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The Disease – A poem written a few years before 9/11

The Disease

I’ve watched it grow
I’ve seen it sow
true minds into despair

souls of sorrow
ladened deep
burning horrid stares

I’ve seen it work
at lightning speed
to destroy mankind’s seed

through the air
it does its deed
this is its only care

sans partiality
sans decency
Yes, this is “the disease”

You over there!
you believe you’re clear
of this melancholy breeze?

Well let me tell you
if you please
it’s a fatal,
dreadful siege

For once contracted
once enacted
you’ll go on normally
“it’s okay”
“I’m just fine”
“yes, I think I am still free”

But then, alas!
the grippe is tightened
beyond all points of ease
and shipwrecked sailors on the sea of life
all drown
irrevocably

Yes I’ve seen this blight
‘cross this land
and winds are blowing high
no apple pie nor starlit nights
will save this rotting sky
all is darkened
all are dead
all are doomed to die

Lance it fast while time remains
avoid a fearsome plight
destroy this curse
and rest assured
your mark is
for the
light

Cast it out and let us pray
“Lord give us back our sight”
Cast it out to guarantee,
Truth shall conquer might


The Disease © Michael Clark 1997 to present. All rights reserved.

Satan on his way to bring about the downfall o...

Satan on his way to bring about the downfall of Adam. Gustave Doré’s illustration for Paradise Lost by John Milton. Paradise Lost Book III, lines 739-742 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This poem was written somewhere between 1997 and 1999. I’d just finished my Ph.D and was living in a top floor apartment in an old, run-down house in Ottawa, Canada.

I was having a dreadful time with a professor who changed his mind about postdoc letters of recommendation, relatively close to scholarship deadlines.

Realizing this guy had a lot of power in the department, my gut told me that his withdrawal of support was tantamount to a pink slip.

Just as bad, some old friends and many professors suddenly chilled when I told my story. They assumed it was something about me. Nice trick of the devil. Turn the blame on the victim. Maybe the professor wanted it that way.

So this personal misfortune no doubt influenced the poem. However, in the larger sense I understood “The Disease” as a metaphor for ideas found in existential literature and social psychology: John-Paul Sartre’s bad faith, Erich Fromm’s mechanical man, Albert Camus’ The Plague and the NeoMarxist notion of false consciousness. 

In other words, I fit the professor’s creepy behavior within some of the stuff I’d read over the years.

The poem was written mostly as stream of consciousness. While typing it out on my primitive laptop, I remember thinking just how foreboding the lines were becoming (rotting sky…all are doomed to die) and not really knowing why.

Following my instinct, I didn’t delete the darker verses, but I did consider it.

"Satan rises from the burning lake" ...

“Satan rises from the burning lake” (1866) by Gustave Doré; a critical interpretation of the poem compares Ulysses’ final sentiments with Satan’s “courage never to submit or yield” in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After 9/11, it seemed the poem was larger than my personal misfortune. The foreboding parts could be taken as a premonition for 9/11.

As the new millennium drew near, not a few artists and sensitives were picking up something rotten on their radar.

The Muse sees.

At least, that’s one way of looking at it. Around that time I was reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno. So one could say I wasn’t intuiting anything at all.

A psychoanalytic perspective would reduce the poem to a subconscious mimicking of the literary greats and their treatment of evil.

That seems trite to me. Not that my personal unconscious had nothing to do with it. But I tend to think the personal and collective are synced. So my own development probably coincided with an expanded view.

That’s the Jungian take. And my PhD, which I had just completed, was all about Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity.

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 War games: South Korea undertakes anti-terror exercises, in pictures (telegraph.co.uk)

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The Lorelei – Review

Title: The Lorelei
Genre: Action/Thriller, MysteryHorror, Fantasy, Drama
Production: Onview Films
Directors/Writers: Mol Smith
Stars:  Kemal YildirimLorie-Lanie ShanksSophie Townsend » See full cast & crew at IMDB

This is your shadow on my wall

~ “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town” by Bowie/Eno from Outside

The legendary Lorelei is a dark enchantress who lures fisherman and sailors to their death. In geography she is a steep rock over 4oo feet high on the bank of the Rhine river.

Her legend survives in countless songs and stories. So Mol Smith’s The Lorelei continues a long tradition of blending feminine beauty, danger and death—in French and in the arts, she’s la femme fatale.

From the opening frames of this Indie film, set and shot around Oxford, I knew I would enjoy it. But not just because the story takes place at Oxford.

Rebecca

After a scenic introduction, The Lorelei quickly moves into a well-paced murder mystery. Holy smokes, the British are good at that, aren’t they?

Canadians have been watching British TV murders for years. Like Rock and Roll, the Brits have a knack for murder mystery. And director Mol Smith is no exception. Smith is actually based in Oxford, and it shows.

I don’t want to write a spoiler. And regurgitating story lines can be tedious, like a high-school project I’d rather avoid. On the plus side, holistic thinkers like me often pick up on things outside the main plot line.

Elizabeth and Martin

So let’s just say there’s a murder at the outset and a supernatural element adds to the mystery. But that’s only the beginning.

Enter the affluent victim’s daughter, a private detective, a cop, along with a Madame and her “girls” who fund their education by selling sexual services.

The main characters’ lives intertwine with several twists and turns that, if outlined here, would ruin the film. But I will comment on the performances.

Mel Mills (Martin) and Tessa McGinn (Elizabeth) also appear in the Mol Smith’s Abduction. I enjoyed Abduction on a metaphysical level but for me The Lorelei is far more immediate. And the interaction between Martin and Elizabeth seems more real and grounded.

Daniel

Mills and McGinn also make a bold statement that so many millennials just don’t get: Seasoned and mature individuals can be just as sneaky, sexual and sexy as anyone else.

I liked this aspect of the film. Our contemporary “script” for normality implies that middle-aged people should behave like stale bread or sour wine. No sexual attractions nor thoughts. Just turn it all off.

Thankfully, Madonna, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and a few other celebrities have shown that, for most creative people, that’s a sham. And repressing rather than expressing, redirecting or maybe transmuting sexuality usually turns out badly. If anything, repression leads to stagnant, judgmental and potentially abusive personalities.

Sarah

So I give The Lorelei full marks for representing its mature characters as full human beings, and not just as packages past their shelf life, as many folks – young and old – tend to see it.

Ageism sucks. And it rarely hits the radar these days.

As for the younger actors in this film, I find them charming. Sophie Townsend plays Sarah, a luminous young woman making her way through uni, as the Brits say, by taking clients on the side.

Sarah could be in an early Beatlemania film. Or maybe she reminds me of a young, female incarnation of David Bowie. I don’t know. But something about her spirited demeanor and slightly retro look won me over.

Sarah and Rebecca

Lorie-Lanie Shanks as Rebecca comes out strong, fulfilling that “rich English babe” stereotype to a tee. Rebecca seems to have an ambiguous sexual preference, which only adds to the uneasy tension between her and Sarah.

Shanks would be perfect in an Agatha Christie movie. Murder on the Orient Express, Fantasy Island, or something like that. That highbrow woman with a poisonous snake in a wicker box for anyone who crosses her.

Kemal Yildirim, also in Abduction, plays the private detective Daniel with a characteristic depth and detachment that invites viewers to wonder what’s going on inside his head. Daniel’s low key ambience is captivating. We can never really know what the quietly intelligent gent is thinking.

Likewise, the alluring Hive Queen in Abduction, Amelie Leroy, appears as “Trouble” in The Lorelei. Leroy’s deceptive character effortlessly switches back and forth among English, French and maybe something else. Trouble charges up the film with loads of presence, awareness and jungle-edged sexuality.

Trouble

So we have a supernaturally tinged mystery, enigmatic leading characters and a solid supporting cast. Together, they forge an unforgettable foray into the fictional underbelly of Oxford life.

At least, those on the outside must assume it is fictional. From what I’ve seen in the far corners of student life, there might be more truth to this fiction than most are willing to admit.

“We don’t get murders in Oxford, you get it?” exclaims Martin. It’s all about image. Elitism. High class. And sex workers? That would certainly rub most Oxford Deans the wrong way.

The Lorelei, true to its name, busts the myth and does so very well. Along with its great, gooey makeup art and delightful soundtrack, this is a film to absorb on many levels.

MC

All Images © Onview Films UK. Used with permission.

 

 

 


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Children can attack Ravana to save Sita at Taiwan’s National Palace Museum

Rama’s Marriage, 1913. A scene from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Rama marries Sita, daughter of King Janaka, after proving able to wield the great bow presented to the king by the god Shiva

Special to Earthpages.org

At Taiwan’s National Palace Museum Southern Branch in Taibao, children can join the Ramayana battle and attack Ravana to save Sita with an interactive game device for educational purposes.

Lord Hanuman is the game host and it also includes constructing the bridge over the ocean. This is done, after children finish watching animation film on “Ramayana” in its Asian Theater, for the purposes of reviewing the plot and remembering it and children are prompted to recall the storyline. This film “aims to convey to children the many virtues of Rama, Laksmana, Hanuman, and Sita”, Museum announcement says.

Lord Hanuman is also the mascot of Children’s Creative Center of the Museum, (dedicated to 5-12 year-old children and established “to encourage children to explore the diversity of Asian cultures”), “in order to appeal to family audience”.

Commending Taiwan’s National Palace Museum for educating visiting children about Ramayana and for exhibiting Hindu artifacts, Rajan Zed said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

Jeng-Yi Lin is the Director of awards-winning Taiwan’s National Palace Museum founded in 1925, which houses ancient Chinese artifacts and includes a collection of about 700,000 objects.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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 ‘Hanuman Da Damdaar’ has Salman Khan, animation, songs and a big-budget feel(thereel.scroll.in)


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Abduction (2017) – Review

Title: Abduction
Genre: Science Fiction, Parody, Comedy, Horror, Cult
Production: Onview Films
Directors/Writers: Maurice SmithMol Smith
Stars: Karolina AntosikTessa McGinnKemal Yildirim (…full cast and crew at IMDB)

Abduction is a clever romp into the unknown realms of alien abduction, sexuality, violence and interdimensional rivalry.

Essentially a spoof, I couldn’t help get the feeling that, underneath all the camp, a deeper significance just waits to be discovered.

The film can be taken on several levels. As parody, imagine Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Repo! The Genetic Opera. On another level, Abduction probes the oft unspoken sexual undercurrents in alien abduction lore. In that sense, it’s almost Freudian.

But Abduction doesn’t stop there. Sci-fi fans will appreciate its look at interdimensional affairs. That is, if aliens exist, how might things actually work out there?

The Hive Queen argues with an ET

The story hinges on a hauntingly beautiful Hive Queen who wants to colonize the earth by creating hybrids.

She’s a hybrid herself but imperfect. She can’t have kids. So she does her evil best to create hybrids to take over the planet.

Kemal Yildirim plays a doctor, Asil, who heals abductees with the most unusual treatments. Meanwhile, a government man (Thorson), a psychiatrist (Melissa) and Asil use high tech meds to try to track victims, with comical side effects.

Any more plot summary would be a spoiler. But I will say that Abduction is relatively easy to follow – we’re never left hanging too long – and it does have a nice, trick ending.

The Doctor with Bozena

Okay so I loved it to bits, right?

Well, no film entirely pleases me and Abduction is no exception.

My nitpicky side felt that an outdoor scene with Thorson and Melissa had a slightly rushed dialog. But things level out as the pair move indoors. And as a send-up, a touch of forced dialog is par for the course. Some might find it just adds to the laughs. It certainly does with the Hive Queen, who obviously hams it up.

Abduction also has its fair share of partial nudity and grotesque scenes, the horrific being more in-your-face than the sensual.

I wasn’t too hot on the blood and gore. But I realize this is important to horror fans. I just flick my Vulcan “inner eyelid” whenever something rubs me the wrong way, be it in Abduction, Game of Thrones, whatever.

Thorson, the Doctor and Melissa

The graphics range from intentionally retro (say, 1960s Twilight Zone and Batman) to state-of-the-art blasters, beams and shimmering pod bay doors.

Like the graphics, the soundtrack is a curious mix of old and new. High-end cinematic effects mingle with catchy pop tunes and 8-bit video game sounds.

The ongoing tension between parody and depth along with variable production values keeps this quirky film fresh. Abduction is well the worth the watch, even if you’re not a cult or Indie movie fan. Not constrained by big budget, Hollywood expectations, it’s free to be what it wants to be.

MC

All images © Onview Films UK. Used with permission.

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“I’m a – – – – Starboy”

Okay. I like this song. I like it a lot. I’m not sure if I like the censored version better than the uncensored. I mean, I am all for freedom of expression. Even as a Christian, I am not against the artist who put a cross in a bottle of urine (can’t remember the name offhand, and don’t really care to). On some level, that “art” might mean something worthwhile to someone.

Usually, I deplore censorship.

However, this tune raises some interesting questions.

The two main contentious words are the N-word and the MF-word (be forewarned if you follow the links from the above tweet).

So why can The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk can use these words, get about a billion hits at YouTube but if little ‘ol me were to use these words in this here blog, I’d run the risk of being sued?

Double standard?

As for the censored vs. uncensored versions, I admit that while out the other night with my FM/MP3 player, I really liked hearing the censored version on FM. Cutting out the heavy stuff just made it more spiritual.

Hearing the word “Starboy” after a string of synced scratches instead of the MF-word made the whole experience far more transcendent. Walking along a moderately busy road, I could almost envision that Star Child in 2001: A Space Odyssey watching over us, making sure we don’t blast ourselves to hell.

So what’s the story? Should this tune be “cleaned up” for radio?

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Panpsychism – The Future Calls?

Does your toaster get tired of making toast for you every morning? Well, that might not quite be how it goes. But some believe that all things possess consciousness. What matters, they say, is how and how much a thing organizes energy.


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Time Travelling with Max von Sydow – A blast from the past, err… future

Millennials might not know about Max von Sydow’s legendary acting career. The Swedish-French actor has starred in films as diverse as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), The Exorcist (1973) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957)

Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) via Flickr

In 2016, von Sydow reappears in another medieval style drama, Game of Thrones.

Spoiler alert for Game of Thrones, season 6 ! 

Playing the role of the Three-Eyed Raven, von Sydow leads the young Bran Stark through a mystical adventure of destiny fulfillment.

In the scene below, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven journey through time to witness an incident that shapes the noble Hodor’s life… and death.

The young Hodor is mysteriously struck by an ailment (while his future self is being devoured by evil creatures) Image via http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Hodor

The adult Hodor is a gentle giant with a disability. He understands what others say but can only speak the word “Hodor.” He is a loyal companion to friends but seen as a ‘simpleton’ by foes.

Because the past and present are linked in a temporal loop, Hodor’s adult death retroactively causes the onset of his boyhood disability.

Before his death disables him back through time, the youth speaks perfectly. But the event of his death ripples back to adolescence, causing him to undergo something like an epileptic fit. And this brings on his speech impediment.

The Three-Eyed Raven and Bran “time travelling” while in a mystic trance

The only word Hodor speaks as an adult is also the name everybody calls him by, “Hodor.” This is a portmanteau of a repeated cry heard just before his death:

HOLD THE DOOR!

In his final hour, Hodor sacrificially holds a wooden door shut to prevent evil creatures from killing his friends. His friends survive but the wily creatures hack through the door and destroy him.

This development left me spellbound. The implications are grand. Especially when we consider that time is relative. And not just in sci-fi but in science.

The Hodor cycle got me thinking about how people struggling with difficulties, psychological or otherwise, could actually be doing some kind of noble service in ways – and on other levels – that we are only dimly aware of.

Most MDs and psychologists would probably dismiss this as “unscientific.” And fair enough. But can we fully understand the human predicament from the perspective of a microscope, test tube or brain scan?

I don’t believe so. And it would be equally unscientific to ignore alternatives, no matter how far-fetched, without giving them a fair hearing.

Bran Stark and the adult Hodor via looper.com