Thursday, December 31, 2009


We just passed the winter solstice, and these dark and claustrophobic days have turned us into bibliomanic lexiconophiles. I'd like to continue our vocabulary obsessions by sharing a word I recently learned: onomatomania, which refers to the involuntary recollection of a phrase.

"Two eggs a dozen", for example, recently lodged in my brain like a watermelon in a toilet.

On a related note (bear with me here--this is going to get graphic and disgusting--but I do have a point and I will try to edit out the bad words), a buddy of mine suffered a temporary spell of impotence triggered by involuntary imagery. Every time he was about to, er, "matriculate", he envisioned a, er, "pencil" (more specifically, the head of his uncircumcised "pencil" with the hood pulled back), being sliced vertically by a razor blade. Apparently, that killed the mood.

Is there a word that generalizes these mental ticks, referring not only to onatomania and compulsive images, but also to songs stuck in your head and olfactory hallucinations?

Speaking of which, why are fake smells, of all these phenomenon, regulated to bad weirdness like epilepsy and stroke? Other mental ticks, like phantom phone rings, are so bizarrely common that they're written off to, "Dude ... workin' too hard?!", but phantom smells are just unheard of outside of serious problems. I mean, I've had some weird shit get stuck in my head, like I've recently been hung up on this observation: have you noticed, or is it just me, that some cars (when viewed from behind) lean to one side--but always to the left!?!? ... but I've never had a smell stuck in my head. Heck, I can barely even conjure up the memory of a scent, though I can recall all sorts of stupid trivia, for example, just off the top of head I can tell you that back in the mid-1970s scientists were stumped by the challenge of making fake banana taste.

But then there's "two eggs a dozen": stuck in my head like a watermelon in a toilet.

What gives?

(p.s., Thank you, once again, to for stoking my bibliomania! The image, by the way, is from YouTube, but I'm not putting up a link here since this post is kind of gross and the video was made by a couple of kids.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Objektophilie, Otaku, & Biophilia

Funny how life works. Only a couple days after I posted ad nauseam about Objektophilie, I learn that a Japanese fellow, known as SAL9000, married an avatar.

The Telegrapher tells the tale of how the gamer came to marry his sweetheart.

Googling this story led me to a tale in the New York Times about Nisan, another Japanese fellow, who married a pillow case. The story noted that:

"Nisan is part of a thriving subculture of men and women in Japan who indulge in real relationships with imaginary characters. These 2-D lovers, as they are called, are a subset of otaku culture— the obsessive fandom that has surrounded anime, manga and video games in Japan in the last decade. It’s impossible to say exactly what portion of otaku are 2-D lovers, because the distinction between the two can be blurry."

Let me be clear: I think that Nisan and SAL9000 are engaging in activities that are fundamentally different from objectophilia. But they are blurring some lines, and the "fundamental" bit of the difference between objectophilia and biophilia is, I think, becoming fuzzy.

If Japan is the future, it's clear where we're headed. Once robots look, act, and f^ck like people, will there still be words for objectophilism and otaku?

Monday, December 28, 2009


Yesterday I wrote a post on the German word "Plaztangst", which translates to "place fear", and I asked if there was antonym for the term, a word that captured the feeling of giddy, sexual love for places. The Chronic and fellow LoSer Daurade both brought "objectum-sexual" (OS) to bear, pointing me to a documentary, "The Woman Who Married the Eiffel Tower." Daurade provided links to part 1 and part 2 of the documentary and offered the following critique:

Very interesting documentary, from what I saw, but apparently the OS community is pretty unhappy with it:

"You can see the difference because I am choppy and uptight in the UK film like I am reading my lines. I didn't like the director nor did I like the woman I was being filmed with because she was too overt about her sex with little regard to consequence.

In [a different film], I completely respected and trusted the director and I was free to speak with no pressure and no incessant questions about sex, nor staged sex scenes."


Also, the BBC doc is wrong....not all members of the OS community are women....

Daurade also offered a link to a fascinating website on OS that is maintained by the OS community, a community that was apparently gathered by a Swedish woman who married the Berlin Wall and helped coin the Latin-based phrase, "objectum-sexual". The website offers "Objektophil" as the Germanic translation of the phrase, which would suggest rendering "place love" as "Platzphil"; while a quick Googling brings up no relevant results, there are, humorously, irrelevant results based on the name "Phil Platz", which is way cooler than my "The Gid" dumboniker.

As it turns out, the website's home page seems to spell the German word wrong (or else this bibliophile misread it). It's actually "Objektophilie", and it, too, has its own website.

Surely advertisers study this stuff closely--at least 9 credits in OS studies must be required for a Masters degree? This is hardly non-mainstream stuff--I don't watch too much TV (rather, just enough), but I dug Boston Legal, which ran a number of episodes exploring OS (BL had, stereotypically--aren't I self-righteous?--an autistic woman). Autism seems, to me, a key to OS, the key to opening up an alternative view of "things" and "not things"--but what do I know?

I, in my ignorance, can only conclude that as advertisers become more scientific, they will slowly bring us all into the OS fold. Computer porn seems borderline close, but enough off the mark to be kind of missing the point. I think, too, that dildos are not, generally, loved, but, like porn, a vehicle for encouraging lustful thoughts.

For a more accurate example of the consumer as OS, i.e., love, love, loving an object, think of the Apple Community and see this here, tale of near heart-, er, iPhone-, break. Is it any wonder that Apple tries to keep porn off the iPhone? Its like ... the phone's the Objektophilie here--stop looking at that naked woman!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Platzangst is a German word, combining "platz" for "place" with "angst" for "fear" -- literally, "place fear."

It's a delicious word for us at LoS, with our obsessions over place and meaning. "Place fear" in English sounds like a reference to a haunting--a specific place that is feared or that generates fear--but Platzangst is more generalized. Plaztangst originally fell along the line of agoraphobia, and it has curiously grown even broader in usage, now encompasing claustrophobia as well. Somehow, though, agoraphobia and claustrophobia are both probably even more specific than Platzangst. There are many place fears that are not quite named in English: some people suffer panic attacks when passing others on sidewalks; others cannot cross an empty road; and then there are those who grow uneasy, increasingly uneasy, if they sense something near their head just out of the line of sight unless they are wearing a hat or touching their foreheads. This list of place fears is only limited by the number of people on Earth. Platzangst captures all of these and more--much better than any term I know in English.

I wonder, though, what is the opposite of Platzangst--what is the word for Place Love? I don't mean "place love" as in, "Hey I really dig this place! What a great view! Feels like home! I love it here!"

I mean dirty love--pure raunch. I mean a person who gets off on "place"--perhaps open or closed, or perhaps something even more specifically situated in space. I'm sure that there are plenty of claustrophiles--are there also agroraphiles? What sort of culture would require such words?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Mr. Weishaupt!

Lots of Holiday Cheer from
your friends, the Illuminati.


City of Glass: 20 years of the Louvre Pyramid

Came across an article on "Le pied carré"--a Quebec-based architecture and building website--about the previously (& very briefly) discussed Louvre Pyramid:

"20 years ago the Pyramid of François Mitterand saw the light of day from within a swirl of controversy. Today, far from being polemical, it has become one of the unmistakable symbols of the museum aside the "Mona Lisa" and the "Winged Victory of Samothrace". The glass construction nevertheless continues to arouse passions and fantasies about, among other things, diabolical numbers, "princely whims" and the Freemasonic triangle. Oh, the mysteries of the pyramids!"

The article goes on to discuss the controversies surrounding the pyramid, the multiplication of esoteric interpretations and the long history of the "princely whims" of French Presidents and their pet architectural projects, "in the tradition of the builder kings...."

Funny article if you can read French. We'll try to translate it soon for your edification.

This Day in History

On this day in history, December 23, 543 BC, Hans Trogloferson invented the candle. Torch-bearing critics of the day scoffed at Han’s handicraft, decrying its sissified expression—a mere one lumen output—as ridiculously ineffectual for chasing off cavebears. These naysayers failed to appreciate the practicality of a controlled flame in a Scandinavian hut with a flammable straw roof, and so the candle soon became the preferred indoor light source worldwide over, even arguably superior to the gaslighting which supplanted it—and subsequently burnt down Chicago and London (twice). In 743 AD, Hans was canonized in a blatant attempt to Christianize the pagan Vikings. The Church incorporated local Norse soltice/Hans traditions into the Christian calendar; to this day, Hans’ invention is celebrated on December 25 by the ritualistic lighting of fake little candles on Christmas trees. The story of Hans was further mythologized by the allegorical tale of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Contemporary Catholics believe that Han’s left, pinky fingernail is held in the Nidaros Cathedral.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pillars of the Community

The Hôtel du département de la Haute-Garonne--the departmental government headquarters--recently attracted our interest due to the two massive pillars at its entrance; the free-standing columns flank the entrance to the street--"both a ceremonial space and a shortcut"--that bisects the edifice diagonally. They are set well before the true facade of the building. To a mind so primed, these two pillars surmounted by globes bring to mind Jachin and Boaz, the pillars on the porch of Solomon's Temple.

As we have already discussed these pillars, it might be useful to establish a bit of historical background and demonstrate the link these pillars have to Freemasonry. We will here quote extensively from Mackey's encyclopedia.

Under the heading of PILLARS OF THE PORCH, Mackey writes of architect Hiram of Tyre: "these pillars he set at the entrance of the porch on the right hand, or South, and called it Jachin, and the other at the left hand, or North, and called it Boaz."

The fact these had names indicate that they were more than structural or ornamental elements:

"For the pillar Jachin, derived from the words Jah, meaning Jehovah, and achin, to establish, signifies that God will establish His house of Israel; while the pillar Boas, compounded of b, meaning in and oaz, strength, signifies that in strength shall it be established."

Most of this entry is a dry summary of the appearance of these pillars and the controversy over their exact measurements. What is important for us is that the pillars were surmounted by globes; or at least have been interpreted that way by Freemasons and thus often depicted:

"Each of these pillars was surmounted by a chapiter....The shape and construction of this chapiter require some consideration....Rabbi Solomon, in his Commentary, uses the word ponel, signifying a globe or spherical body, and Rabbi Gershom describes it as "like two crowns joined together."

Of their Egyptian provenance he writes: "It is evident, from their descriptions, that the pillars of the porch of King Solomon's Temple were copied from the pillars of the Egyptian Temples."

Of the capitals he says "they may be justly said to have represented the celestial and terrestrial spheres."
"As [Masonic] symbols they have been very universally diffused and are to be found in all rites. Nor are they of a very recent date, for they are depicted on the earliest tracing-boards, and are alluded to in the catechisms before the middle of the eighteenth century."

"It was, however, Hutchinson who first introduced the symbolic idea of the pillars into the Masonic system. He says:

The pillars erected at the porch of the Temple were not only ornamental, but also carried with them an emblematical import in their names: Boaz being, in its literal translation, in thee is strength; and Jachin, it shall be established....The Masonic symbolism of the two pillars may be considered, without going into minute details, as being twofold. First, in reference to the names of the pillars, they are symbols of the strength and stability of the Institution; and then in reference to the ancient pillars of fire and cloud, they are symbolic of our dependence on the superintending guidance of the Great Architect of the Universe, by which around that strength and stability are secured."

A second entry [PILLARS, TWO GREAT] is also worth quoting

"The oldest existing Tracing Boards of early Eighteenth Century Lodges contain the two Pillars. …. two pillars in the Tracing Boards in the oldest of the Lodges must have referred to the two pillars described in the Cooke MS., one of marble and one of "lacerns," or tile."

"When the Allegory of Solomon's Temple was introduced into the Second Degree, perhaps about 1740 or 1750 in its present form, the two Great Pillars belonging to it came into a prominent place. This meant that the older Lodges then had two sets of Pillars. Whether the former was dropped out, or the two became coalesced, it is impossible to know."

"Two problems about the Temple pillars are not yet solved: first, whether they stood out on the platform beyond the Temple, or stood in the facade of it, and as structural members of the building; second, what their height was. The narrative in the Book of Kings does not give an answer to either question. On the basis of the general custom in Egypt and in the Near East it is most likely that the Two Pillars stood apart from the building...."

"….In both the oldest Minutes and the oldest engravings the two Globes appear to have been unconnected with the Pillars. They were put sometimes in one place in the room and sometimes in another. Remarks incorporated here and there in the Minutes suggest that the Brethren used them to represent "the universality of Masonry," not in the sense that Masonry took in everything but in the sense that Lodges are constituted in every country. One globe was the sky, the other the land; together they made up the world…"

"By a similar development of symbolic interpretation the Terrestrial Globe came also to mean the earth, the earthy; the Celestial, to mean the heavenly, the spiritual. When the Globes and the Pillars were combined both sets of symbolism were synthesized, so that as used in modern Speculative Rituals they are very rich in significance...."

As for the departmental Hôtel, Floriana de Rosa, writing about chief architect Robert Venturi says: "Venturi considers it important to give the observer the pleasure of discovering something new each time, through elaborating on motifs which are made recognisable by their latent familiarity."

It would seem as though de Rosa is saying that Venturi recognizes that the adventure of discovery rests in reinterpreting tradition by utilizing images which might be called archetypes, potent images with subconscious power. Their very power lies in the recognition that these motifs represent something, if only their own continuity. In an echo of architecture parlante, Venturi's partner (and wife) Denise Scott Brown writes in an article entitled Talking Sheds:

"Architecture's communicative function was disregarded throughout the first half of the twentieth century. During the 1950s, Robert Venturi and I independently developed a strong interest in it....The idea of the building as a shed with communication on it has influenced all our work but particularly our civic buildings." (boldface added)

An interest in communicating, however, never usurps the fundamental goal of a building's purpose: "Two logics of functionality one of the immediate users, the other of the broader community must be satisfied in any design."

According to a bio on the same site: "In contrast to many modernists, Venturi uses a form of symbolically decorated architecture based on precedents.....In contradiction, Venturi also considers symbolism unnecessary since modern technology and historical symbolism rarely harmonize."

So, it would appear that aside from the intriguing renewal of the tradition of architecture parlante which we have already examined in relation to Freemasonry and the Egyptian revival, the architects here were mostly concerned with functionality as opposed to symbolism. But Venturi and Brown do emphasize the link with tradition; indeed the column of the Hôtel were inpsired and refer to a pair of pillars which once adorned the Pont de Minimes (built by Joseph-Marie de Saget, 1760-1763). Thus, it may be that in this design the pillars serve no symbolic function for the architects themselves; this doesn't, however, imply that this is so for the original architect--our main man Urbain Vitry, Masonic affiliation unknown, Egyptianizing tendencies clear and present.

According to one website, Urbain Vitry, as city architect, had these columns , um "erected" on the bridge in 1832. This was four years before his design for the Terre Cabade cemetery with it's overtly Egyptian obelisks was approved and three years before the obelisk commemorating the Battle of Tolouse was begun. We have already speculated that the Terre Cabade and Obelisk may include Masonic symbols; given this it's hard to avoid asking the same of the Minimes columns.

The Minimes columns were destroyed to make space in 1940, but found new life fifty years later at the entrance to the Hôtel.

The free-standing pillar as a temple component seems to have originated in Egypt; the practice of placing obelisks at temple entrances is well-documented and appears to have become common in the Middle and New Kingdoms.

This also features in Phoenician temple architecture: "In Phoenician architecture, the column fulfilled a ritual rather than purely structural function, with pillars possibly representing gods." Unsurprisingly, Temple architect Hiram of Tyre included them in his design of Solomon's Temple. His exact design remains uncertain: globe, crown or lotus flower? Mackey and Freemasons preferred the globe.

We would argue that give that the columns are free standing and globed, along with the circumstantial evidence surrounding Vitry possible linking him to Freemasonry, there is a good chance that his Minimes columns were Masonic references; ironically, given Venturi's professed ambivalence towards symbolism, their placement and function on the Hôtel put the globed pillars back in a more direct Masonic context.

It's the pair of pillars as a free-standing architectural element which makes this so, for the pillar or column surmounted by a ball finial is not entirely unique to Masonic architecture. The pillar with ball (ho-ho!) is a common form for market crosses. Briefly, a market cross was a medieval marker indicating where the market was held. Shaft and ball "crosses" can be found in Colston Bassett (1257; rebuilt 1831), Highburton (base, 14th c.; column, 18th or 19th c) Halesowen ("medieval; blown over and restored in 1908), Repton ("medieval"), Bonsall (pillar dated 1687; base is medieval), etc. These are just a few we have discovered; there must be many more. Interesting is that althought the bases are ususally quite old, it seems as though the use of the column and ball is usually a later, often 19th century addition.

Who know how many were of this model? Many were destroyed by the Puritans, according to P.H. Ditchfield in ch. 8 of his book English Villages.

In The Migration of Symbols, there is a long discussion about the perrons of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. These were essentially symbols of the judicial authority of the Prince-Bishop; after time is came also to symbolize a city's commercial liberty. Liège itself for example has a perron of the column and ball type and it appears in this form on coins dating to the 12th century. Author Goblet d'Alviella speculates that this may have derived from a Greco-Roman import; he notes that it while it may be a native Druidic symbol and that the Saxons venerated pillars, the ball is an evolution of the symbol from that of a fir-cone; for various reason he concludes:

"It may therefore be asked if the addition of the fir-cone to the perron of Liege is not due to the syncretic influence of Gallo-Roman art, which would thus have brought the Germanic column within the limits of classic paganism, as, at a later period, the Church introduced it into Christian society by surmounting it with a Cross. Perhaps also it was thus desired to keep alive in the monument a phallic signification, whilst correcting whatever too great coarseness this symbol might have had in its primitive form."

We recall that the obelisk was said to symbolize a petrified ray of light. Certainly it evolved from a phallic symbol; this would not necessary be inconsistent if we consider the life-giving properties of the sun were regarded mostly as masculine, as opposed to the earth or the moon which were usually characterized as feminine.

These perrons also correlate with English market crosses; they too were placed where judicial proclamations were read. They also symbolized a town's right to have a market and thus also echo the perrons of Liège.

So. The flight of fancy inspired by a walk in Toulouse, even a virtual walk, begets associations and quillindrums beyond the mind's imagining. We pretend that this means nothing. And it does mean nothing. It's like pulling a gun at a snowball fight.

The phallic ray of light, progenerative masterman, duplified. Temple front, civic god. Standing on the porch: by thus shall it be established. Tautological conundrum, these two pillars, globed: as above, yadda yadda. On this building, the Hôtel, oh tell? Monsieur Parlante, as in architecture, bedevil'd. A place of justice, of law, of commerce.

We have spoken of the Age of Enlightenment as a new kind of civic religion, where free enterprise beckons and comes into play; a revolutionary economic model with unintended? consequences. The pillars as symbol of economic liberty, yet with a theocratic vibe. Republican outpouring a later interpretation? A-dingle a-dangle, where is the wangle, the belated haggle; the conclusion to the deal?

There is none. The building echoes the past, and the ubiquitous Vitry, eau de vie. His pillars, now religiously placed on the porch of the civic temple, once advertised a brand of absinthe...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Keystones and Cornerstones.

This old church always interested me and it wasn't until 2009 on a vacation/family visit that I finally decided to check it out. I suppose you could call it charming or quaint, but there is a kind of stately grace to the Mt. Pleasant AME Church located just off Gunn Highway in the unincorporated areas of North Tampa. (Florida has no mountains, btw!)

When I was a kid this was all farmland but "development" has taken its miserable toll. Citrus Park now hosts a sprawling mall with a leaky roof and the quiet that was once to be found here is gone forever. Technically, this area is called Keystone--a suggestive name given what's to follow. In the late 80's it was still a pretty poor place; now the median family income is over 106,000 dollars per year. Still, I'd be hard-pressed to recognize this as "progress." It's character is dead and the traffic is unbearable.

Keystone, ahh yes, Masons know this as the stone that holds it all together. For Royal Arch Masonry (York Rite), the Keystone is a central metaphor and component of its legend.

When I investigated the church I found the following cornerstone bearing theMasonic square and compasses and the inscription "J. Sterling Walker Lodge No. 636." I assume this is a Prince Hall Lodge but so far web searches have yielded nothing. Plea: If you know anything about this Lodge I'd love to hear from you.

According to the video accompanying this article there were only about six large black families living in the area at the time of this reconstruction (in 1924; the first church burnt down in 1918 in what some suspect was not a lightning strike....) Which is funny because that might mean that almost if not all of those families were involved in Freemasonry---only nine family names are inscribed on the cornerstone.

Most of what we can find out about the church these days is in connection with the building they now use as a fellowship hall. From the mid-twenties until 1946 it served as the "Colored School." (Schools weren't fully de-segregrated in Florida until 1974!) Two years after it closed the building was sold to the church and thus it has stayed until these present times. More pics here.

Thankfully, as a county historical landmark it will stay protected. It's a beacon of calm in the increasingly cookie-cuttered Hillsborough County and a reminder of past times both better and worse.

On a hunch, I Googled AME Church and Freemasonry and found the following, thoroughly unsurprised:

Throughout the South, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and, to a lesser extent, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church were closely related to the Prince Hall lodges. As many of the founders of the A.M.E. church were Freemasons, as well as many of the senior officials, the spread of the church throughout the South was closely affiliated with the spread of Prince Hall Freemasonry. The Free African Society, as a sister organization to the A.M.E. church, was founded to promote racial solidarity and the abolition of slavery.

Many of the members of the A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina participated in the 1822 slave insurrection led by Denmark Vesey. By 1860, there were at least four A.M.E. Churches in New Orleans -- three of which were led by “slave preachers;” as early as 1823 free blacks had built a church for “African Methodists” in St. Louis, Missouri. If, as William Muraskin notes in his Middle Class Blacks in a White Society, there was a close affinity between the A.M.E. church and Prince Hall Freemasonry, it is safe to assume that the two coexisted.

I'm developing a pretty good eye and intuition for these things....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hier staan ons voor die Heilige God van hemel en aarde

Came across a NYT article about the Day of the Vow (Dec. 16). On this day, South Africa's Afrikaners celebrate the day their ancestors made a deal with God just before engaging in a battle--the Battle of Blood River--in which a few hundred of them managed to kill 3,000 or so Zulus. Welcome to Post-Apartheid South Africa.

The article is an interesting look at how, despite some integration in society, SA remains pretty solidly segregated, especially among the poorer classes. A trash collector at the site, one of the few blacks to be seen that day, had this to say: "I don’t know anything about their holiday."

The Day of the Vow is celebrated at the Voortrekker Monument in the Hall of the Cenotaph. The last paragraph of the article caught our eye:

The reading of the vow is one of the two most solemn moments of the prayer service. The other comes precisely at midday as families lean over the parapets that overlook the cenotaph.

Careful calculations were made by the monument’s designers, and exactly at noon on each Dec. 16, the sun shines through a small opening in the dome, alighting on the empty tomb 138 feet below and yet again signaling for many that it was the Lord’s will that the land be theirs.

You can imagine why we were intrigued.

The website of the monument has this to say of the cenotaph:
The Cenotaph is the central focus point of the Monument. The word cenotaph means "empty tomb". It is therefore the symbolic resting place of Piet Retief and all the other Voortrekkers who died during the Great Trek...

Once a year, on 16 December, the sun shines through an opening in the dome roof of the Monument onto the middle of the Cenotaph.

It shines on the words
"Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika", literally translated: "We for thee South Africa." The architect, Gerard Moerdijk, planned this specifically because the ray of sunlight symbolizes God's blessing on the life and work of the Voortrekkers.

The Cenotaph Hall consists of a 34,5 x 34,5 metre area and is decorated with the flags from the different Voortrekker Republics...

Against the Northern wall is a nave with a lantern where a flame has been kept burning since 1938. The Symbolic Ox Wagon Trek took place in 1938. It started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill where the foundation stone was laid for the erection of the Monument.

The Cenotaph Hall is generally accepted as the most sensitive area of the Monument. For this reason, activities are limited to religious and culture related events.

It all sounds so pagan, like ancestor and sun worship all mixed up into one. But apparently we're not the first to grok this, and it would appear to more than our own fanciful imaginations. There may also be connections to Freemasonry; its Egyptian character is far more certain.


"Alta Steenkamp links the
Voortrekker Monument to the....Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig, Germany. According to Dr. Steenkamp the masonic subtext of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal is reflected in the Voortrekker Monument, because Moerdyk had used the geometric order and some spatial proportions of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal. This Germanization of the Voortrekker Monument occurred after Moerdyk's original design had caused a public outcry in the press, due to its resemblance to an Egyptian open air temple."

The Völkerschlachtdenkmal, or "Monument to the Battle of Nations" is a monument in Leipzig erected to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig (1813). The monument is said to reflect sketches of the Temple of Solomon and the symbolism of Freemasonry. Indeed, one source says it houses a "Masonic temple" but we can't verify this; it sounds like a dubious claim. Ironically, for all its alleged Jewish and Masonic symbolism, it was a favored spot for Hitler's speeches when he passed through Leipzig.

According to author Christopher Hodapp (Freemasonry for Dummies), Völkerschlachtdenkmal architect Bruno Schmitz (1858-1916) was in fact a Freemason; the same cannot be said for Gerard Moerdijk (1890-1958). Another war monument by Schmitz, by the way, the Indiana Soldier and Sailor's Monument, does feature 32 flights of stairs with 330 numbered steps (and one unnumbered). This may or may not be a coincidence; or you can take it as evidence he imbued his designs with Masonic symbolism. (Incidentally, the Soldier and Sailor's Monument in Syracuse, NY is found in Clinton Square--formerly known as Masonic Park!)

As for the unquestionable Egyptianism of the Voortrekker Monument, mentioned above, its design was initially:

based on a causeway consisting of two Egyptian temple
obelisks. During 1936, the year of his final Voortrekker Monument design, architect Gerard Moerdijk visited Egypt, including the Karnak Temple Compex in Luxor (Thebes). There Nefertiti's husband had erected three sun sanctuaries, one of which was called the Hwt-benben ('mansion of the Benben').

Despite the externally revised
Voortrekker Monument, its interior maintained visible links with the sun civilization of ancient Africa in Egypt. The main symbol in the Voortrekker Monument is an annual sun disc illumination at mid-noon on a central stone.


The Voortrekker Monument consists of three levels: bottom cellar, middle hall and top dome. In the bottom cellar is an empty tomb stone called the Cenotaph, or Sarcophagus according to Moerdijk.
The middle Hall of Heroes harbours the historical wall frieze. The upper dome with Egyptian backlighting simulates the open sky.


Looking from the sky dome downwards, a chevron pattern on the floor of the Hall of Heroes, radiates outwards like 32 sun rays from the centre opening. In Moerdijk's architecture, the natural sun forms a 33rd ray through the same opening. Moerdijk said the chevron pattern on the floor depicts water
, as does the double chevron hieroglyph from the civilization of old Egypt. Moerdijk stated that all roads on the terrain of building art, lead back to old Egypt.

Based on Moerdijk's reference to the watery floor of the Hall of Heroes, as well as his statement about old Egypt, the opening in the water-floor can be identified with the watery abyss, as in the creation theology of ancient African civilization. Rising out of this watery abyss, was the primeval mound, the Benben stone.

[The Benben stone, named after the mound, was a sacred stone in the solar temple of Heliopolis. It was the location on which the first rays of the sun fell. It is thought to have been the prototype for later obelisks, and the capstones of the great pyramids were based on its design.]


In Moerdijk's biblical theology...God can communicate in two ways: through scripture as well as through nature. Moerdijk merges both methods in one revealing moment of space-time. He - the creator God in the trinitarian tradition of the Trekkers - becomes the WE, within the shining disc illuminating the words on the stone.
["We for thee South Africa."] Via the sun, heaven and earth are simulated to be visibly connected through a ray of light.

The appearance of a shining sun disc on the Cenotaph stone, transforms the Trekker vow in analogy to the
Philosophers Stone of the alchemists. The notion of, as above so below, is inverted to: as below, so above. Instead of posterity repeating a human vow from before the Battle of Blood River, the sun shifts the focus to the trinitarian god of the Trekkers, as he communicates through Moerdijk's sun architecture, making himself a heavenly vow with the words: WE - as in GOD - FOR YOU SOUTH-AFRICA.

Moerdijk himself was an outspoken
Afrocentrist architect. At the inauguration of the Voortrekker Monument, Moerdijk mentioned Africa's greatness as imparted by ancient Egyptian constructions.


Moerdijk stated that the purpose of a building had to be clearly visible.
[Shades of architecture parlante] The creator aspect of Ra, symbolised by the sun at mid-noon, was in ancient times known as Aten. Aten was written as a dot enclosed by a circle in Egyptian hieroglyphics. The monument incorporates the Aten-hieroglyph by allowing the sun to shine through an aperture in the sky dome. Looking upwards at mid noon, the aperture is visible as a backlit dot inside the circular sky dome. At 12:00am on 16 December the sun is projected as a disc-dot onto the cenotaph stone. Looking down from the top dome, the floor aperture in the Hall of Heroes is once again seen to encircle the disc, as the sun's rays strike the cenotaph stone. Moerdijk's message as implied by the interior design is: through exodus out of the British Cape Colony, God has created a new African civilization inland.

In order to give thanks to this new creation of civilization, Moerdijk, recalling Abraham of old, outwardly designed the Voortrekker Monument as an altar.

(above quotes are from Wikipedia, itself based on
Man en Monument, by Irma Vermeulen)


So, no real further comment. We will return to the Benben stone at Heliopolis, where the Phoenix was worshipped, perhaps in relationship to Phoenecian pillar worship and some of Urbain Vitry's Egyptian stylings. We continue to be amazed at how all these things keep coming together.

Tiger's Wood

A Tiger Wood indeed.
Watch out for the Tiger!
Watch out for the comely wolves.
Watch out for the Woods.
Watch out
for the Wood.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

LoS Rising

The Pheonix Masonry Masonic Museum and Library has reprinted one of our posts (The Law of Tangents) and two earlier articles by Daurade entitled Freemasonry, Scouting and the Order of the Arrow ans its sequel, Following Arrows.

Très cool, n'est-ce pas?

They can be read elsewhere, but it's nice to have them added to such a comprehensive site. If you're interested in Masonic jewelry and regalia, etc., the museum has a fine collection of photographs. Some of the objects are decidedly strange. The library is an invaluable collection of primary sources.

We urge you to check it out if you would like to learn more about Freemasonry from a sane and sober perspective.

Monday, December 7, 2009


We've already observed that saying "Jesus" backwards sounds like sausage. We all know that backmasking is the work of the Devil; apply it to Jesus and it becomes a reversal of His values and purpose. Hence it would seem that sausage is evil.

And here's the proof. This Merguez sausage was purchased from the local supermarket--evidently a a conduit for North African devil worship and sausage idolatry.

Indeed, wasn't it the presumed stench of a sausage factory that allowed Anthony Sowell's crimes to go unnoticed for so long?

Beware the sausage my friends, for it bears the number of the beast!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Law of Tangents

In a series of posts over the last year we have examined several images of objects, logos and street patterns which involve triangles. This, in certain contexts, may be linked to Masonic symbolism. We're not entirely sure this is the case, but we've set off down a path and intend to follow it until it either leads to an end....or we turn back from exhaustion, boredom or disillusionment.

Some time ago, a friend told us that Freemasons in France were heavily involved in the business of real estate and property development, in addition to building. They are Masons, after all!

We have no idea whether or not this is true. We did begin to find, however, in a recent bout of pyramid obsession, several companies which in fact use pyramids as their logo. Soon after, the triangle began popping up everywhere. One goes to withdraw money from the cash machine and just next door is a real estate agency with a pyramid logo. One visits a client in a neighboring town and across the street there's a builder with a triangle logo. What gives? Coincidence? Was our friend right about Freemasons and the real estate business?

Would a triangle logo indicate this is so, in any event? Maybe a triangle is simply like the three balls of the pawnshop or the striped pole of the barber, a symbol of the trade. It's a logical choice. The figure appears solid, stable, yet dynamic. It evokes the roof of a house; it's a visibly striking and fundamental form. Not to mention the architect uses triangles as part of the trade; it's one of the essential tools.....the square, the compass, the triangle, the ruler. Seeing any of them in the context of the industry is unsurprising.

Ultimately, for us this all hinges on one unverifiable statement made by a friend. Which is exactly the point. We become the focal point for objectively verifiable facts which come to assume meaningful patterns when filtered through the subjective lens of our brain. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13)

Before we begin posting the pictures we've been taking of said triangles--which are becoming copious--we thought we'd quote liberally from Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences.

We posses a copy of this Encyclopedia, but found it already transcribed on the web by the Phoenixmasonry Museum and Library. Curator Dave Lettelier has kindly given us permission to copy and paste the entries they've transcribed, thus saving us a bit of work. Thanks! Please give the site a visit and peruse their excellent collection of articles.

We have reformatted the text to try and mimic the original a little more closely, and we have made a few slight alterations to correspond more exactly to our copy of the original, but otherwise have not altered the text.

We have also added the images. Don't be surprised to see them cropping up everywhere cheap conspiracy theories are sold!


There is no symbol more important in its significance, more various in its application, or more generally diffused throughout the whole system of Freemasonry, than the triangle. An examination of it, therefore, cannot fail to be interesting to the Masonic student.

The equilateral triangle appears to have been adopted by nearly all the nations of antiquity as a symbol of the Deity,
in some of his forms or emanations, and hence, probably, the prevailing influence of this symbol was carried into the Jewish system, where the yod within the triangle was made to represent the Tetragrammaton, or sacred name of God.

The equilateral triangle, says Brother D. W. Nash (Freem. Mag. iv., 294), "viewed in the light of the doctrines of those who gave it currency as a divine symbol, represents the Great First Cause, the Creator and Container of all things, as one and indivisible, manifesting Himself in an
infinity of forms and attributes in this visible universe." Among the Egyptians, the darkness through which the candidate for initiation was made to pass was symbolized by the trowel, an important Masonic implement, which, in their system of hieroglyphics, has the form of a triangle. The equilateral triangle they considered as the most perfect of figures, and a representative of the great principle of animated existence, each of its sides referring to one of the three departments of creation, the animal, vegetable, and mineral.

The equilateral triangle is to be found scattered throughout the Masonic system. It forms in the Royal Arch the figure within which the jewels of the officers are suspended. It is in the Ineffable Degrees the sacred Delta, everywhere presenting itself as the symbol of the G
rand Architect of the Universe. In Ancient Craft Masonry, it is constantly exhibited as the element of important ceremonies. The seats of the principal officers are arranged in a triangular form, the three Lesser Lights have the same situation, and the Square and Compasses form, by their union on the greater light, two triangles meeting at their bases. In short, the equilateral triangle may be considered as one of the most constant forms of Masonic symbolism.

The right-angled triangle is another form of this figure which is deserving of attention. Among the Egyptians, it was the symbol of universal nature; the base representing Osiris, or the male principle; the perpendicular, Isis, or the female principle; and the hypotenuse, H
orus, their son, or the product of the male and female principle.This symbol was received by Pythagoras from the Egyptians during his long sojourn in that country, and with it he also learned the peculiar property it possessed, namely, that the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides is equal to the square of the longest side symbolically expressed by the formula, that the product of Osiris and Isis is Horus. This figure has been adopted in the Third Degree of Freemasonry, and will be there recognized as the Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid (see Geometry, Circle, Square, and Forty-seventh Problem).

Triangle and Square.
As the Delta was the initial letter of Deity with the ancients, so its synonym is among modern nations, It is a type of the Eternal, the All-Powerful, the Self Existent.

The material world is typified by the Square as passive matter, in opposition to force symbolized by the Triangle.

The Square is also an emblem of humanity, as the Delta or Triangle typifies Deity.

The delta, Triangle, and Compasses are essentially the same. The raising one point, and then another, signifies that the divine or higher portion of our nature should increase in power, and control the baser tendencies. This is the real, the practical "journey toward the Last."

The interlacing Triangles or Deltas symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe. (1.)

The two Triangles, one white and the other black, interlacing, typify the mingling of the two apparent powers in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life. (2.)

The Triangle and Square together form the Pyramid (3.), as seen l in the Entered Apprentice's Apron. In this combination the Pyramid is the metaphor for units of matter and force, as well as the oneness of man and God. The numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, have their places in the parts and points of the Square and Triangle when in pyramidal form, and imply Perfection (see Pointed Cubical Stone.)

Triangle, Radiated. A Triangle placed within and surrounded by a circle of rays. This circle is called in Christian art, a Glory. When this Glory is distinct from the Triangle, and surrounds it in the form of a circle, it is then an emblem of God's Eternal glory. This is the usual form in religious uses. But when, as is most usual in the Masonic symbol, the rays emanate from the center of the Triangle, and, as it were, enshroud it in their brilliancy, it is symbolic of the Divine Light. The perverted ideas of the Pagans referred these rays of light to their sun-god and their Sabian worship.

But the true Masonic idea of this Glory is, that it symbolizes that Eternal Light of Wisdom which surrounds the Supreme Architect as a Sea of Glory, and from Him as a common center emanates to the universe of His creation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A rose by any other name is still a column, dagger, mark, monolith, monument, needle, pillar, pylon, shaft or tower

Terre Cabade Cemetery

Despite the fact that the cemeteries enclosed within the city walls of Toulouse had long been regarded as unsanitary places and had been the targets of many complaints, it wasn't until the city was threatened with a cholera epidemic that a new large cemetery was approved outside the city--in 1832. Even then, it wasn't until 1840 that the new cemetery was officially opened.

The result was the Terre Cabade Cemetery, the city within a city that houses the final remains of Toulouse's notable families and citizens. The name comes from "cavade", that is the say the clay-like soil taken from the earth which also serves to make the famous Toulouse brick.

The entrance to this cemetery was directly inspired by Egyptian art. This was in line with the Egyptian revival which as Wikipedia says:

" generally dated to the enthusiasm for ancient Egypt generated by Napoleon's conquest of Egypt and, in Britain, to Admiral Nelson's defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Napoleon took a scientific expedition with him to Egypt. Publication of the expedition's work, the Description de l'Égypte, began in 1809 and came out in a series though 1826. However, works of art and, in the field of architecture, funerary monuments in the Egyptian style had appeared in scattered European settings from the time of the Renaissance."

Indeed, considering that Egyptian art is so closely associated with funerary art, it was a logical choice.

The first Egyptian feature of the entrance is the pair of brick obelisks at either side of the front gate. This, however, was not the original proposal. A design submitted in 1833 featured a large pyramid to house the cemetery's chapel. The design, perhaps a bit too over-the-top, was not accepted; the version we can see today dates from 1836.

In ancient Egypt, obelisks were placed in pairs before Egyptian temples. They were said to be petrified rays of the sun and thus honored Ra, who in some cases was said to reside in the obelisks. In books such as The Hiram Key and The Messianic Legacy, the authors have linked the iconography of two obelisks--via the pillars of Solomon's Temple (Jachin and Boaz)--to Freemasonry.

The Messianic Legacy
interprets the twin obelisks as representing the union of spiritual and temporal authority and ultimately the origin of the concept of twin messiahs. The Hiram Key posits that Freemasonry derives from Pharaonic initiation rituals and that Jesus, as heir to this tradition, was part of a sect that perpetuated the rites; thus making Jesus a kind of Mason! (Might as well claim Jesus was a kind of sentient pickle....)

Whatever dubious claims the books make is rather irrelevant. The theories presented in these books are not entirely new to them; they draw upon esoteric and heterodox currents present in Christianity from the very start, and the supposed Egyptian origins of Freemasonry is a theory that has been floated about since the 18th century. We here at LoS are not concerned with the truth of these claims insamuch as we are interested in the fact that these claims exist.

The second obvious Egyptian feature are the administrative offices behind the obelisks. The buildings are clearly modeled on Egyptian prototypes. As one can see from the following website, they are of the "open" type as opposed to the blatantly phallic "bud type." The closest capital found on these pages is identified as an "Open Papyrus." Whatever the exact identification, there's no doubt as to their provenance.

For more info on this interesting cemetery, we recommend the following website, for those who speak French.

The Obelisk of the Battle of Toulouse

The Battle of Toulouse (April 10, 1814) was one of the last battles of the Napoleonic Wars; indeed it came four days after Napoleon surrendered the Imperial Army to the Sixth Coalition. Indecisive and largely unnecessary, it nevertheless resulted in nearly 8,000 casualties. The French forces actually held out until the end and gave up the fight not because they were losing, but because they received news of the Empire's death. The French Forces escaped intact.

Today this largely-forgotten battle is commemorated by a large brick obelisk. The obelisk was the brainchild of Baron Louis Victorin Cassagne and was designed and built by the same Urbain Vitry who designed the Terre Cabade Cemetery. (Cassagne, incidentally, participated in several battles of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, including the Battle of the Pyramids, previously discussed on LoS. Baron Cassagne is buried in Terre Cabade, his tomb in an Egyptian style).

The first brick of the obelisk was set in 1835 and it was inaugurated in 1839, according to the Mairie of Toulouse; thus it is almost exactly contemporary with Terre Cabade, which you may recall was opened in 1840.

As you can see from the picture, just under the pyramidion, the obelisk is punctuated by a hexagram of the "Star of David" variety. This hole actually traverses the column so that from two sides one can see the light of the sky.

This hexagram could have a variety of meanings, but we propose to examine it in relation to Freemasonry. If rolling eyes could make a sound, I'm sure at this point there would be a deafening roar, what with all the bullshit flung about so freely on the internets. One of the biggest shit flingers is a fundamentalist anti-Mason by the name of Texe Marrs. Still, he's done us one service. Someone found an essay by him quoting Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry on the hexagram and popped it on Wikipedia:

"The interlacing triangles or deltas symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe. The two triangles, white and black, interlacing, typify the mingling of the two apparent powers in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life." (p. 809)

Fortunately for us, we also possess a copy of the Encyclopedia. Marrs quotes correctly. We also looked for "hexagram" and found "hexagon." In addition to being a nickname for France, the hexagon is merely a hexagram seen through a squinted eye....

"Hexagon. A figure of six equal sides constitutes a part of the camp in the Scottish degree of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret. Stieglitz, in an essay on the symbols of Freemasonry, published in 1825, in the Altenberg Zeitschrift, says that the hexagon, formed by six triangles, whose apices converge to a point, making the following figure,

is a symbol of the universal creation, the six points crossing the central point; thus assimilating the hexagon to the older symbol of the point within a circle." (323-324)

So the hexagon is not entirely alien to the Masonic milieu. But more importantly, the most universal of Masonic symbols, the Square and Compasses, is universally arranged so as to resemble....a hexagram.

The Prestige

The "Prestige," like in the movie, refers to that part of a magic trick where the trick is actually pulled off; it's the cum-shot, if you will. In our story it's where we leave the realm of history and enter the realm of speculation.

Between the cemetery and the obelisk there is an isosceles triangle formed by three streets. The two long arms of the triangle are called Rue de l'Obelisque and Avenue de la Colonne. The obelisk, as we've mentioned, is called "la colonne" (the column) The two streets thus refer to the same monument; unity in duality, like Mackey's hexagram? One cannot help but think of the two pillars or obelisks we discussed earlier in this post. Is the layout of the streets made to reinforce the symbolism of the two obelisks at the entrance of the Terre Cabade? Is the triangle in fact a Masonic delta? The base of the triangle is the Allee des Acacias, which joins the cemetery to the obelisk. Momuments of death joined with a symbol of....

Mackey has a longish entry on the Acacia's symbolism. It is both a symbol of innocence and initiation, but primarily one of the immortality of the soul: "that important doctrine which is the great design of the Institution to teach." (p. 7) One might even say the Acacia is a symbol of the foundation of Masonic doctrine...the base of the triangle.

But was Vitry a Freemason? We haven't been able to determine this. His tomb, which he designed and which sits in the Terre Cabade, features a prominent square and compasses over the entrance. But then again, this proves nothing; the man was an architect and the symbols may simply refer to his metier.

Another inconclusive symbol, found in a round medallion at the center of the cross atop the tomb, is a human hand. By chance we stumbled across another entry in Mackey's Encyclopedia--Hand (p. 317)--illustrated by an engraving of the hand in a nearly identical gesture:

"In Freemasonry, the hand as a symbol holds a high place, because it is the principal seat of the sense of feeling so highly revered by Masons....Horapollo says that among the Egyptians the hand was the symbol of a builder, or one fond of building, because all labor proceeds from the hand." Mackey continues, explaining its use in Christian iconography in a gesture of benediction: "The form of this act of benediction, as adopted by the Roman Church, which seems to have been borrowed from the symbols of the Phrygian and Eleusinian priest or hierophants, who used it in their mystical processions, presents a singular analogy, which will be interesting to Mark Master Masons, who will recognize on it a symbol of their own ritual. In the benediction referred to, as given in the Latin Church, the thumb, index and middle fingers are extended, and the other two bent against the palm. The church explains this position of the extended thumb and two fingers as representing the Trinity; but the older symbol of the Pagan priests, which was precisely of the same form, must have had a different meaning. A writer in the British Magazine (vol.i., p.565) thinks that the hand, which was used in the Mithraic mysteries in this position, was symbolic of the Light emanating not from the sun, but from the Creator, directly as a special manifestation....Certainly, to the Mason, the hand is most important as the symbol of that mystical intelligence by which one Mason knows another "in the dark as well as in the light."

Given that the symbol is used as a sign of benediction, it may not be anything more than a sign of his Catholic faith. But maybe it's a Masonic reference. It's certainly an eye-popper. Given Vitry's passion for Egyptian architecture, by which his tomb was inspired, it may simply be a nod to the use described by Horapollo. It's worth recalling the notion that the Egyptian obelisk is also thought to symbolize a petrified ray of light, much akin to our anonymous British writer's theory that the hand symbol represents the light emanating from the Creator. Again, like the square and compasses, it lead to tantalizing speculation but nothing conclusive. Maybe the hand is simply a brazen variation on the Anahinthan cock's comb.

Finally, since we've quoted so liberally from our copy of Mackey's Encyclopedia, we'll warn against taking its entries as "proof" of anything. What many anti-Masons fail to recognize first is that no one Mason can speak on behalf of his own Grand Lodge, let alone the Fraternity as a whole. State to state, nation to nation, rite to rite, practices and doctrines vary, in some cases quite considerably. Secondly, guys like Mackey, Waite and the infamous Albert Pike are atypical representations of the craft with idiosyncratic takes on its lore, legends and history.

Still, we propose further investigation of Vitry and Cassagnes, hereby soliciting the straight dope, as it were. Was Vitry influenced by Freemasonic imagery? Were both Masons? Is there intentionality behind the triangular arrangement of streets betwenn the cemetery and the obelisk? Was the Acacia reference a Masonic wink and a nod?

Stay tuned....

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Illuminati Trashcan of Toulouse ;)

Météo France is the national weather service of France. The principal research and forecasting facility, along with the national meteorological school is located in Toulouse in a complex known as the Météopole.

The architecture there is not your garden-variety series of homogeneous big boxes; buildings are round or have curved walls; hemispheres abound. Observation towers have trapezoidal observation decks. Parking lots are circular. Buildings are stepped like the missing half of ancient ziggurats. There is a profusion of colored panels and exoskeletons; some buildings look like what we imagine space stations to be like. Clearly, the intent was to create an overall "futuristic" feel.

If a gleaming spacecraft were to set itself down gently upon the great field between the campus and the rocade Arc-en-Ciel, nobody would blink an eye.

We have noted that an inverted pyramid decorates the entrance to the Météopole. Later ithe same month we observed that the neighboring DSNA building is also adorned with a pyramid--the sole ornamentation on an otherwise unremarkable boxy building. In that same post we wrote also about the Météo France logo: a triangle which seems to orbit a circle divided into light and dark halves. This would seem to use to represents the planet, divided literally into night and day by the sun, but also symbolically divided into black and white, as in a checkerboard. The triangle for us represents a satellite, an observing eye, a tool of measurement and thus control. It also hearkens back to the triangles which are often associated with the symbols of Revolutionary france; it has mystical connotations.

Seek and ye shall find! In the thick of all these encounters with pyramids and triangles we stumbled across a mundane object--an ashtray. This ashtray was an obelisk. The pyramidical cap punctuated by seven triangles through which to toss butts. OK, we know; let's not push it. This is no cosmic trigger. But have you even seen an ashtray such as this?

It would seems as though in an era where the funds flowed more freely, no expense was spared to ensure that the details were not overlooked. Even the ashtrays were conceived of with an eye towards the prevailing symbolism of the institution. Unless it's just a coincidence or the passing whim of some bored factotum in the purchasing department....

Then again, have you ever seen a trash can like the one pictured here? It's just unusual, clearly a product of some aesthetic reasoning above and beyond being merely functional. It's not even really the most efficient size and the expense of making it must be above and byond the standard garbage can.

But actually, all this reflection makes us sound a little more serious about all this than we actually are. It's funny, is all. Every visit to the Météopole reveals another detail which fits into the overarching symbolism of the whole. For what it's worth. At the very least an amusing coincidence.