Thursday, February 29, 2024

A red frisbee almost brained him

My last post, "Dinoco, here we come!" brought up the Al Jolson song "California, Here I Come," with its repeated line, "Open up that golden gate." At the same time, I have been reading Karen Russell's novel Swamplandia! about a family that owns a gator-wrestling theme park with 98 alligators, all of which are named Seth. These two things together made me think of The Golden Gate, the 1986 novelty novel by Vikram Seth, which is written entirely (even the table of contents!) in Onegin stanzas, the verse form invented by Pushkin for his verse novel of that name. Here’s the first stanza of the novel proper:

To make a start more swift than weighty,
Hail Muse. Dear Reader, once upon
A time, say, circa 1980,
There lived a man. His name was John.
Successful in his field though only
Twenty-six, respected, lonely,
One evening as he walked across
Golden Gate Park, the ill-judged toss
Of a red frisbee almost brained him.
He thought, "If I died, who'd be sad?
Who'd weep? Who'd gloat? Who would be glad?
Would anybody?" As it pained him,
He turned from this dispiriting theme
To ruminations less extreme.

In my Dinoco post, I linked to William Wright's post about Dinoco, which latter post also happens to feature this image:

There's the name John, together with an image that is certainly suggestive of someone getting brained by a red frisbee.

Dinoco, here we come!

In his February 20 post "There's a hole in my bucket-face! AND Harry Marsh and the Sorcerer's Stone," William Wright devotes considerable space to Dinoco, a fictional company appearing in Pixar's Cars and Toy Story franchises. He includes images of two different versions of the Dinoco logo and, following his usual MO, tries to interpret the name as Elvish. I've never seen any of these movies, except the original Toy Story back when an all-CGI movie was a revolutionary idea, but William's post cemented the name Dinoco in my memory.

Today I was in a restaurant that always plays obscure royalty-free music, and they played "California, Here I Come" -- not the 1939 pop standard by Jewish (and therefore not racist) blackface performer Al Jolson, but a bluesy number by a female vocalist, with the same repeated line and presumably the same title. I tried to look it up on my phone but got distracted by one of the search suggestions:

Apparently there's a scene in one of the Cars movies where a truck says "California, here we come!" and then Lightning McQueen, the racecar, corrects it to, "Dinoco, here we come." That's it. Maybe it's funny in context or something, but for whatever reason this run-of-the-mill line of dialogue is vying for search attention with the King of Blackface.

No brakes on the clerihew train

Since Bruce started this, here's one more for him, followed by some other random offerings:

Dr. Bruce
Holds strong views:
Big on Mormons,
Not on Normans.

William James,
Briefly, claims:
"It will do"
Means "It's true."

Publius Vergilius Maro
Would have reacted with sorrow
To learn the price of fame:
A persistently misspelt name.

E. O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler
Both are noble, but who the nobler?
It was the one who got the grants
To fund the research for The Ants.

Francis E. Dec,
What in the heck
Were you smoking?
Were you joking?

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Lucid Karma

On January 4, William Wright introduced chameleons into the sync stream (the two of us have been in a largely shared sync stream for some months now, a situation which is really unprecedented for me) with his post "New Moons Shining and Karma Chameleons," the title referencing a James Taylor album and a Culture Club song.

On January 25, I posted "Red chameleons, manticores, and vampires," introducing the more specific sync theme of the red chameleon.

On February 21, I posted "Lucid walking, and Carrotman Mushman," in which the idea of "lucid walking" is connected with a state induced by "chameleon men" in Niall, the protagonist of Colin Wilson's novel Shadowland.

Today (February 27), I was helping my wife unpack her suitcases after an extended trip to Canada, and I found that she had brought back a new T-shirt, with the name of a local metal band:

We have the words lucid and karma and the color red -- three things which have been connected with the chameleon sync theme. There's also a strong link to "New Moons Shining." The original (now largely obsolete) meaning of the word lucid is "bright, shining." In William's post, he pointed out that the only time a new moon "shines" is during a total solar eclipse, when the new moon is surrounded by a ring of light. The image on the Lucid Karma T-shirt strongly suggests an eclipse, with two overlapping circles. One circle is solid, while the other is a ring. In a total solar eclipse, the moon appears as a solid disk, while the sun is visible only as a shining ring.

Also, almost exactly three hours before seeing the T-shirt for the first time (photos timestamped 8:31 and 11:29), I had saved this meme I found on /x/, in which a ring (the original images show Bilbo Baggins with the One Ring) is replaced with a solid red circle:

The /x/ thread that prompted the above meme was about the GCP dot (please don't strongly interpret it!) -- which was red at the time the thread was started, but which changes color all the time, like a chameleon.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Swords of Mars, two-mouthed chameleon-cat-men, and kings' stories engraved on stones

Thomas B. Marsh has been in the sync stream, and it occurred to me that, since the h in Thomas is silent -- i.e., Thomas = Tomas -- we could also remove the h from Marsh, yielding Mars.

There is a character named Tomas Castro in Unsong, a Mexican bartender-turned-Leviathan-hunter, who apparently exists for the sole purpose of allowing the author to write, "'It's the Leviathan!' Tom said superficially." (Yes, authors do create whole characters -- fairly major ones sometimes -- for the sake of one perfect line of dialogue. Tim Powers is a confirmed case in point.)

In yesterday's post "Gilgamesh was an elven king," we have this quatrain, a slightly modified quote from Du Cane's Odyssey:

O Smith, declared th' earth-shaking god:
Should Mars the debt refuse,
Thou hast my word that I will pay
To thee thy lawful dues.

Ripped from its Homeric context, this suggested to me the reading that "Smith" -- implicitly Joseph, the assassinated Prophet -- will be avenged, if not by bloodshed (Mars), then by natural disaster (th' earth-shaking god).

The earth-shaking god is Poseidon. According to Robert Graves in The White Goddess, while the Roman Neptune was a god of fish, the Greek Poseidon was more properly a god of warm-blooded sea-beasts such as the Leviathan. This ties in with the Tomas character mentioned above, which in turn suggests that Mars in the second line may have something to do with Marsh -- which seems plausible, given Thomas B. Marsh's association with Joseph Smith.

Mars made me think of the 1935 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Swords of Mars, which for some reason was in our family bookcase all through my childhood -- only that one, nothing else by Burroughs. I read it a few times as a very young child but always found it hard to follow. I couldn't keep the characters' monosyllabic names straight and kept getting Gar Nal mixed up with Ur Jan and Jat Or. If you asked me to summarize the plot now, I would be at a loss. What I do remember very clearly is the cover, which seems possibly relevant given the "flying boats" that have been in the sync stream of late:

The Internet informs me that this cover art, by Gino D'Achille, is from the 1973 edition, so I guess my parents had bought it before I was even born.

I took a look at the Wikipedia article on Swords of Mars to see if there was anything relevant. The "Plot introduction" section begins thus:

Swords of Mars begins as a cloak and dagger thriller and ends as an interplanetary odyssey.

Since I was led to Swords of Mars by a quote from the actual Odyssey, that seemed like a promising start. But what really got my attention was this:

To win freedom from their jeweled prison, the antagonists must join forces with each other, aided by another captive, the one-eyed and two-mouthed chameleon-like "cat-man" Umka.

I have absolutely no memory of any of these plot points, but these are some sync bull's-eyes. The Odyssey quote that started this has to do with Ares (Mars) being released from golden chains, conceptually similar to a "jeweled prison." The really startling coincidence, though, is the chameleon-like man with two mouths. In Shadowlands, the Colin Wilson Spider World novel I am currently reading, there is a race of creatures called "chameleon men," and they have two mouths each -- one in the usual place, and the other in the center of the forehead. At one point, they are compared to cats:

The chameleon men seemed to be finding the going far less difficult, gliding over the irregularities with a kind of natural grace that he had observed in cats.

So Swords of Mars has a two-mouthed chameleon-like cat-man, while Shadowlands has two-mouthed cat-like chameleon men. (Half man, half chameleon, and half cat -- I'm cereal.) The number of books in the world to feature creatures of such a description must be vanishingly small.

Another thing I discussed in "Gilgamesh was an elven king" was the theme of ancient kings -- Gilgamesh of Uruk and the Jaredite king Coriantumr -- engraving their story on a stone, in characters which no one else can read. Today I read the following in Shadowlands:

The track they were following must at some time have been a road, for they passed large stones that were partly buried in the turf, and a few of these had some kind of writing carved on them, although Niall was unable to decipher it, or even make out the configuration of the letters.

I thought this was a fairly minor sync: There are large stones with indecipherable writing carved on them, but the context suggests that they are likely mile markers or something like that, certainly not the record of an ancient king.

Wrong. As Niall glances at one of these stones, he sees "a figure like a little old man sitting on the top of it. When he turned his head to stare, the figure was no longer there." Several pages later, we learn the identity of this ghostly old man:

[He] had been a brutal warrior king who had slain many enemies and dismembered others while they were still alive. This area of the moor had once been the site of a great battle, where the king had died of his wounds after putting his enemies to flight. Now he would have also gladly left, but memory of the cruelty he had inflicted bound him to this place.

Niall could have learned the king's life story merely by staying there and absorbing what had been written in the stones.

So the stones are engraved with the life story of an ancient king, a brutal warrior like Coriantumr -- and a king who is in some sense still there, just as the people of Mulek discovered Coriantumr himself together with the stone that told his story.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Gilgamesh was an elven king

I woke up with a few lines of verse in my head, all I could remember from a dream:

Gilgamesh was an elven king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing.
The sun and moon of heart's desire --
Oh, Troy town's down, tall Troy's on fire!

After jotting that down, while I was trying to remember more of the dream, a few more lines, in a different meter, came to me. I'm not at all confident that these were from the dream -- in fact I'm rather sure they were not -- but they came to mind as I was trying to call back the dream, suggesting that there is some connection:

O Smith, declared th' earth-shaking god:
Should Mars the debt refuse,
Thou hast my word that I will pay
To thee thy lawful dues.

None of this material is original. The quatrain from the dream takes, with minimal modification, two lines from a poem in The Lord of the Rings and two from "Troy Town" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The main change is the replacement of Tolkien's Gil-galad with the much less "elven" name Gilgamesh.

The second quatrain is taken nearly verbatim from Sir Charles Du Cane's 1880 translation of the Odyssey. The lines are from Book VIII, and the context is that Poseidon is trying to convince Hephaestus to release Ares from the golden chains with which he bound him after catching him in bed with Aphrodite. (In Du Cane's original text, the god is addressed as Vulcan, not Smith, but the lines are immediately followed by "Him answered then the smith renowned . . . .") The larger context of the Odyssey is, of course, that Troy town's down.

Torn from that context, though, Du Cane's lines suggest another reading: If Smith is not avenged by war, he will be avenged by natural disaster.

Shortly after writing down the two quatrains, I checked William Wright's blog and read his latest post, "Coriantumr and Donald Trump, the light-minded highness," in which he proposes that Trump is the reincarnation of the Book of Mormon figure Coriantumr. Unlike some of the other reincarnations William has proposed, this one immediately clicked with me at an intuitive level and made more sense the more I thought about it. I'm calling it a bull's-eye.

Then my mind jumped from Coriantumr back to Gilgamesh. Here's how Coriantumr's name is first introduced in the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God. And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons (Omni 1:20-21).

Since Coriantumr was the only survivor of the carnage recounted on the stone, he must have engraved it himself. This reminds me of the famous ending of Gilgamesh, after the hero goes on an epic quest for immortality and utterly fails:

He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labor, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story.

Coriantumr was the last of the Jaredites, who spoke a lost language no one else could understand. That's why his engravings on the stone had to be translated "by the gift and power of God" rather than by ordinary means. Similarly, in the They Might Be Giants song "The Mesopotamians," Gilgamesh and friends say:

And they wouldn't understand a word we say
So we'll scratch it all down into the clay
Half believing there will sometime come a day
Someone gives a damn
Maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand

The "secret combination" theme from the Coriantumr story also appears in that song:

In Mesopotamia
(But no one's ever seen us)
The kingdom where we secretly reign
(And no one's ever heard of our band)
The land where we invisibly rule

My dream, and William Wright's post, were both on February 22, and it's still February 22 now in the US. While I was in the act of writing this post, which quotes a little-read translation of the Odyssey, Zenith of the Alpha posted a new video saying:

The strongest Synchronicities I've ever experienced connected with THE ODYSSEY and the date 2/2/22. Now, 2 years later I see ODYSSEUS is news on 2/22.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Above Majestic (with an excursus on turban jokes)

Last Halloween, I posted "Francis Bacon, papal keys, triple tiara, Denver Airport," which included a meme referencing that airport's sinister reputation. Yesterday, in "Hashtags, Keywords, Stones, and X," William Wright posted a still from an Elmo video, noting the striking similarity to the meme:

The character next to Elmo is supposed to be Rapunzel with her hair up, which makes it look an awful lot like the alien's golden tiara. Rapunzel and the alien both have green skin and mostly white eyes with what looks like heavy black mascara. The alien is flanked by two annoyingly cute little guys -- Minions with SpongeBob faces, I think. If you look closely, you'll see that Rapunzel is similarly flanked by two Elmos (the gold standard for "annoyingly cute") -- a picture of Elmo on one side and the muppet himself on the other. The main difference is that the alien is enjoining silence, while Rapunzel has her mouth wide open.

This made me curious about where the meme image had originally come from. It turns out to be from the poster for Above Majestic, a 2018 documentary about the "secret space program":

Take a look at that coin or medallion the alien is holding. I think that's meant to be one of the daughters of Akhenaten. She might appear to be wearing a beehive-shaped headdress like the alien's, but actually that's just how her head is shaped -- just as Rapunzel's "tiara" is actually part of her body.

Have you ever seen a cartoon where a guy is wearing this enormous turban, and he takes it off to reveal that his head is actually shaped like that? I know I've seen a comic strip like that, either in English or in Spanish, but I can't seem to find it now. Apparently, Google is deliberately making it hard to find such "disturbing or hurtful" content. Check out the very first image result with the English search prompt, though:

Seriously, six of the first ten results are from this "turban jokes to fight stereotypes" site. That's how self-parodying Google has become. And even these have a surgeon general's warning slapped on them. I can literally type bomb making instructions into the search bar and not get a warning, but here, red alert, "Memes about groups of people might be disturbing or hurtful!" Ya think? It's a strange thing to say about one of the biggest tech companies in the world, but it's hard to fight the impression that no one at Google quite understands how the Internet works.

Also, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it is strictly impossible to use turban jokes to fight stereotypes. You can fight stereotypes by including a few totally normal people who just happen to wear turbans in a movie or something, but there's no way to make a turban joke unless there are stereotypes about turbans that you can count on your audience to share, or at least effortlessly understand. Take the first search result for instance. It assumes, and depends on, a widespread understanding that seeing someone with a turban on a plane is scary. Without that, the joke can't even get off the ground, as you can see if you replace the turbans with polo shirts or something without making any other changes. I guess the cartoonist thinks he's "fighting" this stereotype by subverting it -- in this case people avoid the turban-wearer because he smells bad, not because he might be a terrorist! -- but humor always subverts expectations and in doing so reinforces them as the norm. That's why so much humor is inherently racist and sexist and whatever-phobic. Whoever came up with this "turban jokes to fight stereotypes" project is either retarded or else a god-tier troll. Hopefully the latter, but probably not. I'll bet it says somewhere in his bio that he has a Sikh sense of humor.

Anyway, coming back to our topic here, look at what the stinky-not-scary gentleman in the blue pagri is saying: "So, I was flying to Denver . . . ." The search prompt was just turban joke cartoon, but here we are back at the Denver Airport, of all places.

I assume the movie name Above Majestic is referring to Majestic 12, the secret UFO task force allegedly created by Harry Truman. Whitley Strieber wrote a novel called Majestic, also referring to this organization. As documented in "Light shining through yellow flowers," I finished reading Majestic on October 29, 2023 -- just two days before I posted that Denver Airport meme, not knowing until today that it was from a movie called Above Majestic.

Above Majestic is available in its entirety on YouTube. It's over two hours long, but I'll probably try to watch it when I have the time:

Note added: A few hours after posting the above, I ran across this at AC. I think the implication is that she is stuck in the Denver Airport:

Lucid walking, and Carrotman Mushman

One of my collaborators on a blog about a quarter of a century ago, when blogs were still a novelty, used to use the online handle LucidWaking -- a play on "lucid dreaming" which I guess, based on the sheer number of search results it turns up now, has been independently discovered by lots and lots of people. Back then, people were constantly misreading it as Lucid Walking and asking what on earth that was supposed to mean.

Today I read a scene in Colin Wilson's Shadowlands in which the protagonist, under the influence of the chameleon men, finds himself able to enter a lucid dreaming state. He finds that if he tries to walk toward something in such a dream, he won't actually get any closer to it -- unless he walks in a specially-conscious way that he dubs "deliberate walking":

Another idea occurred to him. He tried concentrating hard, then walking toward the "circus tent." This worked; he could actually see the building coming closer, as it would in normal life.

The engagement of his will in the process of walking felt odd, a little like rowing a boat. . . . This "deliberate walking" brought a sense of effort and strain, but it was oddly satisfying.

He began practicing "deliberate walking" in the direction of the circus tent, and was pleased when each determined step took him closer.

So, all you who misread my associate's moniker all those years ago, consider yourselves vindicated. Lucid walking is, it turns out, a thing.

It's interesting that Wilson compares lucid walking to rowing a boat. As the old song informs us, in dreamland it is necessary to row your boat even down the stream, even though in waking life it would go downstream automatically, without the need for any deliberate action. The effort is oddly satisfying, though, so you'll likely find yourself rowing merrily.

On a completely unrelated note (I think), William Wright has posted a couple of times recently about the Pixar character Lightning McQueen, who is an anthropomorphic racecar voiced by Owen Wilson. I was vaguely aware that there was a real racecar driver named Steve McQueen, so I looked him up. Here's the opening paragraph of his Wikipedia entry (boldface in the original):

Terrence Stephen McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American actor and racing driver. His antihero persona, emphasized during the height of the counterculture of the 1960s, made him a top box-office draw for his films of the 1960s and 1970s. He was nicknamed the "King of Cool" and used the alias Harvey Mushman in motor races.

Harvey Mushman! It doesn't get much more "king of cool" than that!

By coincidence, just yesterday someone brought up in conversation the 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie Harvey, the title being the name of the six-foot-three-and-a-half-inch invisible white rabbit who is the Stewart character's probably-imaginary best friend. So when I read about Steve McQueen's pseudonym, I was already primed to think of Harvey as the name of a rabbit.

Harvey is only the second individual named Mushman I've run across in my life. The first was Carrotman Mushman, one of the many stuffed monkeys my brother owned as a kid. He was given that name because the night before my brother got him, he had had a dream in which someone was chanting, "Carrotman Mushman! Carrotman Mushman!" over and over again. Carrotman also suggests a rabbit, carrots being that animal's stereotypical favorite food.

A monkey as a racecar driver makes me think of when Alex Carmichael proudly announced he had come up with an anagram of my full name: "I, jowly Chim-Chim, ate an Elvis." Due to a severe anime allergy, I didn't know until he explained it to me that Chim-Chim is the name of a racecar-driving monkey (or chimp, I guess) in Speed Racer.

Harvey Mushman also suggests Harry Marsh, used in the title of one of William Wright's recent posts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs

In a comment on my post "Je suis Charlie Bucket," Ben Pratt brings up what's-his-bucket as a synonym for what's-his-face, what's-his-name, or ho-such-an-one. In William Wright's latest post, "There's a hole in my bucket-face! AND Harry Marsh and the Sorcerer's Stone," he connects what's-his-bucket with the name Harry (Harry Potter, and also the Hebrew title Ha'Ari, "the Lion"), and dinosaurs also come into the picture, as he includes two different logos for Dinoco (a fictional company appearing in several Pixar movies), one with a blue T. rex and the other with a red Apatosaurus, each inside an egg shape. He also explores the idea of the "hole" in the bucket being a tunnel or passageway.

Just after reading William's post, I was idly wondering how common the expression what's-his-bucket is. It's something my parents say sometimes, but I hadn't heard it in a long time. So I ran a search on what's his bucket (no quotation marks). Virtually all of the image and video results were for a TV cartoon I'd never heard of: Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. I watched the first video result, an episode called "What's for Breakfast." Harry's dinosaurs include a red T. rex, a magenta Apatosaurus, and a blue stegosaurus -- and Harry's bucket turns out to be a portal to another world! He can jump into the bucket and enter Dino World. There also happen to be lots of eggs in this episode:

So we have Harry, dinosaurs, eggs, and a bucket which is a passageway -- and I got all that just by searching for what's his bucket.

This one has nothing to do with William Wright's syncs, but I was also very interested to note that one of Harry's six "dinosaurs" is a yellow pterodactylus. (See "Green Lantern's yellow pterodactyls -- and my own.")

Monday, February 19, 2024

Je suis Charlie Bucket

In my February 16 post "Thomas B. Bucket, the bucket of story -- oh, you know, the thing!" I write about a Ward Radio episode in which host Cardon Ellis repeatedly misspeaks when trying to talk about "the Thomas B. Marsh bucket of cream story." I joke in passing that the "Thomas B. Bucket" malapropism sounds like "one of the hero's relatives in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," figuring that at least some of my readers would remember that the character's full name is Charlie Bucket. Then I end the post by getting from Thomas B. Marsh, by way of Simonds (Symonds?) Ryder (Rider?) -- the i-vs.-y spelling being a point of dispute for both of his names -- to the classic 1979 Sesame Street sketch "The Wonderful World of T-shirts." The sketch revolves around Kermit the Frog trying to get a T-shirt with his name on it. The T-shirt salesman keeps giving him apparently misspelled T-shirts saying things like "Kermit the Forg," but each of these actually turns out to be the correctly spelled name of another customer who ordered a T-shirt with his name on it. (This ties in with the Centaur Aisle scene I reference in "My tail is dun," where all the misspelled words are actually correct spellings of other words.) In a comment, William Wright draws attention to the rather odd premise underlying the sketch:

The real question, however, is at what point does the T-shirt store owner wonder what kind of society he is living in where everyone is ordering T-shirts with their own names printed on the front?

On February 17, William posted "Pure Imagination: Willy Wonka, Giraffes breaking secret combinations, the Chocolate Milk of Life, and more names." He discusses the movie Wonka and then moves on to the one true Wonka movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. Not having noticed my own Dahl reference, he explicitly points out the connection between Charlie Bucket and Thomas B. Bucket. Then he connects Gene Wilder with a Disney character called Flynn Rider whose real name turns out to be Eugene. In interpreting Rider's name, he respells Flynn as Flinn, which clearly ties in with the Symonds Rider spelling dispute. In a comment, I point out that Gene Wilder is also a pseudonym, and that his real name is Jerome Silberman.

Incidentally, William also interprets Wonka by respelling it as Wanka. Rather than make the obvious juvenile joke, I'll just point out that he may be mistaking the hat for the man himself.

On February 18, YouTube recommended yet another Ward Radio video. I've about had my fill of these guys and their loudmouth style, but I watched this one anyway because it has the always interesting Don Bradley in it. 

The episode is called "Taking Zelph off the Shelf!" It's about Joseph Smith's "Zelph the White Lamanite" anecdote, which is often seen as embarrassing and problematic. It's common for both Mormons and ex-Mormons to talk about a believer's unresolved questions as being "on the shelf," and when a crisis of faith occurs "the shelf breaks." There's apparently another YouTube channel called Zelph on the Shelf, which I know nothing about but which I suppose is reference to Mormon "shelf" issues and a pun on The Elf on the Shelf. Don points out, though, that the credit for the name should actually go to Dr. Seuss:


As a prologue to his analysis of the Zelph story, Don talks about an episode in the Book of Mormon where Alma and Amulek (the good guys) are arguing with two corrupt lawyers named Zeezrom and Antionah, and the editor (Mormon) interrupts the narrative to give a lengthy and seemingly pointless explanation of the Nephite monetary system. The apparent purpose of this digression is to make it clear that the bribe offered by one of the lawyers represents a substantial amount of money, but Mormon goes into much more detail than seems necessary, giving the names of 12 different denominations of gold and silver. Don argues that the real purpose of this explanation is to help the reader understand the allegorical meanings of the names given to the two lawyers. An ezrom is a denomination of silver, and an antion one of gold -- so, he says, the names Ze-ezrom and Antion-ah are equivalent to "Mr. McMoney and Mr. Goldman." He implies that these may not have been the lawyers' real names at all but rather allegorical pseudonyms used to portray them as embodiments of greed. I found this synchronistically interesting in connection with my own recent comment about the pseudonym of a Mr. Silberman (which, as I suppose is obvious, is German for "silver man").

Don then goes on to give similar treatment to the name Zelph, which he argues was intended to evoke the English word self. Joseph Smith was telling his "Zion's Camp" militia about the warrior Zelph who served the prophet Onandagus. His audience was supposed to see Onandagus as Joseph Smith (for reasons that need not detain us here) and Zelph as themselves.

Then we get this synchronistically interesting exchange:

Kwaku: Don, you gave the most entertaining explanation of this, because every other time anyone's ever talked about Zelph, it was like Cardon's bucket of cream story. I'm like, why do I care? . . . It's like, there's parts of church history, you're like, "Here's a really cool thing from Eliza R. Snow." Oh, I definitely want to read it. "Here's a cool thing from Bathsheba W. Smith." I'm like [dismissive hand gesture]. You know, there are just different people you care about, there's people you don't really care -- I've never cared about Zelph.

Don: So now you care because now you are Zelph, right? So, you know those shirts people did or whatever over in France after Charlie Hebdo was attacked, "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" or whatever? [gesture showing writing on a T-shirt] "I am Zelph," right? There you go.

So there's yet another reference to the Thomas B. Marsh "bucket of cream story" -- which both William Wright and I have connected with the Roald Dahl character Charlie Bucket -- and it's immediately followed up with a reference to Charlie Hebdo. Then we have a link to "The Wonderful World of T-shirts," where everyone wants a T-shirt with his own name on it, as Don talks about T-shirts saying "I am Charlie" and "I am Zelph." The latter would, I guess, mean "I am Self." I am Atman.

When I posted about Thomas B. Bucket, it made me think Aaron Smith-Teller's kabbalistic analysis of "There's a Hole in My Bucket" in Scott Alexander's novel Unsong, so I went back and reread that. It's quite William Wright-esque in its analysis of names, except that the focus is on Hebrew rather than on Tolkien's languages. One of the characters in the bucket song is called Liza, which Smith-Teller analyzes thus:

Looking up "Liza" we find it derives from Hebrew Elisheba, a complicated name I have seen translated as "God is an oath", "God is satisfaction", "God is wrath" or -- if you take it entirely literally -- "God is seven".

The last reading, the entirely literal one, becomes the starting point for his exegesis:

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Now everything starts to come together. Harry (= Ha'Ari ["the Lion," a title of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the father of Kabbalah]) bemoans the shattered nature of the universe to Liza (= "my god is seven" = the seven shattered sephirot down in our vessel with us, the only form of God accessible in our finite world).

Now look back at Kwaku's comment comparing Zelph to the bucket story. As examples of aspects of Mormon history he is and isn't interested in, he mentions two women named Eliza and Bathsheba. Eliza, like Liza, obviously derives from Elisheba, meaning most literally "God is seven." The second morpheme is shared with Bathsheba, which could be literally translated as "daughter of seven."

What does the second part of the name Charlie Hebdo mean? It means "weekly" in French, but its ultimate source is the Greek word for "seven."

Incidentally, "There's a Hole in My Bucket" also got the Sesame Street treatment back in the seventies:

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Chameleons everywhere

I wasn't looking for chameleons today, but the sync fairies had their own plans.

First I saw this on one of those Mormon videos YouTube keeps recommending these days:

Apparently it's a comic book about the story of Joseph Smith and the golden plates as told by an old man in Madagascar -- because, well, why not Madagascar? (In fact, if you believe the Mormon folklore about the ships of Hagoth, I guess the Malagasy people should be, like their Polynesian relatives, Nephites.) And, I learned today, about half of all chameleon species live only in Madagascar.

(Judging by the presence of red ruffed lemurs, this is apparently the Sava region of Madagascar.)

Then about an hour later, when I was (for complex psychological reasons) searching for a photoshopped "hybrid" of a zebra and a hippopotamus, I found this:

That's a chameleon head shopped onto the body of a gray tabby cat. My January 25 post "An old pre-dator, chameleons, and le Demiurge," opens with this image of a gray tabby cat blending in with its surroundings as if it were a color-changing "chameleon" like the title character in the movie Predator:

Friday, February 16, 2024

Thomas B. Bucket, the bucket of story -- oh, you know, the thing!

Thomas B. Marsh, the relatively obscure Mormon historical figure is in the air. Leo has posted on him extensively at his blog ("The Curious Case of Thomas B. Marsh" and "Thomas B. Marsh: Alternate Ending #1" so far, and I assume that "#1" means there's more where that came from), and William Wright picked up the theme with "Swampy Key Holders: Pokelogan and Thomas B. Marsh." My own sync-stream has featured such marsh-adjacent content as pokelogan (a kind of marsh) and a novel called Swamplandia!, but I haven't posted anything about Thomas B. himself -- until now.

Ever since I watched that Don Bradley Liahona thing, YouTube has decided that Ward Radio (a loud and goofy Mormon podcast, not that there's anything wrong with that) is my kind of thing, so today at the top of my suggested videos was something called "Thomas B. Marsh is Getting OUT OF CONTROL!" (shouting in the original) -- about how suddenly everyone's hearing about him. The whole video is basically a response to this comment:

I just have to say, I NEVER heard the Thomas B Marsh bucket of cream story until I started listening to this podcast. Now I've heard it about 5,000 times.

Here it is. It's worth listening to at least part of it just to hear Cardon Ellis pulling one Biden after another. First it's "the Thomas B. Marsh bucket of story" (a smaller-scale version of Haroun and the Sea of Stories?), and then he actually calls him Thomas B. Bucket, which I think was one of the hero's relatives in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Thomas B. Marsh -- who supposedly left the Church over a dispute about a bucket of milk -- is one of the go-to examples of people leaving the Church for stupid reasons. I heard the story countless times growing up Mormon. The other overused story with this moral is that of Symonds (Simonds?) Ryder (Rider?), who is supposed to have left the Church because Joseph Smith misspelled (or did he?) his name. As I was listening to Cardon holding forth on Thomas B. Bucket and his bucket of story, my mind melded the two stories together and created something new.

First, though, I know my readers are a pretty cultured lot, but if you have somehow never seen the classic Sesame Street sketch "The Wonderful World of T-Shirts," you should watch that right now before proceeding.

Anyway, the scene that spontaneously emerged in my mind went something like this:

"No, no, I'm sorry. That says Thomas B. Shawarma. You see, Marsh is M-A-R-S-H. I think you made some kind of mistake."

"Heh-heh-heh. I never make mistakes."

"No, but you see there's no such person as Thomas B. --"

Enter the Fat Blue Anything Muppet. "Hi. I'm Thomas B. Shawarma. Is my T-shirt ready?"

Yes, I know shawarma isn't an anagram of Marsh, but that's just what appeared, okay? -- fully-formed, as it were, like Athena from the headwaters of the Suez. I trust the reader has enjoyed this note.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Aloha, Jeremy!

In my last post, "Local boy called as janitor," I recount a dream in which I saw what I took to be a reference to my brother Luther on a bulletin board in the Mormon chapel in Kirtland, Ohio. (Kirtland happens to be very important in Mormon history, but in my case the link is personal: I lived in the Kirtland Stake in my teens and have been in that chapel countless times.) 

That same night (night of February 12-13), I had another dream of which my memory is extremely fragmentary. I think it also took place in Kirtland. There was a small group of people who, although I'm pretty sure they were White, expected me to greet them "in the Hawaiian way," which meant saying aloha for "good-bye" but something else (I think it was nuwa or something similar to that) for "hello." I found that confusing, since I'd always thought aloha meant both "hello" and "good-bye," but I thought it would be rude to ask them about it. That's really all I remember of that dream.

The afternoon after these two dreams, I wanted something to listen to while I did some housework, and for some reason YouTube recommended a rather old (2014) interview by John Dehlin of Jeremy Runnells. I didn't have anything better in mind, so sure, why not? Mr. Runnells is apparently something of a celebrity in ex-Mormon circles, but I left the CJCLDS in 2002 and had long since stopped following such things by the time he made his big splash, so I didn't know anything about him. I didn't listen to the whole interview, but several bits jumped out at me in connection with my dreams.

First, as Mr. Runnells is talking about his experience growing up in the CJCLDS, he mentions out of the blue that one of his bishops in California used to greet people with aloha:

The ward that I was in was just fantastic. I had awesome bishops. One of the bishops was Hawaiian. Every week, "Brothers and sisters, aloha."

Later he talks about serving as a missionary in New York City and being there when 9/11 happened. My brother Luther was also a missionary in New York City when 9/11 happened, so there's a better than even chance that they actually know each other.

Then he talks about a Church leader doing a Q&A:

Well, he was asked by someone in the audience what his thoughts were regarding the droves of members that are leaving the Church over Google, over history. His response was basically we're experiencing an apostasy that we haven't seen since Kirtland over history.

So there's aloha, Kirtland, and a biographical detail that fits my brother Luther. I'm not sure what that means, but the way it matches my dreams of the night before is interesting.

Note added (February 15):

A pen friend sent me a link to a podcast by Whitley Strieber on YouTube -- an interview with Andy Thomas about crop circles. Oddly, given my long-running interest in Strieber, I didn't even know he was on that platform. I listened to it while exercising, not realizing that I had the autoplay feature on, and when the interview finished the algorithm served up another recent video from Strieber's channel: "Science and Magic in Hawai'i." After the intro music, the very first words spoken in this video are: "Aloha, Dreamland! My name is Jeremy Vaeni" -- a White guy named Jeremy saying aloha. Dreamland is the name of the program, but I suppose it also syncs with my dream about White people expecting me to say aloha to them.

I haven't listened to Vaeni interview yet, but I'm updating the title of this post to "Aloha, Jeremy!"

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Local boy called as janitor

Last night I dreamed that I was standing in the hallway of the LDS chapel in Kirtland, Ohio, where I used to go to church ages ago. The building was empty, and I think I had stopped there so that someone I was traveling with could use the bathroom or something. I was standing around waiting for this person.

Across the hallway from me was a door, identified by a little plastic sign jutting out perpendicular to the wall as the custodian’s supply closet. There was also a little plastic plaque on the wall next to the door forbidding unauthorized entry. (The precise wording of these two signs was not clearly defined in the dream.) To the left of the door was a big corkboard with various notices pinned to it.

Out of boredom, I took out my phone and googled my own last name. I was startled when at the top of the search results it said “Results near you” and had a photo of the door across from me, complete with the two plastic signs. Why was I getting that? Was Google given the realtime location of people named Tychonievich as a search result?

Then I noticed that the photo was actually subtly different from the door across from me, so I figured it was a stock photo of an LDS church janitor’s closet. But why would searching for my name return that result?

Finally I noticed something on the bulletin board by the door: a full-page article cut from a newspaper, with the headline “Local boy called as janitor.” Of course, I thought. That must be from decades ago, when my brother Luther was doing janitorial work for the church. As far as my dreaming mind was concerned, mystery solved.

As I was trying to get a good photo, trying to find a good angle so that both signs and the headline would be clearly legible, I woke up.

Shortly after getting up, I checked a couple of blogs and read William Wright’s latest, “Swampy Key Holders: Thomas B. Marsh and Pokelogan.” Thomas Marsh was a Mormon leader back when the church was based in Kirtland, Ohio, and William emphasizes Marsh’s role as a “doorkeeper” or “usher.”

Here’s what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about the word janitor:

1580s, "an usher in a school," later "doorkeeper" (1620s), from Latin ianitor "doorkeeper, porter," from ianua "door, entrance, gate," from ianus "arched passageway, arcade" (see Janus) + agent suffix -tor. Meaning "caretaker of a building, man employed to see that rooms are kept clean and in order" first recorded 1708. Fem. forms were janitress (1806), janitrix (1818). 

Sync homework report: Dead Reckoning

So I watched Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, an extremely looong Tom Cruise movie of whose existence I had been blissfully unaware until a week ago. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town. Every time someone appears to die in a movie, she asks me, "Is he dead?" and I would have enjoyed being able to answer, "I reckon."

In my February 7 post "What's the second key?" I discussed a sync video that focuses on the theme -- found both in Dead Reckoning and in another movie, Uncharted, which I haven't seen -- of two cross-shaped keys that must be combined and used together. Starting with the assumption that one of the two keys represents the Rosary (literally "garland of roses"), I reasoned that the other might be associated with lilies and ended up linking it to Fortuna and the idea of luck and coincidence. You can read the post for the details of that train of thought.

When the two keys are introduced in Dead Reckoning, we see them on a screen labeled красный and белый -- "red" and "white"; one of them is decorated with two small red jewels, and the other with white ones. This difference is never mentioned by any of the characters -- they never specify which key they're talking about beyond "the other key" -- but it's there, and it fits with the idea of a rose key and a lily key. Very early on, we learn that one of the keys is in the possession of a woman named Ilsa Faust. Faustus means "fortunate" in Latin, so a female Faust is clearly a link to Fortuna. Her key should be the white one, then, and such proves to be the case. The other key, the red one, turns out to be in the possession of a character called the White Widow. Since white is a symbol of virginity, and Jesus' mother was a widow, this is consistent with the red key being linked to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So far, so good. No really new light is shed on the meaning of the two keys, but at least it confirms what I've got.

(By the way, William Wright, you asked what it means for the Rosary to be one of the keys. I'm working on a post about that.)

I was expecting key syncs going in, of course. What I wasn't expecting was a link to my January 7 post "My tail is dun." The title of that post is a reference to a scene in the Piers Anthony novel Centaur Aisle, in which Dor dictates an essay to a magical "spelling bee," only to have the insect replace most of the words with correctly-spelled homophones. Thus the final sentence, "My tale is done," comes out as "My tail is dun." I ended the post with a reference to Paul H. Dunn, bringing in a third homophone.

In Dead Reckoning, there's a scene where the character Benji is trying to disarm a bomb, which requires him to solve "a cylinder cipher. There's eight wheels" (a nod to the eight-spoked Wheel of Fortune). Then Benji realizes that "the wheels, they spell out a message: You are done."

"No way," says Benji's partner Luther. "Not yet, we aren't." Then Benji clarifies:

"It's my last name," Benji says. "It knows who I am."

Confusion between done and a homophone is a pretty specific feature, not something you run across every day.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The lake and the larch-root tree

This was a sort of amorphous dream, neither very visual nor very verbal, but I got the general idea.

There was a small lake and growing near it a very tall tree called a “larch-root tree.” A magician wanted to move both of these to a distant location, so he caused each of them to collapse into a little cylindrical capsule, about the diameter of a 12-gauge shotgun shell but only half as long. He put the two capsules in the pocket of his robe and left.

When he arrived at the new location, he made the capsules expand again into a lake and a larch-root tree. However, he lacked the understanding to do this properly. Their original configuration had been stable, but the new one was not. Something about their relative position made it possible for the larch-root tree to suck up all the water in the lake, and in no time the lake was completely gone.

The magician had definitely not been expecting this, and his facial expression made it clear that it threw a spanner in his plans.

There were a few follow-up dreams revisiting this event and explaining its significance, but I can’t remember any of them.

Note added: About two hours after posting the above, I read this in Swamplandia! by Karen Russell:

Melaleuca quinquenervia was an exotic invasive, an Australian tree imported to suck the Florida swamp dry (p. 96).

That’s a pretty tight sync with the dream, in which a tree sucks a lake dry after being relocated to a new environment.

Google Photos is trying to implant false memories

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Christ between antlers, Chameleon Baptism, and a liquid clock in an alligator's stomach

My last two posts have featured syncs with a cross or crucifix between the antlers of a stag. Today, on one of my truly-random rambles through Taichung, I found this on a the door of a closed restaurant. (It's Chinese New Year; everything is closed.)

It's a pretty odd thing to find in February in a non-Christian country. It appears to be permanently attached to the door, not a seasonal decoration. But the important thing, sync-wise, is that right at the top we have Christ -- as part of the word Christmas -- located between the antlers of a stag. Exactly centered between the antlers is Ch -- a transliteration of the Greek X, the cross. Notice also that each of the two circles around the stag is broken into eight segments, suggesting the eight-spoked Wheel of Fortune.

Chameleons have been in the sync stream. Today I read a bit in Shadowland by Colin Wilson and also started reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Shadowland is the sixth installment in the Spider World series, which deals mainly with human beings and giant spiders. In the bit I read today, a new intelligent species is introduced: color-changing "chameleon men." I didn't see that coming. Then later I started reading Swamplandia!, about a family that runs an alligator theme park in Florida, and found this:

According to Bigtree legend, it was that same day that Grandma Risa got her first-ever glimpse of a Florida alligator . . . . That monster's surge, said our grandfather, sent up a tidal wave of black water that soaked Grandma Risa's dress. The prim china-dots on her skirt got erased in one instant, what we called in our museum Risa's Chameleon Baptism (p. 31).

I don't really get why they called it that. Because the dots being erased from her skirt is sort of like changing color? The meaning of "Chameleon Baptism" is not explained, and so far (I'm on page 52) it hasn't been referenced again. In Shadowland, the main character meets the chameleon men after they pull his unconscious body from a river, he having just gone over a waterfall. In William Wright's January 24 post, "'Get to the choppa!': A skin-removing Chameleon hunting Arnold Schwarzenegger," which started this whole chameleon theme, he writes that in the movie Predator, "Arnold even gets a 'baptism' after his run away from the Chameleon." By "baptism," he means jumping into a river and going over a waterfall, much like Niall in Shadowland; and the "Chameleon" is of course the nearly invisible humanoid Predator, much like Niall's "chameleon men."

In my own syncs, the red chameleon has been particularly important, as has its long red protruding tongue, which has also been seen on a Pokémon and a female vampire:

When I checked in with The Most Censored Publication in History today, I was greeted by this image:

An AI-generated image of Lady Liberty with vampire fangs and an extremely long protruding red tongue -- what more natural way to illustrate a story about Zuck censoring the supreme leader of Iran?

Later, since I'm finding Swamplandia! quite a good read so far, I googled the author, Karen Russell. This is what came up:

Look at the books that are highlighted: First, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, which I already knew about. (It's why I bought Swamplandia!, as documented here.) Second, an edition of Swamplandia! with a red alligator on the cover -- which is even more unusual than a red chameleon! It's an unusually short-snouted gator, too, looking more like a lizard, and even looks as if it has a chameleon-like crest at the back of its head. (My own copy is a different edition, with a regular alligator-colored alligator. If you do an image search for swamplandia, the seventh result is the first one with a red gator. Still, that's the one Google chose to highlight.) And right next to this thing that looks an awful lot like a red chameleon, the word VAMPIRES. And is it just me, or does that leaf make the lemon look like a hand grenade?

Here's something else I read in Swamplandia! today which confused me:

I dusted our Seth clock, a gruesome and fantastic timepiece the Chief had made: just an ordinary dishlike kitchen clock set inside a real alligator's pale stomach. The clock hung from a hook next to the blackboard menu in our Swamp Café (p. 32).

Wait, the clock is inside an alligator's stomach? Then how can anyone see it to check the time? My best guess at the author's intended meaning, taking both inside and stomach rather loosely, is that there was some skin taken from a gator's underbelly, with the clock mounted in the center. But my literal interpretation on the first read, together with the word hook in the following sentence, made me think of Hook's nemesis in Peter Pan, a crocodile that made a ticking sound because it had swallowed a clock. In the Disney movies, the crocodile's name is actually Tick-Tock.

Then, on the same truly-random ramble that led me to another Christ-between-antlers, I found this:

Okay, what exactly is that on the left? I mean, it's obviously meant to suggest a clock (with no hands), but what about the other features? What's that thing on top, that gives it the shape of a cartoon bomb? Is it supposed to be a stopwatch? But why does it look like it has some black liquid in it? Is it a bottle, and that thing at the top is the cap? But I've never seen drink sold in a bottle like that. It looks more like a perfume bottle or something. . . .

Then I remembered something else I had read in Swamplandia! today. After the death of the narrator's mother, no one in the family is doing laundry:

I don't know what [my brother] was doing for clean clothing during that period; for months my sister and I had been spraying out undershirts and shorts with Mom's perfume. . . . two pumps, per sister, per day. We were using Mom up, I worried, and for some reason that fear made me want to spray on more and more. The perfume worked like a liquid clock for us: half a bottle drained to a quarter, that was winter.

Just logging syncs. We'll see if they lead anywhere.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Follow-up on antlers, crosses, and the Liahona

In general, I have my Romantic Christian posts, which are read, commented on, and linked by my fellow Romantic Christian bloggers (e.g. Bruce Charlton, Francis Berger, and William Wildblood); and I have my synchronicity posts, which have dominated the blog in recent months, and which get engagement mostly from a different set of readers (e.g. Debbie, William Wright, and WanderingGondola). There's not normally a huge amount of cross-pollination between these two groups.

My most recent sync-post, though, "A cross between two antlers, and the Liahona spindles," not only includes Frank's blog in the syncs but led to a response post there, "Going Where We Need to Go Versus Going Absolutely Nowhere." Frank discusses the Liahona and legends relating to the white stag and the stag with a crucifix between its antlers. Then, before quoting Bruce Charlton, he mentions in passing that Bruce "has also been connected to the antler/crucifix/St. Eustace in a meme, of all things." I followed the link to Frank's 2021 post about that meme. Notice his choice of words in describing the meme's effect (underlined in red by me):

Quite synchronistically interesting in light of the image I posted which caused him to revisit that old meme:

As I noted in my last post, this image was presumably intended as a reference to a kind of cocktail called a Jägerbomb, but the sync fairies can commandeer anything for their own purposes.

In the context of the Liahona, a sacred artifact described in the Book of Mormon, it is perhaps relevant that that book is often abbreviated as BoM. Back when I was a Mormon missionary, some of my associates would even thus abbreviate it in speech, pronouncing it bomb.

In Taiwan, the game of Hangman -- where you guess letters in a target word or phrase, and with each wrong guess a body part is added to the hanged stick figure -- is commonly played in a different form, called Bomb, where there is a cartoon bomb with a segmented fuse, and one segment of the fuse is erased for each wrong guess. So there's another link between the cartoon bomb and the hanged/crucified man.

In its classic Marseille form, the Hanged Man of the Tarot is hanged between two branches with many protruding stumps, suggesting the antlers of a stag:

Later in my antlers post, I posted a photo of a cross on a pair of automatic sliding glass doors, so positioned that when the doors opened the cross would be split in half. In a comment, William Wright wrote:

I had just posted on "X marks the spot" while thinking (though not stating) that the X in question may not necessarily lead to the actual 'place', but a door or entrance to that place.

The cross on the doors was oriented as a +, not an X, but today I happened to see this on the gates of a construction site near my home:

This is the same concept -- a cross centered on the place where two doors meet, such that opening the doors will split it in half -- but this time the cross is in diagonal X orientation.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my antlers post seemed to draw together two different circles of readers of this blog. I thought of this in terms of the two crosses coming together, as discussed in "What's the second key?"

The wallpaper in the hallway just outside my personal chapel shows a bamboo forest with the sun shining through it. Today I noticed for the first time that the rays of the sun make it look like an eight-pointed star, suggesting the union of two crosses, so I took a photo. Earlier, I had passed a parked car with BEE on the license plate and taken a photo of that. Later, when I opened the photo app on my phone, the two thumbnails were so positioned as to make it look like a single photo, with the BEE car driving toward the eight-rayed sun:

Compare that to this image, which I posted in "What's the second key?"

In the Book of Mormon, the Liahona was used to guide a ship across the sea to the Promised Land. In the Ward Radio video I embedded in my last post, someone says that Hugh Nibley proposed that the word Liahona comes from a Hebrew or Egyptian word meaning "queen bee."

I normally take Hugh Nibley's linguistic speculations with a shaker or two of salt, but interestingly Frank recently linked to "By the waters of Mormon: an open letter to Christian Esoterists," a (highly recommended) essay by a non-Mormon writer from Portugal who calls Nibley "one of the most important intellectuals not only of Mormonism but of the 20th Century."

How beautiful upon the mountains are their feet!

In his July 21 post " Twister, 'The Extreme', and Shine On ," William Wright mentions a couple of Book of Mormon passages ...