Jun 15

What the Charleston Mass-murderer Has in Common With the Very Few Americans Who Try to Join ISIS

I think the Charleston shooter did it for the same basic “reason”, the misguided reason, that a very few young American Muslims join ISIS. Because they feel centerless, unfocused, unappreciated, powerless, empty. Let me clarify, I don’t mean the normal feeling of not knowing what to do with life, common to a young person; I don’t mean normal youthful confusion. I mean, things are worse now. They can’t find a place in the world–simply as young men. This makes them prey to extremists.

So this young man, who once had some black friends, feels the way those lost ISIS recruits feel–and he falls in with online racists, possibly through the racist youth organization Stormfront–and local racists too, no doubt…and he wants to belong, wants respect. And he’s angry, all the time, anyway. We don’t know why yet. But that’s part of the formula for his rocket fuel.

And now he’s got meaning, he thinks, and importance, he supposes, through a mission. He even referred to his “mission”. Maybe someone sent him on the mission; maybe he made the mission up in his mind. But it seems to me to be remarkably parallel with the “I think I’ll join ISIS” kids. . .a similar psychological profile.

Jun 15

The Scary Truth About Bigfoot Hunters

I’m going to guess that if you take 100 “bigfoot hunters”, and looked into their minds, 95 of them would actually really seriously doubt that sasquatch exists. But they won’t admit it. It feels good to be a bigfoot hunter.

And if you’re a bigfoot hunter on tv, it pays too. I’m also going to guess that if you take all the producers and crew of tv shows featuring people hunting for bigfoot, 100% of them will not believe bigfoot exists, because after day after day of shooting knuckleheads stumbling through the forest, pointing goggle eyed at bear poop and bear tracks, suddenly stopping dead on a trail, and gaping about them and saying, “Did you hear that? A strange…call…out there…in the forest…” …after enough of that, you sure as hell don’t believe in bigfoot, still less the credibility of bigfoot hunters.

Jun 15

Are Conspiracy Theorists Crazy? Not usually. Mostly, they’re being Decieved.

I think it’s unfair to many of my conspiracy-theory-minded friends to call them crazy. I have other friends who say, “oh those people are nuts”…Some truly hardcore con-theory fanatics are indeed trending into pathological paranoia, or perhaps personality disorders, but I believe that most conspiracy theory believers are sane. Even 911 “truthers” and chemtrail enthusiasts and New World Order theorists–most are sane. They’re just being *misled*. They have been deceived. And there are other problems they face…

1) Many of our con-theory friends are being misled within a media that no one fully understands yet–this media. The internet. For example, you have bogus “leaked footage of missile that hit pentagon” posts and so on, on youtube (any jackass can put anything on youtube), and on sites like “beforeitsnews”, a site shown again and again and again and again to be without merit, without factuality. Yet it’s possible for a site like this to sound superficially convincing. People are “suspending disbelief” in much the same way they do in watching The Hobbit movies, or Dr Who–but they don’t realize they’re doing it. . .These sites exist to *harvest clicks* for the sale of ads or for the sake of the ultimate sale of the site. They deliberately make stuff up, or cherrypick, or exaggerate, or share any damn thing if it increases visits to the site…They don’t care who they lie to or lie about or who it hurts. It’s all about money. They mislead people–for money., and…

2) other conspiracy-theory folks have become invested, psychologically, personally, in a defensive kind of way, in these theories. They spend years, in toto, arguing for them, and it damages the fundament of their self image, what they imagine to be their basic personhood–or they unconsciously fear it will damage it–if they give their treasured theories up. . .Some few are even financially invested–besides the websites I mentioned, there are people paid to lecture and market videos and write books on the subject.

3) I’m going to take a risk on this–it’ll piss even *more* people off. But… Certain people make a big mistake with their *careless* use (notice I said careless use, not use!) of mind altering substances while navigating the treacherous shoals of the internet.Just as you shouldn’t drive drunk, you shouldn’t get baked before considering historic issues in a conspiracy context. You may find that if you get really stoned before going online, and you spend too much time on youtube truther videos or UFO videos or David Icke lectures, you may absorb beliefs you wouldn’t absorb if you spent, say, a week without getting high. Go on the internet high by all means, and enjoy music and humor and art. But other kinds of online pursuits are problematic on drugs. Just as a stoned person will find pareidolia illusion patterns in woodgrain on a wall, they’ll also tend to take too seriously the seductive patterns generated by a conspiracy theorist’s self-serving Connecting of Dots That Don’t Really Connect. Yes–some few people are so intellectually sharp and skilled with dope this won’t happen. Me, I’m not one of those experienced, sharp people–I’d get totally lost if I, say, smoked hash and went online…

*No* I’m not saying pot, hash, psychedelics are bad things! Not! Saying! That! I’m saying there’s a time and place for everything. Parsing historic truth is not the time and place for getting high, in my opinion.

(No I’m NOT saying there are never conspiracies. Iran-Contra, CIA scams to fund unsavory missions with drug money, history showing conspiracies of many kinds–like the one against Julius Caesar. What I’m doing is using the term “conspiracy theory” in its modern manifestation indicating a particular array of beliefs.)

Jun 15

Society of Evil Witches: Regarding Free Range Children

A recently intercepted statement in the newsletter that is normally Secretly Distributed by THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF EVIL WITCHES tells us us that Evil Witches have misinterpreted a recent news item about “Free Range Children”:

‘…and I’d really like to know how it got out that we allow many marked children to run free range before we pick them up for harvest when they’re nice and plump about seven or eight years old…I for one am too old–six hundred and fourteen years for Satan’s Sake!–to change my diet significantly now. Additionally, if this kind of thing is widely reported we’ll have to bring children into fattening barns, as we did in the old days. It is so much more economically workable to allow parents–especially in America–to unwittingly fatten the children for us. Vanished-child police reports will be examined more closely, if this goes on…We’ll have to move our dens, and in the end we’ll all be strapped for cash, paying for the barns and the food. We need to find whoever has been speaking indiscreetly about Free Range Children, and subject the loudmouth to punishment.’

It’s only fair that we inform the ISOEW that the report refers to children who are raised with more independence; it does not refer to the food source of evil witches.

Jun 15


*CATS OF CALIFORNIA* PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT for HUMANS. HOW TO DEAL WITH CALIFORNIA DROUGHT CRISIS. [I found this leaning against the cat box this morning. It had paw prints on it.] 1) Humans! Do not shower or take a bath, that uses too much water. Instead, LICK YOURSELF CLEAN. You simply need to do more stretching and generally become more physically flexible. Start licking at your shoulders, work your way down your body, while in a sitting or half sitting position.

Lick all your body parts. With enough stretching you can reach them all. Be sure not to neglect legs and feet. While licking feet, spread your toes to lick in between them….Since you are disgustingly near-hairless you will not likely have to spit up furballs. If you do, don’t worry about it. It actually feels good. …2) Urinate outside, this serves not only to mark your territory but it means you don’t need to use toilet flushing water. Or, urinate in a box full of sand.

You are welcome. Give us treats, pet us if we request it, otherwise don’t bother us.

Jun 15

Why Do We Accept Fraudulent Advertising?

Caught part of a Dr Phil as we were drinking morning coffee about a lonely middle aged lady who’d given more than a MILLION dollars to a guy in Nigeria, a few thousand at first then tens of thousands at a time, obsessively using up all her inheritance because the guy said he loved her. Dr Phil gravely warned people about this kind of fraud–then THE COMMERCIALS for DR PHIL’S SHOW CAME ON and the first was about a “solar mask”, a literal full-face mask with little lights on it that you put on ’cause it makes you YOUNG AGAIN. Then another commercial came on about a cream that “takes away wrinkles overnight”. (Doesn’t the FDA watch television?) Commercial after commercial came on offering products with wildly irresponsible exaggerations–sometimes flat-out completely utterly fraudulent.

Then came a commercial *disguised as a news report* from our local “News 4″, part of their series called “Medical Minute”. News 4 does report real news but they also put up these paid-for “reports”…this one as about “cold sculpting” to remove body fat but it was actually a flat out paid commercial, not a real medical report. So how is that not deceptive? … I’ve been complaining about this for years.

Even respectable newspapers, which regularly report on fraud, run dishonest full page ads. Yes it says advertising in the corner of the ad. So? If it’s obviously a fraud, why is it not a fraud when it says “advertisement” in the corner of the page? If you were to corner the department heads selling ads they would say “we have no way of knowing if this is valid, we just sell ads”. Really? They have no way to know that the “solar mask that makes you young again” is fraud?

That’s a lie. It’s hypocrisy. The channels know damn well this stuff is fraudulent

Most people say, “Ha, if you believe that stuff you deserve to get ripped off…” Oh yes? So it’s okay to take advantage of stupid people? Why not just talk a mentally handicapped person out of their wallet? People who are afraid of old age and who resort to these fraudulent “cures” aren’t just a bit dull witted–they’re scared and they’re ignorant. I see no reason that scared, ignorant, foolish people should not be protected. It’s the right thing to do.

May 15


We try to keep the murderous thug in the house, but sometimes he escapes–and sometimes there are vigilantes waiting for him. I refer to our thuggish black cat (who has been known to steal neighbor cats’ food and pet toys). He likes to go out and kill birds…

But lately he’s been attacked by birds, mostly mockingbirds, who give off a distinctive warning sound when he appears. I’ve observed this, heard this, over and over. The sound is like, “CHEP! …CHEP!…CHEP!..CHEP!” Not cheep–chep. A harsh repetitive sound, like an alarm siren. It’s like they’re saying, “Cat!…Cat!..Cat!” Then–the mockingbird dives at the cat and, sometimes striking it with its claws. The mockingbird often adds a second sound –softer–like “CHEP!…chirp…CHEP!…chirp….” ANd when it does this *another mockingbird shows up.*. It’s well known that birds sometimes call for assistance…When this happens, the cat pussies out, his thug ways vanish–he has no instinct for repelling this kind of assault–and makes a pathetic “Meep!” sound, then runs and hides under low hanging limbs.

To my surprise, the mockingbird will sometimes hover, in the course of this harassment. Most birds can hover, but many only do it on special occasions, it appears.

Meanwhile this thug cat comes in and whines to me that he’s being persecuted by the birds. He’s actually been driven to take refuge back in the house by them at times…

May 15

An Off the Cuff Review of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

We saw MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. “Paraphrasing Alfred Hitchcock, Miller said that he wanted the film to be understood in Japan without the use of subtitles.” So Miller said in an interview at SD Comic Con. Good thing, because despite the delicious energy and power of this movie, I couldn’t make out a lot that was said in the dialogue, which was often shouted over loud engines and gunshots. Admittedly, I’m 62 now (hard for me to believe but true) and have many rock concerts both facing and with back to the amplifiers in my past, so my hearing has the edges worn off it. Maybe younger viewers didn’t have the problem. Fortunately for me Miller accomplished his visual storytelling effectively, and I was able to follow the movie well. Eg, I love that they were carrying a tank of mother’s milk as trade for fuel and bullets. That seems rife with symbolism.

We had a great time watching the film, it’s a feast of cinematic visuals, but I left determined to see it again, in theater or at least on DVD, as there were countless shots and angles and design intricacies, and I feel that, swept up in the action, I didn’t quite absorb these details and nuances.

Perhaps the main characters don’t quite come alive as much as they did in Road Warrior; could be Miller almost tries to do too much–but I was involved and touched and adrenalized by FURY ROAD. The actors helped; Tom Hardy was great as Max; Theron projected a strong character–yes there were many strong women in the film. I don’t know about a feminist statement but it’s takes for granted that women can kick your ass.

Sometimes –as in many modern films–you find yourself “seeing” the design boards of things. As you watch the film you imagine a film development artist showing an image to the director and saying, “How about this?” and he loves it and has it built…The vehicles had that effect…They’re wonderful to look at, however.

“In a July 2014 interview at San Diego Comic-Con International, Miller said he designed the film in storyboard form before writing the screenplay, working with five storyboard artists. It came out as about 3,500 panels, almost the same number of shots as in the finished film. He wanted the film to be almost a continuous chase, with relatively little dialogue, and to have the visuals come first.” Also accomplished, and indeed the images starred in this film, in a way that –along with the handling of Max– makes this movie rather like a classic western. Think of John Ford movies. And Miller acknowledged that it’s very like a western.

As for the story, it’s strong, but there’s not much time to digest it. Most movies build to a climax but like Road Warrior this movie is almost all “climax”. It’s almost startling when Max and his allies stop in the desert to communicate.

I found the visual creation of the Citadel, the villain’s butte-based headquarters, especially powerful. The mechanics of it, the use of extras.

Apparently they already have a script for a sequel to Fury Road–I’m still unclear if this is a remake, a reboot, a prequel, a sequel or what–and if it’ makes enough money there’ll be another. It’s *almost* made back its 150 mil budget, and when it’s done with theaters and DVDs and paid downloads I reckon it’ll make 60 mil in profit or so. So I’m optimistic there’ll be a sequel.

I dug this–how am I not going to love the metal guitarist who’s used as a kind of (as my wife said) battle bagpiper for the legions of the charismatic villain? That’s like something from one of my own books, quite accidentally I”m sure…same culture of “mad” excess…

May 15

What if You Lived Before But it WAS NOT Reincarnation?

What if you’ve lived before–but not in a reincarnation sense. If you’re Frank Futz, well then, what if Frank Futz existed before this life, *as Frank Futz*, when time ran its course *before* — the theory goes, that time does that over and over and over. eternally, like an infinitely complex song playing from beginning to end and restarting. The idea is called recurrence or…

Eternal recurrence, some call it. There is more than one form of this concept. Nietzsche developed one notion of it, the stoics another, some Indian philosophies another, Ouspensky still another. They more or less converge in the idea that the universe plays out its time over and over, hence Deja Vu (I know, deja vu is more easily explainable as an illusion caused by normal brain activity) and hence some form of destiny. But…does that mean everything is pre-ordained, that destiny is always inexorable? Not necessarily.

Ouspensky, among others, believed that there can be endless variants of the universe playing out–alternative time flows, perhaps, as we see so often in science fiction–and that the life patterns for living beings are caused by decisions made at a critical moments. Usually, behaving with relatively low-consciousness, sentient beings always make the same decision, in each re-run of time, repeating their lives over and over without alteration–so this idea goes…BUT sometimes the person has a chance (because of quantum fluctuations?) to be more conscious, to remember things as they happen and glimpse choices they never saw before. So they make a different choice the next time and that time recurrence is, for that person, contravened, and the universe’s playing out in time is altered just that much. Each little variant makes a kind of endless kaleidoscopic play out of time, at least as far as sentient beings go… There’s also the possibility that the universe itself shifts a little each time, so little we don’t notice, but enough that it’s another universe that only seems entirely recurrent…Yes kind of like the movie Groundhog Day–a movie I admire–but the drama plays out from the beginning of time to the end…

There’s also the idea dramatized by Michael Moorcock–his Eternal Hero, who comes back in various versions of the multiverse in various forms. Why? Because Something is nudging the random universe, bit by bit by bit, toward a more orderly state.

It’s just a what-if…But–what if?

May 15


My wife Micky was just reminding me how the original site of the Renaissance Faire in Marin County, in which she participated for so many years, was in a giant grove of old, old oak trees on beautiful rolling California hills. When the Faire ended the land was sold off to developers, who cut TEN THOUSAND old oak trees down to make a really big McMansions development of badly built bloated cookie-cutter houses.

In Portland, Oregon, now, classic old houses –and houses rented by people of modest income–are being torn down to be replaced by hideous Mcmansions and other junky high priced housing. There should be a federal inquiry into the relationship between real estate developers and local politicos; into the means and extent of BRIBERY..

There is room for housing development–but there have to be strict rules about WHERE.