Archive for January, 2010

Bibliophilia

Posted in Rants & Ramblings on January 30, 2010 by cairnwood

I caught this little article on the Yahoo News Wire this morning and thought it might be of interest to visitors here. We seem to have a common obsession…

Books A Must-Have Even in Sluggish Economy

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – During tough economic times when U.S. consumers are trying to cut back the indulgence they can’t seem to live without is books.

Three-quarters of adults questioned in an online poll said they would sacrifice holidays, dining out, going to the movies and even shopping sprees but they could not resist buying books.

Dining out came in a far second with only 11 percent of Americans naming it their top indulgence, followed by shopping at 7 percent, vacations at four and movies, which was chosen by only 3 percent of Americans.

“The recession highlighted the downside of greed, indulgence and giving in to temptation, but we noticed a shift back to life’s simplest pleasures,” said Michelle Renaud, a senior manager at Harlequin Enterprises Limited, which conducted the poll.

Read the rest here if you like, but the meaty bits about books are all in the above excerpt.

As for my thoughts on the article, I can’t help but think that it’s full of shit. Oh, believe me, it’s true for yours truly. Books are first and foremost in my little hovel, but three quarters of adults feeling the same way? No freaking way. If that line of malarkey were even a little bit true then Waldenbooks and B. Dalton wouldn’t be closing their doors, Borders wouldn’t be circling the drain, and publishing houses wouldn’t be bloody imploding at a record rate.

Still, it sounds good, and it’s a fantasy of mine… that we’re all living in a society obsessed over the written word. Isn’t it a shame that watercooler talk seldom is centered around a current bestselling novel (The Da Vinci Code notwithstanding)?

I love books, both new and old, and I sure as hell wish that I didn’t feel like a dinosaur at the cusp of extinction.

LOST in Translation: Looks Like We Made It

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, LOST with tags , , on January 29, 2010 by cairnwood

Well, here it is kids… at long last.

The first 4 minutes of the Season Six Premiere.

Don’t watch unless you want to be spoiled.

My initial thoughts?

Wow. Is it Groundhog Day yet?

And yes, Jack seems to know “something”.

Meet the Parker Brothers

Posted in Occult Detective Genre, Teen Detective Stories on January 29, 2010 by cairnwood

Dale and Allen Parker are the sons of Stephen Parker, an international bestselling author and paranormal investigator. Following in their father’s footsteps, Dale (a sophomore at Oak Hill University)  and his younger brother Allen (a junior at Converse High School), along with Allen’s classmates Sarah Jones and Cassidy Martin, investigate paranormal cases in and around the small town of Converse, Indiana… a seemingly idyllic rural community that is under the increasing threat of preternatural entities and supernatural occurrences.

The Parker Brothers, and Sarah Jones, make their first appearance in the novel Descendant, forthcoming from Belfire Press in September of this year.

LOST in Translation: The Law of Fives

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, LOST on January 28, 2010 by cairnwood

“The Law of Fives states simply that: All things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5.

The Law of Fives is never wrong.”

—Malaclypse the Younger , Principia Discordia

Season Six begins in five very long and painstaking days. The showrunners, Team Darlton as they are referred to by the Lost Obsessed, have stated, mostly in esoteric fashion, that the final season will be thematically similar to season one. Six minus one makes five. Malaclypse would be proud.

The Law of Fives observes that when one looks for fives in reality, one finds them. At its basic level, the Law of Fives is a practical demonstration that perception, and therefore reality itself is intent-sensitive.

For those of us who mull over the various theories and conspiracies that LOST inspires, therein lies the rub. It’s all about perception and these “shared reality tunnels” that we find ourselves in.

Each theorist comes at LOST with their own set of senses, experiences, and conditioning, just as the creators and writers have their own reality matrix through which they have filtered their thoughts and expressions.

In the end, there can be no objective truth because both the creator and the audience will view the material, the artistic expression if you will, through their own unique experience.

Robert Anton Wilson emphasized in his writings that each person’s reality tunnel is their own artistic creation, whether they realize it or not. In a sense, LOST is a phenomena that will be different to all those who observe it, whether it be the ones crafting the show or those experiencing it at home from the comfort of their sofa.

Will that change once the final season plays out? Will our “reality tunnels” converge into the observation of an objective truth?

I doubt it.

LOST lends itself to interpretation, and will continue to do so even after the series finale. I suspect we will be dissecting it long after the series is over, perhaps even for years to come.

The key, for me, is not in how LOST ends. It has been the journey that has fulfilled me and as the door closes on this show another will open. The journey will continue…

***

Aleister Crowley’s MOONCHILD

Posted in Crowley, Esoterica, Spotlight & Reviews on January 26, 2010 by cairnwood

MOONCHILD by Aleister Crowley Announced as Arcane Wisdom’s Next Title

MOONCHILD by Aleister Crowley

Moonchild is a novel written by the British occultist Aleister Crowley in 1917. Its plot involves a magical war between a group of white magicians, led by the protagonist Simon Iff, and a group of black magicians over an unborn child. It was first published by Mandrake Press in 1929.

Moonchild is a novel held in high regard for its magical and occult significance and also for its complex and well written prose.

Aleister Crowley 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, writer, mountaineer, poet, playwright, yogi, and possible spy.  He was an influential member of occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and is known today for his magical writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as “The wickedest man in the world.”

Crowley was also a chess player in his youth, a painter, astrologer, hedonist, bisexual, recreational drug experimenter, and social critic.

This edition will include a long introduction by Don Webb, a noted horror writer and author of Aleister Crowley: The Fire and The Force provides a long introduction to the work with some wit and perhaps some wisdom.

For ordering information on this title just click on the cover art.

LOST in Translation: SE7EN Days

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, LOST with tags on January 26, 2010 by cairnwood

Seven days.  That’s right, kids. We’re one week away from the beginning of the end. And like the Freeman/Pitt/Spacey movie referenced in this week’s LOST in Translation title, we’re about to find out “what’s in the box”. Hopefully it won’t be Gwyneth Paltrow’s head, but then with this show you never know.

Great minds think alike. I just read Doc Jensen’s LOST Final Season predictions and, as you may have read in a previous LOST in Translation entry, I came to the same conclusion, at least in regard to the final roles of John Locke and Benjamin Linus.

All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

Order versus Chaos. Free Will versus Destiny. Jacob versus the Man in Black… Yes, these are the concepts that lie at heart of the matter, but there’s something else. There’s another conflict mirrored by these weighty themes and it is the conflict between parent and child.

The parent/child conflict has been the most common thread throughout the series. Jack and Christian Shepard. Kate’s murder of her father. John Locke being betrayed by Anthony Cooper, who in turn was responsible for the deaths of Sawyers’ parents. Sun and Jin both had issues with their folks, as did Sayid, Penny (and by extension, Desmond), Faraday, Miles, and even Hugo… And of course, Benjamin Linus and father Roger, and Ben’s own donning of the parental crown which ended badly for his beloved Alex. On and on, these issues have been driven home to us. Can the final season be any different?

This must be the central focus of the show in some way. It’s been far too prevalent to be otherwise.

I suspect that Jacob and the Man in Black have parent issues as well, and we’re going to meet their mother and boy will she be pissed.

So, is LOST ultimately about redemption? Is it about the proverbial “Mother and Child Reunion”?

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away,
oh, little darling of mine.
I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

~Paul Simon

“And the course of a lifetime runs over and over again”… Well there’s a LOST theme if ever I heard one. Yes, this conflict between Jacob and the Man in Black has been going on and on, over centuries, and we’re about to find out in Season Six that it has for our favorite plane crash surviving — time-traveling — boar hunting — Losties as well.

A Touch Too Much

Reincarnation, folks. Remember the word. Speak it slowly if you must. But know that this is a game that has been played for a very long time… And Jacob’s Touch? Well, he was just marshaling his troops, putting the spark inside his little army, putting them on course to ultimately thwart the Man in Black’s “loophole” schemes.

Which is all well and good until John Sheridan stands up and says “Get the Hell out of our Galaxy!” Oh wait, wrong show. But then, why’s Rousseau standing there?

All Things Must Pass

So here we are, almost to journey’s end and what a journey it’s been, there and back again. I have been captivated by many television programs before, but never like this. LOST has reignited old passions, sent me scurrying through books on literature, religion, mythology, and physics, and has twisted my mind in glorious fashion.

LOST is indeed a phenomena like no other. It has been a wild and wondrous ride through another’s imagination and it has left me, as all the best fiction does, looking at life’s deeper mysteries and making a correlation to the real and frightful world that is this reality.

I will miss it when it’s gone, but ultimately I know that all things must pass. What LOST has given me and my wife and my friends is the promise of something more, of the delightful reawakening of that childlike sense of enchantment.

Seven days until the beginning of the end and I couldn’t be more excited.

***

Now, if you’re up for some more fun you might want to read Adria Lang’s take on the Season 6 premiere. It’s a fun read and I have to admit that if it were to play out this way I’d be tickled indeed.

***

Soul Searching with Maurice Broaddus

Posted in Spotlight & Reviews with tags , on January 25, 2010 by cairnwood

Maurice Broaddus has a dream, and that dream is about to come true. Chances are, you’ve heard of the man. He’s hard to miss. Maurice is one of those rising stars one hears so much about… a writer with great literary promise and mass market appeal. His big break landed recently when he signed a three book deal with the HarperCollins’ imprint Angry Robot. But Mr. Broaddus is more than the words he writes on a page. A family man and man of God, he is all but human. He’ll be the first to admit to his mistakes and shortcomings. Maurice draws you in with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eye that belies the deep reflection that comes from a man who knows that there is more to life than the day to day drudgery.  Maurice Broaddus is a man who knows all too well that what truly matters are the affairs of the heart and the weight of the soul.

In this edition of the Author Spotlight I sit down with “The Sinister Minister” and we lift the veil and take a peek behind the curtain.

The themes of faith and spirituality clearly resonate with you. One of the things that drew me to you, as both a friend and a writer I admire, was that you were on a spiritual journey not unlike my own. Tell me about how that journey is reflected in the themes addressed in your work.

You know, I was toying with the idea of pitching a short story collection to a publisher.  I had my stories scattered around me and it occurred to me that they were like a tarot card reading of my faith journey.  Basically, I believe we’re in a Story, written by an Author, who is wooing us to connect with Him.  It’s a tale of flawed people, who were created (in God’s image), for great things (to join in with that Author in a mission to redeem the world), who sometimes encounter things which interfere with their journey:  sometimes themselves, sometimes others, and sometimes An Other.

How much of your writing is a reflection of your own doubts and insecurities? Is there a bit of redemption sought in the stories you tell?

Faith is never easy and I tend to have more questions than answers.  I think that’s the most critical part of anyone’s spiritual journey, walking that line of tension between holding on during times of doubt and questioning.  I think one of the best ways to explore that tension is in story.  (The Bible does it too:  the book of Job was probably the first book written and it’s all about faith, doubt, and frustrated questions.  And quite the horror story when you think about it.)

I guess you could say that in some ways, I’m working out my own spiritual journey in front of my readers.  And sharing my nightmares.

You’ve been able to turn these esoteric ruminations into an entire convention designed to delve into and explore the meatier realities of faith, spirituality, race, and gender issues and their effect on genre writing. You have to be very proud of the growth that you’ve seen in Mo*Con.

I am.  I must say, I’ve been surprised, too.  I didn’t know how much interest there would be in something like this.  Turns out, there are a lot of people who want a safe place to discuss and explore deeper issues within the genre.  I think the key words are “safe place”.  Yes, we hold the convention in a church, but I think if the church is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, it should be a place where people of all spiritual persuasions can come, doubt, ask questions, and learn.

Let’s take a deeper look at your forthcoming trilogy from Angry Robot, The Knights of Breton Court. A ‘re-imagining’ of the Arthurian Mythos in an urban setting, complete with street gangs and drug dealers. I’ve heard it described as Excalibur meets The Wire. Tell me a bit out your protagonist, King, and what your readers can expect from book one in the series, King Maker.

King is a man who has always felt the weight of responsibility in his life.  And he’s run from those responsibilities for most of his life.  He slowly begins to realize that he’s a hero reborn, inheritor of the Pendragon spirit.  After watching the community he loved continue to deteriorate, he decides to take a stand against the forces invading his neighborhood.


Like myself, you’re a prolific blogger. What do you think makes for a good blog?

There are a couple different ways a person could go with their blog:  personal or expert.  By that I mean you can do blogs based on who you are and the life you lead or blogs based on what area(s) you are an “expert” in.  Either way, you are writing what you know.  In addition to that, I think a good blog is “true”.  It has to come from an honest place and that resonates with readers.

Fewer people are reading, bookstores and publishers are dropping like flies, and new technologies are threatening the very existence of physical books… where do you see the industry in five years time?

I think a lot more people are reading, but where they are reading and how they are reading are changing in unpredictable ways.  The internet is a largely reading experience.  My kids are desperate to read better so they can have e-mail, text, and be able to IM folks.  I think the only thing keeping the reading experience from being a nearly completely electronic one is lack of a good/universal platform.  Everyone seems to be waiting for a Kindle type device to come along (and down in price), but I wouldn’t be surprised for cell phone technology to leap frog it in terms of delivery and readability.  And for that matter, being tied to video games.  It’s an exciting time, which means, as writers, we have to be diligent about our digital rights.

Let’s end on a lighter note. Answer the following:

Favorite author: Michael Chabon

Favorite novel: Confederacy of Dunces

Favorite television show: The Wire

Favorite movie: Do the Right Thing

And finally, if you could have dinner with any five people no longer with us, who would they be?

Jesus, Malcolm X, Alexander the Great, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Thanks, Maurice, for taking the time to chat with us here at The Occult Detective. Best of luck, my friend.


I put a spell on you

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, Rants & Ramblings with tags , , , , on January 24, 2010 by cairnwood

The Indianapolis Colts have a chance to march into the Super Bowl today. All they have to do is defeat a New York Jets team that many pundits are calling a “Team of Destiny”. They’re this season’s favored underdog… the proverbial “Cinderella Story”. Well, we all know what happened at Midnight. It’s 2 minutes till and I can hear Iron Maiden in the background.

The Jets season ends today.

So why am I a bundle of nervous energy? Because its football and on any given Sunday… well, you know the rest.

I plan to spend my pregame by distracting myself with the lovely Kim Novak as she bewitches Jimmy Stewart in the classic 1958 film Bell, Book, & Candle. Not seen it? Well surely you’ve seen Bewitched with Elizabeth Montgomery and the two Dicks. It’s on Turner Classic Movies today from 12:3 to 2:30… Kick-Off isn’t until 3:15.

It should be a great game, to be followed by another… Saints vs Vikings. There’s a compelling story for the Colts regardless of the NFC Winner, all with Manning permutations. A Colts victory versus the Jets will see Peyton playing either Daddy’s Team, or the Vikes helmed by Brett Favre, the guy who holds the record for consecutive games played. Manning is second. A Colts — Viking match-up would be a battle of the Iron Men, while a Colts — Saints battle would be a sort of prodigal son-type of homecoming.

Either way, some compelling football is headed our way.  All the Colts have to do is weave a little magic and bring the Lombardi back to Indianapolis.

Does this mean Lisa Bonet will be playing Belit?

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, Robert E. Howard with tags , , on January 23, 2010 by cairnwood

Not so fast Andrew McLaren, there’s a new Conan in town. Word is that Millennium Films, Lionsgate, and Paradox Entertainment have approved Jason Momoa to star in the big screen re-imagining of Conan the Barbarian. That sound you hear is Robert E. Howard spinning in his grave.

Momoa is a 6’5″ former model and star of such illustrious fare as Baywatch: Hawaii and Stargate: Atlantis. His father is a Native Hawaiian and his mother is of mixed German, Irish, and Native American ancestry. He is married to former Cosby star Lisa Bonet, who will be even better remembered to frequent visitors of this website as having starred opposite Mickey Roarke in the Occult Detective Classic Angel Heart.

And speaking of Roarke, rumours place the star in Conan as well, playing the role of the sinewy barbarian’s father.

Small world, huh? At least Momoa and Roarke will have something in common.

As a fan of Robert E. Howard’s most famous creation, I am appalled and thoroughly disgusted. I can find no semblance of the Cimmerian in the way this production is taking shape.

Thank the gods that we will always have Howard’s works to turn to and the travesties that have been the translations of his work to the big and small screen can, at the very least, be ignored.

LOST in Translation: LA X Revealed

Posted in Genre Movies & TV, LOST with tags , , on January 22, 2010 by cairnwood
MASSIVE SEASON 6 SPOILERS
FROM THE PREMIERE

All of these questions were answered “YES”

COURTESY OF AN INSIDE SOURCE
REPORTING TO DARK UFO

Highlight these spoilers at your own risk.
- do Jack and Sawyer have another fistfight and/or shouting match in the aftermath of the bomb?
- Do we get to see the smoke monster in the premiere ?
- Will we see Jacob in the premiere?
- Will we see the ‘real’ John Locke alive and well?
- Do Kate and Sawyer interact/talk to each other at all?
- Will there be an appearance by someone or something that will shock any avid, spoiler consuming Lost fan?
- Will Desmond be in the premier?
- Will there be a surprising twist in the episode or a “jump the shark” moment made by the producers?
- does the smoke-monster kill or “judge” anyone?
- Will we get further insight into Jacob/MIB, (Other than the spoilers about MIB = Monster and wanting to go home) and/or the workings of their relationship?
- Will Richard appear in the premiere?
- do Jack/kate talk /have a meaningful scene for them in the premiere on island?
- Will Juliet’s story come to a conclusion in the premiere??
- Is Flocke seen as an impostor by the people outside the statue?
- Does Hurley talk to more dead people?
- Will we see alive Juliet in the premiere?
- Does Bram die in the premiere?
- Do we see some tail section losties in the premiere, e.g. Cindy, Zach, Emma? I mean on the island, not alt reality!
- Do we get some new information about the smoke monster?
- Since the people outside the foot know it’s Flocke, is there an altercation when he emerges?
- after 815 landed in the ALT, will Sawyer be somehow involved in Kates’ escape from the marshall?
- Do we find out why Jacob gave Hurley the Ankh in the premiere?
- Is Ben remorseful in the premiere for his act of ”killing” Jacob??
- Does Charlie have a significant role in the premiere?
- Does the 77 losties end up being killed/abducted/judged by someone/entity in the 1977 timeline ?
- Is Jacob dead for good?
- Does the first scene of L AX take place in a time period other than 1977 or 2007?
- Is it revealed that Smokey is MIB in the premiere?
- Does Flocke/Smoke Monster kill Bram?
- Were you, as a LOST fan, more confused than ever by the end of the premiere?
- Is there any talk or hint of Jacob coming back to life in some form or another?
- Does Sawyer kiss Juliet goodbye?
- Does Sawyer kiss Juliet on the lips?

- Was it awesome?

- Is the opening sequence/teaser on board flight 815?

- Does Sun have a significant role during the Premiere?

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