Los Danzantes of Monte Alban

Monte Alban is a pre-Columbian site near the present day Mexican city of Oaxaca. It thrived sometime between about 500 BCE and 500 CE.

One of the famed features of the site are some carvings called Los Danzantes, “the dancers”

That’s a fun interpretation!  However, current thinking suggests that these aren’t, in fact, people having a cool time dancing, but captives being subjected to various horrible tortures.  Having their genitals mutilated and so on. There are glyphs next to their heads, maybe their names, and the idea is the Monte Albanians were celebrating conquering and torturing the leaders of various rival towns.

That was the interpretation of Michael Coe anyway, one of the great Mesoamerican problem solvers.  In this book:

it’s suggested that the Danzantes may have been connected to a war memorial:

Still, you have to account for the emphasis on the genital messed-upitude.  Are we looking at a self-punishment that led to ritual visions, not unlike the Mayan case of Lady Xoc?

from wikicommons, photo by Michel Wai

Looking at the Danzantes, I wondered at an alternative explanation, if these are depictions of people suffering from a weird disease or plague of some kind.  (I’m not the first to think of that).

Or maybe they’re up to some shamanic ritual.  Here’s a whole paper by John F. Scott and W. P. Hewitt from 1978 looking into the mystery.  Some possible explanations are explored:

It struck me looking at this photo that the Danzantes have a resemblance to the gravestones of early New England.

 

These too will perhaps be mysterious and a subject of speculation when they are 1600 years old.  They’re already pretty weird.

Los Danzantes is also the name of a highly regarded restaurant in Oaxaca and Mexico City:


Ayahuasca

It was only when I came home from Peru, and started researching Amazonian shamanism, that I realised how different indigenous Amazonians’ conception of ayahuasca-healing can be. Westerners tend to think that emotional problems are caused by issues in our past, which ayahuasca can help us accept and integrate. Indigenous Amazonians (to generalise) are more likely to think emotional problems are caused by sorcery. You are out of sorts because you have been cursed by a secret enemy, or because you’ve offended a spirit. Ayahuasca will help you identify your hidden enemy, remove their curse, and get revenge.

cool article at Aeon by Jules Evans about whether our cultural assumptions are shaping our psychedelic experiences and leading us to misunderstand traditional uses.

More on this topic can be found in:


Borders Part 2

Villa bandits who raided Columbus, New Mexico, caught by American soldiers in the mountains of Mexico and held, in camp near Namiquipa, April 27, 1916.” from NARA

Lots of INTENSE feedback about post yesterday on borders.

I’m just reporting reality as I perceive it.

Since Pershing went after Pancho Villa, it’s been clear that along one thousand nine hundred and blahblah miles of desert, even the fiercest efforts of government are gonna, at best, disappear into the dust.

from the Mexican Border Service photo collection. 

And they had Patton!

(How ’bout this by the way:

Pershing was permitted to bring into New Mexico 527 Chinese refugees who had assisted him during the expedition, despite the ban on Chinese immigration at that time under the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Chinese refugees, known as “Pershing’s Chinese”, were allowed to remain in the U.S. if they worked under the supervision of the military as cooks and servants on bases. In 1921, Congress passed Public Resolution 29, which allowed them to remain in the country permanently under the conditions of the 1892 Geary Act. Most of them settled in San Antonio, Texas.

).

What kind of conservative believes that the federal government can put a wall here and stop people from moving across it?

Does declaring an new federal attempt to impose “no tolerance” enforcement seem more tyrantish or freedomish to you?

Does the fear of brown people from south of our border, like the fear of psychotically violent black people, have something to say about our own guilty conscience?  There isn’t a country from Mexico to Chile that hasn’t been severely screwed by the USA.

Look, I’m no expert.  My book about Mexico, Central and South America was the work of an enthusiastic amateur, not a serious scholar!

From where I sit, in Los Angeles, California, USA, I can understand the traditional politician approach of talking any way you want to get elected and then not going anywhere near actually doing anything about the border.

The current president got elected by sticking his fork in this electrical socket.  I’m not seeing how it ends?  Best case he declares victory and moves on.


facepalm

the article that set me off was:

which caused my eyes to roll out of my head.  I was just in Portland, and the food was awesome!  It’s a “foodie paradise” because it’s in the Willamette Valley, on the Columbia River, near the North Pacific Ocean, one of the most bountiful regions on planet Earth, plus it’s prosperous and full of creative and interesting and diverse people.

Seemed hysterical to me to claim it had been ruined.

you’re telling me this place is ruined?

When I first heard the headline version of the story of the Portland Taco Cart Willamette Week Interview Fiasco, I thought “well that’s silly, how far are we taking this idea of cultural appropriation?  of course you can make tacos.”  But when I heard the details it was like oh ok that’s not very cool.

There was good discussion of it on “Good Food” with Evan Kleiman.

Following which I drove around for an hour or so doing my errands and thinking about it.  Sometime later it comes up, shot my Twitter mouth off and RIP my mentions.

Twitter user put my response to McArdle better than I could:

Also gave me more to think about.  I myself took advantage of the easygoing legal rules on map copying in my book, and used Google Maps as the basis for my hand-drawn maps.  It felt fine, although I was surprised nobody protects cartographers.

Because there’s no legal protection for Mexican ladies making burritos who are trying to keep their recipe secret, that’s why it made people so mad.  Kinda think Connelly and Wingus crossed the line, but whatever, maybe they just made an unfortunate remark in an interview.  They don’t deserve death threats for heaven’s sake.  Let’s wish them well and hope they make some cool new kind of burrito in the future that everyone can eat joyfully and without compunction.

Like Austin Kleon points out, there’s stealing and stealing.


Training Literature Field Unit No. 1

Helytimes began in 2012.  Our idea was

  1. become good at writing for the Internet
  2. a writer should have a website
  3. have a space to collect, digest and share items of interest.

We’ve tried to come up with a mission statement or guiding purpose, but the truth is, this is stuff we had to get out of our head.

The healthiest thing to do was share it.

The best way to put it might be a place to share crazy interesting things we’ve come across.

Since then we’ve published over 1,050 posts.  We’re just now starting to get good at it, in our opinion.

Here are the twenty-one most popular posts:

  1. No On Measure S (by guest Hayes)

The moral here is probably that we should start a local LA news-and-takes site written by other people.

  1. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1974)

  2. Mountaineering Movies on Netflix Instant, Ranked

  3. Fred Trump

  4. Cinderella and Interrogation Technique

  5. The Great Debates 

  6. Karl Ove Knausgaard

  7. Fascinated by: Ray Dalio

  8. How Big Was Mexico City in 1519?

  9. American Historical Figure Who Reminds Me Of Trump

  10. Losing The War by Lee Sandlin 

  11. Conversations With Kennedy

  12. Oil Wells In National Parks

  13. THE WONDER TRAIL 

  14. Gay Hobo Slang

  15. Vertigo Sucks

  16. Jackie Smoking Pregnant

  17. The story of Cahokia

  18. Ireland should take in two million refugees 

  19. Twenty Greatest Australian Artistic Accomplishments of All Time 

  20. The White House Pool 

One lesson here might be to have more local LA journalism written by other people.  Keep meaning to start a whole site for that but I do have a full-time job plus several other projects.

In our opinion the most successful post on Helytimes was

Record Group 80: Series: General Photographic File Of the Department of the Navy, 1943-1958 

although it didn’t crack the top 21, just felt like a time where we added something of value to the Internet and readers responded.

It’s about the work of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, also known as the Training Literature Field Unit No. 1, assembled by the great photographer Edward Steichen.

One thread of Helytimes is attempts to reach into the past and find the sources that give us understanding of the past.

Two personal favorites:

Everything is something.

and

Special Snowflakes

This has been the annual performance review and address to the Helytimes readership:

That photo taken by one of Steichen’s guys, Wayne Miller:


‘Oumuamua

This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid: `Oumuamua. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i. Subsequent observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that it was travelling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. `Oumuamua seems to be a dark red highly-elongated metallic or rocky object, about 400 metres long, and is unlike anything normally found in the Solar System. (source)

No known asteroid or comet from our solar system varies so widely in brightness, with such a large ratio between length and width. The most elongated objects we have seen to date are no more than three times longer than they are wide.

says NASA.

My theory?  This is a bullet shot at Earth 300,000 years ago by a mysterious civilization that knew what we’d get up to.

An interstellar sniper shot.

Let’s hope 1) this is a one-off shot and 2) it’s gonna miss us.

How frustrating for this distant civilization if they put all their resources into one shot and it misses by a hair!

Here’s a documentary that compares two searches going on in Chile’s Atacama desert: the search for distant objects to the search for the remains of people murdered by the dictatorship.

 

 


Trump: Our First Mexican President

An inflammatory clickbait headline but I have a point.

Excerpt from Trump’s presidential announcement speech, as transcribed by Time:

Did he say “they’re rapists” or “their rapists,” as in “they’re bringing crime, their rapists”?

The latter seems to me the kind of way Trump talks.  We in the media (everybody) hurt the anti-Trump cause if we do anything that could remotely be considered exaggerating.  It’s not necessary, the person who gave this speech obvi shouldn’t be President, whether he said “they’re rapists” or “their rapists.”  Why not give him any margin calls to avoid accusations of unfairness?

Whatever — the point is Trump’s candidacy was driven by fear of Mexico / Mexicans, South America and Latin America.

Concern that the Anglo-Protestant tradition of America was about to be overwhelmed or subsumed or at least weakened by a Mexico-Catholic-Hispanic tradition is as old as Anglo-Protestants and Hispanic-Catholics sharing a continent I reckon.  It’s a theme in this book, for instance.

My suggestion here is that what could be more Latin American than electing a bullying gangster/businessman who talks like this?:

Trump might build a wall, but Latin American style politics has come to us.

My Chilean buddy mentioned that when he saw Trump at the U. N., he thought, “oh he’s Chavez.”

One of the reasons why Mexico sucks is their presidents have been guys like Trump: nepotistic bully-gangsters who care about nothing but enriching themselves, their family, their idiot sons-in-law, and creating enough chaos and division that the “order” appears necessary.

Pinochet of Chile

Something I tried to get at in my book

is that Los Angeles is at least as much a part of the South American world as it is a part of the Anglo world.

It’s the northernmost city in South America, as much a part of this world:

and this world

as it is of this world

and this world

This doesn’t have to be bad, duh.  It’s part of why Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic, exciting, creative, and appealing places in the country.  (That along with trans-Pacific partnership, which Trump is also fouling up.)

Trump voters should be less worried about Latin Americans coming here, and more worried about a Latin American-style president.

Worry less about Mexicans, and more a breakdown into Mexican style corruption, disregard for rule of law, one party rule, and a generally more cruel, ugly, hopeless and depressing politics.

Worry less about Mexicans coming here, and more about the United States becoming more like Mexico.

Trump voters should be doing a lotta things different, if you ask me!


Sylvanus Morley: hot or not?

I say hot!

Also quite sexy if you can draw this:

His boyhood:

It was during his later schooling in Colorado that Morley first developed an interest in archaeology, and in particular Egyptology. However his father—a man trained in the hard sciences and who had graduated at the top of his class in civil engineering at PMC—was initially unsupportive of his ambitions. Seeing little scope for employment opportunities in archaeology, the Colonel encouraged his son to study engineering instead.

The other Sylvanus Morley I can find no picture of.  From Wiki’s The “other” Sylvanus G. Morley, Sylvanus G. One says:

However, the person with the most right to complain was my cousin Sylvanus Griswold Morley, the celebrated archaeologist. The move made us homonyms, and gave rise to endless confusion. Look in a Who’s Who in America and you will learn the facts. Look in a library catalog, and you will be lucky to learn anything but errors. Sylvanus, a most good-natured soul, never protested. He was an undergraduate at Harvard while I was in the Grad. School. I sometimes received his Univ. bills, and less often, billets doux from his lights of love. I think he has none of mine.

More about eccentric heroes drawn to Central and South America can be found in:


Cool

peru

NYT article about Malia Obama’s secret trip to Bolivia:

The Bolivian media reported that President Obama called President Evo Morales to request his government’s cooperation in ensuring discretion and security for his daughter’s trip. White House officials declined to comment and would not confirm that the two leaders had spoken. Mr. Morales often rails about what he calls American conspiracies to undermine leftist governments, including his own. The two countries have not exchanged ambassadors since 2008.

la-paz

La Paz photographed by Helytimes

Very cool.  This is not the vibe projected by the new president’s children:

Ms. Obama was afforded no special treatment during the arduous trek, and performed chores, including cooking, along with her fellow travelers, Mr. Mamani said.

I wonder if she picked up a preserved llama fetus?

llama

Helytimes photo

Learn more about Bolivia and Evo Morales in this fine volume:

sent in by reader Woodrow F.

sent in by reader Woodrow F.

Buy this book on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore:


Top Ten HelyTimes Posts Of The Year

Watching the America's Cup Race. Mrs. Kennedy, President Kennedy, others. Off Newport, RI, aboard the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. by Robert Knudsen

Watching the America’s Cup Race. Mrs. Kennedy, President Kennedy, others. Off Newport, RI, aboard the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. by Robert Knudsen

Hey, thanks for voting in this year’s HelyTimes Awards!

By reader vote, these were considered

The Top Ten Helytimes Posts Of The Year

black-eyed-sue

10) Shorter History Of Australia

about Geoffrey Blainey’s book on how that country became what it is, and their national cry Cooo-EEE!

jo-mora

9) Jo Mora and Mora Update

about how the Uruguayan-Californian artist influenced almost a century of design

8) Travel Tips From Bill and Tony

Conversations between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton

rivera

7) San Francisco

A visit to that famed city and the Diego Rivera murals hidden around it

khipu

6) Khipus

On Incan rope counting systems and their decipherment

5) Jackie Smoking Pregnant

An investigation into a photo of the former first lady

platypus

4) Twenty Greatest Australian Accomplishments of All Time

This was by far our most popular post by views

the-playa

3) Death Valley Days

A trip to the national park, and its place in our national consciousness

lady-xoc

2) Lady Xoc

About the Mayan queen of the 8th century

The definitive winner for the year?:

coram

1) Boyd, Trump, and OODA Loops

A review of writing by and about fighter pilot John Boyd, who offers a way into DT’s thinking.

Honorable mentions:

Understanding Politics,

a brief look at Sanders and Trump

Four Bits About Donald Trump,

about you know who, comparing him to Tim Ferriss.

Sunday Takes,

a big wild roundup.

Nestle,

on how a Swiss chocolatier came to own freshwater springs in Southern California

The Death of Michael Herr,

about the Vietnam War correspondent, Kubrick pal and Zen Buddhist

Microsociology,

on the work of Randall Collins, an underappreciated hero

A Description of Distant Roads,

extracts from a 1769 description of California,

Cape Flattery,

a dispatch from rainy New Zealand,

and a personal favorite,

O Pioneers,

about Willa Cather, Walt Whitman, and America.

The most popular post of the year

by views, was

American Historical Figure Who Reminds Me Of Trump

Thanks for reading Helytimes.  We really appreciate all our readers.  We write it just out of graphomania and a compulsion to work out, catalog and channel puzzles, curiosities and questions of interest.  It’s wonderful to know there are people who enjoy the results.

You can email us anytime at helphely at gmail.  Let us know what you think.

All the best for 2017.

Buy this book on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore:

sent by reader Katrina

sent by reader Katrina

 


Last minute gift idea?

img_8409

Why not buy five copies and give them out to five lucky friends?

wonder-trail-model

You can buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.  Looks good in any home:

shelf

I think the gift getter will be touched and delighted!


Irish language in Montserrat

found here

found here

One thing leads to another and I’m reading about how there were black people on the Caribbean island of Montserrat who were said to speak Irish Gaelic:

Irish language in Montserrat

The Irish constituted the largest proportion of the white population from the founding of the colony in 1628. Many were indentured labourers; others were merchants or plantation owners. The geographer Thomas Jeffrey claimed in The West India Atlas (1780) that the majority of those on Montserrat were either Irish or of Irish descent, “so that the use of the Irish language is preserved on the island, even among the Negroes”.

African slaves and Irish colonists of all classes were in constant contact, with sexual relationships being common and a population of mixed descent appearing as a consequence.  The Irish were also prominent in Caribbean commerce, with their merchants importing Irish goods such as beef, pork, butter and herring, and also importing slaves.

There is indirect evidence that the use of the Irish language continued in Montserrat until at least the middle of the nineteenth century. The Kilkenny diarist and Irish scholar Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin noted in 1831 that he had heard that Irish was still spoken in Montserrat by both black and white inhabitants. A letter by W.F. Butler in The Atheneum (15 July 1905) quotes an account by a Cork civil servant, C. Cremen, of what he had heard from a retired sailor called John O’Donovan, a fluent Irish speaker:

He frequently told me that in the year 1852, when mate of the brig Kaloolah, he went ashore on the island of Montserrat which was then out of the usual track of shipping. He said he was much surprised to hear the negroes actually talking Irish among themselves, and that he joined in the conversation…

There is no evidence for the survival of the Irish language in Montserrat into the twentieth century.

The wiki page for Amhlaoibh has several interesting quotes:

“February 3, 1828 …There is a lonely path near Uisce Dun and Móinteán na Cisi which is called the MassBoreen. The name comes from the time when the Catholic Church was persecuted in Ireland, and Mass had to be said in woods and on moors, on wattled places in bogs, and in caves. But as the proverb says, It is better to look forward with one eye than to look backwards with two…

Amhlaoibh lived out in Callan, in Kilkenny:

callan

Photo taken from “The Bridge”, Bridge St, Callan Co Kilkenny 2004 by Barry Somers

Nearby was born James Hoban, who designed The White House:

 Elevation of the north side of the White House, by James Hoban, c. 1793. Progress drawing after having won the competition for architect of the White House. Collection of the Maryland Historical Society.


Elevation of the north side of the White House, by James Hoban, c. 1793. Progress drawing after having won the competition for architect of the White House. Collection of the Maryland Historical Society.

On a trip to DC once I brought along this book, which I recommend to any DC visitor:

washington-itself

Applewhite might’ve been the first to put in my head the idea that the The White House is modeled on Irish country mansions:

The entire southern half of Montserrat got pretty messed up by volcanic eruptions and was abandoned in 1997:

montserrat_eruption

The former capital, Plymouth

And is now an “exclusion zone”:

montserrat-map

Montserrat’s national dish is Goat water, a thick goat meat stew served with crusty bread rolls.

found on the goat water facebook page

found on the goat water facebook page

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-6-03-50-pm

for more interesting oddities of Western Hemisphere geography and history, I recommend:

books in box

Available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.


Ed Harris in Westworld, Ed Harris in Walker

If you enjoy Ed Harris in Westworld, as I do, you may be curious to have a look at his role in Walker (1987) in which he plays a similarly attired character:

walker

Harris plays the real life William Walker who went down to Nicaragua with some armed guys and declared himself president there from 1856-1857.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-06-52-am

I went down to Nicaragua and visited some of the places Walker shot up.

nic-bar

I tell the story of Walker, and of Nicaragua, and of the troubled film

nic-house

in my book, THE WONDER TRAIL: True Stories From Los Angeles To The End Of The World

treee

available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.  You’ll enjoy it.

 

 


Holiday Gift Guide

img_8633-1

On display at the National Building Museum, thanks reader Melissa L!

Our number one pick is: THE WONDER TRAIL: True Stories From Los Angeles To the End of The World, available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.  You’ll enjoy it.

Other items we enjoyed this year and can endorse:

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-34-43-am

Not exactly a steal at $299 but if Tony Robbins is to believed it’s very important for your lymph nodes to be shaken.  We’ve found it stimulating!

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-44-21-am

Treat yourself or a loved one to a Coyuchi towel? ($48)

 

 

 

IMG_2771

For the California adventurer, we recommend Tom Harrison maps? ($8.95)

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-31-49-pm

Or perhaps a Delorme atlas?:

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-32-35-pm

But really, what you want is:

IMG_3046

 

 


Meet Farkas

farkas-1

Meet Farkas.

farkas2

He’s Chile’s own Donald Trump. farkas-3

Shoutout to my pal Fabrizio Copano for telling me about him. farkas-4

More about Farkas.

TO lighten the mood deep down in the San José Mine, the 33 trapped miners would playfully imitate Leonardo Farkas Klein, donning makeshift wigs to simulate the long curly blond mane of the mining executive.


Enjoyable.

Also enjoyable, this photo from an Australian reader:

stevie-hely-book

Available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.


Back soon!

img_7690

go visit a bookstore, here’s local indie ones

Helytimes in on hiatus once again as we consider the work ahead.

This country’s always asked for work from its citizens, take these guys (by which I mean women and men) for instance:

group-80-1

fix airplanes!

group-8-2

make sandwiches!

Our hiatuses last an average of two days.

img_7337

Move to Australia? Sounds good, love to visit, but we better help out here.

Meantime, why not support an indie bookstore?  Those bastions of democracy.  Or fine, support Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

Damn, featured in the newsletter? Damn.

Damn, featured in the newsletter? Damn.

This book is about

  • being curious about the world
  • the people south of us and how they got that way
  • survivals in the face of the catastrophes in history.

 


Big books

islandia

Pretty into two articles this week about enormous imaginative projects.

First up was this New Yorker thing by Charles Finch on Islandia:

In 1931, a legal scholar named Austin Tappan Wright died in a car accident in Las Vegas, New Mexico, not far from Santa Fe. He was forty-eight. His father had been one of the preëminent academics of the previous century—“A History of All Nations from the Earliest Times,” for which he served as editor, runs to more than twenty volumes—and his mother, Mary Tappan Wright, was a famous novelist, a progenitor of what we now think of as the campus novel. Wright’s own career was more quietly successful. Before his death, he taught at Penn, Stanford, and Michigan, and published articles on maritime law, their scope profoundly, almost rebukingly more modest than that of his father’s work—“Supervening Impossibility of Performing Conditions in Admiralty,” for example, or “Private Carriers and the Harter Act.”

After his unexpected death, Wright’s wife and daughter had the task of going through his papers. They were unprepared for what they discovered there.

atw

Cool story:

In an afterword to the novel, Wright’s daughter recalls that when her father spoke to his wife from a telephone booth, he would remove his hat. This small gesture explains “Islandia,” to me: Wright was part of that great age of anonymous managerial Harvard men who assumed their expected places in society while also maintaining the most intense imaginable internal worlds—Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Charles Ives if you expand the range to include Yale.

(Ugh, must we include Yale?)

A map of the Karain Semi-Continent based on Austin Tappan Wright's 1942 Utopian novel Islandia. Created by Johnny Pez on 30 March 2006. from wiki.

A map of the Karain Semi-Continent based on Austin Tappan Wright’s 1942 Utopian novel Islandia. Created by Johnny Pez on 30 March 2006. from wiki.

Also wild was this New Yorker thing by Esther Yi about German writer Arno Schmidt and the effort to translate his 1300 page book:

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-10-29-59-am

“Zettel’s Traum” is both Schmidt’s most famous book and his least read, and for the same reason:

because it’s thirteen hundred pages long?

it is dedicated almost entirely to applying a Freudian theory of language to the works of Poe. (This was familiar ground: Schmidt spent years translating Poe, in collaboration with Hans Wollschläger.) Dan argues that words are composed of units of sound, or “etyms,” that reveal an author or speaker’s unconscious thoughts. To say “whole” is to think “hole,” for instance. With his ear cocked to sexual harmonics, Dan finds in Poe an impotent man who is possessed by the erotic and, unable to express his sexuality in bed, resorts to voyeurism, notably of what people do on the toilet.

Huh.

“One could not tell if this was amazing, or if this was something for crazy people,” Susanne Fischer, the head of the Arno Schmidt Foundation, which manages the writer’s literary estate, told me.

There was a method to Schmidt’s madness:

Each night, at 2 a.m., he would begin writing in the upstairs room, from which even his cats were barred (not least because the one he called Conte Fosco, after a Wilkie Collins character, had urinated on his prized edition of James Fenimore Cooper). He compiled roughly a hundred and twenty thousand scraps of paper, or Zettel, in shallow wooden boxes, which he spread out on his desk. On each Zettel, there was written a bit of dialogue or sexual wordplay (“Im=pussy=bell’–!”) or a literary quote rerouted through his one-track mind (“the fleshy man=drake’s stem. / That shrieks, when torn at night”). After twenty-five thousand hours of knitting the pieces together, Schmidt handed the manuscript to his publisher in a large cardboard box tied with a curtain sash.

For a less hefty read might I recommend:

IMG_3046

Available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.


Back Soon!

49931685778__6675b9c5-11f3-4cce-a689-4be12f0cd971

So glad you enjoy what you find here, we’re on a brief hiatus but look forward to a return.

If you haven’t already, try my book, available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.  You’ll enjoy it.

If you’ve read my book, do send me a picture of it in some cool setting, on your shelf or next to some good coffee or your favorite houseplant.  I’ve been collecting and compiling these photos, they’re a joy.

Riches await in the archives, on such topics as America Since 1945, Wonder Trail, and the California Condition.

diego

see you soon!

 


Lady Xoc

lintel-24

from wikicommons, photo by Michel Wai

The ruler, Shield Jaguar, holds a torch while his consort, Lady Xoc, pulls a rope studded with what are now believed to be obsidian shards through her tongue in order to conjure a vision serpent.

says Wiki about Lintel 24 from Yaxchilan, a site in far southern Mexico, along the Usumacinta River, the border to Guatemala.

photo by me, Helytimes

photo by me, Helytimes

Yaxchilan is not easy to get to.  You have to take a boat like this:

Photo © 2004 Jacob Russ from Wiki commons

Helytimes!

In the river there are crocodiles, in the towers of the ruins there are bats, everywhere there are spiders.

You won’t find Lintel 24 there though.  It’s at the British Museum in London.  It was cut out and sent there by Alfred Maudslay.

maudslay

Slay.

What the hell was up with Lady Xoc?  She appears on another lintel, Lintel 25:

maya_lintel_25_da_yaxchilan_725

Sailko

her obsidian tongue piercing rope worked, and now she’s seeing the Vision Serpent as she bleeds into a bowl.

lady-xoc

Michel wal again

Read more about Yaxchilan, Bonampak, how we figured out how to read Mayan inscriptions, and the mysteries of what the hell Lady Xoc and her friends were up to in my book:

baby

I believe you’ll enjoy it as much as this baby does.  Amazon or your local indie bookstore, perhaps, for instance, at Spellbinder Books, way up in Bishop, CA.

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this one from google maps

There’s a lot to like about Bishop.

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