Friday, June 2, 2023

I need to take a long break from being an Internet Person

My original plan was to take a break from blogging and most other Internet activity during April and May and resume normal posting around now. Neither of those things ended up happening. I continued to post during my break, albeit at reduced frequency, and now that I'm supposed to be back, I'm feeling more strongly than ever that I just need to disconnect for a while, spend more time in nature, and go back to reading and writing books instead of posts, to say nothing of memes.

I'm not necessarily recommending this for anyone else. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. I've benefited immensely from blogging, from my commenters, from reading certain blogs, and even sometimes from engaging with such wretched hives of scum and villainy as 4chan and YouTube. (No, not Twitter. There are limits.) Right now, though, what is necessary for me is to disengage.

I'll leave comments on so that the old comments will remain visible, but I won't be reading new comments. You can still reach me at protonmail or gmail; in either case, the address is wiltyc.

Blue-eyed angels of death

On May 27, as I was finishing George MacDonald's book At the Back of the North Wind, I took a photo of the last page but one (p. 350) because it reminded me of something that I wanted to check later. In the passage that caught my eye, the boy Diamond, at death's door, reports that he has been visited one last time by his old friend, the North Wind personified as a woman:

"Have you seen your friend again?" I asked him.

"Yes," he answered solemnly."

"Did she take you out with her?"

"No. She did not speak to me. I woke all at once, as I generally do when I am going to see her, and there she was against the door into the big room, sitting just as I saw her sit on her own doorstep, as white as snow, and her eyes as blue as the heart of an iceberg. She looked at me, but she never moved or spoke."

A few paragraphs later, Diamond is dead. What this made me think of was one of Whitley Strieber's visitors, a very white personage with very blue eyes, who came to him and said, "I want to talk to you about your death." I knew where to find this episode -- in the chapter entitled "The White Angel" in Transformation -- but I was away from my library at the time, so I took the photo to remind myself to check it later.

On Monday, May 29, I had not yet got around to checking the Strieber story when I found this on p. 30 of Muriel Barbery's The Life of Elves. Clara, one of the two magical children around whom the story revolves, has just been asked a question:

In response, she looked up at him with her eyes as blue as the torrents from the glacier, with a gaze in which the angels of mystery sang.

Like the North Wind in the MacDonald passage, she looks but does not speak; and the blue eyes of the two characters are described in very similar language, with reference to icebergs and glaciers. The "angel" reference is also a link to the Strieber story, and this time I was in my study and was able to check it. I took down Transformation and found "The White Angel." This is from p. 66:

I began to recall what had happened on the night of May 30 [1986]. . . . a small being dressed in white came walking quickly across the room. . . . I remember nothing at all of the size or facial features of this person, being, visitor, or whatever it was. All I do remember is an impression of unusual whiteness and light-blue eyes. . . .

The being looked directly into my eyes and said, "I want to talk to you about your death." When we made eye contact I saw only blueness -- the blue of heaven. It was like entering another world.

What happened to me next is hard to describe. An explosion went through my body. And then there was the dread. It was as cold as steel around my throat. I wanted to jump away, to run, to scream, to do anything to get away from that terrible, beautiful blue and those terrible words.

The being obviously sensed this. The blueness sort of snapped and I could see again.

May 30, 1986 -- and here I was looking it up on May 29, one day before the 37th anniversary of the event. As reported in my last post, "Two books featuring magical children in beech trees and invisible dragonfly wings," which also connects The Life of Elves with At the Back of the North Wind, I started reading the former book on May 27, which turned out to be one day before the author's 54th birthday.

Strieber's visitant, like Diamond's, is extremely white, has light-blue eyes, and seems to presage death. Although the eyes are not directly compared to ice, looking into them causes a "cold as steel" sensation.

After typing the above, at around 11:30 p.m. on June 1, I opened up The Life of Elves. My bookmark was on p. 122, the beginning of a chapter. The chapter begins with these words:

Oh, so handsome; so tall and blond; eyes bluer than the water of a glacier; porcelain features in the face of a virile man; . . . Yes, the handsomest of angels, indeed, and it made you wonder how you could have lived until now, without this promise of renewal and love.

This second glacier-eyed character is Raffaele Santangelo, the Governor of Rome. Earlier, in a chapter called (with reference to Santangelo) "The Voice of Death," Clara asks about him, "Is he the devil?" and is told, "In a way, yes, you could say he is the devil, but it's not the name that is the most important" (p. 68). Similarly, Strieber's encounter with his "White Angel" leads him to muse, "I have wondered whether angels and demons might be the same beings in different costumes" (p. 67). MacDonald also strongly implies that some people would see the North Wind character, known by Diamond to be good, as the devil.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Two books featuring magical children in beech trees and invisible dragonfly wings

I finished reading George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind (1870) today, that is to say, May 27. In the last few chapters, the main character, a rather otherworldly little boy named Diamond who has lived in London for almost the entire story, relocates to the countryside and acquires the habit of climbing up into "a great beech-tree." When the narrator first meets Diamond (Chapter 35, "I Make Diamond's Acquaintance"), he is sitting at the foot of the beech and later climbs "into the leafy branches." In the next chapter we see him climbing it again, and one of the other children asks, "What are you always going up there for, Diamond?"

Also in Chapter 35, just before he climbs the beech, Diamond describes his encounter with what must surely have been a dragonfly:

"What did the boy and girl want with you, Diamond?" I asked.

"They had seen a creature that frightened them."

. . .

"And what was it?"

"I think it was a kind of angel -- a very little one. It had a long body and great wings, which it drove about it so fast that they grew a thin cloud all round it. It flew backwards and forwards over the well, or hung right in the middle, making a mist of its wings, as if its business was to take care of the water."

All three children are recent transplants from London and have apparently never seen a dragonfly before. Apparently some children do find them frightening; I recall some scientist (Feynman?) telling the story of how he, armed with his scientific knowledge that these insects are harmless, was the only one of his peers not to be afraid of them. (The reason for Diamond's own fearlessness is quite different: "Because I'm silly. I'm never frightened at things.") Note how Diamond emphasizes the indistinct blur of the dragonfly's rapidly moving wings.

After finishing At the Back of the North Wind, I had a stack of eight or nine books on my desk, candidates for what I should read next, ranging from Captains Courageous to a new-to-me translation of Virgil to a commentary on the Shiva Sutras. The one I ended up choosing, more or less at random, was an English translation of The Life of Elves (2015) by Muriel Barbery, an author I knew nothing about. (I had picked it up at a used bookstore because the French approach to faery is interesting to me vis-à-vis Joan of Arc and her reputed faery connections.) Here's how it begins:

The little girl spent most of her hours of leisure in the branches. When her family did not know where to find her, they would go to the trees, the tall beech to start with, the one that stood to the north above the lean-to, for that was where she liked to daydream . . . .

Right there in the first two sentences we have another little child who spends her time in the branches of a great beech! On the very next page we learn that she, too, is rather otherworldly, and this is explained with what is apparently a reference to the indistinct blur of a dragonfly's beating wings:

Only the eldest auntie, by virtue of an abiding penchant for anything that could not be explained, thought to herself that there was something magical about the little girl; but one thing was certain, that for such a young child she bore herself in a most unusual way, incorporating some of the invisibility and trembling of the air, as a dragonfly would, or palms swaying in the wind.

On the next page after that, we learn that this (as yet nameless) girl is also, like Diamond, unusually fearless:

[She] sensed the nearby presence in the mist of an invisible creature, and she knew more surely than the existence of God proclaimed by the priest that this creature was both friendly and supernatural. Thus she was not afraid.

This intuition that the unknown creature is "both friendly and supernatural" parallels Diamond's assumption that the dragonfly, so frightening to the other children, must be "a kind of angel."

At this point I decided I had better try to find out something about who this Muriel Barbery was before reading any further. I had the odd idea that she might have a thing or two in common with George MacDonald -- Muriel is as Gaelic a name as MacDonald, for starters. I didn't find much of interest, except the unexpected fact that she was born in Morocco. She "left her birthplace with her French parents when she was two months old," which I suppose means she is ethnically French; on the other hand, Barbery surely has reference to the Barbary Coast and the Berbers. It is only a coincidence, of course, that in the Bible Bar- appears as a patronymic prefix identical in meaning to Mac-.

The biographical detail that really caught my attention, though, was her birthdate: May 28, 1969. I started reading her book about half an hour before midnight on May 27 -- a very near miss on the part of the sync fairies!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Very minor sync: Mormon bloggers "advancing the ball"

In yesterday's "'Russian-reversal' consecration revisited," I discuss what I had thought was a peculiarity of Book or Mormon phraseology, but which turns out to have been used by Protestants as well. This made me think of my attempt years ago to find any non-BoM instances of the unusual construction "It supposes me that . . ." (to mean "I suppose . . ."), and I thought I might as well give it another go. Googling "it supposeth me" turned up a blog post with that very title, which got my hopes up, but it turned out to be an old 2006 post by Kevin Barney at the "liberal Mormon" blog By Common Consent, which I had read at the time but since forgotten about. He begins by citing me as the person who raised the question, spends a few paragraphs not finding an answer, and concludes with, "OK, that’s a start. Someone pick up the ball and advance it down the field for us." So the source of the construction remains a mystery.

Reading this Mormon blog reminded me that I hadn't checked the (much more simpatico) Mormon blog Junior Ganymede lately, so I rectified that omission and read the May 22 post "Reflections about Standards." The post begins with a long prologue about the overall purpose of the blog, including this:

Which brings us to the last and most unusual thing this blog is. We are faith exploring and faith compatible. We start with the gospel as a premise and then work out from there. . . . Instead of trying to get you to believe, here we take it for granted that you already do and then try to advance the ball.

Just a minor coincidence, since it's not that uncommon an expression. A site search of BCC shows that Kevin Barney uses it quite frequently. Junior Ganymede has only used it this once, though -- and I just happened to read it just after finding the same thing on BCC, a site I had not visited in probably 10 years or more.

Friday, May 26, 2023

"Russian-reversal" consecration revisited

Last night I was listening to some music on YouTube, and discovered this recently uploaded (May 20) performance by the Petersens of the hymn "How Firm a Foundation":

This surprised me because the Petersens are Protestants, and I had always thought that this was an exclusively Mormon hymn. I had assumed this because of the opening lines -- "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, / Is laid for your faith in his excellent word" -- in which saints is used to refer to all believers, implicitly including even those who may be struggling with their faith. I had always thought that this was a distinctively Mormon use of that word, that in the larger Christian world a "saint" was always an extraordinary person of exemplary holiness, and that our giving ourselves the title "Latter-day Saints" must sound incredibly pretentious to outsiders, as if we had dubbed ourselves "heroes" or "geniuses" or something.

Well, that just goes to show how little I really know about non-Lutheran Protestantism. Here's Wikipedia setting me straight:

In many Protestant churches, the word saint is used more generally to refer to anyone who is a Christian. . . . The use of "saint" within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is similar to the Protestant tradition.

I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. Mormonism grew up in a Protestant milieu and would naturally express itself in a Protestant-derived idiom.

One question I haven't been able to find the answer to: Do the less-Catholic branches of Protestantism (excluding Anglicans, Lutherans, and Methodists) use saint as a title, as in St. Peter, St. Paul, etc.? Mormons don't, but I had always assumed that most other Christians do -- based, for example, on references to "St. Peter" in bluegrass music, Negro spirituals, etc. If any of my readers happen to be of the Protestant persuasion, perhaps they can enlighten me.

But this post isn't really about the use of the word saint. As the title indicates, it's a revisiting of my November 2022 post "In Mormon Russia, the Lord consecrates things unto YOU." In that post, I noted that in the Bible, people always consecrate things to the Lord, while in the Book of Mormon, the Lord always consecrates things to people. The one exception is a single reference, which appears in both books (Micah 4:13, 3 Ne. 20:19), to the Lord consecrating things to himself. Well, like the broad use of saint, this turns out not to be as distinctively Mormon as I had thought. Here is the third verse of "How Firm a Foundation":

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

The whole verse is in quotation marks because it is meant to be the Lord speaking -- saying that he will sanctify to you, Christian, your deepest distress. This is very close to the language of the Book of Mormon: "thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain" (2 Ne. 2:2).

The word used is sanctify, not consecrate, but these are more-or-less synonymous. Checking all occurrences of forms of sanctify in the Bible, I find that it is generally used without a preposition, but when things are sanctified to someone, that someone is always the Lord. (See Ex. 13:2, Lev. 27:14-22, Num. 8:17, Deut. 15:19, 2 Chr. 30:17.) In the Book of Mormon, things are always sanctified by the Lord to people. (See Jacob 4:5, Moro. 4:3, Moro. 5:2). This is the same pattern I found with consecrate.

"How Firm a Foundation" -- which first appears, with an anonymous author, in a 1787 Baptist hymnal -- follows, or rather foreshadows, the Mormon usage.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Cuckoo syncs

I recently finished reading The Uninscribed by Stephanie South, which left me with the feeling that there is some specific British slang expression which perfectly encapsulates her particular brand of wackiness, but I couldn't quite get it off the tip of my tongue and still can't. While I was trying to dredge it up from my memory, though, one of the rejected possibilities that came to mind was cuckoo, which set off its own train of thought. One of the main ideas South promotes (she got it from the late José Argüelles) is what she calls the 13:20 system, a 13-month calendar where each of the days has a goofy New-Agey name like Galactic Rainbow Dolphin, and apparently if everyone would just start using this calendar instead of the evil Gregorian "12:60" system, it would bring about world peace and, uh, higher vibrational something something. Basically, it's like Time Cube, but with fewer insults and more galactic rainbow dolphins.

So it occurred to me that, while cuckoo is not the still-elusive mot juste for South herself, the perfect nickname for the New Age Time Cube timekeeping system she promotes is the cuckoo clock. What time is it when the clock strikes thirteen? Time to get a new clock!

Cuckoos and calendars made me think of the Middle English song "Sumer is icumen in," since it's about cuckoos and the changing of the seasons. I only really know a few lines of it, but I started humming it to myself and trying to remember the rest.

I still had "Sing cuccu" in my head when I decided to go online last night and check a few blogs and YouTube channels. I found that one of Bruce Charlton's recent (May 23) posts was "A dissonant cuckoo in Rothbury" -- about a cuckoo that was singing its song wrong, a bit like a clock striking thirteen. Speaking of that number, Bruce also mentions in the post that the cuckoo's song (the proper version) "was immortalized by Handel in the delightful second movement of his organ concerto in F No. 13."

On YouTube, I found a May 24 upload by LXXXVIII finis temporis called "the Wicker Man (1973) | The sacrifice of Jesus Christ | 9/11 - 33." It's about how that movie (which I have never seen) supposedly contains many references to the crucifixion of Christ and to the number 33, though most of the latter are pretty strained. (Wicker Man = WM, and each of those letters looks a bit like a numeral 3 if you rotate it. Christopher Lee = CL, the 3rd and 12th letters of the alphabet, and 1 + 2 = 3. That sort of thing. The 9/11 links are even more tenuous -- the wicker man has two legs, for example, just like the Twin Towers.) It prominently features a scene from The Wicker Man in which the main character is burned to death inside the titular wicker man while Christopher Lee and the others sing a partially modernized version of "Sumer is icumen in"! It seems like an odd choice of songs for a human sacrifice, but I guess the director just wanted some "period" music to emphasize that these are practitioners of ye olde religion. As this bit plays, LXXXVIII emphasizes references to the crucifixion -- parts of the wicker man form a cross, the victim keeps shouting "Jesus!" etc.

As I was writing this post, I wanted to make sure I'd spelled "Sumer is icumen in" correctly, so I checked the Wikipedia article on that song, which includes this note: "Beneath the Middle English lyrics in the manuscript, there is also a set of Latin lyrics which consider the sacrifice of the Crucifixion of Jesus."

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Syncs: At the Back of the North Wind

As documented in my May 13 post "Syncs: The World Beneath," I recently ran across the James Gurney book Dinotopia: The World Beneath, and I did eventually manage to read the whole thing. Of all the dinos and other prehistoric creatures in the story, only one of them has an invented name: skybax, a fictional species of Quetzalcoatlus. I asked Mr. Gurney if the second element of that name meant anything in particular, but he said he could no longer remember; he had invented it because he thought Quetzalcoatlus was too much of a mouthful.

I thought skybax sounded like sky-back, which made me think of the Flammarion engraving, in which a man pokes his head through the firmament and can see what is in back of the sky. An email correspondent was reminded of skybox, a method used in video-game graphics to create the illusion of an infinitely distant sky. This "sky" actually consists of the inner surfaces of a finite cube, though; Wikipedia notes that a similar device, the skydome, works on a similar principle but uses a sphere or hemisphere instead of a cube. So two quite different free-association etymologies for skybax each leads to the Flammarion concept.

In addition to Q. skybax, the (non-fictional) type species, Q. northropi, also appears in The World Beneath, but the "northies" are only mentioned on one page: p. 150, next to a picture captioned "Casting away the ruby sunstone."

As I had already connected skybax with the idea of "the back of the sky," the juxtaposition with northies made me think of a book I had bought over a year ago but had not yet read: At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. It was actually sitting right there on my desk, since I had been rearranging some of my books and had not yet found a suitable place for it in any of my bookcases. I picked it up, glanced at the table of contents, and saw that one of the chapter titles is "Ruby."

Then, remembering that I had used the Flammarion engraving a few times on my blog, I looked up those old posts and discovered that one of them, "Break on through to the other side" (July 2022) features an epigram from none other than George MacDonald.

That was enough to make me start reading At the Back of the North Wind, and as I write this post I'm about halfway through it. The main character is a boy named Diamond, and the reason he has such an unusual name is that he was named after his father's favorite horse. As he explains to the title character when they first meet, "Diamond is a great and good horse; . . . he's big Diamond and I'm little Diamond; and I don't know which of us my father likes best."

This talk of big and little diamonds is another link to the sunstones of The World Beneath:

As I mentioned, I have been rearranging some of the books in my rather large library, and last night I ran across my copy of Shelley's Poetry and Prose (Norton), which I had forgotten I owned. Since Shelley's poem about the sensitive plant was in the sync-stream a while back, I took it down and looked up that poem. Lines 106-07 caught my eye:

And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out

The North Wind of MacDonald's story typically takes the form of a beautiful long-haired woman who is sometimes extremely large and other times "just about the height a dragon-fly would be, if it stood on end." (Dragonflies again!) At one point, though, she takes on rather different appearance:

At the foot of the stair North Wind stood still, and Diamond, hearing a great growl, started in terror, and there, instead of North Wind, was a huge wolf by his side. He let go of his hold in dismay, and the wolf bounded up the stair. The windows of the house rattled and shook as if guns were firing, and the sound of a great fall came from above. Diamond stood with white face staring up at the landing.

"Surely," he thought, "North Wind can't be eating one of the children!"

Incidentally, I started At the Back of the North Wind just after finishing The Uninscribed by Stephanie South (which is just about the new-agiest thing I've encountered in my puff, and I say this as someone who has read Pleiadian Perspectives on Human Evolution by Amorah Quan Yin) -- from South to North. South calls herself the Red Queen -- a reference to the nickname of an unidentified Mayan woman, but also a Lewis Carroll character who, since Carroll made it clear she is a different person from the Queen of Hearts, could only be the Queen of Diamonds. Here's the opening paragraph of The Uninscribed:

As a child, I had recurring visions of underground time tunnels in the earth. The tunnels were connected to a transport system with openings that led into past, present, and future. Through these tunnels, I witnessed world wars, a time of dinosaurs and giants, as well as possible futures.

Underground tunnels and dinosaurs are another link to The World Beneath, but also note that the very first sentence mentions time tunnels -- as in my February 24 post "Green Lantern pterosaur time-tunnel story here!" (That was a gematria-inspired title, by the way. In S:E:G:, Green Lantern = pterosaur = time tunnel = story here = 133.)

Today I gave some of my very young English students a test. It was an old test I had made for a different group of students two years ago, well before the pterosaur or dragonfly syncs started. It's testing extremely basic English grammar -- the use of is and are, and giving short answers to yes/no questions. There's a picture and a question of the form "Is it . . .?" or "Are they . . .?" and they have to complete and answer the question. If the correct answer is "No," of course, almost any picture will do, so just for kicks I had thrown in a few random prehistoric creatures. For example:

This is the one that really got my attention today, though:

Not only is it a pterosaur, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a Quetzalcoatlus northropi. I may have chosen it as a sort of pun (pterosaurs are called "winged dragons" in Chinese), or maybe it was just totally random, like the hamster titanotheres. Either way, it was a strange coincidence running into it again now.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Monks with smartphones

Last night, someone emailed me a link to Paul Kingsnorth's article "The Universal." At around 1:00 a.m., I read it and the follow-up article "The Neon God." These are about the spiritual implications of computers, the Internet, and AI, and both are highly recommended.

"The Neon God" begins with an anecdote about seeing an Orthodox monk on Mount Athos use a smartphone:

Just thirty years ago there was very little electricity, and most travel was by foot or mule. But Athos has been modernising. Big money has flowed in from some governments and the EU, and the sound of car engines, which had never been heard at all until the 1990s, is now almost as common in some places as the sight of cranes. But it was the intrusion of the digital into the Holy Mountain which shocked me most. The first time I saw an Athonite monk pull a smartphone out from the pocket of his long black robes, I nearly fell over backwards.

There was something about this experience which really hit me. In practical terms it can, no doubt, be explained or justified; anything can if you try hard enough. But the pit that appeared in my stomach when I first saw a monk on the Holy Mountain with one of those black mirrors in his hand came from an instinct I’ve long had: that the sacred and the digital not only don’t mix, but are fatal to each other. That they are in metaphysical opposition. That what comes through these screens bleeds out any connection with the divine, with nature or with the fullness of humanity. Seeing smartphones in a place so dedicated to prayer and to God: I don’t mind admitting that it was a blow. Even here, I thought, even them. If even they can’t make a stand, who possibly could?

Approximately 12 hours later, just after lunch this afternoon, I took out one of the books I have been reading, The Uninscribed by Stephanie South, and read a few pages, starting on p. 168. On the very next page, 169, I read this:

My first trip out of town [after the death of my husband] was to Melbourne to see the Dalai Lama. Votan and I already had tickets and had paid for a hotel for two nights. I had seat 114, sitting next to Votan's empty seat, 113. I thought it curious to see all of the Dalai Lama's monks glued to their cell phones. There was a chaotic feeling in the air.

Kingsnorth's trip to Mount Athos was in 2022, and he was profoundly shocked to see that a monk even owned a smartphone. South, in 2011, saw all the monks glued to their phones but merely "thought it curious."

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Mini T. rex, dragonfly, One33

Yesterday, May 16, in the very same spot where I had earlier found an iron Green Lantern emblem, I found yet another mini T. rex.

996 + 996 = 1992, when the first Dinotopia book was published.

This is the Lonely T. Rex, protagonist of Google Chrome's Dinosaur Game. As in Green Lantern #30, the T. rex and the ptero are enemies. According to Wikipedia:

During the game, the Lonely T-Rex continuously moves from left to right across a black-and-white desert landscape, with the player attempting to avoid oncoming obstacles such as cacti and Pteranodons by jumping or ducking. . . . As the game progresses, the speed of play gradually increases until the user hits an obstacle or a Pterosaur, prompting an instant game over.

Later the same day, I went to Taichung, which I don't do very often, and saw this new-to-me billboard:

One33. As noted in my February 22 post "Will Power is the flame of the Green Lantern!" 133 is the S:E:G: value of Green Lantern, will power, and pterosaur. In Dinotopia, the pterosaur ("skybax") rider is named Will. Note also that the S:E:G: value of the word one is 34, so here's another juxtaposition of 34 and 33.

In the evening, I went to my school. (I have most of Tuesday off, with just two classes in the evening.) We have a big magnetic bulletin board, and several of the magnets used to hold things up there have the form of insects: eight or nine butterflies and one dragonfly. When I arrived last night, I found that one of these had been placed on my desk because the magnetic part had fallen off, making it unusable. No points for guessing which one it was.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Dragonflies and double-D lemniscates

In my May 13 post "Syncs: The World Beneath," I mention parallels between Dinotopia: The World Beneath and the trailer for the upcoming movie Meg 2: The Trench. -- the most noticeable being that both begin with "dragonfly" scenes.

Less than 24 hours after publishing that post, I happened to see the trailer for the 2017 movie Kong: Skull Island, and it, too, throws in some dragonfly footage.

Both trailers also prominently feature helicopters, but that's pretty much a given in a monster movie. Anyway, the dragonfly sync was enough to make me watch the whole movie. Skull Island features two fictional organizations: LandSat, whose satellites discovered the titular island (which, like Dinotopia, is kept isolated by permanent storm systems that surround it); and Monarch, a secret organization that deals with monsters and which apparently originally comes from the Godzilla franchise. (I've never actually watched a Godzilla movie myself.) LandSat's logo features the double-D, and Monarch's is a double-delta lemniscate. Monarch has its own Twitter page, with the slogan "Discovery and Defense in a Time of Monsters."

Discovery and Defense = D&D, and Time is a link to the hourglass. The logo looks like a sideways hourglass, but I suppose it is intended to suggest the letter M and a butterfly.

A secret government program that calls itself Monarch and uses butterfly imagery? I suppose anyone who reads this blog is conspiracy-adjacent enough to recognize that as an MKUltra reference. In the 2009 movie The Men Who Stare at Goats (part of an extremely improbable sync of its own), a reporter works to expose MKUltra-type activity, but is dismayed when the media only picks up one point, which it plays for laughs: that the government tortures people by forcing them to listen non-stop to the theme song from Barney the Purple Dinosaur

This is a pretty clear link to the Dinotopia concept: humans and dinosaurs living together in harmony.

I should also mention that a shape like the Monarch logo puts in an appearance in the music video for Muse's "Sing for Absolution":

As one final sync wink on the night of May 13, I listened to Alex Jones on Joe Rogan (from 2019), and one of the many things they discussed was Dragonfly, a (since-abandoned) project by Google to create a search engine that would be compatible with Chinese censorship requirements and thus be allowed to operate in that country. (The idea of Google cooperating with government censorship was considered shocking back then. How times change!)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Yet another mini T. rex, and the Black Dog Star trifecta

On my way home on Saturday (May 13), I was about to pass a little mom-and-pop general store that I always pass, when I suddenly thought, "Oh, I should stop there. I need to buy -- uh, peanuts and whiskey. I think we're running low on peanuts and whiskey." Actually, we had no peanuts or whiskey at all, which was quite normal, as neither of those items is a regular part of my diet. This was obviously just the left brain spinning its wheels trying to rationalize a hunch, but whatever; I stopped and bought some peanuts and whiskey. When I came out, I found this lying on the pavement just inches from my parked motorcycle:

This is what we call a mini T. rex. It's like, how much more of a mini T. rex could this be? And the answer is none. None more. I'm pretty sure it wasn't there when I parked, though I suppose I could have missed it. Back on April 7, I came out of a shop and found near my motorcycle a piece of rusted metal in the shape of the Green Lantern emblem.

I was pretty sure that hadn't been there when I had arrived, either, but in fact it had. When I had arrived, I had snapped a photo of a scooter that had paw prints and "Let's Go" on it, and the Green Lantern object is clearly visible in the background.

I had taken that photo because black dogs and paw prints had begun to appear in my sync stream. This made me go back and read the first post on Black Dog Star, from 2009. (Unfortunately, all the images from that post are now dead links, making it a little hard to follow.) The very first synchronistic pattern that Arrowsmith identified was the co-occurrence of three things: (1) paw prints, (2) a pair of pentagrams (five-pointed stars), and (3) a name with the initials PP. One of the early instances of this pattern was the 2002 Spider-Man movie:

In this sequence we see Peter Parker chasing his school bus which has a banner displaying the Paw Prints and a Pair of (green) Pentagrams

On Saturday evening, shortly after finding the mini T. rex, I stopped at a pet supply store I had never been inside before: Pet Park. I had actually posted a photo of this place back in 2021, in a post called "Secretly Spid-Man." That is, the whole point of the post was to note the similarity of the name to Peter Parker.

Although I had cropped it off in the photo posted in 2021, the logo also includes -- unsurprisingly for a pet shop -- a paw print.

So that's two out of three: the paw print, and a name with the initials PP -- and not just any name, but one that I had already noticed was very similar to Peter Parker. No pair of pentagrams, though, until on Saturday I finally went inside and found this:

There's a pair of pentagrams just above the Shiba Inu, so that's the trifecta. Later on, Arrowsmith decided that the two pentagrams represented the Sun and the Black Dog Star (Sirius), so it's appropriate that the Pet Park pentagrams include a bright white star and its dark shadow.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Syncs: The World Beneath

On the afternoon of May 12, I was in my school's library looking for a particular book when a book spontaneously fell from its place on the shelf. Stooping to pick it up, I was startled to see on the cover a yellow (mostly yellow) ptero.

I was vaguely aware that there was a series of books called Dinotopia (Greek for "terrible place"!) but had never read any of them. Naturally, after it had jumped out at me, with a sync-fairy calling card on the cover, I had to pick it up and take a look. There were, unsurprisingly, numerous syncs, only some of which I can get into in this post.

I first checked the copyright page and saw that the book had been published in 1995. I thought, "Wow, that's kind of a long time ago. I was 16." Then, skimming the first few pages, I discovered that the boy on the cover -- the character who rides the yellow-winged ptero -- is named Will and is 16 years old.

I tried to read the book but just couldn't manage to plow through it. James Gurney is an artist, not a writer, and the story -- which really exists only as an excuse for the wonderful illustrations -- is very poorly written. I skimmed it, though, and basically there are two parallel plotlines: Will has to fly his ptero into T. rex territory to get a medicinal plant to save a baby Triceratops; meanwhile, his father, Arthur, takes a submarine down to the titular "world beneath," where he discovers the ruins of the dino version of Atlantis.

The story opens with Will testing, and crashing, a "dragoncopter" designed by his father. This is an ornithopter patterned after a dragonfly. This was a minor sync, because earlier that day I had created a vocabulary quiz for my students. One of the target words was dragonfly, and on the quiz I put a picture of a dragonfly and wrote "The _____ has four wings." The illustration in the Dinotopia book also emphasized the four wings.

Later in the story, a key is needed to open a door in the world beneath. Two of the characters each have a half-key, and these must be combined in order to open the door. Each half-key features a spiral and a semicircle (D-shape), and when combined they form something very close to a lemniscate -- so, another double-D lemniscate sync, combined with the "opening the door" theme.

I was also surprised to run into this picture on p. 68:

Recognize that image? Back in December, I illustrated my post "Nutmeg is a drug" with this meme:

It was just some random meme I had run into a few weeks before and saved because I thought it was funny. (I don't remember where I got it; possibly 4chan or Secret Sun.) When I wrote a post about accidentally taking a psychoactive dose of nutmeg, I remembered that meme and put it in the post. Well, apparently this is where the picture originally came from.

Later that evening, I was at home doing some housework and playing some music on YouTube. I don't have a paid account, which means my playlist is interrupted from time to time with ads. One of these ads had just started playing, and I was going to tap "skip" when I noticed what it was saying: ". . . deep in the trench. It's an ancient ecosystem, untouched by man." Since Dinotopia: The World Beneath had featured an underwater journey to "Gold Digger Trench," home to an ancient ecosystem untouched by man (trilobites, a Devonian Dunkleosteus, etc.), that got my attention. It was a movie trailer, and I decided to watch it to the end to see what the movie was. The title was displayed only in Chinese, but it looked like it must be a sequel to the Jason Stathan shark movie The Meg.

After I'd finished the chores, I got on my computer and looked up the trailer for said sequel, which turns out to be called Meg 2: The Trench. The Dinotopia book not only features "Gold Digger Trench" but also has a minor character named Meg.

Here's the trailer:

Despite the fact that this is a shark movie, the first thing we see in the trailer is a dragonfly, followed shortly by a T. rex. This closely parallels Dinotopia: The World Beneath, which opens with Will attempting to pilot a dragoncopter, "designed after a dragonfly," and then has him go off on a mission to T. rex land. Near the end of the trailer, we see a helicopter fall down into the sea and disappear beneath the surface. This is also the fate of Will's dragoncopter: "The Dragoncopter buried its head in the foam and was instantly dragged down, never to be seen again."

I suppose the name Meg is also another sync with the "Nutmeg is a drug" post.

I need to take a long break from being an Internet Person

My original plan was to take a break from blogging and most other Internet activity during April and May and resume normal posting around n...