Category Archives: General

The constantly quoted blind spot

I have never read To_Kill_a_Mockingbird and at this point I probably never will.

This refusal defies all my laws of bibliography and synchronicity.  I work in an environment where I hear it mentioned at least once a day, Seriously, like the library has no other books on race relations.  I never read or watched The Help. or The Butler.  or 12 Years a Slave no matter how many well-meaning patrons push it at me.

I don’t need to forgive anyone for America’s race relations. And I won’t.  You never forgive, you change.  Just like any other personal relationship.  I am not sure that I am comfortable being in a personal relationship with my American heritage, merely because of the vehement 24% that will take offense to this sentence much less my life. At this point I am required to defend myself by saying how much I love my country. Which I will not because of Mathew VanVlack, who taught me the Erasmus quote “I am human, therefore nothing human is alien to me” back in High School. Obviously this Cartesian thread took us different places. He was a good friend.

Wilson, Maslow, and the fallacy of insignificance

colin-wilson-with-poster-1956Colin Wilson was an important thinker in my limited intellectual word.  He took the existentialist crisis head on & sought tools against it.  He understood Uncle Al’s declaration that “Know thee that existence is pure joy”, while embracing The Great Work as did Gurdjieff.  His works explored both mysticism & deviant criminology in an effort to understand the vast possibilities that is human existence.

I was never the reader of novels that Colin was, I have no desire to tackle Proust & my one foray through Joyce’s Ulysses was enough. It was more his interpretations of his beloved reads that I found inspiring.

One of the great Silver keys given to Wilson by Abraham Maslow, who shared with the Colin the work he had done on “peak experiences” .  Dr Maslow insisted that these “peaks” were spontaneous & beyond our control.  Wilson begged to differ & in his 1971 opus “The Occult” postulated ‘Faculty X’, a superior sort of intuition that could be part of mankind’s next development.

Let us keep in mind that Mr. Wilson was not a scientist but a literary critic and armchair philosopher.  Nevertheless I find his speculations absolutely fascinating.

Overdrive Media Console on Nook HDs

I’ve seen several people run into problems when using the Overdrive Media Console on the Nook HD to borrow eBooks from the library.  They download the book fine read the first page and then when they go to advance the book automatically skips to the next chapter.  The problem only happens when Overdrive is downloaded from the Nook Store.  The solution is to delete Overdrive, download Google Play from either the Nook Store (if still available) or a browser.  Download Overdrive from the Google Play.   Set up as before and should work fine.

Some applications just work differently from Nook Store vs Google Play.  Twitter on the Nook HD needs to be the Nook version.  I will update if/when I learn more.

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

BeggarsInSpain(1stEd)   Recently a woman bragged to me about her daughter.  The daughter had been fascinated by computers since childhood.  She ended up going into internet security and the Department of Homeland Security paid for her education.  The young child who would admonish her parents for not having strong enough passwords now puts her whole life on Social Media with her omnipresent smartphone.  Wasn’t she concerned about privacy, her mother had asked.  It sounded like the daughter shared with her mother the idea of the Singularity, explaining that once the technology was possible, having as much of her personality as possible on the Web was paramount.

We will deal with the idea of the Singularity later.  For some reason, the conversation reminded me of this book, published 1993.   The premise of the books involve genetic engineering where some children of the rich are made Sleepless, genetically modified so they can go without sleep.  While the rest of us waste 8 or more hours a day, the Sleepless are learning and evolving past us.

The subject of Objectivism is a main theme in this book.  When human beings are not born equal should they be treated equally? Should the superior (Sleepless) be held back by the um, Sleepful?

Frankly Objectivism tends to be just another excuse for discrimination and false superiority.  As if class, race, wealth, language, creed, religion, gender, sexuality and, lets be honest, facial symmetry have been enough ways for humans to judge each other not-worthy.

The Sleepless and the Sleepers is an interesting concept, especially when used an analogy for the technologically advanced and the technophobic.  As usual it is important not to let the analogy collapse into Bigotry.


Adam Smith, Rockefeller plot.

adam smithIn the biography of Adam Smith written by John Rae, we learn that when the proto-economist was young, around 3 or 4, gypsies attempted to kidnap him.  They released the boy when pursued by his family.  This just seems like a fun fact to speculate on.

It wasn’t too uncommon an occurrence, so I doubt his parents harped on it too much.  One can certainly imagine that they couldn’t help but threaten to give young Adam back to the gypsies if he didn’t go to bed.

How about Time Travel?  Maybe communist time travelers went back in time disguised as gypsies to kidnap and re-educate the capitalist messiah.  Luckily (?) the Trilateral Commision became aware of this devious plot and sent a commando team to foil it.  Also disguised as gypsies, they killed off the communist team and the child.  A capitalist changeling was left for the parents.

The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg


[NOTE:  Books and other media are not discussed here as reviews and will probably contain spoilers.  For pure reviews, please consult my Goodreads profile]

The concept is intriguing, four friends off on a trip to immortality.  Only 2 will survive, and all four know that.  One may fight for and against comparisons to the writers of the four gospels. However the religions of the four: Jewish, Protestant, Atheist and Catholic, try/tend to create a different comparison.

The book is written with the chapters alternating from each of the four characters to the next.

The trip is to Arizona.  The house that the wife and I recently purchased was once owned by a Mr. Longyear who later went out to Arizona and then returned in his late 70s to start the region’s first housing development. No idea (if or) when he died.

While the subject of male homosexuality is dealt with well here, sexism is rampant and women are literally nameless vessels.

The instructions are bland to anyone who has spent a weekend researching immortality.  One leaves the book wondering if the cult involved is self-deluded.

Silverberg is a great writer.  Great afternoon read and don’t chew too much.


Bibliography: the project


I’ve always been a heavy reader.  I’ve also always had mystic/occultist/scholarly tendencies.  Throughout my life I’ve scribbled themes and lists of books in notebooks and then carefully picked through libraries and books stores to find them.

In the mid-90s, I became inspired by Gygax’s Appendix N, and Crowley’s Reading Lists both in Liber E and Liber ABA.  I started to consolidate the lists in all my notebooks.  Any book mentioned in a book I had read (including advertisements) or was recommended went on the list.  I slowly created (am creating?) a point system to deal with overlaps.

Of course, I started seeing patterns.  Around the time, I was reading a ton of Robert Anton Wilson and the whole thing clicked in my head.

Anyone who has survived OM (Operation Mindfuck) from Wilson and his crew of Discordians can imagine where I ended up taking that journey.  Anyone who hasn’t, well, I wouldn’t recommend it.

There are strict rules to the Bibliography and some of the rules are strictly arbitrary.   It’s been a project of over 20 years and the subjective patterns have taught me much about myself and the way I think.

Goodbye Hans


The other night I was battling insomnia by watching the 1964 Hammer Film The Gorgon.   About half way through, a dying character bids farewell to his manservant with a heartfelt “Goodbye Hans”.

Around that time I had to stop watching. Bathroom break or cat fight or something.  Maybe the wife woke up and I chatted with her for a bit.  When I went back to my Nook HD to finish the movie I had lost my place.  So I watched a different movie Seven Psychopaths, a black comedy released on Crowleymas 2012.   I know of no reason for these two movies to have anything in common.  Yet at one point, maybe halfway through, a character who is about to die turns to her reflection in the window and says, “Goodbye Hans”.Seven_Psychopaths_Poster

Turns out Christopher Walken’s character’s first name was Hans, a fact that I never paid attention to until then.   Quite a cute little bit of coincidence but I have not run into that phrase since.