November 30th; Monday. Read the wittily-named 'Science Fictions' by Stuart Ritchie, about fraud, negligence, and plagiarism in scientific journals. Rather amusingly, Ritchie mentions in passing both the global-warming campaign and early claims about covid-19 as examples of good science, but the main thrust of the book is sound. He not only gives detailed yet clear explanations of statistical significance (the fetish with a "p" value of 0.05), but covers the "file-drawer problem" of research left unpublished, the value of null results, the replication crisis, and the danger of small studies. The epilogue of suggestions he makes is good too, with several well-thought-out ideas as to how science publishing could reform itself.
November 29th; Sunday. Finish 'Financial Significations in Traditional Astrology' by Turkish astrologer Oner Doser. Part of any proper toolkit for financial astrology, this short book focuses on finding the decisive influences for business success in an individual's birth chart.
November 28th; Saturday. Read 'Sound Medicine' by Indian/US neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary. She integrates western medicine with traditional Ayurvedic healing practices, often involving sound and the chanting of mantras. She is a little harsh on the role of the British Raj in suppressing ancient Indian culture (seemingly unaware that by 1858, a date she mentions twice, Britain had been the influential power in India, through the East India Company, for a century already). From her photo it's clear that as well as clever, she's an extremely pretty girl, therefore perhaps high-caste. She gives a usefully clear overview of the chakra and body-sheath system, along with sounds and mantras linked to each one. At the same time she frequently mentions western research into the effect of sound on health & healing.
November 27th; Friday. Read 'The Third Man Factor', a curious examination of accounts from people who survive gruelling ordeals at sea, on mountainsides, in the polar wastes. In many cases these people at the very edge of death report hallucinating an invisible person (often just behind their right shoulder) who appears and begins calmly advising them step by step how to hang on, not lose hope, and get back to safety. The "Third Man" is usually the Second Man, appearing, and sometimes speaking, to an individual in desperate and utterly lonely circumstances, close to death. However, it gets more ineresting when two or three people sense the presence together. The effect got misnamed the "Third Man", after a gruelling ordeal polar explorer Shackleton and two companions experienced in the South Atlantic. So it was in fact a "Fourth Man" (confusingly rephrased as The Third Man by T.S. Eliot, when he wrote about the intense suffering Shackleton's team went through). Eliot's mistaken name stuck. In a couple of other cases, three or more men struggling to return from the wilderness hardly dare say aloud to each other (but finally do) that they can all sense there is one extra member on the team. In these terrible experiences, the illusion is so vivid that, if alone, the exhausted explorer or shipwreck victim often finds himself cutting an extra slice of food or sharing his last thermos flask of hot tea with the invisible adviser & helper. Again and again, survivors of this brush with death report the apparition or presence - often after days of helpful presence - vanishing without warning. Whereupon, seconds later, "real" people appear around a corner to help and rescue the desperate man.
November 26th; Thursday. Finish 'Chaos', a lengthy but fascinating re-examination of the murders in 1969 carried out by Charles Manson's "Family" cult. What horrified people at the time, aside from the frenzied barbarism of the killings, was the extraordinary level of control Manson seemed to have over his followers, many of them apparently inoffensive young girls until they came under his influence. (There are also intriguing hints that many Hollywood actors thought Polanski had in some eerie way brought the murder of Tate upon himself and her, the phrase "live freaky, die freaky" being repeatedly cited.)
The book is carefully researched, and the author Tom O'Neill digs out information (curiously overlooked by other chroniclers of the "Family" murders) about Manson and his girls, two years earlier, spending the 1967 summer in the Haight Ashbury area of San Francisco. While in SF Manson was regularly seeing two doctors (both called Smith) doing mildly covert research on mind control and drugs right there at the psychedelic, hippie-culture epicentre of the summer of love. Links back to CIA mind-control projects are carefully deduced, along with a lot of evidence that Manson and his group were in some way "protected", again and again being let go by police after serious crimes. A very interesting book, which is engrossing and, within its true-crime/cover-up genre, genuinely scholarly.
November 25th; Wednesday. Finish 'Covid-19: The Great Reset', a July 2020 book by Klaus Schwab, the man who held a seminar in October 2019 called 'Event 201' (involving John Hopkins School of Public Health) and a previous event called 'Clade X' in May 2018, also involving John Hopkins. Both events were about how convenient it would be if there was a global pandemic and the world economy could be rearranged as a result. Third time lucky perhaps? Certainly, Schwab has been pushing this idea for a few years. Much of the rhetoric and deeply misguided (or guided?) over-reaction of governments around the world this year was extensively practised in previous simulations.
'The Great Reset' is a sly and deeply dishonest book, with one rhetorical trick repeated over and over again. The trick is to start a paragraph with some assertion, wax fairly alarmist about it, and then scale back with a hedging sentence at the close to create the semblance of moderation and caution. This trimming of the prose to make the book look like the punchy-but-reasonable Blue Sky Thinking it poses as might have been the contribution of Schwab's co-author Thierry Malleret. Or rather Mary Anne Malleret, I assume a relative of Thierry, only named in the back. Rather sweetly, Thierry & Mary Anne are more publicly the co-authors of a little feel-good book about how we would be healthier and happier if we went for a walk each day, which has a doubtless avuncular preface by Klaus Schwab.
In any case, 'The Great Reset', written this June, spends several pages discussing how the disproportionate rates of death for African Americans from covid-19 prove the truth of social & economic disadvantage that fuelled the Black Lives Matter riots. Schwab po-facedly cites the death of George Floyd as an example of racist policing in the US, nowhere in the text noting that moments before arrest Floyd, known as a violent criminal, took a lethal dose of fentanyl and was complaining of being unable to breathe already before police officers had touched him. Nor do Schwab and Malleret mention that chronic vitamin-D deficiency in people with black and brown skin at temperate latitudes like New York and London (known already in April this year) was the reason for dark-skinned hospital workers dying in high numbers after contact with the covid virus. Since the spring we've known that covid-19 is very dangerous to people with low stocks of vitamin D in their bodies. In retrospect it should have been obvious that it wasn't a socioeconomic bias, since dark-skinned hospital cleaners on low wages and dark-skinned consultant doctors on high wages were alike falling victim to the disease.
In many places, the global warming scare is mentioned almost nostalgically, as the Reichstag Fire that didn't quite work - or not yet. It comes over as a fine idea that can be revived once a virus scare has put the power to censor and muzzle dissidents into the hands of global managers, with no corner of the world beyond their reach. There are frequent references to the innocent-sounding phrase "global governance deficit" - as if most of history had a global governance surplus? Of course, had there been a single global government in previous centuries or millennia, it would have been something controlled by one or other Oriental despot, perhaps a Chinese emperor or Mongol warlord. Schwab and Malleret make the briefest of mentions of 2019's "Event 201" or 2018's "Clade X" simulations, both involving him and arguing that (1) the world is unprepared for a major pandemic, and that (2) the shock of such a pandemic would be a wonderful opportunity to overwhelm opposition to world government and push the putsch through. The default claim of the book is that along came covid-19, and Schwab saw both a peril and an opportunity. Although of course, if challenged in an interview, Schwab's position would shift slightly and he would calmly concede his earlier interest in the opportunity/challenge trade-off of pandemics.
There are frequent repetitions of phrases like "nothing can be the same again", "covid-19 has found the world unprepared", and "nothing like this crisis has happened before", followed up (because they have to be) with moderating sentences which all but admit that things could easily be the same again, the world wasn't unprepared at all, and very many pandemics before this one were orders of magnitude worse. Many references to the speed of infection are made, along with mentions of the Black Death and other plagues. These episodes from history unwittingly reveal that without aeroplanes, previous plagues circled the globe at about the same speed as this one. There is also dodging around the fact those earlier pestilences killed proportions of the population (such as 3 people out of every 10) thousands of times larger than covid-19 (3 out of every 10,000). So the text dances around references to bubonic plague, using them to make the book's thesis sound impressive, serious, disturbing. The text then carefully steps away from them again, because the comparison is so outrageously exaggerated it has to be downplayed - after being invoked - to maintain credibility.
The book was clearly written in a big hurry, perhaps because he is, however hale and hearty, in his early 80s. Despite his back list of ambitious management books (eg. in 2016 The Fourth Industrial Revolution) Schwab's grasp of economics is weak. He keeps describing "capitalism" (one assumes that, like Marx, he thinks it's a kind of "system") as flawed and in need of reform when the data if anything say the opposite. Free trade and private property have achieved enormous good, and its basic principles need to be rescued from stateist reformers, smart-alec leftists, and people like Schwab. Schwab has since the 1970s lauded the idea of "stakeholder capitalism", which seems particularly hostile to small firms, the real driving force of all the good that free trade does. He has a special bee in his bonnet about share buybacks, presumably because he dislikes the idea of owners owning things without permission from governments, and being paid by the businesses they create. It's well hidden, but he dislikes traders & merchants as a class. Traders, it's explained, often opposed government-mandated quarantines and travel restrictions in those earlier (thousands of times more serious) plagues he and Malleret like to mention. So we readers can see how important it is to overrule them and keep them under control.
In short, the book is a "technocratic" manifesto for taking over the world, disguised as a management-seminar love-in with ecological greenery, "social justice", and "fairness". What 'social justice' means is not explicitly sketched out, but seems to entail business owners not really owning things so clearly any more, while governments and international bodies get (in an irreversible transfer) a great deal more power over all of us.
November 24th; Tuesday. Perhaps a week ago I woke out of a very realistic-feeling dream, itself about waking up. I am both "in" the dream, and watching it from above, like a fashion photographer. I'm in a large bed with someone else's hair all over my face. I wake up into the dream, both feeling the tickle of the sleeping lass's tumbling mass of chestnut tresses, blowing through my nose and mouth to get her locks off my face, and seeing it from above. She continues to sleep. She is wearing a crisp white linen Victorian blouse buttoned up to the throat with long baggy sleeves, and she has both arms loosely linked around my waist as she sleeps. Like a 3 or 4-second film leading up to a still photo. I increasingly get these, which feel like overheard dreams, somehow coming from someone else's head, like accidentally tuning into an unknown radio or television station.
Interesting look back at a previous virus panic and rushed-through vaccine scare.
November 23rd; Monday. A couple of weeks ago, Andras took me to Sunday evening mass at a nearby church where a young mother on our bench was struggling a little with two adorably bored tots who kept clambering around under the seats around the pews. Father arrives and the two toddlers continue to play quietly while the parents try to gently get them sitting still. At one point the younger child, perhaps 3 years old, comes down the bench towards us, holding out her father's wallet to me as an offering, smiling and making friendly little noises all the time. Half an hour later I'm shouting at a cat lady in the hallway of Andras's building (she pushed the main door closed against me, almost trapping my hand) and Andras ruefully tells me she once gave him a kitten a few years earlier called Bun (or Breadroll, "Zsemle"). I guess The Enemy is everywhere, as The Evangelical Blonde said to me a decade back.
Our collaborator zerohedge, with news about Biden-family links to China & Russia.
November 22nd; Sunday. The vital topic of 'human pups'.
November 21st; Saturday. Andras returns from the monastery. I finish the curious book of Thackeray essays I found at the mobile book stall in the next street a couple of weeks ago. 'The Book of Snobs' is a compilation of weekly articles (humour about snobbery, unsurprisingly) written for one whole year in Punch magazine and published in book form in 1846. The dark flesh-coloured hardback I now have was republished in 1959 in Moscow by a Soviet Russian firm (The Foreign Languages Publishing House). I dearly wish I could read the 9-page introduction at the front and the 33-page footnotes at the back in Cyrillic Russian, framing and explaining the document laid out in between the two (doubtless described as "bourgeois capitalist"). Hard not to admire the seriousness with which Russians, then and now, struggle to master foreign languages to the degree of familiarising themselves with (in 1959) 100-year-old texts like this. The text between preserves original typesetting, spelling, dotted with 9 or 10 quasi-humorous drawings from the columns as they appeared, I assume. Would that we would study our own recent past with the reverential earnestness of those Soviet students. Imagine them stoically plodding through these foreign pieces of 1840s British humour and social observation. The occasional mysterious, or just-known, word or term gave it a haunting almost-foreign feel for me.
For example, look at this section:
"He had brought them thither in the light-blue fly, waiting at the Club door; with Mrs Chuff's hobbadehoy footboy on the box, by the side of the flyman, in a sham livery. Nelson Collingwood; pretty Mrs Sackville; Mrs Captain Chuff (Mrs Commodore Chuff we call her), were all there; the latter of course, in the vermilion tabinet --" I know a fly is a type of carriage, but 'hobbadehoy' and 'tabinet' were certainly new to me. Poor Soviet language students! Then there are expressions in quite plain English, but with some nuance missing, needing to be deduced.
Such as this, a typical monologue from a club bore giving his inside knowledge of a noblewoman having received a lashing with a knout at the Russian Embassy contains the following:
"Why wasn't the Princess Scragamoffsky at Lady Palmerston's party, Minns? Because she can't show
[Thackeray's italics] - and why can't she show? Shall I tell you, Minns, why she can't show? The Princess Scragamoffsky's back is flayed alive, Minns - I tell you it's raw, sir! On Tuesday last, at twelve o'clock, three drummers of the Preobajinsk Regiment arrived at Ashburnham House, and at half past twelve, in the yellow drawing room at the Russian Embassy, before the Ambassadress and four ladies'-maids, the Greek Papa, and the Secretary of Embassy, Madame de Scragamoffsky received thirteen dozen. She was knouted, Sir - knouted in the midst of England - for having said the Grand Duchess Olga's hair was red."
The missing nuance would explain what "she can't show" means. It must have been a common phrase every reader would have understood - he uses it three times. From that story I'm guessing it either means the woman cannot "appear at public events" or more precisely cannot "wear a backless dress". My hunch is the second, but of course I don't know. If that was it, the simplicity of the phrase tells us it mattered if a woman was able to show off the beauty of her almost-bare back, that this had social or fashion importance. Gory but fascinating detail - the book is crammed with sentences like this where you can fool yourself you understood, but if truth be told, you can't be sure. The effect is a glimpse of the language just close enough to be familiar, but far enough into the past to have a scent of the alien.
November 20th; Friday. Pick up Schwab's 'Great Reset' book from the bookshop near the cathedral. Recommended by the Nigel of Light, this article about what physicists think particles are is very rewarding & readable.
November 19th; Thursday. Press conference by Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and other lawyers explain their Kraken US election cheating claims in more detail.
November 18th; Wednesday. Election-fraud discussions zoom in on the Dominion software. Vote-tampering seems to have been substantial & organised.
Shifting of the votes /
Slideshow explaining the numbers /
More about Powell versus the reporters.
November 17th; Tuesday. Dave Brubeck's quartet supposedly playing Golden Brown, ++, 20 years before it was written. A set of sound snippets lovingly restitched on editing software, I imagine.
November 16th; Monday. In support of this lady and her fetching southern accent comes a character defence.
November 15th; Sunday. A lady lawyer in her sixties (the attorney for General Flynn, an early victim of the 2016/17 Russian-hacker fabrication) has started rather lyrically threatening to "Release the Kraken." She says she has enormous quantities of testimony, affadavits etc, from witnesses seeing organised vote-tampering in the presidential election 12 days ago. My memory of krakens is pretty much limited to reading the John Wyndham novel (to mother's mild concern) when I was 8? 9?, right in my full-on sci-fi era.
November 14th; Saturday. Trailer for a perhaps rather wonderful recent film: 'Last and First Men', 2020. Essentially, it's an orchestral score set over brooding footage of communist-era sculptures/monuments in Yugoslavia, with a woman's voice reading out passages from a 1930s science-fiction novel. Here's a one-minute snatch of it as a trailer. The next is a seven-minute piece of what looks like a longer documentary about the making of the film.
November 13th; Friday. Vulpeck, putting jazz back into funk (am I allowed to say that?). Three seemingly, or partly, improvised tunes:
Disco Ulysees /
Dean Town /
Cory Wong. Musicianship much admired by some performers I've met.
November 12th; Thursday. The Spectator asks whether the silly masks help? Danish study says no.
November 11th; Wednesday. An early Knower song, when the duo looked young and innocent: Things About You.
November 10th; Tuesday. Andras sets off for his retreat at the monastery. A nice historical article from Newsweek, from before this year: the top 5 rigged presidential elections in US history.
November 9th; Monday. Here is a looped mini-film of something hovering in the garden. One of the things you can make if you have the right graphics software. A sort of rotating blossom made out of drinking straws.
November 8th; Sunday. Excitement continues over the US elections. Even more implausibly, it seems the Republicans have increased their numbers in both chambers of Congress yet late-arriving votes somehow changed an expected win for Trump as president into a win for Biden. Here's another summary of why the presidential results look so suspicious in a handful of deciding states.
November 7th; Saturday. Two trailers for films about contemporary art: a fairly high-budget-ish offering about a living artist and a collector, with what looks like might be good acting by Mick Jagger. That one's called The Burnt Orange Heresy. The second, recommended by Andras, is a film about a Swedish modern-art museum director called The Square.
November 6th; Friday. Anecdotal claims of vote-tampering, observer-exclusion, ballot-stuffing pouring in now from the US election. Looks like Trump's widely aired worries earlier this year, that the Democrats would do large-scale organised cheating in the election, were justified. One legal group has been examining voter rolls. Ron Paul explains "ballot harvesting". An overview of vote-rigging claims.
November 5th; Thursday. Remember, remember, the fifth of November - gunpowder, treason, and plot.
November 4th; Wednesday. Fascinating stories of shenanigans last night in US swing states. Widespread reports of extra boxes of postal votes arriving at counting stations at curious hours like 4am, just in time to reverse majorities building for El Trumpo. Claims by Republican election observers of being kept outside counting stations, or let in but physically blocked from inspecting ballots close up.
From earlier, when the election still looked relatively normal.
November 3rd; Tuesday. USA population goes to vote on their traditional day. Always thought the Continental European habit of voting on Sunday implied that the post-French-Revolution republics subconsciously thought they'd replaced Christianity with their own modernised state worship.
November 2nd; Monday. Strange event in Vienna, where a handful of radical Islamists exchange fire with police, killing 4 people.
November 1st; Sunday. Andras is puzzled I suggest visiting the (now nearby) candelit Day-of-the-Dead cemetery goings-on.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com