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.




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Molecular Visualizations of DNA

 

Recently I posted about a documentary I watched, called The Hidden Life of the Cell. 3D computer animation was used to show the inner mechanisms of human cells.  

I came across another video, that shifts the perspective from the cellular level to the molecular level. This animation shows the intricate processes of the molecules that form & replicate DNA.




No matter how many times I watch these little molecular machines and chemical interactions carrying out the basic functions of biological life, it never stops being fascinating.

It is a constant source of amazement that so many things are happening, trillions of times over... in every square millimeter of our bodies... in each of the trillions of lifeforms on this planet.

This reminded me of the graphic below, that I just posted to my Facebook page:

"It may look like I'm doing nothing,
but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy."


Monday, November 28, 2016

Movie Review: "Dr. Strange"


Last week, I went to see the latest movie in the Marvel franchise- "Dr. Strange".

It was an excellent movie that was a departure from the typical "superhero" genre. It opened up the mystical dimension of Marvel cinematic universe, and was a compelling story in its own right.



It is the story of the transformation experienced by Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant surgeon who is egotistical and materialistic. His life is turned upside-down after being injured in a car crash, destroying the nerves in his hands. This accident results in his inability to perform surgery, and presents an existential crisis for the successful doctor. He decides to leave his comfortable life behind, in search of a way to heal that Western medicine can't provide.

Dr. Strange travels to the Himalaya mountains in Asia, and finds a mysterious school run by The Ancient One. Although rejected at first due to his skeptical attitude, Strange is ultimately accepted and begins learning the mystic arts from The Ancient One.




Because of the mystical tone, this movie dealt with themes that aren't very common in superhero movies- or any other movies, for that matter. Such esoteric concepts as chakras, magick, astral bodies, and multi-dimensional reality are discovered by Dr. Strange on his journey to become The Sorcerer Supreme.

The Dr. Strange comic book was created by Steve Ditko in the 1960's, and was illustrated with the psychedelic flair common at the time.


This movie successfully translated that aesthetic into mind-bending visual graphics that were absolutely amazing to watch in 3D. There were awesome sequences throughout the movie- such as New York City seen through the kaleidoscopic effect of an alternate dimension, and Strange's visitation of The Dark Dimension that brought the trippy artwork of the 60's to life.


The special effects used in these scenes, and for the magical powers portrayed throughout the movie, were spectacular. They were enhanced by the strength of the story and its message- that Western science and medicine are limited in our understanding of the true nature of reality.

I've always had interest in the mystical aspects of our world, and this movie was an exciting exploration of the possibilities that such a perspective presents.

"Dr. Strange" was a very enjoyable film that was visually & thematically in a league of its own. It's rare that a mainstream movie can be called enlightening, but this one is able to open your mind and make you think about the world in a completely different way.

I'd highly recommend Dr. Strange, and it might be my favorite Marvel movie yet!



Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 9.5

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dying into the Light

I saw this animation on Dimensão7- showing the soul transitioning from the dying body into the infinite expanse of The Clear Light.


I am currently reading an e-book I downloaded, The Present (with Religion) by Michael Smith.

The section I am on now deals with the reality of death, and how very few people are ready for it when it happens. This is because people are so caught up in their day-to-day lives, that the matters of the spirit are either put off or ignored. The most important thing in life is to cultivate is the deep awareness of the present moment. Once you have a fundamental, immediate connection to your ground of being, you will be ready for any experience your soul encounters.

Hopefully when the body expires, the energy of our spirit will merge back into the infinite luminosity of the light known as God, Heaven, Tao, The Zero Point Field, Vacuum Energy, etc. - the nameless, fractal, interconnected web of vibration that gives rise to all things.

The animated GIF is derived from the painting "Dying" by one of my favorite artists, the visionary master Alex Grey.



Monday, November 21, 2016

Chimp in Virtual Reality


On BoingBoing, I saw this video of a chimpanzee being immersed in a virtual reality (VR) program.


The chimp is obviously experiencing everything that a human would, when presented with the same stimuli. This proves that living things with similar sense organs are going to have perceptions that are similar in nature. The only difference is that non-human creatures don't have the inner dialogue of language that accompanies human thought.

The brain of any "higher" animal is an extremely adaptable organ, capable of adjusting to new sensory inputs or modes. Placing a VR headset on a primate like a chimpanzee proves that they are just as capable of navigating an imaginary, virtual space as humans.

Here's another video, where it appears the chimp is already familiar with the VR hardware. It grabs for the controller with the headset already on, and goes right to popping virtual balloons.


See also:



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hidden Life of the Cell

 
This past weekend, I watched a BBC documentary that I had been wanting to see, Our Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell.


It explained the biological processes that take place in a human cell at the microscopic scale. Specifically, the show followed the journey of an adenovirus as it tries to propagate & infect the body by taking over our cells.

I love science, anatomy, & biology- especially what is going on at the level below the threshold of our senses. The idea that there are all these organized processes and synchronous activity going on trilions of times at the cellular level, throughout any individual's body, is too much to wrap one's head around.

To me, being able to visualize these scenarios is key to understanding them. That is where modern methods of computer animation become so important. Being able to accurately render these microscopic phenomenon using 3D graphics allows us to appreciate the wondrous reality of our own bodies at such a small scale.

It reminded me of another video I've posted that similarly showed the workings of our cellular biology:



Friday, November 11, 2016

Ouroboros of Scale

On Weird Wide Web, I saw this illustration of the mythical Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail. It represents the cyclic patterns of destruction & creation.



However, this particular image shows the various scales of reality- from the microcosm > to the human > to the macrocosm... and back around.

This seems to imply a never-ending, continuous loop of spacial repetition that fractally repeats ad infinitum.

It reminded me of this loop of an opening animation from the Simpsons:



Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Election 2016- TRUMP


Well, it happened.

The President of the United States is going to be casino magnate, shitty businessman, con-artist, and reality TV host, Donald Trump. It's so ridiculous. I love surrealism and absurdity, but this is mind-boggling.

Trump was able to win because of the miscalculation by the Democrats that America would rather have a compromised, establishment politician like Hillary Clinton instead of an independent politician with real convictions like Bernie Sanders. I truly wish we could have seen a true outsider, populist match-up between Bernie & Trump. The difference is that Bernie actually works for the average citizen, while Trump works hard at screwing them over.

When I made the graphic below, back in 2011, it seemed inconceivable that such a wacked-out scenario could actually happen. I wish my Nostradamus-like visionary powers weren't so strong. It's a blessing and a curse.


The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Now we are not only faced with 4 years of President A$$hole, but an emboldened Republican Congress that will push regressive policy affecting millions of people.

I'm trying to have an attitude of 'fuck it'. The optimist in me wants to that think maybe the conservative majority can listen to the will of the people and implement meaningful change. However, the realist in me thinks this is laughable. I think it's more likely that things are going to get bad with the short-sighted ideologues who make up the majority of the GOP running society.

As President Obama has said, the sun will rise tomorrow. Relatively speaking, this is a flicker of light off a wave's crest in the dance of an endless ocean. However, for those of us participating in this lightshow of maya, this seems like a truly odd and almost unbelievable phenomenon. I'm old & jaded enough to not be truly surprised by anything. I woke up this morning and saw the results on my phone, and could just shake my head & look out the window.

People will still keep fighting for what they believe in, and the endlessly complex interplay of human beings will continue on. However, the idea that we have to put up with this jackass being arguably the most powerful person in the world is just mind-blowing. I'm strapping myself in & getting ready for the ride!

I'm sure the first order of business will be renovating the White House, it will be tremendous:

https://www.reddit.com/r/photoshopbattles/comments/5c0267/psbattle_the_white_house/d9so1kq/

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day 2016


Well, today is the day where The United States of America chooses its representatives in local & federal elections.

The citizens have a choice for President between two flawed, but distinct candidates. On the one hand, there's a career politician- the former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and possibly the first female in the Oval Office if she's elected. On the other hand, there's an obnoxious, narcissistic man child- a shitty con artist of a businessman and reality TV star, who wasn't even allowed to stay in control of his own Twitter account because he was so goddamn stupid & reckless.

I started out rooting for Bernie Sanders, one of the few politicians who identifies as an Independent and has real integrity. I have never been a fan of Hillary Clinton, but for me and many others, this is a matter of keeping an unbelievably ignorant & downright dangerous Donald Trump from leading us back down into the ditch that modern Republican presidents inevitably drive us into.

I wish we had better choices on both sides. Unfortunately, with our winner-takes-all system, a vote for a third party is a complete waste. It really has been a complete shitshow of an election, especially with The Donald's antics throughout the process. As I've said before, I wanted him to win the Republican primary just so he could keep wreaking havoc on the political establishment & tear apart the decaying Republican party. Now, I just want him to go the hell away.

Statistically, it looks like Clinton is likely to win, but it ain't over till it's over. I'd like to see her crush Trump, just so he has less ground to stand on when he inevitably refuses to concede and claims everything is rigged. The guy is utterly delusional & I don't expect him to start accepting reality now.

So, today we'll see what we're stuck with for the next four years. I think Hillary Clinton, despite all her problems, is at least smart, competent, and knows how government works. The same cannot be said for Trump, who seems to lack even a basic understanding of our most fundamental governmental & social institutions. It's been a truly crazy ride- an election season that is unlike anything most people have seen in their lifetimes. Hopefully, it turns out to be an anomaly and doesn't prove to be the new norm.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Yoda Shrine

One of my favorite characters in the Star Wars saga is the 900 year old Jedi Grand Master, Yoda. Some of the best scenes in the movies were Yoda expounding his mystical teachings about The Force.


I came across this evocative image of other members of Yoda's unknown species, in front of a buddha-like idol in their own image. It appears to be in a shrine or temple, with one of them (Yoda himself?) levitating and holding a Force-channeling staff.

I saw it on the wiki page for Yoda's species, but I was curious where it originally came from. I did a search & found out that it's from a 1994 Star Wars Galaxy card series. I collected these as a kid & loved the variety of visions inspired by the rich Star Wars universe.


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Medicine Man

On Reddit I saw this awesome illustration, "Medicine Man" by Infinity Life.

As an artist, lover of nature, & a mystical spirit, I've personally felt a kindred relationship to the many shamanic traditions of cultures around the world.

I think this image visually sums up the meaning of a medicine man/woman in a tribe or society. It is the role of the shamanic personality to commune with the energies & plants of the natural world, transcend normal consciousness, and bring wisdom to the people for their benefit.

Monday, October 31, 2016

"Echoes"

My last post was about fractal animations, and on BoingBoing I saw another interesting video using fractal animation.
It is called "Echoes" by artist Chris Bjerre. The animation uses a simple black & white palette, but explores a kaleidoscope of ever-changing forms.


At one point in the animation (00:38), the pattern known as "The Flower of Life" briefly emerges. This design is the basis for the strategy game that I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge". This pattern is an element of sacred geometry, the study of the forms and relationships that underly reality.


I'm not sure whether this pattern was programmed into the sequence in some way, or if it organically arose from the fractal mathematics.

Either way, this fundamental pattern appeared in the chaotic variation of fractal forms. Since my eye is trained to look for this design, it popped out at me & inspired me to share.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fractal Shorts


 I am endlessly, recursively fascinated by fractal geometry & the imagery that can be produced with it.

Recently I found a series of awe-inspiring animations using 3D fractal renderings. The artist is Julius Horsthuis, and there is a whole playlist of his mind-bending creations in YouTube. I would recommend bookmarking this page so you can go back & watch through the dozens of videos on his playlist:


 Here are a few of my favorites, but they all should really be seen:

"Emergence" feels like finding an impossibly constructed alien temple in a dense jungle:



"Divergent Evolution" takes the idea of a jungle theme even deeper and immerses us in an ever-shifting organic landscape.



"Solar Wind" has a cosmic, but foreboding feel to it:


"Dream/Iterate" uniquely includes a human figure in the animation, who is transported to a very non-human fractal realm:


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Donald Trump Halloween Costume

This past weekend, my fiancée and I were invited to a Halloween party. We both had tried to think of costumes for weeks, and were considering dressing up as Anakin Skywalker & Padme Amidala from Star Wars.

Last week, she sent me a pic of people dressed as Donald Trump with Hillary Clinton in a prison outfit. We thought it was funny, but she didn't want to dress as Hillary. Instead, she came up with the hysterical idea of being a "cat" for Donald to "grab," if you get the reference.

So, she dressed up as a cute cat, and I put together a Trump costume- with a suit & red tie, horrible wig, orange face paint, tiny baby doll hands, and the most ridiculous facial expressions I could muster. I thought it turned out pretty funny & it was a hit with our friends on Facebook. Here are a few photos:




Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Seed of Life Gold"

I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.


Here is another addition to the gallery, a sacred geometry symbol. It's a gold arrangement of circles known as "The Seed of Life", reflected in chrome to form an overlapping design:

 "Seed of Life Gold"
by Paul Micarelli

Awhile ago, I used to make a lot of 3D art using Vue software, which was intuitive for me to learn. My previous computer became obsolete, so I wasn't able to run the program anymore. Last year for my birthday, my wonderful fiancée helped me pay for a purchase of a newer Mac Mini. I downloaded a trial version, and this week I finally registered for their free Vue Pioneer. This image was my first attempt at getting back into using the 3D software.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Common Planet Economics

http://earthvote.org/common-planet.html

One of the major sources of misery & distress in this world is the economic system that has been set up to regulate human activity. It is a system based on debt and fiat currency that only has value because the central banks say it has value.

Economics is one of those areas in which the status quo has been entrenched for so long, that people just accept how shitty it is and don't think of better solutions. Luckily, there are people who take the time to dream of better possibilities & think of new ways of doing things. Sometimes new ideas start out as fiction, such as the the post-scarcity economics of Star Trek.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I came across this introduction to a "Common Planet" manifesto on Phroyd's World and believe it's the type of thinking we need to transform our economic system. It seems outrageously idealistic and impossible to implement in our current situation, but only by presenting ideas and new perspectives can we even begin to change our society and its institutions.

earthvote.org:

The plan has aspects of Universal Basic Income, an approach of eliminating welfare programs & poverty by guaranteeing a basic income to every person.

This would be paid for by redistributing wealth from the very top of the economic pyramid, which is now basically extracted from circulation and hoarded for personal score-keeping, instead of used to benefit all of society. Anyone who argues against wealth redistribution from the top>down is making a de facto argument in favor of wealth redistribution from the bottom>up. Some of the same people who lament the disappearance of the "middle class" vehemently argue against raising taxes on the top 1%. The wealth of not just this country but of this world is being siphoned from the average population & into the bank accounts of the ultra-rich at an unsustainable rate. This is an indisputable fact, and something must be done to regain some sense of fairness in the economic priorities of the human race.

Perhaps change will be slowly implemented over decades or centuries, maybe we are stuck with this system for the foreseeable future. However, if people formulate, analyze, and discuss new ways of thinking, then the possibility of improving our state of being becomes much more likely. These approaches need to gain recognition in the collective consciousness, and will result in people demanding & creating a better world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Make America Grope Again

We are coming up on the third & final US Presidential debate, and this election season has been a real shitshow.

Despite Hillary Clinton being a deeply flawed candidate, the pure insanity of Donald Trump's campaign is proving to be too much for all but the most diehard supporters & Hillary haters. If Trump stuck with his messages about jobs and trade, he would have a real shot. Instead, he is lashing out and tweeting his way toward what could be a significant loss. Some people still think that he is a secret Clinton plant, meant to throw the election for Hillary & rip apart the Republican party. I don't think it's really that deep- it's just the case of a spoiled narcissist & chauvinist who is finally getting scrutinized and facing the prospect of losing to a woman.

After the barrage of stories coming out regarding Trump's disposition toward grabbing, uh, women, I had the idea for this graphic before I went to sleep one night. Other people have used this phrase on graphics, but I had to do my own take on it. Like Donald around a beautiful woman, I just couldn't help myself!


Yes, I know... this graphic could also apply to Bill Clinton & his history. However, Trump is the one running for President, and he's the one I feel is the more dangerous of the two candidates. That, and the fact that he is such a fascist, thin-skinned jackass about everything makes me want to pile on & shun this guy from public life. Unfortunately, that probaboly won't happen & he'll use his base of supporters to create a media outlet or subscription TV channel of some sort. I think this campaign was ultimately a ploy to make money and to increase his profile, so we may be stuck with Donald Trump & his cult of personality for a long time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Modern Chaos"

I've started a gallery of abstract art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

  
Here is another addition in the gallery:



"Modern Chaos"
by Paul Micarelli

Prints & products featuring my designs are available in my Cafepress store.

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Star Wars: Rogue One" Trailer


The poster & final trailer for "Star Wars: Rogue One" were released this week. It is the first in, what I assume, will be many "Star Wars Stories" in addition to the numbered main Episodes I-IX.

The "Rogue One" story takes place before the very first Star Wars movie, which is now know as "Episode IV: A New Hope". This movie details the efforts of the Rebellion & the central character Jyn Erso to stop the Empire from realizing it's planet-destroying weapon, The Death Star. Jyn's father Galen Erso was coerced by the Empire to help design the super laser weapon on the Death Star, and there is speculation that his reluctance may have been a factor in the presence of the exhaust port design flaw that was used in its destruction.

We all know the Death Star ends up being completed, then used against Princess Leia's planet of Alderann, and finally destroyed by Luke Skywalker. Despite knowing the eventual outcome, this movie looks to be an engaging and beautifully shot backstory to these events.


What most people are hyped about is the appearance of the greatest villain, and in my opinion the greatest character in all of fiction, Darth Vader. The former Jedi Anakin Skywalker is now the menacing Sith Lord and is probably overseeing the construction of the Death Star, while hunting down the Rebels who are trying to thwart the Empire's plans. This trailer only shows a few fleeting glimpses of Vader's menacing presence, but it is enough to make any Star Wars fan get excited for this movie.


There is alot of other cool stuff in this trailer, including this shot of a giant fallen Jedi statue on the planet Jedha, that I didn't notice until I saw someone mention it in comments about the trailer.


These are some of the other cool details that I think are part of what's going to make this a great addition to the Star Wars universe:
• The battles with AT-ATs in tropical settings
• Director Orson Krennic, the threatening Imperial officer in charge of the Death Star project 
• Blind Force-believing martial artist Chirrup Imre, played by Donnie Yen
• The oppressive presence & power of the Empire that is represented by the looming Star Destroyers
• Hope and resistance to authoritarianism as a message of the strength of the human (or alien) spirit

There has been some question about whether this is too much Star Wars media being released by Disney. As long as the content is well-produced & provides inspiring storylines, this lifelong Star Wars fan is happy to explore as much of the galaxy far, far way as possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Star Wars Cinematics

 This weekend, I was watching a couple of episodes of Star Wars: Rebels with my nephews. Even though it is a cartoon, it's really well produced and delves into some of the more interesting aspects of Star Wars- such as the mystical aspects of The Force and the power of Jedi & Sith holocrons.

The beauty of the Star Wars saga is its fictional universe that is ripe for endless characters & stories. This has not only been explored in movies & TV shows, but also video games. I was also showing my nephews cinematics from the multiplayer online game "The Old Republic" which takes place over a thousand years before the events of "Episode IV: A New Hope". They are almost like awesome mini-movies in themselves & show the amazing creative possibilities that that Star Wars galaxy presents.

This trailer is for an expansion to the game. It follows a force-weilding child who is trained and corrupted by the Sith Emperor Valkorion, the leader of the Eternal Empire, who lived 5,000 years before Emperor Palpatine.


STAR WARS: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne
 "Betrayed" Trailer 


 Here's another trailer for the original game, showing the Sith infiltrating the Jedi Temple:


STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™
'Deceived' Cinematic Trailer


Finally, here's another video I came across that blew me away, breaking down the amazing visual effects used in "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens":


Friday, October 07, 2016

"Sisyphus" Kinetic Sand Art


I've seen a few sites linking to this amazing creation by Bruce Shapiro that integrates art & technology in a mesmerizing way.

The installation is called "Sisyphus". It is named after the Greek myth of the tortured soul who is forced to roll a boulder up a mountain each day, only to have it continuously roll back down to the bottom.


Sisyphus consists of a metal ball that guided through a surface covered in sand, presumably using computer-guided magnets underneath the table.


Watching this system in action brings to mind the quote by Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

It is a modern take on the Zen art of rock & sand gardens, with similarly profound meditative qualities.

It is also reminiscent of Tibetan sand mandalas, which are intricate spiritual designs made of colored sand. These creations are ritually swept up & the sand dispersed after they are finished, to symbolize the impermanent nature of existence.




Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trump: Putting the "CON" into "Conservative"

After my post about the first Presidential debate with the President A$$hole graphic that I made, I was inspired to create another Trump image.

I'm not enthusiastic about the idea of Hillary Clinton being President, but I think she is much less dangerous to the state of our society than the possibility of a President Trump. He would be an absolute disaster. Anyone who believes he would do a damn thing for the majority of working people is deluded. They've been conned by the quintessential con-man.

The Atlantic:

Donald Trump's whole career has been based on screwing people over, in order to benefit himself. This is not the type of person you want in charge of public policy.

So, the idea that Trump has really put the "CON" into "Conservative" led me to make this graphic:


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hanging Snakeskin

Here's another addition to my album of nature photos that took me by surprise.

I was in the back yard of my parents' house when I saw this large snakeskin hanging among the branches of a bush. It was about 3 feet long, and it appears the snake shed it while climbing through the bushes.

My dad saw a large snake crawling along the roof of their house a few months ago, so I'm pretty sure this skin belongs to him...

by Paul Micarelli




Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stick Bug

I was walking outside & saw this large stick bug on my car.

It looked so much like a stick that you'd never be able to see it if it were on the ground or on a tree.

At first, I couldn't tell which side was its head, until it moved its antennae. I thought the pincer-like appendages were its mouth, but it was actually its backside!

by Paul Micarelli 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First U.S. Presidential Debate 2016: Clinton vs. Trump


I've posted many times about politics over the years. However, during this election season, I don't feel as connected to political news as I have in the past.

It's partially because I cancelled my cable TV subscription and don't subject myself to the relentless onslaught of meaningless chatter from the talking heads. If there's something happening that I'm interested in, I go online and find objective information about it. Then I look to see what people are saying about it. Another factor in my disillusionment is the unfortunate reality that both candidates are not choices that I feel excited about.

I'm registered as an Independent, so I don't pledge blind allegiance to any party or affiliation. I was solidly in favor of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, who I've seen fighting for the citizens of this country for years. Bernie represented the highest aspirations of progressive-minded Americans, with a vision for remedying the core problems facing this nation: campaign finance, the private health care mess, and unscrupulous banking practices. At the same time as the Democrats were debating the important issues facing the country, I recognized the entire Republican field of candidates as the pathetic clown car that it was- totally void of any substance or insight into the real causes of people's everyday problems.

When Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, I shared the lack of enthusiasm that so many others experienced. I don't think America should be in the habit of electing political family dynasties, regardless of whether they are Clintons, Bushes, Kennedy's, or any other recognizable name. Hillary also seemed like she had a lot of baggage, especially with her ties to Wall St., and was disliked by many people. At least she has extensive experience in government and has worked to make positive change on various fronts.

As much as I personally despise Donald Trump and everything he represents, I was actually rooting for him during the GOP primaries. All the other candidates were absolutely friggin' horrible, and at least Trump was exposing the absurdity in the whole political process. I felt a guilty sense of entertainment at watching Trumpzilla stomp across the landscape of the conservative establishment and tearing the party to shreds.

I was thinking, as bad as Hillary may seem, nobody would really vote for such a vile and dangerous ignoramus like The Donald... right? The guy is a con-man, a self-promoting charlatan. He cheats small businesses, has the mentality of a toddler, rips off the public in numerous ways, possesses a poor understanding of even the basic political issues, has a fascist and hateful disposition, and is just a complete asshole. There's NO WAY he can be President... RIGHT?!?!?!

by Paul Micarelli

Well, I began to be disturbed by the many people who were saying they supported Trump and planned to vote for him. I can understand not wanting to vote for Hillary, but everything that's wrong with her is exponentially worse with Trump. All the things Trump fans accuse Hillary of embodying- lying, incompetence, greed, lust for personal power, indifference to the country's problems, etc.,- all these things are fully manifested and completely unfettered in Donald Trump. However, people are under the delusion that Obama has destroyed this country, we can build a wall around Mexico to keep out scary illegals, and that the U.S. Government should really be run like a for-profit business. Trump feeds this fear and ignorance by talking about the United States like it's a dangerous & poverty-stricken shithole from coast to coast.

Trump is a shitty human being, and a shittier businessman. However, people somehow still like the guy and think his shady business experience qualifies him to be President. Despite having a pretty strong revulsion toward him, I tried to keep an open mind going into this first Presidential debate.

Despite making a legitimate argument against NAFTA and other trade deals early on in the debate, Trump quickly devolved into the cartoonish cretin that everyone with a minimum of common sense knew him to be.

I watched in disbelief as the things spewing out of his mouth defied facts, logic, and elementary school grammar. I had prepared for the debate by dulling my nerves with a large whisky on the rocks, and indulged in a couple additional beers to make it to the end without losing my mind. How Hillary generally maintained her composure in the presence of such lunacy is extraordinary.

I'm not going to get into the minutia of the debate, there have already been countless posts & articles analyzing every aspect. It was hard to appreciate in real time, but Sec. Clinton repeatedly goaded him into subtle confrontational traps. Trump, in his sheer ignorance & arrogance, stepped into them every time, while flailing around with no idea he was ripping his own limbs off.

I couldn't believe the horrible, stupid fucking things he was saying:
Yeah, he ripped off small business contractors & didn't pay them... He's smart because he doesn't pay taxes like a normal citizen... Everyone agrees Rosie O'Donell deserved getting called a fat pig... We can blow an Iranian ship out of the water & it won't start a war... Stop & frisk policies are constitutionally sound... He never said the Chinese invented global warming (he did)... and on and on and on...

There were many, so many, ridiculous quotes that made me go "WTF?!?!" but my favorite had to be:

"I don't know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC, [Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

This remark had everyone in the room absolutely dying from laughter. It was unbelievably silly and over-the-top, even for Donald.

The more I watched Trump speak, the more I felt like it had to be some kind of disturbing hallucination. This couldn't be real. Every time he closed his eyes, he looked like a strange, pouting creature with three mouths on his face. Luckily, I'm not the only one who thought this, and of course the Internet had produced images illustrating this weird perception:



In the past, I've been flabbergasted when the mainstream media pundits declared George W. Bush or Mitt Romney successful in their debates, no matter how bad they performed. Therefore, when I saw that pretty much everyone who didn't have their head up their own ass (including conservatives!) said that Hillary trounced The Donald, I knew that it wasn't just me who saw Trump as a loser of epic proportions. As Donald himself would say... "Sad!"

Despite the stark contrast in the two candidates, I don't think the debate changed the minds of any firm supporters of either side. Democrats backing Clinton would never vote for someone who is clearly more dangerous, unqualified, and unhinged. If you are already a diehard Trump supporter, you are likely impervious to all the facts and reason that show what a disaster he would be. The funny thing is, he doesn't give a crap about his supporters or anyone else. All Trump cares about is the Trump™ brand and his own wealth and power. He is the very ugliest aspects of the ego, personified.

If you were an "undecided" voter beforehand, though, I can't see how Trump's pathetic showing would inspire any confidence whatsoever. Especially next to Hillary Clinton's relatively calm demeanor & competent grasp of the issues, the only way he could have looked less Presidential would be if he flung his own poo at the moderator.

It ain't over until it's over, though. There are two debates left, and I guess some unthinkable turn of events could take place. The world will keep watching and hoping that the joke of a Trump Administration doesn't become a seriously disturbing reality.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Solving the Plastic Problem


One of the major technological & ecological issues that we meed to deal with is the ubiquitous use of plastic products.

Besides being created using non-renewable petroleum products, the pollution caused from plastic waste is causing massive, negative consequences on ecosystems.

I've posted before about efforts to clean up the plastic waste that has accumulated in the oceans:

The Monkey Buddha:

There are other solutions being studied & implemented to help address this serious problem that we are leaving for future generations.

One answer is to develop biodegradable packaging made from plant fibers.

SF Gate:

Scientists are also looking into creating packaging materials made from compacted fungus mycelia.

Telegraph:

Another way to help eliminate existing plastic waste is to use bacteria or other organisms that actually consume plastic materials.

Gizmodo:

I believe that human ingenuity can solve almost any problem that human greed and short-sightedness can create. We just need the drive and creative thinking to make it happen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Enjoy Your Life

On Reddit, I saw this ancient mosaic, found along the border of Turkey & Syria. It was from the ancient Greek/Roman city of Antiocheia.

It shows a skeleton lounging by bread & a jug of wine. It's a statement on appreciating our own mortality and the time we get to spend in this lifetime.

It reads "Be cheerful, enjoy your life."


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poconos Blue Heron

 
This summer, I went on vacation with my family in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

The house that we rented was on Big Bass Lake, which was very scenic and enjoyable. I would regularly go out on a kayak fishing and just enjoying being on the lake.

There was a large blue heron that I would see fly across the lake and land at different spots along the water's edge. I tried to paddle quietly in the kayak and get close a few times, but it would notice me & fly away.

I was finally able to see him fairly close by, while it was busy looking for fish in the shallow area by the shore. By paddling very slowly and drifting toward it, I was able to use my iPhone that I had with me to take some pictures & video. The quality was good enough for me to edit together a montage of the footage and upload to MonkeyBuddhaVids.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Roko the Robo-Monkey


I can't resist posting about any story that combines technology & primates.

Recently I saw this article about Roko, a concept for a biomimetic robot that would simulate the movement of a chimpanzee swinging through the trees. The concept was designed by Kaan Yaylali, and is a unique take on the form & function of robots.

Daily Mail:

Roko is meant to be a sort of rescue or delivery robot, that can reach areas that would be difficult to access in other ways. It could travel through thick jungle or other remote areas to reach people who need rescue or supplies.

Although it looks like a Monkey Terminator, autonomous machines like Roko could perform many useful tasks that could be of great help to humanity.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Resonance: Beings of Frequency



While working on photo retouching, I often listen to talks or documentaries that interest me. I came across this film that looks at the possible effects of the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) given off by the digital devices that are so ubiquitous in the modern world.



We are truly beings of frequency, arising from the energetic source of the quantum field. We are also connected to natural energies that we have evolved to be attuned to, such as the visible light spectrum and the Schumann Resonance


Therefore, the fact that we are literally awash in electromagnetic fields of all kinds has to influence us in some way.

For example, this is a visualization of just the fields emitted over New York City by cellphone signals blanketing the urban landscape:

Nickolay Lamm


These and many other energies are permeating our bodies almost continuously, every single day.


Although I love the miraculous advantages that electronic devices and digital tech provide, I often wonder how it interacts with our biological processes. I work on a computer all day and always have my cell phone on me, so it is cause for concern & further study.