Friday, February 28, 2014

What are the odds?

The role of miracles in reality cannot be overestimated. For example, the riddle of primogenesis. Creationists belittle spontaneous primogenesis because "it would take a miracle", and then replace said miracle with an even larger miracle, one untold orders of magnitude greater than the minor miracle of complex molecules stumbling into patters of replication and metablolism.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A truly forgotten masterpiece:

Fearless ('daft I call it')

Punishable by Life

"In Washington state, it (suicide) became legal in 2009, when a law modeled after the Oregon act, the Washington Death with Dignity Act was passed."

In No Particular Order nor Rhyme of Reason...

Most fantastically awesome. That very early Nashville sound nailed the best sides of that stylistic divide. Plus: it's got 'ooh-ooh' girls. If I were a rich man I'd have ooh-ooh girls to follow me around and ooh-ooh as the spirit moved them:

The Golden Rocket

BTW, I just finished my third le Carre novel last night. I am now even more convinced that he is the greatest author of the latter 20th/early 21st century. He takes no shortcuts. His prose does everything any high-lit stylist's prose can do, and does it ever in service to the story not itself. His stories eschew plot gimmicks and instead dive to the bottom depth of his characters' hearts, and return with emotional pageantry that should humble even the likes of Cormac McCarthy.

Even though I'm stylistically drawn more to the terse elegancies of William Gibson and Paul Auster, I can't help feeling, when reading le Carre, that this is how the Lord wanted the Bible to be written.

When I examine a typical department store's book section and despair over all the glittering paperbacks in laundry detergent colors with cheesy embossed pompous titles, it is coming across a le Carre that gives me hope for the realm of modern best-selling fiction.

And I haven't even seen the legendary TV productions of his classic Smiley period, starring Alec Guinness, the one actor that Peter O'Toole could never overshadow when they shared a stage.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shining Through

'Use it. It's just energy. You're just a shabby self-delusion. Shine a light through yourself and make new shadow puppets.' Me, last night. I was on one of them philosophical rolls.

More or Less Translucent.  (the actual song is titled 'Smiling Through')

Pie-in-the-Face Theology

'One benefit of religious belief is that it can provide a productive focus for our many irrational biases, for the natural tendency toward superstition, for magical thinking, that having such powerful imagination gives us.

'It is better to aim ignorant superstition at God than at our real lives. God can handle it better than our lives can. God can take our most childish magical yearning (which is precious stuff) and perform miracles in us, keep one alive during times of suicidal despondency, give one a 'just because' reason for being happy and doing good that real life sometimes is unwilling or unable to provide.'
Robin Morrison

Just Another Man Hugs Tiger Tale

We are not entirely slaves of raw biological impulse. All higher life forms are capable of great adaptation.

This means that we can do better. But 'we' doesn't exist. There is no 'we' except in statistical abstracts. There are only you and me, and only oneself can better oneself.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nothing sells like succexx

This isn't intentionally suggestive...

Les sucettes

On a Clear Day...

"There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks."

—Erwin Schrödinger, Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics), Naturwissenschaften (translated by John D. Trimmer in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Canned dog food can be used for alien pod embryo expulsions and monster vocalizations

Pay attention. The following tricks probably couldn't save your life but you never know:

Common Foley tricks[edit]
Corn starch in a leather pouch makes the sound of snow crunching[2]
A pair of gloves sounds like bird wings flapping[2]
An arrow or thin stick makes a whoosh[2]
An old chair makes a controllable creaking sound[2]
A water soaked rusty hinge when placed against different surfaces makes a creaking sound. Different surfaces change the sound considerably[2]
A heavy staple gun combined with other small metal sounds make good gun noises[2]
A metal rake makes a fence sound[clarification needed] (it can also make a metallic screech when dragged across a piece of metal)[2]
A heavy car door and fender can create most of the car sounds needed but having a whole car in the studio is better[2]
Burning plastic garbage bags cut into strips makes a cool sound when the bag melts and drips to the ground[2]
¼” audio tape balled up sounds like grass or brush when walked on[2]
Gelatin and hand soap make squishing noises[2]
Frozen romaine lettuce makes bone or head injury noises[2]
Coconut shells cut in half and stuffed with padding makes horse hoof noises;[2] this is parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Cellophane creates crackling fire effects[2]
A selection of wooden and metal doors are needed to create all sorts of door noises but also can be used for creaking boat sounds[2]
A heavy phone book makes body-punching sounds[2]
Acorns, small apples and walnuts on wooden parquet surface can be used for bones breaking
Canned dog food can be used for alien pod embryo expulsions and monster vocalizations[8]

On Cultural Perspective

"In Chinese society, fortune telling is a respected and important part of social and business culture. Thus, fortune tellers often take on a role which is equivalent to  management consultants and psychotherapists in Western society. As management consultants they advise business people on business and investment decisions. Many major business decisions involve the input of fortune tellers. Their social role allows decision risks to be placed outside of the organization and provides a mechanism of quickly randomly deciding between several equally useful options. As psychotherapists they help people discuss and resolve personal issues without the stigma of illness."

This calls for a song:

Take me by the drunken hand, Bodhisatva

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Light Thru Darkness

"The relationship between courage and creativity is the linking of purpose and mission. Without a purpose and mission, the creative process can easily be led into a state of confusion, and the whole process of creativity can become convoluted, and implode. That is the path of confusion that leads to self-suffocating.

"It's a funny thing, the state the world is in today with the economy and no jobs. This is the perfect setting for a relationship of courage and creativity to manifest within many walks of life. It is a time for great creativity."

 W. Shorter

Hungry Ghost

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hearts & Valentines

"The PDF book is yours at no cost (link below), but if you feel like supporting or thanking, or any of those things, you can always donate whatever amount you like for the e-book. This will help us to continue giving the book for free to those who have little.
"Or if you are totally broke, then this is our small gift to you." Aaron Paquette

Click here for story

Friday, February 14, 2014

I learned with some surprise several years ago that some people miss the Cold War. It gave meaning to political reality. We were the Good Guys and they were the Bad Guys. An ancient story.

It also had religious grandeur. Nuclear Armageddon. Nuclear winter. Lingering radioactive death and the dry sands of reproductive sterility and mutant babies. A holy terror that was Biblical in scope. It revitalized Xtian apocalypsism, gave a scientific means for ending the world, and no holocaust has ever loomed so large as the images of atomic bomb explosions that  ironically always failed to stop the alien invasions in vintage sci-fi films. (Heaven, perhaps, is only a force field away?)

When the USSR collapsed, the shock, the sense of loss, it inflicted on us inspired lunacies like The End of History:

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." Francis Fukuyama

When 911 happened, the eagerness with which we threw our collective idealism and aggregate ignorance into the War on Terror showed how dearly we love our sacred enemies, how much we need some loathsome nation or race or ideology or religion to despise and grind under our bomb heels like insectile vermin. (What about that Shock'n'Awe, eh? Helluva good show although the Fall of the Towers was and still is the best martial spectacle since Hiroshima footage. Downright Tolkienesque.)

Already, we weary of conquering Terror, that beastly foe. Islamofascism has curdled, Russia's biggest sin currently is trashing gays, China makes everything we consume from chickens to Xmas, and America has hands down both the biggest prison population (4 million, last I heard) and military arsenal and budget by an order of magnitude.

We're running out of people to hate except ourselves.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Mood Thang

They said that Miles ran the voodoo down by eating a bit of his soul at a time. It was, they said, the lonely fire that burns itself, whose fuel is its own heat and desire to burn.

They were the critics, and some he'd sold his soul, that he'd cashed out for big money playing rock arenas and all that funkrock "jazz" (as they put it, clipping the word with quotation marks like sarcastic epaulets), but Miles just replied that a man's got to eat.

As his analyst, the topic of soul came up a lot, considering my Jungian background and Miles' devotion to the mystery of it all. He didn't pay me to resolve inner conflicts, although sometimes he liked to bitch. He paid me so he could talk scientific superstitiousness with a trained and respected professional.

"I see my soul as this big black void, bigger than space and blacker too, this thing that sweats out stars, boils galaxies in its guts, plays the planets in their solar systems like a band."

He liked that I was white. He said it let him pour out his "badass black mystique" unfiltered while he absorbed "all that white boy bookish shit". He made it sound like one word -- bookishit -- and laughed when I told him.

"That's too many sh's. I don't shush no one unless he's playing on my stage or talking on my dime, and why the fuck would I pay someone to talk and then tell them to shut up?"

He'd talk about God. He'd always sneak in sideways, like maybe he could catch God off guard and catch a glimpse.

"The thing about God that frosts my ass is he's such a lowdown dirty motherfucker -- he never even shows his face."

"But you see God in the sky, the mirror, a sandy beach. God is, if God is anything, everywhere," I said.

"Only time I see God is playing music, or like you said. Or making love to a woman. I mean: why do I have to do all the work all the time?"

"They say that one sees God when one stops looking, stops caring, just lets it be."

"That Zen shit's like a dog chasing its own tail until it likes the smell of its ass. Great for making music but it's not God. God's got to show His eyes at least once in a man's lifetime to take him seriously."

We didn't have Hubble telescope back then, the late 70s, when Miles had retired from music for almost a decade and got himself strung out on coke. I'd like to have seen his reaction to the more spectacular images. 
But I had a nice art book of quality astrographs from the era. I opened it to a nice B&W shot of Andromeda, took  a pair of Groucho glasses in my drawer, put them over the image.


The man could say so much with his eyes.

But he was serious about God. He was a man to make a thing real or push it aside. He was trying to find a way to look under the rug, peek around or over the cosmos and see what was hiding there.

You can hear it in his playing. That high thin sound when he squeezes a note so fine you can see daybreak round midnight. He was always trying to puncture the membrane between here and whereverland.

I told him I thought he was lucky, that he got to enjoy more of whatever God might be than most people.

"Maybe I do, but then why've I got to light a fire under his ass to see the light? Just once I'd like for him to blow smoke up my ass for a change."

I'm so old now I can almost see the universe through the pale parchment that is my skin at 79 years old. My blood's so thin I can hear the sea. I'm that generation lucky enough to enjoy a decent retirement, and the house in upstate New York has a front porch that lets the sky come down and watch itself in the spare rocking chair. I'll sit in my blankets and dare myself to let it take my breath away. At my age, that could be terminal, and my wife wants me around a bit longer.

So I keep my hat on, so to speak, and take in all that my thick old glasses can pipe past my tired old eyes, and feel that raw wonder.

Occasionally, a star will wink with uncommon clarity, and I'll hear a raspy old voice whisper, "Lowdown dirty motherfucker."

copyright 2014 Robin Morrison

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Kingdom for a Cover

I finally achieved a cover for my short story collection, Glass Worlds, that satisfies me:

Now I do some formatting and on to the next project!

Unwelcome Guests & Other Intruders

The struggle to remain positive and kind can be painful. Most struggle is. But one day you notice that the negative thoughts and feelings that once occupied an unhappy and unhealthy part of your day are now only occasional visitors like Jehovah's Witnesses ringing your door to sell a damning worldview, and after awhile you learn to recognize them through the window and don't even open your door.

Monday, February 10, 2014

If It Were Me...

...this would be a movie about jellyfish aliens taking over our brains:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vacancy Lends Enchantment

Click here for more:

Somewhere, nowhen

What *ARE* the Odds?

I am increasingly, and increasingly often, amazed at how capable of otherwise rigorously logical scientists are to ignore some of the most basic rules of their discipline in order to make sense of the inexplicable.

In the article below Alan Lightman is quoted as explaining that the reason that there exists this miraculous balance of various natural laws that allows life to exist on this planet, when even the slightest tweaking of any of these laws would create a cosmos in which life as we know it couldn't exist, is because there are ten gadzookillions of alternate universes (one of the implications of quantum mechanics -- although there are other ways of explaining quantum mechanics, so it is not proven only entirely possible based on what we so far know).

Alan's premise is that out of so many many many versions of the cosmos, one of them was bound to have the conditions in which we exist.

But probability that, all other things being equal, there is no likelihood that one outcome is more or less likely than any other.

Point being that it is no more miraculous or bizarre than there could be only only this, one, universe as it is that there would be this universe out of 'leventy-seventy bazingion universes. IN fact, the converse is true: it is far less likely per laws of chance that there be a gazillion different universes than there be just one.

Luck is luck. You either win or you lose. As far as there being a cosmos in which life like us could arise, we won. Period.

The article:

"We Are a Cosmic Accident"

Reeler Than Life Itself

Exhibit b:

Is It me or is It Replimex?

The Valley Uncanned

Perhaps the best illustration of what makes the "uncanny valley" uncanny:

Friday, February 7, 2014

About the Upcoming Book

First, here is a very crude prototype of what the cover *might* look like if it were named Fire, which it isn't, but if it were:

So now you know. ;)

The following looks to be what the title and frontispiece of my short story collection will be. It is designed to work as an introduction to a "branded" fictional universe accommodating an indefinite series of novels and occasional story collections that all relate to the concepts described below:

Earth, Wind, & Fire:
Tales of Glass Worlds

by Robin Morrison

(copyright page)

Tales of Glass Worlds

copyright 2013 by Robin Morrison

1st Edition

The Glass Worlds:

Terraria: Tales of Earth

"They gave each other a smile with a future in it." Ring Lardner

Terraria is the realm of secular fiction. No elves, no ray guns.

Zephyrut: Tales of Wind

“Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” -- Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Zephyrut is the realm where elves and angels are equally welcome. Bending rules is the rule.

Celestory: Tales of Fire

"The future ain't what it used to be." -- Yogi Berra

Celestory is the realm where ray guns and aliens have their rightful place. Rules are not bent, for science is all about the rules. Instead, they are expanded and exploited.

(Author's Note: The realms do not interact with each other, that is, they do not intrude on each other's plots. They occasionally make cameo appearances, but not in a way that threatens the rules of a given realm.)

(table of contents)

"The things we see are scarcely here,
A dance of fairy shrouds.
But that which holds the world is clear
As sky is without clouds."
Barnabus Jenquil, Intractus Cantus, 1807

1. Wanted: Alive
2. Lion's Den
3. Texas Hold 'Em
4. Ghost Story

5. The Blind Ghost
6. Still life
7. Air Mail
8. The Tale of Two Lamps

9. The Better Part of Himself
10. God Complex
11. Heart of Gold
12. Chat on a Hot Tin Roof

(Wild Card category)
13. Sight of Hand

A bit over 75k words.

ANd If He Can Do It, So Can We

“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.” 

A chance quotation reminded me of this music, one of those semi-classics not quite famous enough to never be forgotten and not quite obscure enough to be remorsely name-dropped by inveterate hipsters.

The music:

Stolen Moments

The quote:

“Magic can be found in stolen moments.” Francesca Lia Block

On Love

“As a kid, I would count backwards from ten and imagine at one, there would be an explosion–perhaps caused by a rogue planet crashing into Earth or some other major catastrophe. When nothing happened, I'd feel relieved and at the same time, a little disappointed.

I think of you at ten; the first time I saw you. Your smile at nine and how it lit up something inside me I had thought long dead. Your lips at eight pressed against mine and at seven, your warm breath in my ear and your hands everywhere. You tell me you love me at six and at five we have our first real fight. At four we have our second and three, our third. At two you tell me you can't go on any longer and then at one, you ask me to stay.

And I am relieved, so relieved–and a little disappointed.”
― Lang Leav, Love & Misadventure

I found this author searching certain concepts not worth mentioning here. I have never read a book of hers. But I immediately detect a sister author. The above is something that I could have written.

I dare not read anything more by this author, for every word I read of hers is likely to erase one that I could write without bordering on plagiarism.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bow Tie Not Included

In the early days of the single record, an amazing amount of, well, change was packed into less than three recorded minutes:


Maria Tipo

A moment's passing wonder:

She was more famously known not for spinning handkerchiefs in moments Duchamp but for weaving sonic textures:

Bach fugue bwv 565

The Spiral Phallacy

"Those who gave counsel to build the tower, for they whom thou seest drove forth multitudes of both men and women, to make bricks; among whom, a woman making bricks was not allowed to be released in the hour of child-birth, but brought forth while she was making bricks, and carried her child in her apron, and continued to make bricks. And the Lord appeared to them and confused their speech, when they had built the tower to the height of four hundred and sixty-three cubits. And they took a gimlet, and sought to pierce the heavens, saying, Let us see (whether) the heaven is made of clay, or of brass, or of iron. When God saw this He did not permit them, but smote them with blindness and confusion of speech, and rendered them as thou seest." (Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, 3:5-8)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Belly Up to the Bar and Come Home

Most of us want to go home again, especially if we never had a home that felt like home to begin with or the home we knew turned hostile once it realized we were, you know, different. Here 'tis:

Open Arms

Elbow almost singlehandedly restored my faith in modern music -- pop, classical, jazz, whatever -- to speak deep and full to the reach of human hearts.

Goodness Gracious!

He calls this part of the show is called The Womb of Flame. Typically followed by Great Balls of Fire:


As found here:  Liquid Art