Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ned Ludd and The Luddites

This illustration of Ned Ludd is from a book published in 1812, called Rage Against The Machine.  Ned Ludd is *probably* a person who really existed.  His actions were the inspiration for the folkloric character of "Captain Ludd", or "King Ludd," the Luddites' imagined leader and founder.

The Ludd legend is that inspired Ned Ludd's transformation from an 18th century common man to a 19th century hero began when he broke two textile frames in a fit of rage around 1780.  After that, industrial problem or sabotage was often explained with the phrase "Ned Ludd did that."

The Austin band The Gourds refer to Ned Ludd as "Uncle Ned" in the song "Luddite Juice" off their 2009 release, Haymaker.

The great Edward Abbey novel The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) is dedicated to Ned Ludd.

Stephen King's The Dark Tower series contains a metropolis called Lud (city).

Robert Calvert wrote and recorded another song "Ned Ludd," which appeared on his 1985 album Freq; and includes the lyrics::

They said Ned Ludd was an idiot boy
That all he could do was wreck and destroy, and
He turned to his workmates and said: Death to Machines
They tread on our future and they stamp on our dreams.

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.  This applies to the United States, Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

War of the Worlds: In 1938, Orson Welles scared the bejesus out of your grandparents.

Five years ago on all this is that.  we published an article on War of the Worlds, with a link to the broadcast...and since it's Halloween, the link still works, and mostly because it's some of the best radio Eve, here is an ATIT retread.

The restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, and the Library of Congress
believes this image is in the public domain.  The photograph is by Carl Van Vechten.

Jump to the link below to download an MP3/Podcast of the entire War of the Worlds broadcast by Mercury Theatre.  This is the piece that propelled Orson Welles to fame, Listen to it and celebrate that great actor, writer, director, and Madison Avenue pitchman, who spooked a large part of America 72 years ago, on October 30, 1938.  And it's plenty spooky, in honor of the day.

The image was distributed as a promotional photograph in the U.S. in 1941 for use
by the general media, satisfying the definition of "publication." There is no evidence
that it was distributed with copyright notice, as then required for copyright protection.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Learn from the masters: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams show how mud should be slung

By Pablo Fanque
National Affairs Editor

Do you think the attack ads we've seen this political season are the nastiest ever?  They're not even close.  Check out the mud Thomas Jefferson and John Adams flung at each other in 1800...


Video mash-up --> Beatles/Zombies: A Hard Day's Night of the Living Dead


The Monkey and The Engineer by Jesse Fuller

The Monkey and The Engineer, by Jesse Fuller

Once upon a time there was an engineer.
Drove a locomotive both far and near.
Accompanied by a monkey that would sit on a stool
Watching everything the engineer would move

One day the engineer wanted a bite to eat,
He left the monkey sitting on the driver's seat,
The monkey pulled the throttle, the locomotive jumped the gun
And did 90 miles an hour down the mainline run.

Big locomotive right on time, big locomotive coming down the line.
Big locomotive No. 99, left the engineer with a worried mind.

The engineer called up the dispatcher on the phone,
To tell him all about his locomotive was gone.
Get on the wire, switch operator to the right,
Cause the monkey's got the main line sewed up tight.

The switch operator got the message on time,
Said there's a Northbound limited on the same main line,
Open up the switch I'm gonna let him through the hole,
Cause the monkey's got the locomotive under control.

Big locomotive right on time, big locomotive coming down the line.
Big locomotive No. 99, left the engineer with a worried mind.

Jack Brummet drawing - Faces No. 180: Greenwood

click to enlarge

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A strange Halloween postcard from 1901, with a message

A Halloween postcard from 1901, with a message

click to enlarge

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.

Part 2: More twisted Halloween costumes

We listed about ten strange and twisted Halloween costumes last week. Since then, people have sent us a few that we missed (and a bunch we can't/won't print!).  You can see our first batch, right here.

The Car



Father Muldoon

Sister Mary

Summer Beach Gear

WTC - Still too soon?

Not a costume, maybe, but a very strange tableau

Alien Lore No. 186 - Indrid Cold, The Grinning Man

By Jack Brummet, Alien Lore and Paranormal Editor

Indrid Cold

Even in the strange, often paranoid, twisted, and highly speculative world of Alien Lore and UFOlogy, The Grinning Man is a mystery.  The Grinning Man has been spotted several times during periods of intense UFO encounters (for instance, during the 1960s Mothman sightings). Maybe he has been seen around El Paso or Manhattan in the recent wave of sightings that were witnessed by thousands.

At the famous Mothman sightings, two teen-aged witnesses said he looked at them with what is sometimes referred to as a "s***-eating grin" on his face. According to researchers who interviewed the boys, he: “was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a sparkling green coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist.”

The boys also saidHe had a very dark complexion, and little round eyes…real beady…set far apart.” Oddly,  “They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure.” During the Mothman sightings, the grinning man is alleged to have telepathically told a witness his name was Indrid Cold.

The Grinning Man is an obscure figure associated with Alien Lore.   Some scholars and observers believe he is an alien, and others that he was one of the government's Men in Black.  Indrid Cold is thus far his best known incarnation.  He has been  investigated by notable paranormal author John A. Keel and ufologist James Moseley.

The most famous sighting of The Grinning Man went down on October 11, 1966 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. James Yanchitis and Marvin Munoz were walking home along Fourth Street.  Yanchitis noticed the weird man first. "He was standing behind that fence," he told investigators, "I don't know how he got there. He was the biggest man I ever saw." "Jimmy nudged me," Marvin Munoz told the cops, "and said, 'Who's that guy standing behind you?' I looked around and there he was... behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us... then he grinned a big old grin." During the same period of time, on that same street, on the same night, a middle-aged resident of the neighborhood was chased by a "tall green man" The boys skedaddled as soon as they saw The Grinning Man.

According to paranormal investigator/journalist John A. Keel, and the UFO lecturer James Moseley,  Munoz and Yanchitis were interviewed by them separately and told the exact same story. "The man was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a sparkling green coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist."  The freakiest part of the encounter is that "They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure."

The Grinning Man, a/k/a Indrid Cold was linked to extraterrestrials due to a UFO report in the same area. A report states that a "blazing white light as big as a car" almost hit a 550-foot tall television tower near Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. A policeman and his wife witnessed an object move in a slow arc north, until it disappeared over some nearby hills. On the other side of those hills, two other cops--Sgt. Benjamin Thompson and a Patrolman, Edward Wester, of the Wanaque Reservoir Police, witnessed the same light at 9:45 p.m. as it flew over the reservoir. "The light was brilliantly white," officer Thompson said, "It lit up the whole area for about three hundred yards. In fact, it blinded me when I got out of the patrol car to look at it, and I couldn't see for about twenty minutes afterwards."

Numerous Grinning Man sightings happened in 1966, about the same time as the West Virginia Mothman sightings.  They are reported by John A. Keel in chapters 5 and 10 in his book The Mothman Prophecies.

On November 2, 1966, a man named Woodrow Derenberger was driving his panel truck home after work when he heard a crash. A vehicle raced up behind him, cut in front of him and slowed down. Derenberger said the car looked like "an old fashioned kerosene lamp chimney, flaring at both ends, narrowing down to a small neck and then enlarging in a great bulge in the center."

The UFO stopped on the road, and a door slid open. A man stepped out, wearing a "glistening green" uniform like the outfit worn by the New Jersey Grinning Man. Naturally, he was grinning.

The man communicated with Derenberger telepathically and said his name was "Cold", and asked him strange questions, and the two talked for a few minutes.  The Grinning Man said he would visit him again.

Another case detailed  in the Mothman Prophecies book, happened in the home of the Lillys, a family living in Point Pleasant. The Lillys claimed to see strange lights in the sky right above their home at least every night, and experienced strange events in their house.  Mrs. Lilly said "We've seen all kinds of strange lights, green ones, red ones, things that change color. Some have been so low that we thought we could see diamond-shaped windows in them. And none of them make any noise at all." Automobiles near the Lilly home would stall for no reason, and kitchen cabinets and doors inside the Lilly home would slam inexplicably in the middle of the night.  Mrs. Lilly said she sometimes heard a sound like "a baby crying" throughout the inside of the home.

John A. Keel, who investigated the Lilly family, asked "Did you ever dream that there was a stranger in the house in the middle of the night?" Linda Lilly, the daughter, said she had seen "a man, a big man. Very broad. I couldn't see his face very well, but I could see that he was grinning at me."  
  • Keel, John. A (2002) "The Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings", chpt 14:The Grinning Man, Tor Books, ISBN 0765345862 (reprint) 
  • Coleman, Loren (2002) "Mothman and Other Curious Encounters", chpt 7: Keel's Children, p133,146, Paraview Press, ISBN 1931044341
  • Coleman, Loren (2007) "Mysterious America", chpt 20: Mad Gasser Of Mattoon and his Kin, Paraview Pocket Books, ISBN 1416527362
  • Keel, John A (2002) "Mothman Prophecies", Tor Books, ISBN 0765341972 (reprint)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Austin's Dale Watson, Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, and Chicken S**t Bingo

This is a short video bio of Dale Watson, one of my favorite country singer-songwriters in Austin. I saw him three different times when I was spending a lot of time there, most notably at Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon--an excellent dive, and the home of Chicken S*** bingo...which is just what it sounds like....on Sunday, you buy a number, and if the chicken does her business there, you make a little money. But, even better, you get to see Dale Watson, drink $2 Lone Stars and eat free hot dogs...


Jack Brummet Drawings: The Jury, Pt. 8

drawings bu Jack Brummet -- click to enlarge

Sunday, October 24, 2010

President Obama's illegitimate Presidency

By Pablo Fanque
National Affairs Editor
Research by Jack Brummet

What will it take to convince the teabaggers, conspiracy theorists, and wingnuts that President Barack Obama (they usually prefer to include his middle name) is in fact a legitimate President, who is neither a Muslim, nor was born in Kenya?  Facts haven't worked, his relatively centrist Presidency has convinced no one, and his very public declarations of Christianity seem to convinced no one on the far right.  He even stands shoulder to shoulder with them on gay marriage!  And yet, a small, but highly vocal contingent of nutjobs consider him to be not an American by birth, but also a Muslim who lied his way into the Oval Office--a Trojan Horse of Islam.

Recently, BHO called off a visit to the Golden Temple in Punjab, India, due to “logistical problems.”  There were, at the time, numerous reports (which the White House vigorously denied,) that in fact, The Prez didn't want to wear the white robe traditionally worn in the temple. Before the mid-term elections, he wanted to avoid another photo that might be used as "proof" that he is Muslim by his political enemies.

While no one in their right mind takes these claims seriously, it is a sad state of affairs that the wingnuts and teabaggers can have that degree of influence on the President.  Unfortunately, unless conventional wisdom is seriously wrong, it looks like those very groups will at the least have some wind under their sails after the elections next month. 

With a little power, maybe the tea party will begin to focus less on the wedge issues, and more on the substantial political and social ones.  It's hard to tell with these folks.  Honestly, probably the best thing for the Democratic Party would be if the tea party and its sympathizers focused on the Presidential campaigns of Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and whatever other deranged dingbats emerge from the closet over the next year or so.  While the Tea Party seems able to stir up pockets of support in localized areas, up to and including entire states, on a larger canvass, their message and their anger will be accorded the scant respect it deserves.

Halloween Banner

From the original trading cards, courtest of I-Mockery

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Batman and Robin Comic Generator

Here's a great way to kill about thirty seconds. Go to the Batman and Robin Comic Generator. Here is a re-enactment of the study scene between Johnny Fontane and Don Corelone.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sarah Palin to the rescue...ish....a few of today's howlers, fibs, and mud-slings from the Ex-Gov

By Pablo Fanque
National Affairs Editor

Sarah Palin and the Constitution Shake Their Fists - A Sarah Palin Tweet from this morning "NPR & LSM: you're shocked at public outrage over your censorship of Juan? This is what happens when our Constitution starts shaking her fist

The Ex-Gov. unloads on the "lamestream media" - "Today's a great day! Light shines on Left's lamestream media lies & hypocrisy! Refreshing vindication 4 folks putting up w/ this crap 2 long"

Sarah Palin commits bestiality and desecrates an American flag - From Wonkette..."Sarah Palin Makes Out With Dog, ‘Desecrates Flag’"


Happy [posthumous] Birthday to Dizzy Gillespie

Happy [posthumous] Birthday to Dizzy Gillespie.  I was lucky to see Diz twice--once at the Village Gate on Bleecker St. and once at the Paramount in Seattle (on the tour where he introduced his young protege Wynton Marsalis to the world).  At the Gate, he performed some hilarious dance moves... (photo:  Bird, with Diz).


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Christine O'Donnell Red Herring::::::::Are The Republicans Playing Rope-A-Dope With Us?::::::::Would That Christine O'D Was The Judas Goat For The Grand Old Party

By Pablo Fanque
All This Is That National Affairs Editor

I have come, increasingly to believe that Christine O'Donnell is just a red herring [1] created by the GOP.  She has virtually zero chance of winning.  Even if the Feds swooped in and found Chris Coons's hard drive filled with child pornography, with him co-starring in every clip,  he would still likely shellac Christine O'D.   The last Rasmussen poll had Coons ahead of O'D by around 11%.  I'm pretty sure this week's debate will net out to her dropping another two or three points at the least.

So why is Christine the Red Herring?  The GOP were stunned by her primary win, and once that wore off, they looked around and realized they were utterly and completely effed!  They had other candidates in striking distance, without all the masturbation and witchcraft baggage.  And the power poles in the GOP didn't have what it takes to slap a muzzle on her; for all they knew she would go bat-shit crazy and start naming names.  So, they did what most of us do when caught between a rock and a hard place: nothing!   They sat on their purses and left her twisting in the wind.  But then it dawned on them that whatever crazy-talk she spoke or released could only draw heat away from some of the other Teabaggers that were saying equally or even more crazy things, but with far less media spotlight than the Delaware race.

The number of Democrats in danger is possibly up to even double the 39 seats Republicans need to consolidate their nefarious control of the House.   It is a perfect storm for the Republicans:  money, momentum and the mood of the country — which, alas, is sour on incumbents, most of who happen to be Dems.

The Democrats, and especially the independents and "uncommitted" need to focus on people in races where the Dems can actually win.  The Republicans are playing a classic game of rope-a-dope[2] with the Democratic Party. We need to get off the ropes and back into the center of the ring


[1] Red herring is one of my favorite English idioms.  The Wikipedia gives a pretty decent definition:  "the pungent red herring would be dragged along a trail until a puppy learned to follow the scent.   Later, when the dog was being trained to follow the faint odour of a fox or a badger, the trainer would drag a red herring (whose strong scent confuses the animal) perpendicular to the animal's trail to confuse the dog.  The dog would eventually learn to follow the original scent rather than the stronger scent. An alternate etymology points to escaping convicts who would use the pungent fish to throw off hounds in pursuit."  In fact, we're following the red herring, when we need to be tracking the other, far more perilous contenders...

[2] Rope-a-dope is, according to the wikipedia, "by a boxer assuming a protected stance, in Ali's classic pose, lying against the ropes, and allowing his opponent to hit him, toward the end that the opponent will tire and make mistakes which the boxer can exploit in a counter-attack.

"In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, attempting thereby to become the eventual victor."

[3] In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and on to trucks.

Big Bang Big Boom, an incredible video by Blue

This is really a must see--Blue has created a wonderful and mesmerizing stop motion mixed-media video, "BIG BANG BIG BOOM: an unscientific point of view on the beginning and evolution of life ... and how it could probably end."

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Delaware Masturbation Witch Christine O'Donnell steps in deep doo-doo on the Constitution

By Pablo Fanque
National Affairs Editor

Everyone's buzzing about Christine (Delaware Masturbation Witch) O'D's pretty spectacular gaffe in her debate last night with Chris Coons (CO'D: "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?").   But the sound bites and video clips miss her earlier jab at Coons, where she chides Coons on his ignorance of the constitution:  "Perhaps they didn't teach you constitutional law at Yale Divinity School."

To see the audience reaction to her stunning blunder, jump to 2:50 in the YouTube video, below:


Twisted Halloween Costumes--some images probably NSFW

We've posted a couple of these before, around Halloween.  Our criteria is mainly that the costume needs to be weird.  We did not include the many costumes that you would consider cute, or dressed up animals, and, believe or not, we left out most of the really sick costumes, or costumes where you might say "it's too soon!" (9/11 costumes, Michael Jackson, etc). 

Little Hitler

Cartman's Hitler Costume

Illegal Alien

Twisted Family Costume(s)

The Tooth Fairy

Kind Of A Katamari Babies Costume



Hawaii's Favorite

Priapic Frog

Naughty Bits