APRIL, 2002 E.A.
AN APOLOGY TO THE READER
First of all I would like to offer my sincere apology to those of you who missed the "Black Easter" festivities on the night of March 31. Due to a temporary brain-slip (possibly caused by the ravages of age and insobriety) I forgot to mention this in the last newsletter, the publication of which was supposed to be the only source of promoting the event besides a few flyers and word of mouth. What makes my lapse of memory so damn tragic is that all of the band members were in attendance, hoping to get a chance to talk to some of you before leaving for Japan to kick off the new tour (especially MJK who arrived early to spend some quality time chatting with fans before the live bands started playing). So, once again I acknowledge my error and wish to express my deepest regret. As a way of atonement (other than the usual sackcloth and ashes), allow me to describe in detail what you missed, though unfortunately I can't tell you what questions you might have asked the band members if given a chance, nor what their replies would have been (well, actually I probably could, but...)
BLACK EASTER REVISITED
While many of you were resting from hunting chocolate eggs left by Jesus in a fuzzy bunny suit, members of the Tool family gathered at the El Portal theater in L.A.'s NOHO art district for an art show called "Realms of Pluto." Along with four live bands, the show featured films by OSSEUS LABYRINT and LISA YU, art by SPIRAL EYES and CHET ZAR and much more. Among those who showed up and paid the seven dollars at the door were artist ALEX GREY (who had to pay double due to his subtle anatomy also being in attendance), members of THE MELVINS, those scruffy folk known as PIGMY LOVE CIRCUS, kaRIN and Statik of COLLIDE, Sara Kapuchinski and Troy of eXit sTraTEgy, Paul D'amour and Gilden Tunador of QUEEN MAUDLAND, and TOOL video co-producer and artist, KEVIN WILLIS. Even our own Ryan McClimit made the trip down to see what all the fuss was about. As I wandered about in the lobby, checking out the functional nudity of "Spiral Eyes", I heard someone announce, "Hark, I hear a band." This was Ben Sherazi of LOTUS EATER, who were slated to perform first on the evening's bill. Before heading in, I decided to have one final beer (after, this was the band's first live performance). So I pushed my way over to the bar where they were taking donations for beer and wine (a liquor license loop-hole), ordered one while pretending to put three singles into the cup, knowing that these would come in handy later that night at Jumbo's Clown Room. After draining the Tecate or whatever it was on tap, I proceeded into the theater, saving my red plastic cup, knowing that they will soon run out of ‘em (once bitten, twice shy).
In the darkness, I found a seat next to Bella Blue. On stage, "Lotus Eater" sounds good with their dynamics and complex time signatures, though I'm still trying to figure out what their name implies. I know that a lotus is a type of flower, and then suddenly it dawns on me - I get it (but not as often as I'd like). Ben's band is followed by TROPIC (pronounced with a long O). This is Vince DeFranco's project. Vince, who has appeared on stage with Tool several times, is the electronic whiz who invented the "Dimensional Beam" and recently created the revolutionary new electronic drums that Danny will use on the new tour. Tropic reminded me at times of Pink Floyd or Tangerine Dream, having a somewhat "futuristic" sound generated by their use of multiple synths, which, when played in conjuction with surreal visuals creates an overall effect that is quite hypnotic. My favorite moment was an explosion of what we prog-types used to call filter modulation that was unleashed along with the projections of Egyptian monuments silhouetted against the glittering azure of desert skies.
Next up was BÜTCHER, a band that features this website's own Camella Grace and guitarist Chris Graves. Completing the line-up is drummer Sasha Popovic and Brazilian bassist, Menck. Their first song, "Green River" (about the serial murderer) begins with an eerie drone, this as he stage is bathed in a somber, diffused greyish-green light with fog slithering around the musicians who are flanked by the white-painted nakedness of two females, at times looking painfully exposed and at others, displaying an erotic pantomime (I wonder if Camella found them at "Jumbo's." If so, then I'm killing two birds with one stone I remember thinking.) What follows is a type of metal adagio with Camella's near-operatic vocals, melodic, but at times having an exquisite dissonance. After this they launched into "Hungry Ghost", a sonic wall evoking the imagery of rich middle-eastern arabesques and which features those stunning visuals that are to be expected with a project that Camella is involved with - after all, this is the same thing she does so well with Tool during their live performances (hey, sucking up a little bit never hurts).
The last band of the evening was AMBR.SEA. These musicians are familiar to most club-goers in L.A., having techno-beats and a female vocalist who is in some ways reminiscent of Annie Haslam of Renaissance fame (the highest compliment I could possibly pay her). Over all, a very aurally and visually stimulating evening. Wish some of you could of been there to share in it, but...
SILVER PATRON AND RAINBOW CAKE
Here are some photos taken by Janie Fitzgerald of Camella's birthday party at Lia's (NOT LEAH's) house. The psychedelic cake was baked by actress Jane Adams (Anniversary Party, Orange County), and was consumed between birthday toasts with shots of good tequila.
"I JUST CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD" or THE CONFESSIONS OF A THREE-DAY MINOGUE'R
The Simmons spotting scope that I last used at America's most famous secret base, AREA 51, is now pointed out of my kitchen window, focused on an MTA bench at a bus stop on the boulevard. When I peer into it I see an advertisement for pop diva, Kylie Minogue's new CD, "Fever." When feeling lonely, I often find myself zooming in on a rather ASSurgent part of the Aussie beauty's anatomy, a part that shall remain nameless, but one that is quite ASSentatory I must say. I can only ASSume you know the part I speak of.
But at times, the advertisement is hard to see through the ASSemblage of people waiting to board the bus; most these being ASSamese emigrants who work at the local businesses. So, like some mindless zombie, I drive down to the nearest store to purchase "Fever." Well, actually I ASSign a friend to this task so that there won't be any paper trail, the ASSecution of which, I ASSure him he will not regret. My ASSociate comes through big time and soon I'm opening that salacious insert which displays the singer's prime ASSet in all its Coppertone glory.
In a guarded moment in the lobby of the "Black Easter" gig, I ASSibilate (so as not to be ASSailed by other members of the Tool family) to kaRIN that I've been listening to Kylie. She asks if I'm becoming a Minogue'r? After almost ASSenting to this, I quickly ASSert that I'm not. I'm only interested in the pin-up that comes with the CD. The next day, while visiting the office of Tool's business manager, I see Justin C. sitting behind a desk, looking over an ASSortment of paperwork that needs to be signed. So I show him my prize pin-up of Kylie. "Wow!" is his initial reaction as he unfolds the insert. When I warn him that the music is disco ASSai, he seems surprised: "You mean there's music too?"
Soon I realize that I'm becoming obsessed with her. Is it the music that's got me hooked? Definitely not. How about the lyrics - is it the ASSonance, or partial rhyme?. No. ASSiduously, I try to figure out what's causing my obsession (just to ASSecure that I'm not losing my musical perspective and giving in to an ASSembly-line sound). Finally, I ASSimilate it - this after an ASSession with my friends. It's not her voice, or musical ability, but another ASSet of hers that's got me going out of my head. If I were to describe this ASSet, I would say that it is manniferous - that is "manna-bearing" (yes, as in manna from heaven). This particular ASSet of hers was probably genetically-engineered at Pine Gap near Alice Springs (the Aussie equivalent of Area 51). And what is more, I'm beginning to think that it alone could solve many of the world's problems.
Here are just a few examples: Suicide bombers in the Middle-East. Sure, they'll have seventy virgins waiting for them in paradise, but NONE of them with that A**! (by the way, if the suicide bomber happens to be a female, what does she get in paradise? Seventy [inexperienced] virgin boys - what the hell kind of reward is that?) So, what you REALLY want, Mr. suicide bomber, is right here on the good old planet Earth, on sale at your local Tower Records store. And as for those ASSailants of the Twin Towers, the ASSassins, many ASSyriologists I've talked to (just to ASSecure my reasoning is correct) agree that Ms. Minogue's best ASSests could be used to ASSage there innermost fears.
What about the other side of the coin: those fundamentalist Jews who want to rebuild their temple on the site of an Islamic mosque? Not the ASSideans I think, but those other ultra-ascetic types who I've heard tell place a sheet over the woman's entire body while having sexual intercourse, with only a small hole cut into the cloth for the obvious reason.* Well, with what Kylie brings to the dance, no sane person would ever cover that up. So we do away with another archaic practice, and soon the "whole" religion crumbles. Moving on to the current problems we're having with our own Roman Catholic priests. If they could have something like that (this A** that I'm seeing plastered on benches at bus stops all over the city), just maybe we wouldn't have to notify the police every time a Catholic church moves into the neighborhood. Problem solved (maybe - they're the ones I'm still not sure about). Finally, after three days of my insisting that we play Kylie, a certain band member removes the CD from the tray and puts on "Killing Joke." This, of course, with my ASSent .
* Hopefully no one can verify the reality of this unusual form of pro-creation.
Seems everyone has started cutting apples in half to see if they really do contain sacred geometry; this after seeing a blue apple being sliced open in the new Tool video, "Palabol/Parabola." Yes, Virginia, there really is a pentagram in there (in the more common red ones at least), which is why Frater Ijynx recommends drinking unfermented apple juice after performing magickal rituals.
Danny Carey has obtained the security camera footage of the vandalism to his Custom Craft kit at the last NAMM show. This is quite entertaining, and will be shown to select audiences during the upcoming U.S. tour.
Because it was the seal of King Bobogel. I think it was a Sunday night. I was standing in line at a Burger King in the Miracle Mile district of L.A., waiting my turn to order. As I stood there with nothing in particular on my mind, my gaze fell upon the flames of the broiler behind the personnel at the cash registers where the "assembly line" of the crew members were preparing burgers, ect. I was bewildered to see that the flames had a distinct green and violet tint to them. Earlier that evening I had noticed the same effect with the fluttering candle flames in my apartment while experimenting with the "Heptarchia Mystica" of John Dee.
Ordinarily I might have thought that the peculiar hues of the flame broiler in the kitchen was due to some kind of post-ritual phenomenon, only on that night I had not performed a magical ritual, but, instead, was merely tinkering with Dee's lesser known work. As I continued to stare at the flames, almost hypnotized by the vivid colors, my spell was suddenly broken by some confusion to my left where another customer was placing his order. This was a guy dressed in a black suit that seemed curiously old-fashioned. He also had on a black hat, possibly a homburg, but at any rate one that you don't often see men wearing in this day and age. This, like his unwrinkled suit was spotless, the same for his shiny black shoes which also seemed of an earlier vintage. As I watched the dark-suited figure, I noticed that he had an angular face with a swarthy or heavily-tanned complexion and with what appeared to be a slight Asiatic cast. There was something oily about his face, I remember thinking at the time. Even stranger were the man's lips; bright red in contrast to his dark, oriental features. Actually, it appeared as if he might be wearing lipstick.
At first, I thought this guy was probably a bit actor on break from a nearby studio. This was Hollywood after all. Perhaps, for whatever reason, he was still wearing the wardrobe of a period piece. At the same time I thought he might be just another weirdo in a town that attracts more than its fair share of, to be charitable, eccentric people. But as I continued to watch him, time seemed to stand still. I found myself fascinated by the dialogue between him and the person taking his order. The man kept asking the same questions over and over. This had to due with what he was ordering from the brightly-lit menu. Evidently he was trying to make sure that the fast food chain's signature burger, the Whopper, was in fact a regular hamburger like those he was accustomed to eating. Repeatedly the crew member assured him that the Whopper was just an ordinary hamburger with ordinary condiments. As this exchange went on at least five or six times, the person taking his order seemed to get more and more frustrated. Now thoughts were racing through my mind. The impression I was getting was of someone who had fell through time, or was navigating parallel dimensions, trying to make certain that the trademark Whopper was indeed an old-fashioned burger like those served by restaurants when burgers were just burgers and not Big Macs, Jumbo Jacks, Famous Stars, or Whoppers. At the time it never occurred to me that this was a magical attack or even that the stiff, awkward gestures of this dark-clad figure were reminiscent of the reports of those notorious "Men in Black" that had achieved a legendary status in the early 1950's.
Finally convinced that he was indeed going to be given a perfectly ordinary hamburger, the man placed his order. What happened next was even stranger than the man's anomalous features and somewhat robotic movements, but first, let me start at the beginning:
There is an old expression that warns those to be careful what they wish for. There is some wisdom in this as the following will rightly attest to. It was in the summer of 1998 e.v. at the Burbank Book Fair that I got what I wished for. I was talking with a dealer in rare books from Salt Lake City who had in the past sold me some Aleister Crowley first editions. He was now telling me that he had recently purchased a collection of vintage UFO books that numbered around 500 volumes.
Knowing that I already had many of these books in my own library, and that he wanted $5.000.00 for the lot, I told him that I wasn't interested but that I would like a list of the books in the collection so that I might cherry-pick a few select titles and/or any obscure ephemera that I needed ( I always inquired as to what books the various collections contained as I was searching for one book in particular and had been doing so for over ten years). His typical reply was that he was not willing to break up the collection. I was about to move on when he dropped a bombshell, although I'm sure he didn't know it: "There's this one other thing that I just bought from a woman whose husband recently died. She seemed kind of reluctant to sell it at first, though it just looked like junk. I'd driven over 200 miles to look at this collection of books she had. Turned out to be mostly worthless stuff, but I bought a few things hoping to pay for my gas expenses, and one of them was this book about UFOs. It has something to do with these three guys writing to the government about aliens."
"Did they call themselves Mr. A., Mr. B., and Jemi", I asked? "Yeah", I think that was their names. Are you interested?"
I was indeed. I gave the antiquarian dealer my phone number and told him to call me when he was back in Salt Lake City where the book was so I could verify a few things. He called a few days later and told me that the book was from the 1950's and was called "The Case for the UFO." It was spiral bound between pale blue card stock, 189 pages, and actually seemed to be annotated text of "The Case for the UFO" printed by the Varo Manufacturing Company in Garland Texas. Although I knew he probably only paid a few dollars for it, I offered him $100.00 for it. He quickly accepted and took my credit card number. Being that I was leaving on vacation to North Myrtle Beach the next day, I had him Fed-X the book to our beach rental, where I would anxiously await for the "Holy Grail" of UFO books. (NOTE: the book I received turned out to be a 1950's mimeographed copy of an original annotated edition.)
... a tradition of bad luck or strange circumstances is connected with possession of the Annotated Edition... (Gray Barker)
The book truly lived up to its reputation. Shortly after receiving it, there began a series of bizarre incidents, and strange coincidences. Although I had told nobody that I was in possession of the book (and book dealers almost never give out the names of customers)I received phone calls from people wanting to know if I'd be willing to make a Xerox copy for their researches. Sometimes I'd be asked odd questions by unidentified voices, the murkiness of which I found very disconcerting. Still others would call and issue stern warning about using the book for research, and then abruptly break the connection. I began to get e-mails from people asking me about the book, although this is first time I've mentioned having a copy. Never did I get a satisfactory answer as to how they knew I had it (and usually I told them that I didn't even have a copy, even suggesting in the December newsletter that I was still looking for a copy).
It was at this point that I showed Danny and Adam the book, thinking that some of the things spoken of in it would make the subject of a great Tool video. For those who don't know the story behind the annotated edition, I will now explain how it came to be:
In 1955 e.v. astronomer and UFO researcher Morris K. Jessup wrote a book entitled "The Case for the UFO." Shortly after being published in a hard cover edition, a cheaper mass market paperback edition was published. It was a copy of this Bantam paperback that was sent anonymously to Admiral N. Furth, Chief Officer of Naval Research in Washington D.C. The ONR received the book in a manila envelope postmarked from Seminole TX. Written in ink on the envelope were the words "Happy Easter." The book itself was found to be heavily marked up with notes, interjections, underlining, and markouts. The marginalia also contained discussions between three different people, or so it appeared due to the three distinct colors of ink used (blue, violet, and blue-green), who refereed to themselves as Mr. A, Mr. B and Jemi. In several passages they describe themselves as Gypsies: "...And we are a discredited people, ages ago. Hah! Yet, man wonders where we came from..."
Due to the bizarre nature of the notations, certain people at the ONR decided to re-publish the book with all the notations in very limited edition of 127 copies (others claim a much smaller print run of between 12-25 copies *) which were to be circulated among military intelligence personnel. The reason given by a Special Projects Officer, Commander George W. Hoover and a Captain Sidney Sherby was that "the notations implied an intimate knowledge of UFOs, their means of motion, their origin, background, history and habits of beings occupying UFOs provide an interesting subject for investigation... Because of the importance which we attach to the possibility of discovering clues to the nature of gravity, no possible item, however disreputable from the point of view of classical science, should be overlooked." So the laborious task of re-typing the book complete with the notations on mimeograph stencils was undertaken by a Miss Michael (?) Ann Dunn, the personal secretary to the president of the Varo Corp., an aero-space firm that was heavily involved in classified military research. (NOTE: there are no records of Miss Dunn ever working for the government contractor hired to print the book).
* At any rate, so few that most researchers doubted it even existed.
"The experiment was a complete success, the men were complete failures."
Before re-printing the book, Jessup was called into the offices of the ONR where he was shown the paperback copy of his book that contained the strange notations of Mr. A, Mr. B and Jemi. Much to his surprise, he recognized a similarity in the content, handwriting, peculiar spelling, punctuation and phraseology with that in a series of letters he had recently received from a certain Carlos Miguel Allende (aka Carl M. Allen).
These letters contained detailed knowledge of U.S. Navy experiments in 1943 (i.e. The Philadelphia Experiment which resulted in the "complete" invisibility of a ship and all of its crew[who met with disastrous results], although this was more likely a case of "degaussing" or an intense electromagnetic field to create a mirage effect of invisibility by refracting light). Due to the idiosyncrasies in both the letters and marginal notations in the paperback, Jessup concluded that both were written by the enigmatic Allende.
This phraseology, an odd vocabulary of scientific sounding terminology (especially for the time period) included the following wording: mothership, dead-ship, deep freezes, measure-markers, sheets of diamond, great bombardment, force cutters, clear talk, burning coat, vortice, and magnetic net. The book also speaks of two different groups of alien beings: the L-M's who are friendly and the S-M's who are hostile. In one of the more interesting passages, one of them asks "What inspiration caused man to become man by starting to use tools. Whence came the idea. Science says "of necessity" but the same necessity exits for apes... even now." In a section written by Jessup about artificial storms "which suddenly appear in otherwise undisturbed skies and proceed with a purposeful manner as though concealing something, and discharge peculiar materials ("angel hair?"). They seem concentrated, perhaps too directive to be entirely meteorological in their origins...", Mr. A responds with "DEAD GIVE-AWAY! HE KNOWS. THE L-M GREAT ARK = BIGGER!
According to some civilian researchers, in the following years Jessup became obsessed with the annotated text of the mystifying Allende, believing that it contained an "insider's" intimate knowledge about the UFO phenomenon. He even took the time to re-annotate his own copy of the Varo Edition. Then, on April 20, 1959 he was found slumped over the steering wheel of his station wagon in a Dade County park close to his home in Coral Gables, Florida. Evidently he had committed suicide by attaching a hose to the exhaust pipe, although his mysterious death was declared a suicide by asphyxiation without the benefit of an autopsy. In the years that followed his death, others who came into possession of the annotated edition of his book experienced a variety of misfortunes.
My own interest in the annotated text (besides its rarity) was the possibility that it contained a cipher, or coded message which might explain the idiosyncrasies of the author(s); the misspelled words, capitalization, etc. The officers at the ONR must have thought the same thing: "It might seem that the underscore in the book was in the form of a code or that if read separately that it would have a meaning of its own. Superficial examination has failed to disclose such a code." Ditto. I have spent many hours trying to discover such a code, using the words "Happy Easter" has the key-phrase. So far, I haven't come up with anything, although I'm nowhere close to giving up.
Now days most UFO researchers (including Jacques Vallee) dismiss the whole thing as a hoax. Allende was a practical joker of sorts who wrote the letters and notations in the copy of Jessup's book.
Some claim Allende (or Allen) even confessed to hoaxing it, only to later recant this confession. What the skeptics rarely offer, however, is a motive as to why Allende went to the trouble of doing this and more importantly what justified the ONR's re-typing the entire book and letters and distributing them to certain key members. Was it a warning against doing research in the area of UFO propulsion and the likes? Also, if he was just a harmless crank, then where did he get his information from - details about the PX which have been recently corroborated by others? If Mr. A, Mr. B, and Jemi were trying to discourage Jessup from going further with his investigations, then were they not in some way similar to the THREE "Men in Black" of UFO lore? Remember, they described themselves as "gypsies", a swarthy-complexioned people who like the sinister MIBs seem to appear and disappear in a non-veridical manner. Also, there is the awkward composition of the annotated edition, the way the three men spoke (in the text), asking a series of odd questions as well as using, at times, clichés or colloquialisms just as the MIBs have been reported to do. Even the idiosyncrasies of the spelling, capitalization, etc. is reminiscent of the stiff, awkward English used by the MIB "silencers."
Which brings me back to the actor, odd ball, shadow-government spook or astral effluvia that was standing in line in the Burger King on that Sunday night. There was a strange, hazy quality about the dark-suited figure who was placing his order, or so it began to seem to me as I watched him. When the person at the cash register told him the amount due, the man turned and looked right at me with those unsmiling red lips. With a somewhat rigid (though not exactly robotic) motion, he then proceeded to remove from the pocket of his sharply-creased black pants five shiny silver dollars. Holding out his hand, he then showed them to me, saying in stiff English: "Yesterday, I could have got a lot more for these. Oh well, Mac, there is still time to learn (or, it is not too late to learn). At that point I began to feel dizzy or like I was about to have an anxiety attack. Had I done something illegal (magickally speaking) I wondered?
Saying that I forgot my wallet, I stepped out of the line and exited the place. Trying to calm myself down, I recalled a funny episode that occurred many years earlier at that same Burger King. It was around noon. I was with my sister-in-law and she wanted to get something from the drive-through. So she pulled up and ordered a cheeseburger. From the crackling, tinny speaker came a man's voice with a heavy Asian accent saying that they were out of cheeseburgers at this time. So, my sister-in-law ordered a hamburger instead. This time the slightly angry, firm reply was " We don't have any hamburgers!" As I did back then, I was laughing to myself thinking about a Burger King without burgers. Then I saw something in the parking lot that should have jolted me back to the bizarre incident I just had inside the place. But, for whatever reason, I just remember thinking to myself, "that's what Adam (Jones) wants. At the time, what I saw didn't seem nearly as strange as it does now...
To be continued.
appeared in a black veluet coat: and his hose close rownd hose, with veluet upperstocks: overlayde with gold lace: on his hed a veluet hatcap: with a black feature in it: with a cape hanging on one of his sholders. His purse hanging abowt his neck: and so put under his gyrdell at which hong a gylt rapier. His beard was long he had plinufles & pynsions. And he sayd, "I weare these robes not in respect of my self, but of my government."
THIS MONTH'S FAVORITE E-MAIL
..."Allende was a crackpot. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WRITE ANYTHING ABOUT HIM OR THE PX. Failure to heed my warning is to commit journalistic suicide. Both you and the website will be totally discredited if you do..."
Aloke has decided to offer his musical services to others who don't live in Kalifornia. Normally he doesn't travel much these days, but he is now accepting invitations and will be in many cities across the U.S. to perform his solo tabla music as well as to give private tabla lessons and conduct general workshops on the Rhythm of Tabla. He will be in Bloomington IN from June 20-24, performing on June 22nd at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood. For more info regarding tabla lessons, attending the workshop, ticket and show info, and for all other inquiries please contact: Tom Petros (AND NOT ME) (email@example.com).
Aloke's percussion band SWATI will be performing at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica on May 12. Showtime is 9 PM.
Reclaiming, Reprogramming, & Repossession
To placate the then OHO of the OTO, Frater Baphomet embraced the image of the Crucifix as an image of the Holy Phallus. The consequence of this realignment of symbols was sufficient to confuse many that studied the OTO system into believing it a purely Christian school of mysticism and not a modern Mithraic academy.
Likewise, the "V" gesture used by Churchill to symbolize "Victory" was transformed by the hippies of the 60's to symbolize peace. (I don't know where the "V" = "Peace" business comes in. I can see "P" being a symbol of the phallus and "V" being the extension of the Phallus as it is understood by those who view the Tetragrammton through a Spermo-Gnostic lens. And the Phallus is described as being "Peace & Power" in some documents on the subject.... But this stretches the imagination.)
In a similar vein, gay people took the word "gay" to mean "homosexual." Straight people took the word "gay" and redefined it to mean "lame" as a rebuttal. To this end, gay people started using the term "straight" to me "sober." (and being sober is far worse than merely being gay.) Now, militant homosexuals have taken the word "fag" to mean "incredibly cool" or "spiffy" or "very nice." (And all this time I thought it meant "cigarette.")
Black people took the "N"-word and use it to refer to one another, replacing the "-er" at the end of the word with an "-a" to make it more palatable. Eventually, this use of this disgusting term will cause the word itself to lose much of its power. I don't know if this will end racism but it will require racists to come up with new terms to use and the resulting taxation of their mental abilities will keep the bed-sheet clad buffoons from building bombs.
Now, I, Frater ARVN, known to the Outer as Victor T. Cypert, take it upon myself to reclaim another often-abused symbol. This symbol, a number, is the pride of Deadheads and dirty neo-hippies everywhere. It is, of course, the "secret code word" used to signify pot-smoking. It is "4:20."
Now this number, "4:20" is said to be a police code used in some parts of Northern California to signify that someone has been caught smoking marijuana. I've checked this rumor out and I haven't been able to verify it. I have heard other rumors: that it was used by a group of high-school students in the 1970's, that it was created by Jerry Garcia to denote the time he awoke during the day and had his first toke, that it was the best time of day to get high, that it signifies Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica on April 20, 1966 etc. All of these rumors remain unsubstantiated.
But the symbol persists and redefining it would be a real son-of-a-bitch. I mean, I couldn't suddenly start using "4:20" to mean "I'm going off to church today and I hope that the Spirit of the Lord possesses me and I am given the gift of tongues." It just wouldn't fly. It's too complex. Also, the term "4:20" is freshly rooted in the American psyche at this moment - - and what is new is not easily changed.
Yet I can alter the "legend" of the origin of the number itself. Since no other definition holds water, any attempt that I make in this direction will be just as valid. In short, as long as everybody else is talking out of his or her asshole, I might as well, too.
Mythology Being Redefined
(To prevent irreparable transformation to your weltanschauung, stop reading now!)
The number 4:20 comes to us from the "fiction" of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Lovecraft used the number in his short story "Within the Walls of Eryx" when referring to a scene wherein an intrepid space explorer stumbles across a "mirage plant."
The description of the plant in Lovecraft's story is very similar to the description of the Cannabis Sativa plant native to Earth.
The actual excerpt from the story, wherein the number "4:20" is mentioned, follows:
"Although everything was spinning perilously, I tried to start in the right direction and hack my way ahead. My route must have been far from straight, for it seemed hours before I was free of the mirage-plant's pervasive influence. Gradually the dancing lights began to disappear, and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find the time was only 4:20. Though eternities had seemed to pass, the whole experience could have consumed little more than a half-hour."
- H. P. Lovecraft
And so there it is, the origin of the pothead's code for getting high. Believe it or be wrong.
(NOTE: Victor's website is www.neuralalchemy.com).