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Review: Christopher Galt, BIBLICAL

Christopher Galt's Biblical is one of the oddest and most satisfying novels I have ever read.

Something strange is sweeping across the planet. People are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing things that defy reality. A French teenager witnesses the martyrdom of St. Jean d'Arc. A wealthy man in a luxuirous Central Park apartment dies of malnutrition. A nfundamentalist Christian sect kidnaps and murders a geneticist. People commit suicide alone and in groups for reason no one but the dead are sure of.

Then there are the graffiti -- WE ARE BECOMING -- that have appeared in every major city around the world. And everywhere people are talking about John Astor, the author of a mysterious book that seems to be at the center of it all.

John Macbeth and a team of FBI agents and scientists come together to get to the bottom of all the often-lethal weirdness. Is this a spiritual phenomenon -- or something far more sinister?

I will not provide ultimate spoilers, but will point out that the Epilogue at the novel's end is nothing that the reader who reads this book faithfully from beginning to end could ever have predicted. It takes everything that came before, turns it inside out and upside down, and leaves the reader feeling like someone who has just jumped off a 3,000-foot cliff -- and finds the bottom is just two feet from the edge of the cliff, providing a staircase to an even stranger reality.

Liberal Syndrome

Many of us who are conservatives have noted the childishness, aggressiveness toward anything or anyone perceived as "not liberal", and other alarming behaviors of so many liberals (we need a better word for it, people; "liberal" suggests "classical liberal," which is not the same thing). Well, why not work that up the way medical problems are, describing the hallmarks of the syndrome and trying to find possible causes of it? Is diet, e.g., junk food or food to which people can be allergic, involved in it? A history of drug abuse? Whatever it is, it causes irrational states of mind and behavior, and we really need to find out what it is.

Viva la Siesta!

Question: Why do men name their, er, wedding-tackle?

Answer: Well, you wouldn't want a total stranger doing half your thinking for you, would you?


I don't have anything to live for

I'm finally having to accept that I will never achieve any of my important goals by the time I die, that I will never be able to pay my keep, that I will die all alone and friendless, that I will be dirt-poor until I die, that I have never really benefited anyone, and that I'll never be with anyone who truly loves me and whom I truly love in return.

I don't mean that I'm about to commit suicide. I have tried that several times in my teens, and never succeeded. And I have sworn to outlive my cat Hannah so that I will always be with her and she will always be taken good care of by me.

But it's hard knowing your entire life has been a waste and that it will never be anything else, however long you live. I feel like G-d hates me and has hated me all along. I have prayed and prayed and prayed and done ritual after ritual of Ceremonial Magick for a good marriage, getting my writing commercially published, being accepted by the people I respect as one of their own, and all the rest of it. No answer. Everyone supposedly has a guardian angel. Well, mine either died when I was born or joined the enemy shortly thereafter. There is no point or purpose to my life. If not for my cat, I'd make a quick exit.

Such is the sum and substance of my life. People tell me casually, "Just get over it! You know you can do it!" Well, my reasons for despair are situational, not something solely psychological or neurological. So sorry -- no can do. And yes, I do know the 23-step prayer:

Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.
For I am the meanest SOB in the valley.

That doesn't work, either.
Around 66 million years ago, an object some six miles in diameter impacted Earth in what is now the Yucatan. Not only did the kinetic energy of the impact itself cause great fires in southern North America and northern South America, but the blowback from that event in the form of debris kicked up by the impact falling back to Earth liberated even more kinetic energy transformed into thermal energy started firestorms all over the world, fires that could sweep whole continents. This was the K-T event, the event that closed out the Cretaceous Period and the Mesozoic Era of Earthly life.

As Daniel James Brown points out in his Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894, a firestorm is not like other fires, even relatively large ones, and does not fit into zny of the three wildfire classifications of ground, surface, and crown fires. It likely has been all of these in the course of its evolution, but it now becomes capable of growing into something very different from them, and very unusual: a mass fire, to use the term used by Stephen J. Pyne in his landmark study, Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Book (see Brown, op. cit., pp. 63-65).Read more...Collapse )

The Big Bang and Magick

Two objects, once put into contact with each other, forever after are entangled, so that forever after, if either of them changes state for whatever reason, the other instantaneously does so, as well. Somehow, no matter how great the distance the two objects are separated, each of them seems to somehow know what is happening to the other, and reacts accordingly. This is a basic finding of quantum mechanics, and has been well known since the 1930s. It drove Albert Einstein crazy -- he derogatorily called it "spooky action at a distance." (He also declared, concerning the weird uncertainties of the quantum universe. "God does not throw things where they cannot be found. God does not play dice." To which Neils Bohr replied, "Albert, who are you to tell the good Lord what to do?")Read more...Collapse )
How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Steven M. Druker is a public-interest attorney who initiated a lawsuit that forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release its files on genetically engineered foods. As a result, the way the agency had covered up the warnings of its own scientists about the risks, lied about the facts, and then allowed those "foods" onto the market in violation of federal law. He has served on food safety panels held by the National Research Council and the FDA, presented lectures at numerous universities, met with government officials throughout the world, and conferred at the White House Executive Offices with a task force of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Druker discusses the politicization of science and the Institutionalization of illusion; the expansion of the biotech agenda and the intensification of the politicization; how the facts about a deadly epidemic caused by a genetically engineered food have been consistently obscured; the governmental faud that put GE foods on the market; how food safety officials in Canada, the EU, and other regions also sidestepped science and sound policy; multiple risks accompanied by minimal caution; media accomplices in cover up and deception; oversights, anomalies, and delinquencies; how the research on GE food has failed to show that they're safe and instead confirmed that they should be off the market; the inescapable risks of altering complex information systems, whether electronic or biological; the devolution of scientists into spin doctors, genetic engineering's most malignant mutation; and abandoning genetic engineering and advancing to safe, sustainable, and sensible modes of farming.

This is a frightening book. Nobody wants to find that the products that they eat and depend on for life itself are laced with hideous toxins that have killed pets, sickened and killed humans, caused cancer, and a host of other things right out of the Inferno. The instinct is to push that information, ward it off, deny it holds and can hold any validity, a very human thing to do. The instinct is to sneer at that information and remind people of the story of Chicken Little, who cried, "The sky is falling!," scaring everybody for no good reason.

But there is good reason. The sky, metaphorically speaking, has fallen, and the fallout has already entered our bodies and those of our children, our pets, and our farm and work animals, doing endless mischief which, in many cases, as altered genes in our food take up residence in our DNA, will continue for decades, even centuries, if not millennia, spreading Satan's largesse of misery and sickness and death for all. For your own sakes, and those of your children and later descendants, please read this book and see what you are risking from lack of good information on this evil, and what your descendants are likely to suffer from it, as well.
How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society

This is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society

Did you ever have the feeling that something or someone was controlling you, or trying to do so? Don't feel alone -- and you are probably not crazy. Parasites -- whether viruses, bacteria, larger parasites such as the malaria trypanosome, or fungi -- will do anything to get transferred from one host to a new one, and if that involves influencing the host's behavior to facilitate that transfer, it evolves a way of doing so. That control is often frighteningly sophisticated, and it affect both mind and body. When hosts are human beings, our behavior changes, too, and so do the thoughts that go with behavior. Think you are the master of your soul and your mind? Well, maybe not.

There are parasites which, like fleas and mosquitoes, parasitize their hosts from the skin outward. The author mentions them and gives some analysis of their impacts on us and other creatures -- which can be horrific: consider mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, which afflicts 214 million people worldwide every year, which makes the mosquito the worst killer on the planet -- but concentrates more on the world of microscopic parasites.

Parasites have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their hosts' behavior. Far more often than most of us are aware of, these master puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey. With astonishing precision, parasites can cause rats to approach cats without displaying any signs of fear or an attempt to escape the jaws of the cat, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds who then swoop down to feast upon them.

We, too, are profoundly affected by parasites on us. Among those which we can pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits, contributing to human recklessness, impulsivity, and even suicide. (By the way, I have a cat. Cats can become infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which we can catch from them. BUT I have always had cats around me, and love them dearly, and won't give them up. Just in case, my physician just drew some of my blood to test it for antibodies against this pest, and, if he finds them there, he will treat me for the infection, case closed. So I'm not urging any of you to give up your cats or dogs or pet rabbits. But you might want to get tested for their parasites, just in case, and get treated for them if necessary. You don't have to get rid of your beloved friends.) Microbes in our gastro-intestinal tracts can and often do affect our emotions and even the very wiring of our brains. Microbes that cause colds and flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Someday it may even turn out that possession, a real phenomenon, is caused by parasites in the brain and/or guts, and that the paranormal phenomena associated with possession are due to symptoms thrown off by the possessed as their bodies and minds and spirits fight to the death to ward off those parasites.

Parasites influence our behavior on cultural and personal levels, too. They -- or rather, our need to avoid them -- may be responsible for bigotry, who we are sexually attracted to, to our morals and politics. The author carefully presents all the evidence behind these claims and cites all her sources; this is not a book for those prone to concoct conspiracy theories, as it is strongly based on the sciences related to the subject. She even discusses a new field, disgustology, that may help understand why we have the reactions to things and living creatures, ourselves and any others, that we do.

This book is fascinating, though it could give some people the willies. I strongly recommend this work to anyone, from psychiatrists, psychologists, and veterinarians to other scientists and the lay public, because it could help to solve many perplexing mysteries about health and behavior. Above all, if you have children, it will help you understand many of the strange things that small children do, such as eating dirty, that can actually protect them from infections later on in life. I give it five stars -- but I'd like it if the numbers of stars could go up to 11. :-)

The Old Quaker strikes again

During a class in American history which Batrix teaches during her first year of her UCLA professorship, One girl puts up a hand.

“Yes – what's the question?” says Batrix.

“You said that guns were used all the time during the late 1770s and the 1800s in this country. Doesn't that prove that Amerika is fascist?”

Shaking her head at the sheer illogic and idiocy of that question, Batrix asks the girl, who looks rather like a young female Japanese animé character, with an oh-so-innocent expression that is too stupid to be feigned, “There were good reasons for having guns then – just as there are now. They are needed for hunting, to put meat on the table, and for self-protection. A great part of America is wilderness, though much less now than then. Most people were self-reliant when it came to food; they didn't dig potatoes and meat out of supermarkets, and didn't need to. So are you saying that self-defense and defense of others and hunting for food are fascist?”

“Well, no, but – well, everybody knows that anyone who picks up a gun gets drunk on power and starts killing and –“

“So you don't like having police there to help you in an emergency?”

“Well, we all knows that when they help us, they aren't fascist, but otherwise they are, and –“

“Here, let's consider the story of the old Quaker.

“This Quaker in question was probably born around 1860 or so. He lived on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a spaceious two-story house. One night he awoke at a time when he should have been asleep. Curious, he listened to try to discover what had awakened him, and sure enough, downstairs – his bedroom was on the second floor – he heard footsteps. So, taking up his blunderbuss, he went out of the room to the top of the stairs, which gave him a view of the parlor. Sure enough, there was a shadowy figure skulking around down there, inspecting things, looking for something worthwhile to steal.

“The Quaker, quietly putting his blunderbuss to his should, called down, 'Friend, I would not harm thee for all the world – but thee is standing where I am about to shoot!'

“The Burglar dropped his swag and tore out the front door and into the night, never to be seen in that neighborhood again.”

“That's all very nice,” said the girl, smirking, “but what does that have to do with anything?”

“If, as you claim,” said Batrix, “simply picking up a gun turns men and women into monsters, then that Quaker would have shot the burglar without giving warning. Instead, he warned the burglar, who, taking the hint, left and didn't come back. According to the logic of your claims, that makes that Quaker a monster. And he wasn't.”

“Well, Quakers are Christians, aren't they? And everyone knows that Christianity is the most hateful, murderous religion in the world!”

By this time, everyone else in the class was laughing at the young woman, who had tears in her eyes, hair dripping with sweat and wildly disheveled, and an expression that strongly suggested that she would love to rip out Batrix's throat with her bare hands, Only the fact that the rest of the class wasn't sympathizing with her held her back from doing violence.

Mustering what shreds of dignity left to her now, the girl stood up and, assuming a “noble-victim expression, the girl stalked out of the classroom and down the hall and out of Batrix's life for good, save for a confused and almost incomprehensible letter of complaint about Batrix to the UCLA administrators, who strongly suggested that the girl get some much-needed counseling and/or psychotherapy and also a good civics course before coming back to the university.


That's right: Life causes change in conformity with its Will to survive and reproduce successfully.

Now, Thelemites everywhere will scream, "You stole that from Aleister Crowley, and that's not funny!!!." No, I didn't. I know what he taught, "Magick is the Art and Science of causing change in conformity with Will." But that's also the hallmark of all life, as well. As such, it puts the cap on all efforts to define life scientifically. It doesn't depend on genes, proteins, and other things that have been used to try to define life, whether here or elsewhere in the universe. It depends on behavior alone. If something displays that behavior, whether at a gross physical, chemical, or other level, then ipso facto, it is alive. Terrestrial plants, animals, fungi, protozoans, bacteria, extremophiles all do this. If we find alien things, things clearly from other worlds, doing this, they are alive and should be regarded as such.Read more...Collapse )


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Yael Dragwyla

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