CONTENTS

Photos The Pulse — Poems — Gospel & Universe 

StoriesThe Wink of the Simurg — About Me

For detailed tables of content, click the links above or the title graphics below.

The Pulse is a novel — in progress — about love, meaning, and the danger of talking to intergalactic strangers. A sci-fi romance (for want of a better term), it explores radical shifts in perception, understanding, and experience.

Contents & Maps ^ Paris ^^ Italy ❧ British Columbia ❧❧ Alberta

* Lactar8 ** Baulis Prime ***Fallar Ultima **** Vicino Lontano ***** The Soul Star

Part One. ^ The Actress . ^ Equations . * On Lactar8 - Lady Madonna - The Cultists of Lacter27 . ❧ Dinner Guests from Baulis Prime - Roots - Soil - Light . ❧ On Becoming Human - Mammary Glands - Natural Selection . ❧❧*** The Summer of Love - Summerland, BC, 1967 - Fallar Ultima - Vulcan, 1999 - Black Diamond, 2007 - Butterflies . ❧❧ Quest - Black Diamond, 2007 . ***** The Hidden Star . ^^ Di Parma . ❧❧ Seduction - Vulcan, 1999 . ** The Ascendancy of Baulis Prime - Time & Place - The Great Temple - History . ^ The Academic . ** Fractal Masters & Fractal Mystics - Fractal Masters - Fractal Mystics . ^ Probabilities

Part Two. ^^ Di Firenze - Ganglia - Fra Sole - Febbre Fiorentina . ❧❧ And Carbunkle His Eyes - Vulcan, 1999 - Black Diamond, 2007 - Vulcan, 1999 - Black Diamond, 2007 . ❧ The Stories They Told Themselves - Dendrites - Mirror Neurons . ^ Lestatique . ❧❧ Mirror, Mirror - Vulcan, 1999 . ❧❧ The Jolly Buccaneer - Vulcan, 1999 - Black Diamond, 2007 - Vulcan, 1999 - Black Diamond, 2007 . ^^ The Outskirts of Rome - Campo de' Fiori - Le Differenze - The Gypsy - Mei-lin - Zigana . ^^ Times New Roman - Uno - Due - Tre . ^ Madame Dupont . ❧❧ On Becoming Alien - Vulcan, 1999 . ^ All Shook Up - On the Podium - Akiko & the Devil - Off the Pedestal . ❧❧ Güsfreude - Eden Valley, 1997 - The Holy Grimmble - UBC, 2014 - Eden Valley, 1997 - UBC, 2014 - Eden Valley, 1997 . ❧ Virus ^^ Di Roma - Avoidance - The Pantheon . ❧ Alien Extraction . ❧ Total Collapse - Frame by Frame - An Elusive Metaphor

Part Three.In the New Beginning - The Common Good - The .3% Solution . ^ Les Mouches - Ultralight Beam - Le Pont Notre-Dame . ❧ En Route to the Old Cafe . **** The Anunnaki - On Vicino Prime - Under the Dome - Connection . ^ At First Sight . ❧ Screen Time . ^ First Contact . ❧ Dear Matthew . ***** The Soul Star ^ Au Bord de la Seine … In Progress …

Poems to the Void - Living by the Numbers - 12 - 10+14 - 77 - Drinking Liquid Helium Martinis - Night Flight - ❧ Dying by the Numbers - At the Funeral - From Diapers to Diapers, Dust to Dust - More Than Ten Years Gone; V is for Victory Gin - 93 - ❧ On Time - Crystal Ball - Father Than Haute Médoc - Karma-Samsara & the Bug - 75 Years - ❧ Alas, Poor Yorick - Species - Tinnitus - Final Frontiers - Cosmic Writ - ❧ On the Pageant Faded - Beyond Whose Bourne - Circle, Period, Dot - ❧ All Those Things the Wise Men Say - Water Spirits - The Moving Sky - At 23.5 Degrees - Gospel & Universe - The Garden of Paradise

The Precariousness of It All - ❧ Fry Day - Skipping School - The Unholy Haul - The Drowning Fish - Fins & Wings - Bad Friday - ❧ Between the Flippers - Thirteen-Year-Old at the Wheel - Three Strikes and You're Out - The Shadow & the Butterfly - ❧ Petals Fallen from a Wet Black Bough - Poetry - Petals Before the Garden Frost - More Uncertain Than Socrates - ❧ The Flight of Nazguls - La Vielle Dame - Caritas - Khazaamistan Declared Terrorist State - After Reading The Master and Margarita - The Next Generation - The Fire That Still Burns - Techo Buzz - Amore - The Double Prism - iPhone Six Plus - ❧ Techno Burn - Baubles - Teddy Bear latte - Ice Dream -The Ancient Fleets - ❧ Addictus - Devil May Care - Dependency - Pauper Lear - Fire Down the Hole - My Three Uncle

Doubt’s Dominion - Rapt Angel - Bodhisattva - The Beach of the Dead - Doctrine - Pascal Revisited - Intentions - La Stella Della Danza / The Star of the Dance - ❧ Star Struck - Notes & Scales - More Circles - Veils - Amore - Ra - Cosmic Writ - ❧ Doubt's Dominion - Zhuangzi’s Butterfly - The Doors - The Secret - Reveries - The Sum - ❧ The Deadly Force of Chance - Species -The Force of Chance - devil my care - I Know Not Seems - Lear - Khayyam - ❧ Like Flies to Wanton Boys - Theodicy, 2008 - Butterflies - Rumpelstiltskin - With Flu, at 100 Degrees

Travel - Travel Poems - Black Florentine - Buenos Aires, 9th of July, 2011 - Currency - Non Capisco Più Niente - Flowers - Mexican Samadhi - ❧ Mexico - Howling at the Moon - Don Julio & the Señorita - ❧ Cuba - Asylum - Ambos Mundos - Memories - ❧ Paris & France - La Vie en Rose - Black Coffee - Fleuve National - Life in the Provinces

GOSPEL & UNIVERSE explores agnosticism using a variety of genres and disciplines -- prose, poetry, art, history, autobiography, astronomy, religion, philosophy, etc. It explores how we got to not knowing an ultimate truth, what it's like to not know, and what follows from not knowing.

1: The Sum of All Space contrasts our limited human perspective with the grand claims some make about universal Truth. - Third Spinning Rock from the Sun - Location, Location, Location - The Moving Sky - Jet Lag 1 - ❧ Competing Explanations - At 23.5 Degrees - Ptolemy - Gospel and Universe - The New Almagest - ❧ Cities of God - Geocentrism - Khayyam - ❧ Dogma and the Stars - Dogma - A Convenient Narrative - Jet Lag 2 - Notes and Scales - ❧ The Chinese Sky - Li Bai's Milky Way - Digits - Tang Astronomy - May Be - ❧ The Outer Reaches 1 - Orders of Magnitude - The Apeiron - Universes - ❧ The Outer Reaches 2 - Hubble Volumes - Infinite Space - ❧ If Only 1: Bruno & Yeats - Hubble & Yeats - Giordano Bruno - ❧ If Only 2: San Francesco d'Assisi - Rome: Campo de' Fiori - Assisi: The Tomb of Saint Francis - The Lower Basilica - The Upper Basilica - Pound: If Only

2. Religion explores the development and diversity of religion, monotheism, and Christianity. — In the Beginning - ❧ Myth and Religion - Sun Gods - Mesopotamia - India & China - Zeus & YHWH - ❧ East & West 1 - An Eastern Flow - The Classical Break - ❧ East & West 2 - Monotheism - Definitions & Anti-definitions - Que Scais-je? - The Currents of Sumer 1: The Whore - ❧ The Currents of Sumer 2: The Flood - Borrowings - Arks - ❧ Systems of Dread - The Dreadful Truth - ❧ Systems of Hope - From Dread to Hope - Western Isles - ❧ Abraham's Vice - The New Chosen People - Singular Peoples Christianity - Agora Phobia - Do Not Inquire About Their Gods - The One & Only - Alexandria, 415 AD - ❧ Currents of Christianity - Influences - Greeks and Romans - The Multiplication of Truth - ❧ Selective Grace - Universal Judgment - Dante's Difficult Grace - ❧ Aquinas & Dante - Summa Theologica - The Divine Comedy - ❧ Primum Mobile - Cherubs & Nitrogen - Beatrice Portinari - Walt Whitman - Our Primum Mobile - ❧ Don't Forget the Miller - Chaucer & Dante - The Miller's Tale - Boethius - ❧ Summa Post Theologica - The Accumulation of Facts - The Possibility of an Explanation

3: Agnosticism argues that the open doubt formulated by Thomas Henry Huxley can help us to avoid dogma, both in religion and science. - The Problem with Explanations - Zhuangzi's Butterfly - Thomas Henry Huxley - The Sum - ❧ Two Sides of the Fence - Bee Lines - Life on the Fence - ❧ Secrets and Mysteries - Huxley - The Learn'd Astronomer - Moments - The Secret - ❧ Agnostic Geometry - Triangles - The Doors - Circles - More Circles - Pascal, Encore - ❧ The Crystal Ball of Science - Scientific Philosophers - Man's Best Friend - ❧ Veils - Theists, Atheists, & Agnostics - Proving the Unprovable - Spectra - Veils - ❧ Gods & Souls - If Only the Atheists Were Wrong - The Force of Chance - Oh, Well - ❧ Mere Religion? - Religion as Hope - Laws on Earth as They Might Be in Heaven - ❧ Churches of Thought - Critical Thought -The Metaphor of Churches - Core & Secondary Messages

4. Saint Francis contrasts positive and negative aspects of Christianity. - San Francisco - The Beach of the Dead - Do Unto Others - ❧ The Baby and the Bathwater - The Bath Water - Intentions - ❧ Keeping Baby - Deeper than Dogma - Water Spirits - ❧ Believe It or Else - Threats - Metaphor & Dogma - ❧ The Cosmic Casino - Pascal's Trap - Without - Pascal Revisited - ❧ "Open Your Heart" 1 - Reasons - Beach Scene 1: A Friend in High Places - ❧ "Open Your Heart" 2 - Practical Reasons - Beach Scene 2: - 1: Sand - The Sands of Time - 2: Salt - ❧ "Open Your Heart" 3 - Reasonable After Lives - An Open Door - ❧ Caritas - Caritas - Avenida de los Presidentes - The Hotel Nacional - Makoko - Guilt on an Oversized Sofa - Currents - ❧ The Readiness is AllHoly Dreamers - Reveries - Bit Torrent Dream - Dreams Without Belief - Dreams - The Sanctification of Dreams - ❧ From Kerry to Crete - Killarney - Xaniá - La Pace di Santa Maria - ❧ Gods & Souls - Versions of Deity - ❧ Beyond Whose Bourne - Wheels - Mudroom of the Psyche - Waving Goodbye - The Garden of Paradise - ❧ Canticle to the Stars - Sorella Luna - Quadrant by Quadrant

5: Almost Existential explores the precarious freedom of an agnostic perspective and the challenge of finding meaning in an existential world. - States of Being - Poor, Bare, Forked - Lear - Outing the Brief Candle - Uncertainties - ❧ Doctors of Revolt - Adam and Evil - Sartre: Existence Precedes Essence - Camus' Revolt - A Revolting Man - ❧ The Status Quo - Chaos, from Ages to Age - Existential Origins - Backwards in Time -- Theodicy, 2008 - ❧ Hitler's Perfect World - The Best of All Possible Worlds - Pilgrimage to Birkenau - Berlin Underground - ❧ Ontology Precedes Epistemology - I Know Not Seems - Jean-Paul Revisited - With Flu, at 100 Degrees - This Quintessence of Dust - ❧ The Permeable Self - Karma-Samsara and the Bug - Sartre, Camus, and Gnosticism - Petals - The Civic Architecture of Deities and Men - Romantic Revolt - Farther Than Haute Médoc - Relativity - ❧ Starbucking - Moksha Latte - At Starbucks - ❧ The Readiness is All - Flight 666 - Solving the Problem That Can't Be Solved - That Undiscovered Country

The Italian Who Was at a Loss for Words is set in Palermo, and contrasts the obsessions of a geologist, a student, and a professor. - ❧ 1. Pietro Parlante - ❧ 2. Claudia - ❧ 3. Clark Kent - ❧ 4. Vita la Dolce. The Wine-Dark Sea alternates between romance in Manhattan and a family holiday in Florida. Reworking the Greek tragedy Medea, it explores decadence & decency, betrayal & loyalty. - ❧ 1. Jason - ❧ 2. Medea Miscellaneous. Proust in the Morning is about billable hours and transexuality. - ❧ Cloud Illusions is about sex, drugs, illusions, and rock and roll. - ❧ The Girl Who is about spunky girls and butterflies.

The Priest's Dilemma, Trumpet of Doom, and The Confused Astronomers of Babylon can be read as separate stories, yet they are also part of The Pulse.

The Priest's Dilemma is a fictional account of a Parisian priest's struggle with the facts of science and history -- in particular, the discoveries of evolution and cuneiform in the 1850s. ❧ Rivers - Presbyteros - L'Écriture Sainte - La Géographie - ❧ The Angles of Heaven - ❧ The Golden Triangle - Les Anglais - Threat # 1 - Threat # 2 - The Precambrian Crust - ❧ Nineveh - Dates - 612 BC - ❧ Que Sais-je? - What We Knew - What He Knew - Eucharistia - ❧ Priest & Pastor - Bread & Wine - In Switzerland - Highland Dream - Champs-Élysées

Trumpet of Doom satirizes American politics, poking fun at the fears, and fearing the worst. - ❧ 1. The Political Climate - ❧ 2. Facts Americana - ❧ 3. The Storm Troopers Return

The Confused Astronomers of Babylon is a comic, fictional account of Moses in Babylon. ❧ Moses and the Apple Merchants of Babylon - Free Trade - Olive Branches & Holy Mountains - Ra - Shesha & the Lord Shiva - Golden Calves - Apple Tarts & Klepto Snakes - The Saga of Shamash - The Holy Bin - Author! Author! - A Better Way - Alternatives on Offer - ❧ Final Judgments - Swapping the Euphrates for the Nile - One God to Rule Them All - ❧ Aziz & the Crimson Goblet - He Is What He Is - He Did What He Did - ❧ The Confused Astronomers of Babylon 1 - Flying Plates - Base Sixes - ❧ The Confused Astronomers of Babylon 2 - Theogony - 3 = 1 - Snakes and More Snakes - The Fiery Pit - ❧ In the Beginning - Before There Was Anything - Of Dust, Clay, & Silk - ❧ Adam and the Snake - Primus Inter Homines - Semjaza the Snake - ❧ The Journey West -- Imaginary Forebears - The Lost Tablets of Ramses II - Honest Abe

The Wink of the Simurg is a critical study — in progress — of Salman Rushdie's early novels, focusing on his use of otherworldy paradigms such as as the mystical flight to Attar's Mount Qaf or the union of Parvati and Shiva on Mount Kailasa. I argue that Rushdie uses paradigms like these not so much in a consistent way, but with a consistent aim. He may respect paradigms or turn them on their heads; they make clash or they may fuse. Yet his aim is almost always the same: to encourage an open, secular, liberal view of the world.

Preface & Contents - ❧ Timeline A: 2500 BC - 1300 AD - ❧ Timeline B: 1300 - 2020 - ❧ Plot Boxes & Maps - ❧ Bibliography

Introductions - An Inaccessible Circumference - Other Worlds - Cosmology, Mythology, & Mysticism in the Sundarbans - Fusion & Clash - ❧ The Rise of the Simurg - The Huge Scenic Background - Attar's Valley - 4 Points - Grimus: Simurg with the Letters All Mixed Up - ❧ The Return of the Simurg - The Simurg Eclipsed - The Simurg Returns - ❧ Four Points - Secularism - The Road to Hell - A Noticeable Shift - A Disturbing Conflation - ❧ When Worlds Collide - Iconoclasm - Doubt & Belief - Spiritual Flight - ❧ Disruptions of the Sacred - Hierophanies - Polytheistic Polysymbolism - Hinduism & Daoism

Grimus (1975) - Introduction - Multiple Journeys - Attar's Qaf - ❧ Beginnings - The Chameleon Flies the Coop - Virgil & Eliot - Iconoclastic Initiations ❧

Midnight's Children (1981) - Introduction: History & Myth - A Different Type of Novel - Racing Against Time - Family Lines & Mythic Cycles - ❧ The Road from Kashmir - Attar & the Loss of Eden - Plot Box: An Anxious Saleem Writes about his Grandfather's Return to Kashmir - Plot Box: Attar's Journey & Midnight's Children - Mystical Gems - ❧ Amina & the Silver Spittoon - Plot Box: Amina & Nadir - Lapis Lazuli and the Free Islam Conference - Amina & the Monsters

Shame (1983) - The Layers Beneath - The Satanic Verses (1988) - Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) … In progress …

About Me — Chronology: 1960--1980 - family in Alberta & Saskatchewan; Calgary, Paris, & Geneva - ❧ 1980--2000 - marriage, Asian travels, & Vancouver - ❧ 2000--2020 - family, friends, languages, & travel

Poems to My Dad: Teeing Off - ❧ Batter Up! - Bases Empty (2017) - Diamonds - Cooper Glove - ❧ Sky Train (2004) - ❧ Dying by the Law - (2015) - Ristretto - Dusk - Post Scriptum, Postmortem, Agnosticum

Paris Memories: Pyramids - Day of the Oyster Shell - A Day in the Life - ❧ From the Top Floor of the Floating World

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