Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Dharma and Virtue

Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Chah via Ven. Sujato; Ellie Askew, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

As a meditator, use the strategy of listening to the Dharma all the time, even when living alone. In other words, contemplate the Dharma day and night.

The eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body are physical phenomena (rūpa-dhamma) that are always present. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations are also present for you to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. The mind? It, too, is present.

Our thoughts and feelings about various topics -- good and bad -- are present as well. Development and decay, both within us and without, are also present.

These things naturally display the Truth -- the impermanent, disappointing, and impersonal nature of all things -- for us to see at all times.

When a leaf turns yellow and falls from the tree, for instance, it’s showing us the truth of impermanence.

So when we continually use this approach to contemplate things with mindfulness (bare awareness that is free of judgment, clinging, or rejection) and wisdom (keen discernment), we are said to be listening to the Dharma at all times, day and night.

Begin with virtue
Ajahn Chah edited by Wisdom Quarterly
At first we train the body and speech to be free of unwholesomeness. Such freedom is virtue (sila). Some people think that to have virtue we must memorize Pali [the world’s only exclusively-Buddhist language] phrases and chant all day and all night. But really all we have to do is make our body and speech blameless. That’s virtue. It’s easy to understand. It’s just like cooking food: We put in a little bit of this and a little bit of that till it’s just right. Then it’s delicious. And once it’s delicious, we don’t have to add anything else to it. The right ingredients have already been added. In the same way, taking care that our actions and speech are proper will give us delicious virtue, virtue that is just right.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Conscious Life Expo (Feb. 22-25)

Ananda M., Dhr. Seven, Jen B. (Dharma Meditation Initiative);

It's never too late to live my TV dream!
The Conscious Life Expo is a three-day gathering of individuals and tribes for a three-day celebration of conscious evolution and a brainstorming session on where we are and where we are going. We live in an evolving universe, an orgasmic dance of consciousness. Everything is changing, evolving, transforming. Wise people throughout history have tried to define the nature of the reality, and myriad models have existed for it. But we are creating a new model still being figured out. This conference is for us to participate in the conscious co-creation of a new sustainable world that merges science and spirituality -- a wholistic, powerful, and passionate celebration of life and love.
  • LAX Hilton (next to Los Angeles Airport)
  • 5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
  • Friday‎, ‎Feb.‎ ‎22‎, ‎3‎:‎00‎ ‎PM to ‎Monday‎, ‎Feb.‎ ‎25‎, ‎10‎:‎30‎ ‎PM

Did the Beatles reunite as [blank]? (video)

Polyphonic (Jan. 31, 2019); Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The Beatles' Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band, Sept. 1, Los Angeles

Klaatu, a mystery group from Canada, could have been the Beatles reunited. But the world will not tolerate any evidence to the contrary. It missed the original group too much. Polyphonic sells merch. Music by Pracs:

Beauty? Ask me, I'm a model! (TED)

Cameron Russell, TEDTalks, 1/16/13; Ashley Wells, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model.
Ah, don't look at my poop-filled guts!
Cameron Russell (twitter, instagram) admits she won the "genetic lottery": She's white, hot, tall, pretty, young, and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk she takes a wry look at the bogus industry that had her looking sexual and seductive at barely 16-years-old. Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.
    TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment, and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts, and much more. Follow TED news on Like TED on

    When Jim Carrey's third eye opened (video)

    LightBody Mindset;; Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    We never really know what to make of celebrities stepping out of the spiritual closet. Is it a publicity stunt? Is it a manic cry for help? Or is it a genuine attempt to convey some deeper truth after a near-lifetime enduring the illusions of fame?

    There is something so incredibly egotistical and self-aggrandizing about the entertainment industry that it puts a tremendous strain on one’s consciousness to be at the center of it all.

    Zen teacher/spiritual entertainer Alan Watts in a Jim Carrey video

    Jim Carrey stepped out of the spiritual closet and announced to the world that he is a conscious being. Since ancient times the third eye had been revered by all kinds of cultures.

    Today, we know it as the pineal gland, but it is still called the "third eye" in the spiritual realm.
    • In Buddhism the third eye is called the dibba cakkhu or "divine eye." It is one of the six higher powers (abhinna) and one of the three kinds of super-knowledge (tevijja).
    The third eye is viewed as a spiritual sign representing our capability to conquer all kinds of challenges in daily life by tapping into our inner wisdom. But there is much more to the third eye than that.

    In most Eastern traditions (like Buddhism) the third eye is undoubtedly real, a thing that anybody can perceive and obviously feel if one has a strong sense of oneself and mindfulness.

    It is what is often referred to as the connection between body and [mind or] spirit. When we meditate with consistency, the third eye opens and our inner guide becomes stronger and a more present guiding force in our life.

    Carrey found this to be very true, and this is what happened during his awakening.

    Copyright Disclaimer: Citation of articles and authors in this report does not imply ownership. Works and images presented here fall under Fair Use Section 107 and are used for commentary on globally significant newsworthy events. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

    Snow on the Hollywood sign for Oscars?; Eds., Wisdom Quarterly

    A regular day over the Hollywood sign
    The A-list movie stars waltzing up the red carpet at the Oscars this weekend will need to wrap up warm as temperatures plummet in Los Angeles.

    And there is even a chance the iconic Hollywood sign, which towers over Tinseltown, could be covered in snow on Sunday [for the Academy Awards. Of course, that was way back in 2011. Could it happen again with freezing rain over Los Angeles and snow levels down to 1,500 feet?]
    The last time the Southern California metropolis -- with average February temperatures of nearly 60F -- encountered snow was way back in 1954 when a third of an inch fell. Today temperatures were a mere 44F. More

    The History of Slipknot (video)

    Slipknot (Jimmy Kimmel); Rock Feed (doc); Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly

    The rise, fall, resurrection, redeath, and improbable survival of Slipknot -- with lead singer and chief troublemaker Corey Taylor (shown in and out of costume) -- is told by Rock Feed from published reports. Fans may know all the intimate details and be very adamant about their opinions, but this a story about the band not by the band, so shut the front door and enjoy the show. Later you can break something. The band's success all began with a melodic song that caught on thanks to Taylor's sweet singing and surprising ability to suffer and growl on "Wait and Bleed."

    KISS: The Roast of Gene Simmons (video)

    Jeff Ross, "Gene Simmons" via Pbcya; Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
    "The Demon" Gene Simmons (aka Chaim Witz), with the remains of KISS in 2010 (wiki)

    Show benefits Wounded Warriors. Shock rock's own "Trump," the biggest A-whole formerly in Israel, Gene Klein (born Chaim Witz, Hebrew, חיים ויץ‎, on Aug. 25, 1949), known professionally as "Gene Simmons," an Israeli-American Jewish-Capitalist egomaniac, musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, and television personality.

    Also known by his stage persona "The Demon," Simmons is the bassist and co-lead singer of Kiss, the rock band he co-founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s. More

    Full version of the roast of Gene Simmons. Very funny! Best performances have to go to Jim Norton, Jeff Ross, Carrot Top, Craig Gass, Nick Simmons and Lisa Lampanelli. Yes, I (PBCYA) know it's horrible quality for 2019. I downloaded this long time ago and nobody had this on YouTube, so I uploaded it on Jan. 2, 2019. As long as you don't full screen this, you should be fine.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    Journey to Chaco Canyon (video)

    The Experience Project, Aug. 9, 2018; Xochitl, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly

    Chaco Canyon: A Journey into the Ancient World
    Let's explore Pueblo Bonito and the various petroglyphs found in Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. The Experience Project examines Native American culture. "Today the massive buildings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking and biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs." More:

    Where is Chaco Canyon?
    Large circular depression outlined by a stone wall. The bottom is flat and grassy, and has a collection of rectangular stone foundations and smaller circles of stone. A great sandstone cliff towers in the background, and beneath the cliff are other stone foundations that are larger and higher.
    Great kiva of Chetro Ketl, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
    Chaco Canyon is a United States national historical park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.

    The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash.

    Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, which is full of them, the park preserves one of the most important pre-Columbus cultural and historical areas in the United States.

    Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples.

    Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.

    Evidence of archeo-astronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte being a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.

    Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.

    Comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the arid and sparsely populated Four Corners region, the Chacoan cultural sites are fragile: Concerns of erosion caused by tourists have led to the closure of Fajada Butte to the public.

    The sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people, who maintain oral accounts of their historical migration from Chaco and their spiritual relationship to the land.

    Though park preservation efforts can conflict with native religious beliefs, tribal representatives work closely with the National Park Service to share their knowledge and respect the heritage of the Chacoan culture.

    The park is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways. More

    Bernie Sanders announces run (video)

    CBS This Morning, Feb. 19, 2019; Crystal Q., Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly

    Sanders announces 2020 run: extended interview
    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (Independent) says he will again run for the Democratic nomination for president to defeat Pres. Don Trump. In this extended conversation with "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson, Sen. Sanders discusses taking another shot at the presidency and why he believes this campaign will succeed this time. He also discusses foreign policy, retail giant, and the bombshell claims made by former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Sunday's "60 Minutes." More "CBS This Morning":

    The Truth Behind UFOs (documentary)

    This is a full-length documentary exploring the world of UFOs (unidentified flying objects) operated by extraterrestrial space aliens. In Buddhism these beings are called devas ("shining ones") from the akasha ("sky and space") loka ("realm").

    Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    The Supermoon lunar observance (video)

    HowToCreatorss, 2/18/19; Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    The Supermoons of 2019
    This is how to watch the Super Winter Moon of 2019 (after the Super Wolf Moon of January and before the March Super Worm Moon). A supermoon occurs when the moon is full while closest to the Earth, known as its perigee. It's expected to happen three times in 2019, which sounds like an "inauspicious" sign. The first, the Super Blood Wolf Moon, occurred on Jan. 20-21. Tonight is the Super Snow Moon (Feb. 19). The third is expected on March 21, the Super Worm Moon. Viewing a super moon is awesome, but sky-watchers will have to be patient and keep a keen eye through the clouds. #supermoon #february #2019.

    The Buddhist Lunar Observance
    The uposatha (Sanskrit, upavasatha) is a Buddhist day of observance that has been in existence since the Buddha's time (600 BCE). It is still being kept to this day in Buddhist countries.

    The Buddha taught that this lunar observance day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind (heart)," resulting in inner calm and joy.

    On this day, both lay and monastic members of the Buddhist community (sangha) intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge, and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity.

    On these days the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or  eight precepts (as  tradition suggests, since this is also called the "fasting" day because one does not eat after noon when observing the eight precepts). It is a day for practicing the Buddha's teachings and meditation in particular. More

    Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks truth to power (video)

    The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Feb. 7, 2019; Crystal Q., Sheldon S., Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    Rep. Ilhan Omar: Getting down to business with the Congressional freshman class
    Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar (the first Muslim to hold the office) lays out how Congress can set a budget that creates positive change and discusses what she learned from the severe backlash against her tweet about American political corruption surrounding the verboten topic of pro-Israel bias. The Daily Show

    Strange things science says (video)

    ETP Archive Videos; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

    "Scientists Will Never Tell You This (2019)" as this scientist tells us all. But ETP Archive Videos (Jan. 1, 2019) assure us "they have been keeping a secret." Relax, the archives have more in them.

    Buddha statue filmed moving (video)

    Chills; Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

    16 Mysterious Objects Caught Moving on Camera
    In this top 16 list we look at mysterious objects -- like this golden  Buddha statue in China -- moving. They were caught on camera. Are they real or fake? Comment. Here's one analysis of these strange videos. Narrated by speech impediment Chills and trusty narrator Slapped Ham Written by Kyler Richman (#1 is from a Top15s video written by Shel Schillings on haunted dolls). Edited by Huba Áron Csapó. Intro by Jacob Snarr. Sources: Music bt Kevin MacLeod ( jdgehlert ( Slapped Ham's Channel: SlappedHam.... ChillsTwitter. ChillsInstagram. ChillsFacebook. ChillsReddit. ChillsYouTube.

    New Beatles music: Everyday Chemistry

    Alltime Conspiracies; Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

    The Beatles' long lost album?
    In 2009 a man in Turlock, California, named James Richards got a cassette, Everyday Chemistry, from Jonas. He released it for free on the Internet. It is undeniably The Beatles, a mystery album, but his explanation for how he came across it is unbelievable: Parallel universes are real? Thank you to the super fans who have supported A.C. on it Patreon page (, facebook, snapchat, twitter.

    Friday, February 15, 2019

    Alan Watts: Guided Meditation (video) via Indigo Bliss; Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew, Wisdom Quarterly

    Alan Watts: Guided Meditation (Awakening The Mind)
    This video provides relief from taking any unnatural perspective. This is Alan Watts, someone who needs no introduction. He shares a method for realizing self-awareness. His voice has been enhanced as to the audio quality, paired with a suitable song that syncs nicely with his words. When we meditate we are often looking for a way to find ultimate answers. Thanks to for the animation.

    "The Way of Mindfulness" (free book)

    Soma Thera, The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary (© 1998), Bhikkhu Bodhi (intro); edited by Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

    American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi explains: The Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutra) is generally regarded as the canonical Buddhist text with the fullest instructions on the system of meditation unique to the Buddha's dispensation. The practice of satipatthana meditation centers on the methodical cultivation of one simple mental faculty readily available to all of us at any moment -- the faculty of mindfulness.

    What is mindfulness? It is the capacity for attending to the content of our experience as it becomes manifest in the immediate present. What the Buddha shows in this sutra is the tremendous, but generally hidden, power inherent in this simple mental function. Mindfulness is a power that can unfold all of the mind's potentials culminating in final liberation from suffering.

    To exercise this power, however, mindfulness must be cultivated systematically, and this sutra shows exactly how this is done. The key to the practice is to combine energy, mindfulness, and clear comprehension in attending to the phenomena of mind-and-body summed up in the "four arousings of mindfulness":
    1. body
    2. feelings,
    3. consciousness, and
    4. mental objects.
    Most contemporary meditation teachers explain satipatthana meditation as a means for generating insight (vipassana). While this is certainly a valid claim, we should also recognize that satipatthana meditation also generates concentration (samadhi [generally defined as right concentration, i.e., the first four jhanas or meditative absorptions).

    Unlike the forms of meditation that cultivate concentration and insight sequentially, satipatthana brings both these faculties into being together.

    This happens naturally, in the actual process of development. Concentration will have to gain a certain degree of stability before insight can exercise its penetrating function.

    In satipatthana, the act of attending to each occasion of experience as it occurs in the moment fixes the mind firmly on the object. The continuous attention to the object, even when the object itself is constantly changing, stabilizes the mind in concentration, while the observation of the object in terms of its qualities and characteristics brings into being the insight-knowledges.
    To practice satipatthana successfully a student will generally require a sound theoretical knowledge of the practice along with actual training, preferably under the guidance of a qualified teacher. The best source of theoretical knowledge, indeed the indispensable source, is the Satipatthana Sutra itself.

    However, although the sutra is clear and comprehensible enough as it stands, the instructions it offers are extremely concise, often squeezing into a few simple guidelines directions that might need several pages to explain in a way adequate for successful practice.

    For this reason, from an early period, the ancient masters of Buddhist meditation began to supply more detailed instructions based on their own practical experience. These instructions eventually evolved into a lengthy commentary on the Satipatthana Sutra, which was then incorporated into the complete commentaries on the two collections in which the sutra appears, namely, the long and middle-length discourses (Digha Nikaya and Majjhima Nikaya).

    The two commentaries that have come down to us today, based on the older Sinhalese language commentaries, are called the Sumangala-vilasini (on the Digha Nikaya) and the Papañca-sudani (on the Majjhima Nikaya). These commentaries are ascribed to Buddhaghosa, an Indian elder scholar-monk who worked in Sri Lanka in the 5th century A.C., but are securely based on the old commentaries which record the explanations devised by the ancient masters of the Dharma.

    The commentary has in turn been further elucidated by a sub-commentary (tika), by Acariya Dhammapala, who worked in South India, near Kancipura, perhaps a century or two after the time of Buddhaghosa.
    This book, The Way of Mindfulness, contains all of the authorized instructions on satipatthana meditation passed down in the Theravada  Buddhist tradition: the Satipatthana Sutra stemming from the Buddha himself (in the more concise version of the Middle-Length Discourse Collection, which omits the detailed analysis of the Four Noble Truths found in the Long Discourse Collection's Maha-satipatthana Sutra or "Greater Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse"), the commentary by Buddhaghosa, and selections from the sub-commentary by Dhammapala.

    While the volume of material found here will certainly exceed the amount a beginner needs to start the practice, the book proves itself useful at successive stages and will eventually become a trusted friend and advisor in all its manifold details.

    Thus the reader should not be intimidated by the detail and the sometimes formidable technical terminology, but should continue reading, selecting whatever material is found useful and leaving until later whatever presently seems difficult to grasp.
    The book was originally compiled in the late 1930s by Ven. Soma Thera (1898-1960), a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, and has been maintained in print since the early 1940s.

    The Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy, Sri Lanka, has published the work since 1967 in several editions. This latest version contains several minor changes in terminology authorized by the present writer [Bhikkhu Bodhi].

    Christine Chan and her friends in the Buddhist Communities in Malaysia, as well as Rev. Suddhinand Janthagul from Thailand, who helped in the proofreading of the Pali texts, deserve our congratulations and appreciation for their hard work in transcribing the book and for making it available for free distribution.

    I am sure this book will prove an invaluable road map for anyone who has entered the steep and rugged road of satipatthana meditation, leading to final liberation from all suffering.
    - Bhikkhu Bodhi

    SUTRA: The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness
    The Origin of the Discourse on the Only Way
    Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One [the Buddha] was living [among] the Kurus, at Kammasadamma, a market-town of the Kuru people.
    Then he addressed the monastics: "This is the only way, O meditators, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of nirvana, namely, the Four Arousings of Mindfulness."
    "What are the four?
    "Here, meditators, a meditator lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending (it) and mindful (of it), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

    "One lives contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

    "One lives contemplating consciousness in consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending (it) and mindful (of it), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

    "One lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world."

    1. The Contemplation of the Body
    "And how, O meditators, does a meditator live contemplating the body in the body? 
    "Here, O meditators, a meditator, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, bends legs crosswise on the lap, keeps body erect, and arouses mindfulness with regard to the object of meditation, namely, the breath which is in front.
    "Mindful, one breathes in, and mindful, one breathes out. One, thinking, 'I breathe in long' understands when breathing in long. Or thinking, 'I breathe out long' understands when breathing out long. Or thinking, 'I breathe in short' understands breathing in short. Or thinking, 'I breathe out short' understands when breathing out short.
    "'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, one trains oneself.
    "Just as a clever [wood] turner or a turner's apprentice, turning long, understands, 'I turn long' or, turning short, understands, 'I turn short,' just so, indeed, O meditators, a meditator, when one breathes in long, understands, 'I breathe in long' or, when one breathes out long, understands, 'I breathe out long,' or, when one breathes in short, one understands, 'I breathe in short,' or when one breathes out short, one understands, 'I breathe out short.'

    "One trains oneself with the thought, 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out.'
    "Thus one lives contemplating the body in the body internally, or one lives contemplating the body in the body externally, or one lives contemplating the body in the body internally and externally. One lives contemplating origination-things in the body, or one lives contemplating dissolution-things in the body, or one lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution-things in the body. Or indeed one's mindfulness is established with the thought, 'The body exists' to the extent necessary just for [insight] knowledge and remembrance, and one lives independent and clings to nothing in the world.

    "Thus, also, O meditators, a meditator lives contemplating the body in the body."
    "And further, O meditators, when one is going, a meditator understands, 'I am going.' When one is standing, one understands, 'I am standing.' When one is sitting, one understands, 'I am sitting.' When one is lying down, one understands, 'I am lying down.' Or just as one's body is disposed, so one understands it. More

    Black metal: "Lords of Chaos" (video)

    Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills; FilmWeek; Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly

    The story of true Norwegian black metal and its most notorious practitioners -- a group of young men with a flair for publicity, church-burning, and murder: MAYHEM.

    Oslo, 1987, 17-year-old Euronymous is determined to escape his idyllic Scandinavian hometown and create “true Norwegian black metal” with his band, MAYHEM. He’s joined by equally fanatical youths, Dead and Varg. Believing that they’re on the cusp of a musical revolution, the group gets even darker driven by the black metal dogma to spread evil.

    They begin burning down churches throughout the countryside and stealing tombstones for their record store. But when the press catches up with them and Euronymous takes more credit than he’s earned for the group’s violent acts, Varg, fresh out of jail, arranges a dark encounter to settle the score and ultimately determine who the darkest black metal musician is. Tickets

    FilmWeek on AirTalk (, Feb. 15, 2019) is a one-hour weekly segment looking at films, offering movie reviews, filmmaker interviews, and discussions on various aspects of the film industry. Today's film is all about extremely heavy Scandinavian metal and the kids who took (take) it very seriously:

    (VICE) It's true: true Norwegian black metal and chaos

    "Lords of Chaos" (Noisey) is a teenager's quest to launch Norwegian black metal in Oslo in the early 1990s. It results in very violent outcomes. In theaters Feb. 8, 2019 (On Demand Feb. 22, 2019). Directed by Jonas Åkerlund. CAST: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, and Valter Skarsgård. WEBSITE: Like "Lords of Chaos" on,,

    Birds of Passage

    The Image Book
    A Tuba to Cuba


    Scots Festival, Los Angeles (Feb. 16-17)

    ScotsFest (; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

    Eighty-eight years ago, in the quaint seaside town of Clydebank, Scotland, construction began on the Queen Mary. Exemplifying the finest craftsmanship of the country, the Queen Mary’s heritage is celebrated throughout the two-day ScotsFestival honoring Scottish culture.
    The Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVI February 16 & 17 (9AM - 6PM). Experience the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through an array of authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment and cuisine, paying homage to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.
    ScotsFestival honors nearly fifty Scottish clans & vendors throughout the weekend with professional and amateur competitions in piping, drumming, massed bands, darts, Highland dancing, and the brand new North American Professional Highland athletics. The Scottish Highland Games, a precursor to today’s Olympic Games, were designed to test the strength, skill, and technique of ancient warriors through face-offs. With falconry, sheep herding and a large array of other activities, guests will have culture at every turn!
    Whisky tasting sessions with aged malt experts are available for adult festivalgoers while the wee laddies & lassies can bear witness to Queen Mary’s coronation, knighting ceremonies, and even take part in the Wee Highland games.
    This February, join us for our 26th annual ScotsFestival celebration. More: 2019 schedule and official guide map

    1984: Troubles continue in Burma

    Associated Press (; Andrew Win, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
    Kyi Lin, center, the gunman who shot a prominent Muslim lawyer who was a close adviser of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is escorted by police at Yangon Northern District Court in Yangon, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 (AP).

    George Orwell, who wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, was talking about England and Burma, then under British rule as part of India, and the troubles and police state he described are still going strong. Of course, the book best describes life in the USA as a surveillance state somewhat akin to Huxley's Brave New World.

    Court sentences 2 to death for killing Suu Kyi aide
    RANGOON, Burma - A court in Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar) on Friday sentenced two men to death for the [assassination] of a prominent Muslim lawyer who was a close adviser to the country's top leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
    The Yangon (Rangoon) Northern District Court found the gunman, Kyi Lin, guilty of premeditated murder and illegal weapons possession for the Jan. 29, 2017 shooting of Ko Ni in broad daylight at Yangon airport. An accomplice involved in planning the killing was also sentenced to death, and two other men involved in the crime received prison sentences.
    A fifth suspect thought to be the crime's mastermind remains at large. Ko Ni was shot in the head at close range on Jan. 29, 2017, as he walked out of the airport after returning from a working trip to Indonesia. Closed-circuit television footage showed he was shot near a taxi stand as he held his 5-year-old grandchild.
    Onlookers chased down the gunman, catching him only after he also shot dead a taxi driver who was one of his pursuers. An ex-convict previously imprisoned for illegally trading in antiquities such as sculptures of Buddha, Kyi Lin also received a 20-year sentence for killing the taxi driver.
    The death penalty in Myanmar is carried out by hanging but no executions appear to have been carried out since 1988. Many prisoners on death row have had their sentences commuted. The failure to apprehend the crime's alleged mastermind left many questions about the motivation for the killing, especially with the defendants offering contradictory testimony.
    Speculation about the reasons Ko Ni was targeted focused on two possibilities. Ko Ni was noted for criticizing army interference in politics and advised Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy on ways to get around articles in the army-imposed constitution that give the military wide powers even after Myanmar's transition to democracy. Her party got around a ban on her becoming president by simply creating a new executive post, state counsellor, with presidential powers.

    The fact that two of the defendants are former army officers fueled theories that the military was involved with the crime, an accusation it denies. As a prominent advocate for the Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, Ko Ni was also a target of abuse from ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks and their allies, some of whom publicly gloated after his death.

    Burma has been gripped by anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years after deadly communal violence in the western state of Rakhine, home to many Muslims from the Rohingya ethnic minority. More