Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Review: "Magicians of the Gods"

One of the books on my summer reading list was a second book by Graham Hancock about our lost ancient history, and clues about it that are, only now, being uncovered.

by Graham Hancock

I had previously read Hancock's other book about the same topic, Fingerprints of the Gods, years ago. In that book, he presented evidence from around the world that we have an ancient cultural heritage, perhaps going back more than 10,000 years, that has been completely lost to us. I've also to listened to many talks & interviews with Graham Hancock, and think he is an intelligent, curious voice for uncovering truth in many different fields.

One of his favorite refrains is that "humanity is a species with collective amnesia." He is definitely correct to a large extent, this is obvious from the never-ending stream of archaeological finds that continually give us new insights into our past. One site that he focuses on in this book is the site in modern-day Turkey called Gobleki Tepe. Estimated to be around 12,000 years old, this megalithic site was one of the first to completely rewrite our conception of the timeline of ancient history.

In this book, Graham takes this evidence of lost civilizations and takes the next step. He tries to find an explanation for the sudden disappearance of seemingly widespread advanced culture around the time period 10,800 years ago, known as the Younger Dryas, after the last Ice Age. This was a thousand years of a dramatic temperature drop, creating a mini ice age. This period of intense cold was followed by major warming and melting of global ice, causing sea levels to rise. This tumultuous time likely gave rise to the flood stories of the biblical Noah and Utnapishtim from the epic of  Gilgamesh.

Using scientific data, and good old common sense (that sometimes defies the stubborn entrenched views of the scientific establishment), Hancock comes to the conclusion that the likely culprit for this meteorological upheaval was a large comet that entered Earth's atmosphere & broke up as it traveled across Canada and the North Atlantic, raining hell down on the globe. Not only did this create havoc for the people and other life on this planet, but the debris thrown up into the atmosphere darkened the skies and caused temperatures to plunge for decades.

I find this to be highly plausible, especially given the presented evidence. Cosmological catastrophe is one the biggest threats to humanity and all life on this planet. A comet or meteor of sufficient size could completely obliterate most living things on this planet. Even a relatively smaller one could seriously disrupt the biosphere upon impact, and in the following years. The worst part of this scenario is we are mostly unprepared for such an event, which could literally come out of the void.

In fact, the fragments from this same comet that nearly wiped out our ancestors so many millennia ago are still speeding through space, and could cross our path again someday. Hancock goes on to theorize that certain works of ancient art and architecture were warnings of this event happening again.

This is where Graham loses me a bit, because I find some of his interpretations of sculpture and oral history from antiquity to be extremely subjective. For instance, he takes relief carvings of animals from a megalithic column at Gobleki Tepe and comes up with this whole astronomical explanation that seemed to be a huge stretch of the imagination to me... and I have a pretty good imagination!

His liberal interpretation of ancient art does not take away from the solid theories and evidence he puts forth about the catastrophic period around 12,000 years ago. The main takeaways from "Magicians of the Gods" are that we know much, much less about humanity's past than we think, and that we could fall victim to the same circumstances in the future. Whether or not there's anything we can do about it, other than migrating off-planet, remains to be seen.

I recommend this book to anyone who, like me, has a fascination with ancient cultures and the lost history of our planet. It makes you realize how brief and fleeting not only our individual lives are, but the whole human species, as well. We are one cosmic instant from ceasing to exist, but hopefully that instant is far enough away that humanity will be able to survive for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Big Hungry Spider

I saw this fat spider in his web by the front porch light, waiting for a meal. So, I decided to get my macro lens and get a closeup shot of it, in all it's awesome detail, to add to my album of nature photos.

by Paul Micarelli

The next night, it was still there in the same spot- but this time it had caught a daddy long legs, or harvestman. It was preying on the unfortunate creature's body, as its spindly legs were wrapped up in the webbing.

I saw the silhouette of the spider & it's victim in the porch light and thought it looked pretty creepy, like something out of a horror movie.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Grounds for Sculpture

Recently I visited Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ for my sister-in-law's bridal shower.

It was a very interesting & beautiful place, with amazing gardens and natural scenery. As the name suggests, the grounds were full of various types of sculpture- abstract, realistic, and representational.

There were also many references to works of fine art, such as paintings & literature.

The food at the party was great, and we had several courses until we were completely stuffed. After the bridal shower, we walked the grounds and spent the entire day there. It was a great day, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys both nature and art.

Here is an album link & a selection of pictures I took of the sculpture and natural features there:

My wife Loretta & I

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Conscious Living for You

If you are reading this blog, I'd like to invite you to check out another page that I created with my wife Loretta.

We devoted this brand to sharing ways to live a healthier & happier life, There are many topics we have covered already, including nutrition, meditation, yoga, physical health, and even humor (the best medicine!).

We've recently unveiled the logo that I designed, that we have featured on the blog and also on our Facebook page, @ConsciousLivingForYou. Please follow us, and we hope that we can help you live a more conscious lifestyle!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Little Red Toad

I was in the back yard and noticed this little red toad, hopping through the grass. It was only about the size of my fingertip. It was a brownish-red color, but had one tiny spot of gray on its back.

To avoid startling it, I crept in very slow & managed to get a closeup to add to my album of nature photos:

by Paul Micarelli

Here's a pic with my hand near it, to get a sense of scale & how small it was:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

In TRUMP We Trust

I've been a fool... After the election of President DONALD J. TRUMP, our strong, wise, benevolent, compassionate, & courageous Leader, I wasn't able to recognize what a divine blessing he was to the United States of America.

However, I recently realized that he is, in fact, the perfect Leader for this country! I now see that his amazing traits perfectly embody this wonderful nation of ours:

• His love of only wealth and himself • The preference of corporate power over the common good of the people • His belief in the complete domination of police and military might over all other concerns of society • His disregard for the poor & least fortunate among us • The ease with which he distorts and completely abandons truth & consensual reality • His effort to put all social services and public assets into the hands of for-profit private companies • The lack of intelligence or curiosity on any subject whatsoever

These are all qualities that patriotic Americans, especially my right-wing countrymen, have been cultivating in this country for a long time. Finally, someone embodying all these characteristics has emerged as the true face of the USA, and all that it truly stands for!

It is a travesty that President TRUMP has been mired in scandals over that silly concept of "ethics", while his loyal supporters have been indicted of crimes clearly made up by the "Deep State". The fact that so many of his people in his circle are being accused of criminal activity shows that The Establishment is against him... & definitely NOT that he is a vile, corrupt piece of shit and a stupid, incompetent criminal himself!

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to protect our Leader from these fake attempts at maintaining law & order is to make him "PRESIDENT FOR LIFE". In fact, the TRUMP name is the only name that should grace the Presidency from now on... Ivanka will inherit the office after her father is no longer able to hold it, then perhaps Barron will then be next in line. With the grace of God, the TRUMP family will rule over America for generations!

To anticipate this NEW TRUMP ORDER™, I created the picture below, showing President-For-Life TRUMP in his full leadership regalia. He is surrounded by the re-designed American flag, featuring the beautiful new gold colors & majestic "T". To prevent any mischief or harm against our Leader, he is flanked by his armored TRUMP-TROOPERS™ who will not hesitate to kill or viciously maim anyone who speaks out against or disrespects our Leader.

Let us hope that our nation comes to its senses and realizes that only TRUMP speaks the Trump-Truth™, and that he alone is the answer to ALL the problems we face as a country.


 by The Monkey Buddha
(click to enlarge & see our Leader's portrait in all its glorious detail)

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Spider Capturing a Beetle

Here's another nature video, from the recent vacation with my family at Big Bass Lake, in the Poconos, PA. My nephews spotted this spider wrapping up a beetle in its web, as the unfortunate beetle desperately tried to get out of the clutches of the relentless arachnid.

I left the original audio, since there's some pretty funny conversation going on in the background, including us all cheering on the beetle, when we thought it was actually going to escape.

Video & Editing by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Poconos Northern Water Snake

This (non-venomous) Northern Water Snake swam by the dock regularly during my family's vacation at Big Bass Lake in the Poconos, PA.

It seemed to magically appear every time someone would talk about it!

I also took some video as he swam by the shore by the dock:

 Filmed & Edited by Paul Micarelli

Friday, August 03, 2018

Funky Little Fuzzy Caterpillar

I saw this little caterpillar on a table outside and thought he was pretty cool, with his long fuzzies & neon colors.

So, I added him to my album of nature photos:

by Paul Micarelli

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Trump & Orwell: Reject the Evidence

I created this blog back during the years of the George W. Bush administration, and I used to post frequently about politics and current events. Back then, it seemed impossible that a group of politicians could be more corrupt & incompetent than the Bush/Cheney cabal, when every day revealed some new piece of outrageous news about how bad they were screwing things up.

Despite actually predicting it, I had no idea we would actually elect an absolute dumpster fire of a human being like Donald J. Trump. My evaluation of Dubya as "The Worst President Ever" was, unfortunately, premature.

In recent years, I cut back on my news media consumption, and cut out cable news completely. Although I still stay up on politics & current events every day, I don't let it consume my life as much as it used to. Therefore, I haven't really posted too much about politics here, other than some critical graphics of Trump early in his term.

Watching how he has behaved in office & seeing the ridiculous policies he's been pushing has been exasperating. Even more exasperating is seeing how people still trust this blatant con-man & habitual liar! I mean, the guy made his career out of screwing both gullible people and honest contractors out of their money. No one should respect this guy, but he somehow has a following of people who think he is God's gift to this country. I guess if you have your head up your ass or buried in conservative news all day, you can remain ignorant of the almost comical level of corruption and stupidity that Trump & his administration exhibits on a daily basis. He gets away with it (for now) because he is fully enabled by his unquestioning supporters & a complicit GOP Congress- to lie, gaslight, and break the law & cultural norms in any way he wants.

Recently, Trump made the statement that basically told his cult members to believe him over their own eyes:

"Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening"

I saw people astutely comparing this to a line from George Orwell's book "1984" (which has become almost like an instruction manual for the Trump Presidency):

"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. 
It was their final, most essential command."

I decided to create the graphic above, with this Trump vs. Big Brother comparison, to illustrate the nefarious effect that Trump is having on his followers. He wants you to reject the evidence & the facts of any matter, & defer to him, even though he has shown absolutely no reason to be trusted on anything!

Yes there is definitely "fake news", propoganda, and misinformation being circulated. However, Trump regularly rejects facts that can easily be verified and publicly contradicts himself constantly. I believe everything is relative, and there is a high degree of subjectivity in our experience. However, we need some level of consensus reality to function together as people. Trump is trying to destroy that idea of external facts, so that only his opinion & things that jive with his reality matter. It is the workings of a completely narcissistic moron.

Anyone who is following multiple news sources that aren't strictly pro-Trump can see that there's a net of investigation into the criminality of Trump & his associates that is going to eventually ensnare them all. If you believe in the concept of law & order, then you should encourage investigation into the facts of the matter on whether the law was broken. If you listen to Trump & believe it is all a "deep state" conspiracy, then you have accepted his final order to reject the evidence, and you can continue to bow down before this fake gold-plated idol that represents all the worst this country has to offer.

He can kick & scream and tweet stupid falsehoods all day long, but fortunately we do not live in a fictional dystopia like "1984," and eventually the truth will prevail. Not everyone will accept it, but how we as a society treat this narcissistic menace and the forces that prop him up will determine the quality & longevity of the experiment known as American democracy.