Monthly Archives: March 2003

"Newsfeed update

Thank you to everyone who's
been helping keep the newsfeed
up to date. It's very
much appreciated, and it
looks like it might end up being
a tight race to see who the top three are this month.

Anyway, first, by request I've added a state/province reference page so you can quickly look up the two-letter codes (great for those not from North America who still want to help). I've also included on that page an area-code listing, since some papers are evasive as to their location and this is sometimes the easiest way to look it up.

Finally, some people were having trouble with entering the date numerically, so the submission tool now uses dropdown lists for the date with text months rather than numeric months, and it defaults to today's date so you shouldn't have to go to too much effort to keep things as they should be.

Anyway, after yesterday's successful video production, I think I'll try and keep the energy up and produce one more for this week…

Superpowers

I like telling drug stories. They're both funny and revelatory. That said, let me strongly emphasize — and I say this from experience — drugs are dangerous, and if you have any psychological difficulties, drugs will amplify those difficulties and seriously screw up your life if you don't treat them with enormous respect.

My feeling is that psychedelic drugs should be treated exclusively as spiritual tools in order to allow you to explore yourself, the universe, and the relationship between the two (much like my personal feelings about suspension and similar acts). If you're looking for recreation, let me recommend sex and/or masturbation — it's a lot safer and a lot more “fun”.

I was smoking DMT mixed with pot (“tryptamine giggles”) which basically takes a small subset of DMT's psychedelic effects and adds them to the grass. This was in early fall and it was still very warm out. Being that it was a gorgeous sunny day, I walked back and sat at the edge of the corn field.

I had made a powdered mix that was mostly pot, but with some DMT crystals ground into it. On smoking it in my favourite piece of glass, I felt the marijuana hit me much faster than usual. Nothing scary: I'd only smoked a little, but a very “crisp” feeling stone was immediate.

I started to hear a WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP type noise… I couldn't figure out what it was, so I just wrote it off as some drug effect and laid back in the grass. I looked up into the sky and saw a crow flying far overhead. As I watched, I realized that somehow the sound I'd been hearing was the beating of its wings!

I watched it fly for a little while, absolutely fascinated that my senses had been amplified to such a level, and then was distracted by another sound, a shallow CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK coming from the grass about twenty feet to the left of me. As I looked in that direction, my eyes reshaped themselves into telephoto lenses, and individual blades of grass filled nearly my entire field of vision with perfect clarity.

I moved effortlessly from blade to blade, focusing without difficulty on any object I chose. An instant later my eyes caught the source of the clicking noise — a small beetle-like insect climbing up one of the leaves. I zoomed in to the point where I could see his joints bending, and every time his little exoskeletal leg hit the grass, I heard it make a faint clicking sound.

None of this seemed odd to me at the time, nor did any of it appear to be anything other than one hundred percent real — there was no feeling of hallucination or distortion whatsoever.

After that, I turned back to the sky, watched a few lone clouds move across the otherwise blue field, and, within ten minutes of the first inhalation, my perceptions had fearlessly returned to normal. I can't tell you if it really happened, or if it was a dream… That said, I don't believe it was a dream.

Again, let me strongly emphasise that this type of exploration should not be taken lightly. It's not for everyone, and it's not something that I'd recommend if you're having any personal problems mentally as it really can make them worse. These are spiritual acts, and treating spiritual acts as jokes or party tricks is one of the easiest paths to damnation that you can draw for yourself!

Title goes here

So last night on Fear Factor one of the “dares” was play piercing with what appeared to be a series of ten needles between 27ga and 18ga. I don't know if they slowed down or altered the footage, but judging by both the speed and technique of the piercing, they'd either found a very poor piercer or they'd instructed him to hurt the people as much as he could with those tiny needles.

In all honesty, I'm not sure how I feel about this being on TV in this way… However, you can tell Joe really cares about pushing the contestants through something, and that he at least “gets” it so I want to be very clear that this isn't an attack on him in any way. I actually talked to Joe “Fuck Trent Reznor, I can handle it” Rogan last March about including suspension on the show… At the time he told me:

As far as suspension goes, I think it would scar too much for them to accept it. It WOULD scare the fuck out of them, though ... Any other ideas that don't involve blood or scaring, let me know.

I guess someone eventually suggested play piercing, and given that he's well versed with the innards of BME, maybe we were the catalyst. Anyway, the reason I'm not sure how I feel about it is not because of what was done to the contestants — I actually got the impression they walked away from that feeling empowered, which I think is a lot of Joe's goal with the show… But the bigger question is how the audience interpreted it.

“Scary/fucked up” would be my guess as to what the average viewer saw. I have to also wonder what comment is made about a society that enjoys watching torture on television… It's different than watching it on BME, since on BME you're seeing it as an insider and interpreting it very differently. But outsiders seeing it as entertainment is kind of freaky!

I thought I'd missed it, but it turns out someone here recorded the Steve-O appearance on Jimmy Kimmel for me. That was kind of weird to see too. I know his fans are pretty pissed about it, and Steve looked kind of “where the fuck am I and what am I supposed to be doing” during most of it:

Jimmy asked him the typical “so you enjoy pain?” question, and I think none of them really understood his answer, something along the lines of, “no, I hate pain, but me being in pain makes other people happy, so I do it.”

I think people tend to have the misconception with him that he's a masochist, or is trying to do the most hardcore stunts… Not at all — after all, if that was the criteria, most IAM members would outshine him, having done more intense rituals themselves. But that's not the point. It's a matter of presenting these acts not as personal rituals, but as public spectacles in order to improve the lives of the audience (through humour) in some way.

At least that was the impression I got.

Anyway, it was weird to see him in the middle of this horrid Don “Only in America” King spectacle with waving flags and singing patriotic children… I really hope that's not what the United States has come to stand for. It really was weird to see, and, maybe it really was modern America in a nutshell.

You had Don King, the master of pugilistic puppets, shouting patriotic slogans, waving and wearing the stars and stripes, while Joe Millionaire, the quintessential groomed American boy — tall, handsome, and well hung, but dumb as a rock — smiled and nodded no matter what was said. And then Jimmy Kimmel, falling perfectly into the role of slimy worm making boorish pro-war comments while the audience cheered and Steve-O sat there, just back from Europe, wondering what was happening to his once-great nation.


Yes, it's a boy strangling a goose. Didn't you know that's art?

You can tell a lot about a society by its art. When a society is thriving, it tends to celebrate life in its art; the work has a genuine nobility. But when a society begins to crumble, it generates two kinds of media: depraved media (violence, lewd or inappropriate sex, and so on; in effect celebrations of socially unacceptable behaviour) and nationalistic media (perverse celebrations of not just patriotism, but also of the leaders themselves).

I'm sure it's impossible to really tell at the time; these things are always clearer a thousand years later. But I do wonder sometimes — do we have the dubious honour of getting to live through the collapse of the United States? Probably not a full collapse, but certainly an earth-changing upheaval I think.

Oh, and I thought I'd mention the car flipping deal.

Jason ended up coming home about two minutes after I left — no one else here was cool with flipping the car out of the way so the lawn was turned into a driveway temporarily. In any case, in the pictures above you can see both where the dumbass parked, and then the amazing plough job that Rob's dad did with his tractor after Jason got his fat and oily ass out of the way.

The third picture is just narcissism.

Anyway, I have to do a pile of video editing today, as well as some software development work, including major upgrades to the newsfeed so that it will (a) be more automated, and (b) give credit to the folks who are helping me out with it. But in the mean time…

The war on Iraq has begun… Not that bombing has ever stopped, but it's recently been stepped up a level, presumably to clear the way for the full invasion. Even though its own people are opposed and the world community is opposed (even God is opposed — whodathunkit!? God hates killing*?), the US government has been very clear: “Baghdad is their prize” and they'll take it alone if they have to.

Everyone's pissed at France right now. Yeah, it's fun to hate the French, right? But let's take a look at the UNSC veto history for a moment. France is far from the leader there… The Soviet Union vetoed more than half of the 250 or so proposals the security council has dealt with, the the United States coming in second with 76 vetoes so far (half of those being dedicated to ensuring that Israel triumphs over the Tusken Raiders, and protecting the Jewish sanctity of the Jundland Wastes). Now, France is vetoing a war they feel is unjust… What has the US blocked in the UNSC, and why?

  • In December it vetoed a resolution that criticised Israel for attacks on UN workers in Palestinian areas. In this veto, like in most, it stood alone, the sole voice of fascism.d
  • The US has blocked international observers from entering Palestinian regions, blocked any condemnation of Israeli human rights violations, and so on, having vetoed at least 38 resolutions which drew attention to human rights violations against Muslims (google cache since some US ISPs block that domain).
  • Vetoed Boutros Boutros-Ghali's second term, primarily for increased peacekeeping actions.
  • Vetoed a resolution calling for the UNSC to be kept informed of the status of the Central American crisis.
  • Vetoed a resolution condemning the US attack on the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama and for its support of the contra rebels.
  • Vetoed a resolution calling for all states to observe international law.
  • Blocked the international war crimes courts unless they are implemented in a way that offers US war criminals immunity.
  • Vetoed a resolution blocking weapons in outer space.
  • Voted a ban on nuclear weapons and further nuclear weapon development.
  • etc…

Not that it'll surprsise anyone that knows her history (she was Republican until hooking up with Bill), but Hillary is totally pro-war. Even though Bush previously said that “regime change” was not what he was seeking, the new story is that “war won't stop until Saddam goes” and even though Colin Powell promises a “humiliating defeat [at the UN]”, Bush couldn't care less and says that no matter who objects, no matter how illegal the war is, it's time for bombs to start raining.

On the Crazy North Korea story, North Korea has said that if US aggression continues, nuclear war, or as Kim put it, “a frightful nuclear catastrophe”, could break out. Good-bye Los Angeles? This comes after North Korean fighter jets came within fifty feet of US spy planes which they claim have been flying sorties inside their air space. What's going to happen when North Korea shoots down one of these planes? I'm assuming that's the next step in this escalation.

Do I need to start digging a big whole in the back yard? I hope I don't hit the cistern.


* One of my favorite post-911 jokes involved God saying to the terrorists as they went to hell, “what part of 'thou shalt not kill' did you not understand?” …Too bad everyone thinks there are loopholes.

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

I have to go work on an image update, but in the meantime, Charley Reese sums up quite well how this seemingly inevitable war is going to go down,

Maybe you think that after Saddam Hussein is gone, everyone will live happily ever after, but I'm here to tell you that it will be the same. Nothing will change. No liberal democracy is going to bloom in the ancient desert of old Babylonia. No American will be able to say "I'm safer and freer now" because those young people died in Iraq. No Iraqi standing in the rubble is going to say, "Gee, I'm glad the Americans got rid of Saddam by destroying my home and my family." All this war is going to accomplish is to add to the world's store of misery — more death, more wounded, more destruction, more debt, more poverty, more hatred, more profits for the merchants of death, more pollution and more terrorism.

He also points out what this will be like for the citizens of Iraq — those of you in New York or with relatives know how profoundly two bombs affected you. Now imagine if thousands of bombs are raining down all over the country. How would that affect your life?

But voting Americans have been pretty effectively convinced war is for them it seems, sadly legitimizing any terrorist attacks on the civilian population as far as any twisted revenge ethicist is concerned. As Eric Margolis points out,

Since 9/11, Americans have been subjected to the most intense propaganda campaign from their government since World War I. Much of the mainstream U.S. media have been intimidated by the Bush administration into unquestioningly amplifying its party line...

The American public, often wobbly about geography, history and international affairs, has been alternatively terrified and enraged by bare-faced lies that Iraq was about to attack America with nuclear weapons or germs, and was a secret ally of al-Qaida.

A shocking two-thirds of Americans mistakenly believe Iraq staged the 9/11 attacks.

Seriously, how does that happen? How does an otherwise intelligent and modern nation convince itself to believe these total fabrications? In any case, war may well start next Thursday, assuming that America can buy enough votes in the UN… Since that's really what it's come down to. Bribes.

Iraq is complying with all disarmament demands, but, as far as the US government is concerned, these are just “obstacles” (does that mean war is the goal?) and even if Iraq disarms totally and Saddam commits public suicide, this war is still on. Let's roll!

News time

Seeing as the snow isn't killing the dish, I've had a chance to read the news. But after this commentary I have to take a quick break and draw a bunny logo for the kids line of clothing. We've also been tossing around the idea of getting an embroidery machine (they're about $2500) so we can do everything from patches to custom work on shirts and jackets in-house.

One of the (goofy) ideas we'd tossed around was that when you submit pictures to different sections on BME, you become eligible for patches signifying that activities — kind of like in Cub Scouts for fire starting, rope tying, etc., except ours would be for “tongue piercing”, “suicide suspension”, “prince albert”, and so on… And you'd have to have sent in a picture of that to order, so they'll have legitimacy.

Anyway, the bigger news is the US spying on UN security council members. Because the UNSC delegations are in New York, it's easy for the US government to get wiretaps and full surveillance on all the other security council members. The documentation of this has just been leaked to the media.

What the fuck is the US thinking with stunts like this?

First economic and military threats, and now the revelation that they're not even willing to play fair and honourable (not that anyone internationally has listed “honour” as an American trait for a long time)… Why even bother working with the international community? Seriously, what is the US trying to achieve?

If this process continues, the US will find itself at odds with the entire world, and as big and powerful as it is, it will collapse under that kind of weight… Leaving nothing but a 300-million very poor people, stripped of their civil rights and slaving under the will of a corporate military dictatorship ruled by a handful of very rich men.

The US has announced that it plans on gassing Saddam's people (again — remember when the US helped Saddam gas the Kurds?). Why is it OK for the US to develop gas weapons that have been banned for combat use? Why are people OK with this? Hell, there are how many US government employees? 20 million at least? All it takes is for them to say “fuck this, this is wrong, I will not support this”.

Raise the fist!

Wave the black flag!

The UN expects that about 10 million Iraqis will die from this war. A humble suggestion: killing people isn't liberating them. Along the same lines, the US has told reporters to get out of Bagdad on account of it being levelled soon. Yeah, “we'll keep civilian casualties to a minimum.”

Truth: If the US kills millions of civilians in order to depose Saddam, and the American people don't stop their government, thereby giving it their support (it is a democracy), then any and all terrorist attacks on the US civilian population are justified. I think it's wrong, but if one side can murder the other side's children as a military tactic, then it must go both ways.

Is this the bed you want to sleep in?

The Kurds have vowed to murder, well, everybody, now adding any Turkish troops that help America in this war to their dead pool. Shouldn't that be a hint that we should just back off? We (the Western nations) don't need the headache of making these killers and terrorists our allies just because it serves the American Imperialism of the moment… It's not going to turn out well.

Canadians I think will enjoy this quote from Cretien more so than others since it's especially funny when you imagine Mr. Shawinigan Handshake saying it.

If it is a changing of regime, it's not what is 1441... And if you start changing regimes, where do you stop? This is the problem, who is next? Give me the list, the priority list! I'm OK, I only have 11 months to go [Cretien is stepping down] but how about somebody else? So this is a very dangerous concept.

But he is right — that's the core of it. We (as in other nations) have no right to call for “regime change” or to attempt to depose foreign rulers. We can certainly call for them to be tried in international war crimes courts (which the US opposes anyway, since they have so many war criminals internally), or we can attack their policies (ie. human rights violations, attacks on other nations, etc.), but we have no right to call for regime change or even for disarmament.

As soon as we support such a policy, we can toss the concepts of sovereignty, independence, self-determination, and freedom out the door. Now, I do realize that most governments are vehemently opposed to freedom and such… But as individuals, we do have at least a little say in who rules us, and I hope that most of us have the sense to make decisions that support freedom rather than eliminate it.

Too bad that hope's getting shattered.

In Crazy North Korea news, they continue to up their nuke program in the face of US aggression. Even though they've said that their sole reason for these weapons is defending against attacks from the fascist US dictatorship, the US continues to threaten them. But, given the world we live in, the true prophets may be big business… Let's spin the corporate eight-ball and see what it says:

With the United States on the brink of war in Iraq and North Korea test-firing missiles, State Farm Insurance Cos. is issuing a timely, if chilling, notice to customers: It won't cover auto damage caused by nuclear blasts or radioactive fallout.

Well, it's hammer bunny time.