News Briefs 30-10-2014

  • October 2014 was 'the perfect synch storm', according to Twilight language researcher Loren Coleman.
  • How the shadow of Ebola is settling into the subconscious of New Yorkers.
  • My grandma, the poisoner.
  • I think I saw an article on how chocolate may help improve memory, but now I can't remember it…
  • The Dalai Lama sees a new spin in his Samsara.
  • Turning the evolution of complex life inside out.
  • Finding news species in the (urban) jungle.
  • Professor Brian Cox shows incredible pessimism at our search for life in the Universe.
  • The bad news: Traumatic stress may affect DNA. The good news: Psychotherapy may heal it.
  • How NASA tries to cope with the mind-altering aspects of space travel.
  • Paperclip? More like Paperweight! The CIA had THOUSANDS of Nazi 'assets' working for them during the Cold War.
  • Flying car prototype unveiled in Vienna.
  • Thanks to Movie Magic, UFOs are more than real. They're 'Hyperreal.'
  • Cash-Landrum expert Curt Collins weighs in on Nat Geo's recent take on the famous UFO case.
  • Stairway to Lawsuit? A judge will decide whether Led Zeppelin plagiarized their most famous song.
  • Red Pill of the Week: If you find a stranger man naked with your dog, then SURELY he must be the Anti-Christ.

Thanks to my great-aunt Pina, who used to give me toy cars every time we went to spend the Easter holidays in Ocotlán. Descanse en paz, tía

Quote of the Day:

"Paranoia is just having the right information."

~William S. Burroughs

Conspiracies? LOL Shut Up!

Want to debunk or dismiss points of view and theories that go against your own beliefs, but are just too under-informed and/or lazy to do it properly? No problem! You just simply have to label your adversary as a 'conspiracy theorist' and Voilà! That poor tinfoil-hatter will be seen as a kook faster than he can yell "Trilateral Commission."

Srsly though, we Grailers know that there are many stories and news which get covered in this site, and the fact that we link to them does *not* necessarily mean we endorse them or agree with them 100% of the time. TDG trusts in the intelligence of our members, yet we always remind them of our Caveat lector policy. We may end up agreeing to disagree, but that doesn't give us the right to belittle people of different opinions.

Yet the fact of the matter is that recently the term 'conspiracy theory' has been weaponized by mainstream media, or even websites aspiring to go mainstream, because it's easy to make fun of dissent than to give rational rebuttals.

Thus 'conspiracy theory' has turned into a blanket term in which EVERY dissenting or alternative thinking is piled up. So for example, if you have reasons to think genetically modified foods might not be as safe for consumption as the US Dept. of Health would have you believe, then by default you must also think all the governments in the world are controlled by shape-shifting Reptilians who used beam weapons and holograms of airplanes to take down the World Trade Center in 9/11, and are planning to deceive Humanity with a fake alien invasion designed to impose the New World OrderZOMGStartStockingUpTheBunker!!!

Maybe the way to stop this trend has to start with US in the alternative circles. We need to refrain of thinking that every. Single. Person! Who doesn't happen to agree with us is a complete fool or a brain-washed drone. There's a time for proselytizing, and there's a time when you need to move to better things.

Always remember: Those in power will NEVER admit that they were ever wrong about anything --they'll just quietly re-change their position hoping no-one ever noticed...

News Briefs 29-10-2014

No lack of imagination here:

Quote of the Day:

Imagination should be used, not to escape reality but to create it.

Colin Wilson

Ridley Scott to Bring the Life of Occult Rocket Scientist Jack Parsons to the Small Screen

Jack W Parsons

Deadline is reporting that sci-fi film legend Ridley Scott will be co-producing a mini-series for AMC that will be based on the life of 'occult rocketeer', Jack Parsons:

Based on George Pendle’s book Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life Of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside, the drama tells the story of Jack Parsons, a brilliant rocket scientist and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While a pioneer in research that had only recently been dreamed up in science fiction, his bright future gave way to ruin as Parsons headed down another, darker path into the occult community of mid-century Los Angeles.

Personally, I'm amazed that it's taken this long for someone to adapt Parson's fantastical life story into a movie or mini-series (for those unacquainted with Jack Parsons, be sure to read through 'The Tragic Tale of the Rocket Maker' here on TDG for a fine introduction to his story).

(via Boing Boing)


Kickstarter: Miskatonic West

It's been 77 years since H. P. Lovecraft passed away, and yet his influence on pop culture has only continued to grow; like some ancient alien virus spreading through our collective mind, triggering in all of us the kind of terrifying clarity that comes, when we are forced to pierce through the frail veneer of Reality... and look into the Void within...

A group of artists are intent of following in the footsteps of Dagon's favorite conjurer, by bringing to you Miskatonic West: A web series inspired by the Lovecraftian lore.

n the world of HP Lovecraft; the creaking of a door, a shadow passing in your periphery or a bizarre siting at sea could mean any number of things, natural or supernatural. The massive sea god, Dagon, may have really existed in a primordial age. Whole civilizations of alien beings may have coursed across the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. The ability to reanimate the dead may actually be possible. Lovecraft wrote about these possibilities at the turn of the 20th century. They thought he was a fiction writer. He wasn’t. Everything he wrote about exists, and now Lovecraft’s distinguished Miskatonic University has a Southern California location.

Miskatonic West follows the exploits of Sousaku Kaos, the head of Miskatonic's biology department, and his band of intrepid students as they pull the curtain back on a world of monsters, magic and mystery inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Helping the LAPD with “cases of interest,” Kaos and his students must uncover a plot to awaken Dagon, the ancient ocean god, by the Esoteric Cult of Dagon, before it and an army of deep ones invade the West Coast.

In making Miskatonic West, the creators hope to bring the same verisimilitude and realism that Lovecraft brought to his writings of close encounters with the monstrous and supernatural. With an eye towards cinematic integrity, we want to bring the world of Lovecraft into an emotionally honest light and capture what it would be like to encounter things that should not be and the toll it might take on one's sanity.

If you are a Lovecraft fan, a fan of monsters, mystery, suspense and human drama join us in making this web series a reality. Thank you.

The Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund this project finishes on November 3rd, so make sure you appease the Old Ones with a tribute in cash --lest they force you to pay it in blood instead >:)

News Briefs 28-10-2014

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Quote of the Day:

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.

John Mason

Review - 'Constantine' pilot

There’s a scene in the ill-regarded 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where Hugh Jackman, acknowledged to be generally perfect in this role, gets to deliver the character’s most representative quote: “I’m the best there is at what I do - and what I do ain’t very nice”  - and you just don’t believe him. Despite all Jackman’s aptness in the role, the line just doesn’t land.

There’s a similar moment in the pilot for the TV show Constantine, where Matt Ryan delivers a key quote for the title character - “I’m a nasty piece of work - ask anyone”.

I believed him. But... 


John Constantine has existed as a character (and, according to creator Alan Moore, possibly something more) since 1985. From his first appearance in Moore & Steve Bissette’s Saga Of The Swamp Thing, then his own comic Hellblazer (written at various points by the cream of British comic scribes) and finally the current New 52 reboot series Constantine, he’s been in print constantly (heh) for nearly thirty years. (For more deep background, this recent piece by Abraham Reisman at Vulture is excellent.)

Until now, he’s been adapted for the screen just once, with varied results. The 2005 film Constantine got mixed reviews, with fans of the character scathing in their response to the casting of Keanu Reeves in the lead.  Worse - instead of the character as shown in the comics, a blond working class magician born in Liverpool and matured in London, we got Keanu as a middle-class suburban Angeleno psychic with spooky tatts in a script that stripped away everything about the character that mattered, other than him being a smoker and a bastard. The film is basically an OK supernatural action thriller - but John Constantine isn’t really in it.

The 2014 TV series pilot ‘Non Est Asylum’ - leaked online some months back, now re-edited with new scenes - has certainly got John Constantine in it... shame is, at the moment he’s in a fairly run-of-the-mill TV supernatural action thriller.

First, the good stuff... 

As far as being a proper bastard John Constantine, true to the spirit of the comic... Matt Ryan had me at ‘bollocks’. He’s swaggering, sarcastic, dangerous - a nasty piece of work to be sure, but one whose anger, fear and damage is very near the surface. Not quite the cool customer of later comics, he’s still raw from recent traumatic events - I hope we see the truly on-it Constantine evolve as the show goes on.

The decision to give Constantine’s accent more than a hint of his Liverpool home was a smart one - it even gives the American pronunciation of his name (it should be Kon-Stan-Tyne, not Kon-Stan-Teen - it says so in the comic) a degree of plausibility. Almost.

Serious effort has gone into adapting Constantine’s comic history into a show set in the US and updated for our times. Major aspects of his back story are shown: the Newcastle Event (where his failure led to the death and damnation of a young girl named Astra at the hands of the demon Nergal and the condemnation of Johns' soul to the same when he dies), his subsequent incarceration in Ravenscar asylum (in the show, voluntarily), even his torment at his father’s hands due to the death of his mother in childbirth. His magical style is shown as eclectic, combining many traditions with Judaeo-Christian elements in what he calls a ‘proprietary blend’, just as it should be.

Other aspects of the character are toned down; network rules mean he can’t be seen smoking (but he will apparently be putting out a lot of ciggys in ashtrays), it’s been made clear by the showrunners that (at least for the moment) the show will not address his canonical bisexuality. And I’m a little peeved at how short his trenchcoat is... but for the most part, I’m damn happy with this Constantine.

The show itself, however, has an ironic hill to climb. We’re a long way from Conjob's starting days - an entire genre of urban fantasy has arisen, giving us a wide range of street-mages and demon-hunters, and this year alone the show is airing alongside such genre examples as Grimm, Sleepy Hollow and Supernatural (now in its tenth year). The pilot follows along all-too-similar lines to much of these shows’ output, though it’s crisply directed by Neil Marshal of Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Game Of Thrones fame - it’s going to have to do something special to win over an audience.

Several scenes from the pilot were changed from the ‘leaked’ version which appeared over the summer: most notably, what was to have been the female show lead and audience POV character has been unceremoniously written out be the end of the episode (a shame for actress Lucy Griffith as Liv... but the character was the weak link, through no fault of her own). Also, the final boss battle with the demon was reshot to have it appear in the form of Constantine-as-demon, a supposed look at his damned future, which lands much better than the generic menace in the original version.

Despite the hiccups and dilution, I have a lot of hope for the show. I like the aloof viciousness of Harold Perrineau’s angel ‘Manny’, Jeremy Davies is perfect casting as John’s unwilling associate and fellow Newcastle veteran Ritchie Simpson and the prospect of major Hellblazer characters such as Papa Midnite and Zed (as the new female lead), as well as other DC occult figures, holds much promise. Hell, I even like this version of Chas (now an American cabbie, nicely played by Charles Halford, formerly Reggie Ledoux in True Detective). 

So, give it a punt. Know what I mean?


Revisiting the Age of the Sphinx Controversy with Robert Bauval and Robert Schoch

The Great Sphinx and Pyramids

Nostalgic for the halycon days of the 'alternative Egypt' craze of the 1990s? It seems that two decades later, it's due for a comeback. We already know that Graham Hancock is revisiting the areas covered in his hugely influential Fingerprints of the Gods - presumably including ancient Egypt - in a 2015 release titled Magicians of the Gods. And now two other big names of alternative Egyptology, Robert Bauval and Robert Schoch, have announced they are teaming up to write a book on the 'Age of the Sphinx' controversy. From Robert Bauval's Facebook page:

I am please to announce that Dr. Robert Schoch and I have decided to team up in order to write a book on the Sphinx. Since the early 1990s on the one hand Schoch's name has been associated with the 'Age of the Sphinx' geological debate and, on the other hand, I have been associated with a similar debate based on astronomy. Since then much new evidence has come to light after twenty years of new research and on-location expeditions which we will present in this new book, as well as tackle heads-on the various criticism and academic attacks that were thrown at us over the years. No punches will be spared in this forceful book that will once and for all hammer in the last nail to this intellectual coffin of Egyptology. Stay tuned for more news....

Link: Sphinx: The Quest for the Source of Civilisation


News Briefs 24-10-2014

“Life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.”

Quote of the Day:

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”

A. Schopenhauer

News Briefs 23-10-2014

Someone make this game happen, stat!

Thanks Red Pill Junkie, @GrailSeeker and @MysteriousUniv.

Quote of the Day:

It ain't how long you live, it's how you live your life
Burn bright until the grave don't shy away from the light

You+Me, "Open Door"