Friday, August 27, 2010


This article originally ran in the April 30, 1974 issue of the Boston Phoenix. Seems that back in the day, old super-conserative Bill was attempting some kind of lame gonzo. I mean “a grumous haze?” What the hell is "grumous?" Think there’s going to be stuff on Glenn Beck delivered to haunt that gibbering, self-appointed messiah?

“The predominately student crowd which packed every square foot of a Boston University auditorium was growing restless. A grumous haze, caused by the blending of cigarettes and marijuana smoke, hung over the room which was becoming increasingly more claustrophobic with every passing second. Gerard Damiano and the second of his porno-flic films, The Devil In Miss Jones, were already twenty minutes late when a roar went up from the throng. The Samuel Goldwyn of hard-core pornography had arrived. Dressed in a fire-engine red sports coat, checked slacks and platform shoes, Damiano is exactly what you would expect a pornographer to look like. His hair is a neatly coiffed graying pompadour and his lecherous smile seems to be saying: "Candy, little girl?" Accompanying him was his wife, a platinum blond in sunglasses. The image was perfect. Damiano seized the microphone and, as the house quieted uttered his first words: "I'm very gratified by your friendly reaction and I promise I won't say a single thing about baked beans." "Is he for real?" a girl up front asked.” (Click here for more)

The secret word is Skeleton


Here on Doc40, we just love dark matter, so how could we not run with this? NASA sez...

“For the first time, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope were able to take advantage of a giant magnifying lens in space - a massive cluster of galaxies - to narrow in on the nature of dark energy. Their calculations, when combined with data from other methods, significantly increase the accuracy of dark energy measurements. This may eventually lead to an explanation of what the elusive phenomenon really is. ...
Scientists aren't clear about what dark energy is, but they do know that it makes up a large chunk of our universe, about 72 percent. Another chunk, about 24 percent, is thought to be dark matter, also mysterious in nature but easier to study than dark energy because of its gravitational influence on matter that we can see. The rest of the universe, a mere 4 percent, is the stuff that makes up people, planets, stars, and everything made up of atoms. In their new study, the science team used images from Hubble to examine a massive cluster of galaxies, named Abell 1689, which acts as a magnifying, or gravitational, lens. The gravity of the cluster causes galaxies behind it to be imaged multiple times into distorted shapes, sort of like a fun-house mirror reflection that warps your face. Using these distorted images, the scientists were able to figure out how light from the more distant, background galaxies had been bent by the cluster - a characteristic that depends on the nature of dark energy. Their method also depends on precise ground-based measurements of the distance and speed at which the background galaxies are traveling away from us. The team used these data to quantify the strength of the dark energy that is causing our universe to accelerate.”

Click here for the Grateful Dead


Actually it isn’t. It’s called the Datamancer. And damn do I want one. And, for those who are interested, the new novel – Renquist V – is coming on very nicely. But more about that in a few days. (Click here for more on the Datamancer and other steampunk customizing.)


TRUTH WILL OUT (Even If A Little Blurred)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


But it won’t have the logo on the side. This cautionary tale was supplied by our good-buddy Faux Smoke.

“Once you combine all-seeing satellite imagery with sophisticated computerized number-crunching, you end up with massive potential for abuse -- especially by government agencies. One might imagine a dystopian future where automated systems constantly scan every house in the country for all kinds of violations, from heat escaping the house to backyard barbecues to the counting of people coming and going from every house. It's the ol' slippery slope argument, but it must be taken seriously. If it's OK for a town government to peek into every backyard in Riverhead to find a handful of pool-permit violators, why would it not be acceptable for other agencies to look at all homes and businesses in the nation for a much wider variety of potential violations. And if it's OK to do that using satellite imagery, what about using other technologies? A company called American Science and Engineering sells a high-end, tricked out security vehicle called the Z Backscatter V.” (Click here for much more)

Click here for Jim

The secret word is Ugly


Click here for The Deviants

CLICK – (It’s everywhere)


Last week I was complaining about Buddy Holly being used in TV commercials. I lifted this story from our pal Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds to indicate how willingly some rockers will drag themselves into the corporate mindset.

“Tattoo You? More like “fuck you” if your names happen to be Ronnie, Charlie and Bill! Business Insider asked former Windows head, Brad Silverberg how he and his team got the Rolling Stones song “Start Me Up” for use in the company’s marketing campaign for Windows 95. What transpired makes for a rather amusing tale: “The Stones are a Corporation, with Mick as CEO, Keith as COO. Their business happens to be music. Those two make decisions. The other band members are essentially employees. The Stones had not licensed their music for TV commercials. Mick was reluctant to license the song to us because of “artistic purity.” But Keith apparently has a higher burn rate than Mick, or not as good as an investor. He told Mick he could use the money and ultimately convinced Mick to do the deal. At the same time, the Stones were at a low point in their career and looking to become relevant again, and Win 95 looked like it could be a big hit and give them a helpful association and visibility. The final version of the song was delivered for the commercial. We noticed though that it was not the studio version, but rather a more recently recorded live version. We pushed back and got the familiar studio version. The reason we got the other version was some of the band members in the newer version were more recent, and Mick/Keith got much higher royalties for themselves from that version than the studio one. Nice try. But it was tense till the very end.” (Click here for more)

DON'T YOU MISS THE 20TH CENTURY? (Did Someone Mention The Word Drag?)

Click here for the video



Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Over the last few days, there have been moments when I felt like I should reengage with the troubles of the world and especially the new wave of nascent fascism that is sweeping the US like a cyclical summer scourge, but I will not let the guilt of responsibility push me beyond reasonable limits. I will ride out the heatwave by concentrating on the foolish and conspiratorial – like this Cold War acid story supplied by the revered UK Steve. In his accompanying email Steve noted “Did the CIA test acid on a French town? The answer is probably "no", but it's quite intriguing anyway.” I tend to agree with him. While working on my books CIA: Secrets of the Company and Who’s Watching You I cover much of the same ground as Hank Albarelli and the guy does seem to have a taste for super-sensational conclusions.

“Nearly 60 years ago, a French town was hit by a sudden outbreak of hallucinations, which left five people dead and many seriously ill. For years it was blamed on bread contaminated with a psychedelic fungus - but that theory is now being challenged. On 16 August 1951, postman Leon Armunier was doing his rounds in the southern French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit when he was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea and wild hallucinations. "It was terrible. I had the sensation of shrinking and shrinking, and the fire and the serpents coiling around my arms," he remembers. Leon, now 87, fell off his bike and was taken to the hospital in Avignon. He was put in a straitjacket but he shared a room with three teenagers who had been chained to their beds to keep them under control. "Some of my friends tried to get out of the window. They were thrashing wildly... screaming, and the sound of the metal beds and the jumping up and down... the noise was terrible. "I'd prefer to die rather than go through that again." Over the coming days, dozens of other people in the town fell prey to similar symptoms. Doctors at the time concluded that bread at one of the town's bakeries had become contaminated by ergot, a poisonous fungus that occurs naturally on rye. That view remained largely unchallenged until 2009, when an American investigative journalist, Hank Albarelli, revealed a CIA document labelled: "Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F.Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin - tell him to see to it that these are buried." F. Olson is Frank Olson, a CIA scientist who, at the time of the Pont St Esprit incident, led research for the agency into the drug LSD.” (Click here for more)

Click here for Chrissie

The secret word is Mould


Enrico Frozdick took no chances with radiation.


Just more proof that we’re living out a science fiction scenario. But does it have to be by J.G. Ballard?

"In a list of the top places to spend the summer, a motorway just outside Beijing beneath a pall of smog and battered by ferocious heat would probably not feature. But some have little choice. For five days, thousands of Chinese motorists have been stuck in the world's worst traffic jam that stretches for 60 miles. And even worse, the 10-day queue is expected to remain backed up until at least the end of the month. The mother of all road works have spawned a temporary and very slow-moving community. Truck drivers, their vehicles packed with coal from Inner Mongolia, wash themselves in the scorching heat by the roadside, play cards to pass the time, and sleep beneath their lorries. Occasionally they get back into the vehicles to move forward a few inches – then turn off the engines and get out again." (Click here for more)


Their rationale is as follows…
“It would be fine to note that you were informed by Facebook that the image in question was no long acceptable for use in Facebook ads. The image of a pot leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies. Let me know if you need anything further.”
I would suggest boycotting Facebook, but how would we spread word of the boycott?

(Click here for more on the story. Thanks Smoke)


It's "Creature" by Paul Madonna

Click for some awesome Jimi


It’s "Silverfish" by Randy Regier.

Click for the obvious Lemmy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


One of those pieces of schoolboy/History Channel trivia that I seem to have retained is how the Hindenburg would never have blown up – or even been floating on highly inflammable hydrogen in the first place – was because the US had a monopoly on helium, and FDR wasn’t about to sell any to the Nazis for their high-profile, high-prestige Zeppelins. Thus, when our pal Wendy forward this piece of information, I was concerned. I’ve always been a big fan of airships, and entertained dreams of their return long before steampunk became chic. Not only are those dreams now seriously at risk, but we might even loose the sports stadium corporate blimps if the rest of the helium supply is pissed away filling Mylar party balloons.

“It is more commonly known as the gas that fills cheap party balloons and makes your voice squeak if you inhale it. But helium is actually a precious resource that is being squandered with Earth's reserves of it due to run out within 25 to 30 years, experts have warned. Earth’s resources of helium are being depleted at an astonishing rate, an effect which will spell disaster for hospitals which use it to cool MRI scanners. The world's biggest store of helium - the most commonly used inert gas - lies in a disused airfield in Amarillo, Texas, and is being sold off far too cheaply. But in 1996, the US government passed a law which states that the facility - the US National Helium Reserve - must be completely sold off by 2015 to recoup the price of installing it. This means that the helium, a non-renewable gas, is being quickly sold off at increasingly cheap prices, making it uneconomical to recycle. NASA uses the gas to clean its rockets of fuel while liquid helium is used to cool nuclear reactors and space telescopes. Nobel laureate Robert Richardson, a professor of physics at Cornell University in New York, told New Scientist magazine that once our helium reserves are gone there will be no way of replacing it.” (Click here for more)

Click here for new improved bilingual Nena


Yes, my friends, it’s August. The Dog Days, the Silly Season. It’s a hundred fucking degrees outside. I may die, and I will definitely believe anything. Not that I’m actually believing this tale – passed along to us by our pals at LOWFI – of how a triangular UFO buzzed Ozzfest right as Ozzy was performing. I’m merely laying it out there for you all to assess the true condition of the planet.

“This is a report I received from my daughter whom I shall refer to as Bink. She wishes to remain anonymous. During the concert Ozzy was playing the song Suicide Solution and the audience was looking at Ozzy. Bink glanced towards the Little Dipper at the time. A UFO appears away from the stage while everyone (she assumes) was watching towards the stage away from the UFO. This is the report directly. I collected the report as it was fresh in her mind. The shape was triangular with rounded tips. The color of the craft was a pale gray. The middle looking on edgewise was slightly rounded and thicker in the middle, which held 3 round lights in a line strobe-like. Colors were green, yellow and pinkish purple. The lights were like a strobe that blinked and flashed 3-5 times before it disappeared behind a tree that it fit behind. Bink said the distance was up higher than any conventional aircraft. The craft made no noise but it flew horizontally then flew up then hovered then shook as it left. Bink recognized that it was unlike anything she had ever seen before and she seen it as it was (a weird UFO). She has never seen anything like this before and it was the first thing she said to me when she got home that night with her Dad who didn't see a thing. She said "Guess who just saw a freaking UFO" were her words exactly.” (Click here for more)


Last week we posted a link to Rachel Bloom’s unique video tribute to Ray Bradbury on his 90th birthday. This photo purports to be ol’ Ray watching said video.

Click here for a reprise of Rachel
And click here (while we’re doing the four lettered words) for Cee Lo’s “Fuck You”


Our pal Elf Hellion sent us this story of an evil Swan.

“An aggressive swan known as “Hissing Sid” has been evicted from his riverbank home and moved to Gallows Hill Quarry almost 40 miles away after a series of attacks including one that almost caused a teenage girl to drown. The vicious bird used his powerful 7ft long wings to attack hundreds of rowers and canoeists on the River Chelmer in Chelmsford, Essex, his home for the past two decades. The 22lb swan would patrol the busy river terrorising users on a daily basis, before attempting to drown them with his flapping wings or pecking holes in boats. But the swan’s violent behaviour became progressively worse over the past year, escalating in March when he attacked a 13-year-old girl. The teenager, who was not named, almost drowned after the ferocious swan capsized her canoe using its long wings. The incident forced locals to seek expert help to stop the bird, which enjoys protection from the Queen.” (Click here for more)

Click here for Bolan


Frank Frazetta’s 1978 take on Battlestar Galactica

Click here for Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Monday, August 23, 2010


I won’t be going to any cinema to see Piranha 3D. Of that I’m certain. I haven’t been too interested in fish-threat films since Quint was a shark’s lunch. Piranha also seems even less philosophically healthy than the average horror movie. Our pal Annalee Newitz at io9 tells us that it's little more than anti-evolution, anti-sex, pro-police state propaganda.

“There was no critics' screening of Piranha 3D, so I ventured out of my cave, $12 in hand, to see it yesterday afternoon. And now I know the truth. This movie is an authoritarian plot! I know totalitarian conspiracies can be hard to figure out when you've smoked like twelve bowls of pot and are watching shredded body parts zoom toward your face in 3D. That's why you need an expert like me, who has trained for many years to engage in precise cultural analysis while stoned. Just let me break it all down for you. The original Piranha movie from 1978 was written by leftist filmmaker John Sayles, and contains some pretty heavy anti-military messages. But as soon as the movie began, it became obvious that this was anti-evolutionary propaganda. As the film opens, we see the camera panning across a chainlink fence hung with one of those commonly-seen signs that say, "No Trespassing - Mesolithic Area Dig Site." That's right - the Mesolithic. One of those time periods that only evolutionists believe in. And of course that alerts you to where our toothy monsters are going to come from. Straight out of the goddamn Mesolithic. Or maybe the Pleistocene. It's hard to say for sure, because later the handy fish scientist (played by the extra-handy Christopher Lloyd) growls excitedly about how the piranhas are from "two million years ago, in the Pleistocene." (Click here for much more)


Click here for Jaws


Here’s one of those handy nuggets of data that I keep getting from the guys at Delancey Place, so I can keep on keeping up my further education. Today it’s dopamine.

"The importance of dopamine was discovered by accident. In 1954, James Olds and Peter Milner, two neuroscientists at McGill University, decided to implant an electrode deep into the center of a rat's brain. The precise placement of the electrode was largely happenstance; at the time, the geography of the mind remained a mystery. But Olds and Milner got lucky. They inserted the needle right next to the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a part of the brain that generates pleasurable feelings. Whenever you eat a piece of chocolate cake, or listen to a favorite pop song, or watch your favorite team win the World Series, it is your NAcc that helps you feel so happy. But Olds and Milner quickly discovered that too much pleasure can be fatal. They placed the electrodes in several rodents' brains and then ran a small current into each wire, making the NAccs continually excited. The scientists noticed that the rodents lost interest in everything. They stopped eating and drinking. All courtship behavior ceased. The rats would just huddle in the corners of their cages, transfixed by their bliss. Within days, all of the animals had perished. They died of thirst. It took several decades of painstaking research, but neuroscientists eventually discovered that the rats had been suffering from an excess of dopamine. The stimulation of the NAcc triggered a massive release of the neurotransmitter, which overwhelmed the rodents with ecstasy. In humans, addictive drugs work the same way: a crack addict who has just gotten a fix is no different than a rat in an electrical rapture. The brains of both creatures have been blinded by pleasure. This, then, became the dopaminergic cliche; it was the chemical explanation for sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”

Click here for Ian Dury


Last week the www wondered if the early Beatles were speeded up. Now the discussion is centered around if this is really a recording of the Quarrymen. Click here to have a listen.

And be a pirate!


Sunday, August 22, 2010


When eggs turn evil who has been minding the chickens?

“Jack DeCoster, the owner of the company at the center of one of the largest egg recalls in history, is no stranger to controversy. He's been involved in legal cases that have forced him to settle with the federal government for hiring illegal immigrants, for tolerating sexual harassment at his company, and has faced a litany of animal cruelty charges. DeCoster has also paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements over the years stemming from complaints about the health violations at his farms. Critics may say he's a bad egg. DeCoster, 75, is at the helm of the family-run egg farm Wright County Eggs based in Galt, Iowa. His farm, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, is responsible for providing salmonella-tainted eggs to 15 of the 25 restaurants where patrons have fallen ill. Investigators are still trying to determine whether other farms also produced contaminated eggs.” Click here for eggman horror

Click here for Louis Jordan
Click here for the Beatles

The secret word is Laid


“Smoke if you got ‘em.”


Thurman Frozdick joined the Secret Six, who believed they had discovered the secret of Vrill.


I blink and wonder what shenanigans these cyberfreaks will get up to next.

"An erotic chess video game? Set in a post-apocalyptic world? With (and I quote the press release) “the possibility to actively guide each combination of pieces to a compelling digitized climax”? And a prequel set in Egyptian mythology? Fourteen years in the past, my 13-year-old self has just been delivered a boner from the future. Behold Lovechess Salvage, the game currently causing Bobby Fischer’s zombie to claw at the roof of his coffin buried deep in the Icelandic permafrost." (Click here for more and a video)

Or, if this chess stuff is too sim-decadent, you could click here for a Gene Vincent track I, for one, have never heard before. (Thanks Ian)


So everything is new again.