Category Archives: fantasy

Fantasy Excursion: A Romp in Italy’s Wine Regions

I was inspired to start thinking about this tour by a tale about the American writer, Washington Irving.

You might not know it, but Irving was a bit of a rascal. His brothers sent him off to Europe hoping that it would tame him. Instead, he went off the rails in Italy, going from town to town to enjoy the wine, people and whatever else was on offer.

So here goes!

As in the movie Sideways, the state reason for this excursion is to visit the great wine producing locations in Italy.

We might visit these small Italian towns, for example. I would have a particular affinity for Gavi, btw, has a rather amazing fortress

Image result for Gavi Italy

We might also include stop overs in the great wine shops in lovely settings like this one

Image result for best wine shops in Italy

Enoteca Vanni in Lucca

And of course on needs something to munch on while sipping the nectar of the gods in the glorious Italian sunshine. Some pecorino?

Deconstructing Fyre Festial Marketing

We know now that it was a scam. The promotion of weekend partying on a private island with hot super models and amazing music was just a fantasy. The reality is that folks shelled out real money and got nothing back. That got the authorities riled up.

How big was the scam?

(Billy) McFarland, the 27-year-old founder of Fyre Media, was sentenced to six years in prison in October after pleading guilty to defrauding investors out of more than $27.4 million.


Here is the promo video

The manipulation included the usual elements (1) images of extreme excess, and (2) a promise of access  … if you pre-pay.

It is an assault on reality. Your hum-drum day to day existence. And that includes your family. Your community. Your friends? Yes, perhaps them too. All for what? Something that looks much, much better, at least on the surface.

BTW, that type of hook is nothing new. Extreme beauty was the hook that caught Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus. Zeus sent Pandora to Epimetheus — a seemingly perfect woman. Epimetheus fell madly in love, and we know what happened after that. Zeus got his revenge on humans for taking fire from the gods when Pandora released the nasty stuff that she had brought with her.

An why are we still so vulnerable? It may be because the images in the above video appear all the time in media. We are already “clued in” that they are symbols of transcendence. Something to aspire to. If we already believe that is true due to advertising, it is just a small step to crave  a fantasy weekend that will never happen.

It is the “stuff of reams”.

Cyborgs and Cybergeddon

Cyborgs are

fictional or hypothetical persons whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.

The idea has been around for a long time. Edgar Allen Pose used in his story “The Man Who Was Used Up”. But it was not until 1960 that Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline. coined the term

to refer to their conception of an enhanced human being who could survive in extraterrestrial environments:

It was a logical conclusion that man would need to adapt to live and work in space by use of machine technology. Since then, we use the term in various contexts, where humans receive mechanical upgrades that enable them to extend their capacities.

And one of these cyborg extensions will undoubtedly be to fuse human and artificial intelligence. Brain implants. We will need this in order to handle the increasingly complex world around us. Indeed, we already use brain implants on a regular basis. It is called the internet. The only thing that is missing is the physical connection and  the flow of upgrades.

And this raises a concern. John Naughton writes that the internet is at an inflection point. We just don’t know right now how safe the internet will be over time. We don’t know how much risk there is out there.

It will be interesting to see how we cope with this risk over time. But for now, we are just waking up to it.

Stay tuned.

Scotland: A Castle Like No Other

You may have visited a castle. They are somewhat forbidding places. Like this

Dracula felt at home in a castle. And ghosts might as well. In fact, castles are prime departure points for fantasy

But there is a castle that breaks all these stereotypes. It looks more like this

Kelburn Castle, Scotland, murals, artwork

It is a small castle in Scotland, not too far from Glasgow. It is a fun castle

Kelburn Castle, Scotland

How did this happen? it is fun to imagine a Picasso like Lord of the Manor who dropped acid one day and produced the thing. But the art on the walls is in fact a collaboration from Brazilian artists who were invited to paint up the castle by its owner.

It started back in 2007 when the owner, the Earl of Glasgow received an order  – remove a “cement render” that had been applied to the walls back in the 1950’s.  Hmmm … it turns out that this earl has kids and he actually talks to them. His kids had an idea. Why not paint the castle before the cement is removed. And so an invitation was issued to four Brazilian street artists and voila, as the French say.

You have until the summer 2015 to go and gawk at their masterwork. It may just be worth the trip.

Kooky Stuff: What’s Up with the Solar System?

A while ago, I had great fun reading an article about aliens playing hide and seek behind the dark side of the moon. It was pretty well done. I knew it was a hoax and it was a hoax, but I still enjoyed it. This morning, I got the same pleasure from reading a piece by Steve Bancarz. Steve thinks the solar system is heating up and … drum roll please … that is why we have global warming here on earth.

I don’t buy this for a second, but it was a fun read!

follow up – doing a quick google search on “solar system warming” gives quite a few links to discussions of the idea that climate change on the earth is due to changes in the sun’s radiation (hence so called solar system warming). For example, Discover Magazine debunks this claim.

St. Barths and an Endless Supply of Benjamins!

Editor Warning: This is a fantasy Piece!

I like writing about St. Baths, though I have little expectation of visiting that lovely island any time too soon. It is one of those magic spots (Gstadt is another) that reek of the so called “good life” in the season. So I could not resist the JustLux article today about a beautiful villa on offer. Then, I read this

You don’t have to be wealthy to vacation in St. Barth; but if we’re honest, you won’t fully enjoy all it has to offer without that endless supply of Benjamins.

An endless supple of Benjamins?  In case you are wondering, they refer to good old Ben Franklin, famous for flying kites and appearing on the $100 bill. We are talking about the second incarnation here. Ah, for an endless supply of Benjamins!  The image of a long string of zero’s in my checking account balance was intoxicating. So I read on

… we went ahead and found you a stunning home on a private hillside location just for you in St. Jean. Just minutes from some of the world’s best beaches, the four-bedroom Villa Apache is modern and sleek while still maintaining a true St.-Barth vibe.

Yikes! Now that is service! Sadly, I will have to decline this year. But I did enjoy that magic moment (as Jerry discusses in the video below).