February, 2019

Feb 19


I have had a crypto-zoological experience, having seen and photographed (see below) the fabled SNOW SHARK. The snow shark, known to Eskimos and a few of us in the Pacific NW, lives much of its life cycle under under icebergs in the Frozen North, but can hunt in snow over land, which it accesses through semi-frozen streams. It leaps up the streams like a salmon heading to spawn, then dives headlong into snow banks adjacent to the streams, and wriggles its way in, to hunt for prey on land. It has evolved the capability of heating pockets of air within it, which it then expels through special nostrils on its snout (regular sharks DO have nostrils on the undersides of their snouts, look it up, which they use for detecting smells, not for breathing); the heated air melts some of the snow ahead of it, which makes a slushy tunnel it gradually works through, and which also creates slushy water which it draws into its gills for breathing.

The Snow Shark noses through the snow relatively slowly, at first, but when it senses prey–it’s very sensitive to the vibrations of movement up to ten yards away–it worms closer then snaps its body in a leaping lunge, and snaps closed its powerful jaws on small dogs, cats, birds, and sometimes drink-sodden hobos. We wouldn’t be aware of it down here in Washington State, at all, except that climate change has melted away much of its habitat and diminished its natural prey, so it wanders southward, looking for extreme-weather systems whereby it can access the mainland. There were rumors of missing children in New York City, this winter…And now, here’s the photograph I took of one that was surfacing to begin its lunge-snap. It was after a squirrel–of which it made short work. The snow shark is rather compact, about the half the size of a grown dolphin, at most, and it quickly disappears with its prey beneath the snow cover. Notice, in the picture, the distinctive metallic sheen in the dorsal fin–that’s an evolutionary adaptation that helps it cut through the surface snow crust: it’s a mixture of iron absorbed from seawater (seawater contains 1-3 ppb of iron, look that up too) and the dentin constituting sharkskin scales.

Feb 19

Am I an atheist?

A man named John Gray has a book out averring that there are  Seven Types of Atheism. Am I a type of atheist?

I myself am an atheist if that denotes a person who does not believe in “God”. BUT–what do you mean by God? I believe the universe is (universes are?) charged with a consciousness that is naturally collected in living creatures and the universal consciousness uses the animal and human (and alien)  minds to observe the universe objectively.

I believe that all of the cosmos is alive in a sense, and that there are particles of consciousness. I hypothesize that there may be an intermediate consciousness, which rather fits in with some mystical theories of Christology and certain Buddhist ideas. It may be a subtle resource for organisms conscious enough to be open to it. This is, again, a maybe. I believe all this is NATURAL, not supernatural. I think religion’s ideas of God  are at worst ridiculous, at best woefully incomplete. Creationism is ludicrous and Intelligent Design isn’t much better, though I do suspect that evolution may actually have a very subtle “arc of direction” inherent to it.

I conjecture that there are beings which have bodies which we are not able to detect; that it may be possible for a human being to create such a body, if it’s cultivated properly–and I theorize it may emerge at death, for such people. And by people I include extraterrestrials. Am I an atheist?

Feb 19

Vampirism Caused by Vanity

The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public not to use young people’s blood to treat a slew of conditions, including aging…The agency’s commissioner said …there are “significant public health concerns” about promoting the use of blood transfusions from young donors. “Today, we’re alerting consumers and health care providers that treatments using plasma from young donors have not gone through the rigorous testing that the FDA normally requires in order to confirm the therapeutic benefit of a product and to ensure its safety…”


Imagine what this could lead to in other ways:

“Son, mommy needs you to give some more blood today”

“But I feel tired and sick.”

“Mommy has to pay for her special medication.”

It’s like some cheesy horror film set up. And later they start kidnapping children and caging them and “milking them” for blood. It’s like a caricature of the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world. But this business of selling blood from children and young folks is real.

Feb 19


[by john Shirley]
The following letter was intercepted through a new breakthrough in metaphysical communications technology:

I have taken over from Azazel as Primary Demon in charge of the destruction of humans on the planet Earth. Azazel seems to be going through a sexual identity crisis and has possessed the body of a preacher named Ted Haggard. He’s been having a great deal of fun, rather too much, and is unavailable to direct the horrors of the world, so I have stepped in as per Standing Order 767686896.

As the Organized Religion Program was something you thought of, about 1,800 terrestrial years ago, and as “your baby“ is our most successful program, apart from Halliburton, I thought you might like an update. I realize that your chief preoccupation is torturing souls, and you might not have time to monitor the upper world.

I’m sure, however, you kept up on Azazel’s successful ORP operations, the Crusades and the Inquisition and the burning of the Cathars, pogroms against Jews, Muslim Jihads, Hindu/Muslim conflicts, Sikh/Muslim conflicts, and the other religious wars we implemented, so there’s little need to go into that. You would surely be aware that millions of people died horribly in those successful religious activities, and you would have seen our reports on the multitude of natives who were suborned, enslaved, killed, and made wretched by organized religion, in Australia, Africa, China and the Americas.

My update –statistics attached in code 46474–involves mass misery spread by the Christian churches and by organized Islam in recent times. As for the Muslims, we’ve got them tormenting their women with cocoonlike clothing, no rights, beatings when they look at someone cross eyed, the threats of stoning (yes sir, stonings! These people are thousands of years behind times…thank Hell!); we’ve got them brainwashing their children into hating Jews and Americans, and just 6 terrestrial years ago we had them kill thousands of Americans in an attack on something called The World Trade Center. We’re encouraging them to murder and torture one another in Iraq, and to make plans to kill millions of non-Muslims in their “Jihad“.

We’ve had institutionalized child abuse hidden in the Catholic Church for a couple of centuries, which had long term consequences useful to our cause. Admittedly, the pattern of sexual abuse has recently been exposed, but we did manage to condition the Church hierarchy to suppress the information and protect the molesters for a long, long time. Lately we’ve wormed child-abusers into other religions, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses. More importantly, we’ve been encouraging Protestant Fundamentalist Christians to think “Armageddon, Armageddon, rapture, Armageddon“ and we have been nudging them into the centers of power, such as the White House and the Pentagon. We hope to have a world war inspired by the gibberish we planted in the Bible, the “Book of Revelation“, very soon. That of course, will create billions of deaths, vast despair, and untold psychological consequences that will push any survivors into our clutches. It should be a real feast.
Here’s a particularly juicy use of religion: In the 19th and 20th centuries we encouraged “Christians“ to force young Native Americans into special schools where they were traumatically separated from families and then systematically brainwashed and abused. Here’s a quote from a recent report by a troublesome organization called “Amnesty International“:

“The report says church officials killed children by beating, poisoning, electric shock, starvation, prolonged exposure to sub-zero cold while naked, and medical experimentation, including the removal of organs and radiation exposure. In 1928 Alberta passed legislation allowing school officials to forcibly sterilize Native girls; British Columbia followed suit in 1933. There is no accurate toll of forced sterilizations because hospital staff destroyed records in 1995 after police launched an investigation. But according to the testimony of a nurse in Alberta, doctors sterilized entire groups of Native children when they reached puberty. The report also says that Canadian clergy, police, and business and government officials “rented out” children from residential schools to pedophile rings.

Don’t worry, Great Satan, we’ll think of some way to get rid of Amnesty International. By the way we recently intercepted a communique from the Other Side. Their greatest teachers, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Lao Tzu and the others, have all decided that the Earth is hopeless and are apparently incarnating on the planet Zebar where they are trying to teach creatures which look like eight legged turtles. Jesus is said to be especially disgusted with the “atrocities“ carried out in his name on Earth and refuses to go back, even for a look.

Delightful, is it not?

Yours with the greatest respect,

ps: My best to my great uncle Screwtape

Feb 19


–a short-short by John Shirley–

Jared had been tracking the personal submarine Manifest Destiny for more than a hundred miles south of Hawaii, and all the time the billionaire piloting it seemed unaware of him—there was no mention of the hydrogen-powered cruiser following him, when he spoke by subaquatic radio to his employees ashore.

“The biggest squid any man has ever seen and it’s almost in my grapplers,” the billionaire crowed.

“You going after it now, boss?” came the response from the crew on the radio.

“I’ve got it trapped against the walls of this big canyon down here!”

An activist, Jared listened raptly. He had hoped to find some way to stop the hunt. But how?

And up ahead was the nearer edge of the great “plastic vortex” where trash from scores of countries and ships had accumulated, whirlpooled by currents. It glittered like the membrane over an animal’s eyes, there in the water, yet it was dead—and it was death. Millions of fish, oceanic mammals and birds had died in it, starved to death or choked.

“He’s running from me to the surface!” came the billionaire’s excited transmission. Moments later Jared watched in awe as the gigantic cephalopod surfaced, gushing water, flailing its enormous tentacles, its huge round eye gazing right at him…

“Got him, got him!” the billionaire shouted, as his submarine surfaced, its mechanical grapplers reaching to force the giant squid into the capture bag he trailed so it could become another trapped, living trophy in the big aquarium on his seaside estate. But the giant squid was manipulating the floating plastic trash, jamming the grapplers, winding debris around the sub’s rudders, blocking its jets, piling on more and more, so that at last the submarine sank with the weight of the trash. The giant squid worked its way outward, past Jared’s boat, to the open sea…and then it dove, gone from sight. Deep under the sea.

And so was the billionaire—forever.

Feb 19


Key members of the new Democratic House have made a grave miscalculation. They have forgotten to be politicians. They have fatally embraced the term “socialism”.

A very right-wing Libertarian guy I knew, thinking he was engaging in clever rhetorical tactics, once asked me what proportion of progressive-Democrat policies are Communist. “Are their policies ten percent Communist? Fifteen per cent? Forty?”

I told him that I didn’t view simple non-radical methods for helping the working poor–like food stamps and Medicaid and inner city housing subsidies–to be Communism at all. Decency is not “communism”, it’s simply responsible behavior. And how is environmental protection legislation communist? As to that, he said that environmental regulations “choke” the free market. I replied that we’ve had substantial environmental regulations since the 1970s, and they did nothing to restrain markets at all. Industry has been quite profitable. And new industries and jobs prompted by the regulations have flourished too.

There is such a thing as intelligent, restrained socialism, as in certain European countries which implement universal free health care but remain careful not to put too much burden on the state. And they’re careful to allow capitalistic elements to succeed–within clear-cut rules of fairness.

But American culture was shaped, generation after generation, with propaganda emphasizing the failures of communism and socialism (the former is  strictly Marxist, the latter more flexible). The propaganda was not wrong, at least with respect to the USSR, to Mao’s regime, to Pol Pot, to the dark side of Castro. And now we have Maduro in Venezuela, a fresh example of the misuse, the abuse, of socialism. The words communism and socialism are hopelessly entangled with the legacies of brutal dictators.

Bernie Sanders’ idea was to  blot out the negative associations by attaching Democratic to Socialism. It worked for some people. But for too many Americans, the term is still a reeking albatross around the neck of his progressivism. to those folks, it looks funny and smells bad. That’s not fair–but that is the political reality.

FDR, you notice, was too smart to use the term socialism with respect to his ideas, though he did institute some mildly “socialistic” safety nets. The New Deal was smarter, and was also more accurate. “Deal” implies a business relationship. Rather than a charitable giveaway, it’s was a new deal; a new business relationship with the working person.

That’s the way Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and friends should go. First, don’t even think of it as socialism. What they’re advocating isn’t pure socialism anyway. Second, Simply Never Call It Socialism. Because the word socialism equates with Dangerous Radicalism, in the minds of many Americans. Trump and the GOP know that and they’re going to use it.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is to some degree taking that cautious path with her New Green Deal label. But it’s not far enough. Drop the term socialism entirely! Don’t even say it’s  Democratic Socialism–don’t refer to socialism at all, and instead define it as it really is: A healthy set of strong regulations, a fairer tax plan (significantly taxing the very wealthy), a few safety nets like Medicare For All, and stronger ecological regulations. If you need a handy label, call it the Newer Deal, or perhaps Regulated Capitalism. Because that’s what it is! What Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and colleagues want is in fact capitalism–it’s just capitalism grown in a well-tended garden. It’s like a conscientiously cultivated, carefully pruned garden, where beautiful blossoms flourish in variety and abundance. Just because you’re pruning and weeding doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent, verdant garden. And just because you’re regulating capitalism–more strictly than we are now–doesn’t mean it’s not going to be thriving capitalism. The free market will thrive with strong regulations–despite glib claims to the contrary, regulations have never harmed the marketplace. Some degree of greed will be curtailed, but the country will be more economically healthy, since the middle class will have more money to spend.

Remember the politics of terminology–because Trump is remembering it.  So don’t call it socialism and you won’t raise the hackles of the average voter…

Feb 19

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

Undoubted statistics show that there is a plummeting of the numbers of insects. Does this sound appealing to you? Are you, “Bugs–good riddance”? Get over it. Insects, as The Guardian reminds us, “…are essential for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.” Without them we’re at risk of a catastrophic failure of nature. You know where you get your food from? Nature.

So how did this happen? Runaway agriculture and development. Industrial agriculture has razed the natural habitat of the world’s insects. And of course insecticides kills them off in enormous masses. Those that survive have no one to mate with.

What can we do about it? Much. But the real question is, what will we do about it? Little, if humanity’s persistent short-sightedness is any indication.

If we had the social will, we could radically cut down on the construction of housing projects, big box malls, parking lots, everything that squanders land. America’s vast belts of of strip malls and toxic fast-food franchises; the more unnecessary factories–even big amusement parks…It’s all garbage. We could throw it out. We could work harder on reducing landfills too.

And most importantly, we could go to smaller scale sustainable agriculture. We don’t really need pesticides or herbicides to raise food. If we just outlaw pesticides–that’ll start to make a difference right away.

We don’t need all that beef and pork either–it takes up an inordinate amount of land, leaving little room for ecological complexity.

We can organize a better world without all the sheer greed-based crap we surround ourselves with, and we’ll save not only insects but the remaining wild animal life out there. Insects and the surviving animal species will bounce back.

We could do it. But we probably won’t. Because we have the attention spans of insects–namely, gnats.