Thursday, August 31, 2017

Anti-Trump Freemason 440 Hz DNA is a Thing

Well no, not really. But it makes a great headline.

I love - and by love, I mean find so utterly ridiculous that it needs to be mocked on Angoeides - how conspiracy theorists are completely ignorant of basic things like physics and biology. I mean, they're also completely ignorant of things like Freemasonry, but that's just par for the course ever since Leo Taxil and that "Palladism" nonsense. And, of course, despite all evidence they continue to believe that Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminati books are works of history rather than fiction.

Recently a conspiracy theorist that I hadn't previously heard of, a guy named Mark Taylor, spun this whopper about Freemasons, the Illuminati, sonic weapons, and Donald Trump. It really is a thing of beauty.

Last week, “firefighter prophet” and right-wing conspiracy theorist Mark Taylor appeared on Sheila Zilinsky’s radio program, where he warned that the Freemasons and the Illuminati are using a Satanic frequency to change people’s DNA in order to make them oppose President Trump.

“I believe what happened on November 8 is the enemy has literally sent out a frequency,” Taylor said, “and it agitated and took control, basically, of those who have their DNA turned over to the enemy. That’s what’s happening. The Illuminati, the Freemasons, all these people, their main goal is to change the DNA of man and they’re doing it through these frequencies.”

Taylor claimed that he is getting “bombarded with emails” from Christians who are being isolated by their friends and families because of their support for Trump and that is “because their DNA is being controlled by the enemy.”

Taylor said that the media is broadcasting its audio at 440 Hz, which has been found to “damage your body organs” and “also changes your DNA, which is the goal of the Freemasons, the Illuminati; they want you part of that Illuminati bloodline.”

So Mark Taylor is truly a master of out-there bullshit. It's not quite child slaves on Mars territory, but it sure is getting there. Apparently Taylor doesn't understand how anyone could hate Donald Trump without being exposed to bizarre science fiction technology, and so he feels the need to manufacture a scenario out of whole cloth that can explain the president's current unpopularity. When really, it's just because many of us think he's doing such a terrible job.

Now let me address every incorrect assertion here, in order:

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Path of Initiation - The Abyss

This article is Part Fourteen of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, Part Seven can be found here, Part Eight can be found here, Part Nine can be found here, Part Ten can be found here, Part Eleven can be found here, Part Twelve can be found here, and Part Thirteen can be found here.

Crossing the Abyss is the fourteenth step on the path of initiation into the into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the Abyss is the boundary separating the potential from the actual, represented by the three supernal sephiroth on the one hand and the rest of the Tree of Life on the other. Unlike some of the other variants of the Tree, the Kircher does not have a path that runs directly between Chesed and Binah.

Aleister Crowley does relate the Abyss to Da'ath, Knowledge, the "false sephira," so that provides a few possible attributions. However, according to many of his other writings, the fundamental nature of Crossing the Abyss is such that, by its very nature, symbolism itself is transcended. What crosses the Abyss is not the mundane personality - that remains behind, as it essentially consists of the Ruach and is thus limited to the bounds of Yetzirah - but rather nothing more than the point or spark of awareness that represents the Adept's most fundamental spiritual nature.

Crossing the Abyss confers the grade of Master of the Temple, or Magister Templi, and was considered by Crowley to be the second great initiation in magick, the first being attaining the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel which confers the grade of Adept. So in effect, there are essentially three initiations and three classes of magical practitioners - Initiates (1=10 to 4=7), Adepts (5=6 to 7=4), and Masters (8=3 and above).

As I go through this exposition, keep in mind I am now writing from the perspective of my studies rather than personal experience. I've never claimed to be a Master of the Temple - that is, one who has crossed the Abyss - so this article remains speculative. When I finally do cross the Abyss, it's not entirely unlikely that I may turn around and declare that back when I wrote this I had no idea what I was talking about and made tons of mistakes. I will, however, make my best effort to be as accurate as I can based on the sources I have reviewed and what my magical experiences so far have taught me.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ancient Baylonians Rocked Trigonometry

Recently an ancient Babylonian tablet was finally deciphered after almost a century of study. Researchers from the University of New South Wales discovered that the tablet, known as Plimpton 322, appears to be a set of trigonometric tables that are more accurate than those currently in use. This is because the Babylonians used base-60 calculations, which unlike base-10 is evenly divisible by 3.

Mathematicians have been arguing for most of a century about the interpretation of the tablet known as Plimpton 322, ever since the New York publisher George Plimpton bequeathed it to Columbia University in the 1930s as part of a major collection. He bought it from Edgar Banks, a diplomat, antiquities dealer and flamboyant amateur archaeologist said to have inspired the character of Indiana Jones – his feats included climbing Mount Ararat in an unsuccessful attempt to find Noah’s Ark – who had excavated it in southern Iraq in the early 20th century.

Mansfield, who has published his research with his colleague Norman Wildberger in the journal Historia Mathematica, says that while mathematicians understood for decades that the tablet demonstrates that the theorem long predated Pythagoras, there had been no agreement about the intended use of the tablet.

“The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius.

“The tablet not only contains the world’s oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new.”

A number of people have objected to that last bit, because we actually have picked up a lot more technological ideas from the ancient world than most people generally recognize. For example, back in the 1970's there was all this speculation about how aliens must have cut the stones found in various Egyptian monuments because the tool marks showed speeds that would destroy the most modern saws of that time. But then, somebody figured out the trick.

Egyptian saws used large circular blades so that the edge could move extremely fast relative to the stone. They then ran the blade through a pool of water as it spun to cool it - and presto, super-fast tool marks. If you have a granite countertop today it was probably cut with an ancient Egypt-inspired water saw. The ancients were just as smart as we are, they just were operating from a completely different baseline technology.

Prejudice against the ancient world aside, though, this is a highly significant discovery that demonstrates the sophistication of Babylonian mathematics. It's no wonder that they were famed architects and engineers of the ancient world.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Vice on Sex With Demons

Vice has an article up talking about, of all subjects, sex with demons. Sex with spirits of whatever sort has a longer and more involved history than you might think at first, and apparently it wasn't considered that big a deal until the church got involved. No surprise there. In the article, author Diana Tourjee talks about an adolescent attempt to summon Satan for sex. It was little more than a simple prayer, but according to the Christianity in which she was raised, that was supposed to be all it took.

Growing up as a Christian child, I couldn't help but notice that my prayers to Jesus often went unanswered. I'd ask God for various things; when the Lord failed to deliver, I was told, "God works in mysterious ways," and chided that you can't use prayer like a credit card. Conversely, Satan seemed very transactional to me, and I was always told that he would tempt me and do anything to obtain my immortal soul through sins of the flesh. At the time, I was struggling with my sexuality and felt that I was probably going to Hell anyway, so I figured I might as well benefit from my depravity and get laid while I was still on the mortal plane.

After my invocation, tense minutes of expectation passed like centuries as I waited with a pounding heart. I trusted that Satan would send a demonic, muscular fireman demon to satisfy my sexual fantasies, or perhaps a blood red pentagram would appear under the covers and Lucifer himself would teleport to bed me. But nothing happened. Satan stood me up.

Back then, I genuinely believed in the Christian God, and my dark prayer weighed heavily on top of me. It seemed as if I was the first, worst person to attempt to summon demonic forces for sex. Today I know that I am not alone—people have sought sexual encounters with supernatural beings for centuries. In fact, some of the first known mentions of such wicked alliances can be found in Biblical scripture. One of the most compelling descriptions of demon sex comes in Genesis 6:4. The King James Version (KJV) states: "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

In the New International Version (NIV), "giants" is translated as "Nephilim," which are generally regarded as the hybrid offspring between angels and human beings. It's a controversial passage. Many Biblical readers perform argumentative gymnastics to avoid the possibility that Genesis 6:4 describes supernatural fucking, casting doubt on the notion that the scripture is referring to demon sex ("sons of god" just refers to superior humans, they insist). But still: It goes without saying that there wouldn't be so many people arguing about the interpretation of this passage if it didn't sound so much like demon sex.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Kellers Awarded $3.4 Million Settlement

Back in June, Dan and Fran Keller, two of the last remaining victims of the "Satanic Panic" of the late 80's and early 90's, were exonerated of the bizarre crimes for which they were originally convicted. The Kellers spent 21 years in prison after being convicted of "Satanic Ritual Abuse," which was an entirely made-up phenomenon circulated by evangelical conspiracy theorists. This week, the Kellers were awarded a $3.4 million settlement from a state fund in an attempt to repay them for more than two decades of false imprisonment.

The Kellers had been convicted of sexual assault in 1992. Children from their day-care center accused them — variously — of serving blood-laced Kool Aid; wearing white robes; cutting the heart out of a baby; flying children to Mexico to be raped by soldiers; using Satan’s arm as a paintbrush; burying children alive with animals; throwing them in a swimming pool with sharks; shooting them; and resurrecting them after they had been shot.

They were hardly the only people to be accused by children during the panic. Many were exonerated long ago — like the 20 people wrongly convicted in the infamous Kern County sex abuse cases. Some now blame the phenomenon on “a quack cadre of psychotherapists who were convinced that they could dig up buried memories through hypnosis,” as Radley Balko wrote in a column for The Washington Post. But the Kellers suffered for decades.

They served nearly 22 years in prison before a court released them in 2013, after years of work by journalists and lawyers to expose what proved to be a baseless case against them. And only now — when Fran Keller is 67 and Dan is 75 — has the couple been fully exonerated. Their 1992 case was finally dismissed in June after a district attorney declared them innocent. This week, the Austin American-Statesman reported, they were awarded $3.4 million from a state fund — a belated attempt to refund a quarter-century that they lost to the delusions of other people.

Cases like these are one of the things that make me so incensed when I see people who should know better exhibiting an utter lack of critical thinking skills. I've got news for any fundies who happen to be reading this article - I'm an actual sorcerer, and I can't fly children to Mexico or resurrect people or "use Satan's arm as a paintbrush" - you know, unless that last one is some sort of euphemism. People who "worship Satan" can't do any of those things either. So it should be obvious that none of those "crimes" were ever committed.

With evangelicals on the rise again, we all need to be vigilant. If something sounds like nonsense, it probably is. And understand, I say that as a guy who casts spells.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Resisting Trump Means Resisting God

Jim Bakker is rapidly turning himself into the new Pat Robertson, at least here on Augoeides. This is the second post this week that involves the evangelist and bad potato soup entrepreneur. Recently Bakker interviewed Paula White, a prosperity gospel preacher (and accused heretic) who is thought to be President Donald Trump's spiritual adviser. True to that characterization, White explained that "to resist Trump is to resist the hand of God" and argued that the president is a devout Christian who surrounds himself with Christians. Given Trump's character, personality, and history, the former has always struck me as especially dubious. While Trump has surrounded himself with evangelicals like Vice President Mike Pence, there's no evidence that he's ever been particularly religious.

This week, as Trump faced sustained criticism over his response to the violent white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, she proved her loyalty once more, appearing on the Jim Bakker Show to defend Trump’s presidency and his spiritual bona fides in apocalyptic terms. While White has condemned white supremacy as evil and has a racially mixed fan base, she didn't mention Trump’s equivocations that have roiled the nation. Instead, she made an extended comparison of the president to the biblical figure Esther on Bakker's show Monday, in an interview that at times sounded more like an impassioned sermon. Like Esther, White said, Trump is a come-from-nowhere figure elevated to leadership against all odds in order to do God’s will. She described Trump as a generous, humble man of “character and integrity” and vouched repeatedly for the state of his soul. “He surrounds himself with Christians, and he is a Christian,” she told Bakker, about a man who’s been widely reported as being irreligious for most of his life, prompting applause from the studio audience. “He loves prayer.”

White didn't need to convince Bakker's audience that a flawed man can be redeemed to do the Lord's work; the Bakker himself went through a high-profile sex scandal in the 1980s and later spent time in jail for mail and wire fraud before returning to ministry. White's case for Trump’s divine mission was based not on his character, but on the future of the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments. To White, Trump is doing exactly what conservative Christians elected him to do. She called the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court a “miracle” and spoke fervently about future court appointments. “We’ve got 130 vacancies in the lower courts, and he is appointing exactly what we asked for. ... We wanted originalists; we want constitutionalists,” she said. “Right now, we’re scaring the literal hell out of demonic spirits by me saying this right now,” she added, indicating she sensed her words were summoning opposition from dark forces.

Because demons hate the Federalist Society? Seriously? There's absolutely nothing spiritual about one particular interpretation of the Constitution, as much as the bizarro world that fundies live in would like there to be such a thing. Viewing political debates in general as battles between good and evil is highly problematic, especially the way these folks do it. They act as if the only issues that matter are abortion (which is not treated the same as murder under Old Testament law) and homosexuality (which Jesus said nothing about), and at the same time agitate for less financial regulations so that the rich can screw the poor even harder (which Jesus had a lot to say about).

So not only does literal demonization contribute to figurative demonization, it's flat-out stupid if you look at the actual Bible. I also will add that in the case of same-sex marriage, it's as if these folks think that secular legality has anything to do with sinfulness. Presumably, couples entering into same-sex marriages don't believe it's wrong, and their beliefs need to be respected just as much as everyone else's. And thanks to the separation of church and state, churches are never going to be forced to perform same-sex marriages, period, if it's against their theology - which, by the way, could change if the fundies succeed in taking down that wall of separation in order to become some sort of state church.

One more big takeaway from Jones' rant about how opposing Trump is opposing God is that my new novel Trump Card - which, by the way, is terrific - must be especially sinful since it devotes a great deal of time to mocking the president and occultists who (in my opinion stupidly) support him. And you know what? I can totally live with that.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

United Nations to Address Witch Hunting

Witchcraft persecution is still alive and well in many parts of the world today. As I've mentioned many times, I'm quite happy that I live here in the United States where I can have a blog talking about magical rituals and not have to worry about angry mobs showing up at my front door. According to this article from The Wild Hunt, the United Nations is creating a new human rights office to focus on “accusations of witchcraft and ritualistic killings.” While the UN is not always as effective as one might hope, this is a good first step towards addressing the problem at an international level.

While horrifying in their number and in their presented detail, the readily-available articles only share the stories making news. Experts agree that many witchcraft-related incidents go completely unnoticed and unreported. As a result, the statistics on witchcraft-related violence are unreliable. Nobody knows just has bad it is.

Although the published reports do regularly populate the international news media, this human rights crisis has gotten very little attention on the international political scene. To date, most of the work has been done by private organizations, such as the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) and Under the Same Sun.

Or it is being handled by local governments, such as in the creation and enforcement of anti-witchcraft accusation laws. Over the past ten years, an increasing number of countries have, in fact, instituted such laws, including Papua New Guinea, India, South Africa, Tanzania, and others. In 2018, Liberia will play host to a new U.N. human rights office that will reportedly help the country’s government better address, in part, the “accusations of witchcraft and ritualistic killings.”

While these organizations, individuals, and governments appear to making some headway in an effort to stem the tide of abuse, the crisis has yet to be touched on the collective international level. Until now. The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold, for the very first time, a special two day workshop on witchcraft-related human rights violations.

To be clear, there are unscrupulous magical practitioners in the world who commit crimes. Despite government efforts, for example, albinos are still being killed in countries like Kenya and Tanzania because it is believed that their body parts have magical powers. But my point is that the perpetrators should be punished for the crimes they commit, not simply for practicing magick. If you kill an albino for their body parts, that's murder and it shouldn't make any difference whether you did it in connection with a ritual or were just upset with them. You should be sentenced according to the crime in either case.

So here's hoping that this new office will get results and reduce some of the senseless violence meted out against suspected "witches." People should have the right to practice their spirituality as they see fit, magical or otherwise.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bakker Says Eclipse Was God's Wrath

Yesterday millions of people all over the United States enjoyed viewing a rare total solar eclipse. But there's one person who didn't enjoy it a bit - evangelist and bad potato soup entrepreneur Jim Bakker. Bakker recently informed his listeners that the eclipse was sent by God because the Almighty is "still mad at the Obama years."

“God came to me in a dream and said I should tell the world that I am plunging the world into darkness to remind people I’m still mad at the Obama years,” Bakker said recently on his online radio show. “Obama legalized witchcraft, sexual deviants getting married and schools started teaching transgenderism.”

Joel 2:31 KJV The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.

— The Jim Bakker Show (@JimBakkerShow) August 20, 2017

Bakker said it would take eight years of the Trump administration for America to “get right with God.”

In another show, Bakker said that the end is closer than anyone realizes.

“You people that are mocking the prophets, you better be careful because God’s raised up the prophets to warn us and to teach us … I’m telling you, people, if you don’t know we’re in the last days, you’re so deceived,” Bakker said.

Jim, you just don't get it. I'm not mocking the prophets. I'm mocking you! Now let's break down just how stupid this assertion about the eclipse really is.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Chesed

This article is Part Thirteen of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, Part Seven can be found here, Part Eight can be found here, Part Nine can be found here, Part Ten can be found here, Part Eleven can be found here, and Part Twelve can be found here.

Initiation into the sephira of Chesed is the thirteenth step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the fourth sephira is attributed to Jupiter, and the corresponding vision is "The Vision of Love." The word Chesed means Mercy, which alludes to both the Pillar of Mercy on which the sephira is located and the fundamental nature of the force of love at the transpersonal level.

The sephira have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings. This allows you to integrate magical principles and forces into your life more quickly and effectively.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heptarchial Evocation Presentation

This week's Magick Monday post is the text of the talk that I gave, and the ritual that I performed, last Friday at the 2017 National Ordo Templi Orientis Convention, NOTOCON XI, in Orlando, Florida. The image shows my traveling Holy Table setup without the cloth and shewstone.

Dr. John Dee is well known in the occult community as the author of magical diaries from sixteenth century England detailing his operations with scryer Edward Kelley. The diaries span seven years and describe a previously unknown form of angel magick that has come to be known as the Enochian system among modern magical practitioners.

Dee’s first attempt at assembling an Angelic grimoire from his diaries was the Heptarchia Mystica. The material was received by Kelley in 1582 and includes descriptions of the implements that commonly represent Enochian magick today such as the Holy Table and Sigillum Dei Aemeth. Dee's Heptarchia Mystica grimoire was assembled years later, in 1588.

The Heptarchia has much in common with other Renaissance grimoires. One of the most common symbol sets found in Renaissance grimoires is that of the seven ancient planets, which also provide the basic schema for the Heptarchial angels. As such, the system is structured with a King and Prince for each day of the week, plus a King and Prince who rule over the system as a whole, for a total of sixteen distinct angels who may be conjured by name for specific purposes.

The temple furniture Dee was instructed to build for his operations is quite elaborate compared to other grimoires of the period. The Holy Table has a three-foot-square top with four three-foot legs, forming the outline of a cube. It was to be constructed of “sweet wood,” which some authors have suggested might allude to cedar. Another source suggests that in the Renaissance, the term referred to wood from any tree that bore fruit. The top of the table should be painted in yellow with a design that incorporates a border of angelic letters enclosing a large hexagram with a 3 x 4 grid of additional angelic letters in the center.

In the middle of the table rests the Sigullum Dei Aemeth, or “true seal of God.” This is a nine-inch diameter disk about an inch thick made from beeswax, into the top of which is engraved a complex image. This incorporates various names of power, lineal figures of the pentagram and heptagram, and a system of letters and numbers around the edge that encodes additional names. The bottom bears a simple cross-based design and the notariquon AGLA.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Via Solis Leo Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Leo Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday August 8th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. This is similar to the Libra Elixir Rite I posted here back in 2014, but it includes some additional elements inspired by research that went into the Zodiacal Work posts. Going forward, we will be performing one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the lodge know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Leo. The sign Leo is attributed to "The power of training wild beasts." As I interpret it, this power is related to working with conditioning of whatever sort, yours or that of others, in accordance with your will. So those sorts of intents are most appropriate. This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963 The Via Solis Elixir Rites were written by Michele Montserrat in 2010 for the Comselh Ananael magical working group..

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.


Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.


Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.


Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.

Bell chime.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Trump Card. Yes, Trump Card!

Cross-posted from my author website.

So it's finally here. This project has been consuming my life for the last several months. But I'm finally done. I have a whole box of copies sitting in my living room, and they look great.

Trump Card is my satirical take on the popular Young Adult Dystopia genre based on current events, particularly the Donald Trump administration. It tells the story of Sophia Sanders, a high school girl from New York with an unusual birthday. When a mysterious pendant transforms her into a "winner," she becomes a contestant on the reality television series Junior Apprentice in order to oppose the Trump agenda.

While the nation looks on, Sophia and her team compete to win the coveted Junior Apprentice title. A brutal and mysterious brotherhood along with its enigmatic leader stands against her, hell-bent on destroying her chances of bringing the Resistance to life. Sometimes, the only thing a girl can depend on is magick - and a little luck.

Trump Card is available in print, Kindle, and ebook editions. The print version is also available from Amazon and other retailers, but I get the best royalty percentage if you order directly from the CreateSpace link there. If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, or just find Donald Trump amusing in a horrifying sort of way, check it out!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Outback Steakhouse Denies Occult Claims

It is fundamentally amazing to me that we live in a world where this sort of thing is actually necessary. A user on Twitter posted the above tongue-in-cheek picture showing that you can draw a pentagram between Outback Steakhouse restaurants in a couple of places. If we lived in a world full of sane critical thinkers, we would have had a laugh and that would have been that. But no, enough idiots out there took it seriously that the restaurant chain had to publicly deny any connection with occultism or the Illuminati.

Australian-themed restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse was accused last week of concealing hidden ties to the Illuminati and other occult groups, after one astute Twitter user discovered the chain's franchises were arranged in a pentagram shape. Pentagrams, perhaps most commonly identified with Wiccanism, have also been popularly associated with the Illuminati, Satanism (including the homegrown San Francisco variety) and the occult in general.

The pattern was initially spotted by user @eatmyaesthetics on Thursday, but soon netizens across the country began comparing notes. The findings seemed too conclusive to be mere coincidence. Even the Bay Area, it seemed, had fallen under the Outbacks' deep-fried, medium-rare spell. Of course, observers may notice any time one has five of anything, it's possible to draw a five-pointed star between them, although sometimes the angles get stretched to ridiculous proportions. And, if it's meant to be the usual Satanic symbol, the two points are supposed to be on top.

Does anybody really think that if there were an actual Illuminati trying to keep its symbols secret, it would do such a poor job of it that random users on Twitter could spot them and point them out? If that were true, how could such an unbelievably stupid organization ever be much of a threat to anyone? As Alan Moore put it, there may be conspiracies out there, but they all are run by "hamfisted clowns." That's the reality, folks. And yes, it is a coincidence.

Outback Steakhouse is a totally suburban restaurant, which means its locations surround major metropolitan areas. Restaurants need to be evenly spaced so that one doesn't draw traffic from another. Those two points mean just about any city with five Outback locations will be encircled by a pentagram - by definition! It's just geometry, folks. Let me submit that this is almost certainly also true for every single suburban restaurant chain out there. Go ahead - pull up Google Maps. My guess is that you'll see what I'm talking about in a matter of minutes.

And anyway, how things arrange in a pentagram are supposed to hurt anybody, or really do anything at all, is entirely beyond me. It's just a shape. I could point out that in any city with four Outback locations, they're likely to form a cross - but so what? Are good Christians supposed to only eat at Outback locations that come in groups of four or something?