Well, it finally happened. You Gringos have been rooting for the Zombie Apocallypse so hard, that it looks like it's finally here! Unfortunately for me, it seems Mexico is to become ground zero for the rising of the un-dead.
What's even worse, these zombies are not just going to take over the world --first they're gonna take over our governments.
Mexican news are reporting that in the town of San Agustín Amatengo (Oaxaca) Lenin Carballido, a man who was declared dead in 2010, has just won the elections for mayor. That the dead leave their graves to vote is nothing new around here, but to my knowledge this is the first time a ghoul is to govern over the living!
But perhaps I'm getting carried away by paranoia: Turns out Carballido faked his own death in order to avoid apprehension, after being accused of participating in the gang-rape of a woman in 2004. When the authorities learned of his supposed death due to a diabetic coma, the charges were dropped.
I think I liked him more as a zombie, don't you agree?
Then again, if he really happens to be the vector of the zombie virus, I don't think we have much to worry about; when surrounded with Mexican politicians, any zombie looking for brains is guaranteed to starve.
For my latest contribution on the Intrepid blog, I decided to perform a little gedankenexperiment --'thought experiment' in German, Einstein's preferred method of work-- with everyone's favorite crashed saucer case.
For the 4th installment of The Grimerica Show, my Canuck Compadres Darren & Graham have a very special treat: Dr. Stanley Krippner, a veritable legend in the field of parapsychology & shamanic studies, who has recently co-authored The Voice of Rolling Thunder: A Medicine Man's Wisdom for Walking the Red Road [Amazon US & UK].
Rolling Thunder, as some of you may know --& I have to confess I didn't know anything about him until I listened to Stanley on Christopher Ryan's Tangentially Speaking-- was a fascinating character; a Native American shaman who didn't shy away from sharing his wisdom with the Western world, which also included mingling with some of the most important figures of the 60's & 70's counter-culture movement, including The Grateful Dead & Bob Dylan. If there can be such a thing as a rockstar shaman, I think he got as close to it than anyone else.
Oh yeah, and during the 1st hour I joined the boys to discuss some of the latest news making the rounds on the net, including --what else?-- the NSA surveilance programs. Isn't it nice that we now have a right to be paranoid?
Today is the 4th anniversary of the fire at the ABC nursing home, which claimed the lives of 49 children. I wrote about it 3 years ago, in the post The ABC's of Impunity.
4 years later, and the parents are still claiming justice for their lost children.
4 years later, and no one resigned over this tragedy.
4 years later, and none of the higher-ups involved has ever put a foot on jail --in fact, many of them continued advancing their political career. That's Mexico for you.
Oh sure, two mid-level officials were apprehended. The system demanded the inevitable scape goat. But the maneuver was of little comfort for the fathers & mothers who saw their lives torn forever, on that infamous day.
As if 4 years were enough to heal such a scar.
Image: BURNED by Pete Marovich
As promised, the Grimerica Show podcast featuring yours truly has been uploaded, making this my 1st official podcast interview ever!
As such, a word of caution: even though my friends Darren & Graham were wonderful, and I spent many hours chatting with them last year at the Paradigm Symposium, I couldn't help feeling a bit nervous. I'm fully convinced that speaking a given language involves a more complex mental process than the mere act of reading and/or hearing it, and even though I'm pleased with how my writing skills have improved over the years, I cannot say the same about my conversational prowess --more than a few times my tongue got locked during the middle of a sentence, and I ended up repeating 'you know' more than I would want to.
(I've also never been too crazy about the tone of a voice, but what can you do?)
Having said that, I do think we 3 managed to keep the conversation interesting. And since I'm gonna become a semi-regular contributor in future shows, I hope such deficiencies will be polished with enough practice :)
The next episode will feature my Cosmic Compadre Micah Hanks a.k.a. The Mouth from the South --you just know it's gonna a be a must-hear ;)
My colleagues in crime at the Gralien Report have recently launched a new webcomic titled Gray Street, the brain child of the multi-talented Caleb Hanks --musician, trans-humanist & man about town. What the younger sibling of Micah is trying to explore with the comic is his own ideas about the Singularity, the implications of the rise of strong A.I. & how it would impact our society, along with some of the more Fortean themes the guys touch upon on their weekly edition of the Gralien Report podcast. All this & more peppered with elements of what we might as well call the Gralien Mythos, which have slowly emerged as the show progressed & should be familiar to their dedicated fans; it is common knowledge for instance, that the Gralien dudes transmit their pirate signal from a bunker located hundreds of miles beneath the surface --cigarette breaks are a real bitch.
The real live members of the Gralien Report appear as characters on Gray Street, and I'm really stoked to announce that yours truly will also be one of the regular characters! Caleb asked me if I was interested in becoming a part of his comic, and explained to me what he had in mind for the Red Pill Junkie in the story arc --I don't want to give too much away, but you can be certain I'm gonna end up saving everybody's ass, and after that do a triumphal ride toward the sunset ;)
You'll notice Caleb chose to portray me with my luchador mask, the one I chose to wear during my trip to Minneapolis for the Paradigm Symposium last year. I guess it made quite the impression!
Actually, I believe I've never fully explained my motivation to do such a thing, and now it's as good a time as any to do so. I think it was something I came up with more or less spontaneously, during one of my many e-mail exchanges with Micah, fueled by the fact that he really didn't know how I looked like. Not only that, but even here at TDG my friends Greg & co. hadn't a clue about my actual physical appearance. I can't really say it was something deliberate on my part (at least initially) but my natural reservations & shyness eventually helped in the crafting of this virtual persona I've slowly sculpted during all these years. It was a different approach to the usual anonimity favored by online trolls --I use the nickname on all the websites I participate on, and was utterly dismayed when I discovered that Google+ insisted I used my Meatspace name when I subscribed-- and I'd like to think Samuel Clemens would have conducted in a similar fashion, had he enjoyed the existence of the Internet during his career.
Knowing none of my friends, whom I've interacted through the web all these years, would know what to expect once I met them face to face, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass away! So I went out & bought a mask in the store that provides gear & customes to all the actual professional wrestlers here in Mexico; the selection was made based not only on aesthetic considerations, but I tried to find a mask that would be fairly comfortable to wear with my eyeglasses, and that would enable me to speak unhinged --engaging in long chats is probably not in the wish list of many wrestlers, I reckon. And when the time came I packed it with the rest of my clothes --something that made me incredibly nervous, triggering many scenarios in my mind with some irascible TSA inspector lifting the thing out of my suitcase, yelling "WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS?!" -- and once I found myself on the hotel lobby, to my dismay I had ran out of air time on my cell phone, with none of my friends on sight.
--"Now what?" I thought.
I stood on the hall leading to the conference room (where the event had already started) for a few minutes, all alone except for a few guests passing by, with the mask in my hand. I felt anxious & out of place, wondering what I was thinking when I came out with the silly idea of storming into a room full of strangers, looking like a character out of an old lucha libre film. My old habits of social ackwardness were starting to kick in.
But then something completely unexpected happen: I stared at the empty holes of the mask, and it was as if the thing was telling me "are we doing this or what, man? I didn't come all this way for nothing!" . Suddenly a rush of boldness coursed through me, I said to myself "fuck it", which was maybe my reply back to the mask. I put it on, and off I went heading to where the registering table was located.
I'll never forget the expression in Cassidy O'Connor's face. She was there helping out with the registering and handling of badges, and after a few seconds of puzzled perplexity she finally uttered a tentative "can I help you?".
The rest is, as they say, history...
Later it dawned on me that what had started as a goofy practical joke, had turned into something much more interesting & powerful. Without realizing it I had performed a feat of what Alejandro Jodorowsky would call Psychomagic. His theory is that through the mixing of art, symbology & psychology --with humor being also a key ingredient-- a person can let go of its nasty habits & mental vices. Putting myself through the test of overcoming my shyness through theatricality, I was able to embody the character of the Red Pill Junkie; to bring into physical reality this avatar that until then had only existed as texts disseminated all over the blogosphere.
People discover that nasty trolls turn into sheeple individuals, once they are ripped of their veil of anonimity, With me it's exactly the opposite: I've always strived to follow a high standard of Netiquette with all of my online comments --which is probably the reason I got the job of news admin here-- and have tried to be careful in never writing something that would directly offend the person I'm dialoguing with, on any particular subject; at least that's been my goal, though if I have hurt you in the past I offer my sincere apologies. In fact I happen to be a more cordial individual online than when I interact with people on Meatspace --that's when I often turn into a real SOB ;)
Because the thing is that I happen to like myself more as the Red Pill Junkie, than as Miguel Romero. I'm nicer to people, funnier, & far more socially engaged. RPJ is the man I always wanted to become.
So now I face before me a very interesting challenge: to try to transform myself completely into this imaginary creation of mine, and remain that way 24/7. During Paradigm Symposium I managed to stay 'in character' during the whole weekend, but once I was back in Mexico I started to revert into my old dull self. Perhaps this is what Carlos Castañeda was referring to, when he wrote about 'erasing your personal history.'
And of course this wouldn't mean wearing the damn mask all day long! I imagine it would make the act of shaving in the morning even more of a chore. If I manage to pull this off, the teathricality won't be necesary anymore. The Red Pill Junkie will finally hack into my mental server, and take control of my hardware indefinitely --eat your heart out, Agent Smith!
This is the artwork for the new podcast of the Grimerica website, commissioned by my good friends up north Darren Grimes & Graham Dunlop.
You'll notice I left something of an 'Easter egg' *ba-dum tss* for seasoned UFO buffs ;)
The 1st episode of The Grimerica Show is now available on their website (the podcast will soon be offered via iTunes). It features amateur astronomer Efrain Palermo, who has spent several years carefully studying the pictures of Mars taken by NASA, and found some pretty interesting anomalies. We're not talking about petrified Bigfoots or Martian sand ships here, but the kind of thing that one day is considered total lunacy & 10 years later is considered common knowledge --i.e. the presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars.
I know there's plenty of 'paranormal podcasts' on the market out there, but if you decide to give TGS a chance, you'll notice the easy-going & laid-back approach of Darren & Graham makes for a very entertaining experience --unless you're uncomfortable with a few profanities uttered here & there during your work hours, in which case I suggest putting your headphones on.
Plus Mr. Palermo is a fascinating individual, one who proves a layperson can make an important contribution to Science, even if initially said contribution finds resistance among the more sclerotic levels of the Academic apparatus. His website is Palermo Project.
And finally, some disclosure: I will be appearing as one of the guests in some future episode of The Grimerica Show --my first genuine podcast interview baybeh!
Not only that, but the guys asked me to become something of a regular contributor to their show. I'll let you know more details in the future.
Click here & let Darren & Graham turn your world upside down!
[UPDATE]: The Grimerica Show is now available on iTunes. You can subscribe by clicking here, and if you like it please be sure to write a nice review on the Apple store.
Also, Darren tells me the episode with my interview will be posted next Friday --so maybe this will be the day when I finally break the Internet :P
For my latest contribution to the Intrepid blog, I tackle on what I think is the most serious malady in the XXIst century: the scarcity of Trust.
Jump in, you'll like it --Trust me!
Disney has withdrawn their intentions to trademark Día de Muertos. Good job, everyone!
Criticism exploded on social media in recent days as word spread of Disney’s efforts to trademark the name associated with the November holiday. Although the studio still is moving forward on its Pixar project inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, it has withdrawn its application to trademark “Dia de los Muertos” for various merchandising applications.