Dumb

The clock is tick-tick-ticking off its judgments. Tick – stupid. Tick – Hey, stupid. It’s new. I bought it for six bucks at the local five-and-dime. La Virgen de Guadalupe smiles serenely from its face, held aloft by angels.

Black Swan, White Swan... Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Formal logic might be the blackest of magics (and it makes for the most excruciating of reads). Just try figuring out the Black Swan Problem. Read a ton of obnoxious articles by formal logicians – who I imagine wear capes and brood in towers while they go about their dark art of turning language into math – without pushing your thumbs into your eyeballs until they pop.

Donald Duck: High Priest of the Illuminati

Conspiracy theorists are dreadfully thorough, but I guess most of them missed this one: Donald in Mathmagic Land, the 1959 Disney featurette starring Donald Duck which teaches us about the Pythagorean cult, the pentagram, the Fibonacci Sequence, and the Golden Ratio.

Jack Kirby And Comic Book Mysticism

You may not recognize the name Jack Kirby, but if you’ve ever argued with your friends over who gets to be Cyclops when you were playing X-Men in your backyard, then you’ve been touched by his creations.

Eye of the Skeptic

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in. Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t. Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Swamp Rabbit Politik -Sitting Now

Originally published November 21, 2014 via sittingnow.co.uk

Editor’s Note: Presidential assassination is never funny, which is why Right Where You Are Sitting Now will be listening for even the hint of a chuckle as you read the following column. Anyone found to be criminally tasteless will be reported to the proper authorities.

The sylvilagus aquaticus, or swamp rabbit, is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the Southern United States. The swamp rabbit is known for its short oval ears, its natural talent for swimming, and its mindless homicidal rages. It can grow to 2 feet in length and can run up to 45 miles an hour, making it a veritable cannonball of downy hate.

I only mention this because I wouldn’t want anyone saying that I’ve made light of a serious situation. That I ignored the FACTS just to make it easier to emasculate a one-time leader of the Free World and get away with an easy joke.

Carter Vs Rabbit
DATELINE: 1979. Small Plains, GA. President Jimmy Carter relaxes in a small fishing boat and contemplates the burdens laid upon his shoulders. He becomes aware of a struggle in the foliage lining the nearby bank. Suddenly, a swamp rabbit bursts from the bushes and dives into the water! It swims in blind terror from a couple of hound dogs on its heels, heading directly toward the President!
Being a man of action and thought, Carter grabs a canoe paddle and slaps the water to frighten the beast away! Seeing the look of absolute authority on the President’s face, the mange-ridden monster rethinks his strategy and swims in another direction!

And with that, the Free World can rest easy again. The President is safe.

With the facts in place, it seems like there is little to no spin room in this story, but wouldn’t you know it..

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why the Yazidis Worship the Devil (And Why That's OK) -Sitting Now

Originally published August 28, 2014 via infectiv.com

Dedicated to Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, executed for heresy

In the past month, an estimated 500,000 Yazidis have fled Sinjar, the site of one of the largest Yazidi communities in Iraq, to escape the invading threat of ISIS. The crime they are accused of is devil worship, one that Muslims have been flinging at the Yazidis since the 16th century.

The Yazidis deny the accusation, of course. But it’s hard to do when one of only two holy books known to your faith says, “Neither is it permitted to us to pronounce the name of Shaitan (because it is the name of our God)” (Meshaf Resh).

Shayṭān (Shaitan) is one of the names given to Iblis, the Islamic version of Satan. That the Meshaf Resh (The Black Book) names him as the god of the Yazidis could be a bit confusing. But it should be kept in mind that Meshaf Resh and the other Yazidi holy book, Ketēbā Jelwa (Book of Illumination), though revered by the Yazidis themselves, are considered to be forgeries written by outsiders in 1911 and 1913, respectively. So, using them as primary sources is misleading.

Much of the “confusion” (not counting that particularly damning piece of scripture) stems from connections traditionally made between peacocks and Shayṭān in Islam.

The Yazidis are a monotheistic culture, but they also venerate seven archangels (the heft sirr), chief among them being Tawûsê Melek (translated as “King Peacock” or more commonly, “Peacock Angel”). Although they believe that a supreme deity created and ruled over the heft sirr, Tawûsê Melek still plays the role of creator in Yazidi cosmology, filling the earth with animals and plants.

(Read the rest...)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Max Headroom: TV Pirate -Sitting Now

Originally published August 14, 2014 via infectiv.com

Guy Fawkes has become the face of electronic anarchism, but thirty years ago, before Anonymous and the Federal Sentencing Commission takedown, there was another discordian electro-icon: Max Headroom.

Max was the lead character of the cult-classic made-for-tv-movie, Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future (played by Matt Frewer); and would later appear as a British veejay, the star of his own spinoff show, and as the spokesman for New Coke. His digitized features (created with Hollywood makeup magic) and glitchy stutter were well-known and popular in the late 80′s. So popular that I can’t believe I’m having to explain who he is. Ah, the terrible burden of the elderly.

But on November 22, 1987, TV viewers were introduced to a different Max Headroom. During the Chicago Bears highlights segment of WGN-TV’s Nine O’Clock News, the normal feed was interrupted by the image of a man wearing a Max Headroom mask and sitting in front of a wildly bobbing sheet of corrugated metal while a loud buzz of feedback was heard.

After twenty-five seconds, the sports anchor returned, looking about as confused as anyone, saying, “Well, if you’re wondering what’s happened, so am I.”

What had happened was a broadcast pirate, using a microwave transmitter, overrode the station’s signal with his own

(Read the rest...)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Where'd the Cheese Go? -Sitting Now

Originally published August 8, 2014 via infectiv.com

I guess I’m a Ween apologist. I’ve liked the Pennsylvanian band ever since my buddy’s penny CD club accidentally sent him Chocolate and Cheese instead of the Weezer album he’d ordered. After noting all the underboob on the cover, our sixteen-year-old hormones graciously decided to give it a chance, and I instantly fell in love.

They’ve always made me laugh, with the same glee that dick and fart jokes do, and I’ve often found myself singing the chorus of one sophomoric Ween anthem or another over and over like a mental hiccup.


But it was a real downer when I realized early on that the only other Ween fans out there were, as Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman has put it, “children and retarded people.” It became quickly apparent that mentioning them in polite company would almost certainly lead to sour faces and distrusting, sideways glances. 

Ween became a seriously guilty pleasure, hidden under my mattress and played only at low volumes with the curtains drawn.

My poor wife has had full access to everything behind closed doors, though, and on a recent occurrence of the ever-popular “Sing Ween Songs At Your Spouse” game (not her favorite), I found myself bobbing my head at her like an emu and barking, “Where’d the cheese go?”

(Read the rest...)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dumb -Infectiv

Originally published July 27, 2014 via infectiv.com

The clock is tick-tick-ticking off its judgments. Tick – stupid. Tick – Hey, stupid. 

It’s new. I bought it for six bucks at the local five-and-dime. La Virgen de Guadalupe smiles serenely from its face, held aloft by angels. There were two options: burgundy or black; but the black ones were misprints, stretched wide, turning La Virgen into La Gorda.

As I hung up the new prize, I told my wife about the apparent dumbing down of America that’s been going on behind our backs. I’d heard all about it while I waited in line.

“I just found out my kids don’t know how to read a clock. Had to teach them, myself,” said a round woman standing behind me while she studied the clock in my hands. “They’re in high school, for chrissake.”

I nodded sympathetically and put my purchase on the counter.

The cashier had been eavesdropping and piped in, “And they don’t know how to count back change, either. If the register messes up, they’re all, ‘What do I do? What do I do?’ ”

As I told the story to my wife, I mimed a panicking teenager, flailing my arms; coughing and sputtering. I set the clock onto the nail, stepped back and frowned. Off center.

“Lousy kids,” I said

(Read the Rest...)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Here We Go, Again!

Welcome to the brand-spanking-new, revamped, polished, licked clean Joshua Lee blog. Here you will find a complete index of my published articles.

Hire me. I have no artistic integrity, and will say almost anything to get that paycheck.

Hi-o!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cop-Killer: The Disturbing Trend of Anti-Police Sentiment -Infectiv

Originally published July 16, 2014 via infectiv.com

It’s been a little over a month since two anti-government radicals, Jared and Amanda Miller, shot and killed two police officers and one bystander in Las Vegas before one was killed and the other committed suicide. This wasn’t the result of a Mexican standoff, a wild car chase, or a government raid. Just two off-duty cops, enjoying lunch at a Cici’s Pizza and probably never guessing that they were sitting in the cross hairs of a pair of psychopaths armed with a number of handguns, one shotgun, and an unhealthy amount of extremist rhetoric.

If there had been some kind of summer-movie-style standoff – the Millers fighting heroically against a militarized police force – one would expect these two to be held up as martyrs for some cause by one anti-police group or another. But randomly killing two men as they enjoy some awful buffet pizza isn’t even on the same planet as heroic; and trying to imagine even the worst Alex Jones-type militant right-winger group supporting these two killers is a hard stretch.

But that’s exactly what happened.

According to Jason Sickles of Yahoo News, the Facebook page of Cop Block blew up with celebratory posts, including, “The good news is, there are two less police in the world.” These posts were later removed, but only after Yahoo contacted Facebook, who then intervened.

Cop Block is an advocacy group promoting “the education of individual rights through the dissemination of different viewpoints and tactics that seek to curtail the all-too-common rights-violations and unaccountability that today exists [in regards to law enforcement].”

Pete Eyre (co-founder of Cop Block) claims the group is opposed to violence. “There was blanket rejoicing over the deaths of two people and I don’t think that’s good in any situation. It didn’t fit Cop Block ideology. The site’s not an anti-police thing; it’s like a pro-personal empowerment site.”

Too bad one of its most popular blog entries is titled, “When Should You Shoot a Cop.
But they are by no means alone. According to a report released last week by the Southern Poverty Law Center, titled “War in the West: The Bundy Ranch Standoff,” there are over 1,000 anti-government extremist groups (including anti-law enforcement) currently active in the US, up from 150 in 2008. How they define “active” or label such groups isn’t exactly clear, but even if they are fudging numbers, the undeniable trend is apparent everywhere.

Faith in authority figures has eroded rapidly in recent years, especially since the Snowden revelations. Combine that with the recent windfall of marijuana supporters in the US, and a nervous, distrusting attitude toward our police force is to be expected.

Here in Albuquerque, NM, that attitude has developed into a palpable paranoia. Our local Police Department was investigated earlier this year by the the Department of Justice, who concluded that they have been using excessive force in their policing. This report followed public outcry after a video surfaced of officers shooting and killing an unarmed homeless man, the 23rd victim of a police shooting since 2010. At the protests which followed, I personally watched as they tear-gassed a group of peaceful protestors (children amongst them) while wearing body armor and gas masks, driving around in armored transports that looked like tanks. And just the other day it was reported that they’ve purchased 350 AR-15 rifles, a military-grade weapon, to arm their soldiers.. I mean, cops.

In a place like this, where a passing police cruiser marked “Armed Response Team” can give you some serious chills, the idea that the police are not to be trusted is an easy pill to swallow. But to stop the violence by throwing more violence on the fire is ridiculous.

If the Millers had actually set off some kind of successful revolution, I’m pretty sure it would have ended up with “meet the new boss, same as the old..”

Jared’s Facebook page was full of anti-cop and anti-authority rhetoric. He claimed to want freedom from a government that was trying to take all of his civil liberties away. I’m sure that if someone had described the police as “gun-toting, power-hungry fascists,” he would have agreed. The fact  that this description could easily be applied to he and his wife would probably go unnoticed, though.

I’m under the impression that the Millers were only concerned with the power given to our police, because they were jealous of that power. Murdering a stranger in the name of an ideology smacks of fascism, if you ask me; and I would imagine that these two crazies were only anti-fascist when it was the other side that had the guns.

Or, it could be another one of those classic cases where someone becomes the very thing they were fighting.

Either way, these two assholes have really managed to put a dark spot on the image of anyone opposed to the escalating militarization of the police. While they were at it, they managed to kill two men who were probably just trying to get through another shitty day at a shitty job. And all so they could play out their stupid control fantasies and pretend that they were the ones in power, for once.

But as the Great Bard, Kurt Vonnegut once said, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Swan, White Swan... Let's Call The Whole Thing Off -Infectiv

Originally published July 10, 2014 via infectiv.com

Formal logic might be the blackest of magics (and it makes for the most excruciating of reads). Just try figuring out the Black Swan Problem. Read a ton of obnoxious articles by formal logicians – who I imagine wear capes and brood in towers while they go about their dark art of turning language into math – without pushing your thumbs into your eyeballs until they pop.
 
Good luck.

I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of contest going on where each of these schmucks tries to outdo the other by taking simple ideas and complicating the hell out of them with the smartest-sounding words they can find in a thesaurus. Whoever can turn a paragraph into 3000 words wins!
So here’s the incredibly easy concept that you won’t find anywhere in plain English:
Black Swan Problem:
  1. Dude sees a swan. Said swan is white.
  2. Dude says, “Oh, snap. I guess all swans are white.”
  3. Everyone agrees. All swans are white.
  4. But then I see a black swan.
  5. Dude looks like a dummy.
Black Swan Solution: Don’t be that dude.

This all apparently happened in real life when a Dutch sailor named Antonie Caen became the first European to catch sight of a black swan in 1636 near Shark Bay, Australia. Up until this point, there had been a common English idiom, “You’ll see a black swan before… ” which had roughly the same meaning as, “It’ll be a cold day in Hell when… ” 

Caen’s discovery, and the subsequent scientific legitimacy given by Dr. John Latham in 1790, killed the saying by stabbing it to death with irony. Now, a “black swan” had to be something we thought didn’t exist, but in fact did.

It would be like waking up one morning and being confronted by the front page of the newspaper – Scientists Discover Winged Pig in the Yucatan. I can already imagine the memes crowding Reddit.

(Read the rest...)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jack Kirby and Comic Book Mysticism -Disinformation

 Originally published June 2, 2014 via disinfo.com

You may not recognize the name Jack Kirby, but if you’ve ever argued with your friends over who gets to be Cyclops when you were playing X-Men in your backyard, then you’ve been touched by his creations.

Jack “King” Kirby was a comic book artist/writer/creator between the 30s and the 70s, whose work is arguably the most influential in the medium.  He created and co-created some of the most recognizable superheroes: Captain America, Thor, the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, the X-men, the Fantastic Four, the New Gods, and on and on.

His era of the comic industry is marred by poor pay-rates and draconian business models, where more often than not, artists were handing over their creations for pennies, and were happy just to get their name in the credits.  To make any money at it, Kirby would sit at his drawing board for twelve to fourteen hours a day, pushing out four or five comics a month.  And we’re not talking about hack junkers.  His books were vital, exciting, and changed the face of comic books.

He introduced the dramatic forced perspective that has become the norm, as well as the epically-proportioned cosmic stories that we’ve all come to expect from the medium.  His more realistic characterization of superheroes in The Fantastic Four (1961) would single-handedly establish the tone of Marvel Comics for the following decade; challenging the portrayal of superheroes as clean-cut boy scouts with square jaws, and replacing them with psychologically flawed neurotics and monsters.

The lasting effect of his work on the medium can still be felt today, but there may be more to this story than just a talented artist and prolific creator.  Author Christopher Knowles (Our Gods Wear Spandex) has toyed with the idea that Kirby’s creations may have been the result of a mystical experience, making him a twentieth-century version of a shaman.

Read the rest...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

ROSWELL Part 2: Giftshop Autopsy -Sitting Now

Read Part 1..
 
Turning thirty-one is a dirty punishment for living.  Too young to know what the hell is going on; too old to pretend you do.  I was celebrating my thirty-first birthday in Roswell, New Mexico- the spiritual motherland of the X-files and Coast to Coast AM.

I wasn’t sure why I’d chosen Roswell to to take my first steps into seniority, but it sure wasn’t curiosity.  After two decades of filling my own head with stories of alien abductions and government coverups, I already knew what I’d find there: little green bumper stickers and ash trays at bargain-basement prices.  I was an Adult, dag-blast-it!

But sometimes the mountain calls the Prophet, and all that.

It was 4:30 PM on Valentine’s Day.  My wife and I had just left the world-famous International UFO Museum and Research Center, and Main Street was strangely calm.  Here and there, a few families could be seen taking photos.  On the other side of the street, a cadet from the nearby New Mexico Military Institute, wearing his dress uniform and clutching a dozen roses, charged along at full clip with a determined focus that only a sex-starved soldier-to-be can carry.

Come July, the street where traffic was lazing along will become packed with thousands of tourists from all over, here to see the UFO Festival.  Brightly-colored costumes will choke the road and the smells of street food will fill the air.  A trail of alien footprints would be hard to spot in the midst of such revelry, but on this clear winter day, they stood out conspicuously.

I was itching to get over there and investigate, but I was trying to play it cool.  “Why don’t we cross over here?” I asked my wife.

“Are you crazy?”   She fired a look at me.  Was she suspicious?  Could she tell that her husband had become one of those madmen we all hear about?

“I am not getting a jay walking ticket in a strange town.”

In answer, two police cruisers drove by in succession.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ROSWELL Part 1: Guns, Grays, and Greeting Cards -Sitting Now

Originally published April 3, 2014 via sittingnow.co.uk

In July 1947, a flying saucer went skipping like a stone across the New Mexico desert.  “Most people think the ship crashed in Roswell, but it only hit the ground before bouncing up and landing in Corona,” says Pat Jennings, ex-military UFO enthusiast and “Mercenary Genius Extraordinaire.”

Our route into town was opposite of the flight path, my wife and I barreling through the New Mexico desert at 65 miles per hour down US-285 from Clines Corners, a hiccup of a town.

It was my birthday weekend, and when my wife asked what I wanted to do, I just pulled out the itinerary I’d prepared and pointed to a map of Roswell.

It was like Mecca to a UFO freak like me, and I’d wanted to see it for myself since I was a kid.
“I know it’s just a little town with nothing to really do, but I bet I could get a funny article out of it.  And Carlsbad Caverns is just down the road, so we could go check out some bats, too.”  Secretly, I was hoping that I would somehow get to see a crashed UFO, or at least a dead Gray, but I decided to keep that to myself.

From two miles back, I could see the first landmark: a Super Walmart with “Welcome to Roswell” painted on the front window, surrounded in little green men.

I needed supplies before we dove in, so I stopped.

My initial human contact came in the form of a tooth-grinding redneck couple in the parking lot, skulls grinning through their skins.  The man was marching purposefully to their car, somehow managing to keep from tripping over the hems of his ancient JNCOs (possibly the last remaining pair in existence).  He ignored his girlfriend as she scratched at an elbow so sharp it could cut a man in two.

“Fuck that bitch.  I already gave her ten dollars.  She trippin’ on that bad bad.”

Pay no attention.  Just go inside, buy your beer and souvenir shot glass and pray that the ETs never saw anything like this while they were compiling first impressions.

Read the rest...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Albuquerque Protest Turns Ugly -Disinformation



Originally published March 31, 2014 via disinfo.com

The Albuquerque Police Department are being investigated by the FBI after a YouTube video went up last week, showing APD shooting a homeless man who was camping, after what was reported as a standoff that lasted for hours.

This is the 22nd police shooting since 2010, and outrage has poured out over the incident, sparking the interest of the national media and even Anonymous, which led to protests against police violence all over the city Sunday night.

APD has said that the deadly use of force was warranted in this instance, because the suspect, James Boyd, had a history of mental illness and was armed with multiple knives.

I’d barely noticed the story until the protests started, and didn’t really know what to make of it.  Maybe APD did have good reason to shoot Boyd.  I don’t know.

But after witnessing cops in bullet-proof vests and gas masks shooting tear gas into a street filled with peaceful protesters, innocent by-standers, and even children, I’ve decided to err on the side of the people who weren’t being assholes.

My introduction to the protests was through Thomas Dixon’s live video stream as he followed protesters along Central Avenue in downtown Albuquerque.

Hundreds were marching to the police station, but the only live footage was coming from Dixon’s phone and two other feeds.

Read the rest...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Skeleton Key to the Conspiracy: The Eriksson Twins -Disinformation

Originally published March 19, 2014 via disinfo.com

There’s a gang of YouTube videos out there “proving” that So-and-So is a shape-changing lizard alien, based solely on minor video distortions.  And (if you didn’t know) Paul’s bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road is proof that MI5 replaced him with a double when he died in 1966.

Sometimes, the most innocuous event can be touted as evidence of a conspiracy.

And sometimes, the evidence supporting a theory will be so damning that it will push that theory into the realm of “fact.”  Like Snowden’s revelations, which proved what the Alex Jones crowd had been saying for years.

But somewhere in the middle, are those events which refuse to be either proof or conjecture.  Events that merely dull Occam’s razor, leaving you with only a slightly scarred hunk of rock-solid “what if..”

A couple of years ago, I saw one of these odd moments in a BBC documentary, Madness in the Fast Lane.  It told the story of twin sisters Sabina and Ursula Erikkson, who shocked citizens of the UK in 2008, when during the filming of an episode of BBC One’s Motorway Cops, they repeatedly ran into the fast-moving traffic of the M6 for no apparent reason, all while fist-fighting police and hollering about organ thieves.

Despite having been pummeled by high-speed cars and showing obvious signs of mental illness, one sister would be released from police custody within days, and would later stab a local man to death.
The motive behind the murder, as well as the twins’ bizarre behavior on the motorway, are wrapped up in mystery even now, six years on.

It’s one of those perfect, holographic stories, where a billion different versions can all happen simultaneously.  In near-HD.  A story that can be used as evidence to support whatever mad theory you’ve got going at the moment.  Screw Tower 7 and the Magic Bullet.  Just pull out the story of Sabina and Ursula Eriksson and watch the naysayers scratch their heads in confusion.

So consider this my gift to you, dear reader:

Read the Rest...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Robomancy: Technoccultist Joshua Madara on Arduino and the Future of Magick -Disinformation

Originally published February 8, 2014 via disinfo.com

2:30 a.m.
Four hours of trudging through circuit diagrams and forum posts that read like Chinese toaster manuals, trying desperately to figure out what “Arduinois.  I finally have a breakthrough realization: I may have reached the far end of my brain’s capacity to learn new things.

I am an idiot.  What a downer.

Luckily, I find a TED Talk by Massimo Banzi, an instructor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy and co-creator of Arduino, an “open-source electronics prototyping platform,” which breaks it all down for me.  Through a haze of tears, I learn how a couple of nerds have managed to turn the world of interactive technology on its head while fooling around with toys and LED displays in their bedrooms.

From what Banzi says, Arduino has slowly and quietly been taking over our technological world since 2005, when he and four friends began developing a tool that would make it easier for his students to create their own interactive electronic inventions without having to be an engineer.
Basically, “Arduino is an open-source and easy-to-program controller for creating interactive objects and environments.”

Or at least that’s how someone much smarter than me explained it.
Seeing some actual devices developed by folks using Arduino made it a little easier to grasp.  Like the APM Copter, an autonomous drone with six rotors, or the txtBOMBER, a handy little gadget that “prints” graffiti on any flat surface in seconds.
One of my personal favorites (which immediately highlights my dweebosity) is the Laser Harp.  Trying to describe it would only take away from the experience of witnessing it, so I won’t even bother.

Oh.  And there have been other, smaller projects that use the Arduino for a brain, like ArduSat (a homemade satellite), 3D Printers, or the Large Hadron Collider.  Stuff like that.
The projects are usually open source, and you can easily look up how to build these things yourself.  There’s an entire “Maker” community (named after the DIY-themed Make magazine) dedicated to these sorts of projects.

Read the Rest...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dead Chickens and Santeria at the Romero Cemetery -Sitting Now

Originally published January 27, 2014 via sittingnow.co.uk

The Albuquerque warehouse district is cold as hell at midnight.  And dark.  This little spot goes dead around 6 p.m. and refuses to drag its scraggly ass up until 5.  I’ve been sitting in the cold for two hours, cursing Matt Staggs and chain smoking.

A single tweet from Matt two week ago piqued my interest, beginning a chain reaction that ends with me on a wild chicken chase to find out who’s been leaving the corpses of black hens in a dusty family cemetery for two years.

A story that has been copypastaed ad nauseum around the internet for some reason, the last two weeks:
“KRQE-TV reports (http://goo.gl/XR9FZ8) that Michael Gabaldon, co-owner of Romero Cemetery, says for two years, dead chickens and chicken parts have been dropped off overnight.
He says the chickens have been left periodically from every day to every two weeks.  There also are bones or feathers scattered throughout the cemetery.
Gabaldon says he doesn’t know if the chickens are part of a religious ceremony, but he called the bizarre practice disgusting and creepy.
He says he hopes to put up a gate to keep cars out at night.”
The original article (which has disappeared from the website at the moment) gives me a few more details that allow me to locate the cemetery, a private family plot used for over two hundred years.  Bundle up, kiss the dog, and go-a-visitin’.

Read the rest...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Hand of Glory (A Lesson in Ps and Qs) -Disinformation

Originally published January 18, 2014 via disinfo.com
Ich bin ein Berliner.”
-John F. Kennedy

The Hand of Glory is one of those stories you hear of when you’re running around with PROFESSIONAL occultists.  Like the beat cop’s story of the junkie on angel dust, still standing after a barrage of gunfire; or the “Things I’ve Pulled out of Rectums” stories from nurses.  Stuff that blows the layman’s mind, but is just another day in the business for the pro.

The Hand is supposed to be an object of extreme occult power.  Depending on the version, it will either turn its user invisible, mesmerize victims in its vicinity, or it can tell the future.

There are varying instructions for its creation, but the most commonly cited is a delicious recipe by Petit Albert (1722) for pickling the hand of a recently hung jerkwad.
“Take the right or left hand of a felon who is hanging from a gibbet beside a highway; wrap it in part of a funeral pall and so wrapped squeeze it well.  Then put it into an earthenware vessel with zimat, nitre, salt and long peppers, the whole well powdered.  Leave it in this vessel for a fortnight, then take it out and expose it to full sunlight during the dog-days until it becomes quite dry.  If the sun is not strong enough put it in an oven with fern and vervain.  Next make a kind of candle from the fat of a gibbeted felon, virgin wax, sesame, and ponie, and use the Hand of Glory as a candlestick to hold this candle when lighted, and then those in every place into which you go with this baneful instrument shall remain motionless.”
Other versions involve dipping the hand in wax and lighting the fingers, or the use of a different set of herbs.
The end result is always the same, though: a nasty piece of black magic, coveted by thieves and brigands, who are said to have used the thing to put entire houses to sleep while they robbed them blind.

Read the rest...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Author Patrick J. Russell's House Condemned to Make Way For Baseball Stadium -Disinformation

Originally published January 8, 2014 via disinfo.com

 Right now, Mayor Patricia A. Lewis and the city council of Granville, West Virginia are probably sipping brandy and snorting lines of weapons-grade rhino horn off of a three thousand dollar coffee table while contemplating their next act of obscene evil.

At least, that’s how I will continue to picture it, as long as the mayor keeps refusing to return my calls like some kind of jilted lover.

It’s over, Trish.  I want my stuff.

I’m an agnostic, meaning when it comes to Hell, I hedge my bets.  And Mayor Lewis had better hedge hers after the bad craziness surrounding the impending eviction of author Patrick J. Russell.  Throwing a blind man and his wife out of their home and into a “polar vortex.”  Killing their dogs if a replacement home isn’t found.  It’s something you and I would only do under extreme duress and in the throes of a highly theatrical revenge plot.

Patrick J. Russell is a writer and a favorite promoter of independent artists.  He’s been legally blind since the 90′s, and works out of his home, which, as of 5:30 pm January 6, was condemned by the City of Granville.  Russell, his wife, and their five dogs are being forced to vacate their home of twenty years.

“I haven’t been out of my house in 11 years.  I don’t know anybody around here anymore.  My eyes, the inflammation, my eyes get worse.  So yes, my home is everything to me,” Russell told Lauren Talotta of WBOY news.

The house (pictured at left) is admittedly in some disrepair . Not surprising, considering the owner is disabled.  But you’d think in a town with a population of 1,477 people, where “small town values” should be popular, that someone would’ve lent a neighbor a helping hand where it was needed.  It would’ve been a little more pleasant than throwing a blind man and his family onto the streets while the state is experiencing its lowest temperature in twenty-five years.

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