Easter Astronomy and Sunken City update

Happy Easter!

As we all learned in school, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the third full moon during a conjunction of Saturn and Mercury in the constellation Ursa Minor … ok, I’m confused; what this has to do with chocolate rabbits, I don’t know.

Hopefully this article can explain.

Okay, simple enough – something something … ooh, the equinox!  Now we’re cooking!  The equinox falls halfway between the solstices, when day and night are equally long.  From here, the days will begin to get longer, leading up to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

If you were the type of person (i.e., one with more patience than I’ve ever had, and also one with a fancy camera) who would take a picture of the sun at its highest point in the sky, every day, and then superimpose those pictures, you’d get something called an annalemma:

tutulemma2_tezel_big

The point where the figure eight meets are the equinoxes; the sun crosses once in the spring and once in the fall.

Unless, of course, Mithra held the world still, and the sun traced that path in a single day.  Imagine looking up and seeing the sun and stars all superimposed on the twilight sky … that’s the stuff of nightmares.  Or religions …

… but until then, it’s time for boiled eggs and chocolate rabbits, because it’s the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox …

ech.  My head hurts.  Simple version:

Easter is when the stars are right.

Speaking of eldritch monstrosities, Frogwares Games has an update on Sunken City.  I think their focus on urban design (if you notice, the writer has a PhD in urban planning, which is more qualification than I will ever have for anything) is a good sign they’re on the right track.  Lovecraft and I share a passion for urban landscapes.  For me, it’s not as much the architecture as the possibility of discovering some secret place – a hidden street, an unusual house (which could only be, at minimum, the lair of a sinister haunt) or even a hidden time: a quality to the gloaming of a spring evening as the lights in the distance can suddenly cross darkened space to impress themselves upon you.  I’m even starting to sound like him, don’t I?

The level of thought they’re putting into the geography means they’ve hopefully caught some of what Lovecraft was really about, which wasn’t always tentacles and aliens, but an overwhelming sense of place.

But that’s not until 2017.  In the meantime, let’s celebrate the rebirth of nature by eating baby chickens.  Never made sense to me.

 

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Killin’ Time in Fallout 4

I’m sick.  My eyeballs ache.  Can’t breathe.  Can’t sleep.  It’s two in the morning and I’m lying here in bed staring at the wall.  The only reason the tick-tick-tick of the clock isn’t driving me crazy is ’cause I can’t hear it over the sound of my heart jackhammering in my chest.

Everyone in Alturas has whatever this is.  We think it might be some kind of Army experimental bioweapon.  I finally gave up and went to see the doctor.

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“I think it’s zikebola, doc.  Is this the end?”

Hendra hell should I know?” he said.  He checked my pulse.  “I’ll tell you this, you’re beri beri ill.”

“Well, you know what they say about a sick chemist…” I said.

th (3)

“Get out of my office.”

I finally managed to get to sleep, mostly by thinking naughty thoughts about Overseer McNamara…

Overseer

There’s just something about her … of course, she’s a redhead 1 … and she wears her hair in a bun … kind of a librarian thing going on, really.  A 50’s retro librarian.  Which is all that is good in life.  Which is why I’m kind of excited for Automatron, ’cause even through robots aren’t really on my bucket list (pun intended) it has that retro feel that I’m all about.

fallout-4-automatron

So I just managed to drift into blissful slumber when I hear …

“Meow.”  “Meow” “meowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeow…”

Silver woke up and realized no one was paying attention to her.  She doesn’t want anything, per se, but she’ll keep making noise until I get up and go in the other room to be with her.  It’s the cat equivalent of:

Dad
Dad
Dad

What!!?!

Hi.

The odds of me going back to sleep are about the same as this flu not being spread by black helicopters, so I  figure I might as well just kill some time playing Fallout.

I went over to Sanctuary to see what was happening, but they were all wacked out on something Mama Murphy brewed up:

2016-03-05_00003

So I just grabbed Piper and headed out.

I was going to try to romance Curie first, since I didn’t do that in my initial game, but it turns out that you can’t help Curie become a real girl until you complete the Dangerous Minds quest, because even if you go to the Memory Den, Dr. Amari doesn’t do anything but smoke insolently and make derogatory comments about your intellect.

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Not that much different than in the main quest, actually.

So I left Curie … holy crap, where DID I leave Curie?  I think it was the Castle.  I hope it was the Castle.  Well, there’s a quest line I may not be completing.

So instead, I stopped by Diamond City and met Piper, then relived those glorious first few moments when she acts like someone’s crazy aunt.

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I am EMOTING, here!
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“Oh God!  Quick kids, hide the steak knives!”

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I’m all for some melodrama, but Piper – you know that hole in the Diamond City wall?  I’m pretty sure it’s only there because you chewed through the scenery.

But after that first date awkwardness, she calmed down quite a bit.  I dunno – maybe she was just jonesing for a smoke.

2015-12-13_00012

But I still couldn’t get Overseer McNamara off my mind … I finally decided to head over to Longneck Lukowski’s Cannery and see if I could get Trader Rylee to come work for me … I figured, now I had the 9 charisma (thanks to the power of console commands), had a perk in Local Leader, and was the hero of Vault 81, it should be a piece of cake, right?

No.

Hey, Rylee –

20160319163532_1

You might

20160319163527_1

wanna try

20160319163625_1toning down the …

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would you hold still?  I’mtrying to talk to you, and you are pacing around me like a tweaker looking for a pack of smokes.

20160319163524_1
Speed kills, Rylee

I finally shot her with a thorazine dart; that slowed her down enough I could engage her in dialogue.  I got:

20160319163628_1

Notice there is no option for “come work for me,” or to open a trade route to my settlements, or to come live with me and be my love.  She just tells you about Vault 81 and then tries to sell you toy cars and used ashtrays.  If I needed that, I’d start going to the flea market again.

Dammit, Rylee!

Turns out you need to have like 3 levels in Local Leader, enough to build a Trading Emporium at a settlement.  But don’t bother telling that to my heart … it can’t hear you anyway, what with the 83 pulse from the zikebola virus.  Me?  I’m going back to bed.

 

  1. “Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.” –Lucille Ball

The Council of Nicea, Part II: Easter

As we discussed in a previous post, Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea for two reasons:

  1.  To decide which version of Christianity would be considered orthodox, and which would be condemned as heresies.  In the process, the books of the Bible were canonized.
  2. To rewrite the story of Christianity in order to serve his agenda.

What did Constantine need to hide?

We know that due to a “mistranslation” in Matthew (actually done at Constantine’s express orders) Jesus’ promise to turn his followers into “fish-men” – that is, Deep One hybrids – was taken to mean “fishers of men.”

As a consequence, many of Jesus’ promises – or bribes, might be more accurate – had to be reinterpreted to align with the new Roman Christianity.  For example, Christ’s promise of eternal life was obviously meant to apply to the children of these abominable unions – the undying hybrid spawn of the disciples and the Deep Ones lurking in their cities just off the Mediterranean coast.

We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.

— -HP Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Similarly, his followers would walk upon “streets paved with gold” not in some mythical heaven, but in their sunken cities, which is also why  Jesus commanded his followers to spurn earthly wealth – after all, Jesus drove the moneylenders from the temple in his messianic zeal to bring about a utopia of infinite wealth and freedom.

The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy.

— HP Lovecraft, The Promise of the Necronomicon

By accepting silver from the Romans, rather than the gold that the Christ promised, Judas showed where his ultimate loyalty lay – not with Rome, per se, but with humanity.  And it is revealed in the Gnostic Gospel of Judas that he was Yeshua’s most trusted disciple.  If even his most trusted friend could betray him upon learning the Truth, what terrible secrets must have been left out of the Bible?

Precisely why the Council of Nicea delcared gnosticism a heresy punishable by death.

 

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,”

— Matthew 3:1-17

800px-Domenico_Ghirlandaio_-_Preaching_of_St_John_the_Baptist_-_WGA8864

Domenico Ghirlandaio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A messianic revolutionary cult was already alive and well in Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Dozens of Jewish rebels, self-proclaimed saviors half-mad from sunstroke and famine, lurked in the Judean desert, raising up armed insurgents and waging guerilla war against Rome, only to be crushed, time after time, by the Legions.

Jesus was the leader they thought they had been looking for.  The story of Jesus’ life is strangely incomplete – we know of his birth in Bethlehem, and then nothing until he  is nearly thirty. Where did he go during his “Lost Years?”

Perhaps under the sea?

There, his hybrid DNA would have been unlocked, allowing him to access abilities that would seem magical to the outlaws and revolutionaries who infested the deserts of Israel – what is walking on water to someone who’s half alien fish?  Loaves and fishes?  Even Obadiah Marsh demanded more than that.

And Jesus gathered unto him twelve disciples – revolutionaries who, all unknowing, became the first leaders of a cult that lives on to this day.

But of course, the story doesn’t end there.  In  Gethsemane, Judas, most faithful of the disciples, kissed the man he had once loved before turning him in to the authorities.  Torn by the realization that everything he loved had been a lie, Judas ended his life in Potter’s Field.  The other disciples, horrified at the awful truth that had been revealed to them, renounced their beliefs.

“Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” — Mark, 14:30

… all except one: the Most Beloved Disciple.  Jesus’ Wife.  Mary Magdalene.

TINTORETTO_-_Magdalena_penitente_(Musei_Capitolini,_Roma,_1598-1602)_-_copia

By Domenico Tintoretto – Google Art Project: Home – pic Maximum resolution., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20105581

The story of Easter is a story of betrayal and loss; as Mary looked upon her husband … her god … dying on the cross, she must have seen her future dying as well.  All hope was lost.  The cult was shattered, the plans of the Deep Ones ruined, the disciples scattered.  But there were secrets, hidden against that day …

… for Easter is also a story of hope; of rebirth.  But not, as the Church would have you believe, as survival of the old.  It is the celebration of new life – the egg, the baby rabbit, the first bloom of spring.

Jesus died on the cross, but his final message to Mary was that she was pregnant.

“Let not your heart be troubled . . . . in My Father’s house there are many mansions” (Jn. 14:1,2)

Mary Magdalene, whore of Shub-Niggurath, was to be the Mother of the Thousand Young … the bloodline between the Deep Ones and the Elder Things would survive … for there is a legend, in another place, of a king sired by a sea monster … but that shall come later.

Meanwhile, the Deep Ones turned their attention to a far more promising target than Israel – Rome itself.

In our next post, we examine the most unexpected rebirth of all – the disbanded  Cult of Yeshua, betrayed by its disciples, finds its savior in a Jew who once swore to oppose all it stood for:

Saul of Tarsus, Traitor of Man, Savior of the Savior

 

 

 

Cover image attribution: By Leonardo da Vinci – High resolution scan by http://www.haltadefinizione.com/ in collaboration with the Italian ministry of culture. Scan details, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3032252

More Tentacle-y Goodness That You Can Shake a Shoggoth At

Hold on to your meds, ’cause we have not one, but two Lovecraftian games coming out next year – Frogwares just announced The Sinking City, which is, I’m guessing, about a city.  That sinks.  And also Cthulhu.

According to the devs, it had been scheduled for release in 2016, but development was stalled due to an unexpected visitor

… sorry, that was probably uncalled for.  But the name Sunken City reminded me of another Lovecraftian game, Sunless Sea, which  I haven’t played ’cause it costs money and I’m cheap, but the same group also does a free online game called Fallen London, so we can see some common themes here: oceans, poor urban infrastructure, Cthulu, and Coleridge.

Hmm … and I’ve just been re-reading Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  Coincidence?  Probably.

Although I think Coleridge might have had some interesting conversations with HPL, especially when you consider that between his dream visions and his laudanum, he might have been a character in one of Lovecraft’s stories.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree :

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

Man, I never get tired of that.

Also, here’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner – rap version:

 

So anyway, whether it’s ’cause the stars are right or somebody lost the licensing rites, it looks like 2017 is gonna be a good year for squid.

Hopefully, it’s not ’cause 2016 is an election year.

Trump ftaghn
Yep, we’re screwed.

Also, in science news, scientists announced that the octopus may actually be an alien being.

We already knew it was one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, regularly escaping aquarium tanks and even possibly learning how to use tools – which should come as no surprise to Lovecraft fans, but apparently scientists are sticklers for “facts” and “observations” rather than “drug-addled fantasies” which is why they never get invited to poetry parties.

But apparently biologists studying octopus DNA (DNA, as you will recall, being “stuff that organisms have inside them,” a category which also includes Cheetos and, tonight, beer) have found that the octopus genome is different from any other animal on Earth, which makes sense when you realize that no other critter on the planet has 8 arms, lives underwater, and is capable of coding in C++ AND Lisp.

However, researchers were quick – too quick? – to caution that the alien comment was just a joke.

“It’s just a really unusual finding,” the lead biologist said.  “There’s no reason to believe they belong to advanced alien race that comes from a star orbiting a dying sun 10 million light years away.  And even if they did, I am sure they come in peace.  I for one welcome our new cephalopod overlords.  Cthulhu fhtaghn.”

Also, if you aren’t already, you should go play Necronomicon: The Card Game.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go drink beer and play Fallout 4.  ‘Cause those naked mole rats ain’t gonna shoot themselves.

 

 

The Council of Nicea, Part I: Rewriting History

Spring is coming, which means Easter will be here soon, the most important – and misunderstood – of the Christian holidays.  A story of ultimate loss, and the hidden revelation of redemption; a message of hope that began  as a tragedy.

What is the true story of Easter?  Was it that Jesus died on the cross, to be reborn three days later?  Or something more … complicated?

It’s important to remember that much of the New Testament was written hundreds of years after the Anointed One’s death … it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what is based on historical truth, and what might have been added later, as Christianity developed.  Of the four gospels, for instance, only Luke and Matthew record the Nativity of Jesus.

The books that became the New Testament weren’t fully finalized until the Council of Nicea, some three centuries after Jesus’s death.  The same council which, not coincidentally, declared Gnostic Christianity a heresy.  In the three hundred years between the Crucifixion and the Council, Christianity had gone from a Jewish heresy promulgated by a minor cult into the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Why?  What drew Constantine to the story of a Jewish carpenter who died on a cross?  Could it be that there was something more, some promise that had to be kept secret?

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
— Matthew 10:34

The truth is that Jesus died on the cross.  His very name proclaims it – Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One.  Only two kinds of people are anointed: the holy and the dead.  The Anointed One was dead to the Tribes of Israel, an abomination so unthinkable they excommunicated him from their midst.  Remember that it was the Jews who condemned Jesus; Pontius Pilate offered Barrbas to the crowd, but they said no.  He warned them history would not judge them kindly, but the crowd replied “his blood is on our hands.”  Not blood libel, as the histories would have us believe – pride.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you…”
— Matthew 5:11

What could have been so horrible that the crowd would prefer the freedom of a condemned criminal?  Israel bordered the land of the Phillistines – David’s battle with Goliath was against a Phillistine warrior.

Philistines_pentapolis

By Cush – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14613766

Archaeology has been strangely silent about the Phillistines; the best consensus so far is that they may possibly be related to the “Sea Peoples” who invaded Egypt about this time.  If so, it explains why there is so little evidence for them, as this invasion, or mass migration, or what have you, disrupted the entire Near Eastern world.

If they were somehow related to the Sea Peoples, it gives us our first clue to the real meaning of Easter – a link to the ocean.

We can also be fairly certain they spoke some form of Semitic language, since most of their names, and the names of their gods, were Semitic.

Dagon, for instance.

Now we have a link between the Phillistines and the Cthulhu cult, in the form of an Old One who is somehow connected with Great Cthulhu – as priest, follower, perhaps son or father, if those terms can even be said to apply to such entities.

The Old Testament portrays the Jewish conquest of Canaan, and the wars with the Phillistines, as a holy obligation, a commandment from YHWY.  Modern readers have interpreted this as just authorial bias on the part of the rabbis who compiled the book.

What if the academics are wrong?  What if Israel was fighting a holy war?

We know the Jews came up out of Egypt, the most ancient and unhallowed land in the Near East.  Were they running from something – only to find it waiting for them on the plains of Negev?

“And it was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt.”
— HP Lovecraft

The Council of Nicea decided what books should be in the Bible – did they also edit those books?  They must have – in an era when everything was hand copied by half-blind, most likely half-mad scribes working in cramped, dark monastery cells, it would have been inevitable that small differences would arise from book to book.  The Luke of Alexandria may not have been the Luke of Constantinople.  Someone had to go through and make certain that everyone was reading the same thing.

That someone, then, could just have easily ordered a certain … troublesome passage to be rewritten.

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
— Matthew 4:19

Or was it fishmen?

 

In Part II, we’ll look at why Christianity survived the death of Jesus, and the real meaning of the Easter festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Filler Killer

It’s been four days, so I really oughta get my blog post up, but I seem to have come down with a severe case of the don’t-give-a-sh^ts, and that was before I found out Guiness was on sale at the casino.

So to while away the time while I play Drunk Fallout, some chewy chewy filler from back in the day…

You know what I like about beer?  Beer makes you stupid.  And it seems like the best way to deal with the world, some days, is to add a handicap to my brain.  I mean, I’ve never claimed to be Einstein (for one thing, he’s dead) but I will admit to being a little smarter than the average bear, but to continue the bear metaphor, some day the other bears are just so fucking stupid it makes me want to burn down the forest.  So when I have to devote a portion of my brain to such complex tasks as not falling over, or trying to not drool while I’m talking, it kind of puts me on an even keel with the rest of humanity.
Take shopping.  I hate shopping.  I go into the store, I am like a heat-seeking missile.  I am completely focused on my target, which happens to be cat food and Count Chocula cereal.  I budget, barring trouble locating the Count Chocula, 15 minutes, tops, to complete the mission.  But then you have to deal with the people squatting in the aisles, like tiny pieces of human cholesterol, peering at the cat food labels like they were chimps staring at the monolith in 2001.  And you want to grab them by the shirt and scream “IT’S NOT THE ROSETTA STONE!  IT’S FREAKING CANNED CAT FOOD!  IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU BUY, THEY’RE NOT GONNA EAT IT ANYWAY!  AND EVEN IF THEY DO, THEY’LL PROBABLY BARF IT UP AGAIN LATER!”  But they stand there, peering anxiously at the calorie count on a package of Whiskas Temptations treats, their carts blocking the aisle, and yet somehow the store employees are not allowed to cane them with broomsticks obtained in the housewares department.
Or even worse are the Radio people.  I call them Radio people because that’s the only explanation for why they STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE AND STARE AT NOTHING.  You’re pushing your cart dutifully along from the coffee to the multigrain cereal, trying to grease the wheels of commerce, and the nimbob in front of you just stops.  And stands there, eyes wide, as if they’re trying to remember their locker combination.  They must be receiving transmissions from the homeworld.  That’s the only explanation I can think of … somewhere orbiting Alpha Centauri, is a human-robot factory, and occasionally they beam instructions to Earth: “JUST STOP IN THE AISLE AND STARE AT NOTHING” they say, their antenna quivering with mirth.  “THEN GO STUDY THE CAT FOOD PACKAGES FOR HALF AN HOUR.”
You know what?  Maybe it’s better that I leave town.  I have an axe and a knife.  I will flee civilization and live by my wits in the wild.  I will stalk the wily elk and grapple it into submission before carving great elk steaks that I will roast over a fire made from old growth redwoods I cut myself.  Forget humanity.  I will become like a beast of the forest, with only my intellect to sustain me.
At least until it starts to snow.  Then I’m kind of fvcked.