December, 2011

Dec 11


New slang terms that should come into use in 2012.

ROMNEYUM is a froth that comes from combing overly-gelled hair too much.

To be ARPEED (from “RP”) means that someone gave you one thing & took away two things. “My dad gave me a bike…but he took away my car and my car insurance. Dude arpeed me.” Because RON PAUL will give us a no-war policy but will take away environmental protections, & civil rights.

RICKPERRYROLLED: that’s when someone’s so dumb they give you a list of STUPID things to do and then they’re so STUPID they can’t remember the whole list. “Guy Rickperryrolled me”.

To be BACHMANNED is when a woman tells you you’re bad ’cause you’re gay when she’s married to a guy everyone knows is secretly gay.

Dec 11

New novel by John Shirley NOW AVAILABLE as an EBOOK (physical book is out Jan 11)

This near-future novel of political allegory in a grim, violent, semi apocalyptic setting, is: “EVERYTHING IS BROKEN”

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY REVIEW: “In this slim, grim, and powerful novel, Shirley lets his imagination loose on the frightening possibilities of a massive natural disaster striking a small American town. A tidal wave transforms Freedom, Calif., from seaside idyll into a broken and perilously unstable landscape. Survivors include some natural helpers like Drew Haver and his son, Russ, as well as psychopaths Dickie Rockwell, a gang leader and drug dealer, and Lon Ferrara, the town’s ultralibertarian mayor, who privatized emergency services and now refuses help from FEMA. Treating women like commodities and wielding a plethora of weapons, these men fight for survival and ownership of the ruins. Shirley’s vision is vivid and horrifying…”

Dec 11

Fed Ex to Replace Workers with Catapults

‎”Fed Ex Announces Lay Offs, Plans to Replace Drivers with Catapults” -

The public need not be concerned, says Fed Ex Spokesman Vaguelina Bland, as new “precision aiming technology” will enable Fed Ex to propel packages to locations with confidence and exactitude. Bubble wrap, exterior and exterior, will reduce damage to packages and recipients “significantly”.

UPS however says it does not think catapults are safe. “We are planning to use trained orangutans instead.”

Dec 11

For Christmas: A Tale of the Boy Jesus

THE WAY TO ALEXANDRIA, by John Shirley, published in full, for free, at Shaun Lawton’s FREEZINE, along with many other stories by other people.

Follow the link to meet the boy Jesus:


Dec 11

“Don’t you have a sense of timing about murdering innocent people?!”

HEADLINE today: *”Syria Reported to Kill 100 on Eve of Visit by Observers*–

“Listen, idiot, I thought I told you, don’t MURDER INNOCENT PEOPLE when it’s right before the observers come–!”

“No, President Assad sir you didn’t, you said ‘Murder a whole bunch of innocent people to freak everybody out so they shut the hell up and go away’–”

“Well don’t you have the common sense to notice that observers are coming and hold off on murdering a whole bunch of innocent people a few more days UNTIL the observers are gone?”

“I did not want to risk going against your orders, sir, as you mightve then put me on the list of innocent people to be–”

“You’re not innocent you moron! I said MURDER INNOCENT PEOPLE! What idiots you are–”

Dec 11

The Historical JESUS? Either way, Merry Christmas

Jesus, most scholars agree, existed–in the sense that Yeshua the Nazarene wandered around, said some of the things attributed to him, made an impression, locally; drew some followers, was crucified. (See, the “Book of Q” for some sayings by Jesus which scholars feel certain of, and see also, in my opinion, the Gospel of Thomas.)

He may not have died during crucifixion, according to one story, which is more believable than resurrection–he simply looked dead. The Bible, as I recall, does say they got permission to take “his body down early”. But dead on the cross or not, he was likely just a “wisdom teacher” of the time, perhaps a bit mad, in some ways, but brilliant, quite possibly a genius. And well meaning. He was likely not nearly so apocalyptic in his oracular sayings as later evangelists, pissed off at their persecutors, liked to make him out. And it is those later evangelists we can likely blame for the fabrication of most of the fantastic elements of the Jesus mythology.

I believe Jesus was likely more of an Essene-flavored gnostic than a teacher of what people now think of as Christianity, and likely never claimed he was the son of God. He called himself the son of man. He seems to have had deep insights into man’s nature, a philosophy of life that was rather like Lao Tzu, and not far from Buddha. He may have had enlightenment experiences.

He did believe, apparently, that he had a divinely ordained mission. He may well have been the bastard son of a Roman soldier, whom Mary explained as a miraculous birth. Joseph had to tolerate him but probably never accepted him as his own child, leading to Jesus having a neurotic attachment to his “divine father”, a projection on the supposed father of the universe, the only one he could psychologically accept.

Jesus seemed to like children, the poor and oppressed–and Mary Magdalen. A gnostic text mentions him kissing her on the mouth and in another he defends her worthiness to his male followers.

Jesus was called “the annointed” by his followers–that is, Cristos–and the Romans (Tacitus) record him as having been executed for insurrection. “…Christus, from whom the name [Christian] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”

Sometime after the execution of Jesus, elderly Jewish writers rolled their eyes at the recollections of him, saying they remembered him well, as a “sorcerer”, a trickster, and the bastard son of a Roman soldier named Pantera. “Him? We remember, already–he was a schmuck!” (Okay, so I’m paraphrasing).

There are in some texts two references to him found in Antiquities, attributed to the Jewish historian Josephus, but the more enthusiastic one was clearly interpolated–an out and out fraud, simply inserted in the text–by a later Christian copyist.

However there was one text, likely authentic, attributed to Josephus, that has the ring of authenticity:

At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous.

But I find this reasoning from secular historian Will Durant convincing: The Christian evidence for Christ begins with the letters ascribed to Saint Paul. Some of these are of uncertain authorship; several, antedating A.D. 64, are almost universally accounted as substantially genuine. No one has questioned the existence of Paul, or his repeated meetings with Peter, James, and John; and Paul enviously admits that these men had known Christ in his flesh. The accepted epistles frequently refer to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion….

The contradictions are of minutiae, not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ. In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies — for example, Hammurabi, David, Socrates — would fade into legend. Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed — the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature of the history of Western man.

The Story of Civilization, Volume 3: Caesar and Christ (p. 555)

Dec 11

Haunted by Eerie, Toxic Suburban Christmas Decorations

The Christmas decorations are out on our suburban neighborhood, houses apparently competing for extremes of bad taste. Hideous santa/elves inflated within bubbles of toxic “snow”, made by despairing people in some sweat shop…

I do like the small trees outlined with christmas lights, looking like ganglia alight with thoughts. Which thoughts?

But there are “deer” or reindeer outlined in lights, that move their mechanical heads this way, that way, they are without eyes, their bodies outlined by twisty pieces of plastic and metal, eyeless glowing creatures twitching in the night, hideous…

Dec 11

God: Now Under Investigation. He’d better get a lawyer.

Debating with friends in email about whether or not there can be empirical evidence of God. I said: Well, people argue about what an empirical perception is, and how it can be limited or not. Philosophers like Jacob Needleman argue that there is reasonable empirical experience of God for an individual and if you follow instructions you can have the same experience so then it becomes ‘replicable experience’. (Instruction does not involve prayer or hallucinogenic drugs.) He has a book called What is God? That explains. And for example if every night you get a phone call from a correspondent, Joe, whom no one you know has met, and he’s a really wild interesting guy on the phone and you tell them about it but they see no other evidence of Joe, after some years they perhaps suspect you’re making him up. So your experience isn’t at that moment replicable to them. But you are absolutely certain Joe exists, not only because of the phone calls but because of the content of the phone calls, his voice, the consistency of information and so on despite some mystery about him. (Joe gives no last name and no address. etc) . You are not going to say, “Maybe Joe doesn’t really exist.” You can claim, “Oh he may be a computer program or something.” But actually you get a “sense of verisimilitude” from many conversations with Joe that make him clearly a real person. So even if it’s not replicable for others you’re convinced he’s real. But others can have the Joe experience if they follow instructions. They must come to your house at a definite time and listen on the speaker phone, and this must happen many times before he’ll take their number and call them too and before they are convinced he’s real…

Sophisticated models of a higher consciousness investing the universe, which some call God, do not describe a being that is omnipotent. Compared to us, it’s perhaps omniscient, everything being relative. If you insist that by definition God must be omnipotent, the creator of the universe, your judge in the afterlife, etc, then no sophisticated thinker believes that God exists. But a supernal higher intelligence that is benevolent but not able to help us in everything exists, according to this more sophisticated model.

From my personal experience I’m convinced that there is a consciousness that exists outside individualized physical organisms, outside physical brains, which is essentially ubiquitous. I believe we have a connection to it, we’re sort of like waves on its sea, and temporarily “separate” as waves on the surface seem (in some respects) to be. I think there are evolved consciousnesses within this supernal consciousness, which are intermediate between us and it. I believe this conscious is not omnipotent and has severe limitations but it is possible to interact with it with some benefit to oneself. I have no good name for it.

Once there was an eskimo.About four hundred years ago. This eskimo was out in his kayak and got swept out to sea in a storm. He was then caught in a powerful current. Injured and without his paddles now, he drifted helplessly south. he lived on rainwater and two small fish. He was within a few breaths of dead when he was picked up, weeks later, by Islanders in the warm pacific. They took him in, saved his life, and taught him their language. he told them about a place he’d come from, where water in the cold turns to white stuff you can walk on like sand. Called ‘snow’. He described fantastic mountains of water that keep their shape, called icebergs. The islanders had never been so far north, had never seen any such thing, and assumed he was crazy. he said, “No see, if you go in your canoes with me, up north, eventually I can show you this place. But it’s a long long journey and hard to get there.” They said, “Don’t be ridiculous. Why would we believe such a thing exists. You’re mad.” He got quite angry and frustrated and told them they were smallminded fools. So they figured he was cursed. So they killed him and ate him in a fun feasting party. The end.

Dec 11

Mitt Romney’s Clear Channel Clears the Way for Propaganda in 2012

The conservative Clear Channel radio conglomerate is taking over more stations, getting rid of progressive talk shows–taking Stephanie Miller away from us in the Bay Area–and putting Beck and Limbaugh in their place.

And this naked power grab of the airwaves by the far-right may well be underwritten by MITT ROMNEY who apparently is one of the owners of Clear Channel. So we have a Presidential candidate, who will probably get the GOP nomination, eliminating certain shows, at the beginning of 2012– shows that will criticize him during the 2012 election year.

Is that legal? It’s certainly not ethical. Few seem to have noticed it’s happening…

Dec 11


My wife told me this morning that employers seeking new hires commonly put “do not apply if you are currently unemployed” in the hiring ad! Um…WHY? Whatever their reasons–they’re bad reasons. It’s flat out immoral. Do the words SOCIAL CONTRACT mean nothing to people anymore? I swear when I was a young man looking for jobs, no such thing was ever in a job listing. The country has changed in the most base-line cultural-fabric fashion.

The Republicans, the Koch Bros types, the Ayn-Rand-fans and friends have created an anything-goes atmosphere. We’ve reached new depths of SCROOGISM.

There’s being a tough competitor in the marketplace–and then there’s being a BARBARIAN. Checking people’s credit ratings before hiring, and this “no unemployed people” –that’s barbaric.