The Importance of Living: Lin Yutang Meets the Dude – An Esoteric Take on ‘The Big Lebowski,’ Part 2

[Readers may wish to read An Esoteric Take on The Big Lebowski prior to reading this post]
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, drone, time for this one to come home
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, die, time for this one to come alive
And hold my life until I’m ready to use it
Hold my life because I just might lose it
Because I just might lose it
Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang

– from Paul Westerberg’s Hold My Life

There are a few works out there, be they novels, movies or even pieces of music, that manage to make the esoteric, exoteric. Such works rarely surface, though, because the shallow machinery of the publishing, movie and music industry is mostly allergic to them. As I was re-reading Lin Yutang’s masterwork, The Importance of Living, I found so many passages that seem custom-made for the Dude, the now-legendary leading character in the Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski, that I thought it might be fun to explore the points of departure and arrival of both works, in tandem.Read the rest

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Lab Is Missing 2,000 Vials Of The Deadly SARS Virus

SARSWhat did you misplace today? Via ABC News:

A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

The Pasteur Institute in Paris, France announced this week that it realized it was missing the vials and contacted the country’s National Security Agency of Medicines and Health Products to conduct an investigation on April 8, according to a news release.

Although the fragments are not dangerous, they do raise concerns by revealing the lab’s vulnerability, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The virus is believed to have originated in Chinese horseshoe bats in 2002 before spreading to cats and then spreading to humans. The outbreak in Hong Kong brought it to global attention, and it spread to two dozen countries, according to the CDC.

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RIP Colombian Master of Magic Realism Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Pic: Jose Lara (CC)

Pic: Jose Lara (CC)

Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time of Cholera, and many other works is dead of cancer at the age of 87. Garcia Marquez, a native of Colombia, died at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

Garcia Marquez has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered his work in college. I’m sad to see him go.

Via The New York Times:

Mr. García Márquez was a master of the literary genre known as magical realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half-century apart.

Magical realism, he said, sprang from Latin America’s history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence.

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Man Forced to Leave Town After Internet Message Board Comments Destroy His Reputation

This week’s episode of This American Life featured a story about Gene Cooley of Blairsville, Georgia, a microscopic town of approximately 600 residents. There’s not much to do in Blairsville but talk about the neighbors, and the best way to do that anonymously is on Topix, a website featuring message boards devoted to small communities like Blairsville. After Gene’s fiancee was murdered by her jealous ex-husband, the Topix rumor mill went into overdrive. What began as idle gossip escalated into vicious slander. Five or so Topix users were particularly brutal, accusing Cooley of being a pedophile, drug addict, philanderer, and pervert that shouldn’t be trusted around children.

Gene had never heard of Topix before he became a target of some of its users on the Blairsville message board. Attempts to discover their identities were futile, and he had no enemies that he knew of.

The gossip took its toll and Gene became a pariah; shunned by people he had known all of his life.… Read the rest

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NORML Calls Out ‘Marijuana Causes Brain Changes’ As Sensationalistic Scare Piece

PIC: Thanks for the cool picture, DEA! (PD)

PIC: Thanks for the cool picture, DEA! (PD)

Many of you who responded with skepticism to the “casual marijuana use causes brain changes” story that was in the news last week will probably enjoy NORML deputy director Paul Armentano’s take on the study:

Via Alternet:

The mainstream media launched into a reefer mad frenzy this week after researchers from Harvard University in Boston and Northwestern University in Chicago published the results of a neuroimaging study assessing the brains of a small cohort of regular marijuana smokers and non-users. The brain scans identified various differences between the two groups in three aspects of brain morphometry: gray matter density, volume, and shape. These differences triggered dozens of high-profile media outlets to lose their collective minds. Here’s just a sample of the screaming headlines:

CNN: Casual marijuana use maydamage your brain; Science Daily: More joints equal more damage; Financial Post: Study proves occasional marijuana use is mind altering; Time: Recreational pot use harmful to young people’s brains; Smoking cannabis will change you.

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White-Washing White Terrorism

PIC: Frazier Glenn Miller (Booking Photo -PD)

PIC: Frazier Glenn Miller (Booking Photo -PD)

Ajamu Baraka writes at CounterPunch:

Overland Park, a city of fewer than 200,000 in the heartland of the U.S. just south of Kansas City, is an unlikely setting for a terrorist attack. But on April 13, Frazier Glenn Cross, aka Frazier Glenn Miller, brought terror to Overland Park. With the intention to “kill him some Jews,” Miller, former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and FBI informant showed up with weapons in hand at a Jewish community center and a retirement home and murdered three Christians whom he mistook as Jewish.

While the authorities needed “more investigation” regarding Miller’s motive, the national media made the obvious connection characterizing the attack as a hate crime. But neither the media nor the authorities dared to call it what it was – a terrorist attack.

For Miller, there was no ambiguity.

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Essential Vitamin B3 May Have Arrived From Space On Meteorites

meteorDid life spring from space residue? Via ScienceDaily:

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

This is not the first time vitamin B3 has been found in meteorites. In 2001 a team led by Sandra Pizzarello of Arizona State University, in Tempe discovered it along with related molecules called pyridine carboxylic acids in the Tagish Lake meteorite.

The team plans to conduct additional interstellar chemistry experiments under more realistic conditions to better understand how vitamin B3 can form on ice grains in space.

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Terasem: Rapture of the Nerds

TIME reports on the Terasem Movement, a transhumanist school of thought focused on promoting joy, diversity, and the prospect of technological immortality via mind uploading and geoethical nanotechnology:

In the backyard of a cottage here overlooking the water, two poles with metal slats shaped like ribcages jut out from the ground. They look indistinguishable from heat lamps or fancy light fixtures.

These are satellite dishes, but they aren’t for TV. They’re meant for dispatching “mindfiles,” the memories, thoughts and feelings of people who wish to create digital copies of themselves and fling them into space with the belief that they’ll eventually reach some benevolent alien species.

livehappily

Welcome to the future. Hope you don’t mind E.T. leafing through your diary.

The beach house and the backyard and the memory satellites are managed by 31-year-old Gabriel Rothblatt, a pastor of Terasem, a new sort of religion seeking answers to very old kinds of questions, all with an abiding faith in the transformative power of technology.

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Michael Ruppert’s Suicide Note

Many a disinfonaut will have noted the suicide of former LAPD cop and conspiracy theory stalwart Michael C. Ruppert. Cheri Speak has been following the matter closely and has obtained one of two suicide notes left by Ruppert (one to his girlfriend was deemed too personal to be released):

…I would like to update the readers with some new information I have just received from Michael’s attorney Wesley Miller.

According to Miller, the reason Michael’s death was confirmed by “Napa County Sheriffs” is because Michael was staying in a trailer on his friend, Jack Martin’s, property in Calistoga, California. It was Jack who found Mike’s body resting in an outdoor meditation spot on the property.

Michael Ruppert left two handwritten notes, one of which was a very personal note to his girlfriend/life partner and is a personal letter that will not be shared, at least not any time in the near future.

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