EPIC BATTLES #8 CADIZ 1625

By Malcolm McNeill

George Villiers, The Earl of Buckingham, was a ‘favorite’ of King James I. “God bless you, my sweet child and wife,” crooned James, “and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear father and husband.” When James died, his son Charles picked up where dad left off.

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INTENTION

By Malcolm McNeill

The armies of Yersinia pestis destroyed more than fifty million human beings during the fourteenth century alone – more than the combined hordes of Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun many times over. Like them, they also came from the East.

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1%

By Malcolm McNeill

Marga, says Joseph Campbell, is a Sinhala word derived from Sanskrit. In this, its plural form, it denotes ways, methods and techniques. From the Tamil version of the word, Markangal, derives the religious connotation of the Path, the journey undertaken in search of ultimate meaning.

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LOVERBOY

By Malcolm McNeill

Sultry, French princess Isabella leans down to the dying king Edward and whispers in his ear … “A child who is not of your line grows in my belly. Your son will not sit long on the throne… I swear it.” Her fey, cuckolded husband – the next king Edward – strains to hear her, as the audience squirms with delight.

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VECTOR

By Malcolm McNeill

On July 28th 1945, at 9:49 am, a plane crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building – at that time, the tallest building in New York. On September 11, 2001, at 9:03 am, a plane crashed into the 79th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center – also the tallest building in the city at the time.

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UGLY IS

By Malcolm McNeill

The “Ugly Spirit” was the impetus for William Burroughs’ writing career. He attributed the accidental shooting and killing of his wife to the influence of such an elemental force, and his vast output of literary and artistic endeavors was the result.

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PLAYING THE GAME

By Malcolm McNeill

The publicity photograph shows him standing barefoot in a business suit, hanging by one arm from the branch of a tree. His passion, we are told, is Conservation. His career has spanned several decades, in which he’s photographed the glamorous, the rich and famous, and most significantly the wildlife and people…

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MOUTHS TO FEED

By Malcolm McNeill

Corporations are considered living organisms and afforded rights accordingly. Their primary directive, like all life, is to increase. Unlike biological organisms, however, their methods are not constrained by a fear of physical suffering or demise. To exist as a corporation is not a matter of life and death in a literal sense.

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CLASSIC MOVIES – #4 MR. AND MRS. SMITH

By Malcolm McNeill

The first time I saw Mrs. Smith, she was lying next to me on the side of a bus. Later that same day… I spotted her husband on the side of another one. De rigueur as it is for Hollywood movie stars, each of them had a gun – silver in their case, a fashion accessory offsetting their chic, black evening attire.

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GUNG HO

By Malcolm McNeill

When we came up with the idea of freewill, we pulled the rug out from under ourselves and started wearing it as a hat. It’s our most cherished conceit. In a moment of inspired bravado we went over the wall from the rest of nature and we’ve been on the lam ever since.

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BUGS/LIFE

By Malcolm McNeill

Director Samuel Orr presents us with a painstakingly beautiful account of the unique 17-year lifecycle of Cicadas. The video is a trailer, a promo, a ‘greatest hits’ version of the full-length movie to come. It is designed to capture our hearts and imaginations, to stir us into watching the entire story and hopefully …

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NEW YORK GIANTS

By Malcolm McNeill

In 1868, New York cigar-maker George Hull got into a discussion with an Iowa evangelist about the reference to giants in the book of Genesis. George was not a particularly religious man, but he was no slouch when it came to recognizing a God-given opportunity.

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THE WONDER OF ATLANTIS

By Malcolm McNeill

In their book When the Sky Fell, Rand and Rose Flem Ath present convincing evidence that Antarctica was in fact the mythical Atlantis. Taking their cue from Charles Hapgood’s Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings and his theory of ‘crustal shifts,’ they demonstrate that the island was once the temperate thriving hub…

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THE GAME

By Malcolm McNeill

Deepak Chopra runs a center for spiritual giddy-up in southern California. His forte is mind-body medicine and he includes golf as a means for contemplating the essential balance between the two. In his book Golf for Enlightenment: The Seven Lessons for the Game of Life, he presents the “parable” of Adam Everyman…

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ANT WEATHER

By Malcolm McNeill

In New York City, the insects I encountered most frequently were cockroaches. In L.A. it was ants. My respect for each is naturally profound, but it differs according to their specific forms of social organization – their sense of community as it were and their response to the hazards with which they have to contend.

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HANDS

By Malcolm McNeill

Wednesday morning I pulled the garbage bins out into the street for collection. When I went back for the second one I discovered a lizard had been sleeping under the first. In dragging out the bin, I’d chopped off its tail.

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NONE SHALL PASS

By Malcolm McNeill

A few chastity belts are on exhibit in a few European museums, but they are few enough to suggest that their use was not widespread. There is also some doubt as to what that use may have been. There were no contemporary literary references at the time to what is surely one of the most remarkable items…

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PIGGY IN THE MIDDLE

By Malcolm McNeill

Every dogma has its day and every generation sets another flawless category among the pigeonholes. A flat earth, an earth supported by elephants, an earth around which the entire universe revolves, even. Geocentrism was the name of that one; a trusty old dog only recently put down.

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A SHRIMP

By Malcolm McNeill

A while ago, scientists discovered sulfur-breathing shrimps existing in total darkness two miles down in the Atlantic. Their long held conviction that oxygen and light are prerequisites to life was proved to be wrong.

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ABRACADAVER

By Malcolm McNeill

Public executions have always been well attended. Road accidents cause rubber necking traffic jams. A neighbor across the street who undresses in the window can inspire investing in a telescope. Voyeurism – wanting to see someone naked, have sex, or die without them seeing you…

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“A” IS FOR GIRL

By Malcolm McNeill

Venus is the second closest planet to the sun, and next to it, the second brightest ‘star’ in the sky. It was named after the Roman goddess of beauty. To the Babylonians it was Ishtar “bright queen of the sky” and its Mesopotamian name Astarte was transformed by the Greeks into Aphrodite…

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ASTRONOMY PICTURE OF THE DAY

By Malcolm McNeill

There is a 1909 Lincoln penny attached to the probe arm of Curiosity, a unit of currency, as it were, stuck to its palm. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem such a remarkable idea, but on the coin there are three inscriptions: “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the date.

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LORD OF THE BONOBOS

By Malcolm McNeill

Action novels invariably mirror the sexual dynamic. They embody the same tension/release mechanism as orgasm, and like the movies they often inspire, always result in a climax – in their extreme, simplistic form, with a literal explosion…

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