Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tunguska, We Remember You

Today marks the anniversary: On June 30, 1905, Einstein's special theory of relativity was published, which led to his subsequent postulation that E=mc2.

Three year later to the day, June 30, 2008, a massive explosion--nearly 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima--occurred near the Tunguska River in Siberia.

According to an eyewitness:

"We had a hut by the river with my brother Chekaren. We were sleeping. Suddenly we both woke up at the same time. Somebody shoved us. We heard whistling and felt strong wind. Chekaren said, 'Can you hear all those birds flying overhead?' We were both in the hut, couldn't see what was going on outside. Suddenly, I got shoved again, this time so hard I fell into the fire. I got scared. Chekaren got scared too. We started crying out for father, mother, brother, but no one answered. There was noise beyond the hut, we could hear trees falling down. Chekaren and I got out of our sleeping bags and wanted to run out, but then the thunder struck. This was the first thunder. The Earth began to move and rock, wind hit our hut and knocked it over. My body was pushed down by sticks, but my head was in the clear. Then I saw a wonder: trees were falling, the branches were on fire, it became mighty bright, how can I say this, as if there was a second sun, my eyes were hurting, I even closed them. It was like what the Russians call lightning. And immediately there was a loud thunderclap. This was the second thunder. The morning was sunny, there were no clouds, our Sun was shining brightly as usual, and suddenly there came a second one!

"Chekaren and I had some difficulty getting out from under the remains of our hut. Then we saw that above, but in a different place, there was another flash, and loud thunder came. This was the third thunder strike. Wind came again, knocked us off our feet, struck against the fallen trees.

"We looked at the fallen trees, watched the tree tops get snapped off, watched the fires. Suddenly Chekaren yelled 'Look up' and pointed with his hand. I looked there and saw another flash, and it made another thunder. But the noise was less than before. This was the fourth strike, like normal thunder.

"Now I remember well there was also one more thunder strike, but it was small, and somewhere far away, where the Sun goes to sleep."

The prevailing theory is that it was a meteor (or comet) impact.

An alternative theory claims that at the exact moment of the explosion, Tesla tested a communication device, a device that led to the creation of Tesla's infamous death ray:

"At the time, Robert Peary was making his second attempt to reach the North Pole. Cryptically, Tesla had notified the expedition that he would be trying to contact them somehow. They were to report to him the details of anything unusual they might witness on the open tundra. On the evening of June 30, accompanied by his associate George Scherff atop Wardenclyffe tower, Tesla aimed his death ray across the Atlantic towards the arctic, to a spot which he calculated was west of the Peary expedition.

"Tesla switched on the device. At first, it was hard to tell if it was even working. Its extremity emitted a dim light that was barely visible. Then an owl flew from its perch on the tower's pinnacle, soaring into the path of the beam. The bird disintegrated instantly.

"That concluded the test. Tesla watched the newspapers and sent telegrams to Peary in hopes of confirming the death ray's effectiveness. Nothing turned up. Tesla was ready to admit failure when news came of a strange event in Siberia."
Image source: Page 2 of The Fantastic Four, Volume 1 # 13, "The Fantastic Four, Versus The Red Ghost" (part 1 of "Mystery on the Moon), page 315 of the 2005 Omnibus. Story by Stan Lee, Art by King Kirby.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Looking through an online thesaurus the other day I was gloppened, absolutely butterbunged by the wonderful synonyms I found for "surprised". Don't get me wrong, there was nothing ferly about the experience. On the contrary, it was a mirific experience!

Ahh, but seriously, these words, gloppen, butterbung, ferly, and mirific share something in common besides meaning, sort of, "surprised".

They are also, in my estimation, emotionally onomatopoeia-ic -- which is to say that the sound of the words evokes the emotion itself, just as sound of the word "bang" so perfectly evokes the sound of a palm slapping a desk.

But wait! That doesn't make sense! How can a sound conflate with an emotion?

Take "ferly" for example. Okay, well sure, it means "surprise"--well, the kind of surprise that you get when you're walking in a dark, dank basement and this enoromous centipede scurries off on the wall, right beside your head.

But how on earth does the sound conflate with the emotion?

Well ... I confess: I don't know.

But here are two clues:

1. First, there are scientific studies, by scientists no less, that show that swearing can lessen pain. Clearly, I suggest, this proves that there is magic in language, some sort of means by which the sound of spoken word triggers, conflate, or (dare I say) materializes an emotion.

2. Second, there are more scientific studies, obviously quite original and not to be disputed, that show that what we touch impacts our emotional feelings. If, I dare again to say, there is some sort of fixed constant between our sense of touch and our emotions, then why not a direct link between sound and emotion?

What do you think? Is there some sort of synesthestic connection between the sounds of word and emotional states?

If you say "yes" give us an example. Something like "aha!" which seems to so clearly articulate, onomatopoeia-ically, the sensation of an aha moment.

If you say "no", well give us an example of some totally contrary, a word that sounds exactly the opposite of the emotional state it describes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

List of books from that microwave box‏

Hey Steven

Here we go....let me know which ones you want to keep. You can just give me the number and a key word.

1. pamphlet - El Corazon
2. Reveries of a batchelor
3. Marcel Proust Spanish
4. James Joyce - Finnigans Wake
5. Suetonius - The Twelve Caesaars
6. 3 Sears Robuck Catalogues [bad shape]
7. Jack Black- You can't win
8. Lives of the Saints
9.Satanic Bible
11. In the days of thy Youth
12. Living Sober
13. AA
14. The Classical Wizard Magus Mirabilis in Oz
15. Dante The Divine Comedy
16. English Lit
17.Starting From San Francisco - New Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti w/45 rpm record
18. Children of Los Alamos
19. Maltese Falcon
20. Anthology of concrete Poetry
21.Complete Walker
22. Selected Writings of E.A.Poe
23. Satanism and Witchcraft
24. Book of Mormon
25. A Portrait of William Burroughs
[my favourite] A parking ticket citation from Albuquerque $10 from 1996
26. Narcotics Anonymous
27. Ouija Board and plastic thing
28. Nikola Tesla - Prodical Genious
29. Marijuana - Growers guide
30. On Doctrines of the Modernists
31. Frankenstein [bad shape]
32. Eros and Civilization
33. The Little, Brown Hand Book
34. Quentin Fiore - The Medium is the message.
35. J. G. ballard - Crash
36. Adventures in the Unknown Interier of America
37. E.G. Cook Lets Study Revelation
38. Necronomicon
39. Mastering Tarot
40. Pychic Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain [sounds interesting]
41. Newsletters- Poetry Project X 4 copies
42. Blavatsky - The Secret Doctrine
43.Middle English Lyrics
44. World Atlas [small book] From someone named Don Fisher
45. An Irrational Act - Surrealist Works on Paper
46. Guide to the Sky
47. Notes on Thought and Vision by H.D.
48. The Olympic Reader
49. Time of the Assasin - Study of Rimbaud by Henry Miller
50. Yiddish Slang Idioms
51. Budda and his Teachings
52. Freud - Sexual Enlightenment of Children
53. 3 essays on Theory and Sexuality
54. Crazy Horse

Thats it. I have left them out of the box for now as they kind of smell musty, Any you wish to keep I will put them out in the sun each day to get rid of the smell, somewhat.
Let me know soon
Love Always Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mein Kampf Vindaloo

Dimple Kumari, a research associate in Pune, has not read Mein Kampf but she would wear the Hitler T-shirt out of admiration for him. She calls him "a legend" and tries to put her admiration for him in perspective: "The killing of Jews was not good, but everybody has a positive and negative side."

from Hitler memorabilia 'attracts young Indians'

Thursday, June 10, 2010


A couple of posts back I listed a bunch of mysterious sounds recorded by the NOAA in the world's oceans. I’d like to focus in on one of them a little more closely: the mysterious “Bloop” -- one of six recorded sounds that the NOAA has made public. The mystery sounds were recorded by an array of underwater sound sensors originally set up to track Soviet subs -- but they picked up plenty of other sounds, too, like whales and earthquakes. They also picked up a few sounds that are unidentified -- sounds like the “Bloop”, which you can hear (sped up to 16x speed) by clicking on this link.

So what’s so special about the mysterious Bloop? Three things:

1. It’s alive! Everyone -- every article -- agrees that it is biological in origin! [1]

2. It’s the biggest animal on Earth! Even a blue whale can't bloop so loud!

3. And nobody knows what it is!

That’s so cool that I’m going to repeat myself: The biggest animal on the planet is out there in the depths of the oceans, and nobody knows what the hell it is! Some have speculated that it is a giant squid, but CNN quotes marine biologist Phil Lobel from Boston University, whose specialties include “fish bioacoustics”, as saying, "Cephalopods have no gas-filled sac, so they have no way to make that type of noise".

We love a beautiful mystery, and this, folks, is a big one…

Amazingly, however, I stumbled across the answer to this mystery while reading comics with my kids on the very day that I drafted this here post. According to Namor,[2] "The largest living thing in all the world [is] ... Giganto!" Check it out, and quake in your boots, humanity:



[1] Except for a few that don't. Bah. That guy probably gets his jollies from telling kids why there ain't no Santa. Probably tells widows there ain't no god, too.

[2] See page 15 of The Fantastic Four, Volume 1 # 4 (page 93 of the 2005 Omnibus), drawn by King Kirby!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Soon, if you’re flying out of Denver, you’ll pass a "26-foot-tall replica of Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead" before boarding your plane. Nice!

I can imagine three reactions:

1. Twittering glee. "Cool! Egypt!" The statue is, after all, ostensibly erected to celebrate/advertise the King Tut exhibit headed to the Denver Art Museum.

2. Shot nerves. "Aaargh! We’re doomed!" Nervous fliers, you know, might not be so into walking past gods of the dead. I mean, what’s next? Perhaps stocking the seatbacks with a guide to surviving a fall from a plane without a parachute (which is, incidentally, brief enough--it claims--to actually be followed, step-by-step, while plummeting to Earth in free fall)?

3. Bug-eyed whispers. "Now They’re just f-in’ with us, man!" It's almost as if it were designed to feed the conspiratorial minded who have pulled together a rather impressive body of symbology (Nazi, Masonic, etc.) to support fears of a cabal plotting the fate of the world from within secret underground tunnels beneath Denver International Airport. (Here's a skeptic's response.)

Let’s take a moment to consider option 3.

Twilight Language?

Take a few steps back--before strolling by Anubis, airport visitors are greeted by an enormous, murderous, blue stallion. "What’s this?" you ask. “How can a statue kill?” Well, legend has it that a part of the statue fell and crushed its own maker, leading him through the gateway to death. A sacrifice to the gods? An ominous omen? Coincidence?

Only after strolling by the killer horse do we see Anubis.

But Who Is Anubis?

The Denver statue is, I believe, a replica of a statue of Anubis that was placed prominently in King Tut's tomb. While Anubis is commonly referred to as the "Egyptian god of the dead", this title seems to obscure the richness of his mythology, which evolved over time during ancient Egypt's long history. (Think of how Christianity has evolved, for example, and then pause to consider that Egyptian religion extended over a longer period of time).

For me, one of the more interesting roles that Anubis played was that of a gatekeeper to the afterlife, meeting and judging the dead. From Wikipedia:
In the Hall of Two Truths, Anubis weighed the heart of a person against Ma'at, the goddess of truth, who was sometimes depicted symbolically as an ostrich feather. If the heart was judged to be impure, Ammit would devour it, and the person undergoing judgment was not allowed to continue their voyage towards Osiris and immortality.
That image of a scale--ostrich feather on one side, heart on the other--is chillingly beautiful to me. They say that "an ostrich's eye is larger than its capacity for love"--and I'm quite certain that my heart would tip the scales.

These days, of course, security guards play the gatekeeper between heaven and Earth, carefully judging the pureness of each departing soul--those judged pure are allowed to board their flights upward, while the impure are cast downward into security cells to be devoured.

Speaking of creepy-eyed statues and all-seeing security (x-ray scans and what-not), Chicago is also planning a whimsical new installment:

Big brother? Perhaps this is not just coincidence.

The 4th Way

I opened with 3 potential reactions to Anubis welcoming you to the friendly skies--but all this talk of big brother and Kafka-esque security has opened my eyes to a 4th reaction.

What if Anubis is part of a larger movement in public art installments that are reflecting back our fear and paranoia? Consider the USA as a nation of people who feel themselves coming disjoined by attacks from a host of threats, threats that pile upon each other, new ones seemingly each day: mail bombs, buildings exploded, school shootings, cyber attacks, dirty bomb threats, fertilizer bombs, shoe bombs, airplanes as bombs, cyanide envelopes, snipers on freeways, father and son sniper teams in our capital, the great recession, government-sponsored torture, nebulous wars without end...

Surely we should not be surprised to find our airports and cities filling up paranoid and threatening images--from the giant eyeball of Chicago to the god of the dead and the towering demonic stallion of Denver?

May I suggest that it might actually be much odder if we were to find, instead, happy, playful art, stuff that made you giggle and feel warm inside?

There’s a quick way to test this hypothesis--take a quick glance around to see if our public places are filling up gleeful glib or fun house mirrors.

Oh wait ... Welcome home, my friends! ...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Morsels to tide us over

1. Ever heard of Saint Conus? Neither had we. He's a rather obscure saint which has a following in many far-flung places, wherever Sicilians and Italians from Salerno are found. His day is June 3.

Interesting article about a disappearing New York: Still Taking to the Streets to Honor Their Saints. I hesitate to use the word gentrification in this case, but something of the same cultural divide is described.

2. In other news, 6 bodies were found in a cave near Cancun, 3 with their hearts cut out. If this weren't Maya country, we'd blame Aztecs, not the usual suspects (Narcotraficantes, duh).

3. Archeologists are pondering whether or not a cemetery full of headless skeletons found in York were gladiolas. Oh wait, I mean gladiators.

4. Finally, why is Erykah Badu sporting Royal Arch logo on her chest? And what does the Hebrew character signify?

Does it have to do with the Freemasonic "hijack" of Hip-Hop?

Yikes! Jay-Z put fluoride in my Cheerios!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Speak of the Devil

Well, speak of the Devil, did you know that He's been recorded, the whole hellish minion, growling from the sulfurous pits?

Today we bring you mystery sounds from inner- and outer-space. We'll get to Satan's roar soon enough, but let's start with the beginning before we get to our end:

1. In the beginning, there was the Big Bang. It was, apparently, so flippin' big that you can still "hear" residual radiation in the static on TVs (at least you could back in ye olden analog days).

2. Now let us move on to the near present, but still in our solar system, where, in Daurade's words, "This is exactly what you'd expect Saturn to sound like!"

3. Even closer to home, NOAA brings you a local mystery, six unidentified sounds from the seas! (Although, not to be a party pooper, NOAA elsewhere reports that "the [mysterious] bong", er, "boing" has been identified.)

4. Another mysterious underwater sound is reckoned to be farting herrings, which has gotta smell better than this.

5. And from mystery, we move on to tragedy: There is, somewhere out there in the vast oceans, a lonely whale which has been roaming the globe for years plantifly crying out for a mate in vain, for it is dreadfully alone, an unidentified species, and the only one of its kind. A metaphor, I suspect, for Earth.

6. And finally, as promised, from tragedy, we go straight to Hell, completing our tour of everything from the beginning to the end. Back in 1989, the Russians dug this really deep well ... all the way to Hell! And amazingly, someone was on hand to record the the demons loosed to prove it! The recording of the "Well to Hell" was, of course, a prank, but it's fooled plenty of people, which is, I think, goddamn funny, although, as Daurade noted in an email, "Funny yet also infuriating because it feeds on ignorance and adds to it. Which wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact these people are politically active and get themselves elected, thus foisting ignorance on the rest of us, etc etc weary liberal bleating...."

I hear, incidentally and since we're listening to the Devil in this post anyhow, that BP stock has hit bottom -- better buy in while the getting's good.

But enough with the stock tips, sheeple, if you can take a break from making your moola, how 'bout sharing a tip with us?

What are, we ask, some of your favorite mystery sounds?