Friday, January 22, 2016

What Year is This? It's SecretSun16

What an interesting year this has been already.

Last year during the New Horizon mission to Pluto (and points beyond), I speculated that the real purpose of this mission was not Pluto at all but was in fact about searching the murky reaches of space beyond the former planet, specifically looking for Planet X. 

The existence of a large body with an eccentric solar orbit has long been the basis for debate, speculation and controversy. Of course, raising the issue has been a surefire way to open yourself to ridicule or worse, despite the very solid science that had been done since at least the early 1980s.

I was mindful in the wording of my suspicions about the mission, but it appears to have gotten this blog a lot of the kind of attention that I wasn't used to. I realized when I was contacted for an interview by a mainstream news outlet that I struck a nerve somewhere (I opted to pass the buck to Richard Hoagland, who's been dealing with the media since I was in diapers and handled the situation perfectly).

But now it's been revealed that NASA's been sitting on a major revelation about Planet X for some time:
Hints that ‘Planet Nine’ may exist on edge of our solar system 
Two astronomers say they have found evidence that a planet around 10 times the mass of Earth is lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system, on an orbit that comes no closer than 200 times the distance between the sun and Earth. Dubbed Planet Nine, it hasn’t been seen directly. Instead, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have inferred its existence from the strange orbits of other, smaller bodies. 
Brown and others have continued to explore the Kuiper belt and have discovered many small bodies. One called 2012 VP113, which was discovered in 2014, raised the possibility of a large, distant planet, after astronomers realised its orbit was strangely aligned with a group of other objects.  
As I've said repeatedly, if astronomers aren't sure what's out there in our own solar system, we may want to take their speculations about solar systems trillions of miles away with a grain of salt or two.

Longtime readers are well familiar with the work done here on comics great Jack Kirby and his astonishing prophecies and his obsession with aliens and ancient astronauts.

Now it seems that Kirby's star is rising after years of relative obscurity. 
There was a major exhibition of his work and now there's a stage play based on his life.
The art world has traditionally looked down on commercial artists and illustrators. The case of Kirby was especially problematic because he worked in a genre most critics consider juvenile, and worked at it with a deeply unfashionable lack of pretention. Sure, his work sells for tens of thousands of dollars per page, but mostly to fans, not serious people. 
Nevertheless, Kirby’s stock has been rising in academia as scholars recognize the contributions he has made to popular culture, and he has been the subject of several serious aesthetic critiques, group shows and retrospective exhibits. 
Last fall, Charles Hatfield, a Kirby scholar and professor at California State University Northridge, mounted a gallery show called The Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic Work of Jack Kirby, that made a strong claim for his groundbreaking aesthetics in the context of 20th century American Art. The show was thoughtfully reviewed in the current issue of Art in America. 
There is also a Kirby Museum project mounted by curators including Rand Hoppe, Tom Kraft and Mike Cecchini, which is seeking a physical home on New York’s Lower East Side (Kirby’s birthplace) for its collection of hundreds of Kirby original works.
Even more fascinating is that Dr. John Brandenberg has done some hard science detailing the thesis that Mars was destroyed during a nuclear war, just a Kirby depicted in "The Face on Mars" in 1959.

This Sunday sees the return of The X-Files, another topic well-familiar to longtime readers. You might have seen some of the negative reviews in the mainstream media about the relaunch, which surely has nothing at all to do with this :
Fox's X-Files revival has controversial new theories 
Now we don’t want to reveal too much about the episode, or how the conspiracy relates to the show’s existing labyrinthine mythology. What we will report – and stop reading if you don’t want to know anything about the first hour – is that O’Malley eventually sways Mulder and Scully to adopt a new conspiracy that lays a framework for the six-episode revival. 
The theory involves global warming, war in the Middle East, NSA spying, chem-trails (here called “aerial contaminants”), police militarization, supposed FEMA prison camps, and the eventual military “takeover of America” by a UN-like group of “multinational elites.” The conspiracy theory plays a bit like Oliver Stone during his JFK fever pitch — only if his source material was Infowars instead of UFO lore.
The fact that many of the reviews make disparaging reviews about tinfoil hats and the rest of it (did any of these idiots ever watch the original series?) is surely coincidental.

UPDATE: In case the was any doubt was what is really going with the bad reviews, The New York Times puts it all to rest. Note they cite one of the lamest, most forgotten standalones as the show "at its best." This is exactly what I was concerned about in March.
The show was at its best when its heroes investigated something very creepy — a ship on the Norwegian Sea whose crew mysteriously ages, for instance — and came up with more questions than answers. The real pleasure of “The X-Files” wasn’t having your worst fears about the government confirmed; it was realizing that our world might still contain phenomena that are unexplained, and perhaps unexplainable. 

We get flashes of this old spirit in the second and third episodes of the reboot. I hope the rest of the six-episode series continues in this vein, because watching TV heroes embrace conspiracy theories isn’t much fun when presidential candidates foster gun-confiscation paranoia and a 9/11 truther is campaigning for Donald Trump in Iowa.

Just to round out the buffet, we now find that Elizabeth Fraser, the Siren herself, is returning after 20 years of almost complete silence with a highly significant project-- semiotically-speaking, that is.
Since disbanding her influential dream pop band, Cocteau Twins, Elizabeth Fraser has remained fairly quiet in the music world. Though she’s worked with artists including Massive Attack and released a pair of singles, her last full-length statement remains Cocteau Twins’ 1996 final album Milk and Kisses. Now Fraser has teamed with her husband Damon Reece for her most extensive project since then, as Loaded reports. 
The pair have composed an operatic score for the upcoming series Nightmare Worlds of H.G. Wells — a four-part mini-series set to debut on Sky Arts January 28. The consists of four adaptations of stories by H.G. Wells and includes performances by Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone and Rupert Graves. Watch the trailer below to hear some of Fraser and Reece’s score.

Of course, the year began with the loss of David Bowie, a foundational influence for The Secret Sun.* 

But I ended 2015 exploring personal evidence of the persistence of life after death
(a fact of which I have no doubts of anyway), so I was prepared for that eventuality. Bowie not only left us a lifetime of work to explore, his spirit is now free to roam to points unknown.

I plan to return to Blackstar in the future once I've had more time to digest it, but I can't help but notice strange, almost etheric connections, not the least of which is the literally secret sun of the 'Blackstar' video, as well as the (literal) ancient astronaut and the Bacchic mystery cult and all the rest of it. I don't think I'm done with the Starman and I don't think he's done with me.

Oh, and then Killing Joke drop their new single and video. They were supposed to be touring the US this month but, you know. Killing Joke.

*I should also state again that our UFO sighting this past year came after hours of listening to Bowie and was followed by an almost impossible VALIS sync.

I should also add that just as I wrote the above sentence I received a confirmation email from Amazon that my CD version of Blackstar shipped....


  1. XD Nice. I had thought about sending some links, but I see that of course you were *way* ahead of me.

    The "Planet 9"/Kirby thing really shocked me a few days ago. I'm starting to get the feeling that some kind of unveiling or disclosure might be near....

    And, be still my heart! Conspiracy theories in the "X-Files"? What's next, space travel in Star Trek? Seriously, my already low opinion of the mainstream media has further cratered. My opinion might even be cratered low enough to find the tunnels under Antarctica.....

    1. It's unreal. And it's not just the mainstream media, it's outlets that should know better. Polarization has created some very dangerous thought contagions, with people who once would question authority now worship it.

    2. Oh, you're absolutely right. I've walked away from a ton of supposed "Alt-news" sites after I discovered how easily I clash with whatever they consider "proper" thought.

      It's almost like polarization and the bubbles of thought that result have reduced most people to conditioned response, like they don't and *can't* think anymore.

  2. Blackstar is worthy of a physical artifact—a disc—in preference over a download. I'm fascinated by the chosen artwork that appears above the lyrics to 'Girl Loves Me' in the liner notes. I'm looking forward to more of your explorations of his impressive, final album. BTW - anecdotal evidence from my household seems to suggest that listening to Blackstar in a relaxed, open state results in some powerful syncs in any projects or tasks you start afterwards.

    1. Well, this is exactly why I ordered the disc. Downloads are fine in most cases, but when important things come out I want the physical product so I can really study it. It's amazing what tuned-in artists will include on the packaging for those paying attention.

    2. The CD packaging's use of gloss-on-matte printing, essentially itself a black-on-black visible only in a certain light, is itself a message. Only if the the images are "illuminated" will one see them.

    3. I know it's become a pop culture fad now, given the booming sales and scrabble of artist to get released on this media, but I purchase my keeper music on the medium of vinyl.

      There was a time Imswitched to CD, then embraced the digital download due to the iPod revolution, but then a Fringe episode (and my youngest son's curiosity) prompted me to go get my turntable back out of the garage. In playing some of my albums I was just thunderstruck at how much better sonically (better stereo separation, stereo image breadth, instrument detail, etc) that my vinyl albums were compared to all my digital media.

      Most late comers to vinyl are now the generation that is rediscovery the pleasure of owning music on a physical media where attention lavished on album covers, slip liners, lyrics notes, et al, are not wasted, but instead relished by the fan. Artist are understanding the value of connecting with their fans on this level.

  3. Ok, I think I've finally figured it out (serious). Here me out on this one:
    In Theosophy, it is believed the Seven Stars of the Pleiades focus the spiritual energy of the Seven Rays (Syncretism)
    from the Galactic Logos to the Seven Stars of the Great Bear (Ursa Major), then to Sirius, then to the Sun, then to the god of Earth (Lord Sanat Kumara)
    in (Jainism) and finally through the seven Masters of the Seven Rays (Ascended Masters) to us via! Isn't that right?

    1. Well, I would definitely not pretend to have that kind of connection or influence. Things happen on levels that run parallel to our lives though, so in that case it's interesting to trace the links. Maybe even more than interesting- maybe it's something we all need to open our eyes to.

  4. Sometimes the cutting edge makes its way to the center.

    1. Usually after a very long time. It's a weird feeling to see so much of the kind of things that I was fixated on in my teens fill such a dominant space in the mainstream. It creates kind of strange fugue, where you can no longer mark the passing of time by the flow of ideas through the culture because it all seems to exist at once.

    2. Chris, sometimes I get the strangest feeling p for example, I'm on a comic book nostalgia-kick ATM, and I actually remember the Chris Claremont comics from 1989-91 better than I recall things I read in 2015.

      Certainly the Claremont comics were finely crafted and more relevant, but - I don't know how better to explain it except that it's as if I've mentally returned to the late 80s.

    3. I seriously wouldn't know. That's how out of the loop I am these days. I tried keeping up on Comixology but it's an all or nothing proposition these days.

    4. I don't really try anymore, the only new comic I read is IDW's "Jem & the Holograms", and only in the trade.

      I dip into comics every year or two, but find they aren't worth the cash.

      But that's what is weird - there is so much stuff out now, shows, media, ideas, it's like I'm always out-of-the-loop or behind, and I really don't even want to catch up. Like this notion that X-Files is 'tinfoil hat' stuffs - if people feel that way, don't I don't want to talk to them about it, or about anything really. IDK, I've never really belonged anywhere, but I'm now glad for that, if you catch my meaning. :)

  5. All this talk about a new planet is reminding me of some classic kookiness. Who knows, maybe they were onto something!

    I am not a diehard fan of Zachariah Sitchin, but I'll bring his name up now, if only to muddle the mix. Were Pluto not so unceremoniously demoted in recent times then we would be looking at a _tenth_ planet, his original proposal. I know, ol' Zack has his problems with scholarship and tended to ramble. Even if he's dead wrong about everything else (and probably was), nice to know he got the main point.

    And I'll have to go dig up the info, but there was a old-school Saucer cult called Cosmic Awareness some years ago, an outfit out of California, that had wild theories about a ninth/tenth planet out in the dark beyond Pluto. Highly entertaining stuff, as there were talk of lizard guys and other David Icke hooey from them way back in the 1970s, if not earlier. Most of their UFO data was channeled via spirit guides! Weirdness Abounds, indeed.

    1. I'm not a Sitchin fan either, but you know what? A lot of very powerful and influential people were and are. So I don't know anymore. All I know is that I just knew that this New Horizon thing wasn't about taking beauty shots of Pluto. I knew it was about something more serious.

    2. I just finished re-reading Sitchin's The 12th Planet (the ancients included the sun and moon as planets, according to him). It was originally published in 1974. So it seems someone had an inkling of this mysterious planet way back then (and most of his research in that area is based on even older astronomical data and research). I must say, when I saw the article about it, just hours after finishing the book, I just kind of nodded my head and thought, "of course!". I had initially enjoyed his work as kind of fun fiction, being already aware of his leaps of logic (which are obvious to any thinking person who reads this book, I would assume) and flaws in his theorizing. Still, it's a cool story he comes up with using ancient texts and modern (at the time) astronomy. So yeah, it looks like he was right about his main point, at least. There is something gratifying in that to me.

  6. Honestly, the best X-Files reviews I could ask for from the mainstream media: 'Ugh...tinfoil hats.' At least that means that the good ol' X isn't going to pander too hard to warm, half-remembered 90s nostalgia. The kind that causes Tumblr users to create infantilized pixel art of Mulder and Scully acting cutesy and bumping into adorable aliens ('The Safe Space X-Files' if you will...gotta love my fellow millenials...don't answer that).

    I truly hope this new miniseries messes people up. Pop culture kinda needs a kick in the a**.

    1. I think we're past that. As I said when the miniseries was announced my main fear was the world it had to reincarnate into. And unfortunately my fears have been realized.

  7. I didn't watch the X-Files when it was originally on TV because I was absolutely terrified of alien abduction thanks to a wrong-time-wrong-place experience as a kid, but when the show came to Netflix I devoured it. Twice. Well, the second time around, I got stuck on season 9.

    But in the reading I've done about the show when it first came on the scene, I know that Chris Carter was liberally picking from the conspiracy scene of his day for a lot of the show's mythology, so it seems par for the course for a show in 2016 to do the same. So what I want to know (and figure you'll probably know) is if The X-Files was panned by critics back in the 90s for its source material.

    1. It wasn't. Something has changed. This has been going on in the media for a while now.

  8. Just pray that being caught by the Zeitgeist is unlike being caught by Jack the Ripper in a darkened alley...

    1. Seeing as how the zeitgeist is often a fiction maintained by the sinister ideology of a theocratic pseudo-royalist elite of black-market slavers, you're not far off the truth. In my opinion.

  9. The rating came in for "My Struggle", 5.1 share, 13,47 million of views. I'd say too bad for the critics. This doesn't even factor in upload visits on-line.