Saturday, January 08, 2005

Today would be Elvis Presley’s 70th birthday, if he wasn’t, of course, dead. The tributes are hardly being paid in the way the were back in the Great Elvis-Sighting Era of the 1990s (which also largely coincides with the Presidency of Bill Clinton, who’s Secret Service codename was reportedly Elvis – as in "Elvis had left the building". Work with that one, paranoids.) A few movies are scattered round the cable menu, including the truly bizarre Wild In The Country, with a script by Clifford Odets, but TBS no longer runs marathons of Elvis – The TV Show. Elvis fades? I dunno. The image still looms and the voice still resonates, and, for the moment, I will still write "Elvis worshiper" on any document that demands record of my religion. (And I feel we may have a some of those in our future.) Such declarations are not merely acts of inanity. They are also a measures of self protection since the Christian SS are superstitiously loath the mess with The People of the King. (I expound on this theme in my novel The Armageddon Crazy, which is sooo out-of-print, and even out of date like 1984, since it is sci fi set in the year 2000, but none the less apt. There’s even a war with the godless Canadians.)

The next time you’re bothered by a Stormtrooper for Jesus, try this on them – "There is no God and his mother is Mary." It just drives them batshit. It's like asking "why" of a computer on Star Trek. But be warned, they may kill you.

There’s also a whole very long, very dense, very learned bit on this theme on Counterpunch...

Or if you want it close up and nasty try...
but it’s hard to link. I think some pinko-commie, maybe Howard Stern-related crash‘n’burn plug-pulling has been applied to this holy site.

The following came from Mr MR...
BBC NEWS Asia-Pacific N Korea wages war on long hair
N Korea wages war on long hair North Korea has launched an intensive media assault on its latest arch enemy - the wrong haircut. A campaign exhorting men to get a proper short-back-and-sides has been aired by state-run Pyongyang television. The series is entitled "Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle."

So it’s official. The Glorious Flower of Revolution has reached the cultural equivalency of about 1954, and the mind-set of my old Eddie Cochran-hating headmaster "Taff" Evans who did so much to instill basic sado-masochism into our preteen psyches in the days when Elvis supposedly wore the Haircut of Satan, and Jimi Hendrix as only a future horror. Which brings us very neatly back to Elvis. (But watch out, Kim Il Jong will could invent rock & roll sometime around June.)

The secret word is Megaton.

And the email is

CRYPTIQUE "Somebody save my back catalogue." he shrieked in desperation.

COMMERCIAL -- mp3 downloads and a highly lauditory analysis by Dave Thompson on...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Let me tell you, mama, what that black dog done done to me
Let me tell you, mama, what that black dog done done to me
He cheated me from my regular, now he's after my used-to-be

– Blind Blake

But the good news is...
"If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die." – Folklore (NW USA)
(all courtesy of HC Beck)

But enough of my Hellhound/Black Dog fixation. A whole lotta stuff has piled up while I’ve been flirting with the supernatural, and I must post some of it.

A 10-year-old girl who learnt about tsunamis in a geography class saved her family and hundreds of tourists from death. Tilly Smith noticed the tide rush out on Maikhao beach in Phuket, Thailand, where she was on holiday with her mother Penny, father Colin and seven-year-old sister Holly. The schoolgirl remembered her geography teacher's lesson about the bubbling water only weeks earlier and told her family they had to leave the beach. According to The Sun she said she had just finished a school project on tsunamis and thought one was minutes away. Tilly, from Oxshott, in Surrey, told The Sun: "I was on the beach and the water started to go funny. There were bubbles and the tide went out all of a sudden. "I recognised what was happening and had a feeling there was going to be a tsunami. I told mummy." Her parents warned hotel staff and holidaymakers who fled the beach and escaped without serious injury when the tsunami struck. Andrew Kearney, geography teacher at Oxshott Danes Hill Prep School, said he told his students that after the sea was sucked backwards, the next five to 10 minutes were crucial for people to survive. He said: "Nothing illustrates Tilly's character more than her brave actions in a terrifying situation." Tilly's mother said she was "very proud" of her daughter and headteacher Robin Parfitt said she had "wisdom beyond her years".
Also elephants seemed to know what know what was happening, and some folks know as the Sea Gypsies.

From the fatuous David Brooks in the NY Times (on Social Security)
Europe may find itself locked into a vicious circle: an aging population means more public spending, which means higher taxes, which means lower growth, which means higher unemployment, which means more public spending, which means more taxes and even lower growth.
Which would essentially mean that the aged poor should fuck off and die.

From PDB
Torture? Permanent imprisonment without charges? Fundamental violations of the law. How can we continue to ignore the gravity of this situation?


The secret word is Endless

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Regular visitors to Doc40 know that the usual stock-in-trade of the weblog is cultural outrage and popular esoterica, but on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of Midnight, I may have beheld an apparition, or at least had a brush with resonating folklore. (See Jan 1st) Clearly to confess such atavism without clouding it in poetry or pretending its metaphor is not easy, although I feel I’m entitled, seeing as how I've published a quartet of critically acclaimed vampire novels that were even lauded by Bookslut who normally scathing of such things. Thus, neighbors, here is an edited version of the all-you-need-to-know about Hellhound encounters that was so kindly supplied by our pal Mr. MR. The italics are mine. Themic norms will be resumed when Doc is good and ready, and no longer feels like Robert Johnson’s old suit.

The term ‘Black dog’ is used to refer to apparitions of creatures which typically resemble black dogs though it is also often used as a generic term for canine apparitions of other colours and types. The term does not usually include apparitions of pets however (Brown, 1978; Miller, 1984). . "

A. That which is generally known locally as the Barguest, Shuck, Black Shag, Trash, Skriker, Padfoot, Hooter, and other names. These are not the names of individuals but of an impersonal creature which is distributed over certain areas…This type, which we may call the Barguest type, changes its shape, a thing that no true black dog ever does." (p.176).

B. That which is nearly always known as the Black Dog, is always black, and is always a dog and nothing else. It is always associated with a definite place or ‘beat’ on a road. It is always an individual. Sometimes it is associated with a person or a family…Another personal association is that with witches." (p.178). "C. A third variety of Black Dog, which is rare, is that which appears in a certain locality in conjunction with a calendar cycle*." (p.179).
(* First few seconds of 2005 would seem to qualify under section C)

The black dog is known by different names in different parts of the British Isles (Bord & Bord, 1985; McEwan, 1986): e.g. Norfolk Shuck, Black Shuck, Old Shuck
East Anglia Old Shock, Shucky Dog, Black Shuck, the Shug Monster
Suffolk Scarfe, Gally-trot, Gallytrot, Galley Trot, Moddey Dhoe
Isle of Man Moddey Dhoo, which means "Black Dog" and is pronounced "Mauther Thoo" in Manx Gaelic
Lancashire Trash, Guytrash, Skriker Yorkshire Barghest, Barghaist, Barguest, Barguest, Barn-ghaist, Skriker
Westmorland Cappel Staffordshire Padfoot Warwickshire Hooter Lincolnshire Hairy Jack Leicestershire Shag Dog Midlands Hooter Somerset Gurt Dog or ‘great dog’ Wales Gwyllgi (dog of darkness)
Scotland Black dog known as the Muckle Black Tyke and in Gaelic as Choin Dubh. Cu Sith** or fairy dog is more common and is usually green or sometimes white.
(** Ghost dog of the Sith, perhaps?)

Black dogs are often associated with a particular place or area (Miller, 1984). Black dogs have also been reported at places associated with violent crimes **** (Miller, 1984). Types of places associated with appearances of black dogs include: roads, crossroads, lanes, footpaths, bridges, gateways, doorways, staircases, boundaries, fields, hedges, green lanes, treasure sites, wayside burials, graves and gallows, wells and trees (Brown, 1958, 1978; Bord & Bord, 1985). Black dogs are often encountered near water, e.g. the sea, ponds, and bridges over streams or rivers (Bord & Bord, 1985). However, Bord & Bord (1985) note that "there are very few places in Britain where one is very far away from water (except in times of drought!)" (p.98). Bord and Bord (1985) theorised that black dogs might patrol ley lines and dis/appear at various ley points such as churchyards, prehistoric remains and ancient trackways.
(*** Now here is does get a tad Rod Serling, and I only made the connection when I read this material, is that there was, in fact, a guy shot dead, about five years ago, exactly where I saw the said dog. (I swear.) The culmination of a Honduran carjacking. It was even on the Channel 2 News. The cops stood around his body for two hours leaning on the hood of a black white, drinking coffee and eating donuts waiting for the CSI to arrive, while the victim lay in the sidewalk under a bodybag. A small growth of candles and flowers appeared the next day and remained until they melted or wilted.)

Black dogs are usually seen at night (Bord & Bord, 1985) though sightings have taken place in daylight (Brown, 1978). They are usually experienced outside, often in lonely rural settings, although a few accounts of encounters inside houses have been reported (Bord & Bord, 1985). In some cases the percipient was making their way home alone at night. Percipients may report that they suddenly become aware of a black dog trotting along beside them (Bord & Bord, 1985; Miller, 1984).

3. Characteristics of the apparitions
It has been suggested that the appearance of the apparition might be influenced by the percipients’ psychological disposition**** and their repertoire of images and symbols (Brown, 1978; Miller, 1984).
(**** I'll go along with that.)

The main ways that black dog apparitions differ from normal dogs is in terms of their size, their eyes and their behaviour (Bord & Bord, 1985). 5. How are these apparitions interpreted?Reactions to black dog apparitions vary from fear and aggression to acceptance and friendship (Miller, 1984). Sometimes people try to stroke the dog (presumably if it appears friendly) whilst at other times people have attempted to strike it (Bord & Bord , 1985). Black dogs in Lincolnshire have often been considered to be harmless and protective (Rudkin, 1935, 1938 cited by Miller, 1984). Indeed, it seems that the English black dog has become a less fearsome and more friendly creature over the last century (Brown, 1978 cited by Miller, 1984). Bord & Bord (1985) suggest that "Working on the basis of first-hand accounts there is rather more evidence that black dogs are friendly (or at least harmless) than that they are dangerous. Indeed the dogs are often positively helpful." (p.94). The appearance of black dog apparitions has often been regarded as an omen of death or bad luck or bad weather (Bord & Bord, 1985; Miller, 1984). Some appearances are good omens but they are mostly believed to be bad omens, either communally or personally (Brown, 1978). A number of other normal, paranormal and supernatural explanations for Black Dog encounters have been suggested. One normal explanation is that reports were made up by parents to keep children away from restricted areas or going near rabid dogs and/or by grave-robbers to keep the public away from graveyards (see Miller, 1984). Alternatively, stories of black dogs might have encouraged certain societal norms, such as respect for the dead, and discouraged grave-robbing (Sikes, 1880; Thomas, 1978 cited by Miller, 1984). Although this theory might be able to explain some historical accounts, it is difficult to see how this could explain more recent reports. Another normal explanation is that the dogs are normal dogs or big cats that have been misperceived (e.g., Miller, 1984). Again this might account for some cases but this explanation cannot readily explain some of the more unusual features of the creatures' appearance/disappearance and behaviour. It has been suggested that the Black Dog might be purely hallucinatory and based upon personal or cultural archetypes (see Baynes, 1950; Jung, 1968, cited by Miller, 1984).

Another avenue that seems to be becoming more popular is the notion that apparitions in general might somehow be facilitated or created by interactions with environmental variables, such as electromagnetism or geomagnetism***** (e.g., Houran & Lange, 2001; Radin & Rebman, 1996) which might be particularly prominent in certain locations, such as ley lines (Bord & Bord, 1985; Miller, 1984). It has been suggested that electrical storms****** might facilitate their appearance (Bord & Bord, 1985).
(***** I like this one)
(****** been having storms in LA for over a week, thunder, rain, the whole bit. I rest my case whatever it might be.)

That’s all, folks.

CRYPTIQUE If Pluto’s a dog, what the fuck is Goofy?

Monday, January 03, 2005

To paraphrase Iggy from 37 years ago...
(Of course, some of us aren’t, but what can you do?)

As I wake far too early on the first working day of the New Year, now going for the midpoint of the first decade of the new millennium, I find my thoughts highly scattered and my imagination vividly fragmented, while wondering if am still able to play the hand I seem to be getting dealt. Motherfucker looks too much like an inside straight. An old phrase from Bob Dylan keeps running through my head. "May you have a strong foundation/When the winds of changes shift." And I ask myself, do I? "Well do I, punk?" And I would hazard a guess that, when my internal dialogue is awash with Iggy, Bob, and Harry Callahan, it’s a telling symptom of the condition my condition is in.

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and what did that produce - the cuckoo clock!" – Harry Lime

The secret word is Zither.

Of course, though loath to admit that I am hideously superstitious in the sub-basement of my ruined belief system, the black dog (see January 1st) still has me a little spooked. In the folds of England’s green and pleasant South Downs, the black dog is the harbinger of Death. But you meet him coming towards you in the lane, not running past in the mean and lonely Hollywood street, so maybe it’s Something Else. It has been variously suggested that it was (all referential to my fiction, which is, of course, superstition made a tool of the trade...
1) The ghost of Jim Morrison
2) The ghost of the black Labrador in the famous (color) photo of Jim in leather jeans and a blue workshirt.
3) "Maybe it was Yancey Slide*, being fully satisfied with his feat of Tsunami in SE Asia, just stopped by for warning to a U.S. citizen, grinning wide behind his tucked-in tail ...?"
* Once the current hired gun work is executed, I will complete the final episode of Slide On The Run. (See Funtopia if you’re not down with that rebop.)

CRYPTIQUEWhere the hell is that junkie nurse? I need a joint, an accountant, and a Valium.

QUOTE – "Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." -- George Orwell