The Vanishing Point of Microdot

Microdot’s wife posted this at the Brain Police Blog.  I am reposting it here:

For all the friends of Microdot who perhaps have been wondering about the ominous absence of posts since his return from the hospital, I, Madame Microdot have finally enough courage to sit in front of his computer and write a few words to tell you that that delightful, creative, curious, surreal, encyclopedia brain behind thebrainpolice is no longer among us.

It is very strange for me to be sitting in his chair in his natural habitat of utter chaos where I never, never have ventured before.  He had his space, I had mine.  We would often send emails to each other from upstairs to downstairs.  There would be ensuing howls of laughter through the floorboards.  But tonight I am here and looking around at his hodge podge, topsy-turvy shelves and they speak more about the man than I could ever describe.  For sure, no one ever policed that singular brain of his!
Here is just a peek… I don’t think he would mind. (Impossible to list more than a fraction of the stuff, but you’ll get the idea, as my eyes roam over the piles.)
Two Robert Crumb cards of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Barbecue Bob bluesmen
A little book he adored by one of his favorite artists, Edward Gorey, “The Water Flowers”
A video tape of “Forbidden Planet”
A little teddy bear statue that a lady here gave him
The Art of Charcuterie Cookbook
The MC5 “A True Testimonial” DVD
About 50 or 60 Georges Simenon Maigret books
An old Belle Star 45 rpm from our days in the band in NY, circa the early 1980’s
Books about mushrooms, wild orchids, kite craft, cartoonists
A plastic statue with a bobbing head of “Big Boy”, home of the double decker
Tangled up cords of every description (computer, radio, electric… who knows)
Piles of comic books with a penchant for Weird Comics
Recipes of Chinese Spareribs
Colette’s “Secrets of the Flesh” … (Hey, that’s mine and I wondered where it went…)
Lots of CDs of Frank Zappa, Wayne Kramer, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, (Bootsy’s New Rubber Band), Sun Ra, Funkedelic, etc.
Reproductions of Marcel Duchamps, Max Ernst (Microdot was simply gaga for DADA)
A sweet Dutch wall calendar (out of date)
Videos of all of the Jacques Tati films
A Batman pin
An antique box camera
A couple of pairs of old shoes stuck in the bookshelf
A hammer, some wrenches, nails and screws, screwdrivers crammed in a Pernot water pitcher from the ’50s, along with oil paint and water color brushes
Five Japanese calligraphy brush sets
A huge pile of maps
And that is just scratching the surface…
I almost passed out when we got the prognosis as he left the hospital: he had from 3 days to a month to live.  His cancer(s) had progressed to the point of no treatment possible.  He said to me, “Don’t worry, I’m going to drag this thing out like the third act of a bad Opera.”  And he did.  He lasted just a little over a month.  During that time he was reading avidly, and I mean gluttonously, stuffing that brain with more facts.  He mostly was reading history books, almost one a day.  He never complained.  He told me that he didn’t have time to be depressed.  If he wasn’t reading he was doing the NY Times crossword puzzles.  Death came gently and he was at home with the window open to the new leaves of spring.
I have to turn off his computer now.
In closing, here is a little poem by Emily Dickinson from 1894 that I read today:
The Butterfly upon the Sky
That doesn’t know its Name
And hasn’t any tax to pay
And hasn’t any Home
Is just as high as you and I,
And higher, I believe,
So soar away and never sigh
And that’s the way to grieve~~~

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Capes, Cosplay and Caliphates

I can vividly recall one particular day in my life as perhaps a 9-year-old when I donned a cape and slipped easily into another world. The cape, such that it was, was an old sheet I found in our basement, but to me, it was magical and transformed me to another time, place and identity. I fashioned a sword as well from some scrap wood in our garage. Fully costumed, I hopped on my bike and headed off to the soybean field just down the street- as far from reality as I could ride!

There among the neat rows, holding my sword high above my disheveled hair, I claimed all of the territory before me. My conquest, however, quickly faded as I caught sight of a man approaching me who, most likely, was the farmer, none-too pleased with my foray onto his land.

Ah, the pleasures of youth. Costumed heroes lit up our black and white TV screens in the 1950’s. So did the priests saying Mass. School plays as well. Halloween. Costumed graduation in high school and college followed by Wedding costumes.

Then real life set in.

An article in Aeon brought back memories of my childhood play, although on a much more serious matter. With the title, “The ‘cosplay Caliphate’ of ISIS is a deadly fantasy, but a familiar one in the West. It feeds the same urges as Tolkien,” author and Lutheran minister Benjamin Dueholm suggests that a strong hero mythology runs deeply throughout the roots of mankind.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell penned much of the same in his epic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. King Arthur in the Middle Ages and several Greek and Viking myths paint the same outline. Dueholm’s reference to Tolkien is appropriate to this era.

The author writes,
“Whether its central claim is an inscrutable dream of religiously legitimated sovereignty or a malleable delusion, the appeal of ISIS is easily abstracted from motives available to outsiders. It is, in the incisive words of the New York artist Molly Crabapple, a ‘cosplay Caliphate’, a dress-up festival of blood-soaked nostalgia whose very pretensions to antiquity mark it as the rankest kind of modern innovation.”

Dress-up. Cosplay. A boy donning a cape in a soybean field. The priest’s vestments. KKK hoods. The Lone Ranger’s mask. ISIS black hoods.

“ISIS and its ideology are violent, reactionary, wholly at odds with the ethos of democracy and progress cherished by modern secular societies. But the myth on which its appeal hinges – and the historical dress-up it seems to engage in – is not as foreign as it seems. A lot of people like cosplay.”

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

ET Here, There, Everywhere

The Runes Of Evolution, is a new book in which the leading evolutionary biologist, Professor Simon Conway Morris, makes the case for a ubiquitous “map of life” that governs the way in which all living things develop.

It builds on the established principle of convergent evolution, a widely-supported theory — although one still disputed by some biologists — that different species will independently evolve similar features.

Conway Morris argues that convergence is not just common, but everywhere, and that it has governed every aspect of life’s development on Earth. Proteins, eyes, limbs, intelligence, tool-making — even our capacity to experience orgasms — are, he argues, inevitable once life emerges.
The book claims that evolution is therefore far from random, but a predictable process that operates according to a fairly rigid set of rules.

If that is the case, then it follows that life similar to that on Earth would also develop in the right conditions on other, equivalent planets. Given the growing number of Earth-like planets of which astronomers are now aware, it is increasingly extraordinary that aliens that look and behave something like us have not been found, he suggests.

Conway says,

I would argue that in any habitable zone that doesn’t boil or freeze, intelligent life is going to emerge, because intelligence is convergent. One can say with reasonable confidence that the likelihood of something analogous to a human evolving is really pretty high. And given the number of potential planets that we now have good reason to think exist, even if the dice only come up the right way every one in 100 throws, that still leads to a very large number of intelligences scattered around, that are likely to be similar to us.” 

Comments Off on ET Here, There, Everywhere

Filed under Uncategorized

Bigotry Carefully Taught in Church?

The other day I posted a comment on a blog which discussed the recent SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality. It was an excellent article as many have been on that subject of late. Here is part of my comment: 

My 15-year-old grandson was visiting me today when the SCOTUS announcement regarding Gay Marriage was announced. He can’t imagine anything less. He often asks why his Great-uncle is prejudiced in so many circumstances. It confuses him.

Although he never attends church and barely knows who Jesus is, he mimics Jesus in so many ways. I am very proud of him- so much so that I have much faith in the future of our nation.

 To this a rebuke was written by an oh-so righteous fellow who suggested that, if my grandson had been churched then he may have thought differently.

Really? And what did this mean? Was the commenter suggesting that my grandson would have learned prejudice at church and, as a matter of fact, he should learn it there? 

When I challenged this man on that very concept he replied, “So, you think Jesus supports sodomy?”

Sigh. 

Sadly, the man is clearly a homophobe and uses Jesus to justify his bigotry. I know that all churches aren’t teaching bigotry, yet from other comments I’ve read from ‘Christians’ I am not sure at all. 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The President Sings Amazing Grace

What a man! President Obama sang without accompaniment Amazing Grace at the funeral of Senator/Reverend Clementa Pinckney, assassinated by a racist 21-year-old white man in Rev. Pinckney’s church. The murderer also killed 8 others during their Bible study in the church basement.

The President gave the eulogy at the service and emphasized the word grace throughout his talk. Grace. One letter separates grace from the word race. Race- the reason for the murders. Yet those in the church during the funeral service emphasized grace rather than race.

Amazing!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Iceland remains most peaceful nation in the world. U.S. is 94th

Homocides, fear of personal safety, militarization and involvement in wars keeps the UInited States way-low in rankings of ‘peaceful.’ Iceland ranked #1 while Syria was at the bottom.

Number 94, eh?

  

 

Comments Off on Iceland remains most peaceful nation in the world. U.S. is 94th

Filed under Uncategorized

Amplifying pugnacity, stupidity and rage.

One of my favorite, bookmarked authors on Pathos is Hank Fox who calls his blog, Citizen of Earth. Nice title. Hank is described by the title of his book “Red Neck Blue Collar Atheist: Simple Thoughts About Reason, Gods & Faith.”

 The title of my post is from the last sentence of his most recent post. He decries Internet ‘learning.’ You know, as in, “It’s true, I seen it on the Internet.” He uses the analogy of the importance of vaccinated kids in school with an educated citizenry, he says, Just so, the more people in a group who are educated and thoughtful and rational — the more who learn to THINK — the greater the herd immunity against stupidity.

Herd immunity against stupidity! There you go. Herd immunity. Great and long-standing tradition. You may know of a cultural tradition among some ‘primitive’ tribes which, at the birth of a new infant, each adult member of the tribe wets their finger with saliva and places it in the mouth of the baby. Herd immunity. I’m betting that the tribe elders never knew the science behind the act, yet it somehow protected the tribe from outside diseases. 

On the other hand, there is a movement underway here in the U.S. To not vaccinate children. Go figure! Even more scary is the movement to not send children to school. Home schooling they call it. It is very popular in the fundamentalist Christian movement. The Duggars. Ugh!

Why home schooling? I suppose there are several reasons but at the top of the list is science and religion. You know: the godless public school curriculum that includes the teaching of non-biblical science. Is there biblical science?  Sure- Genesis, in all of its intricate elegance. As a result, there are millions of children in our nation who are scientifically illiterate and who, quite possibly, will produce yet another generation of scientifically illiterate children. 

The month of May was the wettest May in the U.S. since the Weather Bureau has kept records. Yet California remains bone dry with water-use restrictions in effect throughout the state. It was also the warmest month in the history of the entire world. Both the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers are rapidly melting. Sea level is rising. 

Yet, climate change is a myth. Just ask the home-schoolers. Or the GOP presidential candidates and the voting base of the Republican Party. Or the Koch brothers. Or the Fossil Fuel industry.

“I seen it on the Internet.”

Worse yet, “I seen it on Fox News!”

  
Hank Fox

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized