February, 2013

Feb 13

The Way to Alexandria

A story by John Shirley about Jesus when he was nine years old.

Jesus, then called Yeshua, was nine years old when his father declared that the family must move to abide with relatives in a far off place: Alexandria, in Egypt…

“O, these bumps,” Joseph said. “We should have taken a Roman road…”

Joseph disliked travel and, judging from the way he shifted on the tanner’s cart, from time to time, his bony backside was sore, this day in early summer, their fourth day of travel. A foul smell followed the poorly-tanned hides, just behind them in the cart, but Jesus had grown used to it. This was the only ride to the sea that Joseph could afford, or so he said.

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Feb 13

Is One Permitted to Enjoy Downton Abbey?

I suppose it was inevitable that there should be a backlash against poor Downton Abbey. People who only glimpse the show assume it’s about the posturings of the upper class, in early 20th century Britain. To some extent, yes. But it’s at least as much about the servants, and middle class people; it’s about everyone around Downton Abbey. There were many scenes set in a prison. A recognition of social upset, even revolution, limns the drama. And being privileged is no security against tragedy…The stories are remarkably predictable. They are soap opera stories writ large. They are rather like carvings in a fine relief, on some old manor–of course they don’t surprise, or not much. One enjoys the costumes, the setting, the operatic formality, the distinct characters. Perhaps it’s the old school Wodehouse/Waugh aficionado in me. The secret Anglophile. But I do enjoy the show enormously. Is that permitted? Oh I say–I do hope so.

Feb 13

BROKEN MIRROR GLASS: Double CD album by John Shirley

…and his enormously talented collaborators.

For now, you can get this, and the EP, at infrarot.de. Later, at other sites and places.


Feb 13

Stupid Movies Could Save the World

I’ve been thinking that sometimes STUPID MOVIES actually help the world. The movie Armageddon made a lot of money overseas. It was a popular film. It was a slick movie in its way, just kind of lowest common denominator action/science fiction but it was not wrong in suggesting that asteroids are a danger and they can be intercepted and we should think about it. It may actually have planted a vital seed in people’s minds, especially young people who saw it; it may’ve set the stage for people thinking about the danger more, preparing the way, the psychological ground, for the science, the astronomy–the investment of asteroid danger readiness. So a dumb movie might actually have helped SAVE THE WORLD!

Same goes for the movie THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW which was kind of dopy but at least (in an exaggerated way) it showed how global warming can lead to extreme weather of all kinds.

Dumb movies could save the planet!

Feb 13

Asteroids could be Great For Us.

The President, or perhaps the Secretary General of the United Nations, should propose an International Asteroid Shield Agency in which as many nations participate as possible. The agency would pool resources, scientific and financial and human, to develop means with which to detect and destroy dangerous asteroids. And it should be emphasized that this is *not solely out of fear of an asteroid strike*. It will be an economic stimulus, and, most of all, a scientific and space exploration stimulus. One of the purposes will be investigating the possibility of mining asteroids, and another will simply be space science. Benefits are sure to accrue beyond reassuring people and preventing asteroid strikes.

It would also have the effect of inducing people to feel more united, from one country to the next. Countries involved would be psychologically nudged into thinking of themselves as part of a world, rather than in nationalistic terms.

Feb 13

Don’t envy me for being a Chick Magnet

Yeah. I’m a chick magnet. I admit it. People say, I envy you for being a chick magnet. But you shouldn’t. First of all, the whole baby chickens getting stuck on your skin thing loses its charm the first time they start pooping on you en masse. It’s like they cheep out a signal, “Everybody poop now!” And all that cheep cheep cheep, man it’ll drive you crazy.

Then if they get stuck on your eyelids, watch out. They might think your retinas are bird feed. I’ve had to spray my skin with special insulation to stop it, otherwise if I got even within ten miles of a chicken farm, zoop, they’d come at me, flying through the air… and sticking to my skin. Then it’s cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep. Prying the little bastards off.

Hiding in the bathroom. They come smacking on the windows, drawn by the magnetism.

It’s just depressing, having to clean their little bodies up.

Feb 13

Ah, Early Spring–a Time for GORE

It’s early Spring here–time for GORE on the front porch. No, not Al Gore, though he’s welcome to visit, I mean our most savage cat has started leaving bloody gifts again. This morning when I fed the cats the black one sniffed the food and snubbed it–which he rarely does. Plus he had a twitchy, crazy-eyes savage look about him that said, “I have killed! I have eaten bloody flesh!”

Then I found the half eaten remains of an *enormous* fat rodent on the front porch. The organs had been saved and laid aside, *arranged in a row*…Heart, one lung, liver, two kidneys, each tiny and in perfect shape, as if quite carefully laid there, the same distance apart.

I can only surmise that he left these for us as delicacies, arrayed like a selection of organs, under glass, in a French “triperie”…

Feb 13

Atheists, Christians and the Founding Dads

Christians like to claim that the founding fathers were faithful Christians; Atheists have claimed that the Founding fathers were atheist. Neither is right.

Most of the Founding Fathers were not doctrinaire Christians. Ben Franklin was a deist, not a Christian, and said that lighthouses were more useful than churches. Thomas Paine despised religion, and denounced it–but he said he was a deist and thus a believer in some kind of God.

George Washington was very skeptical about religion and was not a standard Christian, to say the least.

Jefferson had some sense of mystical deism, and respected Jesus, saying the best of the New Testament was like diamonds in a dungheap.

Most “founding fathers” were neither Christian nor atheist..

Feb 13

Writers Aren’t Entirely Without Usefulness

Writers, when they’re good, are useful to a community, have their own niche like doctors and public defenders and postmen. They have a social function. Yes, it’s descended from traditional tribal storytelling; the sharing and embellishing of myths. They do for the community something like what dreaming does for the brain. At their best, writers interpret the world, mythologize it so it can be processed. They reflect reality so we can see it in a mirror and assess it. Of course they can distort it too. But the best writers–even fantasy writers–are reflecting it. They express truths about the outer world, and about our inner worlds; they critique human life. They create theoretical models of reality we can use or discard. They entertain as well, and that too has innate value. . .Musicians also have a social function–and it can overlap with a writer’s. A graphic artist has a similar function, but in imagery–and that can overlap with writing too, of course, in graphic novels…

Often these forms are intertwined, become another form synthesized from music, art, writing…. movies.

Feb 13

The John Shirley Device

The John Shirley device produces word displays and evocative imagery designed to satisfy or provoke the unconscious of the end user. The John Shirley device uses as its manufacturing materials an array of perceptions, factoids, linguistic tropes, and experiences selected in accordance with genetic factors, and filtered by emotional subjectivity, free floating anxiety, and stylistic influences. The device’s work for hire products are created at an enhanced rate, and embroidered with curlicues of whimsy. All John Shirley machinery is subject to the limitations of wear and tear; replacement parts are not readily available after five decades of usage. The John Shirley device interacts with other human devices using damage-control protocols formed through data taken in during its experience and observation of the world. Overall operational guidance during the device’s functioning at large relies on application of theoretical and provisional models of reality.