JFK – two books

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters, James W. Douglass, 2008. “He chose peace. They marked him for death.” What a remarkable book!

I realize that almost no one believes any longer in the lone, crazed gunman theory of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. So much evidence has come out in the last couple decades that the Warren Commission’s report can be accepted for what it is, a fabricated whitewash. To achieve their aims, the powers-that-be in the 1960′s had to create a believable cover story for who actually was responsible for JFK’s murder.

James Douglass does a remarkable job of detailing the many threads that went into the plot and act of killing the president. Jerome Corsi draws heavily on the Douglass’s research, adding some new information. A few quotes from his book are included below in this review.

I am not going to go into detailed sharing of the exhaustive research Douglass has done in his book. Rather I will focus on some implications and conclusions.

One feature of Douglass’s book is including insights from Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk living in a monastery in the hills of Kentucky. Merton maintained regular correspondence with JFK’s mother, with Robert Kennedy’s wife, Ethel, with Jackie Kennedy, and at least at arm’s length, with JFK himself. For Douglass, Merton gives a unique perspective into the era surrounding the assassination. His was a more detached, spiritual view into the forces at work. Indeed, Merton had foreseen Kennedy’s murder. “Thomas Merton had seen it all coming. He had said prophetically in a Cold War letter that if President Kennedy broke through to a deeper, more universal humanity, he would before long be ‘marked out for assassination.’” (p 94)

Douglass refers to three “Bay of Pigs” which Kennedy experienced in his two and a half years as president. The first was the actual Bay of Pigs fiasco he inherited from President Eisenhower. The second was the Cuban Missile Crisis. During this crisis he established a secret correspondence link with Nikita Khrushchev. This correspondence proved to be very influential in his subsequent policies. He and Khrushchev had come face to face with the possibility of nuclear war, almost assuredly leading to mutual annihilation. Both men were insightful enough to realize that no one would win this war. Everyone would be losers. Kennedy frequently referred to what such a war would do to children. “Children have no lobbyists in Washington.” Out of this missile crisis both Kennedy and Khrushchev began moving toward mutual nuclear disarmament. They got to the point of signing a ban on nuclear testing, but not much further, before Kennedy was murdered.

The third “Bay of Pigs” for Kennedy was a commencement address he gave. “Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins summed up the significance of this remarkable speech: ‘At American University on June 10, 1963, President Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War.’” (p 31) This speech marked a significant turning on Kennedy’s part, away from war, and toward peace. From the speech:

Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. (p 36)

[This speech can be heard on YouTube. The transcription of this speech is included in the book as an Appendix.]

These three movements by Kennedy, his three “Bay of Pigs”, are what convinced some of the powers-that-be that he had to be eliminated. And so they killed him in cold blood. Persuaded that they were doing what was in the best interest of their country, they dispassionately murdered him. It is absolutely chilling to face that truth. That US agencies, chiefly the CIA, could, without a second glance, kill their elected leader, is “unspeakable”, as the title of the book states.

Who Really Killed Kennedy?: 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination, Jerome R. Corsi, 2013.

The CIA shared a belief with LBJ, Richard Nixon, and the military industrial complex that even if US military action failed in Cuba or in Vietnam, as it had in Korea, the military intervention would be good for business and the US economy. (p 315)

 

Again, the point is that the New World Order view was comfortable employing the US military to preserve US business interests, as had been done when overthrowing Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala. . . . Under the ideologies of nationalism and self-determination JFK used to analyze Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam, it was clear he felt US military involvement was required in none of these conflicts. JFK cared about US business interests, but not necessarily to the point of going to war. (p 315)

 

In the final analysis, JFK was killed because he saw US military action in shades of gray, where the Dulles brothers saw only black and white. Still, despite this, JFK might yet have lived into a second term, but once he called out organized crime and the CIA, threatening to destroy both, he needed to succeed. LBJ and Richard Nixon, the two politicians who stood the most to gain from a JFK assassination, may have resented JFK, but they could do nothing about that resentment without the operational capabilities offered by equally resentful CIA leaders and organized crime bosses. (p 316)

 

At the top level, E. Howard Hunt, Richard Nixon, and George H. W. Bush are also suspect, if only because all three equivocated when asked where they were when they first heard JFK had been shot. Not providing a forthright answer to this question is a sign of a guilty conscience at a minimum, topped with a desire to hide the truth. What did they have to hide? (p 316)

Some thoughts coming out of reading these two books:

1) The first is hope. James Douglass ends his book with a 2010 Afterword with these words, “The ‘why’ of President Kennedy’s murder can be a profound source of hope to us all.” “Hope comes from confronting the unspeakable truth of the assassination of President Kennedy.” (p 381) “How can we take hope from a peacemaking president’s assassination by his own national security state?” (p 384)

It’s unbelievable–or we’re supposed to think it is–that a president was murdered by our own government agencies because he was seeking a more stable peace than relying on nuclear weapons. It’s unspeakable. For the sake of a nation that must always be preparing for war, that story must not be told. It it were, we might learn that peace is possible without making war. We might even learn there is a force more powerful than war. How unthinkable! But how necessary if life on earth is to continue. (p 385)

2) My own reaction to this is that the few years of Kennedy’s administration presented to us the possibility of living in much greater peace on earth. This possibility was shattered by the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Now fifty-some years later, I wonder whether there is another possibility emerging for such a shift towards being able to live in greater harmony. Looking at today’s headlines would not provide much hope in this direction. But if you look at what is happening below the surface, there is an explosion of people waking up spiritually in our day. Are we going to be given the opportunity once again, of creating a peaceful earth?

One small sign of this emerging opportunity is just the opening awareness of the events of 1963. The population is so much more willing to embrace the idea that JFK was murdered by his own national security apparatus than ever before. I was in Grade 10 when the assassination occurred. In the few years following I read a bit about this tumultuous event; I accepted the “party” line that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, out of a frustrated sense of futility with the US government. Even when Oliver Stone made his movie, JFK, in 1991, I was skeptical. But subsequent events, subsequent reading, thinking, considering, have made me much more open to the truth of what actually happened. I don’t think I am alone in this. My perception is that there are millions who are in the same boat, who are willing to ask difficult questions, embrace alternative explanations. 9/11 contributed greatly to this of course. But I sense a shift in society. And that gives me hope.

Area 51

Yes, another book on alien/UFO phenomenon! I keep encountering these things! (I’m not sure what that says!!!) This book, Inside the Real Area 51: the Secret History of Wright-Patterson, by Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt, goes into great detail in attempting to determine what has happened at Wright-Patterson over the years. Corso, in his book I reviewed a couple months ago, stated that he had encountered the bodies of alien beings on their way from Roswell to Wright-Patterson in 1947. So I think it is no surprise to anyone following these stories that a lot, if not all, of the alien retrievals ended up there.

Whether this materiel is still there is open to conjecture. The sources Carey and Schmitt interviewed did not usually know whether some or all of it may have been moved to Area 51 in Nevada. They do know that Wright-Patterson has huge networks of underground areas. Some have described seeing the largest of aircraft sitting underground. Numerous buildings are connected via a vast system of tunnels and access points. Some of the underground facilities have been covered over and are made to look as if they’ve never been.

While some of the book gets way more detailed than I appreciate, the book is still well worth the read. It is quite fascinating to get a fairly intense inside look into the machinations of the US military. This book helps me understand better the context of the first UFO retrievals of the 1940′s and 50′s, and accept the necessity felt among authorities to keep this information from the public. The great “weather balloon hoax” begun with the 1947 Roswell crash has continued up to this day. Even though the public no longer accepts this, the authorities continue to parrot this junk.

But the cold-war atmosphere of the 1950′s was very real. These craft being retrieved were not immediately identified as being extra-terrestrial. The fear was that they were Russian, and that the “enemy” was way ahead of us technologically. There was also fear that if this technology was revealed to the public that Russia would get their hands on it and be able to develop it into weapons before the US could do that.

Today it’s as if the whole idea of conspiracy theory has been turned on its head. It is very obvious by now that it is the military who is guilty of conspiring theories to keep the public ignorant. The vast majority of people now know that we have been (and thus likely: are being) visited by creatures from other planets. The authors, despite persistent rumours to the contrary, do not believe that the US government will disclose the truth about this anytime soon.

The Poison of Spiritual Condemnation

The following article is reprinted with permission from the author. I originally read it on the Golden Age of Gaia website. It closely followed my own line of thinking in recent times. And it is so well articulated that I felt I should repost it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Wes Annac, The Culture of Awareness

I just received an email from a reader who recently renounced Mormonism in favor of general, openhearted spirituality. She’s dealing with a lot of backlash from the Mormons around her, and one person in particular (who she’s very close with) now thinks she’s given her soul to Satan and must be re-converted to Mormonism and ‘saved’.

She says she’s practically had to hide the spiritual articles she reads on the internet, and she feels unloved by the people around her who don’t accept that she’s exited Mormonism and embraced a broader understanding of spirituality.

Like I’ve said before, no belief system determines our spiritual ‘worthiness’ or our ability to go to heaven. It doesn’t matter if we follow contemporary religion, the ascension movement, eastern spiritual philosophers, etc. We’re all trying to go to the same place, and what we do with our beliefs is far more important than what our beliefs actually are.

I’ll venture as far as to say that the beliefs we have really aren’t important. It really doesn’t matter if you believe that there’s a bearded man up in the sky or that a self-professed ‘prophet’ received a bunch of scrolls from ‘God’ that he used to form a religion.

It doesn’t matter if you think this planet and its people are about to experience a full-on collective evolution from the third to fifth dimensions.

You can be Christian, Catholic, Mormon, Hindu, Muslim, New-Agey – none of it matters. Humans have established belief systems for the purpose of using them to understand spirit in a greater way, but the belief systems themselves really aren’t important.

Why aren’t they important, you ask? Because they’re only beliefs. They’re ideas we created so we could glimpse what no man has glimpsed, and when we’re in a higher state of consciousness (what some religions call ‘heaven’) we’ll realize that it’s nothing like we thought or imagined on earth.

This goes for every belief system, whether they’re religious or generally spiritual. For example – those of us who are heavily involved in the ascension movement believe that the Company of Heaven exists and is guiding humanity along our physical and spiritual evolution.

When we reach a higher state of consciousness, however, we’ll probably find that life there is absolutely nothing like we expected. We’ll see that the Company of Heaven is indeed real, but all of our limited, preconceptions about them will be shattered.

The same can be said for religion. Everyone on this planet who reaches the higher realms will realize that they’re unperceivable and indescribable with our limited human understanding. We can only understand heaven when we’re in heaven, and no belief system is 100% accurate.

We humans are doing the best we can to interpret the higher realms, but when we’re actually there, we’ll find that all of our interpretations fell short. This, in my opinion, is why belief systems aren’t inherently important, and they certainly aren’t an excuse for self-righteousness.

This takes us back to our reader’s problem. I don’t want to sound harsh here, but she’s basically dealing with a group of people (and one person in particular) who are so entrenched in their spiritual beliefs that they can’t accept that she believes something different.

These particular people are so assured that their beliefs are the right ones that they even think other belief systems (such as the ascension movement) have been designed by Satan in an attempt to take Mormons off of their paths.

That’s a harsh level of close-mindedness, and with this mindset, I don’t think humanity will get very far in our spiritual exploration. I’m not trying to pick on religion, and a believer in ascension and the Company of Heaven could easily express the same self-righteousness. In fact, I’m pretty sure a lot of seekers have.

How many ‘conscious’ people have fallen into the same trap: fixing themselves on their beliefs and telling others who think differently that they’re ‘wrong’? This problem isn’t just with religion, but religion seems to be its biggest employer.

The issue here isn’t religion or spirituality – it’s the fact that humanity can’t accept one another. You’ve heard the phrase ‘never discuss religion or politics’, and this is exactly why. As individuals, some of us are so convinced that our beliefs, our ideologies are the only correct ones, that we can’t accept others for believing different things.

No matter what you believe, if you can’t accept another person for who they are and how they feel, that reflects on you. Whatever religious or spiritual belief you have is just a scapegoat for your hatred, judgment, and condemnation, and to judge or condemn in the name of spirituality is to hold yourself back more than you would’ve ever thought possible.

God doesn’t want us to fight over our respective interpretations of Him/Her. God wants us to love, respect, and help each other, and I’d imagine He/She especially wants us to support each other spiritually. Personally, I don’t understand how anyone who claims to have an advanced religious/spiritual perspective can descend into judgment and hatred.

Honestly, it baffles me. How do so many religious souls still not understand that what they do with their beliefs is more important than the beliefs themselves? How has humanity still not opened up to the idea that love and acceptance are all that are required to get into heaven?

I feel for our reader, who’s made to think she’s ‘wrong’ for thinking differently than the people around her, but their condemnation says something about them, not her. I’m sure our reader doesn’t go around claiming Mormonism and other religions are ‘wrong’, so why should she (or anyone else) be told she’s wrong?

Our actions will always be more important than the beliefs they’re bred from. If Mormonism or any other religion gives someone incentive to act judgmental or self-righteous, then that person should look within and find what’s missing before they can live in harmony.

I wish I could offer more advice to our reader, but the best advice I can give is not to let the condemnation of others get her down.

Millions of formerly religious people who were just like her have exited (or rather, broadened) their faiths when discovering spirituality and the ascension movement, and nobody should have to feel like their interpretations of God or heaven aren’t good enough, because every interpretation is distorted.

I’ve said about all I can on this subject, and I hope our reader’s able to find some lenience from the people around her.

This problem is all too common with religion, general spirituality, and even atheism, and small-mindedness is one of the biggest obstacles on our path to collective enlightenment. I envision a world where people can live in harmony and respect each other’s interpretations of God and heaven, but until that day comes, we clearly have a lot of work to do.

Wes Annac – Ready to see humanity transcend our unproductive ways of division and hatred.

I’m a 21 year old awakening seeker and creator of The Culture of Awareness daily news site.

The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, as well as articles I’ve written and moreIts purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material that’s spiritually inspired and/or related to the fall of the planetary elite and our entrance into a positive future.

I can also be found at Conscious OnenessThe Golden Age of GaiaLightworkers.orgAshtar Command Crew, Facebook (Wes Annac and The Culture of Awareness), and Twitter.

 

The Templar Revelation

This book, written by authors Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince, is an intriguing look at some of the historical threads which have persisted throughout history since biblical times. The overall view is that there are, and have always been, wide diversity in how the stories about Jesus’ time on earth have been revered and interpreted. “We had to remind ourselves, however, that there are always pilgrims, always fervent believers, in any or in every, thing, and that belief is in itself not a measure of historical authenticity.” (p 58)

The authors basically let the reader in on their own exploration of various “heretical” (to the Church, at least) beliefs, sharing with us the paths down which their questioning led them. They discuss the Knights Templar, the subsequent developments of this movement, such as the Free Masons and its many iterations, the Priory of Sion, etc. They look at the truths contained in extra-bibilical sources, such as the Gnostic Gospels, as well as looking at the biblical accounts themselves. They explore traditions rejected (and persecuted) by the Church, such as the Cathars and others. They look at some works of art, particularly those of Leonardo da Vinci. Apparently da Vinci was a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.

This book looks at traditions surrounding the biblical characters of John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, etc. They look at ideologies such as Sophia, or wisdom, usually treated as female wisdom. And they look at some possible historical roots of these various ideas, usually being able to connect them to ancient Egyptian beliefs. The stories of Isis and Osiris in this tradition often come to the forefront in the authors’ investigations.

Underlying the threads of their investigation is the fact that throughout history much of this truth has been considered threatening to the Church. So, to avoid persecution from organized religion, these secrets have been zealously guarded.

One way or another, the Magdalene holds the key to a great mystery, one that has been jealously and ruthlessly guarded for centuries. And part of this secret intimately involves John the Baptist (and/or perhaps John the Evangelist). Once we realized that there was such a secret, we were keen to dust off the cobwebs of history as quickly as possible and throw some light on it. . . . All we knew was that all the evidence points to the mystery being constructed over foundations that essentially comprised Sophia and John. Those themes were central–but we had no idea why, although one clue lay in the fact that whatever the secret is, it is certainly not one that would reinforce the Church’s authority. Indeed, this great unknown heresy would seem to pose the greatest threat, not just to Catholicism, but to Christianity as we know it. The groups who kept the secret clearly believed themselves to have been in possession of some knowledge about the real origins of Christianity, and even about Jesus himself. (p 222)

In a sense, this book continues the line of thinking begun by The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a book by BaigentLeigh, and Lincoln. Ideas such as Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married, Mary Magdalene living out her life in southern France, are all considered. These themes were later taken up by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, and then made into a movie.

As Picknett and Prince conclude their book, The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ, they state this:

We have traced the continuing line of ‘heretical’ belief in Europe, the underground stream of goddess mystery, of sexual alchemy and of the secrets that surround John the Baptist. The heretics have, we believe, held the keys to the truth about the historical Church of Rome. We have presented their case in these pages, step by step as we ourselves made the discoveries and saw the overall picture emerging from the welter of information–and, indeed, of misinformation. (p 364)

 

Yet if any one lesson can be gleaned from the journey we undertook in this investigation and the discoveries we made, it is not so much that the heretics have been right and the Church wrong. It is that there is a need, not for more jealously guarded secrets and holy wars, but for tolerance and an openness to new ideas, free from prejudice and preconception. (p 365)

There is a lot of information in this somewhat lengthy treatment of the subject, but it is well worth wading through for those interested in such esoteric ideas. It will make you think, and perhaps reconsider and inform some long-held beliefs. Let me know what you think!

Love Wins

Love Wins, by Rob Bell, is a refreshing look at conservative, evangelical theology. Bell articulately addresses some of the core problems of this brand of Christianity, and gently leads his readers into a new way of looking at some of the pet doctrines which have become so divisive among Christians. The title says it all. Love wins! God is love. Period. Bell goes through all the doctrines of heaven, hell, judgement, who God is, who Jesus is, etc. He gives us a different way of looking at these ideologies, and does it in a way completely consistent with biblical theology.

For me the most powerfully compelling section of the book is the second last chapter where he provides some intriguing persecutive on the biblical story of the prodigal son. If we are honest within ourselves, we have to admit that most of us are closer to the elder son than to the younger. We have defined God as one whom we serve, whose word we never disobey. We also do not believe that we deserve anything better than a small goat (which doesn’t give a whole lot of meat!!!) with which to celebrate. And so we resent our brother who lives a self-indulgent life of dissipation, and receives a fatted calf. Our view of God defines how we live our lives, how we experience life, how we experience God, heaven, hell.

For myself, I have already moved well beyond the biblical concepts I was raised in, and have spent most of my life believing and living out. So in my case Rob Bell is “preaching to the choir”! But for anyone still struggling to reconcile their often conflicting ideas of God, this is a refreshing read. I recommend this little book to all my evangelical, conservative friends!!! And I would welcome discussion of Bell’s view of God and judgement.

Billy Fingers

I have read so much about near-death experiences. This book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, is about an after-death experience. A few weeks after his death, William Cohen, aka Billy Fingers, begins communicating with his sister, Annie Kagan, sharing with her his experiences in the afterlife he finds himself in.

Annie’s brother Billy had lived a life most people would classify as loser: homeless, a drug addict, shiftless, he was killed by a car he drunkenly ran out in front of. His entire 62 years of life had been spent in reaction to his addictions, never amounting to anything. After hearing of his death from the police, Annie begins hearing Billy’s voice. He tells her what he is experiencing in his afterlife.

Several reactions: first, Billy’s experience is entirely consistent with everything else I have ever read on the afterlife. While each person’s experience is unique in some ways, there is entirely too much consistency in all these experiences to be brushed aside. Billy’s tale only solidifies the knowledge which exists about what happens to us after we die. Whether it is through near-death experiences, after-death experiences (like Billy’s), out-of-body experiences, soul-regression experiences (such as I have had), all show a remarkable consistency. Yes, our uniqueness carries through after we die, and each of our after-life experiences will reflect this uniqueness; but there is so much that is similar, that there is undeniable consistency in what we go through after our life on earth is complete.

Second, Billy’s experience teaches us we cannot judge another person’s life based on worldly values of success and failure. Billy apparently had agreed to live this life which society labels “loser”. Again, this is entirely consistent with what I have learned so far about the contracts we agree to before being born into our lives.

A third reaction: Annie’s story of her encounters with her brother from his afterlife is so well written, so entertaining to read, and accessible on so many levels, that this is a worthwhile book to pursue no matter what your interest may be on such subjects. It is a beautiful story, so full of hope, so full of joy and encouragement, anyone would benefit from reading this delightful little story.

Millenial Hospitality, part 2

I wrote a review on the first of five books titled Millennial Hospitality a couple months ago. As anticipated in that review, I have thoroughly enjoyed the subsequent books, Millennial Hospitality II, III, IV, V. They continue the fascinating story of the first book, the author’s interactions with alien beings in the Nevada desert during his tour of duty in the ’60′s as a weather observer.

MH III tells the story of Charlie Hall’s tour of duty in Vietnam, where he went after a couple years at Nellis AFB in Nevada. That story alone is a fascinating inside account of that war, which my generation is still trying to come to grips with.

But, obviously the most fascinating part of Hall’s stories have to do with his encounters with aliens from other planets.

Apparently the tall whites, the race he had most of his experiences with, have had a base in the southern Nevada desert for centuries. The Teacher, a tall white with whom he had many encounters, had seen the first settlers arriving in that part of the country. These beings live a lot longer than humans, often to seven or eight hundred years. And as a young girl, the Teacher had watched from the darkness as pioneers gathered around campfires in the evening.

Hall assisted the Teacher and another young female alien to gain a sense of what humans wear, especially human females. He would leave catalogues out for them to peruse. They would apparently then go shopping in nearby Las Vegas, sometimes appearing to him when he was off duty at one of the casinos, to get his appraisal of their appearance. With enough makeup, and dark glasses, they could meld with the crowds and not attract attention. Their chalk-white skin could be somewhat covered up. They learned to walk in earth gravity without appearing awkward. But they could not play the tables without attracting undue attention because of their ability to sense which cards were coming up!

In book V Hall is given another assignment, in another part of the desert, where he encounters another race of aliens. He calls these the Grays. His encounters with them were not near as extensive as his months and months of encounters with the Tall Whites. He was in the vicinity of the Grays only for a few weeks. And they were somewhat different from the tall whites, seemingly not quite as advanced technologically. But like the Tall Whites they had structures hidden in the desert. They also were quite nervous about approaching a human at close range, and Hall had to learn how to allow them space for encounters.

In the last part of book V Hall presents some conjecture about what could have happened at Roswell, based on his knowledge and experience from his encounters with the alien races. It is a fascinating proposal, and one which is entirely consistent with what he learned about how they come and go, how their society is structured and so on.

I am left with a few questions after reading these five books. The main one is that there were accounts of American Generals knowing about these aliens, and interacting with them. Indeed the Generals were often instrumental in helping the aliens attain their objectives in encountering humans.

This begs the question of why the aliens were so frightened of encountering a human out in the desert. They already had a history of interacting with the Generals, and would make their wishes known to someone in the Pentagon. Hall would receive orders originating in the Pentagon which his immediate superiors at Nellis could not go against. They were not allowed to question Hall, but to allow him to do pretty much as he chose within certain guidelines understood by all.

Charles Hall picked up enough tidbits of information that led him to believe that American Generals had been taken by alien spacecraft to the moon and beyond.

Now I have absolutely no problem believing that there is a lot going on behind the scenes dealing with very powerful interests. Some of the things strain my credulity a bit. But I am trying to be open about what could very well be happening. This just makes me wish the American government would come clean, and disclose to the public the extent of their dealings with alien races. I am convinced it is happening, and has happened for decades, but would like to know more details.

Sound City

I just watched the documentary by Dave Grohl, Sound City. The basic story is about this epic recording studio in LA where many legendary musicians recorded. Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, Trent Reznor, Nirvana, and on and on and on. The heart of Sound City was the control board, designed by Rupert Neve. Everyone who ever worked at that studio exclaimed over the sound produced through that board.

But as the music industry moved into the digital age, analog recording studios fell out of favour. Along with this trend, Sound City fell into disuse, eventually going out of business. Dave Grohl, the drummer for Nirvana, which got their start at Sound City, decided to salvage the Neve sound board. He set it up in his own studio, Studio 606, also in California, where he is using it to record new music.

Several reactions to this story: 1) There is much commentary throughout about the value of making music together. Much of the music created in Sound City (and subsequently in Studio 606) happens in the moment. Musicians gather, begin sharing their ideas about a song, and it evolves. As this is caught on tape (yes, actual 2″, 24 track recording tape!!!), a recording emerges. Many of the great albums produced at Sound City were essentially recorded “live”. Very little over-dubbing, sometimes very few takes, but always resulting in exquisite recordings. Much of the music was created as it was being recorded!

2) I love this emphasis on the essence of music. It is the making of it where the “magic” occurs. Music does not need to be absolutely perfect to communicate, to touch another person’s heart.

3) It is tremendously heartening to see top-notch musicians going to great lengths to retain this integrity in the making of their music. There is a sort-of reaction to the packaged digital age we live in now. With all the technology available to anyone on their home computer, musicians no longer need to practice. They can fix any “mistakes” electronically. Musicians no longer need to play together, to create music together. They can do it in isolation. They can play many tracks themselves, to create multi-layered music all on their own. They don’t need anyone else.

4) The film does not negate the use of electronics. Trent Reznor, for example, talks about using gadgetry to create the sounds he is conceiving in his mind. But even there, he is a classically trained pianist, and is creating music together with others, using technology to enhance what’s there.

5) For myself, one of the most powerful scenes in the video was after moving the mother board to his new studio, Dave Grohl finds himself creating and recording a song together with Paul McCartney! He narrates that at one point he looks over at his fellow Nirvana musician on bass, Dave himself is playing drums, and he said it felt like being back in Nirvana. But wait a minute! That’s f_____g Paul McCartney playing with us!!! Here were two generations of musicians making music together, and everyone just having a blast doing it! It was a wonderful picture of the power of music to draw people together.

This is a really delightful and powerfully uplifting story. I encourage anyone who enjoys music, of whatever genre, to check this documentary out.

It’s about time!!!

About Time is a light, little movie I watched a week ago! It is a heart-warming romantic comedy which affirms a lot of what is good about life.

But there’s a twist to the story. The male character can travel in time! His father informs him about age 21 that all males in their family have this ability. He shows his son how it works, what can be done with it, and what its limitations are. The son experiments a bit, and gradually accepts that he has this ability.

He uses it quite a bit at first, especially when it comes to establishing a romantic relationship. But as he gets older, develops a career, has a family, he begins to realize that this gift is not always a blessing. In one telling episode, where he tries to prevent his sister from having a disastrous accident, he realizes (as he talks this over with his father), that sometimes it is better not to interfere with the bumps and trials of life. Sometimes the pain we experience is for our own good.

With his father’s advice he begins to use his gift only to re-live each day so as to recognize the good things happening in it. After awhile, he says, he even ceases this use, and allows each day to unfold as it will, always aware of the giftedness in his life, from the most casual encounters with strangers to the deeper gifts of his family and friends.

It is such a good lesson, one all of us can learn from. Too often we go through our day with blinders on, unaware of all the goodness going on around us.

Roswell

I just finished reading an astonishing and remarkable book, The Day After Roswell. Written by Col. Philip J. Corso, a retired US Army officer about his own experiences with the Roswell incident and its aftermath, this book is a readable “inside” account. On July 1, 1947, an alien spacecraft crashed into the New Mexico desert outside Roswell, New Mexico. US Army personnel from nearby 509th airfield retrieved the debris as well as the bodies of small alien creatures.

Within hours the military hierarchy began coverup stories of what had happened and what had actually been retrieved in the desert. That cover up has been accepted and believed to this day. A few people who knew the story have begun to relate their memories as they grow older, before they die. Such is the case with this book. Corso wrote these memoirs in 1996, and died within a year of its publication.

I don’t think anybody today actually believes the cover stories initially provided by the military, but there is still tons of speculation of what actually was found in 1947. And of course, the implications of that find are still being debated. So much disinformation has arisen that it is very difficult to sort out fact from speculation.

With his book Corso provided a huge aid to this dilemma. While he was not in New Mexico in 1947, he encountered bits and pieces of the story over his years in military intelligence. His biggest contribution to the facts of the story come from a couple years in the early 1960′s when he was stationed in the Pentagon in the R & D department under the authority of Lt. General Arthur Trudeau. Trudeau gave Corso a file cabinet which had been neglected for years. Inside this were files about the Roswell incident, and a few pieces of debris which had been recovered from the site.

What Corso was instructed to do was to research this information and to develop as much as could be gleaned for purposes of the US Army. What Corso did in most cases was to feed information into streams of R & D already occurring in order to speed up development of weapons and defense mechanisms. What resulted from this work, largely done behind the scenes, were huge leaps in the development of transistors, integrated circuits, night-vision goggles, bullet-proof material (like Kevlar), laser beams, particle-beam weapons, etc.

Along the way reading about all of this, we get a glimpse into some behind-the-scenes workings of the cold war environment in the US military. There were constant tug-of-war struggles occurring between Russia and the US. The CIA and KGB spy agencies had infiltrated each other to the extent that military higher ups would not trust their own intelligence agents. This resulted in much secrecy within various agencies within their own governments. Even the four branches of the US military would not trust one another, and kept many secrets from each other, while trying to ferret out secrets from the other branches.

Today this sounds like pure insanity. But while Corso is telling his story, it becomes clearer what the atmosphere was like through the 1950′s and 60′s. Much of the insanity of the cold war rhetoric becomes easier to understand when seen in context.

One thing which became clearer to me, something I had not been very aware of at all, was that throughout the cold war, an underlying agenda behind the arms race, the space race, the intelligence race, between Russia and the US, was their common need for defenses from alien attacks from outer space. Neither country knew exactly how much the other knew about the EBE’s (the term Corso uses for the alien creatures) and their advanced technology. Each country was afraid that the other would gain a technological advantage, and that the alien societies would see the other one as the superior power and would therefore negotiate with them rather than their own country when it came to contact and use of the Earth as a planet of interest.

Therefore, when developing weapons using the Roswell technology, always in the background was how this particular device could help in defense against EBE’s. Of course none of this could be stated publicly. When appealing for budgets from the civilian government, they had to be very circumspect when stating their arguments. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy knew fully about alien encounters and some of the technology being gleaned. But publicly, of course, they had to be careful what they said or implied.

Corso’s opinion, after retiring from the military, is that the US development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars” in popular perspective) under President Reagan allowed both the US and the Soviet Union to end the cold war. The SDI had implemented sufficiently advanced technology to counter the perceived threat from EBE’s. Therefore both countries could relax a bit in the race between them in areas of arms and space exploration.

I highly recommend this book! It is written with enough tech information to satisfy curiosity, but not so much as to be unreadable. I found it a very readable account of an aspect of society still largely in the shadows. The fact that it parallels my own life span makes it even more compelling. I was born within a year of the Roswell incident! All of the stuff Corso writes about has occurred within my lifetime. Having grown up in the US it helps explain a whole lot of stuff I never knew about. It broadens the perspective of my own experience.