Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sync: Odin at the door, DD lemniscates, sideways eyeballs

An email correspondent has been sending me his ideas about the equivalents of Yahweh and Jesus in other religions and mythologies. Early this morning (Taiwan time) he sent me this:

There's this idea of Odin sacrificing himself to himself by being nailed to a tree.

From a Norse poem called Havamal:

137. "I trow [think] I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven."

138. "None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from silence."

Pretty clear this was created after Jesus.

There's the identification of Hermes with Odin (I guess via Mercury). Maybe this Odin-sacrifice idea represents an association of Odin with Jesus specifically, rather than Odin being a stand-in for general God.

And a synchronistic image used on this Wikipedia page:

The Stranger at the Door (1908) by W. G. Collingwood

The artist, W. G. Collingwood, was born in -- where else? -- Liverpool.

I've never read the Hávamál and don't know the story behind this "stranger at the door" image, but one assumes the one knocking at the door is Odin. It's a "synchronistic image" because in "The Wizard at the green door" (August 6, 2022), I posted images of Jesus and Gandalf knocking at green doors. The figure of Gandalf was very obviously largely inspired by Odin, and in the Hávamál Odin is portrayed as a Jesus-like figure, hanging on a tree for nine days (cf. Jesus' nine hours) and being pierced with a spear.

As I read the above email, I realized that I was mentally pronouncing the name Odin as Russian: один, "one." (That happens sometimes; more than once I've made a similar mistake with the final word in Et in Arcadia ego, mentally pronouncing it as его, "him, his.") Then when I looked up my "Wizard at the green door" post so I could link it here, I found that it includes this image:

The vesica piscis (associated with Jesus) is labeled "One or two" -- один или два. Just as один suggests Odin, два suggests Sanskrit deva and the various related Indo-European words meaning "god." My correspondent mentioned "Odin being a stand-in for general God."

In my March 23 post "Aladdin's three elder brothers," I told a Chinese joke about Aladdin and noted how the Chinese transliteration of that name includes the divine name Allah. Then in the comments I mentioned the Sacha Baron Cohen character Aladeen -- obviously based on Aladdin, but stressed on the final syllable so that it sounds like al-Один. (Though spelled as Odin, the Russian word is pronounced "ah-DEEN.")


Yesterday I posted "Liverpool and the double-D lemniscate." The first appearance of the latter theme in the sync stream was a place called Cafe D&D -- stylized as D-lemniscate-D. Today, having been reminded of the place, I lunched at D&D. I noticed for the first time the synchronistic significance of the high-end car wash that is right next to it, owned by the same people and sharing the same 666 street address.

Doesn't that SJ logo also strongly suggest the double-D lemniscate?

Just after noticing this, I saw this on the road, on the back of someone's jacket:

This is conceptually similar to the SJ logo, and it features a circle inside a vesica piscis inside a circle -- like an eye, but rotated 90 degrees. My "Wizard at the green door post" included the following images:

The teardrop shape in which the whole is contained is similar to the paisley shape featured in the "Liverpool and the double-D lemniscate" post:

Sync: Arthur Koestler, scripture as fan fiction

Yesterday’s sync post, “Liverpool and the double-D lemniscate,” was about those two recent sync themes appearing together in Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincidence. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Koestler, a writer about whom I know virtually nothing. I had been pointed to this book of his by the Paul Broks essay “Are coincidences real?” which was recently featured on Arts & Letters Daily.

Meanwhile, an email discussion group to which I belong has been discussing whether the novel has a future and if not what might replace it. I’ve been sitting this one out, having nothing very insightful to say about The Novel, and I realized that this is because, while I’ve certainly read my share of novels, including some indisputably great ones (Dostoevsky, Tolkien), novels are not the central form of literature for me. The defining works of literature, and the ones I reread the most, by a very wide margin, are the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and the King James Bible. When I think about the future of literature, I’m not thinking about the possible Balzacs or Walter Scotts of generations to come; I’m wondering who can fill the shoes of Virgil.

Reading Homer or the Old Testament is a more participatory experience than reading a novel. The style is spare, much is left out, and much more hangs on cultural and spiritual rapport with the author. In terms of the Barfield schema current in my circle, the old literature is an Original Participation phenomenon, while the novel epitomizes the Consciousness Soul. What lies in the future is Final Participation — so perhaps the novel really will be succeeded by something that is in some ways a return to the old literature.

In the email group, fan fiction was mentioned as a possible clue to the future of literature, and I realized that there is a certain fan fiction element to the old literature as well — the characters drawn from a common stock, the core stories reworked and adapted by one writer after another. Isn’t some of Euripides’s best work pretty literally Homeric fan fiction?

But I’ve already told you I don’t have anything terribly insightful to say on this topic. Rather, this has all been a shaggy-dog lead-up to a sync note.

I just started listening to one of the more recent episodes of The Higherside Chats: “Adam Green | The Abrahamic conspiracy, prophecy programming, & creating theological controlled opposition.” It’s about how Christianity and Islam are just a big Jewish psyop, which is obviously not a point of view I have any sympathy for, but I listened anyway because, hey, why not? Green mentions that the supposedly antisemitic idea that modern Jews are not Israelites but Khazars was actually promoted by a Jew: Arthur Koestler in his book The Thirteenth Tribe. A bit later, he and Greg Carlwood agree that the scriptures and related texts like the Book of Enoch are “basically fan fiction.”

I’ve only listened to about a third of the episode so far, but those are some fairly specific syncs.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Liverpool and the double-D lemniscate

I ran across this today in Arthur Koestler's 1972 book The Roots of Coincidence:


Double-D lemniscate:

Note added: Wondering if I could find anything about the shape I have been calling the "double-D lemniscate," I ran an image search for two semicircles. Several of the results were from homework-help sites explaining how to calculate the area or perimeter of the following figure:

This is interesting because it incorporates both the double-D lemniscate (four of them!) and a paisley-type shape. If you look back up at the figure from The Roots of Coincidence, you'll see that the double-D lemniscate was Miss E's only incorrect reproduction of the figures drawn by "Liverpool notable" Malcolm Guthrie. Guthrie had actually drawn a paisley-like shape.

(By the way, I'm not the one who rotated the homework photo 90 degrees so that it would match Guthrie and Miss E's drawings; it was already oriented that way when I found it on Google.)

After writing the above note, I looked up paisley on Wikipedia and read this:

In the mid- to late 1960s, paisley became identified with psychedelic style and enjoyed mainstream popularity, partly due to the Beatles.

So there's a Liverpool connection again!

For whatever it's worth, the last time I mentioned paisley was in "Can an Indian be president?" in connection with Tarot, Time Cube, and a possible Kamala Harris presidency.

Additional note added: I never paid any attention to it until today, but this is the logo of a bank here in Taiwan which I have been to hundreds of times. It's as if the two tan paisleys from the math problem were fitted together to make a yin-yang symbol, but with a vertical line through the middle creating a double-D lemniscate:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The light of life (sync but not only sync)

Last night, I began working on the next installment in my notes on the Fourth Gospel, starting from John 8:12:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

I spent quite a lot of time ruminating over this verse, noting the ambiguity of "the light of life" -- the light produced by life, or the light that illuminates life? -- and also various passages elsewhere in the Gospel where Jesus suggests that this "light of the world" will be a temporary thing -- e.g. "As long as I am in the word, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5), but "the night cometh" (v. 4).

After nearly an hour of chewing on this one verse, I put my Bible down and picked up something else I have been reading: Open That Door! (1916) by Robert Sturgis Ingersoll, a book about the meaning and value of reading. The very first sentences I read -- mere minutes after leaving John 8:12 -- were these:

Without disparaging those with whom I sit before the fire, and chat, and smoke, I must confess that I value equally with them the friends of eternal character that exist there in the book-case. They lighten the path of life; they are ready for converse when my spirit calls.

Go to the greatest books for your most enduring friends, but upon having formed their friendship do not leave them in the study, but carry them within your spirit to your business and the marts of men, and in holding their confidences burning in your heart you will find yourself a more thorough human being.

Ingersoll's "friends of eternal character" are actually mortals (Whitman, Tolstoy, Burns, Villon, Byron, Lamb, Carlyle, and Emerson), called "eternal" only because they live on in their books, but one would more naturally associate such an expression with Jesus, and "lighten the path of life" is remarkably similar to Jesus' statement about how his followers "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." This is followed by a reference to "burning in your heart," which also suggests Jesus: "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32). The scriptures are, of course, "the greatest books."

The chapter of Open That Door! from which the above quotation comes begins with the observation that "the most potent inheritance, that books vouchsafe, is the personalities of the great authors who have inscribed their souls within them. Personal character affects our lives as does nothing else." Whitman is quoted: "This is not book; / Who touches this, touches a man." This of course suggests the Johannine "Word made flesh," but isn't it also a succinct expression of the value of the Gospels, and of scripture more generally? Isn't that what keeps us coming back to the Bible again and again and again? Not for "doctrine," but to spend time in the presence of such gigantic personalities as Moses, David, and above all Jesus Christ.

Did "the night come" when Jesus left this world? Perhaps, to a degree. But the midnight Sun of the Holy Ghost still shines for those whose hearts are open to it, and even the light of Christ's mortal life still shines as reflected moonlight, the pale fire of the Holy Bible -- dim and uncertain at times, but still invaluable to those who would not walk in darkness.

Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.

Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow (Isa. 50:10-11).

Rocky Road to -- where exactly?

My recent post "Are the Irish better at math?" alludes heavily to the song "Rocky Road to Dublin." This led me to look up the song on Wikipedia.

Quick, without looking anything up, how would you complete this sentence?

"Rocky Road to Dublin" is a 19th-century Irish song written by Irish poet D. K. Gavan about a man's experiences as he travels to ________.

If you guessed Liverpool, you're absolutely right! If you didn't see that coming, well, neither did I. Despite the title and refrain, "all the way to Dublin" is only halfway through the journey, which is from Tuam to Mullingar to Dublin to Holyhead to Liverpool. (In fairness, the road only goes as far as Dublin, after which the journey must be continued by ship.)

The Wikipedia article also cleared up something else I've occasionally wondered about. As everyone knows, the song properly begins "In the merry month of June" -- so as to assonate with Tuam -- but one occasionally hears this ineptly altered to "In the merry month of May." Here's why:

There are many variations in the lyrics depending on the singer. For instance "June" in the first line is often replaced by its Irish counterpart "Meitheamh" mistaken by some to be the English "May".

So we have an unexpected Liverpool, and the sixth month being mistaken for the fifth.

In my March 17 post "You can set your watch by the green motorcycle," I relate a dream in which it was 2:00 p.m. in Taiwan, which I thought was "Tuesday morning at five o'clock, Liverpool time" -- the time at which, wherever you are in the world, you can see a green motorcycle go by if you keep your eyes open. After waking up, I checked and found that 2:00 p.m. in Taiwan is actually six o'clock in Liverpool, not five. So we have an unexpected Liverpool (no one says "Liverpool time"; Liverpool is on Greenwich time), and the sixth hour being mistaken for the fifth.

At the time, I didn't even notice the Irish connotations of posting about a green motorcycle on St. Patrick's Day, but perhaps that would be a modern-day traveler to Dublin's preferred means of rattlin' o'er the bogs.

A ptero more to Green Lantern's liking

I went to Project Gutenberg to look something up, and this was one of the recent releases (March 26, 2023) featured on the homepage.

It's not yellow, but pterodactyls of any color grace the covers of few enough books to make it a noteworthy coincidence nonetheless.

I scrolled down to the table of contents and saw that the third chapter, about pterosaurs, is called "Pirates of the Air" -- pretty similar to "winged raiders," isn't it?

According to the rather dated science of The Monster-hunters (1916), all mass-extinction events were caused by ice ages, and the periods punctuated by these ice ages are characterized as "empires."

With this upheaving, came the First Age of Cold. The coal-forests died, the pine-trees took their places. The marshes became plains. Nearly all species of life belonging to that warm age died. The Empire of the Fishes and Amphibians ended. The Mediterranean slowly diminished in size and again became an inland sea, while in Europe to the north, Africa to the south and in America, beyond the Atlantic, the Empire of the Reptiles began. . . . Yet the slow death of cold which had awaited the Fishes and Amphibians in the Permian Revolution was awaiting the Reptiles also. The Second Age of Cold was near. After the Cretaceous Period, the land began to rise, until, when hundreds of thousands of years had elapsed, the northern part of Europe was elevated, the Mediterranean lost its opening to the ocean, and became once more an inland sea. Then came the Second Ice Age, the second cataclysm of want and death. The Pterodactyls died away completely, the huge reptile monsters fell by thousands and all the giant Saurians had to give place to the warmer-blooded mammals.

The above quote is not in the "Pirates of the Air" chapter but in the next one, "Seeing the Sea-serpent," so the fact that pterodactyls get top billing in the list of casualties of the K-T extinction event is curious. This syncs with my March 18 post "Sync: Another yellow ptero, St. Valentine's Day, Empire of the Ants."

There, too, pteros are unexpectedly highlighted (in the thumbnail) in an account of the K-T extinction. And, as the title indicates, the same post features a sync having to do with the phrase "Empire of the Ants" -- paralleling the similar "Empire" phrases in The Monster-hunters.

The "Seeing the Sea-serpent" chapter also features this illustration, captioned "The Fiercest Monster That Ever Lived."

Isn't that a familiar turn of phrase? Where have we seen that before? Oh, right.

Looking at the list of illustrations after the table of contents, I noticed that the second one on the list was called "Scylla of the Seven Heads" -- one of a small collection of images of "Monsters Thought Real by the Ancients."

This got my attention because on March 17 I had posted old (2015-16) Scylla and Charybdis syncs in "Sync: Skylark and Charybdis" and included a picture of Scylla, though with the canonical six heads rather than seven.

I Ctrl-F'ed Scylla to see if she put in any other appearances in The Monster-hunters, and lo and behold:

"No signs of Scylla and Charybdis," said a voice behind him.

"That's so, Uncle George," the boy said, turning, "this is where the old Greeks believed Scylla to be, isn't it? But I'd rather tackle that six-headed monster, in spite of all her appetite, even though each head took a man from the crew, as it did from Ulysses' ship, than I would run the gauntlet of the guns of Gibraltar let loose on us. Still, even Scylla might be uncomfortable. What do you suppose was the basis of that old story, Uncle George!”

"Personification of the peril of adventure,” was the reply. “That is why Scylla and Charybdis were first said to hold guard over the Straits of Messina, between Sicily and Italy, while afterwards the twin terrors of the ravening whirlpool and the six-headed man-eating woman monster were located at Gibraltar. As the Straits of Messina became more familiar, the terror had to be put farther away, where only the most daring would venture.

"Remember, Perry, that the Greeks believed they saw a god or a goddess or a demon in all the forces of Nature. The sea was under the rule of Poseidon, or Neptune, as the Romans called him; the dawn goddess Eos, or Aurora, was the mother of the Winds, such as Boreas, the North Wind and Zephyr, the West Wind. So, you see, the Greeks felt sure that every point of danger must be guarded by some kind of demon or monstrous form, while beautiful places were inhabited by fair maidens. After all, Perry, it's not so very long ago since people believed in mermaids. So far as that goes, some people believe in them still."

Right after the references to Scylla and Charybdis, characterized as "the twin terrors," we read of "the dawn goddess Eos, or Aurora." In my March 7 post "Fever dreams and sync: Popol Vuh twins, Spinal Pap, stone worship, and more," I discuss terrible twins in Mayan myth and The Matrix Reloaded, and I also mention this:

In my flytrap post, the key phrase was "blushing trap," which I interpreted as a description of the rosy lobes of the Venus flytrap. The expression made me think of the Homeric "young Eos with fingertips of rose." In her comment, Debbie quotes Ovid on the Roman equivalent of Eos: "Aurora, watchful in the reddening dawn, threw wide her crimson doors and rose-filled halls." These rose references link back to William John's carnivorous "Poison Rose of Poetry."

Are the Irish better at math?

Studies have shown that Irish people are significantly better than non-Irish at solving this math problem. Remarkably, many of them are able to do so in a matter of seconds, without using a calculator or even a pencil and paper. The problem is as follows:

Suppose there is a population of hares which, though every bit as prolific as lagomorphs generally are, are heavily hunted and thus increase in numbers very, very slowly. In fact, from one year to the next, the hare population only increases by an average of 0.005615%. To the casual observer, the hares' numbers appear to be static, but in fact the population is slowly but surely growing and, given enough time, will eventually double. It's a long road, but in the end they will arrive there. Assuming the rate of increase does not change, precisely how many years will it take the hare population to traverse this rocky road to doubling?

Hannah Gifford, Hare and the Blackthorn Blossom

Note: I just bought a new pair of wingtip shoes, which is what brought this problem to mind. No, really, that’s what prompted this post.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Assorted syncs: Going to the Moon and the Sun, Tori Amos's "Winter," inverted crosses, moonwalks

In my March 20 post "Further green motorcycle syncs," I quoted the Jonathan King song "Everyone's Gone to the Moon." Besides the title line, which is repeated several times, the lyrics also include the line, "Everyone went to the Sun."

In the comments on yesterday's post "Aladdin's three elder brothers," I was reminded of a particular scene from Ali G Indahouse (a crap movie, by the way; the original Ali G TV interviews are orders of magnitude funnier than any of SBC's movies) but had trouble finding a clip of it on the Internet. In the course of my search, I ended up watching a bunch of old Ali G clips on YouTube, including this interview with Buzz Aldrin.

After asking a few questions about Aldrin's experience on the Moon, Ali asks, "Do you think man will ever walk on the Sun?"

BA: No. The Sun is too hot. It is not a good place to go to.

AG: What happens if they went in winter, when the Sun is cold?

BA: The Sun is not cold in the winter.

A couple of days ago (March 22), I received an email asking my opinion of Miles Mathis. I hadn't read any of Mathis's stuff for quite some time, so today I checked his updates page and found an article on Tori Amos -- not very new, but new to me (posted on Christmas 2022 according to the updates page, Christmas 2020 according to the document itself). It got my attention because, after 20-some years of not thinking about Tori Amos at all, I had recently mentioned her in my February 12 post "Winter, flowers, and the grail." The Mathis article -- not actually by Mathis himself but by someone called Coyote -- is 39 pages of the usual mind-numbing everyone's-secretly-a-j00 stuff (there's my opinion of Mathis for you), but I scrolled through it a bit, and this caught my eye. The green highlighting is in the original; the red underlining is mine.

He mentions an inverted cross and singles out "Winter" as one Tori Amos song he actually likes. In my post, I had written that Amos was a singer "whose persona and most of whose music I've come to find actively repellent. . . . 'Winter' is good, though." I then went on to note the similarity between part of the "Winter" music video and the logo for Charles III's coronation, pointing out "the inverted crosses hidden in the shamrocks" in the latter.

Just after that, I was preparing a glossary for some of my students, and one of the words I needed a Chinese translation for was spacewalk. For technical terms like that, I generally use Wikipedia rather than a dictionary -- but spacewalk redirects to a page that is about both spacewalks and moonwalks:

In the Buzz Aldrin interview, Ali G asks, "Is you upset that Michael Jackson got all the credit for inventing the moonwalk, but you was the first geezer that ever, to actually do it?"

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Aladdin's three elder brothers

One of my very young students told me this untranslatable Chinese joke today:

Q: 我問你,阿拉丁有幾個哥哥?
A: 三個:阿拉甲、阿拉乙、阿拉丙。

Q: Let me ask you, how many elder brothers does Aladdin have?
A: Three: Alajia, Alayi, and Alabing.
The joke is that Aladdin is transliterated as 阿拉丁 (ālādīng). Some of you might recognize that last character from my February 21 post "Tintin T. rex, Timey-wimey T. rex, . . . collect them all!":

Belgian comic-book character Tintin is called 丁丁 in Chinese.

Tin is not a possible syllable in Chinese, and Ting sounds like a girl's name, so the best they could do was Ding-ding. You know, like a bell. A tin bell. Like a tinker would make.

The character 丁 is the fourth Celestial Stem, and as such is used to translate the letter D when used in an ordinal sense -- that is, when A, B, C, and D are used in the sense of "one, two, three, four," as in an outline or on a multiple-choice test. For example, Serie D football is rendered 丁級 in Chinese. So if you wanted to go Backstroke of the West on poor Tintin and translate his Chinese translation back into English, he'd be called DD.

As you have probably guessed by now, the first three Celestial Stems are 甲 (jiǎ), 乙 (), and 丙 (bǐng) -- the final characters in the names of Aladdin's three elder brothers. By coincidence, the first part of Aladdin's Chinese name is 阿拉, which is also how the divine name Allah is transliterated. So Aladdin sounds like Allah-D in Chinese, and his three brothers are Allah-A, Allah-B, and Allah-C.

This calls to mind the Satanic Verses -- no, not the Salman Rushdie novel which occasioned the St. Valentine's Day fatwa, but the verses themselves: a false revelation given to Muhammad by Satan, in which it was implied that there were three divine beings in addition to Allah -- although in this case they would be sisters rather than brothers: the pre-Islamic Arabian goddesses al-Lat, al-'Uzza, and Manat.

Or: God-A, God-B, God-C, and God-D -- Allah, Brahman, Christ, and Zeus? God-B also makes me think of William S. Godbe (1833-1902), the Mormon schismatic who founded a Spiritualist-influenced sect and tried to make contact with Joseph Smith and others through séances.

Anyway, I mention the joke here because it syncs with my recent Tintin post -- both focusing on the use of 丁 both as the equivalent of D and as an element in transliterated foreign names. We'll see if the sync fairies decide to go anywhere with it.

A weird “glitch in the Matrix” experience

This morning I had a meeting at my school with the owner of a manufacturing company for which I do regular consulting work. He was coming to pay a bill and discuss some things. This was early, before the school's normal opening hours, so we were the only two there. I let him in and locked the door behind him. We do things the old-fashioned way, so he handed me an envelope of cash, and I sat down to count the money and write out a receipt by hand. He said he would go upstairs to the meeting room first and wait for me there.

When I counted the money, I found that it was $1000 short of the amount due. (A thousand is the largest denomination in everyday use in Taiwan, roughly equivalent to a twenty in the US, though its value is a bit higher than that.) I counted again several times, but the total kept coming up $1000 short. I checked to see if the missing bill was still in the envelope, or on the counter, or on the floor, but it wasn't. I counted again and again and checked everywhere, until I was 100% satisfied that he had given me the wrong amount. I took the cash upstairs and told him. He counted it himself, agreed it was the wrong amount, and handed me another thousand from his wallet.

I went back downstairs to stow the cash and write out the receipt -- and there in the middle of the counter, in plain sight, were two crisp new thousand-dollar bills in (using the term literally for once) "mint condition"! They were right there, on the otherwise empty counter on which I had counted the money, and where I had looked several times, very carefully, for the missing cash. It is simply not possible that the two bills were there all along. I had only gone upstairs for a minute, probably less; there was no one else in the building, and the door was locked. Yet there they were.

I thought to check the security camera footage to see what had happened, but the camera was -- very conveniently! -- out of order. My honest belief is that if I could view the footage, I would very likely see the $2000 just blink into existence out of nowhere. How confident am I that the money was not there when I left the counter? Extremely confident, not appreciably different from 100%. How confident am I that physical objects don't just materialize out of nowhere for no observable reason? Well . . . let's just say I've seen some pretty strange things in my puff.

After counting the cash several more times, to be absolutely certain that it was now $2000 more than the amount due, I went back upstairs and gave my client his receipt and $2000, explaining that I had somehow miscounted the first time around, and he had actually given me too much rather than not enough. He's the phlegmatic type who pretty much takes everything in his stride without asking too many questions, so he accepted this all as unremarkable, and we went on with our meeting.

But I didn't miscount the first time -- the first seven or eight times, rather -- and the two bills weren't there before. I'm as certain of this as I can be of any empirical matter. Even if we assume that I somehow did miscount, or somehow failed to notice the two bills lying right in front of me on the counter, isn't it remarkable that my error should have coincided with an equal and opposite error on his part -- with him mistakenly overpaying by $1000 and me mistakenly thinking he had underpaid by precisely the same amount?

Later, after the meeting, I counted the money several more times just to make sure the extra $2000 hadn't vanished again like fairy gold.

I realize that this story will not seem impressive to anyone except me, the one who experienced it. You'll just think, "Well, he must have made a mistake." But I'm sure I didn't. Either (a) things can just appear out of nowhere for no explicable reason, or (b) I can be 100% sure about something I've seen with my own eyes and carefully confirmed and reconfirmed and yet still be wrong. Either way, all bets are off.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Sync: Ne(m)o and Morpheus

Today an obscure song from 30 years ago, one I haven't listened to or thought of in ages, came to mind. In order to establish that its coming to mind had nothing to do with my recent posts about The Matrix, I will have to describe my train of thought in some detail.

First of all, few days ago, I happened to be looking through my old sync log from 2016-17. One of the notes I read was this one:

2016 Mar 3 (Thu) – I read a few pages (pp. 87-89) of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine in [a cafe called] FM Station. They were playing the Lukas Graham song “7 Years,” which I had never heard before. It begins:

Once I was seven years old, my mama told me
Go make yourself some friends or you'll be lonely.
Once I was seven years old.

It then goes through various other ages: once I was 11, 20; soon I’ll be 30, 60. It ends by repeating the opening lines quoted above.

While listening to this, I was reading pp. 88-87 [sic] of Dandelion Wine. The children are discussing how Colonel Freeleigh is a “Time Machine” because he can remember so many of his past experiences.

‘Maybe old people were never children, like we claim with Mrs. Bentley, but, big or little, some of them were standing around at Appomattox the summer of 1865.’

Tom and Doug discuss what Doug calls “far-traveling” – meaning going back in time through memory.

“Far-traveling. You make that up?”

“Maybe yes and maybe no.”

“Far-traveling,” whispered Tom.

“Only one thing I’m sure of,” said Douglas, closing his eyes. “It sure sounds lonely.”

Thus the chapter ends.

A bit earlier in the book, on pp. 72-73, old Mrs. Bentley insists that she was once a little girl, but the children refuse to believe it. She shows them a photo to prove that she was 7 years old once.

In triumph she flashed her trump card, a postal picture of herself when she was seven years old…

“Who’s this little girl?” asked Jane.

“It’s me!”

The two girls held onto it.

“But it doesn’t look like you,” said Jane simply. “Anybody could get a picture like this, somewhere.”

They looked at her for a long moment.

“Any more pictures, Mrs. Bentley?” asked Alice. “Of you, later? You got a picture of you at fifteen, and one at twenty, and one at forty and fifty?”

The girls chortled.

“I don’t have to show you anything!” said Mrs. Bentley.

“Then we don’t have to believe you,” replied Jane.

“But this picture proves I was young!”

“That’s some other little girl, like us. You borrowed it.”

Like the song, this focuses on the fact that one was younger in the past – with a specific focus on “seven years old.” Both also emphasize loneliness.

That was several days ago. Today I was doing some mindless paperwork and humming to myself and discovered that what I was humming was the 1967 Monkees song "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)," with the repeated line, "Oh, how I wish tomorrow would never come." It occurred to me that this was similar to Bob Dylan's line "The present now will later be past," in that both highlighted the need for a Dunnean model in order to make sense of the passage of time. If there is only one dimension of time, then the past never was -- and the future never will be -- the present. Tomorrow will never come, and Mrs. Bentley never was seven years old.

This made me think of the sync notes quoted above, and I tried to remember the term the children in Dandelion Wine had used for revisiting the past through memory -- "long-journeying"? I see now that it was actually "far-traveling," but "long-journeying" is what came to mind and what made me think of the 1993 Moxy Früvous song "Morphée," which begins with the words "Longue journée." It's all in French, a language of which I am relatively ignorant, and I never was very clear on most of the lyrics. I tried to sing it to myself but had to lapse into humming and dum-de-dumming for most of it. All I could remember was "Longue journée . . . chez Morphée . . . ce doux piège . . . et je fuis, je fuis . . . je rêne
Nemo en exil sur mes rêves fragiles" -- which I figured meant "Long journey . . . at Morpheus's place . . . something-something . . . and I went, I went . . . I reign, Nemo in exile, over my fragile dreams." Translating je fuis as "I went" was just a guess (wrong, it turns out), based on Spanish, and I hadn't the slightest idea what ce doux piège might mean, though it was one of the lines I remembered most clearly.

Then I thought: Morpheus! Nemo! I've just been posting about Morpheus and Neo -- and "Morphée" was released six years before The Matrix. Morpheus is the god of dreams, of course, but why "Nemo"? Is it a reference to those trippy old Little Nemo in Slumberland comics?

Sure enough, the very first panel of the very first Little Nemo strip (1905) mentions "His Majesty, Morpheus of Slumberland."

And what does ce doux piège mean? It turns out it means "this sweet trap." Here's the French Wikipedia article on the Venus flytrap:

Here are the complete lyrics of "Morphée":

Longue journée
Qui s'achève dans une chambre foncée
J'entends au loin les sirènes
Qui comme une vague me tirent, m'amènent
Chez Morphée
Ce doux piège
Ou les gammes en délire s'arpègent
M'emportent si loin des villes
Et je fuis,
je fuis les escadrilles du privilège
Beau sortilège
On solde les vieux pays au marché des gorilles
Caché dans les bras de Morphée je rêne
Nemo en exil
Sur mes rêves fragiles

And here, since no real translation seems to be available and I can't be bothered to do it myself (at least not now; I probably will do later), is the Google Translate version:

Long day
That ends in a dark room
I hear the sirens in the distance
Which like a wave pulls me, brings me
To Morpheus
This sweet trap
Where delirious scales arpeggio
Take me so far from the cities
And I run away
I flee the squadrons of privilege
beautiful spell
We sell the old countries at the gorilla market (???)
Hidden in the arms of Morpheus I reign
Nemo in exile
On my fragile dreams

That's "scales" as in do-re-mi, incidentally.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Further green motorcycle syncs

In my St. Patrick's Day post "You can set your watch by the green motorcycle," I relate a dream in which "wherever you were in the world, if you kept your eyes open at 5:00 Tuesday morning, Liverpool time, you would see a green motorcycle go by, timed to sync with the Beatles singing about it on Sergeant Pepper." Because of the 5:00 connection, I included a picture of this Vogues record:

Debbie left several comments. First, she related a dream of her own, from 2017, which was primarily about the Moon but also prominently featured both the color green and a mysterious motorcycle. I quote only a few relevant excerpts:

I felt as if the house was in a large valley type of area. It was in the summer because there were green plush leaves on the trees and the grass was green. . . . I could feel that something wasn’t right. I then looked outside the window to see what was going on and I could see the moon bouncing (like a ball) in the sky. . . . At one point we could see a motorcycle with a young White man and his girlfriend. What was bizarre is that the motorcycle came down from the sky!! It landed in the field where my mother and I were standing.

In a follow-up comment, she noticed that the Five O'Clock World record features the Jonathan King song "Everyone's Gone to the Moon."

Imagine my surprise when I researched the lyrics and OMG! Check out the reference to MOTOR CAR, Painted GREEN. Although a car is not a motorcycle but do in keep in mind they both are vehicles.

Here are the lyrics to the relevant verse:

Long time ago
Life has begun
Everyone went to the sun
Cars full of motors
Painted green
Mouths full of chocolate
Covered cream
Arms that can only
Lift a spoon
Everyone's gone to the moon

Though the song uses the odd expression "cars full of motors painted green," Debbie refers to it as "MOTOR CAR, Painted GREEN," noting that this is not quite the same as a motorcycle. Here in Taiwan, though, motorcycles are quite literally called motor cars. The usual word for motorcycle is 摩托車, pronounced mótuōchē; chē is the Chinese for "car," and mótuō is a transliteration of the English motor. Sometimes mótuō is used by itself to mean "motorcycle," since the word motor itself is now more usually rendered 馬達 (mǎdá). Another word used for "motorcycle" in Taiwan is 機車 (jīchē), which is also used as a euphemism for the Taiwanese equivalent of the c-word. Calling someone a "motorcycle" is roughly equivalent to calling him a jackass. Years ago, when Motorola was using the slogan "Hello Moto" to advertise their cell phones, the Taiwanese found it amusing.

My green motorcycle dream associated "Tuesday morning at five o'clock, Liverpool time" with the Sergeant Pepper album -- apparently a garbled reference to the song "She's Leaving Home," which begins "Wednesday morning at five o'clock, as the day begins." Debbie notes that another line from that song is relevant to the "motor" theme:

Friday morning at nine o’clock, she is far away.
Waiting to keep the appointment she made,
Meeting a man from the motor trade

Just after reading Debbie's comments, I checked The Secret Sun and found a new meme post, "Meme Work Makes the Dream Work." One of the memes there features a motor car painted green:

Apparently, Green Lantern sometimes rides a green motorcycle, too:

And there's also this:

Notice the 101 (Green Lantern symbol) hidden in the word HOLY.

On the theme of dreams and green cars, probably about 30 years ago I had a dream about a man who called himself Elder Case the Fallen Angel and drove a bright green sports car that was always described as being "tiger beetle green." The dream stuck in my memory because I used to think of it every time I saw a six-spotted tiger.

Note added: Running an image search for green motorcycle movie turned up a familiar film.

Matrix lighting sometimes makes everything look greenish, but in this case it really is a green motorcycle.

Here is the scene. Note that it includes the death of the white dreadlocked twins (recently featured in my post "Fever dreams and syncs"), and also shows a driver's shocked reaction when the green Ducati motorcycle seems to come down from the sky, as in Debbie's dream.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sync: Another yellow ptero, St. Valentine's Day, Empire of the Ants

This year-old video was for some reason featured for me on the front page of YouTube. Note the non-dinosaur they chose for the thumbnail and what color it is.

The first part of the video itself closely parallels the H. G. Wells story "The Star," which I recently read. Later, it talks about an asteroid that may come dangerously close to Earth on Valentine's Day 2060.

Update: I mentioned that the video parallels an H. G. Wells story I read recently. The Wells story I am currently reading is called "Empire of the Ants." Hours after posting this, I got on YouTube again, and this was one of the recommended videos:

I'm not going to watch it -- not interested in seeing legs being ripped off -- but "Empire Of The . . . Ants" exactly parallels the title of the Wells story. I have not posted or searched for anything ant-related recently. The only thing Google could possibly know is that some time ago I downloaded The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, a collection of 33 short stories including "The Empire of the Ants."

Friday, March 17, 2023

You can set your watch by the green motorcycle

I dreamed that I was on a city sidewalk with a group of professional-looking people who were discussing something important. In the middle of the discussion, I noticed the time -- in a few seconds it would be 2:00 p.m. -- and interrupted:

"Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but it's nearly two, and the green motorcycle is due to pass by. I believe you should be able to see it over in that direction."

But no one showed the slightest interest in what I was saying or inclination to look in the direction in which I was pointing. They just looked annoyed at the interruption. A few seconds later, the green motorcycle did in fact pass by, exactly when and where I had predicted. None of them was looking, and I didn't get a very good look at it, either, because some of them were standing in the way, blocking my view.

"Oh, you just missed it," I said, "and the chance only comes once a week -- Tuesday morning at five o'clock, Liverpool time. Also, it's a little known fact that if you play Sergeant Pepper on repeat all week, you'll find that the green motorcycle always comes by right when they're singing about it."

One of the group took me aside and said in a low voice, "Look, no one cares about this, and no one is impressed. Why even bring it up?"

My understanding in the dream was that wherever you were in the world, if you kept your eyes open at 5:00 Tuesday morning, Liverpool time, you would see a green motorcycle go by, timed to sync with the Beatles singing about it on Sergeant Pepper. Only there are no motorcycles, green or otherwise, in any of the Beatles' lyrics. And the time mentioned on Sergeant Pepper is "Wednesday morning at five o'clock." And two p.m. in Taiwan is six a.m. in Liverpool.

Here in Taiwan, green motorcycles are closely associated with the postal service. Not sure if that means anything.

The emphasis on the time five o'clock also makes me think of this record, with its hourglass and ampersand.

Sync: Skylark and Charybdis

From my 2015 sync notes:

2015 Nov 1 (Sun) – Ate at a Korean restaurant in Taichung. On the way, passed signs for a restaurant called “Skylark,” and I explained to V what a skylark was. Went to Mollie [Used Books]. V got The Odyssey, retold by Robin Lister and illustrated by Alan Baker. I skimmed it and was struck by the unusual rendition of Scylla:

Later that night I was reading Dunne’s Intrusions? and found the following (p. 52):

Ward writes: ‘A whole swarm of meteors might have streaked the sky unheeded while Ulysses, life in hand, steered between Scylla and Charybdis.’

2015 Nov 2 (Mon) – Finished Intrusion?. Later, on pp 113-114, Scylla and Charybdis put in another appearance, this time in an extended metaphor:

On to turmoil and destruction! Forward to the Mindless Automaton! There is the Scylla and there is the Charybdis between which Man the Flaming Soul has to steer a course which Nature herself has not yet been able to discover.

Scylla is the nearest, now. We have to dodge those snapping jaws before we can give heed to anything else; and, fortunately, our ship’s crew is in complete accord on that point. Unfortunately, however, the majority of them are clamouring for a helm hard down and a course –– the shortest possible –– laid straight for the centre of Charybdis.

If we reached that, what would it matter whether we circled there for a thousand years or a million years before disappearing down the vortex? We should have bungled the whole voyage, and have missed making the open sea.

What lies in the open sea? All our hopes for the future of the Human Race.

I do not believe that Man has reached his zenith. I do not believe that a woman moaning ‘ye-ew’ down her nose to the accompaniment of a tom-tom is the acme of musical achievement (and this notwithstanding the bandmaster’s assurance that the nasal trouble in question is a ‘great voice’). I do not believe that the Painter has no choice save that which lies betwixt the Representational and the Disgusting. I do not imagine that the cigar-box indicates the apotheosis of Architectural Form. On the contrary, I hold that Music has barely unfolded its skylark wings, that Art has not yet wandered beyond the fringe of its powers, that Invention is in its infancy, and that the common man’s ability to appreciate beauty is only just awaking from its natal sleep. And I believe that in those aspects of the Open Sea, the Flaming Soul will find satisfaction for its needs. For Creation –– Creation untrammelled by tradition, unheeding the discouragement of the multitude, undaunted by the opposition of Nature –– is the greatest of all adventures.

Oh, God! allow us to reach the Open Sea!

From my 2016 sync notes:

2016 Aug 6-7 (Sat-Sun) – Finished rereading J. W. Dunne’s Intrusions? On Saturday. Finished The New Immortality a day or two before. On Sunday, reread the entirety of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (except the first page or two, which I’d read much earlier and then taken a long break).

From Dunne:

But God, thank God! Is not ‘just’. Justice is of Man. God is, to us, what the Seers have seen in Him. He is the Escape from Self. He is Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful. He is the Father Who does not will that one of these little ones shall perish. He is Love. But he is not a distributor of rewards for ‘virtues’ and of punishments for ‘iniquities’. (New Immortality, p. 106)

Ward writes: ‘A whole swarm of meteors might have streaked the sky unheeded while Ulysses, life in hand, steered between Scylla and Charybdis.’ (Intrusions?, p. 52)

I was extremely keen on singing, and had just discovered that a callous choir-master had ruined my voice (I had been the school soloist) by making me continue to sing alto long after that voice had begun to crack. I had waited for two years before trying my new, man’s register; but, when I did so, I heard to my dismay a horrible reedy thing with a range of barely twelve notes. (p. 76)

On to turmoil and destruction! Forward to the Mindless Automaton! There is the Scylla and there is the Charybdis between which Man the Flaming Soul has to steer a course which Nature herself has not yet been able to discover. Scylla is the nearest now. We have to dodge those snapping jaws before we can give heed to anything else; and, fortunately, our ship’s crew is in complete accord on that point. Unfortunately, however, the majority of them are clamouring for a helm hard down and a course -- the shortest possible -- laid straight for the centre of Charybdis. … I do not believe that Man has reached his zenith. I do not believe that a woman moaning ‘ye-ew’ down her nose to the accompaniment of a tom-tom is the acme of musical achievement (and this notwithstanding the bandmaster’s assurance that the nasal trouble in question is a ‘great voice’). … On the contrary, I hold that music has barely unfolded its skylark wings,...” (pp. 113-114)

From Shakespeare (page numbers from my edition of the Complete Works):

When we are both accouter’d like young men,
I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with a braver grace;
And speak, between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice; (p. 219)

Truly then I fear you are damned by both father and mother; thus when I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother; well, you are gone both ways. (p. 220)

But mercy is above this scepter’d sway,––
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
It is an attribute of God himself;...
Though justice be thy plea, consider this––
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; (p. 222)

Music! hark! …
The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
When neither in attended… (p. 226)

I noticed the Scylla and Charybdis link first, then the reedy voice. The other two are less specific.

I've only read Intrusions? three times. Two out of those three times, it was accompanied by skylark and Scylla-and-Charybdis synchronicities.

What sent me back through my sync files to dig those up was "Sync: Don't be confused. Back up the heavy burds," in which I noted that Big Bird has sometimes claimed to be a lark, and that skylark is punningly equivalent to l'arc-en-ciel. (WanderingGondola left a comment mentioning a Japanese band called L'arc-en-Ciel which sometimes goes by D'ark-en-Ciel, which made me think of "Ark in the dark".) Remembering that I had noted that equivalence before, I searched for it and found that it was in a post that began with Bertie Wooster's unwitting allusion to Shelley's "Sensitive Plant." Recently, in the comments on "Weirdly specific sync: Meerkats and piranhas," I quoted the very same Wodehouse line, this time in connection with the Venus flytrap.

While I was browsing through the 2016 sync log, I found a reference to Doob2, a restaurant I used to frequent in those days, though it closed down years ago. I had completely forgotten about it. Their logo featured a white rabbit.

Nowadays, of course, I frequent an unrelated place called Cafe D&D, though I had originally thought its name was supposed to be D00D. B + 2 = D.

Here, for whatever it's worth, is my sync note that mentioned Doob2. I notice it was on March 17, seven years ago today.

2016 Mar 17 (Thu) – I was checking . . . homework at Doob2. I was just correcting a line [a student] had written: “She looked like an angel,” when it should be “She was like an angel.” At the same time, the music playing in the restaurant had a repeating line that sounded like “She seems like an angel.” I looked it up later, and it turned out to be “She sings like an angel”; the song was “Unforgivable Sinner” by Lene Marlin.

Some days previous, the idea had come out of nowhere that if I ever quote my Mosquito Song (“O brother, shrink not from the kill / ‘Tis but your own suck’d blood you spill”) I should attribute it to “the West Alleghany Singing Devils.” This idea came back to me on 3/17 and I wrote it down in my planner. I can’t be sure if it was before or after hearing the Lene Marlin song, though.

This led me to search my blog for mosquito to see if I had ever quoted the Mosquito Song and if I had attributed it to the West Alleghany Singing Devils. (Yes, and no.) The other two hits for mosquito were both examples of the Byron-influenced comic tetrameters I used to write: "The mosquito question" and -- of all things! -- "Ark in the dark."

Sync: Odin at the door, DD lemniscates, sideways eyeballs

An email correspondent has been sending me his ideas about the equivalents of Yahweh and Jesus in other religions and mythologies. Early thi...