spotted: malthusean graffiti
UBUD, Indonesia — In a roar of orange flame, the body of Agung Suyasa, head of the royal family of Ubud, was reduced to its earthly elements on Tuesday, liberating his soul to fly upward, in a spray of sparks, through the night sky to the heavens.
All were on a journey of purification and renewal in which, according to Balinese tradition, the soul can return to inhabit a new being, generally a member of the same family, until, once again, it is freed through cremation.
Whooping and laughing, sometimes breaking into a run, the porters swung the platform crazily from right to left to confuse the spirits.
Along with it came a huge, undulating dragon, terrifying to behold with its bulging eyes and splayed teeth. After that came a giant black, wood bull, hung with gold necklaces, that would serve as the sarcophagus at the cremation.
“Strange as it seems, it is in their cremation ceremonies that the Balinese have their greatest fun,” wrote Miguel Covarrubias in his classic work, “Island of Bali,” published in 1937.
“A cremation is an occasion for gaiety and not for mourning, since it represents the accomplishment of their most sacred duty” to liberate the souls of the dead, he wrote.
I received a promotional offer today from Virgin America to attend the premier roll-out of Virgin Galactic’s amazing spaceship launch vehicle – the WhiteKnight (WK2) “mothership”.
The whole thing gives me the heebie jeebies. I am by no means afraid of flying, in fact I quite enjoy the whole experience–airport included. I love sci fi and NOVA specials. Yet for no real reason the idea of actual spaceflight gives me a straight up panic attack.
Virgin Galactic is upsetting on some really primal level and I really don’t know why…any thoughts?
George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment yesterday as he left the G8 summit in Japan.
The American leader ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”
He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.