NASA Spacecast

In one of my earlier posts I gave links for some of my favorite websites. This video I’m posting today is from NASA. It’s the most recent edition of their regular series SPACECAST WEEKLY. This video I found extremely fascinating because it talked about how astronauts train for space walks and the space suits they wear on these space walks. Also I loved the interview with a Canadian astronaut that spent time on the ISS. They also talk about the commercialization of space which is something I am personally concerned with. Because there is a big issue with space trash orbiting the Earth that is making it difficult to navigate launches into space etc. There is so much debris. It may not seem like much but it is getting worse. And with the commercialization of space I’m worried it will become exponentially worse because of all the satellites they are launching into space, especially all the so-called cube-sats or small satellites. For example SpaceX will soon set a record for most satellites launched on a single mission (143 total satellites – how is this not polluting space?)

So without further adieu here is SPACECAST WEEKLY. Enjoy.

and to pick up on my earlier comments about space debris. Will we eventually have so much debris that we will no longer be able to safely go into space? And will there eventually be so much debris that people in space may not be able to safely return to earth? Here’s an interesting documentary (fyi only the first half is about space junk – but the whole video is interesting).

ice and fog

ICE AND FOG 1
ICE AND FOG 2
ICE AND FOG 3

I’m looking at clouds from the inside and asking questions in a world of blue.   Floating in the icy ether of wonder and amazement. I feel the cold harshness of ice yet am comforted by the blanket of fog wrapped around my body and soul, satisfied by the question when the answer eludes me.

The song Sung by Julee Cruise, Questions In A World Of Blue from the TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME film soundtrack.   Written by master song stylist Angelo Badalamenti.  A beautiful song of loss.   The musical essence of saudade.  Like ice and fog.   

new relevant music

Once in a while there is music that comes my way that causes me to sit up and take notice in the same way that a slap in the face does like good art tends to do. The two tracks I present here today have done just that. I’ve listened to both repeatedly and also the videos are top notch. The videos are also related in their themes.

First is MANDRILL by Martin Gore (Depeche Mode). It is an instrumental track that carries a strong industrial beat similar to 80’s/90’s era Nitzer Ebb and Front 242. It is the lead single from Gore’s forthcoming solo instrumental EP, THE THIRD APE. The music was inspired by THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE written by culture and anthropological historian Jared Diamond. In the book Diamond lays out the argument that humanity is the third chimpanzee. The chimpanzee is genetically more closely related to humanity than to other apes, monkeys or primates. Diamond proceeds to draw many lines of comparison to reveal the truth of his observations and assertions about the evolution and future of the human animal. After watching this video I immediately purchased the book and found it a fascinating read.

Now back to the video. When I first saw the video several things stood out. The abstract nature of the videos “film language” mixing abstract art, animalistic representation with (what felt like) aggressive expression of the Mandrill featured in the video, the frequent appearance of figures of three (usually expressed in bars or strokes), the white palm print of which I can’t help but draw comparisons to the white hand of Sauron on the Orc’s that served him in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. And then there are the splatterings that seem to suggest uncontrolled madness as they appear on the canvas. There is also the way the abstract at one point starts to flow from the top of the screen like blood.

Was the Mandrill barking and biting back at humanity? Is this an animalistic criticism of humanities aggressive devastation of the planet? Just how much blood does humanity have on it’s hands? For me this video feels like observation and commentary instead of just criticism. I think this is a good thing because it means that there is still hope to change the outcome.

This next video is by 80’s musician Gary Numan. INTRUDER is the title track from his forthcoming album (May 2021). This is very dark and visceral. Visually, near monochrome, the video is filled with abstraction with the literal dissection of the performer by dark blurred geometric shapes in contrast to appears of what seems like roots, bones or animal parts, something I can’t define. It feels shamanistic and is a perfect statement for our time. I’m struck by the lyrics. In the beginning it’s about the “I” and by time we reach the end it’s about “you”. Taken as a whole it’s about us, you and me. Numan, as a fragmented singing spirit in the beginning seems to ask “What does humanity really want?” What choices are we faced with? In a world that is all talk where people gravitate to like-mindedness on social media that creates greater division, less tolerance and understanding; this song is a definite criticism, but still ends with a sense of hope by asking the question “Don’t you wish you listened more?” Which is also the resolution to the problem. He is critical of religion, and rightfully so, as religion has become a pawn of those who seek power and control. Speaking is more a religious act and listening is a more spiritual act.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the character in the video is some sort of demon or dark force but I would like to suggest that it is the earth itself like a dark angel holding up a mirror to reflect us back to ourselves on what we’ve become. And in this video there is the deliberate “blood on our hands” image – and if we consider the mirror reflecting back to us – we take pride in that blood as we streak it down our faces with a war-like tribal ritual to show our power. Not only do we have the blood of all the lives we’ve slaughtered but the blood of the planet itself with our environmental devastation. Do we like what we see? Will we make the right choices and decisions going forward? Will we continue to be the intruder or the caretaker/restorer? If we kill the planet we kill ourselves.

I could listen to you scream 
Pretty music to my ears 
I could listen to it all day 
If you want me to 
I could talk about my world 
How you brought about ruin 
I could talk about your greed 
If you want me to 

I could look into evil 
See a heart just like mine 
I could throw away reason 
If you want me to 
I could walk into darkness 
Find the hole you crawled into 
I will be the intruder 
If you want me to 

You can whisper your lord's prayer 
And pretend that it matters 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
You can hide in the shadows 
And pretend I won't find you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 

I could listen to more lies 
About promises you kept 
Will you walk on water 
Like you said you would? 
I could make you my prisoner 
But you were dead men talking 
When you burned the oceans 
Like you said you would 

You can beg for god's mercy 
And pretend that he hears you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
You can drown in your sorrow 
And pretend you were helpless 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
This was always your one life 
I won't pretend that it matters 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
This was always your one home 
I won't pretend that I'll miss you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more?

Well that’s my take on these two videos. What are your impressions? Leave a comment – I’m listening.

***I can’t promise the videos can be seen outside the US but hopefully you will find a version you can watch.


			

eye’s wide open

EYE DISEASE

Song is called EYES WIDE OPEN by King Crimson from their album The Power To Believe.    

The pleasures and pain of keeping one’s “eyes wide open all the time”.   It can be a blessing and a curse.

Here it comes, here comes another day
Another decision on the way
Well here it comes, here comes a covered display
Of preferences to make
Well here it comes, here comes a knock on the door
Open it for an opportunity
Well here it comes, here comes another day
For memories to be madeEyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time’n there it was, it was a perfect take
And were you asleep or awake
There it was, it was a perfect time
To speak your mind
‘n there it was, it was a chance of a lifetime
It flew right by and what did you do?
Well there it was, it was another day
For memories to be madeEyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time
I’ve got my eyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time
Because you never know
What you might see

FOUR 4 A FOGGY SUNDAY

I sometimes think there are 5 seasons instead of 4.  Fog is like its own season because like the other 4 seasons it completely changes our perception of the landscape.  

FOGGY SUNDAY 1
FOGGY SUNDAY 2
FOGGY SUNDAY 3
FOGGY SUNDAY 4

A delightful song, LOST IN A FOG, sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

*no guarantee video will play outside the US.*

you may wonder….

So you may wonder given the nature of my posts; what are my favorite YouTube channels?

Well hang on to your britches because I’m about to tell you. And some may surprise you. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all channels I follow – but just favorites that regularly and consistently post new content. For examples there are many music channels that I follow but the vast majority have sporadic postings or inconsistent in featuring work that interests me. These are not in any particular rank. Just a list.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/usgs is the site for the United States Geological Survey. It features viddy’s and information on volcano’s, earthquakes and tectonics and other geological interests. More than some other sites it reveals my geeky interests in scientific study.
  • keeping with a theme, https://www.youtube.com/c/veritasium : Veritasium is a hybrid word that combines the latin word for “truth” (Veritas) and the suffix of most elements on the periodic chart (ium) therefore creating Veritasium (i.e. an “an element of truth”). These videos explore various scientific topics both in physics, biology, geology, as well as some more philosophic subjects. I find them informative, entertaining and just plain interesting. The creator of this chanel, Derek Muller, also has children so there are several videos that are science subjects geared for children as well as learning resources. I highly recommend it.
  • I also love Bonsai. https://www.youtube.com/c/EiseienBonsai is a great channel to learn about and understand Bonsai craft in great detail. While I personally do not have Bonsai, I have always wanted to start but have been a little intimidated. Maybe this is the year I will finally Start.
  • Another channel for Bonsai that I follow is https://www.youtube.com/c/HeronsBonsaiUK this UK based nursery has great videos that I would describe as Bonsai for the Common Person or for the beginner. The presenter is very down-to-earth and very relatable.
  • Next up is https://www.youtube.com/c/bbcearth This channel really has some remarkable nature videos. While I am not a fan of having “pets” I absolutely do love wild animals in their natural habitat. And this channel fills that “cup of interest” to the brim.
  • Along similar lines is the National Geographic website https://www.youtube.com/c/NatGeo with it’s own unique perspective on the world we live on and the people, flora and fauna that we share it with.
  • Now something may not be much of a surprise because I’ve posted videos from this channel here on the blog. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLouisianaChannel The Louisiana Channel is an arts channel with in-depth interviews discussion and analysis with artists, musicians and writers. For me it is an endless source of inspiration and exposure to some things I might not normally find.
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/Nerdwriter1 Nerdwriter is another channel I absolutely adore. Posts are less frequent that most other channels featured here – but when there is a post it blows my mind. It has taught me so much about art, writing, philosophy etc.
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_43mQmHwHPTBBqImFrWU3Q Sean Tucker is a professional photographer who has some amazing insights into not only photography but photography in the age of the internet. His videos are informative, instructional and at time philosophical. What an amazing personality.
  • And lastly to go back to the beginning of the list https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAgovVideo the official NASA channel is amazing and wonderful for all things NASA related. I especially like their “Spacecast Weekly” which is a weekly digest of news and information direct from NASA for all you space geeks.

And that’s it my friend. Of the 56 channels I follow on YouTube these are my absolute favorites that bring me an endless source of enjoyment, inspiration and information. And to re-iterate – these are not ranked in any particular order. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone.

who will restrain Trump?

It is clear that Donald Trump MUST be forcibly restrained! Who will restrain him? Anyone who deliberately incites insurrection (even the president of the United States) IS A CRIMINAL and must be treated as such! It is clear he is no longer the President but the “patient” and must be treated as such! Immediate impeachment and hospitalization or jail are required!

starting a new year with “unfinished business”

Is anybody out there?

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Culture wars
begun long ago
and no one cares
living in the moment
ignoring the past
 

You did not ask for 
this war
I did not ask for 
this war
yet here we are 
stuck on the front lines
drafted by those we did not vote for
 

A war fomented by the news media
shaped by the influencers on the internet
and social media:
Systemic Racism
Economic Injustice
Gender inequality
Public Shaming -
the cancel culture
Everyone’s a victim
We consume victimization like our favorite foods
 

We digest our own destruction
21st Century Ouroboros
vipers all
 

We ignore the shit that comes out the other end
We stubbornly refuse to clean up (it’s up to the other person)
We obsessively and repeatedly fuel our consumption of outrage
 

The scales have tipped
As a species we are tilting at windmills
in our self-prescribed delusion
 

I did not ask for this war
You did not ask for this war
And the question is not IF we should fight
But HOW we should fight
 

Military wars always kill
Culture wars are fought for control
Control of your mind
Control of your freedom
Control of your expression
Control of your creativity
Control of your religion
 (even if you have no religion)
Control of your education
Control of your own body
 
Fingers point everywhere
but no one cares that 
when you point one finger
at someone, or something else,
three fingers point back to you
We will never agree
so we might as well learn to live together
 
And the question is not IF
we should fight
But HOW
we should fight
How should I fight this war 
that I did not ask for? 
 
It seems an impossible dream
to fight a war 
with love, compassion, grace & humility
when all around you 
is blame, blind rage, raw hatred 
and venomous pride
Love, grace, compassion and understanding 
does not require agreement
 
Jesus didn’t die for any one person’s sins
Two things killed Jesus Christ - 
Politics and Religion
Their control was threatened by the gospel of peace, love and freedom
"You see, control can never be a means to any practical end...
It can never be a means to anything but more control...like junk..” (1)
“Is Control controlled by its need to control? Answer: yes.” (2)
 
The way to win this war is to give up control
to lose control
 
The death of one is the birth of another
Change is coming that we cannot control
Change is here 
Change we can shape
“I awakened to the cry
 That the people have the power
 To redeem the work of fools
 Upon the meek the graces shower
 It's decreed the people rule” (3)
 
We must surrender this culture of complaint
and realize we will never be able to control others
we can only control our selves. 
“Just Do It!” (4)
 
Let the lion lie down with the lamb
Let the darkness meet the light
Let hell and heaven merge
in the forge of life on earth
to burn off the dross of our misgivings
revealing yours and mine
shining gold dream
“The siren and the ecstasy, … the one in front of me
 New gold dream” (5)
 
I did not ask for this war
You did not ask for this war
But we CAN end it! 
 
Will We?
 
“And the mercy seat is waiting
 And I think my head is burning
 In a way I'm yearning
 To be done with all this measuring of truth
 An eye for an eye
 And a tooth for a tooth
 And anyway I told the truth
 And I'm not afraid to die” (6)
 
1    quote by William S Burroughs from NAKED LUNCH
2    quote by William S Burroughs from AH POOK IS HERE; AND OTHER TEXTS
3    lyric from PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER by Patti Smith
4    slogan from Nike commercial
5    lyric from NEW GOLD DREAM by Simple Minds
6    lyric from MERCY SEAT by Nick Cave

And now the answer to the question asked in the title of the photo above
"Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren from his album Something/Anything?