Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ah-choo

To quarantine or not to quarantine....
100 years ago, in January, 1918, the first cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, or "Spanish Flu" were observed.  It may have started in France, or maybe Kansas, scientists aren't sure, but by the time it simmered down it had killed between 50 and 100 million people, or 3 to 5 % of the world's population, making it one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.  And it struck almost everywhere, even the Arctic.

Why the "Spanish" Flu?  Apparently censorship in many countries involved in the Great War, e.g. Great Britain, the U.S., Germany, and France minimized early reports in order to protect morale, whereas in neutral Spain, the media reported on the pandemic more freely.  People thus assumed Spain was harder hit and hence the name.

In Spain they called it the "Naples Soldier" which was taken from a musical operetta titled La canción del olvido (The Song of Forgetting).

Such a tragedy, the Great War ended in November, 1918, but one could argue that the conditions (destroyed infrastructure, overcrowded camps, general mayhem) it created helped propagate the virus that kept on killing for another 2 years.  There were two waves of the pandemic, the second even deadlier than the first, but by December 1920, it was over.

Happy 2018.

See 1918 flu pandemic for more details

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“I am the bread of life...."


The dubious sculpture
You have to wonder what the sculptor of the statue pictured above was thinking.  Was it really just a case of not thinking things through, a tremendous case of oversight -- or was it a jab at the Catholic Church's pedophilia cover-ups?  Or merely a childish joke?

 

Covered up, eh?  As for reality being the metaphor, you can't get much better.  When the statue was installed, students at the school immediately  saw the humor in it, taking pics and posting them on Instagram.  The school wrote a note of apology explaining the situation (above) and then covered it up until a solution can be found.  I'm sure the Blackfriars Priory School is loving all the attention.
The cover up.
It's kind of a shame, really, because the Saint depicted, St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), seems like a pretty decent fellow, known for a genuine commitment to the poor, having established both an orphanage and a children's hospital.

Born in Lima, Peru, he was the illegitimate child of a nobleman and a freed slave.  Though an unusually devout child, his mixed race prevented him from fully joining a religious order.  But when the Prior ignored the law due to Martin's unflagging dedication to healing the sick and caring for the poor, he was allowed to take vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.  Unfortunately, not all the monks were as open-minded as the prior, and he suffered insults and harassment from his new "brothers".

There are several anecdotes that attest to his humanity: bringing an old man covered with ulcers to his own bed, saying that "Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness" when he was criticized by a dubious brother.  Another time he was reprimanded by the Prior for bringing a dying Indian to his room and he responded "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity."  Zing!  St. Martin had certainly learned the true meaning behind Jesus rebuking the Pharisees when they criticized him for healing on the Sabbath.  He was thereafter given liberty to do as as wanted when it came to merciful acts.

There are reports he cured the sick merely by giving someone a glass of water, and that during an epidemic he worked tirelessly, even walking through locked doors into quarantined areas.  His alms could feed up to 160 people a day.  Other miracles have him levitating in ecstasy, light filling rooms as he prayed, a remarkable rapport with animals (he was a vegetarian), miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and my favorite, bilocation.

Because of the miracles that occurred when he was invoked in prayer, his body was exhumed 25 years after his death.  His body was said to be incorrupt and to have given off a sweet fragrance.  Numerous pleas were sent to Rome for his beatification, and though his works were eventually recognized as heroic, he wasn't beatified until 1837.  He was made a saint in 1962.  He's often shown carrying a broom to symbolize his belief that all work was holy and he is also sometimes pictured with a dog, cat and mouse drinking from the same bowl, symbolizing peace.

He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and those seeking racial harmony.  His feast Day is November 3.  In Santeria he is venerated as Papa Candelo.

The Adelaide Blackfriars probably wanted to unveil something nice for Saint Martin's saint day, but unfortunately they, erm, blew it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Open Source Band Names List for as yet unnamed or non-existent bands III


List II



Burkini Fatso
Bill Cosplay
Bork

The Wayward Sun
The Spectacle of Society
Life Before Death
Dadbeat Dead
Dork in Boots
The Dworkins
Road Rage
Sarah Palindrome
Schematoma
Spandex Ballet
Borneo Bullet Boy (B3)
C3P.O. Box
Sporkfinder
Sporkfiend
Spork and Mindy
Mindless Rubbish
Bar Baron
Dogs on Crack
Doctor Hate
Fools in Love
Fops in Paradise
Ford Rivers
Red Range Rover (R3)
The Maimed Stars
Rockets over Riyadh
Laughing at the Graveyard
Fiery Death Ball
Shit Gibbon
The Weathered Veins
Pic-nique ta mère
Donald Dork
Hangin' w/ Chris and Chester
Ad Astra

Cortisone Kids
Koala Kandy
Bill's Board

White Arrow
Sniff the Doo Doo
The Fires of Artifice
Poète + Maçon = André Béton
Once Upon a Thyme
Dorks in Paradise
Xanaxdu

Silt Dragon
The Golden Polymers
Annoying Kuntz
Bingle Jell Rock
Pudding Jakarta
Important for Life
Riders on my Bone
Strangers in my Pants
Stormrider
Stranger than Fiction
Guitar Zero
Queer as Fuck
Apple Eaters
Apple Boys
Girl Powder
Riot Sqrrls
Cattle Proud
Cat Collect Call
Spanish Moses
Moss Man
Stones of the Queen Age
Percy Bysse Shellfish
Emerson, Lake & Palm Frond
Morder Philharmonic Orc-estra
Ravi Longshanks
Flood Zone
Dollars for Jesus
Disco Dollar
Dog Caller
Kale Factory
Bowl of Poop
Filthbucket
Surrender Turdlings!
Take us to your Leather

Saturday, November 25, 2017

'The Ice Mine' cometh

I didn't want to make an announcement prematurely, and even after the contract was signed I could scarcely believe it, but the publicity poster below is the pinch on the arm that makes it seem finally oh so real:  My first published work of fiction will appear in the early months of 2018.

Entitled The Ice Mine: "The Relation" of Ricardo Etienne Bream, it will be published by Whisk(e)y Tit.

Whiskey Tit attempts to restore degradation and degeneracy to the literary arts.

I'll drink to that.

Fiction editor/honcho Miette Gillette publishes  

books that don’t fit neatly into genre/length/media packages. We proudly publish books that are too long or too short, books in which the authors insist upon no back cover blurbs, books whose best genre descriptions might be “comedy of terror,” “memnoir,” “randy seafaring misadventure,” or “low-tech noir.”

Here's the first publicity poster.  Color me stoked, firemen!


Friday, November 24, 2017

Las Vegas Mass Murder


Back when I first head about the horrendous mass shooting as the concert in Las Vegas I immediately honed in on a few details I knew the synchromystics would be exploring.  I abandoned that article because it seemed to me that it would be pointless.  Lots of "true believers" would be hard at work decrypting the "twilight language" and finally, it seemed to be in bad taste.  I'd already pretty much decided to leave synchromysticism behind and focus on history, public art, and folklore, but even there I've flagged.  I spent the better part of 2017 working on a novella (which will be published by an honest-to-God publisher -- Whiskey Tit -- in 2018) and have since been working on a full-length novel.  Hence the paucity of posts and their brevity.

But I didn't want to bin these notes so I'll just post them here for the heck of it.  Strangely, when looking at the link for the 23 enigma, I saw a link to a phenomenon named after an old Texas joke:  A guy shoots a slew of rounds into the side of a barn, then paints a target around the densest cluster of hits....then claims to be a sharpshooter!  The fallacy is defined thus:

[The] Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy which is committed when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed. From this reasoning, a false conclusion is inferred. This fallacy is the philosophical or rhetorical application of the multiple comparisons problem (in statistics) and apophenia (in cognitive psychology). It is related to the clustering illusion, which refers to the tendency in human cognition to interpret patterns where none actually exist.

I've always thought synchromysticism to basically be a form of apophenia or clustering illusion, but it was startling to hear this term used after years of looking at synchromysticism in the context of America's deadliest mass-shooting.  

Also reminds me of a witty remark apparently made by my great-uncle Homer B. Adkins: 

Basic research is like shooting an arrow into the air and, where it lands, painting a target.

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What the synchromystics will be looking at:

The gunman fired from the Mandalay Hotel, referencing a city in Burma/Myanmar.  A country expelling Muslims.  A "person of interest" -- a girlfriend or roommate -- was sought, described as "Asian", named "Marilou Danley".  Perhaps Indonesian, a predominantly Muslim country. [She is in fact Australian-Filipina]  She is no longer a person of interest in the case.

Concert venue dominated by Luxor Hotel with its giant pyramid and obelisk.... (Masonic symbolism)

Shooter was described as firing from the 32nd floor....

23 arms were found in shooter's room.... 

The shooter's father was a notorious bank robber on the FBI's "most wanted" list....