World Domination Update
“Derisions of Grandeur”
vol. VI, iss. i

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

Secret Word of the Day:   
Site of the Week:   Bill Gates is Dead
Barbecue Sauce of the Month:   Saguaro Sam’s spicy prickly pear
Now Playing:  Blue Öyster Cult  —

In this issue:

·  Pledge Dissention
·  SubPlot Theatre
·  Cracking the Gemstone
·  Ask Evil Matt
·  Hedgehogs in Heaven

Hi, Kids!


Hopefully today’s importance doesn’t need repeating, but if you’re asleep at the wheel, I’ll spell it out for you.

February 28th is the 9th Anniversary of the failed Waco raid by the ATF, and is the second-most important holiday on the Branch Floridian Calendar.  So go observe it in your own ‘think for yourself’ motif by doing something like assaulting a police station with a box of Krispy Kremes.  Of course, if you want to do it in true Waco style, make sure said police station has at least one hour’s advanced notice of your ‘surprise’ attack, and that local media are on-hand to film the event before you even assemble your doughnuts.


As we move more towards the GWB Police State, we really need to pause and ponder how long basic freedoms will stand before being conveniently swept aside in the name of ‘National Security.’  Since speaking your mind is now politically incorrect if it interferes with the Bush Plan for American Lobotomization, one can only wonder how long before thinking for yourself is outlawed Big Brother-style if it contradicts W’s American Agenda.

Remember, we’re dealing with the linguistic genius who said “Not over my dead body will they raise taxes!”  Not to mention the up-to-snuff history buff who, in a speech to the Japanese Parliament, commented “For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times.  From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific.”  Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to recall a bit of a ruckus between the U.S. and Japan about 60 years ago, which W’s father was directly involved in...  

Anyway, given these as the President’s intellectual standards, apparently anything goes at this point.  Including common sense.

Fortunately, Branch Floridian Pineal Chip Implants are independently manufactured here at the BadAss Compound, and are thus impervious to Brain Police buggings, but what W has in his plan for the rest of the lemmings is much more obscure.  Only time will tell, and that clock is ticking down damned fast.  We're already up to our necks in this bilge, with nary a life preserver in sight.  As I pointed out last time, a “War on Terror” is an absurdly ambiguous one, and can be milked indefinitely in an effort to distract the masses from the horrors here at home.  Our economy is a blip above flat-line, and we have a Weenie in the White House.  

The Bush Solution: let’s beat up some more on the Axis of Evil (there’s his favorite word again!) to distract everyone from the fact that he has no clue what he’s doing.

Unfortunately, his success rate in this has been about as high as he personally was back in his college days.  Bush and his Cagey Cretins crew have done an admittedly impressive spin control covering up his ineptness as he otherwise blatantly embarks on a Career of Evil.

After all, hasn’t it occurred to anyone else that if we’re waging war on Terrorists, we have to start at home?  Remember, by technical definition, a “terrorist” is “one who inspires terror.”  Personally, I’m terrified that we have such a tool as our Commander in Chief of All Armed Forces...

Perhaps it’s just me, though.  After all, I like Frank Zappa, so what the phuq do I know?  

Maybe my think for yourself is faulty or misfiring, but it seems to me the Thin End of the Wedge is already a couple inches deep into our collective sphincters, and the Brain Police are buttering up the Iron Schaushage  for a real reaming of our Constitutional Rights.

If so, you can expect all forms of dissention and disapproval to be repressed in the near future in favor of following lemming-like behind GWB and his crusade for a Greater Amerika.  Shouting “shenanigans!” is now frowned upon if it ruffles the feathers of W’s hideous hybrid of the American Eagle with his New World Order orientation.

Don’t believe me?

Well, you shouldn’t: THINK FOR YOURSELF!

But look at the facts, jack!  

Anyone who speaks their mind about the nonsense going on gets censureship and CIA surveillance.  Word around the Branch Floridian campfire is that, at Bush’s request, Flaming Telepaths like Carol Righter and Joan Quigley (court astrologers to Nancy and Ronald Reagan) have been busy in the Lincoln Bedroom with a ouija board and pound of peyote, desperately attempting to contact the ghost of Joe McCarthy to learn from the master how to do a modern House Un-American Activities Committee hearing.  I’m sure Bush would love nothing more: anyone who correctly says “wait a minute: this guy’s an idiot!” gets branded UnAmerican! and is conveniently cattle-carred off in the middle of the night to a special “reeducation camp” in the middle of Montana, never to be heard from again...

In the current wave of patriotism, it seems to be conveniently forgotten that this country was founded on dissenting opinions.  Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and all of the other Founding Fathers were British citizens who called bilge on the way the London government was running things, and ultimately took arms against it.

Now, I am not calling for an armed insurgency.  It shouldn’t have to come to that; if we’re lucky, Bush will get impeached because of his Enron connections, but if worse comes to worse, we merely vote the moron out in three years—unless Bush can pull another Supreme Court coup like he did last December.

I merely point out here that our great nation has a past history based on saying “our current government is misguided, and we need to seriously rethink the situation.”

And a good place to start such rethinking is with the Pledge of Allegiance.


Mandatory Patriotism, Part Two


Although there are many forms of mandatory patriotism in America, the most brazen, in-your-face example is the Pledge of Allegiance.  Essentially, the Pledge is a Loyalty Oath.  Technically, there is a semantical difference between a pledge and an oath.  However, most will agree that this difference is nitpicking, and does not distract from the over-all problems the Pledge of Allegiance suffers.

It’s a safe bet that all readers, myself, saint, and even Evil Matt included, have recited this ramble on a near-daily basis during their youth, so much so that it becomes rote and meaningless.  If you were lucky, you had a teacher take time to explain what all those big words such as ‘Republic’ and ‘indivisible’ meant, but quite often, and sadly, this isn’t the case.  

The Pledge has a number of problems with it, as well as a rather curious history which well reflects these dilemmas.  The very flag that the Pledge is dedicated to has undergone many revisions (in the number of stars and stripes on it) so it’s not surprising that the Pledge itself has also changed over the course of its creation.  A quick survey of this history should underscore some of the Pledge’s problems, and why I think it’s a step short of silly.

The original Pledge of Allegiance was created by Francis Bellamy, a practicing Socialist and ex-Baptist minister, who published it in the September 8th, 1892 issue of The Youth’s Companion.  Bellamy was the circulation manager at the magazine, and was also a member of the National Education Association.  With the blessing of President Benjamin Harrison, he encouraged school kids to say his pledge as part of the upcoming Columbus Day festivities celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Cristobol Calon not knowing where the hell he was.  

Bellamy’s pledge read:


I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.


The Pledge caught on, and soon became a daily ritual of almost all schools.  The wording remained unchanged until 1923, when the growing immigrant population spurred the replacement of “my flag” with “the flag of the United States” in an effort to alleviate potential confusion.  “...of America” was tacked on a year later.

In 1940, two children in Pennsylvania were expelled from school for refusing to recite the Pledge.  They were both Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they viewed it as blasphemous to swear an oath to a symbol of a Earthly (non-Divine) power.  In their opinion, it was essentially idolatry.  The parents sued, and Minersville School District v. Gobitis (310 U.S. 586) soon reached the Supreme Court.  Siding with the School Board, the majority decision read that while “[g]overnment may not interfere with organized or individual expression of belief or disbelief,” it nonetheless concluded that “[t]he ultimate foundation of a free society is the binding tie of cohesive sentiment,” and upheld the expulsions as reasonable exercises of the legislature and the school authorities.

In other words, ‘go with the flow, be good little sheep, and your personal beliefs be damned if they are in the minority.’

Three years later, a case almost identical to Gobitis again reached the Supreme Court.  In West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (319 U.S. 624), Jehovah’s Witnesses again stated that their religious beliefs did not allow salutes or loyalty oaths to symbols of temporal government.  This time, however, the Court supported the complainants.  Overruling the decision laid down just three years previously, Justice Robert H. Jackson eloquently enunciated the ideals behind our First Amendment:


“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.  If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”


All probably would have been fine at that point, but unfortunately ten years later McCarthyism overwhelmed the nation, and things got flat out absurd.  Hopefully, y’all already know the history of this  dark chapter of Dominance and Submission to extremist ideals.  If not, read a book!  But not surprisingly, the Pledge was one of the victims of this Inquisition.  It must be remembered that McCarthy’s chief boogeyman, Communism, is seen, quite correctly, as an atheist institution.  “Religion is the opiate of the masses” and all.  

So with that as the backdrop, Congress specifically altered the Pledge yet again to include “under God” in its wording.  The chief lobbyist in this movement was the Knights of Columbus, a proselytizing Catholic organization that is the patsy in several anti-Papist conspiracies.  Congress swallowed the bait, writing:


At this moment of our history the principles underlying our American Government and the American way of life are under attack by a system whose philosophy is at direct odds with our own. Our American Government is founded on the concept of the individuality and the dignity of the human being. Underlying this concept is the belief that the human person is important because he was created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. The inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon the moral directions of the Creator. At the same time it would serve to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism with its attendant subservience of the individual.

—H.R. 1693, 83rd Cong., 2nd Sess. (1954)


A year later, with the same rationale, “In God We Trust” became, by act of Congress, our National Motto.

And so things stand today, except for sporadic efforts to further

Although I disagree with Jehovah’s Witnesses on almost all doctrinal points, I absolutely understand and agree that swearing an oath to any symbol (such as a national flag) is a form of idolatry.  In fact, I will go the Jehovah’s one further: according to the Bible, oaths themselves should not be sworn at all


(Jesus said) “Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’  But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by Heaven, for it is the Throne of God, or by Earth, for it is His footstool...”

—Matthew 5:33-35


But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by Heaven or by Earth...

—James 5:12


Despite Congress’s anti-Communist rationale cited earlier, the inclusion of “Under God” is a brazen, bilge-infested violation of the First Amendment.  How can a nation allege to have freedom of religion when it claims to be “Under God”?  Last time I checked, the only nation that could Biblically make that claim was Judea prior to the Babylon Smackdown.  Indeed, The Lord has a tendency to smite those who are so bold.  

Even then, “Under God” opens up a whole can of ugly worms.  Just whose God are we talking about?  My God is not your God is not the Catholic God is not the Islamic God is not the Mormon God, etc etc etc.  The problem should be obvious.

I have no problem with the premise behind the Pledge, though I believe, as I have pointed out, that the “flag” and “under God” references need to be ditched.  

Or we can completely rewrite it, as in the Jello Biafra version.  

Don’t get me wrong, folks, I love my country, or at least the principles upon which it was founded and that theoretically govern and ægis us all.  However, if I were going to pledge loyalty to a symbol of it, it should be to the Constitution, not a cloth banner that changes every time we add a phuqing state.


Hopefully, this extended, ostensibly “unpatriotic” rant has been enough to shock you out of your collective complacency.  After all, patriotism is meaningless is it is taken for granted, and my true purpose here was to provide fodder for y’all to think for yourselves on.

so, hopefully having achieved that: other news...


Florida town bans Satan


Inglis, Florida has issued a law outlawing Satan’s presence within the town limits.

CNN Coverage (in Real Player and Quick Time)

Hmmm...  Good thing I moved...

What I wanna know is, how do they plan to enforce it?!?

“Uh, Mr. Satan?  Could you please leaveNo?  Well, Im sorry, but Im going to have to place you under arrest.  You have the right to remain silent, and actually, I’d appreciate it if you would—those demonic wails are downright creepy.  You have the right to an attorney—oh, I see youve already got Johnny Cochran with you....”


Arabic Academia

shade’s infamous Gospel of Thomas commentary is set to be published in an Arabic compendium of New Testament Apocrypha compiled by Egyptian Dr. Ibrahim El-Tarazey.

saint is taking bets on how long it’ll take for a Salmon Rushdie-style fatwah to be issued...


reader feedback


Here in the heartland of America (snore), we're full of flags, bumper stickers that say 'United We Stand,' and t-shirts that say 'Suck it Osama.' Everyone wants an 'old-fashioned Christmas' because of 9-11 (a diatribe: my favorite outcome of the 9-11 stuff is that everyone is deciding to do things nowadays 'because of 9-11'. I heard on the news that police in MA, after hearing of a Columbine-like plot at a high school, closed the school for a day 'because of September 11th.' Ex-squeeze me? Someone planning to fly a plane into the school? Or, we're supposed to spend, spend, spend this holiday season 'because of September 11th,' because it 'sends a message to the Taliban.' Huh? Going into debt is patriotic? Did I miss something? Anyhow...). People want to relive the memories (that didn't really exist anyway) of happy families, caring neighbors, tinsel, frost on the windowsill, etc. of days gone by. I like how this new 'Old Fashioned Christmas' also must include a butt-load of credit card debt, as many light bulbs on your house as it takes to light the Empire State Building, and an X-Box in every stocking.

(formerly known as DynaCharcoal)



shade’s peshar


Way to go, La Flambeau!

I’m glad I’m not the only one bothered by Bush’s “plan” for economic comeback: spend yourself silly.  I think you’re also right on with the comment about playing ostrich with the situation by regressing into a shell of overindulgent materialism.  I guess the game plan is to have all those X-Boxes distract us from the collective compost around us...


reader feedback



I was doing a search on shinola and found your delightful rantful page, vol 5 #4.  How can I get more of this stuff.  It's like what I would right if (or when) I have time.

My rant of late has to be about the concentration of media ownership. For example, Clear Channel Communications owns all of the commercially significant radio stations in my "market area."  Clear Channel is the outfit that put out the list of songs their stations couldn't play e.g. Imagine, Leavin' On A Jet Plane, and so on.   The censorship of their affiliates bothers me less than the fact that there is no real alternative to their programming, except for the internet.

My other rant would concern not just ranch dressing, but all phlegm and phlegm-like additions to otherwise tolerable hamburgers.  What is that stuff?  It's all scary, especially the warm orange stuff.

But a word of praise with the apparent quiet grace of the exit made by George Harrison.  For a Beatle, he lived a pretty exemplary and dignified life, and he made me laugh, and think about thinks beyond the here and now.  Hooray for George.

that's all,

Ted... no interesting handle.  Oh well.


shade’s peshar


An on-line archive of past rants (aka “World Domination Update”s) can be found here.

Regarding the “centralization of media ownership,” this has long been a Brain Police Scheme to focus our choices down a narrow path of what they want us to view or hear.  Rev. 451 is the biggest speaker against this conspiracy in it's television form, and Bruddah Max can probably comment for a long time on the movie industry effects.  Still, I should steer you to Ryfun, our contact agent in commercial radio.  I do agree that the playlist censorship since 9/11 has been severe: how come we never here  S.O.D.’s “Fuck the Middle East” any more?  Indeed, Clear Channel, the company you mention, has a list of songs banned due to content potentially concerning 9/11, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with the events!  Instead, Clear Channel plays it safe by force-feeding us an ostensibly harmless, white-bread diet of Scrod, N’Suck, and Mary J. Bilge.  No provocative or thought-provoking content allowed!

Of course, the most brazen Brain Police censorship of the airwaves has been the complete absence of Frank Zappa...

You’re right about the mystery phlegm spooed onto burgers by most Brain Police fast food places.  The ‘warm orange stuff’ is usually a  hideous, evil ketchup and mayo mixture (with a drop or three of ranch!) that's a leftover from prepackaged Cold War tins.  Best avoided, but you already knew that.

I concur with your lauding of “quiet” Beatle George Harrison, and am rather surprised at the lack of conspiracy commentary about his fatal brain cancer.  Lennon’s death is indeed fertile ground for conspiratorial speculation, but apparently the conspiracy community is for once showing restraint and good taste.  Harrison made it hip to be Hindu.  Unfortunately, if I hear “Here Comes the Sun” one more time, I’m gonna take hostages.  (remember: you're dealing with someone whose favorite Beatles song is “Octopus’s Garden”...)



A Beaver Rebuttal?!?


reader feedback 


To Whom It May Concern,

As an avid beaver supporter and as president of CCBSE (Conscientious Citizens' Beaver Saving Extravaganza), I must question the validity of your claim that beavers are intending to take over the world.  In case you were not aware, beavers are pacifists, they mate for life, and they are just looking to help the world with their luscious vision of mondial cooperation and good will.  Beavers, once prevalent in most parts of Western Europe, were driven to near extinction in the 20th-century.  There have been efforts to bring them back and they need all of the positive PR that they can get.  Thus, I ask for your help in helping the beavers become achievers of their dream: when man and beaver can coexist peacefully and happily. The word on the street is that the beavers have already pledged to restore America's great, yet severely debilitated, wetlands.  Please, I implore you, love the beavers, do not hunt them.

Sneezy McSqueeze


shade’s response:


Beavers are taking over the world; they have already conquered Tiera del Fuego, and are hungrily eyeing the mainland of South America.  Our contacts among the hedgehog community confirm this claim, and we also have credible information from otters to this effect.  You no doubt know that beaver communities are called “lodges,” which is a term also employed by freemasons and other secret societies.

What more proof do you need?!?  

The beaver is the 6th most intelligent animal on the planet and is clearly aggressive, bending the environment to its own warped needs (ie: dam building.)  While many believe that beavers are cute & cuddly, the proof of the pudding is that they are buck-toothed EVIL!  Aside from Tiera del Fuego, beavers were recently reintroduced to the Maryland area, and the resultant logging/dam building has been an ecological disaster (the areas in question were petitioning for Federal disaster relief funds, last I knew.)  Beavers are breeding unchecked in many areas, and pretty soon we will be up to our knees in beavers!  I, for one, do not want to live under beaver domination, being forced to sing “Deutchland Deutchland Über Beaver” each morning by these evil rodent overlords.  

In fact, I can only conclude that you yourself are a beaver, and that this is some sick, twisted misinformation campaign to derail our attempt to save the free world from marauding, bloodthirsty beavers.  

Well, we’re on to you!  Ha!


Stupor Bowl, Part II


Unless you’re new to this, then it’s old news that sports suck, so I’ll spare y’all the commentary on that front.  However, here’s something equally disturbing.

A CNN poll at the time of the Big Game found that almost 25% of the people watching the ’Bowl tuned in just for the commercials.

Man, that’s just sick.  As has been pointed out, commercials are evil, too.

Time slot prices for Super Bowl advertising are the highest on television, so sponsors pour millions into making them, hoping to get as much for their money as they can.  Presumably this is why people watch them: they are getting something high-priced, shiny, and entertaining.

But it’s still high-priced, shiny, entertaining evil!  Folks, if you want to see high-priced, shiny, entertaining evil, go to Las Vegas.  At least that will get you outside the house.  

Unfortunately, we've since moved on to the Winter Olympics, which is the only thing worse...


...and now, a mini-rant about that...

If you were expecting an extended rage against the ’02 Games (aka the Mistake at Salt Lake) then sorry.  That was such a flat-out disaster, making fun of it is just too easy.  

The Games were swamped in scandal as early as two years ago, when it became known that Utah officials were funneling state tax dollars to fund Olympic committee “incentives” (such as booze, hookers, and unabashed bribes) to get the games to the Mormon state.  And, as has been amply documented, it just went downhill from there faster than a slalom skier.  The only thing that could have made it worse would have been another Munich-style hostage crisis.

I will make one comment, though, that I feel needs to be addressed: they’re getting just plain goofy with the event choices, clearly attempting to cater to GenY rejects.  Two examples will do to prove my point.

  • Snowboarding.  The only thing sillier than this event were the three Americans who swept the medals.  What a surprise there, eh?  I’m tempted to call them Moe, Larry, and Curly, but based on their dialogue to the press, Man, Like, and Dude would be more appropriate, as that was about all they could say.  Personally, I suspect the real reason they entered the event was due to a misunderstanding: rather than signing up for the Men’s Half Pipe, they thought it was the Men’s Hash Pipe.

  • CurlingHmmmmm: pushing around a big chunk of stone with brooms....  think I’ll go sort socks during that one.  Granted, this game isn’t really aimed at a GenY audience, instead having a target audience of kilt-wearing, chain-guzzling, haggis-eating gits.  I was about to ask when this oversized version of Scottish shuffleboard got acknowledged as an Olympic-grade event, but then I remembered: the Olympics have been curling my stomach for some time now.

SubPlot Theatre



       Last go-round, we examined The Terminator as a subliminal pitch for Family Values.  This issue we take a look at...


Alien and the Protestant Work Ethic


A couple of quick clarifications here.

“Alien” in this case is the original film from 1979 only, not any of the sequels.  Despite having a similar monster mythology and Sigourney Weaver’s character continuity, the four films are very different, and saint offers compelling evidence that the three follow-ups should be completely ignored.  As this is outside the scope of SubPlot Theatre’s subject, we will move these to his following Peshar.

“Protestant Work Ethic” is a belief that hard, honest work and/or labor results in a strengthening of one’s character and has a moral, even spiritual benefit as well.  The unofficial credo is “idle hands are the Devil’s playground,” a passage not in the Bible per sé but in pop culture nonetheless.  The term “Protestant Work Ethic” originated in England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s, and thus should perhaps be called the Anglican Work Ethic (again, see saint’s accompanying Peshar.)  At its worst, the Protestant Work Ethic produced social dysfunctions of the type railed against by Dickens and the like.

Anyway, with me so far?  Good.

The movie Alien is actually about the Protestant Work Ethic, merely employing the otherwise irrelevant sci-fi framework to get the P.W.E. point across.  

Consider the characters to see what I mean:

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) was the only one on the Nostromo who actually did a decent day’s work; everyone else aboard the ship was a slacker of Souly proportions.  The obvious result was that Ripley was the only one to survive, which of course would be the “moral benefit” for her toil.

Kane (John Hurt) on the other hand does nothing on board, and in fact it is unclear what his purpose on the ship even is.  When the Nostromo crashes, rather than hang around to help repair it, he promptly volunteers to go off on a leisurely stroll around the planet.  Result: first one to die.

Captain Dallas (Tom Skerrit) is equally useless, and doesn’t do any “real” work on board.  Instead, he delegates duties away, and spends his time slacking in the escape shuttle listening to Mozart while the rest of the crew does all the shit work.  What a lazy sack of cheese; he, too, gets what he deserves: death.

Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) is just plain pointless on board, contributing nothing to productivity but bringing morale down with her constant complaining and whining (she even admits “I like griping!”)  Lambert is actually counterproductive, getting in the way of Parker when he had a clear shot at the creature with his flamethrower.  Her moral reward: hideous disembowelment (and reincarnation into the infamous ‘cherry’ scene of “Witches of Eastwick.”)

Of course, the two worst workers on board are Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), the maintenance engineers.  These are the two who should be working hardest, but they are only motivated by money bonuses, not the moral justification of doing an honest day’s work.  Their slack, slipshod work ethic is amply documented throughout the movie.  The one time they actually do an honest, hard day’s duty during the repairs, Parker makes this comment: “the sooner we get this ship patched up, the sooner we can get out of here.  This place gives me the creeps.”  Of course, it is not fear of the alien that frightens him, it is the fear of God!  Still, this is not enough to atone, and both men meet gruesome ends.

The curious exception to the crew, almost a counterpoint, is Ash (Ian Holm.)  Ash is the only one on board other than Ripley who does any real work, though it is necessary to put this in perspective.  Ash is the “sleeper agent” secretly working for the mysterious, unnamed “Company” sponsoring the ship, and his loyalties and agenda are unquestionably to said Company, not his fellow compatriots.  To understand Ash, we must also consider his Company.  While the alien is portrayed as the film’s ostensible antagonist, it is, after all, only one of God’s creatures and is behaving in its natural way, merely eking out a survival the only way it knows how.  The Company, on the other hand, is outright evil.  We must therefore see Ash’s demise via flamethrower as his being consumed by the fires of Hell for his dirty deeds!

It should be amazingly obvious at this point that the real focus of the film is about the rewards for doing a hard day’s work.  Alien is a shining example of the Protestant Work Ethic in action.

Unfortunately, the whole thing about the creature rampaging on board absolutely distracts from all that.  Better if they’d left it out entirely, I say.

If the movie had spent more time on the Protestant Work Ethic angle and had less emphasis on the monster, it would be a true masterpiece.


saint’s SubPlot peshar(s)


As shade points out, there are four films in the Alien Cycle.  Each one is noticeably different in its cinematic approach:

  • “Alien” is a horror film

  • “Aliens” is an action-adventure

  • “Alien3” is an art film

  • “Alien Resurrection” is an extended exercise in masochistic bilge

Oddly, the second one seems to be the most popular, which I think is too bad.  Critics of the first deride it for its bare-bones plot.  Most of these people forget to put the original movie in context: although the Alien sequence is now part of public lore, when the movie originally came out, first-time viewers (like myself) had absolutely no idea what was going to happen.  Every time you see the creature it looks different, so there is a very real sense of not knowing what is coming next.  However, I will spare y’all the cinematic critique to get to the point here.

shade has pointed out privately that in the second movie, there is, if not an actual subplot, at least a theme or motif concerning motherhood.  In scenes deleted from the cinematic release (but available in the DVD) we learn that Ripley had a daughter (a pic of Sigourney Weaver’s actual mother is used) who died during her extended absence.  In the film, Ripley becomes Newt’s mother in spirit.  This is counterplayed against the Alien Queen, who has “children” (the eggs and aliens) of her own.

Unfortunately, I am forced to cry foul on this, based on the original intention of the movie.  I do this largely in part as an effort to disown the two final films; however, here me out.

In the original movie, a crucial scene was shot but ultimately edited out.  It is available on the DVD, though.  In this, Ripley—on her way back to “Mother” to shut off the auto-destruct—by accident happens upon the remains of Brett and Dallas.  Up until then, their fates were never explicitly stated, instead left to the imagination of the viewers, who understandably presumed they had been killed. 

Not so!

The alien had cocooned them, and both were turning into eggs.  Brett, being abducted first, is much farther along in the transformation, but Dallas is still “human” enough to have a brief conversation with Ripley, where he pleads for a mercy killing.  This she does, and because of the time spent, is too late getting back to deactivate the auto-destruct.

The scene was ultimately edited out of the cinematic release, as it was felt that it disrupted the pace.

I disagree.

More to the point, I feel it completes the alien creature and its reproductive cycle, and makes the thing that much more terrifying.  Being turned into an egg seems a much more morbid demise than merely being eaten and/or slaughtered for gore’s sake.

It also (thankfully!) nullifies all the sequels.  Since we now know where the eggs really come from, the whole concept of a Queen is contradicted, and we can thankfully  ignore the 3rd and 4th movies.  Although James Cameron did a half decent job with the 2nd segment, we never learn where the Queen comes from, and I feel she was added, partly as the aforementioned maternity motif, but mostly as a theatrical device to upstage the first and add extra impact to the ending.

Unfortunately, this allows the cinematic mashuguna of the (hopefully!) last two movies.  

So do what I do: follow the original intention, and ignore the Queen completely.

In light of how bad the last two are, it’s the only reasonable thing to do.

(shade’s aside)

Another good way to nullify the sequels is to consider director Ridley Scott’s suggestion for an ending of the first film.  In the final showdown on the shuttle, the alien actually bites off Ripley’s head, sits down in her chair, and then (in her voice!) radios Earth.  Alas, studio execs thought this was much too morbid, and vetoed the idea.

But back to saint...:


Protestant Work Ethic

As shade stated, the Protestant Work Ethic would be more appropriately deemed the Anglican Work Ethic.

Here’s why.

The “Protestant” faith was founded by Martin Luther, a German Catholic who actually had no intention of starting a new religion but merely wanted to reform an unquestionably corrupt old one.

Although it has been correctly pointed out that Luther wrote the majority of his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the medieval equivalent of a toilet, it cannot be denied that without his thinking for himself, we would most likely still be under the yoke of Catholicism, paying indulgences for sin forgiveness and swearing obedience to Overlords in Rome.

Still, let’s take Luther’s own dogma into perception, in light of the above-mentioned “work ethic.”

The best Biblical basis for a(n) [insert name of Faith] Work Ethic would easily be James 2:20

“ without works are dead.”

 However, a quick context check is in order.

Back in the Biblical day, when the New Testament was still being written, there was a heated debate between the apostles James and Paul.  James was Jesus’s younger brother, and head of the remnant (post-Resurrection) Church; Paul was an outsider who, until the ‘road to Damascus’ incident, persecuted Christians.  The two were completely at odds (as Acts amply demonstrates,) and there is even compelling evidence that at one point before his Damascus epiphany, Paul threw James down the Jerusalem Temple steps (breaking his leg) for preaching The Word.

Ever at odds with James, Paul preached a doctrine which has best become known as ‘Justification through Faith’ and is best explained throughout the Epistle to the Romans.  Deeds were meaningless; Faith was what mattered.

James, as we have seen (in 2:20) emphasized works, pointing out that Faith alone was not enough.

Luther wholeheartedly embraced (to put it mildly) Paul’s point of view, and firmly entrenched himself in the Pauline camp of Faith over Works.

Luther was very verbose in his hatred of James (the Apostle and the Epistle), calling the work “a right strawy epistle” and saying it deserved absolutely no place in The Bible.

I would therefore think that Martin Luther would be horrified to know that a concept based of the Jamesian extollation of Work would become know as “The Protestant Work Ethic.”

Then again, the irony greatly amuses me, too.


Meanwhile, back on the Ranch...


Last issue’s equal-airtime exposure to The Ranch Manifesto produced an outcry unparalleled since Jethro Tull got the Grammy for ‘Best Hard Rock Performance.’  

One of the most biting of these comes from our newest recruit, The Ignition Missionary, whose riposte rebuttal offers...



The Last Word on Ranch 





First we will show them their weakness...

...and then we will destroy them with it.

Weaklings (Ranch Peninsulars):

First off, let me send my sympathy for your debilitating condition, I do not envy your pain. For you see, it is not your fault that you have become a slave to the Hidden Valley Virus, a.k.a.: Ranch Dressing. Put simply (so the aforementioned might hope to understand what I am about to say), you like Ranch Dressing because your weak human bodies REQUIRE it to cope with certain things.

Now, before you get mad, let me explain:

First, we must look at the foods with which Ranch Dressing is most commonly eaten:

1. Salad
2. Buffalo Wings
3. Pizza
4. Hamburgers
5. Mozzerella Cheese Sticks

(There are probably more, but these come later, in the terminal phase of the disease)

Second, we must make note that all but ONE of these foods cause heartburn or other digestive problems in some people. The ONE that does NOT cause these digestive inconveniences, salad, is the ONE item on the list that Ranch Dressing is actually intended for. (For those of you who eat Ranch Dressing on your salads, but nothing else, do not worry, you are not condemned. I do condone Ranch use in moderation, and for it's intended use, although, I myself am Ranch-free altogether...Long live the Ceasar Salad!) So, with that being said, we must wonder what the connection is...

For the simpletons that are still having trouble making the connection (Hello, Peninsulars!) I will connect the dots: 

Ranch dressing is basic (meaning a base, much like milk, also the opposite of an acid, to which it counter-acts). Things that are spicy (Buffalo Wings, Pizza, Hamburgers), are on the adicic side of the scale (BBQ sauce is also on this side of the scale, but that's just icing on the cake!).

Knowing this, we can make a correlation: Ranch, when used in unconventional ways, is most commonly used on spicy foods, or foods that have a high acid content. Now that we have established a relationship between ranch dressing and spicy foods, we must ask ourselves, “Why?”. As we previously discussed, ranch is basic, and spicy things are acidic. Bases counter-act acids. So we must deduce that people who enjoy ranch on anything but salad, must therefore NEED to use ranch in order to counter act some sort of discomfort they get from eating these kinds of foods (Which are all good, especially with a little Devil's Spit). It is my opinion that these people's weak bodies just can't handle the acids in these tasty treats. Whether it be sub-conscious, or completely voluntary, these people are obviously the weaker link. And in a Darwinian world, we all know what that means (Peninsulars: It means you are going to die first). In solving the eternal question of “Why the fuck do you eat ranch dressing on everything?”, we have also discovered why you so vehemently detest BBQ sauce (For you R.P.'s who missed it earlier, BBQ sauce is acidic). I apologize for revealing to you your dim and dismal futures.

Questions and criticisms may be directed to , although I don't accept mail from trailer parks, so some of you may have to get a friend.

In closing, if the buffalo wings are so hot that you need ranch dressing to cope with the fire...ORDER THE MILD ONES, CANDYASS!


--The Ignition Missionary


Hopefully that nails the Ranch coffin closed.

And that said, let’s end this bilge and get back to World Domination...



The Gemstone File


With the possible exception of the infamous Majestic 12 memos, no other document has so captivated the world of conspiracy research than The Gemstone File.

Fortunately, unlike the MJ-12 cache, the Gemstone File doesn’t read like a rejected X-Files/Dark Skies plot.

Unfortunately, it does read like a bad James Bond novel.  Indeed, a number of researchers have suggested that ‘Diamonds are Forever’ is loosely based on it, especially since Bond author Ian Fleming used to work for British Intelligence and thus would have had access to much of the information contained therein.  After reading it, the true identity of SPECTRE should be obvious...

Whatever the case, The Gemstone File’s popularity is especially surprising since it is a document that almost none of its proponents have actually read.

Then again, the Bible is the all-time best seller, despite the fact that few of its followers have actually cracked it cover to cover, so perhaps it is worth looking into the Gemstone File to see what it reveals.  

There are actually two Gemstone Files: the “true” text, which runs well over 1,000 hand-written pages, and a short synopsis of it, called “The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File.”  Most fans of the ’File are familiar with the latter, as the former exists (aside from the original) in only a few photocopied versions that are jealously guarded by their possessors.  Various small presses have published selected excerpts of the original ’File, though oddly each of these picks and chooses what it prints and/or omits, with no real uniformity between the versions.  In 1978, Hustler Magazine attempted to print the full ’File (in serial form) but coincidentally—or not—Larry Flynt was shot the very next month, which pretty much monkey-wrenched the idea.  

The Skeleton Key is much easier to get ahold of, with transcripts available online at any number of sites (such as this one.) 

A quick history of the Gemstone File(s), to put this in perspective.

The original Gemstone File was written by Bruce Porter Roberts, an American living in San Francisco, and about whom little is conclusively known.  He did die of a brain tumor on July 16th, 1976, and spent the last years of his life insisting that said tumor was given to him by the CIA to shut him up.  According to Roberts, he was studying Crystallography at the University of Wisconsin in the early 30’s, where he (allegedly) developed a cheap, synthetic ruby that was ideal for lasers.  Roberts attempted to sell this to Hughes Industries, who found it easier to simply steal it.  This prompted Roberts’ crusade against Howard Hughes, and through some dirt digging, discovered the devilish details of what would ultimately constitute the Gemstone File (ostensibly named for his fascination with precious stones.)  Starting in 1969, he began distributing copies of his hand-written manifesto to people in the Bay area who he believed would be appreciative.  

One person who got a copy was Mae Brussell, the legendary “Queen of Conspiracies.”  In 1974, Brussell helped Playgirl “columnist” Stephanie Caruana write an alternative-perspective article about the Patty Hearst kidnappings, which was successful (and lucrative) enough that Caruana contacted Mrs. Brussell again for a follow-up article on Howard Hughes.  Brussell showed Caruana select portions of a manila envelope labeled “Gemstone” and insisted that only the parts about Howard Hughes be used for her work (about 400 pages - roughly one third of the file.)  Caruana was flabbergasted by what she read, and afterward was able to track down Roberts.  After meeting and talking to him several times, she published a synopsis of what she read and heard, the infamous “Skeleton Key.”

The “Gemstone Thesis,” as it has become known, is a sweeping Unified Field Theory that conveniently yet cohesively ties together almost all major events of the 20th Century (Dealey Plaza, Watergate, etc.) into one vast conspiracy of Machiavellian proportions.  Surprisingly, the chief villain is not Howard Hughes, but Aristotle Onassis.  Per Bruce, Onassis became the Mafia KingPin and Dark Force behind Organized Crime, though it is occasionally unclear if “Mafia” refers to the crime syndicate stereotyped by Mario Puzo and Martin Scorsese, or if it is a metaphor for something larger.

Grossly oversimplified, the Gemstone Thesis runs something like this:

In the 1930’s, Onassis forged a huge drug cartel/crime fortune with the help of Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Kennedy.  Through FDR, Onasis attempted to run the Oval Office, but eventually found himself at odds with Howard Hughes, who himself was buying up politicians wholesale (like Richard Nixon.)  Things came to a head in 1957, when Onasis had Hughes kidnapped and replaced with a reclusive “double” puppet.  {During the kidnapping scuffle, Hughes received severe brain damage, and would spend the rest of his life a vegetable heroin addict prisoner on Onassis’s island fortress of Skorpios.}  Meanwhile, Papa Joe Kennedy called in his marker with AriO to have one of his sons elected President, but when daddy died, JF and RF Kennedy rebelled against the pact with Onassis, becoming ‘loose cannons’ that needed dealing with.  (After their assassinations, youngest son Teddy K read the writing on the wall and quietly complied with Onassis overlordship; Mary Jo Kopechne found out about it, thus requiring her to be silenced at Chappaquiddick.)  Through the Hughes doppelganger, Onasis also controlled Nixon, who obediently obeyed orders from above.  However, Nixon became convinced that the Democrats had proof of all this (apparently a copy of Roberts’s Gemstone File) in their national headquarters, and arranged the Watergate break-in to find out how much they knew.

Supposedly during the infamous 18-minute gap in the Watergate Tapes, Nixon makes an extended rant against “that asshole Bruce.”

Oh yeah: and The Pope was in on all of it, too...

Bruce Roberts died at that point in the story, though an anonymous New Zealander has continued the work (the so-called “Kiwi File” or “Opal File”) into the late ’80s, tying in things like the October Surprise and ContraGate.

Obviously, anyone who discounts all this as political paranoia to the left of Oliver Stone is missing most of the fun.  More to the point, though, they’re overlooking some of the timeline context: many of the things in the Gemstone File are today public knowledge, but back in the ’70s, they were completely unknown.

For instance, there is now ample evidence of Mafia infiltration into the highest levels of the American government.  The earliest documentation of this is from 1942, when during World War Two the United States government struck a deal with mobster Lucky Luciano: they would get him an early release from prison if he used his mob connections abroad to help facilitate an Allied invasion of Italy.  The group brokering this illegal deal, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), was of course the direct precursor to what became the CIA after the war.  

Another documentable pairing of the Mob and the Company/U.S. Government was in the early ’60s, when the two found they had a common enemy in Fidel Castro.  Even before Soviet ICBMs were stationed in Cuba, the CIA absolutely did not want a Marxist regime 90 miles off the coast of Florida.  Meanwhile, the Mafia was still smarting from the loss of their private playground: under Batista, the Mob ran a number of casinos in Havana, and it was a vast cash cow that dwarfed Las Vegas.  Jointly deciding that Castro had to go, the CIA “hired” mob hitmen to take out Fidel; by most accounts, the mob agreed to do it for free as their patriotic duty!  This was the infamous “Operation Mongoose,” where assassination attempts were planned—by future Bay of Pigs mastermind and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, no less!  The assassination plans ran the gambit from straight-out marksmanship with a high powered rifle, to some rather unorthodox methods such as an exploding cigar, tuberculosis spores in Fidel’s scuba gear (Castro was an avid diver), a , and even an overdose of LSD timed to coincide with his weekly radio broadcasts.  (I’m not making this up!  It’s public record, and your tax dollars at work.)  The Gemstone File even adds a new one to the infamous list: “The team tries five times to kill Castro with everything from long-range rifles to apple pie with sodium morphate in it.”

My point: all this information was highly classified “National Security” until about ten years ago, and unless Roberts happened to get lucky with wild guesses, there is no way to have known this without inside information.

A second example should suffice to serve testimony to how much the Gemstone File makes mention of things not known at the time of their inception: Mafia connections to the Vatican.  

In 1978, the newly-elected Pope John Paul (The First, not his Polish post-op) inadvertently inherited a fledgling banking scandal, where it was being revealed that the Mafia was laundering billions of dollars through various Vatican-run banks, with the Church (and especially several key higher-ups) pocketing a hefty “service charge.”  A major player behind all this was a shadowy group known as Propaganda Due (aka ‘P2’) that had extensive ties to the Grand Lodge Alpina (Switzerland’s major Freemasonry organization) and the Mafia.  John Paul vowed to clean house, cleansing the Church of the Mob and the Masons, but after announcing this abruptly died a mere 33 days into his Papacy.  

The Vatican ruled the death as natural causes, specifically a heart attack.  This is odd, because: 

1) At the beginning of his term, John Paul I was given a clean bill of health by his doctor,

2)  No autopsy was performed (how do you know if someone had a heart attack without an autopsy?!?)

3)  His body was immediately embalmed, thus preventing any type of autopsy

If this smells like bilge to you, then you’re among others of a like mind.  

Perhaps predicting a potential pattern, his successor (John Paul II) conveniently dropped any investigations into mafia/masonic money laundering, and the issue quietly died.  Especially since most of the other major players involved began turning up dead, executed in either traditional Mafia or Masonic style.

Still, it did make front page headlines for a while, and is a matter of the public record.

More to the point, it is public record as of 1978—at least two years after Roberts wrote about it in The Gemstone File.

That said, one would think that Roberts knew what he was talking about when he began composing The Gemstone File.

But wait!

Despite parts that seem privy to precognizant inside information, some of the ’File also reeks of unequivocal bullshit that flies in the face of common sense.

Let's start with the claim that Aristotle Onassis was the true kingpin behind the Mafia.  Onassis was Greek, yet pretty much everyone else agrees that the Mafia is (and always has been) a xenophobic institution which is so Sicilian that it bleeds marinara sauce.

Even more incredulous, though, is Roberts’ claim about the JFK assassination, which has the fatal shot being personally fired by Mob boss Johnny Roselli.  Robert Anton Wilson best sums up my disdain for this bilge:


The idea that a top Mafioso like Roselli doing his own shooting in a case like this belongs in a B movie.  If Roselli was involved, as others have conjectured, you can be sure he was in another town at the time and have no direct link to the gunman.


Other parts are equally implausible.  According to the Gemstone File, Onassis had a Hughes associate codenamed ‘Merryman’ assassinated for revealing some important inside information to Clifford Irving for the latter’s (alleged) autobiography by and about Hughes.  Since Irving later (and after Roberts’ death) admitted the ‘autobiography’ was a complete hoax he single-handedly made up, I, at least, think this too can safely be discounted.

So how much of the Gemstone File is true, and how much is horsehockey?  There are proponents on both sides of the fence, varying from those who believe every word of it to those who completely dismiss it as the work of a paranoid schizophrenic’s imagination.  After all: Roberts unquestionably had a brain tumor, and those have been known to make people do odd things, such as invade Poland or snipe at random pedestrians from San Antonio towers.

We will probably never know, especially with the original, unexpurgated Gemstone File being such a hard thing to come across.

To that extent, I offer a reward: 10,000 tons of Flax to anyone who can get me a copy.

In true Branch Floridian spirit, I want to read the thing in full and decide for myself.



click here for a Gemstone File update!



Ask Evil Matt

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

Q:  The symbol of the Christian religion is Jesus on the cross. Why is it depicted falsely? When crucified, the victims were nailed through their wrists, not their hands, since this would simply not bear the weight of the body. Why has it become so widely accepted that Jesus was nailed to the cross through the palms of his hands? Fuel the fire...

A:  The concept of the Crucifixion as depicted in art owes less to history and more to Psalm 22, known as “the Suffering Servant.”  Specific to what you say,  “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”  (Ps 22:16)  Other aspects adopted include the Romans casting lots for Jesus’s clothing (Matthew 27:35 etc = Ps 22:18) and almost word-for-word Roman mockery (Matthew 27:43 = Ps 22:8).  You can also find Jesus’s last words here: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 = Psalm 22:1) Luke’s last words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (23:46) comes from a different Psalm (31:5), while John’s version, “It is finished” (19:30) is most likely his own creation in keeping with his theology that Jesus was in charge of everything, including his own death.

Anyway, historically Romans would tie with ropes the hands and feet of Crucified ones, not nail them.  As you point out, body weight and gravity will rip through nails, especially when in fleshy parts like the palms.

Believe it or not, I do not have a problem with the nailing of crucifixion victims.  As a brief aside, the majority of our knowledge about the physical attributes of crucifixion come from Nazi concentration camps, where they actually did a number of crucifixions just to see what would happen.  This is how we empirically know the body’s weight will rip through hand nails, and that if you break the legs of the victim they die by suffocation: good ol’ Nazi ingenuity.  

But I digress.  

Crucifixion was the form of death for criminals, slaves, and other “low lifes” of that type.  Very few “rich” people were crucified, and part of that money means buying a burial plot.  Crucifixion victims were usually picked clean by vultures, and then dogs took the rest, scattering the bones to the four winds.  We have almost no skeletal evidence of crucifixion for this very reason.  

However, in the late ’60s or so, a tomb was found of a crucified person, and the ankle bone still had the remnants of a nail and even a piece of wood still attached.  So in one case (at least), nails were employed.  Whether this was the exception or the rule has yet to be determined (due to lack of evidence), but I actually suspect that both nails and ropes were used.  The Romans were a cruel, sadistic lot, and since Crucifixion was reserved for the scum of the earth, it seems in keeping with their using both.

However, here is something for you to consider.  Thanks to the above-mentioned Nazi testing (which bears out historical record) we know this about Crucifixion: there are two ways to die, depending on how they crucified you.  If they just nailed/roped you up, you died of exposure to the elements, which took several days.  However, the Romans, if they felt sorry for you (and it happened) would break the victim’s shins.  Believe it or not, this was a mercy killing.  With the legs broken, the victim could not adjust his weight, and thus his own weight would crush his lungs in, causing death by asphyxiation.  According to John 32:33, the soldiers specifically did NOT break Jesus’s legs (probably John’s invention, helping portray Jesus as the Paschal Lamb, which could not have broken bones [Exodus 12:46],) yet Jesus, despite being condemned to death by exposure, died within three hours.  Even Pilate was surprised at this (Mark 15:44) and sent a Centurion to check.

It is interesting to note that Catholics depict a Crucifix with a suffering Jesus (depicted with nails in hand) on it, where Protestant Churches depict that the Cross is empty.  

Hopefully the difference (and emphasis) here is obvious.

Q:  Please tell me the origin and true meaning of the word 'kittywhompus'. My boss says it is a real word, I beg to differ. The only thing I could find when researching it was 'Kittywompus'.com, a fanzine something-or-other. I will be patiently awaiting my answer in the next WDU. 

A: Kittywompus” is an archaic (at least 100 years old) term for “doing things out of order.”  If I can find more information on this, I’ll let you know.

Q:  Recently, my office partner and I were discussing the movie 'A Christmas Story'. The subject of the kid sticking his tongue to a pole over a triple dog dare came up. I then asked my partner if I remebered the dialogue correctly, and I did:

Kid 1: I dare you to stick your tongue to the pole.

Kid 2: I double dare you...

Kid 1: I double DOG dare you...


There was silence amongst the children, and kid one inevitably had to get stuck. I have noticed there is a fast progression, there is no mention of a single dog dare, and if there were, would it outrank a double dare (no dogs)? 

Please list the heirarchy of the dare, and whatever the hell the 'dog' means?!?

A:  Must admit, this one’s got me stumped.  I did some extensive checking, on-line and in the library, but could not find a satisfactory answer to your query.  Common sense says you should be able to up the ante to a quadruple dog dare or even a quadruple donkey/elephant/sperm whale dare, but this seems not to be the case.  I will keep an eye out, though, and get back to you if I happen across a slang dictionary that actually covers this.

Q:  What is 'scrod'?

A:  Depending on the context, 

  1. shades derisive nickname for closet Christian rockers “Creed”  [see above]

  2. generic term [I’d say “catch-all phrase,” but even I won’t stoop to that bad of a pun] encompassing various codfish and haddock of the North Atlantic.  It does not apply to any one specific fish.  Sisbooomba is legendary for her hatred of Scrod.

Q:  When was Johnny Cash in prison, and what for?

A:  The only time The Man in Black was in prison was to record concerts, of which he did three: At Folsom Prison (1968), At San Quentin (1969, and which outsold The Beatles that year!), and Live at Ostraker Prison (1972).  The closest he ever came to being on the wrong side of the bars was in late 1965, when customs officials at the Mexican border arrested him for smuggling amphetamines in his guitar case.  Johnny got a suspended sentence and was heavily fined; within two years he found God and kicked the methamp monkey for good.  The legend that Cash was in prison for real is most likely derived from his 1956 hit, “Folsom Prison Blues” which tells the story of an inmate who “shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”  However, this is just a song character, not real life biography. 

Got a question?  .

    And finally,,,

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog



Last issue, we announced the sad passing away of our beloved Branch Floridian mascot, Harriet the Hedgehog.

Of course, death has hardly slowed her down, so with the channeling assistance of Sister Ob’dewlla  ‘X’ we proudly present...


The Afterlife Interview


shade:  So, Harriet, I’m sure all our readers are just itching to know: what’s pet heaven like?

Harriet:  It’s awesome!  There are tons of worms...

shade:  Worms?!?  Um, are you sure you’re in the right place?  There’s not a lot of burning brimstone and pitchforks, is there...

Harriet:  Naw, it’s all good.  Heaven’s what you want it to be.

shade:  Wow, that’s pretty Swedenborgian.

Harriet:  Yeah, I like it; works out quite nicely.  All the worms I can eat, and I got a nice nest I made from shredding a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

shade:  You’re living in an Ayn Rand novel?

Harriet:  It’s the only good use for one.  It's pretty cozy, actually.

shade:  Well that’s good.  Anyway, tell me: have you met God yet?

Harriet:  Naw, She’s pretty busy...

shade:  Wait a second.  God is a is a ‘She’???

Harriet:  Of course.  A big, female hedgehog.  What; didn’t you know?

shade:  Nnnnno, I think I missed that part of the Bible.

Harriet:  Well, that’s how I perceive Her, anyway.  But like I said, She's got a busy schedule, and is pretty much booked solid until May 2112.  I met Jesus, though.

shade:  Oh yeah?  How’s he?  Ummm, Jesus is a he, right?

Harriet: Yeah.  Cool guy.  He and Buddha are best friends.  Word to the wise when you get here: don’t shoot pool with either of ’em!  Total sharks.  Only person I’ve ever seen beat Jesus at Billiards was Orson Welles, and that’s just cuz Jesus scratched going for the 8.

shade: Who else have you run into?

Harriet:  Well, there’s Hitler, of course...

shade: Wait: Hitlers in Heaven?!?

Harriet:  Yeah, everyone is.  God’s a pretty forgiving Hedgehog.  Anyway, I ran into Hitler my first week here; he was out walking his dog, Blondie.  He’s pretty lonely because no one likes him or will talk to him.  Especially since Eva Braun ran off to be a groupie in Jim Morrison’s new band.

shade:  Ooh!  Tell me about that!

Harriet:  They’re sort of Heavens House Band.  Jim sings, occasionally doing duets with Janis Joplin.  Randy Rhodes on guitar, Keith Moon’s the drummer, and Mozart on Keyboards and harpsichord.  I’m not sure who the bass player is.  Might be the guy from Lenyrd Skynerd, but I’m not positive.

shade:  Randy on guitar, eh?  Surprised they didn’t get Hendrix.

Harriet:  Oh, Jimi’s got his own little project, with Stevie Ray Vaughn.  Jack Kerouac occasionally sits in and plays bongos while improvising poetry.  I saw ’em recently. Opening act was Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Hoard.  Good stuff.

shade:  I see.  What else can you tell us about Heaven?

Harriet: There’s tons of stuff to do, so you never get board.  Heaven smells like fresh baked bread, and all the movies are colorized.  Oh, and there’s a big curtain off to one side, so the Baptists can stand behind it and pretend they’re the only ones here.

shade:  Neat.  Anything else we need to know?

Harriet:  Yeah: October 8th, in your sleep!

*   *   *   *   *

Those wishing to contact Harriet, click .



    That’s it for now, folks; I’ll talk to y’all in 51 days!

    So remember:


      Trust no one

      Deny Everything

      and Always keep your lighter handy!



© 2002 (VI,i)

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