The stock market spiked in response to encouraging test trials for a vaccine. Some say it might be ready for the public early next year. I feel compelled to write this down because I want to remember this moment of optimism; time will tell if this announcement was made in good faith or simply to juice a few pharmaceutical stocks. The design of America encourages suspicious thinking. At a press conference, our president proudly said he was dosing himself with an anti-malarial drug that has no proven effect on coronavirus but might trigger a heart attack.

Maybe we’ll have a vaccine soon. Maybe the president will poison himself. Things can go either way these days.

I’ve started reading Erik Davis’s High Weirdness, a catalog of 1970s visions, paranoia, and the “strange loop of cultural play” seen through the lens of figures like Terence McKenna, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Anton Wilson. Seems like an appropriate companion as we enter this deeply peculiar summer.

Shadrack Chameleon – Don’t Let It Get You Down

IGL Records, 1973 | More

One of my favorite 1970s songs, heavy and plush. Although I knew this album was recorded by a few teenagers in a homemade studio in Iowa in 1973, I didn’t know much else. While searching for more details, I came across this update from 1998 that’s a beautiful blend of the banal and reassuring: “Today, Steve Fox is an electronics technician in State Center, Iowa, and also publishes analyses of social issues; Randy Berka is a genetic researcher in Davis, California, and still plays music; Jon Porter is an insurance agent in Boulder City, Nevada, and also a representative in the Nevada State Legislature; Dan Dodgen owns a retail store in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and continues to play music locally.”