Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Finding Vs. Looting In New Orleans

This issue came up last night on Hardball. . .what is the difference between looting and surviving? Are the rules of engagement for police different for food and water than luxury items? What if you take five gallons of fresh water from a store? A high-def TV? Ana Marie Cox in her extremely popular and often funny blog, Wonkette may have been the first person to point out these two similar (differing, really, by one critical word) wire stories.

The AP and AFP have a different take on it. It depends what color you are. See the captions below. People on boards and blogs are outraged at the AP. . .and yet, it is the AFP wire that gives the whites the free pass. I don't think most of us would disagree they were all looters?

Tue Aug 30,11:31 AM ET
A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Tue Aug 30, 3:47 AM ET
Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)


Jerry Garcia, August 1942-August 1995

I can't really let the month of August go by without mentioning that it was ten years ago this month that Jerry Garcia died. Some quotes from Jed:

"Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. "

"For me, the lame part of the Sixties was the political part, the social part. The real part was the spiritual part. "

"I'm shopping around for something to do that no one will like. "

"Nobody stopped thinking about those psychedelic experiences. Once you've been to some of those places, you think, 'How can I get back there again but make it a little easier on myself?' "

"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. "

"It's pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness. "

"I read somewhere that 77 per cent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23 per cent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves."

"What we do is as American as lynch mobs. America has always been a complex place. "

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Update On The Human Zoo In London

The "human zoo" exhibit continued in London until yesterday, provoking amused comments from many visitors, including many expressing disappointment that the the homo sapiens were partly clothed and were not breeding.

The three male and five female Homo sapiens were separated from their primate cousins by an electric fence. The human zoo volunteers have diverse interests, from a chemist hoping to raise awareness about apes to a self-described actor/model and fitness enthusiast.

Chemist Tom Mahoney, 26, decided to participate after his friend sent him an e-mail about the contest as a joke. Anything that draws attention to apes, he said, has his support.

"A lot of people think humans are above other animals," he said. "When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special."

Actor Brendan Carr, 25, won his place by submitting a spot of anthropomorphic verse: "I'm funky like a monkey and as cool as a cat, talk more than a parrot, up all night like a bat."

"You can tell why some people came here, like the big muscly men who clearly like parading around in thongs," said Damien Largey, 23.

The human captives were kept well-fed and watered by zoo staff, who took care to ensure they did not grow bored. A supply of board games was on hand, and some said they were looking forward to tuning into the England-Australia cricket match on the radio.

Pointing at one heavily muscled and gleaming body on the ledge, a visitor joked that the zoo should consider a breeding program.

Unlike the zoo's non-human inhabitants, they are allowed to go home each night at closing time. The event runs until Monday.

Peter Bohn, 42, saw the "animals" juggling, he stopped and had a good laugh. "It's hilarious," he said. "It turns everything upside down. It makes you think about the humans in relation to the animals."

Melissa Wecker, 21, was disappointed that the humans were wearing swimsuits beneath their fig leaves. "They're not doing anything. It looked lots better on the news," she complained.

Today In History: Cleopatra Commits Suicide

click image of Caesar & Cleopatra to enlarge

On August 30, 30 B.C. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, killed herself after the defeat of her forces against Octavian (future first emperor of Rome).

Monday, August 29, 2005

F*** You, Headmaster! - Language Tolerance In The U.K.

Today, from the London Daily Mail. Click here to read the entire story.

A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers - as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be 'spoken' to at the end of the lesson.

The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire.

Parents were advised of the plan, which comes into effect when term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

"Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score," he wrote in the letter. . .

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Emmett Till Was Murdered Fifty Years Ago Today -- Songs by Bob Dylan & Phil Ochs

Fifty years ago, on Aug. 28, 1955, Emmett Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago was abducted from his uncle's home in Money, Mississippi, by two white men.

He had allegedly whistled at a white woman. He was found in a river, brutally murdered three days later.

The men charged with Till's murder—Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam—were acquitted at trial.

They later confessed in a magazine article to beating and shooting Till .

Emmett Till's body was displayed in an open casket; it had been monstrously brutalized. The contrast with the handsome kid was appalling. Songs (like the two below, written a few years later, in the early 60's), and plays and articles focused on the death of Till and what it symbolized about Missisippi, the south, and America in general... This had to be one of the early moments that crystalized the civil rights movement.


Too Many Martyrs
by Phil Ochs

In the state of Mississippi many years ago
A boy of 14 years got a taste of southern law
He saw his friend a hanging and his color was his crime
And the blood upon his jacket left a brand upon his mind

Too many martyrs and too many dead
Too many lies too many empty words were said
Too many times for too many angry men
Oh let it never be again

His name was Medgar Evers and he walked his road alone
Like Emmett Till and thousands more whose names we'll never know
They tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground
But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down


The killer waited by his home hidden by the night
As Evers stepped out from his car into the rifle sight
he slowly squeezed the trigger, the bullet left his side
It struck the heart of every man when Evers fell and died.


And they laid him in his grave while the bugle sounded clear
laid him in his grave when the victory was near
While we waited for the future for freedom through the land (*)
The country gained a killer and the country lost a man


The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan

'Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago,
When a young boy from Chicago walked through a Southern door.
This boy's fateful tragedy you should all remember well,
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till.

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up.
They said they had a reason, but I disremember what.
They tortured him and did some things too evil to repeat.
There was screamin' sounds inside the barn, there was laughin' sounds out
on the street.

Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a blood red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screamin' pain.
The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it was no lie,
Was just for the fun of killing him and to watch him slowly die.

And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial,
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till.
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind.

I saw the mornin' papers but I could not bear
To see the smiling brothers walking down the courthouse stairs.
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free,
While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea.

If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust,
Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust.
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it
must refuse to flow,
For you'd let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan.
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we give all we could give,
We'd make this great land of ours a greater place to live.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Human Zoo, Or, I Am An Admitted Homo Sapien

Homo sapiens, London Zoo's newest exhibit are seen in their enclosure in London, Thursday Aug.25, 2005. "The four day exhibit made up of volunteers runs from 26-29 August and highlights the spread of earth's most adaptable species."

Naturally, they were hot-looking, buff homo sapiens in bathing suits, thongs, and fig leaves.

Painting: Land Ho!: Alien Landing Party No. 2

click painting to enlarge...
I created the background, sky, and mountains in Terragen--an application I mightily struggle with. The band of aliens I created for a poster I did for a department at my office. The flying disc is a scan I made a couple of years ago of the "classic" UFO flying saucer.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More Wisdon From Rev. Pat Robertson

"Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court."

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians."

"Well, I totally concur." [Agreeing, after the Sept. 11 attacks, wit Jerry Falwell, who said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say: "You helped this happen." ]

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

"That was never in the Constitution, however much the liberals laugh at me for saying it, they know good and well it was never in the Constitution! Such language only appeared in the constitution of the Communist Soviet Union." [re: the constitutional separation of church and state]

"Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up" [on "nuking" the State Department]


More All This Is That Navel Gazing

This chart shows which continents All This Is That readers hail from. . . at least over the last two days.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Reverend Robertson: "I Didn't Say That." "Oh Wait. I Did. But I Didn't Really Mean It."

Reverend Robertson has this week either broken or advocated breaking two of the ten commandments--so far. And those are just two he broke openly. . .there's no telling what goes on behind closed doors, considering the kind of half-witted, hateful gibberish he's willing to talk about publicly.

Facing a firestorm of excoriating criticism and abuse from the liberals, middle-of-the-roaders, and his fellow evangelical Christians, conservative broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

The apology could well mean that the 700 Club is being hit hard in the collection plate.

Not only did he apologize, he initially denied ever using the word "assassinate."

On his television program, Reverend Robertson said his words had been misinterpreted by The AP; he never spoke of assassination. "I said our Special Forces should 'take him out,' " Mr. Robertson told his audience on "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. " 'Take him out' could be a number of things, including kidnapping."

The video of Monday's 700 club, available on hundreds of internet sites, put the lie to this whopper. The Reverend can be clearly seen and heard: ". . .if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

The World Evangelical Alliance issued a statement saying: "Robertson does not speak for evangelical Christians. We believe in justice and the protection of human rights of all people, including the life of President Chávez."

Following are a few of the other public comments Rev. Robertson has made in the last few years:

''I think (federal judges) are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. ... The gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than, than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.''

''When lawlessness is abroad in this land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals -- the two seem to go together.''

''I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face.''

"[widespread gay activity] will bring about terrorist bombs. It'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.''

"[the] 'feminist agenda. . .is not about equal rights for women. . .it is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.''


poem: Tetuan - "No Paranoia, My Friend"

The moon's in tune,
Stars turn on
And clouds drape themselves
Around the sky.

Terra cotta sebsis sizzle
With Rif Mountain leaf.
The muzzein and the night's prayers
Buzz in the mosque.

Fog drifts into the room.
His anxious heart echoes
The drumbeats from the medina
As his brain unfolds.

A circle of swallows
Spins outside the window.
The air thickens with fiction
And sorcery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Stress Test

This was pretty interesting. My Dr. wanted me to take a heart stress test due to my family history. So I went to the cardiologist for a stress test (after the usual preliminary visits). It was actually kind of fun.

You start out in a room with a battery of machines, and never less than three and up to five technicians present. They take your blood pressure and heart pictures and sounds constantly. Your chest is shaved and they attach eight or ten electrodes (is that the right word?) with some kind of gum. The EKG machine is fired up and starts printing out for the rest of the test. The nice sonogram person arrives and she begins taking pictures of my heart, which is as big as my head on screen. She measured the valves and other heart plumbing. They do another blood pressure test. They ask me if I feel good. " Does your chest hurt at all?" "Are you ready?"

Now I get on the treadmill. You walk moderately at first on a slight elevation. Every three minutes the pace increases and the elevation gain on the treadmill increases, and they take your blood pressure every three minutes...right before the machine cranks up a notch. About once a minute someone asks you how you're feeling. "Tired? Short of breath? Any chest pain?" They are exceedingly cautious. But then it probably is a little unseemly if a patient keels over on the treadmill at the cardiologist's office...

After minute six the Physician's Assistant said "Most people quit smiling by now, you know. You don't have to be macho." The grin ended when they notched it up to the last setting, where you are jogging up a steep hill and hanging on to that bar for dear life.

Suddenly they say "OK, you're done in five seconds." I have to stop dead in my tracks, which is a little bit of a shock. They guide you, wobbling and panting over to the table again for five more minutes of heart sonogram work, blood pressure, and EKG work, post-stress.

I won't find out the "results" until Friday, but all the techies and the P.A. said everything looked great. There's that, eh?

A Note From An Anonymous Grey Conspiracy Theorist

Yeah, yeah. I'm just about off this alien jag, and soon to return to more lofty arts, rants, and political confabulations and speculations. But I bumped into this in my archives...a message I snagged from A MUFON website years ago...

"In 1973 , during the Nixon Administration, the NSA hooked up with the Jason Society, a top-secret body that liaises with the extraterrestrial beings known as the Grays. This gave them an immediate infusion of mathematical theory, as the grays have developed mathematics to a level which we cannot completely comprehend. In return, the grays were given two more bases in New Mexico and a 15% increase in the number of people that they may abduct per year for analysis and extraction of vital fluids.

"The Grays have reneged on their abduction quota agreement, and are abducting many more people than before. Most of these are returned, after being implanted with a device which allows the grays to have total control over their thoughts and actions. Approximately 40% of Americans now carry one of these devices, which are impossible to remove without killing the host. "

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rev. Pat Robertson Calls For The Assassination of President Chavez

Once again, the Christian Coalition advocates breaking the Sixth Commandment. If only they were as rabid and diligent about the Sixth Commandment (thou shall not kill) as they were about the Seventh Commandment (thou shall not commit adultery). . .

WASHINGTON D.C. (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday, saying the leftist leader wanted to turn his country into "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

The founder of the Christian Coalition said during the Monday night television broadcast of his religious program, "The 700 Club," that Chavez, one the most vocal critics of President George W. Bush, was a "terrific danger" to the United States.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

Jackie Gleason, President Richard Nixon And The Men From Mars

On February 19,1973, according to White House records, President Richard Nixon met Jackie Gleason on the 18th green at the Inverness Golf and Country Club. He was there to help kick off a charity golf tournament run by Gleason. If the rumors are true, Nixon also came to Florida in 1973 to show Jackie Gleason the bodies of extraterrestrials (knowing, he too, believed there was something out there).

Whether it's true or not, it's a good story. . .Dick Nixon and The Great One driving in the dead of night, without Secret Service protection, to the cooler where they kept the recovered alien bodies.

Timothy Green Buckley said in an interview once: “I'm afraid I am a bit of a fence setter. All this could be real or none of it could be!” What follows is his strange and funny article from UFOs Among the Stars.

Mixing Richard Nixon, Jackie Gleason, conspiracy, and Aliens together, and how can you really go wrong?

Jackie Gleason & The Little Men From Mars

by Timothy Green Beckley

Way back in the mid-1960s, I got a letter in the mail from Jackie Gleason Productions, Hollywood, Florida, ordering a copy of a mimeographed booklet I had put together relating to UFOs. This, to me, was confirmation of what I had heard rumors about for a long time ... that "the Great One" was personally involved in researching UFOs. Supposedly - and I've since found out that this is true--Gleason had one of the greatest UFO book collections in the world. This is where the tale gets a bit wilder. A story circulated by Gleason's ex-wife, Beverly, has Jackie actually viewing the bodies of several aliens who died when their craft crashed in the Southwest.

The story was carried originally in the National Enquirer, and though Beverly Gleason later confirmed it to members of the press who were able to track her down, independent confirmation of Gleason's supposed experience could - for the longest time - not be certified.

Now with the striking revelations of a young man who knew Gleason personally, it can safely be said that such an event did take place...

Larry Warren was an Airman First Class stationed at Bentwaters Air Force Base in England (a NATO installation staffed mainly by US. servicemen) when an incredible series of events took place over Christmas week of 1980. A UFO was picked up on radar and subsequently came down just outside the perimeter of the base in a dense forest.

On the first of several nights of confrontation with the Unknown, three security police ventured into the area across an eerie-looking object hovering just above the ground. One of the MPs was mesmerized by the UFO and was unable to move for nearly an hour. While in this mental state, he received some sort of telepathic message that the craft would return. For the next few nights, up to 80 U.S. servicemen, British bobbies, as well as civilians from some nearby farms, witnessed an historic event. According to Larry Warrenwho stood within feet of this craft from another world-three occupants came out of the ship and actually communicated with a high ranking member of the U.S. Air Force.

This close encounter at Bentwaters has become the subject of several books (see "From Out Of The Blue", Jenny Randles, Inner Light Publications) and has been given wide publicity on CNN, Home Box Office and more recently "Unsolved Mysteries." Warren has, in a sense, become somewhat of a celebrity himself as he remains in the public eye, willing to talk about what he observed.

"Jackie Gleason was interested in hearing my story first hand," Warren offers as a means of explaining how he met the famous comic in May, 1986. "At the time I was living in Connecticut and both CNN and HBO had run pieces on the Bentwaters case. Through mutual friends who knew members of his family, I was told that Gleason would like to talk with me privately in his home in Westchester County, and so the meeting was set for a Saturday when we would both have some time to relax'".

After being formally introduced, the two men ventured into Gleason's recreation room complete with pool table and full-size bar. "There were hundreds of UFO books all over the place," Warren explains, "but Jackie was quick to tell me that this was only a tiny portion of his entire collection, which was housed in his home in Florida." For the rest of the day, UFO researcher and UFO witness exchanged information.

"Gleason seemed to be very well informed on the subject," Larry says, "as he knew the smallest detail about most cases and showed me copies of the book "Clear Intent" that had just been published, as well as a copy of "Sky Crash", a British book about Bentwaters that was published, actually, before all the details of this case were made public. I remember Gleason telling me about his own sightings of several discs in Florida and how he thought there were undersea UFOs bases out in the Bermuda Triangle."

But it wasn't till after Warren had downed a few beers and Gleason had had a number of drinks--"his favorite, Rob Roys"-that conversation really got down to brass tacks. "At some point, Gleason turned to me and said, 'I want to tell you something very amazing that will probably come out some day anyway. We've got em!' 'Got what', I wanted to know? 'Aliens!' Gleason sputtered, catching his breath."

According to Warren, Jackie proceeded to tell him the intriguing set of circumstances that led him to the stunning conclusion that extraterrestrials have arrived on our cosmic shores. "It was back when Nixon was in office that something truly amazing happened to me," Gleason explained. "We were close golfing buddies and had been out on the golf course all day when somewhere around the 15th hole, the subject of UFOs came up. Not many people know this," Gleason told Warren, "but the President shares my interest in this matter and has a large collection of books in his home on UFOs just like I do. For some reason, however, he never really took me into his confidence about what he personally knew to be true... one of the reasons being that he was usually surrounded by so many aids and advisers."

Later that night, matters changed radically, when Richard Nixon showed up at Gleason's house around midnight. "He was all alone for a change. There were no secret service agents with him or anyone else. I said, 'Mr. President, what are you doing here?' and he said he wanted to take me someplace and show me something." Gleason got into the President's private car and they sped off into the darkness--their destination being Homestead Air Force Base.

"I remember we got to the gate and this young MP came up to the car to look to see inside and his jaw seemed to drop a foot when he saw who was behind the wheel. He just sort of pointed and we headed off." Warren says that later Gleason found out that the secret service was going absolutely crazy trying to find out where Nixon was. "We drove to the very far end of the base in a segregated area," Gleason went on, "finally stopping near a well-guarded building. The security police saw us coming and just sort of moved back as we passed them and entered the structure.

There were a number of labs we passed through first before we entered a section where Nixon pointed out what he said was the wreckage from a flying saucer, enclosed in several large cases." Gleason noted his initial reaction was that this was all a joke brought on by their earlier conversation on the golf course. But it wasn't, as Gleason soon learned. "Next, we went into an inner chamber and there were six or eight of what looked like glass-topped Coke freezers. Inside them were the mangled remains of what I took to be children. Then - upon closer examination - I saw that some of the other figures looked quite old. Most of them were terribly mangled as if they had been in an accident."

According to Larry Warren's testimony (regarding Gleason's lengthy conversation about UFOs and space visitors), "I forget whether he said they had three or four fingers on each hand, but they definitely were not human...of this he was most certain!" For three weeks following his trip with Nixon to Homestead Air Force Base, the world famous entertainer couldn't sleep and couldn't eat. "Jackie told me that he was very traumatized by all of this.

He just couldn't understand why our government wouldn't tell the public all they knew about UFOs and space visitors. He said he even drank more heavily than usual until he could regain some of his composure and come back down to everyday reality." Larry Warren is convinced that Gleason wasn't lying to him. "You could tell that he was very sincere - he took the whole affair very seriously, and I could tell that he wanted to get the matter off his chest, and this was why he was telling me all of this." And as far as Larry Warren was concerned, the Great One's personal testimony only added extra credibility to his own first hand experience with aliens while he was in the service.

"Jackie felt just like I do that the government needs to 'come clean,' and tell us all it knows about space visitors. It time they stopped lying to the public and release all the evidence they have. When they do, then we'll all be able to see the same things the late Jackie Gleason did!" Hopefully this day may arrive soon.


Poem: The Grey Visitors & Painting: The Grey Ambassador

click image to enlarge

The flybys, crop circles,
And other splashy UFO manuvers
Were executed
To demonstrate their capability.

After the flybys, came the landings,
And eventualy, contact.
These extraterrestrial visitors
Did not appear hostile.

Some say we were softened up
By E.T., Klaatu, and ALF
And made the fatal error
Of thinking this was a mission of mercy.

Let them come down.
If they figured out how to get here,
And have come to make war,
We can't stop them.

If they "come in peace"
To teach what they learned
The Hard Way,
It's time to get started.

Monday, August 22, 2005

All This Is That Visitors

All This Is That has recently and consistently had around 100 visitors each day. The readership dipped when I was on vacation, and writing only sporadically. I don't think the numbers include the people who read the RSS feeds (I barely know what an RSS feed is, but it seems to be a text or XML only version of the blog for portable devices). is the RSS feed if you want to see what this blog looks like stripped of its graphical adornments.

In the last week, the blog readership is around 250-300 per day. There are some regular readers. . .of which you may very well be among the number. But the other people are looking for other things (like sex, mainly). Of the 260 readers today:

53 were looking for a picture of Hunter S. Thompson. All This Is That--for whatever reason--must somehow rank high in Yahoo and Google image searches. Searches on Thompson photos have gone way up in the last week

A couple months ago, I published an optical illusion of rotating wheels. At least 25 people every day are looking for that image.

I wrote about and posted a photograph of Hitler's book Mein Kampf. This always brings in at least ten people a day.

My series of paintings pairing various Heroes and Villains always brings in 20 or more people--mostly, I assume because all those heroes and villains were famous.

The series of paintings of The Presidents of the Unites States always brings in one or two dozen people.

Condeleeza Rice Nude always draws ten or more people--hopeful for images of The Secretary of State naked.

The three postings (and three humorous images) of the Enumclaw Beastiality story always draw 20-40 readers.

The other hundred or so seem to be more or less evenly divided among various political, poetry, and art postings I have done.

But that's enough navel gazing for the night.

The Krill Papers & The Alien Invasion

The Krill Papers are either a fascinating collection of confabulations, pretzel logic, and pure conspiracy hokum, or a shocking expose of a government that sold us down the tubes to invaders.

The Krill Papers stated purpose is to prove:

- Craft from other worlds have crashed on Earth.
- Alien craft are from both ultra-dimensional sources and sources within this dimension.
- Early U.S. government efforts at acquiring alien technology were successful.

- The U.S. government has had live alien hostages at some point in time.
- The government has conducted autopsies on alien cadavers.
- U.S. intelligence agencies, security agencies, and public agencies are involved in the cover up of facts pertaining to the situation.
- People have been and are currently abducted, mutilated, murdered and kidnapped as a result of the UFO situation.
- There is a current active alien presence on this planet among us that controls difference elements of our society.
- Alien forces maintain bases on Earth and on the Moon.
- The U.S. government has had a working relationship with alien forces for some time, with the express purpose of gaining technology in gravitational propulsion, beam weaponry and mind control.
- Millions of cattle have been killed in the process of acquiring biological materials.
- Both aliens and the U.S. government are responsible for mutilations, but for different reasons.
- We live in a multi-dimensional world that is overlapped and visited by entities from other dimensions. Many of these entities are hostile. Many are not hostile.
- The basis of our genetic development and religions lies in intervention by non-terrestrial and terrestrial forces.
- Actual technology far exceeds that perceived by the public.
- The United States space program is a cover operation that exists for public relations purposes. - People are being actively killed in order to suppress the facts about the situation. The CIA and the NSA are involved so deeply that exposure would cause collapse of their overt structure.
- Facts indicate alien overt presence within five to ten years.
- Our civilization is one of many that have existed in the last billion years.

Click here to read or download The Krill Papers.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Klaatu's Speech To Earth From "The Day The Earth Stood Still"

Click image to enlarge

"I am leaving soon and you'll forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day and the threat of aggression by any group anywhere can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all or no one is secure. Now this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle."

"We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first signs of violence they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is we live in peace without arms or armies, secure in theknowledge that we are free from aggression and war, free to pursue more profitable enterprises. "

"Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder."

"Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you. "

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Six Faked Moon Landings?

Click image to enlarge

"Columbia, he has landed at Tranquility Base. Eagle is at Tranquility. I read you five by. Over." The voice from Houston betrayed no emotion, although this was anything but business as usual. A human being was about to set foot on the moon for the first time in history, armed only with the Stars and Stripes, some scientific instruments, and an almost reckless, can-do demeanor that had captivated the world.

The reply from Columbia, the command-and-service module that had released the lunar lander 2 hours and 33 minutes earlier, betrayed only equal professional cool. "Yes, I heard the whole thing," Michael Collins said matter-of-factly.

Houston: "Well, it's a good show."

Columbia: "Fantastic."

That's when Neil Armstrong chimed in. "Yeah, I'll second that," said the 38-year-old astronaut, the moonwalker-to-be, America's own Boy Scout, and the most famous man in the - well, in the universe. And even though the static ate away at the clarity of his consonants, Armstrong's sneering tone came through loud and clear. The mission control man heard it too. And he knew what was coming. Sort of.

"A fantastic show," Armstrong said. "The greatest show on earth, huh, guys?"

There was a moment's silence. Then a cameraman sniggered. And the director sighed, and did what directors do when actors screw up their lines. "Cut," he groaned. He was a heavyset man in his 50s, and the combination of the long hours and the hot studio lights had started to get to him.

"Shit, Armstrong, if you're gonna be a smart-ass, do it on your own time, all right? We got 25 tired people on this set. We got a billion people who are going to be watching your every move only a week from now. We're on deadline here. Now, do you suppose you could just stick to the script and get it over with? Thank you."

His assistant stepped forward with the slate. "Apollo moon landing, scene 769/A22, take three," she announced.


"Columbia, he has landed at Tranquility Base," the mission control man began again.

When Buzz Armstrong stepped down from that ladder, saying it was only a small step for him but a giant leap for mankind, was he was merely setting foot on a dust-covered sound stage in a top-secret TV studio in the Nevada desert? Yes, some people say we faked all six moon landings. I had dinner with one of them tonight. A smart guy I really like. Yeah, some people really do believe this. In fact, a poll taken in the early 70's indicated that around 30% of all Americans believed the whole moon landing was flim-flam.

Bill Kaysing worked as head of technical publications for the Rocketdyne Research Department at their Southern California facility from 1956 to 1963. Rocketdyne was the engine contractor for Apollo. Here's his side of the story.

"NASA couldn't make it to the moon, and they knew it. In the late '50s, when I was at Rocketdyne, they did a feasibility study on astronauts landing on the moon. They found that the chance of success was something like .0017 percent. In other words, it was hopeless."

As late as 1967, Kaysing says, three astronauts died in a horrendous fire on the launch pad. "It's also well documented that NASA was often badly managed and had poor quality control. But as of '69, we could suddenly perform manned flight upon manned flight? With complete success? It's just against all statistical odds."

What About The Absent Stars ? Kaysing points out numerous anomalies in NASA publications, as well as in the TV and still pictures that came from the moon. For example, there are no stars in many of the photographs taken on the lunar surface. With no atmosphere to diffuse their light, wouldn't stars have to be clearly visible? And why is there no crater beneath the lunar lander, despite the jet of its 10,000-pound-thrust hypergolic engine? How do NASA's experts explain pictures of astronauts on the moon in which the astronauts' sides and backs are just as well lit as the fronts of their spacesuits - which is inconsistent with the deep, black shadows the harsh sunlight should be casting? And why is there a line between a sharp foreground and a blurry background in some of the pictures, almost as if special-effects makers had used a so-called "matte painting" to simulate the farther reaches of the moonscape? "It all points to an unprecedented swindle," Kaysing concludes confidently.

But just how could NASA possibly have pulled it off? Easy, says Kaysing. The rockets took off all right, with the astronauts on board, but as soon as they were out of sight, the roaring spacecraft set course for the south polar sea, jettisoned its crew, and crashed. Later, the crew and the command module were put in a military plane and dropped in the Pacific for "recovery" by an aircraft carrier.

There are hundreds of sites on the internet, documenting both sides of the issue. Just do a GIS on "fake moon landing."

NASA Fights Back

NASA even felt the need to rebut Kaysing's version of events:

Q: Why is there no discernible crater beneath the lunar lander?

A: "Although the descent engine of the LM is powerful, most of its operation takes place thousands of feet above the moon during the early stages of the landing," says a NASA information sheet. "At the moment of touchdown, a small amount of surface dust is blown away, but the relatively cohesive lunar surface seems to deflect the blast sideways."

Q: Why is there an artificial-looking line between a sharp foreground and a blurry background in some of the pictures of the lunar surface?

A: "What you see is simply the curvature of the moon," explains Paul Lowman, a NASA geophysicist. "Because the moon is such a small body, the curvature horizon is only two or three miles away from eye level. That sharp line you see in some pictures is the visible horizon. The blurry part you see is caused by mountains sticking up from beyond the

Q: Why are there no stars in many of the photos taken on the moon?

A: "That's one of Kaysing's sillier arguments," says James Oberg, a space-flight operations engineer with the space shuttle program. "Go out at night and take a picture of yourself under a streetlight. Even if there's a star-studded sky, you'll see no stars in your picture because the camera was set to properly expose that big lighted object in the foreground - you - and will not register much weaker light sources."

Q: How about the various lighting anomalies?

A: "On some pictures, astronauts are lit from more than one side because the sunlight is reflected off the lunar surface or off the landing vehicle," says NASA spokesperson James Hartsfield. Paul Lowman adds that some conspiracy believers are unknowingly or deliberately using pictures of astronauts that NASA never claimed were taken on the moon. "There are pictures being passed on and published in their circles that appeared in pre-moon landing issues of Aviation Week - nothing mysterious about them," sighs Lowman. "These are photos taken in a moon-like training facility at the Johnson Space Center where, indeed, there were several sources of light."


Friday, August 19, 2005

Painting: General Douglas MacArthur /MacArthur's Thoughts On Making War

click painting to enlarge

"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear--kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervour--with the cry of grave national
emergency. Always, there has been some terrible evil at home, or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it."

General Douglas MacArthur
Southwest Pacific Supreme Allied Commander, World War II

Photograph: Another Mural In SF's Mission District

Click image to enlarge

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: They’re a bunch of f***ing hypocrites!

The more I learn about Cindy Sheehan the more I like her. She's roiling the waters. She has the conservatives throwing fits. Just that makes it all worthwhile.

Camped out near the Bush ranch in Crawford, TX, Cindy Sheehan, in a high profile media blitz, has toned down her rhetoric somewhat in her current protest I guess you'd call it. Last spring, however, at my old alma mater, San Francisco State University, she got into more graphic detail (see the article on The Drudge Report yesterday).

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

"They’re a bunch of f***ing hypocrites! And we need to, we just need to rise up..." Sheehan said of the Bush administration.

"If George Bush believes his rhetoric and his bull****, that this is a war for freedom and democracy, that he is spreading freedom and democracy, does he think every person he kills makes Iraq more free?"

"The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it’s so important for Iraq to have a U.S.-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go to this war."

"We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up dog shit in Washington, we will impeach all those people."

Having a son die in the Iraq war gives her a lot of traction [1]. I enjoy seeing POTUS and the republican leadership dance around her, and defend her right to dissent at every turn!

[1] During the Vietnam War, disabled/crippled veterans would often be in the front lines of protests. It made it pretty hard for the skinheads, cops, and hardhats to beat on the protestors.


G.O.P. Running Scared On War's Impact On The '06 Congressional Mid-terms

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - A stream of bad news out of Iraq, echoed at home by polls that show growing impatience with the war and rising disapproval of President Bush's Iraq policies, is stirring political concern in Republican circles, party officials said Wednesday in an article in the New York Times.


Dragon In The Himalayan Sky Photos

Some better photos of the "dragon in the Himalayan sky" from The Epoch Times.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One Of The Fabulous Murals in SF's Mission District

Click image to enlarge

If you ever get the chance, take the walking tour of the Mission murals in San Francisco. There are over 200 of them, and most are great examples of the mural as it is practiced today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Photograph: Dean & Jack In California

Click to enlarge. Photograph by Del Brummet.

Dean Ericksen and Jack at a wedding in Ross, California, August 14, 2005.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Paul Bunyan, Babe The Blue Ox & The Trees Of Mystery

Click image to enlarge

We didn't pay to go in The Trees Of Mystery, but stopped by to see my childhood hero Bunyan and his faithful friend, Babe The Blue Ox. Standing in front of the entrance to the Trees of Mystery, Paul chats up the tourists, often reminding them to "visit the gift shop!" Most of Paul's banter involves describing the clothes that people at his feet are wearing, so you know it is not a canned recording. "Hello,'re wearing a Yankees sweatshirt!" He also answers questions from the tourists about his size and composition.

In this photo by Del Brummet, I am inspecting Babe's left testicle.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Happy Birthday Fidel! Castro

He has to be the longest reigning king-president-premier of our time, outlasting even Ethiopian legend Emperor (and Rastafarian deity) Hailie Selassie in terms of sheer years in "office [1]." However, it doesn't seem quite right to call a dictator's situation an office per se [2].

Happy Birthday Fidel! I never believed you were the monster the conservatives said you were, or the hero the left said you were. But I'll hand it to've held on these many many years....

[1] As Jacque Ewing once said angrily to Bobby Ewing: "You don't get power, Bobby. YOU TAKE IT!"

[2] We tend to think of an office as an elected office. . .not an office seized. This is where I have to disagree with some of the left. How can we actually venerate someone who stole an office not his to take--no matter how corrupt the previous occupant was? In this case, the previous occupant, Batista, did indeed have his hands in the till.


Microsoft May Get To Wet Their Beak On The iPod

This has got to have Steve Jobs pounding the walls. Apple Computer and Microsoft were both working on portable music players in 2001 and 2002. Apple released their first iPod in November 2001, but did not file a provisional patent claim until July 2002. In the meantime, Microsoft filed a patent in May 2002 that covered, among other things, the song menu software. In July, the Patent Office rejected Apple's claim, saying the ideas were similar to the earlier Microsoft patent! What does it all mean? Apple could end up owing Microsoft millions of dollars in royalties. Not millions of dollars...hundreds of millions. Apple is projected to sell their 35 millionth iPod this year. This should be an interesting story to follow in the next few months...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Killer Videogames?

A man has died after playing an online computer game for 50 hours with very few breaks. The man, g28, collapsed in an internet cafe in South Korea. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died. Click here to read the full story.

Police said he had barely slept or eaten during his gaming session. He only paused to go to the toilet. Korea is notoriously completely crackers over games and such marathons are hardly unknown there.

This reminds me of a notorious exchange Groucho Marx had with a female contestant on You Bet Your Life:

Groucho: So, you got any kids?
Female Contestant: Yes, Groucho, I have eleven children.
Groucho: Eleven?! Did you say eleven kids?
Female Contestant: Well, I love my husband.
Groucho: Lady, I love my cigar but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

/jack in Marin County now, in the shadow of Mt. Tamalpais. A less fragnentary, and perhaps more normal blog will begin Tuesday, on my return from vacation...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Poem: The Bad Movie

I can't believe it's still running.
There's miles of bad footage yet to come.
My loge seat is a throne of pain.

It's a talkie, but no one says anything.
There is no music, no sound design,
Only the projector clicking.

We can't stop watching.
The camera careens drunkenly
Around what might be the action.

It's so murky,
It could be pornography,
Or footage of an alien or Sasquatch.

The camera dollies in
On a random piece of litter.
Someone fiddles with the lens

And the scene shifts into deep focus.
We can't
Stop watching.

Dragons In The Sky In The Himalayas

In June, an amateur photographer flying over the Himalayas, caught these two "dragons" in a picture. He called these two objects "the Tibet dragons." Indeed, these figures do appear to have scales, tapering tails, and that undulating roll we associate with dinosaurs and dragons. They seem to have caused the same uproar in China that Madonnas on pizzas, Jesus with stigmata on concrete, and the famous Jesus tortilla sold on eBay have caused here and elsewhere in the west. It also appears to have (re)opened the debate on whether dragons ever existed.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Video & Lyrics To Phil Ochs' I Ain't Marchin Anymore

I Ain't Marchin Anymore
By Phil Ochs

Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans
At the end of the early British war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I ain't marchin' anymore

For I've killed my share of Indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the Little Big Horn
I heard many men lying I saw many more dying
But I ain't marchin' anymore

It's always the old to lead us to the war
It's always the young to fall
Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land
Fought in the bloody Civil War
Yes I even killed my brothers
And so many others But I ain't marchin' anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I ain't marchin' anymore


For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky
Set off the mighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning
That I ain't marchin' anymore

Now the labor leader's screamin'
when they close the missile plants,
United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore,
Call it "Peace" or call it "Treason,"
Call it "Love" or call it "Reason,"
But I ain't marchin' any more,
No I ain't marchin' any more

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

All This Is That - Update From Northern California

So, browse through those archives. Jack is in Northern California, in Redwood country, in Laytonville (where I visited Wavy Gravy's Camp Winnarainbow, and had a brief chat with the legendary humanist clown ("always a clown; nobody's fool").

We also visited Bodega, the town where Hitchcock's The Birds was filmed. Del and Melanie got all 15 cousins to re-enact the schoolhouse scene--at the schoolhouse, and filmed it on their digital cameras for use in an upcoming production...

I haven't spent a lot of time in wine country and the Sonoma coast since we lived here while attending San Francisco State and law school in Berkeley. It's as great as I remembered it.

I will write in detail when I am not tethered to a dial up, or a flaky wi-fi connecytion. I also am remembering why I dislike laptops.

But it's time to unhook from this cyber harness and get to the business of swimming and hiking.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Poem: The Bucket

The list of who kicked the bucket
lengthens every day
and the kicked bucket
fills with angel tears.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Hiatus continues: The Best of All This Is That

Index to the Paintings And Thumbnail Biographes of The Presidents Of The United States
This series is now complete.

All the Presidents have had their turn.

The list below provides links to the paintings and thumbnail bios, in order! /jack

POTUS 1: The First President Of The United States, Pres. George Washington a/k/a The General a/k/a The Father Of Our Country

POTUS 2: President John Adams, The Only President Defeated For Re-election By His Own Vice-President

POTUS 3: Pres. Thomas Jefferson

POTUS 4: President James Madison, The First President To Wear Pants

POTUS 5: Pres. James Monroe

POTUS 6: President John Quincy Adams - First Son Of A President To Become President And The First President To Become A Congressman Post-White House

POTUS 7: Pres. Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson - The Star Of The $20 Dollar Bill

POTUS 8: President Martin Van Buren

POTUS 9: Pres. William Henry Harrison - The Drive By President

POTUS 10: Pres. John Tyler - The First Accidental President

POTUS 11: Pres. James Polk - The Man With The Mullet

POTUS 12: Pres. Zachary Taylor - The President Who Mostly Closely Resembled Mel Brooks

POTUS 13 - Pres. Millard Fillmore: Another Partial Term President

POTUS 14: Pres. Franklin Pierce - The Most Handsome President?

POTUS 15: President James Buchanan, The Man Who Left A Divided Country And War For Pres. Abraham Lincoln

POTUS 16: Pres. Abraham Lincoln - The Most Beloved President?

POTUS 17: Pres. Andrew Johnson - The Worst President Ever

POTUS 18: Pres. Ulysses Grant - The Man Inside Grant's Tomb

POTUS 19: Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes - "Rutherfraud"

POTUS 20: Pres. James Garfield

POTUS 21: Pres. Chester Alan Arthur - Accidental, Partial One-Term President, Owner Of Some Impressive Muttonchops, And Dandy

POTUS 22: President Grover Cleveland - The Man Who Was President Twice

POTUS 23: Pres. Benjamin Harrison - The Last Bearded President

POTUS 24: President Grover Cleveland - The Man Who Was President Twice

POTUS 25: President William McKinley - Puppet Or Visionary?

POTUS 26: President Theodore Roosevelt - The Roughrider

POTUS 27: Pres. William Howard Taft - Who Preferred To Be Remembered As Chief Justice

POTUS 28: President Woodrow Wilson - The President Who Short-Circuited & POTUS 28A: President Edith Wilson

POTUS 29: Pres. Warren G. Harding - He Never Lived To Rue The Day

POTUS 30: President Calvin Coolidge "Keep Cool With Coolidge"

POTUS 31: President Herbert Hoover - The Scapegoat

POTUS 32: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt - The Man In The Wheelchair Who Lifted The Country On His Shoulders; The Only POTUS To Win Four Terms

POTUS 33: President Harry Truman - "The Buck Stops Here"

POTUS 34: Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower - A Most Detached President

POTUS 35: Pres. Jack Kennedy - Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye

POTUS 36: Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson - Majority Leader, Accidental President, Hawk

POTUS 37: Pres. Richard Milhous Nixon - Tricky Dick And The Comedy Of Errors

POTUS 38: Pres. Gerald R. Ford - Pardon Me, Mister President!

POTUS 39: President James Earl Carter - Not As Bad A President As You Have Been Led To Believe, But Rather A Victim Of Circumstance

POTUS 40: Pres. Ronald "Dutch" Reagan - B Movie Actor To President

POTUS 41: Pres. George Herbert Walker ("Read My Lips") Bush

POTUS 42: Pres. William Jefferson Clinton - The Comeback Kid

POTUS 43: Pres. George W. Bush - One Of The Nearly 5% Of Presidents Who Are Sons Of Presidents

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Photomontage: Presidential Contenders And Wild Cards

click to enlarge

Senators Kerry, Frist, Clinton, Edwards, Bayh, Biden & McCain, The Reverend Al Sharpton, Governors Romney and Bush, Former Governor Racicot, Former Mayor Giuliani.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Best Of All This Is That:My Worst Jobs, Part 1

While I am in transit on my vacation, I will be reprinting a few "old" nuggets. This is a story from the very week I started this blog. From All This Is That, Friday, November 19, 2004.

In 1983, I let an old college friend--McGoo--talk me into coming to work for him. I didn't last long. It was one of the most painful and hilarious experiences of my life. We were a magazine for construction professionals with a plan center (where they could view blueprints and create bids for various open-bid projects). Our job: to sell subscriptions and advertising in the magazine.

McGoo tried for a short period to not allow anyone to leave the boiler room until they had "an order." You were not allowed to take a whiz until you got an order. "For the good of the order" was our watchword. I never quite knew if that meant for us, the brother- and sister-hood of salespeople, or just for the order itself.

Of the five salespeople under McGoo, I was the only one whose salary/draw was not garnished.

In sales, it's all about the leads (as you know from seeing or reading Glenngarry Glen Ross). Of course, McGoo got the cream of the crop, and only so many would come in per week; the rest were continually recycled.

When you called the marks, you wrote down on the cards how they responded. McGoo would erase what you wrote, and nothing would happen. Then the card would be handed back out on two weeks later on Monday as one of your 20 "free" leads for the week. I would call someone at a construction company and their wife would answer and tell me that her husband had died last week. I would apologize and write on the card—remove from lead pool, customer died. And then the card would be handed out again that week as part of out precious leads (after that you were on your own, which basically meant calling everyone you knew in construction (for me that was approximately no one). Or, you hit the yellow pages which were even more fruitless than the worthless leads Mcgoo handed out. After he cherry-picked any choice ones that happened to fall in there.

Someone would call the poor widow every Monday morning. One guy told me that if we ever called him again he would come down and break our faces. I wrote that on the card. And I called him a couple weeks later.

The cards came back again and again. Finally, one really brain damaged guy came down with steam coming out of his ears and McGoo had to do some mighty fast dancing (natch', blaming it all on "those fuckin' morons in the boilerroom"). When you wrote TD on a lead, it meant you had been seriously turned down. In theory, the lead would lay fallow for a couple of months. But not under the McGoo system. A turndown was merely a moment of temporary insanity on the part of a recalcitrant customer, coupled with gross salesman incompetence. So you would end up calling the same guy every Monday and he'd tell you "nothing has changed. I still don't want the magazine, creep. Now don't call me again."

Your twenty precious leads would almost always dwindle down to maybe three real. if remote, possibilities. By this time, with a stack of turndowns, you were so desperate to get McGoo off your ass, you didn't try to sell them the real ripoff. . .you sold them the lowball subscription ($100). A lot of the guys were so desperate to salve Mcgoo that they would write up a fake sale. That took the heat off. But a couple weeks later when the cancelled subscription meant there was hell to pay. . .McGoo got his commissions early, so a cancellation meant they would actually dock him too.

Meanwhile, of course, McGoo's stack of leads were from people who sent in the fallout cards saying "Yes, I am interested in subscribing. Please contact me." So by the time we rolled in Monday morning (McGoo having arrived early to shuffle and cherrypick the fresh leads), McGoo would have four or five orders on the boards, and we would be in the hole. I forget what term he used for someone who didn't yet have an order, but it was something like shithead.

A conversation
"Jack get a godamned order on the books. Be a man."
"Christ, I'm trying, Jim."
"That's the difference between me and the rest of you shitheads. You're trying. You're dyin'. I'm doing. While you’re flogging the old salami, I’m soaking my hose in prime Grade A cooch."

Another Conversation
"I'm going to lunch, Jim."
"J'get a fucking order yet Jack?"
"No, but I'm hungry."
"Get back on the phone. Hungry salesmen make the best salesmen. No one cares whether shitheads eat or not. Get a fawkin' order and I'll buy you a fuckin' T-bone!"

Bill Ryan
A second generation Irishman, who drove about a 1966 Cadillac convertible. Didn’t go to college. Black sheep of his family. About a week after I started at Construction Data, his salary was garnisheed by some credit card company. One thing Bill needed was that monthly cash infusion to keep things juggled. . .he worked his debtors in some sort of bizarre pyramid scheme. He had a volcanic temper and was endlessly tailed by bill collectors, repo men, and rumpled private detectives. He thought Keelin was way too hot for a non-Irishman.

Pat Sherwin
He made Willy Loman look like a superhuman dynamo. “I had some fucking scores, I tell you Jack. I was salesman of the year twice, got a new Buick once and a trip to Hawaii another time. And here I sit with a sick wife, a fuckin' basket of picked over leads and a fuckin' punk kid tellin' me what to do and insulting me. Life is the green-apple shits, Jack."

My First Day On The Job
I rolled into the office at 8:30. McGoo, was, of course, glad to see me, chatting me up, introducing me around and he was truly happy to have some sort of lit brother working with him. After maybe an hour, he tossed me a pile of stuff to read. I read it in ten minutes.

“OK John, you’re ready to go.”

He handed me a freshly printed stack of lead cards.

“Well, it’s about time to get you on the books today. I want you to close one of these before lunch.”

“Jim, I’d really like to listen to some of the other guys do this for a while. I don’t know what to say to these people.”

“John, you can do it. You’re selling something they want that will make them money, and in return they give you theirs. You can listen to the rest of us all fawking night and it ain’t going to help you a bit. You’ve got to start working those taps and coming up with a magic script. It’s not really all that different from sex. You get them interested, you talk to them, you woo them. And then when things have heated up, you close. An’ you know what? Every time you close it feels every bit as good as when you finally get to stick the old salami in the jellyroll.”

My First Telephone Call
“I’ve told every one of you sonofabitches that I didn’t want your goddamned magazine. EVER! I’ve told you never to call me. AND YOU CALL EVERY FUCKING WEEK.”

“I’m, sorry, Sir, but I was working with some information that said you might be interested in knowing more about Construction Data. Possibly I could send you a free copy of our magazine. Maybe you would like to come down here and tour our plan center facility.”

“I’m going to come down there and tour your heads if I hear from you assholes again.”

“Sorry you feel that way. If you ever do decide. . ." [CLICK].


I started to write notes on the card—saying don’t call this guy back. McGoo grabbed the card from my hand.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“Making notes. “

“You don’t need to write anything on that card, John. Just a note. This was a soft turndown, so you write STD on the card, date it, and put it on the bottom of your stack. We send the leads back in to the main office every Friday night.”

Under the McGoo system, a turndown was merely a moment of temporary insanity. You had to call back fairly soon. . .in McGoo’s theory, if you called back often enough, eventually the mark might think “Hey, these guys are persistent. They must have something good going here.”

McGoo plunged on with my indoctrination.

“So he says no Johnnie. Simply mark it STD. We’ll turn that piece of dog shit sooner or later. He’ll bare his sphincter and beg us to give him a poke. He will crumble and eventually beg for a solid rodgering at top dollar!”

“If he doesn’t come down and cave our heads in first. . .”

“Ah, you missed it. These guys are more hot air than salesmen. And that’s why we eventually triumph. These guys are construction people, we’re pros. Ok. You’ve plunged in. Now, you gotta start with the lingo."

"They say you called them last month, ok, fine. You tell them you are calling back because they did seem interested and you are in a position this week to offer them significant price breaks on Construction Data, if they are able to act quickly.”

“I can’t say that. . .you know. . .it just doesn’t fall off the tongue. Significant price breaks sound phony.”

“Johnnie, me boy. There is no shame in making money. One thing you’ve got to get over is feeling self-conscious or embarrassed. Feel embarrassed at being a goddamned shithead!"

But I feel like I’m running some scam on them. It’s hard to do…”

“The only people in this room who should be embarrassed are the people who don’t get an order. Now, I want you to get started again. Would a drink help? I’ve got five bucks. Let’s go across the street, I’ll have a club soda and you can have. . .what do you like to drink?”

So we went for a drink, McGoo, recently hooked up with AA, telling me all the while that I would make the breakthrough.

Some Advice from Mcgoo
“Once you get that first order. . .Johnnie me boy. . . you will become an inhuman selling dynamo.”

“I’m not quite there yet.”

“Johnnie, me boy, you don’t even need to sell this thing. . .it sells its fucking self. You are barely even a salesman! All you have to do is punch in a few numbers and start writing orders. You are going to get on the books big time.”

Back at the office, I glumly stare at my pathetic short stack of leads. OK. Number two.

“Like I said the last time, my husband died last year. I’m 75. Why would I need a five hundred dollar construction magazine?”

So I wrote STD on the card and put it at the bottom of the deck.

“John, my boy, you aren’t taking them all the way. You get their pants down around their ankles, and you don't stick it in! If you need a little hand on these, I’ll be your closer.”

The Business Cards, or, How I became Jack Brummet
The next day, McGoo handed me business cards.

“Jack Brummet. Circulation marketing and feature article writer?”

“I like that, yeah, Jack. John is a pussy name. Jack’s the name of a man's man. These are constuction guys. ”

I became Jack. And I still am.

My First Order
Later that day I closed my first order. I sold one year at the “full boat” price. I was “on the books” and flying high. 1 year= $549. 6 mos= $299. 6 mos=$100.

I was on the books and on top of the boilerroom board, until McGoo closed three in a row to remove me from my perch. I was on my second day. McGoo put the heavy pressure on Bill Ryan.

“Jaysus, Bill, Jack, a total frigging rookie comes in here and closed on a full boat. What have you done for me today?”

Within two hours, Bill had closed two big orders, put his name at the top of the board for the day, and departed work. The two orders were utterly bogus. Bill just signed up a couple of his leads for subscriptions.

"We'd Like To Put An Article About You In Our Publication"
As a fellow lit-brother to McGoo, I was ahead of the other salespeople in one regard. One regard I was never much able to capitalize on: we would write articles for our magazine, if we could get the contractors or suppliers to buy a large subscription or ad schedule. I would write absurd puff pieces on these various dimwits that they could pass around to their friends and family. Alas, my heart was in that even less than in selling overpriced subscriptions and advertisements.

Cancellations and deadbeats
Every two weeks, in came an accounting from the main office of people you sold to who had cancelled. Or who were deadbeats. Your commission was then deducted from your account, and you were in the hole. The Deadbeats, you called yourself.

It was always agony and explosions of anger on cancellation day. And whenever you lost a commission, McGoo lost his sales manager cut too. By the time half these cancellations rolled in, people had forgotten they had faked them in the first place. Bill Ryan specialized in writing up phony orders for corporations. The companies would actually pay the subscription about half the time. It was always a dark on cancellation day--especially for those of us who never made the nut, and were always underwater on our commissions.

Pat Sherwin, probably about 65 or so, was the hardest hit. He had an invalid wife and was just barely holding it all together. When he got cancelled, he was utterly gripped with panic and fear. And McGoo felt that those twin emotions were the best sales motivational tool ever developed. Pat would nearly be crying, having just lost $500 in commissions. McGoo would always offer to buy you a drink and tell you his solution to the problem. The solution was invariably "sell more!"

Ain’t nothing going to happen here boys, ain’t nothing going to happen until I hear those phones dialing Dialing DIALING!!! I’ve walked in here about five times this morning and no one is on the motherfucking phone.

"NO ONE IS ON THE PHONE!!! What the fuck do you think? You think the fuckin’ customers are just going to call in and throw money at you? I’ll listen to you The Fuckin' Sales Force complain just as soon as I see they are actually working. I got three orders this morning while you were shaking off your goddamned hangovers!"

"I want every phone nigger in this room to book at least $250 by lunch. The orders are out there. The only question is are you men enough to close them? Or are you going to stand here all day blubbering about a bunch of goddamned cancellations?"

"You could be halfway out of the hole if you just got on the phones. Dial for dollars, boys, starting now. "

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Painting: The Family

Click image to enlarge

Poem: The Man In The Mirror

There's a civil war in his head:
Lobe against lobe.

But even when you erase it,
Or stamp out the memory,

It's still
Out There,

Because it if it once was
It still is.