card is basically called "Corvid 19." I therefore thought about cats and the Sun and came up with the 1965 Donovan song "The Summer Day Reflection Song," and its repeated line "Cat is . . . in the sun," with various participles (sleeping, walking, shifting, yawning, smiling) filling the ellipsis.

Looking up the lyrics online, I found that there were several slightly different versions posted and wondered which was official. This led me to search for donovan official website. This brought up the official Donovan Twitter account and its most recent tweet:

Donovan was 19 when he recorded Sunshine Superman. (Oh, and I wrote a post on the 19th Tarot card called "Sunshine Superman.") Looks like I'm on the right track!

Looking up "The Summer Day Reflection Song," I found that it features corvids (rooks, Corvus frugilegus) as well as a cat.

Dragon kite in the sky
Wheel and turn, spin and fly
Attacked by rooks who never fail
To cry the sound of fairy tales
Cat is walking in the sun

The "dragon kite in the sky" also seems significant. In my post on Tintin and St. George, I mentioned that reader Mr. Andrew had drawn my attention to an Owen Benjamin podcast posted just before St. George's Day, with "George fights a dragon" in the title.

Mr. Andrew explained, "Owen's dog is named George (really) - and the dragon reference was just a kite. Has absolutely nothing to do w/ St. George (Catholic or Floyd variety) - just a little coincidence/synchronicity at the same time."

This verse of "The Summer Day Reflection Song" also seems apropos.

Marionette dangles dead
Insensitivity is fed
By the TV wizard's wand
Whilst in the spell you're conned
Cat is smiling in the sun

Marionette strongly suggests "Slow Joe Crow" Biden. I have linked Slow Joe with Robin Hood, in part because his middle name is Robinette -- and obviously Robinette Hood's better half would be Maid Marionette. A marionette is a puppet, and this one is controlled "by the TV wizard's wand." I have already linked Biden, in his Slow Joe Crow persona, with a mechanical puppet controlled by a magician with a wand.

I recently noted that the magician's name is Steve -- in Latin, Stephanus. The Latin Wikipedia entry for that name begins thus: "Stephanus est nomen et praenomen masculinum quod e verbo Graeco στέφανος, 'corona', vertitur." (That is, the name Stephen may be translated into Latin as Corona.)

There may be a cat link in Steve Martin's name as well. The marten (an animal of the weasel family) has historically been called the marten cat, and there has been some speculation that the "cats" domesticated by the Greeks and Romans were in fact martens.

Coming back to marionette, the most famous marionette in literature and popular culture is undoubtedly Pinocchio. In my original Slow Joe Crow post, I noted that Dr. Seuss character's resemblance to a plague doctor and to Slow Joe Biden, writing

Hats are passé now, as is the miasma theory of disease, but mutatis mutandis, the photo on the left below might as well be captioned "Joe Biden wearing a hat and telling a lie."

That "telling a lie" bit was a direct reference to Pinocchio: If Slow Joe's nose grew when he lied, like Pinocchio's, it would stretch out his Covid mask and make it look like a plague doctor's "corvid" mask.

Trying to think of more cat-sun connections, I thought of the 1971 Cat Stevens album Teaser and the Firecat. The name "Firecat" sounds solar, and the cat on the album cover is bright orange, like my own cat Q*Bert. And although I didn't notice it until just now, if a marten counts as a cat, then Cat Stevens is basically the same name as Steve Martin.

When Teaser and the Firecat was released, Cat Stevens wrote and illustrated a children's book of the same name as a promotional tie-in. In the story, the moon falls down from the sky and ends up "on a prickle-red-tree. Then out came five red owls and Teaser told them what had happened. The owls picked up the moon with their beaks, and they flung it into the starry sky." Problem solved.

Nothing Whitley Strieber about this picture!

This is so maddeningly close to being a hit! Instead of 10 red crows associated with the Sun, we have five red owls associated with the moon. Way to mess up the sync, Cat Stevens! Don't you know the sync fairies can't communicate clearly when you're on acid all the time? Anyway, they're still red birds from outer space.

And finally it's come to me, the answer to the riddle of Peter Gregory Kelly's dream. Where have I seen a cat and Slow Joe Crow together? Here:

In all fairness, that's not actually Slow Joe Crow hisself (it's Pogo; I have to say "hisself") but Deacon Mushrat. Still, with his hat, specs, and beak, he's certainly got the plague-doctor look. And who's that with him? Not just a cat, but an unelected "stick to facts" pretender-to-the-presidency cat named Simple J. Malarkey. Since Malarkey was intended as a caricature of Joe McCarthy (this was 1953), we can even assume the J stands for Joe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Burying the lede

The headline: Taiwan reports zero birdemic deaths for 2nd consecutive day

Buried in a table at the end, not even mentioned in the text: But 23 more people have died of the pecks.

So far that's a running total of 786 birdemic deaths and 507 peck deaths -- so the cure has killed about 65% as many people as the disease. Just a few days ago that figure was 61% -- but don't worry, there is definitely No evidence the number of peck deaths will rival the number of birdemic deaths. I mean, it's been fact-checked; what more do you want?

For reference, 12,000 to 15,000 people die of pneumonia in a typical year in Taiwan. I haven't been able to find pre-birdemic stats for vax deaths in Taiwan, but in the US the figure is normally under 150 per year for all vaccines combined. Taiwan has about 7.3% the population of the US, so we might assume maybe 10 or 11 deaths in a typical year. So hundred of deaths is extremely low for pneumonia and extremely high for the pecks.

I focus on Taiwan because it's where I live, of course, but also because it is my sense that the numbers being reported here are relatively honest -- relatively, compared to many countries. I think the number 786 likely represents close to 786 people who actually died of pneumonia or similar complications, not people who had motorcycle accidents after getting a false positive on a PCR test. The Taiwan government understands that spin trumps facts and that releasing uncooked numbers poses no real threat to the narrative. I mean, they imposed a mask mandate, with zero resistance from the people, when there had been no reported deaths at all for over half a year!

I think this is actually the kind of lie the devil prefers, even though it is superficially more "honest." Misrepresent facts, and good people might be innocently deceived. That sort of deception is fun and all, but it's not a very effective tool of damnation. The more complicit the victim is in his own deception -- the more he has to wilfully "believe" what he knows ain't so -- the better. The essence of Point Deer Make Horse is not to disguise a deer as a horse to trick people; it's to point at a deer and say, "Yes, it has cloven hooves and a short tail and a magnificent 16-point rack of antlers -- but it's still a horse." When Hua Mulan's fellow soldiers were fooled by her disguise and mistakenly thought she was a man, that was no very great victory for Satan -- but when people, in full possession of all the relevant facts, "believe" that Bruce Gender is woman, that's another matter entirely. The same goes for the birdemic, antiracism, and all the other Big Lies. Their outrageousness, their very obvious falseness, is not a bug but a feature. They don't want you to slip up and say that 559,311,062 + 966,216,569 = 1,525,527,361. They want you to say -- to believe -- that 2 + 2 = a lot.

I also couldn't help but notice, in the context of recent syncs having to do with 555 and 666, that both 444 and 555 show up in the table above. There's also the note under the table, reminding the reader that Taiwan's peck "rollout began on March 22." Now what does that date remind me of?

Why this is hell, nor are we out of it.

Faust. Where are you damn’d?
Meph. In hell.
Faust. How comes it then that thou art out of hell?
Meph. Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
-- Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

In an insightful new post, William Wildblood asks, "Are we in hell now?" You will want to read the whole thing, but here are a few highlights, interspersed with my own thoughts.

It would be my contention that just as there is a divine plan for mankind so there is also a demonic plan. . . . Their aim is to absorb the energy from human souls for their own benefit and use. They have cut themselves off from the source of life and need life energy to maintain their existence. So they seek to corrupt souls. 

I found this an interesting take on demonic motivation, which has always been hard for me to understand. Pure spite just doesn't seem like enough of a reason for the devil to keep working tirelessly, millennium after millennium, for something that brings no benefit to him personally. It seems plausible that the devils must in some way need human damnation, that they must be soul-predators, vampires.

William suggests that, just as plants get their life energy from the Sun, so non-demonic beings get their life from God. The demons, who have cut themselves off from God, would be analogous to animals, which, because they cannot photosynthesize for themselves, must prey directly or indirectly on those who can. Not for nothing is the Satanic system called the beast. The devils "seek to corrupt souls" in order to cut them off from God -- which either "kills" them, making them suitable food for the devils, or forces them to become soul-predators themselves. I'm not entirely sure this is true, but if it is, it has some interesting ramifications -- including that there are likely two different sorts of damnation: that of the cannibalized, and that of the cannibals.

What is their aim? It is still the corruption of souls as it always has been but now there is something else. I believe, and I believe this because of what I can observe around me, because of the pattern of recent history and because of intuition, that they are seeking to make hell on Earth. That is to say, they are seeking to externalise hell onto the physical plane, to extend their domain, as it were.

The whole demon-possession subplot in the Synoptic Gospels -- especially the story of the devils who, being cast out of a man, begged to be allowed to possess a herd of swine -- strongly suggests a strong desire among the devils to extend their domain into the physical. Something similar is hinted at in the Genesis 6 story of the fallen angels who descended to earth and took human wives. The motivation behind this is not obvious, but perhaps we should make more of an effort to understand it.

If hell can be defined as separation from God then it should be obvious that we are in hell now.

And if the speculation above is true, it means that those who are sufficiently separated from God to have entered a hell state here on earth have two possible fates: to "die" spiritually or to turn to soul-cannibalism. And isn't that what we see all around us -- the zombie masses and the vampire elite?

You don't have to go out and do anything publicly but through your thoughts and prayers you can serve God and help souls struggling for truth in the spiritual quagmire of the contemporary world. This world may be turning into hell but heaven awaits those who simply wake up to that fact.

"This is hell," said Mephisto to Faust, "nor am I out of it" -- because hell is in the last analysis not a geographical location but a state of the soul, and wherever you go, there you are. One likes to imagine Jesus responding to a similar question -- "How comes it then that thou art out of heaven?" -- with, "Why this is heaven, nor am I out of it." Wherever you go, there you are.

To an extent unprecedented in history, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death -- but for those who turn to God, it is possible at the same time to lie down in green pastures and walk beside the still waters, to sit at table in the presence of our enemies.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? . . . Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isa. 55:1-3).

The writing's on the wall

When I saw this picture on The Onion, somehow the IRS wasn't the first thing I thought of.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Notice of G's recent work on virtue sets

G of the Junior Ganymede has been posting a lot of interesting ideas regarding the "virtue set" model. He has adopted the hot/cool terminology I proposed, where "hot" includes Ahuric virtue and Luciferic vice, and "cool" embraces Devic virtue and Ahrimanic vice.

  • Virtue upon virtue: I have previously discussed the natural evolution from Good to Luciferic to Ahrimanic to Sorathic. G here discusses evolution in the opposite direction: the progression from cool vice to hot vice to cool virtue to hot virtue.
  • In my Father's house are many virtues: The four members of the master virtue set are associated with the four kingdoms of the afterlife in Mormon theology.
  • The plan of virtue: The four members of the master virtue set are associated with premortal, mortal, and postmortal stages in the Plan of Salvation.
  • The sower of virtues: The biblical parable of the sower is interpreted in terms of the virtue set.

Robin Ware

It is being reported that Antipresident Biden used to use the pseudonym Robin Ware. Here's what that name looks like to someone with magical anagram vision.

In my post "Robin Hood," I pointed out various connections between Slow Joe and the legendary outlaw. His middle name is Robinette, for example, and his sons are Beau and Hunter. This link is strengthened by his choosing the name Robin for the purpose of engaging in not-especially-legal activities. The surname he chose, Ware, is an anagram of arwe, the Old English word for "arrow."

The Robin/Robinette connection made me wonder if Bidenette was a name and run an image search on it. For some reason, that search turned up this picture:

I really don't understand this meme, or why it was tagged "Bidenette." It seems to be predicting a Biden win in the 2016 election, in which he was not a candidate! At any rate, it's obviously a Game of Thrones reference, which makes its similarity to these two pictures a coincidence.

In my original Robin Hood post, I pointed out that the red feather on the Sun card is linked to the legendary Red Crows of the Sun, and that Russell Crowe's name literally means "red crow."

I'm sure that "Hand of the King" reference in the Bidenette meme also has some significance. Last night, between dreaming and waking, the White Hand of Saruman came to mind and seemed to be connected to lots and lots of things in the contemporary world. I can't remember any of the links, though -- if there were ever any real links to begin with; it was a dream. Perhaps something will come back to me.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Corvids singing in the dead of night

So, the pun "Death Jab for Cutie" popped into my head in connection with the pecks. I know nothing about the band Death Cab for Cutie -- only that there is a band with that name -- so I ran an image search for their album covers. Lo and behold . . .

(This post links Slow Joe Crow and red thread.)

While we're on the subject of musical prophecy, there's also the 2004 song "We're All In This Together," from the self-titled debut album of Old Crow Medicine Show. Corvids and medicine! Later a different song (or several different songs?) with that same title would be promoted as the "birdemic anthem."

For daws to peck at

Shot through the heart
And you're to blame
-- Bon Jovi

Birdemic came from corvid. I had randomly posted about corvids -- birds of the crow family -- in June 2019, which served to remind people that the word existed. A few months later, Bruce Charlton started using expressions like "19 corvids" as a sort of punning code, and I mentioned that the connection he had made reminded me of worst movie ever made, Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Soon birdemic had become the established code-word in our group of bloggers.

Last December, when another code-word was needed, I said, "Given our corvid theme, the first thing that comes to mind is 'for daws to peck at' — so, the peck?" (The daw is a species of corvid.)

Now peck is just as well established as birdemic, but I don't think most people realize it originated as an Othello reference. The line, spoken by one of Shakespeare's most Sorathic characters, is: "But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve / For daws to peck at: I am not what I am." Only now to I realize how appropriate that is. The peck is administered through the arm and seems primarily to target the heart -- so anyone who submits to the peck is in a fairly straightforward sense "wearing his heart upon his sleeve for daws to peck at." And I am not what I am" is a motto for our time, when nothing officially-is what it actually-is.

I put together the chart below with data from the daily birdemic reports published by Focus Taiwan, which gets its numbers from the Taiwan CDC. Since June, when they started publicly reporting the number of peck deaths, every single week has seen more deaths from the peck than from the birdemic itself.

Of course both numbers are relatively small, but still it's a pretty clear-cut case of the cure being worse then the disease. And yet they keep pushing it, and the public is still on board.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Please read aloud

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, in virtute Dei, in infernum detrude satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo. Amen.

Friday, July 23, 2021

We don't care what momma don't 'low, gonna pick that banjo anyhow

Slow Joe is still being compared to a banjo player, one who is being secretly controlled by a hidden mechanism.

Asked an unchallenging question about 12-year-olds and vaccination, he drifted off in the middle of a sentence, and, as he so often does, looked down, got that Deliverance banjo player look on his face, and appeared to be listening to something in his earpiece, and then strung together a sequence of words that were not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence, but which, on their own, were coherent.  As if repeating what he just heard.

This might be a good time to review my October 2020 post "Slow Joe Crow on the banjo," featuring His Joeness as a machine-operated banjo-pickin' corvid plague doctor under the control of a magician called either Steve ("crown," stephanos being the Greek equivalent of the Latin corona) or Maladie ("sickness").

Slow Joe Crow of course comes from Fox in Socks, which the sync fairies recently brought back to my attention.

Oh, and here's a completely unrelated video clip.

Silent and spoken prayer

Who teaches children that times of quietness are doors to heaven, to bliss, to peace and happiness beyond all understanding? . . . Who teaches that quiet contemplation is really prayer? The church teaches that prayer is an activity, something you DO.

-- Roger Hathaway, The Mystic Passion

I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture. . . . It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

-- Excerpts from the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet

Isn't it surprising that -- at the age of 14, and living in a place where there was "an unusual excitement on the subject of religion" in which many of his immediate family members were involved -- the young Joseph Smith had never once "made the attempt to pray vocally"? Not so much as a "now I lay me down to sleep"? Having children pray vocally is a virtual universal in Christendom, and surely must have been even more so 200 years ago. Smith was raised in a solidly Christian, if unchurched, family and was a serious and careful reader of the Bible from a very young age. He was not in any way irreligious -- and yet he had never prayed aloud.

The results of this first vocal prayer were spectacular.

I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction -- not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being -- just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other -- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

Two things stand out about this. First, this vocal prayer seems to have been much more "powerful" than his earlier, non-vocal, prayers in terms of getting a response -- first from a demonic power and then from God himself and Jesus Christ. (This is echoed in the sacred drama of the Mormon temple, where Adam prays -- laying special stress on the fact that he is doing so vocally, with his mouth -- and is answered first by Satan and then by heavenly messengers.) Second, the fact that Smith had never prayed vocally before was apparently no big deal to God. He was not told to repent for having been lax in his prayers or anything like that; it seems that his general habit of non-vocal prayer was perfectly acceptable. Vocal prayer is, in some situations, uniquely effective, but it is not required that it be habitual. "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

This fits with my own prayer life.

I think we can distinguish between two types of non-vocal prayer. It is possible to "pray silently" the way one reads silently -- that is, verbally, in clearly defined words and sentences, but checking the articulatory mechanism so that no sound is produced. I used to attempt this regularly, but it never came naturally, and I would always find myself lapsing into non-verbal contemplation. Nowadays my occasional silent-but-verbalized "prayers" are really more mantras than prayers properly so called. For example, I might silently repeat the Hail Mary or some other formula, not as a form of communication ("not as the heathen, who think they shall be heard for their much speaking") but as a way of focusing my mind and spirit and keeping the devil at bay.

True silent prayer is non-vocal because it is non-verbal. It is neither speech nor an internal simulation of speech but the deep silence of contemplation in God -- not an activity, but a mode of being. It is surely this sort of prayer that Paul had in mind when he wrote, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and advised "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit" (Ephesians 6:18). Valentin Tomberg expresses it well in his Letter on the Magician:

With time, the silence or concentration without effort becomes a fundamental element always present in the life of the soul. It is like the perpetual service at the church of Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre which takes place, whilst in Paris one works, one trades, one amuses oneself, one sleeps, one dies.

"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Proverbs 20:27), and sometimes I visualize this in literal terms -- in the center of myself, invisible, a candle, burning perpetually with its slow and steady and silent light. This is secret prayer, silent prayer, prayer without ceasing.

As for vocal prayer, I recognize its unique power and believe it should be used sparingly. Very occasionally, my private prayers take vocal form -- once or twice a year, maybe. And although my experience with such things is very limited, such experience as I have suggests that when "miraculous" results are needed, vocal prayer -- and especially prayer in Latin, for some reason -- is uniquely efficacious. Exorcists reportedly say the same thing.

The need for vocal prayer in exorcism may tie in with Joseph Smith's first vocal prayer -- the immediate effect of which was to trigger a demonic onslaught. When we speak, the devil hears. When we keep silent, the candle of the Lord is invisible to him. "Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knoweth thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart" (D&C 6:16).

Just how mad can peck madness get?

Here are the latest birdemic peck stats, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

The other key numbers you need to know are that Taiwan has a population of 23.6 million, and a total of 782 birdemic-attributed deaths as of July 22. That's about 33 deaths per million.

Approximately 24% of the population has received at least one peck, and 478 of them have died of it. That's about 84 per million.

If we assume the pecks will continue to kill 84 out of every million pecked, then pecking 50% of the population should result in about 1,000 deaths, well over the current death toll from the birdemic itself. The actual number of peck deaths will likely be much higher than that, though. The oldest people were pecked first, and many of the young have yet to be pecked -- and we know that "adverse events" including death are much more common in the young than in the old. Meanwhile, birdemic deaths are accumulating very slowly, at a rate of about 4 per day, and will not be able to keep up.

Obviously there are a lot of unknown quantities here, but I'm going to stick my neck out and make an absolutely insane prediction which, in this absolutely insane world we live in, just might come true anyway: Taiwan will keep pecking away until, in the very near future, the pecks will have killed more people than the virus they are supposed to be protecting them from. And I can also predict how the government will react to this topsy-turvy state of affairs: by pushing for more pecks!

Nothing will wake these people up -- because, as Bruce Charlton has correctly pointed out, they're not asleep; they're in a stupor.

"They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Thank you for smoking.

Is smoking a fake health crisis, like the birdemic? I'm gradually coming around to that point of view. I've never been a smoker myself (first I was too Mormon, then too mainstream/materialist, and now, well, 42 is a bit late in the day to take it up!), but I've been questioning the smoking-is-bad narrative for years (see my 2011 post on smoking and creativity, for example). What stimulated me to finally post this, though, was Adam Piggott's recent post "Smoking is Cool," plus a growing affection for smokers as just about the only unmasked faces I see in a typical day.

First of all, though, let's take a look at this remarkable little note published in 2001 in a major international medical journal.

Over the past few months we have learnt of a number of reports regarding a paper we published in this journal on the life expectancy of tobacco smokers in Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s. From these reports it appears that our research is being used by select groups in US and Finland to suggest that smokers live an unhealthy lifestyle that is destructive to themselves and to others. These anti-tobacco groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of smokers rather than promoting their health and well being.

The aim of our research was never to spread more hostility toward those who use tobacco, but to demonstrate to an international audience how the life expectancy of smokers can be estimated from limited vital statistics data. In our paper, we demonstrated that in a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for men who smoke is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we estimated that nearly half of male smokers currently aged 20 years would not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, smokers in this urban centre were experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by men in Canada in the year 1871. In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of smokers would be greatly improved. Deaths from lung cancer have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia.

It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their use or non-use of tobacco products or to any other behavioral or social factor. If estimates of an individual smoker's risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all others in that population. Individuals who smoke are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables are the appropriate ones to be used.

In summary, the aim of our work was to assist health planners with the means of estimating the impact of lung cancer on groups, like smokers, not necessarily captured by vital statistics data and not to hinder the rights of smokers worldwide. Overall, we do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the human rights of tobacco users or any other group.

Just kidding! The note wasn't really about smokers at all, but about men who practice sodomy. (See the original here.) Except for switching sodomy and AIDS to smoking and lung cancer, I have left the article unchanged. It's actually the habit of sodomy that reduces one's life expectancy by 8 to 21 years. The corresponding figure for smoking is 5 to 13 years, depending on how heavily one smokes, so we're talking about the same general ballpark.

So this is how respectable people talk about a practice that is roughly as hazardous as smoking -- and it's how they could talk about smoking, too, only no one ever does. Instead, smoking is singled out and vilified in a way that is, I think, unique. In many countries, including Taiwan, cigarette producers are required by law to disfigure their cartons with large gross-out photos of diseased lungs, rotted teeth, amputated toes, and the like. I understand the US is planning to start doing the same thing this year. Meanwhile, wine bottles remain simple and attractive, and no one is clamoring for them to add photos of cirrhotic livers or puking drunks or whatever. McDonald's menu boards are not required to feature photos of morbidly obese people on oxygen. (Actually, even saying that obesity itself is unhealthy is increasingly a no-no.) Supermarket labels do not feature helpful reminders like "Warning: This chicken was factory-farmed in conditions of extreme inhumanity and received daily injections of antibiotics." Driver's licenses don't include bloody photos of traffic accidents and scary statistics. And of course, sodomy itself is aggressively promoted as something to be proud of. "Joe Camel" ads were banned for targeting children, but banning sodomy propaganda targeting children is like a Nazi war crime or something. QWERTY pride is now a well-established social institution; can one even imagine a "smokers' pride" event? When I was in college, they held such an event on campus every year, but it was promoting illegal cannabis smoking, so it was okay. A similar event to promote good old-fashioned tobacco would be unthinkable.

So what's the deal? In a culture that tolerates, embraces, or actively promotes every imaginable vice, what is it about tobacco smoking that puts it beyond the pale? Yes, it's unhealthy; yes, it's addictive; yes, those who aren't into it generally find it unpleasant -- but those are its selling points! That's what the establishment likes! So why don't they like smoking? The fact that it is a "Native American" drug -- from the same officially approved minority group that brought us such not-gonna-judge drugs as ayahuasca and mescaline -- makes the establishment rejection of it even more puzzling. Better yet, it's got a feminist background; during the first wave of that movement, cigarettes were promoted as "torches of freedom," symbols of equality with men. Today, liberated women are still encouraged to drink and swear and get tattoos, but no longer to smoke. What, I ask again, is the deal?

I don't have an answer to that question, but it's enough to make me think that there must be something fundamentally good about smoking, or it would never be attacked like this -- and that what "everyone knows" about the terrible, terrible health hazards associated with smoking may, on inspection, turn out to be about as valid as what "everyone knows" about the birdemic or global warming. I haven't delved into this at all and probably won't bother to; I'm just saying it looks like a phantom menace and quacks like a phantom menace.

Mask compliance is currently universal in Taiwan. While I myself keep a mask handy in case I see a cop, I am very, very much the exception. Everyone wears masks all the time. The only unmasked faces I see outside the walls of my own home are those of smokers. It used to be that I would see a face and think, "Hey, a fellow mask rebel! -- oh, never mind, just a smoker." Now, though, I’ve realized that while it may be true that he just took off his mask to smoke and will put it back on again, at a deeper level smokers and non-maskies are on the same side. Whatever else a cigarette may mean, it certainly signifies a rejection of healthism and a refusal to kowtow to goodthink -- and anyone who's signaling that is all right in my book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Eso sí que es

Back in January, one of my readers contacted me to say that he had been encountering seemingly significant sequences of fives (55, 555, 5555, etc.) for years and asked if I had any idea as to what it might mean. Since then, we've been corresponding on and off, often but not exclusively about 5-related synchronicities.

Today my wife told me she had ordered five pairs of socks for me and that I needed to pick them up at the shop and pay for them. When I asked how much, she said, "I don't remember, 500-something." When I went to the shop, I found that the total was exactly $555.

I thought there was some significance to 555 being associated with socks, and then I got it: 666 is fox. Fox in Socks! Regular readers will know that I've posted quite a bit of synchromystical analysis of Fox in Socks.(See, for example, "Slow Joe Crow," "Lots of new blue goo now," "Crazy like a fox," "Robin Hood," "Political prognostication, plus rhinoceroses!" and "Wake up, little Susie.")

Why is fox equal to 666? It comes from taking the system of Greek and Hebrew numerals, on which gematria is based, and applying it to English. The first nine letters have values from 1 to 9, the next nine are numbered from 10 to 90, and the remaining letters are assigned to the hundreds.

So I gave Fox in Socks a quick reread to see if anything new jumped out at me. Well, yes -- taking "new" and "jump out" quite literally.

This caught my attention because I had just got some new socks. Only later, after posting the gematria table above to show the reader how fox = 666, did I realize that by the same rules, new = 555.

Incidentally, the Greek-numeral equivalent of FOX is ϜΞΧ. Replacing O with Ξ (xi, three horizontal lines) was discussed in my old post, "Jay-Z in 2009 presages Biden and 2020." It also means Biden was adding the letter xi to his name in his logos, paralleling the nickname Xiden, used by his critics to suggest that he is a pawn of China.

Note: My title means (roughly) "Yes, that's just it!" in Spanish. It's pronounced S-O-C-K-S.

Apocalypse means unveiling

As I was out on a night hike, contemplating and trying to get a sense of what is about to happen, this sentence came into my mind: "Apocalypse means unveiling." This was accompanied by a burst of -- uh, "imagery," I guess, though that's not really the term; something neither visual nor aural but suggestive of both. The best way I can describe it is to say it feels like a complicated multidimensional geometric shape unfolding and articulating itself in the mind, with a powerful sense that a mass of information has been transferred just below the threshold of normal consciousness. (If I were to focus on its aural-like aspect, I might compare it to a recording of Donald Duck played back at very high speed, as un-sublime as that sounds!) The tip of that iceberg, the only part that can be verbalized, was the sentence, "Apocalypse means unveiling."

I very rarely have such experiences, so when I do, it naturally captures my attention. I therefore have no very satisfying explanation for the fact that, some 20 minutes later, I had completely forgotten it! I was left only with a vague sense that I had forgotten something, something important, something that I needed to write about . . . I struggled to recall, retracing my steps and my trains of thought, and then -- with the abruptness of a forgotten dream-memory spontaneously recovered in the late afternoon -- it all came back to me.

In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

-- Luke 12:1-5

My sense is that the next big event is not going to be an event at all, but a revelation of what has already been done — a revelation so clear that even those who slept through the global coup will not be able to ignore it.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Taipei cop fines couple for drinking water in car

Never drink and drive.

Golden Dawn astrological correspondences for pip cards

Over at The Magician's Table, I explain the system underlying these seemingly arbitrary correspondences.

Their utmost concern

The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
-- Isaiah 9:15

More than a year later, Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of No We Don't Worship the Goddess Mormo, apparently still stands by his Satanic statement about his "utmost concern." If he had repented, he would never have allowed it to be quoted again on the official church website.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is following the lead of governments and healthcare professionals around the world as it considers a measured return to normal operating procedures disrupted by COVID-19.

The Church is moving forward in all areas of the world with ample caution, always strictly following the guidance of governments to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “Your safety and well-being will always be our utmost concern,” Church Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson said on May 6, 2020.

This guy is supposed to be a living prophet, with the same authority as Moses or Elijah. Good thing he's "following the lead of governments and healthcare professionals around the world." Imagine the chutzpah of calling yourself a prophet while advertising such a basic failure of spiritual discernment!

As for the damning sentence, "Your safety and well-being will always be our utmost concern" -- an explicit rejection of "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" -- I'm sure I will be told that I'm blowing it out of proportion, that it's just a meaningless bit of manager-speak and was never meant to be taken literally.

This does nothing to absolve President Nelson, though, since such habits of speech come effortlessly only to those who have internalized the systematic dishonesty of the bureaucratic world.

Russell M. Nelson -- RMN. Say the initials out loud. Remind you of anything?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

In the sync stream

Composing an email to a family member in America, I mentioned my persistent premonition that Something Big is about to happen and said that I could best sum it up by pinching a chapter title from Herman Melville: “Loomings.” Then I thought to myself that when I think Moby-Dick, I think “The Whiteness of the Whale” and I think “Loomings” — that those two chapter titles are among the novel’s most memorable features.

(While I was catching up on email, my wife was shopping online for fitted sheets. She kept forgetting, and asking me, the dimensions of our beds. “Our bed is six by seven, the guest bed is five by six,” I kept saying.)

I mentioned in my email that the government kept extending the birdemic restrictions by two weeks and two more weeks and two more weeks. This made me think of a line from Macbeth, and, abandoning the half-written email, I started link-surfing Wikipedia instead. I went from “Tomorrow and tomorrow  and tomorrow” to “Soliloquy” to “To be or not to be”  to “Cultural references to Hamlet” to “Roderick Alleyn” to “Gentleman detective” to “Gentleman thief” to “Carmen Sandiego.” (I probably could have skipped a few of those steps, since apparently there was a movie called Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal released last year.) The illustration accompanying this last article didn’t match my memory, so I ran an image search on carmen sandiego 1985, and that brought up a DOS game screenshot featuring the city of Moroni, Comoros.

Perfume, made from -- perfume plants!

Wondering what the building in the picture was, I searched for moroni comoros building. Apparently there’s only one building of note there, since every result was the Grand Mosque du Vendredi.

I thought it looked a bit like the Nauvoo Temple — which, it so happens, was the first Mormon temple to be topped with the figure of the angel Moroni.

I thought of how the angel Moroni was occupying the place that would traditionally be given to the cross, which made me think of the Coleridge line “instead of the cross, the albatross.” And this brought me back to Melville: Ishmael’s recollection of the first albatross he ever saw, which he repeatedly likens to an angelic being. “Its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy ark” — “flew to join the wing-folding, the evoking, the adoring cherubim” — “as Abraham before the angels, I bowed myself.” This last is an allusion to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Joseph Smith's golden plates are supposed to have been buried by Moroni in the Hill Cumorah, and various attempts have been made to connect these names with Moroni in the Comoros -- proposing either than Smith pinched the names from a world map (which in his day often called the country Camorah) or from the memoirs of Captain Cook, or that the Comoros were settled by Austronesian Nephites who brought the names with them. I have long wanted to write something about homosexuality and Mormonism, to be titled "Sodom and Cumorah," but so far I have nothing interesting to say on that subject and so, like the essay on Lehi's dream to be spooneristically titled "Rods and Mockers," it remains unwritten.

Looking up Ishmael's rhapsody on the albatross to make sure I had quoted it correctly (I had), I found that it comes from "The Whiteness of the Whale" -- Chapter 42 of Moby-Dick. That number seemed significant, and it took me a second to remember why.

Earlier in the day, before attempting to write an email while repeating bed measurements, I had taught on online English class. The text we were discussing included this sentence: "According to psychologists, children have to repeat certain tasks, like multiplication or division, over and over again until they can do them automatically." In the course of explaining it, I said, "So now if I say 'six times seven' you immediately think '42.' If I say 'seven times eight,' you don't even have to think; you immediately know it's 56." I realized that these two equations I had randomly chosen as examples mapped to the dimensions of the two beds: 42 is literally "six by seven," and 56 is in a different sense a five "by" (adjacent to) a six.

(Bed dimensions are also a link to the Cities of the Plain. If I remember correctly, an aggadah compiled in Louis Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews takes the story more normally associated with the name of Procrustes and relocates it to Sodom, saying that it was the men of Sodom who had the custom of placing strangers on a bed and making them fit it by either stretching or amputating their legs.)

Someone sent me a link to a page (in Chinese) about a local temple I might be interested in visiting. As I idly scrolled through photos of the place, I started thinking about a different Chinese temple we had visited a year or so ago. Outside the temple was a paved area in the shape of a large circle divided radially into what I at first took to be 56 segments, each labeled with I Ching terms. I found this to be interesting because of the potential Tarot connection, and I actually walked around the circumference of the thing counting the segments as I went: yes, 56. I found this puzzling -- shouldn't it be 64 for the 64 hexagrams? -- and tried to work out the system behind the labels. Finally, I ended up circumnavigating it again, more slowly, and counting all the segments once more, and this time I did indeed get 64. Apparently both my gestalt impression that it "looked like 56" and my initial miscount had simply been errors.

As I kept scrolling though temple photos, I found that one of them -- included without explanation and for no obvious reason -- was a photo of the number 560 chalked onto a stone surface.

Just before I posted this, my wife was watching Thor: Ragnarok on television, and the number 142 popped up a few times in obvious look-an-Easter-egg fashion. I didn't bother to look up what it might mean to the guys who made the movie, but I thought, "142 -- doesn't that mean something to me?" I couldn't put my finger on it, though, until I returned to this unfinished post and realized that 1 and 42 are the numbers of the two Moby-Dick chapters I mention in the first paragraph.

Why Moby-Dick should be on my mind is anyone's guess. I've only read the book once, and that was back in 2006. It made a big impression at the time, but I've sort of been afraid to reread it.

Friday, July 16, 2021

If Newspeak for "Ministry of Truth" is Minitrue, then the Ministry of Health should be . . .


Start using it.

Also, although I think birdemic is here to stay, it occurred to me today that another good nickname would be the Cyranovirus -- since its main effect seems to be to make people's noses grow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A little trip to nowhere

I dreamed that my wife and I had decided to try LSD. We got it in the form of little chalky tablets about an inch in diameter. (My waking self is pretty sure that's not what LSD looks like, but in the dream I didn't question it.) I took one and waited for psychedelia to break out, waited to see something weird or groovy or like far out man, and -- nothing. I really tried hard to feel something out of the ordinary. Did I feel a bit lighter, for instance? No, not really. Did the colors seem perhaps a bit more vibrant? Nope, vibrancy levels normal. Did I have by any chance a sneaking intimation that everything is just like you know this illusion and we're really all just like one man? Just a sec, let me see . . . sorry, negative.

I remembered Terence McKenna's slogan, "When in doubt, double the dose." I hesitated a bit because I figured my wife had probably counted the tablets and would notice that one more was missing, but in the end I popped another tablet.

Still nothing. I looked all around my study, looking at every book and tchotchke and piece of furniture, noticing everything, on the alert for, I don't know, plasticine porters with looking-glass eyes or anything of that general description. I realized that everything was sort of beautiful when you really looked at it, and I thought, hey, is that the LSD? Is this like when Aldous Huxley took mescaline and could sense that the four legs of his chair were the four legs of a chair and yet simultaneously Michael and all the archangels? No, not really. Just the ordinary beauty of earthly things.

I gave up and switched on the computer. An ad came up that said, "It's OK not to be tracked. Help us stop surveillance in its tracks!"

And I woke up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

"Inclusion" = the all-encompassing totalitarian System

I hadn't made this obvious connection until I watched this video by Jonathan Pageau, in which he gives an extremely insightful analysis of a speech given by Apple CEO Tim Cook a few years ago. (I've been watching more and more talking videos recently, having discovered the trick of playing them at 1.5 or 1.75 speed to make the experience more tolerable.)

Cook is giving a fiery speech about how Apple is standing up for its "values" because "it's the right thing to do" -- and, as Pageau shows, he makes it perfectly clear what those values are. Pageau's summary:

The only value that really matters is the value of inclusion, and the only thing that is a problem is if you oppose yourself to that system which is created to include everybody.

Cook talks about how Apple is going to deplatform anything that promotes "hate" or "violence," but, as Pageau points out, the two examples Cook focuses on are not songs and movies that literally glorify hate and violence (those are okay, obviously!), but rather "white supremacy," i.e. excluding and marginalizing other races, and "violent conspiracy theories," i.e., questioning the System and its motives. (By the way, what the hell is a "violent conspiracy theory"? Must be something like a colorless green idea!)

"Inclusion" means everyone and everything must be fully incorporated into the System. No one is allowed to be excluded or even marginal. The excluded must be included, the marginal must be redefined as central. There's a classic cartoon-villain term for this goal: taking over the world.

And those who would exclude or marginalize others, or who would question the goodness of the System itself? Are they to be excluded, leading to an obvious self-contradiction? No, they are to be either assimilated or destroyed. When Cook says that those who "push division and violence" (meaning, as we have seen, exclusion of others and criticism of the System) "have no place on our platform," he obviously doesn't mean that they should leave Apple and find some other platform. No alternative platforms can be tolerated, since then there would no longer be one single all-inclusive system. He's not telling white supremacists and conspiracy theorists to take their business elsewhere; he's telling them to fuck off and die. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

A very clear example of the Ahrimanic ideal: "that one soul shall not be lost."

License plate syncs

I have recently posted on the number 666, and on a dream about Charles Manson and Timothy Leary. This latter connection was reinforced this morning when I followed a link on Anonymous Conservative to a 2019 Telegraph article called "Making a murderer: did the CIA's secret LSD labs turn Charles Manson into a killer?" Leary is not mentioned in the article, but of course his name is synonymous with LSD.

Less than an hour after skimming the Manson article, I was stopped at a traffic light and suddenly became aware of the license plates of the three motorcycles stopped in front of me: NB6-616, MRK-75?? (I forget the last two digits, maybe 74?), and LDS-286. These entered my consciousness simultaneously and were all immediately perceived as meaningful.

I read the first one as "Nota bene: 66(1)6" -- that is, note well the number of the beast. (Some manuscripts of Revelation have 616 instead of 666.) Later I realized that NB itself could also stand for "number of the beast."

In that context, MRK obviously suggested the word mark, as in "mark of the beast." It also made me think of marek, which I (erroneously?) believed to be the Arabic word for "apostate." Back in 2002, when I had recently left the CJCLDS and sometimes lurked on, one of the regular posters there used the handle Al-Marek and explained that it meant "the apostate" in Arabic. Apparently, though, he just made that up; checking various online dictionaries and translators, I can find no such Arabic word.

Since MRK had made me think of my 2002 apostasy from Mormonism, the last license plate really jumped out at me. LDS of course means Latter-day Saint, i.e. Mormon, and 286 is the Simple English Gematria (S:E:G:) value of my full name. That is, if A=1 and Z=26, the sum of all the letters in William James Tychonievich is 286. (The number of the beast is also traditionally interpreted in terms of gematria, 666 and 616 being the values of two different transliterations of Nero Caesar.)

The combined message of the license plates was, then, "Mark well the number of the beast, apostate Mormon William James Tychonievich!"

Only I'd remembered the gematria wrong. As soon as I was off the road and could use a calculator, I added it up and found that the number of my name is actually 268, not 286. To make the license plate match my name, I would have to transpose the last two digits. And what about the other part of the license plate, LDS? If we perform the same transposition on it, we get, yes, LSD. (And if we transpose the last two phonemes of Latter-day Saint, we get Latter-day Satan, i.e. the antichrist or "beast." The S:E:G: value of LDS or LSD is 35; three and a half, or 3.5, a prominent number in the Book of Daniel, is borrowed by Revelation and associated with the antichrist.)

The LDS/LSD connection is made in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Kirk and Spock have time-traveled back to the 1980s, and Kirk tries to explain Spock's odd appearance and behavior by saying he "did a little too much LDS" in the sixties. I referenced this line recently in my April 29 post "Gadianton Canyon syncs," when a YouTuber dismissed a bit of Mormon-adjacent folklore (the Gadianton Canyon Incident) as most likely the result of "shrooms or LSD."

I have no particular interpretation of all this so far. We'll see where the sync fairies decide to go with it.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Great news! 90% of smokers have kicked the habit!

A July 5, 2021, Instagram post from Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Try to Be Less Mormon:

With the re-opening of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple today, every temple in the world has now reopened and resumed some level of operations! We may now serve and worship the Lord in these sacred edifices the world over and participate in precious ordinances. This is cause for celebration!

I will never forget the day near the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when we had to make the excruciating decision to close the temples. The rapid spread of the virus made this decision inevitable, but it was a painful one. I couldn’t help but wonder how the Prophet Joseph Smith and all of my predecessors would feel about the action we were taking.

But now, with the temples open, our work for those on both sides of the veil can be resumed. To have all our temples reopened, at least to some degree, is a cause for rejoicing.

I am grateful for the many scientists, health care workers, and leaders who have stemmed the tide of this virus such that we can now safely gather in larger numbers. And I thank you, my dear brothers and sisters, for your patience and worthiness to serve.

May we cherish the blessings of the House of the Lord and attend the temple as often as our circumstances permit.

"Every temple in the world has now reopened and resumed some level of operations." Ah, the ambiguity of the present perfect! The naïve reader may take it to mean that every LDS temple in the world is currently open and operating at some level -- which I know for a fact is not true, because every house of worship in Taiwan, including the Taipei Temple, is currently closed by government diktat. What President Nelson actually means is that every temple has, after being shut down in early 2020, reopened at some point for some period of time, though several of them have since been shut down again. In other words, he is using the present perfect in the sense exemplified by the old joke:

A: I think you should give up smoking.

B: But I have -- lots of times!

To which A, if his name were Russell M. Nelson, would reply, "This is cause for celebration!"

The Church News article reporting on President Nelson's post adds this clarification:

Note: The Kyiv Ukraine Temple, which reopened today, July 5, is the last of the faith’s 160 operating temples to resume worship since all closed at the onset of the pandemic. Because COVID-19 conditions vary widely around the world, temple operations are adjusted weekly and temporarily paused when necessary. Worship in 10 temples is currently paused and will resume as soon as local conditions allow. Another eight temples are closed for renovation.

So 10 temples remain closed for the birdemic -- but, hey, at least each of them reopened for a while before being closed again! A cause for rejoicing!

In fact, even if 100% of the temples were currently open and operating again, that still wouldn't be cause for celebration, because they would be open only contingently, on the understanding that they could be shut down at any time, with or without government compulsion, in response to "the rapid spread of a virus" or whatever the next phantom menace happens to be. President Nelson's remarks make it clear that he has not repented, does not feel that his decision was wrong, and would do it again in similar circumstances. Although he makes a token reference to searching his soul and wondering what Joseph Smith would think, in the end he still maintains that the closure of all temples -- well in advance of any government compulsion -- was "inevitable." That's a pretty funny word to use for something that had never happened before in the history of the world!

Timothy and Charlie

I often dream of book titles, but this time I dreamed I was actually reading a book. It was some sort of history of the sixties, and I was reading about how Timothy Leary once tried to recruit Charles Manson to help him spread the gospel of LSD. Nothing had come of it, but later, when Manson had become notorious for his supposed role in the supposed murders, this recruitment attempt became a sort of scandal and permanently damaged whatever was left of Leary's reputation.

After waking up, I naturally did a web search for charles manson timothy leary to see if my dream had had any basis in fact. It turns out that the two did meet briefly in 1971 or 1974 (accounts vary), when Leary's cell was next door to Manson's in Folsom Prison. Of course this was after Tate-LaBianca. There's even a play based on this meeting, with the Snakes on a Plane-esque title Charles Manson and Timothy Leary in Folsom Prison, which was written by Peter McLaren and performed in Toronto in 2009.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Blood in the wine

Most dreams evaporate from memory within minutes of waking, but this one has persisted for several days and keeps coming back to mind as something potentially significant. It's a dream, and as such obviously can't be expected to make sense in a linear, point-by-point manner, but I still feel as if it were trying to communicate something.

A couple had arrived at house and were taking groceries out of their car. I think I was their guest or something, and I felt that courtesy demanded that I help them by carrying the heaviest items. I was too slow, though, and they were already carrying everything themselves. It particularly bothered me that the woman was carrying a big cardboard box which was full of various things and looked quite heavy. I tried to take it from her, but she wouldn't let go of it. Feeling that I had to do something to help, I took a few of the heaviest items out of her box and carried them -- three bottles of wine, one red and two white.

Since I was only carrying a few things, I got into the kitchen first and was about to set the bottles down on the table when I noticed that one of the white-wine bottles had started leaking profusely and was about to fall apart. Although it felt exactly like glass in my hand, it wasn't breaking the way glass breaks. It was more like a piece of ice that looks solid but has little seams of melt inside which have compromised its structural integrity. I felt that some parts of the bottle had sort of slipped down vertically -- I thought of that collapsing ice sheet footage they always show in global warming documentaries -- and that, while the bottle was still in one piece for now, it would shortly break apart entirely.

I knew that wine wasn't cheap, so my concern became how to save as much of it as possible before the bottle shattered. There were a few items of glassware on the table, including a wide-mouthed hobnail glass carafe. It looked slightly dusty but otherwise clean, and I decided to hold the collapsing wine bottle over it and let it catch as much of the wine as possible. I guess I salvaged about half of it.

Now that the wine was in a clear container, I could see that it wasn't white wine at all but rosé -- and then I saw why. There was a long, curving laceration along the periphery of my right palm, from the base of the thumb almost to the base of the pinky, and it had been dripping blood into the carafe. (I hadn't noticed before because there was no pain; there generally isn't in dreams.) I found that a large, very thin piece of broken glass had slipped under the skin of my palm. (I assumed it was from the wine bottle, although looking back on the dream now I can see it was much too clear and too thin for that.) I slowly drew it out, grimacing and inhaling through my teeth as I did so even though there was no pain. I was still bleeding a bit, though not nearly as much as you'd expect from a cut like that, and I dabbed at the wound with a tissue.

Then I looked again at the half-full carafe and realized that all my efforts had been wasted. "They can't drink this, I said. "This is my blood."

Immediately I checked myself: "'This is my blood'? That's blasphemous!"

Besides the fairly explicit reference to the Last Supper at the end of the dream, I think there's also a clear allusion to Jesus' saying about wine and bottles. (He was actually talking about wineskins, not glassware, but the King James uses "bottles.")

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved (Matt. 9:17).

In the dream, this is reversed: It is the new bottle (or newly bought, anyway) that breaks, and some of the wine is saved by transferring it to an "old bottle" (the dusty carafe).

My sense immediately upon waking was that the breaking bottle represented the ongoing collapse of our civilization -- particularly of what used to be called "Christendom." That civilization has been the carrier of much that is of great value (the expensive wine), of which I wanted to save as much as possible before the collapse was complete.

The new wine bottle thus represents the modern System, and the dusty carafe must represent something older that I was attempting to transfer the wine of Christianity into. While I don't consider myself at all "reactionary," and tend to think of the Romantic Christian project as something fundamentally new, it is in a certain sense a return to the old -- to animism, for example, and other pre-Hellenistic ways of thinking (Hellenistic philosophy being the glass bottle in which Christianity was immured almost from the beginning). At any rate, the carafe was obviously just a stopgap measure, not a long-term receptacle for the precious wine.

The change from the tinted glass of a wine bottle to the clear glass of the carafe could also represent an increase in clarity, a little less "seeing through a glass, darkly" than before. (Yes, glass in that verse means "mirror," but my dreaming subconscious reads the KJV more naïvely.)

There are many possible interpretations of the blood. At the most basic level, it represents the (minor but certainly not negligible) element of risk, suffering, and self-sacrifice inherent in the project.

It also represents the addition of the personal, the embrace of a more participatory role in faith and in Creation. Instead of passively imbibing something that I figure ought to be good because it was bottled up a long time ago in "a good year," I add my own life's blood to the mix. Not intentionally, I might add; it just happens in the process of trying to salvage the vintage wine.

As the end of the dream hints, there is certainly an element of presumptuousness in taking a DIY approach to Christianity, as if one were arrogating to oneself the role of the religious leader -- almost as if one were trying to usurp the role of Christ himself. ("How can I say, 'This is my blood'? That's blasphemous!")

"Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world" (2 Nephi 26:29), but in the dream I say (changing the emphasis a bit), "They can't drink this; this is my blood." The blood-wine concoction is suitable only for myself. As for the couple, well, they still have a bottle apiece.

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