Monday, January 16, 2006

Blog Reactivatied.


Sorry about the long Hiatus, but unless all you wanted to read about was my whinging, well you should be glad that I didn't write anything.

Still, don't expect anything until at least the 26th of Feb, as I'm away to the wildes of Finland, but you can console yourself that I should have a bit to natter about when I get back. In fact, during the five weeks that this blog has been out of action, I have amassed quite a few stories and tales to send you away to bed. So hang on, good things come to those who wait, and I know you good people have waited quite the while, but hang on it there, it'll be worth it I tell ya.

If you're new to the blog, I guarantee there are some interesting posts below, and in the archives.

I hope you all check back occassionally.

Peace and Hope


Friday, January 13, 2006

Sci-Fi: The Flame of Infinite Possibility

The whole of Potsdam seemed to shake on that terrible morning in 1931.

Passer's by said of the Heim houshold that the idyllic wooden strutted German house almost reared up like a horse that had been shot. The shockwaves dropped several of Potsdams citizens to their knees as that terrible blow washed over them. As the ringing in their ears dropped to a constant sigh, a woman, in the grip of a terrible hysteria ran from the house, her son, she knew now, had been experimenting with exposives.

During world war II when he was 19 an essay Heim had written about explosives led to his working briefly in a chemical laboratory as an explosives technician, during his tenure there A terrifying explosion in the laboratory was caused by the mishandling of unstable compounds abandoned him with appalling injuries and crippling handicaps.

That was the day that Burkhard Heim, the boy who would turn into the man that would change the world, was really born, not in 1925, but years later in blinding gunpowder and flash. These were not to be the only explosions in Burkhards life. Germany, was then in the grip of a change that would forever change humanities view of its own nature, and Heim would be part of that and many other changes.

Burkhard the child had wanted to be that most elusive of birds, the phoenix, the rocket scientist. To help him on his way, his parents had allowed him to conduct some early "experiments" in the family home's basement. Now, reality, evil luck, and childish incompetence had tried to burn that dream away.

The explosion left Berkhard with no hands, forearms, and some said, the loss of up to ninety percent of his hearing and eyesight. Burkhard turned in the matter of those few fatefull seconds, from a curious and bright eyed boy into a freak that would be lucky to survive the impending third reich.

For many years our boy Burkhard raged and wailed against this terrible fate, cursing the Gods from the heavens and retreating into his own private world. A world which talked only of escape, escape from the bounds of this frail and terrible existence he had been thrown into by the fury of Aries. The god, who would loom over most of Burkards life as a terrible spectral portent of death, and carry with him the stench of burning human flesh.

Burkhard, maimed and physically deformed though he was, had an edge to him that was sharper than any sword. Outwardly he would forever remain a freak, but inwardly there was a flame stronger and brighter than the explosion that had in a white streak of hate torn his arms from him. Burkhard had a flame of intelligence within that would take him far beyond the tattered remanents of his body and senses.

Burkhard, after years of painful, crippling growth that took him through, and saved him from the endless, savage years of world war two. He had seen so much, so much death, and pain, and suffering. So many explosions and burns that he felt that the human race was evolving into something more like him. And he pittied them for it. After the war, his razor intelligence, and his father's money managed to scrape together a place in the revered university of Göttingen.

He was to study physics.

There in Göttinggen, amonst the test tubes, bunsen burners, endless iterations of theories and algorythems, Burhard found his calling which nurtured his need for escape, then Burhard slowly and painfully as was the compass of his life, began to devlop his theory of the Hyperspace Drive. He willfully ignored General relativity, throwing Newton broken and bewildered to the side. He decided to harness the potentially far more powerfull Quantum forces. Forces which, he dreamed, would take him from the burnt and desolate surface of the earth to the distant stars.

His only other solace was his new wife.

For years he struggled with the glass sculpture abstractions of the mathematics that imprisoned him, but when he stared at the symbols long enough, sometimes, just sometimes he could see a means of escape, defying the oppressive force of gravity he had a vision of humans stretching their wings and travelling to distant stars.

He saw humans on distant planets, and perhaps, he even saw himself on the farthest planet in his imagination, in a lush green wilderness, spared the endless mocking eyes of other humans.

Burhard took the first step in his magnificent journey in the finned glow of the Commie hating, rock and rolling 1950's when he started, slowly, developing the idea of the hyperdrive.

Heim re-wrote the equations of general relativity, added a two dimentsional "Sub-Space" to the four dimensions. He claimed that it was possible to convert electromagnetic energy into gravitational and back again, and speculated that a rotating magnetic field could reduce the influence of gravity on a spacecraft enough for it to take off.

As he worked, helped by his father and wife, who replaced his senses, his theories multiplied and many knowledgeable men heard of him, men who were themselves trying to break free from the bonds of this world and make it out to the black. It is said that nobel laureats and Werner Von Braun came to him, and asked him if the Saturn rocket project was a waste of time, for he had heard it whispered that Burkhard would make the dimensions touch, and take us across to out nearest stars in as little as ninety days, and to the moon by teatime.

Burkhard the cripple, the freak, the visionary hated the visitors, hated their quests, perhaps because of his deformaties, perhaps because he did not want his work stolen. This fear was not just irrational paranoia as an article in Magazine for Missiles indicated various aerospace and ordnance companies had made several attempts to kidnap him. Burkhard never learnt English for that very reason, and wrote much of his papers in code so that men like Werner and the other more unscrupulous individuals could not steal away his dreams and his secrets.

Heim eventually realised that nothing would come of his theories in his lifetime, not because they were wrong, but because the group consensus of science had drifted away from his vision, and General relativity instead of Quantum physics was being used to propel the chariots of the black.

His dream of escape died then.

From that point on, in sadness and in response to requests for more information about the theory behind the predictions, he spent all his time detailing his ideas in three books published only in German. And then as far as the world was concerned, he faded from view, and disappeared into the final vanishing point of the black, not space as he had always dreamed but death, cold, cold death.

It was many years later, when the first of his books came to the attention of a retired Austrian patent officer called Walter, that the hyperspace propulsion idea came back to life.

Walter looked again at Heim's ideas and produced an "extended" version, resurrecting the dimensions that Heim originally discarded. The result was "Heim-Dröscher space", a mathematical description of an eight-dimensional universe.

Word then spread to Hamburg,where the university there implemented Heim's theorem in a computer program, it predicted masses of fundamental particles that matched the measured values almost perfectly. If this was true they thought, why not the rest of it.

And then the U.S. military got involved.............

The End.

Or is it, this trashy cliched piece of science fiction, which would have difficulty being sold to the American Sci-Fi pulps of the 1950's is actually a true story.

Would I lie to you? well perhaps, but New Scientist wouldn't.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and you never know what either is going to give you.

Here endeth the lesson.

Peace and Hope


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Too busy today to write anything, when I get the time, more original content on the way.

The above image is a Culture-Jammed World War II poster.

See more of the same.

Peace and Hope


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


A recent photo of Dr. Albert Hofman

"LSD spoke to me. He came to me and said, 'You must find me.' He told me, 'Don’t give me to the pharmacologist.'"

Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of lysergic acid diethylamide-25, more commonly known as LSD (from the German acronymn) is 100 today.


Hofmann, through this discovery became one of the most influential men of 20th century, his discovery having profound influences on music, mysticism, writing, magick, youth culture and even the military.

Hofmann, born this day in 1906 in Baden, Switzerland has always had a conflicted relationship with what he calls his "Problem Child" (from the title of his book "LSD, my problem child"). Hoffman's main interest in chemistry, up until his discovery, had been the structure of plants and animals, and he first synthesised LSD-25 from wheat argot whilst working for Sandoz laboratories in 1938.

The drug was filed away, as Hofmann was not aware of its properties, and the research that produced it was focused on improvements in farming, which LSD-25 did not appear to effect. It wasn't until some three years later, after accidentally absorbing LSD-25 through his fingertips that Hofmann discovered its hallucinogenic properties.

Three days after that, on April 14th 1943 (LSD enthusiasts, now know of this date as bicycle day, a day for psychedelic celebration) Hofmann purposely ingested 250µg of LSD and experienced extreme psychedelic effects whilst riding home on his bicycle. Hofmann then followed this with a series of experiments on himself, which he first wrote about on April 22nd, the first glimpse of what he has called "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality." he went on to say that "I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature," and that "any natural scientist who is not a mystic is not a real natural scientist." furthermore "Outside is pure energy and colorless substance, all of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings."

It was not until many years later, that LSD-25, became known in popular culture by the efforts of men like Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, as Acid.

Hofman has never been a fan of the popularisation of acid by men like Leary, in fact he has said that Leary's distribution and popularisation of LSD was, in fact, "a crime" and has added that it allowed the drug to be "hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960's and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed." Hofmann is in favor of LSD having the status of a controlled substance, in much the same way that morphine is today, as it is quite as capable of bringing you as Aldous Huxly once remarked about mescaline, to Heaven or to Hell.

Though Hofmann has been viewed as having an ambiguous view of his child, he seems to view it as essentially a positive gift to humanity. He calls it "medicine for the soul" and is dismayed by the worldwide illegalisation of the drug.

Now a century old, a recent New York Times interviewer described Dr. Hofmann as being "physically reduced but mentally clear" a man whose eyes grow bright when he recounts tales of his boyhood, the beauty of nature and the ability LSD gave him to witness "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality."

Now with mans mortality more on his mind as the centenary of his birth dawns, he said "I know LSD; I don't need to take it anymore, maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley". Huxley famously asked his wife, when he was on his death bed, to inject him with LSD and read to him from the Tibetan book of the dead.

Hofmann's recent interviews always come around to the one topic, mans oneness with nature, and our increasing alienation from that awareness. Hofmann insists that "It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature. In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans. The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature. And, yes, LSD, could help reconnect people to the universe."

Today Dr. Hofmann is attending a symposium in Basel, near his home, on the drug that he discovered and that blew open the Blakean doors of perception.

So again, Happy Birthday Dr. Hofmann, may you have many more.

Peace and Hope


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Witch Hammer - Genesis of the Burning Times

First published in 1486 the Malleus Maleficarum (Witch Hammer) was the primary guide for the identification, persecution, and punishment of Witches by the Christian establishment.

The Maleficarum set in stone many of the misconceptions and fears associated with Witches and Witchcraft. The infamous text was the handbook of the "burning times" - the period associated with the persecution of Witches, the genesis of which stemmed from the date of its publication through the Salem Witch trials, to the last recorded execution of a witch in Switzerland in 1782.

Authored by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, it was submitted to the University of Cologne on May 9th 1487, and was approved and welcomed by all of the Doctors then in the theological faculty.

The Maleficarum was given added weight by the Bull of Pope Innocent the VIII (whats in a name eh?) which was issued two years previously to the Maleficarum's submission to the University of Cologne in order to allow Kramer and Sprenger to continue with the good work of the Inquisition of the Alpine region. The Papal Bull was included with the original edition of the Maleficarum to make it appear as though the tome enjoyed papal sanction.

The book attempts to illustrate the various (imagined) nefarious means by which Witches were viewed to control, poison and subvert the known world. Examples such as: why women roast their first born child, how to raise tempests by torturing washerwomen, various means of making formal pacts with Satan and how Witches steal the penis's of men they despise are all explained in glorious medevial technicolor.

The Maleficarum is a document that allowed the powerful patriarchial christian establishment to persecute herbalists, mid-wives, and any independent women for over 250 years. General feeling is that few actual Witches (representatives of the Old Matriarchial religion, which Christianity was threatened by, though for little reason)were killed. Accurate figures as to the number of people killed in the Maleficarum's name are impossible to come by, as estimates are usually much higher than recorded deaths, guesses range from 35,184 - 63,850, sources for these numbers are provided here.

Read the full Malleus Maleficarum.

Peace and Hope


Witch Hammer - Genesis of the Burning Times (first published on 26/08/2003)

Friday, January 06, 2006

How Neutral is Ireland really?

(USAF planes at shannon Airport, 2005)

The Republic of Ireland, a country in which I was born, and so have been awarded citizenship by the government that rules over the territory, has, since the Second world war, declared itself to be a neutral state.

But yet, currently, some Islamic Extreemist clerics declare us to be a viable target in their war against the United States. How can they justify this when the Republic of Ireland declares itself to be a neutral state. First of all what constitutes a neutral state under international law?

Articles one, two and three of the Second Hague Convention, the principle international law covering neutrality state:

Article 1.

The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.
Art. 2.

Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.
Art. 3.

Belligerents are likewise forbidden to:

(a) Erect on the territory of a neutral Power a wireless telegraphy station or other apparatus for the purpose of communicating with belligerent forces on land or sea;

(b) Use any installation of this kind established by them before the war on the territory of a neutral Power for purely military purposes, and which has not been opened for the service of public messages.

Now I want all students to compare and contrast this with the following information about the Republic of Ireland, which has declared itself a neutral state since the formation of the Irish Republic in 1949 (as distinct from the Irish "Free State").

The Republic of Ireland's fulfillment to the letter of the law of the Second Hague Convention has always been questioned, though not always in Ireland itself, by way of some for instances:

1. When Ireland began to assert its neutrality during the Second World War, Ireland supplied some important secret information to the Allies; for example, the date of the D-Day invasion of France was decided on the basis of incoming Atlantic weather information which was covertly supplied to them by the Republic of Ireland but kept from Germany.

2. During the Kosovo war, when Ireland began allowed US armaments, including Cruise type missiles to pass through or over its territory while the US was engaged in an attack on Serbia, this was done with no UN Security Council approval.

3. In the ongoing war against Iraq and Afghanistan, the Irish government so far, has allowed the passage through Ireland of over 100,000 heavily armed US troops in the preparation for and the conduct of the US-led war against Iraq. Along with some very dubious looking lear jets, which "have not" been used in the practice of "extraordinary renditions" according to the US government. The independent MEDACT report has confirmed that up to 30,000 people were killed "major combat operations" section of this war.

No definition of neutrality allows states like the Republic of Ireland to allow or facilitate military operations to the extent of the above instances. Ergo Ireland is not a neutral country under any present definition of international law.

Ireland's status as a credible neutral country when future wars occur will only be restored by a referrendum that forces the inclusion of a specific neutrality clause that abides by the Second Hague Convention in the Irish Constitution.

Until then, unfortunatly, Ireland, in the eyes of Islamic jihadists will remain a viable target in their war against the American Aggressors.

When the first bombs go off in Ireland, to herald the new wave of terrorism, the government of this fine Republic will hold a news conference, publicly throw their hands up to heaven, and shout "why lord, why?". Then they will return, with heads hung low, into closed chambers and calculate the deaths incurred by the bombings and compare them to the jobs created and profits made from American multinationals investing in Irelands economy. It will, I imagine, be a savage mathematics.

Remember you heard it here first.

Peace and Hope


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Punishment Park Rises.

1970, the United States.

The death of the hippie era.

Vietnam was raging, the draft was in full force, African Americans were organising into groups like the Black Panthers. White middle class kids were forming groups like the Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Mass protests swept the country and more and more the elder caretakers of the government saw the difference between kids and insurgents against the American state eroded. The Nixon presidency was about to go into freefall. New legislation was being drafted to allow, should the need arise, for the establishment of what amounted to concentration camps.

In Kent State University, students were assailed by a shoot to kill policy at an anti-war demonstration on campus.

Several died.

It was now just as possible to get shot and killed on the way to class as it was in the Jungles of Indo-China.

Then there was the introduction of the McCarran, or Internal Security Act of 1950 (which was passed against President Truman's veto and was eventually repealed in 1990 - though FEMA still has the power to set up "work camps" for citizens in situations of extreme national danger), in which the U.S. government had given itself almost unlimited rights to incarcerate any U.S. citizen considered disloyal, traitorus, seditious or even subversive.

The American dream was dying, and the hands at its throat were those of Americans.

Everyone knew, but still, the government and the (even then) growing media clonglomerates began a stage management of information, the propaganda machine rolled inevitably into action.

At the same time, in California, a little known British filmaker named Peter Watkins had a series of educational films based on the American Civil War collapse on him. As he fought to keep these films alive, he felt that he was witnessing a new Civil War outside his window.

Watkins felt that he could not keep silent about this, or the increasing information control that was becoming ever more prevalent. And so he decided to make a film to comment on it.

Thus his 1971 opus "Punishment Park" was born.

Watkins wanted to do something that would reflect those troubled times, through the words of real people, and fight against the tightly scripted control that major media was embracing. And so in 1970, he raised fifty thousand dollars, got a basic crew together, and began filming what would now be known as a "mockumentary". Watkins recruited several young and older people from Los Angeles and gave them a brief of what the movie was to be about, then sent them away to develop their characters life and ideas. All scenes in the movie were to have no script and were to focus on real converstation between the actors, some of which were expressing their own views, and some who were not.

It was a triumph, as I could not tell who was playing against type and who was not, in fact, when you watch this film, it is incredibly difficult view anyone as actually "acting". This free flowing and amorphous method, that directly rebels against most cinema conventions worked so well that the Dainish government mistook this "metaphor movie" for an actual documentary and through diplomatic channels sent messages of concern to the U.S. government about how their judicial system was treating their own citizens. The U.S. government replied with the message that it was only a movie.

Punishment Park premiered in 1971, and caused what was then described as controversy, but today could only be described as outrage. American critics were almost universally appalled at the way this film, directed by an British man, portrayed the state of the nation in the land of the free.

Punishment Park was refused distribution, and only ran for a day in ONE cinema. It was then buried and was almost completely forgotten about until it's very timely release, now, thirty five years later on DVD.

Watkins idea centered around the creation of what he termed "Punishment Parks". Punishment park was his own extrapolation of where America was actually heading, as the Government incresingly viewed it's own citizens as internal enemies. The Park was to be a sixty mile stretch of desert where Political Prisoners were given the choice of a long gaol term, or three days in Punishment park. Those who chose the park option were to be pursued by representatives of the police, national guard and army across the desert with the ultimate goal of reaching an American flag flying at the end. If the participants reached the flag, they would be set free, if not they were to be arrested again to serve out their custodial sentence. This was all to allow for the training of security forces in the apprehension of what was then viewed as the greatest threat to America, its youth. In Watkins brutal vision things quickly get out of hand, and one Pole of the social structure sets out to deliberatly eradicate the other.

The Structure of the film is divided between an "Emergency Tribunal" which hears and then sentences individuals accused of sedition (Poets, Pacifists, Folk Singers, black journalists, black nationalists, etc) without jury. This section of the movie is particulary moving as the "actors" that play the accused trade unscripted verbal punches, that reflect their ideas with the "actors" that play the tribunal. These are all real issues from a real time from the lips of real people.

The second section, which is intercut between the "tribunal sections" focuses on another group of convicted seditionists who are simultaniously being pursued across the desert by law enforcement. It is brutal, violent, pathetic and hopeless as the citizens one by one succumb to the desert and the pursuit.

Punishment park has a seemingly unlikely premise, like that of a post apocalyptic movie. But it is chilling effective at hiding this through striking performances and skillfull camera work. It avoids falling into the easy pit of "counter-propaganda" or simple escapist horror as even in it's bloodiest moments it moves to an ambigious plane as both the Agents of the state and the radicals are shown as being to a certain extent victims of their own prejudice and fear.

Today, in these troubled times of Secret US detention centers, US torture of combatents, non-combatents and its own citizens alike, and with the increasing use of fear as a divisive weapon to erode civil liberties on US soil and solidify state power over any and all indivduals "Punishment Park" is less a historical record as a prescient warning of the potential evolution of the troubles of today. It is also a great example of how a more fluid and less controlled vision of cinema can produce something that is far more powerful, unpredictable and I would even say truthfull than a scripted movie ever can.

Though always bear in mind, it is just a metaphor.

Check it out, rent or buy on dvd, it's an essential piece of viewing and left me stunned and in a self imposed silence for minutes after the movie had ended.

Peace and Hope


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Away with the Wookies....

(Chewie's family, in "the Star Wars Holiday Special")

And now for something completely different, an anecdote.

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, my six year old self sat down in front of the t.v. and watched......this, this thing.

This "thing" is none other than the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (an early tribute to the Christmas replacement the great yearly "non denominational holiday" P.C. is strong in the force Luke.).

This was, even by George Lucas standards, a giant turd floating in the bowl of low brow 1970's popular culture.

Lucas only allowed one showing of it, in any of the European countries it made it's insidious way over to, and one showing in the U.S., he wanted to protect the mass hallucination of "Lucas as cinema auteur". He needen't have bothered, as Emporer Lucas was soon discovered to have been naked all along.

The plot, such as it is, involves Luke Skywalker and Han Solo battling the Imperial forces in order to help Chewbacca reach his imperiled family on the Wookiee planet - in time for Life Day, which oddly enough was the most important day of the year. Apparently in a vote it pipped "incredibly painful death day" to the post.

I have not seen it since, and to be honest it's probably for the best. However this is not so much a review of the Holiday special, as the telling of a story that is connected with.

Roll forward many years from the showing, and back a few years from the present, and I sat, stoned amongst stoners when the inevitable Star Wars conversation took place, sigh, again.

We eventually got around to the topic of Chewbacca. Then it hit me, sometime in the distant past I had seen a planet of peacefull wookies, sons, daughters, wives....of....Chewie.

Now no one in that band of brothers had seen it, and after being dragged to the floor, and having a cathetar brutally inserted, I had the piss relentlessly taken out of me, for what must have been an hour, it was generally believed I had lost my mind, and was imagining things.

From then on, for a period of two years, whenever I made a faux pas or said something that was against the group consensus, everyone giggled and said "FatherCrow's away with the Wookies!!".

"Away with the Wookies."

Two years, two long years of "away with the Wookies" "away with the Wookies" again and again and again.

They said I was insane, again and again and again.

I was starting to believe them, starting to believe that I had never seen it, that any memories of it was more than likely the result of some hallucinogenic childhood fever.

So, when I looked up "Star Wars" on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), and found this curious entry for the "Star Wars Holiday Special" which turned out to center on my fabled "Planet of the Wookies" I leapt up from my desk in work, yelped for joy, and shouted at the top of my voice, "I was right dammit, I was right".

It only took me thirty seconds or so to realise that If I kept it up, I would most likely be facing an Imperial disciplinary hearing. So I sat down, printed out some information took it over to my mates gaff and showed it to my detractors.

They Shame faced, have now been banished to "the planet of the Wookies" where they are forced to endure endless terrible anuerism inducing dialog that can even be discerned if you don't actually speak Wookie.

Thank you IMDB, thank you so much, their humiliation is now complete.

Now I have never been a fanatic Star Wars fan, though I did like it, the new movies I have always viewed as absolute trash. This is more a piece about the IMDB, which more than likely saved me from malicious mates. Mates who were on the verge convincing the two doctors needed to sign on the dotted line, on the basis of the aforementioned Wookie story. Thus commiting me to a dank asylum and regular courses of Electro Convulsive Therapy.

So thank you IMDB, for keeping me on the streets, and in the ethereal realms of the Blogosphere.

And as for my "friends", damn you, damn you all to hell........especially you Fentor.

I wouldn't advise it but if you really want to, and have Realplayer, you can see the Godawful Holiday Special

Peace and Hope.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Here we go again,

May blinding rays of enligtenment and love sweep you all to the skies.

Nothing you have done to damage yourself or others in the past need be repeated, ever.


It`s all down to a simple choice

A choice between fear and hate on the one hand, or, on the other, quite simply, love.

This choice can only be made by you.

Let`s all try to make this year a better one yes?

Peace and Hope