Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mary Make-Belive starring as "Bossy Boots" in Captain Tomorrow and the Star Rangers

A little hair dye, a cute cowgirl outfit, and Mary Make-Believe is transformed into "Bossy Boots", Captain Tomorrow's best gal.

For further adventures of Captain Tomorrow, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

All (known) bodies in our solar system larger than 200 miles in diameter

Click picture for full view.  Click HERE for larger images and descriptive labels.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Emanations: Third Eye review by Phillip Somozo

Terrance Lindall has sent me a copy of Phillip Somozo's review of Emanations: Third Eye.  Over the next several days I shall read it carefully as I consider a response. I hesitate to say anything before I have fully digested Mr. Somozo's comments; however, I should point out that the introduction is a collaboration and I am one of many contributors. Credit for the introduction is shared with Bienvenido "Bones" Banez, M-A Berthier, Mike Chivers, Horace Jeffery Hodges, Terrance Lidndall, Devashish Makhija, Chris Matthews, Martin McPhillips, Vitasta Raina, Don Tinsley, and Hayden Westfield-Bell.  Horace Jeffery Hodges has read Mr. Somozo's comments and has posted a few observations in his blog, Gypsy Scholarship

Here is the review:

Emanations: Third Eye anthology by International Authors introduces Surrealmageddon of Davao surrealist

By Phillip Somozo

This Filipino artist is considered one of the world’s top contemporary surrealists as published in high-end Art & Antiques Magazine in New York.[1] His bio-data appeared along with surrealism immortals Salvador Dali, Ernst Fuchs, and Hieronymus Bosch in the Lexicon Surreal.[2]

Bienvenido “Bones” Banez, of Davao, after having accomplished what no other Filipino had achieved, continues to impress intellectuals in the surreal art world.

Surrealmageddon (surreal + Armageddon), a term Banez coined to describe his phantasmagoric vision of the final battle between good and evil, was picked up by books author Carter Kaplan who used it as introductory title for his anthology Emanations: Third Eye,[3]  third of a series.  This reviewer is motivated by Kaplan’s reception of Banez’s Surrealmageddon to scrutinize the former’s introduction to Emanations: Third Eye. 

Carter Kaplan, Ph.D.

Carter Kaplan is an American professor who had taught English and Philosophy for 30 years in many U.S. Colleges and in Scotland. He is a poet and had written a number of novels with philosophical and mythological themes. 

Describing Banez as “pioneering philosopher of Surrealmageddon,” Kaplan considers the Dabawenyo’s vision of apocalyptic psychedelia as “a catalytic spec floating in the global crucible of morphing civilizations.” What shapes the future, Kaplan rationalizes, is the global consumerist culture and he admits it doesn’t seem very bright. Self-destruction, he elaborates, is built-in in the Homo s. sapiens because of greediness which, in the civilized world, is considered “not insanity.”

Kaplan's introduction, in effect, also concludes his interpretation of the anthology (subtitled Art of Ecstasy and the Ecstasy of Experiment) in the context of collective human thought deciding its own destiny. It is remarkable Kaplan corroborates Banez's cataclysmic semanticism.

The union of the terms surreal and Armageddon, a brilliant etymological updating, by Banez, modernized its semantic significance by redefining modernism's pinnacle to which society prophetically (and now affirmed by Kaplan’s sound psychosocial arguments) is heading. The term could had been invented by Saint John the Apostle two millennia ago, if only John had knowledge of modern behavioral psychology and social dialectics. Bridging the gap between Prophet John and hermeneutic surrealist Bienvenido “Bones” Banez is artistic evolution.

Yet, I am sure not everyone agrees with Kaplan and Banez, not the inventors of artificial life-support systems (e.g. biotech, genetic engineering, transhumanism) who aim to perpetuate human life regardless if they have to alter nature, and the vested corporates who tweaked the nostril of the planetary Tao so that it has been desperately sniffing for the vanishing direction to its future since Modernism dawned.

Not even New Age thinkers, Armageddon advocates they are, will completely agree with Kaplan, as this reviewer cannot agree with him at some points of his perspective that are inconsistent to verifiable objective reality. His weakness lies in treating all human effort —sacred to sacrilege—as a continuum of futility and spreads it out like mayo over the proto-host for Surrealmageddon to consume. Here, his introduction runs digressive from the original, pure concept of Third Eye. 

But why the heck should a self-respecting author who is not profit-motivated write to please anyone in a society reeling with greed and wanton environmental destruction? There, Kaplan erects a sneering totem pole of his personal virtue.      

The International Authors

The tales, poems, and visuals featured in the Emanations series consist an international literary and artistic vintage that to Kaplan represents the gamut of human planetary experience—a claim that could stand up better if challenged and overcomes it.

The use of the term Third Eye for the third volume's title suggests of the translogical vision that alone can penetrate the depth of subtly illuminated archetypes and spiritual realms. It is the unique Eye of the Spirit the awakening of which sees the integrity of the Cosmos, the portal to Sahaj Samadhi, or Nirvana, that receives rapturous emanations countless-fold higher charged than Genghis Khan's best orgasm in his matchless harem of hundreds of inter-racially sourced women. Its vision can diagnose diseases wholistically, social or of individuals.

Divine intoxication is its primary symptom. Those who have tasted its nectar, like India’s six Goswamis, knowingly and sweetly smile while respectfully bowing their heads down at each other in Namaste.

The forty-plus Emanations international authors[4] (contemporary cream-of-the-crop of poets, fictionists, and illustrators, including Kaplan), on the other hand, define the Third Eye (or I) as the “ocular stage upon which we perceive this enfolding process,” referring to the human role as witnesses and/or interpreters of the initial formation of the universe and the phenomenon of life and evolution which, they admit, are paradoxically parts of our manifold selves. This all-inclusive definition reminds the reviewer not to hastily make generalizations about the prolifically diverse international authors. When discoursed, however, solely with academic terms, the mystique of Third Eye as title is shrouded, which is what Kaplan did.

Facing the chasm at the philosophical boundary where mystery blurs the dualistic, objective approach to knowing, Kaplan fails to see beyond and cowers to jump across the abyss to find out what is behind the fog. Instead he takes refuge in deconstructonism and mathematical reconfiguration to come up with his darker version of Surrealmageddon, which sounds more of ultimate doom than prelude to the establishment of a new age.

With his implied unbelief in Intelligence behind the universe and lack of faith in humanity, he denies stratified cosmic reality, flattening the entire universe into nothing else but matter hopelessly heading into collision with one another. His deep-seated skepticism even makes him paranoid of meteor showers hitting the Earth. With this subliminal fear under his breath how can he be a possessor of Third Eye self-realization?

Being an English professor Kaplan is quite aware of virtues borne by myths but cites the loss of its functionality in the modern world. Then he throws a jab, below the belt, by putting the blame on shamans and mystics who to him are flirting with insanity to the dilution of reality. We should accept greediness for it is civilized but spirituality and myths are a savage way of cooking us, he tells readers.

Following his logic we need not protest the greediness of the 1% (Occupy Wall St.) regardless of its domino effect on environment and society. Foremost is freedom from myth.  Greed’s empire—its structures and institutions that are raking in the profit—is a formidable opponent compared to the vestiges of shamans and mystics. So, for Kaplan, it is better to detoxify our sense of righteousness by electrolyzing myth from reality.

Kaplan is well-advised to take a solo intercontinental flight to Africa. If his plane is shot at over Syria, more likely than not, the weapon used is Made in U.S.A. If he crashes in the rainforest of Central Africa it would be to his gratification to complete the crash with his demise because, if he survives, he would find it totally ego-crushing to accept the long-running wisdom of indigenous pygmies as his salvation, a wisdom built by Nature’s ways and securely woven with the fabric of what he calls myth.

At best Kaplan is an agnostic.

Surely, all of Emanation's international authors will easily hurdle tests for the dialogical and hermeneutic Eye of the Mind, which looks inward at images, symbols, thoughts, and feelings—the second level of knowing, the first being the outward-looking, monological eye of the flesh, which any sane being cannot mistake (The Marriage of Sense and Soul, Ken Wilber).

Considering the rarity of the age-old Third Eye, Kaplan’s reductionist interpretation of reality, and the global village we now live in, I am afraid the consenting international authors will not pass an optical test of the sort. His verbosity reveals an imaginative and prolific intellect on an eccentric evolutionary trajectory gobbling information along the way, makes calculations, and comes up with a mathematical equation reducing human evolutionary accomplishment with ultimate doom.

Had he the gift of a wakening Third Eye, he would have jumped the chasm, discovered mystical profundity, accurately diagnosed the human problem, and pointed at the solution. Greed, for one, has been diagnosed since time immemorial by mystics as misdirected human yearning for the infinite Divine.

A soul illumined by the Third Eye is necessarily on a culminating swing from complexity toward simplicity, one-pointedness, self-contentment, renunciation…peace. Which was why Saint John the Prophet chucked away his writing tool and hid his manuscripts inside jars after having said his New Age piece and fearlessly faced the ax, or hangman's tree?

Experiencing the awakening of the Third Eye is the only way of understanding it. It is real and replicable because master mystics can transfer the experience to their pupils. The academic method meanwhile is like a balloon that could only hang around in the lower layer of Earth’s atmosphere, so to speak.

The Teeming Cosmos

What I like best in Kaplan's introduction is his last sentence, of the universe “possessing elements (conscious or otherwise) that are determined to struggle, shove, claw, fight, compete, cheat, consume, procreate, expand, and—in whatever form—survive” for this is veritably a perfect picture of material energy having just fallen from God’s grace. There is more to this evolutionary narrative.

The universe undeniably is expanding and evolving, precisely why we are here with inexplicable pineal glands lodged in our brains. Ancient wisdom says it is the physical base for our contact point with the Macrocosmic Mind—the crack (Third Eye) through which spiritual enlightenment gets in (Anthem, Leonard Cohen).

Do you now have a hunch why during spiritual ecstasy a mystic’s irises roll up the eyeballs?  Ever wonder why during human sexual orgasm irises too roll up while the subject exclaims “Oh, my God!”? There is more to it than coincidence but I am not suggesting substitution of various bedroom positions in place of attending Sunday church service, temple worship, or kneeling on the rug for prayer.

What sustains the universe is not competition or Darwin's outmoded survival of the fittest. The sustaining factors of the universe, other than the four constants of gravity, electromagnetism, and the equilibrium of strong and weak nuclear forces, are the creative moments that brought forth life and consciousness from practically 0.000 probability.

This means from out of chaos, the competing quarks, atoms, molecules, and cells, learned to converge and cooperate with each other to form larger, more complex systems, i.e. tissues, organs, organisms.  At this point of human development we now have culture, a vehicle for greater cooperation and co-creation. The universe took an exponential leap in reversing zero probability into endless possibilities with human consciousness around.

Kaplan, himself, demonstrated that same converging and cooperating characteristic by anthologizing international authors. Society needs a new breed of politicians, businessmen, and cultural workers to effect positive social change (Shaping Globalization, Nicanor Perlas, 2000). With the neo-shamanic apocalyptic art of the international authors Kaplan places his hopes of exorcising myth from reality—a sign of not having completely lost faith in humanity. It affects the product quality of one’s gonads, you know, again, mind over matter.

O descendants of Narcissus, in each of your genes are recorded lessons-learned called instincts accumulated through countless lifetimes and forms.  Death is not annihilation of existence. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transform. The persona with its etheric karmic baggage will, at another time, some place somewhere in this versatile multiverse, reincarnate to continue its journey to perfection. Forgetfulness is not knowing enough of the true Self.

If self-destruction is inherent in Man, so is the propensity for self-sustainability. These two archaic traits, having walked away toward opposite directions from a common point, took an about-turn, and will try to outdraw each other in Surrealmageddon—the modern world’s Battle of Kurukshetra. Whether you are fundamentalist or postmodernist, it will blast your doors, windows, and walls, physically or metaphorically, as evolutionary process.
Evolution will sweep away what is not aligned to its grand purpose. Surrealmageddon will cause a differentiation of the Homo s. sapiens leading to the development of a species more attuned to seeking harmony, cooperation, and love. Are not these qualities relevant to the Sermon of the Mount?

Banez’s Surrealmageddon deserves profound interpretation to cement its place as over-all evolutionary cleansing and the rise of neo-humanity. Emanations the series deserves a fourth volume to do justice to the divine experiences of prophets, saints, holy men, mystics, shamans, and even seculars who are privileged to receive such gifts.

[1] What’s New with Surrealism, Terrance Lindall, Art & Antiques Magazine, March 2006, Vol. XXIX, No. 3, p.186, New York,
[2] Lexicon Surreal, Edited by Gerard Habarta, Vienna, Austria, 2009
[3] For more Emanations details visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Someday Dream now available

Someday Dream, Vitasta Raina's new collection of poetry is now available. If you happen to be in New Deli checking out the highbrow scene, you can purchase a copy from the Sahitya Akademi book store, here.   Otherwise, read excerpts from A. J. Thomas's introduction and glance through the book's illustrations here

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Emanations: Third Eye on the reading list at Kent State University

As I reported last April, Professor Donald "Mack" Hassler of Kent State University used the International Authors anthology of fiction, poetry and essays, Emanations: Second Sight in his Honors Colloquium.  This year, Mack is using the latest volume of the anthology, Emanations: Third Eye.  I am looking forward to visiting with the class later this month to discuss the project.  Here is the syllabus for the course:
Honors Colloquium                                                                    Spring 2014

Office: 205D SFH;
Hours: By appointment or Tuesday/ Thursday right after class


Grossman, ed.  Sense of Wonder, Wildside Press (same huge collection used last term).
Carter Kaplan, ed.  Emanations: Third Eye, International Authors, 2013.

Readings We Will Undertake:

      We will continue the study of “genre” and, in particular, read and discuss several pieces in the latter half of Grossman.  I anticipate roughly six weeks on this section that will help us to get to know one another again.
      T.S. Eliot has the notion that “April is the cruelest month.”  But we will begin well ahead of April in early March with a consideration of the Kaplan anthology and  the variety of writing possibilities, some of them creative writing.   On this continual issue of writing for people to read, I assigned some of my own poems to a class years ago; and at the end of that term found inscribed on the wall of the Men’s Room in Satterfield Hall the following couplet that I swear I did not write myself:  “I’d rather fight a dirty razzler/ Than read a poem by Donald Hassler.”

Individual Papers and Journal Writing

Everything you will write for this second half of Colloquium, like everything you wrote last term, makes use of first-person point of view, or your own voice.   Most of the writing assignments will be short essays where you will want to show off your mastery of sentence writing, transition, tone, as well as consistent and meaningful ideas.  Further and in order to keep writing at least something each week, you should keep a journal with an entry each week on the reading and the discussion in class.  These weekly entries may be kept electronically in something such as “my documents,” or you can get a little blank book and keep your entries in your handwriting there.  When I assign polished writings for you to submit, the prompts will refer to your journal work.   At the end of the term, I will collect the journals in paper form (you will have to print out your journal if you are keeping it electronically); and the journals will figure in your final grade.

Administrative and Assessment Details:

The four key points in this section of the syllabus are identical to the same points on the syllabus for Fall.   (I will see anyone new this term receives a copy of the Fall syllabus.)