Archive for December, 2006

The Houston, Texas Poe Elementary School Mad Bomber Explosion of 1959

鈥淚nsanity, and the death wish, lurked deep in his murky, twisted mind.鈥?
The Houston Chronicle September 16th, 1959

On the morning of September 15th, 1959, a mysterious man entered Poe Elementary School in Houston, Texas with his seven year-old son saying they had just moved into town and he wanted to enroll him. The school’s principle met the man and his son in her office, and began the process of enrollment. During the interview, the principle became suspicious that the man didn’t have any identification, and didn’t seem to know the name of the school his son was previously enrolled in, the name of the town or street where they previously lived, or where they actually lived now… he only seemed to know that they came from New Mexico, and that he worked in the tile industry. As his behavior and speech became more and more erratic, she became alarmed and thought it would be best if he was off the school grounds. She told him that since he didn’t have the proper identification papers for his son, he would have to return another time with them. She watched him as he and his son left the building. On his way out, he approached one of the teachers who was bringing a class of students into the building from recess. He handed her two hand-written notes (quoted verbatim below) and instructed her to gather as many children around him as possible in a circle, and began talking about the “…will of God.” The penmanship on the notes was so bad that she couldn’t make out what they said. She noticed that he was carrying a cloth-covered suitcase which he began slowly shaking (and referred to as ‘the power of God in a suitcase’), and his son was carrying a large paper bag with a doorbell-style button attached to wires hanging out of the bottom. She instructed all of her students to go inside the building as more faculty members, including two other teachers, the custodian and the principal, joined her in trying to order him off school grounds. The two largest groups of students who had been outside were ushered into the building, along with the original teacher that the man had given the notes to. In the ensuing awkward scuffle, the man began waving the suitcase around and saying that he had to “…follow the children.” Suddenly and without warning, both containers were detonated, causing a massive explosion that blew a six inch-deep crater in the asphalt playground where they had been standing. The blast killed one teacher, the custodian, two seven year-old male students, the man and his son. Over the next few days, a bedlam of law enforcement, investigators, media, mourners and gawkers descended upon Houston. Later that week, the man’s right arm was discovered on the roof of a two story building across the street from the school. Although it was not the first school disaster on record (the New London School gas explosion in New London, Texas, 1937 was), it was the first intentional school “terrorist” attack in U.S. history. A detailed account of the event, as well as what subsequent investigations uncovered, can be found here (scroll down a bit), as well as here.

Please do not get excite over this order I鈥檓 giving you. In this suitcase you see in my hand is fill to the top with high explosive. I mean high high. Please believe me when I say I have 2 more (illegible) that are set to go off at two times. I do not believe I can kill and not kill what is around me, an I mean my son will go. Do as I say an no one will get hurt. Please.
P. H. Orgeron
Do not get the Police department yet, I鈥檒l tell you when.—

Please do not get excite over this order I鈥檓 giving you. In this suitcase you see in my hand it fill to the top with high explosive. Please do not make me push this button that all I have to do. And also have two 2 more cases (illegible) high explosive that are set to go off at a certain time at three different places so it will more harm to kill me, so do as I say and no one will get hurt. An I would like to talk about god while waiting for my wife.


Mark Allen’s Renewable, Cross-Referenced, Self-Mutating Top Ten List of the Most Popular Top Ten Lists of the Top Ten Best Top Tens of 2006 and Beyond Swirling Forever Into an Infinite Black Hole

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Bill Thomas’ “Suicide”

Texan artist Bill Thomas created a great series of fake self immolation photographs (in the 1990’s), which are documented in an online gallery here (you can click each image for a slightly larger version). Here is his statement.

Thomas, at the age of five, witnessed the famous (but rarely talked about) madman bomber explosion at Poe Elementary School in Houston, Texas – which occurred on September 15th, 1959. He credits the lingering lifelong turmoil caused by the unresolved memory of that event as the inspiration for these screwy, nightmare-y documents. Of course, when it comes to offing himself, Thomas has nothing but style, style, style. And why not?

If you’re going to choose the final solution, why not do it Rube Goldberg-like? Has “suicide as a performance piece” become a lost (undiscovered? under-used?) art form? Ending-it-all while hidden away in some apartment or in the woods just seems so cold. Going out in some sort of elaborate, un-ignorable scheme involving lots of props, planning and stagey-ness is (ironically) less self-centered. Why not allow your death to be that little extra spice that makes life extra nice for everyone else? It’s like hugging the world one last time and saying “Thanks anyway…” before you dump it forever.


The Maxim/FHM of Yesteryear

My friend Coye alerted me to a delightfuly surreal limerick/photo boob book he discovered in his late brother’s bedroom, entitled Treasure Chests. It was created in 1967 by two people named Mel Norman and Arthur Benwood, and published by the Alexicon Corporation (who specialized in sex/humor ephemera during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). He handed it over to a friend at the preposterous, who scanned the entire thing from cover to cover. Hallucinatory, goofy cleavage from yore anyone? Why not. Coye felt that one of it’s strongest points of interest was that it was created in the days before Photoshop (although that never stopped Man Ray… or Russ Meyer or Benny Hill, for that matter). You can see the whole thing starting here.

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It’s a Violent, High-Altitude, Scat-Crazed Christmas

In the Catalonian mountains of the Serra de Montserrat, the tradition of Santa Claus is too boring. At left is an example of the Catalonian Yuletide mascot Ti贸 (also called Caga Ti贸, Ti贸 de Nadal or Tronca). The figure is an anthropomorphized wooden log with a Mr. Potato Head-like face assembled on it’s cut end, and is often propped up on little sticks. But don’t let appearances fool you; this adorable mascot has secret masochistic tendencies, and a magical rectum. Over the days leading up to the holiday, the Ti贸 log becomes part of the household – sitting nearby, participating in gatherings and is even given food to “eat” during meals… always smiling. The family gives it a red cloth at night so it doesn’t get cold (and to aid with it’s digestion). But, according to tradition, on Christmas day things suddenly turn violent. The Ti贸 is tossed near (or sometimes actually into) the lit fireplace while the family shouts at it and orders it to “shit” out gifts of candy. If the log does not produce, the family threatens to beat it with sticks, which they have at the ready. They then sing the traditional song (translated); “Shit log! Shit torrons, hazelnuts and cheese, if you don’t shit well I’ll give you a blow with a stick! Shit log!” as they beat it senseless. The terrified Ti贸 excretes nuts and dried figs if the family members have been good, or salt herring, onions and garlic if they have been bad. Whatever the outcome, they reward the Ti贸 at day’s end by incinerating it. There are many variations on the character, and many traditional “shit log!” Catalonian Christmas songs. The Ti贸 derives from Catalan Mythology. Here is more info, here is an educational film about the Ti贸.

(thanks to Bryce for the merry tip)


Monsters: Real, Not Real

The Mad Gasser (a.k.a. 鈥楾he Anesthetic Prowler鈥 or 鈥楳ad Anesthetist鈥)
The case of the 鈥淢ad Gasser鈥? serial killer is actually (well, probably) an extreme and outrageous case of mass hysteria. Despite not even existing (exactly), the Mad Gasser kept two entire cities paralyzed with very real fear, suspicion and dread during two separate periods of time. The first was in Botetourt, Virginia, during December 1933 to February 1934. The second wave of attacks happened in Mattoon, Illinois, during September of 1944. The Mad Gasser鈥檚 purported appearance and motive rivaled the most hair-raising villains in science fiction, crime fiction and comic book stories of the time – as well as melded traditional fears of ghouls-in-the-dark with more modern, subconscious apprehensions about changes in technology and medicine that were perhaps not tangible on the surface at the time.

The assailant was apparently a man dressed in a strange, 鈥渇uturistic鈥? black outfit (sometimes reported as 鈥榬ubber鈥) with large eye goggles. He crept into unuspecting rural homes in the middle of the night and sprayed an unidentified gas into rooms, or actually on sleeping victims (or in some cases, just through the home鈥檚 open windows). The phantom was also sometimes witnessed in double disguise: as a woman in high heels, wearing the black outfit and goggles (there were many other wacky variations reported). The gas he used seemed to cause people to become very ill, or have symptoms common to an allergic reaction鈥 supposedly. Samples of the gas were kinda-sorta obtained, but never really identified.

Was he real? The Gasser鈥檚 existence as a night-roaming death phantom, leaping across lawns and targeting random slumber victims in people鈥檚 very real homes and neighborhoods, had people very concerned. But much like the Loch Ness Monster or Chupacabra, the Mad Gasser鈥檚 fame relied solely on eyewitness accounts, rumors, accusations, paranoia, speculation and no real credible evidence. This was obviously compounded by lots of media snowballing, and perhaps a few overly enthusiastic pranksters.

The people that experienced the attacks or witnessed the phantom sprayer swore by what happened, but no real evidence, clues or real suspects were ever collected. The endless stream of local (and national) newspaper clippings from both time periods are plentiful and often hysterical.

Did all these shuddersome goings-on really happen? Was the Mad Gasser a deranged scientific serial murderer? A cocaine-crazed anesthesiologist? An insomniac exterminator with a mean streak? A bored perfume counter worker with weird ideas about fashion and a sick sense of humor? Was he actually a socially inept University of Illinois chemistry student named Farley Llewyllen, who had an inclination for fantastical revenge and the help of two bizarre sisters? Or was he really a super hero-like mad villain spreading unrest to good American citizens during the witching hour鈥 or even someone who traveled from the future in a time machine to perform experiments on unwilling human guinea pigs鈥 or perhaps even someone, something, from another planet? The case of the Mad Gasser will forever remain in the annals of creep-out lore. I鈥檓 hardly touching on the very Harry Stephen Keeler-esque details of this mind-bending legend. For everything and anything on the Mad Gasser legend, and the very real reports, I highly recommend reading everything starting here. Of course there鈥檚 lots and lots more here.


Donald Harvey (a.k.a. the 鈥楢ngel of Death鈥)
At the onset of his life, Donald Harvey earned the reputation of a friendly, quiet boy who liked to spend his time 鈥溾eading books, and thinking about the future,鈥? according to his mother. After landing work as a nurses鈥 aide at a young age, he developed the same reputation as an employee鈥 for a while.

Over the years of employment in hospitals (as well as other professions), he murdered approximately 30 to 70 patients, as well as other people in his life. His tool of the trade: secret cyanide poisonings placed in food (or sometimes other methods such as disconnecting life support, or injecting air into a patient鈥檚 veins). He began his anointed 鈥渕ercy鈥? murders on the feeble, terminally ill and dying. But it didn鈥檛 take long for his ego to get the best of him, as he took the leap from sainthood to All Knowing God And Ruler Of All Time And Space鈥 killing anyone who annoyed him, got in his way, or that he simply disliked. Actually, Harvey鈥檚 habits of murdering patients apparently sparked with someone he considered an offensive 鈥渉assle.鈥? His first killing was a stroke victim he spontaneously smothered after the patient smeared feces on Harvey鈥檚 face while under his care. Harvey had earned the nickname 鈥淎ngel of Death鈥? long before he was convicted (or even suspected) because he always seemed to be around when people passed on.

A gay man, Harvey actually tried to murder his own lover at one point. He even tried to secretly poison his lover鈥檚 parents after a squabble with them, which landed the father in the hospital with a stroke (which only allowed Harvey to secretly kill him again later with poisoned banana pudding) The mother miraculously survived, despite years of repeated poisoning attempts by him.

Despite several arrests and investigations over the years (and an ever-growing mountain of rumors and bad reputations in various cities), Harvey always lucked out and was able to continue his killings, leaping from location to location. He was not fully apprehended and convicted until 1987, when he confessed to everything during several trials and convictions. He is currently serving out four consecutive life sentences in Ohio, and avoided the death penalty via plea bargaining. He does not work in the prison cafeteria. Lots more here.


The Axeman of New Orleans
Anti-black, anti-Italian, anti-German, anti-War, and most of all: anti-grocer鈥. the Axeman of New Orleans committed a string of brutally vicious axe murders in the 1910鈥檚, with the hysteria surrounding the crimes prodding almost every area of public paranoia at the time.

The killer鈥檚 only real calling card was a hole chiseled out of his chosen victim鈥檚 kitchen doors. The hole would be whittled in the quiet of night鈥 after which he would enter and attack his sleeping prey in their beds (usually starting right with the face). When authorities investigating the messy scenes began noticing that many of the kitchen door holes were a wee too small for a human to fit through, yet the doors had remained unlocked鈥 anti-supernatural being, anti-zombie, anti-midget and anti-evil-super-intelligent-baby hysteria was added to the public鈥檚 list of gasping fears.

Despite being horribly maimed, many of the victims survived the attacks, at least for a while. However, theirs and many other eyewitness accounts got tangled in a maelstrom of warped speculation, finger-pointing, race-baiting, anti-American spy suspicion, adultery punishment, Mafia speculation, grocer competition, war-fueled anti-German hysteria, general witch hunt-mania and supposed opportunistic copycat-ing (even claims that it was the return of the real Jack the Ripper on American shores). The unsolved murders eventually stopped and, despite some specious theories, the killer 鈥as never caught. More here.


Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka (鈥橳he Ken & Barbie Murder Team鈥)
Earning the nicknames 鈥淭he Barbie & Ken of Serial Killers鈥? deserves recognition in the annals of something, at least.

As usual in these kinds of stories, newlyweds Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka seemed the ideal pair in their friend and family鈥檚 eyes. Paul was a masculine, strapping, 鈥渢ake charge鈥? entrepreneur who made friends easily. Karla was an outgoing person with a fun disposition and a reputation as a real party gal. Together they were seen by many as the perfect, 鈥渇un鈥? couple.

During their relationship and marriage, they secretly and willingly tortured, raped and murdered several young girls (including Homolka鈥檚 own younger sister), videotaping all of the incidents.

The couple were eventually caught, and in 1995 Bernardo was convicted in one of the murders (he is currently in prison awaiting trial for the other killings). More on him here. Through a combination of plea bargains and extenuating circumstances, Homolka was able to wrangle free of any maximum conviction, and served 12 years. More on her here.


Spring Heeled Jack
He鈥檚 tall and thin, wears an oilskin suit, helmet and a cloak, has pointy ears and nose, glowing orange eyes, claw-like hands that are as cold as ice, can spit blue flame, can鈥檛 resist goosing the ladies鈥 and he leaves three inch-deep footprints in the dirt because he has the ability to jump great heights in the blink of an eye (which police at the time determined is the result of an ingenious pair of spring-like devices built into his shoes). Why it must be Spring Heeled Jack! Or, more boringly鈥 S-A-T-A-N. This non-murdering but creepy legend, which could have been everything from an brainy inventor in a wacky outfit, to an actual supernatural anomaly鈥 kept authorities and citizens in England looking over their shoulders at rooftops during the mid-1800鈥檚. Of course lots and lots more here.


Cameron and Janice Hooker
In 1977, timber mill worker Cameron Hooker and his wife Janice (with their 8 month-old daughter in tow) picked up the then 20 year-old Colleen Stan (a.k.a 鈥楥arrol Smith鈥) when she was hitchhiking. They drove her to a remote area and, at knife point, bound her hands and feet and placed a strange wooden sensory depravation box over her head that locked into place around her neck. They then casually drove to a local diner, where Stan sat in their car like that while the three members of the Hooker family ate lunch.

The Hookers kept Stan imprisoned as a ritualistic slave in their home, completely breaking her down and brainwashing her. Cameron Hooker, a fan of The Story Of O and sadomasochism culture, kept Stan locked away in a variety of small, home-constructed boxes and surreal, torture-like devices that were often hidden within the home itself. They would occasionally let her out to perform strange S&M rituals and weird, minuscule, repetitive tasks. Stan was informed that there was a national organization called 鈥淭he Company鈥? that was watching her, and would harm her family members if she did not follow their directions. Cameron and Janice had her sign a slavery 鈥渃ontract鈥? they told her was from 鈥淭he Company.鈥? One of the compartments they kept her in was built under the bed that the Hookers slept in at night. She was held captive like that (mostly) for seven years, and was brainwashed to the point where they allowed her to leave for periods of time, and even hold down a part time job at a local hotel. But she always came back to the box.

Over time, things got complicated; Stockholm syndrome, poorly-constructed dungeons, spousal jealousy, male ambition, desperate Bible-thumping, Janice鈥檚 two young daughters鈥 questions, and guilt鈥 began to weave until the whole deranged scenario imploded.

Stan gained enough mental clarity to escape in 1984. Cameron Hooker was eventually arrested, convicted and sentenced to several life terms for the kidnapping, and for the earlier murder of another woman in a similar, failed scenario (that of 18 year-old Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, a case that was never concretely proved but wrapped up for all intensive purposes due to Janice鈥檚 highly detailed confession), as well as the expressed intent to acquire more women like Stan. Janice Hooker escaped any conviction due to her help in getting Cameron caught and convicted, and her subsequent testimony. Stan obviously survived the weird ordeal, and is doing pretty OK today. The entire story can be followed here and here.

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The Nervous System: An Office Building

The best way to describe the human nervous system? Compare it to an office job. A job where you work on a floor in a cubicle, amongst a sea of other cubicles. And all these cubicle farms are cached on many floors, that when stacked – make up a large skyscraper. The most important and powerful offices? On the top floors. The worker bees? In all the other parts of the building (where you are).

The human nervous system, and a multilevel corporate work environment run on the same types of information systems, schedules and hierarchies.

How do I know this? Because I鈥檓 in one right now, an office building that is. I鈥檓 actually hiding in the 14th floor custodian鈥檚 closet of that very mega-corporation, writing this all down on memo paper with a little pen-light that came with a box of cereal I had for breakfast in the company cafeteria this morning. I am crouched down here, scribbling in near darkness, deeper inside a massive, multi-storied building that holds the corporate headquarters where I work, or well鈥 might not work anymore. My boss (who鈥檚 office is in the penthouse office of the top floor), is extremely angry with me for going over his head about some organizational and personnel decisions I was making in my department (which I am in charge of), and acting on my own.

I鈥檓 apparently fired now, and he鈥檚 hired a rooting-out firm to find me and extract me from the company because he knows I鈥檒l resist. Or more likely, since he now sees me as an enemy, he probably thinks a good offense is the best defense鈥 so I鈥檓 kind of playing along guess. Hiding and writing all this down for you while the boss鈥 hired goons hunt me down is a good example of the analogy I am about to lay down for you, and may help me figure out how to escape being found out, terminated from the firm, and kicked out of the building. I don鈥檛 want to cause trouble or make waves here at the company鈥 things are too messy already. So here I sit, transcribing to you in the last moments of my existence鈥 my existence as one tiny part of this body of concrete, steel, drywall, industrial carpeting and fluorescent lighting. This very structure that I once belong in, no鈥 belonged to鈥 and that is now about to get rid of me. I wonder if they鈥檒l find me? I wonder if I鈥檒l have enough time to tell you everything鈥

If you were to directly compare this building i鈥檓 in to my nervous system which lies deeper within me (in terms of scale), I would be hiding somewhere near my spleen. Looking outwards; my body itself, with it鈥檚 working nervous system, is a minuscule replica of that corporate headquarters I am within. Yep, universes hidden within universes hidden within universes鈥 backwards and forwards, the old Carl Sagan clich茅.

For starters, I鈥檒l explain the actual real mechanics of the human nervous system expressed in layman鈥檚 terms. The system as a whole is made up of two parts:

1. The CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (or CNS, as I shall refer to it from this point on) is housed within the brain and spinal cord.

2. The PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (or PNS, got it?) is made up of everything else.

They work together. No, I mean they really, really work together. Large corporations should be so lucky as to run an information, production, service-providing and profit-making enterprise based on the deftness of the human body鈥檚 nervous system, with it鈥檚 infinite highways and limitless corridors of information processing efficiency.

The CNS is paid to think, while the PNS is paid to work. The CNS is housed inside the lush top floor offices of the brain and spinal cord (which have a lovely view) and spend their time processing and de-coding what the remainder of the nervous system, the PNS, gathers, records, and stores to send to it later – in a schedule that the two have worked out beforehand. The PNS is, obviously, housed within the lower cubicle farms, cafeterias and janitorial closets inhabited within the veins, muscles, organs and bowels that make up the rest of the body (strictly functional spaces). The PNS are the busy little worker bees constantly tasking and following orders, while the CNS sits upstairs and sends directions back out to the PNS and decides what to do with the information that comes back through it, and weighs that information with the PNS鈥 observed behavior. The PNS and CNS may be robotic in their own respective ways (in various degrees according to time and circumstance), but together they make up an organic.

Now, to clarify some gossip that I鈥檝e overheard in the company washroom: as I pointed out above, the spinal cord is essentially part of the CNS, but really it鈥檚 just an over-paid, ass-kissing, PNS-er that acts as a glorified conduit for information meant to the real meat of the CNS; the brain (everybody in the office knows this but of course no one says anything). It鈥檚 just that the spinal cord is so close up there to the boss, and spends so much time near it, that it gets lobbed in with the CNS鈥檚 crew. Of course, I鈥檓 sure it does what it can to keep the brain thinking that it is somehow protecting it from the riff-raff of the PNS (lie!). The spinal cord is PNS, darling鈥 through and through, no matter how it tries to dress up, or what kind of airs it thinks it鈥檚 putting on. It鈥檚 like Mr. Smithers鈥 relationship to Mr. Burns on 鈥淭he Simpsons.鈥? We all know the spinal cord is that sniveling, sycophantic, ass-kissing boss wannabe that we have all know at one time or another while working in offices; placed by luck in close proximity to the boss, and ready to do anything to protect it鈥檚 position. We know what鈥檚 really going on: it鈥檚 got it鈥檚 head all up inside the brain鈥檚 rectum (literally!) all kissing and sucking and massaging it and getting it鈥檚 nose a million shades of brown and saying 鈥淗ere brain, here鈥檚 some more lovely info from all the underlings downstairs, can I massage your cells and rub your neurons while I regurgitate it to you?鈥? and the brain is all like 鈥淵es OK whatever thank you.鈥? I mean, who does the spinal cord think it鈥檚 kidding? The brain is just stringing the spinal cord along because, as the brain knows (naturally) and the spinal cord does not (duh!) the spinal cord will never, ever be able to usurp the brain and take it鈥檚 place. But the brain needs the spinal cord for various reasons, so it just keeps letting it get all up inside it so it can use it. So distressing, really鈥 isn鈥檛 it? Unlike Eve Harrington who eventually usurped Margo Channing in the film All About Eve, the spinal cord, sadly, will never accomplish the goal that most boss鈥檚 assistants sometimes do. It will never be the brain. Born PNS, die PNS. Your body is a cruel place isn鈥檛 it?

OK, so even though we all know the spinal cord is just a sycophantic PNS, for the practical purposes of this example the spinal cord is categorically CNS.

Now, back to the matter at hand: the PNS in the body always knows that the CNS is boss. It knows this informally by understanding, but at it鈥檚 root by the nature of it鈥檚 very existence. It must do what the CNS tells it to – the PNS worker鈥檚 existence is function, and it is subservience, and to rebel against that is to stop existing. Without it鈥檚 鈥減lace鈥? apart from the CNS, the entire body and system would fail.

There are times however, when the CNS and PNS act as one equal entity, collectively in the pursuit of one goal (and no, it鈥檚 not the annual office Christmas party, where the two entities reluctantly get together and pretend to like one another – which only strengthens the walls separating them). These instances are swift, explosive, unexpected moments when the system of defining borders and ceilings vanish for a micro-second in the quest for one goal. And when do these swift moments occur? When the body as a whole is unexpectedly threatened. It鈥檚 kind of like a disaster movie where several people of different classes, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds are forced to ban together as equals in the quest for survival during a crisis.

If you see a wasp land on your arm, your PNS has just told your CNS this information. Whether or not you slap your other hand down on top of it and kill it, or let it live, is the choice of your CNS. The PNS just sends the information along, waits, and then carries out the orders about whether or not to slap it or, perhaps shoo it away and let it live (for karmic reasons which the CNS would have specified).

Even more revealing: lets say this wasp landed on your arm without the PNS knowing. Then let鈥檚 say the wasp stung your arm. Technically, the PNS does send the information to the CNS for processing and waits for instructions. But, the action is so fast that the difference between the CNS and PNS blend into one swift, blinding resolve: EXTERMINATE THE THREAT. The CNS doesn鈥檛 get bogged down in red tape (conscious rational and weighing of morality) and think 鈥淲ell, the wasp is a simple animal and only doing what comes naturally, and I should let all living animals be as I鈥檓 a buddhist.鈥? It just tells the PNS to destroy what is causing the intense pain, which is most likely a menace (or at least feared as one). Int appears that the PNS almost overrides CNS habit of 鈥渕eeting鈥? and 鈥済roup thinking鈥? decisions鈥 and just pulls things forward and goes for the goal, but the CNS is in control of all of this. It鈥檚 just that the borders between the two in that moment become irrelevant. They pull together, or at least appear to pull together as one for a primitive, animalistic bulls-eye stab at surviving. Even someone who refuses to kill a wasp, even one that has just stung it, cannot control (without great mental preparation) the swift impulse to slap or pull away or jerk. The human nervous system under swift stress does not suffer sensitive or intellectual types in war time.

So, during moments like this, everyone from the higest-paid executive in the luxury suit offices of the upper cranium to the lowly mail room clerk in the small intestine come together as one efficient, non-partisan super weapon of efficiency and swiftness – with no internal structure (just one very simple switch that operates in only two modes; 鈥榦n鈥 and 鈥榦ff鈥). If elements and conditions (and luck) outside the body are in agreement, the CNS and PNS acting as one usually get their way. It鈥檚 an admirable revolution of sorts, actually.

But unfortunately, right after the threat and ensuing class revolution, the simple, efficient device that the two had become becomes complex once again; with it鈥檚 endless internal structure and hierarchy. A bad reality? Nope, because without these complex structures and hierarchies in the long-term鈥 the body as a whole ka-put.

The swift efficiency of the PNS and CNS working as equals in a threat should only come together in emergencies. Otherwise, they should work as usual鈥 with all the bullshit politics and ridiculous red tape and some-people-being-better-than-others-just-because and egos (just like an office). This is just the way things are.

Imbalances in the system can unfold during other situations as well. When the CNS doesn鈥檛 have enough to do鈥 dysfunction on a massive scale can set in. The CNS can start to anticipate fear responses before they are even there. It can start to send messages to the PNS to tell the glands to sweat, or tell the intestinal tract to create processes to make the CNS feel nauseous. Why? It鈥檚 thinking too much鈥 it鈥檚 sending the PNS all into a tizzy because it鈥檚 anticipating things that may indeed not happen, or even exist at all. This is normal, like feeling like you鈥檙e going to throw up before going on stage for the first time, or stuttering when you鈥檙e introduced to that person you鈥檝e had a crush on for months. Your CNS screws up the normal efficiency of your PNS by over-thinking and over-guessing what is needed or routine in certain situations. Without visiting the nitty gritty real world that the PNS deals with daily, at least once in a while, naive, paranoia and fantasy-based decision making processes set in and the whole thing becomes poisoned. Your CNS cannot afford to live in an ivory tower away from your PNS. In these situations, the strange thing is that it would almost be better for the PNS to just take matters into it鈥檚 own hand. Your PNS would do best to handle going on stage for the first time, or meeting that crush by itself, without the CNS鈥 help (in this state). But that鈥檚 impossible because without your CNS, you would just be a PNS (a jelly blob) – and wouldn鈥檛 that be sad? Plus, even beyond that鈥 the fact remains that, no matter how screwed up a CNS becomes, it will never allow the PNS to usurp power from it, ever. And if the PNS really wants to infiltrate the CNS and start a war against it and overtake it, victory for the PNS would mean death, because death for one would be death for both. So鈥 for your PNS to be sent into over-drive by your CNS in tense situations is normal, it keeps your body on it鈥檚 toes and, in an ironic twist, shows the CNS by example it鈥檚 own fallibility. This develops character which is good for your ego (which is kind of like an invisible God that secretly controls the CNS), which it knocks down a peg, in order to keep it from running amok and making all kinds of stupid decisions based on fantasy logic. See how it all connects?

This ego balance thing can also swing too far in the other direction: when the ego that controls the CNS is taken down and disrespected too much, and at a very low point (for whatever reason, usually from factors coming from outside the body as a whole), it can send even weirder directions to the PNS (as listed above, inappropriate sweating, nausea) so as to give something for it to react to and control, something that it knows it can handle. It can create these little (or big) internal 鈥渄ilemmas鈥? in the office so as to come down and throw it鈥檚 weight around and feel more in command, so it feels like it has a handle on something. It works, but is very unhealthy for the corporation as a whole because, much like the ivory tower-syndrome, the CNS begins to live in an entirely internalized world, and the PNS crumbles under it鈥檚 direction.

Dysfunctional company overrun too long by a lack of checks and balances that result in gonzo politics that cause ridiculous reactions and decisions to be made upstairs? The same thing is happening in a human body that suffers from anxiety or mental disorders, or even physical disease in some cases. With the CNS given too much free reign and the PNS with very little to do, or too much鈥 things spark up and go haywire.

How well does upper management know the problems and conflicts facing the lower working levels? How in tune is the CNS with the PNS workers? Maybe your brain should spend a shift or two sloshing around next to your liver to see how things are really operating, rather than getting all it鈥檚 information in memo form from that bootlicking spinal cord (oooh how I hate him!).

I would continue, but the door to the closet I鈥檓 hiding in just opened and I have to stop writing. They鈥檙e here. The rooting-out firm that the top brass from CNS hired to find me, has done just that. They鈥檙e wearing white uniforms and have on cloth face masks, and have metal instruments. All my coworkers don鈥檛 even seem to notice at all what鈥檚 going on鈥 like me getting kicked out of the company is all part of the process. All I wanted to do was set up my own little branch on one of the floors here, to get some stuff that I was in charge of taken to – you know, another level. Expand things a bit. Is that so wrong? I know it would have upset things, and interrupted the 鈥渇low鈥? somewhat, but I was using materials and resources from within the company. Alright, you know, whatever鈥 from my perspective it was very much the right thing to do. I had my own ideas I guess.

OK, they鈥檙e hauling me out to the ground floor now, they鈥檙e handling me swiftly, I鈥檓 practically being dragged. They鈥檙e telling me that I鈥檓 never allowed back into the building, ever.

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Soy… Infernal Bean

Over at, Jim Rutz has blown the whistle on America’s hidden enemy; the dratted soy bean, and how it is rotting our country’s values at the root by turning the world’s male population into wimpy, Hell-bound homosexuals. In his essay A Devil Food is Turning Our Kids Into Homosexuals, Jim writes:

“Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That’s why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today’s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because ‘I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t homosexual.’ No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can’t remember a time when excess estrogen wasn’t influencing them.”

He also adds that soy sauce is OK.

(NOTE: check out the comments section about this article at

(thanks to Hatch for the tip)


Ozzy Osbourne & Black Sabbath Play 1970 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade

It was apparently a sunny day when Sodom first met Gomorrah. Here’s actual footage of Ozzy Osbourne and “his new band Black Sabbath” playing atop the back of a heavily decorated flatbed truck at a 1970 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, courtesy of Warner Brothers. The unfortunately sound-less footage was shot on super-8 by gay historians Henri Leleu and Paul Bentley (aka Luscious Lorei). There’s a bit of a mix up as to what festival this actually is (and exactly when?) The YouTube link notes this as the famed outdoor leather-romp Folsom Street Fair, even though that particular festival didn’t begin until the 80’s. There is an “official” listing of the first gay pride street parade ever in SF, which was in 1970 and called a “Gay-In,” which this may be. The first real pride parade in SF was in 1972 (also, I’m no super-Sabbath expert, but where does this fall in the chronology of the band?) Nevertheless, the camera doesn’t lie… Ozzy and proud pals are shown in all their record company-sponsored glory, playing amongst mustached spandex dancers and outer space drag queens on roller skates – fists raised high.


War on Terror: the boardgame