Monday, July 28, 2008

Moonshine In Virginia

Whether he knows it or not, my friend Pappy has an interdisciplinary intellect. Some practical knowledge of chemistry, physics, and engineering is necessary for distilling alcohol - a complicated intellectual enterprise.
Never underestimate the ingenuity of the hillbilly, nor the utility of low-tech know-how...

Pappy has a still on UR Island and its fires are always burning, so the shine's always flowing! If you go to the island and wander near Pappy's camp, you might find a jug or a mug that whispers "watch that third sip" when you touch it - Pappy's white lightnin' will knock you off your feet! His expertise is such that he may have been a key source for the Virginia Historical Society's Moonshining in the Blue Ridge exhibit, open until September 22.

Though often disparaged in our culture, the knowledge and practical skills of
Appalachian hill dwellers fill many volumes in the Foxfire book series - an invaluable anthropological and technological resource that began as a high school student English project.

And for some moonshine inspired music, check out the album Bonnie Blue by The Shiners and the song "Corn Liquor" on Liquored Up and Lacquered Down by Southern Culture on the Skids.

...and watch that third sip!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Enoch Holler Hillbillies

Sometimes the educational potentials of SL can be manifest in creative character play and narrative construction. In this way, SL can be akin to a cartoon that you can participate in.

As I've explored SL, one of the most interesting encounters in my limited experience has been meeting Pappy Enoch and following the developing adventure of the Enoch Holler Hillbillies. Their wacky adventures and hilarity is closely chronicled in Iggy's blog "In a Strange Land."

A bit of research into the name of this corn-pone collective reveals that the name "Enoch" first occurs in the Bible in Genesis 4:17 as the offspring of Cain and his wife who, if we take the story literally, had to be his sister. I doubt that Pappy & Jezz are hooking up but the name is suggestive. It may be coincidental or simply chosen for its sonic qualities, or Pappy may be subtly hinting at the inbred nature of the clan making them just like the British Royals!
(or those polygamous Mormons)

On a recent tour of UR Island, I spied this spooky looking character reading the reward poster for Jezz. I wonder if this little being is considering the reward?

Another member of the clan is Rev. Lucifer-Lee Enoch, a graduate of the Outhouse Divinity School and a firey preacher of hedonism.
When I went to look for Pappy to ask about Jezz and tell him about the winged creature, I ran into the Reverend relaxing on the roof of a floating lounge that hovers above Pappy's camp on UR Island.
The Rev. had just returned from a theology conference in Amsterdam and seems to have changed his look a bit. Here he is reflecting on the embodied principles he explored during the conference.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hangin' with the Supremes

A colleague of mine at UR's School of Law showed some interest in promoting Second Life for legal studies, so I thought I'd take a look around for him. Here I'm lounging in one of the Justice's chairs in the Supreme Court of Second Life. Though the in-world courtroom was sufficiently grand, it was unpopulated except for the flat justices you see behind me.

And since the Supreme Court recently issued a decision supporting individual right to keep and bear arms, I thought I'd pose with the Supremes with a digital weapon to commemorate the occasion. I'm not sure if they had assault weapons in mind, but the digital gun I'm posing with is all I had in my SL inventory - I hope my pose doesn't elevate our terror threat level!

At first glance, this may seem a silly idea, but the power of image
can be greater than we think - remember the global riots sparked by
cartoon images of Muhammad?

Images can be powerful, even when they are only orally invoked, as long as they have been branded into our minds through repetition.
While some fears are reasonable, use of fear for political and religious manipulation has a long history. I call this the "booga-booga" effect, and I imagine making a series of stick-puppets, representing the most current guilt/fear manipulators, to help subvert their corrosive effect.

Even the simple sonics of potent phrases like...

"saturday night special"

or "terrorist"

or "mushroom cloud"

can have an astonishing and powerful impact
when repeated by leaders because when we hear them the icons of our mind are invoked and these touch us deeply, often below the level of logic...