Saturday June 30, 2018

The plot thickens considerably as I delve further into the history of the psychedelic revolution. As I reported previously, first-wave psychonaut Aldous Huxley died on 11/22/63: the same day as C.S. Lewis and JFK. As per Huxley’s wish, his wife Laura injected him with 200 micrograms of LSD on his deathbed—and the supplier of these 200 micrograms was none other than ‘60s acid guru Timothy Leary. (The Moody Blues would eventually include a popular song about Leary called “Legend of a Mind” on their third album In Search of the Lost Chord.) But grok this: as Don Lattin notes in his book The Harvard Psychedelic Club, Leary’s first meeting with Huxley occurred on November 8, 1960, the same day JFK was elected President. There’s also substantial evidence suggesting that JFK may himself have taken LSD during his time in the White House. Kennedy’s mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer, ex-wife of CIA official Cord Meyer, seems to have been the conduit. Leary claims in his book Flashbacks that Meyer visited him while he was at Harvard, asking for his help. Her goal was to usher in a peaceful, loving Age of Aquarius by turning on world leaders, under the assumption that acid would make them less violent. Toward this end, Meyer conducted a series of acid experiments, with prominent men in Washington as her test subjects. All of this occurred while she was involved in an affair with JFK. However, Meyer eventually returned to Leary in a panic after someone involved in these experiments threatened to go public. Leary lost touch with her for a while, only to learn about a year after the assassination that she, too, had been murdered — shot, execution-style, in broad daylight, while walking on a towpath beside a canal in DC. Hollywood explored the incident in partly fictionalized form in a 2008 film called An American Affair, starring Gretchen Mol.

Saturday August 19, 2017

Weed affects my perception of my relationship to luck. I find a greater bounty in the bins at Goodwill when I hunt while stoned. And my relationships with others become improvised and more casual. In a word, life becomes serendipitous. The surprise and delight of good fortune can raise my spirit for days to come. Like Horace Walpole, those interested in the phenomenon should read the fairy tale, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” While noting serendipitous occasions, I make no claim that these occasions necessitate belief in a competent cause — though in the midst of the experience itself, I suppose, one assumes this. Sarah toured me the other day through what is now one of my favorite works of residential architecture, Ray Kappe’s home in Los Angeles’s Rustic Canyon. The home as harmonious relation between human and non-human nature. The Strimling House, as it’s sometimes called, with a tree growing through its atrium. House porn is utopian through and through. For cloudform-like extravagance, seek “Live at Goers” by R. Lee Dockery & Smokey Emery.

Astral Spirits is killing it. I’m fascinated, too, by the remarkable self-investigation undertaken in “Note to Self” by Jill Pangallo. Disturbingly aware of selfhood’s manufacture. My most impressive psychedelic aesthetic encounter of late, however, came to me in the form of Eisprung’s “Ivan’s Need.”

Sexuality as synesthetic inner-space fantasia: ASMR-intense, but giggly and filled with joy. And of course, lathered in Freudian condiments. How else shall I conduct my days? Swimming, reading, returning to work under extreme financial duress. I enjoy retiring to the crisp air of my basement on hot summer nights here in the South. The basement is also a place to bunker down — a bit head-in-the-sand-ish, maybe, but necessary for one who thinks of himself still as “from up north.” I relate to life as do the figures in the foreground of Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts’s “Soul and Cigarette.” The singer indulges hints of Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman. ‘Tis the video, though, not the song, that does it for me. When Sarah and I started the Netflix Original documentary miniseries The Keepers the other night, I immediately noted parallels between the show’s initial foci (the 1969 Baltimore murders of Sister Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki), and the murder of Barbara Ann Butler, an event that occurred in Dayton, OH the year prior. William Clark wrote about this latter case in his 1971 book, The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor. Tentatively optimistic, but impatient for connections, the true crime genre holds great potential for cognitive mapping of the social totality. But the crime at the map’s heart must be the crime of capitalism. Whereas the crime at the base of The Keepers is the priesthood.