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May 30th, Saint Joan


“Joan of Arc,” by Michael C. Hayes

Joan of Arc, a peasant girl living in medieval France, believed that God had chosen her to lead France to victory in its long-running war with England. With no military training, Joan convinced the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orléans, where it achieved a momentous victory over the English and their French allies, the Burgundians. After seeing the prince crowned King Charles VII, Joan was captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces, tried for witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431, at the age of 19. By the time she was officially canonized in 1920, the Maid of Orléans (as she was known) had long been considered one of history’s greatest saints, and an enduring symbol of French unity and nationalism.


Joan by Mjranum


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And Now For Something Completely Unexpected: KUNG FURY



Ashtray Chat Love Drax Music

Thank You Sky Gods: Rain at Last

Sometimes when aching so desperately for change in one’s present circumstances and when that change finally makes itself manifest, we’re so breathless and grateful that only shards of the past will serve as proper offerings of thanks. Even if it’s “just” rain.

Thank you Sky Gods.


Ashtray Chat Films



God’s Not Dead really moved and inspired me; it actually had me crying at the end, for reasons which involve many elements that this little film attempted to articulate, namely, contradiction.

“Contradiction and complexity are the only things worth writing about.” — me, circa late 90s, again and again.

Rest assured, this film did NOT turn me into a believer. No I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in god, not before, and not now, far from it. God’s Not Dead is a pop glossy Christian advert about a college student who is a devout believer and enters combative debates with his atheist professor. This fucking film trashes atheists to the point of bigotry; it contains many scenes that strain credulity; it actually concludes with the main characters cheering a Christian pop band with soaring anthemic guitars.

And I loved it.

Because it was the spirit of what the film attempted to communicate: Don’t give up. Don’t hate. Life on Earth is an amazing gift, and we should be whispering thanks with every given breath.

I am an Atheist. And a Humanist. And a Polytheist. And a Pagan. Are these contradictions? Yes. So what? “I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Harlan Ellison

Ayn Rand claimed there were no contradictions in nature. It’s too bad the bitch never understood human nature.

Anyway, this is a good movie. Check it out.


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X Minus One Radio


X Minus One aired on NBC [radio] from 24 April 55 until 9 January 58 for a total of 124 episodes with one pilot or audition story. There was a revival of the series in 1973 when radio was attempting to bring back radio drama and it lasted until 1975. The show occupied numerous time slots through out its run in the 50’s and thus was never able to generate a large following.

X Minus One was an extension of Dimension X which aired on NBC from 1950-51. The first fifteen scripts used for X Minus One were scripts used in the airing of Dimension X; however, it soon found its own little niche. The stories for the show came from two of the most popular science fiction magazines at the time; Astounding and Galaxy. Adaptations of these stories were performed by Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts. They even wrote a few original stories of their own. The writers of the magazine stories were not well known then but now are the giants of today. These stories came from the minds of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Poul Anderson to name a few.

This series has survived from its original airing in high quality to be enjoyed today.

X Minus One Archive

via The New York Times


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Kate Bush: The Hounds of Love / The Ninth Wave: Influence and Inspiration


EVEN AS A CHILD, before I had any concept of myself as a writer, or, heaven forbid, an “artist,” I understood the difference between Influence and Inspiration.

INFLUENCE is the shit you can’t choose or control. It’s your parents, your religion, the bully on the bus, the crappy books and comics and anime you devoured as a kid, the song you heard on the radio when you realized she doesn’t like you as the heavens opened up and a thunderstorm informed you exactly how small you are—these are influences you can’t control. Go ahead. Try it. Pick up that guitar, that stylus, that pen or pencil or keyboard: it doesn’t matter. Some of them are loved and some are hated, but you can’t escape them, your influences dictate every path you might choose in trying to craft and create “art.”

And it is the creation of “art” that this little essay is concerned with.

Because INSPIRATION is a completely different dimension; at least, it is to me. When a piece of art or writing or music “inspires” me, I’m pretty much in awe. I feel dazzled and humbled. I don’t want to try to copy or imitate it. Because it’s holy. Yes, I’m an atheist. Yet when I’m blown away by an incredible work of art, I have to resist the urge to cross myself. [See: Influences.] Then I am immediately strengthened and “inspired.” I think, A human being made this, a human being went THIS FAR.

And it makes me want to go that far, too. I want to run up that hill and make a deal with God. And tell him/her who’s who and what’s what.

Which is all about Kate Bush’s The Hounds of Love / The Ninth Wave.

They are essentially two albums. One disc, two albums. Side One, “The Hounds of Love” is a series of very clever and well-produced mid 80s pop songs. But Side Two, “The Ninth Wave,” my god…

As far as purveyors of dreams go, Jung, Freud, and David Lynch should all kneel at Kate Bush’s feet.

Throughout my very gloomy 20s, I listened to “The Ninth Wave” endlessly. It is a sequence of music and words and sounds that evoke a single night’s dreaming, a lifetime, a century, a history of a people, a psychic ache so intense and blazingly original that it should be put on the same shelf as The Beatles and Beethoven.

It inspired me.

I didn’t want to copy or steal anything from “The Ninth Wave.” It always left me with the feeling, “Wow. Human beings can be astonishing.” And I wanted to be astonishing, too.

So here’s to Kate. Thanks for reminding me.


Art/Roots Ashtray Chat cool shit

The Art of Johannes Theodorus ‘Jan’ Toorop

The vagabonds, 1891 Jan Toorop



Johannes Theodorus Toorop was born on 20 December 1858 in Purworejo on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).[1] His father was Christoffel Theodorus Toorop, a civil servant, and his mother was Maria Magdalena Cooke.[2] He was the third of five children and lived on the island of Bangka near Sumatra until he was nine years old.[3] He was then sent to school in Batavia on Java.[3]

In 1869 he left Indonesia for the Netherlands, where he studied in Delft and Amsterdam. In 1880 he became a student at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. From 1882 to 1886 he lived in Brussels where he joined Les XX (Les Vingts), a group of artists centred on James Ensor. Toorop worked in various styles during these years, such as Realism,Impressionism Neo-Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.

After his marriage to an Annie Hall, a British woman, in 1886, Toorop alternated his time between The Hague, England and Brussels, and after 1890 also the Dutch seaside town of Katwijk aan Zee. During this period he developed his unique Symbolist style, with dynamic, unpredictable lines based on Javanese motifs, highly stylised willowy figures, and curvilinear designs

In the late 19th century (in 1897) Toorop lived for 20 years in a small house on the market in the seaside town Domburg, Walcheren, Zeeland. He worked with a group of fellow artists, including Marinus Zwart and Piet Mondrian. There was no joint endeavor or common style among them. Each followed his individual personality, but they sought their inspiration in “the Zeeland Light”, in the dunes, forests, beaches and the characteristic Zeeland population. Toorop was the center of this group.

Thereafter he turned to Art Nouveau styles, in which a similar play of lines is used for decorative purposes, without any apparent symbolic meaning. In 1905, he converted to Catholicism and began producing religious works. He also created book illustrations, posters, and stained glass designs.

Throughout his life Toorop also produced portraits, in sketch format and as paintings, which range in style from highly realistic to impressionistic.

Toorop died on 3 March 1928 in The Hague in the Netherlands.[1] His daughter Charley Toorop (1891–1955) was also a painter, as was his grandson Edgar Fernhout.


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