Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Jesse Walker double feature

According to Jesse Walker, THE BIRDS was the best movie of 1963. 

Most Americans still have a couple of days of "Christmas vacation" left, and if you need some ideas for a movie watch, Jesse Walker has you covered. He's been following his usual end-of-the year tradition of listing the best movies of 10 years ago, 20 years ago etc. at his website.

Also, he has a new article up. "Earlier this year I visited Zora Neale Hurston's hometown of Eatonville,Florida, and used that as a launching pad for a long story on the forgotten history of the self-governing black towns that emerged after Reconstruction." 

Saturday, December 30, 2023

My Christmas book haul

My main Christmas gifts this year were books (and Amazon gift cards to buy books), making this holiday similar to my past holidays. As this is by definition a blog for people who like to read, I thought I would share what I got. 

The first book, above, is Austin Osman Spare: The Life & Legend of London's Lost Artist by Phil Baker. If you don't know him, Spare was an English artist and occultist. 

The book looks very interesting and is illustrated with color plates (so that you actually can see what his art looks like), but I also mention it first because it's a book that has a connection with the usual content of this blog. The book is published by Strange Attractor Press. I also own another book put out by Strange Attractor, Somnium by Steve Moore, an excellent fantasy novel. What these books have in common is that they are both very attractive volumes, obviously put together with care.

Strange Attractor also is the publisher of the upcoming Robert Anton Wilson biography, Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson by Gabriel Kennedy, aka Prop Anon. The book's publication date has been postponed a couple of times and is now listed for August 6, 2024. I'm choosing to be positive and to assume that Strange Attractor wants to make sure the book will be extra special.

I had my wife give me the 10th anniversary edition of the John Higgs book that is most directly about RAW, The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds. It has more than 10,000 words of new footnotes; I look forward to reading the latest edition.

Ravenna by Judith Herrin, the other book I asked my wife to give me, is about a city that was the last capital of the western Roman Empire, as well as the local capital when the Eastern Roman Empire temporarily reconquered Italy from the Ostrogoths. Visiting it was a highlight of my trip when I got to visit Italy in 2001.

A couple of people who apparently know me well gave me Amazon gift cards, and I've already used the credits to buy two new Kindle books.

I liked Christopher Beckwith's book, The Scythian Empire, so well I wrote a long review and entered it in the Astral Codex Ten book review contest. I didn't do well, but I posted my losing review on this blog.  This book looks like it's going to be great, too.

My favorite mystery writer is Lawrence Block, particularly for his books about the New York City private detective, Matthew Scudder. The above is the latest book in the series, which just came out this year.

In his Transitional Technology newsletter for Substack, musician and writer Ethan Iverson mentioned that a couple of years ago, he re-read all of the Scudder books in order. I am tempted to do the same thing, once I've finished reading the latest. 

I hope everyone else got something to read, too!

Hilaritas Press has been quiet of late, but I am hoping for new releases soon. 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Article on childhood trauma cites RAW

Nicole Dominique

An article in Evie magazine, "10 Subtle Signs In Adulthood That Someone Had A Rough Childhood," written by Nicole Dominique, has a quote from RAW many of you might recognize: “Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.”

I like to see quotes from RAW from writers I am not familiar with, as it helps reassure me RAW isn't being forgotten. 

About Nicole Dominique, the bio at Evie says, "Nicole (Nikki) is known for her commentaries on culture, politics, and theories. She has many hobbies and interests ranging from ancient civilizations and their practices to anime, video games, psychology, and herbal remedies." @ateenyalien on X/Twitter. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Lost Doctor Annual

 The Lost Doctor Annual, currently being offered here, is a new hardback book. Here is part of the blurb: "In this beautifully produced 164-page hardback book, in the style of old Christmas annuals of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, we bring you stories, games, facts, and fun, from The Universe Next Door.

"In 1987, the contenders for the role of the Seventh Doctor had been narrowed down to two people: Sylvester McCoy, and his mentor Ken Campbell. Sylvester got the role, when BBC decided that Campbell (whose audition channelled Doctor Manhattan from the recently-published Alan Moore comic Watchmen) was too scary for children. Yes, this really happened.

"But what if Campbell had got the job? In the universe next door, he did. Join us for the adventures of... The Lost Doctor."

See the link for a discussion of the contents, and there are contributions from the likes of Tom Calderbank, Ben Graham and Bobby Campbell. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

British Discordian news

Lots of news in Michelle Olley's December 2023 Mycellium Newsletter, which you can read here. 

There's an announcement on a publication John Higgs also recently mentioned:

"The best place to find out all about 2023’s bountiful harvest of books, events, podcasts, dramatic tributes, vision quests, must-read newsletters, free libraries, people’s pyramids, porcine plays, gong baths, pop operas, poetry, metaprogramming courses, dream symposiums and more is in Dan Sumption and Orbific’s annual almanac, Mycelium Parish News - a lovely new tradition bursting with heart and art - out now and available for a bargain £2.30 via Etsy HERE."

Also: Daisy Campbell is teaching an online writing course, an event featuring music and comedy, The Great Imagining is "a real world attempt to boost eco-positive initiatives and manifest replicable green future practices in the here and now," and a new The Lost Doctor Annual. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

John Higgs on the Hilaritas podcast



Catching up on some news, on Dec. 23 the Hilaritas podcast released a new podcast featuring John Higgs. I have not listened to it yet, but I expect to listen to it this week. For Christmas, I had my wife give me a copy of John's updated KLF book, and I also bought a copy for a friend of mine as a Christmas present.

The Hilaritas blurb for the podcast says, "In this episode, Mike Gathers chats with writer John Higgs about the KLF, William Blake, and Robert Anton Wilson."

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays! Thanks to everyone for reading the blog. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

John Higgs and I both love 'A Christmas Carol'

Cover art for the Glen Halstrom version of free audiobooks of A Christmas Carol. 

 The latest John Higgs newsletter includes  a section where he writes about his interest in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol:

"Tomorrow I’m seeing Christopher Eccleston in A Christmas Carol. I make a point of reading, watching or listening to a version of A Christmas Carol every midwinter. The Muppet version is the best, obviously, but every version has something to offer. It is a miraculous story - a man enters the world of the spirits, sees the past, present and the future together, and experiences a transformation of the soul. It’s blatantly shamanic, but that’s easy to miss under all the Dickensian Victoriana.

"It’s also a tale of good things happening to a terrible and undeserving person - which is not a very common story! Yet it tells us that, if even someone like Scrooge can step into the light, then there is hope for all of us. I intend to write about A Christmas Carol at depth, hopefully sooner rather than later."

I can't quite match John aa I don't know that I've taken in a version every winter, but in fact I've read A Christmas Carol over and over again and consumed it in other forms. In fact, in past Christmases I've been so  hungry for Christmas Dickens that I've read some of his other attempts at holiday short novels. Dickens in fact wrote five Christmas books; among what I've read, I like The Cricket on the Hearth the best. 

If you want to spend today or tomorrow reading A Christmas Carol, the Standard Ebooks version is likely to be a good one. If you would rather listen to a free audiobook, Librivox has 14 versions of it.  Version 2, by voice actor Glen Hallstrom, is a good one. 

There is no Standard Ebooks version of The Cricket on the Hearth, but Project Gutenberg has you covered. 

The Standard Ebooks collection of Dickens has six titles so far, including a favorite of mine, Bleak House. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

News from John Higgs

The John Higgs newsletter arrived yesterday. You can read all of it here, but if it's more convenient, here is some of his news: 

"The East Sussex Psychedelic Film Club - ESP FC - is something I’ve been putting together with Andy Starke of Anti-Worlds and musician Richard Norris. It starts on 26 January with a screening of Performance plus Kenneth Anger shorts at the Westgate Chapel in Lewes. Tickets are available here but be quick, it’s not a big venue and will sell out soon.

"Other cult classics, obscurities and wonders will follow, including director Q&As. There will be a bar run by local brewers BEAK, a DJ and a little shop. If you’re in the area, keep an eye on its Instagram page for details of future screenings. Should be fun!

"The end of the year also means that the latest edition of The Mycelium Parish News is now available. If you’ve yet to see one of these wonders, it’s a yearly compendium of books, events, podcasts, interviews, music etc that originated from, or is of interest to, the Discordian-adjacent counterculture. If you’ve missed any great stuff, basically, you’ll find it listed here. Available from Etsy for £2.30.

"And finally - I don’t do a lot of interviews specifically about The KLF but I could not resist talking about them to Mark Ellen on the Word In Your Ear pod recently - you can find that here."

John also has an update on his new book: "Currently, however, I’m writing about Doctor Who. If you missed the announcement, my next book is EXTERMINATE/REGENERATE: THE STORY OF DOCTOR WHO. It’s a book about change, mystery and the role of fictional characters in our lives - there’s more details here, along with a pre-order link."

John also writes about Christmas, but I want to write about that bit tomorrow. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Number 23, the guy who was introduced with the 'Sirius' song

 Basketball great Michael Jordan, who wore No. 23 on his uniform as a Chicago Bull. (Public domain photo).

On Twitter, Prop Anon spots something amusing: Basketball superstar Michael Jordan wore No. 23 when he was helping the Chicago Bulls win NBA championships, and the song "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons project was  used to introduce the starting lineup of the Chicago Bulls during Jordan's heyday with the team.

LeBron James, who replaced Michael Jordan as arguably the greatest basketball player in the NBA, also has worn the number 23 on his uniform for most of his career. Above is James with the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Creative Commons photo by Keith Allison). 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Happy Maybe Night!

Maybe Night, Bobby Campbell's new event that's a spinoff of his annual Maybe Day celebration on July 23, is today! See what's available here.

Here's Bobby's explanation for Maybe Night when I interviewed him: "(Joseph Campbell claimed that the dream that comprises James Joyce's Finnegans Wake takes place on December 21st, and that also coincides with Terence McKenna's proposed Novelty Wave singularity, that may or may not have occured on 12/21/2012, making the winter solstice very fertile ground for maybe logical workings!)."

The available material includes a Maybelogues discussion.  It features Bobby, Eric Wagner, Vincent Murphy, Oz Fritz, Prop Anon and Peter Quadrino. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Is 'Illuminatus!" a 'real' book?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (photo from X).

A quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan, etc.) on X/Twitter: "To see if a book is real, ask 10 people of different backgrounds & professions to summarize it. If the summaries are similar, the book will not survive as it can be shortened to a journal article.

"The more the summaries diverge, the higher the dimensionality of the book."

It seems to me that under that definition, Illuminatus!, which is about many things, would be a "real" book. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

United States of Paranoia ebook on sale again

Jesse Walker, the Reason magazine books editor who sometimes pops up in the mentions and the comments on this blog, is the author of two books, Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America, a history of pirate radio, and The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory, a history of conspiracy theories in the U.S. I like the radio book (I believe I mentioned my interest in radio yesterday) but the conspiracy book, which I  highly recommend, is the one many RAW fans would enjoy (there is chapter on RAW, Discordianism, etc., and how writers such as RAW played with conspiracy theories.)

Anyway, I wanted to pass on that the Kindle for Jesse's book is on sale for about $4, for a "limited time." The book got a lot of good reviews, so I am apparently not the only one who liked it. As I understand it, the latest Kindle version is updated with additional material from the original hardcover. I assume that most people know you don't need a Kindle device to read Kindle books, just a Kindle app on your phone.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Robert Shea on getting to know classical music

My Sangean HDR-16 radio, an HD radio, is the newest item in my radio collection. 

I am something of an antiquarian, in the sense that I collect radios and listen to music at home on my various radios. (The Schroedinger's Cat trilogy has a character who listens to a classical music station, and I have wondered what kind of radio RAW used when  he listened to classical radio stations. It may not be a question that obsesses most RAW fans). 

Robert Shea, like RAW, liked classical music, and here is his advice, which I endorse:

"Best general suggestion I can make on getting into classical music is to listen to your local classical station, which will probably be an FM station and may be a university station. Listen to a lot of stuff and make a note of the pieces that give you most pleasure. When you encounter something that gives you a particular thrill, buy a cassette or CD and play it a lot at  home. Ignore all critical bullshit about what you should like or not like; most music critics are the worst snobs in the world and just out to fuck up people’s heads. Just be a musical hedonist; follow the pleasure principle. Your taste will change as you familiarize yourself with the stuff, but you must be true to  your feelings. I used to think Mozart was for the birds; now I can’t get enough Mozart. So it goes. That is my advice. I have spoke."

Of course, nowadays he'd say "bookmark it on your streaming service," but I do find out about a lot of composers and pieces simply by listening to the radio. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Book recommendation from John Higgs

On X/Twitter, John Higgs posts the above photo and writes, "This is every bit as fantastic as its cover - 
@MrRichardNorris' psychedelic music autobiography, out in March."

In a recent newsletter, John writes, "I loved Richard Norris’ memoir Strange Things Are Happening - it’s not out until next spring, but it’s available for pre-order now, including a limited version with a CD. Richard’s first-hand accounts of working with people like Genesis P-Orridge, Joe Strummer and Robert Fripp are highly illuminating, as are his stories of the The Grid and the birth of Acid House. It’s a reminder of why underground music is vital, and it has one of the best book covers for years, so look out for it!"

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Slideshow video of the 'Cosmic Trigger' play



This video, a slideshow of images from Daisy Campbell's Cosmic Trigger play set to the song about the Eight Circuit model, might be of particular interest to American RAW fans such as me who bought Daisy's excellent book of the play from Hilaritas but never had the opportunity to see it.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Hilaritas edition of 'Sex Magicians' in the works

Posting by Rasa on Facebook: "An upcoming Hilaritas Press republishing project in the effort to keep RAW's books in print. RAW's daughter Christina just sent this to me so I'd have the original to work from. I haven't read this yet. I was waiting until it became a work project. I'm looking forward to it.

"One question I've had in thinking about a 2nd edition is what to put on the new edition's cover. The original cover seems iconic for the topic and the genre, but I'm not sure it would fly in today's market. Or am I overthinking it. Maybe I need to read the book."

The Sex Magicians is not on the Hilaritas Press list of upcoming editions, but apparently it is in the works. It's one of the few RAW works I haven't read, either. 


Thursday, December 14, 2023

'Archie' TV miniseries on Cary Grant

Cary Grant in 1941 (public domain photo).

Robert Anton Wilson has some fascinating comments about actor Cary Grant in Ishtar Rising, for example, "Everybody groks that Archie Leach, the poor boy from Liverpool who became 'Cary Grant' never fully believed in 'Cary Grant,' since Cary was, after all, his own invention." (Leach actually was from Bristol.)

My wife and I have been watching Archie, the new TV miniseries about Grant (available on Britbox), and the elements of Grant's life that RAW highlighted, such as his self-invention are included in the story. Grant's use of LSD also is covered.  I'm sure there's a certain amount of Hollywood BS in the miniseries, but the part about Grant being recruited to play James Bond in "Dr. No" apparently also is true.  I'm enjoying the miniseries so far. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Consider a follow for Grant McPhee

I reported last month that Grant McPhee, a Scottish movie director and also an expert of Scottish rock music, making a movie about the Illuminatus! play and the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun.

I started following McPhee's Twitter/X account, really only because I didn't want to miss any news about the upcoming movie. The above photo is from a Dec. 10 posting, captioned, "Happy birthday to Ken Campbell who would have been 82 today.

"Here he is with Illuminatus co-director, Chris Langham coming out of stage manager, Chris Bernard's body."

But I've also discovered that I enjoy McPhee's rock music posts. They are mostly Scottish bands I admit to being (mostly) unfamiliar with, but he also posts photos of wider interest. Below is a photo posted after Denny Laine's death was announced.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists announced

[As I've explained before, the connection with this blog is that Illuminatus! won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, and I'm one of the nominating judges for the Libertarian Futurist Society. Official press release follows. -- The Management.]



The Libertarian Futurist Society has selected four finalists for the 2023 Hall of Fame Award for Best Classic Fiction.

This year's finalists – first published between 1978 and 2000 - include novels by the late Poul Anderson and Terry Pratchett, Harry Turtledove and a song by the Canadian rock group Rush.

Orion Shall Rise, a 1983 novel (Timescape) by frequent Prometheus winner Poul Anderson became a Best Novel finalist. It explores the corruptions and temptations of power and how a free society might survive and thrive after an apocalypse. The story is set in a post-nuclear-war Earth with four renascent civilizations in conflict over the proper role of technology. Anderson focuses on forward-thinking visionaries who dream of reaching for the stars while trying to revive forbidden nuclear technology that destroyed their now-feudal, empire-dominated world. Most intriguing: the depiction of a clearly libertarian society with minimal government operating in formerly western Canada and northwestern United States.

The Truth, Terry Pratchett's 2000 novel (HarperCollins) was first nominated in 2001 for Best Novel. It is part of his satirical but historically informed Discworld series and shows the founding by a struggling scribe of the Discworld’s first newspaper using the new printing press in (of course!) the city of Ankh-Morpork, and its publisher’s struggles for freedom of the press during a political crisis. All too timely in its focus on misinformation and its theme of freedom of speech and press, the novel portrays how journalists report the facts (or not) and communicate "the truth" amid pressure from competing political factions. 

• "The Trees," a 1978 song by Rush was released on the Canadian rock group's album "Hemispheres". The lyrics are by Neil Peart and the music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. The song warns against coerced equality in a beast fable – or in this case, a “tree fable.” Peart poetically present a Nature-based fable of envy, “oppression” and misguided revolution motivated by a true-believer ideology of coercive egalitarianism. The survival and individuality of different kinds of trees – both agitating Maples and lofty Oaks – are threatened when a seemingly “noble law” is adopted in the forest to keep the trees "equal by hatchet, axe and saw."

Between the Rivers, a 1998 novel (TOR) by Harry Turtledove, tells an alternate-history story about humanity’s attempt to forge its own destiny at the dawn of civilization. Framed as a Bronze Age mythology in a pattern inspired by Julian Jaynes’ “bicameral-mind” hypothesis, the novel revolves around a city ruled by actual gods where men begin to think for themselves and make progress through commerce and mathematics. Among those men are a young merchant with strange ideas upholding free will and independence and challenging traditional cultural assumptions in a struggle for freedom from divine rule.

In addition to the above finalists, the Prometheus Hall of Fame Finalist Judging Committee considered six other nominees, listed in alphabetical order by author: Zelig, a 1983 film written, directed by and starring Woody Allen; Floating Worlds, a 1976 novel by Cecilia Holland; “Primary Education of the Camiroi,” a 1966 short story by R.A. Lafferty; That Hideous Strength, a 1945 novel by C.S. Lewis; Kalin, a 1969 novel by E.C. Tubb; and “The Last Word,” a 2000 story by Harry Turtledove.

The final vote will take place in mid-2024. All Libertarian Futurist Society members are eligible to vote. The award will be presented at a major science fiction convention and/or online.

Nominees may be in any narrative or dramatic form, including prose fiction, stage plays, film, television, other video, graphic novels, song lyrics, or epic or narrative verse; they must explore themes relevant to libertarianism and must be science fiction, fantasy, or related genres.

First presented in 1979 (for Best Novel) and presented annually since 1982, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between Liberty and Power, favor private social cooperation over legalized coercion, expose abuses and excesses of obtrusive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for peace, prosperity, progress, justice, tolerance, civility, and civilization itself. 

The awards include gold coins and plaques for the winners for Best Novel, Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame), and occasional Special Awards. 

The Prometheus Award is one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. 

Nominations for the 2024 Hall of Fame Award can be submitted to committee chair William H. Stoddard ( at any time up to Sept. 30, 2024. All LFS members are eligible to nominate. 

The LFS welcomes new members who are interested in science fiction and the future of freedom. More information is available at our website, and on the Prometheus blog (

Monday, December 11, 2023

Podcast discusses John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill

Describing his work as an editor at Playboy magazine, Robert Anton Wilson wrote in the first Cosmic Trigger book,

"My job was editing the letters in the 'Playboy Forum,' and also writing the italicized replies in which the Playboy position was stated. This position is straight old-fashioned mind-your-own-business John Stuart Mill libertarianism, and (since that is my philosophy as well as Hefner's) I enjoyed the work immensely."

While it's difficult to find a 19th-century thinker whose views align perfectly with my own, Mill's opinions generally age well, including his support for freedom of speech, women's rights and opposition to slavery.

I learned today that there's a podcast that explores Mill, featuring Tyler Cowen. 

Henry Oliver on Twitter: "I spoke to Tyler Cowen about John Stuart Mill, including where Mill remains relevant, how to read Mill properly, why Mill isn’t so influential today, whether Mill was a coherent thinker, why you should read Mill’s Bentham and Coleridge, and more."

The podcast is The Common Reader, I'm guessing it's on many podcasting apps, but here is a link to the podcast site. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Space migration? Space tourism has yet to arrive

Blue Origin's New Shepherd launch vehicle. (Public domain photo)

While we wait for the space migration part of SMI2LE to really get going, Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution notes that predictions of 100,000 tourists in space a year have yet to come true. Space travel still isn't safe enough, he notes: 

"Overall, rockets still look very unsafe. Is anyone surprised? Blue Origin, for example has had 1 total failure in 22 flights, 4.5%. SpaceX has by far the best record with–generously not including test flights–1 total failure in 289 Falcon flights, .34%. That’s great and especially impressive given that Falcon flies much higher than other rockets! But wingsuit flying, no one’s ideas of a safe sport, is still safer than a SpaceX flight! (.2%) and commercial airlines are running at many orders of magnitude safer at .00034%.

"Thus, after 20 years, I don’t see much reason to update. Like climbing Mount Everest or wingsuit flying, we might see a few flights a year catering to the rich and foolhardy but we have a long way to get before we get fat guys with cameras in space."

More here. 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Bill would legalize marijuana for the federal government

 Photo by Damian Barczak on Unsplash

As I have written a lot about marijuana policy lately, I  thought I would mention that five lawmakers in Congress, including one from Ohio, the state where I live, have introduced a bill to remove many of the federal barriers to commerce in marijuana.

Here's what Dr. Jeffrey Singer, one of my favorite policy sources on the "war on some drugs," wrote on the Cato Institute's blog:

"Yesterday, December 7, 2023, Representative David Joyce (R‑OH), joined by four colleagues—Earl Blumenauer (D‑OR), Brian Mast (R‑FL), Lori Chavez‐​DeRemer (R‑OR), and Troy Carter (D‑LA)— introduced a revised version of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. As its name implies, the bill seeks to bring US marijuana policy more in line with the Tenth Amendment and federalism.

"The Tenth Amendment states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

"The bill, which some call 'STATES Act 2.0,' removes marijuana as a substance covered by the federal Controlled Substances Act. This means marijuana will no longer be on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances. While the Biden administration has been open to the idea of rescheduling marijuana, the STATES Act would de‐​schedule it, a move I have long advocated.

"It would also federally decriminalize people using, selling, or transferring marijuana if it is legal in their state, territory, or tribal reservation and if they comply with state regulations. Moreover, it allows for interstate commerce in marijuana."

More here. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Cannabis is legal today in Ohio [UPDATED]

Marijuana being grown in a greenhouse. Photo by CRYSTALWEED cannabis on Unsplash.

Today, Dec. 7, is known as "Pearl Harbor Day" in the U.S. But it's also become the day in which marijuana use and possession became legal in Ohio, where I live, and where Robert Anton Wilson once lived. 

As I noted in an earlier blog post, Ohio voters approved legalizing marijuana for all adults in the November election. In that earlier post, I also wrote that the state question amended state law, not the constitution. "So it's possible that the Republican-dominated state legislature could change provisions of the new legalization law or even repeal it. The spokesman for the 'vote yes' campaign on the marijuana issue told me he expects lawmakers to respect the results; I guess we'll see. "

In fact, the Ohio Senate proposed a bill, to take effect before today, that would ban growing marijuana at home and make other major changes in the law to largely negate what voters had approved. There was a lot of pushback, and most of the worst proposals were removed. The latest proposal (which hasn't passed yet) would even do some things I agree with, such as expunging some possession convictions and speeding up legal sales. The measure does cut the number of plants that can be grown at home. It also raises taxes, which seems like a bad idea, as it would boost the black market and aid competing pot stores in Michigan, where prices have dropped sharply. The Ohio Capital Journal has a roundup on the latest bill provisions. 

UPDATE: More on the latest from Jacob Sullum.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Podcast with Joseph Matheny

Podcast announcement from Joseph Mathen: "Joseph Matheny, David B Metcalfe, and Ken Eakins send you transmissions from the Mauve Zone. Aleister Crowley the misunderstood, Lockdown conspiracies, The 2012 grift, failed raptures, Getting back to nature maaan, Rene Guenon’s Traditionalism, Tabloid UAPs, Traditionalists v Accelerationists and the CIA Secret office of Global Access. Music by Simon Smerdon."

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Aleister Crowley on James Joyce

The logo for the Nocturnal Reveries blog. 

Michael Johnson in his comment to yesterday's post, points out an interesting article: “The Genius of Mr. James Joyce” by Aleister Crowley, published in 1923, an article which praises Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. The article is reproduced in a blog post at Nocturnal Revelries, which is devoted to reviews of horror and occult books. If the blogger lists his/her/their name, I didn't see it. Excerpt from Crowley's article:

"Every new discovery produces a genius. Its enemies might say that psych-analysis—the latest and deepest theory to account for the vagaries of human behavior—has found the genius it deserves. Although Mr. Joyce is  known only to a limited circle in England and America, his work has been ranked with that of Swift, Sterne, and Rabelais by such critics as M. Vatery, Mr. Ezra Pound and Mr. T. S. Eliot."

Nocturnal Revelries also has a review of RAW's Masks of the Illuminati. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

James Joyce and Aleister Crowley

Glenn Johnston's collection of editions of Ulysses. Pinned posting on X/Twitter. 

Joyce scholar Glenn Johnston on Twitter, on Dec. 1: "Aleister Crowley died OTD in 1947. He wrote The Genius of Mr. James Joyce for the July 1923 New Pearson's Magazine. Possible references to him in Finnegans Wake include 'Crowalley' (105.27), 'Croppy Crowhore' (129.12), and 'young crowy' (232.38)."

The replies were interesting, too. Reply from Sam Slote, professor at Trinity College, Dublin: "The Poetry Collection at Buffalo has the full run of Crowley's publications (as part of their remit to collect the works of all 20th century Anglophone poets and yer man did write poetry). And so his works – not Joyce's – are the most requested works at the Collection."

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Jacob Sullum working on 'guns and dope' book

When Robert Anton Wilson ran for governor of California in 2003, the central conceit was that most of the people who oppose restrictions on guns are right wingers, and most of the people who oppose the "war on some drugs" are on the left. So by opposing gun laws AND drug laws, a libertarian coalition could be formed.

Jacob Sullum, a writer for Reason magazine, is a writer I read often because of his reliably accurate news and commentary on the war on drugs. He also writes a lot about gun issues, although I am less interested  in that issue and read those pieces less often.

In the course of a Twitter/X thread to promote Reason's current fund-raising webathon, Sullum reveals that he's working on a "guns and dope" book: "After 3 decades of covering drug & gun policies for@reason, I am writing a book that explores these themes, showing that left-leaning critics of the drug war and right-leaning critics of gun control, despite their ideological differences, share many of the same concerns."

It should be an interesting book.

Here is Jesse Walker promoting the webathon.


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Warren Ellis on work for hire and 'F For Fake'


Warren Ellis signing autographs in 2012. (Creative Commons photo). 

The prominent British comics writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Red, etc.) has an essay up about one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite movies, "F For Fake." 

"Work for Hire and Orson Welles" discusses work for hire in the comics industry, e.g. "when one is hired to work on characters owned by the hiring company," established characters such as Batman, and the job Orson Welles originally took in as film editor for a documentary about the forger Elmyr, which Welles was able to transform into a project of his own.

"F FOR FAKE is in fact one of my favourite Welles films. It’s warm, clever, mischievous and relaxed. He shoots footage of his own crew. Whole scenes are set around a dinner table as Welles holds court and contextualises the material. It’s as close to having dinner with a happy and garrulous Welles as we’ll ever get. It’s also full of Welles’ interests, obsessions, and personal mythology," Ellis writes.

More here. 

Thank you to Rob Pugh for bringing this to my attention. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Dr. Who and Finnegans Wake

This is something I apparently missed a few months ago: An episode of The Lost Doctor that paid tribute to Finnegans Wake. From

"The latest edition of an alternative Dr Who audio adventure will be played outside Barney Kiernan’s old pub on Little Britain Street as part of 2023’s Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin.

"‘Lost in the Wake’ written by Lee Ravitz, is the latest part of the audio series The Lost Doctor – which conjures a wholly imaginary other trajectory for Dr. Who, on the premise that the UK theatre maverick Ken Campbell was chosen for the role, rather than the original BBC's Dr. Who, Sylvester McCoy. An experimental actor, writer and director, Ken Campbell has been described as a "one-man dynamo of British theatre." He starred in the 1980s sitcom In Sickness and in Health, and an episode of Fawlty Towers, as well as movies like The Tempest, Breaking Glass, Letter to Brezhnev, A Fish Called Wanda and Creep (2004). He died on August 31st, 2008.

"The 'Lost in the Wake' episode of The Lost Doctor features the characters of James Joyce (played by Roddy McDevitt), William Blake, and Aleister Crowley among others, in what's been described as a "dreamlike" homage to Joyce's complicated meisterwerk, Finnegans Wake,. The episode will officially premiere upstairs at The Stags Head, Dublin, on Thursday, June 15th.

"As those familiar with Joyce's most iconic and influential book will know, Barney Kiernan’s pub plays a key role in the ‘Cyclops’ chapter, in Joyce’s Ulysses – but the building has been dormant for several years now. Producer Tommy Calderbank is hoping to build a campaign to save the literary landmark."

More here. 

I may be late on this, but note that you can still listen to the Wake episode and other episodes.