World Domination Update
“Shinola is a Shoe Polish!”
vol. V, iss. iv

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
                                            —Matthew 3:3

Secret Word of the Day: Invincible!
Site of the Week: P.A.R.O.D.Y.
Barbecue Sauce of the Month: Cactus Sam’s Generic Universal Triple-Tang
Now Playing:  Stalk-Forrest Group — St. Cecilia

In this issue:

· Apology to Allah
· Ranch Rant Revisited
· Gumby’s Rebuttals
· Microsoft Newspeak
· Living Itches
· Ask Evil Matt
· World Domination, Hedgehog Style


Hey Kids! 


It had to happen sooner or later: an Update would write itself based on reader feedback.  Seems more and more people (or at least readers) are thinking for themselves, and putting those thoughts on paper (or at least email) and sending ’em my way.  I’ve always felt that the Updates should be more of a communal contribution since we are all in this together, so perhaps that vision is coming closer to reality.

Of course, that was the plan, but then bin Laden helped shuffle the “world’s tallest building” hierarchy, so there went that idea. 


The Horror in New York


Everyone seems to be saying that the only good to come out of the Attack on America is a renewed sense of unity and patriotism among the populace. 


The only good thing to come out of all this was that professional sports were halted for one full week. 


[saint’s aside:] —  despite the one-week reprieve from the horror of sports, it inevitably came back, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were in first place.  I must reiterate my earlier threat: if any Arizona team wins any type of World Series/Super Bowl/Stanley Cup/ad nauseum, Im outta here!!!

...but i digress...


The terrorist attacks have been called a patriotic wake-up call for America.  Personally, Id call it a swift kick in our complacency.  Ive been wondering how long it would be before something like this happened.  The only thing that surprised me was the scale.

I must admit that I am surprised, though thankful, that the conspiracy front hasnt run into overdrive on all this.  Therefore, I guess its up to me.

A quick reality check, before I go into this dangerous territory (just in case people think I actually endorse the following opinions.)  Bush was trying to save the American economy.   Therefore, I hardly doubt he would allow the destruction of the heart and symbol of American Economics to be literally reduced to rubble, with the predictable fallout of a near-market crash in the wake of the debris.  Bush may be dim, but hes not that low-wattage.

That said, with many people comparing this to Pearl Harbor, it inevitably brings up comparisons of the more unsavory sides of the original Day of Infamy.  Its been pretty much established that FDR knew about Pear Harbor, so youd have to wonder how much GWB knew about the Trade Center.  A terrorist cell of this size operating in this country for at least a year and no one knows about it?!?  Either our government was massively lax, or there are shenanigans about—and neither alternative is comforting.  Worse, the events are moving us much closer to a military police state, with the Prez getting a sweeping range of powers granted to him during this crisis that would otherwise be extremely uneasy on the conscience.  One has to admit, negativity aside, this does play perfectly into the New World Order scheme.  Plus, people have conveniently forgotten how much GWB sucks in the interest of unifying behind him.

To that point, I’m surprised—nay, stunned—that more emphasis hasn’t been placed on Iraq in all this.  Sure, there were the hints that hijacker Mohammed Atta met with an unidentified Iraqi Intelligence Official, and senile Senator Jesse Helms statement that American Forces are right close to attacking Iraq, but interest in Sodamn Insane (at least publicly) seems to be virtually nil in favor of the bin Laden scapegoat.  Lets face it: Bush has been itching for a war with Iraq, so he can truly follow in his fathers footsteps, so youd think any potential angles like this would be played up.  Personally, I think it’s naïve to think Sadam didnt know about this (at the least!) so I must wonder at the marked lack of interest in any Iraqi angles.  I say this also watching the Christian conspiracy community.  In the Book of Revelation scheme of things, Iraq easily substitutes as Babylon, and with us in the year 2001, true Millennial muck-ups should be in overdrive.  The silence on these fronts is rather puzzling — and worrisome.  Remember the atomic bomb axiom: “if these are the things they’re telling us about, imagine the crap too sensitive for public knowledge!  After all, and in many ways, a war against a nation like Iraq would certainly be easier than a war against  a spread-out terrorist cell in Afghanistan.

And that is a point not fully understood by the millions of war-mongers throughout America crying for military vengeance.  Understandably, much of the American population has been caught up in what Roger Waters called “the bravery of being out of range”,  without fully understanding what a war in Afghanistan would actually involve.  With the possible exception of Cambodia, Afghanistan is the geographic asshole of this planet.  It’s already a desolate wasteland, so bombing it back to the stone age would actually bring it forward in time.  You could nuke the crap out of it and they’d just thank you for clearing the rubble.  The Soviet Union, Great Britain, Genghis Khan, and even Alexander the Great couldn’t conquer this land, which speaks much for the resolve of the indigent infantry.  These are some of the best guerilla fighters in the world.

Which reminds me: the United States trained them to be that way!  Anyone notice a pattern?  We arm Iraq, then go to war with them.  We arm Afghanistan, then go to war with them.  At this rate, our next war will be with the Nicaraguans.  Bring Ollie North out of retirement for that one; put him on the front line as ’fodder .

But back to the point,,,  don’t get me wrong, folks: saint and even Evil Matt agree with me that if these idiots are willing to die for Allah, then we should do our best to oblige them.  We Branch Floridians are dead-set opposed to religious fanaticism of any kind, and any institution that preaches otherwise deserves to be taught a dissenting opinion via a nine millimeter parabellum point blank to their phundamentalist face—at the very least.

Unfortunately, the Islamic ilk we have seen recently seems to represent the worst of such unrelenting “holier than thou” attitudes.  

That said, let me clarify something...


Koranic Correction

for those who don’t know Shi’ite from Shinola)


Understandably, the attack on America has put Islam in the spotlight, with considerable interest on its teachings.  Personally, I feel Osama bin Laden represents Islam about as much as David Koresh represents Christianity or Steven Segal represents Buddhism.  

Sadly, many Americans and especially Arabs overseas don’t seem to understand that distinction.

Still, it is good that Islam has come under extensive examination because of this.  Any religion professing to purvey “The Truth” should be scrutinized.  And, after all, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, indeed is even expected to surpass Christianity .  Despite this, Islam is extremely misunderstood, especially here in the Christian West.  

For the few of you living in a cave, the principal text of Islam is the Koran (or Quar’an, etc., depending on your transliteration preferences.)  The word in Arabic means “Writings.”   Likewise, “Islam” means “submission” or “surrender”, and “Muslim” means “slave” or “[one who] submits”, with the understanding that it is to God (“Allah” in Arabic) that we submit to or are slaves of.  

Grossly overstated, the basic idea behind Islam is that God gave “The Message” first to the Jews (through various Prophets like Moses,) but unfortunately the Jews who heard these Prophets either misunderstood or deliberately corrupted the Message.  God tried again through Jesus, whose followers (called “People of the Book” in the Koran) also got it wrong, especially by mistaking the Messenger for the Message.  Ultimately, Allah tried one last time, through Mohammed, and this time his listeners finally got it right.

A main, even defining, difference between Islam and Christianity, is that Jesus (“Isa”) is not divine, but only a Prophet.  The Koran recognize his Virgin Birth, but .  The Koran also denies the .  Still, Jesus is treated with reverence and respect, and the Koran has many pious stories, sayings, and even miracles about him that do not appear  in the Bible.  

The Islamic attitude seems to be, there is nothing wrong with Jesus; it’s his followers who are the problem.

Hey, I’ve been saying that for years.

In Islam, Jesus would seem to be the Penultimate Prophet, and it would take one final try to get things right.  That final try was Mohammed (570(?)–632).  Mohammed gave a number of speeches throughout his life, especially during his active ministry, which were immediately collected and codified upon his death.  These are “The Writings” (“Al Quar’an”) held sacred by Islam.  Different versions exist (a fact not widely acknowledged among Moslems,) though these versions apparently differ primarily in dialectics and not content.

Central to Islamic dogma is the belief that to truly understand the Koran, it must be read in the original Arabic; any translation runs the risk of corruption.  This bothers me: if God were trying to get his message to all the people, he would have made it more accessible and translatable, rather than stick it in a complex language that a minority of the world speaks. 

I have read the Koran, but since I am not fluent in Arabic, I was forced to rely on a translation, specifically The Meaning of The Glorious Koran translated by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall.  Pickthall claims to be a devout Moslem, and I actually have no doubt of his intended sincerity.  The book was a gift from a friend and fellow coworker up in Ice Station Zappa.  Unfortunately, this edition is, in retrospect, one step short of wretched, and did much to skew my bias away from Islam.

Having done some research, I would like to change that, and offer (that’s right!) an apology to Allah in retrospect.

Here at the Cyber-Compound, we have a page in the Athenæum devoted to Scriptural Contradictions.  To this effect, there is a wonderful verse in the Koran which I feel extremely appropriate to the subject matter.  Not only Koranic study, but any religious text:



“Why don’t they contemplate upon the Writings (Koran)?  Had it been originated from anyone besides God, then it would have been beset with inconsistencies and contradictions.”

—Women, 4:82



Sounds like a Pepsi Challenge to me, so I’ll Step Up to the Plate on that one.  

Unfortunately, with the wretched Koranic translation I was using, it was just too easy.

Specifically, the one  I chose for the Contradictions page, based on the above Pickthall translation, was Mary 19:7


“Oh Zechariah! Lo! We bring thee tidings of a son whose name is John; We have given the same name to none before him.”


The problem with that should be obvious.  To think that no one was named Johnathan before John the Baptist is simply absurd.  The name appears throughout the Old Testament (which predates the Koran by two thousand years): Moses had a grandson named Jonathan (Judges 18:30), King David had a cousin (1st Chronicles 20:6), and of course the most famous being the prophet oracle to King Saul (1st & 2nd Samuel throughout.)

Of course, a problem should be equally obvious: if that were the correct translation (ie: if that was what the Koran actually said) then by its own criteria the Koran is false and critics would have jumped on that from day one.  Islam would never have gotten off the ground.

I’d always been bothered by that translation: it’s just too obviously wrong.  So recently I checked into it, verifying it with some outside sources.  A much more consistent translation of the verse would seem to be:


“Oh, Zechariah!  Surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be John: We have not made anyone before him his equal.”


That certainly makes more sense, logically and Theologically.  

NEVER let it be said that I don’t admit when I am wrong.

Therefore, I would like to apologize to all Moslems and Lay who may have seen my site (specifically the “contradictions” page) and either been misled or merely figured I was an idiot with no grasp of Arabic.

I have removed the offending passage, as it is clearly not a contradiction but a poor translation.

This, of course, brings into question what to replace it with.  Instead, I offer a different one:


He causes the night to enter in upon the day, and He causes the day to enter in upon the night, and He has made subservient (to you) the sun and the moon; each one follows its course to an appointed time; this is Allah, your Lord, His is the kingdom; and those whom you call upon besides Him do not control a straw.

—The Originator  35:13


The problem here is somewhat semantical, but based on the meaning of that surah, the sun rotates (“follows its course”) around the Earth.  In the 6th Century, when this was written, that would certainly seem to be the case, based on the optical illusion caused by the Earth’s rotation.  Of course now we know better.  With a stretch, it could be argued that this statement is literally true, as the sun does have a course set through the galaxy.  However, from the context, I do not believe that was the intent.

Of course, I could be wrong.

feel free to other news...


New Recruits


All Branch Floridians should give a hearty-heart-warming “wekkum” to the two newest kindred spirits to find our flock, Zaphod and PJ.  Zaphod stumbled upon our site by doing an internet search for who was at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (which was the extra credit question on The Son of Pop Quiz).  PJ found us via shade’s commentary on the Gospel of Thomas, saying “...Your site was about 5th or 6th on the list, but second on good content, first on compelling thoughts.  The article about the history and ‘interpretation’ of the Gospels was, in my humble opinion, very well done, and open in its judgement.”  [shade bows modestly]   Both Zaphod and PJ have sharp minds, and PJ especially is keen on lateral thinking and hopes to contribute an article on the subject in the near future.  

We’d also like to welcome DynaCharcoal back to the fold, after her extended sabbatical around Missouri (as well as her honeymoon.)  

SLowsMoke also broke her vow of silence, passing on the sad news of Joey Ramone’s death.


Reno on the Range


          Janet Reno is expected to announce she will run for governor of Florida.

          Now you know why we moved to Arizona...

          Reno is no stranger to Florida, though.  Aside from being behind the Elian Gonzalez raid (gotta love shoving a loaded gun in a crying kid’s face!), she was Dade County’s state attourney in the early ’80s, where she made a name for herself with numerous cases of essentially false arrest in highly publicized investigations.  In a suspiciously repetitive pattern, the arrestees were eventually released, though only after Reno told the press “we have a suspect in custody” and then waited until public interest had waned before releasing them.


Gunfight at the OK Federal Building


Reader Feedback


Read the latest update. You went into the McVeigh thingy a little bit, but I was surprised you didn't go into the CNN thing.  Drudge was playing the tapes on the radio his entire program a couple of weeks ago. They were tapes of CNN reporters on the day of the incident, stating that more than one bomb went off, at least a third was found and deactivated, and that the Justice Department confirmed all of this. Obviously all of this is denied now, but he had the tapes.




shade’s peshar

                Ryfun brings up a good point, in that the Oklahoma City bombing is indeed fertile grounds for conspiracy theory.  Unfortunately, for me to cover it in any detail that would do it justice would turn this into a HUGE piece.  Interested readers are referred to the book OKBomb! by Jim Keith, which does explore the subject in depth.


Ranch Rant Revisited


It seems last issue’s Ranch Rant struck home with quite a few of you.  DK, the head of the Ranch Peninsulars and founding fodder of this noxious heresy, went so far as to write up a Ranch Rebuttal praising his toxic sauce.  Of course, when it comes to the subject of Ranch, “spew” immediately comes to mind, so we should not be surprised that his rambling ranch missive is in the area of 5 pages long with no end in sight as of this Update’s publishing date.  If he ever finishes jizzing it out, it will be posted in the interest of amusement. 

health inspection failure

However, we have independent conformation of just how nasty this ranch crap actually is.  Check out the review on the right of ’zona eateries that didn’t quite pass muster.  The proof here is two-fold.  First, flies are drawn to shit, and second, ranch was so nasty that it killed the damned thing.

Think about it!

But of course why take my word for it, let’s ask our studio audience...


Reader Feedback 


read the update and I TOTALLY agree with your stand against ranch dressing... I mean it's so.... nasty.... I've always been more of a hard core thousand island (NOT FRENCH) type o' girl myself.... 


shade’s peshar

Witknee is a vegetarian who has come to barbecue’s defense on other occasions.  I mention this due to the original comment by my vegetarian friend that people of her edible persuasion preferred ranch to barbeque. 

more ranch bashing


Re: your "ranch rant"  Right on!  I refuse to eat the shit and agree that it's a conspiracy that it's everywhere.  Funny you should mention that, because last night I got a burger at Fat Sam's and it had ranch on it.  Not mayo but ranch.  I was like, "did I ASK for ranch?  You could have warned me."  Cretin behind the counter was like, "hey, ranch is good stuff."  He didn't get it, and was pissed that I made him put an order in for another.  So you're right: the shit rots the brain.


shade’s peshar

I don’t know about Fat Sam’s, but I’ll look into it.  Sounds suspiciously like a front, and ideal fodder for my Food Page.  Thanks for the head’s up. 



Gumbys Rebuttals


By far the most popular part of the Branch Floridian Cyber-Compound is the Gumby’s Pizza Hate Page chronicling our war with the Gumby’s Dairy Gestapo and our Crusade for Extra Cheese.  This month the in-box was brimming over like the grease on a Gumby’s extra-large.  There were the usual customer horror stories about bad experiences with the Great Green Evil, but to my surprise we also had not one but two pro-Gumby rants attempting to defend the Evil Cheeseless Fiends.  In the interest of fair play I will present all here, as well as the actual responses I sent back to them.


Pizza Feedback #1


I found your website while I was looking for one where I could complain to Gumby's corporate office - and have I got a horror story for ya'll.  Innocently enough, I got hungry the other night and decided the best thing to cure my hunger with was an order of Gumbys Pokey Stix (I gave up on their pizza a long time ago).  I called them up, ordered, paid with credit card (told the guy the card number twice), gave them my address, and sat down to wait the 30 minutes they said it would take.  An hour later, I still didn't have a pizza, so I called to see if there was a problem.  They asked me my address and when I told them what it was, they said that my pizza was on its way.  30 more minutes later, I still have no food.  So I call again, explain the situation, and the phone guy asks my address again, and when I tell him, he tells me that they don't have any pizzas to be delivered to that address, but they did have one that went to 2204 Rio Grande (right number, wrong street - they're located on Rio Grande, but I'm not) and that I must have told him the wrong address.  I was a little annoyed that he had accused my of not knowing my address, but asked him to please just deliver the pizza to my correct address as soon as possible.  So, 5 minutes later, the delivery freak shows up at my door, gets ready to hand me the pizza, but instead of handing me a credit card slip to sign, tells me I owe him $8.06.  And when I told him I'd paid by credit card over the phone, he laughed and told me I hadn't.  By this point, I was angry.  So I asked him if all of their employees were completely incompetent, and  then he refused to give me my pizza!  It was a logical question!  I went back inside, called Gumbys, and asked to speak to a manager.  The manager, of course, was busy, and the guy on the phone told me I could either tell him the problem or he'd just hang up on me.  So I told him the story, and he informed me that first of all, the delivery freak didn't have to give me my pizza after I criticized him.  Then he tells me that he remembers talking to me, and that I had told him that my address was 2204 Rio Grande, and that I was right next door to them.  This is just not true.  I know where I live, I know where they're located, and I know that I don't live anywhere near next door to them.  When I told the guy on the phone this, he informed me that it was a simple mistake, and I should just admit that I made it and get over it - it obviously wasn't their fault, because they take lots of orders a day.  Now, by this point in the conversation, I was so mad I was having a hard time forming words.  So I told the guy I would call back another time to speak to a manger, and asked him his name.  His rocket science-worthy reply was "Well, what's your name?"  I told him mine, and - big surprise - he still wouldn't tell me his.  So I asked what the managers name was, and the dipshit goes, "I told you I don't have to tell you my name".  So I repeat myself, and he goes "'s Chris", and hangs up the phone.  This was three days ago, and I'm still pissed they were that rude to me!  And, to top everything off, there's a charge on my credit card for a pizza they refused to give me!!  I have to go in tomorrow and talk to manger that (hopefully) isn't a jackass and get that straighened out.  Anyways, thanks for letting me rant!  (I hope you understood it all)  Your site is great, and Gumby's Pizza sucks!




 shades peshar


This is typical of Gumby Gestapo terror tactics, in that the fiends are too wacked out of ranch dressing to think straight and get things like an order right.  By the way, $8.06 for Pokey Sticks?!?  Seems a bit excessive, but then again, this is Gumby’s we’re talking about...


Pizza Feedback #2



My problem was not with the under cheesed za, but rather with the shoddy employee's of the East Lansing, Michigan store.  Extremely hungry, but running low on dough, so were forced to settle for Gumby's.  After receiving the pizza we were given a group of coupons on the box.  One of these coupons, titled,"Stick it to me Tuesday" entitled the bearer to a free order of pokey sticks when another is ordered of equal or lesser value.  After the Monday night football game had ended we decided to use our coupon.  Yes, the game started on Monday night, but by the time it ended it was well into Tuesday morning local time.  We called to use our coupon at 12:15 AM Tuesday.  Our coupon was refused by the store for unknown reasons.  We asked to speak to the manager, and he told us that it was still Monday night, the conversation went something like this. 

Manager: "I'm sorry sir, but it's Monday night and that coupon is only good on Tuesday's"

Me:  Well, what time is it now?

it's 12:15.

12:15 what?

12:15 A.M.

Meaning that it is now Tuesday morning, therefore it is "Stick it to me Tuesday" and I would like my free order of Pokey Stix. 

No sir, it's Monday and we have a special for Monday's.

I don't think you understand, you just said it was Tuesday.

No, that coupon is only good on Tuesday business day.

Where does it say that on the coupon?

At this point the manager slammed that phone down on it's base, rudely hanging up on a long time valued customer.  I have spent many hungry nights feasting on Gumby's Pokey Stix.   My friend and I proceeded to email Gumby's corporate office and still have not received a return email, or phone call for that matter.

Enraged in East Lansing


shade’s peshar

What, you actually expected these Neanderthals to be able to figure out how to tell time?!?  Rookie mistake.

Pizza Feedback # 3


yeah, you're pretty much an idiot and Gumby's is obviously the best pizza in the world. You dumbasses in florida take it for granted, because you have a bunch of them down there. Here in Missouri, there is ONE. It's the best pizza in the world and the Ranch is the shit that makes it all great. We plan our parties around Gumby's schedule. Gotta be home before 3, so you can order the pizza that everyone here loves. you are insane. gumby's forever!



s peshar



First, let me congratulate you on being able to even use a computer; someone of your obviously limited intellect usually doesn’t make it past the “porn-surfing” stage of the Internet to find sites with actual content, such as ours.

Now, to business. You are incorrect in believing Missouri has only one Gumby’s pizza.  There is only one in Columbia, per the Scumby policy of one location per campus, but we actually have a Branch Floridian chapter in Jefferson City, headed by a very good friend of mine (who used to do the weather there for t.v. in her spare time.)  She tells me there is a Gumby’s there, which she scrupulously avoids.  Perhaps when Aunt Betsy’s mule is less sick you can make a pilgrimage there to have some.  Or you can hitch a ride with Bubba, Jethro, and cousin Cletus in their rusted old pick-up during their nightly venture to the Stuckey’s out on Route 4 to stock up on Skoal and copies of Hustler.  It will do you good to get out.  Per my friend in Jefferson City, “Dachau has more life than this place.”  Then again, you live in a state that is a phononym for “misery” so you get what you pay for.

Of course, the fact that you have to plan your entertainment around Scumby’s speaks for the lack of activities in your locale.  I won’t even comment on the need to place an order at 3 o’clock to have it delivered at night. 

Saying that “Gumby’s is the best pizza in the world” tells me you haven’t traveled much.  There are many other pizza chains out there: Dumbino’s, Pizza Slut, Pauper John’s... they all suck, too, but for different reasons, so it might do you well to try them as a means of comparison.  Then again, you seem to lack taste buds in proportion to brain cells, so perhaps it won’t matter.  Your calling “Ranch the shit that makes it all great” clinches the deal on this, though I do agree with your description of “Ranch” as “shit.”  It has already been overwhelmingly established that Ranch Dressing is the Anti-Christ of condiments.  You are eating something that looks and tastes like semen.

Then again, maybe that’s why you like it.

I will give you a piece of advice that will probably get you far: “shinola is a shoe polish.”  There; now you know.

Anyway, I will keep this short, as I realize that your pa requires your presence out back in the toolshed.


Pizza Feedback #3


Dear Cheese Guy:
I agree that the shortage of cheese is disappointing. Being an employee for 3 weeks now I have no major loyalties to the company. I just work there for the pay check. I personally go by the company's standard weights and amounts for toppings. They seem pretty fair to me and I don't remember the last time I inspected Pizza Hut pizza to see if there is a difference. So maybe I don't have a real opinion except for maybe that if you took your head out of your ass you would notice that not only Gumby's, but every other food place in America screws people. Save yourself the trouble and make your own "Pie". Then maybe you will get a life. It is sad that corporate America screws everybody, but you save time and get better quality by getting off your lazy ass and making it yourself.

A Pizza Guy



shades peshar


Dear Pizza Peon,

Thank you for illustrating the exceptionally low quality of employee staffing standards at Gumby’s are.  Your “just following company policy” comment sounds suspiciously to me like Eichman’s excuse about Auschwitz.  Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to understand that.

Still, if you think their pitiful offering of cheese is acceptable, then I can only suggest you go to some non-franchised/non-chain pizzerias and see what you are missing.  Yes, I am keenly aware that “every other food place in America screws people” (if you’d bothered to surf my site, you’d have seen that.)   I will take your comment as a tacit admission of guilt on your part, that your employer is among those screwing over America.  Your logic of ‘since everyone else is screwing you over, what does it matter that we are too?’ is vintage Gumby’s.  Stick with the company, my friend, with thinking like that, you’re definitely management material.

But back to the point: Gumby’s is especially low on the totem pole in that I consistently have had bad experiences with them.  Obviously I’m not the only one with a gripe against Gumby’s, though, or I wouldn’t get as many ‘high-five/right on!’ emails from other unsatisfied customers as I do.  It’s just a poorly run chain, though since you’re working there (and thus part of the problem) I wouldn’t expect you to realize that until you have some hindsight and maturity under your belt. 

Anyway, I’ll attempt to end this on a positive note (c#, symbolizing sharp cheddar) and thank you for the obvious suggestion I make my own pies.  I’ve been doing that for a while, and agree that you get a better pie that way.

Then again, I could simply throw a tomato against some cardboard and get a better pizza than Gumby’s could ever produce... 


Microsoft Newspeak


As a writer, one of the most memorable images to hit me when reading Orwell’s 1984 was the concept of NewSpeak.  This was a literal retooling of the language with the intent to hinder subversive communication.  For example, the word “free” was to be entirely removed from the lexicon.  The object was that in case someone got a “subversive” idea (such as “freedom,”) they would not have the vocabulary to express it to others.

It would seem that the Bill Gates Big Brother machine has caught on to this concept with release of the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary.  However, this twisting of English goes beyond simple definition differences... the book form also has a biographical index with some downright peculiar entries.  

A random sampling:

  • Paraguay’s Alfredo Stroessner was a “dictator”, but Spain’s Francisco Franco was an “authoritarian leader”, Sadam Hussein and Augusto Pinochet are “national leaders”, and Idi Amin is a “Head of State.”  Joseph Stalin was merely a “statesman.”

  • Communist spy Alger Hiss was a “lawyer and government official.”

  • Of our presidents, George Washington was “General, President, and Statesman”, Eisenhower was “soldier, President, and Statesman”, but Ulysses S. Grant (leader of the Army of the Potomac) was merely “Statesman and President.”  Franklin Pierce is not even labeled as a President, but only a “Statesman.”

  • Warren Berger is correctly identified as “Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,” but his predecessor (Earl Warren) is merely a “Supreme Court Judge” and Berger’s successor, William Renquist, is a “U.S. jurist.

  • Stan Laurel was a “comedian”, his partner Oliver Hardy was an “actor.”

  • Johnny Carson is an “entertainer,” David Letterman is a “television host,” and Jay Leno is not even included.

  • J. Edger Hoover was a “lawyer.”

  • Shaquille O’Neal gets an entry, but not Tip O’Neill.  Quentin Tarantino is included, but not Frank Capra.  Olivia Newton-John and John Denver are included, but not Chuck Berry, James Brown, or Janis Joplin.

  • And, most revealing, Frank Zappa is also completely omitted.


other bizarre computer developments...


Wolfire passed this on to me: a blatantly Brain Police piece of cyberspam.  I include it here in full (partly because the grammar is amusing—one step above “all your base are belong to us!”) with the unusual part highlighted in red.

> \
> By now, you've probably heard about, read about or talked about the most
> advanced Bible study technology available for today.\
> \
> \
> Find solutions to all your daily problems and life's challenges at the click of
>a mouse button?\
> \
> This incredible new software has the answers you're looking. It's the most
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> Bibles, well known reference books and study tools. You can view several
> Bible versions simultaneously, make personal notes, print scripturals and
> search by word, phrase or topic.\
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> If you are interested in complete information on The Word CD, please visit
> our Web site. Go to: If this link
> does not work, try typing the address directly into your browser.\
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> If your browser won't load the Web site, send us an e-mail and we will
> provide you with the more information. \
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> The wide range of resources on the CD are valued at over $1,500 if purchased
> separately.\
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> ** 14 English Bible Versions\
> ** 12 Foreign Language Versions\
> ** 9 Original Language Versions\
> ** Homeschool Resource Index\
> ** > \
> US and International orders accepted.\
> Credit cards and personal checks accepted.\
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> If you are interested in complete information on The Word CD, please visit
> our Web site: If this link does not
> work, try typing the address directly into your browser.\
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> provide you with the more information. \
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> May God Bless You,\

saint’s peshar

This piece of spam is blatantly Brain Police misinformation, and anyone with an ounce of Biblical knowledge can spot why.  For those of you who are a few grams shy of that ounce, allow me to elucidate the problem here.

9 original language versions

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, except for a few scattered verses or even chapters that are in Aramaic, such as Jeremiah 10:11 and Daniel 2:4 - 7:28.  The New Testament was composed entirely in a Greek sub-dialect known as “Koine” (“Common”.)  So, being generous, there are 3 “original” languages.  Latin is a latecomer to the tradition, with Jerome’s Vulgate being produced in the mid- Fifth century.  

So what the Hell are these other “original languages”???

I checked out the web site listed, but got this exciting message:

Ha sido imposible encontrar la página solicitada. Inténtalo más tarde.

Likewise, attempting to email the Brain Police agent listed in the letter received a BadMailerDæmon bounceback.  

I think that adequately proves this is a Brain Police spam scam.


Secrets of the Universe



Last time we learned how time travels.  Now we learn the Truth about Itches.

Everybody’s gotten an itch at some point.  Ever wonder just what they are?

Itches are actually tiny parasites that infest nerves.

Sound crazy?  If you think about it, itches meet all the criteria of life forms:

  • Cellular structure.  Your nerves are cellular, so obviously any parasite infesting them must be so too.

  • Seeks Sustenance.  Obviously they’ve found it: your nerves.

  • Reaction to environment.  Ever notice if you scratch an itch, the itch moves?  It’s trying to get away and protect itself.

  • Reproduction.  If you leave an itch alone, it just gets worse, right?  That’s because it’s growing.


shade’s peshar


Nothing is worse than an itch you can’t scratch!”

—Leon, in Blade Runner        




Ask Evil Matt


    The Evil One fields your queries, as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla ‘X’.

Q:  "peshar"???  what the hell is that, anyway?

A:  Transliteration of the Hebrew , literally “interpretation” but essentially meaning “commentary.”  The term is found with frequency among the Dead Sea Scrolls in analysis of certain Old Testament texts, inserted after the verse in the introductory formula “peshar haddabar,” or “the interpretation of the matter is”.

Q:  I have found some interesting theories and I wanted to ask you about them.  My x-boyfriend told me these theories. yuck! 

.... anyway the first one is about life, and the mysteries of pi.. (as in 3.14....). His theory says that life is like pi in all cases, basically the Karma lining. Everything comes back to you in a circle. But it gets better! Pi has only been graphed two dimensionally if it was graphed with that extra dimension would it sill be a circle, or would it be a spiral? 

Another theory was atoms don't touch, therefore when I dropped my keys on the ground, it didn't really touch the ground. SO who is crazy? They guy that says they don't touch the ground, or the guy that says they do? There is a loophole in the theory above though, atoms create a solid and solids touch.

Okay another point he was persistent to explain was that love is nothing but a chemical reaction in the brain (see why we broke up). 

If you can explain any of these theories better to me, tell me they are great, or just plain bullshit I would be forever grateful!

A:  Yow!  Make me work for my paycheck this week!  Okay, let’s take this a step at a time...

Pi.  Whether everything comes back to you in life or not is the Hindu concept of Karma, as you correctly point out, which cannot be empirically demonstrated (in this lifetime) one way or another.  It is a nice thought, though, and variations of it appear in most major theologies.  For example, the “Golden Rule” (“Do to others as you would have them do to you” — Matthew 7:11 etc.) is very much along those lines.  I am not sure I understand the “plot pi in 3 dimensions” comment.  A “circle” is a 2-dimensional geometric concept (roughly: a closed plane curve consisting of all points of a given equal distance from a specific point within that is defined as the ‘center’.)  The same structure in three dimensions is called a “sphere.”  Pi is a constant in both.  For instance, the area of a circle is pr2 whereas the (surface) area of a sphere is 4pr2.  As we see, pi does exist in the third dimension.  So I am not sure what he was referring to, but ostensibly it would seem that he’s off target (read: full of shit.)

Touching Atoms.  Before I lay some quantum physics on you, I’ll give you the simple version: your ex is again full of shit.  A good example of atoms touching would be an atomic bomb detonation (caused by the literal colliding uranium atoms), variations of which occur in the fusion of every sun/star.  Now let’s get more in-depth.  All atoms are made up of three parts (protons, neutrons, and electrons), and the only difference between them is the number of each that they have.  Atoms bond into molecules by finding another atom or atoms that have enough electrons to make a full outer ring (2, 8, 18, etc.)  when sharing them.  It has been demonstrated that these electrons actually jump orbit from one atom to another all the time, and other electrons simultaneously jump from other atoms to take their place.  So in a water molecule (H2O), one electron that started orbit around a hydrogen proton could (and does) jump over to either the other hydrogen or the oxygen atom many times a millisecond.  The electrons see no distinction who they orbit, because chemically speaking everyone atomically is happy as long as the full outer ring requirement is met.  With me so far?  Good, ’cause here’s where it gets freaky.  The electrons will also jump/trade with other electrons outside of their molecules that are still in proximity.  In other words, the electrons in fabric of your pants are trading places at this very second with the electrons on the chair cover you’re sitting on; the electrons in your pillow are exchanging with the electrons on your bedspread, electrons in some random boat’s hull are trading with the electrons of the water, etc.  An electron that was part of a tree leaf in Asia a few hundred years ago is now part of my telephone, and will doubtless eventually migrate across the planet again to be part of something else.  So actually the opposite of what your ex says is true: instead of atoms never touching, in a very real sense, all atoms are constantly in contact with each other, and are one big happy family.

Chemical love.  From quantum physics to metaphysics...  Strictly speaking, he is correct, in that “love” is a perception, which is ultimately from the brain.  Perception (ie: Thought) is a combination of chemical reactions and electrical impulses.  To recognize love requires these reactions.  Then again, by that logic, a tree that I see does not exist but is only a chemical reaction in my brain.  You could argue this either way, but to make you feel better, he’s again full of it.

But you already knew that, didn’t you...

Q: Have you considered that you are only very misunderstood matt? But not evil?
Only misunderstood and outcasted by the world at large?

A: Nobody understands me, baby.  I’m the wind.”  —  TomServo

Q:  wysiwyg

? wuzzat

A:  Acronym for What You See Is What You Get.  Generally applies to computer interface and the ability (or lack thereof) to convert from one format to another.  I assume you bring this up because of the WYSIWYG Demon.  Make your burnt offering, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Q:  Don’t you owe me some flax or is it the other way around?

p.s.  Have you ever tried mixing BBQ sauce with Ranch?  It's a delight.

A:   No flax for you!  This hideous mix you refer to is actually used on occasion by the Ranch Peninsulars in crude parody of our True Mix.  The idea of contaminating sweet, sweet barbeque sauce with the foul Ranch is a blaspheme that stains the soul for ten generations.  Say 666 “Hail Vernon”s and blast some Zappa to repent.

Q:  Not sure who to write this to shade, saint, Or evil Matt But here goes:
A penny for your thought,
How do you feel about getting rid of the Penny?
OK we all save them in jars, collect them in the bottom of our purse's, save them on our dresser "in other hoard them". (a shortage) Hell we don't bother picking them off the ground any more.... Because of this the Goverment has to continue to make more pennys. Pleave give me your Two cents on this.

A:  Every ten years or so the Government tries to drum up support to “retire” the penny, for pretty much the reasons you mention.  It actually costs them more to mine and mint than they are worth, so pennies are very much a losing proposition financially.  Still, it is unlikely that they will get rid of the penny, though, as rounding things up to the next nickel would not be popular—as proven by the fact that each try to get rid of the penny is soundly defeated.

Got a question?  .

    And finally,,,

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog


Reader feedback

Sounds like you are in a predicament.  Better not leave the house unless you are in disguise. The law is clearly outdated, but waht can you do?  I was poking around the Fish&Game website and saw something interesting.  Since you can type (or at least speak in a language that lets shade transcribe yor sermons) why don't you apply for a Pioneer's License? Not sure what that will entitle you to besides blazing your own trails, but if anybody has any questions about your right to dwell with Saint, shade and the others, you could just say, "Hey, back off, pal. I'm licensed!"

Pioneer's License requires you to be 70 years of age or older and an Arizona residence for at least 25 consecutive years. Obviously, none of your human companions qualify, but I thought you might qualify using hedgehog years.  I don't know what the hedgehog/human year ratio is, but it might be worth a shot.

Anyway, good luck and keep shade's lighter handy,



World Domination, Hedgehog Style

shadow hedgehog

Sega has released its new Sonic the Hedgehog game, “Sonic Adventure 2,” and it features a new persona in the ’hog pantheon: Shadow the “evil hedgehog.”  Players now have a choice of playing Sonic and saving the world, or Shadow and enslaving it.

The Sega press release from their game’s home page describes Shadow as “Sharp witted, and willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, he always seems to be on the edge.”

Hey, I can relate.

Of course, the best part of this is the advertisement for it, featuring the “good hedgehog/evil hedgehog” schtick.  Truly hilarious.  If it ever gets posted on I’ll hotlink to it.


write to Harriet: 



    Thats all for now, folk, so remember:


      Trust no one

      Deny Everything

      and Always keep your lighter handy!



© 2001 (V,iv)