Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Visualizing the Temple of Amun

My curiosity thrives on visual input, but sometimes a written description jolts your mind's eye.

I was flipping through the DK Annotated Guide to Architecture & was looking at the Temple of Amun in Karnak, Egypt. It's an amazing complex that must have been awe-inspiring when it was a functioning spiritual & cultural center.

Despite digital recreations & artistic renderings, actually experiencing the sacred space in its original context is hard to imagine. One of the distinctive features of the temple is the massive Hypostyle Hall, lined with huge columns. I posted before to a 360 panorama of the ruins of this area:

I already knew that the hall was roofed in ancient times, but the the book vividly suggested the psychological effect of being a priest of the time inside the vast, enclosed hallway :

Searching the web for virtual versions of the Karnak temple buildings, I came across this extensive work by UCLA researchers & artists:


There are also cool Quicktime videos of the 3D simulations embedded on the site.

Monday, April 26, 2010


BoingBoing posted a recent video by Insane Clown Posse called "Miracles" that I found to be a paradoxical combination of awesome & horrible.

There some good things that can be said about the video, like it's approach of the world with child-like wonder & refusing to completely accept the conceptual constructs that society creates. Also, the visual effects are actually pretty cool.
However, the video is by the Insane Clown Posse... so it's horrible by default. The rapping is wacky, & grown men wearing makeup is still no cooler than when KISS did it.

I would say the whole thing is surreal, but we are now living in a post-surreal world where nothing is really all that bizarre anymore. Of course, the video has gone viral, with some of the lyrics resonating across the vast Internets.

Dare to ponder such philosophical musings as:

"F*cking magnets, how do they work?"

"There's magic everywhere in this bitch!"

I wasn't even going to post about it, until I saw parodies of it on Cynical C that had me laughing my ass off.

The first one's a mashup of "Miracles" & a Glade Plug-in commercial.

The other one's a SNL skit that is the parody that had to be made:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dream Thoughts

"Life itself is only a vision, a dream."

People often try to look "into" dreams in order to find meaning or a subtle message of some sort.

It is a funny circular interaction... the 'mind' is trying to decipher the product of that same mind!

Any kind of applied dream interpretation is really nothing other than a fictional narrative of your own creation.

Dreams, like Life itself, exist only to exist.

Of course, it is impossible not to make connections or associations with certain dreams. I try to just see dreams as an interactive simulation, more than a cypher to be decoded. My dreams are vivid & I can often remember what I've dreamt about. Waking up slightly & dozing back off makes me remember more of them.

Just in the past week, I've dreamt on different occasions I was:
1. in jail w/ Snoop Dogg as my cellmate
2. driving & talking to one of my ex-girlfriends in my car
3. in a car fender-bender & had to fill out paperwork at a police station

Often, I'll be in a variation of a building from my past that often morphs into another familiar building as the setting or situation changes. For instance, I'll be in a building that's similar to my college library & I walk into another part where it becomes a nightclub. There I'll be talking to someone who seems extremely familiar with a real personality, even though when I wake up the person is apparently a total figment of my imagination!

One funny dream I remember very clearly was waiting in a subway station with my sister & one of my brothers. We couldn't find our train, so we were sitting with our luggage in the middle of a corridor. In the dream, my arm started becoming sore, so I put my suitcase down. It became more painful till it was searing, then I suddenly woke up- with my arm scrunched in an uncomfortable position!

Sometimes, my mouth being dry or an itch in my throat while I'm asleep will translate into a parallel dream discomfort, that I force myself to wake from.

Recently, I was dreaming of sitting on a bus, & these teenagers near me started saying things to each other that made absolutely no sense. At that point, I became aware that I was dreaming & actually thought to myself, "Ok, this is weird, I am definitely in a dream here..." The way I could think to get out of it was to start yelling out loud. It felt like I was beginning to be pulled apart. I was still yelling as my voice became metallic exactly like when Neo is absorbed by the liquid mirror in the Matrix. Then... Boom!, I was awake w/ my heart racing.

Travel & directions are not my strongest suite, so being lost or having to find my way out of being stuck somewhere is a situation that happens pretty regularly while I'm dreaming. Often I dream about driving around a city trying to find a bridge or a certain street, but all the street names are wrong & nothing makes sense. Forget trying to read maps or GPS or even use type on cellphone- because technology doesn't seem to work well in the dream realm. It all looks like babble/hieroglyphics & perhaps my mind just isn't focused enough to recreate it.

I've already written about my experiences with times where I experienced flying. These are probably the most fascinating because they are so lucid & outside normal human ability. These originate in the same organ that is forming your ordinary waking perceptions, so there can be a quite startling realism involved.

Anyway, the original reason I started this post was this theory I just came across- that dreams are basically a virtual reality simulation to play out situations in the subconscious. There is no ultimate purpose for it, but perhaps the function can be understood to be an experiential training program that allows your brain to play out random scenarios that can be sublimated into one's experience.


2010 Delsea Car Show

This past Sunday I spent the afternoon at the annual car show held at my former high school. My Dad's had a green '67 Corvette Stingray ever since I was little. He brought it out for the show so most of the Micarelli clan came out. Even though I'm by no means a motor-head, I know enough to appreciate all the different cars there. Here are pictures of some cars & the fam (my nephew pretended to race "Pop-pop's" car for a good 1/2 hour & had us cracking up.) I'm partial to Corvettes, but there were alot of nice cars there.

My Dad's car won 2nd place in the vette category, so I got a picture w/ him & his trophy.


In my archive of scanned old photos, I found this old picture of me when I was about 3 yrs old, posing with Big Paul & the same vette in 1980.

I feel like I've lived 5 lifetimes since then....!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Topic List

On the right hand side of the page, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I added links to The Monkey Buddha blog posts by topic:

Glenn Beck: Prophet or Profit?

While I'm on the topic of the Fox News opinion shows, specifically Glenn Beck, I have to mention this gem I've seen being floated around.

The idea that he claims to be relating "God's plan" to his listeners is obnoxious enough. However, the real highlight of this clip is the very end of the 10 minute clip, when The Pasty Prophet (Profit?) finally yields to his true master- "God Money"...

Media Matters:
Beck: "God is giving a plan, I think, to me,"
says God is asking us to "stand, peacefully, quietly, with anger"

I also caught Keith Olbermann featuring video of Beck's bullshit Revelation on "Worst Persons in the World":

Amen to The Daily Show Choir

Fox News is much too 'right'-leaning for my tastes, especially the opinion shows. I can watch some of the objective news reports, but the rabid 'conservatism' of entertainers like Hannity & Glenn Beck doesn't jive at all w/ my worldview. Those 2 boneheads make Bill O'Reilly seem like a supreme voice of reason nowadays. Of course, 'Papa Bear' is still as full of it as the rest of Fox News.

MSNBC, of course, has the opposing liberal lineup of opinion talk show hosts. I feel- in my totally fair & balanced opinion- that they tend to be more empirical and forward-thinking in their viewpoints. What can I say... I prefer rationality to visceral emotional response. That said, all news opinion shows are subject to hyperbole & general ridiculousness.

Most people getting their news from more varied objective sources find a lot of Fox News programming to be more objectionable than objective. Sometimes it's just a waste of breath to try to engage the craziness, though. That's when Jon Stewart speaks for the socially conscious yet irreverent among us when he suggests, "Go F*ck Yourself" to the unreasonable regressive mindset of right-wing political ideologues & talking heads.

One of those idiotic talking heads, Bernie Goldberg, figured he'd try to get some publicity by taking some jabs at Jon Stewart & his audience on O'Reilly's show, despite proof that Daily Show viewers (like myself) are predictably less ignorant than the average Fox News acolyte.

Daily Show/Colbert Viewers Most Knowledgeable,
Fox News Viewers Rank Lowest

Of course The Daily Show stepped back up to deliver the knockout blow to poor Bernie in a segment that was a close 2nd to the Jon Stewart's legendary "Conservative Libertarian" monologue mocking Glenn Beck.

When you have a America's most influential social humorist singing a chorus of "Go F*ck Yourself" this time backed up with a gospel choir, the exchange is over... & you (meaning Fox News & Bernie Goldberg) have lost.

The power of absurdity & mockery is supreme...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Home Library = Smart Kids

I saw this link on Neatorama last week & I realized how true it was.

"Home Libraries Provide
Huge Educational Advantage"

Any success in my life is due to the excellence my parents expected when I was young.

The 2 most important activities they encouraged that affected my development were art & reading. I've always loved to draw & make things. My household was one where creativity in all forms was encouraged. However, book smarts were also important. Besides making sure we had encyclopedias & interesting things to read in the house, my Mom would take me w/ my siblings to the public library regularly. When I was in elementary school, I used to take out a stack out books each time I went to the library that I would read through completely by the time they were due back.

Although I also liked learning about 'conventional' subject matter, my favorite books as a kid were about strange phenomena & ancient mysteries.

The Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series and the Usborne World of the Unknown books were the beginning of my life-long fascination with The Unexplainable.

I found a website, The Haunted Closet, that has pages from these classic Usborne books that brought back hours of my young imagination going wild.

The Haunted Closet:

The Haunted Closet:


My favorite Usborne Book was definitely the one about UFO's:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jon Stewart Analyzes Fox's 'Nazi' Logo

As a graphic artist, I recognize how easy it is to make arbitrary connections between similar visual designs.

Especially with modern tools like the internet & digital imaging software, the ability to make a convincing correlation between seemingly random elements is easier than ever.

Sometimes, the subversive use of symbolism is intentional- like artists Jay-Z or Lady Gaga incorporating obvious Masonic imagery into their creative repertoire which, despite the inevitable conspiracy theories, is mostly for the visual impact. I got one of Jay-Z's Rocawear shirts with Freemason symbols for my brother, not because he's in on a secret society, but just because it looks cool! Which is probably the primary intended purpose.

Even more intellectually dishonest & downright sinister is the use of symbolism to misrepresent the facts in order to push a political agenda. One of the most shameless hucksters of this kind of disinformation is Fox News & it's shameless Pied Piper to America's most gullible scared white people, Glenn Beck. The Pasty Propagandist has blown my mind on occasion with his paranoid ramblings about socialist messages on the US Dime & in Rockefeller Center, and how Obama is the next Stalin. Fortunately, I am not nearly stupid enough to be misled by the political dissembling of that money-grubbing shithead.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of art, or even the basic reality that we inhabit, understands that connections can be made between literally anything- as Jon Stewart effectively demonstrated recently:

The Daily Show:
"A Farewell to Arms"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goldman Sachs & Financial Reform

Although I'm not really interested in the financial industry, this news is interesting to anyone who follows politics & current events:

SEC Charges Goldman With Subprime Fraud

It seems that the giant investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is being charged with fraud by the Securities & Exchange Commission. There has been way too little accountability in the financial sector for all the problems caused by these monstrous companies driven solely by profit & greed.

Rolling Stone:
"Inside The Great American Bubble Machine"

"Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs
has engineered every major market manipulation
since the Great Depression

I think capitalism is a supremely functional system of commerce. However the idea of unregulated 'Free Market' is simply insane. Representative government is needed as a check on commercial & financial entities that would use the system to prey on people in a criminal way.

Watching the documentary about Enron: "The Smartest Guys in the Room" & the series "American Greed" can give you a very cynical outlook on the financial world.

Anyone who says they are a unfettered 'Free Trade' proponent is a zealot that is living in an fantasy world. Even the King of the Scheisters himself, Alan Greenspan admits his unaccountable free-market philosophy was crap.

This significant enforcement of oversight is already being seen as a prelude to the Democrats' push for broader financial reforms. I was reading just now that Obama has said he's going to veto any financial reform bill that doesn't deal with derivatives- the purposefully obtuse 'investments' that were a large factor in the recent financial meltdown.

It's crazy how already the Republican leadership is outright against even this push for major reformation of a dysfunctional system. It's a shame Boehner & McConnell are such jerks they can't see how joining this fight against corruption in banking practices would be better politically than siding with their crooked money lords.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adam Crossley Returns to Tin Angel

Last Friday, I went with a bunch of friends from high school to see our old pal Adam Crossley perform at the Tin Angel in Philly. This is the second time he played there & he was awesome. It was a great chance to get together with people I don't get to see often.

He gave out some copies of his new CD Anvil of a Heart at the last show & there are some really good songs on it.

Adam Crossley Music

Here's a photo of me (on the right) with Adam & some of my old-school buds:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monkey Police

Monkeys are a reliable source of humor, especially in uniform.

Who knew that monkey humor would be effective even for embattled police officers?

Monday, April 12, 2010

SNL: Sarah Palin Network

Tina Fey strikes comedy gold yet again with her Sarah Palin impersonation.

To their infinite credit, I really think Tina Fey & SNL had alot to do with the public consensus about Gov. Palin's inability to be a functional Vice-President in 2008.

If Palin didn't flaunt her cynical know-nothingness in public every damn news cycle, she wouldn't be such an easy "target" for the "Lamestream Media". Actually, it probably helps her image with her fans to have liberal elitist entertainment like SNL mocking her.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Adam Crossley on 10! Philadelphia

Tonight I'm going to see my friend from school Adam Crossley perform again at the Tin Angel in Philly. Here's my post from the last time he was in town & we all had a great time:

On Wednsday he was also back on the Philadelphia 10! morning show to play his song 'Coincidence'.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

At his last show I got a copy of his CD, Anvil of a Heart, that I think's really good. It's now on iTunes, too.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hannity: Palin/Bachmann 2012!!!

Last nite, I was flipping through the TV before I went to sleep & saw a nightmare-inducing sight... predictably on Fox News.

Professional knucklehead Sean Hannity was on a stage along with the 2 top female leaders of America's right-wingnuts:
Minnesota congresswoman Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann & The Queen of the Teabaggers herself, Sarah Palin. If money-grubbing propagandist Glenn Beck had showed up, they would have formed The Four Horseman of the Foxpocalypse & probably ripped apart the very fabric of reality.

These 3 anti-intellectual luminaries were on a stage in the middle of an auditorium full of what I can only guess are the most ideological & utterly clueless of this country's diverse white citizenry. The only other excuse I can imagine why anyone would stand & listen to their endless jingoistic drivel would be total deafness.

Hannity pondered a Palin/Bachmann ticket in 2012, which would seem to be a dream ticket... for the Democrats! America might have plenty of idiots, but collectively we are not that suicidal (I hope).

The whole thing was so wacked-out to my brain that I didn't even know what the purpose of the event was, until looking it up just now. It was part of a "Conservative Victory" book tour, which is a premise that only a numb-skull ideologue like Sean Hannity could come up with.


I tried to test my mental fortitude & continuously watch these 3 insufferable clowns jabber on & on. However, this personal challenge of my own Zen-like mental power proved to be too much to take. I could only take 30 second increments of sensory assault by the nonstop supernova of shrill stupidity before having to periodically change the channel. It was like needing to come up from underwater to gasp for air.

I found the historically moronic interview on Youtube, but I simply cannot make it through the whole thing. I have a better chance of staring at a blank wall for 8 hours straight.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dean Kamen on The Colbert Report

The other night Stephen Colbert interviewed prolific inventor Dean Kamen. His creations include the Segway transport, the insulin pump, a mobile dialysis system, & an all-terrain gyroscopic wheelchair.

Dean Kamen Interview

On the show, Kamen was showcasing his robotic artificial arm, appropriately called the "Luke Arm" after Luke Skywalker.

Dean Kamen's "Luke Arm" Prosthesis
Readies for Clinical Trials

As unnatural cybernetics may seem, Kamen gave the connection between man & technology a very emotional dimension. Even though he started out slow in the interview, by the end of it his deep passion was evident for scientific innovation that improves humanity.

Many people are weary of mankind becoming inhuman cyborgs through such robotic prosthesis. I think Kamen displayed that using these 'artificial' tools does not necessarily diminish our humanity, and in fact, may enhance it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Visual Teabaggery

It's strange the "Tea Party" movement is barely a year old...
To me, it seems like they've been throwing their collective temper tantrum for waaaay longer. I've said here previously that all citizens have a right to get all fired up & protest the government or industry. However, that also inevitably includes the sea of idiots who can have their say, too.

There was a much bigger, focused movement behind the anti-war protests during the Bush Dark Ages, & it had it's share of freaks making effigies of Bush & portraying him as Hitler. Those massive world-wide protests did jack shit for ending the Mid-East occupation, despite the specific moral imperative. Therefore, what do these Tea Baggers think their going to accomplish with a incohesive bunch of scared old people & Glenn Beck-fueled ignoramuses with a few guns against the vast power of the Federal Government? I'm sure they think they are battling the Evil Empire- like the immortal legends Luke Skywalker & Ronald Reagan. My biggest problem is the continuing threats & insinuations of personal violence, that only the most ignorant resort to. Besides undermining the movement, it gives the Feds a reason to REALLY take away their precious 'freedom'.

Luckily, there are digital cameras & the Internet to document the creative instincts of some of the Tea Party & The Right-wing's distinguished participants. BoingBoing had two photo sets of exemplary Tea Bagger masterpieces:

"200 Examples
of anti-Obama merchandise

I'm kind of upset my own Obama Socialism! poster didn't make it, but I guess it's because my creation was tongue-in-cheek.

The un-Maverick

After reading the quote by John McCain now saying he "never considered myself a maverick," I saw this video linked by Atrios that I had to post. What an absurd, ridiculous statement if true.

This is like Obama trying to claim he never promoted 'Hope' & 'Change' during his campaign. I'm glad there were enough voters in this country with common sense to avoid the disaster that a "McPain" America would have been.

Senator McCain is such a maverick that he is beyond the label of "MAVERICK"!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Risk Interconnection Map

One of the problems with politics is that society's most pressing issues are usually enormously complex, and interconnected with countless other issues & situations.

Recently, I read a comment on a political article referencing the Lincoln-Douglas debate format of 60 & 90 minute intervals to each speak. Modern culture's short attention span makes it difficult to facilitate in-depth analysis of any technical subject to the masses.

A highly effective way people can quickly begin to conceptually overcome large amounts of information is through graphics.

On the excellent infosthetics.com, I saw a link to this interactive chart of global risks:

Star Wars Stuff

It's pretty crazy to think that the Star Wars saga is 30+ years old. I grew up watching the original movies & still think it's the greatest epic story in human history. Yes- I am saying that 'classics' like The Iliad, Gilgamesh, & Beowulf are all vastly inferior creations. The fact that the Star Wars fiction is still so intensely popular w/ adults & new generations of fans is proof of it's genius. If mankind lasts another several thousand years into the future, Luke Skywalker & Darth Vader will still be characters in some form of the story.

It's funny because I'm now watching a new generation of young padawans develop in my own family. My little nephew was Yoda to my Luke this past halloween & now that he can talk, he's learned the word "R2". This weekend, my cousin warned me ahead of time before visiting that her young kids are now total Star Wars freaks. I always have a great time with them & let them have my old Attack of the Clones visual dictionary to take home. Before they left, they looked through it, front to back... twice, while they asked me to explain the character & creatures on each page. I started to feel like I was a Jedi Archivist, but it was surprising how much they already knew, too. It was a fun outlet for all this ridiculous SW trivia in my head.

Anyway, the reasons I started writing this post are...

A) I'm a total geek & scored 100% on this test of Star Wars sound effects created by master audio designer Ben Burtt:

Star Wars Sound Effects Quiz

B) I also recently saw this cool-looking bookend set featuring an illuminated lightsaber. I want to see a picture of it glowing in the dark, because the 'molten' holes look like scrambled eggs stuck to the sides under the normal light:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Comic Thangkas

I saw a link on io9 to these paintings that are a cool fusion of apparent opposites: East & West, pop culture & sacred tradition, cartoons & religious art. I thought it was a really novel 'mashup' of contrasting iconography with alot of skill & humor involved.

Having grown up reading comic books as a kid to later learning about the profundity of Tibetan art like sand mandalas & painted thangkas as an adult, this is a mix of cultures that I can appreciate.

I looked up the artist, Gade, on Artnet:

"After studying Chinese painting and art history in Beijing, Gade returned to using traditional Tibetan painting techniques but with a modern twist."

Here is his gallery with additional paintings:

Artworks for Sale

I really like this depiction of The Incredible Hulk in the manner of wrathful Tibetan deity Yama the God of Death.


I saw this on the Discovery Health channel the other night & it completely freaked me out. I don't have much of a stomach for watching surgeries & medical stuff in the first place. I was watching this with my hands gripping my head & jaw dropped open at the sheer madness of the sight:

This system of keeping lungs alive for transplant is called XVIVO Lung Perfusion System.

Science Daily:
"Breathing Life Into Injured Lungs"

While watching this medical miracle in amazement/horror, all I could think of was this: