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Magic

Rereading Lord of the Rings and noticing that it, like Harry Potter, has to spend some time explaining the relationship between magic and reality, and that’s sort of true I guess in any book about magic, there has to be limits, otherwise you just have Superman and it’s bullshit.
The part I’m referring to is after the siege of Gondor and the Battle of the Pelenor Fields, when Merry, and Eowyn, and Faramir are all laying in hospital (excuse me, The House of Healing)and Aragorn asks one of the nurses for an herb called Kingsfoil and they sort of dismiss the idea, like ‘that old herb, old people make tea out of it but it has no healing properties,’ but of course it does. They all get healed, as if by magic.
It’s like when Harry has the bone in his arm inadvertently removed by Gilderoy Lockhart’s quack wizardry, and somebody (the Werewolf guy?) offers him chocolate, and Madame Pomfrey (I think) says “Thank Goodness we have a professor who understands the old magic.
Herbal Teas are magic, they can make you feel better, and chocolate is magic, it can make you feel better, music is magic, it can make you feel better,springtime is magic, with its promise of rebirth and warm breezes chasing the cold away, and sunrises are magic, and sunsets, too, but that’s a darker magic.
Everything in the whole world is magic, until you explain it, and then it’s science. But science is magic, too. Maybe science is the most amazing magic.

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Some Random Thoughts on a Monday Evening

I should be in bed already so I’m just going to crank out whatever, I don’t really care about the Oscars and haven’t seen any of the nominated films, so I’m just as happy with Moonlight as anything else, all the gay people I know are over the moon about it, so I guess that’s a good thing – doesn’t quite make up for the shit they’re going through now politically, but film, inspirational though it might be, can’t quite do that, and certainly a film awards show is even more escapist than that. What we need is an Awards Show to give out awards for The Best Awards Show. The first step toward an infinite digression, the top of the slippery slope.
I suspect the Oscar flub may have been deliberate, so Steve Harvey wouldn’t feel so bad.

It was definitely a warm, spring day and I felt good about that during my perambulations around Prague. I’ve seen some hard, little green buds at the end of branches, I hope they aren’t premature, victims to be of a late, bit-you-in-the-ass spring frost, which is always a possibility. But, winter is, for the most part, over, and I’m damned glad.

Oh, I know it’s a sign of global warming, and the implications are disastrous, but something can be disastrous for the human race as a whole and still personally pleasing. There are things that make me angry, but still make me laugh. There are things I know I shouldn’t eat that I eat, and times I shouldn’t smoke but still go ahead and do.
We’re all going to die some day. What the hell.

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Bullshit Bill O’Reilly Rides Again

This one is not actually on Donald Trump, although it might as well be. Bill O’Reilly’s fans are Trump supporters, and Trump supporters are Bill O’Reilly fans. Maybe not 100% People are a quirky bunch. But I’m sure most.
Bill O’Reilly. The man who invented the whole “War Against Christmas” nonsense.

Anyway, just a few days after Trump opened his mouth and talked about “an incident last night in Sweden” which he’d totally imagined while watching a documentary about emigrants, and a couple days after fans at a Trump speech were duped into waving Russian flags, and a day after Mike Pence, in a public message, confused the Nicaraguan Flag with the Israeli Flag (They look a bit alike, but it’s a mistake somebody should have spotted), O’Reilly had a guest, Nils Bildt, who was introduced as a Swedish Defense and Security Advisor.
That is technically true, but the Swedish government has never heard of the guy. There is a bit of an implication when you say that that he is a defense advisor to the Swedish government. Bildt has some experience with a firm that consults on hostage negotiations. Private sector.
So, O’Reilly didn’t technically lie, and he wasn’t even technically lied to, but there is a bit of an implication when you say that he is a Swedish Defense Advisor that he is a defense advisor to the Swedish government.
But that was no problem for Bill O’Reilly.
Part of the issue is the lack of regard for accuracy. Part of it is that it’s part of an ongoing pattern of saying ridiculous, easily disproved things about other countries, without much fallout at all.

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Democrats Fuck Up Again

The results of the election for DNC chairperson were not unexpected. However, that does not make them any less unacceptable.
I can’t understand why they elected Tom Perez. There’s no indication that the Russians hacked the election. The FBI, as far as I know, had no involvement at all. This was a private election, at the high party muck-a-muck level. The final vote was something like 250-200.
Was it important? You bet. The last DNC chair (not counting the brief and embarrassing tenure of Donna Brazile) was Debbie Wassermann Schultz, who was forced to resign in disgrace after it was revealed how much, and how blatantly, she had cheated in the primaries. So, the DNC chair has a lot of power. They have a big role in determining the party’s next nominee. A bigger role than the general public, apparently.
And so, despite fierce opposition from Sanders supporters, without whom, it has been demonstrated, the Democrats cannot win a national election, they elected Tom Perez.
I only see a couple of possible explanations, and none of them bode well for the future of the Democratic party.
Maybe they figure progressives will warm to him, once he’s in office. Hah. The one thing he’s actually known for is being a Clinton loyalist. We’re not going to warm to that. Forget it.
Or, it could be (and I’m seriously started to believe this) the Democrats actually want to lose. Like, maybe, that’s what they’ve been paid to do.
After all, the last time the DNC totally ignored the Sanders supporters that’s what happened. And that’s what they’re doing again.

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The Completeness of the Void

When the sun goes down and the sky goes dark, we see the stars, trillions of miles away, and the great, black void which goes on forever, because wherever we are on Earth, and whoever we are, it doesn’t matter much because we, i.e. the whole planet, is IN outer space, it’s not just like we’re down here on Earth looking up at it, or out at it, I suppose, there being no up or down in space, but we are actually in it, despite the Earth confirmation bias inherent in our main systems of perception.
Some have asked, why is it if light travels forever in a straight line, and the universe appears to be damned near infinite,why is the night sky not awash in light? I’ve read explanations, and I don’t understand all the science, but I get the idea that it has to do with the universe being really, really big, and also maybe because it’s all moving away from us.
Basically, and this would also explain why we don’t have federation starships stopping by for a visit on a regular basis, most of space is totally empty. Maybe even less that empty, if that’s what anti-matter means.
But, within that emptiness, there is whatever it us that all of existence has sprung from, and will spring again and again and again.

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Deep State

People call me a conspiracy theorist because I believe 9/11 was an inside job; it just seems to me that there’s a big disconnect between two airplanes and the collapse of three buildings, and a shit-ton of other evidence, and that the JFK assassination involved more than one crazy guy in the book depository; I suspect that business interests with a vested interest in getting Lyndon Johnson elected (Brown and Root, later Halliburton), had something to do with it. I don’t know if Lyndon specifically asked for it, or if it was more of a “who will rid me of this meddlesome priest” type of situation, but, either way, the powers that be got what the powers that be wanted.
However, I’ve never been convinced much about the Masons, the Illuminati, the Rothschild family, the Bilderberg group or any of those other tight, mysterious organizations which supposedly rule the whole world, apparently for nefarious ends, because that’s what we’ve got.
So, now everybody’s talking about Deep State, who are apparently at war with Donald Trump, and seem to be comprised of the CIA, the NSA, and some career politicians who are so deeply entrenched in Washington that they are above electoral politics. Everybody just seems to be taking it for granted that this organization exists, and yet nobody was talking about them a month ago.
Well, the Masons also exist, and the Bilderberg group, and the Rothschild family. (not sure about the Illuminati) I just am not convinced that any one of them really controls the world, and if one of them does, it would cancel out all the others. Even the most die hard conspiracy theorist has to have some limits.
So, sure, there might be something called “Deep State” and if the presidency of Donald Trump has brought that to light, that’s a good thing. I could imagine no better result than them mutually destroying each other.
But, I would imagine Deep State has the same limits to its power as any of these others.
First, they are made up of human individuals, therefore inherently fallible. Also, no two human individuals actually agree about everything, so there is bound to be contention within the ranks.
Secondly, there is a whole bunch of things they have no control over: the past, the weather, surprising advances in technology, trends in music and fashion, and who wins the Super Bowl. (not a hundred percent sure on the last one, but you get the idea.)
Thirdly, if they exist (and I see no reason to doubt it) they are competing with all the others.
The only thing I’m really worried about is if Deep State,the Masons, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group and the Rothschild family are ever in complete agreement about anything, the rest of the human race (i.e. us) are completely screwed.

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No Aliens Today

Well, darn. I was floating around all day today, a gray and overcast day which I somehow found appropriate, thinking “This is the last normal day of human history, the last day before we know of the existence of advanced, technological alien civilizations.” Coming back from Kralupy, riding on the train, a view of the Vltava on the left and the neat, little garden plots across the river, and wondering how people would react. (I came to the conclusion that it would be exciting news for those of us who are interested in that sort of thing, but a lot of people would have just shrugged and said “Well, they’re light years away so it doesn’t really matter)
But, then, all we get is a few more exoplanets. Sure, a Solar System with 7 earth like planets (maybe – I’m not sure if they’re sure they’re all rocky planets), and 3 of them in the Goldilocks zone, is pretty amazing news.
I guess we’re just spoiled. After all, they are discovering more exoplanets all the time, there are thousands of them known. We know that water exists in abundance throughout the universe. We’ve found everything but actual life.
So, I’m still wondering what’s happening with the 234 Borra-Trottier planets, and I don’t see any indication that NASA is focusing the search there. Maybe they know something I don’t, maybe there was some flaw in Borra and Trottier’s work that would be obvious to a serious astronomer but not to the average UFO groupie like me, but if so I haven’t seen the denials or the rebuttals. So, I’m still waiting for word on that. But these new exoplanets are pretty cool, too, and I should be a lot more excited than I am. I was just expecting more.

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