In This Issue

:

Mike Edison Frederica Fray Hyena Hell W. Joe Hoppe John Morton Christopher Schipper Kelly Shriver

DID YOU KNOW...
SECRETLY BUTCHERING AND EATING PANDAS
as part of a SATANIC RITUAL promising That wealthly white women are now

ETERNAL BEAUTY??

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Contributors
Tim Beckett has been caught up for far too long writing a novel about his hometown, Uranium City, a near ghost town in Northern Canada. He has received a couple of writing grants from the Canada Council and would dearly love a couple more. He is editor and contributor for Sensitive Skin Magazine. He is currently hiding out in Brooklyn. More of his writing can be seen at http://www.tim-beckett.com. Mike Edison is a New York-based writer, editor, musician, and spoken word artist. He was the publisher of marijuana counterculture magazine High Times, and was later named editor-in-chief of Screw, the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Newspaper.” In his memoir I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, Edison recounts his adventures across twenty years of druggy adventurism and his parallel careers as a magazine editor, writer, and musician. His new book, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, An American Tale of Sex and Wonder will be published Fall 2011 by Soft Skull Press. Frederica Fray, Anti-Christ guru, fashions herself in Iowa as a college philosophy professor, (specialty: philosophy of mind/brain), and believes she is descendant of the one, the only, true human, viz., Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche— the only delusion she’ll ascribe. When she’s not screaming, “The robots are coming! The robots are coming!!” she’s probably yelling “GOD IS DEAD!” as she drives by you, or making some kind of movie to expose the follies of magical thinking. She can be found sitting on her couch, all over YouTube and somewhere on Facebook. Otherwise, she doesn’t exist. W. Joe Hoppe grew up the rust belt city of Jackson, Michigan but has lived in Austin, TX for the last twenty years with artist Polly Monear and their son Max. He has published one book-length collection of poetry, Galvanized ((www.daltonpublishing. com). Along with teaching English and Creative Writing at Austin Community College, he enjoys writing and wrenching on old Mopars. Hyena Hell is a printmaker, illustrator and comic book artist currently residing in the capitol of self destruction, geographically located in New Orleans. She is currently imprisoned as a paper mache artist in a giant sweat shop making Mardi Gras floats. In her spare time she enjoys chasing people out of bars with her obnoxious juke box selections, drunkenly wrecking her bike, and yelling belligerently at inanimate objects. She can be tracked down on facebook, where you might work out a deal to purchase some of her snake oil. Charlotte T. Jackson is a writer of literary non-fiction, poetry, opera libretti, and miscellaneous scribblings. Her work has appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer and the City of Strangers blog, and will soon appear in Sensitive Skin Magazine. She crafted the libretto for the contemporary opera The Rat Land, by composer Gordon Beeferman, which will be performed in L.A. in 2013; scenes from their upcoming burlesque opera revue, The Enchanted Organ, will be workshopped this winter in New York at Dixon Place. In addition to writing, Ms. Jackson works at the Brooklyn College

Library, and aspires to be an archivist or rare books librarian. She lives in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, with her husband and four cats. John Morton was born in Cleveland Ohio sometime. He started the nascent [proto][proto] punk band the electric eels in 1972. As a visual artist Morton has exhibited world wide including Havana Cuba and MOMA in NYC. His current band is the “Dunking Swine of Chelsea.” Chris Schipper is a godless heathen living in deeply conservative Jeeeeeezus land, in the geographically stunning Four Corners region of New Mexico, where some of the more visible residents are gun nuts who drive massive monster truck vehicles. Chris was born and raised in Eastern Iowa, and counts Cedar Rapids and Iowa City among his past homes. Chris moved to NM in 2006 with his partner of then nine years, and with Emma the cat. In 2009, he and partner traveled back to progressive Iowa to be married (Emma stayed in NM). The couple now also shares their home with kitties Buster, and Max. Chris is the director of the library at San Juan College – a position he’s officially held for more than a year. Chris enjoys hiking, photography, gardening, and frequent trips to also enjoy more urban amenities. Kelly Shriver lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her short fiction has appeared online in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Pindeldyboz, Juked, and 3:AM Magazine. She also co-edits Bound Off, a monthly literary audio magazine available for free at boundoff. com and iTunes. Read more of her stories at kellyshriver.com. The OBSOLETE! Team is:
Rich Dana: Editor, publisher, anarcho-syndicalist scout master Ericka Wildgirl Dana: Photographer, human spell-check and feral cat wrangler Blair Gauntt: Art Director, illustrator, resident Charlie Callas scholar Eric Houts: Contributing editor, punctuation czar, indispensable niggler

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Senile: /see-nahy-ul/ Having or showing the weaknesses or diseases of old age, esp. a loss of mental faculties. Nihilism: /nahy-uh-liz-uhm/ 1. total rejection of established laws and institutions. 2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity. Here’s how it went down.

OBmag no. 4

The Senihilism issue

Political unrest in the Middle East drove up fuel prices and the cost of living. A protracted war against a seemingly undefeatable indigenous guerilla force sucked the national coffers dry. A gutless democrat president was steamrolled by corporatist republicans and downturns in housing and manufacturing dragged the economy into recession and sent unemployment to record highs. And Ronald Reagan was elected President. It was in that atmosphere of post-Vietnam imperial decline that punk came of age. Nihilism was the message. The government and society had sold out the American people. Older hippies were well down the path toward yuppiedom, so punks chose to start their own alternative culture. Punk was based not on the collectivist optimism of the psychedelic generation, but more on a vision of a DIY culture rising from the ashes of mundane mainsteam middleAmerica. Punk bands booked their own tours, pressed their own records, designed their own flyers. Punk artists took to the streets or started their own galleries. Punk writers published their own ‘zines. A subculture grew and punks flourished, without the permission of the growing corporatocracy. Punk was the last best hope for a life outside the establishment system. In the 90’s, many punks, now in their 30’s, sadly but not unexpectedly took the opportunity to sneak back into the middle class from whence they came. The Clintonian neo-liberal techboom train was leaving the station, and “alternative” college rock enthusiasts rushed to get on board, following their hippie elders into the world of khaki pants and retirement accounts. The new breed of assembly line worker was being born. Not on the factory floor- oh no, President Clinton made sure that those jobs went overseas- but rather in the climate controlled cubicles of the former punk outposts like San Francisco, Seattle and Lower Manhattan. But this assembly line is better! You could listen to your favorite punk tunes (through headphones), wear your Chuck Taylor Allstars (to signify that you are “thinking outside of the box”) AND the cafeteria has organic and vegetarian options! Ex-punks had babies, and brought children into a future that just a few years before they thought would not exist. Back then, they were thrashing in a pit while the Circle Jerks sang “ I went to see a rabbi, but despite his advise, I want an operation I will not father life! Operation, operation, snip & tie, snip & tie!” Suddenly they are getting their musical cues from the bumper music on “All Things Considered” while they haul a van full of brats with food allergies to be coached by some stay-at-home dad, whose liberal arts college degree in humanities and ability to kick a soccer ball has drawn him the short straw while his formerly pink-haired, pierced-nosed wife (with an MBA) drinks single malt scotch in a hotel bar at a conference in Phoenix. Through it all, a few aging punks keep the faith. They missed the train, or fell off the train, or in many cases, the train ran them over. They were born without the business gene, or they just never gave a shit about money. Some would sell out if they could, but addiction, depression, psychosis or other mental or personality disorders don’t allow it. The DIY spirit keeps them alive. They do for themselves. They still know how to survive without the system promoting their own shit, selling their own shit, scraping by. Times are tough again, but they still know the ropes. Now, in the era of “austerity,” jobs are scarce and the establishment is once again selling out the American people. But this time there is no youth movement in sight. Surveillance society and digital culture has apparently stolen the punk babies souls. They need to be shown the way. They can’t learn it all from reading Maximum Rock and Roll, after all. It’s time for old punks to rediscover their roots. To re-activate. To take back the mantle of nihilism and rage like there is no tomorrow. What is there to lose? Jump off the train. Before it’s too late, before the anti-depressants, craft-brewed beer and vegan cupcakes take away the last of your will to fight. The punk generation needs to go “senihl”. So here’s how it’s going to go down... Political unrest in the Middle East drove up fuel prices and the cost of living. A protracted war against a seemingly undefeatable indigenous guerilla force sucked the national coffers dry. A gutless democrat president was steamrolled by corporatist republicans and downturns in housing and manufacturing dragged the economy into recession and sent unemployment to record highs. And ??? will be elected President. Time to dig out the Circle Jerks records.

minutes since we last saw him. We ordered beer and bourbon and got down to drinking seriously. Knievel was with his “manager,” whom we quickly nick-named “The Operator.” A tall, handsome black guy with an incredible line of patter, he was keeping an eye on Evel, who was getting increasingly pie-eyed with each successive round. “Don’t worry about a thing,” The Operator kept telling us. “Evel likes you guys. That’s all that matters.” “Evel likes us,” Wegman would intone, trancelike, while he sucked down increasingly bizarre combinations of liquor. “That is all that matters.” The Operator had worked with Mohammed Ali and had produced Mohammed’s dental hygiene masterpiece, the absolutely mesmerizing album Ali and His Gang vs. Tooth Decay. (Highlights include an evil Frank Sinatra peddling molar-munching ice cream to children; Ali discussing the benefits of fluoride with Richie Havens; and “The Fight Song,” which features Howard Cosell’s play-by-play of the big match between Ali and his arch enemy, Mr. Tooth Decay. “We’ve got the stuff to run him away from here,” says Ali, “just like I did George Foreman over in Zaire.”) The Operator had also worked with Ali on some ill-founded merchandise schemes, like Ali Champion Brand Shoe Polish. Knievel was in town for the opening of the Vegas Hard Rock Café, to whom he said he had sold his Sky Cycle, the piece of shit he had banged into the side of the Snake River Canyon, etching forever another chapter of Knievel Heroics. He had a check he kept waving around for some crazy amount, twenty thousand bucks or something, claiming that he sold the Sky Cycle for a million dollars and that this was only part of the payment. But for some reason he was having trouble cashing it. We kept on drinking. Since no one in Las Vegas ever wants to hear about an uncashed check, I was paying for the drinks. Later I’d send the bill to High Society. We were telling dirty jokes, flirting with the bartenders, talking shit, and getting very fucked up. “Evel,” I said, “We gotta get you in the magazine. We’ll build you a new Sky Cycle, you can jump over some girls.” “If you need anything in Vegas,” Evel told me, “Just call me. I’m at the Aladdin, room 1234. You can remember that. If I can remember that, you can. I like you guys.” We drank to that. Quite a few times. Eventually Knievel became so drunk he could no longer sign autographs for the fans that would occasionally get the nerve to approach him — he kept getting stuck on the big “E” in “Evel.” The bartender had to take his pen away. I promised I would call him. The next day, after a horrifying food frenzy at the Circus Circus buffet, we rented a car, floated it over to the Liberace Museum, and then to the Fred G. Sanford Junk Shop, where Redd Foxx was selling tons of his stuff to help pay off the IRS. It was kind of sad to see him in a storefront selling boxes of crap —I don’t want to get too far into the politics of the IRS and foul-mouthed black entertainers, but they really did fuck Foxx, swarming on his house like a S.W.A.T. team with a vengeance, in front of television news cameras, with Redd cordoned off and watching helplessly in his underwear. I guess that taught somebody a lesson. But he was very nice to us and we walked out with some of the junk that the IRS had passed on — a case of twenty-year-old cans of Redd Foxx hairspray, some absolutely hideous ceramic candleholders in the shape of ducks wearing top hats (From the Foxx living room? I could only imagine what the rest of it looked like), and some Redd Foxx: The Man, The Entertainer paperbacks which he signed for us. Then I called Knievel. Evel sounded paranoid when he answered the phone. “Who’s this?” he demanded. “The Boys from High Society.” “Who’s with you?” “It’s just us…” “Are you sure?” I didn’t quite know what to make of that. I looked around. I didn’t see anyone. I told him I was sure. “Call me when you get to the Aladdin. I’ll meet you at the bar downstairs.” When we got to the bar, we called, as instructed. Again: “Who are you with?” “It’s just us.” “Are you sure??” He told us to wait for him. The Knievel that appeared today was not the same man we were with at the Shark Club. He was wearing a blue Oxford shirt and half-moon glasses and looked like he had aged forty years since the night before. The Operator was with him. Knievel bellied up to the bar and ordered a Budweiser and a shot of bourbon. “What the fuck are you drinking?” he asked me. “Just beer. I’m driving.” “Fuck that. Drink bourbon. I saw you last night, Edison. You’re out of your fucking mind, like me. You’re crazy.” Me, crazy? This is the guy who tried to jump thirteen doublewheeled buses at Wembley and ended up bouncing about thirty feet in the air. This is the guy who thought he could fly a contraption called a “Sky Cycle” over a canyon. He had broken his neck

If you can define a “hero” by how much your parents hated him, Evel Knievel was the single greatest man who ever lived.
by Mike Edison (from his book I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World ) When we arrived at the Hacienda, my immediate reaction was to take a shower. The red vinyl booths were greasy, the chips dirty and worn. Even the air was slightly jaundiced. It felt forgotten, its cowboy motif hopelessly dated. It would meet a similar fate as the Sands: it was imploded in 1996 with 1,100 pounds of dynamite to make room for an eye-bummer called “Mandalay Bay.” Redd Foxx killed, finishing his set with the classic Ya Gotta Wash Yer Ass (“not your whole ass, just your ass hole”) routine. He was filthier than the Hacienda’s all-night coffee shop, and the crowd of low-rollers loved it. At the end of the show Redd thanked a few people in the audience, adding, “I wanna say hello to my friend Evel Knievel. Evel, stand up!” Evel did his best impersonation of someone standing up. After years of grinding his skeletal system into kindling, he was shaped more like a question mark than an exclamation point. But he got our attention, that’s for sure. If you can define a “hero” by how much your parents hated him, Evel Knievel was the single greatest man who ever lived. Fuck Neil Armstrong — Knievel jumped the fountain at Caesar’s Palace on a motorcycle! And the results were incredible. He rolled about a mile with half a ton of Harley Davidson stuck to his head. Everyone I know had attempted some sort of halfassed Knievel stunt when they were a kid. I personally broke my nose and spent a day in the dentist’s chair after going ass-over-tea-kettle trying to jump three Big Wheel tricycles on my Raleigh Chopper. We had to meet Knievel. We had to pay our respects to a True American Original. He was easy to spot in the crowd, dressed as he was in a perfectly Evel red, white, and blue spangled shirt, tight black jeans and lizard-skin cowboy boots. He reeked of daredevil. “Mr. Knievel,” I said, “We’re from High Society magazine. We wanted to say hello. We’re huge fans of yours.” Evel stopped. He looked deadly serious, but he still carried the captain-of-the-football-team good looks, cleft chin and blues eyes, like a shell-shocked version of Paul Newman. “High Society,” he drawled. “Great magazine. I love the girls. Meet me at the Shark Club. Tell the guy at the door you’re with me.” And he was off. Journalists such as we were, we found the Shark Club with little problem. It was a discotheque off the strip that catered mostly to locals. Out-of-towners were asked to pay admission, but when we declared that we were “with Evel” the velvet rope was dropped along with the cover. Knievel’s name commanded respect! (Thinking back, there may have also been a slight look of pity in the doorman’s eye, although I really couldn’t be sure at this late date.) I asked one of the bouncers if he had seen Evel. “Just look for the closest bar,” he hurrumphed. There were five or six bars circling the dance floor, and sure enough, Evel was at the one nearest the door. “What the fuck took you guys so long?” he demanded. It had been ten

more times than Mother Theresa had said the Holy Rosary. I ordered some whisky. We pitched Evel our idea for him to write a column for High Society, and he loved it. “Do you know,” he told us shrewdly, “Why women with big breasts are stupid? Because it takes so much blood to operate their tits that their brains can’t function properly.” Sure, that made sense. “Listen,” he told us, “I’m not a doctor, but I know plenty of them, so you can believe me.” “And you know what I hate? Actors. You know why? Because that’s all they can do... act. What I do is real. Fuck George Hamilton. What does he know about being me? All actors are bullshit. I hate fucking George Hamilton. Fuck him.” After just a few drinks he was visibly drunk. He was still waving his check around asking the bartender if he could cash it, and trying to pick up every cocktail waitress in the place. His basic technique was to holler “Hey, do you wanna sleep with me tonight?” The girls did not rally around for a Touch of Evel, and it quickly became obvious that he had been hanging around the hotel for a while now, working the same material, and everyone was getting a little tired of his routine. Pretty soon he insisted I drive them to the Mirage, presumably so he could wave the check around at a fresh audience. I had a few in me, but I was game. I very carefully aimed the rent-a-car down The Strip. Knievel rode shotgun. “It is better,” he proclaimed, paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt, “to do mighty things and win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure and defeat, than to live in that gray twilight of those poor spirits who enjoy neither victory or defeat, because they don’t have the balls to try either one.” I managed to get the car back safely to Circus Circus, and the next day we left for New York. When we called him a few days later to get cracking on his column, he was nowhere to be found, and the women who answered the phone numbers he gave us weren’t all that willing to help us, or him. In those days Wegman and I liked to cruise hotel bars for cute tourist chicks (with a zero-percent success rate), and one night we ran into The Operator, who had been nice enough after our Vegas jag to send us some of that Mohammed Ali Shoe Polish. Now our feet looked just like the Champ’s. “The Boys from High Society!” he grinned. He was happy to see us and invited us to join him for a few rounds. The entire time we were drinking he was rifling through his little black book and trying to find a date, getting up every few minutes to use the payphone. He must have called about twenty women. He was striking out miserably and getting increasingly desperate. Finally, he just took us to dinner. He had a car waiting and we went to this great soul food restaurant way uptown. The dining room was designed like a basketball court — all hard wood with foul lines and a basket at one end — and there was a small jazz combo playing. We ordered fried chicken, collard greens, candied yams, mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, and drank spiked lemonade in Ball jars. “Evel is very busy. But he likes you boys,” The Operator reminded us. “That’s all that matters,” added Wegman. The Operator was working on some sort of scheme with Evel for another Canyon jump, but this time Evel was going to get paid not to do it. People would call a national prayer line and try to convince Evel to call off the stunt and save his own life. Each call would cost a couple of bucks. Eventually Evel would see the light, and America would be spared the tragedy of another dead hero. It sounded like a good plan. I know I would have called. “He was never going to make it across the Canyon the first time,” The Operator confessed. “We knew he wouldn’t make it after the prototype failed. But he was supposed to land softly in the middle. The fucked up thing is that Evel can’t swim. He was terrified he was going to drown.” Finally The Operator connected with one of his girlfriends. He picked up the check and disappeared into the night, leaving us with our fortified lemonades, dreaming of Snake River, and knowing in our hearts that Evel liked us. Nothing else mattered.
post-beat, pre-apocalyptic ART, WRITING, MUSIC and WHAT-NOT

www.sensitiveskinmagazine.com

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Look for DIRTY! DIRTY! DIRTY! of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers - AN AMERICAN TALE OF SEX AND WONDER by Mike Edison Available October 2011

International Sensational Exposè

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APOCALYPSE NOW?
by Frederica Fray

Illustration by Hyena Hell

Chicken Little’s been really busy. Apocalypse squawkers have been at it for some time. From those I can find, starting with the first Christian one declared 30 CE, barely ten years after the alleged death of Jesus, there have been 100’s, 1000’s other failed predictions, and yet, still, more ‘hopes for heaven’ are in the works.1 While the Judaeo-Christian tradition, fueled by a few fuzzy passages in the Bible is what brought us “Apocalypse” or “Armageddon” proper, ‘end of world’ predictions can be found in every major world religion and “god” knows in probably every other nook and cranny of human history. It’s not religion, per se, that holds the rights to end of world predictions, but associated with all of them, even the Mayan scenario we’ve yet to look forward to December 21, 2012, is notion a supernatural and/or karmic force is at play and makes decisions about the moral worth human behavior. A universal ‘Santa’, so to speak, who knows if you’ve been “naughty or nice” and will adjust the world, your life, your mind, accordingly... on a certain day. If you’re reading this, you probably aren’t dead. Even the latest May 21st Harold Camping cult cry failed. But here’s the deal, and a prediction I’m assuming most can agree: you are going to die. In ‘an end of world’ sweep, conjured by wrath, a supernatural force with strong (and twisted) sense of “right” and “wrong”? Yeah, um, probably not. At least it would seem the odds are about as good as winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning, and becoming Pope-- all in the same day. So what’s with the Chicken Littles? The ‘Henny Penny’ fable, while origins unknown, is yet one more symptomatic expression in keeping with ‘termination tales’ humans have been crafting for eons. That these messages resonate, that they exist, they get press, capture the attention of the world, must tell us something... something about ourselves. The first thought with explanatory power one might have is: ‘People are fucking crazy, man’. Like, crazy as a hopped up Hopper spun out on too much death and too many trips in depths Degar. “One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions. You can’t travel in space, you can’t go out into space, you know, without, like, you know, uh, with fractions - what are you going to land on - one-quarter, three-eighths? What are you going to do when you go from here to Venus or something? That’s dialectic physics.” ~ Photo Journalist- Apocalypse Now. But why? Why are people crazy specifically in this ‘end of world’ kind of way? Given the consistent and ironic ‘staying power’ of doomsday scenarios, (how can they stay when everything’s supposed to go?), it might be suggested that people, perhaps since the beginning of people, propose ‘end of world’ scenarios because of an innate, albeit out of whack, instinct or predilection for gruesome and grandiose grovel. Just as studies suggest humans are capable of sustaining two emotions at once, say for example, while enjoying a horror film one can be ‘happy to be unhappy’, so may people ultimately get off on imagining their own demise?2 Otherwise, what would be the appeal of the chronic nature these absurdist annihilation anthems? What is it about ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘end of world” predictions that have such appeal? And how many people really want to purchase an immortality ticket? How many people actually, (like, for real), believe these predictions? Hard to say. I tried to find solid stats; most I could find were various polls that suggest about 22% of Americans are hopeful, (at least they were for the May 21st rapture), and a large number of people in the Netherlands visit a certain survivalist website associated with Camping’s followers and the preparation for 2012. (Dudes, drugs are legal in your country... light up! I mean, lighten up!). A 2010 Pew Research poll shows 41% of American’s believe Jesus is to ‘brother from another planet’ before 2050. Apocalypse-America? US peeps may dig demise the most? But with Camping’s ‘crazy’ come and gone, people can shift gears now and prepare the Mayan prediction; that one seems to be taken more seriously anyway, and is gaining prodigious popularity. Even in 2008, ABC news reports, “A simple Google search for “2012” and “the end of the world” brings up nearly 300,000 hits. And the video-sharing Web site YouTube hosts more than 65,000 clips informing and warning viewers about their fate in 2012”.3 You can imagine how these numbers have increased, (I got 1,020,000 results). With no scientific evidence to found these predictions, with fact even Mayan scholars think the 2012 prediction is mentalistic mayhem... people believe. How is this possible? How can that many people be thinking about or truly believe such scatter shot? Well, what about those who truly believe anything? ‘Certainty’ is an odd yet common psychological state to maintain. Odd because mathematically it’s impossible, common because, well, most everybody’s doing it. If only 2-12% of Americans, and also of world population, are skeptics and non-theists, (as per the average of BBC, Gallup, and Pew Research polls), then approximately 88% are absolutists... about something. The 88%’rs have access a state of mind the skeptical minority does not. But believing in a higher power isn’t like believing in an apocalypse (is it?), so again, what’s up? The evidence that belief in anything supernatural is based in genetics is piling. I predict, with all the non-apocalyptic prowess I can muster, the ‘end of faith’ will one day dawn the hominid despite genetic inclinations to the contrary. As neuroscience jabber becomes household jargon, the more ‘genetic speak’ trickles down the ceilings of MIT to the shelves of Wal-Mart, so the household ability to speak in

“brain” will increase. Just as even 10 years ago one could still find most people loathe to believe human expression from mood swings, to mental illness, to political persuasions, had no basis in nature, we’re almost to the point, (at least in scientific communities), where we can not only say, “there’s a gene for that!” but also soon probably also, “there’s an app for that!” (There is an ‘Apocalypse App’, by the way, a “free mobile app about the prediction and facts of some catastrophic events that may happen in 2012”). Mental illness is widely recognized as inheritable, as having a genetic foundation triggered one way or another by environmental factors, but only if the potentiality of the gene first exists. People now actually seem to find it comforting to link mental pathology to genes; it shifts the stigma in some way. One no longer has to feel ashamed for being bi-polar if they can say, “I got it from my dad”. But again, religious ideation and apocalyptic ideation are not the same. Or are they? In terms of numbers, no. That is, the number of people who attach to apocalyptic anthem is far less than those who suit up with sin, salvation, and higher powers. But in terms of content, how different are they? I’d like to posit, (while I still have time), there really is not much difference. Both posit a supernatural, both entail delusional reference pattern, (the mechanism whereby mistaken beliefs that innocent events relate especially to you), both can be associated with persecution and grandeur postures, (“God is going to punish us! Repent now and yee shall be saved!!... And by the way, my mind is so great as to KNOW this is the case. Hence, think like me, and yee shall be saved!”), and both associate humans’ “bad” behaviors as the cause of “bad” things, like seismic shifts, the current formation of the continents, flowers losing their petals, and the oceans. (Those examples were meant to highlight the absurdity, in case you wondered). So are we back to ‘people are fucking nuts’? Is this merely and only delusion? I mean, sure, there are more clinical ways to articulate the psychological condition I’m proposing propels one to latch onto lunacy. One could appeal to Freud’s death instinct, or more apropos, to DSM schizo, schizotipal, psychotic, narcissistic, and/or delusional criteria to diagnose and explain, but the common denominator in all those conditions is... “crazy”. And a lot of that crazy fits right into social constructs held on high. (Think “church”). Ah, c’mon, Frederica! It must be more complicated than that! The Mayans worked really hard at calculating time (tzolk’in, trecena cycles, blah and blah), and Harold Camping spent 35 years staring at those Bible passages!! Yes, people are working really hard to make sense of the world. We do this everyday. Japan’s recent crumble, more floods, government and corporate scandals, random deaths, “the gays”... wait, WHAT!?! Sorry; no good spiel on the apocalypse can pass without mentioning “the gays”, for at the heart of religious doom, homosexuality seems prime mover. And perhaps rightly so as for ‘the crazies’ their fear of homosexuality is likely product a Freudian style ‘reaction formation’-- the real prime mover behind that delusion. And, what of “the heterosexuals” by the way? What’s their contribution to world demise? Last I knew they were the majority and thereby statistically causing most trouble for the human species whenever “trouble” is to be found. (And I leave that word open for definition, but insert maybe ‘wife beating’ as just one example). What it all points to, in any case, is we’re pattern seekers, some of us more than others. OCD, autism, temporal lobe epilepsy, magnetic manipulation of brain regions, a whole host of brain conditions (normal and ab) provide us evidence that the seeking, the counting, the obsessing, the gloom-latching, the penchant for ‘magical explanations is innate. But, again, why? Why would these mechanisms get selected into the human brain especially when they’re so, um, “crazy’? (Not to say ‘crazy’ can’t also be cool...). Because we have to find our way home. No, literally. Evolutionarily, if conscious creatures with minds like Sapiens didn’t have propensity for pattern seeking, we’d be really lost. (Where did that street go? The one I took last time after I was on another street and on another street before that?) If the human brain didn’t naturally ‘causalize’ things, and look for ways to make sense in ways that allow us categories, familiar reference points, etc., then we’d really be looking at an apocalyptic scenario, but this one would just be a naturalistic train wreck wherein everybody smashes into everybody because nothing is retained as familiar and patterned. But why the doom? Order does not have to entail doom. For better explanations of the ‘doomy’, one might look closely at the doomer’s childhood and probably find a pattern of abuse. (Fred Phelps and crew are good fodder for that hypothesis).4 One could look closely at the brain and find a pattern of abohorent chemistry. Or one could look at natural events and humans’ inability to make sense of them scientifically, and find now a belief system which entails the perception of “bad” things needing to be offset with belief in “good”; supernatural both the ‘bad’ and ‘good’. And should we not, that is, not look for naturalistic explanations why these things happen and opt for magical explanations instead, we’re going to always, in our lifetime, think things are worse than they ever have been. “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy...”, so the chart topping country song goes. But they can’t all be true. An inconsistent set of premises. And if you can guess which one contradicts another, you might be able to hang in Kurtz’s cave for an apocalypse later.

“You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us.” ~ Kurtz, Apocalypse Now You might also gain the insight his photo journalist... “This is the way the fucking world ends! Look at this fucking shit we’re in, man! Not with a bang, but with a whimper. And with a whimper, I’m fucking splitting, Jack.” -- Photo Journalist, Apocalypse Now And though traumatized and tense he was, Martin Sheen’s “Willard” did see crazy, and he wasn’t really buying it. Through all the trauma he endured in Viet Nam, he remained committed to vigilance and a sense for data-based reality... knowing taking one’s eye off the prize, namely a better, healthier world, could compromise everything. “Are you crazy, Goddammit? Don’t you think it’s a little risky for some R&R?” ~ WIllard, Apocalypse Now Crazy? Hopefully everyone identifies a decent tinge in oneself. Risky? To let one’s guard down and let the real crazies step into power? “You betcha!” But in response to these doomsday drones, to chill out and not pray the day away in hopes you’ll be sent to hang with dead people still live, is that risky? Nah. Relax; pull up a chair, crack one open, watch the parade of lunacy go by. “The end”, “a rapture” is as likely OBL was watching porn all those years he was MIA. (Wait, what?! Really?!?) OK, so it’s as likely Jim Morrison sang “This is the end” sober, rather, “unintoxicated” as he was seemingly very sober about that whole thing, about life, about doom, about gloom. Not you, right? You’ve every reason to be happy and optimistic. We are destroying the earth, natural resources are being depleted, wars are being fought, more and more natural disasters will take place and destroy countless lives... and until the robots get here full on, full time, nothing will change, nothing ever has changed for humanity. We’re still trying to work it out. And we will ‘til the day we die, in which case the next generation will do as we have, namely, think they’re living the time span in which the world will end... and so on and such as until the sun melts it/us all away. Disaster is natural. Natural can be disastrous. The end is inevitable. A little bit of crazy goes a long way... a lot a bit of crazy just goes away. All those past, present and future ‘end of world’ days will come and go and the rest of us will only be the wiser, and still alive. And yet, tune in next year, or the next, and then the next for those who will always, and much to our amusement be... completely... fucking... crazy. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ridin’with Sweet Lady Propane
A few notes about propane powered vehicles
by W. Joe Hoppe
photos by P.S. Monear Here in Texas it’s pretty much a given that every family needs at least one pick-up truck. And everybody knows that old trucks are way cooler (and infinitely more affordable) than new ones. Even though there are lots of arguments for old cars and trucks being less damaging to the environment than newer vehicles, claims that re-use zeros out pollution over time, concern with the toxic chemicals, petrochemicals, and silicone in new cars, lead or other heavy metals in batteries, etc, there’s no denying that old trucks from the pre-catalytic converter days pump out a lot of hydrocarbons when you’re driving them around. So I’ve got to admit that driving around Austin in my ‘71 Dodge pick-up, even with its economical and bulletproof slant six engine (225 cubic inch displacement) made me feel like I was more of a problem than a solution in the fight against global warming. Fortunately, there’s a lot of information out there on the interweb about converting your vehicle to propane. And even more fortunate for me, one of the country’s premiere gurus, Franz Hoffmann (http://franzh.home.texas.net/) lives about 30 miles away in Bastrop, Texas. I also was able to access a lot of good advice through a website devoted specifically to slant six engines at www.slantsix.org. After some research, I decided to take the plunge and convert my truck whole hog, not to some system that would switch back and forth from gas to propane, but a deep commitment to Sweet Lady Propane, and only Sweet Lady Propane. One advantage that quickly becomes obvious is that you get to make a lot of “King of the Hill” jokes. Chemically, propane comes from the distillation process when crude oil gets converted to gasoline. It’s a by-product. All of those flares and flames at an oil refinery? That’s propane being burned off. So in an environmental sense, you’re making use of something that is being underutilized in general, and making more complete use of an existing product. This doesn’t get around all of the inherent evils of the petroleum industry, but it does lend to a deeper effectiveness, which can’t be too bad. Although it’s called propane what one really is buying is liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, which is a mixture of propane and butane (Hank Hill calls it a “bastard gas” for reasons we won’t get into here). LPG is readily available, although generally expensive, at U-Haul stores and RV centers. It’s much less expensive at places that sell propane (or more accurately LPG) for rural heating, etc. The last time I filled up the thirty gallon tank in the back of my truck, propane was three dollars a gallon. That’s about eighty cents less than a gallon of gas. When travelling in Texas, I use a book put out by the Propane Association that lists fuel sources in towns across the state. I’ve used it in trips to Houston and San Antonio, but should probably get an updated version. Odds are that most states have some equivalent directory. LPG is pumped into a tank under pressure in liquid form. It turns into a gas somewhere around 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, but pressure keeps it a liquid. Propane burns clean. The exhaust of my truck has fewer hydrocarbons than a brand new car. The conversion, if you are working with an older carbureted engine, is simple as well. Basically you’ll need four main components: 1. A propane tank – this needs to be sturdy and build for the specific purpose of storing liquid petroleum. It should include a blow-off valve and a gauge. I have a 30 gallon tank in the bed of my pick-up. Trucks are probably the easiest vehicles to convert because all you have to do is give up some bed space for the tank. Tanks are usually cylindrical, and can be found in auctions of state and municipal vehicles and their parts (many City of Austin vehicles run on propane) or in areas where there are lots of oil wells, as often oil riggers will have converted vehicles that make use of a cheap and plentiful gasoline by-product. The tank can cost a couple of hundred bucks, but often you can find them used for much less. 2. A vacuum shut-off valve—this is a safety device that uses engine vacuum when the engine is being started to release propane, which is under pressure, from the tank. 3. A vaporizer/regulator – this part has two functions, even though the propane is going to come out in vapor form unless you’re in a very cold place, it just makes sure by diverting hot water from the truck’s heater core in order to vaporize the propane. The regulator functions just like the regulator on a scuba tank, ensuring proper flow to the next piece you’ll need— 4. A mixer---what gets mixed is the propane and air. There’s a big diaphragm in the top of the mixer that helps with this process. Just like any air fuel mixture, somewhere between 16:1 and 18:1 is the ideal proportion between air and fuel. In my truck, the mixer is bolted to the throttle plates of an old Carter BBD carburetor to control the mix of fuel and air being sucked into the engine. Since the propane is under pressure, a fuel pump is not needed. Important note: because of less density than gas droplet/fuel mixture usually found in an engine’s combustion chamber, you must upgrade your engine’s ignition system as well. All told, parts for a conversion should run between $1,000-1,500.

ADVANTAGES OF PROPANE CONVERSION --Clean burning and extremely small hydrocarbon emissions --Since it’s already a gas, more equal fuel distribution to all cylinders --Since under pressure, not effected by gravity, hills, etc (rockclimbers make extensive use of propane) --Smoother idle, easy cold weather starting --High octane (approx. 108) so engine’s compression and efficiency easily raised --Unique and different --Hank Hill references galore DISADVANTAGES OF PROPANE CONVERSION --fewer BTU’s (British Thermal Units) than gasoline –poorer gas mileage by at least 33% --fueling stations can be difficult to find --really doesn’t save you any money --need to buy yearly propane tax sticker (in Texas, anyways) --hard to find knowledgeable mechanics—you’ll need to do most of your own work SO… It took me about a year to get all the bugs out, but I’ve been running w/ Sweet Lady Propane pretty much trouble free for two years now. If you can resign yourself to the poor gas mileage, and having to plan ahead to get a fill up, going propane is definitely recommended. I’ve got the satisfaction of driving an old vehicle but not pumping out hydrocarbons, and I’m driving something different that I’ve done all by myself. Places for more info: Raso Enterprises Alternative Fuels Discussion Board: http://fuelsforum.rasoenterprises.com/index.php?sid=fde616a2181c78c8e58931c40539055d Info on Impco Propane Delivery Systems: http://www.propane.tx.gov/commercial/7stepimpcosystem.pdf Franz Hoffmann’s Alternative Fuel Site: http://franzh.home.texas.net/

“What’s going to become of libraries?”
by Christopher Schipper
A bright young Canadian woman asked me this question recently, as we waited, sheltered from an afternoon downpour, for a streetcar to return us downtown from the New Orleans Museum of Art. The subtext to her question was unmistakable: the eventual demise of libraries, in her mind, was a foregone conclusion. Such questions, sad to say, are neither unique, nor surprising. Reasons for such assumptions are obvious: the rise of the internet has made libraries, in the minds of many, superfluous. Financial support for institutions of education and culture has been in sharp decline for years; a recessionary economy makes the future of libraries perilous. If the future of libraries is uncertain, the fate of the great city of New Orleans was even less certain not so long ago. I was in town recently for the American Library Association’s annual conference, as I had been five years before. Ten short months after the disastrous hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the devastating flooding of the city, ALA opted to go ahead with plans for the annual conference. Flood debris still littered much of the city, high water marks were clearly visible, and many storefronts were empty. The people of New Orleans were warm and gracious, but the city seemed a shell of her former self. With a diminished population – and tax base, the future of New Orleans seemed pretty shaky. When I read predictions of doom for libraries, I am now reminded of remarks I heard at the more recent ALA conference, most notably from the current mayor of New Orleans. I learned that, in the aftermath of the storm, governmental officials made a crucial realization: that libraries are an essential community component; in the days and weeks following Katrina, residents flocked to their libraries, to obtain information, and to communicate with loved ones. Conference attendees were delighted to hear that, with this in mind, New Orleans will have added twenty libraries by the end of 2011. In doing so, New Orleans has made an important investment in its future (this is no small accomplishment in the current ‘cut my taxes’ political environment). It was not until the main collection of the Cedar Rapids Public Library (where I worked for 13 years) went underwater that, through the tireless efforts of my former colleagues, the federal government (FEMA) finally declared libraries to be an essential service. It’s important at this point to also note that, while the CRPL print collection was destroyed, that library endures. Let’s consider for a moment what we mean by: library. These days, whether or not the word library represents a physical place is an open question for debate. Many of us have fond childhood memories of visiting the local library – often a Carnegie Library, themselves architectural monuments to Knowledge. Carnegie libraries were long the centerpiece of hundreds of small towns and cities; classically designed, and laden with books for community use and enrichment (libraries, incidentally, represent another American institution that is nearly extinct: the shared public space). Libraries, however, have never been only about books. Besides the Internet, technology has created what many regard as the greatest threat to the printed word and to libraries: the e-book. Indeed, I have many well-intentioned, passionate lovers and defenders of libraries, who regard the relationship between these formats as a competition – in other words, a zero sum game. Concerns that technology will replace beloved print editions are not without basis – a number of libraries have done exactly that, but for a number of reasons, I can’t see that happening everywhere any time soon. Time magazine recently published an article (“Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?”) that considers this question. Personally, I think a library without books would be a contradiction in terms, but this a possibility. Information is now available in more formats than ever before; people use different formats because of different needs. Libraries are about much more than just the books they house – they’ve always been about connecting people with the information that they want or need; officials in New Orleans understand this, and the future of libraries in that great city, for now, is bright. I’m the director of the campus library at San Juan College – a two-year school located in Farmington – in a remote and rural part of Northwest New Mexico. Farmington is often referred to as a border town, because of its proximity to the Navajo Nation. Our geographic location contributes to a very significant digital divide (the chasm between those who have access to the internet and those who do not), making any predictions for the obsolescence of print wildly premature. While we have e-books available for use, our print collection is still heavily used – in part because some of our users lack what many of us take for granted: home internet access, a personal computer, and in some cases – electricity. If not for the library, many library users would lack access to not only the internet, but information that is essential to their lives. In today’s political climate, perhaps the very egalitarian nature of libraries motivates some of the questions related to the value of libraries. While uncertainty about the viability and future of libraries (and despite the rise of the internet) persists, their continued use is not at all in question:
• • • • • • • • • •

As the last bullet point above indicates, financial support for libraries is sadly lacking. In New Mexico, we have a bond initiative to support libraries, but the measure requires voter approval every two years. This “book bond” came into being as a way for the voters to supplement the lack of legislative support for libraries throughout the state. In the run-up to the last bond approval, I was called a dirty Marxist for making the case that libraries in the state are under-funded, and desperately in need of the money that the bond represents! While libraries are hardly a socialist enterprise, the return on investment is impressive, if one considers the bullet point above (average checkouts: 7 books per year). At San Juan College, we serve a terrifically diverse demographic, with widely varied informational and technological needs and expectations. During my short time here (I began work here in 2006), I’ve noticed a shift from non-traditional students, to a younger demographic; students who have just completed high school, and have never known a time without Internet. With ready access to web-based information, and a lifetime of technology skills, what use do younger, tech-savvy students have for libraries? Can the internet serve as a viable substitute for libraries? If one considers the internet to be a library of sorts, one would also have to concede that it is a very poorly organized library, and one that grows by staggering degree every day; portions of the internet are available only at a cost (e.g. – research databases and other subscriptions). Libraries provide resources that assist students in this regard; access to subscription-based research databases is a common feature at US academic libraries, and professional staff (i.e. – reference librarians) that is skilled in assisting users with the navigation of the internet and other complex information media. Younger students are oftentimes not traditional readers, and some never have owned a book. Many of our youngest students seem not to recognize the value of print formats; they lack familiarity with standard research strategies such as the use of the subject indexes that are commonly found in the back of books. Any reading that these students do is more commonly from an electronic screen – a reality that today’s library ignores at its peril. Our library must also recognize and support the variety of learning styles that exist among our students. Kindles that utilize a text-to-speech function are invaluable for our developmental or dyslexic students. Our library has five Kindles available to borrow; we have recently purchased three Nooks for circulation as well. We have approximately 70,000 volumes in our print collection, but also about 25,000 e-book titles. My point is that we strive to meet the needs of all of our users, and do so using a successful integration of formats; we offer books, magazines, journals, electronic articles, e-books, Kindles, Nooks - successfully, and without incident. To do otherwise is truly to risk obsolescence, particularly among younger library users. Lacking an adequate array of useful resources, and a well trained staff, a traditional library is little more than a room full of books, in the eyes of our youngest (and future) users – and a dinosaur. Incidentally – we still spend more on print books than just about anything else. I don’t know what the future of libraries in the US holds. The liquidation of bookstore giant Borders is in the news today. A political solution to the nation’s budget and debt crises is proving elusive. Adequate funding for the nation’s libraries may assume diminished priority over time, but this would be penny wise, but pound foolish; voters are tragically unable or unwilling to recognize the connection between the taxes, and the services such as libraries that many take for granted. Libraries represent an invaluable repository of knowledge, culture and human achievement – and a means for most of our citizens to actualize their own potential. Libraries have always evolved; a decent library is a dynamic thing, but one that cannot afford to stagnate.

(http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/talkingpoints/ libraryuse.cfm)

Library use continues to climb. Sixty-eight percent of adults in the U.S. have public library cards, the greatest number since the ALA began collecting this data in 1990. Americans visit libraries more than 1.3 billion times and check out more than 2.1 billion items each year. Users turn to their libraries for free books, to borrow DVDs, to learn new computer skills, to conduct job searches and more. Americans go to school, public and academic libraries 50 percent more often than they go to the movies. A 2006 poll conducted by the American Library Association found that 92 percent of respondents expect libraries to be needed in the future, despite the increased availability of information on the Internet. Nationally, the average user takes out more than seven books a year . . . but users turn to their libraries for more than books: to borrow DVDs, to learn new computer skills, to conduct job searches, and to participate in the activities of local and community organizations. Nearly all Americans (96 percent) – even if they are not regular library visitors – agree that libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed. They support our public education and lifelong learning. There are now more public library buildings in the U.S. than there are McDonald’s – a total of 16,592, including branches. Library use continues to rise – public library visits exceed 1.3 billion, and libraries circulate more items than Fed Ex ships – more than 2.1 billion books, CDs, DVDs and more. Americans check out on average more than seven books a year. They spend about $31 for the public library – about the cost of one hardcover book. Americans spend about two-and-a-half times as much on salty snacks as they do on public libraries.

The Origin of the Drug Pyramid:
“And On the Eighth Day, God Tripped”
By Kelly Shriver
When the Drug Pyramid idea came to me back in 1992, the wheels in my mind that had been spinning in place for so long finally caught onto something and sped off. I proposed the Pyramid, as an improvement upon the Four Basic Drug Groups, to a coalition of substance representatives at the second Lollapalooza. We sat on the lawn of the big outdoor amphitheater, witnessing all that was wrong with the so-called counterculture. Packs of middle-class white kids were twirling and tripping with their dads’ money. Just yards away from us they tried to burn down the place, igniting bonfires on the lawn and ripping up the turf to make mud pits. “What are you for? What are you against?” I yelled through the smoke. My Pyramid, my creation, would be different. We would build something beautiful, not tear it all down. Most of the people around us were drunk, thus I predicted that alcohol would inhabit the biggest tier of the Drug Pyramid, the base. So many drugs come from fruits and vegetables; the rest was almost too obvious. This became apparent in the Great Woods men’s room, when a young guy in blond dreadlocks offered me some mushrooms while the Red Hot Chili Peppers were on stage playing “Taste the Pain” from Mother’s Milk. I announced that we’d create the official Drug Pyramid the next day. Some reps had missed Lollapalooza, like the cocaine guys who’d had to work, and I called them up to invite them to the summit. I told everyone we’d meet at a hotel off the Mass Pike, drove up the next day in my Gremlin, and checked into two adjoining suites. I registered as Bob Dobbs and the pinks at the front desk never got it. It was really too bad that the concept hadn’t come to us a month earlier, when we had gone to protest the same-old same-old at the Democratic National Convention in New York. But I’d been a few days or decades late for everything in my life. I was ten in ‘68, and by the time I was old enough to understand what I had missed, only drugs could tele-transport me back. The true hippies were gone and their yuppie replacements completely freaked me out. So I stayed underground, off the grid, as much as I could. After a brief tour of the SUNY system, I headed south to labor with my hands for a while. Working at a print shop in Dallas, I came across a brochure for the Church of the SubGenius; it would fill my spiritual void. I was ordained as a minister in 1982, and at the time I thought I had mounted the ultimate protest against normality (I’ve been trying to top it ever since). A decade later, as I stuck a couple of cans of beer into the tiny refrigerators at the Sturbridge Suites, I sensed my plan crystallizing, if crystals could take the shape of pyramids, or at least triangles. Everyone was invited to the caucus: marijuana of course, then alcohol and tobacco, the opiates, natural hallucinogens, and cocaine. I expected our ideas to converge in a natural and obvious order. A couple of pot lobbyists knocked first, just a couple of low-level dealers. I peered over the chain. “Where’s your boss? My usual guy?” One guy had baggy pants with his underwear sticking out of the top and gold-capped teeth. “The Chronic” boomed from his headphones. “When did my happy grass end up in songs about people shooting each other?” I asked. The other one told me not to worry, to mellow out, in a soothing Jamaican accent. His patchouli aroma calmed me, so I accepted a joint as a gesture of goodwill and let them in. About half an hour later, the cocaine contingent showed up. I was really trying to stay objective, but I’ve always thought of those guys as a bunch of pricks. They had arrived in t-shirts proclaiming: “Coke. The other white stuff.” That just pissed me off. Why give Coca-Cola free advertising? I fought for years to get that stuff out of the vending machines in the school where my kids go. And how dare they mimic the pork slogan: They had no respect for the vegans among us. But in the interest of all-inclusiveness, I kept mum. When the opioid reps arrived, I realized that I had taken for granted just how much great stuff comes from Mother Nature. I said a little group prayer, to get everyone grooving on the earth’s bounty. The heroin crew couldn’t go too long between product demos, so we gave them space to set up their equipment and displays. It was really important to maintain a friendly vibe, to keep the pizza and fresh needles coming. We definitely did not need to have the Colombians fighting with the guys from the Golden Triangle. The booze delegates came late and disheveled but really got the party started, as usual. They showed us a good time, made their points, and got better and better at convincing us as the night wore on. That’s how Big Booze secured the biggest tier on the Pyramid. Tobacco claimed the next largest. Nobody would ever begrudge the smokes that status, since smokers make up such a huge subset of drinkers. After some non-violent argument, we placed marijuana and cocaine, then heroin and its cohorts, in progressively smaller spots. At the very top we had the natural hallucinogens like shrooms and peyote. I had brought a dry erase board and an easel, and it was all mapped out by ten that night. We had arrived at the point of celebration, partying in perfect balance according to the Pyramid’s recommendations. Then there was a knock at the door. I shushed everyone as I checked the peephole. The front desk had already sent a lady named Pearl to check on us twice. In the hallway stood three skate rat teenagers holding a bunch of brown paper bags and sprayed-out cans of whipped cream. We tried to send them away, but they said they had hitchhiked there, didn’t even have their licenses yet. They were so noisy, we had to let them in before they blew our whole cover. I set them up on one of the beds, and they seemed content as long as their Nintendo cord could reach them. “Just watch your fumes,” I said. “Do you realize how many lighters there are in here?” That’s when everything started to veer off course. I hadn’t realized how the word would spread among the man-made shit. Up to then, I’d been thinking that our Drug Pyramid would focus on all-natural ingredients. It would be tough to fit in all of the plantbased mood enhancers, but we were up for the challenge. Manufactured drugs were not part of my plan. They arrived wearing t-shirts with their letters ironed on: MDMA/X, PCP, MPH, GHB, Special K, a really trippy alphabet soup. As you can imagine, I had to babysit the LSD rep for a few hours, she was so upset. Given our long history, she thought we’d be able to work her into a prime spot on the Pyramid graphic. She had her doctorate in chemistry, and the persuasive lecture she spouted was incomprehensible to me. It took a lot of positive talk to guide her mind to a happier place. Around that same time, Big Booze started to make no sense at all. One of them disappeared into the bathroom to puke, then passed out on the couch. Another one took off with some bird from the tea industry (I never did find out who let her in). I was juggling everything, trying not to let it overwhelm me. The key was to stay in control, to avoid making that bad decision that would bring down the house of cards. We were all taking the trip together, as we had so many times. I felt as if the success of the whole thing rested in my own head at that moment. Once the infighting began, I had some disentangling to do. LSD realized that I had accepted that free spliff, and I had to make a big show of giving it back. Everyone had brought free samples and wanted me to try some. Well, I’m a booze and pot man, always have been. I’ve dabbled in everything Mother Nature has to offer, but I always return to the basics (tobacco is a given). To offset my obvious bias, I started making secret promises to everyone: where they’d appear in the Pyramid, how their drug would be depicted graphically, the amount of supplementary wording. Finally, one good thing came out of the man-made guys. The head tweaker from the speed lobby offered to pay the whole bill for the room, including minibar. Nobody considered his offer a kickback or unfair sponsorship, to my relief. He bragged that he had been working four jobs, threw a roll of bills on the desk, readjusted his gigantic belt buckle, and joined his buddies in the corner who were taking apart the irons and one of the TVs. I picked up the cash for safekeeping, since the heroin guys had seen it land and they were the most paranoid about the unnatural drugs taking away their space in the Pyramid. Meanwhile, my marks on the white board were starting to look like gibberish. The political maneuvering and backstabbing continued, rising to a delusional level. Mescaline was arguing that it should get the next tier up from alcohol. They had sent their Road Chief and Earth Mother to claim special religious rights. That’s a nice vision, but completely unrealistic. I wanted to curl up on an empty bed and let it all resolve itself behind my eyelids. But first, I had caffeine up my ass. They showed up just past midnight, looking like the pinks that they are, with their Polo shirts and Jeep Cherokees with the AYSO bumper stickers. Nobody had invited them, but they weren’t leaving. It was like something out of The Art of War: they seized control when we were most vulnerable. You wouldn’t believe the power of the caffeine lobby. Obviously, we didn’t consider them worthy of inclusion. They found out and went apeshit. The caffeine pushers don’t have as much money as Big Booze, but each one has the energy of ten alcohol lobbyists. As everyone else faded away or freaked out, caffeine gained steam. They didn’t need to eat or sleep. Every time they came back after sneaking cigarettes in the parking lot they were even more jumpy. So I let go. I gave in. Someone must have slipped a mind-cleansing drug into my Pepsi. I had been leaning against the white wicker headboard, rubbing my stubbled cheeks with the gravity of an elder statesman. Now my face felt smooth, unlined. The cracks and yellow stains on the ceiling disappeared: The Drug Pyramid rose up, and it would include everything and everyone, all the drugs that were so dear to all of us, and all of the people who we loved so much who were using them. It spun and whirled in its three-dimensional glory, kicking the ass of any flat, triangular pyramid. And it didn’t need my help at all. It lived. I tried to announce my revelation, but it was hard to get everyone’s attention at that point. The ecstacy users in their jester hats came over to caress their approval, but the others had become so competitive – as if I had pitted them against each other. Or they had passed out. I vowed to dole out drug advice in strictly controlled small groups from that moment on. I found the booze and pot guys all together, scraping pizza cheese from some boxes someone had thrown into the bathtub. They looked so happy, I didn’t even tell them I was leaving. Gathering my stuff, I saw a caffeine rep wiping off the white board and re-drawing everything in crisp, black lines and letters. She wore creased khakis and a white button-down shirt with a coffee stain over her heart. “You’re not even a real drug,” the long-haired, flannel-clad heroin guys were wailing from their stained cot. The caffeine lobby had succeeded, as it always would. I threw my duffel onto the passenger’s seat of the Gremlin and headed west on 90, back toward home in Woodstock. I held onto the roll that the meth-head had put down for the rooms (the guy had owed me two months’ rent since ‘87). I’d let the rest of them figure out the bill in the morning. They must have had a good laugh about the Rev. Clarity abandoning yet another pet project, but that’s not the way I look at it. I had moved on to a higher plane. After about twenty miles, I admitted to myself that I was in no condition to drive. Stopping at an all-night diner to sober up, I realized that those little caffeine fuckers were right.

An excerpt from the Rev. Timothy Clarity’s memoir

Style is a product of it’s era. Through most of history, fashion has been a luxury of the well-to-do, and styles have reflected the morals and values of the wealthiest in a society. Working class “finery” has generally consisted of cheap knockoffs or homespun imitations of the styles of the wealthy. In the 20th and early 21st century however, the style has come up from the street, and no look has been more consistently revisited than the blue suit. I speak not of the definitive navy blue wool business suit, that timeless uniform of the bourgeois, but of the blue denim suit- jeans and denim jacket. The “denim sandwich” or “Canadian tuxedo” has been alternately loved and reviled by fashionistas and worn unapologetically by cowboys, bikers, iron workers, farmers, punks, metal heads and hillbillies for generations. Countless designers have tried (and universally failed miserably) to improve on it- acid washed, studded, cropped, tailored, distressed, dyed- yet nothing and no one has managed to change the basic rule- only the traditional cut and color will do, and only the wearer can make the blue suit cool. For those of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, the blue suit is something we have never been without. For much of our lives, the uniform of the day has been the same timeless combination. Sometimes it has been a statement, but in general, it’s just what you wear- a habit of sorts. Riding your Stingray at 12, delivering pizzas at 18, playing in a punk band at 20, hanging drywall (or going to your copy-editing job) at 30- it’s always been there.You’ve slept in it, then gone to work in it the next day. It kept your skin on when you laid down your bike. Who fucking cares if it’s “in”? Fashion websites run articles with titles like “How to rock a denim jacket” and “How to wear a jeans jacket without looking like a douchebag”. All of them state that rule #1 is to not wear a denim jacket with jeans. I say, rule #1 is, if you ARE a douchebag, you will LOOK like a douchebag, regardless of what you are wearing. For fans of various musical genres, though, the blue suit is nothing short of iconic. Lately it’s the favorite of rappers and country singers. It seems that the rappers generally know enough to stick with dark blue and opt for the high dollar Levi’s jacket. The country singers (and American idol rejects) almost universally fall for the 1980’s Jersey girl/Bon Jovi/Brighton Beach Russian housewife designer-faded shit. For metal heads and punks, it has always been the warm-weather alternative to leather- or the jacket you wore while saving up for a biker jacket. If you see a photo of one of the Ramones not wearing a biker jacket, they are probably in a denim jacket. The most important thing about choosing a blue suit nowadays is finding items made in the USA. Levi’s moved production overseas in the 90’s but they are currently advertising “Hand Made in the USA” jackets and jeans. However, the price tag is an astronomical 210 bucks for a jacket and 190 for a pair of 505s. Other US companies sell made in the USA jackets and jeans in the $50-$75 range- Carhartt, Pointer, All-American clothing and others. The history of denim is the history of America, and there is still nothing so quintessentially American as blue jeans. Many a pair of Levi’s has been bartered away by broke Americans traveling abroad. As America’s star rapidly falls and the value of the dollar drops, the blue suit is becoming once again as relevant for it’s utilitarianism as it’s style. The stream of “Oakies” that brought the denim “look” to California in the 30’s did so not as a fashion statement, but because it was the only suit of clothes that could hold up to their circumstances. It is not hard to imagine that in the new age of “austerity” that the blue suit may once again take it’s place as the “uniform of the day”.

Patsy, Window Cat

by Ericka Wildgirl Dana

DIRTY! DIRTY! DIRTY! of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers AN AMERICAN TALE OF SEX AND WONDER by Mike Edison Available October 2011- check mikeedison.com for updates!!

REVIEWS
Galvanized W. Joe Hoppe
W. Joe Hoppe is a long-time veteran of the Austin, Texas poetry scene, but his new collection of poems, Galvanized, takes us on an epic road trip all over the Heartland: from Sioux Falls in a ’66 Barracuda to the Cadillac Ranch, from Minneapolis’s Skid Row to the neonatal ICU at this book’s core. This muscular free verse feels 3-D, like tuck-and-roll upholstery under your thighs, with Hoppe’s all-American twang booming from the AM dial as he points out some offbeat roadside attraction. This poet’s a hands-on guy, so it’s just as likely that the muscle car in is up on blocks getting a good scraping. True to his beginnings in a tool-and-die shop in Jackson, Michigan, Hoppe is the bard of hex-nuts; a master of Zen and the Art of Mopar Maintenance, with a former janitor’s eagle eye. He’s also a full-time dad, a teacher, a cartoon fanatic, and an intellectual who wears his culture as naturally as a biker jacket. His unregenerately American idiom welds together Cezanne and Looney Toons, Goethe and hairy eyeballs, Texas swagger and Midwestern restraint. For every high-octane poem, like the Evil Knievel fantasy of “The Sky Has Fallen and the Night Has Broke,” there’s a diamond-cut still life: say, “Each Second Shining,” which details “stainless steel hex nuts/falling like raindrops/to a polished concrete floor.” Galvanized lives up to its name: it leaves its readers “aroused to awareness or action,” awakening them to the beauty and weirdness of everyday things. By some alchemy peculiar to poetry, it also seems to Galvanize the post-industrial landscape Hoppe inhabits, coating the iron and steel artifacts left behind for salvage with the rust-proof zinc of art.

Johnson’s ‘Me and the Devil’, blues and even folk, bookended by the spoken word contemplations of ‘Broken Home’. “I came from a broken home,” says Scott-Heron. Then: “I did not become someone different, that I did not want to be.” It’s impossible to separate the album from Scott-Heron’s death, and indeed the album plays like a long meditation on his fall, his addiction. But is most remarkable is how ScottHeron’s voice remained pure until the end.

First Four EPs OFF!
OFF! Is everything a middle-aged American punk could want in a disk. A veritable hardcore supergroup, OFF! features members of the Circle Jerks, Red Kross and Rocket from the Crypt. Even the name is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the era angry DIY thrash rock, bracketing the singer Keith Morris’ career which started in Blag Flag. Get it? Black Flag? OFF!? Perhaps not so clever, but it works. The goofy bug spray reference seems as spontaneous and unedited as the title (First 4 EPs) and the classic Raymond Pettibone cover art, but the music is as brutal and tight and energetic as any hardcore record from the golden age of California punk. Morris’ vocals are as powerful as they were in the heyday of the Circle Jerks, and Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steve Shane McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes) show no signs of slowing down with age, either. The songs are classic Morris anthems of alienation. Sadly (but perhaps not surprisingly) many of the complaints the Circle Jerks had with Reagan’s America of the 80’s are as relevant for a 50 year old today as they were for a 25 year old then. In “I Don’t Belong”, Morris screams: God and democracy Red carpet royalty I’m standing in the shadows And I’m pissing in the punchbowl From “Blast”: I slashed and burned through my 15 minutes of fame and now it’s time to extinguish the flame but that’s alright ‘cause I wouldn’t have it any other way This is a band paying like they have nothing to lose. Like so many in their generation, they are working stiffs whose brief brush with corporate cash left them high and dry, while scrubbed and coiffed Hot Topic wearing imitators signed for the big money. Bitter but unbroken, they lay claim to what is

Just Kids Patti Smith
As anyone who has read the voluminous reviews last year knows, ‘Just Kids’ is Patti Smiths account of her first years in New York with and Robert Mapplethorpe. They were indeed ‘just kids’, shipped in, respectively, from Deptford Township, New Jersey and outer Queens. They were in love. Mapplethorpe was at first the ideal boyfriend: sweet, attentive, with an unusual flair for housekeeping and a singular dedication to his art. When he started hustling, he wasn’t so ideal, but he and Patti remained devoted to each other just the same. Reading this book a few blocks from where they first lived in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, an area as thoroughly gentrified now as most of Manhattan, is an exercise in nostalgia. I recognize the squalid flats with the uncertain plumbing, the air of decay and neglect that were the lifeline of the young bohemian class of my day. Until the late 90’s, these places still existed in New York, and other great metropolises of the West. No more. What is remarkable in this journey of provincials into the big city, was how accessible everything was. If you could scope your way into a box-sized room in the Chelsea Hotel, you could fraternize with William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and even Salvador Dali. You could run into Jimi Hendrix in the downstairs bar/ café, be invited to see Janis Joplin record ‘Me and Bobby McGhee’. With a little work you could insinuate yourself into the back room of Max’s Kansas City and what was left of the Warhol scene. You could be part of the new movement of poets and musicians that would become punk. You could live in squalor and still be at the centre of it all. Mapplethorpe went on to make aesthetically beautiful, disturbing portraits and raised the ire of Jesse Helms with his S&M photo series. He frequented the S&M scene himself, and his later self-portraits reveal a harsh, wounded edge that are in stark contrast to the sweetness of the photographs of him and Patti. Smith hints at the darkness flickering around the edge of their existence, but throughout the book has a remarkably prim tone. Very few details about the Brooklyn neighborhood where they first lived (much of which was then semi-abandoned), even less about the darker goings-on around Max’s or the Chelsea (read Jim Carroll’s ‘Forced Entries’ for a fuller portrait of the downtown scene, including early cameos by ‘Jeanie Ann’ and ‘Roger’). Even Mapplethorpe remains a little out of focus – he is dedicated, talented, sweet, yet the desires and obsessions behind his later work is only hinted at. Smith writes as if to protect not just Mapplethorpe, but her memory of their time together. Yet, ultimately, this is part of what makes the book so enjoyable. What runs through Smith’s narrative is the intensity of their commitment to art, the voyage of discovery into a city that remained as giving as it was treacherous. Where do the young Smiths and Mapplethorpes go now?

I’m New Here Gil Scott Heron
Gil Scott Heron released his last album ‘I’m New Here’, just one year before he died at age 62. The album was produced by XL Records’ Richard Russell, who visited Scott-Heron in Riker’s Island where Scott-Heron was serving time for cocaine-related charges, and proposed this album. Be glad he did, ‘I’m New Here’ is mesmerizing, by turns scorching, sad, meditative and, frankly, heartbreaking. There is little of the humor of ‘Whitey On the Moon’ or the great ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, little of the buoyant energy that animated his great songs about addiction ‘The Bottle’ and ‘Angel Dust’. This is the album of a man who, according to a New Yorker article that came out last year, sat on his burn-covered couch smoking crack while he was being interviewed, who seemed to care little for anyone or anything beyond crack. Yet he must have cared, to show the passion he does on his album. Here, the highly political satirist and observer of the 60’s and 70’s turns inward. Poetic meditations laid over minimalist electro and bass alternate with a soulful version of Bobby Bland’s ‘I’ll Take Care of You’, a wrenching version of Robert

Bicyle freak show at the New Bohemia Art and Music Festival! Live music! Rides! Awards! Door prizes including a 1960 Corvette! Presentation of the "SOFUNKY IT'S FINE" traveling trophy! newbofest.com

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