follow us in feedly
Hip Priest: The Fall’s Mark E. Smith used to do tarot card readings for drugs
05.15.2015
12:59 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Games
Music
Occult

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
tarot


 
The other day I was in the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio, and I came across a book I’d been hunting for a while, that being a volume on lead singer of the Fall, Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith, which turns out to be an odd little tome, a kind of catch-all of writings by Smith himself. It was this last point I only understood when I held the book in my hand; I had thought it was a reported book but in fact it’s all written by Mark E. Smith. 

One of the chapters has the remarkable title of “The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World and Eric the Ferret.” The title kind of gives away the fact that it’s about tarot, which it turns out Mark E. Smith has more than the usual interest in.

Here are a couple of key passages. I have to say I only half-believe Smith on this stuff—it’s a little hard to picture sports cars turning up at his flat all the time for readings—the whole thing is a fascinating brew of ego, half-baked erudition, superstition, and self-serving logic, a scammer’s mindset if you will:
 

I used to do tarot readings as well. I went through a phase of reading books on the occult. I was fascinated by it. I still believe that things leave vibrations. America, for instance; I’ve visited all these old Civil War sites and the atmosphere is incredible. You can almost reach out and feel it.

.…After a bit, when the drugs prevailed, it got ridiculous. I got more interested in the Philip K. Dick Time Out of Joint angle—the way certain pieces of writing have a power all to themselves, almost as if they can prophesize things. But I still did the readings. Kay had a lot of hippy mates, housewives with a bit of money, really, who were always seeking out people to read for them. And I had a natural talent for it. I’ve always been able to read people. My mam’s a bit like that. I never used to charge a lot, but now you can earn a fortune. When I was really skint in 2000, I thought to myself, I should be doing that again. You can earn £40 an hour.

When people did a tarot with me they’d walk away wth their life changed. But you can’t fuck around with those things too much. You’re dealing with a force. When it goes wrong you’re not being a vessel.

-snip-

I did the readings for a year or two. But people started coming back too much. I had to tell them to stop. You get to the point where people can’t function without it—once a week turns into twice a week. They were driving up in their sports cars outside the flat, asking if they should go with this nice man they’d just met. A lot of fellas used to take advantage of that. Telling them they need more tarot—and that the tarot says you need sex with me.

One of the rules of the tarot is that you shouldn’t really take a lot of money for it, like psychics. It’s not good. So I’d take presents, a nice leather jacket. You’d go round to dope dealers and they’d give you two ounces of dope per reading.

 
Can you imagine visiting, say, Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and running into Mark E. Smith?

Most interesting, perhaps, is that as recently as 2000, after like 20 studio albums on his resume, Smith was “skint” enough to consider taking the practice up again.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Baptist exorcist explains why playing Dungeons & Dragons will curse your great-grandchildren
04.30.2015
07:43 am

Topics:
Belief
Games
Occult

Tags:
Dungeons and Dragons
Win Worley


 
Dungeons & Dragons was invented in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, but it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the legendary table game became a national phenomenon worthy (just like Elvis and the Beatles) of an organized backlash from religious authorities. As would also happen to Harry Potter a generation later, some concerned parents heard the word “spells” and concluded “witchcraft” or “Satan.” Groups like Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons generated fantastic pamphlets like this one. Jack Chick got involved too (see below). Of course there was also the early Tom Hanks TV movie Mazes and Monsters that purported to tell the true tale of the 1979 disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III but got the story totally wrong (Egbert’s D&D experience was limited, and it had nothing to do with his death).

Why it took him so long we’ll never know, but Win Worley, pastor at the Hegewisch Baptist Church in Highland, Indiana, took up the cause in 1992, as seen in this video. It probably wasn’t his main gig, but this article here calls him a “pioneer in exorcism,” a fact confirmed in this eye-popping volume.

You may be expecting the full-on fire/brimstone treatment but Worley here is unexpectedly engaging and likeable. This is the kind of demonizer I can get behind! (Almost.) In the first few seconds Worley is reading from some text and the result is a remarkable word salad that I’ve highlighted in bold below:
 

Satanic salute, and the unicorn, flying horse rainbows. Of course, that’s new age symbols. Enchantments, strategies, potions, spells, Dungeons & Dragons they’ll call games like that. Psychic readings, reincarnations, pyramid, clairvoyance, mental science, false visions, superstitions, talismans, Satanism, karma. These are some of the occult spirits. Now if you’ve dabbled in any of these, then you’re cursed, your children are cursed, your grandchildren are cursed, your great grandchildren are cursed. Now, there’s a way to take care of that, and we’re gonna do that. It’s quite simple, really. There’s—Satan is a legal expert, and as long as he has legal rights to be somewhere, you cannot budge him, I don’t care who you are. You can throw your coat on him or blow on him or whatever, he’s not gonna go anywhere. You’ve got to take away the legal grounds, that’s what we’re doing. Now we’re gonna take away the legal grounds on the occult, if you’ve ever been involved. You say, “Well, I don’t think I’ve never been involved.” Well, your ancestors may have been, so take no chances, let’s renounce it, it’s not gonna hurt you to renounce it. It might hurt you not to.

 
Watch it for yourself, it’s short and ends in a prayer.
 

 
After the jump, a great Chick tract on D&D…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Ghetto Tarot’: Haitian artists transform classic tarot deck into stunning real life scenes
04.29.2015
11:05 am

Topics:
Art
Games
Occult

Tags:
Haiti
tarot


Death
 
Welcome to the Ghetto Tarot, a project from award-winning documentary photographer Alice Smeets and a group of Haitian artists known as Atis Rezistans. The idea was to take the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck of 78 cards and create a photographic version of each card using settings and objects in the vibrant ghetto of Haiti.

As Smeets says, “The spirit of the Ghetto Tarot project is the inspiration to turn negative into positive while playing. The group of artists ‘Atiz Rezistans’ use trash to create art with their own visions that are a reflection of the beauty they see hidden within the waste. They are claiming the word ‘Ghetto,’ thus freeing themselves of its depreciating undertone and turning it into something beautiful.”

Smeets also related some of the memorable incidents while executing the photo shoots:
 

There have been plenty of little, funny moments. One example: when we were shooting the scene of the Death card, I asked the artists if they had real skulls to place them in the picture. Five minutes later, Claudel, one of the artists and my dearest assistant, came along holding a plastic bag filled with skulls in his hands as if it was the most normal thing in the world to carry dead peoples heads around.

It constantly surprised me how the artists almost always found immediately what I asked for. For the picture of the High Priestess, we needed horns to place them next to her feet. I hadn’t let them known beforehand that we would be in need of them. As soon as Claudel found out, he ran and came back a moment later with two horns in his hands. They never told me where they found all of the materials, they just happened to lay around somewhere in the Ghetto.

 

The Ghetto Tarot has been fully funded on indiegogo, and you can place an order for a full deck at the price of 32 euros (about $36).

(Clicking on any image in this post will spawn a larger image.)
 

The Nine of Cups
 

Justice
 

The Nine of Swords
 

The King of Swords
 
After the jump, more vivid pics as well as a brief video featuring interviews with some of the photo subjects…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Lose all your money to an Ellen DeGeneres-themed slot machine


 
Ellen DeGeneres is so very likeable that nobody is going to mind at all that she stands to make a huge wad of moolah from the what can in many cases be presumed to be the problem gambling habits of thousands of lower-income Americans.

When your face is on a device that will be used to vacuum all the spare change out of patrons’ pockets, you can’t exactly hide the fact. Ellen announced the new machines last year on her site. Her website also has a “finder” so you can make your way to the slot machines more easily. There are currently four in the San Francisco area, five in the Los Angeles area, two in the Chicago area, and so on.

“From the first spin of the reels, the famously familiar Ellen theme song emanates from each game and players are transported to the set of their favorite TV hour,” says International Game Technology, which its website identifies as “the industry’s leading manufacturer of gaming machines.” Phil O’Shaughnessy, director of Global Corporate Communications for IGT, said the following:
 

If you think about the show, there are so many icons from the show, be it the red chair, the sunglasses, even the boxer shorts. They really lend themselves nicely to a video slot environment. The other thing is, Ellen’s all about laugh dance play, and we really embrace that concept, realizing that some of the elements, such as “Know or Go” or “Wheel of Riches,” would actually make excellent bonus rounds in a slot environment as well.

 

 
There are actually three Ellen-themed games, “Ellen’s Dance Party,” “Ellen’s Know or Go” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show 12 Days of Giveaways.”

“Casino gambling expert” Al Moe hilariously opines that “the huge Ellen photos are a bit creepy, as her eyes seem to follow you around the slot floor.” However, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that the new machines are a hit, “drawing crowds”—a representative from some casino indicated that “it’s not unusual to see a crowd standing around the machines, laughing at what transpires while people play,” according to the Chronicle.
 

 
via SFist
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Social Justice Warriors’: Video game simulates arguing with assholes on the internet
03.23.2015
07:36 am

Topics:
Activism
Games

Tags:
video games
social justice


 
When I first heard there was a video game called Social Justice Warriors which simulated Internet arguing, I (errantly) assumed that in the wake of the gamergate controversy, the title was invoking a pejorative use of “social justice.” Upon further investigation, I learned that the titular Social Justice Warriors are indeed the heroes in this turn-based RPG, battling “trolls” in a virtual simulation of every dumb Internet comment-thread ever.

The “warriors” in this crusade are based on standard medieval fantasy RPG heroes.  The game characters are described on the game’s Steam site:

Social Justice Paladins duel foes with 140 characters or less while shrugging off attacks with a press of the Block button, at least until their foes create new accounts.

Social Justice Clerics serve in the name of their patron sub-deity, taking solace in its comforting presence to heal and summoning its divine power to smite their enemies.

Social Justice Mages conjure powerful constructs of fact and opinion to alter minds and reality… while occasionally summoning an activist organization or hurling a scathing fireball of a blog post.

Social Justice Rogues fight fire with fire. Throw flurries of vitriolic character attacks, confuse enemies with smokescreens of alternate accounts, then delete your accounts and withdraw into the shadows of the net.

 

 
JJ Shepherd, a video game historian, developer, and gaming researcher at the University of South Carolina, hipped me to the game and clarified the play:

Briefly describe the gist of what happens in a game of Social Justice Warriors.

Shepherd: Once a warrior is chosen, the battle against waves of trolls begins. The resources you’re given are simple but highly indicative of what it takes to argue on social media. “Sanity” can be thought of as health and strength. It corresponds to how effective your arguments are and how angry you are. For instance, if your sanity is low and you are reaching a boiling point, then attacks are far less effective as they start lacking coherency.“Reputation” is an interesting resource system. If the player has a high enough reputation they will gain favor with other social justice warriors, and they will bandwagon, helping the player fight. It can also be used to launch personal attacks against the troll (at a price).

Using these resources the player can launch one of four different attacks each turn. A logic attack targets the troll’s sanity, but has a low chance of accuracy—so while your logic is sound the troll is probably going to ignore it. Then there is the personal attack, which goes for the troll’s reputation and has a high chance of accuracy. While this can be a powerful anger inducing attack, it takes away from your reputation. A mixed attack combines the best of logic and personal attack, and in so you prove your point while calling them stupid, but keeps your reputation intact. Finally the special attack depends on the warrior. For instance the cleric will heal its sanity by talking in their sub-forums “/r deity,” or the rogue will dig up a scandal to completely defame the troll. Whoever’s sanity or reputation is depleted first is the loser of the battle. If the player wins they go on to face more powerful trolls.

It sounds like the SJW tactics are not so much different from what the trolls get up to. Can the game be beat, or is this a Professor Falken style lesson of “the only way to win the game is not to play?”

Shepherd: I’d agree with that to a degree. It reveals many truths about arguing with people on the Internet. It never matters who’s right, and all that matters is feeling like you won a pissing contest with idiots. It’s interesting to note the trolls are applying the same tactics against you, which reveals in many ways social justice warriors are also trolls in their own right. I haven’t been able to beat it yet, but I believe that’s what they’re going for. As hard as you fight you keep having to go against more and more trolls until eventually you give up and walk away from your keyboard. Is it worth sacrificing sanity and your reputation trying to prove a point? I believe their stance is “no.”
 

 
If our assumptions are correct, this time-waster is a statement on time-wasting—but without all the hurt feelings and impotent death-threats.

If this sounds like an ideal waste of your time, and you want to try Social Justice Warriors first-hand, the game can be purchased for eight dollars on Steam

...Or just scroll down to our comments section, and get a face full of the real thing.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Hear the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ orchestral remix made but not used for Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ videogame


 
This morning Dangerous Minds pal Chris Holmes (he’s been all over the media recently with his “Anti-Paparazzi” clothing line) sent over the Soundcloud files of a couple of the “Ziggy Stardust” remixes produced, but ultimately not used, for Disney’s Fantasia videogame.

Although the remixes are simply wonderful as heard here, when Chris demoed the songs for me in his studio, he showed me his innovative idea for the game, which would have allowed the player to “parallel remix” (or “conduct”) the song on the fly, as with Ableton Live, or a similar program.

The idea for the remixes was to create fourteen separate remixes simultaneously in Ableton, and then have all of those tracks available in groups (drums, lead lines, strings, vocals, guitars) available to the user in the game to make their own remix each time they play the game.  I think the concept of parallel remixing has a lot of potential in the VR, webspace, and future Oculus like worlds where users actions determine the how the music develops. It’s been sitting on my hard drive for almost two years now. The remixes turned out great, but I think the most important thing is turning people on to the concept of parallel remixing.

You could strip it down to the original version at any point or to a totally acoustic version, or go totally orchestral. These mixes have elements of each. It was very difficult because the timing had to remain in time with the original Bowie song which speeds up and slows down around 15 bpm over the course of the song.  It would be far easier to do it with a consistent bpm.

 

 

This is the second version of our Fantasia “parallel remix” of “Ziggy Stardust.” This one is more electro dubstep, playing the game you can morph between any of the mixes and make your own using the game controller.

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Edward Gorey’s ‘anxious, irritable’ tarot card set is predictably perfect
02.24.2015
10:04 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Games
Occult

Tags:
Edward Gorey
tarot


 
Since he supplied us with a visual vocabulary for cutesy dread over many decades, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Edward Gorey designed a set of whimsical tarot cards. The set is called the “Fantod Pack,” the word fantod signifying “a state of worry or nervous anxiety, irritability” and thus possibly the most Edward Gorey word ever. (David Foster Wallace was fond of the word as well, using the phrase “howling fantods” multiple times in Infinite Jest; the main clearinghouse website for DFW information is called The Howling Fantods.) 

Not surprisingly, Gorey’s tarot set is (a) not precisely a tarot set, (b) reflexively downbeat, (c) more like a parody of a tarot set, and (d) utterly hilarious. Seriously, and I know that he is known for this style of humor, but looking over the Fantod Pack will give you a whole new appreciation for the possibilities of the deadpan mode of humor. Why is the “Stones” card so funny, when it’s just a little drawing of three plinths of varying size? Somehow the silly self-seriousness of the project is communicated. The backs of the cards feature a typically Goreyish creature called a “Figbash.” Here’s one now:
 

 
Authorship of the Fantod Deck is attributed to a “Madame Groeda Wyrde,” which might engage the minds of those of you who enjoy anagrams. The instructions are as hilarious as the other elements of the set, as for instance:
 

Interpretation must always depend on the character and circumstances of the person consulting the pack. What might portend a wipe-out for a teenage hotdogger from Yokohama, might warn an octogenarian spinster in Minot, North Dakota, of a fall in the bathtub, though, of course, the results might come to much the same thing.

 
Ahem: “To read your fortune, first shuffle the pack and take it in your left hand. Stand in the centre of a sparsely furnished room and close your eyes. Fling the pack into the air. Keep your eyes closed. Pick up five cards and place them face up in the form of a cross.” Then you’re supposed to read the cards in the following fashion. The center card shows your current situation, the top card depicts “something from the past that continues to affect your future,” on the left is your “inner self,” the card on the right shows “the outer world,” and the bottom card displays “something about to come into being in the near future.”
 

 
Every card comes with an evocative list of associated words, and these too are simply brilliant. Unfailingly austere and morbid—nobody’s meeting a dark & handsome stranger in this set—the peculiar word choices only enhance the grim comedy, with bizarre words like chagrin, bêtise, megrims, impetigo, catarrh, inanition, cafard, barratry, and champerty lending everything a flushed air of erudite and anemic horror.

Some sources falsely attribute the deck to the 1995, which is when Gorey made the first set available. Its origins actually trace back to an issue of Esquire in the 1960s. An unauthorized deck was printed in 1969, after which an authorized limited edition of 776 copies was created (750 numbered, and 26 lettered) in 1995. Since 2007 it is available as an unlimited deck; you can get it from Amazon for about ten bucks. Copies of the 1995 limited edition set run much, much higher, though—there are three of them available on Amazon for $450 each.   
 

“The Sea”
January / wasting / loss of ears / an accident in an elevator / lurching sickness / cracks / false affection / vapors / a secret enemy / misdirection / demons / estrangement / chagrin

 

“The Limb”
February / miscarriage of justice / gapes / a forged snapshot / morbid sensations / a useless sacrifice / alopecia / a generalized calamity / broken promises / ignominy / an accident in a theatre / fugues / poverty

 

“The Stones”
March / a forged letter / paralysis / false arrest / falling sickness / evil communications / estrangement / a sudden affliction / anemia / strife / a distasteful duty / misconstruction

 
The rest of this great tarot deck is after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cold case playing cards highlight unsolved murders
01.20.2015
09:33 am

Topics:
Crime
Games

Tags:
police
murder
cards


James Foote, Florida (SOLVED)
 
In 2007 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Corrections, and the Attorney General’s Office worked with the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers to forge a new way to solve some of the state’s unsolved cases. It’s a regular deck of cards in which the face of each card features a photograph and some factual information about an unsolved homicide or missing persons case. In July 2007, 100,000 decks of cold case playing cards (two decks highlighting 104 unsolved cases) were distributed to inmates in the Florida’s prisons. Two cases, the murder of James Foote and the murder of Ingrid Lugo, were solved as a result.

Connecticut and Indiana have also taken up this idea, and produced decks of cards with homicide victims (sometimes missing persons) on them. We found a few images of the cards to show you. A friend of mine gave me a deck of the Connecticut set at a party recently, where they made quite the impression. They’re a little bit reminiscent of the “Iraqi Most-Wanted” playing cards that coalition forces distributed after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
 

Maurice White, Indiana
 

Linda Weldy, Indiana
 

 

Ingrid Lugo, Florida (SOLVED)

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Scenes from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ recreated using Grand Theft Auto V


 
A pretty impressive homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 masterpiece A Clockwork Orange hosted by Grand Theft Auto Online on YouTube. It took more than a dozen people to recreate some of the most iconic scenes from the movie using Grand Theft Auto V. Now I’ve played GTA a few times myself—this was years ago, btw—and I can’t figure out for the life of me just how they were able to recreate a few of these scenes. Incredible work!


 
With thanks to Edward Ludvigsen!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Nerd Alert: The Internet Archive releases thousands of classic MS-DOS games
01.07.2015
09:46 am

Topics:
Games
Science/Tech

Tags:
Video Games

Oregon Trail
 
If you like your game play pixelated and your background music repetitively bleeping, or if you just want to take a look at how far along video game design has come over the last thirty-or-so years, you’re in luck! The Internet Archive has just released a collection of over 2,000 MS-DOS games that you can play through your Internet browser right now.

The collection, which you can find here, holds some popular titles you’ll probably recognize if you’re of a certain digital vintage including Q-bert, Ms. Pac Man, The Oregon Trail, Double Dragon and a couple of titles from the Street Fighter series, to name just a few. You’ll also find lesser known (at least to me) games, some of which are bound to generate a laugh or two such as Sex Vixens from Space, Tongue of the Fat Man and the inexplicable Captain Bible in the Dome of Darkness.

By the way, the page for these selections warns that the “EM-DOSBOX in-browser emulator” used to play these games can be a little buggy. So watch out for that I guess.

Below you’ll find a clip just over 13 minutes long of somebody playing the aforementioned Tongue of the Fat Man created in 1989 that might give you an idea of the kind of wacko video game action that we’re talking about here in some cases.
 

 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 11  1 2 3 >  Last ›