Call Upon You

Casting Gentle Spells
On a Cursing President

In strange times, people think about strange things. And see them anew. Take human sacrifice: it was about social control, new research shows, not pleasing gods. And witchcraft couldn’t be about Satanism, for that’s a clearly Christian-derived concept. Who knew?
That brings us to Donald Trump. No, he’s not considering reviving ritualistic killings. Or the Colosseum, for that matter. Not yet, anyway. But casting spells are indeed back, and against him. Since that’s at least linked to medieval witchcraft, what now: the Earth’s flat?
Actually, this is pernicious idiocy with surprising adopters. Along your usual conspiracy nuts, it now includes people who travel by plane or boat, and still deny the planet’s curvature they see from above, or the fact that no one ever fell off the ‘edge’ of the ocean.
They’re obviously creating their own facts and should be stopped, immediately. In fact, those who find rationality still reliable, and reality a common experience, fear we’re entering the pre-dawn of a retrograde age, a stop short of murdering the educated by decree.
While they discredit empirical science and equate lies to observable fact, others forget that the Khmer Rouge sent children to patrol the Killing Fields and hunt down those who could read and write. In one generation, they’ve exterminated teachers, doctors and nurses.

IMMORTALITY TICKETS & CARNIVAL FLOATS
There’s more to throwing virgins off a cliff than folklore would allow, of course. Even before blood sacrifices spread out, there was already a sanctioned form of killing human beings, with little legal consequence, and the possible bonus of becoming a hero in the process: war.
Kings and queens, royalty and clergy have all been the target (more)
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Half-Man of Orlando

Not To Be Forgotten (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Of Lives Lost But
Never Extinguished

Every single one of those 49 people shot down in Orlando, Florida, last week, is now worthier remembering than their killer. And so are the other 53 injured. Any of them has now a meaningful story, to be told for generations. But not the shooter.
In fact, when, and if, we’ll manage to finally put aside the hurt and pain of the brutal massacre at the Pulse gay club, all we’ll have to inspire us it’ll be those lives cut short way too early; even their normality surpasses the murderer’s misguided path.
There’s an eerily prescient passage in Virginia Woolf‘s novel about a person who changes sex, Orlando: ‘Nothing can be more arrogant, though nothing is commoner, than to assume that of Gods there is only one, and of religions none but the speaker’s.’
Its deep insight into the nature of belief throws a surprising light on the known life of Omar Mateen and others like him. The fact that comes from a book with such a contemporary subject, despite having been published in 1928, may be more than pure happenstance.
On the other hand, Mateen’s not so well known life may be the other possible motif for the horrific crimes: self-hatred for the fact that he was likely a closet gay man himself. Visits to the club along the years as well as his digital track on gay date apps have attested to that.
The most important revelation, or rather, reaffirmation in the shooting’s aftermath, though, was the abundant grief and solidarity on display all over the world, even at places not exactly considered friendly to gays, such as Russia and the Bible Belt America.
The same world that doesn’t need us to write another digression about pain, or worn out protests against gun availability in the U.S. Thus the post below, which seems appropriate now, because it was written long ago and with absolutely no clear purpose than to express a feeling.
As such, it stands as our humble memorializing of such a tragedy, without even speculating whether it’ll do its part to soothe broken hearts. It’s a meditation on what always winds up happening to deranged killers like this one: utter, complete, and absolute oblivion.

The Shortcomer

A diminutive man is well aware of his stunted existence among giants. Yet, like the tiny droplet that hovers for a moment before the wave crashes back into the sea, he pretends to own the whole vast ocean by reflection. For an instant, all waters exist within his confines.
It’s not up to this half-creature the full arch of a liquid narrative, starting by the infinitesimal grain to its grand end (more)
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Best Byes

Sendoffs, Farewells
& the Far Side of 2013

In many quarters of the globe, the departing year had its fair share of kooky dishes, strange brews and no small amounts of heart burn. Just like the number that hitched the millennium over 300 days ago. Much of it is forgettable, but some are worth revisiting.
In no particular order, and little if any sense, we’ve collected some of these gems for your consideration. You may come out nurturing the feeling that somehow you’ve missed a lot, but not to worry: just enjoy it like it’s your second and very last chance.
A mechanic’s invention to help safely suck babies into this world. A presidential party favor that the host, a former spymaster himself, graced his powerful guests. From brew to brick, to bricks made of blood, beer has certainly had a grip over the year.
From Bowie in space to cats on a subway track, 2013 was also a year of tearful animal goodbyes, and the two leading the bunch out of this world were unquestionably a special breed: a polar bear with a severe case of neurosis and a pig, with a weakness for booze.
But what on Earth, you may ask, have these far out events to do with anything or even each other? All we can invoke in defense of stringing together such insane chain of recollections is that each and every one of them was a rare gift, squeezed among the terrible headlines inflicted on us throughout the year.
After all, we’re sure that you’re being bombarded everywhere by that kind of recollection, and how we’ve reached yet another notch downwards, for all we’ve done to the planet and to each other, and for the lot we didn’t even consider doing to redeem ourselves.
End-of-the-year lists have this way of making us all feel so guilty and miserable that if one checks one, all the others get checked as well. Thus, as we struggle to find ways to wrap up the proceedings, we also humbly aim at bringing some vain comfort to our sore readers who’ve been through a lot.
So has The Remains, a band with a heartbreaking story that reunited last June after a 47-year hiatus. In 1966, they went into a 14-city tour, opening for a quartet from England. But while The Beatles’ last live performances are the stuff of legend, they wound up in Gowanus, Brooklyn, recollecting. Life’s definitely not fair.
Talking about the 1960s, another legend that will fold coming Dec. 31, is the Volkswagen bus, icon of summers of yore, and if we’re calling it Continue reading