Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Gasland" & the Danger of Gas Drilling

Last week I was over my parents' watching TV & my Dad stopped on a film about the environmental impact of natural gas drilling. At first I was indifferent & really didn't feel like watching a documentary. Suprisingly, the big guy left it on & we ended up watching the whole thing.

Official Site:

I follow current events & science-related news, but I've never seen such a detailed presentation of the negative impact natural gas drilling, which is always touted as clean & safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. This movie was an in-depth look at the effects which our archaic methods of energy production unleash on the world.

The most disturbing part of the film for me personally was toward the end. The film highlighted potential catastrophes that could result from drilling activity near the Delaware Watershed in NY & PA. Living outside of Philly is enough cause for my Dad & I to both agree such a disaster would be a nightmare for people in this area.

We should be starting an renaissance of effective renewable energy initiatives in all areas of life. Our priorities are definitely misplaced & the President hasn't made a do-or-die effort on this in concert with the American people, in order to not upset the established energy interests.

Here are more articles on the topic:

Vanity Fair:
"A Colossal Fracking Mess"

During this sudden emergence of negative attention toward the natural gas industry, the geniuses at M.I.T. decided now would be a good time to release their report on the benefits of natural gas:

Incidentally, the same night I watched the film, the director Josh Fox was on the Daily Show talking about it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creating a Sand Mandala

I was just about to go to bed & saw this link on Reality Carnival.

CNN has an amazing time-lapse video of the 6-day creation of a sand mandala by Buddhist monks.

The fact that the meticulously finished sacred artwork is then dispersed back to the elements is full of symbolic meaning. It is an act of pure creation that is meant to be impermanent, like the human experience itself. This is one of many ritualized processes used to bring a sense of awareness to our temporary situation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Most Important Infographic Ever

I'm visually-oriented so I find that infographics are a powerful way to understand certain concepts.

This one I saw on FFFFOUND! is full of vital information.

click to enlarge

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Emwow: Vince for Eminem's "Recovery"

I consider myself an infomercial connoisseur, having closely studied the fine art of TV salesmanship since watching late-nite Ron Popeil TV ads as a teenager.

It always amazes me that people can be persuaded to order such crap from these ridiculous infomercials, but I still find them endlessly entertaining. My disbelief in the gullibility of TV viewers hit a new peak when the piece of garbage ShamWow, basically a rag, sold millions. The infomercial featured Beavis/Gremlin look-alike Vince Shlomi, aka. Vince Offer.

This obnoxious scumbag achieved another level of fame after he beat the daylights out of a hooker who bit his tongue or something.

I was amused to see that Vince was recently recruited by Eminem to promote his new album Recovery with a parody of the Slap-Chop informercial that Vince had also 'starred' in. I thought it was funny that the encroaching obsolescence of the CD format was highlighted with alternative uses for the plastic disc. This was a great idea for a video promo:

I've only heard a few tracks off the album like "W.T.P." & "No Love" w/ Lil Wayne, but I've been mostly been listening to "Not Afraid" which is getting the most airplay.

In my opinion, Eminem's greatest track so far was the anti-Bush anthem "Mosh" that came out before the 2004 elections. The song & video were a political masterpiece for that dreadful time. He tried to pull back the curtain on the truth behind the CIA asset Bin Ladin & the facetious nature of the "War on Terror", but it was in vain. We ended up stuck with the War Monkey for 4 more years.

The Monkey Buddha:
"Bush Hatin' Hip-Hop"

Bartcop Stickers is one of my favorite political websites. It has an unashamedly liberal slant with plenty of visuals & irreverent humor.

If Obama & the Democrats listened to Bartcop and just listed the facts only once in awhile the country might be in much better shape.

"Bart" occasionally posted my political artwork during the Bush Dark Ages & has featured my more recent Obama artwork as well.

As a token of my appreciation for the site, I recently volunteered to create some Bartcop sticker designs when I saw his request for new ideas.

I just saw some photos of the printed stickers on the website & I think they look pretty good.

Check them out at & get them free with any donation to the site.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Louis Theroux Documentaries

As a pacifist, a philosophical thinker, & an artist, it is my nature to try to find some beauty in this prison we call Reality. However, I am also definitely not a blind idealist. I've seen enough unspeakably awful things and truly horrible people to know that the world is (and always will be) full of hellish circumstances. People who dream of a future when the entire human race "evolves" into a purely peaceful existence are well-meaning, but naive.

I came across a link on to a collection of fascinating clips from documentaries by BBC journalist Louis Theroux, whose mission seems to be investigating the world's craziest people.

Watching the psychos in some of these clips will certainly destroy any optimism about the human race someone may feel. He somehow coolly confronts everything from Neo-nazis to murderers to Black Israelites to pro wrestlers to the twisted "God Hates Fags" Phelps family.

After watching all the clips on that page, I've started searching for more of his videos online, starting with the missing one of his visit to San Quentin prison. They are all AWESOME.

All I have to say is that this guy has balls of steel & is a new hero of mine. The situations he puts himself into and the variety of people he interviews are just astounding.

I just watched videos from Louis's visit to a brothel, and also his investigation into the use of psychological tricks to get girls' numbers & gain self confidence.

That particular one gave me a bit of a flashback because it mentioned hypno-huckster Marshall Sylver, who apparently has morphed from Clark Kent into Lex Luthor. Back when I was in high school, Marshall Sylver's "Passion Profit & Power" infomercial & super-douchey personality was a favorite source of amusement for me & my friends.

Anyway, besides his tremendous courage and unflappability, Louis has a wicked sense of subversive humor that is great:

I'd recommend searching Youtube & watching as many of his segments as possible...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hysterical Star Wars Prequel Review

I have always been & will always be a dedicated Star Wars geek.

The Monkey Buddha:
"Star Wars"

The original "Star Wars: A New Hope" was released the year I was born & it has been one of my greatest creative & philosophical inspirations. After growing up w/ the original trilogy, I was totally psyched to see how the whole mysterious Clone Wars backstory unfolded when "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released during my college days.

Even though there were plenty of things I thought could have been done better or even eliminated, it was cool just to see a new installment of the saga. Thankfully, the next 2 prequels got better in my opinion & George Lucas's overall vision expressed though the movies is still amazing.

Unfortunately, the inability for George Lucas to be challenged during the 3 prequels on any number of issues regarding story, characters, & especially dialogue has left some glaring failures in his creations. These include:

• Ridiculous, horrendous, sappy dialogue between Anakin & Padme throughout the prequels

• Jar-Jar Binks

• Plot holes that you could fly a Star destroyer through

• Sterile acting & unsatisfying story arcs

• ...and the worst goddamn utterance in any movie, ever, in a scene which was otherwise part of the coolest sequence of the entire saga.

Of course I'm talking about Darth Vader's unbelievably stupid f*cking "NOOOOOOOOOO!" when he finds out his wife Padme is dead at the end of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (whose title I predicted years before the movie came out BTW):

I vividly remember wincing in the theater when that happened it was so awful.

So anyway, people have endlessly criticized Lucas's execution of the prequels since Episode I hit the theater. I personally still love all the movies despite their flaws & think the saga is our modern-day Illiad, an epic story for the ages. Perhaps I've been blinded by the Dark Side.

A critical mastermind in the realm of Youtube disagrees & put together a 70 minute scathing review of Episode 1: A Phantom Menace. Despite my love of Star Wars, this critique is so spot-on brutally funny that I now have to suspend my disbelief to an even greater degree when I watch Episode I again. The narrator gets super-creepy at times, but the whole thing is hilarious. The most damning bits are the actual behind-the-scenes looks at Lucas's questionable production & storytelling methods.

If you are a Star Wars fan, this is a must-see video that is broken up into segments for convenient viewing. I'll embed the first segment, but it gets better as the review goes on. Watch 'em ALL!

"Video Review of
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace"

Fortunately, (or unfortunately if you are George Lucas) the creators of the first review have also decided to skewer Episode 2: Attack of the Clones:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice 2010

Today marked the beginning of my favorite season, Summer.

Although I consider it to be "summertime" as soon as I can go outside wearing shorts, today marks the actual date of the longest day of the year- The Summer Solstice.

I found a couple interesting new articles about this sacred day & it's traditional astronomical significance.

Continuing to recognize dates such as an equinox or solstice is important for maintaining some sense of natural time. This fundamental aspect of the Life experience transcends the artificial time frames of the modern world, like the school year, business cycles, or the Gregorian calendar itself.

National Geographic
"Summer Solstice 2010:

Why It's the First Day of Summer "

The website Secret Sun is dedicated to finding connections between astro-theology & modern culture. There was a post from today implying that the temporal relationship between Father's Day & The Summer Solstice is based on the ancient solar father-god archetype such as the Egyptian god Osiris.

Coincidentally, my Dad's birthday is today, and he was almost named 'Summer' since he was born on the Solstice. Thankfully he wasn't... because instead of Paul my name would have been Summer, Jr.!

Anyway, I guess the fact that I've always associated the beginning of Summer with both Father's Day & my Dad's birthday makes the idea of this synchronicity and its mystical connections more intriguing to me.

Really Green Energy

Despite humanity's admitted addiction to petroleum products, there is a growing number of alternative energy solutions emerging.

Although the term "green technology" is used for more eco-friendly methods of energy production, there are many ideas for literally green fuels that harness power from nature's optimal process of photosynthesis.

Some ideas are already working concepts or products. Biofuel created from algae growth is, in my opinion, one of the best routes to living in a truly green world. The business of fuel powered by chlorophyll is already being pursued.

Popular Mechanics:
"Pond-Powered Biofuels"

I saw this prototype for an algae-powered lamp that may be a sign of things to come:

Going from the practical to the more fantastic, here are a couple REALLY GREEN concepts that are still way ahead of their time...

Architect Vincent Callebaut
Algae Farm and Bio-Hydrogen Airship

Then there's this totally crazy car that seems to double as a garden. I'm not even sure how you get into this thing. Maybe it's actually a car for plants to drive around in by themselves!

Photosynthetic Concept Car
is Powered Completely by Plants

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil Follies

Even though I personally thought Obama's address about the Gulf oil spill didn't have the impact it could have, it seems to have been a turning point in many ways.

Meeting w/ BP's executives yesterday, the President negotiated beneficial terms like the $20 billion escrow account for cleanup & the $100 million fund for unemployed oil workers. This is one positive development in what's going to be a long process.

"BP agrees to $20 billion fund for spill costs"

Like many people have said, the oil spill should have been treated with a much greater sense of urgency earlier on. It's crazy that there's no contingency plans for disasters like this, from either the private sector or the government. I give people like Anderson Cooper credit for trying to highlight the seriousness of the situation by staying in the Gulf and showing the devastation firsthand.

Today BP CEO Tony Hayward went before a Congress committee to get deservedly drilled & berated by elected officials (who are slightly less corrupt than oil executives). There's a good chance that criminal charges will surface at some point, but for now official reprimand, public disdain, & financial liability are BP main sources of retribution. They should & may be found responsible for much more.

However, one Senator today didn't see it that way, & came to the defense of BP. The GOP have become known for being loyal Big Oil lackeys, but lizard-faced hick Sen. Joe Barton (R-TX) took it to a despicable new level during the hearing. He actually apologized for what he called the "tragedy" of the White House's "shakedown" of BP for the $20 billion dollar fund. Watching this jackass clarifies the definition of crooked stupidity:

Of course, the media was instantly all over this glaring display of corporate cronyism. I was just watching The Daily Show rip this fool apart. Good ol' boy Barton was just taking his cues from other Republican knuckleheads, like Rush Limbaugh & Michelle Bachmann. Today's clue to tell if someone is a right-wing dittohead - they refer to the BP escrow account as a "shakedown" or "slush fund". This idiotic cabal of so-called conservative leaders have finally opposed the President on an issue that's almost impossible to criticize, thereby showing their complete inability to reason or build a consensus.


The GOP is continuing to act against America's best interest in other deplorable ways to support their Big Oil sugar daddies, too. I am an Independent and have my problems with the Democrats, but anyone who says there is no difference between the political parties is kidding themselves.


The other night, John Stewart also provided an amazing history lesson regarding America's dependence on oil & the rhetoric about freeing ourselves from it, used by every President since Nixon. Even for someone who follows politics and history closely like myself, it was an eye-opener. Despite the Internet & modern media, we still have cultural amnesia and lack of historical context, even for the biggest issues. It's tough to think that even a transformational figure like Obama can muster the national will to attack such an ingrained & all-encompassing problem.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

US vs. BP

Like the rest of the country, I've watched the oil spill catastrophe unfold in the Gulf of Mexico for the last 2 months.

It's one of those nightmarish situations that defies description.

With the intellectual & physical resources available in this country, it's definitely shocking that the leak has just continued to spew into the Gulf for this long. Mankind is ultimately no match for Nature, but this is a localized engineering problem that has to be solved. Science, industry, & government should all be engaging at full force to contain the leak and clean the damage. It seems like Kevin Costner's centrifuge separation technology has been approved & purchased by BP for the cleanup efforts. This is just one of many technological avenues that need to be pursued to mitigate the effect of this spill.

Most of the public's outrage has been directed at BP, aka British Petroleum. Although I find the whole idea of using fossil fuels & combustion engines archaic, at least BP had a cool "green" logo that's actually derivative of a rotated & repeated Flower of Life geometric pattern. This along with the whole "Beyond Petroleum" corporate branding was very effective. Now, that is all literally blown to hell, of course.

President Obama has visited the Gulf several times already, which is helpful to the efforts down there. Local leaders have said that his presence makes things start to happen, which makes sense. Unfortunately the magnitude of the disaster has people obviously looking to throw blame Obama's way, too. He's going to give a speech from the Oval Office in an hour, but that alone is not going to cut it. Unless he says he's taking some kind of drastic measures that can be visibly implemented immediately, this is going to continue to be a drag on his many agendas. Clinton's former Labor Secretary Robert Reich's opinion about Obama's potential responses seems right to me:

It's funny in a sadly predictable way how the ever-reactionary 'Teabagger' faction thinks government should get out of everything... until a disaster strikes & then they agree President suddenly isn't doing enough and needs to take control. They are socialists, but don't even know it. How insidious!

Even though Obama has said he's looking for "whose ass to kick", most of America probably thinks he should also take Stephen Colbert's advice... & literally kick the ass of unbelievably arrogant asshole CEO Tony Hayward.

People have suggested there's a conspiracy or sabotage of some sort, but I wasn't down there in a sub so I won't even pretend to have a clue. If it were some kind of sabotage by a foreign entity or even a rival oil company trying to bankrupt BP, I'm not sure that would even make strategic sense. The most likely culprit is the source of so much other human calamity, good ol' fashion Greed. That, combined with hazardous materials in extreme environments has proven to be a volatile combination.

I'm trying to find a silver lining here, so hopefully there are a couple good things that may come out of this:
• The government will be forced to better handle it's important function of regulating this kind of mega-industry.
• This will compel everyone to dedicate R&D, capital, and effort to implementing alternative sources of renewable energy.
• We as a people will also have to to address the complex interaction between multi-national corporate interests & our supposedly democratic government that should be defending the public's interests.

• On a more spiteful note- Sarah Palin has been forced to laughably defend her now ultra-retarded mantra "Drill, Baby, Drill!" She is such an unbelievable dope. If I believed in a Heavenly Father, I'd say he's trying to specifically tell her to shut off her gushing stream of nonsense for once. It wouldn't save the Gulf Coast, but it would save many of America's brain cells.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Building a Lightsaber

I just saw a link on Gizmodo to an article by an engineer for General Electric, regarding the feasibility of the greatest fictional melee weapon ever, The Lightsaber.

This 'engineer' (who is obviously a Sith disinformation agent) claims that:

"It seems quite impossible to create a lightsaber, as seen in the Star Wars films, using existing technologies, materials, and physical laws."

Reading this article gave me a bit of a flashback to my high school senior year. Back then I had just enough scientific knowledge (with time to waste in homeroom class) to scheme with some other guys who also had physics about how we could build a semi-functional lightsaber using lasers & other high-tech crap.

Like so many youthful dreams, this was an exercise in futility.

Anyway... for my own amusement, I took my high-speed elevator & descended into the secret Monkey Buddha Archive that is 42 miles underground to pull out one of the many classic drawings I made in high school.

There are unimaginably rare documents hidden in my Armageddon-proof subterranean vaults that may one day be shared with the undeserving world.

For now, this particular masterpiece roughly imagining the construction of a laser-driven lightsaber will have to do:
Click to Enlarge
Don't bother trying to understand what's going on, it's pretty much bullshit.
It was neat to think about, though.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bloodthirtsty Blue Jay

This weekend I was sitting on my back patio, eating breakfast & enjoying the warm weather outside.

To my surprise, a Blue Jay flew onto a branch within my line of vision, behind my woodpile in my back yard. I could see it had something hanging out of it's mouth & at first I thought it was a mouse. Then, I saw wings & a beak and realized it was a smaller bird it must have killed then carried to the tree. This really threw me off, because I thought birds like that only ate seeds or insects.

The blue jay held the dead bird on the branch & started pecking at it's chest. Feathers started dropping as the jay ripped off pieces, putting some of them aside on the branch.

At this point I was totally intrigued by this crazy sight. I walked slowly toward my woodpile until I was about 10 feet away & kept watching from up close. Soon, the blue jay started pulling off little chunks of bright pink meat while picking at every piece of the dead bird. A couple times a piece of flesh dropped to the ground, so the jay would leave the little carcass on the branch & swoop down to retrieve it.

Eventually the smaller bird was torn apart, with most of it eaten by the blue jay. I tried to get a picture of the scene, but the gruesome avian massacre was over & the jay flew away.

Even though I live on a highway in the middle of my town, my backyard in the summer becomes green and alive like Wild Kingdom. When it's nice out I can sit out there all day enjoying sights & sounds of nature. This particular episode with the blue jay was slightly grisly, but was interesting nonetheless.

I've also seen all kinds of other animals in my yard/driveway: rabbits, snakes, chipmunks, large muskrats, & even wild turkeys (which are actually fairly common in the area, but not usually in my yard).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Game Review: "Resistance 2"

Alot of PS3 games I get to play are borrowed from my youngest brother. (He somehow finds time to play tons of video games, watch all kinds of movies, & see every single Philly sporting event.) Since he gets alot of good PS3 titles, it's like a free personal rental service for me.

Recently, I played twice through the sequel to "Resistance: Fall of Man". As a first-person shooter revolving around an alien invasion of Earth, "Resistance 2" was my kind of game.

You are a soldier who is fighting an invasion of creatures called The Chimera. Unfortunately you have been infected with a virus, turning you into the very monsters you are fighting. You have a great array of human & alien weapons to use throughout the game; various machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, energy rifles that can see & shoot through walls, and even a gun that fires circular saws that bounce around, slicing up any Chimera in your way.

The main individual antagonist of the story is another former soldier who was overtaken by the Chimera virus & morphed into a large tentacled creature named Daedalus. This floating freak Daedalus has somehow aquired the knowledge of the Chimera's origin & purpose.

Probably the best aspect of the game is the continuous feeling of overwhelming alien power you are up against. Throughout the many environments you encounter (the forest, a desert canyon, an abandoned 50's era town, Louisiana bayou, & being on a Chimera mothership) one feature is eerily ever-present. Most of the time, when you look up to the sky you are going to see a massive fleet of countless alien craft. It gives you the distinct impression of a truly overwhelming invasion taking place.

Unlike "Dead Space", where you are in outer space stuck on a ship w/ creatures creeping up on you in the dark corridors, Resistance 2 is mostly fought in open battlefields on Earth. The action is intense with hordes of Chimera footsoldiers continuously attacking you in the various locations they have overtaken. Then there are are the inevitable boss battles against insanely huge Chimera monstrosities- like The Leviathan that you have to fight from the top of a city high-rise building:

Overall this is a great game that is alot of fun. I haven't had a chance to play the co-op 2 player missions yet & I don't bother playing other people over the PS network, but the single player campaign was definitely worth playing through a couple times. It seems that despite the efforts of the player, your character ends up totally infected by the Chimera virus & Earth is somehow teleported to some strange location in space at the end of the game. I imagine this will be the setting for Resistance: 3. "This is just the beginning..."

It didn't knock my socks off like "Dead Space", but it is a title I recommend for anyone who likes the FPS variety of games. The amazing locations that are overrun with alien fleets, the wide variety of weapons & Chimera enemies, and the constant blood-pumping action are some of the great features of "Resistance 2".

• The Monkey Buddha's official rating: 8.0

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who's More Annoying?

The great thing about the Internet is that anyone can have their voice heard.

Unfortunately- that is also the worst thing about the Internet!!!

Take these two freakazoids I saw on iambored...
I can't decide which one is more unbearably annoying:

That was just the warm-up.
Please prepare for gun-to-the-head level of annoyance:

Yes, the future of humanity looks brighter than ever!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tracy Morgan Comedy Gold

Recently my family was talking over Sunday dinner about a favorite topic- SNL skits.

Tracy Morgan
is one of the all-time great cast members &, in my opinion, one of the funniest human beings alive. We were trying to figure out the name of his homeless character who serenaded Britney Spears in the sewer with his "doo-doo pie" song.

On the way home tonight I was listening to Howard Stern interviewing Jim Breuer (another hilarious guy) about his days on SNL w/ Tracy & Will Ferrell. Breuer's stories were hilarious & reminded me to search for the classic Britney Spears skit.

Thanks to the Internet,
(but no thanks to NBC's lack of content)...

SNL Skit -
Tracy Morgan and Britney Spears in
Woodrow the homeless man

NBC doesn't have that particular Woodrow skit on their website, but they have collections by cast member.

SNL: Tracy Morgan

One of my favorites is the commercial for "Uncle Jemima's Pure Mash Liquor":

It's 190 Proof baby, "that means you get f*cked up for less money!"

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fake Science

On Neatorama I saw a link to a photo blog featuring posters that turn science upside-down.

In this age of wide-open transfer of ideas it's sometimes difficult for people to discern factual information from BS. A wise one knows that it's all BS.

I liked this one on the front page.
It's a subtle ode to the ridiculous video for the Insane Clown Posse song "Miracles":

It is right, in a way- magnetism & gravity are simply aspects of the same fractal continuum on different scales.
...or not.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Crazy, or Just Gaga?

I just saw yet another scientific study relating artistic tendencies to mental "illness".

As the legendary Salvador Dali claimed, "The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad."

Artists are crazy! Who would've thought?....

Speaking of crazy creative types, last night I was watching the Larry King interview with Lady Gaga. Larry King is a laughably horrible interviewer, but for the most part he lets his guests go on & speak their mind.

The first song I heard of hers was "Just Dance" & I thought 'my god, this chick is horrible.' For better on worse, though I've changed my mind & think she's an impressive entertainer. I had the same change of opinion about Coldplay. I thought "Yellow" was the most horrible song ever, but now I like alot of their music.

Gaga is definitely a wildly creative & interesting person. Some of her more recent songs are catchy, as far as club pop goes. It's not music I'd listen to on a normal basis, but some of it's not as bad as 'Just Dance'. Even if you don't like her music, she's become an entertainment juggernaut. She's only 24, so if she keeps her head together & focused on her career she'll be successful for decades.

One reason that people find her intriguing is her artistic ability to push the boundaries of her unique appearance & performance. Most of all, she looks like she's having fun being totally wacky. Even the contrast in her name has a sense of humor about it, the dignity of the term "Lady" with the nonsense silly word "Gaga. Her outfit on Larry King was pretty funny too, basically a negative version of ol' Larry. I can appreciate her outrageous versatility, & criticism about her 'copying' various styles is missing the point.

Besides her over-the-top showmanship skills, in interviews she's thoughtful w/ an obvious passion to create & bring joy to other people. She is also definitely quirky and eccentric, but that's to be expected.

Anyone who slips anonymously into a bar to hang out, then randomly picks up the tab for the entire bar is cool in my book. This is an admirable attitude compared to the idea of being a "diva".

Lady Gaga's Telephone

Salvador Dali's 'Lobster Phone'
photo taken by Me

Of course, Lady Gaga is also... an Illuminati Puppet!