that True Detective post it seems I never got around to

July 26th, 2015

True Detective seems to have crashed and burned this year, but the first season still entertained me. After a few searches, it seems that the local connection to True Detective was never mentioned here. I apologize if I’m repeating myself again.

Here’s the first post I made on the Hosanna sex abuse case in 2005 and here’s the second one.

Daily Beast had a reporter who investigated the story the first time around make a quick post.

Vice did a thirty minute documentaryCulture Vulture then interviewed the reporter.

Got all that? Hosanna wasn’t even the first Satanic panic. It was just a flower of a long-running obsession of the area. The whispers and fingerpointing were ceaseless. It might go further back but the root of much of the absurd folklore that I heard traced back to Bill Elder’s special report in July and August 1988 on WWL.

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Yep. It opens in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. I know nothing of those old ladies at the moment and don’t want to speak ill of them. However, most of the animal mutilation and sacrifice were utter bullshit. Animals that died of sickness were claimed as stolen and the carcasses were discarded on backroads, especially the ones shown on the Bill Elder report, Skull Creek. The pentagrams and candles in that area were often just teens from the local high school into Slayer and Black Sabbath. Some of the “rituals” were just people getting drunk around a bonfire listening to heavy metal and drawing graffiti in spray paint. Some of the occult imagery omitted from this video would be slogans like “Ozzy Lives!” and “Anarchy Now!”

There were weird people in the woods and swamps. Remember that the Klan was very active in the area at the time. People with secret pot farms were also far more common, before planes and helicopters with thermal imaging were standard use. Both were very aggressive in keeping people out of their territory. Satanists? Ehhhhh… Not really, unless you count nihilist bikers and lisping heroin addicts. True Detective had it more right than Bill Elder did.

Out of the Americas?

July 26th, 2015

Anthropogenesis breaks down the recent papers on how the Americas were populated. It introduces more papers than I’m used to on proposing a European connection (via Eurasia) but the “Ancient Northern European” theory mentioned has cited papers, not entirely wild speculation, although it seems Ancient Northern Eurasians would be more accurate.

The wilder aspect is the Out of Americas theory. I’ve not seen anyone else mentioning back migrations from the Americas into Eurasia. The only back migrations that I’m aware of would be in Africa and that’s yet to be untangled. It seems like a fringe idea but I’m compelled to read more.

a little further in Modern Baptists

July 25th, 2015

Huh. It turns out my father went to school with James Wilcox. Wilcox’s father taught at the local college. My father didn’t offer more details.

Modern Baptists was published in 1983. It feels like an older book so far, despite certain nods to technology. When I realized that I was a teen and roving about Hammond unsupervised at a time shortly after its publication, it throws me off a lot. The closest mall to Tula Springs seems to be in Mississippi. There was a decent mall in Hammond built in the ’70s.

Tula Springs is definitely not Hammond. For one thing, Hammond’s not exclusively Baptist. The huge Sicilian immigrant population gave Hammond a significant Catholic population.1 Another example is that Hammond has a sizable black population, which has yet to make an appearance in Modern Baptists. Yes, Tangipahoa Parish can be very racist. Since everyone so far is white, that hasn’t been an element. Oh, and violent. We’ve mentioned the violent past of Bloody Tangipahoa many times. Tula Springs seems like a sleepy Southern backwater so far, unlike the place in which one of the bloodiest feuds in the United States took place. Some of us remember the vendettas and lynchings. One of the early bondings with one of my closest friends is when we realized we had two parts of the same story, in which his grandfather (ostensibly a lawman) shot two of my cousins (career criminals who for a time worked for Huey Long) in the back of their heads while they sat in a car.

Hammond is not on Lake Pontchartrain obviously. Ponchatoula doesn’t seem to exist in the world of Tula Springs. ((You know Ponchatoula, right? Of course you do. I never linked that on Orbis Quintus and need to revisit that.)) Ozone seems to be Mandeville. Ozone is a parish seat. In Hammond’s reality, Amite City is the parish seat and it’s even further removed from the swamps and lake, well to the north of Hammond. The geography is still to be worked out. Wilcox definitely created his own space. It’s fun to figure out why he made the changes for the stories he wants to tell.

Wilcox has great eye for detail and has me guessing what he’s putting through his lens. The humor is a little light for me. I’m still interested, but it’s more to see how Wilcox turned such a weird, violent place as Hammond into the gentle, ahistorical Tula Springs.


  1. Apparently the Catholicism appears in Wilcox’s second novel North Gladiola. []

Researchers identify plant cultivation in a 23,000-year-old site in the Galilee

July 24th, 2015

This is quite a surprise. Researchers identify plant cultivation in a 23,000-year-old site in the Galilee. It seemed inevitable that the dawn of agriculture would be pushed back further than 13,000 years, but to 23,000 years?

In the Ohalo II dwellings was a particularly rich assemblage of some 150,000 plant remains, showing that the site’s residents gathered over 140 different plant species from the surrounding environment. Among these, Weiss’s team identified edible cereals – such as wild emmer, wild barley, and wild oats. These cereals were mixed with 13 species of “proto-weeds” – ancient ancestors of the current weeds known to flourish in cultivated, single-crop fields – indicating that they grew and were subsequently unintentionally gathered together.

Sickle blades used in harvesting grains were also identified.

Io9 interviews Grant Morrison

July 23rd, 2015

Io9 talked to Grant Morrison about his concept for the new incarnation of Heavy Metal.

So he’s reached a dead end for now with American superheroes for awhile, eh? We all knew that. Multiversity is great, but it’s been stuck in production for ages. (That’s cool that next year in 2016 there will be a Multiversity Too though!) Morrison’s turning up his nose at cataclysm. That’s all well and good, because while I love Marvel’s current Secret Wars and the long unfolding apocalypse of Hellboy,((This is a great article in its own right)) it would be nice to turn away from Big Endings for awhile. Then again, this is the man who wrote DC’s Final Crisis. Even Multiversity nicely fits into the storytelling trend he’s bored with. He’s had a significant hand in this long trend. This isn’t about Secret Wars and Hellboy, let alone his own work, anyway. This is about DC getting confused along the way and returning to the well of Infinite Crisis indefinitely.

Morrison never mentions Image, aside from Walking Dead indirectly. Image and the other indie publishers are already doing the comics Morrison wants to do with Heavy Metal. Superheroes are waning anyway. I’m certainly going to love what he comes up with, but he’s not leading the charge here. The Big Two are now the place where writers and artists go to build a name, then return to what they really want to do with a following. Indies aren’t the stepping stone, but the ultimate destination.

(Indian and Chinese culture appropriation, eh? I forgot I bought 18 Days in the flurry of other things.)

This is the part I’m most interested in:

Morrison will write some comics for Heavy Metal, but also wants to do a lot of editorial content—to his mind, the best era of the magazine was when it had William S. Burroughs writing for it, plus interviews with Douglas Adams, talks with scientists, reviews of underground comics, etc. He wants to bring back that editorial content and have a “clubhouse feeling,” like “here’s a place we can all go to.”

Who is the new Burroughs? Who is the new Adams? Which scientists?

Pere Ubu’s Thomas, interviewed.

July 23rd, 2015

David Thomas of Pere Ubu, “the longest-lasting, most disastrous commercial outfit ever to appear in rock n’ roll,” sat down with the Guardian.

He performs from a chair onstage now, which is a bit like Cirque Du Soleil dispensing with all that acrobatic nonsense and concentrating on light shows. 40 years.

Are you really grooming your own replacement?

I’ve got two people in mind. One of them doesn’t know it. But if Pere Ubu is an idea, all the people are replaceable, including me. If my theory is right, Pere Ubu can go on and on.

The Rise & Disappearance of the Clientele

July 23rd, 2015

Interview with Alasdair MacLean.

Ah, there’s an Erik Satie quote. He’s everywhere this week in what I’m reading and listening to.

MacLean references psychogeography while avoiding stating the word outright.

“Strange Geometry” remains my best connection to the band.

need more Ballard

July 22nd, 2015

Biblioklept has a fun breakdown of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise.

All I’ve read is Concrete Island, The Empire of the SunThe Atrocity Exhibition (which a friend seems to have swiped) and a compilation of quotes of Ballard. Oddly, Kat bought a brand new Concrete Island for herself and I’m the one who wound up reading it. She never did. I’m still a little perplexed how she decided on that book. It’s not her style.

Ballard’s one of those other architects of the future who I should have read but didn’t when I was fucking about with Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock, William Gibson, and Robert Anton Wilson in the ’80s. Anything Ballardian I feel affinity towards, but have not plunged into the font.

‘Oldest’ Koran fragments found in Birmingham University

July 22nd, 2015

It would be interesting to know exactly how and where Alphonse Mingana found this fragment in the first place. The story here.

These tests provide a range of dates, showing that, with a probability of more than 95%, the parchment was from between 568 and 645.

“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” said David Thomas, the university’s professor of Christianity and Islam.

“According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Koran, the scripture of Islam, between the years 610 and 632, the year of his death.”

Koran at Birmingham University

That’s a beautiful  1,370 year old fragment!

Update: I heard on the radio that it is suspected where the fragment came from and this Guardian article gave better details.

… the parchment and the beautiful early Arabic script closely resemble other fragments in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris from the earliest mosque in Egypt, founded in AD 642.

That mosque seems to be the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As.

Dieter Moebius

July 22nd, 2015

Half of Cluster has passed away.

The other night, I watched the documentary Brian Eno: 1971-1977 – The Man Who Fell to Earth. Most of it was pretty familiar, but I was kicking myself for not being as familiar with Cluster as I should be. I love getting buzzed on wine and listening to Neu! and Can, but I never think to put on Cluster to drift in space with. I swore that night that I would pull out my Cluster albums and let the familiarity soak in. It’s been too long. I bought a bunch of Krautrock in the late ’90s, then binged on the material less accessible in America in the early ’00s.

Here is Moebius playing at the Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf in 2013, still vital, still interesting.

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And I really need to revisit Cluster, as I don’t remember them being this funky/groovy.

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