Monkeying About

water-colour of Charles Darwin by George Richmond

May 5, 1925: Teacher John Scopes is charged with having taught evolution in a Tennessee school. Originally designed as a means of putting the town of Dayton on the map, the case became a circus when Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan rolled into town as defence and prosecuting counsel.  The whole affair became a hoary old film of which The Varnished Culture has previously spoken. Scopes was convicted and fined $100 (which was overturned on appeal because, unusually, the penalty had to be stipulated by the jury rather than the trial judge). But Dayton did great business that summer….

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20 September, 622

September 20, 2016 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE, METAPHYSICS, RELIGION |

(photo by Noumenon)

On this day, the Prophet slipped out of Mecca and decamped to Medina. It was a bad day for a great religion; the day the Sword cut the cords of Compassion and Mercy. One day, Allah shall re-tie those knots, and there shall be The Peace! “Every hardship is followed by ease.”

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Bad Apple

August 15, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, METAPHYSICS, Ulalume |

Piet Mondrian's pointillist 'Apple Tree' c. 1908/09

The Apple had a bad rap even before the Book of Genesis. On Mt. Atlas, the golden apples grew, guarded by the daughters of Atlas, the Hesperides, who were pilfering the apples while Dad groaned under the weight of the world.  Heracles (Hercules), on his 11th labour, agreed to shoulder the burden while Atlas plucked the apples from the tree.  He then conned Atlas into taking up the slack again, and made off with the forbidden fruit.  He was a pathological liar, that Heracles! Ironically, Heracles ended up presenting the treasured apples to Athene, who gave them back to the…

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Aren’t Those the Eagle’s Claws?

July 20, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, METAPHYSICS, POLITICS |

20 July, 1969: Apollo 11 Mission lands men on the Moon, in the Sea of Tranquillity. In these days of rapid technological advances and diminishing personal heroism, it is easy to forget how earth-shaking this achievement was.  But anyone alive and out of nappies in July 1969 won’t forget. “From time immemorial men have gazed into the sky and pondered, theorised, even worshipped ‘the silver ornament of night‘”.* At Rice University in Houston, 12 September 1962, President John Kennedy said: “…the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and  the planets beyond…We have vowed that we shall…

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The Truth About Truth

July 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, METAPHYSICS, USA History |

Not as it seems (photo by CGP Grey)

8 July, 1947: The Army Air Field at Roswell, New Mexico, issued a press statement about salvaging the remnants of a “flying disc” from a nearby ranch and taking it to the air field, where it was quickly spirited to an undisclosed location. It wasn’t till about 30 years later (probably after the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)) that dozens of people started asserting they’d seen aliens, flying saucers, men in black, and so on. It was good business for a long time.  But it wouldn’t even pass muster with Stephen Glass. Truth remains an elusive,…

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