Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump™ State of the Union 2018

I've made a personal tradition of pouring a whiskey on the rocks and watching the annual State of the Union speech by the current U.S. President.

Sitting through speeches from Bush, and now Trump, have been exercises in tolerance, though it feels like masochism. They're just not believable or wise characters (to anyone who hasn't gulped down the Kool-aid). Sure, Obama was a better speaker and a more thoughtful politician, but his State of the Union speeches were just the same dog-and-pony show. The purpose of this ceremonial speech is to express a vision of this country and society, and ideas on how to move it forward it a positive and realistic way. It's very hard to do that meaningfully or effectively in a 1-2 hr speech that needs to be simplified for the masses.

Trump did a decent job of reading off the Teleprompter, and didn't make a total ass of himself... Woo-hoo! The bar is set so low for this guy, that Republicans were basically applauding him for remaining coherent & finishing each sentence.

Every single State of the Union consists of the opposition party sitting & scowling, while the President's party is applauding & standing. However, the clapping after every line was just getting silly, and the sound of Trump clapping at himself into his mic just felt like it was to feed his ego, more so than in celebration of the content of his speech.

The Democrats are catching shit for not standing or clapping at different parts of the speech. It's hard to react to someone you disagree with, without coming off as a jerk. The GOP dealt with the same optics during Obama's term. The reason for the lack of enthusiasm is not because liberals or progressives don't care about the issues that Trump was talking about. The reason is- Trump is just not sincere about any of it! It's all lip service, & laughably bad lip service, at that.

I mean, let's be honest, the only thing Trump cares about is Trump. The guy is a known fraudster, a con-man, and a shitty businessman who has screwed over countless people, especially entrepreneurs to make himself money. The fact that his supporters have fallen for his ridiculous charade feels the same as when you hear of elderly people losing their savings to an obvious scam.

Then, there is the issue that the Trump administration, despite acting like a force for law & order, are completely subverting the law and national security to empower Russia. Yeah, I know, "NO COLLUSION!"....yeah, ok. Trump's connection to Russia & Putin isn't hard to figure out. As I said before, he's such a shitty businessman and credit risk that American banks wouldn't loan to him. Therefore, he had to go to foreign banks and perhaps less-than-reputable organizations to get financing. He obviously never wanted to release his taxes and financial info because it would make him look bad in some way. Otherwise, he'd be waving it in the cameras and bragging about it.

Now, there are investigations going on and some of his people have already been indicted. The problem for Trump is that he is treating every twist & turn in the worst way possible. Trump is not a genius. He's not even kind of smart. He's a dummy. Sometimes it's hard to know if he's intentionally lying or if he genuinely doesn't know what he's talking about. Thank God, because a smarter narcissistic sociopath might have done more damage by now.

30% of the country and the Republican Party have proven that they'll fall in line behind anyone unquestioningly, no matter how unqualified or incompetent. I wonder who will be next on their ballot in 2020. Jim Bakker perhaps? Ted Nugent? Really, how low can we go here? I'd rather not know...

Ok, now I'm starting to rant. Let me talk about the content of the speech. Oh, wait, there wasn't much more than the typical platitudes, & inspirational stories that politicians use as props. I'll just say that the most disturbing aspects of the speech to me were the blatant authoritarian appeals. He really wants a Trumpocracy, where neither merit nor integrity matter, only loyalty to him.

• Keep Gitmo open!
• We must have unquestioning praise for the military & police forces.
• Cabinet members should be able to fire agency employees for "not being a good American"!
• Let's increase our already bloated military, and start a new nuclear arms race!
• "USA! USA! USA!" (Idiocracy is coming true)

These were a few of his extraordinarily dangerous ideas. I also love the fact that he talks about lowering drug prices, then talks about escalating the war on drugs. The connection & irony is completely lost on him.

Who could've imagined that putting a self-absorbed man-child, reality-TV host, failed casino owner, & product huckster in charge of the country would be a bad idea?

Well, I know I did, even back in 2011!:

 As a postscript, let me also say that having Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic rebuttal shows just how fucked the American political system has become. Out of the millions of people in this country capable of being political leaders, the Dems bring out another Kennedy? Sure he spoke better than Trump and did his best to put on a show, but it all seems so contrived.

We have to figure out how to evolve beyond the limitations of the 2-party system, and the dangers of 1-party rule, if our democracy is going to survive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Going Clear" & Scientology

Last night my fiancée & I watched the HBO documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief".

I have already extensively researched the "church", it's founder L. Ron Hubbard, and his successor David Miscavige, but I was still thoroughly amazed by the documentary. We kept looking at each other, thinking "What the f...????"

The basic ideas that Hubbard formulated for Scientology are not any crazier than some other New Age ideas. He claimed that people have mental blocks created by emotional or unconscious energy that has built up and not been resolved. Through instruments such as e-meters and the complex hierarchical system known as "The Bridge to Total Freedom," these barriers in our consciousness can be overcome. "Going clear" refers to the process of removing these mental obstructions.

Where it gets really crazy is in the more advanced stages of "The Bridge" when you begin to learn about Xenu and the history of the Universe, according to L. Ron Hubbard's wild imagination. You are only revealed this secret information once you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, of course.

Scientology preys on people who, by their very nature, are vulnerable and looking for answers. Unfortunately, this is also the strategy of many other existing religious faiths. Once a system of thought or belief reaches a certain size, it naturally begins to institute systems of control to maintain its structure. The only way to maintain a religious institution is to relentlessly keep recruiting people, & then ensuring that they don't leave the bubble of influence.

More importantly, Scientology seeks out high-profile people or celebrities who have deep pockets to donate to the organization's billion-dollar bank account. Meanwhile, certain members like those in the SeaOrg are allegedly kept in virtual servitude, working for less than $1/hr. Through an onslaught of lawsuits and legal delays in the 1990's, Scientology managed to secure tax-exempt status from the U.S. government, even though it should have been bankrupted from back taxes owed, instead.

The whole thing is totally bonkers, and the most disturbing thing to me is always the cult of personality that exists in these situations. The worship and reverence for serial liar and con-man L. Ron Hubbard is so stupid. The images of the members in their faux-military regalia, attempting to appear important, was the silliest thing to us:


It was definitely interesting to see how all the people who came out to speak against Scientology had (at one time) been true-believers & top members in leadership roles. They eventually realized they had been brainwashed and completely captivated by this organization. Each one was finally pushed to the brink by the church's shitty practices.

As someone highly resistant to following authority of any type, I personally can't understand the mindset that allows people to be manipulated in this manner. One look at L. Ron or Miscavige, and it's "clear" to me that they are power-hungry creeps. I guess people desperately looking for direction or deeper meaning in life are more easily swayed by those offering those answers.

Although I am very interested in merging scientific & spiritual worldviews, Scientology is not a good way of doing it. There is danger in any organization having unchecked power over it's members, especially when controlled by a single personality.

"Going Clear" was an excellent documentary, but it was pretty disturbing to watch. It gives a compelling look at not only the operation of Scientology, but how people get sucked into other cults & religions, too. Human behavior is an endlessly fascinating phenomenon...

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Creator" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

"Creator" imagines the Source of all existence not as an anthropomorphic deity, but as an abstract flux of energies in the infinite quantum field. The Great Mystery is how these seemingly random field interactions give rise to the orderly phenomena we perceive on the gross level.

by Paul Micarelli

by Paul Micarelli

**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
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Monday, January 22, 2018

"Fantasy Photos" Promo Video #1

Fantasy Photos
"The Only Limit is Your Imagination!"

Right now, I am self-employed as a freelance graphic artist, Paul Micarelli Design. Although this is my main source of income right now, I'm also the owner of a custom photography business, called Fantasy Photos.

Last year, after I was laid off from the studio where I worked, I decided to pursue my dreams by creating my own businesses. Although it's very slow & difficult to build a service from scratch, the experience has been the most rewarding journey I've ever had.

Since I'm the sole proprietor of both companies, I do everything myself right now. Although I'd love to just handle the creative end of things, I also need to do invoicing, marketing, book-keeping, and everything else. Thankfully, my wonderful fiancée helps me with the Fantasy Photos business when we go to festivals or have the Fantasy Photo Booth set up.

I have been busy with my graphic design work recently, and the opportunities for Fantasy Photos seemed to slow down for the winter. I'm not going to as many live events, due to the cold weather.

Therefore it was a good time to create some promotional material, and I decided to make the promo video at the top of this page. My brother is the owner of MicPros, an audio/visual production company. He helped me put together the video according to my direction. I took his video & created the soundtrack using the Garageband software.

I'm happy with the way it turned out, and think it represents the sense of fun & quality I strive to infuse into the brand.

Please "Like" & "Share" with others, to help me spread the word about Fantasy Photos services. Thank you!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Domain of the Golden Dragon

Recently I went to visit my aunt, from my Dad's side of the family. She bought out an old album of black & white photos, that my grandfather had put together in the mid-20th century.

Since I'm the archivist of my family, she entrusted them to me to digitize the photographs. I am in the process of scanning them, and it's an amazing feeling to flip through these memories that my grandfather had the foresight to document. He had no idea that one day his grandson would be using a computer to digitally preserve his experiences. It makes me wonder how my life & work might continue to affect people after I pass from this world.

Among the many pages of photos from the 1940's & 50's was this awesome certificate- "The Domain of the Golden Dragon". It was a humorous document from 1944 that was bestowed upon to my grandpop, Joseph A. Micarelli. He was a cook in the Coast Guard and was one of 9 children in an Italian family from Boston. He passed away when I was in first grade, so although I remember him, I didn't get to know him as much as I would've liked.

After looking it up online, I discovered that this Golden Dragon certificate was given to sailors who crossed the International Date Line.

I sent a pic of it to my brothers & sister and told them "Guys, I hate to break it to you, but Pop-pop was in a secret society!"

(click to enlarge)

Because this is such a cool document from my grandfather, & I love anything to do with secret societies or ancient mystery schools... I'm going to transcribe the whole thing!


Ruler of the180th Meridian

International Date Line
To all Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, wherever ye may be and to all mermaids, flying dragons, spirits of the deep, devil chasers, and all other living creatures of th yellow sees, Greetings: Know ye that on this 21 day of SEPTEMBER 1945 in latitude 009º longitude 180º there appeared within the limits of my august dwelling the 


Hearken Ye: The said vessel, officers and crew have been inspected and passed on by my august body and staff. And know ye: Ye that are chit signers, squaw men, opium smokers, ice men, and all-around landlubbers that Joseph A. Micarelli having been found sane and worthy to be numbered a dweller of the Far East has been gathered in my fold and duly initiated into the

Silent Mysteries of the Far East

Be it further understood: That by virtue of the power vested in me I do hereby command all moneylenders, wine sellers, cabaret owners, COOKS, managers and all my other subjects to show honor and respect to all his wishes whenever he may enter my realm. Disobey this command under penalty of my august displeasure.

Golden Dragon
Ruler of the 180th Meridian
WLE Sinkler

Copyright 1944 by Lloyd Wofford

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quantum Mandala #3


I have an app called Forge of Neon that allows you to make these awesome 3D designs made of light points & trails.

As I was making one of these designs, it reminded me of a combination of patterns of quantum energy & a spiritual mandala. So, I decided to make a series of "Quantum Mandala" designs in both looping animated GIF format & as a video.

On the fundamental level, Reality is an infinite sea of pulsations of patterned energy. This is an attempt to visualize the beauty & intricacy of these ubiquitous energy patterns that form our world.

by Paul Micarelli

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Vitas "7th Element"

I saw this video mocking the "Bitcoin bubble" posted in a Reddit comment about cryptocurrency. I thought the actual music video used was crazy & hilarious. In the video comments, someone gave the name of the original song- "7th Element" by Vitas:

Here's another version:

Apparently, the Latvian singer Vitas also has a "normal mode".

As far as digital forms of monetary exchange are concerned, the economy is all numbers and digital signals, anyway. I think Bitcoin & cryptocurrency is an interesting approach to society's economic needs. There's no reason that traditional money or economics has to be the only game in town. As technology progresses, all our currently held systems or institutions will be eliminated or adapted. 

Eventually, society should evolve into a post-currency mode, such as the fictional model used in Star Trek:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Thursday, January 04, 2018

White Elephant 2017

Every year on Christmas Eve, my family plays a game called "White Elephant".

Each person brings a mystery present & puts it in a pile. Everyone draws numbers, then takes turns picking & opening a wrapped gift. When you're number is drawn, you can choose to steal a gift from someone else. If someone gets a gift stolen, they pick a new one from the pile.

My family (including me) has a wacky sense of humor and is pretty competitive, so things get crazy fast.

Probably the weirdest gift was this framed piece of "art". It is a nicely matted Happy Birthday plate, with fake butterflies glued onto it. My Dad stole it from someone- but that's only because it also came with a gift card to Cracker Barrel restaurant! Anyway, It was so bizarre that I had to post it:

The gift that I brought was a gag gift, having fun with my Uncle Ron. I used my expert skills to Photoshop his face onto Michelangelo's sculpture of "David," & called it "Ronald". Uncle Ron is a real ball-buster and loves to crack jokes on everyone, so this is my way to give him some good-humored payback.

My nephews were allowed to play with the adults this year. I saw my one nephew go for the box on his turn, & I muttered, "Oh no...." He opened it up & everyone went nuts, laughing at my ridiculous creation.

Anyway, Uncle Ron tried to steal the masterpiece to "keep it out of circulation" as he said. Unfortunately for him, my brother-in-law stole it again, and put it right on his mantle. Luckily, Uncle Ron's got a good sense of humor & realizes he will never out-do me when it comes to prank gifts!

Usually I get lame gifts when I play the game. This year, however, I picked Bailey's Irish Creme chocolate truffles, which I like. I told all the kids they had alcohol (they don't), so no one would steal them from me! It was another fun Christmas Eve with the family playing a fun game that has become an annual tradition.