Season’s Greetings from the Octopus Garden

(Yule probably wanna skip this)

Secret Word For The Day: (go) Postal (v. snap and go berserk at work.)
Cheese of the Week: Czech sheep’s milk
Site of the Week: Luddites On-Line
Now Playing: Mothers of Invention (’tis the season to be jelly)
Current Conspiracy: International House of Pancakes is a front for the CIA. Think about it: no one ever eats there {when’s the last time you did?!?} but they stay open year after year 24 hours a day. Collectively a money-laundering scheme, the restaurants themselves serve as safe houses and operation bases.

in this issue,

Fun with fonts!
calendar contest!
zodiac facts!
eye on Elvis!
hedgehog philosophy!

but first, saint’s Seasonal Sermon

For those of you who don’t know, years ago I was bit bad by the Humbug. I hate Christmas. Don’t have a tree, don’t have a stocking, and definitely don’t join in any reindeer games. Same goes for other holidays this time of year: Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Independence Day (Finland), Emperor’s Birthday (Japan), Boxing Day (Australia,) Rizal Day (Philippines,) or Assumption of the Sacred Yak (Mongolia.)

I don’t “celebrate” Christmas so much as grudgingly “acknowledge” it. I’ll spare everyone the lecture on consumerism and deforestation in favor of a lesson in history. I “observe” Christmas on January 9th. The December 25th date was originally a Roman holiday (Sol Natalis) marking winter solstice; the Catholic Church adopted in the Fourth Century as part of their ingratiating Roman Empire sell-out. January 9th was the day observed for Jesus’ birth before then, and though this too has vague pagan origins, Armenian Christians still observe it to this day.

More importantly, by observing it on the 9th, I have an extra two weeks to shop and take advantage of those after-Christmas sales! Usually I give a gold lighter and some frankincense and myrrh. My present to all of you is the attached file. E-mail it to someone you don’t like, and then wish you could see their face when they run it. To know the ordeal you’ll be subjecting them to, run the program yourself. Have no fear: nothing bad will happen if you have faith in Branch Floridianism. It won’t damage the computer’s system but will severely traumatize the computer’s owner.

I had plans to further traumatize today’s youth by forming a rap group. We were going to dress like rabbis, call ourselves Hassidic Burn, and rap with bad Yiddish accents. Had the names, too: MC Escher, Transmaniacom MC, and Phat Albert. I even found two volunteers that had turntables and no shame. Then Evil Matt informed me it’d already been done. Black Shabbos did the full shtick back in ’89 or ’90, including pointing to a pig and saying “can’t touch this!”

Since we are on a tight timeline for World Domination, I would normally give you all an events schedule for the upcoming year [so we can coordinate things like burning down the Reichstag, invading the Sudatenland, and coordinating the astrology of the Concentration Moon (over the camp in the valley.) ] However, I am in the process of redoing our chronometer (see below) so that will be left for a future Update.

Calendar Recalibration

    by saint 

It should be obvious to anyone with an IQ above 5 and a base knowledge of the First Century that the current calendar, which I call GrayGoryAum, makes no sense.  However, most people do not have an IQ above 5 or a base knowledge of the First Century, which is why the Brain Police have had us by the soft and danglies for so long.

According to GrayGoryAum, we are on the cusp of entering 1998. Currently, these dates are designated with the suffix, C.E. (Common Era.)  This replaces the older A.D. (Anno Domini, Year of our Lord) which meant that Jesus was born in the year 1.  The A.D. system was dropped in favor of C.E. because A.D. is neither “politically correct” nor chronologically correct either.

For the Bible to be correct, Jesus could not have been born in the year 1.  Matthew 2:1 and Luke 1:5 say that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the King, which most likely refers to Herod the Great.  Herod the Great died in 4 B.C.  Luke 2:1-2 further complicates matters, because the census referred to occurred in 7 A.D.  However, the Herod reference seems the more accurate, or at least believable, which means the latest Jesus could have been born was 4 B.C. (!)  Some even argue more, based on Matthew 2:16, where Herod orders the death of all male children up to two years old.

The importance of this should not be overlooked: with the 4+ year drift, we are actually in the year 2001.  The Millennium has already come and gone.  I mention that just in case any of you are caught up in what I call Chris Carter Syndrome.

The year of Christ’s birth was determined by a Catholic monk named Dionysius Exiguus in the middle of the 7th century.  As we can see, he was at least four years off, but then again when has the Catholic Church ever done anything right?  Continuing to use GrayGoryAum is to show our subservience to the Catholic church, and by proxy, the Brain Police.

As I mentioned, A.D. has been replaced with C.E.  Some of you no doubt recognize this acronym for what it really is: Chaotic Evil (now Save vs. Spells or take 3d6 damage!)  After all, Common Era?!?  What does the First Century have in common with ours?  Nothing!  Well, then as now the Brain Police were calling the shots, and People were and are still idiots, but that’s where the similarities cease.  Besides, the Brain Police and civil stupidity have an extensive pedigree from well before the First Century.

It should be abundantly clear that we need a new calendar system.  “We” of course means Branch Floridians: let everyone else trumpet their ignorance by continuing to use GreyGoryAum.  A new system not only proudly proclaims our competence, but is also mandatory for encrypting our timeline for World Domination.

While we’re at it, we need to redo the months. Currently, they make no sense.  For instance, “October” means “eighth month” but is tenth in the current sequence, “December” means “tenth month” but is twelfth, etc. “February”?  What’s up with that silent “R”, huh?  And “May”?  Personally, I don’t want a month with such an indecisive title.  I kind of like the idea of lunar months, but then again I also like Blue Öyster Cult, so what the hell do I know?

In a short story I wrote several year ago, I toyed with a calendar system based on the Zodiac (Aries was the first month, etc.)  Since I feel that Astrology (especially in its current form) is new-age nonsense, I think this would be the ideal system to use since it’s what the Brain Police would least expect of us.  I’m researching some of the older forms practiced among the Heretics.  As soon as I have a grip on their timelines and transliterations, I’ll bring everyone up to date.

But of course our ultimate goal is to “think for yourself”, so you should decide for yourself what calendar system you use. Be a lemming and stick with GrayGoryAum.  Or, do what I do and make up your own!  your own idea for our new calendar, either original or so archaic and obscure that even I have never heard of it.  Coolest concept wins an indulgence of your choice!

is the founder of Branch Floridianism, but if you don’t know that you shouldn’t be reading this!

Celluloid Encryption

    by Raymond Shaw 

In our continuing series on movies as coded history (either past or future) we now turn our attention to that aquatic shocker, Jaws.

    This was no boating accident!”

Jaws is special for Branch Floridians because Florida is so coastal; if you’ve been to the beach you’ve swum with the sharks and not even known it.  saint, our “fearless” leader, saw Jaws debut at a Delray Beach drive-in back in 1975 (double-feature w/Soylent Green.)  To this day he refuses to go into the ocean at night.

The film is important in that it reminds us that we humans aren’t always at the top of the food pyramid, and that there are very real forces in nature that can phuq us up.  However, the movie also has some tremendously important Continuity Clues that apply to us all.  Let’s study the end, in slow motion.  You all know the scene: Sheriff Brody is in the crow’s nest of the sinking Orca with a mail-order M-1 Garand rifle.  Jaws has just made the turn at the kelp bed and is heading up the current.

Brody fires his first shot.  It misses, splashing debris into the beak of a seagull.

Brody’s second shot hits the back of Jaws just above the dorsal fin.  It comes out by the right gill, and proceeds into a remora: it enters through the top, comes out the side, nicks a pectoral fin, and comes to a rest embedded in the tail.  Despite making half a dozen non-aligned wounds, Brody’s bullet is still pristine.

The third shot from the sniper’s nest is the fatal head wound.  Study the way the oxygen tank blows:

Back, and to the left.

The cross-over to Apocalypse Now should be obvious: “never get out of the boat!’ (sharks and tigers and bears, oh my!)

Now you know why Charlie Don’t Surf.

is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonder human being I’ve ever met in my life.

Ask Evil Matt

Evil Matt answers your questions about doctrine, dogma, and other life dilemmas.

(as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla X’)

Q: What’s the official stance on Kosherness?

A: Mark 7:19 interprets Jesus as doing away with the kosher requirement, but Matthew 5:17 (etc.) says all the laws are important and are to be fulfilled.  Paul and James’s disagreement on the matter is as well documented as it is downplayed.  The actual Kosher Laws (Leviticus 11) contain an error (v. 6) in that they incorrectly identify rabbits as being unkosher.  It is my opinion that kosherness started as a ”two birds with one stone“ convenience of Temple sacrifice; with the Temple out of commission, the laws are suspended.  For Branch Floridian purposes, kosher foods are anything that has contact with the four true food groups: caffeine, nicotine, garlic, and barbecue sauce.  Thus, any meal can be made kosher by drinking a soda with it or having a smoke afterwards.

Q: Who are the Brain Police?

A: I can only hope that is a rhetorical question, because if you actually have to ask, then you will not understand any answer I give.  The closest I can do is respond with a three-part question of my own:

What will you do if we let you go home, and the plastic’s all melted (and so is the chrome)?

What will you do when the label comes off, and the plastic’s all melted (and the chrome is too soft)?

What will you do if the people you knew were the plastic that melted (and the chromium too)?

Where’s that $20 you owe me?

A: Check’s in the mail, Big Guy.

Q: I just stuck my hand into a pile of goo that a moment ago was my best friend’s face, but I still don’t know what to do. Please advise.

A: First, get some handy-wipes and a towelette.  It is vitally important that you clean up the crime scene post-haste.  After disposing of the bodies (your friend’s, and any hostile witnesses) you should be in the clear to assume your friend’s identity.  Just pay everything in cash for the first few months.

Q: What is the difference between Bel Canto and Coloratura?

A: Roughly two octaves, or a lungful of helium.

Is my husband cheating on me?

A: Yes. Since your marriage, he has had five one night stands and three prolonged affairs. The first was with your sister, then with his boss’s secretary, and currently with the day manager of the corner Dunkin Donuts.

Q: Who made the first Frankenstein film?

A: Thomas Edison, in 1910. (he’s some type of uncle or cousin of saint’s, btw)

Send your questions to 

Although forensic evidence is inconclusive (and he is strangely silent on the matter,) it is generally accepted that Evil Matt died in the Waco conflagration.  His current medium, Sister Ob’dewlla X’, is a Mammy Nun (“…de min’yature rubber mammy wit de string out de back.”)

...and now, a few quick questions of my own...

Several of you out there are lawyer types; I would like your opinion on three things:

First, If I formed a committee called Floridian (Branch) Intelligence, could I tell people that I was with the FBI?

Second, If someone shows up at my door with a with a badge and a warrant, can I delay the warrant’s execution (arrest/search/etc) until my attorney is present to ensure the warrant is properly executed (Miranda’s/no evidence planting/etc.)?

Third, If anyone (sheriff, FBI, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.) wants to come inside but does not have a warrant, can I grant them conditional entry: “You may only come in if you have no weapons, body armor, recorders, or transmitters.” If they agree to these terms and then violate them, what are my options?


...I wuz just curious..., it’s for, a, uh, novel I’m writing...
...yeah, that’s it...


    by Ursula Majors

Disclaimer: these are calculated assuming that you are currently on Earth. If you are not on Earth, shift up 1 sign per planet towards the sun, down 1 sign per planet away from the sun. Void where prohibited, and in Utah.

Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) In three days the star LB 426, which is part of the head in the Aries constellation, will supernova.  The meaning is clear: you are about to suffer a fatal brain aneurysm.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) With a large comet midway between Taurus and Pleiades, you can expect to either win the lottery or be visited by the ghost of Richard Baseheart.  Lunar conjunctions make this the perfect time to kick that pesky heroin habit!

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20) Mercury in the second cusp heralds good news! First, the lab results will come back negative.  Then, your boss’s stockbroker will churn his portfolio once too many, bankrupting him and directly prompting his suicide.  You won’t get a raise, but you will get his office.

Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) Venus is hovering suspiciously around the belt of Orion; since her attention is elsewhere, don’t expect any nookie for quite some time.  A Gemini whose birthday you forgot took the snub personally and put your e-mail address on some very embarrassing mailing lists.

Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22) A T-1000 Terminator from the year 2023 will materialize in your back yard, but have no fear: it’s after your sister.  Fresh fruit will be important.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22) You are about to lose your knuckles in a cheese wincer, so avoid children’s television programs.  While you are napping, the Brain Police will break into your house and move everything six microns to the left.  A Libra will rip you off in a drug deal.

Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22) Jupiter in opposition with Cygnus BX hints at romance, a gardening accident, and a starring role in an upcoming MacBeth musical.  Play your cards right, and a Virgo will buy all your surplus oregano.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) If you think your life sucks now, in a week you’ll pine for this “golden age.”  Rocket Scientologists have just launched a surveillance satellite devoted entirely to you.  You will be attacked by an Aries vampire on the full moon.  Then Ed McMahon will send you a letter saying you owe him ten million dollars.  Run—don’t walk—to the nearest bookstore and get a copy of Final Exit now.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec 21) The good fortune experienced by Taurus (the sign opposite yours) will spill over to you: you will program you vcr for the first time and possibly even balance your checkbook!  You will also get correct change and warm food next time you go to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) For the next two weeks you will consistently be in the right place with a watch that is five minutes slow.  Avoid the salmon mousse when you eat out.  If you take matters into your own hands with that neighbor’s yapping dog, your other neighbors will give you plausible denial and an airtight alibi.

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) Neptune eclipsing the Little Dipper makes you a walking faux pas. It will get so bad that you will be banned from K-Mart for life.  Expect to see out-of-focus footage of yourself on either America’s Most Wanted or Funniest 911 Bloopers.

Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) Avoid Boston at all costs (actually, this is the one piece of advice that applies to all signs.)  You will create a new life form in an accident involving a microwave oven and a non-dairy creamer that ultimately will conquer Mars.

Today’s Birthday: Today is the first day of the end of your life.  The skin grafts covering your 666 birthmark will flake off at a socially awkward moment.  Then you will get a “surprise” party in a parking lot, courtesy of a sinister little midget with no teeth or deodorant.  I recommend against blowing out the candle on his cake.

 is the only Aborigines gypsy hermaphrodite astrologer on the circuit.

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog

          Hedgehogs would be as intelligent as humans if they had the same brain size.

          Of course, this would result in a hedgehog roughly the size of a saint bernard.  Almost a Godzilla hog.


Harriet is a direct descendant of Prickles, the Royal Hedgehog favourite of the Queen of Hearts.  She can be reached at


    by Amelia Hoffa-Morrison

With more posthumous sightings than Jesus, the Elvis phenomenon needs close scrutiny.  The “king” of all crop circles we reported on last time has developed a new twist: unidentified “special agents” dressed like Blues Brothers showed up and claimed that it was merely a natural phenomenon caused by a hubcap at ten thousand feet.  Alternately, the near-by shoeprint from a size 12 Bruno Miagli has led others to proclaim it all a hoax, but of course we know the truth!

  • An obese Hare Krishna at the Honolulu Airport has a suspicious way of drawling, “a-thank’ye, thank’ye verr’ much” when you give him a donation.

  • In Rumford, Maine, a heavy-set man with a pompadour and muttonchops went into a Payless Shoes and asked for something in blue suede.

  • Take a close look at the Red Power Ranger (note the girdle and the rhinestones, and especially that double-hand pumping motion he makes after winning a fight.)

Ms. was in prison in Interzone for flamingo-fondling, but escaped during a cacophonous riot.  She was the only inmate not caught up in the dancing and singing.

and finally, a few words about nothing

    by Burning Bush


The following is an issue that I’ve been thinking about for no readily apparent reason and I am interested in hearing what others think about it.

Through a bit of semantic juggling, I can say that nothingness, by definition, does not exist. It is after all nothing, which of course isn’t. I believe things can be in a state of nothingness (in that they can not be visible/ notable/ evident in our surroundings), but the lack of evidence of existence is not proof of nonexistence. So to the point. Does anyone of this group believe in nothing? Is nothingness a thing that exists in and of itself, or is it simply description of the state we call absence? We cannot experience not existing, so can we ever not exist? Or can something only not exist to another thing that has a memory or evidence of something that has effected it and no longer does?

I am really interested (really, this is not a joke) in how the people I know perceive the concept of nothing. Let me know if you have any thoughts.


ps “So the show’s about nothing?”
“Yeah, nothing”
“How can you do a show about nothing?”
—George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld from their show about nothing

Burning Bush is the head of the CHARter Maryland Chapter Branch Floridians. Anyone with thoughts on nothing can reach him at

    peshar haddabar

    by saint

Burning bush raises an excellent question that I think everyone should think about.  I’ll skip the rehash of Wittgenstein and zero to emphasize that this is a case where the language is not up to the task of describing the concepts they are intended to convey.  Perhaps the easiest way to “prove” or “disprove” the existence of “nothing” is to prove the existence of its opposite, “infinity.”  I do not believe that can be done empirically, since we are in a finite universe.  Of course, several people have said, “to understand infinity you need only think about the stupidity of the human race.”

“Nothing” certainly exists, and indeed has been harnessed as a source of kinetic inertia for almost six thousand years.

“Nothing” is the 333rd face of the 8th Archon (Yaldabaoth) hinted at opaquely by both the gnostic guru Valentinus (in The Gospel of Truth) and the mad arab Abdul Alhrazad (in The Necronomicon.)

“Nothing,” if we are generous with the first few laws of thermodynamics, also meets three of the four criteria for being alive: reproduction, reaction to environment, and metabolism (seeking sustenance).  [I omit carbon based because that it biased toward Earth.]

“Nothing” certainly can have an effect on its surroundings. ie: I throw a baseball at you, and what do you do?  “Nothing.”  BONK!

“Nothing” comes closest to having a physical form as the spaces between electrons, in co-orbit with Richard Nixon’s conscience and Bruce Springsteen’s talent.

“Nothing” is the choice of five out of six Brain Police for what we should do with our minds.

“Nothing” is subjective, and can be proven to be an infinite number of other states from as many different points of view.

and “Nothing” is stopping us from getting our butts kicked by the Great Grey Gerbil of Praxis 3!

If you don’t know who saint is by now, you’re just not paying attention.





In your heart you know he’s right.
In your guts you know he’s nuts.

This WDU edited by shade (if I have to start copywriting, I’m gonna be pissed...)

shade is saint’s scribe; think Baruch but with longer hair and worse posture.

© 1997 (I,iv)