Friday, February 17, 2017

BREAKING NEWS!!!: President Trump is Revealed to be Andy Kaufman

This would be the ONLY way that any of this makes any sense at all... 

... if the national embarrassment that we now have as President was actually subversive comedian Andy Kaufman - still alive & pranking the world with an elaborate disguise.

(seen on Weird Wide Web)

After listening to Trump's ridiculous & obnoxious media-bashing press conference yesterday, I don't know which is more unbelievable- how much of a narcissistic moron the guy really is, or that there are still people who actually listen to his self-centered ramblings and aren't disgusted by what a clueless shithead he is.


In fact, it's apparent from reading comments from his supporters that they actually think the press conference was an awesome beatdown of the "fake news". This is as delusional as claiming that a braying jackass is singing Italian opera. Trump looks and sounds like an absolute dope to anyone not brainwashed by right-wing propaganda & their own cognitive biases.

I think Howard Stern was right when he said Trump just wanted to run for President to get exposure for his brand & TV show. After he actually won, it quickly became clear that he was in waaaay over his head. His incompetence and conflicts of interest are already catching up to him in his first month. We'll see how long this flaming train wreck can barrel along, but maybe there's still a chance that the mask will be ripped off to reveal it was all just a big joke.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shadow President Steve Bannon


We're only a few weeks into the Trump Presidency and it's already as crazy as anyone with the least bit of foresight could have predicted.

He just asked for the resignation of Michael Flynn, his National Security Advisor- because due to his illegal collusion with Russia, he was a danger to national security! This falls in line with Trump picking the worst possible candidates for high-level government positions, like Betsy DeVos for Education, Rick Perry for Energy, Tom Price for Health & Human Services, and on & on & on...

Trump is truly an ignoramus, and he has been busy signing executive orders that he doesn't understand fully. These hastily-crafted orders either have no chance of being implemented, or have already met resistance from the court system, due to their questionable constitutionality. It's clear that the administration is testing the limits of our system of checks and balances that limit Presidential power. Trump & his sycophants are autocratic fascists and would love to have authoritarian control with no oversight.

So the question is, if Trump isn't formulating these executive orders, who is pulling the levers behind the scenes? There are a few close advisors who have been in the spotlight. Probably the most important is former editor of pro-Trump propaganda outlet Breitbart news, & consummate asshole, Steve Bannon.

Cosmo:

Bannon was Trump's campaign manager, and was rewarded for his influence with the position of chief strategist and senior advisor in The White House. On top of these roles, Trump elevated him to a role on the National Security Council, while limiting the roles of the military and intelligence advisors. This completely insane move would be as if President Obama placed Arianna Huffington, Bill Maher or some other liberal media figure on the Security Council.

People see Steve Bannon's fingerprints on most of the actions & orders The White House has undertaken since the inauguration. This is very disturbing to anyone who is not caught up in the Trump cult of personality, because of Bannon's warped worldview and ideology.

Politico:

Bannon has a long history of offensive statements and wacked-out views. However, there are a couple of direct quotes that I think sum up the danger of this man being the controlling force behind the most powerful office in the world:

"Darkness is good," says Bannon, 
"Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. 
It only helps us when they..."
(I believe by "they" he means liberals and the media, 
already promoting calls for his ouster) "...get it wrong. 
When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."


“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.  
Shocked, I asked him what he meant.  
“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. 
I want to bring everything crashing down, 
and destroy all of today’s establishment.” 




Friday, February 10, 2017

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles


About 5 years ago, I came across this cover of a pamphlet from 1965, entitled "Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles".

I thought it was humorous & ridiculous, so I've had it sitting in my emails, but never posted it. Recently, on BoingBoing I saw more about this weird convergence between the rise of rock n' roll and the "Red Scare".

BoingBoing posted a link to a PDF of the full pamphlet, and also a YouTube video with an audio version & lecture by the author himself, David A. Noebel (who sounds like a really fun guy...).




The Beatles are definitely my favorite band, and I believe they were geniuses who were unparalleled in music history. They were a huge influence on my Dad, when he was a kid in the 1960's. The first band that he joined emulated the style & sound of The Beatles. He exposed me to the amazing catalog of music The Beatles produced when I was very young. So, I grew up appreciating the wide range of styles & creative depth of their work. 

Therefore, when I hear people like Noebel talk about the music of The Beatles as 'subversive', 'communist infiltration' or 'mind control', I immediately feel revulsion at the simple-minded dismissal of their artistic brilliance.

After reading the pamphlet, his main premise appears to be that The Beatles music "hypnotizes" the listener through specific beats and other harmonic effects that alter the nervous system. Yeah, well, no shit! The purpose of music is to effect the nervous system and the energies of the body. Where Nobel goes off the deep end is to claim that The Beatles music was specifically engineered by communist scientists, to warp the minds of the Christian youth & destroy Western culture.

Back in the Dark Ages of the presidency of George W. Bush, I used to get pamphlets by Lyndon LaRouche denouncing Bush, Cheney, & their neoconservative cabal. He also denounced The Beatles, claiming they were part of a Satanic social engineering program. This was something I just couldn't jive with, regardless of how much I agreed with the rest of his rhetoric against the corrupt government and elite.

These old-school, uptight jerks are just looking to divide everything into a simplistic view of "good" vs. "evil".  They are always looking to find an enemy in things they don't agree with. It also seems that they cannot comprehend the forces that move artists to create work that resonates and moves the masses. They dismiss this powerful creative influence as "mind control", that must be orchestrated by some nefarious, behind-the-scenes puppet masters.

Now, I'm not saying that there are no people or groups attempting subversive or downright evil influence through art & entertainment. There are definitely people with manipulative and even malicious agendas in control of various aspects of society. However, I think it's ridiculous to say that The Beatles were controlled by such a motivating factor. If anything, they were actually trying to open people's minds and break the cultural programming that so many other forms of media perpetrate.

They definitely helped expand my own mind to new ideas & modes of creativity. They are one of my biggest inspirations and have been a positive influence on countless people, especially musicians, spiritual seekers, and other artistic personalities. To say they were some kind of malevolent and corrupting force is just ignorance of the worst kind.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The Fascist Color Palette

As a designer, I am trained to find visual patterns. One of the many things I notice is color schemes used in advertising, art, & design.

Even political movements can have a visual identity. The word "fascist" has been thrown around a lot since The Gold Shithead, aka President A$$hole, Donald Trump defied all rational understanding of reality, by becoming President of the United States of America.

Let's look at the exact definition of "fascist" to see if it truly applies:

Fascism:

1. a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2. a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

If we take these definitions at face value, then yes, Donald Trump is the very definition of a fucking fascist:

Trump is the militaristic "law & order" candidate, despite never having actually served the country in any way at all • he thinks that he alone is the solution to all the country's problems • he absolutely cannot tolerate opposition or criticism in any form • dismissal by his administration of any news or information that contradicts their assertions as "fake" • he favors nationalist rhetoric over the idea of personal freedom • he is already creating a government "for-the rich-by-the-rich", that increases the already unacceptable gap between ultra-wealthy & the poor • he thinks he can just sign executive orders & do whatever he wants, with no checks or balances • and most of all, he fosters a devotional cult of personality where he seeks constant adoration.

I could go on & on, but I think this pretty well sums it up.

Since sometimes visual symbolism is more effective than words, I decided to make a graphic comparison using "The Fascist Color Palette"- consisting of black, red, & white.

These colors subconsciously represent danger and power. They were used most notably by the Nazi Party, and also by George Lucas in Star Wars to visually define The Galactic Empire- controlled by the quintessential fascist dictator, Emperor Palpatine and his fellow Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

It just so happens that these colors, including the black suit, white shirt, & "red power tie" make up the common wardrobe of Donald Trump, as well. Is it just a coincidence? Maybe. I'm just pointing out the obvious similarity. It's up to Trump & his administration to prove me wrong. Unfortunately, I'm not confident at all that he will...

(click to enlarge)

... and yes, I realize that other Presidents and leaders have wore this color combination. Any position of power, including the U.S. Presidency dances around the boundaries of fascism and authoritarianism. However, this has become Trump's signature look, and he has already tried recklessly stomping over that boundary, in a way that makes his administration's intentions clear. They would love a Trump™ Dictatorship with no opposition. The only things stopping them are the genius of our system of check's and balances, the free press, and the the resistance of the American people who didn't vote for this stain on our country's history.

Friday, February 03, 2017

"Flower of Life" Yoga Mat

I have started posting about examples of the "Flower of Life" pattern used in commercial design.

The Flower of Life is an ancient symbol of interlocking circles that I used to create a strategy game, "Da Vinci's Challenge". It is a beautiful pattern, so it is not surprising to see it used in design applications.

My fiancée bought her mom a yoga mat for her birthday, and The Flower of Life was used in the package art.

The company is Gaiam, and they also made the yoga block I posted about before. Their logo is actually the central floret of The Seed of Life


Considering they create products for yoga, meditation, and spiritual fitness, it is not surprising that they incorporate sacred geometry principles into their graphic design.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Cosmic Eye: Scale of the Universe

On Reddit's r/space, I saw this animated GIF that is one of the most important things a person can watch to get a glimpse of the nature of reality.


It is a journey through the known scales of the Universe, from the farthest cosmic expanse (macrocosm) down to the subatomic quantum level (microcosm). The human being lies somewhere in the middle of this seemingly infinite continuum, the conscious nexus of experience.

Here's a video version in HD:




There have been other attempts to visually represent the vast scales of inner & outer space, some of which I have posted before:

Scale of the Universe 2

Powers of Ten (10)

The Known Universe

All these are tools for our minds to help comprehend the incomprehensible- the very nature of the Universe of which we are an integral part.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Little Golden Book of Alternate Facts

In the Trump era of "fake news," a new term has been introduced to confuse the public & obfuscate the truth.

President (*gag*) Trump's senior advisor & propaganda minister KellyAnne Conway used the words "alternative facts" during an interview on Meet the Press. She used this ridiculous phrase to describe Press Secretary Sean Spicer's claim that Trump had the biggest inauguration crowd ever, a demonstrable lie. She couldn't even say it without laughing, because she knows what a load of bullshit she's spewing.



Artist Tim O'Brien took this absurd declaration and showed us how to properly educate our children in this age of extreme double-speak, by creating "The Little Golden Book of Alternate Facts":


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Crazy Trippin' Fashion Dude

I've been posting on this blog for so long, that sometimes I remember posting things... but forget where & when I posted them!

Recently, I was looking for this image of a guy in an insane, ridiculous outfit. However, I couldn't remember what I named it, or what I posted it under.

I just saw the photo again on FFFFound!, which is where I originally saw it. I had to do  a reverse Google Image search, & luckily my blog post came up on the front page. The post was about a crazy abstract website, that unfortunately seems to no longer exist.

The caption I put on it was "Crazy Tripping' Dude" which, considering his fashion choice, was pretty accurate. Now, it is archived again, for the benefit of humanity & my future reference.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Thinking or Listening?

I saw this quote by one of my favorite thinkers (...or is it listeners?), Terence McKenna, on Awakening Our Truth.

It refers to to the mystery of consciousness and the inner voice we experience.

Where does this voice come from?...

The McKenna quote is appropriately accompanied by the image of a thinking chimp, being manipulated by an alien entity- with what appears to be The Flower of Life over his third eye. This process of evolving consciousness is mediated by the psylocibin mushroom.


"Half the time you think you're thinking,
you're actually listening."
-Terence McKenna

Sunday, January 22, 2017

For Approval


I saw this video on Reddit, and thought it was appropriate with the current climate of nonsensical reality we find ourselves in.

It is called "For Approval" by Mainframe design studio.


It is a good example of how creative use of photo-realistic computer graphics can fool our senses and warp our expectations.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Inauguration of President A$$hole

Today is the day, where against all odds & common sense, Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as The President of the United States.

This is truly a historic event. For the first time, a shitty businessman, expert in casino bankruptcy, con-artist, reality TV host, sexual predator, and person of orange color will be the most powerful person on the planet.

I have no doubt the coming years with Trump as the head of the Executive Branch will be a epic disaster. His shameless ignorance and ego-maniacal narcissism, as well as his endless ethical conflicts of interest, will lead to corruption in government that will make everything that came before it look like child's play.

Of course, I would prefer more than anything to be wrong, and I'd love to see a successful Trump administration lead this country with positive results. That, unfortunately, is foolish, and like being in a bus with a irritable monkey driving toward a cliff and hoping the monkey quickly figures out how to hit the brakes or steer away. 

Although he hasn't made any official decisions yet, his ridiculous first press conference & his cabinet picks are all the indication I need to see where this is going. Rick Perry for Dept. of Energy? Tom Price for Sec. of Health & Human Services? Betsy DeVos for Sec. of Education? Get the fuck out of here with this shit. These people either are clueless about the departments they are supposed to run, or actively want to destroy it. Trump is simply fulfilling the Republican dream of dismantling the federal government from within. I don't think the government is the solution to all our problems, but there are some things government is needed for, and these people want nothing more than to hand all services and authority to corporate and private interests.

I was watching him talk at one of his donor events last night and it was mind-numbing to think this self-centered doofus is going to have so much power.

Anyway, I made the picture below back in 2011, during the days of the "birther" controversy, when Trump was leading the charge for Obama to show his birth certificate. I couldn't stand this asshole back then, and would never have imagined that America was so masochistic & fucked up that we'd actually elect this buffoon.

My Nostradamus-like visionary powers are both a blessing and a curse, but this graphic could never be more appropriate than this day of national reckoning.... or is it "wreck-ening"? ...We'll see soon enough.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Flower of Life" Yoga Block

I previously posted about examples of the pattern known as "The Flower of Life" used in the design of commercial products

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

For New Years I was over my brother's house, and his soon-to-be wife had this yoga block with a sacred geometry motif. It has the center circle of the Seed of Life symbol, and is covered by The Flower of Life pattern.


Yoga is a discipline that is intertwined with spirituality, so it's not surprising that this design is incorporated into such equipment.

Incidentally, I am heading with my fiancee to a "Yin-Yang Yoga" class tonight. I have taken yoga classes before, and she found a new place close to where we live so I'm going to check it out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cursed City of the Monkey God



A couple years ago, I posted about the ruins of the "City of the Monkey God" that was found in the jungles of Honduras.


It turns out that exploring the lost city is even more difficult than anticipated. Besides the remote, overgrown nature of the location, there are vipers and parasitic diseases which make visiting the area extremely dangerous. Many of the team members exploring the site were infected after being bitten by sand flies.

National Post:

This has given rise to the idea that the city is "cursed" in some way. However, it is more attributable the fact that it is in a wild and hostile jungle environment. Having a legend around the city makes it more exciting and dramatic, but the fact is that rainforests are usually inhospitable due to predators and disease.

The only "curse" is that of human mortality, in the face of dangerous circumstances.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Geometric Techno Buddha

I liked this fusion of techno-spiritual elements that I saw on Inner Cosmos.

The face of a buddha is overlaid with The Flower of Life sacred geometry pattern, a spherical hexagonal grid, and digital circuits emanating from the "third eye" pineal area.

The black & blue-green color combo also happens to be one that really appeals to me. It is a color that feels serene, yet futuristic.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our Personal Bacteria Cloud


I am fascinated by microbiology and the idea of lifeforms and ecosystems existing at levels below the threshold of our perceptions.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I've posted previously about how microorganisms exist in the atmosphere. Well, it turns out that bacteria also form a cloud around the immediate space around every human being.

Gizmodo:

This doesn't really bother me because I don't fear germs or microbes. I see myself as living in symbiosis with them.

I try to eat well & stay healthy so my immunity isn't compromised, which is how these organisms take hold in the body. If you take care of yourself so your biological defenses are strong, it's less likely you will be infected by a pathogen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence


When I was a kid, my siblings & I would watch the awesomely demented cartoon "Ren & Stimpy". It's one of the reasons I now have a slightly warped sense of humor & an appreciation for the absurd.

I previously posted about the ridiculous jingle for a toy "Log" that was in one of the episodes.

The Monkey Buddha:

There was another episode where Ren comes home to find that Stimpy & his cousin have ruined their home and all his collectibles. His rare dinosaur droppings were painted like Easter eggs & his collection of incurable diseases were poured into the sink.

Ren was rightfully pissed off (pun intended), so he decided to pee on the board game they playing at the time. Unfortunately, this game was "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence".

This insane game also had a catchy, hilarious jingle:



Here's the scene where Ren comes home & ends up finding out why the game has its name:



Monday, January 09, 2017

Fractal Branching

One of my favorite topics is the mathematical field of fractals. I think it is one of the most important conceptual tools to understanding the nature of reality.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I saw this animated GIF on the Tumblr blog Crystal Realities


The animation shows the fractal branching pattern that forms in so many natural processes. This mysterious, self-organizing pattern maximizes the use of a given area, and is present in phenomena as diverse as blood vessels, leafs & plants, rivers & waterways, and lightning.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

"Fake" News

2017 is going to be a hell of a year. Here in the US, we are going to have a thoroughly corrupt President who is a pathological liar with narcissistic personality disorder, and a Republican Congress whose very first act was to attempt to dismantle their Ethics Committee.

To exacerbate the situation, our modern age has endless media sources that propagate information, opinions, and ideas from all perspectives- regardless of accuracy or intent.

When I was growing up, the idea of "fake news" was limited to media like The Weekly World News, with stories about Bat Boy and the President meeting with aliens.


Now, there are so many people and outlets creating content that it is increasingly difficult for the average person to distinguish fact from fiction. There are people taking advantage of this muddled media environment to raise thousands of dollars in ad revenue by making up fake news stories. They do this by taking advantage of people's willingness to share items on social media that reflect their worldview, regardless of the source.

Digiday:

Unfortunately, the population is severely lacking in the one skill that would help cut through the bullshit- the ability to think critically. People have not been taught how to be skeptical, research, and be objective. The result is that people either believe nothing at all, or they only trust what already reinforces their existing belief system.

It's so bad, that websites are giving advice on how to spot "fake news". These tips may seem like common sense to those with the ability to critically analyze information, but it is evidently something that much of the public needs to learn.

Washington Post:

Here are the points from the article above:

• Determine whether the article is from a legitimate website
(although some people would argue the "legitimacy" of certain websites)
• Check the ‘contact us’ page
• Examine the byline of the reporter and see whether it makes sense
• Read the article closely
• Scrutinize the sources
• Look at the ads
• Use search engines to double-check

In this era of "click & share" this checklist is more than the typical person is willing to do. However, it's a good guide for the person who wants to make sure a source isn't completely full of shit.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: The Twilight Zone

It's New Year's Eve, January 31, 2016... the arbitrary designation of the end of one year, and the beginning of another.

Although it is a cultural and social creation, the idea of a new year is a symbolic time of change & renewal. Personally, this past year has been very transformative for me. I got engaged to the love of my life, celebrated my Dad's retirement, enjoyed vacations in the Poconos & the shore, and experienced significant professional growth.

For the world at large, 2016 was a crazy year, perhaps defined in the minds of many by an event that would have been considered totally absurd a year ago. Narcissistic womanizer, reality show host, & life-long con artist Donald J. Trump won the Electoral College vote to become President-elect of The United States of America.

It was an outcome that stunned most people, and it still feels like an episode of "The Twilight Zone". I saw this image of Rod Serling in front Trump at the Oval Office and thought it summed up the feeling perfectly.

 seen on Weird Wide Web

If a moral, competent, and wise Republican had existed & won the election, the sense of dread would be much less. However, the majority of the country (who did not vote for this dangerous buffoon) is horrified that they are now subject to all the idiotic decisions he will undoubtedly make, or pass off onto his cabinet of swamp dwellers & a regressive Congress.

He hasn't even been sworn in yet, and almost every day he's making headlines with his ignorance, shameless lying, and crass behavior. This was his New Years' message, calling his fellow Americans "enemies" instead of "opponents".



We are so fucked with this man-baby running things...

He just gave his first press conference as President-elect, and for some bizarre reason had Don King out there with him, wearing a ridiculous outfit & waving American, Israeli, and Russian flags. Can you imagine the conservatives heads exploding if Obama made a spectacle of himself like this? I'm going to make a list of all the things Trump's done already, but imagining the reaction from right-wingers if it was Obama doing it instead.

Trump is completely incapable of giving a detailed, well-thought answer to any of the questions, because he doesn't really know or truly understand a goddamn thing. He thinks whatever comes out of his mouth, no matter how inaccurate o downright wrong, should just be acceptable.



Then I read comments of more conservative websites, and it makes me think we are now a nation of internet trolls, or half the country has completely lost their minds.

I'm getting ready to enjoy a New Years Eve out in Philly with my fiancee & my family. We will be enjoying ourselves & not worrying about the potential disasters the next four years will bring. However, the country and the world will soon be faced with the unimaginable circumstances of a President Trump.

The important thing is to take of yourself and your loved ones, and do your best with any situations that may arise. I don't make any New Years resolutions, because if I want to do something, I just do it. The key to a fulfilled life is self-awareness and motivation to live fully and in the present moment. I will continue to live this way into 2017 & beyond...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Samplerman

I recently came across the work of French artist Yvan Guillo, aka "Samplerman", and thought it was a really unique concept.

tumblr:

He basically digitally remixes old comic strip art into surrealist imagery that is psychedelic and mostly nonsensical. It is really intriguing and forces the brain to look for meaning where there is none, by design.

It's Nice That:

These are a few examples of his work, one resembling a spiritual mandala and another reflecting his usual abstract approach.


He also creates animated images:


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher


Yesterday, actress Carrie Fisher passed away after having cardiac arrest on an airplane. She went for 10 minutes without a pulse, so the chances were slim that she would recover, but many had hope that she would somehow pull through.

People around the world are saddened because of what a unique and vibrant personality she had in real life. She overcame addiction and mental illness to endure as one of Hollywood's most endearing and funny celebrities.

However, it's undeniable that the significant impact she had was due to her character in the Star Wars movies, Leia. This role model for generations of women is one of the most iconic female characters of all-time.

Star Wars Wiki:

Thanks to the newest Star Wars trilogy, starting with "Episode VII: The Force Awakens," her portrayal of Leia has undergone many transformations over 40 years. It is an amazing testament to the vision of George Lucas and to Carrie Fisher's abilities as an actress. I made the montage above to show how she and her role of Leia has transformed over time.

The character of Leia started out as a baby, in the prequel Episode III- the daughter of Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker & queen/senator Padme Amidala. After Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, Leia was secretly adopted by Bail Organa, of the royal family of the planet Alderaan. She was a princess and the youngest Senator in The Galactic Republic. This is how we see her in the original Star Wars movie, now called "Episode IV: A New Hope".

As Emperor Palpatine grew in power and replaced 'The Republic' with 'The Empire', young Leia was part of the Rebel Alliance to oppose the tyranny of this oppressive regime. After The Senate was dissolved and her home planet destroyed, she continued to be a leader of the Rebellion throughout the original trilogy.

After finally defeating the Empire & discovering that Luke Skywalker was her brother in "Return of the Jedi," Leia married Han Solo and they had a child. Years later, Imperial remnants would form The First Order. Leia became a general of The Resistance, a military effort to counter this danger that The New Republic's beauracracy was not willing to face head-on.

This was Leia's role in the most recent movie "Episode VII: The Force Awakens" where Carrie Fisher and other original cast members reprised their classic roles. Luckily, she was part of the filming for Episode VIII, which has been completed already. We will have to see where her character arc ends up now that she is gone.

The reason I gave this short rehash of the story behind Leia is to show the tremendous depth of the character she played over the past few decades. She was a princess, a senator, a soldier, a general, and a leader. Far from just being a pretty "damsel in distress," Leia was a woman of strength, wit, intelligence, courage, and conviction in her ideals. Fisher's acting brought out all these traits and qualities, to form an unforgettable presence that will live on in cinema history and in the minds of all those who love these movies.

She showed women (& men) what it meant to be independent, courageous, and to not take crap from anyone, even Darth Vader himself! 


Although she will be missed, Carrie Fisher was able to touch countless people from all walks of life. Her life and work will be appreciated and celebrated indefinitely, and she was a positive role model for people of all ages. It was a life of consequence that anyone would be proud to have led. She is One with "The Force" now, and her legacy will continue into far the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Knowledge & Subjective Reality


I am a firm believer in free & open knowledge, and I'm against censorship in almost any form. I also think that the Internet is obviously one of the greatest creations in human history.

However, these ideals are not without their dangers. Despite the promise of unlimited knowledge through a worldwide digital network, we are now seeing a phenomenon that others have warned about...

Instead of expanding everyone's perspective, the Internet is becoming a bottleneck of limited information for many people. People are accessing websites and resources that only confirm their existing worldview. This has become apparent over this last election cycle, in which different parties and groups stuck to sources of news and info that reinforced what they already believe, no matter how inaccurate.

In a year that gave us "fake news" and even a fake U.S. President, the power of knowledge is becoming only as powerful as the belief in that knowledge, for any particular individual or group. Objective facts are proving impervious to the ignorant minds that refuse to accept them.

What this means for the future of society and the knowledge we share is anyone's guess. Companies like Facebook and Google are trying to address this issue, by flagging questionable sources and adjusting algorithms.

This does not solve the fundamental situation that if people are truly free, they are also free to be wrong and misinformed. Short of creating a "Ministry of Truth", there is nothing that we can do to force anyone to accept an objective observation or basic fact. We are now in an Einsteinian world of knowledge- where truth is relative, and misinformation can travel at the speed of light.

In a post-factual America now being led by Trump™-brand propaganda and outright lies, the potential damage that could be done is tremendous. It is up to anyone who values objective reasoning and observable truth to recognize & argue against provable falsehoods. We have a tough fight ahead of us.


Monday, December 19, 2016

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" Review


This weekend I went to see "Rogue One," the first "Star Wars Story" movie that lies outside the main Episodic Trilogies.



Although I tried to avoid spoilers as the release date got closer, I knew that this movie dealt with the lead-up to the original Star Wars film (now known as "Episode IV: A New Hope"). Specifically, it told the story of the Rebel spies who stole the plans for the Galactic Empire's planet-destroying superweapon, The Death Star.

In the beginning of "A New Hope", Princess Leia is introduced trying to take the stolen plans to the Rebellion while trying to find one of the last Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Her ship is intercepted by the Emperor's enforcer, Darth Vader, but the plans manage to reach Obi-Wan after Leia sends them off with the droids, R2-D2 & C-3PO. The farmboy Luke Skywalker gets caught up in the situation & eventually ends up taking down the Death Star thanks to the stolen plans & his connection to The Force, a mystical field of energy that surrounds all living things.

This is the now-familiar scenario that "Rogue One" leads into by the end of the movie, and it does so seamlessly.

•  Here is my spoiler-free review of the movie:

It was a great movie, with everything a Star War fan could possibly ask for in telling this particular story. Despite the regular presence of battles and conflict in the series, this was more of a war movie than any other Star Wars film to date. It focused on the harsh realities and unforgiving nature of battle, while also showing the power of hope combined with the determination to fight for a just cause. As opposed to the storylines of the Skywalkers and Force-wielding Jedi, this movie focused on the experiences of "ordinary" rebel soldiers.

One interesting thing that "Rogue One" accomplished was to gray the area between "good" and "bad". This was especially true regarding some of the tactics of the Rebels. From the point of view of The Empire and its sympathizers, the Rebel Alliance would be considered terrorists- willing to carry out sabotage, assassination, and killing on a large scale to meet its ends. Of course, the Rebel view would be that drastic measures need to be taken in order to free the galaxy from an oppressive military dictatorship. In this movie, you definitely get to witness the oppressive nature of The Empire, through forced labor camps, invasive planetary occupation, and the willingness to commit genocide to maintain fear and order in the galaxy. It's easy to sympathize with the plight of the Rebellion and the people who want to escape the iron grip of The Emperor.

The main protagonist was Jyn Erso, the daughter of reluctant Imperial engineer Galen Erso. Galen is a brilliant scientist was coerced into working on the beam weapon of The Death Star. He is responsible for covertly integrating a flaw into the design that would later be exploited by the Rebels, once they had acquired the detailed plans of the battle station. After Galen was separated from his family, Jyn was raised by the isolated Rebel extremist, Saw Gerrara. Like other women in the Star Wars universe, Jyn is tough, independent, smart, and able to hold her own in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

The supporting characters were diverse and came together to form a ragtag, but dedicated, team who understood the crucial importance of their mission. They were willing to sacrifice their own lives, if necessary, to save the lives of countless billions from the destructive power of The Death Star.


I really liked the blind warrior monk character, Chirrut Îmwe. He wasn't a Jedi, but was a devotee of The Force- which flowed through him as he took out squads of Stormtroopers with his staff. His mantra was: "I am one with The Force and The Force is with me." Interestingly, he and his companion Baze Malbus were identified as "Guardians of the Whills". In the original conceptions of Star Wars, George Lucas envisioned the Skywalker saga as a story told in an ancient book chronicling the events of the galaxy, called "The Journal of the Whills".


Chirrut & Baze were residents of the moon Jedha, which was once an stronghold of the Jedi containing ancient temples and colossal statues. These remnants of The Old Republic are now ruins strewn across the desert landscape since the Empire took over and destroyed the Jedi's legacy there. I loved the visuals of these ruined monuments that hearkened back to a forgotten age. I would love to see movies that eventually explored this location in it's prime, as a site of Jedi power.


Jedha is also a source of Kyber Crystals, which were used in the construction of lightsabers. The Empire is now confiscating all the crystals it can find, for use in the Death Star's main weapon.

In addition to the gritty experiences of the rebel soldiers, "Rogue One" also showed the power struggles and operations of The Empire. The main conflict on this side is between the head of the Death Star project, Director Orson Krennic, and one of the top Imperial officers, Governor Tarkin, who wants to take both control & credit of the Death Star. Only one of these characters is seen in "A New Hope", so one can guess at how this rivalry turns out...

Amazingly, Gov. Tarkin was recreated digitally, since the original actor, Peter Cushing, died. The level of realism achieved by this & one other surprise appearance was an impressive feat of CGI. Star Wars continues to push the envelope of special effects that Industrial Light & Magic started almost 40 years ago.

Another featured character from the original series (that everyone was the most excited about from the previews) was The Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader. If I had one complaint about the movie, it would be that they could have given Vader just a *little* more screen time. I say this because the very limited time he did have was absolutely awesome. I'm not going to spoil his scenes, but it was an excellent handling of (in my opinion) the greatest fictional character ever. You got a quick glimpse into Vader's tortured existence, and a clear understanding of his terrifying power.


As a extremely critical, but fervent Star Wars fan, I can say that this was an outstanding and satisfying addition to the saga's canon. There was a lot of focus on war & battles, and I usually enjoy the more mystical aspects of the stories. However, there were so many treats for fans and the film was visually so engaging, that I got totally swept up in the adventures of the Rogue One squad.

I would highly recommend this movie, and if you consider yourself a Star Wars fan, you should see it immediately! I guarantee you will want to re-watch "Episode IV: A New Hope" (or at least the opening sequence) right after it.

Having loved this saga since I was a child, I feel grateful to experience a new age of Star Wars!

The Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Thursday, December 15, 2016

VR "Worlds in Worlds"


 On Reddit I saw this awesome video of a virtual reality world, that exists on multiple scales.

It was made using software called Quill, by artist Goro Fujita. This type of brilliant creation shows the deep possibilities present in VR technology.


A fully-explorable continuum could eventually be created that would allow the user to directly explore the quantum > molecular > cellular >human > cosmic scales, in one seamless interface.

This is just the beginning of playing with virtual space to create mind-bending experiences that can open new doors of perception for us. This, in turn, will help us to see the "real" world with new vision and inspiration.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump the Gold Shithead


Last night, my Dad & I were watching a town hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders talking to Trump voters.

Bernie was able to hold a rational discussion and clearly express his views to people in the room, even those who had clearly voted for Donald Trump out of pure ignorance & fear. (Meanwhile, Trump can't even hold a press conference about his endless conflicts of interest which threaten the security of the country. )

As I watched Sen. Sanders explain the issues clearly & with the sincere conviction that he is known for, I was thinking, "Damn, this is the man who should be President-elect right now... but instead we're stuck with Bozo the Corrupt Clown." We'd be facing a much brighter future with Bernie Sanders as President, where the concerns of the average worker would be the priority, not the further gratification of the wealthiest 1%.


Instead, the DNC and the Democrat primary voters pushed Hillary Clinton into the general election. She had no chance of winning over those who already saw her in a negative light, but she still managed to gain more of the popular vote by over 2 million people. The same antiquated winner-take-all Electoral College system that gave us George Dubya failed us again. Hillary was definitely a flawed candidate, but to me, she was the pragmatic choice over the inevitable disaster of the fascist man-child. Everything people hated about Hillary Clinton is exponentially worse in Trump.

In the town hall, some of the voters said they didn't really believe that Trump was going to do all the insane things that he said during the campaign. Bernie incredulously asked, "So, you voted for someone hoping they were lying?" It's just so damn stupid & crazy...

Now, all Trump's lies are already falling apart, before he's even sworn in:

• "Drain the swamp"
• "Lock her up"
•  "Build the wall"
• "Repeal Obamacare"
• "I'll release my taxes"
• "Divest from Trump businesses"
•  etc., etc., etc...

It was all bullshit- ridiculous slogans for people who were all too willing to be conned by America's premiere con-man. Now America's facing the most blatantly & unapologetically corrupt administration imaginable, with a pathetically thin-skinned, narcissistic, authoritarian grifter in charge.

To make it worse, he also has a radical right-wing Congress in power that is chomping at the bit to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and any other program that benefits the working people or the less fortunate. All the horrible decisions the GOP are getting ready to implement makes sense, when seen through the lens of their ultimate goal- to destroy the United States government from within. Do you think this is hyperbolic? Ask Trump's top advisor, dark-sider Steve Bannon:


Now, as the gold paint is already flaking off, Trump is being exposed for the piece of shit that he truly is. I try not to degrade other human beings or see people negatively. However, this man represents the absolute antithesis to everything I value in life. Trump is greed, ego, hate, exploitation, and (worst of all) willful ignorance personified. If you have to tell people you're smart, you're probably a fucking idiot.

"The trouble with the world
 is that the stupid are cocksure
 and the intelligent are full of doubt." 
- Bertrand Russell

Many people recognize that he is a serious danger, not just to this country, but to the world. The writing is smeared with Trump's tiny fingers all over the wall. His supporters don't care and treat this like the winning team of football game, turning their backs and refusing to see it. Instead, they are seeing the gold-painted turd & still think there's value in it for them. When it inevitably hits the fan, they'll realize there's no real gold there, and the entire country will be covered in his crap.

I made the graphic at the top of this post to express this sentiment, realizing that respect & decorum are no longer relevant with this vile, small-fingered vulgarian.

In a sense, I feel like I did back when I started this blog, during the Bush/Cheney Dark Ages. The constant outrages perpetrated by that cabal of neo-cons gave me focus and caused me to become more aware of my personal humanistic values. This new administration, full of predatory swamp creatures, is already shaping up to be even more of a menace. Time is cyclical, and somehow I knew that this descent back into madness was coming.

Many, including myself, will feel energized to fight back against the regressive forces that want to stifle human progress. The best we can do is not be overcome by the foul stench that will be emanating out of DC with Trump & the Republicans running the shit show.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

iThink Tech 2016

Back in 2008, I introduced my concept for an Apple-branded computer brain implant, the "Apple iThink".

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

(Click to Enlarge)

iThink Technical Specifications

• Size:

1.5 x 1.5 x .5 inches

• Symbiosis™ Neural Interface:
Direct brain-computer link means your mind and computer are one!

• Intel Fusion™ Quantum Processing:
Uses the power of the atom to instantly compute at the speed of thought.

• Holographic Data Storage:
The iThink’s tiny internal holochip has a staggering individual capacity of over 666 Yottabytes (1000^8), for seemingly infinite augmented memory

• Intra-neural Communication:
Mentally allow or block any kind of signal you want to send or recieve instantly over the wireless iThink global network

• Perceptual Immersion: Images, sound, & other data are projected virtually into your sensory fields by directly connecting into your brain’s activity

• Integrated GPS and Google Earth:
Receive directions and location information anywhere on the planet, and the ability to be located in case of an emergency
_____________________________________

Since I originally created these graphics, I've watched technology continue to advance, as different fields converge to making such a neural implant possible.

Although there are now implants in use that allow communication by thought and remote control of software, we are still a long way off from a device that contains the many features of the iThink.

Without some cataclysmic event happening on a global scale, I don't see the progress of this kind of research ever stopping. There will always be resistance to any kind of implantable devices, and there might eventually be a "Deus Ex" scenario where humans create social distinctions based on cybernetic augmentations. There may be conflict between implant-free "Naturals," and "Enhanced" (or "Cyber") humans with neural or physiological augmentations. Any new technology, no matter how beneficial, usually brings with it slight uncertainty and the potential for misuse.

My iPhone and Mac computer are extensions of my cognitive and creative processes. I feel like these  devices are portals into the global consciousness, while simultaneously augmenting the functions of the brain. However, I often think about whether the digital techno-sphere is a trap for individual consciousness, preventing it from finding freedom in the more spiritual sense. My personal feeling is that digital technology and mobile devices are enhancements, more than they are traps. It depends on how they are used, of course, but I feel that their benefits outweigh the potential danger.

Anyway, I love to speculate on the future of humanity and the new ideas that will lead to revolutions in our world. I have been floating around ideas for even more advanced tech & features, that would be in an Apple iThink 2.0. However, seeing as we haven't come close to reaching even this stage in implantable technology, I haven't created graphics for the next version yet.

In the meantime, I've been compiling "iThink Tech"- scientific & technological advancements that are leading us down a road toward implantable computers which will interact with our brains directly, for completely immersive computing.

Here are the relevant links I've found from the past year:

 Singularity Hub:

Digital Trends:

Big Think:

New York Times:
(Thanks to my good friend Dr. Phil for this link)

PBS Newshour:

BoingBoing:

Inhabitat:

BoingBoing:



–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

"As our minds will attain the non-linear associative powers 
that will do away with the static mold of analog information,
we will finally break through the speed barrier of thought."

Friday, December 09, 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Flower of Life in Commercial Design

This is kind of a random item, but I am very interested in the concept of sacred geometry. The Flower of Life is a symbol formed from a pattern of equidistant, interlocking circles. It is the basis for the strategy game I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge".

I've noticed this geometric pattern being used in commercial design. It's harmonic properties make it very appealing and applicable to a wide range of uses.

My fianceé's mom has this Flower of Life Pattern potholder by Charles Viancin. I decided to take a picture of it to share on the "Da Vinci's Challenge" Facebook page.


Here's another example of the design on a box of tissues:



Friday, December 02, 2016

Jim Bakker Prepping for Trump's America


I was a child in the 1980's, but I remember the beady-eyed little weasel televangelist Jim Bakker & his late ex-wife Tammy Faye. They were one of many in a long line of religious charlatans, who use the medium of TV to separate the downright stupidest people in this country from their hard-earned money.

They were both mocked on Saturday Night Live, and Jim Bakker eventually ended up in prison for fraud, after being exposed for being an adulterer.

Therefore, it's only natural that "Pastor" Jim Bakker is a Donald Trump supporter. Bakker is now out of prison and back to scamming people through a new TV ministry.

Since the election, I haven't even posted about the Trump transition, because it's a maelstrom of a shit-show that is almost impossible to coherently describe without just flipping the keyboard over & saying "Fuck it, we're screwed!" Every single day presents fresh new outrages that portend a President & an administration that will reach inconceivable levels of corruption and utter incompetence.

Everything is so absurd, that we don't even need satire anymore- you just look at what's happening and realize it's completely crazy as it is.

In that spirit, I found this video by Super Deluxe that has taken clips of The Jim Bakker Show and edited them in the style of Tim & Eric. However, Bakker's schtick is already so ridiculous and vile that it's disturbing even without any editing.