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Crossfire hurricane

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Terry finds a cassette copy of The Rolling Stones' "Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2)" in the 1986 film "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – In the critically-panned film Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), a Cold War-era spy farce starring Whoopi Goldberg.

As she pops in a cassette tape version of The Rolling Stones’ Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) “best-of” collection and the band’s 1968 hit single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” begins to play.

Goldberg’s character, Teresa “Terry” Doolittle, is trying to figure out the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” lyrics and crack a code - a code embedded in a song which Rolling Stone magazine called at the time, "Supernatural Delta blues by way of Swinging London."

“Maybe it’s in the lyrics of the song?” she wonders aloud.

Popping in the tape, Terry tries to figure out the opening line, writing down the lyrics as she hears them.

Terry mishears “I was born, in a crossfire hurricane” by writing “I was born, in a column by Herb Caen.” Caen was a beloved San Francisco-based columnist known for his wit and wisdom and his quote: “If I do go to heaven, I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’”

This has got some weird-ass lyrics,” Terry says, trying to figure them out.

Watching her strut like Mick Jagger around her apartment, I naturally look for clues … on the walls are movie posters. I see one for The Maltese Falcon. That was the film that gave the big brains with The Manhattan Project working on the atomic bomb the names “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” for the bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I also see a poster for Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), which starred William Hurt.


Back to Through the Past, Darkly. Just in the past week I have been sensing a need to listen to that CD in the car, and, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in particular. I do love the psychedelic Their Satanic Majesties Request material, but “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” really is a “gas, gas, gas.

And, interestingly, the UK version of the album features “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” as the first song on Side 1, while the US version features it as the fourth song. Just like “It Won’t Be Long” is the first song on With the Beatles (UK/1963) and the fourth song on Side 1 on Meet the Beatles! (US/1964), something I noted in yesterday’s review of Black Lips’ Satan’s Graffiti … or God’s Art? … weirdsville!)

Plus, the original version of Through the Past, Darkly was sold in an octagonal-shaped album sleeve. In Whoopi Goldberg's apartment in Jumpin' Jack Flash, you can see a small, red stop sign on the wall which reads "DEAD END."

So, these clues lead to a dead end? 

Also, prominently placed behind Terry is a poster for the 1947 Terrytoons cartoon Mighty Mouse Meets Deadeye Dick. In that cartoon short, the villain, Deadeye Dick terrorizes a small, Western town. He goes into the saloon and orders his "special" drink, a mix of lye and DDT, which, when mixed, create an atomic-like explosion, complete with mushroom cloud. It reminded me a bit of an earlier DDD titled "Smithereenies."

But I digress ...

In fact, I just realized that back in March, I wrote a Dust Devil Dreams post headlined “Through the past, Darko … (American dream … or Bono’s dream?).”

The post is interesting, a little over five months later, because I note a number of “syncy” things that were on my mind at the time, from the month “October 1988,” Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka’s post-apocalyptic novel WarDay (with a nuclear war having taken place between the U.S. and Soviet Union in October 1988), The Rolling Stones, Halloween, The Americans, nuclear war, the World Trade Center, and much more. It was a weird post …

In it I wrote at the time: “In Back to the Future, Doc Brown always warns Marty not to drive the time-traveling DeLorean at or above 88 miles per hour. Because, well, you travel in time. And things can happen and change the course of history … history, like “memories,” are important in Back to the Future. But not in all time-travel stories.

I thought of that as I mulled over various parts of Richard Kelly’s 2001 masterpiece Donnie Darko, which is set over the course of October 1988. There’s just something about that month and year, folks … recall that the initial events in BTTF take place on October 26, 1985 … While Warday takes place on Friday, October 28, 1988, in Donnie Darko, October 28th is the day before the key “Halloween party” at the Darko family house.

In my “primary reality” of Halloween 1988, I distinctly remember listening to the Rolling Stones’ 1969 compilation album Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), as I waited for the doorbell to ring and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters.”

Or should that be (now) Through the Past, Darko … ?

This collection – my favorite of their compilation albums, which featured my favorite Stones track – “2000 Light Years from Home” - was originally released with an octagonal-shaped album sleeve, and was released shortly after Brian Jones’s (forced) departure from the band and his death, which was likely a homicide.

It is said that the Stones were paying either homage to Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 classic Through a Glass Darkly, or, less-likely, referencing 1 Corinithians 13: “For now see through a glass, darkly …

Continuing ... 

Nationally-syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg (Ah! A “Goldberg” sync) used the “La La Land / Moonlight” episode to suggest this “bizarreness” seems to “fit into a more general trend of universal weirdness.”

Writes Goldberg, in his piece titled “Can a scientific law explain Oscar debacle?”: “It’s as if at some point we took the wrong exit into a parallel universe, and the bungled Oscars are just the latest example that we’re strangers in a strange land …”


Back to writer Whitley Strieber ... I am utterly convinced that the controversial author of Communion and many other works of fiction and non-fiction is in touch with some other forces not fully understood by the rest of us. His recent book, The Super Natural, convinced me of that.

Anyway, while on my trip to see the solar eclipse earlier this week, I stopped in Siloam Springs, Arkansas (36.1881° N, 94.5405° W) and visited a friend - the same person who designed the Red Dirt Report logo - and in a joking manner was asking me if I had read some yellowing, old paperback books. Of the three or four he showed me, one of them was Whitley Strieber's 1982 occult novel Black Magic, which I had not read. Frankly, it was a weird moment, seeing that random, 35-year old paperback. He seemed compelled to show it to me. This, of course, was taking place on the aforementioned 94 degrees west line of longitude, part of my investigation into The Stilwell Enigma.

While we're on the subject of "Stilwell," it was railroad magnate Arthur Stilwell, with the Kansas City Southern Railroad, who built it (mainly along the 94 longitude line) to stop in what would become the town of Port Arthur, Texas, named after himself. "Brownies" (an archaic term for folkloric fairies or gnomes) communicated with Stilwell, warning him to not build his railroad to end in Galveston, Texas, telling him that a great, catastrophic event would befall Galveston soon enough. And it did, in 1900, with the Great Hurricane of Sept. 8, 1900, which would kill hundreds and leave Galveston in ruins. It also shaped this area of the Gulf of Mexico for decades to come.

Later, while researching Black Magic, I learned that this one came out before WarDay and was about subjects we are concerned about today - Russian espionage, spying, "occult weaponry," Iranians with telepathic powers, links to the "Muslim Brotherhood" and on and on. A solid attempt to tell a suspenseful thriller involving "international-evil-by-mind-control."

Kirkus Reviews noted in 1982 that Black Magic is not one of Strieber’s best works, noting that “Black Magic” “is the Soviet scheme to use astral, extra-low-frequency (ELF) mind-control to first neutralize the US missile force (by mind-zapping the US into a disastrous first strike)--and then to turn all Americans into mind-controlled zombies. And what exactly is the source of all this ELF power? Well, the main power-bank is an effete Iranian youth named Jamshid, who's hiding out in South Dakota, ready to zap America with a projected ""Field"" from Russia via ELF antennae. (Jamshid and his Muslim Brotherhood pals think they're going to destroy both the US and the USSR; they don't know that the KGB is behind their whole set-up.)" 

Recall that in Jumpin' Jack Flash that Terry, who works at a bank, unwittingly gets caught up in an international espionage ring involving the Brits, CIA and KGB. 

Oh and when she cracks the code, it's that the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is recorded in B-flat. That is the password.

Anyway, an interesting diversion. And weirdly prescient on Strieber's part, considering the issues we discuss here in 2017.


Back on Halloween Day 2014 I wrote a piece called “Crossroads,” here at Dust Devil Dreams, which delves into the synchromystic nature of the name “Harvey,” aspects of the film Donnie Darko, the 90’s band “Harvey Danger,” and the sync stuff related to Echo & The Bunnymen and The KLF, who coincidentally enough, reappeared in Liverpool today for the first time in 23 years, as promised, to promote a new book called 2023. It's all caused a lot of excitement - at least for those who remember who The KLF (or Justified Ancients of MuMu or JAMS or K Foundation or whatever ...) and the time they burned 1 million pounds. Yeah, it really happened. High art, or something. 

Anyway, there was some speculation that during Monday's solar eclipse, a possible hurricane might develop in the Gulf of Mexico and take place during the eclipse. Seems as though things were a few days off and the storm, a Tropical Storm at the moment, is called HARVEY. That's a name that has been popping up quite a bit of late. 

But it really got my attention because had the eclipse and hurricane intersected, I thought it might be a "crossfire hurricane," with the Texas coastline in Mother Nature's sites. The eastern edge of the projected landfall is near the Texas/Louisiana border, near Port Arthur, of course, but with Galveston getting the brunt of it if it turns into a full-fledged hurricane. 

Port Arthur’s coordinates are: 29.8850° N, 93.9399° W. Just a smidge short of 94, but close enough.

I think these syncs with "crossroads" and "crossfire" are somewhat disturbing, although there could be positive outcomes. I'm only speculating here, but we are at our own "crossroads," America. Are we making a "deal with the devil," like the old bluesman Robert Johnson did on that dusty crossroad in Mississippi?

Recall that in the Stones' song, Mick Jagger, in the next line says: "And I howled at my ma in the driving rain" ...

There is a howl out there, America. It's getting louder. 

Will everything be all right? It remains to be seen.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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