Saturday, February 25, 2012

TED talks Sychronicity and Science

Lately, I find that the topic of UFOs creeps its way into my conversations with people more and more. Over the last year or so, it's something I've developed a gradually increasing interest in. It also pops up a lot in the work of Robert Anton Wilson, whose work I had begun to read for his James Joyce commentary and now I find myself devouring his whole richly varied oeuvre. On the topic of UFOs he remains, as he does with just about everything else, agnostic.

He shares plenty of shocking information and research about alien encounters and UFO sightings but always with a humorous tinge in the background, never going as far as to say that he believes all of it is true, but it is clearly a deep fascination of his. He likes to bring up the fact that many hundreds of scientists have had what they believe to be alien encounters and this usually leads Wilson into a far-ranging discussion of the newest ideas in modern physics. Frequently he will cite the work of Jacques Vallée, an astronomer and computer scientist who spent years working with NASA and has written a number of books on the phenomenon of UFOs from a soberly scientific perspective.

I am planning on gradually introducing some material here about the cosmological implications of UFOs and the disclosure projects that have taken place over the last ten years or so. But for now, without any alien stuff at all, here is Dr. Vallée's recent TED talk about the current state of physics and where our world view is headed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Glimmers of a New Baseball Season

For a couple months now I've been kicking around the idea of writing a piece about my desire to step away from following baseball this season, let my attention go to more important things, and especially not allow my emotions to get invested into the ups and downs of any baseball team.

This piece was going to be a list of reasons for Why I'm Done with Baseball (for now), one of the main reasons being that the sorry state of the New York Mets and the departure of their best player to an arch rival are just too frustrating for me as a Mets fan. Other reasons include the steep price of following the game (for years now I've been an subscriber but in order for that package to carry over to either the iPad or iPhone device, one has to pay extra---as if Major League Baseball needs my money more than I do) at a time when I don't have much disposable income; the long hours spent watching games or reading baseball articles could certainly be better spent (especially at a time when I'm trying to put together two book-length projects); and after the dazzling crescendo of the 2011 baseball season, I figure the excitement has nowhere to go but down this year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: The Illuminati Papers by Robert Anton Wilson

It is not very often that I shell out the cash for a brand new book. Most of the books I read are worn-out, tattered pre-owned texts that I buy as cheaply as possible either online or from one of Austin's many wonderful used bookstores (the Half Priced Books chain is one of my favorite things about this city). Whenever I do opt to purchase a brand new book it's usually something that has just been released (like the Baseball Prospectus annual which I always need to have as soon as it drops) or something so special that I couldn't resist paying full price.

In the early stages of my addiction to reading Robert Anton Wilson's work, I couldn't resist snatching up a fresh copy of his book The Illuminati Papers from a local New Age bookstore. Many months and re-readings later, I'm very happy with my decision. After quickly zipping through six different RAW books, this is definitely one of my favorites.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Folk Flavor (Madlib)

This delicious, folk-flavored track originally reached my ears via Madlib's 2009 appearance on the Radio Nova show in Paris. Check out the full 30-minute set here, plenty of rare old records and mellifluous melodies. One of my favorite DJ sets from Madlib.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Birthday James Joyce

"I am trying…to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own…for their mental, moral and spiritual uplift."
- James Joyce, in a letter to his brother Stanislaus
130 years ago today, James Joyce was born. He was the first of many children in a family that grew too large for his parents to support and they slowly descended into poverty. His father had a knack for not holding on to money and so, unable to meet the rent, his family moved from one domicile to the next throughout most of his upbringing. Joyce inherited this itinerant habit into his adulthood as he lugged his belongings and family (wife, son, and daughter) to multiple homes throughout Rome, Trieste, Zurich, and Paris. While all this was going on, he somehow managed to find the time to put together arguably the greatest literary contribution in human history.