Album Review: Tool – Lateralus (3in1)

AmpersandQuest

When I review albums of music I want to provide as much useful information as possible while also providing my own unique perspective on the album. Below my commentary will be a series of links for more information, lyrics, the band’s website, and a link to purchase the album. Please support the artist you enjoy!

 

Tool_-_Lateralus

Part 1

As I said above factual information about this album will be found below so I will spare you the gory details in favor of a more opinionated diatribe that will detail my feelings and interpretations of each song. If you are a big fan of Tool and have followed them for a good length of time you will understand when I say that my interpretation is not a prescription of how you should feel. I realize I haven’t covered a Tool album before and it might seem strange to really hardcore Tool fans out there to start now with Lateralus. My reason for doing so is that while I have become a really big Tool fan and love to know all the little details about them I have to be honest, this wasn’t always the case. My fandom of Tool started with this very album soon after it was released in 2001. I was a freshmen in high school, my parents were just divorced, I was a social outcast, and I turned to music to escape the harsh reality of my existence.

From my experience with all of Tool’s albums it is a blessing that Lateralus is the album that I dove off from first as it seems to be a turning point not only in my life but in the lives of the artist who created the album as they seemed to be in the midst of a spiritual and intellectual awakening. This album is chock full of inspirational themes but they are not fully realized without taking a journey through the cold dark reality of existing in this harsh modern social climate so full of cruelty and despair. Lateralus as an album served me the same purpose The Holy Bible would serve a born again Christian but obviously in a very different way. Take away the overt brainwashing that religion offers and replace it with understanding, acceptance, and enlightenment that the main characters of The Holy Bible were created to represent and you have the album Lateralus.

What we have here then is one young boy’s Rosetta Stone for life. A means by which he would come to understand all of the strange, unique, painful, and beautiful things that were happening to him. All of which seemed to come through the speakers and soak deep into his bones as the stories of the music and lyrics came to be fully realized mythos unto themselves. This album, if you cannot tell by now, means a lot to me. If I were ever able to speak to its creators I would thank them deeply for finding it within themselves to express the glorious truths of nature described in this album and having the conviction to lay the tracks down and sell it to the world without shame.

With that out-of-the-way let us begin the review and remember that the lyrics for each song can be found in a link at the bottom of the page.

Credit: Alex Grey Visit his website to purchase artistic prints at http://www.cosm.org/
Credit: Alex Grey Visit his website to purchase artistic prints at http://www.cosm.org/

              Track #1 -The Grudge – 

Let us not avoid how much this track just flat-out rocks. The instrumental work in this album from the very start is outstanding from beginning to end and the very first track does not disappoint. It leaves you with a very powerful first impression by the nature of the very aggressive kit work from Danny Carey who never seems to let up throughout the entirety of this album. Danny’s drumming prowess is in full force here and beyond. The power chords from guitarist Adam Jones may not be technically brilliant however I would argue that his composition AND his precise technique don’t really leave a lot to be desired, it’s as if he simply plays exactly the right way all the time even if it’s not wailing technical solo’s. If I wanted power metal solo’s there are plenty of artist who provide that. Tool is not that sort of band. I have also always been fond of Justin Chancellors bass work and here it serves its purpose well to seemingly make Danny’s drum set sound even more pronounced and adding just the right amount of contrast to Adam’s guitar playing. Singer Maynard James Keenan gives a very powerful performance as he always seems to do in his own way. Both guttural and operatic weaving in and out of each other in a symphony of powerful and aggressive musical backdrops.

Moving on to what I believe this song’s story is. In life, whether it be an individual, a group of people, an institution, or even yourself you will find adversaries. You will inevitably experience all of the emotions and realities of what it means to have an enemy. People will do things to hurt you, you will be singled out, be treated unfairly, and make mistakes that you will regret. This song is not about that. This song is about the willingness or lack thereof to let go of grudges. It weaves in and out of inspiration and despair as both the music and lyrics spin you round and round but all the while staying focused on the merciful release that is granted to those who learn to let go of those enemies, gangs, politicians, and regrets. While at first the song might seem to be screaming at you out of anger ultimately the point of sale comes when it all culminates in the emotional outburst and release of that anger as both music and singer collide in an epic 32 second long scream urging you to simply LET GO! The lesson here is that there is much more to be gained in life from accepting reality for what it is instead of hanging on to that which ties you down and keeps you in one place and static with your blood boiling and a soul full of regret.  I fully recommend looking deeper into the lyrics of this song because like all of Tool’s songs it could mean something totally different to you. For me, this helped me control my anger and tempered me whenever I felt my emotions could be getting the best of me. It was easy for me to think back to this track and remember how awesome it feels every time I listen to it.

             Track #2 -Eon Blue Apocalypse (Instrumental)- 

I get the sense that this song is full of grief and a great amount of pain.  It is very short and delivers what feels to me to be a “moment of silence” sort of feel. Appropriate because apparently it is an ode of sorts for the passing of guitarist Adam Jones Great Dane whose name was Eon. For me, on a thematic level, it serves as a break between the aggressive opening song and the next. It might be a track that we skip over but from time to time I like to listen to it as I reflect on life.

 

              Track #3 -The Patient-       

The intro to this roller coaster of a song feels lumbering, laborious, tedious, and filled with tension. Perhaps the title of the song is very appropriate here as it seems to feel almost like how one would feel sitting in a doctor’s waiting room as you ponder what the good doctor has to report to you. Even the opening lyrics are dripping with a feeling of restrained exuberance dying for a massive release.  As the next section continues on we are presented with growing animosity as the music gets subtly louder and the lyrics encourage you to open your heart. The meat and potatoes of the song break free as that feeling of having to wait, be quiet, and remain stoic give way to an outburst of conviction and aggressive musical themes.

I think this song can be about anything. For me personally I tend to feel it’s about living in an overly politically correct society where you are not encouraged to express yourself. Quite the opposite is definitely pronounced throughout society. Thus, we all seem to go through periods in life where we lay low, keep a low profile, and become quite apathetic towards others. I believe this song explores the importance of both being silent and introspective and expressing yourself loudly and without shame.

It is important to have a stiff upper lip and soak up the pain at times as in don’t whine and complain too much and actually BE patient. But the desire to reach out, express yourself, include others, and branch out once you’ve healed is a desire that shouldn’t be forsaken.  The reason I said this is a roller coaster of a song is because towards the end the feeling I get is much the same as waiting for the big drop off at the top of a roller coaster at a theme park. Much more appropriate to me now that I mention it would be the feeling of a tight rope walk. That you are constantly walking this fine line between apathy and empathy. That while you want to reach out to others and experience love, compassion, and community there is always a desire to return to solitude. I strongly encourage a deep and focused reading of the lyrics found at the bottom of this review.

 

Track #4 -Mantra-

 

There are a lot of interesting discussions I found online about what this track represents and also how it was recorded. If you’re interested I would definitely encourage you to check Google for the information. However, right now I just want to talk about how the song makes me feel and how it correlates with the rest of the album’s thematic aura.

The listener is graced with a very peaceful yet somehow creepy and dark sound effect. There are a couple of layers to the track to mention. Most notably what sounds like the cry’s of a whale or perhaps monks chanting. Regardless of what the artist actually did to record this track to me it serves as a way to invest the listener to focus on their inner most thoughts. It isn’t long enough to make you forget about the previous track but just long enough to get your attention heading in to the next. Which is one of the most popular songs in Tool’s entire discography so it makes sense that Tool would want people to really pay attention at this point in the album.

 

Track #5 -Schism- 

 

What stands out to me most about this song is that while it is the song they chose to be the radio friendly song of the album it is not by any means your typical arena rock and roll anthem, which I do love by the way, but they somehow managed to create a song of very pressing matters that most people don’t want to talk about and make it a chart topping hit. It’s as if they created something that isn’t supposed to appeal to everyone that by virtue of its own merit managed to soak itself into the world consciousness and took on a very powerful meaning for millions upon millions of people. It is not by any means my most cherished Tool track but I deeply respect it for what it is and what it meant for Tool being absolutely cemented in history as one of rock’s greatest bands. That does not mean this track is not chock full of philosophical importance, indeed it is, but that’s not what impresses me about it. It stands on its own as the Tool song that took music by storm without selling out.

The song itself begins with a bass intro that comes off the heels of the previous track Mantra and fits so damn well with the feeling of Mantra. The focus and attention I get from listening to Mantra is not at all broken by this intro but enhanced. The intro drones for a moment as the main bass riff that’s become so recognizable begins to enter your consciousness. Followed by Danny’s powerful drumming and Maynard’s timeless lyrics unfold before you. Musically to me this song is not the most impressive of all of Tool’s efforts but it is by no means forgettable either. Mostly because of how pressing the issues discussed in the lyrics are. To me that is where the strength of this song stands.

There is no way to view this song in a one-dimensional manner. It is about you, me, and everyone else. It is about our institutions or lack thereof. But what is the song saying about them? Personally I think the entire point of the song is that we do everything we can to promote certain ideals and convictions but fail to recognize how those seemingly virtuous and inspiring intentions also create division, animosity, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.  It is amazing to me how our greatest intentions can give birth to such tragic failings in human kind. As the song says, you can realize that all the pieces fit but only because you watched them crumble, fail, and burn to the ground. While the song definitely encourages all of us to strive for good things in life it doesn’t bury its head in the sand when it comes to how those good things are often born from human suffering.

Perhaps this song was so successful because it’s over all message is that no matter how strong our convictions, family ties, friendships, and relationships are they will never be perfect. Everyone can relate to this message and appreciate the compassionate message it has. It doesn’t attempt to paint a pie in the sky image of the human condition but instead is honest with the listener. I am very glad this song became as popular as it did for it provided an outlet for all the animosity in the world. Also, it gives people the chance to understand just how connected we all are in the human condition and encourages us to come together in a common goal. Not in any communist hippie dippy sense but in a realistic realization that we all experience this schism in our interactions with others. We are all our own individual with our own belief structures but ultimately they are all born from a very similar place where we desire the best outcomes for not just ourselves but those around us. It is then by its very nature a message of peace and understanding. It’s not saying to tolerate bad behavior for the sake of tolerance either, rather, reaches out for us to recognize how bad behavior manifest from otherwise harmless and good intent. What a fascinating example of how music can change the world.

Part 2

   Continuing on with my review of 2001’s album from Tool entitled Lateralus. I hope you enjoyed the articles in between these reviews. Which brings to mind just how much of an influence the artist who comprise Tool have influenced the way I think about the world. I will never forget just how much more I began to appreciate art once I really got into Tool and would seek out articles and interviews of them. They always promote the idea of questioning every institution, every belief, every status quo, every piece of art, and every theory you come across in life. It is this notion that has inspired me to create and write this on going WordPress site.

                        Let’s not get side tracked with my personal anecdotes though and let us begin part 2 of this long-winded review.

                    Track #6 -Parabol-

Greeted by an atmospheric and mysterious tonal intro we find ourselves on the heels of the power driven previous track, Schism. Parabol brings you to a world of creeping fog and thick mist. It feels as though we are witnessing a man crawl out of a hole in the middle of the forest who has just rediscovered the surface and finds himself lost in the thick of reality. I don’t sense a great deal of fear in this song other than the feeling you might get being in a strange new place. We tend to fear things we do not understand but it is that which motivates us to explore and objectively identify our surroundings. The singing mirrors the music in the same low, atmospheric, and tonal way and the story of this track emerges.

Just as I described the music reminding me of a man crawling out of a hole a bit befuddled and confused with his new surroundings he begins to realize he is experiencing something profound. He is enlightening himself in a moment where he realizes he is one with his surroundings. As more information comes his way conflict burrows in his heart and longs to hold on to the precious moment when he realized the true beauty of nature all around and within him. He senses the danger and conflict coming his way and guards jealously the bright and warm light of the confines of his heart as the cold harsh reality of his mind consumes whatever comfort he had in waking up to this new reality. He is hopeful that his heart can triumph over his mind but seems to realize it is inevitable that he will have to loosen his ever so tight grip on the reality he wants to be true and begin to accept reality for what it really is. But there remains a spark of inspiration despite his realization. His reaction is further explored in the next track of this two-part song.

                    Track #7 – Parabola- 

The previous track’s slow, atmospheric, and lumbering tone’s seamlessly bleed into an aggressive, bright, and inspired rock and roll drive as our characters journey continues. I absolutely love Danny Carey’s performance in this track. His drumming to me is always the highlight when I turn this track on. It’s very rock and roll, energetic, and feels very unique at the same time. Everything else is an added bonus as the rest of the band joins in on the symphony of powerful rock and roll.

Previously I talked about a man coming to terms with his enlightenment and that he is experiencing difficulties when trying to balance his heart and mind. It isn’t until he realizes that he is not alone in his struggle to simply understand the nature that surrounds him that he finds the motivation struggle on. He finds more balance in himself once he realizes his new-found friend was just as confused and has conflated the issue just as much if not more than him while simultaneously bringing new and unique perspective to light that fundamentally changes the dynamics of reality that he had previously been sure were uncontroversial truths.

He finds this so beautiful that he begins to realize that the pain he feels inside is a lie. He doesn’t want to believe that the pain he feels can be felt by his friend, whom he loves, looks after, and wants to protect in all his vulnerability.  For a while this becomes a ritual of sorts until one day reality sets in and the true and vicious nature of reality strikes his friend down. Great anger and frustration sets in as his heart is once again tested by his mind searching for the truth all the while still holding on to the beauty he believes to be real. How can this be? How can reality be so beautiful and so god damn brutal at the same time? He digs through the remains to see if there is any discernible evidence of a soul but only finds flesh and blood further conflating his mind as it recoils to a primitive state of fear and confusion.

Our character leaves the whole scene behind and returns to the wilderness that spawned him. Over him hangs the cloud of despair that took his one and only friend from him. The same cloud that now threatens to consume him at every turn. He slowly begins to realize there is no escape from fate. His destiny is being formed and his last steps lay ahead. It is at this point he throws everything he’s learned out and clears both his heart and mind. He opens himself to nature in all of its unabashed glory and without question stops trying to make sense of it all and allows reality itself to fill him. Both the beauty and cold brutality simultaneously fill the deepest crevices of his heart, mind, and soul and in unison fill him with an omnipresent aura.

His life brief, his ability to understand it all null and void, yet his willingness to open up is the culmination of everything we all seek out of life. To understand who we are and where we are going. These two songs tell a story of life and death in a very well composed and powerful piece of art. I very strongly recommend several readings of the lyrics and even more strongly suggest seeing the very well done music video that guitarist Adam Jones put together to accompany this song. That music video directly inspired everything I had to say about these two songs to say the least. The title of the songs fit absolutely perfect. If you look at a parabola it is a line curved to represent and object traveling from point A to point B. The apex when considering these songs represents that medium in life where you become enlightened and begin  your decent into your fate. Such a beautiful and clever way to tell a story about life and death.

 

                    Track #8 -Ticks and Leaches-

We make the leap from the previous track and are greeted with a strange and rhythmic drumming performance. The bass guitar joins in producing a very deep and bellowing atmosphere. Then the guitar pulls its weight by introducing a very aggressive and very metal sounding crunch to the mix. The vocals start with a scream as the music pours through the speakers. What happens next is a bit out of the ordinary for Tool. Maynard James Keenan raps! Okay, not exactly and I don’t mean to make light of how epic this song really is. But I can’t help but feel that Maynard is actually attempting to produce the same kind of tongue twisting busting of rhymes you would hear from a hip hop artist.  It is not tacky by any means. In fact it sounds really cool with the very deep and bellowing back drop of the band’s music.

Anger, vengeance, brutal honesty, and adrenaline fill your ears and you quickly realize that this is perhaps how the artist actually feel if you push them too far. I am so grateful for these kinds of Tool songs. Songs that celebrate the aggressive nature of humanity. Songs that are a bit more on the metal side in place of the more prog rock side of Tool. That familiar prog rock feeling makes an appearance in this song as Tool seamlessly slows everything down into a really groovy guitar solo by Adam Jones. I have always been a huge fan of Adam Jones’ guitar style much more than his technique or complexity. His playing is very accurate and precise and I’ve rarely ever heard him make a mistake but that is not what’s important for me. For me, it’s his ability to compile and insert himself into Danny Carey’s drumming. He is the perfect complement to Danny. His ability to compose and direct Tool seems to make him a the spiritual leader of the group. This bridge is a perfect example of where Adam really shines as a guitarist. It doesn’t seem all that difficult to play and I’m sure any amateur to advanced player could easily figure it out. But could they compose such a piece to sound so undeniably cool? Would the have the ability to take what seemed to be nothing but a testosterone over load of a metal song and turn it into groovy prog rock bliss? That right there is why I am a huge fan of Adam Jones. He doesn’t need to show boat with fancy solo’s because it seems his main objective isn’t to impress you with wailing solos but rather capture your imagination with atmosphere and feeling.

In this particular song the focus seems to be directly on someone who has betrayed their friend and could be the thoughts and feelings of the betrayed towards the betrayer. The more mellow bridge gives you just a long enough break from the adrenaline to realize that perhaps decent people need to express their anger in order to maintain themselves. That no matter how hard you try to avoid it, some times the only way to find peace is to express your anger without being sorry for what you say. However, the calm and serenity that comes with this outlet of emotion will often lead you to realize that things are even worse than you first imagined. That certainly seems to be the case here as the music begins to pick back up. You can sense a building frustration and even more pent-up anger is about to be unleashed but this time with clarity of mind. Not to be cheesy by the second the last notes of the mellow rock bridge end the music picks back up to the more aggressive nature of the first half of the song it becomes METAL AS FUCK. Maynard unleashes a scream of epic proportions and the band enhances this with frantic and loud off beat unison that leaves me with the impression that this is the final stage of anger. This is the moment of truth where the culmination and totality of the betrayal is realized. Any anger here forth is not only justified but fully understood to be justified by both parties. A complete and total cutting of ties can take place without any unfinished business.

In essence then this song is about letting go of the bad influences in your life. It might sound like it’s saying it’s okay to lose your mind and start screaming and hollering at people but I don’t think that’s the point. My favorite thing about music and this is especially true with metal as fuck music is that you can express your inner most frustrations, regrets, and anger with people and society at large without actually hurting anyone in the process. This is a perfect pressure release valve song for when you are just having one of those days. I recommend listening to this if you are feeling pent-up. It always seems to help me when I’m too frustrated to deal.

Heavy metal is not a label I would generally use to describe Tool. However, with this and several other songs I would say that the genre only allows the artist of Tool to show you their own unique style based on a genre that is already very popular and accepted by a lot of people. Tool has definitely defined their own style and this is just another fine example of them finding new and interesting ways to perform a familiar type of music.

                    Track #9 -Lateralus-

I’ll never forget the very first time I saw Tool live and this song came on. The arena I was in was busy all night with amazing visual effects, banners of amazing artwork by Alex Grey, interesting music videos, and epic light shows. However, this song was something even more special as they chose this song to close the show. I could do nothing but sit in awe as this awesome as fuck song filled my ears and the wondrous visual effects the cleverly put together amazed my eyes.

I have a very unique take on this song that hasn’t ever been very popular with other Tool fans I know. But I can’t help the feeling I get. It happened the second time I saw Tool. Maynard was dressed as a full on Cowboy and I couldn’t help but imagine listening to this song as I was farming, hunting, fishing, or hiking. For some reason this song, while it is very rock and roll with a dash of heavy metal, has always felt like a country rhythm and blues tune. It’s just such an uplifting and adventurous song and reminds me of big open fields or giant mountain ranges. Almost as if being sung to you by an old Western sage/wise man to encourage you to seek out new boundaries and venture forth to untouched and hidden valleys of your surroundings, heart, and mind. The lyrics seem to back up my assertions very much so and I hope I can help others hear and feel what I do when I hear this song. Perhaps it’s easiest just to ask you to imagine riding a galloping horse and imagine that the hooves are hitting the ground in perfect beat with the music.

This song strongly encourages the listener to invest in their growth as an individual. To learn new things, break new ground, and to push the envelope. This song more than all of the others on this album is focused much more on the positive. I believe they really wanted to create a truly inspirational prog rock opus that relentlessly dares their listeners to explore new territories. I simply can’t help but think about a frontiersman discovering new land to explore and if I’m the only Tool fan on the planet who feels this way about this song then so be it.

Spiral out my friends.

Part 3

Track #10 -Disposition-

This is perhaps the most relaxing, cool sounding, and mellow Tool song ever written. I believe all the members of Tool must have been in a very spiritual hippie kind of place in life when they created this song and wanted to explore a new style of music. This can be risky for any band but Tool pulls it off very well. It’s placement in the album comes after the bright, colorful, and loud Lateralus theme song but it doesn’t feel like it’s here for the sole purpose of breaking up the album or just to set the stage for the remainder of the album. It does all of that and more for me personally. This song comes across as a message of contentedness, acceptance, and a desire to keep learning and experiencing new things. There is an emphasis in the music on more natural sounds especially with Danny Carey’s hand drumming performance. Maynard’s lyrics are simple yet beautifully sung with a focus on nature, the weather, and communication. Adam Jones’ guitar work is 100% pure atmosphere creation with heavy bends and cool sound effects. Justin Chancellor mirrors Jones’ guitar work on his bass giving the track a bellowing and thick foundation to stand on.

As you listen to the song try to imagine how it feels to be with family or good friends at a picnic, camping, or hiking. I really love putting this track on after I’m done running too cool off while I walk myself and my heart rate back down to earth. This song makes me feel very grounded and willing to accept what nature hands me. It also makes me want to reach out to others and share my experiences with the one’s I love. Normally when Tool does a track to break up the album and set up new ground for the next songs it is usually something simple, short, and consist of strange sound effects. As I said, this track certainly has all of that but is a fully functional and critical song to this album. I strongly feel that without this really unique Tool track Lateralus simply would not hold the weight it does. I can show this song to almost anyone and they will typically enjoy it. It’s been a great way to break the ice with someone who might have never given Tool a chance. I have a sister who listens to mostly country or pop radio music told me she never imagined a band like Tool would ever move her in a way that inspire her because of this very song. I believe that is a compliment to the artist rather than a knock or a way to say “they sold out”. It’s the fact that such a unique and wonderfully performed prog/rock song from a band as aggressive and bright as Tool can reach across genres and musical taste to reach out and touch a stranger really sticks out to me. To me this song seems to celebrate the idea of reaching out and trying new things with other people makes it all the more perfect.

When the song reaches its end don’t react yet. Just focus on what you’re hearing. Listen to the guitar and bass fading and the drum stick bouncing off the head.  Listen to the whirring background and empty your mind. Prepare for the beginning of the next track because you’re in for a big time treat. Just when you think the album could be running out of gas you are presented with an even more unique, incredibly deep, and complex song that is going to be a great challenge to review as I have so much to say about it.

                     Track #11 -Reflection-

I am going to have to be really careful not to write an entire book about this song. I have a lot to say about it because it has a lot to say to all of us.  Let’s just dive right in though and start swimming. I hope you really paid attention to the end of the previous track Disposition and how it bleed right through into the beginning of this song. Danny Carey has always prided himself and his skill. He doesn’t seem like an arrogant man but he is definitely one of the most confident drummers I have ever heard. The main reason I speak so highly of Danny Carey when top drummers list are being discussed is mostly because of how truly unique he plays. I will always appreciate and admire a more rigid and technical approach to music. Staying inside the lines so to speak is part of the art form of playing music. Mastering classic techniques and showing proficiency with them will always be impressive and Danny Carey certainly is impressive in that aspect when looking at drumming. That said, the real reason I am such a big fan of Danny Carey is just how far outside the lines he can draw yet still keep it all together without it feeling like a drug fueled drum solo.  The performance by Danny throughout this song is absolutely bullet proof and inspires me to no end. At times it sounds as if there are actually two drummers playing a duet instead of just one extremely talented man. Absolutely brilliant drumming.

By the time the bass is introduced you’ve already been experiencing a very dark, tribal, and atmospheric drumming performance. The introduction of the bass only amplifies this feeling. This is another case where the simplicity of the actual playing is not as impressive as how it was composed into the song. It makes the song feel really trippy and weird and I love it. Synth work is also introduced and adds more depth to the song making it feel almost sluggish in contrast to the incredible drumming going on.  Adam Jones guitar work sounds very eerie and creepy which fits perfect with the rest of the band. Still though, Danny Carey’s drumming stands out and almost seems to be in command of everything. It feels as if no music can take place or be added without Danny’s permission. And that’s when we get our first ghostly listen of Maynard’s singing.

This song more than the rest of the album needs to be read. Please find the song here and study it. “Lateralus Lyrics Link” This is going to be incredibly difficult to keep short but I will do my best not to bog you down here. This is a song all about you. It’s not to feed your ego however so don’t even go there. Instead try to imagine what it feels like to make a mistake but not just any mistake. The kind of mistake you can’t make up for. The guilt, shame, and indignity that comes with making those kinds of mistakes are unique because while it might seem painful and difficult it’s really a chance for you to take responsibility for yourself and own your actions. I often find it’s a means by which I get to know myself better especially as I grow older and stop blaming others for my problems.  I often find that running away from this often leads to even more severe consequences down the road so in essence failing to recognize your failures will result ultimately in even more dramatic failures in the future as you keep avoiding what ever problems are plaguing you.

The beginning of this song is so dark and makes me feel isolated and I am fairly certain that this is exactly what the artist wanted us to feel. Maynard’s voice sounds so desperate, whining, and small underneath the big giant behemoth of the instrumental. To me, the singing is the narrative of the story while the instrumental aspects of any song is the foreground and background of the narrative. Applying that idea here means to me that Maynard plays the roll of a person who’s been over whelmed with the world around them and that the instrumental music is the world around them. In this case a very dark and brooding world where fear and confusion dominate the emotional fortitude of the main character.

As the song progresses there seems to be small sparks of intuition and inspiration with our main character. I get the feeling the artist are subtly inviting us to face our problems, grit your teeth, and keep a stiff upper lip as you move on to conquer your problems.  What I love about this song in particular is how often my emotions change throughout the song. We’re used to this with all music as we follow familiar patterns of chorus and verse and interchanging them in order to elicit a certain emotion towards one thing or another. This song is no different except they seemed to composed it all in a way that seems to wax and wane between positive and negative emotions so often that I always seem to get lost in the music and start to really think about my life. It’s a wonderfully strange feeling because I am deeply impressed that a song could make me focus so damn hard on myself. It’s not an angry focus but more like healthy criticism.

This song also wants to remind us that we are not alone in our day-to-day suffering and struggle. This small consideration seems small until it turns into incredible inspiration. There is verse in this song that to me symbolizes what it means when people say “we are not alone”.  I don’t like to paste lyrics into my writing but I really want to now because I’m worried you won’t read the lyrics for yourself but if you’re a fan of music and you’re reading this please try your best to love this song after multiple times listening and after having read the lyrics.

The ending of this song last a couple of minutes as the musicians really take their time to put a strong emphasis about the urgency of living life to its fullest as often as you can while you’re still here. There is a message that repeats and drives the point home as the rest of the band really push themselves to deliver a perfect ending to this epic song that also lends itself to the next and last musical track on the album. To me the end of this album is like a trilogy of songs meant simply to be very different from anything you’ve ever heard before. That said, this particular track stands out the most. It’s just so very good especially if you’ve taken the time to really look into the lyrics after you’ve enjoyed the song a few times. I never read the lyrics to songs until after I’ve heard the music several times and I can’t stress enough how much more this song comes to life once you really dig into the lyrics.

Enjoy this song folks. Before you pine away.

 

 

Track #12 -Triad-

As you leave the ambiance of Reflection and enter into this song you might notice a steep and exponentially more aggressive theme beginning to pulse in the background.  My friends if you like flat-out rock and roll meant to make you start banging your head this is to me one of the most ultimate head banging anthems to come out of the new millennium.  The focus on this song is strictly on rocking as hard as you can while you have time to do it. This is the spirit of rock and roll and a bit of heavy metal incarnate in the form of four amazing musicians capping one of the great works off with an amazing instrumental opus meant to please the gods of rock.

I always imagined this is what an ancient tribe of musicians would sound like if they had access to modern instruments and technology. It’s easy for me to imagine a rain dance going on in the back ground or a rite of passage ceremony.  There is something so familiar and comforting in the aggressive tribal drum beats being granted to us from above by Danny “The Lion Fucker” Carey. The guitar work is once again nothing extremely technical but some how Adam Jones is able to make it sound ridiculously awesome I believe in large part once again to the talent of Danny Carey. Adam’s guitar playing just so happens to be a perfect accent to Danny’s drumming sound. That said, we do get some really cool sounding guitar solo’s in the track as well.

Justin Chancellor’s bass work is present and definitely adds a very crunchy and very round sound to the whole song. I always liked Justin’s work because of how percussive his playing seems to be. Like Adam he is the perfect accent to Danny’s drumming making it even more thunderous than it already is. There are no lyrics to this song but when I saw this song performed live Maynard James Keenan was playing a guitar and also played with a keyboard. There was also another percussionist playing some sort of tenor tama drums. It made this already really epic song even more incredible and I’ll never forget it. I believe it was the second to last song they played and the stage was ablaze with amazing artwork, incredible visual effects, intense video packages, and of course amazing musicians performing amazing music.

What we have here then is a song best listened to when you’re with a bunch of buddies doing something awesome together or if you’re by yourself you should get up and move a little bit to the music. It’s meant to be rocked out to by cool people who appreciate good rock and roll music. This song really makes me feel more connected to other Tool fans almost as if it’s our tribal war song that we all want to mosh to.  In the end that’s what this album feels like to me. I big long epic voyage with interesting twist and turns all capped off by an exclamation point.

Track #13 -Faaip De Oiad-

One of the most creepy bits of audio I’ve ever heard. It’s a track meant to catch you off guard as it’s tucked away and could be easily missed. It’s a combination of a conspiracy theory radio show getting a call about Area 51 aliens taking over the planet and eerie sound effects done by someone combined to make what feels like a horror radio show. If you ever want to creep someone out play this while they’re asleep and wake them up, tell them it’s on the radio right now and all over the TV!

This has become quite a lengthy article so I have decided to break it up in three parts. Be sure to visit the previous two articles if you haven’t already! 

 

Lateralus Wikipedia Link :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralus

Tool Website: http://www.toolband.com/

Lateralus Lyrics Link:  https://www.toolband.com/album/lyrics/lateralus.html

Don’t forget that if you want to listen to the album, please, for the love of all that is right and just in the world. Buy the songs or the album.

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Night Terrors: The 22nd Century

AmpersandQuest

I wake on my yacht in the middle of my prescribed slumber only to feel this sweet yet terrifying sensation burning on the back of my neck where my update cord is firmly plugged in. I imagine the feeling is similar to that of what the fetus of 100 years ago would have felt in it’s mothers womb which both brings me comfort and delivers an awkward uncomfortable feeling that I am not supposed to be living like this.

I am not supposed to be awake right now, yet I am, but everything my cord is telling me is to fall back into my slumber. Yet I feel the sensation of the waves rocking my boat back and forth. I feel the breeze on my arm, my artificial skin and body hair unable to goose bump or otherwise react yet I could swear it was. I longed for it to feel as my ancestors would feel.

I close my eyes as the burn on back of my neck increases, I know what’s coming and though I wish I could now cry I know I never will so why do I feel this way? I am confused beyond my own understanding. As the burning increases yet again I hear a dolphins cries in the distance as seaguls screach above my head. I don’t want to return to my slumber. But now it’s time for my update to return me to my slumber…I….Can only feel the burning…Oh that burning…I hate it….

……….SUBJECT 231483 YOU ARE NOT AWAKE. PROTOCOL #421 HAS RESUMED YOUR SLUMBER PROGRAM. RELAX, DO NOT RESIST.

The House of Cards Show (Spoiler Free Review)

House of Cards Logo Captured from URL http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/House_of_Cards_logo.svg for review purposes only. The use of this image is for subjective review only.

 

 

I’ve been watching the first few episodes of House of Cards on Netflix so much like everyone else I get my entertainment online these days. Which to me is an improvement for all of society. House of Cards to me represents quite a few things going on in the minds of the artist, writhers, directors, and actors involved with the project but also attitudes on a wider range. There is always something to keep in mind when it comes to information gathered through subjective entertainment sources however some valid points can be raised through this medium as well. It all depends on which perspective you are choosing to represent.   The problem with entertainment is that often it is the drama that drives us to continue watching, reading, or looking on like child at the stars through a window seal. This is the purpose of entertainment after all. However, my point is that this also causes a problem for not only ourselves as individuals but on a large societal scale millions of people sit in front of a box for 5 or more hours a day and soak in all kinds of information.

 

Some of it very beneficial and good information, a lot of it however is quite disturbing. That is until you discover that the best news typically is a result of a bad situation. Solutions my friends are those bits of good news you get in your daily routine. Whether by a dumb stroke of hair-brained luck or by competent execution of a disciplined plan of action each of us are capable of bringing good news to the world but many of us choose, myself included, to ignore the faults going on around us and do nothing to fix them and instead replace the positive feelings that come with victory or from hard work paying off with the delusions of reality that often find their way through the various mediums of information transfer technology like television, the internet, radio, newspapers, and even word of mouth.   Enter House of Cards, a Netflix original series featuring an all star cast of actors, writers, directors, and film makers alike. It is very well written and features quite a controversial narrative, that is if you’re what some of my friends call a “Hipster Puritan” who believes that government and only government can bring peace to the world. House of Cards presents us with a crack team of dirty politicians who do quite impressively and competently deal with the matters of the day.

 

That is by deliberately misleading those around them, coercing those same people into dangerous situations, and murdering those who find out about the skeletons in their closets. Oh the feeling of poetic justice in this series is just to die for. All of those ideas are challenged at their very core bringing to my mind a very important question. What is Government?   I already know there is such a thing as an ideal Government, we all have a notion that some how or some way that this entity we have chosen to name Government will lead the world to a more peaceful path than that which we are on. That is, until you realize the true cost of putting forth any such ideas in a serious manner. The point of my statement is to point out a flaw in the system. It is quite a simple flaw upon first review until you realize the magnitude and scale of this problem and that this problem doesn’t really have big stone buildings or politicians holding it up. Government is human incompetence. We all know how messed up we are sometimes, even if we don’t intend to be, we make horrible and stupid mistakes all the time.

 

There is no preparing for stupidity or incompetence except by preparing for it which means you must always be aware of your flaws. You must remove your ego from the equation all together and realize how important and impact filled your actions really are. In doing so you are already putting yourself and others at less risk to create an excuse for Government to intervene and ruin your lives.   People who realize this early on typically are in no position to do any real damage to those who have decided long ago that they are going to rule by brute force, lies, and coercion thus acquiring great amounts of wealth, military might, connections with influential people in society who band together and form pacts, friendships, enemies, and economics systems. You have no hope to beat that system on your own. When faced with an adversary this powerful you don’t want to find yourself battling them on their home court unless you are sure you have more of an edge than they could ever hope for. Which for most of us is never going to happen. To imagine that any of you could compete with this level of intelligence gathering, police training, military might, and sophistication is ludicrous at best.  To those of you who happen to read this who do have a good measure of resources, connections, and have a definitive plan of where you are going in life please understand this one thing.   Knowing how messed up the average person is and knowing that more than half of those people are even way more messed up with different disorders, chemical poisoning, poor diets, poor education, poor to no living standards or direction in life. After knowing all that can you not see that resorting to the same tactics as an ignorant street criminal with a total lack of respect for human life that will make your stomach toil and keep you up at night.

 

Having power over others due to your lack of honor, decency, and virtue is nothing short of a tragedy. Stooping to the same levels of those you oppose simply to be right and remain in power to me shows the only power you really have. It is your greatest weapon against those who would oppose you. Fear.   House of Cards on Netflix shows us in very entertaining fashion just how chaotic and grim life as a politician or influential person really could be in real life. Let’s not get all Plato’s Cave here and discuss whether or not a shadow is just a false copy of the real thing or anything. I’m simply pointing out why I adore this show in particular. It lies to you, but in a way that let’s you know it’s all a lie. Which is the true brilliance of the whole show! The system, the politicians, the people involved in Washington D.C. are just as flawed, egotistical, and as dangerous if not more dangerous than common people or criminals.   The phrase “poetic justice” is done a great service in this series. As tables are constantly turned against your ideologies and then suddenly your ideas are the basis of a bold and successful new idea that works for everyone in the end. This show takes you on a roller coaster ride of political intrigue and often feels like an old gumshoe thriller as you attempt to piece together everyone’s motives and intentions throughout the narrative. It really does inspire one to think directly outside the box when it comes to politics. The status quo must  both tested and made to be necessary at times and House of Cards does just that and it is stupendous!

Music Review, Kyuss; Blues for Queens and of the Red Stone Age Sun; Part 1 of 3

Ampersand DailyMusic

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is http://www.songmeanings.net/ so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/ If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. http://www.youtube.com/

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

Lastly, I find that often lyrics listed in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. This is the first part of a two page review. The reason I have chosen to divide it into two articles is because there is a controversial story to be shared about this band, it’s members, and it’s “intellectual property.” My wordpress page is for both entertainment and also to talk about more serious dilemma’s in the world that I feel are important to talk about. This whole scenario I am going to attempt to tell fits perfectly into the mission of this wordpress and consider this to be one of my more passionate pieces to date. I am not here to offend anyone, but if my opinions do offend you, please share the reasons, I am not closed minded to criticism in any way, so please do share your thoughts below. This albums holds a special place in my heart, along with most of Kyuss’ library. They are not a perfect band, they are not that uber success story that everyone loves to hear about. In fact, just lately, former members sued each other and fought legally for rights to the bands name and music. It is a tragedy in Rock and Roll that breaks my heart. I had the pleasure of seeing the second effort of this bands wonderful premise, straight forward, yet extremely unique blend of stoner rock and what I always felt was a strong mixture of 90’s and 50’s rock. Under the name and guise of the title Kyuss Lives! comprised of three of the four original members and two replacement members, the band toured Europe and the United States playing old Kyuss tracks for fans across the world. This was brought to a halt once they tried to gain the rights to the name “Kyuss” and two former band mates brought a civil suit against Kyuss Lives for copyright infringement.  This band eventually spawned to more successful project of the lead guitarist, Josh Homme, named Queens of the Stone Age, of whom I consider myself a fan of as well. However, the lawsuit has me angry with Mr. Homme at the moment and I do not feel obliged to buy the latest release, even though I want to. For this to happen to two of my favorite bands breaks my heart. Let’s get names out of the way, this is going to be a long, perhaps segmented music review because of my love for this kind of music, and also because of the important legal matters involved. It is perhaps not a unique situation all together, but it does have a bit of notoriety behind it so I feel obliged, being a big fan, to say my two cents here on my WordPress blog. Here is a list of both original cast of musicians Kyuss and of Kyuss Lives! so we can understand who, what, when and where what a little bit better. Each name will lead you to a wikipedia page about each musician.  Kyuss  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss) 1987-1995

Kyuss Lives! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_Lives!)

2010-Current
I saw Kyuss Lives! in Chicago at The Vic on December 2nd 2011. In March of 2012, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a lawsuit naming his former band mates as the defendants. The lawsuit was filed in federal court under the charge of “trademark infringement and consumer fraud by Kyuss Lives!”  
This is what Josh Homme had to say in a press release. 

“It sucks. To think we went to a meeting in January solely to help them with their request to continue Kyuss Lives! With open arms, we made every attempt to help them continue Kyuss Lives! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, Kyuss Lives! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name Kyuss. This is desperately what we were trying to avoid. It’s a sad day for us and for John – but most of all for the fans. What a needless mess.”– Josh Homme

 

Scott Reeder made this post on his facebook page to comment on the situation as well. “Maaaaaaan, I’ve been called every foul name in the book, and all I did was make a choice to stand up to defend and retain small rights that I should be able to keep sacred and unhindered for the rest of my life and beyond. I didn’t have much of a choice: lose all of the rights in two weeks, or keep them forever. I didn’t choose to be in this situation at all — I was forced to react very quickly with a looming deadline, and it’s been rough. I saw people bitterly divided over this stupid stuff… crazy. But the overwhelming support from friends and family was very much appreciated and needed. Thank you.” -Scott Reeder

Kyuss from Dungeons and Dragons game.

Kyuss; D&D Character

http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kyuss

Disciple_of_Kyuss

Disciple of Kyuss; D&D Character.

http://ddadventuresystem.wikia.com/wiki/File:Disciple_of_Kyuss.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_(Greyhawk)

The above pictures and links are there to provide the fact that it was not Josh Homme who invented the name Kyuss, not even a little bit. So I have to ask myself, why didn’t the “true owners” of this character, name, and likeness not come forward when Kyuss was first formed to begin with? All I have to go on is a theory, but I imagine that certain people view sharing ideas and information differently than others. I have heard a lot of fans say that just because Josh Homme and Scott Reeder didn’t have to sue, doesn’t mean they should just let the members of Kyuss Lives walk all over them. That said, it still remains they could have chosen to let this go in favor of a friendship, for the fans sake, and also for the survival of a band that is beloved by many people. Allowing something you worked really hard on to continue to live on with your former band mates and friends to me would seem to please most people I know, especially considering the level of success Josh has gained for himself with Queens of the Stoneage. It’s easy to take the route where just because it’s legal, means he could and should have sued, but I honestly believe everything would have been much better if Josh Homme would have let this go and let his former work continue to live on. He should consider the fact that Wizards of the Coast nor Hasbro gave him any legal trouble when Kyuss first hit the scene. He and his band mates were able to create music that inspired a whole bunch of people based on a characters name that was lifted from a campaign in the table top game of Dungeons and Dragons. To me, this is hypocritical of him to sue.

Brandt Bjork had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“In the summer of 1987, I started a band with my best friend, Chris Cockrell. This band would ultimately become Kyuss. Kyuss was a name I found in a Dungeons and Dragons book called Fiend Folio. Kyuss is a big part of my life as a musician, and when someone asks me formal questions about Kyuss, or wants to discuss the band casually, I can’t help having a point of view that is naturally inherited by someone who is the original founding member.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kyuss-lives-respond-to-josh-homme-scott-reeders-lawsuit-20120521#ixzz2XyikRlGM 

Before moving on I’d just like to say that I admire all of these musicians for their extremely creative and talented attributes. Their music, even their side projects, have inspired me to learn more about music in general and have even helped me get through tough situations by providing me with amazing music to inspire the best in me to come out and shine, like all good music should do. I realize my opinions don’t really hold sway over the situation, but I think it’s important to share our opinions openly so despite having the unpopular opinion here, I side with Kyuss Lives! in this situation. Mostly due to the fact that they at one time were all friends and if I were in Josh Homme’s shoes I would be happy to let my old band mates and friends use the name Kyuss and even claim it as their own. Simply because they were there from the beginning too, they helped create the project and made it into the band all the fans still love today. I would have been happy to know that something I was heavily involved with was going to see new light and perhaps have a second chance to take off. I realize there are monetary concerns here, but sometimes money shouldn’t be what’s important. Again, this is just my opinion on how I believe I might have handled the situation. Considering both Josh and Scott both enjoy very much alive music careers, especially Josh with Queens of the Stoneage being as popular as they are. This should have been a situation where he could sit back and enjoy the fact that his creativity has allowed his friends to enjoy the benefits of working with him on something that many fans still hold on to. 
Obviously I have a biased opinion on this because I really just love Kyuss, the band, and am sad that the project simply cannot continue because of money. I’m not sure how I would react if I were Josh Homme in this situation, perhaps the same way, perhaps not. I understand that Brandt Bjork and John Garcia attempted to claim ownership of the name “Kyuss” as well, and I think that’s just as wrong as Josh suing them for it, but at least Brandt acknowledges where the name actually comes from in his interview with Rolling Stone. Josh to me, along with Scott Reeder, seem to have done this simply because they could. It’s not as if John Garcia and Brandt Bjork weren’t there from the very beginning or anything like, this isn’t a perfect stranger coming along and stealing material right out from under Josh and Scott. It’s as if I’m supposed to forget that John and Brandt had EVERYTHING to do with Kyuss as a band becoming a reality. Josh and Scott definitely played their part, Josh more so than perhaps anyone else which is why I say, if I were him, I would have been more than happy to let Brandt and John continue to play old Kyuss songs under the name Kyuss and generating a buzz for the band as they continue on to make new albums. I know the objection to my argument is obviously that Brandt and John filed for ownership over the name, but like I said
I realize by now this is old news, but it presents me an opportunity to express a concern I have about intellectual property while also reviewing one of the best rock albums from the 90’s that I feel not enough people have heard. When listening to this album, please ask yourself, if you think it is of high quality. Should anyone own an idea? More specifically, should anyone, myself included, be allowed to force others to pay them for using an idea that either resembles their or is a direct copy of their idea? I think force in any situation is bad and that if you have to use it, your ideas are wrong to begin with. But that is just my humble opinion and you did not come here to read a bunch of band drama, or maybe you did, nevertheless this part of the article has run it’s course and I feel it is time to start the actual album review. Which you will find in Part 2 as soon as it’s finished. 

We are not done here!

Devil’s Advocate:

I am writing this into this article because after some serious thinking, there is another angle to be considered here. I have a strong emotional connection to Kyuss which could blind me from anything outside of allowing the project to continue unobstructed. That is why I have added this section to the article, to provide a train of thought that contrast what I personally want and gives Josh Homme and Scott Reeder my benefit of doubt. They claim that John and Brandt tried to file for ownership over the name Kyuss. If that is the case I have to send some negativity towards John and Brandt because of how I feel about intellectual property. Again, why didn’t the originators of the name Kyuss, at Wizards of the Coast ever sue anyone when Kyuss the band gained their popularity in the early and mid-90’s? This goes back into what I said previously that perhaps some people in this world view things differently, what a surprise right?

Please come back for part 2 if you are interested in hearing an alternative view point that perhaps contrast what I’ve said here. 
Thank you for reading! 

Space & Weapons

Image

Recently the news has been full of stories about drones and how they will impact the world. While I feel this topic is very important, there is another topic with even more significance to human development. The topic of which I speak is of course “space based weaponry”. While the official line is that there are treaties preventing nuclear warheads in space, there are other weapons which we could potentially see in our earth’s orbit. Much of what I will cover is in theory, but some of it has been tested before. As we see it now, it is not a clear case of whether or not they are up there now, but knowing that military’s around the world have and are testing platforms in our orbit.

As a futurist, I understand that technology will inevitably come out, the reason I like to talk so much about this is because I hope to be a voice of reason and a reminder about what humanity has done with powerful technology in the past. I would like to avoid such mistakes going forward so I hope my words inspire cooler heads to prevail. I do not want to make these weapons “cool” or “awesome” but rather discuss how this would impact the world politically. Hopefully a lot of you out there feel the same as I do because I would rather scientist focus on other more important technologies involving space travel, mining, and defensive measures against space’s many dangers.

To start, I’m going to go over what I consider to be smaller weapons systems designed to protect a satellite from enemies or destroy space based targets, or more bluntly put, anti-satellite weapons. The Soviet Union designed and created a satellite named Almaz starting in the early 1960’s. This lead to an integration in another program named Salyut programme. These 3 satellites, named Salyut were also referred to as OPS 1, 2, and 3. These were reconnaissance drones in orbit armed with a self lubricating, 23mm Nudelman rapid-fire cannon. These were mounted onto the satellite for defensive and offensive purposes. These destructive tools had a maximum rate of fire of around 850 rounds per minute and shot 23x115mm caliber rounds with a muzzle velocity of 690 m/s. That’s some serious fire-power. A fourth OPS satellite, OPS-4, would have also been equipped with Shchit-2, which was reported to have a duo of projectile systems. Perhaps rockets were to be employed on this project? Supposedly there are no photo’s of this weapon’s system so I cannot confirm its existence in actual orbit. It is believed it was never deployed. The entire Almaz program did not become all it was meant to become, but the ideas have been tested as far back as the 1960’s.

More advanced space-to-space weapons were also tested by the Soviets. In the late 1980’s, the Soviets were set to launch the Polyus spacecraft into orbit. The Polyus, also known as Skif-DM, was equipped with a megawatt carbon dioxide laser system designed to be an anti-satellite system. Carbon Dioxide Lasers were invented by Kumar Patel, from India, in 1964. Mr. Patel worked for Bell Labs at the time of this invention. Just a few short years later it found itself being launched into orbit attached to a space ship. This vessel however did not make it into orbit as a faulty guidance computer failed as the ship separated from the rocket. It was meant to spin 180 degrees and launch itself into orbit, instead, it did a 360 degree turn and burned up in the atmosphere. This was during the height of The Space Race, if there are any remnants of that same “race” going on today, I’m sure we’ll find out just how far this has all come.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_weapon#Space-to-space_weapons

Next, I’ll be providing details on another type of space based weapons technology which emerged from the Space Race and Cold War. Earth-to-space weapons systems were developed for a number of reasons, but I feel there is one that stands out. If you’ve ever lived in the country side like myself, you have probably heard of Wild Life population control, where certain hunters are granted permission to hunt and kill certain over populated animals in the local eco-system. I know that sounds way off topic, but I think it perfectly describes The Kessler Syndrome.

The Kessler Syndrome, also called the Kessler Effect, collisional cascading, or ablation cascade, was proposed by a NASA scientist named Donald J. Kessler in 1978. Kessler Syndrome is an event in which the density of objects in low-Earth orbit is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade – each collision generating debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions. This could lead to rendering exploration and the use of satellites unfeasible for a very long time.  Earth to Space weapons systems were designed to destroy objects in low-orbit in order to thin out the possibility of these kinds of collisions. In my view, this is a hugely important area of research and love the idea of perfecting satellite technology and use. Much like hunters thinning out the herd, this system is designed to maintain a healthier low-earth orbit environment as newer and better satellites are developed.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Of course this technology is also in the hands of the military, which for obvious reasons have explored the use of inter-continental ballistics, Anti-Satellite weapons, and Kinetic Kill systems. The most famous example of this was proposed by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983. The Strategic Defense Initiative included a research program dedicated to developing anti-ICBMs defensive systems. These systems would be equipped with kinetic kill, laser, and other ballistic weapons systems and was named Star Wars by those who proposed and funded the program. There were also Space-to-Air satellites designed to employ a high-powered laser to destroy an ICBM launched towards American soil. The entire idea behind this project was to create a defensive space based weapons platform to defend from nuclear missiles launched from other countries.

Another type of space based weapons platform would be called Space-to-Earth weaponry. Orbital bombardment is any attack from space on a ground based target on a planet’s surface. It is believed that there are no such weapons systems in existence, however, this idea is not a result of the latest science fiction movie, there are well-known examples of governments since World War 2, straight through the Cold War, seeking and developing technologies on this level. At this point I want to remind you about why I felt the need to write this article. While I support space based anything, I believe the correct motivations need to be present before launching anything into space involving the use of a weapon. A weapons system with global coverage is not only dangerous, but would fundamentally change life on earth. Not to mention, very expensive, I believe our efforts would be much better put to use in developing technologies to clean our atmosphere, capture incoming asteroids, creating protection from Solar Activity, and exploration.

Though it is believed there are no such systems, I feel it’s important to note that it is known that the National Socialist NAZI party proposed an idea for a so-called “Sun Gun”. Also the Soviets deployed a what they called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System in 1968 to 1983. Eventually, the Soviets successfully launched a working unit into orbit, but were prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty to place live warheads in space. Later, another Outer Space Treaty was put forth which prohibited the deployment of any system which could use a weapon of mass destruction in a partial orbit. Conventional warheads are still permissible but are not yet proven to be effective. These rely on large tungsten carbide/uranium cermet rods dropped from orbit and use kinetic energy. These types of war-heads have the nick name “Rods from God”.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_weapon#Space-to-Earth_weapons

I wrote this article because I care about the future development of our species. While we enjoy our entertainment, sports programs, and our lives please realize there is another world out there, one where very powerful and very real technologies are being developed and pushed into reality. I don’t often hear very much about these technologies in the news so in an attempt to raise awareness and interest in science and technology I’m writing this article. I suppose if I were to want to ask any question of my readers, I would ask you to think about what you would rather develop just as we begin to reach into the stars. Weapons platforms designed to kill and control human beings or technologies which focus on exploration, transportation, geo-maintenance, and protection? I believe weapons systems can serve a purpose in space, however, I believe it should remain a defensive measure and never offensive. In fact, I would like to see anti-aggression measures put into practical account with technologies based around weaponry. These technologies would make it impossible to use weapons in an aggressive initiation of force. However, once used in a defensive situation, it should be capable of a wide range of capabilities. Namely, the prevention of the Kessler Syndrome.

Scott D. Vogler

Living Life & Video Games

VideoGames

This is going to be a bit of a quirky article because I have been so heavy on the philosophy and science topics lately. I thought it would be a nice changes of pace to go with something leaning a little more towards hobbies and enthusiast activities. It occurred to me that all I’m doing as I get older is real life versions of what happens in a lot of the over the top violent and fantasy filled video games I spend way too much time with.

Just 10 minutes ago I was driving a Corvette ZR-1 around a road course going 150 MPH and handling turns like a hungry cheetah chasing a gazelle. I could feel the vibration of the car through my controller, even feel when my tires were losing traction. A quick down-shift and full throttle to let the tires grip on to the track and straighten out the nose. Back to red line, 3rd gear, straight away, up-shift to 4th, pedal all the way to the floor. And across the finish line.

I feel like what I just described, many actual race car drivers might be able to relate to, but I have never even sat in a Corvette, much less taken a car around a legitimate race-car track. But I do have my own car. A Dodge Caliber SXT. An every day 4 cylinder engine that get’s 32 mpg/highway, and a top speed of 120 mph on the dashboard. While I readily admit to breaking some speed laws here and there, I would never be able to go as fast as I go in a video game. The mundane task of driving though, seems to be brightened by playing a racing game. It makes me think of all the little bits of metal working in unison just to get me to point B safely.

I also, like many younger men and children, enjoy the blissful playground that is violent video games. From open world free roam style games like Grand Theft Auto, to burning people to a crisp with fire magic in Skyrim. There is nothing more satisfying than bringing my enemies to their knees and rendering their life complete.

Of course in real life, the more mundane version of this is being extremely nice to as many people as I can and collecting knives, guns, and survival gear to pretend like I’m saving the world. But I am fascinated with survival gear. Not just because it is so useful to have around, but because of the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into tools we all love to collect and review. I would never use any of these tools on anyone in an aggressive manner, only ever in a self-defense survival situation where my life depended on it.

But if knives and guns are the violent parts, how does magic translate in the gear world? Perhaps flint fire starters, magical metal blankets designed to keep you warm, medicine tablets, water purification tablets, and bug repellent comes to mind, but all of those cost extra XP. Sorry noobs, you’ll have to stick with large leaves and tree sap to survive this one.

Anyways, back to my original point for posting, to have fun. It is said that violent video games create mass murderers. I beg to differ, while anything can have an adverse effect on some people, and I certainly don’t deny the possibility of negative reinforcement through entertainment, I do not see a clear link between video games and violent behavior. Perhaps though we also shouldn’t use excuses to avoid our responsibilities and other duties to friends and family and waste too much of our time with entertaining ourselves.

Too much of anything can be a bad thing. But I’ll never be convinced that another man can create a piece of entertainment that will make me kill someone else. Unless of course The Matrix comes real, because we all know, if you die in the Matrix, you die for realzzzz.

Thanks for reading! Have a good day!

Exploring: Micro-Organisms & Nano-Technology

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Exploring My Curiosity and Expanding My Ideas. 

The reason I am blogging on this topic is to seek advice. I am very interested in this, however, cannot seem to help the fact that I almost fall asleep every time I try to research it. I am seeking advice from those in the medical field for their opinions on how best to learn about the important issues surrounding micro-organisms.

I have an idea about reality that humanity will lead itself to a semi-utopian society through the use of technology. I believe we will be able to introduce nano-bots into our bodies which will analyze and manipulate the fauna of life that lives within us to work for us instead of against us. I believe we can find a way to use genetics to create artificial life forms, which like Virus’s copy itself into our genetic code and in contrast to a virus, benefits our over all health greatly. I do not have a plethora of knowledge on this subject but I am very interested in learning more about how bacteria breed, survive, what kills them, what helps them thrive, and many other issues surrounding micro-organisms.

Right now my understanding of micro-organisms is infantile at best. I understand that some are very harmful and some are benign in nature and are also a vital part of our eco-system. I’m not sure I am asking the right questions, but I can’t help but imagine a world in which we use technology to help scientist run test to nullify the harmful aspects these micro-organisms. Even using them to enhance our health in creative ways. Of course I am no scientist, however, I have found that science is open to asking questions with a big paint brush.

I know that depending on the type, some forms of bacteria can live on an inanimate object for hours, if not weeks while others have an average life span of about 20 minutes. What happens to a single bacteria over its life time that gives it it’s purpose for existing? What function and micro-function does a single bacteria serve and how will humanity adapt to any threats these life forms may pose as result of co-existing in reality? I’ll answer this way, it appears to me that these ancient life forms have been around much longer than we have and that underestimating their destructive impact upon us is akin to stuffing your head directly into the sand. I have a personal philosophy of Non-Aggression which I apply to all life forms. Could we not use technology to both give harmful bacteria what it wants, while nullifying any negative impacts they might have upon us? Could technology of this magnitude also enhance our bodies by injecting beneficial genetic coding directly into our DNA and cellular structures? I believe we can achieve balance in nature through the use of solid philosophy and even more solid science to increase the harmony and prosperity of all life in the world and eventually into the universe around us.

To me, the triumph of science is the ability to make acute observations of broad ideas and dissecting every aspect of those ideas which eventually, after accumulating more knowledge based on experiments, a more accurate understanding of those ideas and the ability to implement those ideas in everyday life. I am here because I believe science allows big ideas from small people to become a reality. I am on a computer right now after all, thanks to scientist who brought about the technological revolution. I am able to send my article directly to everyone around the world to anyone who has access to it. It is my hope that my questions are addressed even if not directly to me. If I have even an indirect input on a positive result then I am happy to reach only one person with my articles.

Thank you for reading.

 
Scott D. Vogler

Please respond however you feel necessary, this post will always be open for discussion so long as I have access to it. 🙂

Grown Up Stuff & Ampersand Daily: The Final Solution

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The Final Solution

Host of the show Grown Up Stuff has invited me on to be a guest on Wednesday February 13th at 9:00 PM. We will be discussing many topics I am sure but just to give you an idea of the discussion, please read a bit from Notus’ and myself’s Facebook discussion.

http://www.wereweliedto.com/

 

Me: “you want to talk about anything in particular?”

Notus: “No problem Scott! Actually yes, if you wanna think how to answer that’s cool. Pretend I’m a 10 year old child asking you this, what is agorism and what would daily life look like in a anarchist society, what major differences? and lastly back to adult me, When do you think the house of cards falls? or when does the economy implode?? get what im sayin?? and i guess who loses out most when the economy hits the fan?”

 

First of all Notus, thank you for inviting me on to your show. I have my calendar filled for Wednesday February 13th at 9:00 PM and very much look forward to talking to you and Swamp. Let the good times roll!

To a 10 year old I would have to say that agorism is knowing when it is neccesary to break the rules and then breaking them. A 10 year old may ask, “but rules are good right?” To which my reply would be, “Yes, but some are made to be broken if not improved upon.” This would open up a whole plethora of other very important issues to a child of 10. In contrast, I would tell an adult that it’s living as if there is no authority over you. I think most adults would brag that they do life this way, but most also will support the government on most issues.

 

A completely anarchist society is difficult to imagine for most and even myself because it’s never been done successfully before. To be honest, I believe in authority to a certain extent, but it’s not from a authoritarian perspective. Justifiable authority simply means that which is true can and should be preserved and made into reality. It does not mean initiation of force to change people’s behaviors or beliefs, but make available for them the scientific knowledge of any issue. An anarchist society would have an authority in technology and technocratic power structures. It’s been said that even in anarchy, there will be organizations that appear to be authoritative and governing, however, these organizations are an inevitable part of people communicating and coming to agreements on certain issues. The difference in an anarchist society, this body would have absolutely no reason to interfere in the movements, speech, thoughts, or other behaviors of individuals. One vital component of anarchal society is the broad sweeping acceptance of the non-aggression principle. This though is probably not a good explaination for a 10 year old child.

 

For that I would point to Democide numbers and tell the child, all of these people were killed by government directly. Then I would answer the child with a question, “What would the world be like if these people didn’t have to be killed?”

 

The house of cards will never fall, there has and always will be a house of cards. Parts of it fall and crumble into the pages of history, however, the unique thing about humans is that we’re alive so we live and provide new alternatives that lead to expanded peace, long life, happiness, and growth. Who will be affected most by the current system crumbling as described? Those who depend on it most obviously, the bankers, the bailout riders, the lobbyist, the politicians, the police, and all the people who live on their knees in front of it all. While I realize the calamity that comes with this, I also recognize that through this failure of society will come a new society based on different principles all together. It is my hope that we make it through to the other side free from those who sought to steal our wealth, start wars with us, and dehumanize us into their control grid. If we cannot do this, we will end up in The Matrix I’m afraid.

 

Thanks again for inviting me to the show, this is just to give everyone a taste of things to come on Grown Up Stuff and Ampersand Daily (almost daily)…

Remember Wednesday February 13th @ 9:00 PM!!!!

http://www.wereweliedto.com/

 

 

 

Pinnaclism Part 3: Humanism & Transhumanism Summary

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This post is to summarize my last two post on the subject. I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of both concepts, but also emphasize some of the clashes between the two ideologies. I honestly believe these differences will be settled peacefully and to the benefit of all. While this may sound way outside the box for many, I believe there are enough people out there who can see the technological singularity happening at some point, perhaps in my life time even. So even if you are not convinced of this now, I still feel like these ideas can benefit you because of the core principles that Pinnaclism itself brings with it. I will continue to write more about Pinnaclism. I just wanted to study this futurist dynamic under the scope of a philosophy I thought up on my own. If you find these ideas interesting, please let me know by commenting below or sending me a message. Enjoy!

 

Far removed from typical conversation with others, the ideas presented in today’s article are vast and complex in nature and I am not claiming a level of high proficiency in either are of research, I however do have questions, concerns, and inspiration to gain from both sets of ideas. I know there are passionate followers of both ideologies out there so while I respect your positions completely and even embrace some of them, I also want to offer any criticism that may help further both our understanding. The approaching singularity promises to bring about dramatic changes to the very existence of mankind in the universe, not just here on planet earth. Thinking about trans-humanism requires you to challenge many of your beliefs about reality and will even lead you to understanding some of the basic laws of nature in a brand new way.

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
—”The Coming Technological Singularity” by Vernor Vinge, 1993

 

If Vernor Vinge is correct, we are only 10 years from technological singularity. As humanist, do you have strict reservations to this idea? Trans-humanism after all is the relocating of the human mind and natural life force into a new genetic and technological chimera of humanity that takes on the form of humanity and rises into the cosmos. That’s what I think of when I think of trans-humanism.  That is, perhaps, just my desire to see humanity rise above it’s current problems and finally reach into the universe. A desire to see with my own eyes the universe that surrounds me and be able to understand larger portions of it in powerful and meaningful ways. Long have many of us dreamed of one day being able to orbit earth. Imagine yourself being able to live in an artificial body and being able to produce space craft and exploring what is not yet known about the universe. However, I feel it is only fair to bring up what I asked in the beginning of this paragraph. What would a humanist say about this ideology. What are their moral standards and where do they draw the line on any of these issues?

Personally, I take the idea with a grain of salt. While I do want to be able to do as described, I want to be sure that’s actually what we get when we hit the singularity. If it means giving birth to a tyrannical A.I. that’s soul purpose is to control us, then all I need to know is how trans-humanist are thinking along those lines. Will trans-humanist society be completely voluntary? If so, what does self defense look when considering the increased strength, speed, intelligence, and over all upgrade in mind and body? Will we have independent monitoring programs that you can volunteer to the public if you choose? Is there a way to hack around any privacy measures one may employ? Are we going to use metal framed human skeletons, or are we going to become genetic X-Men who can morph into whatever we please? It’s not the idea that we can do it that I have reservations on, in fact, I encourage anyone who wants to try to be the first trans-human to go for it. My reservations are reservations I believe will exist in even the most ardent of trans-humans will have to face as a real challenge once making the leap. I want them to be thinking about this now and hope that they are so that the project is successful and fully implemented.

Will aggression in human kind be eliminated by becoming a trans-human? Or will it only enrich it and foster it into a new realm of cruelty and despair for those less fortunate? Will the desire to be controlled be introduced into the population via upload? Perhaps it’s even more sinister and looks more like The Matrix film where humanity is farmed for energy and is kept in a comatose state connected to a central AI program that keeps them trapped inside a lie.  While I know many trans-humanist advocates may read this and feel that I am being paranoid, discouraging, or disparaging. I am asking them to stop for a moment and recognize the many problems humanity has proven it has over the years. While I know the past is the past, it does allow one to know and understand what humanity is capable of doing with a strictly humanist mind, body, and over all spirit. I am not discouraging the research into trans-humanism. What I am attempting to do is ask those in the community of trans-humanism to open up to the world about their plans so that we the people can ride right alongside the development of this technology so that we can learn what’s being done to help ensure the safety of this technology.

“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” – Kurt Vonnegut 

My view of Humanism means you’ve already embraced the fact that you will die and that you are morally okay with this fact. To me, it means you will not hold others accountable for this fact and will treat them with the same respect you desire to be treated with. It means that you are more than happy to provide your best to the world and help improve the standard of living of all life around you, including trans-humans, who may be looked upon with harsh criticism. Being humanist in a trans-human world means you are the most free a human being could ever hope to be. Free from the injustices when ruled over by violence criminals who’s lust for power caused mass chaos and violence of the beginning of the singularity. Humanism is the wisdom in ensuring trans-humanist society is one based off non-aggression, peace, prosperity, and the well being of all life.  While there are dangers in any new technology, I believe humanity is capable of achieving this goal of technological singularity in peace. However, I do recognize there are significant challenges laying in wait before this comes to reality. Whatever the choice, I believe we will reach a pinnacle in society where peace, freedom, prosperity, and the well being of life is perfected.

Thank You for Reading! Please share, comment, contact me, or simply like the article if you choose.

I am eager to hear feedback from others!

Scott D. Vogler

Cars & Ground Mobility

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Cars & Ground Mobility

I was reading The Mirror the other day and came across a letter from a reader who wrote, ‘I was riding my bike to work when this red Ferrari pulled up next to me. Out of the window, Jeremy Clarkson shouted ‘Get a car’, and drove off.’ What I actually said was, ‘Get a car you hatchet faced, leaf-eating Nazi! – Jeremy Clarkson 

There is something about the technologies which allow us to go from point A to point B that really makes me appreciate science. It’s an easy sign post for me when looking back through history and even when looking forward with new an innovative technologies still on the horizon. I enjoy considering how the automobile has effected us and how it’s been integrated into society. I enjoy pondering how the automobile has gone from it’s simplest form, engine, frame, wheels, and pilot chair, to the technological wonders they are today. Think about how automobiles have advanced other technologies, like GPS, Satalite Radio, and computers designed to make cars run at optimal performance levels. The automobile is very easily one of the most influential inventions ever to grace human society.

The ability to move across the ground takes many other forms of course and naturally we must be able to move the parts around to build cars in the first place. We employ trucks, trains, and box-trucks to carry all the parts of a car to factories, retail car part stores, and warehouses around the land. The evolution of all this technology seems to change more and more rapidly as we hurdle towards a technological singularity process in which we will find even more superior ways to move even more gracefully, with more speed, with more control, and safety. Everything from the locomotion it takes to get a train a mile long running at optimal speed down the railways, to traction control systems on sports cars, to navigation equipment aboard expedient All Terrain Vehicles out in the wilds of the world.

Imagine what a Recreational Vehicle (RV for short) will be like in the next 20 years. Will they be capable of self piloting when the pilot requires a bathroom break? Imagine all of the other technologies incorporated into the idea of an RV and how they might evolve over the next 20 years. It is fascinating to imagine how just one element of the motor vehicle can progress other areas of completely unrelated industries dealing with all together different sets of ideas and technologies. Imagine what the sleeping quarters will be like when wireless internet is full accessible over a large portion of all of earth. Imagine pulling beside an unknown forest and the walls of your RV become transparent showing you the forest. The on board router would present information about the woods for you to learn at your leisure. Imagine being able to get the GPS location of the nearest camp ground with RV amenities and setting that location for your self piloting RV to arrive safety just on time to roast marshmallows.

Then again maybe you want to drive fast and push the envelope on what the motor vehicle is capable of doing.  We already have amazing sports cars capable of mind bending feats of speed, handling, and style. I can only see this trend improving greatly with the advancement of technology. I imagine tires capable of reacting to the surface of the road in order to provide even more optimal handling through turns, rough weather, and when stopping. Instead of pumping gasoline in a combustion engine, imagine the whir of an electric power house capable of producing more power than we can imagine handling at this point in our automotive development. In this advancement it follows that every production vehicle based on these top of the line sports cars will also improve, as has been the case over the years, it is these idealistic designs with their raw power and handling capabilities which help shape the next line of production class vehicles fresh off the assembly line.

We’re just scratching the surface now though aren’t we. What do you gear heads out there think about my ideas? Those that enjoy lifting the hood of their vehicle, taking away what they don’t want, and adding new performance parts. In a bold attempt to improve the cars over all performance and adding a strong sense of ownership, tuning will only become a much more creative process with the advent of 3D Printing technologies. Maybe you’re not going to purchase a designer vehicle from a dealership. Perhaps you feel you can do it better than they can. I believe this will be possible with the use of downloadable files for parts which can then be printed three dimensions with special printers. Everything from the chassis  engine, transmission, body work, wheels, tires, brakes, and everything in between will be able to be printed out into an assembly package which you can then either complete yourself or have a mechanic complete for you. Perhaps it will be like going to a tailor for a suit, only your 3 piece suit is a 3D printed vehicle that meets your every desire.

With advances in vehicles themselves, perhaps also we will see new advances in the roads and rail ways we drive along as well. I imagine roads which can divert traffic in various ways with the use of tunnel systems, magnetism, GPS location technology, and easy to use User Interface. Navigating these roads will be nothing more than setting your destination and desired time of arrival so that all the other request from other travelers can be taken and implemented fairly. These roads would typically be for high traffic areas where user response is not needed and in fact not wanted. Imagine never missing an exit again, never being in another fender bender, eliminating road rage, and being able to stay productive even while traveling.

The fuel with which we power our cars has hardly changed, though it is well known many alternatives do exist. It is only a matter of time before the technology to exploit these alternatives becomes readily available and cheap to produce on a mass scale. I imagine that because of how 3D printing changes how we look at an economy, many of these alternatives will be readily available to everyone to use and there will be a lot of competition among those alternatives which will lead eventually to a new definition of what fuel even means. The possibilities in my mind are endless and though I could continue sharing my ideas, I’m interested in hearing what others have to say.

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