The West Nile, Virus, Bird Flu, Weaponized Anthrax, and Other Things that Make You Go Hmmmm.

L. Wolfe

In 1999 an outbreak of disease previously unknown to North America was identified in New York—the West Nile Virus. You may have since heard of it. In 2001, the anthrax attacks on the U.S. utilized a pure (or even weaponized) form of the bacterium that many experts agree could have only been manufactured under tight laboratory conditions at an expense only possible in a state-sponsored program (as opposed to Bin Laden’s cave-sponsored programs). In 2004, an outbreak of a potentially pandemic viral disease appeared in China before achieving a high fatality rate around the globe (not related to their food industry prowess).

Is it possible that these two viral outbreaks and the anthrax attacks were sponsored by foreign government’s bio-warfare research programs? Is there a relationship between these two outbreaks and the anthrax attacks? Are these incidents perhaps bio-warfare ‘research’ studies? Are these geocentralized pragmatic infections establishing a new paradigm in disease propagation? Hmmmm.

West Nile Virus

In recent years, West Nile virus (WNV) has emerged in temperate regions of Europe and North America, and presents a threat to public and animal health. The most serious manifestation of WNV infection is fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and horses, as well as mortality in certain domestic and wild birds. WNV has also caused human illness in the US in recent years (Source: CDC).

WNV was first isolated from a febrile adult woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937 (West Nile Nancy). The ecology was characterized in Egypt during the 1950s. The virus was recognized as a cause of severe human meningitis or encephalitis in elderly patients during an outbreak in Israel in 1957 (West Nile Nitza). Equine disease was first noted in Egypt and France in the early 1960s, and by the 1970s it started to effect horses (West Nile Nelly). WNV first appeared in North America in 1999, with encephalitis reported in humans, horses, and a centaur named Bernie. The subsequent spread in the United States is an important milestone in the evolving history of this virus.

WNV has surfaced in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, west and central Asia, Oceania (subtype Kunjin), and most recently, North America. (Source: CDC).

Outbreaks of WNV encephalitis in humans have recently occurred in Algeria in 1994, Romania in 1996-1997, the Czech Republic in 1997, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998, Russia in 1999, the United States in 1999-2003, and Israel in 2000. Epizootics of disease in horses occurred in Morocco in 1996, Italy in 1998, the United States in 1999-2001, and France in 2000, and in birds in Israel in 1997-2001 and in the United States in 1999-2002. (Source: CDC).

In the U.S. since 1999, WNV human, bird, veterinary or mosquito activity have been reported from all states except Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregon. (Source: CDC; see Figure 1 and Figure 2).

H5N1 – “Bird Flu”

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1 (you sunk my battle ship), is a subtype of the Influenza. It is a virus that can cause illness in humans and many other animal species. A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1,” is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

The first known strain of H5N1 (called A/chicken/Scotland/59) killed two flocks of chickens in Scotland in 1959, before it was cornered in a windmill by a pitchfork and torch wielding mob, where it was eventually burned; but that strain was very different from the current highly pathogenic strain of H5N1. The current dominant strain of H5N1 evolved between 1999 and 2002 creating the Z genotype. It has also been called "Asian lineage HPAI A (H5N1)". Donated to Tyson foods by the Bin Laden Food Corp (Not a joke!).

H5N1 is easily transmissible between birds, facilitating a potential global spread of H5N1 (see Figure 3). While H5N1 undergoes mutation and re-assortment, creating variations which can infect species not previously known to carry the virus, not all of these variant forms can infect humans. H5N1 as an avian virus preferentially binds to a type of galactose receptors that populate the avian respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs and are virtually absent in humans.

H5N1 is mainly spread by domestic poultry, both through the movements of infected birds and poultry products and through the use of infected poultry manure as fertilizer or feed ( Humans with H5N1 have typically caught it from chickens, which were in turn infected by other poultry or waterfowl. Migrating waterfowl (wild ducks, geese and swans) carry H5N1, often without becoming sick. Many species of birds and mammals can be infected with HPAI A(H5N1), but the role of animals other than poultry and waterfowl as disease-spreading hosts is unknown.


Anthrax is an acute disease in humans and animals that is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It is highly lethal in some forms. Anthrax is one of only a few bacteria that can form long-lived spores. When the bacteria’s life cycle is threatened by factors such as lack of food caused by their host dying or by a change of temperature, the bacteria turn themselves into more or less dormant spores to wait for another host to continue their life cycle, or for another Star Trek episode.

Anthrax can enter the human body through the intestines (ingestion), lungs (inhalation), or skin (cutaneous) and causes distinct clinical symptoms based on its site of entry. Inhalation anthrax, if left untreated until obvious symptoms occur, will usually result in death, as treatment will have started too late.

Theoretically, cultivating anthrax spores can be done with minimal special equipment and a first-year collegiate microbiological education. It wasn’t me, honest! To make an aerosol form of anthrax suitable for biological warfare requires extensive practical knowledge, training and highly advanced equipment (I’m talking to you, makers of the Jack LaLanne Juicer!).

Concentrated anthrax spore containing postal letters were used for bioterrorism in the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US, killing five people and infecting 17 others. Only a few grams of material were used in these attacks and it is unknown if this material was produced by a single individual or by a state sponsored bio-weapons program. The crime remains unsolved. But where exactly was Jack LaLanne?

Other things that make you go “Hmmmm.”

WNV ecology was characterized in Egypt in the 1950’s; meaning, Egypt was researching the virus at that time. The 1956 Israel initiated the Arab-Israeli War on October 29, 1956, and a cease fire was eventually signed on November 6, 1956. Israel withdrew from key points in the Sinai Peninsula in 1957. The first WNV outbreak involving severe meningitis or encephalitis occurred in Israel in 1957 (Remember West Nile Nitza?).

WNV first appeared in the U.S. in 1999. The U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi , Kenya were bombed in August, 1998. The U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Aden, Yemen in October 2000. Hmmmm.

WNV first appeared in the U.S. in New York City. The WNV strain in NYC seemed to be unusually virulent, resulting in meningitis or encephalitis and caused 12 fatalities. NYC was the primary target in the 1993 terrorist attack on the U.S. (WTC bombing) and I hear something vaguely related may have happened in NYC in September of 2001. Hmmmm.

The 1999 US virus was very closely related to a lineage 1 strain found in Israel in 1998. Hmmmm.

WNV is only transmitted through mosquito vectors, which bite and infect birds/mammals/humans. Not the sort of thing a mildly ill passenger on an airplane (e.g., traveling from Israel to the U.S.) would easily spread to other passengers. Yes, yes, I remember, I had the lasagna. Hmmmm.

WNV has three different effects on humans. The first is an asymptomatic infection; the second is a mild febrile syndrome termed West Nile Fever; the third is a neuron-invasive disease termed West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. In infected individuals, the ratio between the three states is roughly 110:30:1 for naturally occurring WNV. Mortality occurs in less than 1% of these clinical cases. In 1999 in NY, outbreak surveillance identified 59 patients who were hospitalized with WNV. 63% of those patients had clinical signs of encephalitis and seven patients died (12 percent). Communicable Disease Program, New York City Department of Health, New York 10013, USA. Hmmmm.

In 1985, the U.S. delivered 5 shipments of biological material to Iraq as part of a program to provide aid to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Those shipments included engineered strains of anthrax, West Nile virus, and other pathogens along with the equipment and expertise to manufacture and continue research on these organisms and delivery methods. (CDC) Hmmmm.

In the 1990’s, while under intense scrutiny from the U.N., Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein bragged to Arab leaders that he had “his final weapon, developed in laboratories outside Iraq.” There were several independent intelligence reports at that time that indicated that Iraq was sponsoring a biological weapons program outside of Iraq in order to avoid U.N. scrutiny. During that same period, Iraqi scientists and technology were frequently traveling between Cuba and Iraq. Hmmmm.

There have been many scientific reports documenting serological evidence that WNV, in various forms, is present in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Florida Keys. It is considered highly unusual that these differing strains would be present in the Western Hemisphere unless there is some periodic re-infection. Hmmmm.

The Chinese government was one of the first signatories to the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention in 1972. China has repeatedly denied an offensive biological weapons program since that time. However, Soviet Union weapons experts have reported the known existence of a biological weapons facility located in a remote region of China in the 1980s. Coincidentally, in that very same region of China during that time, there were two separate documented outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fever; a rare and deadly disease typically caused by a viral pathogen. Hmmmm.

The very same technologies and methodologies necessary to manufacture and prepare viral hemorrhagic fever pathogens can also be used to manufacture and prepare other viral infections, such as H5N1. Hmmmm.

Review the information below and pleasant dreams:

Figure 1. The Spread of West Nile Virus in the U.S. – 1999 to 2007

Figure 2. 2000 WNV Case Map for New York.

Figure 3. H5N1 Case World Map.
    Countries with poultry or wild birds killed by H5N1.
    Countries with humans, poultry and wild birds killed by H5N1.

Discord Announces Two Billion Dollar Bailout Request

The top Chief Executive of the Daily Discord, Pierce Winslow, has contacted key Washington officials on the hill this week to discuss the details of a pending two billion dollar bailout plan hoped to keep the Daily Discord from bankruptcy. The Discord, hailed by at least one bald person in Vegas as “an important media source,” desperately needs the cash-flow amidst these daunting economic times. The cost of maintaining the website is believed to top three-hundred dollars annually. Most of the rest of the two billion taxpayer-relief dollars will be allocated on much needed booze and hookers.

“No golden parachutes for us,” stated Mr. Winslow to the press on Wednesday, “Just some well-deserved drunken orgasms.”

Apparently, several of the Discord staff ingest illicit substances that are dangerous to wean from, so some of the money will have to go to medically necessary recreational drugs.

“Of course,” added Winslow. “Potentially lethal alcohol withdrawal is a very real issue for many of our employees…and may explain our Crank Manifesto column.”

Winslow plans to remain “painfully forthcoming” regarding expenses, but does warn that if the funds are denied a turn toward lower-scale prostitution could “exacerbate our current health care crises as our staff descends, en mass, on our local walk-in health clinics.”

Ask The Ghetto Shaman

Ask The Ghetto Shaman

Dear Ghetto Shaman,

How can I become a Shamen?  I really don’t like pain and I have asthma real bad.  Will that be a problem?


Tim Lions

Seattle, WA

Dear Tim,

First off, to become a Shaman one must learn how to fucking spell Shaman!  You spelled it right in my name, dipshit.  I am feeling generous today.  Since I am a healer, just send me twenty dollars and I will make you a Shaman. Send me twenty more and I’ll see about your asthma. Oh, and if the check should bounce, just remember that my friends are ancient Mayan gods.

The Ghetto Shaman

Mawiage, Mawiage, that Dweam Within a Dweam

Mick Zano

I live in one of the three hundred cities that protested the November 15th passing of Proposition 8.  I witnessed hundreds of people spouting spiritual slogans about ‘loving others’ and caring for their ‘life partners’, awful hate-mongering ideas.  Bright rainbowy colors bounced off an army of poster board like flowery daggers of doom.  Cruising by, I felt anger well-up in the pit of my stomach for these caring thoughtful protestors.  Where were the smoke bombs, the riot gear, or the people being bodily dragged into paddywagons?  Are these people puftas or something?

The juxtaposition of world events was somehow apropos.  Bush met on this same day with world leaders to say, “Yeah, like, we suck.  I suck.  Everyone I ever appointed sucks.  Yeah…Paulson pretty much sucks too.”  Bush went on to say that the bumps you feel are car-sized asteroids smashing into the hull.  Also, we’re heading right for the sun and can’t seem to change course.”  To address the scores of world leaders shouting, “What aren’t you telling us?”  He added, “We’re almost out of coffee.”  (Don’t you miss the Zucker brothers?)

Could you imagine the mayhem that would have ensued if kernels of truth actually emerged at this summit? Maybe truth isn’t always the right option.  Such a speech would dance dangerously close to something called ‘accountability,’ and we certainly can’t have any of that.  So let’s just blame Germany.  Anyway, it’s nice to know that almost to the very day that our economy collapsed around our feet, we still had the time, funds, and vitriol to fuck with some of our friends and neighbors—makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Let’s look at marriage…that dweam within a dweam.  Your church can choose to recognize any union or you personally can choose to recognize any union.  As for legal issues, please leave your bias in the pews.  This is supposed to be a time of healing.  Why get out the salt and lemon juice now?  A lot of money was raised—even amidst the Wall Street woes—to take away existing rights. 

What drove people to do this?  The world of compassionate conservatism is a farce, people.  My dad said it best, “Lately Republicans only care about you if you’re unborn, frozen, or brain dead.”  Please start to rethink your views, people, because, frankly, they suck.

In 2004, shortly before the last election, I was at a party in central Pennsylvania, then my home.  Standing in someone’s kitchen around a keg (which is a law in PA by the way), the topic naturally drifted to the upcoming election.  The man leading the conversation was not going to support Senator Kerry, because of his views on gay marriage.  Knowing, even then, that four more years of this president would end our superpower status, I had to leave.  Speaking my peace while maintaining my composure seemed unlikely.  Besides, the keg had kicked.   Why does this issue resonate with people?  Why is it so important to straight people to affirm their straightness?

I am socially liberal, but fiscally conservative.  Let me explain why this somewhat unusual combo may be the needed second-tier approach to politics.  The government can’t, nor shouldn’t, fix millions of people’s laziness and/or stupidity.  Ideally, we should focus on supporting the truly needy and help the temporarily downtrodden get back on their feet.  This is the point where we should draw the line.  This approach is both worth the money and is our moral obligation as humans.  To do more, however, actually breeds a welfare state and exacerbates a host of physical and emotional problems known as Dem-entia.  Frankly, it is not realistic even under the best of circumstances to throw money around to the perpetually undeserving.  It is a trap that Obama must avoid.  People will endlessly milk the system as they slip into lower and lower levels of consciousness.  Twenty years of social service work has taught me one thing…don’t work in the field of social services. 

Furthermore, being socially liberal means everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and, in a nut shell, even if I don’t agree with you, I’m going to leave you the hell alone (particularly if it doesn’t affect me).  People are not stopping gay marriage because they think certain couples shouldn’t share the same legal rights and privileges as other straight couples; most of these people are having a visceral response.  They are acting against gayness—it’s bigotry, nothing more, nothing less.  Allowing gay marriage does not have to shatter your worldview.  It is the nice thing to do, and it is the right thing to do.  Legislating morality, if that’s what this is, is a fool’s errand, which is why so many of our less progressive pastors (LPPs) are so busy lately (well, maybe they’ll lay off the children).  

Here is my version of the political perspective score card.  There is something to be said for libertarianism.  Our ability to progress unhindered at each level and at each stage of our personal growth is a fundamental right.  AKA, piss off.  I might even vote libertarian, if I can ever stop laughing at their choice of candidate.  There is also something to be said for liberalism, namely, other people are people too.  They have a point of view that may differ from yours but that does not make them scary, nor does it necessarily make them enemies.  Old school conservatism has fiscal conservatism and small government in its corner.  For the life of me, however, I can not think of one thing social conservatism has going for it—unless you are hip on driving this country into a third-world status.  I can’t stomach even a sip from this punch.  It is supposedly based on the importance of nurturing and maintaining someone’s idea of core American values.  This argument is essentially meaningless.  What they fail to understand is that everyone shares those values—anyone who matters, anyway.  Only they are trying to silence all dissenting views and claiming a monopoly on these so called values.

Ken Wilber asserts that we must transcend and include—that progress to higher stages is hinged on incorporating and preserving that which is fundamental and true.  The definition of marriage does not necessarily fall under this jurisdiction.  This is one core truth that needs filed or flushed.  Rigidity in this matter is part of the problem, not the solution.  Some will argue that we will lose our way; that whites will be the minority; that our numbers are dwindling, and homosexuals unions will only exacerbate this while shaking the foundations of the traditional family.  Have you wandered around lately?  Any loving parents should be hired, immediately.  They are endangered, whether the child is raised by gays, straights, or wolves.

I don’t think enraging an entire faction of our society is going to win any hearts and minds, or sway anyone to your Leave it to Beaver sympathies.  It’s not going to save your version of America.  Mutual respect is what we should be embracing.  Respect is transformational—not some definition of an ‘appropriate’ union.  If we’re going to rally around something, let’s try respect for change.  Respect is the endangered species here, right Rodney?

The bottom line is this: the backlash against religion by progressives is warranted.  The dismantling of proposition 8 is further proof of a disconnect—not a return to our roots—but a gap in reasoning the size of the Grand Canyon.  I don’t see any Osmond Christmas Specials over on Walton’s Mountain in my neighborhood.  This is the wrong battle at the wrong time.  Stopping people from marrying who they want is not going to move this world any closer to your fantasy-ass Rockwell painting.  Social conservatives deserve the wrath of Maher and Hitchens.  Unless your goal is to destroy all credibility for the spiritual-minded individuals of this world, it is time to sit the hell down, put the five-spot into the basket, and pray for some common sense. 

The Official Crank Manifesto 2008 “This Smells Like Ass” Top Fifteen

  • 1. Any bailout of anything (with the exception of boats?)
  • 2. Not seeing perp walks of Dodd, Franks, Paulson, Bernanke, Reid and Pulosi (don’t go away angry, just go away).
  • 3. Four more years of the Clinton administration, minus the guy who made it all work (Slick Willie, where are ya?).
  • 4. All mainstream media for impersonating the main stream media (who are you guys, and what the fuck have you done with Edward R. Murrow?).
  • 5. The U.A.W. – for ruining America’s last major manufacturing companies (can Toyota please build us a shitload of tanks for the next world war?).
  • 6. The far left and far right, otherwise known as the vocal minority (shut the fuck up).
  • 7. The United Nations (Mr. Trump, what could you do with an odd shaped 40+ year old building in central Manhattan?).
  • 8. The idiocy of picking another woman as Secretary of State (but Mahmood, would it make any difference if I said my boss is a man?).
  • 9. Selling short (how the fuck do we allow someone to sell something they won’t own until tomorrow?).
  • 10. Woman’s lib (it only counts if the woman is a lib, and men don’t think she’s hot).
  • 11. Immigration (what part of “build the fucking fence” don’t you understand?).
  • 12. The mideast in general (it’s time to make Fat Man II, just give Israel a little notice).
  • 13. Somali pirates (see # 12).
  • 14. Putin (you can take the boy out of the K.G.B., but can’t take the K.G.B. out of the boy).
  • 15. My new grandson having to pay for our bailouts (why, Granpa, why?).

America’s Stonehenge: Intrigue, Mystery and Closet Space

Buried deep in the heart of New England is an American treasure frequently, and tragically, overlooked.  Indeed, while the average American is convinced that only one Stonehenge exists—somewhere in England—buried in the foliage-filled woods of Salem (NH, that is) lies a magical place known as America’s Stonehenge. Indeed, England’s Stonehenge is but a sad circle of stones in comparison.

When visiting this wonderland of mystical history, one is welcomed by the friendly faces of Eddie, Trooper, and Kordell—AKA "the alpacas of America’s Stonehenge." Yes, these great llama-like creatures, possibly from Alpacastahn, are a source of wool *and* greetings (watch out senior citizens manning the doors at Walmarts across America!).

If the sites at America’s Stonehenge ended with alpaca, it would clearly be enough to put this spot in a prominent place in any road tripper’s arsenal. But America’s Stonehenge is so much more than just alpaca. There’s intrigue! There’s mystery! There are changes in the earth’s movement (literally)! There’s human sacrifice (perhaps)! There’s closet space! There are gardening tips!  There are, quite possibly, dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!

First, the intrigue the complex of America’s Stonehenge comes complete with a sacrificial table, a sundeck chamber, and a secret bed. Yes, you read that right — there’s a sacrificial table, and not in the sense of a table that can be sacrificed to the near-certain collapse that is likely if it is subject to the weight of a moose. Instead, this is a sacrificial table in the more traditional sense—complete with grooves to help drain the blood, and a speaking tube underneath, to freak out the sacrificial victim before his or her heart is yanked out, or hair is pulled, or toes are cracked, or the ‘Cheney Special’ as they call it around the Potomac. The sundeck chamber is also intriguing… if the goal is to get a suntan, why lie down in a chamber that would shade you from the sun? Perhaps the ancient people who built the structure weren’t quite as brainy as the falling rocks might suggest. Finally, the secret bed of intrigue…it’s a secret bed—no explanation of intrigue needed, really.

Next, the mystery… again, who were the people who valued blood, tanning, and sleeping privacy and who put painstaking care into building this well-crafted structure? Were they Irish Culdee Monks, as some guy named Goodwin (according to a trusty pamphlet—a fact-filled account containing truth (FACT) provided by the visitor’s center) believed? And, if so, what exactly are Culdee Monks, and how did they end up in New Hampshire? Were they kicked out of Boston? Did they brew yummy beer? And, why did some guy named Pattee, who keeps getting mentioned in aforesaid pamphlet, decide to move to America’s Stonehenge with his wife?  Was it the secret bed, or was it rent controlled?  And, did Mrs. Pattee, again as the pamphlet suggests, really plant lilacs on a roof of part of the structure in the 1800’s? Why lilacs? And what color were they, assuming lilacs indeed come in different colors? And, perhaps most importantly, the FACT notes that "crystals were worshiped or used for tools by ancient cultures." Does the FACT refer to the ancient cultures who once stood on the hallowed grounds of America’s Stonehenge? And why did they have to either worship them or use them for tools? Why not both, or some type of alternating worship itinerary (AWI)?

Changes in the Earth’s Movement
OK, before we get to the earth moving, you first have to keep in mind that America’s Stonehenge is old, really old—well, at least the planet underneath it is old. In fact, the FACT confidently says that carbon dating suggests that tree roots and charcoal existed at this place as far back as 1400 BC… or maybe even 2000 BC.  In fact, the whole America’s Stonehenge area comes complete (as any good archaeological site worth whatever salt is buried there should) with an astrological tour. That’s right—there are stones that line up with stuff in the sky (sort of) scattered around the grounds. The problem is, apparently the earth has obligity (though we think this is not a word) that keeps changing. (Although perhaps this change only happens in the area of America’s Stonehenge, because other very very old sites—like Newgrange in Ireland—still seem to have the sun showing in the same spot at the same time that it’s supposed to). Because of the special obligity instability in the America’s Stonehenge area, alack, the Winter Solstice Sunset Monolith no longer quite lines up with the Winter Solstice Sunset, and the Summer Solstice Sunrise Stone is also off just a bit… But, happily, the November 1st Stone seems to still line up with November 1st, which, as the FACT says is "a date very important in many ancient calendars."

Feeling a little guilty for brazenly ignoring November 1st?  I typically celebrate November first hung over and still dressed like Catwoman (or at least this year).

Closet Space
Whoever the crazy architects of this site, who completely forgot about the changes that the earth’s obligity was likely to undergo, were, we know that they really, really valued closet space. In fact, no less than five of the descriptions of structures in the FACT mention either closets or storage space. Perhaps a sort of Stacking of the Sacrificial Skulls ceremony of the tortured? Or, perhaps many of the Monks/Pattees were gay and not quite out and proud?

Gardening Tips
OK, I kinda lied about this one—the only gardening thing I really learned was that lilacs were planted at some point in time, and maybe by Mrs. Pattee (or maybe to brighten up the human sacrifice area?  An offering of decorative lilac-covered throw pillows is always appreciated).

Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!
OK, this is just an obscure Ghostbuster’s reference.  No link between America’s Stonehenge and Bill Murray has been found, but the truth is out there.

As you can tell, America’s Stonehenge is worth braving a state filled with people willing to die if they can’t live free. As the FACT so succinctly puts it: "A massive amount of labor was involved here, no matter what the purpose."

San Francisco Reinstates the Guillotine for Proposition 8″ Voters

The mayor of San Francisco, with the full support of the City Council, voted today to pass a new ordinance allowing local police to publicly guillotine anyone who voted to ban same sex marriage in California. The new unit—designed to remove your unit— was created by renowned artist I. Juan DeCock and is affectionately named Proposition 8″.

“It’s much more than a machine,” said DeCock, “it really makes a statement. A similar machine designed for punishing women voters poses anatomical challenges,” states DeCock, “but our staff will work around the cock to find a solution.”

Is Obama Taking This Cabinet-of-Rivals-Thing Too Far?

President-elect Barak Obama has reached almost a point of absurdity by nominating the Snowmiser as Secretary of State.  Further complicating matters, the Obama team announced the nomination of his brother and arch nemesis, the Heatmiser, to the office of Secretary of Defense.  This is clearly beyond non-partisanship as the two refuse to work together on any level.  Key Washington officials warn that the brothers plan to abuse their newfound powers by expanding extreme weather-patterns into historically mild regions of the world.  The nomination of the Heatmiser, in particular, has caused a political firestorm (pardon the pun) amongst the liberal blogosphere. Many on the left are enraged by a choice that they believe threatens the ‘Arctic ice shelf itself.’

Ask The Ghetto Shaman

Ask The Ghetto Shaman

Dear Ghetto Shaman,

I saw the words Iboga and Cannabis Society scrawled on the restroom door at the Genetti Hotel the other day. Are you behind this association? If so, what is this movement all about?

David Counsel

Muncy, PA

Dear David,

First off, I do not scrawl things on bathroom stalls! I make my girlfriend do it. Second, the Cannabis and Iboga Society is, well, the best way to put it…er, it’s a grass-roots organization (literally). For more information, see my mission statement in its entirety in the second stall of the women’s restroom (under the phrase Bibbs is a troll lover).

The Ghetto Shaman

A Brief History of Anything

Mick Zano

How do I condense forty years of life-knowledge into a single Discord column?   OK, more accurately, how do I fill the whole column?  After four decades, I find myself knowing suspiciously little—masters level little—on-line masters level little (or OLMLL to those who can still tolerate our lousy acronym jokes).  Whereas I have predicted many recent political events—or more accurately, their horrific ramifications—I hardly think it took much insight.  I’ve never felt smarter than any U.S. president, until now.  But thanks anyway, W, for playing your own small part in the boosting of my self esteem.  Granted, it’s at the cost of the American way of life, but che sara.  In fact, Che Guevara for all I care.

What could I impart in one column? What must be included in my own very brief history of anything?  It has been said that the more we learn, the less we know, and I think I’m finally there. I know nothing.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nichts.  But, for the sake of argument, let’s review what I do know.  I know all of the Brady’s, some of the Partridges, and I can guess any Star Trek episode within the first five minutes.  OK, I used to be able to do that, but then I met girls.  They of course rejected me, so now I’ve cut that time down to thirty seconds.  As for dating, I have only one kernel of wisdom: never show them any of your Star Trek video collection! Ever! I’ve been married for ten years and those tapes are still locked in boxes marked Old Tax Returns.

On history, I have this to say. It is most certainly NOT bunk!  Not remotely bunkesque or even bunk-like for that matter.  Deem it bunk, world leaders, and you may end up in a bunker with his-and-hers cyanide capsules. As my seventh grade history teacher use to say, “Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.”  She also warned me of this in the eighth and ninth grades respectively (I never studied).  Case in point: Che Guevara played for the Dodgers, didn’t he? Even if curious George is suddenly interested in American history—ironically the very man bringing America face-to-face with it. I also believe there may be more to myth than meets the eye. It is becoming apparent that there is meaning in myth, more meaning than a once rationalist-minded-type would dare admit.

Here are a few key points regarding the last forty-thousand years of human development:

Music: The members of the band Led Zeppelin are the archetypal rock gods, not the Stones.  So please Prince whatsas, Knight Sir. Robert and Sir Jimmy, pronto, and break out those shoes with the little bells for Sir. Mick.

Sports: I hate to quote Barry Melrose on this one, but, “Other sports are for people who can’t play hockey.”  It’s the only sport worth playing or watching. If you don’t agree, you are either way too into sports, or, more likely, you can’t play hockey.

Movies: Really suck lately.

Parenting: Sell all of your children for scientific experiments.  I’m kidding, of course.  Just sell the ones you don’t like.

Media: Has really tanked in recent years.  They should all be ashamed of themselves.  Except Giraldo.  He’s a god among men.

Politics: (see Media)

God: (see Giraldo)

Excuse me while I climb onto my soap box for a moment.  Remember Erikson’s stages of development?  Well, I don’t, but the fact remains, genuine growth is impossible for anyone who regularly watches American Idol.  Most people these days can’t seem to find anything productive to do. Some people even resort to starting pseudo-journalistic/editorial blog/websites thingies.  Fools!  Evolve or dissolve.  This is the information age, so access some.  Downloading porn doesn’t count.  And you had better get started. It takes a lot of work to discover that you don’t know anything.  Nothingness has been very rewarding for me—in its own empty, vacuous, someone-please-kill-me, kind of way.

Finally, personal growth is almost non-existent in the masses. It’s no coincidence that in the realms of awareness entire swaths of our society are loping off like heads at an Al-Qaeda press conference.  Why are we all on meds, you ask?  Might it have something to do with the air, the water, the drugs, the beer, the high fructose corn syrup, the apathy, the fear mongering, and the central point of the Universe where all of this happiness percolates known as the recliner?

Long term fulfillment is not likely to have anything to do with sex, food, drugs, or video games (the fab four in my neighborhood).  These ‘hobbies’ may serve us well into our mid-twenties, but then it it’s time to turn the page (even if it’s sticky), put down the chips (even if they’re Doritos), and join a wellness class (even if it’s Midget Reiki with our own Ghetto Shaman).

However you do it, get wellness soon. I think that’s a rap.  Don’t get me started on rap…

AARP: 50 Years of Innovation, Inspiration, and Incontinence

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this year. Finally, the AARP becomes eligible to join in on its own fun and savings. Prior to this milestone, the company either had to wait outside or pay the full-cover charge for such exciting events as bingo, stamp bingo, cage bingo, cow chip bingo, or full-body contact death-match bingo (not covered by most insurance policies). Remember, over the past fifty years some of the AARP’s most memorable moments involve not remembering moments.

Spiral Dynamics and American Politics

Mick Zano

I do not write this column as a proud defeatocrat, as an anti-American conspiracy theorist, or even as a terminal glass-half-emptier…I’m just calling it as I sees’ it, folks.  The next president will have one hell of a time turning the ship around: we, as a country, have hit the iceberg and are taking on water.  America is at that point in The Poseidon Adventure at which we can follow either Red Buttons’ character to the stern of the ship or Gene Hackman’s to the bow.  You might be asking yourself, ‘Weren’t the folks who followed Gene Hackman rescued at the end?’  You’re not getting it…I’m casting America in the role of Shelley Winters.

Frankly, I’m amazed things have held together this long.  I’m stunned by how much stupidity ensued before our S.S. Economy listed to port. We should be proud of an economy like this—virtually unsinkable, it was.  So unsinkable, in fact, that it almost made it through eight years of Supremes mismanagement.   Stop! In the name of love, before you break my bank.  Not only has the sub-prime mortgage crises shaken us to our core, but our problems are magnified by those untold zillions pumped into Bush’s unnecessary debacle.  I’m talking about the Bush Library, of course.  How many translations of My Pet Goat does the world really need, anyway?  No, you can’t hurry jokes; no, you’ll just have to wait.

It’s easy to play the blame game after the fact, so let me break down current events instead.  Beck and Cowan’s Spiral Dynamic model begins with the ‘Red’ perspective: tribalism, wherein children shoot up our schools and terrorists fly planes into our buildings.  Really, what do you expect from people stuck on tribalism?  They’ve got issues.  The best way to deal with these folks is to meet them on a level playing field, then use artillery to level that playing field some more.  This is about the only credit I will (possibly ever) give the Bush administration.  Something did need to be done…just not any of the things we actually went and did.

Our government, namely the Bush Administration, functions at a predominately ‘Orange-Blue’ level, although it seems downright ‘red’ at times.  How is it possible to lose a PR war with a bunch of baby-strapping, suicide-bombing zealots, you ask?  For starters, you can’t win the war of ideas if you don’t have any of your own.  When your brain is attached to a political strategist named Karl, who wanders off halfway through your administration, well, trouble may be afoot.  

This ‘Blue’ level includes good old fashioned fundamentalism.  Fundamentalism supports important aspects of human development, but it’s also Bin laden with Laden’s and is fraught with Haggerts and Swaggerts.  This subject is covered in Dr. Sterling Hogbein’s riveting masterpiece, Falwell to Alms, which has yet to find a suitable publisher (and needs to be translated from his early crayon period).

‘Orange’ level is McCain Country, the Straight Talk Depress, entrepreneurs, rationalists, and a host of postmodern yumminess, lightly dusted with coconuts.  I operated from ‘Orange’ most of my life, and it was good clean fun.

Green (liberalism) is arguably a higher perspective, but they’re not ripe yet, so I wouldn’t do anything rash like vote for one.  ‘Green’ is Al Gore country, and his brand of environmental pluralism is not without merit.  Leave ‘Green’ unchecked, however, and you get fanatical efforts to save the Paraguay Paramecium, Meat is Murder homicide squads, and Operation Bake Brownies for Al-Qaeda.  In defense of folks like Gore, it isn’t easy being ‘Green.’ Surprisingly, Kermit functions on an integral level and thinks Gore is an asshole.

No matter who wins this election, we, as a nation, will have a higher-operating captain.  It may be wishful thinking, but I’m still hoping that Barack Obama is at least a ‘Yellow’ or ‘Turquoise’ level thinker (post modernist, second-tier), possibly the best colors since Bush Senior yukked on that Japanese Prime Minister, way back yen.

Even McCain’s ‘Orange’ would have been welcome over Bush’s ‘Orange-Blue.’  Some feared this political dice roll, but I’ll take my chances with a world-centric, fiercely intelligent, post modernist every time.  Staying the course is not an option.  In fact, there was never a course to stay.  They made it up as they went along—and badly at that.  It was like watching the last season of the X-Files on DMT.  Never do that by the way.  Shrooms and Robot Chicken is the only way to go.

I do implore the American people to put a priority on fixing this country, so that, if nothing else, Lou Dobbs will shut the fuck up! But he’s right, of course: we’ve given up on educating our children; we are losing the war on drugs, as well as the war on terror, and we have less actual freedom now than a gay Taliban priestess in Damascus.  (That is not a reference to the band by the same name, by the way…I love them.) It’s like Sheryl Crow always says: “Stop calling me, you fucking sicko.”  Wait, I mean the other thing she says: “A change will do you good.”  This change may be arriving a wee bit late, however, so in the immortal words of Edward R. Olbermann, “good night, and good luck.”

Hurricane Norbert Targeted Weather Station that Named It

In the aftermath of hurricane Norbert, which slammed into the Mexican West coast in October, meteorologists believe the category four storm’s Western turn was premeditated. Shortly after the Los Cabos weather station named the storm, the category one hurricane strengthened, changed course, and allegedly made several threatening phone calls to the weather station in question.

MICHAEL SAVAGE – Fight For Your Rights

Night after night, Michael Savage generates the most entertainment bang for your meaningful discourse buck (now worth 50 cents). He’s your crazy obnoxious free-ranting uncle backed by a scientific PhD and a deep historical understanding of world events. He’s well-versed, well-spoken, principled, and enraged about all the political compromise. In between his political rants, he tells rich stories and intriguing anecdotes. But he is damn controversial: “Their women are ugly.  They cover their faces with veils. Our women are beautiful; we show em’ off in centerfolds.”  He would make a great Danish cartoonist.

Of all the talk-shows, TV, internet, or radio commentary, Michael Savage has most consistently kept my interest (barring “Borders, language and culture,” is his slogan, and the simplicity of his message, and the intensity of his conviction has transcended his character outright. Savage, of course, is not without flaws: his angry reactions sometimes lead to over-dramatization and the mis-assessment of news stories.  He is not beyond resorting to insult, name calling, and hanging-up.  Oh, and he rarely admits a mistake (such as his boycott of

From the perspective of the individual-objective (brain) quadrant, Savage rates high. He is a scientist with an understanding of history and economics. He expresses clear consistent and constitutionally based political opinions. He often has expert guests to speak about the crucial issues of our time. (B)

From the individual/subjective (self) quadrant, Savage performs fairly well. Granted he does not seem to explore any integral or transpersonal thought, but he is not without self-reflection. He often demonstrates deep personal insight and soul-searching. His interpretation of religion is often egocentric and self-serving.  But he is open-minded to exploring many other beliefs and practices (i.e., his weekly Wiccan Cannibal Necrophelia workshops).  He has studied and encourages alternative medicine and is highly critical of the quick-fix feel-good culture of psychiatry and medication.  (B +)

From the objective/plural (society) quadrant, he is often the first to spot and speak of the hypocrisy present on both the left and right. He has many enemies, Islamic organizations, such as C.A.I.R. and left wingers like Media Matters who have orchestrated campaigns to silence his “hate-speech” by petitioning his advertisers. It’s true that Savage could be bettered by an integral section to his library; I’d love to hear him and Ken Wilber debate politics. I hereby call for an integration of the nationalism of Savage with the integralism of Wilber and a Transcendence into the Transnational movement…or Transcosmetic movement as it has come to be called. (B+)

Savage is a maniac on a mission. He is the American embodiment of free speech. You may not agree with what he says, but I strongly advise you to give up your very life for his right to say it, because if his speech is silenced, then you and I are next.  Well…I’m probably next, but then I’m sure they’ll get to you, eventually—is my point.  With his recent controversy, his talk show has been elevated to the level of an epic battle between freedom and tyranny. (A –)

Oh, boohoo. Michael Savage is so mean and insulting—that’s what freedom of speech is all about, asshole. It’s the right to offend people on principle, dick wad. Savage is a recent recipient of the “Freedom of Speech Award,” but he’s not allowed to talk about it publicly.  

Is America heading toward a Fairness Doctrine ensuring that radio speech is a balanced blah between the worthless middle right and the pointless middle left? Even though Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have no viable audience should radio stations be forced to give them equal time with the racist Imus and the hatemonger Savage?  We could give Shari a Law defenders equal time with the redneck American Constitutionalists. Islam can be given the status of an oppressed minority as colonial Christian Teddy Bear teachers and hateful Holland Cartoonists are escorted off to sensitivity camps. Sounds very American—at least how it is currently being redefined. 

This war is a war over ideas, and Michael Savage is now on the front line. Medic!  Medic!  (Overall grade A –)

Hit By Economy Woes Disney to Lay Off Sneezy and Doc

According to Disney World officials, only five of the seven original dwarves will be returning to work this spring at Orlando’s Disney World. “Unfortunately, we just can’t afford to pay all of them anymore,” states Disney’s Chief Executive, Robert Iger. Iger claims to be in constant communication with Walt Disney’s head, cryogenically frozen at Citi-lab Orlando since 1966. “Walt agrees with the decision, whole headedly,” he joked. Iger refused to speculate on future cuts, but warned, “Grumpy better stay on his fucking Zoloft.” When asked about the tough decision, Iger stated, “Doc was a no-brainer. The kids won’t even miss him.” The decision to pick-axe Sneezy is less clear, however. According to key Disney insiders, Sneezy had an ongoing public relation issues, complicated by uncontrollable convulsive expulsions of mucus as well as financial problems. His out of control credit card debt was allegedly accrued at the Oriental Happy Ending Massage Parlor. Too often the sounds of Thai-ho, Thai-ho could be heard echoing along Orlando’s Orange Blossom Trail, amidst intermittent sounds of gesundheit.

Congressman Paul Broun: I Call You Out, You Civics Class Dropout Douchebag!

Mick Zano

Integral minded people do not stoop to segments entitled, ‘Worst Person in the World,’ nor do they deem others ‘Enemies of the Week,’ and they certainly do not put people ‘on notice’ for any of their political beliefs. We shouldn’t even ‘wag our finger’ at anyone unless, in doing so, it is hoped to guide them back onto the path toward enlightened self-realization.  Instead of these crass attacks upon people’s character, we are going to start our own column: ‘I’m Calling You Out, You Civics Class Dropout Douchebag!’  This week, on our first second-tier inspired mission of ‘I’m Calling You Out, You Civics Class Dropout Douchebag,’ we focus on nudging Georgia Rep. Paul Broun toward something people at the edge of the Republican cocoon are referring to as ‘reality.’  Think of it like Sarah Palin staring at those distant Russian shores through her 600 dollar Oakley sunglasses.  Vague shapes are appearing on those far away conservative beachheads all around America.  Congressman, some of your brethren are wrestling with their souls and the future of Republicanism.  You can join the pity party any time.

In a report to the Associated Press recently, Rep. Broun stated that he was worried about the Obama Administration pursuing Gestapo-like tactics to enforce a ‘radical Marxism.’  So much for an Obama honeymoon period.  The guy hasn’t even written his manifesto yet, and you’re judging him?

Let me splain.  No, that will take too long. Let me sum up.  Having Gestapo-like tactics for any cause is the problem. When you give up on the systems of checks and balances that has sustained our democracy…well, let’s backup for a moment by pulling forward.  Obama is probably not going to pursue radical Marxism, although Duck Soup was a classic in any circle.  The problem is, and has always been, your guy.  Bush dismantled two hundred years of the delicate balance of power, so now Obama has the ability to do the very things you fear.  You were not crying when one of your guys trashed the constitution, because he would only use this power to get the bad guys.But now you are beginning to see the possible ramifications of your short-sighted anti-Americanism.   Yes, dismantling the forefather’s vision of our democracy is anti-American.  If the founding fathers ever met Sean Hannity in a dark alley, a blanket party would no doubt ensue.  You can bet that they would be sticking more than a feather in his cap.

Let’s use a fictional analogy.  Remember when Frodo wielded the Ring of Power back in middle-Earth?  He started out as an innocent, but the absolute power of the ring corrupted him by the third movie. And I think Samwise Gamgee did things to him while he slept (that’s just a theory).  OK, bad example, but disturbing none the less.

You missed the main point, congressman, and not just of that tangential Tolkien analogy.  You missed this point when it was actually important.  You know, when you could have spoken out and hindered our president’s grasp toward absolute power.  Where were you when Bush released his goblins into Rohan from the spires of Isengard?  If it’s going to be socialism now, so be it.  When you find yourself in a banana republic, make with the splits.  Don’t forget, congressman, Canada has beer and hockey.   Perhaps in practice of this new distribution of power, you should donate half of your annual salary to charities.  You know, for practice.  If Obama does turn out to be a monster, remember, you created him.  You forged the ‘one ring’ in the fires of Mt. Doom (aka, Atlanta).  Republicans—those true blooded slices of ‘real’ America—are the doctor Frankensteins of our time. Whatever the future holds, the reparation check is on your hands.  Whatever ill-conceived super agenda is pushed by any and all future presidents—in any and all ideological directions—you bear some of the blame.  You get what you deserve.  Didn’t you read my article on Bush, Fascism, and the other ‘N’ Word?   The article is based on actual, real life—happening right now—fascist moments in America, which you, sir, supported.  The fear of nefarious evil ideologies that may creep up from the liberal bowels of bureaucracy really pales in comparison to what has already been done to our country.  You have fallen for what has come to be known as the pre-Poke fallacy.  For that I am calling you out to a Zell Miller style duel!  Meet me outside of Roosevelt Middle School at 3:15PM (after shop class).   I’m going to open up a jar of integral whoop-ass on your sorry civicsless brain pan, congressman.  Then we can price some condos in Alberta.

First Soylent Green Plant to Open in Florida

First Soylent Green Plant Requesting Bailout Funds

It is not surprising that the first factory to produce grade D but edible ‘Soylent Green’ will open its doors in the heart of the ‘retirement state.’   Many see this as just another sign of a collapsing society.  “But give us some points for honesty,” asserts CEO Bernie Hamilton. “We didn’t want people finding out the hard way that they’ve been gnawing on people wafers. We just wouldn’t want a repeat of history—like in that movie.”

Fear And Loathing With Mr. Giggles

I love walking out my front door without a plan. Destinationless, I step into Limbo and keep trekking on a whim. This Limbo road is long and lonely, but we continue in pursuit of the perfect sanctuary hangout with lively atmosphere, inside art, outside garden, refined beverages, and characters all sizzling with inspiration. This method has stimulated much spontaneous creativity, frequent synchronistic encounters, heart-pounding adventures, a handful of citations, a restraining order, and one public gastric disruption described in court as “serving no legitimate purpose.”

It’s not the particular place, it’s the state of mind, and yet an establishment can institute an atmosphere, character, and quality that encourage this state. Wit spews from the lips like rabid rivers of lava burning and drowning us dead and awakened into our dawning enlightened life…or else I could end up in Carl’s at last call (part dive bar, part Clockwork Orange) pinned to something vaguely feminine.

The true greatness of a coffee shop, brewpub, bar, or diner shall be assessed by its potential to facilitate cultural experiences that are spontaneous, dynamic, and profound. This intangible quality is the most important element of any hangout.

As a cultural facilitator, my job is to transform parties into art exhibits and art exhibits into parties. There are certain criteria to consider. The setup should encourage a free flow throughout and amongst all social circles.  We can read or reflect alone, spontaneously jump into a conversation with strangers, or lead naked conga lines.

In order to stimulate the spirit of enthusiasm, an establishment must play good music that compliments the atmosphere, characters, and mood. Provide quality goods and services, and expel anything that inhibits this ever-important soul transformation (except my friend Shag).

Spatial limitation can strangle the life out of festivities (that’s m’s job). Be careful to consider the feng shui of the place and encourage a flow that keeps the energy circulating. Time limitations also inhibit enthusiasm. This ‘last call’ experiment has failed miserably. Some of my best festivities don’t get full-flailing until dawn.  On that note, drunk tanks should have breakfast specials.

Electronic gadgets distract people from the possibility of authentic interactions and have no place in social settings. I don’t even like to see cell phones in public. Once, two people sat in stools on either side of me speaking into their cell phones. I think they were talking with each other. Look people; if you want to isolate yourself inside the grid, please do it at home. I’m here to party.

Take the television for example. It’s not possible to mingle amongst different groups or spark unplanned adventures if everyone is hypnotized by the boob tube. I have two pieces of advice for all bars regarding televisions:

  1. Unless you’re trying to be a sports bar, don’t have televisions.
  2. Don’t try to be a sports bar.

Fifteen years ago, I vowed to never pay for cable again. This was the greatest decision of my life (sadly, this is accurate. I really haven’t made many good decisions).  Along with this choice, I have taken steps to better tune my awareness to the spirit of authentic culture. Throughout these years, I have continued eliminating electronic gadgets and machinery from my life. Some have argued that my position is reactionary and irrational, leading to a decay in my living standard. Certainly these technologies bring their conveniences, but there is always a cost. Commitment to true art must take priority over comfort, social status, family, friends, and even my own biological survival. So now, no TV, no cell phone, no internet (not even e-mail), no car, no phone, no video games, and no electronic pocket massage toys (well, I haven’t given up Mr. Giggles).   No one is perfect.