Getting Down with Damh the Bard

Down at the Crossroads • Episode #57

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057_damh_the_bard_sabbatHello and thank you once again for joining me down at the crossroads for some music, magick, and Paganism. Where witches gather for the sabbath, offerings are made, pacts are signed for musical fame and we cross paths with today’s most influential Pagans, occultists, and deep thinkers. I am your bewitching, bald headed, host Chris Orapello and tonight we meet with podcaster, Druid and Song writer Damh the Bard to talk about his new album Sabbat, his work as a musician, and his position as the official Pendragon for The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). Damh and I have a fun discussion beings fans of each others’ podcasts (DruidCast) and I of his music and work. There is a lot of laughing in this episode and in my excitement of speaking with him for the first time I got a little too close to my microphone at times which you may notice.Read the rest

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The History of Hippies, Yoga, and Vegetarianism

children-sunIf you think you know the history of the Hippie movement, Yoga or vegetarianism in the West, and you haven’t read Gordon Kennedy’s Children of the Sun, think again. Packed with photos the late 19th century (including many of young men with long flowing hair that look as if they were taken during the 1960s), this is undoubtedly the best documentation of how naturism, yoga, vegetarianism, and much that we associate with the Hippie movement, got its start in Germany, and was imported to the USA close to the beginning of the 20th century.

After a while out of print, Children of the Sun was recently re-released. If you want a taste of his work, Kennedy was recently interviewed by Brian Chidester of the Eden’s Island blog. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from their conversation:

GK: At a time when America had just dropped two atomic bombs on Japan and most of the nation was celebrating the end of America’s biggest war, a tribe of German and Jewish-American kids had united together and were diving into pools under giant waterfalls in the desert, climbing avocado trees, hitchhiking through the mountains and deserts without a gun or a sleeping bag, living in caves, composing music, practicing yoga, playing flutes and, unlike the beats or hippies, doing it without pot, tobacco, acid, qualudes, alcohol, television, methadrine, coffee, or money from mom and dad.

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The Hazards of Being a Man Who Writes About Men and Masculinity

Jed Diamond (Twitter photo)

Jed Diamond (Twitter photo)

Finally, something Feminists and MRA’s can agree on!  Jed Diamond, PhD, writes at the Good Men Project:

I’ve been writing about men and masculinity since my first book Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man was published in 1983. I was inspired to write about men and masculinity after reading Herb Goldberg’s book, The Hazards of Being Male: Surviving the Myth of Masculine Privilege. I still have my copy of Goldberg’s book with the picture of a masculine, muscled arm, with a broken red heart.

The inspiration for this article came from a discussion by authors who write for The Good Men Project about an article that appeared in the Guardian titled Matt Haig “Crucified” on Twitter for planning a book about masculinity. It isn’t always easy to write from the heart about matters of sex and gender. I hope Matt finds a way to express what is in his heart.

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The Surprisingly Imperfect Science of DNA Testing

Katie Worth tells us “how a proven tool may be anything but,” in reference to DNA testing, for Frontline:

…Peter Gill is a giant in the forensic DNA community, counted among the scientists who wrote the original paper conceptualizing DNA as a forensic tool in 1985. But he has spent recent years warning people using his tool against blindly trusting its results. In a 2014 book called “Misleading DNA Evidence: Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice,” Gill wrote that contamination is dangerous because investigators are eager to believe that DNA found at a crime scene must come from the perpetrator.

“The presence of a DNA profile says nothing about the time frame or the circumstances under which it came to be there,” says defense expert and researcher Dan Krane. “Test results can’t distinguish between the possibility of contamination, or evidence tampering, or, you know, murder.”

Technology may soon increase the danger of implicating innocent people.

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The Dopest Blunts Ever

In interesting find over at Digg, where they profile the maker of some extraordinarily complicated blunts:

Here is a man with too much time and marijuana on his hands. Instagram user Valleyrec420, a self-described California Prop 215 patient, is spending his days rolling the most incredible blunts we’ve ever seen. Err… not that we’ve seen a ton of blunts. We’re not experts. Who’s asking? Are you a cop? You have to tell us if you’re a cop.

Instagram / valleyrec420

Instagram / valleyrec420

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Confronting Southern ‘Victimhood’

Robert Parry writes at Consortiumnews:

Unlike the Germans after World War II who collectively shouldered blame for the Holocaust and the war’s devastation, America’s white Southerners never confessed to the evil that they had committed by enslaving African-Americans and then pushing the United States into a bloody Civil War in their defense of human bondage.

american pride, southern stride

Photo: Erika dot net (CC)

Instead of a frank admission of guilt, there have been endless excuses and obfuscations. Confederate apologists insist that slavery wasn’t really all that bad for blacks, that the North’s hands weren’t clean either, that the Civil War was really just about differing interpretations of the Constitution, that white Southerners were the real victims here – from Sherman’s March to the Sea to Reconstruction. Some white Southerners still prefer to call the conflict “the war of Northern aggression.”

Indeed, Southern white “victimhood” has been at the heart of much bloodshed and suffering in the United States not only during the Civil War and the ensuing decades but through the modern era of the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s to the present bigoted hatred of the first African-American president and the coldblooded murders of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Magic and Politics

David Graeber writes at the Baffler:

Politicians are by definition dishonest. All politicians lie. But many observers of American politics agree that over the last few years, there has been something of a qualitative change in the magnitude of political dishonesty. In certain party precincts, at least, there seems to have been a conscious attempt to change the rules to allow for a level of flagrant, over-the-top lying about political opponents that we rarely see in other countries. Sarah Palin and her “death panels” pioneered the new style, but Michele Bachmann quickly took things to even more spectacular heights with her wild claims of government plots to impose sharia law on the United States or secret plans to abandon the dollar and replace it with the Chinese yuan. Mitt Romney didn’t top either Palin or Bachmann in the grandeur and magnificence of his lies, but he did try to make up for it in volume, having based his entire presidential campaign on an endless string of fabrications.

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Black Metal Presidential Logos are Totally, um, Metal!

The 2016 election nightmare has begun and if there’s anything more boring than the candidates themselves, it’s their phony Americana inspired Mad Men reject logos. I’m yawning just thinking about them.

Artist Christophe Szpajdel has done us a solid and made them less boring. With metal.

Hellary

Hellary

Isn't Jeb Bush the lead singer for Armored Saint?

Isn’t Jeb Bush the lead singer for Armored Saint?

Totally metal, yet still a hillbilly. Go figure.

Totally metal, yet still a hillbilly. Go figure.

Almost as lame as the dead poodle he calls 'hair'. Almost.

Almost as lame as the dead poodle he calls ‘hair’. Almost.

Don't mess with Texas. Because metal beasts.

Don’t mess with Texas. Because metal beasts.

Ambigram or bad tattoo? You decide.

Ambigram or bad tattoo? You decide.

Bernie's a lot things, but he's totally NOT metal. Or electable. Or a socialist. Just sayin'.

Bernie’s a lot things, but he’s totally NOT metal. Or electable. Or a socialist. Just sayin’.

This scary metal elephant (listen- Mastodon is NOT metal anymore.) is pretty bitchin', unlike the Donald.

This scary metal elephant (listen- Mastodon is NOT metal anymore.) is pretty bitchin’, unlike the Donald.

You can check out more HERE. Rock! \m/

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The Ballad of the Piggyback Bandit and other Strange Criminals

The Piggyback Bandit is the nickname for Sherwin Shayegan, who is known for soliciting piggyback rides from high-school athletes in the Northwestern United States in 2008. Shayegan has been banned from high-school sporting events in five states.

The Piggyback Bandit is the nickname for Sherwin Shayegan, who is known for soliciting piggyback rides from high-school athletes in the Northwestern United States in 2008. Shayegan has been banned from high-school sporting events in five states.

While most of you were at work yesterday morning I found myself reminiscing about the Piggyback Bandit.

The Piggyback Bandit is a guy named Sherwin Shayegan. He loves piggyback rides. LOVES THEM!

The Piggyback Bandit ingratiates himself with high school sports teams  by pretending to be a team manager or a fan, often he wears some sort of team jersey. He has pretended to interview athletes for a term paper, acted as a team manager or just tried to blend in with the crowd, but no matter what he pretends, one thing is for sure, sooner or later he is going to ride some high school athlete all around the gym.

Shayegan’s piggybacking on the backs of young and virile teen athletes harkens back to 2008 and had been mainly confined to Washington and Oregon.… Read the rest

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‘Inception’ Is Possible—At Least In Sleeping Mice

A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.If you liked the movie Inception and are interested in the science of dreaming, you’ll be interested to learn that scientists are now able to influence the dreams of mice (humans coming soon no doubt). From Quartz:

Scientists have been poking around in mice brains a lot recently. They’ve found that they have dreams, and that those dreams can be manipulated.

Research (paywall) by scientists at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris has shown that scientists can influence mouse dreams, in a way reminiscent of the 2010 science fiction movie Inception. Researchers placed electrodes into a part of the mouse brain called the hippocampus, which contains cells that send electrical signals in specific places (hence their name, place cells). After monitoring mice in a specific arena, scientists were able to locate specific cells that fired in specific locations.

As the mice were sleeping, the electrodes illustrated that place cells in mice were still firing, as they dreamed about particular places.

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