Author Archive | JoeNolan

The Video at the End of the World

CNNd of the world

Yesterday I posted about the connections between evangelical Christianity and belief in the biblical End Times. While I was flipping some new stories into our {R}emnants Flipboard mag yesterday afternoon I found another story about the end of the world involving a recently discovered video that Ted Turner had made for CNN. It was created to play when they sign off as that final trumpet blows. Here’s the scoop from Jalopnik

Thirty-four years ago, at the launch of Ted Turner’s Cable News Network, the founder made a grandiose and specific promise about his newly created round-the-clock operation. “Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” Turner declared. And in anticipation, he prepared a final video segment for the apocalypse:

We’ll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event. We’ll play the National Anthem only one time, on the first of June [the day CNN launched], and when the end of the world comes, we’ll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ before we sign off.Read the rest

Continue Reading

American End Times

Amerikan Apocalypse

Religion is all fun and games until someone takes their mythology too literally and then takes it to the squad car, the pulpit or the White House. It’s fun to make fun of fundamentalism, but when it comes to The Apocalypse, these playas ain’t playin’. The Daily Beast has the bad news

It’s the end of the world as they know it. So why do evangelicals worry so much?
Say “evangelical Christian,” and most people will probably think of Biblical fundamentalism, and opposition to the sexual revolution, feminism, LGBT equality, evolution, science, and secularism of all sorts. Historian Matthew Avery Sutton, however, wants you to think of something else: the End Times.

Today, fully 77 percent of U.S. evangelicals believe that we are living in the End Times, the last period before Christ returns to Earth to judge us all. That’s compared with 40 percent of Americans, and 51 percent of Protestants overall—still high numbers, when you think about it, but imagine a huge crowd at a mega-church or Christian Right political event.Read the rest

Continue Reading

Adopt an Argentine Werewolf

Lobizon

Last week my girlfriend shared a link with me via Facebook chat that seemed custom-made for one of my blog posts. It concerns a faraway country, political power, folklore, religion and lycanthropy. Here’s the story from Argentina as reported by The Independent

The President of Argentina has adopted a young Jewish man as her godson to “stop him turning into a werewolf”, according to tradition.

President Christina Fernández de Kirchner met Yair Tawil and his family at her office last week to mark the unusual ceremony, which dates back more than 100 years.

According to Argentinian folklore, the seventh son born to a family turns into the feared “el lobison”.

The werewolf-like creature shows its true nature on the first Friday after boy’s 13th birthday, the legend says, turning the boy into a demon at midnight during every full moon, doomed to hunt and kill before returning to human form.Read the rest

Continue Reading

Hugh Hefner Is Not Dead

Hugh

The other night I was feeling sleepy and thinking about hitting the hay. Out of nowhere my girlfriend told me that Hugh Hefner had died — she was surfing the internet on her phone. “Damn, Hugh Hefner is dead. The end of an era,” I thought.

The truth is that Hugh Hefner was the last victim of the 2014 death hoaxes that have plagued our collective media culture. Hugh Hefner is alive and well and presumably recovering from celebrating the ushering-in of 2015.

I was prepared to write a memorial about Hef’ and his heralding of the sexual revolution back in the 1950’s, and now I think I’m going to go ahead and highlight the man and his work anyway — after all the Playboy After Dark television show celebrated it’s 45th anniversary in 2014 following its debut in 1969.

Here is a massive playlist of vintage music performances from the show featuring the Grateful Dead, Deep Purple, Ike & Tina Turner, The Byrds, and interviews with celebrities like Sharon Tate from the program which ran through 1970.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Lynch and Burroughs Release Best Photo Books of 2014

BurroughsLynch

In 1963, William S. Burroughs wrote down his photographic manifesto: “Take. Rearrange. Take.” For Burroughs, photography wasn’t an art form so much as it was a weapon he employed to disrupt time.

Ideas about the interactions between time, space, words and images will be familiar to any reader of Burroughs’ works, but it’s less likely that those same readers will recognize the camera-created images on display in Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs. Published by Photographers’ Gallery of London and Prestel, the book is co-edited by Particia Allmer and John Sears who curated a show of Burroughs photographs at Photographers’ Gallery earlier this year. The new book also features an essay by erstwhile Beat biographer Barry Miles.

The Taking Shots title refers directly to Burroughs’ no-nonsense approach to the camera, but also to the artist’s famous addictions to heroin and guns. Among Burroughs’ visual creations, his shotgun paintings are much more familiar than these pictures, but his collaged images created by re-photographing arrangements of photographs often burst and scatter with the same energy.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Nikola Tesla Meets Orson Welles

Tesla

While David Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla in The Prestige is still my favorite on-screen depiction of the famous mad scientist, this 1980 production from Yugoslavia is an ambitious attempt at bringing Tesla’s tale to the cinema, and Orson Welles’ turn as J.P. Morgan is worth the price of admission. Here’s the Wiki…

The Secret of Nikola Tesla (Serbo-Croatian: ‘Tajna Nikole Tesle’), is a 1980 Yugoslav biographical film which details events in the life of the discoverer Nikola Tesla (portrayed by Serbian actor Petar Božović). Tesla was born to ethnic Serb parents in 1856 Croatia (at the time, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). He arrived in New York in 1884, became an American citizen in 1891, made immense contributions to science and died in Manhattan at age 86 during World War II in 1943.[1]

This biography includes references to his amazing abilities of detailed mental visualization as well as the slowly intensifying personal habits, indulgences or eccentricities for which he became nearly as well known.Read the rest

Continue Reading

Harlan Hunts Trolls

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison is one of the greatest authors of science fiction and fantasy. He’s written more than 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, comic book scripts, teleplays and essays as well as criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media. He edited and anthologized two groundbreaking science fiction collections, Dangerous Visions (1967) and Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Ellison has won multiple multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgar awards.

In 1993, Ellison was tapped by the then-nascent SciFi Channel to provide commentary on the science fiction scene during its “Sci-Fi Buzz” segments. In this seventh installment, Ellison rails against internet trolls on “PC bulletin boards” three years before I had my own desktop computer. The man has always been ahead of his time…

A few weeks ago Ellison suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. According to this Los Angeles Times story, he’s already improving and complaining and ranting the way only he can.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Batman at 75

Batman

While I’ve been posting all year about the William S. Burroughs centenary, I have yet to mark this illuminated text with the dark shadow of Batman who is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year. “The Caped Crusader,” “The Dark Knight,” “The World’s Greatest Detective,” first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

Batman earned his own storylines. He was unique among comic book heroes in that he never had any super powers. Batman honed his intellect and built his body into a crime fighting machine fueled by his vow to avenge the homicidal death of his parents and restore justice to Gotham City. Batman’s lone vigilante origins also contributed to recent, noir interpretations that blur the line between the good and evil in the Batman universe. Questions like “Is Batman insane?” are common to the telling of his tale in a way that they could never be in the pages of Superman or Captain America.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Coincidence Control Network: Episode 75

Sorry for the delay this week, kids. I (the all seeing Ken), have been stricken with evil germs. What are you going to do, huh? This week: I actually don't know...it's all in American...But I think they talk about Black Eyed kids again...or was it the Black Eyed Peas?, Something about Pigeons being terrorists?, How Twin Peaks is an all American cherry pie of a show?, Going to war again?...I dunno you listen. PersonnelJoe Nolan, and Frater Isla
Continue Reading

Halloween’s Origin Story

Halloween

For this latest spooky October post, I wanted to cut to the chase. I’ve grown a little bit impatient with the month. So, here’s a nice little primer on the Celtic roots of the Halloween holiday and its evolution through the ages to the seemingly silly, scary celebration we know today.

Do the souls of the dead roam free during this time of the year? Are the ghosts friendly? What should I do as someone who lives on a former plantation just off the Trail of Tears in the South?

This video illuminates the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church in its relationship to the frustrating tradition of Samhain in the weird, old magickal world.

The story ultimately comes home to America where our current holiday finds youngsters and adults embracing both the macabre and the sexy. This piece even gets into the arson-crazed Detroit “Devil’s Night” bombings that I grew up with in the Motor City.… Read the rest

Continue Reading