Saturday, July 10, 2010


A goodly portion of yesterday’s post was devoted to the strangeness of mushrooms, and while I was preparing it, I stumbled across this item. Admittedly it is a couple of years old, but I hadn’t heard it before and I was very taken with how our fungoid siblings can seemingly survive just about anything and even turn it to their advantage.

“Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AEC) have found evidence that certain fungi possess another talent beyond their ability to decompose matter: the capacity to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth. Detailing the research in Public Library of Science ONE, AEC's Arturo Casadevall said his interest was piqued five years ago when he read about how a robot sent into the still-highly-radioactive Chernobyl reactor had returned with samples of black, melanin-rich fungi that were growing on the ruined reactor's walls. "I found that very interesting and began discussing with colleagues whether these fungi might be using the radiation emissions as an energy source," explained Casadevall.” Click here for more.

Click here for the Last Poets and Pharoah Sanders (without even a tenuous connection to fungi)

The secret word is Roentgen


At least since I read Edgar Rice Burroughs tales of Pellucidar at maybe the age of nine, I have been exceedingly fond of the Hollow Earth. Cool if wholly implausible. Underland, my fourth Victor Renquist novel, upset a few people when I combined the HE with vampires, lizard people, and Nazi flying saucers. The problem with which I now wrestle is that Renquist V seems to taking a direction that’s is even more multi-outlandish. But more about that in a few days. (Image lifted from Adam Gorightly.)

Click here for The Lizard King


Caprella Frozdick (left) threw quite unconventional parties. She called this her "masked ball."

Click here for Moby Grape


But remember – on Doc40, cute is severely rationed.

Friday, July 09, 2010


Terence McKenna once wrote about the psilocybin mushroom…

"I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life." (Click here for the whole thing)

Be that as it may, our pals at Delancey Place emailed us this gem yesterday. It’s longer than the usual Doc40 post but it has no web link and I found it fascinating. The mushroom is certainly more oddly alien than any ET we humble fantasists have created…

"We don't know the most basic things about mushrooms. Part of the problem is simply that fungi are very difficult to observe. What we call a mushroom is only the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger and essentially invisible organism that lives most of its life underground. The mushroom is the 'fruiting body' of a subterranean network of microscopic hyphae, improbably long rootlike cells that thread themselves through the soil like neurons. Bunched like cables, the hyphae form webs of (still microscopic) mycelium. Mycologists can't dig up a mushroom like a plant to study its structure because its mycelium is too tiny and delicate to tease from the soil without disintegrating. ... To see the whole organism of which [the mushroom] is merely a component may simply be impossible. Fungi also lack the comprehensible syntax of plants, the orderly and visible chronology of seed and vegetative growth, flower, fruit, and seed again. The fungi surely have a syntax of their own, but we don't know all its rules, especially the ones that govern the creation of a mushroom, which can take three years or thirty, depending. On what? We don't really know. ...
"Fungi, lacking chlorophyll, differ from plants in that they can't manufacture food energy from the sun. Like animals, they feed on organic matter made by plants, or by plant eaters. Most of the fungi we eat obtain their energy by one of two means: saprophytically, by decomposing dead vegetable matter, and mycorrhizally [like chanterelles and morels], by associating with the roots of living plants. Among the saprophytes, many of which can be cultivated by inoculating a suitable mass of dead organic matter (logs, manure, grain) with their spores, are the common white button mushrooms, shiitakes, cremini, Portobellos, and oyster mushrooms. Most of the choicest wild mushrooms are impossible to cultivate, or nearly so, since they need living and often very old trees in order to grow, and can take several decades to fruit. The mycelium can grow more or less indefinitely, in some cases for centuries, without necessarily fruiting. A single fungus recently found in Michigan covers an area of forty acres underground and is thought to be a few centuries old. So inoculating old oaks or pines is no guarantee of harvesting future mushrooms, at least not on a human time scale. Presumably, these fungi live and die on an arboreal time scale.
"Mycorrhizal fungi have coevolved with trees, with whom they've worked out a mutually beneficial relationship in which they trade the products of their very different metabolisms. If the special genius of plants is photosynthesis, the ability of chlorophyll to transform sunlight and water and soil minerals into carbohydrates, the special genius of fungi is the ability to break down organic molecules and minerals into simple molecules and atoms through the action of their powerful enzymes. The hyphae surround or penetrate the plant's roots, providing them with a steady diet of elements in exchange for a drop of simple sugars that the plant synthesizes in its leaves. The network of hyphae vastly extends the effective reach and surface area of a plant's root system, and while trees can survive without their fungal associates, they seldom thrive. It is thought that the fungi may also protect their plant hosts from bacterial and fungal diseases.
"The talent of fungi for decomposing and recycling organic matter is what makes them indispensable, not only to trees but to all life on earth." From The Omnivore's Dilemma – Michael Pollan (Penguin)

Click here for Syd

The secret word is Portobello


Just because the mushrooms are already here doesn’t mean other lifeforms aren’t showing up in metal ships. (We hope.)

Click here for Earth v The Flying Saucers

Click here for The Byrds


“The U.S. military’s new Cyber Command is headquartered at Ft. Meade, Maryland, one of the military’s most secretive and secure facilities. Its mission is largely opaque, even inside the armed forces. But the there’s another mystery surrounding the emerging unit. It’s embedded in the Cyber Command logo. On the logo’s inner gold ring is a code: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a

The folks at Wired have been having mega fun with all this and may have cracked the code. Also the comments are hilarious. Click here.

Click here for the Fugs


Just when you think the vicious can’t possibly go any deeper into the realm of toxic disinformation and the fools can’t become any more gullible, they just prove that it’s a domain without boundaries or limits. Click here for the latest extreme nonsense.

Click here for Ian Dury

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Yeah, I know it’s the title of Donovan’s first album, (back in 1965 when he was trying to be Britain’s Bob) but it seemed appropriate as an increased volume of information seems to be leaking out (definitely not a pun) that the BP oil gusher is far more of a widening and frightening mass health hazard -- to both humans and wildlife -- than either the company or the government will admit.

"PENSACOLA BEACH, Florida -- When Ryan Heffernan, a volunteer with Emerald Coastkeeper, noticed a bag of oily debris floating off in Santa Rosa Sound, she ran up to BP's HazMat-trained workers to ask if they would retrieve it. "No, ma'am," one replied politely. "We can't go in the ocean. It's contaminated." Ryan waded in and retrieved the bag. That was Wednesday, June 23, the first day visible oil hit Pensacola Beach. Ryan had been swimming off the beach the day before, as she said, "to get in my last swim before the oil hit." The trouble is that not all of the oil coming ashore is visible. Dispersed oil - tiny bubbles of oil encased in chemical dispersants - are in the water column. On Thursday Ryan was treated at a local doctor's office for skin rash on her legs. Three days later on Pensacola Beach, I watched BP's HazMat-trained workers shovel surface oiled sand and oily debris into bags early in the morning. The workers followed the waterline like shorebirds, scurrying up the beach in front of breaking waves and moving back down with receding waters. The late morning sun retired the workers to the shade of their tents and the job of "observing," while it brought out throngs of beach-goers -- children, parents, grandparents -- who happily plunged into the "contaminated" ocean without a second thought. I was astounded. Why did people think the ocean was safe for swimming?” (Click here for more)

Click here for Future

The secret word is Mess


I have no problem with body art and decoration. If anyone wants to walk round looking like a fully-inked yakuza or with metal through their ears, nose, lips, tongue, navel, labia, scrotum, or whatever that’s wholly their own business. The current cult of contact lenses that give the wearer eyes like a Keane painting seems a tad weird, but that again isn’t my concern. I respect weird. What I don’t respect is optometrists muttering dire warnings. I have to wonder if they really fear for the sight of those who are into the fashionable effect, or are merely wanting to get their beaks wet from a fad that took them by surprise.

“Lady Gaga’s wider-than-life eyes were most likely generated by a computer, but teenagers and young women nationwide have been copying them with special contact lenses imported from Asia. Known as circle lenses, these are colored contacts — sometimes in weird shades like violet and pink — that make the eyes appear larger because they cover not just the iris, as normal lenses do, but also part of the whites. These lenses might be just another beauty fad if not for the facts that they are contraband and that eye doctors express grave concern over them. It is illegal in the United States to sell any contact lenses — corrective or cosmetic — without a prescription, and no major maker of contact lenses in the United States currently sells circle lenses. Yet the lenses are widely available online, typically for $20 to $30 a pair, both in prescription strengths and purely decorative. On message boards and in YouTube videos, young women and teenage girls have been spreading the word about where to buy them. Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the F.D.A., was a bit surprised, too. When first contacted last month, she did not know what circle lenses were or the extent to which they had caught on. Soon after, she wrote in an e-mail message, “Consumers risk significant eye injuries — even blindness” when they buy contact lenses without a valid prescription or help from an eye professional.” (Click here for the rest)

Click here for Kim Carnes (well, what did you expect?)


I’m using a provided form letter, but it’s seems like something worth doing.

"I just signed a letter thanking President Obama for taking action against Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. I've also asked him to take the next step and terminate the 287g program, a failed experiment that lets local police and sheriffs enforce federal immigration law and deport workers, students and tax-payers at unprecedented rates of 1,000 per day. Join me in thanking President Obama for the law suit against Arizona's SB 1070, and asking him to take it further by terminating the 287g program. This policy drives a wedge between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, diverts funds from the crime fighting police should be doing, and further divides our country. Even worse, 287g sets a precedent that is now being picked by states like Arizona, which are using the existence of 287g to justify the passage of damaging laws like SB 1070."

Click here to add your voice.

Click here for Woody


And since we mentioned him earlier, click here for Donovan (with Jeff Beck)


Click here for Ernest Tubb

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


The roster of movies on TV over the July 4th weekend was so cheap and dire that, despite hundreds of bloody channels, some wee hour of – I think – Sunday night found me starring at Rambo III, and grimly noting between explosions how much the world has changed since 1988. Back then, cinema audiences applauded as the tortured but invincible John Rambo aided valiant Afghan rebels – presumably the mujahedeen, although not actually named – fighting the cruel and godless communists. In the modern world where the US and its allies have been blundering around Afghanistan in bad body armor for almost a decade, with grunts dying and generals being fired, the irony of time’s passage was all too evident, even in the cheesy dialogue.

Mousa: This is Afghanistan... Alexander the Great try to conquer this country... then Genghis Khan, then the British. Now Russia. But Afghan people fight hard, they never be defeated. Ancient enemy make prayer about these people... you wish to hear?
Rambo: Um-hum.
Mousa: Very good. It says, 'May God deliver us from the venom of the Cobra, teeth of the tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan.' Understand what this means?
Rambo: That you guys don't take any shit?
Mousa: Yes... something like this.

And yet his pop-illiterate summation of the situation at the top of the world, where the landscape and mindset resemble Mars and the 12th century respectively, is as close to the truth as anything that has come out of either the Bush or Obama White House. The US will doubtless join roster of the Macedonians, the Mongols and the Brits as strangers who misadventured in this strange but historically formidable land. And yet the poor bloody Afghans are sitting on a mineral bonanza (and also the capability for producing some of the best hashish and opium known to man) which if properly exploited might coax them at least a little way in the direction of the 21st century. Mousa, however, has an answer for that.

Mousa: God must love crazy people.
Rambo: Why?
Mousa: He make so many of them!

But shall we leave the last word to Stallone?

Colonel Trautman: I'm sorry I got you into this Johnny.
Rambo: No you're not.

Click here for The Who

The secret word is Hapless


Our good pal Alan who runs Motorheadbangers alerted me to the fact that this odd tome was being offered for sale on Amazon. Clicking the link told me nothing more than I could learn from the cover, so, as of this moment, you know as much as I do. Needless to say, my anarchist narcissism, and the fact that it was only fourteen bucks, compelled me to order a copy, and I’ll report back when it arrives. Right now I would definitely not recommend rushing to Amazon to order a copy. If you really want to go book shopping online go for a copy of my own Speed-Speed-Speedfreak. It’s also cheaper.

Click here for obvious Pistols


I like a lot of stuff they do in the city of San Francisco, but this is beyond the boundary of even collectivist anarchist good taste. I’m not fat and I drink a fuck of a lot of Coke. Always have. I freely admit it. Click here to consult the Doc40 archive on the matter. I definitely don’t want some municipal comrade-bureaucrat telling me what’s good for me. Enough of that shit. That’s how they took my cigarettes. (And don’t even mention the drugs.) If they want to ban something how about leaf-blowers? Hell, I want vending machines that sell beer, like they have in Tokyo.

“Coca-Cola is out, and soy milk is now part of San Francisco's official city policy. Under an executive order from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange are no longer allowed in vending machines on city property, although their diet counterparts are - up to a point. Newsom's directive, issued in April but whose practical impacts are starting to be felt now, bars calorically sweetened beverages from vending machines on city property. That includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered, the directive says. There should be "ample choices" of water, "soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non dairy milk," says the directive, which also covers fat and sugar content in vending machine snacks.” (Click here for more.)

Click here for The Andrews Sisters


All you born-again out there, just print out the picture full page, then get out your crayons, and color it in really nicely without going over the edges. It’ll keep you busy for a while and, while you’re busy, you won’t be annoying the rest of us.

Click here for Lyle


Click here for a whole lotta Jerry Lee and Dave Edmunds

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


This bizarre story from the BBC was supplied by our good buddy UK Steve. And if the World Cup fashioned out of blow wasn’t weird enough, tales of cocaine smuggling submarines being found in the jungles of Central America have circulated since at least the 1990s. (Click here)

“A replica World Cup trophy seized by anti-drugs police in Colombia is made out of cocaine, lab tests have confirmed. The 36cm (14in) statue was found in a delivery crate at Bogota airport. The crate was in an airmail warehouse waiting to be sent to an address in Spain, airport anti-drug chief Jose Piedrahita said. In another development, a submarine built by drug-traffickers was found in Ecuador before its maiden voyage. The World Cup replica was made up of 11kg (24 lb) of the drug, mixed with acetone or gasoline to make it mouldable. The gold-painted statue was found on a routine sweep of the airport on Friday, authorities said. The Ecuadorian submarine, capable of carrying tonnes of cocaine, was discovered in a river near the border with Colombia, the US Drug Enforcement Agency said. The camouflaged 31m- (100 ft-) long vessel has a conning tower, periscope and air-conditioning system. One man was arrested.”

Click here for Chuck Berry

The secret word is Devious


Okay, so we don’t pretend that this was sent personally to Doc40, and we’re well aware it’s just an electronic response to pushing the button on a virtual petition, but we never received any letters from George Bush.

Dear Friend:
Thank you for writing to me about the BP oil spill. I will stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are made whole, and I appreciate your perspective as we continue to do everything we can to address this crisis. The Gulf is one of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems on the planet. For centuries, its residents have enjoyed and made a living off the fish that swim in its waters and the wildlife that inhabit its shores. The Gulf is also the heartbeat of the region's economic life, and this oil spill has upended whole communities. My Administration will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold BP and other companies accountable for damages, to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region, and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities. For information about response efforts, available assistance, or how to help, please visit: Individuals affected by the BP oil spill can also find resources by calling the United States Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118, and small businesses can find support by calling 1-800-659-2955.Thank you again for contacting me. I encourage you to visit to learn more about my Administration or to contact me in the future.
Barack Obama

Click here if you’re waiting for the miracle


Owe a couple of hundred bucks on some lousy credit card, and you find yourself in the join because of it? Impossible? Seemingly not. While BP hire uniformed cops to keep civilians from seeing the worst of the oil disaster, corporate collection agencies are now using law enforcement to both persecute and prosecute folks in debt. (Which, these days, may be most of us.) The pretext is usually a failure to show up at a court hearing. 

"The law enforcement system has unwittingly become a tool of the debt collectors," said Michael Kinkley, an attorney in Spokane, Wash., who has represented arrested debtors. "The debt collectors are abusing the system and intimidating people, and law enforcement is going along with it." How often are debtors arrested across the country? No one can say. No national statistics are kept, and the practice is largely unnoticed outside legal circles. "My suspicion is the debt collection industry does not want the world to know these arrests are happening, because the practice would be widely condemned," said Robert Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center in Boston. Debt collectors defend the practice, saying phone calls, letters and legal actions aren't always enough to get people to pay.” (Click here for long article)

Click here for rather obvious (and colorized) Elvis


Johnny and Juno Frozdick claimed to have superpowers.


Click here for Spacemonkey

Monday, July 05, 2010


“The nation has a day off and Doc40 is resting up, but we wouldn’t just leave you hanging without some icons for company.”

Click here for Tom doing Hank
Click here for Hank doing Hank
Click here for favorite John Coltrane
Click here for Jerry Lee Lewis


Click here



Click here for Elvis

Sunday, July 04, 2010


As a descendant of those bloody Brits your ancestors fought for your freedom and tossed out on their imperial asses, I can’t get too excited about July 4th, and, of course – being used to our Guy Fawkes night in the dark of November – I have to wonder about a firework-heavy holiday in the middle of the summer when it doesn’t get dark until eight or later, but with a bit of luck, and because I basically support any revolution on general principle, I’ll eat my share of whatever barbeque is offered without feeling like too much of a hypocrite. In the meantime let me quote the late great Howard Zinn…

“On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power. National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves." (Click here for more)”

Click here for Ginsberg and Waits

The secret word is Liberty


…in which people took pictures of people taking pictures of Elvis, and cars had fins.

Click here for Chuck


It’s roasted chestbuster! (Click here for an explanation)

Click here for Ian Dury