The Art and Science of Narrative: strategic, weaponised and geopolitical satire

Note: These 2 articles link to my Linkedin Profile Send an invite to Pamela to connect.



21 January, 2020: Presidential Power Has Passed but Rebellion is in the United States’​ DNA

Pamela Williamson


30 October, 2020: Navigating the Choppy Covid US Election 2020 Seas: American crisis and resilience

Pamela Williamson

Narrative

“Playing with perception and ideology is at the heart of narrative”

Sky Canopy

Consulting

Pamela Williamson  LL.B MCTS

Law and Masters in Conflict and Terrorism Studies

Pamela’s Linkedin Profile: 

Narratives Consultant Analyst Research Synthesiser Mentor

To Subscribe please enter your email address

© All Rights Reserved


Scroll down for Anti-Disinformation Narrative MetaModel in Divergent Contexts (Terrorism and Great Power)

Origins of Satire, Strategic Narrative and Propaganda
Satire I: It is Hard not to Write Satire
“It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant
of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself…”

Difficile est saturam nōn scrībere. nam quis inīquae
tam patiēns urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat sē…
(1.30–32)

– Juuvenal ( early 2nd century)

“Typical mental attitudes attacked and ridiculed by Menippean satires are “pedants, bigots, cranks, parvenus, virtuosi, enthusiasts, rapacious and incompetent professional men of all kinds,” which are treated as diseases of the intellect.[1][4] The term Menippean satire distinguishes it from the earlier satire pioneered by Aristophanes, which was based on personal attacks.[5]”:

https://lnkd.in/gSTWnsV

On Satire: Linkedin Article Pamela



Sky Canopy Consulting Owl of O.W.L. page: © All Rights Reserved




Narrative MetaModel

© All Rights Reserved

i. Narrative Meta-Model DIAGRAM + TEXT ©

© All Rights Reserved

ii. a. Strategic Narrative Design IElements of Narrative MetaModel, Effective YARNS and Counter-Narratives ©

© All Rights Reserved

b. Narrative Design II: Narrative Theory, Structure, Analysis and Research, Weaponised, Resilience Narratives and YARNS  ©

This paper is excerpted (with amendments) from my Master of Conflict and Terrorism Studies Dissertation submitted to the University of Auckland in October 2018.

© All Rights Reserved

iii. Narrative Meta-Model Divergent Contexts © : Terrorism & Great Power

© All Rights Reserved

2018 Paper: Strategic Narrative Building

© All Rights Reserved



The following paper was written in partial fulfillment of the Master of Conflict and Terrorism Studies degree programme at the University of Auckland over the period of 2017-2018 when Russian disinformation strategies in the 2016 US Election were coming to light……………………..

“Strategic Narratives and YARNS: the Effectiveness of Communication Strategies to Neutralise Russian Information Warfare and Influence Operations, Shift Perceptions in Adversary Populations & Immunise Domestic Populations

Pamela Williamson LL.B MCTS

26 October 2018

For an Example……..

click to read a strategic, geopolitical & satirical narrative for Our Times:

“The Classified Adventures of Owl: the Evolution, Anatomy & Deconstruction of a Strategic Narrative”

© All Rights Reserved



July 23: A TALE OF THE OLD SOUTH -the History and Legend of the Lost Cause: a memetic ‘history lesson’ & narrative vaccine for fading grandeur and nostalgia

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6691749091132653568-a6w3



May 15, 2020 Owls Come Out at Night and in Daylight

This piece was written on my first day out of lock down in New Zealand.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/owls-come-out-night-daylight-pamela-williamson-llb-mcts-/


August 14, 2018: metaphors within Metaphors: a snake eats its own tail

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/metaphors-within-pamela-williamson-llb/



2018: Effects-Based Psychological Operations Measures of Effectiveness: Measuring Change and Impact (p. 25 – 37) in

“What Do Others Think and How Do We Know What They Are Thinking?” — A Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) Periodic Publication

Rafa Linera Rivera and Gregory Seese



January 13, 2017: SMA CENTCOM Reach-back Reports (Strategic Multi-layer Assessment)


Media and Cultural Studies,
Narrative,Human Terrain,Messaging,Strategy and Military Operations

At the request of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), the Joint Staff, Deputy Director for Global Operations (DDGO), jointly with other elements in the JS, Services, and U.S. Government (USG) Agencies, has established a SMA virtual reach-back cell. This initiative, based on the SMA global network of scholars and area experts, is providing USCENTCOM with population based and regional expertise in support of ongoing operations in the Iraq/Syria region.

This is Part 1 of a 9 part series of SMA Reach back responses to questions posed by USCENTCOM. Each report contains responses to multiple questions grouped by theme. The complete reports can be accessed at: http://nsiteam.com/sma-reachback-cell/



Pamela

March 15 2019 was a day of shock and terror for New Zealanders hitherto not scarred by terrorism in recent years. The Christchurch mosque shootings have left an indelible mark on New Zealand’s national identity and have raised New Zealand’s consciousness once again about endemic racism and extremism in its midst.

The following piece was written a fortnight later and was published in Stuff.co.nz, on the NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence Twitter, and in the US Homeland Security Today Journal Perspectives…….

“The End of the Golden Weather: Terrorism in New Zealand”

March 10, 2020:One Year After March 15 Attacks: what has changed in New Zealand?

Pamela’s Linkedin Profile:

Rating: 1 out of 5.
sky canopy consulting

© All Rights Reserved

South China Sea military risks rising, APSI security summit officials warn

Military leaders say trade routes in the South China Sea face increased risk and New Zealand cannot be complacent about it.

A Chinese Navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea on January 2, 2017.
A Chinese Navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea on January 2, 2017. Photo: STR / AFP

Sky Canopy Consulting founder Pamela Williamson said the conflict could not be ignored by Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We are not so far away. Our supply chains are reliant on those trade routes being kept open through Asia to us. There is a real difficulty in assuming that because of our distance, we are somehow able to be immune or away from the global conflicts in that area,” Williamson said.

RNZ News, 7:40pm on 29 March 2021

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439430/south-china-sea-military-risks-rising-apsi-security-summit-officials-warn

#southchinasea #newzealand #nztraderoutes #freedomofnavigation

Presidential Power Has Passed But Rebellion is in the United States’​ DNA

Image: A painting depicting president George Washington and his troops before their march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

The New American Dream, that newly-sworn-in President of the United States Joe Biden (just roll that around your tongue for a second!) expounded in his Inauguration Speech a few hours ago, checked many fine, noble goals and virtues – all relating to the renewal of democracy and the repudiation of authoritarianism both domestically and internationally.

He reiterated that there was “so much work to do” rolling back Donald Trump’s nightmare presidency via 15 immediate executive orders to combat COVID and climate change, and the neglect and sabotage of the needs and interests of the US People, including those even of his own supporters.

However, translating this laudable and inspirational speech, like all newly-inaugurated presidential speeches, into reality comes fraught with increasingly subtle challenges as well as known paths of negotiation and compromise.

Watching Democrats and Republicans come together in an effort to convey bi-partisanship and unity left a hollow feeling as if someone was missing at a wake – like a deceased who declined to attend his own funeral.

The Sourpuss-in-Chief waved as he got into an Air Force helicopter and disappeared – but not from the consciousness of 74 million Americans who voted for him, many of whom simmer with resentment still over their claim that the election was “stolen” by “voter fraud”.

The lack of a cheering crowd down the Capitol Mall due to COVID inevitably diminished proceedings, despite due solemnity enlivened by the familiar greetings of guests, celebrity performances and the startling brilliance of young inaugural poet Amanda Gorman.

With the presence of all living presidents (except Jimmy Carter too ill to attend and Trump himself), there was a sense that the presidential White House lease had been returned to its rightful owners from its insurgent occupiers. In the aftermath of the insurrection attacking the Capitol on January 6, red and blue US lawmakers appeared to unite for the first time in 4 years in the face of an assault on their temple of democracy. That was one step too far for former Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell (who graciously presented the presidential pair Biden and VP Harris with a gift), and former VP Mike Pence whose presence signified the legitimate and peaceful transfer of power in Trump’s absence, but was nevertheless a front and side-reminder of his former boss whose presence would have been akin to a bad smell at a wedding.

So, legitimacy restored, formal documents signed, a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honour the fallen, events continue throughout the day. The most significant actions are the signing of 17 executive fiats to roll back some of the most destructive and disruptive actions of the Trump presidency:

Biden’s day one orders:

– Axios Inauguration Day Dashboard

Tick, tick, tick the boxes that will commence the “consequential presidency” of Joe Biden, and bring the United States back into the world as a good faith player ready to play fair and provide world leadership again by consent.

In the background for now, but hovering with intent, is disgraced former President Trump, who has already been quietly plotting his post-presidency course and come-back which will kick off in Florida at Mar-a-Lago, his fortress where, like a thinly-disguised William Randolph Hurst in ‘Citizen Kane’, he will mourn his *”Rosebud”, his lost opportunity to achieve greatness. In time we shall hear from Citizen Trump again – and his **militias – but for now the far-right and its enablers the Alt-Right of America have been silenced.

Pamela Williamson at Auckland, 11:51am NZT, Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Amendments: 5:43pm

*“Rosebud” reference: “Citizen Kane”, Orson Welles’ excoriating portrait of the decline of a thinly-disguised William Randolph Hurst the newspaper publisher and politician in his castle San Simeon.

** Trump is fielding the idea of forming the ‘Patriot Party‘, a nod and a wink to the Far Right which idolises the word which to them means something quite different and threatening from its usual meaning in American lore, and which has co-opted it in memes that extol insurrection.

Sky Canopy Consulting’s TOP Significant Geopolitical Events, Conflicts, Articles and Reports of 2020 (apart from Coronavirus and the US Presidential Election)

Addio a Berlino by Christopher Isherwood

It’s a wrap! Sky Canopy Consulting’s TOP Significant Geopolitical Events, Conflicts, Articles and Reports of 2020 (apart from coronavirus and the US presidential election)

There has been a lot of distracting noise this year surrounding the 2 events that trip-wired us all into the worst year in living memory – Coronavirus and the US Presidential Election being the low-hanging fruit. The impact of coronavirus on conflict zones has been severe.

Germany has sombre words for Geopolitik turmoil that have great gravitas: angst, Zeitgeist, Weltanshauung, and dekadenz. Much political commentary in 2020 (including mine) has harkened back to the vorgestellt Berlin of the 1930s when a fascist dictator rose to power and challenged the sleeping world order, despite the post-World War I Versailles Treaty and Churchill’s warnings.

Despite Mark Twain’s apocryphal quotation, History does not rhyme, it echoes. It reverberates in the collective unconscious we inherited from our parents and grand-parents and is amplified by our schooling and the media. But, as we lawyers like to say, it is sui generis, and it would be a great and lazy mistake to assume History will repeat itself or rhyme. The evolution of great powers tells us that a perfect storm of unique circumstances and events, and individuals, will give rise to a tectonic shift in the balance of power.

The real story of 2020 is China and the unveiling of the dark side of its ‘China Dream’  (zhōngguó mèng); repression at home (Uighur Muslims), regional repression (Hong Kong), regional existential threat (Taiwan) and world domination (via the BRI). The gloves have come off. That is not solely to do with President Trump’s clumsy mismanagement of the response of the United States which is primarily defensive ie lacking in a coherent national strategy beyond rhetoric and some scattered largely ineffectual fights he has picked (eg the trade war and the tech war). His main success has been in turning public opinion against China leaving incoming President-elect Biden a compromised legacy but with still some alternatives with which to create a new National Security Strategy in 2021: an Indo-Pacific Cooperation Agreement and reengagement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (negotiated by Barack Obama and withdrawn from by President Trump).

In short, “An Indo-Pacific strategy composed of strong regional alliances, free trade agreements, and enhanced military air- and sea-power projection capability will best position the American government to maintain its competitive advantages over China and protect its national interests.”: The Strategy Bridge

CSIS: “Among other changes [to the CPTTP], you will want:

“Getting the United States into a transformed CPTPP—i.e., CAIP—framework is likely to involve US demands for significant changes. It would also require rebuilding congressional support and an extension of Trade Promotion Authority, which expires on July 1, 2021.”: PIIE

As for the allies and putative allies the United States wishes to cultivate, their interests are both short-term (economic survival post-Covid) and medium-term security interests. What “significant changes” the US may require for it to rejoin the agreement sabotaged by President Trump, is unclear. The interests of the Indo and Asia-Pacific nations may not always coincide with those of the United States. And given Trump’s alienation of almost every state (except fellow authoritarians), there is considerable diplomatic groundwork required to repair bridges and motivate/influence those with multi-lateral agendas. That may not be easy and may require the US to re-embrace its own multi-lateral roots itself in some form and re-invigorate its soft power strategies and narratives beyond those of dominance and control. This tension between national security, economics, and sovereign independence will likely see more friction in 2021.

Asia-Pacific

  • The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the RCEP: the CCTTP a free trade agreement between 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (signed on March 8, 2018, it entered into force on December 30, 2018, after a majority of signatories ratified the agreement): Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam; the recent RCEP Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade pact among ASEAN, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. These agreements more than anything have galvanised the United States left out of the biggest trade blocs in the world outside a disjointed EU.

Indo-Pacific

The Indo-Pacific countries are navigating (literally) a sensitive transition as regards China. They see China coming (and China sees them see it coming!). Arranging trade and military cooperation (rather than posturing and making inflammatory overt alliances) enables them to plausibly deny they are readying themselves to stand up to China with more horizontal reinforcements given they can no longer rely on the United States. The Malabar naval exercises for the first time involved Australia:

“The exercise comes less than a month after a highly symbolic Quad meeting in Tokyo of the top diplomats of four of the most powerful democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region — Japan, Australia, India and the United States. Although few concrete takeaways emerged from those talks, they were widely interpreted as a message to China.

The exercises are not formally linked to the Quad forum, but observers say the participants hope to turn drill into a counterweight to Beijing’s increasingly potent military and political influence in the region.” – Japan Times

China

  • The CCP Fifth Plenum, October 2020: The next Five-Year Plan and Long-Range Objectives for 2030 of China will be released in March 2021.
  • Read here the Proposal of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Drawing Up the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives for 2030.

China watcher CSIS: “the communiqué references a “profound adjustment in the international balance of power,” which, although not a new term, is making its in inaugural appearance in a document of this hierarchical importance. First used in 2017, the phrase has been explicitly linked to structural shifts accompanying the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Again, this is a reinforcement of a long-held narrative that China’s “composite national power” is rising, while United States continues on what Beijing sees as a long-term deterioration of power and standing.”

New Zealand

Despite its economic interests, New Zealand has stood up to China gamely in 2020, no doubt under pressure from the United States: NZ joins Five Eyes allies in condemning China for ‘concerted campaign to silence all critical voices’ in Hong Kong. PM Ardern has weathered China’s vituperative outbursts (several) with equanimity.

A leaked CCP list allegedly shows New Zealand-connected party members.

Australia

Australia is currently embattled with China. It is under persistent attack – threats, wolf-warrior diplomacy, trade sanctions and general hostility which has become mutual. Its Chinese-language media are under pressure and there are STILL converations as to whether Australia should be buying its border-security technology from China’s Nuctech?

Moves to reduce trade dependence are well underway but the trade imbalance is daunting:

“That means making new plans, with new partners that will drive our security and our prosperity, while also reducing China’s ability to use trade as a weapon. Iron ore and clean energy could well be at the heart of this for Australia.” – Michael Shoebridge for The Strategist

The Research Report of SAGE Australia, The Strategic Implications of Changing Dynamics & Regional Partnerships on Major Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific argues for the development of “the most inclusive and collaborative regional assemblage possible” (p.12) to balance China’s aggression.

EU and United Kingdom

  • Brexit: Were it were not for the South China Sea freedom of navigation issues, Brexit might remain as a spat between declining and fragmented powers of marginal interest. But the UK is expanding its horizons once more into the Indo-Pacific, cognisant that great power competition is a game the former colonial power must be involved in too if it wishes to preserve its economy post-Brexit. So must the fractious EU which is the world’s biggest trading bloc if it only realised it and pulled together.

Russia and Disinformation

  • Russia: remains the ‘star’ (or Tsar) of disinformation activities. They define Russia’s every move internationally from Ukraine, the Baltic States, the United Kingdom, and Europe to the United States. Kremlin Watch‘s empirical products on disinformation (tools, handbooks, research and policy reports) are valuable in their focus on Europe and Russia’s near abroad; and the Disinformation Review of the EU East StratCom Task Force keep us entertained daily with new iterations of Russia’s laughable absurd claims, believed of course by its domestic audience (no one else) and powered by the bored Tsar Putin who seemed disengaged and painting by numbers during his latest 41/2 hour Christmas rant (aka annual marathon press conference). In 2020 he has been subject to gossip (resignation due to alleged Parkinson’s Disease) but he introduced the Immunity Bill to allow him to continue uninterrupted as dictator until the Russian people have a change of heart. It passed on December 9. Mark Galeotti decodes Putin’s Christmas message here.
  • The Moscow-Beijing Rapprochment: there are voices implying appeasement is an effective strategy to deal with this growing competitive ‘friendship’, whilst at the same time acknowledging that China and Russia are unlikely to move apart from each other in an increasingly-likely escalation in 2021 and beyond of grayzone activities that benefit both Russia and China.

Hybrid Warfare

“All this means that cyber defense must include not just the better cybersecurity that businesses have for at least the past decade been told to focus on. Especially in the case of companies critical to the functioning of society—energy utilities, airports, water companies, grocery chains, internet providers—defense alone is clearly not enough. Some NATO member states already engage in offensive cyber, and last month the United States’ Cyber Command was joined by the United Kingdom’s new National Cyber Force. The question, as the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission noted in its final report, is how to build cyber-deterrence that credible, agile, and fast.” – Elizabeth Braw for FP

Transnational Extremism

In the wake of the New Zealand Royal Commission Report into the Christchurch mosque attacks in March 2019, a new study shows islamist violence remains the top terror threat.

Lawfare or International Law:

The United States and China are at loggerheads still over the minutiae of the East and South China Sea disputes. The various claims involve all nations along China’s “String of Pearls” as regards ownership of gas and oil fields undelying it, but the dispute has also brought in maritime nations all over the world due to its strategic significance for trade and freedom of navigation. Hybrid warfare (conflict below the threshold of outright war ) continues to be conducted in the ASEAN region.

Despite the fact that these [Spratly] islands are seemingly useless to most of the world’s unaware population, the reason behind such heated arguments for its ownership is in the humongous amounts of gas and oil deposits, rich marine ecosystem and having a strategically important location for military activities.”: Navigating the fault lines in the Indo-Pacific, Dibakar De, 14 December, 2020

The Belfer Center Guide to Freedom of Navigation

Finally, to keep hope alive…….

Liberalism

Dr Francis Fukuyama offered a defence of liberalism in theory and in practice. in his Lowy Institute November lecture which included his analysis of left-wing and right-wing identity politics, Trumpist politics outlasting Donald Trump’s presidency, and president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy. His lecture was followed by a conversation with Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove. 

🎄⭐🦉 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me and my family to you and yours! And in the Rabelaisian words of New Zealand’s esteemed prime minister Jacinda Ardern,🤟……..to 2020!🥝😎🌊

Stay safe, live long and prosper 🖖

Pamela Williamson LL.B MCTS is the CEO and Founder of Sky Canopy Consulting, Auckland, New Zealand. Her Sky Canopy Blog will restart in the New Year.

Sky Canopy Consulting 2020 ©

Sky Canopy Consulting’s TOP Significant Geopolitical Events, Conflicts, Articles and Reports of 2020 (apart from Coronavirus and the US Presidential Election)

Addio a Berlino by Christopher Isherwood

There has been a lot of distracting noise this year surrounding the 2 events that trip-wired us all into the worst year in living memory – Coronavirus and the US Presidential Election being the low-hanging fruit. The impact of coronavirus on conflict zones has been severe.

Germany has sombre words for Geopolitik turmoil that have great gravitas: angst, Zeitgeist, Weltanshauung, and dekadenz. Much political commentary in 2020 (including mine) has harkened back to the vorgestellt Berlin of the 1930s when a fascist dictator rose to power and challenged the sleeping world order, despite the post-World War I Versailles Treaty and Churchill’s warnings.

Despite Mark Twain’s apocryphal quotation, History does not rhyme, it echoes. It reverberates in the collective unconscious we inherited from our parents and grand-parents and is amplified by our schooling and the media. But, as we lawyers like to say, it is sui generis, and it would be a great and lazy mistake to assume History will repeat itself or rhyme. The evolution of great powers tells us that a perfect storm of unique circumstances and events, and individuals, will give rise to a tectonic shift in the balance of power.

The real story of 2020 is China and the unveiling of the dark side of its ‘China Dream’  (zhōngguó mèng); repression at home (Uighur Muslims), regional repression (Hong Kong), regional existential threat (Taiwan) and world domination (via the BRI). The gloves have come off. That is not solely to do with President Trump’s clumsy mismanagement of the response of the United States which is primarily defensive ie lacking in a coherent national strategy beyond rhetoric and some scattered largely ineffectual fights he has picked (eg the trade war and the tech war). His main success has been in turning public opinion against China leaving incoming President-elect Biden a compromised legacy but with still some alternatives with which to create a new National Security Strategy in 2021: an Indo-Pacific Cooperation Agreement and reengagement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (negotiated by Barack Obama and withdrawn from by President Trump).

In short, “An Indo-Pacific strategy composed of strong regional alliances, free trade agreements, and enhanced military air- and sea-power projection capability will best position the American government to maintain its competitive advantages over China and protect its national interests.”: The Strategy Bridge

CSIS: “Among other changes [to the CPTTP], you will want:

“Getting the United States into a transformed CPTPP—i.e., CAIP—framework is likely to involve US demands for significant changes. It would also require rebuilding congressional support and an extension of Trade Promotion Authority, which expires on July 1, 2021.”: PIIE

As for the allies and putative allies the United States wishes to cultivate, their interests are both short-term (economic survival post-Covid) and medium-term security interests. What “significant changes” the US may require for it to rejoin the agreement sabotaged by President Trump, is unclear. The interests of the Indo and Asia-Pacific nations may not always coincide with those of the United States. And given Trump’s alienation of almost every state (except fellow authoritarians), there is considerable diplomatic groundwork required to repair bridges and motivate/influence those with multi-lateral agendas. That may not be easy and may require the US to re-embrace its multi-lateral roots itself in some form and re-invigorate its soft power strategies and narratives beyond those of dominance and control. This tension between national security, economics, and sovereign independence will likely see more friction in 2021.

Asia-Pacific

  • The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the RCEP: the CCTTP a free trade agreement between 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (signed on March 8, 2018, it entered into force on December 30, 2018, after a majority of signatories ratified the agreement): Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam; the recent RCEP Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade pact among ASEAN, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. These agreements more than anything have galvanised the United States left out of the biggest trade blocs in the world outside a disjointed EU.

The Indo-Pacific countries are navigating (literally) a sensitive transition as regards China. They see China coming (and China sees them seeing it coming!). Arranging trade and military cooperation (rather than posturing and making inflammatory overt alliances) enables them to plausibly deny they are readying themselves to stand up to China with more horizontal reinforcements given they can no longer rely on the United States. The Malabar naval exercises for the first time involved Australia:

“The exercise comes less than a month after a highly symbolic Quad meeting in Tokyo of the top diplomats of four of the most powerful democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region — Japan, Australia, India and the United States. Although few concrete takeaways emerged from those talks, they were widely interpreted as a message to China.

The exercises are not formally linked to the Quad forum, but observers say the participants hope to turn drill into a counterweight to Beijing’s increasingly potent military and political influence in the region.” – Japan Times

China

  • The CCP Fifth Plenum, October 2020: The next Five-Year Plan and Long-Range Objectives for 2030 of China will be released in March 2021.
  • Read here the Proposal of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Drawing Up the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives for 2030.

China watcher CSIS: “the communiqué references a “profound adjustment in the international balance of power,” which, although not a new term, is making its in inaugural appearance in a document of this hierarchical importance. First used in 2017, the phrase has been explicitly linked to structural shifts accompanying the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Again, this is a reinforcement of a long-held narrative that China’s “composite national power” is rising, while United States continues on what Beijing sees as a long-term deterioration of power and standing.”

New Zealand

Despite its economic interests, New Zealand has stood up to China gamely in 2020, no doubt under pressure from the United States: NZ joins Five Eyes allies in condemning China for ‘concerted campaign to silence all critical voices’ in Hong Kong. PM Ardern has weathered China’s vituperative outbursts (several) with equanimity.

Australia

Australia is currently embattled with China. It is under persistent attack – threats, wolf-warrior diplomacy, trade sanctions and general hostility which has become mutual. Its Chinese-language media are under pressure and there are STILL converations as to whether Australia should be buying its border-security technology from China’s Nuctech?

Moves to reduce trade dependence are well underway but the trade imbalance is daunting:

“That means making new plans, with new partners that will drive our security and our prosperity, while also reducing China’s ability to use trade as a weapon. Iron ore and clean energy could well be at the heart of this for Australia.” – Michael Shoebridge for The Strategist

EU and United Kingdom

  • Brexit: Were it were not for the South China Sea freedom of navigation issues, Brexit might remain as a spat between declining and fragmented powers of marginal interest. But the UK is expanding its horizons once more into the Indo-Pacific, cognisant that great power competition is a game the former colonial power must be involved in too if it wishes to preserve its economy post-Brexit. So must the fractious EU which is the world’s biggest trading bloc if it only realised it and pulled together.

Disinformation

  • Russia: remains the ‘star’ (or Tsar) of disinformation activities. They define Russia’s every move internationally from Ukraine, the Baltic States, the United Kingdom, and Europe to the United States. Kremlin Watch and the Disinformation Review of the EU East StratCom Task Force keep us entertained daily with new iterations of Russia’s laughable absurd claims, believed of course by its domestic audience (no one else) and powered by the bored Tsar Putin who seemed disengaged and painting by numbers during his latest 41/2 hour Christmas rant. In 2020 he has been subject to gossip (resignation due to alleged Parkinson’s Disease) but he introduced the Immunity Bill to allow him to continue uninterrupted as dictator until the Russian people have a change of heart. It passed on December 9. Mark Galeotti decodes Putin’s Christmas message here.
  • The Moscow-Beijing Rapprochment: there are voices implying appeasement is an effective strategy to deal with this growing competitive ‘friendship’, whilst at the same time acknowledging that China and Russia are unlikely to move apart from each other in an increasingly-likely escalation in 2021 and beyond of grayzone activities that benefit both Russia and China.

Hybrid Warfare

“All this means that cyber defense must include not just the better cybersecurity that businesses have for at least the past decade been told to focus on. Especially in the case of companies critical to the functioning of society—energy utilities, airports, water companies, grocery chains, internet providers—defense alone is clearly not enough. Some NATO member states already engage in offensive cyber, and last month the United States’ Cyber Command was joined by the United Kingdom’s new National Cyber Force. The question, as the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission noted in its final report, is how to build cyber-deterrence that credible, agile, and fast.” – Elizabeth Braw for FP

Transnational Extremism

In the wake of the New Zealand Royal Commission Report into the Christchurch mosque attacks in March 2019, a new study shows islamist violence remains the top terror threat.

Lawfare or International Law:

The United States and China are at loggerheads still over the minutiae of the East and South China Sea disputes. The various claims involve all nations along China’s “String of Pearls” as regards ownership of gas and oil fields undelying it, but the dispute has also brought in maritime nations all over the world due to its strategic significance for trade and freedom of navigation. Hybrid warfare (conflict below the threshold of outright war ) continues to be conducted in the ASEAN region.

Despite the fact that these [Spratley] islands are seemingly useless to most of the world’s unaware population, the reason behind such heated arguments for its ownership is in the humongous amounts of gas and oil deposits, rich marine ecosystem and having a strategically important location for military activities.”: Navigating the fault lines in the Indo-Pacific, Dibakar De, 14 December, 2020

The Belfer Center Guide to Freedom of Navigation

Finally, to keep hope alive…….

Liberalism

“we feel a big sense of anomie and discomfort when we are isolated from our fellow human beings”

Dr Francis Fukuyama offered a defence of liberalism in theory and in practice in his Lowy Institute November lecture which included his analysis of left-wing and right-wing identity politics, Trumpist politics outlasting Donald Trump’s presidency, and president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy. His lecture was followed by a conversation with Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove. 

👁His lecture was rich in insights to take us into 2021, particularly his analysis of the #hyperpolarisation of the United States. He sees it arising from the search for #community by both the Left and the Right: the Right has a focus on #religion and #nation as a reaction to #globalisation#secularism and the dilution of #nationalidentity; the Left’s focus is on #inequality of #recognition and #rights.

What was most fascinating was his belief that hot war between the great powers is unlikely any time soon given that no power has the vast resources available to undertake one.

That view chimes with my own:

Hybrid warfare (highly damaging in any event witness the latest cyber attacks on the US), will be the likely modus operandi of strategic adversaries for the foreseeable future.

🎄⭐🦉 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me and my family to you and yours! And in the Rabelaisian words of New Zealand’s esteemed prime minister Jacinda Ardern,🤟……..to 2020!🥝😎🌊

Stay safe, live long and prosper 🖖

Pamela Williamson LL.B MCTS is the CEO and Founder of Sky Canopy Consulting, Auckland, New Zealand. Her Sky Canopy Blog will restart in the New Year.

Sky Canopy Consulting 2020 ©

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, 3īd lmīlād / عيد الميلاد to You and your Family! Enjoy this Special Season and May Peace and Tranquility Reign in the Coming Year!

🔔🦉😎 Sky Canopy Geopolitical Blog is back in January 2021:

https://skycanopy.wordpress.com/blog/

Mt. Egmont New Zealand Retro Poster

I am temporarily suspending the Blog over the Holiday Season. It will resume again later in January 2021. 🎄 🕯 ⭐ 🏖

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, 3īd lmīlād / عيد الميلاد to You and your Family! Enjoy this Special Season and May Peace and Tranquility Reign in the Coming Year

After a chastening year of anxiety, lockdowns and uncertainty, that brought me back to what’s really important, this Christmas I intend to rely on my inner resources and wealth and focus on family, rather than on external displays.

We need some precious moments of carefree joy – reaching for the comfort of childhood memories or better times, escaping into fantasy, glamour, and treats as respite. Mt. Egmont (now Mt Taranaki/Egmont), and Taranaki and Coromandel beaches where I spent Christmas holidays in the 1950s and 60s, represents Christmas for me.

I remember the New Zealand polio epidemic in 1957 and having a Salk vaccine. My Dad, a young post-WWII doctor, took me to visit a man in an ‘iron lung’. It was scary and saddening to see this man struggling. By my Dad’s side I learned something about compassion, duty and social responsibility.

https://teara.govt.nz/en/epidemics/page-5


Covid-19 has revived our #socialconscience and #kindness and we must reduce the #inequality that #covid19 has highlighted. Neglected children, struggling families and abandoned animals must share in the season’s bounty.

Be safe, take care of others, and remember what turns your Christmas lights on!!💡🕯💖

See you in the New Year!

Pamela xx

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, 3īd lmīlād / عيد الميلاد to You and your Family! Enjoy this Special Season and May Peace and Tranquility Reign in the Coming Year!

🔔🦉😎 Sky Canopy Geopolitical Blog is back in January 2021:

https://skycanopy.wordpress.com/blog/

Mt. Egmont New Zealand Retro Poster

I am temporarily suspending the Blog over the Holiday Season. It will resume again later in January 2021. 🎄 🕯 ⭐ 🏖

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, 3īd lmīlād / عيد الميلاد to You and your Family! Enjoy this Special Season and May Peace and Tranquility Reign in the Coming Year

After a chastening year of anxiety, lockdowns and uncertainty, that brought me back to what’s really important, this Christmas I intend to rely on my inner resources and wealth and focus on family, rather than on external displays.

We need some precious moments of carefree joy – reaching for the comfort of childhood memories or better times, escaping into fantasy, glamour, and treats as respite. Mt. Egmont (now Mt Taranaki/Egmont), and Taranaki and Coromandel beaches where I spent Christmas holidays in the 1950s and 60s, represents Christmas for me.

I remember the New Zealand polio epidemic in 1957 and having a Salk vaccine. My Dad, a young post-WWII doctor, took me to visit a man in an ‘iron lung’. It was scary and saddening to see this man struggling. By my Dad’s side I learned something about compassion, duty and social responsibility.

https://teara.govt.nz/en/epidemics/page-5


Covid-19 has revived our #socialconscience and #kindness and we must reduce the #inequality that #covid19 has highlighted. Neglected children, struggling families and abandoned animals must share in the season’s bounty.

Be safe, take care of others, and remember what turns your Christmas lights on!!💡🕯💖

See you in the New Year!

Pamela xx

🍒🌲Christmas Edition🌲🍒: “The Classified Adventures of Owl”​ Season 8 Finale: in which O.W.L. Avatars Fight a Horny, P-Hootiy & Ponzi Insurrection in Hell

fineartamerica.com Art Deco Fashion illustration Art Print by Tina Lavoie

🍒🌲Christmas Edition🌲🍒: “The Classified Adventures of Owl”​ Season 8 Finale: in which O.W.L. Avatars Fight a Horny, P-Hootiy & Ponzi Insurrection in Hell

The Cast of Characters of “The Classified Adventures of Owl of O.W.L.”​- a satirical strategic narrative

Last Chapter click here: in which Owl goes Steampunk with his Team to catch Horny’s Ghost, P-Hooty and Ponzi the Cat Owl

For backstory and previous chapters click here: Sky Canopy Owl of O.W.L. Page 

© All Rights Reserved

And look out for all the hyperlinks. They are secret presents scattered everywhere. Your cursor will find them for you….

Story so far:

Owl of O.W.L. (Owl Woo-Woo unLimited) our retrofuturistic reprobate covert operative from the NZ Branch of the World Wide Wood (www.) has been on another mission to capture Horny Owl and P-Hootiy and his Band, the Wood’s main strategic adversaries.

ED: It never ends!

This now mythical mission was highly successful. Owl, the Wood’s genius of fakery and disguise, sent in The Owlettes, his most experienced operatives, and his novice NOCS Suzy the Staunch Barn Owl, Nigel the Rook and Mrs. Peel to take down P-Hootiy and his Band and P-Hootiy’s glamorous, amorous cross -species daughter Purrfecta Paloma Mossack Fonseca Buenaventura de Arroyo aka “Ponzi” the Chic-a Cat-Owl and Owl’s nemesis and frenemy.

Owl cunningly used his Automatic MEGA MAGA Trickster Big Brain to impersonate The Oracle Owl hoo (hoo’m?) Horny demanded to consult. But as he tried to get his lawyers to plead his case The Oracle moved him on immediately.

A generous soul, he let them all live and sent them instead to Hades (aka Hell on Wheels) via the Psychopomp Hermes Owl to be greeted by Cerberus Owl at the Gates to Hell.

But was that his first ever mistake?

Read on.….

Relief from a carved funerary lekythos at Athens: Hermes as psychopomp conducts the deceased, Myrrhine, a priestess of Athena, to Hades, c. 430–420 BC (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Morepork Owl (ruru or boobook)

Owl: Kia ora, hola, salve, salut, sveiki, hej, hei, zdrastuyte, Здравствуйте, Nǐ hǎo, 안녕하세요, tere, nǐ hǎo, witaj, ဟယ်လို, cайн уу, नमस्कार, përshëndetje, marhabaan, добры дзень…..

[ED: Okay, okay, Owl that’s enough!]

Owl: Well, I almost forgot one…strine!

G’day, mate!

Yeah, nah, I’m back with the family after a hectic mission that got quite hot for someone! We’re hanging out at the top of our cool tree taking it easy. That brush with the Hot Place was a Revelation. Horny begging for a pardon was a sight to behold.

I’m off to cool off with Belle Epoque in the flight of our dreams . I’ve loaded up Brown Owl and Geoffrey Owl (well, Geoffrey) with the young ‘uns Leafy Green and (ummm, thinking, thinking, it’ll come to me….whatever). Belle has been hinting at “other interests” and it’s time to give her some special attention!

Photo by Stephen Fuller on behance The Art Deco Capital Napier

Uh oh, it’s my flight deck earpiece screeching. It must be She-Hoo-Cannot-Be-Named.

Owl: Yeah, Gidday, Your Royal Nanny. What’s that? I can’t hear you very well. Was it something about my well-deserved and long-overdue mini- break with my long-suffering mate Belle and wishing us a snappy-happy time together?

Brown Owl: No, Owl, it was not. I have an emergency here. Geoffrey isn’t coping with your brood and so we’re off on a mini-break ourselves. I’ve left the littlies with Rocket Owl who may be planning to shoot them off somewhere unless you do exactly what I say.

Alphabet H by Erte WikiArt

Horny Owl is organising an insurrection in Hell 🔞and is building a Robot Owl Army 🤖⛄. He has paid off Cerberus Owl to open the Gate and is negotiating his escape. P-Hootiy and Ponzi are making their own arrangements. That Ponzi is a hussy and a bisom and has got in good with Lucifer Owl (aka “Lucky LucyLuca Gufo, Capo di Capi di Inferno). He took her to the Eighth Floor Garden of Delights of Hell Hotel Deliciarum with Maria Bake-A-Pavlova and…..and…..its hell Down Under!

Get back at once!

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180); Herrad of Landsberg – https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mial.2016.21.issue-1/mial-2016-0010/graphic/mial-2016-0010_01.jpg

Owl: Well I say, that’s not fair! I wish you and your slave a repeatedly unprintable time!

Brown Owl: Right ho, that’s enough insurrection from you, Owl! Be off with you!

Erte

Owl: Now I’ll have to tell Belle. It’s going to be Hell!…..

George Barbier 1919

Phew! I’m glad that’s all over. I’ve promised her another real holiday this time in Napier, a vintage part of the NZ Bush. We will take Le Train Bleu. I hear there is good food and……and, I’d better get going or else Horny will play his Get Out of Hell card.

Cut to Hell

Dante shown holding a copy of the Divine Comedy, next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, with the spheres of Heaven above, in Domenico di Michelino‘s 1465 fresco

Horny Owl is playing with his new dog-like ally Ceberus the Barred Owl. He has bribed him with flying lessons and has pimped out P-Hootiy who has a new studded neck chain he is becoming very fond of.

Barred Owl Image by Greg Waskovich from Pixabay 

Ponzi the Cat-Owl is not best pleased.

Ponzi (patting Cerberus): What are you doing with my Папа? Are you a Horny Owl of such bad taste?

Horny: I have no time for such pleasantries, dear Ponzi. I’m training my Robot Owl Army.

Dadaism: Raoul Hausmann, Mechanischer Kopf (Der Geist unserer Zeit) (Mechanical Head [The Spirit of Our Age]), c. 1920
This is the front cover art for the book How to Build a Robot Army written by Daniel H. Wilson.

Ponzi: I have my own army already trained.

My Dada and I will join forces with you to break out of this Hell.

Her Secret Admirers -Erte

Horny: Maybe we can ‘join forces’ too, Ponzi, like we used to, my dear Pussy.

Sandro Botticelli – La Carte de l’Enfer Sandro Botticelli – Botticelli : de Laurent le Magnifique à Savonarole : catalogue de l’exposition à Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, du 1er octobre 2003 au 22 février 2004 et à Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, du 10 mars au 11 juillet 2004. Milan : Skira editore, Paris : Musée du Luxembourg, 2003. ISBN 9788884915641

Ponzi: Go to Hell, my betrayer. Oh, I forgot…..you are here already hahahahaha…….

Photo by Saffronella on flickr· · · Erte

Horny: Go away then, Ponzi. I’m busy setting some goals for my robot army. I stole the Top Secret document from Brown Owl after I spied on her while sitting stuffed on the branch opposite her C3I Tree. I retrieved it when P-Hootiy resurrected me as a ghost, and I was just about to give it to your Папа when we were set up for a Fall by Owl.


Goals of Robot Army:

Five capability objectives : 

a. Increase situational awareness; check

b. Lighten the robots’ physical and cognitive workloads; check

c. Sustain the force with increased distribution, throughput, and efficiency (sustain high tempo operations); check

d. Facilitate movement and maneuver (ensure freedom of maneuver); check, and

e. Protect the force. check

Ponzi: Very smooth Horny, you think. But you are not really so smooth I think……….you are disposable now. I have the ear of Lucifer the Cat-Owl and a very big ear it is!

Suddenly there is a hellish commotion and The Dark Angel appears looking for someone to rub out.

Horny: What in hell?!

Lucifer Owl (aka “Lucky LucyLuca Gufo, Capo di Capi di Inferno): What is this thing with horns? I am the only horny one here. Mine is the only desire slaked. The rest of you will suffer the agony of unrequited desire per l’eternità! Horny Owl, you will no longer grab them by the pussy, eh mi chica Ponzi?

South American great horned owl (Bubo virginianus nacurutu) with its notably dark eyes
Davepape – Own work

Ponzi: That would be purr-fect, my Liege Luca. But I want to be evil still!

Horny: But, but, Your Satanic Majesty of Horniness……I ‘m raising a robot army for you. Along with Ponzi I could be indispensable for your schemes SupraWorld Wide Wood (www.). Maybe we could do a great deal? I’m happy to give you a cut.

Lucy: A cut? A mere cut, you say?

Horny: My Dark Lord, I know someone at a dealership on Volgogradsky Ave who might be able to locate a quite nice Hispano Suiza for you. (+7 (495) 232-41-41). Or you might like a Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-Class or a Maserati Levante Gran Lusso instead. Oligarch sales are not so good this year. I can get you an excellent deal!

Lucy: For that arrogant insult of a miserable offer of a “cut” and attempted bribery I will have to consign you to the hands of Salome. She will be only interested in your whole head not your paltry horns but I will tell her to punish you for your sins instead by carrying moneybag weights descending the eighth circle of Hell forever. Not a bad deal I would have thought.

Lucifer_from_Petrus_de_Plasiis_Divine_Comedy_1491 Illustration of Lucifer in the first fully illustrated print edition. Woodcut for Inferno, canto 33. Pietro di Piasi, Venice, 1491.
The world wasn’t ready for Oscar Wilde’s fearless illustrator Aubrey Beardsley

Horny’s punishments in Hell

Greed and Fraud: In Gustave Doré‘s illustrations for the fourth circle, the weights are huge money bags.

Gustave Doré – [From the Title Page:] Dante’s Inferno translated by The Rev. Henry Francis Cary, MA from the original of Dante Alighieri and illustrated with the designs of M. Gustave Doré New Edition With Critical and Explanatory notes, Life of Dante, and Chronology Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. New York, London and Paris The book was printed c. 1890 in America; Gustave Doré’s illustration to Dante’s Inferno.

Plate XXII: Canto VII: The hoarders and wasters. “For all the gold that is beneath the moon, / Or ever has been, of these weary souls / Could never make a single one repose” (Longfellow’s translation) “Not all the gold that is beneath the moon / Or ever hath been, or these toil-worn souls / Might ever purchase rest for one” (Cary’s translation)

Ponzi: Good luck Horny. I’m going to see what Cerberus is doing with my Dada. It’s not my fault I’m a cross-species child. It’s his. He shouldn’t have consorted with a cat. I don’t even know how that would work. Eewww! I will secretly enjoy his punishment. Ciao miaow. Hasta la muerte.

· · · www.artskooldamage.blogspot.com/
artdecoblog.tumblr.com
Art Deco

Horny: I’m not going to beg. Yes I am. Help me, Ponzi, please. I’m a new man. I’ve still got L-ooty tucked away Up Top.


flickr.com
George Barbier
Photo by ondiraiduveau on flickr(cc)
The Improvised Cage: a costume for the 1922 edition of The Greenwich Village Follies in New York

Ponzi: Adieu, adiós para siempre, addio per sempre, vale in sempiternum, and proshchay navsegda!

Wait! That sound….what is it? I can hardly hear it over all the weeping and wailing. It cannot be….. it isn’t…..it MUST NOT BE Owl!

Tyrants: The first installment of Asimov’s Tyrann was the cover story in the fourth issue of Galaxy Science Fiction in 1951. The novel was issued in book form later that year as The Stars Like Dust; World Editions, Inc. / John Bunch – Scan of original issue

Horizon Matte Painting; Le matte painting est un procédé de peinture détaillée utilisée au cinéma pour créer des décors impressionnants. Mickaël Forrett a eu l’excellent

Owl arrives in a feathery flourish accompanied by The Owlettes his compañeras luchadoras sin miedo.

Benoît-Constant_Coquelin_dressed_as_Cyrano_de_Bergerac

Dolly Sisters

Photo by tanimara1 on flickr
 · · · The life and Flickr times of the famous Dolly Sisters – Rosika (Rose) and Jansci (Jenny) Deutsch. <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Sisters&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Sisters</a>

Owl: It’s time to put these rascals to bed in Hell for good, right mis fantásticas colegas búho?

The Owlettes: You’ve finally got it right, Owl! Where are the others?

The Twitter Transmission is melting!

Wandbild, mehrfarbig ‘Der Kauf’ Artland Motiv: The Purchase By Georges Barbier

Owl: Suzy the Staunch and Nigel the Rook are guarding the exit and have tied up Cerberus and P-Hootiy (who conveniently was trying on Cerberus’s diamond-studded neck collar).

Diamonds are a Dog’s Best Friend
The World’s Most Expensive Dog Collar
dailymail.co.uk

Let’s go so we can get out of here fast. It’s too hot even for me!

Cut to the Gates of Hell……..

Pixabay

Where Ponzi is waiting.

Ponzi: You shall not pass!

The Owlettes: Move aside you flaming fiend, Devil’s woman and daughter of a snake!

George Barbier’s Costume Dramas

(distracting) Wait, your lipstick isn’t quite the right shade of red for you, dear. You need to try Devil’s Matte-Vocate Red, girl friend. It apparently has the same creamy feel of Ruby Woo but won’t dry out your lips.

Ponzi: Really? You know I was wondering that myself! Good tip. Now, Lucy” and I have a Little Something so I might stay on a bit longer. Horny is in the hands of Salome so best leave him to it, the bumbling fool.

Owl: Hello Ponzi. Purrfect as usual, darling. We have your father. Surrender now!

Ponzi: I’d rather be burned as a witch! Merry Christmas to you!

Lucifer appears suddenly: Hoo said that? Not allowed here!

Owl: Good evening, Lord of the Dark Shades. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Lucy: So you say. Are you looking for the way out? Well, Cerberus Owl is a little distracted right now with his new P-Hootiy chew-toy and his Beggar’s Banquet so you may be able to slip past with a rather large payola of bustarella to me.

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith

I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste

And I lay traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reach Bombay

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, hit it

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer

Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste

Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah

But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, hoo
Oh yeah, get on down

Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, what’s my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name

Tell me baby, what’s my name
I tell you one time, you’re to blame
Ooo, hoo
Ooo, hoo

Ooo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, ho
o

Ooo, hoo, hoo
Oh, yeah
What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name

Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo

Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, ho
o

Oh, yeah

Sympathy for the Devil: The Rolling Stones

Owl: It’s Mister Lucifer. I get that. Yes, we are looking for the exit. Now, what did you have in mind? I have some large L-Hooty from the SupraWorld Wide Wood (www.) with me. It looks like your dog is my new BFF as well. He has P-Hootiy on a lead.

Lucy: I’ll take the lot and your first-born owlet.

Owl: No dice. I’ll put in a good word for you though at our next stop Elysium on the way home.

Lucy: Ah yes, Elysium! (reminiscing) Before Horny corrupted me and I him, and before Borat and the Fall from Grace, I was a respected capo di capi. Horny and I go way back. In his Honour, Your Honour Owl The Oracle, you may pass. Devil’s Law. Give my regards to the Boss.

Owl: Brown Owl?

Lucy: No, the Other One.

Cut to Elysium

Escape to Elysium. Ski Pluto. Sail under the seas of Neptune. buzzfeed.com

Owl: Warped Mack Three, Steady, Steady…..

(breaking the 4th Wall)

We’re on course, mes freres et soeurs. We just have a quick visit to make before its back to Belle.

The Owlettes: It’s been a fine journey of a mission, Owl. Look there’s Suzy the Staunch flying alongside. She’s done brilliantly for a new recruit. Where’s Nige?

fineartamerica.com
Amazonian Warrior by Georges Barbier George Barbier’s costume dramas: Costumes created for Lysistrata written by Maurice Donnay; Agathos – right : a warrior.

Owl: He had to see an owl about a dog. You know, my Amazons, they weren’t turned after all. Hark, look what’s up ahead.

Paradiso Canto Fourteen by Gustave Dore

Owl: Beautiful. And now it’s time for home and ma Belle.

ED: And so Owl’s most important mission yet ended. Last seen Owl and Belle Epoque were in flight on Le Train Bleu. Or was it the Orient Express?

They are smiling.

Art Deco Poster

Erte:

Romain de Tirtoff, known as Erté (1892-1990), was a Russian fashion illustrator and stage set designer, a master of the Art Deco style.


Georges Barbier | Art Déco painter

Born in Nantes France on October 10 1882, Barbier [1882-1932] was 29 years old when he mounted his first exhibition in 1911 and was subsequently swept to the forefront of his profession with commissions to design theatre and ballet costumes, to illustrate books, and to produce haute couture fashion illustrations.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Pamela is a New Zealand consultant and founder of Sky Canopy Consulting, a writer, satirist, poet, researcher, analyst and synthesiser, with a Law degree and a Masters in Conflict and Terrorism Studies from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

She has been around long enough on this planet to be a former lawyer, psychotherapist and executive coach.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

🍒🎄Christmas Edition🎄🍒: “The Classified Adventures of Owl”​ Season 8 Finale: in which O.W.L. Avatars Fight a Horny, P-Hootiy & Ponzi Insurrection in Hell🔞

Erte Classic Compact 1982
fineartamerica.com Art Deco Fashion illustration Art Print by Tina Lavoie

🍒🎄Christmas Edition🎄🍒: “The Classified Adventures of Owl”​ Season 8 Finale: in which O.W.L. Avatars Fight a Horny, P-Hootiy & Ponzi Insurrection in Hell 🔞

The Cast of Characters of “The Classified Adventures of Owl of O.W.L.”​- a satirical strategic narrative

Last Chapter click here: in which Owl goes Steampunk with his Team to catch Horny’s Ghost, P-Hooty and Ponzi the Cat Owl

For backstory and previous chapters click here: Sky Canopy Owl of O.W.L. Page 

© All Rights Reserved

And look out for all the hyperlinks. They are secret presents scattered everywhere. Your cursor will find them for you….

Story so far:

Owl of O.W.L. (Owl Woo-Woo unLimited), our retrofuturistic reprobate covert operative from the NZ Branch of the World Wide Wood (www.), has been on another mission to capture Horny Owl and P-Hootiy and his Band, the Wood’s main strategic adversaries.

ED: It never ends!

This now mythical mission was highly successful. Owl, the Wood’s mastermind and a really stable genius of fakery and disguise, sent in The Owlettes, his most experienced operatives, and his novice NOCS Suzy the Staunch Barn Owl, Nigel (“Le Noir”) Rook and Mrs. Peel to take down P-Hootiy and his Band and P-Hootiy’s glamorous, amorous cross -species daughter Purrfecta Paloma Mossack Fonseca Buenaventura de Arroyo aka “Ponzi” the Chic-a Cat-Owl and Owl’s nemesis and frenemy.

Owl cunningly used his Automatic MEGA-MAGA Trickster Big Brain to impersonate The Oracle Owl hoo (hoo’m?) Horny demanded to consult. But as he tried to get his lawyers to plead his case The Oracle moved him on immediately.

A generous soul, he let them all live and sent them instead to the UnderWorld Wide Wood (aka Hell 🔞on Wheels) (via the Psychopomp Hermes Owl) to be greeted by Cerberus Owl at the Gates to Hell. 🔞

But was that his first ever mistake?

Read on.….

Relief from a carved funerary lekythos at Athens: Hermes as psychopomp conducts the deceased, Myrrhine, a priestess of Athena, to Hades, c. 430–420 BC (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Morepork Owl (ruru or boobook)

Owl: Kia ora, hola, salve, salut, sveiki, hej, hei, zdrastuyte, Здравствуйте, Nǐ hǎo, 안녕하세요, tere, nǐ hǎo, witaj, ဟယ်လို, cайн уу, नमस्कार, përshëndetje, marhabaan, добры дзень…..

[ED: Okay, okay, Owl that’s enough!]

Owl: Well, I almost forgot one…strine!

G’day, mate!

Yeah, nah, I’m back with the family after my hectic mission that got quite hot for Someone! We’re hanging out at the top of our cool tree taking it easy. That brush with the Hot Place was a Revelation. Horny begging for a pardon was a sight to behold.

I’m off to cool off with Belle Epoque in the flight of our dreams. I’ve loaded up Brown Owl and Geoffrey Owl (well, Geoffrey) with the young ‘uns Leafy Green and (ummm, thinking, thinking, it’ll come to me….whatever). Belle has been hinting at “other interests” and it’s time to give her some special attention!

Photo by Stephen Fuller on behance The Art Deco Capital Napier

Uh oh, it’s my flight deck earpiece screeching. It must be She-Hoo-Cannot-Be-Named.

Owl: Yeah, Gidday, Your Royal Nanny. What’s that? I can’t hear you very well. Was it something about my well-deserved and long-overdue mini- break with my long-suffering mate Belle and wishing us a snappy-happy time together?

Brown Owl: No, Owl, it was not. I have an emergency here. Geoffrey isn’t coping with your brood and so we’re off on a mini-break ourselves. I’ve left the littlies with Rocket Owl who may be planning to shoot them off somewhere unless you do exactly what I say, you puerile, jejune, debauched creature!

Alphabet H by Erté WikiArt

Horny Owl has organised an insurrection in Hell🔞and is building a Robot Owl Army. He has paid off Cerberus Owl to open the Gate and is negotiating his escape. P-Hootiy and Ponzi are making their own schemes. That Ponzi is a hussy and a bisom and has got in good with Lucifer Owl (aka “Lucky LucyLuca Gufo, Capo di Capi di Inferno). He took her to the Eighth Floor Garden of Delights of Hell 🔞Hotel Deliciarum with Maria Bake-A-Pavlova and…..and…..its Hell🔞Down Under!

Get back at once!

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180); Herrad of Landsberg – https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mial.2016.21.issue-1/mial-2016-0010/graphic/mial-2016-0010_01.jpg

Owl: Well I say, that’s not fair! I wish you and your slave a repeatedly unprintable time!

Brown Owl: Right ho, that’s enough insurrection from you, Owl! Be off with you!

Erté

Owl: Now I’ll have to tell Belle. It’s going to be Hell🔞!…..

George Barbier 1919

Phew! I’m glad that’s all over. I’ve promised her another real holiday this time in Napier, a vintage part of the NZ Bush. We will take Le Train Bleu. I hear there is good food and……and, I’d better get going or else Horny will play his Get Out of Hell🔞card.

Cut to Hell 🔞

Dante shown holding a copy of the Divine Comedy, next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, with the spheres of Heaven above, in Domenico di Michelino‘s 1465 fresco

Horny Owl is playing with his new dog-like ally Ceberus the Barred Owl. He has bribed him with flying lessons and has pimped out P-Hootiy who has a new studded neck chain he is becoming very fond of.

Barred Owl Image by Greg Waskovich from Pixabay 

Ponzi the Cat-Owl is not best pleased.

Ponzi (patting Cerberus): What are you doing with my Папа? Are you a Horny Owl of such bad taste?

Horny: I have no time for such pleasantries, dear Ponzi. I’m training my Robot Owl Army.

Dadaism: Raoul Hausmann, Mechanischer Kopf (Der Geist unserer Zeit) (Mechanical Head [The Spirit of Our Age]), c. 1920
This is the front cover art for the book How to Build a Robot Army written by Daniel H. Wilson.

Ponzi: I have my own army already trained.

My Dada and I will join forces with you to break out of this Hell🔞.

Her Secret Admirers – Erté

Horny: Maybe we can ‘join forces’ too, Ponzi, like we used to, my dear Pussy.

Sandro Botticelli – La Carte de l’Enfer Sandro Botticelli – Botticelli : de Laurent le Magnifique à Savonarole : catalogue de l’exposition à Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, du 1er octobre 2003 au 22 février 2004 et à Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, du 10 mars au 11 juillet 2004. Milan : Skira editore, Paris : Musée du Luxembourg, 2003. ISBN 9788884915641

Ponzi: Go to Hell🔞, my betrayer. Oh, I forgot…..you are here already hahahahaha…….

Photo by Saffronella on flickr· · · Erté

Horny: Go away then, Ponzi. I’m busy setting some goals for my robot army. I stole the Top Secret document from Brown Owl after I spied on her while sitting stuffed on the branch opposite her C3I Tree. I retrieved it when P-Hootiy resurrected me as a ghost, and I was just about to give it to your Папа when we were set up for the Fall into Hell🔞 by Owl.


Goals of Robot Army:

Five capability objectives : 

a. Increase situational awareness; check

b. Lighten the robots’ physical and cognitive workloads; check

c. Sustain the force with increased distribution, throughput, and efficiency (sustain high tempo operations); check

d. Facilitate movement and maneuver (ensure freedom of maneuver); check, and

e. Protect the force. check

Ponzi: Very smooth Horny, you think. But you are not really so smooth I think……….you are disposable now. I have the ear of Lucifer the Cat-Owl and a very big ear it is!

Suddenly there is a hellish commotion and The Dark Angel appears looking for someone to rub out.

Horny: What in Hell🔞?!

Lucifer Owl (aka “Lucky LucyLuca Gufo, Capo di Capi di Inferno): What is this thing with horns? I am the only horny one here. Mine is the only desire slaked. The rest of you will suffer the agony of unrequited desire per l’eternità! Horny Owl, you will no longer grab them by the pussy, eh mi chica Ponzi?

South American great horned owl (Bubo virginianus nacurutu) with its notably dark eyes
Davepape – Own work

Ponzi: That would be purr-fect, my Liege Luca. But I want to be evil still!

Horny: But, but, Your Satanic Majesty of Horniness……I ‘m raising a robot army for you. I could be indispensable for your schemes in the SupraWorld Wide Wood (www.). Maybe we could do a great deal? I’m happy to give you a cut.

Lucy: A cut? A mere cut, you say?

Horny: My Dark Lord, I know someone at a dealership on Volgogradsky Ave who might be able to locate a quite nice Hispano Suiza for you. (+7 (495) 232-41-41). Or you might like a Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-Class or a Maserati Levante Gran Lusso instead. Oligarch sales are down this year. I can get you an excellent deal!

Lucy: For that arrogant insult of a miserable offer of a “cut” and attempted bribery I will have to consign you to the hands of Salome. She will be only interested in your whole head not your paltry horns, but I will tell her to punish you instead for your sins by carrying moneybag weights while you descend the eighth circle of Hell🔞forever. Not a bad deal I would have thought.

Lucifer_from_Petrus_de_Plasiis_Divine_Comedy_1491 Illustration of Lucifer in the first fully illustrated print edition. Woodcut for Inferno, canto 33. Pietro di Piasi, Venice, 1491.
The world wasn’t ready for Oscar Wilde’s fearless illustrator Aubrey Beardsley

Horny’s punishments in Hell🔞

Greed and Fraud: In Gustave Doré‘s illustrations for the fourth circle, the weights are huge money bags.

Gustave Doré – [From the Title Page:] Dante’s Inferno translated by The Rev. Henry Francis Cary, MA from the original of Dante Alighieri and illustrated with the designs of M. Gustave Doré New Edition With Critical and Explanatory notes, Life of Dante, and Chronology Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. New York, London and Paris The book was printed c. 1890 in America; Gustave Doré’s illustration to Dante’s Inferno.

Plate XXII: Canto VII: The hoarders and wasters. “For all the gold that is beneath the moon, / Or ever has been, of these weary souls / Could never make a single one repose” (Longfellow’s translation) “Not all the gold that is beneath the moon / Or ever hath been, or these toil-worn souls / Might ever purchase rest for one” (Cary’s translation)

Ponzi: Good luck Horny. I’m going to see what Cerberus is doing with my Dada. It’s not my fault I’m a cross-species child. It’s his. He shouldn’t have consorted with a cat. I don’t even know how that would work. Eewww! I will secretly enjoy his punishment. Ciao miaow. Hasta la muerte.

· · · www.artskooldamage.blogspot.com/
artdecoblog.tumblr.com
Art Deco

Horny: I’m not going to beg. Yes I am. Help me, Ponzi, please. I’m a new man. I’ve still got L-ooty tucked away Up Top.


flickr.com
George Barbier
Photo by ondiraiduveau on flickr(cc)
The Improvised Cage: a costume for the 1922 edition of The Greenwich Village Follies in New York

Ponzi: Adieu, adiós para siempre, addio per sempre, vale in sempiternum, and proshchay navsegda!

Wait! That sound….what is it? I can hardly hear it over all the weeping and wailing. It cannot be….. it isn’t…..it MUST NOT BE Owl!

Tyrants: The first installment of Asimov’s Tyrann was the cover story in the fourth issue of Galaxy Science Fiction in 1951. The novel was issued in book form later that year as The Stars Like Dust; World Editions, Inc. / John Bunch – Scan of original issue

Horizon Matte Painting; Le matte painting est un procédé de peinture détaillée utilisée au cinéma pour créer des décors impressionnants. Mickaël Forrett a eu l’excellent

Owl arrives in a feathery flourish accompanied by The Owlettes his compañeras luchadoras sin miedo.

Benoît-Constant_Coquelin_dressed_as_Cyrano_de_Bergerac

Dolly Sisters

Photo by tanimara1 on flickr
 · · · The life and Flickr times of the famous Dolly Sisters – Rosika (Rose) and Jansci (Jenny) Deutsch. <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Sisters&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Sisters</a>

Owl: It’s time to put these rascals to bed in Hell🔞for good, right mis fantásticas colegas búho?

The Owlettes: You’ve finally got it right, Owl! Where are the others?

The Twitter Transmission is melting!

Wandbild, mehrfarbig ‘Der Kauf’ Artland Motiv: The Purchase By Georges Barbier

Owl: Suzy the Staunch and Nigel (“Le Noir”) Rook are guarding the exit and have tied up Cerberus and P-Hootiy (who conveniently was trying on Cerberus’s diamond-studded neck collar).

Diamonds are a Dog’s Best Friend
The World’s Most Expensive Dog Collar
dailymail.co.uk

Let’s go so we can get out of here fast. It’s too hot even for me!

Cut to the Gates of Hell🔞……..

Pixabay

Where Ponzi is waiting.……

Ponzi: You shall not pass!

The Owlettes: Move aside you flaming fiend, Devil’s woman and daughter of a snake! Where is Horny Owl?

George Barbier’s Costume Dramas

(distracting) Wait, your lipstick isn’t quite the right shade of red for you, girl friend. You need to try Devil’s Matte-Vocate Red. It apparently has the same creamy feel of Ruby Woo but won’t dry out your lips.

Ponzi: Really? You know I was wondering that myself! Good tip but I see what you’re doing. You can’t manipulate my cognitive space so easily!

But BTW and FYI, Luca and I have a Little Something so I might stay on a bit longer here in Hell. It’s quite warm and cosy in Luca’s Lair and I like his Devil-may-care approach to life. I shall be Queen of the Night.

( fully distracted now) We listen to a lot of Opera together. Luca likes Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, and we’re both rather fond of Don Giovanni.

(sighing)…..With thee, with thee, my treasure, This life is nought but pleasure, My heart is fondly thine……

Original playbill for the Vienna premiere of Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni Poster Opera National de Paris
operadeparis.fr

Ponzi: Horny is in the hands of Salome. She will take care of him!

Suddenly, Owl appears on his retrofuturistic De Tomaso!

de tomaso reveals retro-futuristic P72 supercar at goodwood festival

Owl: Hello Ponzi. Purrfect as usual, darling. We have your father. Surrender now!

Ponzi: I’d rather be burned as a witch! Merry Christmas to you!

Lucifer appears suddenly: Hoo said that? Not allowed here!

Owl: Good evening, Lord of the Dark Shades. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Lucy: So you say. Are you looking for the way out? Well, Cerberus Owl is a little distracted right now with his new P-Hootiy chew-toy and his Beggar’s Banquet so you may be able to slip past with a rather large payola of bustarella to me.

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith

I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste

And I lay traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reach Bombay

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, hit it

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer

Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste

Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah

But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, hoo
Oh yeah, get on down

Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, what’s my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name

Tell me baby, what’s my name
I tell you one time, you’re to blame
Ooo, hoo
Ooo, hoo

Ooo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, ho
o

Ooo, hoo, hoo
Oh, yeah
What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name

Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo

Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, hoo
Ooo, hoo, ho
o

Oh, yeah

Sympathy for the Devil: The Rolling Stones

Owl: It’s Mister Lucifer. I get that. Yes, we are looking for the exit. Now, what did you have in mind? I have some large L-Hooty from the SupraWorld Wide Wood (www.) with me. It looks like your dog is my new BFF as well. He has P-Hootiy on a lead.

Lucy: I’ll take the lot and your first-born owlet.

Owl: No dice. I’ll put in a good word for you though at our next stop Elysium on the way home.

Lucy: Ah yes, Elysium! (reminiscing) Before Horny corrupted me and I him, and before Borat and the Fall from Grace, I was a respected capo di capi. Horny and I go way back. In his Honour, Your Honour Owl The Oracle, you may pass. Devil’s Law. Give my regards to the Boss.

Owl: Brown Owl?

Lucy: No, the Other One.

Cut to Elysium

Escape to Elysium. Ski Pluto. Sail under the seas of Neptune. buzzfeed.com

Owl: Warped Mack Three, Steady, Steady…..

(breaking the 4th Wall)

We’re on course, mes freres et soeurs. We just have a quick visit to make before its back to Belle.

The Owlettes: It’s been a fine journey of a mission, Owl. Look there’s Suzy the Staunch flying alongside. She’s done brilliantly for a new recruit. Where’s Le Noir?

fineartamerica.com
Amazonian Warrior by Georges Barbier George Barbier’s costume dramas: Costumes created for Lysistrata written by Maurice Donnay; Agathos – right : a warrior.

Owl: Nige had to see an owl about a dog. You know, my Amazons, they weren’t turned by P-Hootiy after all. It looks like all our villains have found their own particular hells in the UnderWorld Wide Wood (www.). Cerberus and Salome will deal with Horny and P-Hootiy. But I worry about Ponzi though. I have a feeling her and Luca will be trouble in the future.

Hark, look what’s up ahead.

Paradiso Canto Fourteen by Gustave Dore

Owl: Beautiful. And now it’s time for home and ma Belle.

ED: And so Owl’s most important mission yet has ended. The last report from Brown Owl’s spies was that Owl and Belle Epoque have been sighted on Le Train Bleu. Or was it the Orient Express? Perhaps they’re sailing on their way to Napier? Maybe in flight over the sky canopy. Maybe on a beach somewhere? Hoo knows but…

….wherever they are they’re smiling.

Art Deco Poster
New Zealand Vintage Style Travel Poster
Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand – Wall Art / Art Deco poster

‘Someone To Watch Over Me / Love Is Here To Stay’, Elton John and Larry Adler (Harmonica) on The Glory of Gershwin

Erté

Romain de Tirtoff, known as Erté (1892-1990), was a Russian fashion illustrator and stage set designer, a master of the Art Deco style.


Georges Barbier | Art Déco painter

Born in Nantes France on October 10 1882, Barbier [1882-1932] was 29 years old when he mounted his first exhibition in 1911 and was subsequently swept to the forefront of his profession with commissions to design theatre and ballet costumes, to illustrate books, and to produce haute couture fashion illustrations.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Pamela is a New Zealand consultant and founder of Sky Canopy Consulting, a writer, satirist, poet, researcher, analyst and synthesiser, with a Law degree and a Masters in Conflict and Terrorism Studies from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

She has been around long enough on this planet to be a former lawyer, psychotherapist and executive coach.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

“The Classified Adventures of Owl”​ (8/5): in which Owl consults an Oracle and Horny Gives Up the Ghost and Transitions to Tartarus”

Frontispiece: Greek Armillar Ball Constellation

Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay 

The Greek writer Cicero ‘reported the statements of the Roman astronomer Gaius Sulpicius Gallus of the second century BC, the first globe was constructed by Thales of Miletus’. This could indicate that Celestial Globes were in production throughout antiquity however, without any Celestial Globes surviving from this time, it is difficult to say for sure. What is known is that in book VIII, chapter 3 of Ptolemy’s Almagest he outlines ideas for the design and production of a Celestial Globe.[4] This includes some notes on how the globe should be decorated, suggesting ‘the sphere a dark colour resembling the night sky’.

“The Classified Adventures of Owl” (8/5): in which Owl consults an Oracle and Horny Gives Up the Ghost and Transitions to Tartarus”

ED The Narrator: 

[Dear Readers, you may recall P-Hootiy shape-shifted into a snake and bit Horny’s ar*se at the Battle of Owl Creek. After his capture by Owl, and subsequent escape from Kea’s lax supervision on The Great Plain of Hooting of the NZ Bush, P-Hootiy resurrected Horny’s Ghost from the Deadlands of Owl Creek. He needs his frenemy to survive and serve more nefarious purposes. The ‘real’ Horny is stuffed and perched on a branch opposite Brown Owl’s C3I Tree.

The NOCS have been extremely useful idiots so far and Owl can plausibly deny them if caught! Can they be really trusted though? Nigel the Crook Rook, Suzy the Staunch Barn Owl of the North and Mrs. Peel the Black Cat-Owl have been out in the cold for a long time on their own. Has P-Hootiy turned them?]

Read on….

Our intrepid retrofuturistic covert operative Owl still has his body armour on and has geared up with his team to stop this deal. Owl and Nige have gone to check out where Ponzi and Horny’s Ghost are up to with their dirty deal.

Steampunk Owl Image by Frank Pfeiffer from Pixabay

Horny is bumbling around trying to transition back to reality and life in the Wood. His time in the Million Acre Wood is over now he is slowly coming to realise but he’s hanging on to his memories: the times he lost to Owl in the past, his friendship with P-Hootiy who betrayed him, his old followers he put to sleep harangue-ing them. Those were the days!

Click here for P-Hootiy’s Favoutite Song:

Great Horned Owl: Pixabay

Those Were The Days (Дорогой длинною) – Marie-Anne Izmajlov

Brown Owl ( a wee bit sentimental though you’d never guess it) prefers the Mary Hopkins version

Once upon a time there was a tavern

Where we used to raise a glass or two

Remember how we laughed away the hours

And dreamed of all the great things we would do

Those were the days, my friend

We thought they’d never end

We’d sing and dance forever and a day

We’d live the life we choose

We’d fight and never lose

For we were young and sure to have our way

La la la la…

Just tonight I stood before the tavern

Nothing seemed the way it used to be

In the glass, I saw a strange reflection

Was that lonely……….really me?

Those were the days, my friend

We thought they’d never end

We’d sing and dance forever and a day

We’d live the life we choose

We’d fight and never lose

Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

La la la la…

Hermes Kelly 20 Owl Print Silk Rouge Vif Box Gold Hardware Vintage

Suzy and Nige have approached the Haunted Castle undercover of night where Mrs. Peel, the Cat-Owl recruit, and P-Hootiy are facing off with their snake avatars. They’re providing cover and backup in case P-Hootiy’s Band arrives with Ponzi. They have a force multiplier – Hermes Owl hoo has a hotline to The Oracle and nice bags.

Owl: I’m just about to report in to Brown Owl before I go in with my SOF (Special Owl Forces). Hang on a sec! I just need to NOC on my Twitter Transmission unit.

To Brown Owl: Are you there, dear?

Brown Owl: Don’t you dare “dear” me, you abnormal Cluster A Fl**k. Or I will crochet your feathers into my night vision goggles cover! What are you up to, you little freak? I want some answers!

Owl: P-Hootiy and my shapeshifting avatars are about to fight each other. Mine is a giant spider (to improve my spidey senses) and P-Hootiy’s is a snake. He is trying hard to keep Horny’s Ghost resurrected with his Band of seditious middle temple lawyer owl fakers.

No alt text provided for this image
Emperor Jahangir receiving a petition from a fakir.

But I have enjoined some real fakirs to repel him. They are doing God’s work!

Brown Owl: Well, don’t you go fakiring it up, Owl! Move, or I’ll get Rocket Owl to give you a prod!

Owl: Thank you, milady. I’ll forgo the pleasure for now. Over and out!

Owl: Ok, team, Horny’s haunted fort awaits us. I wonder how Mrs. Peel and her snake is doing with P-Hootiy’s snake. He’s a trickster, and an owligarchical fraudster with a nasty bite, but she’s a sleek and slippery one who may be able to tie him up in knots before we get there.

ED: Suzy the Barn Owl and Nige the Rook are hovering awaiting Owl’s signal]

No alt text provided for this image

Owl: Helmets on!

He raises his claws and suddenly lowers them.

No alt text provided for this image
The Winged Helmet is a divine item forged by Hephaestus and his assistants in the forge, the Cyclopes. It was created for the god of messengers and thieves, Hermes. The helmet is also worn by Hermes’ Roman counterpart Mercury; 3-D modelling

ED: So perfect for Owl’s merry band of louche mavericks!

No alt text provided for this image
Orestes at Delphi flanked by Athena and Pylades among the Erinyes and priestesses of the oracle, perhaps including Pythia behind the tripod – Paestan red-figured bell-krater, c. 330 BC; Python (as painter) – Jastrow (2006)

Suddenly, soundlessly, Suzy the Staunch and Nigel the Rook swoop in, eyes gleaming in the dark, watchful, and ears auricularly sharp, on the hunt for Ponzi and Horny’s Ghost.

No alt text provided for this image
Serpiente alquimica
An ouroboros in an 1478 drawing in an alchemical tract; anonymous medieval illuminator

Snap! Snap! Mrs. Peel has dominated P-Hootiy! She has encircled her neck with both snakes lasso-style, her snake’s fangs locked on P-Hootiy’s tail like an ouroborus, and his snake’s head in a knot.

RIPDiana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel in “The Avengers” in her iconic black leather cat suit

No alt text provided for this image
Oracles in ancient Greece

Cut to Horny’s Ghost hoo is trying to bribe the Pythia, the priestess of The Oracle Owl to allow him back from the UnderWorld Wide Wood (www.)

Pythia (priestess to Apollo at Delphi)

No alt text provided for this image
Priestess of Delphi (1891) by John Collier, showing the Pythia sitting on a tripod with vapor rising from a crack in the earth beneath her ; John Collier – Art Gallery of South Australia 

[ED: “On another occasion the oracle was bribed by Cleomenes to answer that Demaratus was not the son of Ariston.” Herodotus adds that, when it was discovered, Cobon, the tool of Cleomenes, was banished, and Perialle, the priestess, deposed from her office”:

[Citation: Fairbanks, Arthur, Herodotus and the Oracle at Delphi, The Classical Journal Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jan., 1906), pp. 37-48 (12 pages)Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Inc. (CAMWS (at pg.41)]

No alt text provided for this image
Flowers and leaves of Nerium oleander ; Alvesgaspar – Own work

Horny’s Ghost: (pithily but not politely) What’s that smell, Lady?

The Pythia: That is oleander, Horny, the fumes and wages of sin. You are clearly doomed. I have it on good authority from The Oracle Owl.

Horny’s Ghost: Now that is fakir news.

The Oracle of Delphi entranced: Heinrich Leutemann [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I demand an audience with him immediately. I have many, many applications to make…… but I’m feeling very drowsy.

The Pythia: That is usual. An audience may possibly be arranged on payment of a little no, a lot of Nomisma or Χρήματα. You will have to wear the Helmet of Invisibility first however.

No alt text provided for this image
Celtic helmet with a complete winged-bird crest from the 3rd century BC, found at Ciumesti, Romania. Author: Wolfgang Sauber CC BY-SA 3.0.

Horny’s Ghost: A Dekadrachm or two?

No alt text provided for this image
Athens, 467-465 BC. Silver Dekadrachm (43.38 g). Head of Athena right, wearing single-pendant earring, necklace, and crested Attic helmet decorated with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl / ΑΘΕ (ΑΘΗΝΑΙΩΝ – of Athenians), owl standing facing, wings spread; olive sprig and crescent to upper left; all within incuse square.

The Pythia: Done! You’re doomed anyway.

That psychopomp Hermes Owl has a message for you from The Oracle.

No alt text provided for this image
A prankster and inventive genius from birth, Hermes was the messenger of the gods and guide of dead souls to the Underworld. He aided the heroes Odysseus and Perseus in their quests.

[ED: Just a little segue here while we’re waiting for The Oracle’s message for that pompous psycho Horny]

Hermes’ symbol of office as divine messenger was his staff, or caduceus. This was originally a willow wand with entwined ribbons, traditional badge of the herald. But the ribbons were eventually depicted as snakes. To support this mythologically, a story evolved that Hermes used the caduceus to separate two fighting snakes which forthwith twined themselves together in peace.

It was Hermes’ job to convey dead souls to the Underworld. And as patron of travelers, he was often shown in a wide-brimmed sun hat of straw. Hermes was known to the Romans as Mercury. His most famous depiction, a statue by Bellini, shows him alight on one foot, wings at his heels, the snaky caduceus in hand and, on his head, a rather stylized combination helmet-of-darkness and sun hat: Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology: Hermes

Hermes’ Message from The Oracle to Horny’s Ghost:

When the Prytanies’ seat shines white in the island of Siphnos,

White-browed all the forum—need then of a true seer’s wisdom—

Danger will threat from a wooden boat, and a herald in scarlet.

— The Pythoness, in The HistoriesHerodotus.

Horny’s Ghost: Noooo00000OOOO!

The Pythia: Ahem, ‘fraid so. Sorry, old chappie. You’re going to have to make the transition down the you-know-where like your friend P-Hootiy. A Mrs. Peel delivered him a short while ago.

Horny’s Ghost (turning white): Aaargh, not him. You haven’t sent him where I’m going, have you? Good Hades, Noooo! I demand to see The Oracle himself!!!

No alt text provided for this image
Snowy Owl Image by Miroslaw Kolaczynski from Pixabay

The Oracle (materialising soundlessly): What have we here, Pythy?

The Pythia: Your Snowy Majesty, it’s a worthless, undeserving ghost of an Owl. Barely warrants your time, sire.

No alt text provided for this image
Majestic Snowy Owl Pixabay

Oracle Owl:(kindly)

Speak up then. Why shouldn’t I send you to Hades instead of Elysium?

Horny’s Ghost: Shall I get my lawyers to talk to you?

The Oracle: Right then, that’s enough from you. Put him through to Tartarus instead.

No alt text provided for this image

Tartarus: A deep abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans

Nekyia: Persephone supervising Sisyphus pushing his rock in the Underworld. Side A of an Attic black-figure amphora, ca. 530 BC. From Vulci.

Horny’s Ghost (blanching and babbling): Noooooooh!! Pleeeeeeze, I’m begging you. I have more Dekadrachm. Wait, here, look, Nahhhhooooh!

No alt text provided for this image
Gustave Doré‘s illustration of King Minos for Dante Alighieri‘s Inferno

Snivelling hooting noises off!

Owl: (arriving at last after all the action): Well, it looks like my work is already done. That Oracle Owl is really something!

Now I need to get out of this snow white feathered costume, it’s really hot. Where are you, Nige and Suzy? A triumph for you and The Owlettes as well! Playing Pythia and Hermes on unsuspecting Ponzi and Horny. Good job! And Mrs. Peel, you were certainly needed.

We ALL need a holiday. I know a nice temple with some good perches!

No alt text provided for this image
Temple of Apollo at Dephi

The temple of Apollo (the centre of the Delphi oracle and Pythia) dated to the 4th century BC.

They say that the most ancient temple of Apollo was made of laurel, the branches of which were brought from the laurel in Temple. This temple must have had the form of a hut. The Delphians say that the second temple was made by bees from bees-wax and feathers, and that it was sent to the Hyperboreans by Apollo.

No alt text provided for this image

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

OR the abduction of P-Hootiy and Horny to Hades

(apologies to Homer who won’t care as he’s on Mt. Olympus in Elysium or down in Hades)

 I sing now of the great P-Hootiy (and Horny) Owls

Of the beautiful ears,

And of P-Hootiy’s scheming daughter

Ponzi the Cat-Owl

Of the lovely feet (and tail),

Whom The Oracle let Hades tear away

From her mother’s harvests

And friends and flowers—

Especially the Narcissus,

Grown by Gaia to entice the girl

As a favor to Hades, the gloomy one.

This was the flower that

Left all amazed,

Whose hundred buds made

The sky itself smile.

When the maiden reached out

To pluck such beauty,

The earth opened up

And out burst Hades Owl…

The son of Kronos Owl,

Who took her by force

On his chariot of gold,

To the place where so many

Long not to go.

Ponzi screamed,

She called to her father,

All-powerful and high, …

But The Oracle had allowed this.

He sat in a temple

Hearing nothing at all,

Receiving the sacrifices of

Supplicating owls.

The Homeric Hymns

Next Time: But where in the world is Lyin’ Traitor Barney Owl and his stooge and part-time lover Ossie Owl?

© All Rights Reserved

No alt text provided for this image
Athenian tetradrachm
representing the goddess Athena

Pamela is a New Zealand consultant and founder of sky canopy consulting, a writer, satirist, poet, researcher, analyst and synthesiser, with a Masters in Conflict and Terrorism Studies from the University of Auckland.

She has been around long enough on this planet to be a former lawyer, psychotherapist and executive coach.

She loves owls, masks, ballet, black cats, hot air balloons, witches and wizards, Shakespeare, metaphors, memes, magical realism, reading, history, walking around lakes, carnivals, carousels, circuses, Fiat cars, surrealism, Mozart, opera, dragons, cheongsams, sky rockets, turkish delight, spider brooches, mosaics, museums, hot baths, beer, red wine, bedtime stories, Alice in Wonderland, Christmases, holidays, native birds and their habitats, riding on her broomstick and travelling in her imagination. She is a red-headed owl and her avatar is a Venetian flame-feathered Colombina mask of the Commedia del Arte.

The name Pamela is widely taken to mean “all sweetness”, formed on the Greek words πᾶν pan (“all”) and μέλι meli (“honey”)

Blockbusters: how our dreams, fears and demons have changed between 1977 and 2020

Blockbusters: how our dreams, fears and demons have changed between 1977 and 2020

The iconic image of the Man in the Moon
Georges Méliès – Roger-Viollet
Screenshot from Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902)

Why we go the the movies….

We all need a refuge, some more than others, and more often. Sometimes we kid ourselves we don’t, are staunch or at least should be. We can’t find one at times as the rigid template of middle life overlays, denies and stifles our deepest survival instincts and needs.

We may feel heroic in the sacrifice of family time to serve others as though ‘family’ was an extension of us which must go along – like a part of our ego, a personal limb whose fate must be inextricably entwined without boundaries or different individual life purposes and goals.

Eulogies typically extol the virtues of the deceased, the most celebrated one being that s/he denied self and gave all to ‘others’ – a chronic posture that probably contributed to their death, especially if it was stress-related. The notion of unselfishness taken to the extreme of martyrdom can be for some a badge of honour at the end. Anything less can be considered selfish or self-serving.

What if there was a different script for a life narrative? One that involved balance, negotiation and self-fulfillment. The 1960’s promised that in its societal revolution but took the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy to extremes of risky self-indulgence and narcissism.

As time went on it became ‘hip’ to decry the ‘hippie’ lifestyle, and the drug-infused excesses of the 1960’s and 70’s evolved into the different drug-infused excesses of the 80’s and 90’s plus money. Another form of addiction took over: success, achievement and wealth. Celebrities became our proxies for self-indulgence while we got on with the business of….business. Keeping going at all costs, winning, never stopping or losing (shame, failure!) became the mantra of the masses. The elites learned the art of deal-making and material excess from Donald Trump. We worshipped at his golden shrine as we admired and envied his self-indulgence whilst we hacked away at our chosen success paths.

We didn’t look back, or look too closely at the casualties – the suicides, the depression and addiction statistics or at the lost families and children whose parents worked too hard to give them Nintendo then PlayStation.

Creativity became a corporate commodity and a diet of blockbuster films from the 1970’s to the present revealed our preoccupations, dreams and fears: from The original trilogy ‘Star Wars’ released between 1977 and 1983, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Batman’ on their loner crusades in the 80’s, the prequel trilogy between 1999 and 2005, ‘Armageddon’, ‘Independence Day’, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and the still unsurpassed ‘The Matrix’ in the 90’s (reflecting our global anxieties and terror about global great power competition, nuclear war, climate change, technology, robotics and, yes, dinosaurs coming back!).

The new Millennium brought us ‘Mission Impossible’ to reflect our impossible lives marked by divorce and unattainable fantasies increasingly beyond reach as globalisation shafted the globe. We became infantile and escapist in our story-telling, reaching for lost childhoods, simplicity, humour and happy endings in a world outside of our control and spinning out. We hid there as a refuge in darkened movie theatres trying to grasp the meaning. We fell in love -not with real flawed men like us – but with men who looked like red and black spiders or some other colour of superhero. We went looking for ‘Nemo’, our lost rejected vulnerability. We needed cheering up as the world darkened after 9/11. We tried to control monsters by laughing at the doofus ogre ‘Shrek’. ‘Star Wars’ returned as we became more militaristic. Peter Jackson gave us a reflection of ourselves as a world at war with ourselves as he looked back to WW2 and Tolkien for inspiration.

The world got even darker as our villains did. DC Comics continued our obsession with superheros and supervillains. They even became inverted. Psychopathy and sadism became heroic paving the way for Donald Trump. ‘The Dark Knight’ epitomised the noughties – the death of the movie evil joker and the death of its lead character in ‘real’ life was the final confluence of reality and fantasy. Reel life became real; reel life was real.

“A psychopathic criminal mastermind and mass murderer with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the Joker is hired by Gotham City‘s mob bosses to kill the vigilante Batman (Christian Bale), and also comes into conflict with Batman’s allies, Gotham police officer James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). The Joker embodies themes of chaos, anarchy and obsession: throughout the film, he expresses a desire to upset the social order in Gotham through crime, and defines himself by his conflict with Batman” : Wikipedia

In the teenage years, the Star Wars sequel trilogy returned (between 2015 and 2019). Wonder, war, baby lion kings, an ‘incredible’ family juxtaposed and sent us oscillating between hope, fear and joy. ‘Toy Story ‘transformed’ us and we regained childhood innocence (‘Finding Dory’ at last- “Who would have thought one of the deepest films ever made about learning disabilities would star a talking blue fish?” – Salon).

But that was all light relief from being staunch and ‘Iron Man’ yet again. Because we were all still on missions to guard the ‘Galaxy’. Women came under extreme pressure to keep up with this macho explosion. ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ reinforced stereotypes that the Women’s Movement had taken years to dispel. But women started to be recognised not only for their past achievements (“Curie” and “Photograph 51”), but “Hidden Figures” finally acknowledged the contribution of African-American women to space flight. Sexism can now freely be the subject of films post-Harvey Weinstein.

The 100 Best Movies of the Decade (2010-2019) as listed by IMDb veered from zany with political undertones (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), mad excess ( ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and The Great Gatsby’ starring the icon of excess himself Leo di Caprio).

They were presided over by Harry Potter, Steve Jobs, James Bond, Birdman (fittingly a “washed up superhero actor”), X-Men, Captain America (of course!), Lincoln, George Smiley, and Les Miserables (us!).

The new monsters have a softer edge: In “A Monster Calls”, a boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother’s terminal illness.

Sci Fi and the post-Apocalypse reflected, not only our obsession with space travel, technology as in ‘Blade Runner 2049″, “The Martian”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, “Interstellar”, “Gravity” and “Mad Max: Fury Road”, but also our fear and anxiety about the dystopian futures of ourselves and our children.

Surviving disaster, the current angst of our age, found its expression and meaning in our collective unconscious in “The Life of Pi”. Darker films like “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Bridge of Spies” dealt with external threats in our world present and past not just in outer space. ‘Inception’ encapsulated the confusion and complexity of our traumas, but “Arrival” stimulated hope and fascination with alien life. And “The Social Network” gave us a new villain for the age in Mark Zuckerberg.

Yet whimsical sensitivity was also on the rise (“Midnight in Paris” and “Her” which combined both tender love and a computer), and there was an increasingly real (as opposed to “reel”) engagement with deep issues of race (“Moonlight”, ‘Captain Phillips’, “Django Unchained” and “12 Years a Slave”), sexual orientation (“Call Me By Your Name”), disability (‘The Theory of Everything’), abuse and exploitation (“Spotlight”, “Room”, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Black Swan”), the trauma of veterans (“The Master”), mental illness (“Silver Linings Playbook”), racism (“The Help”), AIDS (“Dallas Buyers Club”), reconciliation (“Lion”), and extended family, depression, and emotional intensity (“Manchester By the Sea”), dysfunctional family (“Gone Girl”). They are even getting recognised and awarded at the Oscars et al.

So, fewer Marvel and ‘popcorn’ movies and more “Boyhood”, “Paterson”, and the paean to sensitivity, fragility, creativity, and keeping going, “Inside Out”.

We are still living at “grand history” level through a yearning back to past glories, the inspiring resilience of our forebears, especially in war via British films like ‘Dunkirk’, ‘The Imitation Game’ and “The Kings Speech”, where vulnerability meets heroism through the overcoming of a stutter by a king.

The USA gave us its remembrance of past glory through ‘Hacksaw Ridge” and “Argo” that also provides a key to successful deception operations of the present and future.

“Ex Machina” took us into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) where I suspect we are headed for a very long time to come!

List of 2020 box office number-one films in the United States

Maybe that is where we are now – no longer stuck in stereotypes, less afraid of our feelings. Action and superhero movies, unless accompanied by emotional expression and deeper characterisation, have failed to have as much box office success as previously, a fact that has caused movie producers a degree of angst and challenge to look deeper at themes and ideas that have relevance and meaning to people and their actual ‘real’ lives. But blockbusters are still being made (there will always be teenage boys and girls) and they still have patriotic American themes that can verge (or tip over) into embarrassing saccharine shallowness. At least nowadays, however, they are balanced with American films with class and a true searching for themes that resonate at a deeper adult level.

See you at the movies!

The iconic image of the Man in the Moon
Georges Méliès – Roger-Viollet
Screenshot from Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902)

Pamela Williamson is a movie buff with a stage 3 credit in Film Studies obtained 24 years ago as part of her law degree.