“As much of a tangent as we've gone on, I think we've gotten to a dark dark zone.” I think we might have been out in space too long. Captain Bill is starting to have some dark thoughts and Lt. Cmdr. Chris is along for the ride. Ostensibly we're talking about the new Star Wars series Andor… but we're gonna go down some rabbit holes. Some weird weird rabbit holes.
SCRIPTURE TEXT: 1 Samuel 6:1-21; 7:1-17 In the days of Samuel, the prophet-judge of ancient Israel, the Israelites & their pagan neighbors, the Philistines, were consistently at odds. Ostensibly, the Philistines engaged in idolatry while the Israelites worshiped the one true God. Yet God's glory had departed Israel (1 Sam 4:21-22) because of the people's lack of fidelity to Him as, in practice, they turned to other gods. Even today, followers of the Lord should examine how different our lives are from the ways of the world in which we live. No matter what the practices of people around us, it is always the right time to return to the Lord with all your heart & experience the victory of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), none other than Jesus Christ. SUNDAY SERVICE PREACHER: Lead Pastor Courtney Hall DATE: July 31, 2022 SERVICE TIME: 10:30 am (PDT) | In-Person & Online* SERIES: The Samuel Story (Pt. 4) SERMON: Return to the Lord with All Your Heart Sermon Slides --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/pcflosangeles/message
At his local library branch Joe Orton is enraged to find out that they don't have a copy of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In retaliation for this grave injustice he and Kenneth Halliwell begin a multi-year campaign of stealing books from the library, artfully doctoring them, then smuggling them back to their rightful places on the shelves. Eventually the police and the local law clerk deploy undercover agents and a sting operation in order to entrap them and Joe and Ken are sentenced to 6-month in jail. Ostensibly, its for their crimes against the library but really, as Joe puts it, “it was because we were queers.” While inside, Orton is finally separated from Halliwell and from any remaining desire to fit in. The result is liberating, particularly to his writing...
The raid at Mar-A-Lago has focused attention on the preservation of records from elected officials. Ostensibly to preserve national security and prevent "corruption," the real aim is much more politically motivated and is almost laughable based on the historical record. https://mcclanahanacademy.com https://brionmcclanahan.com/support http://learntruehistory.com --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/brion-mcclanahan/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/brion-mcclanahan/support
The Field Guide to Particle Physics : Season 3https://pasayten.org/the-field-guide-to-particle-physics©2022 The Pasayten Institute cc by-sa-4.0The definitive resource for all data in particle physics is the Particle Data Group: https://pdg.lbl.gov.The Pasayten Institute is on a mission to build and share physics knowledge, without barriers! Get in touch.The PositronThe positron is the antiparticle partner to the electron.Ostensibly, positrons have the same mass as the electron, around 511 keV. They also have the same electric charge - at least up to a minus sign. The positron is of course positively charged.Positrons also carry equal and opposite magnetic dipole moments to the electron: that little magnetic field carried often carried by elementary particles.Like the electron, positrons are stable. They do not decay. But of course, we don't see may of them around. When electrons and positrons collide, they annihilate each other! That is, they convert into a pair of photons, each with 511 keV of energy. Because it is *extremely* rare for photons to interact with each other, this reaction almost never goes in reverse, which explains why positrons don't accumulate here on Earth.As you might be aware, the matter to antimatter ratio of our universe is way out of whack - which is great for us! - but makes it a little hard to study antimatter particles like the positron.Sources of PositronsSome positrons are produced by the decay of cosmogenic muons - or antimuons, more precisely - that are formed when the pi-plus - the positively charged pion decays. Those pions are in turn produced in collisions with cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere. Sometimes positrons are produced in nuclear decays, like an antimatter version of beta decay. Fluorine-18 - which has 9 protons and 9 neutrons - is one such unstable nucleus. Oxygen-15 - which has 8 protons and 7 neutrons is another. A more exotic case is Rubidium-82, which forms when a strontium-82 nucleus absorbs an electron, converting one of its 38-protons into a neutron. Rubidium-82 then decays by positron emission, converting another proton to a neutron, resulting in the noble gas Krypton-82.Because the mass of the neutron is higher than that of the proton, positron emission is a form of radioactive beta decay that requires *extra* input energy, which is typically supplied by the remainder of the nucleus. It's a curious concept that we'll come back to in a future episode.In medicineBecause the photons emitted by the annihilation of a positron-electron pair have a very specific energy, scientific instruments can be calibrated to detect them. Positron Emission Topography is an imaging technique that specifically looks for these pairs of 511 keV photons - these gamma rays if you like. By injecting a radioactive substance that decays by positron emission, PET devices back calculate the gamma ray trajectories to build a three-dimensional model of whatever that tracer was injected into. Typically the human body!Fluorine-18, oxygen-15 and rubidium-82 are manufactured by particle accelerator for direct use in medical PET imaging. Sometimes those accelerators are RIGHT INSIDE THE MEDICAL FACILITY. That's right. Particle physics isn't just for lab rats or abstruse aloof theorists. It's crucial for medicine too! You can be a medical doctor AND study particle physics.PositroniumFinally, electrons and positrons can form a bound state - an atom if you like - called positronium. Positronium doesn't last very long - typically it decays by annihilation into an assorted number of gamma rays in a time that's measured in nanoseconds .The precise dynamics of positronium decay is a well studied science used in precision tests of quantum electrodynamics. We'll learn more about positronium later this season!
Temperatures soar as David, Torie and COB fave Michael Croley tackle the disturbing news of best-selling author Delia Owens. Best selling author Shane Ryan zooms in to share “The Cup They Couldn't Lose.” Ostensibly about the historic Ryder Cup, Shane's book is an eye opener on the psychology of golf, team building and international competition. He takes “inside the ropes” to new levels.
The land had been cultivated and lived on for millennia when geologist Ferdinand Hayden came upon the astounding Yellowstone "wilderness." It wasn't long before the federal government declared it a national park, to be preserved in perpetuity for the enjoyment of all. Ostensibly. How did Yellowstone go from being an important home, hunting ground, thoroughfare and meeting place to being a park? This episode was reported and produced by our friends at the wonderful podcast Civics 101. Featuring: Megan Kate Nelson, author of Saving Yellowstone, Mark David Spence, author of Dispossessing the Wilderness and Alexandra E. Stern, historian of Native peoples and Reconstruction are our guides to this rocky start. LINKSFor more about the history of national parks and state-backed conservation, we've got episodes! We've also delved into the history of Yellowstone, with a focus on the original conservation strategy behind it and many other parks, a strategy pejoratively called “fortress conservation.”“Himalayan Land Grab” tells the story of what happened when park developers applied the same “fortress conservation” strategy in northern India.“Thin Green Line” is an exploration of the role of conservation law enforcement through the reality TV show North Woods Law.We've also featured “The Problem with America's National Parks,” an episode of the podcast The Experiment (no longer being produced) which asked: why not simply give the national parks back to Native Americans? CREDITSHosted by Hannah McCarthy and Nick CapodiceProduced by Hannah McCarthy with help from Nick CapodiceSenior Producer: Christina PhillipsExecutive Producer: Rebecca LavoieCivics 101 staff includes Jacqui Fulton.Outside/In team: Nate Hegyi, Taylor Quimby, Justine Paradis, Felix Poon, and Jessica Hunt.Music: Walt Adams, Silver Maple, Arthur Benson, Alexandra Woodward and Rocky Marciano.
CWD. Jason talks with world-renowned CWD expert & wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Michael Miller about the early days of CWD in Colorado and Wyoming as part 1 of the Drop-Tine CWD Intensive Recordings BEGIN!
Is the work of art possible in the digital age? Ostensibly this is the topic Gio and I discuss, but as we often do, we veer off onto internet political subcultures and Nick Land, among many other things. We compare/contrast The Matrix and Ready Player One, discuss Walter Benjamins "The Origin of the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," "Hauntology," and much more! Follow me on twitter at @afscastSubstack at www.astralflight.substack.comFollow Gio on YouTube at Content Minded and on twitter at @giantgio
Is the work of art possible in the digital age? Ostensibly this is the topic Gio and I discuss, but as we often do, we veer off onto internet political subcultures and Nick Land, among many other things. We compare/contrast The Matrix and Ready Player One, discuss Walter Benjamins "The Origin of the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," "Hauntology," and much more! Follow me on twitter at @afscastSubstack at www.astralflight.substack.comFollow Gio on YouTube at Content Minded and on twitter at @giantgio
Is the work of art possible in the digital age? Ostensibly this is the topic Gio and I discuss, but as we often do, we veer off onto internet political subcultures and Nick Land, among many other things. We compare/contrast The Matrix and Ready Player One, discuss Walter Benjamins "The Origin of the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," "Hauntology," and much more! Follow me on twitter at @afscastSubstack at www.astralflight.substack.comFollow Gio on YouTube at Content Minded and on twitter at @giantgio
I watched the first three episodes of Obi-wan Kenobi with my four oldest sons and my dad at my brother's house last Friday. Because these are the days we live in, there is controversy already with fans complaining about one of the newly introduced villains, Inquisitor Reva. Disney has wasted no time in characterizing as racist such complaints from fans. Ostensibly, this is because the actress, Moses Ingram, and the character she plays, are strong black women, and “OP” as the kids say. I honestly haven't read much on the criticism, mostly because I've been very much turned off by Disney in general based on what they did with episodes 7-9 after purchasing the rights to Star Wars, plus firing Gina Carano. What I will say is that it should be possible to critique certain decisions made by Disney with regards to the show without being called a racist. Unfortunately, in our day and age, it is easier to hide behind Woke denunciations than it is to deal in substance. There is both an aggressive and toxic quality to the decisions being made by too many in media in all sectors; it is overtly intolerant toward dissent or objection, and heavy-handed in its response, as we are seeing here in this case of Disney and the Obi-Wan show. That said, there is nevertheless a lot I like about the show so far, and I hope they finish well and don't ruin it with Wokeness. Ewan McGregor is a great actor, and it's fun to see his and other familiar faces reprising their characters from the movies, filling in gaps in our understanding of what happened between 'Revenge of the Sith' and 'A New Hope.' Believing for a decade that he'd killed his apprentice, friend, and brother in Anakin, after having failed him as a teacher - this show exploring the toll taken on Obi-Wan makes for great storytelling. And that is all I intend to say about the show at this time. Star Wars aside, I am nearing the end of reading 'The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters' by Sinclair Ferguson. Stay tuned for the review once the book is finished. For now, however, I found a link between one of the key focuses of that book - namely, 'The Marrow Controversy' - and a poem about pipe-smoking by Ralph Erskine I've had up in a browser tab on my computer for several weeks. For those familiar with binge-watching shows on streaming platforms, what followed my realization of a connection was binge-researching. And now I have selections from several connected Wikipedia articles to share with you. Suffice to say, the history of Henry, Ebenezer, and Ralph Erskine, a father and his two sons, all Scottish ministers, is a fascinating one. It is the story of an intolerant government forcing non-conformists out of pulpits, public offices, and the universities - even barring them from gathering together privately in numbers greater than 5 not of their own household. Reading the history of Scotland and England through the 17th and 18th centuries, you will develop a newfound appreciation for much in America that we today take for granted. Freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and association - none of these were sacred to those who outlawed non-conformity, and comprehensively drove dissenters and objectors from polite society. No wonder questions of legalism, lawlessness, and grace are so much the center of Ferguson's book dealing with the Marrow Controversy. They were not abstract topics to these men, but were very real matters of life and death, both temporal and eternal. A pipe-smoker myself, I enjoy Ralph Erskine's poem, 'Smoking Spiritualized.' But only all the more do I enjoy it when I realize what his family of ministers and many others endured a few hundred years ago. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/garrett-ashley-mullet/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/garrett-ashley-mullet/support
Ostensibly the idea was to do media criticism. That is what the article in the National Post, The Year Of The Graves, set out to do; to hold the press to account and to correct errors that occurred in the reporting of the discoveries of unmarked graves at former Indigenous residential schools. But that was not its impact. Featured in this episode: Terry Glavin, author of Year Of The Graves and National Post columnist; Karyn Pugliese, executive editor at National Observer; Robert Jago, freelance writer and entrepreneur. Further reading: The year of the graves: How the world's media got it wrong on residential school graves, Terry Glavin, National Post Pushing through residential school denial no easy task, Niigaan Sinclair, Winnipeg Free Press Truth before reconciliation: 8 ways to identify and confront Residential School denialism, The Conversation Fighting 'denialists' for the truth about unmarked graves and residential schooling, Kisha Supernant and Sean Carleton, CBC News Support Canadaland at canadaland.com/join Sponsors: oxio, Shopify, HelloFresh, Article Support CANADALAND: https://canadaland.com/join See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Would you like to sponsor an episode? A series? We'd love to hear from you : firstname.lastname@example.org https://podcasts.ohr.edu/ 00:00 What is the basis of the Magen David? 01:46 What is the Torah view on liability of a self driving vehicle? 8:23 How important is pronunciation in the formula of tefilla? For example, many people don't pronounce a moving shvah (like in Kedusha or Kaddish), or they misplace an emphasis, such as mezoinos instead of mezonos. Also, when we sing songs, like Lecha dodi or zemiros, or Shir hamalos, we might change the emphasis. Since difference nusachs exist, or people use modern Hebrew, etc…how does that work? 15:49 Do halachos of Rabbeim apply even in a time with no official smicha? 18:37 What response do we as Jews have to school shootings and how should we view gun policies? 23:03 What is the definition of divorce for non-Jews and how should we approach giving advice or otherwise? 28:30 The State of New York is attempting to strengthen oversight of Yeshiva education. Ostensibly, they want to enforce the "core" curriculum of math, science, and the like. If they were to stick to those issues, does a secular government have a right to insist on a population education in math, etc.? 35:19 How does the concept of a Shabbos Goy work? 42:14 Does maaris ayin apply in the case of eating heter mechira? 44:09 Could I put up a sign stating I'm a kosher Jew in a treyf restaurant? 47:05 How do we justify the idea that someone that has “chen” or grace, they have fear of Gd, but in Eshes Chayil, it states that chen is sheker or false? 51:18 What's the rules on after-brachos? 54:35 How can someone understand the idea of uvdin d'chol or a “mundane activity” on Shabbos? 58:18 What is your halachic and legal take on halachic prenups? Do you think couples should get a halachic prenup? Do you think that the way people protested on social media and outside homes last spring is something that should be encouraged especially because many agunos received their gets that way? 1:10:26 There's a new section in the Israel Museum about “magic” in Judaism and segulos—do we believe in them or not? 1:15:44 How do we understand going to a mikveh on Shabbos? 1:18:24 Why are the words RAH and REYAH so similar? 1:20:52 Where do the minhagim of black and white outfits and hats come from? 1:27:20 Why does the bracha for kiddush hat on on Friday night say “Vrozavanu” instead of “Vitzivanu” when seemingly every other bracha on a mitzvah contains the latter? 1:31:09 Why are Shabbos and kosher the main factors mentioned when discussing frumkeit? 1:34:25 Why do Talmudic rabbis use certain hermeneutical principles when inferring various laws? Visit us @ ohr.edu
Listeners, I'm sorry I'm a day late with this week's episode. I assure you it is worth the extra day of waiting on the edge of your car seat! This week we tackle Edgar Wright's ghost story, Last Night in Soho. Ostensibly the film is about a young and talented woman who is practically obsessed with the 1960s, and who may possess something like the "shine." But is it also about something more? Last Night in Soho represents a more serious turn for Wright, a director known for his sharp witted, tightly edited action-comedies. Do Max and Jason (and Anya!) like this directional turn by Wright? Have a listen and find out. Don't forget to subscribe and share the show with your friends. Enjoy and we will see you next week!
The land had been cultivated and lived on for millennia when geologist Ferdinand Hayden came upon the astounding Yellowstone "wilderness." It wasn't long before the federal government declared it a national park, to be preserved in perpetuity for the enjoyment of all. Ostensibly. How did Yellowstone go from being an important home, hunting ground, thoroughfare and meeting place to being a park? Megan Kate Nelson, author of Saving Yellowstone, Mark David Spence, author of Dispossessing the Wilderness and Alexandra E. Stern, historian of Native peoples and Reconstruction are our guides to this rocky start.
Rabbit Test – Dare Daniel Podcast Episode 108 “Next to you, the moon walk was doo-doo.” This week, Gladys Knight & the Poops super-fans Daniel and Corky labor over Joan Rivers' catastrophically unfunny Rabbit Test. Ostensibly about the world's first pregnant man, Rabbit Test is a grim […] The post “Rabbit Test” Podcast Movie Review appeared first on Dare Daniel - Podcast and Movie Reviews.
JESUS BETRAYED BY JUDAS AND ARRESTED – Jesus Walking in the Way of the Cross (VIDEO) LYRICS TO MUSIC: Who is this that comes amidst The shadows in the night Swords and spears and one man's kiss The weapons at their side His words are empty his lips no more Do what you have come for Why do you march on him As though you have met your match Twelve legions wait upon him But his Father holds them back Choose wise the side you take up in this war But do what you have come for For this is your hour this is the reign Of darkness unmentioned of darkness untamed You ask his name as though He is some thief you've longed to see His answer short but shakes the air And drags you to your knees He stood in the temple he lived upon its floor But do what you have come for For this is your hour this is the reign Of darkness unmentioned of darkness untamed So over and over his mercies can come To fly the banner high and victorious MESSAGE SUMMARY: In Matthew 26:14, we see Judas' preparations for his betrayal: “[He] went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?' And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” The Lord, the Savior of all mankind was bought and sold. Ostensibly without contemplation, Judas takes the priests' offer, and exchanges his friend and teacher for money. If there ever was a priceless man, it certainly was Jesus. If ever there was a man too powerful and full of worth to be arbitrarily cast into bondage, it most definitely was Jesus. Yet, thirty pieces of silver claims him. It was not a particularly small fee, for we know the sum was able to purchase the ‘Potter's Field' (Matthew 27:7, Acts 1:18). But it was not an exorbitant amount either, probably equal to between a few weeks and a few months worth of the common laborer's wages. Though the priests' chosen fee seems small and insignificant, it simultaneously tells a deeply beautiful and prophetic story. In Exodus 21:32 we see that upon the death of a slave, the owner of that slave is owed “thirty silver coins.” The price that the Law fixed for a slave, the lowest of men, is the same price that was paid for the greatest of men. Jesus becomes the perfect example of his own words, “So the last shall be first, and first last” (Matthew 20:16). 1 Peter 2:7 tells us that for those who believe, “Jesus Christ is precious.” How true this is, and yet he humbled himself (Philippians 2:8) even in this seemingly minute detail. We know this was all part of God's plan. The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that Messianic prophecy in both Jeremiah and Zechariah predict these events. Zechariah 11 paints a picture of Jesus as the ‘Good Shepherd,' who is detested by his sheep. When his wages are ‘weighed out' for his priceless work, thirty pieces of silver is all he is paid, an insultingly small amount. The Roman guards mocked Jesus, even spitting on him (Matthew 27:29- 31). But Jesus was insulted long before this, being bought for the price of a slave. This is Jesus. Sharing the worth of the lowest of men. Dying for every man, rich or poor, free or in bondage. Jesus even calls his betrayer ‘friend,' as Judas kisses him and hands him over to the Roman guard (Matthew 26:50). Written by Jesse Braswell Roberts / Poor Bishop Hooper golgothamusic.com // poorbishophooper.com // Second edition ©2022 Jesse Braswell Roberts / Poor Bishop Hooper TODAY'S PRAYER: When have you taken advantage of our priceless Savior? Do your prayers reflect the way you esteem him? Jesus, the priceless Son of God, was betrayed by one of his closest friends. Have you ever betrayed someone for your own profit? Repent and ask Jesus for the strength to seek reconciliation. Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you? Ask Christ for the strength to forgive them. TODAY'S AFFIRMATION: Today, Because of who I am in Jesus Christ, I will not be driven by Loneliness. Rather, I will abide in the Lord's Presence. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Mark 14:43-46: “And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled.”; Further Reading: Matthew 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-14; Zechariah 11:12; Exodus 21:32. A WORD FROM THE LORD WEBSITE: www.AWFTL.org. THIS SUNDAY'S AUDIO SERMON: You can listen to Archbishop Beach's Current Sunday Sermon: “How Does God Say He Loves You: Part 5 The New Covenant”, at our Website: https://awtlser.podbean.com/ DONATE TO AWFTL: https://mygiving.secure.force.com/GXDonateNow?id=a0Ui000000DglsqEAB
WE ARE BACK BITCHES.Ostensibly, this episode is about the Greek term nostos – a heroic return home – in celebration of our return to our metaphorical podcast home at MD (it's cheesy but we're sticking with it). In reality, you'll be privy to Sarah and Abi catching up about their lives post-hiatus (don't worry – we have in fact spoken in the interim...). When we do finally get around to talking about nostoi (the plural of nostos, for you grammar nerds), it starts obscure before we get to the typical mythological ‘returns' ... because we like to keep you on your toes. You'll hear about Philoctetes' smelly foot, Oedipus' awkward family relations, Diomedes' perfect nostos (of course Diomedes smashed it), and the Aeneid, the OG of ‘Home is where the heart is'.
This week, we watched the classic gay art house film Querelle. Ostensibly about murder, sailors and sex, it goes off the rails as soon as a lusty ship's lieutenant stsrts recording his inner most thoughts, and we have an absolute blast with it Topics discussed: How to masturbate without getting jizz on your pajamas Thoughts of the sea naturally leading to thoughts of murder Dating your twin It's not gay if you enjoy it We Read Movies This podcast is hosted by ZenCast.fm
In today's episode:Ron DeSantis suggests college students take off their masks and is called 'rude' by people who supported masking children for two years and force their parents to enter them into the medical experimentThe Freedom Convoy seems to have avoided any potential traps so far, which is great newsThe news for the communists is so bad that the illegitimate January 6th Committee accuses Trump of a 'criminal conspiracy'Ostensibly 'elite' outlets like Foreign Policy have their bloggers working overtime to 'debunk' the 'conspiracy theories' about DoD biolabs in Ukraine and it's only making things worse for themFacebook has decided to allow posts supporting the neo-Nazi 'Azov Battalion' if the posts are in support of Ukraine.To support directly: anchor.fm/imyourmoderator or ko-fi.com/imyourmoderatorbtc via coinbase: 3MEh9J5sRvMfkWd4EWczrFr1iP3DBMcKk5Merch site: www.cancelcouture.com or shop.spreadshirt.com/cancel-coutureWriting at: imyourmoderator.substack.comFollow the podcast info stream: t.me/imyourmoderator or on Truth Social, Gab, or Gettr @imyourmoderatorSupport the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/imyourmoderator) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/be-reasonable-with-your-moderator-chris-paul.
Ostensibly, this is an episode of a Magic: the Gathering podcast focused on Standard. There will be talk about good cards and good decks. There will also be talk about general malaise, the end of a content creation era, and what the future holds for the Arena Decklists crew. Take the good with the bad, and have a listen. Music: Mega Man 2 "Ending theme" Remix by zookun | Music composed by Manami Matsumae & Takashi Tateishi Timestamps: Alchemy Historic updates - 6:36 Standard - 23:38 Content discourse - 50:09 arenadecklists.gg patreon.com/arenadecklists youtube.com/arenadecklists twitter.com/arenadecklists twitter.com/g3rryt twitter.com/bryango
This is week 2 of our discussion on Resnick's Kirinyaga. Ostensibly this collection is a fable but perhaps it shouldn't be labeled as such? And hey does this book remind anyone of our contemporary political landscape? These questions (and more!) as we talk about the problems in this work of utopian sci-fi. For this series we will read and discuss Toni Morrison's Paradise Jan 14-28, Mike Resnick's Kirinyaga Feb 4-18, and Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed Feb 25 - Mar 11. You can join our book club discussion here: https://www.reddit.com/r/CanonicalPod where you can also find show notes, credits and extended discussions for every episode. You can support us by rating/liking/sharing our podcast! Subscribe to us here: Apple | Stitcher | Spotify | Google | Youtube You can also support us by buying Kirinyaga or another book from one of our curated lists: https://bookshop.org/shop/CanonicalPod. We earn a commission on every purchase and your local indie bookstore gets a cut too! We are also on Twitter and Facebook @CanonicalPod. Follow us to get updates on upcoming episodes!
Synopsis On today's date in 1927, at the Neues Theater in Leipzig, a new opera had its premiere. It was titled “Jonny spielt auf” or “Johnny Strikes Up the Band,” and was the work of a Viennese composer named Ernst Krenek. Ostensibly, the opera tells the story of an American jazz band leader named Jonny, who steals a valuable European violin, but in symbolic terms it deals with both the role of music and the conflict between the artistic traditions of the old and new worlds. Krenek's jazzy score was a tremendous success and was produced at 42 opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera. By 1929 the libretto had been translated into 14 languages. Its overwhelming success made the opera's “Jonny” a pop icon and household name and provided Krenek a comfortable cushion of financial security. When the Nazis came to power in Europe, however, Krenek's security evaporated. For the Nazis, his opera was a prime example of what they termed “degenerate art,” and its composer emigrated to America, where he became a citizen in 1945. Krenek taught at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie and Hamline University in St. Paul before eventually settling in California, where he died in 1991 at the age of 91. Music Played in Today's Program Ernst Krenek (1900 - 1991) — Jonny spielt auf (Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek, cond.) London 436 631
In the Halachot of Tefilin, there is a discussion whether one must make a new Beracha if he puts on a second pair of Tefilin. Take for example the following case. A person comes to Shul without his Tefilin, so he borrows a pair and makes a Beracha on them. During the Tefila, he finds his own Tefilin, which are more Mehudar, and wants to put them on instead. Does he have to make a new Beracha of "L'haniah Tefilin" or not?Ostensibly, this should be a simple question. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) already established in the Halachot of Sisit that if one wants to put on a different Tallit, he must make a new Beracha, even if he had specific intent to switch to the new Tallit when making the first Beracha. This ruling is accepted by Hacham Ovadia, and seemingly, the case of Tefilin should be no different. He should have to make a new Beracha. However, the Zera Emmet distinguished between the case of Tefilin and the Tallit, and ruled that one should NOT make a new Beracha on the Tefilin. He argued that there is a fundamental difference in the nature of the obligation of these two Misvot. Technically, there is no obligation to wear a four-cornered garment. Rather, if one chooses to wear it, he must tie Sisit. Therefore, once a person takes off the first Tallit, he has finished the Misva, and there is no obligation to continue doing so. When he put on a second Tallit, it is new Misva and requires a new Beracha. On the other hand, there is an active commandment to wear Tefilin for as much of the day as possible; the Misva is continuous. Therefore, even after he removes the first pair, his obligation continues. The second pair of Tefilin are a natural continuation of the first pair and do not need a new Beracha. Hacham Ovadia, in Yabia Omer vol. 3, brings down the opinion of the Zera Emmet, which implies that he agrees. Nevertheless, Hacham David in his responsa "Osrot Yosef," printed in the back of Halacha Berura on Tefilin, writes that he found a ruling of the Sefer HaEshkol (R. Avraham b. Yishak, 12th Century, France) regarding Hilchot Mezuza, from which he derives his opinion regarding Tefilin. The Sefer HaEshkol rules that if one removed a Mezuza in order to replace it with a more Mehudar Mezuza, he must make a new Beracha. Hacham David reasons that if this is true regarding Mezuza, which is a constant Misva that cannot be fulfilled by merely placing it one the doorpost once a day, certainly it is true regarding the Misva of Tefilin, which can be fulfilled fundamentally by putting them on once a day. Based on this, Hacham David rules that one must recite a new Beracha on the second pair of Tefilin. He argues that if Hacham Ovadia would have seen this ruling of the Sefer HaEshkol, he would have retracted his ruling in accordance with the Zera Emmet.The Halacha is in accordance with Hacham David. Nevertheless, it is preferable to avoid entering this dilemma in the first place. One should create an interruption between donning the two pairs of Tefilin, by taking a walk outside.SUMMARY:If one put on a second pair of Tefilin or Tallit, he must recite a new Beracha, even if he had intent to switch when making the original Beracha.
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in September 2018.In Stanley Kubrick's iconic film Dr. Strangelove, the American president is informed that the Soviet Union has created a secret deterrence system which will automatically wipe out humanity upon detection of a single nuclear explosion in Russia. With US bombs heading towards the USSR and unable to be recalled, Dr Strangelove points out that "the whole point of this Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret ? why didn't you tell the world, eh?" The Soviet ambassador replies that it was to be announced at the Party Congress the following Monday: "The Premier loves surprises". Daniel Ellsberg - leaker of the Pentagon Papers which helped end the Vietnam War and Nixon presidency - claims in his book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner that Dr. Strangelove might as well be a documentary. After attending the film in Washington DC in 1964, he and a colleague wondered how so many details of their nuclear planning had leaked. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. The USSR did in fact develop a doomsday machine, Dead Hand, which probably remains active today. If the system can't contact military leaders, it checks for signs of a nuclear strike, and if it detects them, automatically launches all remaining Soviet weapons at targets across the northern hemisphere. As in the film, the Soviet Union long kept Dead Hand completely secret, eliminating any strategic benefit, and rendering it a pointless menace to humanity. You might think the United States would have a more sensible nuclear launch policy. You'd be wrong. As Ellsberg explains, based on first-hand experience as a nuclear war planner in the 50s, that the notion that only the president is able to authorize the use of US nuclear weapons is a carefully cultivated myth. The authority to launch nuclear weapons is delegated alarmingly far down the chain of command ? significantly raising the chance that a lone wolf or communication breakdown could trigger a nuclear catastrophe. The whole justification for this is to defend against a 'decapitating attack', where a first strike on Washington disables the ability of the US hierarchy to retaliate. In a moment of crisis, the Russians might view this as their best hope of survival. Ostensibly, this delegation removes Russia's temptation to attempt a decapitating attack ? the US can retaliate even if its leadership is destroyed. This strategy only works, though, if the tell the enemy you've done it. Instead, since the 50s this delegation has been one of the United States most closely guarded secrets, eliminating its strategic benefit, and rendering it another pointless menace to humanity. Strategically, the setup is stupid. Ethically, it is monstrous. So ? how was such a system built? Why does it remain to this day? And how might we shrink our nuclear arsenals to the point they don't risk the destruction of civilization? Daniel explores these questions eloquently and urgently in his book. Today we cover: * Why full di
This episode is another solo show, featuring a talk Jeff gave at a Healing Circle in June of 2021. The full title is “Meditation is Not Therapy, Sanity is Not What You Think”. Jeff chose this topic because in our materialistic society, everything gets filtered through the idea of winning, betterment, and constant improvement. Which at its face makes sense - no one intentionally wants to lose or trend downward. Except there is a flaw in that thinking which is an inability to bravely face the truth about ourselves in the present, always being driven by future benefits. This attitude completely misses the point when applied to meditation practice, which objectively acts as a mirror reflecting back our current state of mind to us, rather than one more self-improvement tool. Lately, meditation is being appropriated by some corporations that bring meditation in-house. Ostensibly promoted as a way to help employees deal with stressors and anxiety, it's often used by management to improve the productivity of their employees and enhance the bottom line. On a personal level, meditation can of course benefit us, but as a byproduct of being more present with our feelings and our thought process, rather than as the goal in itself. Focusing on the goal or outcome of who'd we like to become in the future is simply materialism wrapped in satin brocade. The second part of Jeff's talk asks, “What exactly is sanity?” We are so dependent on our thought process for everything we do, that we assume it's the source of sanity or wisdom. But that type of conceptual sanity is a relative notion, dependent upon who is asking, how we were brought up, where we live in the world, local customs, etc., rather than an objective reality. Is there such a thing as sanity without a thinker, without a relative reference point? These are some of the questions tackled in this episode, where the question IS actually the answer.If you enjoy this episode, please share this podcast with one other friend. Thank you! To learn more about Unconditional Healing, please subscribe to our newsletter here.Jeff also hosts a twice-monthly online meeting called the Healing Circle. It's free, and you'll find like-minded folks with whom to learn and practice meditation and share the journey toward unconditional health and well-being.If you'd like to help support this podcast, please consider becoming a patron by checking out Jeff's Unconditional Healing Patreon Page. Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email me at email@example.com.
In this episode, Mike and Dan discuss the Celtics' current construction, College Gigs, Westbrook's Future, David Brenner, Zoom Comedy, the worst cities in Upstate New York, Mike's shirt, and if the patriots have a chance in Buffalo this week.
Five friends gather for another story - this one of an artist doomed for his curiousity. Cast List Edward - Bryan Hendrickson Charles - Michael Coleman (Tales of the Extraordinary) Warren - Glen Hallstrom Richard - Philemon Vanderbeck Herbert - Carl Cubbedge Blake - Derek Fetters (Unspeakable and Inhuman) Music by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com) Editing and Sound: Julie Hoverson Cover Design: Brett Coulstock "What kind of a place is it? Why it's another brownstone dinner party, can't you tell?" ***************************************************************** THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK (Lovecraft 5, #2) Cast: Edward, a writer Charles, a dilettante Herbert, a scientist Richard, a painter Warren, a professor Robert Blake, deceased writer OLIVIA Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's Charles' house again, can't you tell? MUSIC SOUND MUSIC, but muffled SOUND CUPBOARD CLOSES, FEET APPROACH CHARLES Try this one. SOUND BOX HANDED OVER EDWARD Thanks. [quiet, a bit diffident] And... and I appreciate your putting us up tonight, Charles. CHARLES [breezily covering] In my own interest, I assure you. I've no wish to climb five flights of rickety stairs and squat in your cramped dormer just to hear a story. SOUND WALKING EDWARD And I have no wish to disappoint you. [perking up] Though you really can't knock the cramped dormer for atmosphere... CHARLES We'll just look at this as my way of supporting the arts, shall we? SOUND DOOR OPENS SOUND MUSIC LESS MUFFLED, SOUND OF FIREPLACE CHARLES Here we are. SOUND WALKING IN WARREN Aha! HERBERT There you are! RICHARD Where did you have to go for it? China? CHARLES I knew I had a few of these still lying around. Just take one to start - they're wicked sour. SOUND BOX OPENS, PICKING OUT CANDIES CHARLES Richard? RICHARD Perhaps just one. [pops into mouth, reacts] WARREN [chuckles] I've tried many kinds of native confectionery in my travels, back in the day. [puts into mouth, reacts, but tries not to] [slightly breathless] Ah, yes. Much like the salted ginger prunes I tried in [deep breath] Hong Kong [coughs slightly] in 1907. RICHARD So jaded, Warren. [teasing] Aren't you having one, Herbert? HERBERT I've never understood the point of discomfiting oneself by eating painful food. EDWARD [trying not to pucker] It's really quite tasty. HERBERT I'll stick to my drink, thank you very much. SOUND BOX SET DOWN, SHUT CHARLES Can't blame you, though I find myself rather more partial to these than I ought. [pops something into mouth, then talks around it with no apparent difficulty] So, Edward? SOUND SECOND BOX SET DOWN ON TABLE EDWARD Um! [removes candy with a slight slurp] Right. Of course. SOUND SHUFFLING PAPERS HERBERT Isn't this supposed to be a true story? EDWARD [baffled] Yes, why do you ask? HERBERT Why the manuscript, then? How can we trust anything you've written down to be fact and not one of your fantastical fictions? WARREN He has a point. EDWARD Oh, that's simple. I didn't write any of this. RICHARD [give it] Here. SOUND PAPER CHANGES HANDS RICHARD [agreeing] Well. It's certainly not your handwriting. [to Edward] Is it some long lost maiden aunt? HERBERT Let me look. Hmph. Spiky. WARREN [looking over his shoulder] Copperplate. Quaint. EDWARD Are the experts satisfied? HERBERT I reserve judgment. WARREN [chuckles] I'm not such a stickler for provenance - after all, you're not one of my students. RICHARD Tell us then, raconteur, who is it that inspires this tale? EDWARD Robert Blake. RICHARD [sharp] Blake? SOUND SNATCHES PAPERS RICHARD [urgent] This is Blake's? What is it? How did you get it? SOUND PAPERS SNATCHED BACK EDWARD All in good time. [sniffs annoyedly] SOUND PAPERS BEING STRAIGHTENED, PLOPPED DOWN EDWARD [with import, beginning his tale] This? SOUND PATS PAPERS AND BOX EDWARD This is all that's left of Robert Blake. RICHARD He-- [cuts himself off] EDWARD [intense] You were about to say - Blake died, 17 days ago, during a storm that knocked out half the electricity in the city. Died... under very peculiar circumstances, indeed. WARREN [after a slight pause] And for those of us less acquainted with the deceased? EDWARD Huh? CHARLES Yes. Who is - was - Robert Blake? EDWARD You haven't heard of him? HERBERT I vaguely recall something about a Blake. Isn't he some kind of artist? Considered rather... blasphemous? EDWARD Blake was a writer and a painter, yes. HERBERT But I was under the impression he was long-dead. A century or more. EDWARD [puzzled] No. Robert died 17 days ago-- WARREN Oh! I expect you're thinking of William Blake. RICHARD The one who painted the great red dragon and the woman clothed in the sun? HERBERT [snort of derision] I don't waste precious memory on such trivia. I can put names to three paintings - the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, and Whistler's Mother. And that's only because those are ubiquitous. CHARLES Any chance that the two painting Blakes are connected somehow? EDWARD Dunno. Could be. Hmm. Robert hailed from Milwaukee, but I don't know anything more about his family. [shrugs] It would explain some of Robert's peculiar artistic leanings. RICHARD I've met Blake - this Blake - on several occasions. I can't say I like - liked - him, but I didn't dislike him either. His work was rather ... unusual. Though I'm only acquainted with his paintings. EDWARD His writing was just as odd - both fiction and non. This [taps the papers] is supposedly the latter. A journal. [with heavy import] His last days. CHARLES Ahhh... SOUND OPENS BOX, TAKES CANDY WARREN How did you come by it? EDWARD Let me start at the beginning. Blake and I have been informally acquainted for years. We interacted through the magazines that carried our works, corresponded now and then, and [chuckles] lampooned each other a bit. I wrote a mad protagonist once named Blake Roberts, and he in turn-- RICHARD Hmph. His paintings show no trace of a sense of humor. CHARLES There's more to any man than shows in his public face. WARREN Who said that? CHARLES [dry, teasing] Thought I did. WARREN [sigh] Never mind. RICHARD [prompting] Blake? EDWARD [overriding them all, narrating] Cautious investigators will hesitate to challenge the common belief that Robert Blake was killed by lightning, or by some profound nervous shock derived from an electrical discharge. RICHARD Lightning? I thought he died in his rooms. HERBERT Was he burned? EDWARD Not at all. WARREN But the papers put it down to lightning? EDWARD I know I'm more used to writing a story than telling it, but you fellows should give me some room to breathe, here. Stop jumping on me every time I come up for air! EVERYONE [mumbled apologies] EDWARD [poetry] I have seen the dark universe yawning Where the black planets roll without aim, Where they roll in their horror unheeded, Without knowledge or lustre or name. CHARLES Yours, or his? EDWARD [chuckles] His. [deep breath] All right, now I have written some notes to follow, condensing some of this, and including some outside information. So don't get confused. SOUND RUSTLE OF PAPERS EDWARD Blake died with a horrible expression on his face. The police and coroner blame it on the sudden contraction of the musculature due to the sudden ingress of electricity. WARREN It's not unheard of. EDWARD But the entries in his diary might suggest another source of the horrible grimace. Fear. RICHARD Scared to death? EDWARD Or scared at the moment of death. Either way, it's no doubt he worked himself up into a state of absolute terror shortly before his demise. His diary entries are clearly the result of a fantastic imagination aroused by certain local superstitions. RICHARD Local to here? EDWARD Providence. WARREN [knowingly] Rhode Island. EDWARD Blake is - was a writer and painter devoted to the field of myth, dream, terror, and superstition-- RICHARD Sounds like someone we know. Hmm? EDWARD [sigh] His end began with a deserted church on Federal Hill. WARREN What denomination? SOUND PAPERS SHUFFLE EDWARD The notes don't say what it started as. Probably doesn't matter. It was bought and rededicated to something called the Starry Wisdom sect. HERBERT Starry Wisdom? Astronomers? EDWARD [chuckles] There's definitely some star-gazing involved in their beliefs. WARREN [musing] Starry wisdom.... starry wisdom.... Hmm. I've heard something about them. [dismissive] It will come to me. EDWARD He took up residence in Providence last winter, in the upper floor of a "venerable dwelling where huge, friendly cats sunned themselves atop a convenient shed". HERBERT He writes about cats? [disparaging] He was an only child, wasn't he? EDWARD [sigh] He also writes a lot about the local architecture, but I'll skip that as well. BLAKE My desk faces a window commanding a splendid view of the lower town's outspread roofs and the mystical sunsets that flame behind them. HERBERT [dismissive] Cats... and sunsets. EDWARD Some two miles away rose the spectral hump of Federal Hill. BLAKE [diary] I have a curious sense that I gaze out upon some unknown, ethereal world which might or might not vanish in dream if I ever tried to seek it out and enter it in person. EDWARD Blake settled down to write and paint. During that first winter he produced five of his best-known short stories - The Burrower Beneath, The Stairs in the Crypt-- CHARLES Oh, that was a corker. HERBERT You actually read this nonsense? CHARLES O'course. Have a subscription and all. EDWARD Blake also painted seven canvases that season - studies of nameless, unhuman monsters, and profoundly alien, non-terrestrial landscapes. RICHARD My favorites. If I do say so myself, though, I do better with....beings, while he should stick - have stuck - to exteriors. EDWARD But the church kept drawing his thoughts. BLAKE At sunset the great tapering steeple loomed blackly against the flaming sky. RICHARD [speculative] Makes me wish I was more familiar with Providence. EDWARD Blake made his first and only pilgrimage to the building just before the aeon-shadowed Walpurgis time. HERBERT What? WARREN Also known as May eve. Ostensibly, it's the festival of Saint Walpurga-- RICHARD There's a name for you. CHARLES What was she the saint of? WARREN Not my area. But I say "ostensibly", since it was one of those pagan holidays that the church found they couldn't quite ever abolish, so they replaced it, figuring if the populace wanted a holy day, it might as well be a proper Catholic one. RICHARD And the pagan holiday it replaced? WARREN Beltane. A spring fertility festival. It was a counterpart to All Hallow's Eve - note that they fall on opposite ends of the calendar. RICHARD The nights that witches fly! EDWARD So he took a walk sometime in late April. BLAKE I noted the foreign signs over curious shops in brown, decade-weathered buildings. Now and then a battered church façade or crumbling spire came in sight, but never the blackened pile I sought. EDWARD It was like a labyrinth. None of the streets went anywhere. When he asked a shopkeeper about the church, the man's face blanched with fear, and Blake saw him make a curious sign with his right hand. WARREN Does it say what the sign looked like? Perhaps something like this? CHARLES Isn't that the same hand gesture you see in ancient paintings of sages and saints? RICHARD It appears often in Hindu art as well. BLAKE [cutting in] Suddenly a black spire stood out against the cloudy sky to the left. Twice I lost my way, but somehow dared not ask any help. EDWARD And then he was there. In a wind-swept open square towered over by the grim bulk of the decrepit church. BLAKE I wondered how the panes of the gothic windows could have survived, in view of the known habits of small boys the world over. WARREN [laughing] I think we all had our turn in our youth. Why I remember-- CHARLES Knee breeches and buckle shoes? When you write your own reminiscences, and then die in a strange and terrifying way, then we can discuss it. Go on, Edward. EDWARD It took Blake some time, both to clear the fence and to find a shiftable basement window, but finally he was inside. BLAKE The colossal nave was an almost eldritch place with its drifts of dust. Over all this hushed desolation played a hideous leaden light as the declining afternoon sun sent its rays through the strange, half-blackened panes of the great apsidal windows. EDWARD The stained glass windows seemed to give Blake a nervous moment - both because they were heavily encrusted with soot, and, in a more subtle way, from the subject matter. BLAKE The few saints depicted bore expressions distinctly open to criticism, while one of the windows seemed to show merely a dark space with spirals of curious luminosity scattered about in it. RICHARD "Open to criticism"? That's all he said? That conjures up far too many possibilities! EDWARD That's all. RICHARD [frustrated noise] Oh. They could be cannibalistic, or lascivious, or cross-eyed. EDWARD Don't know. In a rear room, Blake found shelves of mildewed, disintegrating books. BLAKE They were the black, forbidden things which most sane people have never even heard of, or have heard of only in furtive, timorous whispers. EDWARD You know the type. WARREN [avid] Oh, yes, but did he give any details? EDWARD There's a whole list - but it's not really germane to-- CHARLES Resign yourself, dear boy. Let Warren salivate a bit. EDWARD [sigh] Here. SOUND PAPER MOVES WARREN Excellent! [musing] Necronomicon, yes - ah, in Latin! That would be the Vermius translation. EDWARD He also grabbed a small notebook filled with entries in some cryptic code. WARREN [muttering] The Liber Ivonis? Sinister. [chuckles] Ah, the infamous Cultes des Goules of Comte d'Erlette-- HERBERT [sigh, disdainful] You sound like a zealot saying his rosaries - or whatever they say. RICHARD He sounds like a collector. WARREN [wistful] If only. [normal] But I must be satisfied caring for the collections of others. Most of these books shouldn't be in the hands of any individual anyway. They are much too-- RICHARD Evil? HERBERT Evil is a construct of morality. CHARLES Oh, lord-- HERBERT As is religion. EDWARD I don't think a book, at least, CAN be evil. You can only be evil if you have free will. WARREN Oh, now this is my field, and when I tell you the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt, or old Ludvig Prinn's hellish De Vermis Mysteriis is an evil book, you may take my word. SOUND SNATCH OF PAPER WARREN [upset] Hey! CHARLES You may have it back at the end of class. EVERYONE [Chuckles] EDWARD So. [looking for his place] Room full of creepy books, Blake takes the diary, goes upstairs. Right. Aha! SOUND SLAPS PAPER DOWN, WOOD BOX STARTS TO SHIFT. A STRANGE CHIMING NOISE. CATCH BOX EDWARD [gasp!] CHARLES Oh! Best watch that! EDWARD Yeah. WARREN What IS it? CHARLES [overly nonchalant] A box. What does it look like? EDWARD [back to narration] Blake found a room upstairs, faintly lit by screened windows. In one corner, a ladder led up to the closed trap door of the windowless steeple. BLAKE In the centre of the dust-laden floor rose a curiously angled stone pillar some four feet in height and two in diameter, covered on each side with bizarre, crudely incised and wholly unrecognizable hieroglyphs. EDWARD On this pillar rested a metal box of peculiarly asymmetrical form-- RICHARD [knowing] Ah. Boxes. HERBERT "Asymmetrical"? Nothing more specific? EDWARD That's all his notes say-- HERBERT How unspecific. Asymmetrical merely means lacking in symmetry, which in turn means without any axis you could draw which would create a mirror image one side to the other. EDWARD Huh? CHARLES Symmetrical means the same on both sides-- HERBERT [correcting] Mirror image on both sides. CHARLES Right. So, for instance your face is symmetrical-- HERBERT No human face is perfectly symmetrical. Nothing lines up exactly if you look close enough. CHARLES Roughly symmetrical, then. You have an eye on each side of a nose, which has two nostrils to balance one another, and so on. WARREN So as a way to picture an asymmetrical face, you might have an eye down on the jawline, and the nose up at the temple? CHARLES Only if there wasn't a comparable eye and nose to match on the other side of the face. HERBERT So was this box only as asymmetrical as a typical face, or was it grossly unbalanced? EDWARD Uh... the notes just say asymmetrical. HERBERT [annoyed sigh] Laymen. EDWARD That box isn't important anyway - it's long gone. But what it held... BLAKE Beneath decade-deep dust was an egg-shaped or irregularly spherical object some four inches through. HERBERT [starting again] Irregularly spherical? CHARLES Oh, not again! EDWARD The four-inch irregular sphere turned out, once the dust was gone, to be a nearly black, red-striated polyhedron with many irregular flat surfaces; either a very remarkable crystal of some sort or an artificial object of carved and highly polished mineral matter. HERBERT Crystals form naturally according to-- CHARLES Hush! HERBERT Hmph. EDWARD [placating] So it was carved that way. Good point. BLAKE Once exposed, it exerted an almost alarming fascination. I could scarcely tear my eyes from it. EDWARD But he did. I mean, he must have, since he notes there was something else in the room. Or, should I say, someone? In the far corner, right at the foot of the ladder, was a hump of dust-- BLAKE Hand and handkerchief soon revealed a human skeleton. I examined a reporter's badge, a celluloid advertising calendar for 1893, some cards with the name "Edwin M. Lillibridge", and a paper covered with pencilled memoranda. EDWARD Blake copied the text into his diary, for fear the paper would eventually crumble away to nothing. CHARLES I think I'll have another-- SOUND SHIFT OF BOX EDWARD [a little too vehement] Not that box! I mean, the candy is in YOUR box. Over there. CHARLES [bit of a smirk] Oh. How forgetful of me. WARREN What is it with the boxes? RICHARD [knowing laugh] EDWARD The notes were typical journalistic jottings, a list of dates and events - all involving the church. From "Prof. Enoch Bowen home from Egypt May 1844 - buys Church in July" the notes list a number of instances of people speaking or acting against Starry Wisdom, and finally, in April 1877, a number of members were apparently run out of town for their "beliefs." WARREN Ah! THAT's what I've been trying to remember! Starry Wisdom, indeed. Weren't they accused of human sacrifice? EDWARD The notes do list a number of disappearances attributed to them. Here, see for yourself. SOUND PAPER BEING PASSED HERBERT [dryly sarcastic] Because, of course, no one ever leaves home of their own accord. CHARLES The community around was mostly catholic. Pretty tightly knit. RICHARD Tightly wound, too, from the sound of it. Here it says that a mob of "Irish boys" - shouldn't that be "lads"? - attacked the church, but it doesn't say what came of it. EDWARD The locals assumed whatever was going on was devil worship. That's certainly why Lillibridge broke in. BLAKE They say the Shining Trapezohedron shows them heaven and other worlds, and that the Haunter of the Dark tells them secrets. HERBERT Did Lillibridge fall off the ladder? That could easily snap a man's neck, given enough height, or the proper trajectory. EDWARD The cause was ... uncertain. BLAKE I stooped over the gleaming bones. Some of them were badly scattered, and a few seemed oddly ...dissolved at the ends. The skull was in a very peculiar state - stained yellow, and with a charred aperture in the top as if some powerful acid had eaten through the solid bone. EDWARD Before he realized it, Blake found himself staring at the trapezohedron again, and letting its curious influence call up images in his head. BLAKE [very spooky] And beyond all else I glimpsed an infinite gulf of darkness, where solid and semisolid forms were known only by their windy stirrings, and cloudy patterns of force seemed to superimpose order on chaos and hold forth a key to all the paradoxes and arcana of the worlds we know. HERBERT [disgusted] Purple prose. RICHARD It's very evocative. WARREN There are certain primitive tribes who ingest drugs to glimpse just such visions. CHARLES Not another-- WARREN No, really, I was just about to say that if there was some item that caused "visions", it could easily have become the central focus of a religious cabal. CHARLES Good and concise. WARREN If I was gong to wax on, it would be to draw a comparison to the myth of Pandora, or some other famous myth regarding the dangers of curiosity. CHARLES Well, thank goodness you restrained yourself. EDWARD Blake finally managed to pull himself away. Probably noticed the day was waning, and he hadn't thought to bring a torch. BLAKE It was then, in the gathering twilight, that I thought I saw a faint trace of luminosity in the crazily angled stone. Was there a subtle phosphorescence of radio-activity about the thing? HERBERT Finally something I can grasp. Radio-activity is a concrete scientific essence, and could easily be the source of any number of superstitious explanations. CHARLES If it comes up again, we'll consult you. BLAKE I seized the cover of the long-open box and snapped it down. At the sharp click of that closing, a soft stirring sound seemed to come from the steeple's eternal blackness overhead, beyond the trap-door. EDWARD That finally frightened him, and he plunged wildly out into the street, running all the way home. CHARLES Didn't get lost this time? WARREN [wistful] I don't suppose the church is still there - you said this all happened fairly recently? EDWARD It burned down the day after Blake's death. WARREN Blast. Evil or not, those books are a great loss to the general body of human knowledge. EDWARD During the days which followed, Blake did a lot of research, and worked feverishly at the cryptogram in the notebook. CHARLES I do like a good cryptogram. EDWARD He says he solved the code in June, but didn't bother to include an actual translation in here. There are sketchy references to a "Haunter of the Dark" that could be awakened by someone gazing into the Shining Trapezohedron. RICHARD You mean, just as he had looked into it? EDWARD And he clearly believed that he had inadvertently summoned it. WARREN Hah! Like Pandora - letting the cat out of the bag, or rather the monsters out of the box. RICHARD He didn't open the box. Just gazed into the stone. The box was already open. WARREN A metaphorical opening of the way, then - still amounts to the same thing. HERBERT Some creature from an undefined place regarded this stone as what - the operator on its personal telephone exchange? EDWARD He felt like it was just watching for its chance to walk abroad. He also notes, however, that the streetlights seemed to keep it trapped - forming a bulwark of light against its escape. WARREN Throughout history, light has been the enemy of evil. Whether it's sunlight causing harm to a shade or the reversion to human of a lycanthrope with the dawn. RICHARD And ghosts don't walk around by day - it would fade their sheets. EDWARD Blake writes a lot about the Shining Trapezohedron, calling it a window on all time and space, and trying to trace its largely unbelievable history. HERBERT Unbelievable? EDWARD Brought from some other sphere or planet by some elder race. HERBERT Hmph. That's just superstitious claptrap repackaged for a modern age. Any number of objects have fallen to earth with origins clearly outside what we think of as the normal world. RICHARD I heard about a meteor up north that had some quite terrible effects. HERBERT And yet, they have no root in "evil", beyond what we attribute to them. Science doesn't shy away the way religion does. We don't just hang a sign on it that says "here there be dragons" and nervously turn our backs. Science grows to encompass new information. RICHARD [snide] Like an amoeba absorbs its food? HERBERT [thinks, then] Hmm. I suppose that's one way of picturing it. WARREN Or water flowing into a series of newly-dug irrigation trenches. CHARLES [prompting] Realms "beyond"? EDWARD Blake seemed to think that the only way to banish the evil was to bury the stone and let daylight into the steeple. SOUND PICKS UP AND OPENS BOX, THEN SHUTS IT AGAIN QUICKLY EDWARD At the same time, however, Blake goes on at some length about his morbid longing to gaze again into the cosmic secrets of the glowing stone. HERBERT Impressionable people should stay out of certain fields of endeavor. RICHARD Oh? HERBERT People with fragile minds are better left to the arts than to science, or investigations into the unknown. RICHARD I'll have you know that Art can be a terrible wretch of a mistress. HERBERT With science, you can work your entire life, and never get a single word of encouragement. WARREN Academia is entirely indifferent to any of us who toil in her fields. RICHARD At least your field moves forward slowly enough that by the time someone proves your theory wrong, you've been dead long enough to be an exhibit yourself. CHARLES Shall we put them in opposite corners, or have them construct essays on their misconduct? EDWARD There aren't enough corners, even in YOUR house. RICHARD My apologies. HERBERT Hmph. WARREN So sorry. Pray go on. EDWARD The morning of July 17, something in the paper really set Blake off. During the night, a storm had put the city's lighting-system out for a full hour. CHARLES I'll bet that didn't go over well. EDWARD The superstitious locals ran mad. They surrounded the old church, brandishing candles and lamps. WARREN A vigil. EDWARD And shuddered at the horrible noises coming from within. CHARLES I know a few buildings I regard that way. EDWARD Soon after, in daytime, reporters broke in and found the dust within was all churned up. There was also a bad odour everywhere, and here and there were bits of yellow stain and patches of what looked like charring. HERBERT Similar to the bones? Did anyone ever run any scientific tests on any of this residue? EDWARD Not that I have any note on. The reporters noted the stone pillar, but the metal box and the old mutilated skeleton were not mentioned. WARREN Hmm. Gone, or simply overlooked? HERBERT The newspapers love to print prurient details. CHARLES How prurient is a rock in a box? EDWARD From this point onwards Blake's diary shows a mounting tide of horror and apprehension. He frantically telephoned the electric light company more than once, asking - even demanding - that desperate precautions be taken to avoid another loss of power. BLAKE My worst fears concerned the unholy rapport I felt existed between my mind and that lurking horror in the distant steeple- that monstrous thing of night which my rashness had called out of the ultimate black spaces. CHARLES Sounds like he should have invested his last dollar in safety lanterns. RICHARD And a trip to the tropics! EDWARD People calling on him at the time remember how he would sit and stare out of the west window. He spoke often of strange dreams - not nightmares, precisely, but eerily similar to the vision he'd had when gazing into the stone. WARREN Sounds almost like shellshock. The way memories come back to haunt soldiers. EDWARD It got worse. He kept stout cords near his bed so he could bind his ankles at night to prevent himself from somnambulism. CHARLES I had a friend had to do that once. If the struggle to get out of bed didn't waken him, the falling flat on his face certainly would. BLAKE I thought often of the ancient legends of Ultimate Chaos, at whose centre sprawls the blind idiot god Azathoth, Lord of All Things, encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demoniac flute held in nameless paws. WARREN Azathoth! Now there's a name to conjure with! Or not to... preferably. [winding down] Probably best not to mention it at all. EDWARD The night of the 30th, Blake came to suddenly, finding himself in a horribly familiar darkened space. A panic flight ensued, leaving him senseless until morning. CHARLES Are you saying he managed to sleepwalk all the way across town? EDWARD Well, the next morning he found himself lying on his study floor fully dressed. Dirt and cobwebs covered him, and every inch of his body sore and bruised. He writes that his hair was badly scorched, and a trace of a strange evil odour clung to his clothing. It was then that his nerves broke down. RICHARD I think he was overdue. HERBERT While I don't understand the phenomena of sleepwalking, I do accept that it occurs. CHARLES How big of you. HERBERT But while one might walk in such a fugue-like state, would one take such niceties as getting dressed into consideration? WARREN It's probably much like a state of mesmerism. One does what one is told to so. HERBERT But if no one told him-- CHARLES Should be obvious. We've all been told enough times in our lives not to go outside without a jacket. EVERYONE [general laughter] EDWARD August eighth. The great storm broke just before midnight. Lightning struck in all parts of the city, and a couple of remarkable fireballs were reported. Blake was utterly frantic and recorded everything in his diary- HERBERT Did he write that he was frantic? RICHARD He was the type to record everything. EDWARD It was more the tone of the things he did write, but his handwriting is very telling, too. See? SOUND PAPERS PASS CHARLES Interesting. SOUND PAPERS PASS WARREN Ah. Yes. The way it changes - getting bigger, and less readable. RICHARD Also harder to write once the lights go out. EDWARD That hadn't happened - yet. See, he's still fretting over it right here. "The lights must not go"; BLAKE "It knows where I am"; EDWARD "I must destroy it"; and BLAKE "it is calling to me, but perhaps it means no injury this time"; EDWARD --are found scattered down two of the pages. Ending with-- BLAKE "Lights out- God help me." EDWARD At 2.35 the noises at the steeple swelled. Then, a sound of splintering wood and a large, heavy object crashed down in the yard beneath the frowning easterly façade. RICHARD Where were the praying multitude? EDWARD Right there. Whom do you think was left to tell the tale? In fact, just as the "escape" was made, with a vibration as of flapping wings, a sudden east-blowing wind snatched off hats and wrenched dripping umbrellas from the crowd. CHARLES Dousing all the tiny pinpricks of the candles? HERBERT Quite literally, if the downpour was that prodigious. EDWARD They must have managed to get some of their lights relit, for they remained at their posts. The rain didn't stop for another half hour, and shortly after that, the electric lights came back on. WARREN You have quite a comprehensive narration, considering the burden of fear the watchers must have been laboring under. EDWARD The papers gave these matters minor mention in connection with the general storm reports. I suspect reporters, being what they are, were present during the events. RICHARD [chuckling] Perhaps someone writing sensational fiction dropped in for a cold chill. EDWARD The one thing that baffled press and meteorologists alike was a lone lightning-bolt that seemed to have struck somewhere in Blake's neighborhood, though no trace of its striking could afterwards be found. CHARLES Until--? EDWARD Precisely. When a policeman forced the door, Blake's rigid body sat bolt upright at his desk by the window, with glassy, bulging eyes, and the look of stark, convulsive fright on his twisted features! They were reportedly quite sickened. RICHARD Police are such delicate flowers. Always being sickened by things. HERBERT Looking at such damage objectively, a face of fear is much the same as a face in pain, it's all in the attribution the onlooker gives to the damage-- EDWARD The coroner's physician made an examination, and despite the unbroken window, reported the death as the result of electrical shock, or rather nervous tension induced by electrical discharge. HERBERT Electricity is not an entirely understood element, even now. New possibilities and capabilities are being discovered every day. I've often thought myself that electricity might be the key to, say, restarting a stopped heart. CHARLES If you don't want a stopped heart yourself, Herbert, pray let Edward finish. We're nearly to a conclusion, if I don't miss my guess. I think I'll turn out the electric lights. Leave us in the dark like Blake. Edward can keep the candle. SOUND GETS UP, LIGHTS CLICK OFF EDWARD There isn't really a nice convenient ending, just another, larger question mark. Blake prolonged his frenzied jottings to the last. In fact, the broken-pointed pencil was found clutched in his spasmodically contracted right hand. WARREN Spontaneous rigor. Not uncommon in cases of sudden, catastrophic death. Leads to the so-called "death grip" of detective fiction. EDWARD The entries after the failure of the lights were highly disjointed, and legible only in part. BLAKE Lights still out - must be five minutes now. Everything depends on lightning. Yaddith grant it will keep up!... HERBERT Yaddith? WARREN Some ancient deity I'm not familiar with. BLAKE Some influence seems beating through it... Rain and thunder and wind deafen... The thing is taking hold of my mind... What am I afraid of? Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man? WARREN Ah, Nyarlathotep, the mysterious "dark man" who can take many forms. BLAKE The long, winging flight through the void... cannot cross the universe of light... re-created by the thoughts caught in the Shining Trapezohedron... send it through the horrible abysses of radiance... RICHARD Lost his mind completely. EDWARD I think he agreed with you. BLAKE My name is Blake- Robert Harrison Blake of 620 East Knapp Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin... I am on this planet... CHARLES As if he was trying to find his way home. BLAKE Azathoth have mercy!- the lightning no longer flashes- horrible- I can see everything with a monstrous sense that is not sight- light is dark and dark is light... I am it and it is I - I want to get out... must get out and unify the forces... it knows where I am... I am Robert Blake, but I see the tower in the dark. There is a monstrous odour... senses transfigured... boarding at that tower window cracking and giving way... Iä... ngai... ygg... I see it - coming here - hell-wind - titan blue - black wing - Yog Sothoth save me - the three-lobed burning eye... [after a moment] WARREN [sigh wistfully] I can almost smell the sulphuric tang. HERBERT I certainly can. Something must be burning. CHARLES [over-innocent] Burning? Nonsense. RICHARD There is definitely a smell. EDWARD [teasing] Someone here just couldn't stand the suspense, could you, Richard? RICHARD Moi? HERBERT Suspense? EDWARD It wasn't a very good joke, but the box - this box - contained just enough sulfur to make a good pong if anyone got nosy and opened it to see if I really had the shining trapezohedron. WARREN I suppose that, much like Pandora, there are certain things that you can never quite get back into a box. END
Rated-imMATURE – Naughty Language and Spoilers. Old Dude and Frank talk about... almost nothing that they were supposed to have talked about. Facebook @rolledspine #rolledspine firstname.lastname@example.org rolled spine specials or Rolled Spine Podcasts.
Money 4 Nothing goes to the movies! With the holidays upon us, Sam and Saxon decided it would be a nice to time to kick back, pull out the popcorn, and watch one of the more intriguing music docs in a year full of them. That's right folks—in a fit of accurate choices, we've decided to spend an episode talking Sparks, the legendary cult band whose lengthy, make-no-compromises career is the subject of the recent film “The Sparks Brothers.” Ostensibly the story of the best band that never made it…the movie offers a unique perspective on how the record industry changed over the last half century—from the “maybe it'll hit in England” vibes of the early 70's to the box-set gentrification of the teens to the Pitchfork-ization of music. But what if the band never made it [dramatic film music]…because “making it” was a changing target? Come for the sick Giorgio Moroder cameo. Stay for Saxon's true feelings about mid-career David Bowie.
What if…you listened to a podcast about What If…? In a universe of infinite possibilities, Michael Holland (currently post-production supervisor on The Peripheral for Amazon) finds himself once again teaming up with Paul and Arlo for a discussion of MCUTV. This time, it's the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first animated series, the multiversal What If…? Ostensibly an anthology series, the show ponders the ways in which our heroes' lives could have gone very, very differently. For their part, the gang ponders the series' relationship to the classic comic book of the same name, how the 2.5D animation allows for greater freedom than live-action, how voice acting is not the same thing as physical acting, and how–of course–everything is connected. NEXT: we bid farewell to 2021 with the comfy, cozy The Muppet Christmas Carol. BREAKDOWN 00:00:30 - Intro / Guest 00:04:06 - What if…there was a comic book series called What If…? 00:20:04 - What If…? (the show!) 02:19:40 - Outro / Next MUSIC “Changes” by David Bowie, Hunky Dory (1971) “Howard the Duck Theme” by Dolby's Cube feat. Cherry Bomb & Lea Thompson, Howard the Duck Original Soundtrack (1986) GOBBLEDYCARES National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Support AAPI communities and those affected by anti-Asian violence: https://www.gofundme.com/c/act/stop-aapi-hate Support the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund: https://aapifund.org/ Support Black Lives Matter and find anti-racism resources: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ Advocate for writers who might be owed money due to discontinuance of royalties: https://www.writersmustbepaid.org/ Help teachers and classrooms in need: https://www.donorschoose.org/ Do your part to remove the burden of medical debt for individuals, families, and veterans: https://ripmedicaldebt.org/ Register to vote: https://vote.gov/
Allison and Roman eventually get to sort of discussing the iconic Seed Savers Exchange Catalog, though they are hindered on the way there by hate-mail inviting hot takes on compost, juggalo stunts, and fantasies about getting ripped on human growth hormone. Seed Savers Exchange 2021 Catalog Super Humman on Twitter Instagram: SeedyBusinessPod Twitter: SeedyBusiness Email: SeedyBusinessPod@gmail.com
This week is Hanukkah, Judaism's eight-day festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish faith against all odds. According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. He and Brooke discuss how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. (this is a rebroadcast of a story we first ran in 2018)
Ostensibly designed to discuss three large news stories in the general vicinity of 1994 - Michael Fay's walloping adventure in Singapore, the epic showdown between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the Lillehammer Olympics, and the violent dissolution of John and Lorena Bobbitt's marriage - this entry in the IHOY catalog spends the most time gushing over the sheer genius of one "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose '94 song "Headline News" forms the basis of this discussion. Dial in as Sarah & Joe talk about their earliest memories of the famed parodist, his classic albums Bad Hair Day and Even Worse, his Christmas songs and polkas, and their personal favorites from his vast repertoire. Sarah's off-handed suggestion later to tag Weird Al on Twitter leads the hosts down the road of other random celebrity interactions they've had online, roping in such disparate notables as Nick News' Linda Ellerbee and former American Idol host Brian Dunkleman! And yes, loyal listeners, "Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White" makes another triumphant appearance on the show! Planned as a straight news episode, transformed into a Weird Al lovefest, intense media scrutiny and songs about lasagna are given equal time in this splashed-across-the-front-page thirty-eighth episode!
Good morning and welcome back! This week Zack and I are checking back into Czann's brewing in the Nations and we're talking data. Over the years, fitness has expanded from simple step counters to a whole slew of new gadgets, wearables, and data-monitoring systems. Ostensibly, with more data related to sleep, stress, heart rate, and VO2max, we can be better coaches and trainees and improve the quality of our lives and our workouts. But while this information can be really useful, Zack and I argue that it could also get in the way, and instead our over-reliance on metrics and data might actually hinder our progress. Next, we talk about the lifestyle of a coach and some of our experiences over the past few years with our Nashville-based colleagues. And lastly, what the fitness industry looks like and how it may evolve over the coming years. Grab a beer and enjoy!
Lift-A-Palooza Tickets: https://zackhenderson.com/lift-2021 Andy and I are broadcasting again from Czann's Brewing in the Nations and we're talking data. Over the years, fitness has expanded from simple step counters to a whole slew of new gadgets, wearables, and data-monitoring systems. Ostensibly, with more data related to sleep, stress, heart rate, and VO2max, we can be better coaches and trainees and improve the quality of our lives and our workouts. But while this information can be really useful, Andy and I argue that it could also get in the way, and instead our over-reliance on metrics and data might actually hinder our progress. Next, we talk about the lifestyle of a coach and some of our experiences over the past few years with our Nashville-based colleagues. And lastly, what the fitness industry looks like and how it may evolve over the coming years.
On this week's annotated deep dive, The Cultists present Mel Stuart's 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (1971). Considered a flop during its initial release, ‘Wonka' has grown overtime into a beloved classic of psychedelic sadomasochism of the childhood nostalgia variety. Ostensibly the tale of a poor, starving child with nightly dreams of confectionary sweets, and an eccentric chocolatier who is primed to hand pick his heir through a very specific form of death-and-occasional-dismemberment natural selection, this movie is a trip. One that, in the words of Wonka himself, showcases how life must maintain that perfect balance of fear, anxiety, and whimsey to keep moving forward. (Even if that final destination is already pre-ordained by The Chocolate God himself). Episode Deep Dives Include: The writing of Roald Dahl (from his childhood hits to his lesser known screenwriting creds in the James Bond franchise); comparison's between Charlie and the Chocolate factory, the book, and Willy Wonka, the movie; All the literary quotes and references sprinkled throughout the script; The psychedelic movement in cinema (and whether ‘Wonka' truly qualifies); and why this entire production was principally possible due to the capitalist-venturing sweet tooth of the Quaker Oats Company…. Episode Safeword: “free will”
Nearly three decades after the end of apartheid, South Africa continues to struggle from high levels of poverty and unemployment. Ostensibly to rectify this, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has advanced a policy framework of "Black Economic Empowerment" (BEE), which identifies disadvantage on the basis of race and allocates benefits accordingly. David Ansara speaks with Dr Anthea Jeffery, Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Race Relations, about the ideological underpinnings of BEE, and why it has led to vast capital accumulation for a small, politically-connected elite. Dr Jeffery proposes an alternative solution: "Economic Empowerment for the Disadvantaged" (EED). Under the EED policy, empowerment interventions would be made on the basis of socio-economic status, rather than on racial grounds, with the private sector being incentivised to play a more active role in the distribution of welfare. TIMESTAMPS (0:00) Intro (0:50) Understanding BEE and its origins (7:25) How BEE enriches the elite and hurts the poor (10:07) An alternative model of empowerment (20:34) The role of the state (23:11) Existing forms of welfare distribution (25:45) The role of business (30:32) Low-fee private education (32:38) Overcoming political obstacles to EED (37:19) How decentralisation improves choices (39:26) Why BEE can't be fixed (44:54) Conclusion
On this week's annotated deep dive, The Cultists present Agnieszka Smoczynska's ‘The Lure' (2015) (Córki Dancingu). In an alternative 1980s outside of Warsaw, Poland, two mermaids, “Silver” and “Golden,” wash up onto the shore. Soon taking up temporary refuge in a night club cabaret, the two sea-bound sisters do what any classic fairytale finned creature would do: perform nightly as singing mermaid flight attendant burlesque strippers, while trying to decide if people are for sex or for food. Ostensibly a dark coming of age fairy tale set against a gorgeously mixed spread of glitter and grime, The Lure evades any specific genre classification, while taking all the best parts from several: the surrealism logic of fairytales; the metaphors of monstrosity; the glistening gore of body horror; the haunting pitch of minor key musicals; and the carnivorous carnage of romantic tragedy. In other words, this film is weird, which is what makes it wonderful. Deep Dives for this one include: The biographical basis for the mermaid sisters (from the singing duo, The Wronska Sisters, to the director's own experiences growing up in the Polish nightlife scene); the Soviet influence on 80's Polish Cinema; the surprising influences of Polish cartoons and David Cronenberg's Crash (1995); general mermaid lore; the sex lives of dolphins; and how some of the film's most raw and jagged parts actually come from Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 original “Little Mermaid” tale. Episode Safeword: “pescatarian”
Two years after the fall of the Kisangani station to the Arabs Tippu Tips son Sef held control over much of the Eastern part of todays DRC. He lived comfortably but was sandwiched between the Leopolds Congo Free State and Germany's East Africa colony. Ostensibly to quash the slave trade, but to expand his territory and wealth, Leopold retained his orders for his forces to drive East. War ensued and we shall we see the demise of the Swahili-Arab Empire in the Eastern Congo.
In April 1955, twenty-nine countries from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East came together for a diplomatic conference in Bandung, Indonesia, intending to define the direction of the postcolonial world. Ostensibly representing two-thirds of the world's population, the Bandung conference occurred during a key moment of transition in the mid-twentieth century—amid the global wave of decolonization that took place after the Second World War and the nascent establishment of a new Cold War world order in its wake. Participants such as Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Zhou Enlai of China, and Sukarno of Indonesia seized this occasion to attempt the creation of a political alternative to the dual threats of Western neocolonialism and the Cold War interventionism of the United States and the Soviet Union. The essays collected in Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (Ohio University Press) explore the diverse repercussions of this event, tracing diplomatic, intellectual, and sociocultural histories that ensued as well as addressing the broader intersection of postcolonial and Cold War history. With a new foreword by Vijay Prashad and a new preface by the editor, Christopher Lee, Making a World After Empire speaks to contemporary discussions of decolonization, Third Worldism, and the emergence of the Global South, thus reestablishing the conference's importance in twentieth-century global history. Contributors: Michael Adas, Laura Bier, James R. Brennan, G. Thomas Burgess, Antoinette Burton, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Julian Go, Christopher J. Lee, Jamie Monson, Jeremy Prestholdt, and Denis M. Tull. Kirk Meighoo is a TV and podcast host, former university lecturer, author and former Senator in Trinidad and Tobago. He hosts his own podcast, Independent Thought & Freedom, where he interviews some of the most interesting people from around the world who are shaking up politics, economics, society and ideas. You can find it in the iTunes Store or any of your favorite podcast providers. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. If you are an academic who wants to get heard nationally, please check out his free training at becomeapublicintellectual.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
There's a set of safety videos you're supposed to watch before you take Sani Pass. South Africa as a country is rather sloped. Johannesburg, in the center, towers several thousand feet above Cape Town, out on the coast. And rising high above the rest of South Africa, plopped Vatican-like in the middle of the surrounding country, is a tiny nation called Lesotho. If you want to drive from Durban up through Lesotho en route to Joburg, as was our intention, you have to ascend the Drakensberg range and take Sani Pass. And if you intend to take Sani Pass, you really ought to watch the videos.Sani Pass is notable for its treachery. The weekend before we'd planned to go to Lesotho (pronounced: "Le-soo-too") it had snowed on Sani Pass and two convoys had crashed. The passengers had sustained injury. The Pass is the last stretch of the demilitarized zone between South Africa and Lesotho in the Drakensberg mountains. It features sixteen consecutive hairpin switchbacks right before you hit the top, at a steep enough angle to send you scrambling after a bag of dropped marbles. People die on Sani Pass. Every year. All it takes is a little incompetence or a moment of lapsed attention. Should you survive the journey to the top, you can commemorate the accomplishment with a stop at Africa's highest pub. Can't say the same for Kilimanjaro.The videos, it should be said, don't offer much in the way of helpful insight. The gist of their advice is "be careful." Even so, they make it patently clear that the driver needs to pay very close attention to negotiating the road at hand.I finished watching the videos as the rest of the crew pulled up in our four-wheel-drive rental car. My job was to take notes on the safety instructions and get our Airbnb ready for check out while everyone else went to acquire the wheels. So it was with an elevated level of curiosity that I discovered they had gotten a flat while attempting park in front of our house. I wasn't there for the event, but I imagine them careening up to our Airbnb like an out of control space craft disgorged from a wormhole onto a barren and craggy red planet. Whatever the case, the car apparently struck the curb and upon impact the driver side tire burst. I looked on as the team hefted the jack out of the trunk and put on the spare.Our party was four strong. There was myself, my girlfriend, Haily; her friend from college, Dave Blackwood; and his colleague from work, Munesu (Muni for short). Blackwood is an American working in Zimbabwe. He's tall, lanky, and painfully caucasian with a plop of curly, unkempt hair. Muni is a Zambian working in Zimbabwe. He's short, black, and speaks with an American accent. They'd come down to Durban to bum around with us on our way to Joburg and to take the Pass.But first we had to make a stop in Pietermaritzburg, about an hour outside of Durban, to trade in our car for one with four tires.Pietermaritzburg is a city named for two men: one Mr. Pieter and one Mr. Maritz. Perhaps the most exciting thing about the contemporary land to which Piet and Maritz laid claim is a veritable wealth of rental car companies on offer in the town's regional airport. We exchanged our car without hassle -- upgraded to a superior 4x4, if anything -- and stocked up on supplies. I picked up a bottle of spiced rum from the Seychelles, which I'd been coveting on trips to other liquor stores in the country. The others got food, or some such provisions. Our destination for the evening, just on the South Africa side of the Lesotho border, was about four hours out, longer if we took the scenic route.Our first stop after Pietermaritzburg was the Mandela Capture Site, so called because it was where Nelson Mandela was captured before being throw in prison for twenty-seven years. That morning I'd reread the passage in Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, where he recounts the capture. He was on his way from Durban to Johannesburg, same as us. He was driving the N3 outside of Pietermaritzburg, same as us. He was on a fugitive on the run from the authorities, same as us. As we rolled up to the Capture Site on our left was the ditch that Mandela had prudently noted right before getting thrown in the slammer.From the N3, the monument looks a sapling forest of black iron poles. We turned off the road by the pole forest and went someways into an adjacent field. Without knowing any better, the scene looks like any other pokey field off any other highway in which nothing exciting has ever transpired. On the far end of the field is a parking lot. The trees around the lot were infested with monkeys bounding from branch to ground and back. (This is one of the primary differences between parking lots in Africa and parking lots in America.) You walk from the parking lot past a barn, a souvenir shop, and approach the monument down a long, straight paved sidewalk. At intervals along the sidewalk stand markers of milestones in Mandela's life. His birth, his start in politics, his circumcision (he devotes a very long passage in his autobiography to this event). The milestones are spaced to represent the passage of time between them. Mandela is famous around the world for what he did after his release from prison, being elected as the South African head of state, winning the Nobel Peace Prize. What is less recognized is how vigorously engaged the man was before his arrest. To give some idea, he doesn't get to Robben Island, where he spent the majority of his time in prison, until page 379 of his autobiography. The first four hundred pages aren't filler either. They're strewn page after page with the kind of accomplishments that would make chapter titles in anyone else's life story. What is striking, moving even, about the markers is that it gives a tangible weight to what twenty-seven years in prison takes from a life. It is a literal laying out of Mandela's long walk.At the end of the sidewalk, the path descends into a corridor opening up into the teardrop landscape in which the black poles stand. At the apex of the tear is a plaque on the ground. It says something to the effect of "stand here and look up at the thing." Upon looking up one sees that what was until now a morass of shifting iron assembles itself into the visage of the man himself, Madiba. It is as if you were looking at a chalkboard etched with his face, in profile, wise and weathered. Move to the left or the right and the scene disassembles. Shift back and there he is. Once you've taken in the monument you're left with the long walk back to the car.The route through the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal province forks. We had the option to either stay on the highway or opt for the Midlands Meander. We took the Meander. The small roads of the Meander skirt about the hills, whereas the N3 highway blusters right through them. The Meander is named in the spirit of overzealous marketing. The route takes longer, but the landscape is as inconsequential as it would be through any other road. Frequently the Meander splits, allowing one to adjust the journey for their own appetite for meandering. Blackwood was driving. Muni's job was to call the splits. As we came to our first turnoff, Blackwood inquired, "Muni, left or right?" There was a brief silence. Blackwood turned right. Muni: "left." Blackwood shot a glance toward the passenger's seat.Everything on the road was unexpected, at least to Blackwood, who reacted as if each hair pin turn or cow in the road was something totally misplaced, as it would be on a freeway in Los Angeles. Haily and I sloshed to and fro in the back seat, as on a winding roller coaster, with each yank of the wheel from Blackwood. There were many pedestrians walking the side of the road, and we imperiled each of them as we shot past. Periodically we would hit a rumble strip, and Blackwood would slam the breaks, throwing the rest of us forward as we took the strip at an ambitious 100 kilometers per hour. The road became dirt as we neared the mountains.Blackwood engaged in a number of extracurricular diversions in addition to his primary responsibility of driving. Arising out of the silence of the car, "Is that a grain silo?" Equipped with his own answer, Blackwood replied, "I think it's a grain silo." Blackwood is an economist. He is well-suited to it. "This road seems expensive. Lots of Bridges." We waded through the dirt road into flaxen plains drifting off into a deep purple haze. "Some serious soil erosion on the right." In the distance, wedges of mountains were set in receding rows. "Are those the Drakensburg in the distance? I'm convinced those are the Draks. Hi Draks." Blackwood tugged on the wheel to avoid a herd of sheep, acquainting my cheek with the cool, moist window. "This is a windy road, guys." Every three minutes or so, Blackwood would ask, "Muni, left or right?" He performed this ritual with a devoted constancy, no matter how obviously subsidiary the left turn in question might be. Muni, not necessarily invested in the navigational success of our journey, could never be counted on for a timely answer. Blackwood, for his part, could be relied upon to pierce any silence lingering in our car as it wove through the Transkei."It's crazy. Someone, like, invested in making this fancy-ass bridge.""Oh, look! An ice waterfall! I love ice waterfalls, guys.""Look at those pinnacles! They've got to be something. The Draks!""Cows!""It's funny. Sometimes the dust stays for a long time and sometimes it doesn't."At length, the road resumed its paving. Blackwood: "Imagine living out here." Muni: "Turn right." The only turn was to the left, as Blackwood noted. "I meant left." We took another rumble strip at full tilt, Blackwood slamming on the brakes once the impediment was felt. We made our way through the layer cake of a landscape. In the foreground the dark green of poorly lit fields, in temporary recess from the sun's jurisdiction, the light green of the fields still touched by daylight, the blue of the closest mountains, the purple of furthest mountains, orange fading into the purple of dusk. "Those mountains look so craggily. Must be the Drakensburgs."At no obvious landmark the road turned to dirt again and rocks ricocheted below our car like a pinball machine. "Are those ostriches? They are! Oh wait, those are cows." We passed a 'beware of blasting' sign.Blackwood: "How?"Muni: "Straight." Blackwood: "Right or straight?" Muni: "Right and then straight is what I mean."The sun went down, and we made our way into the mountains. "So clearly those are not the whole Drakensburgs," intoned Blackwood.It was dark when we got to our destination for the evening. After hours of being subjected to Blackwood's sudden jerks of the wheel as last second responses to imminent danger, I felt as though I'd spent the afternoon in a cocktail shaker. I was eager to stretch my legs after a day sealed in the car. It was cold outside, mountain cold. We stayed the night at a bed and breakfast. The only other occupants were a fleet of Dutch high school students. There were scores of them. Our party and theirs dined on a hearty meal of bread and stew provided by the lodge. At dinner, I leaned over to one of the adults in their number and struck up a conversation. They intended to take the Pass, as did we. I asked if he had watched the safety videos. "Of course," the man said. "It's important to pay close attention to the road, you know?" As I was about to respond, I couldn't help but overhear Blackwood contribute to a separate conversation:"Sani Pass tomorrow! I bet we'll see lots of ice waterfalls."In the early morning we took leave of South Africa and crossed into the DMZ. Before we got going we let some air out from the tires for the rough terrain. "You ready, Blackwood?" I asked. The best he could offer was an empirically-based "I don't know."The road up Sani Pass was dirt all the way, except when it was rocks. The route took three hours in total. An hour of that was stopping ever 500 feet in elevation, certain that this was going to be the best lookout spot we would reach. Much of the early stages were under construction, so the path was littered with flaggers and orange cones and eight-ton Caterpillar bulldozers. When the path got bumpy it was like climbing a mountain in a car. In effect we were. There was frequently a non-negligible change in elevation from tire to tire. We didn't need four wheel drive. We needed a mountain goat.About half way up we passed a cross on the side of the road, a memorial to one who failed to take the Pass. There were also doohickies strewn about the road, like broken off car parts or something like that. It was all a bit unnerving.We spotted three ice waterfalls, close up, and stopped to take pictures at each.Blackwood, it should be said, buckled down for the final stage with the sixteen hairpin switchbacks. It wasn't snowing, mercifully. And our Nissan-cum-mountain-goat served us well. The only really perilous part came when I would look out my side of the window and gaze over the practically infinite distance we would tumble if our car should flip or apparate three feet to the right. In short, we made it.When we leveled off at the top of Sani Pass we were greeted by the vast tundra plateau of Lesotho. We had climbed a mountain and instead of finding a summit we found a plain. Expanses of yellow grass stretched off into the distance, raising up into another mountainscape beyond. Here the ground was palpably closer to the sky. In the fore were three round huts and lodge. One of the round huts was border control, where we dutifully presented ourselves. The lodge housed Africa's Highest Pub, or as we called it, the World's Highest African Pub. After marking our official entry in Lesotho we repaired to the pub to celebrate our victorious assent with a round of Maluti, the everyman's beer of Lesotho.To drive through Lesotho is to stumble upon an outcropping of the Himalayas in Southern Africa. The horizon is layered with dry mountains dusted with snow, situated beneath a cloudless sky. It is more than a little startling upon embarking across the terrain to realize that the "Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho" refers not just to the mountains which you just climbed, but the entirely novel and independently worthy set of mountains in front of you. As we arrived at the first slope coming out of the plains the car inclined to what seemed like a forty-five degree angle. Blackwood floored it. The Nissan sputtered for all it was worth. We hit thirty kilometers-per-hour, tops.The road was nice, paved and smooth. New. Blackwood was impressed. "Who paid for it, I wonder?" Yet if South Africa featured more roadside characters and livestock than seems advisable to the western driver, it was the western drivers who seemed out of place in Lesotho. The road belonged to the characters and the livestock. After our initial assent (we'd be up and down, scrawling across mountains for the rest of the day), we passed two Basotho men walking their mule up the road. The mule dragged a cart of building supplies. We slowed to overtake them. They seemed friendly. They waved. We waved back. They made the universal pantomime for 'picture' and struck engaging poses. Amused, we snapped a picture. They immediately implored us to reimburse them for their modeling services. They were savvy. We'd been snookered into it. Lesotho is a remarkably poor country, even by African standards. A man's gotta make a buck.We gave them oranges from our stash instead.What is most breathtaking about Lesotho -- ineffable, as well as uncapturable in photos -- is to take stock of whence you came and discover that you've traversed a sea of terraced mountains, piled one upon the other, as far as can be seen. We reached the highest point at 3240 meters. Highest point of what, it didn't say. Probably the World's Highest Basotho Point.From there we continued to slalom through the countryside. On our way down we passed a mule piled with straw. We never saw a driver. It looked like a mobile bush. We began to hit more Basotho villages as we went. We passed many herders and each one of them attempted the ol' picture-for-money gambit on us. They would see our car coming down the road from way off and take leave of their field of sheep to run toward the road in desperate hopes of soliciting some monetary pittance. To travel this road is to acquire minor celebrity. We were of unconscionable wealth and unimaginable circumstance to those whom we passed.Each village is sprawled across the hillside like a broken rack of billiard balls. The men and women alike are draped in colorful and festively designed blankets, a signature of Basotho culture. It's cold up there. They don the blankets to have even a semblance of a chance at warmth. Their huts are round with thatched roofs, each about the same size. A queen-size bed coerced inside would start to curl up along the walls. The hillside is spangled with handsome livestock, goats and sheep mostly. Off in the distance a larger flock of sheep or a pasture of cows graze and are watched over by a blanket-robed shepherd. I must say that it is all a beautiful sight to behold. To say as much is an incontrovertible romanticism of poverty. But it is true nonetheless.No one passed us in the other direction. We overtook no one. And no one overtook us from behind.We came across the Letseng diamond hostels. Lesotho is home to one of Southern Africa's most prolific diamond mines. (None of the wealth ends up in the hands of the average Basotho, of course.) The hostels are where the workers live. Away from their families they stay while there is work, then return home. Such hostels are common in this part of the world, for instance in Johannesburg when it was a gold boomtown. The mine was quiet when we passed. No workers to be seen at the hostels.At length we reached Afriski, where we planned to stay the night. Afriski is southern Africa's only ski resort, as well as its preeminent douchebag basecamp. It features one ski run. While it was cold up there, it was not snowing. They had a snow machine to rectify that impediment to hitting the slopes. It is a rather pathetic scene to see an otherwise barren hillside painted with a single strip of white powder, like roots showing under dyed hair. Haily and I don't ski. We were mostly there for the hot tub. Which even in Africa, so we thought, they surely must understand is a critical amenity at any ski resort worth half its salt. Alas, there was no hot tub at Afriski.We dined at the resort's lone restaurant. Overpriced burgers, pasta, pizza, "salads" -- that sort of fare. On every television (and there were several visible from any vantage) was a promo video for Afriski, displayed on an endless loop. People skiing, drinking, cheering, skiing, drinking, cheering: offered for the consideration of dining patrons all evening. We split a bottle of wine between the four of us. Then Haily and I retired to our room. Blackwood and Muni went to do something else.What we anticipated when we rented a "ski chalet" was a posh little bungalow outfitted with a fireplace, a number of tacky taxidermied animals on the wall, and tall ceilings supported by hearty wooden rafters. What we got was a dinky little bunk house with a kitchenette and a temperamental space heater. Worse still it was shared between our party and another, made only slightly better by the barrier separating our bunk room from theirs. The beds, it is worth noting, were mercifully outfitted with electric blankets, as the room was otherwise more or less the same temperature as the outside world.When we got back to the room, I decided to make friends with the neighbors. I grabbed my bottle of Seychelles rum and knocked on their door. So commenced our first night at Afriski.Their crew hailed from Joburg. I introduced myself, and as each of them told me their name I foisted the the bottle of rum in their direction. We became friends very quickly. I asked them about what brought them to Lesotho. They told me they were filming a rap video. Oh, really? Yes, they told me, they had to get up at four in the morning the next day to scout a shooting location. I asked them who the rapper was. "Shane Eagle," an eminent up-and-coming South African rap artist, or so I was informed. Alright, sure.I hung out in their room for a bit then bid them adieu and went back to ours to take my leave of consciousness for the evening.In the morning we wandered down to the slope. Blackwood and Muni had come to ski. Haily and I thought about giving it a shot. But never having skied before we were overcome with a strong desire to do nothing. I'd also run out of money somewhere back in Zimbabwe some weeks before. We retired to the room.It was nine or ten in morning. Haily and I were back in bed reading when into our room walked a new fellow, who we didn't recognize, accompanied by a lady-friend. They gave us a cordial nod and went into the room next door. Shortly after they were followed by the crew from last night. That had been Mr. Eagle himself, retreating to the room for a little R&R after an early morning shoot.In the afternoon we made our way down to the ski slope. We posted up with our books at the Apres Ski Cafe, situated at the bottom of the run. We went in to order a couple hot chocolates. A rugby match played on the television. It was the Jaguars versus the Wallabies, or something like that. I watched it with academic curiosity. The thighs of rugby players have always intrigued me. They give the impression of the legs of an NFL linebacker having been glued onto the physique of soccer player. Then all of a sudden, there was an eruption from the other patrons. The Wallabies seemed suddenly heartened, for reasons I was unable to ascertain.Back outside, we sat in the cold air with our hot chocolates and listened to the Euro trash blasting on the loudspeaker. People were beginning to engage in Apres-ski activities, such as drinking from funnels and dancing on tables. They played that one song where Shakira sings, "This one is for Af-ri-ka." Everyone went f*****g crazy. The entire place was filled with white people. Probably South African white, but it was still weird to hear them worked up over the mention of Africa. Two men wandered through the crowds in gorilla suits. I overheard one conversation in which the gentleman next to us related to his colleague, "All good vibes out there, bro. All good vibes." Inside the café there hung a set of snowboard bindings from the rafters where, evidently, patrons are voluntarily strapped in and encouraged to take as many shots as possible while hanging upside down. The winner-board displayed names and tallies, the most outstanding performances from the previous evening. Mark scored twenty. David scored an heroic twenty-five. All good vibes out there, bro. Lines of neon plastic shot glasses were strewn about each table. There was an Afriski official going around pouring an unidentified liquor into people's mouths, straight from the bottle. All good vibes.Another official paraded through with a device -- an upside-down traffic cone positioned to funnel liquid into a tube which ran to a Y-junction splitting the tube into two -- and as he passed people stood back, mouthed, "oh, s**t" and gave an impressed look, apparently intrigued by this feat of plumbing. The gorillas seemed not to notice when the officials passed and kept on dancing. This apparent lack of appreciation is undoubtedly why their species has failed to contribute any advancements to the practice of HVAC or pipefitting."This next one is going to get your body moving," the DJ proclaimed and then dropped the needle on the Macarena. As it turns out, the Macarena is quite difficult to do when drunk. Lots of coordinated fine motor movements. However, one reaches a point of drunkenness where precision takes on a subsidiary role to zeal and candor. Then you get good at the Macarena again. Really good.These people all looked so dumb. Yet, I wished I could be a part of it. Perhaps if I had skied all day the whole thing would've made sense. But it just didn't. Surreptitiously I poured another dose of rum in my hot chocolate and slunk back to reading.At length we located Blackwood and Muni on the slopes. They'd put in a good session. They joined us in a round of hot chocolate and gawking at the partiers. We returned to the room and washed up. Then we went for dinner. At the restaurant we were seated at a table for four near the back. In the corner we spied a number of familiar faces. It was Shane Eagle's entourage. I went over to strike up with some of my closer mates in the group. They'd had a good day of shooting and were about to head back to Joburg. They asked me if I'd be going back that way any time soon. I told them I would. We exchanged contact information. I bid them farewell and returned to my seat. I even received a nod from Mr. Eagle himself, who sat laconically at the far corner of the table.After dinner, we returned to the room. Since the Eagle entourage flew the coop, we had new bunkmates. Two girls, about our age. We liberated the alcohol from our stash -- a few bottles of wine, the rum, and a bottle of South African brandy which we mixed with soda -- and began to consume liberally. We got to know the girls a bit. They were a lively couple. From Bloem, the same town where J.R.R. Tolkien hailed, as they made a conspicuous point to mention. After a few drinks, they drew us a map of the places we ought to visit in this, one of South Africa's all-too-easily overlooked interior cities. We asked them why they were in Lesotho. This proved to be a mistake -- both their coming to Lesotho, and our getting mixed up in it. But we wouldn't understand that fully until later.The last entry in my notes for the evening reads: "Tequila YES France [undecipherable] swift."The tequila I endorsed so enthusiastically had been obtained when we moseyed back down to the Apres Ski Café for the evening's festivities. There was supposed to be a ski burning (an ancient douchebag rite of passage, I believe). But we missed it by a couple minutes. France came into play with a young man with whom our group became acquainted. He's from there. I'm not sure what exactly it was that had transpired swiftly.Upon our arrival in the seedy nightclub that was the Apres-Ski, we had acquired a number of beers. With these beers we played beer pong, the four of us. Muni and I blew Haily and Blackwood to smithereens. Sincerely, we demolished them. I celebrated with another round of drinks for Haily and me. Shrewdly, Muni and Blackwood ceased to drink at that point. I'd attained an advanced level of amicability by now. This is when we met the French guy and his colleagues. French guy worked at Afriski. Come to think of it, he was probably the one going around with the inverted traffic cone in the afternoon.He challenged us to beer pong. Or we challenged him. I don't remember. Muni and me versus him and Haily. I drank Muni's portion. From this junction on, the night comes to me in snapshots. After the game, French guy bought a round of tequila shots for the group. It ended up being him, me, Haily, and his friend. I don't know that he was keen to buy me drinks, as I reckon he was mostly interested in Haily. After that there was dancing. By now I would likely have been very good at the Macarena, should the opportunity have presented itself.Prudently, we made our way back to our room. In tow was French guy, the two girls who were our new neighbors, and a man with whom they were affiliated. Likely some other people as well. There manifested something of a commotion between the two girls and the guy, a conflict to which the ladies had alluded earlier in the evening. They had been rather modest in retailing the magnitude of the hostility.I'll tell you what I can remember and what I was able to reconstruct from accounts the following day.There was a huge spat between the girls. The man was the husband of one of the girls. She had come to Lesotho at the behest of her friend to get away from him. He was no good for her, apparently. She wanted to reconcile with her husband, but her friend had advised against it. The man was adamant that her friend couldn't prevent the reconciliation. The reason that we were involved in this was that the man was outside the bunkhouse and had to come through our room to get to her's. The members of our party had sided with the friend and were not in favor of admitting this man onto the premises of our domicile. Staff members of Afriski were present, French guy included. There was much shouting. The husband shouted at the girl for not accommodating him. He shouted at the friend for preventing him from getting his way. The girl yelled at the friend for preventing her from acting on her wishes. The friend shouted at the girl for consistently f*****g up her life. The Afriski team stood there and did nothing. Haily maintained our delegation's moral position while Blackwood and Muni tried to keep peace as best they could.The details of this conflict were mostly lost on me -- they still are -- though I found the whole thing rather engaging at the time. In the midst of the kerfuffle French guy stuck around. I supposed at the time he was just hanging around to see how everything turned out, and so I was amicably disposed toward him. However, that changed in a matter of moments as Muni made it clear to me that the reason he was sticking around was that he was attempting to coax my girlfriend into running off to some shadowy corner of the premises to make out with him. Upon reception of this intelligence, there was a momentary lapse in my pleasant disposition. I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and backed him away from our bunkhouse, excusing him with an aggressive shove in the opposing direction. This obstacle appeared to make the endeavor no longer worth his pursuing, and he began to clear off. This marked a point of escalation in the evening, and there was a consensus afterward that it was time for me to go to bed. As I stepped back into the bunkhouse my amicability was revived and I poked my head out to wave to French guy and convey that no hard feelings were felt. He seemed unmoved this sentiment and left in a minor huff. I tucked into bed and was asleep shortly thereafter.The next morning the friend (the one whose aim was to keep the husband out) came sheepishly into our room. She apologized for the whole mess. Then she lapsed into a sob story about something to which I was not in a position devote my attention. The other girl was nowhere to be found. She had gone off with her husband. As for the French guy, I asked Muni about the incident. "You don't remember?" he asked. "You told that guy to 'le f**k off.'"For the first hour of that morning I had the distinction of being the world's most hungover person. We piled in the car and took our leave from the premises of Afriski. We set off through the Basotho mountains on our way toward Johannesburg. And as we wound down the mountainside, surveying the infinitude of Basotho majesty before us, I stuck my head out the window and yorked. Laudably, not but a skosh landed on the exterior of the car. Blackwood pulled over into a turnout, and we took a moment to appreciate the scene while I finished hurling. Just like that my hangover was exorcised. We lingered for another minute to take in the beauty.Our final destination in Lesotho was the site of an ancient cave painting. The decent from the heights of Afriski to South Africa along Lesotho's north border is less precipitous than the Sani Pass route. The goats, the mules, and the villages were spaced further apart on our leisurely decent through the mountains. We pulled off at one of the auxiliary roads that links up with the main highway. We parked the car and piled out. Down a paved path we came across a wooden building, closer to the kind of wooden structure you'd expect in a rural part of a developed nation rather than the traditional circular huts. Inside we paid for a guide to take us down to see the cave paintings.The guide, a Basotho woman native to the area, took us past the barn to where the path became dirt and dropped down a canyon slope. We descended a wooden staircase implanted in the hillside. Then we crossed a bridge where the guide pointed out that if you fell off it into the crevasse you wouldn't easily get out. In fact this had happened before. Not to tourists, per se, but other varieties of out-of-place white people. A little further in, the hillside flattened out into a dried up river bed with a peculiar outcropping of rock. Immediately in front of us was a rock wall with a bent and cavernous face that looked like an overgrown half-pipe. It wrapped around out of sight. Our guide explained that a great battle took place here long ago, the details of which were lost on me. I was feeling better than before, but my head wasn't yet on straight.Then she took us over to the cave paintings. They were on a rock wall across the dried river bed from the half-pipe. We crossed a man-made boardwalk that led over to the paintings. The boardwalk fenced off the last couple feet right before the wall. The guide hopped the fence and put her finger right up to them.The cave paintings were a faint orange scrawling of stick figure persons. They weren't much in the way of an imposing visual presence, but I guess that's true of most things people wrote down a long time ago. How long does it take a newspaper to yellow, a couple decades? These had been here for hundreds and hundreds of years. Ostensibly (and by that I mean this is what the guide said), they depicted ancient Basotho hunters going after elan. My initial interpretation was that this painting was composed on a slow day of elan hunting. From the one hunter to the other: "And you see, Joe, this is what it would look like if we had in fact caught an Elan today." That's when he would've put down the drawing of the elan with a spear going through it. The guide's interpretation differed slightly. She said they were depictions of the visions that came to these Basotho hunters while in trance. They drew themselves tall and skinny, though in fact they were rather squat in figure.The rock walled canyon bottom did seem like a good place for a trance. There was an engaging acoustic effect where you could cast your voice across the river bed. It wasn't so much of an echo as a single repetition from across the way. Still recovering from a hangover, I found this simple effect fascinating. Doped up, I imagine it'd be quite riveting.And with that we hiked back up the canyon to set off for the South Africa border. There was still a ways to go from the edge of Lesotho to Johannesburg, a few hours maybe. The terrain contrasts sharply. Lesotho's endless array of mountains is engaging and beautiful. Interior South Africa is infertile plains, distant buttes, and straight roads. It's like taking leave of Nepal and finding yourself in Wyoming. The country boundaries must have been drawn along scenic borders rather than ethnic ones. We were no longer in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.Back in Joburg we split our separate ways. Haily and I spent a night or two in the city then took off on another road trip through the country down to Cape Town. Muni and Blackwood went off to whatever their next plans were. We'd had a densely packed couple of days, from wandering Mandela's long walk to taking Sani Pass to participating in a domestic disturbance to communing with man's long-standing devotion to commemorating his conquests. We were ready for something a little less involved during our stay in Johannesburg. Thankfully, during that time, nothing would ever come to fisticuffs nor would we project unwelcome bodily contents into a vast and comely mountainscape. My only disappointment, looking back, is that we never did hit up Shane Eagle's entourage.Next Episode:Thanks for checking out Season 1 of Notes from the Field. If you’ve enjoyed it, please consider becoming a premium subscriber. I’m trying to do more of this kind of travel writing in the future. But as you can imagine, it’s hard to have these kinds of experiences while also holding down a job. Your subscription goes a long way toward helping me to do that. Use the link below, and you’ll get 50% off an annual subscription. Thanks! This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit codykommers.substack.com/subscribe
In which Michael Neff and Adam Scott recommend a book they love, with context and some light reading. In this, our first book club, Neff and Scott discuss A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin. Ostensibly for a younger reader, this fantasy classic by one of the masters will stay with you well longer than your first read.We do have a tip jar! If you like what you hear, drop a dollar or two in our tip jar over at Venmo. Look for us at TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. Thanks so much for listening!Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
DISCLAIMER: Tool fans beware. We will be saying very mean things about the band Tool on this episode of Make It Stop! If you do not want to hear people say mean things about Tool, do not click play.To everyone else: It's Tool Time. Time to talk about Tool, one of the most divisive bands in rock music. Known for their odd time signatures, snaking arpeggios and minor key dirges, Tool's unique approach to metal has amassed them equal shares of devoted fanatics and vehement detractors. Mike and Heather's guest for this week, Jenner Barrington-Ward, falls squarely into the latter camp, as do your two intrepid hosts. While the band's latest effort Fear Innoculum was surely tempting, we've decided instead to tackle 10,000 Days, an album which even avowed Tool fans have gone on record as despising. Ostensibly a concept album about singer Maynard James Keenan's mother's long, painful battle with paralysis, 10,000 Days slowly becomes a long, painful battle to stay awake, with its confounding 10 minute long alien acid freak-outs, silly lyrics about smoking the pot, and a general sense of overwrought aimlessness. Mike, Heather and Jenner take no prisoners as they relentlessly tear down this bloated, pretentious slog of an album while all the while fearing the inevitable backlash from the Tool Army. RIP our star rating.Part of the Pantheon Podcasts podcast network.