World Domination Update
“Just in the nicotine!”
vol. VI, iss. vi

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


Quote of the Moment:  “It’s like watching a lava lamp!” — FireSkunk  (who has prohibited me from revealing the context of this curious comment... J )
Secret Word of the Day:   Obtuse
Site of the Week:   Exit Mundi — an eschatological catalogue
Barbecue Sauce of the Month:   Cactus Jack’s Testicle-Tightening Oh-my-God!-this-is-Hot

In this issue:

·  Obtuse Kudos
·  Sinister Saint
·  Zen Floridianism
·  Little Murder
·  Nadir Of Idiocy
·  Ask Evil Matt
·  Hedgehog Drama



Hi, Boys and Girls!


Once again, we spiral downward into absurdity, as it becomes all the more blatant that the “W” in George W. Bush stands for “Wrong man for the job.”

The Prez is Hell-bent on cleaning up the mess his dad left in Iraq.  As far back as April 5th he told Britain’s P.M. Tony Blair “I’ve made up my mind that Saddam needs to go.”  I think this gives a clear indication of his lack of attention span: we’re scarcely a year into our war against “Terrorism” (whatever that is) but Bush, unable to focus long enough on finishing one objective, seems to feel the need to take fly off on a tangent by on a more definable foe in the guise of Saddam Hussein.  

Granted, there is some debate over how much Saddam is behind certain terrorist groups; most people (myself included) seem to think he’s bankrolling a few of the pro-Palestinian ones, but unfortunately there’s none of that annoying “proof” stuff available to verify this.  Tellingly, Al-Qaida doesn’t seem too trustful of Hussein, and even bin Laden himself labeled Saddam a “bad Muslim” because it’s obvious to all that he is not a strict follower of Islam, instead just using its trappings as a rallying point among the more gullible Muslim masses in the Iraqi population.

Still, Bush demonstrably made up his mind on this a long time ago, and seems determined to ignore the majority of his advisors that a war with Iraq is not a good idea right now.  After all, Saddam’s popular in Iraq: on October 16th, he won a unanimous reelection referendum by getting 100% of the votes.  That’s right: all 11,445,638 registered voters in Iraq cast ballots, and all 11,445,638 voted for him.  Granted there was no one else on the ballot running against him, but I think this proves what a political juggernaut he is.

[insert sarcastic laugh here]

Although I agree that something needs to be done about the Saddam Situation, I also recognize that there are better ways to do it that a flat-out military invasion, especially when the rest of the world isn’t in on the deal.

However, Bush is apparently scared that the populace will remember the economic vacuum we’re in (in part courtesy of his own policies,) so my best guess is that either he’s hoping a war—or series of wars, because I have a feeling Nuke-building North Korea is next—will kick-start the economy, or he figures a prolonged war will help distract the masses from the morass we are in.  

This is what I refer to as hiding your incompetence behind the Flag.

Unfortunately, I seem to be one of the few who notices this.  Most likely the minority of others so observant have already been rounded up and sent to special “reeducation” camps in central Texas, leaving a majority of masses in Amerika who only know (and believe) what Dubya tells them.

Adding to the lack of common sense wafting around, Reverend Jerry Falwell added fuel to the fire by recently opining in the September 30th episode of 60 Minutes that the Islamic Prophet Muhammed “was a terrorist.”  For those curious, here’s the full context of the quote:


“I think Muhammed was a terrorist.  He, I read enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and, and, non-Muslims, that he was a, a violent man, a man of war.  In my opinion , and I do believe that, Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses.  And I think that Mohammed set an opposite example.”


FallwellAt least, that’s my best guess as to what he said; it’s hard to tell, given that his foot was in his mouth...

Granted he has since issued a half-hearted apology, but one must put this in perspective, remembering that it was Falwell who also said that 9/11 was God’s way of punishing America for allowing gays, lesbians, and the ACLU.

Still, when dealing with such gargantuan quantities of ignorance, it can only mean that it is time for...


The 2002 Obtuse Awards 


I don’t know why, but it seems that in the past three months I’ve encountered more obtusity than during all my entire high school geometry classes combined.  Maybe I’m just suddenly noticing it, but most of you must admit: there does seem to be an extra-dense layer of that most dangerous breed of ignorance floating about.  

I am reminded of Sigourney Weaver’s infamous comment in the movie Aliens:

“Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?”

 So it’s time to give credit where credit is due, and single out those sick little monkeys who have risen head and shoulder above the others from the sea of stupidity to make their mark.

Third place:  Rich (Last name unknown, and quite frankly I don’t want to know, either.) 

 Rich is a barfly at The Vine, a favorite watering hole near the BadAss compound.  Universally loathed by the other poor, suffering patrons, Rich still manages to interject himself into private conversations without invite.  Not that he has anything worthy to contribute, but he just likes to make his presence felt.  Kind of like a tic.  His favorite reply to something perplexing is “Fuck you — I’m from New York!”  One wonders, of course, that if New York is so great, why did he leave in the first place.  There is already a collection plate passing around to send him back.  saint has likened Rich to a gravity well: when you move away from him, you can feel your IQ rise.  Rich has a thicker head than a poorly poured Guinness.  Examples abound, but we’ll stick with this one:


“The Dead Sea Scrolls were the newspapers of their time.  They talk all about Jesus and his miracles, and were written by people who actually saw the stuff happen.  The reason none of this got out is because the Navy got in and stole all the Scrolls, and won’t release them.”


saint (who has seen the Dead Sea Scrolls with his own eyes) says he was sorely tempted to reply to this, “Fuck you — I’m from Qumran!” but chose not to, as it would doubtless have been lost upon him.

But then again, everything else is, too...

Second Place:  George W. Bush

Hey, you knew he had to be in here somewhere.  Cataloguing Bush Obtusity is too large a scope, as one has to distinguish between his spoken malaprops (“Bushisms”) and his actions (like foreign or economic policy.)  Still, let’s stand on the man’s quotes.  Some of my favorite Bushisms:

  “We must continue to fight barriffs and terriers.”

“There’s no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead.”

“More and more of our imports are coming from overseas.”

“Do you have blacks too?” [asked to Brazil’s President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.]

“Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment.”

“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

“It’s clearly a budget.  It’s got a lot of numbers in it.”


For a more complete catalogue of the wit of our Chief Executive, click here.  Read it and remember: half the country voted for this idiot...

First Place:  Ken Dill 

Undoubtedly all of you are going “who?” at the surprise of this obscure lump of obtusity snatching the First Place Prize.  Here’s the deal: rather ironically, on September 11th the Ignition Missionary forwarded me a piece of e-mail penned by Ken that was one of the most stunning pieces of ignorance I have come across in ages:


It is in Revelations [sic] of the Holy Bible, that there'll be seven [sic] signs of disaster before we are judged, damned or saved. These signs are to prepare the faithful and the unfaithful to become. [sic: become what?!?]  What people in the world today do not enlighten themselves to is this.......God destroys the world to wash away Satans [sic] reign, not vice versa. These signs are alarm clocks brought to us by Jesus one by one, in order for us to be given the chances we need to be more like him and save our souls before it's too late. The terrorists attacks last year was one of those signs, the last sign will be World War III and too late.

I'm not sure if 9-11-01 was the one of the first or the last, but you must admit, World War III is in our very near future.

Which brings up an interesting question, is Osama Bin Laden the second coming of Christ?

Don't laugh, I want your inteligent [sic] logical evaluation whether you believe or not.

Ken Dill



I think you’ll agree that his suggestion that “Osama is the Second Coming of Christ” is one of the most obtuse propositions ever put forth in the past two thousand years.  

Surprisingly, that wasn’t the end of Kens obtuseness: the last line seemed to be a plea for help, so saint actually began corresponding with him, attempting to set him straight.  This led to an incredibly obtuse flame feud.

Of course, when it comes to e-mail flames, none can touch saint.

Especially someone as obtuse as Ken Dill. other news...


      Ring of Fire!


A rather fitting phenomenon now occurs to web browsers visiting the Cyber-Compound.  Depending on your default settings, Mozilla (the Nutscrape Navigrator engine) and Internut Exploiter both allow “themecons” for website bookmarks in your “favorites.”

Here is an actual screenshot of ours:

Ring of Fire

Having a little “ring of fire” for the Cyber-Compound seems wholly appropriate!

Of course, members bypass such Brain Police browsers and access via pineal chip implants, which allow for really neat visuals...


Reader Feedback



I read it all and enjoyed it hugley...the relegious part told me that your character of "MARVIN GARDENS" is alive and well I am happy to would have made an awsome Elmer Gantry in a tent revival.By the way Sis-Boom-Ba told me to tell you that the reason she talks over the shows and shuts up for the comercials is because there is more meaningful content in the comercials! (especially the Bow-Flex comercials...LOVE THOSE SKIMPY TIGHTS!!!



shade’s peshar


For those wondering, “Marvin Gardens” was my old Dungeons & Dragons character, an obnoxiously pious Lawful Good Cleric who was largely comic relief: he would go into extended sermons and prosletizing, and even charge non-believers for services such as healing spells.  His patron deity, of course, was “Frank,” and his spells would usually be appropriate Zappa song sniplets.  In an unpublished novella of mine (an offshoot of First Hit’s Free!) Marvin meets Blade and they hook up and have a daughter named Ashe. 

Not sure how to interpret Sisbooomba’s fixation with Bowflex commercials.  Then again, hearing about your own mother’s randy habits is enough to send anyone into denial...


    reader feedback



enjoyed the recent issue, although, as usual, I feel compelled to expound upon a couple of things...

1) As per the song, "Zero the Hero": That line that you always say you don't understand, liver by the river, etc...well, I've always thought it was quite an intelligent song, because to me, it refers to commonly understood beliefs about the rituals of ancient man. In college, when I took a variety of anthropology classes, we learned that it is a typically accepted theory that ancient tribes of people (and we're talking Ice Age-era homo erectus and sapiens, our earliest common brothers) believed that the 'essence' of an animal could be imparted to a hunter, and that important rituals evolved whereby, as soon as a large beast was killed, they immediately had to gut it (for sanitation and preservation reasons), but first, they would cut out the liver and share it amongst all the hunters. This was to impart to the tribe the 'good' qualities of the animal, i.e., cunning, speed, strength, etc. Usually, it's thought that the hunter who struck the first blow would get the first piece of raw liver, and it was a sign of honor and respect. Some good examples of a literary representation of these rituals take place in the 'Clan of the Cave Bear' books. So, when I think of "Zero the Hero," I always think they're singing about this character who's frustrated with inadequacy, and compares himself to this ancient tribesman who can't run with the hunters, who celebrate their manliness in the thrilling aftermath of the hunt, and take steps to continue this quality with the liver ritual. Cool song.

2) As per the hip-hop versus rap: I recently explained the difference to my old boss, who at 58, was perplexed. Really, Rap is usually just words and a beat, maybe some melodic embellishments, but no actual singing. Hip-Hop adds some sort of sung 'melodic' embellishments, so that it's typically more palatable to everyday Joes. Note that just because a song may have 'rapping' in it doesn't mean you have a 'rap song.' For example, TLC had Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes who rapped in their songs, but because the essence of the song was 'singing', their stuff is classified as hip-hop. Eminem, although usually doing 'rap' songs, entered the 'hip-hop' arena with his song 'Cleaning Out My Closet,' because of the chorus that he sings (badly, although I like the song). Yes, I admit it, I like rap and hip-hop, and I don't care what anyone thinks. Hey, I also like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Limp Bizkit, and Marilyn Manson. I hate Creed though; maybe we can all agree on that.

Just the usual comments...enjoy!



   shade’s peshar


First of all, I agree whole heartedly with your last comment: Creed sucks.

Anyway, interesting exegesis on the Zero the Hero liver motif.  I agree that the song is about upper class complacency and mediocrity (those curious can click here for lyrics.)  Only Ian Gillan really knows what he meant when he wrote those words, of course, but I suspect you’re pretty close to home on that one.  Besides, the song just plain rocks, and it amuses me that the main riff was (ahem) borrowed by Guns & Roses for “Paradise City” and Danzig for “Her Black Wings.” 

I think I see what you’re trying to say when you differentiate between rap and hip-hop.  So if they drone in monotone, it’s rap, but if they warble a few different notes, it’s hip-hop.  So be it.  That doesn’t change my objections to the music underlying it.

I’ll save the rest of this rebuttal for the peshar on the next piece o’ mail, though...


  reader feedback



I'm going to play devil's advocate on the hip hop thing, just to prove how dangerous it is to take down a genre with which you have no familiarity.

Quick quiz:
Which is more creative?

A)Spontaneous rhyming lines concerning love, vengeance, political injustice, etc. (the stuff of classical opera and theater, truth be told) in extremely complex rhythms over a dozen or so carefully arranged samples, over several more complex layers of complimentary rhythmic percussion, plus half a dozen more carefully placed electronic and/or physical (as in turntable) effects, with occasional accompaniment by one or more people who can actually sing. The basic elements of the form (rap, singing, other vocal effects, and polyrhythmic percussion) are still in the hands of the people who originated it, and can be performed spontaneously and improvisationally as a part of everyday life. And you can dance to it, too.

B)One greasy guy who needs a haircut hollering gruffly about Satan over the same three guitar chords over and over again except for some incomprehensible twiddly bits in the middle. Oh yeah, there's another guy pounding on some drums, too, but I'll be damned if I know what he thinks he's doing. Good for, well, certainly not dancing, and I've never seen spontaneous heavy-metal improv competitions happen on street corners or in coffee shops, but you can use it to annoy your parents, I guess.

Granted, 90% of hip hop is crap. But then, to paraphrase Theodore Sturgeon, 90% of EVERYTHING is crap. If you are unfamiliar with a genre, you have almost certainly only been exposed to that hyper-commercialized, least-common-denominator-pandering, megastudio, corporate-produced 90%. It's like saying all drama is crap because you've only tuned into a particularly mawkish episode of "As the World Turns."

That said, I don't know diddly about hip hop, which seems to be as wide and varying a metagenre as rock and roll. As for rap AND metal, you might like Rage Against the Machine.


Evil Matt’s peshar


Whew.  I can only assume that scraping sound I heard while reading that bilge was the bottom of the barrel.

First, though, you are correct that it is “dangerous it is to take down a genre with which you have no familiarity.”  You’ve just proven that yourself, by having shown no knowledge of heavy metal, except the type that comes from watching M-TV 10 minutes a day.  “One greasy guy who needs a haircut hollering gruffly... over the same three guitar chords over and over again except for some incomprehensible twiddly bits in the middle.”  That describes punk rock, not heavy metal, except you put the qualifier that the lyrical content is “about Satan.”

Well, if we’re going to bandy outdated stereotypes about, let’s look at rap lyrics.  Rappers don’t sing (well, duh!) about about “love, vengeance, political injustice” but instead primarily concern their songs with arrogant bravado brags about how much bigger their cock is than everyone else’s, how many four-ohs they’ve chugged down, how many blunts they’ve puffed, how many hos they fucked, and how many suckahs they’ve capped.  Yeah, that’s “really the stuff of classical opera and theatre”. 

Now, let’s take a look at your Quick Quiz.  Which is more creative?  “B” of course, because the people in question actually wrote those lyrics and three chords themselves, rather than merely steal a rhythm from someone else’s album because they were too musically incompetent to play an instrument.  I’m willing to bet that the reason you think you can’t dance to heavy metal is because you probably heard a band like Megadeth, Rush, or Dream Theatre, all of whom have extensive knowledge of musical theory and composition and thus frequently play in alternate times such as 5/4 or 9/8.  Don’t worry: I don’t expect you to know what that means, so I’ll summarize: they are playing in beats that deliberately leave left-over notes, which is exceedingly difficult to dance to, but also exceedingly difficult to perform.  Some musicians like to challenge themselves.  Granted, rappers are not “musicians”, but I find it interesting that they never sample songs that have non 4/4 time beats.

As for the profusion of rap/metal bands (which genre BruddahMax calls “Korn Bizkit”) I have heard Rage against the Machine, and I don’t care for them, although I have a shred of respect for their sticking up for their admittedly unpopular politics.  Still, Faith No More did the whole thing (minus the Marxism) 15 years previously, and much better.

Anyway, it sticks in my mind that for your birthday in 1990 I gave you a copy of Joe’s Garage.  As penance, you must go listen to it repeatedly until you see the error of your ways.  


 saint’s peshar


Evil Matt, per his idiom, was a bit harsher than necessary with the above blastback.  Obviously, SLowsMoke knows more about heavy metal than she lets on: Evil Matt saw to that by exposing her to the entire Black Sabbath and Metallica catalogue when they first met twelve years ago.  To her defense, SLowsMoke wishes it stressed on the record “I repeat (and I want it printed after your rebuttal--you know damned well that I know more about metal than my facetious argument would suggest if taken literally): Just keep in mind that my example was a counter to your initial one--i.e. comparing the best of the genre I'm defending to the worst of the genre I'm attacking. It's a false comparison either way.”  Also, to her credit, SLowsMoke was the first person to introduce me and Evil Matt to Zappa’s Freak Out! album.


 shade’s peshar

I should point out, by the way, that I have a better exposure to rap/hip-hop than people seem to think.  Back at Desert Palms I had the unpleasant experience from living across from two wiggers who worshiped 2Pac, and listened to almost nothing else.  I’ve heard his entire discography repeatedly, plus an unhealthy chunk of Snoop Dogg on the rare occasions they tired of 2Pac.  Plus (and this should come as no surprise) my ranch-swilling arch-nemesis, DK, idolizes Puff Paddy, and is constantly playing him, too.  (I make sure to retaliate with Ministry.)

There are actually a few rap artists I like, such as Kid Rock and the Beastie Boys.  Beasties have an ear for what’s tasty, and also actually play instruments; some of my favorite songs of theirs are groove instrumentals like Eugene’s Lament or In 3’s.

Still, being a musician m’self, I’ll stick to music played by actual musicians, thank you very much...


meanwhile, some recent blips on the World Domination radar...


Reno in Russia?!?


Back in September, Janet Reno lost her bid to be the Democratic governor of Florida, and rather suspiciously disappeared from the scene shortly thereafter.

A month later, on October 23rd, about 50 Chechen rebels seized control of The Palace of Culture of the Podshipnikov Zavod Theatre in Moscow, and took roughly 700 hostages.  Their demands were an end to Russian hostilities in Chechnia, and they threatened to kill their captives and blow up the building if these demands were not met.

At 5:30 in the morning on the 25th, Russian troops stormed the theatre, forcing an end to the siege.  The results were the death of almost all of the terrorists (as of this printing, at least three were missing and presumed to have escaped) and, unfortunately, 115 of the hostages as well.  Two of the dead were American citizens: one tourist visiting his Russian fiancé, one permanent resident with the equivalent of a Green Card.

It is believed that most, if not all of those friendly casualties were the result of the gas used by the troops.

Maybe its just me, but this has Janet Renos handwriting all over it.  Remember Waco: the  FBI tried to force an end to the standoff by pumping CS gas into the Mount Carmel Compound, and there is good forensic evidence that this contributed toif not outright causedmany of the Davidians deaths.  CS gas is designed for open-air crowd disbursement, not close quarter combat.  Indeed, in confined spaces, it has a tendency to be highly flammable, especially when fortified with kerosene, which is just what the FBI had done that fateful day.  CS gas is banned by the Geneva convention: you cant use it on your enemies in a war, but there are no laws against using it on your own citizens in peacetime.

The Russians still have not identified just what gas was used on the theatre, which again strikes me as suspicious.  By almost all accounts, the gas was a stupefying agent that knocks the inhaler out, allowing the Russian paramilitary to leisurely wander the aisles and take out each of the sleeping terrorists with a single round to the back of the head.  It is strongly suspected that whatever the gas was was an opiate derivative, as survivors were treated with drugs usually used in heroin withdrawal.  Of course, the Russian doctors themselves werent told exactly what they were treating.

Again, all of this reeks of Reno.  The only thing that would have solidified it as her handiwork would have been if the theatre had caught fire.


Zen Floridianism


For those who don’t know, a koan is a riddle in Zen Buddhism whose pondering (more than the actual answer itself) leads one to enlightenment.  Sort of like a certain Deep Purple lyric: Its not the kill, its the thrill of the chase.

Here is an actual Zen koan, from a Thirteenth Century collection of them called “Mumonkan” (“The Gateless Gate”); saying 18:

  A monk asked Tozan, “What is Buddha?”

Tozan replied, “Three pounds of flax!”


Couldn’t have said it better m’self!

Note: this topic has been followed up.


Opus D’oh!


Pope John Paul II has a mania for making saints.  He has so far canonized 468 people onto the rolls of sainthood, more than any other Pope in history.  On October 6th, he added yet again to the register with the canonization of Father José Maria Escriva de Balaguer.  Although several of these 468 “saints” selected have been questionable, Escriva’s canonization is, with little doubt, the most controversial (so far) of John Paul II’s career.

EscrivaFather Escriva (1902–1975) was the founder of a group called Opus Dei (Latin for “God’s Work.”)  Many call Opus Dei “sinister” and “secretive;” Escriva preferred the term “discreet.”  It is estimated Opus Dei has about 85,000 members in 80 countries, including about 1,800 priests; the majority of Cardinals ordained by Pope John Paul II have also been pulled from its ranks.  Curiously, Opus Dei does not accept membership petitions; assuming they deem you worthy, they ask you to join (a process they call “fishing.”)  It is generally accepted that our current Pope is not a member (though his official spokesman, Joaquin Navarro Valls, is), but John Paul II is clearly supportive of the organization, as his oft-repeated praise for them and Escriva’s rapid canonization clearly indicate.  In 1982, John Paul II granted the group autonomy from the traditional Catholic chain of command, making them answerable only to himself.  Only one other group has held such an independent status: the Knights Templar.

Opus Dei’s stated goal is to help its members live a more devoutly Catholic life, using what Escriva himself called “Holy Intransigence and Holy Coercion.”  A secondary agenda, seen to go hand in hand with the first, is an attempt to revert the Church to a more “primitive” position along its early roots and away from all this modernistic nonsense.  Although they claim to want to regress to the “Apostolic” era, a more truthful view would be a return to the Catholicism of the early Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church ruled Europe with an iron gauntlet.  For instance, Opus Dei are big supporters of reversing the progressive reforms of the Vatican II Council and (for example) returning to a Latin Mass—as opposed to the current practice of doing it in the vernacular.  Yeah: Heaven forbid that the lay in the audience should actually understand what’s being said up on the pulpit...

Opus Dei detractors and disillusioned former members have likened the group to a “cult” or even “Catholic Freemasonry.”  Charges of mind control/brainwashing are common among apostates.  They say Opus Dei controls information within the group, including reading and even censoring mail, all in an attempt to direct how its various members think and act.  For example, Escriva himself wrote


You shall not buy books without the advice of a Christian who is learned and prudent. It is so easy to buy something useless or harmful. How often a man believes he is carrying a book under his arm, and it turns out to be a load of rubbish.

The Way (#339)


How’s that for open minded?  Obviously not a champion of Think for Yourself.  But you probably already guessed that, didn’t you...

Although I find the term “cult” to be a little heavy-handed, I do find it revealing that there is at least one support group set up for former members: ODAN (Opus Dei Awareness Network.)

Many of a more paranoid mindset also find it suspicious that several investigative reporters looking into exposés on Opus Dei have died in mysteriously vague “accidents.”

Father Escriva is himself as sinister and secretive as the group he founded in 1928.  A Spaniard, he was a hardcore supporter of fascist dictator Fransico Franco, and one of the murkier areas of Opus history is the role Escriva and his Catholic clan had during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39.  Escriva was also an enthusiast of Hitler; taking a cue from Pope Pius XII, Escriva viewed Hitler and his National Socialist party would, as Escriva himself put it, “save Christianity from Communism.”  [please recall that Communism is Atheistic: “opiate of the masses” and all that.]  An oft-repeated quote of Escriva on the matter is “Hitler against the Jews, Hitler against the Slavs, this means Hitler against Communism.”  

Escriva was apparently also vocally supportive of Adolph’s answer to the “Jewish Problem.”

Between 1962 and 1965, the Catholic Church, under Pope John XXIII, attempted to bring itself up to speed with the rest of the World by initiating the Second Vatican Council.  Unlike the First Vatican Council of 1865–69, which saw as its main objective the reversal of “modernisms” arising from “Rationalism” and a return to a Medieval Mindset, Vatican II tried to get into the 20th Century.  Escriva was horrified by this prospect, and raged to his friend Flavio Capucci, “The Devil is at the head of our Church!”  (words eerily similar to what Pope John XXIII allegedly said when he read the final Fatima prophecy at about the same time.)  Escriva even considered converting to Greek Orthodoxy rather than face the prospect of reform.  Instead, he redoubled Opus Dei’s work to undermine the Vatican II Council and move the Catholic Church backward in time when it was a thinly disguised extension of the Roman Empire and the Popes lived like decadent Cæsars.

After Escriva’s death in 1975 and the advent of Korol Wojtila to Pope as John Paul II in 1978, he was placed on the fast track to sainthood.  The last formal step to sainthood, beatification, took place in 1985.  By comparison, previous Popes usually waited several hundred years after a person’s death to even begin the process of Canonization.  Most in the know see Escriva’s beatification hearing as a flat-out sham for show purposes only.  One of the few negative witnesses, former Opus Dei Priest Father Alberto Moncada, attempted to point out that Escriva was less than ideal saintly material: he was closed-minded, cruel, crude, arrogant, bellicose, misogynistic, and highly argumentative.  “They (the Beatification Council) couldn’t care less.  They don’t even watch me.   They were having good drinks, were circulating cognac and whisky, and couldn’t care less.”  Still, Fr. Moncada’s words apparently did not fall on completely deaf ears, as two of the nine members of the Council voted against Escriva’s  Beatification.

Monsenior Flavio Capucci, the man who spearheaded Escriva’s cause for sainthood, commented after the Canonization, “the very fact that José Maria Escriva has been canonized demonstrates that these insidious charges are totally unfounded.”

Oh, how foolish of me: I forgot that the Catholic Church never makes mistakes, that the Pope is infallible in matters of Faith and Morals, and would never make someone unworthy a saint (such as “saint” Christopher, who didn’t even exist but was demonstratably a Hungarian myth that was thinly Christianized to suit Catholic evangelizing agendas.)

One of the criteria for becoming a full-fledged saint is that the subject must have performed one authenticated miracle.  In Escriva’s case, he is credited with curing of Manuel Nevado Rey of radiodermatitis (a form of skin cancer.)  Technically, Escriva did not personally perform the cure, as Rey (an Opus Dei member, coincidentally) merely prayed that he be cured in Escriva’s name.  But this was apparently good enough for the Catholic Church Canonization Council.


saint’s peshar

Opus Dei generally has a practice of “fishing” for members among the wealthy and influential.  One member, of interest in the Branch Floridian scheme of things, is Louis Freeh, Clinton’s Director of the FBI.  Freeh was, of course, in charge during the Waco debacle, and in my opinion bears as much blame as Janet Reno in that matter.



Malcolm in the Crosshairs



Think for yourself!”

—Malcolm X,
 from a speech at the Hotel Theresa (Harlem)
January 1st, 1965



Most observant types with a penchant for paranoia have long noted that within five short years (1963–1968) three of the leading progressive reformers in America (JFK, MLK, and RFK) were assassinated, all by “lone nuts” no less.  To this dubious list of those laid low, Malcolm X can, indeed should, be added.  Although mostly noted for his early white-bashing/black-power rhetoric, less known (or more conveniently overlooked) is the fact that he ultimately had an epiphany that completely reversed his worldview, causing him to renounce his former ways and hatred.  It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, and this is precisely what Malcolm X did.  Sadly, most public knowledge of this curious person comes either from his 1965 “Autobiography” or the 1992 Spike Lee exercise in cinematic hero-worship.  Neither really give the full story, especially since the assassination of Malcolm X is fertile ground for conspiracy theory that to this day remains painfully vague.  Worse, as already mentioned, the majority of supporters who put Malcolm X on a pedestal fervently focus on his militant phase but almost intentionally ignore the fact that in the last year of his life he renounced (or at least massively modified) such activities and took up what I will for convenience call “true Islam.”

The last is especially ironic, for it is almost certainly this re-conversion that got him murdered.

To understand that, it is crucial to comprehend the movement which gave rise to his fame: the Nation of Islam.  This is especially relevant, for even though Malcolm X repudiated all NOI teachings in the last year of his life, the NOI to this day still continues on in its caustic anti-caucasian jihad, and its current leader, Louis Farrakhan, is making moves to be a major player on the political landscape.  NOI ideology and history is complex, confusing, and more than a little contradictory; interesting stuff, and ideal Update fodder.  Unfortunately, putting their history and beliefs down with any justice is a lengthy digression that distracts from the Malcolm factor wished to be emphasized right now—enough so that I will leave that to a saint in a separate article accompanying this piece, and for now focus on Malcolm X and the conspiracy that cost him his life.

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925.  When he was 6, his father was killed in a streetcar accident, though Malcolm (and many others) believed that it was no “accident” but murder by local white supremacists.  Shortly thereafter, his mother had a nervous breakdown, causing her committal to an asylum.  Malcolm and his three siblings were farmed out to different relatives, and he ended up with a stepsister in Boston.  At 15, after completing the 8th grade, he dropped out of school and quickly took up the life of a street hustler, dabbling in drug pushing, part-time pimping, and petty theft.  In February 1946, he was convicted of robbing a house, and was sentenced to seven years.

Malcolm XContrary to popular opinion, it was not a fellow inmate who introduced him to the Nation of Islam, but his brother Reginald and half-sister Ella, themselves both NOI members.  Intrigued, he began corresponding with the NOI leader, Elijah , and quickly joined.  Following the NOI practice of , he became Malcolm X and, upon his parole in August 1952, became actively involved in the Nation, setting up temples and recruiting new members.  One of the people he personally converted to the sect was Louis Eugene Walcott, who renamed himself Louis Farrakhan.   Malcolm quickly distinguished himself as a dynamic speaker with a sharp mind, and was one of the most visible and vocal members.  Because of his aggressive recruiting, zeal for the cause, and total devotion to Elijah Mohammad, he was made the NOI’s national spokesman.  He reached mainstream attention in July 1959 when he was featured in the multi-episode television documentary presented by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax, “The Hate That Hate Produced.”

However, things began to go wrong in early 1963, when Malcolm X discovered that Elijah Mohammad—despite imposing strict rules of celibacy upon members—had himself fathered no less than six children among various teenage secretaries.  Worse, he learned Mohammad was holding secret meetings with various white supremacist groups such as Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan.  This last might not be as hypocritical as it seems, as both Nation of Islam and Aryan Nation had two things in common: a great hatred of the American Government, and a desire to divide the United States in half and physically force separate, segregated nations.  Still, condemning “Whitey” as a literal incarnation of Satanic evil on the one hand yet secretly dealing and scheming with him on the other did not sit well with Malcolm.  He finally confronted Elijah Mohammad about these various issues, and was told not to question his leader but blindly obey. 

Malcolm was also holding public meetings with many African national leaders, as well as Che Guevera.  This greatly upset both the FBI and the NOI.  Malcolm was getting all the publicity, and with Elijah Mohammad suffering from grave respiratory problems, the press speculated that Malcolm would be the heir apparent to the Nation’s leadership.  Mohammad began to view Malcolm X as a loose cannon, and while the latter both publicly and privately pledged fidelity, the former had his doubts.

 The situation worsened nine days after the JFK assassination, when Malcolm spoke at a NOI rally in New York.  Despite Elijah Mohammad’s official prohibition that NOI ministers not comment on the topic, he said that Kennedy “...never foresaw the chickens coming home to roost so soon.  Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad....”  The statement was picked up by the popular press and drew understandable criticism.  Surprisingly, much of this came from the Nation of Islam itself, partly for disobeying their Divinely inspired leader, partly for drawing undue scrutiny from the White (and White House) establishment upon them.  Officially, Malcolm was censured and suspended for 90 days, but the internal backlash was more severe.  In the December 4, 1964 issue of the NOI publication Muhammad Speaks, Louis Farrakhan wrote regarding Malcolm X: “Malcolm X is a traitor... [and] such a man is worthy of death.”  Privately, around the same time Elijah Mohammed said “It’s time to shut that nigger’s eyes.” 

Still under  suspension, he was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Nation of Islam, especially as he did some soul searching and learned more about “true” Islam versus NOI’s interpretation.  Finally, in March, he was indefinitely suspended from the NOI as a persona non grata.  Most likely Mohammad believed this would break Malcolm and solidify his own position, but he was gravely mistaken.  

Having formally broken with the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X publicly repudiated them as a false religion more concerned with the aggrandizement of Elijah Mohammad than the betterment of black people.   He promptly formed two organizations: Moslem Mosque Incorporated and the Organization for African American Unity.  While one is religious and the other secular, both were openly at odds with NOI doctrine.  A sizeable number of NOI faithful defected over to his side, to the intense chagrin of Mohammed.   Shortly thereafter, Malcolm X then left the country to a tour of various African nations, beginning with the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca on April 19th (a day dear to Branch Floridians!)  In Mecca, he had extensive contact with “real” Muslims, including numerous caucasians of that faith persuasion.  He realized that true Islam is colorblind, and all are one within Allah.   Malcolm X converted to Sunni Islam and again changed his name, this time to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Malcolm continued his tour of Africa, and in July, he was having lunch at the Cairo Hilton.  He suddenly became sick and was rushed to the hospital.  After his stomach was pumped, a “toxic substance” was discovered.  It is universally taken as given that someone tried to poison him, and interestingly, the waiter who served him that day quit his job that very afternoon and disappeared from sight.

By 1965, the downward spiral between the NOI and Malcolm was approaching terminal velocity.  He had been receiving anonymous death threats for several months now, and was being stalked by NOI enforcers.  On the morning of February 14th, his house is firebombed.  While it’s generally accepted the NOI was behind it, several researchers have found evidence local police may have had a hand in the planning.

On February 18th, Malcolm gave a speech at Columbia University, when a most curious event occurred: in the audience, someone yelled “Nigger, get your hand out of my pocket!” and a fight broke out.  The event is unusual because three days later, just after Malcolm took the stage at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, someone in the audience again cried “Nigger, get your hand out of my pocket!” and a fight broke out.  This time, however, the brawlers suddenly stopped and both of them pulled out guns.  One of them fired at Malcolm, the other made sure none of the others in the crowd interfered.  At the same time, a third person stepped forward with a shotgun and unloaded point-blank into Malcolm’s chest.  The three then quickly made their way to the exit and left, exchanging fire with Malcolm’s bodyguards as they did so.  One of them never made it: he was tackled by security and pinned down until police arrived.

The men were Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson.  All three were active members of the Fruits of Islam, the NOI’s enforcement wing.

At least, those were the three convicted; there is some doubt about the matter of their actual guilt.  Hayer has admitted his role (seeing as he was the one tackled, he would be hard pressed not to...) but his motives remain murky, and rather suspiciously were never officially investigated, especially his comment that he was “well paid” to do the deed.

But back to the Ballroom: just after Malcolm was shot, Gene Rossi, one of his bodyguards, began to administer CPR.  Many have wondered about this action, because common sense tells you that if someone has just gotten a shotgun blast in the chest, the last thing you want to do is start pushing down on the area—it unquestionably does more damage than good.  

Many years later, it became known that Gene Rossi was an undercover agent for BOSSI, the FBI’s anti-organized crime division.

A month after Malcolm was murdered, his top aid in the OAAU, Leon 4X Ameer, was found dead.  Police ruled it a drug overdose, which is unusual because he had no (known) history of drug use, and narcotics are something both true Islam and the Nation of Islam staunchly oppose.  Ameer did, however, go to the FBI a few days after the assassination and claim he had evidence that Malcolm X’s murder was a joint collaboration between the NOI and the FBI.  Unfortunately, any alleged evidence he had died with him.

It is well known that J. Edger Hoover had what I will politely call negrophobia, and was terrified of the idea of a “black messiah” rising among the African Americans.  Hoover’s hatred and fear of Martin Luther King is amply documented, but Malcolm X was also high on his shit list.  Indeed, the FBI opened its file on him as far back as February 1953.  We now know that Hoover had agents inside NOI, and even had Elijah Mohammad’s phone tapped.  Both the Nation as an organization and Malcolm as a person were targets of intense COINTELPRO activity.  Through his insider spies, Hoover actively worked to widen the gap between Elijah Mohammad and Malcolm X through an intense misinformation campaign.

The day before he was murdered, Malcolm spoke by phone with Alex Haley, the Roots author who also transcribed Malcolm’s Autobiography.  Malcolm told him, “The more I keep thinking about this thing, the things that have been happening lately, I’m not at all sure it’s the Muslims.  I know what they can do, and what they can’t, and they can’t do some of the stuff recently going on....   The more I keep thinking about what happened, I think I’m going to quit saying it’s the Muslims.”

 Although most, myself included, put the blame for Malcolm X’s murder squarely on the Nation of Islam, a very vocal minority see the FBI’s hand in the background, either in collaboration with the NOI or using them as “patsies.”  As we’ve seen, there is circumstantial evidence of FBI involvement.

But for what it’s worth, though, when I lived up in Ice Station Zappa, I used to work with a guy named John Zehnder.  John once told me that he had attended a dinner that Malcolm’s widow, Betty Shabazz was a featured speaker at.  He got to meet her, and asked her who she thought was behind her husband’s murder.

Per John, Betty’s answer: “Oh, there’s no two ways about it; that was  Farrakhan.”



Notions Of Ideology


Wali FardThe Nation of Islam was “officially” founded on July 4th, 1930 by an obscure figure calling himself “Wali Fard” (among .)  Not much is conclusively known about him, including his real name, or the date and place of his birth.  Fard (usually pronounced “Far’-odd”) claimed he was born in Mecca, was a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed, and was educated at Oxford; the last, at least, is demonstratably not true, at least under any of his legion of name variations.  The NOI celebrate his birthday as an actual holiday (“Savior’s Day”) on February 26th, and guestimate the year of birth as 1877.  According to the FBI, Fard’s fingerprints match those of Wallace Dodd Ford, a mulatto(!) born in Portland, Oregon in 1891 who served time at San Quentin in the late ’20s for drug dealing.  Needless to say, the Nation of Islam denounce this as FBI misinformation designed to discredit their founder.

Fard first appeared in the Paradise Valley slum/suburb of Detroit in early 1930, and while working as a door-to-door rug salesman began a sideline of preaching a particular brand of Islam to his potential clients.  This “particular brand” was an amalgamation of “true” Islam, the Afrocentric teachings of Marcus Garvey and Noble Drew Ali, as well as Fard’s own unique beliefs.  NOI Apostates also claim a heavy dose of Masonic elements, though I have not found specific examples of this.  However, since one of Fard’s main influences, Noble Drew Ali, was himself heavily influenced by Freemasonry, it is entirely plausible.

Fard’s message essentially had three tenets:

  • Islam was the “true” religion; Christianity was merely the white-man’s way of oppressing blacks (an easy enough claim, given the abundance of pro-slavery statements throughout the Bible)

  • White people are the physical embodiment of evil and literal creations of Satan

  • The only hope for Black people in America is total separation and self-reliance

 With the Great Depression just starting, Fard found a surprisingly sympathetic audience, especially among uneducated, lower-class blacks.  Fard soon had a small following, but the ritualistic murder/sacrifice of two members in 1932 led to Detroit police cracking down on what both it and the press called a “voodoo cult,” causing Fard to relocate to Chicago.  In June 1934, he completely disappeared—a vanishing act that to this day remains an unsolved mystery. 

Whatever the case, his successor was an early—and fanatical—convert named Elijah Poole, who Fard renamed Elijah Mohammad.  Under this Mohammad, the NOI really took off.  And their ideology spiraled accordingly.

Despite the name, the “Nation of Islam” has almost nothing in common with “orthodox” Islam.  True, superficial similarities exist, including both advocating abstention from pork and alcohol, and both profess the Koran as their sacred text.  But the resemblances end there, with the differences being far more stark.

For starters is the NOI belief that God (Allah) occasionally walks the Earth in the guise of a black man, and literally did so as Fard.  This is unequivocally stated in their beliefs (reprinted on the back page of every copy of their newsletter, Final Call): “WE BELIEVE that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long-awaited “Messiah” of the Christians and the “Mahdi of the Muslims.”  Indeed, Louis Farrakhan’s opening invocation at the Million Man March began “I am so grateful to Allah for his intervention in our affairs in the person of Master Fard Muhammad the Great Mahdi, who came among us and raised from among us a divine leader, teacher and guide, his messenger to us the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”

For those who don’t know, it is absolutely against true Islam that Allah would take human form (a heresy/sin known in Islam as shirkh,) and it is also against Islam that he would appoint any other messengers or prophets beyond Muhammed.  The Koran is very specific about this:


“Oh people! Muhammed has no sons among you men, but truly, he is the Messenger of Allah and the last in the line of Prophets.  And Allah is aware of everything.” —33:40


Naturally, the Nation of Islam denies that this passage (and others of its ilk) applies to the Muhammed of 7th Century, but to Elijah Mohammad of the 20th Century.

Nation of Islam also bypasses/ignores other central tenets of mainstream Islam, such as observation of the .  NOI also reinterprets the Islamic doctrine of Resurrection in the last days.  Mainstream Islam views this unequivocally as a literal resurrection of dead faithful, where NOI views it as more metaphorical: a mental awakening of the mind from “dead” thoughts.

One of the most glaring discrepancies between NOI and other forms of Islam is that NOI is actually Polytheistic.  The central tenet of true Islam, repeatedly reinforced in almost every surah of the Koran, is that there is only one God: Allah.  According to NOI, however, there have been many Gods, of which Allah is but the latest.  These various gods are actually mortal, and when one dies, another rises to replace the previous.  The first God created the universe seventy-eight trillion years ago, but died at an unspecified time after that, to be replaced by many others until the relatively recent advent of Allah, who is the current God.  According to Elijah Mohammad, who claimed to learn the doctrine from Fard himself (who, you will remember, was Allah on Earth,) the Deity succession rate is roughly once every 25,000 years. 

If you do the math, this means that there have been about 3,120,000,000 Gods since the Beginning.

It is possible (in the NOI scheme of things) for multiple Gods to be alive and active at the same time.  Again per Fard, there are currently twenty-three Gods right now, called “scientists”, over which Allah is essentially the “head of the council.”

One of the most infamous NOI notions directly involves this council of “scientists,” the origin of White People.  Although circulating in oral form since the days of Fard, this dogmatic doctrine is concretely spelled out in print by Elijah Mohammad in his publication, Message to the Blackman in America (Final Call Press, Chicago, 1965.)

6,000 years ago, one of the 23 “scientists” named Yakub (also known as “Satan” in some circles) rebelled against Allah and tried to gain control of Mecca for himself.  His revolt failed, so he and his 59,999 followers were marched out (at gunpoint!) to exile on the island of Patmos.  There, Yakub began to plot his revenge.  He began a genetic breeding program (Elijah M. uses the curious term “grafting”) and bread an army of white soldiers.  In grafting out all the blackness, he also removed beauty, intellect, morals, and virtues, so that only cruelty and evil remained.  Although Yakub died about one hundred and fifty years into his program, his followers continued on in his name, until they had a sizeable army of now caucasian foot-soldiers.  They eventually escaped and settled “western Asia” (presumably Europe is meant here.)  Two of the first were Adam and Eve; Elijah M. teaches that only a white man would rebel against God, so this is somewhat logical in this twisted context.  Some of the caucasians realized their fallen state and attempted to “graft” themselves back with black people, but this failed, the result being the mammal now known as a gorilla.  During this interim, Moses came to Europe to preach to them, but the white demon-spawn refused to listen, so Moses threw some sticks of dynamite(!) at them and left.  Deeply embittered by all this, the white devils plotted revenge, meaning to subjugate the true children of the Earth (blacks) with what Elijah M. calls “tricknology.”

Of course, Allah knows all things, including Yakub’s sinister plot.  For unclear reasons, Allah decided to allow the whites 6,000 years of rule over the world, but at the end of that period the blacks would rise up, kill the white devils, and reclaim their rightful place as stewards of the Earth.  According to Elijah Mohammad, this 6,000 year period ended in 1914, and humanity is currently in a period of “transition.”  But Allah, protective of his “chosen,” launched a spaceship from Japan 6,000  years ago, which was armed with “bombs” (in the post-1945 environment, the doctrine evolved to make these nuclear weapons—from 6,000 years ago, you’ll remember.)  These will be unleashed upon the white devils if they should dare harm any of the true chosen of Allah (read: the Nation of Islam).

 I must admit, I’m impressed: I don’t think I could have come up with a yarn like that if I had a pound of peyote.

Needless to say, aside from common sense, the Koran itself flatly contradicts the Yakub doctrine.  Muhammed himself said it rather eloquently in his last recorded sermon:


“O people!  Truly your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you belong to one ancestry of Adam, and Adam was created out of clay.  There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; nor for white over the black nor for the black over the white except in piety.  Truly the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.” —Final


Alas, Elijah Mohammad died of heart failure on February 25th, 1975, and the leadership mantle fell to his seventh son, Wallace Mohammed.  Wallace had been a close friend of Malcolm X, and per the latter’s Autobiography it was Wallace himself who first made Malcolm aware of his father Elijah Mohammad’s sexual impropriety with secretaries.  Wallace was deeply moved by Malcolm’s conversion to Sunni Islam in 1964, and had torn loyalties between Malcolm and his own father.  Indeed, he was expelled from NOI in 1964, but eventually reconciled, enough to be the heir apparent upon his father’s death.  Part of the reason was the semi-mystical association of his being the “seventh son.”

Once in charge, Wallace Mohammed changed his name to Warith.   He also renamed the NOI itself several times, ultimately settling upon the American Muslim Mission.  Most importantly, he began to bring its ideology more in step with Sunni Islamic beliefs.

Understandably, this disenfranchised a large number of members, who were apparently upset at the de-emphasis on hate and the forced acknowledgement that everything they had been taught up until then was bullshit.  So in 1977 a sizeable splinter group broke away, led by Louis Farrakhan.  Since Wallace Warith had discontinued use of the name “Nation of Islam,” Farrakhan deemed the title up for grabs; he adopted it and announced a return to that “Ol’ Time Religion” of Wali Fard and Elijah Mohammad.

And so things stand to this day.  The Nation of Islam does not release membership statistics, but while researching this piece I saw estimates ranging from 10,000 to 800,000.  Their highest recruitment is in prison.

Farrakhan has been active in his mission since assuming the mantle of leadership, attempting with some success to make his voice heard in the political spectrum.  Unquestionably, his greatest publicity coup was the Million Man March on October 16th, 1995.  Although falling short of it’s title target, more people attended than the Martin Luther King Jr. rally (featuring the famous “I have a dream” speech) from thirty years earlier.   Although most see this as a publicity ploy merely to link Farrakhan’s name with King’s, Farrakhan admits to having a deeper motive for the March.

According to the Washington Post (9/18/95, p. D3) Farrakhan admitted that the inspiration for the Million Man March occurred ten years previously, while in Mexico.  While praying at an ancient Mayan temple, he suddenly had a “vision of being swept into a UFO that took him to a larger mothership.”  Farrakhan described this ship as being “a wheel within a wheel” (which sounds to me suspiciously like Ezekiel 1:15-21.)  There, he says, “I heard the voice of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as you hear my voice,” whose disembodied voice told Farrakhan that if he could get a million men to come to Washington, “then you can come here again and you can see me face-to-face.”   The Million Man March was Farrakhan’s attempt to fulfill this prophecy.




Ask Evil Matt

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

Q:  hey

I thought I read somewhere that it's believed that the Indians may have migrated from Asia on the Bering Strait. I don't know that it's proven......wondered if you knew?

A:  During the last Ice Age, the Bering Straight was a solid bridge between Western Russia and Alaska, allowing those inclined to migrate across.  Archaeological evidence indicates this is exactly what happened, though there seem to have been two distinct waves of immigration.  Tellingly, DNA analysis of Asians living on the far East coast and Eskimos living on the far west coast show direct descendentcy.  

Q:  pie eyed: where did this term come from?

A:  I have found two different attributions to it: one concretely dating it to 1904 but otherwise of unknown origin, the other to the American SouthWest cattlemen during 1880-85.  The term “pie-eyed” (it usually has a hyphen) refers to someone who is drunk.  It has been pointed out that drunk people’s eyes are usually red and half-closed.  A good explanation for “pie-eyed” would seem to be an inexperienced drunk person, staring in amazement at the alcohol-altered perceptions around him.

Q:  What is the correct pronunciation of "Fung Shui"?

A:  This is surprisingly more complicated than I thought, and a lively debate on-line per this very topic exists.  To begin with, is it spelled “Feng Shui” or “Fung Shui”?  This is similar to problems that transliterated the same city as either “Peking” or “Bejing”.  Technically (and literally) “Feng” [*usually* rhyme with “thing”] means “water” and “Shui” [*usually* rhymed with “she”] means “wind”, but apparently when combined as a two-syllable word it can take on a different meaning and pronunciation (“balance” [*usually* rhyme the first syllable with “hung” and the last with “sway”]).   Unfortunately, transliteration from Chinese to English confuses things, with no universal agreement on the matter.  I saw one site give the “authoritative” pronunciation as “fig shoo”, and interestingly this same person believes White House scandals are caused by poor Fung Shui.  In reality, there seems to be no consensus, but if you want the “majority” opinion, then rhyme with “hung sheep”.

Tellingly, almost every site I saw commented on the pronunciation conundrum, and after offering their own humble opinion, essentially opined “it is not how you pronounce it that is important; it is how you practice it.”

For those who have no clue as to what this is about, Fung Shui is a Chinese “science” that assigns zones to your abode for happiness, prosperity, fertility, etc.  Poor Fung Shui (ie: setting up your house against the grain of accepted Feng Shui practice) is bad and will cause no end of misfortune.

Q:  If someone is Jewish, does it denote their religion AND their heritage? In other words, is there a  'race' that is considered 'Jewish'. It is my thought that there is BOTH a religion and race, one does not necessarily make you the other. Please advise.

A:  There is much confusion over this, though it seems to be a relatively modern occurrence.  Originally “Jew” denoted both a religion and an ethnic subculture that practiced that specific religion.  (I prefer ‘ethnic’ vs. ‘race’ in this case.)  So it’s an ethnic community that all practices the same exclusive religion (ie: a belief system that no one else observes.)  The concept springs from the book of Genesis, where the first “Jew” was Abraham, whose son Jacob had 12 children, each of which would become the progenitor of the 12 tribes of Israel.  The understanding is that all Jews spring from this family.  Obviously that’s mythology-in-hindsight, and almost no one outside of ultra-orthodox Judaism takes it seriously.  Things begin to get murky after the death of Jesus.  Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, makes a carefully worked out argument that essentially Christians are the ‘new Jews.’  His understanding of the word was religious and not ethnic, as he allowed and encouraged people of diverse ethnic backgrounds (European, African, etc.) to become one of his “new Jews.”  By the 18th century, the distinction became very blurry, with people focusing on more on the ethnic aspect than the religious.  Thus people today (and I’ve met several) can say “I’m Jewish, but I don’t believe in God” which to me is a direct contradiction of Judaism.  Still, if that’s the case, a better word for them to use would be ‘Semitic,’ which is the technical term for that ethnicity.  As you probably know, the term “anti-Semitic” means someone who hates Jews.  However, it is possible for non-Semitic people to convert to Judaism (the religion, and I refer here to “original” Judaism and not Paul’s Christian reconstruction mentioned above.)

So basically, to answer your question, it depends on who you talk to.  Most people fail to see the distinction, and use the term “Jew” interchangeably, but I feel this is wrong.  As I said, in the ‘classical’ sense, “Jew” is a religion, “Semite” is an ethnic group.

As an ironic closing footnote, the Palestinian Arabs are also Semitic, coming from the same ethnic background as the very “Jews” they claim to hate.  There the difference between the two is clearly religious (Islam vs. Judaism) though not surprisingly most Palestinians refuse to acknowledge their common ancestry.

Got a question?  .

    And finally,,,

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog


Hedgehog Drama


Hedgehogs have a fine theatre tradition dating as far back as Babylon, with The Hanging Gardens Hedgehog Troupe, whose production of “I’ll Mishra when ye’re gonne” broke all attendance records for 580BCE.

What is less known—or scandalously overlooked—is that while hedgehogs continued their playsmithing skills even to this day, a second revival occurred in 16th Century England.  Surviving leaflets from the Chuffington Institute at Cambridge show numerous soliloquies (written in Olde High Hedgehogian) that seem suspiciously familiar to later Shakespearian works.

A random sampling:


What is this: a hedgehog I see before me, its tail toward my paw?  Come, let me chuff thee.  I have thee not, and yet I see thee quills!

—MacChuff (Act II, scene iii)

To chuff, or not to chuff...  What was the question?  Whether ’tis nobler of the Hog to suffer the quills and burrows of outrageously stale mealie worms, or take up paws against a sea of gophers.

—Hoglett  (Act III, scene i)

Friends, Romans, Hedgehogs, lend me your quills.  I come to bury Hedgie, not to chuff him.  The evil that Hogs do lives after them, the good is oft interred in their burrows.

—Julius Hedgehog, Act III, scene ii


 Suspicious, eh?  The proof of the pudding here is a study of Shakespeare’s own works:


Lady Anne:  Dost grant me, hedgehog?  Then, God grant me too.  Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!  O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!

—King Richard III (Act I, scene ii)

Caliban:  Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me and after bite me, then like hedgehogs which lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount their pricks at my footfall;

—The Tempest (Act II, scene ii)

Titania:  You spotted snakes with double tongue, thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;

—A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act II, scene ii)


Need I say more?




    That’s it for now, folks; 

    So remember:


      Trust no one

      Deny Everything

      and Always keep your lighter handy!



© 2002 (VI,vi)

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