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Quetzalcoatl: meso-american ‘redeemer’?…

SkyHarbor, 2012/03/29 

Iconography of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl

Quetzalcoatl is a Nahuatl word for a Mexica/Aztec1 deity meaning ‘feathered serpent’ or ‘plumed serpent’. ‘Quetzal’ is from ‘quetzalli’ for “large brilliant tail feather” and refers to the flamboyant plumage of the ‘Resplendent Quetzal’ [Pharomachrus mocinno], which ranges from southern Mexico through Central America. ‘Coatl’ means ‘snake’.

The corresponding Maya version is ‘Kukulkan’, which also means ‘feathered serpent’. The same deity, going by various names, was known throughout the pre-Columbian meso-american world.

Caution: When studying almost anything connected with pre-Columbian meso-american cultures (particularly on the web), one needs to beware of all the nonsense ‘theories’ which abound, from the Mormon (LDS) claims that the Maya are the ‘Lamanites’ described in the ‘Book of Mormon’ and that ‘Quetzalcoatl’ was none other than Jesus Christ ‘returned’ (after His unfortunate demise in Jerusalem) to ‘enlighten’ his New World ‘flock’ (really!)… to all sorts of ‘2012 Doomsday’ Maya calendrical speculations… to the standard von Däniken style ‘ancient astronauts’ stuff. Many even claim that the Maya ‘mother’/predecessor culture of the Olmec (‘Rubber People’) were really ancient seafaring Africans (they were NOT). There are plenty of racial/religious/cultural axes to grind here… So it’s a bit of a minefield.

read more…

Montreal is nice…

SkyHarbor, 2012/03/27 

If you need any further proof that we are in the midst of a full-on patriarchal biblical-religious war on women, a Wisconsin lawmaker is happy to provide it.

According to Yahoo News, Wisconsin Rep. Don Pridemore helpfully suggests that, rather than divorcing an abusive spouse, you should try to remember the things you love about the guy while he is beating you up.

In Wisconsin — yes, the same state where lawmakers have introduced a bill penalizing single mothers for being unmarried — a Republican state representative has come out against divorce for any reason — even domestic abuse.

Read the whole article HERE if you can stomach it.

“We’re through the looking-glass here people” is putting it mildly. The fundamentalist reaction to the election of a black man as President (and a DEMOCRAT too!) is now ranging well beyond politics and into the realm of religion… and beyond.

Women are the property of their husbands. “Barefoot and pregnant” is the ‘natural state’ for women… Welcome dear friends, to the American Taliban! This is getting so bizarre that Canada is starting to look real good again!

And the Affordable Health Care Act is looking pretty damned shaky judging by today’s arguments before the Supremes. CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described it as “a train wreck for the administration”. The ‘individual mandate’ could very well be struck down, effectively eviscerating the legislation.

I think I’m gonna be sick… Oh wait. I can’t afford to…

Home.

byronius, 2012/03/26 

Our solar system in a graphic chart.

Undead.

byronius, 2012/03/24 

Racist Teabaggers are as close to zombies as we’ll ever get.

Zombies aren’t real. Dead humans don’t come back to life and seek the flesh of living humans. It’s a myth, about as real as Godzilla.

But a human being, steeped in hatred, living in hatred, dreaming the sick dreams that only tortured souls can dream — they are among us.

Can you see inside the mind of a racist? It’s like living in a Tim Burton nightmare, full of painted wooden people dancing behind ragged curtains smelling of offal, treasuring boxes full of disease, guarding basements full of gassed World War One corpses. It is Empty. It is dull, and cold, and rotting, and tastes of hot metal. After all this time, all these things that have happened to us, to the people of our earth — some humans still carry forward the ancient viruses from thirty million years of evolution, the shapes that lurk around the edges of our lamp-lit villages, calling us back to things that only our ancestral memories recall, packed away in the layers of dust that our ancestors became.

They walk among us, as carriers of darkness, living half-lives, forever asleep — only the animal thinks for them anymore, the cell, the muscle, the darkened nerve. They are gone. Perhaps one in ten thousand will awaken, through trauma, or patient love that only one in a million of the living bear, and will extend to them. All of the others will stumble forward through life, boiling inside, tearing at the living, desperately striving to darken the light for all the long years of their life.

There are things worse than bloodless creatures hungry for flesh. Gray lives lived without reason, without thought, like mechanical dolls spouting lines from an endless loop of tape.

If they were zombies, we could grab some guns and ammo, and hide out in the mall until the food runs out, try to make a break for it to some country paradise where the zombies don’t reach. Wait them out.

But racists aren’t zombies. They’re citizens. Neighbors. Co-workers. The guy who shipped your recent Ebay trinket to you. A few bad cops, bad judges, bad teachers, bad lawyers. You could live your whole life next to one and not realize it until the critical moment arrives when, to your shock, they are revealed. You thought they were just like you. Everyone’s seen the same movies, right? Read the books, participated in the classroom discussions, heard the same shining words of that beautiful Constitution of ours whose meaning always seemed so clear to you, made brilliant by the blood of the Kennedys and King, of course everyone knows the truth, by now, after all this time —

But They walk among us. Dead to reason. Dead to the love of the world, of beauty, dead to the meaning of those incredible stars in the sky. Hungry to bring pain to brighter human souls. Spreading the virus anyway they can, like deadheaded alien-hosts, or parasites that wear shells to allow them to get closer to their victims. Shuffling forward, for all their long lives, seeking prey.

As close to zombies as we’ll ever get.

Tesla Is Not A Band.

byronius, 2012/03/23 

He’s a Rock Star.

Of all known humans, this fellow has got to be in the top one percent of the weirdest and most fascinating human beings what ever lived. For one thing, he carried the detailed plans for all his inventions only in his head, and we still use them every day. For another, his only deep romantic attachment was apparently to a white pigeon he fed from his office window. Wild. Not crazy, but crazy smart. Serbian smart.

His wireless power transmission ideas that he experimented with in Colorado Springs were admittedly a little strange. They worked just fine, but tended to make all the plants turn brown. Hmm. A few adjustments —

He became a vegetarian later in life, and believed that women would become the dominant sex in the near future. He also, for a time, dabbled in eugenics. Oops.

He died penniless and alone, but he’s still everywhere, is he not?

Apparently a mouse crosses the driveway at approximately 1:50 in the video. I haven’t found it yet.

Into our distant past… dimly.

SkyHarbor, 2012/03/20 

History… we are taught it in school as a bunch of names and places and dates, all presented as ‘facts’. But in reality that’s almost never the case, and never has been. ‘History is written by the winners’ is a truism of course, but it’s almost always more complex than that. All historians (and archaeologists) have an axe (or ‘theory’) of one sort or other to grind, some more than others. And the further back in time you go, the murkier things get. If knowing the future is impossible, knowing the past accurately is only a little bit easier!

What makes history (particularly ancient history) interesting and fun isn’t the raw data, it’s trying to put the pieces together to create a narrative of some sort that makes some sense. I’d like to understand just a little of the WHY and HOW! And I’d sort of like to know what sort of blokes and birds were the people who became my ancestors!

My recent looks back at Scotland and Ireland reminded me of this. England’s distant past seems also a murky and confusing (and self contradictory) mess!

read more…

Sensitive Man.

byronius,  

Music video starring my favorite comic, Marc Maron, as well as Tim Heidecker and a host of others.

Wild Cat Flown.

byronius, 2012/03/19 

harold

Harold died last night around 3AM. Twenty-two years old, one hundred and five in equivalent human years. I picked her out of the X Street shelter in 1993, when she was two.

She was always her own cat. Loved by many, many people. She went down quick, having gone from her traditional trouble-making desk-hopping water-knocking-over ways to death in 48 hours. I talked to her the whole way down, told her it was okay to go. She didn’t agree; there were still cats left to outlive. However, gravity gets us all in the end, and we sink out of sight into the earth.

I loved this cat deeply. She liked to get stoned, and she liked music, except for live drums. She was a Person.

She used to run at high speed around the straw sound-walls of the old studio, amazing everyone who saw the performance; she would also often climb the pallet-racks to the ceiling, where she would perch, observing all, philosophically perfect.

Goodbye, Harold the Cat.

harold on the wall

Scotland: a history…

SkyHarbor, 2012/03/18 

This is for the MacKinnons, and the MacFies, and all those of Scots blood or simple historic interest. I was curious about the mysterious Picts, called the ‘Painted People’ since they were apparently into tattoos big time. Not much is known about this warlike tribe that inspired the building of Hadrian’s Wall to keep them out of Roman Britannia. They seemed to just melt away into the lands and lochs a long time ago…

And so I found this ambitious BBC Scotland (Alba) production. I think it’s rather good. This goes back much further than ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Robert the Bruce’… to the Picts and Gaels and Argylls and others, and shedding some light on the early Scots-Irish and even Scots-Viking connections.

The 5-part series has not been without its detractors in Scotland though, for being too ‘Anglo-centric’*. Judge for yourself. But let’s face it, even before there WAS a ‘Scotland’, these peoples have had to worry about what the Angles (who became the ‘English’) were up to. Sometimes relations were quite cordial. Usually NOT. And we Scots have LONG (maybe too long) memories. My point is simply that there has always been a ‘relationship’ one way or another…

Presented by archaeologist Neil Oliver (who also did ‘Ancient Britain’ which nobody paid any attention to anyway ;-}).
Worth a look, I think.
[click the upper-left 'suggestion' at the end for the subsequent episodes]


* BBC hit by row over ‘History of Scotland’

Big Brother is here

Cat eyes,  

The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.
The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”
In secret listening rooms nationwide, NSA software examines every email, phone call, and tweet as they zip by.
The NSA believes it’s on the verge of breaking a key encryption algorithm—opening up hoards of data.

see this: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

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