Roots of Reggae, Rastafarianism, & music spotlight

As an avid listener to old-school reggae, I thought it was due time for a little history lesson on the roots of reggae. Reggae began in Jamaica in the 1960s, as I’m sure you could have guessed. Reggae is a mix of ska (jazzy calypso) and rocksteady (less energetic ska). Reggae can be distinguished from ska, for its slower tempo. Reggae relies heavily on the beat, which is set off one to make an off-beat effect (skank).  

examples of old-school reggae bands include the very popular–the Wailers, with Bob Marley, genius Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer.

Reggae became more mainstream after Eric Clapton’s cover of “I shot the Sheriff’ in 1974.

As I’m sure you are aware, many of the reggae leaders were Rastafarian, and many lyrics promoted those beliefs. Rasta is a religion found predominantly in Jamaica. Followers of Rasta believe in a man called Haile Selassie, who they believed to be another incarnation of the Christian God, which they called Jah. They believe in Jesus Christ, but believe him to be black.

The Rastas promote the use of marijuana for spiritual purposes, rejects western society, and believes that Africa (or Zion, as they call it) is the original birthplace of humankind. Black nationalist Marcus Garvey is considered a prophet to Rastas.

One reggae band, which happens to be one of my all-time favorites, goes by the name of the Abyssinians. Their lyrics are closely linked to Rasta, with songs titled “African Princess” and “Jah”. Some of their songs are even sung in Ethiopian. The band was formed in the late 60’s. Their best albums include “Arise” and “Satta Massagana”.  I highly recommend this band to all reggae lovers.

more reggae artists…

UB40

Mishka

Ziggy Marley

Zion

What is Nibiru?

awhile ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing all the 2012 theories that were running wild amongst the people. One of them was the theory he believed–that of Nibiru. Nibiru is thought to be a planet, also known as Planet X, which is on its way towards earth as we speak (or so goes the theory). It was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, who believe in the Anunnaki, alien-type creatures, who aided in the discovery of Planet X.

this is the supposed location of planet x:

as you can see, the last planet there is supposed to be Nibiru. It may be known as a brown dwarf in our solar system–which resemble low-mass gas planets.

supporters of this theory believe that Anunnaki have actually visited earth before, in search of a gold-like mineral; some even go so far as to believe that they made some humans slaves in order to mine such minerals.

The Nibiru theory is connected to a creation story very different from the typical Adam and Eve–believing that an Anunnaki goddess formed the Adam (the first man), because the Anunnaki people wanted a worker to communicate with. Apparently the double helix formation of our DNA is the goddess’s symbol.

There are many logical reasons why this could not be possible:

  1. a planet behind pluto the size of a brown dwarf would not have gone unoticed by astronomers for so long.
  2. if planet x is coming towards the earth, it would be getting brighter and more visible; and yet cannot be seen

Here is the article in Skeptical Inquirer that pretty much agrees with everything I’ve said: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/update_on_the_nibiru_2012_doomsday/

Here is another article in the SI about Nibiru: http://csicop.org/si/show/myth_of_nibiru_and_the_end_of_the_world_in_2012

A website I found that helped on the background info on planet x: www.crystalinks.com/nibiru.html 

Zetatalk, a website for a supposed psychic who claims to communicate with the Anunnaki: http://www.zetatalk.com/

LSD for mental health

“Humphrey Osmond…the British-born psychiatrist…administered LSD and other hallucinogens to healthy volunteers, including doctors. With that information, Osmond felt that doctors could better understand and care for schizophrenic patients.” –Clifford A. Pickover in Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves

Hallucinogens and other drugs have often been used for psychiatric purposes. Psychedelic Therapy used LSD, DMT, and mushrooms as a way to explore the psyche. These drugs allow psychotherapy to work to it’s fullest potential.

The use of these drugs for mental health can date back to tribalistic times; shamans used natural plants containing hallucinogens to treat ill patients. Psychedelic therapy in the west began in the 50’s, used on especially difficult cases of mental illness, including alcoholism. Doctors felt that the drugs could alter a patient’s behavior in a positive way.

Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, reported using LSD and that it helped him overcome his alcohol addiction.

A recent FDIC approved study showed that mushrooms had a positive effect on OCD patients, and that they improved many of the symptoms shown by the patients. A study at John Hopkins also shows that mushrooms have a positive effect on terminal cancer patients who face anxiety due to their impending deaths.

All in all, these illegal compounds seem to bring a helpful hand to mental health issues. Could it be that in the future, we see the use of marijuana, LSD, DMT, mushrooms, and other drugs become legal for medical use? we shall have to see.

the savant in all of us…

Autistic savants have always appealed to me–the idea that a person could be a startling genius but also mentally handicapped is a crazy thought. Before I continue to the point of this post, I must pay homage to the real Rain Man, Kim Peek, who died recently. The movie Rainman starring Tom Cruise was based on his life story.

Now onto Orlando Serrell. I made the discovery on him from an article in Neatorama, an online source of interesting tidbits. The article is entitled the “10 most fascinating savants”. For the article, go here:http://www.neatorama.com/2008/09/05/10-most-fascinating-savants-in-the-world/

Orlando is a savant without the typical mental handicap of autism. When he was a young boy, he was injured in a game of basketball. After a series of headaches, he realized that he now had new abilities in math and other areas. What’s fascinating is the fact that previous to the basketball game, he did not show any of these abilities, then after being hit in the head with a basketball, became a savant without paying the price of autism.

So the question is: if a certain part of our brain is triggered, could we all pocesses the genius of autistic savants?

intriguing.

To read more about Orlando, visit his site : http://www.orlandoserrell.com/about.htm

Avatar and DMT-elves

“If the user has smoked enough [DMT], he will pass through the chrysanthemum phase and break through to the land of elves. The creatures encountered [under the influence of DMT] are often identified as alienlike or elflike.” –Clifford A Pickover in Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves.

The drug Pickover is talking about is DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinagenic drug that is natural produced in small amounts in our bodies, which produce “dreams” when we are asleep. DMT also occurs naturally in tree bark, the poison glands of certain frogs, etc. Under the influence of DMT and in lucid dreaming, one often sees figures which, when described, look like alien-type creatures or elves.

In the movie Avatar, an amazing feat which used 330 million bucks and extensive CGI, marines go into a forced sleep where they dream into the world of the Navid, an elf-like aborigine race. This plotline seems to echo Pickover’s main point. When the marines sleep, DMT is naturally produced in order to create this dreamland, where they interact with an alien race.

The Navid obviously take alot of Elven culture. In particular, “night elves” (the dork in me is brought back to warcraft playing days).

“The night elves are a people who have dedicated their individual lives, as well as the very organization of their entire society, in the pursuit of the protection of the natural world.The night elves worship the Ancients, who are nature deities attuned to the forest and the hunt.Night elves rely on their magic and the benefits of the natural world around them to maintain their society. Their magic is druidic in nature and flows straight from the natural world. They use this magic and their affinity for nature to shape the trees and stone and make friends with the animals around them. The night elves are among the most deadly adversaries to be found anywhere, due to their proficient skill with a bow.”

I thought it was interesting; the similarity between the race in avatar, the night-elf race, and the DMT-elves. Overall, i thought the movie was fantastic. A must see.

spotlight artist for dec. 25th

Travis Louie is an extraordinary and unique artist who deals with realism and mythology all at once. Using acrylic washes on smooth boards, he creates Victorian-style potraits of interesting characters. Similar to Vaudeville carnival type freak-show creatures, Louie creates intriguing images of men with one or multiple eyes, and creatures which resemble monkeys with deformities. His brushstroke is so brilliant and accurate, that they produce the feel of photographs, eerie but strangely beautiful.

He’s been in many highly renowned art magazines, including my all-time favorite, Juxtapoz, and also High Fructose. He’s also held galleries in many states, include Arizona–at the Perihelion Arts Gallery in Phoenix.

I like his work because they produce an authentic feel to characters he created in his mind, a very tough thing to do. Bravo, Mr. Louie, bravo.

resolutions for 2010

After the debaucle that was last year (a wild mix of bad grades, losing my job, too many cigarettes and too few productive days), I decided that in order for this new one to not plunge into the depths of epic failure, I needed some goals and aspirations for myself. After some soul searching and going over lost items, i came up with thirty resolutions that should do the trick. Most are concrete, tangible things; while others are changes I wish to see in myself. Here we go.

  1. Violin. After thirteen years of intense devotion, I let my talent slip into oblivion by ignoring my instrument for six solid months, when I found that booze and unmentionables gave easier, less energy consuming pleasure. Big mistake. Music is like a language; after a while, it runs away from you. Okay, bad metaphor. But you get the point. I want to pick up the violin every day like I used to, devote a block of my time to praticing and discovering new concertos, and maybe join a group when I get to college in the fall.
  2. Books. Although I do read constantly and of a variety of topics, I never kept track of what I did read, nor did I write anything memorable down. So if I learned anything from those pages it’s a mystery to me. In 2010, I want to stomp one book a week, as well as document tidbits of interesting info, so I can perhaps edit it into my own work.
  3. Creative Writing. I found that writing doesn’t just happen. And it didn’t happen very often at all last year; in fact, all I could scrounge together were  a grouping of poems, although beautiful (written during a rough breakup), but nothing else concrete. I propose to write at least one work a week, whether it be a solitary poem, essay, or flash fiction. That way my pen won’t rust. Or something.
  4. Suicide Girls. Okay, this seems like a stupid resolution, but I really want to join. I’ve always loved photography, even if it’s not something I would take on as a hobby, and I always wanted to model but been too short to do so. Thank you, asian ancestors. I also love the message the girls send about female empowerment, and ink and metal are my fortes.
  5. University. I don’t want my college career to be as much of a waste as my highschool one was. Therefore, I’m setting up the goal to maintain, if possible, a 4.0. I also secretly want to “be involved” whatever that means. I’ve always been told that “being involved” made you a better student and person all around, but never got around to it because I avoid people in groups like the plague.
  6. Relationships. This is a tough one for me. I have bad luck with relationships, I have to admit, and usually, I’m the one that screws it up. I attract the wrong kind of people and attention, and I’m often not as committed, or loyal as I should be. I’m in the first relationship in which I see a future so I’m hoping it stays that way. I also want to build better relationships with my family and with people in general. I need to break my anti-social shell or I’ll become a cat lady before i’m 20.
  7. Art. Art critics are even worse than literary critics, because art is supposed to be interpretable and there are no such things as “mistakes”. I found out the hard way that it’s the polar opposite, that art may be interpretable, but always full of mistakes and in need of sharpening. I propose to work on one peice of art a week to “sharpen” my skills, and follow a different artist a week, in order to avoid the rants of art critics (who themselves cannot produce art out of their arse). Ahem.
  8. Music. This is a silly goal that I made up just to see if I could do it, and that is: completely fill my 120 gig ipod. I’m at almost 50 now, so it shouldn’t be completely impossible.
  9. food. Starting Jan 1, I am going to go Vegetarian. It’s probably ridiculous, because I love meat more than anyone on this planet, but it’s not just a challenge, but it’s a healthier lifestyle. I can’t say I totally support the green people’s basis for vegetarianism, but I’m sure they won’t complain. I’m cutting out fast food, pop, junk food, and processed foods as well.
  10. more healthy shtuff. on top of the food changes, I plan on working out three times a week (which seems pretty easy), and cutting down on smoking (which seems hard as hell). I want to give up the habit altogether, but cold turkey is the devil, so I’m thinking easy does the trick.
  11. journaling. aside from this blog and notes i take, I want to start a daily journal. I read somewhere that all writers must keep a journal for their own purpose, to look back on and such. It’s always been tough for me to keep anything going for more than maybe a few weeks. This should be a challenge.
  12. job. after losing my job due to ludicrous bosses who may or may not have had it out to get me, I’ve remained unemployed now for two months. It’s a bummer. I want to find a job in this city now, or if not, by my university for the fall. I want to work at a secondhand bookstore or a small music store, but beggers cant be choosers.
  13. my self-consciousness. as outspoken and crazy as I seem, I hate crowds of people, people I don’t know, and I avoid them at all costs. I think I’m losing out by doing so, although I’m not exactly sure how. I want to be more comfortable being myself around other people, regardless of what I think they’ll think. Cause, who really gives a damn.

here’s to next year being a hit (: