James M. Martin's Blog (36)

An Imperfect Start and Beautiful Finish to a Lovely Day of a Lovely Week in Paradise

I am a fan of Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan poet, dramatist, rogue, and (in all likelihood) espionage agent, whose Doctor Faustus inspired everyone from the American poet, Hart Crane, to the Welsh stage and screen star, Richard Burton. Goethe's version of the Faust legend was remarkable for its time, but I love Marlowe's better. And legend it was, too, for, apparently, there really was such a person roving about Western Europe with a black dog many…


Added by James M. Martin on October 9, 2014 at 9:54pm — 4 Comments

Many are Called but Few are Chosen: My Belief -- Yes, Belief -- in Euhemerus

This is essentially a piece I originally wrote in one of my occult fanzines either late 80s or early 90s, when I was still in the thrall of Crowleyanity (also known as Thelema) and began to really wonder why man makes deities in his own image. I consulted many works on mythology and god-making, learning that all religions begin as cults, so it is redundant to call, say, Scientology a cult of Old Mother Hubbard. It's a religion we could even call Hubbardism. I read of an ancient Greek…


Added by James M. Martin on August 24, 2014 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

"Justin Bieber is Gay" -- 12-Year-Old Fan

When my little friend Lilia told me of her heartbreaking shift in affections from Justin to One Direction's Harry Styles, it simply broke my heart. I had just begun to appreciate Justin. Who is this Styles guy? A name like that, you'd think he was a fashion model, but he comes off as a scruffy kid with a lot of energy. About the only thing the two have in common is tattoos. Harry does not have that fabulous Bieber chest, abs, and tattoos. Justin has more of them. I guess. Lilia, when asked…


Added by James M. Martin on July 30, 2014 at 8:16am — 1 Comment

George Will and the IRS: Conservative Ideology Blinds Pundit to the IRS's Biggest Problem: Underfunding Their Watchdog Operations

It is a talking point on Fox and at the conservative caucuses that the IRS should be abolished or replaced with a more equitable taxing system such as ad valorem, no matter that institution of the latter would result in many if not most of us sleeping on discount off-brand mattresses while the Koch Cabal buys the major mattress factories (if they do not already own them). My interest in George Will as a spokesman for the Cabal (my word for the 1% owning 40% or more of the wealth) was dormant…


Added by James M. Martin on May 2, 2014 at 10:37am — 2 Comments

Meeting William S. Burroughs

A friend took me to a dinner at the home of a Manhattan dowager who turned out to be the agent there for the paintings of Brion Gysin, Burroughs' co-conspirator in magickal displacement of time and space known as the cut-up (slicing pages of a manuscript in half or quarters, then, John Cage-like, rearranging the pieces in such a way that they create in a kind of Flash Gordonesque, Hegelian manner, new messages, some actually predicting future events. I had long been fascinated by Burroughs,…


Added by James M. Martin on January 19, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments

On Euhemerism, Yesterday & Today: Jesus, Elvis, and Antinous: Is Bieber Next?

While studying the occult for about a decade prior to becoming an agnostic, I read H. P. Blavatsky, Manly P. Hall, and, most valuably, Gerald Massey.  Blavatsky and Massey were sober critics of Christianity; the former became famous for saying "there is no religion higher than the truth," and the latter explored the death and resurrection myths that went into the making of the myth-in-chief: Jesus.  Blavatsky pointed out the similarity of the name, Krishna, to the name Christ, and Massey…


Added by James M. Martin on July 23, 2013 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

Something is Rotten -- Very Rotten -- in the State of Texas

I've always maintained that so-called pro-life advocates for the unborn have little science to back up their cockamamie theories concerning abortion and rely, in most cases, on religious intolerance, bigotry, and slavish devotion to dogma. All three of the solar phallic monotheisms, the Abrahamaic faiths, preach male dominance and female submission, paternalistic hegemony that by now should be consigned to the dust heap of history. Allowing a woman to have total control over her bodily…


Added by James M. Martin on July 12, 2013 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Debunking the Beatification and (Carefully, if Illogically) Planned Canonization of Pope John Paul II

Not long ago, I argued a contract case before an appeals court after losing in a bench trial (trial to judge, as opposed to jury).  We were suing a couple who basically swindled my client, a builder.  At some point disagreements between the parties developed, and the purchaser-defendants began to request add-ons and upgrades in order to exceed their loan guarantee.  The contract made the purchasers responsible to apply for a loan once…


Added by James M. Martin on July 5, 2013 at 4:24pm — 6 Comments

Popepropaganda: The Vatican as a Perfect Union of Church and State

Perhaps the most misunderstood, and still mysterious symbol in the lexicon of the 19th and some 20th century occultists is that the Baphomet of the French magician known as Eliphas Levi.  The androgynous goat enflamed with Luciferian light atop rather obvious sub-symbols of the Earth, hermaphroditic accoutrements, and a face with horns (the Devil being God to those you dislike).  The suggestion is Pan, reminding us of the amazingly petty and archly devious ways the Roman Church has dealt…


Added by James M. Martin on May 27, 2013 at 8:23am — No Comments

The Banality of Evil: Nominees for Retired Expressions of Sympathy

I had to take my 2003 Toyota Corolla CE into the local dealer to have a head gasket repair.  Being as it is a dealership, they do a lot to make service customers comfortable.  There was fresh Folger's in both regular and decaffeinated carafes and the waiting room had comfortable chairs and a 50-inch + flat screen TV monitor for those of us with cataracts.  Also, they have an SUV shuttle service that eventually showed up to take me to my office.  About the only thing lacking was reading…


Added by James M. Martin on April 18, 2013 at 6:52pm — 6 Comments

I Don't Believe in Ghosts But I Love "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens: My Life With Mr. Sim

From a first viewing of Alastair Sim as Scrooge in the best movie adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, I was hooked.  The story employs the use of symbolic characters and moves the narrative as if we had the controls to a time machine.  A wealthy man who won't aid charities and wonders why there aren't more poor houses and prisons meets his old partner, the dead as a doornail Marley, and is warned of visitation by three ghosts.  The second turns out to be this…


Added by James M. Martin on December 24, 2012 at 4:44pm — No Comments

The Jesus of Juarez Avenue: My Week on Isla Mujeres, Quntana Roo, Mexico

Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) is a five mile long Caribbean island off the Yucatan coast at the top of the Cancun-Mayan Riviera tourist and backpack route leading eventually to places like Tulum to the southwest and the laid back island of Holbox out on the Gulf of Mexico spillover.  You get to Isla Mujeres by plane into Cancun, then local bus or taxi to Puerto Juarez, where…


Added by James M. Martin on November 1, 2012 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Why the Prosperity Gospel is Neither, or "I Passed Through the Eye of a Needle (Along With My Camel Cigarettes)"

Almost all religions place a high priority on charity as a means to the end of a good quality of life in the hereafter.  I am told that early Christians took this tenet so seriously they organized communes and forbade ownership of property, real or personal.  The "good book" recites that the prophet used the metaphor of a camel passing trough the eye of a needle to represent the difficulty in going to Heaven if you act like you can take it with you.  Yet here we have a movement in…


Added by James M. Martin on October 31, 2012 at 5:09pm — No Comments

My Take on Romney's Failure to Mention Afghanistan in His Acceptance Speech & Saying it Was Not Important

Poor George Orwell, the inventor of "Newspeak" as an element of civilization in 1984, heralding the arrival of "Big Brother," which the Republicans identify with D.C. government while the Dems view as a Romney-type front man for the 1% with all the wealth and the lowest taxes. Had he REALLY been a seer, Orwell would know that "Newspeak" would eventually…


Added by James M. Martin on September 8, 2012 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

All Gods Are the Same And Any One Will Do

Each believer will insist

that his or her God is the only God

and if you believe in some other God

you are "not saved."


Whoa!  The only thing I want

to be saved from is myths and superstitions…


Added by James M. Martin on September 7, 2012 at 5:05pm — No Comments

Some Lessons From Gnosticism, or Daemon est Deus inversus

Nietzsche by Edvard Munch

Believe it or not, I once was pope of a Gnostic church.  I know that sounds like a mad person making an absolutely ludicrous statement, but unfortunately (and yet, as shall hopefully be show) fortunately, too, the statement is true (insofar as I am capable of approximating that elusive thing called Truth).  There were precious few in…


Added by James M. Martin on March 27, 2012 at 7:56pm — No Comments

Deconstructing (Revisioning?) Genesis, Pt. 1

            I had never until very recently known the word for what might be called a “reverse anachronism”: the selective grafting of mores as indicated in ancient writings onto today’s standards of conduct.  I am now aware that the practice I mention is known as “presentism,” and I extend an apology to all who read this with a smile at having learned this term before I glimpsed it at one website or another, possibly Religious Dispatches, possibly one of the links at Crooks and Liars, my…


Added by James M. Martin on February 9, 2012 at 6:02pm — 5 Comments

Nature or Nurture? The Argument You Just Can't Win

Atheist Movies pores over the Net to bring us YouTube and other clips depicting topics of interest to non-believers, with a decided emphasis on evolutionary science.  In their latest email link, they take us to evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolfert's new work, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief, which I hope to get to when I finish things like Jennifer Michael Hecht's Doubt.  I say "things like" because I set works aside to read…


Added by James M. Martin on February 4, 2012 at 10:00am — 4 Comments

One Day in Chemo

I always felt a kinship with Hitchens because we shared infection with the big "C"; his, esophageal; mine, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL.  Cancers are tricky little bastards: they can take someone out in a month or two, or let him live with the disease as best he may for years and years.  I am not bragging, but I am over a decade into my inconveniences and humiliations.  If I ask, why did Hitchens go so fast but I am yet alive, I waste both his time and yours.  I am not comparing…


Added by James M. Martin on January 9, 2012 at 9:02pm — 10 Comments

That Day in the Electronics Store: My "Road to Damascus"

I was on my to the check-out at Circuit City (now defunct) when I glanced at "Blackstone," a fellow attorney I knew only by reputation, and then only that he practiced in one of my own fields of concentration, consumer law.  It is not a particularly lucrative field but it's a satisfying one, striking back at people who violate our state's consumer protection and deceptive trade practices act.  Most clients come in with a lemon auto on their hands, often a used vehicle, or a fly-by-night…


Added by James M. Martin on September 18, 2011 at 8:57am — 1 Comment



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